9 – The Call
Clark felt a panic growing inside of him. It was as if a huge hole was opening up and swallowing him.
“Clark? Clark, what is it?” Lois asked, grabbing him by the front of his coat and pulling at him, as he sat looking at the phone.
“Lois. I really think you shouldn’t be involved in any of this anymore.”
“What to do mean Clark? What did he say?”
“He said…I didn’t say which world,” Clark replied, pausing briefly between each word as he spoke.
“So where were you when the world stopped turning…but he didn’t say which world. That’s odd. What other world is…” Lois stopped.
Whoever this was, they definitely knew who Clark was—both of him.
Why? Why did this insane stranger have to include Lois in all of this? How could they continue their investigation into this plot and her not eventually find out who he was? Would he confess? How could he confess?
Clark decided to wait for further insight on this mystery monster before he would plot his next move. It seemed as if fate would bring disclosure and if so, he hoped Lois wouldn’t hate him forever. Saving the world was more important than saving his identity from her.
“I’m guessing Krypton, Lois.”
“Ahhh…so that’s where your Krypton knowledge comes in handy right Clark? So we just need to figure out where we were when…” she said as she finally let him go.
“Lois, you weren’t even born yet and I was just a baby,” Clark interrupted.
“Then why would we care where we were?”
“That’s the question Lois. I guess he’s just trying to confuse us.”
“This makes no sense at all. Look, we’ll think about this later. Let’s get back to the office and get this fire story on the burner and then we’ll worry about the nut case.”
Clark breathed a sigh of relief as they pulled into the garage and parked. Lois hadn’t come to any conclusions yet and didn’t grill him this time about Krypton. He’d hoped he’d laid her suspicions to rest but knowing Lois, her wheels were turning.
“Mr. Kent, there’s a message for you on your desk from the Metropolis police about some package you dropped off,” said Jimmy, as Clark and Lois entered the news room.
“Thanks Jimmy.” Clark picked up the phone to call the number on the note.
Lois went straight to work on her article about the fires and typed away at her keyboard.
Clark hung up the phone and walked to Lois’ desk. “No fingerprints.”
“Go figure. Here Clark, read this and tell me what you think so far,” Lois said as she pulled the article up on her computer screen.
“Fire bug at Hotel captured by Mild Mannered Reporter.”
“It looks good Lois but did you have to pay so much attention to me?” Clark asked wrinkling his nose.
“Well you did capture him Clark.” Lois smiled.
“Yes and I was just informed that I have to go down to the police station and give my statement so I’ll be back in a little while,” said Clark as he turned and walked away.
Lois gave Clark a long look as he walked off. He wasn’t such a bad guy and the more she was around him, the more she liked him. She smiled quietly to herself and continued her article. “Jimmy?” she shouted. “I need a good picture of Clark.”
“Sure Miss Lane.”
Clark sat in the back seat of the taxi, wondering where this whole mystery was headed. “Technology? Luthor,” he mumbled. “But how had he gotten all of this information in the brief amount of time that he had the crystals?” There was only one other explanation and he knew it. A frightening thought but the only one he had left.
It was that of a human like machine, built in a far-away galaxy that was created by insane scientists solely to attack and take control of every life sustaining planet that existed, one at a time.
He had learned of this from his father, while at the fortress of solitude, during the education phase of his maturation into Superman. Jor-el had warned him that he should always be intellectually prepared for the coming of this monster because it would attack on a completely different level than he had ever known.
This wasn’t stopping out of control cars or airplanes, this would be all out technological warfare and it would take a supreme amount of intelligence and not just muscle to defeat this crazed menace. Not having the level of information that Superman did, Earth was unaware that such a monster existed and certainly didn’t have the means to protect itself.
He had to find Luthor. He couldn’t understand why that helicopter hadn’t been found already. After all, they couldn’t have gotten more than a thousand miles or so. He’d done some fly overs south of Metropolis, all the way to Florida but decided that the authorities shouldn’t have any trouble finding them. He was wrong and couldn’t wait another minute.
He had to get those crystals back and get to the Fortress of Solitude and study up on this monster, only known to him as Brainiac. Even if he had to search all corners of the Earth to find Luthor, it would be a small price to pay to put his home on Earth back together and also devise a way to protect it from any further invasions from criminals like Luthor, or worse.
Clark gave his statement to the police and made his exit. Walking off down the street to the first alley he came to and quickly turning into Superman, he was off to look for Luthor. He started in the Caribbean Islands, as he knew how much Luthor loved the lap of luxury and was also sure he’d be licking his wounds from his loss.
Superman was dead on the money as he used his super vision and spotted Lex and Kitty, sitting at a restaurant in a little quiet village on St. Maarten. He decided to drop in on them and kill two birds with one stone.
Luthor nearly fell out of his chair as Kitty jumped to her feet, primping her hair and cuddling her dog. “Gee Superman, I thought you were going to let bygones be bygones. I guess it’s payback time.”
“Where are they Luthor?” Superman asked as he grabbed Lex by the front of his shirt, lifting him into the air.
“Where are what?” Lex choked.
“He doesn’t have them Superman,” shouted Kitty as she tugged at Superman’s arm, trying uselessly to get him to release Lex.
Lex dropped to the ground with a thud, as Superman turned his attention to Kitty. “Must you always be such a brute?” Lex grumbled, climbing slowly to his feet.
“I…I threw them away,” Kitty said as she brushed her hand over Superman’s insignia on his chest.
“Stop that. Threw them away? Where?” Superman shouted as he pushed Kitty’s hand away from him.
“Kitty,” shouted Lex. “Not that you’ll get them back, I mean, that whole continent is filled with Kryptonite Superman. You’ll be dead before…”
“That’s all I needed to know Luthor, let’s go.” He scooped them both up and flew them back to Metropolis and dropped them both at the front desk of the police station, explaining who they were and what to do with them.
“Well Lex, look at the bright side,” Kitty said as they were both put in hand cuffs and escorted away for processing.
“And what bright side might that be?” Lex sarcastically blasted back at her.
“You’ll get to see your old friends again.” She laughed loudly as they were separated and taken to different areas. They were lucky at least to still be alive, thanks to a touring helicopter that spotted them stranded on that sandbar in the middle of the Caribbean. Lex’s Rolex came in handy in securing their freedom and anonymity.
Superman took off and headed back to the Planet, to fill Lois in on the events, as well as to tell her that Superman had apprehended Luthor and Kitty and he was able to get the whole story while at the Police station.
“Not bad for an hour’s work,” he thought and smiled to himself, straightening his tie and adjusting his glasses in the elevator.
He had to get those crystals and he had to figure out how to stay at least one step ahead of this Brainiac monster. He knew Superman would have to enlist the help of a human in order to get them back. He knew who he could count on and he’d be sure to pay her a visit tonight. See Jason at the office however, put a smile on his face a distracted him from his woes.
“Clark. You’re something else. You mean Superman walked right in there while you were giving your statement?” Lois spurted the words and fell back in her seat.
“Superman? Cool!” Jason shouted as he ran straight over to Clark and waved at him with drawing he’d done at school.
“Well, not exactly,” Clark said, smiling to himself as he sat down and looked over Jason’s artwork. His brows lowered and he questioned Jason about the strange looking man in the picture.
“Well, I hope you don’t mind too much but feast your eyes on this!” she said, holding up her fire bug story, complete with Clark’s photo.
“Oh Lois, no…” Clark said with a horrified expression.
“Oh Clark c’mon! Look how cute you look!” Lois giggled and Jimmy began to chime in.
“I think that’s a great photo of you Mr. Kent. I took it myself after all,” Jimmy said, raising his camera and snapping off a photo of Clark and Jason.
“Clark, if it really bothers you that much, I won’t use the photo,” she said, sticking out her bottom lip as she sat back on his desk, twisting her head to see the drawing as well. “It is a nice photo though. You look very distinguished and kind of handsome,” she added, holding up the article and looking at it like a love struck girl.
“Lois, I know it’s fun sometimes to tease me but…”
“Clark, I’m sorry. I won’t use it okay?”
“Thanks,” Clark said as he continued to discuss the drawing with Jason, until with no warning, Jason ran off towards the water cooler with his arms outstretched as if he were flying.
“Well, gotta run. I need to get this munchkin home. Clark, I’ll be in touch later,” Lois said with a grin as she tossed her coat over her arm and called out for Jason that it was time to leave.
10 – Dinner for Two
“You look great Clark? How was your day?” Jillian said as she greeted Clark in the hotel lobby with her signature kiss on the cheek. “I’m so happy you were able to come.”
“You look bbbeautiful, Jillian. Really, um, beautiful.”
They grabbed the next elevator and headed for the restaurant on the top floor. Jillian’s soft hand found Clark’s at his side and grasped it tightly, to which he obliged but felt a bit uncomfortable.
“Here we are!” Jillian said beaming, as she led Clark down the hall into the restaurant.
“Table for two,” she said to the maitre de.
“Of course madam,” he said politely as he took two menus in his hand and led them to a quiet table next to a window overlooking the city.
Clark, being the gentleman that he is, pulled Jillian’s chair out and seated her.
“I’m so glad you decided to join me tonight, Clark. I know we’ve only just met but I honestly feel that I’ve known you a long time. The way Jimmy just goes on about you I mean. So, you’re from a small town in Kansas is it?” Jillian spoke more softly this time. She seemed more subdued and as he was across the table this time and not right next to her, he felt a little less overcome.
“Yes I am, Jillian,” Clark answered, looking up from his menu.
“I guess it’s a lot different here for you?”
“Well, at first it was very different but it’s much better now.” He glanced up at her only long enough to speak.
“Clark? Is everything OK?” Jillian asked, reaching across the table for his hand.
“Well, yes and no,” he answered, keeping his hand to himself. “Yes, because I like you Jillian and it’s been a long time since I’ve well, dated and no because I’m worried about someone and it’s playing on my mind a bit,” Clark answered as truthfully as he could, as Jillian’s head tilted slightly, causing one blond slightly curled lock of hair to fall over her cheek, which she swept back softly with the hand she awkwardly pulled back.
“Well, does this person you’re worried about have your phone number?”
“Yes. Yes of course.”
“Well, if she calls, I’ll understand,” Jillian said, as she reached across the table and sat her hand on Clark’s, not giving him the option this time. “So, now that that’s settled, shall we have the shrimp scampi or the crab balls?”
“Shrimp sounds great,” Clark answered, taking a long deep sigh of relief.
“Wheeeeeeeee!” said Lois, as she lifted her small, pink, wet boy from a cloud of bubbles and wrapped him in a huge, red plush towel.
“Mommy, is Daddy coming home tonight?” He asked her as she rubbed and blotted the water and left over bubbles from his wiggling body.
“Well, let’s get you in your PJ’s and we’ll talk about this a little, okay?” Lois said sweetly as she scooped him up in the towel and carried him into his room.
“Okay,” Jason said with a frown, as he always did when he thought he couldn’t get the answer he wanted.
Lois helped Jason into his pajamas and sat him down on the bed. “Jason, you are the best boy any Mommy or Daddy could want, do you know that?” Lois asked as she sat him on her lap. Jason replied with a big smile and a kiss for her and then leaned his tired head back onto her shoulder.
“Sometimes, grown-ups, even Mommies and Daddies make decisions that they think are good and maybe they are for a while but then, things get mixed up and they have to go away and try to un-mix them. Is Mommy making sense?”
“Is he mad?”
“Well, not mad really. I think he’s a little sad though. Mommy’s a little sad too but I believe that everything will work out fine.”
“Mommy, I told a lie.” Jason said, looking up at Lois with big sad eyes.
“A lie? How could you tell me a lie?” She asked him but not in chaste.
“Not you, Mr. Clark. I told him that the green man said he knew Superman like a friend.”
“What green man, the man in your picture?” Lois asked, now sounding concerned.
“No, well yes but he said Superman was not my friend but that he could be my friend.”
“Well, it was just a dream so it’s not like a real lie,” Lois said, trying to ease both their minds.
“I’m sleepy,” Jason said with a big yawn as he rubbed his eyes.
Lois laid him back in the bed and patted him on the head. She leaned down to pick up the towel, when she heard Jason say, “Mommy. Don’t take that! That’s my Superman towel.”
“Jas, it’s wet.”
“I don’t care. I need it in case the green man comes back.”
“Jason, are you afraid?”
“No, I just need it that’s all,” he said as he closed his eyes and pulled the covers up. Lois sat the towel back down on the floor and walked out into the living room.
She picked up her bag and rifled through it, looking for her phone and felt a folded piece of paper, brushing against her hand and pulled it out and read it.
“Phew. Thank goodness,” she said aloud, knowing they had a lot to talk about. Lois looked at her watch, “Nine O’clock, on the nose. Good, I have time to get some work in before he gets here.”
She sat her cell phone down on the end table and headed to the kitchen, to grab a cup of coffee. Then she turned and headed to her office.
“That was delicious, wasn’t it Clark?”
“Mmm, great.” Clark said, still chewing his last bite.
“Clark, I won’t play games with you. From the first moment I met you, I just adored you.”
“Jillian, don’t you think you’re moving a bit too fast?” Clark asked, looking down at his watch.
“Haven’t you ever just seen someone Clark and felt as if you knew they were the one’?” Jillian said, her blond curl falling once again.
Clark stared out the window for a minute and looked out over his city.
“Yes. Yes I have.”
“And you’re not done with it are you Clark?” Jillian asked softly, lowering her eyes and placing her napkin next to her plate. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?”
“Yes, yes she is.”
“I meant the city at night Clark but it’s alright. I’ll just get the check and you can go,” Jillian said as she motioned for the waiter.
“Clark, no. Jimmy told me you were single and free or I wouldn’t have made such a fool out of myself as I have.” She shifted herself in her chair and tossed her head. “Don’t worry Clark, we’ll try friends first,” she added as she again touched Clark’s hand and handed the signed receipt to the waiter.
“You should have let me pay,” Clark said softly.
“Friends can buy each other dinner Clark. It’s fine.” Jillian gracefully got up from the table and leaned in and kissed Clark on the cheek. “You know where to find me,” she whispered in his ear and floated out of the room with her soft slip dress swishing, as she gently flipped her scarf over her shoulders.
Clark sat for a minute, looking out over the city and when he was ready, he walked to the roof and lifted off, headed for Lois.
11 – Home
Lois hadn’t anticipated the awkwardness of this moment. She arose from her desk and looked up at the clock on the wall and said to herself, “This is it.”
She walked into Jason’s room and checked on him and found him soundly sleeping. She leaned over him and gave him a soft kiss on the head and simply said, “I’m so sorry for complicating your life since before you were born. I love you.”
She turned to walk out of the room and was startled as Superman stood at the window before her.
“Shhh…” he said, placing his index finger to her lips gently.
“My turn.” He leaned over and kissed Jason as well.
“Let’s go into the living room,” Lois whispered.
Superman followed behind her and closed the door.
“In here,” Lois said, waving him on. Superman walked to her and took her in his arms and held her close for a minute.
“What was that for?” she said as they parted.
“For being such a wonderful mother to our son and just because,” he replied.
“We have a lot to talk about Kal. First of all, you’re probably wondering where Richard is,” Lois said as she sat down on the sofa.
“Well, I was actually,” he said as he sat with her.
“He knows. I told him.” Lois turned towards him and looked him straight in the eyes.
“That Jason is your son, yes.”
Superman leaned forward and then back against the sofa, finally turning towards Lois, whose eyes were filling with tears.
“I had to tell him. I mean, he would have figured it out and if I’ve learned anything from you, it’s to tell the truth, no matter what the cost. However, it seems the cost is that he’s left me…us.”
“For good, Lois?” He was concerned for her but also ashamed of how relieved he felt inside.
“He said…he felt that he had stolen your life while you were gone.”
“Did he?” asked Superman as he met her eyes with a stare, leaving her no room not to answer him.
“If, if you hadn’t left—I didn’t know that I was pregnant Kal. I didn’t know but if I had known and had told you…” Lois said, now with tears streaming down her face. These were tears that had built inside of her for five years. Letting them go was like opening the flood gates to her soul and setting her free.
“No, I would have never left you like that Lois. Please believe me.” He reached out and pulled her to him. He held her and told her how angry he was at himself for being so wrapped up in his past, that he hadn’t given his future and what he already had on Earth a chance.
He again asked her forgiveness and this time, she gave it.
“We will find a way Lois. We’ll find a way to…”
“He’s like you, you know?” Lois sat up and wiped her eyes.
“Like me? What do you mean?”
“He saw you, way down there in the water and he saved my life,” Lois said studying Superman’s face for his next expression.
“I remember the water. I never thought…saved your life?” His eyes glowed and his chest filled with pride and yet he sighed and appeared afraid all at once over the course of just a few seconds.
“When he’s frightened, or startled or excited, it’s as if it triggers.”
“What exactly do you mean by triggers, Lois?” Superman sat frozen and watched Lois’ mouth speak.
“Strength,” Lois said with a huge sigh, blotting her eyes with a tissue.
“We have to tell him Lois. He needs guidance, he needs to learn…”
“In time Kal. I’m still trying to figure out how.”
“Mommy!” A scream came from Jason’s room as Superman turned and immediately saw through the walls, a dark figure standing at foot of Jason’s bed.
The sound of breaking glass and flashes of light, filled the entire house, which started to shake, causing Lois to fall to the floor screaming for Jason.
“Oh my God,” she screamed, as she tried to pull herself up to her feet. “Jason!” she screamed over and over and clawed her way across the floor, finally grabbing hold of the doorway to Jason’s room. A huge chunk of the wall opposite the door was gone. It appeared as if an explosion had torn a hole in the house.
Suddenly, the shaking stopped and she slid down into the doorway, terrified and weak. Lois lay on the floor crying out for Jason, when she heard a faint voice on the other side of the room.
“I’m over here Mommy.”
Lois jumped to her feet and over the bed and found Jason, sitting in the corner by his closet, wrapped in the damp red towel and scooped him up in her arms. “Jason, are you alright?” she asked through tears.
“Oh thank goodness.” She wrapped him tightly in her arms and placed worried kiss upon worried kiss on his head.
“Well, I guess they’re not friends after all, hunh Mommy? I hope Superman got him, since he busted my whole wall,” Jason said as he stood up with the red towel and began a simulated flight around the bedroom.
Superman was hot in flight but chasing a vapor. He hovered suspended in the air looking everywhere and saw nothing. He flew in every direction and felt like a dog chasing its tail. He turned in the air and headed back to Lois and Jason. When he landed in what was left of Jason’s room, he found Jason running back and forth with his towel, as Lois sat silent on the floor staring out the gaping hole in the wall at the water below.
“Lois, are you alright?”
“Superman!” Jason exclaimed as he leapt into Superman’s arms as if on springs.
“Woh little man!” he said catching him.
“Mommy, you can get up now. I think she’s still scared,” Jason whispered.
Superman reached out his hand and she took it, looking up at him as if to say, ‘what now?’ before rising to her feet. “It’s not safe here Lois.”
“What was that?” she asked, taking Jason from him and walking out into the living room.
“I can’t explain it to you right now but I’m going to take you both somewhere where you’ll be safe.”
“Are we going to fly there?” Jason asked.
“Yep. We sure are.” Superman replied, trying to sound calm and unaffected by what had just happened.
“Where are we going?”
“UM, I think you’ll remember this place, Lois.”
Superman took them both in his arms and headed off towards Metropolis, constantly keeping watch that they were not being followed. He figured that Brainiac had followed him the first time he had gone there to see Jason, the night he flew out of the hospital.
He believed that Brainiac was simply lying in wait for him to die and was very disappointed that he didn’t. Superman landed softly on Lois’ old balcony.
“We can’t stay here. I’m letting Clark use it until he can find another place to live,” Lois said as Superman sat Jason on his feet, patted him on the bottom and watched as he ran to the balcony doors and went in.
“Clark left the door open,” Lois said shaking her head.
“Lois, I don’t think anyone but I can break in up here,” Superman said as he chuckled. “Hmmm…Clark’s not here?”
“I think he had a date.” Lois snickered.
“You seem surprised.”
“Never mind…I have to tell you this quickly before you fly off,” Lois said as she slid the glass doors closed from the outside.
Lois went on to explain everything that had been happening for the past twenty four hours. Superman acted as if he had no clue and sat quietly and listened.
“This Clark seems like a pretty smart guy Lois. It sounds like he has a good grasp on who may be doing this and what his intentions may be but of course, I’ll be ready. After tonight, I know he knows who you and Jason are and that’s why you’re not leaving this apartment until I find him and send him back to wherever he came from.”
“Not leave here?” Lois said. Her eyes were wide with disbelief.
“I want you two safe Lois. I’ve just found my son. I don’t intend to lose him, or you.”
“Well, I’m sure I still have some things here but Jason…”
“I’ll take care of that. You just sit tight and stay safe. I’ll be watching and trust me, he won’t harm a hair on your head.”
Superman stood up and turned away. With his cape flowing behind him, he cut a figure in the dim light of the man she remembered and loved with all of her heart.
“Are you leaving?” Lois said walking after him toward the ledge of the balcony.
He stopped at the sound of her voice and with his back to her he took in a deep breath of relief. He smiled widely to himself, relaxed his expression and turned to face her.
“Clark will be home soon Lois,” he said as he gently wrapped his hands around her arms, which felt more like a kind gesture to her than affection. She looked down at his hands on her arms and with her own hand, reached up and took his wrist and pulled his hand around behind her, resting it on her back. She moved in closer to him as he welcomed her embrace.
“You know I won’t break,” she whispered as she rested her head against his chest. “Thank you so much, Kal.”
His heart swelled. He finally felt he was home.
“Lois. One more thing before I go,” he said, still holding her in his arms. “Luthor had the crystals. Kitty said she threw them away. I believe they’re still up there. I have to get them back”
“But you can’t,” she said, looking up at him in fear. “You could die.”
“I know I’ll need help. Whatever you can do…”
“I’ll help you, if I have to go up there myself.”
“Thank you, Lois. I have to go now but I’ll be watching.”
Lois stared up at his face as he looked up to the sky and was gone. She turned and walked slowly to the doors and saw Jason, sleeping on the sofa peacefully and went inside.
12 – Worms
Lois looked down at Jason and smiled, as he wiggled a bit and turned over on the sofa facing her, clutching his old toy Superman that had been long left behind at her apartment.
She brushed his hair out of his face and walked over to the glass doors and began to pull the curtains, when she heard Clark’s key’s turning in the door.
The door opened and Clark looked a bit startled to say the least.
“Lois?” he said with surprise. “Jason too?”
“Hi Clark, I’m sorry about all this. Come into the kitchen and I’ll explain.” Lois locked the door behind him and grabbed him by the sleeve, pulling him into the kitchen.
Lois went on and on about what had happened and Clark listened intently.
“Any calls?” she asked softly, trying not to disturb Jason.
“Well, it’s almost midnight. I was kind of expecting one any time now.”
“He called me last night at midnight so I thought…” Clark said as Lois interrupted, as she often did.
“Okay.” Suddenly she realized the time and how long Mr. Kent had been out. “Midnight Clark?” She sat back in the kitchen chair and put her hands on her hips.
“Oh Lois, it’s not what you think…uh…what do you think?” He leaned back as well and raised an eyebrow.
“I think you’ve been a bad boy Clark Kent.” She smiled and folded her arms.
“Not really. I think Jillian doesn’t want to see me anymore.”
“Why?” Lois unfolded her arms and leaned in with a pout.
“She, she thinks I like someone else,” said Clark, looking around the room.
“Well that’s silly. You don’t even know any other girls.” Lois’ voice trailed off as her mind wandered, thinking she knew who Jillian was referring to.
At this very awkward moment, the cell phone rang. Clark jumped up and reached in the pocket of his overcoat, which was hanging on the back of the kitchen door.
“Well hello Mr. Kent. I saw Superman tonight, he sends his regards,” the voice said as it burst into a haunting laughter.
“Look, if you ever go near Lois and Jason again I’ll…”
You’ll do what? Would you like me to tell Miss Lane about this conversation, Kal-El? I’ve got you over a barrel my boy. I can take your whole facade away in an instant if I want to but I’d rather we just join our strength’s together. We could conquer the worlds.” Clark stayed silent listening for any clue, any sign of where this maniac may be.
“Not that this world is worth it. There’s not much a challenge here for me but as I’ve said, unfortunately for them, you just happen to have landed here. You should have seen yourself tonight, flying after me as if I were really there.”
“Clark, what’s he saying?” Lois whispered.
Clark gestured to her to be extremely quiet.
“Aha! Your X-ray vision may not be able to penetrate lead but I’ve created something else that it can’t see through. Let’s just say it’s a little experiment I’ve been working on and viola. It works…Superman.”
“Let’s just get to the point, what is it that you want?” Clark said, his voice shaking.
“I want You son of Jor-el and your son!”
“You sick maniac.”
“And don’t think I won’t find them Kal-El, Oh I’ll find them. It’s just a matter of time but in the mean-time, I’ve placed a little message in the computer system at the Daily Planet. When all of your coworkers log in tomorrow morning, they’ll all have a message on their screens, from me.”
“What message?” Clark said, with a hard swallow.
“I can’t tell you Kal-El, that wouldn’t be any fun at all. I guess you had better get busy and find it.”
“You’re going to regret this, Brainiac.” Clark said through his teeth.
“Oh and don’t try shutting it down or there will be an even bigger surprise.”
With that, Brainiac ended the call.
“Clark, what did he say?”
“Lois, did you call and have the Internet hooked up this morning?” Clark asked looking wild eyed.
“Yes Clark, all they had to do was like, flip a switch…Clark?”
Clark shot into the bedroom where Lois’ old desktop was located and turned it on. He hoped it would have enough processor speed to withstand the all-out assault he was about to take on it. Lois was close behind.
“Clark? Are you going to tell me anything?” Lois asked as she flopped down across the bed, lying on her stomach, facing him, leaning up on her elbows.
“Lois, he’s put some worm into the computer system at the Planet which will execute on every PC in the building as soon as each person logs in.”
“What kind of worm?” she asked, watching as Clark pounded away at the keyboard, trying to hack into the server at the Planet.
“He said something about a message he’d put in there that would come up on everyone’s desk top as soon as they logged in.” Clark spoke quickly, never taking his eyes off of the screen.
“He wouldn’t tell me. Lois, please…” Clark said, asking politely for quiet.
“Okay, okay,” she said, rolling over on her side, leaning up on one elbow watching.
“That’s great right?” Lois said, trying to hold her eyes open.
“Not yet but it’s about half the battle.”
“Alright Clark,” Lois said, losing her own battle with the sandman, as she grabbed a pillow, squeezed it in tight and dozed off.
Clark worked and worked, typing and digging away into the server, Brainiac was good, no, he was great. He had made this nearly impossible. The court house was a walk in the park compared to this, when suddenly, the message popped up on the screen, right in front of him, in big, bold flashing letters.
“CLARK KENT IS SUPERMAN.”
Clark gasped and hurriedly eradicated the worm, his head spun to the side with a loud exhale, realizing Lois had fallen asleep and not seen the monitor.
Just then, another message popped up, “Very good Superman. However, you’ve unfortunately just executed yet another worm in the process. You better get into your super suit.”
A look of horror overcame Clark’s face as he raced out to the balcony and looked over Metropolis. He scanned as far as he could see when he suddenly noticed one by one, all of the runway lights going out at Metropolis airport.
“Oh my God,” he said as he stripped, tossing his clothes to the floor of the balcony and took off.
He saw two planes that were already making their descents and raced to save them first.
He flew up under the planes like an extra set of wings and guided them safely to the ground when he heard the sound of skidding wheels and shot off like a rocket as he saw a large 767 begin spinning out of control as it tried to take off. The plane tilted to one-side and began to flip just as he reached it, catching it in mid-air as the screams of the passengers roared in his ears. He was covered in sparks of flying metal and debris, which threw him head over heels across the ground.
He looked back as the plane settled on its side and leapt to his feet to right it and get those passengers out. Smoked began filling the air as he could hear the passengers screaming and crying for help. He pulled at a twisted piece of broken the fuselage, until the plane rolled slowly onto its belly.
With one long icy blow, he extinguished the fire that was about to consume the plane and everyone still on it or near it. Superman grabbed the cabin door and with a yank, threw it fifty feet into the field next to the runaway and began pulling people out of the plane like they were dolls and tossing them onto the escape slide.
Their tears and moans tore at his heart, knowing that he had accidentally ignited this disaster. He had to shake these thoughts from his mind and finish his job and he did.
“Anyone who’s able, help the injured until the paramedics arrive,” he shouted. Within seconds he was at the air traffic controllers tower.
“We’ve lost all of the runway lights Superman,” One of the controllers shouted.
“Can you radio the planes?”
“Yes, we still have radio contact, for now,”
“Instruct those pilots to slow down and keep circling, I’ll get them down. Then radio as many as you can and direct them to the next closest available airport,” Superman said as he shot off the tower into the sky.
Superman raced into the darkness and one by one, he guided the planes down safely onto the pitch black runways. When the last plane was on the ground, he flew back to the tower.
“Thanks Superman. Don’t worry, rescue crews are on their way and the rest of the air craft are on their way elsewhere. Good job sir.”
“No thanks needed. Can you get these lights back on?”
“Well, we’ve called in our technicians and they’re on their way. We just don’t get it Superman. We checked and the power source was hot. There’s no reason for those lights to just, go out.”
“They’re linked on a computer circuit though aren’t they?” Superman asked.
“Well, yeah, of course. Isn’t just about everything these days?” the man said, not knowing how truly profound his words were.
Superman couldn’t wait around for the technicians to arrive. He took off to the computer control room of the airport and found the main computer, from which all of the operating functions took their orders. Again, he went to work. He hesitated for a moment, fearing that Brainiac may have anticipated this move and worried he may set off yet another of his evil schemes.
“This may be a very long night.” he said to himself.
He resolved that he had to get these lights back on because Brainiac was using code that no one on Earth but him could understand. He had absolutely no choice but to fix this. He went to work and within minutes, one by one the runway lights were once again lit.
He waited for a moment for any message on the screen to send him flying off again into the night but there was nothing.
He stood up and took a long sigh of relief.
Superman seemed to float silently down onto the balcony at the apartment. It was at least four am and he was relieved to find Lois, still fast asleep on the bed as he had left her. He heard the sound of the toilet flush as Jason came barefoot out of the bathroom door towards him.
“Mr. Clark? What are you doing up so late?”
“Hey little man,” Clark whispered, as he picked Jason up and carried him back to the sofa. “Shhh, your Mommy’s sleeping.”
“I know I saw her,” Jason said as Clark sat down next to him in the dark. “I hadda go pee.”
Clark laughed softly as he got up and walked into the bedroom and grabbed an extra blanket from the closet and crept back into the living room.
“Can I watch cartoons?” Jason asked Clark as he wrapped the blanket around him.
“How about after the sun comes up, Okay? Let’s get some sleep.” Clark settled in at the end of the sofa, pulling the excess blanket over his lap. He had barely gotten settled when he heard Jason’s breathing become deep and steady.
The solitude of the moment, combined with having his son so close to him, allowed him to close his eyes too and it seemed for once, the entire world was asleep.