Welcome all… There was a plan once to start a story arc which will no longer be a short story. The original plan was, once my blog starts getting average response from the reader world, I will come up with something big. Well, my wait is over and finally I am releasing my brain-child. My greatest creation. The story-line will continue over a series of events.

Hope I did but I don’t own DC or its characters.

1988

Jonathan Kent drove his truck down the road, an old 1970s tune playing through the truck radio as his wife Martha was talking about the festival they were returning home from in town. He loved his wife, but there were times where he would just shut off while she spoke to him about certain things. Things where he had been present fell into that category.

As he went to turn down the radio, a bright light came into view over head, dazzling him and his wife. He slammed on the breaks but was too late as the flaming object slammed into the front of the truck, jerking Jonathan and Martha forward while the truck flipped end over end, sending it skidding down the road before stopping in a ditch.

Jonathan did his best to shake off the daze, putting a hand to his forehead and feeling moisture, putting the hand in front of his face to see his blood on it. He looked over to Martha, seeing her unconscious in the passenger seat. He slowly began to undo his seatbelt, groaning as he hit the roof of the truck’s cabin with a dull thud. As he pulled himself out, he saw something coming towards them. A small boy, a small naked boy.

When the boy got close enough, he just smiled at Jonathan. Jonathan looked at the boy, confused at the presence of a kid who couldn’t be any more than three years old, before remembering his wife was still in the truck. He quickly ran to the other side of the truck, trying to open the door but finding it jammed. As he tried to pull it open, the boy came round to the side where Jonathan was and looked up at him then down at Martha. He put both hands on the handle, nudging Jonathan’s aside as he did. Before Jonathan could take back the handle, the boy pulled it from the side of the truck, raising it above his head, still grinning.

As the door came off, Martha began to slowly come to, seeing the boy holding the car door up over his head. She began to try to undo her belt, Jonathan helping her get out of it quickly. As the boy set the door down, Martha quickly pulled off her red coat, wrapping it around the boy like a cloak. He just looked at the couple with the grin still present. Martha turned and looked at Jonathan.

“Martha, we can’t keep him.” Jonathan said, knowing what his wife was thinking “What would we tell people? That we found him in the middle of a road.”

“Jonathan, we can’t leave him out here.” Martha replied “How about we take him to the authorities and just see what happens from there?”

“Fine.” Jonathan said after a brief pause “I guess we should get walking, got a long walk ahead of us. Come on then kid, let’s go.”

“Wait, does he even have a name?” Martha said, crouching down to eye level with the boy “Do you have a name?”

The boy didn’t say anything and just shook his head instead. Martha smiled at him as she picked him up and they began walking back towards town.

1997

Clark Kent held the half dozen wooden pickets over his shoulder with one hand as he rammed another picket into the ground with the other hand, moving four steps to the left before doing the same with the next picket. As he finished pushing the last picket into the farm, he turned to see his mother holding a tray with three glasses of lemonade on it.

“Hey mom.” He said “One of those for me?”

“Yes, it is.” Martha said as Clark took one of the glasses off of the tray and downed half it’s contents in one “Do you want to take your dad’s through to him in the barn?”

“Sure.” Clark said, taking another of the glasses off of the tray “Do you want me to bring him in?”

“No, let him finish with his tractor.” She replied “It took him half an hour to the engine up and out like that, I doubt he’ll want to leave before it’s done.”

“Okay.” Clark said before turning and walking off into the barn.

The inside of the barn was it’s usual mess of tools, hay and parts of tractors and other farm tools. Jonathan was stood with a large metal engine suspended by a chain above his head, a wrench in his hand as he worked on the engine. Clark began to walk towards him before noticing one of the chains giving way. As it did, everything around him seemed to slow down as Clark began to run towards it, his own speed seeming to be normal as he pushed Jonathan out of the way before the engine came down on Clark’s head as he put his hands up to try and block it, the engine knocking him to the floor with a massive crash.

He laid there for a moment before pushing himself up and tossing the large metal object off of himself. That had been weird. He knew he was strong, but surely he couldn’t be that fast, could he? He looked at his hands, noticing only slight bruises where the engine had made contact with him. Jonathan pulled himself up, running over to Clark and looking him up and down.

“Son, are you okay?” He asked, his worry obvious in his tone.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Clark said, confused, pointing to the engine “Did that just fall on me?”

“Looks that way.” Jonathan said, going over to the wreckage of the engine “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay.” Clark said “You don’t need to worry about me so much dad. I mean, come on, I’m 12 and I can bench press the truck. Not exactly someone you need to worry about.”

“Okay, I get your point.” Jonathan said “Come on, let’s get you inside.”

…..

2000

Clark sat on the bench in the gym. He always found P.E. annoying, he had to hold back so much. He sighed to himself as he pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose. The night before, he’d been in his family’s storm cellar where his father had stored the ship he’d come in as a baby, which his father had found shortly after finding Clark. There’d been a weird noise coming from it so he’d gone to check it out. The last thing he remembered was a red upside down pentagon with a stylised ‘S’ in the centre being superimposed on his vision before passing out. It had been weird, to say the least.

As he thought about it, a girl about his age with dark brown hair came and sat beside him. He did his best not to think about it. Her name was Lana Lang, the girl he’d liked since he was about eight.

“So, Clark, you look like you’ve got a real conundrum on your mind.” She said, smiling at him “What are you thinking about?”

“Oh, it’s nothing really, just some stuff that’s been hap-” He began but stopped at the sight in front of him.

She was sat there completely naked. He turned around and saw everyone else was in the same state of undress. He was suddenly unsure of where to look, so looked at the wall behind Lana… by looking through her! All that was left in terms of seeing her was her skeleton. He noticed the scar on the bone of her left wrist from when she’d broke it a couple of years ago.

“Clark, are you okay?” She asked him “You look like you’re in some kind of shock.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” He said, composing himself and finding himself looking at her face again, everyone around him suddenly fully clothed again “Just had one of those sudden dizzy spells people sometimes go on about. Do you know which one’s I mean.”

“Yeah.” She said, grinning at him “Don’t they usually happen when you’re talking to someone you like?”

Clark suddenly realised he’d dropped himself in it. Right then, he wished he could just get up and super speed out of there. Of course, with all those people around, there was no way he could.

“Yeah, I guess they do.” He said, being careful not to confirm that he liked her.

“Okay, so, if you did like me, what would you do?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.

“I guess I’d ask you if you wanted to go and get a burger or something in town.” He said “If you wanted to, that is. If you didn’t want to go, that would be fine too.”

“Relax Clark, I’d love to.” Lana said, getting up and beginning to walk out of the gym, tossing back “Pick me up at eight.”

February 2001

Over the next few months, Clark found his relationship with Lana blossoming quickly. The only issue he found was the lack of time alone they got; Lana was one of the most popular girls at Smallville high school, and Clark wasn’t without friends either.

Especially troublesome when he wanted time alone with Lana was his best friend, Pete Ross. The young man was the only person Clark had ever trusted enough to tell his secret. However, he had recently been involved in a break up and as a result, had been leaning on Clark for support more than usual.

It wasn’t until a Saturday afternoon at the start of February, when Clark was meant to be going shopping to get Lana something for valentine’s day, that he actually got a chance to spend some alone time with her. After a moment, he agreed to meet her at the local coffee shop.

He walked into the place wearing his usual blue flannel shirt and jeans with trainers. Lana often criticised him for his never wearing jackets, but he didn’t need to. It was a subject Pete had also picked up on, often asking if the planet Clark had come from was Hoth from Star Wars.

Clark quickly looked around the room, being careful not to end up tripping off his x-ray vision. Though he’d had the ability for around four months, he was still getting a handle on it.

After a second, he spotted Lana and walked up behind her, putting his hands over her eyes.

“Guess who?” He said, grinning to himself.

“Hmm, big strong hands, musky aftershave, let me think.” She said, turning around as he moved his hands away from her eyes and kissing her “I’ve got a surprise for you.”

“Not sure if this is going to be something I’m going to like.” Clark said as they both moved over to a table and sat down “What is it?”

“Well, my mom and dad are going to be out of town next week, just in time for Valentine’s Day.” She said, biting her lip “We’ll have the place all to ourselves.”

“Oh, right. So you want me to come over so we can…” Clark said, pushing his glasses further up his nose “Wow. Listen Lana, I’m not sure I can.”

“Let me guess, your parents wouldn’t approve?” She said, obviously slightly annoyed “Clark, you make the same excuse every time I ask if you want to stay over. Do you not want to…”

“I do, it’s just, well, there are things you don’t know.” Clark said “Things I can’t tell you.”

“You know what, forget it.” She said, getting up “I’ll see you later.”

Clark watched from his seat as Lana walked away before sighing to himself. He always knew that the issue at hand would crop up. He’d just hoped he’d get a little bit more time to get a handle on his abilities so it wouldn’t work out the way it had. He got up with a sigh and walked out.

September 2001

Over the next few months, Clark found himself lying to Lana more and more in an attempt to avoid any carnal situations, at least while he got a proper handle on fully controlling his abilities and knew he wouldn’t accidentally kill her.

It was while he was sat at home trying to figure out what he could do that he first heard about the attacks in New York. His mother was naturally worried; her father was a business man who maintained his office in one of the towers.

The week after the attack was hell for Martha, waiting for some kind of news, any kind of news, on her father. Eventually, they had to accept the inevitable truth; her father, Clark’s grandfather, was one of the casualties of the attack.

After that revelation, while Martha fell into a kind of slump, Clark found himself in a very worrying predicament. It happened while he was in one of the farm’s fields, considering how if he’d been there, he could’ve helped, maybe even stopped it.

As he felt his anger at himself bubbling up, he began to feel a strange burning sensation behind his eyes. A second later, the spot he was looking at burst into flames. As he looked around, panicking about what was happening, more of the surrounding area caught alight, always where he was looking. He quickly clamped his eyes shut.

“Mom! Dad!” He yelled “Quickly, we’ve got a fire over here!”

A second later, his father came running over with a pair of buckets of water, his mother close behind with the same. They quickly put the flames out before running over to Clark.

“Clark, what’s wrong?” His mother said “Come on, open your eyes.”

“I can’t.” Clark said “I think I started the fires. Everything I was looking at was just bursting into flames.”

“Clark, come on, you’ve got a handle on everything else, you can get a handle on this.” His father said “What is it you were thinking at the time?”

“I was thinking about the attacks. About how if I was there, I could’ve helped, I could’ve stopped it. I could’ve saved grandpa.” Clark said “I just felt angry at myself.”

“Maybe that’s what triggers it.” His mother said “Maybe it’s related to some sense of anger.”

“Great, so I’m turning into the incredible hulk with heat vision?” Clark said “How am I meant to have a normal life when things like this happen?”

“Son, just calm down.” His father said “You don’t need to learn to stop those emotions, just to make sure you don’t set the farm alight while you’re feeling them.”

“Okay, I’m calm.” Clark said, opening his eyes after taking a few deep breaths before his nose started twitching “Oh god, breathed in some of the dust.”

After a couple of puffs, Clark sneezed, spinning to face away from his parents. As he did, there was a massive gust coming from where he was standing. He turned to his parents, now looking more panicked.

“Did you see that?” Clark said “What’s going on with me?

“Come on Clark.” His father said “Let’s get you inside. We can work on this later. In the meantime, just try to stay calm.”

July 2003

Clark pulled his truck up to the high school. He had his graduation to attend to. He wasn’t sure how weird it was going to be. He’d split up with Lana around a month ago. He just couldn’t handle lying to her anymore about things, like how he managed to get all his chores done so quickly, among other little things.

As he began to walk into the school, a hand clapped onto his shoulder. He turned to see Pete Ross, his short dirty blonde hair spiked as always, grinning like an idiot.

“Pete, you made it.” Clark said “I thought you were meant to be missing this to go to DC for that internship?”

“Yeah, well, what can I say, couldn’t miss the biggest piece of the century.” Pete said, grinning “‘Clark Kent graduates.’ Now that’s headline news. I always thought you would’ve disappeared off, doing some kind of super hero deal.”

“Me? A super hero? You’ve got to be kidding.” Clark replied with a laugh “No, I’m going travelling for a little while after this.”

“Where you going?” Pete asked “You know, I offered to let you come with me to DC, see the capital. Who knows, maybe you’d like it.”

“Not really my scene, all those suits.” Clark said “Anyway, come on, we need to go get ready.

A few hours later, after the graduation ceremony was over, Clark returned to the farm. Once he got there, he found his parents waiting for him with Pete. His father was holding a large bag which he handed to Clark.

“We figured you wouldn’t want to be packing right after graduation.” His father said, grinning at him before picking up a backpack and handing it to Clark “Go on, open the bag. There are a few things in there for you.”

Clark unzipped the backpack. Inside was a new cell phone, a new ipod, a few shirts and a small box. Clark pulled out the box and took a look inside. It was a crystal from his ship, the one that had kicked off that sound which had made him go down to take a look when he was 15.

“Thanks.” Clark said, before holding up the crystal “Little piece of home?”

“That was my idea.” His mother said “I figured we shouldn’t be the only ones you had something of. And don’t worry, we’ve already put some of your favourite songs on the ipod.”

“Thank you.” Clark said, putting the crystal back in his bag and zipping it up before hugging both his parents “Anyway, I’d probably best get going. Long trip.”

“Okay, well, I want you to call every day, or at least once a week.” His mother said “Anything happens, you call and make sure to let us know, okay?”

“Will do.” Clark said, putting the backpack on his back before picking up the larger bag and slinging the strap over his shoulder before walking out, Pete close behind him.

After a second, they stopped. Pete grinned at him.

“Well, I guess this is it.” Pete said “Fourteen years and now we go our separate ways.”

“Yeah, it’s been a long time.” Clark said “I’m expecting you to keep me posted on how it’s going.”

“Will do.” Pete said “You know me, I aim high.”

“Yeah.” Clark said “I’m expecting it to be ‘Pete Ross; President’ in the next fifteen years.”

“Count on it.” Pete said, smirking as he moved over to his car, getting in “I’ll see you around Clark.”

“Not if I see you first.” Clark said, watching his friend drive away from the farm.

He turned to look at the house one last time and sighed. This was it. It was time for him to go his own way. On that thought, he sped off into the night, ready to begin his travels.

May 2006

Clark spent the next three years travelling the world, seeing the sights and managing to pick up some experience along the way in 2004, working in a rural newspaper as a copyboy and then, briefly, a reporter. By 2006, he’d made his way to the North Pole, deciding to take a look at some of the mountain ranges.

He spent a couple of days hiking up the side of the mountain, deciding it was best to take it easy for a while since he hadn’t eaten in a day or so. When he reached the top, he looked over the wide stretch of clear snow and ice below. It was a beautiful sight, going on for miles.

As he stood there marvelling at the view before him, he began to hear a loud, high pitched ringing coming from his backpack. The sound it was making as agonising, and he had heard it before. It was the same ringing that had came from the crystal from his ship years before. He pulled the crystal out of his bag before throwing it as far as he could, seeing it fly off into the distance, with the ringing continuing.

A moment later, the ground began to shake. As it did, multiple large shards of ice began to emerge from the ground in the distance, slowly configuring themselves into a gigantic structure. As the structure finished moving itself into its final configuration, the ground stopped shaking at the same time as the ringing ceased.

Clark looked at the structure from his vantage point. It looked like it was made of gigantic versions of the crystal he had thrown, put together into a structure. After pausing for a moment, he ran down the mountain side, running about a mile and a half before finally reaching the structure and slowly walking inside.

Inside, there was a thin layer of mist covering the floor, which appeared to be made of rock like ice. There were a number of what appeared to be corridors going off of the main room he had entered. In the centre, there was an elevated platform with a staircase leading up to it. On the platform, there was a large console like protrusion, with many crystals in the centre of it.

He slowly walked up to the console. As he did, the structure began to light up, as if coming to life in response to his presence. As he reached the console, it lit up quickly, then slowly dimmed until it was lit at a level he could handle. It was as if the place was tailoring itself for him.

“Welcome Kal-El.” A large booming voice came as the console dimmed.

“Who said that?” Clark asked “And who’s Kal-El?”

“You are Kal-El.” The voice said, it’s tone unchanged “And I am Jor-El. I am your father.”

“What is this place?” Clark said, still confused “And what do you mean I’m Kal-El? My name’s Clark Kent.”

“Your Human name may be Clark Kent, however, your birth name is Kal-El.” Jor-El replied “You were born on Krypton, a jewel in the heart of the twenty-eight known galaxies.”

“Krypton, what is that?” Clark asked “Why was I sent to Earth?”

“You were sent to Earth from Krypton, our home planet, because it was dying.” Jor-El said “My projections showed that the planet was soon to die due to an instability in the planet’s core. However, my findings were rebuked by the science council, the ruling body of Krypton. They ordered me to secrecy, and ordered that neither myself nor my wife leave Krypton. I agreed to those conditions. I could not, however, stand by and watch as you, my only son, died with us.”

“But why Earth?” Clark asked “Why was I sent here?”

“I chose Earth because of the people. They have a great capacity for evil, but also a great capacity for good.” Jor-El said “They are, at heart, a good people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They merely lack the light to show them the way. It is for this reason that I sent them you, my only son. I sent you to be the light they require.”

“What do you mean?” Clark said.

“As you are doubtlessly aware by now, you possess amazing abilities. These come from the radiation of Earth’s yellow sun. However, you have not fully tapped those abilities, there are more yet to come.” Jor-El said “Over the next five years, we shall work to develop your abilities and get them all under you control so that you may work to help the people of this world.”

As Jor-El finished speaking, a bright light began to shine down on Clark. A moment later, a large crystalline tube came down around him. Before he could say or do anything, Jor-El started talking again.

“Do not worry, Kal-El. This structure is merely here to aid in your education.” Jor-El said “Within it, I shall run the programmes I created for your education. In six months, you shall be released from the structure with all you will need.”

“What about food?” Clark said “I need to eat.”

“No, Kal-El.” Jor-El said “You simply require the rays of Earth’s yellow sun to maintain your body.”

“No, I need food.” Clark said “I get hungry, I need to eat, I need to drink.”

“That is merely due to your body having not fully developed yet Kal-El.” Jor-El replied “While inside the structure, you shall finish maturing. You may continue to eat and drink as a normal Human does but you shall not need to as long as you are under a yellow sun. Now, let us begin.”

March 2011

Martha sat in the kitchen. It had been five years since anyone had heard from Clark. She looked over at the photo of her and Jonathan with Clark on his graduation day and sighed to herself.

As she got up and moved over to the kettle, there was the sound of something flying overhead at high speeds. A second later, there was the sound of something hitting the ground outside the house, followed by the sound of a run slowing to a walk. A moment later, Martha heard the sound of the front door opening, moving to the door of the kitchen so she could see the front door, Jonathan meeting her there. She almost cried at the sight in the doorway.

Stood in the doorway was Clark. He was wearing a blue bodysuit with what appeared to be red trunks on and a yellow belt, only the skin on his neck, head and hands being visible. In the centre of his chest was a large stylised red ‘s’ in the centre of an upside down yellow pentagon with a red outline, blending with the ‘s’. He was also wearing red boots that came halfway up his shins. His bags were both slung over his shoulders.

“Clark, oh my god!” Martha said, running over and hugging her son as he dropped his bags “Where have you been? We were so worried?”

“I’ve been up north.” Clark said “I’ve found out some things, like where I’m from, and why I’m here.”

“Well, that’s great, but son, what’s with the outfit?” Jonathan asked “I mean, no offence, but you look like a pro-wrestler.”

“I know that dad, which is why there’s an extra part.” Clark said, opening his larger bag and pulling out a large red piece of fabric which he proceeded to attach to the shoulders of his bodysuit, the material falling down his back as a cape “I was sent here to help people. I can’t do that as Clark Kent. I need a totally separate persona, someone I can act as without worrying about any kinds of repercussions on the people I care about. That’s why the costume was created.”

“Okay then Clark, but make sure you’re careful.” Jonathan said “Now, where are your glasses?”

“Well, I don’t need them anymore.” Clark said “Though, I’ve come up with a way to use them.”

He began to spin round, becoming a red and blue blur, before the colours changed to grey and blue. A half second later, he slowed to stop, stood there in a grey suit. He bent down to his bag and pulled out his glasses, putting them on.

“What do you think?” He said.

“It’s a bit of a flimsy disguise isn’t it?” Martha said “What if someone recognises you?”

“Glasses break up features, we already know that.” Clark said “Remember when I was younger and I’d take them off. People would barely recognise me. That’s the plan here.”

“Why not just wear a mask?” Jonathan asked.

“It’s easier for people to trust someone when they can see the person’s face.” Clark said as he took the glasses off again “Anyway, if you don’t mind, can we talk in the morning? I’ve got a long day tomorrow.”

“Why, what are you doing?” Martha asked “Clark, you just got back, you can’t go jet setting now.”

“Well, not really going to be doing that anymore.” Clark said “I can, well, I can fly.”

“You can fly?” Jonathan said “Clark that seems kind of far-fetched.”

“That’s how I got here.” Clark replied “Now, I really fancy getting some sleep. I’ve got an interview tomorrow afternoon.”

“Where?” Martha asked “Is it somewhere in town?”

“No, it’s over in Metropolis.” Clark said “I’ve got an interview for a reporter job at the Daily Planet.”

He hugged his mother again before picking up his bags and walking upstairs to his bedroom.

Clark stepped out of the elevator onto the main floor of the Daily Planet. It was located on the top floor of the 27 story tower, the roof access just down the corridor. He walked across the main office area before knocking on the door of the editor-in-chief’s office.

“Come in.” A man’s voice came from inside the office.

Clark opened the door, stepping inside. There were a number of file cabinets dotted around the room, as well as several Daily Planet headlines in large frames up on the wall, as well as a coffee maker on a small unit at the side of the room. By the window at the back of the office was a desk, a few photographs on it with a laptop in the centre of the desk. Behind the desk, a man who looked to be in his mid to late forties in a brown suit was sat there.

“Ahh, you must be Clark Kent.” He said, standing up and offering Clark a hand to shake as he got to the desk “I’m Perry White, the editor-in-chief here at the Daily Planet. Please, have a seat. You want a coffee?”

“No, thank you sir.” Clark said, sitting down after shaking Perry’s hand “Thank you, for agreeing to meet with me.”

“Well, I was in college with your old editor from your, what was it, two years you spent as a reporter?” Perry said.

“One sir.” Clark said “It was actually a lay over from my travelling the world.”

“Well, regardless, Jason Edwards is one of the best me in the business I know.” Perry said “If he says you’re good, then it’s pretty darned likely that you are.”

“Thank you sir.” Clark said.

“Don’t worry about it kid, his words, not mine.” Perry said.

Perry opened a drawer in his desk. He proceeded to pull out a small folder, pulling out three pieces of paper. After quickly reading through it, he looked back up to Clark.

“I received a few samples of your work. You’ve got promise.” He said.

“Thank you sir.” Clark repeated.

“Don’t thank me, I’m just saying you have promise. You’re not top end of the league yet, but you could be, if put with the right partner, so I’m giving you a shot. Clark Kent, welcome to the Daily Planet” Perry said, seeing Clark going to thank him as they shook hands again “Don’t thank me yet kid. You’ve got the job, but you’re not being sent out there solo just yet.”

“What do you mean?” Clark asked, not sure where it was going.

“Come on Kent, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.” Perry said, getting up and leading Clark out of the office, turning to a young man who couldn’t be more than nineteen “Olsen, where’s Lois?”

“She’s at her desk Chief.” Olsen replied, seeing Clark stood there “Jimmy Olsen. Guessing you’re the guy the Chief was meant to be interviewing today?”

“Yes.” Clark replied, holding out a hand which Jimmy shook “Clark Kent, I’m a reporter.”

“Yes, now come on Kent.” Perry said “Someone you need to meet.”

Perry led Clark over to a desk in the corner, an empty one on the other side of it. Sat there, typing on her computer, was a young woman maybe a year or two older than Clark with shoulder length dark brown hair with blonde highlights. She was wearing a grey suit jacket with a white blouse and a grey pencil skirt. Her pale skin tone was covered by a small amount of makeup applied extremely conservatively.

“Lois, there’s someone I want you to meet.” Perry said, not getting a response “Lois?”

“Hold on a minute Perry, I’m almost done.” She said, not looking up “How many ‘I’s are in Chlamydia?”

“One.” Clark piped in, peering over at the computer “And rise is spelt with an ‘I’ not a ‘Y’.”

“Right, thanks.” She said, before realising it wasn’t Perry who had answered her “Hold on a minute. Who the hell are you?”

“Lois Lane, meet Clark Kent. Clark Kent, Lois Lane.” Perry said “Lane here’s the star reporter here at the planet. That’s why I’m partnering you two.”

Lois looked between Perry and Clark for a moment before starting to laugh.

“Okay Perry, you got me.” She said “Seriously, who is this? The new copy boy? Your nephew?”

“No, he’s your new partner.” Perry said “I want you to show Kent the ropes. Help him get a grip on how we do things here at the planet.”

“But Perry, I don’t need, much less want a partner.” She said “Seriously, why can’t you pair him up with one of the other reporters?”

“None of the others are the best.” Perry said “Lois, you and Kent are partners. If it’s that much of a problem, just think, the sooner Kent’s good to go on his own, the sooner you two don’t have to work together anymore.”

“But Perry-” Lois began.

“No buts Lois, the decision’s final.” Perry said “Now, the Luthorcorp press conference starts in half an hour. I want you and Kent down there now. Try and get an exclusive with Lex Luthor if you can. Take Olsen too, we’re going to need shots of the conference, good ones.”

“Fine. Come on Kent.” Lois said, standing up and beginning to walk towards the elevator, calling across the room “Olsen, you too. Chief wants us down at the Luthorcorp press conference ten minutes ago.”

Lois and Clark walked into the elevator, Jimmy walking in a second later. Lois quickly pressed the button to go down to the ground floor.

“Listen, Lois, I just want to thank you for actually agreeing to work with me.” Clark said after a moment “I mean, I know the Chief told you too, but I just thought I’d say-”

“Listen Kent, you are not working with me.” Lois said “You and Olsen are working under me. I call the shots. I say jump, you say how high. You understand me?”

“Yeah.” Clark said, before grinning to himself “You like guys under you.”

Lois let out a groan of frustration as the elevator doors opened and she stormed off. Jimmy smirked at Clark.

“I don’t think you’ve made any new friends there CK.” He said as the two of them walked out to catch up with Lois.

“How can you move to Metropolis and not own a car?” Lois said to Clark as she pulled her car into the car park outside the Luthor Plaza hotel 15 minutes later “Seriously, you can’t be a good reporter in this town using cabs Kent.”

“I like to keep in shape, I generally walk or run everywhere.” Clark replied “If it’s not in that kind of range, I’ll fly.”

“What, even if it’s just a five mile thing?” Jimmy said “Sorry to burst your bubble CK, but planes don’t do trips that short.”

“Oh, well, in those cases, obviously, I get the bud or a cab.” Clark said, quickly working to cover his tracks “I just like to keep my carbon footprint down.”

“Figured you were a tree hugger.” Lois said, parking the car and slapping a press parking permit on the dash before the three of them got out of the car “Now, I’m going to take the lead. Watch and learn Kent, maybe you’ll learn something.”

She went powering off before Clark could make a comment back. Jimmy just grinned at him before jogging to catch up with Lois. Clark stood there for a moment before sighing to himself and walking after the two of them. He didn’t want to make a worse impression than he already had done.

As he walked into the hotel, he bumped into another man, barely catching the man before he fell over. The man was around six foot one and looked to be early to mid thirties. He was bald and wearing a black business suit.

“I am so sorry.” Clark said “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you.” The man said “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have somewhere to be.”

The man began to briskly walk away. As he did, Lois and Jimmy came up behind Clark.

“Kent, do you not know who that was?” Lois said, slapping Clark round the back of the head before shaking her hand in pain “Ouch. Have you got a metal plate in there or something?”

“Yeah, steel.” Clark said “And I don’t have a clue who that was.”

“That was Lex Luthor, and you just let him jog on without even trying to get a quote!” She said “Which part of Kansas are you from anyway?”

“Smallville.” Clark said, unsure where Lois was going with the question.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” She replied “Smallville? I couldn’t make a name like that up if I tried.”

“Thanks.” Clark said “I think.”

“It wasn’t a compliment, Smallville.” She said with a slightly evil smile “Though, it explains how you could be alive and not recognise Lex Luthor. I mean, obviously, a place called Smallville probably hasn’t had cable reach it yet.”

Clark bit his tongue to avoid making a statement back. He was very grateful when a man in a suit with a nametag asked the three of them to take their seats for the presentation. It meant Lois may shut up for five minutes.

As the three sat down, the lights dimmed slightly as a spotlight came down on an empty platform. A second later, smoke began to come into the room via a smoke machine. Clark went to take a deep breath to blow the smoke away before realising it was a special effect.

As he did, Luthor slowly began to rise up from what Clark presumed must have been an invisible elevator below the stage. The guy had a real taste for theatricality, and Clark could see he did manage to pull it off.

A second later, Luthor stepped forward onto the podium in the centre of the stage. As he did, everyone quietened down for a moment before beginning to applaud. Luthor took it in for a moment before gesturing for them to quieten down with a slight hand motion and a smile.

“Thank you, thank you.” He said into the microphone “Thank you all for being so patient in waiting for this conference to begin. I know many of you have been waiting here at the hotel for many hours, and I truly appreciate that.”

Lois raised a hand. Luthor looked over at her for a moment before continuing.

“Now, you are probably wondering why I have called this conference, and it truly is a fascinating subject.” He continued, before glancing back to Lois with a small smirk “However, I would appreciate it if all of you with questions could hold them until the end.”

Lois almost snapped her pen in half. Clark didn’t need any of his abilities to see she was fuming; clearly she wasn’t used to being told to wait for anything.

“Now, the reason I am here, indeed, the reason we are all here, is this.” Luthor said, pressing a control on the podium, causing a holographic image of a robotic skeleton to appear in front of him “I give you all Luthorcorp’s latest venture into cybernetics; Metallo. This machine is a robotic body which a Human brain could be transplanted into. Picture it; a world where those with debilitating illnesses that are incurable could have their minds transferred into a mechanical body. Now, go beyond that, to a world where no one need ever die. Where the entire world’s greatest minds could be allowed to live on through these mechanical bodies. Now, are there any questions?”

Lois raised her hand. Luthor pointed at her.

“Yes, Lois Lane, Daily Planet.” She said “Surely, these bodies could be regarded as an affliction. I mean, I personally wouldn’t want to be a mechanical skeleton walking around.”

“An excellent point Miss. Lane. However, I fail to see a question.” Luthor said “I will do my best to answer your point however. What you see here in merely the most basic element of Metallo, the endo-skeleton. Even the core isn’t shown in this projection. We have developed a number of synthetic skins. People who had their minds transplanted into these bodies would be able to look as normal as you or I. Any more questions?”

Clark proceeded to raise his hand, with Luthor ignoring him for a moment. After a second, Luthor obviously decided it was better to entertain whatever point Clark had to make.

“Yes, mister…” Luthor said, pointing at Clark.

“Clark Kent, Daily Planet.” Clark said “I was just wondering, how exactly do you power it? I mean, surely, a mechanical body capable of housing the Human brain, something documented to be the most sophisticated computer on this planet, must require an exponential amount of power. What is it that’s providing that power?”

“Come now Mr. Kent, surely you don’t expect me to reveal all my secrets now?” Luthor said, grinning “Now, unless there are any other questions, I would like to conclude the conference. For those of you who are interested, there shall be refreshments provided in the presidential suite on the 25th floor. To the rest of you, I bid you good day.”

Luthor waited a moment to see if there were any further questions before stepping down from the podium and walking off the stage. Lois stood up and turned to glare at Clark.

“What part of ‘you work under me’ didn’t you get Kent?” She asked.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Clark said, standing up, leaving Jimmy looking at the two like a child looking at his parents during an argument “I was just doing my job.”

“No Kent, you were doing my job!” She said before taking a deep breath “Now, I’m going to go to the presidential suite to try and get a one on one with Luthor. Olsen, you’re coming too. Smallville, you’re going back to the office. I don’t want to hear any more of you until I get back there, okay?”

“Okay then Lois.” Clark said, watching Lois and Jimmy walk off before beginning to walk off towards the lobby.

Clark walked out of the building slowly. As he did, half a dozen men, all wearing black motorcycle outfits walked in, one of them barging into him. The man turned to Clark and scowled.

“Watch it four eyes.” The guy said, before turning back and following the others he was with into the elevator.

Clark began to walk back out of the building before his hearing picked up on the sound of a metallic clicking. He turned to look for it, but was alone in the lobby. He began focussing, looking through the walls. As he did, he noticed the source; the men in the elevator, all of whom had pulled out balaclavas and guns from a large bag.

Clark stopped looking through his environment and began to make his way back into the building. He noticed a sign post for changing rooms. He began to move towards the changing rooms before noticing a large group entering the changing room. He turned to look around, noticing an old 1950’s style phone booth.

He entered the phone booth before removing his glasses and ripping open his shirt to reveal the red and yellow ‘S’ underneath.

Lois stood in the presidential suite, a glass of champagne in her hand. Jimmy had disappeared off to take some photos of several note worthy figures in the crowd. As she took a sip from her glass, a familiar voice from behind her almost made her jump out of her skin.

“Lois Lane.” Luthor said, holding out a hand which she shook “What a pleasure to meet you. I’m rather familiar with your work. It is truly fascinating, some of the things you seem to be able to find out. You must tell me how you do it.”

“Well, Mr. Luthor, I’m persistent.” Lois replied “I don’t give up until I have what I want.”

“An admirable trait, and one which I hold in extremely high regard.” Luthor replied “And please, call me Lex.”

“Well, thank you, Lex.” Lois said as Jimmy returned “Oh, Lex, this is Jimmy Olsen, one of our junior photographers. We were hoping we could get an interview from you.”

“I’m afraid I don’t give interviews at these functions, Miss. Lane.” Lex replied coolly “However, if you call my assistance Miss. Graves, I’m sure that she will happily set something up.”

“Can’t you make an exception?” Lois asked, batting her eyelashes for a second before seeing that Lex wasn’t going to budge on his position “Fine. I’ll call her in the morning.”

“Excellent.” Lex said “I’ll tell her to expect your call.”

As he finished speaking, the doors of the hotel room burst open. Half a dozen men in black leather motorcycle outfits with balaclavas and sub machine guns came running into the room. The lead man had a large bag slung over his shoulder.

“Everyone on the floor!” He yelled, seeing one of the guards going for something inside his jacket and shooting him “Now!”

There was a mass panic as everyone in the room began screaming while hitting the ground as a number of other security staff went for their own weapons, only to meet the same fate as their comrade. A moment later, everyone but the men who had burst in were on the floor, either dead, wounded or complying with the demands.

Lois reached slowly for her bag before removing her blackberry and activating the recorder function. Jimmy noticed this and jabbed her in the ribs.

“Lois, what are you doing?” He hissed.

“Are you kidding Olsen?” She said “This could be my chance at a Pulitzer.”

“Or your chance to get killed!” He replied.

“Oh be-” Lois began, before stopping to listen to something “Do you hear that? It sounds like something… flying.”

“What is it? A bird?” Jimmy said “A plane?”

In response to the question, there was the sound of one of the full length windows being shattered. Everyone in the room looked to the window, shocked at the sight there.

In the window was a tall, good looking man who looked to be in his mid to late twenties. He had his black hair slicked back, a small curl falling halfway down his forehead. He was wearing what looked like a blue spandex suit with red trunks, topped off with a red cape and yellow belt, as well as red boots. To finish the outfit was a large red and yellow upside down pentagon with a stylised red ‘S’ in the middle of it in the centre of his chest.

The truly peculiar part of the man’s appearance, however, wasn’t what he was wearing. It was his positioning. He appeared to be floating just outside the window. Slowly he moved inside the building, the broken glass on the floor crunching beneath his boots.

“Stay right there!” The lead thug said, pointing his gun at the man in the window, who continued to slowly advance “I mean it. If you don’t stop, I’ll shoot.”

The man in the window continued to slowly advance until he stood about twenty feet from the gunman. The gunman hesitated for half a second before pulling the trigger of his weapon. As each shot fired from the gun, a bullet hole was made in the wall to the side of the man in blue, the red shield on his chest glowing as bullets impacted it and ricocheted off of it.

The gunman seemed to panic, bending down and grabbing Lois, pulling her up and holding her around two feet in front of him. She heard the click of him cocking a handgun. The machine gun was obviously out of ammo.

“I mean it man.” The gunman said “I’ll kill her! Just get on the floor and no one gets hurt, okay?”

The man in blue said nothing. He simply stood there. Lois closed her eyes as she heard the gunman’s breathing speed up, knowing what would come next. He was going to kill her. She heard the gun shot but found herself still alive, and the gunman’s grip on her gone.

She opened her eyes to see the other five gunmen sprawled on the floor. The gunman who had been about to shoot her was being held about two feet in the air by the throat with one hand by the man in blue.

“It’s really not nice to threaten to shoot a young lady.” The man in blue said “I think you’d better apologise to her.”

“I’m sorry.” The man said, barely getting the words out.

“Good.” The man in blue said, tossing the gunman flying, knocking him out before turning to Lois “Are you okay.”

Lois didn’t reply. Instead, she just fainted, crumpling on the floor. A second later, everyone in the room stood up and began applauding the man. Everyone except Jimmy and Lex, who proceeded to bend down beside Lois.

“She’ll be fine.” The man said “She just fainted.”

“How do you know that?” Lex said.

“I can see and hear her heartbeat’s normal.” The man replied, seeing Lex’s sceptical look “You just saw bullets bounce off of me and saw me fly in here. I think you can believe that.”

“Just who are you?” Jimmy asked “I know she’ll be asking when she comes around.”

“A friend.” The man said, before turning around and flying out of the window.

Lois and Jimmy came walking back into the office. The pair walked straight into Perry’s office. He was sat at his desk opposite Clark.

“Lois, Olsen, have a seat.” Perry said “Kent just got back five minutes ago. He was just telling me about this man in blue at the hotel.”

“How would he know?” Lois said “He wasn’t there.”

“No, but I saw him fly into the building.” Clark said “I got an important call saying I needed to be somewhere urgently though.”

“Where was that then?” Lois said “The story always comes first.”

“It’s fine Lois. Kent filled me in on what his prior engagement was.” Perry said “So, Lois, did you get anything on this man in blue?”

“Nothing other than what I saw.” Lois said, pouting slightly “I did get a few quotes from people there about him though.”

“Well, that’s a start.” Perry said “He needs a name though, something that when people say it, they think of the Daily Planet.”

“He had an ‘S’ on his chest.” Jimmy said “How about Superion?”

“He’s a man in a cape, not a transformer! Get out of here and print your shots Olsen!” Perry said, Jimmy darting out as Perry turned to Lois and Clark “What do you two think?”

“It’s my story.” Lois said, obviously annoyed that Perry was including Clark in the discussion “What about… Superman.”

“That’s it. That’s the money maker.” Perry said “Now, Lois, go, get writing. Kent, you work on whatever it is you got from it. I want something from both of you by the evening edition. Now, get out of here!”

Lois and Clark got up and walked out of Perry’s office and back to their desks.

Lex Luthor sat in his office. The plan he’d had to manufacture a hostage situation with himself as a victim, collecting on the insurance due to the damages afterwards, had been thwarted by a boy scout in red and blue tights. As he sat there pondering just how the boy scout had done it, the intercom on his desk buzzed.

“Go ahead Mercy.” He said as he pressed the button “Whose waiting to see me?”

“A Mr. Corben sir?” The voice of his assistant came through the speaker on his desk.

“Send him in.” Lex said, being met with the sight of a man in jeans and a leather jacket with sandy brown hair coming through the door as he looked up “What do you want Corben?”

“I want to know why the hell that guy in the cape was at your hotel.” Corben said, walking up to the desk and slamming a fist down on it “You told me that if me and my guys came in, shot up the place a little, we’d get no interference and a big fat pay off at the end. I haven’t seen either.”

Lex stood up and walked around the desk to Corben. He stood a couple of inches taller than the man, but was nowhere near as muscular. Corben smirked up at Lex.

“Not trying to intimidate me are you Mr. Luthor?” He asked.

“No, just reminding you that I am above you.” Lex said, turning and beginning to walk away “Walk with me.”

Lex led Corben to a bookcase covering a wall. He pressed a button at the side of the case, causing it to slide into the wall then along, revealing a passageway into a high tech laboratory. He stepped inside, Corben following suit.

“I know men like you Mr. Corben.” Lex said “You don’t like to lose. It’s one of the few traits we share, you and I. That man in the tights made both of us lose today. I know you want to get even, as do I. It’s why I paid your bail, through an anonymous source, of course. Can’t have people linking us with your actions yesterday.”

“Cut the crap Luthor, what is it you want?” Corben asked.

“Why, it’s not what I want Mr. Corben.” Lex said, smirking to himself “It’s what we want.”

“Okay, I’ll bite.” Corben said “What is it we want?”

“To get even.” Lex said “You of course know about my Metallo project, unless you weren’t paying attention earlier?”

“What about it?” Corben said.

“I want you to work with me on it. As our new test subject.” Lex said “Imagine, having the strength of a hundred men, being as durable as anything else on this planet. And with a core capable of sustaining you indefinitely. You would be, for lack of a better word, immortal. Interested?”

“I don’t know.” Corben said “What is this core?”

Lex smirked to himself again. He had expected Corben to ask about the power source, so had made sure a sample of it had been brought to his personal lab. He pulled the small lead lined box from a drawer in the desk beside him, opening it. Inside, was a small green rock with a faint glow to it.

“What is it?” Corben asked.

“The thing powering Metallo.” Lex replied “My scientists found it during a dig in Kansas a few years ago, inside a meteorite. It’s a truly fascinating element, emits a low level, high band radiation. Harmless to Humans, don’t worry. We aren’t going to die. I only keep it in the box to avoid it’s detection. So, what do you say?”

“Where do I sign up?” Corben said simply in response.

Clark walked through the front door to his parents’ house, slipping his glasses back on as he did. He was having to make sure he was used to wearing them as much as possible. He walked through to the kitchen, seeing his parents sat there as he walked over to the fridge, pulling a bottle of milk from it, then opening the bottle and gulping down a mouthful of the white liquid.

“Clark!” His mother said, getting up and going to the cupboard, pulling out a glass and putting it down on the counter beside Clark “Use a glass!”

“Sorry.” Clark said, pouring some milk into the glass before putting the lid back on and putting the bottle back in the fridge “So, you might have heard that I stopped a hostage situation earlier.”

“Yes Clark, we did.” His father said “And before we continue, you’re still looking a little blue around the collar.”

“Huh?” Clark said, looking down and noticing the blue collar from his costume showing through at the top of his shirt and adjusting it accordingly “Oh, right. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” His father replied “So, you stopped a hostage situation. Anyone get shot?”

“Only me dad.” Clark said, taking a swig of his milk “Relax, if the bullets were going to ricochet and hit anyone, I would have just used my super speed and caught them. Faster than a speeding bullet, remember?”

Jonathan and Martha just sat there, looking at him sceptically. He may have been from another planet, but they knew that he was still a young man in his twenties. Still just as prone to being a show off from time to time.

“Well, I’m going to bed. I want to be able to give dad a hand out on the farm in the morning, which means being up early.” He said “I’ll see you guys in the morning.”

“Clark, you don’t have to do that.” Jonathan called after Clark, but he was already up the stairs and apparently having none of Jonathan’s argument.

Clark was up at 6 AM the next morning. By half past eight, he’d already done most of the chores around the farm. It was times like this when he’d always been most comfortable growing up, while putting pickets in for fences or doing some other form of manual labour, the times where he didn’t have to hide his abilities since no one was around aside from his parents.

As he slammed the last picket into the ground he turned around, seeing his mother stood there with a glass of lemonade in one hand and his glasses in the other. He took his hands off of the picket as his mother got over to him, taking the lemonade from her and taking a gulp. He looked at the glasses in her hand and then gave her a quizzical look.

“Why do I need those, mom?” He asked, not sure what to make of it.

“You’ve got a visitor.” His mother replied, handing him the glasses before turning and beginning to walk back to house, tossing back “Drink your lemonade then come to the house. I don’t think she’ll wait too long.”

She?” Clark said, slightly confused “Mom, who is it?”

After a few seconds, he realised his mother hadn’t heard him. He waited a moment before downing the contents of the glass then focused on the house, looking through the wall and scanning the house. After a second, he was shocked; stood in the kitchen was Lana.

He swallowed hard before putting his glasses on. He’d not exactly been hoping to avoid her while he was staying with his parents, but he certainly wasn’t planning on going to see her.

He spent the entire walk over to the house trying to figure out exactly what to say. After having not seen the girl… woman, for eight years, the odds were he wouldn’t get off with just a ‘hey, nice to see you’, especially after she had come to see him.

He walked into the house, to be greeted by Lana walking up to him and hugging him before stepping back and taking a look at him. Of course, he had visibly bulked up in terms of muscle since the last time she’d seen him. She’d changed a few bits about her appearance, mostly by dying her dark brown hair jet black and cutting it short.

“Clark, it’s so good to see you.” She said, smiling at him “How’ve you been.”

“Uh, fine Lana.” Clark said, not sure what to make of her warm welcome after the last time they’d seen one another “How have things been with you?”

“They’ve been okay.” She replied “I’m actually here because I hear you’re working in Metropolis now, thought you’d like to know that there’s a friendly face around there. At least, some of the time.”

“You work in Metropolis?” He asked “Where?”

“Well, I’m not in the city every day.” She said “But I run a chain of small restaurants, one of our larger places is in the city.”

Our?” Clark said, confused “I thought you said that you ran the chain?”

“I do.” She said “But they’re co-owned by Lex Luthor. It was actually his father who invested in them, but then he died and Lex inherited it all. He’s not the best business partner, but he does make sure things keep afloat.”

“So you work for Lex Luthor?” Clark said, smirking “Funny, I never pegged you as the type to be working for some business mogul.”

Lana began talking about how she didn’t work for Luthor, she worked with him, but Clark was pre-occupied by something else. He could hear the television from the living room, and the report on it.

“Currently, we have no idea as to the safety of the hostages.” The voice of the man on the news said “However, we do know that all of Metropolis waits with baited breath as the Metropolis first National bank is held up by a group of armed gunman.”

“Uh, sorry Lana, we’ll need to talk some other time.” Clark said “I’ve got to go get ready for work.”

“You’re already dressed for work aren’t you?” She asked.

“No, I’ve got to grab my jacket yet.” Clark said “I’ll see you later.”

Before she could say anything else, he ran out of the room, being sure not to hit super speed, beginning to go up the stairs. As he reached the top, he grabbed his shirt, tearing it open to reveal the costume underneath.

Clark shot through the sky like a missile, his speed somewhere between mach two and mach three. He had to get to Metropolis fast, before someone got hurt. Not everyone was bullet proof like him.

After a few seconds, he altered his trajectory, beginning to shoot downwards. He brought his speed down to a virtual stop as he neared the roof of the Metropolis First National Bank. He gently lowered himself to the ground, stopping at the group of police cars outside. A bald African American man wearing a black suit with a green shirt and red tie, as well as a beige trench coat in his mid thirties came up to Clark as he touched down.

“Superman, glad you’re here.” The man said, shaking Clark’s hand “Detective John Jones, Metropolis PD.”

“Nice to meet you.” Clark said “So, what are we looking at here?”

“Oddly enough, only one man.” Jones replied “He literally ripped the safe door off. Solid titanium, lead lined. We can’t risk going in guns blazing, just in case he opens fire on the hostages.”

“Let’s see what I can do to end this then.” Clark said, before beginning to run around the building at super speed, looking for an entry point before taking a back door.

As he walked through the building, Clark began to feel nauseous, as if he’d had too much to drink. The further towards the room where the man holding the hostages was, the weaker Clark began to feel. As he walked into the room with the guy, he felt like he was about to collapse, but still got out a gasp of shock.

The man stood there was the same one who had nearly been bowled over by Clark at the conference. The lead guy from the hostage situation there was the man stood in front of him. Only, something was different.

He was wearing a black leather jacket with jeans and motorcycle boots. The jacket was undone with a white shirt showing. Coming from beneath the shirt was a green, circular glow. His left eye had a scratch above it, with what looked like metal showing through underneath it.

“G…Give yourself up.” Clark stammered as he began to slowly advance on the man, feeling worse by the second.

“What’s up, Supes?” The man said with a smirk, beginning to walk towards Clark, matching his pace “You don’t look so good.”

Before Clark could get out a response, the man punched Clark in the jaw, sending him flying back. As Clark got further along the floor, away from the man, he began to feel stronger, as if whatever making him feel weak was also getting further away. Clark put his left hand to his lip, bringing it away and seeing blood on it.His blood.

Clark looked at the man again. As he did, it clicked; whatever was glowing under the guy’s shirt was now producing a fainter glow. As if something it was reacting to wasn’t reacting with it as much. Clark had to be sure though.

He began to walk towards the man again. As he did, while he began to feel worse, the glow under the shirt began to intensify. The man started laughing slightly.

“Didn’t get enough before?” The man said “Well, that’s fine. That way, the world will know it was me, John Corben, who was the man who killed Superman.”

Corben didn’t say another word, instead punching Clark in the gut before smacking him across the room. Clark looked around for a moment, then it hit him. The safe door, lead lined. If whatever was affecting him was some kind of radiation, then, in theory, the vault door would be able to provide him with some kind of protection.

Clark picked himself up, staring down Corben for a second. After the second passed, he sped out of the room, heading to the safe entrance. As he did, he felt his strength gradually returning. As he reached the entrance to the safe, he felt more or less like himself. He bent down, picking up the door. He’d only get one shot at this, so he had to do it right.

He began to speed through the building, the lead lined door in front of him the whole time. As he entered the room with Corben, he didn’t let himself slow down. Instead, he charged into Corben, pinning him to the wall, only his head visible.

“What? What are you doing?” Corben said as Clark began to use his heat vision on the edges of the door, welding it to the wall “Hey man, you can stop that. I’ll let ’em go.”

“Sorry Corben, but I can’t risk that.” Clark said as he finished, turning to the hostages “All of you, get out of here. Someone go out there and tell the police detective there that everything’s clear for them to come in.”

“Okay.” A Woman with blonde hair in a grey business suit said “Thank you so much. You saved our lives.”

“Now, for you.” Clark said, turning back to Corben “You’ve clearly had some kind of upgrade since we last met. Who gave it to you.”

“I ain’t telling you nothing.” Corben said, Clark beginning to charge his heat vision as Corben answered, his eyes visibly going red with energy “Okay, okay, I’ll talk. It was Luthor.”

“Lex Luthor?” Clark said “What would he have to gain from it?”

“You showed him up before, when you stopped me. I was working for him then too. He gave me the prototype Metallo treatment so I could take you down.” Corben said “Now, please, let me go.”

Clark said nothing, instead turning and walking away. He had to go and see Luthor, and find out what that glow had came from. It was time to finish this, but first, he had to go to the fortress. He had some questions for Jor-El.

Clark flew between the white crystalline pillars of the Fortress, quickly slowing to a halt as he reached the central console. He gently touched down on the floor, just short of the steps leading up to the console. After pausing for a second, he walked up the steps to the central console, placing his hands on it as he reached it.

“Kal-El, speak.”The disembodied voice of Jor-El said “What is troubling you, my son?”

“Jor-El, I’ve come back here because I need to know something.” Clark said “Earlier, I encountered a man with much of his body replaced by technology. However, there was some kind of green glow that seemed to react to me, causing my powers to diminish and impairing my health. What could cause that?”

“Kal-El, though the yellow sun gives you great strength, you are far from invulnerable.” Jor-El replied “You are still vulnerable to materials and energies from our home world, and beings of equal or greater power than yourself.”

“So, what, it’s some sort of material from Krypton?” Clark said “But why would it have detrimental effects on me like that?”

“It is possible that it is somehow irradiated with energies which were detrimental to our people on Krypton. Or perhaps even irradiated by the explosion which destroyed Krypton.” Jor-El said “Possibly some fragments of Krypton which were caught in the hyper space field of your ship and broke away slowly as you reached Earth.”

Clark paused. Fragments of Krypton, irradiated by the planet’s destruction. It seemed like a crazy idea. Then again, he was an alien for another Galaxy. That did put the concept of ‘crazy’ in the position of not applying too much.

“I’ll find out the fact of the matter.” Clark said, slowly rising into the air “Thank you Jor-El.”

“You are welcome, my son.” Jor-El said as Clark flew up out of the top of the Fortress.

Lex Luthor sat in his penthouse office in the Luthorcorp plaza, reading the financial projections for the quarter. As always, growth was more than healthy. Still not enough to match Wayne Enterprises, something Bruce would no doubt remind him of at the next school reunion, if the younger of the two men even bothered to show. He had a tendency to have one thing or another to attend to at home in Gotham.

Still, Bruce Wayne wasn’t exactly high on Lex’s list of priorities. Actually, he hadn’t made the top ten, for once. No, this time it was something he found very interesting from the covert video feed he’d had installed in Metallo, as well as the power readouts from Metallo.

The closer Superman had been getting to Metallo, the more energy the power source had put out in the form of the radiation it emitted. It was as if the rock were reacting to Superman. The more it had apparently reacted with Superman, the weaker the so called ‘Man of Steel’, as the Daily Planet had labelled him, had become.

It was definitely something that Lex would have to have his scientists look into. Fortunately, there were trace blood samples from Superman left at the bank, it wouldn’t take much for him to pay off someone on the security team to collect a few samples for him to run tests on.

As Lex pondered that, there was the sound of knocking coming from his window. He turned to see Superman, hovering outside the full height window. Lex walked over, opening the window.

“Won’t you come in?” He asked, smirking slightly.

“Thank you, Mr. Luthor.” Superman said, entering the office and touching down on the carpet “I came here to talk about your Metallo project.”

“Oh, yes, I heard about what happened with our test subject.” Lex said “I’m just glad to hear that you showed up to make sure no one was hurt.”

“That’s interesting, Mr. Luthor, because Corben, your test subject, told me you sent him there.” Superman replied “I don’t suppose you have anything to say about those allegations.”

“Other than the fact that they’re entirely inaccurate, nothing.” Lex replied “Unfortunately, delusions are a possible side effect of the procedure. We told Mr. Corben this when he volunteered.”

Superman stood there, crossing his arms. He didn’t believe Lex, something the billionaire couldn’t fault him on; he was lying through his teeth. After a moment, Superman moved towards him and held out a hand.

“Thank you, Mr. Luthor.” He said as Lex shook his hand “I’ll be in touch.”

He turned and began to walk out. As he reached the window, he turned back to face Lex.

“Oh, and Mr. Luthor?” Superman said, Lex cocking an eyebrow in response “If you ever need me, all you need to do is look up.”

Lex moved towards the door as Superman opened the window before taking off out the window and up into the sky. The billionaire stood there for a moment, looking out over the city.

Superman knew how much it bothered him when he had to look up to others. Lex would have to look more into him. As he considered this, his phone beeped, signalling a text message. He pulled it out, unlocking the interface and opening the text, finding it to be from one of the guys he’d sent to get the DNA sample from Superman’s fight with Metallo.

Got the sample. Will dispatch it by courier in an unmarked container to your lab in the morning.

He moved over to his desk and pressed the intercom button to contact his PA.

“Mercy, send a message down to genetics.” He said “Tell them there’s a sample coming down to them I want them to work on replicating and improving. It’s part of a new project.”

“Of course, Mr. Luthor.” His assistant, Mercy Graves’ voice came through the intercom “What would you like the project to be filed under?”

Lex paused for a moment. Then, he spoke the name of the project, a single word.

“Doomsday.”

November 24th 2011

Clark flew through the city, scanning it with his X-ray vision. He was on his typical patrol, the one he’d been going with for the last few months as Superman. Every once in a while, he’d go with a different one, but this one took him by the apartment he was living in now. Well, the apartment he shared with Jimmy.

The handy thing was Jimmy, being an intern who was also a photography student, was just that, a student. Half the time, he’d be out over night and then for most of the day. Clark’s odd hours being kept were also easily explained away by his claiming to have a deadline. Jimmy would seldom bother asking Perry if that were the case, so Clark didn’t need to worry about it too much.

He did, however, need to worry about Lois. With her somewhat odd, almost dysfunctional, pseudo-sibling relationship with Jimmy, she had a tendency to be round their apartment a lot. Especially with the fact that they had the sports channel and Lois had something of a love for football. There were days where Clark had considered taking in his state champion trophy from when he was on the high school team, just to see her face, but doing that would be risking her figuring out that Clark Kent wasn’t all he seemed.

As he flew through the city, trying to figure out how best to keep his secret from her with her showing up so often, a large green wall of light appeared in front of him. He rapidly decelerated, stopping just short of the wall. He looked around, trying to find the source, and was shocked when he found it.

It was a man, floating in mid air, who looked to be in maybe his late twenties, with a green eye mask, a black and green skin tight bodysuit with white gloves. The man had light brown hair and what looked like a green ring, from which the wall was being projected.

“Got a minute?” The man said, half smirking “I’ve got a friend and he and I want to talk to you. He’s down on the roof below.”

“Fine.” Clark said, following the man’s lead as he descended to the roof below “Who are you?”

“Me? They call me Lantern, Green Lantern.” The man replied “And no need to ask who you are. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, last son of Krypton, all that jazz. I miss anything?”

“My day job but you’re not getting that.” Clark said as they set down, looking around for a moment before clocking the familiar face of Detective John Jones “Detective Jones? You’re his friend?”

“Indeed I am.” Jones replied “I’m also here to ask for your help.”

Clark looked between the two of them. Green Lantern didn’t exactly seem the type of company a Metropolis PD detective would keep. Actually, he didn’t seem the sort of company anyone Clark knew would keep.

“Okay, I’m listening.” Clark said “What’s up, Detective?”

“Please, call me John.” Jones replied “Or, actually, J’onn.”

Before Clark could question the change in pronunciation, Jones’ appearance began to shift. His clothes were replaced by a skin tight purple bodysuit with a red cross over his chest, joining onto a red belt. On Jones’ back and over his shoulders was a long, billowing, sky blue cape with a large flared collar attached. As the collar finished apparently growing into place, Jones’ eye colour began to shift, turning red, as his skin turned a pale green colour, the thin hairline that was present normally fading away.

“I apologise for the subterfuge, Superman, but I had to be sure you were a friend and not a foe before revealing myself to you.” Jones said “My real name is J’onn J’onzz. I am the sole survivor of an alien civilisation, like you. I am the only life form to survive a cataclysm which took place on Mars 100 years ago.”

“Mars?” Clark said, not sure what to make of the story “You’re from Mars? But it’s been shown that Mars could not support life.”

“Not in it’s present state, no.” J’onn said “However, up until the cataclysm, Mars was rich with life. It was fortunate that I was away from the planet tracking down a criminal when the planet was decimated or I would share it’s fate.”

“And what was that?” Clark said “And how does this tie in with me?”

“Something’s coming, Kal-El.” J’onn said “We’d tell you what it is, but we don’t know ourselves. All we know is it’s the size of a planet and has something to do with what happened to Mars.”

Clark paused, trying to take everything he was being told in. It wasn’t too much of a stretch, given Clark’s own origins. He was just trying to figure out exactly what the other two wanted with him.

“Okay then, so let’s get back to my question.” Clark said “What do you need my help for?”

“We’re putting together a team.” Lantern said “So far we have the protégé of the fastest man alive, a kid who calls himself ‘Impulse’. Then there’s Hawkman, whose name speaks for what he does, and Black Canary, who gives new meaning to the term ‘screamer’. You’re our second from last recruit.”

“Okay.” Clark said “So, you want my help, okay, you’ve got that, but whose the last recruit?”

“Someone we’d like you to go and get, someone who can help us figure it all out. Ask him about the Apokolips, with a ‘K’ and an ‘I’.” Lantern said, handing Clark a folded up piece of paper as both he and J’onn slowly raised into the air “We’ll be in touch.”

Lantern and J’onn both flew off into the nights sky, leaving Clark stood alone, the piece of paper still in his hand. He unfolded it and looked down at the image in it.

A yellow oval with a bat emblem in the middle of it.

…To Be Continued in “The Bat, Vol. 1: Origins.” – Epilogue…

So as you all can guess this is not like my normal posts. My posts were originally short plots and single chapter-ed. But this time I am coming up with a bigger story-line. So stay tuned for more………..

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