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  1. #61
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    I'm loving this story! I can't wait until Lois sees Clark for the first time, because I think there is more to the story than even the League actually knows about what happened between Lois and Clark. So her seeing Clark can be a very interesting situation for sure, nothing like seeing your husband back from the dead to shake up your day :P

  2. #62
    New In Town traz's Avatar
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    this is a great story from the start of gesting who the leader of the bad guys was i had my money on lois but i thought that someone else had killed clark and it thourgh her off the deep end but to have her kill clark i did not see that coming i can not wait to see what is behind her motavtion as i could ever see lois act the way you have writen her also does future clark know what was going to happen after his death
    Last edited by traz; 04-20-2012 at 04:54 PM.

  3. #63
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    Love this story!!! I will not believe that future Clark is dead unless someone says the have seen the body. Something is up. Lois is not just going to change like that, so I will just wait until its revealed. I still have hope. I look forward to the next update.

  4. #64
    manip by Vondrak cathy14's Avatar
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    Phenomenal, Briee!!!
    She's the one who killed Clark and they were married!!!
    we need the back story, Briee... i'm sure there's more there than meet the eye. KatherineKent touched very good points. I still have my theories and with this chapter i may have a new one - but i don't like it hehehe - that's why i need to know more of the back story, because i can't believe Lois would become that vecause she chose to be like that... so please, more, more, more

  5. #65
    Board Master Jadarite_18's Avatar
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    "Maybe there are no good guys left anymore, Flash. Maybe there stopped being good guys the day Superman died at the hands of his wife."
    His wife? HIS WIFE?? Geez!! Are you trying to give us a heart attack?

    Seriously!! I never saw that one coming. I thought it was some sort of AU of what would happen if Clark and Lois didn't end up together. Now I don't know what to say.

    No, in fact I do. COME BACK HERE AND EXPLAIN! I want to know what happend to Lois. I want to know who did this to her. Yes, because I don't believe she just turned evil. There must be a reason, right? And the answer is probably in the medallion.

    Update soon!! Pretty Please!!

    By the way, I'm still enjoying the story.

    Oh and I would also like to know what happened to Oliver. He's being a little uh... too severe.

  6. #66
    Forum Whiz reein's Avatar
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    OMG! IM DYING HERE!!!!
    Please Brieeeee update ASAP

  7. #67
    Forum Whiz LightSeeker's Avatar
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    Ok, I have to start by saying I just about freaked out about this
    Author's Notes: Okay, guys, first off, you have to know that I am so so sorry about this, really but I can't finish this story. I just have no idea where to go from here.
    Sooooo EVIL!!


    Poor Clark. It hurt him so much to see Lois like that. He wanted to reach out to her so bad.

    Nice visuals! I could actually picture this happening.
    He blinked back the tears of pain that had filled his eyes and focused on the tall man with dark hair who had bent down beside him, his hand stretched out. At that moment one of the soldiers patrolling set one of the older cars on fire. The paint made the flames burn red and yellow as they flared out behind the man, almost like a cape. Simon's eyes widened in recognition. His hand shook as he pointed it at him. "You're- Are you-"
    Now what the heck has turned Lois into this monster?! And future Clark came up with a plan to kill Lois?! And they want past Clark to finish the job?! And they were married?! I need answers!

    Quote Originally Posted by KatherineKent View Post
    Do we KNOW that he's dead. I mean, they knew Superman went into to kill her, but he never came out. Did anyone ever see a body? Who knows what really happened in the face off? Hmm.
    Also curious about this

    Another great update, Briee! PPMS

  8. #68
    Forum Whiz MegasaurusRex's Avatar
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    This was my favorite part:

    Quote Originally Posted by Briee View Post
    IV. The Path of Righteousness

    Each of us had a role to play in this cosmic odyssey.


    The world fell away as he stared at her, taking in the familiar tilt of her chin and the curves of her face that he knew. But there was so much that he didn't recognize- the hair that was as dark as the night, the blankness of her expression, the emptiness in her eyes. So very different from the woman who had always looked at him with a smirking twist of her lips, a playful arch of her eyebrow and a challenge in her gaze. And yet, still so undeniably Lois.

    "Lois." He didn't know he had murmured her name. He just knew that he needed to get to her, to have her explain all this to him; because somehow Lois would make sense out of this. She would tell him that it was a mistake, that she could never do this. Then she would punch him in the arm and smirk up at him, telling him he should have known that all along. He wasn't aware he had started to stand until the entire team jumped on him, pulling him down again. Some distant part of his brain realized that it was only his shock at seeing her that allowed them to bring him to his knees.

    "Not now," Oliver whispered harshly in his ear as he fought to keep a grip on Clark's arm. He knew there was only one thing that would stop Clark from going after her. "Not here. You won't get within twenty feet of her. The only thing you'll do is get us all killed."

    He finally stopped struggling as the words penetrated his mind. He turned his head back, looking from Oliver's determined face to the others who wore expressions of regret mingled with fear. He understood then that they hadn't come to protect him from her; they had come to stop him from going after her. Victor was the strength, Bart was the speed, and Oliver had been the driving force behind it all. For a reckless moment he wanted to break free of them and rush after her, but the fear in their eyes was real and there was so much that he didn't know. He reluctantly nodded his ascent and they cautiously released their grip on him. They all stayed bowed until the tank was out of sight and then everyone slowly came to their feet.

    On the other side of the street, an older man wearing thin wire frame glasses stumbled as he tried to stand, knocking into the legs of one of the last soldiers in the procession.

    "Hey! Don't you know how to act in the presence of the Empress, dog?" The soldier spat, backhanding the man, knocking him to the ground. "Now, do you want to show her eminence the respect you should, or do I need to beat it out of you?"

    Clark surged toward them, but the group threw themselves around him once more, Victor's grip tight on his shoulders.

    "They won't kill him," Oliver assured him. He had seen this play out before. The soldiers wanted to humiliate and belittle people whenever they could, but no one killed without her orders. No one. When he still tried to move, Oliver whispered harshly, "Die today to save one, or live to save more tomorrow. We can't help them, not like this."

    Clark twisted to face him, his brow coming together incredulously, unable to believe he could think something like that. Then he saw the others nodding grimly, as if they had heard him say it before...and agreed with him. As the soldier spoke again, Clark's eyes went back to the man lying there, his whole body poised to move if he needed to intervene.

    The soldier jeered, "Now, do you remember your manners, old man?"

    The man struggled to roll himself over, coming up enough to manage a bow in tribute, mumbling, "The rule of the Empress, always."

    "And don't you forget it," the soldier said as he kicked him back to the ground and then laughed as he walked on.

    This time Clark didn't wait, throwing off their grip and striding across the street, glaring in the direction the soldier had gone. Part of him wanted to go after him, but instead he went to the old man's side as he laid on the dirty sidewalk. His breathing was labored, but Clark's x-ray vision showed that his ribs weren't broken, only bruised. He bent down, offering his hand. "Here, let me help you up."

    Simon laid on the ground, his chest on fire, his vision blurred from the pain. In a life before this, he had sold newspapers. He had done it his whole life, from the time he had gotten his first paper route when he was nine until he had owned his own newsstand. It had been a simple choice that many hadn't understood, but he hadn't cared. It had been what he wanted. He had seen the changes of the world pass him by as he sat in his booth on the corner of fifty-seventh and main, content to read about the changes that hadn't. After the world had turned dark and the attacks on the city had started, his friends had urged him to leave. But he hadn't, couldn't.

    For the nearly seventy years that he had lived on this Earth, Metropolis had been his home. Even if the Daily Planet no longer existed and he could no longer sell newspapers on early sunlit mornings, he still had to be here. He would see it through until the end, he thought with a groan, no matter what the cost. A tall figure came up to stand beside him and he flinched, thinking the solider had come back. He struggled to get up and move into a bow before another blow could land. Instead a soft voice spoke, offering help.

    He blinked back the tears of pain that had filled his eyes and focused on the tall man with dark hair who had bent down beside him, his hand stretched out. At that moment one of the soldiers patrolling set one of the older cars on fire. The paint made the flames burn red and yellow as they flared out behind the man, almost like a cape. Simon's eyes widened in recognition. His hand shook as he pointed it at him. "You're- Are you-"

    Clark gently grasped his outstretched hand and lifted him onto his feet. The older man swayed for a moment and Clark put a hand on his shoulder to steady him. "Are you all right?"

    Still in a daze, he nodded. It couldn't be, could it? He murmured, "After all this time, you're here. I never believed that you had gone, really."

    Clark's brow furrowed, not understanding what he meant or the entranced expression on his face. But for some reason, he felt the impulse to apologize to him, "I'm sorry I couldn't help you."

    Simon's eyes filled with tears even as a smile trembled on his lips. He shook his head. "No, no, you're here now. That's all that matters." He reached out and tapped the middle of his chest, his smile growing. "Just like always when we need you."

    Clark started to ask him what he had meant and who he thought Clark was, but then he caught sight of Oliver approaching. He felt protective of the fragile hope in the older man's eyes and didn't want Oliver to do anything to shatter it. He took a step back, nodding once to him in goodbye, then turned back to face the people who had brought him here. His anger rose swiftly again as he glared accusingly at each of them before brushing past Oliver, clipping his shoulder. He pushed through the crowd going in the direction they had come from, never looking back. He didn't trust himself to, knowing that if he did, he wouldn't stop until he had found Lois.

    Oliver stood watching as the older man hurried over to a group of people. His movements were animated as he talked before he quickly drew a familiar symbol over his own chest and pointed in the direction Clark had gone. Oliver sighed to himself, not sure if this newest development was a good thing or not. The other people in the group shook their heads in denial, waving away his protests, but as they started to leave, Oliver saw a few of them looking back over the crowd, a shadow of hope in their eyes. He shook his head. Other men worked their entire lives to create ripples with their movements, but Clark Kent had always been able to make waves just by being there. He could affect change more than anyone Oliver had ever known. It was why they had brought him here, and now that he knew, it was time to convince him to help make waves in the right direction.

    As Clark stalked back, the orange flames on the streets of Metropolis seemed to burn brighter until it felt like they were everywhere, reflecting off each scared face he passed and gleaming off each polished symbol the soldiers wore. It was like the whole world was on fire. The blazes leapt here and there with the wind that had started, howling as it rolled through the streets. As the flames grew they cast long shadows, making it seem as though the darkness was reaching out toward him, into him.

    Bart's heart was heavy as he followed the rigid shoulders of his friend weaving through the crowd. Now that Clark knew, and it was too late to take it back and do things differently, all of Oliver's reassurances felt hollow in the face of what they had done. A quick glance over at Victor's conflicted expression confirmed that he felt the same. They had betrayed a friend in a way they had never meant to.

    They were never more than two feet behind him as they made the return journey to Watchtower, but no one approached him or said anything. But what was there to say, Victor thought to himself as they rode up the elevator to the main room. Clark's anger was a palpable thing in the small, confined space, like a ticking bomb that would explode with the slightest provocation. Only Oliver seemed unfazed by it. But then, Victor thought bitterly, there wasn't much that fazed Oliver now.

    Once they had stepped inside the circular room, empty except for J'onn, Clark turned and said sharply, "I want to know exactly what happened. And I want to know now."

    J'onn stood, quietly reading what had transpired in their minds tonight. The anger, remorse, and satisfaction coming from the different men reached him and he sighed, knowing the time had come.

    Oliver slipped off his leather jacket and hung it on the back of a chair, his movements controlled, always controlled. It was ironic, he thought idly, that the control that had alluded him his whole life had finally been achieved when the rest of the world had spun into anarchy. He turned to face Clark, his voice even as he spoke, "Thirteen years ago, our time, Clark Kent graduated from blurring around Metropolis to flying, and when he did, he took on the name Superman."

    "Becoming the greatest superhero the world has ever known," Victor added loyally, wanting Clark to know that things weren't exactly like they seemed- that they had tricked and trapped him.

    When Clark's accusing gaze shot to him he looked away, knowing whether they had meant to or not, in the end they had.

    Oliver, unperturbed by the tension in the room, went behind the bar and got out shot glasses for each of them. He opened a bottle and poured them full, continuing, "Not long after that, the JLA was formed."

    Bart chimed in, daring a look at Clark, a small ghost of a smile on his face as he remembered those days, "Justice League of America- Strength, Courage, Justice. Our motto. You were the first hero to win the world's heart. You made them rethink everything they had been afraid of. And by coming out of the shadows, you made it possible for us to do the same." He quickly swallowed his shot, muttering without looking at him, "You brought us all into the light."

    And now they had brought him into the darkness, Bart thought with shame unable to face him.

    The other two reached for their glasses, downing them grimly, but Clark didn't touch his. Alcohol wouldn't affect him and his patience was at an end. He needed answers. He said darkly, "Finish it."

    Oliver tipped back Clark's glass, ignoring the burning in his throat. He clenched his jaw, knowing that even now he wasn't going to reveal everything. It wasn't the right moment, he told himself. A little bit at a time, that was always all that Clark had been able to handle. "And for a while things were good. The JLA thrived, and most days, we won the fight."

    Victor shook his head at the understatement. In the years that had followed the creation of the JLA, the world had become more than it had ever been before and so had they. They had stood proud and strong, uniting for the common good and achieving justice for those who needed it most. Those years had been the best they all had ever known. And then, in what had felt like the length of a heartbeat, it had all changed. He forced his attention back to Oliver.

    "Then four years ago, something went...wrong. We don't know all the details, but a crime wave started, one that kept the entire League busy. We thought at the time that was our only problem, and that that was the worst of it." Another shot, and this time, the memory was more bitter than the whiskey to swallow. "But, as it turns out, what we knew was just the tip of the ice berg. We were in the middle of an elaborate game of chess that we didn't even know we were playing. Because while we were so busy taking care of the immediate problems, there were bigger ones being put into motion."

    J'onn felt the sting of past mistakes. He shook his head, saying regretfully, "I should have realized-"

    "Hey, come on, Space Man," Bart chided gently, "she was careful to keep away from you and your mind reading abilities. No one suspected her. You can't blame yourself for not knowing."

    "Why didn't I- he see the changes in her?" Clark asked angrily as they all looked at him with sadness and regret, confirming that his future self had been as blind as they had. Lois was his friend, how could he not have known something was happening?

    "I don't think he had a chance," Victor said softly. "She was a master at hiding what she was feeling, a master at hiding everything. We never knew anything until she made her coup."

    "Nothing?" Clark asked in disbelief. They were heroes, the ones chosen to safe guard the world, and they hadn't known anything about this until it had already happened?

    "All we knew was that there were rumors of a figure called the Empress who was starting to pull some strings in the criminal underworld," J'onn added, thinking back to those first days, wondering, like the others, if there was something that they had missed.

    "She made Lex Luthor look like an amateur," Oliver said grimly. "She had seized control of the Suicide Squad and enough of Intergang that she was able to take over the local criminal element in Metropolis. But that wasn't enough. She wanted more. She wanted everything. On the day she stepped out and revealed who she was in a show of power that rocked the world, Lois Lane ceased to exist; she became the Empress."

    "We tried to stop it," Bart explained earnestly, the words bursting out of him. He wanted Clark to know that they had tried everything they could think of, and that what they were doing now was only done as a last resort. "We all tried to talk to her, to figure out what had caused it. We even had Zatanna see if she was under any kind of magic spell, but there was nothing. No reason for it."

    "What did I, he do?" Clark stumbled over the words, feeling sick to his stomach as a sudden sense of foreboding told him that the reason his future self wasn't here was because of the woman he had seen on the streets.

    Oliver put his glass down, hitting the scarred wood with a clunk, his chin coming up. "What he had to. He came to me a year after she had announced herself to the world, after she had taken over the United States and most of this hemisphere. He said that he had a plan. He said that he knew he was the only one who could get close enough to kill her-"

    "Kill her?" Clark's gaze swung sharply to him, unable to believe it. He wouldn't do that, he wouldn't.

    "Kill her," Oliver repeated mercilessly. "He orchestrated the whole thing. When the mission went down we separated, and while we were fighting off her soldiers, he got inside, to her. They fought; she made it out alive. He didn't."

    "Lois killed me?" Clark asked faintly, feeling as though the world were spinning out of control, twisting into a sick reality that couldn't exist, a hellish nightmare that he couldn't wake up from. He waited for someone to say something, to take apart the pieces that were fast coming together to form a picture he didn't want to see, but they didn't. He turned to face Oliver again, asking the other question that had plagued him, "Why am I here?"

    "To finish the job. You can still get close to her," Oliver said quickly, his bitterness and eagerness mixing together, "You always could."

    "And then what?" He asked as he stared into his fevered eyes, wondering if Oliver could really say the words, if he would go that far.

    "Then you kill her."

    The words reverberated in the stillness of the room, bouncing off every surface until it felt like they were echoing inside his head. He stared disbelievingly, his gaze swinging around at each of them as they refused to meet his eyes, just as they refused to deny what Oliver had said.

    Without a word he turned and stalked outside, not stopping until he had reached the crow's nest. His hands were clumsy as they grabbed the thick railing, and he realized with a shock they were shaking. In his mind he saw it all- the old man's hope, Jimmy's exhaustion, the fear on the faces of everyone inside, and Lois. Lois urging him to give people a chance to accept him for who he really was, Lois in his arms as he comforted her in a hospital hallway. Lois standing there, her eyes blank and remorseless as she took in the world around her. He bowed his head as his heart thudded furiously in his chest and closed his eyes, unable to see anymore.

    Inside no one said anything until Bart remarked dryly, his voice weaker than he wanted, "Well, that could have gone better."

    "It doesn't matter," Oliver dismissed as he tossed back another drink, his jaw muscles working furiously. "It had to be done."

    Suddenly, all of his emotions from the night bubbled up, and anger overtook him, making Victor shoot to his feet. "It had to be done? Oliver, you brought him from a time of peace and hope to this hell hole. You tell him that Lois Lane, Lois Lane has made the world into her own personal play thing, that she murdered him, and now he's been brought here to return the favor. And all you can say is that it had to be done!?"

    "You could have gone about this differently, Oliver," Bart added, his censure quieter but just as real. "I know that this has been tough on you, but the way you're going, man-"

    "This is war, Bart! We do what we have to do!" Oliver shouted, losing control for a moment and slamming the glass on the bar so hard that it shattered. When they stared at him, he swallowed, his voice lowering but losing none of its venom, "The time when we had other options is gone. This is how it is."

    Without waiting for a response, he turned and walked away.

    Bart, Victor and J'onn looked at each other, a shared uneasiness in their expressions. Bart asked quietly, "Are we sure we're doing the right thing? After all, aren't we supposed to be the good guys?"

    Victor thought about the last two years, the things they had gone through, the people they had lost, and the line they kept crossing. He shook his head. "Maybe there are no good guys left anymore, Flash. Maybe there stopped being good guys the day Superman died at the hands of his wife."

    At the mention of the secret they had yet to tell Bart dropped his head, running his hands wearily through his hair.

    J'onn knew nothing that could ease the apprehension and worry of his comrades so he turned and left, going instead to the man whose mental anguish was so very loud right now. He stepped outside the door, going to the place he knew Kal-El was. He approached softly, watching as the younger man stared out at the city with blank eyes. "I am sorry, Kal-El."

    Clark barely heard the words, too lost in a swirl of memories and emotions. Caught up in them, he found himself confiding, "Lois isn't... Lois is nothing like anyone I've ever known before. From the first moment I met her, she's always been like that. She's just," he trailed off, looking helplessly at J'onn, finding it impossible to describe her, "she's Lois."

    J'onn hid his sad smile at the confusion in his friend's voice. The first time that he had met Lois Lane had been when she'd had a gun trained on Tess Mercer; a stand off that had last four hours as she'd waited for the rest of the team to get there and decide the fate of her fiance and Oliver who were stranded in the Phantom Zone. The moment he had walked in, he had known that whatever their answer, it wouldn't change anything. The woman standing there with tears in her eyes and an arm that trembled from holding a gun for so long wouldn't have let anyone give up on them. In that moment, he had found himself just as unable to describe her as Kal-El was now. "Is she your friend, in your time?"

    Clark met his eyes and then looked away. "Well, yeah."

    "You do not seem sure," he replied with a furrowed brow. Perhaps this was why Oliver had chosen this version of Clark, because they had only been acquaintances in his time.

    "No, I mean, she is. It's just lately, I don't know. There was this moment at Chloe's wedding where something almost happened between us and then it didn't and then-" He shook his head, thinking about the coffee date he had never shown up for. "But that doesn't matter right now, because this can't be Lois. It can't. She wouldn't do this."

    "Are you so sure?" J'onn asked quietly.

    "Yeah, I am," he answered immediately. He knew it as sure as he had a breath in his body. He had seen his faith proven wrong before, had believed in people when others might have given up, but he knew that he was right about her. He tried to let the Martian see the person he knew with his words, "She's stubborn and doesn't think things through before she puts herself in danger, but the reason she's in danger is usually because she's doing the right thing and won't accept the easy line. Lois is one of the most honest people that I know. There's no way that she could have done what you think she has."

    J'onn wanted to tell him that they had all thought the same things. He wanted to tell him how they had consoled his future self with similar words, each truly believing in the beginning that something had happened to change her. But those beliefs had faded with each new horror she had committed. In time, they had come to believe that it wasn't something outside of her that had caused the change, but in.

    He had seen evilness take root in honorable men and women before, many times through out his long life. But he knew that his young friend wouldn't be able to grasp that, so he said nothing. Instead, he reached into his pocket for a long silver chain, one that he had kept hidden for two years now. He pulled it out and held it up in front of Clark.

    Clark looked over at the silver medallion dangling in front of him. Etched on it was the Kryptonian symbol for the House of El, his symbol. He recognized the medallion as the same kind that Jor-El had used to store his memories in when he had first come to Earth and then hidden it in the Kwatche caves. He eyed it warily. "What is that?"

    J'onn found his own voice was thick when he tried to speak, "Before he died, your future self showed this to me and said that when the time was right, I would know what to do with it." For a moment, he was lost in his own thoughts, then he smiled at the young man in front of him. "And now I finally know what he meant."

    He held it out to him, waiting.

    Clark's brow furrowed in confusion as he took the chain, not daring yet to touch the medallion, knowing what would happen when he did.

    J'onn turned to leave him with his thoughts, knowing that on this night after so much had happened that he had no right to try any longer to make him understand the emotions running through him enough to voice them. But as he reached the stone divide with its amber stain glass, he paused, looking back at the young man they were placing such a large weight on, and fell into a memory of his own.

    "J'onn."

    He turned to see Kal-El walking towards him, his cape blowing slightly in the night air, a vivid splash of color in a faded gray world. Behind him, the Daily Planet globe stood frozen and tarnished. He raised his eyebrows as he questioned, "Your reason for meeting here?"

    He looked down, a slight smile on his face before turning around to face the globe. He said softly, "I guess you could say that I've become somewhat nostalgic lately."

    Knowing the history that this place held for him, J'onn let the silence offer the condolences he had already said many times. When Kal-El continued to stare up at the giant globe, J'onn attempted to draw him back to the present by commenting, "Oliver believes that it is unwise to continue wearing our costumes, that we would be better able to fight against our enemies if we blended in."

    "And he's wrong," Superman said simply with the surety of one who knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were right. He turned back to look at J'onn. "Heroes are what we are. We give the world hope. And the world needs us to give them that now more than ever."

    Forever leading them down the path of righteousness, he mused to himself with a wry shake of his head. His gaze went over the city and he frowned sadly, finishing the thought, even now in these dark times. Knowing that Kal-El would only brush aside his words if he voiced them, he came to the business at hand. "Oliver said that you believed you had a plan to defeat L- the Empress."

    Superman didn't falter or tense up at the slip, J'onn realized with some surprise, a first. Though he tried to respect the privacy of those around him, J'onn couldn't stop himself from probing gently into his friend's mind to see what had caused this change. What he found there surprised him more- a blank wall of thought.

    There were few who had the discipline to control their thoughts to that degree. To be able to focus merely on one thought until it was all that could be read, and it was the first time that Kal-El had done so. He tried to push deeper, encountering nothing but the same strange feeling blanketing his thoughts that J'onn couldn't put a name to. Whatever his thoughts were, Kal-El was keeping them so well hidden that he couldn't touch them. He withdrew subtly, not mentioning it. There were things they all did now just to preserve whatever semblance of normalcy they could. Perhaps this was the way Kal-El was dealing with the plan to defeat her. Whatever his reason, he would respect that from this hero. He came to the point he had sought to bring up, "I do not know if it is wise that you face her alone."

    "It's for the best, J'onn, you know that." Superman hesitated for a moment, looking down at his hands. J'onn followed his gaze to the silver glinting in his palm. "I have a request to ask of you."

    Recognizing the Kryptonian memory amulet he couldn't stop the unaccountable feeling of unease that settled over him, but he inclined his head for Kal-El to continue.

    Superman held it up, letting it dangle on its chain, swinging in the night breeze like the pendulum of a clock. "One day I'm going to give this to you, and when I do, I need you not to ask any questions or tell anyone that you have it. Just keep it safe."

    J'onn nodded once more, agreeing.

    Superman smiled at him and slipped the necklace on, hiding it beneath his shield before he turned away.

    "Superman," he called out, "what is it you wish me to do with it?"

    He still for a moment, and J'onn couldn't stop himself from reaching out again, pushing against that wall in his mind. But it was still as though his entire being was concentrated on one idea, one vague emotion that J'onn could not place. His friend bowed his head, looking unaccountably sad, then smiled softly. "You'll know when the time is right."

    Superman nodded his thanks and then took to the skies.


    For a moment, J'onn could almost see the lingering image of the hero standing there instead of the young man still contemplating the silver medallion he spun by the necklace he held.

    "Forever leading us down the path of righteousness," J'onn murmured to himself with a sad smile. Then he turned and walked away, his heart heavy. He had at least kept the last promise his friend had ever asked, but he wondered if it could possibly be enough when the scales of judgment on what they had all done were measured in full.

    * * * *

    Well?

    *coughs* um, that is to say, awesometacular work as always Briee . . . you know, every time I see your name next to a fic I think "that would be awesome with some apples and crackers". And then I think "I need to read that!"

    Once more I'm just loving the J'onn and Clark interaction, especially J'onn's memories. I really want to just analyze every line and image that you write, but I think with this I'm gonna sit back and enjoy it as it comes . . . that is to say . . . more is coming soon, right?

  9. #69
    Forum Whiz Lane Kent's Avatar
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  10. #70
    Forum Whiz Briee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigvillir001 View Post
    Unbelievable Lois kill her own husband but why this story is so intense
    LOL, intensity is a good thing, right?


    Well written. I donīt know what to say, certainly is a good story but still.....Iīm disappointed about Lois, I donīt think thereīs a way to fix what she did, even if they reverse time or if Clark changes things from his timeline or something, still is in her to do all those horribles things and that is the worst about the story.
    Is sad seeing Lois that way.
    Well, I will say this, my stories take a lot of twists and turns and you never know how anything is going to turn up until the very end.


    Well-written if shocking... I just can't believe that Lois turned so evil on her own. I want to know the back story... is she being controlled? Brainiac or even by Lex? I simply can't believe that she would do all this on her own volition. There's just got to be more to it!
    Gotta keep you guys on your toes, you know! Now, what makes you think that there's a back story to anything, hmm? You are going to see a little bit more of what's going on in this next chapter, so read on!


    Perhaps this isn't the real Lois, she might be a clone and the real Lois is locked away somewhere or might have been killed years ago.
    More theories! LOL, and the Superman mythology does love it's clones, doesn't it?


    I don't know what to say .... Did the Darkseid possessed Lois or is it Braniac, because Lois doesn't have the heart to do all this horrible things, there's more here than meets the eye.
    And what's wrong with Ollie? he's like nothing can disturb him.

    Update soon!!!! pretty please *pout*
    You're going to find out a little bit more about what's going on in this chapter and as far as Ollie, it's going to take a little bit to explain him. And your update is here, enjoy!


    Quote Originally Posted by Briee View Post
    Well, it was probably a little more obvious since this is posted in the Lois/Clark section, but at the same time, I think that Clark would have a hard time believing that anyone he could count on, know, trust in the present would be someone who could do all of this in the future. And I'm glad that Lex was a bit of a surprise for you!

    Future Clark is dead. I didn't come right out and say that in Chapter two, but that's what Jimmy was hinting at when Clark asked him where his future self was.
    I get that Clark wouldn't want to think such awful things from anyone in his life, but somehow I get the feeling that in all other cases he would trust his friends at their word (eventually) and believe them, no matter how much he didn't want to. But with Lois, he would never believe it without seeing it. That's how I figured it was Lois.

    I'm sad that Future Clark is dead, but that pretty much the only explanation, I was just hoping for something else.

    New chapter:

    Well. I have to say that no matter what Ollie is trying to get everyone to believe Lois has not gone 'naturally' evil. I'm pretty certain that something will come to light, and I still have my theories. Just, whatever it was/is, was very good at hiding itself years ago when the JLA were first looking for a reason.

    It's so sad that she killed Superman. How hard must it have been for him to go in there to find her? How much will it tear at her when she's free from this? Guh! I can't even comprehend. Except. Do we KNOW that he's dead. I mean, they knew Superman went into to kill her, but he never came out. Did anyone ever see a body? Who knows what really happened in the face off? Hmm.
    LOL, sorry, future Clark is dead.

    I will say this, it's going to be a very emotional ride ahead. LOL, as far as the showdown between the Empress and Superman, you will have your answers to that later on in the story!


    U r really going to make her evil Evil???
    i was hoping she is possessed
    lois killed Clark??
    I can't think straight rite now!! What has the world come to?!?!!
    Yep, Lois killed Clark. Breathe, just breathe, and keep reading, it'll carry you through to the end of the story!


    I'm loving this story! I can't wait until Lois sees Clark for the first time, because I think there is more to the story than even the League actually knows about what happened between Lois and Clark. So her seeing Clark can be a very interesting situation for sure, nothing like seeing your husband back from the dead to shake up your day :P
    I'm glad that you're enjoying it! When they finally do meet up, it's definitely going to be very interesting and that's all I'm saying!


    this is a great story from the start of gesting who the leader of the bad guys was i had my money on lois but i thought that someone else had killed clark and it thourgh her off the deep end but to have her kill clark i did not see that coming i can not wait to see what is behind her motavtion as i could ever see lois act the way you have writen her also does future clark know what was going to happen after his death
    Thanks! I'm glad that you like it! Well, it's good to know that I'm surprising you with at least some of the twists and turns! Read on to see what happens next!


    Love this story!!! I will not believe that future Clark is dead unless someone says the have seen the body. Something is up. Lois is not just going to change like that, so I will just wait until its revealed. I still have hope. I look forward to the next update.
    I'm glad you like it! LOL, waiting for the body of proof, huh? Keep reading, you'll get your answers...eventually!


    Phenomenal, Briee!!!
    She's the one who killed Clark and they were married!!!
    we need the back story, Briee... i'm sure there's more there than meet the eye. KatherineKent touched very good points. I still have my theories and with this chapter i may have a new one - but i don't like it hehehe - that's why i need to know more of the back story, because i can't believe Lois would become that vecause she chose to be like that... so please, more, more, more
    Firstly, thank you! And secondly, I love your avatar!

    Yep, and yep! LOL, more theories, huh? I'm always very happy to hear them! More, more, more is here, here, here! Enjoy!


    "Maybe there are no good guys left anymore, Flash. Maybe there stopped being good guys the day Superman died at the hands of his wife."
    His wife? HIS WIFE?? Geez!! Are you trying to give us a heart attack?

    Seriously!! I never saw that one coming. I thought it was some sort of AU of what would happen if Clark and Lois didn't end up together. Now I don't know what to say.

    No, in fact I do. COME BACK HERE AND EXPLAIN! I want to know what happend to Lois. I want to know who did this to her. Yes, because I don't believe she just turned evil. There must be a reason, right? And the answer is probably in the medallion.

    Update soon!! Pretty Please!!

    By the way, I'm still enjoying the story.

    Oh and I would also like to know what happened to Oliver. He's being a little uh... too severe.
    A heart attack? No. Who would be left to read the stories? Cause it to skip a beat here and there? Maybe!

    Good! I'm glad that I was able to surprise you. To be honest, I almost left that part out to be shown at a different time, but I thought I would go ahead and slip that one in.

    There will be answers on the medallion, but they may not be exactly what you think, and I will say this, they won't all be revealed at once. But, an update is here, so read on and I hope you're still enjoying at the end of it!


    OMG! IM DYING HERE!!!!
    Please Brieeeee update ASAP
    Don't die! You'll miss the update!


    Quote Originally Posted by LightSeeker View Post
    Ok, I have to start by saying I just about freaked out about this
    Sooooo EVIL!!


    Poor Clark. It hurt him so much to see Lois like that. He wanted to reach out to her so bad.

    Nice visuals! I could actually picture this happening.


    Now what the heck has turned Lois into this monster?! And future Clark came up with a plan to kill Lois?! And they want past Clark to finish the job?! And they were married?! I need answers!


    Also curious about this

    Another great update, Briee! PPMS
    LOL, I know that I shouldn't have, but I couldn't resist!

    I know, it was evil. What can I say? I've been brought over to the dark side with Lois.

    Good, I was afraid that that part was too cheesy, but I could picture it happening and more importantly, I could picture SV actually doing something like that.

    Yeah, he really did want to reach out to her. LOL, you don't like all of my twists I'm throwing in there? Well, you are going to be getting some answers in this update, but to be honest, they might just lead to more questions.

    LOL, and you will definitely get the answer to that a little later on in the story as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by MegasaurusRex View Post
    This was my favorite part:




    *coughs* um, that is to say, awesometacular work as always Briee . . . you know, every time I see your name next to a fic I think "that would be awesome with some apples and crackers". And then I think "I need to read that!"

    Once more I'm just loving the J'onn and Clark interaction, especially J'onn's memories. I really want to just analyze every line and image that you write, but I think with this I'm gonna sit back and enjoy it as it comes . . . that is to say . . . more is coming soon, right?
    LOL, oh, it was, was it? That's good.

    "Awesometacular"? Meg, you continue to crack me up and I love it! LOL, I actually got that joke. (Although, just so you know, I go well with chocolate and bribes as well! )

    J'onn's a very soothing POV to write for, especially with this story, so I'm enjoying writing his POV a lot. Analyze, enjoy, anything you want to do and your wait is over, meg, more is here!


    Bump
    LOL, no more bumps are needed, the update is here!









    Okay, guys, I know that this chapter is a few days late, but it was a monster to get done. LOL, however it's finished now and hopefully the length of it will help to make up for the lateness.

    Also, a quick question: Did anyone figure out the identity of the man that Clark helped? First person to let me know through PM will get a sneak peek into a later part of the story! (Yep, I'm evil and I can do this kind of thing! ;D )

    Now, you guys read on. I'm going to go find a bed to collapse on.

  11. #71
    Forum Whiz Briee's Avatar
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    V. Never Forget Your Enemies

    For as reality comes around the bend...you will meet me there.


    Oliver tugged the t-shirt over his form as he walked into the empty common room. The day had only barely begun and most of the team was still asleep. He would be, too, if he weren't going out to patrol as soon as Kara returned. He yawned as he opened the door and made his way to the roof, stopping as he took in the sight of the figure standing there. "Clark. Have you been out here all night?"

    Clark didn't answer or turn from where he stood. His arms were crossed over his chest as he stared out at the horizon, watching the sun rise gold over this damaged world. He asked quietly, "Do the fires ever stop?"

    "No," he sighed deeply, inhaling the faint hint of ash that was always in the air. "It helps to block all of her thoughts and those of her...helpers from J'onn's mind reading abilities. And it keeps people terrified as well, never knowing if it'll be your home that she torches."

    Clark closed his eyes briefly against the subtle reminder of why he had been brought here. He looked out at the hazy sunshine edging the horizon, hazy because of the heat and the smoke radiating up from the fires all over the city. The air was so dry now that he could barely detect any moisture in it at all, even this far up.

    After J'onn had left him alone the night before, all thoughts of sleep had been impossible. The only measure of normalcy he had found was standing here at the crow's nest; a small constant in such a changed world. He had stared at the medallion for hours, wondering what could possibly be on it. But he hadn't touched it, despite how much he had wanted answers. Because having the answers and experiencing them- every thought, every feeling, every sensation- was so different. And he was terrified, he'd admitted to himself in the long, dark hours of the night, terrified of what might be on it. Would it include the day his future self had died? Would it show his plan to kill Lois? The acts of treason she had committed against the world? He couldn't see that, not now, not yet.

    "Have you thought about it?" Oliver asked tightly as he crossed his arms as well, not looking at Clark.

    Clark finally relaxed his stance, turning his head to stare at the man who had been his friend; a man hardened by war, from the inside out. Oliver had always had more heart than anyone and now, it seemed like that heart, like so much else here, had died, leaving something broken behind to survive. Wanting to try to reach him, to make him understand, he implored, "You're asking me to take a life, Oliver. And not just any life, but hers."

    Lois had been Oliver's love once, and his friend, always. The two of them had shared a closeness that Clark had envied as they had moved beyond bitterness to acceptance and friendship. It was something that he had never had with Lana. They had either been together or apart and barely able to stand being in the same room. But Lois and Oliver had been different. He swallowed looking away, because there had been times that he had been envious of the ease they had with each other in ways that he hadn't let himself think about.

    Oliver wondered if Clark had realized the distinction he had made. He knew a moment's panic as he wondered whether there was any version of Clark that would be able to do this.

    "She's your friend, Oliver."

    He relaxed then, the panic fading. Clark was still stuck in the past. It was his job to show him the future. "I'm asking you to stop a killer," he refuted, pushing his point home, "A mass murderer. I'm asking you to help me save the world."

    Clark shook his head in denial. He couldn't do it, couldn't imagine a time when he had ever had any part of a plan to kill someone who was his friend, someone who was-

    Seeing the defenses rise in his eyes, Oliver played for time. "You're holding onto a memory of a person that's as dead as the hundreds that she has killed all over the world every single day."

    He involuntarily flinched at this and Oliver quickly used that to his advantage, pressing, "You've only seen a small fracture of what she's done. You're relying on a memory to guide you. All I'm asking is for you to see the world for what it is now."

    Clark ignored the irony that there were other memories waiting to guide him that would show him this world better than anyone else ever could, memories that he wasn't sure he was ready to see. He needed to figure things out on his own before then. He asked quietly, "How?"

    Triumph making his heart pound hard, Oliver forced his voice to be neutral as he offered, "Well, they say that seeing is believing and there's a lot here to see. We have information that she's been collecting pieces- for a new weapon; something that we think will scrub out what's left of the resistance here in Metropolis as well as others all over the world."

    Clark turned to face him fully now, his expression still guarded. "And what would I be doing?"

    "We need someone to get in and see what she's doing and be out before she realizes they're there-"

    "Which sounds like a job for mi amigo and me," Bart stated from where he was lounging against the stone and glass divide, having overheard the last of their conversation. He flashed them a grin, glad to see that at least Clark wasn't shooting accusing looks in their direction this morning. He was reserved but listening, and that was more than Bart could have hoped for.

    A slight rustle of sound from above made them look up to see Kara floating down to land on the roof, a scowl on her face. "I thought I was going on the recon mission with Bart."

    "Plan's have changed," Oliver said shortly. "Clark wants to see what we're really up against."

    Her eyes narrowed. She had watched Oliver closely over the last two years and knew there was more to it than that. "Fine," she said, putting her hands on her hips, "then let Bart stay and I'll go with him."

    "Hey," Bart started to protest, straightening out of his slouch, but Oliver cut him off.

    "And if you get caught by Kryptonite, what are you going to do then, lay in agony on the floor together?" He asked sarcastically, ignoring her glare. "I don't want to lose both of you. Besides, he's stronger than you, even though you're trained and he's not-"

    "All the more reason for me to go with him," she said tightly. "He needs me, Oliver."

    "He needs you to be here as his back up if something goes wrong," Oliver countered.

    "Kara, I'll be fine," Clark tried to reassure her, raising his hands placatingly as he took a step forward.

    "No, you won't!" She yelled. When Clark stopped and looked at her in surprise, she swallowed, lowering her voice, "You don't know, Kal-El. You have no idea what you're getting yourself into."

    "I realize that, Kara," he said softly, coming up and putting his hands on her shoulders. "But I have to find out. I have to see this for myself."

    "And I have to make sure you're okay," she whispered quietly in return. She had been sent to this planet to save him, to protect him, and she had failed, in every way. She didn't want to fail again.

    "Hey, Kara girl," Bart broke in, coming up to stand beside them, his face uncharacteristically solemn, "I won't let anything happen to the big guy, I swear. He'll get out of there as long as I have a breath in my body."

    With tears in her eyes, she tore her gaze away from Clark's and turned to her friend, a slight smile on her lips. "I know you will, Bart."

    "Then it's agreed, you two will go in tonight," Oliver said, relieved that Kara had given in. Then he turned his attention to the most pressing matter at the moment. "Anything new to report?"

    Kara nodded, taking a deep breath as she composed herself. "Yeah, there's more happening."

    "Let's go in and debrief everyone then."

    They made their way inside to the main living area, Oliver turning to lead them through a door on the right. As Clark passed through, he noticed that someone had put a strip of white masking tape on the door and written in black magic marker on it, 'War Room.' They had also drawn little caricatures of the heroes left around it. He eyed Bart, knowing who had done it.

    Bart caught his gaze and followed it, grinning with an unrepentant shrug.

    Clark shook his head at his antics, but felt lighter all the same as he walked in. Once inside he was instantly reminded of the concealed room in the Isis building. Large computers screens hung on the walls while a few others were suspended on metal poles with keyboards in front of them. Across the screens flashed various data, statistics, and live news feeds. Already assembled there were J'onn, Victor, Jimmy, and a black haired woman that Clark didn't recognize.

    She flashed a wide smile at him. "You won't know me, Clark, but my name is Zatanna. In this bag of tricks, I bring a little magic to the table."

    He smiled tentatively back at her; the recognition in her eyes telling him that they knew each other in a life he hadn't had the chance to live yet.

    In the center of the room was a large lighted table and everyone quickly came to stand solemnly around it. For a moment, Clark was reminded of the stories he had read in high school about the knights of the round table, assembling there before King Author. He quickly shook off the fantasy, because the reality here was so much darker than people striving for a way to make their world into a Camelot. Here there were people, who had once known better days, and were now striving to just survive.

    "Is this all of you?" Clark asked in disbelief. Including him, there were only eight people who stood there.

    Victor nodded. "We become a smaller group every time there's a hit. The attack on the moon base wiped out a lot of us. Too many more and there won't be a resistance left."

    "And on that note." Oliver turned to Kara. "What did you find out?"

    "The electrical surges have increased again, by another five thousand volts, at least. There are now guards around the power plants, making sure that they keep running without fail."

    "Surges?" Clark questioned.

    "Eighteen months after she took power, they started. Small, at first," Victor explained, pulling up a chart on the table before them. "So small, in fact, that it wasn't until later when they grew that we were able to figure out there was a pattern to it and trace it back to its point of origin. The increases were hidden, siphoned of other systems so that they couldn't easily be tracked back to her."

    "But why?" Clark questioned. "From everything you've told me, Loi- she, controls all of this. Why would she need to hide it?"

    "Good question, amigo, and it's one that we don't have the answer to," Bart replied. "But if it's important enough for her to hide, it's important enough for the resistance to find."

    "And find we did," Victor continued, "because they kept growing, both in frequency and in power, until it became so big that she couldn't hide it. That's when her soldiers started getting posted at power plants. Just one at first, but now it's all of them. The surges themselves are now becoming so large that they cause blackouts in parts of the city, draining the limited supply of electricity that we have. But it's all going to the same place- LexCorp."

    "LexCorp?" Clark asked, surprised. "What does Lex have to do with this?"

    Victor and Oliver exchanged looks before Oliver said shortly, "When Lex took over the Luthor empire he put his own stamp on it, and as much of the rest of the world as he could."

    "But Lex is dead, Oliver. He died in that truck explosion," Clark said quietly.

    "No, he didn't, Clark," Oliver contradicted with a twist of his lips. "We only thought he did."

    "How?" How could anyone survive an explosion like that, Clark thought to himself.

    "Let's just say that in the world of cockroaches, Lex Luthor is king. He made his come back a few years later and immediately set to destroying everything that was a reminder of Lionel and his past, creating a new image of himself all the while making sure that the world knew his name." He continued with a smirk of satisfaction, "LexCorp was the first building in the city to fall."

    Jimmy piped in here, adding, "When Metropolis surrendered, she took over LexCorp. It's her main base of operations now."

    "And you think that these power surges are tied in with the building of a new weapon?" Clark asked, looking down at the chart. His hands tightened on the edge of the table as he thought again of the way she had looked last night. Then another thought occurred to him. "Why would she even need it?"

    Kara frowned. "What do you mean?"

    "I saw Smallville, or what's left of it. You said she had destroyed other cities as well. If you had a weapon like that, why would you need anything else?"

    "That weapon was eventually destroyed," J'onn explained quietly, "but at the cost of many heroes' lives."

    The group was silent now, each remembering that mission. It had been a day of triumph, when they had still thought they could win and it had been a day of sorrow because Superman had been among the ones who had paid with their lives.

    "I don't understand," Clark said, feeling confused and overwhelmed as he tried to make sense of it all. These people were endowed with special gifts that gave them an edge over their opponents, that let them become the heroes they'd been and she had defeated them all? "How could she win against you? Lois- she doesn't have powers, does she? Did she become meteor infected, is that what caused this?"

    "No, her only power is knowledge- arguably the most dangerous one of all," Oliver said bitterly.

    "How could she know enough about all of you to defeat you?" Clark's brow furrowed. His weakness to Kryptonite was one that only those close to him or other heroes knew about, and he knew that the others guarded their own vulnerabilities just as zealously. "Was she involved with the League?"

    The room went quiet again, each refusing to tell him that it was her connection to him that had allowed her a foothold into a world that she never would have had without it. Victor said quietly, "In a manner of speaking."

    Clark felt the tension in their uneasy glances to each other and the way they avoided his eyes. It was the same as it had been before they had told him about Lois. There was something else they were keeping from him, he was sure of it. His anger rose at their evasion and he wanted to demand the truth. But he knew if he did, Oliver would pull him from this mission and he needed to see this through. He had to know for himself what was going on. Right now he needed that more than anything else. He swallowed back his anger and forced his voice to be calm as he asked, "When do we go in?"

    "Tonight," Victor said. "We've been planning this for weeks. We had thought we had another month to find out more, but her attack on the moon base changes things. We're hoping that she thinks she's gotten most of us, but her followers are everywhere. And since we're still patrolling, it's only a matter of time before someone sees us. We need to make a preemptive strike before she has a chance to tighten security."

    Bart tapped lightly on the side of the table and two sets of blue prints came up. "The tunnels under LexCorp are our best way in. They lead from the Daily Planet straight into LexCorp."

    "How do you know they're there?" Clark asked. He caught the ripple that moved around the table as they shot looks at each other. This time he didn't keep quiet. "What?"

    Finally, J'onn spoke, "We have an informant on the inside, someone from the Empress's inner circle who has been helping us."

    "Who is it?"

    Kara was the one who answered him, "Lex Luthor."

    "What?" Clark exclaimed in surprise. "He's the person that you trust?"

    Zatanna spoke up, "We were as skeptical as you, Clark, but I put him under a truth spell. He wanted to rule the world, all right, but he was completely sincere about wanting to help bring an end to this. So, enemies with a common goal joined together."

    "But that time is over." Oliver's words drew everyone's attention to him.

    "What are you talking about?" Jimmy asked, confused. He had never been a supporter of Lex's, but he had thought that maybe the guy was trying to do the right thing, for once in his life. "I thought that when the info came through last night that you guys were sure it wasn't Lex who sold us out on the moon base."

    "We are," J'onn confirmed but his expression was still serious. He pulled up something else on the table's computer screen. It was a photo of a body laying half in, half out of a dumpster. There was no denying who it was.

    The sight of his former friend, his limbs twisted in unnatural angles, made Clark turn away. He had as much reason to dislike Lex as anyone here, but that hadn't meant he had wanted him dead.

    "Surveillance camera sweeps found it late last night and J'onn went to check it out. It's Lex," Oliver declared. "And as Jimmy mentioned, we received this from him last night."

    He pulled up several different pages, using his fingers to spread them across the screened table top. "Lex made an info drop last night and given what happened later, I can only assume that she caught him or that she was getting ready to."

    Clark's stomach twisted at the thought that it was Lois who had done this, disposing of Lex as if he were nothing more than garbage.

    Victor jumped in, bringing them back to the point of the meeting, "Lex's instructions and data match up what we've been able to find out. He left very specific instructions; so that means that we have a small window of opportunity in which to act. This is your way in." He pointed to a spot on the map. "You start at the Daily Planet, go down to the subbasement where the cafeteria is. There you'll find the tunnel that connects to LexCorp."

    "The Daily Planet," Clark mused to himself, wondering what was left of the place he had spent so much time in. For a moment, he could almost smell the mix of strong coffee, maple doughnuts, and Lois's perfume.

    "Clark," Zatanna broke into his thoughts, the expression on her face worried. "Are you going to be able to do this? Because we need you here, not in the past."

    "Zee's right," Kara agreed, earning a surprised look from everyone. "If you're going to do this, then, for tonight at least, you have to pretend this is a whole new world. Because it is, and it's a dangerous one, too. If you can't focus, not only will you get yourself killed, you'll get Bart killed, too."

    Clark's eyes darted to his friend, who stared resolutely back at him. He knew what Kara wasn't saying- that Bart wouldn't leave his side, no matter what the cost. He nodded determinedly. "I'm in."

    Oliver sighed, hiding his relief. Then he smiled. "Then here's the plan."

    * * * *

    Clark stood on the darkened street, waiting to see if Lois would come, as she had before. He breathed out a sigh of relief as he spied her walking toward the cafe.

    She was here.

    He took a step further into the shadows as she approached in a soft white jacket, watching as she sat at one of the outdoor tables and flashed the waitress a nervous smile as she gave her order. As she tilted her head, he knew that she was waiting for him.

    His eyes went in the opposite direction to further down the street he had come from, where a dim street light caught its reflection on an odd looking silver machine. Jimmy stood beside it, nodding his thanks with a smile for all that Clark had done to fix the future, silently letting him know that they could handle it from here on out.

    Clark nodded back, then looked down at the phone in his hand, his text message- an excuse and a lie- on the screen, waiting for him to push send. His thumb hovered over the button, then he slid the phone shut, taking a deep breath. He was ready. He moved slowly across the street, coming to stand beside her. The night breeze lifted the curls of her hair slightly and he inhaled the soft scent of cherries that lingered in the air. His voice was rough as he tried to joke, "Started without me, huh?"

    He watched as she exhaled while carefully sitting the mug down, then turned to look up at him, her eyebrow raising. "Well, I am the one that's been gone. Jet lag gets to a reporter after a while. And I didn't if you were going to make it. You know, being the busy copy boy that you are."

    He smiled down at her her, nodding. "I made it in time, Lois." Then he went to the other chair on the opposite side of the table and sat down. He didn't try to hide everything he felt, no matter how much it confused him. He was just happy to be sitting here with her now. He confided softly, "I really missed you, Lois."

    She smiled back at him, the one that made him feel like he could do anything, be anything, if she would just keep smiling at him like that. He took a chance and reached out for her hand. She wrapped her fingers around his and squeezed them gently.

    "Oh, Clark," she murmured, leaning in, "did you really think it would work?"

    His brow furrowed in confusion. "Think what would work? Lois, what are you talking about?"

    Just then someone screamed and he jumped, turning in his seat toward the sound in time to see people running down the street, being chased by soldiers with flamethrowers as they set everything in their path ablaze. He looked up to see the sky covered in omnipresent clouds as the wind began to blow hard, the black flags with familiar silver symbols on them flapping in the sudden breeze.

    He turned back when he felt Lois's hand pull away from his and found her dressed in black as she had been at the rally. Her eyes were blank as she tilted her head to the side and stared at him. "Did you really think that it would have made a difference if you had showed up, Clark?" She shook her head. "Nothing is going to save me."


    Clark woke with a gasp, staring up at the white ceiling. His breath came in sharp pants as his heart raced inside him. With a groan, he sat up on the side of the bed, putting his head in his hands.

    After the meeting, everyone had gone their own ways to prepare for tonight. At first, Clark had wanted to go out into Metropolis, but Oliver had objected, telling him that going outside during the day would risk exposure and that if any of the soldiers recognized him, he would jeopardize the mission.

    He hadn't agreed, but Kara had pulled him aside, saying that he needed to rest, because if he was going in tonight, he would need to be at his strongest. He had reluctantly nodded, knowing that he could go longer before he would need to sleep, but he couldn't take the chance. Tonight, he had to be at his best, for his and Bart's sake.

    And the prospect of a few hours of oblivion from this world had sounded good as well. So much for that idea, Clark thought sarcastically to himself.

    He pushed his fingertips against his eyes, willing the images of Lois to stop racing across them- the woman who had sat at the desk opposite from him, and the woman who had stared out with empty eyes. But no matter what he did, he couldn't put either of them out of his mind.

    Knowing that he wouldn't be able to sleep anymore, he dressed and walked down the empty hall, back to the main room. A quick glance out the window showed that it was night now, and he felt surprised that he had managed to sleep the day away. Maybe Kara had been right, maybe he had needed the rest more than he had realized.

    Then a thought came to him, and his gaze swung quickly to each door, making sure there was no one else around. He slipped into the war room and stared up at the computer screen, hesitating, unsure if he wanted to take a step further into this madness surrounding him. If he did, would he ever be able to find his way out?

    But the need to know was growing, and he went to the nearest computer, bringing up a search engine and typing in the words 'Lois Lane.' He frowned when numerous articles she had written came up, but nothing dated within the last few years. His hands hovered over the keyboard in his indecision, then he typed in the word 'Empress.'

    Over two million hits were found within seconds and he scanned down the page, finally deciding on the video link that read 'Rise to Power.' He clicked play, watching apprehensively as the screen showed Lois standing at a podium, facing the crowd. Her hair was down, her eyes blank. Her voice was clear as she announced, "A hostile take over of the United States has begun."

    At first, laughter skittered through the crowd, the reporters gathered there clearly thinking it was some sort of hoax, but as she continued to stare unblinking at them, the laughter slowly died out. Then the whispers started, followed by a barrage of questions and jokes, some going as far as to heckle her.

    "Ms. Lane, is there some sort of insider information that you've been made aware of?"

    "Who exactly is planning this take over?"

    "C'mon, Lane, what's the gag?"


    She answered none of them, only turned and nodded to the man beside her. He rolled out a flat screen television. It was turned to a local station from Smallville, showing a woman with a microphone reporting on the Harvest Festival. Lois lifted a remote, pressing a button.

    A low hum started on the screen and the reporter stopped, looking around, confused. Then the screams started. A huge billowed cloud of smoke rushed toward the camera, then the feed was cut.

    Lois calmly turned and face the crowd again, which had gone deadly quiet. Without remorse, she continued, "The town of Smallville no longer exists. Run your tests, take your measurements. The United States has two days to relinquish control to me or another city will meet the same fate. Your world now has a new leader. From this day on, you will live- or die- by the rule of the Empress."

    The screen froze and he turned to see Bart holding a remote.

    Bart wished he could look away from the expression on his friend's face, one that was all too familiar, because it was the same one Clark had worn the first time he had seen this broadcast- disbelief, horror, fear. He wanted to say something, anything to make this moment easier for him, but couldn't find the words. Finally, he dropped the remote and said simply, "Let's go."

    Clark closed his eyes, inhaling deeply, then nodded, following him out of the room. They went down the old elevator and once outside, pulled up their hoods before making their way through more back alleys and streets, taking a maze like path across the city to the Daily Planet.

    As they neared, Clark stopped in the middle of the road, staring up at the globe. The last time he had seen it, it had been a bright shinning light, spinning to catch the eye of anyone who looked up. Now it was stopped, frozen in a single moment. A testament that something had gone so wrong in that moment, and that it was waiting for things to be right once more before it started to move again.

    He felt a sympathetic slap on his shoulder and glanced over to see Bart looking back at him with an understanding expression on his face.

    "Keep your head in the game, amigo."

    Clark nodded and followed him to the back entrance. Once inside they passed by where the printing press was housed in the subbasement of the Planet. They continued on through the cafeteria and into the kitchen, heading for the freezer.

    Bart opened it and went to the back wall, looking for the hinges. He spied the telltale signs that Victor had told him about and pointed at them. "This should be it."

    Clark pried open the panel, revealing the tunnel entrance behind it.

    Bart flashed him a grin, then went inside, clicking on a flashlight, and began following the route from the blue prints that they had each memorized.

    They traveled quietly, not a word passing between them as they neared. Even the air felt different here, Clark thought to himself as he saw the door ahead. They slowed, their footsteps becoming softer. There was a danger here, a danger that made his heart beat faster with trepidation even as his brain demanded answers. Tonight, he would have them.

    Bart looked around the tunnel, this time in appreciation. During the prohibition era, before the Daily Planet had bought the building, it had belonged to a bunch of racketeers, and had housed an old speak easy in the basement. The escape route had been made to ensure they could get away from the law when it came calling. He shook his head in amusement at this, because according to Lex, it came straight out into a women's restroom on the first floor.

    Clark swung the narrow door open and Bart rolled his eyes, stepping over the toilet. The hour was late enough to ensure the room was empty and they made their way to the door.

    "Okay, big guy, time to put those ears to use, what do you hear?" Bart breathed quietly.

    The plan itself was simplistic, but it all hinged on precise timing and faith that Lex Luthor hadn't played triple agent and laid a trap for them.

    Clark nodded, focusing his hearing to listen for the sound of anything on the other side. From the hallway outside he heard two men talking about something, something he didn't understand, the freezer. He held up two fingers, pointing to where each was standing and Bart nodded. Clark opened the door and before the guards could turn around, two blurs had knocked them out.

    The next second they were propped up on the toilets in the adjacent men's room, Bart and Clark shutting the stall doors behind them.

    Bart whispered, "According to the info from Lex, there are at least three cameras in each hallway. It covers each angle and intersection, so they'll notice something's wrong faster if we short them out. Now, Lex's says that the system does a one minute change over at 11:23. When it does, if we speed through the route that he left, we should be able to make to the top floor of the stairwell in that minute, including the time it will take to punch in the codes. The guard change isn't for another six minutes after that. The way that the Tin Man figures it, we've got five minutes of uninterrupted time and that's if nothing goes wrong." He snorted to himself, muttering, "And something always goes wrong. The latest Intel that we have says the device is being developed and kept on the top floor, along with the living quarters of the Empress. We're going to be flying blind, so after we get there, big guy, it's all on you."

    Clark shot a sharp look at Bart when he mentioned Lois, but didn't say anything, merely nodded. He had to keep his head in the now, he reminded himself, remembering exactly what Victor had told them this morning about what would happen when they got there.

    "According to what Lex has mapped out, we should be able to get no more than a couple of people into LexCorp as far as the doorway leading to the top floor, where we believe the machine is located. But, Lex never got any further than that, so from there, we're on our own."

    "Five minutes is not going to be a lot of time to get in and out undetected and search for this thing," Kara protested, her eyes shooting to Clark.

    "True," Victor agreed with a smile, "but we've got the advantage. The energy surges will be going through the building, and that is something that we can track, assuming it isn't encased in lead." He turned to Clark. "All you have to do is use those baby blues to see which of the electrical wires look the newest, because they would have had to install new ones to support this much power. Then just follow the path and it will lead you straight to the machine."


    Standing here now, Clark hoped it would be as simple as Victor had made it out to be.

    Bart looked at his watch, counting down. When he nodded, they both blurred out of the bathroom, making their way along the memorized path; their feet going so fast that they barely touched the floor. They slowed only long enough to put in the codes and then continued on until they reached the doorway leading to the top floor.

    Bart checked his watch and grinned. "Made it with thirty seconds to spare."

    Clark shook his head at his antics and quickly scanned the hallway on the other side and frowned, whispering, "To be the headquarters, this place is almost empty."

    "She's got most of local troops deployed throughout the city right now. And when that happens, security is tightened on the outer edge of the building and at each level. But, since Lex was on the inside, we got past that. So, here is where we have to be extra smooth and extra fast, amigo. We don't know what's going to happen when we get on the other side of this door. Did you find it?"

    Clark nodded; the thick bundle of wires had been easy to locate and trace. He swept his eyes across the hallways again for the security cameras. There weren't as many here and he thought they would be able to avoid them. Bart typed in the override code and when it flashed green, Clark quickly opened the door, blurring down the corridors, Bart right behind him. They stopped at a door that had another keypad beside it.

    "Let's hope Lex's all access pass is going to get us through this one," Bart muttered. He pressed the code at lightening speed and the door slid back. They shot inside, neither of them noticing that a request for a second code in the form of a DNA signature was required and that a four minute countdown appeared when it wasn't given.

    Clark stood just inside the door staring at what lay inside the darkened, cold room and for a wild moment, he was reminded of the room that Lex has set up in the mansion where he had been studying the wrecked Porsche and Clark. But, instead of pieces of evidence and wreckage on display, there was a raised platform with white luminescent tiles in the middle of the room with the only lights in there shinning directly on it to illuminate it. There was a similar panel attached to the ceiling. To the left was an elaborate control console.

    "Bart, I thought you said that she was using the power to build the weapon," he said, his eyebrows furrowed.

    "That's what we'd heard," Bart agreed, looking it over. But this didn't look under construction. This machine looked operational, which made his heart pound harder. "Maybe she was further than we thought, maybe she's completed it."

    "But if it's completed, then why would the power surges be increasing? Bart, what does this do?" Clark asked, his voice echoing slightly in the darkness of the sterile room.

    "I don't know, amigo, but we better see what we can find out." Bart went grimly toward the panel and began working on it. He inserted the scan disc that had the Tin Man's best password override program on it and within a minute, he had access to the operating system. He quickly slipped the scan disc back in his pocket and began searching.

    Since Lex hadn't been able to find anything on any of the other systems, it meant that all of the specs for the machine had to be on this computer, and it was his job to find them and any other information that he could get his hands on that might be useful. Then he'd upload it to a site that Watchtower would be able to get to later. It would be riskier than their usual set up, because there wouldn't be a virus to wipe out their virtual tracks. But they hadn't wanted to take the chance on destroying the computer that held all the information about the machine until they knew more about it. And the team had wanted to make sure they could get away clean from this. His eyes went to Clark. They had to get away clean.

    "Why didn't Lex use the codes?" Clark questioned, breaking the silence.

    Bart looked up at him. "What?"

    "The override codes that Lex had, it got us onto this floor and into the machine. So, why didn't he use them?"

    "Lex was able to test the system to see if it worked without her knowledge, but my guess is that he didn't know what would happen if he used it up here. His goal was to find out as much information as he could without getting caught." He shrugged. "Guess he thought it wasn't worth the risk. In the end, didn't seem to matter much."

    Not wanting to think about the body in the dumpster, Clark turned away, coming closer to the machine. As Bart worked, Clark circled the platform that emitted a slight hum, like the energy from a nuclear plant. But somehow this felt far more advanced, far more dangerous.

    To distract himself, he asked, "So, if this thing is one giant machine, why wasn't Victor on this mission instead of you?"

    Bart snorted and grinned up at him. "Are you doubting my mad computer skills, dude?"

    Clark shot him a wry look. "Do you even own a computer?"

    He shrugged, conceding his point. "Fair enough." Then his expression turned serious as he explained, "We need the information and we need the Tin Man to understand it. We can't risk compromising or losing both. So, he's on the other end, ready to decipher the data we get. Which, I might add, is almost ready for lift off."

    Bart clicked on the upload button just as they heard a voice behind them say, "Well, well, well, what do we have here?"

    They looked back to see Toyman standing there, flanked by two guards, an evil grin on his face. The only changes time had wrought that Clark noticed in the man before him were the added lines to his face and the spikes of gray in his hair, but the manic gleam in his eyes was still the same.

    He rubbed his hands together in glee. "It's been a long time since we've had visitors. Get them," he added harshly to the guards. They rushed at him, but Clark took both of them down before they got anywhere near Bart.

    Winslow froze, fear and contempt mingling on his face. "Well, I see we weren't as successful at eradicating the vermin as we thought. She will be so disappointed."

    Clark took an involuntary step forward at this, but Bart grabbed his elbow, giving him a warning shake of his head.

    The beep of the computer behind them, signaling that it had finished uploading, caught everyone's attention and the smirking smile on his face vanished as he saw the load bar on the screen. With a panicked look, he pressed down on the slim metal band circling his wrist. Metal coverings slid over the door behind them, sealing it shut as the lights dimmed and a siren started to wail.

    "We have to go now!" Bart shouted and together they rushed past Winslow.

    Clark pulled back the metal so that they could escape, but as he did, Winslow reached out for him, catching his hood and tugging it down. Their eyes met.

    "No, it's not possible. You're dead!" Winslow shrieked.

    Clark quickly shoved him out of the way and together they sped through the hallways only to find that both the stairway and elevators were sealed off just as the door had been. As Clark reached up to rip it away, a familiar pain brought him to his knees.

    Bart bent over him, panicked, trying to lift Clark up just as a blow to the head knocked him down.

    Clark looked to where his friend laid beside him unconscious. Then he glared up at Winslow, who held out a chunk of green Kryptonite, smeared with Bart's blood.

    With a smug smile on his face, he told him, "As the Empress always says, 'Never forget your enemies, because when you do, you leave yourself open for them to rise once more.' I shall personally tell her that her husband has returned."

    Clark's eyes shot to his in surprise as Winslow swung forward and the world went black.


    ****


    Slight spoiler here-- (I changed the color to make it a little harder to read in case some of you want to quickly skip over it. Highlight it to read if you do. LOL, do we have spoiler tags here?)

    Next week, Clark meets the Empress!

  12. #72
    Site Groupie MariVe's Avatar
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    Ok, this story has me on edge!!!!!
    How did this happen? is crazy, Lois is suppose to be "pure of heart"... Ollie is hiding something, not only from Clark but from the JL too, and there's something fishy about that Machine.

    Update, I need an update!!!!

  13. #73
    Forum Whiz MegasaurusRex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MariVe View Post
    How did this happen? is crazy, Lois is suppose to be "pure of heart"...

    OMG! I had the same thoughts with the "pure of heart" thing. Honestly, if it were just about any other author, I might sit this one out, luckily (hopefully luckily) I trust Briee, lol, so as much as it pains me to see an evil Lois I am in this for the longhaul *hands Briee her toothbrush* or was the line long run? I'm so terrible with verbatim quotes. . . . you know what I mean, you foxy minx you.

    And can I say, I love the little moment where Bart had drawn on the door. It was just a nice little touch that kept everything from going too dark and down, but it wasn't so over the top that it felt out of place.

  14. #74
    Forum Regular kerthwinner's Avatar
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    This story is really well-written, but it's breaking my heart. Clark's dream was so bittersweet and beautiful, up until it became a nightmare. I really hope there is a credible reason for how this all happened, because I'm also in the 'pure of heart' camp with regards to Lois...

    MegasaurusRex Honestly, if it were just about any other author, I might sit this one out, luckily (hopefully luckily) I trust Briee, lol, so as much as it pains me to see an evil Lois I am in this for the longhaul
    I feel the same way!

    Our heroes are in your hands, Briee... please post more soon!!!

  15. #75
    Incurable Postaholic bigvillir001's Avatar
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    so amazing yet sad for Clark/Lois that dream man he must try and do what he can to fix in this time and possible stopping from happing in his own

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