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  1. #1
    Mod of Steel Vergon6's Avatar
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    FLUX (Season 12)

    Smallville-"Flux"


    Writer’s note: I originally started writing this a few years ago but writing doesn’t come to me as easy as it used to. In fact, I haven’t written anything past part of Act III. Given that it’s May 7 today, it somehow felt right to start posting (you will see why).

    The events take place during May 2013, around
    9 months following the events of the Smallville Season 11 comic finale “Continuity”. Almost 2 years since the events of “Finale”. Inspired by the Season 8 fanfic “Surprise” by Reeve_290 right here on the Kryptonsite Forums years ago. No need to read the Season 8 fanfic (I was the head writer) but it is used after the fact as part of the multiverse that Clark came into contact in the final issues of the Season 11 comic. Knowledge of the Season 11 comic, especially “Haunted”, “Olympus”, “Chaos” and “Continuity” storylines would be helpful. Several references to past episodes throughout the series. The restoration of the universe after the Monitors’ attack may have caused some unforeseen side effects causing the world to diverge from the future flashes in “Salvation” and “Finale”. Senator Delaney is inspired by Dana Delany & her portrayal of Lois on Superman: The Animated Series.

    Clark walked briskly to keep up with his interviewee, Senator Laura Delaney across the Met U campus. It had been quite a while since he had been on campus. Although, he imagined it had been considerably longer for his counterpart.

    “So what brings Senator Delaney back to Metropolis?” He wondered.

    “I guess you could say it's a goodwill tour of sorts,” she replied.

    “Certainly it isn't just to take in the sites,” he pondered. “I would say ummm….that um it would was about your bid for re-election but your campaign has been non…almost non-existent until now.” Clark fidgeted and adjusted glasses, trying to keep up appearances.

    Senator Delaney peered at him, almost in disbelief. “I wanted to re-situate myself, remind me of where I came from.”

    “I read that you studied here at Met U,” he noted, “that you did a double major in Political Science and Law.”

    “What my bios sometimes gloss over is that I spent a year at your old stomping grounds, Smallville High.”

    Clark was surprised as it didn't come up on his search on the Senator.

    “Believe it or not, I even wrote for The Torch,” she added. “No Wall of Weird in those days. Though we heard rumors of skinwalkers and superhumans roaming around Smallville and Metropolis but I never put much stock in it.”

    Clark smiled knowingly. “I suppose Smallville has always been a lightning rod for the weird and unexplained, even before the first meteor shower.”

    “So what drew you to politics?” he asked.

    A smile curled on Delaney’s lips. “This might be dating me a little bit, but Watergate.”

    “It got me engaged in politics in a way my parents prodding never could. I realized that I just didn't want to report about the news, I wanted to be part of the solution.”

    The Senator looked around at the campus before her, glancing at all the young students around them.

    “I was fresh faced and optimistic like so many of these students. I thought I could repair my party from the inside but I fooled myself,” Laura admitted.

    Clark adjusted his glasses. “If I did….didn't know better, I would say you are about to announce you are leaving politics.”

    “You know Kent, you may fool others with the slouching and the nervousness, but you can't fool me,” Delaney proclaimed. “You’re keeping a secret that you don't want others to know about.”

    Clark was taken aback. “What…what are you talking about?”

    “Behind those glasses is a pretty perceptive guy and a great reporter in the making,” she explained. “Though you might want to tone down the bumbling reporter act a little. You're calling attention to yourself more than you realize.”

    Clark pondered his companion’s observation for a moment. “Let me give you a piece of advice too, don't give up on politics. We need more people like you on Capitol Hill.”

    “We do, your mother. She is doing more good than I have lately,” the Senator admitted. “The whole system is damaged and I'm...tired of fighting.”

    “You don't give yourself enough credit,” Clark insisted.

    Laura looked around again at all the students on campus. “I have had my day. I think it's time to give a new generation their time. Who knows, maybe one of these kids will be your next Senator.”

    Clark adjusted his glasses. “What would you even do?”

    “Write a book, become a pundit, maybe even go back to journalism,” the Senator answered.

    “That would make life…interesting,” he mused.

    “Well I gotta run Kent.”

    “Right…the ribbon cutting for the World’s Fair,” Clark remembered.

    “Give Lane my best. Hopefully next time we meet, she won't be delayed by a plane mishap.”

    Clark smiled. “Will do. She appreciated your vote of confidence in her Chief of Staff days.”

    “Who knows, maybe we’ll run into each other in the press gallery,” Laura began.

    “See you around... Smallville,” she added with a wink.

    Clark opened his mouth to say something but promptly closed it when surprise turned to realization. Lois, either as chief of staff or as a reporter had let her pet name for him slip.

    He shook his head, laughing. “So long, Senator.”

    ****************

    It was an unusually brisk May night, but instead of being in the warm comfort of a family home, a young boy, 12 years old, was making his way through a foreboding graveyard. He had the distinct feeling he was being watched, but every time he turned around, there was no one there.

    He tried to shake off that feeling...the anxiety as he finally stopped. In the pale moonlight, he could barely see the name carved into the tombstone that lay before him-TASHA MARCUS.

    Taking a deep breath, Christopher lifted his right arm. Bright yellow and white energy swirled around his arm as he pointed it towards Tasha's grave.

    "Isn't it a little cold to be skulking around a cemetery, Christopher?" a man's voice suddenly called out, startling the pre-teen. The shock caused the energy coming from Chris' arm to veer off course from its target, disappearing into the distance.

    Spinning around on the balls of his feet, the youngster came face to face with a man dressed in a charcoal grey overcoat. He had two very distinct features, a shiny bald head and a black glove on his left hand. The child knew he had seen him somewhere but didn't yet realize the man was in fact Lex Luthor. He was accompanied by a young woman with raven hair and a big smile.

    "How....how do you know my name?" the bewildered child asked.

    "I know all about you Christopher," Lex replied cryptically. "How your parents died in the second meteor shower. How every child at your hospital was miraculously saved after they saw a bright yellow glow coming from your bed.”

    "I also know that four years ago, you brought back a young father. But he felt lost...and he re-enlisted in the army...only to die again half a world away."

    The child lowered his head. "I only wanted to help."

    "I know you did," Luthor began, "but sometimes the things we do have unintended consequences."

    "Maybe this time it will be different," the boy offered, looking back longingly at Tasha's tombstone. "She's the only one that ever cared."

    “There’s no telling how Miss Marcus would handle waking up without proper guidance."

    "Before you can help her, let me help you, guide you,” Lex added.

    "Why? How?"

    "Because we share a common bond. Both our lives were changed forever when a meteor shower hit Smallville," Luthor replied.

    "You may have also heard I have quite the way with people with powers," he continued with a mischievous grin on his face.

    Chris' eyes lit up. "You mean you were the man on the news with Superman and the Justice League!?!?" He beamed. "Are you friends with them....Mr...Luthor.?"

    "Well...we’re on speaking terms," Luthor replied coyly. "Mr. Luthor is what my employees call me but my friends call me Lex."

    Kneeling down, he reached out to the boy with his good hand. "I would like you to consider me a friend."

    "Really?"

    "Really," Lex affirmed.

    With that Chris grasped Lex's outstretched hand, believing he had made a friend close to the heroes he admired.

    Lex motioned to his assistant, Kitty to wrap a blanket around Chris. He stood up. "Now let's get you into a warm bed for tonight. It's cold out here."

    "Saving the world can wait for another night."

    With that, the pair exited the cemetery with Lex's assistant Kitty.

    Elsewhere in the cemetery, far from their intended target, the swirling strands of yellow energy finally hit a new mark in the ground.

    ************
    Saving the world from reboot or annihilation was not enough to quell the danger in Metropolis. Home sweet home had not been so sweet or peaceful for Clark in recent weeks either...in the brief moments he could rest.

    While Lois was more than good company, Clark had been having weird and confusing dreams as of late. Ones that had began sporadically after his Earth had been restored.

    He was bombarded by a jumble of images and sounds, some he recognized and some he clearly did not. Dr. Fate's words from a few years ago ringed in his ears once again “Your fate is utterly binding.”

    Images of his almost forgotten dream before the final Earthly showdown with Zod flashed in his head. His apparent super save of a plane holding a 2013 World's Fair banner...Lois looking up to the sky with pride.

    Then he was back at the brink of being wiped out by the blue bleed during the Crisis. His life flashing before his eyes.

    Then images of another world: Lois in awe as Clark super leaps off the Daily Planet rooftop disguised in a Green Arrow-esque red and blue costume. Oliver and Dinah Lance sharing a moment at Queen Tower. Tess and Lex trading blows with katanas before Lex stabs her in the heart. Superman fighting for his life against Doomsday. Lois and Clark kissing on the Daily Planet rooftop. Chloe crying over Jimmy as they are enveloped in her healing power. Chloe viewing the record of a 9 year old metahuman’s records at the Isis Foundation. Jimmy walking into Isis to see Chloe with the same child playing Xbox. She notes “We’ve...got a little visitor...”

    Suddenly Clark awoke from his slumber. Lois groaned, roused out of sleep as well.

    “What is it? Are you still having those dreams?” She barely managed, sleepy.

    Clark nodded. “I…I don't what it all means.”

    “Maybe some fresh air will clear the cobwebs,” she suggested

    “Are you sure Lois? I don't want to leave…,” he began.

    “Go Smallville,” she interjected. “We both know patrolling is the only thing that will help right now.”

    He nodded in agreement. Clark cupped Lois’ cheek and kissed her lips softly. “I won't be long.”

    Lois shook her head and slunk sleepily back into bed.

    ****************

    A young man plodded slowly through the city. Although to the casual observer, he would barely be perceptible as a man. He was covered in dirt, bloody and bruised, and his clothes tattered. In a daze, he marched on, not quite sure where he was or even who he was. He felt like the walking dead, which was not far off.

    It was the dead of night, maybe 4 am. Looking around, the man realized that the area was deserted. Things slowly started to look familiar when he spotted a phone booth at Fourth and Main.

    Reaching the phone booth, he tried to search in desperation for loose change. Clicking the receiver button down a few times finally dispensed some unused change. Wincing he slowly managed to dial the first number that popped into his head

    The receiver emitted a disappointing series of beeps. “We’re sorry the number you have dialed is no longer in service. This is a recording.”

    He barely managed a sigh, before retrieving the spare change and dialing another number. The phone spit back the same refrain. “We’re sorry the number you have dialed is no longer in service. This is a recording.”

    The man slammed down the receiver in frustration, but it didn't quite make the landing and the phone fell off the hook. His senses overwhelmed, he didn't even notice the dial tone whaling incessantly.

    His throat sore, the man tried to call out. “Help...,” he barely managed, as he began to clutch his stomach in pain.

    “Help!” He screamed, his voice hoarse.

    Stumbling further out on the street, he felt dizzy and saw stars in eyes.

    “Somebody save…,” he started, before falling unconscious and towards the ground…

    Woosh! Superman arrived just in time to catch the man. The impact caused some dirt to fly off in every direction. Suddenly a stray strand of yellow energy healed the wounds on the man’s face, revealing more of his features.

    In that moment, Superman’s eyes widened as he realized he recognized the young man. “Oh my god…”

    It was a face he hadn't seen in years…not on this Earth anyways.

    “Jimmy?!?!?!”

    CUT TO CREDITS
    Last edited by Vergon6; 05-06-2021 at 10:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Mod of Steel Vergon6's Avatar
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    ACT I

    Clark stared intently at the man now laying on the couch in his Metropolis apartment, the friend he saw buried in September 2009. While the priest had identified him as Henry James Olsen, to Clark he would always be Jimmy.

    Clark always felt responsible for Jimmy’s death at the hands of a vengeful Davis Bloome. Chloe, Oliver, Dinah, Bart, and A.C. had played their part too. At the time, he blamed himself for having too much faith in humanity and he turned his back for a time on that side of himself. But the truth was that humanity had a great capacity for both good and evil.

    While he and the others played a part, he had wrongly said a human had killed Jimmy. Black Kryptonite or not, Davis was never truly human. He was a camouflage for Doomsday to inhabit while he evolved. Left alone there would have been eventually no Davis, only Doomsday. Human or not, Davis was a killer just the same.

    Maybe Clark should have put Davis in the Phantom Zone. Then again Doomsday may have emerged even stronger one day, having murdered half of the corporeal prisoners in the Zone. It was a no-win scenario, but the series of events that did take place led to Jimmy’s demise.

    Now, Clark was facing the impossible, the potential of a second chance for Jimmy. He peered at Jimmy’s bruised and bloody body, looking for signs of life. Since he heard his friend’s cry for help, Jimmy had remained unconscious, more or less.

    Feverish, Jimmy tossed and turned. He only had said one word in earnest since he had been laid down on Lois and Clark's couch - “Chloe”.

    The irony of Jimmy being in the same position as Clark had been several years ago – feverish on a couch and muttering his first love’s name – was not lost on him. Clark knew how much Chloe meant to Jimmy despite their turbulent relationship. While Chloe seemed to be a touchstone for Jimmy, his friend was in for a world of heartache.

    He turned to see Lois continuously pacing, cellphone in hand.

    “I’m trying to get in touch with my cousin, Chloe Sullivan,” she began, sounding irritated. “Of course I know it's the middle of the night. This is important.”

    She stopped in her tracks. “What do you mean she is unreachable?”

    Lois was incensed. “On assignment? What kind of organization puts the mother of a 9 month old baby to work in the middle of the night? I would have thought the reckless behavior at the D.E.O. would have gone the way of the dinosaur like Director Bones.”

    The intrepid reporter resumed her pacing. “Look, you're the third person I have talked to tonight. Either get me in touch with Chloe or not even an Amazonian princess is gonna stop me from personally coming to D.C. and re-introducing Steve Trevor’s chiseled cheekbones to my fist.”

    Lois stopped in her tracks again. “A message? You want me to a leave a message?” The answer appeared to be yes despite Lois’ disagreeable tone.

    “Fine. Tell her the love….former love of her life,” Lois corrected herself, “….Jimmy Olsen is ALIVE.”

    With that she hung up her cellphone. She turned to Clark. “You know it's time like these that I wish we had….”

    “One of those old home phones so you could slam the receiver down?” Clark finished the thought. She shook her head.

    “I appreciate the frustration Lois, but weren't you a little harsh with them?” Clark wondered.

    “Harsh?” Lois began, almost incredulous, than she thought of better of it. “Maybe a little…but this is literally a matter of life and death. I know Chloe has Oliver and the baby now…but he needs her.”

    Clark hugged Lois tightly. “I know. Somehow Chloe will get the message. Until then, we need to be there for Jimmy.”

    He pulled it out his phone as it beeped. “Hello…yeah I will buzz you up.”

    Moments later there was a knock on the door. Clark opened it to reveal Emil Hamilton, with a large hard case in hand. “It's good of you to come Emil, I know it's early.”

    “Nonsense, I had a late shift at the hospital and was catching up on some light reading on the latest advances in particle physics when you called,” Emil assured him. “I was reading this fascinating article by Harrison Wells that...”

    “You call that light reading?” Lois asked, interjecting. “I would hate to see what you consider a tough read.”

    “Indeed,” the ever restrained Doctor replied.

    “While I appreciate you giving me a call, I still think it would've been best to bring Mr. Olsen to S.T.A.R. Labs,” he continued.

    “I didn't want him to wake up scared, in unfamiliar surroundings,” Clark explained.

    “No more unfamiliar than your apartment. This isn't exactly the Kent Farm, Clark.”

    “True, but much more warm and welcoming than a spartan and sterile lab,” Kent offered.

    Emil shook his head in agreement. “I can't disagree with that but I can only do so much here. Once he is well enough we will have to bring him to the lab.”

    Lois and Clark nodded in agreement.

    “I see you left Mr. Olsen more or less in the state he was I when you found him as I requested,” Emil noted, as he looked upon Jimmy, who was still battered and bruised, covered in dirt.

    Dr. Hamilton, took out a small scanner. As it beeped and hummed, Emil continued, “You said that you found him Downtown?”

    “Yes, right outside the phone booth,” Clark began, turning to Lois, “at Fourth and Main.”

    Lois looked back at him knowingly and swallowed hard. “Our phone booth.”

    Emil looked puzzled.

    “It's the place I would usually go to talk to Clark when he was talking to me as The Blur,” Lane explained.

    “I see,” Dr. Hamilton continued. “Based on my initial scans and the damage to his feet, I would say Mr. Olsen travelled some distance, possibly in a wooded area, before reaching his destination.”

    Emil continued his scans. “I would need to look at my data in the lab to be sure, but it appears that the fatal wounds he suffered at the hands of Davis Bloome are completely gone.”

    “We’re sure this is our Jimmy and not a clone or one from another Earth?”Lois wondered, trying to exhaust all possibilities. Although every instinct told her it was their Jimmy.

    “He appears to be from our Earth. His fingerprints match those on file. As for a clone, I won't know that for sure until I'm at the lab.”

    Suddenly the scanner started beeping like crazy. A yellow strand of energy surrounded a cut on Jimmy’s arm. Within seconds the wound had disappeared and the energy dissipated.

    “Fascinating,” Dr. Hamilton noted. “Like you said on the phone, the healing process is not unlike your own after exposure to sunlight. According to these readings, Jimmy’s body is healing rapidly at a cellular level.”

    Clark’s thoughts went back his dream. “My visions of the other world...Chloe still had her powers. Could there be someone with the same powers as her out there?”

    “When Chloe healed me, I was dead for maybe a minute tops, not years,” Lois pointed out.

    Even now the thought of it unnerved Lois. At the time it happened at Reeves Dam, she had been kept in the dark about how she survived. It was only years later she found out the truth. Although she always had her suspicions.

    “Lois is right Clark, this is something different. Whoever or whatever did this has greater power than Chloe ever had.”

    Emil continued his examination. “There are significantly large cuts and welts on both his hands. The deepness and angles of the cuts suggest something other than bushes or thorns.”

    Clark's eyes finally picked up on something he didn't see before. He focused his microvision on Jimmy’s fingertips. “Emil, do you see this? There is something under his fingernails.”

    Dr. Hamilton peered at Jimmy’s fingers as he put on some latex gloves and pulled out tweezers. He carefully removed a tiny shard of wood from underneath Jimmy’s left middle finger.

    “Good eyes Clark,” Emil noted.

    Emil scanned the wood shard. “Hmm…it appears to be a composite of stained cherry wood and pine.”

    Lois’ heart sank, along with everyone else’s. “Wait….wasn't that what Jimmy’s….,” she started, but couldn't finish.

    “Of course, why didn't I think...,” Clark muttered, before super speeding away.

    Woosh! Clark reappeared moments later, looking somber and unsettled. “I don't know how it's possible but…,” he began, hesitating at the thought of it.

    “…it appears Jimmy clawed his way out of his own grave.”

    ***
    Lex walked into the Luthor Mansion’s study to see his visitor engrossed in a Warrior Angel comic book. He found the sight vaguely familiar, a sense memory of something long forgotten thanks to his Dear Ole Sis. Whether this feeling was associated with his own childhood or another child he could not say.

    “Good Morning Chris,” Lex greeted him.

    “Lex!” the boy cheerfully replied. Chris bolted out of his chair to hug Lex, which took his host by surprise, before releasing him. His enthusiasm matched that of a child half his age for a parent. Without a consistent parental figure in his life, Chris had paradoxically both grown up too fast and too slow.

    “I trust you enjoyed your breakfast.”

    Chris nodded in agreement.

    “My chef tells me that this is the first time he ever has got an order for sunny side up eggs and dinosaur shaped chicken fingers for breakfast,” Lex began. “Let alone three helpings.”

    Chris looked down in embarrassment for a moment. “I know it's kind of weird, but I was hungry and it's been so long since I had either….I didn't know when I would eat again..”

    “No need to apologize,” Lex responded. “You're a special boy and you don't need to explain yourself to anyone.”

    The boy once more clutched Lex tightly. “Thanks Lex,” he murmured.

    Lex turned his attention to the comic Chris had been reading and picked it up. “I see you have taken me up on my offer to read from my collection.”

    Chris nodded. “I tried to be careful, I didn't want to wrinkle your comics.”

    “Don't worry about it. From what I understand, I have two copies of each comic. One for collecting and one for reading.”

    Chris and Lex sat down on matching leather chairs.

    “Do you still read them?”

    “Yes…,” Lex replied. “As you may have heard I lost my memory awhile back….”

    “I'm sorry Lex.” Chris grasped Lex’s hand again over the coffee table.

    “It's not your fault.You can thank my sister for that gift,” Lex assured him.

    “Why would your own sister do that?” Chris wondered.

    “A misguided attempt to save me,” Lex replied.

    “Save you from what?”

    “From myself or so she said. Tess wasn't well…and after it was done…she took her own life.” Lex was lying through his teeth. Even though he had no memory of murdering Tess, he saw the video footage before erasing it and Tess had recounted her death to him while trapped inside his head.

    “Since I lost my memories, I’ve tried reading anything and everything in my collection, to try to feel like myself again. It seems I still have an affinity for Warrior Angel, even without the memories.”

    Lex picked up the comic in front of him. “Warrior Angel #147, this is a good one, even if critics and readers didn't agree at the time.”

    “Why didn't like they it?” the young guest asked.

    “Well, I don't want to give too much away but Deviculus loses his memory and…”

    “Warrior Angel tries to bring him back to light,” Chris offered, having started reading the comic.

    “Right. Critics maligned the arc for turning Deviculus into sort of a ‘lethal protector’,” Lex continued. “People were so used to seeing him as a one-dimensional villain. They weren’t ready to see him as something more…..”

    “What?”

    “Human,” Lex began. “When Deviculus loses his memory, he feels adrift. As much as he tries to go on without his memories, he always feels something missing and never truly feels whole until he gets his memories back.”

    “Is that how you feel Lex? That something is missing?” Chris asked.

    “Yes, that's why I really connected with this story,” Lex explained.

    “What if I could make you whole again?” His young companion asked.

    “I…I really don't think that's a good idea,” Lex said, feigning hesitancy.

    “Please Lex, you've already done so much for me,” Chris pleaded. “Let me do this for you.”

    “I appreciate that, but we’re not even sure if it will work.”

    “Please, let me try,” his young companion pleaded again.

    Lex finally relenting, nodded in agreement. White and yellow strands of energy emanated from Chris’ hands as he raised them. The energy enveloped Lex’s head as the boy concentrated.

    Moments later, the energy dissipated. “Do you feel any different?” Chris asked.

    Lex sighed. “No, it didn't work. I can't remember anything”

    Chris shared his disappointment. “I'm sorry Lex. I don't know what to say..”

    Lex grasped Chris’ hand for a moment. “It's okay. You tried, that's all that matters. We knew your powers might not work that way.”

    Getting up from the table, Luthor looked down on his guest “Rest for now and then get dressed,” Lex added, looking around the study. “I will give you the grand tour.”

    The smile finally returned to Chris’ face. “Sounds great!”

    Exiting the study, Lex met up with Kitty who had been standing just outside.

    Kitty rubbed Lex’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry Lex, I really thought that was going to work.”

    Lex quickly shrugged her touch off dismissively. “It was a calculated risk. It didn't pay off. He can still be of use to us. We will just have to wait for the right opportunity to test his powers again and see what he is really made of.”

    ***

    Lois rushed into the Daily Planet basement, agitated as maintenance at the front door had prevented her from accessing the building on the first floor. She impatiently pressed the elevator button repeatedly.

    “Come on.”

    While waiting for the elevator, she heard a familiar voice call out to her. “Miss Lane, Miss Lane!”

    She didn’t really have time to chat but felt obliged to respond as she turned around to see her former intern. “Jeff, what can I do for you?”

    “I wanted to talk you about a story idea I had,” Jeff said excitedly.

    Finally the elevator dinged as the doors slid open.

    “Let’s walk and talk,” Lois replied, ushering Jeff inside the elevator.

    “So what's the story?” She asked while pressing the button for her floor.

    “It's a public interest story.”

    “I don't do public interest stories. My days of covering kitten adoption fairs are ancient history,” Lane rebuked him.

    “No, no it's my story,” Jeff explained as the elevator doors opened again.

    He turned to face as Lois he slowly backpedaled down the hall. “Picture it: a Day in the Life of a Reporter - A Cub Reporter’s perspective. I switch places with Mr. Kent for a few days, and work as your partner.”

    “I’m not sure Clark is going to be too keen on returning to the basement,” Lois observed.

    “I'm sure he could use the break from the grind. Every time I see him he is falling all over himself,” Jeff countered. “It will be like old times.”

    As they entered her office, a mischievous grin formed on Lois’ face as an idea popped into her head. “Old times huh...sure why not. But we do it when I say so.”

    She started to pack up her work laptop. “Now is not a good time. Maybe in a few days. Now out, I got places to be.”

    “Thanks Miss Lane, you won't regret it!” Jeff gleefully exclaimed, exiting.

    ***

    “Chief,” Jeff added acknowledging his new boss, Perry White.

    “Mr. Hage, I thought I told you never to call me Chief,” Perry responded, annoyed.

    Jeff became flustered. “Yes…yes of course. Sorry Chi---I mean Mr. White.”

    “Relax, Mr. Hage,” Perry responded. Jeff nodded and made a quick exit.

    ***

    “Got places to be other than here, Miss Lane?” Perry observed as he entered the Lois and Clark’s office moments later. “I hope you’re not picking up your partner’s habit of quick exits.”

    “I'm sorry Perry, something has come up,” Lois apologized. “I figured I could work from home.”

    “Miss Lane, I have may have only been your Editor for 6 months, but I wasn't born yesterday,” he challenged her. “You’re going to have to do a lot better than that.”

    “And you’ve known me a lot longer than that. You trusted and believed in me enough to let me work with you on a story, to invite me to work with you in Africa. So trust me now that I'm working on something important and I’llexplain when I can.”

    Perry relented. “You’re off the hook, this time.”

    “As long as your taking work home, I have a new story for you and Mr. Kent,” Perry said as he handed Lois a file.

    “A new hacktivist group has claimed responsibility for the disruptions in satellite networks worldwide overnight. Companies and governments are still scrambling to combat the virus that caused the whole thing.”

    Lois glanced at the file. “What do a bunch of Anonymous-wannabes want with satellite networks? What’s their end game?”

    “That's what I need you to find out,” Perry explained. “Happy Hunting, Lois.”

    As Perry exited, Lois packed up the file in her bag and headed out.



    “I've lost so much. The only thing I really miss is you,” Chloe admitted in earnest.

    Bathed in the dim sunlight shining through the stained glass window, Jimmy finally felt at peace with the woman he loved again. “Well, now you found me again.”

    Jimmy pulled Chloe in and passionately kissed her.

    Chloe pulled back for a moment, resting her head against his. “I'm so sorry I left, Jimmy, but I promise -- I never left you.”

    Jimmy chuckled softly, and they kissed again.

    Suddenly his body felt on fire, as pain radiated from all sides. Gasping for air, a metal rod erupted through his abdomen.

    Shocked, Chloe called out his name, but it wasn't her voice at all but a man’s. “Jimmy?”

    Jimmy gasped for breath again as he awoke disorientated and confused in unfamiliar surroundings. His vision blurry as the source of the voice walked towards him.

    Jimmy’s vision began to clear as the man knelt over him. It appeared to be Clark Kent…with glasses?!?!

    Clark laid his hand on Jimmy’s shoulder. “It’s okay Jimmy,” Clark assured him.

    “You're safe now.”

    ACT BREAK

  3. #3
    Mod of Steel Vergon6's Avatar
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    ACT II

    Jimmy squinted his eyes, still trying to process everything. He had to be sure he was seeing what he thought he was seeing. "CK, is that you?"

    Clark adjusted his glasses. "Yeah, it's me, Jimmy."

    Jimmy tried to slowly get up, wincing. "Woah, woah take it easy." Clark added, trying to brace his friend for support.

    "Clark's right, Mr. Olsen, you've just been through an incredible trauma," Emil offered.

    Jimmy peered at the man, who looked vaguely familiar and then looked back down at his tattered clothing, which were speckled with dirt. "What…what happened?"

    "You were found downtown, collapsed on the street," Clark says explained. "What do you remember?"

    "It's kind of foggy. The last thing I really remember is being in the loft with Chloe…I think the Red-Blue Blur asked me to help her and…Davis," Jimmy started, furrowing his brow trying remember more.

    Clark and Emil exchange glances, both noting that Jimmy seemed to not remember for the moment that Clark and the Blur were one in the same.

    Suddenly Jimmy's face turned white as a sheet as more memories started coming back to him. The nightmare he just woke up from was reality.

    "Oh my god Chloe. Davis attacked us. He was about to…Clark…is Chloe okay?"

    "Yes. Chloe's fine. You saved her," Clark assured his friend. "Davis snapped but he isn't a threat anymore."

    A wave of relief washed over Jimmy, but relief soon turned to confusion as he felt his abdomen and lifted up his dirty shirt.

    "Chloe might be okay but how am I? Davis rammed a metal rod through my gut. There was so much blood. I got so cold so fast. I felt the life drain out of me and it went dark. I should have died…"

    Clark took a deep breath. "This may be hard to accept but you did die."

    Jimmy sat there shocked in disbelief. "Then how am I here, alive without the gaping wound that killed me?"

    "We are still trying to figure that out. Whoever or whatever is responsible for bringing you back remains a mystery," Emil offered. "While we search for answers, we just want to make sure you're okay. Is there anything else you remember?"

    Jimmy sighed, happy to be alive but still so confused. "Just bits and pieces, sensations more than anything. Feeling closed in, dizzy, I couldn’t breath."

    He still couldn’t shake the felling they had met. "Don’t I know you from somewhere?"

    Emil realized they had met. "Oh yes. I'm Dr. Hamilton. We met when you broke the Red-Blue Blur Story. You and Mr. Troupe interviewed me when I was working as an adjunct Professor at Met U."

    Jimmy nodded. "A Professor and a Doctor, who still makes house calls, I'm impressed. Speaking of houses, what is this place?"

    "It's my apartment actually," Clark admitted.

    "Yours? I thought you still lived at the Kent Farm."

    Not wanting to rush Jimmy or overwhelm him, Clark decided to shift gears. "We better get you cleaned up, we can talk more about this later, after we get you into some clean clothes."

    Slowly standing up, something suddenly came back to Jimmy. "I remember…Chloe, I tried to call her, even the Isis Foundation but the numbers were disconnected. I don't get it."

    Clark paused for a moment, not sure how to delicately explain. "Chloe isn't living in Metropolis anymore. The Isis Foundation is shut down. Those numbers haven't been used in years."

    "Years?!" Jimmy exclaimed. "I thought it had been a couple of days or maybe weeks, but years?"

    "It is going to take a lot of time to explain," Clark responded.

    "What's the date?" Jimmy asked, again overwhelmed and confused.

    Clark took a deep breath before delivering the news. "It's May 7, 2013. You died over 3 and 1/2 years ago."

    ******

    As Lois approached the coffee shop near her apartment, she spotted Tess emerging from a nearby alley.

    “Thanks for meeting me. How did you get here so fast?”

    “I flew,” Tess stated, smirking.

    “Of course. I'm not sure if I will ever get use to that,” Lois admitted, thinking about Tess’ newish hero identity as Red Tornado. “Any luck getting access to Watchtower?”

    “No, the virus that spread through the satellite system has been quarantined by Watchtower but the onboard computers are preventing me from beaming up there until there is no chance my program or the station being compromised.”

    “Apparently a group calling themselves The Black Hand is claiming responsibility,” Lois noted.

    “So I heard.”

    “What are we dealing with? Certainly not that guy the Green Lantern Corps tussled with a while back,” Lois offered.

    “I would say not. There are few different groups that were known by that moniker a century or so ago. Everything from extortionists in the Italian Mafia to a Serbian secret society.”

    “Seems a bit of stretch to connect this group to any of those, but who knows. I will keep my ear to the ground."

    “I will too. I did manage to remotely initiate a level 1 diagnostic on Watchtower. Once I get the all clear, I will go up and take a look. Try to figure out what happened last night with Jimmy and perhaps clues to The Black Hand mystery.”

    “Sounds good. I'll try to reach out to my police contacts to see if they've heard anything. For all we know, this could be the work of any number of not-so-friendly neighborhood super villains." Lois rubbed her temples, starting to feel the lack of sleep catching up to her. She hadn't rested since Jimmy had been discovered earlier that morning.

    "You okay?" Tess peered at her companion and suspected there would've been fairly visible rings under Lois' eyes if weren't for some well placed foundation.

    Lois adjusted herself and tried to shrug it off with a joke. "It's nothing 4 shots of espresso can't cure."

    Tess raised an eyebrow. "You might want to be careful there, Lois. Between that level of caffeine and your usual 5 tablespoons of sugar, you're likely to start moving faster than a speeding bullet or at the very least, start bouncing off the walls."

    Lois rolled her eyes. "Funny Red. You planning on moonlighting as a stand up comedian?"

    "Red?"

    "What, you prefer Tornado?"

    Tess smirked."Tess will do just fine, when I'm off the clock at least."

    "Fair enough. Clark texted me. Jimmy's awake. You coming?"

    "Considering I was his boss and he didn't even give me the courtesy of quitting in person, I doubt he would want to see me," Tess reasoned. "He wouldn't even return my phone calls when I asked him to reconsider."

    Lois nodded with understanding. "I better get back to it. If you change your mind, you can always do a flyby."

    "True. In the meantime, I will patrol until Superman is back in action."

    "So I might have to cancel my gig at The Improv," Tess added light-heartedly.

    Lois smirked at her friend's late response to her earlier volley.

    Tess began to walk back into the shadows, preparing to become Red Tornado once again. She turned back to Lois with her tone decidedly more serious and somewhat ominous. "After all, you never know what surprises this day will still bring."

    ******

    Lex paced frantically up and down the workman's shed that lay a few hundred yards from Luthor Mansion. He had brought the young boy, Chris into his life in hopes the boy could be of some use to him. He had suffered the indignity of amnesia for far too long, but the boy's attempt to rid him of that particular ailment had failed.

    Did the boy's powers actually extend to healing of the mind? Maybe Chris's powers were on the fritz? Or was he clinging onto false hope of a solution to a problem even MetGen, Summerholt and the greatest scientific minds on Earth couldn't solve? Maybe the child's powers were disappearing.

    There was certainly evidence to suggest the boy did have the ability to create life from death. That kind of power if controlled by the right person could have endless possibilities. Anyone resurrected would be sure forever indebted to him, he thought.

    Lex stopped in his tracks as he heard the door open. He shielded his eyes as the blinding light from the outside came shining in. A shadowy figure walked toward him. "Mr. Luthor is that you?"

    As the man came into view, Lex recognized him as one of his guards. "Yes, it's me Anderson."

    "I came to check on the security camera in here. It seems to be down," Anderson began.

    Lex half heartedly looked at the camera. "Ah yes. I should really get that looked at. That happens from time to time."

    The guard noted Lex seemed preoccupied. "Is everything okay, Sir? Forgive me, but what are you doing all the way out here?"

    "I came here to think. I just spent some time with our little guest. He is a special boy, he could do amazing things in the right hands. I'm just not sure how to make that happen."

    "If anyone can make it happen, it's you Mr. Luthor."

    "You're loyal Anderson. I appreciate loyalty in my men. You were in the military weren't you?"

    Anderson stood at attention like soldier, as if on cue. "Basic Training, Sir. I never did see action. I withdrew to take care of my siblings when my mother died. By the time I was ready to re-enlist, they said I was too old."

    "At ease, Anderson," Lex ordered the guard, causing Anderson to immediately relax.

    "You never got your chance to defend your country, to make a difference. What if I told you I could give you the chance to help us change the world?"

    The would be solider stood at attention again. "I would be honored to help in anyway I can, Sir."

    "Good," Lex replied. Without warning, he pulled out a hand gun with a silencer and aimed it at the guard. Pop! Pop! Pop! Three bullets tore through Anderson's gut in quick succession.

    With a look of shock on his face, Anderson grabbed his abdomen as blood gurgled out of his mouth. He collapsed to the ground, gasping for air and unable to speak.

    Lex approached the man writhing in pain on the ground. "This is the only way I can be sure that the boy's powers are as advertised. If they are, you will be handsomely compensated for your contribution to the greater good and keeping this between us."

    "I wish I could say you are doing this for your country but you will have to settle for doing it for me," Lex added as Anderson drew his final breath.

    ******

    Jimmy was taking the shower to end all showers. He wondered if it was longer than the 'marathon showers' that Lois and Clark had apparently chided each other about playfully when they lived together at the Kent Farm. Regardless, he wasn’t sure if it was the dirt from his wayward trip out of the cemetery or some subconscious ritual fueled by the knowledge that in a way he hadn't showered in over 3 years. Of course, this was irrational as the dead don't need to worry about being clean.

    Dead..he had actually died. Even now it was hard to wrap his head around. Things had become so bad after his wedding, so much so that he at times did have a death wish, as Bruno Mannheim had once guessed. When the moment came, he wanted nothing more to be alive but his will could not overcome his body. So why now after all these years was he given a new lease on life? Was it a fluke or destiny?

    In order to avoid ruminating too much on what he had gone through, he had insisted that Clark leave the door open a crack and tell him about what he had missed. Lois and Clark had both been promoted and the legendary Perry White had become the new editor-in-chief. Chloe and Oliver had been hired by the DEO and were now based in D.C. Clark was scant on the details and any prodding about anyone's love life were quickly sidestepped.

    Countless heroes and villains had emerged in recent years. There was even a group that had called themselves the Justice Society who had mainly operated in the 70s. He had heard vague rumors of vigilantes operating before the Red-Blue Blur when he did his research on the Metropolis' 'Good Samaritan'. However, he hadn't had much access to the paper records at the Planet as the records room had been under renovations at the time.

    Speaking of the Good Samaritan, the Red-Blue Blur after some costume and name changes had emerged as the leader of the new Justice League, who helped saved the world more times than could be imagined, despite a Vigilante Registration Act that briefly threatened all of that. Strangely Clark seemed to be modest for 'Superman' and these other heroes. Clark had even downplayed the hero's feat of pushing a planet out of Earth's atmosphere by saying the hero was 'just doing his job.'

    Jimmy had missed so much and he wondered if he would even fit in. Granted he hadn't woken up in the 31st century or something, but he still felt lost, out of touch. If he returned to the Daily Planet, would he be treated like a naive young freckled cub reporter that couldn't take care of himself and had to be rescued at the drop of a hat.

    Then his thoughts cycled back to the reality of the situation. He had died over 3 and 1/2 years ago. Less than 12 hours ago he was worm meat, a rotting corpse. The thought chilled him to the bone. How he could ever get over that?

    While he couldn't remember most of what happened after his apparent resurrection, he remembered feeling like he suffocating. Had he not somehow busted out of the coffin, he would have surely died even as he just been brought back to the life. Death, lost time, resurrection without true direction, it all was so overwhelming.

    Fear and panic began to take hold. If Clark was still talking, Jimmy couldn’t hear it. His chest tightened and the air grew thin as it his heart began to race. It felt like his head was being enveloped in a fog, as his eyes filled with stars and his ears filled with a buzzing louder the cicadas during mating season. Losing his balance, Jimmy slammed his hands against the shower tiles in front of him, eliciting a pronounced THUMP!

    Suddenly he heard a voice directly out the shower. "Jimmy? Jimmy are you okay?" It was Clark's voice. Had he passed out? Or did the buzzing in his ears that had begun to subside preclude him from hearing his friend move from outside the door to right beyond the shower curtain.

    "CK? I…I think I'm having a heart attack," Jimmy admitted, as he held his chest with one hand.

    "You're not having a heart attack," Clark assured him, with absolute certainty in his voice as he monitored Jimmy's heart rate and breathing with his super hearing.

    "How can you…be sure?" Jimmy managed, wincing.

    "It may have been awhile since I took Intro Psych and I'm no expert but I know a panic attack when I see one….or hear one," Clark partially explained, leaving out his powers out of the equation.

    "Just take some deep breaths and you will be fine in no time."

    Jimmy complied and after a few moments he started to return to normal. His hands shaking, Jimmy tried to steady them as he gingerly turned off the shower.

    "Hey CK, can you grab me a…," Jimmy began as he pulled back the shower curtain a crack. He stopped in mid sentence as Clark presented him with a towel. The perennial Boy Scout, Clark always came prepared. "…thanks."

    "While you get ready, I will grab you some clothes," Clark commented, while he handed Jimmy the towel, eliciting a confused look from Jimmy. "Chloe couldn't bear to part with some of your things when you…left. But the reminders eventually were too much. When she left Metropolis, we…I kept them for safekeeping."

    'We? Interesting turn of phrase,' Jimmy thought to himself, but he dropped it for the moment.

    "Oh, thanks CK…for everything."

    After Clark exited the bathroom, Jimmy dried himself off and stepped out of the shower. As the balls of his feet hit the tiles, he immediately felt a difference. Gone was the soreness that had accompanied his sojourn into the shower. Most of the scratches and bruises had seemingly disappeared.

    He noticed what looked like body spray on the counter, which he found odd but thought maybe Clark had a girlfriend he wasn't telling him about.

    Splashing water in his face, Jimmy still wondered why all this was happening. That thought was further reinforced by what happened next. Strands of energy suddenly surrounded a large gash on his left arm, causing the wound to vanish in seconds.

    "What the hell?!" Jimmy exclaimed.

    "What happened?" Clark asked, concerned.

    "A wound on my arm just disappeared like it was nothing."

    Emil, hearing the commotion, interjected. "As far as we tell, whatever caused your unexpected 'resurrection' is continuing to heal your body at an accelerated rate. Whenever you're a little more settled, I would like you to come back to S.T.A.R. Labs to run some more tests."

    Clark knocked on the door, handing Jimmy some of his old clothing. Jimmy ducked back in the bathroom to put on his outfit

    "Sure thing Doc," Jimmy replied, slipping on his slacks. "I would like to know what is happening to me more than anyone."

    "In the meantime, if it's all the same to you, I would like to talk more about what I missed. Get my mind off of this." Jimmy added, pulling the bowling shirt over his head.

    Exiting the bathroom, Jimmy came face to face with Dr. Hamilton and Clark.

    "You've been through a trauma. I think it's best if you take it slow. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself," Emil urged Jimmy.

    "He's right Jimmy, I don't think we should…" Clark began.

    "I appreciate the concern but like I said, it’s the only thing keeping me sane," Jimmy insisted.

    As he re-entered the living room, Jimmy turned to finish the thought. "If it makes you feel better, you can save stories about the latest apocalypses until later."

    Clark smirked and shrugged his shoulders as he looked back at Emil. He relented and continued. "Well…I suppose you will find out this eventually but Oliver revealed on live television a couple of years back that he is Green Arrow."

    "What!?" Jimmy exclaimed.

    "So Oliver Queen goes all Tony Stark and you told me there was a Vigilante Registration Act. Did I die and wake up in the Marvel Universe?" Jimmy asked, half jokingly.

    Clark and Emil looked confused at their young friend.

    "Does no one read comics anymore? Clearly whoever drafted that law took Marvel Civil War a little too seriously."

    "Can't say that I do Jimmy, but it's a good sign that you're getting your sense of humor back," Clark replied with a sly grin, turning to Emil.

    "Definitely," the doctor simply agreed. Hearing a commotion outside the door, Emil headed towards it.

    Jimmy still couldn't believe it. Oliver is Green Arrow. He got momentarily distracted as he spotted what looked like a photo on a nearby bookcase had been turned down. Before he could question it, he remembered something.

    "Wait a minute, years ago Lois hired me to take pictures of Green Arrow. When she was locking lips with that knight in shining green pleather in the alley, Oliver came out of nowhere, putting the theory that he was the Emerald Archer to rest."

    "If it wasn't Oliver, who was macking on Lois?" Jimmy wondered, leaving Clark hesitating on how to explain it.

    As the door opened, Jimmy heard another familiar voice. "Who was macking on who?"

    Jimmy looked to see Lois in the doorway, with a tray of coffees in tow. "Lois!"

    Lois quickly laid the tray of coffees on the counter and made a beeline for Jimmy. She hugged him tightly in a rare instance of unbridled emotion.

    "Jimmy Olsen, I never thought I would be so glad to see you. Welcome back to the land of the living I suppose."

    Pulling back, Jimmy peered at her, unsure how to react. "I guess I should take that as a compliment."

    "So who was macking on who?" Lois repeated.

    "Clark told me about Oliver's not so secret identity. Then I remembered Green Arrow mackin' on you in the alley that time," Jimmy explained.

    "First of all, let's get something straight, no one macks on Lois Lane. I was macking on him," Lois insisted.

    Jimmy shook his head. "Whatever. That still doesn't explain who…."

    Suddenly the young photographer remembered something. "Wait…our Green Arrow-wannabe disappeared faster than a speeding bullet…I couldn’t even snap a pic in time….he disappeared in a Blur….It was him wasn’t it?"

    Clark and Lois looked at each other, wondering how to respond. Lois decided to take the plunge. "Yes, my sources say that it was in fact the Man of Steel before he came out of the shadows."

    "If he knows Oliver, then who he is?" Jimmy wondered.

    "That's a long story, I think we should take it slow," Clark admitted. He wasn't sure if he should reveal the truth to Jimmy again after what happened the last time. Whether he chose to tell Jimmy, the matter of Superman’s origins was now common knowledge. So learning his Good Samaritan was an alien might come as a bit of a shock if not handled delicately.

    Not wanting an uncomfortable silence, Lois shoved a coffee in Jimmy's face. "You look like you need a coffee. Jamaican mocha java, just the way you used to like it."

    "What's that?" Jimmy asked, noticing something amiss.

    Lois looked at the coffee cup and scoffed. "Oh that's a typo. They wrote Lewis on the cups. The café never gets my name right."

    Jimmy shook his head. "Not that, is that an engagement ring?" He motioned towards her ring finger.

    "I…uh," Lois was caught off guard.

    "Who's the lucky …," Jimmy began, but then got distracted by something across the room.

    He picked up a familiar item, a makeshift pillow made from an old White Snake t-shirt. "Your White Snake throw pillow.You threatened me under penalty of torture when we lived at the Talon if I even so much as breathed on it."

    "Clark's slips of the tongue. Women's body spray in the bathroom. Turned down photographs. It's all makes sense," Jimmy realized "You're the lucky guy Clark and this isn't just your apartment is it?"

    Both Clark and Lois turned red with embarrassment. "You're right Jimmy, it's ours. Lois and I are engaged," Clark admitted.

    Jimmy began grinning ear to ear with the biggest smile they had ever seen. "This is too good. All that talk about hot fudge and halibut. The denials. Faking being engaged for a story. No one believed me but I always knew deep down that you were meant to be together."

    "Yeah, you're a real Nostradamus there Jimmy," Lois replied, sarcastically as she rolled her eyes.

    Jimmy just glared at her before getting excited again. "So when's the wedding?"

    "Well, you see see we kind of already had the wedding but it got interrupted. It was delayed due to I guess you could call it, the end of the world."

    Jimmy looked confused, bypassing Emil and turning right to Lois.

    Lois pursed her lips, unsure how to follow that up. All she could offer was, "How does eventually sound?"

    "Good…I gotta be in the wedding party though right? Maybe even Best Man, after all I practically got you together."

    Jimmy pivoted so he could see both their dumbfounded faces.

    "We'll see Jimmy," Clark replied.

    "Did you give him the thing?" Lois asked, trying to change the subject.

    Clark peered at Lois, baffled. "Thing, what thing?"

    "You know the thing with the things…" Lois continued, eliciting further confusion.

    "The box," she finally explained. Clark shook his head no.

    Lois turned towards the closet, grabbing a box from the top shelf and placed it on the kitchen table.

    "What's this?" Jimmy asked as he sat down and opened the box.

    "When Chloe left Metropolis, she gave us more than just boxes of clothes," Clark explained.

    Much to Jimmy's surprise, he saw one of his most prized possessions. He picked it up, tracing his fingertips along the back casing, which was emblazoned with the words, Property of Jimmy Olsen.

    "My camera, you kept it?" Jimmy wondered. He was also surprised that his camera had held up after all this time.

    Jimmy had been through so much with that camera. It was like an extension of him. After Mannheim had mangled it during the Stiletto debacle, he couldn't part with it and instead had it fixed. Feeling guilty for putting Jimmy's life in jeopardy, Lois even offered to pay for the repairs.

    "Chloe tried to give it as a keepsake to your little brother at your funeral. She thought he might follow in your footsteps, " Lois began.

    "But he approached her at the reception to give it back. He didn't feel right keeping something that was yours," she added.

    "Oh my half-brother Johnny? Photography wasn't really his thing."

    As Jimmy placed the camera down, he picked up his crimson bow tie decorated with red, orange, and white stripes. He gazed lovingly down at the tie, which had been a Valentine's Day gift from Chloe.

    His attention soon turned to a small piece of newspaper at the bottom of the box. "What's this?"

    "I forgot that was in there. I'm sorry, I didn't want you to have to see your own obituary," Clark admitted.

    Curiosity soon turned to anger. "That son of a *****…"

    "Who? What's going on?" Lois asked, confused.

    "My dad. This has gotta be his doing," Jimmy replied.

    "What is it Mr. Olsen?" Emil asked.

    "The name on the obituary…Henry James Olsen," Jimmy clarified.

    Lois looked at Jimmy, bewildered. "Wait, isn't that your name?"

    Jimmy became livid. "Was no one paying attention at my wedding? How did Chloe or any of you not catch this? When have I ever called myself Henry?"

    "In my defense, I couldn't attend the funeral. I went missing for three weeks and came back with some killer amnesia," Lois countered.

    Before Jimmy had a chance to process this new information, Clark cut in. "We all just figured you had changed your name."

    "What does your dad have to do with this?" Dr. Hamilton asked.

    "He's a vindictive drunk. He must have told the priest it was my given name," Jimmy fumed.

    "I may have not known my mother well but I know she named me after both of my grandfathers. My dad wanted to name me after himself but he was overruled. He never forgave her and after they got divorced, he wasted no time in having my named changed. It was his final insult to her, his revenge."

    "From that moment on, I swore that I would legally change my name back as soon as I was old enough…and I did," he continued.

    "My name is JAMES BARTHOLOMEW OLSEN."

    ******

    Lex and his young visitor, Chris stared intently at the chess board in front of them. Lex moved one of his white knights with purpose to overtake a black pawn.

    Meanwhile, Chris seemed confused. All he could offer was,
    "Do you enjoy playing chess, Lex?"

    "I do, I find it focuses me and relaxes me in ways other things can't."

    "The important thing to remember about chess is that it is a game of strategy. Most people try to win in the fewest moves
    possible," Lex explained while moving the pieces on both sides to demonstrate.

    "From what I understand, my own father did not think very highly of my skills as a player, that I didn’t often beat him at games. While I can't confirm that, maybe I just frustrated him by forcing stalemates, rather than going for the win."

    "I thought the point of a game was to win," the young boy noted.

    "Forcing a stalemate keeps your opponents off balance, keeps them guessing. If you don’t always go for the win, you can strike when they least expect it," Lex replied, with a sly grin.

    ***
    Lex's assistant, Kitty stormed into the study frantically. "Lex, you better come quick." She was followed by one of his men, Reed.

    Lex stood up. "What is it Kitty?"

    "The groundskeeper found one of the men in the shed. He's dead, Mr. Luthor."

    "Who is it?" Lex asked Kitty, but she furrowed her brow and didn't responded. He turned to his man, "Mr. Reed?"

    "It's Anderson, Sir. He's been shot, repeatedly." Reed explained. "Yates is guarding the body now."

    Lex feigned shock as Reed delivered the news of the man he had murdered earlier that day.

    As if right on cue, Christopher tugged at Lex's hand. "Lex, I can help."

    "Are you sure?"

    "I don’t know why I couldn't help you but please let me try," Chris pleaded.

    Lex nodded in agreement as Chris got out of his chair. "Lead the way," Lex ordered Reed, motioning to the door.

    ***

    Re-entering the proverbial scene of the crime, Lex entered along with Chris, Kitty, and Reed.

    Yates stood up from a crouched position over the body.

    Lex was all business. "Report."

    "Anderson was supposed to check in during his rounds after lunch. He never did," Yates responded.

    As she circled back around the body, she continued, "He took at least three bullets to the gut. Given the time between checkins, he must have been dead for a few hours."

    "Did anyone see what happened?" Lex asked.

    "No Sir, the cameras weren't even working," Yates explained. Of course, Lex needed to be told that.

    "Take Reed with you, I want you turn this place upside down to find out what happened and who did this," Lex ordered. This was all really for show for Chris, as he would ensure it was all swept under the rug.

    "Make sure Mr. Keenan's death wasn't in vain," Lex added.

    "Sir?" Yates asked, confused.

    "It was Anderson, Mr. Luthor," Reed corrected him.

    "Yes, of course," Lex responded, sounding somewhat embarrassed. He didn’t understand how he could make that mistake, he didn’t even have anyone on his payroll named Keenan.

    "Now leave us, and get that camera fixed."

    Reed and Yates nodded, making a quick exit.

    ***

    Lex knelt down in the immediate vicinity of the body, just outside the pool of blood surrounding it.

    Kitty fidgeted nervously. Lex peered up at here. "Everything okay Kitty?"

    "I just never seen a dead body before."

    "Take heart, if all goes well, he won't be for long." Lex turned to the boy. "You ready, Chris?"

    Determined and trying to summon up the bravery to try again, Chris nodded, as he knelt down too. "I….I think so." Chris's voice noticeably cracked.

    "Don’t worry Chris, you can do this, I believe in you." Lex had to believe, because so much was riding on all this. He got up to get out of Chris' way.

    "Just take a deep breath and concentrate," Lex directed the boy.

    Chris complied. He took a deep breath and tried to steady his hands over the body. He still seemed nervous despite volunteering for this. "I…I've never done this with a person's dead body right in front of me before."

    "Close your eyes if you need to," Lex suggested.

    In a moment that read as empathic and inspirational to Kitty and Chris, Lex placed his hand on Chris' shoulder. "You can do this, I believe in you."

    Had the words come from Clark, Lois, or any of their Super Friends, the moment would have been genuine. With Lex, it had more to do with doing what he felt was necessary to accomplish his goal. While there were glimmers of Little Alexander in him, that part of Lex was essentially deader than Anderson was. Not that Lex could remember what he used to be like.

    Lex pulled his hand away as white and yellow strands of energy began swirling out of Chris' hands. The energy danced like waves over Anderson's body. Lex watched in amazement as the bullets were expelled and the wounds healed. He had to imagine that bodies with more advanced decomposition would take longer to heal.

    As the energy dissipated, Anderson gasped for breath and his eyes flashed open. He looked up at the boy, Lex, and Kitty, confused and disoriented.

    "Welcome back Mr. Anderson, Chris just brought you back to life," Lex announced.

    Lex turned Kitty. "Is everything secure at the new Cadmus facility in Edge City?"

    "Yes Mr. Luthor."

    Lex noted the blood on Chris' clothes. "Good, after Chris gets cleaned up, have the car prepped and ready to go. Also, let Yates and Reed know they can call off the investigation..false alarm."

    Chris was happy that he was able to use his powers to help someone again. Still, he felt overwhelmed and uncertain what was next. "What's happening? Why are we going to Edge City?"

    "Remember when I told you that saving the world could wait?" Lex asked. Chris nodded.

    "Well the wait is over…you're going to save a superhero."

    Meanwhile, within the bowels of the new Cadmus Labs lay a stasis unit containing the corpse of a perfectly preserved metahuman. Her status as a superhero was more than a little questionable.

    She was in fact, Leslie Willis AKA LIVEWIRE.

    ACT BREAK

  4. #4
    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    very interesting.

    I wanted to do something similar after watching the Crisis of infinite Earths' Smallville episode, but I've been holding off on it.

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    Mod of Steel Vergon6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora Moon View Post
    very interesting.

    I wanted to do something similar after watching the Crisis of infinite Earths' Smallville episode, but I've been holding off on it.
    Thanks again for your feedback. I’m hoping I can finally finish another act of this...I realized on Fanfiction I posted most of this 4 years ago...yikes. I feel like the real world events surrounding AM kind of took the wind out of my sales. I’m also struggling with what to write for the inevitable confrontation between Livewire and Superman...not a lot of material to work with.

    You should post your Crisis idea. I posted my short Crisis one-shot. I would be interested in hearing your feedback on that one.

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    Mod of Steel Vergon6's Avatar
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    ACT III

    Lex strode into the new Cadmus Labs facility with his assistant Kitty and Chris in tow. While he had no recollection of his past life, he had to imagine that he had been in many labs like this one before - sterile, spartan, concrete walls and floors; buzzing, bright florescent lights; the occasional electronic display and keypads provided the only real color in the room.

    Since he had not visited the facility since it opened a few months prior, Lex did not know his way around quite yet. He pressed a nearby touchscreen. “Computer, show us the most direct path to the stasis pods.”

    “Access denied. That information is restricted. Handprint, retinal scan, and voiceprint verification is required,” the computer chirped back.

    Lex was slightly annoyed as he was anxious to get going but he himself insisted on the highest level of security. He positioned himself in front of the screen, which scanned his eye and handprint. “Omega 3-2-7.”

    “Voiceprint, handprint and retinal scan verified. Identity confirmed - Lex Luthor. Access granted. Proceed to Alpha Quadrant, Level 3, Section 31,” the computer responded, showing a diagram lighting the path from their current location to the Cryogenic Lab via the nearest elevator.

    “Computer, please proceed with only keypad authorization for the rest of our visit,” Lex commanded the machine.

    “Acknowledged. Keypad authorization required only, Mr. Luthor.”

    “Wow, this is so cool. It’s like Star Trek!” Christopher exclaimed.

    Lex raised an eyebrow.

    “It’s a TV show,” Kitty stated the obvious.

    Lex was curt. “I know.”

    Chris turned red, feeling like he said something wrong. “Sorry, it’s just one of my foster parents used to watch reruns. One of the few happy times before I had to run away.”

    “Don’t worry about it,” Lex assured Chris. “In a few minutes you will be doing something more amazing than any TV show.”

    Chris smiled in anticipation as he followed Lex and Kitty to the elevator.

    ***
    Arriving at the destination, Lex typed 385247 into the keypad. The door hissed open to reveal a lab with an array of electronic equipment with blinking lights. Some of the equipment gave off intermittent beeps, while others maintained a low but constant hum. In the middle of the room lay a handful of stasis pods, some active and others not. A scientist stood in front of one of them, checking the controls and displays without flinching after the door opened.

    “Dr. Brant, is the subject ready?” Lex asked the scientist.

    Dr. Brant turned towards his visitors. “Yes, Mr. Luthor. As per your instructions I have completed the thawing process. As expected, the subject has no life signs.”

    “If all goes well, Miss Willis will be alive and well in a few moments. Open the lid,” Lex ordered.

    Brant activated the release for the pod, causing the lid to slowly spring open.“I must warn you that if what you proposed is unsuccessful, cellular decay and decomposition will commence immediately unless the subject is put back into cryogenic stasis,” he added.

    “I didn’t lure you away from S.T.A.R. Labs to be a pessimist, Dr. Brant,” Lex countered.

    Despite his bravado, Lex still had his own doubts given an exploding implant had reportedly killed Leslie Willis and the boy had failed to heal the damage to his brain. Then again, Summerholt couldn’t even help when they had developed the neurotoxin that ‘suppresses all cognitive recognition’ of memories. Which frustrated him more, as the description suggested the memories were buried, not wiped.

    Then again, the toxin was experimental. Maybe with Lex there was nothing to heal, maybe the memories were just gone.

    Brant simply nodded in agreement to Lex’s earlier statement and moved out of the way of the pod.

    “It’s time to show the good doctor just what you’re made of Chris,” Lex commanded, motioning the boy towards the open cryogenic stasis pod.

    Chris approached Leslie’s body more confidently than he had Anderson’s body. The lack of blood and his earlier success both helped immensely.

    He closed his eyes to concentrate. Just like before, white and yellow strands of energy emanated from his hands. Chris decided to open his eyes, no longer afraid of what he might see. The energy swirled around Leslie, dancing like a ballet, beautiful in its complexity. As if by instinct, the energy was drawn to her damaged brain.

    In spite of Leslie being dead for years, the revival process was not much longer than Anderson’s. As the energy dissipated, color returned to Leslie’s pale skin. She gasped for her air and her eyes fluttered open.

    Looking up Leslie peered up at Lex, who moved beside Chris as she woke up. “Where am I?”

    Lex responded, “You’re in Cadmus Labs.”

    Leslie sat up slowly as her eyes adjusted to her surroundings. “Lex Luthor? I thought you were dead.”

    Lex smirked. “Not to re-tread an old cliché but the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Much like the reports of yours will now be.”

    “What do you mean? I died?” A look of confusion washed over Leslie’s face as she looked down at the blue gown she was wearing and ran her fingers through her untied raven hair.

    “Yes, but thanks to this remarkable young man, death is no longer permanent,” Lex explained, motioning to Chris. In the corner of his eye, he could tell the boy was dazed, but he chose to ignore it for the moment.

    “Leslie Willis, I would like you to meet Christopher Lueck.”

    Chris mustered up his waining energy to shake Leslie’s reluctant hand. “I’ve never met a superhero before!” He eagerly exclaimed.

    Leslie pulled back from the handshake awkwardly. “I don’t think I have ever been called that before...besides I don’t even have my powers.”

    Chris was taken aback. Lex told him he was helping resurrect a person with super powers. “You don’t have powers anymore? How?”

    “Someone I thought was my friend..he called himself Parasite stripped me of my powers because I wouldn’t continue a suicide mission.”

    Chris turned to Lex, thinking his mentor and Leslie were not all that different. “Lex, it’s just like what…”

    Lex cut Chris off. “That’s not exactly true. Your former teammate’s ability to remove other people’s powers is only temporary.”

    “If I ever get a hold of him…,”she started but held back noting the child in front of her.

    “If you are looking for justice for Rudy Jones, I would say he has suffered enough,” Lex started. “Awhile back, he broke into one of our warehouses in Detroit. I guess he opened the wrong containers and had an unfortunate accident with some chemical waste. You wouldn’t even recognize him. You could say he is much more...purple.”

    Leslie tried her best to avoid the mental image from popping into her head. “I’m not sure I want to know what that looks like.”

    Trying to shift the focus, she asked “You said I still have my powers?”

    “That’s what my people like Dr. Brant tell me.” Lex turned towards his resident scientist and then back to Leslie.

    Leslie lifted up her left hand, trying to conjure her powers after who knows how long. Sounds of static in the air gave way to swirling balls of blue and white electricity.

    She looked confused. “My powers, they aren’t green…”

    “We have been studying your powers for quite some time. You were born with this power, but the second meteor shower acted as a catalyst to activate them,” Brant explained. “When Parasite siphoned your energy, the residual meteor rock appears to have gone with it.”

    “What Dr. Brant is trying to say is that your powers have been purified. We believe you can now reach your true potential.”

    Leslie smiled as the balls of energy gave way to something resembling a DNA double helix. The lights in the room briefly blinked as the energy in her hand dissipated.

    Chris was in awe of the control Leslie had regained so quickly and wanted to tell her how cool he thought it was. “That’s so…” He trailed off, feeling faint.

    “Kid, you okay?” Leslie interjected, seeing blood drip out of Chris’s nose.

    Chris touched his face, feeling the blood. “I don’t feel so…,” he managed before collapsing. Luckily Dr. Brant was there to catch him.

    “Oh my god, is he going to be okay?” Kitty exclaimed.

    Dr. Brant felt Chris’ pulse. “He’s alive and his pulse is relatively stable…for now but he needs rest.”

    “He’s had a big day. Kitty, go with Dr. Brant to monitor Chris’ condition,” Lex ordered. “As soon as he is well enough, I want him to try to revive Leslie’s friend, Nathan.”

    “Are you sure that’s wise? We don’t know what kind of effect resurrecting this many people in such a short period of time will have on him.”

    “I didn’t hire you to ask questions, Dr. Brant. I hired you to get results,” Lex shot back. He had a feeling in his past life that he had said something very similar to others on his payroll over the years.

    Dr. Brant begrudgingly nodded, as he and Kitty exited with Chris in tow.

    “Neutron is here?” Leslie asked.

    Lex motioned to another status pod. Leslie got up and followed him. glad that the gown she was wearing was less revealing than your standard issue hospital gown.

    Leslie looked down at her compatriot. While the glass and cryogenic state of the body obscured that view, she still could see how the beast had mangled Neutron. She recoiled and looked away.

    “Tess should have never sent us on that mission. We weren’t ready to face Doomsday,” Leslie observed, upset. Trying to compose herself, she had one burning question. “How…how did I die?”

    “Your team was implanted with small chips that were used to track you. When yours exploded, you died,” Lex explained.

    “You now have a second chance. I need your help as Livewire to make this place a better world.”

    “Why should I help you? You put us all into Black Creek. You put those chips into our heads. You are responsible for my death.” Leslie was livid, she couldn’t understand how Lex could have the gall to ask for her help.

    “I may have put you in Black Creek but I didn’t put those chips in your brain.”

    “Why should I believe you?”

    “Because I’m a victim of Tess’ crusades just as much as you are. She wiped my memories and left me to try to learn from mistakes that I can’t even remember making, like Black Creek,” Lex insisted. Although his only true regret was that he hadn’t apparently executed his plans as perfectly as he had wanted.

    “Think, what is the last thing you remember before waking up here?” Lex questioned Leslie.

    Searching her thoughts, Leslie finally remembered. “I was confronting Tess over Neutron’s death and her crusade to capture Doomsday. I told her that I was done with her team….She said she was sorry to have to let me go and then everything went black.”

    “I studied the notes on the mission. Tess claimed that your chip had malfunctioned but she was lying, she is the one who activated the self-destruct mechanism. I wasn’t responsible for your death, she was.”

    Still shocked as the realization hit her, Leslie still pushed back. “Just because she pushed the button, doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible.”

    “I may not remember my life but I still have connections in high places and I have learned all about Tess. Before Tess rose through the ranks of Luthorcorp, she was part of a covert government organization which called itself, Checkmate,” Lex began.

    “What does this history lesson have to do with anything?” Leslie wondered, thinking this was all pointless deflection.

    Lex glared at Leslie, but continued despite her protests. “It has everything to do with it. You see, Tess was part of special branch of Checkmate dubbed Task Force X, which recruited people with abilities to go on suicide missions. The usual method of control was chips implanted in their necks. If any metahmuman fell out of line, they were summarily terminated.”

    “You were not tagged until Tess had you released from Black Creek. I believe she was inspired by her time with Task Force X. At least their team were warned about their chips, you weren’t.”

    “Tess may have sold you on joining some sort of Injustice Gang, but she was really recruiting you for her own personal, SUICIDE SQUAD.”

    ****

    After finishing a battery of tests, Jimmy was ready for some much needed downtime. At the same time, he was filled with an insatiable nervous energy, which owed itself to his desire to live his new life to the fullest and the lingering fear that if he closed his eyes even for a minute, he would never wake up again.

    As Jimmy turned down the corridor, he could almost sense that something had changed. He started to pick up floral notes in the air, including a hint of jasmine. The mixture of scents triggered a sense memory that made the sterile lab not so bad.

    Approaching the open doorway to a private holding area, he peered at a petite figure that was coming into focus — emerald green leather jacket, blue jeans, milky white skin, and unmistakable blonde locks styled in a shoulder length bob.

    His heart raced so fast, he thought it was going to burst right out of his chest. What was he to say after all of this time. For him it felt like days, for her it had been years.

    All he could manage was “Chloe…is..is that you?”

    Chloe spun around and practically jumped into Jimmy’s arms, hugging him tightly. She couldn’t help but get teary-eyed. “I thought I lost you forever.”

    Out of force of habit, Jimmy grazed her hair with his fingertips. Recalling their last conversation, he assured her “Now you found me.”

    As a Jimmy gazed lovingly in her eyes, Chloe realized that she had been swept up in old, long-buried feelings. She pulled away, under the pretense of wiping the tears from her eyes.

    “How are you feeling?” Chloe asked as she tried to redirect Jimmy’s attention.Things were so different now but she didn’t know how to tell him.

    “Human, more of less.”

    The truth was that Jimmy was still struggling. Physically, he was almost healed. Psychologically or emotionally was another story.

    Jimmy continued, trying to lighten as he noted Chloe seemed to be keeping her distance. “Dr.Hamilton reassured me I’m not a ghost, a frog-eating clone or from a parallel universe. Although, I kind of figured that last one out on my own because I didn’t wake up with a stylish goatee.”

    Chloe chuckled. “Oh Jimmy.”

    “How have you been? Anything new and exciting in the world of Chloe Sullivan?”

    Chloe seemed apprehensive and nervous, trying to play it nonchalantly but failing miserably. “Oh you know, not much to tell…I’m sure Lois and Clark filled you in on all the important details.”

    “Actually, they only really gave me the Cliffs Notes version,” Jimmy countered. “I was hoping to get the rest from you.”

    “Jimmy, you’ve been through a lot. We should take it slow.”

    “Please Chloe…,” Jimmy pleaded with her, as he reached out for her hand.

    Jimmy noticed something. He traced a circular impression on her ring finger. “What aren’t you telling me?”

    Chloe clasped Jimmy’s hands for a moment. “When you died, it was like my whole world came crashing down.”

    She released his hands and pulled away. “If I’m honest, it really started with my misplaced attempts to save you and the Red-Blue Blur from yourselves.”

    “Chloe, you can’t be so hard on yourself.”

    “Can’t I? After all, I’m hard on just about everyone else,” Chloe countered. “I went to a very dark place….well we both did after you died. It took me a long time to even let anyone in. We helped each other get out of the darkness and into the light.

    Jimmy put the pieces together and made an educated guess “It’s Oliver, isn’t it?”

    Chloe tensed up. She felt a little faint. “How did you…”

    “It’s not hard to figure it out. I mean you moved to D.C. together to work at the D.E.O. and the green leather jacket is kind of a give away.”

    He was almost afraid to ask the next question. “How long have you been married?”

    “A little over two years.” Chloe could see Jimmy’s heart sink, as everything became more real.

    “I’m so sorry Jimmy,” Chloe apologized, feeling almost guilty for moving on.

    Even though Jimmy’s heart was breaking, he tried to be understanding. “There is no need to apologize. From your perspective, I was never coming back and it’s been so long. I should’ve known you had moved on.”

    “But from my perspective, we just reconciled the other day. You have to understand that it’s going be hard for me to adjust to everything,” Jimmy added.

    “I know Jimmy but SO MUCH has changed,” Chloe started, as her hands began to tremble, wondering if she even tell him so soon.

    Jimmy reached out and held her hands steady. “Chloe, what is it?”

    “There something else you should know…Oliver and I…right after Crisis, I gave birth…Oliver and I are raising a baby boy…we have a child together.” They released hands.

    Jimmy was shocked. Her finger suggested marriage but not a baby. Things really had changed and there was a finality about all of it. “Wow…you weren’t kidding.”

    Chloe cupped his face with her hands. “I know this is a lot to handle. I will always care about you more than I can properly express.”

    She looked straight into his eyes, that were teary-eyed just like hers. “But like you once told me, you will have to be just happy knowing I’m in the world.”

    Jimmy hugged Chloe as tightly as he could, uncertain what the future holds.

    ****

    Tess’ hands swiped and re-arranged holographic representations of data fragments in front of her. Red fragments represented data that had been partially corrupted. This might be faster if she had been able to upload her program directly onto the system. However, with the recent hacking attempt, she felt that beaming up to Watchtower base on Luna using the transporter was more prudent.

    “Site to site transporter at S.T.A.R. Labs, Metropolis has been activated,” Watchtower chimed. “Identity confirmed. Welcome Back, Superman.”

    Tess turned to see Clark enter the command center in his Superman gear.

    “Thank you Watchtower,” Clark acknowledged. He looked at Tess, noting she was in her civilian persona, rather than as Red Tornado.

    “How is our recently recently revived reporter?” Tess asked.

    Clark sighed, not sure where to start. “Jimmy is still pretty shaken up and I can’t say his first meeting with Chloe went the way he imagined. This is going to take him a long time to process. I just hope that I can provide him with the support he needs to get through this.”

    “You literally wear a symbol of hope on your chest every day, so I think he is in more than capable hands,” Tess assured him. “Besides, you’re not alone. We are all here to help.”

    Clark managed a smile before becoming contemplative. “What I’m trying to figure out is why I didn’t see Jimmy when I went to the future. In Dr. Fate’s vision of the future (now our present), Jimmy was already there.”

    “Crisis…after your heroics fighting off The Monitors’ reboot and we redirected their ships to restore everything, there was an almost complete restoration,” Tess reported.

    Clark raised an eyebrow. “Almost?”

    “We managed to restore our Earth about 99.53% but there was a variance of 0.47%. There is no telling how little or big an impact that could have had,” his teammate explained.

    “For all we know, before Crisis, Jimmy was really Henry and his brother was James Bartholomew Olsen,” Tess added.

    “Or Jimmy got resurrected somehow later in the original timeline,” Clark speculated. The possibilities with alternate timelines and the multiverse were endless. It was mind boggling.

    “How is Watchtower holding up?” Clark shifted gears.

    “I’ve managed to defragment and fix most of the corrupted files, but we still have a ways to go. However, I will have the telemetry from the cemetery in moments. The data luckily wasn’t completely compromised by the Black Hand’s virus.”

    Clark picked up Tess’ thread and shared an update of his own. “Speaking of which, Lois’ research reveals that the Black Hand’s virus originated from a moth-balled Galaxy Communications satellite.”

    “Intergang?”

    “That was Lois’ first thought too. However, her reporter instincts tell her it may be a misdirect.”

    “Then again, maybe that’s exactly what they want us to believe,” Tess offered. Clark nodded.

    The computer beeped and a female computer voice announced, “Satellite telemetry from Metropolis Cemetery now available”

    “Computer, scan for any unusual movement or energy signatures around the specified coordinates between the hours of midnight and 4 am,” Tess ordered the computer.

    “Working...an anomalous energy signature was detected at time index 03:37:39.”

    Tess pulled up the image, which showed energy strands hitting the ground in front of Jimmy’s tombstone.

    “Can we see where the energy hitting Jimmy’s grave came from?” Superman wondered.

    Tess nodded. “Watchtower, based on the trajectory of the energy strands, extrapolate a probable origin point and display.”

    Watchtower quickly worked and pulled up the overhead shot of a pre-teen boy. The boy was in the process of turning, so Tess tracked back the image to a point where energy began emanating from the boy’s hands.

    “It is really is different than Chloe’s old healing power,” Superman observed.

    Something was nagging at him though. “Take it back to the previous time index...and move forward.” He peered at the boy for several moments, who was now facing forward

    “What is it?” Tess wondered.

    “Zoom in,” Superman continued. With Watchtower’s advanced capabilities, they were able to get a pretty clear picture of the boy. “He looks so familiar.”

    “Do a facial recognition search in Watchtower’s database.” Clark had a nagging feeling they might find something quickly.

    “One of a Clark Kent’s infamous hunches?” Tess wondered.

    “Jor-El might call it my Kryptonian intuition,” Superman countered.

    Tess was dumbfounded when Watchtower pulled up a 70% match in a few moments p. A 9-year old boy named Christopher Leuck with suspected healing and resurrection abilities.

    Clark’s eyes widened. “Oh my god, it’s him.”

    “There is a resemblance but this file is around 4 years old, how can you be so sure?” Tess challenged him.

    “Because of the dreams, the visions I’ve been having since Crisis of another world, another time. Chloe on that Earth was looking at the same file we are. She found Chris on that Earth..”

    “Watchtower, adjust the age of the image on the right by a few years and re-run the comparison,” Tess commanded the computer.

    The resulting image was nearly identical. “Based on the regression analysis, there is a 95% match,” the computer reported.

    Tess was taken aback. “You’re right.”

    “If Chloe had this boy’s file, why didn’t she track him down like she did on the other Earth and ask him to revive Jimmy?” Superman wondered. “Something must have gone wrong.” If she had this ace up her sleeve, she never would’ve pleaded with Clark to use the Legion ring.

    “Because on our Earth she never accessed it..Look at the date,” Tess noted. The display showed that the file had been created on April 23, 2009.

    Clark finally connected the dots.“Of course, Mannheim. Chloe was running a search algorithm on possible metahumans when he stole her laptop. The database was damaged when Intergang hacked her computer.”

    Luckily, Mannheim only had time to take a cursory glance what he did find on the computer - files on the future Justice League members.

    “It’s lucky I managed to finally recover the database awhile back,” Tess added, realizing the fortuitous timing.

    “Wait a minute, bring up the satellite telemetry again, at the original time index.”

    Tess’ fingers danced around the holographic display and pulled up the original image.

    Superman pointed to the image. “It’s looks like he was startled and turning to face someone. Chloe may not have found Chris in this reality but what if someone else did?”

    As Tess began zoom out to capture any company the boy might have, Clark had a foreboding feeling.

    Spotting another figure, Tess was almost in disbelief. “Oh no.”

    Clark gritted his teeth. It was just about the worst he could possibly imagine. He didn’t need the image to be zoomed in to know who it was.

    “LEX”

    ****

    The trip to Edge City had been more successful than Lex could have imagined. More players were back on the board and he would hopefully reap the rewards. ‘So Chris was feeling weak and had a few bloody noses, it was a small price to pay to save the world’, Lex thought.While Chris rested under Kitty’s watchful eye, Lex made sure his presence was known by attending a Lexcorp shareholders meeting.

    After the meeting, he felt oddly compelled to try to learn more about the days leading up to his disappearance in the Arctic almost five years earlier. Much to his frustration most of the information was encrypted by passwords he had no memory of. He did find a memo that he prepared with written instructions that gave Tess control of Luthorcorp should he not return within a month of his trip.

    Odder still, he found a newspaper article that had been saved for no apparent reason, from a few days prior to the memo. A young man had fallen to his death under mysterious circumstances in a sleepy Virginia town. The man had suffered massive blood loss that would have not been explained by the fall. However, the case went unsolved. His name was Lucas Luth…Dunleavy, he corrected himself.

    Lex tried to shake the cobwebs out of his head. He must have been more tired than he thought. How else could he read ‘Luthor’ in place of ‘Dunleavy’? They were two very different names. Still, something about the situation seemed like it might warrant further investigation.

    Lex’ thoughts were interrupted by the hissing of his office doors and the almost immediate barking of his name “LEX, what did you do?”

    He looked up to see Clark Kent walking into his office in a beige trench coat, suit, tie and thick-rimmed glasses. Lex felt an eerie sense of deja vu as he shut his laptop and got up.

    “You know Mr. Kent, I may not have my memory but why do I get the feeling barging into my office and hurling accusations was a favorite past time of yours? I’m also fairly certain we are no longer on a first name basis.”

    Clark ignored Lex’s retorts and got to the heart of the matter. “What have you done with Christopher Leuck?”

    “I don’t know who you are talking about.”

    “Don’t lie to me, Luthor. There is satellite footage of you approaching him at the cemetery last night.”

    “Now, how could that be, I heard some hackers disrupted the whole satellite system yesterday,” Lex challenged the reporter.

    Clark pressed his glasses against the bridge of his nose. “I have my sources,” he replied cryptically.

    “And those sources wouldn’t happen to be Oliver Queen or your new best friend, Superman, would they?” Lex guessed. It had to be, who else had the resources to protect themselves against a cyber attack. Their lunar Watchtower base was like a fortress.

    “I think people deserve an honest answer. Christopher is just a boy. What are you doing with a kid with abilities?” Clark deflected, trying to get Lex to tip his hand.

    “I’m afraid your Super Friends have concocted a fiction for your benefit. The better question is why they would have anything to do with you.” Lex poured himself a glass of scotch and took a sip.

    “One minute, you’re the most bumbling reporting on the masthead. The next, you barge in here like you are a police officer trying to make Detective. I wonder what secrets you are keeping beyond those glasses of yours.”

    ***

    After transporting down from Watchtower, Tess had offered to go patrolling Metropolis as Red Tornado while Clark went to talk to Lex. Things were surprisingly quiet until she saw an electrical disturbance in the distance. It was coming from the transmitter atop WLXL, a local radio station. The station was known for ‘shock jocks’ like Gordon Godfrey before he became an agent of Darkseid.

    As Red Tornado propelled forwarded, she could see a person leeching electricity from the transmitter. Her face dropped as she realized who it was - a ghost from her past, “Leslie!?!?”

    Leslie spun around and was surprised to be face to face with some sort of female android floating in front of her.“Who are you and how do you know my name?”

    “Red Tornado and that’s a long story,” Tess responded, not wanting to reveal her true identity given what had happened when she last saw Leslie.

    “Catchy. I guess that explains the T on your chest,” Leslie quipped, as she resumed drawing power from the transmitter. “The name’s Livewire.”

    “I can’t allow you to continue what you’re doing.” Tess wasn’t in the mood to trade jabs with Leslie.

    “You know, I was really hoping to get Superman’s attention but I guess you will have to do for now.” Energy surged from Livewire’s hands as she shot a lightning bolt towards her target, which Red Tornado barely dodged.

    Drawing on the air around her, whirlwinds erupted from Tornado’s hands. The spiraling winds slammed into Leslie, pushing her clear off the roof of the radio station.

    Momentarily thrown off balance, Leslie steadied herself with the electrical current surging from her hands and feet. “You shouldn’t have done that Red Tomato,” Livewire added, intentionally mispronouncing her opponent’s name.

    Livewire retaliated with successive short bursts of electricity that shot out like projectiles from alternating hands. Caught of guard by Leslie’s increasing powers, Tess only managed to parry some of the blows and get off some wind blasts that missed her target. The barrage of electrical bursts was enough to stop her in her tracks.

    With her opponent stunned, Livewire put her hands together, releasing large tendrils of white blue energy. The energy formed a lasso around the red android, swiftly pulling her in. Wrapping her arms tightly around Tornado, she began draining her electronic components. It felt like a rush.

    As Leslie became more powerful, it felt like agony for Tess. It was so overwhelming that Red Tornado begin to short circuit. Tess could see warnings in her mind’s eye. Malfunction…Second Skin: Activated..Disabled..Activated. Disabled…Activated.

    As Red Tornado appeared to rapidly shift back and forth in appearance, Livewire freaked out and let go, unsure of what was happening. She watched as the android fell to Earth. Upon landing, Tornado’s second skin reactivated long enough for Leslie to realize who she was fighting.

    “TESS?!?!…what the hell are you?”

    ACT BREAK
    Last edited by Vergon6; 07-04-2021 at 08:11 PM.

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