Categories > Movies > Superman Returns > Superman Returns II

Act II

by Laurence 3 reviews

Act II

Category: Superman Returns - Rating: G - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Published: 2006-08-31 - Updated: 2006-08-31 - 20050 words

Act II, Scene I

The American Midwest, deep in Tornado Alley. Dark clouds stretch from horizon to horizon. Lightning forks and stabs down to the terrain below, and the thunder is long past the 'rumbling' stage and well into 'ominous claps of doom' territory. In an unidentified city below, we see inhabitants scrambling desperately for their cars, their homes, their shelters, anywhere but out in the open before-

-before a funnel wisps almost lazily down from the clouds. Its thin, tapering end wheels back and forth until it finds a companion wisp coming upwards from the ground. At the instant they touch, the tornado billows outward, increasing in girth and ferocity with terrifying speed. The citizens of the city below redouble their efforts to get to safety, but how much good shelter will do them seems less than certain; the terrible vortex locks itself on a collision course for the city centre. We see brief shots of families huddling in terror inside their homes, awaiting their fates.

We cut to the Daily Planet offices. As seems to be traditional in times of crisis, large portions of the newsroom staff have gathered in front of the plasma screen to watch the events unfold. We pick out Lois, Jimmy, Richard and Perry White.

ANCHOR: ...we've just heard meteorologists are fearing the worst; that this could be an F5 tornado, the strongest tornado in the world...

RICHARD: My God. There'll be nothing left.

JIMMY: (confidently) You watch. Superman's just waiting for the right moment.

We cut to the Daily Planet elevator. Clark Kent is within. He taps his watch, frowns, and presses a button on the side of the elevator wall with a large telephone icon fixed on it.

CLARK: Say, fellas, I don't mean to be a bother but it's been almost two hours now...?

ELEVATOR GUY: (crackling voice through speaker, sounding distracted) Yeah, we hear ya. We'll have you out of there in a jiffy, guy. Shame you're missing the tornado...

CLARK: Uh. Tornado?

We cut to the elevator repair office, located somewhere in the Daily Planet building. Two jaded looking repairmen with comfortable beer bellies recline comfortably in their chairs, watching the same live pictures the Daily Planet staff are viewing; the F5 tornado bearing down inexorably on the helpless Midwestern city. We see a computer screen displaying the elevators in the building, with elevator 4 marked as 'Inoperative; Floor 2'.

Hearing the tail end of Clark's 'uh, tornado?', one of the repairman rolls his eyes and presses the intercom button, clearly irked at having to converse when such compelling television is on offer.

ELEVATOR GUY: Yeah. Some big twister is about to tear through Wisconsin. Like I say, shame you had to be stuck in ther...

Beep. Elevator 4 is now at Floor 3.

Floor 4. Floor 5. Floor 6...

ELEVATOR GUY: What the /hell/...?

We go back to the elevator. Clark is hovering four feet off the surface of the elevator, pressing his hands upward into the elevator's ceiling. From outside, we see the elevator rocketing up the shaft. Clark waits until it reaches the 25th floor, then brings it to a halt. He presses the intercom button.

CLARK: I think it's working now. Thanks.

He pulls open the doors. We see he's on the roof. One classic tug of the Clark Kent shirt and tie later, and he's sprinting across the Planet's rooftop. From ground-level on the streets of Metropolis below we see a blue streak bullet across the sky, moving purposefully westward...

Back in the Daily Planet newsroom. Jimmy's confident smile has all but evaporated. Everyone is leaning forward, glued to the screen.

LOIS: (whispers) Where are you?

We go to the scene in Wisconsin, to an outlying suburb of the city about to be hit by the immense funnel of wind. This will be the first street destroyed, and the inhabitants cower in their homes with that awful knowledge etched in their minds, awaiting the freight-train roar around them to intensify and all that they have built be torn down around them...

...and that's when he arrives, accompanied by his usual triumphant theme. Superman goes straight into the throat of the beast. The 300mph winds do their best to throw him off course, but nothing can deviate him.

ANCHOR: He's here! Oh thank God! Thank God!

LOIS: (sighs) Thank God.

JIMMY: (as nonchalantly as he can manage) You were worried? Tchaw.

Superman goes against the tornado's rotation, increasing his speed to thousands of miles per hour, zooming up and down the perimeter of the twister. The counter-rotation seems to throw the tornado into a seizure; for a moment it wavers crazily, looking for all the world like an angered beast, and then it begins to slow in its advance...Superman slows along with it, judging his speed perfectly so that he comes to a gentle halt just as the funnel dissipates with a final whisper into the muggy early evening air.

A wild cheer breaks out in the newsroom. We close in on Lois and Richard, standing together. Her eyes are fixed on the television screen. His eyes are fixed on her, taking in how flushed she is, how excited by what she's seeing. There is a glow to her, a love, that's heartbreakingly obvious to him.

So enraptured is he in his voyeurism that he starts a little when Perry taps him on the shoulder.

PERRY: A word?

We cut to Perry and Richard entering Perry's office. Perry sits down at his desk. Richard remains standing, casting one final look back into the newsroom. Lois still is watching the television feed.

RICHARD: What is it?

PERRY: I'm going to ask you to volunteer for something. And understand when I say /volunteer/, I mean it. This isn't going to be easy.

His tone is enough to get Richard's attention. He frowns.


PERRY: I have a source, in the CIA. They're investigating the possibility that Dr. Emmet Vale may be doing a little more than talking crazy.

RICHARD: Vale? The guy who hates Superman?

PERRY: That's him. You know him?

RICHARD: (dryly) Lois has mentioned him, once or twice.

PERRY: They think he's creating some sort of weapon, and they're worried he may be crazy enough to try to use it - against Superman, or against some other poor sap who he decides has offended him, who knows. They've got guys on the inside.

RICHARD: What do they need a journalist for?

PERRY: They don't. Who says we were gonna tell them? All I know is my source says Vale is desperate that if and when whatever he's planning goes operational, the public hear his side of the story. He's looking for a sympathetic journo to cover his work. I'm looking for someone on the inside from the Planet to break the biggest story since Luthor went AWOL.


PERRY: Not quite.

He pushes a file across the desk. Richard picks it up and opens it. It contains various identity papers.

PERRY: Meet John Corben. Tabloid hack and all-round disreputable character. Seven years ago he tried to mock up a big story to get his big break and was busted by - you guessed it - Superman. Vale will love it. My only worry is, can you play the role of someone with a grudge against Superman?

We stay on Richard White's face for a little longer than is strictly necessary. It seems to take him a little too long to compose himself enough to answer his uncle.

RICHARD: I'll give it a shot...

Act II, Scene II

A shot rings out. We see the gun belongs to Lex Luthor, and the bullet...passed a hair's breadth from Richard White's left ear. We also see Richard White is brandishing a piece of machinery in his hand.

LUTHOR: Put it down. I'm an excellent marksman, Mr White. Shall I prove it?

Richard obliges him reluctantly, never taking his eyes off Luthor the entire time. Luthor walks slowly up to him and suddenly, savagely, brings the barrel of the gun down on the crown of Richard's head, knocking him unconscious.

Our world goes black. After a few seconds, sounds and images swim into vision. We make out the blurred outline of Lex Luthor before us as we see through Richard's eyes. He's tied to what looks like a large diagnostic chair in the middle of the laboratory. His eyes bore into Luthor's with murderous venom. We see Dr. Vale working controls a little in the background. He doesn't look completely happy with events.

LUTHOR: Welcome back. I must say Richie, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm sensing such hostility from you. What have I done to deserve that, I wonder?

RICHARD: How about leaving Lois and Jason to drown?

LUTHOR: (airily) Oh yes. That.

RICHARD: (ignoring Luthor, desperately) Dr. Vale...I know what you believe about Superman. You're wrong. I know you can't see that you're wrong, but I've worked with you for the last three're not an evil man. Is this - is he - the sort of man you want to be working with?

Vale stops his manipulations of the controls. He stares down at his hands for a moment. Luthor notes this coolly.

LUTHOR: Dr. Vale is a visionary, and yet he finds himself persecuted at every turn. The government threatens him, hounds him, is even now out there looking for him. I alone saw the truth, I alone offered support.

VALE: Don't patronise me, Luthor. I'm well aware of the sort of man you are.

Hope flares in Richard's eyes. Luthor frowns, not best pleased. We see his hand slip around the gun, in readiness.

VALE: Unfortunately, Mr. White, in order to achieve a greater good we are forced sometimes to work with those we would normally disassociate ourselves from.

RICHARD: Nobody can be forced to do something that goes against what they know is right...!

At this, Luthor smiles broadly and pats the machinery surrounding Richard.

LUTHOR: Interesting you should say that.

RICHARD: What? What do you-

VALE: (deeply troubled) Lex...I'm still not certain about this.

RICHARD: (now increasingly terrified) About what?

LUTHOR: Emmet, we discussed this. Our first model was strong, but it was dumb/. It had no initiative, no intuition, nothing beyond its programming. A simple machine will always suffer in a contest against a thinking, breathing, living organism. /(he looks at Richard) To survive, we must...evolve.

Luthor keys a control on a panel to his left. A series of sinister-looking needles descend from all angles around Richard White's body, until they are poised millimetres from his skin. He begins to hyperventilate in fear, his breath coming in gasps, trying not to shake too violently.

RICHARD: What...what are you...doing...

LUTHOR: What you're seeing is needles filled with nanomachines, Mr. White. Once injected into your body, within one hour the agonising pain will have subsided. Within three hours you'll be as programmable to us as a computer. If I ordered you to kill Lois Lane, you'd snap her neck in an instant. Within twenty-four hours, you'll be ready to take the next step in human evolution. Start the process, Doctor.

RICHARD: Please...I have a /son/...


He waves a hand at Vale, who obediently - and with a little relief, we note - throws a switch that brings the increasing hum of the machinery to a halt.

Seeing through Richard's eyes again, to the bright lights of the laboratory ceiling far above, we see Lex Luthor come into view. He stares down at us, sadistic pleasure evident.

LUTHOR: Perhaps you're right, Doctor. Perhaps we should give Mr. White a chance to help us destroy Superman of his own free will.

RICHARD: (speaking with difficulty) And why would I do that?

LUTHOR: Perhaps because you know your darling fiancé will never stop loving him.

Tears leak from the corners of Richard's eyes. He chokes a little as the tears come, but somehow manages to gather himself.

RICHARD: Maybe. But she loves me, too. And she's marrying /me/.

LUTHOR: Out of love, or out of duty? Out of the genuine desire to spend the rest of her days with you, or because you're such a nice guy that she just can't bring herself to break your heart? Does she love you, Richard, or does she feel sorry for you?

RICHARD: Do you hear me, you sick bastard? We're getting married. We're going to be a family.

LUTHOR: A family? Are you planning to have a child together?

There is silence. Even Vale looks at Luthor, puzzled.

LUTHOR: One invasion scenario you never envisaged, Doctor. The Kryptonians aren't content with simply supplanting us. They're going to interbreed us to extinction. And they've already started.

RICHARD: You're lying. Jason was born long after-

LUTHOR: Dogs give birth in nine weeks. Elephants take up to two years. Kryptonians, as you and the rest of the planet seem to have forgotten, are /aliens/, Mr. White. Oh, do you mean to tell me you didn't know? Didn't Lois see fit to tell you, after her darling boy threw a piano onto one of my associates during our boating excursion?

His evil face fills the screen as we look through Richard's eyes once more, even as it blurs. We realise that it's blurring because of the tears that are filling Richard's eyes.

But somehow, once more, this remarkable man shows a strength of character we normally associate with those blessed with superpowers. He fixes Lex with a look that promises revenge.

RICHARD: I don't believe you. And even if I did, even if it was all true, it wouldn't matter. You're /insane/, Luthor. And much as I may sometimes wish he'd never landed on this planet, when he finds you, Superman will-

LUTHOR: (walking to the switch which controls the machinery) Wrong, Mr. White. Because if he finds me, Superman's going to have to go through you to get to me. And you're not going to let him.

He throws the switch. Vale looks away, closing his eyes. The screams ring out loud and long. We cut to outside the warehouse. Not a single sound travels outside its walls.

Act II, Scene III

Rain falls on Metropolis. It's a cloudy and quite miserable morning. Clark Kent is huddled under a large umbrella, standing outside the Daily Planet building. He checks his watch. There's a rumble in the skies overhead. As he stares upward, a brunette appears beside him.

LOIS: Gonna be one of those days.

CLARK: Looks like it.

LOIS: So are you ready?

CLARK: (gently) Lois, I've been ready for the last twenty minutes.

LOIS: Are you getting tough on me now too, Smallville?

CLARK: You call that tough?

LOIS: For you, to me? I call that positively battle-hardened. Where's Jimmy?

CLARK: Jimmy's coming?

Jimmy Olsen puffs through the revolving doors of the Planet. He's carrying two heavy bags, one over each shoulder. He looks at Lois with as much rebuke as he can muster (which isn't much).

JIMMY: Geez Ms. Lane, what do you put in these things? Concrete?

LOIS: A good reporter goes prepared.

JIMMY: For what? /Bear/?

CLARK: Let me help you, Jimmy.

He takes one of the bags from Jimmy and shoulders it with no apparent effort. Lois notices this.

LOIS: Is this the same guy who almost slipped a disc helping me move a cabinet last month?

CLARK: (easily) Well, I've been working out.

They walk to the sidewalk and enter a cab already parked there. We cut to a crowded room, filled with television and news cameras and more reporters than you could shake a fuzzy boom-mike at. Clark, Lois and Jimmy step into the room and sit down amongst the throng in three unoccupied seats in the middle of a row. Jimmy knocks against people on his way in with the two shoulder bags and causes some exasperated mutterings and comments to be sent his way.

When he's finally made it, Lois looks across at Jimmy.

LOIS: You're with the photographers, Jimmy.

JIMMY: Oh. Right.

He proceeds to exit the row and annoy everyone again. Clark glances across at Lois, who's trying to suppress a smile.

CLARK: Did you do that deliberately?

LOIS: Clark, that's the most fun I've had in a week. Which tells you all you need to know.

Clark is about to say something when in bustles high-ranking officers of the Metropolis Police Department. Clearly in charge is a woman named Captain Margaret Sawyer, a tough-as-nails blonde woman in her late thirties. Typically, she gets right down to business.

SAWYER: Ladies and gentlemen of the press, good morning. No doubt you've all come here to find out a little more about the light show we put on during the grand battle two nights ago.

One of the hacks at the front row, a red-faced argumentative-looking soul, stands up and points a finger in Sawyer's direction.

JOURNALIST: Yeah, especially because we tried to run a story on it three months ago and you called a conference to tell the world the rumours were all crap, Maggie.

He remains standing. There is an undercurrent of approval for his words amongst the journalists gathered. Lois and Clark remain silent.

SAWYER: (placidly) What am I meant to do, apologise? We wanted what we were doing kept as secret as possible. That's no longer necessary or possible now, for better or worse. But I can see you're clearly an expert on classified government technologies, so why don't you tell us what you know?

JOURNALIST: It's a synthesised sunlight emitter. Correct?

SAWYER: Correct. Remind me to have a word with you regarding your sources, Robert. A long word. Now sit down.

The journalist complies, seemingly before he's even realised he has, for he wears a slightly surprised expression on his face. Given Sawyer's tone of voice, however, it is safe to assume his self-preservation instinct kicked in.

SAWYER: We all know Superman is powered by sunlight. We also know that sometimes, since his return, he has been called upon to perform feats which might be termed as being beyond even his considerable talents. We can't help him lift landmasses or hold together crumbling suspension bridges. But thanks to the emitters, we can in some small way...say thank you.

We go to Clark during that speech, and we see in him a wonderful gratitude and sense of pride surface; this is the nobility of spirit that Jor-El spoke of when he described humans. If ever he wondered why he sacrificed so much, it is in gestures like this that he finds his answer.

SAWYER: What you saw a few nights ago was something of a sneak preview. We had to get one working unit near to his location as fast as we could. It wasn't pretty, but we did it. After tonight, however-

A technical flunky presses a button and the display screen behind Sawyer comes to life. We see a model of Metropolis and large red dots placed on quite a few of the buildings throughout the city.

SAWYER: We're going to have an emitter in each of the locations above. Together they'll form a grid that means wherever he is in Metropolis, we can reach him and assist. Switch-on ceremony is...(her voice noticeably drops in enthusiasm)...somewhat of a gala affair now, in Central Plaza tonight at 11pm. And if one of you hac...good journalistic folk can get word to the man of the hour, we'd love to have him in attendance. Got his number, Lois?

/(frostily, as a ripple of laughter goes through the room)/ He's unlisted I believe, Captain Sawyer.

Some of the journalists in Clark and Lois' row begin to mutter their own comments.

REPORTER: He doesn't have a pocket in that suit for a cellphone?

REPORTER #2: Ask Lois...

Lois flushes scarlet at this. Clark leans across her and whispers in their direction.

CLARK: Hey Jerry, love the College Co-Eds Strip Bingo promotion the Star is doing. Just oozes class. Who needs Pulitzers when you've got Tiffany in a G-string for a Full House?

Jerry, the 'Ask Lois' guy, goes a nice shade of crimson at this rebuttal. Clark sits back again, the picture of innocence. Lois glances across at him. Her hand touches his for a moment and squeezes once, to say thank you. He winks at her without turning his head.

SAWYER: Well ladies and gentlemen, that about wraps it up. Any questions?

No-one seems to. Sawyer nods and is about to one-eighty out of the press room when a nervous voice pipes up from the direction of the photographers.

JIMMY: Uh yeah, I have one.

SAWYER: Yes...?

JIMMY: Well, the emitters are basically really bright lights we can shine into the sky. Couldn't we use them to...I don't know, signal Superman that we needed his help? We could put...the S-shield across the glass and it would shine up and...

His voice trails off in the face of the overwhelming silence that greets this idea.

SAWYER: (as kindly as she can manage) Son, he's got super-hearing. All any of us need to do is lean out a window and yell 'help, Superman!' and he shows up.

JIMMY: Oh yeah. Right, yeah.

Sawyer nods once more and this time the press conference does end. Everyone begins filing out of the room. Jimmy looks suitably dejected and picks up one of the heavy shoulder bags. The other one is grabbed for him by a girl, around his age. She wears a camera around her neck. Her name is Vicki Vale.

VICKI: You know...I thought it was a good idea.

JIMMY: You did?

He offers her his hand. She shakes it.

JIMMY: Jimmy Olsen, /Daily Planet/.

VICKI: Vicki Vale, /Gotham Reporter/.

JIMMY: Be sure to tell the folks back East all about it.

VICKI: (smiling) Oh, you can count on it.

Act II, Scene IV

A coffee shop in downtown Metropolis, a little later that morning. Clark accepts two coffees and brings them over to the table Lois is occupying. He sets hers down beside her. She barely looks up to acknowledge receipt of it, and seems totally preoccupied. Clark sits down opposite her and sips at his coffee once or twice before finally giving in and waving a hand before Lois' face. This breaks her reverie.

LOIS: Sorry, Clark. I was miles away.

CLARK: In what direction?

LOIS: (softly) ...upward, I think.

CLARK: (feigning deafness) What?

LOIS: Nothing.

CLARK: If you need to talk...

LOIS: You mean you want to hear more, even after our heartbreaking kitchen chat?

CLARK: Try me.

LOIS: (deep breath) It's something Superman said.


LOIS: Oh, he says. You sound just like him sometimes.

CLARK: Lois...

LOIS: He thinks Luthor is back.

CLARK: Lex Luthor? In Metropolis? Gee Lois, I know Lex is a little unstable-

LOIS: A /little unstable/? He makes Captain Ahab look like the Jolly Green Giant.

CLARK: -but he'd have to be downright foolhardy to come back here, after what he pulled. He's no1 on the wanted list here. Not to mention that Superman might not look too kindly on him.

LOIS: Yeah...

CLARK: And even if he ever did come back, you can bet that Superman would make bringing him in his number one priority. I'm sure he knows how dangerous Luthor is. And I don't think he would have forgotten what Luthor did to you, and to Jason. I'm sure he's keeping an eye on you, Lois.

LOIS: You think so?

Clark winks, and keeps his eye closed a little longer than he should. Superman is indeed quite literally keeping an eye on her.

CLARK: I think so.

LOIS: (lifelessly) You're right.

CLARK: You don't seem too reassured.

LOIS: Well Clark, I don't like to flatter myself but I kinda thought Superman would be looking out for me if he thought Lex was back in town. It's not that.

CLARK: Then what?

LOIS: Is that what I am? Something he has to keep an eye on? A burden? I'm a grown damn woman who's survived in a few warzones in my time and still found time to make copy. I'm not some damsel in distress...and yet when I hear Luthor's back, I...

CLARK: (with feeling) He's different.

LOIS: (assuming, incorrectly, that's a question rather than a statement) You don't know him, Clark. He' every way that Superman, just by being near you, can make you feel safe, secure, like you matter...Luthor is the complete reverse of that. You're near him and somehow you feel helpless, like you're nothing more than an annoyance which he'll crush when he gets around to. And he had Jason and I should have...I should have done something. But I just couldn't.

CLARK: Lois, not managing to overpower three armed guards and a homicidal maniac doesn't exactly qualify you for Bad Mother status.

LOIS: You don't understand, Clark. Ever since Superman told me he was back...I've felt frozen. Like a rabbit in the headlamps. Since when did I need you to bail me out of a slanging match at a press conference?

CLARK: I didn't mean to - I'm sorry-

LOIS: Don't be sorry. I like the new Clark. But my point is, Lois Lane doesn't lose verbal rounds against Jerry 'The Sleaze' Sadowitz of the /Metropolis Star/.

CLARK: So what is Lois Lane going to do about it? The combined resources of the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and Superman couldn't find Luthor.

LOIS: (as inspiration strikes her) We don't need to find Luthor...

Act II, Scene V

A somewhat more downmarket part of the city. Lois and Clark are standing at the foot of a set of steps leading up to an apartment building which, to understate matters somewhat, has seen better days.

CLARK: This is her last address?

LOIS: After she did that reality TV show, this was the last address she supplied.

CLARK: Reality TV show...?

LOIS: Believe me when I tell you, you don't wanna know.

We see the pair go through the building's rather decayed lobby and up in a lift. Lois stabs the button for the appropriate floor as quickly as she can. Something scuttles underneath their feet. Lois keeps staring straight ahead as Clark looks down.

LOIS: (keeping her voice calm with some effort) What was that...

CLARK: Believe me when I tell you, you don't wanna know.

They reach the fifth floor and go the end of the corridor, to room 60. Lois glances at Clark. He makes a 'this was your idea' gesture and waves at the door. Lois takes a deep breath and knocks.

LOIS: Kitty? Kitty, are you in there? It's Lois Lane, /Daily Planet/. We just want to talk. Off-the-record.

As Lois speaks, we plunge through the door and into the apartment beyond. It's cramped, but miraculously (and heartbreakingly) the owner has somehow managed to make it quite homely despite the extreme difficulty that must have caused her. Little feminine touches abound. We linger for a moment on a framed picture of a small Pomeranian dog.

And that's when we see the pool of blood.

LOIS: Kitty? Come on, open up.

We see Clark pull down his glasses slightly and sweep the door, and we know he's seeing what we've just been privy to. When he gets to the pool of blood, an involuntary gasp of horror escapes his lips. Lois glances across at him again.

LOIS: What is it?

CLARK: I...just had a thought; you said Kitty helped Superman, and if Lex Luthor really is back in town...

LOIS: Oh God. You think she's in trouble?

Clark glances back at the door. The door peels back thanks to his X-Ray vision, and we see it too; a red stain across the carpet, and a pale white hand curled around a heavy glass vase. We don't see anything more because Clark turns away, looking haunted.

CLARK: (quietly) Yeah. I think so.

LOIS: Well then...

We cut to a view from inside the apartment. The door shudders once, twice, and then is kicked in, slamming around like it's just been hit by a sledgehammer. And standing there, her heel outstretched in a karate position and with a face like thunder, is Lois Lane, who did the kicking. Clark looks slightly stunned.

LOIS: You're not the only one who's been working out, Clark. //(stepping inside) Oh my God-

She rushes to the body, which we don't see. We stay on Clark as he watches, looking devastated, and we flash back only for a few seconds to him saving Kitty from her car's 'malfunction', in reality a diversion created by Lex to enable him to steal Kryptonite. She was a vulnerable woman, and easily led, but in her soul she lacked only courage, not goodness. And now, she's gone. We see the sadness be replaced by anger in his face.

CLARK: She's dead?

LOIS: Single bullet wound. We'd better call the police and report it in.

CLARK: I'll do it.

LOIS: No, I want to...I need to get out of here, just out of the building. I can't face her. //(blinking back tears) I hated her, but she was just some silly girl who got in over her head. And he killed her for it.

CLARK: If Luthor did this, he'll pay for it ,Lois.

LOIS: This, and more. Will you...stay with her, until the police arrive?

CLARK: Of course.

LOIS: Thank you.

She kisses him on the cheek, still on the verge of crying, and all but flees from the room. Clark watches her go, his expression grim. He looks around at the apartment, so desperately trying to be all it could be despite its limitations. His gaze settles on a wall picture - it's the Daily Planet front page headline, showing Superman lowering Kitty's car to the ground. He sighs...and staggers slightly.

A low, rumbling thrummmmmmm sound, like a faint but rapid drumming, is coming from the adjoining room, Kitty's bedroom. Almost of his own accord Clark finds himself walking in there. His attention settles on the bedside cabinet. An extremely faint white glow is emanating from it.

Clark reaches out a hand to the cabinet, hesitating for only a brief second (this IS a major crime scene, after all) before succumbing and opening it.

He gasps. Inside, poking out slightly from between books and general bric-a-brac, is a small white crystalline shard. One of the crystals he thought lost during Lex's science experiment writ large over half a year ago. It pulsates now with energy as he reaches for it, grasps it...

...and all goes white.

Act II, Scene V

Clark finds himself back on Krypton, this time in a busy Kryptonian city, wearing the black suit he sported during his earlier vision. The city is awe-inspiring. Crystalline buildings of white tower and taper into the crimson-tinged skies, each one several kilometres high. Walkways and transit paths crisscross the many layered levels of city life, though no vehicles seem present. Clark looks around eagerly.

CLARK: Father?

A man walks toward him, and Clark realises only at the last moment that the man is making no attempt to get out of his way whatsoever.

CLARK: Hey, what are-

That's as far as he gets before the man passes straight through him, leaving Clark breathless and stunned. He glances behind him, just as a woman passes through him from the opposite direction. Clark stares after her.

CLARK: Well, that's a new one.

Another man walks from left to right only a few yards ahead of him. Clark looks closer. The man is tall, imposing, square-jawed, and sporting a kiss-curl draped across his forehead.

CLARK: Father! Father, it's me! Kal-El, your son!

He runs to be alongside Jor-El and tries to halt him with his hand, but it passes through his father's arm. Jor-El seems oblivious to his son's presence, as does everyone else. Clark, crestfallen, is forced to settle merely for accompanying his father. He begins to sightsee in earnest now, taking in the spectacular city around him with unashamed gawping, and well he might - nothing of its like exists on Earth or is likely to exist on Earth for thousands of years to come. As they round a corner he shields his eyes and so might we - Krypton's deep red sun is bright, yes, but is so incredibly close to the planet that it should be many times brighter. We see Jor-El glance at it anxiously, before entering a building to his left. Clark, anxious not to be out of his father's sight for one moment, is after him in a flash.

The building he enters is clearly a council chamber of some sort. Kryptonian males and females line its perimeter in significant numbers. Jor-El walks to the centre of the auditorium, seemingly quite unfazed by the size of his watching public. Just like Margaret Sawyer only a few moments ago (and six galaxies away) he gets right down to business.

JOR-EL: Council members, I bid you welcome.

When the Concil replies, they do so in one voice, every person seated in the perimeter of the auditorium speaking perfectly in unison. Whether this is achieved through telepathy seems likely, but we do not know.

COUNCIL: And we welcome you, Jor-El. Speak.

JOR-EL: I bring word that the criminals have been captured.

COUNCIL: All three?

JOR-EL: All three. Zod evaded us longest, but our security force has him. They await only your judgement.

CLARK: Zod...

COUNCIL: Judgement? There have not been criminals on Krypton for millennia. We have forgotten how to judge them.

JOR-EL: I may have a solution.

COUNCIL: Your reputation precedes you, Protectorate. Speak.

JOR-EL: I have developed a computer program, a unique design, for the sole purpose of acting as arbiter in matters such as these. It will be impartial, just, and free from the distractions and the...detachment that I fear creeps into our society. I will demonstrate it to you now.

He takes a long crystal from his robe. Whilst some crystals can pulse weakly with power, this one positively reverberates with it. He slides it into the Kryptonian-design console before him. After a few moments, a hologram of a man takes shape between Jor-El and Clark. He is of powerful build, with intense golden eyes, and cropped raven hair. He takes in his surroundings in a heartbeat.

JOR-EL: He has been created specifically to eliminate all threats to the Kryptonian way of life. He is The Eradicator.

ERADICATOR: Greetings to you, Council members.

COUNCIL: Greetings to you, artificial life-form. Are you prepared to undergo the tests we will require of you before we place you with the power of judgement?



He glances at Jor-El. There is the tiniest hint of rebuke in his stare.

ERADICATOR: Did you not design me to speak for myself, Father?

CLARK: /Father/?

Jor-El and the Council freeze in place at Clark's outburst. Clark glances around, confused. He realises after a moment that only one person apart from himself retains the ability to move - the Eradicator. The two 'men' regard each other for a moment.

CLARK: You see me?

ERADICATOR: Of course. I created this simulation.

CLARK: You're in the crystal? How?

ERADICATOR: A tiny fraction of me resides in the crystal you touched. I thought it might be...beneficial for you to see my origins for yourself. And to see Krypton, and our father.

CLARK: (testily, a little jealously) /Our/ father?

ERADICATOR: (shrugs) It is a biological word, I grant you. But just as you were his biological offspring, so Jor-El conceived my existence through many years of tireless study and innovation. I consider myself to be a son to him. (he looks to Jor-El with fondness) He was proud of me.

CLARK: What happened next?

ERADICATOR: These fools (he gestures to the Council) would not allow me to preside over the trial of Zod and his followers. Jor-El had hoped that were I given control of the trial, I could use my influence to accomplish his real goal in my creation.

CLARK: Which was?

The Eradicator looks upward. Seemingly on his whim, the roof of the auditorium rolls back, to reveal the hungry maw of Krypton's red sun, hovering so uncomfortably close above the planet.

ERADICATOR: Our star, Rao. Our source of life...and our eventual doom.

CLARK: He tried to save them all.

ERADICATOR: For his pains, they ridiculed him. So he devised a way to save his sons. He had you placed in the rocketship and chose a planet for you to travel to, somewhere where you would not be encumbered with (he spits the word at the Council) /weakness/ to act when necessary.

Clark looks at the immobile Jor-El, emotion choking him. He takes an involuntary step toward him, again looking for all the world like all he wants to do is embrace his father, just once. But something occurs to him.

CLARK: Save his /sons/?

ERADICATOR: Yes. He knew it would take a navigational program unlike any ever designed to get that ship from Krypton to Earth, some galaxies away. And so he gave me my final mission. I was the pilot, Kal-El. Your pilot. I brought you to brother.

CLARK: (cautiously) Why didn't you ever show yourself?

ERADICATOR: Who do you think built the Fortress, Kal-El, when you threw that single crystal into the ice? Who do you think assisted you in your battle against Zod, on Earth?

CLARK: Why not ever physically, until now?

ERADICATOR: Need, Kal-El. I am scattered. The crystals Luthor stole...without them, the Fortress stands lifeless. I am powerless. You must bring them back.

CLARK: Do you know what you're asking? Where you're asking me to go?

Clark stares up at the Krypton sky, his face wracked with confusion and doubt, and perhaps a trace of shame. The Eradicator doesn't answer, but we see his lip curl ever so slightly.

ERADICATOR: So be it. But you will have need of me, Kal-El. Sooner than you imagine. Farewell.

Flash. Clark is back in Kitty's bedroom. The door to her apartment opens, and we hear the sound of police officers arriving.

OFFICER: Mr. Kent?

Clark stashes the crystal in his jacket and emerges from the bedroom a second later. The officer regards him suspiciously, but we get the impression that this officer pretty much regards everyone suspiciously, murder scene or no.

CLARK: I thought I heard something.

OFFICER: And did you?

CLARK: Nothing real.

Act II, Scene VI

A typical kindergarten scene - chaos, in other words. Children pinball around the room, with two adult supervisors (Miss Murray and Miss Jowell, one squat and round and the other taller and thinner, both of them motherly-looking women in their mid-thirties) trail in their collective wake. We see Jason painting a picture on a miniature easel. His tongue sticks out a little in concentration. He brushes his hair out of his eyes (smearing a little paint on himself in the process) and a small kiss-curl drops neatly into place on his forehead, but exists only for a few seconds until he brushes his hair aside again.

MISS MURRAY: Okay, kids, who wants to play pin the tail on the monkey?

There's a less than enthusiastic response from the kids. Miss Jowell, the taller and thinner woman, narrows her eyes a little and addresses the rabble in a voice that brokers no negotiation.

MISS JOWELL: Gather round now if you please!

Wisely, the kids gather round. All except for Jason, who just keeps on painting his picture serenely. A little girl and little boy walk past him, whisper something to each other, and giggle.

JASON: (fiercely) I am not weird.

LITTLE GIRL: Oh my God, he totally heard you!

LITTLE BOY: I told you he was weird.

Jason goes back to staring at his easel, every inch the determined little artist. We can tell he's hurting. The little girl and boy join the remainder of the kindergarten class as the two women prepare the game, producing a blindfold, a set of furry monkey 'tails', and a huge poster of a grinning monkey covered in Velcro, which they affix to the nearest wall in the playroom. They are about to start when Miss Jowell nudges Miss Murray and nods over to bring her attention to Jason, still standing on his own at the other side of the room.

MISS MURRAY: Jason, honey? Don't you want to come over? You can finish your picture later?

JASON: I'd rather paint, Miss. I don't like that game.

There are a few murmurs from the assembled kids. We get the distinct impression that none of them is especially keen for Jason to join them.

MISS MURRAY: It's fun, Jason. Look I tell you what, why don't you be our no1 contestant today.

Jason sighs. He stares at the (still unseen) picture, and then reluctantly puts down his paintbrush and walks over rather hesitantly to where the other children have assembled. Just as at the birthday party, he is distinctly uncomfortable in the spotlight.

MISS JOWELL: Mustn't dawdle, Jason. Come now.

No-nonsense as ever, she ties the blindfold securely around his head, covering his eyes completely, and hands him a furry tail complete with Velcro bud on its end.

MISS JOWELL: Now, count to ten everyone!


Miss Jowell spins Jason around one rotation for each number the children count.


We see a few of the kids stumble a little. One is counting on his fingers. One simply stares cross-eyed into space.


Miss Jowell releases Jason.

MISS MURRAY: Go Jason! You can do it! You can-

He puts out a foot to steady himself, and then collects himself, turns in the direction of the monkey picture and slowly and assuredly walks to it and puts the tail exactly on the spot it's meant to go.

MISS MURRAY: /(trailing off)/

LITTLE BOY: I told you. W-E-Y-R-D.

Jason takes off the blindfold and stares at the little boy. Anger is bubbling visibly within him.

JASON: I am /not/!

LITTLE BOY: Are too!


He launches himself at the boy, who goes down with a high-pitched squeal. The kids whoop and cheer this (except for one little boy who bursts into tears). Miss Murray seems distraught. Miss Jowell does not - she marches over and grabs Jason by the arm. He's sitting on top of the (now squealing in terror) little boy and has raised his fist to strike at him-

MISS JOWELL: That is /enough/, Mister Lane!

She tugs at his arm. And again. The child doesn't budge an inch. Miss Jowell frowns, and tries again. Still she cannot move him.

LITTLE BOY: (bawling) Mommy! I want my Mommy!

MISS JOWELL: I said that is ENOUGH!

/Jason relaxes, and allows himself to be lifted from the boy, who immediately runs to Miss Murray and scrambles up into her arms, still wailing his heart out. Jason looks up at Miss Jowell, anger still etched in his young face...and then that face crumples, and the tears come. Even Miss Jowell, no-nonsense keeper of the peace, melts a little and goes down on her knees so he can hug her./

We pull back from the scene slowly, until we see the picture Jason was trying to hard to paint - it's a clumsy, but nonetheless recognisable, attempt at the 'S' of Superman's shield.

Act II, Scene VII

A little later at the kindergarten. Lois is in conference with Miss Jowell. Jason stands a little in the background, presumably pretending he cannot hear every word being said.

MISS JOWELL: ...he's not what we would term here a natural mixer with the other children, Miss Lane.

LOIS: I know. I was hoping his birthday party would change that.

MISS JOWELL: (disapprovingly) Yes. I heard all about that. Miss Lane, I will tolerate no violence in my kindergarten. I am serving you notice that unless I see a distinct improvement in the near future in Jason's behaviour I shall be asking you to place him elsewhere.


MISS JOWELL: I believe the matter is closed. Have a wonderful weekend.

With that, she nods perfunctorily and whisks away. Lois sighs and walks over to Jason, who looks up at her sheepishly, but with more than a hint that he's ready to stand up for himself if it's a grilling he's in for.

JASON: He called me weird.

LOIS: Oh he did, did he? Well we'll just have to see how weird his father's computer software company looks when I have our technology boys take a long, hard, second look at their latest release.

Jason grins. He didn't understand a word of that, but he saw the anger on behalf of her son flash in his mother's eyes, and that means a lot to a five-year-old. Lois seems to realise she's not showing the most mature example to her son. She adopts a stern parental look. Jason looks suitably abashed.

LOIS: Just because someone is a moron honey doesn't give you the right to do what you did. No, um, he's not a moron...oh God, I am officially the world's worst Mom...

Jason responds by going over and giving her a hug.

JASON: (sternly) No you're not.

Lois looks lovingly into her son's eyes. Like every mother she would fight all his battles for him if he could, and it's killing her that she can't. She pulls him closer and whispers conspiratorially in his ear.

LOIS: I have a surprise for you today.


LOIS: Oh? Just oh? Aren't you going to ask what it is?

JASON: Well, wouldn't that kind of make it not a surprise?

LOIS: (mock-sternly) Mister, sometimes you are just too smart for your own good...

We see them exiting the building and making to cross the busy Metropolis avenue outside. Just as they're about to cross, a car pulls to a halt right beside them. Richard White gets out of the driver's side. He looks normal, albeit slightly unshaven.

JASON: Daddy!

RICHARD: Jason! I've missed you!

Jason runs to his father. Richard scoops him up with a grunt of effort and hugs him tightly, ruffling Jason's hair as he does so. Once he is deposited back on the ground Jason pulls away, rubbing his ribs a little gingerly.

JASON: Ow. Tight squeeze. And you need a shave, Dad.

RICHARD: I guess I do, at that. Hello, Lois.

LOIS: (coolly) Hello.

JASON: Are you coming to Uncle Clark's too, Dad? It's kinda small there but it's fun, I guess.

RICHARD: I wish I could, son. But Daddy's got important work to do.

Jason's shoulders slump with disappointment at this news. Richard sees Lois roll her eyes.

RICHARD: I'll be back with you soon, I promise.

LOIS: How is work?

RICHARD: Just getting interesting. So what are you two doing this fine afternoon?

JASON: Mummy's taking me to my surprise.

RICHARD: A surprise! Well aren't you the lucky one.

LOIS: Yeah.

JASON: Are you gonna come see my surprise too, Dad?

LOIS: I think Daddy has to get back to work, Jason.

RICHARD: (looking at Lois) Yeah. Your mother's right. Oh don't look like that. Hey how about this for good news - Daddy's special work should be done by tomorrow.

JASON: (excitedly) You mean it?

RICHARD: I'm certain of it. Now go with your Mom, and enjoy your surprise. I'm sure it'll be a super surprise for a super son.

Lois flinches. Richard's gaze lingers on her for a second, before he gets back into his car and drives off at high speed. Lois and Jason watch him go. Lois seems a little shaken, for reasons even she can't seem to pin down.

LOIS: Come on. Don't want to be late, do we?

We follow them as they make their way to a nearby Metropolis park, winding down the concrete path until they come to a small clearing.

JASON: My surprise is here?

LOIS: It will be soon enough. Now I want you to close your eyes and say, "I'm here." As loudly as you can. Go ahead, it's okay.

JASON: Okay...

He does as Lois asks; closes his eyes, and stands there for a moment, before calling out -

JASON: I'm here!

He opens his eyes, and Superman is standing before him, smiling.

LOIS: Surprise...

JASON: Superman!

SUPERMAN: (touchingly nervous) Hello, Jason. It's good to see you again. You've grown.

JASON: You remembered my name! Mom, he remembers my name! See, I told you he would.

LOIS: That you did. Just once or twice.

Superman and Lois share a look. He's trying not to laugh.

JASON: (glancing around) there gonna be another robot?

LOIS: No. He's here to talk to you about.../(she sighs)/...look, Jason, how would you like to go with Superman for an hour or so? Mommy will wait right here til you get back.

JASON: No way. You mean it? Can we... (he mimes taking off and flying upward)

SUPERMAN: (off Lois' look) Uh. I think you'll have to ask your mother.

LOIS: Yes...I guess so...but not fast, and not high, and don't you dare bring him to any rescues or so help me I'll-

SUPERMAN: Lois...he'll be fine.

He stretches out his hand towards his son. It's a big moment for him. We see how nervous he is. Jason looks up at him, looks at the outstretched hand, and then back at his mother. Lois nods. Jason grins hugely, and takes Superman's hand.

SUPERMAN: Let's go.

And off they go - upward, Superman's hands underneath Jason's arms, looking for all the world like a father giving his son a boost - albeit a boost hundreds of feet into the air.



Her voice fades into the greenery of the park below. Wind begins to ruffle Jason's hair as they keep rising, up the sides of the Metropolis skyscrapers. Jason sees his reflection caught in the glass and gasps. He looks down and gasps again, and for a moment seems nervous.

SUPERMAN: I've got you. Trust me.

JASON: Who's got you?

SUPERMAN: (laughing) It's been a while since anyone asked me that. So Jason Lane, what do you want to see? Where do you want to go?

They're above the buildings themselves now, and cruising with the city spread out like a giant moving tapestry beneath them. Off to the east, an aeroplane is coming in to land at Metropolis Airport. Jason watches it descend.

JASON: Somewhere quiet. It's so noisy down there.

We hear the city as they hear it - a cacophony of noise, of traffic, of human voices talking, shouting, laughing, crying, of televisions and radios and the thousand other sounds that make up a city that size. Superman looks down at his son with genuine understanding and sympathy.

SUPERMAN: Somewhere quiet, huh. Hmm.

JASON: Yeah. And I want to get there /fast/.

SUPERMAN: Fast, you say? But your mother made me promise...

JASON: Yeah. But I know you've got me.

SUPERMAN: Okay then. Somewhere quiet it is!

And with that, they begin to pick up speed, until Jason is tucked underneath Superman securely. Superman stretches out Jason's arms until they're pointing directly ahead, copying the classic Superman flying pose. Our view shifts to that of Jason's, so we see what he sees - the world accelerating around him, the landscape blurring far below; he is riding in comfort and style, and faster than a speeding bullet.


Act II, Scene IX

Vale's laboratory. Vale looks up at Luthor from a control panel.

VALE: He's back.

Richard White enters the building. He walks over to the two men and stops dead in his tracks. There's something total about his lack of movement that's not quite human.

LUTHOR: Report.

RICHARD: I applied sufficient pressure to cause serious injury.

We see a flash of him hugging Jason in the previous scene, and Jason, when released, rubbing his sides.

LUTHOR: (pointing to a fire extinguisher on a nearby wall) Show me.

Richard strides over to the extinguisher and squeezes it. We see the metal buckle in his arms.

LUTHOR: That's enough.

VALE: The nanomachines are rewriting his internal structure, exactly as designed. By tonight, he'll be ready.

LUTHOR: All that strength...and all little Jason got was sore ribs. (he moves close to Richard's left ear and whispers into it) Well, Richard, if you're in there somewhere, still think I'm lying...?

Outwardly there seems to be no response to Luthor's taunts - Richard remains deadpan, expressionless, robotic. But as we pan downward, we see his right hand curl into a tight fist. The fist unclenches after a few moments. Neither Vale nor Luthor notice this display.

LUTHOR: And your other task?

RICHARD: Successful.

LUTHOR: Good my friend. Good. Flying colours. Now go lie on the table over there.


He obligingly reclines on the nearest of the high-tech 'operating' tables. Luthor works controls and the huge Metallo prototype revolves into view inside its hollow sarcophagus. Luthor exhales in satisfaction.

LUTHOR: The only thing better than brain over brawn, Dr. Vale, is brain inside brawn...

Act II, Scene X

The Daily Planet's newsroom. We see Perry White stalking out of his office, looking worried. He addresses a young temp in the middle of a coffee and causes her to splash the contents of the cup over her desk.

PERRY: Tiffany! Did I miss any calls? Anything on voicemail?

TIFFANY: No sir, Mr. White.

PERRY: Dammit. And where the hell is Jimmy?

We cut to Dr. Reed's room. Jimmy is reclining in the psychiatrist's couch in the classic 'therapy' pose. What makes it slightly different is the fact that he's wearing his best suit and has obviously tried his best to spruce himself up. We see Dr. Reed sitting opposite him. Her body language is fairly screaming 'not interested'. Unfortunately Jimmy seems to be a little hard of hearing in the mysterious murky waters of female body language.

JIMMY: ...sometimes when Perry says (he puts on an extremely good Perry White impersonation) 'Jimmy, unless you're waiting for pictures of Elvis hitching a ride on Superman's back to develop, stop sitting on that worthless butt of yours and get me a hot mocha', I just feel so...un-validated, you know?

DR. REED: (sounding less than thrilled) I see.

JIMMY: I think what I need is...just someone, some beautiful person, (he forces a laugh) you know the kinda girl who maybe dates a guy and then has the guy move a workmate and her son into his apartment or something totally inappropriate like that, to look at me and say 'James Bartholomew Olsen, you are a beautiful person, and I would be delighted to accompany you to that Green Day concert next Friday night at 8pm'.

His speech over, he glances over at Dr. Reed. She stares back at him. This goes on for a long moment, broken only by the loud ticking of the clock in her office.

DR. REED: Jimmy-

Her office door is flung open. It's Perry White, on the warpath.

PERRY: James Bartholomew Olsen you useless sack of elbow skin, get the hell out of there and start earning the wages I'm docking you! NOW!

JIMMY: Yes Chief yes Chief right away Chief bye Dr. Reed speak later-

And he's gone. Perry looks at Dr. Reed.

DR. REED: (with feeling) Thank you.

PERRY: You have a visitor.

He steps out of the way to allow a middle-aged woman access to the office. Dr. Reed's eyes widen and she gets to her feet. The middle-aged woman approaches her, but she backs off.

DR. REED: What are you doing here?

PERRY: Is there a problem?

EVE: There's no problem, Mr. White. I'm Eve. Vanessa's mother.

PERRY: (eyebrows leaping) Ah. Well then fifty years of life experience tell me that's my cue. Nice to have met you.

He closes the door with the air of a man glad to escape. And well he might, for the air in the room is thick with tension. Mother and daughter eye each other warily. Vanessa herself seems markedly different from before; gone is the casual air and easygoing outlook. She eyes her mother coldly and dispassionately, picking her opener carefully.

DR. REED: What do you want?

EVE: I suppose asking you to come home would be too much?

DR. REED: (snorts) Maybe you should have become the therapist, Mom.

EVE: Maybe I should have hammered home the things I tried to tell you growing up a little more.

DR. REED: You were plenty clear. But guess what - I grew up. And I want to make up my own mind.

EVE: And when you see I'm right?

DR. REED: I'll come home and flutter my eyelashes and hang around being some rich guy's decoration, just like you. Deal?

EVE: You think you're so smart. I went to Harvard too, finished second in my graduating class. Doesn't make a damn bit of difference - I still made the mistake of-

DR. REED: We're /done/, mother. Get out. And don't look me up again.

EVE: Don't worry. I won't.

She's out the door and gone, slamming it behind her. As she walks across the Planet's newsroom, there are numerous curious glances following her, and not just because of the door slam; despite her age, she's still an attractive woman.

Back in her office, Vanessa sinks down in her comfortable psychiatrist's chair with a sigh, finally showing some hint of humanity after her exercise in coldness to her mother. She runs a hand through her hair and pulls open a drawer in her desk. Inside is a small black box with a single button.

Her door is knocked. She quickly shoves the box back inside the drawer.

DR. REED: Come in.

PERRY: Everything okay?

DR. REED: Oh, that? Yeah.../(she smiles)/...just mother-daughter stuff. Nothing world-shattering.

PERRY: Okay. (he turns to go, then turns back) I have to your mother an actress, or a singer...?


PERRY: She just seemed a little familiar.

DR. REED: Angry mothers always seem familiar.

PERRY: Ain't that the truth? I could tell you a few stories about my Alice, but hey, I'm paying you by the hour and I don't think the Planet could finance that session.

DR. REED: (laughing) Sounds like a challenge, Perry.

PERRY: Some other day. Got other things on my mind today.

He looks troubled suddenly, and exits the room, leaving Vanessa sitting alone. The smile immediately drops from her face, and oddly, for a moment she looks familiar too...

Act II, Scene XI

A rocky pleateau, jutting from the side of a mountain. It's a ledge over a three thousand foot drop. Jason Lane is sitting on the edge, swinging his legs. He stares out over the mid-afternoon landscape spread before him, like an immense child's drawing, the green and gold fields retreating to the horizon opposite. He closes his eyes and once again, we hear what he hears - the wind, chittering of squirrels, a few birdcalls, but compared to Metropolis, it's blessedly quiet.

JASON: I like it here.

Superman is standing behind him, gazing out at the view in much the same reverie as his son.

SUPERMAN: I thought you might.

He goes over and sits down beside Jason. Jason glances over at him. They share a look. An intensely curious air springs up over Jason after a few seconds, however, and that's when the questions begin...

JASON: So how strong are you? Like, could you lift...the Statue of Liberty?

SUPERMAN: Um, I think so.

JASON: That's pretty neat.

SUPERMAN: Thanks. I'd have to do it just right though or the strain would break her.

JASON: Huh? Couldn't you just pick her up by her torch?

SUPERMAN: No. All that would happen if I did that is her torch would break off. And we wouldn't want that, would we?

JASON: (thinking it over) Guess not. People would prob'ly be pretty mad. So who'd win in a fight between you and...a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

SUPERMAN: Why would I be fighting a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

JASON: Because he's robbing a bank.

SUPERMAN: (dubiously) Okay. I think I would.

JASON: Yeah. They've only got little arms.

SUPERMAN: (trying to contain a smile) Yeah.

JASON: How about Darth Vader?

SUPERMAN: Is he robbing the bank too?

JASON: (rolls eyes) He wouldn't need to rob it. He'd just mind-trick everyone into handing over money.

SUPERMAN: Right. Well (he ponders for a second) yeah, still me. I reckon I could take him.

JASON: Cool. So how fast are you? Like could you get from here to the Moon in about a second?


JASON: (sounding disappointed) Oh.

SUPERMAN: (defensively) Hey, we did just fly three thousand miles in five minutes.

JASON: Spaceships can do that too.

SUPERMAN: (lost for words) I...suppose they can.

JASON: I'm a freak. What's with that?


JASON: Well I asked Mom, and she says she swears she didn't find me in a spaceship cos I'd heard that's how you were found. And when Mom swears, she always tells the truth. So if I didn't come from up there, how come I'm a freak?

SUPERMAN: Jason, you are not a freak.

JASON: And then I thought, well, maybe some toxic waste got in my eyes or I swallowed it or some magic thing bit me when I was a baby and I can't remember it cos I was a baby, or maybe my gener...genat...geriatric code got messed up cos of mutation, cos I stayed up late and saw this movie one time-

SUPERMAN: Jason, stop. The things you're talking about...they only happen in movies and comic books. You're not a freak. You're just different to the kids you know. You've got...special abilities.

JASON: How did you know?

SUPERMAN: ...your mother told me.

JASON: She hasn't told Daddy yet.

SUPERMAN: ...yeah. I know.

JASON: She's afraid he won't love me anymore if he knows.

SUPERMAN: Jason, you know that's not true. Rich...your fath...your Daddy loves you. Very much. And whether you were secretly really strong or not, that wouldn't matter one bit to him. Cos Daddies love their sons, no matter what. That's kinda their job, you know.

JASON: I wish I hadn't hurt that man with the piano. Mom told me he was okay afterwards, but...can I tell you a secret, and you promise you won't tell anyone?

Superman nods. Jason leans in toward him and whispers.

JASON: I kinda, you know a little bit, didn't want him to be okay. He was going to hurt my Mom.

SUPERMAN: (with some difficulty) I know, Jason. You were protecting her. You did what you thought was right.

JASON: Why can't I be more like my Dad?

Saddened for many reasons, Superman can't find the words to answer that.

JASON: I wish I wasn't strong.

Superman reaches out and places a supportive hand on the youngster's shoulder.

SUPERMAN: So do I, sometimes.

JASON: You? But you're Superman. You're the /best/. You're not scared of anything.

SUPERMAN: Everybody's afraid of something, Jason. Me included.

JASON: Like what?

Superman stares across at his son for a second, so small and innocent, sitting on top of a dizzyingly high ledge, feet swinging into the emptiness. He seems to come to a decision.

SUPERMAN: If I tell you, will you promise to keep it a secret?

JASON: I'll keep yours if you keep mine?


Jason proffers his hand gravely. They shake on it. Superman springs to his feet. He seems strangely exhilarated all of a sudden.

SUPERMAN: Come on. I'll show you.

JASON: (as he is scooped up by Superman, ready for flight) Where are we going?

SUPERMAN: We're going visiting...

Act II, Scene XII

A battered wooden door, in need of a lick of whitewash. A hand raps it sharply once, twice. A voice calls something inaudible from within. Steps get closer. A silhouette appears through the adjacent window.

The door opens, to reveal Martha Kent. She takes in the sight of Superman standing there...and standing beside him, a rather puzzled five-year-old child. She opens her mouth, can't seem to think of what to say, and eventually simply looks at her adopted son with a 'help me out here' expression.

SUPERMAN: Hey, Mom. This is Jason.

JASON: You're Superman's /Mom/?!

MARTHA: (speechless) Uh...won't you come in?

Superman grins, and ushers Jason inside. The little boy dashes into the house and makes right for the sitting room. Martha puts her hand on her son's chest.

MARTHA: (whispering) What is going on?

SUPERMAN: I'll explain everything. Come on.

They enter the sitting room, to find Jason standing on a chair, examining the framed pictures on the wall. The picture he's studying is of Martha and Jonathan Kent from more than a decade or so ago...and standing between them, a smiling Clark Kent. Jason frowns. He shifts his gaze to the next picture. It's Clark on graduation day from college, clutching his diploma proudly. We see Jason stare at the picture, bug-eyed, before seeing another Clark picture...and another...

He turns.

JASON: Why are there so many pictures of Uncle Clark here?

Superman inhales deeply.

SUPERMAN: Because...

And in less than a second, he has bolted out of the room, up the stairs, into his bedroom, and is back downstairs and in the sitting room, dressed as Clark Kent. His glasses are in his hand. He puts them on to complete the transformation.

CLARK: Surprise?

Jason's mouth drops open.

So does Martha's.

And in a laboratory in Metropolis, watching through a microscopic camera which we now see (through a zooming-in effect on Jason's eye) has been implanted on Jason Lane's optic nerves, Lex Luthor and Dr. Emmet Vale are equally astonished.

We see a quick flashback of Richard hugging Jason on the Metropolis street in Act II Scene IV, and what we assumed was stubble on Richard's face were actually tiny nanomachine-injecting needles. We see a dark spot travelling up underneath Jason's face, until it disappears from his cheek into his left eye.

CLARK: Well? What do you think?

JASON: You're Uncle Clark! I can't believe it! Superman is my uncle Clark! Why didn't my Mom or Dad ever tell me?

CLARK: Because Lois and Richard don't know, Jason.

MARTHA: Lois're Jason? Lois' son?

She glares at Clark with a 'have you LOST your mind?' look, which she tries to hide from Jason.

CLARK: You can't tell them, Jason. You can't tell anyone.

JASON: I can't?

Clark gets down on his hunkers to speak to the child. He's deadly serious now, because what he's saying could have serious repercussions if Jason doesn't listen carefully. To his credit, Jason seems to sense this.

CLARK: Remember when I said I was scared of something?


CLARK: The thing that I'm afraid of is what would happen if the world knew who I was. You know there are some bad people out there.

Right on cue, we cut to a view of Clark's face giving this speech through the nano-camera implanted in Jason's optic nerves, and watching it, Lex Luthor, looming large like the very incarnation of the 'bad people' Clark is talking about.

If he had hair, every strand of it would be standing on end. He's energised beyond belief, thrilled by what he's watching, getting a voyeuristic kick out of watching these intensely private moments in the life of his arch-nemesis and the incredible advantage he now possesses through his knowledge of them.

JASON: Like Luthor.

CLARK: Like Luthor. And maybe worse. And if they knew...

Luthor's face breaks out into the most evil smile we've ever seen.

CLARK: Remember we agreed about secrets?

JASON: Oh, yeah. We did. (exploding with excitement) You mean only I get to know that you're Superman? Oh I can't believe this...this is too good. Mom thinks you're just some guy she works with! How did she not know? How did I not know?

MARTHA: Excuse me a moment, Jason dear, would you?

She grabs Clark unceremoniously as only a mother can, fairly dragging the world's mightiest superhero into the next room before pointing a finger at him, whispering fiercely.

MARTHA: Clark Kent, you've got some serious explaining to do. Why now? Why /him/, of all people? You know the history between you and L-

Clark puts a finger to her mouth, shaking his head. But it's too late. A small voice calls from the other room.

JASON: Hey. I'm not a /him/. And history between you and who?

Martha Kent is a formidable woman. She is far from slow on the uptake. With that one single sentence, that one impossible feat of eavesdropping, the full truth hits her. Literally. She stumbles backward a half-step, staggered, amazed. Clark is there to support her. She clutches at his arm, looking at him with a 'is it true?' expression. His eyes are heavy with emotion. He nods a simple yes. Martha absorbs this nod and all the implications it carries in a moment. What she does next, she doesn't hesitate in doing.

Mother and son embrace, silently. We can see tears in Martha Kent's eyes.

Jason frowns at the silence emanating from Clark and Martha in the adjacent room. He makes as if to go in to see what's happening, but he hesitates, and decides against it. Instead, he goes back to doing what he first did upon entering the household - examining pictures. He focuses on one in particular; a particularly dog-eared photograph, lovingly framed, of a young Clark and his father Jonathan Kent. Clark is no more than six years old in the photograph, and the resemblance between him and Jason Lane is there for all to see, Jason included. Jason stares.

CLARK: Jason?

He and Martha have returned. Martha's demeanour has changed completely, though we sense she's trying to remain as casual as possible. Every part of this woman aches to gather Jason up in her arms and hug him tightly, but she cannot do that. We see the hurt in her eyes, hurt we last saw when she was forced to watch her son bundled into the Metropolis General Hospital after falling to Earth.


CLARK: We've got about half an hour before your mother is expecting you back.

MARTHA: (clucks) That doesn't give me enough time to prepare dinner for you two fine boys. Unless...

We cut to Clark Kent in the kitchen. Martha is standing a little way away, Jason a little closer. Martha puts a hand on the boy's shoulder. She smiles kindly at him.

MARTHA: You might want to stand back.

JASON: Okay, but wh-

And Clark is off and running. Blurs of movement pepper the kitchen area as he zooms around collecting ingredients. He reaches the refrigerator, retrieves a slew of vegetables, and throws them toward the pots and pans on the hob. He overtakes the flying vegetables, chops and slices every vegetable in mid-air, then guides the falling segments perfectly into their respective pots, where they splashdown into the water. A quick burst of low-intensity heat-vision has the water boiling merrily in seconds. He turns his attention to the chicken. We see heat-vision flaring again.

Jason is watching this with his jaw somewhere around his breastbone.

We cut to the meal itself, set out immaculately around the table. Clark finally drops out of super-speed and comes to a halt by the chair next to Martha, which he pulls out and gestures for her to sit down.

MARTHA: (approvingly) I see Metropolis hasn't //completely ruined you yet.

We move forward to the three eating the meal. Trying to, at any rate. Martha is holding court with Jason. Jason seems to be enjoying himself immensely.

MARTHA: ...and what did Jonathan and I see, that night on television? A certain young man who was meant to be upstairs studying for an English final had snuck off to New York to get into a /rock concert/! What he'd not counted on was that this concert was being broadcast live - imagine the surprise on our faces when we saw a familiar face on TV!

Clark seems to be trying to hide behind his mashed potatoes.

CLARK: Mom...

JASON: Busted!

CLARK: (ruefully, if fondly) When I looked up and saw that camera, I knew. Somehow I just /knew/. I never ran home so fast in all my life. Almost made it too before Dad could climb the stairs and open my room door.

MARTHA: You did make it. When Jonathan opened your room door, there was Clark, sitting there as casual as all get out, looking up from his schoolbooks with big innocent eyes. "Yes Dad? Can I help you?" he says to Jonathan.

JASON: What did your Dad say?

CLARK: I'll never forget it. He just looked at me and said, "Studying hard, son?" "Oh yeah Dad" I replied. Dad made like he was about to leave the room. "Okay, son," he said. "But there's just one thing - your sneakers are on fire." And they were. They'd burst into flames, I'd run so fast.

Jason giggles furiously. Martha is holding her sides with laughter. Clark is blushing, but smiling, at the memories.

MARTHA: I haven't thought about that in years. Oh, this has been fun.

CLARK: (standing up, looking at the clock) We'd better get back, Jason. I promised your Mom.

JASON: (standing up, looking disappointed) Okay.

Martha gets to her feet too, looking equally crestfallen. As much as anyone else here, and maybe more, she has enjoyed the last hour or so. She approaches Jason and squats down to speak to him.

MARTHA: Clark was special. I loved him all the more for it. I know your mother - I know Lois - loves you the exact same way. Don't ever doubt you're loved, Jason. (she smiles) By some people you might even know about. You're not alone. You'll never be alone.

JASON: (staring down at the floor) Sometimes I just wish I was normal.

MARTHA: Hey. (she lifts his chin until he's looking at her) Would a 'normal' kid be getting ready to fly with Superman?

JASON: I guess not.

MARTHA: Then why not leave being normal to the other kids, huh? It can be more fun being special, even if it is harder sometimes. You're strong enough to handle it, and when you don't feel strong...well, you're welcome back here anytime, Jason. This is one place where you don't have to be strong, or super, or anything but /you/.

She gives him a quick hug. She wants to linger over it, but she knows to do so would be to confuse the child. Her eyes meet Clark's for a moment before she releases Jason.

Clark sighs, and in the blink of an eye he's Superman again. He hands his spare pair of glasses back to his mother. He looks at her with a silent thank you. She nods.

SUPERMAN: For safekeeping.

MARTHA: Always.

They walk to the front porch. Superman puts his hands under Jason's arms.

JASON: Goodbye, Mrs Kent.

MARTHA: Goodbye.

With a gentle spring and a graceful leap, they're airborne. Martha Kent watches them until they're a dot in the distance, and for quite some time beyond even that. Only then, perhaps only when she finally trusts she's out of even the most Kryptonian-enhanced hearing, do the tears begin to come.

Act II, Scene XII

Vale's laboratory. Vale himself has faded almost into the background constantly now, an almost-forgotten presence. We get a glimpse of his increasingly haunted, increasingly haggard face. Lex Luthor is in charge, and charged with malicious energy. The laboratory is growing increasingly sinister, and its centrepiece now no longer in doubt; Metallo's sarcophagus, its occupant unseen, but nonetheless so Frankenstein-esque in its construction and bearing that it seems to spring from the book itself.

LUTHOR: I can hardly believe our fortune, my dear Doctor. I expected some interesting insights from our surveillance on the Lane child, but /this/ you realise what this gives us? Can you even begin to comprehend?

VALE: (wearily) I welcome anything that brings about his destruction. The sooner this...all of this...ends, the better.

LUTHOR: His destruction? Are you still lusting after the quick kill, Doctor? (laughing) You know, once I would have agreed with you. A quick blade between his ribs was what I thought he deserved, and I gave it to him. But now...I would not be so merciful.

VALE: (bitterly) Yes. I believe we've all seen your surrender protocols.

LUTHOR: (ignoring him) Why kill him, with the information we now possess?

We rotate around the sarcophagus housing Metallo until we get our first glimpse of the second incarnation of the monstrous robot. It's enough to tell us two things.

LUTHOR: We don't have to kill him, Doctor. We own him now. Don't you see?

Firstly, Vale has made some improvements. This Metallo looks bigger, meaner and stronger than the previous model.

LUTHOR: We know who he is. We know where he lives. We know where his mother lives.

/And secondly, Metallo can no longer be termed a robot. Robots are entirely mechanical. This Metallo is not. Parts of his body are covered with flesh. Human flesh. And most hideously of all, he has a human face./

LUTHOR: Clark Kent...Superman...after tonight, they will both belong to /me/!

The face is distorted, twisted into a cruel leer that it would never normally assume, but it is unmistakably that of Richard White.

Act II, Scene XIV

Lois and Jason are standing together in an elevator, bound for Clark's floor in his apartment building. Lois is obviously burning with curiosity. She keeps sending glances to her son. Jason, for a wonder, simply wears a huge grin on his face and a faraway look. This is clearly driving Lois nuts.

LOIS: So are you sure you don't want to talk about it apart from to say it was 'awesome'?

Even the way she says the word 'awesome' is dripping with sarcasm and not especially hidden jealousy. Despite all this being Lois' idea, we get the impression she was rather hoping it wouldn't be the immediate success it seems to have been.

JASON: Pretty sure, Mom.

LOIS: /(wholly insincerely)/...good. Very good.

We cut to them entering Clark's apartment. Lois deposits her keys on the nearest coffee table.

LOIS: Clark? Are you here?

Clark emerges from the corridor leading down to the bedrooms. He's adjusting his tie. He waves to Lois and Jason and almost stumbles over the coffee table the keys just landed on. We see Lois not react to this with any real surprise. Jason, seeing it through a somewhat different perspective, suppresses a delighted giggle.

CLARK: Hey you two.

Jason grins a million-watt smile at him, genuinely delighted to see him. Clark grins back and winks.

LOIS: Hey. You're going out?

Jason wanders over to the refrigerator and opens it. It's quite a deep model. He scans the contents and spots something suitably sweet lurking at the back. He leans forward to try and retrieve it.

CLARK: More volunteer work.

LOIS: In a /suit and tie/? Oh, forget it.

CLARK: I can cancel...

LOIS: And why in the world would I want you to do that?

CLARK: Maybe you'd feel safer if I was here?

LOIS: No offence Clark, but if a killer robot turned up, how exactly would you be a help?

There is a muffled sound from the direction of the refrigerator that sounds for all the world like a five-year-old suppressing laughter. Lois glances over in Jason's direction.

CLARK: (quickly, grabbing his coat) Well, if you're sure Lois. I'll probably be back quite late.

LOIS: You're one of a kind, Clark.

CLARK: (with a smile) I used to think so too.

And before Lois can question that, he's out the door and gone.

Act II, Scene XV

Later that evening. In Clark's spare bedroom, Lois is putting Jason to bed.

JASON: (sleepily) Night, Mom.

LOIS: Goodnight, honey.

JASON: Will we really see Daddy tomorrow?

LOIS: He promised, didn't he?

JASON: I can't wait to tell him about flying with Superman.

Lois' face freezes. We see she hadn't anticipated this, and she curses herself for being so stupid. She hesitates, trying to find the best way to phrase what she's about to say.

LOIS: Honey, we're going to tell your Dad about...the things you can do...really soon. And when we do, then we can tell him about how Superman helped you. (playfully) About how you two are pals. But until then...

JASON: (without enthusiasm)'s a secret.

LOIS: Is that okay?

JASON: Yeah. I'm real good at secrets.

LOIS: (frowns) You are? Care to tell me more?

JASON: Nope. Goodnight, Mom.

He settles himself into his bed, clearly closing the subject. Lois looks as if she's about to explode with curiosity again, but eventually acquiesces and leaves the room. She closes the door gently, and for a moment looks very alone in Clark's apartment. She pads over to the sofa and picks up the television remote control, flicking through a few channels, unable to settle on anything.

Clark's telephone - an old model - rings. Lois picks it up.

LOIS: Kent residence, his personal secretary speaking?

PERRY: (voice-over) Lois, is that you?

LOIS: (embarrassed) Chief. Just kidding around. What's up?

PERRY: Have you heard from Richard recently?

LOIS: I saw him earlier in the city. No offence Chief but I thought he spoke to you these days a lot more than he did me.

PERRY: You saw him today?

LOIS: Yeah. He seemed fine.

Her face betrays her true feelings as she says the word 'fine'.

PERRY: Lois, I'll be honest with you. We had a routine throughout this mission of him checking in with me every day, and he was regular as clockwork. Never missed. You know Richard.

LOIS: (with cold realisation seeping through her) Yeah...I know Richard.

PERRY: Did he seem off to you today?

Lois scrabbles in her nearby handbag for her mobile phone. She scrolls down the call menu and hits the call button under 'Richard'.

LOIS: (after a pause) He's seemed off to me for weeks.

PERRY: Oh. I...uh, I didn't realise you two were...

LOIS: It doesn't matter right now.

Her mobile displays 'call failed'. She hits redial, her jaw setting. For the first time we've seen her recently, the slight slump leaves her shoulders, the air of caution leaves her eyes. Her back straightens. In a way, she's just cast off her Clark Kent glasses.

PERRY: I'll get the boys to-

LOIS: You'll do exactly as I tell you, Perry. This is my fiancé you're talking about. Jason's father. If this damned mission you sent him on has gotten him into trouble, then you had better tell me everything you know about it, right now. Do you understand me?

There is silence from the other end of the line. Then-

PERRY: Good to have you back, Lois.

LOIS: Good to be back. Now start talking.

Act II, Scene XVI

A woman walks down a lesser-used Metropolis street. As she passes a dark alleyway, there is a noise very like someone calling for help from within. She stops, and we get our first look at her. It's Dr. Reed. Not a foolish woman, she scans the alley thoroughly.

DR. REED: Did someone call...?

VOICE: /(faintly)/...please...they mugged me. I need...a hospital...please-

Dr. Reed enters the alleyway, and is almost immediately enshrouded in darkness. Large commercial waste bins line the sides, and cardboard boxes seem randomly scattered. She stumbles a little.

DR. REED: Where are you?

VOICE: (now no longer faint, but loud and mocking) All around you, sweetness.

Shadows detach themselves and surround Dr. Reed in a matter of seconds. They pull closer and solidify into a five-member gang. A knife-blade catches the moonlight.

DR. REED: Oh...

She begins to scrabble desperately in her handbag. The leader, holding the knife, watches her with some amusement. He gestures and Dr. Reed is grabbed from behind, a hand over her mouth. Her handbag drops to the alley surface. The leader picks it up.

GANG LEADER: What you got in there, pretty? Got yourself a little protection?

He removes a small box from the bag, its only distinguishing feature a large button. It's the same box we saw she kept in her desk earlier.

GANG MEMBER: What the hell is that?

GANG LEADER: Rape alarm. You know what the problem with these things is? They're loud, but they don't react real well to a knife.

He presses the button. Nothing happens.

GANG LEADER: Guess you shoulda invested in some batteries, missy. (he tosses the alarm aside, approaches her and puts his face too close to her neck for comfort) You know...the kind that keep going...and going...a little like me and my boys here...

/The gang snicker appropriately at this. Dr. Reed has by now stopped struggling and seems remarkably calm. She tugs at the hand over her mouth./

GANG LEADER: I think she wants to say something. I know you're not gonna scream on me. Yet. So talk.

The gang member takes his hand away from her mouth. Dr. Reed fixes the leader with a diamond-hard stare and a thin smile.

DR. REED: My batteries are working fine, dumbass.

GANG LEADER: So how come I can't hear nothin'?

And that's when another shadow detaches itself and solidifies beside the five gang members. This one is markedly taller than any of them, and as it steps into a pool of light, we see the telltale red and blue.

SUPERMAN: Maybe because it wasn't meant for you to hear.


Superman moves. Dr. Reed is free and her assailant making quite a human-shaped depression on the wall behind him in the first fraction of a second. Another tenth of a heartbeat later and the other four gang members are nowhere to be seen. Superman walks over to Dr. Reed and addresses her in his usual concerned fashion.

SUPERMAN: Are you hurt, ma'am?

DR. REED: Hmm. Doubtless this episode will leave some scarring, occasional panic-related regressive flaring, a few nightmares of the usual sort, but overall it's nothing a self-analysis program and some rigorous positive visualisation therapy can't cope with.

SUPERMAN: At a guess...psychiatrist, right?

DR. REED: (dryly) Dr. Reed. I wonder what gave it away? (she looks around) Where did...?

Superman smiles, points upwards, and cups his hand to his ear. Dr Reed squints up, frowns, and listens. We hear it too, a slow noise building upward in intensity, and sounding remarkably like...

GANG: (sound rising) aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

...four utterly terrified men dropping like stones from the great height Superman just threw them.

Superman springs upward fifty feet or so into the air and zips from one to the other as they fall, for all the world like a large-scale juggler, arresting each man's fall, giving them just enough time to draw a half-breath, before throwing them high into the Metropolis sky once again.

GANG: (sound fading) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...!

He lands softly beside Dr. Reed again, and winces slightly. She has by now retrieved the small box tossed aside by the gang leader (current altitude: 500 feet). She presses the button. Superman looks slightly relieved. Neither feels the need to mention the predicament of the four would-be rapists.

DR. REED: I made it myself, you know. It's an ultrasonic emitter.

SUPERMAN: A dog whistle?

DR. REED: (producing a notebook and pen from somewhere) Interesting.

Superman half-smiles ruefully at this. We begin to hear a distinct aaaaaaaAAAAAAAAA noise again.

SUPERMAN: I have to go. Safe home, Vanessa.

He's up and away in his customary way, stopping only for half a second to bring the hapless fifth gang member up with him. Vanessa Reed walks out from the darkness, looking upward at the red and blue dot high above, zipping from falling body to falling body, throwing them yo-yo style in the direction of the nearest Metropolis PD station.

DR. REED: (softly) Vanessa...? Interesting. Very interesting.

Act II, Scene XVII

A Metropolis police precinct. Its doors open and the five gang members troop in, ashen-faced. Superman walks behind them. The police officer at the desk takes in the situation in a glance. A huge smile spreads across his face.

DESK OFFICER: What you got for us, big guy?

We see other cops stop what they're doing and watch Superman and his five prisoners approach the front desk in silence.

SUPERMAN: Five angry young men behaving extremely inappropriately toward a young lady in an alleyway on 73rd, Officer. I'll leave them in your hands.

All five of the gang are swaying heavily on their feet and going interesting shades of green.

DESK OFFICER: 73rd? That's twelve blocks from here.

SUPERMAN: Yes. I had to.../improvise/ getting them all here.

GANG LEADER: He-he-he tossed us up in the air like we was rag dolls! You gotta do something! He's crazy!

To punctuate his point, two of his companions throw up noisily alongside him (off-camera, thankfully, but we see them drop to the floor). After a second of fearsome struggling to contain himself, he too succumbs.

DESK OFFICER: You know, he's right. I think we do.

He applauds. The rest of the officers do too. Superman tries to contain a smile and doesn't quite succeed.

SUPERMAN: Goodnight, officers.

He hears a sound - a telephone ringing. The ringtone it's playing is the William Tell Overture. None of the other officers appear to notice, but Superman appears to recognise it. He turns and is through the doors of the precinct and gone in an instant.

The desk officer and the other cops stop applauding. He wrinkles his nose and waves a hand in front of his face.

DESK OFFICER: Geez...somebody get a mop...

We go back to Superman. He's making a beeline for one of the tallest buildings in Metropolis; the Harrison Tower, a stunning glass-and-concrete needle spearing the sky. The observation deck at its apex is deserted at this time, and as Superman lands upon it we see what brought him here; there is a small bundle on the ground which we quickly discern are his Clark Kent clothes and belongings, including Clark's mobile phone, still merrily ringing.

We are treated to the bizarre sight of Superman answering his mobile and 'putting on' a Clark Kent voice.

CLARK: Yes, Lois?

We cut to Lois, in Clark's apartment. She's typically unforgiving.

LOIS: Clark! It's about time!

CLARK: Sorry Lois. Got separated from my phone. What's up?

LOIS: Where are you? I need you back at the apartment. It's urgent...what's that noise?

We hear it too. It sounds remarkably like wind whistling past the mobile's receiving end at hundreds of miles per hour. This is because, of course, that's exactly what's happening.

CLARK: Actually I'm just coming down the hall.

The doorbell to Clark's apartment rings. Lois opens the door and sure enough, Clark is standing there. Lois hangs up, lets him in, closes the door behind him and points to his phone.

LOIS: You should upgrade.

CLARK: I'll get around to it. What's the problem?

LOIS: You know the undercover assignment Richard volunteered for? Turns out it was babysitting Emmet Vale for the past two months. Perry just told me.

CLARK: But if Vale's working with Luthor like we think he is-

LOIS: Richard's dropped off the radar. I'm going to find him, Clark. I need you to stay here and look after Jason while I'm gone.

She picks up her coat and shrugs it on. Clark is momentarily speechless, but that soon corrects itself.

CLARK: You're going after Vale and Luthor? /Alone/?

LOIS: Yeah. I am. You know what, Clark - all that stuff I told you about Luthor and me being paralysed with fear just hearing his name...he still scares the hell out of me, but I'm not paralysed anymore. He's got Richard. And I have to go. Because it's Richard.

CLARK: Because you're in love with him.

Lois stares at him for a moment. We see her eyes sheen over with the glint of tears welling up behind them. She bites her lip.

LOIS: Because I love him.

She turns and goes to the apartment door, leaving Clark to soak in the implications of what she's just said - in effect, that she loves Richard White, loves the man he is and the father he is, but that's she's not IN love with him. He is clearly stunned by the admission.

Lois pauses at the door.

LOIS: Look after Jason. You're the only person I trust to do that.

CLARK: I will.

She nods, and is gone, leaving Clark alone in the apartment, and looking torn completely torn in two. He stands there for a moment, his brain clearly working overtime, and then he zooms over to the telephone and punches in a speed dial number...

Act II, Scene XVII

The Kent farm. Martha Kent opens her front door to reveal Superman and Jason. Jason has the look of a young man who until three minutes ago was sound asleep and has just been flown across several states at thousands of miles an hour. It's quite a unique look. He sways slightly on his feet.

MARTHA: Good grief, let's get you in out of the cold and get some hot chocolate into you, young man!

As Superman and Jason enter the farmhouse (Superman's hand subtly on Jason's shoulder, steadying him somewhat) Martha looks rebukingly at Superman, who avoids her gaze as only apologetic sons can. Jason flumps down on the sofa.

SUPERMAN: Thanks, Mom.

MARTHA: (yawns) Oh, anytime. So what's the occasion?

SUPERMAN: Surprise sleepover.

He gives Martha a look and tilts his head toward Jason in an 'I can't talk about it right now' way. She gets the message, looks slightly concerned, but nods.

On the sofa, Jason slumps slowly and ponderously sideways and is sound asleep before his head hits the armrest. In the blinking of an eye, Superman has retrieved a blue blanket from somewhere in the house. He places it over the sleeping boy reverentially, touching the child's forehead.

MARTHA: Now will you tell me?

SUPERMAN: Lois might be getting herself into trouble.

MARTHA: (raising her eyes to the heavens) You don't say? Lois?

SUPERMAN: Love you, Mom.

MARTHA: Go. He'll be safe here.

Superman is gone in an instant, probably hundreds of miles away and accelerating by the time Martha has fully registered his disappearance. She walks over to Jason's sleeping form and adjusts the blanket on him minutely as only grandmothers know how, before settling herself down to snooze in the comfortable armchair beside him.

As we pull back from the scene, she's drifting off, wearing a smile on her face you couldn't remove with a chisel.

Act II, Scene XIX

Metropolis. Lois is trying - unsuccessfully - to hail a cab. She tries one more time, is ignored, and curses to herself. Behind her, Superman levitates to the ground.

SUPERMAN: Need a lift?

Lois jumps about four feet into the air. She spins around and points a finger at Superman.

LOIS: I'm gonna get you a bell.

SUPERMAN: Despite that, my offer still stands. Going somewhere?

LOIS: (accusingly) Have you been talking to Clark?

We see a thoughtful expression cross Superman's face at this one.


LOIS: Will you help me find Richard?

SUPERMAN: Of course.

LOIS: Then take me to the Harbour. Perry's last contact from Richard was a quick message saying they were driving toward warehouses there; he thought it might be the location of Vale's Site B.

SUPERMAN: Lois, I should check this out myself.

LOIS: Like hell you will, Krypton.

She strides over to him and backs into his arms, placing she and he in extremely close proximity, a fact which neither of them is oblivious to. We see the flicker of familiarity across both their faces; barring the flight Superman took Lois on shortly after he returned, it's been so long since they were this close and not kissing passionately.

LOIS: I'm going with you. Now go. Scoot. Up, up know, all that stuff.

SUPERMAN: (dryly) Yes ma'am.

He gently places his hands under hers and, with incredible grace, they kind of fall upwards into the sky. Within moments they're over the city and heading for the Harbour district. We see Lois is enjoying the flight a little more than she really should, especially under the circumstances. She tries to shake off the feeling.

SUPERMAN: What's bothering you.

LOIS: What is it with people asking questions that aren't questions lately?

SUPERMAN: Is that a question?

LOIS: No! I don't know! (she sighs)

They land on a rooftop with an excellent view of the entire Harbour area. Lois walks a few feet away as soon as they touch ground. She stands with her back to Superman. He waits, diplomatically.

LOIS: I've been...obsessed, ever since the robot attacked, with keeping Jason safe. And for the past two months, my fiancé has been undercover on a dangerous assignment. I didn't know what it was, but I did know it was dangerous. And I did nothing but bitch, and moan, and be jealous that I was out of the loop. Not once did I think to be concerned for him, that something might happen to him.


/He can't think of anything to say. Lois smiles wretchedly at this; it does nothing but confirm that she's right./

LOIS: (quietly) He did this to measure up to you.

SUPERMAN: (though we know he knows the answer, he asks anyway) Why?

LOIS: Don't. Just don't.

SUPERMAN: We'll find him, Lois. If he's in trouble...I'll save him. I promise you that.

LOIS: Do you see anything?

Superman scans the Harbour area. It's a big place. He sighs in frustration.

SUPERMAN: This could take a while.

LOIS: (frustrated, despairing) We don't know if we have time! I tell you this...if Luthor has hurt him, he'd better pray that you get to him first. Of course, that's probably his plan.

She stops. It's an inspiration moment.

LOIS: What does Lex Luthor want, above anything, above money and power?

SUPERMAN: Me, dead.

LOIS: Exactly. But how can he know where you'll be? Unless...unless he picks a public event, one that you're at least likely to show up to...

Act II, Scene XX

Central Plaza. It's teeming with the Metropolis social elite. Tents and gazebos have been erected across the Plaza and they're thronged with high-flyers eating medium-rare steak and low-fat dairy produce. Wine is flowing generously.

Maggie Sawyer stalks through the crowds, one of her assistants struggling to stay with her. She is not amused by the sights which surround her. A few influential Metropolitans try to introduce themselves, and get only a withering look for their troubles before they quickly move aside to let her pass.

Eventually, she makes her way to a podium placed next to one of the emitters, itself now a fixture on a raised dias in the centre of the Plaza. She taps the microphone, looks down at the aimlessly milling crowd of bourgeoisie, and it's all she can do to muster the first three words of what she says next.

SAWYER: Ladies and gentlemen, if you will direct your attention here... (slight pause) NOW...

Everyone's head snaps around obediently.

SAWYER: Well the hour is on us and it looks like our guest of honour won't be arriving, so we'd better get on-

PARTY GUEST: Look! Up there!

Everyone does. Sure enough, there is a shape approaching through the Metropolis night.

SAWYER: It seems I spoke a little too soon.

One of the police officers at the gala is sporting binoculars, presumably to scan the skies for Superman's arrival. He has the binoculars trained on the figure above. He lowers them, his face pale-

OFFICER: Everybody /DOWN/!

A white streak of light detaches from the figure above and slams into the Plaza, completely obliterating the emitter in an explosive fireball. Maggie Sawyer is thrown to the side. She goes down hard.

OFFICER: It's Metallo!

Panic ensues. The crowd mill like people desperate for their lives, surging for the exits. Screams and cries for help ring out.

Metallo hovers around fifty feet above the crowd, his leg rockets firing powerfully downward to maintain his altitude. He appears much as he did in the lab last time we saw him, with the addition of a wraparound visor covering the top half of his skull. Some of the police presence there fire up at him. Those bullets that manage to hit ping uselessly from his armour.

He looks down at the officers, and we see through his eyes. Targeting reticules form over the bodies of the officers below...

And right on cue, Superman arrives, slamming into Metallo with as much speed as he can muster. Knocked hundreds of feet away and upward momentarily, Superman has time to use his super-breath to put out the fires triggered by Metallo's initial missile attack. He calls to the officers below.

SUPERMAN: Evacuate them! I'll keep him occupied!

Metallo's spin arrests itself. He rotates in mid-air and again we see through his eyes. A targeting reticule appears over Superman. Underneath it appear the words 'Primary Target'. His eyes glow red demonically, and he speaks for the first time. He doesn't sound like the first incarnation of Metallo, which was merely a synthesised voice. This is a human voice, distorted and perverted perhaps by machinery, but at some level it's still recognisable as Richard White's voice.

METALLO: Finally...

The two come together at incredible speed, holding onto one another, trying to get an advantage. We see that Superman is suffering a serious disadvantage thanks to the Kryptonite powering his opponent. Every second he spends in Metallo's grasp only weakens him further.


He hurls Superman into a building with such force that we travel right through with him as his body crashes through walls, elevator shafts, and rooms (thankfully it's a deserted office building) until finally smashing through the windows at the other side. Superman plummets fifty feet or so before shaking off the effects of the impact and coming to a halt in mid-air.

Three missiles are incoming on his position. He uses his heat-vision to prematurely detonate them one by one...

...allowing Metallo the time he needs to slam into Superman from above. Unable to wriggle free from his grasp, the two rocket downward and plunge beneath the surface of a small lake in the middle of Metropolis' Centennial Park. We see the people in the park rush to the edge of the lake.

Foom! A huge waterspout rears into the sky, created by a massive underwater battle. The people so eager to get to the water's edge now turn tail and sprint for cover as the water comes crashing down. Barely have they begun to move, however, before three more explode into the Metropolis night.

All goes silent for a moment. The city catches its breath. And then-

Foom! The biggest waterspout yet erupts, taking perhaps half of the lake's water content out with it in one fell swoop. We ride on the epicentre of the geyser and see that at its core, reeling from a huge blow, is Superman. He's knocked fully five hundred feet into the air.

Below, leg-rockets flare and a figure rises in pursuit. Superman gets his bearings and we can see that he's genuinely beginning to get mad. He narrows his eyes, thins his lips, and throws himself headfirst back into the battle. This time, however, he fights smart; utilising his super-breath ahead of him to slow Metallo's approach and eventually send the cyborg backwards, AND at the same time unleashing a blast of heat-vision that sears into Metallo's chest plating, managing to damage his opponent for the first time in the battle.

Metallo is rocked back on his heels, and Superman doesn't hesitate in pressing the advantage. Killing his super-breath to fix Metallo just where he wants him in mid-air, he rapidly accelerates and delivers a truly earth-shattering uppercut to the cyborg.

We cut to live news coverage of the fight being beamed around Metropolis from TV crews on the ground and in the air. Footage of Superman's punch is on every channel. In their homes, in pubs, in restaurants, everywhere with a television...people get out of their chairs, stand up, cheer their champion on with all the passion of a partisan crowd watching the Super Bowl.

WATCHER: Knock his head off!

We go back to the battle. Now it's Metallo's turn to have to collect his bearings. He zeroes in on Superman, approaching rapidly, and seems about to rejoin the attack when suddenly, a voice speaks in his head.

LUTHOR: (voice-over) Bring him. Bring him /now/.

Metallo immediately kills his battle posture and turns tail. His leg rockets kick with some extra boost, in what is presumably an upgrade to the original design, and he zooms across Metropolis. Superman is in hot pursuit. The two combatants weave between Metropolis' famous skyline. Superman attempts to block his opponent off, but this Metallo is much more his equal than its predecessor, and each time manages to evade the attempt.

Finally, Metallo approaches a nondescript building's roof and comes in to land. Superman is about to press the attack when he notices the two men standing there. He lands twenty feet or so away, just out of range of the most debilitating effects of the Kryptonite.

SUPERMAN: (with as much hatred as we'll ever hear from him) Luthor.

LUTHOR: He remembers my name! Doctor, he remembers my name! See, I told you he would.

VALE: That you did. Just once or twice.

Superman frowns. Is there something familiar about that exchange?

SUPERMAN: New toy, Luthor?

LUTHOR: (patting Metallo) It's a little more than that, Superman, wouldn't you say?

SUPERMAN: It's just one more tin robot for me to take apart.

LUTHOR: Sorry. Hate to be all fussy and precise, but my imposing friend here isn't actually a robot. Oh he looks like one, but he's actually got a secret identity. Isn't that interesting?

SUPERMAN: What are you talking about?

LUTHOR: Show him.

Metallo raises his hands to the visor and removes it, revealing the face of Richard White underneath. Superman actually staggers backwards in shock, like someone has gut-punched him.


LUTHOR: Do you know what I find particularly interesting? Once we set him on you, he seemed to attack with a ferocity even we didn't expect. Now why do you suppose that might be?

Superman takes a step forward, and another. We can see clearly the Kryptonite effect taking hold, but Superman can't stop himself. He is absolutely aghast at the sight of the man standing before him.

SUPERMAN: God, can you understand me? There's got to be something left of you in there, some part of you that remembers who you are-

LUTHOR: (turning thoughtfully to Dr. Vale) You know what we need? A demonstration.

VALE: Such as?

LUTHOR: Metallo. Kill Dr. Vale.

METALLO: Confirmed.

He turns to face Dr. Vale, who staggers backward in shock.

VALE: Belay that order immediately!

METALLO: Override not accepted.


He lunges forward to stop Metallo, but the proximity to the Kryptonite has weakened him to the point where Metallo is able to knock him aside. He advances on Dr. Vale, who has just enough time to look over at the stricken Superman and say-

VALE: I was wrong. I'm sorry.

-before, with one swat of a metal arm, he is killed instantly. His broken body lands on the opposite end of the roof. Luthor applauds this display before turning to Superman.

LUTHOR: That man had no luck with his business partners. Now here's how it's going to go, Superman. I'm going to rule this city. I'm going to rule a lot more, but for now, this city will do. Metallo here will do the leg work for me in accomplishing this. And you, my dear sweet defender of truth and justice and all that crap, will do absolutely nothing to stop us.

SUPERMAN: You're insane.

LUTHOR: Oh, I forgot. I am, aren't I? Sorry, go ahead then. Try to kill the man your son calls father. The man your lady love plans to marry. Because you'll have to. I've programmed him never to stop until you're dead, so nothing less than that will save you.

Superman is frozen. He knows deep down that Luthor is right. While there's a chance that Richard White can be saved, he can't kill him. Lois and Richard would never forgive him.

LUTHOR: That's a good boy. Now get the hell out of my way.


LUTHOR: Didn't you hear what I said?

SUPERMAN: (his face wracked with the anguish this decision is causing him) It doesn't matter, Luthor. I can't let you hurt innocent people, no matter what stopping you might mean.

LUTHOR: My hero. (he smiles) Guess I'd better step aside and let you two duke it out. Oh, but there is just one more thing...

SUPERMAN: You're going to rot in jail, you know that?

LUTHOR: ...don't interrupt. It's rude. Just one more thing.

He reaches into his pocket and produces a bottle of pills. He proceeds to read the label. As he does, we see a look of absolute horror spread across Superman's face, as his worst and deepest fear is finally realised.

/(reads)/ 'Modoxinol. To be taken five times per day.' Who does Martha usually get these from? She only had one bottle on her, you see, and if she's going to be staying with me for a while then I should probably stock up a little.

SUPERMAN: /(ashen-faced)/...Mom...

During the following exchanges, Luthor advances on Superman relentlessly, and Superman actually retreats from him, such is the enormity of what Luthor is telling him.

LUTHOR: And Jason - what's his normal bedtime? Never mind. I'll ask Lois. She'll be joining me soon enough. What's the matter, Superman? Or can I call you Clark? Is that too familiar?


LUTHOR: (spitting the words) Because I'm /better than you. Vale may have had his head up his ass, but at least he recognised you for an alien. How /dare you come to this world a self-proclaimed saviour and presume to hand out judgement to us?

SUPERMAN: If you hurt Jason...

LUTHOR: ...hurt him? Are you crazy? I have big things planned for that boy. All he ever lacked was a father figure. Now he'll get one.

/Behind him, Metallo twitches. Luthor doesn't notice. He's too busy leaning into Superman, savouring every moment of torture he's inflicting on his nemesis./

LUTHOR: Kneel.

Two news helicopters veer into view, one on either side of the rooftop. They shine spotlights on the scene, in a suicidal urge to get a better shot for the coverage. Metallo dons his visor again, and swings his massive head from left to right. His arms appear to change configuration, and the tips of tiny missiles slide smoothly from their sheaths on his forearms. They're aimed at the helicopters.

LUTHOR: Kneel, or I'll give the word, and have him destroy them. You might save one, but you won't save both. Now why does that sound familiar?

SUPERMAN: You'll give the word?

LUTHOR: It's what he's waiting f-

And Superman moves. He has Luthor lifted above his head, his hand clamped securely around the scrawny little man's neck, and in those famously azure blue eyes there is more than a hint of murder. When he speaks, we can sense he's keeping that urge in check - but only just.

SUPERMAN: Try it now.

LUTHOR: (choked) Akkk-

SUPERMAN: All I have to do is squeeze.

Metallo twitches again. His head turns to look at Superman and Luthor. One of his arms moves, and he points a finger at Superman.

METALLO: I remember...I remember you.

SUPERMAN: (desperately, hopefully) Yes. Yes, try to remember. Your name is Richard White. You work at the Daily Planet. You have a fiancé, Lois Lane, and a son-

Metallo spreads his arms wide and roars, a sound of complete anger, betrayal, heartbreak.


He wheels his arms around and fires a spread of missiles at the helicopters. In super-speed time, Superman is forced to drop Luthor and launch himself on an intercept course. He knocks one spread of missiles from the sky and takes out two others with heat-vision...

...but is too late to prevent a missile from obliterating the tail rotor of the second helicopter. We go back to normal time as it begins to spin crazily on its axis and lose altitude rapidly.

Luthor is on his knees on the ground, gasping for air. He gestures furiously to Metallo.

LUTHOR: What are you waiting for? KILL HIM!

Superman is already diving after the second helicopter. He gets himself under the main cockpit and begins to support its weight on his back, stopping its freefall and levelling the craft out. He glances behind him, and sure enough Metallo is right on his tail. He accelerates, causing the news crew trapped in the helicopter above him to scream as the stricken machine streaks across the Metropolis skyline.

Carrying the helicopter is forcing Superman to slow down and lose manoeuvrability; something proven when Metallo is able to intercept him and lay him with a savage punch. Superman reels, and the helicopter slips from his grasp. He manages to stun Metallo with a return punch and dives once again after it, catching it mere feet before it would have smashed through a glass rooftop.

Superman risks a moment to glance around, seeking inspiration. He finds it, and makes a beeline for a new course, his pursuer again on his heels. Over an expensive-looking apartment block Superman abruptly comes to a halt, causing Metallo to overshoot him by a few hundred feet and giving Superman a few seconds vital pause. He flips the helicopter on its side, rips the door from its hinges, and speaks to the people inside.


For the first time we see that thirty feet or so below them lies an expansive (and expensive) rooftop swimming pool.

CAMERAMAN: Are you crazy!

ANCHOR: You heard the man!

The doubting cameraman is quickly overpowered by the anchor and the pilot. The three drop like stones and splashdown into the rooftop pool below, no doubt sore and wet, but alive. Metallo, meanwhile, has turned and is coming back at full speed, ready to deliver another massive blow. Superman is left holding a helicopter. We see him look up at it thoughtfully-

-and then it's hurled full force at his opponent. Metallo frantically tries to change course but to no avail, as the helicopter-cum-grenade impacts him full on. A massive explosion lights the Metropolis sky.

We cut to down below, and a few locations across the city. Police officers are spreading out frantically across full-spectrum light emitter emplacements. One barks orders.

OFFICER: Get it on!

Above, Superman has spotted Metallo's body, knocked clear of the explosion. Electric sparks are running up and down the length of the cyborg's chassis. Superman flies to intercept and supports Metallo's body in mid-air. We can see the pain the Kryptonite causes him begin to kick in, and he actually begins to struggle to stay in the air and support the weight after only a few seconds.

SUPERMAN: Richard...please, listen to me.

METALLO: (weakly) gone.


We see a close-up of the damage across Metallo's body. We see the sparks cease, and the damage actually begin to seal over, close up, as the billions of tiny nanomachines work ceaselessly, replicating themselves endlessly to repair the damage. Superman doesn't seem to have noticed this.

METALLO: (a little less weakly) He hated you. I can feel it.

SUPERMAN: I don't believe that.

METALLO: (as his eyes begin to glow brighter) You stole his son. Our son. My son!

He shoves Superman away as his leg-rockets flare back into life. Incredibly, he's repaired all of the damage done to him mere moments ago. Superman looks weakened from the Kryptonite exposure, and from the anguish of what he's just heard. Frankly, we don't fancy his chances in round 3 of the bout-

-and then, from below, a brilliant light shines up from the city, and swings around the night sky to embrace him. And another. And another. And another. He's caught in the midst of four of them now, their rays shining over him.

On the streets below, a taxicab disgorges Lois Lane. She watches the scene unfolding above her.

We cut to Lex Luthor, back on the rooftop, watching the light shine out to Superman. Far from being angry as we might have hoped, however, he smiles with savage joy.

LUTHOR: Right on cue.

Superman registers that something is wrong. The light touching him isn't making him feel stronger. In fact, it's actually WEAKENING him.

LUTHOR: Light from a red star, Superman. Just another little taste of home.

Superman actually weakens to the extent where he begins to fall from the sky, losing the ability to fly. The only bonus to this is that it removes him from the light of the emitters. Metallo, however, has realised the situation can be turned to his advantage. He powers into Superman and the two smash into the streets below, creating an impact crater. Not letting his opponent catch his breath, Metallo proceeds to beat on Superman, landing blow after blow.

On the street above, predictably, a crowd of fascinated / horrified onlookers has begun to form. Some are so bold as to lean over the edge of the impact crater to get a closer look at the scene below. More and more join them with each passing moment.

Metallo lands another blow. Superman, now bleeding profusely from the nose and mouth, tries to stop him, tries to land a punch of his own. Metallo grabs his arm and pulls, and - incredibly - we hear a loud snap.

Superman roars in pain. Windows shatter all along the street. The Man of Steel, Earth's mightiest superhero...has just had his arm broken.

MALE ONLOOKER: Oh my God...he's gonna kill him.

A face appears in their midst. It's Lois.

Below, in the crater, Superman lies cradling his broken arm. He is completely at Metallo's mercy. The cyborg stands over him, triumphant. He raises his arm and pulls it back slowly for what we know to be a final, killing blow.


She launches herself into the crater, before the onlookers beside her can grab her and stop her. Metallo turns, his arm raises, and we see as before a nose-cone of one of his tiny missiles poke out as it zeroes in on the screaming figure of Lois Lane, scrambling toward him...

SUPERMAN: (weakly, despairingly) Lois...

But Metallo doesn't fire. He doesn't launch the missile that would have blown Lois Lane to smithereens. Instead, he stands aside as she throws herself over Superman protectively, shielding him with her body and defiantly (though she's clearly terrified) staring up at Metallo.

LOIS: Leave. Him. /Alone/.

SUPERMAN: You don't understand...

METALLO: I guess you finally chose.

He removes the visor. Lois reacts much as Superman did; with utter shock and horror, and a hefty dose of revulsion in there too. Richard looks barely human.

LOIS: Richard - (she breaks down completely, dissolving into sobs) - oh God Richard no no no it can't be you oh God /please/-

Metallo raises his arm again. He stares at them both for a long, long moment.

METALLO: This isn't over.

His arm lowers, his leg-rockets ignite and he's gone in a moment, vanishing upward into the city, lost to sight in seconds, leaving behind a broken superhero and a broken woman, sobbing helplessly. We see Superman's bloodstained face as he comforts Lois Lane and we see his eyes, usually so strong and sure, devoid of any hope whatsoever.

Fade out.

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