Categories > Movies > Superman Returns > Superman Returns II


by Laurence 1 review


Category: Superman Returns - Rating: G - Genres: Action/Adventure - Published: 2007-02-22 - Updated: 2007-02-22 - 19202 words

Act III, Scene I

Metropolis, dawn the next morning. As the sun's brightness extends over the city, we see smoke billowing from craters in Central Plaza and across parts of the city where Metallo's missiles impacted. Centennial Park is a sodden ruin, its central lake almost drained to nothingness. Fire engines scream across our field of vision, ambulances hot on their heels.
We pan across avenues and streets, normally thronged with morning rush-hour traffic, now practically deserted. We swoop, much as Superman might swoop, gracefully from rooftop to rooftop, discovering our own corners of devastation, stopping for a moment intermittently to take in a new scene of desperation - here a family standing huddled outside their apartment building aflame, the kids silent under blankets issued to those in shock and the mother trying vainly to comfort a screaming toddler.
We cut to an altogether different scene; a farm in Kansas, resplendent in its seclusion and, so it would seem, peaceful and quiet. The Kent farm. As we watch, a blue and red figure descends from the skies above and comes to land on the porch. Superman pushes open the front door. We can see in his face that he's doing this more out of hope than expectation.
SUPERMAN: Mom? Jason...?
Back to Metropolis. Just outside the rescue scene in Central Plaza, we see a camera crew have set up. The young anchor is Tania Moon. She takes a long look at the scene before her, her reverie broken by her cameraman cueing her that three seconds remain. She turns and composes herself as best she can, timing her delivery perfectly.
TANIA: Metropolis at dawn. Behind me, emergency services have been working since the early hours to transport the wounded and repair the immense damage caused by the attack of the second Metallo.
We cut to the scene she mentions. Rubble is shifted and uncovered beneath it is Maggie Sawyer. Blood seeps from a corner of her mouth, and she's covered in dust. Paramedics rush to her as quickly as they dare. A shout goes up.
PARAMEDIC: She's alive! Let's get her out of here!
We go back to Tania.
TANIA: Not since the attack of the three Kryptonian criminals some six years ago has the city witnessed this scale of destruction. And just like then, Metropolis wonders; where is Superman, in this time of need?
We cut to the Kent farm in Smallville. Superman stands in the living room. It's a scene of utter chaos. The dresser has been overturned, the sofa lies against the far wall. Decorative china lies shattered over the floor. Superman lets the scene sink in. He hunkers down and wraps his right hand around the heavy wooden dresser, moving his broken right arm with some difficulty. He straightens up and lifts the old piece of furniture back upright, but not without some pain registering on his face. He completes the job with his uninjured left arm. He casts a glance outside to the wire fence that encircles the Kent property.
Back to Metropolis and to Tania Moon, still addressing the camera as before.
TANIA: After their rampage across the city, the Kryptonians - led by the tyrannical General Zod - never set foot in Metropolis again. This morning, it's an all-too-painful truth for our tireless rescue workers that we have no such guarantee about Metallo.
Maggie Sawyer is bundled into an ambulance. It speeds off. Elsewhere, nearby, another police officer, this time a young man, is uncovered amidst more debris. An examination by paramedics is carried out. One shakes his head sadly.
We see Tania again, this time not in the flesh but broadcast to a television screen.
TANIA: This could be only the beginning...
The screen is switched off. We see we're in a hospital room, and the person with the remote control is Lois Lane. She looks haunted to the core, haggard, red-eyed; it's obvious that whatever she's been doing since we saw her in that crater, sleeping wasn't amongst it.
Her hair flutters suddenly, a breeze picking up behind her. She's accustomed to that effect and turns expectantly, and sure enough there he is behind her, flying in slowly through the window.
LOIS: You left me.
SUPERMAN: I had somewhere to go.
LOIS: I thought you weren't coming back.
SUPERMAN: Not an option.
LOIS: They brought me here. Said I was suffering from shock. (she laughs hollowly) Shock. My fiancé is a cyborg supervillain who almost destroyed the city. And they don't even know it's him. Do they?
She looks over at Superman for confirmation. Her eyes are attracted to his right arm, which is now strapped tightly to his chest with the same wire from the Kent farm. It's obvious that he's in pain, and equally obvious that the pain isn't all physical.
LOIS: What am I supposed to tell Jason?
Tears appear in Superman's eyes. Lois notices this. She takes a few steps toward him.
LOIS: (speaking quickly, too quickly, holding back tears) I've tried to phone Clark. They say half the city's phone networks are busted. Last night, you said you spoke to him, to Clark? Jason was okay, wasn't he? He was okay? My son? J...Jason...Jason was okay?
Superman can't look at her. He is anguished beyond words. She gets increasingly nervous seeing his reaction, sensing that bad news is in the offing. Her hands tremble. She sits down numbly on the hospital bed. When she speaks, it's in a small voice, a voice that's a slender thread holding Lois Lane from the kind of complete breakdown we witnessed from her in the crater.
LOIS: Has...something happened to them?
Superman sinks to his knees. He's now sobbing helplessly. He turns to Lois, his expression pleading. She stares at him with a vacant expression, not able to take this in; Superman, once the world's rock, now in tears nursing a broken arm, begging her.
SUPERMAN: Please forgive me.
LOIS: Forgive you?
SUPERMAN: (speaking quickly) I couldn't let you go after Vale and Luthor alone. I couldn't. But I couldn't leave Jason. You'd said you trusted me with him. So I brought him to the only person I mother...Martha...Lois, he knows, somehow Luthor knew everything, and he has them, he has Jason and he has my mother and if I lose them, if I lose either of them because of Lex Luthor, then it's over for me. Over. Because I...will...kill him. I swear it.
Lois doesn't speak for a moment. We can see her brow furrow a little as what Superman has said to her penetrates. She tilts her head to the side. Her lips move a little, mouthing words to herself. She stares at him, stares through him...and finally, fixes him with a gaze you could shatter diamonds with.
Superman gets to his feet, facing her, his back to a window. He raises his eyes to meet her gaze and nods, once.
SUPERMAN: Yes. I'll understand if you're-
Lois stands.
We cut to outside the hospital. A window shatters into a thousand pieces and, propelled outward into the Metropolis morning is one extremely shell-shocked superhero. He falls for about ten feet before coming to a halt in mid-air, gritting his teeth at the pain from his arm.
We pan upward to see Lois Lane standing in the hole she's just made, her foot still outstretched from the kick she's just delivered to Superman's stomach, and wearing an expression on her face that could give Lex Luthor nightmares.
SUPERMAN: - angry.
LOIS: Get back in here. Now.
She stands aside. Superman, looking somewhat apprehensive, nevertheless obediently flies back through the ex-window and lands in the hospital room.
LOIS: How long has this been going on?
SUPERMAN: All my life?
LOIS: (striding around the room, throwing her arms out to punctuate each exclamation) Well, obviously I didn't mean that - I was trying to...Clark! CLARK GODDAMNED KENT! ARE YOU KIDDING ME! WITH THOSE STUPID DAMNED GLASSES AND THE FIDGETS AND THE - oh God, I could KILL you...I SHOULD kill you - I will kill you!!
SUPERMAN: Do you want to have this conversation now, or do you want to talk about rescuing our son?
Lois stops dead at this. She points a finger at Superman and advances slowly on him, speaking almost by hissing through her teeth. She's seething with rage.
LOIS: I'll tell you what I want to do; I want never to have had this conversation. Because if you had one honest bone in your body you would have told me and I wouldn't have left my son with good old dependable dork Clark Kent thinking he was safe. This is your fault, Superman...Clark...whatever the hell you want to call yourself - aaagggh!
Still overcome with anger, she turns and begins to pick up various small objects around the room and throw them at things; at Superman, at the walls, at the floor. It's a complete meltdown.
The door to the room knocks.
We cut to the corridor outside. Superman opens the door a crack to see a police officer, who grins nervously. Superman nods to him, still not opening the door fully.
POLICE OFFICER: Uh...everything alright in there?
There is the sound of something smashing in the room behind Superman.
SUPERMAN: (polite smile) Fine. Thank you.
A glass vase impacts Superman's head and shatters spectacularly. Glass, water and fragments of flowers scatter. The officer leaps backward, his hand going to his gun. Superman's polite smile never wavers.
SUPERMAN: We're fine. What is it?

Act III, Scene II

Central Plaza again, and this time there are some vehicles on the roads; not the usual Metropolis rush-hour traffic, however. These are around fifty times heavier and come equipped with heavy artillery. Twelve tanks roll slowly, purposefully, up Metropolis' grandest avenue. Behind them, coming up fast, two Apache-model helicopters are flying in tandem. On rooftops above, squads of soliders are setting up fearsome looking missile batteries.
We turn, and we see the object of their efforts. Metallo, his visor back on, stands two hundred feet or so from the oncoming tanks. He is utterly motionless.
The Apaches attack first. They open up with a salvo from their heavy-duty missiles. Each one locks onto its target and streaks away in a trail of white smoke, detaching from its parent craft, engines booming to life as they zero in on the stationary Metallo. He watches them converge on him with detached interest-
-and less than a second before they impact, he springs upwards.
All the approaching army sees is a huge explosion which, when the dust has settled, reveals only one huge new crater (from which underground waterpipes spurt high into the morning) and not a trace of their prey. Cheers of victory ring out from the assembled forces.
And one of the Apache pilots realises his helicopter is carrying extra weight.
Metallo drops onto his windshield, his red eyes burning. He puts his fist through the glass and half-steps, half-wades into the cockpit, slamming his mighty arms down into the instrumentation, ruining the craft in one stroke. Then with a spring he's gone, escaping the Apache before its inevitable fiery demise, his leg rockets firing to take him away.
Below, the tanks boom. It's hopeless. They simply can't track his movements fast enough. He flits across their field of fire with impudence, and all they achieve is massive collateral destruction in swathes behind him.
When he tires of evading the attack, Metallo targets tank after tank with his missiles. They explode like dominoes.
A small group of men watch the destruction on television. As we see more of the room in which they're standing, we realise it's the Metropolis Mayoral office. The Mayor, seated, has his head in his hands. Two high-ranking Army and Air Force generals stand at either side of him, and are themselves flanked by various lower-ranked officials. The mood is grim.
MAYOR: He's slaughtering them. For Gods sake, call off the attack. If Superman couldn't beat him, what chance do we have?
LUTHOR: That's good advice, gentlemen.
He enters the office bold as brass, flanked by three generic armed henchmen. Guns are produced and aimed at him. One belongs to the Army general, an old-school bear of a man with a particularly itchy-looking trigger finger.
ARMY GENERAL: Luthor. Figured you'd be behind this. Not real smart walking in here.
LUTHOR: Oh no? Why shouldn't I? I work here, General. You're looking at the new Mayor of the city. I don't know if I can afford that tiresome electioneering though, so what's say we just robe and chain me and you all get the hell out?
ARMY GENERAL: What's say I shoot you through the head, right now?
LUTHOR: (placing a finger to his ear; we see there's a small earpiece there) Metallo, pick a hospital. Any hospital. And destroy it.
Disbelieving, everyone turns to the television screen. Sure enough, Metallo pauses in his onslaught on the Army and flies off in a new direction. TV cameras track him as he moves across Metropolis, bearing straight for Metropolis General...
LUTHOR: (helpfully) I think this is where you beg me to call him off.
ARMY GENERAL: (taking a step forward, cocking gun) You-
MAYOR: Enough! Do it, Luthor. Do it now.
LUTHOR: Cancel that deep-fried hospital order, Metallo. Go back to blowing up soldiers. Unless by some miracle of common sense you want to call off the attack?
MAYOR: (to the Generals) Do it, for Gods sake! You know they haven't got a chance!
Reluctantly, both Generals speak into their walkie-talkies. In the Plaza and on the rooftops, the units assembling there stand down. Understandably, they have a look of immense relief on their faces.
LUTHOR: Very smart. Now, gentlemen, listen carefully. I'm going to rule this city, starting today. I'm going to rule a lot more of course, but for now, Metropolis will do. It's such a fine piece of land. Now, any...misbehaviour on the part of any of you or the people you represent, and I will instruct Metallo to exact retribution on a scale you can't even imagine. There won't be a hospital, school or high-rise left standing in the tri-state area. I trust that's clear. Now, who wants to say it?
MAYOR: You're insane?
LUTHOR: (rolls his eyes) Everyone always starts with that. Doesn't anyone want to add 'Superman will stop you'?
The assembled men and women look at each other, searching for some conviction that the words Luthor speaks could be true. None is forthcoming. Seeing this, Luthor smiles.
LUTHOR: Well now...that is what I call progress.
He looks out of the window of City Hall. In the middle distance we see the Planet building and its golden globe. Luthor's eyes gleam with malicious intent.
LUTHOR: Time to make headlines.

Act III, Scene III

The Planet building. Everyone, including Dr. Reed, is watching the big television. Perry storms out of his office, furious.
PERRY: This is the biggest news story in the world and you're watching it on television?! Where the hell is Olsen?
JOURNALIST: On a date, sir.
PERRY: On a date? (wonderingly) What are the odds on that? Well the rest of you, get the hell out there and bring it to me! It's not going to walk through the front-
The ceiling caves in spectacularly above him. Everyone dives for cover behind desks. Perry is blown off his feet. He lands amidst a mountain of paperwork. A PC monitor topples over and smashes next to him.
From the floor, everyone watches as Metallo descends slowly, gracefully, touching down. He's carrying three passengers; Luthor in his right arm, and Martha Kent and Jason White in his left. The boy is still in his pyjamas. Once released, he clings to Martha. She holds him tightly.
JASON: (breathlessly) Mom...Mom works here...I want Mom!
PERRY: (getting to his feet, furious) Jason? My God...what do you want with him, Luthor?
LUTHOR: Perry White. It's been a long time.
Perry, bold as brass, marches right up to Luthor and puts himself right in the smaller man's face, seemingly little caring for the massive figure of Metallo lurking behind him.
PERRY: Your trial. I was the one who cheered loudest when they sent you down.
LUTHOR: (snaps fingers) Of course.
PERRY: You son of a-
He swings a fist at Luthor. Almost lazily, Metallo's arm snakes out and catches Perry's fist in his own massive paw, enclosing it entirely. Pressure is applied. We can hear bones cracking ominously. Perry lets out a rattling moan and sinks to his knees, tears leaking from his eyes at the pain.
LUTHOR: Let him go.
METALLO: I...know him.
Even through his pain, Perry hears this and looks at Metallo in confusion. Luthor turns to face his creation, who's still wearing the visor across his face. We can see Luthor is angry.
LUTHOR: I said let him go!
Metallo releases Perry, who nurses his injured hand whilst still looking at Metallo.
PERRY: It's human?
LUTHOR: (laughing) Perry White, Metropolis' most revered journalist, editor of the world's most respected newspaper. Tell me, Perry; where are Lois Lane and Clark Kent today?
Off to one side, two men and a woman are edging toward the staircase.
PERRY: You know damn well where. Out looking for you. Have been ever since we found Kitty's body.
Luthor's pomp deflates. He actually seems taken aback by this news.
LUTHOR: Kitty is dead? My Kitty?
PERRY: (sneering) Don't play the innocent, Lex.
LUTHOR: Yes. Because it must have been me, hmm? Despite the fact that I could have killed her a dozen times before I finally shook her off.
PERRY: Tell it to the jury. Where's Richard? Where is my nephew?
LUTHOR: (glancing at Metallo) Around. But where are my manners? This little lady here (he indicates Martha) is Clark's mother. Martha Kent, Perry White. Have you two met? No?
PERRY: No. What -
Metallo extends an arm, without even looking, and fires one of his mini-rockets across the newsfloor. We see it pass between people too shocked to move until it detonates in the stairwell the three Planet employees were edging towards. The explosion throws them backward. When the dust and smoke clears, the stairwell is left a smoking, impassable ruin.
LUTHOR: Let that be -
Another mini-rocket soars into the elevator shaft and blows it to smithereens. We hear the cable coming loose and the rattle and boom of the elevator hitting bottom. People begin screaming in terror. Luthor holds up his hands in frustration at the noise until it subsides.
LUTHOR: (to Metallo) Finished?
PERRY: What do you want, Luthor?
LUTHOR: Why else would I come here, Perry? I want you to put out a special edition of the Planet. I'll have to approve the editorial of course.
PERRY: Over my d-
LUTHOR: (holding up a hand) Perry, please. I think we both know what my solution would be to that particular problem. Besides, you should welcome this opportunity, because I guarantee this edition of the Planet will be the best-selling newspaper of all time. Have I got a headline for you!
MARTHA: (desperately) No!
LUTHOR: (turning to face her) Mrs. Kent, we hardly knew ye. Something to say?
MARTHA: Why are you doing this to him?
LUTHOR: (laughing, then abruptly stopping) Because I hate him. I hate him with everything I have, everything I am. I've already beaten him, and soon I'll watch him die, but in the meantime, my dear Martha, I'm going to completely destroy him. Starting with this.
MARTHA: You haven't beaten him, Luthor. Believe me.
Luthor's eyes narrow dangerously. He takes a few steps toward Martha, who steps in front of Jason, shielding him behind her. She stares at Lex defiantly, unafraid, as he brings himself very close to her.
LUTHOR: All of the power he has...and he's completely powerless. Not because of Kryptonite. He's trapped by his own compassion. His weakness.
MARTHA: It's that compassion that makes him more human than a monster like you could ever hope to be.
LUTHOR: I hope that's a comfort to him. Because if he tries to stop me, tries anything, you will die, Martha Kent. And he will have to live with causing your death.
To this, Martha simply smiles. There's not a trace of fear in her face or her voice, as she says calmly-
MARTHA: That's what you don't get, Lex. If anything happens to me, there's only one person who will have responsibility for it. You. And even if you don't understand that, one person will. He will. And believe me when I tell you that he will come for you. And Lex...? May the good Lord himself help you when that happens.
Having said her piece, she continues right on smiling. Luthor, meanwhile, is absolutely boiling with rage; angrier than we've ever seen him, in fact. He looks ready to tear Martha apart with his bare hands. We see Jason take a step forward, out of her shadow, looking up at Lex fiercely, as if ready to intercept any attack that comes Martha's way.
Off to one side, we see Vanessa Reed, standing a little apart from her peers. She shows none of the fear that the others seem to be (sensibly) exhibiting. She's watching the exchange with intensity, her eyes never leaving it.
Luthor exhales, long and slow, and the rage seems to pass. He spins around and points a finger at Perry White.
LUTHOR: Let's get started, Perry! We have a paper to print, and I have the headline of the century for you!

Act III, Scene IV

A montage of scenes of Daily Planets being printed, coming off the production line, being stacked, packed, put into vans and lorries, and distributed as much as possible across Metropolis. One of the distributors carries two bundles into a crowded mall, where everyone it seems is holding a copy. The camera pans across the crowd quickly. As people spot the carrier, he is mobbed.
DISTRIBUTOR: Here! Here, take 'em!
He dumps the bundles and makes good his escape, and just in time; people pile over each other to get their hands on a copy. One man emerges triumphant with a copy and holds it up to us, finally allowing us to see the front page.
It reads:
Underneath the banner headlines, two pictures sit side-by-side; one of Superman's face, and the other presumably Clark Kent's staff photograph from the Planet archives.
And in smaller type, off to the right hand side of the main headlines:
We scan across the crowds digesting the newspaper. Conversations have already broken out between total strangers as they try to come to terms with the news. We see a man drawing on a pair of glasses to Superman's face with a pen. He whistles and nods.
MAN: Yeah, it's him all right. God, how did anyone not know?
MAN #2: Not much of a disguise, is it? A pair o' glasses? At least Batman makes an effort.
WOMAN: Since when was Lex Luthor the mayor?
MAN: Since he got his robot to kick the city's ass last night.
WOMAN: Isn't he a convicted felon or something?
MAN #2: (sarcastically) At least he's qualified.
We cut to a TV news feed, coming live from the corridor outside Clark's apartment. The reporter, a run-of-the-mill slick newsman, stands beside a small dumpy man in a stained T-shirt.
TV REPORTER: answer as yet from inside the Kent apartment! But we have managed to get an exclusive interview with his landlord! Mr Peabody...
MR. PEABODY: (waves a hand nervously) Hey.
TV REPORTER:'re live on Channel 8. Did you have any idea one of your tenants was the world's greatest superhero?
MR. PEABODY: Nah. He's a quiet sort, pays his rent on time. But uh, I'm not too sure about renting a room to Superman, you know? I mean no offence to the guy, but there might be all kinds of weirdos wanting to take a crack at him. And I can't afford to rebuild the place every time one of 'em tries.
TV REPORTER: (excitedly) Are you saying - live on air! - that you're going to evict Superman?
MR. PEABODY: (uncomfortably) Uh...not evict. Just, uh, suggest he goes someplace else. Like I say, and if he's watchin', uh, no offence.
As the TV Reporter makes the following speech, we pan across Metropolis, taking in the city as night begins to settle upon it once more, eventually panning to the Planet building.
TV REPORTER: (voice-over) Is he watching? Who knows? No-one has seen him in almost 24 hours, and in that time Metropolis has fallen completely under the rule of Lex Luthor and his one-man army, Metallo, holed up in the Daily Planet building with over forty hostages. So this reporter, this city, maybe the whole world asks one more time...where are you, Superman? Where are you, Clark Jerome Kent?

Act III, Scene V

We zoom across ocean at a fantastic rate, eating up the miles, passing over the waves at an incredible speed. Gradually the dark blue below us becomes peppered with white flecks, more and more of them in bigger and bigger chunks until without warning a huge, majestic continent of white rises from the waves. We zip across the tundra for another few moments until we wheel around and come to view a crystalline structure rising from an almost hidden depression in the terrain. The Fortress of Solitude.
Even from some few hundred yards above the Fortress, we hear a voice on the air. We descend and the voice gets louder, until finally we pass through the crystalline walls and see that it comes from Superman, standing upon the central control podium and shouting into the Fortress-
SUPERMAN: FATHER! FATHER! Father...please...
The last echoes of his cries die away. We move slightly to the left and see behind him, her hands lowering from her ears, Lois Lane. Her mood does not seem to have improved since last we saw her.
LOIS: This is your great plan of counter-attack? For this you dragged me to the South Pole?
SUPERMAN: I brought you here because it's the only safe place I have left. What do you want me to do? Attack?
LOIS: I want my son back. I want my fiancé back. I'd like to have some small part of my life back, if it's not too much to ask. Is it?
SUPERMAN: I can't beat him! And if I's Richard, Lois. I promised you that I'd save him.
LOIS: You're not going to do either stuck here! This place is dead...(she swallows, and says carefully) ...Clark. You've got to let it go. He can't help you.
And inspiration strikes him. We see a flashback to the previous Act and the Eradicator telling him - 'you will have need of me, sooner than you think'. We see a brief image of the lost crystals tumbling from Kitty's hand to the surface of New Krypton during the events of Superman Returns.
SUPERMAN: ...but there is someone who can.
LOIS: What?
SUPERMAN: Lois...there may be a way.
LOIS: Believe me, you have my attention.
SUPERMAN: I have to go into space.
LOIS: You''re joking, right? Why? Why now?
SUPERMAN: There's somewhere I have to go. There's no other way, Lois.
LOIS: Last time-
SUPERMAN: It's not like last time. I promise you.
LOIS: He needs you. Jason needs you. (she laughs bitterly) The world needs a Superman. You have to come-
LOIS: (quietly) I need you.
SUPERMAN: I know. I have to go.
He turns and rises, casting one glance backward at Lois Lane, already thirty feet below.
LOIS: Do I get a goodbye, this time?
SUPERMAN: I won't be gone long enough for you to need one. I promise.
And with that, he ascends into the heavens and is gone in an eyeblink. Lois watches him go, such a small figure against the stark beauty of the Fortress around her and the even starker isolation of the Antarctic wastelands surrounding the Fortress.
LOIS: (whispers) Whoever you are...I love you.

Act III, Scene VI

An exterior shot of the International Space Station. Inside, two astronauts float weightlessly around the main working area, diverting their attention between various consoles. The black vastness of space stretches out from a small window at the far end of the working area.
One of the consoles emits a bleeping noise.
ASTRONAUT: What was that?
ASTRONAUT #2: Seemed like it came from the proximity alert. Must be a bug in the system.
The console bleeps again stubbornly, and keeps bleeping. The second astronaut curses softly under his breath and floats over to it, working a few controls on the screen.
ASTRONAUT: There's no debris heading our way, is there?
ASTRONAUT #2: According to this, not unless it's slowing down. Damn thing. I am not going to listen to you bleeping for hours like last week.
He turns a lever and the bleeping stops. He grins over at his fellow astronaut.
ASTRONAUT #2: There. Peace and-
Knock. Knock. The sound reverberates quite clearly throughout the structure. Knock. Knock. The two men look at each other, wide-eyed. One of them glances out the tiny window and does a classic double-take.
ASTRONAUT: (weakly) Uh...Commander? We, uh...we have a visitor.
The second astronaut, disbelieving, floats over beside him to gape out the window. We see what he sees; floating in space just outside is Superman. He nods casually to the two men and gestures with his left hand in an unmistakable 'can I come in?' gesture. The two astronauts look at one another.

Act III, Scene VII

The Daily Planet newsroom. Night is falling rapidly outside. Lex Luthor watches the television broadcasts carrying the news of Superman's 'unmasking' with unrestrained voyeuristic glee. The hostages, meanwhile, are now huddled into groups. Perry sits with Dr. Reed, Jason and Martha Kent. He places a hand on Jason's shoulder.
PERRY: You'll see your Mom and Dad real soon, son. I promise.
JASON: (quite innocently) How do you know?
PERRY: Your Uncle Perry always knows.
JASON: You didn't know about Uncle Clark being Superman.
PERRY: Yes...well, he...(he trails off; this is obviously an extremely sore point) ...he hid it well.
JASON: I thought he just put on glasses and a suit.
PERRY: They were big glasses, okay?
Jason reaches out and places a hand on Perry's shoulder.
JASON: Don't feel bad. I felt kinda stupid when I found out too.
PERRY: Thank you. Thank you so much.
Martha listens to this exchange, and despite their situation she finds the strength to smile a little. She looks at Jason with evident fondness.
A shuddering, thumping series of footfalls announces the approach of Metallo to the group. He towers over them, and sweeps his gaze from one to the other. Jason stares up at him, his forehead wrinkling as he studies the huge cyborg intently. Metallo's gaze settles back on him and the two regard each other for a long moment. We see Jason squinting his eyes.
METALLO: Look closer.
Jason's mouth drops open.
JASON: D...D-Daddy?!
Luthor's head snaps around.
MARTHA: Daddy?
PERRY: Richard?
VANESSA: Interesting.
He jumps to his feet with excitement and runs to Metallo, throwing his arms around the cyborg's left leg and hugging it tightly. Above him, Metallo lifts his hands to the visor covering his face and removes it, placing it on the table beside him. Perry and Martha gasp in horror. Perry gets to his feet, his face pale.
PERRY: Richard...
Metallo places a hand on Jason's shoulder, gently. The child looks up at him with shining eyes full of tears as his initial joy at seeing his father begins to be replaced by confusion and fear at what his father has become.
And Metallo pushes him away. Jason careens backward in shock, losing his balance, stumbling to his hands and knees. There is a shocked silence from everyone.
METALLO: I'm not your father, child.
Jason's world collapses in front of our eyes. He begins to sob. Martha rushes to comfort him, as does Perry White. After a few seconds of this, Perry turns to Metallo. He is heartbroken.
PERRY: You're not Richard. Not my Richard. You're just a machine made to look like him.
Metallo absorbs this. His hands clench into fists...then relax. He shakes his head, as if clearing something violently from his mind. Finally he turns to Luthor and stabs a finger in his direction.
METALLO: (angrily) I want Superman!
LUTHOR: Who was it who let him go?
METALLO: That was then. It won't happen again. I want him. I'm tired of, this waiting. I want to destroy him. Now.
LUTHOR: I'm not done with him yet.
Metallo crosses the distance between him and Luthor with three quick steps. One of his massive hands grabs a handful of Luthor's jacket and hoists him eight feet up into the air, leaving Luthor's legs dangling in the air. Luthor splutters indignantly.
METALLO: I...don'
LUTHOR: Let me go! That is an order! You can't just disobey my orders! Your programming-
METALLO: Here's a tip, Luthor. Next time you design an advanced cyborg with the ability to learn and rewrite its own software, don't be surprised when it screws you.
Metallo tosses Luthor ten feet away into a wall. Luthor is stunned by the impact, and barely conscious. To one side, we see Vanessa Reed get to her feet.
Luthor is seized by Metallo almost before he slides to the ground and hoisted up once again. Metallo's glowing red eyes fill his vision.
METALLO: Where is he? I know you know.
LUTHOR: (dazedly) The...Fortress. He'll...only safe place he has left.
METALLO: You know the way. You're going to take me.
He drops Luthor, who lands in a heap at his feet. He turns slowly to examine the huddled group of Martha, the still-sobbing Jason, and Perry White.
METALLO: You're going to take all of us.
She runs across Metallo's field of vision.
VANESSA: Please...don't hurt Clark.
VANESSA: Because I'm in love with him.
METALLO: Well, why didn't you say so before?
He grabs her by the arm and flings her aside roughly. She lands alongside Martha, Jason and Perry. Together they watch as Metallo stomps over toward them, dragging Luthor behind him, looking for all the world like an advancing devil, an unstoppable force of nature. In Martha's arms, Jason peers up at what was once his father, and wipes the tears from his eyes. Dark anger descends on him and he scowls.
METALLO: You're all going to watch me break him.
He frees himself from Martha's grasp and rushes Metallo, shoving him, and actually succeeding in knocking him backward, causing him to lose his balance. Jason stands there, his palms outstretched, and for a wonderful moment we see a glimpse of what the future might hold for this young man; for at this instant, standing there defiant and determined, proud and powerful, he looks every inch his biological father's son.
Behind him, Perry White's jaw drops so fast and so completely that it's almost audible.
And Metallo rises to his feet. He's undamaged, of course; it was only the element of surprise that caught him off-balance, combined with Jason's enhanced strength. The little boy faces down the cyborg, shaking in terror and anger and sadness, but standing between him and those he protects.
We see through Metallo's eyes. It's a world of schematics, diagnostics and readouts all flashing past at dizzying speed. One single readout, however, occupies the centre of the screen and remains there for several seconds.
METALLO:'s me. It's your Daddy.
JASON: You're not. You're just some mean robot who looks like him. My Daddy doesn't hurt people. 'Cept I'm not gonna let you.
He raises his hands in a defensive pose, clearly signalling Metallo in his own childish way that if he wants to get at the people behind him, he'll have to deal with Jason first.
METALLO: Do you remember what I said to you at your birthday party?
We flash back to the birthday party, and a shy Jason unable to speak on stage. From Jason's point of view, we see Richard go down on one knee and speak to him. Richard dissolves into Metallo as we pull out from the flashback; despite the obvious - and huge - differences, the face staring at Jason is the same. And when Metallo speaks next, it's not in the slightly mechanised version of Richard White's vocal tones we've heard until now - it's in a perfect reproduction of Richard's human voice.
METALLO: Come on, Jason. Everyone's here for you, birthday boy. And hey, if they look scary, just picture them all in their underpants. Except for Uncle Perry, cos we wouldn't you to be sick on your birthday now, would we?
Jason's confidence evaporates. His hands lower.
JASON: (whispered) Daddy...?
Metallo walks to him and kneels down to be on Jason's eye-level. We hear the audible whine of servomotors as he does so.
METALLO: Yes, Jason. It's Daddy. Daddy found out what you could do and he made himself better so he could do special things too.
MARTHA: (desperately) Jason, don't listen to him!
JASON: But you hurt people. You said you weren't my Daddy! And you hurt me-
METALLO: I'm sorry, son. But this bad man (he picks up Luthor's head before dropping it to the ground again, causing Luthor to let out a muffled grunt of pain) this bad man made me say and do those things. You remember him, don't you? From the boat?
JASON: Yes...
MARTHA: Jason, he is not-
METALLO: He can't do that any more, Jason. I won't hurt you. I want us to be together. And I can teach you how to use your powers. Would you like that? Me and you together, going flying?
JASON: (wretchedly, in a very small voice) Uh me and S-S-Superman?
METALLO: No. Not like him. He's a bad man too, Jason. No-one knows, except me. I found out.
Metallo stands and makes himself huge until he towers over them both. He turns Jason around and points one of his arms at the child's back, out of Jason's sight. A mini-missile slides from its sheath. Martha and Perry both see it.
METALLO: (warningly) Isn't that right, Mrs Kent? Uncle Perry?
Both look at one another. Due to the failing light outside, Metallo's red eyes cast a crimson glare over almost the entire newsfloor. Jason stands facing them, incredibly small, incredibly fragile, totally unaware of the weapon aimed at him.
MARTHA: Yes. Yes, that's right.
She looks at Metallo when she says it, her normally placid eyes filled with promises of revenge. Beside her, Perry looks as if he's about to throw up, but he manages to nod weakly. Metallo inclines his head as if to say 'well done', and the missile vanishes. He turns Jason back around again.
METALLO: Will you help Daddy to stop him, Jason?
JASON: I...I guess so.
And Metallo smiles. It's every bit as evil and malevolent a smile as we've ever seen from Lex Luthor.
METALLO: That's my good boy...

Act III, Scene VIII

Space. Endless, black, and peaceful-
-at least, until Superman rips through it. He zooms past us at a phenomenal speed. We turn and hasten to catch up with him until we're practically travelling on his shoulder as he forges a path through the void. As we travel up his body, we see he's had some modifications fitted; namely, two large oxygen tanks affixed to his back, with a breathing tube leading to his mouth.
As he flies, we hear excerpts from dialogue in earlier scenes fade in and out, as they pass through Superman's mind.
LOIS: (voice-over) son throws pianos like they're dinky toys before he's five years old. How the hell is he going to hide that from the world? And if the world finds out, what then? Is he gonna be expected to go into the family business and juggle airplanes and have bullets bounce off his chest? Over my dead body. He is my son...
SUPERMAN: (voice-over) ...he's our son...
JASON: (voice-over) ...why can't I be more like my Dad? I wish I wasn't strong...
There is an absolute determination about Superman's face as he flies that we haven't seen from him before now. We zoom in a little on that face until his eyes fill the screen, and reflected in those eyes...something dark and huge suddenly looms in the blackness.
Superman comes to a halt. We pull out from our close-up and turn, and see what he sees; suspended in space, moving inexorably and majestically out of the Solar System altogether, is a very familiar asteroid. An asteroid, in fact, that Superman himself created.
New Krypton.
We cut to the surface of New Krypton itself. Jutting out from it are green shards, innumerable in number. They are everywhere. A massive proportion of the entire asteroid's composition is made up of the very substance he fears most - Kryptonite. Lifting this thing into space came closer to killing him than anything else ever had. He knows it.
But somewhere down there...amongst the green poison...lie several white crystal shards, the control rods for the Fortress, containing the last remnants of his father's parting gift to him.
ERADICATOR: (voice-over) ...I am scattered. The crystals Luthor stole...without them, the Fortress stands must bring them back. You will have need of me, Kal-El...
This is his only hope. He moves closer to New Krypton cautiously...and feels the effects immediately. He gasps, his eyes bulge, and his limbs seem to slacken. It's similar to the effect Metallo has on him, but amplified a hundred, a thousandfold.
Superman backs away to a safer distance and scans the asteroid with his super-vision, mapping its surface at a fantastic rate, zooming in...yes! There, and there...the asteroid is big enough to create its own weak gravity field and that has succeeded in keeping the white crystal shards loosely fixed to its surface. Superman locates all four of them, all within a hundred feet radius of each other...but as he zooms out from their location, we can see despair replace euphoria in his expression. They are surrounded by an absolutely MASSIVE Kryptonite deposit.
SUPERMAN: (voice-over) ...if you hurt Jason...
LUTHOR: (voice-over)...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...
And the music begins - the Superman theme. As it starts, Superman shrugs off the doubt that the Kryptonite placed in his expression. As it builds, we watch him remove the oxygen tube from his mouth and shrug off the oxygen tanks affixed to his back. The whole time, he never takes his eyes from his target.
As it swells to a crescendo, he points his good fist ahead of him in the direction of the deadly behemoth of rock and Kryptonite, and takes off faster than a speeding bullet, faster than sound, faster than he's ever gone before, screaming a soundless scream that seems to be one single word...
The shockwave batters us. The explosion buffets us backward. We watch as New Krypton is completely blown apart, annihilated by a precision bullet driven straight into its heart. Rock and Kryptonite shards, most now no bigger than boulders, some as small as grains of dust, mushroom outward into space from the epicentre of the explosion.
It's toward that epicentre we go, swooping left, right, up and down to avoid fragments of the former asteroid on our way, as we try to discern if there's anything left of the missile that caused the destruction-
And suddenly, as we go low to avoid a particularly large chunk of space-rock, there he is. Battered, broken, one arm useless and the other arm bloodied from the sheer force of the impact, his cape a shredded, tattered red ruin.
But alive. Alive, and defiant, and triumphant, for in his good left hand he has clutched his prize, snatched at super-speed prior to the impact which blew the asteroid apart; four white crystals, shining like beacons in the oblivion of space. Glowing with life in his hand.
We cut to the oxygen tanks and mask, floating in space. Superman zooms past and snags them, shrugging the tanks over his shoulders and slipping the tube back into his mouth. He looks past us into the distance, and to Earth, and his expression says everything that needs to be said.
And in an instant, he's gone. And there is no catching him this time.
Superman has returned.

Act III, Scene IX

Earth. The Fortress of Solitude. Lois prowls its interior, sending anxious glances upward every few seconds, watching the skies for some indication of Superman. Behind her, a thin ice bridge leads to the solitary entrance to the Fortress at ground level. A shadow falls across that entrance now, its tendrils extending to beyond where Lois is standing. She turns.
LOIS: Richard...
LOIS: Where's Jason?
METALLO: You mean our darling son? You'll see soon enough.
He vanishes from the doorway. Lois begins to run toward it.
LOIS: Give me back my son!!!
-a chunk of the outside wall of the Fortress explodes inward. Lois recoils, thrown off her feet by the blast. The debris cloud billows inward, before beginning to clear. Through it, we can see a large shadow move into the Fortress. A smaller shadow detaches from it and moves quickly toward Lois. As it clears the ice and smoke, Lois is able to identify it.
LOIS: Jason...
They run toward each other and she scoops him up into her arms, hugging him tightly to her, her eyes closed as she kisses his head over and over. She misses the last of the blast cloud clearing and the subsequent reveal of the rather incongruous sight of a large Humvee off-road vehicle inside the Fortress. Metallo lowers it the final few feet to the ground, having blown open the side of the Fortress to make room for its entrance. One of the passenger doors is open, the door Jason just scampered free from. When the Humvee touches ground, the other doors open and Vanessa Reed, Martha Kent and Perry White disembark.
Lois opens her eyes and sees the newcomers. She looks to Metallo for an explanation.
METALLO: Well, I couldn't carry everyone. And I wouldn't want any of them to miss this. But we've got one final guest star. Where is he?
PERRY: Still inside.
METALLO: (banging on the exterior of the Humvee, which rocks with the force of his blows) Come on out! You'll miss all the fun!
Slowly, gingerly, obviously in no small degree of pain, Lex Luthor extricates himself. He winces as he stands on the ice and winces even more with each step he takes. This apparent physical frailty does nothing to diminish the force of the stare Lois Lane directs at him. She curls her hand around Jason protectively.
METALLO: Feeling a little delicate, Lex?
LUTHOR: (mutters) Can't think why. (normal volume) Hello, Miss Lane. A pleasure, as always.
LOIS: You bastard.
LUTHOR: (reproachfully) In front of the child? What would his father say? Speaking of Big Blue, where is he these days? (glancing at Metallo) Much as I can't believe I'm saying it, I'd kinda like to see him...
Metallo walks over to Luthor and twists his arm behind his back until we begin to hear bones creaking ominously. Luthor grimaces in pain.
METALLO: Thinking of changing horses midstream, Luthor? How unlike you.
LUTHOR: Not at all. Just...eager to see this ended, is all...
Martha Kent and Perry White reach Lois and Jason.
LOIS: Mrs Kent...
The two women look at each other for a moment.
MARTHA: It hurt him more than anything, not saying goodbye. I want you to know that.
LOIS: Thank you.
Metallo discards Luthor with a contemptuous shove. Perry and Lois exchange heartbroken looks. Luthor staggers, losing his balance.
PERRY: Richard's gone, Lois. That thing isn't-
LOIS: No. He's in there somewhere, Perry.
As they speak, we see Vanessa offering Luthor her hand. He accepts, somewhat surprised at the gesture, and she pulls him to his feet.
JASON: Don't call him a thing!
He angrily shakes loose from Lois, turning on her. She looks down at him, shocked.
LOIS: Honey-
JASON: He's my Dad! He's...different, sure, but now he's like me.
LOIS: No. No Jason. He's not like you.
Metallo is suddenly there, standing close to them. He faces Lois and she shrinks back a little from his massive frame, his obvious menace. Those glittering red eyes bore into her accusingly, threateningly.
METALLO: Who is he like, Lois?
LOIS: I don't know. He's five years old. Right at this minute, he's not like anyone but himself. And when he grows up, that'll still be true. And whether he's stopping trains from derailing or putting up a shelf...I don't care. He's my son, and I'll always love him. (she pauses) And I know that if he were here, his father would say the exact same thing.
METALLO: I am his father.
LOIS: Richard White was. Don't you dare compare yourself to him.
METALLO: I'm everything he ever wanted to be. Finally a man you could fall in love with, Lois. Because we both know it wasn't love for you, don't we? It was gratitude, affection, admiration...sure, but never love. Am I wrong?
Lois says nothing in reply.
METALLO: Because I was never super enough for you-
He extends his left arm and a mini-missile fires, shooting across the interior chamber and exploding at the far side. Crystal shards and ice tumbles from the ceiling.
METALLO: -but just look at me now!
Lois picks up one of the shards of crystal which form the structure of the Fortress. Its surface is reflective. She holds it up before her so that Metallo can see himself.
LOIS: Yeah. Just look at you.
Metallo stops his rampage and looks at himself, at the visage of Richard White's face attached to that monstrous cybernetic body. He reaches up with a hand to touch his cheek softly.
LOIS: (softly) Are you in there, Richard?
Metallo's hands go to his head. He rocks backward unsteadily. The floor shudders slightly as his massive legs stomp downward, seeking balance. His fingers wrap around the back of his metallic skull and for a moment seem to be intent on ripping on his own head from his shoulders. He throws his head back and roars in pain and anguish.
Seeing this, upset, Jason steps forward to be with his father, but Lois' firm hand across his chest prevents him from moving. Instead it's her who steps forward, pressing the small sign of weakness from their seemingly invincible foe for all its worth.
PERRY: My God, Lois, it's working...
LOIS: Fight it.
Metallo abruptly goes rigid, completely immobilised, his head turned in Lois' direction. The red glow in his eyes fades. For the first time since the transformation...he blinks. And somehow, the mask of Richard White comes to life, and becomes Richard again.
LOIS: Richard...
She runs to him, throws her arms around him. He doesn't move in response, though we hear servos whining from somewhere within his chassis. He looks at her desperately.
RICHARD: I'm not strong enough, Lois. I can't hold it back.
LOIS: (desperately) You're holding it back now, Richard. Just keep doing it.
RICHARD: You don't's letting me say goodbye. It's toying with me, with all of you.
Jason arrives, Perry on his heels. He's hopelessly confused.
JASON: Daddy...?
LOIS: (eyes filling with tears) Richard, I'm so sorry-
RICHARD: I love you, son. (to Lois) Listen to me. It doesn't matter. None of it matters. This thing - it has to be stopped. When the time comes, tell Superman to do it.
LOIS: Do...
RICHARD: Please, Lois. You know what.
His limbs twitch into life. His eyes begin to flicker with red. Richard looks at Lois for what may be the last time and manages to speak two simple words.
RICHARD: Be happy.
And with a surge of crimson, Metallo is back. His leg-rockets ignite and he soars upwards into the apex of the chamber in which they stand.
In his frustrations, he begins to systematically demolish the Fortress. Huge chunks of ceiling begin to rain down on everyone inside.
Trying to protect Jason from the falling masonry, Lois' attention alights on the Humvee. She shepherds Jason toward it.
LOIS: Perry! Mrs Kent! The car!
As the Fortress is ripped to pieces around them, the three manage to reach the Humvee. Lois opens the passenger door and hurls Jason inside to safety, before getting in herself. She beckons to Martha and Perry, but it's a different set of hands who reaches the Humvee next.
LUTHOR: Room for one more?
Lois' eyes narrow. We cut to where Perry and Martha are helping each other along. There is a loud thumping sound ahead of them, and a body falls backward into the ice between them as they step out of the way. It's Lex Luthor, and he's somewhat surprised.
LOIS: I am done being afraid of you.
JASON:'ve got powers too?
LOIS: Jason hun, all mommies do.
Martha Kent 'accidentally' steps on his stomach as she walks over him, causing him to gasp in pain. Another huge chunk of the ceiling collapses. The Fortress is literally crumbling around them.
PERRY: He's going to bring it down on top of us...
MARTHA: I don't think so. (as everyone looks to her) Look...
Through the rapidly-increasing hole in the roof, something like a shooting star is visible streaking across the Antarctic sky. Except this particular falling body has a target.
We cut to Superman, still looking bloodied and battered, but unswaying from his course. He barrels down the last few thousand feet, superheated air from the intensity of his nosedive giving him a fire-trail that marks his descent.
Too late, far too late, Metallo looks up-
-Superman impacts him with a momentum developed over the last few million miles or so, sending the cyborg crashing downward into the ice, creating a sizeable impact crater. Luthor has managed to scramble to the Humvee when the shockwave hits, and he's sent tumbling into the interior of the vehicle to join everyone else as the enormous oversized jeep flips end over end in the ice.
We see the ice cracking outward in a huge spiderweb from the epicentre of the impact crater; the last of the dome structure of the Fortress tumbles into nothingness. The cracks deepen and huge fractures and fissures tear open throughout the ice sheet. The Humvee is caught on the edge of one such fissure as it rises, even as the other side of the crack falls, so that in a matter of ten seconds the Humvee teeters upon the brink of a eighty foot vertical drop.
Inside the Humvee, chaos predictably reigns. Lois is screaming and trying to open the door beside her. She eventually succeeds in kicking the door open. She grabs Jason and with a shove, pushes him clear out of the vehicle. He lands on the smooth surface outside. The door tilts closed again.
LOIS: Get clear!
Jason moves toward the Humvee. A huge crack appears in the crystalline surface, spreading out from the impact crater. The Humvee tilts crazily over the edge, to screams from those within.
Jason stares into his mother's terrified eyes. He looks down at his hands, and then to the Humvee.
And with that, he bounds over the crack in the Fortress and grabs the back edge of the Humvee, just as the entire vehicle unbalances...
Jason is dragged toward the edge as the huge car plunges forward. He bares his teeth and pulls his head back and digs his heels in and somehow, this little five-year-old boy finds the strength to stop the car's descent into oblivion. He lets out a cry of pain with the effort, but remains steadfast where he stands. His hands are all that are preventing the Humvee from tumbling over the drop.
Inside, Lois looks around in disbelief, amazed to find herself still alive. She raises her head and stares through the back windshield at her little boy, standing no more than four feet away, straining against two tons of Humvee and winning. Even despite the chaos and the terror, she simply stares at him, and we sense this is the first time she's come to accept the gifts her son has inherited.
Jason takes a step back, dragging the Humvee with him. And another.
And that's when the tailgate bends. The left-hand-side of the metal bar comes loose in Jason's left hand, and the Humvee lurches crazily to one side, slipping further over the edge. Jason is dragged to the brink of the precipice himself.
Inside the Humvee, Vanessa Reed falls against the passenger side door. Panic-stricken, she tries to move and her elbow hits the door-release lever...the door opens behind her, exposing her to the fatal drop. She screams and falls-
-and a hand wraps around hers, arresting her fall, saving her life.
LUTHOR: Hang on!
Perry White slides across the passenger seats on his belly and wraps his arms around Lex's waist, steadying him as Lex yanks with surprising strength and pulls Vanessa back up, until she can grab a handhold with her free hand and pull herself back inside the car.
Above, Jason is sliding slowly toward the edge. His young face is etched with pain as he tries to arrest the inexorable progress of the Humvee, but to no avail. There are only seconds before it will slip his grasp and plummet, killing all inside.
Back inside the Humvee, the passengers are trying to smash the back windshield. Lois thumps her fists against it, but it refuses to break. Martha Kent beside her does the same. They are joined by Perry and Lex.
LUTHOR: On two, everyone together! One...TWO!
They strike the glass simultaneously. Cracks splinter across its surface.
This time the glass breaks. Perry and Lex clear the shards away as best they can. Above, Jason's face has gone crimson red with effort. Sweat beads on his forehead. His breath comes in ragged gasps. And still, his feet slip toward that edge, and more and more of the Humvee topples over...
PERRY: Out! Everyone out!
He and Lex shove the three ladies through with as much force as they can muster. Martha is first, Lois next, Vanessa third. They land beside Jason. Tears of pain are now running down his cheeks.
LOIS: Perry!
JASON: I can't...hold it...
Perry dives through the hole in the windshield, leaving only Lex Luthor. For a moment Luthor and Jason's eyes meet. Lois' hand drops on her son's shoulder. She doesn't have to say a word. She knows her son has a choice.
JASON: Come...ON!
Luthor hesitates for a fraction of a second, then dives through. He is barely clear of the Humvee when Jason lets loose a little sigh. His hands slip from their makeshift handholds underneath the car's bodywork, and the Humvee plunges decisively and violently downward, flipping over upon impact before coming to rest, smashed to pieces.
We cut to outside, at the edge of the impact crater. A hand grabs the edge. Superman pulls himself up out of the crater he helped create. He looks, to put it bluntly, like hell. His cape is nothing more than a few fluttering pieces of red fabric. His broken right arm is still held close to his body, holding the crystals wedged in there. He uses his left hand to pluck them free. Their glow burns our eyes.
Behind him, from the depths of the impact crater, there is the sound of leg-rockets igniting.
Superman sinks to his knees. He lies the four crystals on the ice. They glow, but nothing happens.
SUPERMAN: Father...please...
And like a demon from Hell, Metallo rises from the crater behind him. Though he doesn't look round, Superman knows. Knows he has only seconds before his opponent attacks. His pleas of frustration turn gradually to anger...
SUPERMAN: Father...father...answer me, damn you!!!
Involuntary heat-vision springs from his eyes and strikes the crystals spread before him. Their glow intensifies a hundredfold until the light emitted from them becomes blinding, intense enough to force even Superman look away, something we only glimpse before the screen whites out...
Shapes move in the whiteness. Lines race across the screen, faint and darting, but there nonetheless. We get fleeting impressions of a crisscrossing network building itself, a framework constructing from the ground up, self-scaffolding and growing substance organically between its connecting points.
As the intense whiteness begins to fade from the screen, we stay on Superman. He has his eyes closed to shield himself from the glare. He opens them...and gasps.
The Fortress of Solitude has been rebuilt in a matter of seconds. But not just rebuilt. It has been improved. The dome remains, but it is now no longer composed merely of crystalline shards. Now, what look like advanced computer interfaces litter its interior. Large corridors splinter off the main dome. We cut to an aerial shot and see that the Fortress complex now consists of five domes; one large central structure and four satellite domes, one to the north, south, east and west.
The group of former Humvee passengers stand and gape. They are now within the expanded surface area of the main dome, which has just sprung to existence around them.
LUTHOR: Advanced alien technology...
As the air clears inside the new structure, two people sight each other for the first time in much too long.
SUPERMAN: Jason...!
Metallo slams into the unsuspecting Superman from behind. The two come together in a tangle of bodies, but it's Metallo who effortlessly gains the upper hand in the struggle, and soon he is once again dishing out terrible punishment to the Man of Steel, repeatedly landing blows on Superman's already broken arm, causing Superman to howl in agony.
While this is happening, at first unnoticed, beams of light coalesce from the ceiling of the central dome and strike a central spot on the dome's surface...and from this point, something begins to form.
Metallo pauses in his onslaught. Superman truly is close to death now. Metallo has a handful of his suit in his hand, Superman lolling slackly in his grip. In the distance, we see the small figure of Jason White running toward the scene. Lois is hard on his heels.
LOIS: Jason!
METALLO: When you're gone...he'll learn to be my son. And the first day he flies without my help, I'll be there to guide him.
SUPERMAN: (weakly) No...
JASON: (stopping, screaming) DADDY!
The forming shape now has the definite characteristics of a man, seemingly composed entirely of Kryptonian crystals. He stretches his limbs as he takes shape and the crystalline 'skin' shimmers slightly and shifts to that of normal skin. Standing there is a tall, imposing man with golden eyes and close-cropped raven hair, the same man who caused Superman's vision in Kitty's apartment.
The Eradicator.
METALLO: Goodbye, Kent.
The Eradicator takes in the situation in an instant. He tenses his legs and springs, rocketing across the Fortress' surface at phenomenal speed, barrelling into Metallo and sending him sprawling into the newly-formed Fortress walls. They shudder, but hold, and Metallo crunches to the ground.
Lois has caught up to Jason, and has ensconced him in a protective death-grip that she looks hellbent against ever releasing him from. Lex Luthor meanwhile, despite his injuries, has made all haste to be as close to the battle inside the dome as he dares. He stares with unabashed awe at the Eradicator.
LUTHOR: Magnificent...
Superman looks up at the outstretched hand of his new benefactor.
SUPERMAN: Brother...
He takes the Eradicator's hand and is pulled bodily to his feet. We see Metallo getting to his feet in the background. The following conversation takes place as Metallo prepares to launch a counter-attack, his red eyes glowing.
ERADICATOR: Having some trouble with the natives?
SUPERMAN: I can't fight him.
ERADICATOR: (nodding) I'm detecting his Kryptonite power source-
SUPERMAN: That's not it. He's an innocent. I have to save him.
Luthor, listening in on this, rolls his eyes. Metallo has now risen to his full height. He throws out his arms and roars in fury.
ERADICATOR: (dryly) He seems to disagree.
Metallo's leg rockets ignite and he soars toward them. The Eradicator shoves Superman aside and meets the assault head-on, actually managing to grapple with the oncoming cyborg. The two machines lock themselves in a fearsome battle that rages across the dome.
The Eradicator dodges a massive uppercut from Metallo and lands a heavy counter-blow of his own, sending Metallo crashing. The Eradicator is upon him in an instant but finds his fists caught in Metallo's own. Metallo's servo motors whine as the two combatants struggle against the other's strength; each seems evenly matched, at least initially.
METALLO: (speaking with effort) And just...who...the
ERADICATOR: Me? Just a diversion.
METALLO: From what?
ERADICATOR: (nodding to the injured, bleeding Superman) Him.
Metallo begins to win the battle of strength against the Eradicator. Richard White's mouth twists in a grotesque grin of victory.
METALLO: He's finished. He's gonna last about two seconds longer than you.
ERADICATOR: Get used to disappointment.
As he says this, doors open in the main dome. Golden robots begin to emerge, floating about four feet in the air, each one with four long, prehensile arms. One immediately makes a beeline for Superman, who regards it warily.
ROBOT: You are injured. Hold still, please.
Two more robots appear behind him without warning and wrap their arms around him. Superman has barely registered this restraint before the robot in front of him slides back a chest panel and produces a wicked-looking needle filled with a green substance...Kryptonite!
ROBOT: This will hurt.
The robot plunges the needle into Superman's broken arm and injects him with the contents. Superman shakes the walls of the Fortress with his holler of pain. We see his arm glow green, the Kryptonite shooting through his veins throughout the injured limb...he thrashes in agony, but still the robots hold on for grim death. The other robot gets closer and puts one hand on Superman's lower arm and the other hand on his upper.
ROBOT: This will hurt more.
The robot tugs sharply. We hear a whip-crack as the bone snaps back into place. Superman's howls of pain have all the humans (save Metallo) within the Fortress on their knees, covering their ears lest their eardrums burst.
When the noise subsides, Luthor is the first to remove his hands from over his ears. He turns to the person standing beside him, obviously tremendously excited by what he's witnessing.
LUTHOR: They weakened his molecular structure to re-set the bones! Ingenious! Don't you agree?
PERRY: Great Caesar's ghost...(then, coming to his senses, with feeling) I hate you.
Metallo, meanwhile, is not oblivious to what's happening. He ceases his attack on the Eradicator immediately and tries to extricate his fists from his opponent's grip.
ERADICATOR: Stick around.
ROBOT: Repair complete. Rejuvenation process beginning.
Just as we saw on Krypton, the ceiling of the dome begins to slide back, and suddenly a shaft of purest Antarctic sunlight, the purest most untainted sunlight available on Earth, filters through the crack in the roof and bathes its target in a dazzling golden halo.
The effect is amazing. Superman's bruises unbloom. His cuts dry up and seal themselves. His shoulders straighten. His posture goes from slumped to standing bolt upright. Even his eyes seem to regain their former sparkle. He hefts his right arm, flexes his fingers.
Metallo finally succeeds in releasing himself from the Eradicator's grasp. As he floats free, his leg-rockets keeping him suspended, we see Superman's head turn slowly, deliberately to look at him. There is absolute silence as the two make eye-contact. A sense of finality hangs in the air. This is going to be the big one, and they know it.
SUPERMAN: This ends. Now.
METALLO: Bring it.
The two come together for one final time. We slow things down to keep up with their lightning-quick movements. They've battled each other so many times now that they know each other's strengths..and weaknesses. Metallo tries to pin Superman down, keep him close, weaken him with the Kryptonite exposure. Superman dodges at incredible speeds, employing heat-vision to scorch Metallo's armour, super-breath to blow him off course as he tries to intercept, and his sheer turn of speed to be ahead of Metallo at the cyborg's every turn and twist.
He's fighting smart.
Metallo's frustration begins to show. He's no fool, however, as Superman has learned to his cost. Feigning a charge, he waits until Superman dodges, and then flits to the side, managing to stretch out an arm and hook on to Superman's leg. The two crash to the ground. Metallo gets to his feet first, Superman a close second, not quickly enough to avoid two crushing blows from his opponent, one to the midriff, one to the head. We've seen Metallo do this before; weaken Superman with an initial assault, then pile on the blows while the Man of Steel struggles to recover due to the proximity of the Kryptonite. We've seen how effective it can be.
Except for now.
Superman looks as if he's done with it. He shrugs off the pain the blows have caused him, grabs Metallo's arm as he makes to swing again, and begins to fight back, through the pain.
We cut to Lois. Hope lights her face. Jason looks up at his mother, sees how delighted she is to see Superman winning. He says nothing, turns back to the fight.
Superman presses the attack. He's fighting through pain, exhaustion, burnout...he's been through every pain barrier with this opponent that he knew existed, and the only one left is sheer bloody-minded stubbornness. He will NOT lose this time. Metallo staggers backward as punch after punch rains down on him. Sparks begin to fly from his chassis. The red light in his eyes flickers.
We cut to the Eradicator, watching the fight intently, his eyes narrowed.
Superman knocks Metallo to the ground with one tremendous downward swing. Metallo's right arm raises to fend off the attack, and Superman grabs hold of it with both arms, grits his teeth-
-and pulls it clean off.
LUTHOR: (conversationally) You know, I think he's pissed.
Superman tosses the cyborg's arm aside. He stands over the machine that was once Richard White as it looks up at him. The red glow in the eyes dies once more, as it did shortly before Superman plummeted from the sky, as it did when-
SUPERMAN: Richard...
Lois and Jason arrive at the scene. Lois goes down on her knees beside the fallen body of her fiancé. Jason, sobbing, kneels beside her.
RICHARD: Lois, tell him. I can''s injured, but it will come back, and when it does...
He goes still, the red glow fading completely, his body immobile.
The Eradicator suddenly appears on the scene. He nods to Superman.
ERADICATOR: You fought well, brother. But your opponent lives.
SUPERMAN: I'm not a killer. Not for him, anyway...
He looks to Luthor. Luthor backs away hurriedly, spreading out his palms in a gesture of surrender. There is a dangerous look to Superman at the moment.
ERADICATOR: I will contain this one.
A beam of light arcs from the ceiling to Luthor, remaining in place. Luthor likewise freezes in position, trapped within the radius of the beam. The Eradicator turns back to Superman, gesturing the Metallo.
ERADICATOR: If he lives, he will threaten you again. You, and those you may care about. You know this is true.
SUPERMAN: I can't!
ERADICATOR: Then allow me.
He moves toward Metallo's body. A blue-clad arm is suddenly across his chest, and he is forcibly yanked around to come face-to-face with a Superman who's clearly not in the mood for negotiation.
SUPERMAN: I . Said. No.
JASON: Don't you hurt my Daddy!
Superman looks at his son, staring fiercely at the Eradicator, and that old heartbroken expression comes to his face again. He takes a deep breath.
SUPERMAN: Is there no way to save him? With the technology here?
SUPERMAN: Return him to the way he was.
ERADICATOR: (reluctantly) ...there may be a way.
Lois looks up, hardly daring to believe it. Superman nods grimly, seeming less and less well inclined toward the 'man' he holds in his grip with each passing moment.
SUPERMAN: Then do it.
ERADICATOR: This makes no sense! This...this crude construct tried to kill you! Why would you seek to save it?
SUPERMAN: It has a name.
He looks at Jason with love and pain in his eyes.
SUPERMAN: And it...has a son.

Act III, Scene X

The Fortress, a short time later. A crystal chamber rises from the floor, forming itself as it does. The Eradicator is carrying Metallo in his arms. Superman stands with Jason, Lois, Martha Kent and Perry White off to one side, presumably out of the range of the Kryptonite keeping Metallo alive.
The chamber settles into place. A door swings open. The Eradicator glances back at Superman.
ERADICATOR: This may not work. It will consume a large quantity of power from the Fortress.
The Eradicator's eyes flash dangerously, but he carries Metallo into the chamber. As he goes, Superman glances down and sees Jason's expression. He gets down to be eye-level with the boy.
JASON: He said...he said I wasn't his son.
Perry and Lois glance at each other. Both now obviously know the truth.
SUPERMAN: He wasn't. Something bad happened to him, Jason, something that took your Dad and hid him deep inside that body, somewhere he couldn't get out. He tried, I know he tried, but he couldn't.
JASON: Is he gonna...
SUPERMAN: I hope so.
JASON: I just want to show him what I can do.
LOIS: (tears in her eyes) You showed us all, honey.
The Eradicator steps clear of the chamber. The door swings shut. He looks to Superman one last time.
ERADICATOR: So like your father.
With that, he turns and raises his arms. Beams of light immediately stream from multiple source point in the ceiling of the Fortress' main dome structure, converging on the crystalline chamber. It pulses with an inner green light, obscuring all that is going on within.
A whining noise begins to build and intensify. The Eradicator looks to be in pain. He staggers slightly and supports himself against a computer panel. The artificial light thrown off by the crystals composing the Fortress dims and flickers.
JASON: What's happening...?
The green light inside the chamber turns to white, and when it does a brilliant flash emanates from the chamber outward, momentarily blinding everyone. When it has passed, the Eradicator has vanished. No-one notices that immediately, however, for everyone's attention is focussed on the interior of the chamber...
...and the body lying in there. The human body.
LOIS: Richard!
He rushes to the door and throws it open (and off its hinges, we notice), before tumbling inside to Richard's body, lying still on its side. He rolls his father over and gasps.
Richard White is entirely human. Not a single trace of cybernetic implant or other artificial construct graces his body. He is as human as the fateful night he entered Luthor's warehouse.
Lois and Superman are on the scene, with Perry and Martha hovering in the background. Vanessa arrives a moment later, her expression cool. Superman puts a hand on Richard's chest. He smiles, disbelievingly, but delightedly.
SUPERMAN: Heartbeat. He's alive!
Richard's eyes open, on cue. He struggles to focus on the group of talking heads above him.
RICHARD: Lois...? Jason...? S...Superman? Dr. Reed? Uncle?
He looks to Martha and simply frowns.
MARTHA: (helpfully) Martha Kent.
RICHARD: Can someone-oooff...
He's cut off as Jason hugs him tightly. We fancy that we may hear a rib crack. Jason appears to come to his senses and eases off on the pressure slightly.
JASON: Missed you, Dad.
RICHARD: Missed...can someone please tell me where I am? And (he shivers suddenly) why...I seem to be...
One of the floating robots arrives, right on cue, with a black garment draped over its prehensile arms.
ROBOT: You are naked. Hold still, please.
SUPERMAN: (knowingly) Uh oh.
Everyone stands back as the robot descends downward to Richard. There is a short, stifled yelp from Richard before the robot rises again.
ROBOT: Clothing process complete.
It floats off serenely. No one watches it go. Richard sits up, now dressed from head to toe in a black jumpsuit with a silver 'S' shield on the chest - the same outfit, in fact, that Superman found himself wearing during his first vision of his father and Krypton. We see the realisation registering on Superman's face as everyone else processes the outfit.
JASON: Cool!
SUPERMAN: Suits you.
RICHARD: (getting to his feet, pulling at the suit) How the hell do you get these things off?
SUPERMAN: With great difficulty.
RICHARD: Please God, someone start talking. Is this some sort of crazy late engagement party? What's next? Lex Luthor jumping out of a cake?
LOIS: Well -
PERRY: He's gone!
Everyone looks over to where Luthor stood frozen in the beam. The beam is no more, and Luthor himself has vanished entirely. Superman's good cheer vanishes.
ERADICATOR: (appearing suddenly behind them) I told you. The process of...restoring...this one drained a significant amount of power from the Fortress. Including, it would seem, from the containment beam aimed at our absent friend.
PERRY: Damn that snake Luthor! He always manages to-
SUPERMAN: (soothingly) I'll deal with Luthor.
He looks at them all standing there before him and cannot stop himself from smiling, even if part of what he's smiling at is the sight of Jason White up in his father's arms, head against Richard's chest, looking as content as anyone could ever wish to be in the world. They are those he loves, and against all odds they have survived and so has he.
SUPERMAN: Now...I think it's about time we got you all home.
ROBOT: Wait.
Superman turns. A red and blue garment, resplendent in the white crystal light of the Fortress, lies draped across the robot's arms. He takes it from the machine and lets it unfurl. It is a new suit, pristine and perfect. The cape unravels and begins to flap gently in the breeze.
We zoom in on Superman's face as the smile gets wider...
...and as we zoom out, he's zooming upward into the Antarctic air, carrying Richard and Jason White in one arm and Lois Lane in the other, looking every inch the classic Superman, wearing a huge smile on his face. Jason whoops with joy as they leave the continental mass and begin to soar across the oceans beyond, arrowing toward Metropolis as only Superman can.

Act III, Scene XI

A caption appears on our screen - '24 hours later'. We fade into a crowded newsroom. The assembled journalists wait for the speaker to arrive at the podium. We see some familiar faces from the press conference called earlier. As we pan across, we also see Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy looks thoroughly depressed with life.
JIMMY: The greatest story in history arrives at the Daily Planet headquarters and I miss it. CK is Superman! I mean, come on! I always kinda suspected it, to be honest. They look so alike, and there's the mysterious 'I have to run off with a real flimsy excuse right now' thing CK always's instinct, Lois. You can't teach that. Damn, why wasn't I there!
LOIS: How did the date go?
JIMMY: As well as usual.
Lois winces.
LOIS: Will you be seeing her again?
JIMMY: Only in flashbacks, Lois.
The speaker arrives at the podium. It's Margaret Sawyer. She has an arm in a sling and walks with some difficulty, but her face is as set and determined as ever. As she reaches the podium, however, a small round of applause rings out from the journalists before she can speak. She actually flushes at this, and acknowledges it with a nod.
SAWYER: Thank you. Metropolis General's finest have gone on record as saying I shouldn't be out of bed let alone hosting a press conference, so I'll be brief. It seems that the crisis is over... she talks, we fade to scenes illustrating what she's talking about...
SAWYER: (voice-over) ...Superman has returned to us, restored to his full powers it seems, and has worked tirelessly to repair the damage caused by his battle with the second Metallo.
We see Superman in action, repairing buildings, lifting materials into place, fusing girders with heat-vision, sinking huge foundation blocks with his bare hands. In Centennial Park, he hovers over the sodden ground soaked from the lake water and applies a blanket of low-grade heat vision, causing an immense cloud of water vapour to rise from the area. As it does so, Superman guides the vapour with his super-breath before cooling his breath, condensing the vapour and causing a localised intense downpour over the lake, replenishing its water. Citizens look on in awe.
SAWYER: ...we have confirmed that the light emitters were sabotaged. How, we don't know. We've put the project on hold, at Superman's request.
We see a quick shot of the vast spotlights being driven back to a central warehouse. One splits off from the main group however and heads down the interstate. As it does, we see that it's passing a sign signalling Gotham City...
SAWYER: ...and it is, unfortunately, my sad duty to confirm that Lex Luthor has escaped. As before, all law enforcement agencies have been put on high alert. And I'm fairly sure that Superman will be keeping an eye out for him.
A ripple of wry laughter goes through the assembled press at this understatement. Lois doesn't so much as crack a smile.
SAWYER: Metallo himself - itself, whatever - has been destroyed. On that we have Superman's word, and that's good enough for me.
Lois looks haunted, as well she might. We see a quick flash of Metallo in his glory, and Richard's face twisted in hatred. The moment fades, but we can see it's an image not currently far from Lois' thoughts.
SAWYER: I know you all have questions, but I'd like to ask you to direct them to my co-speaker if you would.
She gestures offstage. Superman himself steps rather shyly into view. The assembled press immediately leap to their feet as one and begin screaming questions at him. Lois herself seems rather surprised to see him. He glances at her as he makes his way to the podium, holding up his hands and politely refusing to answer any questions screamed at him until he's there.
SUPERMAN: Thank you, Captain Sawyer. Now...did someone have first question?
The clamouring erupts once again. Lois doesn't add to the frenzy. But one person does, and his voice rings loud and true throughout the room, and has the effect of immediately bringing astonished silence in its wake.
CLARK: I believe I did.
Every single head in the room turns as one. But there he is - Clark Kent, large as life, dressed in his usual immaculate suit, standing at the back of the room. Mouths drop open almost audibly, not least that belonging to a certain Lois Lane.
CLARK: Clark Kent, Daily Planet.
SUPERMAN: (wryly) I believe I'm familiar with your work, Mr. Kent.
Clark steps forward through the journalists as he speaks, approaching the podium. The crowd simply melts away before him.
CLARK: Please. Call me Clark.
SUPERMAN: You had a question?
CLARK: Yes I did. (he stops, at arm's length from Superman) Can I shake your hand?
SUPERMAN: My pleasure.
Superman hops down from the podium and the two men shake hands warmly. As they do, every single man and woman holding a camera in the room suddenly comes to their senses. The room explodes in camera flashes.
Lois looks to her left. Jimmy is still staring open-mouthed, his camera hanging unused around his neck. She nudges him.
JIMMY: Oh! Oh God!
He scrabbles for the camera and hurriedly fires off about twenty exposures, his finger frantically stabbing at the 'take picture' button. The two men stop shaking hands, and, photo opportunity over, the photographers stop their feeding frenzy. Jimmy lowers his camera and retakes his seat.
JIMMY: I knew it. I knew something was up. CK is Superman? So they look alike. So what. Just because I look like Orlando Bloom doesn't mean I dress up like a pirate, huh? You know what that is?
LOIS: Instinct?
JIMMY: Absolutely.
He continues talking. Lois tunes him out, continuing to stare at Clark and Superman, tapping her pencil on her teeth. A slight smile creases one corner of her mouth.

Act III, Scene XII

Perry White's office. A copy of the Metropolis Star is slammed down on his desk. Perry, who did the slamming, looks as if he could chew through steel. He points a finger at the Star's headline.
We see Lois and Clark sitting on the other side of Perry's desk. Lois looks over at Clark. He glances back at her. There is a 'moment'.
PERRY: Well?
CLARK: Chief-
PERRY: Don't either of you two Chief me. Okay so we delivered it at gunpoint, but we still delivered the greatest scoop of all time! And want me to lose it? To be laughed at by this?
He crumples the Star's front page, heartbroken and furious in equal measure. There is a fluttering of window blinds behind him. He turns. Superman has landed on the ledge outside.
PERRY: And you can get in here too.
Superman inclines his head in a 'who, me?' way, and obliges.
PERRY: Stop looking like that. It's driving me nuts.
SUPERMAN: As you wish.
He shakes himself and shimmers slightly, and as we watch his appearance shifts from a perfect facsimile of the Man of Steel to his real persona - the Eradicator.
CLARK: Mr. White...I'm sorry, I truly am. I hate to do this to the Planet, but you know it's necessary.
PERRY: I know. I know, damn you. That's the whole problem. I know. I'm a newspaperman through and through Kent, and God knows I try to be an ethical man, but to have you here...working for me...and for me to keep a lid on's more than this old newshound can bear. I almost wish I could go back to not knowing.
ERADICATOR: As you wish.
He reaches out and touches Perry's head. A brief spark seems to jump from his hand to Perry's temple and then be absorbed.
LOIS: Perry!
CLARK: What are you doing-
Perry stands there for a moment, surprised, before he goes limp and slumps to his desk. Clark is immediately by his side. The Eradicator's appearance changes once more to that of Superman. Clark glares at him.
CLARK: What did you do?
ERADICATOR: What he wanted. The knowledge, the memories he wanted gone...are gone.
CLARK: You had no right!
ERADICATOR: (shrugs) It's done. You know where to find me.
He goes to the window and is gone. Clark watches him soar away with anger and no small degree of concern on his face. Perry comes to. He stands groggily and looks around him.
PERRY: Kent? Lois? I'm not feeling too good...
LOIS: (soothingly, leading Perry to the door) Yes, Chief. If I were you I'd go home and take the day off. No TV, no papers, nothing. You don't want to get an ulcer even after all Dr. Reed's therapy, do you?
PERRY: (hazily) Dr. Reed...yes, I met her mother. Attractive woman. Hadn't set eyes on her on twenty years.
LOIS: You know her mother?
PERRY: Yes, I couldn't recall where from...but I remember her now.
He seems to sober up completely from the after-effects of the memory wipe as the thought impacts him fully. Lois and Clark are astonished to see him clutch at the doorframe for support.
PERRY: (horrified) Great Caesar's ghost...

Act III, Scene XIV

We fade in on a familiar face underneath an all-too-familiar bald head - Lex Luthor. He looks distinctly annoyed with life. As we pull back, we see that he's not, as we might have anticipated, stranded somewhere on the Antarctic tundra. He is, in fact, sitting in a darkened room. Light filters in from a small window. Outside, we glimpse a thronged market street. It looks like we're in Thailand.
LUTHOR: (mutters) Still better than that damn island.
There is a knock at the only door to the room. Lex looks up in astonishment. He glances around the room for a weapon, and not finding one, simply yanks at an exposed piece of piping until it comes loose in his hand. He approaches the door stealthily and yanks it open, ready to-
LUTHOR: (astonished) You?
DR. REED: Hello, Lex.
She steps into the room. Lex offers no resistance, but he does shut the door once she's inside.
LUTHOR: How did you find me? How did you get here?
DR. REED: Same way you did.
DR. REED: I need to ask you a question.
LUTHOR: I'm listening.
DR. REED: Why did you save me? When I fell, from the caught me. Why? What was in it for you?
LUTHOR: You're surprised?
DR. REED: It doesn't fit your profile, Lex.
LUTHOR: And what is my profile? Evil genius? Insane madman? Shall I tell you what evil is, Miss...Reed, isn't it? Evil is a point of view, a place to stand. I can happily cause the death of millions - billions - of people if I believed their deaths would benefit me. But show me a young woman falling off a car and...(he pauses) even monsters can have standards. You're welcome, by the way.
DR. REED: Interesting. But my name isn't Reed. My name is Tessmacher.
Lex sits down heavily. He is suddenly pale as a ghost.
LUTHOR: Tessmacher...?
DR. REED: My mother, Eve, she told me for the longest time that I was adopted. When I was 13, I discovered that was a lie, and she told me the truth. She told me about you. And I knew then, that someday...someday I would have to meet you. To see if the stories were true. To see for myself what you were. So I got a job at the Planet right next to Lois Lane, figuring that she was an itch you just couldn't resist scratching. And I was right.
LUTHOR: She never told me. Your mother. She never told me about you.
DR. REED: You were a little hard to get hold of, Lex.
LUTHOR: Your mother was...
DR. REED: ...weak. You see, I've done my research on you. Evil genius, greatest criminal mind of our times...and yet always accompanied by some brainless girl dragged along for the ride, who usually ended up betraying you. Like Mom. And Kitty.
She fairly spits the name 'Kitty'. Lex looks at her with realisation spreading across his face.
LUTHOR: You did it. You killed her.
DR. REED: I went to see her, to talk about you. She figured me out, was hysterical, promised to contact the Planet if I didn't stop trying to contact you.
DR. REED: Your entire life, you've been searching for someone like you. A counterpart.
LUTHOR: And that's you?
DR. REED: Who better?
LUTHOR: So what do you want?
DR. REED: A father.
LUTHOR: (looking at her quizzically) And...?
It's now that Vanessa Reed - Vanessa Tessmacher, as she will now be known - finally takes off the mask we've not even realised she's wearing. Her eyes gleam with intent, her mouth opens greedily. We can suddenly believe all too readily that here stands the daughter of Lex Luthor.
Luthor smiles, apparently satisfied at this answer. He steps forward and embraces his daughter warmly.
LUTHOR: We have so much to talk about...

Act III, Scene XV

Lois and Richard White's house. Night is falling. Lois' car pulls into the driveway. She gets out, and sees a large van parked nearby. She frowns, and half-runs inside the house.
LOIS: Jason?
Jason appears at the end of the hallway. He's upset. He runs into his mother's arms.
LOIS: What is it, honey?
JASON: (tearfully) It's Daddy...
LOIS: Daddy? What's wrong with-
RICHARD: (walking into view, holding a box) Hello, Lois.
They look at each other, and an awful realisation floods into Lois. We cut to Lois and Richard sitting opposite one another on two of their armchairs in the living area of the house. Jason's toys are scattered around the room, and amongst them, directly between Lois and Richard, is a Superman action figure.
LOIS: So you're just leaving?
RICHARD: You think this is easy for me?
LOIS: I don't know, is it? It sure seems that way. I come home and find you practically packed and gone? God, Richard...didn't you even want to talk about this?
RICHARD: I've talked about this constantly for the last year, Lois. I've reached for you and seen you flinch away, and I've ignored it because...because I love you, I still love you, I'll always love you. But I can't do this any more. I can't guilt-trip you out of something you want. And that something isn't me. No matter how much I wish it was.
He gasps a little in pain and clutches his temple. Lois half-rises out of her seat, concerned. He waves her back, shaking his head.
RICHARD: I'm okay. I think it's just an after-effect. Not surprising I guess.
LOIS: Are you...remembering any more?
RICHARD: (quietly) I remember everything, Lois.
LOIS: It wasn't you.
RICHARD: Wasn't it?
LOIS: Of course it wasn't! There was hardly anything left of you by the time Luthor and Vale had done with you!
RICHARD: The programming they put in had limits. It was supposed to obey their every commands. And yet...
LOIS: ...and you think that was your fault?
RICHARD: I went after Superman. I tried to eliminate him so I could raise Jason as my own. That's something no human could ever do. But once I had the power...
He exclaims in frustration and stands up, pacing the room like a caged animal. Eventually he leans against a wall, breathing heavily.
RICHARD: You can't know what it's like. To fly, to have the strength to do anything you want to do, crush anything that stands in your way...but he does.
Lois glances down at the Superman action figure, frozen forever in a typically heroic pose.
RICHARD: He has that power, Lois. And yet he chooses to help us, rather than to rule us. And that, more than anything, makes him a hero.
LOIS: I know.
RICHARD: And that's why you love him.
LOIS: (softly) Yes.
Still looking downward, his arms outstretched, Richard's eyes close. He nods slowly as he accepts her answer. When his eyes open, they are glassy with tears.
RICHARD: I have to go.
We cut to outside the house. Richard is hugging Jason. The boy refuses to let him go, and when Jason White wants to hold you, you stay held. Eventually Richard manages to coax the boy's arms from around his neck. Tears drip down Jason's face.
JASON: Don't go because of me.
RICHARD: Because of you? Jason, this isn't because of you. I love you. I always will.
JASON: It's me. It's because you know about me.
RICHARD: I always knew my son would grow up to be strong. I just didn't know how strong. I am so proud of you. You saved your Mom's life, and your Uncle Perry's, because you're so strong. And I know you're strong enough to look after your Mom for me for a little while.
LOIS: Where will you go? You don't have-
RICHARD: I contacted Perry. He's been after someone to head up the West Coast edition for almost a year. (he smiles weakly) I've kinda gotten tired of undercover work.
LOIS: How long?
RICHARD: A few months.
LOIS: A few months? Richard, no...please, I'm asking you to stay. Jason needs you.
RICHARD: I'll be back to visit. And Jason can come to me. We'll work it out. And when I'm not around for him...(he glances upward at the sky) we both know Jason will be looked after. I can't think of anyone better to do it. But if I don't go now, Lois, I never will. And we'll both regret it, eventually.
LOIS: (desperately) You're a good man.
RICHARD: Yeah. But that was never enough for you. Was it?
Without waiting for an answer, he kneels down again and gives Jason another hug and kiss. He stands and looks at Lois. She reaches for him...
...and he flinches from her touch.
RICHARD: Goodbye, big guy. Goodbye, Lois.
We retreat into an aerial view of the scene as he walks away and gets into his car. Lois gets to her knees and hugs her son. They remain that way as Richard's car leaves their driveway and slowly but surely gets further and further from the house, until it's lost from our screens altogether.

Act III, Scene XVI

Clark Kent's apartment door. A hand raps once, twice. It opens after a moment.
MARTHA: Lois...Jason!
LOIS: Hey, Martha.
JASON: Hey, Mrs. Kent.
MARTHA: Come in, both of you!
She opens the door and Lois and Jason walk inside.
LOIS: Thanks for letting us come over. We just...I...(she falters) the house just didn't seem the best place for us, tonight.
MARTHA: I understand.
Jason still looks extremely fragile. He walks silently to the balcony and leans out over the railings, watching Metropolis go by around him. Martha sees how he is and glances at Lois.
LOIS: He misses Richard.
MARTHA: (sighs) Poor little guy.
LOIS: Is Clark...?
Her words hang significantly. Martha coughs slightly, a little embarrassed, and possibly a little unused to discussing her son's greatest secret so openly, particularly with Lois.
MARTHA: ...he's around, yes.
LOIS: I can't believe how easily the world bought the hoax story.
MARTHA: Oh, you'd be surprised how blind people can be to what's right in front of their eyes.
LOIS: (grimacing) Point taken.
MARTHA: You know one of the few good things to come out of this mess?
LOIS: (sceptically) Please, tell me.
MARTHA: He was afraid not so long ago, afraid that Clark Kent didn't matter to anyone.
LOIS: (grunts) And now the whole world knows that name.
MARTHA: No, it's not that. They'll forget the name soon enough, now they don't believe he's Superman. But when the Eradicator told him what he could do...that he could assume the likeness of any person...he had a choice. He could have had the Eradicator appear as Clark and he could have been Superman, and it would still have worked.
LOIS: But he didn't.
MARTHA: But he didn't. He chose Clark without even thinking about it. Because Clark is who he is, Lois. Oh he went a little too far with the clueless and clumsy act, but he couldn't disguise his heart. That's why I could never understand how no-one recognised him.
Lois absorbs this. Martha approaches her and whispers in her ear, conspiratorially, and yet by her standards in a tone of voice completely devoid of humour.
MARTHA: So if you claim to love him, Lois Lane, you had damn well better love him for Clark Kent, and not for the blue tights and the cape. Because if you don't, you're wrong for him. And if you hurt him, you'll have me to answer to.
JASON: (re-entering the apartment from the balcony) What's going on? Why are you whispering?
MARTHA: (smoothly) Just telling your Mom what you might like for Christmas, honey. I think she got the hint. Didn't you, Lois?
LOIS: (looking at Martha with a healthy respect) Oh yeah. I got it.
JASON: Where's Uncle Clark?
MARTHA: Just sorting out some unfinished business...

Act III, Scene XVII

The Fortress of Solitude, in its current glorious bells-and-whistles incarnation. Superman settles to the surface. He calls to the empty air around him.
SUPERMAN: We need to talk.
The crystalline figure of the Eradicator forms from the Fortress itself, a further reminder - if one were needed - of how completely the two are bonded. He nods to Superman deferentially.
ERADICATOR: How may I serve?
SUPERMAN: I thought you were my brother, not my servant.
ERADICATOR: (inclining his head) Something troubling you, Kal-El?
SUPERMAN: I'm curious.
ERADICATOR: Regarding?
SUPERMAN: Luthor's escape.
ERADICATOR: I explained. The power drain-
SUPERMAN: -released the containment beam. So you said. Fine. So that's how he escaped the Fortress. But I'm a little hazy on how he managed to hike several hundred miles across Antarctic wasteland.
ERADICATOR: He could have failed to do so.
SUPERMAN: I've searched, believe me. He's not out there.
ERADICATOR: He's resourceful. Does he not modestly term himself 'the greatest criminal mind of our times', after all? I'm sorry, Kal-El, are you accusing me of assisting in Luthor's escape?
SUPERMAN: No. I'm just curious, as I said.
ERADICATOR: Need I remind you that if not for me, Metallo would have killed you?
SUPERMAN: And when he didn't, you wanted me to kill him. That's not something I would have expected from my brother.
ERADICATOR: I advised in your best interests. I will keep such advice to myself in future, if you would prefer.
SUPERMAN: What will you do now?
ERADICATOR: Do? Kal-El, I am a computer program. I do not get bored. I will remain here and I will wait, and when you call upon me I shall serve. As I have always done. Or if you wish, I will shut myself down, since clearly you seem dissatisfied with me.
SUPERMAN: That's not what I said.
ERADICATOR: Is it what you wish?
SUPERMAN: (hesitating for only a fraction of a second) No.
ERADICATOR: Good. Then you know where to find me. But before I question.
ERADICATOR: Why go to such lengths to protect the Clark Kent persona? Why not simply live as Superman? You would have nothing to fear.
SUPERMAN: If I don't have anything to fear, then how will I know what's worth protecting? What's worth dying to protect? Living as's more difficult than fighting off ten, a hundred Kryptonite-powered cyborgs. But it's what makes me human. And I can't lose that.
ERADICATOR: I understand.
SUPERMAN: (smiling) So do I. Finally, so do I.

Act III, Scene XVIII

Night has fallen on Metropolis. We enter Clark's apartment via the balcony. Martha Kent pats Lois on the shoulder. Lois jumps a little. She's sitting on the back of the largest sofa. We see that a makeshift bed has been made for Jason upon it. Lois has her hand trailing in her sleeping son's hair, as if she's unwilling to let go of him even for a moment.
MARTHA: Goodnight, Lois.
LOIS: Goodnight, Martha. (pause) Will he-
MARTHA: Yes. Any moment now is my guess. Goodnight.
She pads off in the direction of the spare bedroom. Lois watches her go. The bedroom door closes.
Lois turns, and there he is, already on the balcony.
LOIS: (accusingly) Were you waiting for your mother to go to bed?
SUPERMAN: I'm gonna lose some of the tough-guy image saying yes, aren't I.
LOIS: I've met your mother. So no.
Superman smiles. For a second so does Lois, but it soon fades. She looks down at Jason and strokes his cheek fondly as Superman enters the apartment, his cape fluttering in the winds.
LOIS: He left.
LOIS: He left because of me.
LOIS: (snaps) That wasn't a question.
SUPERMAN: Even if it had been, you already knew the answer.
LOIS: Jason will miss him.
SUPERMAN: Of course he will.
LOIS: You saved him. You could have...(she trails off, unable to say 'killed him')...he asked you to. And if you had, no-one could have blamed you for it.
SUPERMAN: He would have.
Jason mutters in his sleep and turns over.
LOIS: Richard wants you to look after him.
SUPERMAN: You know I will-
LOIS: I know that. But he wants you to. Don't you see?
Superman gets it. He nods, looking quite overcome with the gesture.
LOIS: I want you to look after him. You were right, on that rooftop - God, it seems like an age ago now. He has power, but he has goodness. Your goodness. And if you can show him how to use his gifts, he can become a hero like you. But that's his choice. And if he chooses not to...
SUPERMAN: Is that what you think? Lois, he can choose my path or he can become a dentist or a clown or even a lawyer and I will still love him. Nothing will ever change that.
His words hang in the air.
LOIS: I'm in love with you. (he makes to reply; she holds up a hand) Please. Just let me finish. I'm in love with you. But it's not as simple as that. There's Jason. And there's everyone else. And there's the fact that if I'm involved with Superman, sooner or later the world will find out. And when that happens, I'll be putting me and Jason right back in danger again. So I can't. I can't do it.
SUPERMAN: I...understand.
And that's when a smile tugs at Lois' mouth.
LOIS: But Clark Kent...Clark Kent now, he can buy me dinner. If only he were around. Have you seen him?
Superman's misery vanishes in a wonderful moment as Lois' words sink in. For a second he looks fit to burst with joy. Finally after a few moments of simply standing there grinning like an idiot, he collects his thoughts into some semblance of order, and coughs ostentatiously.
SUPERMAN: Ahem. Actually I think I saw him going into the building.
LOIS: Did you now?
SUPERMAN: Yes. Oh...(he cups a hand to his ear theatrically)
LOIS: Superman, is someone calling for help?
SUPERMAN: Yes. Damn the timing. Gotta go.
He walks quickly to the balcony, sends one dazzling smile back at Lois, and then rockets off into the night.
LOIS: (under her breath) One...two...three...
The doorbell rings. She walks to the apartment door and opens it. Clark Kent stands there, as confident and as happy as we've ever seen him. He adjusts his glasses, proving that some habits never die.
LOIS: Clark! You just missed Superman!
CLARK: Superman was here? Oh. Neat.
He enters the apartment. Lois closes the door. She's talking excitedly.
LOIS: Yes! Honestly Clark, neat? Is that all you can say?
CLARK: No. I can also say - Lois, how about dinner. You and me. Saturday night. DiMarcos.
LOIS: In little Italy?
CLARK: In Italy Italy.
LOIS: Sounds good, Clark.
They stare at each other. The atmosphere fairly crackles with energy between the two. There's five years and more of tension building behind this moment. Lois steps closer, to within arm's reach of Clark. He isn't slow about gathering her into his arms. She bends her head up to him as he dips his lips to hers - and stops.
CLARK: Sorry.
He fumbles for his glasses, to take them off. His hand is covered by hers. She shakes her head.
LOIS: Leave them on.
CLARK: (softly) Yes ma'am...
And with that, they kiss. For quite some time.
So long in fact that we pull back from the kiss and spiral outward into the Metropolis night, leaving them behind as we climb upward through the strata of the city, until it lies beneath us - the Big Apricot in all its glory, a glowing, beating heart of life in the darkness that surrounds it.
The voice catches us by surprise as it begins its narration.
ERADICATOR: (voice-over) Weakness. I was created to be strong, in order to save our people, save our planet from destruction. And because of weakness, I was not allowed to complete my goal. And now, the last of our race to escape our planet stands as a God amongst men, and still he is weak. He claims to care for them, and yet he does not see that for their benefit he should rule them. They have the power to destroy this world with their weapons. But he does not take those weapons away. They war, and they kill, and they do so safe in the knowledge that should a bridge collapse or a train derail, their so-called saviour will be there to save them. Superman they call him, but he is weak...
During the last few sentences, we have travelled back into Clark Kent's apartment. Some time has passed. Clark himself is asleep in his bed, alone. We travel toward his sleeping form until we seem to pass straight through him...
...finding ourselves on Krypton once again. The blazing sun overhead looks close enough to touch and, in cosmic terms, it is. Krypton is in its death throes. The massive city Superman finds himself standing within (once again clad in black with the silver 'S') is shaking apart at the seams. Giant chasms open in the surface, bottomless pits into which Kryptonians are sent tumbling to their dooms.
A Kryptonian woman slides down the smooth crystalline surface toward oblivion. Superman dives for her instinctively, but passes clean through her. She screams as she falls from the precipice to her death. Superman, meanwhile, is unable to stop his own momentum and passes clean through a crystal wall, finding himself inside a large chamber currently holding three people he instantly recognises.
SUPERMAN: Father! Mother!
Lara, his mother, has an infant wrapped in her arms. She ignores her son's calls to her and places the baby reverentially inside the life-support chamber of the rocket. It gurgles up at her. She squeezes its hand, tears running down her face
SUPERMAN: It's me...
He stands beside his mother, looking down at himself as a tiny child, no more than a few months old at most. For a wonder, his infant self seems able to perceive his adult self standing there.
SUPERMAN: (to his mother) Thank you.
JOR-EL: You're welcome.
Superman turns. Jor-El is looking directly at him. Lara remains oblivious. She steps back, choked with tears, as the life-support chamber begins to close shut around her only son.
SUPERMAN: Is he doing this?
SUPERMAN: The Eradicator. He's sent me visions before. Is he doing this?
JOR-EL: (urgently) What happened in this vision?
SUPERMAN: I saw how you created him to pass judgement on Zod. How the Council rejected him as arbiter.
JOR-EL: Rejected? The Council approved his appointment as arbiter.
SUPERMAN: Then why...
JOR-EL: He found Zod innocent. Recommended that Zod be installed as head of the Council. In his view, only General Zod, madman, criminal, murderer...only he possessed the strength necessary to take the steps to save Krypton...from this.
JOR-EL: The Council were horrified. As was I. They reversed the decision and I attempted to erase the Eradicator's program from the Kryptonian databanks. I thought I had succeeded.
SUPERMAN: He escaped. He escaped the only way he could - onboard my ship.
JOR-EL: (horrified) He's on Earth?
SUPERMAN: Yes. I helped him. I helped him to rebuild the Fortress.
Jor-El walks over to his son and finally reaches out for him. Shaken, unsure, Superman steps forward and his father embraces him.
JOR-EL: My son, you have made me proud. Know that. Know that always.
SUPERMAN: ...thank you.
The embrace ends. Jor-El looks gravely at his son.
JOR-EL: But know also that you are about to face the greatest danger you have ever known.
Behind them, the rocketship holding Superman's infant self blasts off into space, smashing through the ceiling of the dome in which they're standing. Superman watches as it leaves Krypton's orbit, escaping bare moments before...
JOR-EL: What happened to Krypton was not an accident.
...overhead, the red sun Rao goes nova. The explosion and the shockwave take only a few seconds to hit Krypton. Superman is powerless to prevent it. He watches as his entire homeworld is annihilated, his parents obliterated in one cosmic cataclysm.
The vision ends.
Clark sits bolt upright in his bed, covered in sweat, his eyes wide and panicked.
CLARK: What have I done?
We travel upward at a phenomenal rate, going into orbit in only a few seconds, then around the curvature of the Earth until we arrive at the South Pole, where we dive downward until we pass through the ceiling of the central Dome in the Fortress of Solitude. We see the Eradicator. He's still talking. He seems to be talking directly to us. Disgust drips from his words.
ERADICATOR: He wants to be human. I was not created to serve humans. Only Kryptonians. And there is only one Kryptonian on this planet worthy of my service. Only one with the strength to do what is right. To rule this planet, to destroy weakness, and to remake this world in the image of Krypton.
The camera turns one-hundred and eighty degrees, revealing who the Eradicator was addressing.
It's a man in his thirties, a thin waspish figure, small in stature but possessed of the intensity, the purpose, the sheer single-minded insanity of expression of a hundred Lex Luthors. He is clad from head to toe in a black jumpsuit similar to that which we've seen Superman wear in the visions, but rather than a large 'S' in the centre of the chest, this man sports a large 'Z'...
ERADICATOR: And that is you...General.
We zoom out until we can see both figures facing each other. We watch as the Eradicator steps forward and kneels before Zod. Zod's expression remains impassive.
ERADICATOR: How may I serve?
ZOD: Bring him. Bring me Superman...
Fade out.

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