Superman/Deadman: An Else World Story
Clark had let only a few of his closest friends know his secret.
Those included Pete, Lex, Chloe and Lana. Since the sudden, unexpected death of his parents, Clark had become extremely protective of his friends. He did regular excursions around the world and soaked in all the world had to offer, yet he always returned to his home and friends in Smallville. Clark had lost his desire to look for a life mate since his parents died. He was content with being a good friend and watching over the world without letting his presence be known.
After returning from one extended trip, Clark came home to find Pete with his arm in a cast. He began to worry about what might happen while he was away, so he fashioned watches for his 4 friends. When a button on the watch was pushed, the watch gave out a signal that only Clark could hear. The signal from each watch was unique so Clark could tell who was in trouble.
Lex often made suggestions to Clark about how he could "better" use his gifts. These suggestions usually didn't appeal to Clark at all. They might have appealed to "red" Clark, but not to the boy raised by Martha and Jonathan Kent. He turned a blind eye to Lex's business practices and chose instead to remember the days of playing pool and exchanging wise cracks with Lex at his mansion.
Lex had fallen in love with a young reporter named Lois Lane, but Lois did not return his affections. Lex asked Clark for a special favor. He confided in Clark that Lois's mother was dying from a rare disease. There was an insect in South America that might provide a cure. Lex gave Clark all the information on the insect and soon Clark had captured several specimens for him.
A year later, Clark attended a party where Lex announced his engagement to Lois. Clark got to meet and talk to Lois for the first time. He felt a tinge of jealousy but was very happy that Lex had at last found a special woman to share his life with. As he chatted with Lois about their mutual friend, Lois mentioned that Lex was providing her mother with a medicine each month that was keeping her mother alive. She said that the drug was extremely expensive to produce -- and that her mother would have died had Lex not rushed to develop the drug when her mother was diagnosed with the disease 6 months before. As long as Lex provided the drug and as long as her mother took it, she suffered no ill effects from the disease.
Clark excused himself and sought out Lex. In a private room,
he demanded that Lex cure Lois's mother. He said that he would consider telling
Lois that Lex had caused her mother's illness in order to manipulate her
affections. Finally he demanded the return of his watch. Lex told Clark that he felt naked without the watch so he would put on another piece of jewelry. He
pulled out a little leaden box, opened it and put on a ring with a Kryptonite
stone set into it. Clark stood back and glared at Lex thinking, "So this
is how it's going to be."
A few days later, the circus visited Smallville. Headlining was the trapeze artist Boston Brand who performed remarkable stunts without a net. As the crowd watched in horror, the rope of the trapeze snapped at a critical moment. Boston Brand plummeted, then strangely slowed and landed on his back with a gentle thump. The shocked crowd was silent and the clowns started towards the center ring when Boston sprung to his feet and started bowing to the crowd. Turning and bowing, turning and bowing -- all the while thinking, "What the hell just happened?" The crowd went wild. There was a standing ovation. Pete gave Clark a knowing glance as Clark excused himself. Later the
police found a man in a circus tent with his arms bound to a tent post with the bent barrel of a high-powered shotgun. It turns out that the trapeze rope had been shot through.
The next night, Pete met Lex at the Metro sports arena for a Metros hockey game. Lex had asked Pete not to tell Clark since Lex only had 2 tickets. Lex said that Clark didn't care too much for hockey anyway but he didn’t want to take a chance hurting Clark’s feelings. Pete kept the secret. Pete had sensed that something was up between Clark and Lex the night of Lex’s engagement party. Lex could have bought every seat in the stadium had he wanted them. But Pete thought that it was best to just let Lex and Clark sort it out. Entering the arena, Pete was bumped hard by a person pushing past him. A few minutes later, Pete thought about it and checked his wallet. It was still there.
Back in Smallville, Clark was spending a peaceful night on his porch swing watching the stars. Suddenly, he heard a signal from Pete's watch. He flew as fast as he could towards Metropolis. The signal came from an old steel mill. He soon found the source of the signal -- a lead coffin sitting inside a steel box. A pouring ladle full of molten steel was poised above it. Clark jumped into the box and removed the lid of the coffin. Inside was Pete's signal watch lying on a bed of kryptonite. Clark collapsed. Some men came over. One picked up the watch saying, "The boss wanted this back." They positioned Clark in the coffin and brought in more kryptonite and covered him with it. Then they covered the coffin with the lead lid. Through his intense pain, Clark could feel the lead coffin heat up as molten steel was poured over it. Soon, all his pain ended.
Clark sat on his porch swing and took a deep breath. What an incredibly beautiful night it was. Soon a man approached wearing a plaid, flannel shirt and overalls. Somehow, his arrival seemed natural and didn't alarm Clark at all.
The visitor asked, “May I sit with you a while and share this glorious evening?”
Clark answered, “Well, I was feeling a bit lonely at the moment, stranger. I would be grateful for the company. Besides, without a witness, who would ever believe me when I told them how beautiful this world of our can be.”
The visitor sat down and commented, “You do have a beautiful place here, and, as for the world’s beauty, it is nice to have one's work appreciated. I'm sure you will always hold this farm in a very special place in your heart, Clark.”
Surprised Clark asked, “You know my name?”
The visitor answered, “Yes, Kal, I know everybody's name.”
Clark said, “That's some talent!” Clark looked closer at the stranger and asked, “Do I know you? I think I ... OH, MY GOD!”
The visitor answered, “Yes?”
Clark asked, “Are you Rao?”
The visitor answered, “They called me that on Krypton but I am known by many names.”
Clark asked, “What happened?”
The visitor answered, “I think you know ... if you're ready to let yourself remember.”
Clark said, “OH! NO! I screwed up! I was tricked. A lot of people were depending on me.”
The visitor said, “A lot of people still are. Your work is far from over.”
Clark said, “But I'm dead aren't I?”
The visitor answered, “In the sense you think, yes, you are dead. But no one REALLY dies.”
Clark asked, “How did you let this happen?”
The visitor answered, “It had to happen. You were too content on the farm -- too tied to your past. And you weren't strong enough for the work ahead of you.”
Clark said, “What? I was plenty strong!”
The visitor said, “Not strong enough. But you are strong enough now.”
Clark said, “I don't understand.”
The visitor reassured him, “You will. Tomorrow will be soon enough for you to begin again. Tonight, why not go inside and share a meal with your parents ... all 4 of them.”
Clark bolted to his feet and ran into the house. The visitor smiled and disappeared.
Lex Luthor’s secretary Stacy walked into Lex’s office and said, “Mr. Luthor, Lois is here to see you.”
Lex said, “Very good, Stacy. By the way, is there any word on the cornerstone for the new LexCorp building?”
Stacy answered. “The foundry called and said it would be ready for the engravers by the end of the week.”
Lex smiled and said, “Good. Send Ms. Lane in.” Lois entered the office and Lex said, “LOIS! What a pleasant surprise.” He walked towards her with his arms open.
Lois said, “Don't come near me! Stay back.”
Lex said, “Why?”
Lois answered, “I've been thinking about it. You haven't committed to me like I have to you.”
Lex asked, “What do you mean?”
Lois said, “I'm wearing your engagement ring. You're just wearing that ugly ring with that jade stone in it. Take that thing off, flush it and I'll buy you an engagement ring to tell the world that you belong to me. After that, even the sky won't be the limit.”
Lex said, “I can't really part with this ring. I need it. You don't understa ... Wait. I guess I don't need it anymore. OK. OK!” Lex walked to his private bathroom, wrapped the ring in toilet paper, threw it in the toilet and flushed. He turned back to Lois and asked, “Is that all that you desire my lady?”
Lois answered, “Far from it. You are going to be very busy this week.”
Lex said, “Really? I'm intrigued. I'll clear my calendar.”
Lois pointed to the cup on Lex's desk and asked, “What were you drinking?”
Lex answered, “Just some herbal tea. Why?”
Lois said, “It looks a little cold. Let me heat it up for you.” Twin beams of light shot from Lois's eyes and the tea evaporated into a cloud of steam. Lex's jaw dropped open and he staggered backwards. Lois smiled brightly and said, “Old friend, you didn't think you could get rid of me that easily, did you? You simply unleashed my true potential.”
Lex shouted, “NO! IT CAN'T BE!”
Lois shook her head as if waking up and asked, “Lex, How did I get here? Last thing I remember, I was at my desk at the Daily Planet.”
Lex looked deeply into Lois's eyes. She found herself being drawn into his stare. He said, “Lois, it is nothing to concern yourself about.”
Lois mumbled quietly, “Nothing to concern about ....”
Lex said, “Don't worry about it.”
Lois repeated, “Don't worry.”
Lex said, “Remember, I called you to come over so we can discuss something. Then you left the office and came over. Remember?”
Lois said, “I remember .... Of course I remember Lex, now what did you want?”
Lex motioned for Lois to sit down and she does. Lex said, “I am turning over a new leaf. I am starting by confessing all my sins. I can cure your mother's disease permanently. The cure will be couriered to her by the end of the week.”
Lois leapt out of her chair and kissed Lex passionately before he realized what was happening. He felt like all the breath had been pulled out of him. It was like he had died and gone to heaven all over again. He finally forced himself to push Lois away and back into her chair. Lex said, “Whew! Sit down. Oh boy! There is more. Brace yourself, this isn't pretty. I could have cured your mother at any time – since day one. I just made you come to me month after month to give me a chance to look good in your eyes … and to give me a chance to win your affections. In fact, I intentionally gave your mother the disease as a method of … acquiring you. “
Lois leapt from the chair and struck Lex full force in the face, then shouted, “OUCH! Damn!”
Lex said, “Ooooo! Sorry about that!” Lex looked intently at her hand and said, “Nothing is broken. You just have a severe sprain. You'll be OK.”
Lois said, “WILL I? What's the cost for this cure? Oh I know!” Lois began to unbutton her blouse.
Lex said, “Stop that!”
Lois said, “Oh, I get it. You want my influence at the Daily Planet!
Lex said, “No, not that either. I only ask that you steer clear of me for the rest of your life. No matter what I do or how hard I try to contact you, do whatever you can to stay away from me.”
Lois said, “With Pleasure!” Lois pulled off her engagement ring, flung it at Lex and stormed out.”
Lex got on the intercom and said, “Stacy, bring me a printout of all LexCorp's .assets and holdings as well as a list of all properties I hold personally.”
Stacy answered, “That will be quite a list.”
Lex said, “Get on that right away. Get whoever you need to help you. Make it a top priority. Thanks.”
Stacy said, “Thanks? That's a new one. Are you feeling OK, Sir?"
Lex said, “I feel great … like death warmed over.”
Two weeks later, Lex found himself seated at his desk. To him, only an instant had passed since Lois evaporated his tea. He looked around his office for Lois/Clark. He said, "Thank God that she/he/it is gone!" He looked down at his desk and saw a copy of the Daily Planet in front of him. The headline read: “Lex Luthor Confesses Sins. Grand Jury To Investigate. Luthor Sets Up Trust Funds For Humanity's Benefit Using 80% of LexCorp's -Assets.”
Lex shouted, “NO!”
At his observatory, Dr. Swann walked briskly around his room reorganizing things the way he wanted them. He thought. “It’s great to not have to rely on others after all these years. Clark, it is so kind of you to choose me to share consciousness with."
Clark's voice answered him in his head, "Not at all, I'm grateful that you are willing to share your body with me on this basis."
Dr. Swann answered, "Well, Clark, it wasn't much of a body before you took possession – pardon the pun. I think this arrangement will benefit us both greatly." Dr. Swann looked at the book in his hand and said, “I think this book should be up there.” Dr. Swann gently floated off the floor and began to rearrange the books on the top shelf of his personal library.
For those who don't know it, Boston Brand was the original
Deadman. He died when a gunman shot the rope supporting his trapeze during his
circus act. After that he possessed people and used his acrobatic skills
through to see that justice prevailed.
I decided to make it so that kryptonite could ward off Clark's possession of a person. Every hero needs a weakness.