"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken bid that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes


It was a night like any other in the city.  Too hot, too humid, too loud.  The sound of cars horns mixed in with laughter, rock music, police sirens and the occasional scream.  The city swarmed with life, ten times as busy now that the sun was gone and the scum of the night could crawl from their holes, who like roaches, needed the darkness to feed.  Some of the streetlights still worked.  Enough to show the pushes, hookers, hustlers and alkies, who lurked outside the tattoo parlors, the strips clubs, and the broken down salon.

And, high above it all.  Luna.  The full moon.  An ancient symbol of madness rose to show its approval bathing the city in its eerie glowing light.

Down by the city dock, four men have blown a huge hole in the side of an Army weapons depo, and are robbing the place blind.  They're semi-trailer is parked near the door, with it's back door up.  The four crooks are grabbing all sorts of bombs, guns, and ammo, and throwing it into the back of the truck, despite the "Handle with care" labels on some of them.  A fifth crook leans out of the drivers side window, and turns to face his four partners.

"Hurry it up will ya!"  He hisses.  "That explosion is bound to bring allot of unwanted attention."

"We're moving as fast as we can Melvin!"  One wearing a blue bandanna says, as he tosses five M-16 machine guns into the trailer.  "But if you want to get out of here much more quickly, why don't you get of your God damn fat ass and help us!"

"Never mind."  Melvin said, pulling his head back inside the truck.

"Nice night."  Melvin jerked his head towards the sound of the voice, only to receive a gloved fist to the face.

Outside, the four crooks heard a muffled thump.  They all stopped what they were doing and all stared to the drivers side window.

"Melvin?"  A different man called out.  There was no answer.  "Melvin?"  He said again, drawing out a Smith 'n' Western, and pulling back the hammer.  "Are you all right buddy?"

Suddenly, a small black hard ball of some type shoots out of the darkness, and hits the gun totting cowboy square in the head.  He is knocked to the ground, out cold. 

"What th--?!"  Another cried out, but only to be silenced buy a Boomerang to the face.  The thug was sent flying into a pile of creates.

"Christ!  We're under attack!"  The two remaining crooks both wiped out Uzi's, and began to fire their rounds into the darkness from were the boomerang came from.

"LOOK OU----!"  The one with the blue bandanna cried out, but was cut short by two bola's that wrapped around them and knocked them to the ground.  Their Uzi's fell silent and clattered to the ground.  

One of the crooks had been knocked out when he was knocked over, but the one with the blue bandanna was still awake.  He struggled to brake lose from the bounds that held him, but to no avail. 

Suddenly, he was aware of the sound of someone walking over empty shells.  He rolled over so that he could see their attacker.  He made a face.  He was dressed in what looked like a Kevlar vest, with urban camouflage army pants, with steel caped boots.  He carried an all black backpack, and wore a dark black ski mask.  Night vision goggles where perched on top of his head.

"Awww, man," he moaned.  "We were here first!  This is our loot!"

"I'm not one of you," the man said.  "Yeah, right," the man said.  "Look pal, it's obvious we're both after the same thing, so maybe we can cut a deal."

The man looked annoyed.  "I'm not one of you!"  He snarled, a bit angered.  "You're all going to jail."

The crook laughed at him.  "Oh, so you're a cop now, huh?"  He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a flick knife.  "So where's your squad car?"

"I'm serious!"  He snarled.  "You're all going to jail."

"So am I," the crook said, as he cut through the last of the ropes that held him.  The man in the ski mask looked a little surprise when the crook jumped up, and waved his weapon before him.  "Let's dance, handsome!"  He said with a smirk.

The man in the ski mask just narrowed his eyes.  The crook came closer, then slashed out with the blade.  The other man dodged it with ease, and again, as the knife came back. 

"You're fast," the crook commented.  "But not smart!"  He slashed back, then forth, and managed to cut a deep gash across the man's left arm.

"Arrrggh!"  He cried out in pain.

The crook shrugged.  "The dumber they are," he taunted, moving in for the kill, "The more amusing it is, when they die!"  He stabbed forward at the man.

However, his arm shot out, and grabbed the crooks knife arm, and twisted it.  The crook cried out in pain, and dropped the knife.  Then, he kicked the crook in the stomach, and he doubled over, then, delivered a kick to the head, which sent the crook stumbling backwards.

The crook stoped failing about, and grabbed his nose.  It was bleeding.  He glared at the ski-masked man, who now stood at the ready, like Bruce Lee.

"You got spunk," the crook said, reaching into his jacket.  "I despise spunk!"  He pulled out a small automatic handgun.

Suddenly, the sound of police sirens started to drift up over the noise of the busy shipping yard near by.  "Damn!"  The crook said, turning around and taking off.  "We'll finish this next week, same time, same channel!"  He laughed like a jackal, as he took of into the night.

The man with the ski mask looked back at the darkness where the crook had escaped, then back towards the sound of approaching sirens.  He narrowed his eyes, and muttered a curse, then ran off into the darkness.

He then climbed up a ladder, that led to the roof, then began running along it's roof tops, his athletic training keeping him on his toes, as he approached a gap, then leapt.  He almost didn't make it, and had to scrambled up the side of the building.  Then continued, and leapt across another gap towards another building.  He made it, but almost lost his balance as he landed.

In the distance, he could see the flashing red and blue lights.  He needed to get away from here, fast.

After leaping across another building gap, he then stood on the edge of that building, and flashes his torchlight, twice.  A flash from a set of car headlights answered back, and smiling, he climbed down the buildings fire escape, and ran towards the car that was parked there.

A side door opened, and the ski masked man climbed inside.

"Rough night, sir?"  A voice with an English accent asked from the front seat.

The man yanked off the night vision goggles, then pulled of his ski mask, and glared down at the wound on his arm.  "You could say that."  He muttered.  He was about 20 years old, with dark brown hair.  He was six feet in high, and very muscular around the shoulders. 

The man in the front seat was in his late fifties, with greying hair.  He glanced up into his rear vision mirror, and saw the bloody wound on the mans arm.  "That looks very nasty," he commented.

"I didn't ask for your opinion," the man said, "Now, let's get out of here."

"Yes sir," the driver replied, and turning on the engine, pulled out, and joined in with the normal nighttime traffic.  "Dare I ask, sir, how did it go?"

"Lousy," the man snorted.  "It was all wrong, they weren't afraid of me.  They thought I was a joke!"

"That bad, huh?" 

"One of them even got away," the man muttered, and then glanced out the window.  "If I want to be successful, I need them to fear me!"  He banged his fist down on the armrest.  "It was all perfect, until I revealed myself.  I need, I need to look more intimidating!  I need to strike fear in their hearts!"

"Are you sure you don't want to consider something a little less… extreme?"

The man in the back seat smiled.  "What did you have in mind?" 

"Grid Iron?"

"Sorry," the man said, glancing back out the window.  "But you know, more than anyone else, I made a promise.  And I intend to keep it, until the day I die."

The driver shivered.  He was glad his passenger hadn't seen him.  "That's what I'm afraid off," he muttered under his breath.


By Lein.

SMALLVILE: A week later…

The bell ran the signaled the end of classes for the day.  Clark and Pete flooded out of the room, along with their classmates and headed for their lockers.

"Man," Pete said, as the hallways began to come to life, "Thank God it's Friday, I can't wait to get home, and just relax for the weekend."

"You're not doing anything this weekend?"  Clark asked.

"Nope," Pete said with a grin, "I just want to stay home, and sleep.  After weeks of just studying for that stupid test, I'm just too tired to hit the town.  My get up and go, got up and went!"  He turned to face his friend.  "Say, what are you going to do, Clark?"

"Well, Chloe asked me to join her on a trip to Metropolice," Clark replied.  "She's going to put in an application for some work experience at the Daily Planet."

"The Planet again," Pete said, "Man, she's obsessed with that place."

"Who wouldn't," Clark replied, as they reached their lockers.  "It's one of the top ten most successful papers in the country."

"So, it's just you and Chloe, huh?"  Pete said, as he opened his locker.  "No Lana?"

"No Lana," Clark said. 

One eyebrow on Pete's face rose slightly, and he flashed Clark a sheepish grin.

"Oh, knock it off," Clark said, as he opened his locker.  "It's not like that, we've got separate rooms, and Chloe made it clear, that she wants to spend that time working on her interview, and then, she wants to do some sight seeing."

"Come on, Clark," Pete said, "You know how much Chloe likes you, I mean, it's a golden opportunity, just you, her, and…"

"And a weekend that already booked up with plans," Clark finished, as he closed his locker.  "So please, Pete, just keep your dirty little fantasies too your self."

Pete chuckled.  "We'll see Clark," he said, as they then headed for the exit.  "We'll see."  Clark just rolled his eyes.

"Hey, guys," Chloe called out, as she pushed her way through the crowd to get to them, "Wait up!"  Clark turned and waved a finger at Pete.

"Not one word!"  He warned.  Pete held up his hands in self-defense.  He then turned and smiled, as Chloe joined them.  "Hey Chloe," he said, "Ready for the big weekend?"

"You bet, Clark," She said, taking a deep breath.  "I've waited for this moment my whole life.  "Applying for a summer job at the planet!"

"I thought you were waiting all your life to get a job at the planet?"  Pete asked.

"This is on the road to getting there," Chloe said, "I need to start at the bottom, in order to work my way to the top."

"Well," Clark said, "I believe if anyone can do it, it's you, Chloe!"

"Thanks Clark," Chloe said, turning to face him.  "Just remember to be ready at 7:30 am sharp, I'll pick you up…"

"Outside my front gate," Clark finished, "Chloe, I'll be there, don't worry."

"And don't forget…"

"Forget to pack two days worth of clothes, and toiletries, I know, Chloe, I'll be ready!  Just calm down!"

"Okay, okay," Chloe said, "I'll see you tomorrow then, Clark.  Bye Pete!"

"See ya, Chloe," Pete replied waving to her, as she vanished into the crowd.  "Have fun!"  Then, she was gone.

"Don't you say a word," Clark warned.

"I wasn't going too," Pete said, "It just speaks for it's self."

"Pete," Clark said, "Nothing is going to happen between Chloe and myself this weekend.  It's just a business trip, that's all."

"Time will tell, my friend," Pete said, as they walked outside.  "Time will tell."


"I'm really disappointed in you, Jack," then man sitting in the oversized stuffed chair said, as he snuffed out his cigar in the ash try.  "I expected better from you.  Really – you had it all, the right men, and the right equipment.  All you had to do was just get all the arms you could.  You had a three-minute time window, and that was all you really needed.  Yet you somehow managed to screw everything up!"

"Hey," Jack said, pointing an accusing finger at the man.  "Shut up!"  He snarled.  "How was I supposed to know some fruit cake would try and take the loot from us!"  He had a bandage over his nose from where he'd been kicked in the face.

"I don't have to worry about that, Jack," the man said, as he opened a drawer and pulled out another cigar. "I just pay you to get a job done.  Anything extra that occurs during the operation, is your problem, not mine!"  He then lit the end, and took a deep draw, blowing smoke out through his nose.

Jack scratched the bandage over his nose.  God did this stuff itch.  "Huh!  I just assumed..."

"Stop right there," the man said, pointing the cigar at him.  "See, Jack?  Assumed.  That's your problem.  You assumed he was a fruitcake!  You assumed he'd be a push over.  Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups!"  Jack rolled his eyes.

"Oh," he said, "So, now we're quoting move lines, are we?"

"Just shut your trap and listen, Jack," He snarled.  "You're never going to be the best if you keep screwing things up like you did last week.  You'd better bring your act together if you want me to trust you more, or…"  He shrugged.  "I'll have no further need for you, Jack."  He leaned forward.  "And we know what happens to people I no longer need, don't we?"

Jack nodded.  His eyes narrowed to slits.

"Good," The man said, leaning back in his chair.  "As it just so happens, Jackie, I have a little business to take care of in Metropolice.  It just so happens that most of my friends are out of town, on other business assignments.  I believe now would be the best time to prove to me, that you can accomplish things, hmmmm?"

"What do I have to do?"  Jack asked, resting his head against his fist.  The man picked up a folder, and opened it.  He flipped through a number of pages, before taking one out, and tossing it towards Jack. 

Jack snatched it out of the air, and looked at it.  It was a picture of a man in his early fifties, dressed in a white shirt, a striped tie, and a vest.  "That guy there, I don't like him."

"Who doesn't," Jack said, looking back up at his boss.  "This is Perry White, the editor and chief of the Daily Planet."

"Yeah," the man replied.  "He's been printing a lot of unfavorable stories about a good friend of mine."  He paused.  "Do something about it!"

"You want me to knock him off?"  The man behind the desk sighed.

"Jack," The man said slightly irritated.  "You're acting stupid again."

"Okay, okay, okay," Jack, said, placing the photo inside his jacket.  "I'll use my imagination."

"Good boy, Jack," The man said, leaning back.  "You may yet become an asset to me."  Jack got up and opened the door. "Jack?"  The man said.  Jack paused, but didn't bother to look back.  "This is your last chance.  Pull this off, or don't bother coming back!"

Jack didn't nod; he just stood there, and then left, closing the door behind him.


"Okay, that's everything," Jonathan Kent said, as he packed the last of Clarks belongs into the back of the trunk.  "You're all ready to go."

"Thanks Dad," Clark said, as he closed the boot.  Martha Kent came out to stand by her husband.

"Are you sure you've packed everything?"  She asked.

"Yes mom," Clark replied, giving her a kiss, "I've got everything I need.  I'll be fine.  Trust me."

"Take care," Jonathan said, as he hugged his son.

"I will Dad," he said, returning the hug.  "You know me, I can look after myself."  His father gave him a stern look.  "Don't worry," he said, "I won't do anything."


"Come on, Clark," Chloe called out form the drivers window.  "Let's go!"

"The boss calls," Clark, said, pulling away from his father.  "I'll see you guys Sunday night."

"Take care of your self!  And don't forget to eat right!"  Martha called out one last time, as he headed around to the front passengers seat.

"I will, mom!"  He called back to her, as he opened the passenger door.

"Don't forget to call when you arrive!"  Jonathan called out.

"I won't."  Clark called out, as he closed the door.

"Finally," Chloe said, as she turned the key in the ignition, and put the car into first gear.

The car pulled out, and began to drive off down the road.  Clark leaned over the back seat, and waved goodbye to his parents, as they drove further down the road.  Finally, when they were but a blur, Clark turned around, and sat back normally.

"Gee," Chloe said, "With the way they were acting, they were almost afraid to let you go!"

"I think they're realizing that one day I'm going to leave permanently."

"They love you that much, huh?"  Chloe asked.

"Oh yeah," Clark said, "They've looked after me for seventeen years.  You get quite attached to someone like that."

"Clark," Chloe said, "You're taking as if they think we're driving off to get…"  She trailed off.  "I'm sorry," She said quickly, obviously embarrassed. 

"No," Clark said.  "It's okay.  You know how parents are.  Boy and girl drive off for the weekend, one thing leads to another."

"And the next thing they know, they aren't the center of their child's attention?"  Chloe asked.

"Exactly," Clark said.  "They still can't see that this is for you!"

"Speaking of which," Chloe said, sounding like her normal self.  "We need to go over the list of things we're going to be doing once we're in Metropolice."

"What time do we have to be there for the interview?"  Clark asked.

"We need to be there about an hour before our given deadline," Chloe said, "Mr. White is a very busy man, and his schedule keeps changing."

"Right," Clark said.  "That'll tie up most of the day, depending on how well the interview goes, or how long it will last, or we'll have to wait."

"Speaking of which…"

"Yes, Chloe," Clark said, "I brought something to read.  In fact, I brought a few things to read."

"Good," she said.

"What about you?"

"I'll be too busy practicing for my interview to worry about things like that." 

"So, no time for sight seeing?"  Clark asked.

"The sooner we get there, the better," Chloe said.  Things could change so quickly in a newspaper room, it's best to be there as early as we can."  She grinned.  "Mr. White may like that if he sees that I'm really enthusiastic to work for him."

"So what are we going to be looking at tomorrow?"  Clark asked.  "You were never specific about what we'd be doing?"

"You know," Chloe said with a shrug.  "This and that.  "I'd love to fully look at the city."

"Anything in particular?"

"We'll burn that bridge when we come to it," Chloe said, turning on the radio.  She then began to bop around to the smooth music that flowed out.  Clark then turned and looked out the window.

It's going to be a long drive.

METROPOLICE: Some Time Later

"Are you sure you don't need a hand?"  Chloe asked, coke can in hand, as Clark carried all their belongings into the hotel lobby.

"I'm fine," Clark, said, "I'm a lot stronger than I look.  Trust me."

"Gee," Chloe said, turning around, "What are they feeding you on that farm?"  She shrugged, and took a sip from her soft drink can, and headed towards the reception.  Across the other side of the room, sat a man dressed in an all black business suit.  He looked like one of the Men in Black, complete with the shades.

His arms were crossed and one foot tapped impatiently on the floor.  He looked really young too, just a bit older than Clark.  He looked in Clark's direction, and nodded politely, before turning back to the reception.

Clark picked up the luggage and sat down on the couch, the same one that was already occupied by the MIB agent.  Clark looked over at Chloe.  She was waiting for the man at the reception desk to finish talking on the phone.  He'd be here for a while.

"Hi," Clark said to the man.  The man turned and looked at Clark.  He had dark brown hair.

"Hello," The man said.

"Waiting for someone?"  Clark asked.

"Yes, yes I am," He said.  "I'm waiting for a friend of mine.  He's upstairs at the moment."  He looked Clark over, and then said, "You're not from around here, are you."

"No," Clark said, "I'm from Smallville."

"A country boy, eh?"  He smiled.  "What are you doing in the city?"

"A business trip," Clark said. 

"Isn't everybody," The man answered.  Just then, the elevator doors opened at the far end of the room, and a man in his mid-thirties stepped out.  "Oh," the man said, "My friend's here.  It was nice talking to you, Mr…?"

"Clark!"  Chloe called out, as she hurried over to him, "I've got the," The MIB agent turned around at the same time as Chloe arrived, and bumped her hand.  Chloe cried out in surprise as she dropped her can, splashing the agent's nice looking jacket with Coke.  "Oh my God!"  She cried out.

"Uuggh!"  The man moaned, looking at his now soaked jacket.

"Oh my God," Chloe repeated.  "I am so sorry!"

"Uhh, that's all right, Ms,  Umm?"

"Oh," She said, pointing at herself.  "I'm Chloe Sullivan, this is Clark Kent," Clark waved a hand.  "And you are?"  The man seemed flustered, as he held out his own hand.

"Oh, sorry," he said.  "I'm Bruce Wayne, pleased to meet you!"