Ah don't own Lana Lang, The Insect Queen, Pete Ross, Jonathan and
Martha Kent, nor Poison Ivy or any of the other villains mentioned in
this story! DC Comics does, and Ah'm not making a red cent off'a this
tale! *sob* *sob* Ah wish!

Rated G for absolute purity of content! No sex, no drugs, no rock and
roll nor off color language a'tall! *eeeeppp* This is Pre-Crisis
Smallville, Kansas, after all:):) Hee!

Here's the sitch: Fanzing, the on-line DC fan magazine, ran a fiction
Challenge. All the Bat Villain's have made a mass escape from Arkham
Asylum and hit the road in a convoy to avoid The Bat! The Challenge
was to write a Bat Villain encountering another hero in a town other
than Gotham:):) This little tale sprang to mind almost immediately...

Insect Queen
by Dannell Lites ([email protected])

"Smallville? There's really some hick burg named *Small*ville?
Jeezus!" sneered Killer Croc.

"Yes, dear reptile. In Kansas, no less. Passing strange, I must
confess!" replied the Mad Hatter.

"Christ, what does Ivy want in Smallville, Kansas?"

"Ask her, that's what you must do. I'm sure that I don't have a clue.
She's crazy, I'll rue..."

"Well, yeah. But Jesus bleedin' Christ on a pogo stick...what the Hell
could possibly be in Smallville, Kansas?"

* * * * *

"Corn," crooned Pamela Isley, Poison Ivy to her absent friends and
fellow Arkham escapees. "All the lovely corn and wheat. Such hearty
*beautiful* plants..."

The corn stalk nuzzled her neck, and since she had not given it a voice,
it was silent, but it shook with pleasure at the touch of her caressing
hand. At her feet, the thin stalks of wheat entwined themselves about
her ankles protectively, rubbing themselves against her like tiny

"Soon..." she cooed, "soon, my sweets...patience..." It wouldn't do,
she knew, for them to strike too soon, and give the game away. Pamela
wasn't really worried about it. True, it would take time to breed the
proper plants in the numbers she required...but what of that? She had
plenty of time.

Plants, she had discovered, had a lot of patience.

She found herself quite anxious to test her latest plant enzyme extract.
The lovely smile that blossomed on her face was positively wicked at
the thought. If she had done a proper job of distillation and
fermentation then, unless she was very much mistaken, the chemical would
obviate the necessity of breeding plants for mobility. Once exposed to
the enzyme, already existing plants *should* gain quite a bit of
mobility, and even a certain amount of base intelligence.

But where to strike first? The affectionate corn stalk nuzzled her
again, and she smiled. Why...why not right here? There were certainly
enough plants about on even this small farm. She frowned for a moment
in irritation.

What the devil was the name of the old couple who owned this place,
anyway? Ah, yes! Kent. She chuckled. Not that it made the least bit
of difference...

* * * * *

"Jonthan, come quick!" called the urgent, distraught voice of Martha
Kent. "There's crab grass in my vegetable garden! Lord have mercy!"

"Martha, honey, can't you just pull it up? Got a broken tractor axle
here, and - "

Strands of snow white hair escaping the primness of her bun, Martha Kent
called once more for her husband of forty years. "Jonathan Kent! You
listen to me, now, and come running! You don't understand. I've got
*real* crab grass here!" the stout woman shouted, wielding her garden
hoe frantically. "Git!" she cried. "You get back, now, you hear?"
Waving its snapping vegetable pincers, the mobile crab grass viscously
lunged for the spry, determined woman's ankles before she chopped it in

"Jonathan!" she cried, and industriously chopped another one down. It
twitched and spasmed for a moment, then, like its fellows, the two
halves quickly regained their former size and vigor, leapt up onto their
roots, and began stalking the farmer's wife.

Jonathan Kent's eyes widened at the sight. "Well, if that don't beat
all!" he gasped.

It was only when the rose bushes lining the porch plucked themselves up
out of their loamy beds of rich, dark Kansas earth and attacked the
elderly farm couple that things got really ugly, though.

"Scat!" advised Martha Kent, narrowly avoiding one thorny floral tendril
from a particularly determined bush that lashed out and tried to wrap
itself around her knees. His wife smiled in gratitude when Jonathan
snipped the marauding flower into pieces with a pair of busy, snapping
garden shears.

But it wasn't until the mobile corn stalk tapped Jonathan rudely on the
shoulder with one leafy appendage that Martha saw clearly the true
helplessness of their increasingly besieged plight.

"Jonathan!" she cried in dismay, pointing at the army of tall corn
stalks slowly advancing on them from the south forty. "We've got to get
out of here! We're outnumbered!"

"Moooo," bawled Bessie, their best milk cow. The Guernsey milker
quickly gathered her calf Elsie, and fled.

'You go, girl,' thought Martha.

"Come on, Jonathan!" Martha urged. "We'd best go!"

"No, siree!" declared Jonthan Kent firmly, adjusting his rounded
spectacles on this nose, and looking down the twin barrels of the 12
gauge shotgun he'd just fetched from the house. "I'll not be run off
my own place, by God, by a load of - of - of irate vegetables! Be
cussed if I will!"

Martha Kent sighed, pushed the shotgun down, and grabbed her foolishly
brave husband's hand. 'Lord love him,' she thought with deep affection,
'he never does know when to quit.'

"Quick, Jonathan," she cried, and pulled him firmly after her, "I think
we can just make Lana's place!"

* * * * *

"You're kidding!" gasped Lana Lang, open mouthed at Martha Kent's tale
of woe.

Sipping hot herbal tea and munching cookies, she felt much better in the
safety of Lana's small house. Martha eyed the ornamental cactus sunning
itself quietly in the kitchen window dubiously. Although...

"Serious as a heart attack, Lana, dear," Martha declared indignantly.
"That was vicious crab grass, in more ways than one!" She lifted her
skirts an inch or so to boldly display the tatters of her support hose.
"And those rose bushes..." Jonathan patted her hand in sympathy.

"Well," said Pete Ross brightly, "that *would* explain the kudzu that
tried to strangle you this morning, wouldn't it, Lana, honey?" Lana
blinked back surprise.

"But, I thought that was just an accident!" Lana maintained. "I mean,
kudzu *does* grow awfully fast..." Pete sighed in exasperation. He
loved Lana, he really did...but sometimes... He shook his crew cut
blonde head in denial.

"Not that fast, honey," said both the 4H Leader Pete Ross, and the
farmer Jonathan Kent in a simultaneous echo that startled them both.

"Oh..." said Lana Lang, globetrotting big city girl at heart.

"We can always call Clark..." began a hopeful Jonathan Kent.

His foster son could sure as blazes take care of a bunch of pestilential
garden dwellers, he felt. And it wasn't as if they saw a lot of Clark
these days. To his disappointment, he saw his wife set her mouth in
disapproval, and shake her white head.

"Now, Jonathan," Martha returned, trying to be placating but still firm,
"the boy has a great deal more important things to do than weed the
garden for us. Best leave him be."

"Why, I declare, Martha Kent!" Jonathan said tartly. "If the local
plants for some odd reason have turned against us folks, why then, we'll
need all the help we can get! There's a lot more plants than folks
hereabouts, you know!"

Pete Ross looked undecided, but the independent Lana spoke up almost
immediately. "Well," she admitted with a wistful air, "seeing Clark
again would be nice... But I'll bet if we put our heads together, we
could figure this thing out."

Martha Kent beamed like a Botticelli cherub, apparently enchanted with
this new idea of taking matters into her own hands. Not, Jonathan knew,
that this was exactly a *new* idea for her...

"Sakes alive, Lana, dear, I'll just bet we could, at that! Let's do
it!" Martha exclaimed.

Pete Ross and Jonathan Kent locked eyes in dismay.

"In fact..." mused Lana, in a thoughtful manner. After a moment, she
leapt up from the table, her jade green eyes sparkling with
determination and anticipation. "I think I have the solution right here.
Don't anybody move! I'll be right back!"

"Oh, Lordy!" said both Pete Ross, Lana Lang's beleaguered fiancee, and
Jonathan Kent, Martha Kent's much put upon husband, in a simultaneous
echo that did not startle either one of them this time.

* * * * *

"Now where did I put the darned thing?" Lana wondered.

Swiftly, Lana rummaged through her jewelry box, hastily discarding
bracelets, earrings and brooches of all descriptions. The biogenetic
ring must be in here. If she could just remember exactly what it
looked like. After all, it had been a long time. She paused briefly
over a perfect, ten carat, blue white diamond Clark had given her for
her 25th birthday.

'Liz Taylor, eat your heart out!' she thought smugly, but then laid the
treasure reluctantly aside.

"It's got to be here somewhere," the red headed woman fumed again.
"Aha!" she crowed in triumph, and quickly stuck the plain silver ring
with the large, black oval stone on her finger.

'Bee,' she thought, trying hard to focus. 'Buzz, buzz, buzz...'

Nothing happened. She was still just plain old Lana Lang. The ring,
however, turned a bright, angry red.

'Darned mood ring,' thought Lana, and furiously threw it back into the
ornate Japanese box in disgust. 'Didn't even know I still had the
stupid thing!'

In the end, it was the soft, golden glow surrounding the alien ring that
gave it away. Poised with it on her finger now, it felt warm, almost
alive to her touch.

"Guess I shouldn't be too surprised," Lana conceded. "I did get the
thing from an alien, after all. It was terribly nice of him to give it
to me just for helping him out of a jam. I mean, all I did was lift
that old rotten tree log off him. Sweet little guy...even if he did
look and sound a lot like a cricket." She giggled at the memory. She
had never even asked his name. Sometimes she felt bad about that. It
wasn't very polite, after all. And somehow, she didn't think the little
guy would appreciate the joke inherent in the name she had always
graced him with in her thoughts: Jiminy Cricket.

Lana admired the ring for a moment.

"Well," she admitted, "it might not look like much, but... Umm, I guess
I should test it, shouldn't I?"

With a thought, antennae sprouted from her forehead, and she was reading
the minds of the people waiting anxiously in her kitchen.

'I hope all the corn doesn't uproot itself and act a fool,' Jonathan
Kent was thinking. 'Good price on corn this year. I'd hate to lose

'Those quilts for the Red Cross!' Martha Kent thought. 'I forgot them
again! Maybe at next week's meeting...'

'Lana? Solve this problem? We are soooo dead,' Pete Ross wailed to

"Humph! We'll just see about that, buster!" Lana sniffed hautily.

Okay, the ring worked fine. Now where the dickens had she put that
costume? With a quick prayer to the Gods of Fashion that it still fit
after all this time, Lana tried to decide where to begin her quest.
Under the bed, or in the closet?

* * * * *

"Well, what do you think?" asked Lana, striking a modeling pose with a

Pete Ross oggled speechlessly.

"Jumpin' Jehosophat!" muttered Jonathan Kent.

"Very nice, dear," observed Martha Kent. "Still fits like a glove,
doesn't it?" Lana beamed.

"Well," she said, "I guess if we're gonna save Smallville, we'd better
get a move on!"

As he watched the two women make their triumphant exit, Pete Ross sat
down heavily once more in his chair, and held up one hopeful but futile
finger. "We can always call Clark," he choked.

* * * * *

Lana really missed the sign.

With a sigh, the human woman with the body of a giant fly climbed down
off the large sign currently gracing the outskirts of the small town of
Smallville. Reverting to her completely human form, Lana shook her head
in rueful nostalgia, and almost allowed herself to grow misty eyed. It
had been almost seven years now since the Town Council had reluctantly
voted to change the sign.

She gazed up at the happy, convivial, fresh faced Middle American family
smiling hugely out at the world, and declaring, "Welcome to Smallville!"
in large red letters.

In the end, she'd been the only one to vote against taking away the
bright blue and red image of the smiling boy flying into the heavens.
And the proudly displayed, "Home Town of Superboy!" that accompanied it.
Now the sign simply said: "Smallville, Kansas. POPULATION: 606." It
was the end of an era, she'd felt.

It had also made her feel *old*.

She smoothed the sides of the yellow and black bee striped costume down
over her hips and grinned. But this little adventure had promise, it
really, really did! By Godfry, if the plants of Smallville were cutting
up stiff, then she was just the gal to put them in their place! Which,
as far as she was concerned, was right back in the ground where they
belonged, and not out pillaging and scaring the daylights out of decent
people. She sniffed.

It didn't take the others long to catch up with her. Not long at all,
in fact. Jonathan brought the Ford pickup to a screeching halt, and
they all piled out, the others tagging in Martha Kents voluble wake
like cloven earth in the wake of a plow. Jonathan was still armed with
his shotgun, and Martha clutched her garden hoe tightly in anticipation
of battle. Tucked into the belt at her plump waist were her garden
shears. Strapped to Pete Ross' back as he clambered out of the truck
bed was a large silver tank prominently emblazoned with vivid yellow
skull and crossbones. DANGER! it proclaimed, GARDEN DEFOLIANT.

"They're right behind us," huffed Jonathan, "a whole danged plant army!
Never seen anything like it in all my born days!"

"Honey," opined Pete, almost desperately now, nervously fingering the
nozzle of his, hopefully, deadly weapon, "we've got to call for help!"

Martha just stamped her foot and brought her fists to rest on her ample
hips. "No such of a thing, Peter Ross! Folks can't go hollering for
some superhero for every little thing! It's not fittin'! And besides,
we haven't got the time!" The stout woman turned to Lana. "Well,
dear," she inquired, "what's the plan? What shall we do?"

Lana frowned. "Ummm," she temporized, "let me think..." Her brow
wrinkled in concentration.

"Well, think fast, darling!" came Pete's urgent bark of advice. "Here
they come!"

With that, the frenzied blonde began frantically pumping his tank,
unleashing a steady stream of defoliant and mowing down the front ranks
of the advancing phalanx of corn stalks. At his side, Martha Kent
limbered up her garden hoe, and prepared to chop.

Thinking swiftly, Lana rubbed her biogenetic ring and envisioned the
insect form she thought might do the most good in this situation.
Staring goggle eyed, Jonathan whistled in dismay. "Lord have mercy!"
the farmer announced. "If that don't put the fear of God into those
things, won't nothing do it! That's Gospel!"

Lana clacked her mandibles together in agreement, and rubbed her
forelegs together in joy. Good gracious, she was hungry! And all that
edible corn was looking sooo delicious. With a bound, she hopped into
the middle of the advancing botanical Host. Grabbing the nearest plant,
a nice juicy corn stalk, she began chomping happily.

"But I can't eat them all!" she lamented. "I need to think of something
else! But what? What?" Thinking, she realized, was not exactly her

Swinging her hoe in a wide arc, Martha Kent waded into the fray. Beside
her, Jonathan cocked his shotgun, and let loose with both barrels.
Plants fell by the multitude before the assault of the determined farm
couple. And Pete, she could see, was more than holding his own with his
defoliant. But from the look on his face, the tank was rapidly emptying
itself. What to do? What to do?

The idea blindsided her, and made her head hurt. But the big question
was: could she pull it off? She'd never tried anything like it before,
after all. But if she could sprout antennae to speak and listen
telepathically, then there was a definite possibility that it might
work, she reasoned. They surely had nothing to lose if she tried, did
they? For the moment, the others seemed to be holding their own.

Concentrating deeply for all she was worth, Lana sprouted antennae in
her insect form. Absently, she grabbed another corn stalk and tried to
use the feeling of contentment feeding brought her to her best
advantage. She broadcast her hunger and then her satiation, merrily
consuming plant after plant. But there were just so many of them!

Almost ten minutes passed in a feeding frenzy before she sensed the
insects responding to her summons. She heard them long before she
could see them. A great breezy humming seemed to fill the air like a
living thing. Looking skyward, Lana spotted the great cloud of buzzing
insects advancing from all directions, and hopped up and down in glee.

"Dinner time!" she yelled. "Come and get it, guys!"

In a gigantic swarm, the ravenous arthropods descended and began busily
chewing on the now retreating vegetable horde.

"Glory be!" declared a stunned Jonathan Kent in dismay. "It's gonna be
a bad year for corn, after all!"

"Never you mind, Jonathan!" Martha soothed her husband. "We're

"Holy cow!" enthused Pete Ross, laying his almost empty defoliant tank
aside, and wiping his sweating brow. "Lana, honey, you did it!"

Lana really wasn't paying as much attention as she should have. For
which, under the circumstances, she thought she could be forgiven. So
she was caught totally unaware when strong but slim arms seized her from

"Murderess!" hissed a fulsome feminine voice in her ear. "Plant
killer!" Hands began choking her in earnest now. "The slaughter! The
slaughter!" the sad voice wailed. "Ohhhh...the botany of it! The
botany of it..."

"Akk!" gasped Lana, and began to struggle.

"Taste insect repellent, bug!" Lana's adversary cried in triumph,
spraying noxious fumes in her face. Gasping and wheezing, Lana fell to
the ground, reverting to her human form as a slender foot, clad in a
fetching green high heeled boot covered her abused throat. Lana watched
in gratitude when the handle of a garden hoe descended and felled the
shapely woman in the skimpy leaf green costume entwined with wood vines.

"I do declare!" sputtered Martha Kent. "Such unladylike behavior! It's
not fittin'! A pure-dee scandal is what it is!"

Kneeling, Pete Ross helped Lana to her feet. "Are you okay,
sweetheart?" he asked solicitously.

The dazed superheroine could already see Jonathan on his CB radio.

"Deloris?" the farmer called, "Deloris, get me Chief Parker...and

* * * * *

"Aphids," moaned Poison Ivy. "Why did it have to be *aphids*?"

"Don't forget the locusts," insisted Lana, with glowing pride.

Smallville Police Chief Tom Parker smiled, and winked at his retired
father George Parker, tightening the handcuffs binding Ivy's slim

"That's Smallville, for you," George quipped. "Anything can happen in
this town! Why, just last year, we fought off an alien invasion!"

His son rolled his eyes. "Only a small one," Tom insisted. "And we
*did* have help..."

George sniffed derisively. "Only *if* you call that pack of fool
soldier boys from the Pentagon running around like a bunch of chickens
with their heads cut off *help*. Hrumppph!" he hrumppphed. "Why, in
my day, it was monsters and red kryptonite every other Saturday!"

Tom Parker sighed deeply as he led a sobbing Ivy away. "Sometimes, I
miss the Big S-Guy," he mourned nostalgically.

The End