Chapter 14

October 30, 1989

"Lois, I'm putting you on Luthor's trial."

Lois Lane Kent smirked at the chubby, middle-aged editor of the Daily Planet. "Gee, chief. You seem to have developed a habit of putting us Kents in charge of anything involving Lex Luthor," she observed.

Perry White chuckled dryly, which reminded Lois of her military father. The first time Lois had set foot on the main floor of the imposing edifice that housed one of Kansas' most prestigious newspapers, she had been greeted by the sound of White's sharp yet smooth voice bellowing orders to his secretary, photographers, and reporting staff like an army general. This might've intimidated Lois had she not been the progeny of a man with that very profession. Although Perry had soon demonstrated that he had a softer, more grandfatherly side to his character, Lois was very much in her element working for a no-nonsense man who commanded great respect and believed "beating around the bush is for the birds."

"Are you kidding?" said White. "You have always been one of the stealthiest and most persistent reporters I've ever had on the payroll, and Clark's always seemed to have an especially passionate distaste for the guy that comes across on the page somehow without violating the objectivity of journalism." He put on his reading glasses and began his daily ritual of moving articles around like jigsaw puzzle pieces on a large sheet of paper, searching for that magical arrangement that would make the paper sell best. "Put those two together, and I have a worthy opposing team for secretive, resourceful Lex Luthor." He looked up at her for a moment. "In fact, the only reason I'm not putting Clark on this too is that he practically begged for the gig on the French mafia activity in Paris."

Lois chuckled quietly to herself, inwardly knowing Clark's true motives behind this. "You know Clark. He's a small-town farmboy who didn't really get to travel a lot until he came to the Planet. He probably wanted the job just as an excuse to go to France and see the sights."

"If that's all he wanted, I might've been willing to send him on an early vacation. After that Pulitzer-worthy exposé on the Malatia scandal, you both deserve it."

"It's been a week, chief," Lois reminded him. "You're still raving about that?"
Perry laughed. "I suppose the last thing you need is a bigger ego," he admitted. "I guess I'm as much astounded by Luthor's craftiness as I am by the investigative prowess of Team Kent." He stopped experimenting with the draft layout, took off his glasses, and looked her in the eye. "I mean, the man had a deadly virus genetically engineered to respond only to specific antibodies owned by Lexcorp. Then, he had the city water lines contaminated and proceeded to cash in on the people's dire medical needs. It took Superman to prove that the virus itself had come from Lexcorp labs!" The editor shook his head in awe. "How he managed to make it look so convincingly like a natural, microbiological disaster is amazing! His intentions leave a lot to be desired, but let's face it: the man's a genius!"

Lois scoffed. "That 'genius' is in prison right now, and he's still making life difficult for me. Clark insisted that I get tested for exposure. I had to give blood and urine samples because of that creep!"

White replaced his glasses and returned to his work, idly responding, "Yeah, well, I guess it's a good thing Superman's got a good head on his shoulders, too."

Lois rose to her feet. "Well, chief," she began. "I can't say I won't enjoy watching Lex Luthor have his day in court. Let's just hope he doesn't bribe and intimidate his way into a 'not guilty' verdict this time." She turned and headed on her way out of the editor's large office.

"If he doesn't, it won't be for lack of trying," she heard Perry remind her as she stepped out. As a result of years of repeated treks between her desk and Perry White's, she found her own generously-sized cubicle almost mindlessly among the maze of cubicles and walled-in offices of the Daily Planet. Once there, she half-sat, half-collapsed into her aging swivel chair. No sooner had she done so than her telephone sounded from its post next to a spacious desk calendar. She picked up the receiver with habitual swiftness. "Hello?" she said rather routinely into the mouthpiece.

"Lois? This is Dr. Farmer," said a familiar voice from the other end.

Lois leaned forward in her chair, somewhat surprised. "Dr. Farmer. Hi," she greeted. Then, it occurred to her why he was calling at her office. "Did you get the test results back?" she asked.

"I did," confirmed the middle-aged physician. "First of all, you can tell Clark that you're in no danger. Your samples came back negative for Luthor's virus."

"Oh, I'll tell him, alright," Lois reassured him emphatically. "So, I'm guessing there's a 'second of all' coming up here?"

"You don't miss a lick, do you, Lois?" Dr. Farmer chuckled.

"I'm a reporter," she reminded him wryly. "I can't afford to."

"I suppose not," the doctor agreed. "Anyway, I didn't find any trace of the virus but I did find something else. Something I wasn't expecting to find. I was a little surprised, to tell you the truth. In fact, I had the labs redo the tests just to be sure."

Lois' interest was piqued. "Okay, spill. What's going on?"

"The urine samples came back positive for human chorionic gonadotropin."

"I don't speak Medical," Lois remarked with a roll of her eyes.

"It's amazing, really," said Dr. Farmer. "I've been trying to figure out if you and Clark would be able to conceive ever since the two of you got really serious about each other. Now, when I wasn't even looking for it, I seem to have gotten my answer."

Lois' jaw dropped. "Are you serious?" she managed to utter.

"You're pregnant, Lois," confirmed Dr. Farmer. "I'd like to run some tests just to make absolute sure, but I'd almost bet my license on it. This is the same hormone that most home pregnancy tests respond to. The facts all say you're pregnant."

Lois' instinctively brought a tender hand to her abdomen. Still agape and wide-eyed, she blinked a few times before regaining her ability to speak. "I can't believe this!"

"Just remember, Lois," said Dr. Farmer carefully. "All we know is that fertilization and implantation have been successful. We still don't know anything about the viability of the embryo. This is still very uncharted territory." The physician paused for a moment in digression. "There is certainly some hope, and the very fact that the reproductive process has come this far is very encouraging. I just want you and Clark to be prepared for the worst as well as the best."

"Of course," Lois nodded. "I don't think you should worry too much about me. I like to think I'm pretty good at being realistic about these sorts of things. It's Clark we should probably be a little more concerned about. We both want children, but I can tell Clark especially wants this to work. I think…" She stopped and looked around her, making sure no one happened to be idle enough to be listening with any attentiveness. Then, as an added precaution, she cupped her hand over her mouth and the mouthpiece of the telephone. "I think this will give him a more firmly rooted sense of belonging, you know, in the human race," she said softly.

"I can imagine," Dr. Farmer agreed. "Having a family and being so widely accepted by the public as Superman both go a long way, but being able to have children with an Earth woman would really seal the deal."

"In fact," Lois decided, removing her hand now that all mention of anything suspicious had passed, "let's not tell Clark until we at least know for absolute sure about this." She drew out a pencil from a mug she had next to her PC, poised to jot down a new engagement on her desk calendar. "When can I come in for the tests?"

Dr. Farmer and Lois exchanged dates and times of availability, and they soon agreed on an afternoon appointment at a biomedical clinic/laboratory that Farmer visited regularly as a researcher. When Lois finally hung up the telephone, she hardly moved for a moment as she let herself fully realize the significance of what Dr. Farmer had told her. She was pregnant! She was carrying a developing child within her: her and Clark's child. Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the baby's viability and how its unique lineage would affect it, she couldn't help but smile very contentedly to herself as she slowly returned to her work as a reporter.

November 2, 1989

Lois Kent tried to distract herself by watching the coffee flow from the automatic dispenser into the sturdy paper cup she held below its nozzle. She was slightly unnerved by her own acute anticipation, and the silence of Dr. Farmer's rather luxurious half-office/half-sitting room only seemed to sharpen it. She had never been the type to be anxious or on edge about anything, and it annoyed her that her mental state seemed so out-of-character. Yet she couldn't help it. Dr. Farmer had told her both verbally and non-verbally that the chances that there had been an error were slim. Yet as she passed the time waiting for the results of the vigorous round of tests she had undergone, the slight doubt that nevertheless existed seemed determined to make itself heard in her mind almost as if it sensed its own impending doom and refused to die without a fight. Her anxiousness led her to the surprising discovery that, although maternity had always been somewhat appealing to her, the desire to be a mother was greater within her than even she had thought. It may have even matched Clark's longing for fatherhood.

Soon, she had drunk half of the coffee, and just as her lips were poised to take another sip, she heard a door open. Her head whipped swiftly to the right, where she found Dr. Farmer approaching her.

He reached her without much delay and with subtle deliberation in his gait. Lois took a final sip before meeting his gaze. There was a hint of fascination in his eyes as he said with a small smile, "I think congratulations are in order."

Lois exhaled and chuckled weakly in awe. A sensation of relief and joy arose within her, and it manifested itself more in her eyes than in the albeit telling smile that she allowed to form on her lips. "That's great," she managed to say.

"I was quite pleased about it myself," confessed the doctor.

She exhaled once more, her eyes acquiring a distant, thoughtful look for a moment before she blinked and returned her gaze to the physician before her. "How far along am I?" she inquired, unable to think of anything else to say at the moment.

"About a month," Farmer answered. He then took her gently by the arm and guided her to a chair. Feeling secure in the current relative emptiness of the spacious lobby, he sat down next to her with a soft groan. "Lois," he began quietly. "I have to admit. I'm fascinated by this! I'm fascinated by the fact that a Kryptonian man and a Terran woman have been able to procreate! But before any of us get too excited,…I have to ask you something."

Lois grew somewhat concerned. "What is it?"

Dr. Farmer averted his gaze and concentrated on his shoes for a moment. "Lois, I'm only asking this because the possibility of you and Clark having a child of your own was quite often doubtful. This has nothing to do with the kind of person I think you are." Slowly, he looked up at her. "I'm not here to judge you, whatever you say to me now can be kept confidential, but I need to know this."

Lois was becoming slightly puzzled. "What?" she asked again.

Dr. Farmer sighed and braced himself. "Has there been anyone else,…by your own consent or otherwise,…who could be the father?"

Lois was somewhat taken aback. Her first instinct was to be insulted, but the earnestness in Dr. Farmer's eyes helped the rationale of his question sink in. She looked the physician straight in the eyes in order to somehow convey her sincerity. "No," she said firmly, shaking her head. "The only way that would ever happen is against my will, and nothing like that has happened to me."

"I thought as much," Dr. Farmer nodded with a small smile. "Well then," he said, rising to his feet with a soft groan, "I think it's time to let the Man of Steel know he's going to be a father."

Something about the prospect of telling Clark the news seemed to make it all even more official. She imagined Clark's reaction, and the thought only supplemented her own excitement. She chuckled more vigorously now and smiled brightly.