Superman/Wonderwoman: It Could've Happened

Chapter 6

Disclaimer: I do not own Superman, Wonderwoman or any other DC related characters mentioned in this fanfiction.

Author's Notes: Ookkkkkk… So finally here is the next installment of Superman and Wonderwoman's adventures. Once again, a huge appreciation goes out to all of those readers who are forever patient and still come back to read the chapters that take so freaking long to come out. Alright…well I'm trying to avoid the excessive blurbing in these Author's Note, hope you enjoy!

Earlier…

The sordid pair stuck out the moment they stepped into Lex's office. Rather, the actual stepping in occurred after one of the two ripped the security door off its hinges. The strong man was slightly hunched over, broad gorilla like shoulders, bent knees, but an overcoat covering up most of his body. This one didn't seem to take much to talking, obediently stepping aside for the second man to enter. He was in direct contrast to the first, standing up straight. His stature was powerful, but not in the way of his strong servant. His suit and his haircut all looked expensive, and his smile was impervious. If Lex could compare him to anything, it would be the suave analogue of Lucifer Morningstar. Lex's eyes roamed over to the giant slab of steel lying torn on the floor, and then back to his "guests".

"It would take the explosive round of an M1 Abrams Tank to even put a dent in that door…" He commented, looking curiously at the ones whose identity remained concealed.

"I pick my accomplices carefully," Lucifer looked over proudly to the strong one, "Some days he goes by Jason Blood, others he goes by Etrigan. Though lately, he seems to be confused between the two after I employed him into my services." He folded his hands behind his back and briskly stepped closer to Luthor's desk.

"Forgive my forwardness, I haven't even formally introduced myself. You may call me Phobos." So Lucifer DID have a name. He held his hand out politely. Lex stared down like it was a foreign piece of contraband and took to pouring himself a glass of brandy instead.

"And what kind of an alias is Phobos?" The businessman lowered his hand, seemingly not offended, but rather chuckling.

"It's Greek. Not one too quick to trust I see?"

"It's kept me alive." Possessing some courtesy for this stranger, Lex pushed the bottle of brandy on his desk towards him. Phobos swiftly held his hand up.

"No thank you. I only drink on the most rare of occasions. I have a brother you see, heavily influenced by the drink, bad road to take."

"That's all well and fascinating. But I don't believe I've grown fond enough of you yet to care about your life stories." Lex's tongue was a sharpened rapier, parrying and stabbing every chance he got with this enigmatic figure that appeared from nowhere.

"Why the animosity, Lex? We've just barely met." Lex figured this man possessed some sort of Messiah complex. It was all in his tone, Phobos gave the impression that he thought himself above Lex Luthor.

"I don't take kindly to men who have been able to compromise my security at every turn," He began to pace towards the giant viewing window overlooking the city, "I still am curious as to what you have done to my Security Head."

"Would you like to see her?" As if by some form of small gesture, or telepathic thought, Mercy Graves had stepped through the doorway by mere mention of her. But when Lex got a good observation of her, he realized there was something different to her. Sure, Mercy was cold, calculating, and of few words to most people, but this strong female associate of Luthor's was nothing but a blank slate. Her eyes were open, yet saw nothing, she was completely unmoving in her straight posture; it was like her personality had been programmed. Lex cocked an eyebrow, took a sip from his glass and continued to stare out at the sunny skyline of the City of Tomorrow.

"Interesting."

"I can't help but notice you seem hardly overwhelmed by these strange circumstances; Mr. Blood ripping through your door, Ms. Graves a mere husk, I am a little disappointed." In whatever supernatural way Lex wasn't surprised at, this Phobos had slipped up beside him almost instantly.

"I deal with the super extraordinary all the time, to me these are mere parlour tricks." It was not entirely for certain, but Lex felt he had made a good strike against this man's ego.

"But of course. How does one impress the man who clashes lances with the Man of Steel on a day-to-day basis?"

"What do you want from me, Mr. Phobos?" He grew tired of meaningless chatter with this stranger, not weary of this Mr. Blood that stood poised to attack at just a word.

"My dreams are great and many, Mr. Luthor. But I am not yet in a position where I wish to reach for them. I'm more looking to cut out the things that stand in my way."

"Is this where that Superman-related offer comes into play?" Lex almost felt a need to search the sky, wondering if he could pick out that insolent red-speck streak across it.

"Not sleeping well, Lex?"

"You've got some nerve. I don't know how you do what you do, Mr. Phobos, but if you think one takes personal infiltration lightly-."

"I have spent many long years infiltrating levels of power Lex. Forgive my methods, but they are natural to me."

"What do you have against Superman?"

"What do you? He's a foreign alien, he's powerful, and with such power comes unsettling feelings of mistrust." Lex figured these words sounded rehearsed.

"Is this the part where I invite you to dinner so we can discuss our similar values and beliefs?" Lex turned away and made for his desk, unimpressed. The two may have bypassed Mercy, but with a push of a button Lex could send up a squadron of specially trained men that he dare say could be a handful for even Superman.

"Alright, that's not the only reason," Phobos was quick to follow on Lex's heels, "My aggressive advancements originally were intended for another self-proclaimed savior. Your alien just happened to decide to get involved, which only complicates things for me…" Luthor met eyes with Phobos for a moment as the hints became clear to him.

"Wonderwoman?"

"The Princess Diana, yes."

"So you're the one that's been orchestrating these various sabotages and assassination attempts?" Lex was beginning to become rather impressed with this man's relentlessness.

"I can't take all the credit for myself. I've had someone you could say on the "inside" assisting me with that." A conniving grin stretched across his face.

"You mean Inspector Turpin?"

"Hm? Oh no, no Mr. Turpin is just another one of my manipulated pawns. No this other individual has proven much more important to me. It is a successful partnership, one that I would like to stretch out to you with regards to our boy scout in blue." And there came the proposal's beginnings.

"Sorry, Mr. Phobos, but I reserve the right of eliminating that alien scum for myself-."

"And by all means, you may have that right. Why else would I be asking you to assist me? I seek to help you with that opportunity, while in return you help me with some of my problems." Was this what his dreams meant, a partnership with a man of undoubted supernatural origins? By agreeing, did this bring about the end of Superman?

"What would you have me do?"

"Excellent!"

"I have agreed to nothing, it's merely a question." Phobos gave off an expression that read stretched patience. He cracked his muscular neck compulsively and managed to fight out a smile.

"Distrust has always run present through humanity. It's very simple. Mr. Turpin was temporarily employed under my services, but failed his objective. He is being kept at the Metropolis General Hospital. This situation reflects similarly to one I experienced in Athens, though security was significantly lighter. What I ask is a proof of loyalty; retrieve him. I fear the Princess may be better equipped at extracting what he knows about my dealings." Phobos turned on his heel and began to walk towards the torn entrance way.

"And you assume I will be agreeable to this?" Lex called to Phobos' back. The man stopped in his tracks, not bothering to turn around.

"There are two things you have in spades, Mr. Luthor. One is power, the other is pure hatred for the Man of Steel. I can help you appease the latter, and as for the former…" He swiveled his head and bore into Lex with the most sinister of gazes, "I can promise you even more of that, something beyond any mortal desires." There was something in the way he emphasized the word "mortal" that dug into Lex.

"I trust you'll make the right decision Lex, you are the ever reasonable human voice in a great stand off with the alien threat. Come Jason." The hunched servant, who had been practically invisible the entire time, took to following his master immediately. As Phobos passed Mercy, Lex noticed him make a small hand gesture. His Head of Security blinked several times and was almost instantaneously brought to life again. She took a significant gasp for air and began to look in all directions.

"Lex did you… how did I?" Phobos and Mr. Blood were already long since disappeared, and Lex could not help but give of a laugh of approval.

"With all due respect, what's so funny?" Mercy took a hand to her head and shakily made her way deeper into his office.

"Life just got a whole lot more interesting Mercy," When he turned to look at her, he seemed to be blessed with new vigour and meaning, "Call my tech staff, get them to refasten my security door. And after that I need you to make a call down to Dr. Anderson at the labs."

"What for?" Mercy and Lex had a long history; she was of the few individuals Lex allowed to have an indignant tone with him.

"A job has come up where I require the services of a special client. Tell him to open Corben's vault and get him fully functioning."

Present…

A hand that packed the force of a freight train behind it tossed Diana into the far wall. This John Corben was not like any human, in a physical sense. She grimaced from the throbbing in her back and looked up. The tall inhuman figure was already approaching the weakened police Inspector.

"Not a step closer!" Pressing off the floor, she flew at Corben, taking one of his arms and throwing it over her shoulder. With her own collection of great strength she flipped him over onto his back. He made a yelp more out of surprise than pain, as she threw her heal over his throat. Unfortunately, she was ignorant to the speed in his reflexes, as his free hand wrapped around her ankle. His grip was surprisingly cold, and reminiscent to a real machine clamp. She found herself being thrown down to the ground as well. She felt the heavy body wrestle to get atop her, as she began her struggle as well. A powerful knee that could crack an elephant's ribs hit with significant impact. Eerily, she could feel his stomach bend and cave in with some resistance, but he merely smiled down as he pinned her arms to the ground.

"Sorry there Princess, no pain receptors. Which is more than I can say for you." He wound his head up, ready to head butt her, when another hand clamp around his skull. Superman was up and back in action, a firm expression of irritation.

"An extreme displeasure to see you back in town, Metallo." Before Corben could make another move, Superman wrapped the second hand around his arm and tossed him through the very same window hole that he had been punched through. He dropped like a stone, in a few seconds; Diana heard the impact.

"Who was that!" She exclaimed getting up to her feet, her arms not soar thanks to her gauntlets.

"An old friend. And he'll be back up on his feet right now if we don't hurry." Superman blasted off overtop the confused Inspector and dove through the hole, kicking up a gust from his speed. Wonderwoman didn't waste any time, following right behind him. Sure enough, there was a crater where this John Corben/Metallo had fallen, and he looked like he was up and ready for more. Laying out wide in front of the hospital was a mini park with a lush field of grass and a few trees. To the heroes' luck, any innocent bystanders seemed to clear instantly.

"Come on!" Corben called from below, "Show me what you-!" His words were cut short as Superman dive-bombed him fists first. A dust cloud kicked up and it looked like the crater had widened. From out of the cloud, the sandy-blonde figure went sailing once more, shouting as he went. He scraped along the grass field awkwardly but managed to roll back onto his feet. He shook his head, throwing off his windbreaker and punching his fist into his hand a few times.

"That it?" Far from it in fact, it was amazing. Wonderwoman watched in awe as Superman, like an unstoppable flood of pure power, went crashing full tilt into this stubborn villain. Now it seemed to be Corben's turn to be pinned, as Superman held him against the wall of a building, wary of all the delicate people that surrounded it. Superman showed no signs of faltering in his grip; Corben's struggles were ultimately futile.

"You never learn the harsh lesson of countless failure, I see Corben." The two obivously had previous encounters before. While any other person would have crumpled in this situation, John Corben smiled devilishly.

"You know the old euphemism. Try, try again and all." A thin horizontal line formed in the center of Corben's chest, only to have two halves open up like a secret compartment. But inside of the man were not organs and muscle, but gears and shifts. Instead of a beating red heart, Corben had a glowing green rock in its stead. The rock bathed Superman in a jade glow that made him grimace all of a sudden. Even from her vantage point, Diana watched his grip loosen and his head lower. Corben broke free of his clasp and the Man of Steel fell to one knee.

"Now what's that you said about learning a lesson, Supes? Why is it you always forget the big green surprise I always keep packing?" He went into a swift uppercut that took Superman off of his feet hurtling several meters backwards.

"SUPERMAN!" With the strength in his legs, Corben had made a mighty leap, cutting away the distance between he and the ailing Superman. That green wash kept on the Man of Steel as Corben began to deliver a flurry of punches.

"Get off of him!" Diana came into the picture, delivering a straight kick to his chest that brought him on his back 10 meters away. Realizing his knack for getting back up again, she went towards the nearest tree, uprooting it in her arms. Before he could fully stand straight, the massive haft of it blew into his side, splintering against his body and taking him down once more. As Corben routinely stood up again, Wonderwoman looked in horror, a number of large splinters had embedded into his left side, sticking out of him like porcupine spines. He gave a puzzled look and then followed her gaze downwards.

"Oh," He smiled again, "guess you never figured how I got a nickname like Metallo, eh?" He took his hand down, grabbing a handful of the splintered skin… and ripped it right off like paper.

"Wait-!" She stopped frozen, and saw the truth revealed. Underneath the pink flesh was a solid, metallic interior. In some sadistic way, he went about ripping the rest of the skin along his torso. Now he was showing off his full robotic self, save for the still human face. Above all, her eyes lay on the jagged green rock lodged in his chest.

"What is that?"

"This?" He gave it a flick with a long silver finger, "This is Blue Boy's Achilles Heel. This is why I'm so suited for this job." He went into charging at her now, arms out wide and aggressive.

"Guess you didn't factor in me being here." She spat the words at him. He came upon her, throwing both arms out to grab her. With warriors cunning she dropped to her hands, narrowly missing the death grip and springing her feet upwards. There was a distinct tearing sound that occurred before Metallo was flung backwards again. As Wonderwoman got to her feet, she could see him doing the same in profile. Slowly, he turned his head to look at her fully, half the skin on his face torn off.

"Great Hera…" His true face revealed, nothing more than a silver dead skull with a glowing green eye blinking at her.

"So the secret's out!" Metallo threw his hands in the air, the half of his face that still had skin looked quite amused, while the mechanical side was void of any emotion.

"What are you?" Diana leveled her balance and held her fists up, anticipating any kind of move.

"I'm about double the price of the 6 million dollar man, and a whole lot more lethal. I'm just the walking weapon with a human brain," He took up his left hand, digging the fingers into what false face was left, and tore the rest of it off sickeningly. Now the Princess was staring into a full cybernetic skull.

"I am Metallo." He took off fast on beyond horsepower legs, but before the gap could shrink to even 5 feet, the previously uprooted tree went slamming into his body full force.

"BLOODY-!" Metallo, full tree and all were sent airborne, crashing through the tall doors of a not too distant warehouse, long since abandoned from the chaotic clash of titans. Wonderwoman turned to find a standing Superman, hands on his knees, taking in deep breaths.

"Are you alright?" She placed a hand on his shoulder that he politely removed.

"Just fine," He went to standing at his full triumphant height, "Just had to catch my breath is all." She then saw the most foreign colour to his face, a red line of blood that trickled from his lip. Wide-eyed, she slowly pointed at the red trickle, and Superman wiped it off.

"He made you bleed. That thing in his chest-."

"Kryptonite. Long story. My weakness is his power source; very convenient." A large scraping of machinery and wood and Superman's ears picked up stirring within the warehouse.

"He's back up. Let's take him down before he can really hurt anyone." This time, both heroes together launched off the ground and bolted to the entranceway that's doors had just recently been knocked over. The interior was dusty, dreary and dark, save for the beams of light that cut through high squared windows just below the arched ceiling. Lining the perimeter up high were catwalks and pulleys; and along the floor were scattered crates, nuts and bolts, large metal pieces that had been in the way of Metallo's trajectory. At the farthest wall, the two had spotted the battered tree, no sign of Corben.

"Really hard to track a guy that doesn't have a heartbeat." Superman groaned.

"Apparently." A fifteen-foot shelf of car parts and bone crushing scrap pieces came crashing down to their left. A quick shove from Superman pushed Wonderwoman clear from harm's way just as it flattened overtop of him. She was up immediately, a cold, metal hand clasping around her throat and lifting her off her feet.

"Oh my pal, Supes. Chivalry never died with him, did it?" The sharp fingers were digging into the delicate skin on her throat while her windpipe was already shrinking under the pressure. The vision in Wonderwoman's right eye began to fade and she unthinkingly kicked at the half man with no pain receptors.

"Hands off her!" Twin lines of red, seared with heat so great that it cut through the strangling arm like butter. Wonderwoman fell, air passing freely into her lungs. Superman had already drilled his way out of the pile and was ready for another assault, only to be met with a pair of green beams emanating from Metallo's eyes. They pounded the Man of Steel, square in the chest and sent him colliding into the far wall.

"Surprise! I've got laser eyes too! And a few other technical advancements." Metallo reached down at the shorn off arm, writhing on the ground as if possessed. Holding it too the burnt stump just below the shoulder, the sparking wires came to life and began to realign themselves. His face made a grimace, as if there was something that actually caused him pain. He tested the arm, wriggling the fingers and bending at the elbow.

"See! Good as-UMPH!" Diana kicked his legs out from under him. He went to get back up, but both her hands had already clasped his ankles, and with seething strength she tossed him into a rack of metal sheets.

"All this is doing is causing collateral damage." He threw the silver plates of fiberglass off, more irritated than hurt. Wonderwoman's fist was already colliding with his jaw. A sickening crunch came as he absorbed the blow, only to return with a backhand to her face. Colours exploded into her eyes as she tumbled through nothingness until hitting some giant object and falling to the ground.

"Great…now I've got a damn clicking in my jaw." Like an unstoppable Colossus, he moved onward to finish her off. The large cold hand came down, the one that would try to crush her skull. With little time to think, her hand searched the ground beside her, to find a metal pipe beneath her fingertips.

"Likes the duels on Themyscria, just a different kind of enemy." With new life she leapt to her feet and swung the pipe like her own trusted blade, knocking away Metallo's arm.

"What the-!" She went fast, taking another strike into the joints of his right leg, then into his side, his collar bone, just swinging non stop with all her knowledge of the sword. Metallo had power, but not the resourcefulness to use it, not like her. Finally, the pipe twirled in her fingers and she thrust it into his chest cavity. He gave out an inhuman cry and stumbled backwards. The blood pumped from her heart could be felt, burning through every single vein and artery. Her skin seethed with the spirit of battle overtaking her. The pipe probably about nine inches in diameter, jutted out of Metallo's chest, just missing the Kryptonite. Sparks flew from the gash, but the cyborg stared down at it amusedly.

"Almost like you aimed to kill, not a bad attempt;" With one hand he ripped the pipe free and tossed it aside. She could see the hole it had made, the twisting gears and snake-like circuitry within it, "But I'm getting bored now. This will have to end sooner or later."

"You're right." Superman was off to Metallo's side, a safe distance away from his kryptonite heart. With his hands clasped together over his head, the Man of Steel sent them crashing earthward. The force of the blow sent a wave of floorboards and concrete surging at him. Wonderwoman launched safely into the air as he knew she would, but Metallo wasn't as suitably equipped.

"AH!" His jaw filled up with splinters and stones, his vision darkened, and his body fell victim to the chaotic mass. He went tumbling and spinning through pandemonium before finally stopping. He could feel hunks of the concrete lodged in his joints, finding it difficult to move his limbs as easily. He bit down on the filth in his mouth and spat it out. Metallo was buried up to his chest in upturned flooring. The pair of red boots floated just above his line of sight. He didn't want to look up at the smug barrel chest.

"Really hard to bathe me in that healthy green glow underneath all that junk, isn't it?"

"I don't know about that." His gaze shot upwards and he sent another pair of green Kryptonite rays his way. This time Superman had anticipated them, effortlessly moving to the side, the beams splashing against the ceiling harmlessly.

"Quite enough of that." All Metallo saw was a golden noose follow over his head, and suddenly he was being hoisted out of the rubble. Wonderwoman had thrown her lasso over one of the pulley hooks and now restrained John Corben hangman style. His legs kicked at nothing as he hung suspended several meters above.

"Hey! What's the big idea!" His slow moving hands made their way to the rope around his neck, as he struggled to loosen it.

"No use struggling, Metallo." Wonderwoman circled around to his front, hovering with her hands to her hips, "Nobody has ever broken from the hold of my lasso, and I do not expect the likes of you to either." With Superman keeping a cautious distance from the green rock, it was Diana who decided to get up close and personal with Mr. Corben.

"That was a pretty sloppy kidnapping if I do say so myself. You barely were in the same room as Turpin."

"Guess I wasn't expecting as much muscle. The hired guy never gets enough info." It was hard to form a smile on that solid metal face.

"Who sent you after him. Why?"

"Piss off is all I have to say." Wonderwoman had been afraid of such a unique situation. The magical effects of the lasso worked perfectly on any organic being, but a cybernetic one such as this subject may have been another story. She had to be crafty with this one.

"Tell me Superman, is this bothersome rock his only power source?" He ascended to their level, but didn't try to close the width gap. His gaze was focused as he scanned Metallo's insides.

"It's his permanent one. But he's got some uranium capsules lodged in his head, my guess is for temporary back-up power."

"Well if it won't hurt him…" She reasoned.

"Hey," Metallo didn't like the look in her eyes, "What are you-!" Her hand had already flung into his chest cavity, pulling the Kryptonite out with a nice tug.

"DON'T DO THAT!" With the severe loss of power, Metallo's body had gone completely motionless; the only thing still active was his mouth. The green glow in his eyes started to fade, as the back up capsules tried their best to keep his systems online.

"Now then," Diana tossed the large jagged piece of Kryptonite in her hand tauntingly before volleying it away far enough for Superman to approach closer. Metallo thought he could hear his would-be heart shatter against the hard ground.

"Crazy bitc-!"

"Now that's not polite talk, Metallo." Superman's hand flew forwards and shut the cyborg's mouth momentarily. Diana looked to Superman and smiled in gratitude before turning back to the villain.

"Mr. Turpin tried to murder me yesterday, and claims no memory of the event whatsoever. Suddenly you with all of your great strength and violent sloppiness barge in to kidnap him. Am I going out on a limb, thinking there's a connection?"

"I only go after who I get paid to go after. You won't get anything out of me."

"A name Metallo, your employer, who are they." Superman prodded, "You won't be able to function much longer, you've got nothing else to lose."

"True, but I also really hate you Supes." He smiled crassly. Without warning, Wonderwoman ripped the lasso off from around his neck and held him up with one hand. He cried out in surprise as she shook the dead body around.

"My blade needs sharpening, with it I could reduce you to a pile of metal shavings if need be. No scientist would be able to reassemble you."

"WHOA! HEY! Get your crazy girlfriend off of me!" He yelped, absolutely defenseless.

"Diana-." Superman called her name, but she ignored it, racing down to the earth and throwing Metallo onto an offline conveyer belt. Taking a thick, heavy looking break shoe in one hand, she rested a foot on his heartless chest.

"What the hell do you think you're doing!"

"I don't know robots or computers that well, but I'm wondering if it's simple enough to smash the information out of that brain of yours!"

"Wait!" She raised the blunt instrument above her head.

"Diana! What are you-?" Superman dropped down, but the break shoe was already racing downwards like the hammer of Haephestus

"STOP! PLEASE GOD!" Metallo shut his eyes, not noticing the break shoe had stopped just an inch above his face, his mouth already began to spout out what they needed to know.

"IT WAS LUTHOR! LEX LUTHOR! HIM AND SOME OTHER GUY-!" A harsh crackling noise and sparks flooded out of his eyes before his head rolled over slack, the dull glow of his corneas completely vanished.

"Look out!" Wonderwoman barely stepped aside in time before Superman was in her previous spot, lifting the now offline Metallo off of the conveyor belt.

"What are you doing?"

"I've got friends up at S.T.A.R. Labs, they should be able to bring him back online and detain him, follow me!" He kicked off the ground, cyborg in tow, and blasted out into the open sky. Diana was surprised at first, but didn't pause long so as to lose Superman in his speed burst.

"Well it wasn't the uranium capsules de-powering that shut him down." Dr. Emil Hamilton was looking through the tech analysis upon his clipboard; skim reading with his pen. Superman's attention was focused on the Head Scientist and his old friend, while Diana looked around in amazement. Dozens of men and women in white lab coats operated gigantic technical marvels unlike anything she or her people would ever experience. Giant cylindrical conduits transferred white beams of energy between each other, a robotic exoskeleton suit was lifting a freight tram over its head. There was even a chimpanzee with some sort of strange-looking helmet, solving a complex math equation on a whiteboard. These were the types of people that Superman referred to upon their first meeting; these were the people using their talents to further human civilization. Hamilton came off as a very cleanly man; a silver beard thinly trimmed that made all the more wisdom appear to emanate from him. A pair of circular spectacles rested on his nose as he continued with his analysis.

"Whomever sent him to claim Inspector Turpin had taken some extra precautions. We've scanned the interior of his skull, and our conclusion is that the uranium capsules were shorted out by an intensely focused radio signal remotely activated from a distant location. They must have not believed victory was entirely guaranteed." Emil looked up from his clipboard and looked to both guests.

"Metallo is the likely thug to be sent if I'm to be expected as a resistance, the kryptonite his reasoning enough for that. I don't know if they were expecting back up or not." He looked to Wonderwoman gratefully for her presence.

"I'm not entirely sure," Hamilton continued, "But it may be plausible that my radio-spectrum team can trace the signal to its source, perhaps help you two in figuring out who sent him-."

"That won't be necessary Dr. Hamilton," Superman's tone seemed to turn grim, though he maintained courtesy, "I think I have a good idea who I'm looking for. Thank you for all your help. And what about Metallo now? Is he salvageable?" Emil nodded and smiled for reassurance.

"You need not worry, you got him here just in time that we can hook him up to a routed power source and keep him detained until the SCU arrive."

"I really appreciate this, Emil." Superman held his hand out to which Emil happily took in a respectful shake.

"Always happy to help, you never show up unless it's really important. And by the by, I should have that lead suit ready for you in another two days or so." He turned his attention over to the Princess, his features giving him more the look of a royal or a diplomat in her opinion.

"And it was also my very great pleasure to meet you, Princess," He held one of her hands with both of his delicately, "I greatly respect your advocacy for peace, and let me say S.T.A.R. Labs would love to assist you in any way possible come the near future." His kindness was near overwhelming, and she was beaming with gratitude.

"The pleasure is mutual, Dr. Hamilton." After another few parting words, both Superman and Wonderwoman left through a conveniently built, remote sunroof that Hamilton had installed for such purposes.

"That place is truly a marvel unlike anything I have witnessed before," Wonderwoman proclaimed as they glided along the Metropolis skyline, "I suppose there is more to modern technology than just air pollutants and nuclear warheads."

"Yeah… Emil is a Renaissance man of the 21st Century…" Through his words, the Man of Steel sounded somewhat distant to her.

"Superman…?"

"Thanks, back there with Metallo," He halted in flight and faced her, "I got ahead of myself, trying to get him away from Turpin and the other innocent bystanders, blindsiding me with the Kryptonite should not have happened on a usual day; it was sloppy and wreckless; and someone could have gotten hurt."

"But they didn't." Diana was starting to believe that perhaps the pictures and articles portraying Superman as an unbreakable wall without doubt and regret weren't entirely true.

"I suppose not."

"Who's Lex Luthor? Besides yourself, it's a name I've heard of a lot while being in Metropolis." Superman's eyes gained a tone of darkness unlike anything Diana had yet to see in him. His arms crossed tightly like a vice around himself and his mouth was but a thin line.

"Lex Luthor is everything wrong with this city."

"Bad blood between you two, then?"

"Let's just say we usually clash on a moral level." He began to forward himself through the air again to which she joined.

"Example?"

"Example is he's usually up to some scheme and I'm the one to stop him."

"Well, I suppose you can't get more clear cut than that."

"I guess it shouldn't be too obvious for Metallo to have connections with Luthor, but for him to go as far as sabotaging your peace movement?" Superman in a relaxed state rotated his body with his back to the earth and chest to the sky, scratching his chin thoughtfully.

"Not his style?" Diana was the foreign ambassador to this city; she didn't have an accurate grasp on any of these big players like Superman could provide her.

"Lexcorp tops the market when it comes to military arms manufacturing; you name it: missiles, warships, exoskeleton suits, he's made advancements everywhere in destruction."

"Alright then," What it sounded like to Diana was they had found a crucial stab into these mysterious events, "What better reason for the sabotage? My Global message stands indefinitely against what makes him money." The Man of Steel didn't seem as entirely convinced.

"Yeah, I thought that. And Lex isn't against sabotage by any means… but he also likes to keep his name out of the papers. No matter how cloak and dagger he tried, I don't think he'd take as big a risk as attacking a foreign diplomat in broad daylight."

"Detective Resa."

"What?"

"That's the name Turpin had spoken before the strange rage fluctuations. Mean anything to you?"

"Not at all." Superman had noticed the red orb of sun, already sunk halfway over the distant mountains; it had been a very long day filled with interrogations, robotic attacks and a lot of science mumble jumble. He stopped them again.

"You leave Lex to me right now, and I promise to you I'll update you as soon as I can." He wasn't completely up to terms with foreign diplomatic affairs, but he surmised that it wouldn't have been the greatest on Wonderwoman's image for her to be gone so long from whatever her normal duties may be. Though understanding fully well that the day's operations were at an end, she smirked at him of all reactions.

"I can't thank you enough for all of your guidance in this, Superman. But time for a little of my own." Standing upright in mid-air she floated closer to him, his body language read as though he was ready to pull back a little ways, he was occasionally shy too. Resting a hand on one of his unbreakable shoulder she spoke words of reassurance.

"You're strong, Superman, nobody doubts that. But you can't juggle the lives of millions of people and hold yourself solely responsible for every one of them. That's above and beyond even superhuman. Don't blame yourself for any of the destruction Metallo caused today, or I'm afraid I won't be able to keep working with you." She smiled brightly and brought herself closer to kiss him lightly on his cheek. Pushing off she increased their distance; Superman's face had appeared more steel-like than ever at that point, frozen in an expression that seemed a mix of confusion and at ease.

"Contact me with anymore information you can find, I'll be around." She gave an energetic wave to which he returned somewhat sheepishly before she rocketed off across the orange and blue-hued sky. Superman had to take a few moments, staring at that space where she had been before shaking his head and going off in his own direction. He could keep his thoughts on that odd moment on hold, for he had a very important surprise meeting to be at. Flying at much greater speed now, he could already make out the large skyscraper dwarfing all others surrounding it, in the boastful shape of a letter "L".

"And you're certain Metallo's amateur antics can't be traced back to this company?" Contrary to the serious issue at hand, Lex was very laid back in his seat, phone pressed against his ear. On the other end was his Head of Security, Mercy Graves, seemingly back to normal since the last encounter with Phobos.

"Relax Lex, Metallo barely knew anything. And what little information he did possess was wiped away with his internal power. Come on Lex, you know me. This is the job I'm paid to do, isn't it?" It often seemed sometimes that Mercy felt her and Lex shared a relationship closer than anyone else, but of course Lex didn't afford that luxury to anyone.

"With the faulty security as of late, I'm forced to ponder that myself." He hung up on her abruptly and began to curl his fingers together, in deep thought and frustration. While in his semi-trance like state, a new body floated into the right side of his vision. In most circumstances, a person would triple-check if they thought they saw a man hovering in mid-air outside their window, but not for anyone in Metropolis; and especially not for Lex Luthor.

"Heh." He snickered and got out of his seat, pacing over to the window, staring face to face with Superman on the other side of the thick glass. The image before Lex was one he had become quite used to, the Man of Steel staring down judgingly at him, arms crossed, cape floating majestically to the side of him.

"I'd invite you in, but the entrance is on the bottom floor; tens of stories down." The glass was sound proof from the outside to human ears, but Lex knew the alien could hear him just fine. Lex's eyes blinked for a split second and the alien was no longer looking at him through the window. There was a gust of wind at his back accompanied with a loud swooshing noise.

"Dually noted." Superman spoke from his behind. Luthor turned around, not at all showing any surprise in this turn of events. Rather he sighed and went to his desk, holding up his phone threateningly, but casual as well.

"One phone call and I could have you charged with trespassing on private property."

"And I'm certain I could have you charged with conspiracy to murder, Lex; not sure you could even call that much of a stale mate." Lex put the phone back on its receiver, rubbing a hand against his brow in frustration.

"And what exactly are you blaming me for now, Superman?" He kicked back in his seat, showing no fear or tenseness against his arch-nemesis.

"Attempted murder of a certain foreign diplomat; one who's done nothing but advocate for world peace." Lex sat up a little straighter in interest, and in mocking gesture.

"The Princess Diana? Ha! You think I have something to do with that? Really Superman, I know we don't see eye-to-eye on all things-."

"I don't know what part you play in this, but I know it's got to be something big." Superman seemed to take a step forward with each scathing word he threw at him. Lex threw his hand behind his head, relaxing even more so, recollecting information he did know on the assassination attempts.

"Tell me Superman, was "Lexcorp" written anywhere on the fighter jets in Greece? Or the missile?" The hero did not respond, Lex continued.

"Or how about Inspector Turpin? Did he say he was on my payroll? Is that how you've got me pegged?"

"Metallo attacked me; he said he was looking to take Turpin with him. After the Princess I took him down, your name was mentioned. Curious, isn't it?" Superman's gaze intensified to such a degree that one would expect his retinas to burn bright red. Luthor only met this accusation with more mock laughter.

"Oh Superman, Metallo hates me! Probably just as much you do. Still blames me wrongly for his… condition," Superman was pretty certain Luthor DID play some part in whatever made Corben the way he was, "Whoever REALLY wanted Turpin has gotten off scot-free. After all, Metallo doesn't give away his benefactor, and meanwhile turns you on the one he despises. Clever, would never have pegged someone like him to think so strategically." Superman focused his hearing precisely upon Luthor and the undoubtedly black heart of his… all they picked up was a DEET! DEET! DEET!

"Sound dampener? Have you got something to hide Lex?"

"Our constitution does grant us a right to privacy. When questionable alien invaders come into play, we've got to step up that law accordingly. I doubt the majority of the populace would enjoy the idea of you listening in on them from afar, hm?"

"This blame-shift routine is all familiar with your other mass cover-ups, Lex. Don't think you can always avert justice away from your direction. I'd be wary of whatever you do from here on in." Superman turned on his heel towards the exit, Lex chiding him as he went.

"Is that a threat?"

"Call it a polite warning." And as fast as he had arrived, the alien disappeared in a red and blue burst of speed. Seconds later when, the Man of Steel was about halfway across the city, clapping could be heard from the shadows of the room's farthest corner.

"Bravo." Slowly but surely, Phobos in his suave suit and all appeared from the shadows, beckoning more questions upon what exactly he was.

"It's so refreshing to see man stand up to a god." He commented respectfully. Lex got out of his seat and went around his desk for a closer confrontation.

"Superman is no god. Merely a solar-powered alien who has the remarkable ability to allude an entire species."

"Hm, his sword stabs into your heart deeply, I see." Lex scoffed.

"Ha, I liken him more to an inconvenient bee sting." Phobos marveled in Luthor's pride.

"Yes, an inconvenient bee sting that mangled your cybernetic toy." Luthor only granted him the slightest of frowns to the comment.

"So is this why you're ultimately here? To tell me the partnership is off? All because I failed to bring you an aging, crotchety Inspector?" Phobos held his hands up and chuckled reassuringly.

"Oh no, quite the contrary. I did not expect you to stop Superman at all, especially with the Princess at his aide."

"What!" Lex's hands were both clenched fists, "You had me waste precious resources for nothing?" Phobos turned his back to Luthor and approached one of the many windows that overlooked the great City of Tomorrow.

"Lex, you are plagued with seeing things in short term. You have not aged quite enough to understand the long term effects of things," Phobos' youthful appearance brought some puzzlement to this statement, "Now that I know the machinations you are capable of, the destruction they can cause on even a small scale, I know you are the confidante that I want; that I need."

"For what?" Phobos turned and smiled that shark-like grin of his before looking back to the city, majestic under the moonlight.

"War."