The Coming of Superwoman!
The night brought little relief from the June heat. The moon cast its pale light across the well-manicured lawn as the manservant nodded in approval. He had been the butler for Governor Siegel for some time, but he always made it a point to inspect the locks personally before retiring. Peering through the French windows, he paused as he thought he saw something fly through the night sky. Pressing his face against the glass, he stared intently into the shadows. "Must have been my imagination."
Turning to go up the stairs, a sudden pounding at the door made him jump. "Who could that be?" There had been no one on the lawn a second ago. Turning back, he removed a pistol from the half-moon table. "Who's there?"
"I must speak with the governor, it's a matter of life and death!" The voice resonated clearly through the heavy oak door. It was loud, clear, but there was no mistaking the feminine pitch.
"It's almost midnight young lady. Whatever you want to say can wait until the morning."
"No, it can't!" The door shuddered. Once, twice, then finally snapping free of its hinges and falling to the floor with a loud thud.
"Who are you?" The butler gasped in horror. A woman entered the doorway. She was tall, broad shouldered, and dressed in a strange costume. She looked almost like a circus acrobat. The suit seemed to be one piece, blue with a red cap hanging freely from her shoulders, and on her chest was a strange symbol. It looked like a badge with a large red 'S' in the center.
"I must see the governor!" She stepped forward, but stopped when he brandished the gun.
"Stay back!" He cocked the hammer and pointed it directly at her face. Stepping backwards, he inched towards the secret panic button. Seeing the broken door on the floor, however, but doubts in his mind about that. "You'll have to go through me!"
"Then I'll do just that!" There was no malice in her voice. From her tone, she might have easily been talking about taking a detour. She rushed forward, and before the man's eyes could blink, she easily knocked the gun from his hand and hoisted him over her head. With one quick spin she deposited him in the kitchen and dashed up the stairs before he could sit up.
The noise had already alerted the governor. Springing out of bed when he heard the crashing door, he had already put his security plans in motion. With a push of a button a solid steel door slid down and blocked off the only entrance into the bedroom. Grabbing a shotgun from under the bed, he hastily picked up the phone and began to dial with one hand.
"Governor?" The intruder's voice carried up the stairs. "I have the real killer in the Curry case. You have to call off the execution!" From the volume, she must have been right outside the door.
"Keep away!" He was panicking. Throwing the phone down, the older man kneeled behind the bed and steadied his aim.
"I can't do that!" The door buckled as fist-sized dents appeared across its surface. After two hits, the metal gave way and clattered on the carpet. The governors fired both barrels as the figure stepped inside.
Much to his horror, the strange woman continued to move, brushing the buckshot off as if it were nothing more than stray pollen. Gripping the bed in one hand, she tossed it aside. "Barbara Curry is innocent! I have the real killer on the front lawn!"
"Stay away!" he tried to jab her with the rifle's barrels, but she easily caught them and before his eyes, crushed them like paper.
"You have to call the prison!" Bounding over to the wall, the stranger tore the plaster and drywall apart like cheap paper. "Look, there's your real killer!"
Tied up and dangling from a tree, Sigel gasped as he looked at the woman's features in the moonlight. Like many, he had been following the Curry case. Barbara Curry had been found guilty of murdering her husband, and even now was walked to the electric chair. The woman hanging from his oak, though, looked exactly like the condemned. "This is highly irregular." He backed slowly towards the wall. "Look, I can't just take your word and this woman, there are rules and laws that even I have to follow."
"Hang your law, an innocent person is about to be killed!" Pointing towards the clock, with its hand drawing closer to twelve, she dashed past the concerned official and thrust the phone into his hands. "Call the prison, now!"
Sigel wiped his brow. "Very well." Quickly dialing the prison, the seconds seemed to tick by faster and faster before he was put through to the execution chamber. "This is Governor Sigel, and I order you to stop!" After getting a confirmation from the warden, he nodded to the stranger. "I did what she said. If Curry is innocent, I can pardon her, and if not," he looked around. The stranger had vanished. "Who was that?"
The next day, as daybreak broke over the bustling city of Metropolis, one lone figure exited her apartment and greeted the new day. Clara Kent smiled as she squared back her shoulders and walked down to the bus stop. "Today's the day, I can feel it!"
Clara wasn't from Metropolis. Her accent betrayed her rural roots, but she was able to cover it without too much effort. Hailing from a small farming community in Kansas, she had dreamed (like many) or moving to the big city. Of course, not many young women had background quite like Clara.
Unknown to most of Earth, save for a few astronomers, there once was a planet called Krypton. It once shone like a green speck in the night sky, but that shine was gone now. The planet, and its teeming millions, all perished as the planet's life was snuffed out. All, that is, save one.
Rocketed to Earth, and found by a passing motorist, Clara spent most of her early life at an orphanage. It wasn't until her adoption by the Kent family that she discovered her amazing powers. She was never sick; in fact no needle had ever been able to break her skin. When she was a toddler, one of her toys found its way under a heavy chair. With no effort on her part she lifted the heavy object and found her plaything before her parents saw anything. She soon found herself running faster than anything with four wheels and leaping higher and higher each day.
Moving to the largest city, she knew she had to use her talents to help people. She had been doing a decent job so far, moving so fast as to remain unseen. She had been acting quietly, but being clandestine wasn't good enough. "I have to help more people. Sooner or later I'd be out in the open. Why not on my terms?"
That was largely the reason she was heading downtown towards the Daily Star. She didn't really need the money but the job of a reporter would grant her resources like information. Assuming, of course, that they hired her. The paper had called her back several times, but this time seemed special. Disembarking, she made her way into the Star Building and rode the elevator to the top floor.
George Taylor was the editor in chief. He had been at the job longer than anyone else in the building. There had been more than a few jokes about how Taylor had been installed with the foundation. Tall, balding, and with a face that showed more stress than the concrete outside, Taylor had earned his reputation as a tough boss.
Clara sat before him. Even with her power, she felt intimidated. "Alright Kent, your references are decent, but reporter?"
"If you just give me a chance sir!"
"Look kid, you're young. Being a reporter is a tough job. It ages you; heck, look at me. Now, we have an opening in our secretarial pool. You could start today."
"Sir, with all due respect, what would I have to do to convince you I'd make a good reporter?"
Taylor puffed on his cheap cigar. Even with his salary, he still bought them from the stand in the lobby. The pungent tobacco seeped into everything in the office, making Clara feel like she was inside a humidor. Narrowing his eyes, he picked up yesterday's edition. "You want a chance? All right, get me a story. A real front pager, by the evening edition, and I mean a real story. Something the public would eat up, you get me?"
Clara nodded and left without a word. "A story, eh? I think I know where to go." Quickly moving through the office, but not too quickly, she made it to the stairwell. Once the door closed she dashed down the steps. Moving so quickly as to appear as a blur to the few hapless people she passed, she slowed down as she neared the door. Taking a moment to smooth out her hair, she opened the door and walked through the lobby.
Once outside, she walked down the street to the nearest alleyway. Stepping into the shadows of the tall buildings, and making sure that no one was watching, she jumped. Landing on the building's edge, she darted from rooftop to rooftop, crisscrossing whole sections of the city, until she landed at her destination.
"Precinct house 8, just what I needed!" With a slight squeeze she broke the lock on the roof and slipped inside. Making her way down into the policemen's midst, her sensitive ears quickly picked up something.
"Killer Ketchum just escaped his work detail!"
"He'll be heading back to his old lady's first." The lead detective snagged his coat as the officers swarmed towards their cars. "She's the one that put him away the last time."
Unseen, Clara sped back to the roof. "Ketchum lives across town. Even at top speed, those officers won't make it in time."
Breaking into a sprint, Clara raced across the skyline, clearing smaller buildings with ease. As she ran she began to disrobe. Under her plain blouse and skirt, which she quickly tucked under her arm, was a costume. The same costume she wore the previous night when she broke into the governor's house.
In the light of day her suit seemed different. The red cape that flowed behind her flapped in the breeze as she jumped over the smaller buildings in her path. The blue suit seemed brighter in the light, showing the muscles and power beneath them. The crest that adorned her chest, with its bright red 'S' in the center, had been with her ever since she was a baby. It seemed fitting to wear it as her role as a protector.
Reaching her destination in minutes, she leapt down to the fire escape. Inside was a scene that made her blood boil. Ketchum had barricaded the door behind him. His wife was on her hands and knees, blood flowing freely from her mouth. "Send me up the river, will you?" He tightened the belt around his fist. As he raised his hand, Clara acted.
With the lightest touch, Clara broke the window. Stepping into the apartment, she squared her shoulders back. "That will be enough of that."
"Who do you think you are?" Ketchum pulled out a knife. Clara didn't react.
"Someone who's not afraid of you." With a practiced ease, she caught the knife in her bare hand and snapped the blade in two. "And someone who's sick of thugs taking their anger out on innocent people." With only the slightest effort, she lifted the burly man up by his stained undershirt and tossed him through the crumbling wall into the hallway.
Hearing the policemen entering the building, Clara helped the injured woman to her feet. "The police will be here shortly." Wishing to stay longer, but not wishing to tip her hand to the authorities just yet, she bounded out through the broken window as the first officer found Ketchum.
Running back to the Daily Star, she hurriedly dressed herself, making sure to tuck in her cape as she retraced her steps and reentered the lobby. Slipping once again into the stairwell, she kneeled down and jumped, clearing dozens of stories in one mighty leap. Nimbly leaping over the railing, she quietly entered the busy newsroom. Finding a vacant desk, she sat down and quickly typed out the events she witnessed.
The clock on the wall revealed that her entire escapade had taken less than thirty minutes. Finishing up her typing, and editing as she went, she fired off a column length article and neatly stacked the paper. Scooping the papers up in one hand, she slowly made her way through the office and knocked on Mr. Taylor's door. "Yes?"
Entering, she neatly placed the story on his desk. "I found a story sir!"
Taylor's cigar dropped. "What? But you just left" Snatching the top sheet off, he glanced over the article. "a flying woman? This is insane, I asked for a story, not some half-witted kiddy matinee claptrap!"
"Chief, I just got the scoop of the decade!" A tall man burst into the office. Clara was none too gently shoved aside as the stranger thrust a small stack of papers into the editor's hands. Taylor read over the man's article, and his face paled. The stranger stepped back, smugly. "I know it seems fantastic Chief, but I got an eye witness, plus half a dozen cops," he stopped when Taylor held up his hand.
"It's not that Lane." Dropping the article, he picked up Clara's and carefully stared at the two of them. "You're behind the times." Pointing at Clara, he sat down and placed her article in his outgoing box. "Louis Lane, meet Clara Kent, our new reporter."
The rest of the day had been a blur. She had been set up with a small desk in the back and a typewriter of her own, after signing various contracts and agreements. Louis had been dumbstruck. He spent the rest of the day sulking in his office. It wasn't until the end of the working day that Lane approached her before she got in the elevator. "Hey Kent, that was some fancy reporting there."
"Oh?" She knew he was agitated. Listening to his heartbeat alone told her that. "It wasn't anything special really, just luck."
"Luck she says." Lane gestured towards the city's skyline, already becoming lit as the sun began its descent. "Look, it's not often I get scooped, especially by a young lady such as yourself. Why don't I treat you to dinner tonight? I know a great place a few blocks over."
Clara paused. Lane had been a top reporter for the Star for years. Could it be he suspected her secret? If she refused, then he might become more inquisitive. "Sure, I'd love to!" As he grabbed his coat, she prepared herself. "This might prove to my benefit, in more ways than one."
One cab ride later and they were ushered into a swank restaurant. A three-piece band played softly as tuxedoed waiters silently moved in-between the tables. A quick talk with the maitre found them sitting at a table nestled in the back. "So, what do you think?"
"I think this would cost me a week's pay!" Clara scanned the menu and gave a low whistle. "How can you afford to dine here?"
"I did the owner a favor back in the day." Louis smiled broadly. The smile quickly lost its luster when a burly man pushed his way through the crowd and sat down at their table. Louis narrowed his eyes at the man. "Mr. Mason."
The man leaned back laughing. The laugh held little humor. "How do you like that? All that trouble, and its 'Mr. Mason'!"
Clara pushed back her glasses. She recognized the man immediately. Butch Mason had been recently embroiled in a long legal battle. She remembered Louis's article's covering the case. Mason was accused of, among other things, racketeering, bootlegging, and murder. The jury found him not guilty.
Butch snagged a waiter's attention with a snap of his fingers. Two men appeared beside him. They were both tall and dressed in expensive suits. Clara noticed the bulges under their arms. A waiter hurriedly approached the table, a magnum of champagne already cooling in ice on his tray. Snatching the drink, Mason popped the cork and poured himself a large amount into a flute. "Come on Lane, live a little."
"Sorry, but it's a habit of mine not to drink with criminals."
Mason's eyes flashed. His smile was still in place, but it ended below his eyes. "I was found not guilty Lane, a reporter like you ought to get his facts straight."
"Not guiltily doesn't equal innocent Mason."
Mason's smile faded. Downing the contents of the glass, he stood up. "You never know when to keep your mouth shut, do you?" Reaching across the table, he clamped his meaty hands over Louis's shoulders and hauled him to his feet. "Come on pretty boy, we're going for a drive."
Clara's first impulse was to jump up, but the thugs made her rethink her strategy. One of the men left with Mason. The other pointed to her. Mason looked directly at her and snorted. "Keep her busy."
Louis angrily looked at the patrons who were all witness to the scene, but did nothing. He held his head up high as Mason ushered him out. Clara stood up and walked in front of the thug. "He's so brave, but bravery alone can't help us." Seeing Louis go out through the back door, Clara stopped in her tracks. "I have to go powder my nose."
The other man, his lean face looming over her, held up a hand. The lounges were on the other side of the main floor, across the building from the exit. "Ok, sure, but no funny business."
"Wouldn't dream of it!" Making her way to the proper door, she quickly broke into a run and escaped the man's grasp. Slamming the door shut behind her, she took stock of the area. On her left were the lounges. On her right stood a telephone booth. Directly in front of her was a door to the hat check girl's stand, and from there a clear shot to the street.
Running faster than the human eye could follow, she pushed open the checker's door before rushing back and ducking into the phone booth. The heavy wooden door slid into place second before the outer door was kicked open. The gunman, seeing the checker's door swinging, swore and holstered his gun. "Boss isn't going to like this!" He muttered to himself as he darted down the hall.
Once the coast was clear, the phone booth's door opened. Clara stepped out, now wearing her costume. "I'll have to move fast!" Racing forward, she dashed past a confused check girl and ran like a blue bolt through the restaurant's lobby. Once outside, she spied Mason's car racing through the back alley towards the outlying hills. Ignoring the stares, she ran full tilt towards the restaurant's brick wall, and before the eyes of dozens of witnesses, she jumped and cleared the building.
Landing in the alleyway, she broke into a run. "I have to catch them. If they get out of the city, Louis is a goner!" Weaving in and out of traffic, she left the open road and ran parallel to the highway. Pumping her legs faster, she poured on the speed as she darted in front of a passing locomotive and jumped. The leap carried her further down the road.
"I'm not going to get another chance." Slowing down, she jogged to the road and stood still. The car's headlights pierced the darkness. She steeled her nerve as the car came roaring towards her.
"Hey boss, there's some kind of nut standing in the middle of the road!"
"So? Run the bum down." Mason pulled out a pistol from a hidden compartment under his seat.
Louis swallowed. He had been in tight spots before, but staring down the barrel of a gun never became easy. He suddenly became aware of his surroundings for the first time since he had been shoved into the backseat; the feel of the leather under his hands, the smell of smoked cigars and spilled whiskey, and the blinding glare of the headlights as they rapidly approached something in the road. "What is that?"
Clara held her breath and leaned back as she spied her reflection in the car's grill. Falling to the ground, she thrust her hands upwards as the car passed over her. With one good push, the car left the road. Slowly standing up, she spun the vehicle around slowly. "Butch Mason, come on out!"
Overhead, she heard Louis's startled exclamation as he quickly opened the door and dived to safety. Once she saw him running towards a drainage ditch, she lightly tossed the car in the air and caught it. "Do you give up?"
A bullet tearing through the car's floor and bouncing harmlessly off of her back answered her. Tightening her grip, she shook the car back and forth. Mason and the driver both tumbled out. Once they had rolled away, she then slammed the car into a nearby hill, crumbling the steel frame in her bare hands. Tearing away the ruined back bumper, she easily caught the dazed gangster and wrapped the metal beam around them like a bow. "That should hold you!" Picking up their fallen guns, she effortlessly bent the barrels back before emptying them of their deadly ammo. "These might connect you to other crimes, so I'm not going to destroy them."
Leaving them in the dirt, she walked over to a dumbfounded Louis. "Are you ok?"
"Ok?" His jaw was open at the sight before him. "How, who-"
She held up a hand. "I mean you no harm. That's all I can say right now." Putting her arm around him, she lead him back to the restrained gangsters. "Now, I need you to hold on tight. This is going to be a long jump."
"Jump? What are you talking" his words died in his throat as the wind screaming past him and the ground sinking away silenced him. Clutching his rescuer tight, he found himself forcing his eyes open. The ground rushed up to meet them as the stranger landed then leaped again.
After a brief stop at the police station and a quick statement given to a bewildered desk sergeant, Louis found himself on a nearby rooftop. Slipping free from her embrace, he half sat-half collapsed on the tarpaper. When he finally regained his breath and bearings, he looked up at the strange woman. "Who are you?"
"A friend." She turned away, but Louis scrambled to his feet.
"Yes?" She turned around. Louis found himself staring into her deep blue eyes.
"I have to know, what's your name? Are you a hero, like that Wonder gal down in Holliday?"
She paused. "Yes, I suppose you could consider me one."
"Well what's your name?" Louis smiled to himself. This was going to be the story of the year, he could feel it; looking at the crest, he pointed at the stylized 'S'. "What does that stand for? Super?"
Clara blinked. In her travels, no one had ever asked her what her name was, and she never bothered to come up with one. "Yes, yes it does. Superwoman, at your service."
"Superwoman, eh?" Louis grinned. "Nice ring to it. Catchy, to the point, and I think it would look good across five columns."
"Glad you approve." Clara turned around again. Louis reached out and touched her elbow.
"Wait!" She turned around again. "How did you know where I was? How can I get in contact with you again?"
She smiled. "Trade secret dear, but as for contact, don't worry. I plan to stick around for a while. Just look out your window." With that she turned around again and took to the night sky, leaving a confused reporter alone on the roof.
The next day
Clara hummed softly to herself as she stepped off of the bus and made her way into work. Last night had been fun, but she knew she had to be careful. She pushed her glasses up against her face as she checked her hair in her compact.
She had perfect vision, of course, but she found that adding a few details meant that almost no one would see past the imperfections. The hair up in a bun also helped. Getting off with the crowd, she made her way to her desk.
"Ms. Kent!" A red headed office boy rushed up to her. "Mr. Taylor wants to see you in his office!"
"Thanks Jimmy." She put her purse in her drawer and headed towards the office.
Inside sat Mr. Taylor and Louis. Louis barely greeted her, while Mr. Taylor stepped over and pumped her hand. "My dear, I am so glad you're safe! Louis here just got us the scoop of the century," he pointed to a freshly typed article. "But right now I want to talk to you about a new story."
Louis left, but Clara couldn't help but notice how he looked at her before he went back to his desk. She vowed to talk to him later, but Taylor's indicated that he had asked her a question; "Sorry chief?"
"As I was saying, our office in San Monte has been sending us reports. There's been a lot of unrest lately, and I want you to go down there cover it."
"Yes, you. Lane was going to cover it, but I'm putting him on a different assignment." Holding up a copy of the morning edition, Clara gasped as she saw the headline:
"Superwoman Busts Gang!"
"Like it? I'm having the boys in legal get a copyright on it. But as I was saying Clara, this San Monte deal could explode. I need you to go down there and get the scoop." He handed her a fat file folder. "Here's some basic info on the movers and shakers."
Taking the folder, she shook Taylor's hand before going back to her desk. Stopping by Louis's office, she slipped inside, as he was busy typing. "Louis?"
He stopped. "Hmm?" He went back to work.
"Are all your nights so interesting?" Clara gazed over his work. "Another article on Superwoman?"
"You know Kent" the typing stopped. "There's just something off about you."
She stayed calm. "What do you mean Louis?"
"I mean, take yesterday for example. You out scoop me, as well as risking life and limb for a story, but when the chips are down you don't do anything."
"And it's awfully convenient how you are the first person to see this Superwoman character, then she shows up where were having dinner."
Clara straightened up and looked Louis right in the eye. "I guess you figured it out Louis. I'm actually Superwoman in disguise."
"Very funny Kent." He leaned back in his chair. "So, before we were interrupted last night, how did you get that story?"
"Like I said, luck. I overheard some men talking and followed my instincts. I hid on the fire escape when the ruckus happened."
Louis raised his eyebrow. "I suppose so."
"And when Superwoman showed up, well, maybe she likes you."
Louis sported a broad grin at that. "I am quite the catch, eh?"
Clara forced herself not to laugh. "If Superwoman has her eye on you, how could I ever compete?" She quickly left before Louis could respond. "He doesn't suspect, but I'd better be careful around him."
At her desk she opened the folder and began to look at the information. It was mostly articles, but there were some photographs tucked away. Reading over all the articles in a manner of seconds, she turned her attention to the photos.
Most of the pictures showed various scenes of destruction, attributed to the various forces fighting, but a handful stood out. One photo showed a man Clara recognized shaking hands with the government forces. The man in question was a US senator, Joseph Barrows. He had been an outspoken supporter of the San Monte government and from what she recalled was currently in D.C., arguing for an armed intervention.
There was something else, though, that stood out. Behind the senator was a man. He was tall, rail thin, and dressed in a rather expensive looking suit. While she was tempted to write the figure off as either a San Monte official or aide to Senator Barrows, another photo slipped free from the stack and fluttered to the floor.
It was a picture of the rebel leaders standing around a wrecked supply truck. That alone was not unusual, but Clara's super sharp eyes picked up something in that picture. The same man standing behind the senator was also standing behind the rebel leaders. Still wearing the same suit, he had his hand up to block most of his face. Squinting, Clara could make out the same monogrammed handkerchief sticking out of the man's breast pocket. "So, someone is playing both sides of the field, eh?"
Checking a report, Clara smiled grimly as she read the latest news. "Senator Barrows is going to be addressing Congress tomorrow, eh? This looks like a job for Superwoman."
Gathering up the materials, she stuffed them back into the folder. "Looks like I'm going to Washington instead of San Monte. But dare I tell Mr. Taylor about this?"
Admittedly what she had was little less than a hunch, and Mr. Taylor didn't pay for hunches. "I know Barrows is mixed up in this, but is he being duped or" she paused. Accusing a senator could have some problems unless she had some serious airtight proof. "So it looks like I'll have to get some."
Leaving the office, she made her way to the roof. "San Monte won't get me the evidence I need. No, the problem starts in Washington. If Barrows and that stranger are pulling the strings, then Washington would be the place to go." Unbuttoning her blouse, she wrapped the garment around the folder. "I'd better protect this." Unzipping the skirt, she wrapped it around the bundle and tucked it into her cape. "As Clara, a train ticket might arouse suspicion. How could I explain it to Mr. Taylor? Superwoman doesn't need a ticket. I could run faster than a train anyway."
Leaping from the roof, she bounded her way across the city, heading south, towards the capital. "I only hope I'm wrong about this."
The next day
Clara straightened out her skirt as she gazed out on the nation's capital. Around her men of influence hustled and bustled their way up and down the Capital's steps. "Now, if I can just find Senator Barrows"
Stepping inside the Capital Building, she flashed her press badge to the security guards and found her answer. When one of the guards offered to lead her to the senator's office, she smiled politely and fell in step behind him. The building was alive with people. Voices and accents from all over the world talked, whispered and more around her, leaving her feeling like she was swimming in noise. "First time in the capital?"
The noise was giving her a headache. "Oh, yes. I was just wanting to get a few words from the senator."
The guard began to talk, but she tuned him out as they neared the senator's office. Straining her ears, she heard the unmistakable sound of two voices. One of the speakers was clearly annoyed with the other. "How many times do I have to tell you, never at my office! Come to my home only, around 8:30."
The voice, a smooth sounding one, seemed to be calmer, but not by much. "And how many times do I have to tell you to relax? No one knows me or my actual purpose. They'll think I'm just another lobbyist, and who would look twice at one of those?"
Clara stepped back from the guard as a familiar figure left from the senator's office. "So that's him!" The man matched his picture exactly. She said nothing as he walked by, but she made a note to follow him after she spoke to the senator.
"The senator will see you now."
Entering the office, she shook the offered hand and took a seat. "What do I owe this pleasure young lady?"
"Clara Kent for the Star senator, and I have some questions regarding your stance on San Monte."
Barrows smiled. He had answered similar questions before. "Ah yes, well, the situation down there is deplorable, of course, but I am confidant things will be improved shortly."
"But what if things grow worse?"
Barrows patted her hand like she was a particularly dull child in school. "My dear, why don't you write about something else, and let the men do the thinking?"
Clara bit back the urge to slap his hand. Glancing out the window, she spied the man from before getting into a taxi. "Perhaps you're right. All this talk is making me feel faint." Rising, she quickly left the office and went to the local newspaper morgue. A quick flash of her employee identification gained her access to the papers. Flicking on the light and locking the door, she burned through the newsprint like wildfire, until her search bore fruit. She found a photo of the man and his identity
"Alex Greer? So that's his name! 8:30, eh?"
Tucked away in one of the many high rises dotting the city, Barrows and Greer began their business, unaware of a blue clad eavesdropper hanging onto the ledge outside the apartment. She had been there since sunset, but things were finally starting to heat up.
Barrows downed the contents of his snifter as Greer walked into the room. "I've told you, never come to my office! Can you imagine my career if I were caught speaking with you?"
Greer sneered and poured himself a cocktail. "Pipe down. I had to see you, to make sure everything was going to plan. Did you get the bill pushed?"
Barrows chortled. "Of course my boy. The bill will get pushed before anyone can understand what the full implications are, and before anyone can act, we'll be embroiled with Europe!"
Greer joined in the laughter. "That's what we wanted to hear." Clara heard the gentle sound of patting. "You did good senator, and we take care of those who do us right."
"Good." The sound of rustling glasses and a door distracted Clara, but the senator's parting words to Greer came in loud and clear. "I suppose you're going to be well taken care of yourself?" Hosting herself to the ledge, she peered into the apartment as Greer was leaving.
She gritted her teeth. "You bet he will!" Slipping into the building via an open window, she stepped out into the hallway. Greer was in front of her, preparing to board the elevator. "Who's behind you in corrupting Barrows?" Her steely voice rang out in the suddenly cramped hall.
Greer spun around. "I don't know what you're talking about!" He stepped back and raised his cane. "Now get away from me before I send for the police!"
She was undaunted. "So, one of those silent men, eh? We'll see, whether you talk!" She lunged for him. Greer slammed the heavy cane down on her shoulder, but the crafted oak splintered against her. She latched onto his wrist and pulled.
"Let go of my wrist!" He stabbed the broken piece of wood into her face, but to his horror, the wood chipped and broke harmlessly against her skin. He dropped the cane as she released her hold. Dropping his coat, he made a mad dash for the stairwell, but he had barely made a step when he felt her iron vice of a grip around his ankle.
"No matter, your foot will do just as well!" Yanking him backwards, she wrapped her arms around his midsection and started running towards the window. With a practiced pop, she tore the glass out of the frame and stepped out onto the narrow ledge. Adjunct to the building were a series of telephone poles and wires. With little effort on her part, she jumped out of the window towards the wires.
"Stop! Stop, we'll be electrocuted!" Greer was hysterical.
"No we won't." Superwoman calmly answered him, as if what she was doing was no more hazardous than walking down the block. "Birds sit on telephone wires and they aren't electrocuted-" she hefted the struggling Greer over her head before she picked up speed. "Not unless they touch a telephone pole and are grounded!" Lightly leaping, she cleared a pole by inches. "Oops, almost touched that one!" Greer began to sob loudly.
Stopping, she balanced nimbly on the wires above the busy traffic. "Look, it's the Capital, let's go pay it a visit!"
'Take me down, take me down!" Greer was screaming.
"I've always wanted to see the dome up close!" Superwoman perched carefully and jumped. Her leap, accompanied by Greer's wailing, carried her across the street to the very dome of the building. "What a magnificent view!"
"Help!" Greer was quivering with fear. He shouted madly at the roosting pigeons.
"Say, you think I could jump all the way to that building?" Superwoman pointed to a distant office high rise. She stayed calm throughout, even letting Greer go. The man sank to his knees and screamed. "Well, that's enough of a break."
"No, please, don't!" Greer clawed madly at the roof as Superwoman picked him up and slung him over her shoulders. Despite his frenzied protests, Superwoman leapt out into the night. The sky and ground zipped by as they sailed through the air, but Greer's organs shook as the grim truth hit him. Superwoman had misjudged the jump. He howled with fear as the rooftop rushed up to meet them, but the edge rushed past his captor's outstretched hand.
"Missed, doggone it!" Superwoman's causal attitude overwhelmed him. As the pavement came up to them the now fully delirious man slipped into a blessedly unconscious state.
The following story was based on "The Coming of Superman" and the "Origin of Superman" with all credits to Joe Simon and Jerry Sigel. The story was first published Action Comics #1 (June 1938), with most of the concepts and character now belonging to the creator's estate with several other concepts/characters still belonging to DC.
Inspiration, as always comes from the infinitely patient Kalinara from Pretty Frizzy Paradise, for coming up with most of the concepts and ideas you see here.
Be sure to tune in next time, when Superwoman goes to San Monte and gets to the bottom of things in "Revolution!"
Upcoming titles (coming soon to a monitor near you!)
Detective Comics #1-The Case of the Chemical Syndicate
Sensation Comics #2-Enter Dr. Poison!