Evolution Chapter 19
Edge of Darkness
Scene: Kent farm.
"Clark, can I see that knife?" Laura asked politely. "Don't worry, I'm not going to use it on someone. I want my friend, Tim Servo, to analyze the blood particles on the blade."
"Gross, but why?" Lois butted in. "I don't believe that Mosuban is who he says he is." Laura explained. "We know that he's probably Mobus Khan." Clark contributed. "True, but we also don't know if he's human." Laura informed them. "Huh? Where did you get that from?" Kara inquired.
"I believe that Mosuban is some kind of genetically enhanced being." Laura still sounded like she was grasping at straws. "On the basis of what?" Clark questioned. "Let's call it a hunch." Laura said vaguely. "Didn't we just discuss picking a side, and trust values, Laura?" Lois accused.
"Yes. But what if I'm wrong? I might just be chasing shadows." Laura defended. "Okay, but where did you get the idea?" Kara wondered out loud, questioning her new friend. "Let's check the news channels." Laura suggested. "I believe that I hit Mosuban in the shoulder, hence the blood particles. Clark picked up the knife before the police did."
Laura flipped through the news channels with the remote. "Check out this interview that Mosuban gave right after the incident. No blood, no bandage, no injury…not even a scratch." Laura pressed the freeze frame. Clark and Kara examined the image with their exceptional vision.
"She's right!" Clark agreed. "Did you hit someone else?" Lois asked logically. "That's what I need to determine." Laura sighed with frustration. Clark replayed the preceding events in his mind's eye. "You know, Laura, I'm reasonably sure that you did hit Mosuban." Superman confirmed.
"Someone with regenerative cell properties?" Lois put out there. "Perhaps, a meteor freak ability?" She added. "Possibly." Clark agreed. "Yet as far as we know, Mosuban has never been to Smallville or Metropolis before." Kara frowned. "A phantom Zoner that we missed?"
"That also could be the connection between Lex and Rex Rowland." Lois offered. "A person with meteor rock enhanced regeneration…" Kara interrupted her. "You know if that's true, Mosuban could conceivably live forever." Lois was stunned. "Or as long as he kept paying Lex or Rex for his 'therapy'." Clark wasn't convinced. "We're still jumping to conclusions."
"Exactly. That's why I need to get the knife to Tim now, before the blood dries on it." Laura insisted. "Okay. Do it!" Clark decided to trust the turbo teen. His conviction suddenly impressed Lois. Her eyes yellowed briefly, and she became anxious, nervous, even angrier. Was the meteor rock infection beginning to take its toll on Lois?
Clark handed the knife to Laura and she immediately zipped back to Falcon Claw. "Clark, Kara, I'm going back to work. I need to do something, or I'll go crazy." She announced as Kara and Clark exchanged worried glances. Lois packed up her laptop and super sped to the Daily Planet.
She'd left her car in Clark's driveway. Kara stated the obvious: "She's starting to break down." Clark nodded. "Lois is becoming too dependent on her powers. It's like being addicted to drugs for a human." He added. "It's time that I called Dr. Emil Hamilton."
Kara silently wondered what good that would do. "I don't know what to expect, but I have to trust Marcus Worthington's judgment on this. He'd already helped John Jonz with his unique physiology." Clark discussed. "It can't hurt." Kara reluctantly agreed. "It's not as if we can just drag her over to Smallville Medical."
"She wouldn't go anyway, Lois is far too stubborn." Clark observed. "Not unlike someone I know." Kara's eyes sparkled as she threw in the playful dig. "If he can't help her, Kal, we'd better have a back up plan." She zoomed upstairs and returned with a brown, lead lined box.
Kara put on some common rubber kitchen-cleaning gloves and opened the box. In it glistened a small chunk of blue kryptonite, roughly the size of a tennis ball. "You found it?" Clark asked his little cousin in amazement. "Yes. I figure if we don't touch it directly, it can't zap our powers away. It's not like the green kryptonite that knocks us completely on our butts."
She pulled out another set of gloves for Clark. "I'll create the facets and the ring holders." He volunteered, hyper speeding away and returning a few moments later. Kara assembled the rings' pieces and painstakingly melted the blue kryptonite down to a roughly hewn piece, with her heat vision, that fit inside the rings' facets.
"Why are we making three?" Kara asked innocently. "Are you expecting one or two to break?" Clark smirked. "Not exactly. I'll tell you when you're a little older." She cast him a sidelong glance. The two aliens worked hard, adjusting their pinpoint heat vision to melt away the excess blue K from the three centerpiece gems.
"Almost ready." Kara announced as she ran the rings through some icy cold water. The gems were now set in place, melted to fit each unique facet. "You're sure that the blue kryptonite will absorb Lois's powers?" Kara asked. "Yes. It should work the same way on her as it did on me. I was basically human while wearing Lara's ring."
Kara chuckled. "I want to see the expression on Lois's face, when you give her the ring. Are you going to get down on one knee?" She needled her cousin. "Let's not get carried away. The blue ring is simply a tool." Clark defended.
"Kal, you have no sense of romance, do you?" She continued to ride him. "Now remember, we're using this ring as a last resort." He added. "I'm assuming that Dr. Hamilton will be able to somehow remove the kryptonite infection without harming Lois."
Clark pocketed the ring, carefully placing it inside one of three miniature, crudely created, ring boxes. Kara held one ring up against the sunlight. It shone through the gem brightly, creating a prismatic effect on the kitchen walls. "We do great work, cuz!" Kara and Clark gave each other a high five.
Over at the Daily Planet – Lois Lane sat uncomfortably, fidgeting frequently at the desk within her cubicle. She'd completed her preliminary story of the attempt on Mosuban's life. Her alleged eyewitness account lacked any detail on his assailant, instead claiming that it all happened so fast.
"Lane!" Perry bellowed. "On the way chief!" Lois yelled back across the mostly silent newsroom. She grabbed her laptop, set to her latest story rendition, and headed into the Editor's Office. She sat down across from Perry, still jumpy, and irritable.
"Lane, what's wrong with you? You're acting like a cat on a hot tin roof." Perry said with concern. Lois shrugged. "Too much excitement today, chief." She replied lamely. "Uh huh. So what happened out there?" He questioned her. His naturally suspicious personality took over.
"We're not exactly sure." She began. "The ongoing theory is that one of the protesters got into the Assembly Hall and tried to take either Lex, Rex Rowland, or Mosuban out. They all have a myriad of enemies, and people that they've screwed over the years."
"I see." Perry eyed her skeptically. "You didn't get a glimpse of the attacker?" Lois gulped. "Nope. Sorry chief. I guess that I dropped the ball on this one. It all happened so fast." At least she wasn't lying about that much.
"Observation, Lane. That's what makes a good reporter, great. More attention to detail." Perry lectured her. "Kent see anything?" He asked hopefully. Lois shook her head. "No sir. I guess that I panicked and jumped into Kent's lap, blocking his view." She held back a snicker. "That so?" Perry smirked. "How're you two getting along?"
Lois shrugged. "Aces, chief. Kent's good people." She said honestly. Perry smiled outright, a rarity indeed. "See, I told you that I know a good team when I see one." Lois was still fidgeting. "The Army didn't prepare you for sneak attacks, huh?" Perry asked half seriously.
"No. I guess I spent too much time running away from the Army Staff to learn anything." Lois danced around the subject. "I was afraid that my dad, the General, would nail my hide to the barracks wall if he caught me playing grabass with the boys on the base."
Perry laughed heartily. Lois had managed to charm her way out of a stern lecture. "Anything else?" she offered. "No. I suppose the paper will just have to run with the rest of the pack. If no one can identify the assailant, it'll just be a police matter. I expect a follow up story, though, Lane, keep at it!"
"Will do, chief." Lois gave him a mock salute. "Off you go, Lane, I have a paper to run!" Perry dismissed her pleasantly. She headed back to her cubicle, and much to her amazement, in walked H.K. Mosuban. He stopped to ask directions, and strolled towards her.
Game on, Lois! She mentally encouraged herself.
Night of the Blur - Chapter 20
"Mr. Mosuban, I see you're no worse for the wear from this morning's debacle." Lois gathered all her courage and professionalism together and shook the businessman's hand. It made her ill to think of the possible evil behind the calm, pleasant, foreign banking mogul's exterior.
"Don't judge our entire country by this event." Lois added diplomatically. "I would respectfully say, that you should be mindful of the company you keep. Rex Rowland and Lex Luthor are not well liked in this city or others." Mosuban nodded, obviously gauging his next words.
"I wish to thank you, Miss Lane. Your quick response may have saved more than one life today." Mosuban pandered. "Any responsible citizen would do the same." Lois downplayed. "Have there been any leads on the assailant?" Mosuban fished for information as Lois sat back down.
"Regrettably, no." Lois smiled coolly. "Metropolis is a big city, with many urban problems." Mosuban nodded, vainly trying to view Lois's computer monitor. At his approach, she'd casually turned the monitor towards the rear of her cubicle, not that anything important was on it.
"You didn't happen to get a look at the attacker?" Mosuban politely prodded. "Unfortunately, no. All I saw was a black and yellow blur. The assailant was far too athletic for me, or perhaps had an accomplice ready with transportation nearby." Lois evaded.
"We have no idea who the thug was, or who his intended target may have been." Lois added. "Is there anything else I can help you with?" Mosuban considered that, silently. "Your young man, the one that was with you, do you think that he saw anything?" Lois shrugged. "Clark would've told the police all he knew by now. Have you checked with them?"
Mosuban nodded. "Yes, but they haven't come up with anything new." Lois glanced at him blankly. "Maybe the security cameras caught some image?" She offered, silently hoping that Kara and Laura had disabled all of the security monitors, before Laura decided to take the assault to the next level.
"Perhaps." Mosuban quickly looked over Lois's desk, most likely to see if she'd left any relevant information out in the open. "The police say it is an ongoing investigation." He added, as Lois patiently tapped her pen on the desktop.
"I'm glad you're all right, Mr. Mosuban." Lois was trying to politely get rid of him before she received a call from someone like Clark, Kara, or Laura. "Maybe the police will have some new leads soon." Mosuban nodded his acknowledgment. "Keep reading the paper!" Lois quipped.
Mosuban said his goodbyes and headed back out to the lobby. Lois shook her head, going back to her latest story. A young woman strolled past her desk, and suddenly turned to face her. Lois glanced up briefly. "Was that the business mogul, HK Mosuban I just saw stopping by your desk?" She asked, casually. The woman was dressed provocatively, in a low cut, fire engine red, form-fitting dress.
"Yes." Lois replied. "He was trying to pump me for information." The young woman smirked. "I suppose that's all he was trying to pump you for." Lois winced. "Excuse me? Do I know you?" The young woman flipped her lengthy brown hair over her shoulder. "I don't believe so."
She extended a thin hand, with well-manicured fingernails. "Catherine Grant, new fashion reporter for the Planet." Lois reluctantly shook it. "Miss Grant. I usually only let my closest friends insult me." She menaced.
"I don't mean any disrespect, Miss Lane, but I do always speak my mind. Judging by that dingy green and brown outfit you're wearing, you've never heard of me, or read my articles in Seventeen, Vanity Fair, or Lady Forbes weekly." Catherine jabbed.
Lois was doing a slow burn. The last thing she needed was a smart-ass new employee in her face. Catherine was also toying with her life by getting on Lois's bad side. "For your information, Miss Grant, this office has a dress code. You obviously didn't get the memo." Lois sniped.
"Ooh! Meow!" Catherine made a cat scratching gesture with her hands. "We are catty today, Miss Lane. No matter, I enjoy a good challenge. I'll talk you into updating your wardrobe if it kills me." Catherine
smirked. "For your information, I'm on a budget, and I actually work for a living." Lois countered. "A budget is no excuse for not looking your best." Grant said, calming Lois's ire a bit.
"I am working, Miss Lane. It's my vocation to spread good fashion throughout the city, and eventually the world." Catherine said boldly. "I work behind a desk, not under it!" Lois snapped.
"Oh my! Miss Lane, don't be petty!" Catherine countered. "I am very good at what I do, which is why the Daily Planet hired me." Lois sighed, mad at herself for letting Grant get under her skin.
Grant stalked towards Perry White's office, and Lois gulped. Had she let Grant push her too far? The fashion reporter flashed an evil grin back at Lois, just as she entered Perry's office. Lois sat back down, angry, and tired. This week had really sucked, she thought miserably, placing her head in her hands.
A few minutes later, Catherine Grant returned. Lois reddened. "I'm sorry Miss Lane, I spoke out of line. It won't happen again. In fact, I've no intention of ever talking to you again." Lois sighed and swallowed some pride. "Miss Grant, I didn't act professionally. I'm…uh…sorry." She choked out. "Thank you, that's very big of you." Grant remarked. "Oh, here's some of my work."
Catherine handed a small stack of fashion magazines to Lois. "I'm going to be working out of that cubicle across the aisle from…Clark Kent?" She read Clark's desk nameplate. "My job consists of going to every fashion and social event on the calendar, so I won't be here very often. I suspect there's no danger of you becoming my new BFF."
Lois resisted the urge to give her a list of acronyms she could think of, none of which would be complimentary. Grant was right. If they were to work in the same office, they'd have to at least tolerate one another. Where the hell is Clark when I need him? She wondered silently.
The two women shared an uncomfortable silence. "Apparently, we can both work on our people skills." Catherine gibed. "Agreed." Lois responded, extending a hand. "Good luck with your new job." She forced herself to be amicable toward the young fashion-ista. "Thank you, and good luck with doing whatever it is you do." Grant said, before thinking it through.
Lois groaned, straining to keep her temper in check. "I'm a journalist, Miss Grant. Have you read my expose on the Mowhala Drug Cartel? Or the amazing red and blue blur?" Catherine seemed lost in thought for a moment. "Yes, I believe I read about the blur. Do you think he's cute?"
Lois sighed patiently. Yes he's cute. She thought silently, but said: "We don't know that the blur is a he. We're just making assumptions." Catherine smiled wickedly. "I bet I can draw him out of hiding, I mean what hero could resist a damsel in distress?" The girls' verbal jousting was cut short by Perry White, motioning Lois into his office. My turn in the barrel, she mentally grumbled.
"I guess I have to get back to work." Grant said, finally taking the hint. "So many parties, so little time. Nice meeting you, Miss Lane." Lois dismissed her with a wave. "Seriously, though, please upgrade your wardrobe. I'm only trying to help." She left as Perry folded his arms impatiently.
Lois warily joined Perry in his office. "Lois, have a seat." She sighed and sat down, memo pad in hand. "Miss Grant was just in here…" Perry began. "I apologized to her already for being somewhat unprofessional." Lois cut him off. "Yeah, I get that. I really do. Mark my words, I read her the riot act for being disruptive, and told her that she needed to be a people person if she wanted to succeed."
Perry continued. "We all need to get along. This is a team. Grant isn't the issue. She was hired because she's the best at what she does." Lois flashed him a lopsided grin. I bet she is, she thought wickedly. "Besides, she knows some members of the Board of Directors." Perry added. "Though you didn't hear that from me." Lois nodded. I bet she knows the Board intimately. She silently sniped.
"I called you in because I want you and Kent to track this red and blue blur story." Perry instructed her. "Something smells about this story, and I want you two to find the skunk in the rose garden, so to speak. What's this blur up to? Why's he focusing on Metropolis? How's he walk the line between vigilantism, and being a helpful, concerned citizen?"
Lois was stunned. I could just ask him, she mentally decided. "These are the kinds of questions we need to be asking." Perry continued, off on one of his famous lectures. "Clark and I will get right on it." Lois promised. "That's what I wanted to hear, Lois." Perry grinned thinly.
"That's why I'm assigning you two to the City Beat. That's where we'll find our answers, and how we'll get the big story." Perry added. "It's a lot of work, following the City Beat. That's why I'm setting you both up on it. Kent's wet behind the ears, but he's got heart and initiative."
"As for you, and I'm only telling you this for your own good, Lois…" Perry said seriously as Lois swallowed hard. "You need to find some passion. You're professional, that's good, but to be great, you have to really get into a story." Lois flushed. "Thanks, Chief."
"Where is Kent, anyway?" Perry glanced around the office behind her. "Um…I've got him chasing details on the near assassination attempt this morning at the press conference." It wasn't exactly a lie, Lois told herself. Clark probably was working on tracking Mosuban, Rowland, and Lex down.
"That's good. Most important stories need a lot of leg work." Perry commented. "One more thing, Lois, we have to make our own stories sometimes, not just wait for a sensational one to drop into our laps. Metropolis is a cesspool. Every corner probably holds a story."
"Got it, Chief." Lois said automatically. "Okay, that's all for now. It's almost five o'clock, time to pack it up." Perry said. "Thanks, I still have some details to add to the red and blue blur follow up." Lois boasted. "That's my girl!" Perry smiled. She got up and returned to her cubicle.
Lois got on the phone immediately to Clark. "Mosuban was just here. He was fishing for information. I wanted to follow him, but got called into Perry White's office. You need to put some face time in at the office soon, Smallville, Perry's giving us the City Beat, that's where all the action is."
"One more thing, Clark. I want you to take me out on patrol with you. Get ready for the red and blue blur and his plus one!" She quipped.