So this is kind of a spur of the moment story idea. It might not go anywhere, or it might go places. We'll see together. For the sake of making everything work, It will kind of be Dark Angel in Smallville world. When the escape happens, Max and her 'siblings' would already be full grown adults. It takes place during the beginning of season 8 for Smallville. The escape happen a few months ago, so Max has been wandering across the country, picking up things here and there before she finally reaches Metropolis. The rest will be revealed in good time (:


Lois walked briskly through the cubicles of the Daily Planet. She held a pile of papers in her hands, her heels clicking against the marble floor. "Smallville!" her voice broke through the air as she reached the desk that she shared with the former small town farmer. Clark looked up from his keyboard, offering the usual smile.

"Hey Lois" he replied, waiting to see what crazy news she was recruiting him for today.

Her response was dropping the papers onto his desk. "Have you read about that facility they're building in between Smallville and Metropolis?" without waiting for a response she carried on, "I did some digging, I don't think it's just some new high-tech Agricultural facility."

While she was speaking Clark began glancing over some of the papers she had placed in front of him. It was all a jumble and hard to put together. There was one name that kept reappearing though. "Manticore?"

"That's the whole project behind this facility. The thing is, they're not the ones with their name on the front of this building," Lois supplied the answer. Clark was starting to think that maybe Lois was onto something, as she usually was with these odd and obscure stories.

He had to admit that this was something he had thought about at first. They still hadn't heard from Lex since he returned and Clark's first assumption was another 33.1 facility. But this Manticore company that Lois mentioned was something completely unexpected. "So who is founding this?"

"Take a guess" she commented before grabbing a page from under the stack and placing it on top.

"Luthor Corp."

"It's part of their new 'green initiative'" air quotes surrounded green initiative as she finished. "We both know that's a load of crap. Whatever Manticore is doing, Luthor Corp wants a part of it" And that never meant it was a good thing.

Clark looked at Lois, already knowing what she was thinking. The decision was whether he wanted to accompany her to the facility or let her go alone and risk having to save her later. "When do you want to check it out?"

"Now"

As Clark nodded, he spotted their new boss Tess Mercer out of the corner of his eye. She was the temporary head of Luthor Corp, and he couldn't help but wonder if she had a hand in this. After all she inherited all of Lex's projects. Clark wasn't going to press the issue now. He wanted to remain out of Tess' line of fire as long as possible; especially after how they met.


"Lois, I really think you need to be careful with these stories and the new boss" Clark said as Lois parked the car and they got out.

"Please, you think Tess Mercer is going to censor me? I have a freedom of speech Clark. In turn, that means I have freedom to print that speech" Lois said explaining as they looked at the building that was still under construction.

Clark simply sighed and shook his head, Lois Lane was not one to be reasoned with. "At least it looks like we won't have to physically break in for once." when his fellow reporter looked at him confused he nodded towards the wooden frame of the building. "They haven't even finished the walls yet."

"Good observation, Kent" Lois said with a smile as she lead them towards the location, glancing around for any security guards or other personal that would foil them.

As Lois slid through the wooden frame, Clark glanced around, using his x-ray vision to see inside. Surprisingly, it was empty. There were a few construction workers in the distance but not what you'd expect for a big building that was nearing completion.

That was the first floor anyway.

As his head turned down, it was a different story. On the basement level, or what he assumed was the basement level, there were multiple skeletal figures. Clark was starting to get the familiar sense that he did with the many other facilities Lex and Luthor Corp had built over the years.

"Clark! Come on!" Lois broke him from his gazing with a harsh whisper. Looking around once more, Clark nodded before continuing through the hole she had. Using the sunlight from outside they ventured in, careful and quiet as they moved along. "Looks more like an abandon factory then a new one."

Once again, the kryptonian had to agree with her. Though there were brand new consoles and conveyor belts set-up, they looked completely untouched. Some of them even had dust starting to collect. Add to it that this floor was practically empty, and you would never guess that it was a new facility. Pausing at one of the consoles, Clark looked it over. It truly was just an ordinary console.

"I'm not seeing anything that looks like it'd help with agriculture" Lois commented as she too began to look over the equipment. "There has to be something else here."

"Maybe we should just call it a day Lois" Clark stated, already sure of where this line of conversation was going.

"Don't pansy out on me now, Sma—" she stopped as deep voices carried through the facility. Immediately they dropped down.

They stayed crouched as the voices grew closer, then suddenly were interrupted by a ding and the sound of doors opening. Lois looked over to Clark and mouthed 'elevator' even using an up and down hand motion to show it. When the doors slid closed again, Lois poked her head up to make sure the coast was clear. Without looking back she maneuvered her way towards the source of the sound, leaving Clark in her wake.

Clark finally caught up with her, but Lois was already at the elevator, and waiting for it to arrive. "This doesn't feel like it could be leading to something bad?"

"Of course it does, that's why we're investigating. This is why you won't get the front page story Clark. You have to go after the big story."

Before he could get another word in, the ding signaling the arrival of the elevator. As the doors slid open there was a suspended pause, only to be relieved when the elevator showed empty. Giving Clark that reassuring 'I told you so' smile, Lois stepped into the elevator.

"B1, B2, B3. This thing goes three levels deep. You can't tell me they're not hiding something" she said as she glanced at the buttons. Pressing B3 she went with the logic that the good things were always the best hidden ones.

"This is risky Lois" even though he was stating the obvious, it was mandatory to say it. At least for his conscious.

She didn't respond, only watched as they began to descend. Unfortunately, they didn't account for someone on the lower levels calling for the elevator. They just passed the first floor when suddenly they stopped on the second. "Lois…"

"I didn't stop it" They shared a look, both knowing they were in trouble. As the ding went off the doors began to open when Lois quickly hit the door close button and held it in. "What it's the best idea that I have" she muttered to Clark as he gave her a bewildered look. After a few waited moments the elevator began to move again and Lois turned to him and smiled. "See."

As if on cue a red light began flashing inside the elevator. "Great" Clark commented. Reaching over he hit the first floor button. "We need to get out of here."

When they reached the first floor, they were greeted with two unsuspected guards. In return one guard was greeted with a swift kick to the groin, and the other had his gun slammed against his face, followed by an elbow to the back of the neck.

"Lois!"

"What? you said we had to get out of here right? I doubt they wanted to talk" she replied as she moved over the downed guards and ran towards the entrance they came through, Clark following behind her.

As they finally reached her car, they could hear sirens from the building going off and were more than happy to drive away unnoticed. "That's definitely not your average famers' plant."


Moving to stand Clark looked out from the barn, over the cornfields. He was still thinking about the days earlier events and what they discovered; or rather what they didn't discover. Technically they hadn't seen a thing, but to say that those basement floors were empty would be naïve. And to think Lois would just up and give up on something this promising would be a foolish wish.

Thinking over the events, a distant sound pierced through his superhearing. There was grunting and the sound of a struggle. It took him a moment to pinpoint the location of his sound before speeding off towards Metropolis.

Running, Clark saw the fight in slow motion. A masked man was attacking a brunette haired woman in black clothing. Continuing his movement, it was a fluid moment as he grabbed the supposed attacker by the back of his shirt and flung him across the alley before coming to a stop. Turning to the female, she stood stunned as there was a distant thud of the man falling into the dumpster.

"Who are you?" she demanded, her expression one of confusion and anger.

"I'm a friend" Clark assured her, putting his hands up to show innocence. "Are you okay?"

She continued to look at Clark with a skeptical eye as she nodded, "Nothing I couldn't handle."

Usually he didn't stay around and talk with the people he helped but he couldn't stop himself. He felt compelled to talk to this woman, whoever she was. Maybe it was just her natural beautiful looks, or maybe it was some unknown pull. Clark looked her over. She definitely didn't look like your average victim of a robbery or attack.

She wore black leather pants, and a black jacket that was zipped up. From the looks of it, she didn't have any jewelry or valuables on her. Of course that didn't mean you could be a victim of a random attack. "Did you lose a purse or anything?"

"I'm fine" she stated, her voice firm. In all honesty she didn't know if she could trust this figure before her. Everything about him read friendly and trustworthy, but she couldn't trust anyone. Yet, he didn't seem to be just anyone. He had come from nowhere and thrown the Manticore man a good twenty yards. "How did you…"

Clark rubbed the back of his neck, unsure of whether to be honest or not. "I'm not from around here" he said, giving his cliché answer. "I don't even know you're name."

"Max" she stated, offering her hand. She had stiffened a bit when he said he wasn't from around here. Did he mean here as in Metropolis? Yet when he claimed to not know her, that had to be a positive sign. Maybe he wasn't some new Manticore goon.

"Clark Kent. Well Max, you seem a bit on edge. Do you need company back to your apartment?" he offered, taking her hand and shaking it.

It was Max's turn to be a bit shy and embarrassed. "Uhm, I don't really have an apartment here yet. Thanks for the offer though"

"Do you have a place to stay?" Clark asked, raising an eyebrow. "I live in Smallville a small town not too far from here, there's an open room if you want to stay."

Max looked at the stranger with a puzzled look. He really was something different. He seemed to have abilities that were unexplained, and now he was generously offering her a place to stay. In any other situation she would turn it down, but giving what just took place in the last ten minutes, this wasn't any other situation. Not to mention a small town outside of the city might be perfect for her to lay low.

"I'll take you up on your offer, Clark" she finally spoke, offering a smile. She didn't know if she could trust him, but at the moment Max had no reason to fear him.

It turned out that taking Clark's offer worked out better then she could have thought. Not only was his home in a small town, but it was on a farm away from the city. She just accepted it as a sign.

"The bathroom is upstairs and to the right, I'll get some sheets for your bed" Clark stated as he opened the door to the house. "Do you want a drink or anything?"

"Um, just water is fine" she said, looking around the house. It had a very homely feel. Or what she would assume was a homely feel, she didn't know from personal experience. "This is all very nice of you Clark," she said as she walked into the living room. Looking at the images on the wall and mantle.

"It's something I inherited from my parents I guess. They were always helping others and bringing them in…" he called from the kitchen, not only speaking about himself but they had helped Lois as well.

Max continued to look through the photos, and from the images there she could see Clark's words held truth. The elderly woman in the pictures had red hair, while the man had dirty blonde and seemed to be a farmer. In every picture they were smiling and happy. They seemed to be what one would expect from a Midwest farming family. "They seem nice"

"They were, well are" Clark said as he walked into the living room with a glass of water. "My dad passed away a few years ago, my mom is a senator in Washington now."

Just from examining his face, Max stayed quiet as she didn't want to interrupt what seemed to be him having found memories. Taking the glass of water, she sipped it slowly. A feeling of emptiness started to creep over her. Max wondered how her life would be if she had caring parents during her lifetime.

"I should go set up your bed. I think Lois left some of her clothes here from when she moved that'll fit you" he spoke, breaking the silence.

"Yeah" Max said nodding, her voice low and cracking.

Clark moved towards the stairs but not before glancing back at Max briefly. He didn't know anything about her other than her name. When he had met her in the alley she was anything but welcoming, more like aggressive and standoff-ish. Yet as he looked at her now, he saw another trait. She was vulnerable.

Maybe that's why despite the other things he welcomed her in. True some would say his judgment of character was too kind at times, but that's how he was raised. Lex Luthor was an extreme case, that didn't mean everyone he met would turn out to be a psychotic billionaire.

Smiling he made his way up the stairs and to the guest room to set up the bed and find her some more comfortable clothes.


"Max, I have to go —" Clark stopped as he pushed the door open slightly. Max had her bare back to him as she pulled her hair to the side.

The kryptonian hero watched entranced as she went through her movements. As she pulled her shirt over her head, Clark stepped back closing the door quietly before knocking. Hoping his face wasn't too flushed from what he had just done.

"Come in" Max called finally.

Clark pushed open the door to see she was fully dressed in nightwear, a tank top and shorts. Swallowing he offered a smile, "I have work tomorrow so I'll be heading into town unless you needed me to stay?"

"No, of course not. Don't let my presence impede you Clark" Max assured him.

"Alright, well I'll leave my number on the counter incase you need me for anything" she nodded in response. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight Clark."

He swallowed before smiling and heading out the room quickly. He barely knew her and he was having thoughts about her, it was definitely time for him to go to sleep.