"They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way..."
From up here in space the silence is almost deafening, Clark thought.
He was floating on the sun side of the Goldstar-1 satillite, watching the world below. Clark had observed years ago that from there, if he didn't look too close, the world seemed peaceful, quiet, and calm. Once he had discovered he could fly out of the atmosphere without harm he would come up here to get away from the constant barrage of his super senses.
Glancing down to check the time at the First National Bank clock across the street from the Daily Planet, Clark saw his time up here was almost up. It was time to begin his life in Metropolis, and on the world stage. His birth father had meant for him to lead these people, not through force, but by guidance, to be a beacon to move beyond the petty problems they mired themselves in. It was a heavy mantle, one that had taken him many years to accept, and then train for. But that was over, and now it was time to begin.
Scanning quickly to make sure no surveillance was watching, Clark accelerated down towards the growing mass of concrete and steel that was Metropolis. The gleaming city on the ocean made for a scenic flight as he lowered himself from the sky to sea level and then accelerating until he was going just faster than most humans could discern. Raising higher as he approached land, he flew through the canyon of skyscrapers, turning to follow Interstate-14 as it followed the city's boundary with the ocean until he reached downtown, the skyscrapers giving way to the older, shorter buildings and Founders Park. On one end of the park was the courthouse, an ancient relic in memory of classic 1930's architecture. At the other end, beyond the shops and tourist attractions, and at the edge of the skyscrapers and modern Metropolis was the iconic building of the Daily Planet, it's rotating globe atop it gleaming in the morning sun coming off the ocean.
Landing discretely on the roof, Clark changed into his human clothes, storing his suit in the compartment he had surreptitiously put into the globe above the building. As he prepared to enter the building, he finally noticed the scent of perfume and burnt tobacco. A woman had been up here recently to sneak a cigarette, a note Clark filed to remember for when he was coming and going between his future lives. He stopped and looked down, finding the newsroom, the bullpen bustling and Perry White's office just off and above it. There was people coming and going, and off to the side there sat an empty desk, his name spelled "Clark Knet" on the handwritten note. His worries about trying to get away with being low key and forgettable seemed to have been included with his resume, it seems.
The ride to the eighth floor was uneventful, in so much as he managed to make himself look uncomfortable and shy such that no one bothered to even say anything to him. All the better, Clark thought. Entanglements would just make living his double life harder. People who got close might see through his simple disguise, and then they could be put in danger, or worse someone could connect the alien savior with Clark Kent, and then find his mother. He knew his arrival would only cause some panic in the world governments and he hoped to ease it into his role, but at the same the people he loved, who had taken him in as a small infant, he had to protect them from the spotlight he was preparing to step into.
Clark's head jumped up, partially in jumping out of his thoughts, but mostly in an attempt to seem startle-able to the older man now standing in front of his open glass office door.
"It's about time you got here! I was getting ready to send the search parties out for you!" the gruff Chief Editor bellowed.
"Gosh Chief, I thought I was supposed to be here at 9:30!" Be the farm boy, be the farm boy, Clark reminded himself.
While he hadn't been the social butterfly in high school and college, he had never been overly shy. Growing up it had taken his parents a short time to discover their new charge was indestructible, and so Clark had grown up with little fear, only learning later in life as his other abilities had manifested the importance of being circumspect about himself and his abilities.
"Every damned time I hire someone, they're always here an hour early! Always making everyone drop everything because they can't arrive when they're told!" Mr. White grumped as he showed Clark into his office, which was large and had a wonderful view of the harbor.
"I guess it's just what my parents taught me, to show up punctually. I couldn't help notice my name is misspel.."
"So you don't think the early bird gets the worm? I need reporters with drive, and ambition! Just because you write beautiful prose doesn't mean your spot will last if you can't bring in the big stories! You got drive, Kemp?"
"Uhm.. Kent, Sir. Yes, sir. I'm really looking forwar.."
"Well, I'm sure there's going to be a shock coming from that small town paper to the big city, Kemp, so I'm going to put you with my best reporter. She could use to have someone with her who has actually looked at a grammar book as more than a paperweight. Sound good, Kemp?"
"Er... Kent, sir. I've never had a partner before, but I'll do my best for you, Mr. White."
"That's great, Kemp."
"Ken.. " Clark sighed. Invisible, he needed to be invisible. Something that was going to be a welcome change soon, Clark was certain. Perry huffed and rose from his chair, leading him out and down into the bullpen. "LANE! Where's Lane at?" Perry stalked towards Clark's desk, looking around for his errant reporter.
"She's off looking into that story for next magazine cover section, Chief" cried a voice from the far side of the bullpen behind a cubicle wall. Clark peered through the wall to see the owner of the voice, a young woman with a blonde pixie cut, around 20, who was cleaning her telescopic lenses for the camera that sat on the desk uploading to the computer.
"Great Ceaser's Ghost, the woman never listens. Well, Kemp, here's your desk. I'll send HR over to get the paperwork finished and then we can see about getting you caught up with your new partner." White turned to point at the young photographer as he strode back to his office, "and don't call me 'Chief'!"
"So you were driving along the I-14 coming home from work when this happened?"
"Yes, Ms. Lane. I was driving and getting ready to take my exit. I'm a good driver, but it was raining, and I just didn't see the van until it pulled right in front of me, so I panicked and swerved to miss the van, but I was so worried about the van I didn't even notice there was no road next to me Next thing I know I'm halfway through the barrier and my car is hanging over the edge. I remember thinking I was going to die."
Julia Longos leaned back, breathing out slowly, the adrenaline of remembering the accident again causing her obvious distress. She hadn't told this story much, because outside of the few people who had witnessed it, and the first responders, no one believed her, and most just laughed at her. Part of the timid woman's adrenaline was now fueled by the fear of being made fun of in the paper by the rising star of the Daily Planet, Lois Lane.
Ms. Lane was almost famous for her drive to get a story, getting into many close scrapes with the law and the lawless, including a recent incident with the Mayor, well, ex-Mayor. But Julia hoped that if she could convince The Lois Lane, perhaps people might take her overly sensational story seriously.
"It's funny, you know," Julia continued, "I put the car in reverse. I don't even think any of the tires were touching ground then, but I was just screaming and panicking. I had floored the pedal, for all the good it did. My car was just rocking, not really moving, and I really thought for a second that I might actually survive." Taking a large breath, and slowly exhaling, Julia paused, eyes wet as she looked Ms. Lane right in the eyes. "So of course that's when the other car hits me and I go off the ramp. I don't know if it was just shock, or the feeling of falling, but suddenly the world slowed down. I watched as my car tipped forward, and I looked out and saw this little boy as he watched my car plunge. I couldn't look away, knowing his life would forever be ruined watching this happen."
Julia paused again, wiping the lone tear that had fallen down her face. Sipping her tea, she composed herself, and for the first time since she had begun telling her story, Julia's green eyes lit up as a small smile graced her face.
"That's when it happened. I felt the car slow down, and I thought at first it was hitting and I was still in slow motion, but then I realized I was still off the ground. I just remember being in a daze as I slowly came to the ground, and suddenly... " Julia's small smile grew into a full faced grin as the memory replayed in her head again.
"Suddenly HE was there. I thought I was dreaming. He was holding my car. With his bare hands. And he set the car down. And all I could do was look at his eyes. They were so gentle and kind, and... well, have you heard what he looks like?"
Lois smiled playfully, and nodded. "I've heard he's quite handsome."
"Well, when someone saves your life they're already wonderful. But he was just... unbelievable. I really thought I had a dream, or was hallucinating, or something. But then I heard this odd sound from far away as he approached my door, which I realized was clapping. The people who had been watching were clapping. Somehow they had forgotten that he had caught a car with his bare hands."
"He opens my car door, which had been jammed shut the firemen told me, and asks me if I was ok. All I could do was nod at him, like I was five again. God, how embarrassing! And he smiles at me, tells me the police are almost there, and then he.. well, I guess having caught a car, I should have been ready for anything, but he... " Julia's eyes glazed over as her head tilted while she tried to figure out how explain.
Lois knew what was coming, and said softly "...and thats when he flew off?"
"Yeah.. " Julia said, almost dreamily. "You'd think that people wouldn't believe me when I say he caught me in midair in my car, but this is where most people laugh at me. Are you going to make fun of me in your article, Ms. Lane?"
Lois shook her head. "No. You're not alone, Julia. Whoever this man is.. he's..."
"Super," Julia said. "He's just amazing. I just want to say thank you to him, and I don't know how. Will you say that in your article? Please?"
Smiling, Lois nodded. Looking down at her pad, she slowly underlined the word she had written down.