By Matt Schiller (email@example.com)
Summary: Taking up where Family Hour left off, Lois and Clark travel to the future where three different groups claim the baby as theirs. (Episode # 1 of The Unaired Fifth Season)
"Mom and Dad … Mom and Dad … we've got something to tell you."
Those words had introduced something into their lives, something truly marvelous. A child. Granted, they had no idea where this child had come from. But they did know that until someone arrived to claim this child, it was theirs. And that was all they needed to know. Clark looked over and saw the baby sleeping there, between him and Lois. Clark saw how her arms were still hugging the child's small form ever-so-delicately. He thought back to the day before … and wondered …
There had been another villain trying to rule the world, another one bent on another hair-brained scheme. It seemed almost as if there was a new one every week. Clark wondered if he would ever settle down … and if he was even ready for the responsibility of a child. He dismissed the thought as more of the previous 24 hours came back to him. Dr. Mensa had been stopped. The world was safe again … and then the small cry that still rang in Clark's ears. The tiny voice that had touched his heart so dearly. He would never forget the love on Lois's face as she held her small child.
They hid the blanket with the "Superman" symbol on it from Lois's parents, but Clark had secretly told his own parents. It seemed as if history was repeating itself, and Clark couldn't be more happy. As he turned back toward Lois and the baby. Lois stirred momentarily, but was quickly back to sleep.
Our lives are different now, Clark thought. But he couldn't have been more wrong.
The planet was in a peaceful state. After the aversion of a possible Third World War, the UN was reformed, again giving it more global power. This time it wasn't called the League of Nations, or the United Nations; it was the United Earth Council — 'The Council' to most, a body of government to keep the entire world in check. There were, of course, the usual lofty ambitions within this group, but nonetheless, it was a very well-liked and well deserving governing group. They were assisted by the Kryptonians, all thirteen of them that were now in existence. None of them were full Kryptonians. The full-blood had passed on a few years back, but the three half-bloods and the ten quarter-bloods were all intensely loyal to the globe. It was theirs to protect. Each had a region and each had made sure that nothing went wrong in their region. Until the child came.
It had changed everything. The child was thought to have inherited two, instead of the normal one, Kryptonian genes, making him possibly more powerful then the one halves, and at least as strong. Yes, the child had changed everything, but the Council kept the child in check. Until the attack that stunned the globe. The child's father, one-quarter Kryptonian, had died. Foul play was not suspected; it seemed like a simple VR accident. With the brain gone, the body was not allowed to stay alive, due to Council regulation 22-985A. It was just too dangerous. And so, the child's mother, Tanisha, had to care for her baby alone. And what she did to protect it had surprised everyone almost as much as the death of the child's father. The baby was gone, but there were three groups who actively pursued the child.
It would be found.
THE UNAIRED FIFTH SEASON, Episode #1
"THE CURE FOR WHAT AILS YOU"
Written by Matt Schiller
As Perry White walked from his office to the newsroom he couldn't help but feel a sense of pride. As he caught himself staring at the hustle and bustle of reporters investigating and putting together stories, he thought back to his days as a reporter. And thinking of the past always brought him back to that one face.
That one woman.
Perry shook his head and tried to focus. He needed a plan to get her back, to make sure she knew he still cared. "The visit couldn't have been a fluke," he said to himself.
"What visit, Chief?"
It was Jimmy. *Oh, not now Jimmy,* Perry thought. *You're the last person that could ever help me with this.* Then it hit him. *Jimmy's dated hundreds, maybe even thousands of women while he's worked here. He's got to know something about it. After all he's — *
Jimmy noticed Perry was silent for a minute there, and wondered what was on his mind.
"Ah, it's nothing Jimmy. Nothing. I've, uh, just been having some women troubles, you know. That's all."
Jimmy was just a kid, Perry decided, and he needed some real help here, not someone barely old enough to shave. Jimmy smiled, patting his chief's shoulder.
"I can sure sympathize, Chief. It's us against them, I'm tellin' ya."
Perry shook his head at the arrogance of youth, and how much he missed that. Not that he didn't like his current life. Editor-in- Chief of the Daily Planet had a certain ring to it that could always make Perry smile.
"Yeah, thanks, Jimmy," Perry answered. "Now what were you on your way over here to tell me?"
Jimmy remembered he did have a purpose in being there.
"Oh! Yeah, Chief. I just wanted to know if I could get a ride with you to Lois and CK's dinner party tomorrow night." Jimmy continued sheepishly, "My car's kinda in the shop, getting fixed."
"Sure, Jimmy. I'll be at your place around 7:30, all right? Be ready."
"Yeah. Thanks, Chief." And then Jimmy was off, at the beck and call of another reporter who needed research done.
Clark looked into Lois's eyes, and all he saw was love. But wait … there was another look. The look that said —
"Get out of my way, Clark!" Lois exclaimed, pushing him over a little bit.
"Calm down, honey. The guests won't be here for almost another hour," Clark replied, checking his watch. He smiled. "Plus, I can just super-speed and get everything together in the last five minutes if you need me too."
Lois looked at him with slight contempt. "I'm trying to set up a nice dinner party so we can lie straight to the faces of my parents and our best friends. And you want me to let you do it in five minutes?" Lois raised an eyebrow. "Just what can't you do, Clark Kent?"
Clark leaned forward and kissed Lois, "There's nothing I've found yet," he joked.
Lois slapped him playfully, "I just don't know what I'm going to do with you." She smiled. "Wait! I know, I'm going to get you to help me with this." She led him into the kitchen and they continued preparations.
Meanwhile, in the living room, the child was fast asleep in the carriage. Clark peeked his head out of the kitchen door to check on the baby again, and smiled when he saw how cute and peaceful he looked. As Clark returned to the kitchen, he went over to Lois, hugging her from behind and then getting down to business.
"We've got our story straight, right?"
"I think so," Lois replied. She started going through it in her head, then nodded. "Got it. Now let's get this food out on the table before anyone gets here." The two of them started bringing food out, just as the doorbell rang.
The Kents arrived.
Lots of it.
"Mom? What's all this?" Clark asked, looking at the pile of suitcases.
"Well, that one's got baby clothes." Martha pointed as she spoke. "That one's got the old toys we used when you were a baby, and that's mine, and that's your father's."
"Yours?" Lois asked, a little surprised.
"We thought we'd come and stay and help with the baby," Jonathan spoke up. "If you don't mind," he added as an afterthought.
"Oh! Sure! Definitely." Lois smiled. She liked her in-laws, and Martha would be great to have around — especially when it came to the tribulations of raising a child. "Get the bags, honey?" she said turning to Clark.
Clark ran the bags upstairs and when he came back down, Perry and Jimmy had arrived. He welcomed them and ushered them into the living room as well. As he, Lois, Perry, Jimmy, Martha and Jonathan were just getting settled, Lois's parents arrived, and Ellen was in a feisty mood.
"You made us late again, Sam. You had to stay up in that lab, didn't you?" Ellen came through the front door in a fury, not noticing the people staring at her.
"Uh, Ellen, dear — " Sam tried to get in before she cut him off again.
"You told me it would be different this time, Sam. It was supposed to be better, not worse! I just don't know who we're going to — " Ellen cut herself off this time. She made a quick look around the room, and flopped down in the nearest chair. "And now I've made a fool of myself," she muttered, noticing all the stares. There was a moment of awkward silence, broken by Lois.
"Uh, well," she said, forcing a laugh as she got up. "Dinner's ready, so we can all eat, if you two are finished." She looked to her parents.
"Well, let's go," Ellen said, filling in the silence. The group made their way into the dining room and all sat around the table.
After the meal, which received compliments that made Lois and Clark proud, they got down to business.
"We've got some explaining to do," Lois started, cautiously.
"You sure do," Ellen remarked, good-naturedly.
"We figured that this dinner would be a good way to bring everyone together and let you all know what the story is with our new child," Clark continued, pointing to the baby.
"Well? So what's the story?" Sam asked impatiently.
Lois smiled. "Clark has an old friend from Smallville, and his farm went under this past spring." Lois tried to sound as sad and compassionate as possible. "He called us, and told us that his financial situation was in ruins. He was looking for work, and thought he could take care of himself, but he loved his child so much that he couldn't let the baby live a life like that. Also, being a single parent, he couldn't care for it as much as it need to be cared for." Lois paused to check if the guests were believing her. They all seemed attentive. "He wanted us to take care of the child, so he could have time to get back on his feet and be able to leave the house all day in search of work and a steady paycheck. We don't know how long it's going to take, but we're glad we've had the opportunity to have this baby."
Martha started on cue, looking at Clark. "Do you mean Dean?"
"He had a child?" Martha acted shocked.
"It's really surprising," Jonathan piped in. "I heard about his farm going under, but I didn't know it had come to this." He shook his head, and allowed Lois to continue.
"So that's basically how it stands for us now. Clark and I are going to look after the child for as long as we need to, and we've had an amazing experience so far. It's really primed us for eventually having our own baby." Lois smiled hopefully.
"Well, this is great. I'm touched to see you both helping a friend like this," Ellen replied. By her tone, it was clear she believed the story.
Jimmy nodded. "This is too amazing. You get a kid and it's like your own. I gotta feel for that guy without a job though. That's rough."
Clark nodded and looked at Lois. They shared a moment's glance that spoke volumes. Everything seemed to be going all right.
It was time. They had to act quickly to catch them while they were off guard. As Leaon peered into his portal he noticed that Kal- El was about half a foot shorter then he seemed in his statue. But it was a trivial detail. The real task at hand was their transmission. They had rehearsed it so many times, and they needed their child back so desperately, it had to be right the first time. Leaon reached past his partner, Kallie, and grabbed the globe. The globe that looked exactly like Kal-El's from the 1990's. He looked to the five people on his team. "It's time."
"Well, that was easy enough," Clark said to Lois. She was in the bathroom, brushing her teeth, so Clark had the baby in his arms.
Lois came out and sighed. "It seems as though nothing's easy with my parents. Even with this reconciliation thing, there's still problems. I just want them to be happy together." Lois paused.
"Lois? What is it?" Clark showed a bit of concern.
"Speaking of parents, where're yours?"
"Oh. They're in bed. They have an early wake up time on the farm, so they usually go to bed pretty early." Clark smiled as the baby started to doze off from Clark's steady rocking motion. Lois smiled as well.
"I always knew you'd be a great father, Clark." She came over and kissed him on the cheek, as she gently patted the baby's head. Suddenly, the room seemed eerily dark, and a large beam of light appeared out of nowhere.
"What the … ?" Clark asked, looking around. He held the baby tighter to his chest, preparing for the worse. He also felt Lois's arm on his, almost clinging to him. The beam of light widened into some kind of projection and the couple could see a group of five people. The one in the center spoke first.
"Hello, Lois and Clark. We are your future. We are what your future offspring will look like. This is Kallie; she is the mother of the child we sent back for you to protect. And this …" Leaon nudged Kallie and she held up the globe. "… is the globe, within which we found you both and decided who would be the best to protect our child from the malicious forces at work here in your future."
They could only stand there and be stunned at first. After a few moments, Clark recovered enough to say, "So this 'globe' is the same one as mine?" he asked skeptically.
Leoan stepped forward, and talked less formally. "This is your globe, Kal-El. And as surely as this future needed to be saved by you both protecting our child, we now need the baby back again, to make sure that he can take his rightful place as the future head of the United Earth Council."
They were both still dumbfounded. "You're going to have to back this up," Lois remarked, "because you're losing us."
Leaon smiled and nodded. "I thought this might happen. Which is why I'd like to show you this." He touched the globe and it started projecting an image of Clark as a child. Both Lois and Clark watched as the globe continued to broadcast the life of Clark Kent … and then as Lois entered, their life together.
Lois whispered to Clark. "This is incredible! How'd they pull this one off?" He shrugged, mesmerized by the picture show being put on before them. When the "movie" finished, Leaon came forward to speak again.
"This may all seem unsettling to you, which is why we are letting you have two days to get used to the idea. We are forever in your gratitude for keeping our child safe. In two days we will be arriving in your time to reclaim our sacred baby."
Lois thought for a moment and realized how skeptical she was. They weren't going to give this child to just anyone; didn't these people know that? The note had said, "Lois and Clark, this child is for you." And nothing or no one was going to get the child away from them without a very good reason. After a glance at Clark, seeing him giving a skeptical look of his own, Lois started asking questions.
"What proof do we have that you're not all some kind of … kind of … cult, and you want to … to … sacrifice this child to whatever you hold as your 'almighty'?" she asked pointedly. The idea of giving up the child was getting more and more distasteful.
"All will be explained when we arrive in two days. Please understand, this is hard for us, too. But Kallie does need her child back." Leaon looked sadly to his partner, who in turn choked back tears. "Be warned, though. There could be others who try to claim this child as their own. But we have confidence that you would never take a child from its mother." Leaon finished. "We will see you both in two days."
The flashing lights disappeared and the image of the group before the two reporters was gone.
"Now what the heck are we supposed to do?" Lois asked, turning to Clark.
He didn't answer. He didn't have to. He was staring at the child.
The elevator doors opened and Jimmy stepped out. He wondered what it would be like to be a real reporter, actually writing stories on the news floor, not just running errands for everyone. The thought was quickly dismissed as he heard that familiar yell.
"What in Graceland's name is this?!" came the roar from Perry's office. Jimmy approached cautiously. As he peered around the corner, he saw that Perry had just chewed out Karen Ramsey, the new society columnist. Jimmy listened, being sure to stay out of sight. He learned that Karen had apparently written a column about Lois and Clark and their let down from the adoption people, and their miraculous new child just two days later. Perry didn't seem to take a liking to the column.
"You know all stories about the Planet and its employees have to come through me! What were you thinking?" he asked, in his loud ominous voice.
"I'm … I'm … s-s-s-s-sorry, Mr. White," Karen stammered. "I-I-I was just trying to make my column a good one. I'm … really- really sorry, Sir."
Perry sighed, "I think you need to write a new column." He ended there, not wanting to hurt the girl's feelings any more. She left, on the verge of tears, and Jimmy cautiously pretended he had just got there. He needed to show the chief the pictures he took of Lois and Clark's baby, but he wasn't sure it would be such a good time right now. The chief was never in a good mood when it came to dealing with women. Then Jimmy remembered the other day, and his conversation about a woman troubling Perry. Jimmy thought about that for a second before deciding. *It's got to be Alice,* he thought. *It's got to be.*
Just then Perry came stomping out of his office and caught Jimmy standing just outside. "Olsen? What are you doing standing outside my office?" Perry asked suspiciously.
Jimmy tried to cover … tried to think of something he could say that would get him out of this one so that Perry wouldn't do anything rash like firing him. "I'm here to help you, Chief. With Alice."
Perry's face couldn't hide his shocked expression. "What? How'd you — ?" Perry was almost at a loss for words. "In my office, Olsen. Now." Almost. As Jimmy followed Perry back into his office, Jimmy couldn't help but smile, because he'd been right. Perry walked in and over to his desk.
"Now let's talk about this, Son. Why do you think this has to do with Alice?"
Jimmy shrugged. "Because the only other time you were this upset with everyone for nothing was when Alice kicked you out of the house. I figured this would involve her too."
Perry sighed. It had come to this. He was going to talk with Jimmy about his problems with his wife. He felt pathetic, but hopeful at the same time.
Perry decided he'd give it a shot. "I'm trying to woo her again."
"What?" Jimmy asked, not really hearing.
"I'm trying to woo Alice again. I think we might be able to get back together."
"And I'm not having much success." Perry sighed. "Look Jimmy, this isn't easy for me."
"Oh, I totally understand, Chief. I tried too hard to get this one girl … I did everything." Jimmy paused, noticing that Perry looked mystified. "You know, all the normal stuff that you do when you want a girl."
Perry looked sullen. "No. I don't think I do, Jimmy. Maybe that's the problem."
"Oh, man. Maybe you're right, Chief. Okay … " Jimmy started to explain the things he'd done to get girls in his short but overflowing dating experience with women. Perry did everything but take notes.
Lois turned over and realized that Clark wasn't in the bed beside her.
"Wha — ? Clark?" she called. She heard the shower going in the bathroom. "Oh," she commented, just noticing the still-sleeping baby beside her. Lois smiled, and heard the shower shut off. Clark returned and gave her a kiss.
"I just decided I'd get an early start, seeing as the baby was still asleep," Clark explained. The baby stirred on the bed, and began to cry right away. Clark took a bottle from the night table, and began to feed the baby with it.
"You'd better get into the shower quickly. I'll handle him while you have your shower." Lois groggily got up and went into the bathroom.
Clark sat down on the bed. He looked at the child who had momentarily stopped crying to suck on the bottle. He smiled. "You like that bottle, don't you? Here…" He tilted the bottle up so that the baby could have more to drink. Clark looked at the baby, seeming so fragile. "Do you have my powers?" he asked, not expecting an answer from a baby. "I hope you're going to grow up with as good of parents as I did, and if you have powers, that you learn to use them positively."
Clark felt sort of foolish that he was talking to the baby, but continued, explaining to the child (though Clark knew he didn't understand a word) about the problems and the triumphs all associated with his double life. As he continued talking, Lois returned from the shower and crept up silently behind him.
"Who're you talking to, Clark?" she asked. Clark turned, with the baby in his arms, and just looked down. Lois smiled and went over to snuggle with the baby. "I know. I caught myself talking to him last night." Lois reached out. "Oh, here. Let me hold him. While you get dressed, I mean."
Clark handed the baby over to Lois and went into his closet in a spin. He was out in seconds, fully dressed. "There we go." He took the baby from Lois's arms, in order for her to get dressed as well.
After breakfast together with the baby, the phone rang, and Lois gave the child to Clark. But just then, he heard the all too familiar "Help!" cry and had to hand him back to Lois.
"Uh, I'll call you back," she stammered, making sure that her full attention was diverted to the baby. "Oh no!" she remembered, rushing down the hall to the dryer. "I left it in there … and I need it ironed!" She sat the baby on the dryer first, then slapped her forehead, "No Lois, we're not going to crack his head open," she remarked to herself. She moved him to the ironing board, but realized that wasn't sturdy. So Lois decided to hold the baby in one arm, and iron with the other, (a task all in itself). Just as she thought she might drop the baby, and was praying for a miracle, Clark whooshed back in and took the child.
"You get ready, I'll hold him." Superman spun into Clark, and the "transfer the child game" continued. It was past 9:30 a.m. by the time either of them realized what time it was.
"Clark? Do you know it's 9:42?" Lois asked. They both just looked at each other. Then, just as they were about to sprint out the door, Martha came in through it.
"Why, thank you, Clark" she smiled. The couple noticed that she had about fix or six bags in her arms.
"What is all that, Martha?" Lois asked, momentarily forgetting about the time.
"This stuff is for you!" she exclaimed. She started pulling things out of the bags, and explaining. "Here's some diapers. I'm sure you know what they're for." She went searching through her bags again. "Oh, and here I've got formula, bottles …" She searched through another bag. "Wipes, outfits, blankets, towels." Another bag. "Baby soap, powder, shampoo, ointments, nail clippers." She opened up the fifth bag. "Yes, here's some of Clark's old baby toys. I thought this baby might like them." Martha beamed in pride at the child and its now numerous belongings. Then something dawned on her …
"Why are you two still here?" she asked incredulously.
"Well, it has to do with him." Clark said, looking at the child.
"Haven't you named the baby yet?" Martha asked, almost cross.
"We don't know how long he'll be with us, and if he already has a name, so we've held off on that." Lois said. She leaned in and whispered to Martha. "Clark and I aren't happy that we haven't named it either, but there's not much we can do."
Martha could only smile. "Of course," she laughed. "Now get going, you two! You're late for work!"
The couple sprinted out of Lois's Cherokee and raced in the front doors. They entered the elevator.
"Thank God it's only ten-thirty. I guess we're not that late," Lois commented. Then the elevator stopped.
"Oh great," she muttered.
Then, just as in the brownstone, the lights went all funny and another projection appeared. This time it was on the wall of the elevator. The sole figure in this projection was a woman. She looked agitated and almost hurried.
"Lois and Clark?" she asked through the projection.
"Well, yeah. Who are you?" Clark asked, almost hesitantly.
"I'm the child's mother."
Lois and Clark just stared at each other.
"What?" was Lois's only reaction.
The woman in the projection seemed annoyed at their negative reaction.
"Look, I know you probably don't believe me, and that Leaon and his buddies have already contacted you, but please believe me. I don't have much time." She looked around, as if expecting someone to jump in at her any moment. "Just take care of him for me, please. He likes to be on your shoulder a lot and to be rocked back and forth. He also loves the song 'Candle in the Wind,' either version. Oh! And he needs a nice warm bath every night, it helps him sleep."
Lois and Clark were still mystified by this woman. She was cryptic before, and now she was offering them tips. She seemed very two-faced. Lois started to speak, but the woman cut her off.
"I'm sorry, but this part is important." She again looked around to see if someone was coming to get her. "I'm going to open a portal at six p.m. tonight. Please let the baby come through it, and home to his mother." She now looked to be on the verge of tears. "Please …" The projection faded away. The elevator started moving again.
"Now what are we supposed to do?" Lois asked, sounding almost defeated.
"I don't know about you," Clark said, sniffing, "but I think changing the baby is high on my list."
Lois sniffed as well. "Poop!" she exclaimed as the doors opened. Perry noticed them and started walking over, but they both made a mad dash for the washroom before anyone could get a word in.
Several minutes later, they exited, trying to seem calm. Lois dumped the soiled diaper in a plastic bag and then into the passing janitor cart. As they made their way across the newsroom, there seemed to be an increasing number of people that surrounded them and started asking questions about the baby. "How is the child?" "How are you?" "Where'd you get the baby?" and "Oh! He's so cute!" all permeated the air around Lois's head. She was about to shout at them all to be quiet and just back off, but Perry started shouting first.
"This isn't Graceland! Everyone go sit down at your desks and read the memo I sent out on this already!" Perry shouted, his voice roaring above the crowd. As the crowd thinned and Perry got closer to the couple he joked, "Doesn't anyone read those things?"
Lois smiled. "Thanks, Perry."
"Well, we don't want a storm around this little bundle of joy, now do we?" Perry remarked. He grabbed the baby's hand with his. "How are you today?" Perry laughed. "Now you've got me talking to a baby! Next you'll get me talking to animals." He shook his head. "Well, I'll let you both get down to work." Perry left, and the couple moved over to their respective desks, with Lois taking the baby in the stroller.
Lois called up her latest story on the computer screen. It was an expose of the illegal deals going on in the warehouses down by Hob's Bay. She had three unnamed sources that had given her specific examples. Lois was proud of this one. She stopped typing for a second to check on the baby. It looked so peaceful. Lois had given him a soother and he was sucking on it vigorously. Lois looked over to Clark, and noticed that he was looking at the baby as well. They shared a special glance, both knowing how much they loved this child.
Clark was working on a story as well. Well, sort of. He had typed about eight words in the entire time he'd been there. His attention was solely on the baby. And he was unsure of why he was so enthralled by the child. He thought it might have been a "fatherly instinct" thing, but again, he wasn't sure. Clark tapped a pencil on his desk, thinking. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Nick, the delivery boy, approaching his desk. He turned.
"Oh, hey, Clark. This package came for you just a couple of minutes ago." Nick handed Clark a medium-sized package, with just two words written in a thick black marker: Clark Kent.
"Okay, thanks, Nick," Clark called, still looking at the package. He was curious about the contents so he x-rayed the package, and saw that it was a video tape. There was a note attached to the inside, which read "Watch this and learn the truth about the child we sent you." Clark sighed. How many people were going to claim this baby?
"Lois?" he called over to her. "I think we need to look at this tape," he said, "And bring the baby, please." Clark looked solemn as he entered the conference room. Lois followed quickly behind, sensing his mood.
"What is it, Clark?" Lois asked. Clark opened the package and showed her the contents. Lois closed her eyes, not wanting to believe what she'd just read. "Not another one," she said, clutching the baby tighter. Clark got silently up and inserted the tape.
This group called themselves "The Foundation," and they claimed to have sent the child back from October 7, 2086 after a ruthless corporation killed its mother and tried to get the baby to be raised to do their bidding. The child was to have been trained to be the ultimate fighting machine and to destroy all that was not supported by this corporate giant.
The video explained that October 7 will forever be remembered as a terrible day in history if the two of them didn't return the child.
"This is a new twist," Lois remarked, skeptically. Apparently "The Foundation" didn't want the child back just yet, but they would be in contact with Lois and Clark again very soon. The two people in the video, a male identified as Ulee, and a female identified as Jenna, also reminded the two that all the others who asked for the child were imposters.
"We've heard that before," Clark told the screen as it went black.
The dark building looked ominous to the passers-by. Not that there were many in this secluded corner only sometimes inhabited by the city's homeless when they needed a sheltering space. What went on inside the warehouse, no-one knew. The only identifying incident happened when the overnight drunks noticed a worker carrying boxes into the building. The boxes said "Church Industries", but none of the winos could say who "Church Industries" were.
Lois was typing, and shooting occasional glances at the baby in the stroller beside her desk. "Hob's Bay has over 50 abandoned warehouses, many of which have been used for illegal purposes at one time or another. Suggestions have been …" she paused. *What were they?* she thought. Her thought was interrupted by Jimmy's voice. *It started with "Can I … "* Lois thought. She needed this story done in half an hour. "What was that Jimmy?" Lois asked him.
"I was wondering if I could — " Lois tuned Jimmy out there as her computer started beeping.
"What the … ?" she said, hitting the screen. "Come on! Save!" She turned to Jimmy who had an expectant look on his face. She didn't want him to know that she hadn't been listening. "Sure, Jimmy." Lois remarked, and then turned to continuing typing: " … to lower taxes so that the commerce industry would move back into the area, to have the city of Metropolis rezone the land for other industries to move in to the area or the proposal by the new corporation 'Permax, Inc.' to buy up at least half of the available properties by the year 2000." Lois sat back. She wasn't done, but she felt good about her story. She glanced again at the carriage before continuing.
"The proposal … What?!" Lois's mind just clicked in on something.
The baby was gone.
Lois's thoughts raced forward. Where was the baby? Who took it? What was going on? Lois got up hurriedly and started asking the people around her desk.
"Where's the baby? Who took the baby? Does anyone know?" she was asking everyone and anyone.
Roberts from research replied, "I saw Jimmy with him. Isn't he cute? You guys sure got a great child, I'm tellin — "
"Yeah, thanks." Lois cut her off, scanning the newsroom for Jimmy. "Jimmy!" she called out. Lois turned and almost bumped into him. "Jimmy! Where's the baby?"
Jimmy looked dumbfounded, "Oh, I let Francis hold him for a while. He and his wife just had a kid too, you know — "
"Okay." Lois again cut someone off. Francis, she thought. That's that tall skinny guy. Black hair, glasses. Lois spotted him. "Francis!" she shouted at the top of her lungs.
"What?" he asked, turning around.
"My baby. Where is he?"
Francis snapped his fingers. *I hate when he does that,* thought Lois.
"Weldon has him. She wanted to show the muck-a-mucks upstairs."
Lois looked ready to punch Francis. "You sent my child up to the top? What were you thinking?!" Francis muttered a feeble reply, but Lois didn't hear a word. She was running toward the elevator, just as it was closing. She slipped between the two doors and waited impatiently for the doors to open on the 5th floor. As she exited the elevator she scoffed at the "Executive Offices" sign. She walked down to the desk at the end of the hall and asked where Weldon was.
"He's gone for lunch. Can I take a message for him?" the secretary asked, pleasantly.
"Gone for lunch?!" Lois erupted. "Where the hell did he go for lunch?"
The secretary was completely taken. "I … I'm not very sure … " she stammered.
"Can you tell me if he has my baby?" Lois asked, patronizing the poor secretary. Lois knew it was wrong, but at this point she didn't really care.
"Oh no!" the secretary replied, seeming relieved, "Before he left, Mr. Weldon gave your child to Jaimison." The secretary paused, unsure. "Didn't Jaimison give him back to you?"
Lois sighed; she had had enough of the "pass the baby" game, and she just wanted her baby back. Lois left the secretary, completely heartbroken. How could she lose her own baby? What would she do if something happened to the baby? Lois was about to cry when she passed a room and heard a familiar cry. She looked at the door to the room, which said "Nursery". As she opened the door and was greeted by the sight of the baby, Lois became ecstatic. She let out a big sigh of relief and scooped the baby up in her arms.
"There you are!" she exclaimed, with all the other mothers and nursery workers staring at her. "Just picking up my baby." Lois remarked sheepishly. Then she saw Jaimison. "What did you think you were doing, anyway?" Lois found it hard to be angry when she felt so happy due to finding the baby. "Why didn't you bring my baby back?"
"I … I thought that it would be happy here in the nursery. I thought our babies could get to know each other," Jaimison replied, looking at his own child.
Lois closed in on the man. "You do not take my baby somewhere I don't know, even if it is to play with another child." As Lois stormed out of the room she heard Jaimison call to her:
"I'm really sorry, Lois. I thought you knew that the baby was getting passed around."
Lois quickly exited the floor, happy to get away from the corporate airheads.
As Lois descended back to the news floor, she thought about how she lost the baby and started feeling horrible. "I'm not a good mother," she sobbed, looking at the baby. "I lost you! How could I do that?" The elevator doors opened again and she exited, still crying. She went over to Clark's desk.
"Clark?" she said, choking back tears.
Clark sprang up, worried "Lois! What's the matter? Are you all right? Is the baby all right?"
Lois tried to stop crying. "I'm horrible, Clark! I'm a horrible mother. I can't do it! I lost the baby!" Clark hugged her, comforting her. He spoke quietly and firmly, "You're a fine mother, Lois. You let Jimmy have the baby and a few people passed it around. Lots of people get "pass the baby" done to them and they lose track of their children. It's only to co-workers. It's not as if you handed our baby to Lex Luthor." Clark smiled. "My mother even lost track of me. Twice." Clark whispered into Lois's ear, "Besides, I'm not the greatest parent either, and we're going to have to help each other through this. I love you, and I trust that you'll do the best for our child. And I know that you will." As Clark finished speaking, the baby giggled, and grabbed Lois's finger.
Lois was touched. "I love you too," she whispered to the baby.
Clark's point was made. "What better evidence is there than that?" he asked. The phone on his desk rang. He answered it, "Hello? Yeah. Okay. That's great, thanks." As he put the receiver back into its holder, he turned back to Lois. "I've got to go downtown to pick up some stuff for my story. Can I take the baby with me? We'll get some air," Clark explained. "Oh, and if you'd like we could meet in the park for a picnic lunch."
Lois's tears were gone. "That'd be wonderful, Clark. Thank you." He kissed her and took the baby, grabbing the huge bag of baby accessories that Martha had sent with them.
Almost at the elevator, Clark turned back to face Lois. "One o'clock?" he asked. Lois nodded and Clark was gone.
Clark pushed the stroller down the street, and another person approached him. *This must be like the fifth person that's approached me,* he thought. This was an elderly lady, who seemed enthralled with the child.
"Hello," Clark said pleasantly.
"Oh, hello. You're Mr. Kent, right?" the lady asked.
"You've got such a very sweet baby, Mr. Kent."
"Thank you. We're pretty proud of him, ourselves," he replied, smiling.
"Where's Ms. Kent? I love her work, too," the lady explained.
"She's working on a story back at the Planet. I'm getting the baby some air, and I've got to get something from the courthouse."
"Oh, well, I won't keep you," the lady said. "Nice to see you both." And she was on her way.
Clark was amazed at the outpouring of support from the people of Metropolis. It was wonderful. After getting the documents on the Hans Greta case for another story, Clark arrived in the park, just before one p.m. The baby started crying and Clark realized that it was past his feeding time. Sitting at a bench, he pulled out a bottle and started feeding the baby his formula. As the hot dog vendor passed, Clark ordered two hot dogs. On cue, Lois arrived.
"Here you go." He handed her the first hot dog.
"Thanks," she said squatting beside the baby in the stroller. Lois began to rummage through the bag she brought. "I got us some picnic stuff too," she said, pulling out what she'd picked up at a deli on her way.
"Great," Clark replied, laying out the blanket, while Lois held the baby. As the trio sat and had a great picnic lunch in the park, both Lois and Clark realized how much they loved this parenting thing. Clark brought up the taboo topic. "So who are we going to give the baby back to?" he asked, offhandedly.
Lois sighed. "I really don't know. And how do we research these people to find out who's telling the truth? Go to the future?"
The two stared at each other.
"H.G. Wells?" Clark asked.
"How do we contact him?"
"I don't know, but what other choice do we have?" Clark replied.
It dawned on both of them. "S.T.A.R. Labs."
They quickly cleaned up the picnic lunch.
By now, Jimmy and Perry had figured out a plan to get Alice back in love with Perry. They discussed what she had said was bad, and what he could stand to change. They had made a list which included Perry getting flowers for her and buying a big candlelight dinner from a catering service (though he'd tell Alice he'd cooked it himself, to seem even more sincere). Perry wasn't too sure about that dinner thing.
"Well, I've done it and it worked out. It's the only thing I've done for a girl that really impressed her." Jimmy paused for effect. "Other than moshing for 12 hours straight."
Perry laughed. "Well, that definitely won't impress Alice."
Lois and Clark went straight to Dr. Klein's office. By now they knew where it was. He was in the middle of briefing another scientist about a new way of thermally inducting a substance.
"Can we have a word, please, Dr. Klein? It's important," Clark said, nodding a greeting to the other scientist.
"Uh, sure. Craig, we'll finish this up tomorrow." Dr. Klein ushered the other scientist out of his office, and Lois and Clark, along with child, entered.
"What's up this time?" Dr. Klein asked, feigning humor.
"We need to get to the future," Clark remarked.
"What?" Dr. Klein was definitely stunned.
"Superman has asked us to go to the future and do a favor for him," Lois explained, lying perfectly, "There's been an accident in time. Superman is the only one who can sense it, but he's tied up with events happening right now."
"He needs us to go," Clark finished. "Does S.T.A.R. Labs have anything that can help us?"
Dr. Klein sighed. "There is something. But it's highly experimental and we don't even know if it works!"
The pair gave Dr. Klein a look. He went over to his desk and picked up a file. "This is Project 2885974928459-G. It's something I've been tinkering with ever since Superman experienced those time windows, almost a year ago."
Lois looked at Clark, then back to Dr. Klein, "Are you talking about the windows Tempus used?"
Dr. Klein nodded. "I've been experimenting with them to see what options they could give us in the future, but there's no way that I could ever let you use them right now. They're in a restricted area." Dr. Klein started ushering the pair towards the door. He afforded one short glance around to make sure no one was watching. "I'm really sorry that I couldn't help you guys, but my superiors don't allow people in the restricted areas when S.T.A.R. Labs is open." Dr. Klein slipped an access card into Lois' pocket and winked at her. "Sorry I couldn't help."
"Yeah, thanks anyway, Dr. Klein." Clark remarked. His super vision had picked up on Dr. Klein's little "delivery", and as the two left S.T.A.R. Labs, they knew where they'd be returning to later that night.
At just after five o'clock, when S.T.A.R. Labs closed, Lois, Clark and the child all arrived, and used the card Dr. Klein had given them to enter through the back door. The duo were used to sneaking around places, but the child added complications, especially when it started crying, and Clark had to super vibrate to make an effective sound barrier.
By the time they had reached the room marked TOP SECRET it was already five-thirty. "We'd better hurry," Clark remarked. "We've got to get there before six."
As Lois swiped the card to gain access, Clark held the baby, who had finally stopped crying. The door opened. "Let's go," Lois said, leading the way into the room. They entered and saw a note from Dr. Klein sitting on a machine in the center of the room.
Lois and Clark:
This is the device to access the time windows. They are in fact safe, but S.T.A.R. Labs wants them kept under wraps for now. Set a date on the main screen and put the arm bands on yourselves and the baby. When you need to get back, press the big green buttons on the sides of the arm bands. The window will re-open and bring you back. Tell Superman I said "hi."
"Okay … " Lois trailed off, as she studied the device before her. She saw the main screen immediately and typed in the date they wanted to go to.
"October 6, 2086," she said aloud, as she typed it in. "Our anniversary."
Clark looked at Lois. "I'd say we have a great anniversary gift already," he remarked, noting the baby. The two put the arm bands on, and Lois put one onto the child.
"He's so cute!" She laughed as he tried to play with the band.
"Are we ready to go?" Clark asked.
Lois nodded. "Yep." She and Clark joined hands.
Lois pressed the button and the group materialized on the streets of Metropolis, October 6th, 2086.
As Lois and Clark materialized on the streets, they looked around to see who was watching them. It seemed as if no one noticed. "What's with these people?" Lois asked.
"I have no idea," Clark replied.
The explanation arrived as they walked around, trying to find the Daily Planet of 2086. A total of three other people materialized in the streets, sidewalks, and even right in front of Lois and Clark. It seemed to be a regular practice here in 2086. Clark was also receiving strange glances from another group of people. What they wanted was a mystery until one came up to them and asked:
Clark gave the man a weary look. "Who's asking?"
"Never mind," the man muttered, walking quickly away.
"What's going on with these people?" Lois asked. "They're all acting so weird."
Clark, who had turned around, tapped her shoulder. "Lois? Look behind you."
As she turned, Lois's mouth dropped open. "Oh my gosh." She exclaimed. A passer-by noticed her reaction. He looked at the two and the baby.
"This is your first time here in Metropolis, isn't it?" he asked, seeming to not notice that they were virtual celebrities in this future timeline.
"Actually we live — " Clark started.
"Yes, yes it is," Lois cut in, interrupting him. "Can you tell us where the Daily Planet is?"
The passer-by pointed to a large cylindrical building down at the end of the street they were on. "That's it right there, ma'am," he replied, walking away. He abruptly turned back though, to utter last words of advice. "Oh, and look after that child. Children are our future, you know." And with that the man dematerialized.
It would have seemed odd to them if they hadn't noticed two others dematerialize seconds later.
"You know, I'm never going to get used to that," Lois commented with a smile. "Now let's find out who this baby belongs with so we can get out of this creepy future," she finished, rushing toward the Daily Planet building.
Clark held the baby firmly and did some light super-speed running to catch up with her. *Everyone here seems to know who I am and what I can do anyway,* Clark thought.
As the two passed an alleyway, the woman who had previously contacted them and claimed to be the baby's mother bolted out from the shadows. She grabbed the baby from a startled Clark's arms and made a run for it. Clark again forewent the "cape change" and just took off after her, leaving Lois, looking concerned, standing on the sidewalk. She was very glad — almost too happy, she told herself — when she saw Clark catch the woman, retrieving the child, not two blocks away. She started toward the two of them, having a few questions for the woman herself, but the woman seemed to fade into nothingness just as people had been doing ever since they had arrived in Metropolis 2086.
"That's certainly a neat trick," Lois remarked.
"Too neat," Clark replied. He was angry and determined, "We need to find out who these people who want the child really are, before anything like this happens again." Lois nodded and the two continued to the Planet.
As they entered the futuristic building, they couldn't help but be impressed. The whole look of the place hadn't changed that much from what they knew. Sure there was more technology and more glitz, but it did feel strangely like home for the couple.
The elevator was totally revamped, though. It answered voice commands, which Lois found out the hard way when she mentioned that she was hungry, and a full meal appeared before her. Clark had laughed at that.
"Not that hungry!" had been Lois's reply to the elevator computer. "And get us to the archives."
The elevator stopped on the fifteenth floor, and they exited, Clark still holding the baby.
"He's going to need a change soon," he commented.
"We'll get to that in a second, Clark. We've still got to find the archives." Lois thought to herself, *This floor is set up almost exactly like the archive section of the old Planet. And if so … * Lois bumped into another statue. "I guess the archive computer isn't here," she said, rubbing her knee. "Clark!" she called, "Look who this is!"
Clark came into the room and stopped. "Wow."
The statue was of Franklin Stern. "The Savior of the Daily Planet — 1994" was the plaque's description.
After a short moment of awe, Clark remembered something. "I found the computers. They're over here," he said leading the way.
On the walk over, Lois noticed that she was receiving a lot of strange looks. The strange looks increased, however, when they arrived in the archives themselves, and tried to swipe their 1997 Daily Planet ID Cards through the system to gain admittance to the room. After a short skirmish with the door's computer, and some assistance from several staff members, they hustled inside, noticing how very futuristic this part of the Planet looked. More than the other sections, this is the one that was constantly updated — of course — and it seemed so new and almost alien to the couple.
Lois was the first to sit down at the computer terminals, and almost immediately had it figured out. Then the baby started crying.
Clark started rocking him.
He still cried.
Clark rocked him and walked around.
He still cried.
Clark put him up on his shoulder, just as the woman who claimed to be the mother said, rocked him, and walked around.
He still cried.
The two began to get worried. They still weren't sure if any of the people who wanted the child had Kryptonian powers, and therefore super-hearing.
*What else can I do?* Clark thought. He glanced at Lois, who had gone to the bag they carried and brought out the bottle. "Thanks, Lois," Clark said as he got the bottle and started to feed the baby.
He spit the bottle out, and continued crying.
Clark was beginning to get very nervous. He didn't want to have to meet any of those people just yet, so he tried to think of another solution.
"Lois, I'll be right back," he said, starting out the door. She trusted him enough to let him go.
*He is enjoying the flight!* thought Clark. He flew the baby around more and more, with the child growing happier with each twist and twirl. "You really like this, don't you?" Clark asked the baby, continuing his flight.
With Clark and the baby gone for a while, Lois knew what she had to do. She'd already figured the computer out, and now all she had to do was access the information they needed. She sighed. "Now, let's go group by group and find out what we can." Lois took the physical descriptions she had formed in her mind and cross- referenced them with the people of Metropolis's database. She quickly came across the United Earth Council's information files on the child and the various groups that were trying to get a hold of him. She started writing notes on the page beside her.
By the time Clark returned with the newly-not-crying baby, Lois had a full briefing ready for him. Clark sat and listened.
"Okay, the first group, with Kallie and Leaon?" Lois reminded Clark. He nodded. "Well, they and those other people that we saw in their projection are part of a group that is bidding to have a ruling majority in the "United Earth Council" who are basically a souped-up United Nations. They do have a lot of power, though, which is why I'm reluctant to give this group the baby. I think they could very easily have a hidden agenda."
Clark nodded again, "You're right. What about the mystery lady?"
"Yeah, I've got some stuff on her, but not much," Lois replied, searching through her stacks of paper. "Here it is," she continued, pulling out a single sheet. "I found out that she's thought of as a nomad. She could be the child's mother … but no one's sure." Lois shook her head. "This is just really confusing, because they say that the child's mother abandoned him and after that the details get pretty sketchy. Three more women claimed to be the baby's mother, and since the woman who everyone thought was the mother had disappeared by then, there was actual credence left to these claims. Until the baby disappeared."
"That's when we got him?" Clark asked.
"Yeah. Anyway, this woman has appeared sporadically in public as well as the two times we saw her. Everything's too sketchy with her, Clark. How do we know what to do with her?"
Clark thought about that for a second. He really didn't know. Then, the cursed super-hearing that he was possessed with kicked in.
"What is it, Clark?"
"Explosion … at a factory." Clark listened some more. "The factory is registered to … KallieCorp." He turned to Lois. "Think there's a connection?"
Lois smiled, "I'll find out if there is." She turned to the computer screen again and started typing.
"You're sure you and the baby will be fine?" Clark asked, just before taking off.
"This is the Daily Planet, Clark. Of course we'll be fine." Lois smiled as Clark nodded and flew off to take care of the explosion.
As Clark landed he noticed that another person was there blowing out the fire with super breath. It was taking him a while to get it done. Clark came up beside the man and blew the fire out in one breath.
"That help?" he asked the mystery "super-man" beside him.
The man nodded. "Thank-you, Kal-El." And with that, the man flew off.
"Hey! Wait, I need to talk — " Clark cut himself off as he heard a voice behind him.
"Don't mind him, Kal-El. He's got other things to worry about. On the other hand, you only have me to worry about." The man approaching Clark was an older, bearded man with a distinguished air about him.
"Why do I need to worry about you?" Clark asked, crossing his arms across his chest.
"Because I hold to the key to destroying something you hold very dear," the man smiled, devilishly.
"What are you talking about?"
"Maybe I can explain better," came another voice.
"What a good memory, Clark." Leaon appeared from the shadows. "What my colleague means is that we have planted five small nuclear devices at the Daily Planet in the year 1997. If you don't let us have the child, they'll go off, one by one. And because we used your primitive nuclear technology to plant the bombs, I don't think anyone in Metropolis would survive the radioactive fallout."
Clark could only stare dumbfounded.
"Surely the more than a million people who live in Metropolis are worth more than the life of a small child, and we will take good care of him," Leaon smiled. "Oh, and just so you know that we're not bluffing, here's a demonstration."
"No!" was all Clark could get out before a projection of the Daily Planet appeared before him.
"So everything's ready, right Chief?" Jimmy asked, looking at the list.
"I think so." Perry replied, "I called the caterers, and they'll have my dinner ready. And on my way home I'm going to pick up the flowers and get my suit from the cleaners." Perry paused in thought. "Yeah. And then I've got to — " He stopped as a rumbling sound swept the newsroom and a shaking accompanied it. It was over in seconds, but was scary as hell.
"Was that an earthquake or what?" Perry shouted over the commotion the shaking caused on the news floor. When there was no reply, he got even angrier. "Can't anyone tell me what just happened?!" With that, a staff member came running off the elevator and headed over to Perry.
"Mr. White! There was a small explosion in the basement."
"It's okay, there was minimal structural damage and the repair crews are already on the job. No one was injured, either."
"Well that's a good thing," Perry commented. "Did Superman save the day?"
"No, sir. He wasn't here at all. No one knows where he is."
"Now where's Superman when we need him?"
At that point the projection disappeared, leaving Clark with a mound of guilt in his throat and a massive choice to make.
"Where's their knight in shining armor?" Leaon asked, taunting. "If you'd give us the child, we'd be able to get you back to your beloved Metropolis very quickly."
"You've got to be kidding me," Clark replied. "I'd never give a helpless child to you. You're out of your mind." Clark didn't get to hear a reply from Leaon, as he was suddenly transported away from the plant and into the Daily Planet editor's office.
"Hello, Clark," came another familiar voice. It was the voice of Jenna, a member of "The Foundation," who had made the video earlier.
"Wha … where?" Clark then realized that he already knew where he was.
"There's a bomb about to go off in my time! I've got to get back!"
"Clark, please calm down," Jenna said with a firm voice. "We've disabled the bombs set in your time. And KallieCorp is now under investigation by the United Earth Council."
Clark wasn't sure that he believed this woman. But sitting where Clark knew Perry used to sit gave a lot of support to her statement.
"Is this still the original desk?" Clark asked, feeling the mahogany desk that Perry had in 1997. He reached the place where Perry had slammed into the corner and left a dent. The dent was still there.
Jenna looked at him. "Now do you believe me?"
Clark looked mystified. "I think so."
"Good," she replied, "because we have to explain to you what we need done."
Clark thought of Lois immediately. "You're going to have to explain this to me and Lois, because I'm not leaving her or the baby out of this. I'll be right back."
Clark returned five minutes later, holding the child, with Lois right behind him.
"Hello," Jenna started. "Please, sit down. This might be a bit to take."
The couple sat, and Clark still held the baby tightly. "'The Foundation' is a group that is dedicated to keeping the Kryptonian bloodline alive. We are made up of both humans and Kryptonians." She paused, seeing the questioning looks on the two faces before her. "I'm not Kryptonian myself, but as you can see by this office, I am the current Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet." Jenna paused again for effect. "Perhaps I should explain to you what a miracle this baby really is. He was born a full Kryptonian, and no one, not even with our advanced genetic theories, can figure out how it happened. This child represents what we hope to be the future of the Kryptonian race on Earth. With the other Kryptonians having children with humans … " Jenna looked at Lois. " … not that that's a bad thing, but it has diminished the bloodline. It now takes about four quarter-bloods to do what Kal-El here could have done by himself. The world needs this fully powered super-being and 'The Foundation' is dedicated to keeping him alive long enough for his powers to manifest themselves." Jenna paused, and waited for any questions Lois or Clark could have. The two looked at each other, and then Lois turned to Jenna.
"We're going to need some time to think about this."
Jenna nodded, "I can understand that. I've also got another edition to work on, so should we meet back here in an hour?"
"Sure." Clark said. With the baby still in his arms, he followed Lois out of the room.
The couple went back down to the archives, where they began to discuss their problem.
"She was telling the truth, Clark," Lois said. "I know all about 'The Foundation'."
"She seems sincere, but I'd still like to know more about this mystery woman. Why are there so many question marks surrounding her?" Clark was frustrated. He gestured around the room. "All this technology is sitting here and it can't give us one solid piece of information about this woman?"
"There are other ways to get information on a person, Clark, remember?"
Clark nodded. "I was thinking about that." They both got up, and went out to do what they did best … investigate.
As the couple returned to the building in 2086, they knew all they needed to know. They went back to the archives and waited until the hour was up. They had found out a lot for a thirty-minute walk. They didn't know who was a viable source, but when the opinions were unanimous, it was hard to argue. The mystery woman was generally considered a bad person, though everything was a rumor, and no one had ever proven anything. It was thought that she stole all the technology that she used, and had her own hidden agenda. The people of Metropolis generally ignored her. She was seen in and out of the shelters for the homeless, and had never had a steady job. No one was positive, but she hadn't ever been seen with a baby.
The two got up to go back to Jenna's office, and both knew what their choice was. Based on all of the evidence and the fact that the people they had talked to on the streets also thought that the baby's mother had died, as "The Foundation" had said. The group that wanted to preserve the bloodline, were Lois and Clark's best choice.
Back in 1997, Alice didn't arrive at 7 p.m. when she was supposed to. She wasn't even there by 8 p.m. Perry went over to her apartment at 9 p.m.
As he knocked on the door he wondered what could have happened that she didn't show up. He was trying to make amends, did she know that? There was no answer after a couple minutes. "Aww, c'mon Alice! What's wrong? Why didn't you come to dinner? I've been planning tonight for weeks, and I'd die if I didn't get to be with you tonight."
The door opened and Alice let him in. "We need to talk, Perry. About our relationship, and its final threads." Perry was heartbroken, but sat down on the couch as Alice closed the door.
Lois and Clark sat with the baby on Clark's lap. Telling Jenna their decision had been harder than they had thought. Lois was in tears as the couple attempted to say goodbye to the child who had meant so much to them for the past week.
"I'll leave you three alone for now," Jenna said, exiting the room.
"This could be our last chance at ever having a child," Lois sobbed, looking at the baby.
"I know that," Clark replied, almost in tears himself. "But you can't honestly tell me that you'd keep this child from where it belonged. We've got to let this baby have his life, and get on with ours. It's hard, but we'll always have each other and our hope that someday we'll have a child of our own." Clark's eyes were misty by now.
"I … I just have this place in my heart, Clark. And it's a place that only a child could fill." Clark held Lois tightly, with the child in the middle, on Clark's lap. "I know," he whispered. He felt badly for her.
Jenna entered, this time with Ulee, from the video as well. Lois and Clark attempted to collect themselves. Jenna looked like she was going to cry at the sight of the two. "I know how hard this must be. And I'm sorry, but this baby's place is here. I can only reassure you that one day you will find a way to have a child of your own. I can't tell you when or how, but rest assured, please."
All Lois could do was nod, and she took the baby and hugged it once before handing it to Jenna. With more tears, Lois sat down again.
"Thank you both so much," Ulee said, "You've done a good thing today." He smiled at the baby before continuing. "We'll leave you two alone."
As Jenna and Ulee left with the child, Lois and Clark sat alone in the room, clutching each other's hands.
In the darkness of his apartment, Jimmy felt oddly alone. He wasn't sure why. Maybe it was because Perry hadn't called him. Why hadn't Perry called him? Jimmy looked at the clock again. It read 10:15. "Damn." Jimmy said, "He said he was going to call at ten. Where are you, Chief?" Jimmy folded his arms across his chest, and sat back again, waiting.
Lois and Clark still sat in the same position. They had been there for more than thirty minutes now. Clark was the first to break the silence.
"We've been gone from 1997 for a while now. People are probably wondering what's happened to us." He looked at Lois, who was still misty-eyed. He tried to be positive. "The baby's happy now, honey. Just like Ulee said, we've done a good thing." Clark knew he had to get through to her. "We still have a chance at a child, just like Jenna said to us. No matter how small, we have to hang onto that, Lois."
Lois nodded. "I guess so. Now, can we please leave? I've got too much to deal with, I need a story to write or something to get my mind off this."
Clark smiled. "Of course."
Just as the two were about to press the green buttons, Clark heard a faint child's cry through his super-hearing. Lois noticed him listening. "What is it?"
"It's just his cry. I'm sure it's just that he's hungry or something. He's fine, Lois."
"Are you sure? Because I need to know that we made the right choice." Lois pleaded with her husband, "Please check on him, Clark."
Clark agreed and took off out a window.
He flew high above the Daily Planet, to get a better sound to hone in on. As he got nearer to the place he knew the cry was emanating from, he x-rayed the building.
What he saw shocked him. The baby was tied to a table, and Jenna, Ulee and three others were working on some sort of device. Clark rocketed toward the building, destroying one of its walls in the process.
"We trusted you … " he said, seething with anger. He didn't say any more. He banded them up, tied them securely and made sure the police got them. They explained that they needed the child's powers, to spread out.
"He would have regenerated the powers, we just needed some of them to make us stronger as well," Jenna explained.
Her words were lost on Clark, who took the baby back to Lois, who now was standing outside the Daily Planet.
Lois was pacing. "What's taking him so long?" she asked herself. Clark landed in front of her with the child. He explained what happened, and Lois was equally appalled. "Well _now_ what are we going to do?" Lois asked, frustrated. She wanted the baby for herself, but knew that it was an integral part of this timeline.
"We could take the child home with us. You know, just wait until the right person contacts us?"
Lois looked at Clark thoughtfully. "I could barely let him go with Jenna and her group this time, Clark. If we kept the child longer, I don't think I could give it back, even if I wanted to." Lois was again heartbroken. "We've got to find where he belongs here and now."
"He belongs with me." The mystery woman arrived on the scene again, this time more sedate than before. She tried to explain herself. "I didn't want my child here, with these horrible people wanted to do inhumane things with him. I knew I needed help from someone, but I didn't trust anyone here. I did, however, trust you two. The opportunity presented itself that I could send me baby back. And I took it whole-heartedly." The woman dug into the bag she had slung over her shoulder. "Here." She produced the same globe that "The Foundation" had shown them before.
"I wondered where 'The Foundation' got that from." Clark remarked.
"They got it from me. They said they'd help my baby but instead injected me with a powerful neurotoxin, and took the baby and the globe. Was there sound in the projection that they showed you?"
"No," Lois replied.
The woman nodded. "I didn't think so. Only I've been given the power to activate the full story. After my husband was killed, the globe automatically adapted to recognize only me as the one it needed to answer to." She touched the globe. "Watch this."
The reporters watched the same projections as before, only this time the colors were one thousand times as vibrant and the sounds made everything so much more believable. Lois and Clark heard the sounds of everything inside their heads. They experienced Clark's youth, his meeting Lois, their falling in love, the marriage, their future baby and more.
"This is the globe which Jor-El gave you, Kal-El," the woman explained. "Your entire life was recorded in here, as it occurred. And you never even knew."
Clark was shocked, but both he and Lois knew they had a new choice. And when the baby reached out from Clark's arms, to the woman before them, they knew they had found where the baby belonged.
As Clark handed the child over, he felt sad, but at the same time, an immense happiness.
"Lois and Clark, you have done our future an incredible favor. For that we are forever in your debt," the woman said. "And I offer the only thing I can … my thanks."
Lois was sad, yet satisfied, as well. "And hey, if you ever need a babysitter in 1997, look us up," she joked.
The woman smiled and dematerialized with her child. Lois and Clark both looked at each other. They grabbed hands, and pressed each other's green buttons, and went home.
Lois and Clark rematerialized at the Daily Planet. Lois glanced over at the calendar on her desk.
It read 1997.
She also noticed that it was past 11 p.m.
She and Clark, hand in hand, made their way quietly out of the building. They each knew how the other one felt, so no talking was necessary. But just the simple touch of each other was enough to keep them both happy.
As they walked down the street to where Lois had parked her Cherokee, they passed a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk. "Lois and Clark? Is that you?" he asked, looking up. When the pair nodded, he continued, "I heard that you tried to adopt. Does that mean the two of you can't have children of your own?"
"The doctors have told us no," Clark replied.
The man smiled, "Well, I'm sure it will work out. Everything does, doesn't it?"
Lois and Clark smiled at the warm message the man had given them. Lois thanked him and the two walked on towards the Cherokee. Towards home.
The two returned home and got settled. Clark went upstairs to check on his parents, and let them know what had happened. When he came back downstairs, he saw Lois at the carriage they still had. He came up behind her and hugged her. She had tears in her eyes when she turned to him. "We can never give up," she said. "I know that one day we're going to have something to fill this carriage, I just know it." Clark smiled at her and nodded, "I believe you."
The two stared at the empty carriage in each other's embrace, long into the night.