By Barb Pillsbury <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November, 2002
Summary: Our favorite characters compete on a popular game show. Who has less intelligence than a piece of Kryptonite?
The following vignette is based on the TV show, "The Weakest Link". For purposes of this story, the rounds have been compressed somewhat. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, the rules will be found at the end of the story. As usual, there are many people to thank: Erin, Rat, Bethy, Tricia, and Laswa for their help and constant support. I also want to thank Wendy for her input and suggestions. And, I especially need to thank Laura, a great friend, for BRing this so quickly.
The music swelled, and the array of colored lights blinked and radiated in a multitude of directions, reflecting the music's rhythmic cadence in a choreographed laser show. "Welcome to 'The Weakest Link'," intoned the announcer, as the music continued to underscore his words.
The eight contestants looked around at each other and then, quickly turned their gaze on the moderator clad all in black.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, our moderator, Anne Robinson," the canned voice recited.
"Tonight we have a special edition of our show," Anne Robinson informed the viewing audience. "The team is composed of members of the fictional communities of Metropolis, Smallville and their environs. The monies won will be donated to the Homeless Shelter of Metropolis," she said, smiling just slightly. "All right, let's meet the team."
"I guess I'm first," an affable man dressed in jeans and a plaid flannel shirt said humbly into the camera. "My name is Jonathan Kent. I'm a farmer from Smallville, Kansas. I'm a pretty nice man who loves his son and his wife, and lets her rule the roost."
"Good for you, Jonathan," Anne replied. "Always like to see a woman have the upper hand. So, you must be his wife," she said, looking at Martha who stood at the second contestant podium.
"Yes, Anne. I'm Martha Kent. But I'm a lot more than Jonathan's wife and Clark's mother. I'm an artist, and a very smart woman," she informed the moderator. "More importantly, a lot of the plots turned on my input and these two men simply couldn't get along without me."
"No, I couldn't," Jonathan put in as Martha beamed back at him.
"Me neither, Mom," Clark added from down the row.
"Can I interrupt this vapid, insipid discussion?" the next contestant spat out. "My name is Tempus," said the man behind the sunglasses, "and thank God I don't live in either Metropolis or Smallville, especially if these saccharine characters populate them. I come from the future where I have taken umbrage at an unfortunately unique utopian society created by… But I digress. I'm here to win. But a homeless shelter-I may vomit!"
"Hi, everyone!" grinned the next contestant whose well- defined body was obvious beneath his form-fitted, v-necked red sweater.
Even Anne was affected by his incredible smile, and smiled back in spite of herself.
"My name is Clark Kent," he continued. "I'm a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper. And," he looked at the beautiful woman to his left. "I'm in lo…Just a second. What year are we in?"
The brunette next to him tossed her head, and her long hair moved gracefully. Eyeing her hair, Clark smiled. "I'm one- half of a reporting team known as Lane and Kent," he finished.
"Hello, Anne," the striking brunette said. "I'm Lois Lane. I'm the senior member of the reporting team of *Lane* and Kent, and I have several Kerth awards to back that up. Clark, here," she said indicating the handsome man on her right, "is still learning, so I ask the questions and will probably answer most of them here tonight."
Clark rolled his eyes and looked at his partner. <Maybe she won't be on top after tonight, because I may have to alter the planned strategy I had agreed on earlier this evening,> he thought.
The camera focused in on the next contestant. He was an elderly man who, although obviously distinguished at times, was wearing a T-shirt with the words "Long Live Elvis" imprinted on it for purposes of the show.
"My name is Perry White," the man informed the audience. "I am editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet—the best newspaper in the country. Your turn," he said sharply, obviously used to barking out orders to the young man standing next to him.
"Yes, Chief," the young man said. "I'm Jimmy Olsen," he explained. "I guess you can say that I'm the gopher for Clark, Lois and the Chief."
All eyes turned to the last contestant in the semi-circle of podiums. The man grinned impishly. "My name is Mr. Mxyzptlk, and I'm from the fifth dimension, which should give me an edge over these people. One day I would like to rule…"
"Well, that's our team," Anne interrupted the imp's musings.
While Anne Robinson went over the rules, the contestants looked at each other, thinking about the strategies that they had devised among themselves to utilize in the playing of the game. Martha winked at Jonathan, and Lois looked conspiratorially at Clark from under her lashes.
Clark glanced over at Lois. She was so lovely. He fantasized what it would be like to kiss her for real. Yes, he had done it in two episodes, but they weren't real and now that he was on a real TV show—maybe a congratulatory kiss would be in order when he won, and then after… The fantasies were enjoyable and so much better than listening to the concept of banking funds. Anne was saying something about the first round incorporating questions from the first year of the show. The first year would get them through the Centennial Park debacle, and leave he and Lois at the point just after Lex's death where they were friends, just friends. Clark grimaced, thinking about it. But Anne was now facing Jonathan and beginning the questions. He had to concentrate.
"Name the sheriff of Smallville," Anne said to Jonathan.
"Rachel Harris," Jonathan answered quickly.
The $1,000 light illuminated.
"What festival was occurring when Lois came to visit Smallville for the first time?" Anne shot out.
"The Corn Festival," Martha responded just as rapidly.
The light moved up to flash $2,500.
"What is the substance that can kill Superman?" Anne queried Tempus.
"Kryptonite," Tempus threw back.
The light now flashed $5,000.
"When did you fall in love with Lois Lane?" Anne asked, staring at Clark.
Clark thought back over the first year. Was it at the Corn festival? No, he had feelings before that. Was it over Chinese dinner? Well, that might have solidified it. He thought again, and then he knew the answer. He had always known this answer.
"The first time I saw her," he responded, not looking over at Lois.
The money amount moved up to $10,000
Lois was caught off guard by Clark's response. Did he say the first time he saw her? Lois' thoughts were drifting. Her mind went back to the things she had said to him when they first met. But she didn't have time to dwell. Anne was asking her something.
"Can you say that again?" Lois asked.
"What was the nickname you used to refer to Clark, when he first came to the Daily Planet," she repeated.
"Farmboy," Lois said knowingly, as she had just been thinking about those terms.
The light reflected $25,000.
"Bank," yelled out Perry.
"What was the first story Clark covered for the Daily Planet?"
"The razing of the theatre on 42nd Street," responded Perry, sorry that he had banked the funds.
The Bank reflected $25,000 while the thermometer of lights now showed $1,000.
"Bank," shouted Jimmy, unsure of what he had to offer the team.
The Bank's number went up to $26,000
Anne turned slightly and faced Jimmy. "What was the name of the boy accused of blowing up the Daily Planet?'
"Jack," responded Jimmy, surprised that he knew the answer.
Once more the vertical light bar showed $1,000.
"What is Mxyzptlk backwards?" Anne asked, staring at the dark, curly headed man at the end of the row.
"Kltpzyxm," he responded and poof, he was gone.
"Well, I guess we don't have to vote the weakest link off after that round," Anne informed the team. "And he left without me even saying *goodbye*."
As the camera could not find the Fifth Dimension, no personal interview was conducted with the first contestant to be discarded.
"Well, during the previous round you managed to bank a surprising $26,000. Okay, Round 2," Anne informed them. "This time we have three minutes on the clock. We will be quizzing you on both the first and second years, and we start with the strongest link during that last round, and that would have to be Clark."
"Why Clark?" Lois asked. "We all answered one question correctly? Why is Clark the strongest link?"
"Guess, Lois," Anne said, not looking at Lois but smiling across at Clark. "Let's play 'The Weakest Link'."
Lois glanced quickly at Clark. He *was* strong in his commitment to his family, friends and job. But it was his gentleness and kindness that… <Keep focused!> she yelled at herself.
"Where did you find the globe from Krypton?" Anne asked Clark.
"Bureau 39 warehouse," Clark responded.
"The Globe?" Lois asked looking at Clark. "You mean the one that…"
<Oops,> thought Clark. <Got to redirect her.>
"Your question, Lois," Clark insisted while the lights flashed at the $1,000 level. "Pay attention!"
"What caused you to attempt to seduce Clark by doing the dance of the seven veils?"
"Pheromone spray," Lois responded sheepishly.
The lights read $2,500.
Lois reflected back on that evening in Clark's apartment. What would have happened if she hadn't…?
"Bank," Perry yelled again, interrupting Lois' daydream.
"Chief," Lois demanded, angry with him for disturbing her, and for not trusting himself to answer the next question.
The Bank now read $28,500.
"Who was Lois' source on her…"
"I don't know," Perry responded before Anne had even finished the question. "I don't *know* any of her sources, and wouldn't tell you if I did," he said staunchly.
The lights remained on zero.
"What was the name of the actor that portrayed you during the first year," Anne asked Jimmy.
"Michael Landis," Jimmy responded with a flinch.
The $1,000 figure lit up again.
"What doll was everyone so hot over during Christmas of the second year," she asked Jonathan.
"A space rat," he answered.
Clark smiled as he thought back to one of his favorite episodes. <The childlike quality of the show was so much fun,> he reveled. Good writing!
The light moved up to highlight the $2,500 figure.
"When Superman lost his eyesight, where was Clark?" Anne looked at Martha and waited.
Martha looked down the row at Clark. "I can't answer that," she said.
The lights once again were back on zero.
"He was…" Anne started, but Martha interrupted.
"I don't need to know the correct answer, just go on."
"Wait," shouted Lois. "Maybe *I* want to know that answer."
"Where did Superman's space ship land on earth," Anne continued by asking Tempus the next question.
"Oh, give me a hard one," he said condescendingly. "Shuster's field"
"But Shuster's field is in…" Lois began.
"Time's up," Anne informed them all, "and you just managed to bank a pathetic $2,500. Now it's time to vote off the weakest link. Which character is the most galactically stupid of the bunch?"
All eyes turned to Lois.
"What, what?" Lois asked.
Each contestant wrote down the name of the person that they wanted to dump. Anne looked at Jonathan who pushed the button in front of him. The name "Perry" lit up. Martha also voted for "Perry", obviously showing that she and Jonathan had planned something. Tempus pushed his lever, lighting up the name of "Martha".
"Clark," Anne asked, "Who did you vote for?"
Clark pushed the button and "Tempus" appeared on the screen in front of Clark's podium.
Tempus glared over at him.
Lois' vote echoed Clark's. There were now two "Perrys", one "Martha" and two for "Tempus". Perry's vote went for Martha as did Jimmy's. Martha now had three votes.
"Tempus, why Martha?" Anne asked.
"Mothers make me so ill, I could vomit."
"You want to do that a lot, Tempus," Anne reminded everyone. "Do you have a bulimic problem?"
Anne turned to Jimmy. "Now Jimmy, I never figured you would vote Martha off. Why?"
"Well I'm scared of Tempus, Perry and Lois. I really like CK. So that leaves the Kents. I sort of went eeny-meeny, and Martha couldn't answer the last question."
"Well, Martha. It looks like you're the weakest link, *goodbye*."
"Where she goes, I go too," Jonathan explained.
"You're really nothing without her, aren't you?" Anne asked.
"Thank you, Jonathan," Martha said, ignoring Anne. They both left the stage, holding hands.
Martha and Jonathan sat in the interviewing box, still holding hands. "It's not that I couldn't answer my last question," Martha explained. "It's that I *wouldn't* answer the question. Well, at least my Clark is still up there."
"Well, on to round three," Anne notified them. "You have two and one half minutes for this round, and as customary, we start with the strongest link. And *once again*, it's Clark."
"Yeah, right," Lois scoffed.
"Clark, where did you first tell Lois you loved her?" Anne began.
Clark had realized, coming into the program, that the last two episodes of the first season would, most likely, be used as questions. These were hard episodes for him as his character had gone through despair, jealousy, anger and fear.
"Centennial Park," he responded quashing his feelings.
The lights flashed on $1,000.
"Lois, who is Superman's secret identity?" Anne asked.
All eyes turned to her.
"How the hell should I know?" Lois said angrily. "He has a secret identity?" she asked the rest of them.
"As you said before Anne, she's too galactically stupid to know that one," Tempus sneered, and removing his sunglasses, stared at Lois and said, "Duh???"
Lois looked at all of them. They seemed to know something she didn't. Had the writers not allowed her to understand the basic plot of the show? Was she out of the loop?
"Shall we tell her guys?" Anne asked.
Everyone on the panel pointed to Clark, with Clark even indicating himself, as they all sang out: "Clark."
"No way!" Lois exclaimed.
"Time's up," Anne informed them.
"That was the shortest round of questioning yet!" Perry exclaimed.
"Well, you know—dramatic license," Anne explained. "We want to get on to eradicating the useless members of this group—you know the characters who are just there to help advance Lois and Clark's plots."
Perry and Jimmy looked at each other.
Lois, meanwhile, continued to stare at Clark, while he ignored her, keeping his eyes on the podium.
"Let's vote off 'The Weakest Link'!" Anne intoned.
Clark's vote went for Tempus, as did Lois'. Tempus voted for Jimmy. Perry voted for Jimmy, and Jimmy voted for Jimmy.
Anne abruptly turned to face Jimmy. "Why did you vote yourself off?" she asked incredulously.
"I'm not staying with this group," Jimmy explained, glancing furtively around.
"Did you just figure out that Michael could have done a better job than you, Justin?" Anne said caustically. "You are the weakest link, *goodbye*."
Out in the interviewing area, Jimmy smiled at the camera. "I didn't think I'd last this long," he said.
"Back to the 'Weakest Link'," Anne advised them all. "In the last round you didn't bank anything. You still have $28,500, when you could have had $250,000 by now. You only have two minutes to answer questions from the third year, and we will start with the strongest link who is…"
"Clark," Tempus, Lois and Perry all said at the same time.
"Who takes on the role of Kent, when Lois believes she is Wanda Detroit?"
"Lex Luthor," Clark spat out.
The lights indicated $1,000.
"Lois, who is Clark Kent's alter-ego?"
"You've got to be kidding," Tempus said sharply.
"Lo-is, come on!" Clark encouraged. "You've got to know this. We've already gone through the episode when you are frozen and have that insightful experience."
"Yes, I know…but…but…"
"It's Superman," Anne answered for her.
Perry turned to Lois. "Where is your edge, your reporter savvy?" he asked.
The lights went to zero.
Lois looked down at the podium, glumly. She *had* lost her edge. She had also lost her long hair. She was no longer the award winning reporter. She was a wallower. And there was nothing she hated more than being a wallower.
"Who is the Psychiatrist that wants to take Lois away from the Daily Planet to the South of France," Anne asked Perry.
"Max Deter," he answered.
The $1,000 figure lit up.
"Who is president of the alternate universe," Anne proffered to Tempus.
"Charleton Heston," he replied. "You can tell by the guns."
"Bank," yelled out Clark, just in time to move the $2,500 into the bank, resulting in $31,000.
"Time's up," Anne informed them once again.
"Well, we now have $31,000 for the homeless shelter. But that's a far cry from the $375,000 it could have been. Moreover, it's time once again to vote off the weakest link. Who is the character who is least likely to turn up in a FOLC fanfic?" Anne smirked.
"Well that's obvious—Perry," said Tempus as he pushed the button in front of him.
"Sorry, Lois honey, but come on…" Perry said, as his light indicated that he had chosen to dump Lois.
Lois pushed her button and, as on all previous times, "Tempus" lit up. She turned to Clark expecting the same.
Clark closed his eyes. He was going to go against the strategy that he and Lois had worked out before the show. But he had to. He had his own plan. He knew he would be facing Mad Dog Lane, but that couldn't be helped. He knew he was right.
Clark pushed the lever and surprisingly, the name "Perry" was written.
Both Perry and Lois looked startled. Tempus just smiled sadistically.
"Huh, son. Why did you do that?" Perry pleaded. "I've always supported you!"
"Yeah, Chief, I know. But I have a strategy," Clark explained.
"Well, you're the weakest link, *goodbye*!" Anne said to Perry expeditiously.
In the interviewing area, Perry paced back and forth.
"After all I've done for those kids. No other boss would have put up with their shenanigans, even if they were the best reporting team on earth."
"On to the next round of 'The Weakest Link'," Anne spouted. "You have only 90 seconds to answer questions this time, and remember, for this round the amounts will be doubled and the fourth year will be included."
"My favorite year!" Tempus exclaimed.
"No one else's," Clark sighed.
"We begin with the strongest link, Clark."
Tempus and Lois both rolled their eyes.
"What was the name of the New Kryptonian couple who requested you go back to prevent a civil war."
"Zara and Ching," Clark answered.
Once more the $1,000 light flickered on.
"Yes, I know. Clark is Superman, Superman is Clark."
"That's not the question," Anne told her.
"What's the name of the 'person' who finally married the two of you?"
"Mike," Lois informed her, as she looked over at Clark and smiled. She couldn't stay angry with him, especially as she could see herself reflected back in his eyes as he gazed lovingly at her.
The $2,500 amount lit up.
"What was the name of John Doe's running mate," Anne asked Tempus.
"Wait a minute. No one ever remembers the Vice-President," Tempus indicated. "Uh…Oh, yes. Andrus."
The lights moved up to the $5,000 level.
"Bank," Clark said quickly, as time once more ran out.
"Well," Anne said. "You have added $10,000, bringing your total to a somewhat less than impressive $41,000. But being you all are fictional characters, this is probably the best you could do."
"It's now time to vote off the weakest link," Anne said, looking at the three facing her. "Who is the tempest in this teapot?" she asked.
Lois smiled. Well, this was going to be easy. Two against one. She now saw what was Clark's strategy. The two of them together, Lane and Kent—the finest news team, will blow Tempus out of the water. She wrote Tempus on the plate in front of her.
Tempus pushed the button on his console. The name "Lois" sprang up.
<That was a surprise,> Lois thought facetiously.
Lois pushed her button and Tempus' name was illuminated.
Clark looked over at Lois, and then turned and stared at Tempus. <This was going to be fun,> he thought, and pushed his button.
Anne, Lois and Tempus simply stared at the highlighted name in front of Clark's podium. It read "Lois".
"Clark!!!!" Lois exclaimed vociferously. "What's gotten into you? You…you…broke ranks. First voting off Perry, and now me."
"Well, honey, I only wanted to protect you. I don't want it to be me against you at the end. I want to defeat Tempus, not you."
"What, what…" sputtered Lois. "Who's to say I wouldn't beat you, you…you lunkhead," she shouted, punching him in the arm even though she knew it would have no effect.
"Well, this has taken even me by surprise," Anne informed them. "But, Lois, it looks like you're the weakest link. *Goodbye*."
Lois stormed off and made a beeline for the interviewing area.
"That man, that man," she repeated. "He always thinks he knows what's best for me. He always wants to protect me. Well, I was protecting myself long before he came into the picture. And he can just go to…oh damn! Just look at him," she said with her eyes on the TV monitor. "How can anyone turn him away!"
"We're at the final round. As we are playing for one charity, the winner will get $5,000 for each correct answer that he gives, and it will be added to the $41,000 already in the pot. The first person to have three questions correct will win."
"Clark, since you are the strongest link, you will decide whether you or Tempus will go first."
"Anne, I must protest," Tempus informed her. "I don't believe that Clark has earned the title of the strongest link, as he and I both answered all of our questions."
"It doesn't matter, Tempus," Clark responded. "I was going to let you go first anyway."
"All right, Tempus," Anne said. "Where was alternate Lois lost."
"In the Congo," he replied.
"That is correct," Anne nodded.
"Clark. What kept getting smaller and smaller during the fourth Christmas show."
"The news room's Christmas tree."
"That is correct as well," she informed them.
"Tempus. What was Jimmy Olsen's occupation in the alternate universe?"
"Publisher of the Daily Planet," Tempus said smiling.
"That is also correct."
"What domestic activity did Katie the Ghost help Lois with?"
"Cooking," Clark responded.
"That's two for each of you. Get this one right, Tempus, and you'll have three. What does the G stand for in H.G. Wells?" Anne asked him.
"I know this…of course I know this," he said excitedly. "It's so simple. It's, it's…Gregory."
"No, that's incorrect. The correct answer is George. Clark if you get this right, you'll win. If you don't, we have to keep going."
"In the last episode of Lois and Clark, by what means did you get a baby?" she asked looking at Clark.
"No, no!" shouted Tempus.
Clark smiled. "It was left in a bassinet in our townhouse."
"That is correct, and Clark wins $56,000 for the Metropolis Homeless Shelter!!!!"
"Well, that was rigged!" yelled Tempus. "Just because he has a well-defined build, brown chocolate pools for eyes, and a smile that doesn't quit; he gets all the easy questions. I want a recount…I want a recount …I want…
Leaving Tempus with two security guards ushering him off, Anne ran up to Clark and put her arm through his, stroking it. "I wanted to do this all evening," she said, as they walked off arm and arm.
Rules: The aim of the game is to reach the $125,000 target within the time limit. The fastest and easiest way is create a chain of eight correct answers. Get a question wrong, and they break the chain and lose all the money in that chain. BUT! If they say the word bank, their money is safe. However! They start a brand new chain.