By the Gothamite a.k.a. Robert O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: January 2004
Summary: A sequel to the author's "Lex Luthor…Clone Of Steel," this sees a super-powered Luthor clone returning from the grave to begin his war on Metropolis with his own personal clone army.
In the darkness of Lois and Clark's bedroom, a small red light flickered. It turned on and off, and then suddenly the song 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra started playing. Lois grumbled. She'd always hated Sinatra. Clark's eyes bolted open as the sounds of the city of Metropolis filled his super-sensitive ears. He blocked out his super-hearing and took his glasses off the bedroom dresser.
"Good morning, beautiful." He smiled sarcastically at Lois. Her hair was waving in every direction, and her eyes were wrinkled and squinted. She grunted at him and dragged herself out of bed.
The two got ready for work, which took Clark a couple of seconds, (Lois took the better part of an hour), and made their way out to the street to get a cab. Clark looked around him. He looked up in the sky and saw the sun gazing down upon the insignificant Earth. He looked across to the playground where the children played tag and kickball. Metropolis really was a beautiful city to live in. He then set his eyes on Lois.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Life doesn't get much better than this!" Clark smiled and pecked her on the cheek.
Lois had always loved Clark's optimism. Maybe that was why she had always had an infatuation with Clark's alter ego Superman. But deep down, maybe without even knowing it, she had always loved Clark so much more. She smiled at him briefly before her eyes flicked over towards a taxi. She ran quickly towards it.
"Taxi!" she yelled.
Miles outside Metropolis was an old laboratory. Its origins were unknown, and no one in the city council gave it a second thought. Rather let the hobos living in it govern it for themselves. The old place was once a secret Lex Corp. lab for secret experiments that were somewhat above the law. After Lex Luthor and his company sunk as low as they could go, and Lex turned into a wanted criminal, this laboratory was abandoned. Most of the scientists left for an unknown future. Maybe they could get jobs in research plants or the like.
Inside the laboratory was not much to look at either. A lot of the equipment and test tubes were smashed and destroyed. Possibly by teenagers using the lab as a vehicle for parties and the like. One of the sections of walls was totally torched, and a huge stream of black stretched up the wall as a constant reminder that the inhabitants were where they were. One of the inhabitants was a scientist named Arnold Evanston. Many years ago, he made a costly mistake by trusting Lex Luthor. Arnold was forced to aid Luthor in his many diabolical schemes that usually had something to do with finding a stronger source of Kryptonite. Arnold never asked Luthor why Lex wanted a stronger source. He knew that even though it was partly his business, Luthor was very stubborn, and Arnold was very intimidated by him.
Arnold lost everything after this lab was no longer in use. His wife and children left him, and he was sent to Metropolis State Penitentiary for two years. After that, he tried to get back on his feet, but the science industry would no longer even give him a second look. Arnold's biggest problem was that he was so afraid of Luthor. His colleagues had escaped when they could and quickly skipped town. Arnold, on the other hand, had a family to provide for, and he knew if he ever turned his back on Luthor that he would lose that one speck of happiness in his life.
Arnold lay down against the wall, sobbing. He was wearing a ragged lab coat, and his eyes were red and bloodshot. He was unshaven and his hair was in a very scruffy state. In his right hand he held a bottle of wine. This was all the happiness he had right now. There was no way out of the rut he was stuck in. He would die here. Isolated. Alone.
The doors of the lab swung open and the loud, crackling sounds of the lightning storm outside filled the room. Arnold was terrified. Even more so because of his intoxicated state of mind.
The rain poured down on the bald headed man smiling menacingly at Arnold. It was the man who had caused Arnold all of his pain. It was the man that took away Arnold's family. It was none other than Lex Luthor.
"You!" Arnold frowned. He did not quite understand how Lex Luthor was here beyond the grave, but his intoxication gave him an open mind. He did not care how Luthor had survived, but he had, and Arnold was going to make sure that he would pay for his past crimes. Arnold ran clumsily over to the top drawer of a cabinet. Usually, supplies such as pencils or paper would be found in here. But it seemed as though forensic detectives had taken all of those things back to FBI offices for testing for fingerprints. Now there was nothing respectable about the contents of this drawer. Inside was a small revolver. It was loaded with three bullets. Three bullets he would use on his killer. Sure, Arnold's physical body still existed, but his soul had long since been dismissed. The good lord had banished him to a living hell.
Arnold pointed the gun at Luthor. Luthor laughed, and closed the door behind him.
"Do you really think that's going to do you any good?" Luthor asked.
Arnold was not listening. There was a tear running down his face. Arnold had had a happy childhood. His parents were good people that taught him the difference between right and wrong, and not to talk to strangers. After graduating from high school an honour student, he attended Harvard for four years where he studied science, and met his future wife, Linda. His life had been full of possibilities until this evil-doer, this crook that had everything come so easily to him in life, came and took Arnold's happiness away. Arnold screamed in anger and shot the three bullets at Lex Luthor. Luthor laughed as the bullets hit him. They hit against his skin, and then bounced off again. One of the bullets ricocheted back towards its shooter.
Arnold blinked. He opened his eyes and saw Luthor with a bullet in between his thumb and his index finger.
"H-how did you do that?" Arnold asked.
Luthor turned away from Arnold and sat down in the armchair at the end of the room. From the pocket of his soaking trench coat, Lex took out a cigar.
"Arnold." Lex started, pointing the cigar at Arnold. "You looked like you were about to give up. Am I right?"
Arnold continued gazing at Luthor with hatred, even in the midst of his confusion.
"Right!" Luthor smiled. "Now, I know I've caused you trouble in the past, but I can make that all go away. You can live the good life again. What do you say?"
Arnold shook his head.
"That's okay," Luthor assured.
Arnold was confused. Lex Luthor never let someone walk away from one of his offers. Lex positioned the cigar in front of his eyes. He squinted his eyes slightly. Arnold was not sure whether it was the alcohol or he was actually watching Luthor shoot red beams from his eyes. The cigar lit up, and Luthor placed it in his mouth.
"Of course," Luthor started, pretending to come upon a startling realization. "I'd hate it if local hell-raisers were to plant a bomb outside this place, for laughs!" He grinned menacingly as Arnold quivered. It was happening again.
That night, as Luthor slept, Arnold tried to escape. He was halfway up the road when Luthor tapped him on the back.
"Not such a good idea," he said.
"Why are you doing this?" Arnold asked. "Why did you have did you have to ruin my life again?"
"Life! Hah!" Luthor mocked. "I'm giving you a chance at power! At greatness! And you tell me I'm ruining this so called 'life'?"
"Okay, Luthor," Arnold said, frowning. "I'll help you. I've got nothing else to lose."
Later the following day, Luthor called in a few of his clone-henchmen. They were genetic duplicates to the late Trent Williams, but they were like zombies. They did not talk, they only listened. They did not ask questions. They simply performed the job at hand. Arnold watched as they carried Luthor's cloning equipment and weaponry into the lab.
"What do you think of them?" Luthor asked.
"They make me sick," Arnold answered.
Lex laughed at this seemingly callous remark. Suddenly, Lex collapsed, and he grasped at his heart. Arnold felt a sudden jolt of shock, but at the same time, he did not rush over to help the monster.
"One. million. in cash, if you don't leave me to die," Luthor pleaded with Arnold.
The clones were no good in a situation like this. In the bizarre state of sickness Luthor was in, he could barely speak, let alone give them orders.
Arnold considered the offer. If he helped Luthor he would be rewarded and would be able to get back on his feet. But he would be in Luthor's pocket for the rest of his life. If he left Luthor to die, he would be that same bum lying against the wall, wishing he had lived his life a little differently. Arnold went with his gut, and made a deal with the devil. He gave Lex his hand and propped him up onto a table. Arnold went over to Luthor's medical supplies and took out a small syringe. He went over to Luthor and took a blood sample. This was very odd. One minute, Luthor had the same abilities as Superman, the next he was a whimpering fool.
Arnold experimented for hours with the few pieces of equipment that were still in his possession. With Luthor's blood sample, he found out that Lex's clone body was breaking up under the strain of the super-human abilities Lex had. Arnold would have to find a cure, and fast, for Lex was starting to relive past memories and display them through speech.
"No, Nigel! Superman must die!" Lex would blurt out every few minutes.
Eventually, Arnold found a stimulant that would return Lex's clone-body back to its original super-human status. He injected Lex with it and watched as Lex's muscles inflated considerably. Lex took in a deep breath and felt a joyous rush of power run up his arm.
"When did this start happening?" Arnold asked.
But Lex simply pulled down his sleeve and walked over to his clones to make a plan. He was going to break into Metropolis Bank and fleece them for everything they had. Arnold, on the other hand, was not so sure that this was such a hot idea. Lex's condition was growing fatal. It was not only affecting his physical well being, but his intelligence and mental health also. Lex probably came to Arnold because he was losing his vast intellect and was not smart enough to think up such a stimulant himself.
That evening, Lois and Clark were in a cab headed to a French restaurant. Suddenly, a distress call hit Clark's super- hearing. The cab was passing by the bank, and Lois heard the alarm going off.
"Stop the car!" she ordered.
The cabbie obeyed, and the car came to a screeching halt. The two intrepid reporters scrambled out of the cab to see what was going on. Lois paid the cabbie and turned around to face the bank. There were at least twenty other reporters there, bugging the SWAT team as to what was going on. The SWAT commander was assuring them that everything was fine, and that the hostages were going to be fine.
"Hostages?" Lois asked.
"Yes," the commander answered. "About fifteen."
Clark turned to Lois.
"Get as much information as you can," he instructed. "I'll deal with the bank robbers."
Clark whipped off his glasses and ran into a secluded alleyway. There, he ripped open his shirt revealing the "S" logo. He spun around quicker and quicker, until finally he was in the Superman costume. Superman flew high up into the air and broke through the skylight of the bank. There were three masked robbers pointing guns at the hostages. There was also another masked robber but he did not seem to be doing much of anything. He simply stood there, surveying everything, with his arms folded.
"I'm giving you ten seconds to give yourselves up to the police!" Superman said, pointing at the unarmed robber.
The three with the guns made no comment. They continued pointing their guns at the hostages, who were absolutely petrified. The masked surveyor started laughing sinisterly and turned around to face Superman.
"Why don't you take a look-see, Superman?" The robber insisted.
Superman activated his x-ray vision and saw the face of Lex Luthor behind the mask.
"Luthor!" Superman exclaimed.
"In the flesh!" Lex smiled. "And no, I wasn't cloned again. I actually did survive that kryptonite blast."
"But how?" Superman asked.
"C'mon, Superman, do you really think I wasn't going to make myself invulnerable to kryptonite?"
Lex snapped his fingers, and one of the three men fired a bullet at Superman. Superman was confused. This was not some petty bank robber who probably thought Superman was a sham. This was Lex Luthor. The big cheese. His greatest enemy. And he was firing normal bullets at him?
Superman stood there, knowing the bullet would bounce off of his impenetrable skin. But it did not. The bullet went straight through Superman's shoulder. Superman's legs wobbled and collapsed underneath him. He fell to the ground. He touched his wound with his finger. His finger ached in pain.
".Kryptonite." Superman gasped.
Lois was outside still trying to get a word in edgeways, in the midst of all the chaos. Suddenly the door of the bank opened, and everyone went quiet.
"Where's Lois Lane?" a robber asked. Lois' heart skipped a beat.
"I'm Lois Lane," she stuttered nervously.
"If you come in here now, we'll release the hostages," the robber bargained.
The SWAT officer tried to hold Lois back but Lois would not have it. She brushed past him and made her way to the door. She knew that Clark/Superman was in trouble. Otherwise the three robbers would have been dealt with accordingly.
When Lois pushed open the door the negotiator grabbed her.
"Ah, Lois Lane!" an unarmed man said as she walked in.
"So nice to see you."
Lois heard a gasp and looked to the ground behind the unarmed man. It was Superman. There was a wound in his shoulder.
"No!" she screamed.
She tried to attack the robber who had grabbed her, but to no avail. Tears rushed from her eyes. Superman did not have much time left. "Deactivate clones," the unarmed robber said into a headset. Lois heard an ear-splittingly loud sound emitting from the negotiator's headset. He screamed in agony and fell to the ground. His colleagues (except the unarmed man) did the same.
"Everyone get out!" the unarmed man shouted.
The people rushed out of the bank, screaming. Lois was about to run to her husband when the unarmed man grabbed her.
"You're coming with me!" he jumped high up into the air, crashing through the ceiling. A falling piece of debris hit Lois' head, and she fell unconscious.
The SWAT team watched as the flying man crashed through the roof of the bank. After tending to the hostages, they found out that Superman had been shot with a strange looking bullet that had caused him to collapse. The police rushed inside, alongside the paramedics, and saw Superman lying on the ground, having passed out from the agony. A paramedic took out a small knife and fished out the glowing green bullet. Superman's eyes flickered.
"Get it. away from me." he gasped faintly.
The paramedic understood the damage this bullet was doing to the Man of Steel, and quickly ran outside with it and threw it into a lead box filled with medical supplies. The police watched as Superman's bullet wound healed over as quickly as it had appeared.
"Thank you. Now I have to go. Make sure the hostages are all right," Superman said, before jumping up through the huge hole in the ceiling that Luthor had created.
Lois woke up in a gloomy laboratory that was falling apart. She was sitting in a chair, tied to it. She attempted to get out, but she was tied as tight as possible. The unarmed man was injecting himself with a strange chemical via a syringe. Lois did not want to know what it was. She was only hoping that the man would not go all woozy and start pawing at her. Luckily, the man did not become high. But he did feel a rush of delight. Lois watched as his muscles inflated slightly.
"Just who are you?" Lois asked.
The unarmed man, escaping from his rush of happiness, turned to Lois and took off his mask. "Lex?" she asked.
"In the flesh!" Lex smiled. "Well, new flesh anyway!"
"What do you want with me?" Lois asked.
"What I've always wanted from you." Lex frowned. "Your love and devotion. The love that you have been giving to that stupid boy scout reporter who is now, by the way, probably dead!"
Lois' memories of Clark whimpering on the ground caused Lois to shed a tear.
"I'll never love you!" she shouted in a hail of tears.
"Oh, I know that." Lex said understandably. "I'm going to kill you and then clone you again. The clone will be programmed to love and cherish me for the rest of its life, and will have all of your characteristics."
Lois' heart sank. She was going to die, and soon. Was there any hope that Superman could save her?
She watched as Luthor's companion scientist handed him a syringe. Luthor approached Lois and injected the syringe into her arm. He drew a large amount of blood and smiled.
"This will do." Lex smiled. He then handed the syringe to his associate, who walked over to his desk to examine it.
Arnold felt sorry for the Lois Lane woman. She was the unlucky woman who happened to have a huge place in what was left of Luthor's warped heart. He could save her, but by doing that he would probably end up dead as well as her. He was going to have to block her out of his head. He had to focus on the job at hand.
Meanwhile, Superman was frantically searching the city for his missing wife. He spent the better part of the night x- raying it for any idea on where Luthor was situated now. He searched the sewers, the warehouses by the docks, the lower-class motels, anywhere a wanted man like him could hide. He just could not find Luthor anywhere.
Later, after doing another round of the city, while flying, a strange ultra-sonic sound that disorientated him hit Superman's ears. Luthor's voice started talking.
"Superman," he said. "Or should I just call you Clark? Anyway, I have Lois, and she is going to die soon. Just wanted to spite you."
The ultra-sonic signal continued, and all over the city, dogs were barking. Superman followed the signal to an abandoned warehouse where he found Luthor waiting for him outside. He was wearing a black sweater and jeans.
"Let's finish this!" Luthor grinned.
He ran forward at Superman and threw a punch, but Superman blocked it and hit Lex in the stomach with his knee. Lex coughed, while Superman performed a striking uppercut. Lex was in a bad state now. Suddenly, he grasped his heart and fell to the ground. Superman could tell that he was dying. Even though it was Superman's greatest enemy, he could not let Lex die. He would not allow it. Even if this particular incarnation of Luthor was a clone, he could think, and that made him human. And that gave Superman hope that one day Lex could be rehabilitated.
Superman gave Lex a hand at getting up. But unbeknownst to Superman, Lex took a small syringe from his pocket and injected his feeble skin with it. Suddenly, Lex's muscles inflated, and he kicked Superman hard in the chest, causing him to fly backward into a tree. A car was approaching the scene, and when the driver saw Lex Luthor kicking the stuffing out of Superman, he turned his car around. But Lex wanted the car. He raced after it and scared the driver out of it. Lex then ran back towards his wounded enemy and proceeded to whack Superman incessantly with the car. Superman was getting worse with each blow. The car became battered, and fell apart. Lex picked up its shattered remnants and threw them away, far out of the earth's atmosphere. He then went back to concentrate on Superman. He picked the man of steel up by the scruff of his neck, and was just about to go for the killer blow when his watch beeped.
"I'd better make the preparations for my clone attack!" Lex explained. "Arnold!" he yelled.
Arnold walked out slowly but surely toward Lex, with a lead suitcase in his hands.
"Do it," Luthor instructed.
But suddenly, Luthor grasped onto his chest again. The effects of Arnold's stimulant were growing weaker and weaker every time Luthor used it. Eventually he would become immune. So Arnold was caught with the sadistic choice. He did not know what to do. He could briefly be the hero for now, and go back to being the failure he once was, or he could save Luthor and be endowed with riches, but be in his employ for the rest of his life. The path Arnold would take now would define the rest of his life.
He whacked Luthor around the head with the suitcase. Luthor screamed in agony. Arnold helped Superman up and carried him over to the wall, where he propped the man of steel up against it.
"Thank you," Superman said with a smile as his super-efficient system went to work on healing him.
Arnold went inside and untied Lois Lane.
"What? I don't understand?" Lois wondered confusedly.
To her, Arnold had seemed like a one-dimensional right-hand man with no logic as to why he was working for someone as crazy as Luthor.
Arnold did not say a word. All he said was "Are you all right?" When she nodded, Arnold walked off to the cabinet where he had his pistol. Lois had no idea what he was doing now, she only hoped the pistol was not for her.
Arnold walked out to Luthor. He cocked the gun and pointed it at Luthor, who was staring at him in the defenceless state he was in.
".You. wouldn't." Luthor pleaded pitifully.
But Arnold did not let himself be bothered by Luthor's plea. A tear fell down his eye as his life flashed before his eyes. He saw his wife and his children. They were happily playing in the playground, while he and his wife watched.
Arnold stared deep into the vengeful eyes of Luthor. This was the man who took the happiness away. The man who could cheat not only death but also life, and the lives of others, whenever he so wished. This man had had it so easy, and Arnold so hard. For this, Arnold would see Lex Luthor suffer. He would see him pay for his crimes.
Arnold grabbed Luthor's hand and brought him inside. He injected Luthor with a specially prepared lighter version of the stimulant, and Luthor was left powerless and weak as a kitten.
"You'll pay for this!" Luthor said, trying to hit Arnold. But Arnold simply grabbed his hands and pushed Luthor back.
"I'm taking my life back now!" Arnold said. "And you're not going to stop me!"
"Oh really?" Luthor asked.
Arnold suddenly remembered the clone-tanks. They burst open as three brand new Trent Williams-style clones walked out.
"Kill him!" Luthor demanded. Arnold smiled as he came to face the music.
Lois watched as one of the Trent Williams clones shot Arnold Evanston just above the rib cage. Arnold touched the wound and smiled. He was finally free. Free of Lex Luthor. Free of the boundaries that forced him to be timid and insignificant. The only thing left was to be judged by the gods as to whether he would be allowed to enter the gates of the heavens.
Lois burst into tears when she saw Arnold fall to the ground. Lex did not, and simply turned and nodded at the murdering clone. The clone nodded back and pointed his gun at Lois. Lois shed another tear of sadness before she saw the clone's gun pointing in her exact direction. She was able to see the clone's finger tightening on the trigger, and she closed her eyes, expecting to die.
She opened them after hearing a ricochet sound, and saw Superman's back to her face. She hated herself for feeling relieved that she lived and Arnold was the only one to die. She felt immoral and that Clark would be ashamed of her. She had to block this thought out of her mind and focus on the matter at hand.
"Are you all right?" Superman asked while the clones continued trying to shoot him full of holes.
"Fine," Lois answered nervously.
"You'd better get out of here!" Superman instructed. "Go get help!"
Lois did as instructed, but Lex did not take kindly to this. While Superman handled the Trent clones, Luthor raced after Lois at super- speed.
Lois was panting by the time she reached a nearby telephone box. If only she had her cell phone. But someone had taken her purse and she could not think of whom it might have been. She opened the door of the booth and dialled 911. But before she could hear a dial tone, she saw Lex outside the booth with a wire in his hand.
"Leaving so soon?" he smirked.
He grabbed her and jumped back into the sky, flying toward an unknown destination.
Meanwhile, Superman was handling the Trent Williams clones. Superman picked one up and threw it into the others with super-strength. He then jumped through the ceiling, following Lois' screams.
Lex brought Lois to a strange deserted island. Lois had no idea where she was. She was never very good at basic direction.
Lex touched down on the island gently and put Lois down onto the ground.
"Where are we?" she asked nervously. But Lex did not answer and simply walked over to the forest in the centre of the island. He activated his x-ray vision, and after looking around the forest for a few seconds, he moved over to a small clearing covered in leaves. He blew the leaves away with his super- breath, revealing a trap door. He opened it up and brought Lois in with him. Inside there was a series of clone-tanks stretching for miles. Lois gasped in awe. Lex opened a refrigerator and took out a bottle of champagne. He popped the cork at the top and poured a glass full.
"The future!" he said.
"You're sick!" Lois said.
"Maybe you think that now," Lex frowned, "but after I bring you back to life, you'll think very differently!"
"I don't think so, Lex!" Superman smiled, arms folded, at the top of the stairway leading down to the lab. Lex did not protest, he simply smiled and took out a small remote control. He pressed a button on it, and hundreds of clones came crashing out of their tanks. But these particular clones did not bear the face of the late Trent Williams. They bore the face of Lex Luthor.
"Soon you will be dead, and the world will be mine!" Lex smiled as he walked up the stairway to watch his greatest enemy's death. The clones all ran toward Superman at super-speed and started attacking him. This looked like the end. Both Lois and Superman tried to fight back. Lois would have been better off trying to tear the space shuttle in half. Superman ran over to her and wrapped himself around her.
"I love you," Superman said.
"I love you too," Lois replied.
There looked like no way out.
Suddenly, another clone came crashing through the ceiling. It was Arnold Evanston. He was holding a remote control device in his hand. He smiled at Lex.
"No." Lex gasped.
Arnold pressed a small button on the remote, and suddenly the entire army of brainless Lex Luthor clones fell to the ground and convulsed, just as they began to decompose. Arnold raced toward Luthor at super-speed and grabbed him by the neck.
"It's over, Luthor!" Arnold frowned. "I'm taking it all back. And you're not going to stop me!"
Lex felt Arnold's tight grip on his neck and was finding it hard to breathe. Superman ran over to the two of them. He put his hand over Arnold's.
"Don't do this," Superman said comfortingly. "It's not right and you know it."
"You don't understand," Arnold explained with tears in his eyes. "This man took everything away from me! And then he left me with nothing! I have to kill him! For the good of the world!"
"Do you want to see him punished?" Superman asked.
"Yes!" Arnold said. "More than anything."
"Well then let him rot in jail. It's better that way."
"NO!" Arnold screamed. He pushed Superman away and grabbed the remote control that was lying on the ground. He pressed another one of the buttons, and Superman watched as the two of them started convulsing and eventually decomposed.
"Are you all right?" Superman asked Lois.
"Can I answer that question in two months?" Lois asked.
"Sure," Superman answered.
The two moved over toward the remote control. Superman picked it up and saw a note underneath it.
"Superman," he read out loud. "Ever since Luthor took me in his employ I have been developing my own personal clone. It will know what to do regarding the clone army. This is my way to make up for my past sins."
The note was signed: Arnold Evanston.
Superman picked Lois up and headed back to Metropolis with her. Luthor was an evil man. Everything he touched became poisonous against its will. Even innocent men. Men that paved their own path to the road of greatness but took a turn on the road to evil. Arnold Evanston was one of those men. But his memory would live on forever. Lois Lane and Clark Kent would make sure of that.