By Robert O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: January, 2004
Summary: A baby-less Lois and Clark discover Lex has been cloned again. Only this time … with the same abilities as Superman.
This is the first of two stories set in a world where Lois and Clark never had a child. The rest of the regular continuity is taken into account.
Superman was flying through the night sky of Metropolis. He had heard a distress call on his super-hearing. There was a family of five trapped in a fire in an apartment building, and it did not look like any firefighters had arrived on the scene. Most of the other tenants had escaped and were watching from below. The sight of Superman diverted their attention momentarily and they gawked up at the awesome sight of this flying man.
Superman flew in the window of the fifth floor. The family were cowering in terror and screaming for help. The sight of Superman calmed them down.
"Don't worry!" The Man of Steel assured. "I'll get you out safely!" And with that, Superman took in a deep breath, and blew in every direction with his super-breath. Sure enough, after several seconds, the fire was out.
The father of the family breathed a sigh of relief. "I can't thank you enough Superman!" the father said.
"It's okay…really!" Superman assured.
He then brought the family outside to where a team of firefighters and ambulances were waiting. The paramedics eased the father, the mother and their young girl onto stretchers, and Superman watched, hovering in the air, as the ambulance pulled away. Below were a heap of reporters, shouting at Superman, asking for an interview. Most of them were from sleazy tabloids like the Metropolis Star. Superman had no time for this. He flew back into the sky, back in the direction of the home he shared with Lois Lane.
Meanwhile, from afar, a bald-headed man watched from a video- screen, as his greatest enemy sped away into the night. "Soon you will be mine!" He smiled to himself.
"Superman saves five people in a fire, and you've got me printing something about a shopping mall?" Perry White barked at his team of reporters. "This is the Daily Planet! Not the Star, not the Herald, the Planet! Now get back to work!"
"He seems a bit grumpy today," Clark said to his wife, Lois Lane.
"He has to go to some opera tonight with Alice." Lois laughed. "He hates operas."
They then went back to their desks, and continued working on their stories.
The following week was chaos for Superman. Every ten seconds there was another disaster. He had to save people from runaway buses, fires, and cars with their brakes cut, amongst other things. The strangest thing was, he also saved a few people from random muggings, and the muggers all looked *exactly the same*. Something was going on here. He was going to have to look into this.
The following day, as he and Lois were walking to work, Lois told Clark that she was going to the store to feed her daily chocolate addiction.
"Ha ha!" Clark laughed. "You'll never change."
Lois smiled at this. "Maybe so," she said, "but that's why you married me!" And she kissed him goodbye and walked across the road.
After a few minutes in a taxi, Clark made his way into the Daily Planet building, where he was greeted by one of his colleagues. Suddenly, he heard a distress signal hit into his super-hearing. He heard Lois screaming for help.
"Uh…Clark are you okay?" James Collier asked.
"Fine," Clark said. "But I forgot to set the alarm in the apartment! You better tell the chief that I'll be a few minutes late!"
Clark ran into a secluded alleyway, and ripped open his shirt, revealing his "S" logo. He then started spinning at super-speed, and after a few seconds, he was clad in the familiar Superman uniform. He leapt into the sky, toward Lois' destination.
There was a mugger tackling Lois, and he was trying to take her purse from her hands. She elbowed him in the teeth, and stamped on his foot. The mugger grew angry, and slapped her. Lois fell down onto the ground. The mugger took out a small knife. He smiled, and lunged it forward in the direction of her face. When at last the knife reached her face, the blade broke into tiny pieces.
The mugger saw a man's hand in the way of Lois' face. He looked up and saw Superman. Superman noticed an earpiece in the mugger's ear. The mugger froze as he received orders from his master.
Lois waved her hands in front of his face. "The lights are on, but nobody's home," she said.
Superman listened into the mugger's headset. "No. There's no use. Abort," the strangely familiar voice said.
Suddenly, the mugger fell on the ground screaming. His body started convulsing, and electric energy started circulating it. Then, the mugger's body blew up.
Lois looked up at Superman. "The last time I saw something like that happen was…"
Lois and Clark were looking over the shoulder of Jimmy Olsen, as he hacked into the criminal records of Stryker's Island. Jimmy scrolled through a list of photographs of inmates.
"Stop!" Lois said. "That's him." She pointed at the photo on the screen. It was unmistakably the man who had attacked Lois.
"Okay," Jimmy said. "His name is Trent Williams. Let's see, assault, grand theft auto, hey! This is interesting! It says here that this guy worked for Lex Luthor back when he was cloned!"
"Is he still in Stryker's?" Clark asked.
"No," Jimmy answered. "Someone broke into the prison and broke him out."
The next step in Lois and Clark's investigation was to find out how Trent was presumably cloned. Superman investigated Lex's previous hideaway, located in the sewers. There he found a huge deserted laboratory. There were also three huge tanks, with clones of Trent Williams inside of them. Beside the tanks were life- support machines, and heart monitors. Superman heard the manhole of the sewer open up, and Lois climbed through.
"Lois!" Superman said angrily. "I thought I told you not to follow me! This could be dangerous!"
"We've been through worse together!" Lois exclaimed.
She walked slowly toward Superman, looking around her at the vast laboratory. Little did she know that at her feet was a small motion sensor. She continued walking, and tripped it.
Suddenly, red lights started flashing, and "Intruder Alert!" blared on loudspeakers from above. The tanks suddenly exploded, and the Trent Williams clones hurried out after Superman and Lois. The clones went straight for Superman.
"This all seems too easy," Superman thought. He delivered three powerful knockout chops at the clones attacking him. They fell down like dominoes, and the alarm turned itself off.
Superman decided to do an X-Ray scan of the laboratory. He eventually came to a hidden closet. Inside, he saw a body slumped against the door. He ran over to it and opened the door. The body of Trent Williams fell out.
"The original," Lois stated.
"Whoever did this, will pay," Superman said.
"Is that so?" a familiar voice said, from the loudspeakers.
Superman recognized that voice all too well. But it could not be him.
"Superman," the voice said, "if I were you, I'd concentrate on the poison gas filling the city before you start looking for me."
Superman x-rayed the ceiling, and saw tanks of poison gas. He then surveyed the rest of the ceiling, and saw hundreds more tanks of gas. There was no way he could dispose of them all. He would have to inhale all of the gas. The gas was beginning to empty out into the air ducts.
"You'd better get out of here!" Superman instructed Lois.
Lois nodded, and Superman started spinning at super-speed. He drilled through the sewer, up onto the surface. He then started breathing in the poison, so that it would harm the civilians. The civilians saw the green gas, and ran in terror. This was a good thing. It meant less chance of someone breathing in the gas.
Superman managed to inhale most of the gas, before specialists came to dispose of the rest. Superman quickly flew to the uninhabited farther regions of the North Pole, and blew out all of the gas. The high winds would dissipate it.
Superman hurried back to Metropolis, where he found a flood of reporters, one of which was Lois. She ran up to him.
"Are you all right?" she whispered.
"Fine," he answered. "But I still don't know who's doing this."
From the group of reporters, out stepped a man in sunglasses, wearing a hat, and trench coat. "You've caught up to me, Superman!" the man said. "But this is what I had been planning all along!" He ripped off the disguise. Revealing Lex Luthor. The reporters ran in terror.
"Lex?" Superman wondered. "But how?"
"Don't be stupid!" Lex smiled. "I've been cloned before! But this time…with a few slight…modifications!"
Superman watched, as Lex did something very odd. He suddenly started rising into the air. He was now laughing his bald head off. Superman was in such a state of shock that he zoned out, while Lex did a massive spinning-kick on Superman. Superman was knocked back. This was like fighting another Superman.
Lex then fired a thin beam of heat-vision at Superman. Superman had never noticed before how damaging his own heat-vision was. Lex poured it down on Superman and watched as his greatest enemy whimpered in pain.
Superman screamed in agony. He flew high up into the air, and lunged back toward Lex, like a rocket. He bashed hard into him and Lex fell, flying backward. Superman was still in a lot of pain, but the solar power of the sun was healing him.
Luthor ran back at Superman with super-speed, and shouldered him backward. Superman fell again, and when he finally got back up, Lex blew a massive gust of super-breath at him, followed by ice- breath. Superman was trying to resist, but Lex was too strong. Stronger than him even. Superman turned into a human ice-cube. But not even this could harm the Man of Steel.
Lex watched as the ice started vibrating, and suddenly, it blew apart in every direction. Superman ran toward Lex; the pain of the heat-vision was now gone thanks to Lex's idiocy: cold is often a good way of getting rid of heat.
Superman grabbed Lex by the neck and punched him hard in the face. He then pinned him against the ground. "All right, Lex." Superman smiled. "Where did the powers come from?"
"Don't you remember Vat-Man?" Lex asked.
Superman remembered him all too well. One of Lex's attempts at cloning Superman turned into a Man of Steel with the spirit of a juvenile delinquent. All an attempt at spiting Superman.
"Who cloned you then?" Superman asked. "Trade secrets, Superman. Or should I say —"
But before Lex could say "Clark", Superman whacked him in the face. Lex then tapped a small earpiece in his ear and suddenly a helicopter appeared. Thousands of Trent Williams clones climbed out of it via a rope ladder.
"And what about Trent Williams?" Superman asked.
"An old ally of mine, " Lex said. "In fact, he was the foolish soul who cloned me! Pity."
The clones piled onto Superman, but Superman did a huge super-spin and they flew in every direction.
"These clones have been funding my operations for quite some time now. The more money I get from petty crimes, the more weaponry, and underworld power that comes into my hands."
"You're sick, Luthor!" Superman shouted angrily.
Army tanks were filling the streets now. "Fire!" one of the generals said.
Suddenly, a huge green missile headed toward Superman and Lex. Superman flew high into the air, and Lex followed him. But Superman fired a massive heat-vision blast at Lex, causing him to fall to his death at the hands of the kryptonite.
Superman hung waiting in mid-air for a few moments, until the kryptonite gas dissipated. Superman flew high into the sky.
Clark Kent ran up to the group of reporters bugging the general.
"Have they found a body?" one of them asked.
"No comment. Let's all just be glad that Superman saved us."
The general laughed to himself. He turned away from the reporters. His happy disposition turned into a sad one. The body had not been found. Lex Luthor was still alive.
The following day saw a page-one exclusive by Clark and Lois on the battle between Luthor and Superman. "Great job, kids!" Perry smiled. "We're getting back on top!"
Look out for further stories in this series.