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I may be blonde but...

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Location: Washington (not DC)
Lois and Cl... Kal-El 7/9
Jun 9th, 2010 at 1:30am
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Day 4
Jimmy checked off the last location on the map they’d been assigned. He was tired and so were his two companions, S’vram, one of the military people, and Betty Reed, MPD. It had taken all night to go through the list of locations Colonel Foster had given them. The only breaks they’d taken were for coffee and deli sandwiches.

It was now morning. Jimmy knew he should check in at work, but he also knew that Perry knew he was helping in the search for Lois and Clark.  Clark had been missing seventy-two hours now and Lois had been taken nearly twenty-four hours ago.

“Nothing,” Betty Reed complained, brushing red curly hair away from her face. “Any suggestions?”

Jimmy looked at the map and the list of addresses one more time. “You know, considering the type of location we’re look for, there’s a couple places right near here he missed.”

“Where?” Betty demanded sharply.

“The Wincote building over there has a sub-basement and a bomb-shelter that doesn’t show on the regular floor plans and so does the Wanamaker building.” Jimmy saw the dubious look in Betty’s face. “Remember who I work with? Bomb-shelters are lead-lined, so anytime we’re looking for something someone doesn’t want Superman to find, we start with the old bomb-shelters. There’re bomb-shelters under both those buildings that weren’t on the Colonel’s list.”

“Which one first, Wincote or Wanamaker?” Betty asked, peering at both of her companions.

“Flip a coin?” Jimmy suggested, pulling a quarter out of his pocket. “Heads Wincote, tails Wanamaker.” He tossed the coin and caught it, placing it on the back of his free hand.

“Wincote,” Betty said, looking at the coin.


The cell was even colder than she remembered. Clark had passed out from the pain, to his tormentor’s fury. When even being doused with ice water failed to rouse him, their captors threw them both back into the cell.

Clark had started shivering again, and she tried to prop him up against her chest, to get his bare back away from the cold, damp stones. His back was bleeding again and Lois wondered once more how much of the torture he could take. How could they have possibly mistaken him for this Kal-El person? Why were they doing this? Why did they think Clark would know anything about Superman’s people? Why did they think she knew anything?

“Lois,” he murmured. He was finally conscious after how many hours? She had to bend closer to hear him. “The next time they come, they’re going to cut me open. Please, please don’t let them dissect me like a frog.”

“What do you want me to do?” she asked. She knew she couldn’t stop them, but his pain, his terror, was killing her. The cold was seeping through the scrubs. Her legs were nearly numb again.

“Make sure I’m dead... please, don’t let me be alive when they come,” he said. He couldn’t keep his voice from shaking. “I’m begging you...”

“Cl – Kal-El, I don’t know if I can.”

“Please, Lois, if you ever cared, please do this for me, please. They’re going to cut me open, alive and conscious, if they can. I don’t want to die like that.” He laid his head back on her shoulder and closed his eyes again. He couldn’t stop shaking.

She looked around for a weapon, but nothing had changed from the last time she’d looked around. She looked down at the bloodied shirt she was wearing and began tearing a strip off the bottom, using her teeth to start the rip.

She twisted the strip in her hands and placed the strip around his throat, above the torque around his neck. She knew from his breathing he was conscious, but he made no move to stop her. She twisted the fabric tighter around his throat and he went limp.

“I’m so sorry,” she murmured through her tears. He wasn’t breathing as she laid his body on the floor, the fabric strip still tight around his throat.


An alarm went off in the sub-basement Russell Myerson had commandeered for his temporary command post. He peered at the security camera monitor and swore to himself. No one should have been able to find them. All references to this location had been deleted from the city planner’s office database. No one else should have been interested.

He turned to Anton Braxton, the interrogator he’d put in charge of Lane and the alien. Braxton was not the man’s real name. Myerson didn’t know his real name, only that he’d come over from somewhere in the Eastern Bloc soon after the KGB was put on notice by the Russian government to clean up their act. Braxton was obviously one of those ‘acts’ that had needed to be cleaned up.

“Take care of the alien and his girl friend, then evacuate the base. I’ll send word when it’s time to regroup,” Myerson said, heading out the door.

Braxton watched after his superior for a long moment, and then pulled his automatic pistol from its holster, double checking the ammunition clip.

He stepped out into the hallway.

“Police! Drop it!” A female voice yelled. He turned to see a woman with wild red hair holding an automatic pistol in both hands. He fired off a shot and she returned fire. He felt a burning in his chest and looked down to see blood on his blouse. He was dead before he hit the floor.

Betty swore to herself as she went over to the body, checking for a pulse at his throat. Nothing.

“Okay, let’s check this place out,” she ordered, getting to her feet. There were several corridors to check out, all with doors on each side. She directed S’vram to take the middle one, while she took the furthest one, the one the dead man’s companions most likely took off down.

She assigned Jimmy the corridor nearest where they’d come in.

Jimmy was nearly running down the corridor, checking each door. All but two were unlocked, store rooms, hurriedly abandoned sleep areas, an eating area with still steaming coffee in the mugs. The first locked door he was able to make quick work of, glad the police detective he’d been assigned to was not around to see how fast he could pick a lock.

He opened the door and peered inside. There was a table and two chairs. A pulley and cable arrangement hung from the ceiling and there was blood splattered on the concrete beneath the cable. Jimmy started to feel sick to his stomach.

The second locked door was different than the others. It was reinforced steel and the lock was harder to pick than the first one. He opened the door, suddenly fearful about what he might find inside.

“Lois? LOIS!”

She was kneeling beside a bloodied, dark-haired man. She was holding tightly to a strip of cloth around the man’s neck. He wasn’t moving, he wasn’t breathing.

“Dear God, Lois, that isn’t CK?”

Lois looked up at Jimmy, tears running down her face.

“Jimmy?” she murmured, and as if waking up from a nightmare, she loosened the strip around Clark’s neck, finally tearing it away with a sob. “Breath, please breath,” she said, gently patting his face. After a moment, she bent closer and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. A minute later, Clark managed a shuddery breath on his own.

“Jimmy, help me get him out of here,” Lois ordered. Jimmy was still standing in the doorway. He hurried over to her.

“Lois, he needs to get to a hospital,” Jimmy protested.

“No hospital,” Clark managed to choke out. The terror was still in his eyes.

“No hospital,” Lois agreed. “Help me get him up.”

Jimmy came around to Clark’s other side and between the two of them, they managed to get Clark to his feet and through the door to the hallway. Clark was shivering from pain, cold, and fever. At the door to the sleep area, Jimmy stopped and pushed open that door.

“Hold on right here,” he instructed. He helped Lois prop Clark against the wall, then went into the sleep area and grabbed a blanket. He wrapped the blanket around Clark’s shoulders. “Lois, he’s burning up.”

“No hospital,” Clark repeated.

“How about some water?” Lois asked. Clark nodded weakly.

“Come on,” Jimmy urged. “There’s a kitchen sort of thing in here.” He led them into the dining area, helping Clark to a chair. Lois grabbed a clean glass, filled it at the sink and brought it to Clark. His hands were shaking uncontrollably. She held the glass for him and more water went down his chin than in his mouth as he tried to gulp it down.

Jimmy refilled the glass for him. “Take it easy, CK,” Jimmy admonished. “Drink it slow, okay? You’re safe now. The police are here, and the FBI’s been looking for you, and some other government people are here to help...” He let his voice trail off as Lois dropped the glass, utter terror in her face.

Clark was trying to pull himself into a ball, eyes shut tight, shaking his head in denial. “No, no more, please God, no more,” he moaned softly, voice trembling.

“Jimmy, we have to get him away from here now!” Lois hissed.

“Lois, he needs help. They’re here to help,” Jimmy protested.

“Jimmy, you don’t understand,” Lois spat. “The bastards that did this to him were with the government! The Bureau wasn’t shut down, just relocated. We have to get him out of here before they grab him again!”

“Okay, okay,” Jimmy agreed, helping her get Clark to his feet again. “Where should we go?”

“I don’t know yet,” Lois admitted. “First things first, out of here, then someplace safe.”


Ford was handling communications when word came through that Bureau 39’s hideout had been found in a sub-basement of the building that hadn’t even been on the list SHADO had put together.

“General Straker?” the operative said over the com-unit that had been set up in the Planet conference room. “Detective Reed and S’vram have checked in with a report that they believe they’ve found the Bureau’s hide-out. One casualty. One of the men refused to disarm when ordered and was killed.”

“Any sign of Lane and Kent?” Straker asked.

There was a long pause before Ford responded: “Reed reported they had reason to believe Lane and Kent had been held there, and at least one of them had to have been seriously injured. There was a lot of blood. But they weren’t in the complex when Reed and S’vram got there. Reed also reports that Mister Olsen didn’t stay with them. It appears that he may have taken off on his own.”

“Thank you, Ford,” Straker said before turning to Perry, Freeman, and Foster still waiting with him in the conference room. “Damn. If those bastards have gone to ground taking those kids with them... We’ll be lucky to find their bodies.”


Jimmy and Lois managed to get a nearly unconscious Clark out of the underground complex, into a service elevator and onto the main floor of the Wincote Building. Luckily, the service elevator opened into a side hallway, away from the main traffic. Jimmy worriedly looked his companions over. Lois was haggard and disheveled, the surgical style scrub shirt and pants covered in blood. Her feet were bare.

Clark was in far worse shape. He was feverish, sweating, eyes glazed in pain and his skin had a sickly green pallor. His face was bruised and the swelling indicated a possible broken jaw. He was naked to the waist except for the blanket around his shoulders and he was barefoot. His back was raw and still bleeding and his side was badly bruised. In the elevator he’d started coughing up blood.

Jimmy knew better than to suggest a hospital again, even if he didn’t quite understand why Lois and Clark were both so set against it. He looked around the hallway, spotting a door labeled ‘supplies’. He made quick work of the simple lock. “You two wait here for me and stay out of sight. I’ll bring the car around and be right back for you, okay?”

“Jimmy, you don’t own a car,” Lois pointed out quietly.

He held up a familiar set of keys. “But you do. The cops located your car over at Dacy’s and I went and picked it up for you. I’ll be right back.”

He left them alone in the supply room. Lois closed the door, taking care that it didn’t lock on them. Clark was huddled on the floor, knees to his chest, shivering. She went and sat beside him. She wanted to take his hands in hers, but knew she didn’t dare touch his injured hand. She tucked the blanket around him more closely.

“You could have left me,” Clark mumbled through his shivering. “They might have let you go.”

“I wasn’t going to leave my partner,” she told him. “Clark, who did they think you were? Who is this Kal-El?”

Clark shut his eyes and laid his head on his knees.

For a moment she thought he’d lapsed into unconsciousness again. She touched his hair, combing it with her fingers. It was damp and smelled of stale sweat and fear. She suddenly noticed that the ring around his neck had left red marks, almost like burns, where it rested against the base of his neck. “Clark, who is Kal-El?”

“When they grabbed me, they started calling me that name,” His voice was so soft she had to strain to hear it. “I don’t think they even checked my I.D. I think they mistook me for him.”

“Mistook you for whom, Clark?”

“I think Superman managed to escape, maybe.”

“And they mistook you for him? They mistook you for Superman?”

“Trask did,” he reminded her. “Before.”

“Trask was crazy,” she stated. How could they possibly confuse her mild, shy partner with the Man of Steel? It didn’t make sense. There was a physical resemblance, yes, but there were lots of guys in Metropolis who resembled Superman. Why pick on her partner?

There was a quiet knock on the door and Lois got to her feet as the door slowly opened.

“Lois? CK?” Jimmy called out softly, peeking around the door. “I’ve got the car right outside the door here.”

She went back to Clark and helped him to his feet. Again, Jimmy came around to his other side to assist. They got Clark out the door and down a short flight of stairs to Lois’s Cherokee. Jimmy helped get Clark into the back seat while Lois grabbed her car keys and climbed into the driver’s seat. Jimmy was opening the front passenger side door to climb in when Lois put out her hand. “No, Jimmy.”

He looked at her in confusion. “Lois, you guys need help here.”

“No. Tell Perry I’ll get in touch with him once I have Clark someplace safe.”

“Lois...” Jimmy protested again. She leaned over and grabbed the door from his hand, slamming it shut and locking it. She turned the key over in the ignition and sped off, leaving Jimmy standing in the service alley behind the Wincote building staring after them.


It was a disgruntled Jimmy Olsen who took a cab back to the Daily Planet, walked into the main lobby and took an elevator to the newsroom floor.

“I had them,” he announced to Perry as he walked into the conference room. “I found Lois and CK in a cell under the Wincote Building and got them out. Then they took off. Lois told me to tell you she’d be in touch once she got CK someplace safe.” He flopped into one of the chairs in the conference room. “Chief, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody as scared as the two of them are.”

“Jimmy, the police report said one or both of them might be hurt,” Perry told him.

Jimmy nodded. “Lois looked okay, aside from being scared out of her wits. But CK’s hurt bad. I tried to get him to a hospital, but he absolutely refused. They’re both terrified that Trask’s people are still out there and’ll grab them again to finish the job.”

“That’s just great,” Straker murmured to himself. He rubbed the bridge of his nose as if getting a headache.

“Mister Olsen, was there any sign that Superman had been there with them?” Foster asked.

“No, but I was a little more worried about getting Lois and CK out of there,” Jimmy told them.

“Mister Olsen,” Freeman began. “You said Kent was hurt. How and how badly?”

Jimmy took a deep breath. “Lot of bruises, his back looked like he’d been flayed. I think he may have a broken arm, and one of his hands was all swollen, like maybe somebody’d done a number on it. There were marks on his chest and neck that kinda’ looked like burns. I couldn’t see what shape his legs were in, but since he could barely walk...”

Straker had his elbows on the table, hands clasped in front of his lowered head. “Aside from whatever clothes they gave him, was there anything else on him? Jewelry, bands, anything?”

Jimmy frowned. “Yeah, there was this metal ring around his neck. I looked to see if there was a clasp or anything, but I didn’t see one.”

Straker sighed. “Alec, get onto S’vram, tell him to search that hole with a fine tooth comb. He’s looking for the controller for the prisoner’s torque they put on him. Also have them set the satellite search to detect element 126. I’m betting it’s contaminated with it.”

Freeman keyed the com-unit and spoke instructions into the headset.

“Okay, I’ll bite,” Perry said. “What in the name of Sam Hill is a prisoner’s torque, and what’s element 126?”

“A prisoner’s torque is a banned piece of alien technology,” Straker explained. “It was designed to help control unruly prisoners by giving them electric shocks, up to and including fatal shocks. It can’t be removed without the controller and any attempt to remove it triggers it. The controller also has a locator function. There’s no safe place on this planet for them if Myerson has the controller.”

“And this element 126?” Perry asked.

“I know that one, Chief,” Jimmy said. “That’s the element number for kryptonite. Myerson must have been planning on using it on Superman.”

Straker nodded. “Yeah, that’s about right.”

Jimmy looked downcast. “And if that torque thing is contaminated, then even if we find Superman okay, he can’t do anything to help CK.”

“Got it in one,” Foster said quietly.

Straker sat back in his chair, a thoughtful look on his face. “Mister White, could you do us a favor? Call Mister Kent’s parents. There’s an airstrip just outside of Smallville. I’m going to have a jet waiting there to bring them here.” He glanced at Freeman. “We’re going to need their help when, and if, we find those kids.”

Perry gave him a puzzled look. “You people are putting out a lot of effort to find two reporters, not that I’m ungrateful, mind you. They are two of the best in the business...”

“Let’s just say we have good reasons to do whatever it takes to find them and keep them alive and well,” Straker said. “Besides, I happen to know the Kents. They’re good people and Trask had no right to do what he did in Smallville.”


Lois stuck to back streets as she drove, frantically trying to think of a safe place to go, a safe place to hide. She knew her parents would be of no help. Her mother would panic, and she was still barely speaking to her father. She didn’t dare drive over any of the bridges to leave the island. There was no way the bridges weren’t being watched. She was covered in dried blood and Clark was unconscious in the back seat. Try to explain that to an overzealous cop.

He’d started wheezing a little, almost like asthma, and Lois had to fight down the panic that was threatening to overwhelm her.

There was one person she trusted and she headed to the south side of New Troy Island, to her Uncle Mike’s apartment.  It took only a few minutes until she parked the Cherokee behind the American Bistro, her uncle’s restaurant in midtown. Her uncle lived above the restaurant.

She climbed out of the car and knocked on the back door to the restaurant. She prayed it would be Mike who opened the door.

The door opened.

“What the...? Lois? What’s happened? Are you okay?” Mike Lane exclaimed, eyes wide at the sight standing inside the back screen door.

She threw her arms around his neck. “Uncle Mike, we need your help. Clark and I need your help.”

“Clark? Your partner, Clark?” He looked around for the young man.

“He’s in the back of my car, Uncle Mike.” She nodded to the Cherokee. “He’s hurt. I don’t know how bad.”

“Lois, honey,” Mike said, suddenly worried. “If he’s hurt, you need to get him to the emergency room or a doctor.”

She shook her head. “No, they’ll just turn him back over to the people who did this. Please Uncle Mike, please help until I can figure a way of getting him out of the city, someplace where they can’t find him.”

“Where who can’t find him?” Mike asked, following Lois to the car. She pulled open the back door to the Cherokee. Mike gasped at seeing Clark’s bruised and bloodied body. “Oh dear God in heaven. Who did this to him, honey?”

“Some crazy people. Government crazy people,” Lois answered.

Mike put his hands under Clark’s arms and around his chest to pull the younger man out of the back car seat.  Lois grabbed Clark’s legs as they hefted him free of the car. “He weighs more than he looks,” Mike complained mildly.

Clark roused enough to walk a little as Mike and Lois helped him up the flight of stairs behind the restaurant to Mike’s second floor apartment.

Mike led them to his bedroom, pulling down the blankets and top sheet, then lowering Clark onto the mattress. Clark moaned, protesting feebly as Mike started to pull the bloody, filthy pants down over his hips.

“Lois, honey,” Mike said, throwing the sheet over Clark to protect at least some modicum of the young man’s modesty. “There’re some fresh towels and wash clothes in the linen cupboard by the bathroom. Could you bring me a towel and a damp cloth so I can clean him up a little? And I’m sure I must have something around here you can put on until we get some clothes for you.” He paused, thinking. “I assume none of that blood is yours?”

“I’m okay, Uncle Mike, really. They didn’t hurt me.”

Lois disappeared into the adjoining bathroom for a minute as Mike looked over Clark’s injuries. That he’d been beaten repeatedly was obvious, as was the fact he’d been flogged, even though Mike was sure it hadn’t been with anything he was familiar with and he was familiar with a lot of weapons. There were other injuries the retired Marine recognized on the young man’s chest, legs and other places, injuries Mike had seen on other men, including himself, when he was a POW in Viet Nam – chemical and electrical burns. The tube sutured to his left arm indicated they’d used drugs as well and hadn’t wanted to repeatedly hunt for veins.

“Lois, why were they doing this? Why were they torturing him?”

“They said they wanted information about some invasion they were afraid of,” Lois explained, returning with the damp cloth and towel. “But what would Clark know about an invasion?”

“Honey, I know a little something about interrogation,” Mike said, taking the cloth from her and gently wiping away some of the blood on Clark’s face. “This sort of damage doesn’t get you answers. This sort of damage is done to punish and to break. Why would someone want to break him?”

“I don’t know, Uncle Mike,” Lois said. “But we think they mistook him for someone else, someone named Kal-El.” She paused a long moment and added softly: “I think Kal-El may be Superman’s real name. I think they mistook Clark for him.”

Mike gave her a deeper puzzled look as he continued daubing the blood and sweat from Clark’s face. “But Superman’s invulnerable. How could anybody mistake Clark for Superman?”

As he spoke, Clark began to moan, trying to move away from the hands touching him. Lois moved closer. “It’s okay, Clark, it’s okay. We’re at my Uncle Mike’s place. It’s okay.”  He started to calm, eyes half open although Lois was pretty sure he wasn’t registering anything he was seeing. She took the cloth from Mike’s hand and continued wiping Clark’s face and neck. He was burning up.

“I think they may have had a way to make Superman vulnerable. Six weeks ago, there was this guy who claimed he had something that could hurt Superman. There was no proof and the guy’s dead now, but maybe his confederates found it. Plus...” She let her voice trail off. “Plus, Superman was seen four days ago with two cops who put him in their car. And three days ago, his cape was found with blood on it. But Clark was pretty sure Superman got away from them, and that’s why they grabbed him instead.”

Mike nodded, not sure he believed her explanation. But he wasn’t ready to explore the most likely scenario with her – that the monsters who had tortured her partner knew exactly who they were hurting and they’d been hurting Superman.

“Honey, Clark needs medical attention, and since you won’t go to the hospital with him, I’m calling your dad.”

“I don’t know if he’ll come,” Lois said.

“He’ll come,” Mike assured her gently. “He’ll help.”


“General,” Ford said quietly to the man standing behind him in the MCC. “We can’t tune the sensors to pick up the specific radiation of element 126.”

“We have the most sophisticated, most advanced detection system on the planet. We can read a license plate from orbit, and we can’t pick up an alien element signature?” Straker grated.

“We can’t get the detectors to pick it up, sir. Either it’s too subtle or too high a frequency. We’re also still not finding a Kryptonian bio-signature,” Ford said.

Straker shook his head. “Let me know when the Kents get in and have a car sent to pick them up.”

“They should land in about ninety minutes,” Ford reported. “Should we have them brought here?”

“Yeah,” Straker said. “Now all I have to do is figure out how to explain to Martha Kent and my cousin Jonny what happened to their little boy without her tearing out my liver.”

“I wasn’t aware you were related to them, sir,” Ford said quietly.

Straker nodded. “My mom’s younger sister married a Kansas farmer. We weren’t all that close, but I remember spending a few Christmases in Smallville while my dad was overseas. They were nice folks, honest, hard-working farmers. I lost track of them after my mom died, caught up with them again after I was assigned to SHADO.

“It was my report on a possible Ufo incident that led Trask to Smallville in the first place. The incident didn’t fit our regular pattern. There was nothing to indicate the Rokan-shui were involved, no deaths, no disappearances. I filed the report, didn’t think anything of it, until Trask got hold of it and decided to investigate for himself, even though the incident was closed. He found an alleged landing craft, recovered it, but didn’t turn it over the way he was supposed to. We found there was a lot of stuff he retrieved and didn’t turn over.”

“He found a landing craft in Smallville?”

“So he said. I never saw it. After I got wind of what he was doing, I went out to see what he’d been up to, checked in on my cousin and his family, found out Trask had scared them half to death more than once asking questions about their son. Hell, he scared most of the town. Took us ages to undo even some of the damage he did, telling them he was working for the government hunting down illegals. Then when Jonny and Martha found out I knew the bastard, she was beyond furious. And I don’t blame her one bit. I don’t know what they’ll do once they find out what Trask’s people did to their son. But I guarantee those bastards are going to pay. Trask knew full well Jonathan Kent is my cousin. He did what he did to get to me as much as to get to Superman.”


Mike placed his call to his brother Sam, Lois’s father, then went down to the restaurant. As reliable as his employees were, he liked to make sure everything was ready for the dinner rush well before it started.

Clark’s temperature wasn’t coming down. She’d forced him to take some aspirin and tried to get him to drink more water, even though much of it ended up on his chin and the bedding. She kept a cold compress on his forehead and on his neck. She kept wiping the rest of his face with a cold towel, replacing it as it grew warm. She tried to stay close to him as possible. He became agitated when she left to change out the towels, thrashing and mumbling incoherently.

Mike had made some sandwiches for her and left a pitcher of lemonade on the dresser with two glasses. She tried to eat, tried to get Clark to eat something, but he didn’t have the strength. “I should have had Uncle Mike get some Twinkies,” Lois murmured to herself.

Clark opened his eyes, almost focusing on her. “Lois?”

“I’m right here, Clark,” Lois said softly. “It’s going to be okay. You’re safe here.”

“I hurt,” he mumbled, closing his eyes once more. Sweat had started beading on his forehead. He opened his eyes again, confused and worried. “Mom and Dad, do they know we’re away from...? I don’t...”

“I’ll call them and let them know we got away, okay? I’ll do that right now, okay? You just rest,” she told him. She waited until he closed his eyes and was breathing more evenly before she grabbed the phone off the nightstand and called information for Jonathan and Martha Kent in Smallville, Kansas.

There was no answer at the number information gave her. She left a short message on their answering machine: “This is Lois. Clark and I are safe for the time being and I’ll try to get back to you later.”

After a moment she dialed information and called the Smallville sheriff’s office. Rachel Harris answered on the second ring.

“Rachel, this is Lois Lane, Clark’s partner?”

“Lois, are you okay? Clark’s mom and dad called and said you’d both been kidnapped,” the woman on the other end said.

“We managed to get away. I tried calling Clark’s parents, but they’re not answering,” Lois explained.

“Last I heard they were on their way to Metropolis. Jonathan said he had a cousin involved in looking for you guys and he sent a private jet to pick them up,” Rachel told her.

“Did either of them mention the cousin’s name?” Lois asked.

“Striker? Straker, Ed Straker. Jonathan said he was with Interpol or something like that.”

“Thanks, Rachel,” Lois said, heart in her throat as she rung off. Ed Straker knew Clark’s parents? That didn’t make sense, unless he planned to use them to get to Clark. And that didn’t make much sense either. The man she met had been genuinely concerned about both Superman and Clark and Clark’s parents would never cooperate in anything that would hurt their son.

She realized she was too exhausted to think straight as she went back to wiping down his brow.


“General, we may have found them,” S’vram announced. “Calls were made to both the Kent home and the Smallville sheriff’s office from a number in Metropolis.”

“And?” Straker urged.

“The number belongs to Colonel Michael Lane, USMC retired, Lois Lane’s uncle. I have the address here,” he handed the slip of paper to his superior. “Do you want a team sent to extract them?”

“Negative,” Straker ordered. “I want three teams sent to keep a covert eye on them. Make one of them a sniper team. I don’t want an unidentified fly to get within range of those two. And warn the teams whatever they do, don’t let them find out they’ve been found. I don’t want them running again.”

“And if Myerson comes after them?” Foster wondered aloud.

“I’m counting on Myerson going after them,” Straker said. “This is the best chance we have for neutralizing that sick bastard’s gang once and for all.”

“You’re taking a big chance,” Foster warned him.

“Tell me about it.”


“Lois, honey, wake up,” Sam Lane said quietly, touching Lois’s arm.  She opened her eyes and slowly sat up, taking care not to jostle the man beside her.

Mike had let his brother into the apartment a few minutes earlier and he’d found Lois asleep on the bed on top of the bed covers. Clark was under the covers, and the sheet beneath him was soaked in sweat. Clark’s breathing was shallow and labored, and he was very pale.

“Dad?” Lois said. “Thank God you’ve come.”

“Lois, what happened?” Sam asked. He had already pulled the sheet down to expose Clark’s chest and had his stethoscope out, checking Clark’s vital signs. He had also pulled out a small oxygen bottle and placed the face mask over Clark’s nose and mouth. “All Mike said was that Clark was hurt and he refused to go to the hospital.”

“Clark was kidnapped by some sickos a couple days ago,” Lois said. She didn’t want to go into details with him. She probably had already told Uncle Mike too much. “They grabbed me yesterday.” She saw the sudden concern in her father’s face. “I’m fine Dad. They didn’t touch me.”

Sam nodded, but was obviously unconvinced as he continued to examine his patient. His face visibly paled when he rolled Clark onto his side to look at his raw and weeping back. “Lois, honey, Clark really needs to be in a hospital. You know I haven’t practiced general medicine in twelve years. And he’s going to need more than I can give him here. He’s in shock, and as high as his temperature is, I’m surprised he’s still alive at all.”

“Daddy, you have to do something,” Lois pleaded.

Sam sighed. “I can give him something for the pain, we’ll pack him in ice to bring down his temperature and the oxygen will help him breathe easier. But that’s about all I can do. But I do want to get that thing off from around his neck. It almost looks like radiation burns where it’s touched his skin. But I don’t see any way of removing it.”

He reached into his medical bag and pulled out a wrapped syringe and a dark bottle with a rubber top. He prepared the injection and gave it to Clark. Clark whimpered at the additional pain.

“It’s just something for the pain,” Sam assured him. “You’ll start to feel better pretty soon.” He turned to Lois. “Honey, go in and start filling the bathtub with cold water, then call Uncle Mike downstairs and have him bring up as much ice as he can. Buckets of it.”


“General, we’re in position,” the lead sniper said quietly into his headset. He was on his belly, peering over a short parapet on the building just across the alley from Mike Lane’s apartment and the back door of his restaurant. “Ms. Lane, Kent, and Doctor Lane are inside. Colonel Lane is inside the restaurant.”

The leader watched through binoculars with non-reflective lenses. “The colonel’s coming out and going up to the apartment. Looks like he’s carrying a bucket of ice.”

“You have your instructions,” Straker’s voice came over the headset of everyone assigned. “No one goes in or out without my express permission. In the event a known member of Bureau 39 attempts to make contact with any of the subjects, you have permission to act with extreme prejudice. The subjects must be protected at all costs.”

“Understood,” the leader told him.

If you only have one solution to a problem - you're not trying.
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