By Genevieve Clemens <NightSky@erols.com>
Submitted August 1999
Summary: They were only supporting characters during the episode, but the events of "Green Green Glow of Home" affected Martha, Jonathan, and Wayne Irig as much as they did Lois, Clark, or Trask. This story is an attempt to look at what happened to some of the other characters that fateful afternoon.
A retelling of the episode: Green Green Glow of Home
It seemed quiet in the house. Oppressively so. The morning had been noisier than usual, with Lois and Clark both there. As Martha listened to the two of them argue non-stop, she questioned her assumption that Lois was the one woman for Clark. She remembered how Clark had used the words stubborn, opinionated, and brilliant the first time he had described Lois to her. She was getting a first-hand look at the stubborn and opinionated part, and, as she listened to Lois put together pieces of a puzzle that none of the Kents particularly wanted her to figure out, she was beginning to accept the "brilliant" part, too.
Lois had worn Clark down until he had finally, grudgingly, admitted there *was* something fishy going on over at the Irig farm, but the two of them couldn't seem to come to an agreement what to do next. Finally, Lois stood up and announced that *she* was going over the farm to *see* what was going on, and if Clark didn't want to come, that was fine with her. As Lois flounced out the screen door, Clark pushed back his chair and groaned, "Loooisss," but he'd obediently followed her out. A few moments later Martha heard their rental car as they drove down the road. Since then, silence had reigned.
As the afternoon dragged on, Martha puttered around the kitchen, getting the fresh corn they'd purchased at the corn festival ready for canning. Unfortunately, while that kept her hands busy, it wasn't enough to keep her mind from dwelling upon the alarming happenings of the last few days. She worried about Clark's "sickness" — it could only be called that — since his exposure to that green rock they still had in the shed. And she fretted about Wayne's disappearance and all those strangers digging up his farm. For so many years — ever since she and Jonathan had discovered Clark lying in Shuster's field that night — Martha had feared something like this. And now … all her nightmares were coming true.
With an exasperated sigh, Martha put the knife down. The tension was just too much to be borne. Moving quickly, she left the house and, striding briskly across the farmyard, went in search of her husband.
She found him in the storage shed, sitting on old trunk, staring at the lead toolbox which contained that horrible green rock. She moved to stand near him. "Jonathan, I can't take this anymore. We have to do something."
"What can we do, Martha?"
"I don't know," she sighed. "Do you remember when Clark was a baby, how we planned for something like this? That we'd all just get in the car and drive if anything happened. We had everything ready — the maps, the cash. How many years did we keep those packed suitcases behind the sofa?"
"Long time," agreed her husband. "But finally we felt safe. Foolishly, perhaps."
"We *were* safe," Martha said. "Then Wayne found that *damned* rock!"
Jonathan blinked when he heard that word. Martha never swore; she must be really upset. He shook his head, still staring at the box. "I don't know what to do with it. I can't give it to anybody, but I sure don't want to keep this anywhere near Clark."
Martha shook her head. "Sometimes I don't understand why things happen. How all his life he's always talked about being 'normal.' Now he is. It's what he says he wants, but … "
Jonathan finished for her. "But it doesn't feel right. Because Clark's not normal. Normal for him is being Super. Until I opened that box … " Jonathan's voice trailed off, as he blamed himself for not realizing the danger inherent in the green rock. Martha moved to stand even closer to him, hoping to comfort him.
"You didn't do this to him. It just … happened. Besides, maybe it's for the best. Those men, they're obviously searching for … for Superman. He's not Superman now; he'll be able to hide."
Jonathan hated to burst her optimistic bubble, but he had always been honest with her. "Those men are looking for this rock, Martha, because they know they can use it to hurt him, probably to kill him. And his not being Super right now just makes him more vulnerable.
Martha closed her eyes, feeling the tears of frustration welling up. Her fears for her son and her inability to do anything to protect him were eating away at her.
Her eyes flew open as she heard someone walking outside in the yard. Then they heard a shout. "Jonathan! It's Wayne Irig!"
"Thank God!" Jonathan muttered under his breath as he threw the shed door open. "Wayne!" Wayne Irig ran into the shed. If Martha was a bundle of nerves, Wayne was considerably worse off. He looked exhausted, and his face was badly bruised. He had wrapped a bandana tightly around his hand, which he cradled as though every movement sent stabs of pain through it. Wayne was practically gibbering with fear and confusion.
Jonathan put an arm around Wayne to steady him and lead him to a seat on the bale of hay. "Wayne! My God, look at you. What did they do to you?"
Wayne was barely coherent. "We've got a problem, Jonathan. A bad one."
"Okay. All right." Jonathan was trying to calm Wayne down. "I'm with you. Calm down, Wayne." He looked towards Martha. "Martha, get a doctor."
Glad to have something to do, Martha headed towards the door, only to be stopped by Wayne's refusal. "No, I'm all right. But — there's men up at my place. Men with guns. They're looking for that rock I gave you." Wayne was only a step away from total panic as he looked at them wildly. "We've got to get to the police."
Jonathan looked at Martha. Seeing Wayne like this, they both knew he was right, but the decision they had made so many years ago still held. For almost thirty years, they'd kept the secret of the baby they'd found in the spaceship, and even more frightening than the thought of men with guns was the thought of confiding in strangers.
Jonathan looked at Wayne. How could he convince him to keep the secret? "We've been friends for years, Wayne. You trust me, don't you?"
"Then believe me. That green rock is dangerous. But we can't call the police, and we can't let those men have it."
Wayne blinked. The Kents obviously knew more about this than he'd thought. Trask's ravings about Superman came back to him, and he looked at Jonathan suspiciously. "What do you mean, 'dangerous?' What does it do?"
"It makes some people sick; that's all I know," Jonathan replied in a clipped, strained voice. Wayne had known Jonathan long enough to know that Jonathan knew more than that, but he could also see that Jonathan was deadly serious about this, and that Jonathan was as frightened as he was, almost to death. Jonathan continued. "So no more red tape. You and me, we're going to go destroy it right now. Somehow."
As if on cue, the door to the shed burst open. Before anyone had the chance to draw breath, a dozen men with guns drawn ran inside.
"I don't think so," the leader of the men said to Jonathan. One of the other men took the lead toolbox from Jonathan and handed it to the leader. Jonathan's eyes met Martha's in a look of panic as the leader opened the box. They had waited too long to take action, and now the enemy had the upper hand.
The green light emanating from the rock cast an eerie glow onto the leader's face, making him look more sinister than ever, and yet there was no mistaking his look of triumph. "I don't think so," he said again. "I've looked too long for this to let you destroy it now." He gestured to his men, and Jonathan, Martha, and Wayne were herded into a corner of the shed. "At last," he said under his breath, "I've found a way to destroy that alien menace."
Trask barked out some orders; one of his men left and returned carrying a length of rope. Soon the three of them were tied together, their hands bound tightly in front of them. Wayne, beaten by Trask days before, had been docile, moving where he was told with no resistance. Jonathan had attempted to fight back, but had been no match for three of Trask's bullies. Martha, her fears for herself overshadowed by her terror for her son, had held her head held high and kept up a steady stream of invective, until one of the men had lifted his hand towards her, threatening to hit her. She'd held her tongue after that, although her eyes still flashed fire. Eventually, the men left them alone in the dark shed, tied tightly together.
"I'm sorry, Jonathan," Wayne said. "They must have followed me here."
"Mmm hmm," Jonathan agreed. "And they must have been listening outside the shed. As soon as I mentioned destroying that rock, they moved in. We'd better be careful; they're probably still listening to everything we say."
"Who are they?" Martha exclaimed. "That Trask person must be crazy."
"Crazy as can be," Wayne agreed. "One thing I know — he doesn't think any of the laws apply to him."
Martha heard an engine outside, then another. If she listened closely, she could hear Trask commanding most of the men to return to the Irig farm and start packing up. Once the sounds of the motors faded into the distance, there was comparative quiet. Someone was still moving around outside, but it was obvious that most of the men were gone. Not that it made any difference. No matter how few men were left outside, the three of them were immobilized, unable to defend themselves — or Clark. Martha listened for every sound she could hear, trying to guess what was happening. Someone was talking, but she couldn't quite make out the words. Suddenly a sharp cry of terror split the air. "NO, TRASK! NO!"
"Oh, God!" Martha gasped. "That was Clark. Jonathan … " She turned to her husband, seeking comfort, but Jonathan was quiet, unable to think of anything to say. They were prisoners of a fanatic who had dedicated himself to destroying their son. And if Martha was right, Clark was in his power, too.
A few moments later, she blinked against the sudden light as the door to the shed opened. Trask entered with one other man, who was carrying two cans of gasoline. At Trask's gesture the man began sprinkling the edges of the shed with gasoline. Trask stood, framed in the doorway, and began talking to them, conversationally.
"I want you to know that there is nothing personal in this," he said. "Mr. and Mrs. Kent, the problem is —simply — that your son has something I want."
Jonathan was too outraged to answer, but Martha had never been tongue- tied. "What could Clark possibly have that *you* want?" she demanded.
"Superman. He knows how to contact Superman. And I want Superman. Lane and Kent are the only connection I have to him. The only other time I had a chance to kill him was by throwing the Lane woman out of an airplane. The alien came to save her. Unfortunately, my weapon wasn't powerful enough. This time though … " Trask smiled as he thought of the green rock he possessed, "this time, I'll destroy him."
"I'd give you a quick death if I could," he continued, "but your son needs time to realize he has no other options but to call for Superman. I've already explained all of this to him, but he's chosen not to give up Superman. Interesting, isn't it? That your son values this alien more than the lives of his parents."
"That's because he has no connection to Superman!" Jonathan tried desperately to convince Trask.
"Oh, no. No, Mr. Kent. I know when someone is lying to me and your son has lied to me about Superman from the beginning. You should have heard the one he just told me outside — that *he* was Superman. Ha! Not unless he gets superpowers when he dons the suit, or puts on a magic ring, or says a magic word. No. He's not Superman, but he *does* know how to summon him. And I am willing to bet, when the flames come closer and closer to the three of you, and he hears you screaming, he *will* do whatever it is he does to bring Superman here. And then — then I'll kill Superman, with that green rock."
Martha stared at Trask in revulsion. "I don't suppose, after you've managed to kill Superman, you'll come in here and rescue us?" she asked, her voice dripping with bitterness and irony.
Trask gave her a look of amused regret as his assistant began backing out into the farmyard, leaving a gasoline trail across the floor. Trask followed the man outside, and looked Martha straight in the eye as he said, "Remember, you give your lives in the cause of humanity."
Trask left the door to the shed open. 'Probably so Clark can hear our screams better,' Martha thought. She and Jonathan had a clear view, directly out in front of the shed. It looked so normal, so peaceful. The birds were even singing in the Kansas sunshine. The only sign that anything was amiss was the van in the driveway and the madman pulling a book of matches from his pocket. Then the madman threw a match to the ground, and a trail of flame raced towards them.
Martha was unable to stop the whimpers as the flames made their way towards her. Besides her, Jonathan cursed and pulled at the ropes. A sudden crash outside drew her attention from the flames, and she saw the doors on the van swing open. Her heart rose as she saw her son emerge powerfully from the van. He looked so normal, dressed in jeans and a shirt, but Clark was anything but normal. A blink, and Clark was right outside the shed door, inhaling the flames, then blowing them skyward. Another blink, and Clark was beside them, reaching for the ropes that held Martha.
"Superman's back," he said triumphantly, as though she hadn't noticed his actions in the last thirty seconds. Jonathan breathed a sigh of relief, thinking their ordeal was over, but Martha noticed the madman walking towards the shed.
"Clark, behind you!" she warned.
Clark turned and saw Trask approaching. He glanced back at his parents, his normal "mild-mannered" look replaced by a look of adamant determination. In years to come, Martha would recognize that the hard, resolute stare was a trademark of the Man of Steel; right now, however, she only thought how unlike Clark it was.
"Be right back," Clark said, dropping the thick ropes. As Clark walked outside, Jonathan grunted and pulled again at their bindings. Still tight.
Martha watched as Clark moved to block Trask from entering the shed. Trask was walking quietly and confidently, with his hands behind his back. Martha's eyes widened suddenly as a thought hit her — had anyone told Clark that Trask had the green rock?
"Don't take another step, Trask." Clark seemed to have no doubts about Superman's invincibility as he confronted Trask.
"Fighting words, Mr. Kent. Or should I call you 'Superman?'" Seeing his brash confidence, Martha wanted to yell, to warn Clark to keep his distance. But somehow everything was happening too quickly. Clark moved closer to Trask.
"A secret identity," Trask continued, impressed. "Very clever.
"You're going to prison, Trask. For murder, kidnapping, for abuse of power."
Trask smiled unpleasantly. "But I'll tell everyone your secret."
"I don't care. This ends now, Trask."
"Agreed. But the question is, for whom?"
Martha took a deep breath as Clark was suddenly beside Trask. For a second, she hoped Clark would subdue Trask, and all would be fine. Her hopes fell as she watched Clark stagger back. Triumphantly, Trask brought the green rock from behind his back. Slowly, ever so slowly, Clark collapsed to the ground.
She winced as she watched Trask spin and kick Clark, sending him sprawling in the dirt. The steel toe of Trask's military boot had connected with Clark's body, but Martha had felt the blow as clearly as if it had been aimed at her instead of her son. Her son — her baby — was helpless in the hands of this fanatic who hated him, and who would take perverse pleasure out of torturing him.
Martha watched as her son writhed in the dirt, trying to catch his breath and roll away from the deadly rock. Trask continued his tirade, "You think you're better than we humans, don't you? Flying around, oh-so-perfect and superior. But those days are over, aren't they?"
Clark appeared to answer, but Martha couldn't make out the words. Whatever they were, they inflamed Trask, and he held the rock even closer to Clark's face.
"No," Trask bragged. "You're wrong. It's over, and I have won. This little piece of home is going to be the death of you, Superman."
Martha caught her breath as she heard the sound of sirens faintly in the distance. Was help coming at last? Trask seemed to hear them, too, as he placed the green rock near Clark's head.
"Unfortunately, I won't be able to stay for the services." Trask walked around the shed, but all of Martha's attention was focused on her son. 'Fight,' she thought, hoping her thoughts and strength would go out to him. 'You've always been strong, Clark. He'll kill us all before help gets here. Keep trying, Clark.'
As though he could hear her thoughts, Clark turned towards the green rock. Martha watched as he touched it tentatively, and drew back, wincing. 'You can do it, Clark!' she thought again, willing him on. Her heart lifted as she watched Clark quickly grab the rock and, with a cry of defiance, throw it with all his strength towards the pond. A blinding flash of light came from outside. But the effort, which may truly have been super-human, proved too much for Clark, and he collapsed back upon the ground.
"Oh, very brave. And very foolish." Martha couldn't see Trask, but she could hear him. Trask continued to taunt Clark, who still lay upon the ground, spent. "Now let's see. Who should go first? You? Or the human traitors who have sheltered you all these years?
Suddenly, Martha could see Trask again as he walked towards the shed, a gun in his hand. Martha was numb to the thought of imminent death by now, and she watched with a strange disinterest as Trask approached, wondering if Clark could get away while Trask killed them. She began praying, asking God to spare her son.
Clark's roar of protest, as he flung himself at Trask, didn't surprise her. Somehow, he managed to knock Trask down, but the effort seemed to drain his last reserves of energy, and he lay on the ground, gasping.
"You're right, Superman. I don't need a gun."
Martha had thought Trask's earlier kick was brutal, but it was nothing compared to the blows he was inflicting on Clark now. The two men rolled out of sight, but Martha could still hear the grunts and groans of the two men fighting, as well as the solid thwacking sounds of flesh pounding flesh. Given the state of her son when he'd thrown himself at Trask, she didn't see how Clark could possibly win this fight. She closed her eyes and listened, nails cutting into her palms, teeth biting into her lips, to the sounds of this monster killing her baby with his bare hands. The sirens were getting closer and closer, but what would be left of Clark by the time they got here? How long did it take to pummel a man to death?
Beside her, Jonathan was swearing softly, words she'd never heard him use in almost thirty-five years of marriage, all the while pulling at the ropes again. It was becoming harder to hear the sounds of the fight now; the sirens were too loud. Martha strained her ears for sounds that would give her any hint of what was happening. She breathed a sigh of relief as she saw a police car race through the yard and screech to a halt, just out of sight.
The utter stillness that followed the silencing of the sirens was startling, but not reassuring. For a second all Martha could hear was her own breathing. Then she heard Lois's voice call out "Clark!", shrill and in warning, followed swiftly by the sharp crack of a gunshot.
"Noooo!" Martha screamed. She closed her eyes. All of that effort, all of that pain, for Clark to be shot by the madman? "Dear God, no." she whispered. "Not Clark."
One of the deputies came into the shed; he must have heard her scream. "My God, Jonathan!" he exclaimed, as he came rushing over to free them. "What in heaven's name has been going on here?" He freed Jonathan and then turned to Martha. Jonathan moved quickly to the door; he didn't know what they would see, but he wanted to see it first. If it was too terrible, he'd try to prepare Martha before she looked out there.
Released from the heavy ropes, Martha rose stiffly, and almost tripped over her own feet in her rush to reach the door. From the doorway, Jonathan turned to her with a smile. "He's all right, Martha," he said softly. "Our boy's all right."
Martha joined him at the door, where Jonathan put an arm around her. Martha couldn't take her eyes from her son. He stood there, dripping wet, by the side of the pond. Lois stood close to him, each of them holding the other tenderly. As Martha watched, Clark leaned down, touching his forehead to Lois's. Martha thought she could almost see him drawing strength from the slender woman who held him. As she watched Lois tenderly touch Clark's face and observed the joy on Lois's face, Martha realized that Lois needed Clark as much as he needed her. The only question was, how long would it take them to realize it?
Wayne Irig joined them outside the barn, and together they watched as two deputies began dragging Trask's body from the pond. Rachel Harris stood quietly besides her police car. She looked pale, but composed, in spite of the fact that this was probably the most serious situation she had had to handle since she had been elected sheriff. Rachel stared briefly at Lois and Clark, still holding each other; averted her eyes from the sight of the body that had been laid out at the water's edge; and then glanced up at the Kents and Irig, who were still standing near the shed. Then she walked towards her deputies.
"Uh, Wayne," Jonathan said softly, "I don't know what you heard in there, or what you figured out … "
"The only thing I've figured out in the last few days is that there are some things I don't want to know about. I'm not going to think about this anymore than that."
Jonathan looked at Wayne and saw the trustworthiness and understanding in his eyes. He nodded. "Fair enough, Wayne. I'm sorry you were ever involved in this."
"Not your fault," Wayne answered. "You have a fine son, Jonathan. You can be proud of him." Wayne walked away, towards one of the police cars.
As Martha watched, Lois pulled herself away from Clark, who reluctantly let her go. She took a few steps away and turned back to Clark, holding out her hand to him, as if inviting him to come with her. Clark shook his head weakly, and gestured her on. Martha watched as Lois summoned a dark-haired young man, who had been taking pictures. The young photographer and Lois headed towards the driveway and got into the Kent family truck. Although Martha didn't see how they could have gotten the keys, the truck started without any difficulty and drove away.
Clark was walking slowly towards his mother. When he got there, he stretched out his arms to gather Martha into a huge hug. Martha's arms went around him, and she didn't think she could ever let go. She found herself crying silently in his arms, the tension of the day finally finding its release. Jonathan reached out and touched Clark's arm, reassuring himself that his son was still there.
Martha pulled herself away from Clark, her cheeks still wet. "Oh, Clark," she said with a smile. His faced was badly bruised. He winced as she reached out and gently touched a cut on his face.
"It's been a long time since I've had to bandage you up," she said with a smile. "I don't think you've had a cut since you were four." Clark smiled weakly.
"Where did Lois go?" she asked, curiously.
"She went back to Wayne's," Clark answered. "She wants to see if there is anything left over there. I doubt there will be, though. Trask was nothing if not thorough." Clark glanced down towards Trask's body and couldn't help the shudder that ran through his own.
"C'mon, you two," Jonathan said. He raised his voice. "Rachel!" When she looked up, he announced, "We're going up to the house." Rachel nodded in agreement.
It was only a few hundred yards to the house, but suddenly Martha wasn't sure she could make it.
"Oh, my! My legs are so shaky; I'm not sure I can walk."
"Neither am I," Clark said. "My legs are shaky, my ribs are sore, and to tell the truth, I think I'm going to be sick."
"We can get to the house," Jonathan's voice was strong, "if we all go together." He slid an arm around Martha's waist, supporting her, and Clark held her from the other side. Walking slowly, the Kents left all the noise, confusion, and death behind, and made their way home.
With thanks to Bryce Zabel, who wrote the original story, and to my proofreaders: Patty Macy, Janeen Grohsmeyer, Lisa Ramerez, Sarah Woods and Sandy McDermin.
All feedback is greatly appreciated. Please send comments to NightSky@erols.com.
The past tempts us, the present confuses us and the future frightens us — Babylon 5