A Baptism of Fire

By Larry Raymond <writer1@nbnet.nb.ca>

Rated PG

Submitted January 2001

Summary: The first story in a series exploring Lois Lane's pre-Clark Kent/Superman days as a new investigative reporter at the Daily Planet.

Basically, this story is the first of a series with Lois Lane being a new investigative reporter at the Daily Planet before she encountered Clark Kent AND Superman. Just keep in mind how Lois, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White looked in the first season, only younger. I hope you'll enjoy it. :)


As with most days since she had been hired two years ago by the Daily Planet, Lois Lane stepped into the city room with the air of confidence of a young and ambitious tiger wading through the urban jungle of Metropolis waiting to pounce on a fresh exciting story. That is, if she could find one. She would just have to keep on wading until then.

Lois, at twenty-three, had to go through the usual trials and tribulations to get where she was now, a respected reporter for the Daily Planet, and she wasn't about to let any of it slide away. What she wanted most was to become an investigative reporter. She yearned to get under the cracks of some news event and get to the real story behind it, and she would be willing to do almost anything to get at the truth. Within reason, of course. That was where she really wanted to be ever since she had graduated from journalism school and come to Metropolis to make a name for herself.

In all that time, she had developed a friendship with Editor- In-Chief Perry White, but she had to earn it. She was put through some difficult times to do it, but she was glad and grateful for the end result. She had also created ties with the Metropolis police force, particularly with Chief Inspector William Henderson. Through hard work and some luck, Lois also formed associations with news contacts in places around the city.

It was her dedication and never-say-die attitude that won her her present position, and Lois was one story away from attaining what she wanted. And she had perhaps just the thing to get it.

Settling into her terminal to ready herself for another day, Lois reminded herself of the small tip she got from one of her "informants" a few nights ago and she smiled expectantly. Though it was barely newsworthy at best, one of her reliable snitches informed her that something big was being planned at the warehouse district in Midtown. It made her inquisitive mind race with wonder. What could be planned down there? What possible news story could develop? What would happen?

All those questions had to wait. The familiar rapid footfalls of the Daily Planet's favorite office boy, Jimmy Olsen, approached Lois' desk. It broke her from her thoughts, but it was welcomed. She needed to set her feet back on terra firma before she would set her plans into motion.

Lois greeted Jimmy with a friendly smile. "Hi, Jimmy, what's new?"

Jimmy handed her a note, obviously anticipating that it contained important news. "I think you might be very interested in this, Lois. It's a message from your friend "Shifty." It came in when you were coming to work."

"Shifty" Donato was the guy who had fed Lois the news tip, and she snatched up the note and scanned it carefully. Her eyes grew wide with both anticipation and uneasiness.

"Pretty big, isn't it?" Jimmy knew all about Lois' hopes to become an investigative reporter, and he truly admired her for her determination to see it through. "This could be your big break."

"I think it might be just that." Lois looked at the note again." Shifty said an illegal shipment would be coming into one of the warehouses. He didn't say which one, did he?"

"No. He said he didn't have time to talk. He sounded very nervous on the phone."

Lois shrugged and sighed. "That's Shifty for you. At least he gave this much, and I think this may be enough for me to check this out. I can smell a big story here, Jimmy."

"Let's hope so, Lois."

Just then, Perry White came out of his office and waved at Lois to come over to see him, looking like he wanted to know something. She immediately went on her way. "I'll see you later, Jimmy, and thanks. I owe you."

"Good luck, Lois." Then Jimmy went on his way to do more errands around the city room.

Perry stood at the door of his office with the manner of an expectant editor-in-chief waiting for a story to be passed along to him. "Lois, I hope you've got that story finished on the Mayor's new budget."

Lois stopped short just a few feet in front of her boss and she gave him a sheepish grin. She always knew that Perry was a man who liked to keep a tight ship. "It's completed, Perry. All I have to do is send it over to the editors."

Like a disappointed father, Perry shook his head in dismay at Lois and cast a dissatisfied gaze on her. "Now, Lois, you know you should have put that story to bed a long time ago. Preferably in the morning edition while it was still fresh news."

"I know, and I'm sorry, Perry."

When it came to creating bizarre analogies, Perry White could spin some interesting ones and most of them had some innate reference to the king of rock and roll. Being that Perry was one of Elvis' most devoted fans, it made sense. Though she wouldn't say it was kind of odd to her boss, Lois had to grin and bear it. By saying she was sorry for the little gaff, Lois had opened the door wide open for one of those somewhat funny sayings to come out, and she felt one coming.

"Sorry doesn't make The King get to the concert on time, and I'm a little disappointed in you."

The situation brought on one of those rare moments when Perry would show his tender side, and Lois was lucky enough to be on the receiving end.

Perry leaned in close to Lois and lowered his voice to tell her what he wouldn't normally say to anyone. "I truly believe that you have the makings of becoming one of the best reporters this newspaper has ever seen."

Lois felt flattered and touched that Perry had such confidence in her. "Why, thank you, Perry. I didn't know you felt that way about me. You must be a softie at heart."

"That's strictly between you, me and my wife." Perry winked at Lois and smiled wisely. "Just don't spread it around, okay? After all, I have a reputation as a tough but fair minded editor to uphold. A broad smile crossed Lois' lips. She understood fully.

"Just don't be late sending in stories again, okay? I don't want to have to get mad at you. It would break my heart."

Lois giggled. "Okay, I gotcha."

Perry caught the anxious look on the young reporter's face, which meant she had something important she wanted to tell him. "Something's dying to come outta you, isn't it? I can tell. I suppose asking if you want to talk about it would just belabor the obvious, wouldn't it?"

Lois nodded. "Something came up that I think is very important." She strolled with urgency into the opened room and Perry followed her in.

"I would have invited you in, Lois, but it seems you've already did that yourself," Perry quipped in a gruff way.

"Sorry." After offering an apologetic smile, Lois put on her serious reporter face. "I just got this tip that some illegal shipments are going to be sent to the warehouse. I don't know what or when, but it seems big."

Closing the door, Perry turned to face Lois and his face turned flush with alarm. "When did you get that message?"

"Just a couple of minutes ago. One of my informants called the Planet and told Jimmy to pass the message on to me."

Skepticism from years of experience flashed across Perry's face. "Are you sure it's authentic?"

Lois folded her arms across her chest in an all too familiar posture that told Perry she meant business. "Perry, I trust any information that comes my way from my informants, and this is certainly one thing he wouldn't dream up as a prank."

Walking to his desk, Perry reached for his reporter's roster off his desk and began to scan it. "Okay, Lois, I'll get someone to check it out."

Lois wasn't going to let anyone steal her story away, and she was dead set on claiming it. "Perry, I feel that since I was the one who was informed about the threat that I should be the one to cover this."

Perry clued in on what Lois was hinting at, and he was trying to be understanding about it. "Lois, is this another bid for you to become an investigative reporter?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, yes." Lois wanted desperately to plead her case once again. "C'mon, chief, I've been wanting to get into more serious stories ever since I came here to the Planet, and I know I could be doing so much more good."

"Lois, I can't just send you on the trail of some psychos with explosives when you hardly have any experience in investigative reporting, assuming that's what's happening."

"And how am I supposed to gain any experience when stuck covering politics?" Lois countered with her characteristic spirit. "You know as well as I do that I won't be satisfied for long covering what the Mayor will ask and do next."

She wasn't quite finished with her argument. "And by the way, what happened to all those kind words you said about me just a minute ago, huh?"

Perry, hopelessly out manned and outgunned by Lois' perennially keen logic, realized he finally couldn't win, and he had to give Lois what she wanted. "Okay, okay. Even Elvis knew when he was beaten. You've got it."

When Lois heard she had won Perry over, she beamed brightly with delight and hugged him. "Oh, thank you so much, Perry. I promise you won't regret it."

"Famous last words, sweetie." Perry turned serious for Lois' benefit. "This is no joke, kid. You're going to enter into serious territory now, and I hope you'll have your head on straight when you run into any trouble and ask for some help."

"I will, Perry. I've got enough brains in me to know when I've gotten in too deep, but I feel confident that I can pull this off."

"Is that your brains talking or is that your bravado coming in loud and clear?"

Lois walked toward the door. She stopped just before exiting and turned to her boss. "Maybe it's both," she concluded and closed the door behind her to get started on her first assignment as an investigative reporter.

Perry settled behind his desk, and he smiled and shook his head at the moxy Lois showed him. "Geez, that young lady has spunk. She reminds me of myself when I was younger. I only hope and pray it's not going to land her in serious trouble."


Two well dressed men strolled casually down the street and entered into a tavern called the Rosewood. They took an empty booth at the corner away from prying eyes.

They noticed a thin guy with graying black hair and wearing a wrinkled dark gray overcoat sipping on a beer sitting about two tables away, but they didn't care.

They were certain they wouldn't be overheard.

"Are you sure he'll be coming here, McNally?" one of the men, tall and athletic with balding blond hair, asked his friend.

"I'm sure, Jacobson. Don't worry. The boss will show up and he'll give us the instructions we need," the other man, also athletic with short black hair replied with assurance.

A waitress dressed in an elegant white shirt and black slacks stepped to the booth. "Would you gentlemen care for anything to drink?"

"I'll have a scotch on the rocks," Jacobson answered.

"And I'll have a club soda," McNally replied. Once the waitress left for their drinks, he glanced at his associate who seemed on edge. "What are you so nervous about?"

"I've got a lot riding on this job, pal. If we screw this up in any way, we'll land in jail and I can't end up there again."

"Look, will you stop worrying? You're worst than my mother. The plan will go down without a hitch and once the shipment comes in, we'll be rolling in dough. Trust me."

It only took a few minutes for their drinks to arrive and as the two men were about to taste them, a tall and handsome auburn haired gentleman, dressed in a navy blue business suit carrying a black leather briefcase, approached the booth.

Jacobson and McNally instantly recognized the man, and they made room for him to sit down.

"I hope you men haven't been kept waiting too long. We have important business to discuss," the man stated warmly to his associates. He handed the briefcase to McNally and sat back to watch him open it up.

The inside of the case was lined with stacks of bills, all in hundreds. Both McNally and Jacobson stared at the collection of money greedily.

Jacobson took one of the stacks and thumbed it, making sure the money was real. He let out a small, rough cackle and grinned at McNally. "It's all here, man. Heh heh, we're rich."

"You came through, Mister Danforth," McNally noted.

A confident, relaxed smile crossed the handsome man's lips. "I told you I could gather up the money for you, and now, you two will keep your end of the bargain. Tell me— when will the shipment come in?"

"The cargo will come in by boat on the docks tomorrow night at eight thirty. We'll send out the stuff by truck to one of your warehouses," Jacobson informed.

The self-assured Mister Danforth rubbed his hands in expectation of what was to come. "In a matter of a week, the five hundred thousand you've just received will be like a pittance compared to the millions that will be accumulated from the sales made on the street."

Feeling that the meeting was over, Danforth got up to leave, followed by Jacobson bringing the briefcase with him. "It will be a pleasure to do business with you, gentlemen. The fun has only just begun."

McNally got up to leave and paid for the drinks. There was a kind of perceptive expression on his features as if he was privy to a glimpse into the future. He had that certain look of an intelligent man who knew enough to formulate plans but cautious and careful enough to wait until the right moment.

He strolled out of the tavern and hopped into an awaiting car with Jacobson behind the wheel and he drove off.

None of the conspirators were aware that a few tables away, someone had overheard their conversation, keen ears that picked up and retained vital information.

The thin, cautious man in the gray overcoat glanced around anxiously. and he rose from his table and ambled with care out of the bar.

He hurried himself across the street and toward an unoccupied phone booth. "I gotta get a call to Miss Lane and the sooner I do, the better," Shifty Donato advised himself.


It became late afternoon when Lois finally managed to get a hold of Shifty. He told her to wait for him in her white Ford Bronco across the street from the Regent Hotel.

He had more news to pass along to her and this time, it would be very, very important, as he put it. Acting on her instinctual journalistic nature, Lois jumped at the chance to break her first investigative story wide open.

Lois sat behind the wheel, every once in a while observing the street for any sign of her friend and putting her nose back into a mystery novel she wanted to finish.

Letting her impatience get the better of her, Lois checked her watch for the fifth time. "Four forty-five. Where could that guy be? I've been here for over an hour," she huffed with uneasiness.

Just before Lois was about to get even more restless and become annoyed, the back door on her right side opened up silently and in hopped Shifty Donato. Lois was startled by the sudden movement, but her alarm lasted only a moment as she turned quickly to see her informant seated comfortably in the backseat.

"Geez, Shifty, I was sitting here wondering when you'd finally grace me with your presence."

"Oh, take me out and shoot me. Am I crossed off your Christmas card list now?"

Lois rolled her eyes to the roof. "C'mon, Shifty, be a sport and tell me what you heard." She pulled out a micro cassette recorder from her purse and clicked it on. "Don't keep this cute and fashionable newswoman in suspense. Spill your guts."

Shifty was becoming a bit indignant. "Hey, don't be so pushy. Let me catch my breath first. I had to walk fast all the way from the other side of the block to get to you."

"Okay, I'm sorry. I'll try not to be so impatient," Lois offered in her sweetest tone possible.

Shifty took a breath and began his story. "This is gonna be really bad, kid. I was at the Rosewood having a beer when I overheard these three guys talking about that shipment."

Lois was on the edge of her seat, and she looked like a child waiting to unwrap birthday presents. "Okay, tell me more."

"One of the guys was this fella by the name of Danforth, and he gave these other two guys a whole load of money to pay for the shipment. It'll be coming in by boat over at the docks tomorrow night at eight thirty."

"Wait a second." Lois paused to ponder over the name of Danforth and in an instant of shocking clarity, she knew who he was. "Harold Danforth is working on the city council. He also owns half of the warehouses in that section of town."

"Lois, I think this Harold Danforth is planning to smuggle drugs onto the streets and sell the junk off to God knows who."

Realizing the magnitude of the whole situation and knowing she had to act, Lois resolved to uncover the plot and expose Danforth.

"This sounds very dangerous, Shifty, but I need to follow this up and get to the bottom of it."

"Lois, I don't know that you've thought this out well enough. These people might be willing to kill to have those drugs sold on the streets. You could get hurt."

"I know that, and I'm going to accept the risks involved because this is my chance to prove that I can become a reporter who can make a difference."

The courageous young reporter was talking a good game, but she had the conviction to back it up. "I'm not going to be able to live with myself if I don't find a way to stop Danforth from selling filth in Metropolis."

"It's very well and good to stand on your principles, but I don't think any of that crew is gonna just stand by and let you just waltz in on their racket and expose them."

"I'll find a way, Shifty." Lois noticed her friend was getting antsy, so she reasoned it was time to end the meeting. "You'd better get going. Thanks for everything, Shifty. I owe you big time for this."

"Knowing you, you've already made up your mind on stopping Danforth, so there's no way of changing it." Shifty carefully slid out of the backseat and onto the street. "Lois, please be careful and don't get in over your head."

"I will, Shifty. I promise." Lois saw her trusted informant shuffle out of sight down an alley, and she was left alone to seriously consider her next course of action.

What it was she didn't know just yet, but she had the feeling she would. Still, the fresh report Shifty conveyed to her swam around inside Lois' mind, and she found it difficult to keep her focus.

Suspenseful interest in the events to come and her role in them quickly banished her bewilderment. Her need to see justice done filled her with a renewed sense of duty that she couldn't ignore.

"This is going to be one story I don't want to miss, no matter what might happen. I am seeing this through."


Perry was at home speaking with Lois on the phone, and by his alarmed reaction to her latest details, he wanted to convince her to back away.

"Judas Priest, Lois, this sounds like big trouble and you could put yourself in danger by chasing after Danforth. I had heard he had a shady past, but I never thought of it as anything really serious."

Safe inside her apartment, Lois cradled her portable phone under her chin while busily tapping out her breakthrough story on her laptop.

"I didn't know that either, Perry, but it seems like he wanted more than what the city could pay him. Greed is certainly a great motivator for crime."

"I don't like it, Lois. You're going to need solid evidence to prove Danforth was the one who dreamed up this scheme, and you can't take what some stool pigeon told you in a courtroom without backing it up."

"I know, Perry." At a loss to come up with any other viable solution, Lois impulsively envisioned an idea to get that evidence she needed. "How about if somebody could manage to catch Danforth and his men in the act?"

"That would work but who—" Instantly, it dawned on the concerned editor whom Lois had in mind. Herself. "Aww no way, kid. That is way too dangerous."

"Perry, I know I can pull it off. I'm a resourceful woman who can take care of herself, and I've got brains and I know how to use them."

"That's what I'm afraid of, sweetie. You'll end up putting your cute head full of that renowned smarts of your on the chopping block just so you can get your story."

"That's a risk I have to take, Perry, and you know as well as I do what risks reporters accept to uncover the truth. You know better than anyone about that. You're a seasoned veteran."

"Yes, who happens to have all of his parts intact and with only minor scars. I just don't want you to get hurt. I would seriously hate it if I sent you off on this and something terrible happened."

Lois was genuinely touched by how much Perry cared about her. "It's very nice that you care about me, Perry, but like I said already, I can take care of myself. I'm a big girl now, okay?"

Perry knew there was no way to change Lois' famous steel trap mind. "All right, Lois. All right, but don't say I didn't warn you. The least you can do to ease this old man's conscience is to ask for some help."

Lois wasn't about to let anyone interfere with her story. She was running the show, but she wanted to not let Perry worry so much about her. "Okay, I guess asking for some help wouldn't hurt me."

"That's my girl. Now, I'll be getting back to sipping down my supply of Milk of Magnesia until you're safe and sound and able to write up that blockbuster column of yours."

"It'll be front page news. You can count on that. Thanks for talking with me, Perry." Lois let some of her tenderness she kept under wraps seep through. "You know, I look up to you. You're like a second father to me who is willing to show me what I can do and to tell when I'm about to fall on my face."

Hearing those words brought a proud, warm smile to Perry's face. "Great shades of Elvis. I would have never thought I'd hear sentiments like that coming from such an independent, dedicated and oh so stubborn young woman like you, Lois."

"Just don't spread it around, Perry. Remember I've got a reputation to uphold, too, you know."

"I hear you, kid. I've got that feeling inside me that says you'll be okay. You'll be bruised a little but with that doggone hardheadedness you have, you'll make it through."

"Thanks, Perry. See you tomorrow. Good night."

"Good night, Lois. Don't work too hard, okay?"

"I won't. Good night."

Lois hung up feeling she had grown ever closer to her respected and cared about leader. She had never felt that close to a father figure since her own father had been away so much during her teens because of his science research.

She really did see Perry as a second father. Lois wanted to make him proud of her, but she soon realized that wasn't necessary. It was all in the way he spoke to her and advised her and cared about her.

She set aside the compassionate side of herself and went back to focusing on her evolving article that she envisioned would make front page news: The story of a corrupt politician planning to turn Downtown Metropolis into his personal drug kingdom and all under the noses of city hall and the Mayor's office.

"I'm not going to let you get away with it, Mister Danforth, and tomorrow night you're about to start spending a long time behind bars."

Meanwhile, in a hotel room, McNally was receiving a visit from Harold Danforth. The two men sat on the small sofa, and each looked ready to talk.

"I think you should know, Mister McNally, that I have a lot at stake with this venture. Not only do I have many friends in city government who would be willing to turn their backs for me but also a great deal of time and effort to make this plan work."

McNally was perturbed, but he didn't let on. "What are you getting at, Mister Danforth?"

Danforth straightened up and in all stern seriousness he looked coolly at McNally. "I do not want any slipups of any kind, do you understand? That man you had with you, Jacobson…he seemed like the type who would make dangerous mistakes."

"He just gets nervous, that's all, councilman. He doesn't want to end up in jail, so he's a little concerned."

"I'm more than just a little concerned, McNally. I do not want to end up in jail myself, and neither do you, I would imagine."

McNally nodded. "I've spent some time in prison and it's not Club Med, believe me."

"Then you know that I do not want anything to go wrong. Keep this in mind, Mister McNally, I have friends who can make your life into a living hell if you happen to cross me."

"Is that some kind of threat?"

Danforth rose to leave. "No, my friend, " he said, pointing a finger at McNally, "— consider it a friendly reminder of where you stand in the grand scheme of things." With that the bold councilman left the room.

Wanting to get in touch with important persons known only to him, McNally went to the phone next to the bed and quickly dialed a number.

The person on the other end of the connection picked up the phone. "Is that you, Pendleton?"

"Yeah, it's me. Danforth is getting more and more bolder by the second. He seriously thinks he's going to pull off his great scheme of his."

"That's what he thinks. As soon as he gets over-confident and when he makes the wrong moves, we'll pounce on him," the man vowed resolutely.

"Tomorrow night's the night for the shipment, though. I'm willing to bet he'll be on hand to make sure nothing goes wrong, but that will be his mistake."

"Right. It'll be his fatal mistake." The strong willed, commanding voice on the other end clicked off, and McNally, or whoever he truly was, hung up the phone solemnly.

He knew he had a job to do and that was to make sure Danforth was caught red handed with the goods. All that would happen tomorrow night. He only hoped nothing would go wrong.


The next day, at his home in the suburbs, Harold Danforth was inside his study running through his daily routine of handling his own share of the warehouse district's activities.

Lounging in his leather chair behind his polished ebony wood desk, he chatted with one of his paid cohorts from the warehouses.

"No, not one of those pompous windbags from city hall had any clue about what I'm about to do. By tonight, everything will come up rosy, and I'll make the downtown area into a profitable cash cow."

There came soft knocking on his door. "Come in, Rose." Danforth went back to his conversation. "No, don't worry. It's just my housekeeper. Oh, she doesn't know a thing."

Entering into his study, an attractive brunette clad in a cleaning woman's outfit with her hair tied into a bun rolled a serving tray next to Danforth and handed him a cup of coffee.

"I'll talk with you later, Mister Smith." Danforth turned his attention to his housekeeper and smiled graciously. "Ahh, thank you so much, Rose."

"Is there anything else I can do for you, Mister Danforth?" the housekeeper asked.

"If anyone should ask to see me, tell them I'm going to be very busy." Danforth waved to the small stack of documents piled on his desk. " I have so much work to do."

"Yes, sir." Rose walked out with the serving tray, and Danforth went back to preparing his daily affairs.

Weaving through neighborhood lanes and heading down a small avenue toward Danforth's two story brick home, Lois wanted to pay a little visit to the councilman, hopefully to put a little scare into him and make him be so cautious he might make mistakes.

Rolling into the curved driveway and pulling to a stop in front of the house, Lois hopped out of her car and strolled to the double doors that made up the entrance.

"So, Councilman Danforth lives the good life up here in the suburbs, at the expense of taxpayers' money and from whatever illegal means he can," Lois commented in contempt.

Not wanting to put off her meeting with her adversary any longer, she rang the bell and waited. One of the doors opened, and Lois was met by the housekeeper.

"Yes, can I help you?" Rose asked politely.

Lois took out her identification and press pass and showed them to Rose. "My name is Lois Lane. I'm a reporter from the Daily Planet, and I wanted to know if I could spare a few minutes of Councilman Danforth's time."

"I'm afraid that Councilman Danforth is rather busy at this time. Can I give him a message for you?"

Lois persisted. "Please, I must speak with him. It's for an article I'm doing on successful political figures, and I'm certain Mister Danforth wouldn't mind."

A liberal use of her youthful charm was needed to convince the maid to help her out. With a little disarming smile added in for good measure. "Please, it'll only take a few minutes."

Rose couldn't resist the combination, and she opened the door wider for Lois to come in. "Okay, come inside and wait until I find out."

"Thank you." Lois was left alone in the foyer for a few minutes. She took a careful look at how expensively constructed and furnished the place was. It had to have been his illicit activities that financed it all, she speculated.

The housekeeper came back, and she motioned for Lois to follow her. "Mister Danforth said he would be willing to see you but only for five minutes."

Lois was grateful. "That should be fine, thanks." Leaving the foyer and passing the kitchen, the intrepid newswoman was led down a short corridor, turning right and following Rose to Danforth's study.

Rose opened the door for Lois, and she stepped inside the large room where Harold Danforth stood with his back to her facing an expansive bookcase.

As soon as Lois was inside, Rose had disappeared back into the heart of the house.

"This is quite a house you have, Mister Danforth." Lois stated with a measure of respect. Deep down, even that much was paying him unwarranted lip service.

Danforth turned on his heel, and when he saw Lois standing at the door, he visually admiring how great she looked. "I'm glad you have such good taste," he commended approvingly.

Lois knew right off Danforth was checking her out, and that in itself was enough to make her want to throw up. It irritated her to no end how men could be so obviously brain dead to not control their hormones. It was the nineties and men could still act like cavemen. If her thoughts could be heard, she would have grabbed him and punched his lights out.

"So what can I do for you, Miss Lane?" Danforth stole another perusing glance. "I know I said I would give you five minutes but— I think I can spare more time."

Lois fought the urge to tell him where to put his drink, and she steadied herself. "That won't be necessary, sir."

Lois wasn't impressed with his phony show of gentility, and she got right to the point, so to speak. "Councilman, I'd like to know what you think of the rumors circulating around town that a few of your warehouses are being run by mob money."

Weaving her web of deception, Lois banked on it having the desired effect. She carefully considered whom she faced and it seemed like he would fall for it.

Danforth remained cool as he walked over to a liquor cabinet to pour himself a drink. "Would you care for a drink?"

"No. Thank you."

The shrewd councilman turned back to Lois. "I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about, and even if I did, I wouldn't allow the criminal element to invade my business."

"Come now, sir. There have been reports of workers under your payroll who have connections to mob activities. So is it true that you are partly in league with the underworld?"

Danforth narrowed his eyes. He was rattled, and it was just what Lois wanted. She wanted to push his buttons to see what would happen, but the sly businessman caught on.

"Whatever your silly game is, Miss Lane, I don't have to stand by and be a party to it. Your idle accusations are baseless and also insulting, and furthermore, I do not have to dignify them with a response."

Lois stood her ground fearlessly. "Then if they are just idle accusations, you have nothing to fear." Lois raised an ironic eyebrow. "Do you?"

Harold Danforth realized he was facing an equally shrewd young woman in Lois Lane, and he suspiciously wondered what she was up to.

More importantly to him, his cautious mind wondered if the young reporter had some information about his plans to secretly sell drugs on the streets.

However, the brief game of chess was over from his perspective, and he sat back behind his desk. "I think this diverting meeting has come to an end, Miss Lane. Good day."

Seeing suspicion and worry in Danforth's eyes was enough to send Lois' confidence soaring. Her plan worked.

Without saying a word and satisfied about her performance, Lois turned to the door to leave.

Danforth wasn't quite finished. "Before you go, young lady, I have one little piece of advice for you."

Lois glanced over her shoulder to see her adversary glaring at her with pompous contempt.

"If you continue to persist with your attacks against me or my warehouses, I will have you charged for harassment and fired from your newspaper. I'm sure your readers wouldn't like that and neither would you, I trust."

"Whatever you're up to, Danforth, I'll make sure you won't get away with it." Lois flung open the door to go. "And that is a promise I will keep."

Alone and seething, Danforth picked up the phone and placed a call to McNally. "I need your help to solve a little problem. Lois Lane, that reporter from the Daily Planet has been asking too many questions."

"What do you want me to do with her?"

"If she tries to sneak around at the warehouses, I want you to get rid of her."

"Hey, wait a second! We had a deal that didn't include me being your private gun."

"Watch yourself, McNally. I hope you haven't forgotten the piece of advice I gave you, have you?"

"No, I haven't."

"Good. Make sure that snoopy reporter doesn't get in my way again." Danforth hung up, confident Lois Lane would not become a problem to him.

"Lois Lane, you have made your first and last mistake."


Later on when the light of day was cloaked by the dark of night, the calm waters of Metropolis' Hob's Bay were jostled by the swift running of a small motorboat. The two manned craft approached the docks where awaiting men with a moving van were on hand to carry out their mission, among them ready to set to work was McNally and Jacobson. None of them were remotely aware that a pair of brilliant brown eyes peeking out from a dark corner spied their every move.

The young shapely figure in the shadows decided it was time to execute her own plan. Stealthfully, the darkly clad Lois left her shadowy refuge and crept to the van. Carefully, she snuck around to the back, passing the opened door and settled behind a pair of crates.

"Let's get the drugs onto the truck and fast," one of the men advised.

"Yeah, the boss is waiting for us," McNally stated flatly and he, Jacobson and their crew went to help with loading the packages into the van.

One by one, the wrapped large boxes were piled neatly in front of the crates, none of the would-be traffickers knowing they had a determined passenger on board. When the last of the packages were placed inside the van, all of the men entered into cars and made their way to the warehouse district.

McNally and Jacobson hopped into the van and it motored on its way. A strong feeling of nervousness ran through Lois, but she did her best to keep her nerves in check. Keeping as quiet as possible, she reached around from her hiding place and took one of the boxes. She carefully unwrapped it and found wrapped brick sized packages. Taking out a small knife from a pocket of her black nylon pants, Lois poked it into the package and white powder poured from the hole. Her worst fears were instantly confirmed.

It was cocaine. Enough of it to cause so much damage and misery to people for so many years that Lois couldn't live with herself if she allowed even an ounce of it to fall into the wrong hands. Mainly the filthy hands of Harold Danforth.

Lois' heart pulsated a mile a minute. Her veins pumped with adrenaline. In all the growing tension, an upsurge of self doubt surfaced. Thoughts of not being able to make it out alive flashed through her brain. She trembled as the full extent of the dangerous situation became overwhelming.

Lois knew she had to keep her head or else she would be placed in mortal danger. There was no fooling around, and it became crystal clear all her knowledge and experience were about to be put to the test. The test was to keep herself alive in the face of the unavoidable pit of danger she knowingly thrust herself into.

The van and its cargo turned down a street and then the ride for Lois was over. She and the coke arrived at the warehouses.

McNally and Jacobson rushed out of the van and met with Harold Danforth waiting at the entrance.

"Good, you made it with the cocaine," Danforth said to his hired cohorts. "Now, help the others to get the shipment inside. We'll take care of hiding it so no one will find it."

While the coke was starting to be unloaded, from her hiding place behind the crates, Lois waited for her opportunity to catch Danforth in the act. She took out the small automatic camera she brought with her and readied herself to snap incriminating photos. Coming out from around cover, Lois bravely took flashes just as the men discovered her.

"What the hell—??" Jacobson exclaimed, rushing into the back and grabbing Lois by the arm, making her drop her camera. He dragged her out of the van to face the criminals. "Look what we have here. A snoop taking pictures!"

McNally quickly recognized the young, attractive intruder and immediate alarm came to him like a thunderbolt. Of all the times to have something go wrong, McNally wished the present moment wouldn't have been one of them.

"It's that damned reporter, Lois Lane!" Danforth turned to McNally to carry out his assigned task. "Well, what are you waiting for, you fool?? Take out your gun and kill her! We can't have any witnesses!"

"You rotten bastard!! Danforth, you're not going to get away with this!!" Lois struggled to get out of the taller Jacobson's grip on her arm. "I'll see you rot in jail!!"

Danforth was livid. "Damn it!! McNally, shoot her!!"

The hesitant cohort dug into his jacket pocket, but it wasn't his gun his hand brushed up against. His fingers quickly pressed a button on a small transmitter, sending out a desperate signal.

McNally decided to make his move. Pulling out his semi- automatic pistol, he trained his weapon not on Lois but on a surprised Jacobson. "Police, hold it right there!" he shouted. "Let her go, pal or else I'm going to blow your head off!!"

"What the hell is this, McNally?" Jacobson demanded.

"WHAT??!!" Danforth cursed in rage. "Blast you, McNally, you tricked me!!"

From out in the distance, the foreboding sound of police sirens came to every ear, coming closer and closer. All of Danforth's cronies panicked, not knowing what to do.

Taking advantage of the confusion, Lois flew into action, thrusting her elbow up onto Jacobson's mouth and throwing him over her shoulder hard onto the ground.

Police cruisers rushed into the area and officers surrounded the traffickers. Knowing there was no way out, Danforth made a run to escape.

Lois took to her heels after the corrupt politician, pacing herself to bridge the small gap between herself and the man she wasn't going to let get away. Coming within striking distance, Lois leapt at Danforth and tackled him to the ground. Jerking him on his back, she readied herself to deck him.

She lowered her fist when she saw Danforth was too tired to give her any resistance. Lois gave him a large piece of her mind. "I really should beat the living crap out of you for trying to infect innocent people with your garbage, but I'd rather see you behind bars forever."

McNally or whoever he was ran up to her and snapped handcuffs on Danforth. "Are you okay?? Nice tackle. Maybe you should consider joining the NFL."

Lois rolled her eyes. "Oh, puh-leeze! They'd turn me into a cheerleader, which is the worst job for any woman and one which I would thoroughly hate," she remarked in her typically opinionated way. "And who are you looking so commanding and arresting? No pun intended."

The handsome policeman smiled charmingly. "Detective Lance Pendleton, at your service, ma'am."

"Aww, geez, give me a break! This isn't the Old West, for crying out loud! I really hate it when people start calling me 'Ma'am'! It makes me feel so old."

Detective Pendleton and the other officers rounded up Danforth and his men while Lois kept on blabbing about the rise and fall of modern society and its attitude toward women.

Pendleton was on the CB radio with Chief Inspector Henderson. "Yeah, we've caught all of them, Inspector. With the unexpected but welcomed help of Lois Lane."

"I only hope that she's okay. She can get herself into serious trouble sometimes," Henderson explained.

"She's perfectly all right, Inspector." Pendleton saw his chance to do a little ribbing. "I just didn't know that Miss Lane was so gabby in person."

"I AM NOT!!" Lois protested. "I just like to stand up for what I believe strongly in, that's all."

A cheeky smile came to Pendleton. "Oh, I would say that would be the understatement of the year," he quipped and he took the brunt of one of Lois' cool stares.

"Men! Sometimes they can be so annoying," she huffed to herself.


Another day came and Lois was in front of her computer typing out another political story for the paper, but she found it hard to concentrate when she was thinking so much about how her first investigative story would be received.

Since she told Perry all about her brave adventure she had last night, he advised her to take a couple of days off.

Lois finally decided to ease her curiosity and getting into jeans, gray sweater and sneakers, she went to her car and drove to the Daily Planet.

When she arrived at the city room, she was met by enthusiastic co-workers, congratulating her for the excellent job on her breakthrough investigative article.

To say she was surprised and uplifted by all the attention was an understatement.

"Hey, congrats, Lois!" Jimmy praised Lois, rushing up to her and giving her a hug. "You deserve it for all the hard work you did to get there."

"Thanks so much, Jimmy. For being there for me."

"Hey, anytime."

Perry popped out of his office with a proud smile and with something behind his back. " I knew you couldn't stay away from the office for too long."

Lois sheepishly grinned. "It's just my natural affinity for curiosity that drove me to find out about my column on Danforth."

"Speaking of that article and as you might have found out from your friends here, I have to personally commend you for having the courage to stand up for what you believe in and for having the determination to see it through."

"Well, you know me, Perry. Always willing to go that extra mile for a story," Lois stated with some humbleness.

"Be that as it may, congratulations, Lois." Perry presented Lois with the morning edition. Her eyes widened in happy surprise at her story making front page news.

In bold letters was the byline that captivated her attention and made it all worth while.


She shrieked with delight and nearly jumped on top of Perry to give him a hug. "Oh, thank you so much, Perry! You don't know how much this means to me!!"

"I do know. You deserved it. Welcome to the big leagues, kid. It's a whole new territory for you to explore."

"You mean, I don't have to work on the political beat any longer?"

"As far as I'm concerned, Lois, you are now a card carrying investigative reporter."

Lois was so overwhelmed with happiness and excitement she thought she would faint, but she let it all in.

She had finally attained what she had wanted, and she had worked hard and risked plenty to get it. She finally achieved her raison d'etre. What would happen in the days to come was anyone's guess, but Lois knew she would face the future with a renewed sense of purpose and resolve.


for now