By The Gothamite a.k.a Robert O' Connor <email@example.com>
Submitted: January 2004
Summary: Clark is exposed to red kryptonite and becomes evil. Her Ultrawoman powers restored, Lois has to stop him.
Clark was on his way to work one morning, having departed from his cab. Lois was already there, having been working there all night.
Clark was passing a corner when a man jabbed him in the back with a knife.
"Come with me, buddy," the man ordered quietly.
The mugger brought Clark behind an alleyway.
"Give me all of your money!" the mugger asked with a shaking hand and bloodshot eyes.
Clark looked at him.
"You need help," Clark said. "There's a rehab clinic a few blocks from here."
"Don't tell me what I need!" The mugger said, whacking Clark across the face.
Clark had to pretend to be affected by the whack. He rolled away just as the hand hit him in the face. The mugger then grabbed Clark's glasses and threw them on the ground. He stomped on them in anger and went for Clark's wallet. Unfortunately, Clark was forced to act as though he were unconscious, and now that the mugger had seen him without his glasses on, he would not be able to follow him as Superman.
The mugger then ran off leaving Clark on the ground seemingly unconscious. Clark sat up and looked around the alley he was sitting in. This was not the first time he had to suffer because of his abilities. Sometimes it was not fair having to be Superman.
Clark called Lois on her cell. She picked up.
"Hello?" she asked.
"It's me," Clark said sadly.
"What's wrong?" she asked, recognizing Clark's glum tone.
"A mugger smashed my glasses and ran off with my wallet," Clark answered.
Lois felt really sorry for Clark and rushed down to the alleyway where he was waiting. She had a new pair of glasses with her.
When she reached him, she handed them to him.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
"I don't think so," Clark answered, sliding the glasses up his nose.
"I get sick of this mild-mannered reporter thing sometimes. Sometimes I wish I could just lash out," he said, with rage in his eyes. Lois took his hands.
"We all do," she said comfortingly, "but our actions have consequences. C'mon. Let's go get some coffee."
Clark smiled. He loved Lois so much.
The following day, Clark and Lois were researching a criminal record for a rapist when suddenly Clark's super- hearing went off.
"Help!" the voice said. "They're looting the bank!"
Superman flew high through the sky, searching Metropolis for the scene of the crime. He came to the First National Bank where he saw three criminals shooting at the police, trying to make it to their van. Superman intervened and felt a slight tingling feeling as bullets bounced straight off of him. He landed softly on the ground and picked up the bottom of the van, just as it was speeding off. He could hear the curses of the robbers from the outside of the van and smiled. Although it sometimes was a drag being Clark Kent, he always had Superman.
Meanwhile, a gangster with a leaden suitcase was watching Superman's every move. He opened the suitcase where a glowing red rock lay.
Superman was about to rip the top off the bank when suddenly a great feeling befell him. He fell to the ground savouring this euphoric sensation until it wore off.
"Superman what happened?" The police chief asked.
"Uh-nothing," Superman answered.
Superman then flew back into the sky. He wanted to go and see Lois.
Lois was trying to call Clark on his cell phone. She had been wondering why he hadn't been able to stop that van. Suddenly, a strange gust of wind filled the room, and Lois disappeared.
Lois felt wind gushing past her at an unimaginable speed. She tried to open her eyes, but the pressure was too much too take.
"Clark?" She asked.
"Yeah it's me," Clark said carelessly.
"What the heck are you doing?" she yelled.
But Clark did not answer. Minutes later, the pair landed in a strange icy wasteland. In front of them was a massive palace. It was the fortress of solitude. Clark had shown Lois this place only several weeks before. It turned out that years before, soon after he discovered he could fly, Clark found a glowing green crystal inside his barn. Upon further inspection he felt a strange urge to head to the North Pole, which he did. There the crystal told him to throw it into a barren wasteland. Here, the fortress grew into what it now was. Clark then walked over to a control board with crystals and tubes. Clark's instincts told him to put one of the bigger crystals into one of the tubes, and suddenly, a hologram image of his father appeared, ready to answer any questions he anticipated that his son would ask.
Clark had told Lois that he did not spend much time here. Only when he needed to be alone. He had felt bad about not telling her, and that's why he did.
"Why did you bring me here?" Lois frowned.
"Well…" Clark smiled slyly. "I figured the chief would call us at the house, so we'd be better off here."
"What?" Lois asked.
"I thought we should take the day off," Clark said.
"Why?" Lois asked, fuming.
Clark pointed his eyes over at the bedroom at the far corner of the fortress.
"What's gotten into you, Clark?" Lois asked.
She walked over to him and felt his forehead. But he had no fever.
"I feel great," Clark said, ignoring her and throwing her hand away.
"Clark?" Lois said, worried now.
"What? Don't you like me this way? I'm free to do whatever I want!"
Clark then did the unthinkable; he smacked Lois. She fell hard on the ground. She cried softly, as Clark flew away. The world, quite literally, was his oyster.
Something was wrong with Clark, and Lois could see it. He did not just turn so apathetic over night. She reckoned that this was the work of red kryptonite. But she had never seen him act so violently before. Unless this was a more lethal version.
Lois lay on the ground sobbing. Something was broken. Her cheekbone throbbed, as her head lay sprawled on the ground. She felt like she would never get up again. Clark could not help her in the condition he was in, and she certainly could not help herself. But she had to. She used her arms to push herself up, and then she brought her aching leg up and lifted the rest of her body. She had fallen on her knee, and she was limping out of the fortress when, suddenly, she heard a strange calling summoning her back in.
Lois' head spun around at this sudden instinct. This urge. There was no physical sound to suggest that something was calling her. Just that urge, that craving.
Lois gave into it and limped over to the control board. The instinct told her which crystal to place in which tube, and suddenly, a giant face appeared in front of her very eyes.
"My son is in grave danger," the man said.
"Who? What?" Lois had no idea what was going on.
"You must help him," the voice continued.
The man looked over at a small chamber in the other far corner of the fortress.
"That is a molecule chamber," he said. "It will temporarily give you the same attributes my son carries with him. Use them wisely."
The face of (quite possibly) Kal-El's father, Jor-El, disappeared. Lois would usually be rather sceptical about something like this, but she had no choice. She limped over to the chamber, and she placed the crystals in the right tubes.
Suddenly, the lights inside the chamber went red with the altering power of krypton's red sun, and Lois felt her painful cheekbone and limp leg heal over. She felt a rush of power flowing through her and closed her eyes to savour it. She had felt like this, only once before.
Lois stumbled out of the chamber, still reeling away from the burst of power. She took in a deep breath and looked around her. She was floating several metres in the air! She looked above her. If she could only reach the ceiling.
Suddenly, Lois was touching the ceiling with her fingertips, then her palms, then her shoulders, until she was actually pressing against it. She willed herself down slightly and looked at the exit of the fortress. She willed herself forward, (which was no easy feat) and out of the fortress. She then turned to the skies and leaped high up into them, savouring the beautiful gust of wind pushing back against her face. She was now in full control of her flight again. But she would have to jump start her other abilities as well. She started speeding up, going faster and faster, until finally she heard the sound barrier make a massive bang under the strain. She smiled at her achievement. But the smile vanished as quick as it appeared. She remembered Clark. And she zoomed back toward Metropolis, hoping to god that she knew where she was going.
Later, back in Metropolis, Superman had cornered the mugger that had taken Clark's wallet. Superman grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and pressed him up against the wall, a few bits of bricks and debris flew away under the strain. The mugger cried in pain.
"Please, let me go!" the mugger pleaded.
Superman dug into the mugger's waistcoat pocket and took out Clark Kent's wallet.
"Thanks!" Superman said. He then dropped the mugger on the ground. The mugger tried to run away, but Superman simply whacked him on the back of the head, knocking him out cold. Superman laughed and headed out into the city.
He came to a series of five ATMs. He focused on them and watched as they exploded under the strain of the thin red beams emitting from his eyes. He hovered downward and opened the pouch in his cape. He filled it up with dollar bills, laughing to himself. Behind him was a police officer.
"Freeze!" The officer demanded.
Superman did not listen and continued filling the pouch in his cape with money. The officer started shooting at Superman, and he watched in confusion as the bullets bounced off him.
"That can't be right," the officer thought.
At first glance, when he saw the robber, he thought it might have just been some weirdo in a Superman costume, but this actually was Superman. The officer turned and ran away, towards his car, looking for help.
Superman heard the officer calling in the problem and telling whoever was on the other end to call STAR Labs.
Superman ran over to the officer's car and lifted it up by the bumper. The officer inside screamed, as Superman lifted it higher and higher, ready to drop it onto the ground, killing the officer inside. Suddenly, Superman felt something grabbing him at his waist. He looked down and saw Lois' hands. She pulled him away from the police car, and it fell on the opposite side. The officer was safe inside. He stumbled out of the car and ran off looking for help.
Superman turned around and came face to face with Ultrawoman. He peeked under her mask and saw his wife.
"Look who came to play!" Superman laughed. "You don't expect to beat me or something, do you?"
"That depends," Ultrawoman started, "on how hard you fight!"
She whirled around and kicked him in the face. It broke her heart having to do it, but she had to remind herself that this was not her husband.
It was a lucky thing that Lois had held onto her Ultrawoman costume. She kept it for sentimental purposes after she lost her powers. Although they were back now, she could never relive that excitement she felt when she had them for the first time because this time she had them for all of the wrong reasons.
A large crowd was building across the road panicking. Ultrawoman was worried that Superman might try to attack them for some reason.
Unfortunately, Superman flew toward the crowd and started blowing them away with his super-breath. Ultrawoman flew up into the air and blasted a steady heat-beam down at Superman's head.
Superman felt a slight prick of agony hit against his head, alongside a steady supplement. Superman fell to the ground screaming in agony. He fell supposedly unconscious and Ultrawoman lowered down to pick him up. But suddenly, a smashing blow in the face met her, and she was knocked back into the wall. Superman laughed and zoomed back up to her.
All feeling inside of him had left Superman. He no longer loved Lois. He only saw her as an enemy. He grabbed her by the neck.
"Please, Clark," Lois pleaded. "I love you. Don't do it."
"That's not my name!" Superman shouted.
He threw her across the street, but this time, she stuck her feet out and stopped herself before she hit the building. She flew high up into the air and launched herself forward toward Superman. She hit against him like a guided missile and fell through the ground. She then bathed him in heat-vision blasts. She was about to go for the killer punch when she realized what she was doing. She had gone too far.
She picked him up out of the rubble and flew off to STAR labs.
"Doctor Klein!" She said, seeing the familiar doctor across the hallway.
"Ultrawoman!" he exclaimed. "It's been a while!"
After explaining the story to him, Dr Klein brought Superman into a special room designed to study him and his powers and weaknesses. In the corner of the room was a leaden safe. Ultrawoman tried to see what was inside, but her x-ray vision could not pierce through the lead.
"I had hoped I would never have to do this," Dr Klein said sadly.
"What are you going to do?" Ultrawoman asked.
"The only way to cure him from the effects of red kryptonite is to expose him to the green version," Dr Klein said.
Ultrawoman's heart sank. This would be difficult for her.
"It's probably not a good idea for you to be here," Dr Klein told Ultrawoman.
"No," Ultrawoman argued. "I want to be here when it happens."
She saw Superman's eyes rolling around in their sockets.
"Hurry," she said. "He's waking up!"
Dr Klein moved over to the safe and started unlocking it. He opened it slowly while Ultrawoman felt like thousands of knives were stabbing into her throat. Her legs fell from under her, and she dropped Superman's body.
Dr Klein picked up the kryptonite and moved toward Superman with it. Superman was awake now and was trying to back away from it. But Dr Klein had to complete the process. He ran at Superman and pricked him in the shoulder with the kryptonite. Superman started screaming.
Dr Klein ran back to the safe and placed the kryptonite back inside. He locked the safe tightly, hoping that he would never have to do that again.
Superman had no idea what was going on. But he felt a lot of pain, and he went limp. As he shook his head, he suddenly remembered the happenings of the last twenty-four hours. Why would he do things like that? He looked over and saw Ultrawoman, lying on the ground. She had never been exposed to kryptonite before, and her body would probably be in a much worse state than his. He remembered the first time he had been exposed to kryptonite, and he shuddered. He took in a deep breath and felt his strength returning to him. After a couple of seconds, the effects of the kryptonite had worn off completely. He ran over to Ultrawoman.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"I feel like a million dollars," she said gasping.
Suddenly, Superman was reminded of all of the money he stole. He reached for the pouch in his cape and raised his eyes to heaven.
"How am I going to explain this?" he wondered.
"I'll handle that," Dr Klein said.
"Thanks." Superman smiled.
He stood up and gave Dr Klein his hand. Dr Klein shook it and left the room to call city hall to assure them that Superman was not under the influence of evil forces.
Superman pulled away Ultrawoman's mask, revealing his wife.
"Why did you do that?" he asked. "After what I did to you and all."
"I'll always love you," she said. "It doesn't matter how evil that stuff makes you." She took his hand and kissed it.
Superman brought the weakened Lois back to the fortress of solitude. She still had not reeled away from the effects of the kryptonite and had passed out again. Superman landed softly at the entrance and walked in. He sat Lois down in the molecule chamber and flew up to the control board. After inserting a few crystals into their slots, Jor-El appeared.
"Father?" Superman asked. Jor-El was listening. "Thank you," Superman said. Jor-El smiled and disappeared.
Superman then flew back down to the molecule chamber and fitted the correct crystals into their slots. He closed the door of the chamber and watched as the yellow lights of earth's sun filled the chamber. Suddenly, Lois sprung back to life. Once the metamorphosis was complete, Superman carried Lois out of the chamber.
"Are you all right?" Superman asked.
"Never better," she said. She pulled off her mask again. "Now let's go home!"
Superman smiled and flew out of the fortress. Only for Lois, things would have been a lot worse. But who had exposed him to the red kryptonite in the first place?
"Can you remember the license plate on the van?" Lois asked Clark that evening as they sat down to dinner.
Clark closed his eyes and thought back hard. Flashes of the van's registration plate came to him.
"92X" he started. "3WMtrpls"
Superman flew high up in the sky searching for this van with his telescopic vision, eventually finding it hidden out in the docks.
He x-rayed the van and saw it to be empty. There was no money in it. There was only a suitcase. Superman could not seem to x-ray it. There was no denying it. Inside this box was the red kryptonite. Superman flew down toward the van and ripped away the ceiling. He picked up the suitcase and threw it far out of earth's atmosphere. The kryptonite would no doubt burn up whilst trying to escape earth's atmosphere.
Superman heard three criminals talking to each other inside the warehouse in front of him. After x-raying the warehouse, he saw them counting their money.
"Wonder what happened to Supes?" One of them wondered.
"That red stuff the boss got him with must've psyched out him out," the second one said.
"Where did he find that stuff?" The third one asked.
"Do you always talk about me behind my back?" the man who just walked into the room said.
Superman recognized him as Nigel, once Lex Luthor's associate, now an Intergang member.
Superman opened the door of the warehouse and the three criminals pulled out their guns. They started shooting for a moment before they realized that it was Superman and not simply a policeman.
"You are all going to jail!" Superman announced.
The men gave themselves up without trying to fight back. Nigel tried to run away, but Superman caught him.
The next day, on the front page of the Daily Planet was the story of how Superman had briefly turned evil and then managed to bust one of the brewing organized crime threats.
The whole experience had been a roller coaster for Lois. She retrieved her Ultrawoman powers briefly and even had to fight her own husband near to the death. It made her think about Clark and how he must constantly worry about his inner demons, how they might somehow be let free like they had today.