By Dan "Danny-Boy" Gibbins [email@example.com]
Summary: A psychopathic killer who can materialize guns from thin air terrorizes Metropolis — and frustrates Superman.
Please feel free to send any comments, questions, or suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Go on, try it.
It was lunch time in Metropolis, and Lois and Clark were out for a quick break at the local Willy's Hamburgers fast food outlet for a bite to eat before finishing off their stories for the tomorrow's edition. Lois, as usual, was ahead of Clark in line.
"Let's see," she began. "I'll have a green salad, with lo-cal dressing, and a diet Soder cola."
Clark made his way to the cash register next to Lois, which had just opened. "Can I help you?" the server asked.
"I'll have a double royale with cheese, large fries, and a chocolate milkshake." After paying, Clark slowly began to notice the wide-eyed glare Lois was giving him. "What?" he asked.
"How do you DO that?" she asked, obviously annoyed.
"Well, I read the menu, look for something appetizing …"
"Not that, I mean, how do you eat stuff like that and keep that body of yours?"
"Well, some of us have it, Lois …"
"Forget it," Lois muttered as she grabbed her food. Clark smiled as he followed with his grease-soaked lunch. He knew his ability to eat almost anything and not gain weight most likely was related to his Kryptonian metabolism, but as long as Lois didn't know that, he enjoyed taunting her with it from time to time. He was still smiling over it as Jimmy rushed over to their table.
"Hey! Lois! CK!" he shouted as he worked his way through the crowd.
"What is it, Jimmy?" Clark asked.
"Perry wants to see you back at the Planet, right away! He says it's important. I've got a cab waiting outside."
"I guess we'll just eat on the way," Lois muttered as she scooped up her salad. The three of them headed for the taxi.
A couple of minutes after Lois and Clark left, a black man in a leather vest, dark jeans, a long red mask covering the top of his head, and a belt containing several large bullets and a strange square device entered. Giving an angry glare as he surveyed the room, he extended his right hand. There was a humming sound, and a machine gun shimmered into existence in his outstretched hand.
"Attention!" he shouted, firing a few rounds into the air. The noise of the restaurant came screeching to a halt, and all eyes were on the man.
"Look at yourselves!" the man shouted. "Wasting your lives with this garbage! Is this what we fought for in Vietnam? Is this what we *died* for?" The man paused, then leveled his weapon at the crowd. "I think it's time you learned a little lesson." The man opened fire. Within seconds, most of the crowd had been killed. The man pointed his gun at the counter. "You there! Stand up!"
A nervous server rose up from behind the counter, her arms raised over her head. "Y-yessir?"
"I'm selecting you as my messenger. Tell whoever asks that Bloodsport is here to clean up Metropolis' act."
"I just don't get it, Lois," Clark asked as the cab headed back to the restaurant. "You manage to scoop up each of my little ketchup packets, but you forget your purse."
"We were in a hurry. And I needed some ketchup."
"You couldn't just buy some at the store?"
Lois was about to respond when Jimmy interrupted. "Guys, check it out," he began, pointing towards the restaurant. Several police cars had pulled up, and the restaurant had been taped off.
"What happened here?" Clark asked.
Lois spotted Inspector Henderson. "Let's find out." She, Clark and Jimmy climbed out of the cab, and headed for the Inspector. "What's going on here?" Lois asked.
"Take a look for yourselves," he replied. "Some maniac going by the name of Bloodsport came and unloaded a machine gun into the lunch hour crowd."
"My god," Lois whispered. Clark and Jimmy moved towards the restaurant. Jimmy moved to take some photos, but after taking one look at the carnage inside the restaurant, he had to throw up.
"You okay, Jimmy?" Clark asked.
"It's just… I-I've never seen so much blood," Jimmy managed between coughs. "It's terrible."
"Yeah," Clark responded. "It is."
Lois walked up to join them, having gotten all the details that Henderson had to give. "I don't understand," she half-whispered. "Where was Superman during all this?"
Clark shook his head. "I don't understand that either, Lois."
"Great shades of Elvis," Perry muttered. After their return from the restaurant, Lois, Clark and Jimmy went over the details of the story with Perry. Jimmy had given his film to one of the other photographers to be developed, for he did not feel up to developing it himself. "You mean this psycho killed all these people in the name of Vietnam?"
"He said we were wasting the freedom that they fought and died for," Clark responded. Perry could tell that he was feeling depressed about something. But what he couldn't know was that Clark blamed himself for the death of the people in the restaurant. If he had been paying attention with his super-hearing, he might have been able to stop Bloodsport before anyone died.
Before Perry could ask what was bothering Clark, the group was interrupted by the arrival of the Planet owner, Franklin Stern, accompanied by a young black man in a grey suit.
"Good afternoon, everybody," Stern said as he walked up to Perry.
"Uh, good afternoon, Mr. Stern," Perry said, confused. Despite Perry's fears after the purchase of the Planet, Franklin Stern did not visit often. "What's this about?"
"Simple, Perry," Stern replied. "I'd like to introduce you to your newest reporter. Perry White, this is Ron Troupe."
"Hi," the other man said, giving a casual wave.
"Mr. Stern, I really prefer to screen new reporters myself…"
"No need, Perry. I managed to snatch Mr. Troupe here away from the Metropolis Star. He's got promise, Perry. Give him a shot. You'll be pleasantly surprised. I guarantee it." Perry tried to protest, but Stern was already halfway to the elevators.
"Great shades of Elvis. I hate it when he does that," Perry muttered. He caught an uneasy glance from Ron Troupe. "Uh, nothing personal, Troupe."
Clark interjected to try to put Ron at ease. "Maybe you can help us with this story." Ron quickly looked over the facts that Lois and Clark had gathered.
"Holy-" he whispered as he flipped through the description of the scene. "Who is this guy?"
"We don't know," Lois responded. "All we know is that he calls himself Bloodsport."
"Well, maybe we should try to find out who this guy is."
"How do you mean, Ron?" Jimmy asked.
"If you ask me, this guy clearly isn't mentally stable right now. So since we can't find his fingerprints, a good place to start might be any local asylums, see if anyone matching his description has broken out recently."
"Seems like a bit of a needle in a haystack search, Ron," Lois commented.
"Not so fast, Lois," Perry interjected. "I think Troupe might have the right idea. Figure out who we're dealing with, we might be able to guess his next move. Get on it, see what you can find out. Take Olsen."
"Yes, Jimmy, you. We might need Lois and Clark for something else. So I want you to give Troupe a hand. There a problem?"
"Uh… no chief. C'mon, Ron, let's go." Jimmy headed for the elevators.
"Right behind you, Jimmy. So, what exactly do we say are we're looking for?"
"Big guy, black, rather unstable …"
"Kind of like that?" Ron asked as he watched the elevator doors open.
Bloodsport stepped into the newsroom, a machine gun in each hand. Jimmy and Ron backed quickly away from the elevator as the other workers began to notice his arrival.
"A lot like that," Jimmy said, beginning to panic.
The Daily Planet staff quickly became aware of Bloodsport's arrival as the gasps of shock and terror spread across the newsroom.
"Your attention, please!" Bloodsport shouted as he raised his weapons.
Clark knew what was coming. He began to move towards the closet to change into Superman. With his super speed, he could change and take out Bloodsport in the blink of an eye. After all, nobody was even looking at him …
… except Bloodsport. His eyes were fixed on Clark, as well as one of the machine guns. Clark's hands were suddenly tied. He couldn't make a move without compromising his secret identity, not only to the other Planet workers but to Bloodsport, who Clark felt was one of the last people on the planet who should be privy to that secret.
"As I was saying," Bloodsport continued, still keeping an eye on Clark. "I was under the impression that this country believed in the freedom of the press. But what do I see in the paper everyday? Nothing but the happy-happy USA Today "everything's fine" version. Look at yourselves! This city's treating one of the men who cost us the Vietnam war like some sort of a hero and you just go along with it. Maybe you forgot about our sacrifices. Maybe it's time for a little lesson." Bloodsport prepared to open fire.
As the bullets started flying, Clark saw Lois, standing with a stunned expression on her face. He leapt towards her, letting his flight power carry him the extra distance to her desk. As he took her down out of harm's way, he felt one of the stray bullets bounce off of his back, leaving a pair of holes through his jacket and shirt. Lois grabbed on to him and held tight throughout the gunfire. After a few seconds, the volley ceased.
"This city still needs a grave reminder," Bloodsport began as he backed towards the elevators. "And I intend to give it." The second the elevator doors shut, Perry was on the job.
"Olsen! Get the paramedics up here right this second!"
"On it, chief!" Jimmy replied as he leapt from behind the desk where he and Ron had found cover.
Clark tried to get out from behind Lois' desk, but Lois still had a tight grip on his jacket.
"Um… Lois, I have to …"
"Oh, no you don't, Clark. You are *not* going after that lunatic."
Clark's x-ray vision confirmed that Bloodsport had made it to the lobby, and that the security guards were already dead, most likely killed when Bloodsport arrived. As much as Clark hated to leave Lois, he had to get moving, fast.
"I have to help out with the injured… you stay here." Lois seemed satisfied with that, and released Clark's jacket. As he headed away from the desk, Lois suddenly spotted the holes in the back of Clark's jacket. As she turned away to ponder this, Lois failed to notice Clark head for the storage room.
Bloodsport stepped out into the street and began to head towards where he had left his motorcycle. He didn't get 10 feet from the doors before he found himself face to face with Superman.
"Going somewhere, Bloodsport?" Superman asked.
"Hmm. Had a feeling I might run into you sooner or later."
"Drop those guns. Now."
With a coy smile, Bloodsport tossed his weapons away.
"Listen to me. The Vietnam war was a long time ago. It's over. People want to forget."
"Is that so, Mr. Strange-Visitor-From-Another-Planet? And just what would you know about this?"
Superman continued to try to talk sense into Bloodsport. But while feigning remote interest, Bloodsport was calmly considering his situation. Noticing a bus heading towards the intersection. Calmly putting his arms behind his back, Bloodsport opened up his right hand.
Superman heard a faint humming, but was too rapped up in his speech to wonder about what it might be. As a result, he failed to notice the small gun that was rather like a grenade launcher the size of a pistol appearing in Bloodsport's hand until he fired it upon the bus' wheels and engine. Superman's speech came to an abrupt end as he watched the bus skid towards the intersection, beginning to tip over.
"Oh, I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?" Bloodsport asked. Superman rushed to stop the bus, thinking that there would be plenty of time to catch Bloodsport afterwards.
While Superman was otherwise engaged, Bloodsport materialized a trench coat and hat, and proceeded to vanish into the crowd. By the time Superman had stopped the bus, Bloodsport was long gone.
"So he just pulled this gun out of nowhere?" Jonathan asked.
"Right out of thin air," Clark replied. "Like the swords on Highlander." Right after his encounter with Bloodsport, Clark had headed home, and for the next few while all he could do was relive his encounter, each time finding new ways he could have stopped the killer before he got away. After three hours he knew there was only one thing to do: call his parents.
"You did the right thing, Clark," Martha began from the cordless phone. "You'll get another shot at this Bloodsport character, but those people needed saving right away."
"It only would have taken a second to knock him out first. Now there's not telling what he'll do." Clark let out a sigh. "But you're right, mom, the bus had to be my number one priority."
"Then what's really bothering you, Clark?" Martha asked.
"It's… it's his first attack. I was only a few blocks away. I should have heard the warning shots. But I wasn't even paying attention. I was just relaxing with Lois, not even listening. If I'd heard that warning shot, I could've saved all those people in the restaurant. If only…"
"Clark, what's done is done," Jonathan interjected. "You may be Superman, but you're just one person. You can't save everybody. And you can't blame yourself for every death."
"But I was right there, dad…"
"Clark, honey," Martha began. "You can't be on call every second. If you 'if only' yourself to death each time something bad happens that you can't stop, you'll drive yourself crazy."
"I guess you're right, mom, I-" Clark was interrupted by a knock at the door. A quick check with x-ray vision confirmed who it was. "Lois is here. I've got to go." Slipping on his glasses, Clark hung up the phone and opened the door.
"I thought you'd be here," Lois said. "Can I come in?"
"Sure, Lois," Clark began, stepping to the side as Lois strolled into his apartment. "What's up?"
"Perry's been looking for you. We think we might have a lead on Bloodsport."
"Okay. I'll just get changed." Clark headed over to his bedroom, while Lois headed for the kitchen. She took a few deep breaths and a glass of water.
There was something she had to tell him, something she had been practicing in her head for the better part of the afternoon. As Clark emerged, Lois took another deep breath and placed herself between Clark and the door.
"Clark, there's something I have to tell you," Lois began.
"Um, Lois, can this wait?" Clark asked, anxious to get back on Bloodsport's trail.
"No, it can't. I have to get this out while I still can. This afternoon, when Bloodsport showed up… I saw the bullet holes in your jacket, Clark."
Oh oh, Clark thought.
"You could have been killed, while saving me. And it's not the first time, either. I still remember how much it hurt when that gangster shot you, point blank. Nobody's ever cared for me enough to put their life on the line for me twice, Clark. It's gotten me thinking, Clark…"
"Lois, I…" Clark began, his mind racing for some way out. Even though he had been waiting for something like this to happen practically since he met Lois, Clark was not prepared to deal with it right now. Not like this. Not while Bloodsport was still on the loose.
Suddenly, his beeper went off. Saved by the bell.
"It's Perry," Clark said, whipping the beeper out. "We'd better get going."
Lois sighed in resignation. Duty called. "All right, Clark, but we will continue this.
Back at the Planet, the reports began. Perry kicked things off once everyone had assembled in the conference room.
"Troupe, Olsen, you two start things off. What have you found out?"
"Well," Ron began. "We think we've found his last residence. A man matching his description broke out of a nearby mental institution just a few weeks ago."
"His name's Michael DuBois," Jimmy added. "We've got pictures to match."
"The funny thing is, he was incarcerated in the high security wing," Ron continued.
"For good reason," Jimmy put in. "This guy is no Wanda Mae Walldecker."
"The staff are at a loss as to how he got out. That wing has some of the tightest security in the state, and this guy isn't exactly subtle in his methods. Frankly, I'm stumped too."
"Good work, Troupe. What else are you planning?"
"Well, now that we have a name, we thought we'd try to find his service record. Seems clears that he was in the army."
"You get right on that. Now Lois, what have you found?"
Lois leaned forward in her chair as she rifled through her notes. "I couldn't help but notice something from the eye witness reports. One of the survivors of the restaurant incident said that his guns just seemed to appear out of nowhere. The security cameras here back it up."
"Superman ran into him leaving the Planet," Clark added. "He noticed the same thing."
Lois paused for a moment to ask when Clark had spoken to Superman, but thought better of it and continued. "Anyway, I called up S.T.A.R. Labs about it, and for a while I just got bounced around, but eventually I got through to a Doctor Kitty Faulkner. Apparently, they had been working on an experimental teleportation device."
"A what?" Perry asked, a rather unbelieving look on his face.
"I know, it sounds like something out of some comic book, but they were serious. And they had it, too. A developmental prototype, that actually could teleport objects from one place to another. But it could only teleport objects from a certain location, although that could be anywhere, and then only small items. Like guns."
"Let me guess," Perry interjected. "The prototype's been stolen."
"Around the time Bloodsport was broken out. If he's got it, which he probably does, then he must have a secret cache of weapons somewhere. There's no telling what he might have in it."
"So what we've got is a mentally unbalanced veteran with a lot of aggression and near-unlimited firearms."
"Pretty much, chief."
"Great shades of Elvis. Alright, gang, it's time we tried to figure out this guy's next move. Get word to the police, or Superman."
"Wait a minute," Clark said, remembering one of Bloodsport's rants. "When he was here earlier, he mentioned something about the city 'treating one of the men who cost us the Vietnam war like some sort of a hero'."
"Yeah, he did!" Jimmy recalled. "What did he mean by that?"
Perry chuckled. "Lawton Wintergreen," he began. "A big anti-war protester. From before your time."
"He's supposed to be getting the key to the city tomorrow, isn't he?" Ron observed.
"That must be where Bloodsport's planning to strike next," Lois concluded.
"Okay, people, let's get to work. Ron, Jimmy, you start checking military records. Lois, you put a call through to Inspector Henderson. Clark, you find Superman. Then somebody right this story up! Let's see the Metropolis Star beat us on this one!
In a darkened warehouse, Bloodsport stood, tensed, ready to move at a moments notice, guns in each hand. Suddenly, he sensed movement. Spinning around, he opened fire, reducing the cardboard cutout of a police officer to confetti. Within the next five seconds, the action was repeated, splintering a further six cutouts. A faint clicking came from the ceiling, and in one motion, Bloodsport dropped one of his guns, materialized a rocket launcher in the empty hand, and fired a rocket through the incoming Superman dummy. With a smile, Bloodsport lowered his weapon towards a target with a picture of Wintergreen attached to the head.
"I've got your flower power right here," he said as he pulled the trigger.
The key of the city ceremony was two hours away. Wheels were in motion for what all felt would certainly be Bloodsport's next target. Inspector Henderson was going over the plans with one of his officers.
"Okay, so we've got guards posted on every corner?"
"And in the alleys, sir."
"The mayor's limo will take Wintergreen here and back to his hotel?"
"Yes sir. It's all been arranged. Officers at the hotel, and the windows in the limo are all bulletproof. He'll be covered before and after."
"And during he'll have to get through Superman. Alright, let's give it one more check. Can't be too careful with this nutcase."
Meanwhile, back in Smallville, Clark was having another discussion with his parents.
"So you leapt across the desk, knocked her out of the way, and now she's feeling closer to them?"
"That's about it, mom. I've been waiting for her to say something like that for so long, but she only did because she thinks I risked my life for her. But all I risked was my jacket. I just don't know if I'd feel right getting closer to Lois on such false pretenses."
"Clark, they're not overly false," Jonathan began. "You risk your life all the time as Superman."
"He's right, honey. There was that meteor, or that awful agent Trask, and what if Bloodsport had gotten his hands on Kryptonite?"
"I hadn't thought of that. I'm still not sure how he even got the teleporter in the first place. It was a top secret project. Last year, I would have suspected Luthor, but now …"
"I'm sure you'll figure it out, son," Jonathan said. "And I'm sure you'll know what to do with Lois, too."
"Thanks, guys. I'd better head back. As last year's winner, I have to present the key of the city to Lawton Wintergreen. And present something else to Bloodsport."
Lois and Clark surveyed the crowd in front of city hall.
"No sign of Bloodsport or Superman," Lois observed.
"Or Jimmy," Clark added. "And Wintergreen should be here any minute."
"Jimmy must have gone a little longer with Ron than we thought."
"I think I see him over there." Before Lois could protest, Clark vanished into the crowd, heading for a convenient side street. Seconds later, Jimmy arrived.
"Hey, Lois!" he said, jogging up. "Where's CK?"
"Off looking for you. Clark! Clark! Shoot. That guy…"
Just then, both Wintergreen and Superman arrived at the stage. Throughout the ceremony, Clark was constantly on the lookout for any sign of Bloodsport. But by the time he had handed over the key, he realized: Bloodsport would not be crazy enough to take a shot at Wintergreen while he was standing next to Superman. As soon as the ceremony was over, Clark took off, gave the appearance of leaving, and prepared to loop back.
Meanwhile, the police lead Wintergreen back towards the limo. They assured him that the Bloodsport situation was handled as they approached the car. The driver's door swung open …
And Bloodsport stepped out. Before the two officers could react they were shot down. Bloodsport slowly lowered his gun at Wintergreen.
"No Superman to save you now, huh?" he asked.
"You think he didn't here the gunshots?"
"Even if he did, you think he'd make it back here in time?" Bloodsport began to squeeze the trigger. But before the bullet could strike it's target, a familiar red and yellow s-shield appeared in its path.
"Faster than a speeding bullet, Bloodsport," Superman said. "Care to come quietly this time?" The police were coming from around the alley, but Superman waved them back. "Tend to the injured officers. I'll handle him."
"Is that a fact?" Bloodsport asked, pulling out his miniature rocket launcher. Wintergreen and the officers darted for cover as the missile flew towards Superman. The impact knocked him to his feet, but only barely stung.
"Just what was that supposed to accomplish?" Superman asked, rising to his feet and moving towards Bloodsport.
"Distract you long enough for me to 'port in this." Bloodsport pointed a strange looking device at Superman. A second later, a high pitched noise filled the air, forcing all in front of him to clasp their hands over their ears, largely in vain. "I remember you having a bit of a problem with sonics, Superman. So this baby's gonna turn your super-brain to super-jelly." Bloodsport laughed as Superman began to collapse to the ground.
Suddenly, a voice rang out from behind him.
"Huh?" Bloodsport asked. He looked over his shoulder as Ron Troupe stepped into the street.
"Do you think this is what Michael would have wanted? Well, it isn't. It's not what he fought for. And this isn't going to bring him back."
In a fury, Bloodsport spun to face Ron, dropping the sonic device. "What do you know about it? What do you know about Mickey, you little punk?" Bloodsport pulled a pistol and prepared to fire. He was interrupted by a tapping on his shoulder. Turning around, he saw Superman in front of him.
"It's over," Superman said, and proceeded to give Bloodsport a strong tap between the eyes, knocking him cold.
Later, back at the Planet, the staff discussed the events of the day.
"Bloodsport was drafted back during Vietnam, but he didn't fight," Ron began. "He went to Canada. He was afraid. His brother Michael went in his place. When Bloodsport found out he was killed in action, it sent him over the edge."
"That was a fine bit of detective work, Troupe," Perry said. "You know, I think Stern was right about you."
"Now maybe you can figure out how he got out of that institution. Or how he got his little arsenal so quickly."
"Maybe tomorrow, chief. Right now I just want to collapse."
As the group broke up, Lois caught Clark on his way to the elevator.
"So, Clark, we never did finish our conversation from yesterday."
"You know, I was hoping to talk to you about that."
"Yes, really. Do you want to grab a cup of coffee somewhere and finish our conversation?"
"Sure. I'd love to." Lois took Clark's arm as they headed into the elevator.
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