Lightning in the Piazza

By Dave Songer ( )

Summary: Lois and Clark investigate a robbery at the Metropolis Art Gallery. The witness thinks that he was struck by the energy of an angel. Could it really be true?



The Metropolis Art Gallery was silent. The last patrons had been shuffled out around 5 p.m. and it looked like another quiet night. The nightwatchman looked up at the clock and cursed since he still had another hour on his shift before he was replaced at midnight. Bill Gurney tried wiping the sleep from his eyes and felt he might be able to keep awake better if he made his rounds one more time. Dejectedly he rose, checked his flashlight and proceeded to move about the rooms. It wasn't long before he felt a little better. The Gallery was a vast two story building and it would take the full hour just to complete the rounds. Bill always liked to save the top floor for last because that was where the expensive exhibits were housed. It wasn't until around 11:30 p.m. that Bill finally made his way upstairs. He was about to enter the first door when he heard a low buzzing noise, emanating from the end of the long corridor. Slowly Bill removed his revolver and pointed it in the direction of the noise. His hands trembled as he proceeded down the hall to the prized Masterpiece Room. The buzzing noise grew steadily louder with each step, as Bill began to perspire. He could see a faint glow coming from the room and knew whatever was in there was going to be trouble. His reflexes weren't as quick as in his younger days, but he was still a good marksman. Bill's heart was racing when he arrived at the door. Leaning against the wall, he waited a few seconds to compose himself before spinning around the corner. Bill's eyes grew wide as the gun shook in his hand. He managed to gasp out "OH NO!" before a bolt of light struck him in the chest. The pain was searing as he began to lose consciousness. Slowly Bill slumped to the floor and everything went black.


Chapter 1

Lois Lane stood looking at her watch. It was ten minutes past eight in the morning and Clark Kent was late. She never liked being kept waiting and it seemed that even Clark was now getting into the act. People were forever keeping her from scooping all the juicy news in town!

"Where could he be?" she muttered to herself. There was a voice from behind her, that broke Lois's concentration.

"What's that Lois, did you say something?" the voice asked.

"Oh, it's you Chief. I didn't see you come in this morning" Lois answered.

"Perry White is in early everyday. It's always the early bird that gets the worm!" he insisted. Lois wasn't in the mood for any philosophy right now. She had a story to cover. Perry had phone her around 6 a.m. after getting a tip that the Metropolis Art Gallery had been robbed. She could envision all the clues being gathered up by clumsy detectives and lackluster reporters from other newspapers. Slowly she began to pace.

"Is something wrong, Lois?" Perry asked.

"It's Clark, Chief. He should have been here by now." she spouted.

"Take it from me kid, if Kent is late…he'll have a good reason," Perry offered. Somehow Perry's speculation didn't alleviate her anxiety. There was no excuse in the world for allowing someone to scoop you on a story, and she wasn't about to let Clark get away with one without giving him a piece of her mind. Just then Lois heard the bell go off and swung around in time to see the elevator door open.

Clark Kent emerged from the elevator. He usually made it a point to look good when he came into work but today he looked like a sink full of dishes. Lois ignored his messy hair and torn jacket, and just glared at him.

"Sorry I'm late. I slipped and fell outside the building and tried to clean up in the rest room before showing up," he announced. He couldn't tell them he had decided at the last minute to visit his folks, and got caught in an electrical storm over Pittsburgh on the way back.

"Save the lame excuses Clark, we got a job to do. The rest of us have problems too, but you don't see us holding up the news," Lois insisted. Clark could sense that Lois was not going to let this one go without giving him a lecture on proper etiquette. He needed a way to get through the day without Lois preaching to him until his ears were sore.

"How about I make it up to you by treating you to lunch, Lois?" Clark asked.

"Lunch goes without saying. If you want me off your back you better spring for dinner too!" she insisted. Clark could feel his wallet getting lighter already, but there was nothing he could do. If he didn't offer to take Lois to dinner, he'd never hear the end of it.

"And I don't mean some cheesy dive either, Clark!" she added. Clark winced, and just shrugged his shoulders. There was no way he would win this argument anyway.

"Okay Lois, you win." he muttered.

"Good." Lois blurted. "Now that we got that out of the way, the Chief wants us to find out what happened at the Metropolis Art Gallery. Seems they were robbed last night and the only witness is a security guard who says he saw a strange light and then everything went black."

"I guess we better get down there and see what happened" Clark volunteered.

"We'd have been there already if someone knew how to tell time" Lois insisted.

Clark could tell he was going to regret his decision to visit the folks, but at the time it seemed like a good idea.


Chapter 2

It was almost 9 a.m. by the time Lois and Clark arrived at the crime scene. Lois was still annoyed at the fact they were not able to arrive sooner, and she had given Clark some subtle innuendoes on the way over.

"Alright Lois," Clark insisted. "I get the point. I'll make a sincere effort not to let it happen again."

Lois just rolled her eyes and brushed his comments aside. She lifted the police barricade ribbon and proceeded underneath it, weaving her way past reporters and policemen until she arrived at the entrance to the gallery. She waived her press pass and offered "Daily Planet," while the guard at the door nodded and opened the door for her. By that time, Clark had caught up with her and the two reporters made there way inside. Lois spotted a plain clothed detective and walked over to where he was standing.

"Is Inspector Henderson around here somewhere?" she inquired.

"Yeah, upstairs in the Masterpiece Room with the Gallery Director." the detective offered.

Lois breezed past the man and proceeded to climb the stairs to the second floor, with Clark hot on her heels.

"You don't have to run Lois, we're not going to miss anything," Clark insisted.

"I'm just trying to be an investigative reporter, Clark" she said sharply. "You should try it sometime."

Now it was Clark's turn to roll his eyes and brush away her comments. Lois could hear Inspector Henderson's voice coming from down the corridor and assumed she was on the right track. As the two reporters arrived at the door to the Masterpiece Room, Lois could hear another man arguing with Inspector Henderson. She didn't recognize the voice, but she could sense the man's hostility from the barrage of comments he was directing at Inspector Henderson. Lois and Clark stopped momentarily to glance at each other before moving towards the two men.

"Must be the Gallery Director," she muttered.

"More than likely, Lois, and he doesn't seem like a happy camper either" Clark added.

Lois felt it would be better to wait till the Director was finished venting before interceding.


"No, but I'm sure you're going to tell me," Henderson moaned.

"All of the artwork that was stolen were originals. Priceless Originals; valued at over $100 Million Dollars," the Director insisted.

"I take it the paintings were insured?" Henderson asked.

"That's not the point," the Director stated. "This artwork was priceless. Paintings by some of the greatest masters, and their work could never be duplicated. DaVinci, Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh…THE MASTERS I TELL YOU, THE MASTERS!"

The distraught Director turned from Henderson and proceeded over to one of the Gallery windows and just began to stare off into the horizon. It was then that Henderson noticed Lois and Clark.

"His name's Geoffrey Tate," Henderson volunteered. "He's the Directory of the Metropolis Art Gallery. Seems he got a call last night from one of his security people saying that a guard had been found unconscious, and that the Masterpiece Room looked like a war zone. When he got here, he discovered the paintings in the Masterpiece Room had been taken, and the culprit was nowhere in sight."

"Any leads, Inspector?" Clark asked.

"Nothing substantial," he said. "We got some burn marks on the wall, and the alarm system and surveillance cameras are fried."

"Fried?" Clark said. "What do you mean by fried, Inspector?"

"I mean something caused them to melt," Henderson added.

"What about the security guard?" Lois chimed.

"He claims he doesn't know much" Henderson stated. "Says the last thing he remembers is seeing this bright light, feeling a sharp chest pain, and then boom…everything went blank."

"Is he here now?" Lois asked.

"No," Henderson said. The ambulance drove him over to Metropolis Memorial. I sent a detective over there with him to get his statement."

"Mind if we look around?" Clark asked.

"Not at all." Henderson stated, while turning to gaze at Lois. "Just don't take anything."

Lois just smiled. She knew Henderson's remark was directed at her but for the moment, she ignored it.

"Clark, why don't you have a look around while I talk with Tate," Lois insisted.

Clark began to search the walls. He could only imagine that whoever was responsible for this was immensely powerful. Suddenly Clark stopped. After glancing around to see if anyone was watching, he lowered his glasses slightly and concentrated on the upper left corner of the room where the surveillance camera was mounted. Henderson was correct. It DID look like it was fried. Superman's super vision began to kick in and suddenly, it was as if the camera was under a powerful microscope. Clark could see that the camera was in really bad shape. It was then that he noticed something unusual…little sparks of electricity were darting around the glob of metal that was once the surveillance camera. What could have generated that kind of electricity, he thought to himself.

Lois wandered over to where Geoffrey Tate was standing. He was a short, stubby little man. He looked to be around 50ish, with a white shirt and grey slacks. His light blue pullover sweater was color coordinated to match the dark blue tie about his collar. Lois didn't pay much attention to his bald spot which gave the Director a sort of …reverse mohawk.

"Mr. Tate?" Lois inquired. "I'm Lois Lane…Daily Planet. My partner and I are here concerning last night's robbery. Any Idea who might have done this?"

Slowly Geoffrey Tate unfixed his gaze from the window.

"Do you know much about art, Miss Lane?" he asked. "It's alive. When you stand there staring at a painting, it comes to life. You can't put a price on life Miss Lane…it has…certain innate value."

For a moment, Lois could sense his pain. Geoffrey Tate was obviously a man who took great pleasure in viewing art, and great pain in seeing it disappear from view. Suddenly Geoffrey Tate came back down to earth.

"No miss Lane. I haven't a clue who did this. It's obviously someone who has no interest in art; only the price it brings on the black market".

Lois reached into her purse and pulled out a card.

"Well Mr. Tate, if you think of anything can you give me a call?" Lois asked.

Geoffrey Tate couldn't answer. He nodded his acceptance and returned to his spot, gazing out the window. Lois was sensing his pain again and felt it was time to see what she could find out. She and Clark met at the door.

"What did you find out Lois?" Clark asked.

"Well, I don't think Tate was involved, he's pretty broken up about it," she said. "He thinks whoever took the paintings is only interested in what the paintings can bring on the black market."

"What about You?" Lois asked. "Come up with any clues?"

"Well, I got a list of what's missing from Henderson, but the real puzzling thing is the surveillance equipment," Clark stated. "It appears that whoever zapped the camera, hit it with enough power to light up a Christmas Tree."

"I think we should talk to the security guard who was here last night," Lois offered. "Did you get his name?"

"Henderson says his name's Bill Gurney…he's in room 212."

"Let's hit it then," Lois insisted, as she breezed past Clark on her way out of the Art Gallery.


Chapter 3

It wasn't long before Lois and Clark arrived at Metropolis Memorial. It was only a short distance from the Metropolis Art Gallery and the ride had been pretty uneventful. When Lois and Clark entered Bill Gurney's room they could see an elderly woman sitting next to the bed, holding Bill's hand while trying to wipe the moisture from her eyes with a tissue.

"Hi…Mrs. Gurney?" Lois asked, as the elderly woman turned to greet them. "I'm Lois Lane and this is Clark Kent, we're from the Daily Planet and we're investigating last night's robbery at the Metropolis Art Gallery.

"Hello, I'm Bill's wife Sara." the woman offered. "Any idea who could have done this?"

"No, not yet Mrs. Gurney, but we'll do everything we can to see that the culprit is apprehended," Lois said.

"Bill's not completely coherent right now," Sara stated. "The doctor has him on pain killers and it makes him drowsy."

"Do you think we could speak to your husband Mrs. Gurney?" Clark asked.

"You can try Mr. Kent, but don't keep him awake too long; he really needs his rest," Sara said kindly.

"Thank you Mrs. Gurney, we'll only be a moment," Clark said.

Lois approached the bed and called out to the man until he began to slowly open his eyes.

"Mr. Gurney?" Lois asked. "My name is Lois Lane and this is Clark Kent, we're with the Daily Planet."

"Reporters?" Bill woosily asked. "I gave my statement to the Police already Miss Lane, I don't really know what else to say."

"Well is there anything you didn't tell the police Mr. Gurney? Anything you may have overlooked?" Lois asked. Bill looked over at his wife, and then back again at Lois before speaking.

"No, I can't think of anything. As I told the police, I was making my rounds and I heard a noise. I went to investigate and when I walked in the Masterpiece Room something hit me."

"What do you mean something hit you?" Lois asked sharply.

"I mean something hit me in the chest," Bill responded.

"Is there anything you saw or thought you saw that you didn't mention before?" Clark asked.

Once again, Bill glanced over at his wife and then back at the two reporters, but this time it was Bill's wife Sara who spoke.

"You see Mr. Kent, Bill only has a couple of months to go before he's fully vested for retirement. We started saving late in life because Bill's old company closed up and all our retirement money went with it. If he can just hang on for a few more months, we'll be okay. Yet if Bill were to tell his bosses about what he really saw, they'd say he was drinking again and fire him on the spot. Then we wouldn't get near as much for retirement. You understand, don't you? I mean, you won't say anything will you? It would ruin everything we worked so hard for, Mr. Kent.

"Don't worry Mrs. Gurney. I have hard working parents too. Lois and I won't say anything. Whatever you tell us will be strictly confidential, I promise," Clark retorted.

"Well, I didn't tell this to the police," Bill replied. "But just before I got hit, I saw this angel."

"Angel?" Lois asked.

"I know it sounds crazy, Miss Lane," Bill responded. "Yet it looked like an angel. For just a moment, I saw this woman dressed in white. She had some sort of Gold headband, gold bracelets, and long flowing golden hair. She reminded me of an angel, or one of those Greek Goddesses you read or hear about in Mythology. Does that sound crazy?"

Lois didn't want to answer that because it did sound a little far fetched. Perhaps Bill Gurney had been drinking on the job, and he fell asleep and some people got in and stole the paintings.

"I know what you're thinking Miss Lane," Bill volunteered. "Maybe I was drinking on the job and I was hallucinating. Well that would be fine except there's no alcohol content in my body."

Bill started to drift away as the medicine was beginning to affect him. He was almost drifting off when Clark brought him back to reality.

"Mr. Gurney?" Clark asked. "One more thing. Did this angel say or do anything?"

"Well, she just smiled and pointed at me. There was this flash of light and then everything went black."

Lois could see that Bill was starting to drift so she picked up the pace.

"Mr. Gurney?" Lois asked. "What did it feel like when you got hit?"

"Well, Miss Lane, It felt like I got hit with lightning. I mean, it felt like an electric charge was shooting through my body, and then I blanked out," Bill stated.

Lois could see Bill was drifting off again and decided it was best to let him go this time. They had found out what they needed to know, for now. No sense in keeping him awake now, he'd only start to babble. Her and Clark thanked Mrs. Gurney for her time and then left abruptly. They left the hospital and drove back to the office for the weekly staff meeting.

After the staff meeting, Lois and Clark went into Perry White's office. Perry was still tired from his bout with a cold over the weekend, yet he never liked to show his reporters he wasn't at 100 percent. After taking some aspirins and downing a glass of water he was ready for them.

"So Lois, have you got anything juicy for your editor this morning?" Perry asked. "I need something for the evening edition."

"Well Chief, what we got are missing paintings and a witness that claims he saw an angel" Lois responded.

Lois was already bracing herself for Perry's response which she thought would be one of sarcasm. She knew the Chief was only interested in hard evidence and right now she didn't have any.

"I see," Perry said lazily. "Now, did this angel have wings and did she fly away?"

"I know it sounds crazy Perry, it did to me too; but he wasn't drinking and I don't think he was hallucinating. I think an angel is exactly what he saw."

"Heaven help us!" Perry replied. "Next thing you know we'll be getting a call from Elvis asking us to interview him down at Graceland!"

Lois just looked up at the ceiling, while Clark looked away. Perry could see that they both actually believed the story they were told and decided to drop the sarcastic tone.

"Okay Lois, suppose for a minute this guy is telling the truth," Perry said. "Where do we go from here?"

"Well, the security guard mentioned he thought he was hit by lightning or some type of electric current," Lois replied. "I think we should talk to Dr. Lattimer."

"Doctor Lattimer?" Perry asked.

"Yeah Chief," Clark chimed. "Doctor Lattimer. He's one of the world's leading authorities on Electricity. He wrote a couple of books on the subject and if anyone knows how it could be used, it would be him."

"Well what are you two waiting for, the red carpet?" Perry said with raised eyebrows.

Lois stood up next to Clark and replied "We're on it Chief."

As Lois and Clark were heading toward the exit they spotted Jimmy loading up one of the cameras with film.

"Hey Olsen," Lois mused. "Still working on the Fire Department Photo Shoot?"

"Unfortunately, Lois," Jimmy said dejectedly. "I really wish the Chief would give me something more exciting."

"I got something for you Jimmy," Lois offered. "Interested?"

Jimmy nearly dropped the camera trying to hold back his enthusiasm.

"Really? You name it Lois and I'm on it like glue," Jimmy blurted.

"You're on," Lois replied. "Get over to the Metropolis Art Gallery and see if there's any new developments on the missing paintings, and get some pictures while you're there."

Lois practically had to yell the last part as Jimmy was already at the elevator when she finished.

"Lois?" Clark asked. "Are you sure it's a good idea sending Jimmy out on assignment without Perry's permission."

"Nonsense Clark. The Chief and I are on the same wave length…Great minds think alike."

Clark just shook his head. He knew Lois was going to have to explain this one once the Chief found out. Just then Lois and Clark heard Perry muttering to himself about Jimmy.

"What's wrong Chief?" Clark asked as he and Lois stepped onto the elevator.

"I can't seem to find Jimmy. I can never figure out where that kid gets to sometimes. I'm going to have to get that kid a pager so I can keep track of him." Perry Muttered. "He's got more explaining to do when I find out where he's been."

Perry couldn't see Lois bite her lip as the elevator door closed. Nor could he hear Clark whisper to Lois "great minds think alike?"


Chapter 4

Philip Troy Lattimer was a leading authority in the field of electricity. A one time magna cum laude graduate of Stanford University, he had paid his dues at electric power plants and private companies, well past his 40th birthday. Eventually he obtained funding for his own private experiments, and had a private laboratory on the outskirts of Metropolis.

It wasn't long after the staff meeting that Lois and Clark arrived at Dr. Lattimer's Laboratory. It looked like a typical college laboratory with experiments laying on the various tables, and beakers full of liquids hovering over burners. Dr. Lattimer was busily engrossed with one of his experiments when Lois called out to him.

"Hello, Dr. Lattimer?" Lois asked.

"I'm sorry," Doctor Lattimer responded. "I don't have time for any interviews right now. I'm busy with something for tomorrow night's Scientific Convention at the Lexor Hotel."

"We're not here for an interview Doctor," Lois stated. "We're investigating a recent robbery at the Metropolis Art Gallery and we were hoping you could answer a couple of questions.

"Are you with the police?" Lattimer asked.

"No, we're investigative reporters for the Daily Planet," Clark answered.

"And what makes you think I can help you?" Lattimer responded. "My field of endeavor is not criminology?"

"Doctor, we have reason to believe that the culprit was able to harness electricity and use it to complete the robbery," Lois said. "Is it possible for someone to wield electricity at command?"

"Any idea how many volts we're talking about?" Lattimer asked.

"I'd say a couple of Megawatts at least." Clark blurted.

"Then in that case, I'd say possible, yes…probable, no."

"And why not?" Lois asked.

"Well, for one thing, to generate that much power you'd almost have to be a walking nuclear reactor, Miss Lane. Have you ever seen those twin sets of suspension insulators on those lines over by Metro Electric? Well those are 400kV lines…that's 400 kilovolts! You need that type of equipment to run electric current that strong."

"What other types of technology are available, Doctor Lattimer?" Lois asked.

"Well we could be here all afternoon on that one Miss Lane. There's Wind Turbines, Photovoltaics, Geothermal Power, Solar-thermal power, and semiconductive stones, just to name a few."

"I studied some of those in school, Doctor," Clark replied. "Could someone have discovered any new technology involving one of these?"

"Well, the only new work going on would be in the Photovoltaic, and semiconductive stone areas. The electrical properties of semiconductive stones remain a mystery. The only ongoing work in that area is being done by a Professor Halvorson, in Europe. There are certain types of stones that work better than others. Stones that are porous and hygroscopic, such as Marble, limestone, or flint, work best. Yet Halvorson hasn't been able to control the power from the stones."

"What about the other one you mentioned, Doctor? Lois added.

"Photovoltaics? Well, I am the only one working on Photovoltaics and I assure you I haven't found how to control it. You see Miss Lane, Photovoltaics involves the use of what we call a photvoltaic cell. This would be a thin wafer of semiconductor material which converts sunlight directly into electricity. Now while you can produce a dozen megawatts of power with this setup, you need to have these photovoltaic cells in an array, pointed toward the sun, and these arrays are quite large in diameter. On top of that, the only semiconductor material worth using here is a special type of silicon that's quite expensive and rare. The only company supplying it is Luthor Industries and as far as I know, I'm the only domestic buyer of the product."

Just then the door opened and another man joined them. He was much younger than Doctor Lattimer, but nevertheless he too had the word doctor on his ID badge; along with a name that read Thomas Randolph Jennings.

"Ah Tom, come here for a second," Lattimer asked. "I want you to meet some reporters for the Daily Planet. This is Lois Lane, and her partner, Clark Kent. Folks, this is Doctor Jennings, my assistant."

After the formal pleasantries, Lois and Clark continued their questioning.

"Where are you at now with your experiments, Doctor Lattimer? Lois asked.

"Well, Tom and I have figured out a way to reduce the size of the photovoltaic arrays, but the silicon we are using has not been very effective. Luthor Industries says they should have a refined silicon product shortly, but until then, our research has been, shall we say, less than stable."

"Doctor Lattimer?" Lois asked. "Who else has access to your laboratory manuscripts?"

"Just Tom and I, that's it. They're kept in the safe in my office and only Tom and I know the combination."

"If someone got their hands on the manuscripts, could they figure out how to use this technology to wield electricity?" Clark asked.

"I don't think so," replied Jennings. "They'd need to have a scientific mind in order to decipher the manuscripts; they're pretty cryptic. Besides, even if they could, the silicon we're using isn't very effective and Luthor Industries doesn't have their new Silicon product ready yet."

"He's right Clark," chimed Lois. "Even if it was ready, you still need direct sunlight in order to convert it to electricity."

"Actually Lois, that's not true," responded Clark. "You could always have some cells hold the sunlight charge over a period of time."

"Well thank you Mr. Wizard," Lois said with just a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

"Actually, Mr. Kent, the silicon wafers we use now don't hold a charge very well, but it's an interesting thought. Now, if you and Ms. Lane don't mind, Tom and I have work to do," Lattimer replied.

"Thank you for your time Doctor Lattimer," Clark responded. "It was nice to meet you Doctor Jennings."

"Well, give me a call if you find out how it's being done; I'd be curious to see how the crooks accomplished this feat," answered Lattimer.

The four bid their farewells, while Lois and Clark departed. Once they were gone, Doctor Jennings walked out into the hallway and down to his office. Once inside he went to the phone and dialed a number. After several rings the voice on the other end responded.


"This is Jennings. Two reporters were just here nosing around. Lane and Kent. I think they're on to us, and they asked about semiconductor material like Silicon."

"Relax Jennings. You're being paid well for your participation here. They don't have a clue what's going on so let me do the worrying."

"What if Lattimer finds out I got into his safe and copied his manuscripts? What if these two reporters do some checking and find out the new silicon product is actually ready and has been ready for months?"

"Pull yourself together Jennings. How are they going to find out? You leave the two reporters to me. Just do the job you were paid to do."

Jennings heard a click and knew the other person had hung up on him. He cursed to himself and slammed the phone down.

The recipient of Jennings call slowly turned away from the phone to gaze at the fireplace. He was a man in his early thirties. Well groomed and well defined. Suddenly a hand slithered up his shoulder and around his neck. He could feel the smooth warmth of the hand and instinctively knew it as a woman's hand.

"Ahh, it's you my dear. Back from your walk so soon?" the man asked.

"There wasn't much to look at outside." The woman replied. "I find the company in here, more scintillating."

"I have to agree with you," said the man as he took her hand and kissed it while pulling it over his head and spinning her around to face him.

She was a beautiful woman. Her eyes were violet, while her hair was the color of gold. The man was captivated by her aroma and drew his gaze down from the gold headband to stare into her eyes. Apart from the thunderbolt bracelets, she wore no external jewelry. Slowly the man smiled and took the woman by the hand, leading her to the door of the adjacent room. The two hesitated for a moment and looked at each other.

"Let's see what you brought me this time Electra," said the man.

"Yes, let's take a closer look, Lex Luthor…let's take a closer look," she replied.

Lex Luthor opened the door and the two strolled into the room, hand in hand. It was an ordinary room, with simple decorations on both corners, except for the walls. It was very hard to tell the actual design on the wall as it was hidden.

"My my Lex, it's hard to tell where one wall ends, and the other begins," Electra said calmly.

"Yes, my dear, it would seem so. Do you think I put too many new paintings on the wall?"

"Only the ones I lifted from the Metropolis Art Gallery, that's all" Electra said jokingly. "Yet then again, a masterpiece is worth a thousand words."

"Actually my dear, each one is worth several million words," Lex said calmly. "Several million indeed."

Lois and Clark were having lunch at a deli called The Super Hero. The two had been discussing theories regarding possible suspects and clues concerning the theft of artwork.

"I don't know Lois, I don't like the fact that Luthor Industries came up in the conversation. Perhaps they're in on something illegal here."

"Relax Clark, you've always been paranoid over Lex Luthor, but he's gone. He's dead, remember?"

"I know," Clark said annoyingly. "But that doesn't mean he was the only crook at Lex Industries. What did Jimmy say when you called him a few minutes ago?"

"He said nothing new turned up at the Art Gallery, but he did say that Inspector Henderson heard a police dispatch saying that a rare book dealer was also robbed last night. I told him to get over by the book dealer and get a statement and some pictures, then I told him to meet us back at the office after we make another stop. Are you going to eat your pickle Clark?"

Clark glanced at the pickle and really didn't feel like eating it. Not that he would gain any extra weight, it's just that he didn't want to seem like a glutton. Besides, he knew she wanted it…she always wanted both pickles.

"No Lois, I'm not, and where are we going now?"

"I think we should take a trip to Metro Electric and ask them if they've picked up any unusual power fluxs, or experienced any area blackouts. You know Clark, I don't know why you always insist on ordering the Red, Yellow, and Blue special every time we come here."

"Oh I don't know Lois. I guess I always feel like I have this Super appetite when we get here, but then it doesn't seem that big after I start eating."

"Well," Lois said amusingly. "I like the Kryptonian, it's a nice sized sandwich with GREEN avocados; my favorite."

Lois was already in the jeep by the time she had finished her statement, but not before she finished her entire speech.

"Clark? Would you be a good boy and pay the gentleman for the sandwiches," Lois said with a sigh.

"Sure," said an exasperated Clark. "I always do Lois, you know that. Why are you in the passenger side this time, it's your jeep?"

"I thought it might be nice for you to drive Clark. This way I could relax and just concentrate on holding your hand. After Clark had started the jeep and placed it in gear, Lois stole one of his hands for her own lap.

"Lois, I'm right-handed you know. Which means I normally keep my right hand on the wheel."

"I know Clark," Lois said sweetly. "However, you should learn to use both hands…you never know when that knowledge may come in handy."

Clark glanced momentarily at Lois and she squeezed his hand a little tighter. A faint smile emerged on their faces as the jeep pulled out of the deli parking lot and onto the street in the direction of Metro Electric. Somehow, it was easy for them to momentarily forget the pressures of the job when they shared a tender moment; even though they were few and far between.


Chapter 5

The grounds to Metro Electric were quite extensive. Without proper knowledge of the facility, one could wander around for hours trying to discover a way into this puzzle. The main complex was several stories tall, while the two outer buildings resembled underground substations. Lois and Clark had telephoned ahead to see if they could speak with one of the site foremen and had been intercepted at the main gate before being allowed to proceed to the main complex. After parking the jeep and proceeding inside, the two reporters were intercepted again and given visitor passes. They were then told to wait until the head foreman, Bob Rogers, arrived.

"Good Afternoon Miss Lane, I'm Bob Rogers," Bob said emphatically while reaching to shake her hand.

"Hello, Mr. Rogers," Lois replied. "This is Clark Kent; we're reporters from the Daily Planet.

"Of course. How do you do Mr. Kent. I read your column all the time Miss Lane. You're a pretty talented reporter."

"Don't encourage her Mr. Rogers," Clark stated with just the slightest tease. "She already fancies herself the best reporter in Metropolis."

"Oh please, give me a break," Lois replied. "Don't mind him Mr. Rogers, he's just jealous of all this natural talent. It goes with the territory."

"How can we help you Miss Lane?" Bob asked. "Your call said something about power fluxes?"

"Well Actually, we're working on this assignment involving some stolen paintings, and rare books. It seems whoever is behind it was able to harness and use raw electricity. They melted down the security system and surveillance equipment, then walked off with some pretty priceless artwork. We were wondering if you folks noticed any unusual power surges, or outages last night?"

"Not that I know of, Miss Lane," Bob replied. "Normally, the only problem we have here involves birds flying into overhead electricity lines. We get calls from Ornithologists and Transmission Maintenance Engineers because birds get zapped, or circuits get damaged." Other than that, it's pretty uneventful."

"Have you had anything stolen recently?" Clark asked.

"Actually, now that you mention it, we do have some power packs missing. We called the police, but it hasn't done us any good because there didn't seem to be any clues or any leads."

"When were they stolen?" Lois asked.

"About a week ago. The foreman on the weekend shift reported them missing. I'd call her up and let you talk with her, but she went out west to visit her father who's ill. Boy their family had a string of bad luck."

"Did you say the weekend shift foreman was a woman?" Clark asked.

"Don't act so surprised, Clark," Lois said with a snicker. "This is the nineties. Women do a lot more than cook and clean; or didn't they teach you that in Kansas?"

"Relax, Lois…I just thought it was unusual that a woman would want to do this kind of work," Clark responded.

"Well Mr. Kent," Bob said. "AJ as we call her, really loves this stuff. She majored in Electrical Engineering and then came to work for us straight out of college. She would have a higher position by now if it wasn't for the personal setbacks."

"Personal Setbacks?" Lois asked.

"Yeah. Seems she and her brother were supposedly involved with some sort of domestic family squabble involving their mother. Some people tried to say she and the brother went bonkers, but nothing was ever proven one way or another. She spent a lot of time with her brother out west, visiting their dad over the years. As for the brother, Apparently he moved to Metropolis around the same time AJ did. I think he's a Doctor, the name's Tom Jenkins. The Electrical Powers That Be were concerned about giving her too much to do, so they stuck her on weekend shift and figured that would be enough."

"Do you think you could get us a phone number and an address?" Lois asked.

"Sure," Rogers replied. "I'll have personnel get it out to you today."

"Thanks, Mr. Rogers," Lois responded. "Please give us a call if you think of anything else, or something unusual comes up."

The Daily Planet reporters decided it was time to get back to the afternoon staff meeting and so, after the farewell pleasantries, the trio disbursed.

Lois and Clark were about halfway back to the office when a news bulletin interrupted the radio station they were listening two on the way back. It was a woman's voice and she was attempting to describe an event in progress.

"We interrupt your regularly scheduled program with this information. A robbery appears to be in progress at the Museum of Modern Art. Police and news reporters are on the scene right now as we speak. We will resume your regularly scheduled program now and keep you posted on any new developments as they come in. This is Mary St. James, reporting to you on KLAK.

"CLARK, did you hear that?" Lois asked with excitement. "This could have something to do with last night's robbery. We're only a minute away from there."

"Already on it Lois," Clark responded.

Clark made the next right and proceeded down to the museum and pulled over. There were three police cars stationed parallel to the front of the museum and two newspaper trucks were behind them. Several policemen were draped over their vehicles with revolvers pointing at the museum entrance. Inspector Henderson had a megaphone and was ordering someone inside to release any hostages and come out with their hands up. Lois and Clark scurried over to Henderson to assess the situation.

"What have we got Inspector?" Lois asked.

"Seems some woman just waltzed into the museum and started to remove paintings off the wall. Two guards tried to stop her and she zapped some chandelier and it fell on them. They both have concussions but I think they'll be okay. The problem is there are a couple of patrons inside. There's only one other exit and it's on the far side. It's got a two inch think steel plate door and the museum curator said he and the chief of security are the only ones with a key. Yet just in case, I sent someone around the back."

"Clark, let's go around the back and see if we can see anything," Lois suggested.

The two got halfway around the building and stopped.

"What's wrong Clark?" a quizzical Lois asked.

"Oh, I just thought of something. I'd better go phone it in Lois, I'll be right back in a sec," Clark said as he spun from Lois and ran back towards the phone booth by where they had parked. Lois just shook her head and proceeded towards the back. There was an officer about three feet from the door, surveying the situation. Lois started to walk towards him when a blast of energy ripped open the back door. The force knocked the officer ten feet in the air and sent him hurling into some garbage cans. Lois ran over to the officer to see if he was alive. Suddenly a faint buzzing noise caught Lois's attention and she looked up at where the back door to the museum had been. An incredible force had ripped open the door like it was made of paper and there standing in the open space was a woman. Not just any woman, but Bill Gurney's angel. She was just as Bill Gurney had described her. Lois could see she was extremely beautiful, but her face was not gentle like an angel's. Instead, it had a sinister evil about it. She was carrying a sack which Lois presumed to be stolen paintings.

"Who are you?" Lois asked with astonishment.

The woman gave Lois a cursory glance.

"I am Electra. Tell the good citizens of Metropolis that their puny weapons are ineffective against me. Tell them they should just stay out of my way if they don't want to get hurt.

"Oh Yeah, well I'm Lois Lane, Daily Planet, try this weapon out!"

Electra had not noticed Lois very closely and failed to see her pick up one of the garbage can lids and hurl it like a frisbee, right at her. Electra held up one of her hands in a stop like position and suddenly an energy field appeared around her. The garbage can lid hit the force field and bounced off harmlessly to the ground, half singed.

"Come now Miss Lane, you'll have to do much better than that."

"Perhaps I can help in that department."

The two woman spun their heads in the direction of the voice. A tall muscular man stood off to the side. He wore a blue costume, with a red cape and red boots. His chest revealed a yellow emblem with a red letter inside…the letter "S".

"Superman," Lois Lane said in relief. "I'm glad you're here. We could use your help."

"Well, Well, Well," said Electra. "So this is the great Superman I've heard so much about."

"Give it up Electra, you can't win," Superman told her.

"We'll see. Try my latest recipe Supersap, it's called voltage souffle. Electra extended her right arm in the direction of Superman and pointed her index finger at him. Suddenly a bolt of electricity shot from her finger and came screaming towards Superman. The blast caught Superman off guard for a second as the bolt hit him square in the chest. Superman went sailing through the air and smashed into a nearby tree, knocking it from it's roots.

"How do you like my cooking Superman?" Electra asked amusingly.

Superman tried to hide his embarrassment in front of Lois. He got up and brushed off the singes from his costume.

"I don't think you're using enough spice Electra, let me add some."

Superman leaned toward Electra and a laser like beam shot from his eyes and instantly shot towards Electra. She had anticipated Superman's next move and was already positioning her hand in a stop like motion in front of her. Suddenly, just as before, an energy field appeared around her as the laser like beam of Superman struck. After several long seconds Superman stopped as he could tell the beam wasn't penetrating her energy field.

"What's a matter Superdud?" Electra asked. "Run out of gas already?"

"No, Electra. I thought I would try something else that I felt would just blow you away."

Superman quickly drew in his breath and exhaled with all his force, in the direction of Electra. The force knocked Electra over before she could raise her hand. She seemed momentarily stunned. Suddenly she gazed over at Superman and her eyes got soft.

"How could you, Superman. I'm only a woman. Would you hurt a woman?"

It was Superman's hesitation that betrayed him. For just a second he felt guilty, and that second was all Electra needed.

"So long Supersap, I'm sure we'll meet again."

Electra quickly extended her right arm in the direction of Lois Lane and hurled a bolt of electricity at her. Lois's eyes grew momentarily wide and then she quickly shut them, bracing herself for the forceful impact. However, before the bolt of electricity reached its destination, Superman sped toward Lois and grabbed her. He lifted her in the air just as the bolt of electricity shot past where Lois had been and went hurtling towards a tree and exploded. Lois held her arms around Superman's neck as he held her waist in his hands. Gently, he lowered Lois back down to the ground as their eyes were locked on each other.

"Are you alright Lois?"

"I'm fine Superman. What about you, she hit you all that electricity?"

"Shocking isn't it," Superman said with a smile.

Lois smiled back with affection.

"You seem to be making a habit of saving my life, Superman."

Superman brushed the hair from Lois's face and back into place.

"Glad I can always be of service to you, Lois. Now if you'll excuse me, I better go see if I can find Electra."

Superman released his hands from Lois's waist as she too released her grip. He turned and crouched momentarily and then sprang up, soaring toward the clouds, and then out of sight. Just then Henderson and two police officers arrived.

"Are you okay Lois?" Henderson asked.

"I'm fine Inspector. Your culprit is a woman by the name of Electra. She seems to be able to harness electricity and use it very effectively as a weapon. She got into a fight with Superman, but managed to escape. He flew after her. Your officer is over there, I think he might have a concussion. The force of the door being ripped open knocked him unconscious. I believe this woman was responsible for last nights robberies at the Art Gallery and the bookstore that has all those priceless rare books. Just then Clark came over to them.

"Lois, are you okay?"

Lois brushed his comment aside, "I'm fine Clark, you can relax. Superman rescued me."

Clark tried to dismiss Lois's sighs.

"Maybe we better get over to the Planet Lois, I couldn't get through to the chief."

"You're right. If we hurry, we can make the evening edition."

The two reporters hurried back to the jeep and took off towards the Daily Planet building which was only moments away.

The elevator door to the Daily Planet newsroom open up and Lois and Clark emerged while still engaged in conversation.

"Look Clark, all I said is that you always seem to run off before the shooting starts. It's like you have ESP or something."

"I don't RUN OFF, Lois. I just thought this time I should phone it in BEFORE you got yourself into trouble."

"What are you saying Clark? That I'm always instigating everything. Well, I don't…".

Just then Perry White intervened.

"Hey, hey, hey, what's all this about?"

"Well, Clark here seems to think I'm always instigating trouble, Chief."

"Well I can't imagine why," Perry acknowledged. "Oh, and by the way Lois, did you ask Jimmy to do some leg work for you, without telling me first?"

"What was that you were saying Lois, about great minds thinking alike?" Clark whispered.

Lois poked Clark in the stomach and whispered to him to keep quiet.

"OH, Yeah Chief. You know…I mean, Well, I just thought…"

Lois bit her lower lip and gave Perry one of those "I didn't think it would cause any harm" looks.

"Okay Lois, I catch your drift. Just, next time, check with me first before you decide to send everyone out on assignment?"

"Gotcha Chief," Lois replied.

Lois proceeded to explain the events of the day to Perry while Clark listened attentively.

"Wow, Lois. Sounds like you and Clark had quite a tussle with that Electra. Any idea who she really is or where she might be?"

"Not at the moment, Chief…but we're on it."

"Say Jimmy, what did you find out at the book dealer?" Lois asked.

"Not much, Lois," Jimmy said while coming over to where the trio stood. "The owner said it was a woman that came in his store and took the rare books. She got away with about 20 first editions, each priced at over $100,000."

"I think we need to make some phone calls and try to get some answers," Lois suggested. "Jimmy, why don't you call Bob Rogers at Metro Electric. Tell him you're with us and see if he has the phone number of that woman AJ. See if you can get in touch with her dad if Metro Electric has a number."

"Good Idea Lois," Clark agreed. "I'll call Dr. Lattimer and let him know what we're up against."

"I'll call the rest of the museums and galleries in town and see if any other priceless exhibits will be available," Lois said.

Perry White nodded his approval.

"Okay, you kids get on it. I'll get what we got so far, into the evening edition."


Chapter 6

It was about 3:30 p.m. when Jimmy, Lois, and Clark finished making phone calls. Jimmy and Clark converged on Lois's desk and the three decided to share what knowledge they had come up with.

"Well Jimmy, what we have we got?" Lois asked.

"Well, Lois, it's pretty strange," Jimmy said with a quizzical tone. "Your friend AJ lists her home as 327 Walnut Street, and I found out that her name is Alexis Jenkins. I also called her dad's residence in Des Moines. Yet when I called the dad's house, a maid answered and said 'Jennings residence.'"

Clark put his hand on Jimmy's shoulder and acknowledged him.

"Good work Jimmy."

"I checked with Dr. Lattimer and he said it definitely sounds like Photovoltaics. He thinks this Electra has found some way of getting reliable Photovoltaic Cell wafers made from silicon and is using them to capture sunlight and store them in some sort of miniature power pack."

"Well," Lois said. "I did some checking and found out there's an Italian portrait exhibit which opened today over at the Renaissance Gallery. The paintings are over 700 years old and each one is worth an estimated quarter of a million dollars."

"Lois, I just thought of something," Clark said as he swung over to Lois's computer. "See if you can dial into the Des Moines Library and access newspaper articles."

Lois started typing keys on the keyboard and her monitor began to change through screens as she began accessing the Library in Des Moines, Iowa.

"What am I looking for, Clark?" Lois asked inquisitively.

"See if you can locate criminal court cases which may have involved a brother and sister."

"OF COURSE," replied an enthusiastic Lois. "The Doctor Jenkins that Rogers mention wasn't a medical doctor, it was a scientist. I didn't see the connection before. When Jimmy called and got the Jennings residence, he got the former residence of Alexis Jennings and Doctor Thomas Randolph Jennings."

"They must have changed their name when they moved to Metropolis," Clark added.

Lois finally got through to the library and had been accessing articles for a couple of minutes when she spotted something that clicked.

"Got it," she said. "Sister and Brother Acquitted of attempted Murder of Mom and lover."

Lois began reading the first paragraph out loud for the benefit of Clark and Jimmy.

"Both Jenning siblings were acquitted of attempting to murder their mother and her lover yesterday when the prosecution decided it did not have enough evidence to prosecute the two. Both Alexis, and Tom Jennings came out of a jubilant courtroom to say they knew they were innocent, and that they just put their faith in the judicial system, hoping to be set free. It was originally thought that Alexis Jennings had encouraged her brother to make an attempt on the life of their mother who was having an affair. Both Mrs. Jennings, and her lover were seriously injured when the brakes on their car failed and broke through a fence, plunging both driver and passenger down into a drainage ditch 30 feet below.

"Geez CK," responded Jimmy with a touch of concern in his voice. "You can't even trust your own flesh and blood."

Both Lois and Clark were digesting all of this new found information when a light went off in Clark's head.

"THAT'S IT, Lois," blurted Clark.

"What's it?" replied Lois.

"A variation on the Oedipus Complex…Greek Mythology…You get it?"

Jimmy and Lois looked at each other quizzically and then back at Clark before they both responded in unison.

"Nope, we don't get it."

Clark dismissed their lack of knowledge in the realm of Greek Mythology, to further explain his point.

"The opposite of the Oedipus Complex is the Electra Complex. It's the unconscious tendency of a daughter to be attached to her father and hostile toward her mother. In Greek mythology, Electra, who was the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, tried to encourage her brother, Orestes, to kill their mother and their mother's lover. Clytemnestra and her lover, had murdered Electra's father, Agamemnon."

Lois hit her enter key on the computer, in order to see a picture of Alexis and Tom Jennings. She glanced down at the face of the brother, whom she recognized in Dr. Lattimer's office. The more striking observation, however, was of the woman, Alexis. She had long flowing blond hair and looked as radiant as an angel. It too was a face Lois had seen before. The face of the woman at the Museum; it was the face of Electra.

"Alexis is Electra?" Lois asked herself. "Yet her dad is alive Clark. Her mom didn't murder her dad."

"Well according to the maid I spoke with," responded Jimmy, "the dad hasn't worked at all since his wife ran off with the guy she was having an affair with. Seems the dad took it pretty bad; ate him up inside I guess."

"Of course," chimed Lois. "I bet Alexis felt the mom ruined the dad and doomed him to a slow lingering death filled with mental guilt and anguish."

"Pretty sick puppy, CK" replied Jimmy.

Lois stood up and grabbed her purse and jacket.

"We better get over to Dr. Lattimer's lab, Clark, and try to find Jennings. He probably knows where Electra is right now, or at least how to find her."

"Right," Clark responded.

"Can I come too?"

"Sure Jimmy, replied Lois. "Grab your camera and lets go."

"Lois?" Clark asked. "Aren't you forgetting something?

Lois frowned at Clark and tried to downplay the point he was trying to make.

"Nonsense Clark, this is different. The Chief and I are on the same wave length. What he meant was…"

Lois was trying to look for the right words to help her skate around Clark.

"Well, what he meant was…what he meant. Hurry up Jimmy lets go."

The three of them entered the elevator and Lois pressed "ground floor." As the door was shutting she could here Perry yelling in the background.

"JIMMY? Now where the sam hill did that kid get to this time."

Clark, looking straight ahead, put his hands in his pockets and began whistling while rocking back and forth. Lois gave Clark a cursory glance and just frowned at him. Jimmy just smiled as he was oblivious to what was taking place around him.

Lex Luthor stood staring out of his country retreat. He wasn't sure what could be taking Electra so long. He was concerned that the police would find out the reports about his untimely death were premature, so he decided to have Electra move all the masterpieces to his new country estate. It had been purchased under a false name and he was confident the police were too stupid to discover it actually belonged to him. Where could she be he thought to himself. It had been over two hours since he asked her to load up all the masterpieces in a van and deliver them to his country estate. The noise of his phone ringing, broke the silence.


"Lex? Electra here. I'm with Tom and we're on our way. We've got Lattimer's notes and we should be there in about an hour and a half."

Ninety minutes? Even at a speed of 55 miles per hour, your only 62 minutes away from here. Why the delay?"

"We're going to make a pit stop."

"Look Electra, I said forget about the Renaissance Gallery. You're giving the police an unnecessary chance to locate you and follow you here, and I can't afford those kind of mistakes.

"Relax Lex, I told you it's on the way and we'll only be there 15 minutes tops…besides I can handle Superman, I'll see you in a bit, oh, one other thing, keep the champagne on ice, and everything else warm."

"Listen to me Alexis, I said it was too dangerous."

Lex Luthor was too late. The phone clicked on the other end and Lex could hear the dial tone. He cursed as he slammed the receiver down on the phone. There was nothing he could do now, except wait, and hope.

It didn't take long for the Daily Planet's finest to arrive at Doctor Lattimer's office. When they called out though, no one answered.

"Where do you suppose he is CK?" Jimmy asked.

Clark momentarily lowered his glasses and leaned forward ever so slightly to use his X-Ray vision. Suddenly the wall that was blocking their view into the next room was gone and Clark could see Doctor Lattimer. He was tied up in a chair and the safe was torn open.

"Lois? I think I hear something in the next room," Clark said as he restored his glasses to their normal position.

Lois walked to the door of the next room and opened it.

"Pretty good ears Clark," she said. "I couldn't hear a thing."

Jimmy untied Doctor Lattimer's feet while Clark worked on the ropes to his hands. Lois removed the tape around Lattimer's mouth.

"WOW, How did you know I was in trouble?" Lattimer asked as he tried to catch his breath.

"We figured out the connection between Thomas Jennings and his sister," Lois replied. "I take it from the looks of your safe, Electra was here."

"Yes, she didn't even wait for Tom to open the safe, she just blew it open. She has these bracelets, and each one has one of those photovoltaic cell wafers. They're made out of silicon as I suspected, but I overheard them say that these silicon wafers were the new ones from Luthor Industries. Seems Luthor Technologies completed work on these new silicon wafers months ago and kept it a secret. This Electra, as you called her, also has a small power pack attached in back of her, to her waist. She must be storing up sunlight and then when she has enough juice, she's ready to use it." It's kind of like a battery in a flashlight. It holds a charge and then when it wears down you simply recharge it again. The catch here is that she needs sunlight. Without it, she can't maintain her power very long."

"Any idea where they might be heading, Doctor?" Lois asked.

"Well, I overheard Electra make a phone call. I couldn't make out who she was talking to, or too much that was said, but I did here the word renaissance mentioned."

Lois was in deep thought trying to figure out the connection. The connection clicked at about the same time it did for Clark.

"That's it Lois, The Renaissance Gallery. She's going to try and steal those paintings from the gallery."

"Doctor Lattimer, we need for you to call the police."

"Of course Miss Lane, anything I can do to help."

"Jimmy?" Lois asked. "You come with us and make sure you got your camera ready."

"Gotcha Lois."

Jimmy, Lois, and Clark emerged from Doctor Lattimer's office and dashed to the jeep. Within seconds the vehicle was racing from the curb in the direction of the Renaissance Gallery.

When the trio arrived at the Renaissance Gallery they could see a man and a woman loading artwork into a van. The police had not arrived yet, but then again it was only a few minutes drive from Doctor Lattimer's office to the gallery. They could see some smoke billowing from the gallery and the front door was blasted open.

"There they are Clark, got any ideas how to stop her? I mean the police aren't even here yet."

Clark assessed the situation and noticed a sprinkler hose system on the front lawn. That gave him an idea.

"Okay Lois, you and Jimmy go try and lure Electra back onto the front lawn and see if you can turn on the sprinkler system…maybe that might short circuit her."

"And what exactly are you going to be doing while all this is going on, pray tell?" Lois asked.

"I'm going to go around back and see if they have a water hose," Clark replied.

"How did I let you talk me into this, Lois?" Jimmy asked.

"Because I'm the one with the brains in this little menage a trois."

"What about me?" Jimmy asked.

"You're the one with the camera, and Clark, Clark is the one with the brawn."

Clark shook his head and motioned for them to get out.

"Thanks Lois!" Clark spouted.

"Just being observant Clark…we're like The Three Stooges. Are you coming?"

Clark looked to the sky and rolled his eyes.


Jimmy ran over to the side of the building looking for the sprinkler switch and trying to remain inconspicuous. Lois moved over about thirty feet until she had positioned herself on the lawn and called out to Electra.

"Isn't this cozy. A family reunion no doubt."

Electra and her brother were caught offguard, but Electra still made an effort to maintain her composure.

"AH Miss Lane. I see you're a person who does get around."

"Being a woman of the nineties, I try to do it all."

"A jack of all trades and mistress of none no doubt" Electra said amusingly.

"Let's cut the niceties," Lois said. "You and your brother are finished. We know all about you, and the police are on the way."

"Really, Miss Lane," Electra said as she tried to act astonished and hide her anger. "You don't know anything about me! Did you know my father worked his whole life for us and what did he get for his troubles? His wife ran off with a gigolo! But Tommy and I weren't about to let her get away with it. I convinced Tommy to tamper with her brakes and then her and casanova went for a ride they weren't expecting. Unfortunately for us, they managed to pull through. But that's okay. His playing days were over and mom didn't want anything to do with him after that. She left us, but she was out of our lives forever. AND NO ONE IS GOING TO STAND BETWEEN ME AND MY FATHER AGAIN!"

"Tom Jennings tried to calm his sister down, but it was too late. She was completely out of control now.

Electra glared at Lois and began to raise her arm and point it toward Lois. In the meantime, Clark had gone around the side of the building and as he emerged from the opposite side he could see Lois was in danger. Clark took off his glasses and opened the buttons on his shirt to reveal The yellow emblem with the letter "S" inside. Traveling faster than a speeding bullet, he shot in front of Lois and shot a laser beam from his eyes towards Electra. Electra raiser her arm in a stop motion and Superman's beam hit the forcefield around Electra and exploded. Electra was fine, but the force of the explosion sent Tom Jennings flying into the side of the van and knock him unconscious. It was at this time that Electra realized what Lois was up to. She had now deduced that Lois was trying to lure her onto the lawn so someone could activate the sprinkler system. She searched the building until her gaze fell on Jimmy.

"Very clever Miss Lane," Electra said. "I'm impressed, but you'll have to be smarter to lure me out onto the sprinkler system. Let's say we forget about the preliminary bouts and get right to the main event. WHat do you say I give you the basic Nuts and Volts of what I'm talking about."

Electra raised her arm and pointed it in the general direction of Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy sensed it was time to run, but he caught his jacket on one of the bushes and got momentarily stuck. As she pointed her finger at Jimmy, and began to surge electricity, Superman ran quickly to a nearby garbage can and removed the top. Before Electra could hurl her bolt of electricity at Jimmy, Superman flung the lid at her the same way Lois had done. The speed at which Superman threw the lid was much faster than Lois's attempt. The lid struck Electra in the arm and caused her to miss JImmy entirely. Instead, her bolt struck a nearby tree as Jimmy breathed a sigh of relief upon freeing himself. Electra spun towards Superman and hurled a bolt of electricity at him but he was able to leap out of the way in time. The two of them fired volleys at each other for the better part of two minutes before Electra began to stagger slightly. SHe was almost out of breathe and Superman was still unharmed. Before Electra could fire another volley, Superman leaped into the air and headed towards the clouds. A faint smile began to play on Electra's lips.

"You see Miss Lane, Superman can't win…so he left you to your own fate. How noble of him to flee with a damsel in distress."

Electra was too preoccupied with Lois to notice what Superman was upto. It was her confidence that proved to be her undoing as Superman began to blow the clouds in over the Renaissance Gallery. Too late, ELectra noticed the shadow up above her. As she gazed up into the sky she could see the cloud formation which was blocking out the sun, as well as the steady rain which began to fall.

Electra screamed her defiance but it was too late. The rain was already short circuiting her power pack, and without the precious sunlight she so desperately needed, there wasn't much she could do. She looked down to face Lois again and tried to extend her arm and fire a bolt of electricity at Lois, but Superman had flown down in between them again and blocked the bolt of electricity. This time when it struck Superman he didn't get thrown. He stood his ground as the force that Electra hurled at Lois was much weaker this time. It still would have been enough to cripple Lois but it had little effect on Superman.

Superman fired the laser from his eyes and Electra waived her hand in a stop motion. A forcefield appeared around her but this one wasn't as vibrant as the others, it was much weaker. This time, Superman didn't let up. He kept up the beam until there was a loud explosion in front of Electra. The force of the explosion sent Electra to the ground and injured her. She used her arms to prop herself up on her knees and tried to shake the cobwebs out of her head. Her headband lay torn on the ground and both of her bracelets were lying in front of her, mangled and torn. Jimmy ran over by Lois, while Superman joined them.

"Are you okay Lois?" Superman asked.

"I'll be okay Superman…and thanks again for saving my life."

"Glad to help a damsel in distress Lois," Superman ansered as he noticed Lois blushing. "I better put out the smoke inside the building Lois."

Superman sped into the building and inhaled the smoke from the room so that the workers and patrons could resume the day in piece. He found a bathroom and quickly changed back into Clark Kent. By the time Clark emerged from the building the police had arrived and had put Alexis and her brother in handcuffs. They were shuffled into a police car which pulled away from the curb and headed toward the 12th precinct. Clark casually slipped in by Lois and Jimmy without being noticed.

"So Lois, are you okay?"

"Where were you this time Clark?"

"I went around back to find a hose but I couldn't. I got into the building to try and locate one but by that time the fireworks were over."

Lois gave him a look of exaspiration.

"You really are something Clark," Lois said as her look turned to one of amusement. "You really are ONE OF A KIND."

The three of them chuckled as they got into the jeep and proceeded back to the Daily Planet.



When they arrived, Perry White was there to greet them. "AH Jimmy, there you are…I was looking all over for you. I had this terrible thought that you were playin' hookey on your 'ol editor."

Perry spoke a little louder so that Lois could hear what he was saying.

"Of course, I know you wouldn't go off with Lois and Clark without checking with me first. Especially after Lois and I had a heart to heart this afternoon."

"It was my fault Chief, I invited myself," Jimmy explained with a taste of dejection. "But I did manage to get some front page pictures."

"I see, so you decided to take action yourself, is that it?"

Lois had her fingers crossed hoping that Jimmy didn't say it was her idea.

"Yep Chief, it was my idea."

Perry turned his eyes over to Lois and then back again at Jimmy.

"GOOD FOR YOU KID! There's nothing more I value in this world than initiative. Good going Olson!"

Perry turned and walked away laughing to himself. Lois however, wasn't quite as amused.

"Can you believe that…it was my idea and he didn't even acknowledge me!"

Jimmy took that as his cue to slip away leaving Clark to hear the remainder of Lois Lane's thoughts.

"You know Lois, we'll probably never know what Alexis and her brother were going to do with those paintings. I still think Luthor Industries is up to something, and I still have this strange feeling that Lex is still alive and that we'll be running into him one of these days.

"Relax Clark, your just being paranoid again."

"Well Lois, what do you say I treat you to dinner?" Clark suggested.

"You're still rather chipper, Clark.

"I am Lois, I'm feeling positively electrified."


"Just kidding Lois, are you ready?"

"Sure, where are you taking me for dinner?" Lois asked.

"I know this great little seafood restaurant that just opened. It's right by the water and they have a large indoor fishtank."

"Really? That sounds nice," Lois replied.

Lois and Clark headed towards the elevator and got on as the door opened. Clark pressed ground floor and the elevator doors began to shut.

"What kind of fish are in the tank, Clark?"

"Electric eels Lois, Electric eels."

Lois rolled her eyes and shook her head as Clark chuckled to himself while the door closed in front of them.


This concludes Lightning in the Piazza

by Dave Songer