Hubris and Nemesis

By Round Robin

Summary: Perry orders his star reporters to drum up a story, but nothing seems to be happening in Metropolis, in this round robin called "Hubris and Nemesis." Part 1 is by Ruth Ellison, Part 2 by Michael Reynolds, Part 3 by Rene Gobeyn.

A story with as many parts as we can be bothered to write.

Here are the first three parts of Group 1's round robin.


Part 1, by Ruth Ellison

For the rest of her life, Lois was bothered by two questions: firstly, how had she managed not to assess Clark's character correctly in the first place, and secondly, how had she failed for so long to realise that he was Superman? The first question reflected badly on her judgment, the second on her intelligence, and both on her abilities as a reporter. The only consolation - and it was a substantial one, admittedly; six-foot-something and highly personable - the only consolation was that Clark, in his seemingly endless patience, had been prepared to wait until she sorted everything out.

But at the time of this story, Lois was in no position for long- term reflections on her relationship with Clark. She was too busy trying to figure out the here-and-now implications of Clark being Superman. The keeping quiet was the hardest part. It went against her reporter's instincts. It went against Clark's, too, she realised, but she now knew why he always looked slightly harried whenever Superman was mentioned. On a personal level, it made things very complicated. Suddenly, the wall between them was no longer there. Which was great for the exciting vistas it opened up, but both of them had become so used to the wall being there that they had unconsciously come to lean on it while they talked to each other, so to speak, and now they found themselves stumbling unexpectedly into previously unseen parts of each other's lives. Then there was the romance thing, which probably would have happened anyway, but which made them both inept with each other on a completely different level again. Juggling all this while trying to maintain a normal working relationship - it was certainly a challenge.


"Gotcha!" Lois said triumphantly as she picked up Clark's discard. "Three fours, three kings and five-six-seven-eight of spades. That's 3-1 to me so far."

Jimmy looked up from his magazine. "What's a type of tree in three letters?"

"Fir," said Lois. Clark said, "Oak."

"Hang on…" Jimmy's pen scratched on the paper. "The middle letter seems to be 'u'."

Lois shrugged and redealt.

It was a slow news day at the Planet in the middle of a slow news week. Nothing was happening in Metropolis. The city's two best investigative journalists were reduced to playing cards. Even Clark's other line of business was quiet. Perhaps the criminals were all lying low to avoid the stifling heat.

No news meant nobody bought newspapers, and that made Perry White unhappy. He appeared at the door of his office.

"C'mon, kids, there must be some stories happening. Get out there and find them. The news isn't going to come to us in here, you know - you've got to go out and meet it head-on. Even another Superman story would do. We haven't run one for a while and the public's still interested."

Lois rolled her eyes at Clark.

"Sir," Clark spoke up, "not even Superman has been seen lately."

"Maybe he's on holidays," Jimmy suggested. "I wish I was."

"Stop sitting around as if you were, and get out there. I want a story, with pictures, by tonight. Got it?" Perry returned to his office and closed the door forcefully to underline his point.

"Well, how are we to create a Superman story out of nothing?" Lois flung her arms out dramatically. She could feel the bad vibes coming from Clark, but decided to make him suffer. "I could always fall off a tall building - that usually gets his attention. And when he catches me, I could say, 'Excuse me, Superman, could you tell me what exciting summer pastime I've dragged you away from? No-boat water-skiing? Deep-sea fishing? Bird-watching?"

Clark laughed. "Definitely bird-watching." Lois looked at him quizzically and he raised an eyebrow slightly. Lois blushed. One-all. The blank look on Jimmy's face indicated that he'd lost the thread some time ago.

Recovering her composure, Lois said briskly, "Well, let's get out there. It can't be more dead on the streets than it is in here."


Part 2, by Michael Reynolds (aka Mezz)

"The darkness hides a lot of secrets."

The sewers stunk with a damp musty smell from many years of neglect and abuse. The poorly lit caverns hid many secrets and gave the illusion of many more. In many ways a forgotten time mirroring its forgotten occupant.

Luthor sat at the moldy crumbling table and placed the red 4 over the black 5. The cards themselves were shredded at the corners and barely legible. The hole poked through the center of the deck held a forgotten tale from a trip to Vegas. Not so long ago he ruled a vast economic empire. He had it all: money, women, fast cars, women, exquisite foods, and women. He was never alone then, every desire was satisfied at a moment's notice.

Then he met Lois at the Metropolis Charity Ball. Dressed in a stunning sequined green dress that left very little to the imagination, Lois commanded attention. She announced herself as the new investigative reporter for the Planet as Luthor handed her a drink. She was intriguing and resisted Luthor's advances. This piqued his interest, here was someone very special who was not afraid to speak her mind or fall prey to easy lines.


Wearing blue spandex and a flowing red cape, Superman flew into town and right into Lois' heart. Without so much thought, she leapt into his arms and seemed to melt at his every word. Superman wormed his way into Lois' heart and achieved in minutes what took Luthor years to cultivate. At first he ignored it thinking that he could beat Superman at his own game, but his pride wouldn't let him realize the truth.


Clark Kent, some milk toast reporter from Kansas, arrived around the same time as Superman. Luthor had read in discarded rags that Clark and Lois had become an item of sorts. Clark had even saved Luthor's life once then watched without remorse as he jumped out the window and plummeted to his death. Was it just an elaborate scheme just to get Lois; fool her into thinking Clark was a good guy then triumph over her? It was the only logical answer, he could accept no less. Now he played his card games alone. Solitaire, a game of dignity and pride, but also one of loneliness. He was trapped in his slowly deteriorating cloned body while every one else seemed to live so carefree.

Luthor was so engrossed in his game that he almost missed the special bulletin about Superman's secret id. He couldn't! He refused to think it was Clark! Later that night he caught Clark's rebuttal and Superman's subsequent arrival. Superman spoke saying that he kept his spare capes in Clark's apartment.

"He keeps his spare capes in Clark's apartment?!" Luthor thought out loud, "Spare!" Something clicked in Luthor's mind, "Why would Superman need spare capes? Unless they were of Earthly origin! Earthly origin meant purchases (custom spandex isn't cheap), which meant receipts and probably a 'host' family. A family that could be discovered and used to blackmail Superman into submission!"

He'd do it, not for himself, but for Lois. to win her back. Luthor plucked an ace of diamonds from his deck, "After all Diamonds are a Lex's best friend." Lex knew what he had to do.


Part 3, by Rene Gobeyn

"I take that back" said Lois when they finally got out of the lobby of the Planet building. The streets outside were almost abandoned. It seemed like the oppressive heat had driven everyone who didn't have to be there, indoors.

"Well, it's clear we won't find a story around here. If we're going to find a story to make Perry happy, we're going to have to look elsewhere. Jimmy, weren't you telling me about some guy out in the Hobb's Bay area winning a lot of money in the lottery last week?"

"Well yeah, CK, his name is Bippo or Bibby or something like that. He gave his address as the Ace-O-Clubs in Hobb's Bay. Why do you ask?"

"Well considering how slow things are right now a story about a Rags to Riches millionaire, might be enough for Perry. It's not a front page story, and I know it's not Superman but it's the only thing I can think of right now. Besides, Hobb's Bay rarely has anything good said about it. A follow-up story on this guy might be a good human interest piece."

"Well if you think I'm going to drive my Jeep out to Hobb's Bay you're crazy! I sure don't want to spend the rest of my day filling in police reports."

"OK, Lois, we'll take a cab. Jimmy, see if you can scare one up while I get the address of the Ace-O-Clubs."

The cab ride out to Hobb's Bay was uneventful, if nerve wracking. When the cab dropped them off in front of the bar, Lois wasn't sure what to expect. The Ace-o-Clubs wasn't as run down as she had expected. The trim had been recently painted, and the windows were clean. Inside the place was clean and well kept. Freshly painted, it looked more like a small neighborhood lunch counter than the working man's bar she had expected. The room was decorated with balloons and paper streamers. The newspaper articles about the lottery winner were framed and hung over the bar. The air conditioner was working overtime, and the inside of the bar was cool and comfortable. It was more crowded than what she had expected for 10 AM, with several rough looking men obviously more than a little drunk already.

About the only thing that looked out of place was the piano in the corner where she would have expected a juke box. The older man playing ragtime looked very familiar, then she remembered! He was Professor Hamilton, she hadn't seen or spoken to him since he had gotten into trouble for cloning the gangsters that had terrorized Metropolis a few months earlier.

Everyone was gathered around a large man wearing a Greek Fisherman's hat and bright blue T-shirt. The laughter and jokes stopped suddenly as the men at the bar noticed the newcomers. The big drunk at the bar stood up and asked with a big grin, "Can I help youse guys? You lost or somt'in? How's about a little drink? We're celebrtn."

"We're looking for a Mr. Bibbowski. We were told that we might be able to find him here." said Clark.

An even bigger, drunker man, pushed himself up from the bar and asked in a low threatening voice "And just who wants to know?"

end parts 1-3