By Jon Knutson
Summary: Superman deals with an eco-terrorist. Based on Jerry Ordway's story in Superman #46 (second series).
Jon Knutson's "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" Substitute Episode #3:
Based on the story by Jerry Ordway in Superman (second series) 46
Lois and Clark are at the steps of City Hall, where a presentation is going to be made to Superman thanking him for what he's done for the citizens of Metropolis. Of course, Superman hasn't shown up yet, which Lois remarks on. Clark suggests that Superman may be tied up with something else, and recommends they give up on the story. Lois disagrees with this, insisting Superman will show up. Clark expresses his doubts, and tells Lois if she wants to wait there, she can, but he's got another story he could be working on. Lois tells him he'll be sorry, but Clark leaves anyway. Shortly after Clark leaves, Superman flies in to accept the honor, a plaque with his insignia on it which has been set into the sidewalk in front of City Hall. Lois remarks to herself that she told Clark he'd miss Superman, pauses for a moment, and asks, "I wonder…?" After a few seconds consideration, she says, "Nah!"
We see a series of images accompanied by a voice-over. The voice-over warns that the future of Earth is global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, and other ecological disasters. A new series of images appears, of a gleaming domed city, which the voice-over announces is the biosphere, an environmentally perfect, self-sufficient city of the future! The biosphere will feature everything necessary for life, and is completely self-sustaining. The images fade, and the lights come up in an auditorium where we see the images have been slides, and the voice-over was being done by Sven Elven. He wraps up his presentation by telling the gathered crowd (which includes Lois and Clark) that the future is in their hands. Clark asks Lois what she thinks, and she is suspicious, saying Elven's hands are in everyone's pockets. Clark does admit that many of the persons in the audience are some of the wealthiest people in America. Elven continues, saying that we have the technology, but he needs financial support. Clark and Lois talk about what Elven's saying, agreeing that life on earth is threatened by ecological disaster, but Lois points out that although we cringe at the cost of cleaning up pollution, the money is gladly spent on video projection systems.
Meanwhile, back at the Daily Planet, the city room is nearly completely abandoned, except for Jimmy, who is typing steadily away on a computer terminal. As we look closer, we see Jimmy is responding to electronic mail. Jimmy is concentrating on his typing that he doesn't notice Perry standing over him until Perry clears his throat. Startled, Jimmy assures Perry that he's not spending any of the Planet's money… he's using a personal e-mail account. As Perry reads Jimmy's e-mail response, we discover that Jimmy's telling the person he's e-mailing that he and Superman are very close friends, and that everyone at the Planet refers to him as "Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen." Perry laughs this off, saying it's probably harmless enough.
Back at the presentation, a buffet for the attendees is under way. As Lois and Clark sit at their table, plates laden with food, they are approached by a representative from one of the local television affiliates, who tries to interest them in hosting their evening news program. Clark tells the representative that he's happy at the Planet, but Lois seems interested. The rep tells them it's the two of them or nothing, and since Clark won't budge, the rep goes to another table, where a different pair of journalists is sitting.
Lois start to complain to Clark, but Elven has asked for everyone's attention. He begins to thank everyone for attending, but he is interrupted by a man who tells Elven that Elven's just talking about building strongholds, not about saving the planet. We pan to the source of the voice to find a man in a trenchcoat.
The man in the trenchcoat continues, saying the planet's going to hell in a handbasket, and Elven wants the attendees to buy their safety from a future their own industries are helping to create, rather than using the money to clean their own backyards up. Lois agrees with this sentiment, and Clark suggests the man may be armed, which an x-ray check reveals to be the case. Elven asks the man what gives him the right to stand there and condemn his plan, to which the man says he was invited. Elven promptly uninvites him, and has security escort the man out of the building.
Lois tells Clark they're leaving. Clark protests, saying he's not finished eating, to which Lois once again wonders how Clark can eat so much and stay in such good shape. She promises to buy Clark a cheeseburger later if he's still hungry, but she wants to talk to the man in the trenchcoat.
As the exit the exhibition hall, they see the man being thrown out by security. The man stands up, warning them that they haven't seen the last of Tobias Manning. Lois tries to get Manning's attention, but Manning gets into a compact car and drives away, ignoring Lois. Lois asks Clark why Manning's name sounds so familiar, but Clark isn't able to place it himself, suggesting they should be able to find out something about him at the Planet.
When the two arrive at the Planet, Jimmy's just finishing up his e-mail, and sends it off. Clark asks Jimmy who he's e-mailing, and Jimmy says he met someone on a computer bulletin board who's interested in him. Lois teases Jimmy about this for a moment, but Clark just warns Jimmy to be careful, and then reminds Lois they're at the Planet for a reason. As Jimmy leaves for home, Clark starts searching the Planet database, which reveals that Tobias Manning used to be the plant manager at a Lexcorp factory on the outskirts of Metropolis until he made claims that waste products were being dumped directly into Hobbs Bay. However, an investigation by Lexcorp revealed nothing of the sort was happening, and Manning was fired for "crying wolf." After what's been discovered about Luthor since then, however, Lois and Clark both suspect Manning was right, and it was covered up.
According to the database, Manning's been active in several environmental grass roots organizations since then, but he hasn't been heard from in some time. There's also no current address available for Manning. Lois suspects Manning will surface again real soon, as does Clark.
Later that evening, after the festivities have ended at the exhibition hall, Elven leaves, entering his limousine. He orders the driver to take him home, but after a few minutes, the driver makes a left turn instead of a right. He tells the driver that he made a wrong turn, but the driver insists he's going to the right location. Turning to face Elven, we find the driver is Manning. Manning tells Elven that he could have done this the easy way, but now he'll have to discover the truth the hard way.
The next morning, at the Planet, Jimmy's received a response to his last e-mail, that says this person, who calls herself "Babe," wants to meet Jimmy. Jimmy's ecstatic about this, but Perry reminds him that Jimmy doesn't know what "Babe" looks like, or what she's like in any way. Jimmy is certain that Perry's wrong… that he knows "Babe" from her e-mail, and that he's going to send back an e-mail to "Babe" suggesting they meet at a nearby restaurant that evening. Perry wishes Jimmy luck, and continues to his office, where he passes by Lois and Clark, who are watching a news program, which announces that Elven seems to be missing. The two believe Manning might have something to do with it. Lois wants to search for Elven, but Clark points out they don't have the slightest idea where to look for him. Lois suggest that's never stopped them before, and she drags Clark out of the city room.
Meanwhile, at a closed-down factory outside of Metropolis, Elven is tied to a chair. Manning, who is dressed in western-style wear, tells Elven that he's tired of large corporations polluting the planet for personal gain, and that since Luthor's no longer around, Elven is number two on his list. He goes on to tell Elven what kind of effects this factory had on the surrounding land and wildlife, noting that Elven didn't shut down the factory until it was no longer profitable… and even then, didn't clean it up before closing. However, Manning's been busy with the chemicals and equipment left behind, and he plans to use what he's developed.
Elven asks what Manning will do to him, to which Manning simply says he's going to teach him a lesson. Manning pulls a gun from his holster, and Elven begs Manning not to kill him. Manning tells Elven that he's not going to kill him… he's just going to put him to sleep. He fires the gun, which shoots a small dart into Elven. As Elven loses consciousness, Manning tells him the dart is environmentally safe, being composed of frozen chemicals which will dissolve into Elven's bloodstream.
Elsewhere, Lois and Clark have been traveling around Metropolis, searching for Elven to no avail. Lois is starting to get frustrated, to which Clark says that they should've come up with some kind of a plan. Lois' pager goes off then, and when Lois calls back to the planet on her cellular phone, she discovers that someone calling himself Terra-Man called for her, saying that if she wants a story, she should show up at a field outside Metropolis. Lois is going to ignore this, but Clark says they may as well go after the story they can get… besides, Manning is an environmentalist, and Terra-Man could be related to it somehow.
They arrive at the field, which Lois remembers going to picnics at as a child. However this field is no place to have a picnic at now. The grass is dead, trees are dried up, and there is no sign of wildlife other than a few dead animals. A stream running through it is polluted. Clark uses his telescopic vision to discover the stream passes by a factory once run by Elven, and remarks on this to Lois (not noting how he discovered this was the case). Manning calls out to the pair, telling them that once this field was lush, but Elven's factory has turned it into a wasteland. It's now up to Terra-Man to teach Elven the folly of his ways. Manning steps aside to reveal Elven, tied up, still groggy from the knockout drug. Manning lifts Elven up with one hand (which makes Lois remark that Manning must be very strong), and announces that Elven is about to find the results of his ignorance first-hand, tossing Elven into the polluted stream.
Elven struggles to free himself while simultaneously trying not to drown in the stream. Lois and Clark start running towards him, but Terra-Man says they won't be able to help Elven. He then pulls a gun on the pair, which causes Lois and Clark to run for cover, Clark purposefully choosing different cover from Lois. Lois screams at Manning that he can't let Elven die, to which Manning replies he's not going to kill Elven, just teach him a lesson. Meanwhile, Elven is struggling even more, and finally goes under.
Superman flies in, and pulls Elven out, breaking his bonds. Terra-Man tells Superman he has no quarrel with him, only with Elven. Lois comes out of her cover, yelling to Clark that it's okay, Superman is there. Superman advances on Terra-Man, saying that no matter what Elven's done, that doesn't give Terra-Man the right to kidnap him. Terra-Man fires several darts at Superman, but they simply crumble against him. Terra-Man says he can't let Superman stop him, and pulls a remote control from a pocket and thumbs a button before Superman can stop him.
Suddenly, there is a strange wind rushing through the field, with a bizarre mist incorporated in it. Terra-Man shouts that he'll show the world the way before his voice is lost in the wind. Superman grabs Lois and Elven and takes them behind a large boulder for protection. Lois asks Superman about making sure Clark is safe, and Superman tells her he can see Clark's okay.
The wind and mist die down, and as Lois, Elven and Superman look on, they find the wind and mist have become a twister that is moving into the sky. Superman flies up towards it, but it dissipates before he can reach it.
Landing back at the field, he tells Lois there's no sign of Manning, or Terra-Man, or whatever he's calling himself, anywhere. Lois tells Superman that's not all there's no sign of, and points to the stream, which a microscopic vision scan reveals is now clean of all pollutants, as is the ground in the field. Superman suggests that now nature can restore this field to its former natural glory. He also suggests to Elven that he start thinking about making his factories more environmentally friendly in the future, unless he wants a return visit by Terra-Man in the future. Lois is amazed at the results of Terra-Man's feat, but Superman warns her that there are no shortcuts to cleaning up the planet… it's taken many years to cause the pollution, and it'll take many more to clean it up. Superman tells Lois he has to go now, and flies off. Lois wonders where Clark is, and starts to call his name. Clark walks out, his clothes disheveled, and tells her he's okay, but he apparently missed Superman again.
Later, at a restaurant near the Planet, Lois and Clark are with Jimmy in the lobby. Jimmy thanks them for coming along, since he was so nervous about meeting "Babe" by himself. Clark tells Jimmy he wouldn't miss this for anything, but Lois is obviously not happy to be there. Teenage girl enters the restaurant, which Jimmy looks at and tells Clark as an aside that he thought nerds were extinct in Metropolis. Clark starts to respond to this when the girl goes to the hostess and says she's looking for Jimmy. Lois gets a devious look in her eyes, and pushes Jimmy forward, telling the girl this is Jimmy. The girl tells Jimmy he's real cute, and she'll be back in a few minutes. Jimmy looks at Lois and Clark and says he is not going to stick around for this, and that he's getting out of the restaurant by the back way. As Jimmy leaves, Lois and Clark start to talk about how Jimmy should have known better when the girl re-enters the restaurant, accompanied by a young woman who is very attractive, whom we discover is her sister. The girl tells her sister that Jimmy's right inside, and that she knew he'd be okay. We discover that the sister is "Babe," and used her younger sister's computer. Lois tells "Babe," that Jimmy got cold feet, which disappoints her, and the two leave. Clark asks Lois if they should tell Jimmy, but Lois says Jimmy's probably feeling bad enough as it is.