by Amy Wolf
Clark Kent. Goddamnit.
Who the hell was Clark Kent?
Some suit trailing around after Lois Lane. An old friend of Ross's from way back in nowheresville. A pesky byline slapped on another Daily Planet mudsling. Nice ass, but nobody worth noticing.
Certainly not a goddamn super-alien.
But when he'd offed the alien (finally!), the whole can of worms came open. First was Lane, frantically hunting down her partner, even more than she was trying to find Superman. He'd thrown his resources behind it, of course. He'd been feeling magnanimous, since he'd finally gotten a deathtrap that worked (Kryptonite in town water supply. That obsession with Metropolis had to mean something.) Then a few more details, Kent's parents clearing his apartment before it could be searched for clues. He'd apparently been 'sick' before his disappearance, part of the reason why Lois was so worried. Odd habits of running off, history of strange incidents, enough to give Lex and idea. So he'd cut to the chase, grabbed Ma and Pa Kent, and asked them flat out. He'd gotten the truth with a little sodium pentathol. No sense being cruel to the grieving parents.
Clark Kent was Superman.
Finding out his secret identity, was secondary to killing him of course, but still pretty cool. He wooed the teary-eyes Lois Lane, expanded his Hong Kong operations and had his spin doctors position him as suitably regretful on the tragic disappearance of Superman.
Until the godddamn alien robot showed up.
Lex always knew a menace from Krypton would doom the planet. He'd just figured it would be the alien. But it was the computer that ate Metropolis, and by now, probably half the United States.
Lex had been planning on becoming President of the United States. No giant alien computer would stop him.
Lex stepped into the giant concrete chamber. A giant set of interlocking wheels, lit by pale violet lights. No reason, he just liked the color. In the center was a spherical cage,, with a chair bolted to the sides. In that chair sat Mercy.
"You don't have to do this." It's true. He hadn't even asked her to.
She smiled up at him, eyes shining. "You or me, boss. My job is to protect you from unnecessary risks."
Lex knew better than to argue with Mercy. "You're sure of the parameters of your mission?"
"Divert Luthorcorps accounts to make the Smallville plant the most attractive position for your management efforts. Arrange an accident, ensuring that you become familiar with the alien's powers. Extract myself from history." She spoke the last phrase with the same tone she'd use to describe doing a background check on his dry cleaner.
Lex stepped back. "Deploy the device."
Wheels turned, lights flashed, electricity crackled and Mercy Graves vanished into history.
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