"I think I know who he is."
Lex frowned at his dinner companion. "You know the man who broke into the last stockholder meeting, pointed at me and declared that I was the evil Segeeth?"
"It's just a guess and the security photos you showed me aren't very good. I haven't seen him in years but it looks so much like him and I don't think I've ever seen another guy like him, ever."
"Come on, Chloe, give me a clue. This guy's a maniac who apparently is super strong, can fly and has a heat ray weapon. Not only that but he seems to have something against me and is completely unbalanced."
Chloe sighed. "You have to understand the guy I'm thinking about . . . I haven't seen him in ten years. Remember that one summer in Metropolis when there was this string of bank robberies and someone ripped off the Daily Planet symbol off the building and threw it into a store window?"
"Yeah, I remember that. One time, the police had him surrounded, shot dozens of bullets into him and he wouldn't go down . . ."
"I think it was a friend of mine from Smallville named Clark Kent."
"I remember you telling me about all the freaks there. Was he one of them?"
"I used to think so but I can't help if he was something . . . different. That's besides the point right now. After the end of our sophomore year in school, there was an accident that killed both his parents. They were driving back home when their truck flipped over. There's no known cause for why that happened. What made it worse was that his mom was pregnant with his sister. I never saw him in Smallville after that."
"He must've been devastated."
"Well . . . a month later I found him partying it up at a club in Metropolis. Instead of his real name, he was calling himself Kal. It was like he made up this whole persona just so he wouldn't have to face what had happened. I kept trying to get through to him but . . . One day, I'm watching him whooping it up at a club again when I see this gorgeous blond walk up to him and tell him that he needs to come home with her. She's saying all sorts of crazy stuff like she's his cousin. Thing is . . . Clark's adopted and neither his mother or father had siblings, so I don't know what the hell she was talking about. Anyway, Clark's a pretty strong guy and he's not in the mood to hear her out. He pushes her away and she just belts him one, hard. He gets pissed off and tries to smack her back but she's taking all he's got and not even wincing. She just grabs hold of his wrist and pulls off this class ring he's been wearing for the past few months and crushes it under her feet. He just crumples and she holds him in her arms. She's promising that she's going to make things better and how it's all going to be fine. I'm about to walk up to them when they both disappear right in the middle of the dance floor. After that, the bank robberies stopped."
"So, what's he doing back? And what does he have against me?"
Chloe shook her head. "Honestly, I don't know."
2. The Lower Depths
"I can't believe you talked me into this," said Chloe as she followed her former archeology professor Lex as they walked in the underground caves. The super-powered flashlight she was holding was heavy. "Cave spelunking. I'm glad you warned me to wear my old clothes."
"Well, you did ask me what I've been doing for the past year."
"Yes, but I didn't imagine hiking in the dark. There aren't any bats here, are there? I'm not that keen on getting bat guano on my boots."
"No, there aren't any bats in this particular cavern. You didn't HAVE to follow me," he chided.
"You hinted that you found something that would totally blow my mind and didn't give me ANY details. How could I not follow you? Well?"
"Tell me what we're doing here!"
"It's all about my grand unifying theory that the people and the gods in various mythologies were actually aliens with technology indistinguishable from magic. I've gathered evidence of their presence and repeated visits to this planet over the years. According to some local legends and a map I got from another location, somewhere in this network of caves are some artifacts."
"If we do find something, I want to be credited as well."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"How far do these caverns go on for, anyway?"
The only thing they heard was the sound of their breathing and the skittering of insects and small salamanders that had adapted to living in the darkness of the cave.
It took a while for her eyes to adapt but she realized that there was a light up ahead. Lex also saw it as he began running. "Wait," she cried as she scrambled to keep up with him.
They ended up in an enormous cavern the size of the inside of a cathedral where there were gigantic hieroglyphs unlike any language that she knew of written in a spiral formation on the ceiling. There was also a octagon shaped hole on the wall near them. "I wonder," mused Lex as he began digging in his pocket and pulled out a key that appeared to fit that hole perfectly.
"What is that?" said Chloe.
"I found it during another excavation. I've been trying to find this for years." He was about to slip it into the hole.
"Lex, wait! You don't know what it'll do."
"You won't know until you try." Lex stepped towards the wall as if compelled. "Step back," he said as he put the key in the slot.
"Lex!" Chloe yelled as a beam of white light hit Lex in the chest. After the beam of light stopped streaming from the opening, Lex fell unto the cave floor. Horrified, she knelt by him and saw that he was unconscious and his eyes were completely filmed over. "Oh, my God!" What am I going to do? I don't know how to get back? Even if I did know how to get back, I can't carry him? What am I going to do? I'd call someone but I doubt my cell phone would reach anybody? What's happened to him?
The turmoil in her mind prevented her from noticing immediately that another part of the cavern wall had begun to shine and that a handsome naked man had walked out . . .
3. President of the Warrior Angel Fan Club Association
"Chloe," said Perry. "I've got an assignment for you."
Chloe, sitting at her desk at the Daily Planet, looked up at Perry with a little trepidation. As the reporter with the least seniority, he often gave her the worst assignments. "Yes?"
"I want you to interview the President of the Warrior Angel Fan Club."
"What's Warrior Angel?"
"A comic book."
Chloe groaned. She could just see him now. Someone who looked like the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons and would sneer at her for not knowing the difference between Warrior Angel and Wonder Woman.
"Oh, come on, Chloe. It's not so bad. His name is Lex Luthor."
Chloe gave Perry a look. "You mean he's one of THE Luthors, related to Julian Luthor, head of Luthercorp?"
"Yes, exactly." Perry smiled. "And if you play your cards right and bring back an interview that's more than just about a fluff story about drawings of men in tights, I might get you something more . . . meaty."
"I'll do my best, Chief." Yes! she thought.
"Yes, I am."
"Do you happen to know who Warrior Angel is?"
"Well, I did do a little research." A little, hah! Chloe thought as she looked around the penthouse. I spent hours googling on the net for information and went to my local comic shop to look through some of the current issues AND talked to the comic shop owner.
"Good . . . I hate having to explain the basics to someone who didn't bother to get ready," said Lex as he sat down on his brown leather sofa. "Is there anything you'd like to eat or drink?"
"No thank you. I already had a cappuccino before I came here," she said as she sat down on the opposite end. She put down her recorder and turned it on. "What do you do as President of the Warrior Fan Club?"
"I oversee the website that updates daily on what's available in the comics, information about the upcoming movie and post any rumors about a possible television show in development. There's also a section for both fan fiction and fan art. There's also a section on the history and the various versions of this character since Warrior Angel has existed for several decades."
"Does anybody else in your family share your particular interest?"
Lex sighed. "I'm afraid not. My father used to think it was a waste of time and my brother likes to tease me about it."
"That's too bad. I was wondering how you felt about the arrival of Superman in our fair city, doing some of the things . . ."
There was a knock at the door.
"Ignore that," said Lex.
The knocking became a pounding. "I know you're in there, Lex," said a voice from outside.
"One minute," said Lex as he got up and opened the door. "Julian, what a surprise," he said in a voice that suggested the opposite.
"Hey, Lex, I thought we could go out for lunch," said the tall smiling brunette with green eyes. "I finished the deal early and wanted to celebrate with you." He saw Chloe sitting on the couch. "Oh, hi, didn't see you there. And you are?"
Chloe smiled. "I'm Chloe Sullivan, reporter from the Daily Planet."
"She was interviewing me for an article regarding Warrior Angel," said Lex, looking rather irritated.
"I'm sorry to interrupt."
"I told you last night I was having an interview. Surprisingly enough, you seem to have a photographic memory except when it comes to interrupting any and all interviews I happen to have."
"Are you going to have lunch with me or not?"
Chloe watched in amusement as the two brothers squabbled. So glad my recorder's on, she thought.
"I'll meet you in the garage when my interview's done, all right? Now go!"
"I'll be waiting for you." The man left.
"Do you two always argue like that?" Chloe asked as Lex shut the door.
"It started when he was adopted and it's never stopped. What were you asking when he interrupted?" Lex said as he sat back down.
"I was wondering if you think that the appearance of Superman in our fair city will have any influence on the popularity or representation of Warrior Angel? Especially since the artists of the comic happen to live in Metropolis."
"I hope not. Warrior Angel existed before Superman and will probably exist after him. They're two different entities and I hope that people like Warrior Angel based on how he's portrayed and not what this . . . other person happens to be doing. That reminds me, Warriorcon is coming up in a few months. Interested in doing an article about that?"
"I'll consider it."
As Chloe continued her interview, she wondered at what truly went on between the two and why the adopted son was head of the company instead of the elder. It was most . . . curious.
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