"So," said Lex to the woman sitting next to him on the shuttle a couple hours into the flight. "Why are you going to Krypton?" He didn't usually talk to people on flights but she was attractive and the flight was going to be longer than usual since it was interplanetary. Also, he hadn't expected anybody other than his staff to be going.
"I'm a reporter from the Daily Planet," she said, smiling at the irony of the name of the newspaper she was representing. "They decided that I should be their correspondent and send them articles from there."
"I'm surprised that you took the offer."
Chloe gave him a look. "Are you kidding me? I'm being sent to the only other planet with intelligent life and get to break stories nobody else will be able to touch. Please. Besides, I think that aliens have got to be more interesting than us boring humans, right?"
"I only meant that you might get homesick."
Chloe shrugged. "The only family I have back home is my father and we're not that close. As for friends, most of them are at the Daily Planet. I'll be in contact with them via the computer system they set up for me. Besides, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A lot of other newspapers applied to send a reporter to Krypton. My application was the one that was chosen."
"I didn't catch your name," said Lex.
"Chloe Sullivan and you're Lex Luthor, our ambassador. How does it feel to be representing our planet?"
"Already angling for an interview?"
"I'm afraid that you're going to have to go through my secretary to set up a proper place and time once we get to our destination."
"I'll be sure to do that. I am curious about one thing, though."
"As long as it's off the record."
"It is. I was told that before I would be allowed to be a resident on the planet, I would have to attend a personal audience with their Emperor Kal-El."
"I was told the same thing," said Lex.
"Do you know anything about him? I'd hate to embarrass myself."
"I don't know much about him, myself, except that Kryptonians in general are not an easy people to get along with. I will say that the hologram I was given of him showed a man who would be beautiful according to our standards."
"I hope that the food there is edible."
"If you happen to visit the consulate, I'm sure I can get my cook to make a reasonable facsimile of any comfort food you might be craving. Also, I have enough pull to get food straight from Earth."
"You're not trying to make sure you stay on my good side, are you?"
"Small price to pay for good press."
It was then that the shuttle began shaking as if it had encountered turbulence despite the fact that it had already left the atmosphere a long time ago.
"What's going on?" said Chloe.
"I don't know."
2. In My Blood
Crap, Chloe thought as she sat in front of the man she put in jail. He hinted that he had something important to say about Lex and me. What could it possibly be?
The man had his hair cut close to his scalp, making him look like a shorn lion. He still had presence, however, even in orange prison fatigues. He smiled at her as he sat across the table from her.
"What is it that you want?" said Chloe.
"I've got something important to tell you."
"You said it's about something connecting Lex and me."
"Do you know why your mother's insane?"
Chloe snapped, "It's hereditary."
"Oh, that's only one factor. Truth is . . . I put her there."
"What are you saying? Are you saying you made her nuts? That you gave her something?" Chloe said, nearly standing up and wanting to reach across and scratch some flesh from his face. It was already too much that he had come after her and her friends but this . . .
Lionel chuckled. "You don't understand. It appears just my very presence seems to be toxic to the women in my life."
"Women in your . . . life?" A flush of realization hit her. "You mean my mother and you . . ."
"You're lying to hurt me. This is the only way you can get back to me because you can't do anything else."
"I'm your father, Chloe."
Chloe blinked then laughed. "Come on."
"Take a blood test and see if you're related to Lex. The truth of my words will be easy to prove."
She maintained a mocking expression but felt uneasy.
Her source had asked her to meet him near a remote rural road. It was the first time she had ever met him. Whatever trepidation she had about meeting him was only somewhat lessened by the fact that he had given her excellent information over the past few months about the inner workings of Luthercorp and the various experiments that had been going.
When she saw him, she was terribly surprised to see what he looked like. He was tall, bald, thin and in blue pajamas. "You're Chloe Sullivan, aren't you? Please let me in."
"Who are you?"
"I'm your source, code name Olympias' son."
She popped open the door and he got in. He was obviously not wearing any shoes. As they drove off, she noticed that his hands were bloody. "What happened?"
"I escaped from where I was being held."
"And where was that?"
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