Superman and The Shadow Matchmaker Chronicles Volume 0.5 22/26

Rated PG-13

/ “text”/ indicates telepathic communication
*text* indicates bold
<text> indicates thoughts
{text} indicates over the telephone

Universal Locator designation Alpha 023 x Gamma 004 x Tau -120 – Prime
Universal Locator designation Alpha 025 x Gamma - 086 x Tau 142 Alt 25 Shadow


Preeviously


Outside in the van, Lisa could still see two silhouettes in the room so she pulled the trigger on the RPG. A she did, the rocket fired and the grenade streaked toward the window.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Clark’s super-hearing picked up the firing of the rocket and as it punched through the glass, he was ready, catching it in mid-air, before it could hit anything and detonate.

Faux Lois heard the breaking of the glass, but by the time she was able to look up, Clark was holding the RPG in his hand. She exclaimed, “What the…”

He shrugged, said, “Later,” spun into his Suit and zoomed out the window, landing in the street, in front of the van. Lisa had just managed to get it into gear and start to drive away when the van was stopped by Superman’s out stretched hand. She saw that in the other he held the RPG. He lifted it and wiggled it to make sure she saw it.

He asked, “Lose something?”

Superman smiled confidently and then noticed just who was driving. He also heard Hank West playing softly on the radio. In startled recognition, he blurted out, “Miss Rockford?”

Lisa glanced at Superman, then clinched her jaw. Superman walked around to her door and pulled it open. A second later faux Lois ran up. As she did, Lisa's head lolled back against the seat and her eyes closed.

Not realizing that there was anything amiss, Superman said, “Would you mind stepping out of the van, please, Miss Rockford?”

When she didn’t move to comply, Superman was puzzled. He leaned in close and his super sense of smell picked up an odd odor - bitter almonds. Concerned, he reached for and felt for a pulse at the side of her neck. Not finding a pulse, he straightened up and said, “She’s dead.”

Mystified, faux Lois asked, “But how?”

“The scent of bitter almonds - cyanide.”

Faux Lois stood there in shocked amazement staring at the dead super model. She blurted out, “She tried to kill us and then killed herself when she was caught.”



And now:


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Chapter 22 –
1995
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Universal Locator designation
Alpha 023 x Gamma 004 x Tau -120 – Prime
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Faux Lois had called the police. She and Superman had waited for their arrival, making sure that no one disturbed the crime scene.

While the detectives investigated the van and the paramedics dealt with the body, faux Lois and Superman had an opportunity to talk. Still in a quandary, faux Lois said, “I mean, it's just so bizarre. She's a Supermodel. What would she be doing trying to kill us?”

In reply, Superman said, ‘I haven't a clue. I can't even imagine how she got a grenade launcher.”

Faux Lois, quipped, “Maybe she got it in Milan.” Superman, not connecting, gave her a quizzical look, “That's a joke. Stress relief. Something us non-invulnerable people do a lot in terrifying situations? Do you realize that this is twice in as many months that someone has tried to kill me?”

He shrugged it off and said, “Typical for Lois Lane. Now, about Lisa, she must have been pretty terrified to take that cyanide.”

With a thoughtful look, faux Lois offered, “Or dedicated.”

Superman called over to one of the detectives, “If there's nothing else, I'd like to escort Ms. Lane back to her apartment.”

The detective he addressed turned around and it was detective ‘Carter’ or Voss as he was known to the Nazis. He said, “Be my guest.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Faux Lois was the first one in the apartment. She was nervous, angry and scared. “Clark, nothing like this ever happened with me and Lamont. Nobody has ever tried to kill me before, at least not for being me. I mean, I’ve been caught by crooks, but it was incidental to the case. It was just convenient for them to grab me.to use me as a hostage, that sort of thing. Is this what you and she go through all the time?”

“Unfortunately, it happens all too often, but it will be okay.”

“I don’t know how she handles it. I don’t know if I could.”

“It seems to be an unfortunate fact of our lives. It is because of what we do; investigate crime and corruption, that we are targets.”

“Lamont investigates crime and I help him, but it isn’t out in the open like what you and Lois do. If not for the fact that you are secretly Superman, she would have succeeded. We’d both be dead now. If there was anything that would make me want to go back, that’s it. With Lamont, I work in the background and no one knows of my involvement with The Shadow. As far as the world knows, I’m Margot Lane, daughter of Sam Lane the respected surgeon and girlfriend of a wealthy man-about-town who most people think of as a dilettante.”

“I know, Lois, but it’s okay.”

“No, it's not that. I mean, it is, but it isn't. It's just … all these brushes with death; who knows what's going to happen next? We always think life's going to go on and on and on, but maybe it won't. I was almost killed by that terrorist, Anonymous, now a Supermodel for heaven’s sake. You know what I'm saying? I want to be back with Lamont. I find myself wishing that this Tempus guy would show up and correct this situation.”

“He won’t do it willingly. We still have to convince him that he made a mistake.”

Breaking in on them is a knock on the door. Then they heard Jimmy’s voice, “Lois, are you okay?! I just heard what happened!”

Faux Lois looked at Superman in his uniform and whispers, "Change.”

As she headed for the door, she said, "Um … just a minute,” Superman did his spin change into Clark and after glancing over her shoulder to make sure he has changed, she opened the door.

Apparently Jimmy had run up the five flights because. he was breathless as he said, “I came back to tell you something I just remembered, and then I ran into all those cops and ... and ... I'm not interrupting anything, am I?”

“No, Jimmy. We were just going over those documents you gave us when Lisa Rockford tried to kill us. Fortunately for us, Superman had just dropped in for a visit.”

“That's what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Oh, and what was that?”

“There was one thing I noticed. About two years ago, there was a brief string of burglaries, and attempted burglaries, where the guys spoke German. They never caught 'em, though. Weird, huh?”

“I’d say that qualifies. Thanks, Jimmy” Clark replied and closed the door as Jimmy exited.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The next morning, faux Lois and Clark were both at their desks going through the documents that Jimmy had provided when Perry came up and stood between them. He asked, “Where’s that bomb threat story?”

Looking up, faux Lois replied, “We’re working on it, Chief.”

Clark added, “Lisa Rockford tried to kill us last night. We think the stories are related.”

Perry was incredulous and his reply sarcastic as he said, “No. Really? What'd she try to do, beat you to death with her eyelashes?” When Clark didn’t rise to the bait, he changed his tone, “You're serious?”

Speaking matter-of-factly, faux Lois replied, “Rocket propelled grenade through the window. Fortunately, Superman was there, we were talking to him about the bomb threat.”

Stunned, Perry blurted out, “Lisa Rockford?! That's incredible; I mean, it's unbelievable. This is huge! What else have you got?!”

Clark replied, “We traced the serial numbers from the launcher to the National Intelligence Agency, but – “

Perry interrupted, “Lisa Rockford's a spy for the NIA? Who's next, Madonna? No, no, the whole thing stinks. The NIA would never leave serial numbers on anything. Sounds like somebody's trying to frame 'em to me. Now if I had half a brain, I'd check overseas; terrorist groups, that kind of thing, see if there's any connection to her.”

Faux Lois replied, “Thanks, Perry.”

Perry nodded and turned away, but then he stopped and turned. Thoughtfully, he said, “Say, I know I've been kind of short-tempered and irritable lately. I've been quick to judge and quick to condemn. Sometimes I've even been downright mean, and I just want to say ... you can expect a lot more of it.” This time, he turned and headed for his office, he almost made it too, but he was intercepted by Skip.

“Um, Mr. White, I wonder if I might talk to you about – “

Perry was in no mood to put up with his whining, and said, “Not now, Skip, I'm on a rampage.”

Faux Lois had been watching Perry, but she got up and moved to Clark’s guest chair. Quietly she asked, “Supermodel or terrorist? Supermodel or terrorist? How do you wake up in the morning and decide to be that? You know what has been bothering me, what is a Supermodel anyway. We didn’t have them in my time.”

Clark chuckled low and replied, “Supermodels are the women that you see on the covers of fashion magazines wearing all the designer clothes, or as in Lisa Rockford’s case, a bikini. Still, that’s a good question. Let's start with her background, see if anything turns up.” He glanced around to make sure that no one was paying him any attention and then typed at super-speed for a brief time and then stopped. He commented on what was on his computer screen, “Interesting. There's a birth certificate on record at Mercy hospital in Metropolis, but no record of her parents checking in or out. “

Faux Lois asked, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Nodding, Clark replied, “Maybe her birth certificate is a fake.”

Faux Lois suggested, “Let’s see what we can do with her fingerprints.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

While all of this was going on at the Daily Planet, in the underground bunker, Hank was sitting at a console which had several TV monitors. He was watching clips of Superman rescues and one of a recent event where he recited the pledge of allegiance to the U.S.

Steve was pacing nervously, nearby. Suddenly he stopped, turned on Hank and almost shouted, “She knew what she was doing!”

There was resignation in his tone as Hank replied, “We have to postpone.”

Steve smacked his fist into his other palm as he said, “We are an army waiting to strike! An army doesn't stop because one soldier dies!”

Shaking his head, Hank replied, “She wasn't just a soldier, she was one of us! We have been weakened; we must be strong again before we can strike.”

Sneeringly, Steve replied, “The truth is, you don't want to strike! That'd be an end to all your adoring, cow-like fans.”

Weakly, Hank replied, “Stop it.”

Steve pressed on, “I mean, how can you like people stupid enough to follow a celebrity?!”

Hank rebutted, “They’re not stupid!”

As if he had won his point, Steve shouted, “See?! You've turned your back on the Fatherland!” He continued in a sneering tone, “All you want to do is stay on tour and rake in your millions! It's the American way!”

Finally, Hank had had enough and he leaped up from his chair. He replied with emotion, “The Fatherland is gone! The War is gone! Don't you see?! All we are … are the last echoing death throes of an idea buried fifty years ago!”

With the fervency of fanaticism, Steve replied, “ No! We can still win! The idea lives!” As he finishes his statement, he pulled a luger from a holster at his side.

Hank only had time to put up his hands and shout, “No!” before Steve pulled the trigger and shot him.

Hank had a pained expression as he collapsed to the floor.

Steve replied to Hank’s last statement, “I say, yes.”

Voss, the erstwhile ‘Detective Carter’ and several others witnessed the shooting and gesturing with his Lugar Steve addressed them, “Remove the traitor.”

They were stunned by the event, but jumped to comply with their orders. As they did, Steve thrust is Lugar back into its holster.

Once they were out of the room, Steve approached the console and hit a few buttons. When he did the monitors lit up and the same people that had been on the screens previously appeared again.

Senator Black asked, “Where is Western Reich Fuhrer Von Hagen?”

In a hardened tone, Steve replied, “He has been executed for treason.”

The TV anchorman was skeptical, “Treason?”

Senator Black challenged, “On whose authority?”

In a no-nonsense tone, Steve replied, “Mine. He wanted to dismantle the organization. Any further questions?”

They were all silent for a time as they digested the information. Finally Senator Black broke the silence, “No. If necessary, all dissenters should be dealt with that way.”

Nodding, Steve gave his orders, “Good. The time has come then.” He addressed the TV anchorman, “Do your story in exactly thirty minutes.” He snapped the Nazi salute and said, “To the New Reich.”

A little weakly, the TV anchorman replied, “To the New Reich.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Faux Lois was watching eagerly as Clark’s computer worked. Finally it beeped and the display changed. On the screen was displayed a pair of fingerprints and across the bottom the words “MATCH FOUND.” Exuberantly, faux Lois exclaimed, “Got her.”

Text started to fill the screen as the complete file was displayed. Faux Lois asked, “What language is that?”

Clark replied, “Russian.”

Astounded, faux Lois asked, “Are there any languages you don’t know?”

Clark smiled as he replied, “Sometimes I have trouble understanding you.”

Faux Lois made a face as Clark started to explain, “This is some kind of declassified Russian military document. Let's see, her name is Liesl Scholtzklink. Born in Hamburg, Germany, October seventeenth, nineteen-twenty-one.”

Faux Lois was shocked, “What? She looks great for being seventy-four years old.”

“I know it seems impossible, but that's what it says.” His brow furrowed in puzzlement as he continued reading, “Member of the Nazi party. And was part of Operation Gotterdammerung.” He scrolled down further and continued reading, “Which was a secret Nazi experiment ... in suspended animation.”

“I’d say it worked. How many people did they do this to?”

Just as Lois said that, Perry, followed by Jimmy, burst out of his office and pointing at the TV monitor shouted, “Turn that thing up!”

As the sound was turned up everyone looked at the display which had brought the chief out of his office. It read, “SPECIAL BULLITIN!”

Without taking his eyes off the display, Perry said, “Lois and Clark, get ready to roll.”

As he finished saying this, the display was replaced by a head shot of the TV anchorman who started reading an announcement, “This word just in, five mining engineers are believed to be trapped at the bottom of an abandoned coal mine at the Metropolitan United Coal fields. Located in Westminster County five miles from downtown Metropolis, the engineers entered mine shaft number Seventy-Three about eight-thirty this morning to conduct a feasibility study on reopening the mine. Once known for its high quality --

Clark started to edge his way out of the bullpen. As he did, he said, “I just remembered, I left uh…”

Faux Lois had become quite adept at providing alibis for Clark’s disappearances. She supplied, “…the name of that friend of yours, the mining engineer...”

Clark picked up on it, “uh, right, in Lois's car. I'll be right back.”

As Clark dashed away, Perry turned to faux Lois and said, “Now that's what I like to see around here, some pep!” He turned and pegged Jimmy with his eye.

Jimmy replied, “Pep’s my middle name,” and smiled weakly.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

As soon as Clark was out of sight, he did his spin change into his uniform and took off for the site of the emergency. Within a very few seconds he was at the Metropolitan United Coal mine shaft entrance. Standing nearby was a van emblazoned with the logo of Metropolitan United Coal, but it was deserted. Going on the idea that the workers had gone into the shaft itself, he supersped inside, but the shaft itself also seemed to be deserted. He called out, “Hello?!!! Can anybody hear me?” There was no response and seeing a fresh pile of rocks he went on the assumption that they could be under it, so at super speed he started to clear it away. He was expecting a body, but he stopped when he uncovered something metallic. He muttered, “What the?” and tried to use his x-ray vision; however, it was blocked. He muttered, “Lead!” but that was swallowed up in the explosion.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Back in the newsroom the broadcast had cut off and almost as soon as it did, everyone felt a tremor pass through the building.

Jimmy was the first to find his voice, “Did I feel what I just think I just felt?”

Faux Lois answered, “It felt like an earthquake.”

Perry answered her, “There hasn't been an earthquake in Metropolis in forty years. Lois – “

Jimmy was the first to see the TV screens come back to life. “Hey, look.” He pointed towards the monitors. There was a moment of static on every channel and then suddenly all the screens displayed the same image: a large American flag completely filling the screen.

Awestruck, faux Lois said, “That's amazing. It's on every channel.”

Perry barked out an order, “Jimmy, get me any one of those stations on the phone, pronto! “

Jimmy darted away. Suddenly, a figure rose from the bottom of the frame, bobbing higher and higher, much like George C. Scott did in front of the American Flag in Patton. It was Steve in casual denim shirt and khakis. His smile was friendly, warm, and personable. He was flanked by six or eight adorable kids between ages six and twelve.

Faux Lois announced, “That’s Steve Law!”

On the screen, Steve began to speak, “Hi, howya doin'? For those of you who don't know me, I'm Steve Law, quarterback for the Metropolis Tigers.” He chuckled and then continued, “Now, this is not a plug for football; I'm here to talk about something much more important: the future of our country.”

Jimmy ran up to report, “Chief, they don't know where it's coming from, but they can't stop it!”

Perry gestured for silence as he said, “Okay! Shhh! Shhh! Shhh! “

Steve Law started speaking again, “You know, I love this country. But like you, in the past couple of years I've become increasingly worried. Everything seems to be gettin' worse. The crime rate is growing, and so are taxes ... but for every dollar we pay, we seem to get less and less from our government. The homeless, our school systems ...” He lovingly tousled the hair of a couple of kids before he continued, “Why just about anything you name, has suffered growing neglect. But like my good friend Hank West says in one of his songs, "We can work it out and last forever." It won't be easy, it'll take a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but together we can make it happen. That's why I invite you to join me, and the National Society for a Better America.” Through television trickery, behind Steve, a huge Nazi flag dissolved through and replaced the image of the American flag. It was a Nazi eagle, clasping a swastika, with the letters NSBA just along the curve of the circle around the swastika.

Faux Lois blurted out, “This is some kind of sick joke.”

Almost as if Steve had heard her, he said, “Sure, I know what you're saying, ‘is this some kind of joke?’ I assure you it's not. I'm only one of millions across this country who have already dedicated their lives to the NSBA. Now you know I mentioned sacrifice, and right now is when the hard work begins: we're asking the government to turn over its authority to the NSBA. If it doesn't, well, it's like when you're in school, sometimes you have to be taught a lesson. Nuclear warheads have been hidden in Metropolis, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles and they will be detonated in twelve hours, which is 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, should the President and Congress fail to comply. All major corporations will also be expected to turn over their authority to authorized NSBA representatives. The choice is yours.” Looking straight at the camera he smiled broadly and continued, “Remember, together we can work it out and last forever.” He hugged and kissed some kids.

Faux Lois, who had not lived through World War 2 and knew nothing of the Nazis, asked, “Just who does he think he is?”

Jimmy chortled, “Man, Superman is going to kick some Nazi butt from here to Pluto!”

Again, Steve had anticipated this reaction and spoke again, “And for those of you wondering about Superman, I'm afraid he's been eliminated.”

Faux Lois was stricken, “NO!”

On the screen, Steve gave the Nazi salute and said, “Here's to the National Society.” The screen instantly changes to a full shot of the swastika and Wagnerian-style martial music filled the air. Everyone looked at each other, dumbstruck.

Faux Lois muttered, “Oh, my God.”

comments go here

TBC
_________________________
klj