Well, here we are again, only this time looming at the precipice of the the story. Staring over at the big scary black thing on the skyline. After this, things are never going to be the same in the LS universe. And once you've started, there really is no turning back. Once Kitty and Lex tell their tales, you, Lois, and Clark really have no control over what will happen next. Buckle yourselves in, kiddies, because we go M after a chapter or two. Are you ready?
Interim: Kitty Kowalski
I used to think that with Lex, I’d be going places. Well, it’s true, except I’m only going one place lately: mad. I’m either wandering around this huge underground complex filled with science nerds and ex-cons, or I’m trapped on the yacht. It’s amazing how fast even a boat that big can begin to feel really, really small. The only company I have most of the time is Tala. She’s a sweet little dog, to everyone but Lex. I think she knows he’s responsible for leaving her locked up in the Vanderworth house while he dragged me to the North Pole. Poor baby, she had to eat LJ just to survive.
If I was stranded somewhere with Lex, I wish I could say I’d do the same. But he’d probably kill me first. I think I really made a mistake with him. The man’s crazy. Dangerous crazy. Thinks he’s a god among us lowly mortals crazy. Nothing proves that more than his obsession with Lois Lane. His whole thing about her revolves around the fact that she hates him more than any other woman on earth. So that makes her about the most desirable woman in creation to him. Perverse, I know. But then, all his girlfriends hate him – present company included. He kicked Tala the other day, just booted her across the hall for no reason other than she was in his way. No wonder she tries to bite him.
So there’s no one here for me to talk to. The scientists are all absorbed in the work on the crystals, and that includes Stanford. At least he used to be able to hold a decent conversation. The rest of the staff – the hired muscle Lex keeps for security – are cavemen. I wouldn’t trust any of them alone in a room with me – the only reason they keep their hands to themselves is Lex. The one time Grant tried something, Lex threatened to castrate him with a bullet. At point blank range. The rest are scared enough of Lex’s mood swings to avoid me. I just wish that Lex was so jealous because he actually cared about me. The truth is, he just hates for anyone else to touch what’s his.
Of all the assorted thugs we have roaming around the place, the one that creeps me out the most is Brutus. Big, ugly, shaven, tattooed freak, who smiles a lot and likes cracking walnuts in his bare hands. That does describe half a dozen other people, but Brutus is just weird. I can’t explain it, but I don’t like him. It’s like, if Grant ever got me alone, he’d rape me. And Riley would tape himself raping me. But Brutus – I have no idea what he’d do. Maybe sit down next to me, talk quietly to me, hold my hand … and break each of my fingers while still smiling gently. That kind of weird.
Brrrr … he gives me the chills! It’s almost as bad as when Lex decides to stare at those birth certificates he got from Paris. The way he smiles then makes me want to go take a long shower. How the hell did I get mixed up with these people? I just wanted some excitement, someone to buy me diamonds and furs. I got that – fearing for your life is damn exciting, but what’s the point of wearing a mink coat if there’s no one to see you in it?
Interim: Lex Luthor
Things are going nicely according to plan, for once. The research progresses – Stanford is perhaps overly cautious, but since my theft has not yet been discovered, we have the luxury of taking our time. I’ll have plenty of warning when that caped buffoon finally realizes he’s been robbed – all of my old haunts are being very quietly surveyed by remote camera. Lane has been sneaking around the Vanderworth property, but no sign of him yet. The first glimpse of him looking for me, and I’ll implement my second plan of distraction.
The first is going very well. Most arsonists deserve the name firebug – they’re scuttling creatures with little brains full of fire, liable to burn themselves to a crisp or to get caught videotaping a blaze of their own making. Easy to squash, and deserving of it. But with my help, Carl is making himself very useful. I choose his targets, I plan his methods, he just does what he does best, and loves it. He might even manage to keep the alien busy long enough for me to find out the optimum salinity for crystal replication.
It’s not nearly as fast as I’d hoped. I had visions of my own continent, but no matter what we do, the crystals just aren’t going to expand that much. There seems to be a built-in limit to how much growth we can get from a given sample. A tiny fragment will produce enough crystal to wreck a basement; a single complete crystal could have created his icy palace up north. Different crystals also seem to produce different structures, and we’re not entirely sure how that works yet. Top priority is reproducing the console I stole the crystals from. Then I can access the information stored on them again.
The actual expansion is quite fast once it reaches a certain threshold, unless we happen to get a fragment that codes for something intricate, like the three-quarters spaceship that Stanford is fawning over right now. Too bad we don’t have the whole thing. Still, there’s a lot to be learned from this technology. I’ve chosen my research team very carefully; all of them are discredited for some reason or another, unable to continue in their own fields and willing to work underground for me. I mean that literally and figuratively – the lab is underground. Lining the outer walls with lead was obscenely expensive, but now that I’m free I’ve been able to tap into some of the assets the feds couldn’t find and didn’t seize.
I’ve had to revise my long-term plans, but I believe the payoff will be more than worth the wait. In the meantime, I have plenty to amuse me. Carl, of course – he positively capered when I told him how to do the bank. The next one will be even better. Although I must warn him about the fumes. He’s using model airplane fuel – clear, odorless, and it even burns with a clear flame. But if he breathes enough of it he’s liable not to make it back out of the building in time. That will be fine for when he’s no longer useful, but at the moment I prefer my pet firebug alive.
Another guaranteed source of entertainment is Kitty. We’re staying on the yacht or in the lab, and she’s beginning to go a little stir-crazy. She talks to that damn powder puff of a dog now, wants to buy it fancy diamond collars and cute little sweaters. What is it about a fluffy little dog that makes woman want to dress it up? It’s a dog; given the choice it would rather roll in something dead than wear a puppy parka. Besides, this yappy bitch has enough fur to keep it warm without buying it clothes. I know I’ve found its shed hair in my coffee more than once. The stuff floats.
But Kitty is so damned funny when she sulks. The exaggerated pout, the flouncing around, the intent stares, the melodramatic sighs – it’s all I can do not to laugh out loud. She’s smart enough to know that her continued health and safety depend on me, and I’ve been more interested in taking pages of laboratory data to bed lately than in having her there. What can I say? Even the most neurotic and treacherous woman eventually becomes boring. Kitty hasn’t quite reached that point yet, luckily for her, but my plans come first. I never let myself get distracted from a goal.
If there’s a secret to my success, that’s it. I don’t clutter my life with lovers and friends, and I’ll never have children. Business before pleasure, avoid attachments, and always keep someone around to take the fall for you. Dear Otis, such a moron and yet so very useful, even after I had him killed. This bunch, however … Stanford’s reasonably bright, and Riley at least has an interesting obsession, but Grant and Brutus are nothing more than hired muscle, men willing to lie, steal, maim, kill and rape for money. I worry about Brutus, though. He’s the only one who hasn’t started sniveling about the lack of women around here. Must keep an eye on him – I can’t imagine Kitty lowering her standards that much, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.
I’ll have to consider bringing some female company down here. Restless men are rebellious men, and I’d hate to have to shoot a couple of them to keep order. It’s messy and wasteful, and it would disturb the scientists. For the most part that group stays absorbed in their work and don’t need women around, but the security staff needs some outlet for their collective testosterone. I can easily procure a few women whose affections can be purchased. Of course, then I have to worry about rivalry and possessiveness, not to mention that Grant isn’t the only man I employ who was imprisoned for rape and murder. It could get expensive if the boys keep breaking their toys.
I must keep my mind active while I’m down in the lab. Fantasizing about what I’ll do if my plans come to fruition in exactly the right way isn’t enough, though it is quite entertaining. Fortunately, I have a least one mystery to ponder. On days when the scientists don’t have anything interesting for me, I can always open the lockbox in my desk and look at my latest prize. It wasn’t easy to get these two simple sheets of paper, but they provide me with no end of joy and speculation. It’s amazing how the absence of one little thing can mean so much – particularly when it’s a name, any name at all, on the line marked ‘Father’ of a child’s birth certificate. I suppose she didn’t know his real name – not that anyone does.
I wonder if Lois even knows who the father is? She did have partial amnesia. I’m not completely certain myself. The timing is about right – they behaved like lovers when I saw them last, and the children were born ten months later. They could’ve been conceived just before he vanished, or the gestation period for half-alien spawn could be longer than a normal human pregnancy. I doubt anyone else would guess at the latter possibility. People forget what he is – simply because he looks human doesn’t mean he is human. If the twins really are … his, Lois is lucky the brats didn’t have his powers in the womb. Though that would’ve made for wonderful welcome home – “Hello, Superman, one of your kids kicked a little too hard and your woman hemorrhaged to death. And you didn’t even know she was pregnant.”
That’s almost as bad as what I have planned for him…
The Russians say revenge is a dish best served cold, and though it may be very cold indeed by the time it reaches my plate, I’ll be completely content. I may never have so delicious a meal again, but if everything falls into place just right, I’ll never need to, either.
Sweet satisfaction, thy name is vengeance. Complete vengeance.
"Captain is preparing for take-off..." Act Three: Chapter Twenty in a few days...