He Knows

October 23, 2014:

A threat to the Daily Planet, and no one can decide how to be a hero and how to be a bystander!

The Daily Planet

The offices of one of the greatest media sources in the world.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

OUTSIDE SMALLVILLE, KANSAS

26 YEARS AGO

The meteor and its green hued wake streak across the night sky out in front of the red pickup truck as it heads east on Highway 8. As the big expanse is lit up like day, Jonathan Kent doesn't even notice passing a white sedan on the side of the road. Though the light is not on the action inside the vehicle is intense.

A pregnant woman with dark hair breathes heavily in the backseat, hair matted down with sweat and legs spread. Before the age of readily accessible cell phones and rural service, she sits alone doing her best in an emergency situation.

Amidst the screams that ring out in the night, hailstones of green begin to fall from the sky, bouncing upon the exterior of the white car. Upon closer inspection they glow and they're not hail at all. They're rocks.

METROPOLIS

DAILY PLANET

PRESENT DAY

The Daily Planet is alive with the normal hustle and bustle, but Clark Kent is cool as a cucumber. He's already got his story in and is watching the clock before he gets to go to the MetU game tonight. One more win and they're bowl eligible. He begins to pack away his lunch box into his satchel (man-purse) and tries to think up any last minute things he needs to take care of before he goes.

Things are a little less calm in Carol Danvers' office. Clark has his article in, but there are more than enough reporters who don't, and Carol's been sending emails on a timer every twenty minutes for the last day and a half. There's a constant stream of people coming in and out with layouts and ad questions, and lunch? Lunch is a distant memory from another time. She's finally reached a lull in the run of people with questions, which has given her the chance to send yet another email before leaning over from her desk to shout out the door. "If Jones doesn't have his piece in within twenty minutes, tell him I'm coming to get it!"

A few moments later, Clark sticks his head into the door. "Miss Danvers, I think you would probably want to know that Jones isn't here today, he's called in sick." Almost immediately he regrets telling his boss something that she either already knew or already should have known. He doesn't know her well enough to know whether this will get him the hair dryer treatment.

"That would explain why he isn't answering his email," Carol replies with hardly a pause, rubbing a hand at her brow. "I swear to God, some days I'd rather be in a firefight…" She trails off to tap something out on her keyboard, no doubt reassigning the work to some other poor sucker. "How's the piece on Luthor coming, by the way?" she asks without looking away from the screen, rolling her chair to one side to snatch something off the printer.

"Well, it's not," Clark says honestly. "I haven't been able to get an interview with him. All of the research I've done…it's like he's good at covering his tracks. Either he's the cleanest tycoon in America, or he's very practiced at this sort of thing."

There's a brief intake of air and there's a momentary look of worry upon Clark's face as he notices something. Something in the air. There's a look over at Carol and Clark does his best to remain cool.

"Nobody's actually clean, Clark," Carol smirks briefly. "They're just good at hiding it. Or making deals with people who might otherwise find it. The question is usually what'll it cost to find out the information. And the cost isn't always money." She finally looks up from the desk, quirking a brow. "You weren't coming in here to ask if you could leave early, were you? Because I might get a little bit resentful if you were."

Clark's words to her are absent as if he's thinking and acting on something else, but the conversation does stay on topic. "Well, I am finished with my story for tomorrow's edition, Miss Danvers." With his back turned to her, halfway, Clark slips his glasses down slightly on his nose and begins searching her file cabinets with his x-ray vision.

"I've got advertisers who could use a call. Or someone to go to desks. Have you seen Lane yet? She insisted her latest piece was going to be a Pulitzer. I'd rather it just be done." Carol looks up again, quirking a brow at the distraction. "Do you have a hot date waiting for you or something?"

"Me?" Clark laughs nervously. "No. I'm afraid I've not had a date in quite some time. I'm just headed to a football game." There it is. In one of the filing cabinets towards the back of the room. It looks like a device—with his X-ray vision he can't get a look at some of the particulars, but he needs to find a way to get Carol out of the room. Strategically, he slides his body between Carol and the filing cabinet.

"Alone? Kent, I get I'm not much of one to talk about love lives, but seriously," Carol chuckles. "You should at least ask someone to go with you. Who goes to a football game alone?" She pushes back from the desk, reaching up to rub a hand at the back of her neck with a slow stretch. "June over in reception thinks you're adorable. For the record."

"June over in reception cheated on her last boyfriend. That's not really my style, Miss Danvers," Clark says with a weak smile. "Well, I'd planned on going with a friend of mine from school, but she backed out. I can't miss a MetU game. I spent the money for season tickets." A pain that twice this year they play on Thursday nights, but that's the price you have to pay, he supposes. "As far as asking people, well…"

"I feel like there should be something funny in the fact that you know about June's love life, but I can't quite put my finger on it," Carol admits, leaning back in her chair. Despite the relaxed posture, her fingers drum on the edge of the desk. She needs to get a break from the madness of the deadline, but thinking about the work that still needs to be done is keeping her from actually enjoying a break.

"She has a loud mouth," Or Clark has super hearing. One or the two. "You seem on edge," Clark says, desperate to keep any chitchat going until he can figure out a way to get this thing out of here. "Hey, are these where they keep all the old files on LexCorp?" It's not, but Clark goes for the cabinet anyways.

"Deadlines," Carol wrinkles her nose, standing up to pace a few steps. It helps with the anxiety, but it doesn't exactly help Clark stay between her and the cabinet. "Sometimes - a lot of times - I miss being able to actually take action on something. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I've got a job, but it's not exactly being a fighter pilot."

"I KNOW."

There's a moment where Carol catches sight of the bomb, stomach dropping to her feet and dread crossing her features. Who knows? Too many people could, she hasn't exactly been discreet. But who knows and would put a bomb in her office? She only has a second to think, and then she's diving…forward? Not usual behavior, but she's a soldier, right?

"Kent, get down!" she exclaims, lunging to try to catch his arm and pull him clear.

But as she flies forward, Clark Kent also goes into hero mode, and tries to pull her clear. In the end they end up awkwardly pulling each other out of the way in a discombobulated manner like two sumo wrestlers in a stalemate. "Is that what I think it is?" Clark tries to think of a way to stay cool. "You should run for help." And let me ice this thing with my super breath.

"You should run for help," Carol counters, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear and leaning over to get a better look at the bomb. "Air Force, CIA, NASA security," she points a thumb at herself. "Newspaper reporter," she points back at him. "Call security on your way out, start the evacuation."

Clark shakes his head, "Carol, you know me. You know that if anyone should lead an evacuation it should be you. Don't be needlessly bold in this situation, you're the manager on duty. You have a responsibility to keep these people safe."

"And that's what I'm doing. Go pull the fire alarm if you don't think you can convince them, Kent, but I'm going to take care of this," Carol says firmly, stepping away from the file cabinet to reach for the speaker button on her phone, opening a line out to the secretary. "Rachel, I need you to start an evacuation of the building, please."

"Oh my god," Clark says as he points out the window. "Carol, what is that?" It's the oldest trick in the book, and a last ditch effort to try and get some form of wiggle room to try and make a play here.

"Urgent, but I don't want a panic," Carol adds to the secretary. "And no one comes in the office here. Urgent, Rachel." She arches a brow at Clark's words, glancing toward the window. "It's about to be you, Kent," she starts to say without looking back. "If you don't start moving away from that device."

When Carol looks away, Clark covers his mouth with two fingers, cutting down on the width of the his breath by forcing in between. A foused blast of ice freezes a portion of the bomb, he hopes, enough to set it inoperable. He's taking a chance. A big chance that she'll see and figure it out. But if it means saving her life, it's a risk he's got to take.

Player Name On For Idle Doing

Carol Danvers starts to turn back toward Clark, not catching the freezing breath. She does catch that Clark is actually closer to the bomb than he was before, and strides over to seta hand on his shoulder and pull him back. A hand that pauses when she sees the bomb's changed state. "Seriously, Kent? Kind of an assumption, don't you think?"

Clark looks over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow. "An assumption?" He gives his head a half-shake. "Sorry, I don't quite follow…"

"That freezing the damned thing wouldn't set it off," Carol snorts, pulling him away from the file cabinet. "Look, Kent, if you've got a few genes in different places, I'm not going to judge. But you can't go throwing that stuff around without thinking about the consequences." There's a bomb in her office, but Carol wants to yell at Clark about responsible superpowers.

Clark doubletakes at her, "You're not….surprised? Or shocked? Did you…did you already know this about me?"

Carol pauses for a moment, then shakes her head. "I didn't know anything, but you're not the first person I've met with…unique abilities. There's a whole group of them I've worked with before. And I used to…" She pauses, grimacing. "Look, let's just say I can take care of myself."

"Sheesh," he says with a sigh. "I thought I was so good at hiding. I mean, the whole schtick about being a doofus. I figured no one would realize that I was Superman. As far as the bomb I've done this a hundred times."

Superman?

_ _

SMALLVILLE, KANSAS

16 YEARS AGO

TRUMAN ELEMENTARY

"Hey, leave him alone," a young Clark says to a group of boys making fun of another boy. Kenny, the target, has been out of school for most of the past three years. The illness is mysterious, especially to the students. The parents have wanted his privacy to be respected, but that has made for more questions among his peers than answers.

Kenny, a frail bald boy, half the size of the biggest of the bullies, sit at the cafeteria table with tears in his eyes. His crutches that keep his frail body upright have been knocked away. One is along the far wall, the other is in the middle of the cafeteria.

"What are you gonna do, Kent?" asks Whitney Fordman, looking Clark in the eye. "Yeah," adds one of Whitney's toadies, "You should let Cancerboy fight his own fights."

_ _ _

TO BE CONTINUED…

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