#5 – Essence Of Being

“Mr. Jonathan Kent?”

Jonathan looked over the tall, blonde woman standing on his stoop carefully. Her height and athletic build, as well as the fact that she was dressed in a leather jacket and black jeans, made her seem somewhat intimidating. Yet her smile seemed warm for someone known to work for Lex Luthor. “You’ve come to the right place. Please, come in. Excuse me for a moment while I tell Martha that we have company.”

As Jonathan left the room, Mercy Graves took a look around slowly as she stood in the silent living room, listening to a grandfather clock next to the entrance door tick out the seconds. She felt welcomed in such a place, in such a relaxing atmosphere…in a real home. Being an orphan herself, left to the streets, such comfort was a concept almost alien to her – but one she longed for regardless.

“Please, have a seat Ms.–”

“Graves. Call me Mercy, everyone else does.” Mercy sat down on the edge of the couch warily. It was comfortable enough, but seemed a little small to someone of her height.

“Would you like some coffee? Tea?”

“Water, please.” Mercy smiled again. She wasn’t used to being treated like an honored guest – most people she ‘paid a visit’ to either wanted to fight or run.

“What brings you to Smallville, Ms. Graves?” Jonathan returned quickly with two glasses of water and sat down in a plush chair next to the couch and leaned forward, placing the glasses on the small coffee table.

Mercy took a deep breath and sighed. She had been treated so nicely, she hated to bring up the real reason she had come. “I’m afraid I’m here on business, Mr. Kent. It’s about a young girl who was sighted here.”

“Yes, Kara.” Jonathan smiled as he picked up his glass of water to sip it slowly. “She’s such a sweet child. It’s a shame she doesn’t have a home or a family of her own–”

Mercy blinked hard and held out a hand to interrupt Jonathan. “I know all about her, Mr. Kent. I know she was found in Metropolis after falling from the sky. That she crashed through a concrete roadway, and a subway tunnel without being injured.”

Jonathan didn’t say a word, but the fear in his eyes was evident. Any effort to control his feelings vanished as the glass of water slipped from his fingers, smashing into dozens of pieces as it hit the corner of the coffee table. He began shaking his head slowly. “You’ve…come to take her, haven’t you?”

“No, I know she’s not here.” Mercy watched sadly as Jonathan’s eyes turned away from her to give a fearful glance to Martha, who stood in the doorway to the kitchen wringing her hands. His hands were shaking – he had never had one of Lex Luthor’s agents visit him, and he was fearful for his own life and his wife’s. “I’m not here to hurt anyone, Mr. Kent. I just want some information. A little help. That’s all.”

Jonathan swallowed hard and took a deep breath. “W-What kind of information?”

“How about where this teenager is right now?”

“I…I can’t tell you. I’m sorry, I made a promise.” Jonathan cringed a little as Mercy suddenly rose to her feet, standing over him as a towering presence.

“I’m sorry to have disturbed you, Mr. Kent. Mrs. Kent. I’ll let myself out.” Mercy turned to head outside slowly, noting that Jonathan still sat in his chair, almost paralyzed by fear. He was a brave man…but still human. He feared for his own life, and his wife’s. No matter how polite she tried to be, she would always wear Lex Luthor’s badge – and it would always bring fear with it.

Once outside, Mercy headed to her car and climbed in quickly. By the time she had closed the door and locked it, tears had forced their way out of her eyes. She had begun crying as the realization of just how lonely she was in the world overwhelmed her once again. Lex Luthor had given her a job, a career, and decent pay…but he had taken away everything else.


“Oh my God!” Linda held out her arms to greet with a hug someone she missed dearly, someone she hadn’t seen in months. Someone she fondly remembered cuddling with her on the couch when she stayed up late watching movies in her apartment in Leesburg. Someone loyal, sweet, and who always greeted her with a smile…Charlie’s dog, Rupert. “Where has he been all this time?”

“Your friend Cutter agreed to look after him until we were settled here.” Charlie took a small dog treat from his pocket, feeding it to the wagging Rupert quickly. “Looks like he did a good job.”

Linda laughed, tapping her palm in the couch to encourage Rupert to jump up. “Cutter has always been loyal and reliable. Well…mostly. Wait…this hotel doesn’t allow pets, does it?”

“Don’t worry about that.” Charlie smiled and sat down at one end of the couch. “I discussed it with the manager. He was very accommodating.”

“What did you do, blackmail him?”

Linda’s smile disappeared as her question was answered only with silence from Charlie. “No…say you didn’t–”

“There are certain perks that digging in people’s past can obtain, Linda.” Charlie smiled. “And the fact that I ran into him at a restaurant where he was having dinner with a mistress helped, too.”

She leaned over and rubbed Rupert’s head as she spoke jokingly into the dog’s ear. “This city is just full of sick people, isn’t it?”

“Careful, Linda.” Charlie stood up quickly as he heard the phone ring. “You’re beginning to sound like Buzz.”

Charlie talked on the phone only briefly, but listened for a long time. As he did, his face suddenly turned serious, then sad. He kept glancing at Linda, watching her face gradually turn to panic – but he decided to remain calm until he had finally hung up the phone.

“What’s wrong?”

“Linda–” Charlie paused and paced completely around the room, slowly, as if he were gathering all of his courage to tell her something. He then turned, and abruptly kicked the coffee table. “The Kents have been admitted to a hospital, Linda. There were these intruders–”

“Oh God…Was that Clark calling?”

Charlie shook his head slowly. “It was Mercy. She told me who was responsible. She told me that…that she would take care of it herself.”

“Maybe I should take care of it myself.”

“Not a good idea, Linda.” Charlie stood in front of Linda as she prepared to get up. “If we pick a fight with Lex Luthor in Metropolis, we could lose both our hotel rooms and our new office. We’re on his playground…and he makes the rules.”

“Nuts.” Linda picked up one of the couch pillows and hurled it across the hotel room. It disintegrated during the trip, as it was travelling much faster then it was designed to. “Can we trust Mercy?”

Charlie nodded. “I looked through the red folder she handed to me, Linda. It’s enough to send Luthor to jail, assuming he hasn’t paid off the local police and the FBI. I think she really wants to make things right.”
A loud crash filled the home of Clark and Lois, shattering the relative calm of classical music playing softly from the stereo. Lois had dropped a plate, as well as the small snack she had prepared herself – a surreal sight filled her eyes as soon as she entered the living room.

Kara was floating a couple of feet off the ground, her arms spread at her sides, spinning slowly like a top. At first, Lois didn’t understand what Kara was doing. But as she watched a few minutes more, she discovered that Kara was…dancing.

“You like this music?”

Lois regretted speaking almost immediately as she watched Kara suddenly react with shock, and tumble to the floor with a ‘thud’.

“I’m sorry.” Kara rose to her feet quickly and hung her head. “I didn’t mean to–”

“No, no…you were fine.” Lois smiled and handed Kara the newly-opened bottle of water she had been holding since she left the kitchen – it was the one item she hadn’t dropped. “Our home is your home, Kara. As long as you don’t punch holes in the walls or break windows, that is.”

Kara laughed quietly, yet nervously. “Ma and Pa were…hurt because of me. I don’t want you to be hurt, too.”

Lois’ smile disappeared to be replaced by a serious look. She stared unwaveringly into Kara’s blue eyes. “Nothing will happen to me, Kara. You’ll be safe. I promise.”

Another loud crash filled the apartment as a three men dressed in black, from head to toe, crashed through the plate glass door to the balcony. Their faces were covered by masks, and they carried sub-machine guns. Lois wondered why she hadn’t noticed the helicopter floating just outside the apartment – perhaps because in Metropolis, helicopters were not all that unusual.

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep”, one of the men said. He motioned for Lois to step away from Kara.

“Get the hell out of here!” Without hesitation, Lois lifted a small chair and hurled it at the man, forcing him to hold up his arm to defend himself. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with!”

“Oh…yeah. I’m really scared of a loudmouthed reporter.” The man aimed his sub-machine gun and motioned again for Lois to step aside. “You’re only human…don’t try to be a hero, unless you want to be a dead one.”

The front door to the apartment suddenly flew open with a crash, a tall blonde wearing sunglasses and a long black coat stepping through casually, keeping an automatic pistol trained on the men who had entered the apartment before her. Lois recognized her immediately – it was Mercy Graves.

“Stand down!” Mercy turned her head from side to side, looking at the three men before staring at the leader in the center.

“We don’t work for you”, he said, “We work for Mr. Luthor.”

Before any of the three had the time to even think, bullets began flying through the room – only none of the men fired a single shot. Just a few seconds had passed before the three men lay bleeding on the floor.

“What…?” Lois stood, frozen, as she watched Mercy strip all forms of identification from the three men and begin dragging them out onto the balcony. “What’s going on here?”

“They were sent to capture Kara.” Mercy turned quickly and smiled. “But I have other plans.”

“You…you killed them!”

“We all have our jobs to do, Lois.” Mercy looked outside at the helicopter once she dragged the last of the three dead men over to the broken glass door. “You’re a reporter…I’m a professional assassin.”

“Wait, wait–” Lois stepped in front of Mercy and held up her hands to stop her. “Those men were sent by your boss, Mercy. How are you going to cover for this?”

“Too easy. They failed to complete their mission, and they weren’t supposed to tell anyone they were sent by Luthor. I took care of the problem.”

Before Lois could reply, Mercy placed a hand on her shoulder and guided her toward the door. “Lois, I promise I’ll have this place cleaned up. Take Kara somewhere with you for an hour. That’s all I need.”

“What about…?”

“Don’t ask any questions you don’t want the answer to. Just go.” Without another word, Mercy raced out onto the balcony, leaping off of the railing and into the waiting helicopter. Lois could see her quickly knock the pilot unconscious and set the copter to hover by itself, spending the next minute or so loading in the other three dead men.

Lois simply shook her head and led Kara toward the front door. “Come on, Kara, we’ll go see Clark at work. Maybe he knows what’s going on.”

“I know.” Kara stopped and turned around. “They want to control me. But I won’t be controlled.”

“Atta girl.” Lois smiled and placed a hand on Kara’s shoulder as she closed the door behind her.
Samantha froze as she heard a knock on her hotel room door. She had been holed up in a hotel room in Metropolis, funded by an unlikely benefactor – Bruce Wayne – with strict orders that she was to remain out of public sight. She received the orders, as well as the hotel room, from an associate of his named Cassandra, who didn’t speak a single word as she handed Samantha the hotel room key enclosed in a letter.

But the letter also said that she was to have no visitors, and that her room would be protected by security. Since she didn’t order any room service, the knock at the door made her very nervous.

She crept to the door silently, peering out through the door’s peephole. No one was standing in front of the door, but the two security guards who were always outside the door were missing. Another, much louder, knock at the door caused her to jump back. Against her better judgement, she looked through the peephole again.

This time, nothing but darkness was visible. She heard a distant click, and a high-pitched whistling noise like a camera flash recharging. A blast of light tore through her eye with a jolt, right through the glass of the peephole. She fell onto her back.

Confusion filled Samantha as the sight in her left eye quickly returned. But something had happened to her – she was completely paralyzed. She watched helplessly as the door crashed open, as two men in black uniforms walked in and trained weapons on her. And following them was none other then Lex Luthor.

“I’ve missed you, Samantha. I believe you have something of mine.” Luthor kneeled down beside Samantha, reaching behind her neck. She wanted to stop him, to strangle him…but her limbs simply didn’t respond.

“Ah, this is it.”

Samantha felt a jarring, like something had been removed from her body somehow. Something essential. She knew her mind still worked, she felt her heart beating, and she was still breathing – and she could still see and hear. But she couldn’t feel anything, or move.

“Let me explain this all to you, Samantha.” Luthor stood up, handing a small circuit board to one of this two guards. “I created you, restored your life. You repaid me by turning on me, by stabbing me in the back, and running off. It’s time for me to reclaim that which I own.”

Luthor stood up and looked at his two security guards. “Load her up and take her to the site. We’ll store her underground as soon as I arrive – don’t even touch her until then.”

After a chorus of ‘Yes, sir’, the two men left carrying Samantha. Luthor looked around the hotel room briefly, laughing as he imagined Bruce Wayne trying to hide Samantha there. Bruce didn’t anticipate Luthor buying a share in every hotel in Metropolis in order to find her.

Luthor shook his head slowly as he left the room, closing the door behind him. “Sorry, Mr. Wayne. Better luck next time.”
Charlie looked up from behind his new desk in his new office as a familiar face leaned over him. As usual, Sharon Holmes was out of breath, and looked like she had braved the fires of hell to get to him. She leaned with one hand on his desk, tossing her backpack on the floor. “Hello, Sharon. What have you been up to?”

“Nice office.” Sharon took a deep breath to slow down her breathing. “I have some something important to tell you and Linda.”

“Sharon…couldn’t you have just taken the lift?”

“No, it’s much too slow.” Sharon took another deep breath and sat in one of the soft chairs in front of Charlie’s desk. “Lex Luthor has created an ‘essence’…but it must have failed. He and his staff just buried her outside Metropolis.”

“Wait, wait…an ‘essence’? What’s that?” Linda had just entered the room after stepping out for a moment to buy lunch. She sat down on the edge of Charlie’s desk, placing the bag she brought in next to her.

“It’s a living human brain grafted to an artificial body.” Sharon stood quickly and began removing some kind of papers from her backpack, handing them to Charlie and Linda. “These diagrams were stolen from Lexcorp, they detail an artificial body that’s grown with high-tech implants–”

“Like a cyborg?” Linda squinted at one of the diagrams, turning it upside down twice – but she still couldn’t understand it.

“No, cyborgs are built, not grown.” Sharon reached over Linda’s shoulder and pointed at something unintelligible on the diagram she held. “These are artificial humans. They’re grown. It would seem that Luthor has possession of all kinds of technologies from Metropolis’ upgrade…some that the authorities would not approve of.”

Charlie’s eyes suddenly widened as he turned around quickly to rifle through the file cabinet behind him. He pulled out a red folder and began to leaf through it quickly. “That’s it! That’s what this stuff is!”

“You mind?” Sharon held her hand out toward the red folder. Charlie shrugged and turned it around so she could see it. She began to leaf through it quickly, pausing once in a while to carefully read some of the papers. “Interesting. Very interesting.”

Linda leaned forward to catch a glimpse of whatever Sharon was looking at. “What is it?”

“These are all biotechnology. Viruses, bacteria, methods to integrate electronics with human and animal tissue.” Sharon turned to look at Charlie quickly. “This makes me so mad. Luthor’s keeping this technology to himself, when it could help so many people–”

A quick glare was cast in Charlie’s direction, Linda’s eyes piercing through him with a chill. “I told you. You should have let me deal with him, Charlie.”

Sharon stood up and handed the red folder back to Charlie. “That wouldn’t be a good idea. He hasn’t done anything illegal…anything you do to him will just seem like bullying.”

Linda sighed. “So what do you suggest?”

“We collect evidence.” Sharon snatched her backpack from the floor and waved a finger at Linda and Charlie. “Come along. We need to fetch this ‘essence’ and bring her back. If Luthor buried her…she most likely knows too much.”

Charlie sighed as he stood up and grabbed his jacket. Linda smiled as she watched him give her an exaggerated look of exasperation. “How do you find these people anyway, Charlie?”

“At least we don’t have to pay her.” Charlie shrugged as he followed Linda into the hallway and closed the door.
“He’ll pay for this.” Clark bowed his head as he stood in the entrance to the hospital room where his Ma and Pa slept silently. His hands were shaking from the rage he felt – this time, Luthor had gone too far. Innocents had been hurt, his apartment trashed – Luthor hit too close to home.

But in spite of his angry words and feelings he knew he could do nothing. Revenge would lead to discovery – Lex Luthor was a smart man, if Superman would come after him with a vengeance suddenly…he would no doubt make the link between the Man of Steel and Clark Kent.

“Ma, Pa…I’m so sorry.” Clark slid a chair from next to the wall and sat down between the two hospital beds, holding his Pa’s hand in his left and his Ma’s in his right. “I’m so sorry for all of this. I never meant for–”

Clark turned abruptly as he heard footsteps approaching quickly. He could smell a familiar scent from down the hall – Lois’ perfume. He stood quickly and headed out of the room.

“Lois? How did you find–”

“I work for a newspaper, remember?” Lois smiled and kissed Clark gently on the cheek. “How are they doing?”

Clark sighed as he looked at Kara for a moment. Kara seemed to have something on her mind – she turned to Lois, who shook her head ‘no’ – she felt it was better not to tell Clark what happened back home. “They’re not badly injured. They were just knocked unconscious.”

“Who did it?”

Lois and Clark both turned to look at Kara as she spoke those three words. A momentary fear passed between them as they shared a thought of Kara going out for revenge against those who hurt the Kents.

“Kara–” Clark placed a hand gently on Kara’s shoulder and smiled at her as best as he could. “How about if you just keep an eye on Lois for me, take her home and make sure she’s safe. I’ll take care of Ma and Pa. Is that okay?”

Kara nodded and smiled in return as she took Lois’ hand and headed back down the hall toward the elevators. Clark waved at Lois silently as she headed away from him.

As soon as Lois and Kara had entered the elevator, Clark hung his head and headed back into his Ma and Pa’s hospital room. He watched them sleep peacefully for a few minutes as he leaned against the opposite wall, sliding down until he was sitting on the floor.

An understanding began to enter his mind…the cold reality that he had become a victim. He had rescued hundreds, possibly thousands as Superman. But in all that time, he never really understood what it was like to be a victim. To see something horrifying happen to you, and have no hope of controlling or stopping it. To be able to only look at the past, and wish things had happened differently.

Clark squeezed his eyes closed, as all of the anger and frustration took the form of a single tear, which defied all of his attempts to stop it. It rolled down the side of his nose, hanging on the end before dropping to the floor. It was one more thing which was beyond his control.

He turned his head quickly, as his sensitive hearing swore it heard Lois sigh somewhere nearby. He knew he asked her to go home, and was a little annoyed that she stuck around to watch him. But in a way, he was glad she did. His frown turned into a sad smile as he sat watching his Ma and Pa. It warmed his heart to know that Lois loved him enough to ignore him.
“Damn it! You know how I hate being late for appointments, it reflects badly on me!”

Lex Luthor kicked the seat across from him in his limousine, hard. He turned to a female Lexcorp security officer sitting next to him – he couldn’t remember her name. He regretted sending Mercy out on a mission. Luthor scowled at the woman, but she didn’t react. “Driver! What the hell is going on? Why are we stopped?”

“Some kind of road construction, Mr. Luthor.”

“Road construction.” Luthor sighed angrily and looked out the window at a car stopped next to him. “Couldn’t you have gone around this mess?”

“I’m…I’m sorry, Mr. Luthor…but the court is right up the street.”

“In that case, I can walk faster.” Sounds of city traffic rushed into the limo as Luthor suddenly opened the door and stepped out, his security guard fumbling to catch up to him as he nearly slammed the door on her arm. “And by the way…you’re both fired.”

The security guard went limp against the seat, keeping her arms clear as Luthor slammed the door hard, leaving her behind. She bowed her head, trying her best to keep her feelings in check as she watched him walk away.

“Don’t sweat it, Maria. I’ve been fired by Mr. Luthor so many times…but I always get my job back.”

Maria shook her head slowly. “This is different, Leah. This is my dream job. I’ve been waiting for that amazon to move on to something else, so I could have a chance. Well…here it is, and I blew it.”

The limousine suddenly lurched, and both of the rear-view mirrors immediately shattered as the sound of a powerful blast echoed off of the buildings of Metropolis. Leah ducked below the front seat. Maria fell back on her training as a security guard – she kept her head low and drew her gun.

“Holy God, Maria…what was that?”

“I…I don’t know.” Maria opened the door quickly and climbed out, only to duck back into the car as a shower of broken glass from buildings around her rained down on top of the limousine. As she stepped out again, she could see a familiar form lying on the sidewalk only yards from the courthouse. A man with a very distinctive bald head. “Oh God…Mr. Luthor!”

Maria and Leah both raced from the limousine and kneeled down next to Luthor. He wasn’t injured too badly aside from a few cuts and bruises, but he had been knocked unconscious. Maria shook him gently to try and wake him. “He’s…not responding!”

“Let’s get him back to the office.” Leah shook her head to dismiss any thoughts of panic she might have. “We have more doctors there then most hospitals. I’ll call for an airlift.”

“Airlift?” Maria began carefully checking Luthor’s vital signs as she spoke. Normal pulse, normal breathing, not much bleeding. “We could get in so much trouble. We’re fired, we can’t just ask for a LexCorp airlift!”

“Lemme put it this way.” Leah reached into the limousine and typed a few commands on a small keypad in the center console. “He’ll owe us big time.”

Maria smiled weakly and nodded as the two of them lifted Luthor and placed him in the limousine. They had only a few minutes to wait before the airlift would come and raise the limo out of traffic, to transport it to Lexcorp as quickly as possible. They would be heroes…they hoped.
“This is easier then I thought. The dirt is still loose.” Sharon lifted yet another shovel full of dirt, tossing it aside almost casually. She was working hard to do so, but she seemed to be enjoying it. Charlie, however, was exactly the opposite. The two of them were digging what appeared to be an unmarked grave in a cemetery just outside of Metropolis – apparently, Luthor wanted to make this ‘special burial’ as low-profile as possible.

“I still don’t see why we couldn’t rent a bulldozer.” Charlie jammed the blade of his shovel into the ground and paused to take a short break. “She was obviously buried with one. And why aren’t you doing the digging, Linda? It’d be much easier for you.”

Linda smiled mischievously. “You two seem to be having so much fun, I didn’t want to put a damper on it.”

Charlie sighed and tugged at his shovel – but he didn’t get the chance to pull it from the ground. He ducked quickly to dodge Sharon’s shovel as she tossed it away and began digging quickly with her hands. “Found something?”

Sharon nodded and rose to her feet. “A welded steel casket. With a Lexcorp logo on top. Looks like this is a job for–”

A hand placed on Sharon’s shoulder interrupted her as Linda gently moved her aside and bent down toward the casket, gripping the welded edge of it’s lid tightly. Her fingers made subtle impressions in the solid steel as she pulled open the lid – a horrible screeching noise filled the cemetery as the metal gave way to a force well beyond it’s design.

Sharon took a couple of steps backwards and turned to Charlie. “Charlie…what in bloody hell is–”

Charlie turned to Sharon and smiled. “Are you sure you want the answer to that, Sharon?”

“I–” Sharon paused in thought for a few seconds before smiling herself and laughing. She shook her head slowly as she answered. “No, I suppose not.”

“I got her!” Linda struggled to pull the a heavy, limp human female dressed in a dark blue Lexcorp labeled jump suit from the steel casket. It was heavy, much heavier then any normal woman of that size would be. “Wow…these manufactured bodies are heavy! Are you sure she’s still alive?”

Sharon nodded as she grabbed one of the woman’s arms and helped Linda prop her up against a gravestone. “She’s still alive…in a sense. Her brain is still working, but her body has been shut down.”

“Oh my God…it’s Sam.” Charlie turned pale as soon as he saw the woman. He leaned over, trying to get a closer look at her. He seemed like he was a little sad to see her that way. “I didn’t know she was an essence.”

“Think about it, Charlie. How else could she have survived that lab accident?” Linda folded her arms tightly as a slight shiver ran through her. The thought of Lex Luthor building artificial bodies and killing employees to test them made her feel sick. “Sharon, can we re-activate her?”

“I’m sorry, I’m not a robotics expert.” Sharon shrugged and shook her head. “Maybe some scientists could help us–”

“Star Labs.” Charlie took one of Sam’s arms and tried to lift her. He couldn’t budge her. “Come on, we have to move quickly. If her brain is still alive, she’s probably trapped in an unspeakable sensory deprivation nightmare. Get the car, Linda.”

“We don’t need the car, I can–” Linda suddenly paused and sighed sadly. She could tell that Charlie knew what she was going to say, given the sympathetic look he gave her as the words came out. She had to remind herself that she couldn’t do that anymore – she couldn’t transport herself, or anyone else, anywhere. “Never mind. I’ll…um…get the car.”

“Linda–” Charlie grabbed Linda’s shoulder as she walked by quickly, turning her to face him. He looked deep into her eyes with a steady, reassuring gaze. “Don’t worry about it. You’re doing great.”

Linda smiled as she headed toward the car. She was glad that Charlie understood.

“Lex…We need to talk.”

Luthor sighed and turned away from the glare of light streaming into his bedroom from the hallway, the silhouette of a tall woman dressed in black jeans and an expensive leather jacket. Only one woman would dare enter his room while he slept, and wake him. The only person in the world he would allow to do so. “Not now, Mercy. I have a splitting headache…par for the course considering that part of a building fell on me. Go back to the office.”


He raised his hand above his eyes to shield out the pain-inducing light as he sat up in his bed, slowly. His frown telegraphed that was beginning to lose patience. “What do you mean, ‘no’?”

Mercy quickly grabbed a chair which stood against the wall, turning it around to sit backwards. “I watched a few of your…our…so-called ‘men’ attempt to abduct Lois Lane. They were sloppy, unprofessional–”

“Your point?”

“My point is–” Mercy leaned her elbows against the back of the chair, leaning forward to make sure he could see her eyes in the near darkness of the room. “You’ve become so obsessed with this ‘Kara’, you’re getting sloppy. You’re going to get busted, and I won’t let you take me down with you. I want no part of this.”

“Very well, Mercy.” Luthor stretched his arms and sighed. He reached for his robe and climbed out of bed slowly, holding onto one of the bedposts with one hand to steady himself as a wave of dizziness hit. “You know I’ve always trusted your judgement. From now on, Kara is your responsibility. Handle it however you see fit.”

“Thank you, Lex.” Mercy stood and returned the chair to it’s place against the wall and headed toward the door. Something bothered her – the little ‘meeting’ with Luthor went too easily. She turned around to face Luthor again. “So…what’s the catch?”

Luthor smiled, appreciating in his own way how Mercy knew him so well. “You work on your own time. If you let this interfere with your work for me, I will fire you.”

“Fair enough.” Mercy nodded and turned to leave the room, closing the door quietly behind her. As she headed down the hall, she made a mental note to herself to be more careful from now on. She knew that even as she left Luthor’s home, he was making calls – having her followed, even hiring someone to eliminate her. But that was his way.


Leave a Reply