Written by shadar :: [Sunday, 06 June 2021 00:52] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 06 June 2021 09:55]
Metropolis in the late 1950’s
Jimmy Olson was heading through the Newsroom on his way home when he heard it.
It started with the ringing of phones at City Desk, and then the sound of voices questioning. The phone jingling quickly spread, with the voices growing stronger by the moment, sweeping across the huge newsroom like a wave, from one Desk to the next, more and more phones ringing. The sound of typewriters – never absent in a newsroom – grew stronger, faster.
The thing that every newspaperman lived for was happening – a major story was unfolding somewhere in Metropolis. Breaking news. He could smell it, hear it, feel it.
The day shift had mostly left, but the buzz somehow followed them to the street far below – newspapermen have a nose for it. Elevators that had been full going down were suddenly filled coming up. People streamed back into the huge Newsroom, coats and hats and bags and purses hurriedly slung over the backs of chairs as all thoughts of evening plans evaporated.
Jimmy jogged back toward the Photos bullpen, and was barely through the door when his desk phone rang.
“We’ve got a hostage situation with several armed men on the roof of the Chronkite building, Jimmy my boy,” the photo-editor shouted through the phone, sounding both excited and happy in the face of disaster the way only a newspaperman could.
Jimmy could already feel the low rumble of printing presses warming up far below. Outside, he knew the trucks that delivered bundles of newspapers to the newsstands had started heading toward the Planet to get the Special Edition they knew was coming. Newsboys headed toward their spots, waiting to begin hawking those papers. The machinery that printed and distributed the Daily Planet would leap into action the moment they had something to print. And that would be soon. It was the late 1950’s, and staying ahead of radio and now TV news was getting harder all the time.
“Police have the place locked down tight,” his editor continued, “with barricades two blocks back. Armed men have been spotted, possibly snipers, so nobody is getting in. TV people are hovering behind the barricades, but I need you to grab a long lens and find a rooftop where you’ve got a shot. I need a front-page exclusive, pronto. Special edition is going out within the hour.”
Jimmy hung up before his editor could issue any warnings. He’d almost gotten arrested a month ago for slipping past police lines. Perry had smoothed that over by chewing him out in front of a police Captain, telling him to never, ever do that again. But the raise that appeared on his next paycheck said something else. Perry White bled newspaper ink, and the big newspapers still controlled the serious News. Aggressive reporters and photogs struggled to keep it that way.
Jimmy grabbed a telephoto lens and then a dozen rolls of film from the fridge and stuffed them into his bag as he headed for Lois Lane’s desk. Which to no surprise was empty. That could only mean one thing – Lois was already on the story.
Turning, he saw Perry puffing on his cigar like a steam engine as he stood at the City Desk, shouting orders as usual: “Listen up. NBC Radio is now claiming the Mayor and the Governor have been taken hostage by two heavily armed men. They’re on the roof of the Chronkite Building. That’s all they know. Now go get me the full story! And pictures, people. I need pictures. Somebody is going to get the middle of page one.”
Jimmy wasn’t the only photog at the Planet, in fact he was the most junior one. Buy je put his youth to work by outrunning everyone to an already crowded elevator that was headed down. Once on the street, he went a different direction from the gang of reporters and photogs who emerged behind him to frantically flag down taxis.
Jimmy knew a better way. While working as Lois’ photog, she’d showed him how she always seemed to get right in the middle of the action – the old steam tunnels that underlaid much of downtown Metropolis. In typical Lois Lane style, she’d explored them years ago and created hand-drawn maps, a secret she swore Jimmy to secrecy about.
He now ran toward the closest entrance to those tunnels – the dark, rarely visited back basement of the Dodge Building. Struggling with his headlamp and a hand-drawn map before he plunged into the darkness, he memorized the turns to get to the Chronkite.
Rats the size of small cats were hovering at the entrance of the tunnel, acting more cautious than usual, which likely meant Lois had just run down this same tunnel. She had wicked kick which she used to clear the rats out of her way. Nothing scared Lois Lane.
He continued into the wet, dripping tunnel, rats biting at his ankles as he kicked them away. Moving fast, his shoes now soaked with water and rat shit, he made the turns he’d memorized, and there it was, the old steam tunnel entrance to the sub-basement of the Chronkite.
Stepping carefully inside, he saw that the elevator was under police control as expected. Instead, he found a maintenance stairwell and began the long climb – 55 floors. He was young and well practiced in climbing the back stairways of skyscrapers. Even better, no TV cameraman was going to hoof an 80 pound cathode ray video camera up these stairs. They would wait for the blockades to come down and the elevators were running again. TV reporters were despised by real newsmen.
Jimmy jogged steadily upward, pacing himself, floor after floor, pausing briefly to catch his breath after every ten flights. Soon he came to a chained-up door to the roof. The bad guys obviously didn’t want company. He fished a small spray bottle of Freon and a chisel and small hammer from his camera bag. Hardened steel chains were nearly impossible to cut, but with his Freon to freeze it and just the right blow with a sharp chisel, the steel chain shattered like glass.
He slowly opened the hatch to climb through, thankful it was on the opposite side of the roof from the elevator, where he heard angry voices. Draping his dark coat over his head, only his camera lens was visible as he crawled through a thick layer of bird-droppings while threading his way through the roof-top machinery until he had a shadowed viewing position.
Two men with military rifles were standing before a dozen hostages who were huddled together against the inner wall of an elevator equipment room. The men wore fatigues and were equipped with lots of extra magazines along with semi-auto pistols. The M-14 rifles they held could fire high-velocity FMJ rounds on full auto from 30 round magazines – very dangerous. There were also three satchels of what he assumed were plastic explosives arranged around the hostages, with wires leading to a control unit in one of the soldier’s hands. Sitting in the middle of the hostages was the Mayor, tied up with his back to the Governor. Everyone else appeared to be office workers, both men and women, their feet tied together with ropes. Everyone looked scared.
He captured a few establishing shots and then saved the rest of his 36 shot roll of high-speed black and white film for whatever was going to happen.
He was just getting comfortable when he suddenly heard a familiar voice. The armed men looked up and aimed their rifles as a woman strode into view, her Press badge in hand.
“I’m Lois Lane from the Daily Planet,” he heard her say. “A reporter. If you’ve got something you want the world to hear, I’m here to make that happen. In your exact words.” She produced a microphone that was attached to the small tape recorder that she carried strapped to her waist.
Lois had a huge hole in the part of her brain that most people filled with “Caution” and “Fear”, of which she had absolutely none. If not for Superman keeping a special eye on her, she’d have been killed many times over. Lois also knew how to draw a man’s attention, given she had that kind of effortless hotness that you only see in former tomboys who’d blossomed. Jimmy figured she’d been born with a masculine brain – tough, aggressive, pushy and never taking shit from anyone – but when she dressed up, she was a stunning beauty.
Most men at the Planet had fantasies about what she might be like in bed – an insatiable tigress who would exhaust her lover and ask for more seemed to be the general consensus – but she had eyes only for Superman, which disqualified every other man on Earth. Jimmy knew Superman better than anyone, and he knew the two of them were on intimate terms, but he wasn’t sure even the big guy could handle Lois Lane.
Fifty feet in front of him, Lois daringly stared down the men with rifles while slowly removing her long, black coat, then dropping it to the roof. To Jimmy’s surprise, instead of being dressed in her usual trim but conservative work suit, she was dressed as if for a night out. A filmy but demure dress hugged her every curve, with a long skirt slit down one side in Asian style to flash a lot of leg when she moved. Likely she’d been on her way to some socialite gathering to pick up local gossip.
Smiling as she stood there, both fetching and completely unafraid, Lois was trying to take control of the scene as usual. Jimmy had often thought that if she’d been born with Superman’s powers, she’d have owned the world by now. In a good way. Well… probably. She could also be a bitch when she wanted to be.
But right now, she was a conduit to the world for the hostage-taker’s story. The older of the two men started reading a manifesto in a strong Eastern European accent so thick Jimmy couldn’t follow it. No surprise there, given both the Mayor and Governor came from families with Czech backgrounds. Eastern Bloc politics had grown extreme these days, what with the Soviets submerging long-simmering ethnic conflicts.
But taking politicians hostage in Metropolis was a new twist.
Jimmy kept snapping picts until his first roll ran out. Retreating slightly behind a piece of equipment, he quietly rewound the roll and swapped it by feel in the darkness under his coat. In seconds, he was poking his camera around the corner again. The second gunman was now reciting some kind of anti-communist manifesto for his homeland behind the Iron Curtain. Disturbingly, he kept saying that important lives had to be sacrificed in order to get the world’s attention to their cause.
Jimmy snuggled deeper under his coat in the shadows, glad that the sun was setting. He’d photographed a few confrontations that turned to violence. This one had that kind of ugly feel.
And that’s when she arrived in a loud swish of air. Her red and blue costume and the “S” on her chest proudly proclaimed that she was Superman’s cousin. The Girl of Steel hovered just beyond the edge of the roof, defying gravity as only a Kryptonian could do. Jimmy zoomed in on her, snapping some establishing shots as he was once again reminded that she looked like a very cute cheerleader, what with all that blonde hair and a tiny red skirt that only a cheerleader could get away with wearing in 1958 – it wasn’t even halfway down her thigh. Even more remarkably, her perky breasts sat high and nearly perfectly rounded, which didn’t make sense until you considered that her body ignored the most basic rule of gravity – “things fall”.
Floating there, her cape and long platinum hair floating in the breeze, the long, filtered rays of sunset surrounding her, it was easy to understand why some people considered her a goddess. Despite knowing the Man of Steel better than anyone, Jimmy was gaga over his young cousin.
The soldiers’ eyes moved from Lois to stare at the young blonde Kryptonian.
“What you are planning is not going to happen,” she said, her voice strong and surprisingly low for a teenage girl. “The only question now is whether you are going to lay down your rifles or if I’m going to relieve you of them along with maybe a few fingers.”
One of the soldiers answered by firing a round into her chest, the bullet impacting the hollow of her neck, just above the “S”. The impact sent her hair flying as the shockwave traveled through her dense body, but she didn’t move an inch.
“Seriously?” she asked, looking amused.
Both men raised their rifles as if by prior plan, thumbing their selectors to Auto as they unleashed long bursts of automatic fire. The bullets pinged off Supergirl’s face and chest and bared midriff, noticeably dimpling her pert breasts as they sent her hair and cape flying wildly as the combined impacts drove her back a few feet. One soldier forced his bucking rifle lower, the bullets sending her skirt flying as he searched for a weak spot.
Jimmy ducked lower as ricochets pinged off the metal utility boxes around him.
Their rifle actions locked open on empty as the soldiers quickly changed magazines, something they were clearly expert at, and then turned toward the hostages, apparently planning on hosing them down to ensure the story they’d already given Lois would be on the front page of very newspaper on the planet. But before they could pull their triggers, Supergirl whistled at them so piercingly that it hurt Jimmy’s ears. The men looked back at her in reflex, and were shocked to find she’d pulled her top down far enough to bare her breasts. Both soldiers paused, gawking at her as their rifles turned from the hostages, both men frozen in place by the unexpected display of super nudity.
While they were staring at the half naked Girl of Steel, Lois struck, grabbing a piece of loose piping to deliver a Major League swing at one of the soldiers. He went down hard, out cold.
The other man swung around to aim his rifle at Lois, but just as his finger jerked the trigger, the Girl of Steel appeared at the end of his rifle, safely burying his smoking muzzle in the softness of her still bared boob. He fired again in full-auto, and the rounds wildly rippled and dimpled her breast into wild contortions as the recoil and blowback drove the shooter backwards until one blunted round struck his shoulder to make him drop his rifle. Supergirl quickly reached down to grab it and effortlessly bend it in half around his upper body, trapping his arms before kicking him off his feet. He landed hard, the blow knocking the wind out of him.
“Supergirl,” Lois shouted as she pointed at the detonator, “that red light is blinking faster and faster. I think they had a deadman switch or something!”
The Maid of Might moved faster than the eye could follow, gathering up the satchels of explosive to fly straight upward with them, wires trailing. She was barely a hundred yards above the roof when her cargo exploded in a flash of light, the shockwave knocking Lois off her feet while slamming Jimmy’s chin into the rooftop.
He struggled to blink away the black spots in his eyes as he rose to run over to Lois, who was out cold but still breathing. One leg was twisted the wrong way. He knelt beside her, placing his jacket under her head as Supergirl floated back down, looking unharmed except for a glow from under her skirt, the top of her costume now properly pulled back up where it belonged. She slowly scanned Lois, her eyes glowing unnaturally blue, and then she began to untie the hostages.
“She’ll be Ok, Jimmy,” she said over her shoulder. “She’s got a concussion and her leg is broken. A simple fracture. No complication that I can see. Are you Ok?”
“A sore chin, but otherwise, yeah. That was some quick thinking back there, distracting them that way.”
“You got pictures, right?”
“Then please do me a favor. Burn the negatives. If Kal saw what I’d just done, I’d never hear the end of it. And if Lois brings it up, tell her she obviously dreamed it. Concussion and all.”
“Yeah, but it worked. Like a charm.”
“Men have their weaknesses,” she shrugged as she settled to stand on the edge of the roof. “Sometimes I just need a second or two of distraction.”
Before Jimmy could comment, she startled him by stepping up onto the low wall at the edge of the room, and then diving gracefully out into thin air. Jimmy rushed over to stare after her, butterflies filling his stomach at the long fall, watching her break her fall just over the heads of the gathered cops. She talked to them for a moment, and then soared back upward, moving with a grace that Superman had never mastered, proving once again that she was the better flyer.
She landed beside Jimmy. “You want a quick ride out of here? You know, so you aren’t arrested again. Ambulance guys and cops will be here in minutes to take care of Lois and these goons.”
Turning, Jimmy saw the female hostages hovering around Lois, keeping her warm and comfortable. The men were tying the soldiers up with the ropes that had been around them only moments before. Turning back, he saw her standing on the very edge of the roof again, her red cape billowing around her.
“I gather everyone else had their backs to you and didn’t see what you did?”
She nodded. “Thankfully. You ready to fly?”
“How do we…”
She turned her back to him, her toes hanging over the aching drop. “Wrap your arms and legs around me and hold on tight. I fly fast.”
Jimmy climbed up the low wall to hang onto her, his legs shaking in fear as he tried not to look down at the ant-sized people far below. Her body was wonderfully warm with tight, trim curves, her muscles clearly defined, her entire body firmer than any other girl he’d ever known. Unfortunately, his usual butterflies quickly filled his stomach with a dizzy vengeance. He’d always been terrified of heights, which she most certainly didn’t help solve as she rotated forward off the roof top, taking him with her.
He clung to her with all his strength, gratified that she fell only a little ways before starting to fly, her soft hair whipping against his face as she soared between the canyon walls between the skyscrapers, headed back to the Planet.
“It’ll take me thirty minutes or so to get my photos developed and over to the City Desk,” he said. “Do you want to get some dinner afterward?” he added daringly. “I mean, you do eat, don’t you?”
She laughed, which sounded strange in the slipstream. “I do indeed. Are you asking me out on a date?”
“Doesn’t have to be. Just dinner. I’ve… you know, always wanted to get to know you. I mean, Superman has said so much about you.”
“Jimmy Olson, Superman’s Pal. The man holding all the secrets. Are you taking advantage of your access given you are the only one who knows his secret? You know, the Clark one?”
“Damn right,” Jimmy laughed. “Anything to have dinner with you.”
“Ok, then meet me at Tarcissios in one hour. My name will be Linda and I’ll look different. You’ll have to find me in the bar, and the first woman you talk to has to be me or I’ll be gone.”
Jimmy laughed. “As if you’ll be hard to pick out of a crowd.”
“I might surprise you,” she laughed as she turned in mid-air to land lightly on the roof of the Planet, her skirt lifting as she came down feet first. Looking up, Jimmy saw the huge globe of planet Earth slowly rotating over their heads. The exclusive symbol of the Daily Planet.
He stepped back from her, the memory of her warm, firm, curvaceous body leaving him tingling from head to toe, especially the way her muscles had worked as she flew. The sweet scent of her long blonde hair still filled his senses. Before he could say anything more, she leaped upward, soaring straight up until a circle of mist surrounded her as she went supersonic, her sonic boom echoing up and down the artificial canyons of Metropolis.
Too excited and turned-on to walk straight, Jimmy half stumbled and half ran to the open roof entrance, very aware of the ticking clock. He had less than an hour to develop his film, deliver the prints, change out of his bird and rat shit encrusted clothing and get to Tarcissios. And then find someone called Linda. Which should be the easy part.
He was NOT going to be late for the most important meeting of his life.
Jimmy arrived at the bar, breathless and with less than five minutes to spare. The place was overflowing with young urbanites, most of them attractive. This was a popular after-work watering hole for Metropolis singles – and those who pretended to be single. He’d been here before, and didn’t like the place. Too crowded with too many people who thought too highly of themselves. Not his style.
Scanning the bar as he walked around, he focused on the blondes. Several of them were truly beautiful, but none were her.
She wouldn’t look like that, he decided. She’d be doing her version of Clark Kent. Hiding behind a simple disguise. Something Clark was so good at that he could work all day with people who were infatuated with Superman, Lois most of all, and they never saw the resemblance. It wasn’t so much how Clark looked – ill-fitting suit and big glasses – but how he acted. While everyone thought of Superman as an infallible god, wise and strong and confident, is opposite was the bumbling, clueless, hick reporter wannabe from small town Kansas who got chewed up and spit out by city-folk daily, most commonly by Lois, who walked all over him. Clark was dull and invisible wherever he went, and barely good enough at his job to not get fired.
With that in mind, Jimmy began crossing off the beautiful and the vivacious, the outgoing, happy, laughing women with men crowding around them, and instead looked for a female Clark Kent. Lots of women wore glasses, but Kara wouldn’t use the same trick as her cousin, would she?
He worried that she might pretend to just be a normal girl. Kind of cute, not blonde, friendly but kind of bland. The kind of girl that guys settled for if they couldn’t find anyone better. There were a number of them here.
No, Jimmy told himself. That wouldn’t be a Kryptonian’s style. They were into extremes. Either over the top super or a bumbling fool like Superman and Clark.
Still, he was getting worried as he moved through the crowd. Nobody fit that description. A glance at his watch said he had one minute of his hour left. Desperate now, he moved to the back of the crowded room, deciding that was the kind of place Clark would hang out. And that’s when he saw a girl with mousy brown hair sitting at a dark corner of the bar. Her clothing was neat but featureless and dull, hiding whatever figure she had. She was slouching and her messy hair covered most of her face as she stared into her drink, looking shy, lonely and a bit depressed, shifting nervously on her stool – looking completely uninteresting in a bar full of mostly energetic, beautiful people. Invisible.
Jimmy smiled, knowing in that instant that he’d found Clark Kent’s cousin. He walked over and sat in the darkened corner of the bar next to her. He waved to the bartender for a beer, ignoring her until it came. He had one chance at this. If he guessed wrong, he was screwed.
He took a long swig, and then checked his watch again. Only seconds were left when he turned slowly to the girl, putting it all on the line. “Linda Kent, I presume?”
She turned to look up at him through her brown hair, revealing one blue eye. “It’s Danvers, and so much for this stupid disguise,” she smiled. “How did you find me so easily?”
Jimmy shrugged. “That’s actually a great disguise, but I’m a photog. I see people differently. More deeply. And I know how Clark makes his disguise work. I just looked for a female version of him, and there you were.”
“Impressive. Nobody else has ever done that.”
“Nobody else knows the ins and outs of Clark Kent.”
She nodded. “How about we get out of here. You want to come up to my place? I’ve had enough of disguises today, either this or my red and blues. How’d you like to hang with just the ordinary me – Kara Zor El.”
Jimmy’s heart nearly leaped out of his chest. “The lost and lonely girl from Krypton, right?”
“Won’t be lonely tonight. But I might surprise you. I’m not either of the people you think you know.”
“I would like nothing more than to get to know the real you, Kara.”
“Great. My place is just a short cab ride away. A cheap hole-in-the wall in the studio district whose only saving grace is a very useful skylight – good for discretely coming and going. My place is kind of messy like me, but I’m a pretty good cook.”
“I’d love to.”
Smiling, she slid off her stool, standing awkwardly, shoulders slightly hunched, dull and almost invisible in the crowd of attractive people. Yet she was beautiful to Jimmy as his mind superimposed the intimate image he’d seen of her on the rooftop earlier, half undressed in her red and blues.
He’d never been so excited as he took her hand, her skin so smooth and warm, her grip so firm and promising, and led her toward the door, knowing this was going to be a night to remember.
To be continued…