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The Disappearing Matter

Written by drmuttoncops2 :: [Thursday, 15 April 2010 20:28] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 17 June 2015 14:59]

"Up in the sky,look!" "It's a bird!" "It's a plane!" "It's Superwoman!"

"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! This amazing
stranger from the planet Krypton! The Woman of Steel: Superwoman! Posessing remarkable physical strength, Superwoman fights a
never ending battle for truth and justice! Disguised as a mild mannered newspaper reporter, Clara Kent!"

"This is WPGH Metropolis, with an important news flash!" The radio announcer, sharply dressed, middle aged man in a beige
tweed suit rapidly spoke with the pace of a Tommy Gun as a tremendous amount of persperation poured down his face, still,
despite his nervousness, his voice and concentration did not waver. He dabbed at his face with a white handkerchief, which
was starting to become rather damp itself as he continued reporting. "Officials at banks in the City of Metropolis have
reported that the entire stock of currency in their vaults has been replaced by a note which reads "Thank you for your
buisiness." Authorities are baffled, as irate citizens are angrily demanding their hard earned money." The newscaster mopped
at his brow again, and continued, not skipping a beat. "A similar event at Metropolis' military base, where patrolling
soldiers have reported to have their weapons disappear right from their hands!" He mopped his brow once more "A number of top
secret weapons the base was experimenting with, also vanished inexplicably! Police have not yet commented on whether the two
incidents were connected. We can only hope and pray that wherever they have gone, that they have not fallen into enemy
hands, and that they will be returned shortly." With a shuddering sigh, the announcer concluded "This is Stanley Rogers,
WPGH, Metropolis, reporting." Rogers, then stepped away from the microphone, sat in a chair, and hung his head in despair.

The morning after the terrifying report hit the airwaves, the Daily Planet's cover story read "Mysterious Disappearances;
Money and Military Weapons Still Unaccounted For; Officials Still Baffled"

The large, stoic skyscraper that housed the offices of the Daily Planet, stood as tall and proud as it did on any other day.
One thing that differentiated it from other tall buildings in the concrete jungle that was Metropolis was the fact that atop
it's roof, it featured a large golden planet with a ring around it, on which was printed the newspaper's title. Inside the
building, on every floor was the hustle and bustle of a newspaper office, people rushing to meet deadlines, printing the
latest edition and the like. Chief Editor Perry White, a rather heavyset man with brown hair that was beginning to thin,
was puffing nervously at a cigar stub. White removed the stub from his mouth and exhaled a wisp of blue gray smoke that
quickly dissapated as soon as it had appeared. He aggresively stubbed his cigar out into the ashtray on his desk, the
cinders popping and dying out as he did so. He then pressed a switch on his intercom down. "Send in Lane." he said to his
secretary in a cold, buisinesslike way. "Right away, Mr. White." Tess, Perry's secretary said, as she pressed down the
switch that connected to Louis and Clara's office. "Mr. White wishes to see you, Mr. Lane." Tess' voice  said as it came
through with some huffiness evident in her tone. "Still hasn't got that raise, I suppose." Louis said with a dry smile. "She
deserves it, though. She's a very hard worker." Clara Kent said as she pushed her glasses up to the bridge of her nose with
her index finger. Clara was dressed in a white blouse with a powder blue coat and skirt which seemed rather unusually long,
reaching all the way to her feet. "Well, so am I, my fair Clarybelle, but I don't get one either. After all, I'm still with
you, aren't I?" Louis teased as he walked out the door. Clara just glowered and went back to typing, but decided to listen
in with her super hearing.

As Louis walked into Perry's office, he began to take the seat across from his Chief, when White suddenly inturrupted him.
"Don't bother sitting down, Lane, this won't take long." he said in a swift, hurried tone. Louis pushed the chair back to
it's original position, and stood still. White took a deep breath and said "Lane, I know this'll seem like a tough ditch to
dig, but you're one of the best I've got, so, I'd like you to look into this vanishing act business. Find out who the Sam
Hill is behind this, so we can help the cops put this slight of hand magician, or whoever he thinks he is, away for good.
And I want it done fast so that the Planet will have an exclusive first jab at this!" White said, beginning to raise his
voice. "Believe me, Lane, this is either going to be revealed as one of the major impossible crimes of the century, or one
of the greatest hoaxes." The Chief Editor concluded with a rare expression, a broad smile.

Clara knew that only trouble could come of this. Louis was prone to making rash decisions when in a tight spot that could get
him hurt, or worse. Once again, he would need a protector, Metropolis' protector. Clara got up from her desk, took her light
blue turban wrap off the hat rack and walked out the door, thinking to herself "The story I'm working on can wait. I've got
a feeling that I'll be the featured part of Louis'." with a confident smirk.

Louis stopped outside the Metropolis National Bank, a rather large, brown, concrete building. The front was supported by two
thick, white concrete pillars. Clara, who had followed Louis in a taxi, handed the driver an extra five and said to the
driver "Keep it parked here." The diver took the bill from her hand with his large,hairy, hamlike paw, and said. "Anything
you say, sweetheart. I don't get paid ta ask questions." Clara saw that the cabbie's liscense read "Winston, David". He was a
muscular gentleman with a very thick five o'clock shadow, a swollen red nose that Rudolph the Reindeer would have envied,
and a cauliflower ear, and looked like he should be in a boxing ring instead of behind the wheel of a taxi. Clara shrugged
her shoulders and figured this is what he did on the days when he wasn't being beaten to a pulp for a living. Dave parked
the cab on the side of the road opposite the bank, and once again used her Super Hearing to hone in on Louis' voice.

Louis was in the manager's office, speaking to Michael Armstrong, the branch manager, a short, overwight man with thinning
white hair and thick spectacles. "Do you know of anyone who has a grudge against the bank?" Louis asked. "No, no one that I
know of. Everyone in this neighborhood and elsewhere thinks we are very fair in our dealings." Mr. Armstrong said as he
fiddled with his fingers, which rested on his lap. Louis did some writing on his notepad, before looking up, and candidly
asking "Mr. Armstrong, did either you, or any of your employee's recognize the handwriting on the note the thief left behind?"
"No, not at all." Mr. Armstrong replied without averting his gaze. Louis took several more notes, before looking at Mr.
Armstrong with a serious face and asking "Mister Armstrong, how do you think it was possible that the thief was able to have
made off with your vaults' entire contents without even entering the building?" lines and wrinkles of age and experience
formed on Armstrong's face as he frowned with concentration, before responding in a slightly sorrowful voice "No one knows.
We don't even know if we're going to get our money back." After Louis laboriously scribbled shorthand in his notebook, he
cleared his throat, and then asked Armstrong in an almost apologetic tone "Sir, have there ever been any disgruntled former
employees of this buisiness that would bear a grudge?" "I should say not! Everyone who has ever worked here has had nothing
but positive things to say about us. I really think you're looking in the wrong place, Mr. Lane. I know that an evil outside
party is responsible for this." Armstrong responded in a hard, commited voice. Bringing the palm of his hand down hard on
his polished oak desk for emphasis.  Louis grinned and said in a cheerful tone "Thank you, Mr. Armstrong. I'm sure that you're
right. We just have to check up on these things. I appreciate you giving me your time." The two men then rose, and shook
hands, before Louis walked out of the office and the building. "Well that was a dead end. Maybe the military base will be
of a bigger help." He thought to himself with a look of disappointment evident on his face. As Louis got into his car, Clara
said "Alright, Dave, you know the drill." with a casual voice. "Right, babe!" Winston replied enthusiastically. He waited
for Louis' vehicle to pull into traffic, before doing the same. He kept a respectable distance to avoid detection, but enough
to keep clear tabs on Louis.

Metropolis' prestigious military base, a series of dome like structures stretched out on a large vacant field surrounded
by a barbed wire fence on the outskirts of the city. Louis pulled up to the guard's gate and showed his press badge, saying
"I'm Louis Lane, from the Daily Planet. I have an appointment to interview General Sherman." The steely eyed guard's
expression seemed to disregard Louis automatically, but nevertheless, he slung the rifle he had been holding over his shoulder,
saying suspiciously "Hold on one moment." before walking into his post and picking up the phone. Clara's taxi was driving
near Louis' when Clara suddenly ordered "Stop!" Winston did as he was told. "Now what, babe? This is kinda touchy territory,
if ya know what I mean." The battle scarred driver stated. "Now, we wait." Clara responded, handing him another five dollar
bill. The guard stepped out of his small, white, guard post and said to Louis in an authoritive tone "Sorry, Sir. The General
said he has changed his mind, that it would be a threat to National Security if he gave any other information regarding the
disappearances." "But we know what was taken, we all heard it on the radio!" Louis protested angrily. The guard simply
smiled, and said in a friendly manner "Sorry, Sir, that's just the way it is. You'll have to move along, now." before
returning to his guard box. Louis pulled away from the base, and was about to drive off in a huff, when something caught his
eye. Off in the distance, there appeared to be a man standing by his car in the middle of the dirt road that led to the
forest. He appeared to be holding something up to his face. Louis put his car into nuetral and drove up a little further. He
saw the man clearer, he was dressed in a black suit and fedora, and was holding a pair of binoculars up to his eyes. He
appeared to be spying at the base from a distance! The man got back into his car, a black foreign one, possibly French, and
drove on the narrow, dusty path that led deep into the lush greenery. Louis didn't want the authorities to take all the
credit for cracking the case. With a eager smile, Louis threw his vehicle into drive and gunned the engine!

Inside a dimly lit room, filled with whirring and clicking machines, a mysterious silouhette watched the chase on a monitor.
He saw the black car pass by, and placed his finger on a red button on the moniter's console in anticipation. He did not have
to wait long, as Louis' red car sped into his sights. In a sudden motion, the shadow's finger pressed the button down, and the
ground below the car suddenly gave way, closing up again above him like two mechanical panels! Louis' shouts of fear and
surprise were quickly muffled by the doors closing.

Clara had seen all this from the cab with her super vision, and quickly said to Winston "I'm done, what's the charge?"
"Whoa, what's the hurry, toots?" Winston asked in a shocked manner. "It's too dangerous from here, you have to get out of
here! Now, what do I owe you?" Clara asked in a rush as she unbuckled her seat belt. "$45.50" Winston replied, seeing as how
Clara wasn't going to tell him what was wrong. Clara took the money out of her purse and handed it over to him, before
bolting from the cab and heading towards the woods. "Wait! Don'tcha want me ta call da cops?" he called after her, but Clara
didn't seem to hear.

Louis tried to get his bearings straight as he got out of his car and looked around at the enclosed underground space he was
in. It had seemed to have been painstakingly dug out over a period of time, but who could say how short or how long? Suddenly,
he heard a loud whirring noise behind him, and saw the forward wall of the small chamber slide upwards! Louis was astounded
to see behind it, a long and dark hallway. He was somewhat afraid of what could be behind it, but his reporter's instinct
whipered to him "Go on, you need to find out who is behind this." So Louis advanced foreward, barely able to see anything.
As he walked, he got the feeling that he was descending lower and lower into the ground. The feeling chilled him to the bone.
He finally came to the end of the seemingly endless tunnel. There, he couldn't believe his eyes! He was now in a densely lit,
extremely large, cavernous room with what seemed like hundreds of technicological gadgets beeping and clicking. "What is this
place?" Louis asked himself in an amazed voice. "In my base of operations!" A deep, accented voice answered! Louis spun
around in surprise as a massive amount of lights embedded in the ceiling flashed on at once, temporarily blinding him! When
the glare in his eyes subsided, Louis froze in fear at the man in front of him! He was much heavier, and was now dressed in
a royal blue, three piece suit and slacks, with a gold necktie, but there was still the same mop of tossled red hair, thick
black eyebrows and the same piercing, electric, mad, green eyes! "Luthor!" Louis exclaimed in horror. "One and the same, Mr.
Lane!" Luthor answered proudly, as several hulking henchmen, also dressed in fine suits, stood by his side. Louis recognized
one of them as the man whom he had followed into woods! "What's a mad dictator like you doing here in the states?" Louis
asked furiously. "Well, Mr. Lane, I had no other choice. After barely escaping with my life from that vile Superwoman, I
managed to parachute out of my dirigible, and made my way back to my country, only to find out that I had been DEPOSED!"
Luthor explained, as his calmness suddenly built to a rage, his eyes bulging and nostrils flaring. He then quickly composed
himself, and continued. "Seeing as I had nowhere to go, I disguised myself and entered this country under an assumed name,
and began making plans for my revenge. When I learned that this city was where my hated enemy seemed to operate, belive me,
Mr. Reporter, I knew that this MUST be where I established the beginning of my new rule!" Luthor exclaimed, beginning to
become excited again. Louis angrily grimaced and shouted "New rule? Sorry to break it to you Luthor, but this is a free
country! And what's with all this buisiness of stealing things without being detected?" Luthor merely closed his eyes and
chuckled softly to himself before saying in a pideful voice "That's where my glorious new invention comes in! Behold!"
Luthor then pointed to a massive chrome machine that was shaped like a large spire, it had a large cannon-like object on top
of it, it had two smaller spires on either side of it. "This, Mr. Lane, is how I've been able to pull off these wonderful
so called "crimes" without even being there! You see, Mr. Reporter, my stealing will of course not end there! Say that I
wanted to carry away a large amount of the bullion in metropolis, or that I would fancy the new type of explosive devices.
I can simply zero in on my target using my moniter, and my De-Moleculizer, as I like to call it concentrates the molecules
to such a fine amount, that they seem to disappear! A sophisticated tracking mechanisim then transports the item or items
to my little hideaway here. I can also transport items to places as well. For instance the little thank you note I left in
the bank's vault after I took that large amount of money off their hands." Luthor finished with a proud smile. "What
about the scouting goon with the binoculars?" Louis asked, pointing to the henchman that he had spotted earlier. "Merely
location work, Mr. Lane, I was planning to deliver to the base an explosive device I'd been tinkering with"  Luthor
said with a smile "Why? What's the point of all this?" Louis asked with indignation quite evident in his tone. "I will give
the wonderful items I have obatained and hand them over to this countries' enemies, this will give them the means to invade
and overthrow it! Then after they have done all the heavy labor for me, I shall simply take control of them, and take my
rightful place as ruler!" Luthor shouted dramatically, raising his arms for effect, veins bulging from his forehead. "You're
nothing but a madman, Luthor! This pigheaded plot of yours will never work! Superwoman will stop you!" Louis angrily retorted.
"My good man, that flying tart doesn't even know where you are, how on earth is she going to find you here?" Luthor asked
with a cold smirk. "She's never failed me before, Luthor. I doubt she will now." Louis said with a hopeful smile. "We shall
see." Luthor coldly addressed the reporter before turning to his men "Bind him!" he fiercely commanded. The two men grabbed
some thick, heavy brown rope, and a cloth gag, and advanced menacingly towards Louis.

Clara arrived at the location where she saw Louis' car vanish below, she used her x-ray vision on the ground beneath her feet,
and sure enough, there was the car! A heroic smile came across Clara's face as she removed her coat, saying proudly to
herself "This looks like a job for Superwoman!" Clara walked behind a tree in case anyone was watching and removed her glasses,
undid her bun, letting her hair down, she then stripped off her blouse and skirt in two quick motions before standing revealed
as Superwoman in a dark blue leotard that showed the slightly muscular, yet feminine contours of her lovely body, her inverted
black triangular emblem streched over two jutting, perfectly proportioned breasts, a dazzling blood red cape flowed gently
behind her in the cool, afternoon breeze. Superwoman merely grabbed the two mechanical trap doors, and ripped them from their
hinges effortlessly, and casually tossed them aside without changing her calm facial expression.

Deep in Luthor's cavern, a deafening alarm sounded, one of the thugs ran to the moniter, and pressed a button and threw some
switches. On the large, pristine screen, there was the image of Superwoman in the chamber that held Louis' car, wrenching the
door to the hallway up, crunching the thick steel door like it was a paper confection wrapper! "Sir, Superwoman approaches!"
the henchman said, beginning to sweat, terror evident in his voice. Louis pricked his ears up at the sound of her name. "Let
her come, I'm ready! Grab the weapons from the cabinet!" Luthor ruthlessly ordered. The men opened some polished silver
cabinet doors, and took the weapons from inside, some normal military machine guns, other strange transparent rifle like
devices with what appeared to be a large black battery attached. There came a sudden pounding on the large steel door in
front of them, the door deformed outward with each pounding, until with a loud crash, it collapsed to the floor, and Superwoman
came bounding in! Louis' eyes lit up at the sight of his hero, and he tried his best to shout out to her, but the gag over
his mouth prevented that. "So, we meet again, Maiden of Might!" Luthor said, barely able to contain his rage towards the
powerful heroine. "I'm afraid we shall have to cut this meeting shorter than our last one, as we are rather pressed for time."
Luthor then said, as he calmed himself, as if a buisinessman talking to a potential client. In response to this, Superwoman
arched one eyebrow, and crossed her arms over her magnificent chest, showing that she was not impressed. "You will probably
notice the clear, unusual guns some of my men are carrying, they are the experimental electric guns that the military here
in Metropolis have been secretly  working on. We gave them a little test run, and I can assure you, Miss Woman of Steel that
they are quite accurate and quite deadly, even to someone like you! But enough talk, it's time for action! OPEN FIRE!" Luthor
ordered with a maniacal shout! As the men aimed their weapons, Superwoman placed her hands on her hips, as if to give the
men a clearer target, a proud smirk crossing her face. Louis watched with fear in his eyes as the men opened fire, bullets
and electrical bolts went flying with a collective racket! However the rounds of lead ammunition merely crumpled upon contact
with Superwoman's ample bosom, and fell lifelessly to the floor! The electrical ammo didn't fare much better, as they
completely vanished upon simply touching Superwoman's stunning body! Superwoman began to walk casually foreward against the
wave of gunfire, the men began to back up as she did so. Louis smiled beneath the gag at his heroes' invunerability.
Luthor's face was white with shock! Could nothing stop this powerful female? "Increase voltage!" Luthor shrieked above the
clattering din. The men with electric rifles complied and pulled a small red lever on the weapon to a higher position.
The noise from the weapon increased tenfold, and began firing bolts of lightning at a higher volley, but it didn't deter
Superwoman at all, she continued her persistant march toward the men, then, she suddenly took a small leap in front of them
and grabbed all of them by their collars at once, the men dropped their guns as Superwoman lifted them off the ground and
threw them against the wall, the men's bodies' crumpled upon impact! Luthor hurried over to a console in front of the
De-Moleculizer and began to fiddle with the switches. As Superwoman turned her attention to him, the machine whined to life!
Jolts of dangerous electricity swirled around the smaller spires and was then trasferred to the larger one. Luthor laughed
like a man posessed and said with a triumphant tone of voice "Nice job, Miss Superwoman! You've managed to mangle my men,
but you're too late to save your little reporter friend here, it would be a shame if he were suddenly to end up in the
middle of.." Luthor's voice trailed off as he searched for the right situation, before an image flashed on the monitor,
and the villain smiled demonically as he continued with a savage shout "..two hungry bears!" And laughed uproariously as he
pulled a lever down, a beam of blinding white light shot out of the cannon atop the large spire and consumed Louis, his
muffled scream silenced almost instantaniously! When the light cleared, Louis was nowhere to be seen! Superwoman rushed to
Luthor and grabbed him by his lapels and shook him, asking in a a furious, demanding voice "What have you done with him,
you monster?!" Luthor then waved his hands in front of Superwoman's face, saying in a pleasent tone "Don't worry, I've only
teleported him to a remote area of the forest, but you have to decide before the bears get him, what are you going to do first?
Take us to the police, or rescue him?" Superwoman grimaced and let go of Luthor, before taking a mighty leap right through
the roof of the cavern and into the sky above! Luthor ran to his men and jostled them awake, saying hurridly "Wake up! Grab
however much money you can! We've got to get out of here before she comes back!"

Superwoman soared far up into the air and scanned the forest below, with her Super Vision, in a second she could see a still
bound and gagged Louis in the middle of two furious looking Grizzly Bears, the mammoth beasts had their backs arched, and were
growling loudly as they moved in for the kill! Suddenly, Superwoman swooped down, and scooped up Louis in her arms and lept
a large distance to another part of the forest, just as the bears collided with each other! Upon landing safely, Superwoman
removed Louis' gag, and snapped off the thick ropes as easily as if they were confetti ribbons! Before Louis could get adjusted
enough to thank his hero, she took him in one arm and lept into the air once more.

At the alternate entryway to the cavern, in front of the mouth of a cave, Luthor and his men were loading sacks of money in
the trunk of the black foreign car. "Come on, Come on! Hurry it up!" Luthor said impatiently. Then, in an instant, Superwoman
came soaring from the sky and grabbed all the men by the backs of their collars and flew back to the sky without even touching
the ground! Despite the protesting screams and wiggling free the criminals attempted to do, The Woman of Steel never loosened
her grip.

At the Metropolis police station, an officer was just entering the building when, Superwoman landed on the pavement in front
of the station and set Louis down gently and undid the criminal's belts and tied them all to the lampost in front of the
station. Louis was about to say something to her, but The Maiden of Might simply took to the sky again as a large number of
police exited the building and looked up after her, before noticing the wrangled villains beside them.

The headlines in the Planet the next day read "Dictator Luthor's "Invisible Theft" Crimes Foiled; Millions of Dollars and
Military Weapons Returned Safely; Superwoman Disappears Yet Again" The byline read "Story by Louis Lane". In Clara and Louis'
office Louis was eagerly reading a copy of the story to himself. "Congratulations on finally getting that raise, Louis!"
Clara said appreciatively as she worked laboriously at her typewriter "Maybe after I finish my story, the Chief'll give me
one too!" "Thanks, Clara!" Louis said in a joyful voice before sighing longingly and saying "I just wish that for once, I
could thank Superwoman!" Clara stops typing, looks at us, pulls down her glasses, smiles heroically, and winks!

                                                          THE END

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