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Man of Metal vs Woman of Steel

Written by drmuttoncops2 :: [Wednesday, 04 April 2012 05:13] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 17 June 2015 15:02]

"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! Possessing remarkable physical strength, Superwoman fights a never ending battle for truth and justice! Disguised as a mild mannered newspaper reporter, Clara Kent!

It was extremely humid in the rather cramped space in the belly of the mechanical beast. Levers, blinking multicolored lights, and black licorice-like wires sticking out of every possible crevice. And there, buckled into a small black chair, bolted into the floor, sat "Gentleman" John Corben, shirtless, his impressive muscular chest and stomach exposed as he tried to get his bearings straight.

"Mr. Corben, do you understand the instructions I've given to you about how to operate the levers and pedals?" The mad Professor Vale asked him from the large metal door in the robot's belly.

"Yeah, pretty much, Professor. Just like driving a car." Corben responded with a smirk.

"Alright, Mr. Corben, I'm closing the door." Professor Vale warned.

"Go ahead, Prof. I'm ready!" Corben said devilishly.

With a grunt of effort, Professor Vale pushed the heavy chest compartment closed with a large bang. It snapped locked upon shutting. "Alright, Mr. Corben, to activate the machine, pull the lever to your immediate left!" Vale shouted.

About a second later, something like the sound of a great aircraft engine began to start up. The round eyes of the giant metal beast burned hatefully with a dark red. The bright green glow of the robot's K-Metal heart embedded deep in it's chest cavity illiuminated the Professor as he stared with a wild look in his eyes. "YES...YES!!" Left his lips in a whisper as the metallic titan stood up. Until it reached 30 feet tall! It's large head and extremely broad shoulders crashing through the roof of the large warehouse.

"And now, Mr. Corben, you shall do my bidding!" The mad Professor Vale shouted at the giant.

However, from the speaker hidden behind the large, blunt, block-like metal teeth came a flat, meaty chuckle.

"What's so blasted funny?" Vale asked indignantly.

"What's funny, Prof, is that I'm in this giant robot thing, with untold power at my disposal, and you're going to push me around? I don't think so!" The tinny echoing sound of Corben's voice sounded defiantly from the speaker.

"Listen..You..You need me to control the Metalo machine! You can't just go off without being properly instructed!" Vale pleaded.

"Sorry, Prof. You just got the boot!" Corben, or Metalo rather, said, before pulling a lever that lifted the robot's leg up, and aimed at the frightened Professor.

Professor Vale, his eyes wide with horror, had just enough air in his lungs to scream "NOOOOOOOOO!" Before the five-ton metal foot came crashing down on him with a sickening crunch!

[Ah, that's better! Now, to get revenge on Metropolis for convicting me, and especially Superwoman, for putting me away!] Corben thought to himself, before marching the robot out of the warehouse, bursting through it's cement wall in a cloud of dust, before heading off towards the shining city, the rays of the rising sun just beginning to glisten off it's metallic skyscrapers...

In her office at the bustling Daily Planet building, Clara Kent, dressed in her white shirt, green tie, and matching candy pink jacket and skirt, sat at her desk, tapping out the report of a flower show she had covered at about a paragraph a second. She was somewhat indignant at her usual feminine assignment. [Why can't the Chief just get me a tough job? He knows I can handle it! I know things have cooled off recently, but my word..] She thought as she took the paper, still warm with friction from her superhuman typing, out of her typewriter, and laid it on the left side of her desk, she would send for a copyboy later, to pick it up. She usually didn't type so fast when Louis was around, but when she was all alone, she would take advantage of the amazing powers she had been blessed with.

Just then, Louis walked in, his usual smug look stuck on his face. "Morning, Clarybelle. I don't know about you, but I've got a job! Chief just assigned me to cover some fishy business over at the Greyhound track. Easy money." He said in a cocky voice.

Clara just brushed it off and said self-assuredly "Well, Louis, he should be calling any minute now."

Just then, the crackle of the intercom on Clara's desk sounded, and Perry White's voice came over it "Kent, get in here a minute."

With a cheerful smile, Clara rose from her seat and walked toward the door, saying "Looks like I'm still popular around here after all, Louis."

"We'll see, Clarybelle, we'll see." Louis said, his face showing a small amount of irritation.

"Yes, I suppose we will." Clara said nonchalantly, taking her small green hat from the hat rack and heading out the door.

Right after she had left, Louis casually waltzed over to Clara's desk and began rifling through the papers on her desk, until something caught his eye, it was a plain piece of notepaper on which had been written in Clara's usual flawless script, "Corben Contacts". Under which was a list of about twenty known notorious leg breakers and numbers men. "Yes, Clarybelle..Indeed we will.." Louis said greedily to himself with the hungry look of a hawk eyeing a fat, juicy fieldmouse.

"An interview with the Ladies' Quilting Club?" Clara asked with disappointment, her shoulders slumping.

Chief Editor Perry White took another long puff off of the half cigar that he manuevered around in his mouth, staring at Clara with a bored expression on his face, as if he were planning to accompany his wife to the wallpaper store. Finally, he removed the cigar from his mouth, blowing a cloud of white smoke near Clara. As she breathed it in, her superhuman Kryptonian lungs were able to withstand it, yet her instincts told her to cough, so she did.

"Listen, Kent" Perry began, his tone serious "You're a regular golden child here. You got the exclusive on the first sighting of Superwoman. But listen here, all the stories you're going to be given aren't going to be Pulitzer material. You understand?"

"Yes, Chief, I'll get right on it." Clara said with resignation, as she donned her hat and headed out the door. She didn't understand it. The paper knew what she was made of, why couldn't she be given ANY tough assignments? It just didn't seem fair.

As she walked dejectedly to the elevators, she was suprised to see Louis standing there, his grey hat in his hands, as if he were waiting for her. "Say, Clarybelle, why the long face, my dear? They forget to give you your feedbag?" He joked with a low chuckle.

"Har-dee-har, Louis. You're a regular Groucho Marx." Clara said resentfully.

"Bad assignment, huh?" Louis asked with a crook of his right eyebrow.

"It's a regular doozy." Clara grumbled.

"Well, I tell you what, Clara. Why don't you come on over to "Luigi's Bistro" and have lunch together. My treat. See if that gets you out of the dumps."

Clara couldn't believe it! Her heart nearly lept up into her throat, choking her so that she couldn't talk. Louis was actually asking her out to lunch! And he almost never called her simply "Clara"! Could this be it? Did he actually love her too? "Uh..Uh..Well," Clara began stammering, before, with a crimson blush, she exclaimed "Sure, Louis! Sounds good!"

"I thought you'd like that, Clara. Now, let's be off." Louis said affectionately. Louis rang for the elevator, the doors opened with the sharp "Ding!" of the bell. Like a gentleman, Louis motioned for Clara to step inside first, Clara did so with a warm smile, Louis followed and pushed the button for the first floor. The doors shut, beginning their descent.

As Clara and Louis passed through the gate of the garden resturaunt, decorated neatly all around by neatly trimmed shrubs, the delicious smell of various delicacies cooking and baking. She was starved, and couldn't wait to eat. They were greeted by a friendly, clean shaven man with sandy brown hair and bright blue eyes dressed in a white dress shirt, black bow tie and red apron over black dress pants. "Good afternoon. My name is David, and I'll be your waiter. Allow me to show you to your table." He said polietly with a pearly smile.

"Thank you." Louis answered as the two were led to their seats on the outdoor patio. Their table was covered with a bright red tablecloth, a small green basket of breadsticks sat in the middle of the table.

"I'll be right back with your menus." David said briskly, before walking back inside the building.

Louis took a breadstick from the basket and chewed the end off of it, mulling the piece over in his mouth, grinding it down, before swallowing. Clara just stared at Louis with longing eyes.

"So, you hear from your folks, recently?" Louis asked inquisitively.

Clara's face fell at this. She was silent for about a minute. Then her eyes began to tear up. "My..My parents have been dead for a few years." She said, her voice trembling.

"Oh, I..I'm sorry, I didn't know.." Louis said, wishing that he could've taken the question back. He began to reach out his hand to instinctively comfort Clara, but something made him draw it back. "Forget I brought it up, Clara." He said making a sweeping aside motion with his left hand.

"It's alright, Louis. I'm feeling better already." Clara said, life returning to her voice as she took a handkerchief from her pocket and dabbed at her eyes, the smile of adoration already returning to her face.

Their menus came, and Clara decided on a bowl of vegetable soup, while Louis ordered the chicken calzone. Their meals arrived promptly and they ate in silence for several minutes, focused on their meals, until after gulping down part of his food, Louis spoke up. "So, Clara. What particular assignment did you get that put a storm cloud above your head."

"Oh, it's some silly interview with an old ladies' sewing club. I just felt that I was cut out for better scoops than that." Clara responded, stirring her soup around nonchalantly.

"Like the Corben story that I did?" Louis asked.

"Yes, I suppose.." Clara answered, some caution in her voice. She was beginning to become wary of his questioning.

"Okay then, Clarybelle, it's time to drop all pretenses. You know where Corben is, don't you?" Louis suddenly asked intrusively.

Clara's cheeks became flushed, her brows raised in surprise and offense. "EXCUSE ME?!!" She asked indignantly, dropping her spoon in shock, not believing what she was hearing!

Louis adopted a sly look in his eyes and continued "Don't play coy, my dear. You've got some contacts close to him that are ready to make like a flock of canaries, and your planning on springing the heat on him so you can get an exclusive! Don't bother denying it, I saw the list on your desk!" Concluding by pointing an accusing finger at her.

Clara's brows were now completely furrowed, her mouth in an angry snarl. "You went through my things?!! WH-WHY I NEVER!!" She exclaimed, picking up the complimentary glass of water beside her, and even remembering in her fury not to use too much force, projected the liquid right into Louis' face! As Louis squinted shut his eyes at the moment of impact, the front of his dress shirt along with his hair was soaked. He went for one of the napkins nearest him, as Clara stood up in a huff, donned her hat and stalked off angrily. "The meal was your treat, wasn't it, Mr. Lane? Well THAT was certainly MINE!!" She shouted as she opened the restaraunt's gate and trotted off towards the crosswalk.

Louis, now having his bearings about him, ran off after her, calling out "Clara! Clara, wait! Maybe we can talk this.." But that was as far as he got.

At that moment, to their mutual horror, the large thudding like that of an artillary shell going off multiplied by one-hundred came to their ears, The sound edged closer and closer.. Then, to the shock of everyone on the street, a gargantuan metal beast in the form of a man, standing about thirty feet tall, it's red eyes, blunt, dangerous looking teeth, green glowing heart, and sharp, talon-like claws on each of each finger, came directly into view!

Like a demon straight from Hades itself, a loud, crackling declaration came from the speaker inside the beast's mouth "ATTENTION, INSECTS OF EARTH! I, THE MIGHTY METALO, HAVE COME TO PUT YOU AT YOUR RIGHTFUL PLACE AT MY FEET!! JUST TRY TO STOP ME! ANY SIGN OF RESISTANCE WILL BE MET WITH IMMEDIATE DEATH!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" The mechanical monster cackled psychotically, as he reared back his fist and punched a hole straight into a nearby office building!

At that moment, Clara knew she had to act fast! With a look of determination on her face, she looked around for a safe place to change, saying quietly to herself "This looks like a job for Superwoman!" Clara then immediately spotted a sizeable alley to which no one was paying attention! However, just as she threw down her hat and unbuttoned her jacket, beginning to step inside, a hand suddenly grabbed her around the arm and pulled her away! Shocked, Clara looked behind her to see Louis, a panicked expression on his face.

"Clara, what are you doing?! We've got to make tracks away from here!" He exclaimed in fright. pulling her towards the running crowd of terrified citizens.

[Yeah, thanks a million, Louis..] Clara thought angrily to herself, before, as luck would have it, in the mad scurrying of people, Louis inadvertantly let go of Clara's arm, and got mixed in with the crowd!

He tried looking over the tops of people's heads, calling out "CLARA! CLARA!!" to no avail, before, against his better judgement, giving up and continuing to run for his life.

The streets still in a panic, and as usual, no attention focused in her direction, Clara, almost calmly walked back towards the alley, saying "Now, where was I?" as if she were a housewife returning to her chores after a long telephone chat with her friend. Once, at the back of the dark, private alley, Clara tossed off her jacket, removed her glasses, undid her hairbun, shaking down her glimmering black tresses, undoing her neck tie, dramatically ripping her dress shirt open to reveal the "S" symbol on top of her large, well proportioned breasts, kicked off her shoes and pulled down her skirt to reveal her true identity, as the tightly costumed, caped wonder, Superwoman! Leaping into the air, Superwoman shot into the sky, toward the mammoth metal malcontent!

As Superwoman zeroed in on Metalo, the robotic monster cut it's red, electronic eyes towards her. Inside the hollow stomach, John Corben smiled ferociously as he looked through the periscope-like device in front of him. "There you are, you little hussy!"

Metalo's electronic red eyes began to glow a dark green, then, two beams of light emitted from them, headed straight for Superwoman! The Maiden of Might was hit full on by the blast, expecting to merely shake it off. Instead, she felt a strange, sort of deflating sensation in her body, as if all of her energy was draining out like oil from a car! Without warning, she began to lose altitude fast! She tumbled from the sky straight to the concrete below with an expression of shock on her face! Metalo's boistrous laughter accompaning her fall.

Superwoman hit the ground at 75 miles per hour, smashing a small crater into the street. As she rose, uninjured, her head still spinning, peices of broken concrete and asphalt falling from her body, she noticed that her costume felt much looser, much baggier. As she looked down at her body, she saw that most of her fantastic muscles had vanished, replaced with a quite frail figure. Her bosoms had also decreased in size. Astonished, Superwoman looked up in Terror at the chunk of glowing ore embedded in Metalo's chest. "K-Metal!" She half whispered to herself in horror. "I've got to get out of here!"

She then turned and looked at the citizens looking at her, pleading with their mouths and eyes to do something, to rescue them. Superwoman began to feel deeply moved, almost near tears at the helpless masses whom she was powerless to assist. What she did next filled her with as much sorrow as the large crowd. For the first time in her career as a superheroic guardian of the city of Metropolis, Superwoman turned her back and ran, fleeing from the responsibility she had been given.

"No! Superwoman, wait!" "Why is she running away?!" "Don't leave us, please!" The public shouted after her, but Superwoman tried to shut out the pain of hearing the public's helpless pleas. As she raced back towards the deserted part of the city where her apartment was.

"Ha! So much for your so-called hero! Now, this city is MINE!!!" Metalo shouted abusively, as he began to march towards the terrified populace, smashing small buildings, tipping over skyscrapers with a push, and trying to stomp on as many innocent civilans and Police as possible!

Huddled between two buildings, trying to take most of the story down on his notepad with a shivering hand, his eyes wide with panic. [How..How could she just leave us?! Why?!] Louis thought, with utter hopelessness. Why did you abandon us, my hero..?]

It took about twenty-five minutes for Superwoman to reach the five floor faded red brick apartment building where she lived. By this time, she was completely out of breath and her feet felt like two massive bruises. As she stumbled into the empty lobby, she paused for a minute to catch her breath, she leaned foreward as if she were going to be sick, sweat pouring in large drops from her forehead. She couldn't believe how tired she felt, how hungry. Superwoman's feet felt like lead, and her legs like jelly. She hoped that no one had decided to stay behind to see the pathetic sight of a once mighty heroine like herself in this condition. She staggered to the elevator, and after pushing the button for the 5th floor, she collapsed on her bottom, as the small, confined steel box rose upward.

Once inside her room, Superwoman sat on the edge of her bed and removed her large red boots, and looked at her bare feet, which didn't look as bad as she thought they would. She began to massage each tendon, sole, heel and digit with the upmost professionalism, letting out slow moans of comfort as each small rub began to bring calm, healing feelings back to her body. After she had scoured her refrigerator for something to quell the groaning of her stomach, she assembled a cheese sandwich with three slices of cheddar in between the bread slices and cast her manners aside for the time being, chewing the sandwich in large bites and washing it down with huge gulps from a glass of milk. She resisted the temptation to take a long, hot bath, as there wasn't a moment to waste, she had already made up her mind that she must go to a secluded area, and excersize the strength back into her body! She once again donned her boots and, with a stoic look, opened her closet and removed another outfit, this time, it was the checkered shirt and khaki slacks that she had worn while exploring the caves with Louis and Dr. Henderson. How she had rescued them from those horrible birdmen, back when she had her powers.. Anyway, she was going to need these rustic clothes for where she planned to go. She donned the clothing over her costume, put on a pair of brown work shoes on top of her boots, and put a light blue bandana over her hair. It didn't matter that she had left her glasses in the alley, no one would be around to recognize her.

Now with some of her energy returned, Superwoman (or Clara rather) returned to the empty lobby and made her way out the door, beginning to walk further and further away from Metropolis, trying to ignore the faint sounds of loud smashings and people screaming in terror. [Don't worry, Citizens of Metropolis, I shall return to you soon, and I will deliver you from this evil terror. I promise!] Clara thought as she tried to walk as fast as she could, a clear look of determination on her face.

Across the river, in New York City, in the solid white skyscraper that housed the illustrious newspaper "The Daily Star", Chief Editor George Taylor sat in his lush, recently re-designed office, his walls adorned with his degrees in journalism, and the biggest headlines the paper had covered, his attention focused on the clacking silver balls of the Newton's Cradle on his black marble desk. His eyes looked up at Guy Stevenson, one of his ace reporters with a crafty intent, his mouth in a twisted smile. "So, she beat it out of town and left all those poor saps in the lurch?" He asked eagerly, anticipating a story.

With a swift nod of the head, the smartly dressed reporter replied "That's right, Chief! The robot zapped her with it's laser eye beams and she fell like a sack of wet cement! Then she made off like the Devil himself was chasing her!"

Taylor chuckled fatly to himself bowing his head and shaking it slowly, before rising to his feet and walking over to the window, watching acrid black smoke beginning to rise over Metropolis. "Stevenson, do you realize that we are sitting on the biggest story yet?" he asked slyly "I mean, the so called "mighty" Superwoman abandoning the city, a giant robot destroying Metropolis, and with it, the competition," He said as an aside, turning back to wink "and we don't get beat by the Planet to a Superwoman story for once!" Taylor then spun around and dramatically pointed a finger at Guy. "Stevenson, heat up the presses! We'll take this for all it's worth!" He commanded with a greedy look in his eye.

"Yes, Sir!" Guy said enthusiastically as he saluted and rushed out of the room.


Perry White fumed as he held that days copy of the Star, muttering a string of profanities under his breath, his face red with fury. He then crumpled the rag up in his meaty paws and ripped it into strands of black and white confetti, before tossing it to the ground.

Louis stood in front of White's desk, looking quite disheveled, his chocolate brown hair was out of place, the lower half of his face was covered with stubble, and his red necktie was unknotted.

"Damnation, Lane! You couldn't clean yourself up just a little bit?" He asked aggresively, looking up at him with severe annoyance.

"Sorry, Chief.." Louis apologized, before putting his fist to his mouth and letting out a polite yawn. It was clear that he hadn't slept that night. "But I'd been fighting for my life through those crowds of people and Police just to get back to my house." The large boom of a tank's cannon going off briefly interrupted him, the room shook with the vibration of the shot, trophies and knick-knacks rattled on shelves. The lights flickered briefly. "And who can sleep with the National Guard trying to pick up the slack Superwoman left behind when she ran from that robot! I hate to tell you this, Chief, but they're not doing too well! Even their heavy ammunition just bounces off the thing, and it's getting closer and closer into the city! We'll have to evacuate the city soon!" Louis explained, his voice getting higher and cracking with each terrified syllable, his panicked eyes bugged out. "Why did she leave us, Chief? Right when we needed her the most?!" He asked in desperation.

"Confound it, Lane! Do I look stupid?! I know the score!" Perry fired back at Louis, spittle flying from his mouth "Superwoman wouldn't run off like that without a reason. She has to regroup. I know she'll be back to dismantle that hunk of tin! She's never failed us before! Besides, I know Taylor! He's been jealous ever since Superwoman started giving this paper exclusives that no one would dare wrap fish with, and he's been looking for every single opportunity he can to discredit her, since! He's also been known to cherry pick his interviews. Word on the street is that most people are shocked and afraid, not angry!" With a deep sigh, Perry ran his hands across his heavily perspiring face. He then opened the wooden cigar box he kept on his desk, extracted a perfectly rolled Cuban stogie, took a pack of matches with the "Whistling Canary Lounge" logo printed on it, and struck one. He set fire to the long, brown stick of tobacco and let out several satisfying puffs of snow white smoke that seemed to echo the rythm of the tank guns subtley shaking the room. "I want a story on my desk that'll nail that Star hit piece by tomorrow, Lane! I don't care if you have to enlist to get close to the action, but I want the public to know that we're going to fight that metallic demon off, Superwoman or NOT!" Perry grunted, his voice slowly gaining volume until it was a shout and he had nearly bitten the cigar off in his mouth.

"Y..Yes, Sir, Chief!" Louis said. He began to comb his hair back into place as he walked out of the office, his grey fedora held limp in his shuddering hands. Looking out the window, at the many black columns of acrid smoke rising from the city, Louis whispered softly to himself "My hero, wherever you are.. Please come back quickly. We need you.." He took a fragile breath and said in an even softer voice. "And Please make sure that Clara is safe.."

The forest green 1939 Ford sedan slowed to a stop as it pulled over to the side of the road, right next to a heavily wooded area. The right back door opened and Clara stepped out, looking from left to right.

"Miss, are you sure that you want us to drop you off here? It looks dangerous, especially at night!" The blonde, heavily tanned man behind the wheel said concernedly.

"Well, not as dangerous as what's happening in the city right now!" Clara declared, stepping gingerly onto the green, somewhat faded grass.

"That's for sure.." The man responded. "That's why we're getting out ourselves!"

"Be very careful, Ma'am!" The man's red-headed wife, whose pregnant stomach was showing through her baby blue blouse, warned Clara.

"Don't worry, I will." Clara reassured her with a smile, although it was a little uncertain. "Thanks for the ride!" She added appreciatively. "Take care of that baby, now."

The couple pulled back into traffic, as Clara turned to face the lush forest in front of her. [Well, Clara, let's get down to business!] She thought with a somewhat resurgant sense of confidence as she furrowed her brows and began strutting towards the tangled mass of vines, trees and foliage.

The long barrel of the tank's cannon erupted with a short but loud cough of fire and smoke as it blasted yet another round at the solid metal chest of Metalo, the artillary shell simply crumpled against the many layers of reinforced metal and fell to the ground with a loud "CLANG!"

This prompted a burst of laughter from the metallic demon as Corben's voice eminated from the mouth speaker "Foolish humans! Your puny Earth weapons only amuse me!"

General Lyle Densmore, a somewhat muscular middle aged man with grey crew cut hair partially hidden by his green helmet, stood frozen in shock as the beast lumbered towards his platoon with thundering steps. His wits still sharp and about him, Densmore hollored to his battalion "Reverse and keep hitting him witn everything we've got, men!" The sodiers complied, firing bullets from tank guns and machine guns of all sorts, creating a sort of hail storm of ammunition that did nothing but bounce off the robotic monster's sturdy exterior.

Densmore began to sweat as he gritted his teeth, wondering [Oh, Superwoman, where are you?!]

Deep within the labyrinth of the forest, slightly illuminated by the dusk orange sky, far from prying eyes, Clara had removed her civillian clothes and stood revealed in her loose fitting Superwoman outfit. Superwoman began looking around for things she could train with, to gain her strength back. Now that she had avoided the exposure to K-Metal for some time, she did feel strong again, but she knew she had to be stronger, she had to be untouchable, INVINCIBLE.

Then, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a somewhat large rock, about three feet in diameter. She picked it up with some effort, then after applying a moderate amount of pressure, the rock developed a series of spiderweb cracks with the sound of grinding and crunching, before suddenly coming apart in large chunks and falling to the ground at Superwoman's feet! The Woman of Steel looked at the result of her strength exhibition and thought critically [Good, Clara, but not good enough. You must be stronger!] She began looking about some more ways to improve her strength. She caught sight of around thirty fully grown pine trees with large white chalk marks at their bases. [Hmm, those trees must be marked for cutting.. I'm sure the local authorities wouldn't mind if I trained with these! It would save them some trouble!] She thought to herself as she strode over towards the trees with complete and utter confidence.

Upon reaching the first tree, Superwoman wrapped her arms around it, as if embracing a loved one, and, lifting with her knees, pulled upward. There was the sound of the tree's roots snapping as it was being torn from the earth as Superwoman, with a slight grunt of effort, ripped the tree straight out of the ground! Superwoman lifted the tree above her head, before tossing it to the ground. "Now let's try for two!" Superwoman said self-assuredly as she grabbed two of the trees with each individual hand and gripped them so tight that her fingers began to sink into the bark! This brought a glimmer of hope to Superwoman's crystal blue eyes! With a sudden upward motion, Superwoman promptly freed the two pines from the soil! "Wow! Maybe I am getting my strength back!" She said exhubarantly! Superwoman grinned broadly at this, before looking to the other trees marked for their execution, and saying in a confident voice "I can do this with no problem!"

In groups of three's, Superwoman ripped the trees straight from the ground with ease, until finally all thirty lay in an untidy pile like the toothpicks of a Cyclops. Walking over to a group of several particularly long and sturdy vines, Superwoman plucked them from their perches as if she were sweeping cobwebs from a ceiling, and brought them over to the trees. Neatly stacking the thick pines on top of each other, Superwoman then wrapped the around both ends with the vines, and then tying the greenery's ends together in tight double knots as if they were shoelaces. After looking over her primitive contraption, which somewhat resembled a gargantuan wooden barbell fit for King Kong. Superwoman gave a satisfactory nod to her work, Superwoman dug her fingers underneath the barbell and lifted with all her might. Sweat beginning to form on her forehead in large drops, veins in her neck and arms that had never showed themselves before were now quite evident. Suddenly, the large weight suddenly left the ground about an inch or two. "Yes!" Superwoman managed to squeak giddily, her eyes almost bulging out of their sockets. Putting her back into the effort, Superwoman lifted further upwards, managing to lift it to her knees, then her chest! "Yes! Come on! Come on!" Superwoman urged her body. Then, giving it her all, grinding her teeth together with great force, Superwoman lifted the titanic tree weight completely over her head! "YES!! I DID IT!!" Superwoman declared at the top of her voice! Resting the massive oak barbell on her broad, heaving shoulders, Superwoman got down on one knee, panting and at rest, like a female Atlas.

After taking a short breather, Superwoman braced herself, tightening all of the muscles in her body that she could. Then, with a deep breath, she began lifting upwards with her knees, slowly straightening her body into a standing position, breathing inwards and outwards to release the pressure, until, finally, she was standing completely erect once again, hoisting the weight high over her head! "Yes! YES!! I can do this!"

With completely vibrant energy once again seeping into her veins, Superwoman began lifting the massive weight first at an even, then casual, and finally rapid pace, performing repitition after repition, to the point where she no longer had to squat downwards! With each rep, she felt more and more strength returning to her body, more muscles forming! Finally, seeing no further use for the tool, she uncerimoniously dropped it single handedly to the ground with a great crash! the vines holding the weight together came undone, and many of the large pine logs snapped upon impact! Superwoman tested the results by flexed her biceps, her muscles, now hard and firm pressing against her costumes sleeves! Superwoman beamed with pride and said in a deep and mighty voice, filled to the brim with confidence, "YES!! I'm Super once again!!"

The first rays of sunshine were beginning to dance merrily across the quite, somewhat broad black lake that lay beneath a small grey cliff face. Superwoman stood right before it, her eyes fixed ahead, unflinching at the orange, rising sunlight. She then lifted each of her firm, atheletic legs, and casually pulled each of her tight red boots off, placing them beside her. She then reached for the neckline of her costume and pulled it delicately downwards, the tight blue outfit slid down the heroine's slender, yet muscular body, until she stood completely nude in front of the water. She then neatly folded her costume and cape with almost military precision before placing it beside her boots. She then turned her attention back to the water, her bronze, completely fit form seemed to glow as it took in the solar rays. Upon walking the cliff's edge, Superwoman lept into the air, executed a completely textbook swan dive and crashed into the lake with a loud splash.

Superwoman cut straight through the water at super speed, as fast as a missle, breaststroke after breaststroke, the force of her lightening fast swimming was so intense, that towering waves rose from the water, slamming into the trees and bushes on either side about 30 feet inland with hurricane intensity! In a matter of a second, Superwoman had made a complete trip to the other side of the lake and back. She then rose from the water and climbed back up the cliff effortlessly, her long black hair and gorgeous nude body dripping with moisture. She then assumed a perfectly poised pirouette position, and spun on the heel of her left foot, quickly gaining speed, until she was a bronze cyclone! Droplets of water went flying in all directions, the wind  beginning to rip the oak and pine trees from the ground, until the whirling human cyclone slowed and came to a stop, Superwoman was now completely dry from head to toe. She smirked, quite proud of herself, before walking over to retrieve her clothes.

Now fully dressed, Superwoman looked around at her surroundings, looking for something more to test her strength on. Her crystal blue eyes focused on a large moss covered boulder that was sandwiched in between two mounds of grass. Superwoman waltzed over to it, placed her hand under the large object and effortlessly lifted the object over her head! She then threw the collosal rock high into the air and cocked back her fist with a look of concentration on her face. As the boulder came within range, Superwoman shot her mighty fist foreward. Immediately upon the boulder making contact with the Maiden of Might's fist, it exploded into a shower of pebbles and dust, which rained down upon the Woman of Steel! Superwoman once again adopted a stoic expression and looked skyward. "Now for the final test!" she announced proudly, before leaping into the air, and beginning to float, she faltered briefly, having to stick her arms outward to regain her balance. Now completely focused, she shot into the sky like she had been fired from a cannon! She began soaring gracefully around the lake in a broad circular pattern. She actually began to enjoy the freeing feeling of the wind against her hair and body so much, that she began to perform arial acrobatics, twirling and doing loop-de-loops with an almost adolescent sense of abondon, before suddenly halting in mid air, the hardened, dutiful expression across her beautiful face once again. "That's right! Now that I'm Super once again, I have a job to do! I have a city to defend! Superwoman exclaimed, before jetting ahead, moving so fast, she caused a painfully loud sonic boom in her wake! [I only hope I'm not too late!] she thought worriedly as she could already see columns of acrid smoke in the horizon before her.

The city of Metropolis was starting to resemble war torn Europe. Large buildings lay in crumbled heaps of smoldering steel and brick. Smoke and fire were prevelant in various settings. Injured and dead lay in makeshift shelters along the safer sidewalks and avenues. Tanks, Jeeps and other military vehicles littered the streets. firing as they retreated slowly from the advancing metal beast. Metalo continued to fire back at the weakening battalion, blasting vehicles straight off the road with his laser beam eyes and smashing gaping holes in skyscrapers with his sharp metallic claws, all while John Corben cackled manically inside his reinforced shell from which he casually pulled the levers that brought forth death and destruction. "I think I'll pay the Mayor a little visit and negotiate the terms of his surrender!" He exclained with psychotic giddiness to himself as his robot body's massive, intimidating shadow crept closer and closer to the heavily guarded City Hall. The National Guard battalion started to fire at the being as it approached the building, but as so many times the previous day and night, their massive amounts of deafening combined firepower weren't making as much as a dent in the metal colossus.

"I'm telling you, I'm an award winning reporter who's covered wartime events before!" Louis shouted at the top of his lungs indignantly as he struggled with the team of soldiers detaining him at the barracade a few blocks away.

"And I'm telling you, Mr. Lane, that you're mad if you think I'm letting you get near that thing!" General Densmore shouted at Louis, his eyes bulging out. "This city's in the midst of a full scale evacuation and we cannot risk any more human lives! Now I suggest that you hightail it.." That was as far as the General got, however, for as soon as he had spoken, a bright blue and red blur shot through the air straight at Metalo's jaw! Upon making conact, there was the sound of two very large bolts snapping and with that, the giant's lower jaw came completely loose and began falling to the ground below right above a Private who was frozen with shock! The blur then made a nosedive for the object and got ahead of it, before slowing down, revealing itself to be none other than Superwoman!

Everyone stood in shocked awe as the Maiden of Might gently placed the large jaw down, before rocketing upwards at Metalo one again! The frozen crowd, military and civilian alike then broke out into frantic cheering, chanting Superwoman's name over and over! Tears of joy began to form in Louis' eyes as he thought to himself [I knew you'd come back! I just knew it!]

In a delayed reaction, Corben could sense something was wrong, something seemed to have fallen from the robot. "Wha..? What's going..?" He wondered as he looked through the periscope like visor, only to see the Woman of Steel floating there in mid-air, her arms crossed over her ample chest and a furious look in her crystal blue eyes, her brows furrowed with righteous anger! "You again, huh?! No matter, you hussy! I'll just zap you out of the sky again!" Corben shouted through the microphone, before pulling the laser lever down once again. The eyes glowed green with the K-Metal's power once again, and fired! However, without appearing to move at all, Superwoman immediately zipped to the far right, her expression and pose unchanged. "HOLD STILL, YOU TRAMP!!" Corben, now sweating with a combination of fear and hatred as he violently manuevered the lever up and down at a fevered pace, the robot's head spinning frantically like a top as Superwoman continued to expertly elude it.

[Alright, enough playing around. It's time to send this tin can to the scrap heap! But how do I do so without getting a dose of K-Metal?] Superwoman thought as she scanned the buildings for some manner of defensive weapon. The answer suddenly hit her as she spotted the roof of City Hall, it was covered with lead sheeting! [Lead! Of course!] Superwoman thought joyfully, before zooming over, tearing a rather sizable amount off the roof like neatly tearing a piece of paper apart, and soared back over to Metalo, looping around him at a distance, the lead sheeting easily absorbing blast after blast of the K-Metal energy. She then plastered the sheeting over the K-Metal while easily avoiding his worthlessly flailing arms trying to swat her. The threat now neutrilized, Superwoman adopted an assured smile as she drew her right fist back and slammed it right into Metalo's chassie, punching a hole right through the reinforced metallic layers! "WHA..? No! NO!!! HOW CAN SHE..?" Corben began to exclaim in abject terror, as Superwoman landed blow after mighty blow that dented the supposedly impervious armor and jostled Corben around in his seat so much that he became violently sick. Finally, with a textbook right cross, Superwoman knocked the behemoth off balance and sent Corben's robot straight to earth with a great crash that registered a 4.8 on the Richter scale, and knocked the standing citizens off their feet!

While Corben attempted to get the robot back upright amidst a string of vile obscenities, Superwoman was already alert. She flew down to the small crater the robot had made, and quickly bent the nearby streetlamps over it's massive arms and legs with such quickness and ease that they may as well have been made out of lightweight rubber! Amidst the shouts of joy and whistles from the crowd, Superwoman lept on the chest of the gargantuan fiend and took hold of the metal chest's exterior, tearing it off and throwing it aside to come face to face with the petrified face of John Corben. "So.."Gentleman" John Corben.. I knew I smelled a rat somewhere in that armor!" Superwoman said condescendingly, before reaching down and taking ahold of his shirt collar ripping him from his seat restraints and lifted him into the air "You've caused more death and destruction than you'll ever know. You should consider yourself lucky I'm being so gentle, because the judge certainly won't be!" She said with a voice as ice cold as the stare she was giving him. Corben, his blonde hair now a frazzled mess, could only mumble incoherently as Superwoman tossed him to the guardsmen uncaringly like a sack of month old manure.

As Corben was hustled away, Superwoman jumped to the ground again, and with the whole crowd watching in wonder, lifted the entire metal giant over her head and began crushing and crumpling it inwards with the horrid sound of over one million  fingernails on the world's largest chalkboard, until a large metal ball was all that remained of the mad Professor Vale's evil invention!

Louis had broken away from the army barricade and had now run up to the Woman of Steel, panting like a greyhound from the track. "Superwoman! Superwoman! Thank you so much for coming back! We don't know what we'd do without you!" He exclaimed with the enthusiasm of a schoolboy, the affection for the heroine prevelant in his glistening brown eyes.

Superwoman kept her composure, looking at both him and the still applauding, cheering crowd. She had to fight back tears herself, which in this situation was just as much a superhuman feat as keeping the giant-multi ton metal ball balanced in the palm of one hand. She simply bowed her head in acknowldgement and replied with a warm smile "Thank you so much, Louis. And this time, I'm here to stay!" Before leaping into the air once more.

Louis attempted to protest "Wait! Wait, Superwoman..have you seen..Clara..?" as his voice faded faster than the heroine's appearence in the sky, with a sigh, he began to make the long trek toward the Planet building, his head slightly bowed [Oh, Clara, please let me know you're alright..] he thought sorrowfully.

Having reached the Atlantic Ocean in only a matter of seconds, Superwoman knew her objective clearly, get rid of the massive metal ball and the dangerous K-Metal core within. Spinning several revolutions in the air, and taking great care not to throw it too far so it wouldn't land on something or someone in another country, Superwoman chucked the crumpled sphere that was once the destructive Metalo far into the large body of water, where it landed with a titanic splash! Her job now done, Superwoman soared back to the alleyway as discreetly as possible to retrieve her clothes.

The headline the next day read "SUPERWOMAN RETURNS TO ACTION! CRUMPLES METALLIC MONSTER!" the subline read "CORBEN GIVEN HARSHER SENTENCE, SENT TO SOLITARY" the byline read "Story by Louis Lane"

What a scoop it had been! Perry's rotund frame had practically been bouncing off the walls! "This is the stuff that gets you Pulitzers, Lane! Old George Taylor must be tearing his hair out by now!" he beamed enthusiastically. No, Clara hadn't shown up yet. Don't worry about it, kid, she'll be alright, so on and so forth.

As Louis sat at his desk, reading the headlines, he couldn't even fake enthusiasm for it without "Clarybelle" teasing him. He looked over at her empty desk, and sighed deeply, as if that would somehow have her come walking in. [Clara..] He thought sorrowfully.

Just then, the door opened, and who should walk in, but Clara herself! She had an Ace bandage wrapped around her head, but other than that, she looked the same! She was dressed in her baby blue jacket and skirt, and she had a warm smile across her face.

Louis looked as if he would keel over! His jaw practically touched the floor, his eyes were as wide as saucers.

"Hello, Louis!" Clara said meekly and happily as usual "I hope you weren't too worr.." That was as far as Clara got, as Louis had immediately raced over to her, swept her up in the crook of his arm, and brought his lips down upon hers! It didn't matter how short the display of affection was, for Clara it seemed to last a lifetime! [Yes! Oh, YES! At last!!] Clara thought elatedly, drunk with love. After Louis pulled away, Clara, her face crimson with embarrasment, she said contentedly "Gosh, Louis, I didn't know you cared.."

Louis resumed his smug attitude without skipping a beat and replied "Of course I do, Clarybelle dear! With you out of action, I was able to outscoop you yet again! The Chief even thinks I've got a shot at a Pulitzer with this one! Heck, at this rate, if you wind up in intensive care, I'll be able to retire!" with his usual sly smile.

Clara, feigning offense, huffed derisively and trotted back over to her desk. "You're lucky you were even alive to write a story in the first place!" She needled, still unable to hide her blush.

Louis looked up warmly and said "You know what, Clara? Let's forget the whole thing! I'm feeling generous today, so how about I try to make up for the lunch that was interrupted yesterday and we go over to the other side of the city, to that fancy French place and I treat you to a nice meal to get you your strength back? My treat!"

Clara threw up her hands with a roll of her eyes and asked "How can I resist?" and she rose from her desk.

As the two retrieved their hats and went for the door, Clara  absentmindedly took Louis by the hand and said "I'm glad that you were happy to see me!"

Louis just smirked and said "I'd be happier to see Superwoman!"

As the two walk out the door, Clara turns to us, smiles heroically, pulls down her glasses, and winks!

                                                            THE END

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