And here's Part 6! If you've stuck with the story this long, I'm honored that you've taken the time to read it all! I appreciate it! If you haven't read them yet, here's the links to Parts 1-5, so that you can get all caught up:
And now that you've gotten caught up with all of that, here's Part 6!!!
Perry White closes his eyes and begins massaging the bridge of his nose, shutting off the television, which is placed in the upper left corner of his office. He sits there for a bit, and the camera just focuses on him.
"We need an interview," he says. "An intense, lengthy interview where we can establish that he's not the bad guy that everybody is pitting him out to be. It needs to be in public... there needs to be a big crowd that can testify for his trustworthiness and friendliness. He'll need to put on a show, because the interview could make him or break him." As he speaks, it seems like he is almost speaking to himself.
But he is not. Sitting across from him is Lois Lane, patiently listening with a worried look. She nods. "Got it."
"You can arrange that?"
"I believe so. I just have to find Superman first."
"It shouldn't be too hard, given y'all's...history," he comments, referring to the kiss they shared in Man of Steel. Lois smiles and shrugs.
"What else?" she asks.
"Ask him everything you think you can get out of him. Anything that you think will win the people over. You and I both know that he's a good guy, but they don't necessarily. Make them feel like they know him personally. Set up the meeting with him and I'll set up all the official stuff. Just get me Superman."
"Got it." She stands up to leave.
"And Lois?" Perry says as she begins to walk out the door.
"Remember: he's an alien to them. This isn't just some regular interview. Put all feelings you may have for him aside and make him prove that he's a good guy. Don't give it to him easily. Help him show those people what that 'S' on his chest really means."
"Got it," Lois repeats, closing the door behind her. As she walks down the aisle way, she passes Clark, who sits at his desk typing. He solemnly nods at her, letting her know that he heard the whole conversation and that he will do it. She smiles at him and continues walking.
The scene cuts to downtown Metropolis, in one of the main streets, where a huge stage has been set up with a huge backdrop and everything, sporting the Daily Planet logo. This is suggested to be a few days after Lois' meeting with Perry, maybe even a week. A huge crowd is gathered around, and about ten television crews are set up, all focused on Lois Lane, who sits at a table atop the stage, notepad and pencil in one hand while the other impatiently taps the table. She looks around, smiling at the crowd but appearing vaguely nervous, as if she has never had so much attention on her at one time. She has a microphone strapped to her cheek. (As a side note, in the background we can see the land left leveled out by the World Engine, fenced off; there is a huge sign saying "Ground Zero: Site of Metropolis' future Centennial Park!")
The scene is awkward, in a way reminiscent of the interview scene in MoS. Lois continues to look around, and it is awkwardly silent. The camera shows the crowd once again, and we can see that many hold posters and picket signs, some pro-Man of Steel, some against him.
At last, Superman comes into view, stepping around the stage and making his way up the steps, a mic strapped to his face as well. He smiles at the crowd and waves, far more comfortable in the spotlight than Lois is. Many people in the crowd clap, but many seem frustrated. Nevertheless, he keeps his smiling persona and makes his way to the table, where he shakes Lois' hand and sits across from her.
"Good afternoon, Miss Lane," Superman says.
"Hello," Lois says with a smile. "Well, I guess we should get started, shouldn't we?" She coughs nervously and looks out at the cameras, and in a few quick establishing shots, we see the red lights at each camera blink to life, letting us know that the cameras are rolling and she and Superman are probably, as of this instant, on live television.
"So, we both know why you're here," Lois says.
Superman nods. "People are unsure of whether they can trust me, and I owe it to them to ease their suspicions."
"Glad we've got that clear. I'll give you a series of questions, and you'll answer truthfully. We could hook you up to a lie detector, but I suppose that those wouldn't work on you, and it would also take away from such a...festive atmosphere," she says the 'festive' part sarcastically, glancing out at the silent crowd with their picket signs raised.
Superman grins, treating the situation lightly. "I've never tested that out, but I'd suppose that you are correct. Who knows, maybe someday."
Lois nods, initiating another awkward silence. "Shall we get started?"
"What is your name?"
"Where are you from?"
"Krypton, a planet far from here that, I am sad to say, no longer exists." He answers directly but keeps a sincere look plastered on his face, if anything just to let the people know that he sincerely wants their trust.
"What do the people here call you?" Lois asks.
Superman chuckles. "Well...there's a lot of things I've heard. There's... Superman, the 'Man of Steel,'" he flexes his arms and smiles towards the crowd, igniting a chorus of giggles from small children, "the Man of Tomorrow, and -- oh, this one's my favorite -- 'the Last Son of Krypton.'" He says it in a low and dramatic voice, raising his arms outwards and shaking them dramatically, kicking off a chorus of laughter from children and adults alike. He smiles and looks back to Lois. "Then there's also--"
"Get to the point already! We already know all this stuff!" a voice yells from within the crowd, which, aside from the laughter, has been fairly quiet.
Superman shrugs and smiles sheepishly. "You heard the man. Let's not disappoint."
Lois eyes him but nods, grabbing her pencil and scratching out a few more questions as she works her way down the list.
A quick shot shows Bruce Wayne sitting in his office, most likely in Gotham, leaning back with his feet planted on his desk, one hand under his chin. A flat-screen television is built into his wall, displaying Superman and Lois' interview, which appears far less awkward when surrounded by all the "television magic." Bruce eyes the screen suspiciously.
We are back at the interview, where Lois still scans her paper. Finally, she looks up, setting her pen on the notepad.
"Did you catch LexCorp Tower on fire?"
Superman raises his eyebrows. "Straight to the point. Okay. Umm...well, short answer? No, I did not set LexCorp Tower on fire. I don't know why people think I would act so rashly."
"And the long answer?"
"I knew going into this job that it'd be hard to gain your trust. My entire life I've had to deal with the fact that I'm different than others, and I knew that revealing myself to the world would have to be timed perfectly right if I wanted to gain that trust I so desired.
"Sadly, I didn't have much of a choice. Don't get me wrong, the choice was most definitely there, just not in my mind. When Zod touched down, I saw that broadcast on television and just about died. I realized that if I truly cared about this world, it was my duty to save it, but at the same time I realized that the people might not even trust me despite the fact that I'd saved them. The fact remains that I am the reason they were in danger in the first place.
"I even recall a conversation I had with a man--" he is referring to the priest from Man of Steel, "--and he didn't really have much to say, but what little he said sealed the deal for me. He told me that sometimes you have to take a 'leap of faith,' and it made me realize that that is exactly what I needed to do. I could have stayed hidden and allowed Zod to destroy this planet piece by piece, but I realized that I simply couldn't. I care too much about this world to simply let it go to waste. It may not be my birth planet, but it is most definitely my home. I had stop Zod, whether that gained your trust or not."
Superman looks out at the crowd, his face very similar to the picture above. "I stopped Zod, and it felt for a while that I had gained your trust. I helped rebuild the city and tried to right my wrongs, and I have done my best in keeping this city and the world safe in these past few months since then, but obviously I knew that it wouldn't be that easy. I knew that not everyone would trust me, and I was willing to deal with that." The crowd listens in silence.
"Then Lex Luthor made a public statement regarding his distrust of me, and his words struck me as valid. He had a point in everything he said. I am and alien. I have no right nor reason to be here save for the fact that my home was destroyed and I have the power to protect yours, which has in turn become mine. And as he said, my power does potentially make me a risk. If I were to one day go rogue, that would definitely not end well. All of his words struck me as valid and made me realize that I am actually a huge threat to your society. I had always been too worried about your trust and preaching my message of 'hope' that I'd never stopped to realize the fear I could strike into the hearts of the everyday citizen. I was a wild card, and all I could do was trust you all to trust me.
"But then I realized something: as of now, I have given you no reason to not trust me. Yes, I have displayed great amount of power and yes, I do live a very secretive life, but no, I have not done anything to raise suspicion. All I have done was put my life on the line in order to try and save this planet, and since then I have done nothing but devote my time to relief and recovery and have tried to reconstruct this city as well as other places harmed by the clash shared by Zod, his men, and myself. I haven't done anything to make you think that I one day would go rogue. I decided I needed to talk to Luthor...to see just why he didn't trust me.
"And now we get to the part of the story that everybody has seen. There I was, floating outside of LexCorp Tower, and I ask Lex just why he doesn't like me. Why he is unwilling to trust me. I needed an answer, just so that I could somehow work on easing your suspicions. He gave me an answer, but it was nothing I hadn't heard before: I was an alien and I didn't belong. People put me on a pedestal and tended to forget about the smaller people who still had a great impact. He pretty much just restated a bunch of things I already knew.
"One thing that he did reveal to me, though, is yet another thing I'd unintentionally looked over. I'd been so worried about my own image that I'd failed to see that by building up your trust for and approval of me, I was taking the spotlight away from the other people who do a lot of good. People like Lex -- people who don't have the physical power that I have, but have the power to make a change nonetheless. People who deserve your trust even more than I do, because they had to work for the power to make a change.
"I can fly throughout your skies and I can lift trains with a single hand and I can shoot fire from my eyes, but that is nothing. I didn't have to work for that; given the earthly environment, it developed in my DNA. It became part of me without me even having to try, and given the influence of the people I was surrounded by during my younger life, it was no question as to whether I would use it for the betterment of mankind or not.
"But nevertheless, here I was taking the spotlight off of the people who did have to work to get where they are. The people who save the world every day in their own way, just by being who they are and doing for the world what they have made their personal obligation to do. Lex might not approve of me and I totally understand that, but I have to say that I approve of him. The way he has built himself up from little to nothing and has made a name for himself and has had a positive impact on this society, donating great funds of his to the reconstruction of this city...that is what deserves honor. That is what he taught me when I met with him--I'm not the only one who has to deal with conflict. I respected his response, and I began to leave. I did not set his tower aflame. That was not me. I went on to patrol the city, to see if there was any trouble. Next thing I know,--"
A loud, thunderous series of claps reverberates throughout the street, shaking the stage and cutting Superman off mid-speech. The crowd, previously silent, gasps and turns around, and we hear heavy footsteps echo on the pavement as a huge form steps around the corner of a building, coming into clear view. We see Zod's spacesuit from Man of Steel -- the one that LexCorp had been experimenting on -- but sporting a new paintjob, having been painted a heavy tint of green and purple. Young Lex Luthor sits in the 'driver' compartment of the suit, his head of hair now gone, revealing a scarred cap of bald head. Anger is in his eyes as he looks directly into the Man of Steel's eyes just two hundred feet away, the only things separating them the street itself and the crowd that looks at him in a mixture of awe and horror.
"The sad part is, most of these people probably believe all of this crap," Luthor says, taking another few more steps towards the crowd and the stage. The steps echo down the street. Superman steps from the table and approaches the edge of the stage, the microphone still at his lips. His shoulders raise as he realizes the magnanimity of the situation. Lois stands up with him. The camera crews from all the television stations pan back and forth between Superman and Lex, eager for the story unfolding before them.
"What're you doing, Lex?" Superman asks, worry on his face.
"What I've always wanted, Big Blue. I'm doing what is best for my city."
And with that, Lex builds into a run and then dives into the air, soaring over the crowds and grabbing the Man of Steel by the neck as they break through the stage's backdrop and crash into the street beyond.
(to be continued...)
Hope you enjoyed Part 6, everybody! Let me know what you thought about it in the comments, and let me know what you'd like to see next! Once again, sorry for the lapse in posting sections to the plot; I've had time to write, but I didn't want to deliver anything but what could be considered [hopefully] quality work. Hope you're enjoying, and I also hope that you return for Part 7 of World's Finest, coming soon!