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Sense Of Self

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The air in Metropolis’ early morning was chilly but calm as the rush hour had yet to commence, but one yellow taxi made a wide U-turn, riding over the edge of a sidewalk that sent the pedestrians walking along the concrete scattering out of the way, shooting dirty looks at the transportation vehicle as it stopped sharply in front of a building with a large globe over the entrance, the newspaper known as the Daily Planet.

A young man with a beard and wearing a woolen cap on his head and carrying a videotape emerged from the cab and kicked the door shut behind him as he quickly headed inside the building. The newsroom was quiet, but not empty as the man headed for a particular desk, where he took off his jacket and after reaching for a pair of scissors and carefully reached under his shirt to snip off strips of binding cloth. He sighed in relief and wiggled his shoulders disposing of the cloth.

Young copy boy and gopher, Jimmy Olsen approached the ‘man.’ “You’re in early.” He remarked and looked at the ‘man’ from different angles. “I like the beard…but the moustache isn’t working for me,” he teased, “want me to do it?”

The bearded ‘man’ nodded in resignation and squeezed ‘his’ eyes shut tightly and Jimmy pulled off the fake facial hair to reveal the face of a lovely young woman, whose face screwed up in pain before it seemed to pass and held up the video tape triumphantly. “I nailed ‘em cold!”

“All right! Jimmy congratulated her and took the video tape as the woman removed her cap and fluffed up her shoulder-length hair. His attention was drawn over to the window and as he looked out it, he looked back incredulously. “Uh, you’re cab is being towed.”

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'Million Dollar Car Theft Ring Exposed' was the headline for the Daily Planet’s morning edition for the following day, the exclusive having been credited to Lois Lane.

And following the scoop, all the televisions and other newspapers had caught onto the story as well. “A stolen car ring was smashed by a brilliant raid…” A newscaster was reporting from the television screen in the lively newsroom, a sharp contrast to the early morning of the previous day.

Another sharp contrast to the previous day was Lois Lane, who the previous day had been in grubby clothing and wearing a fake beard, was now in a tailored suit and high heels, her dark brown hair and eyes shining as she accepted the congratulations and praise of her co-workers. “Oh come one you guys, it was nothing, really.” She said modestly, but the beaming smile that lit up her face said otherwise.

“I still can’t believe they thought you were a boy.” Jimmy said shaking his head in amazement.

“Well, the moustache helped, and thanks for teaching me how to boost a car.” Lois replied.

Jimmy raised his coffee mug into the air. “To Lois Lane, still going where no reporter has gone before!” he joked and the other staff members clapped and laughed until the voice of the editor-in-chief cut through the air.

“Hey, hey, hey!” Turn that thing off.” Perry White instructed someone with a gesture toward the television. “Now Jimmy, don’t encourage her, she’s got a head as big as the Metro Dome as it is!” he said gruffly, but he gave Lois a smile reserved just for her.

“Well it’s nice to know I’m appreciated here, Chief.” She replied saucily.

“What do you expect…garlands thrown at your feet?” Perry questioned.

“No.” Lois replied with a laugh. “But I would like a raise.” She said seriously.

“Well I’d like a 145 foot triple-masted schooner with a teak interior but hey, Lois…” Perry said showing the inside of his empty pockets. “Times are tough.” He added and the staff members laughed as he looked around at the partier in his newsroom. “What’s everybody standing around for? This I a newspaper, not Happy Hour at Buckingham Palace.” He said firmly.

Jimmy followed his boss across the newsroom. “Chief, I got an angle on the mini-mall murders. Chief, I figure there was blood on the burritos because-check this out-they were eating, right, and the perpetrators come-”

Perry stopped at the door to his office and turned to face the enthusiastic copy boy. “Did you finish those obituaries?” he questioned and the boy’s expression fell. “Jimmy, never underestimate the need for a good obituary.” He said and went into his office, closing the door behind him.

“I can think of one right now.” Jimmy muttered as he turned away and headed over to Lois’ desk and angrily tossed his notebook down and the woman made a face at him before he spotted the pink message pad on her computer. “Whoa, I guess you finally hit the big time!”

Lois turned back to her work and didn’t look up. “Huh?”

“This time, Lex Luthor’s personal assistant-” Jimmy started with a grin as he snatched the paper away and danced back-“returned your call.” He finished in a rush as Lois snatched it back from him and she looked at it in disappointment before crumpling it up. “Give it up, Lois, Luthor never gives one-on-one interviews.”

Lois looked at him, a determined gleam in her eye. “Well, he’s never met Lois Lane before.”

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The scene the young woman was exposed to was the sound of sirens wailing and people hurried across the street, people honking the horns of their cars and the young woman’s battered suit case marked C.K swung out slightly in front of her as she smelled the aroma of hot dogs and the exhaust fumes of the cars, but her attention was focused on the large globe of the building she was in front of.

An insistent honking drew her attention caught her attention as a city bus careened down the avenue, and she figured something was, but a feeling of urgency formed in her mind as she saw the light turn red and people on the side walk began moving onto the crosswalk without taking notice of the bus.

She didn’t know what to do, but she gathered her resolve to stop the people from getting hurt. The young woman abandoned her suitcase as she sprinted into the street to stand right in front of the incoming bus’ path. She caught the sigh of the driver’s horror-stricken face before throwing his arms in front of him to brace for impact.

The bus came to an abrupt halt and the young woman looked around fearfully, and while she hoped no one had noticed, she saw that another woman had noticed and was staring at her in stunned silence. “She…she…” she stuttered, pointing at the dark-haired woman as she tried to get someone’s attention.

The young woman looked around again, this time an anxious look in her eyes, but luckily no one was paying attention to the stuttering woman and as her heart pounded in her ears, the young woman dashed back over to the side walk, grabbing her suitcase and melted into the crowd of people.

When no one came after her, she sighed in relief.

Back over by the bus, the stuttering woman looked down at the handprint imbedded in the grill with a look of shock.

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A middle-aged man wearing ragged and mismatched clothing came out of the elevator and into the Daily Planet newsroom, the man was filthy and he smelled of an assortment of things no one wanted to know; he looked around the newsroom. “Lois Lane? Lois Lane?” The man called in an urgent voice as he moved through the crowd of people, the woman being called looked up at the sound of her name. “Lois Lane!” he said spotting her and showed a paper-wrapped parcel in one hand. “It’s going to explode!” he shouted at her and the woman’s eyes widened as she stood up.

“He’s got a bomb!” Someone cried with alarm.

“It’s not a bomb.” Jimmy retorted derisively.

“It’s my credentials.” The man announced and two security guards from the lobby came running in and took the man by the arms, but the man managed to make it over to Lois.

“I’m sorry, sir.” One of the guards said to the chief, who was emerging from his office. “He ran right past me.”

“You don’t understand.” The ragged-looking man said handing the parcel to Lois. “Miss Lane, the Messenger is going to explode! Please, Miss Lane, you must tell my story!”

“We’ve had trouble with him before.” One guard said hauling the man away.

“No, please!” The man cried. “You’ve got to believe me!”

“No, wait a minute, don’t!” Lois called out to the security guards.

“He’s just a box short of a variety pack.” The other guard said not paying attention to the woman.

“Please, the space program is doomed!” The man cried once again as he was hauled out of the newsroom and Lois looked down at the package with a slight frown on her face.

While she had no inclination to believe the man, the urgency and desperation in his voice piqued her curiosity and a short while later she was sitting at her desk, the object covered in crumpled pieces of paper that she had flattened out. The papers were all different in size with scribbled notes on them, but her attention was diverted to the television as the Messenger was mentioned on it.

“The transport vehicle Messenger , piloted by Commander Jack Letterman and carrying the final propulsion module for Space Station Prometheus, is scheduled for lift-off Friday at 9:00 a.m. Dr. Toni Baines reminds us that timing is crucial.”

The scene changed to show a young blonde woman, the aforementioned doctor. “Unless all the modules are in place with the next few weeks, Space Station Prometheus will lose its orbit and fall back into the Earth’s atmosphere. That kind of occurrence will surely spell the end of any future projects, and the space program as a whole.”

The newscaster’s voice came back. “A series of delays and launch failures have already put EPRAD’s back on the wall.”

Lois looked back at the papers on her desk, her mind whirling as she thought about if the ragged man was right and the Messenger was doomed to explode, then the entire space program was in jeopardy. As she turned, some of the papers went flying off her desk and she sighed before getting on her knees to retrieve them.

A redheaded woman moved into the room, an expensive coat hanging languorously from one hand and she was wearing an outfit that revealed plenty of her tanned skin. “Morning, Lois,” she said smoothly, her voice a deep timbre, “on your hands and knees again I see.”

A blond man laughed as Lois collected the papers and stood, grimacing at the woman. “Isn’t it a bit early for you to be in, Cat?” she retorted. “I thought ladies like you only work nights?” Then she glared over at the blond. “And what exactly is so funny Steve?”

Cat laughed just as ‘Steve’ quieted down, but there was a grin on his face. “Part of my job as a society columnist…”

“Mud-slinging rumor monger.” Lois interjected harshly.

“…is to maintain an active social life.” Cat continued and paused. “You remember what that’s like…or do you?” She laughed contemptuously before departing, the sleeve of her fur coat slapping Lois in the face lightly.

Lois grimaced again as she thought about how women like Cat made it hard for other women to be seen as equals to men. She noticed Jimmy walk up behind her and needed to vent. “What do men see in her anyway?” she questioned grumpily. “Don’t they know she’s just using them for another notch on her garter belt?”

“Pathetic!” Jimmy agreed before a considering expression crossed his face. “Have you actually seen this garter belt?”

Lois gave the boy a disgusted look before smacking him in the chest.

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The young woman who’d stopped the bus had waited a little while before walking into the building, there was a chance she might have been recognized from earlier and she got the directions to Perry White’s office. Her first impression of the man was that he seemed a little disorganized as he rifled through the loose sheets on his desk with a distracted expression on his face. “So you are Miss, uh…”

“Kent, Caroline Kent.” The young woman replied quickly.

Perry found the resume under another sheet of paper. “Ah yes, Kent. Oh, Professor Carlton called me about you; boy, I haven’t seen him in I don’t know…Let’s see here.” He said remembering the purpose of the appointment. “Editor, Smallville Press.” He read slowly, his smile faltering. “Where is that, that’s in…?”

“Kansas.”

“Kansas.” Perry repeated, his voice kept carefully neutral when the phone rang with a shrill sound. “Oh, just a minute please.” He apologized as he reached and grabbed the receiver. “Yeah…oh, tell him to keep his pants on! If Carlini’s can’t deliver on time, just find a place who can!” he hollered into the mouth piece before hanging it up. “Would you believe that I had to buy a blood pressure monitor last week? He asked Caroline as he held two fingers against the side of his neck.

“Paava leaves.” She offered.

“I beg your pardon?” Perry questioned blankly.

“The Yolngu tribe in New Guinea eat paava leaves to relieve stress, it puts them in a meditative state. Maybe you should try some.” Caroline suggested helpfully as a woman entered the office and laid some papers on the cluttered desk before swiftly leaving.

“Oh, well, I see you’ve done some traveling.” Perry observed as the leaves suggested went through his head. Was this girl really saying he should eat leaves?

“Well this is my first trip to Metropolis.” Caroline clarified. “I have some samples of my work.” She said as she remembered she’d brought some papers with her and took them out of her pack.

“Oh good, good, let’s take a look.” Perry said agreeably as he accepted the papers. “The Borneo Gazette.” He read slowly as a knot formed in his stomach. “Mating rituals of the knob-tailed gecko?” he sighed as he looked at the hopeful young woman. “Kent, I’m sure that these are fascinating stories, but you see, this is the Daily Planet! We’re the greatest newspaper in the whole world! Now our people are dedicated servants of the Fourth Estate who routinely handle matters of international significance.”

The door swung open as a dark-haired young woman burst in. “All right, Chief, I fixed the horn on your golf cart.” He announced happily.

“Not now, Jimmy.” Perry said abruptly.

“The tone’s still off.” The boy continued apologetically.

“Jimmy, not now!” Perry shouted and the boy didn’t stick around any longer. “Now, as I was, uh, saying you can’t just walk in here and expect…”

“Chief!” Another young woman called and burst into the office. “I think there’s a story here and we should have this guy checked out, you know, the crazy one from this morning? He was an engineer at EPRAD for ten years...”

“Lois!” Perry shouted. “Can’t you see I’m in the middle of something here?” he questioned plainly as Caroline rose to her feet to politely greet the woman.

“Oh.” The other woman said not sounding the least bit apologetic and she barely even glanced at Caroline before looking at the editor in expectant impatience.

“Lois Lane, Caroline Kent.” Perry said.

“Nice to meet you.” Lois said giving the other woman a glance but not really paying her any attention as she looked back at her boss. “Anyway, he worked on the Messenger…”

Caroline, who was about to offer some form of polite greeting didn’t have any time to speak as the motor mouth beside her kept on talking in a rapid pace. She had never been overly annoyed with anyone before, but this woman’s rudeness was getting her to that level. She used the hand that she was going to offer to Lois to adjust her glasses.

“Wait, wait, wait a minute!” Perry shouted holding up a hand to silence anymore words. “What happened to that mood pieve I gave you about the razing of that old theatre on Forty-Second Street?”

“I wasn’t in the mood.” Lois retorted sarcastically.

“You weren’t in the mood.” Perry repeated with disgust. “Now look, Lois, you can’t come in here and tell me you’re not in the…”

Caroline saw that Lois was no longer paying attention and looked to see the golf-fixer making faces at the glass window of the office, mimicking a phone call. “I gotta go, I’ll catch you later!” she said swiftly leaving the office.

“I tell you, if that woman wasn’t the best damned investigative reporter I’ve ever seen, I…!” Perry put his fingers against his neck again and turned his attention back to the other woman still in the room. “Look Kent, I’m sure that you’re an intelligent woman, but you can’t just walk in here with this kind of resume and expect to get a job.”

“Mr. White, I know I lack experience,” Caroline said earnestly, “but I’m a good writer-”

“Kent.”

“-and a hard worker, and I-”

“Kent.” Perry interrupted her firmly. “I just don’t have anything for you.”

Caroline felt her face fall. “Well thank you sir, I appreciate you taking the time to see me.” She said politely and tried to keep the dejection out of her voice.

“Okay,” Perry said with a friendly smile.

Caroline shook the man’s hand, picked up her pack, and walked out of the office.

Perry smiled until the woman had turned away and stared at his throbbing hand with a grimace, looking in the direction the young woman had gone in with wide eyes.

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Caroline, or Carrie as she was known to her family, had found a room at the Hotel Apollo. It was a seedy place, but it was all she could afford until she got herself a job. She put down her suitcase in the bare room, looking around at the grimy walls, cheap furniture, and the payphone on the wall. From the next door she could hear rock music playing loudly.

She felt the ache of homesickness start to settle in her stomach as she thought about her life in Smallville. She’d never done typical‘girl stuff’ that most people thought of. Well, she did do that, but mostly she had been out in the field helping her dad with the stubborn tractor, or carrying the hay from into the barn.

She was an independent woman, and that’s why she felt she needed to get away from the farm. She had no thoughts of settling down, who’d want her anyway? The thought of being a housewife made her cringe, and while she found children to be cute in their own way, she never given any real thought of having any of her own.

After all, who’d wanna have kids with her?

Carrie felt the ache get stronger and decided to call her parents, even if she just wanting to hear their voices to cheer her up.

“You want me to wire you some cash?” her father offered right away.

“No, I’m fine.” Carrie replied half-heartedly, but the thought of running out of money made her cringe.

“How’d the interview go?” her mother asked eagerly.

“Not so good, but something’ll turn up I’m sure.” Carrie replied, trying to keep her voice reassuring, but it fell flat.

“Nyeah, I think I should wire you some cash.” Jonathan put in.

“I’m fine, dad.”

“You’re still going to make it home on Friday?” Martha questioned.

“What, and miss your home cooking?” Carrie asked with forced cheer that even sounded deceptively genuine in her own ears.

“What home cooking?” Jonathan snorted. “I haven’t had a home cooked mean in…”

“Carrie, you’re being careful, aren’t you?” Martha asked as she cut off her husband’s complaint.

“Sure, other than the bus incident this morning, but that-”

“Bus incident? Carrie…” Martha began, her happy tone fading from her voice.

“Metropolis isn’t the Outback, you know.” Her father warned. “People in the city are always looking to make a quick buck. If they find out about you, they’ll put you in a laboratory, and…”

“…’and dissect you like a frog’. I know, dad. Believe me, I’m trying my best to be like everybody else here.” Carrie finished.

“Well, I’ll get that cash out to you tonight.” Her father said.

“Dad…” Carrie stopped her refusal when she realized that once ran out of money that was it for this trip. “I’ll pay you back, I promise. Okay, I’ll talk to you guys soon.”

“Bye honey.” Her mother said gently.

Carrie hung up the phone, feeling an oddly empty hole in her chest.

The following day though she’d gotten a copy of the Daily Planet to look in the classified section for a job and she was sidetracked by an article about Russia on the front page. She could spare a few minutes of looking for a job.

The light flickered above her head and buzzed, distracting the woman as her brow creased in annoyance. She tossed the newspaper aside and with no effort she willed herself to levitate, floating off the bed toward the light bulb and gave it a tighten, the temperature not affecting her in anyway.

The light stopped flickering and she floated back down to the bed, having turned to lie on her back while she had been in the air and stared up at the grimy ceiling. She had these amazing powers and she couldn’t use them in any way to help her.

Carrie got off the bed and began pacing, her long black waves of hair swishing around her as she managed to make it back and forth to each wall in two steps. Two more steps and she walked right up the wall, in actuality it was her levitation. She floated back down to the bed and laid down, her thoughts whirling.

She didn’t want to admit that despite her need for independence, she couldn’t cut it in the real world.

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Carrie arrived to Forty-Second Street to find it crowded the next morning, and she looked around tentatively. She thought about how the rather rude woman from the Daily Planet had said she wasn’t ‘in the mood’ to do the story and decided that if she did it, then maybe it would at least get her foot in the door.

She’d spotted the building quickly enough as the people in their construction hat were coming in and out of the Old Sarah Bernhardt Theatre, setting up equipment and maneuvering a wrecking place into place. She saw a group of elderly, but determined looking protestors. “Keep the theatre on the spot; we don’t need a parking lot!”

And old lady wandered around, her expression worried. “Where’s Beatrice? Bea, Bea?”

Carrie took a quick look around her, but she saw that no one was paying attention to her with what was happening in front of them. She lowered her glasses and looked over the top of them, right through the brick wall of the old theatre. She saw a woman standing on the stage, a boa around her neck, and an enormous floppy hat on her head, surrounded by debris; fallen-down columns, empty seats, old props and racks of costumes all along the stage.

“After the dark death of autumn, and the cold barren winter, how I wish this rock might be taken from my heart.” She cried, her voice strong and clear.

“Okay, Bill, start her up!” A loud voice shouted near Carrie and she saw that the construction workers were ready to destroy the theatre. She glanced around before staring intently at the machine, her heat vision burning through some of the wiring to short-circuit it, the protestors cheering.

Carrie fixed her glasses and slipped inside the old theatre, and the woman didn’t notice her at first, Carrie listened to the heartfelt passion in the woman’s voice. “Oh, for the days of my childhood, back when my soul was pure. I slept right here in this nursery, looking out at the orchard from this very room, and every morning I awoke with such joy in my heart. My orchard is just the same as it was then. Nothing is different. All of it, all of it, dressed in white. My lovely orchard.”

Carrie applauded the actress, feeling that this was the only appropriate response, and her claps made the actress looked out at her.

“Who’s there?”

“Just…a fan.”

“I’m not leaving.” The actress said. “Not until I finish.”

Carrie smiled. “Alright. Do you mind if I watch? I always loved this play.”

“You know it?” The actress questioned.

“The Cherry Orchard. Anton Chekhov.” Carrie replied.

The actress looked pleased at this. “His finest, don’t you think?”

“Definitely.” Carrie replied with a genuine smile.

The actress smile back wistfully. “They don’t understand. Theatre is more than bricks and
mortar.” She said looking around the large hall. “It’s drama and passion, and mystery, and comedy, and life!” she learned at the young woman yearningly. “Don’t make me go. I’m not ready.”

“We have some time.” Carrie assured the actress.

“You understand. I just want to say goodbye.”

Carrie knew right then that she had found her mood piece and watched as actress continued.
“…all of it dressed in white. My lovely orchard.”

And later at her hotel room, Carrie looked over all her research and the notes she’d taken from the interview Beatrice had given her at the theatre. Her fingers flew over the laptop keys, the words pouring out of her, and soon the laptop began beeping, smoke starting to blow up from it.
Carrie blew the smoke away impatiently and when she’d finished her article, her lips curved into a smile, a deep sense of satisfaction forming in her chest. “Beatrice was eighteen when she made her debut. Warren G. Harding was President, the Unknown Soldier was interred at Arlington, and Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees…”

And as she later sat in the chair in Perry White’s office, the man’s southern accent becoming more pronounced as he finished reading the article. “…She came to say goodbye, as well all must, to the past, and to a life and a place that soon would only exist in bittersweet memory.” He smiled broadly at Carrie.

“Smooth.” Jimmy said admiringly as he and Lois stood outside the office door, having been spellbound by the words written.

Lois straightened up, and while the paper had a profound effect on her, she refused to let it show. “Uh, yeah, if you like that sort of thing.” She said disparagingly.

“You know Kent, there’s only one attribute I value more than experience, and that initiative.” Perry said looking the woman straight in the eye. “Caroline Kent, welcome to the Daily Planet!” he said extending his hand to her and she was about to accept it when he remembered what had happened the last time she shook his hand. “Oops!” he clasped Carrie’s wrist and patted her hand instead of shaking it.

Carrie’s brief moment of triumph was interrupted when someone flung the door open. “The space shuttle’s on fire!” A staff member cried in distress.

“Lois, get over here.” Someone else shouted.

“Turn it up!”

“Let’s take a look.” Perry said, including Carrie in the group. They headed toward the newsroom and joined the crowd gathered around the television monitor. The Messenger shuttle was still on the launch pad, it’s rockets flaring and spitting out fire.

“…this fast breaking story, we have a reporter on the scene and we’re trying to establish contact with her. Carmen Alvardo, cam you hear me? She’s on the launching pad right now. Carmen?”
The Messenger, just then, exploded into a fireball.

The reporter looked directly into the camera. “Wesley, you’ve just seen what we’ve seen here, a terrible tragedy is unfolding, there seems to be something…”

Lois stared at the fiery scene with a stricken look on her face. “I knew there was something to Platt’s story, I knew it.”

“Now Lois, just because one madman’s prediction came true doesn’t mean that’s there’s a conspiracy to sabotage the entire space program.” Perry said reasonably.

“But with more than a hundred columnists going up on the next launch, are you willing to take that chance?” Lois asked him.

While Carrie really didn’t care much for the rude woman, she did see that the tragedy affected her greatly, and also saw the determined glint in her eye. And seeing as Perry saw it too, the next moment Lois was laying out her game plan.

“I’ll need a task force; I can’t cover this story alone.”

“You can have Jimmy.” Perry offered.

“Chief, we’re talking about a space program.” Lois said dryly.

“Okay, take Kent.”

“Kent?” Lois questioned incredulously.

“Kent.” Perry confirmed.

“What about Myerson?” Lois asked hopefully.

“He’s busy.”

“Burns?”

“Budapest.”

“Forget Kent.” Lois declared.

“Uh-uh.” Perry said firmly. “She’s a good woman.”

“Kent is a hack from Smallville, I couldn’t make that name up!” Lois snorted.

“Kent, or nobody.”

“…Fine. Don’t ever say that I’m not a team player.” Lois said before stalking out of the office and walked over to the other woman. “Let’s hit it.” She said swatting her arm briskly as she strode toward her desk.

Carrie, after hesitating momentarily, put down the papers she was holding and hurried to catch up to Lois. “Mind if I ask where we’re going?”

“To interview Samuel Platt. He’s convinced the Messenger was sabotaged; I’ll brief you on the way.” Lois said grabbing her coat and bag from her desk, and Carrie quickly grabbed her own jacket. “And let’s get something straight, I did not work my buns off to become an investigative reporter for the Daily Planet just to baby-sit some hack from Nowheresville! And another thing,” she said pausing for breath and turned to face Carrie as soon as they got into the elevator, “you are not working with me, you are working for me. I call the shots, I ask the questions. You are the low woman, I am top banana, and that’s the way I like it. Comprende?”

Carrie really didn’t care for the other woman's opinion of her, but no one called her a hack. “Are you done yet?” she asked blandly, causing Lois to huff and give her a scornful look.

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Carrie looked up at the old condemned building, but this was the address that Lois had said was where Platt was, so she wasn’t complaining. Out loud anyway.

Lois walked toward the only door and banged on it. “Dr. Platt?” she called out. “Dr. Platt, it’s Lois Lane.”

The door opened a fraction and the terrified face of Dr. Platt peered out, crowbar in one hand. He lowered it when he saw Lois and opened the door wider to let them both in.

As he led them inside, Dr. Platt began rambling. “And they said I was crazy, but wouldn’t you be after the drugs? I mean, they drugged me after I submitted my report to Dr. Baines.”

Lois looked around the dingy area before focusing on the man. “Dr. Platt, how could the Messenger have been sabotaged? In order to bypass security, you…unless the orders came from high up.”

“Well, you see, under extreme temperature conditions the particle isolators were in danger of shutting down, so in order to prevent this we installed heating devices. But when I broke into one of the off-limit labs, I discovered that the heating devices had been replaced…by cooling systems.” He said with a meaningful look at Lois, but it was Carrie who caught on first.

“To freeze the ion particles?” she questioned.

“Of course.” Dr. Platt said quickly as he turned to the other woman while Lois shot Carrie a surprised look. “And emit fumes, and the Messenger would blow up. I mean, it’s all in my report.”

“What report?” Lois questioned taking control of the interview.

“Well, the report that I gave Dr. Baines.”

“Do you have a copy of this report?” Lois questioned.

“Ha! What kind of scientist would I be if I didn’t keep report?” Platt said as he began rummaging around before he fished a paper out of a tennis shoe, pulling out one paper after another.

Lois exchanged a glance with Carrie while not looking very hopeful. “Ah, Dr. Platt, perhaps you could gather you report together some other time, I’ll have somebody come by and pick it up.” She said before finding a picture of a much cleaner Dr. Platt, an attractive woman, and a laughing child.

“My wife.” Dr. Platt explained as he saw her looking at the picture. “We’d planned to live together on the Prometheus.” He added sadly.

“Where’s your family now?”

“Gone. They left when…well, it’s all for the best now.” he finished gruffly.

Carrie saw Lois’ face soften. “Dr. Platt, who would want to sabotage Space Station Prometheus?” she asked gently.

“I don’t know. See, the microgravity laboratory on the Prometheus could be the key to curing hundreds of diseases here on Earth.” Dr. Platt explained. “In a zero-gravity environment we can actually separate the proteins that form viruses. So many children with crippling diseases…” his voice trailed off as he looked back at the photo. “…my daughter.” He added in a whisper. “We could cure them!” he raised his voice soulfully as he looked sadly at the two reporters.

“I think you and I should pay Dr. Baines a visit.” Lois said quietly to Carrie, and the two left Dr. Platt to his own devices, and crowbar, as they both took the Daily Planet van to EPRAD, where they met with Dr. Antoinette Baines, a beautiful but hard faced woman with blonde hair and glimmering eyes.

“Naturally, we’re all still in a state of shock. I don’t suppose I have to tell you what a catastrophe this explosion was. Captain Letterman was one of our best. His three kids, his wife Anna…”

“Dr. Baines, what’s being done to investigate the explosion?” Lois questioned in a business-like tone.

“Well, we won’t know anything until we’ve examined the burned wreckage. We’re in the process of moving it to a hangar right now for inspection.” Dr. Baines explained.

“Could we take a look at it?” Lois questioned.

“Sorry, no press allowed.”

“No exceptions?” Carrie asked tilting her head as she looked right at Dr. Baines.

The blonde looked into her sky blue eyes and she gave her an appraising look, for she smiled and rephrased what she’d already spoken. “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Great.” Carrie replied flashing a quick smile.

Lois stopped herself from rolling her eyes and asking the blonde what was so appealing about the farm girl. “On the subject of Dr. Samuel Platt…”

“Oh, I have his file right here.” Dr. Baines said immediately and turned to get it, handing it over without even looking to check if it even was the file. “A real waste of talent. Seems building the space station and his divorce finally got to him. He started drinking; taking drugs…he went from bad to worse. We kept him as long as we could, but when he set fire to one of the laboratories we had to let him go.”

“Dr. Platt said he submitted a report to you, something about coolant devices installed to-” Lois question was cut short.

“Coolants?” Dr. Baines furrowed her brow for a moment. “No, I don’t recall any report. I could check my records.” She offered.

“Could you? And, give us a call?” Lois asked producing a business card and handed it to Dr. Baines.

“Certainly, I’d be glad to help.” The blonde eyed Carrie and her voice softened. “Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.”

“Thank you.” Carrie acknowledged while she flashed another smile, and when the walk back the van was in silence until Carrie decided to break it. “She seemed cooperative.”

“I don’t trust her.” Lois said.

“She’s young, for a woman in her position.” Carrie added thoughtfully.

“How typical.” Lois said scathingly.

Carrie raised a brow. “Excuse me?”

“One attractive woman eyes you up and you act like such a guy!” Lois snapped.

Carrie rolled her eyes and kept herself from sighing in irritation. “I do not act like a guy.” She said firmly.

------------------------------------------------------

Once Carrie arrived back at the Planet, Perry had assigned Jimmy to show her around, and she could honestly say that she enjoyed his company far more than Lois’. “We have different sections, just like the paper has different sections.” He explained. “Society, Sports, Entertainment…come here.” Carrie followed him around and wondered how long it was going to take to get used to the bustle of the room.

Over by the coffee pot, Steve Lombard let out a low wolf-whistle at the dark-haired woman following Jimmy around. “Who’s the new tight end?”

Lois grimaced as she looked at him in disgust. “Why don’t you throw your usual forward pass and find out?” she questioned putting a teaspoon of honey into her coffee. “And I here I thought this one was plain enough to avoid your ‘attention.’”

Steve chuckled as he looked at the woman more closely. “Please, if she lost the glasses and dressed better, she’d be a knock out.” He said appreciatively and when the dark-haired woman walked over, he smoothed back his hair before moving into her path.

“Ah, excuse me.” Carrie said politely as she gestured to the coffee pot behind him.

“Steve Lombard.” He said in a throaty voice. “But people call me the Slinger.” He added taking her hand and was about to kiss it when Carrie pulled it away awkwardly.

“Oh yeah, you’re the sports guy; I’ve read your reviews.” She replied.

“Oh, then my reputation precedes me.” Steve said smirking.

“Among other things.” Lois muttered from the file cabinet nearby where she was unobtrusively listening and watching their exchange.

Steve ignored the jab and once again took a hold of Carrie’s hand. “You know, I’ve lived in Metropolis my whole life, I’d be happy to show you around.”

“Ah, that’s very nice of you Mr. Lombard.” Carrie said slowly, and while she was flattered, this advanced seemed a bit too…rehearsed to be genuine.

“Steve!” The blond man hissed.

“Ah, r-right.” Carrie said nodding, her expression growing slightly alarmed. “Maybe when I get settled in.” she suggested noncommittally, trying to keep any nervousness out of her voice.

The blond man grinned as he let go of Carrie’s hand and patted her shoulder before swaggering away.

Carrie let out a sigh of relief before she was finally able to get to the coffee pot and saw Lois rolling her eyes before she also left. Carrie thought for a moment, her expression almost considerate, but then she shook her head in a sense of self-deprecation.

-----------------------------------------------------

Carrie sat down at her new desk, and took off her jacket as Lois was at a nearby desk in the middle of a phone call, her hearing involuntarily picking up the conversation.

“No Mitchell.” Lois said in a resigned tone. “I’m not mad. If you’ve got the sniffles then you’ve got the sniffles…Yeah that could lead to some complications.” She agreed listlessly into the phone and looked through her address book. “No, don’t call me, I’ll call you.” Lois hung up the phone, her mood decidedly dejected as her eyes landed on the newcomer.

She was desperate, and while she certainly wasn’t going to go alone, going with another… 'something' was certainly better. She paused at the thought before walking over to the other woman’s desk, sighing heavily to show that she did not want to do this. “I don’t suppose you own a tux.”

“I’m a girl, why would I own a tux?” Carrie asked raising a brow.

“Because, that man I was going to go with to Lex Luthor’s Ball has the flu.” Lois explained lightly.

“Why don’t you just go alone then?” Carrie questioned.

“Look, I don’t know how things work in Newheresville, but here, showing up alone to a Ball is worse than not going to one.” Lois replied heatedly. “And that’s why I need you to dress up as a boy for me.”

Carrie frowned. “You insult me, my home, and demand things you have no say to, why on Earth would I help you?”

“Because…because….” For once, Lois was at a loss of what to do, before she grimaced, and swallowed her pride. “Because…I’ll…owe you one.” She muttered.

Carrie looked up, her expression distinctly intrigued. “Oh really? Well, I suppose I could pretend to be a boy, if only for just one night.” She said smirking. “But we’re both agreed that this is not a date, right?”

“Right!” Lois said hurriedly. “Right, definitely not.”

“That’s a relief.” Carrie said looking back at her computer.

Lois now looked indignant, first Dr. Baines, and now this? “And what would be so bad about this being a date?”

Carrie shook her head. ‘Talk about hypocritical.’

-------------------------------------------------------

After Carrie’s plans for the evening were changed, she had gathered up her things from the Planet, and after renting a tux and buying a wig separately, she slipped into an alley. She was thankful that no one at either store had asked why she was getting those items. She took off her glasses and put them into her jacket pocket and prepared to take off when a homeless man emerged from a hanging blanket.

“Hey lady, got a buck?” he asked, his voice sounding doubtful, but trailed off as he saw that the young woman was floating two feet off the ground.

Carrie turned around in alarm and for a tense moment, she was afraid, but as much as she wanted to get of there, she was never one to abandon someone in need. She didn’t have much money left in her pocket, but it was certainly enough for this homeless man. She reached into her pocket, took out a five dollar bill, and handed it to the man after walking on the air over to him.

“Oh, oh, oh!” The homeless man chuckled. “You must be some kinda angel, sister!” Then the man stared in astonishment as she rose gracefully into the night sky and lazily made a looping motion overheard before vanishing in a whoosh. “Some kind of…angel!” he repeated in amazement.

Carrie swooped past the skyscrapers, a satisfied feeling from helping someone transforming into excitement as she flew all the way back to Smallville. Her mesmerized expression never left her face until her feet landed on the ground and she looked at the old farmhouse and walked up the steps and opened the door. ‘It’s good to be home.’ She thought as her smiling returning full force.

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“Dinner was great mom, thanks.” Carrie said warmly and after having nothing but take-out for dinner, it really was good to eat something home cooked.

“Thanks, honey.” Martha murmured.

His father grunted in agreement, but he also added, “More than I get these days! Your mother is now an ‘artiste.’” He explained, gesturing to a large, rather severe metal sculpture in the middle of the room, it being all sharp angles, and the silver panes punctured by holes.

“I call it, ‘Too Much, Too Soon, Tortured Heart, Waning Moon.’” Martha said smiling brightly. “What do you think? Too cerebral?” she asked looking a bit unsure.

“No! No, it’s…” Carrie thought for a moment, but as strange as she found the sculpture, her mother had put a lot of work into it. “It’s very imaginative.” She finished.

“Uh-huh.” Her father agreed giving Carrie a conspiratorial look as he stood up with his dishes.

“So tell me more about this woman you’re going to Lex Luthor’s Ball with.” His mother asked.

Carrie hid her groan, especial with how they had both chuckled about how little difference there would be when she dressed up as a boy for this thing. They hadn’t meant to be hurtful or anything like that she knew, but being reminded of how much like a guy she was starting to annoy her. “Lois is…” she trailed off, but she knew better than to add anything of just how rude the woman was, her parent’s had taught her to mind her manners when talking about others. “Domineering, uncompromising, and the most pig-headed person I’ve met.” She huffed lightly. “But she is driven, I’ll give her that.” She added lightly. ‘And she’s rather annoying.’ She thought privately.

“Have you met anyone?” Martha asked innocently as Jonathan shook his head.

“Mom…” Carrie groaned.

“What, it’s a perfectly valid question.” Martha replied.

Carrie thought back to the blond at the Planet before shrugging it off. “No, no one.” She answered evenly.

“Uh-huh.” Martha said giving her daughter a look that said she didn’t believe her.

“Thanks for sewing my jacket, mom.” Carrie said standing up and deftly changed the subject.

“You’re welcome honey.” Her mother replied softly.

“That electrical storm over Cleveland was brutal.” Carrie said putting on the jacket.

“Maybe you should take another route.” Martha suggested simply as she lifted her arms for a hug. “See you next week, honey. I love you, take care!”

Carrie returned the gesture and her father walked her out the two of them stood together outside the barn, looking up at the sky. “I forget how beautiful it is here.” She said in contemplation. “The only stars you see in Metropolis are rising around in limos.” She added wryly.

“You’re the one who wanted the rat race.” Jonathan said lightly. “I couldn’t live there, not for a minute!”

Carrie furrowed her brow as she tried to explain her reasons for leaving. “There’s something about the city…the place…everyone going somewhere.”

“Impatient. Just like you.” Jonathan said smiling at the woman and rested hand on her shoulder. “Well I guess you finally found your niche. You can stop living out of that old suitcase.”

“I hope so, dad.” Carrie replied sighing and looked around at her home. “Being in Metropolis, working at the Planet, it’s a dream come true, but…”

“But you still feel like you don’t fit in.” Jonathan said nodding in understanding.

“I don’t!” Carrie said quickly. “I don’t fit in.” she said and put all her frustration into kicking a rock into orbit. “I have to control myself, all the time, never use my powers because I don’t want to jeopardize my chance to lead a normal life!”

“Whatever that means.” Jonathan said.

Carrie’s shoulders slumped. “Just…being human, like you and mom.” She said softly. “Living, working, and maybe along the way meeting someone, having a family, though that is still debatably.” She wasn’t totally abject to the idea of what she’d said, but still wanted the option of at least having it.
“Caroline, we don’t know if that’s possible.” Her father said cautiously. “And you can’t risk anyone finding out about you. If they knew you came from another planet…”

“But I can’t hide forever, dad.” Carrie protested. “There has to be a way that I can be Caroline Kent and still use what I’ve been given to do some good!” she saw the strained look on the her father’s face and knew that this conversation was starting to upset him. She sighed again, this time sadly, as she reached out and gave him a hug.

Jonathan patted the woman on the patted with some reassurance. “You’ll find a way, kid. You’ll find a way.”

----------------------------------------------------

‘Don’t want to come alone, fate worse than death. Yeah right, if going with an escort was so important to her she could have at least waited.’ Carrie thought annoyed as she and Jimmy walked through the elegant rooms of Lex Luthor’s penthouse, the room full of conversation.

Carrie though was feeling to annoyed to actually admire the place and she was dressed in a tux, had her wig on with special clips on the inside of it to keep it from falling off, and the ‘man-suit’ underneath her clothing kept anyone from seeing something they shouldn’t, and at least her glasses obscured her features, if only a little. “Have you ever met him? Lex Luthor?” she asked, trying and failing to keep her voice pleasant; and another thing she’d worked on was making her voice’s pitch change enough to sound believably male.

“No, but I’ve read all five of his unauthorized biographies!” Jimmy said enthusiastically while ignoring the edge in Carrie’s voice. “Rags to riches wrong side of the track, self-made billionaire, owns dozens of companies, employs thousands of people, Man of the Year every year, has his finger in every pie, but rarely appears in public.” He rambled off, grabbing a drink from a nearby tray. “He won’t give personal interviews. Hey, there he is.” He exclaimed in awe while pointing to the top of the stairs.

A man in his thirties, looking dignified was descending the stairs and smiling graciously at the people he passed and Carrie knew that if this man was Luthor, then that meant Lois was sure to appear soon. She was never all that malicious, but she didn’t like the woman’s attitude and how she made such a big deal of this whole thing. Oh, well, least she got a favor out of this, and unlike her, Carrie had actually kept her word.

“She’s something, isn’t she?” Jimmy asked shaking his head with a smile as they watched the interaction between Lois and Lex. He caught sight of Carrie’s annoyed expression.

“She’s something all right.” She muttered.

“Well, least you got a favor, didn’t you?” The boy questioned, trying to see the bright side.

Carrie felt her expression soften a little as she looked down at the boy she was taller than by a scant few inches. “I suppose that’s a victory in some way.” She said before walking over, but when she saw the two move to dance, she had to stop, and kept back a sigh and looked back at Jimmy. “If you talk to her royal pain, tell her that she’s still gonna owe me a favor.”

“She’ll want proof.” Jimmy said holding up his camera and Carrie nodded in resignation.

“After you show her that, burn it, I don’t want ever be reminded of this.” She said and the boy nodded.

“You got CK.” He said and the woman looked at him in a moment of disbelief before shaking her head and heading back through the way they’d came in. But when she’d made it back to her hotel room, she saw her reflection in the small bathroom mirror and a weird idea began to take root in her mind.

---------------------------------------------------

When the next morning came, Carrie walked across the street just as Lois was climbing out of a cab. “Morning Lois.” She said with forced cheer.

“Maybe for you. But I’ve been at it for hours.” She retorted. “I went back to EPRAD to follow the truck with the wreckage of the Messenger inside. Thy brought it into this hangar, and I tried to get inside, but you friend, Dr. Baines, threw me out.” She said sourly and added. “By the way, nice picture.” She said derisively.

Carrie smirked. “Well at least I still get that favor since I actually kept my word.”

Before Lois could send out another retort, there was a low rumble from underground. “Hey, there’s a man down there!” Someone shouted as they pointed to the manhole. “Call the fire department!”

As Lois hurried closer, Carrie slipped away and opened up another manhole before going in and someone else shouted, “We need help! People, stand back! There’s a man down there!”

A pair of hands suddenly pushed the man hole cover off as a coughing man was pushed out. “Are you okay?” One of his co-workers asked anxiously as the wailing sirens approached.

The coughing man pointed to a crowd of on-lookers and pointed at a particular face in the crowd. “That woman…that woman saved me, that woman.” He said in astonishment as Lois looked back to see Carrie standing there, looking a little disheveled but clean. “She pulled me out.” The worker said before settling into another coughing fit.

“He’s delirious!” Carrie said to the other woman.

“Obviously!” Lois replied and her face crinkled in distaste. “From now on do what I do and bring a change of clothes to work.” She said taking in the smoke splattered on her clothing before strode toward the revolving doors.

Carrie let out a sigh of relief as ashes walked into the building and took the elevator, seeing Jimmy just as she got out of it. “Hey CK, burned that photo just like you asked.” He said genially.

“Thanks.” She replied gratefully.

“Hold that eleva-” Jimmy made a face as it closed.

“Where are you off to?” Carrie asked hoping to distract him.

“Lois sent me to pick up that report from Platt; he called this morning, said he hopes we can read it. She also told me to take a copy over to my friends at STAR Labs to analyze.” Jimmy replied and looked at Carrie’s suit. “What happened to your clothes?”

“Don’t ask.” She said simply and gestured to another opening elevator. “See you later.” She said trying to sweep the smoke off her jacket.

“Hey pretty lady.” A male voice said grabbing Carrie’s attention.

“Oh, hi, Steve.” She said with a slight smile. “If you’ll excuse me…”

“No,” he replied petulantly as he clamped a hand down on the woman’s shoulder. “I don’t think I will excuse you! I’ve asked you to have dinner with me two times.” He paused, his head tilting. “Now I’m really one to ask a woman more than twice for…well anything.”

Carrie recalled those two times with perfect clarity as they had been the only time she’d gotten asked out, but she also recalled how the other staff members had told her that this man was something of an over confident womanizer. “I’m sorry, I’ve been really swamped.” She said and her saving grace came when Lois stormed out of the elevator and passed her without a word. “Lois and I-” she tried to move away, but the hand remained on her shoulder.

“Poor Lois, all work and no play.” The blond chuckled.

“Well, if I could take a rain check on that dinner…” Carrie suggested tentatively.

Steve shrugged as he finally pulled his hand away to casually put them into his pants pockets, looking indifferent. “Sure, but…” A distinctively wicked gleam appeared in his eyes. “Don’t wait too long or I’ll wear you down with my other charm.”

Carrie also recalled the fact she been warned about Steve’s chronic habit of pranking people and the fact he’d torment others by throwing a football at them when Perry wasn’t around. “Okay then.” She replied with a smile that was a little more forced than before and backed away.

The blond watched her leave with an appreciative eye. “I love it when they play hard to get.”

Carrie got herself a cup of coffee and found Lois working alone in one of the conference rooms. Her personal opinions on the woman were pushed to the back of her mind as they were being forced to work together on this assignment. “Anything?”

Lois leaned back in her seat. “I must have called fifty ex-employees that worked at EPRAD the same time Platt did. None of them are talking. I don’t know, maybe there’s nothing to talk about.” She said shrugging.

“So what do we do now?” Carrie questioned.

“Well, first we piece together Platt’s report, if that’s possible. Then we try to prove that Dr. Baines got a copy of it, and if there’s any evidence that Platt found the coolant devices and Baines ignored it…I hope you didn’t make dinner plans.” Lois explained.

Carrie shook her head in a negative gesture.

-------------------------------------------------------

When it was late into the day, the news room was empty save for two reporters, who were hunched over bits of crumpled papers, while trying to put them into an order that made sense.

“This is impossible.” Lois said sighing. “Nothing matches, no dates…we’re never going to get through this. Oh and I’m starving.” She complained. “Wish I had some good Chinese take-out.”

Carrie rolled her eyes, but she herself felt a bit peckish and figured that even though she clearly didn’t like the woman she could still be courteous. “I know a place.” She said grabbing her jacket. “I’ll be right back.”

“Don’t you know what I want?”

Carrie paused, if only for a moment, before continuing on. “I’ll bring back an assortment.” She said more to herself than to answer the question.

She didn’t just get Chinese; she got Chinese from Shanghai and got a bit of variety before she flew back around the world to the Daily Planet.

“That was quick!” Lois said in surprise as the other woman planted the bamboo containers down on the desk.

“I took a short cut.” Carrie replied dryly.

“Still hot!” Lois said brightly as she opened one eagerly and dipped her fingers in to bring a handful to her mouth. “Ooh, this is out of this world!”

Carrie felt the need to roll her eyes again, as she didn’t find what was so amazing about eating take-out as she also began to eat her own meal.

Shortly after though, Lois cracked open a fortune cookie and her face dropped when she saw what it was in. “It’s in Chinese!” she complained and Carrie looked over at it, curious despite herself. “Oh, don’t tell me that you read-”

“A good horse is like a member of the family.” Carrie read cheerfully.

“I hate that! That is not a fortune!” Lois declared and Carrie let out a small smirk before the other woman looked at her strangely. “You are a strange one, Caroline Kent.” She said as she thought back to how the woman had understood what Platt had been talking about and just now.

“Am I?” Carrie asked innocently.

“Yeah, but I think I’ve got you figured out.” Lois said confidently.

“Really?” Carrie questioned flatly.

“Mm-hmm.”

“Didn’t take you very long.” Carrie said with a touch of sarcasm in her voice as she remembered how Lois barely seemed to let her speak.

“Well, it’s my business, looking beyond the external.” Lois returned, pointedly ignoring the sarcastic reply and felt quite smug. “Now come on, let’s go find Platt, maybe he can help us decipher this.” She said gathering up the papers and lead them out of the newsroom.

Carrie didn’t bother talking on the drive back to Platt’s hide away and it seemed like Lois had no inclination of starting a conversation either. A strange crackling sound caught her ears as they arrived and the inner door was ajar, Lois pushing it open cautiously. “Lois, let me look first.” She said as she felt that something was definitely wrong with this picture.

“Don’t be silly, I’ve seen it all; war, crime, famine.” Lois said in a blasé tone and switched on the light, only for nothing to happen. “Dr. Platt?” she called and saw that he was sitting in an armchair, his back to them.

“Wait, wait.” Carrie said suddenly. “The water.” She said pointing to Platt’s bare feet being ‘soothed’ in a tube of water, blue electric sparks around his hands as a limp wire was in his hands. They both drew closer and were careful not to step on the water until a flash of blue light revealed Platt’s blue-gray face, peaceful in death.

Lois turned away, a hand clamping down on Carrie’s shoulder as her stomach twisted and to keep her balance. Carrie glanced away with a grimace, and because of the severity of the situation, didn’t bother with making Lois find something else to keep her balance on.

They had called the police, but Carrie saw that while the officers were going through the scene, they seemed to have made up their minds fairly quickly about what had happened.

“Suicide? That’s ridiculous!” Lois argued.

“He’s tried it before.” Inspector Henderson replied in a jaded voice. “No sign of false entry, no sign of struggle, nobody saw anybody come in or out…”

“But we were on the verge of proving his theory…that something he was working on was right!” Lois protested. “There’s just no way he-”

“Hey, if a man’s gonna barbecue himself, he outta use sauce.” One officer joked.

Carrie felt her eyes grow wide with anger as she felt a sense of disgust that a police officer would make a joke about such a tragedy. She stabbed two fingers into the officer’s chest, her face only inches away from his, blaring with emotion. “The man’s name was Samuel Platt. He was brilliant, a scientist, someone who cared about others. Under the circumstances, I don’t believe that kind of humor is appropriate.”

“Sorry, lady.” The officer said, both feeling shame at his attitude and feeling intimidated at the tranquil fury in the woman’s voice. “Really, I’m sorry.” He added moving away.

“Are you okay?” Lois asked in concern.

“We should have known, we should have protected him.” Carrie replied bitterly.

“How?” Lois asked reasonably.

“I don’t know, but we should have done something.” Carrie said feeling the rage being replaced by sadness at the waste of a man’s life.

“Look, Caroline, all we can do know is try and prove him right. We have a lot of work to do.” Lois said and looked at her watch. “It’s only five-thirty, why don’t we try and get a few hours’ sleep and I’ll come by for you about nine, okay?” before waiting for an answer though, she walked away briskly.

Carrie looked back at the building, and about how she could try and help people. He thoughts went back to the wig she’d had worn to the Ball and the idea kept nagging at the back of her mind of what to do.

------------------------------------------------------

When Carrie had woken up and taken her shower, she wrapped the towel around her body and called her parents on the payphone, the idea from last night still in her mind and she professed how the guilt was gnawing away at her from last night. “I can’t help it mom, I feel responsible.” She said in reply to what her mother had said.

“If you could have helped him, you would have.” Martha said sensibly.

Jonathan changed the subject on the other phone in the house. “Carrie, what’s this about a worker caught in an explosion down a man hole? Your mother told me he recognized you!”

“Dad, the worker was really out of it. I mean, nobody believed him when he pointed to me.” Carrie assured them.

“One of these days you’re gonna pull one of your stunts and some nut with a video camera is going to-”

“Well what did you want her to do, Jonathan, did you just want her to let the man die?” Martha interrupted hotly and sighed heavily. “So how are your clothes holding out?” she said a in a forced cheerful voice.

“Don’t change the damn subject!” Jonathan said grumpily.

“Listen, I have been thinking about this, and maybe it’s a crazy idea, but…mom, how’s your sewing machine, is it still working?” Carrie asked.

“I think so.” Her mother replied.

“Well, I have a favor to ask you. I think I need some kind of outfit.” Carrie paused, feeling unsure and embarrassed about what she was going to say.

“Outfit?” Jonathan repeated in disbelief.

“Well, you know, like a disguise I could wear when things like that explosion happen.” Carrie explained, her face feeling hot. “I could-” There was a knock at the door. “Oh, mom, I gotta go, bye.” She said before hanging up and opened the door, and too late realized she was still wearing a towel.

“When I said nine, I didn’t realize you’d be naked.” Lois said dryly. “Ready?”

“I was on the phone; I’ll be out in a jiff.” Carrie said closing the door and vanished into the bathroom. She changed into a suit and came back out to see that Lois had invited herself in and was looking through her fridge. Her expression twisted up in annoyance. “When I closed the door on you, it wasn’t an invitation to let yourself in.”

Lois straightened up and closed the door. “We’d better be going.” She said in a slightly faster pace than normal.

“Uh-huh.” Carrie said cynically before they both left the hotel room.

---------------------------------------------------

Carrie walked toward her ‘partner,’ who was getting off the phone. “Lois!” she said nodding in the direction of the entrance.

“Who’s that?” Lois asked.

“It’s Mrs. Platt and her daughter, Amy.” Carrie replied.

Amy, a child of twelve, looked up at her mother. “Mom, I was supposed to be at Susan’s by now.”

“Oh, honey, take my coat and just wait over by the elevator for me, okay?” Mrs. Platt asked and put her coat on her daughter’s lap.

“Okay.” The girl agreed.

Both Lois and Carrie walked over, giving the child warm smiles. “Excuse me.” Mrs. Platt said before she turned Amy’s wheelchair around.

Amy looked over her shoulder at the two. “Bye.” She murmured as her mother wheeled her away before returning alone. “I, uh…I haven’t told her yet. You see, everything we worked for was for Amy. The space lab Prometheus was the only hope, and now…”

“Mrs. Platt, when you and Amy left your husband-” Lois began before she was cut off by Mrs. Platt.

“No, we never left him.” The woman said. “He made us leave. He was sure they were going to come after him. He was afraid Amy and I would get hurt, so he sent us away.”

“Do you have any idea who might’ve-”

“All I know is, Samuel knew Prometheus was being sabotaged and that knowledge got him killed. Please, help me. Don’t let his daughter grow up believing her father committed suicide.” The woman implored.

“We’ll try, we promise.” Carrie said softly.

“Thank you.” Mrs. Platt said shaking hands with the two of them before departing.

Later on, the television was turned to a channel that was tuning into an announcement. “We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to be bring you this special report from the Congress of Nations.”

The face of the Chairperson appeared on the screen. “I am pleased to announce that we have unanimously decided that the Space Station Prometheus will proceed.” She said looking into the camera.

“What about Lex Luthor’s proposal?” A journalist asked and Carrie felt a stab of confusion at that.

“This body would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Mr. Lex Luthor for his generous offer, but it is out firm belief that the space station should go forward as originally planned, a project dedicated to global cooperation for the advancement of the sciences. The Colonist’s launch, scheduled for next week, will proceed as planned…The rocket will also carry an auxiliary propulsion module. Should any serious problems arise, we shall be forced to cancel the mission. We don’t anticipate that happening, we anticipate the success.”

Later in the day, Jimmy had called both Carrie and Lois into an empty conference. “So I gave STAR Labs Dr. Platt’s report, they recreated the launch in a hologram, it was really smooth. Anyway, they concluded that Platt’s theory was right one, it was deliberate sabotage, and the transport explosion was no accident! Congrats!”

Lois gleefully feinted a jab at him which he ducked and gave a laugh before leaving and looked over at Carrie with a triumphant grin. “He was right, Platt was right!”

“Now we can write the story.” Carrie nodded.

“I can still write the story.” Lois corrected.

Any enthusiasm Carrie felt died at that moment. “With my help.” She insisted dryly.

Surprisingly, Lois agreed to this. “With your help. And if we can convince people there was sabotage, and who was behind it-”

“We can stop them.” Carrie finished, a small smile forming on her lips, but frowned as a paper airplane hit her in the head. She looked out of the room to see the blond sports reporter smirking from a desk. It seemed like he was tired of waiting and he was now trying his ‘other charm.’

-------------------------------------------------------

“All right, let me see if I got this straight now.” Perry began slowly after reading the presentation that was presented to him about the sabotage theory. “You want me to publish a story that says that the Prometheus Project is being sabotaged…” While Jimmy and Carrie nodded, Lois looked uneasy. “…that the space transport Messenger exploded, and that the transport carrying the habitation module to the Space Station Prometheus, scheduled to be launched in less than three days, is probably also going to…blow to.” He said making the gesture with his hands.

While Carrie still nodded with a serious expression, Jimmy was now also looking uneasy. “And all of this information you got from interviewing Samuel Platt. A man who was banned from the scientific community, underwent psychiatric treatment, and committed suicide! Although he was ‘probably murdered’.”

Both Jimmy and Lois winced, and Carrie looked rather disheartened herself at the story being put together in such a flimsy way.

“Now does that sum it up?” Perry questioned.

“Chief.” Lois began.

“Hard facts!” Perry shouted. “Hard facts, that’s the name of this game! Now go out there and get me some!” he handed the presentation back to Lois and she nodded and the three left the office in dismay.

“What we need is physical evidence.” Lois said brusquely.

“I’ll call Dr. Baines’ office and see if I can get permission to set up an independent examination-” Carrie began.

“Caroline, Baines is not going to let you do that, she could be involved. Besides, we don’t have time to play by the rules.” Lois said grabbing her coat from her chair. “The Colonist transport goes up in two days.”

“I’m making the call, maybe someone at EPRAD will authorize it.” Carrie insisted.

“You do that.” Lois said sharply as the other woman walked to her desk.

“Where are you going?” Jimmy asked as Lois strode toward the elevators.

“Nowhere.” The woman replied.

“I’m coming too.” The boy said rushing to catch up to her.

--------------------------------------------------

Perry entered the crowded conference room. “Okay, sorry about the late hour, folks, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.” He said looking around the room again. “Where’s Lois and Jimmy? Caroline?”

“I’d assume they’d be here.” Carrie said shrugging, and while she didn’t particularly care for Lois, Jimmy was her new friend and she was starting to get worried. Then she remembered how Lois had said there was no time to play by the rules and only one conclusion came to mind. She’d gone to nose around for evidence and had probably gotten caught.

“All right, we’re gonna start without them. Okay now, the piece on the recent sex change operation in the royal family, I kinda have mixed feelings about this, I-” Perry began, but Carrie abruptly stood up and headed to the door. “Kent? Meeting’s not over.”

“It’s not Lois or Jimmy to miss a staff meeting, sir. I thought I’d go call around, if that’s okay.” Carrie said.

“Hell of a way to run a railroad.” Perry muttered. “All right, let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah.”
Carrie exited the room and quietly shut the door behind her. She looked around the room and found a room marked Storage and went in the grimy room. She stepped up underneath the window and was about to open the latches on it when Perry’s voice drifted into the room.

“Kent?” The woman quickly sat down on the window ledge and placed her hands on her lap while her feet were set on the bench. “Oh Kent, there you are.”

“Yes sir.”

“They told me you were in here.”

“Yes sir.” Carrie repeated, not really sure about what she could say.

“Did you make your call?” Perry asked.

“I was just about to, sir.” Carrie said before she realized that this wasn’t exactly the best place to make a call, or even had a telephone in it.

“Oh…so, are you looking for something?”

“No sir, not really.” Carrie said truthfully.

“Um, well, I guess I’d better be getting back.” Perry said.

“Yes sir.

“When are you coming…out of the closet?”

“Soon, sir, very soon.” Carrie said getting up and put her hands in her jacket pockets and tried to look casual. When Perry left, Carrie belatedly realized again what she had just said and scolded herself for embarrassing herself before quickly going out the window.

When Carrie arrived at EPRAD and searched around, her guess had been accurately when she heard Lois’ voice. She stopped and listened to which direction it was coming from.

“You’ll never get away with this, everyone at the Planet knows where I am."

‘No, only I do.’ Carrie thought rolling her eyes and lowered her glasses to look through the wall of a nearby building to see Baines standing over Lois with a gun while a thug was tying Lois’ arms behind her, and onto the a pylon of the Messenger wreckage, Jimmy’s unconscious form lying nearby on the ground.

Carrie moved without much thought as she broke down the door and it was sent flying back. “Let them go.” She demanded as both thugs turned their guns on her. “Put those guns down or I’ll…I’ll…” her voice trailed off as it came to her that she couldn’t do anything.

“Or you’ll do what?” Baines asked amused.

Carrie only paused for a beat. “I don’t know.” She admitted.

A short while later, Carrie was tied to the other side of the wreckage with chains and Lois was tied up with seatbelts from the wreck.

“I told Perry I needed a task force. Task force! What do I get? Amateurs! I still cannot believe you came barrelling in here like some five-hundred pound gorilla! If you really thought we were in trouble, why didn’t you bring the police?”

Carrie felt her temper rise. “Look-”

“Baines is going to kill us now; I don’t know why she hasn’t done it already!” Lois said
interrupted her.

Carried quietly broke the padlock of her chains. “Lois, I’ve somehow managed to-”

“Mess everything up? No kidding!” Lois shot back.

“Now hold on a second!” Carrie snapped. “I’m not the one who snuck in here-”

“What are you saying? Are you saying that this is my fault?” Lois asked indignantly.

“Yes!” Carrie shouted.

“Well at least I had the guts to come in here and…” Lois stopped as she heard herself. “What am I saying, this is probably is my fault.”

“Not probably, is.” Carrie grumbled under her breath.

“I sometimes do things, you know, like jump into the pool without checking the water level first, but ….Caroline, it’s the only way I know how to do it. How to get the job done, to get the respect I want, that I deserve!”

While Carrie couldn’t pick apart the first part because she had just done exactly that, she could pick apart the second half. “You don’t have to go around all the time like everything’s a story though. I won’t lie to you, I don’t like you, not from the minute I met you.”

“Why did you come here then to get me?” Lois asked confused.

“You? I came here to get Jimmy since I was worried about him getting hurt about whatever mess you got into.” Carrie said bluntly. “And of course he did get hurt.”

“He wanted to come though.” Lois protested.

“Yeah, alright, but my point still stands.” Carrie said and found she should at least give another try at understanding. “But, I’ve seen that everyone at the Planet thinks you’re the best reporter they’ve ever met. Perry told me that the day I interviewed.”

“He did?” Lois asked.

“Yeah, and not that it really means anything coming from a ‘hack from Nowheresville’, but…” Carrie trailed off, and swallowed her pride at what was about to come out of her mouth. “…but you are a good reporter, no doubt about that.”

“I’m sorry, about everything. I know it’s too late for apologies, but I never meant-”Lois started, but Carrie cut her off.

“Yes you did.” She said dryly and Baines came back in.

“Well, I hope you’ll forgive the accommodations. But then again, I was never much of a hostess.” She said smiling tauntingly.

“Answer one question.” Lois said. “Why?”

“It’s simple Lois. Profit. Outer space is not different than any other new frontier. It’ll belong to those who get there first and seize the high ground.” Baines explained. “Sorry you won’t be around to enjoy the rest of the evening, but accidents do happen.”

“Accidents?” Lois questioned.

“Yes.” Baines said moving over to two canisters. “You see, while dismantling the orbital
maneuvering system, the monomethyl hydrazine leaked…”she opened one of the canisters and an amber liquid leaked out and headed toward the drainage grate. “…and mixed with the nitrogen tetroxide.” She said opening the other canister and a green liquid seeped out. “Unfortunately, the blast killed three nosy reporters who didn’t bother to read the sign.” She said and reached down to stroke Carrie’s face, who fought to show no reaction and the blonde woman rapidly walked away.

Carrie waited a beat before tossing the chains aside and eyed the liquid as it made a path to the grate and leaked down into it. “Caroline, how did you-” Lois said astonished as the other woman released her from the seatbelts.

“A missing link.” Carrie said hastily and helped her up absently before hoisting Jimmy over her shoulder. “What?” she said upon seeing Lois’ look before grabbing her arm and ran out of the hangar, just making it before the chemicals exploded and she flew just above the ground, wobbling awkwardly with the debris hitting her and the three of them landed in the muddy water, with the sound of another explosion going off.

Jimmy, having been shocked awake by the water, looking around uncomprehendingly and Lois looked shocked at the how far they were from the building. “What happened?”

“I don’t know, I guess the force of the explosion must have carried us here.” Carrie offered.
Something else though more precedent as Lois pointed upwards. “Look!” she said as before their eyes, a helicopter that was leaving the area exploded and the debris fell the ground.

-----------------------------------------------------

The newspaper headline for the Daily Planet the next day was 'Messenger Sabotaged, Saboteur Dies In Fiery Explosion' with a picture of Dr. Antoinette Baines.

Carrie though felt very little, not because the weight of what had all happened had hit her, but that the guilt she was feeling was eating at her and had left her emotionally exhausted and even though there was a party going on around her, she really didn’t feel like celebrating, but she saw that Jimmy was taking it all well.

“Were you scared, Jimmy?” One of the employees asked.

“Scared?” Jimmy scoffed and took of his party hat. “No, no, ladies, not at all! I was…” he trailed off as she saw that the young women were surrounding him and his tone took on an important tone. “I was more concerned with the larger issue. Unless we got out of there alive, the Colonists’ launch could blow up as well.”

“I just spoke to ground control over at EPRAD.” Perry announced and the staff all quieted down. “They went back over the Colonists’ launch vehicle with a fine tooth comb, found the same coolant problem in the protective banns, and fixed it. Launch is all set for tomorrow morning!” The staff cheered loudly. “It’s also a no go for you, Lois.” He said more quietly. “No reporters aloud.”

“Oh, Chief! Imagine the Daily Planet getting an exclusive personal account on the Colonist transport!”

“No can do, Lois.” Perry said.

 

“All right.” Lois said reluctantly. “Another time, maybe.”

Perry looked over at Carrie next. “Now Caroline, you’ll be pleased to know that Platt’s widow and his daughter are back on board.”

“Thank you very much sir, I appreciate that.” She replied.

When she was done talking, Lois surprised her again when she spoke to her. “Caroline, I just, well, wanted to thank you for all your help getting us out of there.” She said sincerely.

“I’m glad it all worked out.” Carrie replied modestly and without further word, the other woman but in her oversized party hat and went back to the party.

-----------------------------------------------------

“I don’t know about this costume thing, Carrie.” Jonathan said at the dinner table.

“It’ll work, it has to!” Carrie replied fervently. “If I have an effective disguise I won’t have to worry about people finding out about me, and what better disguise than pretending to be male to add to it? It will be effective.”

Martha came in from the kitchen and put a serving dish onto the sideboard and then came up to run a hand along Carrie’s hand to smooth it back. “Come on, let’s get started!”

And after spending hours of trying on different tight costumes of a variety, and Carrie had donned her man-suit and wig for the ‘try-outs’ to see which one would work best.

It was at the fifth attempt that her mother called out. “What about that one?”

“I don’t know.” She said uncertainly as her mother rose from the bed when she emerged and looked her over appraisingly. “What do you think?” she asked looking in the mirror and looked the costume over herself. The suit was blue, the underwear on the outside was red and it made her embarrassedly think that it made her feel a little less self-conscious, and the long flowing cape tucked below her neckline was also red, the boots she wore an the belt on her waist were yellow though.

“Well, one thing’s for sure, no one’s going to be looking at your face!” Martha said.

Carrie furrowed her brow and she looked down at the spandex stretching over her ‘flat’ chest and saw the muscled man-suit against the fabric. “Mom!”

“Well, they don’t call them tights for nothing.” Martha said laughing and Carrie let out a small laugh, a small nervous one though. “I don’t know, there’s something missing, something…”
Martha’s voice trailed off as she dropped her knees the next moment and pulled out an old suitcase from behind the bed and opened it.

“What’s that?” Carrie asked.

“The baby blanket we found you in so long ago.” Martha said stroking the soft blue item. “And this.” She said holding up the item to reveal a stylized ‘S’ in a shield design on the blanket that was in red and yellow, and after a little addition to the costume, Carrie stood in front of the mirror again. “Your folks would be so proud of you.” Martha said putting an around Carrie. “We sure are.”

“Thanks mom.” Carrie said giving her a hug back. “I’m not so sure about the cape though.”

“Oh, really? I love it! It’ll be great when you’re flying!” Martha said enthusiastically.

Carrie removed her glasses and stared back at the ‘man’ in the mirror, almost heroic-looking in the bright colors, and she was amazed, and a little disturbed to find that the changes also reflected with making her features a little more…’mannish.’ Then again, that was the objective, and she knew she’d still be the relatively attractive woman she had always been out of costume.

This was just to add another layer of keeping her identity a secret.

“Hey you two, come on in here!” Jonathan hollered from the living room. “The launch vehicle’s about to go up!”

Martha put a hand on the young woman’s shoulder. “Let’s go show him!”

When they had gone back to the living room, the pre-launch broadcast was making it’s round. “In preparation for the upcoming launch, all have undergone a series of examinations to determine their ability to function in an alternate environment.”

“The colonists are just about all on board.” Jonathan reported without turning around.

Martha gave Carrie an impish smile and the woman walked forward.

“This’ll be the first time that a group this large, drawn from the general population…” The newscaster reported and Carrie saw Amy Platt being carried onboard with her mother.

“Ah historic occasion.” Jonathan said reverently. “Remember when you were a kid, Carrie, and we watched the first moon landing...” he said turning around, but when he saw what his daughter
looked like, he jumped in surprise.

“What do you think?” Carrie questioned, a little pleased, and a little anxious.

“Why, you look like a man in that.” Jonathan said surprised.

Carrie smiled lop-sidedly. “That was the point, remember?”

“Oh, then that’s my…boy.” Jonathan said humorously.

Carrie chuckled while Martha looked concerned. “But Carrie, while this disguise may work, what about your voice and your wig?”

“Already taken care of.” Carrie said as she pointed at her hair. “It’s all bundled up under this and I got special clips that will keep it on my head, and,” she took on the believably male pitch of her voice that she had been working on, “the voice has alo been taken care of too.”

Martha still looked a little doubtful, but it also looked as though most of her fears were settled. “Yeah.” She said before the three of them looked at the television to watch the launch.

They watched the countdown, and when the thrusters fired up, Jonathan yelled, “There she blows!” and Carrie shook her head with a smile, but it vanished into a worried frown when it was reported that something had gone wrong and she only had to think about what to do before she was out the door and flying toward the launch pad.

When she flew toward the launch pad to be noticeable, she saw that the crowd at the bottom had spotted her, and when she reached her destination, she landed on the catwalk that connected the tower to the vehicle, and saw an open compartment, she saw Lois inside, her eyes wide with fear. She reigned in her annoyance and instead focused on the incessant beeping and saw a little black box that was about to blow. She took it off the wall and exposed the panel.

“Hey, get away from that!” Lois cried as the woman took a flat square out from within. “What kind of lunatic are you? That’s a bomb!”

Carrie stared at the bomb in her hand, ignoring Lois, before popping it into her mouth and while she felt the slight irritation and an odd boom from inside her body, she burped and covered her mouth and patted her chest, manners kicking in. “Excuse me.” She said in her male voice.

“What the hell are you?” Lois asked with her jaw hanging open and followed the ‘man’ into the passageway, where the columnists were gathering. “There was a bomb. He…he…ate it!” she finished in confusion.

Carrie saw Amy and smiled down at her. “Hi.”

“Hi, I like your costume.” The girl offered beaming.

“Thank you.” Carrie said relieved. “My mother made it for me. What’s your name?”

“Amy. Amy Platt. Who are you?”

Carrie though about how to answer that. “I’m…a friend.”

“Can you teach me how to fly?” Amy asked grinning and her mother knelt beside her with a smile.

“Not fly, but once this lab is operational…walk, that’s very possible.” Carrie said seriously.

“Attention colonists: the mission has been scrubbed. Prepare to disembark.” The supervisor’s voice said on the loud speaker.

The colonists all looked dejected. “That’s it, then, it’s all over.” One man said.

“Why?” Lois questioned.

“Once the thrusters have been fired, they have to be replaced.” Mrs. Platt explained.

“We just have to forget about Space Station Prometheus.”

“No.” Carrie said seriously. “You don’t.” When all the eyes turned to her, she
continued. “There’s nothing wrong with this transport vehicle,” she pointed out, “or the station, you only need to get there.”

“How’re they supposed to do that?” Lois asked.

“Easy.” Carrie replied smiling to the passengers. “I’ll help give ‘em a boost.”

And when everyone was seated, and of course, taking some joy in booting Lois off with the fact she couldn’t breathe in space, who’d very reluctantly agreed and got off the vehicle. Carrie then helped the vehicle fly through the atmosphere, and upon nearing the space station, heard the announcement of “All Prometheus personnel prepare for docking.”

With her careful guidance, the vehicle docked successfully.

---------------------------------------------------

The Daily Planet was in a frenzy over the incredible story of how the space vehicle and the even more incredible thing that had allowed it to reach it’s destination. “I still don’t believe it,” Perry said skeptically as he looked over at Jimmy, “a man who flies!”

“Chief, it’s all over the TV.” Jimmy insisted.

“Aw, Jimmy, don’t believe everything you see on TV.” Perry said in disgust. “I tell you one thing though. “Whoever pulled off that hoax is a …” his voice trailed off as he looked up.
Flying in through the huge windows was a figure dressed in red and blue with a long flowing cape, while carrying a quiet Lois in ‘his’ arms, the entire staff watching in amazement.

“Great shades of Elvis!” Perry exhaled slowly.

Carrie saw Jimmy take a few photos, and while her face was curved into a radiant, chivalrous outer appearance, she was extremely annoyed at the fact Lois had bugged her into taking her back to the Planet. She set the woman down gently, despite having the urge to just drop her and be done with it and leave.

Yes, helping those people had been good, but this…

…she was also growing unsettled by the way Lois was looking at her.

“I see it, but I don’t believe it.” Cat said flatly.

“What, a man who flies?” Asked an amazed co-worker.

“No, Lois Lane, finally-literally-swept off her feet! Too bad he’s an alien.” Cat said disparagingly.

“I think, considering the fact I saw you first, you owe me an exclusive.” Lois said.

‘Oh no I don’t.’ Carrie thought annoyed, but kept her voice playful. “Is that the rule?”

“Well, no.” Lois admitted with a laugh. “But I’d appreciate it very much.” She added and Carrie took the time to fly out, but Lois still called out to her. “Wait! How do I find you?”

‘You won’t.’ Carrie thought grumpily, but only said, “I’ll be around” and then she flew off.

--------------------------------------------------

When Carrie arrived at the Planet the next day for work, she found that Lois was already there. “Morning Lois.”

“Caroline, where’ve you been?”

“Around.”

“Well,” Lois began as she grasped a hold of Carrie’s arm, “not that it’s been anywhere near as exciting as the stories you’ve covered in the Smallville Press, but Superman was in the newsroom and I just about nailed down the exclusive!” she said with pride.

While Carrie internally laughed at how well her costume had fooled everyone, she felt some semblance of her own pride as if she had made her debut as a woman, she probably would have gotten saddled with something like ‘girl’ at the end while she could as just as well be ‘woman.’

“Well, congratulations.” Carrie said, her voice carefully neutral.

“Caroline, you should’ve seen him, up close…He is the most magnificent figure of a man that I have ever-”

Feeling quite disturbed by this, Carrie interrupted. “Sounds like he made quite the impression on you.”

“He did!” Lois agreed and walked over to the elevators.

“Where are you going?” Carrie asked, feeling that it was strange if Lois was just leaving work when she-supposedly-just got in.

“To cover a shoot-out on Sixth. And Kent…” Lois said pointing a finger at her. “I’ll ask the questions.” She said in a business-like tone.

Carrie thought over the events of the day she had. She’d helped the space vehicle reach it’s destination, and aside from one small blip, it was overall a great day.

“Head’s up pretty lady!”

Carrie instinctively ducked as a football went sailing over her head and she shook her head.

Well, yesterday had been a great day anyway.