Part 5 Betrayed
It is Sunday morning and Clark Kent is sitting in his apartment idly skimming through the channels when he receives an encrypted text message from Eden, Professor Larson assistant. The message reads: Superman, sorry to bother you but the silent alarm has tripped at the professor’s lab. Could you help me check it out? Don’t want to involve the civilian authorities and have them snooping around due to the nature of the professor’s work. Thanks – Eden”
Superman replies, “On my way; wait for me to arrive,”
undresses quickly revealing the familiar red and blue costume of the Man of
Steel and steps out onto the terrace of his apartment. The red and blue caped
figure blurs and rockets skyward. Seconds later there is a slight sonic boom as
Superman fly out of the boundaries of greater Metropolis and streaks north
toward the professor’s secluded compound several miles outside Metropolis. The
sky is bright blue on a beautiful clear spring morning as Superman quickly
closes the distance to the small compound.
Superman reaches his destination in a mater of minutes. Flying above Superman scans the laboratory within the fenced in compound. Too much lead in that lab to get a clear picture of any activity within the lab. Superman swoops down out of the morning sky and touches down lightly in the lab’s parking lot. There is only one vehicle in the lot: a large late model black Dodge Ram with a blue tarp covering an object resting in the truck’s bed. Superman spots a side entrance to the lab and begins to walk towards it at a brisk pace when the driver’s side door of the Ram opens and Eden steps out.
He runs over to Superman excitedly, “Thanks for coming; I’m at my wits ends. This has never happened before and the professor always would know what to do if things did happen.”
Relax Eden; let’s have a look around. Stay behind me,” says Superman as they approach the lab’s side entrance. Eden sighs as Superman finds the door unlocked. They enter the dimly lit lab together and make their way towards the radiation well with Eden close behind Superman. They trigger a motion detector and the lab’s overhead lights flicker on as the stop before the sealed lead doors of the radiation well.
“Does anything look out of place?” asks Superman.
“Not really; the control room is sealed but the shaft doors to the well below are open. I remember locking the lab and sealing the well when I left Friday at 5,” explains Eden as he cranes his head looking around the lab.
Please check the control room and see if everything is OK there.” Says Superman as he tries to scan the well below and then remembers it is lead lined.
Eden returns shortly and says, “if not for the unlocked door to the lab I’d say this is a false alarm Superman triggered by a bad sensor down in the well,” explains Eden. “The surveillance monitor is offline so I am not getting a video feed form the well. I tried to open the well doors but the computer has denied me access to well’s door controls. If the computer sensed a malfunction during a non-event the escape shaft doors would open automatically, so it’s probably a false alarm. I’ll climb down into the radiation well and check it out.”
“Wait here Eden. Please let me check it out as long as I’m here,” says Superman as heads for the shaft with his crimson cape billowing behind him.
“Thanks Superman; I’ll wait here.” says Eden thankfully. He watches Superman enter the escape shaft and drop out of sight. Eden smiles and mouths silently “YES” and heads quickly back to the control room.
Superman quickly descends to the bottom of the deep shaft and steps onto the reflective steel floor of the lead lined radiation well. He walks slowly to the well’s center and cranes his head upwards as he turns 180 degrees to determine if anything is out of place. Everything seems OK. Eden is right – false alarm caused by a computer glitch – he probably plain forgot to lock the door and the computer sensed it during a routine scan and triggered the alarm!
As Superman starts for the escape shaft that leads to the lab above the numeric keypad near the passageway door begins to flash and chirp three times as the sound of decompressing air fills the well followed by the a bang of steel meeting steel from high above in the escape shaft. As Superman stops and cranes his head up towards the sound two hidden lead lined panels within the passageway to the escape shaft slide together with a metallic bang sending a tremendous echo resonating through the narrow lead lined well. Superman turns and faces the lead lined door panels blocking access to the escape shaft that have effectively sealed him in the radiation well.
Superman is noticeably bewildered as he hears the sound of air being compressed and a mechanical thud that echoes down into the well followed by silence as the well goes dark! Superman sighs and shakes his head and yells out loud, “Eden, what’s going on? Can you hear me? Is this another computer glitch? If you cannot open these doors I’ll have to force my way out; Eden!” Superman continues to stand in the radiation well uncertain what has gone wrong with the professor’s computer system when suddenly all eight glass disks angled at the floor of the narrow room strobe a blinding bright white light three times and then darken completely. Seconds later all the panels glow green weakly bathing Superman in an eerie green light that is reflected off the mirrored floor. Superman’s covers his eyes with his forearm as a wave of dizziness sweeps over him. The panels brighten in intensity reflecting the green hue off the floor. Superman’s knees buckle and he stumbles slightly and leans against the lead wall for support covering his eyes with his hands. Superman’s face contorts in pain and he close his eyes tight as he raises both hands to his temples and staggers away from the lead wall and looses his balance. He drops to his knees and his head begins to spin as he fights to remain conscious when suddenly the panels go dark again and the dizziness begins to recede. Superman’s head clears and again the numeric pad mounted on lead wall flashes and chirps three times. Seconds later the floodlights high above brighten to full illumination again flooding the deep well with bright white light again. “Something is very wrong here,” says Superman as he rises from his knees unsteadily and moves to end of the narrow room and faces the lead lined doors blocking the way to the escape shaft. Sorry professor! I think your computer has gone haywire and I need to get out of this well. Superman places his fingers tips on the seam of the iron doors and pries trying to divide them. Superman strains and his biceps and chest muscles flex impressively and bulge tightly contained in the tight blue elastic fabric of his bodysuit as he applies all his strength to divide the iron panels but to his amazement nothing happens! Wearing a sudden confused expression Superman places both palms squarely on the iron panels and presses hard as his knees buckle as he applies pressure against the door using his legs as leverage against the floor. Superman eyes grow wide as he stares at the lead doors that do not buckle or for that matter even budge before his super strength. He presses harder and harder straining to buckle the iron panel with all his might but the panels will not yield! “IMPOSSIBLE,” gulps the confused Man of Steel. A look of utter frustration mixed with fear crosses the young man’s face and he throws his muscled shoulder with all his weight behind it against the door. Superman strikes the lead door panels hard and bounces back stumbling backwards nearly falling over. He stands there with a total look of confusion rubbings his shoulder to ease the pain. Superman then cranes his head upwards towards the closed iron doors and buckles his knees extends his arms trying to fly but cannot. A look of realization crosses his face and Superman turns and backs tightly into one of the corners of the deep radiation well as he realizes he has been stripped completely of all his superpowers! Eden! This was a trap!