THE CAPTURE OF SUPERMAN!
Originally “The Capture of Superboy,” story by L.Cross.
Modestly text-enhanced by Rick Henry, 05-2021, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part Two – Kryptonite
Superman quickly makes his way downward using the long array of metal stairs that descend to the substructure below the hangar; he leaves the shaft and enters the anteroom examining the thick concrete walls and low circling as he moves to the end of the narrow room and stands before a large steel blast door. A sign next to the blast door reads: “CONTAINMENT ROOM.” Superman bangs lightly on the door and shouts, “Dumont!” No answer. Very odd indeed thinks Superman; this is the time and place. Superman bangs again on the steel door and shouts, “Dumont, its Superman. I have an appointment here.” No answer. Superman examines the steel blast door for several seconds and again x-rays the interior finding it completely empty. “Nothing here, or for miles around this old hangar,” thinks Superman. “I guess this is somebody’s idea of a cleaver prank”. Superman turns towards the shaft to the surface and hears the whirling sound of machinery engaging. The steel door shifts slightly with a loud thud and begins to slowly and laboriously rise exposing the interior of the Containment Room.
“FUCK!” says Bart tossing his cigarette as his Blackberry chirps signaling that Superman is the anteroom. Bart begins to sweat as he hears a bang on steel door; he waits a moment and he hears another bang on the door. “I must have been stoned when I agreed to do this crazy stunt. I just hope Kryptonite can render Superman helpless like Dumont thinks it can!” says Bart out loud nervously. The teenager shakily enters the command in the numeric wall pad to open the blast door and then draws tightly back against the concrete wall of the Containment Room within the lead arch to remain out of Superman’s view and close to the lead box. The room is filled with the sound of decompressing air as the steel door shifts loudly and laboriously grinds upwards exposing the well-lit anteroom. As the door extends to the open position Bart cautiously cranes his head out of the lead arch to sneak a peek into the Anteroom and immediately sees the magnificent red and blue clad figure of Superman, smiling widely, standing proudly in the light of the entryway with his muscular arm’s folded across his well-defined chest looking directly at Bart. The room is filled with the sound of air compressing as Superman continues to observe young Bart peeking out of the lead arch. As Bart’s eyes meet Superman’s, Bart gasps, “Fuck!” and draws instinctively draws back against the wall as Superman, his crimson cape billowing behind him, steps onto the floor of the Containment Room and moves to confront Bart who is cowering a several yards away within the arch next to a lead box. “Are you Dumont?” asks Superman
Bart exhales loudly, collects himself, straightens and slowly moves out from under the arch to face Superman; he forces a smile and says cynically, “Heavens, no! I am merely my uncle’s delivery man.”
“Then who are you, and why are we down here, young fella’?” asks Superman.
Bart extends his hand and approaches Superman and says cheerfully, “Hello Superman. My name is Bart. Please pardon my excitement. It’s a great honor to finally meet you. You’re so much larger in person than in photographs: large muscles, height and all. On behalf of my Uncle Dumont, I extend to you his sincerest compliments,” says Bart grandly.
Superman makes a quick observation of Bart, who is much smaller and younger than Superman, probably about 16 or so, wearing black jeans, boat shoes and a red and white striped long sleeved polo shirt. Despite the strange circumstances Superman politely shakes Bart’s hand and quickly asks, “Shouldn’t you be in bed? It’s very late for a youngster your age to be out alone on his own way out here.”
“I’ve heard a lot about you Superman. I feel I almost know you. I’m glad you were able to be here on such short notice,” remarks Bart as he concludes the handshake and immediately returns to the proximity of the lead box and its safety and responds, “I’m old enough to be out late. I’ll be 17 in a couple months.”
“I see. Why are you hiding down here?” asks Superman.
“I wasn’t hiding. I was waiting for you Superman,” replies Bart.
“A lead arch used for the purpose of obstructing my x-ray vision can be construed as an attempt to hide,” counters Superman.
“It was not constructed to hide me from you Superman. It was made to conceal that lead box and its priceless contents,” explains the teenager.
“OKAY,” remarks Superman. “And the lead box contains what?” asks Superman.
“A very unique element my uncle discovered on an expedition to East Africa several months ago. He feels it is in danger of falling into the wrong hands. It is very powerful source of energy” explains the teenager.
“Then why are you here and not your uncle? And why did he insist on meeting me out here in the basement of a remote hangar to divulge a terrorist plot that obviously has something to do with this mysterious element?” asks Superman.
“Secrecy and privacy Superman; he was afraid he would be followed so he selected me as the delivery man and for secrecy this remote property that he bought on speculation many years ago as the transfer point,” explains Bart. “It’s an old USAF storage station sold off as excess long ago; we won’t be disturbed here as we’re quite alone way out here.”
“And your uncle wants me to do what with this mysterious element?” asks Superman.
Bart says, “Protect it for now and keep it out of the wrong hands. In the long run he hopes you will use your contacts and influence to have the element studied so that it’s potential can be used for the good of mankind; that’s what my uncle wants. It will become obvious when you see it; want to have a peek Superman? My uncle calls it… Kryptonite! I know; a strange name but my motto is: Why ask why? And he did discover Kryptonite so I guess he’s entitled to name it.”
“Kryptonite you say? That is a strange name,” remarks Superman. “Why the lead container. Is it radioactive?” Asks the caped, overly built muscle hunk concerned for the teenager’s safety.
“No Superman! That’s the beauty of Kryptonite; it produces clean energy with no radioactivity whatsoever! The lead is strictly for secrecy purposes,” fibs Bart.
“Then as long as Kryptonite will not harm you, sure, I’ll have a look at this mysterious element that your uncle feels is so important.”
“I know Kryptonite won’t harm me Superman,” laughs Bart as he grins knowingly at Superman and reaches down and carefully unbuckles the leather straps that secure the lead cover to the box. He carefully pulls the cover off the lead box and sets it down gently on the concrete floor. Immediately the Containment Room is illuminated with an eerie green hue that begins to quickly intensify as Superman approaches the container and squats before the case to examine the contents of the lead box.
“The Kryptonite stones are sitting on a long length of heavy chain. What is the chain for in the lead box Bart? The chain looks like it has a steel collar and shackles attached.” observes Superman as he drops to one knee and peers down into the lead box to examine the element atop the chains with his super senses.
“You’ll find out,” casually remarks the teenager, watching the cape shrouded shoulders and back of the intimidating super hero as Bart slowly pulls his Blackberry off his belt clip. He nervously enters a series of numeric codes while Superman is distracted by the lead box and its contents. Suddenly the room is filled with the loud sound of decompressing air and the banging of metal meeting metal as the upper and lower steel doors to the entry shaft to the substructure slam shut effectively sealing off the lower level.
Superman looks up in surprise from his examination of the element and cranes his head towards the anteroom as the steel blast door begins a quick decent. He stands and faces Bart as the door thuds shut with a dull thud that echoes through the room. As the noise of several blooms of decompressing air dissipates Superman asks, “What’s going on here, Bart?”
As the glow form the lead box continues to wash over Superman, Bart ignores Superman and walks coolly over to the lead box and picks-up one of five small green glowing rocks. He then moves menacingly towards Superman wielding the Kryptonite fragment saying excitedly, “We’ll get to the purpose of the shackles later Superman. The Kryptonite was brought here for your benefit Superman. This is a trap Superman, and you blundered right into it!”
Superman has an amused look, “A trap? What are you talking about? OK Bart the element is a nice shade of green but after a cursory examination of this so-called Kryptonite with my super senses I cannot see why your uncle feels the element is valuable as a source of energy. Why are we really here? Do you think that blast door will prevent me from leaving?”
Bart ignores Superman’s questions and continues to grin wickedly as he moves closer to the smiling caped, built man. “Kryptonite is your Achilles’ Heel Superman; it is poison to you!” informs Bart.
Superman continues to watch Bart’s antics for a moment in silence as Bart waves the green fragment menacingly at him and finally remarks in amusement, “What kind of game are you and your uncle playing with me? Do you even have an uncle? Are you off your medication?”
“Sorry Superman, but this no game. I’m very serious. I’ve been sent here to capture and keep you imprisoned in this basement as you call it until my uncle arrives to collect you. You see Superman, like I said this is a valuable element regardless of what your pathetic examination concluded; it’s not from around here; it’s from another planet.” says Bart coldly as he moves even closer confronting Superman face to face. As Bart stands face to face with Superman the green glow washes over Superman bathing his entire costume in a strange eerie green light.
Superman not knowing what to make of this strange situation asks again, “Bart, what is going on here? You drag me way out here to the middle of nowhere, under false pretenses, lock me in this… vault, and then threaten me with a poison rock!” responds Superman, once again his muscular arms folded wearing an annoyed expression.
“I don’t understand,” stutters Bart in amazement. “You should be on your knees in agony begging for my mercy!”
“I should be on my knees in agony from what? I’ve never experienced pain in my entire life and I certainly will never beg a kid like you for anything,” explains a perplexed Superman as the green hue that continues washing over him slowly begins to intensify in brightness unnoticed.
“Wait a minute! I get it now! You mentioned a trap. Is that what all this nonsense is about Bart? You have to be kidding! Let me get this straight! Your uncle’s cunning plan to trap me, Superman, goes something like this. 1. Lure an unsuspecting Superman to the basement of a remote hangar. 2. Trap Superman in the basement of the hangar using his 16-year-old nephew as bait. 3. The 16-year-old nephew then uses a poison rock hidden in a lead box to defeat Superman. 4. The 16-year-old nephew puts the defeated Man of Steel in chains or something twisted like that, and merely waits for his dear uncle to arrive and collect Superman as a trophy. Is that about right? Is that what those chains and shackles are for in the lead box? Are those chains meant for Superman?” demands Superman followed by a burst of laughter.
Bart’s look of confidence shatters and his expression turns sullen as he suddenly begins to have serious doubts about the ability of Kryptonite to harm Superman; Superman seems fine and appears totally unaffected by his uncle’s alien element, Kryptonite. Is it possible his uncle is all wrong about Kryptonite? Maybe his uncle snapped years ago and he concocted this whole Kryptonite story. His uncle does seem to have an odd fixation with Superman; he has been stalking the man for years. Kryptonite; heck for all I know this rock I’m facing off Superman with is an ordinary rock sprayed with fluorescent paint! “What was I thinking,” says Bart thinking out loud.
Superman continues to address young Bart as the green hue washing over him continues to slowly intensify. “You were not thinking kid! That’s my point. Your uncle obliviously has some twisted and unhealthy fascination with me, and you got caught up in it. Your uncle needs some serious professional help or better yet, a girlfriend. Heck he did not even have the courage to spring his own trap; he sent you!” teases Superman.
Bart is speechless and he lowers the rock and hangs his head as he listens to Superman’s sermon thinking: How could his uncle have been so wrong? What will Superman do with them now?
“Hey kid keep your chin up, it’s not your fault. Your uncle strung you along. He and many others have tried to destroy me but I must admit this is most ridiculous plot yet,” jokes Superman as he finds it hard to contain his laughter.
“That’s the best your uncle could devise to destroy me. No atomic death ray? No trap me in a vault and suck the air out of it, or zap me with a merciless bombardment of bolts of electricity? Not even a voodoo doll or a black magic spell? Even a fire cracker is better than a poison rock kid,” mocks Superman.
Bart is completely devastated and he tosses the worthless fragment of Kryptonite down to the floor at Superman’s feet and stands there with his head hung. “Okay kid, I’m sorry. Please don’t take it so hard. It’s not your fault. Like I told you, they have all failed to defeat me but at least they put a little thought into the plan,” chuckles Superman unable to resist ridiculing Bart further. “I’m sorry again,” apologizes Superman quickly as he puts a comforting arm on Bart’s shoulder. “I don’t mean to make fun of you but do you know why they have all failed to defeat me? I’ll tell you why kid. They all fail because they all forget that I’m Superman, AKA the Great Titan, or my personal favorite the Man of Steel,” boasts Superman.
“Look at this gun kid,” brags Superman as he flexes one of his impressive biceps for the teenager to drive home his point. Bart is speechless and his expression is grim and hateful as he is forced to admire Superman’s well developed arm muscles as he flexes them.
“Look kid, a mere rock and a fantasy dreamed up by a delusional uncle and executed by his ill-advised nephew cannot harm me, Superman! Read the papers kid; I’m invincible! I’m invulnerable! I AM SUPERMAN!”
With his arm tenderly around Bart’s shoulder Superman gently escorts Bart to the lead arch.
“Now Bart, please, reconsider this crazy scheme, and open the blast door or I will rip it off its tracks and toss it across the room like a Frisbee. After that I’ll smoke every door that leads to the surface above in my way with my heat vision. It will be far less expensive for your uncle if you open the doors, Bart. Either way, we’re leaving. NOW,” explains Superman with an annoyed look.
Without hesitation, Bart sullenly and shakily enters the code and the room is filled with the sound of decompressing air and the sound of whirling machinery as the blast shifts slightly and laboriously rises to the top of its tracks and stops with a bang that echoes through the chamber. Seconds later more decompressing air as the upper and lower shaft doors depressurize and open clearing the way to the stairway to the hangar floor high above them.
“The doors are all open Superman,” informs Bart sourly.
“Thank-you Bart; you made the right decision. Now then, let’s go look up this uncle of yours and find out what this problem is he seems to have with me,” offers Superman.
“What about the Kryptonite, Superman?” asks Bart.
“Leave it here. It belongs to your uncle. He can come collect it if he wants it. That is after your Uncle Dumont settles this affair to the satisfaction of the Office of Homeland Security.”
Bart gulps and asks, “Should I return it to the lead box Superman?”
“Why bother: the stuff is worthless and harmless as well,” remarks Superman casually as he places his hand on Bart’s shoulder.
Superman and Bart head past the fragment of Kryptonite on the concrete floor and head towards the anteroom with Superman continuing to lecture the chagrined Bart.
“I intend to set things straight with your uncle.” He continues, until suddenly, “… uncle … Kryptonite … set straight … what … strange feeling … weak … strange,” says the Man of Steel, suddenly confused and obviously weakened as his look of confidence vanishes; then a wave of intense pain mixed with a sick feeling of weakness and dizziness sweeps over him.
Superman stops and slowly takes his arm from Bart’s shoulder and sweat breaks out on his forehead. He brings both hands up to his temples as he closes his eyes and his handsome manly face contorts in pain.
“I’ve … never … felt … like this … before …” stutters an utterly bewildered Superman; his knees actually buckle slightly and, leaving Bart behind he begins instinctively to retreat staggering unsteadily back towards the anteroom and the stairs that lead to the hangar above; he wants … he needs to escape … to get away from the pain and weakness … to get away from this shining green stone!!!!