THE CAPTURE OF SUPERMAN!
Originally “The Capture of Superboy,” story by L.Cross.
Modestly text-enhanced by Rick Henry, 05-2021, email@example.com.
Part Five-The Evil Genius Dumont
Superman is no longer cognizant of the dire situation he is in. The constant mind-numbing pain from the combined power of the Kryptonite fragments has rendered the ultimate superhero unconsciousness and placed him at the mercy of the evil genius Dumont. Superman’s mind is vacant as the morning hours pass slowly. He remains tightly restrained with his arms shackled tight behind his back lying prostrate on the floor in anguish his blue eyes staring blankly in the direction of the sealed anteroom. His head is craned and his mouth is open with a trickle of drool seeping out. Dumont’s nephew Bart, the bait for the ingenious trap, has thrashed Superman badly and left the overcome superhero in chains surrounded by lethal Kryptonite fragments.
As the early morning wears on Superman does not even blink as the Containment Room lights flicker on. The lights are dim at first but get brighter and brighter. Seconds later the sound of decompressing air followed by the sound of a heavy steel door beginning to laboriously rise and then stop. As the sound of compressing air ceases there is the sound of heavy boot steps coming from the direction of the anteroom. A figure stops directly behind Superman and then walks over and stands next to the shackled Man of Steel and looks down at him imperiously with a look of pride and satisfaction as he takes a sip from a can of Red Bull.
Superman is completely unaware of the presence of the newcomer and does not react. The man observing Superman is a tall, handsome young man with a resemblance to Bart, only much older. He is blonde with green eyes. He is slightly over 6’ tall and weighs about 185 pounds. The man has a cold expression and is dressed in blue jeans, a black t-shirt, and engineer’s boots. He wears a wide black belt around his waist that has a Blackberry clipped to it.
The figure carries a large black canvas bag that he drops near Superman. He then walks slowly around him, occasionally sipping his drink, his appraising gaze never straying from the powerless superhero. Superman remains motionless in the shackles, except for the slight rise and fall of his chest as the downed man inhales and exhales. The figure continues to walk around Superman kicking the fragments of Kryptonite away from Superman as he admires the caped man in boots.
“Amazing; you’re still alive,” observes the man as he casually discards the empty can of Red Bull.
“Good morning, Superman. My name is Dumont,” announces the man as the empty can rolls across the Containment Room. “It appears Bart played his part well and followed my instructions to the letter. I knew it would take time for the Kryptonite to drain off your reserve of superpower.
“After all you’ve been absorbing the energy of this planet’s yellow sun for many years; there had to have been a reserve. Poor Bart; I could not divulge that part of the plan to him. He’d make a terrible poker player. I needed Bart to be convincing; you surely would not have been disarmed so easily by me as you were with my young nephew. You would not stand around casually chit chatting with me while the Kryptonite drained your energy. But Bart, he’s an interesting lad, and we all know you have a soft spot for youngsters. But looks can be deceiving; judging by the state you’re in now you realize that my nephew has a mean streak in him; it seems to run in our family.”
Dumont chuckles to himself as he pulls his Blackberry from the belt clip and enters a series of numeric codes. Superman does not react as the room is filled with the sound of metal meeting metal as the upper and lower steel doors to the entry shaft to the substructure slam shut again sealing off the lower level.
“I don’t want us to be disturbed Superman,” remarks Dumont as he replaces the Blackberry on the clip. He continues to circle and stare at the helpless superhero as he begins to rant, “I really believed I would find you dead Superman. I thought the Kryptonite would have surely destroyed you by now. You’ve been chained up down here for more than 8 hours. Apparently, you are much stronger than I thought. Not to worry; you’ll die soon enough,” says Dumont cruelly as he smiles and rubs his hands together. He looks down at the broken Man of Steel and says coldly, “Let’s see how you’re holding up.”
Dumont slowly kneels down next to Superman and grabs one of his shackled wrists behind his back to feel for a pulse. “Amazing; your pulse is still quite strong; at this rate it will take the Kryptonite a few more days possibly a week to finish you off Superman. I’ll have to review my data later this morning. I’ve seriously underestimated your strength, but not the overall effect of Kryptonite on you.”
Dumont releases Superman’s wrist and the chain nosily rattle as Dumont rolls the strapping man off his stomach and onto his back. Superman is a pathetic sight with his mouth hanging open and his blue eyes rolled back in his head. His sweaty face is streaked with dirt and caked with dried drool.
Superman’s jet-black hair is sweat soaked, disheveled and matted down. His world recognized blue bodysuit with the trademark “S” is sweat soaked and grimy with a mixture of sweat and dust from the floor.
Dumont rolls Superman’s head from side to side slowly several times as he studies the features of Superman’s handsome face.
“Fantastic,” remarks Dumont as he traces the emblazoned “S” on Superman’s bodysuit lightly with his figures several times. “Fantastic. So this is what the mighty Superman, the Man of Steel, looks like up-close and personal. I bet no one has ever had an opportunity to examine you this closely,” remarks Dumont as he softly caresses the side of Superman’s dirty face.
He then tugs playfully at the distinctive black split curl matted down on Superman’s forehead and again rolls Superman’s head from side to side with his hand several times. He then slaps Superman’s face sharply three times in quick secession to see if he can rouse the hapless man. Superman does not react to the stimulation; he remains motionless with his arms shackled behind his back as his chest rises and falls after each breath.
“He’s out cold, “observes Dumont. “Poor Superman,” beams Dumont. “You never saw it coming, did you? You’re not so arrogant now are you Superman?” He scoops up a piece of Kryptonite from the floor and stares at it intently as he thinks out loud, “Who would have thought it? A mere rock; I mean it’s ludicrous to imagine a rock could destroy Superman. According to Bart, “Superman” initially had a hard time accepting it. To think a small fragment of an extinct planet could subdue such a boldly powerful man with such incredible superpowers.”
Dumont clutches the Kryptonite and directs his attention back to Superman, “Seeing you powerless and in chains represents the culmination of nearly three years of hard work on my part. You most likely can’t comprehend a word I’m saying in your vegetative state but please indulge me; this is a great moment for me Superman and I’m entitled to be a little long-winded,” states the man coldly as he continues.
“I remember the first time I saw you Superman. It was about three years ago on CNN’s Breaking News. It was the first time you introduced Superman to the world. You miraculously stopped a school bus full of children from plummeting off a ravine near that hick town of Smallville. The world instantly embraced you as their champion and I instantly despised you. Not that I have anything against those farm kids you saved; it’s simply that you do not belong here on earth, and therefore you must be erased from it; you’re an interloper Superman; a trespasser; we don’t need or want you here Superman.”
Dumont rises and begins to slowly circle the unconscious man as he juggles the Kryptonite from hand to hand and continues to enlighten Superman even though he lies there oblivious to Dumont.
“I decided at that very moment to use all my resources, both intellectual and financial, which are both considerable, to destroy and then eviscerate you. After a year and a half of grasping at straws, conjuring up the most fantastic theories and extrapolations that eventually led nowhere, I admit, I was ready to give up; I had almost accepted the fact that you were truly invincible. I was completely depressed and started drinking. I was either so drunk or desperate that I actually contemplated delving into Black Magic; me a man of science!
“Oddly enough, it was when I hit rock bottom that I made two significant breakthroughs in my pursuit to destroy you, Superman.”
Dumont stops circling the man and nudges Superman shoulder hard with his boot and asks, “Are you getting all of this down, Superman?”
The man does not react and Dumont sighs loudly and continues, “Too bad; it’s all for your benefit. Anyhow, the first breakthrough occurred while I was, and I am embarrassed to admit to it even now and to someone who is unconscious, researching the Dark Arts of the Victorian Era. Yes, the Dark Arts; I stooped that low. I admitted I was either drunk or desperate. Be that as it may, as I was researching that era I stumbled quite accidentally across an obscure Victorian Era theory called the Delphinium Theory. It suggests Superman, and this is most important, that materials harmless in one environment are harmful when transposed to a foreign environment. As promising as this theory was it would have been useless without the second breakthrough. I have to thank you for that Superman! About that same time you foolishly started making PR appearances on the cable news networks. It was during an MSNBC interview that you revealed that you were from a planet that earth scientists call Krypton!”
Dumont excitedly kneels down next to Superman’s head and drives his index figure sharply into the side of the Superman’s craned head several times above the ear and says, “What were you thinking Superman? You made a terrible mistake giving me your address. That little tidbit of information pointed me in the direction I needed to go to test the Delphinium Theory. You should not be so chatty with reporters Superman. One tends to reveal mind tickling tidbits of information. For instance, you cannot see through lead. Use your head Superman,” says Dumont as he slaps the back of the man’s craned head and gestures with the Kryptonite towards the anteroom where the lead box is.
Dumont rises and stands over Superman and continues chiding, “You stated in subsequent interviews that you don’t need to eat or drink. Let’s see; Hum? Superman does not need to eat or drink. Then what fuels that powerful and indestructible body? What is the source of his body’s energy if not food or water? Can that source be blocked or hampered? The answers to those questions eventually led me to what I call Kryptonite,” says Dumont as he reaches down and picks up another piece of Kryptonite.
“Ironic isn’t it Superman? That you indirectly brought about your own downfall by disclosing a couple scraps of seemingly benign information. Don’t get me wrong kid. You didn’t make it easy for me! Oh no! Not by any stretch of the imagination. I had to work my ass off for years to pull this off; but you did point me in the right direction. And for that I thank you,” says Dumont as he nudges Superman hard in the ribs with his boot and angrily wings a piece of Kryptonite at him. The fragment bounces off Superman’s emblazoned “S” hard and clatters across the floor. Superman arms and legs tense tightly as he struggles weakly in the restraints as he instinctively reacts from the impact; he moans softly as he ceases his restless struggle against the shackles.
Dumont tone turns to anger and he points the remaining piece of Kryptonite at Superman, “I am a genius Superman. I have the IQ to prove it. I earned my first degree when my friends were still in grade school. I’ll tell you this Superman. You’re a tough nut to crack! I spent months constructing the mathematical formulas and computer models needed to plot the course fragments from Krypton would travel to Earth; I spent more time constructing even more formulas and computer models to determine where theses fragments would likely impact the Earth. Then I spent three grueling months traipsing the jungles and desserts of third-world countries looking for the equivalent of a needle in a haystack; looking for this Superman,” rants Dumont as he shows the Kryptonite to the unconscious Man of Steel.
“I went through hell Superman! The exhausting safaris into the jungles; the constant searching; the stench of animals; no running water; no sanitation; the two-week bout with a stomach bug that cost me nearly 25 lbs of bodyweight. Let’s not even discuss how much money it cost!
“You cost me three years of my life Superman! I’m going to return the favor by taking yours!” screams Dumont as his anger reaches a pinnacle and he kicks Superman in the ribs with his heavy boot so hard a red-faced Superman doubles up and rolls onto his side gasping for air and coughing up a spray of spit and drool.
Dumont pays no attention to the choking man and continues, “Eventually my travels led me to five fragments of the planet Krypton archived in the basement of a small museum in Addis Abba,” says Dumont angrily as he pushes Superman’s backside with his boot and wings the other piece of Kryptonite at the helpless man. The fragment bounces off Superman’s shoulder as he slowly straightens and rolls onto his stomach with a faint groan as the coughing spell subsides and Superman returns to his stupor.
Dumont sighs loudly and composes himself as he announces. “Now that I’ve got that off my chest and we’ve got to know one another it’s time to get down to the business of the day Superman. I’ll come straight to the point. I need something from you Superman in addition to your life, and I’m simply going to take it from you. I need your costume: boots, cape: everything; every piece of that fancy costume you’re wearing. The whole enchilada!
“I’m sure you’re familiar with the novel The Wizard of Oz?” Most everyone is. Think about it, Superman. That costume is the equivalent of the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West! Many years from now, when you’re only a memory, I’ll tell the tale to eager listeners of how I destroyed you. That authentic costume you’re wearing will be my broomstick or my proof that I am responsible for your early demise! Besides, you won’t need that costume anymore since from this day forward Superman no longer exists.”
Dumont suddenly clenches both fists and looks down imperiously at the shackled man clad in red and blue and begins to rant and rave, “This is the end of the line for you Superman! The end of the throngs of adoring Superman fans worshiping and idolizing their mighty champion, the powerful Man of Steel! I wish they could all take a long look at there champion now. You’re a has-been superhero, Superman. I wish your admirers could see you now stripped of your powers, filthy dirty, put in chains and laid out on a floor drenched in your own sticking sweat. Where are they now Superman?”
Dumont raises the pitch of his voice and mocks. “I love Superman! Superman is so handsome! He’s so strong! Look at those muscles! There is nothing Superman cannot do! I want to be just like Superman when I grow up! Superman is my hero! Well—YOU DISGUST ME! I HATE YOU Superman, AND EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR!” screams a delirious Dumont as he spits at Superman as he lays face down on the floor completely oblivious to the Dumont’s tirade.