What follows is a story that I’ve posted previously. It’s the first chapter in a series of stories I’ve been wanting to write that takes a look at the story of Superman through the eyes of one of his most important supporting characters, Lois Lane. It began years ago when I was incredibly displeased with the way DC Comics was handling the character in the early 2010s. At this point, I’ve only gotten as far as this completed chapter as well as an outline for a further 14, with the potential for a lot more. For the record, Lois Lane, Superman, and all related characters are property of DC Comics. Anyway, without further ado, Chapter One…
“Lois! Calm down!” shouted Margot as her roommate moved around their apartment with no discernible direction.
“Calm down?” cried Lois, “You calm down!”
“Mature response,” Margot said calmly.
Lois stopped moving and stared at her roommate. “How can I possibly calm down? I’m two months from graduation and I don’t have my job lined up yet!”
“Yeah, you’re two months from graduation. And you’re at the top of your class, not just in the journalism program but all of Met U.”
Lois rolled her eyes and began frantically moving around the living room again. She was looking for something, though Margot had no idea what it could be. She watched as Lois shifted magazines around the coffee table and riffled through the junk mail that sat by the door. “What are you looking for?”
“It’s probably best if you don’t know,” said Lois heistantly.
“That sounds promising.”
“You can keep a secret, right?” she asked. Margot gave Lois a look that made it clear it was a ridiculous question. “I had a fake ID made.”
“Why? You’re 22.”
“It’s a specific ID. I need to be able to access areas of LexCorp that only employees can reach,” Lois said, knowing she was about to face her roommate’s disapproval.
“Tell me you’re not still trying to get an interview with Lex Luthor!”
“Okay, I won’t tell you,” she said as she moved down the hall toward her bedroom.
Margot followed, hoping to talk some sense into her. “Lois, we’ve both heard the stories about Lex Luthor! At best, he’s conniving. At worst, he’s dangerous.”
“That’s the thing, Marg! No one really knows anything about him!” Lois yelled over her shoulder as she searched through her chest of drawers. Moving to the nightstand she screamed in frustration. “What did I do with the thing?” Suddenly, an idea hit her. “You didn’t wash my dirty clothes, did you?”
Lois brushed past Margot and ran to the closet that housed their washer/dryer combo. There sat a basket full of Lois’ dirty clothes from the past couple of weeks. Feeling that this was the last possible chance to find the ID card, Lois searched through every pocket of every article of clothing that had pockets.. “AHA!” she screamed when she came across the laminated access card.
“How do I look?” she asked as she handed the card to Margot.
“Glasses?” asked her roommate, seeing Lois’ disguise in the ID’s photo.
“Yeah, I was hoping I could borrow yours for the day tomorrow.”
“I guess I won’t be able to talk you out of this,” Margot said in a defeated tone, watching as Lois simply shook her head. “And I know you’ll just swipe my glasses anyway, since you obviously did when you had this picture taken.”
This time, Lois simply nodded her head.
Margot walked into her own bedroom and soon returned with her reading glasses. “Just be careful, okay?”
“I’m Lois Lane. My middle name is careful.”
Lois went to bed that night, hopeful that the next day would set her destiny in stone. Lex Luthor was the world’s youngest billionaire. His rise to power was the stuff of legend, but no one knew the whole story. He had arrived in Metropolis just three years before and suddenly held 38 different patents, most of which supplied him with tens of millions of dollars each. Aside from being a brilliant inventor and innovator, he was a genius businessman. His company, LexCorp had become a technological giant, nearly monopolizing the way people use computers, smartphones, and tablets. Ask nearly anyone in America, when they surf the internet, they’re using LexCorp’s Internet Lexplorer. It was predicted that in only a few years’ time, people would be asking, “Remember Google?”
That seemed like a lot of valuable information to have on young Lex Luthor. But he had yet to grant an interview to anyone anywhere. Lois was determined to be the first person to get that interview. She was certain that an exclusive interview with Luthor would land her a dream job at the Daily Planet.
From her bedroom window, she could just make out the top of the globe that sat atop the Daily Planet building. Every morning, she would step to the window from her bed and stare at it. She told herself over and over again that she would be working there as soon as she finished her degree. But she would not be content with starting at the bottom. She was far too valuable as a reporter to be pushed down to the mailroom. No, Lois Lane needed to make a splash.
Lex Luthor was her ticket to the newsroom.
She had a hard time sleeping that night. She tossed and turned, worried that her plan may not work. Luthor was rarely seen in public, so she had to find a way to get to him. LexCorp headquarters was located in Metropolis’ largest skyscraper. Lois would have a lot of ground to cover. The empoyee indentification card that once belonged to Tess Mercer would only take her so far. But she knew she should not be too concerned. Lois Lane was nothing if not resourceful. The General made sure of that.
Lois shook her head. Thinking of her dysfunctional family would not help her fall asleep. And she needed sleep. Resourcefulness could only be an asset if her mind was fully aware throughout her self-assigned deep cover operation.
She was unsure of when she actually fell asleep. She just hoped the sleep she was able to get would be enough to carry her through the day. Lois had no idea how long it would take her to explore LexCorp. All she knew for sure was that she would not leave that building without a pad full of notes from her interview with Luthor. Or under arrest. She had to admit to herself that being arrested was a real possibility.
It was 7:15 as she sipped her coffee in the kitchen. Margot shuffled in from her room, stifling a yawn. “Still gonna do this, huh?” she asked as she grabbed her own coffee mug.
“You definitely look the part,” Margot said, appraising Lois’ smart business attire.
“Well, if I’m going to blend in at LexCorp, I need to look like I belong there,” she said. “Actually, I need to look like I belong on one of the higher floors. The closer I can get to the executive suite, the better.”
“Well, good luck,” Margot said as she turned to go back to her room. She stopped and turned back to Lois. “I meant what I said yesterday. Be careful.”
“I will.” Lois drained her mug and set it in the sink, then headed out the door.
So far, so good. Lois was feeling pretty good about herself as she made her way through the 20th floor. She was a little surprised at how little attention she had drawn to herself. For all of her big talk and overconfidence, deep down she knew it was mostly for show. She had never done anything remotely like this before in her life.
Lois had been rebellious as a teenager. Living the life of an army brat, it was hard not to be a little rebellious now and then. But she was nothing compared to her sister. Lucy must have been going for some kind of record when it came to getting expelled from private schools. Despite the rebellious streak that ran through the Lane girls, neither of them had attempted to sneak into a compound as secure as LexCorp before.
From what she could tell, the offices on the 20th floor were solely for accountants. And these were low level accountants. None of these people, she was sure, had ever even met Lex Luthor. She found her way to a break room, hoping she could grab a cup of coffee to re-energize her.
“Who are you?” asked a guy in a bad suit as he twisted the cap off his Soder Cola.
“Uh… Tess,” Lois responded, “I’m sort of new around here. Is this coffee fresh?”
“Tess?” the man said, clearly not buying into Lois’ false identity. “I don’t remember anyone hiring anybody named Tess around here.”
“I actually don’t work on this floor. I just came down because we’re out of coffee up on 25.” Smooth, Lois, he just might buy this.
“Ah, 25… Hard to believe any of you geeks from R&D would even think about slumming it with the nerds in accounting,” he said as he approached Lois with his hand extended, “Otis Berg, Miss…?”
“Mercer,” said Lois as she shook Otis’ hand, “Tess Mercer.”
Otis pulled Lois closer. “You’re not Tess Mercer.”
Lois tried to pull away but Otis tightened his grip. She knew the jig was up. To get away from the overweight accountant, she stomped on his foot then kneed him in the gut. Lois ran down the corridor and pushed the button to call the elevator. Looking back, she saw Otis stagger out of the break room.
“Security!” he shouted as he caught his breath, “Stop that woman!” He pointed in Lois’ direction as she headed for the stairs. She burst through the door and ran down the stairs, skipping steps along the way. When she reached the door labeled 16, she calmly walked through it.
She looked around the 16th floor and saw that no one had raised an alarm down here. At least, that’s how it looked. Lois walked casually toward the elevator and pressed the button to go down. She had no problem coming back another day. Now she was just trying to avoid jail time.
The elevator opened and she stepped aboard. She breathed a sigh of relief as the elevator car traveled down to the ground floor. When the door opened again, Lois would be free to leave. Or so she believed.
The doors opened again and Lois met two large security guards. “Ms. Mercer, I presume?” said the Secret Service wannabe on the right. The two men stepped aside, revealing a tall, severe looking blonde.
“Really? She looks nothing like me,” she said, “Take her to Interrogation A. I’ll be there in five.”
Lois sat in a small room with a large mirror in the wall. Obviously, there would be someone watching her on the other side. “Are these cuffs really necessary?” she asked no one in particular.
The door opened to reveal the same severe looking blonde. “The cuffs are absolutely necessary. At least until I can determine how dangerous you are, Ms. Lane.”
“Oh, good, you know who I really am,” Lois said. “So, are you going to turn me over to the police now? I’m sure you can charge me with trespassing and then send me on my way, right?”
“I was thinking we’d begin with industrial espionage.”
“How do you figure that?!” Lois asked. She could feel herself becoming hysterical.
“For starters, you attempted to steal the identity of the one person who is closest to Mr. Luthor,” said the blonde as she sat in the seat across from Lois, “That would be my identity, in case you’re not keeping up.”
“You’re the real Tess Mercer?”
“Personal assistant and bodyguard to Lex Luthor himself.”
“Wow, I really didn’t do my homework,” Lois said, mentally kicking herself.
“Are you telling me that picking me out of the LexCorp employee list was just coincidence?” Tess asked incredulously.
“Complete coincidence.” Lois leaned forward. “You want the truth? I’m a journalism student at Met U. I’m about to graduate and I want to get a job at the Planet. To do that in a big way, I wanted to get an interview with Mr. Luthor.”
Tess threw her head back and laughed. “Never gonna happen, sweetheart.”
Lois laughed, too, though hers was sarcastic. “Never tell me never… sweetheart.”
Tess stood and walked around to Lois. She unlocked the handcuffs and helped her to her feet. “Go home, kid. My advice to you: forget about Lex Luthor. That interview isn’t going to happen. Not today. Not tomorrow. Find another way to make your splash at the Daily Planet.”
Lois walked to the door and then stopped. “You know I won’t give up, right?”
“Oh, I’m counting on it. Just be aware, next time I won’t be so polite.”
“And next time, I won’t fail.”
That does it for this chapter. Let me know what you think in the comments. Should I continue the story? Will Lois get that interview with Lex Luthor? Will she get that job at the Daily Planet? And where is Superman in all of this? Also, should I re-post more of the older stories I’ve written over the years? Looking back, some might be worth exploring again.