(Note: This takes place shortly before modern DCRC)
Metropolis. The city of hope. The city of ambition. The city of tomorrow. The city that rose from the mud to the sky in only a few centuries. Long considered a physical embodiment of the American Dream, its landmarks were symbols for the hopes and dreams of people for decades. Except all that was hyperbole.
I wanted to believe it and I did at one stage. Raised in a quaint farming town by an ex-preacher, naivety and idealism is part of who I am. However, it didn’t take long for me to discover that the grander the skyscraper, the larger its shadow.
As I began to refine my Journalism craft, hoping to make a difference, I discovered Metropolis’ criminal underbelly. More subtle than Gotham, its criminals weren’t mobsters and gangsters, but supposedly legit businessmen. Profiteering off the hard work and dedication of honest folk and using their empires to crush all those who attempted to stop them, they went against all I was taught and believed in.
Course, Metropolis wasn’t all bad. As I said there are hardworking and decent folk, working to make the city of dreams a reality. But even the nicest view can be disturbed by a bad stench.
The sound of his cape being violently swept by a sudden wind pulled Clark back into the present. He glanced down at his makeshift uniform, the S emblem on his jacket stood out noticeably. To Clark, the S was always associated with his gifts. Pa has always taught him since Clark could talk how his powers were a boon and how they could be used to better the world. So, in a way the S represented hope to Clark and his potential to inspire the world. He hoped others would begin to see it likewise. The costume gave him newfound confidence. He was no longer the humble farmer boy from Kansas, but a living symbol of hope and change, all that Metropolis should stand for.
Clark knew that actions spoke louder than words, he needed to change the world. Even with his powers, how would he go about that?
With him taking small steps, his first being the elimination of the corrupt Mr Goodling, one of the city’s self-made kings. As he stood in front of Goodling Corp HQ, he stared at its upper offices, knowing that the tycoon was but one of many. All around the city there were countless overlords surveying their terrain, each competing to make the city of tomorrow their own. Mr Goodling was only the beginning.
Clark stormed up to the reception, ignoring the uncomfortable and confused glances. The young receptionist looked up, obviously confused by Clark’s choice of clothing. Her instincts kicked in and she continued her professional manner.
“How may I help you, sir?” she asked automatically, those words having become routine to her.
“I’d like to visit Mr Goodling, please.” Clark answered confidentially and coolly, a smirk began to appear on his face.
There was a momentary pause as the receptionist attempted to gauge the seriousness of Clark’s tone. She then answered, her tone beginning to waver, but still professional, “I’m sorry, but you can’t just see Mr Goodling, he’s a busy man. If you want, though, I could make an appointment. What’s your name?”. Clark could tell that she perceived him as nothing more than a timewaster and his “appointment” would probably be forgotten in a few minutes. Clark smirked again, he somehow doubted she’d forget this appointment. He leaned into the receptionist and spoke clearly, “The thing is though, Mr Goodling had this appointment coming a long time. It’s only now that someone has taken up the offer.”
The receptionist was beginning to get alarmed now and nervously questioned his name. Clark simply remarked, “The media seem to prefer the term; Superman”. The woman’s eyes widened in shock and surprise, no doubt she’d read the stories in the Daily Planet.
“Now tell Mr Goodling I’m on my way up, if you don’t mind” he commented as he headed for the stairwell. He had no time to waste, now that he’d brought attention upon himself, he needed to find Mr Goodling before he could potentially get away or any other mishaps happen to his plans. The attention was necessary to promote the upcoming media storm, to help publicize Goodling’s exploits, but also it was kind of… fun.
He noticed the approaching security out of the corner of his eye, alerted by the cries by the receptionist. They had little chance of catching up with him. He pushed the locked doors aside as if they were cardboard and stood in the centre of the stairwell. He glanced up through the tower of stairs and jumped, leaving the security officers gawking in disbelief and confusion.
Mr Goodling sat uncomfortably in his armchair, bourbon in hand and rubbing his brow in irritancy. He glanced now and then at the door, which was currently being targeted by his various security officers with weapons. He sighed loudly and took a sip of his bourbon.
He remarked disdainfully to his assistant, “Just when I need time to think to myself about our falling stock prices, bam!”
He continued into a rant:
“The goddamn Superman vigilante decides to come after me… Some bull**** I thought the Daily Planet created to sell papers decides to come p*** me off. “
He downed his shot of bourbon before resuming to rub his brow.
Confused by his reaction in a life threatening situation, his assistant questioned, “Sir, aren’t you worried about your safety?”
He refilled his shot glass before answering, “You don’t get to where I am without enemies, son. That’s why you tend to get some security for situations like this. As far as I know, this idiot isn’t even armed. All that’ll happen is this loony goes to Arkham and we get a bit of media attention for a while. It’ll be annoying, but manageable.” He phased out for a second before happily clicking his fingers. “Make a memo to remind me to get Fred to get a PR campaign set up, we could…” he turned to order the assistant, but gasped in shock instead as the shot glass smashed against the floor.
“I’d imagine you’d need that PR campaign, just not for the reasons you suspect.” Superman claimed, leaning comfortably against the railing on the balcony, cape swinging behind him.
“H-how the hell did you…” Goodling stuttered momentary, before shouting, “You idiots! He’s in here, stop him!”
Goodling dove out of the chair, attempting to get out of sight of the intruder. The security turned in surprise, but they barely had time to react when the youth barged into the tightly packed formation, dispensing them like bowling pins. Those that remained conscious, were knocked cold by Superman’s carefully placed blows.
He heard orders being declared from the hallway. He scanned through the door and saw another group approaching quickly, obviously having heard the commotion. He charged at the door and gripped it tightly as it became a battering ram against the approaching guards. Its frame blocked the corridor, as it hurried towards the surprised guards, bulldozing all in its way.
Superman exhaled a little after the assault, as he examined the unconscious bodies surrounding him. He relaxed his shoulder muscles before returning to Goodling’s office. On the way, he caught sight of yet another group approaching from the opposite corridor. He dropped the worn door flatly onto the ground. He then slid it with his foot, sending it shooting up the corridor like an escaped skateboard. It travelled quickly up the corridor, tripping anyone in its path. None of the guards could even react before they ended up face planted and unconscious on the ground.
Superman did a quick check for any more threats before stepping through the empty doorframe of Goodling’s office. He found the man standing behind the desk, nervously clutching a revolver.
“You…you don’t come near me, you hear? I, I will shoot you if you do, okay?” his voice quivered, struggling to spill out the words.
He continued, “The police will be here any minute and-” He stopped as Superman begin to step forward. “What, what the hell are you doing?” he questioned, his voice now a mixture of surprise and fear.
He was met with no answer, Superman resumed his advancement. “I told you I will shoot!” he shouted with reluctant bravado, as he began to realise the desperation of his situation.
Superman continued to ignore his pleas.
“I’m serious, this gun is armed!” he roared, though he knew it was futile and simply wished to delay the inevitable. As he predicted, Superman continued walking. He summoned up his courage and pulled the trigger, silently persuading himself it was necessary.
To his surprise the bullet bounced harmlessly off the man’s chest. Superman stopped momentarily to glance calmly at his chest, before returning his attention to Goodling and continued towards him. Goodling’s gun slipped quietly to the ground as he stood fixated at Superman, his mouth ajar.
Soon a cry of fear echoed from its depths. He began to step back, all the while continuing to focus on the figure before him. He soon fell back into his chair, bouncing gently on the soft fabric. “What…what the hell are you?!” his voice cried, breaking the tense silence.
Superman crotched smoothly into position in front of Goodling. Goodling slid back away from the man and began to grip the fabric for dear life as Superman leaned into him.
“I’m the ear of the people, Mr Goodling.” he declared softly. “And what I want…” he continued as he pulled a chair from behind him to sit opposite the man, “…Is for you to tell the good citizens of Metropolis what exactly you and your company have been up to.”
The shriek of a siren caught the man of steel’s attention. He turned quickly and began to scan the ground below. He could see dozens of SWAT police officers swarming around the entrance like insects, clamouring to enter the building.
“And Mr Goodling, I’ll really appreciate if we could do this quickly.” Superman remarked, a grin beginning to appear.