Written by Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming
Transcript prepared by Sarah Wood, submitted to the L&C board by carolm.
The episode begins with a recap of the third season finale.
Lois sits on her sofa, her head in her hands, thinking about Clark. Suddenly she hears his voice call, "Lois?"
She looks up to see him come in through her window. "Clark?"
"I couldn't go through with it, I couldn't stay away," he says, coming into her open arms. "Let's just get out of here and go some place where they'll never find us."
"Oh yes, yes," she says, kissing him hungrily. "Oh Clark, I knew you'd come back!" They fall to the sofa together and continue kissing, but then Lois wakes up and realizes that her arms are holding nothing but air; she is still alone.
* * *
On Zara's ship, Clark is holding the wedding ring on the chain around his neck pensively. Zara approaches him. "Thinking about her?" she asks.
"I know she's thinking about me," he replies.
"This bond that you have with her... It's so different than the way I was taught. Still, it must be incredible, to learn to love like that."
Ching enters. "The mother ship is on fast approach," he announces to Zara. "They request your countersign."
A screen displaying the stars appears in the air before Zara and Ching, as she closes her eyes and concentrates. "Zara Kaletai," she says (at least, that's what it sounds like).
"The mother ship?" Clark asks Ching.
"The royal transport, Clark" Ching explains. "A floating palace. It will take us to New Krypton."
"Palace?" Clark echoes. "I'm not sure I'm really ready for a palace!"
"She will uncloak now," Zara says, opening her eyes.
"It's a spacecraft though, right?" Clark continues. "I mean, when you say 'palace' you don't really mean like a --"
The screen suddenly shows a huge spaceship materializing.
"-- palace," Clark finishes, a bit awed.
Zara tells him, "The Council of Elders is aboard. Our subjects wish to bid you welcome, Lord Kal-El."
*Opening credits and commercial break.*
Lois arrives at the Daily Planet the next morning, gets herself a cup of coffee, and sees the headline, "World Without A Superman".
* * *
Zara and Ching brief Clark on Kryptonian society and what to expect as their ship approaches the mother ship. "Kryptonian society is held together by an alliance of noble families," Zara reminds him.
"Right, right," Clark nods.
"Who are represented by the Council of Elders," Ching says.
"Right, Council of Elders," Clark repeats.
"They'll be watching you for any signs of ambivalence," Zara warns.
* * *
Lois looks up at the windows through which Clark flew away.
"It is vital you adhere strictly to Kryptonian customs," Ching says seriously.
"Kryptonian customs," Clark echoes.
"So that we maintain the support of all the people," Zara continues.
"And avoid the upheave --" Clark puts in.
"-- that will lead to war," Ching finishes for him.
Suddenly Zara closes her eyes and concentrates for a moment. "They are prepared to receive you, Kal-El," she tells him. The small craft docks with the massive mother ship.
"Ready?" Ching asks.
"I just want this kept... low key," Clark says. "They don't have to make a big deal over --" His voice trails off as the wall morphs away. They're in a large ceremonial hall, crowded with Kryptonians. Black and gold "S" banners hang from the walls. "Whoa," he says as they all bow to him.
Ching walks with Clark towards two men, the crowd lining their path, whispering final instructions. "Walk two paces ahead of Zara. Greet the elders with open arms, palms up, say 'Brothers in bonds, I greet thee thrice.'"
"You're kidding?" Clark murmurs, but it's obvious that Ching is quite serious. Nervous, Clark approaches the two elders with his arms extended, palms up, saying, "Brothers in bonds, I greet thee thrice."
The older elder replies, "I am Trey, Chief of the Elders. We are humbled and grateful to greet you... Kal-El!" He cries out the lord's name clearly to the crowd, and they repeat it reverently, and everyone in the room bows down to Clark.
Clark looks around, terribly uncomfortable with all this, and says, "Oh boy!"
* * *
"What do you mean, Clark's gone?" Perry demands of Lois.
"Well, when you called last night we talked about someone going off to see if organized crime was taking advantage of Superman's absence."
"Now wait a minute, I didn't necessarily mean you or Clark."
"Well, we tossed a coin, and he won," Lois explains, trying to look bright-eyed.
"Lois, hold on here, this could be dangerous," Perry protests. "Are you sure he knows what he's gotten himself into?"
"Chief, to be honest I'm sure he has no idea," she replies.
* * *
Red over-garments are fastened to Clark and Zara, covering their plain black outfits. "Lord Kal-El, Lady Zara, the ceremony will begin," Trey intones. As a procession begins, a gold rope with tassels on the ends is loosely bound around Clark and Zara's clasped hands.
"Why does Ching have that funny look on his face?" Clark asks Zara quietly.
"I probably should have told you about this," Zara says reluctantly as they slowly walk after Trey.
"About the ceremony of union."
"Union?" Clark repeats. The meaning of that sinks in and he turns to her, wide-eyed. "Union?"
"It makes it legal for us to consummate the marriage."
"What?" Clark cries out.
* * *
"What?" Lois cries out, coming to her feet abruptly and staring at a balding man with a leery smile on his face who is sitting on the edge of her desk.
"I don't know what kind of arrangement you and Kent have, but I thought you might be free for dinner," the man says suggestively.
"For your information, Ralph, I am an engaged woman!" Lois tells him indignantly.
* * *
"I am an engaged man," Clark reminds Zara firmly.
"Not here you're not. Here you're my husband," she reminds him as they kneel before Trey.
Trey begins the ceremony. "Kal-El and Zara, married since birth, in accordance with the laws..."
* * *
"I am taken! Dance card filled, off the market!" Lois brandishes a photo of herself with Clark. [The photo is of Clark carrying Lois over the threshold of their "first home" in Ordinary People.] "And here is poor Clark, off risking his life, for a..." She hesitates, then plunges ahead. "... story, and the minute his back is turned you... you're..."
"Whoa, whoa," Ralph protests, backing away. "It's just a stinkin' dinner!"
"Well, you should be ashamed of yourself," she tells him.
"Wow, Lois, get a grip! I'll tell you this as a friend," he adds, leaning closer. "You have been a mess ever since Superman left."
"Well, we're friends, you know. And I am sure that he is giving up more than anyone knows to do what he thinks is right."
"Yeah, but did he ever think about us? I mean, we need him too!" Ralph complains.
"Of course he thought about us! You don't think it killed him to leave? But civil wars would have broken out in his country, innocent people would have been slaughtered if he hadn't returned to lead them! Protecting the helpless isn't limited to here, Ralph, and that is what Superman does!" Her voice has been rising through this tirade, and she inadvertently garners the attention of all the nearby staff members. "Boy should you be ashamed of yourself!" she chastises Ralph heatedly. Then she looks around at the staring onlookers. "As you were," she dismisses, and they hurriedly return to their tasks.
* * *
Clark and Zara are escorted through the mother ship to enormous ornate doors. "I declare this union complete, its consummation sanctioned by the law," Trey says, handing Clark a glass. "Behold... the bridal chamber." The doors are opened to show an immense bed.
* * *
Two of Nor's minions are in Smallville. "So, this is the village where both Kal-El and the assassin Tez landed on Earth," the bald one says.
"Certainly less barren than home," the big blond observes. "Our master's convinced that hordes from New Krypton will follow him here."
"Less barren, yes," the bald one agrees, floating on his back high above the ground. "Let's see, there may be other incentives."
The blond man chuckles as he levitates. "So where is everybody?"
"Hmm, perhaps that palace over there? I'll race you!"
In a flash they have flown to a building. "I could learn to like it here!" the blond one says. He tries the doors. "Locked."
"Just rip them open," the other one says.
Just then a police officer walks up to them. "Hey! What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Oh, we're playing," the bald one says. "Would you like to play too?" He pushes the officer's chest with one finger, and the officer goes flying through the air, landing painfully some distance away.
"That's quite enough!" comes a disembodied voice. The two minions close their eyes to concentrate on the telepathic communication. "Survey the village. Be ready for my arrival," the voice commands.
"All will be ready, my Lord Nor," the bald one assures him. "You will be amazed at how easily these fools are conquered."
*Commercial break here.*
Clark is sitting on a chair near the massive, ornate bed, while Zara stands on the other side of the room, pacing. Neither speaks, but both are restless, waiting for someone to break the ice. Clark looks around, taking a deep breath and slowly blowing it out. It is an awkward situation.
At last, Clark speaks. "Zara?"
Zara jumps slightly. "Yes, Kal-El?"
"I'm not sure what to do here," he says slowly.
"I see," she replies slowly, not understanding. After a long pause, she says, "Then are the intimate habits of men and women on earth so different from ours? This fact never appeared in my briefing manual."
"That's not what I meant."
"There are techniques to help couples. Your cable television shows are most informative."
Clark laughs. "Please," he says, gesturing to the bench at the foot of the bed, and they sit next to each other. "If you were Lois, I'd know exactly what to do. It'd be natural. But this whole thing, you and I, together... We're not a couple, we're a political solution."
Zara was smiling. "So your heart isn't in this?"
"My heart? No, no, my heart is waiting for me back on Earth," he says earnestly. "Lois is my heart. I was an outsider there, incomplete, until I met her."
"You saved yourself for her," Zara realizes.
"Um, yeah," he admits, a bit embarrassed to be discussing this with her.
"I saved myself for Lieutenant Ching," Zara tells him, her smile growing wider. "It's very Kryptonian, actually. You see, my heart isn't in this either."
"Then we're agreed?" Clark asks in relief, standing up. "Not partners in bed, but... partners."
"Partners," Zara agrees warmly, also standing. "And friends! I hold you in high esteem, Kal-El." They shake hands, relaxed and comfortable together now.
Just then the doors to the bridal chamber open, and Trey enters, head averted with one hand shading his eyes. "Forgive the intrusion, I don't mean to interrupt your, uh..." He sees the two standing there shaking hands, and falters. "Your handshake," he finishes smoothly.
"You're not intruding, Trey," Zara tells him, as she and Clark move to stand side-by-side, arms loosely around one another.
"So I see."
"And you wanted...?" Clark prods.
"Your presence. We must prepare for arrival on New Krypton, and it appears you're... not occupied." Managing to refrain from showing his surprise, Trey leaves. Clark gestures for Zara to follow, but she gestures for him to go first. He remembers the two-paces-ahead thing, rolls his eyes, and leads the way out.
When they enter the room filled with waiting Kryptonians, Zara hurriedly catches up with Clark and takes his arm, walking at his side. The people bow to the ground, murmuring his name. "Look, from now on, you don't have to do this," Clark tells everyone uncomfortably.
There's a murmur of surprise, and Zara reminds him quietly, "It's tradition."
"I know, but it's driving me crazy!" Clark whispers back to her. "Up!" he urges people, "everyone up, please." As the crowd comes slowly to its feet, he sees Ching and goes over to him.
"I don't believe I've said congratulations, Lord Kal-El. Congratulations," Ching says drily. There's no warmth in his voice or his manner.
"Ching, listen, there's something that I want to make very --" Clark begins quietly, knowing what's bothering Ching.
"I understand, Kal-El," Ching interrupts, looking at Zara. "We're all prisoners of duty, I know. It's how ardently we embrace our duty that concerns me."
"Disturbing news, my lord," Trey interrupts, giving Clark no chance to explain things to Ching. "It appears Lord Nor and a party of his followers have vanished from New Krypton."
"Where would they go?" Clark asks.
"It's believed they're... they're on their way toward Earth."
* * *
Martha and Jonathan are walking down the street in Smallville, a large paper bag of groceries in Martha's arms.
"Ho-hos? Twinkies? Ding-dongs? Snickers?" Jonathan recites. "You feeling hungry?" he jokes.
"Jonathan, you know I never eat this stuff," Martha says with a smile.
"Then, uh, why are we stocking up?"
"They're his favorites, and I know when he comes home he's going to want them, and since he doesn't have any problems with cavities and cholesterol, then... why not!"
"That's spoken like a true mom," Jonathan observes, and she laughs. "Martha..." He becomes serious, stops walking, and turns to face her. "We've talked about this. There's still a small chance that Clark might not get back home."
"I know we've talked about it," Martha replies. "And you know what I said then? My boy is coming home."
"Martha," he begins.
"Jonathan, my boy is coming home," she repeats adamantly, refusing to entertain any belief to the contrary. He smiles slightly at her, relenting, allowing her to keep that faith.
Just then a disembodied voice seems to ring out in the street. "Villagers of Smallville! Forgive me for interrupting your tedious lives, it can't be helped. A change in leadership has occurred, so report immediately to your municipal headquarters for details of this joyful news, along with work and dwelling sites."
Lord Nor's followers begin landing around town, blowing away the police officers.
"Yield to the forces of Nor!" the bald Kryptonian shouts. In the midst of smoke [and dark, majestic, Darth-Vaderian music], Lord Nor materializes.
"Well, well, isn't this an awkward moment," he says to the crowd. "Let me attempt to smooth things over. Friends, do not, I beg of you, think of me as some alien creature, some being who shares nothing with you. Rather, think of me as a God, stern, unforgiving, invincible. I neither like you nor need you. Resist me, and die! Well, now that the ice is broken, my men will sort you according to strength, age, and health."
Panic erupts again as Nor's men move amongst the crowds, and people begin to scatter and run.
Martha hands the bag of groceries to Jonathan and begins to move away. "Where're you going?" he asks her.
"To call Lois! This Lord Nor is the enemy that Clark went to Krypton to fight!"
* * *
In the Daily Planet newsroom, Jimmy comes up to Lois. "Lois! Hey, have you spoken to Clark?"
"Um... He managed to call last night, I'm not sure when I'll see him," she lied quickly.
"Boy, he's gone, Superman's gone..." Jimmy trails off as a thought occurs to him. "He's gone, Superman's gone," he repeats. "Lois, you don't think that --"
"I certainly do not!" Lois interjects hurriedly, trying to sound shocked. "That... Jimmy, that's ridiculous!"
"What, I was just thinking that with all this hard work they could both burn out!"
"Oh," she says. "Oh, oh, that. Hmm."
"Why, what were you thinking?" he asks her with a laugh as he leaves.
"I want a simpler life," she mutters under her breath as she sits down at her desk. "Simpler life." The phone rings.
"Lois, it's Martha."
"Hi Martha, is everything okay?"
"Well, it's kind of hard to explain. A terrible thing is happening, these people --" Martha is cut off abruptly as one of Lord Nor's men rips the entire telephone out of the booth.
"Martha?" Lois asks when the line goes dead. "Hello, Martha?" She gives up. "Jimmy, could you keep trying the Kents, there's something wrong with the Smallville lines."
* * *
Lord Nor stands in the gazebo in the town park, with the townspeople gathered around. "Well, although we got off to a rocky start, I think it's safe to say things are back on track, isn't it?" There is no reaction from the crowd. "Isn't it?" he roars furiously.
The bald Kryptonian uses his heat vision to kill a man in the crowd.
"Yes, yes sir, whatever you say," the people begin to assure him anxiously.
"Your enthusiasm touches me deeply. As part of our urban improvement plan, my men have begun a few modernizing touches. Voila!" At a gesture, the town is suddenly enclose in a shimmering dome. "Smallville has been surrounded by a forcefield that cannot be breached, completely cutting us off from the rest of your world, Earth. And another beautification effort..." Another gesture, and Nor's family crest appears on City Hall's edifice. [The crest looks rather like the NBC peacock!] "My palace, at least for now. So, to review. Since I am absolute ruler, it follows you are my slaves."
"Behold your ruler and bow down," the bald man commands.
"We don't do much bowing here in Kansas," Jonathan tells them.
"No, you see I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore," Lord Nor says.
"On your knees, show respect," the Kryptonians tell people, pushing them down. The Kents are also pushed down, but they face Nor with uncompromising expressions.
"I greet you as subjects of New New Krypton," Lord Nor pronounces.
* * *
Lois walks down the street towards her apartment in the evening, talking into her cellular phone. "Well if the FBI doesn't handle these things, who does?... No phone calls are getting through to Smallville, Kansas, and the phone company doesn't know why... Well then transfer me to the Pentagon... Well what are their business hours?... Hello?" She sighs and closes her phone. "This is crazy."
Suddenly she sees Clark getting out of a taxi. "Maybe I am too! Clark?" She starts to run towards him. "Clark? Clark!" She catches up with him and grabs his arm, but when the man turns around it's not Clark, just someone who looks a lot like him. "Oh," she says, dejected, as he pulls away from her and stalks off.
"I'm going crazy, and I'm talking to myself. That's a sign, isn't it? Now I'm asking myself questions! This could be a problem. Maybe I'll learn to enjoy it." Reaching her building, she glances up the outside steps and sees a man in the shadows near her door. He, too, looks like Clark, as though he's popping up all over the city.
"You're just an illusion," she says heavily, beginning to climb the steps, "not here." She takes out her keys as she reaches the top, but as she begins to insert them into the keyhole, the man reaches out and grasps her hand, stopping her.
"Oh God!" Lois says, staring in disbelief as Clark steps out of the shadows. He cups her face in his hands and kisses her wordlessly. "If this isn't real, I don't want to know," she murmurs, kissing him back and dropping her keys.
"I told you I'd come back," Clark says into her mouth, unable to stop kissing her.
"Hmm, you did," she agrees in between kisses. "Kiss me!"
He continues to do just that. "I don't have a lot of time. I had to see you," he tells her at the same time.
"Why are you here?"
"Change of plans."
"Oh, don't stop," she murmurs, still hungrily kissing him. "What about your people?"
"They're here too."
"Don't ever leave me again," Lois tells him.
"I won't," he assures her.
"Lord Kal-El," a voice interrupts. It is Trey, standing down on the street. Lois and Clark stop kissing reluctantly, turning to face him. "Family friend?" Trey asks politely.
"Very friendly," Lois puts in.
"Sir, forgive me for reminding you how critical your presence is at the palace."
"Palace?" Lois echoes.
"Temporary palace. It floats," Clark explains weakly. "Yes, Trey, I know."
"Well in that case I suggest you... unhand your friend, and return to your troops, and your bride," he adds pointedly.
Lois gives Clark an unhappy look, reminded that his return doesn't set things back to normal.
*Commercial break here.*
Inside her apartment, Lois is curled up on the sofa in front of the television with a tub of ice cream, alone. "I hear ya," she says to the TV, "If it were my country I'd wanna kick Godzilla's butt too."
"I'm sure you would," a man says.
"Ching!" Lois stands up in surprise, seeing him come in through her window, and goes to turn off the TV. "They took him away. He was here, and they took him away. And do you have any idea how much Cookie Dough Ice cream I've eaten tonight? Where is Clark?" she demands.
"In the palace," Ching says, unperturbed by her breathless stream, gesturing to the window.
She looks out. "I don't see any palace."
"That would be correct," he replies.
"It's cloaked, so that even now it is hovering undetected over the city."
Lois sighs, moving away from the window. "Well, I gotta tell you, seeing him for less than a minute was almost worse than not seeing him at all -- almost, but not."
"Yes, Kal-El too said he was very... bumped," Ching reports, looking at her fish tank.
Lois chuckles slightly. "Bummed," she corrects. "He was bummed."
"He feels your absence deeply," Ching tells her. "I try to tell him that a Kryptonian must disregard his own feelings..."
"Oh, right. Like you're not sick inside that Clark's married to the woman you adore," she says knowingly. "How's the marriage going, anyway? Any squabbles, tiffs, door-slammings?" she asks with a hopeful note in her voice.
"Zara and Kal-El do not have time for tiffs! Lord Nor is here!" he tells her.
"When he learned he would have super powers on Earth it made conquest too tempting to resist."
"Well, we have to do something, we have to tell someone!" Lois says urgently.
"Earthly force is useless against him," Ching reminds her. "And if Kal-El cannot successfully lead our men against Nor, then he will colonize your world, and all our dreams -- yours, mine, and Clark's -- will be lost. This is why he had to leave you, and yes... it does make me sick to see Zara with Kal-El," Ching confesses, his voice breaking for a moment. With a struggle, he brings his feelings sharply under control again. "But not as sick as if both our worlds were destroyed by Nor."
"So this isn't just about your people anymore, but about mine as well," Lois realizes grimly. "Ching, I want to see Clark. There's no way your customs will allow it?"
"Actually... There is one custom that might interest you," Ching says thoughtfully.
* * *
"As your advisor, Kal-El, I regretfully endorse a preemptive strike by our forces against Nor's," Trey tells Clark as they study a globe.
"We have no idea where he is, or whether we outnumber him," Clark argues worriedly.
"Well, my guess is we do."
"And a guess isn't good enough! I have my people's lives to consider!" Clark reminds him.
"By your people, do you mean us?" Jen-Mai asks coolly. "Or the ones on Earth?"
"Everyone," Clark replies. "But if we do attack the big losers will be the people of Earth trapped in the crossfire."
"Perhaps Kal-El's loyalty has been compromised by, um... sentiment."
"If by sentiment you mean that I value human life... Yeah, I'm kind of a nut that way!" Clark tells him angrily.
"Husband, may we speak?" Zara inserts into the silent face- off. She draws him aside. "I know this is difficult."
"I just don't like slaughter being discussed like it's an inconvenience."
"Every war harms the innocent."
"Look at that map. What do you see?" Clark asks her.
"Troop deployments, mountains, borders, rivers."
"Well I see neighborhoods, parks, school yards, places where people expect to be safe! Now I will not rob those people of their futures just because Krypton cannot solve its problems at home. And if that's what you want me to do, then I have no business being your leader." Zara stares at him for a moment, then abruptly leaves.
"A bit of domestic discord?" Jen-Mai asks Trey.
"You don't know the half of it!" Trey tells him with a chuckle. He goes to Clark's side. "Be patient, my lord. The first few days of any marriage are bound to be strained."
"Trey..." Clark begins wearily, but he can't explain the situation. He goes over to the globe, deeply concerned.
Massive doors slowly open. "Lord Kal-El," Ching greets, "I have brought you something important."
"What, you've found Nor?"
"Have an estimate of his troops?" Clark asks somewhat desperately.
"No," Ching repeats slowly.
"His attack plan?" Clark asks impatiently.
"No. I have brought you a selection of concubines."
There is utter silence for a moment. "Sorry?" Clark asks, sure that he didn't hear correctly.
Trey explains. "It is our custom for nobles to... ease their tensions with the help of professional caregivers."
"Guys, I am trying to hold this unstable alliance together long enough to defeat Nor's army, and you guys are talking concubines?" Clark asks in disbelief
"If you'll just take a moment to inspect these women," Ching suggests, as a small group of gaudily-dressed ladies moves forward. Each has a collar around her neck, to which are attached long leashes, their ends held by a man.
"I do not inspect women, Ching!" Clark protests. "I'm telling you that... that..." He stops haltingly when he sees Lois Lane, wearing a dress that looks like it was made of shiny plastic, peering out at him from behind one of the women. "...that this could be a really good custom," he finishes.
* * *
"Chief!" Jimmy calls. "Trouble in Smallville!"
"What kind of trouble?" Perry asks.
"What are the facts?"
"I can't get any."
"Well, who there have you talked to?" Perry asks impatiently.
"Clark's hometown is Smallville. Have Lois get in touch with them."
"Why not?" Perry demands.
"I'm not sure."
"Well, you're just a fountain of information! How in the Sam Hill do you even know there's trouble?"
"A US spy satellite shows a forcefield of unknown origin sealing the city off from the rest of the world. There's a team of army investigators on their way there now."
"Hey Chief, take a look at this!" a staff member shouts, directing Perry's attention to the television.
"I'm Leeza Gibbons," an interviewer for Sunrise America is saying, "coming to you live from Smallville, Kansas."
"Judas Priest! Scooped!" Perry exclaims in disgust.
* * *
Leeza Gibbons conducts her interview. "My very special guest today is Lord Nor of New Krypton. Welcome, Lord Nor," she says, turning to him.
"Thank you, Leeza," Nor drawls. He's wearing sun glasses.
"So what brings you to Earth?" she asks for openers.
"We're a caring planet, Leeza, an advanced culture sharing its bounty with a more primitive one," he tells her in a benign fashion. Onscreen, a banner beneath his image reads: "LORD NOR: Says He Wants To Rule Earth."
"Mr. Nor, the tough questions. Why a forcefield? Why over the entire city?"
"Well, I don't have to talk to you about crime, Leeza," Nor says in a confiding voice. "The field is basically a protective device to keep the town safe from intruders."
"And not to keep the people of Smallville in?"
"Well, that's up to them. Needless to say it would be vastly safer for them to remain inside."
"And how would leaving endanger them?"
"Oh, they'd be killed... by me."
"These people are your prisoners!" she says in gentle chiding.
"Well, 'prisoners' is such a perjorative term."
"What would you call them?"
"Students?" Nor suggests. "I aim to educate the people to accept me as their unquestioned ruler."
"And what more do you want?"
"To educate the entire world along similar lines." He removes his sunglasses to look directly into the camera. "In fact if there are any kings, presidents, princes, or interested world leaders listening, we really should get together to discuss the rapid transfer of global power to me."
"You can't expect legitimate heads of state to accept this situation."
"Indeed. If there's any doubt, we'll start killing two quivering citizens of Smallville every day until we get a polite response. Starting with these two," Nor finishes, gesturing to Martha and Jonathan, seated nearby. They are shackled, but far from quivering. Martha gives Nor a withering glare.
Leeza hurries over to their chairs. "What are your feelings about being executed?"
They stare at her in utter disbelief.
* * *
"Concubines?" Lois asks. "I thought this was some great evolved civilization! I mean, look at me, I'm on a leash," she says, holding up the trailing end of the leash attached to a collar around her throat.
"Well look at the outfit they put me in," Clark says.
"Well actually, I don't mind yours," Lois says with a smile, coming closer to him. "So, this must be the bridal bed," she observes a bit uncomfortably. She sits on it, and lays back. "Comfy, I suppose." She sits up. "And my Clark... a married man. A married lord," she corrects herself. "You know, I was meaning to ask you, Clark, um... Just how married are you?"
"Well I know that you feel an obligation to your people, and you are a pretty thorough guy when it comes to details, and you do look good... really great in the new suit!"
"You think it's better than the blue and the cape?" he asks, a bit concerned.
"Oh no, I'm not knocking the blue suit, it's just that this is more..." She looks down the length of his body. "... More! And I know that you got married in good faith, and you are a man of your word. How married are you?" she repeats anxiously.
"Lois, I promised you, first," Clark says simply. She sighs in relief, and a beaming smile lights her whole face. "I can't even explain how frustrating all this has been for me. Posing as a husband? Stumbling over these very strange customs. I'm asked to lead people who don't even completely trust me. And the only time that I feel real is inside my head, thinking about you."
"Well I'm here, now." She kisses him, and they become wrapped up in each other again.
Naturally, the doors open and Trey enters. He clears his throat noisily.
Lois turns to him with a charming smile. "Do you mind? I'm on the clock here."
"Forgive me, sir, but we thought you should know. Lord Nor has captured the village of Smallville and claimed it as his own."
* * *
Outside Smallville, the army investigators are surveying the force field.
"There's the target, gentlemen," a colonel says.
Someone hands him a phone and sets up a transmitter. "Attention space creatures, I'm Colonel Ambrose Cash, United States Army. We are giving you a chance to throw down your arms and surrender at once."
"Is it worth reminding the Colonel that these Kryptonians are probably invincible and that the only ones in danger are the people of Smallville? S-sir," a lieutenant intervenes uncertainly.
"Lieutenant, we are under orders. These United States aren't theirs for the taking. Those devils are ignoring us," the colonel realizes. "Open fire!" he commands.
The people in Smallville see explosions against the force field that looks like fireworks in the sky, harmless. Suddenly two of Nor's men appear in the sky before the army team. They vaporize the tanks and men, leaving only Colonel Cash behind. Lord Nor lands on the ground in front of him. "Return, and tell your people never again to attempt these amateurish tactics. You can't stop us."
They fly away.
*Commercial break here.*
"Chief!" Jimmy calls, approaching Perry, who is talking with Colonel Cash. "Chief, the UN's ordered the world's military to stand down for the next forty-eight hours, they want to negotiate with the Kryptonians, sell them on the American Dream."
"Of course," says Colonel Cash disparagingly. "I lost men out there. Bunch of weaklings," he mutters.
Just then they see Ching with a group of Kryptonians. "Mr. White, the Kryptonian High Command is commandeering this building," Ching says.
"Now just hold on there!" Perry protests. "Aren't you the fellow that took Superman away?"
"He's also the one that's bringing him back, Chief, look!" Jimmy says excitedly, pointing as Clark comes in. Lois tries to follow him, but is held back by a Kryptonian.
"Superman!" Perry greets happily.
"Cool outfit!" Jimmy says admiringly.
"Mr. White, forgive the intrusion," Clark says, "but the Kryptonian force in Smallville needs to be dealt with, and since this is a communications center it'd make a great base of operations, if that's all right?"
As he speaks, Lois moves to stand near Ching, who glances down at her derriere as she passes him.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, sure," Perry responds.
"I'll move in too," says Colonel Cash. "Keep an eye on ya."
"Lois?" Perry asks slowly as he sees the outlandish plastic dress she's wearing.
"Ah, I --" she haltingly begins to explain, but she's cut off.
"Jimmy, do me a favor, get Dr. Klein on the phone please?" Clark asks. "What's the current status of Smallville?" he asks Cash.
"All the water and power's been cut off."
"The Kryptonians don't need any water or food. The ones that're being hurt are the people of Smallville," Clark points out.
"Dr. Klein? It's Olsen from the Planet. Hold for Superman," Jimmy says in the background before handing Clark the phone.
"Dr. Klein? Yes, it's me. I'll need your kryptonite specimen removed from the vault. It may be the only resolution to the Smallville situation." He hangs up.
"I don't know what kryptonite is, but if Lord Nor's been behaving illegally --" Trey begins.
"If?" Clark interrupts incredulously. "He's holding an entire town hostage!"
"Why this incessant worry about this stupid town?" Jen-Mai asks.
"Well maybe Kal-El has a plan of his own," Lois says.
"We don't know what's going on inside that forcefield," Clark points out. "We have no way of penetrating it."
"But if we could find a way of infiltrating Smallville, we could look around," Lois suggests. "I could go too, couldn't I? My fiance's from there and I know the place."
Trey isn't happy with that. "Sir, I really must request that the wishes of the Elders be heeded."
"And I really must insist that we do as I say," Clark returns loudly.
"All right, Superman!" Jimmy cheers.
"And who are you to insist we do anything?" Jen-Mai asks coldly.
"Who am I, Jen-Mai? I am your commander," Clark reminds him authoritatively, and that quiets any opposition. Trey looks at Clark approvingly.
* * *
Lord Nor is learning to play golf in Smallville. "This is the green, my lord," the blond tells him. "It says here this is the most important part of the game."
"Really?" Nor asks.
"Left arm remains straight, eye remains on the ball," the blond reads from an instruction book.
"Fascinating." Nor hits the ball, but it doesn't go in. He grimaces and turns away, so the big blond Kryptonian quickly knocks the ball into the hole. Nor, hearing it fall in, turns with a beaming smile. "I could love this game."
Not far away, Martha and Jonathan are kneeling on the ground using clippers on the grass, while the bald Kryptonian stands over them, reading from a book. "The grass surrounding the cup is of a shorter and sturdier variety and should be trimmed to five-eighths of an inch. Keep it moving there!"
A nearby man and woman raking the grass are suddenly whisked away in a blur, and in another blur a new couple take their place. Lois and Clark, dressed to blend in, pick up the fallen rakes, and Clark puts the man's fallen Buffalo Bills cap on her head.
"Sand trap... sand trap... Why would anyone want to trap sand? Very strange game," the bald Kryptonian is muttering.
"Hi Mom, Dad," Clark greets his parents quietly with a huge grin.
"Clark!" Jonathan exclaims in a whisper.
"Honey, I can't believe it!" Martha cries softly. They both begin to rise, wanting to rush over and embrace him, but he cautions them not to draw attention to him.
"Clark had to return because of Lord Nor," Lois tells them.
"He's here, son," Jonathan says. "He's made us into his slaves!"
"I know. So we're going to become slaves too, see if we can't undo all of this mess."
"Concubine to slave, is that a step down?" Lois muses.
Their attention is drawn to a townsman carrying something that's flaming. "Someone has to stand up to you!" he shouts. "I'd rather burn the golf course than be your slave on it!"
The nearest Kryptonian promptly grabs him by the throat and picks him up.
"Hey!" Clark cries in alarm, unable to stand by and do nothing. The Kryptonian punches him, and in order to protect his secret he has to fall back, holding his face as though in pain. However, at least the man is no longer being strangled. Clark is ordered to carry the "rebel" back to town.
* * *
In town that evening thing are rather chaotic. Kryptonians are having fun with their super powers, throwing a taxi into the air and watching it land, chasing humans for fun, and generally behaving like frat boys.
"Look at our troops," the bald one says to Nor. "A lifetime of discipline, forgotten!"
"Don't be so insufferably dull!" Nor tells him, admiringly examining the gold club he's carrying around with him. "All that discipline's left them starved for a little debauchery, what's the harm?"
"Well it certainly wouldn't be allowed at home!"
"It certainly wouldn't, which is why so many of our comrades will leave that wretched rock and follow me here to paradise."
The blond man floats down to the street in front of them, sipping a drink from a pineapple. "My lord, the townspeople are begging for water, their tongues are blistered with thirst," he reports.
"The point begin...?" Nor asks. The man shrugs and shakes his head in reply, taking another sip. "They'll have what's rationed to them and not a drop more, and they'll have their government to thank for it."
"They'll all die slow and horrible deaths," the bald one says approvingly. The blond smiles.
"No, not all. The lucky ones will be executed," Nor reminds him. They all look over at the rebel from the golf course who is shackled nearby.
* * *
The next day, Lois and Clark are raking leaves in the town park. "From what I've been able to pick up, their master plan is to make city after city surrender, Metropolis being first on the list," Lois tells him.
Clark surreptitiously uses his X-ray vision to check under the ground nearby, then turns to Lois. "Look at us. I always sorta figured we'd be on our honeymoon by about now."
"Well at least you're here, with me. Being without you? That was bad. And besides..."
"What?" he prompts.
"Well, you wanna know the truth, it's kind of exciting!" she confesses. "That just seems to be the way our life together is. Oh God, do you think that's what makes our relationship work?" she suddenly asks, looking worried.
"No," he assures her firmly, giving her a kiss. He X-rays the ground again and seems satisfied. "Okay, this looks like a good place."
"For what?" Lois asks.
He goes to the nearby building and pulls off the drainpipe, then tunnels it into the ground at super speed, tapping into an underground source of water that begins bubbling out through the top of the pipe.
Lois laughs in delight. "You drilled a well?"
"We've got to get some water to all these people," he says, quickly stopping the flow of water.
"You two, get back to work!" a Kryptonian hollers. Lois quickly gets the wheelbarrow and brings it over to the pipe, concealing it with the bags of raked-up leaves.
"Promise me, once in a while we'll have a quiet evening at home?" she asks Clark a bit breathlessly when the danger is past. He chuckles.
* * *
Later some people are moving quietly through the park, passing out water. "There you go, here's some water, shh," Jonathan cautions. "Careful, drink it slowly."
The Kryptonians are having some 'fun'. "Hey, Droll (? that's what it sounds like), see that old guy over there? Use him as your target," the bald one suggests to the blond, gesturing to a statue. "You watching, prisoner?" he asks the golf course rebel.
"No, please, I'm begging you!" the poor man cries out. The townspeople, held back behind a fence, are gathered and watching, Lois and Martha amongst them.
"All right, Droll, freeze it!"
The blond uses his super breath to freeze the statue, and the bald one smashes it with a golf club. "Excellent. A most efficient manner of execution." He looks at the prisoner. "Prepare to die."
Martha and Lois stage their diversion. "Who're you to be accusing me?" Martha shouts angrily at Lois.
"You heard me, I saw the food you were hording! It's not fair!"
"I am not, I saw it myself!" Lois shrieks.
"Liar!" Martha shouts, shoving her backwards.
They launch themselves at each other, Lois drawing a fist back to swing wildly, shoving and pushing one another. The Kryptonians forget the prisoner as they stare with interest at the two women fighting.
"Don't push me!"
"Get your hands off me!"
Clark takes advantage of the distraction to free the prisoner of his handcuffs and whisk him away without being seen.
"Stop! At once!" Lord Nor shouts as he comes out of his temporary palace and sees that the handcuffs are swinging empty. He shouts to his men. "Do you see what's happened? You fools, you've lost control of these wretches!"
"We'll find him, Lord Nor," the bald one says apologetically.
"It's not just the worthless prisoner! The whole mood of the town is changing. And I believe I know why. I've just received some disturbing news from an unimpeachable source."
Jen-Mai, peering out through the palace doors, disappears into the shadows within.
"Jonathan and Martha Kent, show yourselves!" Lord Nor shouts to the crowd. Quietly, to his goons, he says, "Let's see how much he cares for mum and dad."
Jonathan and Martha are singled out of the crowd. "It's okay," Martha whispers to Lois, not putting up a struggle. They are taken to Lord Nor and pushed down to their knees by the blond and bald Kryptonians, who stand guard behind them with wicked curved knives.
"I told you you'd be the first to go if I didn't get what I want. Well, what I want is... Kal-El."
They stare at him, refusing to give anything away.
"Lord Kal-El!" Nor hollers. "I know you're among us. I'm still waiting, Kal-El. And I assure you, my credentials in the field of excruciating death are impeccable."
There is a tense period of waiting, until in a blur, Clark stands there, taking off his Buffalo Bills baseball cap. "What do you want with me, Nor?" The two goons try to restrain him, but he shakes them off.
"Where do I start?" Nor asks. "I want your throne, Kal-El. And I want your world. And I want you... gone... forever."
To Be Continued in the episode "Battleground Earth"
World of Lois & Clark Home
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