|The Hessian Gets Attention|
|What: Hans' bid to get Superman's attention by waylaying Lois proves to be successful.|
It was relatively late in the evening and probably time for the reporters to be heading home. However, Hans had other ideas. Dressed in his old world war two uniform of his longcoat, he had lead the reporting staff to the roof at gunpoint as well as a stick grenade in his hand and slowly, one by one, began letting them go before finally it was just him and Lois. "A shame we have to meet like this, Fraulein Lane, I am fond of your stories." He says calmly. "Tell me, what do you know of the one calling himself Superman? Is he a mutant?" He asks, gun aimed at her and stick grenade in other hand, almost twirling it between his fingers like a baton.
What began as a tense situation eased just a small measure as each of her co-workers was let go, and by the time it's just herself and her new friend, Lois is almost relaxed. She would be, everyone else is out of danger. Standing with her arms crossed over her chest, her gaze is level on Hans. "It's always nice to meet a fan," she says, her voice pleasant but the words heavy with sarcasm. Her brows lift and she blinks a moment. "Superman? Oh! You mean that flying guy? Big S on his chest?"
Clark takes a big bite of the homemade burger and, as always true to the case, the tomato slips and falls onto the paper plate. "Clark!" exclaims his mother with a chuckle, "Grab a napkin." This is a fall ritual in these parts; trying to get every last use of the grill before it gets too cold.
"Sorry ma," Clark says and wipes his mouth with a nearby napkin. He pokes the tomato with a fork and tries to get it back in his burger. He is as no one else really sees him, aside from his parents; a mixture between whoever Superman really is and whoever Clark Kent really is. But, as always, those times are fleeting.
"Son," Jonathan Kent says as he ducks in from the living room. "You'd better come see this..."
Hans chuckles at her. "Yes him, the red cape also." Hans says with a smile. "You see, I am most curious of him, he is quite the puzzle. And what better way to draw him than to grab someone who knows him, like you." He says calmly as he tilts his head. "Tell me, do you know the name Hans Gunsche?" He asks curiously.
The kidnapping of a fleet of reporters, even if temporary, tends to draw some attention. And, being news people, the first to know are other news people. Which would account for the TV news helicopter that flies past the building even before the police are on the scene. Lois notes it in passing, not taking her eyes from the armed man. "He is a puzzle, isn't he? I've been trying to piece him together for quite some time. But, it's not like we're close. What makes you think this would draw him?" Nevermind the fact that Superman always seems to know, somehow, when Lois is in a jam. The reporter makes a show of thinking over the name, pursed lips pushed to one side, her brows drawn together. Finally her head shakes in the negative, "Can't say that I do."
Clark stands, looking worriedly at the television with his father standing just behind his shoulder. "You'd better go son." Clark nods and turns, looking back to his mother. "Be sure to leave me a piece of pie." The joke doesn't signify how worried he is for Lois. With a large whoosh, where Clark stood there's now nothing but a swinging porch door.
Hans sighs. "Understandable. Go through war archives, world war 2 when you're free. I am a horrible hostage taker aren't I?" He asks as the helicopter flies over head and he simply raises the Mauser and fires with barely a glance to the helicopter before the rotor is hit with something strong and the helicopter begins going down. "How do I know he will show up? Well I figure if I cause enough problems someone will show up and I will wait until he does." He says as he keeps twirling the stick grenade with his free hand.
For a moment, blue eyes widen in alarm as the shot finds it's mark on the helicopter, and the pilot struggles to maintain some semblance of control. It doesn't look good for the news team, and Lois narrows her eyes as she looks back to Hans. "And I'm sure it doesn't matter who gets hurt in your little bid for attention." Although there is no response to his 'advice', Lois has tucked the name away and you better believe she'll research it when she gets out of this.
The chopper begins plummeting to the Earth with a plume of smoke trailing above and a small fire up by the rotors. It looks like certain doom for the crew, until a hand reaches out to grab the leg of the helicopter right out in front of the cockpit. "Hello, gentlemen," Superman says with a reassuring smile.
"If you don't want to get hurt, don't present yourself as a target." Hans says as he looks over the edge of the building. "And sure enough, he saves the day. As I predicted. No one is hurt." Hans says calmly. He then looks back to the woman. "Without people like me, there wouldn't be people like him. I should be thanked for my services." He says sarcastically back with a thick German accent.
While his look to the helicopter didn't afford Lois the chance to cut and run, she did back up a few more steps, getting as much distance as possible between herself and the grenade twirling Hans. "I don't know. I think people would rather be safe than nearly killed by some guy with a thing for Superman." Her eyes are hard but her words stay light, treading carefully with this situation.
The smoking chopper is lowered gently onto the ground and set down as if nothing ever happened. With a quick burst of breath, the fire is extinguished in a crystalline maze of ice. Superman gives one last nod to the television crew, who gets all of this upon video, and bursts into the air towards the top of the Daily Planet.
"And therein lies the problem, Fraulein Lane. When you were young, you learned not to touch hot things or sharp things how? Because your mother and father kept them away? Or did you truly learn the lesson by seeing what fire and knives do? By protecting everyone from harm, we weaken them, keep them from challenges." Hans says as he waits and backs up a few steps. When Superman comes, he fires one bullet, aimed at the man's head.
"What exactly is the challenge in plummeting to almost certain death in a helicopter? Seems like an exercise in futility, more than anything." Lois chooses to ignore Hans' questions, adding, "If you want to challenge someone, they should at least have a chance of surviving it on their own." If she'd have known Hans would choose to shift his target Lois would have stayed where she was, closer to him. But they're too far apart for her to hit the gunman's arm, even though she does start forward, reflexively calling out, "Superman!"
Superman's head shoots backwards at the blast and bounces back as the bullet crushes against his head and falls helplessly to the ground. A perturbed look comes across his face as he begins to shake his head. "You didn't even give me a chance to talk." As he tilts his head and shrugs his shoulders, "I guess we'll have to add one more charge to your growing list for the judge." While he talks, Superman eyes up Hans, looking for an angle to end this quickly.
"They did have that chance, him." Hans says as he then chuckles. "I have studied you...and I am aware of your invincibility, sir. Simply a test." He says as he holsters the gun and backs up, as if space between him and the man of steel will make a difference. "Lets see...Threatening, destruction of property, assault, nothing too serious. Worth it to draw you here. What are you? Nothing in history has the abilities you have and here you are. Are you human? Alien? Magical?" He asks curiously as he keeps twirling the stick grenade with his free hand. "An incredibly powerful Mutant or metahuman?" He asks as tilts his head. "You are what I strive for. What I wish for the human race to be. What are you? Tell me how I can make others like you, and then we can end the need for heroes and villains. Do this and I will gladly turn myself in for your justice." He says seriously, keeping eye contact.
Lois can't help but wince as the bullet hits, even though she knows Superman will be unharmed by it. The step she had taken forward is retreated once more, and she falls silent, looking between the men. She studies Hans, filing every detail away, for now putting him down as some World War II fanatic, the best guess for the information she has.
Superman looks as if he's about to answer the rolling amount of questions about magics and alien heritage and all that, but instead he simply purses his lips for a moment. Then, after an intake of air, he sends a freezing burst of gale force wind at that twirling grenade, hoping to freeze it and a piece of hands hand in order to prevent any incoming explosion.
Hans sighs as his hand and the grenade are frozen. "I don't need the grenade to do what needs to be done, it just makes things easier. I will give you some time to think about it, Herr." He says as he bangs the grenade's explosive tip to his head, hard enough probably to do damage to a normal person but the sound of the ice breaking and the device being armed is heard as he then runs hard for the other side of the building, and both Lois and Superman can see this man is definitely not just some fanatic because he actually begins to break nearly fifty miles per hour in a dead run.
Well, that's certainly something of note, what the man seems capable of, and it all gets filed for future reference. Lois doesn't even have time for another step back after the grenade is armed before Hans runs, saving her the need to duck for cover. She swears under her breath, expecting the guy to blow himself up, until he really puts the steam on.
"Get cover, Lois," Superman says calmly before bursting after Hans at incredible speeds. He attempts to wrap his arms around the villain and lift him up into the air at the fastest speed he can in hopes of bringing the German clear of any bystanders, both on the ground or in buildings that surround the area. Superman hopes that damage can be minimized by pulling him straight up into the air.
"No one but me will be hur-" Hans says as he is lifted and the grenade explodes, blowing off Hans arm and possibly blowing Hans away from Superman since the man tried to put the grenade between the two to use the grenade's force to get away from the Man of Steel. Course, if he doesn't get away, Superman will find the man limp.
For being a military brat, Lois is sure bad at taking orders, even if they are in her best interest. If she goes for cover now she'll miss the story! As a compromise, perhaps to show she would have taken cover, she steps toward the roof door, but her eyes never leave the pair as they lift into the air. She might wish that different as she's rewarded with the sight of the explosion in living color. She recoils but doesn't look away, driven to witness for herself.
Superman grimaces in anger as the bomb explodes and shreds Hans' arm into a bloody mess. The Man of Steel continues upwards, pulling higher and higher trying to bring the man away from the explosion and save him, if saving is still possible.
Hans groans as the grenade explodes and he is brought away from the brunt of the blast so only his arm is a casualty. "Damn... I guess the show wont be as good then, Herr." He says as he passes out, from blood loss and pain. With Superman's hearing however, he can hear his arm bone cracking and giving odd noises, akin to hearing a tree creak and groan when growing.
There's sadness in Lois' eyes as she watches Superman attempt to save the other man's life, not because of his life, but because of the regret she expects Superman will feel if he's not successful. Hans had her at gunpoint, after all, she's not going to feel too sorry for him. She can see the man go limp and not much else, frowning in concentration as she tries to piece together what's happening up above.
Superman seems relieved as he can tell that the man is regrowing his lost limb. His relief turns to irritation, however, as the villain's actions are recalled after the momentary sympathy. Superman shoots downwards now, this time towards the roof of STAR Labs, which is nearby the Daily Planet of course. Once he reaches the rooftop, he throws Hans into a slide upon the ground and taps a button upon his belt, calling the BSA for roundup.
Hans remains limp, either dead or in some sort of coma. Either way, Superman can go check on Lois.
Atop the STAR Labs roof, the BSA agents come upon the scene within minutes to come and apprehend Hans. Satisfied that the threat is over with, and relieved that no one died, Superman lifts off into the air to make sure Lois is not too shaken up. Within a moment he's gliding down towards the Daily Planet, pretty sure she did not heed his advice and take cover. That's just Lois.
The proof of his accurate assumption is waiting for him. Although Lois moved to the roof's edge to try and see what was going on atop the STAR Labs building, as soon as Superman turned to come back she retreated back to nearer the door. See? She was going to take cover. Although she seems composed and even unaffected, there's a slight tremble in her hands that betrays that she is not the one made of steel. Her eyes are on him as he descends and she steps forward. "Thank you. Again."
Superman smiles softly at her as the red boots land softly upon the building. "Are you alright?" he asks with a regretful look upon his face. "I didn't realize he'd be so quick to blow himself up like that..." His voice trails before he speaks up again. "He was a self-healer, which explains some things."
At least this time it wasn't her fault, she was just at work minding her own business. Lois takes a deep breath, reaching a hand up to rake through her dark hair, "Yeah, I'm alright. Hey, you don't read minds. Do you?" The reporter's voice has softened, reassuring that there's not even a thought he should have anticipated that. Her eyes drift toward the other building. "So he's not dead then?"
"Not yet," Superman says as a grin slides across his face. "But if I get that power, you'll be the first to know." Superman shakes his head, "No, not dead. I was relieved. I'd thought he'd hurt himself, but it wouldn't have made much sense given everything he said before hand. How's everyone else at the Planet?" Superman's head nods towards the door and the gigantic Daily Planet ball toward the middle of the roof.
"He mentioned a name to research, too. Hans Gunsche. I want to find out what that connection is to him." Yes, a piece of Lois' mind is already working the story part of the incident, minutes away from it. Her eyes come back to Superman, not even giving a glance toward the door herself. "They were all released unharmed, if maybe a little bit scared. I'm sure there are stories of heroics being fabricated in the newsroom even as we speak." But she will write of the true heroics.
Superman chuckles, "Yes, I imagine there will be a whole lot of tall tales. Even if the Planet is one of the world's most respected newspapers, I'm sure a few of the men and women tend to embellish once or twice." He tilts his head to the side, "I'm glad you're okay, Lois."
Lois is not prone to moments of girlish fantasy, but there's something about Superman at times that seems to make the moment linger and her stomach drop like the first hill of a roller coaster. It's unsettling to someone otherwise rather practical and pulled together, even at gunpoint. She nods, her reply honest, "Thanks to you." The fact that she wouldn't have been in the situation without her association with Superman is neither here nor there. "Hope we didn't pull you away from anything too important."
Superman shakes his head, "No. Just dinner with my parents." Superman stands there, almost awkwardly compared to the normal way he comes off in social situations. He's not unlike other young men trying to search for a way to make smalltalk.
With her drive for her work, Lois is only slightly better off when things start to feel more 'personal' than 'business'. "Your parents?" she asks, curious. "I thought you weren't from around here." She's not sure how exactly to even imagine that. All of them in spandex and capes?
Superman smiles and shakes his head, "I mean my Earth parents." He chuckles a bit, "They took me in as a baby and raised me. I didn't even know I was an alien until I was 12. I thought I was just special. Or tortured. Depending on the day."
Superbaby. Now that's something to mull over later. Diapers with a big S on them? Her own smile comes naturally as his does. "You know, for all the stories I've written on you, there's an awful lot I don't know." Personal things. "That must have made puberty hell," she says before thinking, although the words come sympathetically.
Superman laughs, "Well, it can be pretty difficult on anyone, really. For me, the hardest part was when my hearing and vision powers came in when I was in 5th grade. It was terrifying."
Now that they're talking about it, Lois finds it almost impossible to quell her curiosity. "Did you have any idea before that?" The questions don't come with the air of a reporter going for a story, lacking the intensity that comes with following a trail.
Superman shrugs his shoulders, "I honestly think I was in denial for a long time. I didn't really know what to think, to be honest. I was pretty scared. I just knew I was really different."
"And look how you turned out," Lois says gently. She glosses over the image of a frightened boy trying to understand something like that, because to dwell on it could be heartbreaking. Instead she smiles again, uncrossing her arms, one hand almost rising to touch his arm, but shifting course to rake fingers through her hair, dragging it away from her eyes. "I'll bet they're very proud of you."
"Well, I think they'd be more proud if I did my chores more often," Superman jokes. "But yeah, they've been real supportive of me. What about your family?" he asks, realizing that he's sort of hogging the conversation.
That brings a laugh from Lois, and although she is more one to ask questions than answer them, she replies easily to the one posed. "Military. We moved around a lot, settled long enough for my sister and I to finish school here in the States. Mom keeps a scrapbook of my articles," she adds with a fondness in her voice.
Superman nods, "You're dad is a General, isn't he? I remember seeing his name come up in some of the documents relating to the Justice League." Like a reporter, himself, he asks a follow up. "Did you enjoy moving around so much?"
Lois nods, "Retired. But career military never really retires." Now it's her turn to shrug, her shoulders lifting beneath her sweater. "It wasn't really enjoyable or not. It just.. 'was'. It was what we did."
"Well," he says repeating her. "You turned out alright." Superman smiles at her before nodding out over the building. "Well...I guess I should be going."
There's another broad smile at the words, and a quick flash of disappointment as he brings up leaving. But it's gone in a second, and she nods. "Give your parents my regards. And my thanks for letting me borrow you," she adds, taking a step backwards.
"I will. And give my regards to yours," Superman gives a wave and a final smile while he begins to float upwards. He turns slowly before picking up speed and shooting offward toward the horizon.