June 25 Fort Dettrick, MD

The United States Army Military Research Institution for Infectious Disease was the world's leading military center in combating biological and chemical weaponry. USAMRIID also was the primary center that watched for the possibility of a biological attack. Lt. Gen. Sam Thames was looking at a report of recent strange phenomenon that were occurring in Kansas. He had the dossier on five individuals that were in custody that had exhibited abilities or conditions that could not be defined by modern medicine. More over, there seemed to be no common agent involved in each of his or her maladies.

He picked up the bios of Tina Greer, Sean Kelvin, Jodi Melville, Eric Summers, and Earl Jenkins and read them. All of them were at the same treatment facility in Kansas but USAMRIID had been made aware of this by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The problem for one of the patients, Eric Summers, whatever had affected him appeared temporary. It was well documented that the boy had been able to throw a police cruiser onto the second floor of his parents' house. He had been virtually invulnerable to bullets. The mystery was how his abilities faded away. The tests showed some lingering structural changes to the neurological system and a hemoglobin count that was unheard of but that was almost within normal parameters as well.

Tina Greer was a completely different case study and she was still able to shift her form. She had been implanted with a tracking device that she had no idea was in her body. The General noted that she was heavily sedated and psychotic. He was not a psychiatrist so he had no frame of reference for her condition. The underlying factor was a rare genetic disorder that affected her bone structure. He had no idea what could give her entire structure the elasticity it currently retained.

The General had no authority to investigate the one commonality that these people had. He could not send in his team to look around Smallville because he lacked a charter to do so. He did however make a note to have all information about the town in the last two decades looked into. He could not remember of the top of his head why the name sounded familiar. He typed in his reminders and went about the day's business.

June 27 New York

Lionel heard the insistent trilling of the phone and forced himself to answer it.


"Sir, I hate to disturb you so early in the morning but there is a situation of which you should be aware."

"I'm listening."

"Sir, The New York Times and The Washington Post are both reporting serious criminal allegations against both you and the company. The reports have been on the Internet for over five hours and Luthor Corp stock is sliding in overseas trading. It looks to drop at least five dollars at the opening bell."

"What are the allegations?"

"Tampering with state legislatures and regulatory commissions as well as liability issues in relation to Cadmus Labs."

Lionel looked at the time and saw that it was 4:00 am local. "Wake the Executive Committee and have them meet in the board room in two hours. I'll get the staff here up to speed so we can deal with this in an organized fashion."

"Yes sir."

Lionel was looking at the Bloomberg displays and was not anticipating the opening of the Exchange. Overseas trading had pushed Luthor Corp stock down but it was the first hour, here in New York that would tell the tale. He and his staff had put out a press release denying the allegations and also to lay the groundwork for backing off his previous commitment to purchase S.T.A.R. Labs if that was necessary.


Chloe drove up to the farm and saw the moving vans. Her father called her and told her that the farm had been poisoned but she had been unable to escape the rigors of research for her overzealous boss. She loved visiting the loft because it was a place that was so uniquely...Clark. She could not imagine what he was feeling but she knew he had support. She was glad for the time away in Metropolis, she could barely control her jealousy at Lana or Clark. She pulled to the side and walked up to the house and saw the Kents watching the movers load boxes.

"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Kent, is Clark around?"

Martha smiled at Chloe but it did not reach her eyes, "He is in the loft, packing the last of his things."

"Thanks. I know I'm sorry doesn't begin to cover what you are going through but I loved coming here to visit. It is a loss." Chloe hugged Martha and gave Jon a sad smile, walked to the barn to look for Clark. She climbed the stairs and saw Lex holding Clark as he sobbed.

Lex felt her presence and turned and motioned her to come in. "Clark, Chloe is here to see you." Clark nodded his head and wiped his eyes and turned to look at her.

"Hi." He sniffled at her.

"Hi yourself. I guess I should know better than to ask how you are doing. Clark, sorry I could not come down when it happened."

Clark shook his head at her and sighed. "There was nothing you could have done and you really wanted that internship so it's okay."

Chloe walked over and hugged Clark. "Where is Whitney?"

Lex sighed and responded, "He is supervising the movers at his mother's house. Both families are taking up residence at the House, for security reasons."

Clark looked at him. "House?"

"Yes, Palace was way too pretentious, at least until I am in elected office."

Chloe and Clark looked at each and rolled their eyes. Chloe was happy to see a grin on Clark's face. "So Clark, what are your plans now that you are going to be living in luxury?"

"I'm going to sleep more and watch any channel worldwide that I want. It is going to be so strange because my parents will be there but it will not be the same."

"Well Clark, I don't understand and knowing this town there has to be more to it but I trust you. I'm going to run and see my dad and I'll come by this evening to look at the estate."

Clark chuckled, "Lex said the grounds are a mess and the public rooms are bare but the living areas only need a few minor touches."

"Bye Clark. Later Lex." Chloe waves at Lex who had wandered away from them.

Lex stopped what he was doing and looked at his PDA to see where Luthor Corp stock was trading. He was annoyed when he saw that it was down but not by the huge margin he wanted. He did not want to take further measures yet and he knew that the Press Conference on Capitol Hill might help push the stock lower. Lex mentally berated himself; he knew that his father had a doctorate in `spin' before the term had been invented. Lex knew he still had cards to play but he wanted his father looking in another direction when Lex let the Executioner's axe fall. Lex looked back over the farm that had once been lush with produce and the sounds of animals. Now there was the silence, broken only by the sounds of men gathering boxes and furniture for the move. For Lex the ache was not an echo of Clark's but his own. He had come to love this place as a sanctuary. He could see the pain, plain as day, on the faces of the Kents. Lex could no longer feel apart from them anymore than he could feel apart from Whitney or Clark. He had more money than any person had a right to have, he would be as powerful as he desired in the future but here, now, what he wanted was the peace and love of a family. He knew that was how it worked, you always wish for that which you do not have. For all the love his mother heaped on him, she grew more distant over time and then was sick. Julian came along and the dream of a family ended in two successive springs, the deaths of Julian and Katherine marking the passage of time.

Yet here was his dream, all but realized, and his father had poisoned it in a deliberate attempt to hurt Lex. He sighed and put the PDA away and walked back to the homestead to help in any way he could. The heartbreak was palpable but Lex hardened his resolve to give support rather than give in to the need for it. He walked back to Clark and waved at Chloe, he then they headed to the house and to leave the farm behind.

Clark watched as the moving vans drove away, his eyes teared and he forced back the threatening sobs. His gaze followed his parents as they drove off as well. He got in the car next to Lex and let his eye's rove across the landscape. His home, his life would be divided by this event. He let the tears roll down his cheeks and he nodded to Lex and the farm was left behind.

Whitney looked down the street and could not help the waves of nostalgia rolling through him. He had learned to ride a bike on this street and learned to drive as well. He knew he would never again spend the night in his bedroom here, everything changing and it hurt deep down. His mom had cried herself to sleep for a few days as she cleaned out his father's closet. He and his brothers had shed tears as well looking at things their father had kept. Every birthday, Father's Day, and Christmas card was hidden away among his things. Each boy's first tooth was sealed in a container and labeled by date. That had sparked a round of `remember when' and the family felt the loss but also the love. Whitney looked down at the ring on his finger. He rarely wore it because it reeked of money but today he needed its cool touch and its overt meaning. He watched as the movers loaded the furniture that his mother wanted for her sitting room and the boxes containing items that she wanted for her bedroom. Whit was happy that she would have a suite, the same as Jeff, Tristan, and the Kents. They would be under the same roof but could have all the privacy that each desired.

Whitney saw them begin to load his stuff and he was apprehensive. Tonight he was going to sleep in a room, in a bed that was designed with three people in mind. This was the night that he waited for and it was also the night he dreaded. This was the final loss of independence for Whitney, as well for Lex and Clark. It was scary because before they had to go to different beds, except on the weekends but now they had a bed together. Sure there were plenty of places to get away from each other but there was no definitive place that said `MINE.' It was distressing but also symbolized that they actually were together. The bond was so deep and they were getting the hang of communicating without talking but in sleep they felt complete. So, Whit knew it was a Catch-22. Sleep was most restful together and when separate, well nightmares were possible. He sighed but could not help the smile, everything changed after today. It was another step in the changes that had been washing over his life for months.

Whitney walked through the house and it was now going to be a rental. Everything that made this home was gone. He went to his room and all that was left was the bed. All the things that said `Whitney Fordman' were now in a box on their way to a new home. That was his central worry. How does one build a home? He knew he was loved but how was he going to be comfortable...could he relax? Those were some of the thoughts that plagued him.

Lex pulled his car around to the front of the edifice. All the other residents were there as well. He saw Enrique walk out of the front door and he smiled. Enrique was going to be the Majordomo, second only to Lex's Chief of Staff once he found one. Enrique would see that the household ran smoothly. He saw Whitney pull up in his truck and Lex was happy that he had the garage had been made into two stories. His top four cars and the rest of the residents' cars could stay in the above ground part and the rest could be housed below. There was one thing he was dreading, he would have two sets on in-laws living with him. He was okay with it and Anne and Martha did not want a cook on staff unless it was for a large function. Lex knew he was going to have to work out more with those two making sure he ate. That was one advantage to the whole reconstruction project; he was able to build a proper salle for fencing. In fact, he was going to have Heike come down for a sparing session and see if Whitney was correct that their reflexes had improved with a little genetic tampering.

Clark walked into the bedroom and was in awe. The bed was huge, it looked so inviting that Clark went over and lie down. He had never felt so comfortable, the mattress was not too hard or soft and the comforter was fluffy. Clark stretched out full and still fit on the bed. He smiled because his 6'5" frame was able to fit easily on the bed. Clark sat up and looked around the room. It was huge but it was divided into a sitting area and the bedroom set. There was a table that divided the room and he saw the doors that lead out onto the private patio. He walked out and saw an unobstructed view of the lake and the under construction pavilion. He also noticed the fences were still under construction but they were scheduled to be complete by Saturday. He looked up and saw the fourth floor surrounding him on three sides. He looked around the patio and was pleased with how tranquil it was.

"Do you like it?"

Clark turned and saw Lex smiling at him. "Yes, I really like the bed."

"I knew you would. Nice view."

Clark kissed Lex and ran his hands along his sides. Lex ran his fingers through Clark's already disheveled hair and returned the fierce kiss. They heard a chuckle and saw Whitney standing at the doorway. They smiled at him and motioned him to join them. Soon the hug was opened and expanded and they looked at the view far below them.

"Wow, this is great Lex." Whitney soon feels Lex and Clark holding him. "We need to make sure that everyone is getting settled in, okay?"

Clark frowns and Lex sighs, "Yes, you are right but after dinner we are coming up here to break in the new bed."

Whitney and Clark hugged him close and smiled at the thoughts of a bed that was theirs. Despite all the feelings and emotions about change, they were very excited about the prospects of being together. Not in a hotel room or in the loft of the barn but in a real bed built for them. They could not wait for the evening.


The Hart Senate Building was the scene of pandemonium. The press conference had become a huge spectacle with the press swarming like sharks sensing blood. It was 1:00 on the East Coast and Luthor Corp stock was down ten percent on the day. Losses had slowed as Institutional Investors sensed a bargain and moved in. However trading on Luthor Corp stock had ground to a halt pending this Senate Press Conference.

Sen. Mary Alice Adkins approached the podium, "Ladies and Gentlemen, In meeting with the Majority and Minority Leaders, it has been determined that my Committee, Finance, will look into the matters that Luthor Corp has brought to the fore. There is very serious evidence and much of it is compelling about the nature of the company's business practices. What is most disturbing is the evidence of possible collusion and other practices involving state regulatory agencies. This investigation is about business practices and political tactics. Evidence has been turned over to the SEC, IRS, and FBI to begin their own investigations. I have spoken to the Ranking Member and immunity will not be granted at this time for testimony. Questions?"

The room exploded in sound as reporters tried to get his or her question answered. The Networks had covered this live and CNNFN and CNBC had been following the trail and more information was coming out by the hour. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox all had this as the lead of their websites. Luthor Corp was becoming the poster child for corporate arrogance and blind use of power. It was the scandal that news organizations had been waiting for.

Wall Street

As soon as the Senator started answering questions the slide resumed for Luthor Corp stock. The stock would stabilize but then the fall would continue. As the closing bell was ringing Luthor Corp stock had taken a pounding. For the day it was down twenty-two dollars. It was below the point that Lex had ordered the mark up to begin. All the cable business channels were now devoted to the widening scandal. As it stood, Moody's and S&P were rumored to be thinking of reviewing Luthor Corp's debt rating.

Lionel looked at the numbers and they did not lie. While the stock was still up for the year, the amount of market capitalization lost today was astounding. He had to worry about S.T.A.R. Labs and a possible breach of contract. He could feel the vultures circling and he knew he had to take control of the matter personally. He called the airport and his private jet was made ready for his return to Metropolis.


Anne and Martha were chatting in the kitchen. They looked it over and gave in their approval. They did not want a professional chef unless an event required one. They also insisted that they do the grocery shopping as well. Lex told them that anything they required could be handled by Enrique. He also let them hire the cleaning staff as long as they let Enrique do the background checks. He did not really care as long as they were happy. He knew that an area behind the conservatory was being cleared for a garden and greenhouses were going to placed on the grounds as well for tropical flora. One was going to be converted to an organic garden as well. He was planning an orchard as well on one of the back acres, away from the residence.

Jonathan was out in the mechanic's shop part of the garage and was looking at Lex's car collection. He could not believe he was here. His whole life he had fought to maintain his independence, to control his destiny. Now he was living in, no, related to the son of his personal nemesis. Jon still had not told anyone other than Martha his past with Lionel. He knew why Lionel hated him but he did not understand, it was meaningless to him. He had long come to the conclusion that he would never understand Lionel.

He looked around and saw all the tools and stuff. He knew he needed a hobby and he and Martha now had incredible incomes. Maybe he would buy old Harleys and fix them up. He had given up his motorcycle mania after Charlie's death but he still loved the feel of all that power between his legs. He understood Clark's love of running. He had to do something to fill the time and collecting `hogs' was one option.

Clark, Whitney and Lex walked into their room and began to undress. They guys knew Lex hated clothes strewn about the floor so they took them to the closet. Clark stopped and looked at the room. It was a reality; he now lived with Lex and Whitney. It was strange that his parents were downstairs and they knew that he was no longer theirs alone.


"Lex, don't worry I'm fine. It feels like a fairy tale."

Whitney chuckled and lay back on the bed. He was naked and so was Lex. Clark stripped quickly and began to kiss and stroke his lovers. Lex moved and took charge. He wanted to fuck Clark and he wanted Whitney on the bottom. Soon Lex had Clark on his stomach while he began to lick his ass. He could not get enough of those perfect taunt globes of flesh. Lex was in heaven with his face buried in the crevice. His tongue snaked out and licked the beautiful pink hole. He loved the taste of the musky sweat and the indelible scent that was Clark. .
Clark was buried in Whitney's crotch while Lex was busy working is ass over. Whitney's hands were running over Clark's shoulders, trying to find purchase while the sexual ecstasy coursed through his body. Soon Clark pulled off Whitney's gorgeous cock and pulled him into a kiss for the ages. He then flipped him over to get him ready for the inaugural fuck on the bed. Clark was now probed Whit's ass with his tongue in the exact manner that Lex was doing currently. Clark could feel Whitney's frustration mounting. He continued to vary his paces with his tongue, refusing to let Whitney find a rhythm.

Lex could tell that Clark was tormenting Whitney and decided that he needed a little payback. He slipped his index finger inside the incredible ass. He crocked his finger and felt Clark shiver. He knew Clark's body responded intensely to such a massage. He then pulled the finger out and went back to licking the orifice. Lex heard Clark moan and notice that he was shifting so he could enter Whitney. Lex did the same as well. He loved it they daisy chained, it was a total experience for them. The moans from the three lofted and echoed in the cavernous room. A small part of Lex's mind that could still handle rational thought was glad that the room as not near any others. The pace Lex set was increasing in tempo. Clark followed Lex's lead and Whitney did his best to meet Clark's thrusts. They merged into one being and the passion reached new heights. Clark could not stop his orgasm and Lex and Whitney fell over the edge with him.

The boys separated and walked into the bathroom to clean up for bed. While they did not mind sleeping together after sex, they did prefer to rinse off the sweat and semen off. It was a quick jaunt to the shower and back to bed where they quickly arranged themselves and snuggled together. The emotions of the day caught up with them and the sounding of the falling rain helped sleep claim the three in short order.

They soon found themselves in an intense dream from Clark's genetic past.


An aide walked into the Regent's office. He was reluctant to give the news he had received.

"My Lord, we have been unable to establish a gate to the outer colonies."


"Excellency, we have been having issues with the gates for over two cycles. The gravity field surrounding Krypton is no longer stable or predictable. That is also why we are having power issues on the planet."

"Summon the Council, they must be consulted."

"Yes, my Lord."

The Ruling Council of Krypton gathered at the summons of its leader. They had governed the planet since unification under the guidance of El, An, and D'or. For centuries they had turned their wisdom and knowledge of the Peoples out among the stars. Many colonies had been established and many other races bowed to their guidance. But the last few centuries had seen the erosion of Kryptonian might across the galaxy. New powers had arisen and Krypton had quietly withdrawn over that time. Conquest was something that Krypton chose not to pursue; the images of the Civil War forever burned into their collective memory. The Kryptonians had fought to defend the colonies and many other races had felt their wrath but now they maintained only a small cluster of colonies, the remains of an interstellar empire and all the grandeur that it hailed.

"Lord Regent, why has the Council been summoned?"

"To discuss the gates and the changes in the gravity well around Krypton."

"Why, is there a problem?"

The Regent motioned to his aide and the report was relayed to the full Council. In the end the Council decided to collapse the gate and to disband the colonies. The costs had exceeded the rational reason for maintaining them. This would allow the Council to end the Imperial Era and to cut back on the defense forces needed to maintain the Colonies.


Friday Metropolis

Lionel had spent all night with his attorneys and senior staff. The plan was to release information that would cloud the issue and go on an offensive against the Senate. The Senate would normally go into recess for a week for the Fourth of July holiday but Sen. Adkins wanted to move this forward at breakneck speed. Lionel was going to leverage some allies in the business community to force the Senate to adhere to its normal schedule. That would give Luthor Corp a week to gather its defense and hold its losses to a minimum.

His first order of business was to sort out exactly what the Feds had on him and his company. From the looks of it, they were hitting him with a book made of paper tigers. He knew that there was real danger in an audit and investigation by the IRS and SEC but Congress was all about public relations and this could be a disaster if not handled correctly. Lionel stood up and began making phone calls.


Business and trade groups that were incensed inundated the Minority Leader, Robert Kelly's office with emails and phone calls. His staff reported that every Senator up for re-election this cycle was receiving a comparable volume. The original plan had been to block the vote for the recess and force the Senate to stay in session. Now Sen. Kelly was going to allow the vote on the floor and see if the Majority Leader had the votes to stop it from happening.

"Get me the Majority Leader."

"Yes Senator."

It was decided, after a contentious meeting, that the Majority and Minority Leaders would release their members from a party line vote. What would ensue would be a free for all on the Senate floor. The Majority Leader, Sen. Adam Chase of Montana, did not want to waste what political capital he had over a recess for the Fourth of July week. He and Sen. Kelly agreed that if the Senate wanted to remain in session then they would have to vote that way. Also the issues were so mundane, the average voter would not care what the Senate was fighting over. In the end, Sen. Chase would rather spend the week at home and then return for the corporate wars.


Lex and the boys slept in late. The room was still dark as a weather system that made the plains its home was still rumbling outside. Lex looked over at the time display at and saw that it was still early enough to stay in bed. The storm was building in intensity and Lex could hear the wind howling. He got out of bed and went to the computer at the desk in the bedroom. It was always on and he was able to access the house status board. He looked at it and could see that all communications were being auto-routed through the landlines. The functioning laser arrays did not have the power yet to punch through the cloud cover and the ground based microwave receivers were not operational. The digital signal booster only had one functioning tower on the property at this point. In all Lex knew that the house was nowhere near ready to serve as an operations center but it was ready to serve as a home. He looked back at the bed and saw that Clark had draped himself on Whitney after Lex had moved. Lex moved to the shower and relaxed under the hot spray. He relaxed and let his mind wander. He loved free-floating awareness as a way to focus his mind on what could be a key decision later on. All he could think about was his father and the battles that still needed to be fought.

Whitney stirred and saw that Lex was in the shower; he stretched and felt Clark shift slightly. Whitney could not remember a better nights sleep. He moved and got out of bed and went to join Lex in the shower. He loved sharing a shower with either of them and now there was room for three in there.

Lex felt the cool air first then noticed the steam clouds lessen. He then felt a familiar hand wrap around his hips and pull him into an embrace.

"Good morning, Sir Whit."

"Sir Whit?"

"You live in a castle, are dating a could be Viscount and an alien Prince. I feel you are entitled for some level of nobility."

Whitney only smiles and kisses Lex fully and deeply. "Okay..." Lex takes the lead and runs his fingers through Whitney's short hair. He drops his other hand and runs it along Whit's lower back, just above his ass. Lex is now biting the hollow of Whitney's neck and Whit is surrendering to the power of Lex. They fail to notice the cool air until they each felt a large hand and a gentle caress.

"Can I join the fun?"

Neither of them verbalizes but the mental okay comes across load and clear for Clark. The kissing and touching gives way to need and desire. The steam from the shower pales in intensity to the heat that they were generating. Kisses are exchanged as hands roam and desire escalates. The storm outside is no match for the one raging inside. They exist on another plane of reality, the physical meshing incomparable to simple passionate sex. Soon they collapse on the tile floor, the water still falling on them and Lex notices that his skin is beginning to resemble a raisin. As one, they pull themselves up and they leave the shower, to dress and face a new day.

New York

A conference call among key lenders to Luthor Corp ended without resolution. They could not take any action as long as the senior debt rating for Luthor Corp remained high. Standard & Poors and Moody's would have to downgrade the classification more than one level for the Banks to take action. That call created a second call among a smaller group of Private Client Bankers for whom Lionel was a major customer. They reviewed his credit agreements and there was a peg on the largest line to a dollar value for Luthor Corp stock. If the stock fell below that value then collateral no longer matched the credit line and payment was due on demand. That would trigger a recall by all the other bankers and close off avenues of easy cash.


The Senate floor saw levels of action it never saw on a Friday. Sen. Madison was trying to keep the Senate in session but knew that the votes were turning against him. He decided to change tactics in the middle of the fight.

"Mr. President."

"The Chair recognizes the Senator from Nebraska."

"My fellow collogues, this argument has become too contentious for the matter at hand. I propose that we recess until Monday, July 8. At that time the Senate Finance Committee can look into the matter as it relates to accounting and regulatory abuses, Judiciary can into the campaign law issues and Foreign Affairs can look into the offshore tax issues and those related items. I yield the remainder of my time."

Sen. Madison was forcing Luthor Corp into defending itself in three committees and that would divide its attention. Further any answers given in one committee could be used in another committee for possible contempt of Congress charges. Lionel may have been able to gain a weeks reprieve but at a cost far greater than he expected.

Seconds and thirds for the motion popped up before the Presiding Officer could acknowledge them.

"The Senate will now vote on the motion."

The final vote was 92-0 with three abstentions and five no shows. It was a key symbolic victory because in essence the hunting license was issued.


Jeff and Tristan were in the media center monitoring the activities in Washington and in New York. They saw that Luthor Corp stock was now trading in a range that was still high for the brewing scandal. They motioned to Lex when they saw him walk in.

"How are things?"

"Luthor Corp stock is only down two dollars today and the Senate will not begin hearings until July 8."

"Damn. Okay we need to focus on launching Minerva next Wednesday. That gives us the 4th to look at the trading patterns and that Friday to be prepared with counter moves via Marauder."

"Is the IPO ready?"

"Yes, 33% of the Class A shares will go up for sale on Wednesday. The Investment Banks and Trading House are looking at the prospectus now and Institutional investors will be well informed by Wednesday."

"Are you sure that Minerva is properly valued at $27 billion?"

"No, it is undervalued but once we acquire Western Refining for $4 billion in stock and debt assumption, we can use the new fuel as a major revenue stream to push the value higher. Current lines and property rights bring in over $5 billion in revenues currently and once open marketing happens then that should triple by year's end. Plus there are five new product lines that we held off on launching until Minerva went public."

Tristan looked at Lex. "I am concerned about the undervalued offering. I can almost bet you Wayne Industries will dump one third of the stock and use those proceeds elsewhere. Any gains made during the day will be lost because of it."

"I want Marauder to take a five percent position should that happen."


Whitney and Clark began exploring the house to see all the changes. Their parents were busy making their suites feel like home. They missed breakfast so they grabbed something and went looking. They knew the storm was still pounding this part of Kansas and looked to continue to do so for at least the next day or two. They went down a passage that leads them to the foyer and the front entrance to the Palace.

They saw that the entrance still had scaffolding inside and out. They went and saw that the Grand Hall was almost complete. From what they could gather from Lex, the place was approaching ninety percent complete. By the end of July, the whole thing should be done, save the landscaping. That, Lex told them, would require an additional two months, maximum. Clark and Whitney wanted to look at the current state of the Palace from the outside but the storm continued to rage. They knew that the last of the technical equipment was due in the next few days and with it the media room and infirmary would be complete. They went and found the elevator to the fourth floor and followed the map on the PDA Clark was carrying. They soon found their way up to the six-story tower that was the astronomy room. Clark fell in love with the new telescope. He looked and saw that the room had several computers and six HD flat screen televisions linked into that network. They heard someone approach.

"Do you like it Clark?"

"Lex...words...its is amazing."

"Those displays are there to give as accurate rendering of the area of space that you would be looking at. When we drag you away, the computers can auto track anything in the heavens that you wish."

Whitney was looking at several different computer banks. "How long has it been running?"

"Two weeks at the moment but that was to make sure that the system was up an running."

"Well Clark, I guess I'll see you later." With that Whitney left Clark and Lex alone and made his way downstairs.

Clark and Lex stared at the departing figure but said nothing. "Clark, I'll leave you here but there is not a lot you can do at the moment. I have to get back to work."

Clark enveloped Lex in a hug and kissed him lightly, "Thank you." Lex nodded and departed. Clark noted that the telescope was on par with a university telescope. He saw that it had infrared and full electromagnetic spectrum capabilities. Lex had been very serious when he purchased this equipment. Clark was in awe but something else tugged on his mind.

Whitney made his way to the gym that he knew was in the basement in the guest wing. He wanted to get a few laps in to cool down. He had no idea why he was so upset but he did not want to say anything that might be damaging to his relationships. He found the gym after a few minutes of searching and saw the weight room and the sauna. He went looking around and saw that this was better than a professional gym. He went and found the locker room and changed into a pair of swim trunks that was one of several hanging in the room. He went and dove right in. The cool water instantly cleared his mind and he began the smooth strokes that he had been taught many years ago. Time lost meaning as he pushed his body to the max and soon he had to drag himself out of the pool on wobbly arms.

"That was impressive. I'd say you could challenge your brother."

"Hi Clark."

"Okay...What the hell crawled up your ass? You realize that you just spent the last forty five minutes swimming the butterfly stroke?"

"Forty five minutes, no wonder my arms and shoulders hurt. I fine now."

"That did not answer my first question."

" is okay."

"No, it is not. I remember a conversation with you where you told me I had to tell you what was bothering me, well fess up buddy."

Whitney looked down and kicked his feet in the water. "I realized that there are some things I can't share with you or Lex. You and Sebastian could talk each other's ears off but I'd be bored senseless. Same with Lex, Biology and Chemistry bore me as well. I have to find a new hobby or something."

Clark laughed and hauled Whitney up and kissed him. "Is that all? Well, that is easier to deal with than the idea that you are pissed at me. Okay, well first thing, no more unsupervised workouts. I was getting concerned when you kept trying to go faster. Why weren't you swimming freestyle?"

"No clue. Not mad at me for being a jerk?"

"You were not a jerk. You just left with no explanation. Come on, let's grab some lunch."

"Let me change first."

Langley, VA, Central Intelligence Agency

Daniel Rutherford, Deputy Director (Operations), walked into a meeting of the senior staff.

"Gentlemen, we may have a problem. The Senate Intelligence Committee will begin looking into Luthor Corp per some rumors about recent arms shipment losses. I have been informed that Luthor Corp was one of the key providers of munitions during the Cold War to American proxy states. That information is classified and the operations were legal at the time. We need to do something to head this off before this escalates into an International Incident."

An Intelligence Officer commented, "Should not that information still be classified?"

"It should but as with the Pentagon Papers, if the Times or the Post should get wind of what Luthor Corp was up to then we cannot stop it from being public knowledge."


Lex watched as the final day's tallies came in and Luthor Corp stock was down five dollars. That meant it was down twenty-seven dollars in two days, bad but not terrible. He looked at the take for Marauder and was pleased. He looked at his own portfolio and the rest of the LFK holdings. On the whole it had been a great day but his father was still up for the year, not by much, but he was still up. Lex knew he had to come up with a plan of attack but that meant declaring open warfare with his father. His actions to date were of the stealth variety or guerilla warfare. His father would soon find that his long-standing arms accounts were gone. He would love to see his face when that happened but Lex had no doubts that Lionel might kill him on the spot.

He was upset about the Senate's actions but he knew his father had clout and that the corporate brotherhood did not want any Congressional actions that could be detrimental to the nation's business. Lex pondered his options and he knew he had the smoking gun Nick had given him. That was an option but Lex really wants to keep Luthor Corp from total disgrace. He sighed and looked again at the final figures. They were not what he wanted but they were heading in the right direction.

Sunday London

Dominic looked at the International Herald Tribune and was stunned. The full details of the liability of Cadmus Labs were in the paper and were going to be the lead story for the New York Times. He did some quick calculations and suddenly realized that Luthor Corp stock was going to take another fearful pounding in the next few days. He looked at his portfolio and knew that he had to dump some of his stock as well.

He was happy that his plans were complete and that he had an avenue of escape should that be necessary. He had noted that the EU Commission had approved the Hardwick takeover a scant few days before the news broke about Luthor Corp. He had not heard from headquarters about possible action that could be taken but he knew that his consolidation plans could be moved forward to save money for the company.


Lionel had a copy of the New York Times delivered to him and almost had a heart attack. The information was almost accurate but he knew that Luthor Corp had a liability shield in place from when Cadmus was purchased via Hardwick. It was a complex tangle of legal agreements and international law but he knew that Luthor Corp could not be held liable at the end of the day. The problem came from what Wall Street would perceive as the material gain that Cadmus brought to the current stock valuation. If the traders and analysts placed too much value on Cadmus for the future of Luthor Corp then he was looking at a long week.

"I want the Executive Committee here in one hour. We have to find a way to contain the damage on this front." `DAMN!'

Lionel then looked at mail he had been ignoring for the past few days as he tried to right the listing corporate ship. He read a note and saw some interesting information. `My son has a new information source. Well that changes things. What are you up to Lex?'


All the residents were in the kitchen or breakfast nook eating and chatting. Martha was laughing at Clark as he missed his mouth and a slice of very syrupy pancakes landed on his lap. Whitney and Jeff were discussing baseball and Jonathan was forced to referee. Tristan and Anne were planning a shopping trip to New York. She really enjoyed the artwork around the house but she wanted to see if she could find a piece that went well in her room.

"Oh SHIT!"

The rooms got quiet and all eyes fell on Lex. "The Times has the complete liability story on Cadmus on the front page. My dad is going to flip."

Jonathan looked at him quizzically, "I thought that is what you wanted?"

"Yes sir but the timing is now all shot. I have to find a way to break Luthor Corp's support on Wall Street but the idea I have is going to be ugly."

"What is it?"

"Trust me, it is better if no one knows at this point. Jeff, can you call Nick Brady this afternoon and see how he is?"

"Sure." With that answer Lex excused himself and he headed to his study. He had to think of a way to preserve as much peace as possible.


The meeting had been ugly and Nick knew that Luthor Corp was going to take serious measures to combat the current allegations. The problem was they were now fighting on several fronts and they did not have the ability to do so. They faced inquires in three Senate Committees, the SEC, the IRS, and the public relations battle for Wall Street's ear. He sighed because he knew some of the truth and if Lionel knew that then he was a dead man.

Nick answers the ringing phone, "Hello?"

"Hey Nick, its Jeff. How are you?"

"Not good. Look I can't talk to you right now but how about we meet for a drink or something?"

"Cool, I head into Metropolis and give you a call then."


Nick liked Jeff and they had spoken on a few occasions after that first meeting. Nick wanted to think that there was something there but he refused to get his hopes up. After the way he treated Lex and his ensuing non-relationships he was nervous to make any moves at all. He liked having a friend so he was happy to keep Jeff in that category.


Shearn looked west over the dark Atlantic Ocean and pondered the current situation. The `union' he had worked towards building had fallen down around him. His takedown of Basil Jaxson had come back to haunt him. For all the talk of his protection being withdrawn, many interested parties had taken exception to Shearn's move. He knew that his moves were being tracked as well. He was lucky that he had a few associates that understood personal loyalty. He also knew that many of those taking exception had done the Luthor family many a favor in the past. He knew that Damien had tapped into that network and was eager to use his new found power to create a real name for himself. Shearn knew the game was almost up but he now wanted Lionel Luthor to go down with him.


Jeff was returning from his meeting in Metropolis. Jeff had been unable to give him specific information but that was okay. He had the vague outline of the actions Luthor Corp could take. They mirrored the thoughts of Tristan because there were only so many moves available during an intense period such as this. Jeff had enjoyed chatting with Nick and they talked about school and which football teams they liked. Nick was a die-hard Jets fan but Jeff had become a converted 49ers fan while at Stanford. Even though they lived in Shark's country, they would not give up those allegiances. It had been a good night but Jeff knew this week was going to make or break the future.

July 1 Metropolis

The opening bell of the NYSE saw Luthor Corp stock began another decent down in value. Lionel and his staff had decided to fight on the PR front first. Congress would not be back for another week and then they would deal with those issues. Then the news was announced that the SEC was going to begin a formal investigation of Luthor Corp. There was no word what the IRS would do but Lionel's lawyers pointed out that they could come after him personally. They were about to go over his past tax returns with a fine toothcomb. They remembered the Leona Helmsley precedent, if you are rich and hated, you will go down for anything.

Lionel began to fear that he would not be able to buy his way out of this mess. His personal credit was not as extended as it was while taking over Hardwick but still he had no reserves to speak of in order to mount a counter attack. Luthor Corp needed to keep what cash it had to keep operating in the face on a looming credit crunch. Lionel was pacing and thinking of all the avenues he had left and those that he was left with might open more problems but they would solve his current ones.


Damien was watching the events on Wall Street with trepidation. His own personal fortune was dwindling at the moment and that meant bad things in relation to his new friends. He knew that Lionel would be summoning more money soon and Damien had none to give him. He was worried because Luthor Corp was in danger of being ripped apart by market and non-market forces. They had bought a week's reprieve from Congress but that had not stopped the assault on Wall Street. He looked at his own Luthor heavy portfolio and cringed that he wealth was withering away by the minute.


Lionel and the Executive Committee began to review options and everything was on the table. He had been informed that S&P and Moody's were downgrading Luthor Corp by a full grade but they were still a solid investment grade company. Lionel knew that the interest rates had not gone up yet but the next downgrade would result in serious outlays for interest expense. Lionel cursed the fates that he was being hit from too many directions to formulate a plan that would survive the first encounter.

He still had those illegal reserves in the offshore accounts but he had no way of using them without arousing suspicion. He needed to find a way to move that money and use it to lift the stock price of Luthor Corp. That was one way to keep the stock price from imploding. He had talked to various board members but he had not talked to Lex. He kept waiting for the boy to call but he knew Lex was busy seeing to this personal life. `Such a disappointment.'


Lex and the boys were eating dinner with the rest of the household. Whitney had cooked and once again Lex was amazed that the boy could do it so well. Anne and Martha had become very good buddies and were planning a major Smallville gathering once the rest of the house was complete. Lex was fine with it as long as Enrique was able to get a proper staff in place before then.

Jonathan looked at Whitney, "Whit, you have real talent in the kitchen. Well we know that you can take care of Lex and Clark in a pinch."

Clark and Lex did their best to look indignant. Whitney covered his smile with a small cough.

"Thank you sir but I think Clark has done a good job of looking after everyone."

Clark smiled at the praise and Lex was starring daggers at Whitney.

"And Lex has done an incredible job with everything he has set his mind to as well."

Jonathan laughed, "Whitney, I hate to tell you this but it sounds like you are married now." Jonathan realized a moment too late what he said when Jeff and Tristan busted out laughing. Jon then saw the faces of Whit, Clark, Lex, Martha, and Anne. "I think I'm done."

Martha gave him a smirk, "Oh yeah mister, you have no idea how done you are."

Wednesday July 3

Lex watched as Minerva Inc was launched. He was on the observation deck of the communications room. He had a few controls at his fingertips and he listened to commentary about Minerva. He knew that given the current environment, an IPO was not the most welcome thing on Wall Street. However the pedigree that this company had and its balance sheet, investors began to snap up the shares at a rapid clip. He was pleased and knew that this was going to catch his father off guard as well. He was looking at the opening moves and was pleased that the company was trading at ten dollars a share higher in less than one hour. CNBC and CNNFN were reporting on his company giving the long-term prognosis and he was ecstatic. He was waiting for the Wayne move because the price was right and that would give them some balance sheet leverage.


Lionel was looking over the proposals to raise capital for Luthor Corp and to shed debt. He knew that S&P and Moody's were by no means done with the downgrade process. He saw the note and had the television in his office turned on. He watched as CNN covered one of the most successful IPO in years. His jaw dropped and suddenly the world turned inside out. His son had been able to hide this from him. He had not the faintest idea that this was coming. His worldview changed in the blink of an eye. `How could I have been so blind?' He was hit with a rage because he had lost a mooring and if Lex was capable of this then what else could his son do? Then he looked at the mess his company was facing and the wheels in his head turned. Lex had been very careful. There were no fingerprints on anything and the very public nature of the attacks hindered private responses. It was insane but Lionel knew that he was a formidable opponent and he should have realized this much sooner. He knew that while Wall Street needed answers, the real solution would have to come from Lex. He placed a phone call to silence Lex's new information source and another to arrange a holding company that was about to become a major investor in Luthor Corp.

New York

Minerva stock went down briefly as Wayne Industries unloaded one third of its holdings. The stock had been trading at twenty-two dollars above opening price when they made that move. But the stock began to recover as investors moved in to take up the unexpected additions to the open market. Marauder had stepped up and taken a five percent stake in Minerva, just as Lex had requested. That having been done allowed Lex & Co. to hold a commanding forty-two percent of the new company. By the close of business, Minerva's market capitalization stood at an astounding $52 billion. It was worth twice what it had opened at and many analysts thought that it had room to go up. The company's cash position and lack of debt made it a solid buy and the promise of more research and the ready products made it too good to pass up. Every major bank and institutional investor had that stock on the most prized list.


Lex was pleased. His company had taken Wall Street by storm and in the process he had noticed that Luthor Corp's stock continued its gradual erosion. He did not know if actually preferred this way to the way he originally wanted it to go. The slow painful decent into mediocrity, no way out but to begin to sell off assets or heaven forbid...resign. He knew his father would never give up the helm of Luthor Corp but Lex had a few surprises for him. Monday was Lionel's day of reckoning.

Whitney was reading a book from the library about great military strategists. He was enthralled by how much luck played in the great battles in history. He and Lex had discussed this for an hour the night before and Clark had listened but only looked off on the distance. He was finding his own interests while Clark was up calibrating the telescope and getting ready for some serious stargazing. He, Clark, and Lex had discussed the evolving relationship and pursuing separate fields. They agreed it was a good thing since they now were together in every sense of the word. Whit smiled because the night was now together time and the day was spent doing things to broaden their own personal goals. Of course Clark liked to stay out looking at the stars but when he felt the need of his lovers then he could not keep his cock in his pants and came running for bed.

Clark was having fun. He had a place of his own to come hide when he needed a moment's peace. He had a new loft and it was incredible because he loved the view. The stars were a comfort to him and they called to him as well. He emailed Sebastian about that point in space that could not exist yet did. Bastian told him where to look and Clark had tried to see that point but the telescope was not strong enough to reach it. But it was the idea that he could keep trying and that was worth something. He knew he was in love and he knew he was safe. The issue of his adoption had been dealt with by Lex. He wanted to enjoy the summer but he could not relax while Lex was tense from all the things going on. He hoped it would end soon because the dreams he and Lex were having might drive Whitney insane after awhile. The good thing was that the dreams no longer woke them up but they did make for periods of restless sleep.


Lionel looked and saw that in a week's time Luthor Corp stock had lost over forty dollars a share. He knew that the information about the liability shield would hold for the most part but Wall Street was ignoring that development. He was not going to let Luthor Corp go down. He was a Luthor and Luthors never failed at anything. What concerned him the most was the nagging sense that Lex was pulling the strings but Lionel had no proof. The very fact that Lex had done nothing to help was not an indication one way or the other but to Lionel it spoke of betrayal. Lionel stopped his thoughts because he knew he had been pushing Lex and if Lex was orchestrating this then Lex was very much a Luthor. In fact, he would have to hand Lex the all time award but Lionel was still the master and Lex was nothing but a pup. Lionel was preparing to summon those hidden reserves to rescue his company and then he would see that Lex lost his fledgling company in due course. Lex had to be taught that no matter what he would never surpass his father.

Fort Dettrick, MD

Lt. Gen. Thames had the report on his desk and the link he had been looking for. Smallville, KS had been the sight of an intense meteor strike but all the tests conducted said that there was no risk associated with the fragments. The problem for him was the simple issue of five different live cases of individuals who exhibited or had exhibited extraordinary abilities. Gen. Thames did not have the right to order an investigation but he could he let CDC know what he was thinking. At a minimum, a new round of tests on the extraterrestrial rocks would be conducted. There was some evidence of those rocks, in micro fragments under the Jenkins fellow's skin. Besides, if there was something to the meteor then it was in the best interest of the United States Army to look into it and see if it could be harnessed for the greater good.

July 4

Clark stretched and was nestled comfortably between his two partners. His shift sparked a shift from both of them and his need to go to the bathroom was stilled by the comfort and love he felt from both of them. Clark wanted to go back to sleep but his mind was now running at full speed. He knew that Lex and Whit's brothers were taking the day off. They had analyzed the previous day's moves and had come to the conclusion that additional work would yield no additional variables. Clark was looking forward to the cookout and playing all day. It was a holiday and Whitney and he had done everything they could to see that the holiday was celebrated. Clark lifted his arm and saw that it was not yet seven in the morning. He groaned. He felt a hand slide up his thigh and he could not stop the shudder that went through him like a live wire. Soon he was engulfed in the heat and wetness that was Lex's mouth around his cock and he felt Whitney's mouth on his chest. He loved mornings when his lovers were horny.


Dominic made a decision that was not impulsive but necessary for his survival. Luthor Corp was no longer a ship he could afford to be attached to. His need for revenge on the Luthor family was being fulfilled at the moment. He knew that Lex was a rising star and no one was going to bring him back to Earth unless he wanted to be. He so wanted to be there when Lionel saw Lex's star ascend and pass his own. What kind of heartache had he experienced? Dom knew that he would never know but it was past him anyway. He was leaving Luthor Corp and was heading to Prague to run his own show. He always preferred the underground; it was easier to hide the mess. He was sick of being a lackey and with Lionel's fall in progress, he had no need to remain on station. Dom was going to be a major player.


Lex never knew a cookout could be so much fun. Jonathan was clearly enjoying working the grill and Lex knew Anne and Martha loved having all these people over to eat. Lex looked over at Clark and Pete as they played in the lake. The covered Pavilion was done and the lake had a rest area now. Bill Ross was helping Jon out while Pete's older brothers caught up with Whitney's older brothers. Lex was surprised when Nell accepted his invitation and he had made sure to clear it with Martha and Jonathan first. Lex soon found himself drenched by a Super Soaker attack from Whitney and Chloe. Lex knew where he slept so that was no big deal but his revenge on the town's junior detective would have to be something good. Lana was talking to Whit's friends Brent and Kris while Lex was drying himself off. He could get over the wholesomeness of the afternoon. He saw Duchess running after Chloe and she in turn being chased by the new puppy, Mohiam. He was an Alaskan Huskie and Clark's.


He turned his head and saw Martha standing there. "Hi."

"Are you enjoying yourself?"

"Yes thank you. I had no idea cookouts could be this much fun."

"Well having this many teenagers around helps also. Food's ready so grab a plate. I'd hurry before all the guys go for their second helping."

Lex laughed and walked to the open doors and the laden tables inside. He saw Clark, Whitney and their friends jostling for position as Jonathan brought over the first wave of food. Lex started laughing when Brent told Whitney that he was a guest and should go first. For Lex is was a vivid reminder that teenagers thought with their stomachs. Lex thought this was a great way to break in the patio and the new docks and Pavilion on the lake. It was the perfect day.

Friday Metropolis

Luthor Corp announced that it was selling off the South American division and was divesting itself of a few limited partnerships it had helped create. In all the moves created almost $3.5 billion in cash and they also shed over a billion dollars in debt. The moves did not impact the core business structure or major revenue streams. Luthor Corp was shedding units that made no sense to the vision Lionel foresaw. The company would be more flexible in dealing with threats. Lionel also knew that the head of the European division had resigned to pursue his own interests. That was a clear sign to Wall Street that the ship was sinking. Lionel was going to right the ship and then serve caviar to many Wall Street Execs from Lex's severed head. Monday he would begin the reversal of fortune and Lex would recognize the futility of challenging him.


Lex was looking at the news scroll by and saw the Luthor Corp announcement. He was a board member and he had not been informed. He held the second largest proxy in the company and he had not been informed of this move. His father had to suspect something otherwise he would have been informed. Lex wondered about the moves and pondered the fate of Mr. Damien Parker. No matter, he was watching as Minerva President and CEO, Phil Peterson announced the $4 billion purchase of Western Refining Co. The purchase was a straight cash and debt assumption plan and it gave Minerva the exact refining capacity it needed to get moving against gasoline. If market projections could be believed, Minerva would retire all the debt assumed in the next year once the new fuel was on the market. Lex was going to make a name for himself as an Eco-friendly business man and once the plan to save the family farm was implemented then his reputation would be much better than his father's.

He picked up the phone and called Nick Brady. "Nick, it is Lex, why was I not informed of this move."

"Lex, your father did not want you to know. I'll call Jeff from home and give him the details."


Damien learned that he was being let go from Luthor Corp by an email from Nick Brady. Damien was furious. Lionel did not have the decency to tell him that he was fired by a phone call or better yet to recall him from Santiago. What was worse for Damien was all the stock he had just been given was now worthless. He made a decision to head to Costa Rica and become the head of his own arms network. He was going to make the money and take Lionel's network away. What could Lionel do at the moment anyway; he had too many legal issues to deal with without leading authorities closer to even more evidence to use against him. Damien was now an independent operator and he would see Lex crawling on his knees before Damien took his last breath.

Langley, VA

The secure conference call was contentious. NSA, CIA, and the White House were trying to find a way to hide the past and yet not obstruct Congress. Nothing made Congress angrier than stonewalling from a government department. The Will of the People held Primacy and Congress was the People. The officials needed to talk to the Majority and Minority leaders to solve this problem. No one would be helped if Luthor Corp's fifty odd years of helping the government came to light. It would be arranged that Luthor Corp would survive and that the penalties from the SEC and IRS would be fair but all investigations would be cut short. That was the only course of action that could be taken to preserve the government's secrets.

July 6 Gotham City

Bruce Wayne was not the type to show emotion but Lex had been bold and Minerva was reaping the rewards. He was sad that he had given up control on Minerva in order for his company to retain its preeminent position atop the American Corporate Hierarchy. Lex still had no forgiven him his intrusion into Clark Kent's life but Bruce knew there was far more to the story than Lex was letting on. Smallville was too small to have the numerous occurrences of strangeness that seemed to plague the place. Now Lex acted as if he hated Bruce at times but Bruce was not going to sacrifice his friend to the unknown without definitive proof that he would survive. It was a conundrum but Bruce lived with those daily. He understood Sherlock Holmes and the famous mind for deduction. He knew that Fordman and Luthor had altered DNA that was now a medical fact. He also knew that the CDC was interested in Smallville because of the unusual health problems that had begun to crop up there. Bruce could only come to one supported conclusion and he did not like it. Clark Kent was different in ways that modern science would be loath to explain. He followed the Holmes Doctrine and was forced to conclude that Clark Kent was not human.


Lex was lounging in the second floor den and could look down and see Jon, Martha, Anne, and Gabe Sullivan playing Hearts. He looked over and saw Whitney and Clark heading towards the game room on the third floor. Lex knew it was a mistake to buy the new huge flat screen TV. They had been having tournaments with Pete and Jeff to see who was the last man standing. He laughed and looked down at the book he was reading. It was pure scholarly supposition but the idea that history could turn on a dime was intriguing. He was actually relaxing and that had to be moment to cherish. He knew that Monday was going to create problems with the Senate coming back into session but he was prepared for further fallout. He was waiting for his father to call him but he knew that would never happen. In truth Lex wanted this to be over so he could relax.

Lex crawled into bed and knew that the guys were on their way. He saw the door open and Clark's arm was draped across Whit's shoulders. Neither of them had a shirt on it was intoxicating.


Lex nodded, words having deserted him in the last few moments. It never ceased to amaze him how beautiful they are, both inside and out. His mind was ripped from the path it was taking as two sets of hands and mouths sent him into the realm of pleasure and later into an exhausted slumber.

Monday Washington

Senators Madison and Adkins were furious at the Majority Leader.

"Mark, Mary Alice, we have to face the facts in this case. Look I don't like Lionel Luthor anymore than you do but we must let the SEC and the IRS conduct a low-key investigation. There are issues involved that the American public cannot be privy to and I think Joe's committee can handle the political angle best."

"Adam...Mary Alice has," Sen. Madison was silenced by a wave of Sen. Chase's hand.

"No, her committee does not need to hold hearings unless Joe's committee finds something outside its purview. I know you are disappointed but the National Interest must come first."

With that statement both Senators left his office and wondered what kind of charmed life Lionel Luthor must lead.

New York

The news announcement that the Senate was only going to hold hearing on the political corruption charges brought a measure of relief to Wall Street. However the news that the U.S. Attorney was formally investigating Luthor Corp for serious allegations of accounting violations tempered any response the news out of Washington might have engendered. Luthor Corp stock did rally; investors taking into account all of the news in the last few trading sessions and found that Luthor Corp was seriously undervalued. Exuberance was not the name of the day but Luthor Corp was moving up again.


Shearn saw the news on the Internet and knew that someone was protecting Lionel with an interest in keeping things hidden. Shearn gathered the information and emailed it to Lex. He had an idea who Lex could use at CIA and FBI as his moles. He was in a hurry and did not send the email through the various routes he normally did to hide the point of origin. He knew that the government would have to hide evidence of its own culpability in the arms transactions.


Lex was looking at the displays in the communications room and saw the news that Luthor Corp was not going to be run through by Congress. Lex shivered because Wall Street was reacting favorably to the news despite the investigation by the SEC. He only had one card left to play and it was the final move. If he failed then his father would come after him and those he had come to care for. He hated having to make the final choice. He had delayed this decision as long as possible, hoping that a proxy war would solve the problem but that was not how this would play out. No, a knife in the dark was not allowed but an open declaration was being demanded. He realized that he decision was a heavy burden because it would be a final straw. His only solace was that he was acting exactly how Lionel would want him to act. `Beware what you wish for Old Man.' Lex knew he had been forced into this action but the final play would be public and require a few moves. If he failed then his father was free to destroy him. If he won then his father was done but Lex had no way to measure the price he would pay.

He saw that Luthor Corp was up almost ten dollars, regaining twenty-five percent of its losses in one day. Lex felt his stomach turn. His resolve did not weaken but the price of success had not been calculated. He still had loose ends to tie up before he even made his final play. All routes of escape had to be closed before Lex placed the King in check. Whether it was mate was the problem he had ultimately.


Lionel enjoyed the news that Luthor Corp stock was up but he was not satisfied. He picked up his phone and confirmed arrangements for Wednesday. He was going to transfer all the money at that point and on Thursday counter the threats to his company. He knew the U.S. Attorney could be bribed and his company would skate through the SEC inquiry. That meant that Lex was the only he had left to deal with and that was going to be a great pleasure.

Ft. Meade, MD, National Security Agency

The email was sent and certain markers that it was picked up and tagged. The programming software was able to trace the origin. The destination was an inbox for a small company in Silicon Valley. The NSA duty officer saw where it came from and made a discreet phone call.


Lex looked in the email resource box and saw a tag that had been described to him in the disc he had been delivered. He looked at the email and the box was closed and his father's fate was sealed. He closed his eyes for a moment and looked at the email again. He found the right email address and sent the message to arrange a little chat.

Ft. Meade

The email was read and the cryptic nature made the readers a little uneasy. The fact that it had been only partially decrypted meant that the last part of the information might be vital. Regardless, the decision was made to remove the source of the email. The recipient could not be touched because NSA was still tracking that down.

July 7 Almada, Portugal across the bay from Lisbon

It was the middle of the night and low-level clouds obscured the night sky. The crashing waves covered the approach of three speedboats. The man in question had not been seen leaving his residence and the man on the ground illuminated the target with a laser. In unison three modified anti-tank missiles screamed from the boats. The target house was hit at slightly different times but the result was spectacular. The first missile destroyed the outer wall before exploding inside the first room. The second and third missiles leveled the rest of the house. The boats sped away to meet their rendezvous. The ground operative disengaged the laser and watched for any movement from the rubble. Nothing moved save the occasional collapse of smoldering or burning debris.


Luthor Corp stock continued its rally on Wall Street. But that did not matter to Lex at the moment. He and Clark had come to D.C. to deal with some people that did not want the information he had in his hands to go public.

A figure was waiting for Lex at the Smithsonian Castle. "What can I do for you Mr. Luthor?"

"And you are?"

"That is unimportant. I am the man certain elements in the government have chosen to meet with you. Now what is it you want?"

"Stop protecting my father."

"I was unaware that any effort had been made to protect your father."

Clark was scanning the area and saw the sniper and raced up there and disabled him and the gun. He picked up the earpiece and listened to the conversation. He looked around and saw the one other person on the ground support. He moved like the wind and took him out as well. Clark then dialed a number from his phone.

Lex felt his phone vibrate in his suit jacket. Clark's signal that he was okay and the man in front of him had no teeth. "Let me tell you something. Your team has just been taken out and this conversation is being recorded for my benefit. I know that the Senate was pressured to drop much of its investigation. I know that the U.S. Attorney will do nothing to stop my father."

"And this has what to do with us?"

"I'll contact you on Thursday and you will meet my father and make him follow what I demand. So you know, if you kill me or try to kill me then all that precious information will be on every major newspaper in the world in hours. My part of the bargain is to see that this information never sees the light of day."

"What is it you would have me do?"

"Thursday, that is when all of this scandal will quietly go away and my father, well you will see."

"Mr. Luthor...seeing how my team is not responding, I have no choice but to make this deal. Thursday is the day I will fulfill this `arrangement' but we will be watching you."

"I'd be surprised if you didn't."

Lex met Clark two hours later and they headed back to Smallville. Lex could not calm down. For all the outward calm he had radiated, he had been a nervous wreck. He had made a deal that he did not know if he could pull off. He did not think he would sleep tonight because the Queen was now in position for the final attack. It all hinged on what happened and how the markets reacted.


Lionel was unusually jittery. His company had regained half of its losses in the last two days. He was about to make a bold move and with it he would claim S.T.A.R. Labs and place Lex on the defensive. He was proud of his son but his hour of greatness was over. Lex would learn that he could not take on the throne. Lionel smiled and prepared to begin the rise of the Phoenix.


Whitney had met Lex and Clark at the private airstrip. He was driving them back to the estate.

"Jeff told me to tell you that Nick will be ready at 7:00 am with three Board members to take your call."

"Good. Guys, whatever happens tomorrow..."

Clark hugged Lex, "What happens happens. I just want you to relax again. You are tense, even after we have sex and that is not good. Lex, you are too young to be this stressed."

"Clark, anytime I deal with my father I get stressed and this is magnified beyond all reason. I love you both and thanks for putting up with me."

"Lex, Clark and I have discussed this and don't be surprised if we start tormenting you during the day by randomly having sex to distract you."

"Whitney that is not funny. Thank you both for having restraint for the last few weeks."

There was no response just a mental nod as they pulled into the massive estate. They headed to their bedroom to get an early night sleep because the day would start early.

Costa Rica

Damien pulled up to the lab that he had set up for Dr. Hamilton. He looked around and saw that it was secluded and defendable. Damien was impressed. He had two arms plants that he and his friends owned. He had the network of contacts. He no longer had a premium delivery network but he would begin to use the Cartel contacts for such things. He walked into the facility and was very impressed.

"Mr. Parker, it is nice of you to visit."

"Dr. Hamilton, this is permanent. I am here to stay. Great facility, I'm very impressed. Have you been able to get many samples?"

"Not from Lowell County, that avenue is closed but I have gotten some from other strike sites. I have some people looking into the possibility that there might be other samples around the globe. But I have about one hundred pounds of rocks so far."

"Nice, any progress?"

"We will get there Mr. Parker, we will get there."

July 10 Metropolis 6:00 am

Lionel was trying to access the old accounts and finding that his passwords did not work. He looked at the balances and discovered that he money was no longer there and many of the accounts were closed. Lionel felt his heart rate increase and his arm was going numb. His breath was coming in rapid succession. He had plans that were contingent on that money, without it he could not bury Lex or push Luthor Corp to greater heights. Lionel managed to calm himself but now he had to find where the money went and how to retrieve it in short order.

Smallville 7:00 am

Lex was in the communications room and was nervous. His course was set now, he had to follow through. He hit the speed dial on the speakerphone.

"Brady here."

"Nick, this is Lex."

"Good morning Mr. Luthor. How may I be of service?"

"I need you and two Board members on this call."

"Lex this Donovan, Greg, and Sheila. I am the Board Secretary how may we be of assistance?"

"I am resigning from the Board of Directors effective immediately. I want this placed in a press release ASAP."

"Did I hear you correctly? You are resigning?"

"Yes Donovan, I am resigning."

"Does your father know?"

"No and I don't care. Now, do you members acknowledge my resignation?"

A chorus of Ayes reaches Lex's ears.

"Thank you very much, good day."

Lex took a small breath and dialed another number. He looked and saw that Tristan, Jeff, Clark, and Whitney had joined him.

"Brad Jacobs."

"Brad, its Lex Luthor."

"Lex what can I do for you?"

"Brad dump my entire portfolio of Luthor Corp stock on the open market at two dollars under its current trading value."



" hold fifteen percent of the stock. You are talking about $12 to 13 billion here."

"Brad, do it."


"Brad, do it."

"Yes sir. Please email me your request and I need your voice authentication PIN."

Lex gave him the number and sent the email.

"Mr. Luthor, I am confirming your request to divest yourself of all Luthor Corp stock, is this correct?"

"Yes it is."

"I will get this transaction processed."

New York

The trading day started out normally then the press release hit the floor that Lex Luthor had resigned from the Board of Directors of Luthor Corp. The news rattled trading desks but then fifteen minutes later a huge volume of Luthor Corp stock became available and it was being sold short. Desks at every major Brokerage House began to wonder what the hell was happening and then the news hit that Lex had sold all his Luthor Corp holdings. This news was the straw that broke the camel's back. For all the bad news that Luthor Corp had withstood over the past two weeks this was a blow that Wall Street was unprepared to deal with.


Lionel had been busy trying to locate his lost assets when his butler interrupted him.

"Sir, you need to see what is happening on Wall Street."

"What?" Lionel then saw the news and could not believe the ticker lines. Luthor Corp was down twenty dollars in the first hour of trading and falling. "How did this happen?" Lionel dialed headquarters to find out why the stock was in freefall.

"Sir...Lex resigned and dumped his portfolio on the open market."



"I heard you! That son of a bitch!"


Lex watched as Luthor Corp stock fell. He was watching a meltdown and he shook his head but he was showing his father that he could play the game as hard as he needed to. He looked and saw that the stock was down thirty-five dollars so far.



"Are you okay?"

"No, I have intentionally destroyed a company to get at my father. That is exactly what my training told me to do. It is sad that I could not rise above it."

"You did what you had to."

"Great. Is that supposed to make me feel better? Please try again then."

"Lex, you use what weapons you have available. Do you think your father would have responded to you sending candy and balloons? I'll remind you that he could have preserved the status quo but choose to goad you into action and you have been forced to play the hand you were dealt."

"Whitney that does not excuse the fact that I am treating a multibillion dollar company like a pawn. I know I am justified in my actions but it is the choices I make that will determine the type of person I will be."

"Clark and I will love always. You are no saint but you are not bad either. So now what?"

"My father has a choice to make but first I need the markets to close." Lex looked up and with an hour left Luthor Corp was dealing with a catastrophe. He felt Whit kiss him on the cheek and walk away.


Lionel was in the boardroom when the final bell closed the exchange. The stock was down almost fifty percent in a single trading day. He saw his secretary motion to him. He picked up the phone.

"Mr. Luthor, your presence is required in New York tomorrow."

"Who is this?"

"Some old associates need to have a small chat."

Minutes later Lionel received another phone call.

"Mr. Luthor, I regret to inform you that we must call the balances of your personal lines of credit. The peg value for Luthor Corp stock is no longer being met. Please settle this matter by the end of the business day tomorrow."

Lionel looked at the board and was at a loss on how to recover from the shock of the day.

July 11 New York

Lionel was not happy he had things to solve and being here was not doing him or his company any good.

"Lionel please sit."

"Who are you?"

"We represent certain interests in the government. We were able to deflect the investigation and steer them in the direction of least harm for us and consequently for you as well. It has come to our attention that another party was aggrieved by our actions so this meeting is to remedy that unfortunate situation."

Lionel looked at the man, "Who?"

"Me." Lex said to his father. "Hi dad. Have a bad day yesterday?"

"LEX!" Lionel felt his blood pressure rise and he clenched his fists in rage."

"Careful dad, I don't want you to have a real stroke. I'm actually here to save you and the company...for a major price of course."


"See, they are going to enforce our little deal. This piece of paper turns all of your assets over to me. You are about to have a stroke and you may never recover. They are going to arrange transport to a nice private island out in Hawaii. You are going on permanent vacation. You can have all the luxuries the world has to offer except email and a phone line. The head of security will be able to contact the outside world but not you. Good behavior will let you come home for the holidays but I doubt you will ever want to see me again."

"What do I get out of this?"

"Luthor Corp will be bought out by Minerva and all of the Empire remains in a Luthor's hands. You get your pride and your life because I could arrange for you to have the convenient CIA heart attack. I will cover the funds that are due by the end of the day. I found out about that late last night. So, sign here and they will witness it. All of the mess that Luthor Corp is in will disappear in a matter of days."

Lionel looked at Lex and grinned. He signed the document that created full Power of Attorney for Lex and the other documents that granted Lex guardianship over the entire Luthor Estate. "This is not over Lex."

"Yes, it is. You are finished but you will have a great"

"Lex, never count a Luthor out...never."

"Enjoy Hawaii. We must do this again sometime."

Lex watched as Lionel was escorted out to a waiting car and taken to a private clinic. The news would report that Lionel Luthor had suffered a massive stroke and his prognosis was not good but that was for the days ahead. First Lex had to announce that he was buying Luthor Corp and to settle his father's debts. He at least spared his father's life and that counted for something. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and walked out and met Clark two blocks down the street. He did not know what he had done to deserve a guardian angel but he feared the price in the end.

Luthor Corp stock suspended trading after the announcement that Lex was making an offer for the company in Minerva's name. The fact that Lex still had several billion dollars from his previous days transaction allowed him to consolidate his position in Minerva. Wall Street greeted the news well. It would take a few weeks to sort out all the implications of the transaction but Lex Luthor was now a major player on Wall Street and in Washington as well. He had earned the respect of many for taking down his own father but he was also feared in several circles. Either view would serve his purposes in the future.

July 13 Smallville

Lex, Clark and Whitney were in bed relaxing for the first time in days. The tension had been broken and Clark had given Lex a massage that was almost as good as sex. Whitney and Clark were happy to have an undistracted Lex back. Lex responded to the gentle caress that Whit was giving is stomach while Clark rubbed his shoulders to make sure the tension was gone. Lex moved up and began to kiss Whitney with a burning desire he could not contain. Clark kissed his neck and worked his way down Lex's back. Soon Whitney's mouth was attached to the areola and driving Lex insane. Clark was returning the favor of rimming Lex in the fashion that Lex liked to do him. Whitney moved to the other nipple and it responded like its twin. Lex ground backwards onto Clark's tongue. Lex moved one of his hands down to touch his cock but was stopped by Whitney. He can tell his lovers want to control him and he allows them to do all the work. Soon he feels Whitney tonguing is sack and can feel him sucking on them. He cannot stop the moans because Clark and Whit are driving him insane. Much to Lex's displeasure they both stop. He manages to open his eyes and stare at them.


"Nothing, taking a break." Clark intoned.

Lex is trying to gather his scattered wits when Whitney moves his face back between Lex's legs and engulfs his cock. Any thought he had fled at that moment and when Clark slipped behind him and began to fuck him it was all but over.

Whitney tasted the familiar tang that was Lex and saw Clark was still fucking the almost comatose Lex. Whitney snaked his hand down his stomach and began to jerk his cock while watching Clark fuck Lex. Lex groaned as Clark was expertly working his ass over. He managed to open his eyes and noticed Whitney was jacking off. He reached a hand over and took over. Soon Clark found his release and moments later so did Whitney. They lounged in a messy heap, panting with exertion, enjoying the feel of cooling sweat and contact that they craved.

July 15 Metropolis

The limousines pulled up to Great White Stadium and the household headed up to the owner's suite. Clark and Whitney were excited because it was Media Day and they were going to get to meet all the players. For Lex it was the day he officially took over as owner and installed Jonathan as team President. Lex wanted to improve them team's image and Jonathan was the man he wanted for that job. The suite was unlike any other in the stadium and Clark and Whitney were impressed. Tristan walked over and began talking to several other VIPs that were here to greet Lex. Lex finally was able to get away and saw Whit and Clark sitting in the first row of seats in the box and went to join them. Whitney stood up and moved so Lex could sit between them.

"So, are you two impressed?"

"Yes, we are and thank you." Clark responded. He had his hand draped across Lex's chair and so did Whitney.

"Can't wait for the season to start. It is going to be a great year."

Lex looked and the field and felt protected in ways he had never known. He leaned back into the duel embrace. "Yes it will be but there is so much left to accomplish." Clark and Whitney met each other's eyes and smiled. They knew the implications of Lex's words but they would have much to say about the future. They were in it together for the long haul.


Book II: Rising Tides

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Each story may contain or does contain explicit NC-17 material. You have been warned.

Author's Notes: This is a work of fiction. All points of reference to real events are there to provide context and keep me from having to invent everything.

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Cast - Photo Gallery

Click for Photo/Bio
Knights, Bishops & Rooks
Enrique DeSantos
Henry Gyrich
Senator Robert Kelly
Shadows in Spring
Christopher Smith
Echoes of the Past
General Sam Thames
Shearn Phipps
Scores & Solutions
Stephen Hamiltion
Nathan Daniels
Battlements & Barricades
Tristan Fordman
Nick Brady
Damien Parker
Dominic Haynes (Senatori)
Gabriel Sullivan
Lionel Luthor
Anne Fordman
David Fordman
Sebastian Fordman
Jeff Fordman
Bruce Wayne
Plans, Detours, Goals:
Chloe Sullivan
Lana Lang
Clark Kent
Whitney Fordman
Lex Luthor
Jonathan Kent
Martha Kent
Pete Ross
Victoria Hardwick