Even with the help of the super villains, the fight against the undead army was a tough one. More Supers and more villains fell, as did an untold number of soldiers and civilians. After months of steady combat, finally the living gained the upper hand. The combined forces of the superheroes and villains were able to barricade the area from Metropolis to Gotham to Washington, D.C. and much of the Northeastern seaboard from the outside threat of the undead.
The Gotham Nuclear Power Plant ensured that the barricaded "safe-zone" had power. The combined team of Supers and villains began the task of transporting the few remnants of living to the safe-zone. Superman found himself working around the clock, only he among all the Supers could work nonstop for days on end.
However, the mental strain began to show in many of the survivors. Denying access to the safety-zone to any wounded and ill weighed particularly heavy upon Superman's mind. The Man of Steel became more and more morose. Not even Batman could elicit more than a few words from Superman's mouth.
It fell upon Wonder Woman to set the surviving humans inside the safe-zone on the task of restarting civilization. She motivated the survivors to begin the tasks of planting fields, fixing and maintaining utilities, emergency services, and law enforcement. Slowly morale began to increase as more and more survivors trickled in and less undead were roaming the continent.
Bruce Wayne worked side by side with Lex Luthor to find a cure or an immunization for the plague. Many theories were put forth and all failed. So far, the spread of the disease appeared checked. An occasional outbreak would happen, but the new emergency response teams were quick in putting it down.
Finally, after over a year of constant combat the combined forces virtually eradicated the undead menace from North America. There were only fifty million living humans, four superheroes; Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin, and three villains; Lex Luthor, Metallo, and Solomon Grundy.
Superman began to take a long deserve rest. He had not been to see Lois Lane in months. As far as she knew Clark Kent had disappeared, and she presumed him dead. Therefore, it was with much surprise to the staff of the Daily Planet when Clark suddenly returned to work.
"Great Caesar's Ghost!" Jimmy Olson exclaimed when he saw Clark enter into the main office. Everyone in the room suddenly turned to see the return of a man they all assumed was dead.
Lois ran up to Clark, "My God, Clark! I thought you were dead...or, well you know."
For the first time in a year Clark Kent smiled. Seeing his old friends alive and well greatly warmed his heart. His love for Lois had only increased during his absence. It also appeared that Lois's affection for Kent had also warmed. He grabbed Lois into an embrace and shook hands with Daily Planet staff. Whenever they asked what happened to him he would say that he was helping with the cleansing of the safe-zone.
"Lois, I need to talk to you tonight," Clark whispered.
"Sure Clark, you can drop by my place after work," Lois replied.
Clark was genuinely nervous when he knocked on the door to Lois's apartment. It reminded him of better days. The mental stress of the past grueling months was starting to wash away. Lois opened the door happy to see the geeky looking reporter wearing his usual dress suit and hat in hand.
"Come in Clark. I'd like to get an exclusive of your exploits," Lois said as she ushered Clark into the room.
Clark sat down on the couch Lois offered him. "Sure Lois, but first I need to let you know something."
Clark noticed the look upon Lois's face. It was one of fear and puzzlement. "Clark, I know what you want to say, but..."
"Wait, hear me out first please and then you can say what you will."
Lois sat in a chair across from Clark. She forced a smile as she prepared to listen to Clark.
"I've done a lot of soul searching over the last year. I have been through a lot. Many things I saw and endured still haunt my dreams. Sometimes I even believe I can hear the dead talking to me. Therefore, I feel that I should let you know some things about me.
"First, I am madly in love with you," Clark blurted out, his heart racing in anticipation to Lois's answer.
"That's...uh, nice Clark. But..."
Clark held up his hand to stall her, "Secondly, I believe you should know my secret." Clark removed his glasses and deepened his voice.
"I am Superman."
Lois let out a shocked squeak. She realized that deep in her heart she knew it all the time. The glasses and slouched posture really was a poor disguise.
"Having said that," Clark/Superman continued, "I want you to be my wife."
Lois laughed and launched herself into Clark's arms, "Of course, I accept."
Clark was returning to his apartment after breaking his news to Lois. He felt better than he had in eons. Finally, he was going to join his life with his true love. Maybe in this safe-zone, humankind could flourish again.
As Clark climbed the steps up to his apartment, the familiar signal, of Batman contacting him, reached his ears. A quick change and flight brought Superman to the rooftop to face Batman.
"Clark, good to see you looking so good," Bruce began.
"I'm going to get married next week, and I actually needed to see you to be my best man," Clark laughed.
"I'd be honored. I wish I had good news to give you," Bruce's somber tone alarmed Superman.
"OK, what is it now."
"First, Lex and I have determined that you can't spread the disease because we all carry it."
"How's that?" Superman queried.
"I mean that we are all infected. So, when we die we will turn into one those ghouls. I'm sure that even goes for you. Clark, we need to warn other species to stay away from this planet."
"Damn," Superman cursed under his breath. He sighed deeply, "I can alter some of the surrounding satellites as a warning beacon."
"That is good; however, I have more bad news. The president has not been heard from in days."
Superman's expression belied his sudden concern. Without another word, Superman sped off toward the Maryland hotel. Superman did not even land as his x-ray vision confirmed his fears. The entire exiled government of the United States of America was now a bunch of roaming zombies stuck deep in an underground bunker.
The heavy burden of depression resumed its place on Superman's shoulders. In just a matter of one hour, Superman had descended from the heights of happiness to the depths of darkest despair.
Superman shook his head. There was no way they could change the past. Therefore, he had to focus on the future. His first order of business was to prepare the satellites orbiting the doomed planet.Posted by deg at July 19, 2006 7:57 PM