Lois, Clark, Chloe, Jimmy
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read Chapter 7 here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
We're not in Kansas any more.
Okay, so the first thought that crossed my mind was a bit of a cliche. So what? Next time you find yourself unexpectedly in a giant ice castle, see how brilliant and original your thoughts are.
I was still trying to figure out where I was and how I'd gotten here, so I glanced around. Ice. Big ice. Big pillars of ice, rising so high over my head I could hardly see the top of the structure.
You could make a hell of a lot of rum and Coke on the rocks with this thing.
"Jor-El!" Clark spoke more loudly, raising his voice and shouting toward the ceiling. "I need help!"
The ice castle responded as buildings will tend to do when you yell at them... i.e., with a profound silence. Clark got a look of fury on his face.
"Smallville," I said, wincing, because that last bellow had pretty much reduced my eardrums to shreds. "I don't know who you're hollering at, but they're obviously not home right now."
"He has to be home." He spun around, glaring. "I know he was damaged last week, but goddamnit--"
I knew then just how upset he was, because Clark Kent never swore. Not like that. "Okay," I said, trying to help him even though I had no real clue what was going on. "Who exactly are you looking for?"
"A computer," he said, almost absently.
"A computer," I repeated.
"Yes, a computer. An artificial intelligence that's smarter than either of us. I can't get rid of Bra-- of the thing in her head without help."
A computer. Riiiighhhht. I was halfway tempted to remark that Smallville had apparently lost his marbles on the way here, but then I remembered the dark thing behind Chloe's eyes, and shut the hell up.
There were obviously things going on here I couldn't begin to understand. So for all I knew, Hal might be living in this big ice palace. Who knew?
Then again, I thought, looking at the fury blazing in Clark's eyes, it was possible he'd just slipped his gears entirely.
"Jor-El!" He blurred-- and this time I saw him, saw him suddenly move from one place to another so quickly all I saw was a swoosh-- over to a bunch of spiky ice sticks. Sort of a console, I guess you could call it. He began pulling out the spiky ice things and reinserting them in different places. There was a desperation on his face that made me think he had absolutely no clue what he was doing, and was just trying this as a last-ditch effort.
Suddenly there was a whirring sound, and the dark ice around us slowly brightened, until it was bluish-white. I saw hope brighten in Clark's face, too.
A voice spoke from the ceiling, rumbling like thunder.
"M-m-my son. I am p-p-pleased to see you."
His... son? I'd known Clark was adopted, of course, but I hadn't realized he was the spawn of a computer program. I blinked, and didn't say anything, because for once in my life I didn't have a damn thing to say.
"I don't have time for small talk," Clark said. I noticed his tone was a bit on the hostile side, and wondered if he had issues with Daddy, or if he was just in a big hurry. Or maybe both. "My-- my-- my friend Chloe. She's been infected by Brainiac."
"Your f-f-friend." The voice paused, and I had a feeling it was looking us all over. "Your f-f-friend? The w-w-woman you begged me to save last w-w-week? The one who came here and b-b-begged me to save you a year ago? The woman who told me she l-l-loved my son? You call this w-w-woman a friend?"
Clark looked like he'd been hit upside the head with a really big ice crystal. "She told you what?"
"My s-s-son," the voice droned, sounding incredibly dignified and British despite the mechanical stammer, "this w-w-woman is far more than your f-f-friend."
"Um. Yeah. You're right. But... well, that doesn't matter right now. What matters is that she's been taken over by Brainiac. She needs your help, Jor-El."
The voice sounded apologetic. "I t-t-tried to remove the infection once already, my s-s-son. It did not work. And n-n-now that I am d-d-damaged, I can do even l-l-less to help."
"I don't care if you're damaged, damn it! You have to try helping her again. And do it right this time."
The voice sighed-- and don't tell me computers can't sigh, because it totally did. "I am afraid that I am s-s-simply unable to correct the p-p-problem."
"Then what am I supposed to do?" Smallville sounded furiously frustrated, like he was on the verge of pulling his hair out. "I have to save her, Jor-El. I have to. I mean... it's not just her. It's the world. It's everything."
There was a long pause. At last the voice spoke again.
"Only you can s-s-save her, Kal-El."
More to come...