Open on a scene of Clark and Lana, walking side by side through the Talon. Lana is carrying an equestrian helmet in her hands, and she shuffles it back and forth as they talk.
Clark: (Impressed) Wow, you're really putting in a lot of time on this equestrian show. I didn't realize how important it was to you.
Lana: (Hopefully) Well, I'm inviting the Smalls to come watch me ride in this weekend's competition.
Lana heads behind the counter as Clark speaks.
Clark: Oh, well I take it everything's good on the father-daughter front.
Lana: (A bit surprised) Actually, they're great.
Clark: (Happily) Well, this can actually work out then.
Lana: (Handing Clark a soda) Let's just say I am cautiously optimistic.
Lana comes from behind the counter to stand next to Clark.
Lana: (Continuing) I keep living my life waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Clark: (Sincerely) You deserve to be happy.
Lana reaches out and lays her hand on top of Clark's.
Lana: (Softly) Thanks, Clark.
In the background, we see Chloe approaching. Her body language indicates she's angry, and she stops when she sees Clark and Lana gazing at each other. With a slight shake of her head, Chloe walks up behind Clark.
Chloe: (Restrained anger) Clark, what happened to you?
Chloe sets her bag down forcefully on the counter with a loud thud. Clark turns and looks at her, confused.
Chloe: (Getting more angry) Story deadline... (Off Clark's continued confused look)...stop me when I'm getting warm.
A sudden look of realization crosses Clark's face.
Clark: My article about the debate team. (Apologetic) Oh, Chloe, I'm really sorry. (Turns to Lana) I got caught up helping Lana. I'll give it to you first thing tomorrow morning.
Chloe: (Annoyed) Well, unfortunately Clark, I needed it tonight. To fill in the hole, I had to blow up the lunch menu to a 60-point type. I'm sure the student body is going to find that fascinating.
Lana: (Guiltily) Chloe, it's my fault. I asked Clark to help me.
Chloe: No, Lana, I don't blame you.
As she speaks, Chloe pins Clark with a look, and Clark is taken aback. Sensing the tension, Lana makes an excuse to leave.
Lana: (Uncomfortably) Well, um, I'm going to go lock up in the back. (To Clark) Thanks again for your help.
Clark: (Smiling at Lana) Yeah.
Clark turns back to Chloe, who is staring at him, extremely upset. Clark shifts uncomfortably.
Clark: Chloe, I'll make it up to you. I promise.
Chloe: (Shaking her head) I can't say that makes me feel any better. Given your previous track record on promises....
Clark: (Matter of factly) It's one story. What's the big deal?
Chloe: (matter of factly) That you couldn't give up *one* riding practice to do.
Clark: (Slightly upset) Don't make this about Lana.
Chloe: I'm not. This is about *you*, and your perennial inability to be there when I need you.
Clark: (Taken aback) Whoa, don't you think you're being a little harsh?
Chloe: (Bluntly) No. I don't. I'm never a priority in your life. I'm always just your back-up plan, and I'm tired of it.
Clark: (In disbelief) That's ridiculous.
Chloe: Is it?
Clark: (Upset) Chloe, if that's the way you feel, then maybe I should quit.
Chloe: (Not backing down) Maybe you should.
Chloe and Clark stare intensely at each other for several beats.
Clark: (Angrily) Fine. I quit.
Clark turns and walks briskly from the Talon. As he leaves, Chloe looks a bit stunned. She turns and leans against the counter, putting her face in her hands and sighing sadly.
Cut to a shot of a headlight. The camera pans up and we see a middle aged man driving an unmarked van. As he speeds through the back roads of Smallville, we cut to a shot of two pairs of legs walking down the middle of the street. The legs seem to belong to teenage boys, as they are clad in jeans and sneakers. As the two boys stop in the middle of the road and turn, we see they are carrying crossbows of some sort. We cut from a shot of the van speeding down the road back to the crossbow being cocked. As the camera pans up, we see the boy holding the crossbow is wearing a rubber green alien mask with large black eyes. The two boys (both wearing the masks) take their position on either side of the road as the van approaches.
As the van speeds past, the boys aim the crossbows at the back of the van and fire. We see the crossbows were armed with darts of some sort attached to cables. The darts pierce the metal of the van, and the driver looks around in confusion. As the van drives away from the boys, the slack in the cables is taken up. The boys brace themselves, and use the forward momentum of the van to flip it over once the cables are pulled tight. The van comes to a stop upside down in the middle of the road. The boys drop their crossbows and run toward the van as we hear squealing tires and another truck approaches.
Boy 1: Come on, help me get the stuff out of the back!
Boy 2: Right!
The two boys begin to pull open the back doors of the truck. They suddenly look up as they see headlights approaching them. They glance back and see Clark pulling up in the Kents truck. Clark looks on curiously from behind the wheel before stopping the truck and climbing out.
Clark: (Yelling) Hey!
Clark begins jogging toward the overturned van.
Clark: (Yelling) Hey! What do you think you're doing?
Boy 1: (Pointing at Clark) Get out of here!
The boys turn back toward the van, but Clark grabs the boy's arm, pulling him away. As the boy twists around, Clark sees the boy is wearing a Smallville High class ring. As he looks at the ring, the boy punches him hard in the chest. Clark releases his grip as he stumbles back, but is otherwise unhurt. With a slight shake of his head, Clark starts toward the boys again.
However, the boy has now ripped the back door off the van. He easily turns and cracks Clark across the jaw with the door, sending Clark sailing through the air and into the ditch. The boy then tosses the door down as if it were feather light. Meanwhile, several other boys work to grab the contents of the truck.
Boy: Hurry up, dude, hurry up.
Clark, still lying in the ditch, focuses his X-Ray vision on the boy who hit him with the door. He notices a large metal plate above the boy's right eye.
The boys manage to pull a large covered pallet from the van, and load it into the back of a waiting truck.
Boy: I got it, I got it.
The boys quickly jump into the other truck and speed away as Clark stares after them.
Cut to a shot of the Kent farm at night. The camera pans up to the loft window, and we see Jonathan and Clark inside, talking.
Jonathan: (Incrediously) How could they do that?
Clark: (Sarcastically) What, beat the crap out of me?
Jonathan: (Annoyed) Clark...
Clark: (Apologetic) I'm sorry, Dad. It's just--it hurt. It actually hurt.
Jonathan: What did you tell the police?
Clark: I left before they got there.
Jonathan: (Insistant) Son, you witnessed a crime. You have an obligation to report it.
Clark: (Shaking his head) And put myself back on Sheriff Adams's radar? I don't think so. Besides, what was I going to tell her--I used my X-Ray vision to see the plate in his head?
Jonathan: (Noddingm) All right, I understand. Just...calm down. What else did you see?
Clark: (Thinking) He was wearing a class ring. I think he goes to Smallville High.
Jonathan and Clark look at each other, considering this information.
Cut to a shot of Smallville High. Students file into the building to begin a new school day.
Cut to a shot inside the school hallway. Clark stands next to Pete's locker, focusing his X-Ray vision on each student as they pass, while Pete scribbles something on a memo board inside his locker.
Pete: (Unconvinced) Clark, just because he has a class ring doesn't necessarily mean he goes here. I mean, he could be a graduate.
Clark ignores Pete and looks around, focusing his X-Ray vision on a few more students. A look of disappointment crosses his face as he doesn't see what he's looking for. He turns back toward Pete and the disappointed look turns to one of giddiness as he sees Lana rounding the corner away from them. She smiles widely at Clark and mouths "Hi" as she turns the corner.
Pete: (Turning to see Lana walking by) Meanwhile, in Lana Land, it looks like your ship has finally come in.
The two boys start to walk down the hall.
Clark: (Embarrassed) Oh, I mean, we're....
Pete: (Mocking in good nature) Just friends. You better invest in a new set of cue cards, Clark, because I've never seen her so happy.
Clark: Well, I wish it was just me, but Lana's been walking on air ever since her dad stepped up.
Clark glances down the hall and sees a blond, athletic looking boy in a letterman's jacket tossing books into his locker. Something about the boy causes Clark to stop walking, and he focuses his X-ray vision on him. As he does so, he sees a metal plate screwed into the boy's skull.
Clark: (Urgently) Pete, who's that guy?
Pete: You mean Eric Marsh? (Dryly) You really need to pick up a sports page.
Pete and Clark watch as Eric closes his locker and heads down the hallway.
Cut to a shot of Smallville High's baseball field. As the camera pans down, we see Eric, in a baseball uniform and batting helmet, standing near home plate, a look of intense concentration on his face.
Coach: All right Eric, show us what you got!
Before getting himself into batting position, Eric pulls a small asthma type inhaler from his pocket. The canister is clear, and it's filled with a florescent green liquid. Eric inhales the contents of the canister, coughing a little as he does so.
Coach: Let's go Eric, step up!
Eric slips the inhaler back into his pocket and takes his batting stance next to the plate.
Eric: (Commandingly) All right, give me some heat!
On the pitchers mound, a coach drops a baseball into the pitching machine. The ball sails toward Eric, and he easily hits it, sending it flying over the fence. The ball sails over the fence and lands with a loud thud, its velocity causing it to leave a divit in the ground when it lands near Pete and Clark, who are watching from the other side of the fence.
Clark: (Impressed) Nice swing.
Pete: Yeah. Eric's got the highest batting average in Smallville High history. He can really put the team on the map. Rumor has it they're getting corporate sponsorship for new equipment and uniforms because of him. Not to mention the scouts that have suddenly added a detour to Smallville. (Studies Eric as he stands at the plate) Funny thing though. He used to suck. (Chuckles)
Clark: (Looking at Eric taking another swing) What do you mean?
Pete: Well, we played on the same Little League team for five years. He was always a bench warmer.
Clark: When did he go from zero to hero?
Pete: I'm not sure. Guess sometimes you work hard enough, you get your dream.
Clark: (Unconvinced) Or he's under some pharmaceutical enhancement.
Pete: You're thinking steroids?
Clark: Right now, I don't know what to think.
Behind the plate, Eric stares back at Clark and Pete, who are watching him closely. The coach drops another ball into the pitching machine, and Eric swings at it. The ball sails toward the scoreboard, crashing into it right above Clark's head. Smoke and sparks rain down from the scoreboard as the ball hits the scoreboard. Clark studies Eric, who is smiling at what he's done.
Cut to a shot of Lex's study. Lex throws the doors open and strides in, but is soon stopped by a familiar voice.
Lex stops, annoyed, and looks up toward the landing, where Lionel is standing, casually flipping through a book.
Lionel: (Not taking his eyes off the book) It's been too long.
Lex: (Continuing toward his desk) And I thought we agreed to keep face to face contact to a minimum.
Lionel: (Closing the book) For business perhaps. This is a social call. (Decending the staircase) I've come to offer my congratulations on your engagement... though I admit, I, um, well it hurt that I had to learn of your pending nuptials via the gossip pages of the Inquisitor.
Lex: (Chuckling dryly) Come on, Dad. Since when has my personal happiness ever been of the slightest interest to you?
Lionel heads over to the small bar and begins fixing himself a drink.
Lionel: And where is, uh....um...
Lionel: (Raising his glass to Lex) Helen. Hmm?
Lex: (Amused) Helen's out of town at a medical seminar. Otherwise , I suspect your visit would be putting her anger management techniques to the test.
Lionel just chuckles at Lex's words.
Lex: (Continuing) But then, we both know you're not here to discuss my wedding plans.
Lex picks up a piece of paper from his desk and slides it toward Lionel. We see it's a printout of an article from the Smallville Torch.
Lionel: (Under his breath) What is this?
Lionel picks up the printout and studies it. As he does, we see it's an article written by Chloe, titled "Hijacked Truck Linked to Luthorcorp".
Lionel: (Mock disappointment) Oh, Lex, I'm surprised that you would, uh, put stock in the reportage of a high school newspaper.
Lex: (Amused) I usually don't, but....I did some checking of my own, and lo and behold it's true.
Lionel just chuckles again at Lex's words.
Lex: (Continuing) What are you moving around in the middle of the night in unmarked trucks?
Lionel: (Unconcerned) Nothing out of the ordinary.
Lex studies Lionel for a moment, and Lionel looks up from the printout.
Lionel: (Seriously) I'd hate to think that you'd stoop to use common thuggery to get back at me, son.
Lex: (Smiling with amused realization) Wait a minute. (Getting up and coming to stand next to Lionel) Are you insinuating that I had something to do with robbing your truck?
Lionel just sips his drink and chuckles.
Lex: (Mockingly indignant) Dad, that would be illegal.
Lionel: (Matter of factly) Legalities are inconsequential. I would want my property returned.
Lex nods and then leans in closer.
Lex: For what it's worth, I didn't have anything to do with it. But the fact that you came this far to ask intrigues me. What's in there that's so important to you?
Lionel doesn't answer, but rather swallows another sip from his drink and studies Chloe's name on the printout.
Lionel: Give my regards to, um....uh...
Lionel pauses, pretending to be searching for the name.
Lionel: (Dismissively)...your fiancée.
Lionel strides from the room as Lex stares after him, shaking his head slightly in disbelief.
Cut to a shot inside the Talon. Lana sets a plate of dessert and a coffee cup down on a table.
Lana: (Smiling at the customer) Enjoy.
As Lana turns to head back for the counter, she sees Henry Small walking toward the counter.
Lana: (pleasantly) Henry. This is a surprise.
Henry: (Smiling) Well, as they say, I was in the neighborhood.
Lana: (Heading behind the counter) Regular coffee, no additives. And when you come by three times a week, you don't need the excuse.
Henry and Lana exchange smiles.
Henry: (Sitting at the counter) I guess some small part of me is still getting used to all this.
Lana: (Getting Henry's coffee) What, dropping by for a casual visit with your daughter?
As Lana carries the coffee to Henry, she picks up a pamphlet from behind the counter.
Henry: (Jokingly) No, entering a business co-owned by a Luthor without an injunction in my hand.
Lana laughs and takes a seat next to Henry. Henry takes the coffee mug from her.
Henry: Thanks. But it's been worth it.
Lana: (Sincerely) I feel the same way.
Lana studies Henry as he sips his coffee, then extends the pamphlet out to him. Henry takes it and examines it.
Henry: (Curiously) What's this?
Lana: (Hopefully) The seating chart for this weekend's show. They set aside a section of the field for riders' families. I took a leap and reserved a couple of seats for you and Jennifer.
Henry: (Touched) Lana, that was thoughtful. Yes, I'll definitely be there.
Lana: (Slightly disappointed) But Jennifer won't.
Henry doesn't reply, but gives Lana a look of sympathy.
Lana: (Sadly) She's never really accepted me, has she?
Henry: (Reassuringly) She just doesn't know you like I do. Give her some time. She'll come around.
Lana gives Henry a small smile and nods slightly in agreement.
Cut to a shot of a computer monitor in the Torch's office, with the sound of a computer printer whirring in the background. The screen is displaying the homepage of the Smallville Ledger. Eric's picture is featured alongside a story titled "Chemistry Lab Explosion."
Clark: (Offscreen) Pete, check this out.
Clark pulls a printout of the story from the printer and holds it up.
Clark: Before Eric's sudden sports career, he was an honors chemistry student with a straight A average.
Pete gets up from his desk and takes the printout from Clark, studying it.
Pete: Hmm. I guess you don't get the babes and the free Nikes for that.
Clark: (Chuckling) Well, it says here that he was in a chemistry lab explosion at Kansas State University last summer during chemistry camp. That's probably why he's got the plate in his head.
Clark walks behind Pete and picks up some file folders from a nearby desk.
Pete: Yeah, but what's he doing knocking over a LuthorCorp truck?
At the sound of footsteps, Clark and Pete glance toward the door and see Chloe entering the office.
Chloe: (To Clark) I thought you quit the Torch?
Clark: (Flatly) Just cleaning out my desk.
Pete: (Surprised) Wait a minute. You quit?
Clark glances sideways at Chloe before answering.
Clark: (Slightly hurt) Apparently I can't be counted on.
Chloe rolls her eyes slightly and walks over to her desk.
Pete: (Jokingly looking at Chloe as she passes him) I didn't even know quitting was an option.
Chloe: (Unamused) Funny.
Clark just takes a deep breath and shifts uncomfortably as Pete glances over his shoulder at Chloe.
Pete: Tough crowd. (To Clark) Hey, I'll catch up with you later. Keep me posted on Eric.
Pete walks out, smiling as he passes Chloe, who is taking her coat off at her desk.
Chloe puts her coat over the back of her chair, then walks over and examines the story Pete and Clark were discussing.
Chloe: (Curiously) Marsh? Why are you guys interested in him?
Clark: (Flatly) Doesn't matter.
Clark goes back to gathering his things and putting them in a box on his desk, refusing to meet Chloe's eyes. Chloe walks over to stand in front of him.
Chloe: Clark, I didn't ask you to quit the Torch.
Clark: (Coldly) Yeah, but all I do is, uh, disappoint you.
Clark walks past Chloe to the other side of the office, removing some things from another table.
Chloe: (Frustrated) I didn't say that. I just said it seems like you drop everything for Lana with no regard for anyone else.
Clark walks back to his desk and puts the items he's carrying inside the box.
Clark: (Accusingly) I thought this wasn't about Lana.
Chloe: (Guiltily) It's not. (More firmly, off Clark's look) It's not.
Clark: Then why is it, every time you see us together, you look at me like I'm cheating on you?
Chloe is a bit taken aback by Clark's words.
Chloe: (Defensively) Well, I'm sorry Clark, but you're wrong, and if that's the way you feel, maybe we shouldn't hang out anymore.
Clark just stares at Chloe, his expression a mix of anger, hurt, and disbelief. He doesn't say anything, but instead just picks up the box of his belongings and walks out of the Torch office. Chloe watches him go, also angry and hurt, and walks quickly back to her desk as Clark leaves.
Cut to a shot outside the Smallville High baseball field. Eric drives by in a red Mustang convertible. Clark walks around the corner of the bleachers and sees Eric driving off. After glancing around to make sure no one is watching, Clark follows Eric in a burst of superspeed.
Cut to a shot outside an abandoned looking warehouse. The doors identify the building as the Smallville Foundry. Eric's car pulls up outside and he climbs out, heading into the warehouse.
Inside the building, the furnace in the foundry is burning brightly. A group of guys stand next to it, using large tongs to pull a container of bright green liquid out of the furnace.
Eric: (Rubbing his hands together in anticipation) Tell me it's workin', boys.
The two boys lift their welding masks as Eric approaches. The table in front of them is set up with a tray of glass tubes, and the container of green meteor liquid.
Guy 1: The stuff's incredible. With a score like last night, we'll have enough to take it out on the street.
Eric: (Rounding the table and pulling on thick work gloves and a pair of goggles) Yep. As long as there's enough for me. I got a major league scout coming to watch me hit next week.
Guy 1: (Handing the metal tongs to Eric) Well, then, you can make the next batch, champ.
Eric nods and takes the tongs. He turns to the furnace and uses the tongs to pick up a ceramic container that's resting on the ledge of the furnace. With a deep breath, he sticks the container inside the fire. As he moves the container from side to side, a shadow from the inside looks as if it contains a bar of refined meteor rocks.
Cut to a shot of Eric's friends exiting the warehouse. As they walk away, Clark looks out from behind the corner of the warehouse. Seeing that the boys are paying no attention, Clark comes out from behind the corner and enters the warehouse.
Clark slips into the warehouse and hides behind a piece of equipment. He watches as Eric pours the bright green liquid from the container into the glass tubes. Suddenly, Eric's friends grab Clark from behind.
Guy #2: What do we have here?
Guy #1: Hold him.
Clark struggles to get free, but for some reason finds his strength is not able to overpower the boys. Eric looks up as he hears the sounds of the struggle.
Guy #2: You're not going anywhere.
Eric sets down the tongs and pulls off his gloves, approaching Clark and the boys.
Eric: (Angrily) What, you following me, Kent?
Clark: (Insistant) I know you robbed that truck.
Eric: (Chuckling) Ha ha. You're pretty smart.
Eric pulls out his inhaler and brings it up to his lips, inhaling the bright green liquid as Clark continues to struggle to get free. As Eric exhales, a bright green mist escapes his lips. Clark struggles harder to get free as Eric approaches, but to no avail.
Eric: But, you see, I'm smart too.
With that, Eric pulls back and punches Clark's jaw. Clark groans and his head snaps back from the force of the blow. As he slumps forward, we see his mouth has been bloodied by Eric's punch.
Eric: (Intensely) Now, you see, I finally found a way to have everything I wanted... (Punches Clark mightily again) and nobody is going to mess that up.
Clark, weakened by the blows from Eric, slumps weakly forward, only remaining upright because Eric's friend is holding him by the arms. Clark coughs, choking a bit on the blood, and glances up at the cart of refined meteor rocks nearby, which are glowing bright green. Eric follows Clark's gaze, noticing the rocks are glowing realizing that Clark knows something about the rocks.
Clark: (Weakly) You don't know what you're doing.
Eric: (Condescendingly) Well, it looks like you know about the meteor rock.
Clark: (Pleadingly) It's dangerous. I've seen what it can do to people.
Eric's friends pull Clark upright by pulling hard on his arms, and Clark gasps in pain.
Eric: (Angrily) What, like get me a multi-million dollar contract in the majors.
Eric hauls off and hits Clark once again, this time sending Clark sailing through the air. Clark crashes into the wall and falls to the ground, lying there weakly.
Eric: (To his friends) He knows too much.
Eric and his friends walk over to Clark and haul him to his feet.
Eric: All right, get up.
Eric begins walking toward the furnace and his friends follow, dragging Clark by the arms.
Eric: If he goes, our problem goes with him.
Clark glances up weakly as Eric walks to the furnace door, unlocking it and throwing it open. Before Clark can do anything, Eric's friends throw Clark inside the blazing furnace, and Eric shuts and locks the door behind him.
Eric: (Locking the furnace door) All right, listen, we don't know who else he told. So let's pack up, let's get out of here.
Eric's friends nod, and the boys quickly load up the meteor bars and the tubes of green liquid, packing them into their truck.
Eric: (Handing the tray of tubes to his friend) Let's go man...put this in the back.
The boys finish loading the truck, climbing inside and quickly speed away.
Cut to a shot of the window on the door of the furnace. The flames are burning higher as Clark's hand clutches at the glass, slowly slipping down it.
Suddenly, flames burst from the door as it's kicked off it's hinges. Clark slowly steps from the furnace. Aside from some blistering on the side of his face and the fact that his clothes have all burned off, he appears unhurt. He stares angrily out the door of the warehouse, as the blisters heal and disappear. A shot from behind Clark shows him standing there, naked, as the flames burn brightly behind him.
Cut to a shot of the Kent kitchen. Jonathan is pouring some milk and Martha is preparing some food. Clark walks in slowly, dressed in a foundry worker's uniform, his face smudged with soot.
Martha: (Concerned) Clark! Oh my God, what happened?
Martha rushes over to make sure Clark's OK, putting her hand on his shoulder as he continues into the kitchen.
Clark: (Seriously) I saw one of the hijackers. He goes to our school, but I followed him to the old foundry. Before I could do anything, they jumped me.
Jonathan takes Clark by the arm and leads him to the table, where Clark sits down.
Jonathan: (Disbelieving) Clark, you still couldn't stop 'em?
Clark: (Sitting at the table) No, I think it has something to do with refined kryptonite. They had a huge amount of kryptonite bars--the same ones that were in Lionel's safe. That's what they stole from the truck.
Martha and Jonathan stare at Clark in disbelief at what they are hearing.
Jonathan: (Confused) Clark, what would they be doing with kryptonite?
Clark: They're melting it down and inhaling it. That's what's giving them incredible strength.
Martha: (Worried) Jonathan, we have to bring in the police.
Jonathan moves to go to the phone, and Clark jumps up from his chair.
Clark: (Insistant) Don't you understand? The police can't do anything.
Clark: (Upset) Dad, they threw me into a blast furnace! They overpowered me! If there was kryptonite in there, I wouldn't be here now.
Martha: (Upset) But we can't let our concern about your secret intimidate us into silence.
Clark just looks at Martha, worried.
Jonathan: Maybe there is another way.
Clark looks at Jonathan hopefully.
Cut to a shot of the Smallville baseball field. Eric is taking batting practice when Sheriff Adams approaches.
Adams: (Authoritatively) Marsh, drop the bat.
Eric: (Confused) What is this?
Adams: (Sternly) I don't want to tell you again. Drop the bat, turn around.
Eric drops the bat, and the deputy brings Eric's hands behind his back to cuff him.
Adams: You're under arrest for assault and armed robbery.
The deputy begins to lead Eric from the field.
Eric: (Confused) What are you talking about?
Adams: We got an anonymous tip, we looked through your locker.
Eric: (Insistant) No, you can't look through my locker without a warrant.
Adams: Guess again, slick. We don't need a warrant to look through a student's locker.
Adams holds up a plastic evidence bag containing a green alien mask.
Adams: (Continuing) The driver--he came to long enough to tell us about the "aliens" that trashed his truck. (Pulling open the squad car door) Don't worry now. You can use your one call to phone home.
Eric glances over the top of the squad car and sees Clark nearby, watching the proceedings. He and Clark stare at each other before the deputy forces Eric into the squad car. Clark watches with a slight smile on his face.
Cut to a shot of Main Street in Smallville. Chloe's red Volkswagen Bug comes to a stop at a traffic light.
Lana: (Concerned) OK, the only time you're ever this quiet is when you're sleeping. What's up?
Chloe: Clark and I decided to...put our friendship on an indefinite hiatus.
Lana: (Lightly) Over one newspaper story?
Chloe: (Shrugging) Let's just say that certain insurmountable forces finally made us raise the white flag.
Lana: (Sincerely) I'm sorry. If there's anything I can do to help...
Chloe nods, then turns her attention back to the traffic light. Lana glances out the passenger side of the car and sees Jennifer Small exiting a building. As Lana watches, Jennifer turns to the man she is with, giving him a small kiss and embracing him. Chloe glances over and sees what Lana is staring at.
Chloe: (Curiously) Who is that?
Lana: (Stunned) Jennifer Small.
Lana watches as Jennifer begins to cross the street in front of Chloe's car. Jennifer glances over and sees Lana staring at her, and her step falters a bit as she realizes Lana has seen the entire exchange with the man. Jennifer doesn't say anything, however, but continues to cross the street as Lana watches with concern.
Cut to a shot inside the Talon. Lana picks up empty plates and coffee cups from a table, putting them on her tray.
Lana: (Smiling at a departing customer) Thanks.
Lana turns around and stops as she sees Jennifer Small standing behind her.
Lana: (Surprised and uncomfortable) Mrs. Small.
Jennifer: It's not what you think, Lana.
Lana: (Shaking her head and feigning innocence) I don't know what you mean.
Jennifer looks around to make sure nobody is nearby, then steps closer to Lana and lowers her voice.
Jennifer: (Insistant) I am not cheating on my husband.
Lana, upset, quickly turns away and begins walking to the counter.
Jennifer: (Following Lana) I know that's what you thought. But the man you saw me with was just...an old friend of mine from college.
Lana: (Uncomfortable) Why are you telling me this? I wasn't going to say anything to Henry.
Jennifer: He also happens to be my divorce attorney.
Lana: (Stunned) Divorce? Henry never mentioned anything.
Jennifer: That's because he doesn't know. At least, not yet.
Lana: (Shocked) Why are you divorcing him?
Jennifer: (Slightly frustrated) Lana, I have learned to handle a lot in this marriage. That's because through it all, I knew I was Henry's priority. (Becoming upset) Since he met you, I am not sure that's true anymore.
Lana: (Tears welling in her eyes) I never meant to come between you.
Jennifer: But you did. (Slightly angry) Lana, you are *all* he talks about. You're a window to a happier time. (Calming down a bit) I guess I am telling you this because... I'm admitting defeat. You win.
Lana stares at Jennifer, looking completely stunned and upset.
Lana: Mrs. Small...I don't want to win...
Jennifer: (Flatly) Goodbye, Lana.
With that, Jennifer turns and leaves. Lana stares after her, very upset.
Cut to a shot of Smallville Medical Center. Inside, Chloe pauses in front of a door. The room belongs to a patient named Dustin Farrell. Chloe peers inside the window, sees it is not the room she is looking for, and continues down the hall. She stops at a room across the hall and looks through the window at the patient lying in the bed, his head heavily bandaged. The name on the door says the room belongs to John O'Conner. She realizes this is the room she's looking for, and pushes open the door, slipping inside the room.
Chloe stops at the foot of the bed and raises her digital camera, taking a photo of the unconscious man.
Chloe: (Disappointed) So much for an interview.
Lionel: (Off screen) I admire your dedication.
The camera pans over, and we see Lionel sitting on a couch inside the darkened room. Chloe turns around, surprised to find she's not alone.
Lionel: (Continuing) Though I suspect the hospital might not be quite so, uh... Understanding.
Lionel pulls a pen from his pocket and stands up.
Chloe: (Nervous) Mr. Luthor, what are you doing here?
Lionel: Paying a bedside visit to a loyal employee. It's Miss Sullivan, isn't it?
Chloe: (Surprised) You know who I am?
Lionel: I've been following your work at the Torch for quite some time. Given today's front-page scoop, I assume you came, uh, hoping Mr. O'Conner would confirm his, uh... connection with LuthorCorp.
Lionel smiles wolfishly at Chloe, but she doesn't back down.
Chloe: (Matter of factly) Well, I think you just did that for him.
Lionel glances at Chloe, then moves to the bedside table, placing a small card handwritten card on it.
Lionel: (Matter of factly) It was never a secret.
With that, Lionel smiles slightly and Chloe, and leaves the room. Sensing an opportunity for a story, Chloe gives chase.
Chloe: (Calling out to Lionel as she follows him from the room) Unlike the now missing contents of your truck?
Lionel stops and turns back toward Chloe, slightly amused.
Lionel: On or off the record?
Chloe: (Shifting under Lionel's gaze) The police report says robbery, but no one's been able to find anything that's been taken.
Lionel: (Unconcerned) We were moving some industrial material. It was nothing important.
Lionel begins walking down the hall, and Chloe follows.
Chloe: Somebody sure went to a lot of trouble to get to it.
Lionel: Oh, it's a competitive world. You know that as well as I do. Corporate sabotage is just one of them, uh, costs of doing business.
Lionel stops and turns to Chloe.
Chloe: (Insistent) Mr. Luthor...
Lionel: (Interrupting) Miss Sullivan, I admire your zeal. And your work at the Torch is exemplary, but, um, trust me. You're looking for a mystery where there's none to be found.
Lionel turns and heads for the elevators. Chloe watches him, unconvinced he's telling the whole story.
Cut to a shot of the sports page of the Smallville Ledger. A picture of Eric playing baseball is shown alongside an article headlined, "Local Teen Breaks Batting Record." As the camera pulls back, we see Clark walking through the Talon, studying the article in the paper. Lana is waiting on a nearby table and turns around as Clark, engrossed in the story, walks by without saying anything.
Lana: (Surprise) Clark.
Clark turns around quickly, slightly jumpy.
Lana: (Concerned) Are you okay?
Clark: (Hesitantly) I got blindsided yesterday by a couple of guys. I guess I'm still a little shaken up.
Lana: (Concerned) What happened? Did you get hurt?
Clark: (Reassuringly) I'll survive. It was more of a, um, "wrong place, wrong time" kind of thing.
Lana: (Understandingly) Um, I know the feeling. At least metaphorically speaking.
Lana and Clark take a seat at a nearby table.
Lana: (Continuing) I, uh, ran into Jennifer Small today. Found out that she's filing for divorce from Henry. And I'm the reason.
Clark looks at Lana, a bit surprised.
Clark: (Sympathetically) That's intense. Have you talked to Henry about it?
Lana: What can I do without making the situation worse?
Clark: Well, he should know what's going on. There might be a chance he can salvage his marriage.
Lana: It sounds like you should be taking your own advice. (Off Clark's confused look) I hear you and Chloe are calling it quits.
Clark: (Uncomfortably) That's different.
Clark: (firmly) Because I can't just sit here and watch Chloe get hurt over and over when I can't do anything about it.
Lana: (Surprised) What's so bad that's come between you two like this?
Clark doesn't answer, but looks down, refusing to meet Lana's eyes.
Lana: Well? (Sympatheticall) I wish I could make it go away.
Clark gives Lana a small, sad smile.
Clark: (Sadly) You can't.
Lana: (Insistant) Clark, you and Chloe have been friends forever. You can't just let that go without a fight.
Clark sighs, but doesn't reply.
Lana: (Continuing) At least the Clark Kent I know wouldn't.
Lana gives Clark a small smile, then gets up and goes back to work, leaving Clark sitting there, thinking about what she has said.
Cut to a shot inside Smallville's jail. We see someone walking toward a cell, and as the camera pans up, we see Eric, clad in a prison issued orange jumpsuit, lying on the cot inside the cell. As he glances at his visitor, we see the visitor's shadow cast on the opposite wall and realize it is Lex.
Eric: (Coldly) If your father sent you, you can tell him I had nothing to do with the robbery.
Lex: (Friendly) No, no... My father doesn't know I'm here. I'm sure his representatives will be around though. I came to talk about your future.
Eric: (Angrily) What do you care?
Lex: I did some checking into your baseball career. I understand there's interest from some big league scouts.
Eric: (Sitting up) Yeah, there's more than just interest, all right? There's college reps, there's agents. This is just a bump in the road.
Lex: (Matter of factly) Two felony charges with bail set at a quarter-million dollars. I'd say that's more like a brick wall, wouldn't you?
Eric: (Angrily) Why, do I look scared?
Lex: You look guilty. And if a jury agrees, you can kiss all that talent and promise goodbye.
Eric: Like I told the cops, I didn't do it.
Lex: (Giving Eric a small smile) Well, I guess you have nothing to worry about. But if the charges stick, you might need a friend.
Eric looks up at Lex, who stares back at him for a moment. Lex turns and starts to walk away.
Eric: (Calling after Lex) All right, what is it that you want?
Lex: (Stopping) I want to know what you stole out of my father's truck.
Eric: (Walking over to the cell bars) Well, assuming that I even have a clue what you're talking about... (Lowering his voice) what's in it for me?
Lex just looks at Eric, giving him a small smile.
Cut to a shot of Smallville High, with students entering the building for another school day. Clark enters the Torch office. He stops in his tracks, his face becoming extremely concerned as he looks around and takes in the sight before him.
As the camera pulls back, we see the Torch office has been ransacked. The floor is covered with papers, the light fixtures are dangling from the ceiling, desks and cabinets are overturned and their contents dumped on the floor. One of the support beams has been nearly broken in half, the Wall of Weird has been ripped up with just a few articles remaining pinned to the wall. The middle of it stands Chloe, just looking at the chaos surrounding them. Her back is to Clark, but her body language conveys that she is devastated.
Clark: (Very concerned) Chloe, what happened?
Chloe: (Flatly) Go away, Clark.
Clark: (Growing more concerned) Are you okay?
Clark walks inside and stands right behind Chloe, but she doesn't turn to face him.
Chloe: (Voice quivering with tears) Physically, yeah, I'm fine. Emotionally... (Her face crumbles) What do you care?
Clark: (Determined) I want to help. No matter what it takes, we'll get the Torch back on its feet.
At Clark's words, Chloe whirls around, her voice raised and breaking with emotion
Chloe: (Crying) There is no *we* anymore Clark! There's only me! And this paper was my whole life! It was the one place I could come to when everyone and everything let me down, and now, I don't even have that anymore.
Crying openly, Chloe begins to walk swiftly toward the door.
Clark: (Concerned) Where are you going?
Chloe: (Upset) To find a friend.
Chloe walks out in the hallway, wiping at her tears. Clark runs out of the Torch after her.
As Clark rounds the corner, he runs into Eric, who grabs Clark and stops him.
Eric: Hey Kent. I heard the paper's not going to press.
Clark: (Angrily shoving Eric against his locker) Did you do this?
Eric grabs Clark's wrists and easily removes Clark's hands from his jacket.
Eric: (Angrily) I don't know how the hell you got out of that fire!
Eric shoves Clark hard, and Clark falls back against the opposite wall with a thud.
Eric: (Continuing) But you better back off.
Eric gets right up in Clark's face as he speaks, but Clark doesn't back down.
Clark: What are you doing out of jail?
Eric: (Amused) Seems I've got friends in higher places that I didn't even know about. And suddenly, you're not so anonymous.
Clark: (Determinedly) I'll testify, if that's what it takes to put you away.
Eric: (Threateningly) Oh no, I'd think about that Kent. I mean, I know you're unbreakable, but people that you care about...aren't. I'd sure hate to think something happened to those wholesome parents of yours.
Clark gets a look of fear on his face and takes off down the hall as Eric walks the other way.
Cut to a shot of the Kent farm. Clark, in a blur of superspeed, races up the drive and into the barn.
Jonathan: (Off screen) Clark!
Clark looks around at the ransacked barn, looking for his father. He glances up toward the sound of Jonathan's voice and sees Jonathan and Martha tied against the railing of the loft. Martha is unconscious.
Jonathan: (Struggling against his bonds) Clark... Your mother.
Clark looks up at his parents in fear.
Cut to a shot inside the Kent barn. Clark, trying to straighten up the barn, is lifting up the wheel on one of the tractors, and he sets it down as Jonathan enters. Jonathan looks around at the debris littering the floor then walks toward Clark.
Clark: (Worried) How's Mom doing?
Jonathan: (Picking up some debris) She's got some minor cuts and bruises, but I still want to get her checked out. This pregnancy doesn't need any more complications.
Clark: (Guilty) I should have been there, Dad.
Jonathan: (Frustrated) Clark, you couldn't have done anything anyway.
Clark: (Tossing down some debris) Still....
Jonathan: (Insistant) I'm not going to let you beat yourself up about this.
Clark: (Worried) What happens if they come back?
Jonathan pauses, considering this.
Clark: (Continuing) I think you and Mom should go away for a little while, just till this settles down.
Jonathan: (Determined) Clark, I have never run away from a single thing in my life, and I'm not about to start now.
Clark: (Insistant) Dad, look around. Look at what they did to this place. You said yourself I can't protect you. You have to think of Mom. You have to think about the baby.
Jonathan: (Angry) I am thinking about Mom. I am thinking about the baby. I'm also thinking about you.
Clark: (Firmly) Dad, please! (Pleading) Please.
Jonathan stops at the pleading tone in Clark's voice and takes a deep breath, turning back to Clark. He pauses, considering the options.
Jonathan: (Calmly) All right, I'll take your mother to a doctor in Metropolis, and maybe stay with your grandfather for a couple days.
Clark nods in agreement.
Jonathan: (Worried) Son, I'd feel a whole hell of a lot better if you'd agree to come with us.
Clark: (Shaking his head slightly) I can't.
Jonathan studies Clark for a moment before speaking.
Jonathan: Clark, I'm not going to stand here and ask you to do nothing because you and I both know that I would not do nothing. (Putting his hands on Clark's shoulders) But I want you to remember something son. They have your strength, but they don't have any of your other abilities. You make sure you give yourself a fighting chance.
Clark nods slightly, and watches as his father heads back to the house.
Cut to a shot of the Luthor mansion. Inside, Lex walks down a hallway, talking on his cell phone. Clark enters the hallway behind him and calls out to Lex.
Lex glances over his shoulder, and continues to walk down the hall as Clark follows.
Lex: (Into his phone) I gotta let you go.
Lex hangs up his phone.
Clark: (Slightly upset) I just found out you visited Eric Marsh in jail. Were you the one that bailed him out?
Lex: (Amused) I wasn't aware my visit was public knowledge.
The two men enter Lex's study.
Lex: (Continuing) What's Marsh have to do with you, Clark?
Clark: I was the one who phoned in the anonymous tip.
Lex turns to look at Clark, surprised.
Clark: (Continuing) Him and his buddies found out about it. They nearly killed my parents yesterday.
Lex: (Extremely concerned) Whoa, whoa, are they all right?
Clark: (Upset) They're in Metropolis. It's not even safe at home anymore. (Angry) I heard your father's come back to town. If this is some sick game between...
Lex: (Interrupting) It's no game. Clark, that truck was carrying a load of highly refined meteor rocks. If I'm not mistaken, I think my father has resumed his Level Three experiments.
Clark: What does that have to do with Eric Marsh?
Lex:(Slightly apologetic) Look, I bailed him out, hoping he'd provide answers. Maybe even lead me to the meteor rock.
Clark: Where is he?
Lex: (Shrugging) I don't know. He beat up a security guard I had on him.
Clark: Well, there's got to be a way to draw him out.
Lex: (Frustrated) Clark, I don't have anything Marsh wants.
Clark: Except for the meteor rocks. Marsh has got to have a connection inside LuthorCorp that tells him when the shipments go out. If he thinks your father is bringing another load out of the Smallville plant...
Lex: I still have contacts at my father's firm. They can let the word out. Only this time, the truck will be empty. When Marsh hits it, my personal security team will be all over them.
Lex starts walking away to make the calls, but Clark calls out after him.
Clark: (Concerned) No, Lex, I've seen what Eric can do. You have to get the police in on this.
Lex: (Firmly) Just go home, Clark. I don't want you or your parents involved any more than they already are.
Clark just looks at Lex, not willing to take his advice.
Cut to a shot of a LuthorCorp plant at night. Several LuthorCorp semi trucks are parked outside, backed up to loading bays. The camera pans over to Lex, who is on the other side of the fence surrounding the lot, talking on his cell phone.
Lex: (Into his phone) Once Marsh and his friends have the truck, give them a lot of room. Nobody does anything until they lead us to the meteor rock.
Cut to a shot of a LuthorCorp van. A member of Lex's security team on a cell phone sits behind the wheel.
Security Guard: (Into phone) We're set, Mr. Luthor.
The guard hangs up the phone. Lex hangs up as well, before dialing another number on his speed dial.
Lex: The truck's getting ready to move. Wait for my signal before you start following. Nobody moves without my direct order---
Suddenly, there's a loud thud as Lex is struck from behind. He groans and falls to the ground, unconscious. As he falls, we see Clark behind him, having administered the blow that knocked Lex out. Clark glances at the lot, where the van is pulling up to the gate. The driver honks the horn, and the gate is opened.
Before the driver can pull out, however, the door is yanked open, and Eric attempts to pull the driver out of the van.
Eric: Change of plans!
The driver groans in pain as Eric tosses him to the ground. Eric pulls a cell phone out of his pocket and dials a number.
Eric: Okay, I've got the van. Get ready to make the switch.
Eric hangs up the phone and climbs into the van, squealing the tires as he pulls out of the parking lot.
Cut to a shot inside the foundry. The LuthorCorp van pulls up, and Eric drives the van into the warehouse. Eric's friend comes out of one of the offices, glancing at the warehouse door.
Guy 1: Anyone follow you?
Eric: (Exiting the van, inhaling some meteor liquid from his inhaler) I didn't see anyone, but we'd better hurry up with the switch. Luthor's bound to have it bugged.
Eric's friend reaches for the back doors of the van, when suddenly the doors fly open, knocking Eric's friend across the warehouse floor. Clark hops down from the back of the van and looks around.
Eric reaches down and grabs a metal pipe from the floor. He swings it at Clark and hits him, sending Clark flying. Clark crashes into the set of large windows of one of the foundry offices. Clark climbs to his feet, a bit shaken but unhurt. Eric's second friend grabs Clark and tosses him back out, sending him flying into the side of the LuthorCorp van, leaving a large dent in it's side. Eric watches, as Friend #1 picks up a large pipe and heads for Clark.
Clark struggles to get up after hitting the van, and finds that he can't. He slumps back to the ground. He glances up at Eric and his friends, all of whom are holding various pipes, and who have him cornered against the van with no escape. Clark stares back at them, planning his next move.
Eric grins and shifts his pipe from hand to hand, as he and his friends slowly move in.
Eric: How's it feel, Clark?
Clark glances at Guy #1, and looks up, noticing that he is standing right under a bundle of large metal pipes, held together by some metal twine. Guy #1 glances up to see what Clark is looking at, and Clark focuses his heat vision on the metal twine holding the pipes together. He melts the twine, sending the bundle of pipes crashing down on Guy #1's head, knocking him unconscious.
Eric looks on in disbelief. Guy #2 raises his pipe to bash Clark's head in, but Clark superspeeds through the gap left by Guy #1, and reappears behind Guy #2. He reaches around Guy #2 and grabs the ends of the pipe from him, bending it around Guy #2's body, pinning his arms to his side. He then turns the boy around and hits him in the chest, sending him flying across the room where he lands in a heap next to Guy #1.
Eric glances around and finds a large piece of concrete (It looks like something one would use on a bridge or overpass) nearby. He drops the pipe and heads for the concrete.
Clark: Eric. Eric, don't do this.
Eric reaches down and lifts the concrete piece over his head, walking toward Clark.
Eric: You don't understand Kent! It's done.
With that, Eric rushes toward Clark and slams the concrete over Clark's head. Clark raises a hand to protect himself, and the concrete shatters as it makes contact with Clark's head. Eric stares in disbelief at Clark, who is unhurt.
Clark grabs Eric's jacket and throws him into a rack of large metal pipes along the opposite wall. The pipes all bend in from the force with which Eric hits them. Eric slumps to the ground, unconscious.
Cut to a shot of the refined Kryptonite bars, lying in a hole in the ground. Dirt is being shoveled over them. As the camera pans up, we see Pete in the woods, burying the bars, while Clark stands a safe distance away, keeping watch. Pete shovels the last bit of dirt over the rocks, then walks over to Clark.
Pete: That's all of it.
Clark: At least for now.
The two boys walk quickly from the woods.
Cut to a shot of Luthor Mansion. Clark enters Lex's study, as Lex stands at the bar, pouring two glasses of orange juice.
Clark:(Friendly) Hey, Lex.
Lex: Clark, how are your parents doing?
Clark: (Happily) Just fine. They got home from Metropolis last night.
Lex: (Handing a glass of juice to Clark) That must be a relief.
Clark: (Relieved) Yeah, and now that Eric's arrested, it looks like your plan came off without a hitch.
Clark raises his glass in a toast to Lex.
Lex: (Walking over to sit on the couch) So it seems. The intriguing thing is, my people had nothing to do with it.
Clark: (Following Lex) Then who did?
Lex: (Shrugging) No one knows. Marsh and his friends aren't talking, but they were found unconscious, (Sitting across from Clark) and the stolen meteor rocks are still unaccounted for.
Clark: (Curiously) Who do you think has them.
Lex: (Shrugs slightly and giving Clark a small smile) I have my suspicions.
Cut to a shot inside the Talon after closing. Lana sits at a table, sipping a mug of coffee as Henry walks into the room.
Henry: Lana? (Off Lana's look) Hey.
Lana: Hey, Henry, um, thanks for coming.
Henry: (Concerned) Your message said something regarding the horse show. (Sitting across from Lana) I hope you're still planning to ride.
Lana: To be honest, um, I'm not sure.
Henry: (Confused) I don't understand. I thought you were really looking forward to this weekend.
Lana: I was, believe me. (Pauses, looking down, then back at Henry) But I think it's more important that you spend this time with Jennifer.
Henry: Lana, she told me you two talked. If this is because of something she said...
Lana: (Shaking her head) No, I...came into your life out of nowhere and dropped a bomb on your family. I didn't know how our relationship was going to work out, but after a rocky start, I finally know that you love me.
Lana smiles bravely, as tears well up in her eyes.
Lana: I don't want to lose that.
Henry: (Confused) I don't know what Jennifer told you, but things between us aren't that bad.
Lana: (Sadly) Henry, she's hiring an attorney.
Henry: (Stunned) What?
Lana: (Insistant) You need to talk to her, tell her how you feel.
Henry just looks at Lana still shell shocked from the news.
Lana: (Tearfully) Whatever happens after that is up to you.
Henry: (Still shocked) You...you're my daughter. I just can't...walk away from...from that.
Lana: (Smiling through her tears) You're not. You know I'll always be here. (Pausing to compose herself) But right now, I think Jennifer needs you more.
Henry and Lana stare at each other for several moments, before Henry gets up and walks out. As he disappears, Lana's face crumbles, and she starts to cry for a moment, before taking a deep breath and pulling herself together.
Cut to a shot of the Kent farm, cows grazing in the pasture. Clark walks into the barn, carrying a bale of hay in one hand like it weighs nothing. He sets it down next to several other bales, and turns around as a knock sounds on the door.
Clark: Hey Dad. How's Mom.
Jonathan: Well, the doctor called. You'll be happy to know that both mother and child have gotten a clean bill of health.
Clark: (Smiling) Great.
Jonathan: (Putting his hands on Clark's shoulders) Look, son, I wanted to tell you...
A sound catches Clark's attention, and he and Jonathan glance over to see Lana standing in the doorway of the barn.
Clark: Hi Lana.
Jonathan: Um… (To Clark) I'm proud of you.
Clark: (Smiling widely) Thanks.
Jonathan leaves the barn, nodding to Lana on his way out.
Jonathan: (Amused) Miss Lang.
Lana: (Amused) Mr. Kent.
Clark: You must be here for Donatello. I'll help you saddle him up.
Clark turns to retrieve Lana's horse, but Lana stops him.
Lana: No, I'm not practicing, Clark.
Clark gives Lana a look of surprise.
Lana: (Continuing) In fact, I think I might drop out of the show.
Clark: (Sympathetically) I take it things with Henry didn't go so well.
Lana: I told him I'd always be his daughter, but we should put our relationship on hold until he gets his marriage back on track.
Lana: Yeah. (Pauses) How are things with Chloe?
Clark: I went to go talk to her, but I think this whole Torch thing put her over the edge. (Sitting on a bale of hay) She told me to go away.
Lana: (Reassuringly) You two will work through this, Clark.
Clark: (Sadly) I hope so. I miss her already.
Lana: (Encouragingly) I know what you mean, but I think we should remain cautiously optimistic that each of us will get a second chance.
Clark: (Smiling slightly) You know who's really the loser in all of this? Donatello.
Lana raises her eyebrows in amused surprise.
Clark: (Continuing) The poor horse worked so hard, and now he can't even strut his stuff.
Lana: (Smiling) I guess I can't disappoint him.
Clark smiles and shakes his head.
Lana: (Continuing) Besides, I wanted to share this with someone special, and I still am.
Lana: You're still going, aren't you, Clark?
Clark looks at Lana, surprised. He nods, and smiles.
Clark: You can count on me.
Lana returns Clark's smile.
Cut to a shot of the Torch office. Broken furniture is piled in the middle of the room. Chloe walks around the office, picking things up. She kneels down and begins gathering papers from the floor.
Lionel: Miss Sullivan.
Chloe quickly stands up and turns around, seeing Lionel standing in the center of the office.
Chloe: (Surprised) Mr. Luthor.
Lionel: Your principal told me you might be here. I hope I'm not interrupting you.
Chloe: (Quickly) No. No, I mean I'm--I've never entertained a billionaire before.
Lionel chuckles and looks around at the damage.
Chloe: (Apologetically) Um, you'll have to excuse the destruction. I was recently vandalized.
Lionel: (Sympathetically as he walks around, surveying the damage) Ahh, so I heard. By the same men who hijacked my truck, I think.
Chloe: Actually, there's still a question.
Lionel turns back to Chloe, interested.
Chloe: (Continuing) Eric Marsh owned up to the robbery of the truck and the assault, but he said he didn't have anything to do with the Torch.
Lionel: (Nodding as he looks around) Hmm.
Chloe: I mean, why confess to the heavy crimes and deny that?
Lionel: (Walking around the office) Well, it's not easy to understand the criminal mind.
Lionel notices the remnants of the Wall of Weird and walks over to it.
Lionel: (Interested) What's this?
Lionel reaches out and touches an article titled "Local Teen Discovers Indian Caves", with a picture of Clark alongside it.
Lionel: Hmm...this is an interesting display.
Chloe: (Slightly embarrassed) Yeah, I call it The Wall of Weird.
Lionel: (Directly) I'll come to the point, Miss Sullivan. I'd like to help you rebuild. I've instructed the LuthorCorp Foundation to make a donation to your school--the funds are specifically earmarked toward rebuilding and updating the journalism department.
Chloe looks at Lionel, her expression a mix of joy and confusion.
Chloe: Mr. Luthor, I'm confused.
Lionel looks at her curiously.
Chloe: I mean, the struggling editor in me wants to just leave it at "Thank You" but...the journalist in me has to ask "Why?"
Lionel: (Smiling) I'm impressed with your, um, willingness to explore alternative ideas, options. You interned at the Daily Planet this summer, didn't you?
Lionel: (Nodding) Hmm. Well, I have a little influence there. They certainly could use some new blood. Maybe, um, a column...
Chloe's eyes widen and she looks at Lionel, interested.
Lionel: (Continuing) To introduce your unique point of view.
A mix of joy, uncertainty, and confusion mix on Chloe's face.
Chloe: (Laughing nervously) I...I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but...I don't understand why the most powerful man in the city is interested in helping *me*.
Lionel: (Intensely) We're after the same thing, Miss Sullivan--the truth. You know, um, journalists are the midwives of history. Perhaps, with my help, we could, uh... (Hands Chloe his business card)...make history together.
Chloe takes the card and studies it curiously.
Lionel turns to go, and Chloe watches him as he starts to leave. As he reaches the door, Lionel looks back, and Chloe nods slightly. Chuckling, Lionel exits the Torch office. Chloe looks at the card again, then at the door, wondering what she's gotten herself into.