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Kurt Onstad

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My latest 400 words [May. 30th, 2003|10:35 pm]
Kurt Onstad
[Current Mood |geekygeeky]
[Current Music |Day In Day Out-XTC]

Well, actually, it's 670, but 400words is the minimum.

Enjoy this little piece of Superman fiction that I call "Cover-up" (Topic suggested by thunderemerald, and thanks to self for inspiring me to change the title)

The reporters were all crowded together, hoping to get a spot close to the podium where General Rock would soon be unveiling and demonstrating the latest device the Defense Department had purchased from Lexcorp in the name of Homeland Security. All but two, who were having a conversation that, had the import of it been known, would have made for a much more newsworthy story.

“Clark, put on some sunglasses. You look unnatural out here in the desert wearing your regular glasses,” Lois said to her husband.

“You know I don’t need them,” the tall man replied.

“Of course you don’t need them, but you look far too comfortable out here in the sun. At least squint or something.”

“Squinting activates my telescopic vision,” Clark said, slightly peevishly.

“Fine. Then put on some sunglasses, for pete’s sake!” A couple of the reporters near the back of the gathering turned around and looked at Lois. She acknowledged one of the other women reporters, with a “Men, they simply refuse to do what you ask, even if it’s for their own good” expression on her face.

“Well, actually…I don’t own any sunglasses,” Clark sheepishly admitted.

“You don’t own…Oh, never mind. I have an extra pair. Here. You know, I have no idea how you ever kept your secret identity secret without me helping you out.” Lois pulled an extra pair of sunglasses out of her purse, and handed them to him. He turned around for a second and pulled off his regular glasses, then quickly put on the shades. He didn’t want to be seen by anyone without some sort of eyewear, just in case. For what had to be the millionth time, Clark wondered why he hadn’t at least wrapped a shirt around his face when he saved the space shuttle and had been discovered by the world at large.

“Honey, he’s taking the stage soon. Let’s get more towards the front.” Lois began pushing her way towards the stage through her fellow reporters. Clark started to follow, but decided to stick back a little bit and not annoy too many of his colleagues. If he needed to get a question in, he knew he could speak loud enough to be heard by the general.

Speaking of the general, thought Clark, as a large man in dress uniform took the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you for coming. I’m not one for big speeches, so let’s get on with it, shall we? Presenting the Lexcorp Spider Wasp Drone,” gesturing to a white dot in the sky that was getting closer. “It’s designed to fly under the radar, find and destroy communication infrastructure, all with minimal loss of human life. As a demonstration, please keep an eye on that radio tower.” The general pointed at a metallic tower not far off in the distance. The white dot approached it, getting bigger, and taking the shape of a small plane. As the plane flew over the tower, something like a bolt of lightning erupted from the aircraft, quickly melting the tower down to slag. The plane then turned towards the stage.

“Lieutenant, please turn that plane around. We don’t need that close a look at it,” General Rock said to a man offstage at a small computer terminal.

“Ummm…Sir, I’ve been trying to. It’s not responding. I think somehow it’s targeted the television equipment here.”

Clark looked up in the sky at the approaching plane. No time or place to change. I’ll have to take the subtle approach. He activated his heat vision, and the drone aircraft exploded.

That was easy. I wish all of my problems were solved that quickly, Clark thought with a grin. Of course, that grin went away when the reporter next to him said, “Jesus, Kent! What the hell is on your face?”

Clark put his hand to his face, and peeled away the melted plastic sunglasses that were stuck to his nose and cheeks. Next time, he thought, I’ll just squint.

[User Picture]From: self
2003-05-31 11:20 am (UTC)
Good story. Bad title. Don't telegraph the ending so directly. I might go so far as Shades of Deception, though it would probably be a mistake. Squint is better, or Through Squinted Eyes. Still not there, though.

See, you do have a strong thematic link where something we trust for protection becomes a liability because of the person behind it. Hint at that without giving it away, and you'll have a stronger piece all around.
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[User Picture]From: speedball
2003-05-31 12:47 pm (UTC)

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[User Picture]From: self
2003-05-31 01:00 pm (UTC)
Works for the shades, but not the drone (which is revealing it's true nature to the press). Still, definitely better as far as the ending's concerned.
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[User Picture]From: self
2003-06-01 12:40 am (UTC)

a sequel might have more dire consequences

Just had a strange thought, I think inspired by that title.

Suppose this had been a tropical vacation rather than a press conference. He'd have shades, but there might also be some really strong sunblock. And he might not notice, attributing the change to finally being able to relax, but after a few days of wearing it, he'd be no more powerful than the average human.
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