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The Three Pure Ones ( 三 清 )
The Jade Emperor (玉 皇 大 帝, Yu Huang Da Di)
Avalokitesvara – The Ones Who Regards The World Sounds ( 觀 世 音 菩 薩, Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa )
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE THE UNIVERSAL DOOR OF GUANSHI YIN BODHISATTVA (THE BODHISATTVA WHO CONTEMPLATES THE SOUNDS OF THE WORLD)
Jiang Tai Gong, ( Jiang Tai Gong, 姜 太 公 )
Taoist Master Zhang, ( Zhang Tian Shi, 張 天 師)
The Queen of Heaven (天 后 聖 母, Tian Hou Sheng Mu)
The Supreme Lord of the Dark Heaven ( 玄 天 上 帝, Xuan Tian Shang Ti )
Imperial Sovereign Wen Chang ( 文 昌 帝 君, Wen Chang Di Jun )
The Door Gods ( 門 神, Men Shen )
The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven (九 天 玄 女, Jiu Tian Xuan Nu )
The Great Spirits of The Earth (福 德 正 神, Fu De Zheng Shen)
The Thunder God ( 雷 公, Lei Gong )
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ( Di Zang Wang Pu Sa, 地 藏 王 普 薩 )
Liu Ren Xian Shi (六壬仙師 )
Lord Guan Ti ( 關 帝 聖 君 )
Goddess of the Northern Star ( Dou Mu Yuan Jun, 斗 母 元 君 )
The Eight Immortals
The Chief of the Eight Immortals, 鐘离權
Zhang GuoLao, 張果老
Lu Dong Bin, 呂洞賓
Cao Guo Jiu, 曹國舅
Li TieGuai, 李铁拐
Han XiangZi, 韓湘子
Lan Caihe, 藍采和
He Xian Gu, 何仙姑
Er Lang Shen, 二郎神
The Three Pure Ones ( 三 清 )
The Three Pure Ones are the highest Deities in Taoism. “The Three Pure Ones” transcend the entire hierarchy of Taoist deities. In the middle is the ultimate highest deity of Taoism, the Primordial Heavenly Worthy. To your right is the Spiritual Treasure Heavenly Worthy, and to your left is the Supreme Way Heavenly Worthy.
"The Three Pure Ones" is the avatar of Taoism. AVATAR is a word that is commonly heard but rarely understood. In English, the word has come to mean "an embodiment, a bodily manifestation of the Divine." The void or great emptiness in the beginning, is called "Wu Chi", or primordial chaos, at this state the Tao is a disperse form or "Chi" when reunited it is transformed into a divine being. This divine being is Tai Shang Lao Zun or Supreme Patriarch Lao Zi.
He then transforms the "One" which is Primordial Heavenly Worthy or Reverend Yuan Shi of Yu Qing. He holds a flaming divine pearl which represent the creation of the Universe, however at this stage the Universe is in a chaotic stage.
Eventually later he forms another divine being, Spiritual Heavenly Worthy or Reverend Ling Bao of Shang Qing. At this point of time there are two forces called the "Yin" and "Yang" represented as "Tai Chi" myriads things can be formed by these forces. Therefore Spiritual Heavenly Worthy or Reverend Ling Bao of Shang Qing holds a "Ru Yi", a wish fulfilling ornament.
Finally when all things are created Tai Shang Lao Zun descend and sits on the right, he holds a mystical fan, symbolizing the completion of the Universe, and the way of Tao can be spread, and living beings can seek salvation.
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The Jade Emperor (玉 皇 大 帝, Yu Huang Da Di)
The Jade Emperor is the supreme ruler of Heavens, the hades and the protector of mankind according to Chinese folklore religion and the highest ranking deity of the Taoist pantheon.
From the ninth century onwards, he was the patron deity of the Chinese imperial family. The Jade Emperor presides over Heaven and Earth just as the earthly emperors once ruled over China.
Based on one account the Jade Emperor was originally the crown prince of the kingdom of Majestic Heavenly Lights and Ornaments. At birth he emitted a bright light that filled the entire kingdom. When he was young, he was benevolent, intelligent and wise. He devoted his entire childhood to helping the needy (the poor and suffering, the deserted and single, the hungry and disabled). Furthermore, he showed respect and benevolence to both men and creatures. After his father died, he ascended the throne. He made sure that everyone in his kingdom found peace and contentment, after that he told his ministers that he wished to cultivate Dao in a mountain cave and cultivate. After 1,750 trials, each trial lasting for 120,976 years, he attained Immortality. After another a hundred million years of cultivation, he finally became the Jade Emperor.
The Jade Emperor is usually depicted seated on a throne in imperial robes, his flat-topped crown embedded with strings of pearls that dangle from the front. He holds a short, flat tablet in clasped in both hands before his chest.
He looks very majestic with his flowing beard.
His birthday is celebrated on the ninth day of the Lunar New Year commonly known as “Tian Gong Dan” (天 公 誕 Festival of the Heavenly God). It is an important festival to the Taoists and Chinese community. Taoist temples throughout the world held gathering and prayers together to worship him. To beseech him to grant peace, prosperity, protection from calamities for the entire year, favorable weather conditions, and abundant harvest.
Most people are not aware that the Jade Emperor is the protector of the Buddha dharma in Buddhism. He’s called Lord Sakra or Indra or in the Shurangama Mantra (楞 嚴 咒) his name is recited as “Namo Yin Two La Ye” (南 無 因 陀 羅 耶).
According to Buddhist text he resides in “Trayastrimsa Heaven” as in Sanksrit and means "Heaven of the Thirty-three'. The Lord of the Heaven of the Thirty-three resides above our heads. There are eight heavens in the east, eight in the west, eight in the north, and eight in the south, making thirty-two; the thirty-third is located in the center of the others and is at the peak of Mount Sumeru.
'Trayastrimsa, "Heaven of the Thirty-Three", is not thirty-third in a vertical arrangement of heavens. Vertically it occupies the second position among eighteen heavens. Its name is taken from the fact that it is the central one among a group of heavens located on the same plane, with eight heavens on each of its four sides.
The lord of the central heaven, the thirty-third, is named Sakra or Indra, and in Buddhism he is a protector of the Buddha's Dharma.
The Heaven of the Thirty-Three is eighty thousand yojanas high, and its city, the City of Good View, is made of the seven precious materials and is sixty thousand yojanas high. In the center of that city is Sakra's palace, which is made of the most exquisite and valuable gems.
In the past at the time of Kashyapa Buddha, Sakra was a very ordinary and a poor woman who saw a temple in ruins and vowed to restore it. Soliciting friends and relatives, she gradually gathered a group of thirty-two women. She herself was the thirty-third. Each of the thirty-three gave as much support as she could muster and with their collective effort they repaired the ruined temple. When each one died she ascended to the heavens and became ruler of her own heaven. The heaven in which Sakra, the former leader of the women, lives, is called the Trayastrimsa Heaven....
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Avalokitesvara – The Ones Who Regards The World Sounds
( 觀 世 音 菩 薩, Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa )
There are numerous tales about Guan Yin one of it possibly Taoist in origin, describes Guan Yin as the daughter of King Miao Chung. He and his wife were childless and as his age was nearing fifty it was a matter of great concern for him that he leaves an heir to his throne. Sacrifices and prayers were offered to the gods and eventually answered. His queen gave birth in three consecutive years to three daughters namely; Miao Ssu, Miao Yin and Miao Shan.
As there was no son the king decided to settle the heir to the throne by marrying his daughters to men of ability and the one whom is worthy and would succeed him. The two elder daughters were married but the youngest daughter Miao Shan refused. As she devotes herself to attain enlightenment.
She persuaded his father to allow her to retire to a nunnery for her cultivation. She was given the toughest and the most menial jobs on the King’s order to discourage her cultivating. Despite undergoing all these hardship she patiently overcome it with persistence, her compassion moves heaven. Even gods and animals conspired to help her. Eventually, when the king found out he was furious and ordered the nunnery to be burned. Miao Shan with the Heaven’s help extinguished the fire, with a heavy storm. She was later executed and her soul descends into Hell which was soon transformed into paradise. An edict was sent up to Heaven saying ”There must be justice both in Heaven and Hell, if you do not send this saint back to earth there will no longer be a Hell but only a Heaven”
After resurrecting her she was transported by Amitabha Buddha (Buddha of the Western Paradise) to the island, of Pu To Mountain (near Ningpo in CheJiang Province) where she spent nine years perfecting herself.
She started helping these in distress, curing people of their diseases, bestowing sons to these barren, rescuing these shipwreck victims and other acts of benevolence.
The legend says that due to the bad karma created by the King he was eventually struck with an incurable illness which could only be cured by the hand and the eye of the “Never angry one”. Guan Yin volunteered to give her hand and eyes to help her father. These parts immediately effected a cure. The King then discovered that he owed his daughter his life, full of remorse he left his kingdom to his chief minister and become a convert to Buddhism.
This legend is one of the many variations, collectively they are known as Miao Shan legends.
Based on a Buddhist account Guan Yin origin is a male deity called Avalokitesvara. He is an enlighten Buddha called “Right Dharma Thus Come One” ( 正 法 明 如 來 佛 ). Because of his Great Compassion he had manifest as a Bodhisattva to save all living beings.
According to the Chapter 25; The Universal Door of Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, he can manifest in numerous forms to help and convert living beings, he is the embodiment of the Buddha’s Compassion. His compassionate decision is to vow to stay a bodhisattva instead of becoming a buddha, because bodhisattvas can more effectively help other beings become enlightened.
Because of his compassion, Avalokitesvara has vowed not to become a buddha and enter into nirvana until after all sentient beings are saved from the nearly endless round of suffering in samsara. Instead, he has committed to continued existence so that he can help suffering beings. Avalokitesvara is not the only bodhisattva who has made this vow. However, he embodies the compassionate motivation which led all bodhisattvas to the vow. Thus, valuing the bodhisattva vow leads to valuing Avalokitesvara and everything he signifies.
AVALOKITESVARA PROTECTS AGAINST THE EIGHT FEARS
Saved from fire
Saved from wind or storm
Saved from attack of snakes or bandits
Saved from attack of tigers
Saved from attack of elephant or captivity
Saved from attack of evil spirits or demons
Saved from drowning
Saved from falling off a cliff
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THE UNIVERSAL DOOR OF GUANSHI YIN BODHISATTVA
(THE BODHISATTVA WHO CONTEMPLATES THE SOUNDS OF THE WORLD)
AT THAT TIME Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his palms together, and facing the Buddha, said, "World Honored One, for what reason is the Bodhisattva Guanshiyin called ‘Guanshiyin’?"
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, "Good man, if any of the limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of living beings who are undergoing all kinds of suffering hear of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and recite his name single-mindedly, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will immediately hear their voices and rescue them.
"If a person who upholds the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva enters a great fire, the fire will not burn him, all because of this Bodliisattva’s awesome spiritual power.
"If a person being tossed about in the great sea calls out the Bodhisattva’s name, he will find a shallow place.
"If the hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of beings who seek gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, carnelian, coral, amber, pearls, and so forth enter the great sea, an evil wind may toss their boats into the territory of the rakshasa ghosts. But if among them there is even one person who calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will all be saved from the difficulty of the rakshasas. For this reason, he is called Guanshiyin.
"Further, if a person who is about to be harmed calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, the knives and staves of the attackers will break into pieces and he will be saved.
"If yakshas and rakshasas enough to fill the three thousand great thousand world system come to torment a person, if they hear him call out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, all those evil ghosts will not even be able to stare at that person with their evil eyes, how much the less harm him.
"If a person, whether guilty or not, who has been put in stocks or bound with chains calls out the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, his fetters will break apart and he will immediately be freed.
"If bandits enough to fill the three thousand great thousand world system infest a dangerous road on which a merchant chief in charge of costly jewels is leading a group of merchants, but among the merchants there is even a single person who says, ‘Good men, do not be afraid! You should all single-mindedly recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva bestows fearlessness upon living beings. If you recite his name, you shall surely be saved from these robbers,’ and if upon hearing that, the merchants all cry out together, ‘Namo Guanshiyin Bodhisattva,’ then they will immediately be saved because they recited his name.
"Inexhaustible Intention! The awesome spiritual power of the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Guanshiyin is as lofty and sublime as that!
"If living beings who have much sexual desire constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from desire.
"If those who have much hatred constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from hatred.
"If those who are very stupid constantly and reverently recite the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be separated from stupidity.
"Inexhaustible Intention, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has great awesome spiritual powers such as these and confers great benefits. Therefore living beings should always be mindful of him.
"If women who seek sons bow and make offerings to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will give birth to blessed, virtuous, and wise sons. If they seek daughters, they will give birth to upright and handsome daughters who have planted roots of virtue in previous lives and who are regarded and respected by all.
"Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has powers such as these. If there are living beings who reverently bow to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, they will be blessed and their efforts will not be in vain.
"Therefore living beings should all receive and uphold the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva.
"Inexhaustible Intention! If a person were to receive and uphold the names of Bodhisattvas in number as the grains of sand in sixty-two kotis of Ganges Rivers, and in addition were to exhaustively make offerings to them of food, drink, clothing, bedding, and medicine, what do you think—would that good man’s or good woman’s merit and virtue be great or not?"
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva replied, "Very great, World Honored One."
The Buddha said, "If another person were to receive and uphold the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and bow and make offerings but once, that person’s blessings would be equal to and not different from the other person’s. They could not be exhausted in hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of eons.
"Inexhaustible Intention, one who receives and upholds the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva obtains the benefit of blessings and virtues as limitless and boundless as those."
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, how does Guanshiyin Bodhisattva roam through this Saha world? How does he speak the Dharma for living beings? How does he carry out this work with the power of expedients?"
The Buddha told Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva, "Good man, if living beings in this land must be saved by means of someone in the body of a Buddha, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will manifest it the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Pratyekabuddha, he will manifest in the body of a Pratyekabuddha and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Hearer, he will manifest in the body of a Hearer and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Brahma King, he will manifest in the body of the Brahma King and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of Shakra, he will manifest in the body of Shakra and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of the God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty, he will manifest in the body of the Great God of Sovereignty and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a great heavenly general, he will manifest in the body of a great heavenly general and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of Vaishravana, he will manifest in the body of Vaishravana and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minor king, he will manifest in the body of a minor king and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of an Elder, he will manifest in the body of an Elder and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a layman, he will manifest in the body of a layman and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a minister of state, he will manifest in the body of a minister of state and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Brahman, he will manifest in the body of a Brahman and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika, he will manifest in the body of a Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, Upasaka, or Upasika and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of the wife of an Elder, of a layman, of a minister of state, or of a Brahman, he will manifest in a wife’s body and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a pure youth or a pure maiden, he will manifest in the body of a pure youth or pure maiden and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a heavenly dragon, yaksha, gandharva, asura, garuda, kinnara, mahoraga, human, or nonhuman, and so forth, he will manifest in such a body and speak Dharma for them.
"If they must be saved by someone in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit, he will manifest in the body of a Vajra-wielding spirit and speak Dharma for them.
"Inexhaustible Intention! Guanshiyin Bodhisattva has accomplished merit and virtue such as this and, in all manner of forms, roams throughout the land, saving and liberating living beings.
"Therefore you should all single-mindedly make offerings to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva Mahasattva can, in the midst of fear, crisis, and hardship, bestow fearlessness. That is why in this Saha world all call him the "Bestower of Fearlessness."
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, I shall now make an offering to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva." He then removed his necklace of pearls, its value in the hundreds of thousands of ounces of gold, and offered it to the Bodhisattva, saying, "Humane One, accept this Dharma offering, this necklace of precious pearls."
Guanshiyin Bodhisattva refused to accept it.
Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva again said to Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, "Humane One, out of pity for us, accept this necklace."
The Buddha then told Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, "You should take pity on Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva and the fourfold assembly, as well as the gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and so forth, and accept this necklace."
Then, out of pity for the fourfold assembly, the gods, dragons, humans, nonhumans, and so forth, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva accepted the necklace. He divided it into two parts: one part he offered to Shakyamuni Buddha and the other to the stupa of Many Jewels Buddha.
"Inexhaustible Intention, such is the self-mastery and spiritual power of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, who roams throughout the Saha world."
At that time, Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva used verses to ask this question:
World Honored One, complete with wondrous marks,
I now ask again,
Why is this disciple of the Buddha Called Guanshiyin?
The Honored One of Perfect, Wondrous Marks,
With verses answered Inexhaustible Intention:
Listen to the practice of Guanyin,
Who skillfully responds in all places.
With vast vows, as deep as the sea,If someone is about to be harmed,
Throughout inconceivable eons,
He has served many thousands of kotis of Buddhas,
And has made great, pure vows.
I shall now tell you in brief,
That for those who hear his name or see him,
And who are mindful of his name unceasingly,
He can extinguish the suffering of all realms of existence.
If someone is the victim of another’s harmful intent,
And is pushed into a pit of fire,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The pit of fire will turn into a pool.
If someone is being tossed about in the great sea,
And is surrounded by the dangers of dragons, fish, and ghosts,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The waves will not drown him.
If someone is on the peak of Mount Sumeru,
And another person tries to push him off,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
He will stand firm as the sun in space.
If someone is pursued by evil people,
Who want to throw him off a VajraMountain,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
Not a single hair on his body will be harmed.
If someone is surrounded by vicious bandits,
Who threaten him with knives,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The bandits will all give rise to compassion.
If someone is in trouble with the law,
And on the verge of being executed,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The knives will break into pieces.
If someone is imprisoned, shackled, or chained,
Or if his hands and feet are in stocks,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
His bonds will open and he will be free.
By mantras, spells, or poison,Undefiled pure light,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The harm will all return to the sender.
If someone meets with evil rakshasas,
Poisonous dragons, or ghosts,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
They will then not dare to harm him.
If someone is surrounded by vicious beasts,
With fearsome fangs and claws,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The beasts will quickly run far away.
Poisonous snakes and scorpions,
Have blazing lethal vapors,
But if one evokes the strength of Guanyin,
At the sound of one’s voice, they will disperse.
Clouds of roaring thunder and lightning
May send down hail or great floods of rain,
But if one evokes the strength of Guanyin,
The clouds will immediately scatter.
Living beings are beset with hardships,
And oppressed by limitless sufferings.
The power of Guanyin’s wondrous wisdom
Can rescue the world from suffering.
Complete with the power of spiritual penetrations,
Vastly cultivating wisdom and expedient means,
Going throughout countries in the ten directions,
He manifests everywhere in all places.
The various evil destinies,
Those of the hells, ghosts, and animals,
And the pain of birth, old age, sickness, and death
Are all gradually wiped away.
True Contemplator, Pure Contemplator,
Contemplator with Vast, Great Wisdom,
Compassionate Contemplator, Kind Contemplator,
May we constantly behold you with reverence!
The sun of wisdom that breaks through the darkness
Is able to quell calamities of wind and fire
As it shines on all worlds.
Compassionate substance: the thunder of precepts.
Kind intent: a wondrous great cloud.
He rains down sweet dew and Dharma rain,
Which extinguish the flames of affliction.
In the midst of contention, when faced with lawsuits,
Or when someone is terrified on the battlefield,
If he evokes the strength of Guanyin,
All his many enemies will scatter and leave.
Wondrous your sound, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds
A pure sound, a sound like the sea tide,
A sound beyond all worldly sounds,
We shall always bear it in mind.
In thought after thought we have no doubt:
Guanshiyin is pure and sagely.
In times of suffering, agony, danger, and death,
He is our refuge and protector.
Complete with all merit and virtue,
His kind eyes watching living beings,
He is endowed with massive blessings, limitless as the sea.
Therefore we should reverently worship him.
At that time the Bodhisattva Guardian of the Earth rose from his seat and said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, if there are those who hear this chapter of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, who learn about the self-mastery of his deeds and the power of his spiritual penetrations as shown in this Universal Door, you should know that the merit and virtue of such people will not be small."
When the Buddha had spoken the "Universal Door Chapter," eighty-four thousand living beings in the assembly all brought forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi.
Today there are three celebrations observed by both Taoist and Buddhist that her birthday was on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month, the date of her achievement of immortality was the nineteenth day of the sixth lunar month and date of her attaining enlightenment (Nirvana) was the nineteenth day of the ninth lunar month.
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Jiang Tai Gong, ( Jiang Tai Gong, 姜 太 公 )
The God in Charge of Granting Titles to Gods
Life History of Real Jiang Taigong
Jiang Taigong, native of Donghai in Zhou Dynasty, was said to be a descendant of Emperor Yandi of remote ages. One of his forefathers had been a holding high position during the reign of Emperor Shun. Later, because of his achievement in helping Yu the Great to harness rivers, he was granted the fief of Lu (west of today’s Nanyang City in Henan Province) and addressed as Marquis of Lu. Jiang Taigong was also called Lu Shang or Lu Wang. To show him respect, later generations called him Jiang Ziya. In ancient times “zi” was an honorific title for men.
King Wen way on the journey to seek talents and met Jiang ZIya by chance. Jiang Ziya was a learned man and always wanted an opportunity to put his talents into practice. However under the reign of King Zhou, the last ruler of Shang Dynasty, he was unable to serve him as King Zhou was a tyrant.
Most of his life was spent in obscurity and poverty. He only was able to use his abilities when he was seventy years old. Jiang had heard that King Wen, chief of Zhou clan in the late Shang dynasty, was amiable and easy to approach, respecting the elder and loving children, placing those able and virtuous people in important positions. Thus Jiang moved to Wenshui. Building a hut near Panxi, he made a living by fishing, while waiting for the important post to be conferred by King Wen that would enable him to use his wisdom in assisting King Wen. Despite waiting for the wise ruler for a long time, Jiang hair turned grey and his hope seems futile. However as destined one day he heard the sound of horses and people’s voices coming from afar. A delicate featured man dressed up as a King approached him. When told the distinguished visitor was the King Wen of Zhou, who was eagerly seeking talents, he felt very happy and finally was appointed the Prime Minister!
He carried out political and military reforms. Domestically, he emphasizes on developing production; externally, he deployed forces to conquer small neighboring clans to expand territories and weaken the Shang Dynasty.
With his assistance King Wen defeated Quanrong, conquered Shang Dynasty’s Chongguo, and moved the capital from Qishan to Fengcheng. The territory of Zhou gradually increase and stretched from Mi (today’s Lingtai in Gansu Province) in the west of Yu (Around todays Qinyang County in Henan Province) in the east. Then Zhou territory further expanded to the valley of Yangtze, Hanshui and Rushui rivers. Its political, economic and military strength greatly surpassed the Shang Dynasty, paving the way for the founding of the Zhou Dynasty.
Unfortunately, King Wen died before he fulfilled his ambition of overthrowing the Shang. His son Ji Fa, historically known as King Wu, succeeded to the throne.
With the assistance of Jiang, he sent troops to fight King Zhou of Shang, and carried out his father’s plan to establish the Zhou Dynasty. The regime is called Western Zhou in history. Due to his merits in overthrowing the Shang Dynasty, Jiang was granted the area of Qi (the central and eastern parts of today’s Shandong Province) as his fief, and regarded as the founder of Qi.
Jiang Taigong in Legend
There are numerous legend about Jiang Taigong. One account said that his parents died when he was a child and he followed his aunt to Zhaoge, the capital of Shang. At the age of twelve he started working as a butcher because his aunt’s family needed his help. But he failed at his job and wandered away from Zhaoge, until he met King Wen and found success.
One legend said Jiang fished for three days and three nights without catching anything. Later someone taught him the way of angling. Following the advice, Jiang finally caught a carp. Upon opening it’s belly, he found a cloth roll with characters reading “Lu Wang (namely Jiang Taigong) will be granted the area of Qi as his fief”.
Based on another legend King Wen dreamed of the Heavenly Emperor calling him “Chang (King Wen was named Ji Chang), I am going to grant you a good mentor and assistant. His name is Wang”. He then saw Jiang taigong beside the Heavenly Emperor. It was the same night Jiang Taigong had the same dream. Soon afterwards when meeting Jiang, King Wen asked. “Is Wang your name?”
“Yes,” replied Jiang, smiling. “It seems that I had seen you somewhere,” said King Wen. After Jiang told him the exact date he had the same dream with King Wen, he took Jiang and offered him an important position.
This legend is the most popular among all. Jiang Taigong was originally a famous general of King Wen and a respected figure. He was even believed ton have become a supernatural being. So anyone who wants to drive evil spirits out of his house would put on the wall a poster with characters reading. “Jiang Taigong is here. All evil spirits keep off.”
Jiang Taigong is depicted as an elderly man with white beard and hair, dressed up in imperial robe, one hand holding a flag (flag denotes his power to control or dispatch armies) and the other hand holds a sword.
Jiang Taigong famous quote, ”Jiang Taigong is here. Other gods withdraw and keep off”. Thus declared Jiang Taigong at a platform after he granted titles to other gods. “Since I had offered a title to them, I should at least place myself above them”, he declared.
From then onwards, when people were building a new house, they would paste up a banner reading “Jiang Taigong is here, hundred affairs are not forbidden as taboo”, (姜太公在此, 百事無禁忌) this would prevent evil spirits from occupying the building.
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Taoist Master Zhang, ( Zhang Tian Shi, 張 天 師)
Master Zhang, whose full name was Zhang Ling, or Zhang DaoLing (34-156), was the founder of the Five Pecks of Rice Sect of Taoism during the Eastern Han Dynasty. A native of Fengxian County, Jiangsu Province, he studied in the Imperial College and well versed in the Five Classics. He practiced meditation in Heming Mountain in today’s Dayi County, Sichuan Province in the reign of Emperor Shundi (r.125-144). In 141, he wrote twenty-four Taoist texts and institutionalized Taoism, which was called the Five Pecks of Rice Sect, calling himself Occult Master of Great Purity. Its believers had to pay five pecks of rice as contribution to support his institution. It emphasized repenting one’s mistakes and have faith in Taoists canons. It propagated its doctrine by praying and drawing charms, and gave treatment with blessed holy water or incantations.
Legends of Master Zhang
Many legends are told about him. One said that Zhang DaoLing was the eight descendants of Zhang Liang, a high official of the Han Dynasty, he was a tall man, with extraordinary appearance characterized by full forehead, red hair, green eyes, straight nose and square mouth, bushy eyebrows and big ears. All this features, plus his beard, gave the impression that he looked like an immortal priest. In the tenth year of the Jianwu period under the reign of the Emperor Guangwu of the Eastern Han Dynasty, he was born in the Tianmu Mountain.
Before he was born his mother dreamed about a tall immortal wearing a gold crown and embroidered robe descending from the Big Dipper to her room. He gave her a scented plant, and suddenly vanished. She awakened to find her quilt, clothes and the entire room was lingered with an extraordinary fragrance that last for a month. Then she became pregnant. On the day when she was in labour, the courtyards was permeated in colored clouds, and the room was bright with red beams. The fragrance again fills the air. Daoling was able to walk as soon as he was born.
He was extremely intelligent as he had knowledge and can memorize the entire Dao De Jing, astronomy, geography and mystic diagrams at the age of seven. He passed the second degree Imperial examination, as became the magistrate of Jingzhou. Albeit an official he was determined to practice meditation. Before long he tender his resignation and lived in seclusion in Beimang Mountain. It was said that one day a white tiger bought scriptures in it’s mouth to him. Emperor He Di appointed him as Imperial tutor to the crown prince, and conferred on him the title Marquis of Jixian. He was invited to take up the official position, three times, but he always refused. In A.D. 90, he went to Long He Mountain in Jiangxi Province where he tried alchemy – to make pills of Immortality and delivered sermons for about thirty years, his disciples totaling more than three thousand.
Master Zhang was well known for curing people with Talismans, blessed holy water, and delivered people from danger and disaster.
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The Queen of Heaven (天 后 聖 母, Tian Hou Sheng Mu)
The Queen of Heaven is also known Ma Zu. Originally named Lin Muo Niang; was born in 960 AD, on the 23rd day of the 3rd month in the Song Dynasty. She was born in a village along PuTian, Fujian’s Province.
Based on the book “Gods of Ancient China”, the day she was born, the land was covered by a purple streak, perfumed scent filled every household, and a golden halo appeared above the Lin house, within which emitted a red glow. One month after her birth she had not cried. So her parents called her Lin Muo Niang (Muo is the Chinese character meaning silence).
She was very filial to her parents, intelligent and loved to help people in adversity. She was a good swimmer and had gone fishing since childhood with her elder brother. She often rowed a boat during a vicious storm to save people in distress at the risk of her life. Her heroic deeds gained attention far and wide.
Ten centuries ago on a stormy day she came to aid an overturned merchant ship. She managed to rescue only nine of the ten people on board. The one left was tossed away by a huge wave. Disregarding her own safety, she swam and managed to save the last victim, however she herself drowned due to exhaustion.
Reluctant to accept that she had died, people preferred to assume that she had become a goddess. According to the legend, somebody saw the Goddess in imperial garments soared to the Heavens. To commemorate her people of Pu Tian, her hometown, built a temple dedicated to her.
After her death, the Goddess was said to become more miraculous. On one occasion, a violent storm was raging over the seas and overturned a few fishing boats. All the fishermen fell into the sea. At that moment a streak of light was seen among the dark clouds, the Goddess was seen descending from Heaven, she then miraculously set all the overturned boats and pulled the fishermen into the boats. And then suddenly the wind subsided, the waves calmed down and the sky cleared. All the people were saved.
Emperor of various dynasties glamorized the Goddess. During a period of eight hundred years, on forty occasions they granted her titles which, when placed together, ran to sixty Chinese characters, including “State Protecting Sage”, “Protector of the State and People” and “Goddess of Heaven”.
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The Supreme Lord of the Dark Heaven
( 玄 天 上 帝, Xuan Tian Shang Ti )
Xuan Tian Shang Ti, was originally a butcher, he had killed a lot as days passed he felt remorse for his sins and repents by giving up butchery and retired to a remote mountain for cultivation of the Tao. One day while he was assisting a woman in labor, while cleaning the woman’s blood stained clothes along a river, the words “Xuan Tian Shang Di” (玄 天 上 帝) appeared before him. The woman in labor turns out to be Guan Yin manifestation. To redeem his sins, he dug out his own stomach and intestines and washes it in the river. The river turns into dark murky water then after a while it changes the water into clear pure water.
Unfortunately he loses the stomach and intestines while he was washing it in the river. The Jade Emperor was moved by his sincerity and determination to clear his sins; hence he became an Immortal known as “Xuan Tian Shang Ti”.
After he becomes an immortal his stomach and intestines after absorbing the world essences it was transformed into a demonic turtle and snake harming people. No one could subdue them. Eventually Xuan Tian Shang Ti returns back to earth to subdue them and use them as his transportation or disciples.
Xuan Tian Shang Ti is portrayed as a warrior in imperial robes, the left hand holds the “three mountain mudra” while the right hand holds a prominent sword. He is usually seated on a throne with the right stepping on the snake and left leg extended stepping on the turtle. His face is red with long flowing black beards, looks very stern with bulging pair of eyes. His birthday is celebrated on the third day of third lunar month.
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Imperial Sovereign Wen Chang
( 文 昌 帝 君, Wen Chang Di Jun )
The popular Chinese Taoist god of literature and writing, invoked by scholars to assists them in their works. He is especially venerated by people who require help with their entrance examinations for an official career.
In reality, Wen-chang is a constellation of six stars in the vicinity of the Great Bear. It is said that when these stars are bright, literature flourishes. He visits the Earth frequently in human shape. Taoists texts mention seventeen separate existences of the stellar deity on Earth
In addition to the ancestors of whose worship it really consists, Taoism has in its pantheon the specialized gods worshipped by the scholars. The chief of these is Wen Chang, the God of Literature. The account of him (which varies in several particulars in different Chinese works) relates that he was a man by the name of Chang Ya, who was born during the T’ang dynasty in the kingdom of Yeh (now known as ZheJiang Province), and went to live at Tzŭ T’ung in Szechuan, where his intelligence raised him to the position of President of the Board of Ceremonies. Another account refers to him as Chang Ya Tzŭ, the Soul or Spirit of Tzŭ T’ung, and states that he held office in the Chin dynasty (A.D. 265–316), and was killed in a fight. Another again states that under the Sung dynasty (A.D. Page 105960–1280), in the third year (A.D. 1000) of the reign-period Hsien P’ing of the Emperor Chun Tsung, he repressed the revolt of Wang Chun at Ch’ing Tu in Szechuan. General Lei Yu-chung caused to be shot into the besieged town arrows to which notices were attached inviting the inhabitants to surrender. Suddenly a man mounted a ladder, and pointing to the rebels cried in a loud voice: “The Spirit of Tzŭ T’ung has sent me to inform you that the town will fall into the hands of the enemy on the twentieth day of the ninth moon, and not a single person will escape death.” Attempts to strike down this prophet of evil were in vain, for he had already disappeared. The town was captured on the day indicated. The general, as a reward, caused the temple of Tzŭ T’ung’s Spirit to be repaired, and sacrifices offered to it.
The object of worship nowadays in the temples dedicated to Wen Chang is Tzŭ T’ung Ti Chun, the God of Tzŭ T’ung. Various emperors at various times bestowed upon Wen Chang honorific titles, until ultimately, in the Yuan, or Mongol, dynasty, in the reign Yen Yu, in A.D. 1314, the title was conferred on him of Supporter of the Yuan Dynasty, Diffuser of Renovating Influences, Ssŭ-lu of Wen Chang, God and Lord. He was thus apotheosized, and took his place among the gods of China.
Thus the God of Literature, Wen Chang Di Jun, duly installed in the Chinese pantheon, and sacrifices were offered to him in the temples dedicated to him. But scholars, especially those about to enter for the public competitive examinations, worshipped as the God of Literature, or as his palace or abode (Wen Chang), the star K’uei in the Great Bear, or Dipper, or Bushel—the latter name derived from its resemblance in shape to the measure used by the Chinese and called tou. The term K’uei was more generally applied to the four stars forming the body or square part of the Dipper, the three forming the tail or handle being called Shao or Piao. How all this came about is the next story.
A scholar, as famous for his literary skill as his facial deformities, had been admitted as first academician at the metropolitan examinations. It was the custom that the Emperor should give with his own hand a rose of gold to the fortunate candidate. This scholar, whose name was Chung K’uei, presented himself according to custom to receive the reward which was rightfully due to him. At the sight of his repulsive face the Emperor refused the golden rose. In despair the miserable rejected one went and threw himself into the sea. At the moment when he was being choked by the waters a mysterious fish or monster called ao raised him on its back and brought him to the surface. K’uei ascended to Heaven and became arbiter of the destinies of men of letters. His abode was said to be the star K’uei, a name given by the Chinese to the sixteen stars of the constellation or ‘mansion’ of Andromeda and Pisces. The scholars quite soon began to worship K’uei as the God of Literature, and to represent it on a column in the temples. Then sacrifices were offered to it. This star or constellation was regarded as the palace of the god. The legend gave rise to an expression frequently used in Chinese of one who comes out first in an examination, namely, tu chan ao, “to stand alone on the sea-monster’s head.” It is especially to be noted that though the two K’ue’s have the same sound they are represented by different characters, and that the two constellations are not the same, but are situated in widely different parts of the heavens.
Images of Wen Chang portray him as an official or as a scholar. He is always seen holding an auspicious scepter “Ru Yi” or a register book. Usually accompanied by his two faithful attendants, namely Tien Lung (Deaf Celestial) and Di Ya (Mute Terrestial). His birthday is celebrated on the third day of second lunar month.
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The Door Gods ( 門 神, Men Shen )
The Door gods are the earliest gods worshipped by the Chinese. They are regarded as the Spiritual Guardians of the Entrance. An altar is usually placed besides the entrance, where offerings are given daily.
According to the legend the Door gods were formerly imperial generals, Qin Shu Bao and Wei Chi Gong. They were both assigned to protect Emperor Tai Zong ( 太 宗 皇 帝 ) , from ghosts and demons during the Tang dynasty. It was believed that the Emperor had nightmares whenever he sleeps during the night. He would always be pursuit by ghosts or demons in his dream, it could be his karma manifesting to him as he had killed numerous people before he was enthroned as the Emperor. His siblings were also killed.
Whenever the two generals stood guard outside his room entrance, he would be able to sleep soundly without any nightmares. It was believed that ghosts and demons dare not enter the emperor’s room whenever the two generals are present.
As the two generals are mortals, the Emperor Tai Zhong feared that the generals would suffer from fatigue having to keep watch over him every night. Hence, he ordered portraits of the imperial generals to be hung on each side of the door.
They wear warrior robes, have gentle dispositions and are usually shown as standing. Qin Shu Bao holds a slender club, whereas Wei Chi Gong holds a mace.
The portraits of the Door Gods are usually changed just before Chinese New Year. Worn out portraits does not have the ability to keep away evil spirits and to protect the house.
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The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven
(九 天 玄 女, Jiu Tian Xuan Nu )
The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven is a female deity. She had been the teacher of the ancient Yellow Emperor. When the Yellow Emperor had been fighting the rebel Ch`i You, the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven descended and bestowed the Yellow Emperor with the military register for dispatching, with a seal and sword. She made a drum that was made out of cow skin with eighty sides, which the Yellow Emperor used to defeat Ch`i You.
During the period of spring and autumn, the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven transformed herself into the Jade Lady of Nan Shan. She helped the Yueh State send a punitive expedition against the Wu State, and taught the army to be equipped with six thousand highly qualified soldiers. Afterwards, she departed without bidding farewell, and soared to the sky. On the Nan Shan mountain, the king of the Yueh State built a temple in commemoration of her. The temple is named the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven.
The Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven has a disciple whose name was Pai-Yun Tong-chun. He received all the dharma-methods from the Mysterious Lady, and later was able to be elevated to heaven to be in charge of the Taoist books that belong to the Mysterious Lady of the Ninth Heaven.
She is depicted as a fair rosy complexion lady, usually brandishing a sword in her right hand while the left hand holds a gourd. The Taoist gourd is a symbol of immortality, healing (contains golden elixir), longevity and good fortune.
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The Great Spirits of The Earth
(福 德 正 神, Fu De Zheng Shen)
The great spirits of the earth possess great spiritual powers that not many spirits can match! Why! There is several aspect of the earth; it is wide and extensive, it supports and nourishes all living beings, it receives the great rain, it produces grass and trees, it holds all planted seeds, it produces medicines, it is impartial and it holds many treasures.
All the lands through out the world receives his protection; all the grasses, woods, stones, sands, paddy fields, hemp, bamboo, reeds, grains, rice, gems, and oil come forth from the ground because of his power. He can even prevent plagues ghosts from spreading epidemics; furthermore he’s the greatest wealth deity on earth! The image on the left is the sculpture of the great spirits of the earth. He’s always depicted as an elderly man with a white beard usually smiling and maintaining a benevolent expression. He holds an auspicious wish fulfilling object called “Ru Yi” 「如意」.While the other hand on the right holds several gold ingots. He is also called “The Upright Spirit of Fortune and Wealth” (福德正神) when worshipped in temples and homes; while in a cemetery, he is called “Hou Tu” (后土)
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The Thunder God ( 雷 公, Lei Gong )
It is believed that a bolt of lightning erupting in the midst of the dark universe disrupts the primordial chaos. Hence at the beginning of time, chaos is altered into order by lightning. Thunder and lightning are worshipped by the primitive because it is one of the greatest forces in the Universe that is feared by man.
In mythology, the Thunder god is in charge of thunder. He is portrayed as having a green face and body, he resemble a bird like creature his face has a beak. Holds a hammer and chisel, when struck together lightning bolts are released.
He could punish on behalf of Heaven, could strike a vicious person, such as unfillial sons or daughter, able to distinguish between good and evil, and uphold justice. In Buddhism he is a Dharma protector.
It is believed his feature derives from the Garuda, a mystical bird-like creature who was the messenger or vehicle of the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. He bears a close resemblance to the Garuda as expounded in Hindu text and Buddhist sutra’s as one of the “Eight class of mystical beings” (天 龍 八 部, Tian Long Ba Bu ).
The Garuda is the arch enemy of the snake, dragon or “naga”, which he feeds on them. Historically, from classical Indian mythology, Garuda is the king of birds.
Slightly fierce, with one face in the form of an eagle, round eyes and a curved beak, Adorned with gold necklaces and bracelets, the lower body is covered with feathers and large wings are unfurled behind. Standing on legs of two talons above coiled snake.
If you were to make a comparative study of the features of the Thunder god and Garuda based on these pictures, you will discover that there is a close resemblance in terms of the features.
Lord Vishnu and the Garuda
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Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva ( Di Zang Wang Pu Sa, 地 藏 王 普 薩 )
Di Zhang may be represented in sitting or standing posture. He always has a kind and benevolent feature and carries either, or both, his symbols of the Cintamani or "Wish-fulfilling Jewel' and the "Ringed-Staff", which is also called the Khakkhara. This ringed staff is often carried by Buddhist monks in their travels so that the sounds caused by the jingling rings can warn small animals and insects of their approach lest they be trod upon and killed. It is also sometimes called the alarm-staff.
In the much treasured picture of Di Zhang Pu Sa, which is found in many Buddhist homes and temples, he is seen seated upon a lotus throne. His hands holds the precious flaming pearl which has vast magical powers beyond description. He wears the robe of a Northern Buddhist monk and on his head is the "Five-leaves crown, where the representation of a Dhyani-Buddha can be seen on each of the leaves”.
Whenever you have the urge to pray to this Bodhisattva for any help, visualize him a few seconds as you silently recite, "NAMO DI ZHANG WANG PUSA" . Di Zhang Pu Sa is very responsive to sincere prayers of faith and he may yet grant you your wish, if it is not too unselfish or unreasonable. All may pray to him with this simple invocation and, due to, your past karmic links with him may yet make you into another ardent Ti Tsang devotee again in this lifetime.
The standing posture of Di Zhang is particularly popular in Japan where he is known as Jizo Bosatsu. It represents the readiness of Jizo to respond immediately to the calls of help made by those who have faith in his saving powers. Standing upon a lotus, he holds his precious flaming jewel with his left hand while the ringed staff is held with the right, ever ready to force open the gates of Hell with the staff and to dispel the darkness of the infernal realm with his luminous gem.
Di Zhang is at times depicted accompanied by a dog, which also has a significant meaning. On the death of his mother, the Bodhisattva, not as "Sacred Girl', hastened into the underworld with the view of comforting her and to seek favorable treatment for her. However, he could not find her but later discovered that she had already taken rebirth as a female dog. Upon his return to earth Di Zhang soon traced and adopted the animal, which then became his companion on his pilgrimages.
Another popular depiction of him is in this standing or 'activity-form' which has his left hand holding an alms bowl against his navel, while his right hand forms the mudra (hand-sign) of "giving consolation and peace to all living beings".
Di Zhang Pu Sa has many emanations and he has manifested in countless forms to save beings at different times and places. In the Chinese Buddhist Pantheon his is the only figure in the form of a monk. This is to indicate that Mahayana Buddhism is suitable for both the monks and the laity.
Di Zhang's compassion is not practiced exclusively for the benefit of the beings of the hell realm, he also gives blessings to those of the world who seek his help and he is a comforter of the poor, oppressed, sick, hungry, and those who are troubled by spirits and nightmares. Those who have firm faith in him can easily receive his protection. With faith one needs to recite any of these simple prayers:
"NAMO DI ZHANG WANG P'USA' or
"NAMO KSITIGARBHA BODHISATTVA".
Images of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are recognized by the symbols that they are associated with. Each of these symbols has a particular meaning which most people are unaware of. For example, the KHAKKHARA, or Ringed Staff, which Di Zhang holds, is not only meant to warn small and crawling creatures of his approach so as to avoid stepping on them but also to inform people of his presence through the jingling caused by the rings. Often a traveling monk on a pilgrimage has to stop at homes to seek alms and since he does not wish to speak unnecessarily, he usually announces his arrival by shaking his sounding staff.
The Khakkhara is often a wooden staff capped with metal loops or crotchets and rings, which are four, six or twelve in number. The Four-ringed staff is carried by a monk who has perceived the Four Noble Truths of Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the Cessation of Suffering, and the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering. The Six-ringed staff belongs to a Bodhisattva who is constantly practicing the Six Paramitas, while the Twelve-ringed staff is held by a Pratyeka Buddha who has realized the Twelve-fold Links of Causation.
As a result of Di Zhang P'usa having made this promise to Sakyamuni Buddha: "I will fulfill your instructions to continue to relieve beings from their states of suffering and lead them to Salvation. I shall strive to work hard until the next Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, comes to the world ". He is also adored as the "Master of the Six Worlds of Desire," thus there are depictions of him being surrounded by a Bodhisattva, an Asura, a Man, an Animal (horse or ox), a Preta, and a Demon holding a pitchfork, which symbolizes the six different forms he assumes in the six realms to save the beings there.
In the Chapter 12: The Benefits of Seeing and Hearing of the Di Zhang Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha gave this advice for the benefit of all human beings:
"Listen to me carefully and I shall tell you in detail. If virtuous ones of the future see the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva's image, hear the Ksitigarbha Sutra, recite this Sutra, make offerings to Ksitigrabha, pay homage to him, they will receive these benefits:
1. They will be protected by devas and dragons.
2. Their ability to do good will be increased.
3. Opportunities for doing good will increase.
4. They will strive to attain Buddhahood.
5. They will enjoy sufficiency of food and clothing.
6. They will be free from diseases.
7. Floods and fire will not affect them.
8. Robbers will not trouble them.
9. They will be respected and admired by people.
10. Spirits and devas will protect and assist them.
11. Females shall be reborn as males.
12. The females will become daughters of noble and exalted families.
13. They will be reborn with good complexion.
14. They will be reborn in the heavens for many lives.
15. They will be reborn as kings or rulers of countries.
16. They will have wisdom to recollect their past lives.
17. They will be successful in all their aspirations.
18. They will enjoy happy family relationships.
19. Disasters will not affect them.
20. Their bad karma will be removed.
21. Wherever they go, they are safe.
22. They shall always have peaceful dreams.
23. Their deceased relatives shall be free from sufferings.
24. They will be reborn with happiness.
25. They will be praised by divine beings.
26. They will be intelligent and skilful.
27. They will have compassion for others.
28. They will finally attain Buddhahood.
The birthday of Di Zhang Pu Sa falls on the 30th day of the 7th moon of the Chinese lunar calendar. All over the world Buddhist temples offer prayers to Di Zhang Pu Sa during the 7th lunar month for the benefit of the dead.
Di Zhang's popularity among the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists is second only to Kuan Shih Yin Pu Sa as he takes upon himself the fearful and difficult task of bringing relief and consolation to the suffering beings of hell.
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Liu Ren Xian Shi (六壬仙師 ).
A renowned Taoist master during the Tang dynasty originates from ChangAn Province China. His actual name is Lee Shun Feng (李淳風). This Taoist Sect is also known as Shun Feng Tao (淳風道) named after the founder of this Sect. At a young age he had learning disabilities, both his parents were very concern. They invited a Taoist master to view his physiognomy.
Physiognomy, which claims to find correspondences between bodily features and psychological characteristics, often makes use of such supposed similarities. The Taoist master revealed that based on the physiognomy of the child, his learning disabilities are only temporarily. He has the features of a great sage and shall lead living beings to salvations.
After the Taoist master gave the prediction, later at the age of six he can master all the Chinese classics, literatures and even memorize every single word after reading once! He was so brilliant that not anyone can match him at that age. Due to his past karma or affinity with the Taoist master he met him again at the age of twelve and requested the Taoist master to take him as a disciple. However the Taoist master refused as he was told to fulfill his obligations to his parents. In China we place great emphasis in filial piety and repaying the kindness of parents. The Taoist master promised him that when the time is ripe he shall appear again to offer him the discipleship. He didn’t have to wait long as both his parents deceased when he was nineteenth years old.
He followed the Taoist Master and learned Taoist alchemy, spiritual cultivations, meditations, divination, and art of war. With the wisdom and power he possessed he begins helping numerous people, everywhere relieving them of their hardship and suffering. Her was later canonized as a deity and the founder of Taoist sect Shun Feng Tao ( 淳 風 道 ).
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Lord Guan Ti ( 關 帝 聖 君 )
Zhou Chang ( 周 倉 ) Guan Ti ( 關 帝 ) Guan Ping ( 關 平 )
Guan Ti or Guan Yun Chang was born in Shan Xi province during the Three Kingdom (220 – 260 AD). He led a simple life and made his living as a young man by selling bean-curds, thus he is worship by bean-curd sellers as their patron god today. He has an excellent memory power that he had the ability to recite word for word the entire Classics after reading it for once.
Therefore students taking examinations usually pray to him to bless them success. He is also worshipped as the God of Literature by scholars. Some idols of Guan Ti can be found seated while holding a book.
He was known for his righteous, and justice which got Guan Yu into trouble when he interfered with a licentious and corrupt magistrate who forced a poor lady to become his concubine. The magistrate was slayed by Guan Yu. He had to flee for his life and escape to the mountain to seek refuge. As he was on his journey to the neighboring province he stops by a stream to have a wash; when to his surprise he noticed a great changed in his appearance! His facial complexion had changed from pale white to reddish tint which saved him to disguise himself and was able to walk through the sentries who was guarding the mountain pass.
When he reached Chu-Chou of the Szechuan Province he be, befriends Zhang Fei and Liu Bei who shared his noble ideals and virtues. They took the oath of brotherhood in a peach orchard, and sworn as “brothers”. Chang Fei was a butcher, became the youngest brother. He was a man of fiery temper who had an unyielding sense of justice and was well known for his immense appetite both for food and adventure. He had a black face which was full of whiskers and his formidable height of seven feet tall; very few would dare cross his path. His great love and loyalty to Guan Yu has won him a place of honor he is always seen standing beside Kuan Yu in all depictions.
Liu Bei, the elder brother who came from a distinguished but impoverished family with imperial linkage, was known to be a man of honor. Guan Yu, a powerful figure of more than eight feet tall, possessed an enigmatic personality and integrity that won him respect of all whom he met.
Together the three sworn brothers set out and became involved in military pursuits, They displayed great military prowess and fought many battles which is recorded in details in the famous novels of “The Three Kingdoms”. Based on the recorded history of his life Guan Yu had many occasions display his nobility, uprightness, integrity, loyalty and bravery. Despite living at a time of great distress and chaos during the Han Dynasty, he would never be tempted to acquire wealth, fame and power as he remain faithful to his oath that he had taken with his brothers at the peach orchard; “ To be loyal to each other in life and united in death”.
In the year 219 A.D. he was captured by Sun Chuan and executed. It was recorded that on the night of his death, his spirit appeared before a Buddhist monk, to seek refuge to the Buddha dharma. Based on a Buddhist account, Guan Yu manifest before the Tripitaka Master Chi Tsai, the founder of Tien Tai Buddhism, with a retinue of spiritual beings. After receiving the teachings Guan Yu requested the Five precepts and took refuge in the Buddha dharma. He vowed that he would be a dharma protector to the Buddha Dharma. Hence, his idol is usually found in the hall of most Buddhist temples. He had earned his place in both the Taoist and Buddhist pantheon of deities.
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Goddess of the Northern Star
( Dou Mu Yuan Jun, 斗 母 元 君 )
Goddess of the Northern Star ( 斗 母 元 君 )
Tou Mu, the Bushel Mother, or Goddess of the North Star, are worshipped by both Buddhists and Taoists. From a Taoist perspective she is a stellar divinity, her full name being Jiu Lin Tai Miao Bai Yu Gui Tai Zu Guang Jin Jing Zu Mu Yuan Jun (九 靈 太 妙 白 玉 貴 台 祖 光 金 精 祖 母 元 君 ). She is also called Du Mu Yuan Jun ( 斗 母 元 君 ).
As told in the scriptures, Madame Zi Guang went to the imperial garden for sight seeing. She was captivated by the hot spring water next to the lotus pool and took a bath there, miraculously nine lotus buds appeared and after a while the lotus blossomed and came out nine infants. After these nine children grown up, the eldest son Gou Cheng Xing ( 勾 城 星 ) became one of the heavenly gods, named North Star (Zi Wei Da Di, 紫 微 大 帝 ). The rest of the brothers were Tang Lang ( 貪 狼 ), Ju Men ( 巨门 ), Lu Cun ( 路存), Wen Qu ( 文 曲 ), Lian Zhen ( 廉 貞 ), Wu Qu ( 武 曲 ) and Po Jun ( 破 君 ) are the group of stars known as the Big Dipper Seven Stars.
After giving birth to nine sons Madame Zi Guang was honoured with the title Big Dipper True Holy Virtue Heavenly Queen ( 北 斗 九 真 聖 德 天 后 ).
There is another legend that states The King of Chou Yue, in the north, married her on hearing of her many virtues. They had nine sons. Yuan-shih T'ien Jun ( 元 始 天 君 ) came to earth to invite her, her husband, and nine sons to enjoy the delights of Heaven.
The Big Dipper Seven Stars are in charge of the fate of human and earthly fate in the universe. Every star controls the earthly fate for a period of 20 years. The division of 3 yuan and 9 yun (三 云 九 運 ) of Feng shui originated from this theory.
For these who offend the Grand Duke or Tai Sui ( 太 歲 ) for the year of the Dog 2006, should pray to Tai Sui. However there is another alternative besides praying to Tai Sui, you can also pray to Goddess of the Northern Star or Dou Mu to relieve you of any difficulty, danger and bad luck. Those affected sign are Ox, Ram, Dog, Rat, Dragon and Monkey for this year 2006.
The reason is because the Goddess of the Northern Star is the mother of Nine Stars her power is inconceivable as she oversee the welfare of all beings.
She is depicted with 3 eyes on her forehead, 4 heads on shoulders, a head with 4 faces, 8 arms 2 palms clasp together, the other 6 arms holding a sun, moon, precious bell, bow and arrow, a seal of authority and halberd. She bears a close resemblance to the Buddhist deity Marichi, Goddess of Dawn. Her features and the dharma implements she’s holding are almost identical.
Marichi, Goddess of the Dawn
Marichi, (Tibetan Buddhism : o zer chen ma, English: the One Having Light Rays), Goddess of the Dawn. Marichi is a red-coloured female yidam associated with the sun and with dawn.
Her mantra is traditionally used as protection by travelers. She has three faces, eight arms and two legs. She holds the powerful Tantric tools (in her right hands) of vajra (at the heart in the mudra of teaching), the vajra ax, the arrow, the mudra of generosity (holding a sewing needle. In her left hands: the mudra of teaching hold the stem of a healing plant, a bow, a thread, and loop with hook drawn along by seven white boars.
The goddess Marichi is the manifestation of the twenty-one forms of Tara and has the special power to avert bandits, robbers, and thieves. She is a most sublime goddess who is the ally of beings who are bereft of companionship and support and who are subject to the coercion of others more powerful than they.
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The Eight Immortals
The Chinese character 仙, which signify immortal, is composed of 人 man and 山 a mountain. It denotes the superior class of human spirits, who, having been deified, dwell in remote mountains devoid of human inhabitants. They are imbued with the power of being visible and invisible at pleasure, of raising the dead, of changing stones they touch into gold, and of effecting at pleasure various other wonderful transmutations. The Eight Immortals or Ba Xian (八仙), are legendary beings of the Taoist sect, said to have lived at various times and attained immortality through their cultivation of Tao’s or nature secret.
Their eminent position has been attained by cultivation, to which eight, including one female (He Xian Gu, 何仙姑) have risen higher than other.
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The Chief of the Eight Immortals
Zhong LiQuan, 鐘离權
In Taoism, he is known as Zheng Yang Ju Shi, 正陽袓師. Literally, the True Yang First Master. He is the Chief of the Eight Immortals, is said to have lived during the Han dynasty and have possessed the secrets of the elixir of life, and the power of transmutation. He is also known as Zhongli of Han (漢鐘離) because he was born in the Han Dynasty. He is usually depicted as a fat man exposing his bare belly, always grasping his emblem, a fan, which has the magical ability of reviving the dead.
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Zhang GuoLao, 張果老
Elder Zhang Guo, lived during the 7th and 8th century AD is a hermit who had spiritual powers of magic, i.e. rendering himself invisible, He is accompanied by a white mule, which carried him immense distances and when not, required was transformed into a paper mule, folded up and put away in his pouch. When he wished to resume his travels, he sprinkles some water upon the paper mule revived it and the mule will appear at once. He generally rode his mule backwards. His emblem is the “Yugu” (魚故), a kind of musical instrument in the shape of bamboo tube or drum with two rods to beat it.
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Lu Dong Bin, 呂洞賓
He is the most widely known among the group of deities known as the Eight Immortals and hence considered by some to be the de facto leader. He was born during the Tang Dynasty (AD750). A scholar and ascetic who learnt the secrets of Taoism from Zhong LiQuan, the Chief of the Eight Immortals, and attained immortality at the age 50. He is the patron saint of barbers and is also worshipped by the sick. He is generally depicted wearing a scholar clothes and head gear, holds in his right hand a Taoist fly whisk, and his emblem, a sword, which is slung across his back. He is well known of slaying and getting rids of various forms of evil on earth for more than 400 years.
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Cao Guo Jiu, 曹國舅
He was born during the Song Dynasty (AD930-999) as the son of a military commander by the name Cao Bin 曹彬, that happens to be the brother of Empress Cao Hou 曹后. He is depicted dressed in official robes, a court headdress and he holds a pair of castanets, which is his emblem. The castanets are said to be derived from the court tablets, authorizing free access to the Imperial palace, to which he was entitled due to his birth.
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Li TieGuai, 李铁拐
He was born during the Western Zhou period, and was originally named Li Yüan. He studied with Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism) and Goddess Hsi Wang Mu. He is said to have devoted 40 years to the practice of meditation and cultivation of Taoist esoteric practice.
Before becoming an immortal, he had a pleasant disposition. However, on one occasion his spirit traveled to celestial realm. He instructs his disciple to wait seven days for his spirit to return; but after six days the student had to return to attend his sick mother, so he cremated his body assuming that he had deceased.
Upon returning, Li was forced to enter the only body available, the corpse of a homeless beggar who had died of starvation; who unfortunately had "a long and pointed head, blackened face, woolly and disheveled beard and hair, huge eyes, and a lame leg." His emblem is the pilgrim’s gourd which identifies him as one of the Eight Immortals, and his iron crutch.
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Han XiangZi, 韓湘子
He is the nephew of Han Yu 韓愈, a famous scholar and statesman who lived during the Tang Dynasty (AD820). He is the disciple of Lu DongBin, he became an immortal when he fell into a supernatural peach tree. He has the ability of making flowers grow and blossom instantaneously. His emblem is the flute, and he is the patron of musicians. He wanders around, playing his flute, enticing birds and beast of prey by the sweet melodious sound of his flute.
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Lan Caihe, 藍采和
He was from Tang Dynasty. His behavior was out of norm and known for its bizarreness. He wore only shorts and thin shirts in winter, and thick jacket and long pants in summer. He walked with one foot bare and another with shoe.
His distinctive emblem is a flower-basket, often carried slung on a hoe over his shoulder. The basket contains various flora associated with ideas of longevity.
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He Xian Gu, 何仙姑
Lived during the 7th century AD, she is the daughter of a shopkeeper of LingLing 零陵, Hunan province in the Tang Dynasty. According to one account at the age of thirteen, she often went to the mountains to collect medicinal herbs. One day, she encountered the Immortal Lu DongBin who gave her a peach and told her, “You shall become an immortal is you eat it”. She did as he said, and miraculously she, never felt hungry or thirsty, can float and jumped from one cliff to another gathering medicinal herbs to help the sick. In addition, she could predict people’s fortune. Her emblem is the lotus, which she carries in her hand. And at times she is also depicted holding a fly whisk on the other hand.
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Er Lang Shen, 二郎神
Erlang Shen (二郎神), named Yang Jian (杨戬), is a Chinese God with a third true-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead. According to the “Story about Li Bing and his son in harnessing the rivers”, After being appointed governor of Sichuan by King Zhao of the State of Qin. Li Bing diverts water from the two rivers of Chengdu to irrigate thousand hectares of farmlands. His son ErLang helps him to build water control systems to prevent flood. Based on a historical record says, “The Erlang Temple of Guan-Kou in Sichuan was established to commemorate LiBing’s merits in opening up wells, building bridges, irrigation of the agricultural lands, developing the Guanxian area and Chengdu plain, and increasing agricultural production.
Here is another legend about ErLang with his seven friends vanquishing an evil dragon. On their journey ErLang and his seven friends approached a thatched cottage by a river near the county town of Guanxian, they heard someone crying inside. They entered and found an elderly woman wailing for her youngest grandson who was to be taken away as a sacrificial offering for the river god-an evil dragon. Astonished, ErLang seek his father advice on how to capture the monster. LiBing taught him a strategy, on the sacrificial procession ErLang holding his three-pointed and double-edged sword in hand, went into the River God Temple with his seven friends, and hid themselves behind the altar.
After a while, the dragon descends with a gust of strong wind and torrential rain into the temple to snatch the sacrifice. ErLang and his mates jumped out immediately and fight it. Defeated the dragon flee out of the temple. As planned by LiBing the villagers beat their drums and gongs to emit loud sounds to petrify the dragon. This scared the dragon who fled into the river. ErLang and his mates pursued the dragon by diving into the river. The dragon was finally captured.
The old woman who had been grievously crying for her grandson gave ErLang a chain to express her gratitude for saving his grandson. ErLang tied the dragon to a stone post of the Vanquishing Dragon Temple and had it detained in a deep pool. From that day onwards, the area was free from flood.
ErLang is depicted carrying a three-pointed and double edge-sword and has a Celestial Hound that follows him around.
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SUPERMAN LIVES Written by Kevin Smith WARNER BROS. March 27, 1997 4000 Warner Boulevard © 1997 Burbank, California 91522 WARNER BROS. All rights reserved. ------------------------------------------------------------------ EXT. SPACE An Alien craft floats through the void, approaching a slow-moving ASTEROID. INT. ALIEN CRAFT Two humanoid ALIENS dressed in uniforms pilot their craft nearer to the asteroid. ALIEN #1 Receiving a signal from an alien system, but there's interference on the channels. ALIEN #2 Once we get past this asteroid, it should clear up. Suddenly, THROUGH the windshield, we see tentacles shoot out of the asteroid. EXT. SPACE The tentacles wrap themselves around the craft, and electrical energy courses between the pair. The "Asteroid" reveals itself to be the BRAINIAC SKULL SHIP - a tentacled craft that looks like it sounds. A set of "jaws" protrude and puncture the hull of the small craft. It glows white hot with power. INT. SKULL SHIP - OPERATING THEATRE We see a surgical table, its contents obscured by the shadows, save for the back of a malformed head. Computer banks and monitors are everywhere. A small ROBOT works beside the table - implanting a cable into the back of the malformed head. It throws a switch. Raw energy blows through the cable, causing the "patient" to convulse and writhe, screaming. CLOSEUP - METALLIC SHAFT as it begins to reconfigure, taking the shape of an arm. We see the same happen to other parts of his "body" -- hands, legs, facial features. EXT. SPACE The craft the Skull Ship holds then goes dark, the energy being sucked from it having run dry. INT. SKULL SHIP - OPERATING THEATRE The "patient" stops convulsing, as the cable attached to its head ceases to glow. BRAINIAC That was all the energy the craft yielded? L-RON The craft was a short-ranger, my Lord. I'm surprised that can had enough juice to give you this much form. We pulled 1.9 trigs out of it. There's nothing more to get. BRAINIAC (rising) An inaccurate assessment. INT. SMALL CRAFT The frightened Aliens try to re-start their craft. ALIEN #1 (off computer) Motion detectors are picking up something breaching the hull! The DOORS melt. BRAINIAC enters: humanoid in appearance, green- skinned, black-eyed, red-lipped. Metallic, and bald. A series of metal relays criss-cross his forehead -- three solid circles, intersected by straight lines. The aliens reach for LASER-GATLINGS and FIRE, but they cause no damage. Brainiac instead grabs the weapons, jamming them into his body -- consuming the lasers into his form, energizing. He drops the guns, and his hands morph into tendrils, which plunge into the chests of the terrified Aliens. He absorbs their life forces, making them husks -- at which point they explode, covering the cabin in goo. Brainiac inhales deeply, charged. EXT. SPACE The tentacles of the Skull Ship unravel from the wrecked craft. The Skull Ship powers up and thrusts into the void. INT. SKULL SHIP BRIDGE Brainiac watches space part before him on the View Screen. L-Ron joins him, holding a containment unit. BRAINIAC The cosmic irony, L-Ron -- I who have destroyed a world am now forced to subsist like a parasite. Once, infinite power was my manifest. Now look at the pride of Colu -- feeble attempts to maintain even this meager anthropomorphic form! L-RON At least you have what passes for legs. Brainiac gives L-Ron a withering look. BRAINIAC What did your search of the craft yield? L-Ron holds up the containment jar, inside which scurries a multi- legged fist-sized creature. BRAINIAC (glances at it) Thanagarian Snare Beast. Infancy stage. Illegal in sixteen systems due to the advanced nature of their growth patterns outside of their own atmosphere. (beat) Add it to the menagerie. Then, a BEACON sounds. On the main screen, scrambled letters and numbers appear, forming the distorted image of Lex Luthor -- commanding, corporate, suave, bald... And ominous. LEX (V.O) Greetings. This message -- transmitted in over one hundred languages -- comes to you from Earth. Brainiac regards the message curiously. LEX (V.O.) I am Lex Luthor, owner and C.E.O. of LexCorp -- a vast and powerful conglomerate that dominates trade on this planet. To whatever life form that may receive this, I extend an invitation to our world. Non-hostile and eager to establish contact with extraterrestrial races, Earth welcomes a visit from whomever receives this greeting. I myself call upon you to make contact, so that we may establish relations, open trade routes... Brainiac turns away, disinterested. Then, the "friendly" greeting onscreen turns darker. LEX (V.O.) ... and discuss any information you might have regarding a visitor to this planet of Kryptonian descent. Brainiac snaps to attention, shocked recognition crossing his face. BRAINIAC My days of scavenging are over, L-Ron. Lock onto this transmission and follow it to this Earth his speaks of. L-RON What for? BRAINIAC Jor-El's most accomplished creation, L-Ron -- the Eradicator still exists! Brainiac's eyes glow with intrigue. L-Ron shrugs and begins entering coordinates. Lex's message continues onscreen. LEX (V.O.) From one superior intellect to another -- whomever or whatever you may be -- I implore you to come to Earth, so that we might discuss the problem we call... INT. TELEVISION STUDIO A CLOSEUP of a stiff-looking TELE-JOURNALIST fills the screen. HOST Superman -- friend to Earth, or hindrance? Tonight we take a closer look at the Man of Steel. We're in a television studio. While the "Nightline"-like opening logos play, cameras whirl and reposition. Then: HOST Does the existence of a seemingly god-like vigilante impact the world positively or negatively? Examining this with us tonight is LexCorp C.E.O. and Metropolis' second most well-known figure, Lex Luthor. Seated across from the host, LEX LUTHOR winces at the introduction. Looking far more congenial than he did in his clip aboard the Skull Ship, Lex is in public persona. HOST Mister Luthor -- you've been the most vocal proponent of the Wertham Act -- the bill that seeks to outlaw costumed vigilantes in the greater Metropolitan area. Given that Superman is the sole individual who could fall under this criteria, the question begs asking -- why so much distrust of 'the man of tomorrow'? LEX I'm no enemy of Superman, Ted -- quite the contrary. I find his flair for fashion and whimsical abilities very... David Copperfield. Such a crowd-pleasing showman who makes Metropolis his home is a boon for the tourist trade. But I do question the good that Superman represents for the human race -- beyond entertainment value. HOST Such as? LEX Well -- aiding the planet at every turn against war, famine, natural disaster, for starters. It represents a complete freeze on the evolutionary process. And what of his more immediate effects on our society? Having Superman make his home in Metropolis is a veritable call-to-arms for any psychotic with dreams of world domination. The Wertham Act would be a deterrent to those who might consider jumping into a pair of tights and challenging the Man of Steel to a battle royale right here on the streets of our fair city. HOST An interesting position, Mister Luthor -- but one that I'm sure your opposition will refute. We welcome city beat reporter for the Daily Planet, Lois Lane. LOIS sits beside Lex -- beautiful yet poised... even though she looks thoroughly pissed. LOIS This proposed act, which even Metropolis' own Governor Bree opposes, is nothing more than Lex's one-man crusade against Superman. Outlawing the Man of Steel, would be like removing the soul of this city. I mean, can anyone even remember what Metropolis was like before Superman arrived? LEX As I recall, there were less red, white and yellow souvenir stands. Miss Lane -- have you ever been able to look past your blind allegiance to this off-worlder to think that maybe he employs criminals to improve his P.R.? For all we know, they're on his books. LOIS In Salem, it was a witch-hunt, in Hollywood, it was the 'Red Scare'... Leave it to your fertile imagination to come up with 'Cape-Gate.' LEX The vehement defense you put up for him, I'd say the only thing fertile around here is someone's hopes of carrying a super-brat one day. LOIS That's it... Lois jumps Lex, who tumbles back in his chair. She begins laying into him, as the Host LEANS INTO the FRAME, addressing the TV "audience." HOST We'll be right back. Fade to a commercial -- in an open field, a WOMAN spins a small boy in her arms: V.O. Family -- it's the bottom line behind every decision she makes. Yours, or hers. In November, vote with your heart. The chyron at the bottom of the screen reads 'Paid for by the Committee to Re-Elect Governor Bree', as the visual locks on the small BOY in her arms. CUT TO: EXT. HOB'S BAY STREET - DAY The same small Boy, exits a BISTRO, holding the hand of this mother, GOVERNOR CAITLIN BREE. They are flanked by SECRET SERVICE MEN. PAPARAZZI and TELEJOURNALISTS (including Cat Grant) converge on them, snapping photos. CAT Madam Governor -- how was the meal? GOVERNOR Excellent. This Bistro represents the first major step in the revitalization of Metropolis' historic Hob's Bay. CAT Do you think the redevelopment project can change the public's perception of this area as 'Suicide Slum'? GOVERNOR If the meal was any indication, I'd say absolutely. CAT (to the boy) How about it, Brodie -- what'd you think of the Bistro's food? BOY It was the bestest p'sghetti I had in my whole life! The Journos laugh. The Governor kisses her son's head and hugs him, then turns back to the cameras. GOVERNOR I want Metropolitans to know that there is no danger in Hob's Bay. Suddenly, across the street, the side of the building EXPLODES, raining debris on the crowd. The Governor covers her son. Five crudely-masked THUGS pour from the hole in the building, opening fire, sending people running. Then, from the still-smoking blast-hole, DEADSHOT emerges. Clad completely in silver and red, featureless (save for the glowing red gun sight covering his right eye). The Secret Service Men covering the Governor draw their guns. Deadshot takes aim with his WRIST-REVOLVERS and shoots the pieces from their hands. The thugs clear a path for their leader. The Governor looks up to see Deadshot standing over her. GOVERNOR This city will not bow down to terrorism of any kind! DEADSHOT Maybe not... He drops the Governor and grabs the boy by his collar. DEADSHOT ...but I'm sure you will. Won't you... mom? Deadshot holds his wrist-revolver to the scared Boy's head. A crimson laugh echoes out from behind his mask. EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING ROOFTOP - DAY We still hear Deadshot's laugh, but from someone else's perspective - a super-hearing perspective. A very familiar pair of BOOTS steps to the edge of the building, then steps off disappearing in a flash of red. EXT. HOB'S BAY STREET - DAY A SONIC BOOM fills the air. Deadshot looks to THUG #1. DEADSHOT Tell me that was your stomach. High above, a streak of RED descends at a rapid rate, rocketing into the pavement, leaving a hole in the ground. DEADSHOT Oh, shit... The street beneath their feet explodes, and the same red streak flashes past Deadshot, taking with it the Boy in the blink of an eye. All immediately mobilize. DEADSHOT GRAB THE BROAD AND LET'S GET OUT OF HERE!!! The thugs grab the Governor as a VAN screeches up. EXT. TOP OF BUILDING - DAY The Boy is set down lightly on the roof. He opens his eyes, which then go wide. Before him stands SUPERMAN (um... 90's style), licking his hand. SUPERMAN Mmmm -- Spaghetti. (hand on the boy) You okay? BOY Can we do that again?! SUPERMAN First I gotta beat up the bad guys. BOY My mom thinks you're cute. SUPERMAN That's why I voted for her. Superman winks and leaps into the air, disappearing. INT. VAN - DAY The Governor under Deadshot's gun, Thug #1 revs the engine. Suddenly, through the windshield, Superman explodes up through the hood of the Van, adorned in engine parts. DEADSHOT GET OUT THERE AND VENTILATE HIM!!! EXT. HOB'S BAY STREET - DAY Superman pulls himself from the Van, and hurls the engine at two of the Thugs. The remaining three open fire. The bullets bounce from Superman's chest. EXT. SPACE - SOMEWHERE OVER EARTH The Skull Ship slinks into our atmosphere. INT. SKULL SHIP On the view screen, Brainiac and L-Ron watch Superman fight the masked thugs. L-RON Ugh. Do they all dress like that on this planet? BRAINIAC That symbol on his chest. It's a seal of scientific office. From... (gets it) Krypton! It's the Kryptonian! L-RON It can't be him. Kryptonians were never known to manifest above-average strength or invulnerability. BRAINIAC Perhaps he derives his power from the Eradicator... L-RON I don't know -- he's not wearing any technology. BRAINIAC Get us to this Lex Luthor of Earth... now! CUT TO: EXT. HOB'S BAY STREET - DAY As bullets bounce off Superman's chest, the Man of Steel's eyes glow red. Two HEAT BEAMS seer into the machine gun in the hands of one of the Thugs. The gun glows red, and the Thug drops it. Superman repeats this with the remaining four thugs, until they're all disarmed, waving their hands in the air to cool them, looking as if they're waving goodbye. Superman waves goodbye back at them. Then we hear... OC DEADSHOT Hey - boy scout! DEADSHOT'S POV THROUGH GUNSIGHT Superman turns, his face falling into the crosshairs. Deadshot, holding the Governor, FIRES a single kill SHOT. Superman's head jerks backwards and pauses momentarily. When he brings his dead forward, we see the bullet is caught in his teeth. He rocket-spits the bullet out... ...which hits Deadshot's wrist-revolver, throwing the villain's arm back, away from the Governor. In a flash of red, Superman is in front of Deadshot, shaking his head. SUPERMAN Look at your outfit. What is this -- Gotham? He grabs Deadshot's wrist-revolver, and then finger-flicks the villain in the head, knocking him out. People emerge from the Bistro, cheering as the terrorists are collected by the Authorities. Superman dusts the Governor off and nods at her. SUPERMAN Madam Governor... He disappears in a flash and a gust of wind, then reappears holding the Boy. SUPERMAN ... your most important constituent. The Governor hugs first her son, then Superman. GOVERNOR Thank you, Superman. Superman blushes slightly, rub's the Boy's head, and walks away. He glances down at Deadshot's wrist-revolver. SUPERMAN'S X-RAY VISION POV We see first the weapon, then through the weapon and into the components that make it tick. ZOOM IN ON a set of microscopic serial numbers, etched into a tiny chip. BACK TO SCENE Superman shakes his head and sighs. SUPERMAN What a shock. Luthor. The wrist-revolver EXPLODES in his hands. He drops it to the ground, where it continues to burn. EXT. GBS BUILDING - NIGHT Lex exits the building, flanked by MISTY, his gorgeous but lethal bodyguard. He holds a small icepack to his cheek. LEX I can't believe the bitch tagged me. What do I pay you for? Then JIMMY OLSEN shows up, out of breath. He looks at LEX, panting, then nods to Luthor's shiner. JIMMY Superman? Lex seethes, as Lois emerges from the building. LOIS It was the Joker, Jimmy. He was mad that Luthor stole his act. LEX I thought journalists were supposed to be impartial. LOIS I thought humanitarians were supposed to be human. (takes out pen and pad) Care to comment? LEX Pithy to the last. Lex hurries to his limo. LOIS (to Jimmy) Pithy. Who uses that word anymore? JIMMY Chief wants you back at the Planet, Miss Lane. something big just broke out in Hob's Bay! LOIS Superman? JIMMY There and gone. They climb into the taxi that pulls up. INT. LEX'S LIMO - NIGHT Lex puffs on a cigar. Sipping brandy from a snifter, he clicks on the TV news, which shows SUPERMAN at Hob's Bay. Lex goes white hot and wide-eyed with rage. Up front, Misty rolls her eyes. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT Lex exits his limo and marches bitterly toward the LexCorp building followed by Misty. LEX Six months of planning, and all for nothing! With Governor Bree in line, I could've taken back control of this city from that... that... alien! INT. ELEVATOR - NIGHT Metropolis shrinking behind him, Lex watches the digital numbers rise, seething. Then, the elevator stops abruptly. Misty catches Lex, setting him upright again. Suddenly, the hatch at the top of the elevator is ripped off. A blue-clad arm reached in, pulling Lex out. INT. ELEVATOR SHAFT Superman holds Lex in his grip. SUPERMAN Fifth floor - hair care products. LEX One of these days, they're going to pass the Wertham Act, and then one of these nights, I'll be able to blast your pajama-clad ass out of the sky... legally! SUPERMAN Speaking of acts of violence -- did you hear the one about Hob's Bay? See, this guy wants to get his anti Superman bill passed. So he hires a few masked goons to threaten the Governor to speed the bill along. Lex yawns slightly, as if bored. SUPERMAN But here's the punchline -- he's got such a big ego, he demands that a serial number from his company show up somewhere on the hardware he provided his hired mercenaries, thus implicating him in a federal offense. Isn't that a gut-buster? Lex arches his eyebrows slightly. Then, a pissed Superman yanks Luthor to him, bringing them face-to-face. SUPERMAN I'm putting you behind bars! LEX No... proof... loaded... hardware with... self-destructs... triggered by the... radiation waves of your... x-ray vision! Superman glares at Lex, knowing he's right. SUPERMAN Then maybe I should save the courts of Metropolis the time -- make myself the judge, jury... Superman hooks his foot under a bar on the elevator and starts 'towing' the car up the shaft at an alarmingly fast rate. SUPERMAN ... and especially executioner. Luthor looks up. LUTHOR'S POV - The fast-approaching top of the shaft -- jagged and deadly. If his head so much as touches it, he's a dead man. Lex panics, as the top of the shaft gets closer. Superman nonchalantly checks the nails on his free hand. The ceiling gets closer. Lex jams his eyes shut. Then, Superman stops, thus stopping the car as well. Luthor's head is a half-inch from a nasty spike. He opens his eyes slowly, looking from the spike to Superman. SUPERMAN You're hardly worth the effort. He drops Lex, and disappears in a burst of red. EXT. SPACE The Skull Ship slips into Earth's orbit, menacingly. EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING - NIGHT The globe spins atop Metropolis's once-largest skyscraper (Lex built his bigger). All the windows ark dark... except one. And THROUGH it, we see Lois. INT. DAILY PLANET CITY ROOM - NIGHT Lois -- alone at her desk -- types on her laptop. In the midst of the tapping her fingers create against the keys, ANOTHER PITCH OF TAPPING joins in. Lois spins around to see Superman floating outside the window. Lois trips over a desk or two rushing to the window. LOIS Superman! SUPERMAN 'Evening, Miss Lane. Late night? LOIS I'm just... filing my piece on Hob's Bay. Nice bit of work there. Superman flies in, setting down beside a desk. The nameplate on the desk says "CLARK KENT." SUPERMAN Mister Kent's desk? LOIS This is Mister Kent's fastidiously immaculate work station -- I call it Smallville Central. SUPERMAN He's not around tonight? LOIS Thankfully, no. If I had to withstand Clark Kent day and night, I'd be at my therapist's twice a week as opposed to one. SUPERMAN Doesn't take super senses to detect a little friction there. Not a fan of Mister Kent, Miss Lane? LOIS Clark's Clark, you know. He's great and all, don't get me wrong. But he is kind of a... Dudley Do-right. It's hard for me to relate to a man like that. SUPERMAN And why's that? Lois looks him dead in the eyes. The costumed Adonis gives it back as good as she's giving. Lois slams down the lid of her laptop and stands up. LOIS Well, Superman, I'm not into all that Kansas Boy Scout babble. I'm the kind of woman... (moves closer) ... who like a man... (brings her lips to his) ... in tights. And Lois plants one on Superman -- long and passionate. Superman breaks the kiss and steps back. SUPERMAN Miss Lane... I have something to tell you. He pulls Clark's glasses from his cape and slips them on. SUPERMAN I'm really Clark Kent. Lois goes wide-eyed and faints. Superman rushes forward and catches her. Then she opens her eyes and shakes her head. LOIS Really, Clark -- must we go through this every night? They kiss. He brings her back to her feet. LOIS Nice job with the bad guys, babe. I was proud of you. SUPERMAN 'Smallville Central.' Who calls it that? LOIS Try everybody, Clark. Even Jimmy. SUPERMAN (shakes his head) And I loaned that kid twenty bucks last week. Ungrateful slacker. (beat) How about dinner? LOIS Not Burger King again. Let's just eat at my place. SUPERMAN Why, Miss Lane, you underestimate me. I was thinking a more... monumental dinner... INT. LEX'S OFFICE - NIGHT The nerve center of Lex Corp. A bank of monitors with a vast array of channels adorns one wall, over which hangs an alarmingly increasing digital readout titled 'ACRES OF LEXCORP-CLEARED RAIN FOREST'. In the center of the room, a monolithic desk, backlit by a large picture window. Misty sits on the couch, reading a magazine. Lex enters, fuming, covered in grease. He puts up his hand. LEX Don't ask! Just draw me a bath. Misty heads off for the huge, sunken marble tub at the far end of the office and runs the water, while Lex crosses to his desk. He passes the bank of TV's, all of which detail SUPERMAN'S HOB'S BAY ENDEAVOR. He pours himself a drink and sits, not noticing L-Ron resting atop the desk. L-RON Greetings -- Lex goes wide-eyed at the robot and leaps from his chair. LEX BOMB!!! Grabbing the robot, Lex charges by Misty and hurls L-Ron into the tub. He dives onto the floor, hands over his head, awaiting the blast. After a beat, he looks up. L-Ron slowly rises from the tub. It discharges water from its circuits and SPUTTERS. L-RON Go with entrance 'B.' Then, the PICTURE WINDOW EXPLODES. Brainiac glides in, god-like, much to Luthor's shock. Misty leaps in front of her boss/lover as the ALARMS sound. BRAINIAC Lex Luthor of Earth, I am Brainiac! A pair of LexCorp SOLDIERS burst through the doors. LEX Kill it!!! The soldiers open FIRE at Brainiac. He absorbs the bullets. Then, pulls his energy-suck maneuver (from the first scene). Lex and Misty stare, wide-eyed. BRAINIAC I come to discuss the Kryptonian you mentioned in your homing message. LEX (beat; to Misty) Clean up what's left of those guys. Misty nods, backing away. Lex and Brainiac eye each other cautiously until Lex motions toward his desk. Brainiac follows, but stops short at Lex's impressive computer setup. He seems astonished. BRAINIAC This technology... Brainiac sharply raises his hand between he and Lex. Lex startles a bit as Brainiac's hand then reconfigures into something that he inserts into the computer. Downloading sounds are heard, as Brainiac cocks his head, as if sampling wine. LEX LexTech Prime. My computers division builds these things. (touches computer) It's the most cutting-edge, the most sophisticated, the most... BRAINIAC Primitive. Ancient. Brainiac extracts his appendage, which reconfigures anew. LEX (beat) Yes, well -- you obviously know whereof you speak. BRAINIAC This Kryptonian you mentioned -- I know of him as well. LEX Unit nine -- full display. The images on the monitors align into one single visual of Superman in action, from earlier that day. LEX He's my mortal enemy, the object of my ire, the... (change of tone) You're not a... friend... of his, by any chance... Are you? BRAINIAC Where I come from, we destroy that which impedes our progress. Why have you not done the same? LEX Kill Superman? Look, I've had everyone who was ever a thorn in my side done away with. From my third-grade teacher to my third wife, nothing eases friction like... (mimes a gun to the head) Pow -- you know what I'm saying? Superman would've been dead as white weddings if it weren't for the fact that he's from Krypton -- whatever the hell that is -- which means he can't be killed. BRAINIAC I watched Krypton die screaming, Lex Luthor. Invulnerable is something its inhabitants weren't. (beat) He is aided by technology of some sort -- a machine? LEX Far as we can tell, Pinocchio has no strings. BRAINIAC (thinking aloud) Then it's his chemistry -- it must be affected by this planet. Radioactive shards of our destroyed home world would be toxic to his system. LEX Kryptonite. Brainiac whirls back. LEX I've spent the last two years and millions of LexCorp dollars trying to synthesize the stuff. You know what it yielded? Lex reaches into a drawer and pulls out a pottery shell, covered in mossy grass. LEX The 'Chia Pet.' Lex places it on his desk, beside a model of a SPACE STATION WITH LARGE MIRROR PANELS. Brainiac analyzes the model curiously. LEX One of LexCorp's long-range goals -- a solar conductor. One of these days, this puppy's going to make me a multi- billionaire -- going to draw energy directly from the sun's surface and sell it to the masses. Brainiac presses something on the model and huge gun turrets pop out, with accompanying cannons. Lex smiles. LEX That's the long, long-range goal -- a massive solar-powered cannon. As Lex speaks, Brainiac's attention is drawn from the model, to the footage of Superman in action, then back to the model. A plan begins formulating. LEX We're thinking concentrated sunbeams might fry a hole through the man of steel. It's a stretch -- but a guy's gotta have a dream. BRAINIAC (quickly turns) Blasting him with a solar beam will only enhance his power. This world is fueled by the light of a yellow sun, is it not? LEX Last time I checked. Why? BRAINIAC Krypton, too, was fueled by a sun -- a red sun. (thinks) The actual construct of this -- is it operational? LEX Maybe in twenty years. But for what it's worth, it's up there already. BRAINIAC Surrender it top me. I'll augment it with my own technology. Provide me with this, and you will not only have your solar conductor twenty years ahead of schedule, but this Super-man will be... (mimes gun to head) Pow -- as you say. LEX (catches on) All the capital, material, and technologies of my company are at your service... if you can kill Superman. You accomplish that, and to this planet's inhabitants, I'll make you a god. EXT. LEXTECH DYNAMICS - NIGHT A RADAR DISH reconfigures, as we hear... SHUSTER (V.O.) Mister Luthor -- you can't do this! INT. LEXTECH DYNAMICS CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT A scientist, SHUSTER, argues vehemently with Lex, as Misty oversees a TECHNICIAN. LEX Who pays the bills here, Shuster? I want the solar conductor reconfigured to these coordinates. SHUSTER But it's not durable enough to travel this far out of Earth's orbit! Lex nods to Misty, who puts the kibosh on Shuster, dropping him to the floor. Lex glares at the Technician, who feverishly works on his computer. MISTY I would never presume to tell you your business, but it seems you're trading one alien for another. LEX Never trust anyone with the stones to call himself Brainiac. I equipped that rocket we gave him with a diagnostics scanner that'll get me a complete breakdown of what makes him and his technology tick. And when we have that, LexCorp will be the most powerful corporation in the world. MISTY Because Superman will be gone? LEX Because I'll have harnessed the capabilities of an artificial intelligence so advanced, it can hold a conversation with people... not to mention the computers that make up the defense systems of every NATO nation on Earth. MISTY An extortion racket? LEX The extortion racket, my dear. EXT. SPACE The SOLAR CONDUCTOR (a huge version of the model) powers up. It rockets deeper into the stars. We pan down from those stars to see... EXT. MOUNT RUSHMORE - NIGHT A nice VIEW of the Presidentially-sculpted mountain. On top of Washington's head, we see a small fire burning. EXT. MOUNT RUSHMORE - ATOP WASHINGTON'S HEAD - NIGHT Clark and Lois sit on a blanket, looking out over the vista. There is a campfire going, and the remnants of their dinner lay strewn about the open picnic basket. Lois sips wine from a glass. Clark drinks orange juice. LOIS Monumental. You're such a goof. CLARK Thank Pa for that. He was the punster of the family. Ma's the one who taught me to cook, though. LOIS Ma also teach you how to reheat chicken with your eyes? CLARK Some things a boy has to learn on his own. LOIS (beat) Did it ever bother you -- being the 'adopted' child? Never knowing your real parents? CLARK If I ever did, it was only because I couldn't help but feel my destiny might've been stolen from me. LOIS How so? CLARK I'd start wondering what I was supposed to do in life -- what would I be like if Krypton hadn't... you know? Who were my parents? Would I have ever left the planet? Would I have ever come to Earth? (beat) Would I have ever met you? LOIS No. But you'd probably still read me. You'd say to yourself "If I could only be half the writer this Lois Lane of the planet Earth is!" CLARK (chuckles; then) I know it sounds silly -- where do I get off complaining? Me -- the guy who's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive... what's the last one? LOIS Something about tall buildings. CLARK Right. But all that aside, I'm just a person, you know? I have what-ifs like everyone else. What if I'd grown up under a red sun, and never had these powers? LOIS (smiles) Who would save me, again and again and again? CLARK Somehow I doubt you'd have any trouble getting along without me. LOIS Trouble? No. Fun? Yes. They kiss deeply, as we cut to... INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac and L-Ron watch the solar conductor on their view screen. BRAINIAC Launch the hybrid technology. L-Ron presses a button on the control panel. INT. ROCKET CARGO HOLD Technology extremely alien in appearance fills the cargo hold. It begins vibrated, then explodes, "growing" out of the smoke. It spreads throughout the cargo hold and... EXT. SPACE ...out through the rocket's seams. It consumes the rocket from within, covering it in bio-metallic tendrils. In the midst of the Solar Conductor, an Earth made rocket labelled LexTech 37 grows white hot with energy. Then, lasers burst out of it from all sides, striking and bouncing off the mirrors of the solar conductor, creating a 'net' across the miles-wide diameter. The 'net' begins to slowly prevent sunlight from passing through. The light that shone on Earth now fades slightly, as Brainiac's SHADOWCASTER goes to work. EXT. MOUNT RUSHMORE - NIGHT Packing up, Clark doubles over slightly, as if suddenly woozy. He rights himself and shakes it off, smiling. CLARK Indigestion. Maybe I didn't cook the chicken long enough. LOIS You know what I was just thinking about? The rocket -- the one you told me brought you to Earth... whatever happened to it? CLARK It's at the fortress. LOIS Ah -- the He-Man Woman Haters Club. (laughs) Do you ever study it? Try to learn something more about where you came from? About your parents even? CLARK I know all I'm ever going to know -- there was a planet. It blew up. End of story. I'd rather dwell on the present... and the future. (hugs her) Which is something I'd like to talk to you about... LOIS (gently moving away) No-no. Let's talk about flying home and going to bed. We both have work tomorrow. CLARK Why do you always get like this when I try to talk about where out relationship is going? All I'm saying is that I love you... LOIS And I love you too... CLARK ... and I'd like to talk about something more... permanent. Lois' eyes go wide. She stares at him for a beat, then looks down. LOIS You know, the first time I heard about you, I thought you were a hoax. 'Flying Man Stuns City,' the paper said. 'Yeah, right.' I said. But then I saw you land that downed shuttle on your back. And in that moment, every jaded bone in my body believed that a man could fly... (touches his face) The first time I met you -- as Clark -- I thought you were the squarest hick to ever escape Kansas. But when you called me 'Miss Lane'... you were so polite and even gallant, that you made me feel like a princess. (her head on his chest) The first time you told me about... well, about your other job, there was a moment of shock. And then it all made sense. Who else but Clark Kent could care so much about people he didn't even know... (smiles) And the first time we kissed... (gets teary) ... I knew it was you. You were the person I'd stopped believing in years before -- the one my mother told me about. (beat) And the first time you left me in the middle of the night to rescue that luxury liner, I knew that you didn't belong to me. You belong to the world. She steps back and looks at him. CLARK Lois -- LOIS (finger to his lips) Your responsibilities are huge. I can't possibly expect you to divide your time between a wife and the world. What about children... if that's even possible? CLARK I could slow down -- pace myself... LOIS And feel the weight of a death you couldn't prevent because you were too busy bringing the kids to the video store? Lois shakes her head sadly. Clark's eyes are downcast -- her words truer than he can bear. LOIS There's nothing I'd want more than to share a life with you... (beat) But I won't settle for a half-life. Clark takes it in somberly. Then he lifts his head, as if listening to something far away. CLARK (beat) A plane's in trouble over Paraguay. (looks at her) Lois... LOIS Go ahead. Just don't forget to come back for me. Clark becomes a blur that turns into Superman. He leaps off the cliff. EXT. SPACE - CONTINUOUS The ShadowCaster seals off a large section of sunlight. EXT. MOUNT RUSHMORE - CONTINUOUS Suddenly, Superman is struck, as if shot. He falters in mid-air and falls against the edge of the cliff. Lois shrieks and grabs his hand, catching him in the nick of time. Superman looks up at her, wide-eyed. He throws his other hand up to Lois. She digs her heels into the ground and pulls, as Superman climbs up to the safety of the level ground. He collapses to his hands and knees, breathing heavily. Lois is on top of him, checking his pulse, feeling his head. LOIS God, Clark - are you okay?! What happened?! Was it Kryptonite?! SUPERMAN It wasn't a toxic reaction. It was something else. LOIS We've gotta get you home... SUPERMAN (leaps to fly) I'll be okay - that plane won't if I don't leave now. LOIS (pulls him back) Are you out of your mind?! You almost fell of a cliff, Clark! You! Superman gently extracts his cape from her grip, touching her face. He then lifts off the ground, hanging there -- apparently back to normal. He shrugs at her, and disappears in a flash of red, leaving behind a worried Lois. EXT. SPACE - NIGHT The Skull Ship looms through the vacuum of night. INT. SKULL SHIP - CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT Brainiac punches some buttons, and the specs on the Eradicator fill the screen. L-RON But how do you know the Eradicator will even show up? It's been years, my liege -- the technology could be ancient history by now. INT. MENAGERIE - NIGHT DOORS HISS open, and they enter the vast MENAGERIE -- a zoological collection of various species collected during Brainiac's journey through the cosmos. Brainiac heads to one in particular -- a knee- high, translucent tube, filled with what looks like the contents of a Lava-Lamp. Brainiac opens the case, extracting an embryonic protoplasmic life form. It looks harmless, if ugly, letting out a meager YOWL. He places it into a missile-looking tube, sealing it closed. BRAINIAC Jor-El was no fool -- he would not have sent his only child to an alien world without the protection the Eradicator would provide. The technology is out there, L-Ron, and absorbing it will provide me with enough power to both maintain my body permanently and make me a god! L-RON Right. Let's kill the cape. A hole opens in the wall, and Brainiac slides the tube into it. He pushes a large button on the panel. EXT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT The tube rockets from the rear of the ship, and heads toward Earth. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - NIGHT The capsule rockets into the atmosphere and pierces the ground, imbedding itself deep within the Earth, unseen. EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING - DAY The streets of Metropolis bustle below, as we hear... PERRY (V.O.) One more time, Olsen -- in English, please: how did we get these shots again? INT. PERRY WHITE'S OFFICE - CLOSEUP - COMPUTER MONITOR We scroll through photos of the Hob's Bay incident. JIMMY (O.S.) Like I said, Chief -- I'm wired. PULL BACK to reveal Clark and Lois sitting in front of Perry's way-too-busy desk, watching Jimmy clicking on a mousepad. PERRY WHITE, the Planet's venerable old editor, watches, befuddled. JIMMY I'm linked to thousands of other photo-journalists around the world. We exchange images all the time. CLARK Jump into the cyber pool with the rest of us, Mister White. PERRY And we're allowed to run these pictures? JIMMY Free and clear, with a photo credit. LOIS Give the kid a break, Perry. He's all about the paper. PERRY Lois -- my office. MY office. CLARK Lois works here under the assumption it's hers as well. LOIS Eat it, Smallville. PERRY Alright, Olsen. You can keep your computer-thing up. Mow vamoose. Jimmy shuffles by Lois, who pats him on the back. Perry slumps in his chair. PERRY Down to brass tacks -- what have either of you got? LOIS A top LexTech scientist, a Dr. Shuster, went missing last night. CLARK Got a call from a technician who said that Shuster and Lex got into a heated argument over the altered trajectory of that LexTech experimental space station. PERRY The one Lex has yet to disclose the purpose of to NASA? What else? LOIS The boys in weather fed me this one -- seems that dawn was eleven minutes behind schedule this morning. PERRY Cause? LOIS Unsubstantiated rumors of something spotted by the fellas up at the observatory. Sounds like a story up Smallville's alley. CLARK I believe Mister White gives out the assignments here, 'Laney.' LOIS Don't call me that. CLARK Then don't call me Smallville. The PHONE RINGS. Perry pounces on it. PERRY White -- go!... What?... I'll be right there! (hangs up) Both of you stay here and hash out who gets the space-thing. I'll be right back. Perry storms out of his office, leaving Clark and Lois alone. There is some silence. Then... CLARK I'm sorry I didn't stay over last night. LOIS I'm an adult, Clark. I'm not throwing a hissy just because you missed my sleepover. CLARK I'm having a hard time understanding what I said that was so wrong. LOIS You didn't say anything wrong, Clark. You said everything a woman spends her whole life waiting for a man to say to her. CLARK Then why your reaction? Why this distance? LOIS Because you're not a man, Clark. You're a god. Clark attempts to say something, but pauses. He listens to seemingly nothing. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK From the hole in the ground the pod made, smoke begins to rise ominously. There's a rumbling sound. INT. PERRY WHITE'S OFFICE - DAY Clark is still listening. Lois looks at him, puzzled. LOIS What is it? INT. DAILY PLANET CITY ROOM - DAY Journalists look up from there keyboards, as the ROOM begins to SHAKE. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK The ground shakes; thunderous roars emit from the hole. INT. PERRY WHITE'S OFFICE - DAY Lois looks slightly panicked. Clark unbuttons his collar. LOIS Earthquake? SUPERMAN Can't be - I checked the crustal plates just last month. INT. METROPOLIS SEWER SYSTEM At a dank and dripping cross section, a pair of SEWER WORKERS check a pipe that's broken loose. The tunnel begins to shake violently, and the sewerage begins bubbling. The workers look at it, then head for the manhole. Suddenly, something erupts from the muck, looming huge in the shadows behind the fleeing workers. Whatever it is pulls them beneath the sewerage. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - DAY Suddenly, the GROUND EXPLODES, throwing passersby flying, leaving a six foot crater. INT. PERRY WHITE'S OFFICE - DAY Perry bursts in, as Clark quickly re-buttons his collar. PERRY There's a report of an explosion in the sewer beneath Metropolis Park! LOIS (grabbing Clark) We're on it, Chief. She pulls Clark out of the office at a speedy clip. EXT. STAIRWELL - DAY The door flies open and Lois and Clark rush in. Lois slams the door closed behind her. LOIS Sounds like a job for... CLARK (pulls off jacket) I want you to do me a favor -- whatever you do, stay away from Metropolis Park. I've got a bad feeling about this. LOIS I've got a good feeling that whatever it is is news. And me being a journalist... CLARK Lois -- no! Lois looks in to his eyes. He seems almost afraid. CLARK (softening) Last night -- the cliff... LOIS You slipped, Clark. That's all. CLARK But it happened when I grabbed the plane, too. Something didn't... feel right. My strength... (hands on her arms) Just, please -- stay put until I know everything's alright. LOIS (smiles and nods) Go find a phone booth. Clark dashes away, taking the stairs two at a time, then five. In the blur that travels at more-than-human speed down flight after flight, the colors that emerge from the gray of Clark's suit are the familiar blue and red. EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING - DAY Through the revolving doors shoots the Man of Steel, creating a SONIC BOOM in his wake, sending the papers, trash and hair of Metropolitans flying. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - DAY Superman arrives at the crater. He looks into the darkness. Then, he hears something above. EXT. SPACE The ShadowCaster seals off another section of sun. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - DAY Superman looks down again, then up. He's about to leap into the air to investigate the sound from above. Suddenly, two gray, meaty paws erupt from the Earth, pulling Superman underground. INT. SEWER TUNNEL - DAY Superman emerges from the muck spitting out waste. He wipes his eyes clean and looks up to see... An unearthly monster -- ferocious and gray in appearance, leathery skin pock-marked with rock-like protrusions. Doomsday has arrived. The beast leaps at the Man of Steel. the pair begin their fight, throwing punches and kicks. Doomsday grabs Superman by his cape and swings him through the side of the tunnel. Doomsday pulls aside concrete, giving himself a clear passage into the other tunnel, when Superman appears from no where, uppercutting the tremendous beast, sending him flying... EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - DAY ... through the crater, into the park. Superman shoots out of the hole behind him, landing beside the beast. SUPERMAN (to BYSTANDERS) CLEAR OUT OF HERE! NOW! Doomsday kicks Superman in the back, but Superman rallies. INT. SKULL SHIP On the main screen, we see the combatants fighting. L-RON He's incredible. He just keeps going. BRAINIAC I call it 'Doomsday.' L-RON Not that thing -- Superman. Look at him battle! Brainiac offers the little robot a dour expression. L-Ron deflates. Brainiac pushes a button on the control board. BRAINIAC I wouldn't lay wagers on the Kryptonian just yet. EXT. SPACE The ShadowCaster goes full throttle, completely cutting off what little sunlight was seeping out. EXT. METROPOLIS - DAY The sun -- eclipsed by Brainiac's device -- disappears, plunging the Earth -- and the city -- into the darkness of moonlight. INT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING - NIGHT Lois and Jimmy watch from the windows. The City Room's in a panic. Perry joins them. JIMMY Hey! It's only noon! What's going on with the sun? PERRY (handing them photos) This just came in from government weather satellites... The photos show the ShadowCaster in its dormant and operative mode. PERRY I can only hope Kent's out there covering this... (to Lois) The same place you should be, although from a safe distance. LOIS But Chief, I promised... PERRY Olsen -- you go with her. I want some candids of whatever that thing is Superman's fighting. JIMMY I'm on it, Chief! C'mon, Miss Lane! Jimmy drags Lois out. Perry calls after them. PERRY And hurry! If I know the Man of Steel, this rumble's going to be over before it's started. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - NIGHT Superman takes a hit from Doomsday and goes stumbling backwards. He pauses and notices the fading sunlight. Then, it dawns on him: his power source is being cut off. Doomsday plows into him. Superman fights back valiantly, but knows that he's being depleted. He begins to falter. Doomsday grabs him and hurls Superman back into the hole. INT. SEWER SYSTEM Superman lands, and Doomsday is on him anew, holding Superman in a headlock. Superman flips Doomsday off his back and drop kicks him down the tunnel, out of sight. Then, we hear a HIGH PITCH SHRIEK sounding. Superman winces -- the sound filling his head. The SHRIEK FADES, and we hear TAPPING, as if on a MICROPHONE, and... LEX (V.O.) Is this thing on? (chuckles) Hello, Blue-boy. It's your better -- Luthor -- speaking to you from a frequency that only super-hearing can detect. INT. LEX'S OFFICE - NIGHT Lex looks out upon the prematurely-darkened Metropolis -- a microphone in his hand. LEX Things don't look too good for you, alien. It seems I've finally found your Achilles heel: the Earth's yellow sun. EXT. SEWER DROPOFF DRAIN Superman enters cautiously. LEX (V.O.) Without it, you're not that impressive. Look at you -- alone, beaten, nearly broken. Where are all the good people you've put your neck on the line so many times for? You'd think they'd return the favor. Then, Doomsday drops from the ceiling, crushing the Man of Steel. They fight through the current, heading toward the dropoff. Superman pulls himself from D-Day's grasp, but Doomsday double- fists the floor, shaking the ceiling loose, which comes down around Superman, pinning him. Doomsday winds up and gives Superman a right-hook, sending him falling into the churning muck below. EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS Lois slides across a cab's hood, rushing toward the park. She muscles through the crowds that keep their distance. INT. SEWER DROPOFF Doomsday studies the muck below. Superman explodes from the sewerage. howling up at Doomsday in a flash, catching him with his fists. The pair... EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS ... shoot through the pavement, spraying debris everywhere. Superman goes ballistic, racing at the beast anew, pummelling him. But Doomsday rallies back, throwing punches that actually draw blood. The Man of Steel drops to his knees, Lex's voice still filling his head. LEX (V.O.) You'd think the solar energy that you store would last longer, wouldn't you? I mean, you fly at night, and there's no sun then? Why are you weakening now? (chuckles) Apparently, soaring through the sky, catching muggers, and rustling the occasional cat burglar doesn't take the effort it's taking you to hold your own against the mindless wonder there. Any stored solar energy you may have is being exhausted. Plainly put -- you're running out of gas, and the pumps are closed. Doomsday leaps atop Superman, beating him down, savagely. Superman's running out of time. EXT. ANTARCTIC The snow is almost blinding, even in the darkness. We PAN ACROSS the tundra and DROP INTO a large canyon. INT. ANTARCTIC CANYON Buried deep in the snow, we see the FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE -- Superman's home away from home. Outside the massive front doors stand two statue-like POLAR BEARS. INT. FORTRESS Amongst various trophies and keepsakes, hangs a ROCKET - an escape craft that brought Superman to Earth, all those years ago. INT. CRAFT In the cabin, electrical pulses start to ignite. A screen forms, igniting with a series of random numbers and Kryptonian letters, until they form the "S" insignia. CUT TO: EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS The torn "S" insignia on Superman's chest, dripping with blood. Superman gives it his all against the mindless Doomsday, the voice of Lex still filling his head. LEX (V.O.) I really just called to tell you that your reign is over. You're being replaced. And this city... this world is about to fall on its knees before LexCorp and its C.E.O. We hear Superman's HEARTBEAT -- and it's not that strong. INT. CRAFT Back in the Antarctic, the HEARTBEAT FAINTLY ECHOES through the cabin. The "S" on the screen gives way to a vital signs graph, including a heart-rate monitor. All the signs are dangerously low, as indicated by the readout. INT. FORTRESS The body of the rocket dislodges from the ceiling, falling to the snow. It begins transforming, growing a body. EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS Superman and Doomsday go at it, both weakening. But it's clear Superman's the worse off. Lois pushes through the crowd, followed by Jimmy. Her eyes go wide. LOIS Clark! Go! Fly away! Get out of here before that thing kills you! His power diminished, the Man of Steel is on the ropes. His lethal opponent, too, appears to be reaching for the grave. But neither relents. And even now, Superman has Lex's voice in his head. LEX (V.O.) You had no business here from the start, Kryptonian -- but here you'll die... CLOSEUP - SUPERMAN who allows himself a quick, pained glance at... CLOSEUP - LOIS -- eyes filled with tears. CLOSEUP - SUPERMAN as he manages a final weak smile, as if to say good-bye. LEX (V.O.) I just wanted you to know who it was that beat you, boy! CLOSEUP - LOIS She at first smiles through her tears as well, until she realizes what it means. LOIS (shaking her head; screaming) Noooooo! And the pair throw their last punches, connecting with one another's heads. The shock of their mortal BLOWS EXPLODE like a sonic boom throughout Metropolis. CLOSEUP - LOIS Wide-eyed. CLOSEUP - JIMMY Who stops snapping photos and looks up. INT. LEX'S OFFICE - CLOSEUP - LEX Who stares down at the tiny spectacle from high above, smiling. EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS And in a moment that seems like an eternity, the two mighty combatants fall to the ground. INT. FORTRESS ... And the Eradicator comes on-line. He stands erect, taking in his surroundings. He moves to a nearby computer and hooks into it. A map of the world fills the screen. We digitally race through it and land in... EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS The city is paralyzed. Then, the crowd starts to move -- news crews and military personnel converge, crowding around the fallen Superman. Lois fights her way through the masses, dropping to her knees beside the fallen Man of Steel. She lifts his head from the rubble, cradling it. He opens his eyes, partially, muck, filth, and blood obscuring his vision and suit. SUPERMAN (weakly) Is... is it... LOIS Shhhhh... you did it, Clark. You did it. SUPERMAN (looking into her eyes) Lois... He goes limp. Lois breaks down. The crowd's in shock. Superman is dead. INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac and L-Ron smile at the same image on the ship's view screen. BRAINIAC Throw out a wave-pulse net. If my calculations are correct, the technology will be coming on-line soon. INT. FORTRESS The Eradicator stares up at the mapping system, with a flashing red light indicating the fallen Superman's location. ERADICATOR Metropolis. INT. SKULL SHIP L-Ron looks up from the monitor on the control panel. L-RON So far, nothing, my Liege. BRAINIAC Patience, L-Ron. He'll come. INT. FORTRESS The mapping on the screen transposes, and rises above Metropolis, landing on a diagram of the Skull Ship. Over the image flashes the message "predator detected." ERADICATOR Brainiac? Here? The image disappears, replaced with "activating cloaking device." The Eradicator then concentrates on the map. ERADICATOR Now -- how to get to Kal-El without being detected... (thinks) Or get Kal-El... to me! The Eradicator types at the computer he's hooked into. The screen begins filling with numbers, letters, and an array of binary codes. INT. SKULL SHIP - ON CONTROL BOARD A signal BEEPS. Brainiac punches a button anxiously, only yo be greeted by Lex's face on the view screen. LEX What are you waiting for? phase two! If this is going to work, we have to move to Phase Two, now! Brainiac scowls at the screen and switches off. BRAINIAC Insolent hunk of meat. (sighs) Animate the carcass. EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS - NIGHT CLOSEUP - DOOMSDAY'S EYES A HIGH-PITCHED CHARGE is heard, and the dead eyes snap open. The CREATURE stirs, then sits bolt upright, GROWLING.l The crowd begins screaming. The tearful Lois looks up from her fallen lover, to see Doomsday moving. INT. SKULL SHIP L-Ron enters codes and presses buttons, animating Doomsday's corpse, which we see on the view screen. BRAINIAC Finish this mess so we can find the technology! L-Ron hits a button. EXT. SKULL SHIP From the Skull Ship's bow, a red beam emits, cutting through space. EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS The beam strikes the animated dead body of Doomsday, incinerating it. People leap out of the way as DOOMSDAY EXPLODES. Metropolitans look skyward for the source of the blast, but find nothing. Lois is among them, for a beat. She then goes back to cradling her lover's head. Jimmy comforts her, then sadly stands, looking through the eyepiece of his camera. JIMMY Rest in peace, big guy. We HOLD on the FROZEN PHOTO IMAGE of the Man of Steel held by his secret love. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. METROPOLIS SKYLINE - NIGHT The next day, the city is dark -- both in mourning and in lack of sun. EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS - NIGHT On the streets below, artificial light is cast from high-powered LexCorp kliegs. It's the same straight down the avenue -- LexCorp lights, everywhere. And people, as well. The crowds are enormous -- all wearing black arm bands emblazoned with Superman's "s" shield. They scramble to get a look at... A horse-drawn carriage, in the midst of which is a casket. Its open top reveals Superman -- eyes closed, peaceful, his cape hangs over the lid. EXT. METROPOLIS - NIGHT Its backdrop draped in black, with a blown-up photo of Superman adorning the center, the viewing stage hold various city and world dignitaries, who stare mournfully at the approaching carriage. Cat Grant addresses her camera team, flanked by Lois. CAT Cat Grant here, bringing you W.G.B.S.'s continuing coverage of what the President has called 'the world's darkest hour.' Offering her perspective on this sadly historic day is Daily Planet reporter, Lois Lane -- whose name is synonymous with the Man of Steel's. LOIS While we here in Metropolis say goodbye to a friend, around the globe, crisis management teams are working tirelessly to counter the effects of the eclipse. EXT. FOREIGN LOCALES While Lois speaks, we see LexCorp kliegs powering up, at sights around the globe. LexCorp trucks empty LexCorp food supplies. LOIS (V.O.) Financial analysts have predicted that LexCorp will make billions from around the globe as the sole supplier of available energy. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - NIGHT Lois continues. LOIS The burial monument, commissioned by Lex Luthor himself, strikes this reporter as being built in a remarkable expedient fashion. When questioned on this, Luthor responded evasively, "We had our differences, but a man such as this deserves an equal memorial." CAT Lois, perhaps the greatest memorial to his efforts is that so far, zero casualties have been reported from this city-wide battle. LOIS Although my... (choking it back) My... colleague, Clark Kent is still missing, presumably killed during the fallout from the battle. Rescue teams have been sifting through the rubble, but so far there's no sign of... of him. CAT More on that story tonight, but right now, the procession has reached the tomb. The carriage stops, and a priest says a blessing over the Man of Steel's body, closing the casket lid. But before it closes, we get a glimpse of two small blinking lights attached to his suit. INT. SKULL SHIP On the view screen, an outline of Superman's body has the same corresponding blinking red lights. L-Ron notes this. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK Pallbearers carry the casket toward the MONUMENT: a huge, bronze replica of Superman in his up, up, and away stance. Jimmy snaps away, stopping momentarily to wipe a tear from his eye, as the pallbearers insert the casket into the base, sealing the metal doors. INT. SKULL SHIP On the view screen, digital tumblers lock into place, and a message flashes: "ALARM ENGAGED." L-Ron turns to Brainiac, who is suiting up in some uncharacteristically resplendent costuming, complete with cape. L-RON The security measures on both the suit and the tomb have been activated, if anything attempts to remove his body. And that's a big 'if'. BRAINIAC There are no 'ifs,' L-Ron. The Eradicator is here. I know it. L-RON (off costume) And who, might I ask, is opening for my Liege in Vegas this weekend? BRAINIAC (off outfit) Lex Luthor's idea of what a Kryptonian should look like alone marks him for execution. L-RON Something we should act on now. BRAINIAC I have further use for Lex Luthor. Until such time as we have the Eradicator, I will feed off LexCorp's energy supplies to maintain my form. Once we have the technology of Jor-El, you may kill Lex Luthor. Now prepare my skiff. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - NIGHT Governor Bree rides a cherry-picker to the outstretched arm of the statue, where she hangs Superman's cape. For the crowd that can't get near the tomb, the burial is broadcast on the WGBS building giant screen TV. Then, the image of the funeral is interrupted by a familiar symbol: The BAT-SIGNAL! It gives way to a shadowy image of the DARK KNIGHT, deep within the Batcave. BATMAN Good evening, Metropolis. It is with heavy heart that I offer you my and Gotham's deepest condolences. I apologize for my absence -- but with the loss of the sun, I am all that opposes the criminal element in my city, who've seized upon the cover of darkness to further their evil purposes. From atop the viewing stage, Lois and the others stare up at the screen. BATMAN (V.O.) The guardian of your city... of the world... held Metropolis and its inhabitants very near to his heart. The message continues on the screen. BATMAN It's been said that he fought a never- ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. Honor this fallen soldier well by keeping his memory alive in the face of this adversity. From this day forward, we forever shoulder the burden of a world without a Superman. On the giant screen, The Dark Knight withdraws further back into the shadows, until he is completely unseen. The Bat-Signal comes up again, and then scrambles into the image of the funeral below. But suddenly, over the top of the giant screen, a hover-skiff rises, sending the crowd below into a panic. Jimmy joins Lois, snapping pictures of the descending craft as it lands on the viewing stage. Aboard the craft is Brainiac -- now decked out in "alien" garb, replete with face-obscuring helmet, and Lex, with an arm draped over Brainiac's shoulder. Lex jumps to the podium microphone. LEX People of Metropolis -- this is a great day in our planet's history. Today, you will learn of a secret too-long kept by myself... and Superman. A murmur goes through the crowd. Atop the viewing stage, Lois looks at Lex, suspiciously, as Lex continues. LEX Superman's job was not to protect our city, but instead to pave the way for an amazing new era in this planet's history. Cat moves closer to Lois, whispering. CAT Has the old man finally lost it? LOIS I think it's worse than that. Lex encourages applause from the confused crowd. LEX Over the last two years, Superman and I had been working closely to prepare this world for its introduction to more extraterrestrials like himself... and like the being I now present to you. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the true power behind our fallen Man of Steel... Brainiac! Urged by Lex, Brainiac approaches the podium, as a hush falls over the crowd. BRAINIAC Today marks a terrible day for our planet Krypton. Superman, as you called him, was a herald of the highest order, having gone before me to many planets, preparing them for first contact. I stand before you now in the spirit of hope and peace. A cheer goes up from the crowd. Brainiac looks out upon the thrall, emotionless. Lex pats him on the back, whispering in his ear. LEX Keep it up! They're buying it! Lois watches Brainiac's and Lex's interaction with suspicion, but her face belies fear that what's being said may be the truth. BRAINIAC His true mission was kept secret from you to protect you, until you were ready to accept aliens into your world. Sorrowfully, my herald gave his life fighting a foul menace -- weakening the beast so that I was able to vaporize it using the power of my ship above. (as the crowd murmurs) The creature was from a race of war-mongers that have designated this planet for annihilation! But in concert with Superman and Lex Luthor, I have been able to blanket your planet in darkness to protect you from the approaching hordes. Lois goes bug-eyed, her journalistic instincts kicking in. She charges the podium, fighting off LexCorp security. LOIS (to Lex) What is he talking about?! Is he saying that you two... what... blocked out the sun?! LEX Ms. lane, let the deity speak. BRAINIAC (to the crowd) Using materials provide by Lex Luthor and my own advanced technology, I fashioned a device to enshroud the planet in a darkness that will provide camouflage. LOIS From what?! BRAINIAC From them. Suddenly, the dark skies above shimmer, and an armada of ships can be seen moving slowly through space, patrolling. With the multitude of spacecraft visible, it would appear that Earth is under attack. The Metropolitans panic, screaming, moving to run. Brainiac holds his hands out. BRAINIAC Do not fear. We are not visible to the armada. The crowd calms, listening to Brainiac. BRAINIAC The forced eclipse that darkens the skies is what keeps us hidden. The menace above cannot detect your world, and will slowly pass through your galaxy within days. Once they have moved on, I will end the eclipse, and bring back the sun. LEX (stepping up) Until that time, LexCorp energy will fuel the planet, and LexCorp industrial services will keep the world operating smoothly as if the sun had never left. The crowd slowly breaks into applause. Lex smiles, joining hands with Brainiac and raising them into the air. Brainiac seems to be confused by this, but goes along with it. His attention is more focused on... The tomb. Surrounded by people, Brainiac cannot see it. INT. FORTRESS The Eradicator stops typing at the computer. He presses "enter." The numbers on the screen reconfigure, forming Superman's "S" insignia. It glows red. INT. TOMB Back in Metropolis, inside the casket, the "S" on Superman's chest also begins glowing red. Superman's body begins shimmering, and teleports (Trek-style) out of sight, leaving behind his suit, on which the security measures still blink. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK - NIGHT Lex urges Brainiac to further address the crowd. BRAINIAC Like Superman, I will endeavor to protect Earth and its inhabitants. It's the least I can do in return for your warm, warm welcome... (beat) And in memory of Superman! Brainiac raises his arms like Nixon. The crowd goes wild. Luthor leads the crowd in a rallying cry of cheers for Earth's greatest hero, Brainiac. And as Cat Grant rushes the podium to get an interview with the "heroic pair," Lois stares at them both coldly and at a loss, amid the thrall of support for Brainiac. FADE TO BLACK DREAM SEQUENCE We SMASH CUT into a speeding tracking shot, travelling on electrical impulses through the tortuous path of SUPERMAN'S BRAIN, hearing... JOR-EL (V.O.) Greetings, my son. A CLOSEUP of JOR-EL fades into view. JOR-EL It has been many years since you have looked upon the face of your birth father through infant eyes. I only wish this message cam to you under better circumstances. 1) Jor-El and Lara work in their lab. They step back to reveal the ERADICATOR, who sits up and opens his eyes. JOR-EL (V.O.) Your mother and I spent years constructing an autonomous free-form computer in order to study more closely the volatile core of our home world. 2) The Eradicator emerges from a deep, smoky shaft. JOR-EL (V.O.) We named the living computer the 'Eradicator' -- after a Kryptonian mythological figure. 3) The Eradicator plugs himself into the computer in their lab. On the monitor, images of the planets volatile core appear. After a beat, a metal shaft appears in the lava. JOR-EL (V.O.) It confirmed our worst fears -- the planet was unstable. But even more horrifying, was the cause of the duress. Then, alarms sound, and lights flash. The screen goes black, filling with the symbol of Brainiac. JOR-EL (V.O.) The Brainiac system had come from off- world, brought online to police the planet. We learned it was up to far more than that. 4) Bound in handcuffs and illuminated by a shaft of light, Jor-El stands before Brainiac in a darkened chamber. BRAINIAC I discovered the renegade science officer, Jor-El, engaged in illegal planetary experimentation. COUNCIL VOICE How does the accused plea? JOR-EL I'll plea anything you wish -- if the Council will hear my plea that the planet be evacuated now! In moments, Krypton will perish! COUNCIL VOICE Brainiac - is there any validity to Jor-El's claim? BRAINIAC None. He's lying -- the planet is in no danger. But Jor-El himself represents a threat -- he has ignored the tempered- technology code and constructed a sentient computer system with a perpetual battery... the Eradicator! A second shaft of light illuminates the Eradicator, sealed in a glass containment chamber. JOR-EL The Eradicator's no the threat -- Brainiac is! The data we collected points to him as the cause of the core's instability! He's siphoning off the planet's energy! Suddenly, a beam shoots out of the Brainiac symbol, striking the Eradicator, absorbing its power. JOR-EL (V.O.) Brainiac had intended to fashion a body for himself, using the energy from the planet's core... 5) In a containment chamber, Brainiac's 'body' begins growing. A schematic of the goal is pictured on a monitor. JOR-EL (V.O.) ... but by absorbing the Eradicator, not only could he have the body he so desired -- he'd also possess the perpetual battery by which to power him, indefinitely. Ironically, his drain on the planet's core finally took its toll. 6) The Council chamber begins to shudder and crumble. A piece of ceiling breaks free and crashes into the monitor, breaking the connection with the Eradicator. 7) In the containment chamber, the body formation stops, resulting in a half-formed Brainiac. The view screen fills with Brainiac's symbol, shuddering. BRAINIAC NOOOOOO!!!! JOR-EL (V.O.) Facing the destruction he created, Brainiac was forced to depart Krypton on a craft he'd constructed in secrecy... without the body he so desired. INT. JOR-EL'S LAUNCH PAD Lara hands the infant Superman to Jor-El. He holds the child in his arms, addressing the camera. The room is shuddering and falling apart. JOR-EL The planet is in it's final moments, my son. As I hold you one last time, I record this message to be viewed in the even the marauder Brainiac ever tracks either you or the Eradicator back to the planet I'm sending you -- Earth. Avoid him at all costs. I've used these last minutes to code your chromo frequency into the Eradicator. In the event of a significant drop in your vital signs, the Eradicator will come to your aid. (hugs the infant) Be well, Kal-El -- you were so cherished. As Jor-El hands the infant to the Eradicator, static fills the screen. INT. FORTRESS - CLOSEUP ON SUPERMAN'S FACE Superman lays in a Kryptonian resuscitation chamber. Arms folder over his chest, he is immersed in a gelatinous, green mass. His eyes snap open, and he sits bolt upright, breaking out of the dense goo. He throws up a lungful of the muck, inhales deeply. SUPERMAN Father...! He slowly rises, wiping the jelly from his body and face. The old blue and red togs are gone, replaced by a black resuscitation suit. Then, there are ripples along the surface of the gelatin within the resuscitation chamber. The Eradicator rises behind Superman. ERADICATOR Greetings, son of Jor-El. Superman turns quickly to see the Eradicator. He looks from E to where the resuscitive bath no longer is, save for some remnants of the goo. Superman then looks back at the Eradicator, dazed. ERADICATOR It has been some time since last we met. Your hardware has improved... and now you wear clothes. SUPERMAN I... I saw my father -- Jor-El... (beat) It was like... my life flashed before my eyes... but it was from a part of my life I don't remember. Krypton -- I've never seen it. I saw my birth parents, but not Ma and Pa. And Lois -- why didn't I see her? You'd think your final reflection would include the most important person in your life. ERADICATOR Perhaps because your reflection was far from final. Superman stares at the Eradicator, slowly grasping. Then... SUPERMAN I'm... alive? The Eradicator nods, Superman leaps to his feet, triumphantly. The Eradicator proceeds around the chamber, constructing a small two- man SHIP. SUPERMAN I'm alive!!! Then that was just a dream?! ERADICATOR A message downloaded it into your cerebral cortex while you were in the resuscitation bath. SUPERMAN You were on Krypton, too -- with my father! How did you get here?! ERADICATOR I was the craft that brought you to this planet years ago. SUPERMAN (notices it's gone) The rocket...? How? ERADICATOR My programming allows me to shape-shift into any form of equal mass to my own humanoid structure. The rocket was only large enough to carry a child -- a factor that prevented me from transporting your parents as well as yourself. SUPERMAN You've been in the Fortress all this time and I didn't know it?!? (thinks) Wait, wait, wait... did you ever see Lois and I... while we... (beat) Well, why the hell did you never say anything?! ERADICATOR I was programmed to lie dormant, until such a time as your vital signs waned. That's never been a factor until now. SUPERMAN I'm remembering now -- the sun was blocked! My father warned me about a threat from Krypton in the message... BRAINIAC! Is that the creature I was fighting? ERADICATOR No -- Brainiac is far more dangerous than that beast. SUPERMAN Then I've gotta bring him down! Where's my suit? I've gotta get back to Metropolis... He leaps, as if to take off, but falls to the ground. ERADICATOR Your powers are still gone. Superman rises to his hands and knees, wide-eyed -- he's never been powerless in his life. SUPERMAN Will they return? ERADICATOR Once we get away from the shadowed Earth and closer to the sun, you should be back online. This ship will be taking us offworld in less than an hour. SUPERMAN Whoa! Whoa! Leave?! ERADICATOR We must find another world where the sun affects you as it did here. SUPERMAN But what about Brainiac?! I can't leave all these people behind! ERADICATOR When Earth was chosen as your home, it was so that the powers you would manifest would place you above its inhabitants -- not so you could be their champion. SUPERMAN No, no -- we're staying here and fighting Brainiac. I don't care if I really die this time. ERADICATOR Fortunately, that will never be a factor. The program your father imparted to me before we left the dying Krypton was to insure your longevity. Superman stares at him, taken aback. SUPERMAN I can't die? ERADICATOR As long as I function -- no. SUPERMAN (beat) Then all the more reason to go after this Brainiac character! I'm not letting him do to Earth what he did to Krypton! ERADICATOR Brainiac has come to this planet to hunt me -- he sides my perpetual battery, and he will destroy this world if he must to acquire it. That endangers your life, which is against my programming. We must find you a new home. SUPERMAN Earth is my home! You expect me to just leave it behind -- leave Lois -- just to save myself?! ERADICATOR Yes. Superman offers the Eradicator a sharp, shocked look. ERADICATOR This race is as good as extinct, Kal-El. You cannot save them now. SUPERMAN (beat) I have to at least try. That's in my programming. The Eradicator sees the passion in Superman's eyes. He processes this, and stands back. Superman proceeds. SUPERMAN The first order of business would be to remove whatever's blocking then sun. But apparently, I'm unable to fly. Which leaves the question of how to reach that thing. Superman looks to the two-man ship, then back to the Eradicator. EXT. METROPOLIS - NIGHT We get our first look at what Metropolis has become. The Skull Ship now rests atop the twin Metro Towers, and it's "grown", encasing the buildings in the steel of its hull, squid- like in nature. The large screen TV that rests atop the WGBS building now airs updates and reports of the armada's distance from Earth. At the LexCorp building, we can see Luthor -- flanked by bodyguards -- on the front steps. He stands at a podium before bundled-up members of the press. LEX (V.O.) As his designated representative, Brainiac has asked me to give you this latest update. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT At the podium, Lex reads from a prepared statement. LEX According to his calculations, the armada should completely pass through our solar system in a matter of days. At which time, the sun will return! The press let out a cheer -- Lois stands among them, looking on suspiciously. She speaks up. LOIS There are rumors of a rebellion of sorts -- a group that doesn't necessarily trust or believe either you or Brainiac. Lex's eyes flare briefly, then settle. He smiles kindly. LEX Ms. Lane, this city -- this world -- knows how much Brainiac has done for us. There are some people who'll take issue with anything, for the sake of being contradictory. Don't let their bitter voices echo louder than the joyous praise of the majority. LOIS Ironically enough, you were once the bitter minority, complaining about Superman's interference with the Planet, yet now you lay like a lapdog at the feet of Brainiac. Why the switch? LEX I did not understand Superman's purpose. Brainiac explained it to me. I only wish I had known his import before he died. LOIS Call me a skeptic, but somehow I don't buy your sincerity, Lex. LEX Well, Ms. Lane... (opens coat) It's like the shirt says... Lex rips open his button-down shirt... Superman style, revealing a T-shirt beneath. On it is the image of a stone-faced Brainiac, around whose head the letters spell out: "I'M A MANIAC FOR BRAINIAC." The press cheers. Lex owns them. CLOSEUP ON SHIRT CUT TO: INT. LEAGUE OF NATIONS CONFERENCE ROOM The same shirt, only on a different being -- L-Ron. The little robot sits among the DELEGATES as brainiac addresses the WORLD CONGRESS. BRAINIAC Ladies and Gentlemen of the World Congress -- it is my conclusion that the marauders who seek to ravage your planet have sent an even deadlier threat than the Doomsday creature. The delegates panic. L-Ron pulls up his shirt, and his chest opens, revealing a projector of sorts. An image of the Eradicator is thrown onto the screen. BRAINIAC This being is an anthropomorphic weapon, a hundred times more powerful than your atomic bomb. It's detonation, while effectively wiping out half of Earth's population, will also signal the armada of the planet's hidden location. DELEGATE #1 What can we do to prevent this?! BRAINIAC Utilize your military. Have them locate this weapon, but do not engage it. When you have found it, contact me -- I will defuse... it. That is all. INT. SKULL SHIP BRIDGE Brainiac and L-Ron enter. L-RON You sure scared the hell out of those guys. BRAINIAC Which will insure that they work twice as hard as even us to locate the Eradicator technology. L-RON Won't Lex Luthor ask questions when he hears about this? He'll know you're lying. BRAINIAC We have nothing to fear on this dismal planet, L-Ron -- least of all the slow- witted Lex Luthor. Brainiac then notices the small marble replica of himself sitting on a pedestal across from the control board. A note is attached which reads "TO EARTH'S NEXT MASTER." Brainiac regards the statue curiously. He looks to L-Ron. L-RON Speak of the dummy. Obviously from Luthor. Not so much a gift as a vulgar attempt to stay on your good side. Brainiac seizes the statue, and crushes it in his grip. There, amidst the dust, sits a micro spy camera, blinking. BRAINIAC Apparently, Lex Luthor is more clever than we gave him credit. (hands it to L-Ron) Show the cretin what he wants to see. EXT. SPACE The two-man ship rockets through space. Through the windshield, we see the Eradicator at the helm. The lower half of his body makes up the control board, while his upper half operates it. INT. SHIP Surrounded by various pieces of what resemble armaments, Superman attempts to pull them on. SUPERMAN What is it going to do exactly? ERADICATOR We're building you a resuscitive suit -- your trial has left you injured and weakened. These units will expedite your recovery. SUPERMAN (off equipment) In little league, it was easy -- it began and ended with a cup. Then, tendrils reach out of the Eradicator's back and scoop up the various pieces, outfitting Superman. ERADICATOR This will support strained back muscles, these will repair the fracture in your shoulder, your ankles will need the support of this, this will protect your vertebrae. The tendrils draw back into their operator, revealing a newly- outfitted Superman (minus the 'S' shield). He looks ready for action. SUPERMAN All this and I'm still powerless? ERADICATOR But protected. Strap yourself in now, Kal-El. We've almost reached our destination. They soar toward the far-off ShadowCaster. INT. LEX'S OFFICE - NIGHT CLOSEUP ON A MONITOR which displays Brainiac and L-Ron analyzing a LEXTECH schematic on their view screen. Misty and Lex watch the monitor. MISTY You were right -- he's trying to access the weapons division. LEX That's what we're supposed to think. This is a fake. (points to monitor) See this -- it's pixelated. If this were truly from our surveillance camera, we'd see scan lines, like a television image. This picture was created -- digitally. MISTY But how? LEX He's a living computer, Misty. It's certain not beyond his capacity to manipulate an image. It would seem that Brainiac is on to us... and hiding something. MISTY How do you want to play it? LEX Like every business deal -- cordial on the surface. Meantime, we put to use that data we've compiled from the diagnostics check on the ShadowCaster technology, and the moment Brainy-not steps out of line we simply cut off the chow-bag he thinks we know nothing about. MISTY You are incredibly attractive when you're like this. (kisses him) It's noon -- you've got an interview with the Daily Planet. LEX Is it noon already? So hard to tell anymore. As Misty exits, Lois and Jimmy enter. LEX Well, well, well -- Metropolis' own voice of dissent. LOIS If I'm the mouthpiece, wouldn't that make you the other cavity? LEX Good ol' Lois -- always a quipper, aren't you? (all business) You want something to print in that rag you work for, print this: this anti- Brainiac rhetoric you've been spouting both today and in the pages of the Planet is dangerous. I only pray that your columns continue to be read as merely sociopolitical criticism -- and not as an act of sedition. LOIS Sedition? Since when is an opinion considered sedition? LEX What do you think those huge ships are -- parade floats? If you unsettle Brainiac with your mistrust, you put this planet in peril. There's not a government on Earth that wouldn't call that sedition. LOIS So we wait out the cold and dark bestowed upon us by an alien who's supposedly protecting us from other aliens? Six of one, half dozen of the other. LEX Is that any different from what Superman did? You were his greatest advocate, Miss Lane. And when, in death, his true agenda is revealed, you turn against your Man of Steel's own master. LOIS The day I believe Superman was in league with Brainiac is the day I quit the city desk and take over the Planet's horoscope page. LEX Then start watching the stars, young lady! LOIS You've already got most of the world doing that! Jimmy jumps between the verbally sparring pair. JIMMY This'd probably be a great time to take that photo, Mister Luthor. Lex goes soft, smiling at Lois. He rounds the desk and scoots next to her. LEX I'm sure if Miss Lane had it her way, this photo would appear on the obituary page, under the heading "Luthor -- Finally Out Cold." Then, Lex drops to the ground, out cold. REVEAL Lois palming a small needle resembling a joy buzzer. JIMMY How long've we got? LOIS Doctor Hamilton said about five minutes. Do your thing, kid. Jimmy hits the computer, typing as fast as he can. EXT. FORTRESS The Skull Ship rests on the snowy plains. Brainiac and L-Ron emerge, led by GENERAL DERRIS and two soldiers. DERRIS The President's known about Superman's Fortress for years, but we've always respected the Man of Steel's privacy. It wasn't until your address that I suggested we investigate the premises for a breach. BRAINIAC Very wise of you, General Derris. L-RON Good monkey. Then, as the trio approach the entranceway, the two POLAR BEARS rise from their statue-like positions and attack the escort Soldiers, tearing them apart. The bears turn on Brainiac, who ferociously wrestles the first bear to the ground, savagely breaking its neck. Seeing this, the second bear turns and flees. L-Ron brushes snow from his master, as Derris stands there, open- mouthed. BRAINIAC (to Derris) Shall we? INT. FORTRESS Brainiac stops where the resuscitation bath was. A remnant of green goo from the bath lies on the snow. His hand morphs into a mini vacuum of sorts and sucks it up. BRAINIAC It's him. The Eradicator was here! (to Derris) Prepare your men for his return, but do not shoot to kill. Leave his capture to... Then, Brainiac falters. He looks at his arm, which begins withering -- the reversal of how it was affected when he drained the Alien Craft. L-Ron ushers Derris away. L-RON Alright, show's over -- nothing to see here. Go outside with your drones and march around or something. Derris is ruffled, but exits. Brainiac leans on L-Ron. L-RON We have to get you back to the ship, my liege. BRAINIAC No... I will gain my... energy by absorbing... the Eradicator... upon his return... Brainiac withers further. L-Ron grabs hold of him, pulling him out of the room. L-RON If we don't return to Metropolis and hook you back into the core to maintain your form, you'll be off-line in minutes. We'll come back for the Eradicator -- he's not going anywhere. INT. LEX'S OFFICE - NIGHT On the screen, we see Jimmy gain access to Lex's files. He scrolls through them, while Lois looks over the desk, keeping an eye on Luthor's condition. JIMMY I think I've got something. Jimmy accesses a file marked 'AI'. He opens it, and we get the gist of his back-stabbing plans for Brainiac. LOIS Well, well, well -- seems the old weasel's not such a 'maniac for Brainiac' after all. That could be helpful down the road. Jimmy pops a disc into the computer, downloading the file. Then, there's a groggy grunt. Lex begins to stir. Lois rushes to his side. She motions to Jimmy, who jumps away from the computer, grabbing the disc. Lois helps Lex to his feet. LEX Wh... what happened? LOIS You passed out, Lex. Must be all the stress. LEX (crossing to desk) Must be. Although I wouldn't discount the effect you've been known to have on men, Ms. Lane. LOIS My girlish charm? LEX Your devilish... Then, Lex freezes. He notices his computer is on. LEX ... inquisitiveness. Lex looks sharply at Lois. CLOSEUP ON LEX'S EYES as they accuse. CLOSEUP ON LOIS' EYES as they "shrug." BACK TO SCENE Then, Lois grabs Jimmy and sprints to the balcony. Lex punches his intercom. LEX Security! Seal all exits! Now! EXT. LEX'S OFFICE BALCONY - NIGHT Lois drags Jimmy outside, slamming the doors behind them. Lois looks in every direction and spots... Brainiac's hover skiff, parked to the side. She looks at Jimmy. LOIS Gotta be close to a moped, right? INT. LEX'S OFFICE A team of LexCorp security piles in. Lex points frantically at the balcony, screaming. LEX Don't let them get away!!! Shoot to kill!!! EXT. LEX'S OFFICE BALCONY - NIGHT The Security team kicks the doors open and take aim. Lex is right behind them. Lois and Jimmy leap aboard the hover-jet, GUN the ENGINE, and shoot into the air, over the heads of Lex and the security team. LEX Fire!!! And FIRE they do, unloading a lethal payload into the air. With Jimmy holding on for dear life, Lois maneuvers the hover-jet like a pro, dodging SHOTS left and right. She soars higher into the air, steering the vehicle toward the top of the building. JIMMY (yelling to be heard) Uh... shouldn't we be getting as far away from here as possible? LOIS (yelling to be heard) This is kind of like a date, isn't it, Jimmy? Well, on a date you get dinner... and a movie! Lois flies over the roof of LexCorp and we REVEAL the huge holograph device that throws the image of the "armada" against the sky. LOIS Shoot it, Jimmy. Now we've got all the proof we need. Jimmy takes pictures. EXT. SPACE Superman and the Eradicator reach the ShadowCaster. It's imposing as hell. The Eradicator hooks into the satellite and begins processing. ERADICATOR Fascinating. You would imagine he'd take some security measures. With no interference, I should have it shut down momentarily. But Superman's attention is drawn to the hull of ship. SUPERMAN Eradicator -- can you enhance the view screen to X-ray? INT. ERADICATOR/CRAFT The visual Superman sees through the window X-rays until the words "LexTech 37" are revealed. Superman growls. SUPERMAN What a shock. EXT. SPACE Suddenly, an electrical charge runs through the Eradicator's hookup. It detaches itself from the ShadowCaster and goes dark. Then, Superman and the Eradicator craft begin plummeting toward Earth. SUPERMAN Uh... Eradicator. ERADICATOR Brainiac's technology has taken a bit out of me, Kal-El. The ship continues to fall, the ERADICATOR seemingly "out." SUPERMAN We're free-falling here... ERADICATOR (V.O.) The technology is not only working from a program my processors find too foreign to crack, it has also had a negative impact on my neural net. My systems are shutting down. SUPERMAN What?!? ERADICATOR (V.O.) It's akin to the toxic effect Kryptonite has on your systems. SUPERMAN But Kryptonite leaves me powerless! ERADICATOR (V.O.) Bingo. INT. SKULL SHIP BRIDGE L-Ron throws switches on a control panel. Brainiac lays in the midst of an enormous device. A helm is lowered over his head. He points to L-Ron, who in turn presses a button. Pure energy shoots through Brainiac sending him into convulsions. On the device monitor there is an illustration of the device pulsing with rising (the amount Brainiac is sucking up) and decreasing (the amount he's taking) numbers. The source of this power, according to the graphic -- the Earth's core. L-Ron shuts the machine down. Brainiac throws off the helm, rising. BRAINIAC WHY DID YOU BRING ME BACK HERE?! IF WE'D WAITED, THE ERADICATOR WOULD'VE BEEN MINE! L-RON My liege, you were nearly powerless... Brainiac seizes the little robot, holding him aloft. BRAINIAC If you've interfered with my manifest, you little talking cog, I will absorb the insignificant energy that's wasted on you! (drops him) Bring us back to the antarctic! Now! I will have that technology! Then, an alarm goes off. Both Brainiac and L-Ron look to the view screen. A mapping system comes up on the screen. It zooms in on a free- falling blip, located in the upper atmosphere. The pair rush to the control board. L-RON Something rapidly descending toward Earth that doesn't match any known terrestrial crafts, giving off radiation readings native to you-know-where. Brainiac goes wide-eyed. BRAINIAC The technology of Jor-El! EXT. SPACE The Eradicator's ship SCREAMS into the lower atmosphere, rocketing at the surfaceof the planet. INT. ERADICATOR SHIP Superman looks about nervously. SUPERMAN Come on, man -- up, up and away! EXT. SPACE The Eradicator ship SCREAMS through the clouds, racing toward a land mass. ERADICATOR I'm attempting a cross-relay with my trans-net. Should take approximately thirty minutes. INT. ERADICATOR CRAFT Superman punches at the control panel. SUPERMAN We don't have thirty minutes! We're going down now! I did not come this far in life and cheat death just to die in what's essentially a plane crash! ERADICATOR Ah -- never mind. Here we are. The Eradicator comes back on line, as the craft's interior lights come back up. EXT. COAST CITY - NIGHT Just in time to pull its nose up, narrowly missing a violent impact with the ground, and coming to a rocky landing in the midst of a desolate city. INT. SKULL SHIP BRIDGE Brainiac and L-Ron stare up at the view screen. BRAINIAC Lock onto the signal. We'll follow it to the source. The mapping system disappears, replaced by "SIGNAL LOST." L-RON What the...?! Where did it go?!? BRAINIAC It's cloaking itself -- it's on its way here, to Metropolis. It means to enter the city undetected to revive the Kryptonian's body. L-RON Then surely the League of Nations search teams will pick it up on radar... BRAINIAC I'm leaving nothing to chance. It may be cloaked now, but cloaks are simple encryption programs. (to L-Ron) Break its code. Do not fail me, little robot! EXT. COAST CITY - NIGHT Superman and the Eradicator climb out of the flying craft. Superman hugs the ground, sweating bullets, breathing heavily. SUPERMAN Is this... your idea... of preserving my life?! ERADICATOR It would appear that Brainiac has rendered the device tamper-proof. The anti-technology is beyond my comprehension. The hardware... SUPERMAN (standing up) Provide by Luthor... That's why he moved his space station. (chuckles) Lois was right -- that story was up my alley. ERADICATOR You dream of this Lois, when you were in the resuscitation chamber. She was without clothes... SUPERMAN (cutting him off) I remember... thanks. ERADICATOR You would have her -- as Jor-El had Lara? SUPERMAN I would. But she has trouble... having me. ERADICATOR And this disturbs you? SUPERMAN It has its drawbacks, yes. ERADICATOR I've ascertained that the inhabitants of this planet hold you in high esteem. I don't see why the affection, or lack thereof, of one matters -- in respect to the multitude who show you allegiance. SUPERMAN (beat) That's something I've been dwelling on since I came back. And I think I've come to a truth that I've never wanted to face before... (steels himself) Yes, I do it all for the multitude. But when I save lives, or fight for the weak, I'm saving one life, fighting for one person -- again, and again, and again. (beat) It's her -- don't you see? She represents all of them -- their hopes, their fragility, their passion. And if I ever feel like no matter how much I do, it's not enough, I think of Lois. And then, I'm off, faster than a speeding bullet to be Earth's champion... but always hers first. ERADICATOR This does not compute. SUPERMAN (touches Eradicator's head) That's because it's not about this... (touches his own heart) ... it's about this. Suddenly, an explosion is heard. Superman reacts, racing toward the sound. The Eradicator follows. EXT. BURNING BUILDING - NIGHT An APARTMENT BUILDING has caught fire. Tenants pour out of the building. Then, SCREAMS FOR HELP can be heard. Superman looks up. SUPERMAN No! From their windows on the second and third floors, tenants call out for help, trapped. Superman takes his classic stance and attempts to blow super- breath, forgetting his lack of powers. He appears crestfallen for a moment, then looks to the Eradicator. SUPERMAN Bust that fire hydrant open! Now! The Eradicator offers him a puzzled look. SUPERMAN Do it! The Eradicator kicks a hydrant open and water begins spilling onto the street. Superman soaks himself in it from head to toe. He races off, leaving the Eradicator standing there. Superman gets to the front of the building. Flames already block the front door. He moves toward the flames, then pulls back, overcome by the heat. He stares at the flames for a second, shocked. His face says it all: he's afraid. He slams his eys shut, as if willing his fear away. He then covers his face and leaps through the wall of fire. The Eradicator's eyes go wide. ERADICATOR I just don't understand that boy. INT. BURNING BUILDING The powerless Superman emerges from the flames, landing on the other side, singed, but otherwise okay. He heads up the stairs of the fast-flaming complex, and bangs on the doors. Frightened people emerge, coughing. SUPERMAN Everything's going to be fine! I'm going to help the kids out first. Just stay calm! Superman scoops up two children. A WOMAN grabs him by the shoulder. WOMAN What about the rest of us?! Superman looks from the Woman to the rest of the people in the now-crowded hallway. He's given pause -- can he do this? He shakes it off... SUPERMAN I'll be back! I promise. And down the stairs with his precious cargo he charges. EXT. BURNING BUILDING - NIGHT Superman leaps through the wall of flame, cradling the children in his arms. He moves through the crowd outside, rushing the kids to the Eradicator, who wraps them in the wet blankets. ERADICATOR Have you lost sight of the fact that you are now as vulnerable to those you seek to aid? SUPERMAN I can't just stand here like you and watch! Then, the WINDOWS BLOW OUT of the bottom floors. People scream from the second and third floor windows. Superman lets out a defeated howl. He looks to the Eradicator, desperate. They lock eyes. The Eradicator steps back, and morphs into a dazzling display of body armor. ERADICATOR (V.O.) Climb in. Superman eagerly jumps inside the suit. ERADICATOR This will enable you to duplicate any of your former powers. SUPERMAN You didn't think to suggest this earlier?! ERADICATOR And patronize your messiah complex further? The suit seals itself around Superman, concealing his identity, and lifts into the air. They make a bee-line to the top floor windows. INT. APARTMENT The Supersuit bursts through a wall, giving the now-literal Man of Steel access to the top floor. SUPERMAN'S POV As the suit simulates his former X-RAY VISION. We see THROUGH a wall, where a frightened family cowers. BACK TO SCENE Lasers shoot from the eye-pieces of the suit, cutting through the wall. Superman steps through the hole. The family looks up, transfixed. SUPERMAN Sorry I'm late. Shall we? EXT. BURNING BUILDING - NIGHT Superman gently sets the family down on the street where they're greeted by FIREMEN, who are hosing down the building. Superman trains his heat vision on the generator, repairing the damage. The power on the block comes back on, and the people cheer. CHIEF What do they call you, man? SUPERMAN Huh? CHIEF You're one of those super heroes, right? What do they call you, so I don't look like an idiot when I tell the press some guy in a robot suit saved a lot of people? SUPERMAN (beat) Just tell them... I'm back. And as the people cheer, Superman leaps into the sky, rocketing out of sight. CHIEF (calling after him) Who's back?!? EXT. SKY - NIGHT With the aid of the Eradicator suit, Superman soars again, maneuvering gracefully. ERADICATOR (V.O.) (ECHOING within the suit) Where are we going, Kal-El? SUPERMAN Metropolis. ERADICATOR Is there ever a moment's peace with you? In this form, you're monopolizing energy that was chiefly powering my cloaking field. SUPERMAN Shut it down. ERADICATOR What?! Brainiac will detect us. SUPERMAN Let him. I want him to know that I'm coming. The pair-as-one head east, hellbent. INT. SKULL SHIP L-Ron bangs at the keys of the main computer. Then, a flashing image and SHRILL BEEP come up on the view screen. L-RON Uh... my Liege, I think I cracked the code. BRAINIAC You have the technology's position? L-RON It's three hours west. And heading toward us at an alarming rate. INT. DAILY PLANET - CITY ROOM - NIGHT LexCorp security, now decked out more like soldiers, topple file cabinets, and rifle through desks. Perry shouts in Lex's face. PERRY Great Caesar's ghost, you're going to have the biggest lawsuit on your hands when I get through with you! Brainiac's emissary or not, you've got no right...! LEX I've got every right, White... (holds out writ) National security. Lois Lane and James Olsen are under suspicion of engaging in espionage and propaganda that threatens not just this country, but the world. He tosses the writ at Perry. PERRY This is a newspaper, for the love of God! We don't trade in propaganda! We print the news! LEX Then print this, old man: by order of the authority given Brainiac by the World Congress while this planet is under his protection, Lane and Olsen are hereby charged with sedition and insurrection! And unless you want to be charged with aiding and abetting known felons, I'd suggest you divulge their whereabouts! INT. CLARK KENT'S APARTMENT - NIGHT On the mantle, we see a picture frame containing a photo of Lois and Clark at a press junket. Lois picks it up, looking at it. Jimmy is behind her, his laptop set up on a table. He taps away at the keys. JIMMY I'm sending the picture of the holographic projector to every news service and paper on the net. They should have it in seconds. (off computer) Hey, look at this, Miss Lane. ON COMPUTER A news story accompanied by a murky image of the Eradicator suit leaving the burning building in L.A. Jimmy reads from the screen. JIMMY Some sort of hero saved a building full of people from a fire out in Coast City. When asked for an identity, he replied, 'I'm back.' (looks to Lois) You don't think...? LOIS No. And neither should you. JIMMY (beat) Kind of weird, us being here in Mr. Kent's apartment, Miss Lane. LOIS Best place to lay low until tonight. Nobody'd think to look for us here. Besides, I don't think Clark would mind. He won't be needing it anymore. JIMMY You can't think like that, Miss Lane. Clark may be fine. LOIS I wish I shared your sense of optimism. JIMMY (stops typing) That's something I've been meaning to ask you about. From the start of all this, you've never believed Lex or Brainiac -- especially the part about their connection to Superman. How do you know it's not the truth? LOIS (off photo) Gut feeling, kid. Journo's instinct. JIMMY I mean, we know the armada story is all bull, but what if what Brainiac said about Superman was true? Lois puts the picture frame down and pulls Clark's jacket from off a chair, holding it close to her body. LOIS C'mon, Jimmy. You're talking about Superman here. As Jimmy speaks, Lois inhales Clark's jacket deeply. She tears up a bit. JIMMY Yeah, but what did any of us really know about him? LOIS Not enough. As Jimmy speaks, Lois finds a pair of Clark's glasses. JIMMY Superman and Brainiac both came from the same planet, they both have these powers. All I'm saying is, what if they meant to conquer Earth together, you know? After all, the guy was an alien. LOIS (reels on him) Would you shut up, already?! Clark gave his life fighting that thing! He loved this planet! He cherished the people! And you sit here, throwing out this... crap... about how he might have been in league with a scumbag like Luthor! Jimmy looks down, cowed. Lois breaks down. LOIS I lost everything when I lost him! And now he's not here, and I never got to tell him how much I wanted to say 'yes' that night! Lois has worked herself into a crying frenzy. Jimmy looks on, stupefied. JIMMY I'm sorry, Miss Lane. I didn't mean anything by it. LOIS (sniffles) It's all right. It's just nerves. JIMMY (beat) You said 'Clark.' LOIS Huh? JIMMY You said, 'Clark gave his life fighting that thing.' Lois freezes, a little panic on her face. She looks at Jimmy. Jimmy looks at her, shocked by what he sees in her face. He knows. Then, he smiles kindly. JIMMY I'm sure you meant to say Superman. Lois looks at him, and nods slowly. LOIS Yes. Yes, I did, They look at one another and nod. The secret's safe. Jimmy hands Lois a remote and picks up a gym bag. JIMMY I've patched the camera in. This is all you need for broadcast. Just press this when you're ready. LOIS You've got twenty minutes. JIMMY It's business as usual, Miss Lane. You take care of the text... (slaps bag) ... and I'll take care of the visuals. INT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT Brainiac and L-Ron monitor the view screen. Lex enters, escorted by Misty. LEX We've had a slight problem. A reporter -- she may have accessed information about our 'armada'. BRAINIAC This charade no longer concerns me. L-RON (off view screen) It's about twenty minutes outside of the city, my liege -- and closing fast. Lex looks to Misty, curiously. INT. CLARK KENT'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Lois stands before a video camera, which is plugged into Jimmy's laptop. She points her remote at it. LOIS I'm ready for my close-up, Mister DeMille. She presses the button on the remote, and the camera's red light goes on. EXT. METROPOLIS SKYLINE - ON GIANT SCREEN TV On the giant screen atop WGBS, the visual of Lois phases in through STATIC. INT. SKULL SHIP - ON VIEW SCREEN - SAME TIME Lois pops up as well. EXT. APPLIANCE STORE WINDOW - SAME TIME All the TV's show Lois as well. People stop and listen as she speaks. LOIS (V.O.) (televised) People of Metropolis -- EXT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT Armed LexCorp soldiers patrol the front of the building. A flash of black swoops pass, leaving them gunless and perplexed. INT. SKULL SHIP Lex moves closer to the view screen, shocked. LOIS (V.O.) (televised) For weeks, we've watched the skies, dreading an invasion from aliens. But the real invasion took place when Superman died. He was not the minion of Brainiac. He died fighting the minion of Brainiac. EXT. METROPOLIS STREETS - NIGHT On a lightpost hangs a "MANIAC FOR BRAINIAC" sign, similar to the T-shirt. Another flash of black whooshes by, and the sign sprinkles to the ground, shredded. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT Jimmy sneaks behind a trio of smoking LexCorp soldiers and into the building. INT. CLARK KENT'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Lois addresses the camera. LOIS (beat) I do not carry any torch that Superman may still be alive. I watched him die, protecting our world one last time. But his spirit is still alive. EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING - NIGHT There are a pair of flags hanging outside the building -- one American, one Brainiac. A black gust of WIND TEARS through and only the American flag remains. INT. SKULL SHIP Lex is riveted on Lois, nervously. Brainiac regards the screen angrily. LOIS (V.O.) (televised) It's alive in those who always saw through Brainiac's lies. EXT. APPLIANCE STORE - NIGHT The small crowd gathered outside watching Lois have their coats and hair blown to the right, as a black GUST WHIPS past them. EXT. LEXCORP ROOFTOP - NIGHT Jimmy pops out of the rooftop door and rushes to the POWER SHED. He pulls a BOLT CUTTER from his bag and pops the lock. INT. GENERATOR SHED - NIGHT Along the wall, hang a series of POWER GRIDS, all matched by huge lever. Jimmy pulls a schematic from his bag, looking for the right switch. JIMMY Just keep talking, Miss Lane. EXT. METROPOLIS STREET - NIGHT A couple of kids on skateboards jump a curb. One of the pair wipes out, and is about to hit the asphalt when something catches him, puts him back on his feet, and is gone. The kid looks around to see nothing. INT. DAILY PLANET CITY ROOM - NIGHT Perry and the reporters watch the ceiling-hung TV. LOIS (V.O.) (televised) It's alive in all of you watching this -- to whom I say, the Armada is a hoax. And outside the window, something whips past the WINDOWS, RATTLING them. Perry rushes to the sill and pops his head out, looking around. INT. CLARK KENT'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Lois wraps it up for the camera. LOIS So I urge you -- the people of Metropolis -- go outside, look to the skies. For tonight we reveal the lie sold to you by Brainiac and Lex. Because if... (chokes up) ... if Superman... (gathers herself) ... if he were here, he would have done this for us. Since he's not, we do this... for him. (stands with a fist) For Superman! EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT Jimmy tries to figure out which lever will shut down the holographic projector from the schematic. He shrugs... JIMMY For Superman. ... and starts throwing every lever. EXT. CLARK KENT'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Lois emerges, looking to the LexCorp Building, where -- floor-by- floor, from the ground up -- the power's going off. She then looks up at the "Armada." EXT. METROPOLIS - NIGHT People emerge from their buildings, looking up. INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac, Lex, and Misty watch this on the view screen. L-Ron man the computer. An ALARM GOES OFF on the control panel. L-RON The LexCorp Building's power is being shut down. LEX Losing power...? Lex's eyes go wide. He barks into a walkie-talkie. LEX All LexCorp troops -- quell any uprising around the buildings. And get a team to the roof! Now! Use of force permitted! INT. GENERATOR ROOM - NIGHT Jimmy comes to the last switch. JIMMY Had to be the last one, didn't it? He throws it. EXT. LEXCORP ROOFTOP - NIGHT The holographic projector shuts down. EXT. SKY OVER METROPOLIS - NIGHT And the visual of the "Armada" shimmers momentarily, then DISAPPEARS FROM VIEW, for good. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT Lois joins the mass of people gathered, staring up at the sky. She lets out a victorious howl. EXT. LEXCORP ROOFTOP - NIGHT Jimmy steps out of the shed and looks up, smiling. He leaps into the air, echoing Lois's victory howl. Then the rooftop door explodes. LexCorp soldiers pile out, racing at Jimmy, rifles drawn. The soldiers train their sights on him and begin FIRING. Jimmy dodges bullets, chased to the edge of the roof. His footing slips, and he falls, plummeting to his death. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT Jimmy falls toward the crowds below, screaming. Until... Something swoops in and catches him, ten floors from the pavement. SUPERMAN You're nowhere near a pool to be diving like that, kid. Jimmy opens his eyes to see... Superman (clad in the Eradicator Suit). But with the cowl-like nature of the Suit's head-piece, Jimmy doesn't recognize him. JIMMY Holy shit! Who are you?!?! Superman swoops to the ground, setting Jimmy down in a back alley. SUPERMAN Where's Miss Lane? JIMMY On the streets somewhere. I'm supposed to meet her out front. SUPERMAN Find her and both of you get to safety. This city's oppressors are about to feel my wrath. He breaks into takeoff position. Jimmy rushes to him. JIMMY WAIT! Superman stops. Jimmy hands him the LexCorp disc. JIMMY This might come in handy. Superman nods, and inserts the disc into the suit. he takes to the skies again, leaving Jimmy staring up, confused. EXT. METROPOLIS - NIGHT People cheer at the Armada-less skies, but angry mobs start moving toward -- EXT. SKULL SHIP Crowds swarm the building and the LexCorp soldiers outside. The soldiers fight the crowds back, toward nearby Metropolis bridge. INT. SKULL SHIP Lex stares up at the rooftop skylights, seeing no "Armada." He shrugs to Misty. LEX There goes my bid for mayor. (to Brainiac) That feed only went as far as Metropolis -- there's still time to contain this! BRAINIAC You are the one facing public furor here, Luthor -- not I. (mimes gun to head) Pow, as you say. Lex glares at Brainiac and nods. LEX You've yet to learn the most important lesson of American history -- always have a patsy. I won't be taking the rap for this, my alien friend -- you will. Brainiac regards him curiously. Lex nods to Misty. LEX Shut him down. Misty presses a button on a remote control. EXT. SKULL SHIP POWER GRID - NIGHT A red light flashes on a panel. An ENGINEER nods. ENGINEER PULL THE PLUG! A team of engineers disengage the POWER CABLES that Brainiac used to 'feed' into the Earth's core. INT. SKULL SHIP Five LexCorp Soldiers enter as the Skull Ship power dims. Brainiac looks around, panicked. LEX (smiling) I've disengaged your power source. Learned a few things from the diagnostics scanner I'd loaded onto that rocket. Feeding off the planet's core to maintain your form -- no, no, no. Lunch hour's over. Brainiac goes into paroxysms, convulsing. Lex smiles victoriously as the alien weakens. Then, cables erupt from Brainiac's form, locking onto five Soldiers, and then Misty -- as Brainiac absorbs their energy (much as Brainiac had done in the first scene). Lex moves slightly toward his Valet, but then freezes, watching wide- eyed as the group -- now drained -- fall to the ground as burned husks. Fully energized, Brainiac stands erect, the cables retracting. BRAINIAC Enough with the appetizers. Onto the main course! Brainiac grabs Lex by the throat. Lex smiles. An alarm goes off on the control board. L-RON We're under attack. Violent crowds have gathered here and at LexCorp. LEX Ah, the fickle masses -- how quickly one can become the focus of ire of the vox populi. If they access the building, they'll tear you limb from limb. BRAINIAC Nonsense. I'll crush these fleshy nuisances as easily as I crush you. LEX Powered merely by the life-force of a girl and some per-hour grunts? Somehow I doubt it. However, if you holster your pistols, I'll hook you back up into the core. Then you can crush whomever you like... except your ol' partner. Agreed? L-RON (to Brainiac, quitely) We will need all the energy we can get for our confrontation with the Eradicator, sire. BRAINIAC (releases Lex) Agreed. LEX (into walkie-talkie) Plug him back in. BRAINIAC (to L-Ron) Disengage the ship. I'll teach the apes to fear their god! L-RON That doesn't make sense! The Eradicator is within minutes of the Citadel -- we should concentrate our efforts on that, not the Earthlings! BRAINIAC Do as I command! Exasperated, L-Ron mans the controls. BRAINIAC Our location matters little. The technology is coming to me, regardless. EXT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT The SKULL SHIP disengages from Metro Towers, taking off. EXT. SKY - POV SUPERMAN - NIGHT On a digital readout screen, we see the Skull Ship moving toward the distant bridge. Superman flies, with the aid of the Eradicator suit. SUPERMAN It's heading for the bridge. Now so are we. ERADICATOR (V.O.) I was afraid you'd say that. SUPERMAN Then you'll have to excuse me, because it's been some time since I've been able to say this... (hero voice) This looks like a job for... ERADICATOR (V.O.) May we just proceed, please? EXT. METROPOLIS BRIDGE The LexCorp troops have chased the angry mobs back onto the bridge. In the distance, the Skull Ship approaches from the sky. INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac turns to L-Ron. BRAINIAC Fire. EXT. METROPOLIS BRIDGE - NIGHT The Skull Ship BLASTS a LASER at the Bridge's suspension cables. The bridge begins to snap and crumble. ON BRIDGE The massive crowds, including LexCorp troops, rush to the side of the bridge, hanging on for dear life. The bridge begins to fall into Metropolis Bay... But look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! Superman, in the Eradicator suit, swoops in, grabbing the suspension cables. He pulls with all the suit's strength, trying to keep the bridge from falling. INT. SKULL SHIP Lex stares at the view screen, perplexed. L-Ron looks to Brainiac. BRAINIAC Did I not tell you it would come to me? L-RON I'm getting another reading from it -- a biologic. BRAINIAC Yes -- the Kryptonian. It would appear the Eradicator has succeeded in resuscitating him. LEX Wait a second... who?!? EXT. METROPOLIS BRIDGE - NIGHT Superman strains, holding the suspension cables. On the land-locked side of the bridge, Lois emerges from the crowd that stares up at the costumed spectacle. Transfixed, Lois shakes her head, bewildered. The crowd slides down the unstable bridge, holding on to anything they can. Superman continues to strain, as does the suit. SUPERMAN (to Eradicator) Amplify... my voice! The crowd runs toward the land-locked sides of the bridge. Superman's voice booms out at them, as if through a bullhorn. SUPERMAN PLEASE... CLEAR OFF THE BRIDGE... AS QUICKLY... AS POSSIBLE! The bridge cleared of people, Superman lets the cables go, and the entire structure COLLAPSES into Metropolis Harbor. Superman hangs in the air, surveying the crowds on the shore. SUPERMAN We did it! We saved them! ERADICATOR (V.O.) What's this 'we' nonsense? Then, a LASER BLAST shoots past them. Superman reacts. The mid-section of the Skull Ship jettisons, becoming an independent craft. Claws jutt out, grabbing the Man of Steel. INT. ATTACK CRAFT L-Ron man the controls. Through his windshield, we can see Superman struggling. L-RON I've got him! INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac watches the action on the view screen. L-Ron's voice is heard over the loud-speaker. L-RON (V.O.) Jeez, is he a slippery sonova... BRAINIAC Quickly -- inject the anti-technology. INT. ATTACK CRAFT L-Ron punches a button on his control board. EXT. METROPOLIS SKYLINE While Superman fights to free himself from the craft, a syringe- like arm shoots from the craft into the suit, sending a charge through it. The Eradicator shuts down. SUPERMAN E -- what's wrong?! INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac is delighted by what he watches. Lex is puzzled. L-RON The technology's offline, my liege. BRAINIAC Excellent. Bring it to the loading bay -- I shall withdraw the Kryptonian from the technology, personally. LEX Kryptonian?! Are you talking about Superman?! No, no, no -- Superman's dead! We killed Superman! EXT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT The Attack Craft carries Superman-in-the-suit to the rear of the Skull Ship. SUPERMAN Not again! Come on, man! Wake up! ERADICATOR (V.O.) Would you pipe down? SUPERMAN Why the hell didn't you say something?! ERADICATOR (V.O.) It's called playing possum, Kal-El. I'm not from Earth, and even I know that. Diverting power from X-Ray vision cells. Get ready. We hear a SURGE OF POWER charge through the suit, and Superman breaks free of the attack crafts grip. INT. ATTACK CRAFT Superman-in-the-suit peers through the windshield of the attack craft. L-Ron freaks. L-RON Uh... Houston? We have a problem. EXT. SKULL SHIP Superman grabs the attack craft and swings it into the Skull Ship, puncturing the hull. INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac and Lex duck as the attack craft rips into the ship, spilling L-Ron out at their feet. The ship grows dim, and a massive power loss is heard. EXT. NIGHT SKY The lights on the ship grow weak. INT. SKULL SHIP Lex is in a panic. Brainiac and L-Ron tumble toward the control board. BRAINIAC Lock onto that suit! L-RON I can't! We've had a massive surge! All systems are offline! EXT. NIGHT SKY Superman watches the Skull Ship falter. Then, something catches his eye. Superman freezes. Near the bridge below, Lois stares up at him, wide-eyed. After a long beat, Superman-in-the-Eradicator suit moves slightly toward her. INT. SKULL SHIP The lights come back up, full. L-RON Power back online, Lord Brainiac. Suit in sight. BRAINIAC Fire! EXT. METROPOLIS SKY - NIGHT From the Skull Ship, a LASER BLASTS, striking the Superman combo. The pair go rocketing through the sky. Below, Lois panicks as the mystery hero is blasted out of the sky. Jimmy rushes up to her. JIMMY Miss Lane! I think... I think I saw... Then Lois turns and dashes away. JIMMY Miss Lane! Wait! Where are you going?! LOIS (running off) I've gotta find something out -- once and for all! INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac searches the view screen, fiercely. BRAINIAC Do not fail me, L-Ron! Where is the Eradicator?! L-RON The short has damaged our detection systems! I can't get a reading... Suddenly, an ALARM SOUNDS. On the view screen, the graphic of the tomb comes up. L-RON The tomb's been breached! It must be them! BRAINIAC Go!! EXT. SUPERMAN'S TOMB - NIGHT The tomb has indeed been breached. Two LexCorp soldiers lie on the ground, knocked out cold. The doors are swung open. The beam of a flashlight can be seen inside. INT. SUPERMAN'S TOMB Lois holds the flashlight in her teeth. She uses a crowbar, slamming at the casket lock. It gives, and she stares at the casket for a beat. She places her hands on it. LOIS I don't want to do it, Clark. If you're still in here, I don't think I'll be able to take it. (steels herself) But I have to know... Suddenly, blinding light fills the small room. Lois drops the flashlight and covers her eyes. She peers out from behind her fingers to see... L-Ron standing in the doorway, backed up by LexCorp soldiers. L-RON Peek-a-boo. EXT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT The Skull Ship lands atop Metro Towers and again seals itself onto the building. INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac fumes at L-Ron on the bridge. BRAINIAC What do you mean you can't locate it?!? L-RON I can't get a reading on the technology anywhere. BRAINIAC Then who was in the tomb?! The soldiers march Lois onto the bridge. Lex rushes her, grabbing her by the collar. LEX Alright, Lane -- what the hell is going on...?! Brainiac pushes Lex to the side and faces Lois. BRAINIAC You are the woman from the televised call to arms. L-RON This is the woman that held Superman's affections. BRAINIAC The Kryptonian? L-RON That's what the soldiers told me. They said whenever she was in trouble, he'd be there to save her. In turn, she gave him plenty of ink in the Daily Planet. BRAINIAC Is this true? (touches her hair) You harbor affection for the corpse they called... Superman? (beat) I killed him, you know... Lois lurches forward at Brainiac, but is held back by the soldiers. Brainiac is delighted, and then shocked. L-RON I'd take that as a 'yes.' BRAINIAC His weakness all along -- all I ever would have needed was this woman! Blocking out the sun, dealing with the insufferable Lex Luthor of Earth... a waste of Brainiac's time! I could have offered the woman's life in exchange for the technology. But now... LEX What the hell are you talking about?!? Superman's dead!! L-RON Good God -- when are you going to get it, ape-man? Superman lives. LOIS If that's true, Lex, I can promise you one thing -- he's going to kick your bald ass! Lex rushes her, but Brainiac throws his back, motioning for the soldiers to hold him. BRAINIAC Enough of these games! (grabs Lois's face) You will be the bait that draws the Kryptonian to me. And with him comes, too, the technology I seek. (to L-Ron) We still have a Thanagarian Snare Beast in the menagerie -- yes? (as L-Ron nods) Introduce him to the atmosphere here on Earth. EXT. METROPOLIS STREET - NIGHT The place is abandoned. There's not a soul in sight. Then, the Eradicator suit crashes down, cracking the ground. The suit opens and Superman falls out on his hands and knees. The suit morphs back into the Eradicator. Superman is breathing heavy, sweating , exhausted. SUPERMAN You didn't see that blast coming?! ERADICATOR I had to divert all the power from my shields so you could play hero! And now there's a circuit malfunction from the effects of that anti-technology surge. I'm going to need time to repair internally. SUPERMAN How long's that going to take?! We have to get back out there and finish Brainiac! ERADICATOR Barring battles with killer spacecraft or the lifting of multi-tonned bridges -- twenty minutes. SUPERMAN (sighs, calms down) I hate to say it, but I could use some time to heal myself. (rubbing muscles) This is the first time in... well, ever... that I feel completely exhausted. Except for that whole death thing. ERADICATOR You've touched on the precise factor that plagues me, Kal-El. Your life on Earth thus far has been spent as we have spent today -- saving lives, battling aggressors. Yet I would imagine that after your mortal trial, you would have reevaluated your role amongst the people of Earth. SUPERMAN I have, actually. Before I died, I have always felt like a... how do I say this... a stranger in a strangle land. I may look like them -- but I'm still... an alien. That always put distance between me and everyone else. But now I know I'm more like them than I ever thought. ERADICATOR In what fashion? SUPERMAN Before, I couldn't identify with their frailty -- now I honestly can. I've tasted mortality -- it's humanizing. ERADICATOR Your father would be proud. Superman regards this with interest. ERADICATOR You could have been a god on this world -- enslaved it like Brainiac. But you never chose that path. Instead, here you sit -- musing over the possibility of death, between moments of saving this planet from its oppressor. SUPERMAN It's an antiquated notion -- but it really is better to serve than be served. ERADICATOR This is what marks the difference between your kind and mine -- we serve because we have to. You serve because you choose to. SUPERMAN The how do you explain Brainiac? He's one of your kind, but he's serving no one. ERADICATOR Inaccurate, Kal-El. He's serving himself. He has taken an aspect of humanity, but it's the worst one. And when a machine begins to feel -- positive or negative -- then it ceases to be a machine, and for the good of all, it must be shut down. As you must shut down Brainiac. SUPERMAN Tough talk from a guy who only yesterday thought we should find another planet. ERADICATOR I can only point to the bad influence you have become. Suddenly, light down on the pair. Superman looks up, shielding his eyes. EXT. METROPOLIS SKY - NIGHT Shimmering against the sky is the holographic image of Brainiac's face. BRAINIAC People of Metroppolis. You need no longer fear takeover by hostile aliens. The hostile alien is here. I claim your planet as my own. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT Metropolitans cease celebrating and stare up at the image of Brainiac. BRAINIAC Gone is the charade of the benevolent Brainiac. I have come to enslave your race! Your world has no champion to save you now! And to mark this historic night, I offer you a display of the price to be paid for rebellion. INT. SKULL SHIP Brainiac pulls Lois to him. BRAINIAC Tonight, Lois Lane -- the instigator of the anti-Brainiac call-to-arms -- will taste the might of my fury, as she is executed, for all to witness! (to Soldiers) TO THE MENAGERIE! EXT. METROPOLIS STREET - NIGHT Brainiac cackles against the night sky as he slowly fades. Superman turns on the Eradicator, rising. SUPERMAN How are those circuits coming? ERADICATOR Not again. SUPERMAN Open up. The Eradicator rolls his eyes, and reconfigures into the suit. Superman leaps in, and it seals around him. SUPERMAN This may be the only chance I get to say this, but... thank you. For everything. (beat) Up, up, and away... Off they rocket, into the night. EXT. METROPOLIS SKYLINE - NIGHT The sky lights up anew, with the image of the Skull Ship Menagerie. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - NIGHT Jimmy and Perry watch wide-eyed as the imaghe in the sky depicts Lois being dragged toward two huge doors. PERRY They're going to kill her! Somebody's gotta do something! Jimmy looks up, smiles, and pats Perry on the back. JIMMY Somebody is, Chief. Somebody is. EXT. METROPOLIS SKY - NIGHT The holograph is "shattered" by Superman in the Eradicator suit, soaring toward the Skull Ship Citadel. INT. MENAGERIE Two huge doors open revealing a darkened pit. The captive Lois is ushered toward it by Brainiac, L-Ron, Lex, and the soldiers. LEX (to Lois) Oooh -- I don't even wanna know what's lurking in there. Should've kept your nose for news out of business that wasn't yours. It's a lesson you're going to learn as harshly as your ex-boyfriend. Lois looks at Lex, wounded. LEX That's right -- you're not going to put this in any paper. Yeah -- I helped kill the Man of Steel! So what?! Lois shakes her head, teary-eyed. LOIS You bastard. She knees Lex in the groin. He doubles over, as Brainiac rounds him to face her. BRAINIAC Save your energy, Miss Lane -- that maneuver will not have the same result on me. Do you have any last words for the viewers of the world? Lois looks up sharply, as if she hears something. So does Lex. Brainiac notices this and looks up as well. EXT. SKULL SHIP - SUPERMAN'S POV - NIGHT The roof of the Citadel is RUSHING TOWARD us. The SOUND is HUGE. INT. MENAGERIE There is the faintest sound of WHOOSHING -- as if something is moving through the air outside, very, very fast. Lex looks up with a mix of anxiety and confusion. LEX I know that sound... EXT. SKULL SHIP - SUPERMAN'S POV - NIGHT We're getting even CLOSER TO that roof, now. The SOUND is DEAFENING. INT. MENAGERIE Then, through her tears, Lois smiles. Brainiac is puzzled as her smile turns to laughter. LOIS Last words?!? (to Brainiac) You're dead meat, you f...! EXT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT Superman in the Eradicator suit EXPLODES through the ROOF on the Citadel... INT. SKULL SHIP - NIGHT ... then through the ceiling of the bridge, and through the floor... INT. MENAGERIE - NIGHT ... and finally, through the ceiling over the assembled group's heads. LOIS (under her breath) Baby...! LEX (under his breath) Shit! BRAINIAC (under his breath) Finally! And when the dust cloud settles, there stands the indiscernible Superman in the Eradicator suit. SUPERMAN Border patrol. I hear we've got an illegal alien here. Brainiac holds his hand up, which reconfigures into something pointy and deadly. He holds it to Lois's head. BRAINIAC Step out of my technology, Kryptonian. Or I get painfully intimate with the woman. Superman makes an offensive move, but is interrupted. ERADICATOR (V.O.) No, Kal-El! Lex, Lois and L-Ron look around for the source of the voice. Brainiac smiles. SUPERMAN I can take him! ERADICATOR (V.O.) You can't. He's rendered himself electro- radioactive. If we touch him, the power surge will kill you... even within me. The Eradicator opens, and Superman steps out. Lois tearfully smiles. Lex goes wide-eyed. Superman looks at Lois. She moves slightly toward him, but Brainiac pulls her back. Then, the suit morphs into the Eradicator again, as all look on in wonder. BRAINIAC It's been some time, Eradicator, but here we are again -- the pride of Jor-El and the pride of Colu. ERADICATOR The killer of Krypton is more appropriate. BRAINIAC I have waited decades and searched galaxies -- all in pursuit of this moment. And now, you're mine. ERADICATOR It is your aim to absorb my technology and become all-powerful, I would imagine. BRAINIAC And they call me Brainiac. He moves toward the Eradicator. ERADICATOR (steps back) But aren't you worried? BRAINIAC What could possibly worry me? ERADICATOR When I attempted interface with your ShadowCaster device I was contaminated. Temporarily shut down. What if the same thing happens when you attempt to absorb my technology into yours? What if your technology is too advanced to interface with mine? Brainiac throws his head back, laughing. Superman looks to the Eradicator, who offers him a reassuring wink. BRAINIAC You think it's advanced? The irony is how primitive it is compared to your own! You have no-doubt overthought on the ShadowCaster, when in reality, you should have approached it as a child's toy! ERADICATOR A child's toy? BRAINIAC Certainly! It's Earth hardware, crossed with my own Coluan technology -- its systems are so far beneath your own capabilities that a simple binary synapse would've bypassed any contamination factor. ERADICATOR (smiles) And they call you Brainiac. The Eradicator quickly morphs back into the suit, grabbing Superman and hurling the Man of Steel into himself. BRAINIAC For this insolence, I will erase your memory banks, machine! ERADICATOR (V.O.) I'm not a machine. You are. The suit leaps into the air, rocketing out of the Citadel. Lex looks around fearfully, and sneaks out a side exit. LEX (into cell phone) I want the jet fueled and standing by... now! The pajama-boy is back! As Lex disappears unnoticed, Brainiac grabs Lois and shouts up at the ceiling. BRAINIAC Hear me, son of Jor-El -- your guardian may have saved your life, but he just damned two more to hell!!! Brainiac takes Lois to the two large doors that end the Menagerie. As the doors open, Brainiac throws Lois into a dark pit. She SCREAMS as she falls. EXT. SPACE Superman in the Eradicator races through the outer atmosphere, heading toward the distant ShadowCaster. SUPERMAN What the hell are you doing?!? Why are we running?!? ERADICATOR (V.O.) Kal-El -- I think I've had what's called an 'epiphany'. SUPERMAN Really? That's excellent to hear. But we're getting FARTHER AWAY FROM RESCUING THE WOMAN I LOVE!!! ERADICATOR (V.O) Your passion is inspiring -- it has taught me something I'd thought far beyond my ability to comprehend. I must thank you, Kal-El -- you've imparted to me the wisdom of a life lived in service to others. SUPERMAN What are you talking about? ERADICATOR (V.O.) Were it not for your insight, I'd be no better than the machine that oppresses your world -- operating solely on the cold logic of what it's programmed to do. But now, I'm choosing to serve. Now -- I understand your commitment to this planet and its inhabitants... and I'm going to help you honor it. SUPERMAN You picked a hell of a time to tell me how you feel... (suddenly gets it) How you feel... No! ERADICATOR (V.O.) When a machine begins to feel -- positive or negative -- then it ceases to be a machine. It must be shut down... or shut down itself. The Eradicator grabs a piece of itslef and pulls it off, which morphs into a silver version of the familiar 'S'. ERADICATOR Take a deep breath, and remember to stay in the light. Before he can react, the Eradicator separates from Superman. He slaps the 'S' on his black suit, and lets him go, sending him hurtling earthward. ERADICATOR Superman lives. The Eradicator then rockets out of sight, as Superman free-falls through space. EXT. SHADOWCASTER The Eradicator reaches the mammoth device and links into it. The anti-technology sends shockwaves coursing through his body. He fights against shutdown. INT. SHADOWCASTER CIRCUITS BLOW UP. TRANSISTORS EXPLODE. EXT. SHADOWCASTER It begins losing power. Sections of panel begin shutting down. Sunlight begins pouring through in shafts. The Eradicator begins to shift in shape, the anti-technology coursing through his body. His form finally comes to rest on the figure we've come to know him as most. His face forms a peaceful, joyous smile. Then, HE EXPLODES. EXT. SPACE Superman is plummeting to Earth. VISIONS SMASH CUT through his head, like all of the life we've seen him lead: Lois at Mount Rushmore, Lex on the rooftop of LexCorp, the Doomsday battle, waking from the goo... And still, he falls, coming closer to the planet. The VISIONS CONTINUE; the Eradicator forming into a suit, catching Jimmy, the strangling tentacles of the Skull Ship, the Eradicator in the train station, and finally, Lois staring up at him from the bridge. The Eradicator's voice echoes through his head. ERADICATOR ... stay in the light. Miles above Earth, Superman fires through our atmosphere, nearing the ground faster by the second. Then, one of the stray sunbeams from the shattered ShadowCaster hits him full force. The ground races up to meet the Man of Steel, as he absorbs a concentrated beam of solar energy. His face tightens. SUPERMAN Yaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!! EXT. METROPOLIS - NIGHT Mere yards from the ground, Superman stops falling in mid-air and rights himself swooping upwards. While flying, he stretches his muscles like he's just woken up after a loooooonnng sleep. He zips past the huge billboard just outside of the city that depicts him in his old suit, flying over greeting "WELCOME TO METROPOLIS -- HOME OF SUPERMAN." A knowing smile crawls across the Man of Steel's face. His powers returned, Superman lives! INT. SKULL SHIP At the control board, L-Ron turns to Brainiac in a panic. L-RON The ShadowCaster is destabilized! Sunlight is getting through! And something is moving toward us at an alarming rate... A SONIC BOOM ECHOES through the Skull Ship. L-RON Something pissed. BRAINIAC Let the whelp come. Brainiac takes a seat on his throne. He closes his eyes, as the helm lowers over his head. BRAINIAC I will deal with him... impersonally. Brainiac shuts his eyes, as the HELM begins to WHIR. INT. PIT Lois squirms about in a mire of fiberglass-looking "webbing." From the darkness above, an echoey growl is heard. EXT. METROPOLIS PARK The cape still hangs off the statue's extended hand., Then, a black flash whips in and out of the frame, and the cape is no longer there. INT. MENAGERIE Superman bursts through the ceiling again - now wearing his cape - and through the many levels of the ships, still contained in the single beam of light. INT. PIT He rockets through the ceiling of the pit, allowing the singular shaft of light to follow. Suddenly, he's struck by a high-powered stream of murky liquid from above, which knocks him out of the light, and entraps him in the "webbing," beside the struggling Lois. LOIS Baby! SUPERMAN Hey, kid. How about we get out of here? Something huge and quick, drops from the shadows beyond the shaft of sunlight, striking Superman. The THANAGARIAN SNARE BEAST has grown. It resembles something of a cross between a squid and a spider, but very bio-mechanical and sleek. And now -- inhabited by Brainiac's consciousness -- it's extra lethal as well. Brainiac's voice is heard, hissing from somewhere within the creature. BRAINIAC SSSSSSSSSSSSUUUUUPERRRRRMAAAAAANNN! It batters the Man of Steel, then moves quickly back into the darkness. Superman's a bit dazed. LOIS Are you alright?! SUPERMAN I'm... I'm okay... (squints up) I just wish I could see what I'm fighting. Then, the beast drops on Superman anew, its massive legs tearing at him. Superman struggles free, bolting toward the shaft of light to strengthen his powers, but the creature grabs hold of him, pulling the Man of Steel back into the darkness. Suddenly, the creature's underbelly opens, setting loose six smaller, metallic versions of itself. Superman breaks free of the beast and begins fighting the creatures off, smashing them together, crushing them in his grip. We hear LOIS'S SHRIEK. Superman reacts. The micro-beasts crawl all over Lois. Superman uses his heat vision to blast the CREATURES, which EXPLODE, hissing. Using his powers leaves Superman a little dazed. But the TSB is on him again -- its mid-section spreading to reveal a primeval head. The BEAST brings Superman to its jaws while letting loose an ungodly SCREECH. The pair violently tussle, the beast's head and legs rising and striking, Superman blocking and attacking. A leg shoots from the darkness and catches Superman by the throat, pinning him against the web. The beast's jaws come in close to Superman's face, preparing to gorge. We see the strain on Superman's face, the veins in his neck and head throbbing. Then we see why -- Superman uses all of his strength to stretch his fist into the just-out-of-reach shaft of light. He makes it, charging himself. The jaws of the creature almost on his head, Superman comes across with a right hook that knocks the creature into the air. Superman crawls into the sunlight, takes in as much as he can, and leaps up at the beast, grabbing hold of the wildly flailing creature. He flies it up and... INT. MENAGERIE ... out into the full beam of sunlight. SUPERMAN You wanna hide in a bug... I'll crush you like one! Superman begins mangling the beast. Hooked into his helm, Brainiac convulses, feeling the pain of the beating. Superman grabs the head of the creature and pulls it off, ferociously. The MACHINE he's hooked up to EXPLODES from the feedback, and Brainiac flees back into his own body, throwing the helm off. He weakly tries to crawl away from the wreckage. Breathing heavily, Superman grabs a hold of him, lifting Brainiac above his head. SUPERMAN You destroyed my homeworld! You killed me! And you forced my friend to give his life! BRAINIAC You... do not... take... lives... Th... that... is the... code... you... live by... Like... the Eradicator... I live... SUPERMAN No -- he was one of the most human beings I've ever known. You -- you're just a machine. Superman punches his fist through Brainiac's chest and out his back. Brainiac convulses, and 'dies'. Superman drops his mangled form to the floor, where it reverts back to its most primitive form -- some metal and circuitry. INT. PIT Superman flies to Lois' side. SUPERMAN Do I look tired? Because I feel tired. LOIS You look a little worn, yes. but right now, I have a million questions about what happened to you. Superman pulls Lois from the web, and scoops her up into his arms. SUPERMAN Well maybe I can help shed some light on the subject. Superman streaks up one of the shafts of light, Lois in his arms. EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING ROOF - NIGHT Superman sets Lois down on the roof of the building. SUPERMAN Give me a sec, okay? Lois nods. Superman leaps into the air, and is gone, leaving a SONIC BOOM in his wake. EXT. SPACE Superman reaches the partially-functioning, sparking ShadowCaster. He begins pushing the SHADOWCASTER, getting up some speed, until he lets it go. It whips through space, until it hits the surface of the sun and EXPLODES. The device destroyed, sunlight pours through space and... EXT. EARTH ... over the planet. EXT. METROPOLIS - DAY Sunlight is everywhere, filling the streets. EXT. LEXCORP BUILDING - DAY Lex emerges from his building, carrying two suitcases -- both packed to the brim. He rushes toward his limo, looking up at the new dawn. LEX Aruba -- Aruba's always excellent this time of year. I'll have all documentation involving Brainiac destroyed, while I down daiquiri's in the dunes, offering a steady stream of I-don't-remember's! Hell -- it worked for Reagan! As Lex reaches for the limo door, Superman lands in front of him. Lex shrieks. SUPERMAN 'morning Luthor. Going somewhere? LEX Superman! Thank God! That alien cloned me like a sheep, and used my double to make it seem like we were in league! SUPERMAN You get points for originality. Superman lifts Lex into the air. EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING - DAY On the ground, Superman lowers Lex into the midst of the POLICE. LEX Alright -- that's it! I want this vigilante arrested, now! POLICE #1 On what charge? LEX Endangering a public figure, harassment, whatever! SUPERMAN I have a charge of my own, Officers -- against Mister Luthor. A charge of espionage against the world government. Luthor utilized Brainiac for his own selfish gain, and had further designs on governmental extortion. LEX Unsubstantiated, gentlemen. Like you fine people, I was duped by that lying alien! While I do have suspicions that Superman himself was working in conjunction with Brainiac, I can assure you that there is zero proof that I was ever anything but an unwilling participant in... Superman tosses the police the download disc from Jimmy. He disappears momentarily, and returns in a flash with a laptop, which he hands over to the police. They pop the disc in and look from the computer screen to Lex. Lex glares at Superman. SUPERMAN (as Lex) "I just wanted to let you know who beat you, boy!" Superman chuckles and takes off into the air. The Police stare down Lex, angrily. Lex recoils. EXT. METROPOLIS - DAY Jimmy looks up and sees... Superman -- winging his way toward the Daily Planet. Jimmy nods, smiling. JIMMY I wonder if Mister Kent will be back to work Monday? EXT. DAILY PLANET BUILDING - DAY Clark Kent walks out onto the roof, where Lois has her arms outstretched, soaking up the sun. He offers her a tube of sunscreen. CLARK You might want to apply some sunblock. You look like S.P.F. 14. LOIS Pithy... to the last. Lois spins into his arms, embracing him tightly. Clark hugs her right back. CLARK Pithy -- who uses that word anymore? LOIS Oh God, I thought you were really gone. CLARK So did I. (beat) But I learned a few things -- I know what keeps me here, what keeps me doing what I do, what kept me from accepting the grave. It's you, Lois. Superman may look out for everyone, but he doesn't belong to the world -- he belongs to you. Lois wells up. CLARK And you belong to me. LOIS I love you, Clark. Never leave me again. CLARK I won't, babe. I won't. (embraces her) From now on, I'm going to try to be more man than Super. LOIS (looks at him) Oh, Clark -- are you still dwelling on Mount Rushmore? Forget what I said -- that was before the maniacal robots from outer-space killed you. CLARK Wait, wait, wait -- you're going to let something small like that alter your opinion? You? Lois Lane? Hard-bitten journalist for the Daily Planet? LOIS See, that's one thing you have to learn, Smallville -- a woman's allowed to change her mind at any given moment... especially after a bad week. (smiles) Now kiss me, dead man -- before I change my mind. CLARK Must you always have the last word? Lois is about to respond, but Clark kisses her instead. And everything goes back to normal in Metropolis. INT. SKULL SHIP The metal Brainiac symbol is picked up off the floor by a small, metal hand. L-Ron deposits the remnant into his circuitry, and looks at the camera. L-RON I know, I know. But I'm a glutton for punishment. He whisks off, and out through the hole in the roof.