The room was lit in a pale blue glow as the motion sensors activated. Helen Bryce paused at the top of the steps, the closed door at her back, and swept her gaze over the room. Helen had her own obsessions: biomedical research, David Duchovny, and Hagen Daaz coffee ice cream. But they paled in comparison to Lex’s Luthor’s obsessions. LCD large-screen monitors displayed computerized images like technological artwork and a wrecked Porsche was the centerpiece sculpture. Flat screen projected pictures and scanned documents were a focal point of the display, and Clark Kent’s photographic eyes watched her as she walked down the steps, fully entering the room.
It was mid-morning, and Helen’s shift at the hospital didn’t start until three o’clock. Dressed comfortably in cargo pants and a X-Files t-shirt, she pocketed the key Lex had shown her where to find and leaned closer to one of the LCD screens. The computerized octagonal disk revolved before her eyes, the symbols etched in its surface glowing briefly before the program replayed. The symbols, she noted, matched those on what looked to be an archeological pictograph in another display. They also looked similar to the ones on a scanned genealogy map, which bore the name Clark Jerome Kent at the top. And she knew why.
Martha Kent was a remarkable woman, and Helen now understood Jonathan Kent’s overprotective gruff persona when it came to his family. The secret the Kents had kept for nearly fourteen years was phenomenal.
Their adopted son was not human.
Helen was fascinated by the revelation, her researcher’s brain itching to put Clark’s blood under the microscope again. Clark outwardly looked no different than humans, which was amazing. The probability of extraterrestrial life developing human characteristics had been a debate among scientists since the first labcoat had looked into the night sky and wondered if there was anyone else out there. And she knew the walking, talking, emotion-feeling answer to the question.
It was also the answer Lex was searching for in this room.
Helen rounded the wrecked Porsche, glancing at the active computer imaging LCD display of the car hitting a person as she passed. The truth depicted was awe-inspiring and worrying. Everything in the room was awe-inspiring and worrying, and she had to find out how close Lex was to connecting the dots.
Clark was the discovery of the century and Martha’s alien ship-induced pregnancy was a close second. Helen wanted the opportunity to study them before Lex figured it out and took action. She knew Lex wouldn’t want to share, but if she had enough information she could publish her own findings, and receive credit and worldwide prestige.
The desk was a steel monstrosity covered with neat piles of colored file folders, maps, books, diagrams, blueprints, and printouts. The screen saver on the laptop was a moving starscape and access was password protected. Notes scribbled in Lex’s left-handed scrawl were written in the margins of documents, diagrams, and on the inside covers of the file folders.
Helen began reading the notations, as they were Lex’s personal thoughts and would reveal more than the documents themselves. Most of them were questions or personal observations from the events documented. Some of them were definitely not. Helen sank onto the desk chair, eyes widening behind her glasses at what she read.
Lex and Clark sitting in a tree
First comes love
Then comes sex
Then comes Lex in an orange jumpsuit, locked behind bars for ten to twenty, because Clark is fifteen years old, you pervert.
The words were scrawled beside a medical report diagram of Clark, dated more than a year ago. How Lex got a copy of supposedly confidential hospital records was something she’d have to look into. At the moment, however, she was simply stunned by the paraphrased children’s rhyme. She hadn’t the faintest idea that Lex was interested in Clark sexually.
She glanced around the blue-lit room, a creepy chill sliding down her spine. Lex’s obsession just took on a whole new meaning. Clark had recently turned seventeen, so molestation wasn’t an issue, but still.
Helen pulled another colored file from near the bottom of the pile of folders. The tab indicated that it held information on the Porsche crash. She flipped through it quickly, scanning the side notes until one leapt out at her.
"An angel is someone you feel like you’ve known forever, even though you’ve just met.”
Are you an angel, Clark Kent?
The file was dated the earliest of all the folders on the desk. Helen knew she’d found the spark that started Lex’s obsession. Lex was a scientist, like her. The unexplained was what fueled their insatiable curiosity, the need to find logical, provable answers the driving force. As a doctor, she’d seen ‘miracles’ that made her crazy to this day, for want of a rational explanation. Martha was one of those miraculous recoveries, but now Helen knew the astounding, but provable reason why.
Helen chose a new file at random. It was dated last May and contained information about someone named Nixon. There were many “Nixon is a dickhead” comments, which made her lips twitch, but the last handwritten line on the last page made her pause.
I killed this man today. He was about to impale Jonathan Kent and I shot him in the back.
Why does Mr. Kent’s reluctant, dangling thanks bother me more than killing Nixon?
Helen closed the folder and set it aside. The incident had been reported in the papers, subtly deriding Lex for shooting someone in self-defense of another. No charges had been filed against Lex and the story was swept under the rug, until Lionel Luthor was shot here in the castle. The rumor and innuendo was strife with hinted accusation that Lex was the trigger-puller, since he’d killed before. Helen recalled Lex had said absolutely nothing about his father’s shooting one way or another until Clark accused him, and only then did he call to say, “I can’t believe Clark thinks I did it,” in a hurt voice before telling her he’d be out of touch for a while.
Helen shook her head sadly and reached for another file. A photograph fell out of the blue folder, labeled “Winter Carnival” and dated this past December. It landed face up on the desk in front of her. It was a snapshot of Lex and Clark. They were outdoors, Lex’s nose and cheeks a rosy red, his bare skull hidden under a black watchcap. He was smiling for the camera, a real smile, not the plastic ones he wore most of the time. Clark stood beside him, eyes crossed, tongue sticking out, and holding up rabbit ears behind Lex’s head. Helen had a strong suspicion that no one had rabbit-earned Lex in his life, before Clark.
She turned the photograph over and blinked at the caption.
God, I love this boy.
Shocked, Helen stared at the word “love.” It couldn’t mean what she thought. It had to be a brotherly type of love. Of course, coupled with the sexually implicit rhyme from before put an incestuous twist on it…
Helen stuffed the photograph into the folder and renewed her examinations in earnest. The word “love” stood out now, boldly and tauntingly, in practically every file.
He loves Lana Lang, not you, fool.
How did this happen? One minute we’re friends, the next I want to make love to him, with all the sappy stuff implied.
He’s too young. You’re too old. And love only exists in fairy tales.
Clark is seriously ill, like Mrs. Kent, and I feel like my mother is dying all over again.
‘The ones we love best hurt us the worst.’
I think I’m falling in love with him and I don’t know what to do.
The last was written in the folder concerning Level Three. Files dated prior to the incident revealed a fascination with Clark, from both Clark’s wanting to be friends with Lex and the possibility he was an angel or meteorite mutant, but this was the earliest reference to love Helen had found. Confusion and a hint of fear were evident in the blunt admission. Disgust warred with sympathy in Helen’s mind. Clark was fifteen to Lex’s twenty-one at the time of the entry, but it was obvious Lex wasn’t a pedophile. He didn’t derive sexual pleasure from children; he fell in love with his friend.
The room took on a third facet, and while it was still creepy and stalker-like, it was also very sad. Lex was in love with a boy he could never have and this was his way of being close to Clark. It was disturbing and dysfunctional, but it wasn’t harmful.
Helen straightened the file folders she’d looked at with the rest of the pile. Her name caught her eye, and she felt no surprise as she pulled the folder. She already knew Lex had investigated her and was curious as to what he’d found.
Her brows drew together in a frown at the contents of the folder. Birth certificate, school grade reports and transcripts, performance reviews, medical records; things that were supposedly confidential, just like Clark’s hospital records had been. There were a few photographs of past boyfriends and regular friends, with short backgrounds on each of them. There was a typed list of personal things, from her favorite ice cream and television show to her shoe size and most comfortable pair. Lex’s notes were of personality quirks, her positive and negative attributes, and what he thought of her.
Very few women stand up to me and those that do still have an agenda. I don’t know what Helen’s angle is yet, but I know I like her. She’s ballsy, good in bed, would make a decent political wife, and can get along fine without me. I’ve given up on passion and love is my folly, but Helen would make a decent partner and compliment my life.
Helen wasn’t sure how she felt about his honesty. It wasn’t as if she expected him to confess undying love for her, especially in light of what she’d learned today about Clark. She liked Lex, in fact, for many of the same reasons he’d listed and a few of her own. Plus, she knew Lex wouldn’t have shown her where the key was kept if he didn’t anticipate her reading the files.
She wasn’t in here, however, to discover what Lex thought of her. She was looking for any conclusions Lex had drawn about Clark’s heritage and estimate how much time she had to study the Kents herself.
The evidence she located eventually was mixed with information on the cave paintings. Lex alluded to Clark being connected to the pictographs and to the octagonal disk, and that both were of unearthly origins. The words scribbled on a newspaper clipping, about a symbol burned on the Kent barn, was the most telling.
Edgar Rice Burrows was wrong. The only thing green are his eyes.
So Lex knew, but he hadn’t done anything about it, other than continue his collecting evidence. Helen straightened the desk. Lex’s obsession with Clark as an individual possibly outweighed the fame of an extraterrestrial find. It would work to Helen’s advantage to encourage Lex’s unrequited love of the boy, stoking that part of his obsession.
She smiled slowly. Yes, that’s what she would do. She’d drop hints that any kind of relationship between Lex and Clark was fine with her, and she didn’t mind being a cover girlfriend. She’d invite Clark over for dinner and afterwards conveniently make herself scarce, leaving them alone. She could subtly nudge Clark to spend more time with Lex, too, when she saw him or through Martha. And while Lex played footsie with Clark, Helen could study the extraterrestrial biological entity and get her name in the annals of scientific history. John Hopkins had nothing on this opportunity.
Happy with her plan, Helen found a pen, grabbed the file on herself, and wrote on the inside back cover.
“Love is as much of an object as an obsession, everybody wants it, everybody seeks it, but few ever achieve it, those who do will cherish it, be lost in it, and among all, never, never forget it.”
The origins of Martians as little green men probably came from Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs' book A Princess On Mars (1917). He refers to the "green men of Mars" in this first book of his Martian Tales series of 11 novels. The Oxford English Dictionary says Rudyard Kipling is responsible for the term "little green men", having used it in Puck Of Pook Hill (1906), though the green men Kipling referred to were human men tattooed green, and not sadistic killers hellbent on invading Earth.
Helen’s quote by Curtis Judalet
Lex’s angel quote is by anonymous