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Superman 2099 #1

Writer: Joshua Payne Monaco-Tibbets
Additional Writer: Lierson Morais
AEIC: Ryan May
EIC: Lierson Morais

Chapter 1: "Ambush"

Hello, my name is J.C. Abernathy, and I'll be telling you what made me become the Superman of this age:

Metropolis, 2099.

The city had changed over time. Don't get me wrong, it is still a city of beauty and wonder. It never lost that. What I mean is that it's appearance had changed. Watching the old holovids, you see a city of almost art 'deco' style. Once that was form above function. Simple offices were hugely stylized. It held a certain wonder. However, the city had changed over time.

Replacing the art 'deco' look, is one of function above form. Factories that once were pleasing to the eye, now sprang out and up, giant monsters of pretty gray and black. Office towers are just that, giant towers that interconnect with a series of what, from a distance can best be described as cables and wires. In fact, they were walk ways and tram tubes. In the center of all of this mechanized, domish looking metal, stood what I still hold is the biggest eye sore in the world, LexCorp towers. Two giant towers, of a god-awful green color rising triple the height of the tallest building anywhere else.

LexCorp towers cast its shadow across Metropolis. At some point during everyday, its shadow touched some part of the city. When it did, it was as death itself sat down at the dinner table, and just looked at you, saying nothing. Still, despite its lack of charm it once held, it was still a city of wonder. Still a city of awe.

A person could go blind trying to look up to the top of the skyscrappers. I grew up here. I was one of the automotons that went about there lives, day in and day out. Though I will say, I at least enjoyed it a little. A typical day for me included, waking up at about 7 am, getting ready for work, catching the tram tube to the Innovations Tech building, where I worked as a computer programmer. Crunching numbers for 10 hours, then catching the tram tubes homes.

Dull eh? It was.

Though I had fun at work. Reprogramming the door locks, hacking into people's personal terminals (normally leaving a picture of the person's head, pasted to the body of a naked person), and generally having a good time in "geekville." I don't think before I died I would classify myself as a geek, yet looking back, I would have to say I was. I was about five foot eight, and a hundred and thirty pounds. Yeah I had the black clothes, long hair and goatee everyone else did, but, you know what? I still found it fun to program my computer with limited AI.

Oh, yeah, the dying part. I suppose I should get to that. See, part of my job was to design the internal brains for a new invention IT had come up with. It was known as Security Teams Environmental Enforcement Liason. Or S.T.E.E.L. for short.What it was is this; a rather large armored and armed peace-keeping robot.

It could be controlled from a distance, or set on auto pilot where it would follow set paramilitary program . My job was making sure the onboard computers were durable and followed set protocol. Its main purpose was to keep officers from dying in the field. With the growing number of terrorist attacks on US soil in the last ten years, this was something I was all for. To help me out with various situations that could pop up in the field, several high ranking officers in both the MPD and the US military, would meet with me and my team, to discuss possible program scenarios. Other day I was simply crawling around inside the giant thing, installing parts and programming things, sometimes even hanging upside down, but that's not my main point. I had arrived early, hoping to fix a minor, yet annoying problem with the start up system of STEEL.

I had to crawl inside, and work from its chest cavity. I was there nearly an hour before the rest of the teams were to arrive. It was nothing new. I hated to go home without fixing the minor bug, but I had needed sleep. After a while, I could hear people coming in, I recognized voices. I didn't say anything at the time because, while trying to fix the minor bug, I found a major problem with the program scenarios. One that required me to wipe and reprogram them. This was something that had taken weeks. Frustrated, I wiped the program specs, and powered up the STEEL. Standard protocol when we would download major programs into it. I could hear a few people startled by the sudden surge of power. The STEEL unit was relativly quiet, making no more sound than a speaker with no music coming through it. However, when first powered on, it was pretty loud. Before I could utter an apology, I heard a gun shots and screams erupt. Then there was quiet.

I admit I was scared. The thought of being a hero never entered my mind. With a shaking hand I switched on the monitor banks that we had installed the week before. Eight of my fellow co-workers lay dead on the ground, around them stood ten men, armed with the latest machine guns, and wearing what appeared to be SWAT gear.

They all wore ski masks, and in their mist was a tall woman, who had just removed her mask. Her long blonde hair hung loosly, and she was beautiful. If it hadn't been for the bodies laying around her and the fact that she had murdered all my friends, I might have been attracted to her. As it was, I was bearly able to control my bladder. "Let's move!" she commanded, as she pointed to the STEEL unit, "I want that thing loaded up and ready to go in five!" The men around her went into action and began to activate various control panels. I could hear the gears of STEEL starting to flex.

I realized that they were there to take STEEL. I knew I had to stop them. If they got it, it would bankrupt IT, and put me out of a job. Besides which, if they stole STEEL, I would be in it, and they would find me, and most likely kill me. Desperate I began to call up defense programs. None were there. I had forgotten I had just wiped its scenario files. Wiping my brow of sweat, I switched STEEL over to manual. Instantly, the terrorists (I believed that's what they were) noticed.

"Someone's got it on manual!" one of them bellowed. Another turned from his computer and pointed.

"There's someone inside!"

I knew I had one chance.

I grabbed the Neron device. To explain it quickly, it allowed us to monitor all the system's controls through a brain link, something that had been standard technology for over ten years. Not everyone had a computer jack in their neck, but I was always a computer geek, so of course I had had one installed when I joined IT.

So, I jacked into the STEEL unit, about the same time I heard gun fire erupt. Bullets bounced off STEEL with ease. I activated the sonic gun and pointed it at two of the terrorists. STEEL's arm came up and from its forearm sprang a small cylinder. I say small, but it was nearly three feet in length, as STEEL stood some 8 feet in height. With a bit of rage, I let the sonic gun fire. There was a deafening boom, as the two terrorists were thrown backwards. Neither moved after the assault. When they woke up, I knew they would have severe ear damage. Possibly be deaf.

Something then slammed into STEEL, rocking it hard. Turning to face it, I glanced down at the monitors and saw the blonde, her hand drawing back to strike again. I was shocked that she was a meta-human. Shocked enough to allow her another punch. This time the STEEL unit went flying backwards. I could hear tables being split apart, and glass shattering. Looking down, two of my monitors were out.

I wasn't completly blind however, so I recovered as fast as I could. From STEEL's back sprang a large rectangle like box. It hummed for a moment, then I fired its concussion ray. The blast caught the blonde in her gut, and flung her back through the main doorway; through it, and out into the hall.

Inside STEEL, I sighed, only to have three of the remaining terrorists leap onto STEEL. I had STEEL reach out and grab one by the midsection. With a thought, I tossed the poor slob across the room, slamming him into a wall, and breaking his neck.

The other two screamed in pain as I activated the outer defense shield. It was a potent jolt of electricity.

Both men fell to the floor, unmoving. With a smile, I stood STEEL up, and scanned the room in time to see the blonde come flying back into the room.

Before I could even turn, she cracked STEEL across the face. Sparks flew inside STEEL, and I could tell I had lost several memory boards. Checking my monitors, I saw that I had been knocked through the wall of the lab, and into our generator room. I was scared.

Now I could talk about it like it was a fight I saw on holovid, but in the moment, I could barely think, barely move. My mind raced. I had to get out of there, get the STEEL unit to a safe place. But I didn't think I could get passed the blonde. I mentally searched through all the different devices we had placed into the STEEL unit. Then I laughed. We had installed a teleportation device. A standard military piece of hardware now, though still a bit bulky and heavy for a trooper to carry, and way too expensive for the average joe citizen to own.

It was still a way out. We had meant it to be used according to standard protocols. To help transport vehicles from place to place. Then I remembered the reason it still wasn't used by the public: It had a 50/50 shot of killing organics.

Being alive, that meant me. The Blonde made the choice for me. Her fist slammed me backwards into the generator, and I could feel the power surge frying STEEL's control boards. Having no choice, I punched up our warehouse across town, where we sometimes tested various weapons of STEEL, and activated the teleporter, and prayed.

I didn't make it. I woke up in the warehouse, laying flat on my back. I wasn't in the STEEL unit. I groaned, and tried to gain my feet. No good. My body wasn't responding very well. I managed to roll on my side. Rubbing my face I thought I had fallen in the warehouse, and dreamed the whole thing...then I saw my hands.

I *WAS* the STEEL unit.


Next: Find out J.C.'s adjustments, and who sent those mercenaries in Lexcorp. Check out soon.

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