by Brian K. Asbury
A twisted mass of steel and plastic lay slumped on the African savannah, still smoking from its exhaust. Suddenly, a hatch flew explosively outward, propelled by emergency release charges, and a baldheaded man came tumbling out, coughing.
Lex Luthor dropped to the ground and started running, determined to put some distance between himself and the wrecked Dominion shuttle in case it suddenly decided to explode. When he felt he was at a safe range, he slumped against the bole of one of the few straggly trees dotting the plain and wiped his brow.
Damn that Dox. Oh, yes. He had given him the shuttle all right and allowed him to get away from the Moon, but what he had neglected to tell Luthor was that he hadn’t refueled it. There had been barely sufficient fuel to cross the distance back to Earth and brake to avoid burning up in the atmosphere. After that, he had suddenly found himself at the controls of a glider with all the aerodynamic properties of a brick.
Still, Luthor was a survivor. He had fought the controls with all his strength and, while a crash had been inevitable, he was in one piece.
He looked around him. There was grassy plain in all directions. He was pretty sure this was South Africa or thereabouts. There were no animals in sight, but the crash had probably scared them away. They might be back to investigate, and that might well include big predatory cats.
So, he established an order of priority. First, he would fashion a spear or something to defend himself, just in case. Second, he would find his way to civilization. With any luck, the crash had shown up on local radar, so there would probably be emergency or military services on the way. Well, Luthor had enough guile to talk them into helping him and maybe helping himself to one of their vehicles and even a weapon or two. Third, he needed to get hold of some money and papers. Once he was back in a city — any city — that would be child’s play for someone of his talents. And finally, he’d have to get back to the USA and get his career back on track again.
Luthor smiled at the prospect. The whole Garguax episode had been unfortunate, but he was alive, he was free, and he had learned some new technological tricks while studying the fat space pirate’s inventory. They would come in handy for conducting his revenge upon Superman.
He frowned at the thought of the Man of Steel. Had Superman survived the destruction of Warworld? (*) He still didn’t know. But, like Luthor himself, the Kryptonian was a survivor. If he knew Superman, he’d still be around.
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Invasion, Book 3, Chapter 7: Nova.]
The sound of an approaching helicopter drew him to his feet. He quickly made a decision, and dropped to the ground within sight of the crashed shuttle. Best pretend to be unconscious and let himself be taken to a hospital — medics would be much easier to overpower than troops or policemen.
He grinned inwardly as he lay still, with the rotor noise getting nearer and nearer. Lex Luthor was back — and soon the world would know about it only too well. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice League of America: Sick Leave.]