the Parasite croaks as he lumbers towards me.
Rudy Jones' mind is falling apart, consumed by some insatiable hunger. As claws and tendrils lash out of his sagging bulk to latch onto whatever electrical outlet or computer terminal they can drain, he can barely hold his physical form together.
He absorbed nearly all of my strength when he grabbed me, but like he said, he's metabolizing it faster than he can deal with.
Looking beyond the normal light spectrum, I can see the bio-electrical energy coursing through his misshapen body. That aura of luminescence, that dancing swirl of rainbow lightning that I see in most living things, has bloated and twisted inside him. Just looking at him, the Parasite seems.....wrong.
"You wanted to make a meal out of me, Parasite?"
I say, bracing myself as I stand between him and Luthor. "Then it's time for your second course."
Parasite lurches and groans, then all of his tendrils of teeth and claws whip towards me.
As they close in, I can feel time slow to a crawl around me. Milliseconds stretch into eternity as my mind expands, taking in data exponentially faster than a normal human brain could process. Moving fast counts for nothing if you can't think fast as well.
I take in a deep breath.......
The summer I turned nine, there was a freak "winter storm" in Smallville. People reported inexplicable gusts of deathly cold winds, knocking people over and, in one case, nearly running a car off the road. Huge swaths of crops were lost to frostbite, frozen solid by blasts of sub-zero air that, as far as anyone could tell, came from nowhere at all.
There were all sorts of tin-foil-hat theories about what could have happened, ranging from some unforeseen side effect of global warming to weather-control experiments from the CIA. I felt horrible about the whole thing, a blizzard in July....
....all because I'd caught a summer-cold and couldn't stop sneezing.
Parasite's tendrils lash towards me, a hundred unnatural mouths ready to suck the life right out of me. At this close range, in an enclosed area like this, I should be able to get all of them in one go.
I let go out a massive lungful of air, super-compressed in my lungs and turned into a devastating jet of sub-zero wind as it passes through my lips. The room goes white as every molecule of humidity turns to ice.
When I catch my breath, the Parasite still stands before me.....now encased in layers of ice. Focusing my vision to a microscopic level, I can see the cells in his extra appendages have frozen solid. While some of it hardened enough to protect and insulate the core of his body, the claws, the tendrils, the snapping life-stealing jaws, are all frozen through, and brittle to the touch.
Not that I plan on touching him, after what happened last time.
I clap my hands together, and with a thunderous BOOM
, the sonic vibrations shake the frozen monster apart, leaving only an icy, monstrous chrysalis containing Rudy Jones.
"I'll say this for you, Superman,"
says Lex Luthor, emerging from a hatch that I'm sure leads to an even deeper bunker, "You never cease to impress."
"And you never cease to disgust, Luthor,"
I say, turning to him angrily. "That was Rudy Jones, an anti-Lexcorp activist that your men nearly killed during the Little Bohemia riot. He said you turned him into that thing."
Lex just scoffs.
"Why in any sane universe would I create an unstoppable monster out of someone who hates me?"
he says, a grim laugh in his voice. "Of course he blames me for his unfortunate condition-- if you've ever taken a moment to read his blog, he blames me and my company for virtually everything wrong in his life."
"Don't talk to me like I'm one of your flunkies in the press,"
I say, staring him down. "I've seen the kind of things you're capable of doing to people."
"I may ignore certain ethical boundaries in my work,"
he replies, "But never without a purpose, never without a clear goal for the betterment of mankind. That creature there? What possible endgame would involve me being eaten by a psychotic energy-devouring monster?"
He meets my glare evenly. He knows I don't have anything to pin this on him, other than the word of a deranged mutated victim.
"Between this and you still blaming me for the Excelsior, I'm beginning to think you're getting obsessed,"
he says with a grin. "As if all those times you've attacked my research facilities wasn't evidence enough of that."
He casually walks towards me, as I bristle with anger.
"You can hear my pulse, Superman. You can read the motion in my eyes, the perspiration on my skin, any possible physical tell that I'm lying,"
he says. "You know this wasn't my doing."
As L-Sec security officers begin to cautiously approach the ice-covered room, Luthor sneers, and lowers his voice to a whisper.
"But believe me, when I do come after you.....and I will.....you'll know it."
I glare at him, then take flight, struggling a bit with the small reserve of energy I've got left. Lexcorp personnel and L-Sec officers swarm the room to contain and dispose of the Parasite....
....and I do my part to help repair the damage done.
Luthor was telling the truth, in that the transformation of Rudy Jones into the Parasite was out of his hands. But he wasn't telling the whole truth, that much I can tell.
Unfortunately, I don't have the time to press him on the subject- not yet, at least. That'll be a job for Clark Kent, once I'm done with relief efforts on the ground.
Luthor can wait. First, there are a lot of people hurting, possibly dying, that need my help.