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Metropolis - CEP Building, Office of Paul Hendrix.

Paul Hendrix, a man with long curly dark hair, moustache, beard, and wearing a dark suit, stands, looking out the windows of his office at the streets and buildings of Metropolis.

Rickman : Killer view.

Hendrix turns at the sound of Rickman's voice and the office door closing. Bob Rickman, a clean-shaven, dark-haired man, enters in a suit and black topcoat, pulling gloves from his hands.

Hendrix : Good morning, Mr. Rickman. Thank you for coming in.

Rickman : So what can I do for the Center for Environmental Protection?

Rickman sits in a chair across from Hendrix's desk. Hendrix moves to the desk and sits in a chair behind it as he answers.

Hendrix : Well, I heard your people were down in Smallville doing some surveying. I wanted to discuss your intentions.

Rickman : My intentions are to build a new plant.

Hendrix picks up a clear bottle filled with an orange-brown liquid from his desk and sets it down again near Rickman.

Rickman : What's this?

Rickman picks up the bottle as Hendrix answers.

Hendrix : Groundwater from the last town where you built a plant.

: Well, I find that very hard to believe. Rickman Industries has always had a very good relationship with the CEP...

Rickman glances at the name plate on the desk - "Paul Hendrix, CEP District 42."

Rickman : ...Paul. Can I call you Paul?

Hendrix : No. Tomorrow I'll have a restraining order preventing you from moving into Smallville until every case against you is settled.

Rickman : [Sighs] That's too bad. I - Well, I had my mind set on Smallville. This town has a - it has a special place in my heart. I don't suppose there's anything I could do to change your mind?

Hendrix : I'm afraid I'm not as easy to buy off as my colleagues.

Rickman rises and leans over the desk.

Rickman : I've never bought off a soul in my life. People listen to me because they know I'm right. When they do, they end up better for it.

Hendrix stands and holds up a blue file folder.

Hendrix : Tell that to the 96 cases of vinyl chloride poisoning I've tied to your pesticide plants.

Rickman : Well. I see there's little else to do. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your candor. I wish you luck.

As he is speaking, Rickman walks around Hendrix's desk. Rickman extends a hand, and Hendrix takes it. Rickman grips with his other hand, and a green glow emanates from the clasped hands. Hendrix's expression changes - he looks stupefied.

Rickman : Now, listen, Paul...I can call you Paul, can't I?

Hendrix looks confused.

Hendrix : Uh...I guess.

Rickman : You strike me as a man of passion, Paul. Passion hurts, doesn't it? Hmm? People don't understand. They don't see how you devote yourself to what's right. I bet you're afraid you'll give all that passion to a job that no one even cares about. Hmm?

Hendrix : No.

He looks at Rickman, and then looks down.

Hendrix : Yes.

Rickman : Yes.

Rickman leads Hendrix over to the windows.

Rickman : Look at that world out there, Paul. Is any part of it yours?

Hendrix : No.

Rickman : No. All that pain you feel? There's only one way to make it stop.

Rickman looks down at the street below, and Hendrix follows his gaze. Rickman looks back over at Hendrix and moves to leave, picking a piece of lint off of Hendrix's suit before he goes. Hendrix continues to stare at the street below.

Cut to cep Elevator. The elevator chime dings and its floor indicator reads "30" as the doors open. Rickman steps in and speaks to a woman already inside.

Rickman : Going down?

She nods, and the elevator doors close.

Cut to Cep Lobby. The elevator floor indicator reads "1" and the doors open. Rickman holds the door and the woman exits.

Woman : Thanks.

Rickman pulls a cell phone from his coat and dials as he walks toward the open doors that lead out of the building. People walk in and out of the building as well as on the sidewalk outside, and a yellow taxi is parked just outside the doors.

Tyler : On the phone Sir?

Before Rickman says anything, Hendrix crashes into the roof of the taxi, shattering the rear windows. People gasp, yell, and rush toward the car.

Rickman : Tyler, bring the car around. We're going to Smallville.

Man : [From outside] Somebody call an ambulance!

Cut to Woods. Clark, Lana and Chloe are horseback riding on a misty dirt trail in some woods.

Chloe : [To horses] Okay, here we go. Whoa! [To Clark and Lana] I thought learning to drive my dad's Volvo was difficult. But at least the car came with windshield wipers.

Clark : Chloe, you're doing fine for your first time. [To Lana] So, how's Whitney holding up?

Lana : His dad's still in the hospital, so he's been working shifts at the store.

Clark : It's tough running a family business.

Lana : I think he secretly wants his dad to sell it. He doesn't want to be saddled with it when he graduates.

Clark : I don't blame him. I don't see myself being a farmer when I grow up.

Lana : What do you want to do?

Clark : I'm not sure. Just as long as it doesn't involve putting on a suit and doing a lot of flying.

Chloe : Where's my - oh - I dropped my camera.

Clark : Chloe, what did you bring that thing for, anyway?

Chloe : I'm not out here doing this butt-bashing thing for fun. These woods are like the Bermuda triangle of Smallville. No, I'm serious, you guys, people come in here, and when they leave they can't remember a thing. There've been dozens of incidences in the past ten years.

Lana : I'll go get your camera.

Lana turns her horse and heads back along the path.

Chloe : Thank you.

Clark : The stories in these woods go back to the civil war.

Chloe : No, Clark, what I'm talking about happened like a week ago. Some surveyors from Rickman Industries came screaming out of the woods, and they can't even remember what happened.

Clark : I'm sure you have a theory about this.

Chloe : Kyle Tippet.

Clark : The guy who sells weird sculptures in town?

Chloe : Yeah, don't you think it's odd he lives out here all alone in the woods.

Clark : Thoreau did.

Chloe : So did the Unabomber.

A scream echoes from farther back on the path.

Clark : Lana! [To Chloe] Stay with the horses.

Clark dismounts and runs back along the path.

Chloe : Uh...okay. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

Clark stops and looks back to see that Chloe is looking at the horses, away from him, and then runs down the path at super speed. Chloe turns and finds Clark gone, and looks around in confusion.

Cut to Lana, lying on the ground, opens her eyes to see Kyle Tippet, an unshaven man with dark hair, over her. Clark arrives to see Tippet with arms on Lana's shoulders and Lana struggling to sit up.

Clark : Get away from her!

Kyle runs, and Clark rushes up to Lana.

Clark : You okay?

Lana : Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine.

Clark helps Lana to her feet and the two look around. There's no sign of Kyle. Clark sees Chloe's camera on the ground and picks it up.

Cut to Kent Farm - Inside Clark's Home. Clark rewinds the tape in Chloe's camera and he and Jonathan watch what it recorded on a television. It shows Kyle coming up to an unconscious Lana and shaking her.

Jonathan : What do you think happened, Son?

: I don't know, just doesn't look like he's trying to hurt her.

Martha enters, speaking into a cordless phone.

Martha : Okay, Nell. Thanks. Bye.

Martha hangs up.

Clark : [To Martha] How's Lana?

Martha : She has a mild concussion. Other than that, she's fine.

Jonathan : And Nell?

Martha : That's a different story. She wants Clark to go to the police and say that he saw Kyle spook Lana's horse and attack her.

Clark : That's not what I saw.

Martha : From Nell's tone, I don' think we've heard the end of this.

Jonathan : Did Kyle seem at all dangerous to you?

Clark : He seemed...scared. Chloe mentioned that some surveyors were spooked last week in the woods, and now us. I wonder if there's a connection?

Martha : Jonathan, you should go talk to Kyle, get this cleared up.

Jonathan : Yep.

Jonathan stands and starts to move across the room. Clark stands as well.

Clark : No, I'll go.

Jonathan : Clark, I don' think that's a good idea.

Clark : It's not like he can hurt me.

Jonathan : That is not the point.

Clark : Dad, I understand what it's like to be hidden from the world. Give me a shot.

Jonathan and Martha exchange a look.

Jonathan : All right. Do you know where Kyle lives?

Clark : I just follow the trail of bad sculptures.

Clark leaves.

Cut to Rickman's Offices. The large offices are decorated with balloons and posters of plants and flowers with the Rickman Industries logo. A model of a plant sits in the center of the room. Victoria Hardwick is looking at one of the posters, holding a glass.

Rickman : Miss Hardwick, I'm surprised to find you in Smallville.

Lex comes up behind the two.

Lex : Don't encourage him, Victoria. It's funny, I was just saying what this town needs is more pesticides in the water supply.

Rickman : Oh, now don't tell me you mind someone else sharing your little sandbox.

Lex : Only when they're polluting it. Hello, Bob.

Rickman : [Chuckles] Lex.

Rickman extends a hand to Lex, who turns and picks up a glass from a waiter instead of accepting it.

Victoria : I'll leave you boys alone.

Victoria leaves.

Lex : Photos are a bit over-the-top, but I like what you've done with the place.

Rickman : Oh, it's only temporary. Here, have a button.

Lex : Pass out enough of these and maybe they won't notice you're rendering the town uninhabitable.

Rickman : I'm just like you, Lex. Government employee sets my emission levels and I abide. You have an objection?

Lex : Let's call it an interest. Smallville's my home now.

Rickman : That's right. Yes, Lionel had mentioned that he'd exiled you here. Had dinner with him a couple of weeks ago.

Lex : Yeah? What happened, somebody more important cancel on him?

Rickman : Ha ha ha. Don't worry, Lex. I'll keep my concerns away from the Luthors. Already found the perfect place for the plant. It's out of the way. It's near enough to the river.

Lex : The Kent farm? I assume you've approached them?

Rickman : Well, that's just a formality.

Lex : The way licenses and zoning permits always seem to be a formality for you, Bob. I know the Kents, and not even you could convince them to sell that farm.

Lex starts to leave

Rickman : You'd be surprised.

Lex stops and turns back to Rickman.

Lex : Trust me, Bob. You're not that charming.

Lex tosses the logo button to Rickman and leaves.

Cut to Kyle's trailer - Exterior. Clark pulls up in the Kent's blue pickup truck and exits. The area outside Kyle's trailer is surrounded with modern art-style sculptures made from salvage. A fire burns in a barrel. Clark looks around as he crosses to the trailer and knocks, looks in a window next to the door, then knocks again. After no one answers, he turns and is startled to find Kyle behind him.

Kyle : You're trespassing.

Clark : How'd you do that?

Kyle : Magic. Haven't you heard of crazy Kyle who lives in the woods by himself? He's somewhere between Bigfoot and the Blair Witch.

Clark : I'm -

Clark extends a hand to Kyle, which Kyle does not shake.

Kyle : Clark Kent. Jonathan and Martha's son.

Clark : How'd you know that?

Clark withdraws his hand.

Kyle : I live in a trailer, not a cave.

Clark : I wanted to talk to you about what happened this afternoon.

Clark walks toward a pile of salvage.

Kyle : You mean the girl? Well, the horse threw her and I went to make sure she was still breathing.

Clark : So you don't make a habit of scaring people out of the woods...and spooking their horses?

Clark turns to Kyle as he speaks, holding a blue hardhat with the Rickman Industries logo on it. Kyle takes the hat from Clark.

Kyle : If I wanted to explain myself all the time, I'd get a job. But I left that world behind for a reason. Goodbye.

Clark : Why are you so unfriendly?

Kyle : Because I'm not interested in friends.

Clark : Everyone needs a friend.

Kyle : No they don't, because they'll always betray you in the end.

Kyle enters his trailer, leaving Clark outside.

Cut toThe Beanery. Clark enters and takes a seat at a table, across from where Lana already is sitting.

Clark : How you feeling?

Lana : Better. Thanks. Nell said you were going to talk to the police.

Whitney approaches the table from behind Clark carrying two drinks.

Clark : Actually, I went out and spoke to Kyle.

Whitney : You talked to that psycho?

Clark : Yeah. He said that he was just trying to make sure Lana was okay.

Whitney takes a seat at the table next to Lana.

Lana : Do you believe him?

Clark : Yeah, I think I do.

Whitney : If I were there, I would have done something.

Whitney and Clark exchange a look, as Lana looks at Whitney.

Clark : Do you remember anything?

Lana : Not really.

Clark : I gotta get home. I'm glad you're okay.

Clark stands and walks away from the table, stopping at the counter near the door and taking a seat on a stool when Lex speaks to him.

Lex : That looked uncomfortable. Listen, has Bob Rickman been by the farm?

Clark : Why would he be interested in us?

Lex : He's interested in buying your land.

Clark : [Scoffs] You have met my dad. Why are you even worried?

Lex : I've seen Rickman talk people out of house and home. He's a locust, Clark. He tears through a community and betrays anyone who trusts him. Tell your dad to be careful.

Clark : [Seriously] Okay.

Cut to Rickman Offices. Rickman is bent over, eyeing the model for his new plant when he hears footsteps and straightens.

Rickman : Hello, Kyle. Wondering when you'd stop by.

Kyle : We had an agreement. You do whatever you want with the rest of the world, but when it comes to this town, you leave it alone.

Rickman : We made those rules a long time ago. World's changed, Kyle.

Kyle : Maybe it's time the public knew the whole truth about Bob Rickman.

Rickman : [Chuckles] Public believes whatever I tell them. I spent the past nine years honing my skill while you just hid in the woods, because you were afraid.

Kyle extends his hand to Rickman.

Kyle : Take my hand. See how afraid I am.

Rickman eyes Kyle, but refuses to take him hand. After a moment, Kyle points at Rickman as he speaks.

Kyle : You've been warned.

Kyle leaves.

Cut to Smallville - Exterior - Street outside the Beanery and Rickman's Offices. Whitney leaves the Beanery to see Clark, on the other side of the street, approaching Rickman's offices and encountering Kyle.

Clark : [To Kyle] Kyle. What are you doing here?

Kyle : Uh, just registering a complaint.

Whitney's face turns angry and he starts across the street.

Clark : What do you have against Rickman?

Kyle : There used to be a time when people just minded their own business.

Clark looks down, but both look over at Whitney as he approaches Kyle.

Whitney : Hey, Tippet!

Kyle : And what's your problem?

Whitney : You are. Touch Lana Lang again, and I'll take care of you myself.

Clark : Whitney, back off.

Whitney : I've got my eye on you.

Whitney turns and walk toward his truck, disabling the alarm as Clark and Kyle continue to talk.

Kyle : [To Clark] That's why I don't come into town.

Clark : You want a ride home?

Kyle : Why are you being so nice to me?

Clark : I figure you're not a bad guy. You're just not a people person.

Kyle : [Laughs] What gave that away?

Clark : You want a ride or not?

Kyle : Yeah, I gotta stop and get groceries.

Clark : No problem.

Clark walks toward his truck and opens the passenger door for Kyle.

Rickman, watching the scene from the door to his offices, calls to Whitney, who is staring at Clark and Kyle, and is just about to enter his truck.

Rickman : Excuse me! I'm sorry, I couldn't help, uh, overhearing. Are you having a problem with Kyle Tippet?

Whitney approaches Rickman as Clark and Kyle drive off.

Whitney : Yeah, he attacked my girlfriend.

Rickman extends his hand to Whitney.

Rickman : Bob Rickman. Maybe I can help.

Rickman clasps Whitney's hand with both of his, and a green glow emanates from his hand and Whitney's eyes.

Cut to Kyle's Trailer - Exterior. Clark and Kyle pull up to Kyle's trailer. Kyle holds a bag of groceries on his lap.

Kyle : Thanks for the ride, I really appreciate it.

Clark : Next time don't talk my ear off.

Kyle moves to open the door and exit the truck.

Clark : Hey, uh, why were you at Rickman's?

Kyle sits back.

Kyle : Why were you at Rickman's?

Clark : I heard a rumor he's trying to buy our farm.

Kyle : Stay away from him.

Clark : Do you miss it? A regular life, I mean?

Kyle : Some people weren't meant to have a regular life, Clark. Thanks. Bye.

Kyle exits, and Clark drives away as Kyle crosses to the door of his trailer. While unlocking the door, Kyle sees a reflection of Whitney approaching him in the glass of a window next to the door, and turns. Whitney swings at Kyle with a bat, knocking the bag of groceries from his arms. Kyle ducks as Whitney swings again, smashing the bat into the trailer door.

Cut to the road leading from Kyle's Trailer. Clark slows as he notices a truck parked off to the side of the road. He stops his truck and exits, recognition apparent on his face.

Clark : Whitney.

Clark dashes back toward the trailer at super-speed.

Cut to Kyle's Trailer - Exterior. Whitney continues to attack Kyle, missing several times before connecting with Kyle's chest and knocking him to the ground. Whitney tries to hit Kyle again, but Kyle kicks him back, knocking the bat from Whitney's grasp. Kyle picks it up, and Whitney grabs a flaming beam from a barrel fire and swings it wildly at Kyle.

Kyle swings at Whitney, connecting with his chest and causing him to double over and drop the beam. Clark arrives as Kyle is about to hit Whitney with the bat, and places himself in the bat's path. The bat shatters against Clark. Clark pushes Kyle against the trailer, knocking him unconscious. Clark bends down and grips Whitney, who looks up at Clark, panting. Clark looks over at the unconscious Kyle, his expression a mixture of confusion and anger.

Kyle is guided into a police car by a deputy as Jonathan crosses the scene to where Clark and Whitney are leaning against a second police car.

Jonathan : They're booking Kyle for assault. All right, what happened, guys?

Whitney : I saw Kyle in town. He blew me off, so I came out here to talk.

Jonathan : So you drove all the way out here in the middle of the night?

Whitney : Yeah. I had a feeling he was going to attack Lana again. Next thing I know, he attacks me with a bat.

Jonathan : [To Clark] Is that what happened?

Clark : I did see Kyle swing at Whitney, but...

Jonathan : But what?

Clark : Kyle says Whitney swung at him first.

Whitney : That's crazy. Why would I do that?

Clark : I don't know. None of this makes any sense.

Whitney : Yes it does! First he attacks Lana, then he comes after me. The guy's dangerous and needs to be locked up -"

Jonathan : Whitney, we've all had a rough night, why don't you just calm down, alright?

Whitney : [To Clark] You saw it with your own eyes. That freak tried to kill me! Now you're saying it's my fault?

Whitney shakes his head and walks off.

Cut to Smallville High - Torch Office. Chloe holds a copy of a newspaper with a story and picture of Kyle.

Chloe : Tippet hasn't broken hermit status in years and all of a sudden he's one of Smallville's most wanted?

Pete : Something must have made him snap.

Clark : I think it's Bob Rickman.

Chloe : Yeah, but what does our rural Rodin have against Rickman, other than the obvious "poisoning the environment" angle?

Clark : I don't know. Could you do some digging, find a connection?

Chloe : Yeah. Absolutely. Sounds like an interesting story -tree-hugging hermit versus pesticide tycoon.

Chloe hold a separate story with a picture of Rickman alongside one of Kyle. Pete takes the two and looks between the pictures.

Pete : What do you think they have in common?

Chloe : Definitely not their personal grooming habits.

Lana enters, obviously angry.

Clark : Lana. Hey, what's wrong?

Clark stands and walks up to Lana.

Lana : [To Chloe and Pete] Can you give us a minute?

Chloe : Yeah.

Chloe and Pete leave.

Lana : Whitney said you accused him of attacking Kyle.

Clark : I didn't accuse him, I just have some questions.

Lana : Like what?

Clark : Like why was he there?

Lana : He was just trying to talk with him. We both know Whitney can be a little overzealous, but his heart's in the right place.

Clark : I just don't think Kyle would do something like that. He doesn't seem like a violent person.

Lana : And you can tell that from knowing him for two days? He's lived in the woods alone for ten years.

Clark : That makes him odd, not dangerous.

Lana : Whitney wouldn't attack anybody.

Clark : He strung me up in a field.

Lana : So that's what this is about? You haven't forgiven him.

Clark : Lana, I just think there's something else going on here.

Lana : Yeah, there is. You're looking for an excuse to knock Whitney. You know what he's going through with his dad. If you don't like him, just say it. Don't pretend to be his friend.

Lana leaves.

Cut to Kent Farm - Barn. Jonathan, wearing work gloves, shovels some manure and hay into a wheelbarrow as Rickman approaches. Some of the manure falls onto Rickman's shoes.

Jonathan : You know, a barn's no place for shoes like that.

Rickman : Didn't like them that much, anyway. Bob Rickman, Rickman Industries.

Rickman extends a hand to Jonathan.

Jonathan : I know who you are.

Jonathan shakes Rickman's hand while wearing the gloves, apparently preventing Rickman from affecting him. Rickman continues to speak with Jonathan.

Rickman : Well, then you probably know why I'm here.

Jonathan : Yeah, I hear that you're interested in this farm, and you have a reputation as a very persuasive fellah. But I gotta tell ya, there's not a snowball's chance in hell I'd consider selling, especially not to Rickman Industries.

Jonathan walks across the barn, removing the gloves as he goes. Rickman follows.

Rickman : You got a problem with progress, Mister Kent?

Jonathan : No, I'm just skeptical about anyone who thinks they can solve my problems with money.

Rickman : Why's that?

Jonathan : Because if I was interested in money, I wouldn't be a farmer, would I? If you'll excuse me, I've got some real work to do.

Jonathan points toward the barn's exit. Rickman shrugs his shoulders, turns, and starts to leave, but sees Jonathan put down the gloves and pretends to turn his foot, falls to the floor with an exclamation. Jonathan turns to him.

Jonathan : What happened? You all right?

Rickman : Oh, I twisted my ankle. [Chuckles] I guess you were right about these shoes. Could you, uh, give me a hand?

Rickman extends a hand to Jonathan, who approaches him and pulls him up. Rickman uses his power on Jonathan.

Rickman : Now, are you sure I can't convince you to change your mind?

Cut to Kent Farm - Inside Clark's Home. Clark enters to find Jonathan sitting on a stool, staring at a contract bearing his and Rickman's signature, and Martha standing, speaking to him.

Martha : How could you do this without telling me? What happened to "this land is our legacy?"

Clark : What's going on, guys?

Martha : Your father sold the farm to Bob Rickman.

Clark : What? How?

Jonathan : I don't know. One minute I'm telling him he doesn't stand a chance and the next thing I know I've got a signed contract in my hand.

Martha : I called our lawyer. He said he can't do anything until he sees the contract but "the devil made me do it" argument wouldn't hold up in court.

Jonathan : I just don't believe I did this.

Clark : What did Rickman do?

Jonathan : Nothing. He made his case, he shook my hand, that was it.

Clark : It can't be that easy.

Jonathan : Well, then, how else do you explain my signature on this contract?

Jonathan puts the contract down on the counter, and the three Kents exchange looks. Clark picks the contract up and starts to move away.

Clark : I think I know someone who can help.

Jonathan : No. I will not owe Lex Luthor anything. Thank you.

Martha : Right now you don't have anything to owe.

Clark leaves with the contract.

Cut to The Beanery. Clark, carrying two drinks, passes Whitney and Lana, who are talking but pause and give him cold looks. He slows for a second, but then continues to where Lex is sitting. He sets a drink in front of Lex and takes a seat. Lex closes a file folder he's holding and leans forward to talk to Clark.

Lex : Ouch. What's that all about?

Clark : I just won't cave on my opinion of Kyle Tippet. It's put me on the outs with Lana.

Lex : So you're Atticus.

Clark looks confused.

Lex : Atticus Finch? "To Kill a Mockingbird?"

Clark : Never read it.

Lex : You should. You two have a lot in common. Small-town heroes. Believe in the truth. Not willing to back down.

Clark : How's it end?

Lex : It's not about the ending, it's about the journey.

Clark looks over at Whitney and Lana.

Clark : What kills me is that I know that I'm right. I just wish I could get them to see it.

Lex : That, my friend, is the key to leadership - not only knowing you're right, but convincing everyone else. If you can do that, the world's your oyster.

Clark : Right now, I'd settle for getting our farm back.

Lex : The good news is the deal's worth three times market value. The bad news is, it's ironclad. Meaning it'll take a dozen extra lawyers. Fortunately, I've got an army of them.

Clark : For once, I think my parents will be glad for your help.

Lex : I'd love to know what Rickman said to convince your father. I know the farm's in debt, but he's going to pave it over and turn it into a wasteland. Hardly better than the offers I've made.

Clark : I just know that my father would never sell the farm.

Lex : Except that he did. Rickman's known for getting past people's defenses, but that's just good business...unless you think there's more to it than that.

Clark considers what Lex has said, and his expression changes. He grabs his coat and stands.

Lex : Where are you going?

Clark : Jail.

Clark leaves.

Cut to Rickman's Office. Rickman is reviewing some papers in a file (presumably the contract to purchase the Kent farm) as a deputy approaches him.

Deputy : Got a call you had a problem, Mister Rickman.

Rickman : Yes, thank you for coming by, Deputy.

Deputy : No problem.

The two approach each other, Rickman extends a hand, and the Deputy takes it.

Rickman : I need you to take care of an old friend.

Cut to Smallville Jail - Interior. Kyle sits in a cell, his back against the bars. A deputy (not the one who was with Rickman) enters.

Deputy : Let's go. On your feet. You've got a visitor here.

Kyle stands, and the deputy opens the cell. Kyle holds out his hands, and then grabs the deputy's. The green glow of Rickman's and Kyle's powers surrounds their hands.

Cut to Smallville Jail - Exterior. Kyle, wearing the uniform of the deputy he just ensnared, walks between police cars, heading away from the jail. From farther down the street, Clark calls to him.

Clark : Kyle!

Kyle turns to see Clark, and they both turn at the sound of a gun cocking. The deputy that Rickman entranced aims and fires at Kyle.

Clark : No!

Shifting to super speed, Clark watches the bullet sail past his head, heading toward Kyle. Clark starts to run, grabbing Kyle and pulling him to the ground behind a cruiser, but not fast enough to keep the bullet from passing through Kyle's shoulder. The deputy continues to fire his gun at where Clark and Kyle fell, but when he approaches, the two have vanished, leaving only a bloodstain on the ground. The deputy looks around, confused.

Cut to Luthor Estate - Interior - Bedroom. Lex and Clark stand in a bedroom where Kyle lays on a bed. A scruffy-looking man with long hair, and earring and necklaces, sunglasses perched on his head, and wearing a stethoscope, attends the injured, unconscious recluse, stitching his wound. Clark has bloodstains on his shirt.

Lex : How bad?

Doctor : It's no worse than when Ozzy snorted that row of fire ants down in Queensland.

Clark takes a few steps closer to Lex.

Clark : [Softly] This guy really a doctor?

Lex : He was. Now he's more of an on-call specialist. You know...actors, rock stars, billionaire's sons.

Clark : How do you know him?

Lex : Long story.

Doctor : What's a guy gotta do to get a drink around here?

Lex : Finish sewing. [To Clark] Don't worry, Toby appreciates discretion. Nobody will ever know Kyle was here.

Clark : Thanks.

Lex : I'm curious. Why did you think I'd be willing to harbor a fugitive?

Clark : I figured my parents would freak. And if I took him to a hospital, they'd put him back in jail. You're the only one I could trust.

Doctor : All in all, it's easier than that knife wound of yours. Club Zero, remember that? Bled all over my Mustang.

Lex : Can we talk to him now?

The man stands and picks up a doctor's bag.

Doctor : I gave him something for the pain. It's lights out 'till the morning. My usual payment?

Lex looks at Clark, then answers.

Lex : Brown bag on my desk. See you, Toby.

Doctor : Lex.

The man picks up a coat from a chair and exits.

Lex : [To Clark] You'd better get home, it's late.

Clark starts to leave, but pauses near the doorway of the bedroom when Lex speaks to him.

Lex : Hey, may want to change your shirt.

Clark looks down at the stains on his shirt, then over at Kyle, and leaves. Lex looks down at the unconscious hermit.

Cut to Kent Farm - Barn Loft. Lana sits in Clark's loft as he climbs the stairs. Surprise is evident on his face when he notices her waiting for him. She stands.

Lana : Hi, Clark.

Clark : You're the last person I expected to find here.

Lana : I heard Kyle Tippet escaped. I was a little freaked out.

Clark : Don't worry. He's not coming after anybody.

Lana : How do you know?

Clark : I just do.

Lana : I'm sorry I bothered you.

Clark : If you were worried, why did you walk all the way over here, instead of calling.

Lana : I don't know, I thought you might have changed your opinion.

Clark : Well, if you came over for an apology, you're out of luck.

Lana : [Emphatically] Clark, he escaped from jail! You have to admit, it looks pretty bad.

Clark : You don't know the whole story.

Lana : Then tell me. What is it?

Clark : I don't know it yet! But you've already made up your mind about the guy, so what do you care?

Lana : I wanted to clear the air and preserve our friendship, but now I don't even know why I bothered.

Lana leaves. Clark comes close to saying something, but doesn't, looking frustrated.

Cut to The Beanery. A waitress serves a foamy mug to Lex at the counter.

Waitress : There you go.

Lex : Thank you.

Rickman enters and approaches Lex.

Rickman : Hello, Lex.

Lex turns, and Rickman extends his hand. Lex looks at it, not accepting it.

Rickman : Oh, come on Lex. This "Art of War" stuff is for amateurs.

Lex : It's not that. I just don't like you.

Rickman rubs the fingers of his hand together as Lex moves around him, heading into the other section of the coffee house. Rickman follows.

Rickman : [Chuckles] My attorney tells me that my purchase of the Kent farm is being challenged.

Lex : I warned you that the Kents were a tough nut to crack.

Lex takes a seat at a table, and Rickman sits across from him.

Rickman : I recognize LuthorCorp lawyers when I see them. Why are you involved?

Lex : Smallville's my home, and the Kents are my friends.

Rickman stands.

Rickman : Well, with friends like you, Lex...

Rickman puts a hand on Lex's shoulder as he passes him.

Lex : Don't touch me. Speaking of old friends, I heard Kyle Tippet escaped from jail.

Rickman : Now, why do you assume we're old friends?

Lex : Just a rumor.

Rickman : Have you seen him?

Lex : I never met the man, but I'll be sure to pass on your regards when I do.

Rickman starts to leave, and runs into Chloe and Clark. Chloe goes to sit a Lex's table as Clark confronts Rickman.

Clark : How'd you get my dad to sign that contract?

Rickman : Oh, you must be the Kent boy. I'm a good businessman. No hard feelings, huh?

Rickman extends his hand to Clark. Clark takes it and squeezes, and Rickman's hand audibly crunches. Rickman is surprised he is unable to entrance Clark, and winces in pain at the handshake. He leaves, and Clark takes a seat next to Chloe at Lex's table. An old newspaper article with a picture of Rickman and Kyle holding a plaque sits on the table in front of Chloe as she speaks.

Chloe : So, I spent the morning delving into the exotic world of agricultural equipment, and it seems that Kyle and Rickman were partners in the mid-80s.

Lex : They sold farm equipment?

Chloe : Yeah, they were Salesmen of the Year, three years running - '89, '90 and '91. Then the year after that Rickman started his own company and Kyle went "Walden."

Clark : Wonder what happened.

Chloe : I don't know but I found this story in the Smallville Ledger.

Chloe hands the clipping to Clark.

Clark : "Salesmen trapped in car after meteor shower."

Chloe : I'm guessing whatever's going on started that sunny October day, twelve years ago.

Lex : Let's go ask him.

Chloe : What, you know where he is?

Clark looks over at Lex, who smiles thinly at Chloe.

Cut to Luthor Estate - Interior - Bedroom. Lex, Clark, and Chloe enter the bedroom to find a woman in hospital scrubs sitting on a chair, reading, next to the unmade bed where Kyle had been asleep.

Lex : Where's Kyle?

Nurse : Who?

Clark crosses to Lex.

Clark : I think I know where he went.

Clark and Chloe leave.

Cut to Kyle's Trailer - Exterior. Kyle steps out of his trailer carrying a duffel bag as Clark and Chloe approach.

Kyle : I appreciate the help, Clark, but I'm done here.

Clark : We know that Rickman used to be your partner.

Kyle : That was a million years ago.

Kyle walks past them, headed toward the woods, but stops as Chloe speaks.

Chloe : What happened to you guys in that meteor shower? Trust me, you're not the only ones that were affected by it.

Clark : What's going on with you and Rickman? How did he get my dad to sell our farm?

Clark approaches him, and Kyle turns to Clark.

Kyle : You know, until that day we were the worst salesmen to ever carry a catalog...and all that changed after they pulled us out of that car. With a single handshake we could get people to do whatever we wanted them to do. Buy a tractor. Stand on one leg.

Clark : You're saying you have the power of persuasion?

Chloe : How long does it last?

Kyle : Until the person does what I tell them to do. Could be two minutes, two hours, and then they come out of it without a memory.

Clark : What happens if they can't do what you want?

Kyle : They keep trying, unless they're forcibly snapped out of it like your friend, Whitney.

Chloe : Well, it sounds good in theory, but, uh, how 'bout you prove it?

Clark : Chloe -

Chloe : What? The guys lives in a crappy trailer out in the woods. You'd think if he has this power he'd use it to sell some of these sculptures.

Kyle : It's dangerous.

Chloe : I'm used to living on the edge.

Kyle grasps his hand, Chloe takes it, and Kyle grasps hers with both of his, as a green glow surrounds his hands.

Kyle : You have feelings for Clark, don't you, Chloe? You see him, and you want him. All this time, you've been hiding it. Now you can show him.

As Kyle speaks, Clark's eyebrows go up, then he smiles and looks unconvinced. His eyes go wide when Kyle finishes talking and Chloe turns to him, runs her hands up his stomach and across his chest, grabs his coat and shirt and pulls him into a kiss. Clark struggles a little as Kyle looks on, finally breaking the kiss. Chloe turns back to Kyle as Clark stands, stunned.

Chloe : Okay. Come on! I'm ready.

Clark and Kyle exchange a look.

Chloe : What? Why are you looking at me like that? And why is my mouth minty?

Clark : Let's just say he proved his point.

Clark wipes his mouth.

Chloe : Oh...God, did I just -

Clark : Don't worry. It was fine.

Chloe puts her hand to her head in shock, and Kyle picks up his bag.

Kyle : Well, now that the party trick's over...I gotta hit the road.

Clark : Wait. You have these gifts, but you hid in the woods. Why?

Kyle starts to walk away, but stops at Clark's question.

Kyle : Because I was scared that I wouldn't be able to control it and that I'd wind up like Bob.

Clark : What happened between you and Rickman? Why does he want to kill you?

Clark walks to stand in front of Kyle.

Kyle : He knows that I know his secret, and...I threatened to expose him if he ever built a plant here.

Chloe : Yeah, but he'd been destroying communities like this for years. How come you let him get away from it for so long?

Kyle : Because I wanted to be left alone! As long as it wasn't here, it wasn't my problem.

Clark : My dad lost our farm because you didn't tell anyone.

Kyle : Do you know what it's like to have to hide because of who you are?

Clark : Yes, I do. But when you have a gift you can't just hide in a hole and hope it goes away.

Cut to Luthor Estate - Lex's Office. Rickman enters. Lex looks up at him from behind his desk.

Lex : How did you get in here?

Rickman : Oh, your guard at the front gate let me through. He's a great guy.

Lex : I didn't realize we had a meeting on the books.

Rickman : We don't. I come with an olive branch. I just want to let you know you can call off your lawyers. I am dropping the Kent farm as a proposed site.

Lex : What's the matter? Losing your touch?

Rickman : [Chuckles] No, I've just decided that Smallville really isn't worth the hassle.

Lex : Oh.

Rickman : Least I know where I'm not wanted.

Lex : Okay, then. Thanks for stopping by.

Rickman : Well, since you won, how 'bout it? Truce?

Rickman extends his hand to Lex.

Cut to Gas Station - Exterior. Clark stands in a phone booth, talking, as Kyle leans against the Kent's pickup truck.

Lex : [On the phone] Hello?

Clark : Lex, it's me.

Lex : What's going on?

Clark : I'm with Kyle. He wants to go public about Rickman.

Lex : No kidding. Wha-what does he know?

Clark : Enough to bring him down.

Lex : Alright, I'm coming to pick you up. Where are you?

Lex arrives in a black four-door sedan, which he parks near the gas pumps. Clark and Kyle exit the truck and walk over as Lex exits his car and speaks to them.

Lex : I called some friends at the Planet and the Inquisitor. Would you be willing to talk to them?

Kyle : I'll do what I have to, to stop him.

Lex : Get in. I have to fill up if we're going to Metropolis.

Clark : Thanks, Lex.

Clark and Kyle get into the car, and Lex swipes a credit card and lifts the pump. He clicks his remote, which locks the car doors.

Clark : Lex?

Lex begins to spray gasoline all over the exterior of the car.

Clark : What's going on?

Lex takes a few steps away from the car, lights a lighter, and tosses it onto the gasoline on the ground. The fire spreads to the car's exterior.

Kyle : Rickman's got to him!

As Lex watches, Clark tries to open the door, and failing, kicks it off the car. Clark rips open Kyle's door and tosses it away, and Clark and Kyle run. The car explodes, knocking Kyle to the ground. Clark picks Kyle up and runs toward the gas station's garage at super speed, disappearing.

Lex : have some explaining to do.

Rickman pulls up in a car, exits and speaks to Lex.

Rickman : What just happened?

Lex : I have my suspicions.

Rickman : Well I'd hate to think that you failed to get the job done.

Lex : Relax. Failing isn't something I do.

Rickman lifts a machine gun, wipes his prints from it, and hands it to Lex.

Rickman : Just in case.

Lex takes the gun and heads toward the garage as Rickman looks on.

Cut to Gas Station - Interior. Lex enters the garage where Clark and Kyle hide. Lex slowly searches for them.

Lex : I always knew you were keeping secrets from me, Clark...but I never thought they were this good.

Lex spots the injured Kyle and grabs him, lifting him and pushing him against a car.

Lex : Clark? You know that guy you're trying to protect? I'm going to shoot him now.

Clark emerges from his hiding place, behind a car across the garage.

Clark : Lex!

Lex : There you are.

Lex lets go of Kyle, who slides to the ground, apparently unconscious.

Clark : Don't do this. I'm your friend.

Lex : Oh, please. You think I don't see the way your parents look at me? The way half the town looks at me? You're no different. Friendship's a fairy tale, Clark. Respect and fear are the best you can hope for.

Clark : Rickman's doing this to you.

Lex : What if he did?

Clark : You hate Rickman!

Lex : You can learn a lot from someone you hate.

Lex opens fire on Clark. Clark twists and turns, dodging some of the bullets, but finally Clark turns his back as they begin to connect. Clark falls to the ground.

Lex stops firing, approaches Clark, kicks him onto his back, and aims the gun at Clark's chest. Clark grabs the gun away from Lex and kicks him, sending Lex flying into a set of shelves, knocking him unconscious.

Cut to Gas Station - Exterior. Rickman sits in his car, uneasy. He reaches in his coat pocket and pulls out a handgun, then exits the car. Kyle approaches from behind and grabs Rickman's shoulder and the hand holding the gun. The two grasp hands around the gun, their hands glowing green.

Kyle : Hello, Bob.

Rickman struggles, and his eyes glow green.

Cut to Gas Station - Interior. Clark rushes to the unconscious Lex, checking to see if he is hurt.

Clark : Lex!

Clark turns as he hears a gunshot from outside.

Cut to Gas Station - Exterior. Clark runs from the garage to find Kyle standing over Rickman's body.

Kyle : I always was the better salesman.

Clark looks from Kyle to the body, and then back.

Clark : Are you okay?

Kyle nods, and Clark nods back.

Kyle : I saw you get shot, Clark.

Clark : I...uh...

Kyle : Don't worry. Just don't hide in the woods like I did. You got a gift. Use it to do great things. I think I'll do the same with mine.

Cut to Kent Farm - Inside Clark's Home. Clark and Jonathan sit at the kitchen table, while Martha stands next to Clark. Jonathan has a newspaper with an article about Rickman's suicide. Clark has his shirt open and off the shoulder, exposing several red bruises.

Martha : I can't believe each one of these bruises was a bullet.

Clark hisses as she touches one of the bruises with a cloth.

Martha : Sorry.

Jonathan : Guess that answers that question.

Jonathan tosses the paper on the table.

Clark : It's weird...I get shot at and the bullets are fired by my best friend.

Clark pulls his shirt on. Martha and Jonathan exchange a quick look, and then Jonathan looks at Clark.

Jonathan : What do you think happened to Kyle?

Clark : I don't know, but I think he's out in the world making a difference now.

At the sound of a knock and a door opening, Lana enters the room.

Lana : Hi, I, uh, hope I'm not interrupting.

Jonathan stands.

Clark : No. Come on in.

Jonathan : We'll, uh, we'll be outside.

Jonathan and Martha leave. Clark walks to stand next to Lana.

Clark : I didn't know if we were still talking.

Lana : I'm not sure what happened with Kyle, and it's really not important. I think our friendship's worth more than one argument.

Clark : Yeah, me too.

Clark and Lana exchange smiles.

Clark : You know, I thought we were done there for a while.

Lana : You and me are going to be friends for a very long time. We may have our ups and downs, but that's just the way it works.

Clark smiles again.

Lana : Did Chloe really kiss you?

Clark's smile fades to a look of mild embarrassment.

Cut to Kent Farm - Barn Loft. Lex climbs the stairs to find Clark sitting on a trunk near his telescope. The morning star shines in the loft's opening.

Lex : Clark.

Clark : Hey.

Clark turns and stands as Lex approaches him.

Lex : You can tell your dad I talked to my lawyers. Because of Rickman's untimely demise...they're not expanding. They ripped up the contract.

Clark : Thanks.

Lex : Hey, what are friends for?

Clark : How you feeling?

Lex : I still don't remember what happened. Are you sure I didn't hurt you?

Clark pats his chest, and Lex smiles slightly, then moves to look out at the sky through the loft's opening.

Lex : I wonder where Kyle is now?

Clark moves to stand next to Lex, the telescope separating them.

Clark : I don't know. It's still strange to think that he and Rickman were once best friends. [Turns to Lex] Think we'll ever end up like that?

Lex looks at Clark.

Lex : Trust me, Clark. Our friendship is going to be the stuff of legends.

Lex smiles slightly, and Clark smiles back. The two turn and gaze out at the morning sky.


Ecrit par stella56 
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