Batman, the Flash, Wonder Woman, and the rest lay sprawled about the scarred earth, flung into their various positions by the "thing" that was currently flicking Superman about like he was a pesky insect--a mosquito, not even a fly.

"Worthless aliens. Useless freaks," Lex Luthor said as he eyes the screen disdainfully. "Mercy! Ready the jet."

"Where to, sir?"

"SL 666."

"Yes, sir."

Lex stood and straightened out his jacket. "Let a real freak show you how it's done," he said to the silent screen.

Two days ago, the "thing" had shown up from outer space. Lex stuck with "thing" because its classification was unclear: sometimes it seemed like a robot, then it seemed like a plant, then maybe a multi-tentacled sentient lifeform...all he was sure of was that it was alien, and it was beating the shit out of all earth's "super" defenders. Which was just the reason why he kept insisting earth shouldn't leave its defense totally to a group of self-appointed, tights-wearing narcissists who operated under the delusion that good always wins. It set them up--the entire world up--for a fall when good didn't win.

Short-sighted fools.

"Plane's ready, boss."

He and his team of female androids (and sadly it had taken many decades of dealing with psychotic, homicidal women to get the message that the only women he should trust were the ones he himself created) landed briefly at Secret Laboratory 666 before taking off again to the battle site. Where poor Superman was still the only superhero able to move--and he was moving poorly, getting up slower and slower after each swat down. Flying erratically, the battered "defender of the universe" wobbled to the ground beside him.

"What are you doing here, Luthor?"

"You have a run in your tights, and you know how the press is about wardrobe malfunctions," Lex said as he eagerly set up his super-destructor. God, this was going to be way better than a computer simulation.

"Luthor, you can't stop this thing."

Hmm. Superman called it "thing," too. And he knew most of the known galactic languages. "Says who? Just because the super-duper Justice League can't handle it, no one can? And you have the audacity to call me arrogant." He adjusted a capacitor and tweaked the nuclear-kryptonite mix. Wouldn't do at all to accidentally kill Superman. After all, whom would he gloat to?

"Lex, please."

Oh, no. They definitely weren't going there. "Once this beam hits the thing, I need you to punch a hole straight through the main trunk, body, whatever the hell it is. Think you got that much juice left in you?"

"Lex," the caped man said sadly, his face gray with fatigue.

"Fuck off, Superman." Must think it was the end of the world if he was willing to... Fuck the sacrificial, "I'm dying" confession. Stupid alien. "Get ready to fly, you bastard."

The ray struck the thing. Superman struck the thing. The thing exploded and Lex had to duck under Mercy to avoid the thingy chunks.

"All right there, boss?" Mercy asked as she removed herself from him and offered a hand up.

"Just peachy." He looked around at the destruction. He could have condos up in maybe six months. Four if he cut the usual corners--and made sure the nuclear fallout was properly neutralized. However, if he started building and the League of Incompetent Gentlemen (and Ladies) noticed the high radiation, they might do the cleanup for him. Millions saved right there. Probably enough to start working on his super-destructor 2.0. After all, it paid to stay ahead of the competition.

He walked to where the Batman lay and kicked him lightly in the ribs. There was a satisfying "umph" from the man, so Lex bent down and opened up compartment after compartment on the utility belt, pocketing certain interesting-looking items, until he came across a communicator. "Yo, big, green Martian, I know it's mating season or whatever, but you need to pull your oh-so-chic vibrant blue panties up from around your knees and get back here. Your chums got their asses kicked and are in need of some of your tender, loving care."

The Martian Manhunter appeared in a mist, then solidified. "What has happened here, Lex Luthor?"

Lex shrugged. "Dumb, stupid earthling saved the day. Go fig." He signaled his team of fembots and headed back to Metropolis.


The next day's Daily Planet:


By Clark Kent

February 14, 2035. Metropolis, KS. Although this paper and this reporter have had our differences with business tycoon Lex Luthor, I would like to be the first to thank him for his daring rescue of the planet....

Lex Luthor smiled as he finished the article. Well, well. Old dog. New tricks.

"Happy Valentine's Day to you, too, Superman."

Sipping his coffee, he tossed the paper into a drawer and went back to plotting world domination. Because, you know, everyone needs a hobby.


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