scene vi

"Well, here it is," said the Kidder, as he walked into this hideout and the lights came on. "Whaddaya think?"

"Not bad. I trust this isn't everything? It looks a lot like the living room in your apartment."

"Of course not. But I do like to be comfortable, wherever I happen to be. This place has all the conveniences of home, plus the added benefit of and advanced technologies laboratory, a treasure vault, an arsenal room, and an art studio. Plus the whole place is practically invulnerable, and without the proper clearance, impregnable. It can withstand any sort of conventional military attacks, from a revolver to a nuclear warhead. It is not only defensive, but offensive. There is hidden weaponry all around the outside which can be controlled remotely from in here, and brought to bear on any attackers. The place is lead-lined, and I do have a bit of kryptonite at my disposal. Not that I really need all this stuff. The entire place is so well hidden, no one who I don't intend to know about it has much chance of ever finding it. Of course, all this is not quite so big or fancy as my place in Gotham, but it serves its purpose admirably. Feel free to look around."

Tempus was already doing so. "Yes. Yes, this should do nicely. Perhaps sometime you can design a place like this for me. I really must compliment you, this is astonishingly well designed. I can tell it is going to be a great pleasure working with you."

"Thank you. Well, I've been lucky in life. Now, let's go to my lab, I'll show you my time machine."

"Ah, so you do have one. Excellent."

Tempus followed the Kidder through a door that slid open at his approach. "Here it is," said Kidder, pointing to something standing in the middle of the room.

"What, that? That police box? Are you serious?" Tempus was more than a little skeptical.

"It's bigger than it looks. Do you recognize it?"

"No. Should I?"

"There's an old British TV series called Doctor Who. It involved a time traveller from another planet who used a time machine called a tardis- that's 'time and relative dimensions in space.' It had a chameleon circuit to disguise it as whatever would be a good disguise where and when he might go, but his was stuck in that shape. It had dimensional stabilizers that allowed the inside to be far larger than the outside."

"And this has something like that?"

"No, it hasn't. I thought if I was going to build a time machine, I'd want to have some fun with it, maybe model it after something from science fiction, such as Doctor Who. So I got ahold of the box you see before you, but I couldn't quite manage to create any dimensional stabilizers. But what I could make was a temporal doorway not unlike the 'windows' they use in the future. One of these doorways is built into the doorframe of this police box. I built a control room for the time machine, and stashed it away in another time, millennia in the past. I travelled to lots of different times through one big temporal doorway, and built lots of rooms in each time- all in the very distant past, all located in the same space this little base of mine currently occupies..."

"Wouldn't you eventually have to remove each room, in order for them to occupy the same space?"

"Well, to an extent, yes. I mean, there's a lot of space here, and not all the rooms are in the same exact space. But the ones that are do eventually have to be disassembled to make room for other rooms in other times. But they're separated by centuries, mind, and have centuries in which to exist. I don't need any room nearly that long. I'm not going to visit them that often in my little lifetime. Besides, I can always go to a room moments after I previously left it on my last trip there. Or then."

"Of course. Do go on."

"Thank you. Anyway, these are just the disconnected rooms of the time 'ship,' which can be reached from the control room, which itself can be reached by entering the box here, so that walking into this looks pretty much the same as it would to us if we were walking into the real- that is, the fictional- tardis; or returning from any room that has been reached from the control room. Moving about from room to room is of itself travelling through time, as each doorway is a temporal doorway, of course. However, that is not how the main bit of time travel is done, because if it were, there would be very few destinations from which to choose, and most of them dreadfully uninteresting and pointless. Rather, from the control room, this box can be transported to the same point in space, in pretty much any time we want. And then all we have to do is go out the doorway we came into the control room, walk out of the box in whatever time it has been transported to."

"This of course assumes that this place of yours is never discovered."

"Of course, I have security and surveillance set up in all the rooms in the past, just as I do here and now. If anyone gets anywhere near here, I will be alerted. And obviously, I'll have plenty of time to go back anytime I want in plenty of time to prevent anyone stumbling into anything they shouldn't stumble into. One can assume, since we're standing here talking, that this place has in fact never been discovered at any point in the past. However, you are right if you are concerned about the future. I have no way of realistically and completely guaranteeing that this place will not have been discovered by whatever time we want to travel to in the future. We can but hope. Whatever, we will be able to monitor the exterior of the box from the control room when the box gets when we send it. We will not be in that time until we step out of the box, which we won't actually be in. We'll be safely secure in the control room in its guaranteed-undiscovered time in the distant past. And, upon monitoring whatever's outside the box when it arrives in the future, if all looks in order, we can exit into that time with full confidence. If we have any reason to suspect trouble, we need only transport the box back to the now. After that, if we want, we can send it on shorter jumps into the future and determine when any trouble might have manifested, and go just far enough then to prevent the trouble from forming."

"Ingenious. The only thing I'm still not sure of is how we get Superman here. I presume you won't want him to know where here is, later."

Kidder smiled. "Getting him here is no problem at all. You'll invite him to meet with you somewhere private. Alone. It's easy enough to insure that he comes alone."

"Oh, of course. Just tell him that I have a bomb planted somewhere, and I won't let him know where unless he does come alone. Or some such simple ploy."

"Yes. By now, of course, Lane and Kent will have realized someone on the outside helped you, so he won't be expecting you to be alone..."

"Speaking of Lane, how do we prevent her from finding out where he's going? She really can be quite meddlesome, especially when he tells her not to be. Absolutely typical- surest way to get someone to follow you is to tell them not to."

"Of course. But it's painfully easy to have someone kidnap her. I'll see to that. Someone will kidnap her, and keep her locked up and drugged somewhere out of the way, just until we're done. Now, as I was saying, he comes to meet you. He expects someone else to be there, of course, but he might not be expecting me, and he won't be expecting kryptonite. He never does, really, until it's too late."

"Yes." Tempus appeared about to comment on just how stupid he has to be to constantly be surprised by his enemies' use of kryptonite against him, but instead something else occurred to him, and he said, "Question?"

"I know what you're thinking," said the Kidder. "If we can get him alone, surprise him, and we have kryptonite, why don't we just kill him."

"The thought does cross my mind."

"The answer is that I don't want to kill him. I don't remember if I've told you this yet, but I like super-heroes, even if they don't like me. Oh, they can be excruciatingly boring, I'll grant you that. And they do so love to foil the good times folks like us try to have. But there is a sane part of me, a part that feels safer with them out there doing what they do. A part that enjoys justice. Then there's the part that says, Hey, look, they're eliminating the competition! And there's the part that enjoys the game. And there's the part-"

"Enough! I get it."

"Good. But understand this: I am very capable of complete insanity when I have to be. I am capable of killing and hurting when I have reason to do. I am not to be crossed. I like you. I hope we can be friends and work together once in a while. But I'm not stupid, and I'm not blind. Even when my guard seems to be down, it never is. And I am well aware of the natures of the friends I keep. I don't trust them implicitly, and I always keep an eye on them. And I am always prepared to deal with them on whatever terms they necessitate. This is a friendly warning. I have shown you a small portion of that of which I am capable. I think you have already an appreciation for my intellect."

"Oh, I do. Really, I'm hurt. Have I given you any reason to suspect I would even consider-"

"No. But I know who you are."


"And this little speech is just to save time and energy. If you tried to cross me, you would fail, and in so doing, you would have lost time and an ally, and very possibly screw up the plan. This talk makes the chances of your trying any such thing less likely. If you don't try anything, you save time and an ally and we may end up accomplishing our modest little goal."

Tempus sighed. "Very well. I swear, I won't try and cross you, and I won't try and kill Superman. Or Lois Lane, or anyone. Are you quite satisfied?"

The Kidder grinned. "I'm ecstatic. And now, my friend, let us grab a bite to eat in the spacious kitchen, and discuss the details of the plan..."

scene vii