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Chapter 18

About the same time a delivery man dressed in the uniform of a continental sxpress driver arrived at the front desk of Metropolis Electric. "Package for Mr. Mahogany!" the driver announced, holding out an electronic key pad and a thick envelope. The desk clerk looked up, annoyed, checked the address, signed for the package and tossed it in a cart under the desk, waiting to be taken to the mail room. The driver quickly left. A while later the mail boy came to the desk with the outgoing cart and took the one from underneath the desk down to the mail room. It was the end of shift so the cart was pushed into the corner. Nothing was marked urgent, so it would wait until tomorrow. When the employees were all gone one of the packages began to tremble. After a few moments a hole appeared in its side and one hundred good sized insects poured out, scurried up the side of the mail cart, spread their wings and soared away, staying close to the ceiling where the scanning devices and the monitoring cameras wouldn't see them. They made their way to a vault area, and huddled around a vent that led to the vault area.
Back in the mail room the package they had arrived in began to smolder and suddenly burst into flames. Soon the entire mail room was filled with acidic smoke that spread through the corridors! Alarms began to go off everywhere. Immediately the insects went into action! They formed a circle on the grate leading into the vent and tiny lasers fired up. Under the cover of the smoke they cut a hole in the grate just big enough for them to fit through, and quickly disappeared into it. They made their way through the duct work to a certain point and again cut another hole. The smoke from the fire made it impossible for any detection to report their activity!
Finally, they reached a fiber optic cable coming from the vault, surrounded it, and quickly cut away its outer cover. Then they became inactive. They had gotten where they wanted to be. Now, their purpose was to wait until the confusion died down, then they would continue with their efforts.
In short order the fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. "Another disgruntled customer!" one of them muttered as they lugged their equipment out of the building.
"Sure enough of them lately!" one of the firemen remarked.
When everything quieted down again the insects again began to move. They positioned themselves around the fiber optic cable, then with perfect precision one of them would cut one end of a filament while another one cut the other end, and they quickly fed it into one of their companions. The data coming through the cable was interrupted for such a short period of time that the monitoring computer never realized something was happening! In a very short time all of the information coming through the cable was being recorded by the phony insects! They had complete control of the system guarding the vault! Happily they sent a signal to their creator that they had accomplished their purpose. In an office complex some miles away Lex Luthor smiled. "Perfect!" he remarked.
"Now we simply let them record everything for twenty four hours and we'll be set to go. When we're ready they'll start playing back and though every alarm in the vault will be going off like crazy those on the outside will be receiving happy little signals that everything is just fine!"
"You're a genius Mr. Luthor!" one of his men commented.
"Yes, I am, aren't I?" Luthor replied.
Kitty smiled from her place on the couch and patted her tummy. "Daddy's gonna get 'em again, sweetie!" Everybody laughed and Kitty grimaced. "Boy!" she remarked, "Whey they're this small should you be able to feel their kicks like that? This kid is really energetic!"
Luthor smiled. "Takes after its father!" he remarked.
Again everybody laughed. Several days went by. ships going back and forth on the Metropolis River never noticed that something very large was passing under old Russian nuclear submarine that had been refitted with some very special equipment. It came to a certain place in the river bottom and settled down. Inside Lex Luthor checked some readings then nodded to one of his men. A metal tunnel extended from the side of the sub and pushed into the mud of the river bank. Mechanical arms began to dig into the mud. It was pulled into the tunnel and pumped out through a hole as more metal sections were extended. The tunnel extended deeper and deeper into the riverbank. After a time the tunnel stopped digging sideways and started digging upward. In less than three hours it reached a solid concrete foundation. Air began to be pumped into the tunnel. In a short time it was dry. Mechanical carts brought in strange looking equipment which they sat up, a foam began to be sprayed on the concrete and slowly but ever so surely it began to dissolve, exposing steel reinforcement bars and wires. Mechanical arms clamped connectors to the wires, ran wires around the excavation and clamped to the other end of the wire, then cut it. When the wires were safely removed, the metal bars were cut. Finally above the gaping hole all that remained was a sheet of metal! Lex Luthor looked at his monitoring screens and smiled. "We're all set!" he remarked.
"I'd like to see their faces," one of Lex's men commented, "when they find all this after we're gone! They probably still won't be able to figure out how we did it!"
"They haven't got a prayer!" Luthor answered. "They might get the general idea, but they'll never be able to figure out my formula that allows us to get through the concrete with virtual silence! That's what will always give us an edge! They're always two steps behind me!" His henchman smiled knowing Luthor was absolutely right. Everybody was always two steps behind him, and as long as they played by his rules they would be, too, and, very rich! Luthor always took care of his people. That's why none of them ever thought of trying to collect the rewards for him. It was far more profitable to be with him! And nobody wanted to be against him!

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