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As the movie began Gus was seeking an extension of unemployment benefits. Gus had been generally unsuccessful in searching for work. Also when he did find work Gus usually wound up getting fired right away, including at a fast food restaurant where he had been fired 28 minutes after getting hired. The agent he was dealing with decided he was no longer eligible for benefits. Borrowing a matchbook from someone else waiting in line he saw an advertisement for a computer programming school and decided to try his luck there.
At the school Gus was found to be a genius level programmer. After graduation he began work for Webscoe Industries. He wasn't happy with the pay, and talking with another employee he learned that large companies like Webster had fractions of cents floating around. At work he managed to hack his way into the financial systems and managed toredirect all those fraction of cents into his payroll account. The next payday Gus was given a second check for over $80,000.
Gus, being a complete and utter moron, was unable to keep from drawing attention to himself. As a result company owner Ross Webster quickly discovered he was behind the over $80,000 that had recently gone missing. Seeing that Gus could be very useful for his programming abilities he did not have Gus arrested, but instead began using his abilities to further his own goals.
One of the first things Webster had Gus do was go to Smallville and use the computer there. He would get the security guard Brad Wilson drunk and get the keys for the computer. Gus would hack into the weather satellite called the Vulcan Satellite to cause severe storms in Colombia in order to damage their coffee crop. He was successful in creating large, damaging storms. However Superman intervened, greatly limiting the amount of damage that the storms did to the country and saving a good portion of the coffee crop.
Deciding Superman had to be eliminated Webster then had Gus lock on to a floating chunk of Kryptonite in deep space with the satellite and scan it to see what it was composed of so that Webster could synthesize artificial Kryptonite to kill Superman. When the computers reported an unknown element Gus replaced it with tar, and had the people in Webster's labs create the artificial Kryptonite. Traveling to Smallville, Gus was able to give Superman the Kryptonite, which didn't kill him but caused Superman to undergo personality shifts that turned him dark and evil.
With Superman out of the way Webster then had Gus program all the oil rigs in the world to cease production, and all oil tankers to gather at a spot in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. In payment Gus showed them his designs for a supercomputer that no one else, not even IBM, had built and insisted Webster build it for him.
Webster's girlfriend Lorelei Ambrosia was able to convince Superman to disable the one tanker that disobeyed the orders. These moves caused an energy crisis throughout the world. Sitting in a cafe Gus saw the results his actions were having on regular people, and began to feel uneasy with his work.
After Superman's good side won out over his evil side Superman went to the southwest US in pursuit of Webster. Webster had the computer shoot Superman with a Kryptonite beam - this time they had the mixture right and the beam nearly killed Superman. Not wanting to be famous for ending Superman's life, Gus first took out the master key that provided the computer with power. When Webster tried to force Gus to give him the key back Gus swallowed the key. However the computer rerouted the connection, bringing itself back on line and resuming the Kryptonite beam. Gus then attacked the emitter with a fire axe, taking it out. The computer used a beam to force him against a wall.
Superman was able to defeat the computer using a bottle of acid which ate through the computer's internal components, destroying the computer. He rescued Gus and flew him away before the police arrived to arrest Webster, his sister Vera, and his girlfriend. Landing at a coal mine Superman recommended that the yard give Gus a job, however Gus decided to walk back to the nearest bus terminal, nine or ten miles away.
In an initial draft of the movie Superman III Gus Gorman was intended to be a disguise for Brainiac so that he could operate freely among humans. Under the Gus persona he committed his evil deeds with the supercomputer that appeared in the film. The producers rejected that idea, and Gus was instead used as comic relief in the finished film.