DC2 Nemesis Prologue: Superman Mar 11, 2009 15:49:37 GMT -5
Post by Charlie on Mar 11, 2009 15:49:37 GMT -5
She was lonely. It was always dark, where she lived. The Sun never came up on the dark side of the moon. So here she was. Living her life. Alone. A sentry for something else, that whispered to her, so far from the Earth, from her home in Metropolis. How long had it been now? Could have been centuries, the days didn’t really make sense here. There was only the night. Constant. Unforgiving. She spoke out loud, as if the lack of oxygen would let her, but nothing came. But words came into her head. Whispers, like tentacles, touching her mind. She opened her hand, revealing the pulsating purple rock that had embedded itself underneath her skin, and then looked out to the darkness of the void. All this was her master’s. All this was what he was coming back for. All this would soon die. The whispers became louder. In the silence, it was all she could focus on. And that’s what she did. And then she knew what she had to do…
Written by Charlie Wilkins
Cover by SamanthaDoodles (click her name to view her gallery)
Edited by David Charlton
Written by Charlie Wilkins
Cover by SamanthaDoodles (click her name to view her gallery)
Edited by David Charlton
Superman glided over the city like an angel, his cape fluttering behind him, his arms outstretched at his sides, a smile on his face. This was a day like any other in Metropolis: the sun was shining, the streets were loud with the day-to-day business of the world, and there was no trouble. No super villains. No crime. No accidents. No one ran out into the road for whatever reasons people run out into traffic. Life was good. He soared above it all, and enjoyed the quiet time.
So that’s what Superman did. He flew. He flew like he did every day, in-between space and the world below, just within ear shot of every single man, woman and child on Earth, and he loved it. He loved the tranquillity of space above, which he could watch if he spun and flew on his back, as it were. And he loved the below, something he never grew tired of. He’d flown this route a hundred times, and he thought he’d seen everything the world had to offer.
Then the world exploded in his mind. He reeled forward, clutching his skull as pain pulsated and throbbed inside his cranium, and, pushing away the agony, he looked up at space, and saw a woman hurtle toward him, moving faster than anyone or thing he’d seen before. Her hands were glowing bright purple, pulsating energy into the darkness behind her, the power crackling at her finger tips. She pulled back her fist to punch him, and then unleashed the blow. He caught it in his left hand and looked at her sternly.
“Stop. What’s going on here?”
The pain didn’t subside. The woman opened up her hand and energy whipped down through her flesh and onto the Man of Steel’s uniform, which peeled at the exposure. He grunted, and then flicked her in the chest sending her flying back into space. He pulled back, and took a breath. His flesh was scorched. Reddened at where that energy had touched him. He looked towards the woman, who was approaching once more. Both hands came at him this time, and he spun to dodge, removing his cape and spinning it around her like a cocoon, sealing her up.
“I won’t fight you unless I know why. I’m not a punching bag, and I’m not your enemy. Explain yourself.”
“Superman,” she said, “you are going to die. I’m just hastening the process.” She writhed inside the cape, but couldn’t escape. Superman didn’t flinch.
“English means you know Earth. Your accent is Metropolite, I’d recognise it anywhere. Your DNA is human, or a very good copy of human. And you know me. The only thing that I don’t understand is that rock in your hand, and the tendrils it’s laid in your body. That can’t be painless.”
“No, I don’t think so. Tell me what you want. Why you’ve attacked me.”
“Because it’s been deemed so,” she said, “because my master demands it.”
“Master? Darkseid? That rock is your power source, I assume? That could be God technology. What are you, a relic of the Apokolips war? Your clothes are coated in moon dust, I can tell that by a quick scan. How long have you been waiting there?”
“My master is more! Everything! Coming from beneath the world and demanding what is rightly his.”
“A cosmic fascist with designs on Earth. Excuse me if I’m not surprised by this revelation. Now, we’re going to go to S.T.A.R. Labs, and you’re going to--”
She looked him in the eye, and a flash of purple energy shot out, causing Superman to clutch his face immediately. Seizing the opportunity, the woman pulled herself free, and headed down to Earth; within seconds, she was gone, moving as fast as she had minutes previously.
Superman blinked, again and again, until his vision returned. “Who the heck was that?”
Reality distorted around her as she landed, the rock in her hand going to work again. An illusion was weaved in close proximity to her. Instead of seeing the withered, malnourished, muscle-atrophied woman that she was, they saw whatever would make them not care, whatever would make them not bat an eye lid. She breathed in the oxygen, and it tasted good in her lungs. It had been so long since her body needed to survive in these conditions, and as she walked, her eyes darting everywhere, she began to remember the world, and her life before. Snippets of memory filled her, and then--
“You think that illusion works against me?”
She turned around, only to be knocked straight out by a punch to the face. Darkness, once the realm that comforted her when she met it, didn’t this time. Instead, the whispers finally fell silent…
Superman picked her up, and checked her pulse. He hadn’t hit her too hard, just enough measured pressure to take the fight out of her. She was tough, that rock on her hand was doing things he’d never seen before, and she was just the pilot fish to this whole affair.
“Whatever is it, it’s tied into her nervous system. We’re having to keep her sedated, because that thing is fighting us tooth and nail to wake her up,” said Ray Palmer, as he looked over to Superman. S.T.A.R. Labs Metropolis was the best place to be right now, and with his Justice League connections, Superman had called in as many experts as he could. “As for your idea of it being God technology? No, keeping in mind the schematics provided by Batman of the Mother Box in his possession, this is unlike any New God tech we’ve ever seen. It’s completely fused into her flesh, and thin strands are connecting themselves to her nervous systems… I could go in there with a laser, cut them off, but that’s something I want to use as a last option. So right now, removing it--”
“Would cause immeasurable harm to her.”
“Yes, Superman, she could die, suffer extreme brain damage, or something else entirely. We can’t be sure.”
“Maybe we could try to communicate with it.”
“What do you mean?”
Superman rubbed the back of his head and exhaled slowly, before continuing his thought: “It’s a parasite, but it’s got its hooks into her pretty solidly. There has to be a consciousness there, and if we can connect with it, maybe we can learn something about it. Or her.”
“I’ll call in J’onn, and we’ll keep our eyes on her, but right now, all we can do is wait,” said Ray. He looked through the clipboard of energy readings and signals that they’d already recorded, and frowned. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine, Ray, I’ll come back later, keep me informed.”
With that Superman rose up off the floor, and flew out of the building, and again, into the higher atmosphere. He was about to head back to where he’d been ambushed, to scan the area for anomalies, when he looked over to the Daily Planet, and had a change of heart. He put a bit of after burn on, became nothing but a blur and then nothing else, and landed inside the stairwell, and changed into his civilian identity.
Clark Kent emerged into the bullpen, and saw Perry White talking to someone in his office. Jimmy Olsen was sitting at a computer terminal, uploading photos. “What’s going on, Jim?”
“Uhh, hey, CK!” Jimmy closed the window he was on, the photos of his girlfriend taken in the park vanishing into nothingness as he did so, and swivelled around in his chair. “Oh, the Chief is talking to someone from Wayne Entertainment, they’re proposing some deal or something. Not that I was listening when I took in their coffee.” He let out a laugh, and then looked around. “Don’t tell anyone I told you that.”
“You have my word.”
“Awesome, so, what you been up to all afternoon? Did you see the satellite photo Lois ‘acquired’? Superman battling some supervillain over Everest?”
Everest?, thought Clark, she must have hit me harder than I guessed.
“I don’t know how she does it.”
“She has friends in all kinds of places, Jim. All kinds of dirt too. You know what they say--”
“--I can guess, Smallville. But you don’t get a Pulitzer by playing it safe. You should know that.” Lois Lane smiled as she strutted over to the two men, who were now lurking near Perry’s door. “You as interested as I am on what’s going on behind closed doors?”
Clark didn’t pry with his super-hearing, as easy as it would be to do so. He tended to focus on the outside when he was in the Daily Planet, keeping up with the world. If he needed to know something, he’d be told, or he’d find out like a good investigative journalist.
“Yeah, Lois, we’re curious,” said Jimmy, “I was just telling CK that it’s the guy who runs WE; they’re trying to set something up.”
“Alright, who here wants one hell of a job?”
Lois, Clark and Jimmy all span around as Perry White emerged from his office, flanked by the Director General of Wayne Entertainment. Clark and Lois both put their hands up. Perry nodded. “Kent, you’re onboard. Thanks for volunteering.”
“Wait, Chief, what about me? I volunteered too!”
“You, Lois Lane, have two things going against you for this vague and unsatisfying task. First, you called me Chief. What have I said, Lane? What. Have. I. Said? And second, you’re currently working on a series of exposes on something else or another. You’re holding yourself back with your relentlessness. I have said this before.” He turned to Clark. “Kent, this is Brian Fowler, Director General of WE’s television arm. We have an interesting proposition, and it could get messy. Come into my office, we’ll talk it over.”
“Uh, sure, Mr White.”
“Oh, for the love of Pete, call me Perry…”
The door closed behind Fowler and Kent, and Perry sat in his chair. “Brian, tell Kent here what we’ve been talking about.”
“Hey, Clark, I adore your articles, I’m glad I’ve finally been able to meet you,” Fowler took Kent’s hand and shook it vigorously. “When Bruce Wayne was alive, he used to come down to Metropolis, where most of the media Entertainment wing of the company resides, and he used to talk to me about what he wanted the company to do. I miss our chats, I do indeed, but what he said to me really sticks in my memory. He said, ‘Never hold back. Never let the story escape you. Do what you have to do, no matter what, to reveal the truth.’.”
“Amen to that,” whispered Perry.
“Anyway, we have an incredible opportunity here. Have you heard of a group called ‘the Circle’?”
“The religious group? They do a lot of charity work, have a lot of famous faces in their ranks, but no one really knows much about them.” The Circle? Both Katar and Diana had mentioned them to him. And nothing about that made Clark feel comfortable. “What of them?”
“We want you to interview Gareth Shandling, the head of the group. No-holds barred stuff, get the meat of the story, tear him apart, as it were.”
“Why? We don’t get the Pope on the front page and pick apart Catholicism. Isn’t this a bit much?”
“People have been disappearing. People connected to this group. Apparently, there are several shady details we’re not privy to. We want to find them out. Expose them. I mean, if this group is responsible for some heavy stuff, we want them held accountable.”
“Why now? Why us?”
Brian looked troubled for a moment, his brow creasing at the questions. “Ok, you know what? I’ll put my hands up. I didn’t want this coming out, but hell, I have an agenda.” He sighed. “My niece was a member… Louise…. she enjoyed it. They did good work, but some of their scripture was weird. She emailed me some photos she took of their books, and the stuff… well,” Brian typed something into his laptop, and pointed it at Clark. “Have a look for yourself.”
In the Darkness of the Black Sun, Our truths will be revealed. Exposed to One Another, Our souls, pure for the first time. With sacrifice, and wanting, and willing, We become better selves. We become what We were supposed to be. Before the spark. Before the moment of Creation, lied to Us, confounded, We become what We were supposed to be. Only through the Darkness, only through He, and what is coming, and what We will become.
“What was it you were saying?” asked Clark. “‘Heavy’? You weren’t lying. So… I don’t understand this though, how did you set it up?”
“They came to us,” said Brian. “My niece was discovered stabbed a dozen times. They never found the killer. You should have heard some of the things the police found out from her… what did they call them? Her… ‘Group Leaders’. They said she was impure. Sinful. For a new age group they were talking some biblical-style harshness. There was no evidence linking them to the crime, but they…” He took a moment, his voice thick, and Perry and Clark waited patiently. “They said she had it coming. And with all the forensic work, they still couldn’t find a thing. And so I’ve been at them. I’ve got lawsuits piling on my desk, and yeah, I’ve got a vendetta, but we need this. I need this. I want to take them down. But the weird thing is, they’ve come to us. They want to show they’ve got nothing to hide, so they offered us their Group Leaders for an on-air interview. I told them no. Give us Shandling. Give us who we want. The head honcho. And he is the head honcho, because this religion? This did not develop over thousands of years, this is a fad, this is something dirty and pervasive and it’s on our door step. I’m not against religion, nothing against it at all, but these people… I want the truth, Kent.”
Kent nodded slowly, and turned to his Editor-In-Chief. “Perry?”
“We’ve got the greenlight from Lucius Fox. I’ve got no problem. This is a TV thing, Kent, you think you can handle the bright lights?”
“Sure thing, Perry, I’ll do some research, and work up something. But Brian, I think you need to take a step back from this.”
Brian moved back, a surprised half smile on his face. “Excuse me?”
“You’re too involved in this. You’re going to do something later that you might regret. I understand why you’re doing this, but you don’t want to ruin this chance because of your emotions. I don’t mean to be rude, but do you understand me?”
“I… sure. You’re right, Clark, I didn’t expect to hear that from you, but you’re right. Ok, I’m going to get moving on getting this organised. They gave us Shandling, no holds barred. He’s a wily one, so… I don’t know. You’ve thrown me, haha. I’ll call you later Perry, we’ll talk, alright?”
Perry nodded, and watched Brian leave. “I don’t like this.”
Perry shook his head. “Vendetta? The man thinks they killed his family, his blood, wouldn’t you do the same in his position? No. They’re giving us their main man on a platter. We could say all kinds of things. And inevitably, they’ll ask to see the questions before hand, they’ll want this to be scripted. This is how it works. So we need to one up them. They’ll have answers for everything. So we need to know how they’re going to react. Journalism, Clark. Who would have thought it?”
“I’ll get to work on this straight away. My articles for the next five days are in your inbox, I had some free time this morning, so I made sure I was ahead.”
“Your features on Metropolis are very popular, Clark,” said Perry, “and you’re one of my most reliable guys. Watch your back.”
“Always,” replied Clark, before he himself left the office.
“What was that, Smallville?” asked Lois, rushing over to her partner, “what’s going on?”
“A scoop,” said Clark, grabbing his coat.
The farm was quiet. Clark sat in front of his childhood home, and thought of the past. He thought about, whenever he was nervous, or upset, he would come home and talk to his father. That wasn’t possible anymore. But he had his memories, and Jonathan Kent would live on there. He’d never forget his father. But he wasn’t here to loiter in the past. He had things to do, and this was just one of them.
Kara Zor-El landed quietly in front of him, and he looked up, and smiled. “Hey, Kal, are you ok?”
“I’m fine, Kara. You’re flying keeps improving, I didn’t hear you go against the thermals this time.”
“I learn from the best,” she said, smiling. “Can I sit down?”
“Of course, come on over,” he shimmied over in his seat, and patted the cushion, then closed his eyes. “I come here to think. I know Ma sold the farm but she sold it to a friend of mine. She laughed when I told her… so you got my message?”
“Yes, Ma told me you wanted me to watch Metropolis in a few days for a couple hours whilst you’re indisposed. It’s cool, I don’t mind. What’s happening?”
“I won’t be able to run out of something, so I want to make sure the city is safe. If you’re willing, I’d really like it you would help me with that.”
“You have to ask?” she giggled. “Is there anything else?”
“No, just wanted to make sure you were ok with it.”
“Awesome,” she replied. She hugged his arm, and then looked around. “Race you to the Fortress? I have some new CDs and I think Kelex would really not appreciate them at all.”
Clark Kent flew into the house, changed into his costume and was outside before a human being could blink.
“What took you so long?”
Kara Zor-El was off in an instant and Kal-El followed before she could get far.
“It’s taken us a few days, but we’ve got some readings on her abilities. We’re calling her ‘Black Rock’, for, well, obvious reasons, and her powers: energy manipulation linked to her central nervous system… we can’t disconnect it without fear of burning her out. We’ve got Niles Caulder coming in tomorrow for some alternate scientific approaches, but still…” The Atom trailed off, and then looked back over to Superman. “She’s lucid. Power dampeners are online; we’re monitoring the energy fluctuations emitted from the rock implanted on her person. Readings are nominal,” he typed more information into the console he was positioned at. Beside him was J’onn J’onzz, scanning the mind of the restrained villain.
“I have contact.” J’onn looked to Ray, and then down to the girl.
“He… is… coming…” the woman spoke slowly, each word a laborious effort. “My master… from beyond… the stars… from beyond… creation… tunnelling… up… through… reality…”
“Who is your master?” Superman walked into the room. “How am I supposed to believe your threats when you don’t give any basis to them?”
The woman smiled. “Your… cousin… will die… first.”
Superman’s face darkened. “No. She won’t.”
Clark Kent rearranged his tie, careful not to ruffle his microphone. He looked over to Perry White, who was standing next to Brian Fowler, and then down at his notes. They were more for the producer’s sake than his own, he remembered every word of every sentence of everything he ever wrote, but to come into this looking unprepared made him look weak. He flicked through the pages and then handed the clipboard over to Perry White, who came over looking nervous. “They’re in the building. He has an entourage. The world we live in, eh, Kent?”
“Completely,” replied Clark. He’d never enjoyed television assignments. It meant the world was without Superman. At press conferences he could stumble out in a hurry. Writing could be an on-and-off event for him if necessary. But the world was defenceless at this moment. He knew the Justice League could handle things. And Supergirl was patrolling Metropolis--- she knew what his situation was. But it didn’t help to make him feel at ease.
Gareth Shandling strode into the room, flanked by two handlers, and a PR team. The PR team made a beeline straight for Brian and the other producers, the directors, and began to discuss what was going to happen. Gareth, on the other hand, headed straight for Clark, and put out his hand. “Clark Kent! I must say, I am very pleased with this set-up! I love your articles!”
Clark took the man’s hand and shook it. “Pleasure’s mine, Mr. Shandling.”
“Please, call me Gareth,” he replied. “Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. No holds barred. Ask whatever you want. My PR guys are all ‘don’t let him!’ but I have nothing to hide. We’re all friends here.”
“Sarcasm, Clark? I expected better from you. I won’t hold it against you, though it does reaffirm my PR guys’ suspicion that this is a hatchet job.”
“I can’t help but think that a man who claims to be some kind of religious figure shouldn’t have a public relations team following him around.”
“Hey, come on Clark, imagine if we had Jesus return to us tomorrow, would anyone listen to him if he didn’t have a guy calling up the stations and magazines and getting him interviews?”
“Are you comparing yourself to Jesus?”
Gareth laughed. “Nice try, Clark, nice try.”
Things moved slowly. The PR team spoke to the producers for an hour, and Clark waited patiently, just like his Ma had taught him to. Finally, make-up was applied, seats were taken, and Clark Kent was seated opposite Gareth Shandling.
Clark opened the program. Gareth beamed and basked and smiled and made a witty remark when he was introduced. Clark smiled and nodded and then began the interview. “You’re representative of the group that calls itself ‘The Circle’, correct?”
“Yes, I am Clark,” said Gareth.
“A group that purports to increase the quality of life to all those who subscribe to your doctrine. The group offers health benefits, you do a lot of charity work across the world, and you’re overwhelmingly well received in the media, but I have to ask, isn’t this a bit strange for a group that regards itself as a religious collective?”
“I think we’re all a bit used to churches being the only place of worship, Clark. A person who was very important to me and my own religious life once told me that a ‘church isn’t a building, but the congregation’, and doesn’t that apply to religion as well? Isn’t a religion something that people believe in? Now, I could enter a room, declare myself the Messiah, and you’d all frown and mumble amongst yourselves about me being a complete and utter whack job. I’d accept that, it’s a stupid thing to say, but The Circle, we believe in the circular nature of life, and as a group, we extol the virtues of living a certain life. We don’t force this upon people. We don’t drag people to our meetings. If people want to join us, we welcome you inside with open arms.”
“I have a list of names here, Mr. Shandling, I’d like you to tell me if any of them ring a bell. Rachel Smith, Louise Fowler, Deborah Brooksby. I have more here,” he pointed to a piece of paper he held in his hand, “and I have to ask you, why are these people, linked to your organisation dead?”
“And here,” Clark pointed to a sheet of paper in his other hand. “Scripture from your own organization.” Gareth looked at what was being shown to him, the same words that Clark himself had been shown a few days ago, and shook his head.
“Right, I’ll cut you off right there. You think this has something to do with us? The Circle was found to have nothing to do with the deaths of those girls. Yes, they were members of our congregation, but the fact that they died? That had nothing to do with my friends in the organization. The police investigated, we opened our doors to them. I swear that we’re innocent, else why would I come on television, allow such a candid interview to take place?”
Clark squinted at Gareth. “I think the answer is obvious, Gareth.”
“Excuse me? You think that I’m to blame? Me? You think I’m the one who oversees everything? I wasn’t the first to be the representative of the Circle, Clark. There have been a dozen others before me, all doing their best to show those who’d listen that we’re just trying to make a difference. We’ve been operating in one form or another for years, and now, just because we come out into the open, we open our doors to the world, we’re supposed to lie down and take these kinds of attacks?”
“In the Darkness of the Black Sun, Our truths will be revealed. Exposed to One Another, Our souls, pure for the first time. With sacrifice, and wanting, and willing, We become better selves., I’m quoting from doctrine from your own scripture, Gareth.”
“Oh, I’ve heard that crap before… ‘We become what We were supposed to be’. That’s not who we are, Clark. In this world there are extremists who are connected to all facets of religion. Muslim, Hindu, Christian, all have fanatical sub-sects, and who are we to be different? I know of a group of people that might be the culprits of the murders committed, and I cooperated with the police in giving them information about alleged members, but you know what? They were cleared too. So what if people chose to believe something that doesn’t agree with you, are you supposed to flush them out with fire and pitchforks? This is just an attack, plain and simple.”
“No, this is a search for the truth, and hard questions are being asked. So you claimed to have nothing to do with the murders and now you claim that some extremist group did? Doesn’t that seem like you’re back-peddling a bit? Sounds to me like you can’t get your stories straight…”
“Hhh… hhhh…” Black Rock tensed. Her pores sealed as the rock embedded underneath her flesh began to shift and move. The sedative was cancelled out by energy sparks taking place underneath her skin, and her eyes opened abruptly. Ray Palmer looked up at her vital signs as they rocketed. He began to shrink on instinct.
An explosion of purple energy shot through lab, and Black Rock breathed in deep. “I can smell him. I can smell the Kryptonian. It is time.”
“I don’t think so.” Supergirl shot down, and slammed her fist into the face of the possessed woman. Black Rock faltered, but then turned her head back to the Girl of Steel. “Whoa.”
“It’s not you I want. But I’ll beat you to death anyway.” She took a step forward, determination in her eyes but then fell onto her face.
Supergirl threw herself at Black Rock, and the two women began to exchange blows. Kelex had helped Kara adjust to Earth, Wonder Woman had trained her in the ways of a warrior and Superman had helped her master her powers, but it was times like this, deep in battle, that her savage side shone through. Gone was the mask of civility. Supergirl snarled and punched at her enemy, who gave as much as she got as the battle raged. The crystal embedded on Black Rock’s hand throbbed as it absorbed more and more ambient energy from the world around them.
“What’s wrong, Kent? You’re all bluster a minute ago, and now you look like you’ve seen a ghost. Realised you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?” Gareth looked smug.
“Now, look,” started Clark, completely aware of the battle raging across town, “the things you attribute to another section of your organization? According to emails sent by Louise Fowler to her family before she died, she wasn’t reading materials from your ‘extremists’, she was reading propaganda--”
“Enough,” said one of Shandling’s suits. “Enough of this. You’re not being fair. You’re making him out to be a villain and he’s really not.”
Clark shook his head. “I haven’t even got to the questions about the alleged connections your friend has with the world’s Rogue community.”
“This is ridiculous,” replied the suit, before turning to Gareth, “we’re leaving. This interview is over.”
“…Rogue community…?” said Gareth slowly.
“You know exactly what I mean, Mr. Shandling,” replied Clark. “The connections to power enhancement and the Rogue community? We know something isn’t right about---”
The suit shook his head. “Over. This is over.” Gareth pulled off his mic and threw it to the floor, and then the entourage swarmed out of the studio.
Clark turned to Brian and Perry. “That was weird,” Perry finally said. “He was good at avoiding the questions but when pressed… you made him sweat, Kent.”
“I tried, sir,” replied Clark. “But I have to go, this whole thing has made me feel quiet queasy…” He rushed out of the studio, and loosed his tie.
“I told you,” Superman grabbed Black Rock by her throat, and lifted her up, away from Supergirl, who was breathing in deeply, bloodied, her cape scorched, and seething with anger. “No one dies.” Black Rock grabbed Superman’s face and unleashed a blast of energy directly to his head, a kaleidoscope of swirling color blinding everyone who looked on.
“No!” whispered Supergirl, as she looked on, her eyes wide.
“I don’t want to have to repeat myself.” Smoke cleared around Superman’s face. His hair was out of place, his face was blackened, but he simply shook his head. “Stand down.”
“HE WILL KILL YOU ALL,” she hissed, clawing at Superman’s face but to no avail, “KILL YOU ALL AND MAKE YOU SUFFERRRAAAAAAAAAAAHH!” She flopped back in Superman’s grip, and the strange crystal mass in her hand hit the floor with a loud clunk.
Superman looked at where it had once resided and saw a swirl of white light as Ray Palmer appeared, toting a surgical laser that was bigger than his torso. “I cut the tendrils connected to her nervous system. Severed the link. It was rough, it was painful, and I think we need a doctor in here.”
The woman who was mere moment before thirsting for Superman’s death, looked at him weakly, tears welling in her eyes. “T-thank you, Superman… y-yuh… you… you all… saved me…”
Superman stroked her hair, “It’s alright, it’ll be alright.”
She choked for a second. Ray Palmer removed a small device from his belt and placed it around her head. “Rannian Medical stimulator, it should sustain her…”
“Thank God for Adam Strange….” Superman could hear this girl’s heart straining, but as the device activated itself, her bodily functions began to change, to slow, but become stronger. “It’s working.”
The woman opened her eyes again. “I s-saw it. It took me to the m-moon and… and… I saw his face, Superman… and he means everything he says…”
“Who? Who is it?”
“Nuh… nuh…” her eyes rolled back into her head, the strain too much. Doctors swarmed in, and helped her to a bed, and then rolled her out. Superman stood in the ruined lab, Supergirl watching him, and the Atom, who had a look of sadness on his features.
The Fortress of Solitude:
The crystal Fortress twinkled in the cold Antarctic air. Superman was alone again, but not for long, as Supergirl flew up from beneath the icy glaciers upon which the Fortress was situated, and landed softly on the ice. “Are you ok, Kal?”
“No. That girl is still in a coma. We’re no closer to discovering what’s coming than we were before. All these threats, from every side of us, and yet… we don’t know who to face. Who to fight.” He shook his head. “No matter, until then, I was wondering if you might do me a favor?”
“Anything,” she replied.
“I need you to deliver some supplies to a tesseract colony just outside of reality, the portal is open and I was going to do it myself, but I’m needed at the Planet. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind? There’s a bit of time dilation involved so you might be gone a few days…”
“I’m sure Martha and Lana won’t mind, and Martha’s been trying to get me out of the store for a few days…” She beamed, and Superman himself couldn’t help but feel warmer. “Is everything ready to go?”
“Yes, and Kelex will be going with you to act as translator. I know you wanted to spend some quality time with him.” Superman chuckled, “Here,” He took a small package from his cape and handed them her. “Adam Strange gave me one of them. The first musical album by a band from Rann. Adam made the mistake of introducing them to guitars.”
“Brilliant!” said Supergirl. The two of them walked over to the portal, where Kelex was already waiting, the supplies levitating on a platform behind him. “You ready Kelex?”
<Yes, Kara, I am prepared for the journey.>
Kal hugged her tightly, and said his goodbyes, and then watched as she stepped through the portal. Kelex lingered for a moment. “Keep her safe, Kelex.”
Yes, Master Kal. You know I will.> Kelex travelled through the portal and Superman closed it, and then put a finger to his temple.
“Hmm, what’s that? Theta-echo location?” He looked up into the sky and his eyes became slits, pushing his long range vision into overdrive, toward Jupiter. “Space cetaceans trapped in orbit. Well.” He laughed quietly, and began to fly up.
His smile didn’t last long. He thought of the days, and he thought of Black Rock and her apparent all-powerful master. “No one dies,” whispered Superman, as he flew higher into the atmosphere. “No one.”