By Jaxie <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: September, 2003
Summary: A spaceship crashes to Smallville, bringing with it some very special cargo.
DISCLAIMER: I claim none of the characters. They are all DC's; a good majority of the characters are from the Superman comics, but there are a few of them from the Supergirl comic series. I've also reworked certain plot elements from the comics into the story. In short, they're not mine; I'm just borrowing them. I'll return them, I promise!
"I still can't believe you did that," Martha smiled at her husband as she sat on the passenger's side of the old truck. She laughed as she remembered Jonathan bobbing for apples at the harvest festival in town, his entire head and front soaking wet.
"Well, why not?" Jonathan grinned like a little boy. "It was for a good cause. And what's the harm in acting like a kid, huh? We're not getting any younger."
Martha had to agree. They weren't getting any younger, but it didn't seem to bother either of them, though she found herself reflecting on her life as she stared out the window, looking up into the clear, night sky. Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light as a fiery ball streak across the sky. Jonathan was so startled he slammed on the brakes. The two watched as the ball fell to the earth, crashing in a deserted field about a mile away from the road.
"Good lord, Jonathan, what was that?" Martha asked.
"I don't know, Martha. A meteor perhaps." He got out of the truck and started walking toward the crash site. He turned around as he saw Martha getting out of the truck to join him. "Martha, stay put."
"No, I'm coming." She looked determined, and Jonathan knew better than to argue with her. The two carefully made their way out into the field. It didn't take them long to find the large hole where the ball had crashed, a large amount of dirt piled around the hole. They carefully looked into the hole and couldn't believe what they saw.
Nestled in the dirt was a silver spaceship. It was sleek and looked like the one that had brought Clark to Earth a long time ago as a baby, but this ship was bigger, large enough to hold an adult. They jumped when the front of the ship lifted up, like a hatch, revealing its cargo. Inside, dressed in a form- fitting black body suit with a silk burgundy robe over it and matching boots, was a young woman with blond hair. She looked to be in her mid-twenties and her skin was pale, her eyes closed, almost as if she were sleeping. The body of the spacecraft around her was covered in circuitry and blinking lights. Jonathan and Martha carefully approached, peering down at the young woman.
"Martha, what on earth -" He never got to finish his sentence as the young woman's eyes fluttered open. She slowly looked around, dazed, then glanced up at the Kents, and they could see she had startling blue eyes.
"Where is he?" she asked softly.
"Where is who?" Martha asked gently.
"Kal-El," the young girl said, right before her eyes rolled up in her head, and she lost consciousness.
Clark groggily turned on the lamp as the sound of the phone ringing woke him up. He reached for it, answering it on the third ring. "Hello?" he asked.
"Clark," Martha's voice said.
Clark was instantly awake. He looked at the digital clock on the nightstand. It was twelve fifteen. "Mom, it's after midnight. Is everything okay? Dad?" He glanced over at Lois, who was sitting up in bed, yawning, looking concerned.
"Clark, everything's fine," Martha reassured him. "But we really need for you to come out here immediately."
"Why, what's going on?"
"I can't really explain it … it's better if we show you."
"Okay, I'll be there as soon as I can." He hung up the phone, then looked at Lois.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"I don't know," Clark answered. "Mom said I needed to come to Smallville immediately."
"You want me to come?"
"Better not. Not until I know what's going on." He kissed her before getting out of bed. He quickly spun in a circle, changing into Superman. "I'll be back as soon as I can." He walked to the bedroom window and opened it.
"Be careful," Lois said. He smiled at her before leaping out. There was a whoosh of air, and he was gone, leaving only fluttering curtains in his wake.
Clark quietly landed on the front porch of his parents' house and quickly changed back into some regular clothes — a loose-fitting, button-down shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes — and his glasses. He knocked a few times on the door and waited. A few moments later, the door was opened by his father. He looked relieved to see his son.
"What's going?" Clark asked as he came in, Jonathan shutting the door behind him.
"Follow me, son," was all Jonathan said. He walked through the living room with Clark behind him, and the two men walked upstairs to Clark's bedroom. Jonathan walked in first, and Clark followed. The younger man saw his mother sitting on the edge of his old bed, upon which lay the young woman from the ship. The color of her skin was a light pink, and she was breathing deeply, like she was sleeping.
Martha glanced up when the two men entered and stood up. "Clark," she said, hugging her son. "How is everything? Lois?"
"She's fine," Clark replied, glancing at the young woman. "Who's she?"
"We don't know," Martha replied. "She was in a spaceship that crashed a few miles from here."
"A spaceship?" Clark furrowed his eyebrows.
"Yeah, we thought it was a meteor," Martha continued, "but when we saw it, it was a silver spaceship. Looked very much like the one that brought you to Earth as a baby, only much bigger. We didn't know what to do, and we didn't want anyone else to find it, so we brought her and the ship back here. No one saw us, thank goodness."
"Where's the ship now?" Clark asked.
"In the cellar," Jonathan answered. The parents watched as Clark walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. The young woman stirred and she opened her eyes. She glanced up at Clark and blinked several times, then she cocked her head to the side. Suddenly, her eyes went wide as she smiled and sat up. Before Clark could react, she wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly.
"Oh, thank goodness I found you," she said. "I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to."
Clark gently pushed her away. "Look, miss, I'm not sure who you think I am, but -"
"You are Kal-El, aren't you?" she asked, quizzically. Clark was definitely off guard by this. She noticed and looked sheepish. "Oh, I'm sorry. I — I keep forgetting you don't go by your Kryptonian name much. You prefer Superman, don't you?"
Clark looked hesitant, but he realized that she already knew his true identity, even in disguise, so he couldn't deny it. And there was something very familiar about her. "Um," he said slowly, "yeah, I do prefer to be called Superman, but … actually, I prefer to be called Clark."
"That's your Earth name?" she asked slowly. She knew the answer, but she was still a little light-headed and wanted to make sure. She glanced up at Martha and Jonathan. "And these are your Earth parents. I recognize them from the holo-archives."
"Well, you seem to know quite a bit about me," Clark said. "And my life, but I don't even know your name or where you're from or even why you're here."
The young woman looked a bit embarrassed. "I apologize, Kal — Clark," she said. "My name is Kara Zor-El. I'm from Argo City, and I'm the daughter of Alura and Zor-El." She looked straight at him. "I'm your cousin." Clark and his parents just stare at her, not sure if they just heard her correctly. Kara just looked quizzically at Clark. "Are you okay?"
"How … how can you be my cousin?" Clark asked. "My family was killed when Krypton exploded."
"Not all of them," Kara replied. "Remember that there was an expedition of Kryptonians sent out before the planet exploded to search for a new place to live, and they founded New Krypton?"
"So, you're from New Krypton?" Clark asked.
Kara shook her head. "No, I'm not from New Krypton, Clark. I'm from Argo City, one of the cities of the Planet Krypton."
"But that's impossible," Jonathan said. "When Krypton exploded, everything on it was destroyed."
"Not everything," Kara replied. "When the scientists of Krypton realized that the planet was in danger they sent an expedition to go search for a more stable planet. However, my father and Clark's father knew that there wasn't enough time, so they worked on two separate projects to ensure that the Kryptonian race would survive. My uncle, Jor-El, fashioned the spacecraft that sent Kal-El — um, Clark — to Earth, while my father managed to convince the Argo City Council to construct a protective dome around the city. When the planet exploded, Argo City was hurled into space."
"And you just drifted around in space for all this time?" Martha asked.
"No," Kara answered. "We drifted for some time before we found life on an asteroid. We were able to sustain life temporarily on our own, because of our emergency reserves, but after they became depleted we made contact with New Krypton, and we were able to secure resources from them, maintaining contact with them for many years since then."
"So, you know Lady Zara," Clark said.
"Yes," Kara replied. "Since you were supposed to marry, her she maintained contact with the El family. Even after the incident with Lord Nor and her marriage to Lieutenant Ching, she maintained friendly relations with our family, and provided us with almost all the information we have on you."
"So, why are you on Earth?" Clark asked.
"General Zod," Kara said gravely. She shuddered involuntarily. "He's a heartless monster. He's also a Kryptonian. He, um, was the leader of Krypton's armed forces before he decided to defy Kryptonian laws and tried to place himself as the ultimate ruler. He and his two associates, Ursa and Non, tried to help him fulfill his maniacal plans, but they were defeated and exiled to the Phantom Zone by the Head Council, which your father and my father were members."
"What's the Phantom Zone?" Clark asked.
"It's place where all Kryptonian criminals were sentenced," Kara answered. "No one is supposed to be able to escape it, but General Zod, Ursa, and Non managed to find a way, and they did escape. Before they had been exiled they vowed revenge on all those who imprisoned them, but after they escaped they learned that Krypton had been destroyed and only Argo City survived. After teaming up with some other terrorists from the Phantom Zone who possessed powerful weaponry, they came to exact their revenge on my father, the person they thought was the only living member of the Council, and his family. In order to save me from being killed at their hands my father put me in suspended animation and sent me in a spaceship to Earth." By the end of the story, she had tears streaming down her cheeks.
Clark glanced up at his parents, and saw that Martha had tears in her eyes, and even Jonathan was trying not to crumble. He looked back down at the young woman, who had her head down. "Hey," he said softly. He tilted her chin up with a finger and looked at her. "Come here." He gently pulled her toward him and wrapped her arms around her. He felt her put her head on his shoulder and he just held her.
"What am I going to do now?" she whispered, hugging him tightly. "I'm all alone."
Clark pulled back and looked at her, cradling her face in his hands. "You're not alone, Kara. You have me."
"And you have us too, honey," Martha replied. She came over and sat on the other side of Kara, wrapping her arms around the young woman and hugging her from behind. Jonathan put an arm on the young woman's shoulder. Kara gave a small smile, completely touched by the gestures of these people who were strangers to her.
"So, what now?" she asked. "What do I do now?"
"Do you think General Zod and the others know about you coming here?" Clark asked.
Kara shook her head. "They shouldn't. My father learned about them coming to Argo City long before they arrived. I'm not even sure if they know I exist."
"Okay," Clark replied. "Then this will be what's going to happen. Kara, you're going to stay here with my parents for the time being, until we figure out what to do exactly. Is that okay?"
"Why can't I stay with you, Clark?"
"So, what's going to be your excuse this time?" Lois asked as she and Clark got off the elevator and walked into the newsroom the next morning.
"I'll just tell Perry the truth," Clark replied in a low voice. "There's a family emergency, and I have to go to Smallville for a few days."
Lois chuckled softly herself. "You know, even with everything that happened with New Krypton, Zara, and Ching, I still can't believe you have an actual living relative." They walked over to Clark's desk.
"I know," Clark replied. "I've been thinking about getting in touch with Zara and letting her know that Kara's safe, especially if she learns about what's going on in Argo City."
"Poor kid," Lois said. "I can't imagine what she must be going through right now. New place, new life … new powers."
"Well, right now, she better be resting," Clark said. "She had a pretty traumatic evening last night."
"Don't worry, Clark, I'm sure she's taking it easy."
"Clark, Lois, my office!" Perry shouted from his desk.
"I hope she is," Clark added before the two walked into their boss' office.
"Why do I have to wear this?" Kara asked. She had traded her robes and boots for an old pair of Martha's gray sweatpants, plus an old, black t-shirt and some worn out tennis shoes. Her blond hair was tucked under a dark, brown wig that fell just below her ears. A pair of black sunglasses that Martha had given her covered her eyes. She was in the living room, sitting cross-legged as she floated a few feet above the floor, watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon with fascination, despite her annoyance at her appearance.
"For the same reason that Clark wears his disguise," Jonathan explained patiently. "So people won't recognize him as being Superman."
"But I'm not a superhero like Clark. I'm just a regular Kryptonian."
"You also have powers like Clark's," Martha added. "So, this is to ensure that if you're seen practicing your powers — hopefully not, but if you are — no one will be able to connect you to us. And in case this General Zod and his goons do learn about you being here, they won't recognize you. It's for your safety, mainly."
Kara sighed, but she couldn't argue their logic. She uncrossed her legs and put her feet on the floor. "I'm sorry, Martha," she said. "I don't mean to sound ungrateful for everything you two have done for me. It's just so … different here. I mean, all these gadgets and, and things, plus having these abilities is a bit … overwhelming."
"Oh, it's perfectly okay, honey," Martha said. "And that's why we're going shopping. You can see some of the stuff that humans like to do, and we can get some clothes for you, something that fits your personal style." Kara smiled at that. "Now, just turn off the television, and we'll be on our way."
Kara nodded and went over to the coffee table where the remote was. She bent over and picked it up, and the remote crumbled in her hands. Pieces of plastic and circuitry fell to the floor. Kara looked upset as she glanced up at the Kents. "I — I — didn't mean to," she stammered. She looked near to tears.
"It's all right, Kara," Jonathan said. He walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulder while Martha went to get the broom and dustpan. "You know, Martha and I had similar problems with Clark when his powers were developing. He broke all kinds of things too. Mainly furniture." He pulled her close into a hug and patted her back gently, kissing her forehead as Martha came back. "Don't you worry about it, okay?" He glanced over at Martha and mouthed 'remote control.' She simply nodded.
"Are you ready?" Martha asked, handing her husband the broom and dustpan.
"Yeah," Kara replied. She headed for the door with Martha behind her.
"You two ladies have fun," Jonathan said as he started cleaning up. There was a small crunching sound, and he looked up. The fact that Kara had ripped the door completely off its hinges and was holding it by the knob didn't faze either of the Kents.
"Okay," Martha said slowly. "I think I know which of your abilities we'll have to work on next." She helped Kara lean the door against the wall, then ushered the young woman out. She turned around and mouthed 'hinges' before leaving the house.
"A what?" Clark asked, looking incredulously at Perry.
"You heard me, Clark," Perry said, sitting at his desk.
"Perry, that sounds a bit farfetched, don't you think?" Lois asked.
"Lois, once we thought that Superman was farfetched. Then there was that thing with Lord Nor — that took place in Smallville, need I remind you? For all we know, this — whatever it is — could be related to those Kryptonians. Now, get on the first flight you can out there and find out what happened out there last night. And take Jimmy with you." The two reporters left the office and made their way over to Clark's desk.
"Well, I guess we have a reason to go to Smallville now," Lois said wryly.
"The problem is, what are we going to do about Kara?" Clark asked in a low voice. "If Jimmy sees her he's going to ask questions." He reached for his phone. "Think I better give them a call, let them know to expect us." He dialed his parents' number and waited. "Dad, it's me … how's Kara doing?" He raised his eyebrows. "Really? Well … I guess that's good … she what?" He sighed. "Well, the good news is Lois and I are coming out there today. Perry wants us to cover a possible meteor that crashed near town last night, see if it's connected to anything Kryptonian. The problem is that Jimmy is coming with us too … yeah, I know … okay, thanks. We'll call when we get there. Bye." He hung up.
"Well?" Lois asked.
"Mom is out taking Kara shopping for clothes," Clark explained. "And to get a few things to fix up the house. Kara … hasn't learned to control certain things yet."
Lois smiled. "What did she break?"
"The television remote, and she took the front door off it's hinges." Clark shook his head. "They say she's really got the flying down pat, though."
"Well, don't worry about her, Clark. She sounds like someone who can take care of herself, and with your parents around she'll be just fine. And of course, we're going out there to help her as well."
"Help who?" Jimmy asked as he walked up. He was dressed casually with his camera around his neck.
"Uh …" Clark trailed off.
"It's Clark's cousin," Lois replied quickly.
"Cousin?" Jimmy asked, smiling. "You never said you had a cousin."
"Well, we never saw her much," Clark explained.
"So, she lives in Smallville?" Jimmy asked.
"Well, now she does," Lois answered. "Her parents were killed … in an accident, overseas, and she had no other relatives, so she flew to Smallville to live with the Kents."
"Cool," Jimmy replied. "So, when did she get there?"
"Uh, yesterday," Clark said.
"Neat. So, I guess I'll get to meet her when we get there, huh?"
"Yeah," Clark replied slowly.
"So, is she seeing anyone?" Clark and Lois glanced over at the young photographer with odd looks. "What?"
"Jimmy, she just came in from out of town," Clark said, almost exasperatedly. "I seriously doubt she's had time to 'see' anyone."
"Gee, thanks, CK," Jimmy grinned. "I owe you." He left them. "I'm going to go call the airline and see when we can get going. I'll let you know what I get." He hurried onto a waiting elevator, grinning from ear to ear.
Clark just shook his head, then glanced at Lois, who was trying not to laugh. "Oh, Lois, don't you start either."
"What? I think it's cute. Besides, don't you want your cousin to get used to living life as a human?"
"Yeah, but I'm not sure how she'd react to Jimmy hitting on her. She was raised a little differently than we were."
"I know, but do you really think you have anything to worry about? It is Jimmy, after all." She stood behind him and began rubbing his shoulders. "Come on, Clark. Let's not worry so much about Jimmy and your cousin for the time being. Let's worry about what we're going to do about covering that 'meteor,' okay?" Clark sighed and nodded. Lois smiled, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, then both reporters gathered up their things and left the newsroom to get ready for their trip.
A newspaper vendor was stacking some bundles of that morning's edition of the 'Daily Planet' when he heard three loud whooshing sounds over head. He and other people on the street looked up, and his eyes nearly jumped out of his head. Three humanoid forms, two men and one woman, were slowly descending into the middle of the street. They landed in the middle of traffic, effectively stopping cars in both directions as people stopped and stared.
The eldest was General Zod, the leader of the trio. He stood slightly taller than six feet, with dark brown hair, brown eyes, and a matching goatee with a slightly longer beard. He was dressed in a simple black body suit with a black tunic over it and black boots and holding was appeared to be a silver electronic keypad in his left hand.
Standing on his left was another man, Non, who was a good foot taller and more muscular than him, also with dark brown and brown eyes, and dressed in a black body suit, tunic and boots.
Flanking his right side was a woman with long legs, Ursa. She had short brown hair, brown eyes, and a voluptuous body hidden beneath a black body suit and tunic. Her boots, black with stiletto heels, made her just as tall as her leader.
"They seem a primitive bunch," she said to the others as they looked around at their new surroundings and the people staring back at them. She looked at Zod. "Are you sure that she was sent here?"
"Take a look around you, my dear," Zod said. "Her father sent her here because he knew she would be able to blend in with the humans who already live here. And remember that Jor-El sent his son here years ago, so it would reason that she is here as well. No doubt Kal-El has found her and hidden her." He glanced around and walked over to the newspaper vendor, who was trembling. With his free hand, he grabbed the vendor by his neck and hoisted him a good half foot off the ground. "Where are they?"
"Who?" he wheezed, struggling to breath.
"The daughter of Zor-El!" Zod glared. "The son of Jor-El! Where are they?"
"I — I — I don't kn-kn-kn-know," the man said. He was flung aside, and he crashed into his stand. The wooden structure fell apart, its contents scattering.
Zod looked at the keypad in his hand and sighed with contempt. "Though these are *not* the right coordinates." He growled. "That blasted Dragga gave us the wrong coordinates! I shall kill him!"
"You already have," Ursa said dryly. "Remember Argo City? After everything else was dead and you learned where the young imp had been sent, you showed your gratitude to Dragga and his men for helping us out by crushing their skulls."
"Ah, yes," Zod replied with mild amusement. "That was fun. Unfortunately, now we have no idea where the children of our enemies are. And I *will* have my vengeance."
Ursa smirked. "Perhaps, if we can't go to them, we can have them come to us."
Zod looked interested and said, "How so?"
"Remember what Jor-El and Zor-El were like on Krypton?" Ursa asked. "They may have been raised in the Kryptonian ways, but they had one weakness — they cared. No doubt that Zor-El passed that on to his daughter, and from what I've heard about Kal-El from the holo-archives we found on Argo City, he cares about these humans. We could use that weakness to draw them into the open and kill them."
Zod slowly smiled at his right-hand's logic. "Let us draw our enemies out and destroy them. Then we will take over this puny planet, with me as the supreme ruler." He walked to the middle of the street, facing the crowd of people that had formed around him. "Citizens of Planet Earth! My name is General Zod! I am your new ruler! Kneel before Zod or face my wrath!"
"Yeah, we'll see about that!" a thirty-something man in jeans and a t-shirt yelled from the sidewalk. "Just because you can fly, doesn't make you stronger! This is Metropolis, pal!" Other people voiced their agreement. Zod pondered this for a moment, then walked up to the man.
"Is that so?" he asked condescendingly. "You think that you — a mere human — can overpower me?" He folded his arms. "Go ahead, human."
The man balled up his fist and slammed it into Zod's face. It was like hitting hard granite. The man hollered in pain as he clutched his fist. Zod easily lifted him by his shirt and tossed him over his head. The man landed on the other side of the street, crashing into a wooden bench. Some people scattered, while others were paralyzed in fear and couldn't move.
Ursa chuckled before walking over to light pole. She grabbed it with both hands and yanked hard. The pole broke off, sparks flying from the live wires, but it didn't bother her as she snapped the pole in half, like she was breaking a stick. She tossed the two pieces over her shoulders. They landed on the top of a parked car, bending the frame and shattering the windows.
Non growled eagerly, wanting to get in on the fun. He walked over to a blue mail box and ripped it from its base. With no effort, he hurtled the metal box into the window of a store, shattering the glass, setting off its alarm.
The remainder of the people who had been too scared to move were now running for their lives, screaming. The trio paid them little attention as they walked down the street, destroying anything in their paths.
"Are you sure this looks good?" Kara asked as she and Martha walked out of the Smallville clothing store near the middle of town. She was now dressed in a pair of tight- fitting jeans, a green t-shirt, and a pair of black flats with no socks. She still wore her sunglasses, and she was carrying several bags in her hands, each containing several items of new clothing.
"You look fine, dear," Martha said, also holding some bags. The two women walked to the truck that was parked alongside the curb and got in, putting the bags between them. Martha started the engine and drove off, while Kara stared out the open window as the small city. She sat up straighter and pulled her sunglasses off when the truck approached a produce vehicle that two men were unloading. One of the crates they were lifting slipped as the truck passed, but before it could crash to the ground, Kara blew a strong puff of air. The strong gust of wind slowed the crate's fall to the ground. The young woman smiled and put her sunglasses back on as the truck drove on.
"You know," Martha said gently, "you really need to stop using your powers in public, Kara, even if you think no one sees it. People have to believe you're our relative and not related to Superman in anyway." Kara leaned back and looked slightly disappointed. Martha looked sympathetic. "Honey, I'm not getting mad at you for helping people. It's really wonderful you have that caring and compassion in your heart, but you just have to be careful, okay? We wouldn't want anything to happen to you, right?"
"I know," Kara replied. "I just feel a little cooped up." She watched as a flock of birds flew high in the sky and sighed, wanting to be up there with them.
"Don't worry, Kara," Martha said as they left the city limits and headed for the Kent farm. "Your day will come."
In their bedroom Lois and Clark had just finished packing their overnight bags when their phone rang. Lois was the closest and answered it.
"Hello?" she said.
"Lois, it's me," Perry's voice said. "Change of plan. You and Clark are not going to Smallville."
"Why not?" Lois asked.
"Because there are three people tearing up the streets three blocks from the Daily Planet, and they're heading this way. Witnesses said they just dropped out of the sky and started tearing up the place. They heard one of them calling himself General Zod. Here's the clincher: they all seem to have the same powers as Superman. Now, I've already sent Olsen down there to get pictures. I want you and Clark to get on this immediately." He hung up before Lois could say anything.
"What's going on?" Clark asked, noticing Lois' expression as she hung up the phone.
"Those three goons after Kara are here in Metropolis," Lois answered. "They're heading toward the Daily Planet. Perry wants us to go down and cover it. Jimmy's already there." Even before she finished Clark had already changed into Superman.
"I'll go deal with Zod and the others," he said.
"Clark, there are three of them, and one of you," Lois replied.
"Lois, I can handle them."
"And what am I going to do?"
"Stay away from the area." He quickly left the apartment through the bedroom window and was gone.
Lois stood for a moment, mouth gaping slightly. Then the reporter part of her kicked in, and she took a deep breath, grabbed her purse from the bed, and hurried out of the bedroom.
Jimmy carefully looked out from his hiding spot — behind a car parked further down the street — and looked through his viewfinder. He lined up another shot as the three super villains continued making their way down the street. He knew what he was doing was dangerous, if not stupid (as his heart pounding in his chest was constantly reminding him), but that was what being a newspaper photographer was all about. It was about taking chances, getting the right picture that would go on the front —
Jimmy heard a deep growl as the world in his viewfinder turned black. He glanced up, and his stomach turned to ice. Non was standing right in front of him, glaring down at the young photographer. Jimmy would have kicked himself mentally for being caught off guard, but before he could do anything Non grabbed him around the throat with one hand and lifted him off his feet.
"And what do we have here?" Zod asked as Non brought the young man over, still holding him around the neck. He saw Jimmy's face turning red. "Drop him, Non." Non looked like a little kid who didn't want to give up his toy. He looked pleadingly at his leader. Zod was not moved by this. "Now, Non." Sighing and grunting in defeat, Non let go of his prize. Ursa walked over from where she had been damaging a parked car, and the three surrounded Jimmy.
Perry had the Planet evacuated as soon as he got off the phone with Lois. While most of his employees had left the area, Perry had remained at the Planet, staying sheltered with a brave few under the alcove of the front of the building; the reporter in him wouldn't allow him to leave, nor did he have any qualms about sending his best team to cover the story. However, when he saw Jimmy grabbed from his hiding spot and surrounded by those three super villains, Perry wondered if he had made a mistake.
"What a puny human he is," Ursa said, staring coldly at Jimmy. "Weak and unimpressive, just like the rest of them." She looked at Zod. "May I play with him?"
Zod looked down at the photographer, who was trying his best not to appear frightened, then nodded, looking almost bored. Ursa smiled cruelly and grabbed Jimmy's shirt, lifting him a good six inches off the ground.
"Let him go, Ursa."
The trio looked behind them and saw Superman standing in the middle of the street in front of the Daily Planet. His arms were crossed and his expression was just as cold as the trio's were. They looked almost surprised that they had been recognized, but their expressions quickly turned cold again.
"Oh, man, now you're gonna get it," Jimmy wheezed, trying to grin through his grimace. Ursa didn't even look at him as she tossed him to one side. Jimmy landed on the sidewalk, the wind knocked out of him, but he quickly got to his feet and made his way to where Perry was standing.
"And who are you to be telling me what to do?" Zod asked.
Superman looked straight at Zod. "The name's Superman, Zod. And I would advise you to pack up and leave this planet. Now."
"It's him," Ursa whispered to her leader. "Remember from the holo-archives that the humans referred to Kal-El as Superman."
Zod chuckled, amused by the nickname. "So, we finally meet, Kal-El," he said as Ursa and Non flanked his sides. "How long I have waited for this moment."
"For your defeat?" Superman asked.
"No, Superman," Zod sneered. "For yours." He narrowed his eyes at his enemy and two, concentrated heat beams shot from his eyes. Superman quickly focused two heat beams of his own to counter the attack. Both were equally matched in strength and power, and neither one seemed to be winning. However, when Ursa and Non focused their own heat beams with Zod's, it took all of Superman's strength to fight it, but it was eventually too much for him. The combined force of the heat beams slammed into Superman, throwing him backwards. He landed on the concrete, dazed.
Ursa wasted no time and ran at super-speed toward Superman. As he got to his feet, she rammed into him with all her might. Superman was hurtled through the air, smashing through the steel globe a fixed over the Daily Planet's entrance. The girders bent under the weight of the hero, and the entire fixture and Superman came crashing to the ground.
Superman slowly got to his feet and tried to get his bearings. They were a lot stronger than he was. Or maybe Lois was right; the odds weren't exactly in his favor. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts, and he saw Perry, Jimmy, and a few other people under the alcove.
"Get out of here," he said, sounding slightly out of breath. He didn't see Non as the giant Kryptonian came up behind him, holding a metal street pole like a baseball bat.
"Superman, look out!" Perry said. But the warning came too late. Superman turned his head, just as Non swung the pole at him. BAM! Superman went sailing through the air, landing on a parked car. The metal frame bent underneath the force of the impact, the glass shattering. Superman lay stunned as the trio moved in.
"Uh, Chief, this doesn't look good," Jimmy said as he snapped off pictures. Perry couldn't argue with the young photographer.
Martha was telling Kara a story about how Clark had troubles with one of his developing powers when he was younger as the two women walked in the front door of the farmhouse. They were all smiles and laughter, but they saw Jonathan staring at the television set, which was turned on to a special news report, and he looked grim. Martha and Kara's smiles quickly faded.
"Jonathan, what's wrong?" Martha asked.
"It's Clark," Jonathan said. "He's fighting those three goons in Metropolis, and they seem to be winning."
"They knew I came to Earth," Kara replied. "It's my fault they're here. I have to go help."
"Kara, wait -" Martha turned as she spoke, but she didn't get to finish the rest of her sentence as Kara ran out of the house in a blur, dropping her bags near the front door. Even before they hit the floor, the Kents heard a loud whoosh as Kara quickly took to the skies, heading east.
Superman tensed and braced himself for the impact as Non hurled him into the brick wall of a nearby building. The bricks showered down upon the Man of Steel as a cloud of dust was stirred up. He coughed and blinked his eyes repeatedly as he slowly got to his feet. He leaned against the edge of the gaping hole, trying to catch his breath. Suddenly, he felt two arms wrap around him from behind and lift him off his feet, squeezing him like a vice as he was carried away from the building to the middle of the street where Zod and Ursa were standing.
"The humans call you Superman," Zod said smugly. "But you have shown that you are anything but. Admit it, Kal-El. I've won. This planet, and all its inhabitants belong to me. Swear eternal loyalty to me, and I just might spare your life."
Superman glared back at the General. "Never," he said.
"Very well," Zod replied. He chuckled at the fallen hero before him. "You know, Kal-El, as much as I will enjoy killing you, going after the daughter of Zor-El will be much more pleasant."
Superman felt no pain as the rage in him began building. He started struggling against Non's grip. "I swear it, Zod, if you hurt her in any way, you'll regret it."
Perry and Jimmy glanced over from the fight as they saw Lois sneaking up to them. "Lois, what are you doing here?" Perry asked.
"You asked me to get the story," Lois replied. "So, here I am." She glanced over and saw how much trouble her husband was in, and she looked worried. "Isn't there anything anyone can do?"
"Lois, they've got Superman's powers, and there's three of them," Jimmy said as he went back to shooting photos.
"Jimmy's right," Perry added. "Superman's going to need a miracle to get out of this one."
"I was right," Zod looked pleased with himself. "Being on Earth has made you soft. But you're wrong, Kal-El. I don't wish to hurt her. At least, not until she's given me what is rightfully mine. However, if you wish to spare her any suffering, you can tell me where it is."
"Where what is?" Superman asked.
"Don't pretend with me," Zod glared at his enemy. "The globe Zor-El sent with his daughter."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Very well, Kal-El. You have sealed your fate, and hers." He walked over until he was nose to nose with Superman. "I will find her, Kal-El, and I will find that globe. And once I have that in my possession, I will rule over this pathetic planet of yours." He turned to Ursa. "Ursa, my dear, eliminate him."
"A pleasure, my lord," Ursa said before walking to the curb. She walked over to the curb and yanked a fire hydrant off the ground, sending water spewing into the air. She came back over to Superman and raised the hydrant over her head, intending to bash him into the ground.
With all her might, she brought the metal down, but before she hit Superman a black and red blur swooped out of the sky and slammed into the group. Ursa went hurtling backwards, while Zod and Non were thrown on opposite sides of the street. Superman lay where moments ago Non had been holding him, and he looked around to get his bearings. That was when he saw the source of the blur standing in front of him. Even though her back was to him, he recognized the black body suit and boots, the burgundy tunic, and the blond hair.
Kara stood protectively in front of her cousin, staring coldly at the trio as they slowly got to their feet. She made no movement as they converged in the middle of the street, just like gunfighters would in an old western movie.
"Chief, am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" Jimmy asked, his eyebrows nearly shooting off his head.
"If you're seeing a young, blond girl standing down those three goons," Perry answered, "then the answer is yes."
Lois just stared at the young woman, knowing who she was from Clark's description, but she was still just as surprised as anyone else to see her standing on the street.
"So, the young imp decides to join the fight," Zod looked somewhat amused. "Saves me the trouble of having to search for you later."
"You have no business being here, Zod," Kara said. "Your place is in the Phantom Zone, where my father and uncle banished you there years ago."
"My rightful place is as the ruler of this planet," Zod retorted. "Make your final moments on this planet merciful, young pup. Tell me where the globe is, and I will spare you and Kal-El a slow, agonizing death."
"Never," Kara growled. Using her super speed, she quickly grabbed the nearest thing, which happened to be a manhole cover leaning against a damaged parked car and picked it up with ease. She took aim and hurled the manhole at Zod like a Frisbee. The manhole cut through the air and slammed into Zod, knocking him backwards into a store window. Glass shattered and debris scattered.
Kara looked pleased with herself as Ursa and Non went to help their fallen leader. She turned around and helped support Superman as he slowly got to his feet. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"What are you doing here?" Superman looked sternly at her.
"I'm helping you," Kara replied. "Three against one is not what I call the best of odds." She was suddenly slammed into from behind by Non. The two flew down the street where Non rammed her into a brick wall, driving her deep into it, but not breaking it. She crumpled to the ground as Non straightened up, then turned around, proud of his accomplishment. His joy didn't last long as Kara got to her feet and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned his head, and Kara's fist connected with his face. Non went sailing through the air, landing in the middle of the street over a hundred feet away.
"Imbecile," Zod said, staring down at Non. He glared at the young woman. "You shall pay for that, young imp."
"It is you who shall pay, General Zod," Kara said, her voice never faltering.
Zod chuckled. "You sound just like your father, Kara: pitiful and idealistic. And just like your father, I will crush you." Kara's eyes narrowed and her arms tensed. Zod knew he's struck a nerve. "It was pathetic, really. Your parents, with their last dying breaths, begged me not to come after you."
"You lie!" Kara shouted. "They would never beg to anyone, especially not to the likes of you!"
"Well, everyone is full of surprises." He laughed, and Ursa joined in with him. Even Non managed a few grunts.
Kara stood in disbelief, listening to their taunting laughs. It slowly gave way to anger as she felt an energy stirring deep with in her. Her eyes narrowed until all she saw was the three responsible for the deaths of her parents and everyone else on Argo City. She planted her feet firmly, her fists tensed. The energy inside her flowed through her arms, and she thrust her hands out in front of her.
The force threw Kara back, and she landed on her back a good fifty feet from where she once stood. She blinked, her head foggy for a moment, as she felt her entire body aching. She carefully sat up as Superman came over and helped her to her feet.
"What happened?" she asked, slightly dazed. She glanced down the street and the daze cleared from her head. All three Kryptonians were laying in a damaged store two hundred feet back from where they once stood. "Whoa."
"I'll say," Superman said. "What was that?"
"I …" Kara paused. "I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" he asked.
"Look, can we talk about that later? We have other things to worry about." She walked off to go check on the status of the three Kryptonians. Superman looked a bit stunned by how she spoke to him, but he quickly joined her. Together, they walked towards the store, but before they could get halfway to their targets, the trio got to their feet.
"It's over, Zod," Superman said.
"On the contrary," Zod said. "It's only just begun." Before either Superman or Kara could react, the trio shot into the air and were out of sight in seconds.
"Let's go," Kara said. She started to leap into the air, but Superman grabbed her tunic and held her back.
"Whoa, whoa," Superman said. "You're not going anywhere."
Kara turned around to face him. "They're getting away. We have to stop them before they do something else."
"No, we have to talk first," Superman retorted. "There are a few things that you have not told me about, and we're going to get them cleared up right now."
Kara put her hands on her hips. "Such as?"
Superman opened his mouth, then he glanced over Kara's head and saw a bunch of people, including Lois, Perry, and Jimmy, heading their way. "Not here," he said. "We'll go back to Smallville. Now." He leapt into the air. Kara glanced behind her then looked up. Taking a deep breath she leapt into the air, following her cousin.
The group watched the two disappear from sight, then they slowly began to disperse. Perry turned to Lois and Jimmy. "Lois, I want you to find out everything you can about who those people are. Superman seemed to know them, so get in touch with him, see what he has to say. Jimmy, get those pictures developed ASAP. We have a front page to get ready." Perry and Jimmy headed back toward the Planet, but Lois glanced back up into the sky for a moment before joining her friends.
Back in Smallville Clark had changed back into his regular clothes. Kara, still in her bodysuit and tunic, sat on the couch while Clark paced around the living room. His parents, who were standing in the entrance to the kitchen watched their son pace. He was not happy about the entire situation and everyone knew it, but Clark told himself not to get mad at Kara just yet.
<Let her explain herself, Clark,> he said to himself. <*Then* you can get mad at her.>
<I don't understand why you're getting mad at me. I helped you.>
Clark stopped and stared at the young woman. It took him a second to realize she had spoken to him telepathically. His countenance quickly reverted to being angry. "I'm mad, because you lied to me," he said aloud. "You knew about the globe that Zod was talking about, didn't you?" Kara sighed and nodded meekly. "Why didn't you tell me about it in the first place?"
"I thought if you didn't know, you'd be safe," Kara replied. "I honestly didn't think that Zod would follow me; he and the others must have used the holo- archives to find out I was coming here, and to find out about you."
"So, the globe *is* here?" Clark asked.
"Yes, my father hid it in a secret compartment on my ship. It should still be there."
"What exactly is it?"
"It's a source of extreme power," Kara explained. "It is one of several that was created thousands of years ago by the first inhabitants of Krypton as they harnessed pure energy and kept it in specially designed globes. Over the years, they were passed down to the ruling families, each family owning a certain number of globes, which would determine the number of heirs they were to have. Most of them were destroyed when Krypton exploded, but a handful were saved from destruction because of the expedition that eventually founded New Krypton and because of what our fathers did."
"Are you saying that Clark has a globe like what you're talking about?" Jonathan asked.
Kara nodded. "When Jor-El made the decision to send Clark to Earth, he fashioned a communication globe, which contained transmissions that Jor-El recorded. However, there was the problem of finding a source strong enough to power it, so Jor-El channeled the power of the energy globe into the communication globe, thereby providing it with the necessary energy. That left the energy globe drained, and completely useless. Even the communication globe has depleted its energy now, as I'm sure you've been aware of for sometime." She looked distant as she glanced out the front window. Without warning, she got to her feet and ran out the house in a blur. Within three seconds, she came back, holding a small, black and gold metal globe in her hands. It glowed brightly.
"This is my globe," Kara continued. She closed her eyes, and the ball glowed brighter for a moment. "It's missing energy."
"How can you tell?" Martha asked.
"When the globes are passed down to the heirs, they are taught everything about the globes: their history and how to understand their own globe's energy in case it ever has to be channeled to defend the family."
"So, you must have had that a lot time to be able to know there's energy missing, right?" Jonathan asked.
Kara looked a little hesitant. "Actually, I've only had this in my possession for a few months. I can barely comprehend the energy level. If I tried to channel the energy without the proper training, it could be fatal." She cocked her head to the side and stared at her globe. "But I just don't understand it."
"Understand what?" Clark asked.
"The globe is missing energy, and you saw what I was able to do today to Zod and the others. Kryptonians don't have psychokinetic abilities, Clark, even in the presence of a yellow sun. What I think is that … I think, somehow or another, the missing energy has been channeled into me. It's like it's … it's a part of me."
"Do you feel different?" Clark asked.
"I little. And when I blasted Zod and the others, it not only knocked them off their feet, but it felt really uncomfortable. And I have no idea how to control it, if it is truly a part of me."
Clark looked a little troubled as he took a deep breath. "You said it's a psychokinetic ability, right?" Kara nodded. "Well, from what I've seen, it seems that you have the ability to move things just by willing it to happen." He glanced around the living room, and his eyes fell on a hammer in a toolbox near the front door. "Say you wanted to move that hammer there."
"Hammer?" Kara asked. Clark went over and pointed to it. "Oh."
"If what you're saying is true, then you should be able to move the hammer on your own, just by concentrating really hard. Give it a try. Picture an invisible hand lifting it and bringing it to you."
Kara looked a little uncertain, but she stared at the hammer, focusing and concentrating. After a few moments, it started shaking. She tensed as she felt her body ache, but she concentrated harder. After a few more seconds the hammer slowly lifted into the air.
"Oh, my," Martha said. She looked at Jonathan, who just stood beside her, his mouth open.
Clark was smiling, and a proud grin was spreading across the young woman's face. She glanced at her cousin, but that momentary distraction caused the hammer to fall to the toolbox, rattling everything loudly. Kara looked crestfallen, as if she had failed.
"Hey, it's okay," Clark said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "Look, it's going to take some time to master it. And at the rate you've been mastering your other powers, it shouldn't take that long. Now, I've got to get back to Metropolis and figure out what's going on." He quickly spun around, changing into Superman.
"What about Zod and the others?" Kara asked.
"For the time being, I want you to stay put here and learn how to control that new power of yours," Superman said, gently. "Okay?"
Kara sighed but she nodded. She smiled slightly as her cousin kissed her forehead then said goodbye to his parents. He left in a big whoosh, taking to the sky and heading east. Kara glanced down at her globe and furrowed her eyebrows, cocking her head to the side as if deep in thought.
"What is it?" Martha asked.
"I don't know," Kara answered slowly. "It's like there's something … else." She continued watching the globe as it suddenly glowed brighter. She stared at the light, almost as if in a trance, then she blinked and smiled. "Most intriguing."
Clark adjusted his glasses as the elevator doors opened to the newsroom. He walked over to Lois, who was too busy on the phone to notice him. "Well … same to you, buster!" She slammed the phone down and rubbed her temples. "Oh, Clark, where are you?"
"Right beside you."
Lois looked up and saw her husband standing next to her desk, grinning. She flung herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Oh, Clark, thank goodness you're all right. I was so worried about you."
"I'm fine, Lois," Clark said, hugging her to him.
"How's Kara?" Lois whispered. "She's back at Smallville for the time being," Clark whispered. "She's fine, but she's staying there until she gets one of her powers more under control."
Clark glanced around, making sure no one was in hearing distance. "Remember when she threw her hands out and that invisible force hit -"
"Clark!" Perry almost shouted as he came walking out of his office. He was holding a small stack of photographs and an edition of the Daily Planet paper. Jimmy was close behind him. "Where in Sam Hill have you been?"
"I've been out … talking to Superman about what happened earlier."
"And?" Perry asked.
"His official response is 'No Comment."
"That's it?" Perry looked displeased. "Clark, let me explain something to you." He slapped down a photo of the Kryptonian trio. "First of all, there are three … super people from who-knows-where destroying Metropolis who have Superman's powers." He slapped down another photo that Jimmy took of Kara and Superman talking to each other right before they flew off. "Then this young woman comes into the picture, also exhibiting the same powers, plus that thing she did with her hands. Now, from what I heard and saw at that fight — that fight which is costing the Daily Planet money to have the front repaired — gave me enough reason to believe that Superman knows all four of these characters. Hell, they could even be from New Krypton, for all we know. Lord knows they tried to take over Earth once; wouldn't be surprised if they were trying it again. But regardless of why they're here, the fact of the matter is that this is one helluva story, and I want the Daily Planet to be on top of this for more than just this one headline."
He slapped down the paper he was holding. On the front page in big, bold letters were the words 'Superman, Supergirl Clash With Supervillains.' A big, colorful photograph of the five Kryptonians battling outside the Daily Planet complimented the headline.
"Supergirl?" Clark asked.
"Yeah, that was my idea," Jimmy said proudly. He glanced at one of the close-ups of Kara he took. "Man, she's hot. Hey, guys, since Superman seems to know her, you think you can put in a good word for me the next time you see him?" He trailed off when he saw Clark almost glaring at him. "What?"
"Don't you have some film to develop?" Clark asked.
"Whoa, what's with you, C.K.?" Clark just stared at him, and the young man got the message. "Right … I'm going to go develop some film." He beat a hasty retreat.
"Clark," Lois looked a little exasperated.
"Did you hear what he called her?"
"Not that," Clark said quickly. He sighed and shrugged. "Well, not just that … he called her hot."
Lois grinned. "Sounds like someone's a little protective."
"I just … I have a relative, Lois; an actual, living relative, and she's been entrusted to my care by someone I've never even met who has no reason to really trust me. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure she stays safe, so if I sound a bit overprotective, I'm not apologizing."
"Hey, wait just a minute, Clark. Back it up. Look, I'm not making fun of you. I just find it incredibly sweet and charming you're doing this for her."
Clark softened. "I'm sorry, Lois. I'm just …" He glanced around, then lowered his voice. "I'm just not sure what to do about Zod and the others. I can't handle them myself, and I don't want Kara going near them until she masters all her powers, no matter how well she did today."
"So, what are we going to do?"
Clark sighed. "I don't know." He took a deep breath. "I think I'm going to go apologize to Jimmy." He kissed Lois before walking away to the elevators. He got on and disappeared from sight as Lois went back to her work.
A few minutes passed before Lois' phone rang. She picked it up on the first ring. "Lois Lane," she answered.
"Lois, it's Martha."
"Hey, Martha. How are things out in Smallville?"
"Well, that's why I was calling. It's about Kara."
Lois furrowed her eyebrows. "What about her? Is everything okay?"
"Well, I don't know how much you know, but Kara was staring at her globe, and it started glowing. She got this far off look on her face, then said she had to find Clark. Before we could stop her, she took off for Metropolis."
"Thanks, Martha. I'll tell Clark." She said goodbye and hung up. She grabbed her things and left her desk, making her way to the elevators. She pressed the button and waited. The doors opened and she found herself looking at a young woman with dark brown hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a pair of tight- fitting jeans, a green t-shirt, and black flats.
"Oh, excuse me," Lois said, but the young woman simply grabbed her arm and pulled her into the elevator. The doors quickly shut before Lois could protest.
"You're Lois Lane," the young woman said.
Lois looked annoyed as she straightened herself. "Yeah, what's it to you?"
"I'm sure Clark has told you about me. I'm his cousin, Kara."
Lois paused and stared at the young woman. This young woman didn't look anything like the Kara she saw, but she couldn't say anything and risk exposing Clark's secret. Still, she was curious. "Look," she said, "I -"
Her eyes widened as the air around the young woman shimmered. Her entire appearance shifted and changed, like it was made of a fluid. Her eyes changed to a startling blue, and her hair lengthened past her shoulders and lightened to a golden blond. Even her clothes underwent a transformation, and soon she was attired in a black bodysuit, matching boots, and a burgundy tunic.
"Now do you believe me?" Kara asked.
"I … how did you do that?" Lois asked slowly. "I didn't think Kryptonians had the ability to alter their appearances. Or do things with their hands. And how did you get here so fast?"
"Well, I flew," Kara said. "As to your other question, Kryptonians normally can't. It's hard to explain, Lois. I need to find Clark. It's important." She took a breath. "I know how to defeat Zod and the others, but I'm going to need his help."
Lois looked at the young woman, then pressed the elevator button for the photo labs. "Okay," she said. "How do you plan on doing it?"
"Actually, I should talk to Clark -" She was interrupted as the elevator pinged, arriving on their floor. Lois looked forward as the doors opened, and saw a few people waiting to get on. She jerked her head back towards Kara and did a double take. Kara now had short brown hair again, her eye color had changed back to brown, and her clothes had changed back to the jeans and t-shirt combo. She stood gaping with her mouth open, but Kara just smiled.
"Come on, Lois," she said, grabbing her arm and pulling her out. "Our floor." They waited until the people had gotten on the elevator and the door shut before Lois looked at Kara. "So, where's Clark?"
Lois was still reeling from Kara's transformation, so it took her a few seconds to register the question. "Uh … follow me." Lois led the way down the hall until they came to a door at the end of the hall. It was photo lab. Lois knocked once.
"It's open," Jimmy shouted from the other end. Lois opened the door and saw Jimmy, his back to her, taking some dried photos off their clothespins and started stacking them. Clark was leaning up against one of the cabinets, arms folded. He looked up as Lois came in.
"Clark, there's someone here to see you," Lois said. She stepped to the side, revealing Kara. "It's your cousin."
Clark straightened up and looked at Lois. She nodded silently, giving him a look. He immediately looked at the younger woman, and she smiled, giving a small wave. He sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Cousin?" Jimmy asked. He turned around and saw Kara, and he stopped short, his eyebrows shooting up. His mouth formed a small 'o' shape. "Uh … hi …" he said after a few moments. He dropped his work on the counter and came over, smiling nervously. "Hi … I'm … I'm …" He gave a pleading look to Lois.
Lois had to hide her smile as she looked at Kara. "This is Jimmy Olsen, one of our best photographers."
"Hi," Jimmy said, smiling goofily at Kara.
"Jimmy, this is …" She trailed off and looked at Clark, who looked just as lost as she did.
"Uh, this is my cousin," Clark said. He trailed off, trying to think of a name.
Kara smiled at Jimmy. "Hi," she replied. "I'm Linda Lee."
"That's a nice name," Jimmy said. He rubbed the back of neck with one hand nervously. "Hey, um, look, I know we just met, but would you like to get a bite to eat tonight?"
"Uh, Jimmy, that's a very nice offer," Clark replied quickly, "but I promised Linda I'd show her around." He ushered the two women out of the lab.
"Uh, sure thing, C.K.," Jimmy replied distractedly. "Bye, Linda."
"Nice to meet you, Jimmy," Linda said before Clark closed the door behind them, leaving Jimmy in the photo lab all by himself. He just stared at the closed door, then reality kicked in. He groaned, remembering how he acted toward the young woman.
"Nice going, Olsen," he said. "Real smooth moves, buddy." He continued to berate himself as he went back to his work.
Clark, Lois, and Kara silently walked down the hall. Instead of heading for the elevators, they walked past them, entering the stairwell. After making sure they were alone, Clark turned to Kara.
"I told you to stay in Smallville, Kara," he said.
"I had something important to tell you, Clark," the young woman said. "And I'm not Kara like this. I'm Linda Lee."
"Why Linda Lee?" Lois asked.
"I overheard lots of different names on my way up here, trying to find one that I liked. I heard Linda and I heard Lee, so I just combined them."
"Okay, Linda," Clark said, folding his arms. "What are you doing here?"
"I think I know how to get rid of General Zod," Linda said. "The globe … well, it showed me what to do, for lack of a better explanation."
"How?" Clark asked, his anger slowly dissipating.
"I can't tell you," Linda answered. "You just have to trust me on this."
"No way. Either you tell me or you go back to Smallville." He paused. "And where did you get that disguise from?"
"She made it," Lois replied. Clark looked at his wife questioningly. "Show him what you showed me, Kara — er, Linda, um … just show him."
Linda closed her eyes and concentrated really hard. The air around her shimmered, and pretty soon she had her blond hair, blue eyes, and her Kryptonian clothing. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she glanced up at her cousin, who was speechless.
"Another side effect of the globe's energy," she explained. "Discovered I had it when I was trying to find the disguise your mother gave me. I just started changing. Didn't take me long to be able to figure out how it work; just like with the psychokinetic ability, I just have to concentrate and focus." She winced as she straightened up.
"Are you okay?" Clark asked worriedly.
"It hurts a little to do that," Kara replied. "Same when I use the psychokinesis abilities."
"Do you know why?" Clark asked.
Kara shook her head and said, "No, I don't." She looked up and saw her cousin looking concerned. "Clark, I'll be fine. Now, back to Zod and the others."
"Kara, I can't let you anywhere near them unless you tell me what you have planned. Superpowers or not, you could get hurt."
"Clark, look, I know that I probably should just shut up and let you two work this out," Lois said, "but maybe you should trust Lin — er, Kara and listen to her. She knows more about Zod, Ursa, and Non than you do."
"I do," Kara replied. She looked up at Clark. "Clark, I'm not trying to show off or anything. I'm trying to stop more innocent people from dying. Those three wouldn't be here if I hadn't come -"
"Kara, we can't be sure," Clark interrupted, gently. "You can't blame yourself for them being here."
"But I do," Kara said. "And I know how to get rid of them. I would rather you help me, but if you won't, I'll do it myself."
Clark knew she was putting on a brave face, but he could hear her heart racing a mile a minute, and it didn't take a Superman to see through her facade. <You're scared,> he said to her.
<I am, but I have to do this, Clark,> she said. <Please help me.>
<Why won't you tell what you have in mind?>
<Just trust me, please.>
Clark sighed. He didn't like it, but he knew he didn't have a choice unless he didn't get involved, but that was out of the question. This fight was personal, not just because of Kara, but because Zod and the others had come to kill him too. "Okay," he said aloud. "I'll do it."
"Thank you," Kara smiled.
"Do what?" Lois asked. "What did you -" She stopped when she realized what happened. "You spoke telepathically, didn't you?"
"I started it," Clark apologized. "Sorry."
"It's okay," Lois replied. "So, what's the plan?"
"We need to draw Zod, Ursa, and Non out into the open," Kara said. "We have to make them believe we're challenging their authority. Zod especially hates that."
"How are you going to do that?"
Kara closed her eyes, concentrating very hard. <General Zod, it's Kara Zor-El.>
<Ah, the young imp,> Zod's voice replied. <Ready for you and your cousin to admit defeat?>
<On the contrary, Zod. You don't belong here, and we're both going to make sure you and the others are sent back to your rightful place. Come to the spot where we last fought, unless you don't think you can win against us.> She opened her eyes and found Clark giving her an incredulous look. "You heard."
"Of course I could hear," Clark replied. "You just challenged Zod to a fight?"
"I had to draw them out. Zod and the others will now take the bait, and we have them right where we want them."
"In the middle of the city? People might get hurt."
"Night's falling. Most people have left the area. Besides, there will not be that much destruction this time. I promise you. Now, let's get going before they arrive and start destroying things again." She headed down the stairs, but Clark grabbed her tunic. She looked puzzled, but he pointed up.
"The rooftop, Kara."
"Oh, okay." The young woman turned around and headed up the stairs as Clark began unbuttoning his shirt.
"Be careful, Clark," Lois said.
Clark leaned over and kissed her. "I will be. I promise." He hurried up the stairs after his cousin, tugging at his necktie. Lois sighed, then went back into the hall to get the elevator back to the newsroom.
A few street lights were lit outside the Daily Planet as Zod, Ursa, and Non landed in the middle of the street. They looked around for any sight of their enemies, but found nothing.
"They're cowards," Zod sneered. "They can't even show their faces."
"Think again, Zod." The trio turned around and saw Superman standing behind them, his arms folded across his chest.
"And where is the young pup?" Zod asked. "Is she scared to face me herself?"
"Don't flatter yourself." The trio whirled around and saw Kara standing behind them. Before they could react, she thrust her arms out in front of her. The force struck the Kryptonians, sending them flying over Superman's head. She was really pleased that she didn't even stumbled backwards. She calmly walked up beside Superman as the trio slowly got to their feet, trying to catch their breaths.
Even though it was night, there were still a few spectators, mainly from the Daily Planet. After telling Perry and Jimmy that she had spoke with Superman, that he had a plan, Perry had ordered both Lois and Jimmy to go cover it. However, he realized that he wanted to see what was going to happen for himself, so he ended up tagging along. Now, the three of them, plus a few other spectators, were gathered outside, standing under the Daily Planet's alcove, watching the battle while Jimmy snapped photographs.
"Your flashy powers won't save you from defeat!" Zod wheezed. "I *will* rule this planet! I *will* win!"
"No," Kara said calmly. She reached into a pocket on her tunic and pulled out her globe. She held it in her left hand at eye level, staring expressionlessly at it. The globe started glowing until it was an intense white. "You murderous rampage ends here, Zod. I'm giving you the fate you and your two followers deserve." A few moments later, a small circle of light appeared behind the Kryptonian trio. They turned their heads as it grew to the size of a small compact car. "I'm returning you to the Phantom Zone!"
Superman watched, wide-eyed as the aura snaked up Kara's arm and around her body. He suddenly realized what she was doing as the conversation with her earlier that day came to his thoughts: If I tried to channel the energy without the proper training, it could be fatal.
"Kara, don't do it!" he shouted as he reached out to grab her arm. As soon as his hand touched the aura, it sent sparks flying before Superman was thrown back onto the sidewalk. He lay on his back, stunned for a moment, before he slowly sat up. He tried to move, but he didn't have the strength. All he could do was watch.
The trio moved to get away, but Kara, her face expressionless, raised her right hand, palm facing them. A beam of white light shot from her hand and hit the trio with a force that knocked them into the circle. Their screams faded as the circle got smaller and disappeared completely.
As the aura faded from sight Kara blinked, like she was coming out of a trance. She remained in her spot as she turned to look at her cousin. Her face was completely ashen in color. The globe dropped from her hand, smoking, and hit the pavement, shattering to pieces. A couple seconds later, Kara's eyes rolled up and she collapsed to the ground.
Superman stared numbly, in a trance of his own. He didn't realize he was moving until he was kneeling beside her, taking her in his arms. All he could see was Kara — his baby cousin — and she wasn't moving. He listened within his mind, a place where only she could speak to him — and heard nothing. She was gone.
"No," he whispered, tears falling down his cheeks. He smoothed strands of hair from her face. "Come on, Kara. Wake up." Her eyes remained closed. Holding him close to her, he began weeping softly.
"Oh, my God," Lois whispered, tears in her eyes. Perry just stared stoically, a lump forming in his throat. He didn't know what to say or do. Jimmy kept his eye in the viewfinder, numbly taking pictures.
Superman started shaking as his tears continued. He was silently begging her to move or do something, to hear her heart beating or her breathing, something to show that she wasn't dead, that he hadn't failed her, but he could neither feel nor hear anything.
"Are they gone?" a raspy voice said softly.
Superman paused and slowly lifted his head. He looked down at Kara's ashen face and saw her looking at him, her dull, blue eyes visible under half-closed eyelids. He just stared, not sure if he was seeing or hearing correctly. He saw her left hand slowly reach up and touch his cheek ever so slightly; he knew then that it was real, that she was alive.
"Oh, thank God," Lois whispered, smiling. She glanced over at Perry and saw the older man smiling. She could even see Jimmy grinning as he continued to snap pictures. The rest of the spectators started cheering and applauding.
Superman caught Kara's hand from the side, gripping it, seeing how weak she was. He could feel how cold her hand was in his, how she was shaking slightly; he couldn't take his eyes off her. After a few seconds, he tilted his chin and tenderly kissed the backs of her fingers. He was trying hard not to cry again as he took a deep, trembling breath.
"Hey," he breathed softly, barely audible.
"Are they gone?" she repeated.
Superman nodded, smiling slightly. "They're gone. You did it." He kissed her forehead as he got to his feet, holding her in his arms. "Come on, let's get you back to Smallville. We need to have a long talk." He carefully leaped into the air and was out of sight in seconds.
Lois continued to watch the sky as the crowd dispersed, still cheering. She turned when Perry touched her arm. "Lois, come on, we have a story to get printed up. Jimmy, get that filmed developed now."
"Right on it, Chief," Jimmy said.
"Where's Clark?" Perry asked.
Lois said, "Oh, uh, he's -"
"He's out with his cousin," Jimmy interrupted.
"I didn't know he had a cousin," Perry said.
"Yeah, she's visiting from Smallville," Jimmy continued as the trio started heading back in. "She's really cute too. Hey, Lois, you know if she's staying here long?"
"I'm not sure, Jimmy. I think that's something you should take up with her and Clark."
"Well, you think you can put in a good word with Clark for me?"
Lois looked at him, amused. "Jimmy, he already knows you. Besides, whatever happened to Supergirl? I thought you liked her." The sudden realization hit Jimmy, but he just grinned sheepishly as he shrugged his shoulders. Lois and Perry shared a look as they rolled their eyes.
Martha brought a warm, wet washcloth from the kitchen to the living room, where Kara was laying on the couch. The color had returned to her cheeks and eyes, and she was breathing deeply. Clark was sitting on the edge of the couch beside her, watching her. He took the offered washcloth from his mother and carefully put it on the young woman's forehead. Martha and Jonathan stood behind the couch, just watching.
"Now I know why you didn't want to tell me what your plan was," Clark said quietly.
"I'm sorry," Kara whispered. "I didn't think you'd let me go through with it."
"No, I wouldn't." He sighed, looking very hurt. "You could have gotten yourself killed, Kara. Why did you do it?"
"Because I had to; it was the only way to get them back to where they belonged." She looked away from him, ashamed. "I'm sorry, Clark. I know you must hate me now."
"Kara." She slowly turned her head to him. "You saved Metropolis, and possibly the world. I don't hate you for that. I'm very proud of you."
Kara couldn't believe him, even though she really wanted to. "Oh, come, on, Clark. Your life was probably all nice and calm before I came into the picture. Ever since I got here I've been nothing but trouble. And to top it off, I nearly kill myself. What is there to be proud of in that?"
"Because you acted selflessly. Granted, you nearly *did* kill yourself, but you did it because you didn't want anyone else to suffer the way you did. You were willing to sacrifice everything for people you didn't even know. *That's* why I'm proud of you."
Clark nodded. "Yes, really — you saved a lot of people, and proved to be a very valuable person." Kara smiled weakly, blushing a little.
"Which is about forty percent of why, if you ever, and I mean *ever* go behind my back and do something so dangerous again, I will personally kick your little Kryptonian rear end into a whole new solar system," Clark continued smoothly, unblinking, looking totally sincere. Kara's eyes widened, and she shivered slightly; in all the places she'd been, over all the distance she'd covered, she'd never encountered anything as powerful as a man's honest possessiveness toward anyone he felt compelled to protect.
Kara blinked a few times, trying to digest this new revelation. She didn't know her cousin very well, but like his parents, she could tell that his relief was warring with genuine anger. She didn't feel afraid; this was a different kind of intimidation. She was sure that she didn't ever want to see that look in his eyes again, partially because she cared about him so much. She met his eyes with hers, her tone quiet and neutral. "And what would be the other sixty percent of your reason?"
Clark held her gaze without blinking, his voice low, firm, and calm. "That I love you too much to lose you." He took Kara's hand again, his low voice tinged with affection. "Especially since I just got you. I don't know what you've got going on, but I plan to keep you."
"Really?" Kara's eyes were wide and her heart was racing as though she'd just found something she'd lost a lifetime ago.
Clark smiled slightly, holding her left hand in both of his and tucking them all under his chin. "Really." He plunged on, his voice tinged with awe. "Kara, I don't know if you really know this, but you're amazing. And it has nothing to do with powers or globes or where you were born. It's you, Kara, it's who you are. You're clever, you have a strong spirit," he gave a small half-chuckle out of wonder, "and, most importantly, you're my family. You are my family, Kara, a piece of my heritage, a piece of my parents," he placed their hands over his heart, "a piece of me. You're the closest I've ever had to a sister, and that means something around here. It means you have people here who love you for who you are, and nothing you could ever do would make any of us stop loving you."
Kara smiled as she wrapped her arms around her cousin's neck, and hugged him tightly. She closed her eyes as she felt his arms envelope her, letting her know that she was truly loved and safe. "So, now what?" she asked as they pulled away. "Zod is gone. Where does that leave me now?"
"Well," Clark replied, "we have a couple of options. One, you can stay here and live in Smallville with my folks. I don't think that's going to be the best option, though."
"Why not?" Martha asked. "We would love to have her stay with us."
"Oh, I know that, Mom," Clark said. "She can stay here, if she wants to, but I just thought it would be easier for Supergirl if she lived in the same city as her cousin."
Kara just stared at him. "You want me to work with you?"
Clark smiled. "Of course I do. You've certainly earned the right. Think of all the people we'll be able to help, now that there's two of us."
"But where would I stay when I'm not Supergirl?"
"Well, I'm sure I'll have no problem convincing Lois, but you're more than welcomed to stay with us — as my cousin, Linda Lee."
Kara grinned and hugged Clark tightly. "Thank you," she whispered. Clark just chuckled as he held his cousin. After a few moments Kara pulled away, excited. "Can we leave tonight?" She glanced up at the Kents. "Um, not that I don't enjoy all that you've done for me."
"Oh, it's perfectly okay, dear," Martha smiled, putting a hand on her shoulder. "But perhaps you should stay here the night and rest. You've had a busy day." Kara nodded.
"But we want you to know that you are always welcome to come here any time you like," Jonathan added. "You're family." Kara all but leapt from her spot and went to hug both Martha and Jonathan as tightly as she dared. Both Kents hugged their adoptive daughter.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"Well, now we have just one more problem to cover," Clark said. "Three, actually."
"What's that?" Jonathan asked.
"Well, first of all, what are we going to do about Kara's ship?"
"It's of no use to me anymore," Kara replied.
"I know, but if it were to fall into the wrong hands, it could be dangerous."
"Well, I think I can try to contact Lady Zara," Kara said. "She's probably on her way here now; before my father put me in the ship, he sent a distress signal to Zara, alerting her of Zod's arrival and what he was planning to do with me. If and when Zara comes, we can let her have the ship; they'll be able to deal with it properly."
"Okay," Clark nodded. "Secondly, I want you to visit a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs in Metropolis."
"Well, because I think it would be best to know more about your other powers, just to make sure there are no harmful effects. He even might be able to figure out exactly how you got them in the first place. He's worked with Superman in the past on many occasions, and I trust him."
"Does he know Superman is Clark Kent?"
"No, so you'll have to go as Supergirl, which brings me to the third thing I wanted to discuss. It's your outfit."
Kara looked at her clothes. "What's wrong with it?"
"Well," Clark said slowly. He wasn't sure exactly what to say. Martha, wise to her son's reasoning, realized what he was getting at.
"I think what Clark is saying is that you need a different outfit to wear as Supergirl, just like Clark has a different outfit he wears as Superman."
"Exactly," Clark nodded.
Martha's face brightened. "And I have just the outfit in mind." Taking Kara by her hands, she led her upstairs. "Now, first of all, I'll need to get your measurements, then we'll …" Jonathan and Clark just glanced at each other, grinning, as Martha's voice trailed off.
"I'm going to call Lois and tell her what's going on," Clark said, getting to his feet. He walked to the phone and dialed the Daily Planet, knowing that his wife was still busy there writing. He waited, then smiled when she answered. "Lois, it's me … yes, she's fine, don't worry. In fact, there's something we need to talk about that concerns her."
The next morning Clark cheerfully walked up to his desk, whistling a tune. He sat down and busied himself with some paperwork. He had been working for a few minutes when a newspaper was slapped down in front of him. It was that morning's edition of the Daily Planet. The headline read 'Supergirl Saves Metropolis' with Lois' byline at the beginning of the story, which took up the entire front page . One of Jimmy's photos from last night's battle was situated in the middle. Clark looked up and saw Lois smiling at him.
"You're back," she said before leaning over to kiss him.
"Yes, I am," he replied.
"There you are, Clark," Perry said, coming out of his office. "I hope you had a good time with your cousin last night while us real reporters were working."
"Chief, I can explain," Clark said. "You see, her -"
"No need to," Perry interrupted. "Lois told us everything this morning. How you two are letting her live with you in Metropolis." He patted Clark's shoulder. "This paper may be important, but nothing is more important than family. Nothing. You did the right thing by being with her, Clark."
"Thank you," Clark said.
"Uh, now," Perry said, quickly clearing his throat before he became too sentimental, "what about Supergirl? Any new developments, or is Superman still keeping a tight-lip?"
"Uh, actually, I talked with Superman this morning," Clark said, "and he says if we wanted to know anything about Supergirl, then we'll need to ask her."
"And how do we reach Supergirl?" Perry asked.
"Superman says he'll talk with her," Clark continued. "If she's up for an interview, he'll let us know. All he said after that was keep an eye on the skies."
"So, she's staying put," Perry said. He chuckled as he shook his head, heading back to his office. "Oh, thanks for inviting me to dinner tonight. Looking forward to meeting Linda." He walking into his office and shut the door.
"Dinner?" Clark asked.
Lois looked a little sheepish. "Well, I -"
"Hey, C.K.," Jimmy said as he came walking up, "you should have been here last night. Man, Supergirl kicked major butt!"
"So I heard," Clark smiled.
"Oh, Lois said Linda's moving here. Is that true?"
"Why?" Clark asked slowly, his smile fading.
Jimmy shrugged. "Just curious."
Lois tried not to laugh. "Yes, she is, Jimmy. She's staying with Clark and me for the time being. She's moving in today." She patted his shoulder. "Would you like to join us for supper after she gets settled in?" She ignored the look Clark was giving her.
"Cool," Jimmy grinned. "Thanks, Lois." He hurried off to take care of some other work.
"Lois," Clark said.
"Oh, come on, Clark," Lois replied. "I don't think we need to worry about Jimmy. He's a great guy, and Kara can definitely handle herself. Besides, Perry and both of us will be there. It's just a small dinner welcoming your cousin to Metropolis. Nothing more, nothing less."
Clark took a deep breath. "Okay, but I think we better let her know before they come over."
"Speaking of which, where is she? At the apartment?"
A loud whooshing sound caught the attention of the entire newsroom, and everyone looked up to see a red blur flying past the second level windows. A lot of people stopped and stared as Clark turned to Lois, grinning. "Actually, she's taking in the sights."
"Stop, thief! Help, police!"
A gruff, unshaven man in jeans came running out of a jewelry story, holding a small leather bag with jewelry dangling out in one hand, and a gun in another hand. As he ran down the sidewalk, people scattered to get out of his way. He turned back and laughed at the jeweler as he ran, then turned back to see where he was going. He didn't even know he ran into something, but he certainly felt it. It was like running into a brick wall. He fell to the ground, the wind knocked out of him. He grabbed his head and rubbed it, then glanced up. His eyebrows shot up when he saw what he ran into.
Kara was standing in front of him, her hands on her hips. She was dressed in a short, bright red skirt with a matching cape and boots, layered over a royal- blue leotard. Across her chest was a red and yellow pentagonal shield with a stylized letter S. Her blond hair fell over her shoulders, and her blue eyes studied the thief.
"I don't think that stuff belongs to you," she said calmly.
The thief growled as he got to his feet, standing several inches taller than her. He aimed his gun at her. "And what are you going to do about it?" He fired the gun several times, but the bullets simply bounced off Kara's chest. He jaw dropped as he stared at her. Kara looked at the gun, and two red beams shot from her eyes. They hit the gun, and it started glowing hot. The thief yelped as he dropped the gun and the bag of jewelry, holding his hand.
"Ready to give up?" she asked calmly, almost amused.
The thief responded by balling up his fist and hitting her face, but she didn't even flinch as his hand connected with her cheek. The thief howled in pain as he clutched his broken hand. "She broke my hand!" he shouted. "Superchick broke my hand."
Kara just rolled her eyes as she reached over and grabbed the man's collar. She lifted him several inches off the ground. "You were the one who broke your own hand, mister. And by the way, the name isn't Superchick. It's Supergirl." She glanced down the street as a police car came speeding towards them, sirens blaring. Still holding the thief over her head, she picked up the bag of jewelry and the gun, and walked back to the jeweler.
"I believe this belongs to you," she said, handing the bag over.
"Uh … thanks," the jeweler said slowly.
Kara turned to the officers, who looked somewhat surprised as they walked over from their car. "And I believe these belong to you." She handed the gun to the elder of the two officers and lowered the thief to his feet.
"Thanks," the elder officer replied.
"My pleasure." Kara smiled. "Have a nice day." She leapt into the air and flew away. The officers just stared up at the sky.
Kara smiled as she swooped and soared in the air, feeling the wind whip her hair and cape. It had felt so good to help out like that, just like something that Clark had told her she would never get tired of. For the first time since she arrived on Earth, she felt like she really belonged somewhere. She would miss her family and friends from Argo City dearly and never forget them, but she had been taught that no one can live in the past, nothing can be done to change it. She had a wonderful new world to live in, where she was accepted as a hero just like her cousin. And she also had a family that had accepted her without hesitation into their lives, something she would always be grateful for.
"Help! Somebody help me!"
Kara's hearing picked up the distress signal, and she pushed all of her thoughts aside as she descended in between the buildings toward the sound. She had work to do.