Summary: A what-if story in which Jor-El provides his son with more than just passage to a new life on another world.
Before I get to the story, I think I should take a moment to explain what an 'elseworld' story is. For those of you who read the comics, you already know, but for the others--An Elseworld story is a story wherein the events aren't likely to ever take place and most probably never will. They can involve taking a character like Superman and playing 'what if' with his accepted history and legend. For example: My favorite Elseworld story is titled Speeding Bullets. In this story, Kal-El's (Superman's) little spaceship does not land in Smallville, it lands in Gotham City. Superman literally becomes a super powered Batman. BUT, the love of a woman named Lois Lane, shows him the error of his vigilante ways. Anyway, Fated is also a 'what if' type of story, so don't take it to task for rewriting Superman's legend. That is what an Elseworld story is for<g>
Nearly a quarter of a million years ago, Krypton was entering a golden age. Emotions were put aside in favor of logic and after a time, Kryptonians did not even touch each other. Children were conceived entirely outside the womb, and endured their gestation period inside of matrix chambers. Such was life on Krypton in this era. However, a rebellious faction of Kryptonians who did not believe in the termination of emotions, decided to leave Krypton, where their politics were denounced, and find a new world. They were told that leaving Krypton would be fatal, but the rebels found this warning to be as false as the warning to ancient mariners of Earth, that if they sailed too far, they would eventually drop off of the ledge of the world.
The rebels' ships, of multi-generational design, traveled the eons and miles of space until they at last reached Earth. The native inhabitants were very much like them, but did not possess the Kryptonians' amazing strength and powers acquired under Earth's yellow sun. Though some Kryptonians achieved a measure of fame, such as Samson and Hercules, most lead quiet and uneventful lives. They were content to be in a place where they were free to love, and raise their families.
As the millennia passed, each new generation became more acclimated to the new world than the last, until finally, the physical difference between Kryptonian and human was indistinguishable. This did not alter the fact that Kryptonians were a different species, and as such could not reproduce with the humans they came to love and take as mates.
The elders of the Kryptonian-Terrans became alarmed at how the Kryptonian numbers were dwindling, and made valiant attempts to create a pithecanthropus, or Kryptonian/human hybrid if you prefer. Such a hybrid, it was hoped, would be compatible reproductively with either Kryptonian or human genetics, but all attempts ended in failure, and the fate of the few remaining Kryptonians was now sealed.
Millions of miles away on Krypton, Jor-El, a young romantic by Kryptonian standards, a lover of history and science, was studying the separatist rebel movement. He was also becoming acutely aware of the peril in which Krypton had placed itself. In a very short time his world would be destroyed. He thought of his wife Lara, and though Krypton no longer had a word for his feelings, he knew he loved her. He thought of his son, Kal-El, growing in the sterile environment of a matrix chamber, and how his son might never live long enough to open his eyes on a living world. Jor-El would make certain his son would know life, and to that end, had taken drastic, heretical steps.
He had sent an automated prototype ship to Earth. This ship had an experimental tach drive system which could slip through tachyon space with ease and precision. The powers that be of Krypton had scoffed at Jor-El's notion that an overlap of tachyon and tardyon space existed, and in that overlap the light speed barrier could be circumvented. Undaunted, Jor-El built his prototype and sent it equipped with automated servants to complete a task. A task, if detected, would surely have landed him in the Phantom Zone.
The small spacecraft arrived in orbit above Earth well after the Kryptonians had become acclimated, but well before their numbers began to dwindle. At this moment, the dormant mechanical servants activated and began performing a variety of tasks, not the least of which was the preparation of a small cryogenic chamber. All of Jor-El's hopes for his son's future happiness, and the continuation of the Kryptonian race, rested on the success of that one small device.
The automated servants then began the second phase of their master's quest. They began probing Earth's surface for the one remaining ingredient. An allusive element which now could only be found on Earth. After several fruitless days, the element was discovered.
A young Kryptonian couple sat laughing near a brook in a land which one day would be called Scotland. They spoke of their love and future together, and wondered why some Kryptonians willingly ignored the bond. A bond, which in times past, had inexorably drawn Kryptonian to Kryuptonian, and bonded them together forever as life partners.
As they pondered the greater mysteries of their small world, a shadow passed over them, and within moments the couple fell into a deep sleep. A servant from the Kryptonian ship gently lifted the woman and carried her aboard the ship. With great skill, the robots removed a fertilized egg from her womb, placed it in the cryogenic chamber, and then returned the sleeping woman to her husband's side. The ship then sped back to its waiting master.
Jor-El removed the cryogenic chamber, examined its integrity, and once satisfied, placed it back into the ship. Time was running out for Jor-El and Krypton. Moments before the robot ship had returned, he had sent his son off to his new home on Earth. He had just enough time to reprogram his servants and send them on their way before the ground began to tremble. The death throws of Krypton had begun.
Light-years distant, a three year old child squealed with delight as he chased a flock of geese. Nearby his mother was hanging the wash on the line. She could not help but think of the great secret when she looked upon her son, and wondered how she and her husband would one day break the truth to this innocent child. Would he understand? Would any child?
Clark chased the geese through the hay barn, and delighted at the resonance the old structure gave his screams. As he emerged on the other side, a shadow cast itself upon him. A shadow that had not visited Earth in untold years, but his time the shadow, without speaking, imparted warmth and endearments to the child, and young Clark smiled.
Hours later, that same shadow passed over a greenhouse where a woman was clipping rosebuds, and as happened years ago, the woman fell into a deep sleep. She was taken to the ship, and an organic Kryptonian matrix was placed inside her womb. A matrix, that when passed from her body during birth, would look imperceptibly different from human fetal matter. For now, however, the matrix would nurture the captured egg which would grow into the embryo of an acclimated Kryptonian. A Kryptonian who, unlike the boy more than a thousand miles away, would have no super powers, but would be Kryptonian nevertheless.
Nine months after the shadow passed over the greenhouse, Ellie and Samuel Lane became the proud, though unwitting, parents of the last daughter of Krypton. They named her Lois Lane.