Birth of the Undead – Prologue – Chapter 5
Written by kshoo :: [Saturday, 09 October 2021 06:17] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 09 October 2021 14:24]
Aftermath of the Explosion
“It’s only a minute past the hour. I’m sure she’s…”
“I’m here! Geez Kal… I am not THAT tardy you know.”
Kara Zor-El floated down and stepped onto the roof of the Daily Planet at precisely 1102am that Saturday morning. After the rescue of LunarCorp and the big introduction by Kal the other day, her cousin thought that they can do a more proper “coming out” befitting a Kryptonian Supergirl.
And what better media outlet than with the Daily Planet, with Lois Lane reporting and photos taken by Jimmy Olson, the best in the industry.
Jimmy thought Kara was a vision to behold – clad in a blue and red costume similar to Superman’s, Kara looks perfect to a “T”. While Superman had looked buff and projected strength with his muscle bulk, Supergirl’s frame is more athletic and toned, with curves in all the right places. Similar to Kal-El, her blue top fit her like a second skin, the large stylized <S> family rune stretching across her ripening young breasts. Her pleated skirt was just about long enough to cover her upper thighs, and the entire ensemble was complete with her cape that came to her upper legs.
In short, just perfect!
Kara giggled slightly upon seeing Jimmy’s initial reaction, while Lois leaned in. “Mind on the camera, Jimmy. Else I’ll be calling Lucy about your <ahem> fantasy of Supergirl”. The Planet’s best photographer quickly gathered his thoughts and gestured to Supergirl to do a few poses, and then he proceeded to snap away.
Superman was quietly proud about the way Kara handled the entire incident in Midvale. Given his experience in the media industry, he wanted to leverage this positivity to give Kara as much boost in her appearance as Supergirl as possible. He frowned slightly at her costume (“why does her skirt have to be that short?”) but all in all, everything looks good.
“You can’t always watch over her 24/7, you know”, his wife reminding Kal-el. After marrying the Man of Steel, Lois somehow knows to a certain extent how Superman thinks to a certain degree. She knows personally how he tends to hover over people sometimes, his protective nature rising to the fore. Part of it is due to the strong, principled upbringing the Kents’ have instilled in him. That’s why he’s the best superhero in town by a mile – the instinctive nature to always protect the people and the planet that is his home. And that’s why Lois loves him with all her body and soul.
“I know…sometimes I can’t help it. Do you think that it’s too soon for Kara? After all it’s only been a little more than a year since she’s here. It took me so much longer before I was ready to …”
“I CAN hear both of you, you know!” Supergirl called out towards the couple, smiling, before air-walking over to them. “Come on, Kal, Lois. I’m READY. I’m MORE than ready. We’ve been practicing and training almost every other day since I arrived on Earth, and don’t you forget – while I am still a young woman,“ Kara gestured towards her entire body, “I am still technically your senior, you know.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that all about?” Jimmy chimed in while he visually rolled-through his digital shots.
“In actual fact, both Kal and I escaped at the same time when Krypton exploded. I was already a teenager while he was still a baby. While his rocket came directly here, mine happened to take a much longer route, keeping me in statis…”
“And that’s why SHE keeps reminding me that I should show her more respect” Superman completed that sentence, smiling. “Well, I did bring you something to drink. Given that you’ve flown out here all the way, how about a cup of coffee before Lois chats with you?”
“Is it the one from Todd’s? With soy milk and cinnamon spinkled on top?”
“The one and the same”, Kal handing over a mug to Supergirl. Both Kyrptonians’ eyes flashed red for a while, and suddenly the air wafted with the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee.
Leaning over, Clark reminded Kara “Don’t forget, Ma’s expecting us over for dinner this weekend.”
“Is she making that wonderful roast again?” Kara practically vibrated recalling Ma Kent’s wonderful dish, and how she almost wolfed down the entire plate as well.
Clark laughed “We’ll just have to find out”. Kara practically whined at that.
“Gosh, what a way to have a cuppa. No more cold coffee, EVER. You’re really lucky, Ms Lane” Jimmy ribbing Lois.
“I know, right? And…oh, Jimmy, take this shot here, now!”
“This angle? Ok...” <Click!>
“Perfect. Just the right picture to go with my article….”
Mandi flipped through the Daily Planet’s pages quickly and then threw it on the table. “Well, that’s one way to find our elusive Supergirl.”
On the frontpage was the candid photo of the Last Son and Daughter of Krypton, seemingly deep in conversation on the rooftop of the Daily Planet's main building. While slightly corny, it had projected the desired effect of showing off the two most talked-about superheroes as friendly next-door-neighbours, ready to use their superpowers to help whenever needed. The matching headline read “Two Supers at the Ready!” followed by Lois Lane’s article about Supergirl’s exclusive one-on-one.
Since Kara Zor-El’s appearance two weeks ago, many reports have alleged that many of the smaller non-incidents throughout the past year, from getting small cats from trees to putting out fires especially in smaller towns across the country, were actually due to the Girl of Steel’s efforts. However, both she and Superman have been coy on confirming or denying any of those questions.
Her latest effort with LunarCorp recently had earned her almost universal plaundits and a most positive spin. Despite her injuries, Lena Luthor has personally written an open letter to the Daily Planet, thanking Supergirl for “coming to our aid during our most dire need”. A phrase that Mandi could see had a negative impact on Lex’ mood. After all, in Lex’ mind, Luthors don’t need any help from any Supers.
Broaching the subject again, “So, then it seems like with her coming out, that means she’s become a very popular figure now. Seems like you’ve missed your opportunity, Lex.”
Lex however was more optimistic. “That might be true, but all is not lost. Supers, you see, have a tendency to flaut their superbodies and abilities in public. But that doesn’t mean that they are always such people in private. I suspect that our famous boy scout and girl guide are operating under a civilian disguise. It is just a matter of…flushing them out, so to speak.”
The irony wasn't lost on Mandi. “But it hasn’t brought us any closer to getting her.”
“Oh, but it does! Her response to LunarCorp confirms my initial bet that she operates somewhere in Leesville and Midvale. That narrows it down. So it’s just a matter of finding the right manner to close the net.”
Mandi stood up and paced around the office “So you don’t really have a location, you don’t really have the person. You don’t seem to have much, Lex Luthor. And yet” she turned back to stand directly in front of Lex and stared into his eyes “you promise so much. A pity. Maybe I should consider taking my offer…elsewhere.”
Lex became a bit pensive, but soldiered on “Mandi, what we are planning to do has to be in the shadows. I doubt either of us would want to expose ourselves unnecessarily and attract the wrong attention. These things take time, and finesse…” he proceeded to rub his hands up and down Mandi’s long and powerful legs, bringing a slight moan to her lips. “and when the time is ready, we will pounce.”
Mandi gently extracted herself from Lex’ hold, and asked the next question in her mind. “You said you wanted to tell me one more thing?”
“Ah yes. Can you have a look at this, and tell me what you think it is?” He took another folder from his mahogany table and passed it to Mandi.
As she opened the folder, a few photos tumbled down onto the floor. She picked them up and looked at them, her frowns obvious. In each of the photos, there are blurred shots of a…bat-like creature? Or at least, it LOOKS like a bat, given the familiar shape of the chiropteran wings that is visible. But in all the photos, the figure is quite blurry as if it is moving at high speed. One shot captured the creature dropping down from high; another showed it flying away into the night sky.
Upon closer inspection, Mandi noticed something interesting. There way the torso looks, the curves on the creature in one of the photos. It can only mean one thing. “This is a woman!”
Lex grinned and replied “Well done, Mandi. Correct on the first go! You know, it took me quite a while and a lot of losses before I could even get something remotely visible like in those photos.” He took a sip of his coffee.
“How did your men find her?”
Lex replied slowly “As you are aware, a number of my more profitable businesses have been coming under intense pressure lately. THIS” he pointed at the figure, “feminine creature seems to be following the trail of my various trans-shipments of lovely ladies whose services are…most desired by my wealthy and powerful clients. She has attacked a number of my convoy throughout the eastern seaboard. However, I have reason to believe that she seems to be stationed in Gotham.”
Looking at Mandi, Lex enquired “Beautiful isn't she. Are you aware of such a creature? Perhaps in your previous adventure or encounters?”
“This is the first time I have heard or seen such a thing? Person, I suppose. I must admit, this is…intriguing. Is she powerful?”
“Unknown at this point in time. My men, or at least the few who survived the encounters, have reported that she is extremely fast and agile. Strong but not sure to what level. Definitely can fly” as he pointed at the wings, ”and seems to like to drink.”
“Drink?” Mandi raised her eyebrow.
“Oh, she prefers drinking directly from the source. You see, she loves blood. And she is very particular, going for the healthiest and the strongest first, always.” Lex then pointed to one of the medical reports contained in the folder. “Most of my men who died have bite marks on their carotid artery, and the condition of their bodies are such that the M.E can only conclude that they died due to extreme bloodloss. Looks like Mr. Bram Stoker’s tale of the vampire might not be fiction after all.”
“So, a vampire?”
“A vampire. With fangs and the lot. As you can see from the photo, the wings are there too.”
“That means she’ll succumb to holy water? Crosses? Garlic? Sunlight? Not much of a useable powerset compared to me.” Mandi proceeded to flex one bicep to make her point.
Lex sighed “I’m sure you can attest to the fact that it is difficult to hit a moving target. My men HAD tried all those methods, and none worked on her. Some claimed they could hear her laughter in the darkness when they attempted to go up against her with all those methods. There were also instances where she attacked at dawn or near dusk, so she might not be purely nocturnal. However, we did catch a lucky break. Silver does seem to work, and she was seen wounded and bleeding during one particular fight.”
Mandi was agitated “and you caught her?”
Lex shook his head “Unfortunately no. She was wounded yes, but as my men approached her, they saw her pulling out the bullets from her body. The wounds healed immediately once the silver-coated bullets were removed. Only one man survived the aftermath to tell me all this.”
“So, a bloodthirsty vampire who is seemingly unkillable. What does this have to do with our little Kryptonian Girl?”
Lex smiled “If I can somehow capture the vampire, would she be a good alternative for our initial arrangement as well? She IS invulnerable and practically an undead, if the legends are true. You can have her as your little pet, if you so desire. Think of it as…an insurance policy against superhumans”
Mandi laughed mockingly “Lex, Lex. Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself? You can’t even get hold of ONE Supergirl, of which I am MORE interested in. How would you even capture her AND a vampire together?”
Lex tried again “Well, consider this – if a vampire truly cannot die, then no matter what the supers throw at her it will be futile. BUT, if she can bite back and drain their blood, regardless of their superpowers they will still die. After all, aren’t we all flesh and blood at the end of the day? And our female friend so loves the taste of it. As long as we control her, we can control the world!” And of course, it takes out a major pain to your entire operations, Mandi thought to herself.
“But Kryptonians are invulnerable. That’s not even possible, is it?”
Lex laughed evilly “Yes, it is all theory for now. There is no data to back it up. ” Leaning forward, he continued “But don’t you think it would be interesting to test it out?”
When Mandi left, Mercy came into the room. “It’s about the scientists.”
“…Are they dead?”
“Three of them are. Only Hank Henshaw is still alive. For now.”
“I see. Can you please ask Professor Hamilton to come and see me now?”
Lex turned away to look at his laptop when he noticed Mercy still standing there. He looked up again.
“Don’t you want to enquire about Lena?”
“No, and it’s none of your business. Professor Hamilton. Now.” Mercy hesitated, before turning away and left.
Professor Lillian Hamilton appeared in Lex’ office 15 minutes later. The moment she swept in, Lex stood up, walked over to embrace her tightly. Middle-aged with grey hair, she heads Lex’ Cadmus Lab, which is responsible for all kinds of futuristic research not limited to any specific topic.
Lillian also happens to be Lex’ biological mother, but for personal reasons she had started reusing her maiden name after Lionel Luthor died. But everyone in LexCorp knows she’s the Luthor family matriach, and as such nothing really goes without her knowing.
Like Mother Like Son.
“Is everything alright? I came as soon as I could. I heard that all of the scientists are badly hurt.”
“Hank survived…“ Lex said, adding“…but if we don't do anything, not for long.”
Lillian just walked to one of the chairs and sat down, remarking “That’s bound to happen, given the amount of power that they were testing. Once the whole thing goes ‘kaboom’, hey presto! Solar flare radiation!”
Lex’ grimaced slightly listening to Lilian talking about the entire incident, as if they were just watching the latest Hollywood action movie. “Given that he will… expire… soon, we need to figure out a way to keep him alive somehow. Is Excalibur ready to go?”
“Given the circumstances, we have no choice but to give it a try. Bring him in, and we’ll hook him up.” Lilian replied. “With Hank incapacitated, do we have any other sources for the ‘research’ output? You know how Lena has been very reluctant to share a lot more details about many of their most advanced materials.”
Lex shook his head, “With LunarCorp’s test lab destroyed, I doubt there is much we can salvage. Hank would have been very careful not to place sensitive materials and communications anywhere else on their internal network. Lena is bound to find out once she goes digging.”
“That we purposedly created the perfect environment to overload the test storage? Please give our team a little bit more credit.” Lillian laughed. “After all, this explosion has cause jitters around the country with regards to the viability of absorbing and storing renewable energy in scale. Given how heavily invested LexCorp is in Oil & Gas at the moment, I believe you are making a killing on the stock market at the moment.”
“In any case, Lena will be on our backs very soon. She is family, and the prodigy, after all.”
“No daughter of that witch of a whore is a member of MY family! YOU are the only one that is worthy of the Luthor name! Don’t you forget that!” Visibly crossed, she immediately stood and walked out the door.
She didn’t notice Mercy angrily clenching her fist as she walked past the Assistant who remained standing outside the door. Neither does she care anyway.