Recommend Print


Written by MalloryDyatlov59 :: [Thursday, 08 February 2024 13:01] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 02 March 2024 22:13]

Hello everyone! I bring you the first chapter of the second part of the story about a gender-bend Superman: Superwoman. Born as Kala-El on Krypton and raised as Clara Kent in Kansas, and now defending humanity while trying to live as a reporter in Metropolis, at the hottest moment of the Cold War! This story is the second part of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERWOMAN: THE ETERNAL COURSE which is the presentation of the character and her fight against Lex Luthor, you can read it here in this site THE SUPERWOMAN FROM KRYPTON: THE ETERNAL COURSE - SuperWomenMania, on AO3 THE SUPERWOMAN FROM KRYPTON: AGAINST THE ETERNAL COURSE - Chapter 1 - LordMallory - Multifandom [Archive of Our Own] or download illustrated here SUPERWOMAN FROM KRYPTON-FREE ILLUSTRATED FANFIC by lordmallory on DeviantArt , but you can read this story from scratch without reading the first part if you want, the facts are independent.

Not only is Superwoman here, but I have also included Roberta Lee (the teenager of Chinese origin who wants to be a journalist and stars in "SUPERMAN SMASHES THE KLAN") as Clara's apprentice, Batman, Aquaman, Zatanna, the Luthor family, the Toyman...and well, a space threat that is looming over the Earth but we don't know what it is yet!

Leave your comments, criticisms or requests if you are interested! Which of the subplots would you like to see developed, which characters to include or take out of the story and how would you like them to evolve! Hope you enjoy the story and if not don't be afraid of being harsh and tell me your thoughts!



Tuesday November 15, 1949

[Roberta Lee's Diary]

Dear Diary!

Today was my third day at the Daily Planet. This place is so exciting and impressive! I was asked to try to translate an old Chinese newspaper article from one of the war-isolated areas, but the dialect was difficult for me. The people are still very friendly except for a horrible sports reporter named Steve Lombard, who must be famous, but I've never heard of him...I'll ask Tommy if he knows who he is! But he's a bump, he calls me "Charlotte Chan" and thinks it's hilarious. I haven't done much today. Jimmy Olsen is teaching me how to develop and file photos. The rest of the time I've been trying to translate the Chinese article Mr. Mailer brought me. He is a charming man and has recommended me some books. Mr. Mailer addresses everyone with insults and very little manners, but with me he is very kind instead...Jimmy has told me that he is nice because he doesn't know me yet…that when he gets to know me and becomes fond of me, he will start insulting. Besides…I want to do more things apart from ordering files and translations! But I haven't been able to talk to Mr. Lane and Miss Kent yet. Ronald Troupe, who is with Jimmy, the nicest person on the paper, told me that on Friday we’ll go lunching with Mr. Lane. Ronald told me also that Mr. Lane just doesn't hang around here very much anymore. I also have not seen yet the two bosses, Mr. Weiss and Ms. Grant. I’m very nervous about meeting such important people.

I went back down to the World Magazine offices, but Mr. Lane was busy again. He has a very old and very unfriendly secretary whom I have failed to convince that I now work here and that I know Mr. Lane. The World Magazine office, although part of the same publishing house and in the same building, is a very different place. The people seem quieter and more uptight, the offices more elegant. I get the feeling that people only speak in whispers and hide to talk on the phone. They all have their "highly sensitive sources" and their "leaks from politicians and diplomats". According to that nasty Steve Lombard, everyone is always handling serious things but Louis Lane, who only goes to the office "to sleep it off." I'm sure that's not true. I saw the chief editor of the World Magazine, Ms. Alina Barystoff-Baker or something like that. Jimmy says she is gorgeous and very famous in Europe, but for me she looked more like some kind of snake.

Most important: Miss Kent! She's the one who got me hired to come in for three hours in the afternoons three days a week after school, and who promised to teach me the job! But she doesn't show up! She phoned me two weeks ago to tell me the news. I didn't know what to give her as a thank you gift, so I brought her a ceremonial porcelain bowl that was my grandmother's and is very important to us, but I haven't met her yet…She is very busy now that she is a Senior Reporter. Apparently, Miss Kent only shows up in the mornings, drops off articles, and goes off in search of more news. Besides she was on vacation last week although nobody knows where. Jimmy Olsen adores her, but I've been told by a switchboard operator that Miss Kent’s too weird, a two-faced person and that she has suspiciously moved up too fast…Tattletale! I've also been told by that tattletale that Mr. Lane and Miss Kent are no longer "special friends"...oh how can you be so mean, you Tattletale! She started gossiping that Mr. Lane had left his wife for Miss Kent, and as soon as Miss Kent was promoted to Senior Reporter, she left him. I've stopped her, I didn't want to know anything about that story and of course I didn’t believe it.

But I want so much to talk to Miss Kent! I don't think I'll learn much here without her, I'm no good for a photographer or a file clerk. There are only three women in senior reporting at the Daily Planet and it’s a privilege to enjoy the friendship of one of them!

Anyways, every day I have seen Superwoman, splendid and heroic as always, flying with her long red cape. Today she flew very close to us and seemed to wave at us. She is impressive. I would very much like to talk to her again someday. When I told the people in the newsroom that she saved my life twice, they all laughed and asked me if I was the new Louis Lane, who in the old days also often got into trouble that Superwoman got him out of...they didn't remember the Klan story and when I explained it to them, they all congratulated me on my bravery! I was embarrassed and I blushed a lot.

Tomorrow, even though I’m not supposed to work, I will try to go to the Planet to see if I can talk to Miss Kent.

People still talking about the Toyman and wondering why he has not striked yet…everyone says it’s because he is afraid of Superwoman.

Ah! Ronald Troupe told me that Mr. Lane has a present for me. What will it be? I'm so nervous!

The Pentagon

Superwoman looked with pride and outward calm, but inward sorrow, at the suspicious glances of the generals, admirals, Secretary of Defense, and others seated at the large table beside a device that emitted a radio distortion with a rhythmic tone. A series of reports had been distributed to all present, as well as star charts. A wire recorder was taping the conversation.

-Really nothing?", a man in a general's uniform asked her again.

-No, General, I have spent three days surveying the surface of Titan and other moons, as well as penetrating as far as I could into the gaseous layers of Jupiter… and have seen and heard nothing,” Superwoman answered with a resolved tone.

-General Bradley, our scientists have already confirmed that although the signal appears to be moving at extraordinary speed, it is difficult to determine its source. It may be coming from elsewhere in the solar system right now...or it may be old and, well, repeating itself. It even may be from the 1946 invasion,” a Navy man interrupted.

-Superwoman… I mean… Mrs. El… you've confirmed that it's not Kryptonian.

-It's certainly not Kryptonian language… but maybe it's encrypted,” the superheroine answered.

Superwoman sighed. She was the only woman in the room. There was hardly a friendly glance, except from an unknown admiral. No, the signal probably wasn't Kryptonian. She had taken the recording of the strange, apparently accelerating signal from Jupiter to her robot Kelex, and he had been unable to decipher it and determine whether it was Kryptonian in origin or not. She had spent three days flying over the icy surfaces of Jupiter's moons, amidst the unbearable gas of the red planet, searching for any ship and using her super-hearing to the fullest, even though her powers were severely diminished so far from the sun. Nothing, only gas and cold, muscle aches and headaches. She felt like she was returning empty-handed...could it be an ancient signal from another civilization? A coded signal from Zod's now destroyed fleet she defeated more than three years ago? Kelex told her about Thanagar, Apokolips and New Genesis...those planets inhabited and once subjugated or colonized by Krypton...but according to Kelex, just before their destruction, the Kryptonians were sure such civilizations lacked the technology for interplanetary travel...would it be them? Would she have to deal with another alien invasion?

-We have a theory," a scientist interrupted again, "As we know from the Roswell event, which Mrs. El is aware of, it is possible that some Kryptonian ships must have been abandoned in space during the attempted invasion 12,500 years ago...about which, unfortunately, we and Mrs. El know so little...perhaps this is one of those ships. Also, during the Kryptonian invasion of 1946, in Antarctica, under mile and half of ice, and under what our researchers with Mrs. El's help say was a gigantic collapsed pyramid six times the size of the one in Egypt, there must have been some kind of device activated. Such a mechanism or device briefly emitted electromagnetic pulses and radio signals...unfortunately, it was a very brief emission, and although our researchers and Mrs. El made recent efforts to get to it, it was impossible. These signals and pulses were very different from those emitted by the Kryptonian ship from the Isle of Death found last year, very rudimentary and probably human...probably our ancestors exterminated by the Kryptonians had some sort of radio you can see in our report. Perhaps this signal is a human prehistoric corrupted signal bounced off in space.

Everyone looked at Superwoman again. Since the event of Doomsday and the discovery of Luthor's treachery, the government had shared with the Woman of Steel a great deal of information they had kept from her...about experiments with Kryptonian technology, about Roswell, about mysterious ruined cities, ten or twenty thousand years old, buried under jungles and deserts, resting under the sea, or under the ice of Antarctica. The American government and its allies had tried to excavate those cities without success...because of the number of resources and technology required. Superwoman had eloquently explained her reasons for being reluctant to such excavations. She truly feared what might be there. Neither Kelex nor she had any real knowledge of what was there, and it was clear that Kryptonian technology was uncontrollable and incomprehensible to humans. The Antarctic digs had been a failure. Superwoman was invited to help with the excavations. She had traversed miles of melting ice and had found only debris and more debris, crushed by the ice… and no sign of anything, only the silence broken by the wind and the cracking of the ice. Superwoman wondered about what this antediluvian humanity had been like when it had interbred with the Kryptonians, no doubt advanced, but there was nothing left of it...and judging by the memory that remained in the various sacred texts of the peoples of humanity, it had not been very virtuous. She did not want to unleash another Doomsday monster or set off a bomb forgotten for eons. It was not wise. They did not understand her. If only the elusive Atlantean named Arturo Curry, also known as Aquaman, would talk to her for a moment… the Atlantean had told Bruce that he would not work with a Kryptonian under any circumstances. Perhaps she needed to explain to him the danger all of humanity could face again...

-I'm afraid I must leave, I'm needed elsewhere. If it's all right with you, I'll try to travel to Jupiter or Saturn periodically, on survey trips...beyond is impossible for me, I wouldn’t be able to return,” Superwoman sat up and spread her cape.

-Our Soviet friends who shared the signal with us will not believe you have returned empty handed, nor will the press to whom they leaked the discovery,” a sharply voice from an old civilian-dressed man answered her.

-Sometimes we have to admit that we don't know anything.

Superwoman disappeared almost instantly, leaving behind a red blur and a light breeze.


Superwoman uncoupled the locomotive, which plunged into the void, as she pulled the engineers out at full speed and left them on the bridge. The passenger cars jumped off the tracks and followed the locomotive in its downfall. Seven passenger cars, all filled with Mozambican miners returning from their season of work in the Transvaal. With her heart pounding with fear and excitement, Superwoman managed in barely a second to bring three of the cars back onto the bridge with their occupants screaming and tumbling. The fourth and fifth cars were saved in time before they crashed into the water, but Superwoman had to let them float and quickly flood while she tried to do the same with the sixth and seventh cars. She managed to violently push the sixth into the riverbank, which landed noisily on its side, injuring many of its occupants. The seventh crashed into the God, no! The murky river water shattered the glass as the wooden roof of the passenger car cracked. As fast as she could, Superwoman grabbed all the bodies she could find and deposited them, soaking wet and coughing, on the riverbank. Then, like a hurricane wind, she pushed the two remaining cars into shallow waters, where they were left half submerged, filled with the screams of the passengers as they came out of the car, soaking wet and splashing. All this had happened in just four seconds…which seemed like an eternity to Superwoman.

The Maid of Might spent several minutes pulling people and their luggage out of the water. There were several injuries, but fortunately no fatalities among the nearly five hundred passengers on the train. Applause and tears of gratitude covered some insults from those who feared the superheroine or somehow considered her the cause of the accident or their injuries. It took her nearly an hour to fly the sixty injured to a Hospital in Pretoria, and then she was lost in the firmament. This was horribly close...hundreds could have died...and I injured many of them...I couldn't do otherwise...Thank God no one died this time…I hate train derailments, are far more difficult than planes and ships!

Just two weeks earlier, Superwoman was a few seconds late to the crash of a military plane and a DC-4 passenger jet. She had managed to save the plane from crashing to the ground and rescued forty people, but the DC-4 had been badly damaged in the crash with the other plane and some passengers had been killed...she had been unable to save anyone from the military plane. As she flew through the clouds, she thought again of the Atlantean, who was also a Chilean citizen, the son of a human and an Atlantean, a man between two worlds, like herself...she understood why he hated the Kryptonians so much, but she had to know what his people knew about those events thousands of years ago...and what technology they were guarding.

In Metropolis, she landed in the middle of a park and nonchalantly bought some flowers as Superwoman. It was getting dark. A crowd of children surrounded her cheering, and some of them released their kites and balloons into the air, which was a regular game they played to get Superwoman to return it to them, and which she found charming. As usual, she flew toward the imposing Art Deco tower of the Daily Planet, presided over by that gilded globe, and entered at super speed through a random window without anyone noticing. Now dressed as Clara Kent, with her large round horn-rimmed glasses and a dark green suit, she hurried to her office, but before she arrived, Clara was interrupted by the secretary she shared with almost half a dozen journalists, Alma Blankenship.

-Miss Kent, I have a written message from Mr. Lane," the woman with thick glasses like her own held out a piece of paper.

Clara's heart skipped a was the first time in weeks that Louis had communicated with her after what was probably their last bitter argument. Nervously, she unfolded the paper.

Dear Clara:

On Friday, Ronnie and I we’re having lunch with Roberta Lee, your apprentice, and I would like to have a little chat with her and give her a small welcome gift. It has been impossible for me to talk to her this week. I hope you don't mind. Please confirm with me whether you will be attending the luncheon. I for my part am willing to let everything go normally and politely, so it is not a problem if you want to attend, but if the lunch is irrelevant to you, it would be preferable that only Ronnie and I go with the girl.

Clara crumpled the paper with an anger she could barely hide from Mrs. Blankenship.

-Yes, tell Mr. Lane or his secretary that I won't be coming to the Friday lunch.

Clara knew she had to see Roberta, she was the one who had brought her to the paper and promised to teach her the job, but in the two or three days since the girl had been there, they had not met, both Clara and Superwoman had been extremely busy. Still, her mind flew back to the bitter breakup with Louis after he had finally decided that Clara's double identity was unacceptable to him. Despite all the letters she had written for years explaining herself, he had realized that he was incapable of accepting it…and besides, and to Clara's anger and sadness, Louis had finally confessed that he felt resentment towards her for the almost four years that the journalist and superheroine had hidden her double life from him.

Clara approached Jimmy.

-Is Roberta here?

-No Clara, she left half an hour ago.

Clara sighed sadly.

-She left you a present last Friday and asked me today if you had said anything,” Jimmy continued.

-Great Scott! I forgot to open it!

Clara felt like a careless person and hurried into her office.


In an elegant room of what had been Lex Luthor's Long Island manor, an older, solemn woman dressed in black, Aline Luthor, Lex Luthor's official widow, listened sadly and wearily to the rage of her daughter, Leda Luthor, who paced irately around her.

-Mercy Graves is missing,” Leda insisted.

-No, she is not missing, she has contacted her relatives, but no one knows where she is.

-I must find her.

-Leda, that's enough...

-She knows something, I'm sure.

-She was on vacation, your father's death devastated her… and the destruction of the company. She lived for TELCORP and for your father. She won't understand what has happened.

-You refuse to see reality...

-Your father asked us to leave...he knew he was playing with fire. He knew something could happen with these experiments.

-Why did he do it? Do you think Dad was a madman? What would he have done alone, without backup? Who was with him during the experiment? Why was Meredith Island sealed off for months before that monster appeared? Nobody knows who was with him. No TELCORP employee or scientist is missing except Mercy Graves. It was the damn government...and I'm not going to let them blame my father and destroy all his and Nikola Tesla's legacy.

-Your father made a mistake, an experiment went wrong, a freaking alien monster came out of it, and hundreds of people died. It could have been hundreds of thousands or millions if Superwoman hadn’t stopped the creature. We must face the truth.


-Maybe Superwoman was involved, someway…you know your father hated her.

-Dad was always right about her, always… I'm sure this is a trap.

-Leda, please...

-Don't you understand, Mom? How can you let them trample on the legacy of a good man? The most brilliant scientist and philanthropist in the history of this country?

-Your father was a brilliant man...But he had his faults.

-Stop, Mother, he faced the world and the truth without fear and accepted it as it was...he was an admirable man.

Leda collapsed on a green sofa as she burst into tears.

-I will find Mercy Graves, the government must have threatened her. I will expose the government and Superwoman. They can't prove my father is a criminal. The expropriation of TELCORP has stalled in court.

-The stock has lost 90% of its value, creditors are taking control of the production units...there is nothing we can do. Your father only had 11.9% of the company. The truth is we only have now this house and what is inside. We’ll have to sell the patents registered by your father to avoid any litigation. That’s it. Accept it.

-You and Dad started from nothing. The son of a Czech grocer and the daughter of a village doctor… How can you give up?

Both Aline and Leda ignored the fact that more than fifteen hundred miles away, Lex Luthor was tossing and turning in his spacious bed in a Nebraska prison camp cell that held only one prisoner with no name or known identity until the government decided what to do with the man who nearly killed Superwoman and was the greatest spy the U.S. government had ever suffered.


Clara Kent/Superwoman in 1949

Gradually everyone left the Daily Planet office until Clara was left alone. Roberta! I'm a disaster! She quickly phoned the girl's house.

-Good evening, sorry about the hour, may I speak to Roberta? I'm Clara Kent from the Daily Planet.

-Good evening, Clara! It’s me!

-Roberta dear! How are you? Please forgive me, I'm sorry, I wasn't in Metropolis on Friday…and yesterday and today I had a lot of work, a real madness… Roberta, the bowl is wonderful! It is beautiful! What is it? You didn't leave me a note!

-It's a ceremonial incense bowl Miss Kent. It's used for ceremonies honoring ancestors. We have some inherited from my grandmother. It is a very important symbol...

-Roberta, you shouldn't have bothered, how sweet...tomorrow do you want to come by the office, have a little chat so you can explain it to me? I loved it...thank you very much, you really didn't need to....

-Don't worry Miss Kent! My parents are complaining about me talking on the phone so late. Can I come to the office tomorrow at three o'clock?

-No doubt! I'll be there! You must tell me in detail about your first days here! Are you enjoying the Planet?

-Yes, I love it! Tomorrow, I’ll tell you everything. Good night, Miss Kent!

-Good night, Roberta.

Clara hung up and looked sadly at the empty desk where Louis usually sat but she also felt some relief The game of shadows and lies that had lasted almost four years with that severe man, sometimes careless, sometimes charming, had distracted her a lot. Maybe Louis was right, love couldn't handle everything. She missed him, and Louis' daughter, Emily. But as Superwoman she felt more powerful than ever and fully dedicated to her mission to protect others...her eternal course. And that mission gave her hope and happiness. She was afraid to stop being Clara Kent as Louis and mischievously Luthor had warned her...but she loved flying, and it made her happy to help others.

Clara slowly removed her glasses and took off her green jacket and white shirt, revealing her blue tights and the red and gold crest of the House of El. The long, thin, bright red cape she always wore folded almost imperceptibly across her back unfolded across her body. She undid her bun, letting her wavy, tousled hair loose as she removed her skirt and stockings. Now she was back to being Superwoman, a night of hard work awaited her. She flew out the window.

The cold and rain caused more car accidents and falls of passersby, and with the darkness the few criminals left in Metropolis redoubled their efforts, however the city hardly gave the Last Daughter of Krypton any work anymore, it was barely a safe city on a huge globe that she could travel around in a quarter of an hour if she made her maximum effort.

She stopped by Smalville to see her mother and Krypto. Clara could no longer take care of the dog all the time, so she left him with her mother during the week and tried to keep him in Metropolis on the weekends. But it was cruel to have such a big dog in such a small apartment, and Clara did not want to abuse the hospitality of her neighbors, with whom she left the animal in the morning and some afternoons.

Despite the cold, the sky was clear, and a carpet of stars covered Superwoman and Martha, her mother.

-You know, Clara? The night you were born...well, the night you arrived, but to me it's like you were born then because you were a baby just a few days old...there was a sky like this. Much colder and some snow, but a beautiful night. Your father and I looked at the sky until late. Then, just before dawn, but still very dark, you came in. As a huge beep and then a roar. We saw fire in the distance in the field, but it soon stopped. As soon as dawn broke, we gathered our courage and went till the smoke clouds...your father, well, he didn't want me to go...oh Clara! How often have I told you this story!

-No, Mom! I like it when you tell me this story.

-What a tiny thing you were, look what you have become.

Superwoman smiled and hugged her mother.

-I didn't find anything, Mommy.

-Where, Clara?

-On Jupiter and its moons, where the government sent me, I didn't hear any signals, I didn't see anything. It's an absurd idea to send me there, they are gigantic distances and so far away from the sun my powers are very weak. I told them I could go as far as Uranus, but I don't think I can.

Martha stroked her daughter's cheeks.

-You're not a goddess, Clara, you told me yourself you're mortal, and I think I knew that since you were a sick child. You can't carry the weight of the world on your back.

Superwoman smiled and sat on the porch steps, stargazing. She spent several minutes thinking about the wondrous colors and shapes she'd seen on Jupiter and Saturn, but which still couldn't compare in the slightest to the wonders of Earth, including the wonders of Smalville.

-Clara, Pete and Lana, well, they're pregnant again. They had this baby girl, and it looks like they're going to bring the third one!” Martha cheered.

-I know, they wrote me!

-I didn't know you corresponded with them.

-We write from time to time, they've been in touch recently,” Superwoman answered warily.

-And what do you think?

-It makes me very happy; I don't know…I think I should visit them soon.

Distress calls from hundreds of miles away interrupted her thoughts.

-Mother, I must go, someone needs me!

-Don’t worry Clara…

Superwoman stood up, shaking her long red cape, and lost herself in the stars as her mother looked at her with admiration.

Outside Gotham, Batcave (5:00 am)

Bruce Wayne was still dressed in the wetsuit he wore under his Batman armor. After a night of work, making five arrests (while escaping his own) and causing a raid on a brothel, he was now trying to stay awake while listening to a wire recorder with military headphones. The tape was playing an interminable female monologue in Bulgarian. He wrote down the words that were repeated the most and the ones that seemed to rouse that female voice, which was rarely interrupted by another male voice that sounded frightened. The tape lasted three hours. A yawn made him almost fall asleep when he felt someone gently removing his headphones. Bruce jumped out of his chair almost immediately in shock and surprise, only to relax when he saw Superwoman standing before him with an amused look on her face, wrapped in her red cape and holding a box in her hands. With her blue friendly stare already so familiar to him.

-Good night, Bruce.

-Clara, for God's sake! Don't you know how to knock?

-Great Scott! Last time I checked, the Batcave didn't have a doorbell.

-God bless you, what a scare.

-Doesn't Alfred wake you up and put you to bed?

-He's suffered my bad reaction when he's scared me. So, he throws a blanket over me when he sees me sleeping in here...that's the thing about my my own way I'm always alert.

-Well, how are you? Good patrolling tonight?

-How are you! You've been gone a week!

-I'm sorry you've had so much work these days that I've been away,” Clara replied, emphasizing the word "away".

The superheroine told Bruce in detail about her entire journey to Jupiter and Titan. The desolation and cold, how she had confirmed how much her powers weakened when she moved away from the Sun, and the absence of any signs that might indicate the presence of a spaceship or any kind of life. She also told him about the unpleasant meeting at the Pentagon and the theories about the mysterious radio signal.

-I brought you the report we received at the Pentagon and a copy of the radio signal. As I told you, Kelex finds it incomprehensible. I don't know, maybe you or Lucius Fox can look at it. Maybe you'll find something the Pentagon scientists couldn't. As usual, I'm violating my confidentiality obligations.

-Oh…your confidentiality obligations to the government that hates you… of course I'll take a look at it, Clara. It's probably nothing, it's either a trace from the Zod's fleet you destroyed three years ago or a recent human signal that was bounced back… or sent by those prehistoric civilizations… Are they going public with these issues, by the way?

-They will not be releasing any archaeological findings for the time being, just as they will not be releasing the truth of Roswell or the real dimension of Zod's attack and his plans to wipe out all of humanity. They only have recognized they held Kryptonian bodies from the 1946 invasion and that Luthor was “unlawfully” experimenting with one of them...

-And they have not provided you with any documentation?

-Well, according to them, Citizen Kala-El has no archaeological or technical training, nor is she a decision-maker or elected official. They will only provide her documents that have to do with Kryptonian technology and alien menaces… if those documents have been produced by the U.S. government. In other words, we still will not have access to the Nazi and Soviet documents they held. They've only shown me the Antarctic tunnels to the destroyed city, but it's impossible, as I told you. The only thing remaining are just huge piles of rubble crushed by a mile of ice.

Bruce sighed.

-We're still blind to whatever threat is coming down that way.

-We are not blind.

-We're not?

-Bruce, I need to talk to your Atlantean friend.

Bruce dropped heavily into an armchair as Superwoman approached him with her arms crossed.

-Clara, I have a tentative pact with him. Arturo Curry is a man… very traditional and very… stubborn. Dear God, he is the half-breed son of a princess from a lost civilization that lives underground or under the sea and a lighthouse keeper who is half Scottish and half Huilliche Indian. For him, it’s all traditions and unbreakable pacts, battles, loyalties signed in blood… and well, the only time he's communicated with me lately is to ask me if I have a plan B in case you reveal yourself as a Kryptonian invader.

Clara sighed sadly.

-Bruce, I really need to talk to him. I can fly to Chile in five minutes. I need to know what he and his people know about what happened twelve thousand years ago. I need to confirm that they don't have Kryptonian technology that could cause millions of deaths or attract unwanted visitors.

-From what he told me, they live in a dozen underground cities with access to the ocean. He didn't reveal the location of any of them, and he told me that just because his mother swam to Chile doesn't mean her relatives are nearby. Arturo is not an impressionable man, and he made me understand that his Atlantean relatives live in a state of total decay. They are ten times less than they were a thousand years ago. They are gradually dying out or fleeing to the surface as his mother tried to do. They are not in the millions, but in the hundreds of thousands. He assured me that at the moment they have nothing really threatening to us in the "short term" and that they have no will to live on the surface or control it. These people have both a fear of surface humans and a sort of philanthropic reverence for us. Apparently, they are now disappointed with Humanity and horrified by the atomic bomb and undersea warfare, and this has caused a feud among their elites. Arturo often travels for good, to advise and calm tempers.

-You told me about all that, but what about me?

-That is the problem. They hate you. They are ten times more afraid of you than of the atomic bomb or submarines. And Arturo the most. Not only does he have a kind of Atlantean pride, but he also has a "human" pride very similar to Luthor's. They believe that you are probably an outpost of an invasion that will take place decades or centuries from now, when you’ll already dominate Earth. The Atlanteans also believe Krypton did not explode, and that Zod's invasion was staged to gain our trust. I told him about your life without revealing your identity, your struggles, your sacrifices, how you defeated the last survivors of Krypton to save all of Humanity… he doesn't believe it. To them, Kryptonians are devils. They really see you with as a holder of a satanic role. Atlanteans practice some type of fuzzy monotheism, very Manichean with good and evil...and well, to them, Kryptonians are essentially possessed by evil. Arturo has mixed this with his father’s Christian beliefs. According to Atlanteans, genetic experimentation and technology caused Kryptonians to lose any essence of goodness. Irredeemable. Understandable, considering the Kryptonians nearly wiped out the world and their ancestors.

-And how did they get their powers?

-Uh…I don’t now, but well, they are very limited, and only a few special people have them… not necessarily the elite. They have high technology for some things, although I don't know to what extent. Arturo wouldn't tell me. He is not a fully enlightened man, but he gave me to understand that they do not have "artificial intelligence" like our electromechanical computers and calculators, nor do they practice genetic experimentation like the Kryptonians. Arturo is fast, can channel electricity, is strong, and has that trident...but if you take away his resistance to cold and water depths, from what I've seen, he's no match for you in terms of power. He's not a threat.

-His trident hurt me, it didn't wound me, but it hurt me, it may have some Kryptonite traces.

-I forgot you met him on the coast of Peru.

-He was rescuing a fishing fleet in the middle of a storm, I wanted to help, and he tried to kill me.

-Like I said, it's understandable. Atlanteans hate you. Arturo won't talk to you. I think he talks to me and is nice to me because after he almost broke my arm, I was funny to him...and because he thinks I'm a way to control you and spy on you. On the other hand, because of his strict moral code, he will never attack you from behind. He will challenge you first or inform you of the breakup of hostilities. I also had a hard time convincing him Barry was no Kryptonian.

-I need to talk to him, show him Kelex, show him the house where I grew up… I'm sure my life has been very similar to his.

-I don't recommend it.

-Tell me where he lives, please.

-Clara, I must convince him little by little. Carefully show him who you are. Get him to agree to a meeting. Let him set conditions… but for now it's impossible. If you go there, he'll react very violently.

-Does he have a family in Chile?

-His father, his paternal cousins… he's a boat carpenter and sells pots and pans when he's on shore… and he's tired of drinking. I don't know much more. His father is sacred to him.

-Like my mother is to me.

Bruce hid a grimace of pain...Clara understood and regretted not having measured his words more. Bruce never verbalized his pain.

-And did he tell you anything about what happened 12,000 years ago?

-He has a vision distorted by mythology and of no scientific interest unless you're an ethnologist or a historian. Evil used the Kryptonians, who are mortal creatures, to wipe out humanity with lightning bolts that caused earthquakes, eruptions, tsunamis, and shifted continents. Atlanteans have ideas similar to those of some Christian or Islamic minority denominations in Asia. They say it is wrong to blame God for the flood, that the Old Testament is mistaken. They believe that humanity became corrupt like the Kryptonians and that is why Evil provoked a war that humanity could not win. Good or God, which are the same concept to them, cannot completely twist mortal events, but can inspire people. Arturo says that Noah's Ark is true and inspired by God, but that there was not just one Noah, but many, and that several built the ark underground. And that his mother comes from one of those tribes of survivors. As you see it is not systematized historical or scientific knowledge. At least not what he told me. Arturo and his kin elites probably have more advanced knowledge, but they don't want to share it least with us. We must wait and seduce him. Sorry, Clara. It’s obvious we must hide this of the government, of all governments.

Bruce observed a look of concern and sadness on Clara's face, who mumbled something inaudible after a while.

-I didn't hear you, Clara.

-I don’t know why everyone distrusts me…this has happened all my life.

-That's not so, Clara.

Bruce began to rummage through his mountains of papers and photographs and pulled out a copy of LIFE magazine. He started flipping through the pages until he found what he was looking for and held it out to Clara. It was a picture of her levitating and handing a kite to some children in a random park.

-For most people you are this. You are a symbol of kindness, sacrifice, hope, bravery and even love. Almost everyone believes in you. But terrible things have happened in recent years...and the Atlanteans are traumatized by the events of twelve thousand years ago that are the cornerstone of their beliefs. It takes a huge leap of faith to believe that a human-after all you are a human for all intents and purposes-can have such extraordinary powers...and be all goodness.

Clara blushed, oh Bruce...then pulled herself together and spoke with authority.

-Bruce, let him hate me, all right. But you must explain everything to him. Zod, Roswell, Doomsday, the radio signal from Titan. The Atlanteans must be aware that there may be something out there. And that Humanity may need their help, even if they want to stay hidden. And if they are so afraid of atomic bombs, they should check their arsenal. Arturo Curry must understand that we need to know what happened and what they know.

-All right, I will do that. We've agreed to meet soon at a neutral location, offshore.

-Fantastic...well, what were you listening to?,” Clara tried to change the subject, sounding exhausted.

-Ah, this," Bruce looked back at the wire recorder and started the tapes up, "It's a rather spooky case I'm investigating. A Bulgarian magician and his daughter, who came here in '46, and were making a living with magic acts between Gotham, Boston, Pennsylvania, and Metropolis, with some success indeed. I believe they were of gypsy origin and had a hard time in the war. He called himself Georgi Zatara and she called herself Zatanna. Two weeks ago, the father disappeared here in Gotham, and his dressing room was found replete with strange, blowtorch-like burns. The daughter refused to cooperate. At first the police doubted she was the daughter and suspected Foul Play, but she seemed extremely sad, and they released her. A week ago, there was an explosion in an old mansion in Gotham's East End. Presumably there lived some kind of rich esoteric Serbian madwoman named Selena and several servants. In the rubble they found alive...Zatanna. She claimed that Selena was holding her father and that when she went to free him, Selena blew up the house. The strange thing is that there were hardly any traces of fire, no human remains, and it was a very big house...and there was hardly any debris. It's as if the building imploded and was swallowed up by the earth or disintegrated. One witness said the explosion was green. Very disconcerting. Gotham Police have seen some very strange things, more so than their counterparts in Metropolis. They had Zatanna locked up for a couple of days. Only a Bulgarian Orthodox priest came to see her. They talked for three hours, and the priest came out looking pale. Soon after she was released...and then she disappeared. This is the recording of the conversation.

-How did you get it?

-Sergeant Blake, one of the few in Gordon's group not on trial or at home on vacation. He found out another officer was taping the conversation, reprimanded him, and pretended to destroy the recording...and got it to me. You know, let Batman help us with the strangest things.

-I'm very sorry about Gordon, Bruce.

-He'll come out of it. It really hurts that it's my fault, but it's political payback. D.A. Harvey Dent has no case against him and his men, no evidence of collaboration with me. Only the Bat Signal, but no one is going to testify that I went to those meetings. Gordon's men are upstanding and clean, they can't be pressured with anything. The Gotham police department has already been purged several times since the Prohibition and now it's on fire. Dent will have to drop the case and focus on me. He's humiliated. I hope they reinstate Gordon soon.

-The Metropolis police don't inform me of anything. From now on, I'm just an ordinary citizen. They are panicking that Morgan Edge is going to open a case against them. The prosecutors Luthor got elected are terrible.

-Talking about weird things…how's it going with the Toyman, Clara?

-No advances. I think I need to dive into the history of the case. I don't want a maniac blowing up restaurants, banks, and toy stores in Metropolis. I let it go because I had too much to worry about everywhere. But now I'm going to take care of it. Especially as, well, a journalist. I think the police will talk to Clara Kent before they talk to Superwoman.

-Too many things… angry Atlanteans, signals from outer space, the Toyman, this Bulgarian magician case, and the mysterious explosion… we're just getting busier and busier. Clara, you don't understand Bulgarian, do you? I can't take this tape to a translator.

-I think maybe Kelex can help us.

Sentinel Hill, Border between New York State and Miskatonic State

The rain pelted a somewhat rickety wooden house that stood in a clearing surrounded by cottonwoods and willows. The house was on the side of a hill with a steep peak. It was not so far from the village, but the forest hid it. Despite its secluded location and sinister appearance, there was no legend or dark rumor surrounding it. However, the house had changed hands many times. The last time was five years ago, when a kind but scrawny-looking man called Mr. Sebastian arrived. Although he looked like a charitable person and was very helpful to the village charity, he had a hard time expressing himself, did not interact with anyone, and his body movements seemed very awkward and sick. There was a theory in the village that he was seriously ill. However, he politely refused any help. Some of the women who had come to clean the house said that it was full of electric gadgets and toys, something which increased the small town's curiosity about the kindly, sickly-looking stranger. Of course, the people of the village could not imagine what was going on inside the house.

A fat, grey and red-haired man, dressed in horrible pajamas and a bow tie made of cardboard, was whipping with a cane the kind Mr. Sebastian, who was bleeding from the head and crying on his knees on the floor.

-Coward! Idiot! Ridiculous! Sick! Half a man!

-Please! I beg you! I beg you, Winslow!

-No begging! You will do as I command. You've been doing so well all these years without working uh…and you forgot about me while I was in jail. Do you think Dr. Quinzel hasn't told me everything? I even know that you had a girlfriend! You! Such a sick and incompetent man!

-Winslow, please...

-Fifteen years in prison! Fifteen years! And you along with your toys and your girlfriends!

The fat man turned to a teddy bear that seemed to be walking slowly, propelled by some mechanism, and began to lunge at him with the cane.

-Please don't, Winslow! Winslow, no! Please, Winslow! I'll do anything you want!

-I've been very patient for many weeks. I don't want to hurt you or your imaginary little friends, but we have a lot of work to do.

-Please, I'm just begging you, don't hurt children, I'm begging you. Don't do what you did last time. Do whatever you want to the politicians, the police, the bankers… but please, no children.

-Oh! I never wanted to kill children! But Metropolis needed to understand...and still doesn't...I need to make them understand. I will be more careful this time. You will help me, Sebastian. We will make much more intelligent and effective toys together. Just like when we were toy makers.

Sebastian looked at the fat man as he tried to hold back tears and wiped the blood from his head with a pillow. He looked at Winslow Schott, the man who had taught him his job, the job that had been all he had in his life and had kept him from ending up in a mental institution, but who had gone on to become the most horrible and cruel criminal of the 1930s in Metropolis: the Toyman.

Monday November 21, 1949

Daily Planet

Louis Lane smoked a Cuban cigar while he calculated the distances in miles and the relief on a giant map of Albania left to him by the Un-American Activities Committee. He compared the distances and the relief with the testimony of a person under investigation. But it was impossible to know whether a testimony was plausible or not just by looking at a map, madness. Even a man as anti-Communist as Louis Lane began to doubt that the Committee's methods were logical or valid. In any case, he was only the Committee's ethical advisor and international analyst, he had no other job on the Committee. It was the only job he could combine, non-disclosure agreement notwithstanding, with his new role as book and international events columnist for World Magazine. His days as a reporter were thankfully over, and now all that remained was to find a way to reconnect with the University, having given up any political adventure. The door opened and the unpleasant, unfriendly secretary the Chief Editor had forced him to accept poked her head in.

-Major Lane, Miss Kent is here.

Louis was startled. It was the first time in months that Clara had stopped by his office. What could she want? He carefully folded the map.

-Let her in, please.

Clara came in immediately. Louis felt a pang in his heart, it was still her. A tall, elegant woman, with jet-black hair always tied back in a sleek bun and large round eyeglasses that distorted her features. Now he fully understood why she wore them. He recognized the gray pinstriped suit and the pearl necklace the woman wore as gifts he had given her in the past. He didn't know whether to take that as an aggression or some kind of trick.

-Good morning, Major Lane…

-Good morning, Clara, please sit down.

-It's very quick, it's just two things. ....

-Of course, how can I help you?

Silence fell between them, and they stared at each other. It was very strange to have such a distant and tense relationship with the woman who had been his assistant reporter, his partner, his lover… almost his wife. But he could not see her as he had always seen her before he discovered that Clara was also the Maid of Might, Superwoman. Since he knew, it was like seeing someone else disguised as Clara, as if Clara was only there at times. He could not miss the red cape, even though it was hidden under the reporter's jacket and silk shirt.

-I wanted to thank you for taking Roberta to lunch on Friday and taking care of her...she really liked the silver pen you gave her. You were very kind. Was a very nice gift.

-It was nothing, she is a very bright and very nice girl. Still a teenager with a long way to go, but who knows?

Clara smiled slightly.

-Did everything go well… at lunch?

-Of course, everything was normal.

-She complained about some comments.

-Well, someone of the newsroom said in front of her that it was a nightmare for the Ku Klux Klan to see a black man, a Chinese girl and a Catholic son of a Jew all together, and the girl was very offended, of course. But hey, she must put up with that nonsense if she wants to grow up here. For example, they've been calling you a hillbilly and a farmgirl ever since you arrived.

Clara replied with an onomatopoeia of discomfort.

-Louis, the other thing… I'm going to take care of the whole Toyman issue.

-You mean, as a journalist, I understand.

-Yes… exactly. I mean…It's a big risk and I want him caught soon. And well… I need my official job to be related to his pursuit.

-I understand.

Clara found it hard to speak, then she looked sideways at the map.

-And this map?

-Oh, it's Albania, history stuff.

-I see...well, Cat passed all her articles and notes on to me. She was the one who did all the follow-up on his crimes and his first capture. But well, in '40 you tried to write a book about did quite a bit of digging into his past according to Cat…his relationships, his life in you keep the notes?

-Yes, Clara, I have five notebooks. I have them at home. I will send them to you if they can help you. Also, if you have any questions about the case, let me know and I'll see what I can do. But I, well, mostly I was trying to understand how a normal man, a successful and modest businessman, an inventor, could have gone almost completely insane. I don't know if my notes will be of any use to you. It's a very dark and unpleasant case, Cat must have told you well.

-Yes, she did, she's brought me all the way in.

There was silence again, which Clara broke trying to sound nice.

-Did you know that the Toyman's psychiatrist, Dr. Quinzel, has disappeared? She was also the psychiatrist of some other very dangerous criminals. She disappeared five weeks before the Toyman's escape. Well, she left her job and her apartment, and now she's nowhere to be found.

-No, I didn't know that. Well, I interviewed her. She was a very beautiful and intelligent woman, but also very strange. The only woman with a psychiatric degree in Arkham. She was a little younger than I was. When I interviewed her in '40, she was not a tenured doctor, just one of the assistants to the prison psychiatrist. She struck me as extravagant...probably leftist or communist, judging from some of her comments. I don't think she's disappeared, maybe because of the political stuff nowadays she has decided to stay out of the way for a while...I'll send you my notes tomorrow.

-Thank you very much, Louis.

-You're welcome.

-How's the Committee coming along?

-I don't think it's going to last long. They're going overboard.

-I agree. It looks really out of hand…at least for me. I liked something you said the other day, "The answer to the Red Terror can never be the White Terror."

-Oh yes, they want to crucify me for that. I was supposed to be the most conservative person among the Committee's analysts and advisors.

Clara looked at the floor.

-How is Emily?

-She is very well; she asks very much about you.

Clara looked increasingly agitated and found it difficult to articulate.

-Do you think...maybe...maybe...I could see afternoon? Take her to the movies or out for a snack?

Louis sighed in frustration.

-I'm fine with it… The girl is very fond of you. And the situation is confusing for her. But it must be… in a few weeks. I don't know if you know this, but Pat and I have finally started the annulment process with the Cardinal. It's a long and difficult process and Pat didn't want to start that we were both in very similar situations. I had a hard time convincing her that this was the best thing for her, for the child, and for me. My guess is that she wouldn't be in favor of the fact that you've been with her daughter. It's a sensitive subject for her. Let's wait a little.

-Okay," Clara seemed so shy and uncomfortable now that Louis could hardly believe she was also Superwoman.

-Clara, that was impressive what you did with the volcano in the Pacific.

-Thank you… it was nothing. I must go, Louis.

-Thanks for your visit, you'll have all my notes on the Toyman tomorrow”, Louis lowered his voice, “Clara, please be discreet about the Toyman investigation. It's okay for the Daily Planet to run out of headlines on this case, and it's okay for Clara Kent to go through the Toyman case without a peep. The important thing is that you can help us stop him.

Clara nodded in silence and left his office, trying to close the door carefully.

Louis sunk his head in his hands, and went back to measuring distances on the map of Albania.


Add comment

Security code

Comments (0)
There are no comments posted here yet