Superman of 2499:
The Great Confrontation
By DarkMark and Dannell Lites
Fin-El and LoriLe Kent lazed about in bed, their senses gradually coming back to normalcy. Neither one of them was sure that was the state they wanted, but you couldn’t appreciate the peaks without the valleys, and they’d had one Sheol of a peak.
Lori had only her eye shadow on and the dark tint of her hair to indicate her Slug fashion. Fin noted she’d been moving away from that for some time, bit by bit. That was fine by him, as long as she kept the edge that made her so interesting to him. Lying flat on her stomach, she propped herself up on her elbows and ran her hands over her face. “Mmmph.”
“Translate mmmph, please,” said Fin.
“Don’t think I have to. It’s the equivalent of ‘Oh, Lori, oh, holy sun and mother moon.’”
He grinned. “What do you think?”
“Of what?” She flopped face down on the bed, then turned on her side to face him. Lori had to admit she still admired his body, not overmuscled but lean and kept in decent shape.
“Well.” Lori shifted a bit. “Kath and Alan are still doing okay. Dad’s still uneasy about Adam and Sy leaving Earth. So’s Mom.”
“George and Irinia?”
“You know about as much as I do, Fin.”
“I think something’s brewing over there.”
“Fin. We’re talking Irinia Kent. If she doesn’t have something brewing, it can’t be brewed.”
“Yeah, but.” Fin shifted to make himself more comfortable. “She’s always been confident about being the spider in the middle of her web. Wonder what would happen if she learned somebody was spinning a trap for her, too?”
“I couldn’t care less about hearing what you think,” she said, with a touch of a smile.
“Knew you’d be interested. Well, Sy leaving with Adam. I know she didn’t like that, even though she liked having another tie with him. Just for power’s sake, of course.”
“Of course. But I think you’re right about Sy, Fin. The problem with her is---“ Lori sighed, kicked up one of her bare legs. “---Sy thinks she’s such a tough little bitch, but really, she’s been told what to do all of her life. Either by her mother, or, now, by Adam. I’m not unworried about her, Fin, even if she is a bitch.”
“But,” said Lori, stretching out again on the bed, “they’re off-world, Rokyn is still out of phase with us, so there isn’t a lot we can do about it. And who appointed us detectives covering the whole family?”
“That’s why we don’t get paid for it.”
“That’s why you’re struggling as a commercial artist and me as a Home Finder.”
“So? Doesn’t your money cover us both?”
“Speaking about covering us both, Lori…”
With that, Fin threw the sheets off the bed. Lori sighed. “This again? Already?”
They settled down to another kind of struggle. This time, mindful of the wear and tear on the bed, they did so in mid-air.
It didn’t take long for Superman and Supergirl to pick up on the image of Batman and a red, white, and blue clad woman flying through the air without MagPaks, in a seated position. Kath gaped. Alan Kent gaped only a little less.
“Supes,” said Kath, “What is that?”
“Uh, well, offhand…I’d suggest it’s Batman and a woman. In the air.”
“Brill. Use your microvision. You see a plane hull?”
Superman trained his microscopic vision on the pair of costumed people coming towards them from afar, and saw what Kath was talking about. Both of them were in a plane, one made of material so transparent as to be almost invisible. What was more shocking was the costume the woman wore, and the glowing lasso by her side.
“Wonder Woman,” said Alan.
“Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Wonder Woman.”
“She’s been gone for centuries. Are you a retromagnet, or what?”
“Honey,” he said, as the figures in the plane got within normal eyesight over the Metro skyline.
In the plane, Batman activated a throat transmitter. “Are you reading me, Superman?”
“You’re on, Batman,” came a voice in his ear.
“The lady beside me calls herself Wonder Woman. She wants to help out. I thought we could do a meeting.”
The two Krypts gave the woman a once-over with their x-ray and microscopic visions. Whatever else, she seemed to have the physiology of an Amazon and wasn’t carrying any hidden weapons. Kath noticed exactly where Alan was scrutinizing Wonder Woman at one point and smacked him on the shoulder. He shot her a slightly rueful glance.
The plane seemed to have hovering capabilities, and Wonder Woman had a confident smile on her face. Perhaps a bit too confident.
“All right,” said Alan. “Where should we meet?”
“Let’s take it back to the Belfry,” said Batman. “At least everyone knows where that is.”
“Okay,” said Alan.
“And give GL a notice. If this is forming up the way I think it will, we need everyone on board at the same time.”
“Noted and will comply,” Alan said.
The Robot Plane pulled
upward in the sky and reversed course.
Alan and Kath followed it, while Alan touched a control on his
sent out an alert to Green Lantern.
Less than an hour later, the lot of them were crammed into the confines of the hovering Bat-Belfry, and Bron Wayn was considering remodeling the place if they were going to keep holding meetings there. Wonder Woman stood confidently in front of the big monitor screen, her arms folded, waiting for their assessment.
On the other side of the room, Batman was seated in his control chair, flanked by Superman and Supergirl on the left and Green Lantern on the right. Bron nodded to Tal Thorn. “If you please, GL,” he said.
Green Lantern raised his right hand and a green beam from his power ring played over Wonder Woman’s body. She showed no concern. Supergirl watched her closely.
After a few moments, the Lantern said, “The Ring can’t find any anomalies. No controlling presences, no hidden devices, nothing. A voluntary mind-scan seems to confirm she is who she claims to be.”
“Princess Megeira of the Amazons,” said Superman. “And you want to join our merry little band of super-heroes. Why?”
Wonder Woman smiled and shifted her position a bit. “It should be obvious, Superman. The Amazons have a proud lineage in Wonder Woman, the original, my ancestress. The tribe has left Earth, as you well know, and as it did once during Diana’s day. But Queen Danae decided that we cannot remain aloof forever. I was chosen to represent the tribe, and to aid you in your cause.”
“We’ve got a cause now?” said Kath. “That’s news to me.”
“Sarcasm becomes you,” said Alan. “Possibly not.”
“Your cause is justice, or should be,” said Wonder Woman. “Even in Man’s Wrold, even as it was five centuries ago. Or thousands of years before that, when Queen Hippolyte fought Hercules and Mars. Well? What say you?”
“I say,” said Green Lantern, “did Danae put you up to this?”
“Put me up?” Meg looked resentful. “I was asked to take this mission. I ddi so willingly. Do you wish to test me?”
“Not in the Belfry,” said
Batman. “And I mean it.”
”I think I have a solution,” said the Lantern. “My ring can create a stadium of sorts for us to try her skills. Is that acceptable?”
“This is getting more complicated by the minute,” muttered Supergirl.
Wonder Woman looked at her. “Are you worried about facing another superwoman? Don’t be. I would not fight to kill.”
Supergirl looked flummoxed. Alan said, “Oh. That’s reassuring.”
“Let me point out, though,” said Batman, “that her lasso is yellow. It’ll cut right through any structure that the Lantern makes with his ring.”
“Okay,” said Superman. “Here’s an alternative. GL, what about transporting us to a location of my choice, making an Earthian environment there, and carrying on the test? Is that a better choice?”
“It could work,” said Tal Thorn.
“That seems acceptable to me,” put in Meg.
Kath said, “What place have you got in mind, Superman?”
He smiled. “An old family vacation resort.”
A few minutes later, the lot of them were on Mars.
Green Lantern had created an environment within the meeting place of the El family that approximated Terran atmosphere and gravity. The walls themselves were reinforced from without by his ring’s green energy, so that nothing yellow would directly contact them. The room they occupied was a gym area the Els had created decades back, built to accommodate the strain of Kryptonian muscles. Most of the equipment had been cleared, and Wonder Woman stood facing Green Lantern, Superman, and Supergirl. Batman occupied a chair.
Meg smiled. “Shall we begin?”
“We already have,” said Supergirl, leaping to the attack.
Of course, Katherine de Ka’an was expecting Wonder Woman to be speedier than the normal human, and compensated for it. What she wasn’t expecting was just how much quicker the Amazon was than the run-of-the-mill human. The woman in the red, white, and blue outfit not only dodged Kath, but gave her a knee in the breadbasket that rocked her back against the wall of the chamber. It hurt, too.
Superman was heading at Wonder Woman from another side, and Green Lantern’s beam was lancing towards her. This was a challenge even Diana the First would have been hard-pressed to meet, and the latest Wonder Woman seemed to appreciate it. She dropped flat to the floor, almost quicker than non-Kryptonian eyes could register. Her legs lashed out and scissored Superman about the ankles, sending him, impossibly, to the floor on his face. At the same time, her hands were in motion, setting her golden rope atwirl.
She threw the loop of the lasso and snagged Green Lantern’s ring hand about the wrist.
“Green Lantern! Train your beam on Superman and Supergirl and immobilize them!” barked Meg.
Tal Thorn’s mouth hung open, but his ring’s green beam played over Superman and, though she tried to avoid it, Supergirl as well. Not a word was spoken, but Kath felt a strange weakening in her body when the green ray hit her.
(Kryptonite! Of course! Tal knew about the Kryptonite weakness being reinstated, and he’s simulating Green K radiation to make us susceptible to his ring’s power!)
And she was frozen in place, in an awkward position that she would have given a lot to get out of.
Wonder Woman, still holding onto her lasso, got to her feet and said, a bit too triumphantly, “I command you not to use your power against me, either. And while you’re at it, why don’t you vote me into the team?”
An instant later, she felt something tightening about her leg. She had time to look down and see a length of the golden cord wrapped about her lower limb.
“And while you’re at it,” said Batman, who held the other end of the rope, “why don’t you make yourself let go of Green Lantern?”
The Amazon looked at him with astonishment, which mutated to resentment, which rapidly became anger, all of that within a space of less than ten seconds. It didn’t seem to matter. Within that time, she also loosened the rope from Green Lantern’s wrist, and Tal Thorn shut off his beam. Superman and Supergirl returned to normal motion.
“You need work on a few areas,” Batman declared, still holding the end of the rope. “First, never assume that a man without superhuman powers can’t turn the odds against you. All the power in the world won’t beat a brain. Second, your back is always facing some area. Make sure it isn’t one where somebody can sneak up on you. Third, you need more practice with this lasso. It’s strong, but it’s also very stretchable. An enemy can snare you with your own weapon, if you don’t watch it. Just like I did.”
Wonder Woman sighed. “Point,” she said. “I trust I didn’t hurt you too badly, Supergirl.”
“I’ve taken worse,” said
Kath, honestly. She thought of Sy
“She’s impressive,” said Superman, rubbing his wrists. “Not a bad showing, against the four of us. What do you think, GL?”
“That I’m embarrassed at being caught like that,” said Tal. He looked it, too.
“I wouldn’t give anybody here higher than a 2.0 for this performance,” said Batman. “But Ms. Wonder Woman here does show some raw talent and power. There is one problem, though, and you’ll have to indicate you’re willing to do something about it.”
She looked suspicious. “What would that be?”
“You don’t seem to be much of a team player,” said Batman. “You’re doubleplus arrogant. You want to prove the worth of an Amazon over the rest of us, especially the males. And you also seem to resent Supergirl, another powerful woman who isn’t one of your kind. She’s the only one of us you actually struck.”
“She was also the first one to attack me,” said Wonder Woman.
“I’m not asking for or authorizing an excuse,” Batman said. “If your sisterhood sent you here with the intention of showing us how much better an Amazon would be than the rest of us, get back in your plane and head back through the warp. When we’re together, we work together, as a team, not as players waiting for a star turn.”
Wonder Woman looked at each of the others, in turn, searching their faces. Superman stood with arms folded, giving little away. Supergirl had her fists on her hips, but didn’t look too accepting of her. Green Lantern gave her a sour expression, still miffed that he’d been turned into her tool. Batman, who still held the end of her rope, looked about as open to debate as a mountain range.
Finally, she spoke. “Perhaps,” she said, “perhaps I have something to learn.”
“A lot,” said Batman.
She looked at him in a way she hoped was conciliatory. “And I would be pleased to learn, if you would accept me.”
“I command you to tell the truth,” said Batman, and a shiver of magical power ran through her body, compelling her.
“It is true,” she said. “I did think…I do think…that an Amazon is superior to a male, perhaps even to a superhuman male. I…sensed resentment in your Supergirl. Perhaps I was too eager to show her my power.”
Kath shook her head. “I won’t try and hit you back for it, but if you want on the team, you can’t be playing ‘ours is better’ with me.”
“I offer apology,” said Meg. “Will you forgive me?”
Kath stepped up and grasped her hand. “Truce. For now.”
“This is no game that we play here,” Batman continued. “The old Justice League had to save the Multiverse on a regular basis. They had a lot bigger membership than ours. They made it work. And they worked well with each other. I would rather have you inside our tent than outside of it, but we don’t have time to put up with insubordination or grandstanding. If you’ll work on fitting in, there may…and I did say ‘may’…be a place for you. Honest answer, now.”
“My honest answer is, if you tell me what your requirements are, I will strive to fulfill them,” said Meg. “And…I will try to do my ancestress proud.”
“Maybe you will,” said Superman. “I think we should vote on admitting Meg here on a trial basis. No secret-sharing yet, but if she works out, that’ll come. What’s your vote, Lantern? Yea or nay?”
Tal said, “Despite what just happened, I will vote for admission. She is powerful, and we can use her power.”
Kath said, “That means we can’t use our real names around her. I won’t say that I don’t see problems. But she did come to us, and like GL said, she does have something we can use. All right, I’ll vote yea.”
“I’m going to say yes, also,” said Superman. “Maybe because I’m curious. But this isn’t a majority vote. The whole membership has to accept. Batman?”
Bron Wayn kept his peace for a few seconds. Then he spoke one word.
“Yes,” he said.
Still in the grip of her lasso, Wonder Woman seemed to relax a bit. “Thank you,” she said. “I will…I will learn from you. And I will show you the worth of an Amazon, if you permit me.”
“We expect you to,” said Superman. “For now, on a trial basis…welcome to the League, Wonder Woman.”
Batman loosened his grip on the lasso. The Amazon gathered it back up. “Thank you for my first lesson,” she said.
“Never mind thanking me,” said Bron. “Just learn all the rest of them.”
On Rokyn, Sy was silent, looking at the ceiling of Adam Kent’s bedchamber.
Adam, as was his wont, was lying on his stomach. “Well? How was it?”
She shifted, slightly. “Good.”
“Glad to hear,” he said. “You seem a bit distant these days, Sybilla.”
“I am…distant from home,” she said. “I miss my mom and dad.”
“I miss my own,” said Adam. “My brother as well. But we shall see them again, Sy. Plans go forward, in the meantime.”
“Oh, yes,” said Adam. “The plans for the redemption of Earth, and its people, through Rokyn.”
“All of its people?”
“Well,” said Adam, trying to stifle a yawn, “at least the ones who survive.”