Supergirl (Kara of Rokyn):
Kal & Lyla
In the next few days, Kara Zor-El spent time with her foster father,
with her “sister”, the new Linda Danvers, a depowered clone of herself,
and even found time to talk with Helen Slater, who had made her fourth
Supergirl movie in between “regular” movies that had made her a
star. (None of them would have happened, Kara reflected, if Kal
and Kara hadn’t exercised creative control over Supergirl I and helped reform it
into a better movie.) Helen was enthusiastic about the project,
wanted to see a bootleg, and expressed a wish that Kara would let her
helm an American remake of the picture. Kara thanked her for the
first, gave her a maybe on the second, and had to demur on the last.
Finally, and tiredly, Kara flew back to the Fortress of Solitude, still
dressed in her old-fashioned Supergirl outfit, got back into her Rokyn
civvies, stepped through the WarPort, and emerged on her new
homeworld. Once there, she called for a hovercab and went
home. Van-Ol was waiting for her there.
They embraced each other, and Kara felt a stirring that wouldn’t be
denied. “Do you want to hear what happened on Earth now or later?”
“Later,” said Van. “Much later.”
Much later, in bed, Kara described her adventures to Van. Lying
on his side to face her, he said, “How do you feel about what Kal said?”
Tenting her hands, the sheet pulled up over her chest, Kara said,
“Mixed. As you might have guessed. I started thinking about
something that happened to me.”
She sighed. “Some years back, when I was Supergirl, a librarian
got hold of a biography of me that had been written in the
future. She used it to write a best-selling story of my life,
from day one up to the future.”
“Why didn’t I hear of this?”
“I’ll tell you. Be patient. This woman, Hilda Powell, also
wrote about a thing that happened on Argo. My best friend,
Morina, got Kryptonite poisoning and died when I was a
kid. It really hurt me. It hurt me again, when I saw it in
Van said nothing.
“The court ruled that I couldn’t sue her or confiscate the books
because I was a public figure,” Kara said. “But there was one
thing I could do. I could read the book myself and do something
differently from what I was said to have done. When I did it, it
shifted us into a new reality. In that one, she’d never gotten
the book from the future and never written her Supergirl bio.”
“Well, given that, it’s lucky that Kal didn’t shift things into a new
reality when he found out about it.”
“Yeah,” she said. “You can mess with the future, but you can’t
mess with the past. We’ve tried. Anyway, Kal was very
gracious about it. I’m glad. I love this project, but I
love him even more.”
“I understand, Kara.”
She turned over, on her stomach. “Do you, Van? Do you,
“If you have to say it, maybe I don’t.”
“This holo means a lot to me. I’m breaking away from the
action-flick thing. I’m not a wrestler anymore, and I’m not
Supergirl. I don’t wanna be Supergirl anymore, Van. I want
to be me.”
“Seems like you’re doing a great job at that,” he said, and rubbed her
“Don’t stop doing that.”
“And this is the next big step to becoming ‘me’, Van. A big
budget show where I’m not a fighting girl, but an actress. We’ve
done it. Now we have to hand it off to the people. They’ll
decide whether I’ve succeeded or not.”
“No, they won’t,” said Van.
“Kara, all the public can do is decide how much money they’re going to
spend on it. Success is in the worth of the product. ‘Kal
& Lyla’ is worth quite a lot, on its own terms. Doesn’t
matter how much money it makes. You’ve succeeded.”
“But if this holo doesn’t make back its costs, and then some...I might
find myself back in the ring.”
“No, you won’t.”
“Or in the action movies. But, what the hell...at least I can
make money as a girl Gary Cooper.”
“Is he from Earth?”
“When last seen.”
She turned her head, reached behind herself, drew his head down, and
kissed him. Then they got more inventive.
Before the sun came up, To-Bin was on the comlink to her. Kara
groggily bestirred herself from bed at the soft but insistent pulsing
of the notifier. When Van started to get out of the sack, she
told him, “Go back, Van. No use in both of us losin’
sleep.” He subsided.
She tried to brush her hair back with her hands and opened the
comlink. To-Bin’s face appeared. He looked troubled.
“Lo, Toior,” she said. “Early.”
“Wanted to hear from you last night.”
“I’ll bet. What happened on Earth?”
“Uh...” She yawned. “Kal won’t let it play down
there. But he’ll let it play up here.”
“Oh, fine. Very, very fine. Kiss a billion credits goodbye
with that. Great negotiations.”
She bristled. “Hey. If it hadn’t been me, he’d be filin’
suit against us. It’ll work, To. You know it will.”
“Yeah, yeah, I hope it will. Hope, Kara. Want to see you in
my office when you get up.”
“You better get up before lunch.”
“Blessin’s on your house...hummm...Toior.” She waved the comlink
off. After that, she climbed back to bed. Both of them
slept till they were ready to get up. When they did, after Kara
reported her conversation, both had a hurried breakfast and dressing,
got into the hovercar, and went to the office.
To-Bin was sitting with his feet on the desk, watching some footage
from the holo. “Good to see you both in,” he said. “You’re
together so much you’re like a two-headed drang.”
“We love you too, Toior,” said Van.
“Always knew it,” said To. He snapped off the holo. “How
about the final edit, Ol?”
Van said, “Working on it. Should be done in a couple of
days. How about test audiences?”
His expression was hard to read. “Leave that to me.”
Kara moved in a few feet. “Wait a minute, To. You are going
to use a test audience, aren’t you?”
A long moment of hesitation. “No,” said To-Bin.
“You mean...you’ve got that much confidence in it?” Kara couldn’t
keep her surprise back any longer.
“I mean, we can’t keep it secret much longer,” said To. “If we
let a hundred people look at this thing, there’s no way we can keep it
out of the newsers. I’ve already had to cut a deal with a couple
of networks. Evidently somebody on the shoot talked.”
“Don’t know. It doesn’t matter,” said To. “Next month, we
have to have that thing in play. Think we can do that?”
Van nodded. “Within two weeks, I’d say.”
“Then you’d better get dressed up in something you’d want to be seen
in,” said To. “I’m making the announcement this afternoon.
“Oh, love of Rao,” said Kara, and dropped into a chair.
In a second, Van was behind her, grasping her shoulders lightly.
“Karaish, what’s wrong?”
“I’m just so scared, Van. This part is out of our hands.
Now it’s up to the public. They can either love it or hate it.”
“They’ll love it, Kara. You know they will.”
“They might not. What if they see it like Kal did? As an
invasion of his privacy?”
To-Bin looked at them. “A little late to think about that,
wouldn’t you say?”
“Um, yeah,” offered Van.
“Besides, we do have his permission. And you’re going to
“And what happens when they ask us about the Earth market?”
“Say it’s in negotiation. Now get out of here and be back after
lunch. Remember: dress right.”
The press conference went off at the scheduled time. Van-Zee and
Sylvia were on the dais with Kara, Van, and Gro-Nas. To-Bin was
in the middle, standing, a small hover-mike near his lips.
Nar-Es, Hira, Zor-El, Allura, and Ak-Var and his wife Lon-Es were
sitting in the front row. Not far back of them were Jasmine,
Professor Kimda, and, surprisingly enough, Shyla Kor-Onn.
She’d been a one-time foe of Kara’s but had now reformed, become an
intelligence agent, and had helped Kara greatly during her battles with
the Zoners and Lex Luthor. Making sure she saw it, Kara
waved. Thankfully, Shyla smiled and waved back.
Even further back was Casa-Ti, the teenage girl who proclaimed herself
Kara’s #1 Fan and headed up her fan club. That didn’t get her a
lot of contact, but it got her enough for her satisfaction. Kara
favored her with a small smile and Casa beamed from the attention.
Van-Zee seemed better. Kara was glad. True enough, he
looked tired, but all of them were. He wasn’t used to the acting
life, and she was glad he’d made the decision to make this his one and
only holo. At least he and his wife could live large from the fee
he earned off this job. They were’t poor before, but now they’d
be much richer.
The press were there in force. A good sign; they’d always loved
Kara, and she intended to keep them in that mode. A few familiar
ones waved to her, and she waved back when they caught her eye.
She was getting most of the attention, but that was expected.
Even Van-Zee grudgingly allowed that his partner was the star of the
Finally, To-Bin waved for silence. When the murmurs died down, he
began his shpiel. “For several months now, Ar-Rom Studios has
been engaged in a secret project. One conceived by our own Tynth
Kara Zor-El—“ (he gestured towards her, briefly) “—and brought to life
by our director, Gro-Nas, our writer, Van-Ol, Kara’s and Kal-El’s own
cousin, Van-Zee—“ (again a gesture, this time in Van-Zee’s direction,
and this time there was applause from some) “—and many, many other
talented people in our employ. There has been much speculation,
much interest in the project, as might be expected. Today, tanthi
and tyntho, we break our silence. And, for the next few minutes,
we beg yours.” With that, he sat down and nodded. The room
darkened, and in an empty area of the room, a holographic motion
picture began to come to life.
Again, the representation of Krypton and the Ar-Rom logo. Again,
the credits. Finally, the title came into view: KAL & LYLA.
There was an audible drawing of breath. Some of the audience
traded sotto voce exchanges. But all of them were intrigued, and,
within a few minutes, Kara had to admit it: they were mesmerized.
The presentation was only five minutes long, several scenes cut
together for a preview, giving them a tease and a taste of the
picture. Their reaction couldn’t completely be judged until the
lights came up, though all the movie folks were experienced at reading
their audience in the semi-darkness. She wondered idly how
Casa-Ti was keeping from squealing her lungs out.
Finally, the last scene played, an ominous shot of Brainiac. The
holo faded out, the lights came up, and there was a renewal of
muttering. Only this time, there seemed to be a touch of awe to
it. The first voice that was heard over the low din was a girl’s,
saying two words: “Holy Rao!”
Laughter. So that was Casa-Ti’s reaction. Kara signaled for
the mike. “Thanks, Casa. I hope your review is
typical.” More laughter. Casa reddened, sat back and
covered her mouth, but Kara could tell she was smiling.
One reporter raised his hand. “Tynth Zor-El, this is a daring
movie to make. How did you have the idea to create it?”
She shrugged. “Simple. At a dinner party at my dear cousin
Van-Zee’s one night, I told them the story of cousin Kal and Lyla
Lerrol. From the reactions I got, I sensed it’d be a great
story. Plus, it spoke to me, in the person of Lyla, and I hope it
spoke to you as well.”
“Oh, it did,” confirmed the reporter. He had a lot more
questions, but had to wait his turn again.
A woman’s hand came up. “This question for Tanth Zee. Sir,
is this your first holopicture?”
“It is,” confirmed Van-Zee with a smile. “And my last.”
More laughter. “It was quite an experience, but I’m just not cut
out for the acting life.”
“He’s great, folks, don’t let him fool you,” said Kara. “But I
was lucky to get him for the role of Kal. You’ll feel lucky, too,
when you see the whole movie.”
She saw Sylvia squeeze Van’s hand and was pleased. Gro-Nas took
the cue without any prompting. “Tanth Zee may not have been a
professional actor going in, but I can confirm he was one coming
out. I was pleased with his performance, and I think you’ll be
doubly pleased with it. As the rushes indicate.”
Another reporter raised his hand. “Can you tell us something of
the research you did for this picture, and what you learned about Tynth
“A lot, for both questions,” said Kara. “We interviewed as many
people who had known Lyla as we could find. Our research covered
all the movies, all the published and online details we could find, and
it was more than you’d think. Now, it’s true that you always end
up empathizing a lot more for a character you’ve played at the finish
of a project, but I really came to love her. And I think, once
you see this, that you’ll love her too. Next question?”
The next inquisitor stood before he spoke. “I’d like to know how
Tanth Kal-El felt about this picture, and if he gave his permission for
it to be seen.”
Stiffening a bit and hoping it wasn’t visible, Kara hoped her palms
weren’t sweating. “Yes, Kal has seen the holo. He has given
“Can you tell us his reaction?”
“Not at this time,” she said.
There was a general hubbub. To-Bin was about to jump in, but Kara
raised her arms. “Gentlemen. Kal did give me explicit
permission to show and market this picture. As for anything else,
we have to maintain confidentiality. Given the nature of the
holo, I’m sure you understand.”
“I’m not so sure we do,” said the reporter. “Did he appreciate
you making a holo dealing with his love affair with Tynth Lerrol?”
Oh, frab, thought Van. It’ll go up in smoke.
Kara drew a deep breath, searched her memory wildly for a long second,
“He said she was more than even I could show.”
The reporter’s question-asking ability froze. To-Bin, Van-Ol, and
all the others on the stand visibly relaxed. Kara continued,
“That’s all I can tell you, and all that I will. I’ll answer a
few more questions on other subjects, and then I’m going to get off and
give the mike to To-Bin and the others. Yes?”
“Tynth Kara,” said another woman reporter. “You were a
superheroine, a wrestler, and an action-holo actress before this.
What do you think this’ll do to your career?”
“Give me another credit,” said Kara. General laughter.
“Honestly, I hope it’ll help it. But that’s in the hands of the
public. Okay, I think I’m gonna give this to Tanth Bin now.
Thanks for coming, and thank you for all the questions. Toior?”
“Thanks, Kara,” said To, getting to his feet. “Is anybody
interested in hearing something from me? Not you, Ol. The
money’s in your bank account.”
A bit afterward, Kara granted some face time to Casa-Ti. The
latter took her out for the equivalent of a vanilla malt at a drink
place a few miles from the studio, in Kara’s hovercraft. For
privacy, Kara wore a big floppy hat and dressed down in semi-grubby
casuals. People still recognized her, but they figured she wanted
privacy. The waiters made sure she got it.
“I can’t belieeeve what I saw,
Karaior,” said Casa, gripping her drink like she was trying to bend the
mug. “Mother Moon, I always knew you were the best actress of our
time, and the prettiest and sexiest, and the best wrestler and heroine,
too, but I never knew you were this good. I mean, I’d never even
seen a Lyla Lerrol holo before, and now you make me want to buy the
Kara laughed. “Thanks, Casa. I’ll just be satisfied if you
go to the show and like it. Hope the fan club enjoys it, too.”
“They will. If they don’t, I’ll drum ‘em out.”
“No need for that, dear. But this has been quite a haul, and I
hope it comes off well.”
Casa leaned in conspiratorially. “What did Kal really think about
“I told you what he said.”
“Oh.” Casa looked disappointed. “Well, what does Van-Zee
“That he’s glad the thing is over and he can get back to his lab.”
“But there’ll be girls trying to get his number and hanging onto his
hovercraft when he goes out and everything!”
“I know. Price of fame.”
Casa paused and set her hands in a clasp below the table. “I have
another question to ask, Kara.”
“Can’t guarantee I’ll answer it. But go ahead.”
The girl inhaled and spoke again. “What do you think Tynth Lerrol
would think about your holo, if she could see it?”
Kara paused. Good question, she thought, and a palpable
hit. Finally, she said, “I don’t know. I would hope she’d
enjoy it, that she’d be encouraged people remember her so long after
the Destruction. I really hope that she’d be grateful that
somebody remembered her love with Kal enough to memorialize it in a
picture. You know, anybody’s glad if they think they’ll be
remembered. Especially if it’s in a good way. And I think
this holo is definitely a remembrance in a good way. Is that an
okay response by you?”
“Oh, it’s more than okay, Tynth Kara,” said Casa. “Okay plus a
googleplex. Will you give me any stills for the newsletter?”
“They’ll be forthcoming,” said Kara. “And, Casa?”
“Don’t make me too much your heroine. Everybody needs to be their
own greatest hero. Okay?”
Casa smiled. “I’ll try, Tynth Kara. I’ll really try.”
Around the dinner table at her parents’ house, Kara said, “Kal wasn’t
pleased. But I didn’t expect him to be.”
Allura nodded. “When somebody makes a picture of you and Van,
you’ll probably understand.”
Kara looked at her without saying a thing.
“You committed to this when you told the story here, all that time
ago,” said Zor-El. “It’s too late to back out now. It may
have been too late back then.”
“Probably right, Dad,” said Kara. “What do you think?”
“I think that you’ve probably hurt Kal a lot.”
“And that you’ve probably got one Sheol of a picture.”
“I’m glad you think so.”
“I just hope,” said Zor, “that the latter balances the former out.”
For a second time, Kara said nothing.
“Pass the salt,” said Zor.