Superman of 2499:
and Dannell Lites
Chang Yinsen was used to sleeping light. Even with his guards and
all the best alarm equipment money could buy, he knew the art of waking
all at once when something was out of place in his environiment.
He slept with one hand under the covers and that hand was always
touching a weapon. It wouldn’t go off when aimed at his body, but
woe betide anything else in its sights.
That was why, at approximately 2:36 A.M. one Thursday night, Chang
Yinsen, a ganglord of Metropolis, was able to awaken, sense a presence
in his bedroom, grasp his blaster, and fire at it. The guards
knew better than to be there. It had to be an intruder.
The burst of explosive force barroomed off the intruder’s chest.
The room was dark, but the flash of light barely revealed enough of the
figure before him to trigger a shard of Yinsen’s memory. He knew
the man. But from where?
The problem was that the man hadn’t gone down when he was blasted.
Now the intruder spoke.
“We had an agreement, Yinsen. Your recent actions abridged that
agreement. I know what your response would be to an underling who
disobeyed your orders. And, Mr. Yinsen...to me, everyone else is
Yinsen wanted to scream as the arms reached out for him.
The arms worked for a long time, but Yinsen didn’t manage to scream.
The Lantern looked through the walls of the green bubble and kept
silent in awe. Even after what he had seen, the journey to the
Amazons’ realm was beyond what he had ever seen before.
Paradise Island had existed in what Man’s World had called the Bermuda
Triangle. It was, in ancient days, a place where ships and
aircraft had gone missing time after time. How it had been
created was known only to the tribe of women that had lived there since
the days of the ancient Greeks. What was known of the Island had
mostly come through an incident that happened 500 years ago.
An American jet pilot had crash-landed on the Amazons’ isle in sight of
Princess Diana, the queen’s daughter. He had not touched the
ground, for such would have robbed them of their powers. But he
was taken, unconscious, by Diana for treatment at their medical
facility. While she nursed him back to health, she fell in love
with him. Queen Hippolyte had sponsored a contest to see which of
their number would accompany the man, Col. Steve Trevor, back to Man’s
World and bring their philosophy of peace there. Not
surprisingly, Diana had won, and gained the costume, lasso, and
transparent Robot Plane she used thereafter as Wonder Woman.
One of the Supermen had married, or consorted with, Wonder Woman or one
of her descendants, probably after his human wife died. Which one
it was had been kept a secret. But the El family knew it for a
fact. Perhaps Klar Kent knew which Superman had mingled genes
with the Amazon Princess. If he did, he wasn’t talking. Nor
was it known which, if any, was their offspring.
At any rate, the Amazons had left once during Princess Diana’s time to
recharge their powers in the realm of the Greek gods. She had
stayed behind, relinquishing her powers until her mother and friends
returned. Her history was complicated from then on, but Alan knew
that she rejoined the ancient Justice League and married her mortal
Was the rumor true that, after her husband’s death and that of Lois
Lane, the long-lived Amazon and the first Superman had wed? That
was lost to the ages. Unless, of course, one was rude enough to
make a time-trip back and see for oneself.
“Well, Superman,” came the voice of Bron Wayn. “What do you think
There were great buildings and parks floating above the surface of the
land, which itself was verdant, hardly marred except by walkways and
organic-appearing structures only a couple of stories high at the
most. There was a harbor filled with ships and boats which,
impossibly enough, had sails. The water looked purer than even
the most pollution-treated bay on Earth.
There were aircars of a sort, certainly different in design from that
of their world. They were shaped somewhat like boats or ships,
decorated with various symbols, usually animal shapes. The flying
boats were even more quiet than those in Metropolis.
They were piloted and crewed by women.
Women were visible on the land. Women were visible on the decks
of the ships, and at the docks to which they were tied. Women
were visible in the aircraft, helming and manning (or womaning) the
ships. They were of various shapes and sizes and hair colors,
though all were white-skinned. Their dress seemed classically
Grecian in a vague way, but advanced in fashion. The three men in
the green bubble gazed out at them and tried to comprehend all that
they were seeing.
After a moment, they became aware that the Amazons were gazing back.
“Let me out of the bubble, Lantern,” barked Superman. “And whatever you
do, don’t you or Batman even think about touching the ground.”
The Rannian opened a large slit in the green bubble. Superman
grasped its sides and pushed his way through. Once outside its
confines, still some fifty feet above the ground, he noted that four
airships were streaking towards them. They were also brandishing
weapons he hadn’t seen a few seconds before.
Alan Kent held up his hands. “We come in peace, ladies of the
Amazon nation. I am Superman, descendant of Superman and Wonder
Woman. We shall not touch your land.”
A helmeted woman near the prow of the airship leaned over the side and
gestured with a rod. “That you shan’t. Look below you.”
Glancing below him, Superman saw that two Amazon airships facing each
other below him had spread a net of glowing energy beneath him and the
green bubble. They weren’t taking chances with Aphrodite’s
Law. Actually, he didn’t blame them. The Law, from ancient
times, declared that the Amazons would lose their powers if a man set
foot on Paradise Island. Even when the Justice League’s male
members visited, they had to remain in the air.
“Okay,” he muttered, to himself as much as to the women.
Batman called out to them, in a voice impossibly strong, magnified by a
device from his utility belt. “I am the Batman. Five
hundred years ago, my ancestor was an ally and partner of your great
Princess Diana, whom we called Wonder Woman. With me is a Green
Lantern, one of the Corps who lent another ally to the Princess.
We come to you for a boon that only you may grant.”
“And what boon would that be,” asked the helmeted Amazon, “breeder?”
Batman saw the Lantern wince a bit at the term. He glanced at
Alan, hoping the man in blue would pick up the thread.
“The lifting of a curse,” said Superman. “It was invoked through
Poseidon. Only Poseidon could remove it. Can you help?”
The woman’s mien changed, subtly, but Superman and Batman could pick up
on it. “A request. Very well, rejoin your party in that
greenish circle and pace us. But mind! Never contact the
ground, even for an instant.”
Superman smiled. “We know the legends, lady. We do know the
The Green Lantern turned to Batman and said, sotto voce, “The Superman
does know a bit about diplomacy. If his father did choose him as
you said, I think he could have made a much worse choice.”
“So do I, Lantern,” said Batman. “So do I.”
The great hall of the Amazons took up enough space to cover all of the
old Paradise Island, Superman estimated. He had tried to use his
vision powers to learn something of this world they visited, but he was
stymied. It was, perhaps, not a frustration of his vision as of
his comprehension. This dimension’s properties seemed to bend his
telescopic and x-ray vision powers back on themselves. Past a
certain range, he could not see.
But that was hardly all he took in. The Amazons’ meeting hall was
splendor itself, a modernistic version of classical Greek
architecture. There were modifications, however. Instead of
the squares and corners that typified Western architecture, the Amazons
leaned more towards curves and circles, even spheres, as in the case of
the dome above the hall. Was this a feminist influence, as
opposed to a masculine angularity? An interesting speculation, he
decided, but irrelevant to the task before them.
The woman who sat before them, guarded by a force-field tinted yellow
and a squad of Amazons who sported blasters, was enough to take up his
attention span for now.
Queen Danae was a beautiful woman, which might be expected. Her
hair was black and done in something of an upsweep, banded by a tiara
which, with its star at the forehead, might have hearkened back to that
of Wonder Woman centuries ago. Her skin was tanned rather than
alabaster, and the white, shimmering dress she wore (which left one
shoulder bare and which was slit up the right side to the knee) exposed
enough of a toned body to signify that she kept in shape through more
than the usual royal pursuits.
The throne she sat on was of white marble, or appeared to be, and was
inlaid with a control surface at her fingertips. A small sphere
hovered about the right side of her head. Cursory examination
with X-ray vision revealed it to be armed to the teeth.
The queen, whose name had been revealed to them by the Amazon marshal
who accompanied them, betrayed the facial emotion of a champion poker
player. “Males, after so long a time,” she remarked. “One
of you is from the world which we used to inhabit?”
“Two of us, actually, milady,” said Superman. “My line may be
from Krypton, but I was born on Earth, as was my father, his father
before him, and all the way back for five centuries.”
Danae nodded. “Forgive my curiosity. It has been so long
since we have seen a male, in anything but simulation. Would
you...turn for me?”
“Since we have not seen a male in centuries, we wish to see what you
look like from the backside as well.”
Superman gazed at her. “Um.”
“Proceed, Superman,” said Batman. “It’s a small thing to ask.”
“It’s not you she’s asking for a turn,” muttered the Green Lantern.
Alan worked his tongue in his closed mouth, then lifted his cape and
turned around for the queen. “Maintain your position,” she said.
“Uh, for how long, milady?”
“We will let you know.”
He strove to hold his face straight for the Amazon guards he was
facing. But he expected they sensed his discomfort, and were
probably trying to hold in laughs that would get them expelled from the
court. Alan breathed in deeply, and exhaled slowly. That
seemed to help.
Finally, Danae said, “You may turn. We have recorded your form
from both sides.”
“Oh. Well, um...I am flattered to be of service to your majesty.”
“Indeed.” The queen arranged herself a bit differently on the
throne, sitting on her left foot. “Now you will tell us what
brings you here after five centuries gone.”
“The tale is simply told, milady,” said Superman, hovering several feet
over the floor of the chamber. “Almost eighty years ago, my
ancestor met with a sorceress called Lady Hecate. He defeated her
in battle, but she took vengeance by asking Poseidon to curse the seas
against men of Krypton.”
“Poseidon himself?” The queen looked interested.
“According to the tale I’ve heard, from my father,” said
Superman. “To curse the seas against us, he had to remove the
curse from Kryptonite, the fragments of our old world. It had the
power to destroy us, by radiation. Now it can no longer harm us,
but the waters of our seas can sicken and kill us.”
“Quite inconvenient,” she remarked. “Go on.”
“We have no way of contacting Poseidon,” he said. “But we hope
that you might. We would petition you, milady, to petition him to
reverse his work, and make the seas harmless to us again.”
The queen considered it. “If this could be done, hypothetically,
you understand that the substance which threatened you before would
threaten you again.”
He took another deep breath. “That it would, Queen Danae.
That it would. But Kryptonite is much rarer than seawater.
Also, we have much more experience as a line in dealing with
that. Given a choice of two demons, we’ll choose the one that we
can fight the best.”
Danae didn’t try to hide her brief smile. “Well said, you who are
called Superman. You are amusing to converse with.”
“Thank you, milady. I’d wager my two friends would be, as well.”
“Perhaps later. Two problems present themselves. First, I
am not sure how successful we will be in contacting Poseidon. Let
not your face fall so far, Superman. It is not that I think we
cannot, just that we have not during my reign. Such a procedure
is, as you might expect, not without danger.”
“I’d expect as much, Queen Danae,” he said, softly.
“The other, friend Superman, is what you would do in exchange for this
favor. What can you offer us? Honestly, what can you do
that we cannot do for ourselves?”
Superman shifted in his hovering stance. “What do you wish done,
milady? I have great power.”
The queen shrugged slightly. “Amazons are not without powers of
their own. Though ours involves the release of mental energy into
the body through mystical means, we approach you in power. As the
first Wonder Woman did the first Superman.”
Thoughtfully, Alan said nothing. He had a feeling the queen might
state her request, if she had one. But she kept her tongue still,
as well. It almost became a staring contest.
Then the Green Lantern of Rann spoke.
“I know what can be offered, Lady Queen Danae,” he said. “What a
man has offered a woman since the two of them first arose.”
Batman turned to Tal Thorn with surprise. Superman did a
double-take. But the queen looked upon the Green Lantern,
“Leave us,” she commanded.
Tal Thorn knew the order was not given to him.
Superman and Batman leaned or sat against the walls of the green bubble
in another part of the temple. A contingent of Amazons were below
them. The women weren’t interested in talking to them, or to each
“How was I supposed to know?” said Superman.
“Be glad it wasn’t you,” Batman said. “She might have wanted to
Alan gave Bron an unkind look. “I notice you didn’t offer
“Well, someone has to play chaperone.”
Superman stretched his legs out on the floor of the bubble. “What
do you think they normally do?”
“I can make a few deductions.”
“Not hard to deduce at all. Wonder how they reproduce.”
“Perhaps by cloning. Or they might not have to. If they’re
“Long-lived, yes. Immortal, I doubt it. I don’t see the
first Wonder Woman anywhere around.”
“Or Steve Trevor, for that matter. How long do you think this is
going to take?”
“My scientific investigations haven’t, as yet, included the
reproductive practices of Rannians.”
Alan was about to form a retort when his ears caught the whisper of air
being disturbed, a second before the chamber door opened and the
Amazons stood to attention. Queen Danae appeared first, wrapped
in a royal robe of purple and scarlet, with golden sandals on her
feet. Behind her, the Lantern floated. Whatever secrets
they had, they kept to themselves.
“The bargain is made,” said Danae. “Follow me to the chamber of
the Magic Sphere.”
Bron and Alan looked at Tal, who looked back, meaningfully. All
three held their tongues. The queen strode forth, looking neither
left not right, and all followed in her wake.
And Superman wondered what it would be to look on the face of a god.
The WarPort beneath Metropolis was activated, briefly, and discharged
its lone passenger. Carrying a travel bag, Katherine de Ka’an, in
blouse, skirt, boots, and headscarf, stepped past the active area and
into the room beyond. It was silent, lit by overhead lamps, and,
save for Katherine, uninhabited.
The Kryptonian woman threw the bag over her shoulder by its long strap
and stepped lightly through the receiving area into the tunnel
beyond. There were vertical tunnels above. None of them had
When Kath got to the one she wanted, she levitated off the floor
surface and flew through the vertical portal without touching its
The portal ended in a small office cubicle that was owned quietly by
the Family. Spy-rays scanned her as she emerged and identified
her as herself. Kath landed on her feet, knees bent, and
straightened up with a huff of breath.
It was good to breathe Earth air again. True, she’d contemplated
living on Rokyn while she was there. But she’d built too much of
a life for herself on Earth. Also, there was the matter of
Alan. And being in love with him.
She shook her head. This was not the first time she’d admitted to
herself that she was in love with Alan Kent. But it seemed like
There was also, she thought as she palmed a door surface to open it,
the problem of Sybilla Kent. She was forbidden to seek her out
for a fight and, quite frankly, didn’t want to.
But that didn’t mean she couldn’t spy.
And if things developed from there, she told herself grimly as she
walked into the light, nobody could rightfully hold that against her.
Katherine de Ka’an welcomed herself back to Earth.
To be continued...