Supergirl (Kara of Rokyn):

    Kal and Lyla

    Part 2

    by DarkMark

“Lyla Lerrol?  Sure, I knew her.  I guess as much as most people could know her.  What do you want to know?”

“Everything,” said Kara.

She was talking to Jar-On, a character actor who had appeared in Fire Falls, one of Lyla’s last movies.  It had been a romance, and Ms. Lerrol had briefly appeared nude in it, from the back.  For Old Krypton cinema, that was the equivalent of a Roger Vadim movie.  Kara knew that if she had to reprise that role, she’d get a computer sim to do that scene.  She snapped her mind back to the present.

Jar-On was grinning.  “Quite a body.  But you already know that, if you’re researching.”

“Oh, yes,” Kara affirmed.  “But what about her mind, her personality?”

The old man, lying in a hovering bed, said, “Well, she was a bright girl.  Not a Science Council type, but she could think.  However, despite that, I tried graciously to pick her up, and she graciously declined.”

Kara smiled.  Jar went on.

“I think she was lonely.  Always looking for the right someone, because she’d found the wrong someone early on.  Or such were the rumors.”

“What rumors?”

“Oh...”  Jar put both hands behind his head and leaned back.  “The usual movie-star tragedy tale, Tynth Zor-El.  Everybody in show biz is supposed to have a painful past.  I know she was a low-grade teacher once, correct?”

“Correct,” said Kara.  “In a small town west of Fort Rozz.  She left after a year and got her first role not long after that.”

“Yes,” said Jar.  “The word I got was that her superior was her first lover.”

Kara leaned forward.  “How accurate is that?”

“How accurate is anything?  I don’t know.  Could be gossip, could be Truthspeak.  But I’ll tell you the story.  If you want me to, that is.”

“That’s what I’m here for, Jar,” said Kara.  “Please continue.”

The old man closed his eyes briefly.  “Word of Rao, that face, those breasts, those legs.  Even today, I remember her.  Even today...”

“Tanth Jar?”

“Yes, yes, of course.  Well.  The story was that Tynth Lerrol was a halfway-decent language coach, especially among the speech-impaired.  But she was also a beauty, and her supervisor knew it.  He was appreciative of her, and she, soon, of him.”

“Ah.”  Kara considered it.  Lyla Lerrol had been twenty years of age when she got her teaching job.  She had never been to the Matricomp, that robotic system which matched up single Kryptonian men and women for marriage potential like a computer dating service on Earth.  She’d seen a holopic of Lyla, posed with the faculty of that school.  Pretty, but nowhere near the glamor object she’d become in the studios’ hands.

Jar looked at her.  “He was also married.”


“That was the story,” he said.  “No issue, of course.  Lyla, or he, or the both of them, used protection.  But he would not leave his wife, and Lyla finally had to make the decision herself.  She left.  Perhaps that was why she never became a teacher again.”

If that was true, it might explain a few things.  Kara didn’t know if she could put it in the movie, but she could use it as mental background for her characterization of Lyla.  It was an all-too-familiar tale, for a young woman on Krypton as well as Earth.  

Still, she should have had more sense than that, thought Kara.  Kryptonian law forbids divorce, and, though the superior could have left his wife, he and Lyla could never marry, and his position would have suffered.  Not that any of that was likely to overrule the heart or body, though.

Kara asked, “Where did you hear the story?”

“A producer told me, at one of his parties,” said Jar.  “Don’t ask me who, I officially wouldn’t remember.  As for Tynth Lerrol, she was sweet, she was professional, she was nice even to the character actors.  That is, as long as you didn’t get in the way of her light.”  He grinned.

“She had an actress’s ego, I take it?”

“What actress doesn’t?  You have to believe in yourself in order to get anywhere in the first place, Tynth Zor-El.  I’m sure you know that.”

“I do,” she confirmed.  “But she wasn’t too bitchy about it?”

“Not as much as most of the women I worked with, a little more than a few.  You put up with what you have to, and she didn’t give us anything that would have held us up.  Now, her lead on the pic, Yi-Vat...”

“Um, unless it’s directly related to her, I’ll skip that gossip,” said Kara.  “What about Fire Falls?  Did she have any suitors while she was doing that?”

“She dated.  I think I saw three men in as many weeks take her out to dinner, which is not surprising.  What she did with them remains her business.”

“I see.  Any sign that she loved any of them?”

“No sign that she didn’t.  But there were three, one, two, three, and they were all gone before we wrapped the picture.”

“Always looking?”

“Always,” said Jar.  “Or so it seemed to me.”

She stood.  “Tanth On, you’ve been a great help to me.”  She extended her hand and he shook it.   “It won’t be forgotten.”

“Thank you, Tynth,” replied Jar-On.  He looked her up and down.  “I must admit, you aren’t quite the same...but there are worse people who could play Lyla.”

She smiled.   “Thank you again.  May I show myself out?”

“You’ll have to,” he said.

Kara went out the door.  It was raining outside, gentle but steady, over the New Kandor streets.  She could have activated a force field in her belt to keep the rain away, but she felt like walking in it today.  A veiled hat kept it off her hair.  A hovercab pulled up beside her, tried to get her business, but she waved it away.  The walking and the rain helped her think.

So, Lyla Lerrol.  Formed, perhaps, by an unhappy love affair in her youth.  Then finding a place for herself, as the lover of anybody who came to see her in the pictures.  Moving from man to man, never marrying, never having a child.  Perhaps, at some point, deciding that the only love she would get would be from an audience, and settling for sex in her personal life instead.

Then along came Kal, and...she found a man she could love.  And that love would have cost the universe a Superman, but he would have traded that for a few years with her, knowing the both of them were doomed.

And even that had been denied them.  Even that had been cut short.

Kara looked down at the pavement as she walked.

There was a small chime from her earring.  She fished in the purse-pouch at the side of her belt and pulled a communicator out of it.  “Kara,” she said.

“Kara, it’s me,” said Van.  “Got another one for you.  A woman who worked as her choreographer on Brand of Bokos, the pirate movie.”

“I’m on it, Van,” said Kara.  “Give me her address.”


By the end of the week, Kara had interviewed five people who actually worked with Lyla Lerrol, and eight others who had late family members who had done so.  In addition, she’d corresponded with several others whom she couldn’t contact personally.  A couple had repeated the rumor about her alleged love affair with the schoolmaster.  So, although she wouldn’t confirm it, she’d probably have Van allude to it in his script.  Something like, “My first didn’t work out.”  And leave it at that.

She sighed.  What the heck was she to do?  Kara, sitting in her study, dangled a bare foot over a pile of books, holos, printouts, and comp wafers on her floor.  She still had to find a male lead, if Van-Zee wouldn’t do it.  She had to get a presentation together, and Van-Ol had to turn in a script.  The thing was so damned chancy.  

But then again, every effort was.  Especially an artistic one.  Making a bad movie sometimes took every bit as much effort as making a good one, physically and emotionally.  The difference was vision, passion, purpose.  Give the people something to inspire them as well as entertain them, and you’d have a great movie.  Take either of those two ingredients out, and at best you’d only have a qualified success.  

The woman had made so much money.  The woman had gained so much fame.  The woman had made so many women want to look like her.  The woman had so many lovers.  And yet, until she met Kal-El, she had never found the love she was looking for.  She found love on the brink of the Destruction.

How could Rao have been so cruel?

But that was not fair.  Balanced against the greater things that the god of Krypton had allowed them, and against the much greater tragedies some had suffered, plus her own image of Rao’s beneficence, Kara was reluctant to blame her god...or God...for anything bad.  Naive, perhaps, but naivete and idealism can help a person sustain their faith, and their faith could help sustain themselves.

Her mind still wanted to work, but her body was shutting down.  Nonetheless, she wanted to lay some groundwork.  Kara got up, shut off the light with a command, and went to her bedroom, pulling off her top and pants.  When she was down to her underwear, she paused in front of her mirror, did an all-around turn, and looked at herself critically.   Not bad.  The butt could use a little work, but she wasn’t a case for a crash diet-and-exercise program yet, either.  She maintained herself well.

Kara took herself and her hand communicator to bed and dimmed the lights.  Once in, she input Van-Ol’s code.  “Van?  Kara here.  Listen, hon.  I need you...ohhhh-hum, sorry....I need you to see if you can knock me out a presentation piece.  A sequence, you know?  Lyla and Kal talking, then a...get something from The Space Explorers, make it funny, have Kal step on a line or something, and...oh, you have?  Vanian, you’re reading my mind.  See you in the morning.  G’nite.”

She turned the talker off, settled back, and slept.


“Sounds like you might have something there,” said To-Bin.  “Maybe.”

All three of them were at Van-Ol’s, just after lunch.  The writer had turned out a few pages of dialogue between Kal-El and Lyla Lerrol and summoned To-Bin, the major domo for studio head Ar-Rom, to hear it.  Van played the part of Kal and Kara did Lyla.  Thankfully, both of them had carried it off fairly well, though Van wasn’t ready for any major roles yet.

“Translate for me, To,” she said, crossing her legs with the script on her lap.  “Please.”

The bald, bespectacled man in the purple suit ran a hand over his pate, thoughtfully.  “So far, I like the script.  It’s not like there haven’t been Kal movies here...frab, we almost supported the industry on them, when he got the Bottle.  But a love story with him in the lead, that’s something that hasn’t been done that much.”

“Yeah, except for Terra Moves,” put in Van.  “Which wasn’t too bad, you know, when you consider...”

“Oh, holy sun and mother moon!” To-Bin groaned.  “That moronic horseface Gi-Ram?  With the accent out of West Urrika?  Spare me!  He was Kal-El like I am Judge Dug-Les!”

“Hey, now, you’ve got to admit that Rana Vi-Xar was great!”

“I admit she had boobs, legs, and a face that was the best the studio could buy her, and that is all I will allow.  Pardon my language, Karaish.”

“Oh, it’s okay, To,” she said.  “But before you guys get all geekish over old movies, I need to know if you’ll take our side when I pitch this to the boss.”

To stamped his foot lightly.  Kara knew it for a nervous habit of his.  “The boss is going to want something to look at.  Not just a read-through of lines.  Can you get an actor to play Kal for a presentation, by next week?”

“Holy Rao,” breathed Van.  “To, that’s asking a load.”

Kara thought.  “Can we use a digital mask over the actor, if we can’t get somebody who looks enough like Kal?”

“Sure,” said To-Bin.  “But I gotta admit, Van-Zee would be a big selling point.”

“Toian, get me some time blocked out for a take,” Kara said, getting to her feet.  “Also, have the studio get me a guy who can play Kal, even if we mask him.  I’m gonna give Ar-Rom something that’ll keep him awake for a whole night when he sees it.”

The exec looked at her curiously.   “What’ve you got in mind?”

She grinned.  “It’ll keep you awake two nights, when you see it.”


And so it was that a holofilm crew in a closed set of Ar-Rom Studios did their first very secret shooting on a proposed film project called Kal & Lyla.  The setting was a dinner party at the home of a producer who was doing The Space Explorers.  He had been friend to Jor-El, which made him a friend to Jor’s new assistant, the black-haired young guy who insisted on wearing a funny blue-red-and-yellow suit with a cape.  Jor, Lara, and Kal were there when the producer invited them to use the anti-grav pool.  That was a misnomer; the thing was a half-globe of water, suspended several feet above the producer’s patio by a force-field.  It allowed the gawkers to get a full and unimpeded view of the bathers.

One of the bathers they got a great view of was Lyla Lerrol, in a green bikini.  

Kara, doing her water ballet for the cameras, was an expert tease.  She knew just how to move her body in the globe-pool so as to give the crew the best view of her exposed body, displaying her skimpily-covered chest, her slim waist, her backside, her long, perfect legs and feet, and, not the least, her lovely face and blonde hair, made up and styled in the manner that Lyla herself had, 38 years ago.

She was giving the camera a display of beauty and sex appeal that she hoped would rival anything the real Lyla had offered.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t work.

At the same time, she gave the actor playing Kal-El a look of notice, considering him with interest, the way a woman would size up a man she might be moderately considering.  The guy playing Kal acted with his face, a look of longing upon it.  It bespoke more than sexual desire.  She had told him that she wanted it to be the look of a supremely lonely man who may have found his soul mate, and, within his abilities, that was what he was displaying.

The cameras caught both expressions.

She waved, lightly, underwater.  Watching from outside, Kal, in his Superman outfit, waved back, tentatively.  The extra dressed in Jor-El’s outfit gave Kal a look of silent curiosity.  That was the end of the scene.

Kara stroked upward to the surface and hung her bare arms over the side of the shaped field, gasping for breath.  “Well?” she said.  “Another take?”

The director, impassively, said, “Think we’ve got it.  Everybody feel okay?”

“Yeah,” said Dru-Har, who was the substitute Kal.  “Oh, yeah.”

Kara grinned.  

“Okay,” said the director.  “Kal and Lyla, get ready for the next scene.  Fifteen minutes.  The rest of you, sign out, and thanks very much.”

Dripping wet, Kara got out of the globe-pool, along with the extras who had been swimming with her, and got into a robe.  She found Nar-Es and Hira, her old managers and current trainers, in the small audience and padded over to them on bare feet.  “Well?”

Nar smiled.  “Not like I haven’t seen that sight before.  But somehow, it still looks pretty good.”

Kara smirked and tweaked his nose.  “If it didn’t, I’d have both of you up on charges.  How’s the cargo, Hira?”

“Oh, doing great, Kara,” said Hira, whose belly was bulging with their first child.  “If everything goes right, six weeks and he’s out.  And that’s all!”

A normal woman of Hira’s age wouldn’t have been fertile, but Rokynian medical science had enabled her to conceive and strengthened her body for the task.  Kara hugged her, as damp as she was.  “And you make sure and let me know every step of the way, hear?  Right now, I’ve gotta run.”

“Can we watch?”

She shook her head.  “No.  For this one, I’ve gotta be focused.  Blessings on your houses.”  

“Come on, Kara,” said the director.   “Or I’ll have to get them to wet you down again.”


The scene was set in the equivalent of a cabana.  Kara, as Lyla, was sitting on a bench, still in her bikini and a short robe, open at the front to show off her body.  She was looking in a hovering mirror and doing her hair with a brush.  

Dru-Har cleared his throat.  She looked up.  He stood there, in his Superman outfit, in the doorway.  “You, ah...Jor-El said you wanted to see me.”

“I do,” she said, smiling.  The sequence continued.


KAL: It is...very much a privelage to meet you, Tynth.

LYLA: Lyla.  My name is Lyla, Kal-El.  


LYLA (ARRANGES ROBE AS SHE FACES HIM): Tell me about yourself, Kal-El.  

KAL: There’s...not that much to tell, really.  

LYLA: Are you an outlander?

KAL (AWKWARDLY): Well, yes.

LYLA: They say that’s not a space costume you’re wearing.  Even though you wore it for the rocket scene.

KAL: Not really.  

LYLA (LEANING FORWARD A BIT): Then...what is it?

KAL (SIGHS): It’s a uniform.  My uniform.

LYLA (PUZZLED): You’re a soldier?

KAL: No.  

LYLA: A policeman.

KAL: No.  No,


LYLA: Then why are you dressed that way?

KAL: You might say I wear it at work.


LYLA: All right.  I’ll accept that.  What do you do, Kal?

KAL (RESTS ARMS ON KNEES): I’m the assistant to Jor-El.  I thought you knew that.

LYLA (IRRITATED): Yes, yes, of course, Kal.  I know that.  But you only got that job recently, they tell me.

KAL: Right.

LYLA: What is it you did before?


LYLA (BRIGHTENS): Oh.  You’re a writer.

KAL: Yes.  Yes, I am.  Or I was.

LYLA: Well, what did you write, Kal?  I might have read something you wrote.

KAL (SMILES WRYLY): Oh, I doubt that very much.

LYLA (STRETCHES SLIGHTLY TO SHOW OFF HER LEGS; NOT GIVING UP): Kal, listen.  I wasn’t always an actress.  I used to, well, teach school.  Language classes.


LYLA: Uh huh.  I taught Vathlite to those in middle grades and did therapy for children who had speech impediments.  I read a lot.  I’m not, you know... (SHRUGS)

KAL (SITTING A LITTLE CLOSER, NOT REALIZING IT): I never thought you were, Lyla.  You seem like an intelligent woman.

LYLA (SMILES): Well.  Is that actually a compliment?

KAL (SLIGHT SMILE): More of a description.

LYLA (HESITATES, THEN LAUGHS): Oh, Kal.  You don’t watch yourself, you may actually end up talking to me.

KAL: I’ll have to watch that.  (SMILES) Your teaching.  Um, did you...quit when they gave you an offer to be an actress?

LYLA (CONSIDERING): No.  No, I quit and then I came out here to be an actress.  I suppose, really, I would have been a teacher again if I couldn’t have made it.  But...(SHRUGS)...I’ve been lucky.  (PAUSES; MORE THOUGHTFUL) Sometimes.

KAL (SITTING CLOSER): Sometimes not?


KAL: I would think that a woman like you, Lyla, would have no problem with men, strictly speaking.

LYLA (LOOKING DOWNWARD): The problem isn’t with men, Kal.  The problem is with love.

KAL: Oh.

LYLA (WISTFULLY): Sometimes you can have all the men you’d want, all the men you’d think anyone could want.  But...

KAL:’ve had a lot of men?


KAL: I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have spoken that way.

LYLA (RESTS HER HAND ON HIS): No, don’t be.  It’s big secret, you know.  

KAL: It is to me.  And if you don’t want to tell me, I don’t want to know.

LYLA (SMILES SADLY): Thank you, Kal.  Thank you very much.

KAL (NOTICES HAND, WITHDRAWS IT, TO HER SLIGHT DISMAY): So.  Um, the picture?  Is it coming along well?

LYLA: Oh.  Oh, yes.  You know, the director was really impressed when you saved the men in your stunt ship.

KAL (SHEEPISH, A BIT): Oh, forget it.  I just cut on the emergency rockets when the pilot passed out.  I mean...

LYLA: Yes, and you saved your life and the lives of two other men.

KAL: I know, but it’s nothing I haven’t... (CATCHES HIMSELF)

LYLA: What?

KAL: It’s nothing anyone else wouldn’t have done.  After all (LAUGHS), I had a vested interest in the matter.

LYLA (GIGGLES.  THEN): Do you have anyone else, Kal?

KAL (PAUSE): I did.  Where I came from.

LYLA: Is that why you’re here?  Because you used to...

KAL: No.  No, I’m here...I...(SHAKES HEAD) I can’t say.

LYLA: I understand, Kal.

KAL: No, you don’t.  Believe me, Lyla.  You really, honestly, don’t.

LYLA (PLACES HANDS ON KAL’S CHEST): Kal, listen.  I’m not just trying to...


KAL: No.

LYLA: Kal?

KAL (GETS UP): I have to go, Lyla.

LYLA: Kal, what’s...

KAL: I have to go!


Kara took a deep breath before raising her face to the crew and director.  “Well?  How did we do?”

The director, the cast, Nar, Hira, and even Val-Ol were silent for a long moment.  Everyone was waiting on the master’s decision.  He wasn’t saying anything yet.  After a long moment, Van opened his mouth.  He didn’t get any further than that before the director crossed his fingers.  Then the man spoke.

“Speaking unofficially,” he said, “if this picture doesn’t get made...I am personally going to insert a tap in the head of whoever refuses it, and drain out the vacuum in there.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap.”

Kara squealed in delight, despite herself.  Dru-Har grinned, and the two of them lightly knocked knuckles, as Rokyn actors did in triumph.  Van-Ol stepped up and tried to say something, which she interrupted by laying a big kiss on him.  The crew hooted at the sight.

After she broke the kiss, she said, “Well?  You didn’t think I was going to end the scene without kissing somebody, did you?”

Van shook his head.  “We’ve got a lotta work to do, Karaish.  I think we’ve got a picture to make.”

    (next chapter)