|What: An object crashes into the Kent Farm, bringing an unexpected person into Superman's life|
It's a quiet evening in Smallville, Kansas; like most evenings tend to be. There's a chirping of crickets echoing around the Kent Farm, providing a bit of background noise as Jonathan and Martha Kent relax in their living room. Jonathan is watching the news and Martha is tending to some knitting. Nothing out of the ordinary for the couple...
Somewhere past the orbit of the Moon, the fabric of space and time is torn open with a flash of light. And hurtling towards the Earth is a small spacecraft, barely large enough to fit a human occupant. It flies past orbiting stations and satellites, a sophisticated jamming system preventing the ships detection. the computer on-board the ship searches for a certain signal and, once found on the planet, plots a course for it. There's a red streak across the Kansas night sky as the ship enters the atmosphere and generates friction heat. Then, a few hundred feet away from the Kent farm, the ship plows into the ground with a loud *WHUMP!*
The sound and tremor of the impact shake the Kents out of their evening routine. Jonathan gets up and grabs a flashlight to investigate while Martha goes to the phone. "Martha...." he calls out. "Looks like we've got another visitor.."
"Hello, Clark?" Martha says into the phone. "I hate to be a bother honey, and I know it's getting late. But something just crashed into the farm..."
"Sure, Ma. I'll be right there." Clark closes his laptop slowly after saving the latest story he's working on. Setting the machinery to the side he stands and moves towards the back room of his small apartment. Opening the closet now he looks to the left at a business suit. To the middle at a more casual polo-khaki combination. Then to the right at his neatly pressed blue and red uniform with a large 's' emblazoned upon the chest.
It doesn't take him long to reach Kansas. He lands on the farm with red boots landing softly upon well manicured grass. His cape billows a bit as he hits the ground, but tames quickly. Moving over towards the debris, he assumes it to be just a meteor. He scans the wreckage with this vision and his eyebrows widen. "Oh my."
The Spaceship is just starting to cool as Superman arrives on the scene. Most of the engine system is now scrap, but the main capsule is completely intact. And looks to be Kryptonian in design. With his X-Ray vision, Superman can see the pod's occupant: a young, blonde girl in her mid to late teens, wearing a white, flowing dress with a familiar 'S' shield logo in gold on her chest.
Lights inside the capsule blink randomly, then the canopy unlocks with a hissing release of pressurized air.
As Martha and Jonathan make their way out onto the field, Superman look back at them. "It's...a person. I think..." His voice trails and he's clearly astonished. He approaches the ship slowly, looking for a handle to get at the person inside. He's cautious, but hopeful. Could this person be a Kryptonian?
The canopy opens up, revealing the girl inside. Her heartbeat is slow and faint, but gaining speed and strength. Upon looking inside the capsule, there's no doubt that this is a Kryptonian ship, with all the readouts and data screens displaying the Kryptonian language. ||Navigation error corrected. Target course plotted. Searching for pod 1. Signal located. Initiating landing protocols||.
With an exhale, Superman can nearly believe his eyes while he reads over the information on the screens. This simply cannot be, can it? The information he'd gotten from the crystals in his ship had been very clear: Krypton was destroyed and Kal El, son of Jor El, was the final survivor. He pushes the thought from his mind quickly and reaches down to attempt to take the being in his arms. She looks similar to humans, just like he does. Intriguingly, she wears the crest of the house of El on the chest of her white dress. "Mom?" he yells out over his shoulder, "We need to make a bed ready."
The girl begins to stir, a slight groan and a shift in her posture. Voices. She hears voices. Not a language she knows. Her eyes start to flutter open, and she looks around. ||Unhhhh...wha....||. She starts to sit up, but the rush of blood to her head tells her that's a bad idea and she lays back down. Looking at the source of the voices, she starts focusing on them. Kryptonian? No. Father said humans look like us. She sees the face of the man closest to her, and it seems familiar. The suit and the emblem on it help give her a glimmer of recognition.||Uncle...Jor-El?|| she says in a faint whisper.
||No, my name is Kal-El. Jor-El was my father. You've landed on a planet named Earth.|| After a brief pause and a pained look, Superman asks, ||Can you stand?||Meanwhile, Martha and Jonathan exchange quizzical looks at the pair as they speak in an intergalactic mumbo jumbo they clearly do not understand.
||Kal...Kal-El?|| There's a look of confusion on her face as she wobbly tries to stand up. This is impossible. Her head starts to clear and she looks afraid. ||No! Kal-El is a infant, not even born! You can't be him!|| She tries scrambling away from the man...And ends up pushing herself up into the air. And she hangs there. Realization crosses the girls face and she looks around. ||Rao! What?!||. And then she falls back to the ground, landing with a thud.
Superman takes a step forward with non-threatening, outstretched hands offering to help her up. ||i crash landed here many years ago, in a ship very similar to yours.|| It dawns on him what may have happened, but he decides to bury the information for fear of shock. ||You look like you need rest. My adopted parents can give you a place to stay. And food.||
It's a bit late for avoiding shock. The girl is wide eyed. ||Years? I don't understand....|| She looks around, trying to focus. But the air horn of a tractor trailer from the interstate 10 miles away causes her to wince and cover her ears. She crawls back to the capsule, looking at the displays. ||System display navigation log!||. She's clutching the edge of the capsule as the information scrolls out on the display. Thrown off course by the explosion. Course correction. It's all sinking in and she grips the edge of the canopy tighter, resulting in a squeal of metal as her fingers sink in. She looks at her hands in disbelief.||What?||
Superman looks to her with a sad, pained expression. He's been through this, but not like this. He can empathize, but only to a point. ||It's important that you stay calm. I understand much of what you're going to learn is going to be a shock to you. I mean, I'm shocked that there's another Kryptonian. I thought I was the only one in the universe.||
The panic on her face is replace with a kind of numb feeling and she nods. The realization has set in and she fixes her crystal blue eyes on the man approaching her again. She walks over to him, gingerly reaching out to touch the family crest on his chest. ||You look like him,|| she says with a smile. ||But you have your mother's eyes|| she looks down at the clothes she's wearing, the pristine white now dingy from scrambling in the dirt, and touches the 'S' shaped symbol she's wearing. ||I am Kara Zor-El. Daughter of Zor-El and Alura In-Ze. And I am your cousin..||. She smiles a bit and takes another look at the man in front of her. ||Little Kal-El||, she finishes with a grin.
||My cousin?!|| Superman can't help but smile a million watts as his eyes light up. ||I guess that explains the matching crest. But how?...How did you get here? I was told that our world...|| His voice trails and then he turns, smiling to his parents, "Her name is Kara. She's my cousin?"
"Your cousin?" gasps Martha.
"I guess these sorts of entrances run in the family, Clark," says Jonathan.
Seeing the smile, Kara wraps her arms around Kal-El and hugs him. ||We left in separate rockets||, she explains, refusing to release the embrace. ||Mine was apparently hit by the shockwave of....|| Kara takes a deep, shuddering breath as memories return to her unbidden. ||I was thrown off course. The computer corrected, but apparently much time has passed." She looks up at Kal, tears in her eyes. ||My ship homed in on yours. I assume it is still here?|| Then she notices the others standing nearby. ||Your...adoptive parents? The took you in?||
||Yes, my ship is still in a cellar in our barn|| Superman returns the hug, overjoyed at finding a true, blood relative. His back twists slightly and he nods over at his mom and dad, ||There names are Martha and Jonathan Kent. I've got a lot to tell you about.||
"Hello, sweetie," says Martha as she approaches the pair. "Welcome to Earth."
Kara looks at the approaching woman and huddles closer to Kal. She's looking like a scared, wild animal. But the gentle smile of Martha puts her at ease and she moves forward a bit. Kara returns the smile. ||Greetings, Martha Kent||. She snorts in frustration and looks back at Kal with a pleading look in her eyes.
||You'll learn English, soon. It's not hard. And your powers that our yellow sun give us will make it even easier. Come on inside, I can smell my mother's pot roast from here|| Superman begins to bring Kara over towards Martha, and on towards the house. Jonathan is eyeballing the ship carefully, though luckily the night has already obscured much of the wreckage, "Don't worry, Pa. I'll take care of it."
Now that he mentions it, Kara can smell the strange, exotic (to her) aroma coming from the house. ||Father told me we would have amazing abilities. Beyond anything we ever dreamed....Oh!|| She runs back to the capsule, accidentally jumping halfway. This is definitely going to take some getting used to...Kara reaches down into the capsule and pulls out a small package wrapped in red, blue, and gold fabrics. She smiles as she returns to her cousin's side. ||More recording crystals. To go with the ones you arrived with||
Superman raises his eyebrows, ||Fantastic. We'll have to take a look up at my headquarters.|| Sort of an odd name for a dwelling, but whatever. When Kara enters the home, there will be soft lighting and a motif that uses wood heavily. In the living room there's a pair of floppy couches and a pair of recliners, and in the dining room a large table. Martha is already getting plates out.
Kara follows wherever Kal leads her to, sitting where shown. ||Most of these are recordings of my family. You were to be Jor-El and Lara’s first child, so I don't think there were as many recordings sent with you.|| Kara pauses, a thought hitting her and sinking in. ||They're all gone...|| she says in a whisper. She hugs herself, suddenly feeling very cold. ||My family. My friends. Everyone and everything I've ever known....||
||Yes,|| Superman says as he finds it somewhat difficult to swallow. ||I'm very sorry. I was blessed to never know any of them. It must be very terrible for you|| Having no idea what they're talking about, Martha happily puts down a plate in front of Kara, "Eat however much or little you want, honey." She also gets out some milk.
Kara nods numbly, both at Kal's words and at the food placed in front of her. She hugs herself tighter, trying to hold everything together, but she just can't. her blonde hair covers her face as she hangs her head low and starts sobbing. The shock has worn off and everything's come crashing onto her at once.
Superman puts a hand around Kara's shoulder and hugs her tightly, ||I'm so sorry, Kara.|| And that's all he can say, really.
Martha's heart breaks when she sees Kara begin to cry. It's clear to her what the young Kryptonian girl has just come to realize, "Clark, I'm going to make up a bed for Kara." "Thanks, Mom."
It takes a while for Kara to get her tears under control. And even after that, she stays safely nestled in the safety of that hug. ||I...I will be fine. I am sorry if I upset your adoptive parents.|| Kara looks at the food in front of her, not quite sure what it is. She sniffs at the glass of milk, then takes an exploratory sip. There's a look on her face like she's trying to figure out if she likes it or not. Also, it takes her a while to figure out the utensil, but a careful bite of pot roast is taken. The tastes, the textures...it's all unfamiliar to her. But it's the only food available, so she eats. ||What is this?||
||Oh no, you didn't upset them. They're just worried for you. My mom is in the spare bedroom making up the bed for you. You can stay here with us as long as you like. I actually live in a different city, but you can stay there too. Come to think of it, I live in two diff...It's kind of hard to explain.|| Superman nods to the pot-roast, "It's roast. It's good. It's kind of a Midwestern staple."
||I suppose...|| Kara says as she goes back to eating. her hunger outweighs her trepidation and she starts eating with more fervor. ||So...you wear the clothing and symbol of our House openly? The humans accept you, even though you are an alien?|| She looks at Kal, examining him a bit more. ||Are you a leader? Humans seem so...primitive.|| Kara reddens in embarrassment. ||No offense to Jonathan and Martha Kent.||
"Kara, we're going to head to bed," Martha says, knowing full well that the young Kryptonian cannot understand her. She gives Clark a hug and a kiss on the cheek and her and Jonathan retire upstairs after a "goodnight." ||I'm a bit embarrassed to say, but they actually call me Superman. I live sort of two personas. My public one where I'm dressed as this, and then a private one that I keep secret to maintain some semblance of a normal life. The world does not yet know I'm an alien. I don't know how they would respond."
Kara smiles at the Kents when they speak to her; she may not understand the words, but she understands the kindness they've shown her. ||Superman?|| Kara asks with a quizzical look. ||and...two lives? What exactly do you do? Is it some kind of strange human custom?||
||Actually, no. I don't know how many do that sort of thing, but it's not normal. Essentially, I try to make this world a better place. In doing so, I've made some enemies. Powerful enemies. If they knew who 'Superman' 'really' was, I'd be putting my family in danger. So, there are actually two mes. To lives. One as Superman and one as Clark Kent.||
Kara blinks, trying to comprehend the situation. She mulls it over in her mind as she chews the last bite of the pot roast. Then her eyes light up with excitement. ||I understand! You fight evil in a costumed identity! Like the legend of Nightwing and Flamebird!|| She actually looks rather astonished that her cousin would take up a course of action based on some very old Kryptonian history.
He chuckles a bit and wrests his hands on the table. ||I've never thought of it that ways specifically, but you're right. I guess you could say it is a lot like that.|| Superman tilts his head, ||How much of Krypton do you remember? How old were you when they sent you here? What do you remember?||
Kara goes quiet wen the question is asked. ||For me, Krypton's final day was yesterday. We were launched on the same day, the last day. I am 16, barely an adult myself. And you were still yet to be born. You were placed into an artificial womb, a birthing matrix, so that you would survive the journey.|| She takes a deep breath to steady herself. ||I remember everything. The ground tremors growing. Our fathers trying to convince the Science Council of the danger.|| She shudders and hugs herself. ||The civil war started by General Dru-Zod after the Council suppressed your father's findings. I remember my parents, their faces full of sorrow and hope as I entered the capsule.||
Superman nods slowly, picturing the events in his mind based on a mixture of photos and his own imagination. ||Can you tell me about my parents? And your parents? I'd like to know more about my family sometime. It doesn't have to be tonight, if you'd prefer. I know you've been through a lot. You'll like the guest room. There's a television, which I think you'll get a kick out of."
||A....television?|| The word is very unfamiliar to Kara and she doesn't understand what it means. But, she goes to the bundled fabric and starts unwrapping it. Several of the clear crystals that are integral to Kryptonian science and technology lay within. Kara picks up a small, circular crystal resembling a cut diamond about the size of her palm. She rests the crystal in her palm, then waves her hand over it. A holographic projection springs to life, standing over the table. In a park with exotic, alien trees, Kara and four adults are relaxing. Kara is playing with a white dog; remarkable how many analogues Krypton and Earth share. She points to each adult, saying their names. ||Jor-El, Lara Lor-Van; your parents|| in fact, Lara looks to be about 4 months pregnant. ||And this is Zor-El and Alura In-Ze, my parents.|| Jor-El and Zor-El look very similar, as befits brothers. And Alura is a stunningly beautiful woman with long, blonde hair; it's obvious which parent Kara took after. ||This is in Argo City, my home. Maybe about 3 months before the Last Day. It was the last time we were all together.||
Superman watches the holograms intently. At first his attention is focused upon his parents, although he quickly takes great interest in his aunt and uncle as well. He purses his lips, but says nothing. For a while, to him, it's just nice to see a different image of his parents he hadn't already seen a thousand times.
Kara sets the crystal down on the table and hugs Kal as she looks at the image too. ||When we said our goodbyes, my father told me that Krypton would live on through us. That you and I would be the legacy of our homeworld. Things may not have gone as planned; I was supposed to land with you at the same time then raise you myself. But we are together now. And a family of two is still a family.||
||Well,|| Superman says. ||It's more like a family of four. My parents are kind of like honorary Kryptonians, I'd say.|| He chuckles and adds, ||When you're feeling up to it, you should come to Metropolis with me. It's where I live. There's also a Fortress I have, up in the Arctic. I'd love for you to come and see both.||
Kara nods. ||I would...like that. And your Jonathan and Martha are wonderful people, and I will forever be indebted to them for taking you in and raising you. But it may take me time to accept them.||
||Well, I...|| But before Superman can add anything he stops. His ears pick up on something in the distance and his eyes peer a bit. ||There's....There's something else coming...Come on!||
Superman zips out of the house and into the air just in time to see another 'meteorite' coming straight for the barn. What a night!
Kara looks confused, but runs out after Kal. She's not nearly as fast as he is, only having recently started soaking up the yellow solar radiation that empowers them, but she's still astonished by the speed. ||Kal-El....what is it?||
||I'm not sure, but it's coming in fast and hot!|| Superman moves to intercept it. While Kara landed in a field nearby, this one looks like it's going to do some immediate obliteration to the barn. Superman puts himself in between and grasps the ship out of mid air. His muscles ripple and his teeth grate upon themselves a bit, but he is able to hold the ship and stop it's progress. Soon, he's lowering it down onto the driveway.
Kara stares in amazement at the powers her cousin displays. ||Great Rao! I...I'm going to be *that* strong? And fly?|| She actually starts to sound excited at the prospect. When Kal sets the ship down, Kara comes over to look at it curiously.
With a hiss, the canopy pops open slowly. Gas spills out of several pores. In his excitement, Superman didn't even think to use his powers of vision. The interior looks almost identical to Kara's, but as the Man of Steel puts his head in, he assumes it to be empty. || That's odd, there doesn't seem to be anything...|| His words are cut off, however, as a white canine leaps out from the cocoon, "Arf! Arf! Arf!"
Kara looks confused. She recognizes the design of the ship. But her's and Kal's were the only ones used...
Then Kara hears the barking and she clasps her hands to her face, hardly able to contain her excitement. ||Krypto!|| She rushes forward to try and embrace the dog. ||Oh, Rao...we thought we'd lost you forever, boy....||
||You know him?|| Superman asks, looking at Kara.
Kara is laughing and almost crying as she hugs the dog around the neck and it responds by licking her all over her face. ||This is Krypto. He was your parent's dog. And...|| Kara looks a bit unsure of how to explain things. ||He was used in a test of the rocket system. Our fathers wanted to make sure that the life support systems and star drive worked, so Kyrpto was used to test the first prototype. Something went wrong, though, and his ship never returned as it was programmed to do. We assumed he was lost and out fathers worked harder on a new system. They were still in the prototype stage when time ran out for Krypton. That's why we were the only ones to escape.|| She smiles and ruffles Krypto's head and the dog turns to peer at Kal.
Superman's eyes are perma-side now, ||You're...my dog?|| Kal reaches up to pet the dog's head slowly and he's just sort of astonished. This is a lot to take in for one day.
Krypto looks up at Kal as his head is petted. His tail starts wagging furiously, and then he leaps out of Kara's arms onto Kal, licking the Man of Steel's face. Kara giggles at the display, many of her sorrows forgotten in this reunion. ||Well, I guess that makes us a family of five now,|| Kara says with a smile. She then looks at Kal curiously. ||Wait...only five? You haven't taken a mate or
||Uh...No...|| Superman shakes his head. ||I mean, it's not that weird of a thing for humans to be single at 26. And I'm not sure I have enough time for a wife, to be honest.||
Krypto hops down to the ground, shaking his coat. ||Oh,|| Kara says at Kal's explanation. She smiles and wraps him up in a huge hug. ||It doesn't matter. We're all together again. And Earth is our new home.|| She looks up at Kal, blue eyes twinkling. ||So, if you're Superman...does that make me...Supergirl?||
Oh yeah, she's got a very eager look on her face.