Chapter 7.1 – Interlude 1
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Clark picked himself up and sighed, he was tired and, for a Kryptonian, that was saying something.

Defeating Despero the first time had been hard, the alien tyrant was cunning and had an extremely powerful mind but, this time, they were supposed to be ready.

With John acting to fight off the alien's mental influence and Bruce's countermeasures, it should have been far easier… Instead, the League had almost lost.

Despero himself seemed to have been ready for them.

With men like Luthor and Savage always finding counters to his powers, Clark really shouldn't have been so surprised when an enemy adapted.

They had gotten ready to face a powerful mind controller and, instead, they faced a brute just as powerful as him and capable of endlessly regenerating… That could also mind control people.

Thank God Bruce had been able to disable Barry before the speedster did any damage.

"Hey guys, can you release me now." Said speedster begged, his teeth shaking from the ice covering his body and keeping him from using his speed.

A flash of heat vision later and Barry was freed, the speedster blurred in place until he was dry and no longer in danger of freezing.

"Damn, didn't know you had one of Captain Cold's guns, Bats."

"We were about to face a telepath stronger than Manhunter. I made preparations." The caped crusader said as he got up. "Besides, the gun is Victor's work, much safer to use."

"And what if you had been controlled first?"

"I wouldn't."

"Yeah but, what if you did?"

"Robin was monitoring the situation and could have disabled me if needed."

Clark sighed, that was just like Bruce. The last time the man relaxed was probably at their double date with Lois and Selina, looking at the pictures still brought a smile to his face.

Diana managed to lift a car, freeing Katar from under it and they all converged on John who was still holding the baby, Barry was the one to ask.

"Now what?" Flashing towards the Martian, Barry started working his finger in front of the red alien and avoiding his little hand. "I mean we have prisons and we have orphanages, but I don’t think we have prison orphanages."

"Well, he is an intergalactic criminal." Hal finally said. "The guardians are eager to get their hands on him."

"Hey Supes, where's your cape?" Barry asked, flashing to Clark's side.

"Somewhere safe."

"Can they contain him?" Katar asked while trying to get his right wing to bend the right way.

"Well yeah, they're the guardians, I'm pretty sure they only need us lanterns because of our numbers." Answered Hal as he dusted himself.

Clark stared at the baby in John's arms and shook his head. "The better question is: Can they raise him?"

"The guardians? No way, but I think Kilowog would make a great dad!"

"Call them." Bruce finally decided. "Despero's rampage had no fatalities on Earth thanks to our quick response, the government won't complain if we hand him over."

With that decided, Clark turned away from the League and towards the evacuation line until he found what he was looking for.

Flying quickly, he landed in front of the kid still holding on to his cape and smiled.

"You came back." The kids whispered and took a step away from his mother's side.

"I told you I would." Clark said and caressed the kids head.

"Thank you, Superman, thank you." The blonde woman cried out and hugged him, her tear filled eyes soaking his damaged suit as she held him and her son close.

"I see you've managed to find your family without my help." Clark smiled at the kid, using his fingers to comb his hair into place.

"Yeah… Can you still fly me around anyway? It would be so cool!"

"There's another League emergency in Fawcett city, Zatara answered a cry for help from Captain Marvel, but they've both been out of contact since then." Clark heard Bruce say to the other League members.

He also heard Barry and Hal's groans at the announcement and almost snorted.

"Sorry, there's another emergency I have to help, maybe another day alright?"

"Awww man, villains are such buttheads."


Clark knelt before the kids and took his cape back before nodding with a serious face. "Yes, yes they certainly are."

Clark arrived back with the League right as they reached the zeta-tube, his cape at his back the only piece of his suit still intact.

With a flash of light, they arrived in Fawcett city and Clark was immediately attacked by the sound of thousands of humans in pain.

All around the city were cries of pain or misery, Zatara and the Captain appeared to have managed to stop the worst of it, but the city was still in a MUCH worse state than the one attacked by Despero… and that was saying something.

The League’s flyers quickly floated above the buildings to reveal the full scope of the devastation and Clark's cheer fled, his face becoming serious.

Everywhere he looked he saw destruction, Zatara and Marvel had managed to stabilize things, but there was still so much to do. Clark wanted nothing more than to start helping out, but he knew he had to stop whoever caused this before that changed.

A quick look around and he was certain there was nobody in immediate risk of dying, so he fully concentrated on finding Zatara.

"My ring is picking up large amounts of energy coming from the edge of the city." Hal told them and Clark turned towards where he was pointing.

"I see it, both Zatara and the Captain are hurt." He warned them and accelerated.

He was exhausted, he had been working without sleep for a few days already and the fight with Despero had pushed him farther than he has been pushed in years.

Still, he was the first to arrive, ready to face anything he found.

They arrived to find Captain Marvel holding a wounded kid in his arms and Zatara sitting down on top of a piece of debris, the building they were on was in shambles, the top floors were gone and there were scorched marks everywhere.

There was also an orange, alien girl floating above a hole in the building, she was cradling her ribs and looked like she had been in the fight of her life.

“I apologize for not being there to fight Despero.” Zatara sighed and pushed himself up, he looked around for his hat, but it was crushed under a piece of the roof. “I’m afraid the situation here proved no less dire, however.”

“What happened?” Asked Bruce as he dropped beside the Captain and started looking the girl over.

Before any of them could answer, a blonde girl flew up from inside the hole and froze when she saw them.

Clark could see she looked even worse than the orange alien, she was missing a leg and an eye, there were burn marks all over her face and limbs and her armor was half melted to her chest.

Then she stared right into his eyes and spoke, making his heart skip a beat.

“Ah, hi, long time no see little cousin.

Hundreds of thoughts flooded his mind, was it true, was this another trick by Luthor or another of his enemies?

Then he saw the girl’s eye start to roll on her head and her flight failed her.

She fell directly into his chest, having moved faster than all but Barry and Marvel could follow. His arms wrapped themselves around her and he lifted her wounded body just as he had done to others he had saved a thousand times before.

Bruce would probably have a fit of paranoia about a new Kryptonian just showing up right after he had met with Icon, but Clark didn’t care about that.

Lifting the girl in a princess carry, he looked around the city and didn’t know what to do; he wanted nothing more than to help the girl, his… cousin? But there was so much to do; Fawcett city had faced so much destruction.

“Clark.” Diana called, making him turn towards her. The woman had a smile on her face, her eyes filled with understanding. “Go on, we can deal with things here.”


“This is why the League was formed Clark, so we could help each other in times like these.”

He looked at the entire League standing around him and his eyes finally stopped when they met Bruce’s and saw… happiness there.

Oh, it was buried in a lot of suspiciousness, paranoia, apprehension and just a little bit of envy, but his friend was happy for him.

The dark knight just nodded. “Go.”

He went, his flight taking him in a direct path towards the Fortress as fast as he could.

He got to the Fortress in only a few minutes and made his way towards the medical wing, lying the girl inside one of the med chambers. Even if the girl wasn’t a Kryptonian, it should be able to heal her wounds.

“You brought someone inside the Fortress again.” The AI said from behind him, manifesting into the image of his father and coming to stand by his side.

“Yes, what can you tell me about her?”

A light flashed inside the med chamber and the AI started looking over her body.

“Ah, it seems she has finally arrived on Earth.” The AI said and walked around the med chamber. “Your father theorized there may be some time dilation during the flight, but never this much.”

“Who is she?” He asked with far more hope than before.

Clark wasn’t as desperate to find another Kryptonian as he had once been. With the League behind him, he had found the companionship he craved and felt like he had accepted his place in the world.

He still had a wide smile on his face as he looked at her resting body inside the chamber, maybe he wasn’t the last Kryptonian alive after all.

“Kara Zor-El, daughter of Zor-El and Alura In-Ze, your cousin.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about her?”

“Kara Zor-El was supposed to have arrived on Earth a few minutes after you, your father wanted her to be the one responsible for your care and education.” The hologram said with no emotion in its voice. “As she hadn’t arrived by the time the Fortress was activated, it was likely she had failed to escape Krypton or somehow perished on the way. There was no need to mention her existence and raise false hope.”

He sighed; sometimes he still couldn’t understand what was going through his birth father’s mind when he made the damn AI.

Clark touched the glass on top of the chamber and watched his… cousin’s face with a warm feeling in his chest.

Then he remembered the state she had been when he found her and clenched his fist. What happened, what kind of fight had she been in to be so wounded? Why had it taken so long for her to arrive on Earth?

With a hundred questions in his mind, he paced in front of the chamber. To think he had almost lost her before they even met. “Shouldn’t she be awake by now?”

“Kara Zor-El is in constant pain, the Fortress is keeping her asleep in order to do a deeper examination of her state.”

“What? What’s wrong?”

“An exotic energy source was found in her newest wounds and the fortress has detected remains of Kryptonite radiation filling her entire body, some of her organs are missing or changed and there are signs of cell degradation, more time will be needed to reach a full diagnosis.”

He froze in place, his hands clenching tightly and he even felt heat starting to gather at his eyes. With a deep breath, he forced himself to calm down. “Can we purge the Kryptonite?”

“No.” The hologram of his birth father put his arms back and entered what Clark called his lecture mode. “Kryptonian cells absorb energy in order to function. They do this most effectively with the emissions from a young star, but can absorb any energy, that is why the mere presence of kryptonite can affect a Kryptonian so fast. The Fortress is not capable of directly purging such energy, usually letting your natural regeneration overcome it as soon as you’re no longer exposed.”

“Unfortunately, constant exposure to a large source of Kryptonite radiation, coupled with constant cell regeneration, has caused Miss Zor-El’s cells to be overwhelmed. The resulting deterioration does seem to be improving under exposure to Earth’s yellow Sun but, until it is complete, her body will prioritize the restoration of her cell’s energy absorption ability over any other wounds.”

He pulled a chair from another room and sat beside his cousin’s chamber feeling very conflicted, his anger and indignation at her situation were only matched by his happiness, he had a cousin.

He had a cousin and someone had hurt her.

He took another deep breath and let it out slowly. He had time to be angry later, when she was well.

Pulling out his phone, he started making calls.

“Hi Lois… about that, I won’t be able to go to work tomorrow… No, it’s a family emergency… yeah my parents are alright it’s my cousin.” Clark sighed. “I didn’t know either, that’s part of the emergency… thanks Lois, I’ll tell you about it later.”

Yeah, it was going to be a long night.

For a few minutes he stayed there staring at his phone, then he dialed again and laid back against the chair. “Hi Pa, I miss you too, can we talk?”


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