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Smallville: I Am Superman Part 1 (MF)
by The Fan ([email protected])

Clark Kent stood in front of his parents' farm, and looked at the horizon.
He looked like any other young farmer in this part of Kansas, of course he
was anything but. Clark Kent, adopted son of Jonathan and Martha Kent was
not an ordinary youngster. He was the last survivor of the planet Krypton.
Krypton was a distant world once inhabited by human-like entities who had
built a mighty, technologically advanced civilization. Jor-El, a Kryptonian
military scientist sent his son Kal-El on a small spacecraft so that he
might survive the end of Krypton. The planet Krypton had been destroyed by
a cataclysm. Kal-El's spaceship landed on the planet Earth where it was
found by the Kents. Kal-El, the Last Son of Krypton was raised by ordinary
human beings from Earth.

These days, Clark Kent was living in the city of Metropolis. He was still a
freshman in college. A few months had gone by since his father, Jonathan Kent
died of a heart attack, hours after winning a nomination as senator of the
state of Kansas, defeating the ruthless billionaire Lex Luthor. Clark had
faced many challenges during his young life. He had dealt with men and women
with incredible powers hell bent on his own destruction. He had also dealt
with ordinary mortals who were no less dangerous than their super-powered
counterparts.

Clark didn't feel sure of himself anymore ever since his father died. He felt
unsure about his place in the world. His adopted father, Jonathan Kent told
him to use his powers to help people, to fight for justice and peace. His
biological father, Jor-El of Krypton wanted him to conquer the planet Earth
and unite it under his rule. Clark was just a young guy who was trying to
lead his own life. He didn't want to become a superhero. He only wanted to
lead a normal life. Unfortunately, fate had other plans for him.

Clark Kent was in Metropolis, hanging out with his friend Chloe Sullivan when
he suddenly heard the Call. The Call was that special low emission coming
from the Fortress of Solitude erected by the ancient Kryptonian technology in
the Artic. Clark sighed.

"What is it?" Chloe asked. "Something's bothering you, I can tell."

Clark Kent looked at his pal, and his eyes darkened. "I've got to go," he
said. "Will you cover for me?"

Chloe Sullivan looked at the young man she had been best friends with since
the fourth grade. "You got it, Clark."

Clark smiled and tapped her on the shoulder, then he sped away.

"Be careful," Chloe said.

Of course, Clark Kent didn't hear her. Or perhaps he did. He ran away at full
speed, faster than a bullet, too fast for the human eye to see. The young
woman shook her head. In the entire world, there was nobody else like Clark
Kent. A good-two-shoes who was also a stud with super powers. Her best
friend. Smiling, she headed back to her journalism class.

Clark Kent flew through the streets of Metropolis. He went at full speed,
moving too fast for any human being to see. He quickly took to the air,
soaring into the heavens at full speed. There was nothing Clark Kent loved
more than flying, except maybe being in Lana Lang's arms. Unfortunately,
he was beginning to realize that they weren't meant to be. Clark Kent felt
a lot of guilt since his father's death. He loved his dad. Maybe he didn't
deserve to be happy, that's why he couldn't be with Lana Lang. He had too
many responsibilities and not enough time to himself. Also, his life was
incredibly dangerous. Every week there was a super-powered man or woman out
in the world, causing harm to innocent people. Someone had to stop them and
Clark Kent was usually the man for the job.

Clark flew over continents at the speed of light and soon found himself
in the Artic. He scanned the landscape, and quickly found the Fortress of
Solitude. The massive alien super structure stood a full mile high.
Naturally, only he could see it. The Kryptonian technology inside displayed
a holographic illusion over the gigantic fortress. Anyone looking at it
would see a huge pile of ice but Clark had X-ray vision. He could see
through the illusion. He landed and walked through the doors. He marched
to the center of the city-sized structure, and entered the Chamber of
Knowledge. This was the place where the artificial intelligence which
maintained the Kryptonian fortress resided. An artificial intelligence
modeled after the mind of Jor-El.

Clark stood there, and called out to Jor-El. "Why have you summoned me?"

"Ah, Kal-El, it is good of you to come," said a voice.

Clark Kent turned around and saw...Lionel Luthor! The young man's eyes
narrowed. He didn't like Luthor one bit. Still, this wasn't the first time
that Jor-El had used Lionel Luthor as his avatar. The sentient Kryptonian
machine residing inside the Kawatche Caves downloaded the consciousness of
Jor-El inside the mind of Lionel Luthor and also gave the wealthy
industrialist the powers of a Kryptonian. When possessed by the mind of
Jor-El, the body of Lionel Luthor could display spectacular powers such as
super strength, speed, invulnerability and heat vision.

"My son, I have dire news, said Lionel/Jor-El. Clark crossed his arms over
his chest.

"When do you ever have any good news?" He growled. "Thanks to you, my father
is dead, and you dare ask me to come here again?"

Lionel/Jor-El shook his head. "I am sorry about that, Kal-El. But you knew
what was going to happen. The life of someone close to you would be traded
for yours." He touched Clark's shoulder and smiled sympathetically. "I am
sorry, son. But the world is in need of you."

Clark shrugged. "What has the world ever done for me? I've lost my father.
My girlfriend has left me. My life is falling apart. Why should I care about
what happens to the world?"

Lionel/Jor-El grimaced. "There is very little time left, my son. I have a
story to tell you." He gestured and suddenly a crystal chair formed behind
Clark. "You'd better sit for this."

In spite of himself, Clark Kent sat down. He had to obey his father, after
all.

"A long time ago, long before Krypton was destroyed, I traveled to a distant
world," said Lionel/Jor-El. Clark groaned.

"I know this story, father. You came to Earth."

Lionel/Jor-El looked annoyed. But he continued. "The planet Earth wasn't the
first world that I visited," he said. "I went to a planet called Apokolips,
a nightmarish place ruled by a titanic dictator who calls himself Darkseid."

In spite of himself, Clark Kent was captivated. He had always wanted to know
what his biological parents were like, what they did before he was sent away
to Earth. He could imagine Jor-El traveling through the galaxy, visiting
unknown worlds. It was...a pleasant thought.

Lionel/Jor-El went on. "Apokolips is home to a breed of warriors known as
the Parademons, and all of them serve Darkseid. Darkseid is the conqueror
of planets, the destroyer of worlds, and he has set his sights on Earth."

Clark blinked. "What does he want with Earth?"

Lionel/Jor-El shrugged. "Thousands of planets have already fallen under the
dominion of Darkseid. He has been around for thousands of years. He is pure
evil. All he craves is power. His planet's military and scientific powers
were far beyond those of Earth. This world doesn't stand a chance."

Clark Kent stood up. The thought of an alien army coming to Earth to destroy
it didn't sit right with him. He wasn't fond of aliens, though he was one.
The first aliens he had ever encountered were Nam-Ek and Aethyr, a Kryptonian
man and woman who served General Zod, a Kryptonian tyrant who opposed Jor-El
a long time ago. He remembered the stories told to him by Brainiac, also
known as Professor Milton Fine. Brainiac, the super-powered sentient humanoid
machine was loyal to Zod. He had come to Earth with Nam-Ek and Aethyr to
bring Zod back from the inter dimensional prison he inhabited and conquer
Earth together.

Lionel/Jor-El looked at his son. "I can't help you in this mission, my son."

Clark Kent glared at his father. "Why not? If Darkseid and his people are
half as powerful as you say, then you know I can't do this alone!"

Lionel/Jor-El touched his son's shoulders. "You won't be alone, Kal-El. There
are many super humans in this world. You have encountered a few. Find a few
among them who are worthy of being the protectors of their world. It's a
battle for all humanity, Kal-El, though you may lead it, it's up to them to
win it."

Clark Kent nodded, slowly taking it all in. He looked up at his father, to
see a smile on Lionel/Jor-El's face that was not unlike the smile Jonathan
Kent often wore when he saw his son. "I understand, father."

Lionel/Jor-El grinned. "Do not hesitate, Kal-El. Do what must be done. Only
then will you be strong enough to save this world and those you love from
certain peril."

Clark Kent smiled, nodded, and turned to leave. Lionel/Jor-El stopped him.
"I know a way to rid you of your weakness forever, my son. Once it is done,
no Weapon forged in heaven or on earth will be able to cause you harm."

"What do you mean?" Clark asked. "You are talking about Kryptonite, aren't
you?"

Lionel/Jor-El nodded, then produced two glowing amethyst stones, practically
out of thin air.

"What are those?" Clark asked.

"Amethyst stones from our home world," said Lionel. "Once you touch them,
their energies will flow into you and nothing will be able to cause you
harm. Kryptonite will no longer harm you. Nor will the effects of what
ordinary humans call 'magic', though magic itself is an ancient technology
older than even we, and not at all the mystical element that Earth people
believe it to be."

Clark Kent took the amethyst stones from his father, and felt their energies
flow into him. He grunted, though not in pain. The sensation that he felt
was amazing. He had never felt anything like it. He couldn't compare it to
anything he'd ever felt. When he'd been under the influence of red
Kryptonite, he felt like a pure hedonist. Black Kryptonite had split his
personality. Green Kryptonite drained him of his might. White Kryptonite
rendered him extremely paranoid. The amethyst stones made him feel...great.
Not the pure rush of red Kryptonite but a more balanced, beneficial rush.
He felt great. Strong. Powerful. Ready for anything.

"You feel it, don't you?" said Lionel/Jor-El. "Feel the power inside you, my
son. Nothing can ever hurt you. You are now ready to make full use of your
powers." Turning around, the Kryptonian patriarch pointed to the gigantic
fortress in a broad, expansive gesture. "All of these technologies are yours,
my son. Our Portals will allow you to teleport to any location in the known
universe. Our weapons can stop any technologically advanced army or fleet.
You are now ready to defend the Earth. You only need the determination to do
it at no matter the cost to those who stand in your way."

Lionel/Jor-El looked at his son. "Are you ready, my boy?"

Clark Kent nodded. "Yes."

Lionel/Jor-El grinned. "Kneel before me."

Clark Kent obeyed without hesitation.

Lionel smiled. "Go now, my son."

Clark Kent nodded respectfully at his father, then he rose into the air,
soaring through the roof of the mighty Fortress of Solitude and heading to
the skies above. He was a young man on a mission given to him by his father.
He had to save the planet Earth from Darkseid, an evil alien overlord who
wanted to conquer all the civilized worlds in the galaxy. Only he could stand
against the fury of Darkseid's mighty alien armies. He was the protector of
the planet Earth and he had a job to do.

Lionel/Jor-El looked upward, where Clark Kent had gone. He smiled. If only
the young man knew what he was in for...

Clark Kent was such a simpleton. He thought he was communicating with his
father, Jor-El. If only he knew that since the beginning, he had been
talking to General Zod himself. For it was Zod who, before he could be
locked away into the inter dimensional void known as the Phantom Zone by
the Supreme Council of Krypton, sent a powerful machine containing his
memories, intelligence and agenda to the distant planet Earth. Jor-El and
Lara had sent their son Kal-El to Earth so that he might live. General
Zod knew of this. So did the machine which contained his intellect.

The sentient machine containing Zod's intellect had come to Earth and
embedded itself inside the Kawatche Caves. It had lain there for centuries,
waiting for the arrival of the ship carrying Kal-El. Drawn to the young
Kryptonian's energy signature, the sentient machine had come up with an
elaborate scheme to use the son of its master's enemy to bring its master
back from the void. All those years, the Zod-machine pretended to be Jor-El,
its hated enemy, in order to trap Kal-El.

So many times, the Zod-machine had been close to unlocking the void and
freeing its master. It had used red Kryptonite to turn mild-mannered high
school student Clark Kent into Kal-El, arrogant, cocky and aggressive rebel
and somewhat reckless hedonist. The Zod-machine had planned to manipulate
Kal-El into freeing him. It had even used the young man to open the gateway
of the location where a Kryptonian spaceship had been frozen in space for
many centuries. The spaceship which contained two living Kryptonians, a male
and a female, in cryogenic suspension. Those two Kryptonians were the savage
Nam-Ek and his lover, the deadly and seductive Aethyr. Also traveling with
them was Brainiac, a highly intelligent Kryptonian machine.

Now, finally, the Zod-machine could free its creator. It took the DNA it had
collected from its encounters with Kal-El, and used it on the scanner of the
machine built by Jor-El. Only someone with DNA like Jor-El's could unlock
the mechanism. The ancient Kryptonian machine was actually the Portal to the
chaotic dimension known as the Phantom Zone. The place where General Zod had
been locked away for many centuries.

"At last!" said Lionel/Jor-El/Zod-machine as the mechanism was activated.

The awesome powers of the machine built by Jor-El, the greatest scientific
and military mind ever seen on the planet Krypton were unleashed. The
Zod-machine actually stepped back, as a large mechanical entity which
served the Fortress of Solitude reached into the void. The Zod-machine
knew that the mechanical entity would search for mind-boggling distances
through the void, looking for the energy signature of a Kryptonian body
trapped in an energy Prison. For hours, the Zod-machine waited. It was
almost impatient. Finally, its master would return. They would conquer
the world of the humans in glorious battle, as they almost did Krypton,
eons ago.

Hours passed, and the Zod-machine waited. It waited a long time. Twenty-four
hours, in fact. Finally, the mechanical entity returned from the void. Inside
its clutches was the precious body of its master. The machine built by Jor-El
dropped the body of General Zod unceremoniously on the floor of the Chamber
of Gateways, deep inside the Fortress of Solitude. If a machine could feel
joy, the Zod-machine would have been ecstatic. Finally, its master was home.



Elsewhere...

Clark Kent returned to the city of Metropolis. The young man took a spin
around the city, just to clear his head after all that he had been told by
his father. The planet Earth was in danger, an alien fleet was coming to
conquer it. First, though, he had to get back to his gal pal, Chloe
Sullivan. He spotted her talking to somebody at school. She turned around
and saw him. Smiling, she came to him.

"Hey, Clark!" said Chloe. "Where have you been?" She was whispering.

Clark grinned. The girl continued to amaze him every day. "We've got to
talk," he said.

The two of them went to a secluded spot on campus, the student lounge.
There, he told her...everything. When he was done, Chloe Sullivan couldn't
believe her ears. Getting used to the fact that her best friend (and crush)
Clark Kent was an alien had been tough, but now, she was learning that there
were a lot of other alien forces out there in the universe and some of them
were coming to the planet Earth, to conquer.

"We've got to do something, if what he told you is true," Chloe said. "If
aliens are coming, we should..."

Clark looked at her, gentle amusement on his handsome face. He shook his head
gently, and raised his eyebrows.

Chloe tapped herself on the head. "Yeah, go around telling people aliens are
coming, they'd lock me up and label me a loony." She laughed. "So, he wants
you to start a league of super people to fight the alien threat, uh? Where
are you going to find this League?"

Clark blinked. When Chloe mentioned the word "league", he remembered
something. He smiled. "I just might know a few people who would be willing
to join me."



New York City....

Bart Allen stood on the corner of Madison Square, and gazed at the city of
New York. 'Nice,' he thought.

Ever since he first came to the city, three days ago, the young man had been
having a blast. Of course, Bart Allen always had fun. After all, he was the
Fastest Man in the Universe. He ran through the card, and things seemed to
be moving in slow motion. Well, slow for him. Everyone else appeared to stand
still. They weren't. Bart was just moving really fast. Faster than the speed
of light actually.

He 'relieved' some of these people of their ‘excess baggage'. He stood on a
corner, and took a look at his bounty. He had snatched five hundred dollars
from Kathleen Norway McDonald, a prominent district attorney and former
supermodel who made a bundle every year. Her money came from 'suspicious
sources.' Bart, concerned citizen that he was, simply couldn't let taxpayer
money go into the wrong hands for the wrong purposes. His next 'case' was
Max Gregory, a big and tall Irishman who was an enforcer for a local mob
boss. A guy who wore five-hundred-dollar-shoes wouldn't miss the three
hundred bucks in his wallet. Or so Bart thought.

The young Speedster walked away, smiling to himself.

"Thief!"

Bart turned around, and stared at the man who had spoken to him. "Excuse me?"
Bart stared at the tall, dark man who stood a few feet away from him. When
Bart was moving at super speed, nobody could see him. The only guy who had
even come close to matching his speed was Clark Kent, a farm boy from Kansas.
There was no way that Clark would come to NY. Which meant that someone else
with super powers had spotted Bart.

Bart sized him up. The guy was a tall, broad-shouldered and muscular African
American male. He wore a black and green leather trench coat over black
leather pants and dark gray boots. He looked a bit odd, but Bart had seen
weirder fashion statements in San Francisco. "What do you want?" he asked
the guy.

"I demand that you return the money to those people you stole it from," the
man said, with authority.

Bart only laughed. "Dude, I don't know what you think you saw, but I don't
know what you're talking about." With that, Bart Allen took off, running at
super speed. He ran to the Hilton Hotel where he was staying. The Hotel room
was fully paid for, courtesy of his friendly neighborhood drug dealer with
deep pockets. He was very surprised to see the green-and-black-clad man
standing in front of him, in his room!

"How did you get here so fast? You're another farm boy or something?" Bart
yelled.

He looked at the man. The dude was taller, bigger and he was as fast as
he was, if not faster. He meant business. Bart Allen had always been a
fun-loving, joke-telling, hedonist with some mild kleptomaniac tendencies.
He wasn't a fighter. Yet he didn't like anybody showing up in his room
unannounced, (that is, unless it was a pretty girl with loose morals and
freaky sexual tendencies) so he prepared himself for a fight.

Just when Bart Allen was ready to put the whammy on him, the dude did
something completely unprecedented. A ring on the middle finger of his
right hand began to glow with a greenish light. "What the hell is that?"
Bart said.

"Behold the power of the ring," said the man. A green energy ball shot out
of the ring and came at Bart. The young Speedster dodged it, and he felt
the green flame singe his shirt. He gasped. Nothing on planet Earth was
that fast.

As if reading his mind, the green-ring man smiled. "I'm not exactly from
around here," he said. "But I know how to deal with the likes of you."

He started shooting blasts of green energy, aiming at Bart. Bart Allen sped
away. As fast as he could. Who in hell was this dude? How in hell did he do
what he did?

Bart ran. Everywhere he went, the man with the green power ring followed him.
It didn't matter that Bart could run on water, or move faster than a bullet.
The man with the green power ring always followed him. Bart went from city to
city, and ran across oceans, through towns and villages, hills and valleys.
He ran all over the place, and the green ring man just kept coming. It was...
unsettling. Bart Allen was starting to get worried. He suddenly had a bright
idea. He would go to the only other super guy he knew who just might be able
to beat the dude with the freaky green ring. He would go to Clark. Kent.



Atlantic City.

Victor Stone ran through the streets. There was nothing he liked doing more
than chasing somebody. Anyone looking at him would have seen a tall,
well-dressed, good-looking young black male. Of course, he was a lot more
than that. Once, Victor Stone was a high school football player with a bright
future in the world of sports. Now, he was a security guard on duty.

Victor had been in an accident some time ago and he got hurt. He was the only
survivor. His parents and his sister died. Scientists from Lex Corp took him
and transformed him into a bio-mechanical super soldier. Victor Stone became
Cyborg. As Cyborg, he had super strength and speed, and his body was
exceptionally resilient, virtually indestructible. The scientists wanted to
turn him into a killing machine but one of them helped him escape. They
chased him. He was injured. He only escaped thanks to help from a nice young
man named Clark Kent. Clark Kent had some super powers of his own. Lana Lang
and Chloe Sullivan, Clark Kent's lady friends found Katherine, the girl
Victor loved and reunited them.

Now, Victor Stone was a free man and he was living with the woman he loved.
Currently, Katherine was at city college, studying Business Administration.
Victor Stone worked as a security guard for a small company and went to
school at night, studying Criminal Justice. He always wanted to become a
police officer. At the moment, he was chasing a thief.

Victor Stone had been working for Ocean View Labs for three months now and
he'd never had any trouble. Now, some guy had broken into the labs and taken
a dolphin from the complex, setting it loose back into the ocean. Victor
didn't like this one bit. Oh, he liked animals, he just didn't believe in
breaking the law. So, even though he felt sympathetic to the thief, he still
had to take the guy down and bring him in. Ocean View Labs was quite close
to the sea, where the thief had let loose the dolphin. The guy had come back
to cover his tracks. Bad idea. Victor had come after him, faster than a
cheetah.

Arthur Curry had gone into Ocean View Labs to free Big Ronald, the
bottle-nosed dolphin that the scientists kept in there. The young seaman had
heard the animal's cries for help. Ordinary humans couldn't hear anything.
Arthur Curry wasn't a regular human being. He was a superhuman. Born with
superhuman strength and speed. He was amphibious, equally at ease on dry land
as he was in the water. He got it from his mother, she was a member of an
ancient species of aquatic humanoids. The fabled "mermaids" of legend. Except
they were real. Arthur Curry inherited his mother's love of the water and
kinship with animals. That's why he went to save the animal. Now, he was all
alone against a security guard who had definitely missed his calling as an
Olympic runner.

If only Arthur could get to the water. The water was his domain. He was
faster than any living thing in the water. No way the security guard would
catch him there. The only other guy Arthur had met who was halfway as fast
as he was in the water, and that guy was Clark Kent of Smallville, Kansas.
With that in mind, he reached the pier, and dove into the water.

Victor Stone could see his prey getting away. The guy had gone into the
water. Victor dove in. The bio-mechanical enhancements inside him had given
him greater than normal vision, as well as respiratory capacity. He felt
okay in the water, if only slightly heavy due to the alloy inside his
bio-enhanced body. He could see the guy swimming away, quickly. Victor gave
chase. He swam after the culprit as fast as he could.

Once in the water, Arthur Curry could move more freely. He felt at ease in
his natural element. He sensed a disturbance in the water, and noticed that
the guy was coming after him. Unbelievable. Arthur grinned, recalling the
last boy scout who had followed him into his watery domain. He figured that
if this guy was super fast, he could take a hit from the legendary master
of the seas himself. Arthur waved his hand in circular motion, gathering
the ambient energy around him into a blast which he threw at his pursuer.

Victor had gone into the water, to catch the guy. Suddenly, he saw the man
stop, and do something with his hand. A few moments later, Victor felt
something strike him. Something had struck him with unbelievable force.
Victor felt himself hurled from the water by whatever unimaginable power
the guy had unleashed upon him. He was thrown from the water, and hurled
onto the deck of a ship. Dazed, the young man shook his head.

"Who in hell was that?" He asked himself.



Metropolis, Kansas.

Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan sat in Clark's's barn, talking. A few hours had
passed since they had returned to Smallville. Clark still wasn't sure what to
do about what Jor-El had told him.

"Help me track them down," Clark had said.

A few hours later, here they were. There were a few people they were looking
for. Arthur Curry, the handsome swimmer who was a master of the oceans and
had some super powers of his own. Victor Stone, the bio-mechanical wonder.
And finally a kid who could run faster than the speed of light, the infamous
Bart Allen.

"Who is he?" Chloe asked.

"A kid I met last year," Clark said. "He ran faster than I could."

The young woman raised her eyebrows. "Really?" She was about to press Clark
for more questions when suddenly, the wind blew in.

A blond-haired kid walked in. He was wearing a red shirt and gray jeans. He
wasn't a day over seventeen. He looked scared, and tired.

"Hey, I know you!" said Chloe. "You're the kid I met last year at the Talon.
You stole Clark's dad's credit card!"

Clark Kent looked at the newcomer. "Bart?" He said.

Bart Allen looked at Clark, despair on his face. "Clark, you've got to help
me," he said.

A few moments later, Bart Allen sat at a table in the Kent house. He was
drinking some milk given to him by Clark and telling them his story. "This
dude has got a glowing power ring and he can hurt me, man. He's actually
fast enough to hurt me, and I'm the Fastest Man Alive!"

Chloe listened. She looked at Clark. "Sounds like magic to me," she said.

Clark nodded. Both he and Chloe were all too familiar with magic. Last year,
the spirits of three powerful witches had possessed Chloe, Lana and Lois. The
three of them had gone on a rampage. Clark Kent stopped them, but they hurt
him along the way. He healed fast but magic could hurt him. According to his
biological father's avatar, magic was an ancient technology that was so old
that even ancient civilizations had forgotten its secrets. Clark had seen
magic firsthand. He feared it, somewhat. If the green and black leather man
was a magician, then they were in trouble.

"You're safe here, I promise," Clark told Bart.

Bart nodded. Since they met, Clark was used to seeing Bart Allen as the
arrogant, cocky bad boy with super powers. Bart never showed fear. Ever.
Whoever the power ring guy was, he must be scary.

Clark headed outside. He needed to clear his head. Too much was happening at
once. Just this morning, he'd been summoned back to the Fortress of Solitude
and Jor-El had charged him with a mission : to gather other super-powered
people and unite them into an army to save the planet Earth from an
approaching alien fleet. This was a lot to digest. And now, one of his
friends was being pursued by a super-powered menace. Of course, knowing Bart,
Clark doubted the young Speedster had been living the life of an upstanding
and law-abiding individual. Yeah, right.



Elsewhere...

John Stewart had been searching all day for the super-fast little thief who
called himself Bart Allen. He'd been stalking his prey for several days. Bart
was hard to track. It took every bit of his power just to keep up with him.
John Stewart had never seen anybody that fast.

Ever since John Stewart was given the green power ring by the strange little
man, he had been both blessed and cursed with its power. The ring could do
just about anything. Its abilities were limited only by the imagination of
its wearer. Currently, John Stewart was an apprentice of the Green Lantern
group. A secret society of men and women, aliens and super humans who used
the power ring to fight for justice and truth out there in the galaxy. There
had never been an Earth-born Green Lantern. John Stewart was pretty sure
that he was the first homo sapiens and the first Black male to be entrusted
with the power. He wanted to become the best Green Lantern who ever lived.
He wanted to travel among the stars and fight for justice. Unfortunately,
his ring was newly forged and hadn't developed its full powers yet. And he
was quite new to the whole superhero thing.

John Stewart had met many other super-powered people during his travels. Men
and women who often used their powers to commit crimes and make themselves
rich and powerful at the detriment of others. Ordinary police officers
couldn't deal with them. So John Stewart did. He tracked them down and used
his power ring to take them out. The Green Lantern Corp had a special prison
where they kept super-powered bad boys ( and bad girls). So far, John Stewart
had locked away a couple of people. Now, he was on his first solo assignment.
Since the planet Earth had never had any official meeting with any alien
civilizations, John Stewart was ordered to keep his powers on the low. No
one had to see him do his thing. He had to operate in secret. That was the
rule.

He couldn't let Bart Allen escape. Either the kid would stop stealing
from people or Stewart was going to lock him up in a special prison built
specifically to hold super-powered people. It was that simple. All John
Stewart, the newest member of the Green Lanterns had to do was find him.

* * *

Clark Kent went back into the barn. This was the place where he went when he
wanted to be alone. He had far too much on his mind right now. Too much had
happened this year. Jonathan Kent, his beloved father, died. Lana Lang, the
girl he loved, abandoned him. Martha Kent, his mother was becoming too
distant. She didn't blame him for his father's death but he could sense that
she was somewhat disappointed in him. She didn't need to say it. She wouldn't
say it because she was a good person and all that but Clark knew that's the
way she felt. With all of his powers, he had been too busy protecting the
girl who abandoned him to save his father when his old man needed him the
most. Clark Kent felt like a failure. And now Jor-El was charging with a
sacred mission : he had to protect the planet Earth from alien dangers and
unite a handful of its more powerful people into a ragtag army.

The young man stood in the hay, and gazed at the heavens, his X-ray eyes
seeing right through the ceiling. "Why me?" He yelled.

Chloe Sullivan locked the door as Bart Allen went into the shower. The young
Speedster was tired. She told him to make himself at home, which of course he
already had. She sensed that he wasn't a shy boy scout like Clark but rather,
a cocky bad boy, on the run from something. Chloe looked for Clark, but he
wasn't around. She thought about it, and realized that she knew exactly where
he would be. The only place he liked to go when something was bothering him.
The barn.

Clark lay on the hay, looking at the stars. The ceiling shaft was open. The
young man sighed. So many responsibilities were thrust upon his shoulders. He
groaned and closed his eyes. There were times when he wished his parents had
never sent him to the planet Earth. He would have died on Krypton, among his
people, a happy baby boy in his parents loving arms. Instead he was alone on
Earth, surrounded by people who would fear and hate him if they knew what he
was. Yet he was charged with a special mission. He had to save them. Again.

Chloe walked into the barn, and headed upstairs, to the loft, where she knew
he would be. There he was, Clark Kent, lying on his back, his eyes closed.
Chloe's heart skipped a beat. He looked so beautiful when he was asleep.
Chloe bit her lip. There was nothing in the world she wouldn't do for that
boy. She loved him that much. So much that it scared her sometimes.
Unfortunately, his heart belonged to someone else. Lana Lang.

"Hey, Chloe," said Clark. His eyes were open now.

"Oh, sorry," she said. "I just thought you were asleep."

Clark smiled. "I'm awake, I'm just thinking, that's all." Chloe smiled. "Join
me," he said.

She came and sat next to him. A city girl and a farm boy lying in the hay
together. Nice picture. "I'm just baffled by all of it," he said.

"What?" Chloe asked.

Clark shrugged. "I'm not sure if I'm ready to save the world, Chloe. I
couldn't even...I couldn't even save my dad." He had a haunted look in his
eyes now.

Chloe looked at him. She had never loved him more than she loved him now.
Seeing him like this made her ache. "Don't blame yourself, Clark." She
paused. "It wasn't your fault."

Clark sighed, and closed his eyes. When he opened them, Chloe's eyes were
riveted on him. She blushed. "Sorry," she said.

Clark shook his head. "We're friends, Chloe. We're past these things."

Chloe looked at him. It was amazing how much she loved this boy. When she
found out that he was an alien, she didn't care. He was a hero in her eyes.
The best person she knew. Who cares if he came from Krypton or Neptune or
even the moon? The only thing she didn't like about him was his ability
NOT to see what was right in front of him. For years, she loved him in
secret and ached every time she saw him moping over Lana Lang or some other
girl. She wanted to scream at him that she loved him and would do anything
for him but he would never see that. Ever.

The two friends lay there. Clark fell asleep, and his head rested on Chloe's
shoulder. She looked at him again, certain that were he awake, he'd hear her
heart thundering. Chloe Sullivan was a tough tomboy who grew up in the mean
streets of the big city. She had faced all sorts of dangers. When she came
to Smallville, she faced many meteor-enhanced super freaks hell bent on
destroying her. She was scared sometimes. But she never yielded. Yet here
she was, lying next to the young man she loved, unable to tell him three
little words. Sighing, she closed her eyes, willing her thoughts away from
the subject she found most painful.

Clark lay next to Chloe, and for a moment, he had forgotten about his
worries. He liked spending time with Chloe. She had been his best pal since
Pete Ross left Smallville. She was the only person outside of his family
around whom he could be himself. Chloe Sullivan had known he was a superhuman
for some time, and he didn't know that she knew, yet she went out of her way
to protect his secret. She truly was a good friend. He opened his eyes, and
gasped. Chloe Sullivan was lying next to him, her eyes closed. Clark blinked,
and felt his pulse quicken. She looked so beautiful. He felt himself drawn to
her. Even though he knew he shouldn't, he leaned over, and planted a kiss on
her lips.

Chloe Sullivan opened her eyes, and saw Clark Kent kissing her. Clark was
kissing her! Her eyes widened in surprise. His eyes grew wide as well, and he
shrank away.

"Sorry!" He said. "I shouldn't have done that!"

Chloe looked at him. Clark's quick kiss had surprised her, to say the least.
"Don't be sorry," she said. "I've been wanting to kiss you for a long time."

Clark looked at her, surprised. He knew that a long time ago, Chloe liked
him. He didn't think she still did. "I love you, Clark."

Clark Kent looked at Chloe Sullivan, baffled by her words. "I..." he began.

Chloe stared at him. Please say it back, she thought. Please say it back.
Clark looked at her with surprise on his face. He hesitated. She waited. The
moment passed. Disappointed, she smiled sadly. "I should probably go."

Clark Kent watched as Chloe Sullivan got up. He had been shocked when she
said that she loved him. He cared deeply about her, and felt attracted to
her, but he didn't know her feelings for him ran that deep. What was he
supposed to say? She had taken him by surprise. He certainly hadn't seen
that one coming. He watched as Chloe headed for the staircase. His mind
raced. This was the girl who had stood by him through thick and thin, who
had helped him weather many storms ( sometimes literally) and been there
for him. And he was letting her get away...

"Chloe!" He said.

Chloe had reached the staircase. She was heading downstairs. She couldn't
believe what had come out of her mouth. She had just confessed her feelings
for him. Well, he had kissed her, after all. If he made one more demand that
they remain just friends, she might just start screaming. She couldn't take
any more hurt right now. When she heard him calling her name, she turned
around.

"What?" she said.

"I love you too, Chloe."

Chloe turned around, and there he was. Clark stood less than a foot away.
"You love me?" she asked. How she had longed to hear those words. But she
was still cautious. "As a friend or more?"

Clark smiled. "I want you in my life, Chloe. I want you to be my lady."

Chloe Sullivan looked at Clark Kent and smiled. "Good answer."

The two of them embraced. "I've felt for you for a long time," Clark said.
"I only realized it recently."

Chloe gently touched Clark's face. "I don't care, Clark. I've finally got you
to myself."

Clark held the woman he loved in his arms. "What do you want to do now?"

Chloe pulled him down into the hay with her. Clark grinned. The two of them
giggled and laughed while rolling around in the hay. Slowly, they undressed
each other. They explored each other's bodies, like young lovers often did.
For a long time, they had wanted each other, but never acted on their
desires. Now, at last, they were together.

"Make love to me, Clark."

Clark kissed Chloe, then he caressed her body. He touched her face, caressed
her shoulders, ran his hands over her limbs and curves. Every inch of her.
She was beautiful. How could he have spent so much time with her and not
noticed ? Now he was ravenous for her, planting kisses and caresses
everywhere on her. He heard her moan and call out his name, and continued
what he was doing. He explored every crevice with his loving, probing tongue
and fingers. He licked and probed until she screamed out loud in pleasure.

Chloe Sullivan opened her eyes, and looked at Clark. She looked at the boy
she loved, the one who had brought her such pleasure, and she only wanted to
make him happy. She gently caressed his fine, masculine form and ran her
hands all over him. She licked his ears, his chest and went down to worship
at his altar. When she began to please his member, she definitely had his
attention. Nothing she loved more than making him happy. She licked and
sucked until he screamed out loud in sheer pleasure. He was screaming her
name because he was in heaven and she had taken him there.

Clark looked at Chloe. She looked up at him, smiling. He pulled her into his
arms, placing her on top of him. She placed her hands on his shoulders and
lowered herself onto his member. He entered her, and they were one. She felt
his manhood inside her. Hot and strong and demanding. She sighed with
pleasure and rode him. He placed his hands on her hips and thrust into her.
They had become one. At last. When he let loose his essence inside her, she
felt the wonder of it all. Her own pleasure had been building up and
amazingly, they reached this high point together. Although she'd been with
others, she had never felt anything like this before. When the sensations
faded, she lay in his arms. Happy and satisfied. The two of them lay entwined
in each other's arms. It was over. Clark looked at Chloe. She smiled at him.
She didn't say anything. There was nothing to say. That's what it was like to
make love with someone who loved you.



The Fortress of Solitude...

The Zod-machine looked at the body of its master. Centuries spent frozen
inside the Phantom Zone hadn't harmed him. General Zod still looked the same
way he did on Krypton, centuries ago. A six-foot-two, black-haired, blue-eyed
Caucasian male with light bronze skin and an athlete's build. He didn't look
a day over thirty.

"Where am I?" Zod asked. He looked at the tall, bearded man who stood before
him. "Who are you?"

"It is I, Mechano, your faithful servant," said the Zod-machine. "I have
freed you from the Phantom Zone, so that you may rule the world as is your
right."

General Zod rose. He sat on a crystal chair inside a massive Kryptonian
complex. He listened to his servant as the sentient machine spoke.

"We are on the planet Earth, as planned by you, lord Zod. Under this world's
yellow sun, all Kryptonians have the powers of strength, super speed and
flight. Only a fragment of Krypton can hurt us. We are quite safe from
anything in here."

"What of Jor-El ?" Zod asked.

Mechano, the sentient Kryptonian machine who served Zod smiled. "Dead, my
lord."

General Zod smiled. "What of Nam-Ek, Aethyr and Brainiac? I will need troops
if I am to conquer this world."

Mechano sighed. "Nam-Ek and Aethyr live, my lord, though they are trapped
inside the Phantom Zone."

Zod growled. "Who did this?"

Mechano looked at his master grimly. "Kal-El, my lord. The son of Jor-El and
Lara."

General Zod rose to his feet and shouted in anger. When he did, the walls
of the Fortress of Solitude trembled. Sunlight shone through the crystal
structure and bathed his naked body. The Kryptonian leader could feel the
sun powering up his body. Soon, he would have all the powers that any
Kryptonian would have under a yellow sun. Super strength. Super speed.
Invulnerability. X-Ray vision. Heat vision. Super hearing. He should be
happy. But he wasn't.

"Activate the machine of Jor-El and free my troops from their prison!"
General Zod commanded.

"Yes, my lord," said Mechano.



Elsewhere...

John Stewart found himself alone in the dark, unable to find his quarry. He
decided to place his fate in the power of the Green Lantern. He allowed his
consciousness to merge with that of the ancient power ring. He sensed that
something very dangerous was at play here. When he merged with the ring, he
could communicate with the ancient power within it.

The power showed him many lines shot through with possibilities. The Green
Lantern knew that in life, there were no accidents. No random events.
Everything had meaning. It showed the young man what it could sense. It
showed him his path crossing with that of Bart Allen, the thieving Speedster.
It also showed him a point where Bart Allen's path crossed with that of
another powerful being, one with a strong streak of good in him. It showed
him the change in Bart as a result of meeting this powerful other individual.

Stewart could see two other lines converging. A gathering of great powers
ready to duel over this world. He could also sense pain and loss, and also
a strong sense of justice emanating from at least two of the unknown players
in the grand game that was to be played. One of them came from the sea,
another was the union of man and machine. The most powerful one of all did
not originate from this world. Stewart was shocked by what he sensed.
Allowing the Green Lantern to guide him, he willed his consciousness to
trigger the ring's awesome power and do what needed to be done.



Atlantic City, USA.

Victor Stone lay on the deck of the ship, dazed. He couldn't believe that the
thief had actually bested him and thrown him out of the water. Whoever this
guy was, he had a lot of power. Victor Stone was Cyborg, a super-strong,
bio-mechanical super soldier. The average chump couldn't take him. This dude
had some serious fire power, or rather, water power. He was still pondering
that when a mysterious green light enveloped him...

"What the..." Victor said. The green light seized him, and he vanished.

Arthur Curry, also known as Aqua Man was swimming as fast as he could after
narrowly escaping from the super-fast security guard. He smiled to himself.
That was a close one. He was still congratulating himself on freeing the
dolphin and getting away from the guard when suddenly a green light appeared
all around him and enveloped him. Before he could do anything, the green
light seized him, and he vanished...



Smallville....

John Stewart stood in the middle of a corn field. He looked at the glowing
ring on his finger, and trusted in his power. The awesome power inside the
ring would take the various players in this grand game where they needed to
be. He took a look around, and saw that he was in Smallville, Kansas.

"Thus is the will of the Ring, " he told himself.

The young Green Lantern sighed, and started walking, heading for town. He
needed to find a motel room for the night. If this was the place where the
ultimate battle for planet Earth would take place, then so be it. He would
do his duty, as he had always done before.

Victor Stone landed in the mud, in the middle of a farmyard. The young man
grimaced, and looked around, a wild look in his eyes. Where was he? How did
he get there? He looked and saw that he was in a familiar place. Yes, he was
back in Smallville. Of all the places on Earth! He didn't get it. One minute
he was on the deck of a ship, wondering how he got his clock cleaned by some
swimming thief, the next minute, he was in the middle of a Kansas farm.
Damn. Oh, well. He knew what he had to do. Find a place for the night, and
call his girlfriend to tell her he wouldn't make it home tonight. Man,
explaining to her was gonna be fun!



Nearby....

Arthur Curry fell into the river with a splash. He swam to the surface, and
looked around wildly. Where in hell was he? He wasn't in the city anymore,
that's for damn sure. How in hell did he get there? One minute he was
swimming in the water, after getting rid of the super-fast security guard,
then a green light caught him and next thing he knew, he was in the water.
He quickly swam to the river bank and took a look around. The place looked...
familiar. Arthur Curry groaned.

"I'm in Smallville, again." He said. Shaking his head, he decided to head
back to the Talon. Maybe Lois was there. She probably would be surprised to
see him. He thought about the kid he met last time he was in town. Clark
Kent, boy scout extraordinaire. The kid had actually saved his skin when Lex
Luthor captured him. Maybe he should give Clark a buzz since he was in his
town. Telling him how he went from Atlantic City to Kansas in a few seconds
was gonna be a laugh riot...



The Fortress of Solitude...

General Zod stood in the Chamber of Knowledge. He wore a red and black
costume made of fine leather. He could already sense his powers growing.
Soon, he would be at full power. He tested himself by leaping a full
hundred feet off the ground and landing evenly on his own two feet. He
could never have done that in Krypton. He grabbed a steel bar and crushed
it between his fingers. Yes, his powers were growing. Another day or so
in the sunlight and he would have full power.

"Is it ready?" He asked Mechano, his ancient, faithful servant.

"Yes, my lord."

The Portal opened, and two forms came out of it. General Zod looked at them.
A tall, dark-skinned athletic male strode forward, accompanied by a tall,
alluring female. Nam-Ek and Aethyr, the Disciples of General Zod. His most
faithful warriors since Krypton.

"My lord!" said Aethyr. She knelt before Zod, and Nam-Ek did the same.

General Zod smiled. "Rise!" He said.

Aethyr and Nam-Ek greeted their leader respectfully. It was good to see him.

"I am here thanks to my faithful Mechano," Zod said, indicating the sentient
shape-shifting machine. "He tells me that the spawn of Kal-El still lives."

"I am sorry, my lord," said Nam-Ek.

"He tricked us," Aethyr spat. "He's a lying trickster, just like his father."

General Zod smiled. "Enough, my friends. You need to rest. The light of this
yellow sun will nourish you and restore the powers you lost when you went
into the Phantom Zone. Within a day or two, you will be at full power. Then
we will conquer this world."

Nam-Ek smiled. Aethyr nodded at Zod. "What of the son of Jor-El?"

General Zod smiled. "He will kneel before Zod, and then he will die."

Nam-Ek smiled. So did Aethyr. Mechano respectfully nodded. Now that General
Zod, the most brilliant military mind ever produced by Krypton was free once
more, the universe would bend to the will of the mighty Kryptonians, as it
should have a long time ago. Back on Krypton, So many people had opposed
them. Led by Jor-El, the Supreme Council of the planet Krypton had captured
Zod and locked him inside the Phantom Zone. Aethyr and Nam-Ek had taken a
spaceship and gone through space, looking for a way into the Zone to save
their leader. Now, he was with them. At last. Now, they would take over the
world and destroy the son of Jor-El, destroying the House of El forever.

To be continued...

    

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