The Great Confrontation
and Dannell Lites
“How does the accused plead?”
“Guilty with mitigating circumstances, Mediator,” said Adam,
Theo Siegel, the Mediator, shifted his gaze to the family of Sy
Kent. “Is this agreeable to the accused and her family?”
Irinia Kent said, “One moment to consult our advocate, Mediator.”
“Granted,” said Theo.
Irinia, Sy, and George went to the back of the room to huddle with
Adam. The usual rule of honor was for the mediator and others
present not to use their super-hearing on private conversations in
these sessions, but nobody could tell if somebody did or didn’t.
Irinia, facing away from Theo, said to Adam, “You’re doubledamned
“Arguably,” said Adam, keeping his features neutral.
“Mom, please,” said Sy, clutching Irinia’s arm.
George broke in. “Adam, what the hell is this? Why are you
sticking your El-nose in this? You should be on the other side.”
“Precisely,” said Adam. “I should. And don’t you think the
Mediator and company would think so, too?”
“Start being understandable,” said Irinia. “Now.”
“It looks best to have one of my clan on your side right now,” said
Adam. “I have a plan. It may get us the best results.
Trust me, and let me talk. Will you do that?”
“What are you going to say?” Sy was the speaker, looking up at
Adam with more than a hint of desperation.
He put his hand on her shoulder. “Something that may keep you
from a Gold K treatment. What do you say?”
After a pause, Sy Kent said, “I’m willing.”
George looked at them, then shook his head. “Go ahead, if you
think you can.”
“George,” hissed Irinia.
Her husband looked at her and said the only thing that ever triumphed
over Irinia: nothing at all.
An eternity of three seconds later, Irinia said, “You’d better have the
mouth of Judge Dug-Les when he was a trial lawyer.”
“I’ll do all right on my own,” said Adam.
The four of them turned back to face the Mediator and the four-man
council. Theo Siegel said, “Is the defendant satisfied with her
choice of counsel?”
Setting her face in iron, Irinia said, “She is, Mediator.”
“Very well, then. Proceed.”
One of the councilmen stood and read from a crawlscreen in his
hand. “Defendant Sybilla Kent is charged as follows: assault and
battery upon Katherine de Ka’an on June 7, 2499. Action was
registered in part by cambots on the scene. Council has seen this
recording. The argument of Tynth De Ka’an will be heard at a
later time, through proxy or by deposition. Does defense wish to
present an argument?”
“We do, Councilman,” said Adam.
“Proceed,” repeated Theo.
“It’s true, Sy Kent did get into a fight with Katherine de Ka’an,” Adam
began, clasping his hands behind his back. “Nobody’s going to try
and debate that here. The record, as council has noted,
exists. But not all of that was on record. Was it?”
“No,” admitted Hale Evan Z336, one of the Councilmen. “The
cambots were drawn by their motion sensors after the fight had started.”
“Exactly,” said Adam. “So. No scenes of provocation were
recorded. We don’t know how the fight started. Do we?”
Theo Siegel sighed. “Advocate, your client has already admitted
striking the first blow. And we’ve seen her strike the last.”
“Of course,” said Adam.
“There are also witnesses, including some of the clansmen at this
table, to an incident several weeks back on Mars. An incident in
which Tynth Kent punched Tynth de Ka’an.”
“Agreed,” said Adam. George and Irinia tried not to show
tension. Sy just clenched her hands together and kept looking at
“So what is your defense of Tynth Kent?”
“Consider what you have just said, Mediator,” Adam stated.
“Sybilla Kent had already knocked Katherine de Ka’an down, some weeks
before. There was hostility between the two of them. Both
parties knew that. Why, then, did Katherine go to see her at
George Kent’s estate? At a time in which she knew that neither of
Sy’s parents would be home?”
“Any number of reasons,” said Theo, a bit gruffly. “To apologize,
perhaps. To deliver a message. Until we hear de Ka’an’s
testimony, we won’t know.”
“And you probably won’t even then,” said Adam. “You know that the
Family is, despite its great power, only human. And humans can
bend the truth.”
“As easily as you or I might bend a thermosteel bar, Mediator.”
One could detect an uneasy shifting of a couple of the Councilmen in
their seats. There was a lot more sympathy there for Kath than
Sy. To suggest that Tynth de Ka’an might lie, especially under
oath, was pretty close to a damnable offense.
“But, perhaps, not consciously,” amended Adam.
“You’ve dug yourself an awfully deep hole, advocate,” said Theo.
“I certainly hope you can fly out of it. Make your argument.
“Thank you, Mediator. Now, one fact that de Ka’an will
undoubtedly bring up in her statement is this: she and I had been
having an affair, in years past. Now, though I hate to admit it,
rumor has it that I am romantically linked to...Sybilla Kent.”
Five pairs of ears were trained on Adam’s heart and pulserate. It
remained steady. Sy’s was booming, but that was
understandable. The advocate went on.
“Rumors have a way of spreading quickly in the Family,” said
Adam. “Sometimes they...inflame hearts, passions...drive one to
do what one would not normally consider. Also, consider this:
Sybilla had humiliated Katherine de Ka’an at the Mars reunion, as you
noted, by punching her and knocking her down. In front of a large
part of the Family. Now, Katherine de Ka’an is not just any
clanswoman. She is, as we both know, a descendant of Kara Zor-El,
the original Supergirl. Has she ever wanted to don the cape of
her ancestress? We don’t know. We may never know.
But, regardless, I submit that for a woman of such lineage, an action
such as that would not only be an embarrassment. It would be an
Adam stopped, eyeing each of the Councilmen in turn. He, too, was
of a singular lineage, and they knew it. He resumed his speech.
“Is it not possible that such an insult, combined with the thought that
Sybilla Kent might be keeping company with a man who had once been
her...lover...might have driven Katherine de Ka’an to go to George
Kent’s home and, knowingly or unknowingly, provoke Sybilla into a
fight? With the thought that, perhaps this time, Katherine might
be the one to land a lucky punch? Or that her very fury might be
enough to make her the victor this time? Is this not possible,
Sy breathed in, very quietly. Her pulse began to calm.
“We don’t know, and we may never know. Katherine herself may not
know by now. The memory, even those such as our own, does play
tricks. Tricks of perception, even when we can recall the exact images,
the exact words spoken. My sympathies are with Katherine.
She is, as I have admitted, my former lover. She is a woman of
high standing in the Family. Yet, for her to contact Sybilla Kent
alone, with no parents there to restrain her, when Sybilla had already
punched her...does any other scenario make sense? No sane person
is going to put herself in that kind of jeopardy again, unless,
perhaps, she thinks that this time, she’s going to even things out for
herself. Unless her motivation is----revenge.
“Now. Having said that, let me outline another possible
scenario. Not as likely, but still possible. Let’s say that
Tynth de Ka’an does not go to the George Kent home with thoughts of
physical violence on her mind. Let’s entertain the possibility
that there might be another motivation. The rumor of Sybilla’s
involvement with myself. Mediator, Katherine is a fine
woman. I can testify to that, personally. But she does have
a tendency towards jealousy, if only slightly, in my perception.
Suppose she simply resented the thought that Sybilla Kent, the young
woman who had knocked her down at a Family gathering, was keeping
company with a man who...there is no other way to say this...once
shared her bed?
“What if Katherine de Ka’an’s purpose in going to George Kent’s house
was merely to, on the surface, mend fences, but, deeper below, to
poison Sy’s mind against her alleged current lover? What if de
Ka’an came there, made certain accusations or even allegations, and
provoked Sybilla that way? Just because the first blow was
verbal, does that make it any less of a blow?
“I am not saying, Mediator, that either of these scenarios did
happen. But I am saying that they could have. And I will
repeat, memory being as subjective as it is, and the only witnesses
being Katherine de Ka’an and Sybilla Kent themselves, even they might
not be able to say accurately what begun the fight.
“All I am saying is: we do not know. And we cannot know. We
do know they had a fight. We do know Sybilla beat Katherine
badly. But we also know that it isn’t always the smartest thing
to mouth off to someone who is stronger than you, and who has a
temper. If you dare someone to punch you in the face, and he
does, what grounds do you have to complain when it hurts? ‘Oh, I
didn’t think you’d really do it?’ Ridiculous. But I’ve seen
similar things happen, more than once. I submit that the
Councilmen have, too.
“So, since only the results of the fight, and not the motivation of the
fight, can be known, I ask for clemency on behalf of Sybilla
Kent. I ask that she undergo a program of rehabilitative
therapy...and, moreover, one to be administered by myself, with Sybilla
in my care.”
Looking at Adam, Irinia Kent had to keep her mouth from dropping
open. She kept her hands on Sy’s shoulders and prayed to whatever
God might be conveniently taking prayer requests at the moment for
another lucky break.
Silence shrouded the room for another long moment. Then Theo
Siegel said, “Is that the end of your statement, Advocate?”
“It is, Mediator.”
“And is the penalty, if prescribed, agreeable to the defendant and her
“It–“, began Irinia.
George overrode her. “It is, Mediator.” Sy stiffened a bit,
“The Council will not render judgment until after the statement of
Katherine de Ka’an is heard, not excluding the possibility of further
investigative procedure, including verbal interviews, forensic
examinations, and possibly Total Recall sessions,” said Theo. “At
such time as the Council renders judgment, the offer of the Advocate
will be considered, but not necessarily actuated. Penalties for
the accused may range from, but are not limited to, financial
reparation, rehabilitation sessions, exile from other members of the
Family, exile to Rokyn, forced powerloss through Gold Kryptonite
exposure, and exile to the Phantom Zone. Does the family of the
accused understand these penalties?”
“We do, Mediator,” said George Kent, one hand on Irinia’s shoulder,
making a human chain with her to Sy.
“Until such time as decision is reached, the accused must remain upon
the planet Terra. There will be no contact between her and the
accuser, or members of her immediate Clan. If this condition is
breached, physically or otherwise, the penalty is automatic. Does
the family of the accused understand these penalties?”
“We do, Mediator,” George repeated. Sy wanted to reach out her
hand to Adam, but just didn’t dare.
“So be it,” said the Mediator. “This Council will reconvene at a
later date to pass judgment. The family of the accused will be
duly notified. Adjourned.”
Adam bobbed his head, briefly. “Thank you, Mediator.”
Theo looked at him, saying nothing. Adam Kent herded the other
three out the door.
After even their enhanced hearing told them the four had left, Hale
turned to Theo. “Well, what do you think?”
Theo took his time about replying. “I think that, somewhere down
the line, someone else in that group is going to be standing before us,
and not as an advocate. Maybe more than one.”
“Rao help us all,” said Hale.
“If he will, boy,” said Theo. “If he will.”
In the past few weeks, Fin-El had learned to read LoriLe much better
than at first, which was only natural. Even though the woman wore
a Slug getup, she wasn’t without her charm. You just had to dig
for it sometimes.
Right now the two of them were on their backs, floating above the skies
of Metropolis on a rented Hover Cushion. The gases and anti-grav
of the inflated bed below them, a screen over them that could be
opaqued to conceal them as easily as it was now made transparent to let
them see the night sky, well, it was something special for a
date. A motion sensor on all sides kept them away from other
Sy was wearing a tight black garment that bared her legs, which were
pale and beautiful. A couple of short decorative chains were
wrapped about each of her upper arms, and her hair and eyeliner were,
as usual, black. But he’d grown used to that. Sheol, he
thought she looked beautiful in it, despite it all.
What she really thought of his bourgeois outfit, he had no clue.
But she still liked to snuggle, and that crossed all cultural
Right now, Fin’s arm was around Lori’s slim body and her head was on
his shoulder. “This is boring,” she said.
“Most boring thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said.
“Bet you say that to all the girls.”
“No, all of them say it to me.”
She walked her fingers up his breastbone. “So many stars up
there. We could see each of them as if we were only feet away
from them. But I am most indifferent to them like this. I
suppose you don’t agree.”
“I am even more indifferent to them than you are.”
“I am more capable of indifference than you would believe.”
“I don’t believe you.” He smirked.
LoriLe lurched on top of him, pressed her body to his, covered his
mouth with her own, and gave him a kiss Earthwomen could only dream
of. Subjectively, it seemed to last for hours. The screen
above them was still transparent and neither of them gave a damn.
When they finally broke the kiss, Lori held herself above him and
smirked. “How indifferent were you to that?”
“Oh, that’s not the question,” he said. “The question is, how
indifferent will you be to this?”
He reversed their positions. Despite herself, Lori squealed and
laughed. He managed to get one hand out far enough to touch the
Later, with their clothes at a heap under their feet, they converted
the screen to one-way and looked out at the stars again. Lori
sighed. “You know the only thing that makes me sad about the
“That we can’t see the one that held Krypton.”
That much was true. Krypton had orbited a sun in a different part
of the galaxy. The place where it had been could only be accessed
easily through space warps, or a WarPort. From this angle, they
couldn’t see the star that had hosted their extinct homeworld.
“I understand, Lori,” said Fin. He kissed her ear, gently.
“Nor can we see Rokyn.”
“No. We can’t.” Rokyn, the world settled by Kandorians, was
native to another universe and only appeared in theirs when it phased
in, once every few years. But it, too, could be reached through
dimensional warps, or a WarPort.
“We’re just Earthers, Fin,” said Lori. “Aliens on Earth. We
pretend to be them, but we’re really not. We could be the biggest
boon to them ever. But we’re not allowed to.”
“I don’t know what to say to you,” Fin replied. “You know how the
Family is about these things. You know what the rules are.”
“You know what happened to Katherine?”
“How could I not know?”
“I want to go to Rokyn, Fin. I want both of us to go there.
I want to talk to Katherine. I do, Fin.”
He was silent. Finally, when he realized she wasn’t going to say
anything, he murmured, “And then what?”
“And then I’ll want to have a talk with Sy.”