Superman of 2499:
and Dannell Lites
Irinia Kent was on so many social committees even she couldn’t count
them all. She had others who were paid to do that for her.
One of the committees saw to beautification of the city through flora,
and the Flora Festival was annually held by said committee. The
point of the whole thing was to show off your wealth and one-up your
rivals by putting together (or having someone put together for you,
which was usually the case) the most ostentatious display of exotic
Terran and alien plant life possible.
Of course, Irinia managed that, gathering together a collection of
plants that couldn’t even survive on Earth and putting them in domed
environiments that simulated those of their homeworlds. If you
had money, little you wanted was impossible.
So Irinia smiled for the cameras and stood beside the most expensive of
the plants, a Braalian metalbloom, and was glad George was at work so
she wouldn’t have to share the spotlight with him. Let others be
social butterflies. Irinia would be the flame to which they were
At which point, of course, she heard one word called to her: “Mother.”
Reality snapped back into place. She only acknowledged it for a
second, and hoped her expression wouldn’t be too obvious to the
newsers. Said expression was replaced by a smile. Irinia
looked into the crowd, in the direction the call had come from.
“Sybilla!” she said, with pasted-over glee. “Where are you,
“Over here, Mom,” said Sy, raising her hand over the head of a Metro
matron seated before her.
“Come down here, quickly, Sybilla,” directed Irinia. To the
crowd, she said, “I’m so pleased my daughter Sybilla has come to the
show. I’ll be even more pleased if you get her good side when she
comes up here, which is any side she shows you.”
A woman reporter raised a forefinger. “Karla I 5567,
Timespace. Mrs. Kent, is it true your daughter hasn’t been at
home these days?”
Sy, making her way down to the exhibit proper, knew enough to let Mom
field that one. “Sybilla is my only daugher and, as such, only
has one home. Next question?”
“What’s the rumor that she’s been spending time with Adam Kent?”
Irinia wrinkled her nose. “Adam is her cousin. He is, of
course, a dear family friend. Who gave you that question, the
Energy Workers’ Union?” Some laughter. Sy had finally
arrived at the platform, on which the dome of the Braalian plant
rested. Irinia wrapped an arm about her shoulders.
“Well, I’m sure that Sy will be her own woman, just like her mother,”
said Irinia. “Now, as to your questions about the metalbloom?”
“Just one more, for Miss Kent,” said another reporter. “Can you
tell us why you’re spending time with Adam Kent?”
“We felt that—“ Irinia started.
“Pardon, Mrs. Kent, but that one was addressed to Miss Kent,” said the
reporter. Irinia silenced herself, and took note of the
reporter’s face and press tag.
Tentatively, Sy answered, “He’s a friend. I’m staying with him.”
“What about the—“
“Sy wanted to spend a little time away from the family,” Irinia
interrupted. “We agreed that a little time with Adam would be
helpful. Now, if you please, ladies and gentlemen,
remember...this is a plant show!”
They remembered, asked a few regulatory questions about the metalbloom,
and then wandered off. Irinia whispered in Sy’s ear, “What’s the
“No matter. I just wanted to see you,” said Sy.
Irinia whispered an oath into her daughter’s ear. “I was seeing
through cons thicker than that when I was your age, and making ones
twice as thick. Come with me to the office.”
A few moments later, Irinia shut the door behind them both, scanned the
room with a spy-ray in her badge, ascertained that no bugs in the room
would penetrate the static screen she set up, and motioned Sy into a
chair. The girl sat.
Arms crossed, standing against the door, Irinia said, “Why did you come
“Because I’m afraid,” said Sy.
“Why? Has Adam been doing something to you?”
Sy looked at her hands.
“What has he been doing to you, Sybilla?”
Looking up, Sy said, “You know.”
Irinia’s face was snowy. She nodded. “Against your will?”
Sy shook her head.
“Then what? If you think I’m about to be surprised by you having
an affair, Sy...”
“How do you think I got your father to marry me, Sy? Your
generation didn’t invent it, you know.”
“Oh, Mom, I’m sorry.”
“What’s to be sorry about? Aren’t you getting what you want from
“And aren’t you tying our houses closer together?”
“I...I suppose so.”
“Are you afraid of Adam?”
“Oh, a little. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.”
“I’m afraid of what might be coming.”
Irinia sat down in a chair across from her daughter and waited.
Sy said, “I’m not sure what all that scene was when the Batman came in
and...and made those accusations.”
“Words without basis, dear.”
“Maybe so, Mom. But he talked about the Joker. And...the
Joker is dead, now. At least, that’s what the newscasts say.”
“I agree with them. The Joker is dead. So what do we have
“Mom. He knows you were dealing with the Joker!”
Irinia grabbed her daughter’s shoulder, not caring that the girl could
tear her apart. “Let him prove it. The Joker is dead.
Do you think, even if I had dealt with him, hypothetically, I
would have kept records?”
“No, but, Mom...”
“Don’t ‘but, Mom’ me, Sybilla. If the Joker had any records of a
hypothetical meeting with me, the Batman would have come down on us
like the Assyrian on the fold. He’s that kind of man. But
he hasn’t, has he?”
“Not yet, but...”
“Yes, or no?”
Irinia crossed her legs. “Therefore, as far as the Batman goes, I
would assume he considers this case closed. Reasonable
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t have to. I do the knowing in this family.
Now. What’s really bothering you?”
“I never said there was something else.”
“You didn’t have to. Go ahead.”
Sy didn’t look up at her mom. “Kath de Ka’an hasn’t been back in
a long time. At least a month.”
“I’m well aware of that. You sent her back to Rokyn with her tail
between her legs. What else?”
“I’m afraid, Mom.”
“We’ve established that. What of?”
Irinia sat back, exhaled. “Why?”
“I don’t know. He wouldn’t hurt me. He never would.
It’s just...he’s planning something big. I don’t know what it
is. But it scares me.”
Slowly, Irinia said, “You don’t know what it is.”
“No,” said Sy, almost in a whimper.
“Anything that would hurt us? You, me, your father?”
“No. No, he’d never do that. I think.”
“Yes, Mom. I don’t think he would.”
Irinia covered her daughter’s hand with her own. “Listen,
darling. At times, every woman has to be a spy. We don’t
talk a lot about it, but we all do it. Right now, you are
fulfilling your function to our family. Already, you are being a
“I’m not a spy!”
“Of course you are, darling. The most valuable kind. A spy
in the friendly camp.”
“But I’m in love with him!”
“So much the better, dear. Did I say you had to hate Adam?”
“In fact, you said you love him. But you’ve come here to tell me
something about him you don’t want him to know. Is that correct?”
“Well, yes. I mean, I guess so.”
The matriarch leaned forward, putting both hands on the armrests of
Sy’s chair. “Then what would be more natural than you doing just
that? All you have to do is keep loving him, and keep talking to
“What do you want me to talk about?”
“I want you to tell me all about Adam. What he does, where he
goes, who he’s with. Even if you don’t understand, especially if
you don’t understand. I also want you to keep loving him.
Is that understood, as well?”
“Not really, Mom.”
“Sybilla. The reason you have a spy in a friendly camp is to make
certain the friend stays friendly. There is no more dangerous
enemy than a friend who knows your secrets, and turns them on
you. Believe me.”
The girl said nothing.
“I’ll make arrangements for our meetings. Not a word of this to
anyone. Not even your father, especially not to Adam. You
“Yes, Mom. I understand.”
Irinia stood before her daughter. “You may be tempted, at times,
to talk about this to Adam. But you are first and foremost part
of this family. Is your first loyalty to your mother, or to your
“To you, Mom,” Sy said, promptly. “Always to you.”
“Good. Remember, this is friendly spying. That way we can
keep things friendly, all around.”
“What happens if Kath de Ka’an comes back?”
“Are you afraid of her?”
“Don’t provoke her into a fight,” said Irinia. “In her case, a
woman with no super-powers whatever can be deadlier to her than an
ocean of seawater. I’m working on it. Believe me.”
Finding the Amazons as they were today required a little
research. Specifically, on-the-scene research. That was why
Green Lantern, Batman, and Superman (a team Alan resolutely refused to
call “the Justice League”) were headed back thru the timestream to an
event that happened roughly 200 years ago.
All three of them were within Tal Thorn’s green energy bubble.
Alan had taken time-trips before, under the direction of his father,
but he didn’t particularly like them and wanted to make sure this one
was made as accurately as possible. Adam, for some reason, had
been a lot more eager chrononaut.
The Lantern’s ring, he had to admit, was definitely equipped for
accurate temporal transport. Tal, who stood between Alan and
Bron, held out his hand and kept a steady stream of energy going from
his ring. “We’ll remain out of phase with this time, of
course. Close enough to observe, but not to interfere.”
“Of course,” said Bron, tiredly.
“I’ve seen pictures of the Wonder Women,” said Alan. “Besides the
one in our family, I mean.”
Green Lantern gave him a curious look. “There is an Amazon in
“Was, Tal. One of my ancestors married a Wonder Woman.”
“Oh. Did that, so to say, improve your genetic structure and
“Well,” said Alan, thoughtfully, “it sure didn’t hurt it.”
“How much longer, Lantern?” asked the Batman. “In a relative
sense, of course?”
“We’re coming up on it...right now,” said Tal. He slowed the
bubble, and the greyness resolved into reality. A past reality.
The sight of it beckoned silence from all three. Situated within
what had once been called the Bermuda Triangle, the Amazons’ home had
been protected from Man’s World by mystic barriers difficult to
penetrate. In the 20th Century, Captain Steve Trevor’s crashing
jet had managed to do so. From then through the next 300 years,
the Amazons had sent an ambassador, one at a time, to try and bring
peace to the outer world. The first had been the famed Princess
Diana I, aka Wonder Woman.
But the Amazons faced two obstacles. First, try as they might,
they could never quite end war in Man’s World. Second, they
periodically had to remove themselves to a parallel dimension, one more
accessible to the “goddess” Aphrodite, to recharge their powers.
(This had happened during the first Wonder Woman’s tenure and, rather
than leave her lover, she had renounced her powers for a time.)
Two centuries before the present, the Amazons had faced both problems
and come to a decision. They left Man’s World altogether,
retreating to the dimension of Aphrodite.
The theology was confusing to Alan. As a believer in Rao, he had
no use for other “gods” or “goddesses”. Yet, if some being called
Aphrodite did exist (and how could Wonder Woman of old have powers,
unless she did?), how did that fit into a Kryptonian world-view?
Such matters were troublesome, but, he decided, academic. He
would hold to his faith even if this demigoddess existed.
But what stretched before them now...well, it was more impressive than
anything he’d seen on Earth, and it might give Rokyn a run for its
money, as well.
It was a city of gleaming alabaster towers, overlooking but not
overwhelming the sylvan setting of the land about it. A great
temple loomed in the center of the island, and on its upper front was
an image of Aphrodite on a shell, rising from the waves. She was
flanked by a dove and a myrtle branch.
Instead of Metropolis’s look of Man conquering Nature, this place
seemed to betoken Humanity coexistent with Nature.
There were airships at rest, seacraft tied at the docks, and landcraft
parked in orderly fashion on lots. But none of the three of them
saw a trace of the mighty women who were said to inhabit the isle.
Green Lantern said, “Indeed, a place unlike one I’ve ever seen.
Even on Rann, or Oa.”
“Where are the Amazons?” asked Batman, almost testily.
The bubble they stood within hovered over fifty feet above the
ground. Superman and Batman had heard of Aphrodite’s Law, which
specified no man should touch the ground of Paradise Island, lest the
Amazons lose their powers. But it didn’t prevent Superman from
using his vision powers.
“They’re in the temple,” he said. “Engaged in a ritual.
Whatever’s going to happen, is about to happen.”
“What might be the nature of that?” asked Tal Thorn.
In a second, he had his answer.
A coruscation of light enveloped the area, composed of more colors than
even Alan’s super-senses could perceive. Magic. It was
magic. He felt his own powers waning in its wake.
“Steady,” warned Batman, putting a hand to his shoulder.
The brilliant prismatic display grew to and beyond a bearable
intensity. All three of them had to shut and shield their eyes,
but the color seemed to penetrate even that. There also seemed to
be a sound, an indefinable humming. Something that sounded
vaguely feminine, as if a cross between women and a hive of bees.
Despite himself, Superman cried out.
Then the sensation peaked, and faded. Not quickly, but enough to
soon be bearable. The three men felt semi-blind in its
wake. It took a few minutes for them to register images properly,
even through the shield of Green Lantern’s bubble.
Eventually, though, they could see. What they saw was the sea
itself, rushing in to cover the vacant spot that had been an island,
sheared off near its base. The waves crashed upon themselves with
great violence, as if wondering what had happened to the thing that
formerly separated them.
Batman was silent. That impressed Alan.
The Lantern was still looking through the bubble.
“Have you tracked them? What dimension they went to?” asked
Tal Thorn nodded.
“Then take us back,” said Alan. “And take us there.”