Hellsister: Part 14
 by  DarkMark

Ar-Ual had hoped that she would be able to dump the asteroid when it got close enough to Daxam for her to just shove it on a course that would take it into the atmosphere within a couple of days.  No such luck.

When she tried to take her hands away from the giant hunk of rock with the molten lead sea on its surface, she experienced pain even greater than when she had considered going against Mordru's orders. <All right!  ALL RIGHT!>, she thought, in an undirected telepathic message, crying.

She had to take this thing all the way into the atmosphere, and then, maybe, Mordru's spell would let her go.

It would still take her over 24 hours to reach her destination.  She was close enough already to pick out Daxam's great red sun.  Luckily, she was protected by the spell from its influence, or before long it would negate her invulnerability and her blood would boil out from her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and other body arpetures, possibly including her skin pores.

Seven billion people would die on Daxam from lead poisoning.  Not something she liked to think about.  Just think about it as making a delivery, and maybe you can get through it, she told herself.

Then, hope arose.

An object which was moving too fast to be a star, too oddly to be a meteor or comet.  She trained her telescopic vision on it.  A U.P. cruiser.  Perfect.

The cruiser would train spy-rays on her, maybe do a spectroscopic analysis of the soupy sea on the asteroid's surface, and then blow the thing to bits.  Or just put a tractor beam on it and haul it out of harm's way.

Minor pain started up again--strange how you could become so sensitized to it, after only a small period of invulnerability--but she fought to keep her hopeful thoughts down, and just kept pushing the asteroid ahead of her.

The cruiser was identifiable without telescopic vision now, and it broadcast a message to her: <THIS IS U.P. GUARDIAN SHIP 780/801.  YOU ARE INVADING DAXAMITE SPACE WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION.  REVERSE COURSE OR WE WILL OPEN FIRE.>

Ar-Ual didn't even bother giving them a reply, though she had a telepathic plug in her ear.  What would be the use of it, anyway?

The cruiser gave one more warning, then it tried to lock a tractor beam on the asteroid.  She held her thoughts pent between hope and resignation, still pushing at the big rock.

The beam of magnetic force did not work.  Whatever spell Mordru had placed upon her, it evidently extended to the asteroid as well.

The ship blasted forth a destructive beam, raking the death-bearing piece of rock and lead and targeting Ar-Ual as well.  Its force expended itself uselessly off the magical barrier between itself and its target.

As a last resort, the cruiser tried to ram them.  Ar-Ual could outmuscle the ship, but the asteroid would be broken into a quintillion pieces by the impact.

Instead, the ship itself was destroyed.  She was able to gauge, by the sight of the impact, where the event horizon of Mordru's shield was...about 100 meters above the rock, on all sides.  Pieces of metal, plastic, liquid, solid, and, worst of all, sentient beings splattered themselves against what looked like nothingness to the unaided eye.  Several crew members, in impact suits, managed to survive the collision.  An automatic message would be sent by subspace relay to stations on Daxam and Earth, the U.P. central directorate, signifying the ship had been destroyed and transmitting the contents of its databases and instrument readings to them.

Before long, both Daxam and the rest of the United Planets would learn of the disaster.

It would still be impossible for them to stave off the asteroid.

Ar-Ual turned her head and vomited.  The stuff went off in ugly strings and globules.

She still didn't stop pushing.

 -S-
On Earth, at Legion H. Q., Brainiac 5 and his crew emerged from the Time Cube while the alarm signifying an important message was still being played.  The tone signified that a live feed was still available.

While Brainy went to a communications console in the room, Constantine looked around at the room, hands still in his trenchcoat pockets.  Dream Girl, White Witch, Laurel Kent, and Dawnstar stood there, waiting for what news the com system would offer, and watching John to gauge his reaction.  After all, Dream Girl thought, it was probably his first time-jump.

White Witch had just rejoined them.  After they had picked up Captain Action and Action Boy in a jump to a time earlier than Constantine's...Brainiac 5 knew of them, and knew they were Krellik's old foes...she had utilized her powers in conjunction with that of the time-cube to make a separate jump in time / space to 30th Century Winath.  When the battle there was done, she left the two Actions there to help the Legionnaires take care of things, and jaunted back to the time-cube alone.

"Very nice," he finally said.  "Now, if you ladies will just point the way to the larder and the loo when I need ‘em, everything should be tops."

Dawnstar kept a distance between herself and John.  Laurel guessed that she'd rather let a Rigellian stinksnake into her personal space than Constantine.   For herself, she could and would put up with a lot in the line of duty.  Even Constantine...so far.

White Witch was resigned to John, but just barely.  "If you mean the bathroom facilities and the eatery, we'll have Computo direct you when necessary.  Right now, we've got a big job on our hands.  What kind of experience have you had?"

Constantine gave her the eye, then took a Silk Cut out of one pocket and a lighter out of the other.  "This is a non-smoking zone," said Dawnstar.  Laurel gave them an oh-please look.

John's lighter hand paused just short of the end of the cigarette.  "No cigs, no sorcery, dearie.  Make your choice."  She stared at him with no approval in her eyes.  After a second, he lit the cigarette, inhaled deeply, and blew out a cloud of smoke, then coughed a bit.  "Friggin' fags.  Calms me down, but gonna be the end of me.  Won't that make some people happy."

"I believe it," muttered Laurel.

He put the lighter back in his pocket and addressed White Witch.  "As for experience, darlin', I don't answer questions like that.  The way I see it is this.  You come to get me from--what?  The 25th-and-a-half-century?--and bring me here, I must have summat of a reputation in your time.  Given that, don't believe I have to fill out any bloody apps.  I pick up vibes from you, a few from white-hair here, and none from the rest of you.  That means you're educated.  Word?"

White Witch stared at him.

"I think that means, ‘Explain the problem to me,'" offered Laurel.

He turned to her, gave her an up-and-down look.  "Thanks, hon.  Looks like you ran into a few stiff arguments at the pub.  No offense."

"Plenty taken."

Before Mysa could begin her explanation, Brainiac turned back to them.  "More trouble.  Rokyn has gone into phase again.  It's out of our plane.  Within 24 hours, if it can't be restored to our dimension, it'll be destroyed."

Laurel leaped forward.  "No, Brainy!"  She grabbed his arm.  "Tell me it isn't true!  You can't be serious!  Not again!"

He didn't say anything to her.  He didn't have to.  Laurel fought back tears.  The world of her people, doomed again...

Constantine stepped up, his expression all business now.  "I've been in situations before, mate. Tell me what you want me to do."

 -S-
The Legionnaires had boarded their two ships, along with Captain Action and Action Boy (who was quite defensive about his name), plus Krellik, Professor Zoom, and Tyr, who were in the cruiser's brigs, Zoom under heavy sedation.  Krellik and Tyr were relatively harmless without Krellik's coin or Tyr's handweapon.  Then they took off for the warp that would send them back to Earth, within a day's time.  The two heroes from the 20th Century marvelled at the interior of the ship and at the vistas of outer space the viewscreens offered.

"Got to admit, this beats Star Trek all hollow," allowed Action Boy.

Captain Action managed a half-smile to Element Lad and Sun Boy.  "You'll have to excuse our acting like rubes.  We haven't been super-heroes very long, and this is an incredible experience for us both.  Like coming to our time would be for, say, an Egyptian of the First Dynasty."

"We've got Egyptian problems of our own, but later for that," said Element Lad.  "As Legion leader, I'd like to offer our thanks to both of you.   But I'm curious...the others say Krellik was able to sense their attacks and modes of attack even before they could carry them out.  That, plus his power, Tyr's weapons, and Zoom's speed, defeated them.  Why couldn't he sense you?"

"You tell ‘em, Dad," said Action Boy.

Captain Action crossed his arms.  "Because our powers stem from the same kind of source.  Less than a year ago, in my time, both Krellik and I were archaelogists.  We came across this unusual sort of hybrid city in an excavation...a combination of Greek, Roman, Aztec, and what-have-you in a place many of the representatives of those races had never been detected before.  As it turned out, it was the meeting place on Earth of the beings that those civilizations had called ‘gods'...beings of immense mystic power, who had once lived among men and then abandoned the planet.  But they left behind various objects with some of their power imbued in them.  Among those was a chest of coins, each of which would give the bearer the power of one of the gods, if, well, he was worthy.  Krellik was not.  I got the coins of the benevolent gods, he got the coin of the evil gods, and we ended up in conflict.  He escaped after our first encounter.  Even the Odin Coin couldn't detect where he was, and now I know why.  I bear several coins now, and Carl here--Action Boy--has the Mercury coin.  Krellik isn't so good at detecting attacks from a similar source, and Carl's speed made him the logical choice to go on point this time."

Action Boy said, "We're glad you folks thought of us.  Dad hasn't even been contacted by the Justice League.  I never even heard from the Teen Titans.  We've met Superman, and that's about it.  Think you could give us a recommendation or something?"

Magnetic Kid, hearing that, looked at Cosmic Boy.  His look told his brother one thing: See, I'm not the only newbie hero with stars in his eyes around here.

"We'll see," said Element Lad, diplomatically.  "Right now, we're in a pretty tough operation.  You can stay and help if you'd like, or we can return you to your own era with the Time Cube.  We'll dispose of Mordru's three operatives once we get back to Earth."

"Earth," breathed Action Boy.  "30th Century Earth.  Dad, we've got to stay for at least a little while.  Artie Clarke and Bob Heinlein would give their freakin' teeth for this."

Colossal Boy staggered towards them.  Element Lad shot his gaze towards him.  Gim didn't look at all good, hadn't since his emergence from the stasis field.  But a medical scan had shown nothing physically wrong, except for emotional agitation.

He was sweating.

"Jan, listen," he said.  "Hook me up to HQ.  I've got to tell them about my dream."

El Lad stepped forward, and took him by the shoulders.  "Sure, Gim, if you think it's important enough.  Come with me.  Just relax."

"This is relaxed," said Gim, and went with him.

When they were out of the chamber, Action Boy nodded to his father.

"What monkey do you think is on his back?" he said.

 -S-

As soon as Brainiac and company left the Time Port area, Computo appeared in the form of a flying monitor.  "Presence update, priority," said the machine's voice synthesizer.   Dawnstar noted that Constantine seemed to take the sight of the floating machine in stride.  She also noted that Laurel seemed to be eating herself up inside, and didn't make eye contact with any of the rest of them.

"Brainiac 5," said Brainy.  "Report."

The computer played back a speeded-up video of Supergirl entering the headquarters building, putting Satan Girl in the cell, and flying off to her room in the complex to sleep.  Its playback ended discreetly outside of Kara's closed door.

Brainiac wasn't religious, but he said without irony, "Kara.  Thank God."

His breathing was quite a bit easier.

For once, the Brit looked interested.  "That's Supergirl," he said, pointing at the monitor.  He wore an expression of concern, or at least as much of one as they had seen so far.

"Stupendous powers of observation," noted Dream Girl.

John said, "I was just making an observation, Snow White.  I haven't got too many bloody points of reference in this place.  You show me somebody I know, I go with it.  Do we have a problem with that?"

Nura grabbed his trenchcoat lapel.  "I've got major problems with it.  I've got problems with you.  You've got an attitude problem bigger than a sun and a half.  You've told us absolutely nothing about yourself.  All we know is that some stupid computer in our Time Cube told us to get you.  I think we ought to check its programming."

He grabbed her hand, firmly.  "Now, listen, darling, my attitude is one of the most charming facets of my personality.  As for my thrilling biography, you're probably better off knowing as little as you do.  As for your computer, I'd be glad to check it out with you anytime."  He looked down at her legs, then up at her face.  "I'm a great programmer.  Best fingers on the East End."

"You--" she snapped.

Brainiac stepped in.  "Dream Girl--you--calm down.  We're in a crisis situation here.  Let me remind you, Mr. Constantine, you are a guest here, and Nura is right--"

Constantine regarded her.  "Dream Girl.  Heh.  You know anything of , y'know, that tall, skinny pale guy and his seven or eight fellow fruitcakes?"

White Witch looked thoughtful.  "John," she said.  "Tell me exactly who you are referring to."

He turned, looked at her, worked his tongue around his cheek.  "Don't like to give their proper names, dearie.  One tends to go by the name of Dream.  The others are all D's too...Desire, Destruction, Dementia, Delightful, Delovely and all that..."

"The Endless," breathed Mysa.  "You know them."

"Met a couple, in my time."  Constantine stuck his cigarette back in his mouth and took a long drag.

After a pause, White Witch turned to her teammates.  "I think that maybe--just maybe--we might have made the right choice after all."  She grasped John's hand.  "Come on, Mr. Constantine, we need to brief you.  The meeting room's just ahead."

"Call me John."

"Mister Constantine."

"Miss TV-antenna-head.  Lead on."

Brainiac waited for Laurel.  "If we have a bit of time after the briefing, I want to talk to you about something," he said.

Laurel was almost sick to her stomach.  "Great Rao, Brainy, not now.  Like, my whole planet is going to go up in smoke, and I don't have time to make time right now."

"Not that," said the green youth.  "You told me about how you struck Ar-Ual a blow that almost stunned her.  I've been thinking about it."
"Oh, who cares about that?" Laurel said.  "Probably just adrenalin."

"Adrenalin?" said Brainy.  "Not likely.  Not enough to stagger a Kryptonian.  Check with me after the briefing, Laurel.  I think we can do something about it."

For a moment, Laurel looked up at him with a bit of hope, mixed in with the anguish.

That was payment enough for Brainiac 5.

As the group of them were walking down the hall, Computo chased them again with another "Presence Alert".   His monitor showed a glimpse of the grounds just outside the headquarters building.

Seven figures had just materialized, one of them being held by at least four of the others.  One was Dev-Em.  Five of the others were wearing Superman costumes.  The Science Police guards outside had jumped to surround them just before Dev started waving around his UPIC badge and shouting that everything was copasetic, he was authorized, and they had a prisoner to bring inside, so would they all please step the hell aside.

"Son of a--" said Brainiac under his breath.  He didn't like his tendency to use obscene Earth expressions at times.  "Computo, tell them it's all right.  Let ‘em in."

The monitor showed that another monitor was flying outside to do just that.

Constantine said, "You order Supermen by the gross?"

"Shut up, John," said Brainy.

 -S-

The vote was to let Kara sleep until they completed the initial briefing.  Dev, the five Supermen, and Black Adam (the latter still restrained by Superman III and IV) flew into the meeting room a few seconds later.  "Look what I brought you," said Dev.  "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the second through sixth Supermen.  And this is the Legion of Super-Heroes, gentlemen.  Oh, the pointy-eared gent with the sad disposition, that's Black Adam."

Superman II was smiling, taking a look at each one of the heroes individually.  "Holy sun of Krypton," he said.  "So this is what Dad told me about, all those times.  You must be Brainiac 5."  He stuck out his hand.  "I'm the son of Superman, your teammate.  Jor-El II, Jordan Kent."

"An honor, sir," said Brainy, standing.  He took the big man's hand.  "And the rest of you..."

Superman III nodded, grinning, still holding Black Adam's left arm.  "I'm the third Superman, Mr. Dox.  Kal-El II, Jon Hudson in regular life.  Sorry I can't do much hand-shaking right now."

"Oh, go ahead," said Black Adam sarcastically.  "I'll wait."

"Ignore him," said Superman IV, a bit more dignified in mien than his two predecessors.  "I am Superman IV.  Dave Kent.  Kryptonian name Dav-El.  It is an honor, Legionnaires."

Superman V leaned casually against one of the walls, hovering about six feet off the ground.  "Aw, Dad, lighten up.  I'm Superman Number Five, folks.  Kor-El, but you can call me Mark Kent. Sounds like you've got a great little battle coming up.  What's the thirty on it?"

Superman VI shot him a look of contempt.  "My father.  And he still doesn't understand the magnitude of the game we play.  Forgive me.  I am the Sixth Superman.  I am Kent L-47.  Should our guest here..." (He elongated the word "guest" for emphasis, looking straight into Black Adam's eyes.)  "...Should our guest here prove troublesome, give him over to me.  In my era, we know how to handle such insects."

Black Adam looked at him with disdain.

"That's enough, Six," said Dev.  "I want to take two of you with me.  We're going to Zerox to get Kara.  And there sure as Sheol better be a Kara to get, even if we have to jump back and change history."

"Kara's here, Dev," said Dawnstar.  "She's asleep."

"Kara?  Here?" Dev shot forward excitedly, his feet leaving the floor as he pinned a startled Dawnstar to her seat.  "How is she?  Is she hurt? What happened to Satan Girl?  Where is she?"

Constantine, sitting beside her, said to White Witch, "Is he being calm?  And where'd he get that fake accent from, anyway, watching Bond movies?"

Dev-Em shot John an unkind look.  "Who's this?"

"His name's Constantine," said Mysa.  "Kara is fine.  She's asleep.  Don't wake her up, Dev, we've got to start putting things together."

A whisper went up among the five Supermen.  "Kara?  You don't mean..."  "Aunt Kara.  Yes, she was a Legionnaire."  "It can't really be her.  No, not her."  "I've just got to see her.  I've just got to see if she looks as great as her holo." "Six, would you hold him while I..."  "No.  And you heard them, she will not be disturbed.  The Sixth Superman swears it."

Before Dev could decide much more firmly that he didn't like the new wanker in the trenchcoat, a chime-tone preceded Computo's aural presence.  A monitor opened in the wall.

"Messages from Science Police Chief Brannard / from Legionnaires Element Lad, Colossal Boy," said the synth-voice.  "Please specify which to be first loaded."

Brainiac 5 waved his hand for silence.  "Give me El Lad first, Computo.  Download."

And Kara Zor-El slept on, while a haggard Colossal Boy told them of his dream, and John Constantine snapped to attention at some point, asked questions, and took notes.

This is what Kara dreamed:

 -S-

She was in the interior of a house, and it was a very nice house at that.  She was in the living room of something not unlike a comfortable old-style Kryptonian house, like the one she lived in when she was a girl in Argo City.  (And the thought caused her a twinge of nostalgia and sadness.)  Yes, definitely Kryptonian, but something undefinablly un-Kryptonian in it, just to offset her perceptions a bit.

The comfortable woven floormats, the soft, warm plastic overlaying the solid surface that made a house such a pleasurable thing to walk in.  The air with the crisp tang of its daily recycling, the window looking out upon the lawn and neighboring houses and stars and night.  (In Argo, it was always night.)  The master seat that seemed to rise right out of the center of the room, the old-style fireplace within which the warming cells dwelt, the bookshelves full of familiar spines (though she could not read the titles, she just knew they were the kinds of things she loved to read and view and listen to as a child), the walls of soft beige in this room, pale green in the room beyond where the dining area lay, just like the decor of her room at home.

Ahh, thought Kara.  If this is a dream, then it's a most secure dream, and a pleasant one. And if I've earned such a dream, I'm glad to have it.  I don't really think I could have stood a nightmare after what I've gone through already.

She was in the dream.

She saw her hands, and arms, and chest, stomach, lower body, and legs, too. She was clad in the simple blue dress she had loved and worn to school many times in Argo City, and the dark blue boots that she'd begged Mom for and done chores for a month and more to earn.  But, she noted, she was bigger than she'd been when she wore those clothes so many years before.  It had been over fourteen years, and there had been so many lifetimes in her life since then.

There was someone else in the dream.

The other person was a woman, and she could have sworn that she wasn't sitting on the couch-like master seat an instant before.  On Krypton, the owner of the house sat there, and sitting on it beside him before getting permission was bad etiquette.  Kara stood, patiently, and looked at the woman.  She was motherly, yet beautiful, and her features were hard to place in terms of derivation.  It would be hard to say what race this dream-woman belonged to, but then, Kara thought, that might not be such a problem here.  She could tell definitely that her hair was black, and somewhat curly, and she did not feel at all afraid of the woman, which made her a bit wary.

"Hello, Kara," said the woman.  "Please sit.  Here, beside me.  We haven't much time."

Kara stepped over and sat, curling one leg under herself.  "I hope that isn't true," she said.  "I'm very tired, and I'd like to get a good sleep before I have to wake up.  I'm also going to be hurting when I wake up.  So could you arrange for me to sleep as long as I want to?"

The woman crossed her fingers, the way Kryptonians do when they won't brook further argument.  "No.  But I can assure you, you'll feel very refreshed.  Probably just a little bit sore, but not as bad as you might expect.  I've a burden to pass on to you, and then you can go."

"A burden?"  Kara leaned back against the corner of the chair's back and arm.  "Please, ma'am, I've had enough things to do already.  In fact, I'm getting rather tired of it.  I just go here, and do this, and go there, and fight that, and in between I'm supposed to have some kind of a life, only I haven't had time to make much of a life at all."

The lady seemed patient, but determined.  "Well, Kara, it seems that only you can make a life for yourself, if you don't think that what you have been doing amounts to a life.  Many would disagree with you.  But if you don't listen, we're going to have to stay here a lot longer than we both would prefer.  My burden is information.  I pass it along as a favor from other parties.  Will you receive it?"

Kara leaned forward, her hands ready for defense.  "Is this a dream? A real dream, not some trick of Drang's or Mordru's?"

"No trick," said the woman.  "The one you call Drang sleeps within the form of your sleeping enemy."

Kara's blue eyes widened.  "Drang!  He's inside Satan Girl!  Mother Moon, you've got to let me out so I can warn the Legion."

The lady smiled, and poured them both a steaming herb-drink from a vessel which had not been there three instants before.  She gave one cup to Kara, who drank it.  "Mother am I, Kara, but not of the moon.  Drang and your other self still sleep, for the moment.  As for the Mordru-being, it is harder to say...his scope puts him further and further from even our perceptions.  Yet, as you are here now, hope has not yet expired.  You must receive the burden, though, to sustain its existence.  Will you take it?"

Supergirl sighed.  "Here I go again.  Supergirl, jill-of-all-trades, handywoman to the universe, does whatever you ask her to, service with a smile.  All right, ma'am, whatever your name is, I'll take your old burden.  Will it hurt?"

"Possibly," said the lady, and reached forth both hands to touch Kara's temples.

 Darkness darkness
 swirling colors
 unstable landscape
 where is my point of view here
 beings at war below me
 above me itswirls like poorly blended paint
 yin and yang
 hands two hands gigantic
 mordru is there
 i am there and another is there in my arms
 a stick he carries
 mordru flies to a hand
 he is one he and the hand are
 one
 i fly we fly toward the hand
 we are too late
 the hand has eyes now
 the eyes are looking at us
 the eyes are mordru's
 the eyes...

"...The eyes," gasped Kara.  "The eyes..."

"Kara, return to me," said the lady, and Kara was back in the comfortable room, and the lady's warm hands were upon her, and Kara still felt the afterwash of horror. The room and the lady were still comforting, but not as comforting as they had been before.

"You--I--" Kara caught her breath.  "Are you a sorceress?"

"No, Kara, nothing so common as that," said the woman.  "Take another cup of this."  The liquid was now red, redder than the deepest tea.  "Drink.  This will help you remember the burden.  Do you understand it?"

"No."  Kara drank the liquid in the cup.  It was warm and tasted good, but she couldn't place the flavor.  "Am I supposed to?  I remember Mordru..."

"The others will help you," said the woman.  "Tell them your dream, Kara.  One more piece of the puzzle.  Are you ready to leave?"

Kara smoothed a lock of hair back from her forehead.  "Um.  I'm not sure, but I suppose I should.  May I ask you some questions?"

The woman settled back on the masterseat and regarded her.  "We have no agreement regarding questions.  You may ask them.  I will guarantee no answers."

"Fair enough."  Kara sat the empty cup down on the table in front of the seat.  "First question.  Who are you?"
The woman sat silent.

Kara said, "All right.  Is there anything I could call you?"

The lady brightened a bit.  "Oh, Kara, I suppose you could call me anything you wanted, as long as you were polite about it.   You could even call me mother, though I doubt you would.  You reserve that term for Allura and Edna, as you well should.  There are so many things which people call me by.  Well.  How does ‘Spring' strike you?  Is that permissable?"

"‘Spring'.  All right.  And since you claim to be a mother, lady, I'll call you ‘Mrs. Spring.'  Will that be all right?"  Kara looked closely at her.

The woman clapped her hands together.  "Absolutely lovely.  Is that the end of your questions?"

"Are we going to get through this all right?  Will we end up beating Mordru again?"

The lady said nothing.  Kara was getting a bit irritated.  But she remembered that she was a guest.

"Okay.  There's something I've wondered for awhile.  Where did the other Supergirl come from, the one who fought beside me in the Crisis?"

Mrs. Spring beamed.  "That one I can help you with.  She lives in a sister universe, Kara.  She doesn't serve as Supergirl very much these days, but she is making her life fairly well."

"Will I ever see her again?"

The lady sat mute.

"Um, what about me and Dev?"

She still sat mute--but smiled.

"Okay.  Thank you.  And thank you for this room, and this, uh, this dream.  It's very nice.  You got it just right."

"No, dear," said Mrs. Spring.  "You got it just right.  Will that be all now?"

Kara smiled a bit.   "I'd like to ask more, but I don't think I'd get many answers."  She reached for the serving-urn, but Mrs. Spring reached out a hand and stopped her.

"No, Kara.  Another cup of that could be quite deadly.  Now you really have to go back."

Supergirl hung an arm over the back of the seat.  "All right.  Will I remember all of this?"

"Only the burden," said Mrs. Spring.  "Goodbye, Kara."
And the dream wasn't there anymore.

 -S-

By this time the news had come in about Daxam, and had been relayed to the Legionnaires on the two cruisers, and nobody in the Legion's meeting room was feeling very happy, with the possible exception of Black Adam.  And he was just disgusted with the whole mess, and wanted to go home to his own Earth, his own time, even his own enemies.  But he didn't say a word.

The Legionnaires in space were all for going to Daxam, but, in the middle of their communications, Dream Girl spoke up.  "No," she said.  "Gim has to come back."

"What?" said Element Lad, reaching for an unexplored level of incredulity.

"Jan, I know this sounds crazy, but I sense that Gim has to come back here.  Send most of the group to Daxam, but Gim has to come back."

"And why does Gim have to come back?" asked Element Lad, his face on Computo's viewscreen showing the sarcasm.

"Because of the dream," said Nura Nal, seriously.

Everyone else in the room were giving her funny looks.  Except for John Constantine and her sister.

At that point, Supergirl flew into the room and took in the strange sight of five Supermen, a restrained Black Adam, Dev, her teammates, and a little blonde guy in a trenchcoat 1,000 years out of fashion, and blurted, "What dream?  Don't tell me somebody else has had a dream, too."

Dev rocketed to her side, taking her in his arms.  "Kara," he said.

And that was all he had time to say before Satan Girl broke out of her cell.

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