Supergirl (Kara of Rokyn):

    Kal & Lyla

    Part 10

    by DarkMark

Supergirl realized as they sped through the void that, even at super-speed, she’d be so time-crunched for this job and the next that it’d take two miracles to get through them.  Nonetheless, she was going to try to make it work.

With her, held under one arm in a space suit, was Mark Mandrill, the red-headed, red-bearded Matter Master.  He wasn’t wearing his customary wizard’s hat, but he did have his Mentachem Wand holstered in the white belt of his suit.  Kara glanced at him and saw the wonder in his eyes.  Even a super-villain like Mandrill hadn’t been in this part of space.

Mentally, she reviewed his history.  Mandrill had been an enemy of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and, like most villains on Earth, had crossed the path of the Justice League as well.  The wand he held gave him the power to alter the shape or nature of material objects, even transforming them alchemically into different elements.  That part she was counting on.

Something else she was counting on was that Mandrill knew, in outer space, she was his only chance of getting back to Earth alive.  

Therefore, there probably wouldn’t be much chance of him transforming a passing meteor into Kryptonite.  She smiled grimly with one side of her mouth, then spoke into her throat mike. <Reading me okay?>

<Loud and clear, missy,> Mandrill replied. <Hate to sound like this, but are we there yet?>

<Pretty close,> she said.  About her, she wore a clear skin-tight armor that filtered out certain waves of radiation and let others through.  It was something Shyla Kor-Onn had developed, and Kara was mighty glad she had.  Because she saw the star which was the center of the system she was headed for, and its hue was red.

If she wasn’t wearing the armor, she’d have been powerless and dead within seconds.

As it was, she could use her telescopic vision to tell her where to go and her flight and super-speed to get them both there.  The former power showed her a distinct object, glowing green, like a beacon in the darkness.  She thought of a lighthouse, warning mariners away from deadly rocks.  Not an inappropriate analogy, she told herself.

And she felt a terrible rush of nostalgia and pain, for the object she was looking at was nothing less than her hometown: Argo City.

A second later, she heard Mandrill’s voice in her earplug. <You all right?>

Supergirl pulled herself together. <I’m fine, Mandrill.  You’re sure that wand of yours has the range?>

<It should,> he said. <No atmosphere to drag it down out here.>

<Just so you remember who’s flying you back,> she said, and, with a final spurt of speed, got them both as close as she dared to the floating city.

For a few moments she let them both hang motionless in space, and used her vision powers to survey Argo.  First—yes, there was Zor-El’s house, the home she had been raised in.  Oh, Rao, there was her room, and most of her things were still in it!  The book cubes, the clothes, the holosnaps, the mementos, many of the bits and pieces that had made up her fifteen-year-old life.  Not far from it was her father’s study, complete with all the bric-a-brac that had defined him, from the fighting gloves that hung over the heating unit to the certificate that made him acting mayor of Argo City.  There, too, was her mother’s room, complete with the photos from her modeling stint, her paintings of light and pigment, her self-designed fashion clothes, and the diploma from her university.  Their hovercraft still rested in the garage, and...

...and there were still some bodies, preserved by the conditions of space and not yet floated through the cracks in the great dome.

Kara closed her eyes.

<Are you sure you’re okay?>

Mandrill’s voice.  It was nice to know he was still concerned.  She replied, <Can you see where I’m pointing?>

He nodded. <Green glowing rock.  Kryptonite?>

<Yes,> she said. <Do what I told you.  And remember that I’m the only thing that can get you back to Earth, so don’t get any funny ideas.>

<Oh,> he said, in mock innocence. <Wouldn’t dream of it.  Abracadabra!>

Kara hoped it wasn’t a reference to an old Flash villain.  Then, as she watched with her telescopic vision, she saw the Matter Master perform a miracle.

A wave of invisible power passed over the green-glowing rock that was Argo City, in the shape of an arc.  As it passed, the verdant gleam of Kryptonite dulled, and was replaced by the look of normal rock, soil, and withered vegetation.  It took some time, as Argo had been a large city and a sizeable chunk of underground real estate had been flung into space beneath it.  (That, she reflected, was the fault of Zor-El’s weather shield, which had extended energy-tendrils beneath the city as well as a physical structure above it, to keep it anchored.)  But once it was done, a dead city, as historically important at Schliemann’s Troy, was restored to normalcy.

For the first time in seventeen years, Argo City was free from Kryptonite.

Tears came to Kara’s eyes and evaporated instantly into the void.  She floated them nearer, and then brought them both to a flat-footed landing on one of the main streets of Argo. <This is my hometown,> she said. <This is where I grew up.>

The Matter Master looked around. <It’s nice.  That is, it must have been nice.>

She took a flat metal circle from her belt and anchored it to the ground.  This would be one part of an energy tether.  The other part was still in her belt.  Kara stood there for a long moment, wanting to do nothing more than be there for a long, long time.

But that was precisely what she didn’t have.

The Matter Master looked at her hand, extended palm-up towards him. <Hand it over,> she said.

<Oh, come on,> he protested. <Don’t you trust me?  We might need it!>

<Hand it over.>

Grumbling, he held out his Mentachem Wand and put it in her hand.  She crushed it to dust.

<Give me the other one you made in your holster,> she said.

<What?>

<X-ray vision.  The other wand.  Now.>

<Damn.> Mark Mandrill fumbled in his holster for the second wand, gave it to her, and watched it suffer the same fate as the first.

<All right.  Let’s get out of here.> She grabbed him around the waist and lifted them both off the street’s surface.  When they had climbed half a mile above the city, she touched a control in her belt.

Argo City lurched, and began to follow them.

Mark Mandrill looked back at it. <Are you sure you’re not going to stop on a dime?  That thing could hit us!>

<I’m a good driver, Mark,> she said. <Just stay loose.  We’ve got a couple of spacewarps to come back through.>

    -S-

Argo City was parked in Earth orbit for the moment, within view of the Justice League’s restored satellite.  Hawkgirl was on duty and, as instructed, made a video recording of the city by remote-controlled space cameras.  Kara flew aboard with the Matter Master, hugged Shayera warmly, took the raw footage, and zoomed off, her captive in tow.  

Within the hour, Mark Mandrill was back in the high-security room from which he had been taken.  A signed affadavit from Supergirl was in the hands of his handler.  The chains were taken from his hands and feet, a monitoring device was implanted beneath the skin and muscles of his chest, and he was given a new suit of clothes, the money he had earned as a prisoner, and a recommendation to a new job as a science teacher...under heavy observation.

With that, Supergirl took charge of Mark Mardon, the Weather Wizard.  He was still in his prison togs and had his weather wand in the pocket of his jeans.  “Mandrill was well-behaved,” she said.  “You’d better follow his lead.”

“Hey, I don’t have any beef with you,” said Mardon.  “Flash villain. Rogue’s Gallery. Remember?”

“Oh, I remember,” she said.  “Batman and Hawkman remember you, too.  So do the Justice League.  If you play ball, Mardon, you get what Mandrill got.  If you don’t...”  She looked meaningfully at the guards.  Their expression didn’t change.

“I’m game,” said the Weather Wizard.  “What’s your pleasure?”

She popped the lid on a metal box she’d brought along and produced two silvery boots.  “Put these on,” she said.

“What are they?”

“Gravity boots.  You’ll need them where we’re going.  Put them on.”

Mardon caught the boots as she threw them.  He wondered, briefly, if they were his size.  As he stuck his feet into them and buckled the fastenings, he found that they conformed perfectly to his feet.  With a shrug, he accepted it.

“Now, what do we do?”

One of the guards moved to take him by the arms.  Another produced a hypodermic.  “Hey, wait,” he protested.  “What’s this all about?”

“Sorry, Mark,” said Kara.  “For this trip, you’re going to miss the scenery.  I’ll wake you up when we get there.”

He felt a sting in the inside of his elbow and, a few seconds later, faded into a comforting darkness.

    -S-

When Mark Mardon opened his eyes again, the first thing he saw was three faces staring down at him.  The only one he recognized was Supergirl’s.  She was dressed in different clothing, a blue shirt and pants.  The other two belonged to men, and from the visors and helmets they sported, he knew they were a type he was familiar with.

“You’re awake, Mark,” said Kara.  “Welcome to Rokyn, my new homeworld.”

“Uh?” he said, approximately.

“Settle back, Earther,” said one of the guards, putting a metal rod across his chest to hold him down.  “You’ve got to be briefed before anything else.”

Kara Zor-El leaned in a little closer.  “Let me explain a little, Mark.  Rokyn is the planet that us Kryptonian survivors have settled.  There are a few agricultural problems in some areas.  Not enough rainfall.  Think you can help out, for a pardon?”

Mardon licked his lips to moisten them.  “I think,” he said, “I can try.”

“Good.  Now, no funny stuff.  We’re going to have guards around you at all times, and they’ll have lightning deflectors on, too.  I wouldn’t try creating any tornadoes, either.  They’d put you down at the first sign of one.  You do the job right, I send you home with a recommendation.  You do it wrong, you’ll go home hurting, and they’ll tack ten years onto your sentence.  Do you understand?”

“I get it.”

“All right, then.  Let’s go.”

Kara kept her eye on him, even though he had chains on his wrists and ankles, through his transportation from the holding cell through the prison system to the parking lot to a hovercar.  For his part, the Weather Wizard seemed to be looking at almost everything, taking it in with the air of a country boy who’s just come to Metropolis.  And why not?  She realized that, for all his pedigree as a super-villain, Mark Mardon had never been on any planet except Earth.

She wished, not for the first time, that she hadn’t had to be anywhere except Argo City.

“I have to say it,” he said, as the hovercar containing them all rose into the air.  “This is really somethin’ else.”

“It is that,” Kara allowed, seated in the back.  She was between two guards.  Mardon was wedged between a guard and the driver.  Everybody except her and Mardon had stunners.  There was also a video / audio unit that would record what he did, hopefully for public consumption once it was edited.  This would be a trickier operation than the one with Mandrill, but if it came off, it would be of greater worth to Rokyn than the recovery of Argo.

Mardon looked to the left, nodded in that direction.  “What’s the name of that?”

“That canyon?  It’s called the Ria-La Gorge.  A bit deeper than the Grand Canyon on Earth, not quite as long.  Not far from our first stop.”

“First stop?”

“We have a little ground to cover, Mark,” she said.

“Three stops to make,” put in a guard.

Mardon settled back.  He’d learned in prison what questions not to ask.  

Within a quarter of an hour, the hovercraft slowed and Kara took a deep breath.  “Here’s where we start,” she said.

The Weather Wizard looked left and right, as far as he could with the two guards flanking him.  “This is supposed to be farmland?”

“It could be,” said one of the guards.  “But it needs rain.  Lots.”

“Not the kind that’d wash away too much topsoil,” added the other.  He brandished his stunner.  “Understand?”

Mardon looked offended.  “Weather is my business, chum.  Everybody else talks about it.  I do something about it.”

“It’s an old Earth saying,” put in Kara.  “Don’t be offended, guys.  All right, Mark.  We want you to take out that wand of yours, slowly.  Then we want you to give this place some decent rainfall.”

“How much of the area?”

“Just keep pointing it.  We’ll move the car, and we’ll tell you when to stop.”

Carefully, Mark Mardon took the Weather Wand from his pocket.  All three of the guards, all save the driver, had their stunners trained on him.  Kara breathed carefully.  With a bit of majesty, the black-haired man in the prisoner’s outfit stood up in the hovercar and pointed the wand at the sky.

For a second or two, nothing happened.  Kara clenched her hands in her lap and silently prayed.

Then, almost before the Rokynians could credit their senses, clouds began to gather in a sky that had been mostly clear.  No, they did more than gather.  They coalesced, darkened, and, within ten more seconds, burst forth in lightning and torrential rain.

The driver extended a force field bubble over the car, but he wasn’t in time to keep them from getting wet.  The guards held onto their stunners, but even they were impressed.  Kara, her hair and clothes soaked, breathed a prayer of thanks to Rao.  Then she smiled.  

“How does it feel to be working for the right side?”, she said.

Mark Mardon turned to her, thoughtfully.  “Lady, I’ve always been working for the right side.  It’s just that our sides happened to line up today, if you know what I mean.”

She sighed.  “Okay.”

“Where else do you want it to rain?”

“We’ll show you,” she said.

    -S-

It took less than five hours to get the hovercar to the other two areas that needed watering.  The Rokynians had made great strides towards better weather utilization, but they had never seen anything like Mardon’s wand.   The farmers in the affected areas gave thanks to Rao, and put their robots, men, and machinery to work.

The recorder got it all and transmitted it to Rokyn’s biggest news sources.  They’d release some footage immediately, and edit the rest for better presentation on the regular newscasts.  They also had the feed of Argo City’s conversion from Kryptonite, and would show that as well.

Kara had made sure that she and her two charges from Earth would appear in the broadcasts.

After the watering of Rokyn’s more barren farmlands was done, Kara demanded the wand from Mardon.  The guards made sure he turned it over.  She crushed it underfoot.  Better, probably, to keep its secrets from friend and foe alike.  Mark Mardon watched, sadly.

“Uh, is it okay if I ask...what’s next?”  He looked somewhat lost, after his recent triumph.

“Well, Mark, you’re going to get a citation from the planetary government,” said Kara.  “You’re going to get a personal recommendation from me, and you should be a free man by this time next week.”  

Mark Mardon beamed.

“But before all that, we’re going to have to send you home,” she added.  “That means we’re going to have to put you to sleep again.”

“Oh, no,” he said, as the guards took hold of his arms again.

“It won’t be that bad,” said Kara, as the spray hypo neared his neck.  “Pleasant dreams, Mark.”

He resigned himself to his fate as the scene once again faded to black.

    -S-

After delivering Mark Mardon to the authorities on Earth once again, Supergirl flew back to the Fortress of Solitude at eye-defying speed, unlocked the door with the great golden key, replaced it, pulled the massive door shut behind her, and headed for the WarPort.  Her face was set in a resigned expression.  Once she got on the other side, she’d lose her powers.  She’d also be tired as hell.

That couldn’t be helped, and she still had one more stop to make.

She activated the device with a timer, sighed, and stepped into the rectangular gateway that seemed to have nothing beyond it but another wall of the Fortress.  But once she passed its event horizon, Kara emerged in a receiving area on Rokyn.

Her shoulders slumped with tiredness.  An attendant looked at her, open mouthed.  “Holy Rao!  It’s Tynth Zor-El.”

“Yep, it’s me,” she said.  “Can you get me a cab?”

Before long, Kara was stretched across the back seat of a landcar with tinted windows.  It took her directly to To-Bin’s office at Ar-Rom Studios.  She’d already called Van-Ol to let him know she was back, so when she stumbled into the room, he and To were waiting for her.

“Well, Sheol, Kara,” said To, rising from his seat.  “I gave you a week.  Shouldn’t you have taken more than a couple of days?”

She needed sleep. She needed rest. She needed a good hot meal.  But all of that could wait.  Kara, still in her Supergirl outfit, trudged to To-Bin’s desk and leaned on it with both hands, looking at him.  “You saw the news reports?”

“You bet I did,” he said.  “Van and I both did.  Everybody did.   I can’t believe what you did, Kara.  Talk about a stunt, talk about two stunts.”

Van moved behind her to support her with his arms, but she waved him back.  “Those weren’t stunts, To.  They were gifts.  From me to Rokyn.  What do you think they were worth?”

He looked at her thoughtfully, then covered her left hand with his own.  “Eight million credits?”

She gave him a tired smile.  “Plus a dinner at Ki-Ra’s tonight, catered to my place.”

“Done.”

“Plus a day off.  So I can sleep.”

“You’re killing me.  But it’s granted.  Ol, can you see her home?”

Van took her gently by the shoulders.  “Somebody’d better.  See you later, To.”  He guided her to the door, and beyond.

    -S-

Kara was too tired for dinner, as it turned out.  Van put her to bed, put her CompUnit’s message system on hold, and fielded what calls he had to himself.  One of them was from an agitated Zor-El.  “Van,” he said, “how is she?”

“Sleeping, Tanth El,” said Van.

“I mean...how is she?”

“She’s just fine.  I’m not going to get her up.”

“I wouldn’t ask you to.  Just...have her call us when she’s awake, all right?”

“Of course.”

“Van.  Did she say anything about Argo?  Anything at all?”

“She said she just about cried when she saw her old home.  According to her, it was very well preserved.”

“It’s in secure orbit?  Around Earth?”

“She says it is.”

“How long before we can get it here?”

“Don’t know,” Van said.  “She left word with the Justice League for their Green Lantern to bring it over when he can.  It’s too big to fit in the WarPort.”

“Funny man,” said Zor.

“Sorry, Zor.  It’s kind of late for me, too.”

“I understand.  Just...did she bring anything with her?  From Argo?”

“She brought herself.  Everything else is pretty much as it was.”

Zor-El shook his head.  “I never thought I’d see it again.  I never thought I’d get the chance to walk through my old house one more time.  All the places, the stores, the temples, the Council Hall, the parks, the...  Never mind.”

“I can empathize, Zor.”

“You don’t know what it feels like, Van.  Just...Rao’s blessings on her.  And you.”

“Thank you, Tanth El.  Blessings on your house as well.”

“Good night, Van.  Remember, when she wakes up, have her call me.  Even if she wakes me up.”

“Will do.  Good night, Zor.”  He broke the connection.  Then he put the message unit on hold, as well.  He walked towards the bedroom, kicking off his shoes on the way.  A butler robot scuttered forth at ankle level, picked them up, and set them carefully outside the bedroom door.  He palmed the door open and pulled his shirt over his head.

Kara was still sleeping peacefully on the bed.

Taking care not to wake her, Van-Ol lay beside her, sighed, and prepared for sleep himself.

    (next chapter)

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