Supergirl (Kara of Rokyn):

    Kal & Lyla

    part 6

    by DarkMark

“Tell it to me again straight,” said To-Bin.  “Make sure I’m not in an audible illusion.”

Kara said, “It’s no more than a theory, Chief.  But this girl, Altra X Ren-Tai, may have been the illegitimate daughter of Lyla Lerrol.”

Van stood beside her with his hands behind his back.  They were in To-Bin’s office, which was as big in surface area as half of his house.  He’d let Kara break the ice on this, and play backup when needed.  It would probably be needed soon.

To-Bin stroked the top of his bald head.  “You have no proof.”

“Not yet, Toior,” said Kara.  “We need to get the clearance to have her genetic prints reviewed.”

“They don’t do that very often for adoptees, Karaish,” said To-Bin.  “Even dead ones.”

“To, I hate to tell you this, but Kara has clout,” said Van.  “Who was it stood beside Superman when they fought Brainiac and enlarged us, brought us here?  Our gal, little Blondie.  I don’t think the Science Council has forgotten that.”

Kara flinched a bit.  She didn’t like to throw her political weight around.  It was true, she could have parlayed her status as Supergirl, the co-liberator of Kandor, into a lot more power than she had.  But that would have been unearned power.  She had come to Rokyn to be a normal woman, to achieve things by her own merits, and so far she had succeeded.  Still, if it could help here...

“I’m aware of that, Van,” said To-Bin.  “But those bureaucrats in the Life Records Department don’t move very fast for anyone.  I know.  If Kara wants to push them, she’d have to do it in the media.  And if you do that, there goes your secrecy about the project.  Sheol, somebody else could beat us to the screens with another Lyla picture.”

Kara pulled out a hoverchair and plonked herself into it.  “Let me try the Drygur Moliom.”

To-Bin snapped his gaze around to her as if she had been a bomb-blast.  “What?”

“Let me try the Drygur,” said Kara.  “He can keep a confidence.  And he’d be the best one at getting past the obstacles.  Let me try, Toior.”

For his part, Van was drop-jawed.  “You’re going to visit the head of our government?  For that, Kara?”

She smiled.  “Well, Van.  It isn’t as if he doesn’t know me.”

    -K-

Krypton, and now Rokyn, was ruled by its Science Council, a panel of savants who also tested high in the humanities and judicial thinking.  Jor-El, Kal’s father and Kara’s uncle, had served on it during Krypton’s last years, and Zor-El had done the same in Argo City.  The Council was presided over by the Drygur Moliom, Rokyn’s equivalent of a president.  Kara had met him, of course, but hadn’t ever asked him for a favor.  

Still, as Van had reminded her, the fact that she used to wear that short-skirted blue, yellow, and red costume with the “S” shield and helped Kal restore the Kandorians to their normal height and give them a new home planet didn’t hurt her chances at all.

She guided her hovercar into the parking space near the capitol building, got her ID card out of her purse, and was thankful that her home, the studios, and the center of Rokynian government were all in the same city.  Two guards were by her car before she could get out.  One was human and the other one wasn’t.

“Good-afternoon-citizen,” said the hovering robot.  “Present-identification, if-you-please.”

Kara lowered the window and held up her card.  The human guard smiled and said, “Hello, tynth.”  Both of the guards were armed, with lethal and nonlethal weaponry.  She wasn’t worried, but it did keep her alert.  The guy guard pulled out a hand-held scanner and held it up to her eye for a retinal scan.  After a few seconds, he turned it off.

“State-name,” said the robot.

“Kara Zor-El,” she said.  She knew both her eye-scan and her voiceprint would be matched to those on file in her database with the Security Corps.  After another few seconds, the human guard said, “Check affirmative.  You can proceed, Tynth Zor-El.  Do you know the way?”

She nodded and opened the car door.  “I’ve been here before.  Thanks, though.”

“My pleasure.”

Kara walked briskly from the parking lot to the capitol.  It was a recreation in a bit more modern terms of the one that had been in Kryptonopolis before the Destruction.  The taxes to pay for it had been tough, but most voters appreciated the nostalgic refab.  And taxes had been tough all over the place during the years when they’d had to rebuild the buildings that had disintegrated during the Enlargement, or to build new ones to take advantage of their new world’s landspace.  

Thankfully, Rokyn had enough natural resources to support the Kandorians economically and life-wise.  They had mined, they had farmed, they had taken to the seas, they had taken to the skies.  They had pioneered.  There were outposts of Kryptonian civilization that were still just being set down, places where it resembled the legendary Wild West of the United States on Earth.  But all of them were governed by the Science Council, with the exception of Separatists’ Alley.  And even that, she guessed, would soon be brought into the whole, one way or another.

Kara was a city girl and she liked living in New Kandor.

The Drygur was a busy man and had given her a fifteen-minute audience.  That was generous, for him.  In the space of a few years he’d gone from running a city to trying to figure out how to govern a planet.

She had to get through several more checkpoints, a bunch of awkward stares of recognition, a few handshakes, and a couple of autographs before she got to the Drygur’s office.  Once there, she submitted to a scan that went all the way down to the atomic levels.  When that was done (within 2.3 seconds), the secretary gave her a plastic smile.  “The Moliom will see you within fifteen minutes,” she said.

Kara settled back, snatched some hot beverages and sweets from a setup in the corner, and dialed up a news holo on the CompUnit in the office.  Political stuff, stories from the frontier by a reporter on assignment, fashion news (and Kara hoped like Sheol that To-Bin wouldn’t make her wear some of what she saw there), satellite views of the planet, entertainment blather, et cetera to the nth power.  

Thirty minutes later, the secretary told her to go in.

She had to pass through another checkpoint, an “airlock” of double force-fields that closed behind her when she went through the doorway and then opened in front of her when she was given a final scan.  Paranoia, she thought.  Then again, considering the business with the Zoners awhile back, it could be justified.

Moliom Bol-Var stood up, smiled, and came out from behind his desk to shake her hand.  “Tynth Zor-El,” he said.  “Blessings on your house.”

“And on yours, Moliom,” she said, returning the smile and shaking his hand.  The man was about Kal’s height, greying at the temples, but still showing strength in his lanky frame.  Unlike Jor and Zor-El, Bol-Var had specialized in biology and agriculture, the latter of which had proven of great use in their new world.  Kara admitted to herself that she liked him.

“Once again, I have to praise you for your actions in the Jax-Ur incident,” said Bol-Var. “ I should mention the Enlargement again, but I’m sure you’ve heard enough about that already.  Let me just say that Rokyn is grateful to you twice over.”  He nodded to the chair in front of his desk.  She sat down, crossing her legs in a way that would give him a good view of her sandaled foot.  “Now. What brings you here today?”

“I need your help, Moliom,” said Kara.  “The help of the government, that is.  I’m looking for some information and I’d appreciate the search being kept secret.”  She paused.  “That is, if it’s possible.”

He sat behind his desk and leaned back in his plush chair.  “Say on.”

“You can keep a secret?”

“I’ve been known to.”

Kara told the Moliom, briefly, of her project.  She didn’t miss the subtle signs of interest.  Was he, too, a Lerrol fan?  But what, she reminded herself, did she have to trade?  Only her reputation, and what gratitude he might give her from her exploits as Supergirl, and as the one who’d helped thwart the Zoners’ plans.

Maybe he was a wrestling fan, too, but she decided not to count on that.

“So you want me to open the records of a deceased child to find out whether or not she was the daughter of Lyla Lerrol,” said Bol-Var, slowly and thoughtfully.

Kara nodded.  “I only want to know for the sake of research, Moliom.  I feel that I need to know, to learn more fully—as fully as I can—what made Lyla Lerrol the woman that she was.”

Bol-Var toyed with a stylus on his desk.  “What would be the benefit to our office?”

“Photo ops, public thanks from me for making the thing possible.  Couldn’t hurt come election time, Moliom.  We’d have to do it on or after opening night, of course.  It’s still a secret.”

He nodded.  “I’m quite well aware of your status as a heroine of sorts, Tynth Zor-El.  It also makes us proud that you’ve chosen to live your life among us, rather than on Earth.  But you must understand...in politics, you rarely can afford to do something without getting something back froim it in return.  If it’s for a small man, you just ask for a vote and some goodwill.  If it’s a bigger person, a celebrity, you have to ask for more.  Politically, that is.”

“Of course.”  Kara permitted herself a smile.  She could tell that the Moliom wasn’t hitting on her.  Never once had she gone to the casting couch, and never once would she do that.  Still, she could tell he was appreciative of her beauty, and that helped.  “And may I express my gratitude for the citation the government gave me after the fight with the Zoners?  That meant quite a lot to me.  Believe it.”

“I do,” said Bol-Var.  “Not to mention your role in saving Kal-El recently on Earth.  The death of Lex Luthor does not give us cause for regret, either.  So.  May I count on your support in some political rallies in the near future?”

“This for that, Moliom.  I won’t speak on behalf of causes I don’t believe in, but I will help on things which I do.  Your agriculture program, the expansion.  I just hope we aren’t spreading ourselves too thin, too fast.”

“So do I,” he said.  “But I also fear us staying too close, generation after generation, to Kandor.  Well, Kara.  How can I contact you?”

She took a piece of paper from his desk and scribbled the contact info for her CompUnit at home and at work.  Studiously, she didn’t add the one at Van-Ol’s house, though she had messages forwarded there.  “Is this legible?”

He took it.  “Quite.  My ability to get through a bureaucracy is only a little better than yours, Kara, but I can get things moving.  If this girl’s genes match those of Tynth Lerrol, maternally, you will know of it.  But only my office will know that you were the one who wanted to know.”

“Thank you, Moliom.  Blessings on your house.”  Kara gave her hand for a shake, and he took it.

“And yours, Kara.  One more favor I might ask.  If the holo involves any bathing suit scenes...”

She laughed.  “I’ll have To-Bin send you a batch today.  Thanks.”

    -K-

“So you got to the Moliom for a bunch of bikini pictures?  That’s wild, Karaish.”

She grinned, lying face down in bed.  “It’s a lot less than you get to see of me, Vanian.  But a little trade never hurt anything.”

“I’ll say it didn’t.”  He put his arm over her shoulders.  She snuggled in closer to him.  The lovemaking session today had been good for both of them.  How she had done without this kind of pleasure, without this sort of closeness, she would never know.  She thought, not for the first time, about bringing up marriage.  But she didn’t want to do that right in the middle of a project.  Afterward...well, they’d see what would be.

He wasn’t a bad man, either.  Certainly no Adonis, not like some of the actors or businessmen who had squired her about after the Zoners affair.  Van, for all his normalcy, had a charm about him she wouldn’t have caught at first.  He hadn’t tried to bed her for her star status, nor had he treated her like a goddess.  But once they were between the sheets...well, he did make her feel like a woman.

“Van?”

“What, Kara?”

“I hate to say this, but do you know what we’ve been doing has helped me?  When I play Lyla, that is?”

“Oh.  Nice little fringe benefit, eh?”

She kissed his neck.  “Not that I’m doing this for acting lessons.  But, well, now I understand a lot more of what Kal and Lyla had together.  I’ve been in love before, had my heart broken a couple of times, but I never went all the way.”

“Couldn’t prove that by me.”

Kara chuckled.  “You’re incorrigible.  Keep being that way.”

He lifted himself up from the pillow by his elbows.  “Kara.”

“What, Van?”

“We haven’t been approaching this picture just the way we should.”

She turned over and gave him a quizzical look.  “What do you mean?”

He sighed, ran his fingers thorough his hair, and turned on his back as well.  “We’ve been focusing so much on Lyla, because it’s your project.  But we still haven’t been thinking enough about what this means to Kal.”

“What?  I know what it meant to Kal.  He finally fell in love with a woman who could return his love.  Something he’d been wanting all his life, Van.”

“Yeah, that angle we’ve got covered.  But we haven’t done enough with another angle.”

“We’ve got the Destruction covered.  I’ve seen the script.  I helped work on it, remember?”

“That.  Isn’t.  It.”

Kara propped herself up on one elbow.  She knew it gave him a display of her breasts, but she hoped he’d keep his mind on business.  “So tell me.”

He sighed.  “Okay.  Suppose, just suppose, that your parents were really, really dead.”

She took in a deep breath. “For about two years, Van, I was certain they were.”

“I’m sorry, Karaish. Really, I am.  Forgive me?”

“Nothing to forgive, Van.  But go on.”

“Imagine your parents had been dead for twenty years or more.  You lost them when you were a kid.  But you have memories, artifacts to remind you of them.  About a year ago, you found the whole community of Kandor, and all those holotapes and records of your parents.  You’ve mourned the Destruction since your fourth birthday.  And now, through an act of Fate or Rao, you’re thrown back there, to the home of your childhood.  You know it’s going to blow up within four or five years.  You’re probably going to die there, unless you can change history.  You find the woman you could fall in love with, sure.  We’ve got that covered.

“But, Kara...what we don’t have covered is this.  You’re put in close contact with your parents, the ones you love most in the world, the ones you’ve mourned for all your life, your mother and father.  And you can’t tell them about it.  They’re your best friends, your co-workers, your advisors, but you can’t break down and tell them you’re their son.  You can’t ever call Jor-El ‘father’, or Lara ‘mother’.  If history keeps going the way it does, you might even have to see yourself be born.  What did that do to Kal-El, Kara?  What could that help but do to him?”

She was silent.

Van got up, grabbed his pants from a chair by the bed, and tugged them on.  She looked up at him.

“Where are you going?”

“To write,” he said, buckling his belt.

“Let me come with you.”

“You can help later, Karaish.  This one, I’ve got to do on my own.”

    -S-

(Scene: Outdoors, outside Jor-El’s lab.  Kal-El and Jor-El are standing outside.  Kal isn’t wearing his Superman suit, just a blue and red Kryptonian outfit and a lab coat.  Jor is in his regular red, green, and yellow outfit, also wearing a lab coat.  He’s carrying a rifle and has a pair of StereoSight goggles hung around his neck.)

KAL: Why a gun, Jor?  I’m not in favor of guns.

JOR: This isn’t just a gun, Kal.  Let me demonstrate.

KAL: The thing in your hand has a barrel, a trigger, and a stock.  To me, Jor, that differentiates it from a piece of pipe.

JOR: Obviously.

KAL: And you’re obviously going to shoot at something.

JOR: Obviously.

KAL: What?

(Jor takes off the StereoSight goggles and hands them to Kal.)

JOR: Here.  Put them on and look over that way.  

(He points.  Kal puts on the goggles and looks in the indicated direction. CUT TO: StereoSight view of a target, on a mountainside.)

KAL (voiceover): That?

JOR (voiceover): That.

(CUT TO: Sight of the mountain, without stereovision.  It’s miles away, on the horizon, and the target is only about a foot square.)

KAL (voiceover): You’re joking.

(CUT TO: Kal and Jor.  Jor, without saying anything, and without asking for the goggles, shoulders the rifle and fires.  Kal flinches a bit.  We see the projectile leaving the gun muzzle and flames coming from its backside.  It scorches a pathway through the skies, changing course, avoiding obstacles, and finally hitting the target and blowing it to pieces.  Hold on it for a few moments.  We then see the destroyed target on the mountainside through a stereo view.

(CUT TO: Kal looking through the goggles, Jor beside him, resting the gun butt against the ground and giving him a smug look.)

KAL: Great Rao.

JOR: Not bad aim, eh?

(Kal takes the glasses off and looks at Jor.)

JOR: Actually, that’s a prototype model.  A needle-missile with a homing device I worked on, with fuel formulated by Ken-Dal, one of my old professors.  A genius.

KAL: Yes.  Yes, I’ve heard of him.

JOR: The problem is, supplies are low.  He doesn’t have enough for what I want, Kal.  Not for what I need.

(Kal looks grim.  He knows what the answer’s going to be for the question he must ask.)

KAL: Tell me.

(Jor sits on the ground, the rifle between his knees, holding it as a prop.)

JOR: They’ll think I’m crazy, Kal-El.  You’d even think I’m crazy.  If only I were.  If only I could be, to a satisfying degree, uncertain.

KAL: About what, Jor?

JOR: (looking into Kal’s eyes, tiredly) Did you ever consider what it would be like to lose everything, Kal?

KAL: More times than I’d like to admit.

JOR: Not just a job or a, a romance.  To lose everything, Kal.  To lose the world.

(Kal sits on the ground across from him.)

JOR: I haven’t even dared speak to the Science Council about this.  But the quakes, Kal.  You know how bad the quakes have been, lately.

KAL: I know, Jor. Believe me, I know.

JOR: It’s not just normal crustal shifting.  Not this time.  The government’s concerned about life and property damage, but they’re not going far enough.  Not this time.

KAL: You think we’re in grave danger of—

JOR: In danger, yes.  The whole world, Kal.  It’s in danger, and they don’t know the extent of it.  My father, Kal, and his father before him.  They were both scientists, both polymaths.  The thing they impressed upon me, Kal, was this: we’ve known for over 100 years now that Krypton has a uranium core.  Imagine that, being compressed with all the force of a planet.  What causes the shifts and quakes, Kal, isn’t just normal geological shift.  Not always.  Sometimes...

(A long beat.)

JOR: Sometimes, they’re the indications of nuclear explosions.  Deep inside the world.

(Kal looking at him, steadfastly.)

JOR: Go ahead, call me insane.  I’d love to hear it, Kal.  That would make me feel more, more sane.

KAL (quietly): You’re not insane, Jor-El.

JOR: For millions of years, Kal, every man, woman, child, beast, and plant on this world, every rock, every river, everything in the sea and air and on the ground and under it, has been sitting on top of the greatest atomic bomb in creation.  We’ve known that, but we don’t really understand it.  But my grandfather, Kal...my grandfather knew.  He told my father, and my father told me.  He said, there’s only so many years that the mass of this planet will contain what it has at its core.  

(Slowly, Kal-El nods.)

JOR: Kal-El...Krypton is a doomed world.

KAL: I won’t let it happen.

JOR: What?

KAL: We can’t let it happen.

JOR: It will happen, Kal.  No way to dampen down the core.  We couldn’t get enough boring machines to do the job, even if we could create a carbon damper or any other kind that could take the heat and pressure.  Besides, any attempt to implant the rods would probably blow a borer to Sheol, manned by robots or not.  There’s no way to save Krypton.  No way.

KAL: But there is a way to save Kryptonians.

(Jor looks at him, surprised.)

JOR: You’ve been reading my mind?

KAL: I don’t have to, Jor.  The fuel, the guidance system, the needle missile.  You’re working on space travel.

(Jor considers him.)

JOR: Guess I’m not as inscrutable as I’d hoped.

KAL: We need an ark, Jor.  A space ark.

JOR: Just what I’ve thought, myself.  But we need a lot more fuel than what Ken-Dal has got.  Not enough supplies on Krypton.

(Kal puts his hand on Jor’s shoulder.)

KAL: Jor.  You can find more of it on Earth.

(Jor looks at him, astonished.)

JOR: You know about Earth?

KAL: I know a lot about Earth.  From studies, of course.

JOR: Amazing.

(Kal takes both of Jor’s shoulders in hand.)

KAL: Jor.  You’ve got to go to the Science Council and present your findings.  We need support on this, and we need it now.  You’ve got to go to Ken-Dal, show him plans for a space ark, and convince him.

JOR: Kal, building a space ark, even a prototype, would take years.

KAL: Not with robot labor, Jor.  I can help you build one.

JOR: We’ve got robots.

KAL: Not like the one I can build.  He can be the key.  A heavy labor robot like you’ve never seen before.  Listen, Jor.  A lot of them won’t believe you.  A lot of them will be too scared to believe you.  But some of them will believe.  If you’ll tell them, Jor.  You’ve got to tell them.  You’ve got to tell them!

JOR: Are you...uh, Kal, are you feeling...level?

KAL: I’m just as crazy as you are, Jor.  But we’ve got to be crazy enough to make this work.  You’ve got to do it, Jor.  For the sake of yourself, and Lara, and me, and Lyla.  And maybe...for...whoever comes afterward.

(Kal crushes Jor in an embrace.  Jor is nonplussed.)

JOR: You think I should try, Kal?

KAL: You have to try, Jor.  For you, and me, and Lara, and Lyla.  I’m not going to lose any of you.  I swear it.  I swear it.

(Shot from above of the two men embracing.  We catch it from an angle that shows us what we can’t see: Kal-El is shedding tears.)

    (next chapter)

(HOME)