Supergirl (Kara of Rokyn):

    Kal & Lyla

    Part 7

    by DarkMark


Van-Zee, in full Superman costume and makeup, leaned on the back of his chair and looked up at Kara.  “And just what do you think my cousin is going to think when he sees this picture?”

Standing across from him in the dressing room, Kara Zor-El took a breath and then said, “I’m hoping he’ll take it as the gift I intend it to be.  It’s a tribute to him, cousin Van.  I thought we agreed on that beforehand.”

“I know what I said,” Van replied, running his hands down his face.  “But this is going to be...you know what it’s going to be, Kara.  It’s going to rip up old wounds in his soul he’s had scabbed over for years now.  I just don’t think it’s right.”

“Van, you signed a contract to portray Kal.”

“We can void it.”

“We can, but I’m not going to let you.  We made an agreement, Van.”

“Dammit, Kara, I’m not suited for this!”

“You are!”  Kara grabbed him by the shoulders and shoved her face near his.  “You’ve been proving in every frame of this film that you can act as Superman.  Sheol, you’ve even convinced me, Van.  The money you’re making from this will fund your lab for the next ten years, at least.  We talked about Kal beforehand, Van.  Remember?”

“I remember,” said Van-Zee, sotto voce.

“Then what’s the problem?”

“I don’t want him to...”

What is the problem, Van?”  She almost shook him by the shoulders.  Van was stronger than she was, though, so she caught herself at the last moment.

“It’s Kal, and...it’s me.  It’s my wife.”  He gently removed her hands from his shoulders.

“Sylvia?”  Kara gave him a look.  “She doesn’t think we’re involved, does she?  For heaven’s sake, I can set her straight on that.”

“I feel as though I’m cheating on her,” said Van, flatly.  “There.  I’ve said it.  Does that satisfy you, Kara?”

She sighed and shook her head.  “Not a bit, Van.  What we’re doing here is make-believe.  Skilled make-believe, but make-believe nonetheless.  I’ve got a lover, you’ve got a wife.  How are you supposed to be cheating on her?”

“Because.  When I’m Kal...it’s not so easy to think as me, anymore.”

“And so it shouldn’t be.”  Kara moved nearer to him again.  “When you’re in that costume, you should be Kal.  But with a degree of control.  Have we ever really made love, Van?”

“You know we haven’t.”

“Good.  And do we ever intend to make love?”

“I don’t.”

“Neither do I.”  Kara eased away from him and sat in another chair.  “You know I wouldn’t let myself choose you.  Great Rao, Van, I’m a moral woman.  I may be having an affair with Van-Ol, but I’m not going to go to bed with a married man, much less my cousin.  What are you thinking?”  She paused.  “Is it guilt?”

He didn’t say anything.

“Van.  Is Sylvia concerned over any of this?”

“She hasn’t said so.  I mean...sometimes she wonders.”

“When does she wonder, Van?”  She paused.  “Wait.  I think I know when she wonders.”

“You do?”

“My Van knows when I’ve been in a lovemaking scene,” she said.  “He gets the benefit of it.”

She almost saw a sour smile at the ends of his mouth.  Kara continued, “So Sylvia gets the benefit as well?”

“It’s possible,” said Van-Zee.

Kara chuckled.  “Is that a bad thing?”

Van hesitated a long time.  “I’m attracted to you.”

“Oh.”  She gave him a dull look.  “As if I couldn’t have told that.”

“That makes me feel guilty.”

“I understand, Van.  But don’t you know something?  You’re doing all these love scenes with me, and you’re still remaining true to your wife.  Isn’t that a tribute to Sylvia?  To, for Zor’s sake, how much you love her, and she loves you?”

“I didn’t think of it that way.”

“Well, think of it that way, Van.  Look.  What we’re doing is art.  Nothing more than that.  I’m not really trying to seduce you, and you aren’t trying to bed me.  But if we can’t convince everyone who sees that movie that we’re Kal and Lyla, and we’re in love, we’re in big trouble.  The movie tanks.  And, Van?”

“Yes, Kara?”

She gave him her sincerest look.  “Without you—I don’t see how we can do the picture.  Really.  Please, Van?  For me?  And for Kal?”

A long pause.  “Kara, you missed your calling.  Instead of an actress, you should have been a saleswoman.”

Kara smiled.  “I never thought the two were exclusive.  Thanks, Van.  Now, let’s get ready for our next scene, okay?”

“I’ll be ready, Karavia.  I’ll be ready.”

    -S-

(Scene: Outside Jor-El’s laboratory.  Jor and Kal are looking up at a robot, which we only see in part from behind.  Jor is trying to make up his mind what to think of it.)

JOR: Well.  It’s...big.

KAL: Big.  Yes.

JOR: And expensive.

KAL: It was that, Jor.

JOR: And you realize the Council wouldn’t approve funds for more than one of these.

KAL: No.  They wouldn’t.

JOR: Can it do what we require?

KAL: Oh, Jor.  You know it’s got the strength.

JOR (looking disgusted): I know that, Kal.  But does it have the accuracy?

KAL: You have your measurer?

JOR (produces measurer light-rod from his lab coat pocket): Never leave the lab without it.

KAL: Good.  (Gestures towards robot) Robo...take that bar and bend it to an angle of precisely 73.1 degrees.

(We switch to a front shot of Robo, the huge robot created by Kal.  Yellow outer covering, jointed metal front-claws, electronic brain revealed by a plexiglass window in its head.  Robo picks up the heavy steel bar in one hand.  Jor-El looks on with some awe.  Kal stands with his hands folded.  Robo puts the other end of the bar in his other hand.  With a quick precise movement and a loud creak of bending metal, he bends the bar into a very precise V-shape.)

JOR: Father Rao and Mother Moon.

KAL (smiling): Aren’t you going to measure it, Jor?

(Jor steps up, stumbling a bit, towards the robot.  The bar is a little high for him to reach.  Kal nods.  Robo lowers the bar so that Jor can measure it.  He triggers the measurer and a beam of light splits, striking both ends of the bar.  Jor-El’s face shows surprise, but also vindication.)

JOR: Precisely 73.1 degrees.

KAL: Pree-cisely.

(Jor turns to Kal, quickly.)

JOR: A heavy industrial robot with this precision?

KAL: Is it what you wanted?

JOR: Is it fast?

KAL: We can get the framework done in three days.  

JOR: Three?

KAL: We’ll need a lot of little robots to help with precision work and for time-efficience, of course.

JOR: Of course, Kal.

KAL: We’ll also have a human crew supervising and doing the final tests pre-flight.

JOR: Undoubtedly.

KAL: The Space Ark should be ready, Rao willing and the Fire Falls don’t stop, within two weeks.

JOR (shaking head, smiling, chuckling): Incredible.

KAL: (hugs Jor) Incredible?  Never!  We’ll make it happen, Jor-El.  Both of us!

JOR (embarrassed, hugs him back): Oh, Kal, Kal.  How soon do you think we can get this thing to Kandor?

(Kal stiffens immediately.)

KAL: Kandor?

JOR: Why, yes.  Ken-Dal lives there.

KAL: He...yes.  Yes, he does.  But...

JOR: And he wants the Ark built there.  It’s a major population center, Kal.  You know that.

KAL: I don’t...I don’t know if that’s such a good idea, Jor.

JOR: Kal, he insists.  He’s very parochial about his city.  We build the Ark in Kandor, or Ken-Dal won’t play Ringball with us.

KAL: We can’t do it there, Jor.  

JOR: Why not?

KAL: Trust me.  We just can’t.  It’s not a good...the stars aren’t right for it.  I cannot build the Ark in Kandor, Jor.

(Jor stands apart from Kal-El)

JOR: Then the Ark cannot be built, Kal.

KAL: Jor...

JOR: Kal-El, I have money, but not enough for this.  The Council is barely voting us appropriations as it is.  They...well, you know some of them have murmured about my sanity.

KAL: You are not insane, Jor!

JOR: I’m also not without political rivals, Kal. (pause) If we build it in Kandor, Ken-Dal will see that we get the funds we need.  If not, our Ark sits without fuel.  Another monument to...to Jor-El’s cosmic folly.

(Long pause, Kal looking at Jor.)

KAL: We’ll have to work quickly.  Very, very quickly.

JOR (looking more optimistic): Then Kandor it is?

KAL: Let’s get Robo shipped to Kandor.

(Jor-El slaps Kal on the back.  Kal-El, his face turned away from Jor, has an expression as grim as stone.)

(NEXT SCENE: Lyla Lerrol, face-down on a table, covered over the hips by a cloth, but showing her legs, is getting a Vibro-Ray massage from an apparatus aimed at her back. [Note to property men: Get old issues of KANDOR MEDICAL WEEKLY from library and GET THIS THING RIGHT.  I don’t want to see a Viber that doesn’t fit in with the era we’re portraying.  Think nostalgia.  Or somebody will BE nostalgia. –Van.]  Jerra, a 30ish beautician, is operating the device at a desk and talking to Lyla.)

JERRA: So Kal is going to Kandor?

LYLA: We’re all going to Kandor, Jerra.  Me, Kal, Jor-El, and Lara.  I don’t have a picture scheduled for the moment and I want to be with him.  (Pause) Correction.  I will be with him.

JERRA: Must be quite a guy, Lyla.

LYLA: We fit well together.  (Closes her eyes.  We hear the thrum of the ray as it gently kneads her back.)

JERRA (slight smile): I’d say you do more than fit together.

LYLA: Jerra, dear.  There’s any number of Vibro-Parlors I can give my business to.

JERRA: Apologies, Tynth Lerrol.

LYLA: Accepted, Jerraish.  (Settles back down, contemplatively) Kal has...I don’t know...a quality I can’t quite define.  I’m not sure I want to.  Very good, very masculine, intelligent...

JERRA: If he can keep up with Jor-El, build a big robot, and trap a Doublion, yeah, I’d say he has something going for him.

LYLA (smirks): Oh, he does.  He does, and then some.

JERRA: Every inch a man, huh?

LYLA: Stop your filthy mind, Jerra.

JERRA: Oh, apologies, Tynth Lerrol.  I didn’t mean to...

(Lyla turns over, but we see her from over the shoulder.  Then we cut to a shoulders-and-head shot as she explains to Jerra.)

LYLA: I didn’t say inaccurate, Jerra.  I just said filthy.

JERRA (relieved): Oh.

(Lyla pulls the drapery over her, covering herself from breasts to loins, and lies on her back.  Jerra adjusts the ray and begins working on Lyla’s front.  Lyla sighs.)

LYLA: I don’t know what I’m getting into with him.

JERRA: I don’t imagine any woman does with any man.  Unless maybe he’s the Drygur Moliom.

LYLA: It’s not the usual, Jerra.  There’s so much mystery about him.  A lot he won’t tell me.

JERRA: Perhaps, if I might suggest it, Tynth, that you might be a bit...cautious.

LYLA (sighs, lying back): I should be.  The problem is, my heart’s in hyperdrive and my brain, as usual, has a hard time catching up.

JERRA: Welcome to the female sex, Tynth.

LYLA: You haven’t seen any pictures of him, have you, Jerra?

JERRA: You showed me one of him a few weeks ago.  Outside of that, Tynth, no.

LYLA: It’s strange, Jerra.  At first I didn’t notice it, because it was a while before I saw him with Jor.  But every time I see them together, I can’t help but notice...Kal looks like Jor.  He looks a lot like Jor.

JERRA: Are they related?  Same family name, and all.

LYLA: Kal says they aren’t.  He says that.  But...shut the machine off for a minute.

(Jerra shuts off the Vibro-Ray.  Lyla wraps the sheath about her and sits on the table, crossing her arms over her knees and putting her chin on them.)

LYLA: I’ve seen things, Jerra.  Things a woman would notice.  I’ve seen the looks he’s given Jor and Lara.  He tries to hide them, but...it’s as if there’s a sense of pain, sometimes.  Pain and great love.  That’s what I see.

JERRA: Just speculating, Tynth Lerrol—

LYLA: Call me Lyla.

JERRA: Just speculating, Lyla.  But could he be a black hynth-beast of the family?  Somebody from another branch they don’t know about?

LYLA (shakes her head): I doubt it.  The Els are pretty solid about their family.  Still, I don’t know.  He loves them both, Jerra.  More than either one of them know.

JERRA: More than Tynth El knows?

LYLA: I’m not certain about Lara.  She might suspect, but I don’t think she sees him the way I do.  (Pause) And keep any smart remarks to yourself.

JERRA: I wasn’t even thinking about that.  But from what you’ve told me, I know something else, Lyla.  (Pause) He loves you more than you know, too.

(Pause.  Lyla draws breath.)

LYLA: Yes.  I know.

(Jerra sits beside her on the bench.)

JERRA: So here you are, the love-goddess of the continent, and you’ve finally found a man who can make you moon over him.

(Silently, Lyla nods.  Jerra takes her hand.)

JERRA: I think that’s wonderful, Lyla.

LYLA: It is.  Wonderful and...and frightening.  That talk Jor has, about the Ark they’re building...he wants to go to another planet.  I don’t want to, Jerra.  I want to stay here.  My space exploring is just for the holos.

JERRA: Is Kal going?

LYLA: I don’t know.  I don’t want him to.

JERRA: Would you go with him if you had to?

LYLA (sighs): I don’t know myself.

JERRA: So you could live without him?

(Lyla covers her face with her hands and breaks down in tears.)

JERRA: Oh, Lyla, I’m sorry.  (Holds Lyla, comfortingly) I didn’t mean to do that.  Honestly, I apologize.  It’s not my place to ask such questions.  Really, it isn’t.

LYLA (through tears): Jerra.  Never fall in love.  Never, ever fall in love.  It’s the worst experience in the universe.

JERRA: Shhh, Lyla.  I understand.  I do.  Here.  Lie down, on your stomach, right here.

(She helps Lyla recline on the table.  Tears are still in Lyla’s eyes.  Jerra rolls up her sleeves.)

JERRA: Some things are too important to be done by high-tech.  That’s why Rao gave us a brain, and hands.

(Jerra begins giving Lyla a massage by hand.  It calms her, but Lyla still buries her face in the soft table covering.  We get a closeup of her face from the side, and she’s still shedding tears.)

    -K-

“Cut,” said Gro-Nas.

There was a rustling and loud breathing from the crew as things got back to normal.  Kara gave Tera For-Don, the woman playing Jenna, a big hug and got one back.  She wiped her eyes with her hands.  “Think it went good?”

Tera grinned.  “Honey, they’ll be talking about this massage scene for years.”

“If we ever get this thing wrapped,” put in the director.  “Good work.  Break for the night.  Get back up here in the morning at 0890.  Dismissed.”

Kara scooted behind some scenery and threw on a robe.  Van-Ol, Nar-Es, and Hira were on deck waiting for her.  Nar got to her first, scooping Van to lift her off her feet in a hug.  “Wonderful, Karaish.  Simply megamarv!”

“Put me down, Nar!” she squealed.  

“Just checking your weight, honey,” he deadpanned, and put her back on her bare feet.

“Oh, that’s not all he’s checking,” noted Hira.  “But I loved that scene, Kara.  Were those tears real?”

“They were,” she said.  “I’ve learned how to do that.  I just think of how it was when I had to go to Earth.”

Hira caught herself.  “I’m sorry, Karavia.”

“Don’t be,” she said.  “We’ve all gone through something.  Well, Van?”

He nodded.  “Fingers to the sky from me, Karaish.  I liked Van-Zee’s bit today, too.  I’m starting to think he plays off our Jor-El better than you.”

“Oh.  So you think we should change the title to Kal & Jor?”

“Nope,” said Van, handing her a small, flat Message Board.  “I think you should take a look at this.”

The Message Board only bore a heading, at present.  It was addressed to her.  The sender was the Life Records Department.  There was a space for her thumbprint.  Without a word, she placed her thumb on it.

The message portion of the screen revealed itself.

PLEASE CONTACT DIRECTOR MOR-WI AT YOUR CONVIENIENCE TOMORROW.  BLESSINGS ON YOUR HOUSE.

LRD SECRETARY BANTH

The other three had gathered around to read the message.  “What does it mean?” said Nar.

Kara took her time about answering.  “It means that maybe I’ll know what I need to know about Lyla Lerrol.  Maybe.  If I’m lucky.  Make a prayer circle, and pray that I do.”

So they did.

  (next chapter)

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