Future Shock (Part 2)(R)
David J. Duncan
April 2003


For notes & such, please see Part 1

Chapter 4 [New Krypton-Five hours after delegates' arrival]

Ror-El sat at his desk, pouring over the latest reports from the Kandorian Assembly of Elders. Taxes. They always want to raise taxes. With the dry season in the provinces, the farmers will never be able to raise the extra money. He sighed, recalling his debate with that body from the previous day. They forget that the Founders were farmers too.

"Ror-El?" a female voice asked.

"Yes, my love?" he wondered, turning to see his wife, Lara, enter the room. She was a petite woman of about five feet in height, tanned skin, and ruby red hair. In her arms, she carried a blanket-swaddled bundle.

"Please come to bed. It's almost twelve chimes, you know," she reminded him, swinging the bundle ever so slightly.

"In a few minutes. I want to make sure this tax bill is okay. Starting tomorrow, we have the preparations for Founders Day," he replied.

She rolled her eyes. "You know how I feel about the farmers. Ror-El, I agree with you, but you've been up late seven days in a row. Please...the people need their leader in good health. I need my husband in good health. And Chlana needs her father too."

He rose from the chair and walked over to her side. "All right," he agreed warmly, knowing he couldn't say no to her. He kissed his wife first on the cheek and then gazed caringly upon the pair of blue eyes staring up at him. "Love you too, Little One."

The four-month old infant gurgled happily at him.

He chuckled and kissed her little forehead. "Sleep well, my Princess."

Lara smiled. "You have a weak spot for her."

"And so do you," he countered playfully. "Trust me, Lara, nothing's going to happen."

At that moment, the claxons sounded in disagreement.

Hustling over to his wall intervid unit, he pressed a brown button and demanded into the speaker, "What is it? What's going on?"

"Sir, a cluster of Magog swarmships have entered the sector. Sensors are picking up on an enormous slipstream event as well," a frantic male voice reported.

"Raise the defenses! Get me a visual!" Ror-El ordered.

The unit's video screen snapped on, confirming his worst fears. The swarm ships would be in orbit within two chimes. Worse still, a planetary cluster...or what appeared to be a planetary cluster...approached.

Ror-El shook his head, cursing his own overconfidence. "Raise the energy shield now!"

"Sir, it won't keep the Magog out for long!" the intervid voice argued.

"Just do it," the leader rebutted. "I'll try to get a message to the Andromeda. Out." With that, he severed the connection.

"What is it?" Lara inquired.

"The Magog have found us. Just as Dylan feared they would," he noted.

"We can defend ourselves. The red sun doesn't take away our abilities," she argued. "Ror-El, we will hold them off as long as it takes."

He looked into his companion's eyes and saw the fire there. "Thanks. You have no idea how much I appreciate that."

"I think I do," she replied firmly. "We'll stand with you."

He nodded and walked into the next room. There, he found a supercomputer with a vidscreen and keyboard. On top of the screen, a camera could record everything. Turning the unit on, he sat down in front of it and requested, "Attention, Captain Dylan Hunt and the Andromeda Ascendant, this is Ror-El, the leader of Kandor's Council of Elders. We are under attack from the Magog. Please help. I repeat. We are under attack from the Magog and request assistance. Please help."

With that, he shut the unit back off and trudged back into the main chamber.

"Nobody will sleep now," his wife told him.

Staring at the energy field's orange glow in the night sky, he considered all of the possibilities. Finally, he pressed the intervid's call button again. "Rev Bem?"

"Yes?" the Wayist answered.

"The time has come. I'll meet you in the Grand Hall," Ror-El informed him.

"Very well. I shall be there. What about our guests?"

The leader replied, "As long as they are in the guest complex, they should be safe. I'll see you in a few minutes."

Just before he left for the emergency session, Lara advised, "Be strong." With that, she kissed him.

Ror-El managed a grim smile before departing the room. This is going to be some day.


[Two systems away]

The Andromeda Ascendant hovered above the world of Halthor. For the past two days, Dylan and the crew had assisted the planet with their defenses and food supply. Due to the recent Callderaan attacks and the extended drought, this task proved difficult. Yet with Dylan's ingenuity, Beka's shuttling things around in the Maru, and Rommie's flawless execution, the crew overcame the issues.

On the command deck, Dylan paced about, feeling anxious about something. Granted, the mission had gone smoothly. Within a few hours, they would be departing for Kandor to observe the signing of the regional Commonwealth charter.

All around him, the crew stayed busy. Off to his left, Trance Gemini, the medical officer, studied the display in front of her. On his right, Tyr Anassasi, the hulking Nietzschean weapons officer, inspected the weapons stores. Over at the slipstream controls, Beka Valentine and Rommie, the ship's android avatar, worked on the slipstream calculations for their next trip. Finally, Seamus Harper, the engineer, continued to work with the circuit relays beneath one of the crew stations.

"Dylan, what is it?" Rommie wondered.

"Oh, just a feeling," the captain replied.

"Or perhaps that sludge we ate planet-side is irritating that delicate stomach of yours?" Tyr gibed.

"No, this is intuition. Something you wouldn't know about, Tyr," Dylan chuckled. "You have to consider all of the possibilities before you just charge in."

That remark amused everyone on deck.

"I never charge right in on anything, Captain," the Nietzschean responded indignantly.

"Yeah right, Tyr," Beka disagreed. "How about that last run to Hopantow Drift?"

"And the supply run to the Torkipsi Nebula?" Rommie added.

The weapons officer flushed angrily. "All right! You've made your point."

"One should always consider the situation first, Tyr," Trance advised.

As if on cue, Andromeda's AI image flashed on the main screen. "Dylan, emergency communicade from Kandor."

"Kandor?" he queried. "We'll be leaving for there in a few minutes. What's up?"

"You need to see this," the AI commented. A second later, Ror-El's image came on screen. "Attention...Andr...meda....this...Ror-El of Kandor...We're under attack...Magog. Repeat...attack by Magog. Please...help...."

Tyr raised his eyebrow in amusement. "So, Dylan, do we just charge right in?"

Dylan sighed. "In this case, we don't have a choice. Kandor is the central Commonwealth world for that sector. Beka, how are we doing on those shipment runs?"

The blonde spacer reported, "I just made the last run twenty minutes ago. We're ready to go."

"Coordinates are all punched in," Rommie told him. "Just give the word."

"Let's go," the captain agreed.

Beka pushed a couple of buttons, dropping the slipstream controls into position. "Here we go, ladies and gents!" Grabbing the control sticks, she activated the Slipstream drive, sending them into the interdimensional space between galaxies.

"What's our ETA, Andromeda?" Dylan asked.

"Approximately one hour and twenty-five minutes. The Kandorian message was garbled. We can hope that their energy defense field had something to do with that," the AI noted.

"Or there's something else at work here, maybe?" Trance posed, shaking her head as if snapping out of a dream.

Dylan looked at her curiously. "Are you seeing something, Trance?"

She shrugged. "Maybe. I do know that we're heading for a big fight. And it's with more than a few Magog."

"Come on, Trance. We can take a few swarm ships," Harper doubted. "What could be so bad?"

The golden skin alien frowned. "You know better than to say that, Harper."

Tyr shook his head. "You saw the World Ship, didn't you?"

Trance nodded nervously. "Uh huh. And our dark glowing friend."

Harper winced, rubbing his stomach. "Oh crap!"

"Was there anything else, Trance?" Beka wondered.

She continued, "Our friends from the past. I saw them too, on the plain beside New Krypton. And...Dylan! That glowy thing attacks and...only one can stand up to him. Dark on dark. Anger on anger. Hate against rage. In that last stand, David Dubois will change and face the Spirit. Alone."

"We can't trust him!" Tyr argued.

"We may not have a choice," Beka countered, taking the sticks again and watching the clock tick down the last remaining seconds. "Okay, guys, I made up some time here! Coming out in 5...4...3...2...1. Now."

With a bright flash, the vessel reentered the physical universe to find itself in the midst of trouble. All around them, Magog swarmships streaked toward the planet's defenses, trying to punch through them. Some of the armada had detected their entry into the fracas and turned on them.

"Uh, Dylan! Nasty guys comin' in at 2:00 and 7:00," Beka advised.

"Tyr, fire missiles!"

"My pleasure," Tyr concurred, doing so. With pinpoint accuracy, he sent ten explosives into the fleet, taking out as many ships.

"Dylan, you might want to take a look at the monitor," Rommie stated as she fired another salvo.

The main screen activated, bringing up an image of space. In the background, they saw the Magog world ship approaching as well.

"Oh crap, crap, crap!" the engineer whined.

"Mr. Harper, get a hold of yourself," Dylan ordered, restraining his own nerves. "Can we raise the Council?"

"On screen," Andromeda noted.

The monitor showed the council chambers along with several very elderly Kandorians in long flowing robes arguing amongst themselves. At the front, Ror-El tried to calm them down. And in the midst of the debate, a familiar creature tried to intercede and find a compromise.

"What's Rev doing there?" Harper inquired.

"Ror-El asked him to be an advisor and consultant for understanding the Way," Dylan explained before speaking to the group. "Council of Elders, this is Dylan Hunt."

"Dylan, thank the Founders!" Ror-El expressed. "You see our situation?"

"We're in the middle of it. Is there a chance that you can open a window in the energy shield and let us through?" Dylan requested.

"It will have to be quick."

"We can do it," Beka agreed, sending the ship streaking toward the planet.

Ror-El worked the controls on his console. "You should see that opening now."

Sure enough, a dark black square appeared in the midst of the orange energy beneath them.

"Swooping in!" the first officer informed everyone as they dove through the field. "We're in!"

Within seconds, the square had sealed shut again.

"If you can land in your assigned place by the council hall, we'll meet you there. Out," the head elder concluded, signing off.


Several minutes later, the Andromeda touched down on the platform, allowing the crew to disembark. All around them, the city seemed eerily quiet despite the attack against the energy shield.

"I wonder where everyone is?" Trance inquired, looking at their surroundings.

"It's the middle of the night, Trance," Harper noted.

"I wouldn't be able to sleep with that racket up there," Beka groused, staring up toward the sky. Above them, she saw the bursts from the Magog swarm ships' guns and heard the impacts blossoming like the orange ralsham plant and booming like cannon fire.

"An air of security is needed to keep the people from being afraid, my friends," Ror-El assessed as he approached them.

"They would have to be fools not to fear the Magog," Tyr disagreed.

"True. But I would have them fight with their bare hands if necessary," the leader asserted. "We must preserve the heritage of our people. Certainly you can understand that?"

Trance and Beka glanced at each other.

Dylan smiled wryly, recalling how they had helped to save Clark Kent from the Rulgan Plague. During that trip, they had helped the young man discover his roots. In addition, the "Founders"-he and his wife, Lana-were joined onboard the Andromeda. "I think we know better than anyone could, Ror-El."

"Indeed you would, my friends," Rev agreed, approaching them. "My heart sings at the sight of you all." Giving each of his former crewmates an embrace apiece, he bade, "Welcome to Kandor."

"Thanks, Rev. Sorry we couldn't be here at a better time," Dylan replied.

"Nonsense. The Divine brings companions together to endure the abyss together," the Magog priest told him. "We who have faced the World Ship before know what awaits us. However, it seems that things are happening in the past as well."

Trance nodded.

Rommie looked back at her bigger self as she accessed the historical archives onboard. "Rev's right. The Magog attacked Earth in the past once again."

Ror-El stared at her. "Impossible! Where?"

"Smallville. They were after the Founders," the avatar reported.

"No! Nothing can happen to them!" Ror-El denied.

A wry smile crossed the robot's face. "No. They met their match with the Community of Tolerance."

Tyr frowned. "You mean they ran into him, didn't they? It figures."

"Tyr, do not judge David too harshly. As I recall, you've provoked him on several occasions," Rev Bem admonished. "My brethren have that effect on him."

"Yeah, imagine what the Spirit would do to him," Beka pondered, grinding her teeth at the thought.

"Mmm, yes. That would be interesting to watch. Two reflections in a dark mirror. Would the light persevere?" the Wayist pondered.

One particularly powerful burst echoed off of the shield and shook the city.

"Two or three more like that and our shield will give way," Ror-El realized. "Still, I need ideas. Our fleet can defend us for a while against the swarm ships. However, against the Magog World Ship-what can we do?"

Harper scratched his head and grinned. "Hey, I have an idea! Why don't we let them face off?"

"What?" Beka criticized. "Harper, you've lost it!"

"Hey, Boss, do we know anyone else who might be able to take that black glowing thing? Besides, his buddies have experience dealing with those creeps. No offense, Rev," the Earther pointed out.

"None taken, Harper. Quite all right," the priest told his friend.

"And what about the students? Aren't we disrupting things by telling them who we are?" Ror-El inquired.

"They know already that they are the parents of a new Kryptonian race," Trance indicated.

"We could go back to Earth and ask them for help," Harper suggested. "Come on, Dylan, can I go?"

The captain sighed. "I really shouldn't, but all right. Ror-El, does that time portal invention of yours work yet?"

The leader assured them. "It is ready. But which year do we go to? Our records aren't that precise."

"Oh, I think we can get it close," Beka surmised. "Let's get in there."


Ten minutes later, they stood in the lab, watching as the leader warmed up the time machine.

"Andromeda, can you put the date in?" Ror-El requested.

Rommie accessed her memory database before pressing the buttons. "June 23, 2005. Smallville, Kansas, United States, Earth."

Having received the needed input, the machine's panel lit up. In front of the group, the wall space within the metal frame glowed. Slowly, the devastated downtown of Smallville came into focus.

"Our boy's handiwork, I trust?" Tyr gibed.

"More than likely, it was defensive in nature," Trance rebutted. "Okay, Harper's going. We need to pick maybe three others as well."

Dylan nodded. "You, Harper, Rommie, and Rev should go, Trance. Remember, we need you back here ASAP."

"What happens if they get stuck back there?" Beka inquired.

"Cybelle can help us, I'm sure," Trance supposed. "Come on, everyone, let's go."

Rev looked up at the sky. "May the Divine bless this trip." With that, he vanished through the door.

Trance smiled and waved before stepping through the gateway.

Harper took a deep breath before following. Earth pre-Magog, pre-Nietzschean, here I come!

Finally, Rommie calmly assured the others. "We'll be back soon." With that, she stepped through the door and disappeared.

Dylan, Beka and Tyr looked at each other anxiously, hoping for the best.


Chapter 5 [Luthor Castle-Smallville]

Lex hung up the phone and shook his head. The repair bills are going to be murder. Fortunately, Dave's 'mask and run' kept anyone from recognizing us. Also, Sebastian managed to keep the damage to a minimum too.

"Hey, Lex, are you okay?" Chloe wondered as she entered the study.

"Main Street's a disaster area and you ask me if I'm okay?" he groused.

"It's not our fault that we were attacked by aliens," she argued, trying to reassure him. "It could have been worse."

"Yeah, we did contain them," he replied. "Still, Dave was pretty obvious out there."

"When he lapses, he really doesn't care," she surmised. "Anyhow, we got off lucky for the most part with only a few cuts and scrapes."

Seeing what we were up against, we should be grateful for such favors. "Those things had sharp claws," he said, pointing to the bandaged area on his left arm.

"Guess you didn't shake 'em up enough, huh?" she teased as she leaned over and kissed the spot. "Does that feel better?"

He smirked and kissed her on the cheek. "Much better." With that, he kissed her again passionately. "Thanks, Chloe. Being married to you does have its perks, doesn't it?"

"You bet it does," she asserted, giving him a warm smile.



Dave sat on the leather couch, inspecting himself.

According to Angie, he had been lucky. This time, he hadn't cracked any ribs. With her healing talent, she had closed all of the gashes and wounds. Still, as with Lex, he knew that it was a close call. Squaring off with four hundred Magog, and all we get are a few scrapes. That's damn good. However, he knew that the invaders wouldn't quit with that failure. Why were they here? And why were they so unnerved by the Child? Before he could come up with the answers, he sensed Mutant X's presence. "Adam? Guys?"

["Dave?" Emma asked telekinetically.]

["In the sitting room," he replied.]

Angie glanced over from where she was treating Samantha's leg. "What is it?"

"Emma. The others are here," he told her, getting up.

At that moment, Adam entered the temporary triage area. "Is everyone all right?" he wondered.

"Only a few bumps and bruises, Dr. Kane," Clark replied.

"Professor Dubois took the worst of it," Lana added. "Sorry about the snap call, guys."

"Judging from what we saw on the way in, we can see why," Emma assured her.

"Man, what happened?" Brennan inquired.

"I told you-she said aliens," Max informed him.

"Yeah right, little green men did that," the electrical mutant scoffed.

"Actually, they're brown, hairy, with teeth, claws and an attitude," Dave explained. "They're called Magog."

"Magog?" Jesse asked.

"That's what they are," Angie agreed. "We've faced them twice before."

"Where's Lana? Is she all right?" Shalimar wondered.

"She's at the Talon, giving a slightly altered account to the police," Clark reported. "I'm worried if those creeps go after her. They could sneak in there while we're here."

"They won't sneak past us, trust me," Dave assured him. "Emma and I can feel them. Besides, my dark half is drawn to them like a magnet. Still, why here and now?"

"Let's worry about that later," Adam urged. "Right now, we need to deal with the immediate situation."

"Lex is on the phone right now about that," the medievalist replied. "Fortunately, it was early enough that most people weren't in town yet."

At that moment, Clark's cell phone went off. "Hi, Lana?"

"Hi, Clark. Say can you all get down here? Some other friends have dropped by to talk with us," his wife reported anxiously. "You know from our trip?"

He nodded. "Dr. Kane just arrived with the others. I'll be there as soon as I can."

"What's up?" Brennan wondered.

"We have some visitors at the Talon. Professor Dubois, can you get there?" Clark requested.

Dave stood up and created a portal. "Adam, can you guys come too? Just in case."

"Absolutely," the geneticist concurred. "Let's go."

"Deirdre, be ready in case we need back up," Dave stated as he opened the portal. "Bus is leaving."

With that, he, Clark and Mutant X vanished, leaving Angie, Deirdre and the students to wonder what was going on now.


Chapter 6 [Talon-Fifteen minutes earlier]

Lana slumped into a booth and looked around at the restaurant. All things considered, they had been fortunate. The attack had left the walls and paneling largely untouched. The bar and about a third of the tables were damaged. The former held a huge crack from where the Professor had smacked into it. The damaged furniture was reduced to kindling. Most notably, the debris from the front windowpane was scattered across the floor. Fortunately, Cybelle and Genaria got the bodies out of here. And at least, Miri and I are okay. Thankfully, Kayla protected us.

The sheriff had questioned her for twenty minutes about the situation. However, after a brief write up and an advisory to be more careful, she departed, leaving Lana to sit in the mess.

Lana glanced through the open space out onto the street and sighed. "If there was any doubt about aliens, I guess that's gone now. Chloe'll get a lot of Wall of Weird material out of this one." She drank her coffee down and got up to pour another. About halfway to the coffeemaker, she saw a bright light flash from the storeroom. "Now what?"

"Wow. What a trip," a male voice remarked.

"Now, Harper, take it easy," a female voice responded. "We just need to see where we ended up."

"According to my calculations, Trance, this is the Talon," another voice advised.

Trance? Harper? Could it be? The dazed co-owner moved toward the door to the back room. "Hello?" she asked, gingerly opening it and peering inside. There, she saw her friends from the Andromeda and one of the invaders. "Trance, Andromeda, is that you?"

The avatar smiled. "Yes, Lana, it's us. Well, Harper, Trance, Rev, and myself." Seeing their friend's unease on her face, Rommie continued, "He's with us."

"My name is Rev Bem," Rev introduced.

"Y...you're like them," Lana gasped while reaching out and shaking his paw. "Sorry, but I'm still digesting what happened."

"It's all right, Lana," Trance assured her. "Rev isn't like the other Magog."

"I serve the Way," the priest informed her. "But time is short."

"Umm, the others were here, but they left. I had to deal with the authorities without raising suspicion," Lana explained. "What's going on?"

"We have an emergency and could use everyone's help," Rommie declared. "Can you reach them?"

"Sure," Lana agreed, taking out her cell phone. "Why don't you all take a seat out front? Well, hang on, Rev Bem." She hurried over to the cooler and brought back the remaining parka from it. "This looks about your size. Sorry, but I don't want anyone seeing you after what happened."

"That is quite understandable, Lana. Thank you," Rev accepted, putting on the parka and pulling the hood over his head.

After the visitors sat down, she brought them some coffee. "I hope you folks drink coffee. That's all I have...since well, the place is the way it is."

"Hey, thanks!" Harper replied, fixing his cup with milk and lots of sugar.

Lana dialed Clark's number.

"Hi, Lana?" he answered.

"Hi, Clark. Say can you all get down here? Some other friends have dropped by to talk with us," his wife reported anxiously. "You know, from our trip?"

He concluded, "Dr. Kane just arrived with the others. I'll be there as soon as I can."

She hung up and pulled a seat from the flotsam around them. "They should be here quickly."

As if on cue, the mists formed just off to their right, congealing into a doorway. From it, Clark, Dave, and Mutant X stepped into the restaurant.

"Lana, is everything okay?" Clark worried.

"Everything's fine, I guess," his wife assured him. "How's everyone doing at the mansion?"

"We're okay-all things considered," Dave reported before asking their friends, "What's going on?"

"Remember when I mentioned that we may need your help with a Magog attack?" Trance asked.

"Yeah, I do. Don't tell me...." The medievalist winced.

"We just fought them this morning here," Clark informed them.

"Yeah, we can see that," Harper remarked, looking at the damage surrounding them.

"A world is under attack, my friend. It seems my brethren wish to destroy Kandor and the Commonwealth's hopes for that sector of space," Rev explained.

Adam shook his head. "I really don't want to send my people into a war zone like that."

"Adam, they wouldn't be asking if they could handle it," Emma pointed out.

"Can't the Andromeda handle it?" Brennan inquired.

"A few swarm ships, I can handle. But I don't have a chance against the Magog's World Ship. We need allies, especially those who are experienced in fighting against the Magog," Rommie commented.

"Umm, Rommie, should we tell them?" Harper inquired.

"About what?" the android asked. "Oh that. Well, Clark, Lana, this world is of special significance to you both."

"The prophecized Kryptonian race?" Lana wondered.

"Exactly," Trance agreed. "They are your descendants."

Lana shook her head. Despite the fact that I don't want to face those creatures again, we have no choice now. "Clark, we have to help them."

"Right. They're family. Besides, I'm not about to let you go without me," her husband agreed, embracing her.

"And don't forget about the rest of us," Dave declared.

"There is one problem, however," Rommie broached. "Clark, Kandor's sun is red."

The Kryptonian wondered, "How can I help then? I won't have any powers!"

Dave scratched his head, thinking of possible solutions. Then an idea hit him. "There may be a way. Adam, do we have any of that sun block you developed for Byron?"

"I can get it. Why?" Adam asked.

"Maybe Clark can use it to block out the red sun's effects," Jesse noted, picking up on Dave's line of thought. "Adam, that's not a bad idea."

"It might work," Shalimar chimed in. "Still, nothing's that good."

"If it can let Byron walk around in the mid-day sun in Tucson without freaking out, I'm sure it can help Clark. Still, we may need Chloe to work with us," Adam contemplated. "And since it is this important, we'll help too."

"The others are back at the mansion," Clark pointed out. "Professor Dubois, can we get them back here?"

"I don't see why not," the medievalist concurred. "Let's make this work." Opening the portal, he told them, "I'll be back. Meantime, can you...um...cover that window? We don't want folks seeing us here."

"We'll work on that," Clark promised.


A short time later, Deirdre led Gabrielle, Eve and the other students back through the portal into the battle zone. By that time, Clark and Lana had managed to sweep the area clean.

"Where are Professor Dubois, Xena, and Martin?" Clark asked.

The priestess replied, "The Faerie Empress is meeting with them and Kayla in Ruthwen as we speak. She has asked that you, Lana, and the Reverend please accompany me back there."

"Uh, we don't have time for meetings right now," Harper interjected. "Kandor is being attacked, remember?"

"I have to agree with Harper. The longer we stay here, the greater the danger to the city will be," Rommie pointed out.

"Trust me, you don't refuse a conference with the Faerie Empress," Gabrielle informed their friends. "Speaking of which, she's waiting for you in the throne room."

"So we wait here in the meantime?" Trance inquired.

"No," Gabrielle explained. "For now, I will coordinate with Adam and Eve to lead us. Cybelle and Deirdre will insure that the others join us at the right time."

"Good luck, guys. Tell everyone we'll be there as soon as possible," Lana expressed.

"Yeah, don't keep us waiting too long, Lana," Chloe insisted. "We'll need all of the help we can get."

"We'll try," Clark assured the reporter, giving her a hug before escorting his wife and Rev Bem into the mists.

"Now for us," Rommie stated, walking back into the storage area. There the portal back to Kandor awaited them. "Come. We have to let Dylan know what's happening and hold the line until the others get there."

The students disappeared into the glowing light one by one.

Then the Andromeda's crew, Mutant X, and the Amazons followed right behind them, leaving the Talon and the battle scene behind for a bigger one brewing in the future.


Chapter 7

The Faerie Empress speaks...

As the two sides come together for war, I can see that our efforts to preserve the future teeter upon the razor's edge. Everyone must be true to themselves and their respective roles. However, the question remains:

How will the young students react in the face of total war? Granted they've fought battles before, but this confrontation will be their first taste of conflict on a grand scale.

And how will David Dubois deal with his feelings against the Magog and their master? Granted, he will change...that is inevitable. I wonder how the Child will react in the face of one who is his own dark reflection. How badly will the city be damaged by their struggle? While I don't relish such a gamble, David's resolve will be tested as leader, king, and professor as never before. Our success hinges on his own.


[Council Chamber, Halls' End, Ruthwen]

Dave sat on the throne, shaking his head. Geez. When Ferali said these guys were impossible, he wasn't kidding. For the past half hour, the elvish and human representatives had debated over the virtues of supporting the Kandorians.

"Excuse me," he interjected, breaking into the conversation.

"Do you mind?" the head delegate, a gaunt elf with snow-white hair, retorted.

Ferali growled, "He is your king! You will not address him like that!"

"He's a nice figurehead. You both were foisted on us. As if you had any power," the insolent representative scoffed.

Dave glared at the representative body in front of him. "Oh trust me, you never want to piss me off." He allowed himself to change.

The Child smiled wickedly and unleashed a dark blast, scoring the far wall. "Now git this straight cuz Ah ain't gonna say it 'gain! Don't mess with me. Got it? 'Wise ya'll see our power. Now clamp it."

"You can't force us into a war that has nothing to do with us!" another representative yelled.

"Bad enough, we had to pay for your friends' party, but this too?" a third delegate spat.

The gnome turned to his honor brother. "I told you so."

The Child sniggered, "Guys, Ah wanna ask ya'll somethin'. Where were ya'll when we whupped Lousain?"

"We don't fight. That's for the common soldiers," the first elf said disdainfully.

Ferali's face turned red. "Why you insolent...!"

"AH SAY 'NOUGH!" the Dark One bellowed, stepping between the regent and the delegates. "Lissen up. We ain't here to talk 'bout this! 'Sides, if our buddies didn't help us, we'd be dead. But ya'll wouldn't know that cuz ya'll were sittin' here bullshittin' while yer king died!" Seeing the others remain firm, he continued, "Ah'm goin' to represent our place here an' help our friends!" With that, he stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

"What a pompous ass," one of the delegates cracked.

Ferali snarled, "None of you have the right to say that! Since you don't have anything intelligent to say, this meeting is adjourned!" Grabbing his axe, he stalked out and left the bureaucrats to themselves.


In the banquet hall, Kayla and Martin looked around with wonder at the splendor surrounding them.

"I thought you said he was a college professor?" she asked.

"He's both a professor and a king," he replied.

She glanced at Clark and Lana who sat quietly in the corner. "And this is where you celebrated your wedding?"

"The banquet portion. This is Professor Dubois's castle," Lana explained.

"Let's hope that those politicians listened to him," Xena interjected moodily, pacing about the room. Hearing Dave's footsteps tromping toward them, she winced. "Crap."

"What?" Clark asked, not knowing what to expect.

The door swung open, allowing the Child to stomp into the area and throw himself onto the throne angrily.

"David, what happened?" Rev inquired.

"Na Big Brother!" the Child snapped tersely. "Git that straight!" Then he ranted on, "Fools don't 'member! Ah and ya'll helped 'em. Now they don't wanna return the favor!"

"Figures," Xena groused. Seeing Ferali rush into the room, she queried, "Do I want to know what happened?"

"No. They're still mad that the generals went off to help us before," the gnome replied, heading for the throne.

"So what do we do now?" Lana wondered.

"We still fight. That's what!" the Child retorted. "Ah can't force 'em not to be yellah. But Ah'm still fightin'!"

"I'll see what I can do here," Ferali assured him. "Look, why don't you let David back out? There isn't much more you can do here."

He nodded and forced himself to relax, starting the change.

A minute later, Dave took several deep breaths and looked around. "Ungrateful idiots. All of them," he sighed, rubbing his head.

Kayla inquired, "David, are you all right?"

"Not really, but thanks," he sighed. "Sorry, I guess His Darkness got carried away."

"Considering neither of you hurt anyone, we should count ourselves lucky," Ferali assessed. "Still if you had gone after them, I wouldn't have blamed you."

"That wouldn't have accomplished anything," Rev argued.

"I agree," a familiar voice concurred. In the corner, the Faerie Empress entered the chamber from her own portal. Seeing everyone bow, she quickly raised them with a motion of her hand. "David, you don't need to bow to me here."

"It is out of respect, Milady," the king declared.

"Indeed. It's good to see that your wits are about you. Thank you for staying the course. That goes for your Other as well. Patience will be key here," the elf queen told him. "Even without their intervention, you will still need to hold the line against the Magog and their dark master."

Clark sighed, "I'd rather that Lana stayed here."

"Clark!" his wife snapped. "You aren't going there without me. We're in this together or not at all! Remember that!"

From where he sat in the corner and observed the proceedings, Grimwilkin smiled. She wants to play a role too. It is sad that the politicians don't have the stomach for their duty as she does. Well said, Lana. Well said indeed.

Seeing in her eyes that she wouldn't be deterred, he relented, "I just want you to be safe. I won't stop you from fighting if that's what you want. I love you."

She smiled and hugged him. "I know that, Clark. But I'm not made of glass. I have my powers to help me."

"But you won't, Clark Kent," Grimwilkin piped in.

"I'll figure something out," Clark replied, not comfortable with how the discussion had shifted 180 degrees.

"Indeed," the Empress agreed, producing a vial. "Hold still. Lana, step back if you would." When Lana had done so, she approached Clark and sprinkled the contents of the container over him. For a couple of minutes, the air sparkled about him. When it had stopped, she added, "There! Now it won't matter."

"What did you do?" Xena queried.

"The sunlight won't affect him now. Even under the red sun, he will have his powers," the Faerie Empress declared.

"Thank you," Clark expressed.

"Since you serve the Light, no thanks are needed. Fight well," she advised. "It's now time to join your friends." With a wave of her hand, she transported the others away from there, leaving only the wizard, regent and herself behind.

"Do you think this will turn out well?" Grimwilkin wondered.

"Win or lose, the battle will have consequences. We just hope that they can be controlled," the Faerie Empress stated.

"And I will keep trying to find help. If you will both excuse me," Ferali noted, bowing slightly before leaving the room.

In the lingering taper light, the two remaining figures continue to brood for a while and would for a while longer yet.


Chapter 8 [Ror-El's residence, New Krypton]

Dylan shook his head. In the just-completed transmission from Commonwealth Central Command, the delegate in charge informed them that every ship was tied up and it would be two days before they could get there. "This sucks!" the captain exclaimed angrily, throwing his hands in the air.

"I thought we mattered to the Commonwealth," Ror-El muttered.

"You do," Beka stated. "Let's just hope our friends get something."

At that moment, a mist portal appeared.

"What in Krypton's name?" the leader inquired.

"Our friends have appeared," Tyr remarked dryly.

From the doorway, Rommie, Harper and Trance reentered the room. The latter urged, "It's all right, everyone."

Behind them, the students, Gabrielle, Eve and Mutant X stepped into the area. Finally, Deirdre sealed the portal behind them.

"Amazing! The old myths are true concerning the priestesses," Lara expressed in surprise.

"They are a considerable force in their own right," the Amazon queen concurred.

"Welcome to New Krypton, everyone. I am Ror-El, the leader here. Thank you all for coming. Which of you are the Founders?" Ror-El greeted.

"Founders?" the students chorused.

Rommie shook her head. "They mean Clark and Lana. No, Ror-El, they aren't here yet."

"They'll be here soon along with Professor Dubois," Chloe pointed out.

Dubois? He'll be here too? He sighed and looked out the window toward the orange energy field.

"And what's your problem with Dave?" Emma wondered.

"Our histories tell of his rampages. Bad enough we have to deal with the Magog. How will we control that demon child of his?"

That remark charged the air in the room.

"My uncle's not a demon! How dare you?" Miranda challenged.

"I would be inclined to agree with him," Tyr interjected.

"Yeah and you're the most enlightened person in the known universe? I think not!" Deirdre spat, staring into the hulking Nietzschean's eyes. "You who have provoked him in the past have no right to speak like that!"

Tyr snickered. "Go home, little girl, before I have to teach you some manners."

"Uh, Tyr, I wouldn't say that," Trance advised, sensing the priestess's true nature.

"Oh be quiet. We have little time for your cryptic riddles, as well as her idle assessments!" the weapons officer spat.

Deirdre fumed, allowing her eyes to turn bright red. "Stupid braggart!" Around her, a corona of white light appeared and she seemed taller than she was. The lights dimmed in the room. "You have no idea of what you are saying!" Waving her hand, she sent him flying backward, pancaking him against the far wall. "When he arrives, you will not agitate my father! Am I clear?"

The weapons officer pulled himself away from the wall and pointed his gauss gun at her.

"Tyr! Stop this!" Dylan ordered.

He fired anyhow.

The priestess waved her hand again, firing a pulse, which destroyed the projectile in midair. "Fool!" She pointed at him, sending a powerful electrical charge at him.

The shock melted the weapon and burned his hands before he could drop it.

"I SAID AM I CLEAR?" Deirdre snarled.

"I will not forget this," Tyr threatened.

"Tyr, stand down now!" Dylan yelled, jumping in between them.

Tyr retreated to the corner, glaring at the priestess.

She simply warned him, "Be careful, Nietzschean, the next time, I might hit some other things of greater worth to your miserable being. Granted, they are miniscule, but I'm an excellent shot." Turning to Ror-El, she continued, "And as for you, my father has enough to worry about. Please do not insult him. He is coming to help you, not side with the Magog. He has dealt with a great deal in his life."

"He will not harm us?" Ror-El asked.

"No, he won't," Lex assured them.

"Then you have my apologies."

Deirdre smiled. "Thank you and sorry about the display. I am very protective of my parents." With that, she returned to normal and the lights came on again.

He nodded in understanding. Then glancing at Lex and Chloe, Ror-El did a double take. "Lex and Chloe Luthor?"

"Well, Chloe Sullivan-Luthor actually," the reporter corrected. "Why?"

"You're my daughter's namesake...well, one of them," Lara told her, approaching with the bundle. "I'm Lara, by the way, and this is Chlana."

Chloe's eyes lit up as she waved at the little face. "Hi there! And how are you?"

"Oh brother," Lex laughed.

She elbowed him in the side. "Hey! I'm having my moment here, Luthor. Do you mind?"

The others congregated around her and the little one to see the moment.

Then the others arrived in a flash of light.

"There you are," Adam said. "Where did you go?"

"We took a side trip to Ruthwen," Dave told them. "The Faerie Empress wanted to see us. I was also hoping to get some support troops to assist here."

Miranda crossed her arms and stared knowingly at Ror-El.

The head elder asked, "Did you...well...succeed?"

"Unfortunately, no," Xena replied. "His ministers seem to have short memories where war is concerned."

"Sounds like our cohorts in the Commonwealth," Beka added sarcastically.

"What? They'll be here, won't they?" Harper inquired.

"They won't be here for two days at least," Dylan informed them.

"Looks like it's just us," Max assumed. "Terrific."

"How much longer can that shield hold up?" Adam asked.

Walking over to the computer display, Ror-El told them, "There are spots in the shield that are down to about thirty percent. I'd say we only have four hours before they burst in."

"Are the people evacuated?" Rev wondered.

"I was about to give the order. Those who wish to fight can stay, but the women and children should leave," the Kandorian leader noted.

"How much fighting experience do they have?" Gabrielle asked.

"None unfortunately. We do have a small fleet of about fifty ships. Only five of them are warships."

"That's it? A place like this with no defenses? What's the matter with you?" Xena snapped.

"The Commonwealth has protected us for the most part. During the Long Night, we weren't considered much of a threat and didn't face any trouble until now," Ror-El explained.

"The Magog are everyone's problem," Dave declared, looking at the sky. "They are up there."

"Did you need your vaunted senses to tell you that?" Tyr inquired.

["That's it! Ah'm gonna whup 'im!" The Child growled inside of the medievalist's head.]

"No. Your crewmates told me that. Besides, with due respect to Rev Bem, I can smell Magog spoor at ten paces, Ünter!" the professor retorted sharply. "Just stow it, Anassasi. We have enough real issues to deal with right now." He surveyed the orange-tinged skyline, seeing flashes of yellow in it. "Your field's weakening pretty quickly. Evacuate the city. Once the field gives way, the Magog are going to take a shot at us." He stared at one particular spot. "It's here!"

"What?" Emma queried, sensing a connection between him and something else. "What's going on? There's something up there. I can feel it."

"What are you getting at?" Brennan asked.

"The source of the Magog's hate is there," Dave hissed darkly, smiling wickedly. "Ah...I...can feel it!"

"Is that true?" Adam inquired of Dylan.

"The World Ship is up there," the High Guard officer agreed.

"Along with the Spirit of the Abyss," Rev Bem added.

"Finally, that cowardly piece of crap shows its face!" the medievalist snarled, rubbing his shoulder. The shard was glowing, giving off dark light.

Lara glanced nervously over at him. As with Emma, she was psychic and could feel his moods shifting. "I think Chlana needs changing. Excuse me."

Dave shook his head and sat down.

Emma shuddered. I can feel the Child's anger surging inside of him. The intense hate from whatever's up there is feeding him.

Suddenly, a piercing shriek split the air, causing the assembled group to wince in pain.

Then the banshee scream echoed above the din.

"What is that?" Samantha wondered, clamping her hands over her ears.

"It's the Spirit calling to the Magog...and it's a challenge," Rev noted.

"To the Child," Dave hissed, glaring at the sky. "And that was his response. It won't be long now."

Ror-El nodded, looking across the room at Clark and Lana. "Since you are the Founders, the decision is yours."

"Huh?" Clark wondered.

"He means that...I guess...we're like the grandparents, so we make the decision," Lana explained.

"I don't know. I would listen to Xena and the Professor about this stuff," the Kryptonian assumed.

"Right. Xena?" Lana inquired, deferring the question to the Warrior Princess.

"Do what David said earlier, Ror-El, evacuate the city," Xena concurred.

"Meantime, assemble every trained pilot down in the hangar to meet us. Rommie, can you lead the fleet against the swarm ships?" Dylan requested.

"I can. As long as we can keep the World Ship at bay," the avatar replied. She walked over to the computer and accessed the Kandorian central computer grid. After scanning the database, she grinned. "Dylan, I have some good news for you. Ten of my brothers and sisters are here!"

"You're kidding, right?" Harper wondered. "They had ten ships like you and didn't even know it?"

"Ror-El, how long has it been since those ships have seen action?" Dylan inquired.

"I'd say fifteen years at least. Again, we only use them for ceremonial functions and such. However, I do have access to a weapons stockpile nearby that I thought we would never use again. I suppose we could have them armed in a couple of hours once we get the arms back here," the Kandorian head commented.

"We can get that stuff to each ship," Dave told him. "Rommie, can your counterparts tell us or the workers on the ships how to load the weaponry?"

"Of course," the android indicated. "I will tell the other A. I.'s to expect the teleportation sequences."

"Thank you," the professor expressed, gritting his teeth. Now if I can just keep from changing.

[Don't ya'll worry 'bout that. Since ya'll are doin' somethin' destructive, Ah'll let ya'll keep control fer now.]

[Gee thanks a lot.]

[Hey, Smart Ass, Ah'm tryin'! 'Kay?]

The medievalist sighed and looked around the room. The other telepaths and empaths looked at him with smiles. "What?"

"Nothing," Emma chuckled. "It's good to see that you two are on the same page for once."

"He's spoiling for a fight as always. I'm helping to get ready for it. Enough said," Dave told her, opening a portal. "Come on, time's a wasting. Clark, give me a hand please?"

"Right," Clark agreed, stepping into the portal.

"Kids, I need you all to go with Tyr, Harper, and Trance to the weapons depot. Deirdre, can you bring them back to the hangar with that mist trick of yours?" Dylan declared.

The priestess nodded. "Consider it done, Captain Hunt." She opened another portal and led both the students and the two crewmembers in question through.

"What about the rest of us?" Ror-El wondered, coming back into the room.

"We plan some strategies," Xena asserted. "Trust me, it won't be long now."

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