Future Shock (Part 4) (R)
David J. Duncan
April 2003


For notes & such, please see Part 1

Chapter 14 [Space]

As the forces on the ground attempted to withstand the Magog charge, the space armada accounted well for itself in space. Although outnumbered sixty-to-one by the swarm ships, the fleet continued to blast away at their adversaries.

However, if help didn't come soon, they wouldn't be there to tell the story.


Aboard the Wayfarer, Michelle guided the operations, coordinating with the computers to make sure everything was done right.

"How are you doing?" Emma wondered, wiping her friend's brow.

Her former classmate shuddered. "It's a lot to...handle, but...we'll get...there."

"That's the spirit," the psionic cheered.

"I won't let...you down,...Emma."

"You won't," Emma assured her, sending more calming thoughts into Michelle's psyche.

"Glad to hear it," Harper added, trying to pull, weave, and dart through the enemy fire. "Geez. These guys don't know when to quit!"

"Would you in our current situation?" Tyr inquired.

"Uh...probably not. But then again, they don't have our friends on the surface either," the engineer countered.

Tyr chortled. "The little boy will probably run from that thing."

"I doubt it," Adam countered. "From the studies I've done on Dave, I can tell you, he'll face that thing head on."

"Even if it kills him," Emma added. "He's no coward." She winced. "Adam! Cybelle!"

The high priestess rubbed her brow. Seeing the others looking at her, she continued, "The Child has just engaged the Spirit."

"It's down there?" Trance asked. "Then who's running the World Ship?"

"Too bad we don't have a bomb or something to ram up that thing's ass," Chloe supposed.

Harper grinned. "We just might. Umm, Cybelle, I have a question. How long does it take you to do that cloud trick of yours?"

"I can do it at any point," she retorted, gritting her teeth. "At a minute's notice. Why?"

"Well, the spunky lady there has a great idea. We're gonna do exactly as she said," Harper proposed.

"Too bad we don't have a bomb that big, Little Man," Tyr expressed, dismissing the notion.

Remembering their first encounter with the World Ship, Trance nodded. "We do, Tyr. Harper, can you overload the slipstream drive from here?"

"I can with Michelle's charming assistance," he agreed.

"When the time is right," the telecyber concurred. "Open a channel to Captain Hunt. Let him know what we're doing."



Beka shook her head anxiously. I thought we destroyed trillions of these creeps. Where do they keep coming from? "Hey, Dylan, what's so interesting?"

The captain looked at her. "Ror-El, tell her what you just told me."

The Kandorian leader informed her, "The Magog just stormed the front gate and are entering the city. Wait! Hold on! What's going on out there?"

"Out where? Ror-El, what is it?" Dylan demanded.

Grimwilkin jumped in. "Perhaps, a view portal would be in order here." Forming the mists in front of the camera, the battle scene came into view.

"I don't believe it," Beka gasped.

"Rommie, is that what I think it is?" Dylan inquired. "Magnify the image."

"It is indeed. Dylan, the Spirit is down there. Worse still, David's Child persona has engaged it. They are equally matched if that is possible," Rommie reported. "Now, wait a minute, the sword at David's side-it's glowing."

Watching as the Child stabbed the Spirit, the avatar continued, "Dylan, the fluctuations within the Spirit are off the charts. It's...." As the energy being exploded, the screen went dark.

"What happened?" Dylan queried with concern. "Damn it, Rommie! Get me that connection back now!"

"Dylan, are you there?" Cybelle requested.

"Yes, Cybelle, how are you on this channel?" he replied.

"Trance is helping me with your system. I wanted to let you know that the Spirit of the Abyss is gone. It has been destroyed! I can feel Dave's pain. He's hurt badly, but he's still on his feet," the priestess reported.

"Wow," Beka stated in amazement. "That's some feat."

"Dylan, I'm picking up multiple slipstream events," Andromeda reported.

Crap. Magog reinforcements.

"Relax, Dylan. They're Commonwealth fleets. Perseid and Rigorian, I believe," the avatar assured him.

Just to their left, a fleet of a hundred Rigorian cruisers materialized into their sector.

To the right, the Perseid war fleet joined the party.

Dylan grinned. "It's about damn time! Andromeda, open a channel!" As she did, he announced, "Commonwealth ships, this is Captain Dylan Hunt of the Andromeda Ascendant. Thanks for the assist!"

The screen split in two, revealing the images of the Rigorian and Perseid commanders. "You're welcome, Captain Hunt. Let's finish the job," the latter indicated. "We can talk later on the planet."

"Thankssss, Captain, for your asssissstanccce," the Rigorian commander expressed.

With that, the screen went dark.

"Dylan, I'm getting some strange readings from the Wayfarer. Its slipstream drive is going ballistic," Rommie pointed out.

Now what? "Hey, what's going on over there?" the captain demanded.

"If you mean the slipstream drive, relax, Dylan. We're setting the thing to blow up," Tyr answered, albeit with a bit of sarcasm.

"Blow it up? Anassazi, are you nuts?" Beka wondered impatiently.

"Not as crazy as some of my shipmates here apparently. They want to take out the World Ship. I agree. If it's to stop here, we must take that monstrosity out now," the weapons officer assumed.

"I can start transporting everyone to the Andromeda whenever you're ready, Captain Hunt," Cybelle noted.

"Do it. Get Dr. Kane, Emma, and Chloe off of there first. Then Trance and Michelle. Finally, my three crewmembers and yourself! Got it?" he ordered.

"Absolutely," the high priestess concurred, opening the gateway. "You heard him."

"Emma, come on!" Adam demanded, guiding Chloe toward the portal.

"Let's go!" Chloe added.

"We'll be there," Emma assured them. "I'm staying here. Adam, get her through. We'll see you in a few minutes."

Although he wanted to argue with her, Adam decided against it. "Get out of here safely, got it? Come on, Chloe."

The reporter bit her lip as she jumped into the mists.

"They're here! Next group!" Dylan instructed.

"How are you coming on the override, Harper?" Michelle inquired.

"It's ready when you are," he retorted.

"Course locked in," Trance added. "I've just aimed us at the heart of the World Ship's sun."

"And I've just wedged the accelerator so to speak," Harper added. "Just give the word, Michelle, and this thing will go on without you to the sweet spot."

The telecyber nodded and relayed the instructions to the ship's central computer. Then she disengaged from it and stood up. "Come on, Emma, let's go."

The psionic nodded and looked at Cybelle. "We're ready."

"Step through," the priestess instructed. As soon as they had done so, she felt the inertia as the ship began its death dive. "All of you. Now!"

Tyr lunged for Harper. No time for him to run now. Grabbing the scrawny engineer by the back of his pants and shirt, he threw the little man into the mists.

"Come on, Tyr!" Trance urged as she dove into the portal.

He grunted an ascent as he vanished as well.

"Took long enough," the high priestess sighed, watching as the World Ship drew closer. Thirty seconds before impact, she stepped through and closed the portal behind her.


Dylan breathed a huge sigh of relief when he saw Cybelle step onto his ship. "Andromeda, get us away from that thing! Maximum PSL!"

"Aye," the ship responded, turning and zipping away.

Realizing what was about to happen, the two allied fleets and the remnants of the Kandorian armada did likewise.

Seconds after the last ship cleared the necessary distance, the Wayfarer struck the hydrogen center and the slipstream core/bomb exploded. The makeshift sun and the ship went with it, incinerating the remaining Magog inhabitants inside of it. In addition, most of the swarm ships were taken out as well.

Within ten minutes, those last remnants were dispatched as well.

"Good job, People. My thanks to everyone who helped today. I mean everyone," Dylan pronounced. "Let's get back to Kandor. I think they could use our help down there. Follow Andromeda."

With that, the Andromeda streaked back toward New Krypton with the other ships right behind her. The larger war had swung in their favor. Now, the siege needed to be broken to cinch victory.


Chapter 15 [New Krypton]

Ror-El shook his head in disbelief. After surviving the Long Night and preserving the Commonwealth and Kryptonian civilizations, is it our fate to fall now? He stared out the window, observing the Magog spilling into the city through the north gate.

"I thought we'd be sssafe!" the Rigorian ambassador hissed.

"We are up here," Ror-El asserted. "The complex is secure."

Lara glanced at him anxiously. "What about the people though? Is this what we want to teach Chlana?"

He bowed his head. "What would you have me do?"

"Stand by your people. Don't lose hope. Protect our culture and our heritage," she told them all.

Rev Bem nodded. "The Divine tests us in all things, Ror-El. This is your test as a leader."

He stared out the window again. At that moment, he saw a great explosion out in space. "What was that?"

"Let's hope it was a good omen for us," Estal wished.

At that moment, the vidscreen beeped to life. "Yes?" Ror-El answered.

"Ror-El, this is Dylan. I thought you would like to know that the Magog World Ship has been destroyed. The Rigorian and Perseid fleets are with us. We should be there shortly to help finish off the Magog. Dylan out," Dylan informed him.

"You see? We are on the verge of getting through this situation! Have faith," the Wayist continued.

"Yes. I shall have faith," he agreed. Pushing a button, he flipped from camera to camera, observing the melee occurring in different parts of the city. Despite the breaches from the north and now from the south, the Kandorians' allies held their own.

Of greater pride to him, the Kandorian people themselves stood beside the troops in the defense of their city.

Pressing another button brought up the view right in front of the residence. There, he could see a marauding band of Magog closing in on them.

The camera also picked up on Lana, Martin, and Kayla barring their way.

"Are they crazzzy?" the Rigorian wondered.

"Earthers are brave," the Felonian pointed on.

"A mother will do anything to protect her children," Lara indicated, holding her daughter closely to her. "If she is who I think she is, Lana will do no less."

"And who would that be?" the Felonian shot back.

"The Mother Founder," Rev concurred.


Down below, Lana surveyed the situation. In the moments following the Magog's incursion into the city proper, the students had gone to help Xena and the others. However, she had decided to check on Ror-El and the ambassadors.

Kayla and Martin followed closely behind her.

"Uh, guys? What do we do?" Lana inquired. "We're trapped."

"We fight our way out," Kayla stated.

"Or die with honor," Martin agreed.

Lana sighed. Professor Dubois will kill me for putting myself in danger like this. Clark, where are you? Then the approaching growls snapped her back to reality. "The Professor had an idea. Brace yourselves though."

"What is it?" he inquired.

"Go ahead and morph into your animal forms. If this doesn't work, I'll need your help fast," the former cheerleader explained nervously.

The two Native American skin walkers nodded and turned into their animal forms.

By now, the Magog were only twenty feet in front of them.

She gulped anxiously and grit her teeth. This has to work. Clark, I love you. With that, she stared at the approaching horde and challenged, "Stop! You'll come no further! Hear the protests of your victims!"

Suddenly, the air shimmered. Out of nowhere, the ghosts of many distinct races appeared, howling in pain and anger. They rushed the horde.

Not knowing what to do, the invaders listened for their god, but heard nothing.

The ghosts attacked, throwing things with psychic energy in addition to chilling the Magog's souls.

Aghast at this attack, they froze.

In that moment, Kayla and Martin attacked the dozen furry invaders savagely. Giving their quarry no quarter, they tore their throats and gored them. A few minutes later, the invaders lay dead.

"Now for the rest of the city," Lana assumed. "Come on, guys!" She ran toward the town square, followed by the bear and wolf.


[Minutes earlier]

The fighting by the north gate had raged for an hour. Both invaders and defenders fell in the confrontation. Still, the latter continued to hold its own.

After Ferali went to assist their king, the Ruthwenians and their Nurrengardian allies stepped into the breach, releasing still more arrows and slashing away with their swords. With Triander and the elf general in the lead, the Inner Realms' contingent pushed the Magog back ever so slightly.

Meantime, Xena led Mutant X and their companions through the Magog horde from the south gate. Whipping her sword like a scythe, she mowed the aliens down like so much wheat. Her chakram claimed still more of the aliens. Gabrielle stabbed with her javelin. Eve, like her mother, made efficient use of her sword. Jesse struck out with massed fists. Brennan fired electrical charge after electrical charge into the enemy host. Shalimar and Max bashed, smashed, and snapped necks as they went.

Finally, the remaining new mutant students fought their way toward the latter group. Miranda fired psychic bursts into the invaders. Sebastian caused water jets to blast into the enemy host. Lex's earthquakes ripped the ground beneath the Magog, making them easy prey for the advancing archers.

Then they saw another group of invaders rushing toward them, looking back anxiously. Something had wounded them badly.

"What in Tartarus?" Xena wondered, decapitating another Magog with a sword swipe.

"Man, what could make 'em run like that?" Brennan wondered, firing another electrical blast.

The answer came quickly as Martin and Kayla charged into the opening.

Behind them, Lana stepped into view. I can't believe this is working, but here goes again. Gosh, does this sound pretentious. "To those accursed! Today, the victims of your rampages demand to be heard!" She focused and made the ghosts appear.

The Magog screamed in rage at this development. Meat was expendable. How could the eaten do this?

One particularly burley alien fired his laser weapon and hit Lana dead center.

She took a deep breath and returned fire, vaporizing her attacker. "Who's next? There will be no more dead in this city on account of you! Nor will you damage any more of our culture!"

At that moment, a familiar scream echoed throughout the complex, stopping friend and foe alike. Turning, they saw Deirdre appear through the mists.

Then, the Child and Ferali staggered into view.

"Right or left?" the gnome asked.

"Pick 'un. Ah don't give a crap," the Dark One retorted, dealing with the back stiffness. "Ah wanna say somethin' first."

The Magog screeched in confusion.

"Lissen up! Yer god's toast! Yer done!" the Child bellowed, summoning fire. "Them ghosties ain't nothin' compared to me!" He pointed and sent dark fire into their flank.

Clark swooped down, landing beside his wife. "Lana! Are you all right?"

"I'm glad you're here. Just stand back, okay? Make sure none of them come near me," his wife requested.

"Let them try," he told her. "What are you doing anyhow?"

"Listen with that super hearing of yours," she directed.

He did so and heard disembodied wails all around him. "Lana, what?"

"Those are the Magog's victims. They wanted to help too," she informed him while maintaining her concentration.

Her husband's jaw dropped. "You mean you actually found them and got them to help us?"

"Yeah, I did. It was Professor Dubois's idea, actually," she continued, straining herself still further.

"Why am I not surprised?" he asked, starting into the Magog brave enough to push the issue.

Lana shrugged. "He knows us, Clark, and he's fought these creeps before." She blasted two more Magog with the absorbed energy from their weapon.

Taking another look at the Child who continued blasting his way through the alien horde, Clark sighed. She's right. Even now, he's still looking out for us.

From above, Paula blasted them with more fire, further hemming the fleeing invaders in.

Within fifteen minutes, the grisly work was complete.

"Thank you all. I hope you can rest easier," Lana expressed to the spirits as they departed.

Alighting at her friends' side, Paula changed back into her human form.

Martin and Kayla did the same. Fortunately, the magical clothes from the Faerie Empress reappeared as they did so.

Triander ran over to the Child. "My Liege. We did it!"

"Yeah, we did, didn't we? Ah told them stuffy-boys we could," the Dark One agreed. "Ya'll did good!"

"You led us," Ferali agreed.

"Ah...had help," the Child noted. "Xena an' ya'll were great. Thank ya." He wavered. "Damn, it...hurts."

"What hurts?" the gnome wondered.

"All...'ver," the Dark One growled, collapsing onto the asphalt.

"Papa!" Deirdre screamed, rushing to his side.

Xena joined her there. Turning him onto his stomach, she saw the broiled patch on his back, oozing pus and flaking skin. "Great," she muttered. "This is bad. It's a wonder he's still breathing." Looking at the assembled students and their friends, she requested, "Can I get some help here?"

"Damn," Brennan expressed. How's he going to survive this one?

Ferali shook his head. "Why this? WHY? Lady, if you can hear me, come now!"

"Lady?" Shalimar asked.

"He means me," the Faerie Empress stated as she appeared in their midst. "Your assessment, Xena, is correct. His physical injuries are serious. However, his psyche was further scarred by his encounter with the Spirit of the Abyss."

"Can I try to help him with the darkness?" Eve asked, stooping over the fallen professor.

"Yes, Eve. Go ahead," the elf-queen advised.

For a minute, the former Messenger prayed to Eli, seeking guidance before looking to the sky. "Hear me! I, Eve, request to help this man who has suffered much in the service of the Light! I request your assistance in not allowing the darkness inside of him to spread!" Looking down at her friend, she continued, "In the name of Eli and all of the powers of Heaven, I command the Spirit's evil to be CAST OUT!" She placed her hands on the affected area. From her hands, a white light flowed into him.

"Argh," the Child complained.

"Work with me. Don't fight it. I'm trying to heal you," she pointed out.

"Ah'm...na' fightin' ya," he whispered. Gritting his teeth, he gripped his shoulder. "Dang thing! Git out!" He screamed and fell back into unconsciousness.

"It's impossible," Eve huffed in exhaustion. "There's so much darkness in him."

"But you drove most of the Spirit's evil from him, Eve," the Faerie Empress assured her. "In so doing, you bought us some time. Ferali, step forward. Deirdre, some privacy please."

The regent stepped to their side.

Seeing the mists surrounding them, Xena asked, "Can they see us?"

"No," the Empress assured her. "Angela must finish what Eve started."

The warrior nodded and changed back to her modern day form.

"How do you keep doing this to yourself, Dave?" Angie asked him.

"He had to stop that thing, Angie," Eve told her.

"Yeah, he's always the one to do it," the oncologist sighed, allowing her hands to glow. "Okay, Chief, here goes." As she touched his back and started the healing process, she felt a chill. "You aren't leaving me, Dave! Come on!" She sent another spark through him.

Eve placed her hand on top of Angie's. "Hope you don't mind a friendly boost."

"And another from me, Mama," Deirdre added.

"And mine as well," Ferali chimed in.

"I will contribute what I can too," the Empress concurred.

"The more, the merrier," she remarked, continuing the process. Their combined energy flowed through her and into him. Gradually, they reversed the injuries. "That's it."

"He will recover," the Faerie Empress agreed. "In fact...."

"Hey," the Child whispered. "Ah 'preciate it."

"Don't mention it. Any chance that Dave can take over?" she requested.

The Child nodded and allowed the switch.

"Where are we?" Dave asked.

"Within the mists. You gave us quite a scare, Hot Shot," Angie informed him. "Glad you're back."

"The last thing I remember is being on the wall with you, Ferali," he continued. "What about the Spirit of the Abyss?"

"The Child killed it," his honor brother informed him. "You both nearly died in the process. Can you stand?"

"Yeah, I think so," he agreed, climbing to his feet. "And the Magog?"

"They're gone," Eve informed him.

"You all did your roles admirably," the Empress proclaimed. "Now, I must return to my land. Deirdre, please return them to Kandor."

"Yes, Milady. Thank you," the priestess accepted.

The queen smiled and vanished.

"Before we return, Mama, you want to umm...let Xena out?"

Angie shrugged. "I'd best do that." Drawing the sword, she changed back.

"All set now," Xena agreed, rubbing Dave's shoulder. "In more ways than one."


Chapter 16 [An hour later]

Dave lay on his stomach in the Andromeda's medical area, letting his back heal. Despite the assistance, it still burned greatly. Given what we've been through, I should be grateful for small favors.

"Okay, David," Trance declared. "You're all set. Between that treatment I just gave you and Cybelle's herbs, you should be healed in a few hours."

"Just the same, you're taking it slow," Xena told him, entering the area. "Angela's orders."

"Yeah well, after taking out the Spirit and its goon squad, I think I've earned some down time," the medievalist stated.

"I would agree," Dylan concurred. "And I'm glad to hear that you'll pull through. You gave us quite a scare."

"I'm too tough to die like that," Dave declared.

"Well, you almost did back there," Xena informed him. "We just pulled you through."

"Still, everyone, only he could have killed the Spirit," Trance stated. "What he did would have killed anyone else."

"The Child saved me, you're saying?" Dave asked.

"You might say that," the medical officer replied.

[From inside of his head, the Dark One piped up, "See, Ah'm good fer somethin', ain't Ah?"]

You have your moments, Dave mused, dropping the conversation. "What about the Magog?"

"They were wiped out," the warrior told him. "Trillions of them from their planet-thing and more on the ground."

"Some choice, huh? We had to choose between the genocide of one race or another today," the medievalist groaned. "That really sucks."

"It was the lesser of two evils," Dylan informed him. "And in the end, we saved Kryptonian and Kandorian civilization."

And it preserved my dream. Still, at what cost? Dave shook his head while staring at the readouts. This had been a long, long day.


[Observation Deck]

Lana stared into space, trying to forget what had happened below. As with Dave, her mind tried to comprehend the day's events and their role in them. I should be grateful we saved Kandor and our people, but at what cost? She sighed and slumped her shoulders sadly.

"Hey, Lana! You're okay!" Chloe called, hustling over to her friend's side.

"Sort of," the brunette lamented, tears coursing down her face. "It's hurts, Chloe."

"What does?"

"Having to fight those things down there. Having to kill them. How do we deal with that?" Lana inquired desperately.

"I...I know. Lana, I made the suggestion to rig one of our ships into a bomb and blow up that world ship thing," she admitted sadly, frowning at the thought. "You know, while we were in that fight up here, I really didn't think about what we were doing. Now that it's over, I feel really terrible."

"I guess this is what Byron was talking about, wasn't it? Even a defensive fight isn't good," Lana surmised.

"And why would you say that, Ladies?" Tyr wondered, approaching them.

"We murdered those creatures today," Chloe retorted morosely.

The Nietzschean shrugged. "So? You survived and that's what counts in the long run."

"You're so cold!" Lana accused.

"When fighting is a way of life, you learn to deal with it. Look at Xena. She's a warrior. She had to deal with tragedy and grew strong. Either you deal with it or you die," he lectured.

"You don't get it. Life is a treasure. We can't just sit in judgment," Chloe argued.

Tyr snorted. "You seemed to be doing quite well when you suggested the bomb idea. Grow up!  This is real life!"

Chloe glared at him and she confronted him. "No! You grow up! This isn't a game! Today, we fought a war! A god damn war!"

"Your point, Milady?"

"My point is that we need to deal with these feelings," she continued.

"At least you're alive to do so," he pointed out. "It could be worse. You could be dead or worse, a freak, such as your precious professor down in Medical!"

"He isn't a freak," Lana asserted. "He's a victim. A victim of this type of thing and never having a moment's rest!" She stood up and confronted him as well. "But unlike you, Mr. High and Mighty, he held onto his humanity. Somehow, despite being infected with the darkness, he's a great man."

He laughed.

"Wha's so funny?" a disembodied voice wondered angrily.

The trio saw the Child's image materialize in their midst. "Leave 'em alone, Big Man. Ah mean it!"

"What are you going to do about it?" Tyr challenged.

"Umm, hey," Lana interceded, stepping between the image and the weapons officer. "Look, we're all feeling lousy enough after what happened today. We don't need another fight."

"War's hell, Darlin'," the Child replied. "As Big Mouth here's 'bout to learn."

"Please stop," the reporter begged. "We've seen enough for today. For us? Please?"

The Dark One growled in disgust, "Awright, but Ah wanna tell ya somethin', Jerk! Big Bro is awright 'cuz we protected 'im! Ah'm the Protector! Ah keep 'im safe! That's why Ah whupped Glow Boy and the fur balls!"

"And he almost died along with you! Some protector!" Tyr laughed.

"Uh, I wouldn't..." the girls chorused.

The Child snarled darkly. "Cuz your ass was too weak to kick Glow Boy! Now git! If ya'll bug them 'gain, Ah'll whup ya'll mahself! Git lost! SCRAM, UNTAH-BOY!"

"You'll pay for those words one day," the Nietzschean warned.

The Dark One chuckled and psychically threw Tyr out of the room. "GIT, BOY!" Turning, the image saw the two women trembling. "Now wha?"

"I...it's just...well...we didn't know what you'd do to him," Chloe declared.

"Ya'll asked me to stop. Ah stopped."

"Thank you," Lana expressed. "Sorry. It's been a hard day. It's so tough to know what you're going to do next."

"Ah'd never hurt ya. Ya'll mean too much to Big Bro an' me," the Child revealed. "Ya know, it hurts."

"What does?" Lana wondered.

"Seein' ya'll like this really sucks. Ah wish Ah could keep ya from hurtin'," he told them. Turning, he saw Rev Bem amble into the room. "Yeah wha?"

"I heard you talking with the young ladies and thought I'd join in is all," the Wayist revealed. "May I?"

"Sure," Chloe agreed. "We were dealing with the guilt."

"Ah. The Divine places trials in our path to test us. Sometimes, these passages hurt, but in all cases, we are never the same afterwards. We have all been changed. You both have been exposed to war for the first time. So have your companions. Your professor is feeling the increased weight of both kingship and his mentor role to all of you. But give it time, you are strong and will move on," Tyr assured them.

"An' Ah learned that Ah can let 'em stand 'lone," the Child's image realized.

"Indeed," the priest agreed.

"But you're still a great friend," Lana told him.

That statement touched the Dark One. "Thank ya. Ah've gotta check on Big Bro now." With that, he vanished.

That was amazing. Truly, these young ones are special indeed to incite such caring from him. "Come. Let's find your spouses. Shall we?" Rev Bem suggested, guiding them down the hall.


[Another Observation Deck]

Clark looked at Kandor through the window. To think we defended our family today. Still, I wish we didn't have to kill to do it.

"What's up, Clark?" Lex asked, entering the area.

"Hey, Lex. I was thinking about today," the farm boy revealed.

"War's hell, isn't it? Now you know why your professor wouldn't let you go to Greece," the billionaire supposed.

"Yeah. How's he doing?" Clark inquired.

"He's improving. That was a really close call today," Lex pointed out, pacing about the room. "Both he and the Child showed how much they care about us today, Clark."

"That fight was something to see," Clark agreed.

"Considering that it nearly killed him, yeah-that was quite the event. Two dark beings equally driven," the businessman retorted. "The tie breakers were his compassion and that sword of his."

"The dark side knows about that?"

Lex shrugged. "Believe it or not, Clark, he does. I remember during that fight at the Talon when he stopped beating on Stuart. That was the day he learned compassion and it was your Mom and me who taught him that."

"I still can't believe that Mom stood up to him," Clark doubted, recalling the details from the story.

"She did. It was that compassion that enabled him to survive living with the witch later," Lex continued.

"I agree," Rev Bem stated, guiding their wives into the room. "I hope you don't mind some more company."

"Like I'm going to say no to my wife?" Lex gibed, putting his arm around her. Seeing her tears, he told her, "Let it out. It hurts, doesn't it?"

"Uh huh," the reporter muttered as she buried her face in his chest and started bawling.

He held her tightly, rocking her as if she were a baby. "Shh, I'm here."

Clark bowed his head. "I know how she feels. I feel awful."

"Yeah me too," Lana admitted, rubbing his shoulder. "I...I can't believe we had to... Oh, God...." She started to cry as well.

Clark held onto her tightly, trying to hide his own guilt.

"I know. I too have had to turn on my brethren. However, the Divine allowed today's events to play out as they did. Know that you did well," Rev stated.

"Then why does it hurt like this?" Lana demanded.

"The loss of innocence is never easy. It's a sad thing, but it is gone. You have each other and your friends. And you have your professor. Lex is correct. He cares about you all. Believe me, he hurts more for all of you than for himself tonight," Rev continued.

"The Child...said as much," Lana reported.

"Yes. He's a riddle. Darkness and compassion in one," the priest proposed.

"He's a hurt little boy," Lex added. "If you knew what his father and mine did to him, you'd understand why he came out the way he did."

"But you all help him with your strength and optimism, my friends. That is what matters in the end. Why don't you go to him?" Rev inquired.

The quartet nodded.

Rev sighed after they had left. It's a heavy burden. However, for ones with their power, the responsibility is equally difficult to bear.


[Med Clinic]

Dave continued to lie on the medical table, sulking in his juices. I can feel the students' pain throughout the Andromeda. I wish I could do something besides lying here useless.

"Hey, Uncle Dave, can I come in?" Miri wondered.

"Come on in, Sunshine. I need some company," he agreed. "How are you doing?"

"Dealing with today just like everyone else," she noted, sitting down beside him. "War stinks."

"It does. At least, you're okay," he replied, patting her on the arm.

"I forgot how bad it could get. At least I knew what I was getting into. Clark, Lana, Chloe and the others are really suffering. I wish I could do more to help them," she lamented.

"You and me both, Kiddo," he agreed. "Along with the other students."

"Well, Martin's talking with them right now," she informed him.

"Miri, I never intended to drag you all through Hell with me. I knew I should have left you back on Earth and dealt with this myself," he hissed angrily.

"Hey! Maybe we didn't want to be here, all right? But we all agree that you aren't to blame! Those creatures and that Spirit thing forced us to come here. This is Clark and Lana's family we're talking about here. And those two are like family to us. I guess this makes it our family too, huh?" she theorized.

"You do, huh?" he asked skeptically.

"Yeah, I do," she asserted, kissing him on the top of the head. "Quit beating yourself up, Uncle Dave. Besides, if we left you alone, you and Ferali would be dead right now. The Spirit would have destroyed Kandor and the Commonwealth would be in serious trouble."

"I'd listen to her if I were you," Grimwilkin advised as he appeared beside them.

"I wondered where you went during the fight," Dave said.

"How do you think the Faerie Empress knew when to arrive? I told her of course!" the wizard informed him. "My apologies about not being at your side during the wretched affair. That was your test."

"My test?" the medievalist asked.

"Test for what?" Lex inquired as he and the rest of the Smallville contingent joined the trio.

"His test as a king and as a mentor to you all, Mr. Luthor," Grimwilkin grimly continued. "As we knew you would, David, you and the Child risked everything to save New Krypton. In addition, you put the welfare of your students and subjects above your own. That, my friend, is the sign of a true king." Turning to the two couples, he continued, "And, as for you four, my heartfelt congratulations on passing your tests. Mr. Kent, your charge into battle outside the walls was instrumental. Mrs. Kent, your use of the phantoms stopped the advancing horde and preserved the treasures from countless ages. Mr. Luthor, your new talents and ability to work within the team were essential. And Mrs. Luthor, for taking charge in the space fight that is deeply appreciated. Your professor is very proud and so are we all. Thank you and your classmates for justifying your faith in us."

"You're welcome, sir," Clark replied, trying to smile.

"Ah. I see you all have heavy hearts. Rest assured, you did a great deal of good on this day. Sometimes, life isn't fair. You need to come to terms with those things which happen to you," the wizard stated. "I am needed by Ferali back in Ruthwen. Farewell." With that, he faded away.

"How are you, Professor?" Lana inquired.

"Still hurting a bit, but I'll deal with it. How are you four doing?" he replied, craning to look at their glum faces.

"To think I judged you the first time we met," Chloe noted. "Now I'm so sorry."

"Don't be, Chloe," Dave reassured the reporter. "That reaction comes with the territory. I wanted to spare you all from this sort of thing, you know."

"But I guess being an adult means that you take on responsibilities. Some of those are painful," Clark indicated.

Lex rubbed his shoulder. "Welcome to the adult world. That's absolutely right."

"So how do you two deal with these things?" Lana asked sadly.

Dave and Lex looked at each other, seeking the right words. Finally, the latter concluded, "You just let things run their course and work themselves out. Never lose who you are, but reconcile yourself to what's happened."

"And if we don't? What happens if we can't?" Miranda asked desperately.

"Then you become like me," Dave sighed. "Torn. Or worse, you become disillusioned like Professor Miles or Xena and fall victim to something else."

"Well, you aren't going to tear any further if we can help it," his niece asserted, rubbing his shoulder.

"Right," Lana agreed. "If it's okay with Professor Miles, we'd like to talk with him as a group. Maybe the others can benefit too."

"You can always ask. I can't imagine he'd refuse you," Dave agreed. Especially if it will keep you sane. "You can talk to me too, you know."

"We know that, Professor," Clark agreed. "We just don't want to bother you with it."

"I don't think he minds that," Lex disagreed, smirking at them all. "That's what he's here for."

"Right," the medievalist concurred. "But first, I need to rest-doctor's orders. If you all want to come back later, feel free."

"Thanks, Dave," Lex expressed. "We all needed this talk."

"Don't mention it," the patient murmured, drifting back off to sleep.


Chapter 17 [Command]

Dylan studied the instrument panel in front of him and the readings from the system. The Magog are really gone without a trace. Incredible.

Seeing Tyr storm into command, he mused, Uh oh, looks like someone rattled the wrong cage. "All right, Tyr, what happened?"

The Nietzschean snarled.

"Let me guess, you took an unadvised visit to the medical clinic. Tyr, I told you to stay clear of there," the captain surmised.

"No, Dylan, I ran into two of his students and told them to toughen up. We disagree on outlooks," Tyr informed him.

"A Nietzschean and two Earthers disagreeing on outlooks? Imagine that," he chuckled. "What else happened?"

"It showed up," Tyr added. "That dark thing inside of Dubois appeared."

The Child again. He's really protective of those kids, isn't he? "And you picked a fight?"

"I didn't back down from him. He threw me from the chamber literally," the weapons officer recounted, feeling more than a bit humiliated.

"You're lucky that's all that happened," Rev lectured him while joining them. "If it weren't for Lana and Chloe, he might have hurt you."

"For a supposedly advisory priest, you have a big mouth, Creature," Tyr snapped.

"Tyr, that was out of line," Dylan stated firmly.

"No, Dylan, we all have to vent tonight. There is so much pain onboard this vessel. Our friends are trying to deal with the horrors of war," Rev explained.

"They should just deal with it and not act weak," Tyr argued.

"Compassion isn't weakness, Tyr, despite what your people believe," the Wayist disagreed. "Those young ones have more power than you know. In addition, they prevented a repeat of what happened at Brandonborg Tor. Helping them with their pain is the least we can do for their assistance and sacrifice."

"Absolutely," Dylan concurred. And saved our new Commonwealth in the process. "Andromeda?"

The ship's image appeared. "Yes, Dylan?"

"How are our guests?"

She frowned. "They're just as Rev said. Fortunately, Dr. Kane and Xena are talking to them right now."

"How's David?" the captain asked.

"He's recovering. I'd say he'll be up in a few hours." She looked around. "I'm picking up on an energy surge right here."

"What?" Dylan wondered.

" 'Lax, it's me," the Child replied as his image appeared.

Tyr growled.

"Tyr, enough!" Dylan interceded.

"Ah wanna say somethin' to the big man. They ain't weak, awright?" the Dark One commented.

"The way that your Other teaches them to be weak is appalling."

The Child glowered. "Lissen, Asswipe, there's more to life than fightin'! Ah fight so they don't have ta!"

"But yet, they do have to stand against the dark," Andromeda pointed out. "Can we show you something?"

"It's a free universe," the Dark One replied.

Thanks in part to you. Dylan pressed a button and started a video clip.

The screen played footage from a Magog attack. The hairy invaders rushed about, attacking, killing and destroying everything. Noticeably present, the Spirit oversaw the whole torrid affair.

"That thing, 'gain! Wha's this?" the Child hissed.

"That was from the destruction of Brandenborg Tor that happened over 300 years ago," Rev admitted. "The shame of my people."

"Yeah well, they didn't look too bothered today," the Dark One noted, glaring at the priest.

The Nietzschean shook his head. "How hypocritical of you. You who destroy wantonly and are made of the same darkness as that make such accusations!"

The A. I. urged, "Tyr, I wouldn't say that."

"Very well. Enlighten us," Tyr requested.

"First of all, if you bother to review the historical records, the Child has never initiated an attack. He seeks to protect those around him, especially David, his family, and the students. While it is true that he's destroyed things in the process, only in three cases has he ever killed anyone. First, the Enforcers whom were already dead. Then the trolls purely out of self-defense. Finally, the Magog suffered the same fate and for the same reason," Andromeda reported.

"Ah ain't Glow Boy! Git that straight! An' Ah ain't just darkness! Ah'm anger an' pain! Who the Hell are ya'll to judge us? Ya'll have no right! Stick it, Big Man!" the image roared.

"I still fail to see the difference," Tyr insisted, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Well, yer brain is whacked," the Child countered. "As Ah told ya, Ah hadda whup Glow Boy cuz none of ya'll coulda did it! He's toast! So shut the Hell up! 'Sides, Ah've helped save yer ass 'fore too. Ah don't need this!"

"Wait," Dylan requested. "As much as I don't agree with your methods, I am grateful for your help. Thank you."

They heard the image sigh. "Thanks. Ah 'preciate it." After giving Tyr one final dirty look, he vanished.

"About time," Tyr groused.

"Tyr, you need to open your eyes. There are shades of gray to consider here. Don't say anything right now. I just want you to consider that thought. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to meditate for a while," Rev concluded, walking off and leaving the others to consider the interchange and his words.


Several hours later, Tyr finally left Command in disgust. Granted, the weapons inventory took his mind off of the Child-issue temporarily. A shower and some sleep would be most welcome right now. However, he found Xena waiting for him.

"And I suppose you want something?" he wondered. "I suppose the over-sized brat said something to you as well?"

She arched her brow sarcastically. "Are you always this stupid, Tyr?"

"Be careful, Woman. I've been insulted repeatedly today and my patience is worn thin," he advised.

"Oooh, should I be scared? Look, don't threaten me. Got it? I'm doin' ya a favor by talkin' to ya. Cybelle or Deirdre may be next. They ain't as restrained as I am," she retorted.

"Let them come." He shrugged.

"You are so thick. Your friend, Trance, is busy enough without havin' you down there too," she snarled. "Leave David and the Child alone. I've already had my workout otherwise I'd kick your ass just to prove a point. But then, there's always tomorrow. Don't be stupid. Drop it." With that, she turned and stormed away.

He watched her leave, not knowing what to think. How does a warrior like that ally herself with something that infantile? Seeing Beka standing there, he asked, "Yes?"

The first officer shook her head and walked away too.

This has been a hell of a day. He stalked into his quarters and shut the door.


Chapter 18 [New Krypton's square-Two Days Later]

Ror-El stepped out onto the balcony of his residence and watched the sunrise two days after the battle. Over the course of the previous day, the Kandorians and their newfound allies had cooperated to sweep the city clean of the rubble and the Magog corpses. Likewise, they had somehow managed to clear away the dead invaders from the plains beyond the city.

Then the streamers went up and the flowers. It was Founders' Day after all and this year, above all others, offered a greater reason to celebrate. The city had survived against all odds. More importantly, the Founders had led the way.

"It's a wonderful day, isn't it?" Lara asked.

"It is indeed. And for the Founders, it shall be a day they shall not soon forget. They deserve our thanks, as do their friends," he concurred, kissing her on the cheek. "Now come; the celebrations start in just a few hours." Taking her hand, he led her inside of the citadel.


The civic parade started at mid-morning at the south gate, winding its way through the city up to the main gate. As the procession went along, the residents cheered the event, throwing multi-colored plastic flakes in its vicinity. Finally, it stopped in front of Ror-El's residence.

On the balcony overlooking the square and the gigantic crowd, the chief elder raised his hands. "People of New Krypton and Kandor, welcome to this year's Founders' Day celebration!"

A loud cheer went up at that comment.

"This year, we have additional reason to celebrate. Growing up, we've all heard the stories about the Founders. I know that I often wondered how they could accomplish such feats. Two days ago, I, along with all of you, discovered the answers to that issue. They are unique individuals. One, our Father Founder, is from Krypton. His consort, the Mother Founder, along with our other two great, great-grandparents many times removed, are from Earth. Through a miracle, they arrived with their allies and our friends from the Commonwealth to deliver us from the jaws of the Magog menace! Now, I call forth our original Founders, Clark and Lana Kent."

The crowd cheered.

Standing further back on the platform, Dave, Xena, Gabrielle, Eve, Adam, and Dylan watched with admiration.

"Can you believe this, Clark?" Lana wondered, her nerves flaring up.

He gulped and his eyes bulged. "Uh, what do we say?"

"You'll think of something," Lex urged, giving them the Smirk.

"Just get up there, Farm Boy," Chloe verbally nudged.

Lana nodded. "Let's go."

Clark sighed and walked with her to the elder's side. "Thank you, everyone. I really don't know what to say except it's been great to see you all. Just last week, Lana and I were married. Seeing you all only solidifies what we both knew." Turning away from the crowd, he gazed into her eyes and affirmed, "I love you." Then he kissed her.

His wife grinned from ear to ear and her eyes sparkled into his. "And I love you, Clark."

Everyone applauded.

Turning back to the crowd, he continued, "As Ror-El mentioned, we had a lot of help from our friends. I'd like to point out our classmates who are scattered in various spots. I'd also like to thank Dr. Adam Kane and Mutant X for their guidance and assistance both here and at our home on Earth as well as our friends onboard the Andromeda Ascendant without whom we wouldn't be here right now. But I would like you to meet two other very special people from Smallville: our closest friends, Lex Luthor and his wife, Chloe Sullivan-Luthor."

The throng cheered as they joined Clark and Lana at the front.

Chloe waved. "Hi, Folks."

"Aren't you going to say anything else?" Lex whispered saucily.

"I...well...I honestly don't know what to say," she admitted. "This is overwhelming!"

Lex smirked. "People, you've made history already today. You've struck the legendary Chloe wit speechless!" Taking a deep breath and putting his arm around her shoulders, he continued, "You all are something else! After what we've all been through, I think you all deserve a hand so give it to yourselves!"

They did so.

The billionaire continued, "Over the course of my life, I've fought many battles in the business and personal worlds. I've overcome many obstacles. There are two reasons for that: great friends and a desire to make the world better for others. These three people here are the best friends a man could want. I wouldn't trade Chloe for anyone, not that she would let me, of course...."

That got a laugh from the group.

"Don't forget it either, Luthor!" she cracked.

"Hey, am I talking or are you, Sullivan?" he teased, arching his brow at her.

"Go on. I wouldn't want to deny you your glory, Dear," she chuckled.

He smirked. "See what I mean? As for Clark and Lana, they stood by me through thick and thin against all enemies and naysayers. They are truly closer to me than friends. We are all family." He embraced the other couple. "Thanks, guys. Now, before we get this show on the road, there is one other person I think you should meet. I've known this man for a long time. He taught me the value of preserving other's rights against the all-powerful. He taught me the value of a conscience. He dares to dream about tolerance for all, building his Community of Tolerance in the desert. I looked a little at your archives, but not about us here. I wanted to see what the historical record says about my friend. You call him a demon because he's cursed with two distinct personalities. Well two days ago, he slew a demon right outside your north gate. You know that he nearly killed himself? And why would he do that? He did it for the same reason he saved the Talon that day in Smallville. And for the same reason he's taken on my father repeatedly-for his students, his friends, and his family. I was there the day he tried to bury his grandmother's ashes. His ghostly tormentor was there too and I saw her go after him, splitting him further. So please, if you could do us one favor, please don't call him a demon, a freak, or a monster. He's just someone who wants acceptance as well. Dave, can you join us?"

"Lex, this is your moment," Dave reminded him.

"And I'm asking you to share it with us," Lex retorted, waving him forward.

The medievalist shook his head as he rose slowly from the seat and slowly made his way to the podium. "Thanks, Lex, for the kind words. You are really giving me too much credit. I just want to give back what people have taught me: respect and awareness. I've had to fight many battles in my life as well. They've left me scarred deeply. But I'm a better man today for one reason, my friends. That group includes my students, my subjects in Ruthwen and the soldiers below in addition to my family. Although she's not here with us, my wife, Angela, besides being the best doctor anywhere, is my light and guiding force. I can't tell you enough about her except that she's the most special person for me. And then, there's our quartet here. They are truly special too. If you need role models for good people, look to them. In Tucson, the Community has one goal: to allow everyone an opportunity to play a role on the team. That principle enables us to succeed on Earth. It works for the Commonwealth. And it works for all of you. Since you are all technically family to my friends here, that makes you my family. Falling into that bracket gets you the Child's protection. He asked me to ask you about accepting him. If you could do that, that would be great. Well, this is Founders' Day, so I'll turn it back over to Lex. Thank you!"

"Thanks, Dave," he replied, giving the professor a big hug.

"I meant that," the professor asserted, embracing the three students.

"On that note," Ror-El broke in. "Please enjoy the feast by the south gate! Thank you!"


[Later that Day]

The celebration had been a lavish affair complete with Kryptonian music, food, and a display of remaining artifacts.

For Clark, he was finally discovering his "racial roots". Granted, he had known that he was Kryptonian since his sophomore year, but now, he saw pieces of his past. Among other things, he recognized his mother's necklace and tiara in one of the displays. Hearing people talk about Jor-El's scientific feats made him proud too. Yes, Jonathan and Martha Kent were the best parents that anyone could want, but these things and feats belonged to the two people who gave him life. For that reason, they were important to him.

To his wife and their friends, it had an equal meaning. As if Clark were from ancient Pompeii or Atlantis, they realized just what a treasure he really was. He was the last surviving link to the lost Kryptonian society.

"Sorry to bore you guys with this stuff," Clark apologized.

"That's the farthest thing from the truth, Clark," Lex assured him.

"These are pieces of your home. The place where you were born," Chloe added.

"And a part of our lives," Lana chimed in, embracing him. Peeking over his shoulder, she smiled and nodded.

"What now?" Clark wondered.

"Look behind you," she whispered in his ear and took his hand.

He turned to see the ghosts of Jor-El and Lara, his birth parents, standing there proudly.

Lana extended her left hand so that the two newcomers could see both the wedding ring on her finger and the joining bracelet. "Thank you for giving him to me. I hope you don't mind if I combine things," she expressed.

"We're glad you two found each other," Lara replied.

"The combination does us justice, Daughter," Jor-El agreed.

"Hey, Lana, who are you talking to?" Chloe inquired.

"Can I show them?" she asked. Seeing the two ghosts nod, she advised, "Chloe, take Lex's hand and then, hold mine."

"Okay," she concurred. "Hey, Luthor, there's someone you need to say hi to." She grasped his hand.

"Yeah and who would that be?" her husband queried, turning and seeing Clark's birth parents. "Are they who I think they are?" he whispered.

"Yeah," she agreed.

For a minute, they stared at each other-the last parents of Krypton and the Four Founders of Kandor so close that they could touch yet so far that it seemed a chasm lay between them.

"This is your work and the result of your shared love. Your friendship will form the basis of this society. This is our legacy. We give our thanks to you and to your professor for saving it. We must go now. Again, we are so proud of you all. Be safe and well," Jor-El concluded as they disappeared.

"Wow," Chloe gasped.

"Incredible," Lex agreed. "Clark, that was something. Thanks, Lana, for letting us see them."

"They wanted you to see them," Lana noted. "What a way to start our married lives, huh?"

"I guess it was meant that we shared our ceremony, huh?" Clark inquired.

"Sure. Hey, I told you we were meant for great things, didn't I?" Lex commented. "Come on, the others are waiting."

Clark took one last look around and smiled. Sure, the pain of war still lingered, but the conversation made him feel better and look to the future as well. We won't let you down. That's a promise.


Chapter 19

As with all such events, the celebration finally wound down at sunset. The people would always have an extra reason to celebrate the day from that year on. They had a rare glimpse at the Founders, not the mythological figures from their chronicles, but the flesh and blood reality. That meeting gave more reason to celebrate the event.



Two hours after the sun had left the western sky, the friends congregated one last time in the hangar next to the Eureka Maru. It had been great to see everyone again, however, parting was the hardest part of the collaboration.

"I guess it's time," Dylan surmised. "Everyone, it's been great to work with you again." Walking over to Adam, he wished, "Best success with the Underground, Dr. Kane. What you and Mutant X are doing is vital."

"Thank you. And continued success to you as well," the geneticist replied sincerely, shaking the captain's hand.

"Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve, may the Amazon nation remain strong. If you need help, just call," Dylan continued.

"We will," Gabrielle accepted. "Thank you, Dylan."

"Yeah. Just keep Tyr in line, all right?" Xena requested playfully, giving the Nietzschean a smirk and a playful arch of the eyebrow.

"I might say the same for you, Milady," the weapons officer retorted yet allowing a warm smile on his face.

She shrugged. "I know where the line is. Do you?"

Dylan grinned. I wish she could come with us. We need someone like her to keep him in line. Moving down the line, Dave was next. "Once again, you pushed protocol to the limit, but you held the line. You have the thanks of the Commonwealth for what you did out there...both of you. Remember, a leader keeps his people in mind at all times. Keep doing what you did here and keep fighting to insure your Community of Tolerance."

"Dylan, seeing you all in action really drives that point home. On behalf of my students and subjects, I accept your thanks," the professor-king replied.

Trance observed to herself. Even as he evolves, he grows stronger. This is a good thing. One day, his legacy will shine for it.

Finally, the captain stopped in front of Clark and Lana. "You are two very special people who represent what the Commonwealth is all about: interplanetary harmony and understanding. I think it's appropriate that given Kandor's role in the Old and New Commonwealths that you start this whole thing. It's a great honor and a responsibility."

"We know," Clark said earnestly.

"And we're ready for it," Lana agreed.

"And we'll be there to help them," Chloe promised, taking Lex's hand. "Both of us."

"You bet. Thank you, Captain," Lex added, shaking Dylan's hand.

"You're welcome," Dylan noted.

Rommie cleared her throat. "Dylan, aren't you forgetting something?" She held four slim rectangular boxes with the Commonwealth seal on it in plain view.

Seeing the ambassadors and Ror-El looking at him expectantly, he remembered, "Ah yes. Thanks, Andromeda." He took the boxes and walked over to Dave. "On behalf of the Commonwealth, I have the pleasure of presenting these to you and your people." He opened the top box to reveal many rows of tiny square pins. "These are the Commonwealth Honor Pins. They are only given out for exceptional bravery in battle. For your students and the soldiers." With that, he handed the boxes to the professor.

"I think you have something else as well?" Tyr asked, hefting a small box and bringing it over to Dylan's side.

"Yes. Thank you, Tyr. I'd like the following people to step forward: David Dubois, Xena, Gabrielle, Ferali, Elkenwein, Lothward, Paula, Deirdre, Cybelle, Brennan Mulwray, Jesse Kilmartin, Emma diLauro, Shalimar Fox, Adam Kane, Sebastian, Michelle Bigellow, Martin Littleclaw, Kayla Buckwater, Clark Kent, Lana Kent, Lex Luthor, and Chloe Sullivan-Luthor," Dylan announced. When they had done so, he continued, "In the old Commonwealth, we recognized exceptional acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty with a special medal, the Order of the Commonwealth. Through your repeated assistance to us, you all have earned this honor. It's with great satisfaction that I bestow it upon you today." He held up the medal, showing the royal blue ribbon and the gold medallion in its center. "Trance, would you and Tyr please assist me?"

His crewmembers did so, placing a medal on each person. With each stop, they exchanged a smile and a handshake.

Finally, Tyr got to the end of the line and saw that he held Dave's medal. I can't believe I have to do this.

The professor labored to keep a straight face.

"Tyr, get on with it," Trance whispered from behind him.

He frowned and grimaced. "For you, sir," he conceded, putting the medal around the medievalist's neck.

"Thank you," Dave accepted, gripping the Nietzschean's hand. "I mean that. Thank you."

Tyr nodded and hustled back over to Dylan's side.

"Thank you from us too," Trance wished, rubbing his shoulder. "To both of you."

Seeing Rev amble forward, Dylan stepped forward. "Rev, take care of these people."

The Wayist shrugged. "I will have to trust that to the Divine. Dylan, I resigned this morning. My way lies along another path."

"You're welcome if that means you want to come back with us," Dylan told him.

"I know and I thank you, Dylan. However, Ferali has asked me to go with him to Ruthwen and serve as a minister. I am needed there and so, I have accepted. By serving humbly there, I can best assist us all. That is, if the king will accept my appointment?" Rev explained, kneeling.

Dave looked at Ferali and nodded. "I couldn't ask for a better being for the job, Rev. Please rise. I accept you without reservation."

"Thank you," the Wayist accepted. "You see, Dylan?"

"Keep him safe," Beka requested, stepping forward.

"Always," Dave agreed. "Best to all of you as well."

"Indeed. On that note, we should go," Dylan stated. "Come on, people." With that, he led his crew back onto the Eureka Maru. Two minutes later, they took off into space.

"And I think it's time for us as well," Dave presumed. "Ror-El, it's been a pleasure."

The chief elder concurred, "The pleasure is ours. We have made many friends and learned many valuable lessons along the way. Thank you for bringing your people to our aid."

"No problem. Just remember, not everyone with darkness is a monster," the professor reminded him. "Health, happiness, and joy to you and your people. Meantime, I'll do what I can to keep an eye on your Founders."

"You have our thanks for that," Ror-El replied. Then he embraced the two newly wedded couples. "Thank you all. Be safe and well. Know that we'll try to live up to your example."

Lex shrugged. If only Lionel could hear him say that. Man, the expression would be priceless.

"We'll do our best," Clark promised, shaking Ror-El's hand.

"Absolutely," Lana agreed.

"That's all we can ask. Go forth and live well, knowing you have the faith and support of your people," Ror-El continued, stepping back to be at Lara's side.

"Ummm..." Chloe asked. "One last thing if I may?"

"Certainly," Lara stated.

"Clark and Lana haven't met your little girl. Can they?"

"Of course!" Lara exclaimed, beaming proudly as she brought her daughter forward.

Lana sighed. "She's so precious! Can I?" Rocking the little girl in her arms, she hummed a lullaby.

Picking up the tune, Chloe hummed along with her.

Chlana gurgled happily.

"What's her name?" Clark asked.

"Chlana," Lara revealed.

Lex chuckled. Sullivan is getting a lot of mileage out of this one. "Do you think our daughter will look like that?"

"Maybe," she teased, shooting him a playful grin. "Shh! Girls at work here."

"Oh, my mistake," Lex cracked, stepping back to where Clark stood, admiring the scene.

For their part, Ror-El and Lara marveled at the scene. In a future time, they would tell how the Founders actually came to the future to sing their daughter a lullaby.

Finally, when the song was finished, Lana looked down at the little girl. "Be safe."

"Take care," Chloe agreed.

Together they kissed their little namesake before Lana handed her back to Lara. "Thank you for letting us have a moment with her."

"Thank you for taking that moment. It will be remembered for ages to come," the proud mother stated, allowing her baby to sleep.

"Come on, it's time," Clark told his wife.

"Yeah, I know," she said, already missing this place.

Deirdre and Cybelle opened a portal off to the side and ushered them through. Then they stepped through themselves, closing it behind them.

After they were gone, Ror-El looked to the stars and smiled. Thank you for allowing me to meet those people. What a treasure indeed.


Chapter 20 [Smallville, Day following the Magog Attack]

Even as the fighting progressed on and around Kandor, the people of Smallville worked to clean up the rubble from the previous day's standoff between the new mutant students and the alien invaders. Fortunately, Lex's efforts had arranged to get the main street redone expeditiously. The insurance agent from Metropolis General agreed to cover the cost of replacing the windows and the five cars that happened to be in harm's way.

Henry surveyed the damaged area. I hope this isn't typical. What have I gotten myself into?  Seeing Jonathan walk up, he asked, "Is it always like this?"

"With Dave? Let's just say life's not boring where he's concerned. Does it get this exciting very often? No," the farmer noted. Of course, all things are relative.

"At least the Talon didn't suffer any structural damage," the lawyer assumed. "I remember the last time something like this happened here. It was like twenty years ago."

"Twenty-three. And it was the same person who went through that window," Jonathan recalled.

Henry shook his head. "Is he going to get the kids killed?"

"He won't. Believe me, he'll take the hit for them," Jonathan assured him.

"I hope they're all right. It's been an entire day and no word," Henry worried.

Martha came by, carrying a push broom. "They'll be fine." Just then, her cell phone went off. "Hello?"

"Mom, it's Melissa. Guess who just showed up like two minutes ago?" Melissa asked.

"Is everyone all right?" Martha wondered.

"Other than David, yeah-I'd say so. Anyhow, I thought you would like to know," her stepdaughter stated before hanging up.

Martha put the phone back in her pocket. "That was Melissa. They just appeared at the farm. Come on, we can take the truck back there."


[Kent Farm]

Melissa hung up the phone and rushed back over to her brother's side. "It's good to see you!" She hugged him.

"It's good to see you too," the farm boy replied, ruffling her hair.

"Hey, Clark, nice to have a cheering section, isn't it?" Lex queried.

He nodded gladly, hugging Lana with one arm and Melissa with the other. "Hey, everyone needs one."

"Don't forget about us, Kent," Chloe jabbed.

"That's not going to happen, Chloe," Lana assured her.

"Absolutely," Angie agreed from where she sat beside her husband. "Isn't that right, Chief?"

"No argument here," Dave declared.

"The way you keep taking shots, Professor, you need it," Samantha pointed out.

"I'm tough," the medievalist retorted.

"Yeah, but you aren't invincible," the oncologist disagreed.

"Tell the Child that." Clark grimaced. "Professor, he almost got you both killed."

"I know, but it was our responsibility to look out for all of you and our subjects. It's part of being a leader. That's what Captain Hunt was talking about back there," Dave explained. "Speaking of which, you all get something." He picked up the last remaining case of medal pins. "These are for you all. Each of you take one."

The students did so and admired their new pins.

"Who would have ever thought we'd ever get an award like this?" Sebastian wondered.

"We fought bravely. The Kandorians wanted to thank us. For me, it was enough that we protected your descendants, guys," Kayla added, smiling at them.

"Are you back permanently?" Clark asked her.

"Yes. You won't be able to get rid of me. I was hoping though to get into the university where you all are at," the skin walker indicated. "Archeology is a passion of mine."

"I think Dr. Miles will want you as a graduate student," Dave concurred. "You'll enjoy talking to him and Dr. Harris, the museum curator."

"If you can help me, Dr. Dubois, I'd appreciate it," Kayla expressed.

He nodded just before Jonathan, Martha, and Henry rushed through the door.

"Is everyone okay?" Martha wondered, hugging her son and daughter-in-law.

"We're okay," Clark told her.

"Told you so," Jonathan assured Henry.

"I'm glad. Sorry, everyone, when I saw the downtown area yesterday, I feared the worst. What if those creatures had come back?"

"That's not happening, Henry," Lana informed him.

"How can you say that?" the lawyer wondered.

"We took care of it," Dave explained, wincing as he straightened his back. "Those creeps aren't going to bother us ever again."

Seeing the look on his face, Martha asked, "What is it?"

"I burned my back. It'll be okay," the medievalist replied, kicking the case under the couch. Once it was there, he dropped the mists over it, sending it back to his study in Tucson.

"And the medals?" Jonathan inquired.

"We received them for being really brave, Dad," Clark pointed out.

"You weren't in any danger, were you?" the farmer wondered.

"Who, us?" Chloe wondered, the innocent look on her face. On the front lines in a war and throwing ourselves at the enemy? Nah, it was just another day in Paradise.

Lex wanted to retort, but kept quiet, filing the response for later and satisfying himself with the Smirk.

The farmer and his wife looked at each other with consternation. Granted, they couldn't stop the kids from being responsible. However, they did want them to be careful. Hopefully, they would learn that lesson before it got someone killed. But that's a matter for another day. Right now, the aliens are gone and they're here safely.



[On board the Andromeda Ascendant, Distant Future]

Dylan stood on the observation deck, looking out into space. He still couldn't believe that the Magog and the Spirit of the Abyss were really gone. For so long we've worried about them. Now, the Commonwealth won't have to worry anymore.

"Dylan?" Trance called.

"Right here," he replied. "What's going on?"

"I was just thinking about the last couple of days is all," she noted. "I hope Rev's okay in Ruthwen."

"I think he'll be fine, Trance," he assured her. "Dave and Ferali will see to that. You knew this fight would happen during our last meeting with him and the others, didn't you?"

She shrugged. "Not exactly. I knew there would be trials for him to face. Lex mentioned the witch, Anne Lichtenfeld. Angela also died and he had to get her back. Then there was this situation. Dylan, David's personas continue to evolve. As they do, they will get more powerful."

"How does he maintain control?" he wondered,

"He's strong, Dylan. His students and friends such as us bolster his resolve. I think he's going to be all right though," she continued. "Oh, I found something I thought you might like to see in the Commonwealth archives."

He raised his brow, shooting her a quizzical look. "And that is?"

"Andromeda, can you pull the video image I was looking at earlier and play it here?" Trance requested.

The ship's image appeared and agreed, "Certainly, Trance. Look at the screen if you would."

He followed their lead. On the screen, he saw a marriage ceremony. The groom was tall, muscular and had dark eyes. The bride was petite with red hair, bright hazel eyes, and a brilliant grin. In the front row, he saw five very familiar faces: Clark, Lana, Chloe, Lex and Miranda. Except for Clark, they looked older with time's passage having lined their features. The women's hair held streaks of white. "Is this?"

"It is. This is the wedding of Lewis Jonathan Kent and Lillian Martha Luthor. It's the moment when the strands connect between them," Andromeda reported. "The beginning of Kandorian civilization."

"It is indeed," he concurred. "Let's hope they are happy back on Earth tonight."


[Indian Caves, Smallville, Present Day]

Martin shook his head in amazement at the pictographs in front of him. "This is incredible!"

"Told ya so!" Chloe cheered.

"They are a treasure for all," Kayla concurred, taking his hand. "Come, there's something else that you need to see!" Leading him around the corner, she pointed her flashlight at the wall. "See? There's Nuam and his consort."

"And you think that's Clark?" he wondered.

"After what we saw on Kandor, I pretty sure of it," she theorized. "The fight between good and evil is the next one. But the story's incomplete."

"We'll need to do some excavating if that's true," Nick added, approaching them. "Hello, Martin and Chloe. I take it that this is Kayla Buckwater?"

"That's right. And you are?" the skin walker inquired.

"Dr. Nick Miles from the university. Dr. Dubois mentioned you to me as well as this site," the vampire continued, looking at the pictographs.

"Nick! These are amazing!" Alyce exclaimed from around the corner.

"Alyce, come over here. I found them!" Nick called.

The curator walked over. "Hi. I'm Dr. Alyce Harris from the Fine Arts Museum. It's a pleasure."

Kayla's enhanced senses detected something unusual about the two newcomers. "How can you see the pictures without torches?"

"Keep a secret?" Nick asked.

"Of course," Kayla agreed.

"Since we know about your abilities, you can see ours," the archaeology professor replied, allowing his eyes to turn yellow and fangs to descend. "We're vampires."

"I've heard of stranger things and I know it takes a lot to keep a secret. Sure, Dr. Miles, I'll keep your secrets," Kayla agreed.

"Now about this incomplete picture," Nick said, scanning the rock face for a switch of some kind. "Nothing." He looked toward the wall. "This is collapsed. Alyce, give me a hand. Kids, stand back."

The two vampires started pulling rocks out of the pile and crushing them into smaller bits. Gradually, they cleared the opening. "We're through!" they chorused.

The trio followed them into the newly discovered passage. There they saw more pictographs. White, brown, and red stick figures opposite to shaggy brown creatures with sharp teeth. The light/dark creature's image appeared above the whole thing.

"That's us!" Kayla realized.

"It is indeed," Martin concurred, meeting her eyes with his own. At that moment, something clicked and they kissed each other. "I'm sorry, Kayla. I shouldn't have."

"Martin, you may find this hard to believe, but I was sent back to be with someone like myself: a shaman with the bear spirit who happens to go to school with Clark and Lana. Now how many people do you know like that in Tucson?" Kayla disagreed.

"She's got you there," Chloe pointed out.

"Penelope said that one with the wolf spirit from another tribe would come to take her place. You're her!" the shaman realized.

"There are other skin walkers, Martin. Still, I believe that we are meant to be together. I've seen that you're a wonderful person. I know these feelings. You are the One," she professed, kissing him again.

He smiled warmly. Thank you, Penelope, for leaving me the wolf sign. "We have plenty of time to discuss this matter. That is if Dr. Miles wants to take you on as a graduate student?"

"Absolutely. I think this new find is going to be the basis of someone's doctoral thesis. How does that sound, Kayla?" Nick offered.

"Terrific. And I present it in a respectful way for all parties," she agreed, surveying the newly discovered pictographs again. Hugging her new companion, she leaned on him for support as they shared this cultural heritage together.


[Fortress of Solitude, Kent Farm]

Clark and Lana sat in the loft, staring at the stars through the open door. After they had convinced their parents that everything was all right, the couple headed to this private place to think on things and to spend time alone. After all, the conflict had left them with unanswered questions about themselves and the universe as a whole.

"Are you okay?" he asked with concern.

"I guess. It still hurts. Even after talking with Xena and Dr. Kane about it, it's almost unbearable. To think how many of those creatures we had to kill to save Kandor makes me ill," she complained sadly.

"I know. But that's a part of having these abilities, Lana. We have to do the right thing and protect those around us. When we got married, we said we were adults, I guess this is a part of it too," he commented, holding her tightly against him. "But you want to know what I learned from all of this?"

"What?" she sniffled, wiping away the tears starting to run down her cheeks.

"That you are going to be one heck of a mother for our kids. Remind me not to mess with you," he informed her.

"Clark, don't patronize me. I'm already feeling bad enough right now," she moaned.

He sighed and got up from the couch. Pacing the length of the loft, he fumbled with words that might make her feel better. Finally, he decided to just go with his gut feeling. "Lana, remember when you always asked me to tell the truth?"

"Yes. Why?" she wondered.

"I just told it to you. Look, I'm feeling pretty lousy right now too. You know, I'm thinking this is how Professor Dubois felt that night when he found out about his relationship with Karen Montoya, you know? They both felt used and lousy too. Yet, they moved on and we have to as well," he told her. "I can't stand to see you hurting like this, all right?"

She nodded.

"Think about those people and how they're alive because of us. Think of Baby Chlana. We protected them, Lana. That's our legacy," he argued.

"I know. I just need to deal with all of this stuff," she sighed. "Plus Nell won't talk to us because we're different."

"That's her loss, Lana. Look at it this way. Henry will be down in Tucson within the next few weeks. We have our friends and professors. And we have each other," he continued. Locking gazes with her, he pressed onward. "I am the luckiest man in the universe. You're with me here on this night, looking up at the stars and pondering our future together. You are so beautiful, Lana. I can't understand why anyone would be ashamed to speak with you." He kissed her forehead for emphasis.

"Thanks, Clark, for being strong. I know this is tearing you up too. But you're always there for me. I really appreciate that," she expressed. "Hey, let's go get a coffee at the Talon and talk there, all right?"

"As long as you're not officially working, it's okay with me," he agreed.

She rolled her eyes and took his hand. "Come on, Mr. Kent. Let's go."

"Right beside you, Mrs. Kent. Would you like to try the Kent express tonight? Gets you to the Talon in five minutes," he pointed out.

"Sure," she agreed.

"Okay," he said, picking her up. "Here we go!" With that, he took off into the night with her in his arms, floating amidst the stars still far away from their descendants. However for a split second, they were closer than they might have been to them and that was something they could build their marriage upon.


THE END (for now)

Back to the Dubois Chronicles Series 2

Back to As the Talon Turns Fanfic Archive

Back To Main Page