Legacies (Part 4)
David J. Duncan
For notes & such, please see Part 1
Beka and Tyr performed their tasks. As the former had told Dylan, everything was in order. The clock ticked down towards reentry.
Beka worked the controls, maneuvering the ship through the slipstream currents. For the previous three hours, she had kept them all on course. Now, at T-minus 3:25-she was relieved that they were going to be there any minute.
"So, how do you think our guest is going to react to his home planet?" Tyr wondered.
She shrugged. "Who knows? I can imagine being raised on Earth, he probably doesn't remember much of the place."
"He's aware of his heritage," Andromeda pointed out from the main screen. "I think this visit will cause a lot of introspection for him. This is where he was born and spent the first two years of his life. That in itself is something worth considering."
At that moment, Dylan and Chloe entered Command.
Chloe looked around aghast at the area. The computer systems seemed so sophisticated. In front of them through the glass, she could see the multicolored threaded tube that was the slipstream. "This is so cool. It's like something out of Star Trek!"
"Excuse me?" the Nietzschean queried, raising an eyebrow.
The reporter flushed ever so slightly. I really do have to remember to think about what I'm saying. "Yeah, it's a TV show where I come from."
Andromeda smiled. "Ah, yes...ancient Earth entertainment created by Gene Roddenberry. It's a rather unique vision of the future. Is that what you used to call "science fiction"?"
"Uh...yeah. Well, we still do actually," Chloe admitted.
I wonder what he would think of us? "On another note, is everything set?" Dylan asked.
"We're almost set to reenter normal space," Beka advised. "How are our preparations?"
"Good question," Dylan responded. "Andromeda, how are we doing?"
"Harper and Dr. Kane just finished their modifications to my shields. David and Deirdre are standing by in Medical along with Trance," the AI pointed out.
The captain nodded and pushed a button. "Harper?"
"Ready to test those shields?"
"Just give the word, Dylan and we geniuses will put on our show," the engineer bragged.
In the background, Adam's sigh was very audible causing Dylan to chuckle and bringing smiles to the others on the bridge.
"We should've warned him, right?" Tyr remarked dryly, rolling his eyes. "The Little Man is going to drive him insane."
"Tyr," Beka reprimanded but couldn't help smiling herself. Sometimes Harper's ego is a little much.
"Right. Turn the modifiers on now. We're coming out in just under a minute. Out," the captain concluded.
"Dylan, we're there. Bringing her out...in 5...4...3...2...1...mark!" the first officer stated, pulling back on the sticks.
"Ready, Miss Sullivan?" Dylan inquired.
She nodded. Okay, Clark, time to see where you come from.
Suddenly, the blur repeated itself. The lines outside became less distinct. In a flash, they were back in normal space. In front of the ship, a thick layer of dust obscured the view. Pushing through the dust, the Great Rao system came into view. Three planets were a good distance away from the Andromeda on the outer edge. At the system's center, Rao, a large crimson-star, burned brightly, occasionally sending flares out into space. Around the star, a belt of glowing green asteroids rotated as if it protected the former.
"Ladies and gents, welcome to Krypton," Beka announced.
Oh wow. Chloe marveled at the sight in front of her. "So where's the planet?"
"That's it," the AI's image indicated. "The asteroids are the remains from the explosion. Clark got out of there just before it exploded."
The young woman gaped. His home...his parents...gone. I've heard Lana tell the story about the meteors killing her parents. People talk about how the meteor shower changed Smallville. Here was a planet totally wiped out in the same disaster. He's so lucky that the Kents found him.
"Are you all right?" Beka asked.
"Uh...yeah. I'm fine," Chloe said haltingly, still stunned by this revelation unfolding in front of her. "And those are meteor rocks out there?"
"If you mean Kryptonite, yes-they are the same materials that landed near your town," the AI reported. "And that is where our missing mineral is located. Out there."
"How's our shielding doing?" Dylan asked.
"With the enhancements, we're blocking out about 85% of the radiation. The protection in Medical is blocking out the rest. Our environmental suits won't block out the effects of the kryptonite at such close range," Andromeda continued.
"So we can't get it...is that what you're saying?" Chloe asked, her exasperation showing on her face. "Well, I'm not about to let my friend die! Give me an oxygen mask or something and I'll go out there! I've been around those stupid things for the last ten years, all right? Besides, there's always this...." She focused and changed into her radiation form.
"Dylan, she has a point," Tyr agreed. "The radiation has already affected her and the others from the town. Perhaps they should be the ones to get the mineral."
The captain considered his options. Finally, he had to agree with his weapons officer.
Maybe they might be able to last longer out there. "All right. Medical, this is Dylan. Rommie, send Miss Lang to Command. We need her help on something."
Ten minutes later, Lana walked onto the bridge and, as with Chloe, was stunned by the facilities in front of her. "This is amazing," she remarked.
"Thank you," Andromeda replied pleasantly. "I was wondering if you would be up to helping us."
She exchanged looks with her classmate before answering, "Sure. Anything I can do to help Clark. What's so drastic?"
"Take a look out the window, Lana," Chloe told her.
Lana stared through the front portal and saw the remnants of the planet there. "Is that it?"
"That's Clark's home world apparently, or what's left of it. I'm still taking this in too, but that's it. Weird color for a sun, isn't it?"
"Not all stars are yellow, ladies," Tyr chuckled from his post.
"There are many kind of stars and systems. Krypton had heavier gravity than Earth. The sun is much more intense," Andromeda pointed out.
"So, it's our sun that gives Clark his powers?" Chloe asked.
"Indeed," the AI concurred. "According to my scans, since we entered the system, he's now completely normal and slipping faster than projected. At this rate, I'd say we have four hours at best."
Staring down at one particularly large chunk, Lana saw two glowing figures looking back at her.
Who are they? They want my attention. "Andromeda, is there anyone else here?"
"I see two people on that rock down there. Maybe they're trying to help us," Lana indicated. "Where can we put our suits on?"
"This way," Dylan replied, guiding them through the door and toward the supplies.
We don't need any other problems. Just be careful both of you.
Twenty minutes later, the two teenagers flew toward the meteor belt. Chloe, in her radiation form, withstood the vacuum of space easily. Lana, in her environmental suit, tagged along on the end of a line being pulled by her companion.
Pushed by their concern, they quickly reached the large asteroid that Lana had pointed out earlier. Landing there, they looked around.
"Start scanning. Time's going here," the radioactive mutant urged nervously, feeling the seconds speeding by.
Her companion nodded and took out the scanning device. Remembering how Dylan and Rommie had showed her how to use it, she pushed the orange button and began moving around. "The radiation's making it hard to find it."
"Lana, can't you focus the range or something?"
"Andromeda did that before we left," Lana pointed out. We can't give up. Clark's counting on us. Just then, she saw the couple standing in front of them again. "Chloe! Look in front of us!"
"What? I don't see anything," Chloe pointed out.
Lana grasped her hand and repeated, "Look."
As the other hand grabbed hers, the reporter saw the two figures. "Who are they?"
"I don't know," Lana said.
The two figures approached them. As they came closer, it was clear that they were a man and a woman. He stood about six foot-four with black hair and intense blue eyes. She was five-five with brown hair, fair skin, and brown eyes.
"You will find what you seek if you follow us," the man indicated, motioning for them to follow.
Even though they didn't know what to think, they did so.
The ghost-man stopped and pointed at the ground. "The blue stone, do you see it?"
Lana nodded and picked up the quartz-like material. Placing it in her suit's belt pouch, she expressed, "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Thank you for helping Kal-El," the woman told them as they vanished.
"Kal...?" Chloe asked. "Who's that?"
"That's Clark's birth name," Lana noted.
"His birth name. You were unconscious when Lex, Miranda, and I found out. It was that night at the Blackwell farm when everything went crazy. He's only been Clark since he was adopted," Lana continued,
I see. Another of the great Clark Kent mysteries. Hmmm...even when I see everything, he manages to keep something hidden. But that's a matter for another time. "We need to get this stuff back to the others."
In her helmet, Lana heard Dylan ask, "How are you both doing out there?"
"We have the mineral, Captain. We'll be back soon," she promised. She took another look around.
Just as he said, the explosion killed his parents too. Being here proves it, but the coincidence is unbelievable. I can't believe we're here. We're actually here. Maybe we might be standing on where his home was. We'll never know, I guess.
"Ready?" Chloe asked.
"Yeah, now I am. It's too bad that Clark can't be here, you know?" Lana responded, throwing her the line.
"It is something, isn't it?" the reporter queried. "Being here, I mean."
"Yeah, it is."
"Well, let's go. Clark's waiting," Chloe pointed out and started back toward the ship, towing her companion behind her.
Lex paced about the hangar next to the Eureka Maru shaking his head. Since they had come into the system, everyone had been leaving him behind, executing plans without considering if he would want to help them.
They know I would give anything to help him too. Just because I don't have powers.
"Lex?" Emma asked, approaching him.
"Oh, Emma. What's going on?" he responded.
"I was going to ask you the same thing," she told him. "You seem angry over something."
He smirked, wanting to tell a lie and cover himself, but, given that she could read his moods, he thought better of it. "I want to help. Clark's dying in there. Worse still, my girlfriend and business partner are out there risking themselves and I can't be there."
"Adam and I feel the same way, Lex," she replied earnestly. "Do you really think we like watching others trying to save someone we care about? I can tell you it's eating away at Adam. I'm glad Trance has him working with him. Meantime, I'm monitoring Byron and the Kents. They're depressed. And then, there are Dave and Miranda. You're not alone."
"I know," he agreed. "I just don't like to see Chloe sticking her neck out like that. It's hard enough watching Clark and his parents. I just don't want to lose Chloe too."
"You won't," Dylan assured him entering along with Rommie and Beka. "They're on their way back right now."
On the other side of the hangar, the doors slid open to allow Chloe and Lana to walk into the area.
Lex ran over. "Chloe, what were you thinking?"
She radiated off and wondered. "About what? I was helping my friend, Luthor. What do you think I was doing?"
"You could have let me know where you were going!" he stormed.
"I wasn't aware I needed a permission slip to save my friend!" she snapped.
"We really don't have time for this now, guys," Lana cut in as she handed the blue crystal to Rommie. "This is the element. Can you get it to the lab?"
"On the way," the android stated, motioning Beka out the door. "I really...uh...think I need help with this if you get my meaning." She motioned to the two lovers quarreling.
"Ah, right," Dylan, Emma, and Lana concurred, following her out of the room.
After the others left, Chloe shook her head. "I guess you're happy now, aren't you?"
"Excuse me?" he bellowed in exasperation. "I don't know where you are, but you could have been seriously hurt out there!"
She snorted, "I'm a big girl, Lex. Clark needs that stuff-whatever it is. Besides, I'm not made of glass and neither is Lana. It's about time that you and Clark realized that."
He shook his head, torn between anxiety and nerves. As a Luthor, he didn't back down to anyone. On the other hand, he loved the feisty blond reporter. "I know how Clark feels, Chloe. We've both lost a lot. How much, I never understood until I looked out the observatory window up there. You're everything to me-you know that?"
She took a deep breath and agreed, "I know, Lex. You just need to trust that I can take care of myself and pull my end of the load. Okay?"
He nodded. "I'll adjust to the idea if you help me to do it. Deal?"
She smiled and allowed her eyes to sparkle into his. "Deal. Now c'mere, Billionaire Boy." With that, they kissed and all was right again with their corner of the universe.
Jonathan and Martha looked out the observation window at the debris floating in space. At some point in the past, Clark had lived there-breathed his first breath and took his initial steps along his life's journey.
"It's so foreboding," she remarked, "seeing the carnage out there."
"Martha, it's the nature of things. Fortunately, Clark was sent away before anything worse happened to him. This place is special though. Now we know where he came from."
"All of this is still sinking in," she declared. "First, the news about Clark. Then, there was the trip on this spaceship. And we're looking at his home world. Jonathan, there were people down there just like us-people who are now gone. An entire world died on that day."
"Not an entire world, Martha. Clark survived. That just makes him all the more special," he remarked, embracing her.
"Who knew that we'd be preserving the culture of an entire world when we took him in?" she asked considering the implication of what their son meant to the universe. "Never mind that he's our child...." She teared up. "What if he doesn't make it?"
He turned her gently to face him. "Stop talking like that, all right? David got the best help for Clark. I'm sure they working wonders down there. Everything's going to be fine."
"It has to be....I don't know what I would do if he didn't make it," she sobbed. "I mean, this catastrophe has caused enough damage both here and to our town. The folks who remember that day should be here right now."
He agreed, "It certainly changes your perspective. That's for sure. There was one good thing out of all that mess though. Clark found us. And that's why he's not going to die here."
"I know," she agreed, trying to keep a firm expression on her face. "I'm praying as hard as I can."
He tightened his grip on her, providing her with as much sanctuary as he could. Even as he did this, he still dealt with those same feelings. For her, however, he would remain strong. For them all, he would do so.
Meantime, the Medical area buzzed with activity. Emma, Dave and Xena watched Clark's vital signs, noting any signs of decline. In the past ten minutes, the young man's condition had leveled off a bit, giving them all hope.
Across the room, Adam, Trance, and Rommie worked with the ship's computer to combine the elements in the right proportions for the cure. Despite the care in preserving the information in the Commonwealth's archives, the many transfers of the said files had corrupted the directions at the process's end. Fortunately, the android was able to deduce the combination.
At his bedside, Lana hovered, keeping guard against anything or anyone who would harm him. She brushed his brow with her hand, keeping the hair out of his eyes and noted how soft his skin was in this environment.
It's unbelievable what different conditions will do.
"Lana?" Clark whispered.
"I'm here," she assured him, kissing his cheek. "They're mixing up an antidote for you right now. Hang on."
"It's done," Trance stated, walking over with a beaker in her hand. "Here's what he needs. Clark?"
"Y...yes," he whispered. "Help me up, Professor?"
"Sure," Dave agreed, supporting him under the shoulders.
The golden skinned alien put the container to his lips and poured the blue contents into his mouth. "There. Anything?"
"N..no. Still feel weak," Clark stated.
Lana looked at the others, her fear flaring inside of her. "Why hasn't he changed?"
Rommie took his wrist and scanned him. "There's something happening."
Then he doubled over, his face scrunched in agony. "Arrrgh!"
"Clark!" Lana exclaimed, her eyes growing wide. "What's happening?"
"He's been ripped apart. Why is that?" Dave stated, looking at the crewmembers in the room.
"The plague is accelerating in response to the antidote. For some reason, however, the medicine is not working as it should," Rommie noted.
"F...ir...e. I feel as though I'm on fire," the Kryptonian patient muttered painfully.
His girlfriend hugged him trying to reassure him and stared at Dave.
"Isn't there anything you can do?" the professor bellowed, feeling his own pain and worse, the Child surging within him.
"He's beyond medical help now," a voice announced from thin air.
Lana looked and saw the spirits from the asteroid standing there. "Appear to everyone else please!"
"Who are you talking to?" Trance wondered.
Dave frowned and scanned the area. There's someone there all right. Two some
ones. "You heard her," he hissed. "Come out. Next time the question's asked, it'll be my Other who poses it!"
The spirits made themselves visible to everyone in each detail. "No need for such threats, especially when it concerns our son."
"Your...what?" Dave queried.
"Yes," the woman answered. "Our son, Kal-El. I'm Lara and this is my husband, Jor-El. We're his parents."
The occupants of the medical area stared in disbelief at the woman and her husband who had just appeared in their midst. It was bad enough that Clark clutched his middle in agony. It was bad enough that his readings dipped and spiked like a yo-yo on steroids. But this too?
"Jonathan and Martha Kent are his parents. What gives?" Adam wondered.
"His adopted parents," Lana noted. "Emma, can you do anything for him?"
The empath concentrated and created an image of a blissful paradise for him.
"Thank you for helping him. All of you," Lara expressed. "As for your question, Jor-El?"
"He was born here," Jor-El explained. "We're his parents."
Dylan gave the ghostly man a skeptical look.
Andromeda's AI image appeared and concurred. "He's right, Dylan. I've matched their images with the Commonwealth's records of the last Kryptonian elite records. They are who they say they are."
"So do you know anything about this plague?" Dave inquired sharply.
"Yes. The cure you gave him was correct, but he is unable to recover by himself. He needs the help of another," Jor-El stated.
"Another?" Adam queried. "Who is this other?"
"No man can live as an island. Just so, no man can survive on his own. Although we Kryptonians are a stolid race of people, we do acknowledge the power of love to heal. Since Krypton has been destroyed and our society with it, we need to start anew. Kal-El-or, as you refer to him, Clark-is our last lifeline. He is the last hope of our people."
"But there's nothing here. I won't leave him here alone!" Lana protested indignantly. "I'll die first!"
Lara smiled gently. "Lana, that is your name, isn't it? That is the farthest thing from our minds."
"I believe they are speaking of the Life Bond. Kryptonians usually seek companionship with those of like lineage. However, I am wondering, Minister El, to whom would Clark bond himself since there are no more of his kind left?" Andromeda's image puzzled.
"There is another way to form a bond. When the pieces of our planet hit yours, they caused damage and death, correct?" Jor-El asked.
"Yes, one of the fragments killed my parents," Lana pointed out, bowing her head.
The former minister managed a smile. "Yes, you have a spiritual bond with us through your parents, my Dear. You are now the last hope of the Kryptonian people."
"Me?" Lana wondered aghast, looking at the others. "Why me?"
Dave chuckled. "I think I know why. Sir, may I?" Seeing the spirit nod, the professor continued, "There are three reasons. First, just as Clark's life was redefined by Krypton's destruction, so too was yours. Then, there's the fact that Clark loves you. Finally, and this is really going to sound corny, but every Adam needs an Eve...."
"That's correct," Lara agreed. "You two were destined to be together."
The teenaged girl looked at both her professor and the ghostly couple. "So you're saying that in order to save him, I need to be his wife?"
Trance replied, "In Earth terms, yes-that's it exactly."
"Although, a betrothal is all that is needed at this point to start the sharing process," Rommie added. "Minister El, I realize that usually you had a place for such occasions, however since it was destroyed, I'll need to recreate it here onboard. Will that be sufficient?"
"It will be," the minister agreed. "If she agrees."
Lana looked at Clark's still form. This was all so sudden. Weren't college kids supposed to have fun and worry about midterms and other mundane things?
In our case, it's the next bad guy coming at us or some other weird thing. I''ve known how I've felt since elementary school. I love him. I always have. I always will. She kissed him on the lips and nodded. Looking at the spirits, she answered, "I'll be honored to be his wife if he'll have me."
Emma dropped the illusion for a minute. "Clark?"
Clark winced and looked at Lana whose eyes shone into his. "La...na, what?"
She sighed and got down on her knees. "I know it's the guy who usually does this, but, Clark, ummm....will you...uh....will you marry me?"
That comment made even the pained-wracked patient stare at her. "Pain's...bad. I thought I heard you...ask me...to marry you."
"I did," she affirmed, managing a nervous smile and looking at him anxiously. "Well?"
"Pro...fessor?" he asked.
"Yes, Clark?" Dave replied.
"Pinch me. I must be dreaming," he requested. "Either that or...Emma's... illusions..."
"Nope. This is real," the medievalist informed him, pinching him.
"Hey... I felt... that. How?"
Dave exchanged looks with Xena and then remarked, "That's a good question. How did you feel that?"
"After you're feeling better, I'll explain, Clark," Rommie assured him. "Meantime, I'll get to work on that room if you're agreeable to it."
He nodded. "If...she'll...ha..ve...me...yes....Lana....I want...you to...be....my...wife."
"The vital signs are slumping. He's going!" Xena announced, staring at the fluctuating readings.
Emma asked Andromeda. "Can you bring up an image of that place?"
"On screen," the AI responded, accessing the room's appearance from her archives.
"Thanks," the empath replied, generating the image in everyone's minds of the Kryptonian wedding chamber. "How's this?"
"It will do," Lara agreed. "Although we can't see it for ourselves, we see it in your mind. Thank you."
"Hang on," Dave urged, creating a portal and guiding Lex, Chloe, Byron, Eve, and the Kents through it from the different parts of the ship. After Emma had inserted the image in their minds too, he added, "I think we're ready."
"Almost," Lana interjected, focusing with Emma and Lara. Her form shimmered and found herself standing in a flowing white gown with a golden tiara and fine jewelry. "Wow. This was yours?"
"My joining gown and jewels, Lana. Now we don't have much time," Lara pointed out gently.
"Much time for what?" Jonathan asked. "Who are these people? What's going on?"
"Ummm...Jonathan, Martha, see the spirits over there? Those are Clark's birth parents. Jor-El, Lara, these are Jonathan and Martha Kent, Clark's step parents," Dave pointed out.
"Thank you for keeping him safe all of these years. We are grateful," Lara expressed. "We had no idea who our son would find. Thank the stars he found you."
"Indeed. You have our thanks," Jor-El added. "As for what's going on. The cure's been administered, but the joining needs to take place to save Kal-El's life."
Chloe deduced what was going on. "So, they need to do some sort of bonding ritual to spark him. Is that it? How sci-fi...."
Lex scratched his head still trying to take this all in. It figures that someone would figure a way to get them together...FINALLY.
"That's exactly it. I want to do this, Mr. and Mrs. Kent, of course, we'll need to repeat this on Earth. I hope you don't mind having me for a daughter-in-law," Lana said hopefully.
Martha smiled. "Welcome to the family. As long as Clark agrees...."
"Well, Son?" the farmer asked.
"D...o...you need to ask? Yes...." The patient managed a smile.
"Lex, can you and Chloe stand with us?" Lana asked urgently.
"C'mon, Luthor, let's do it," the reporter stated.
His brow perked and he allowed a smirk on his face. Yeah, she'd best be careful. I might be tempted to take that as a "yes". "Fine."
After their friends and Clark's parents had stood by them, Lana picked up Clark's hands and looked at her soon-to-be in-laws. "Okay."
"Kal-El of Krypton and Earth, do you take this woman to be your companion, loyal always?" Jor-El asked.
Martha and Jonathan looked warmly at their son waiting for his answer.
"Y...yes," Clark whispered, his eyes fluttering as he tried to stay with it.
"Lana Lang of Earth, do you take this man to be your companion, loyal always?" Lara queried.
"Yes, I do," Lana agreed without hesitation allowing her eyes to shine into his. "I've loved him since we first met and always will."
"Very well. Hold onto his hands then, Daughter," Jor-El requested, placing his hands on hers and Clark's.
She felt an energy shoot through her. Somehow, she felt as if something were flowing into her and something else was leaving her and going to Clark.
What is this?
In her mind, she heard Lara say, This is the joining, Daughter. You and Kal-El...Clark... are now one. Your energies and essences belong to one another.
I wouldn't have it any other way. Lana smiled and held on tight, hoping for the best.
Around them, their friends watched anxiously as well.
For two minutes, this exchange continued. Then Clark inhaled deeply and awoke. Somehow, his splotches had disappeared. "Lana," he realized. "I just had the strangest dream....We just got married. Well, sort of...."
"It's no dream, Clark. We did," she told him. "You agreed to it. Do you regret it?"
He grinned and shook his head. "No, I don't. I wasn't planning on asking this soon. We'll have to repeat the service on Earth though."
"Well, if we did it by your schedule, Clark, she'd be a spinster waiting for you," Lex gibed, rubbing him on the shoulder and grinning. "Good to see you up and around there."
Thank you, Eli. Eve smiled and expressed to herself.
Thank God. "I'll say," Chloe concurred, her eyes shining. "Promise me you won't do anything that rash again, Clark."
"I won't," he vowed, knowing that she was right. While his heart was in the right place, he had learned a lesson about his own invulnerability and that his friends were right-some times caution is called for. "Mom? Dad?"
"Right here, Clark!" Martha exclaimed, hugging him. "Oh, it's so good to hold you."
"Absolutely," Jonathan agreed, joining her for a minute. "Clark, there are two other people you need to meet. The people there are your parents...your birth parents."
"We came back to help you, Kal-El," Jor-El revealed. "And to say we're proud of you. Remember us."
"Always. Thank you," Clark replied smiling. "I love you both."
The two ghostly parents smiled warmly back at him as they disappeared.
"Dr. Kane, I'm glad you were on the case," Clark told him.
Adam shook his head. "Thank Andromeda. I was only assisting, but it's good to see you back, Clark. You just took on a big commitment there."
He smiled and took Lana's hand. Somehow, he knew that they were meant to be together no matter what. "I know, but she's the one. It's good to be back."
"Good to have you back," Dave concurred.
Everyone just talked for a minute, allowing the scene to soak in and the planning to commence for the next stage on Earth.
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