New Ventures (Dubois Chronicles 2.84)
David J. Duncan
November 2004

Notes: The characters from Forever Knight belong to Sony Tri-Star. The characters from Xena Warrior Princess belong to StudiosUSA and Renaissance Studios. The characters from Mutant X belong to Marvel and Tribune. Spider-Man and the other characters from the Marvelverse belong to Marvel. The characters from Smallville belong to DC Comics and the WB. The characters from Dark Angel and Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda belong to their copyright holders. All other characters are fictitious and belong to me. Please send comments to .

Thanks to Aaron for beta reading this piece!


Prologue [Amazon Village, c. 88 AD]

Gabrielle, Bard-Queen of the Amazons, writes….

As things continue to settle down following the meeting of two universes, everything comes back to normal. The students seek to finish the semester on a good note. David and the other professors want to wrap up the semester.

There are some new things though. A university tavern closes. The mystery girl comes to the desert and we learn more about her. In addition, two other familiar faces arrive with permanent places in the community.

And an old threat returns….


[Talon—January 2007]

Lana Lang-Kent writes….

Dear Diary,

While college is fun (and being with Clark is…well…great), I have to admit that I missed being around the Talon full time. It’s so cool that Lex managed to purchase a place close to campus that we could refurbish into another Talon just like the one in Smallville!

I’m glad that the Professor and our red-headed friend are hitting it off. Hopefully, we’ll find out more about her.

For some reason though, I know things aren’t going to be as they should be. Clark would tell me to relax but I have this bad feeling that things are going to get really ugly….



Chapter 1 [Smallville—Talon, Two days following “The Forsaken” (“Amazon Scrolls” 7)]

As always, the Talon bustled with business on a late Saturday afternoon. Customers came through, expecting their caffeinated bliss. Miri, Lana and Serena hustled with the expected goods.

In the corner, Jasmine sat with a mysterious red headed girl, trying to help the other to adjust to life on Outer Earth. While they had no idea of who this visitor was—or even her name—the group welcomed her.

“This place is so…big,” the girl indicated, looking about skittishly.

“You should see Papa’s palace,” Jasmine replied warmly.

“What’s ‘palace’?” the girl asked.

“Remember the place we visited in Ruthwen?” Seeing the girl nod, she continued, “That’s a palace.”

“Wow. So you really are a princess.”

Jasmine looked at her curiously. How can she know what a princess is but not a palace? “I am indeed.” She waved to Lana.

“How are you both doing?” the former cheerleader asked.

“We’re all right. Maybe we could get a refill when you get a chance?” Jasmine requested.

“I think we can handle that,” Lana concurred. Seeing the mark glowing on the back of the girl’s hand, she asked, “Is that?”

“The Professor says it is,” Jasmine noted.

“I know it’s weird. I wish I knew what it means,” the girl complained. Then she noticed Lana’s hand. “You’ve got one too!”

Lana held her hand up so they could see the glowing mark. “I hope yours isn’t for the same reason as the Professor’s and mine.” She frowned. “How we got them isn’t a good thing.” She looked around to make sure nobody was listening in. And if we never see Alti again, that would be fine with me. “On that note, I’ll get those coffees for you.”

Jasmine looked at her companion first and then her friend at the counter. Granted, the Witch was gone but for some reason, she felt uneasy.




Lana poured the two cups of coffee and mused about the stranger’s mark. If she was there, how could the ghost have marked her? And wouldn’t she have had to lost a loved one for that to have happened? She shivered, recalling how her own parents had died right outside of the café. She bowed her head. It still seems like yesterday.

“Hey, Boss, are you okay?” Miri wondered.

“I’ll be fine. I was thinking about our new friend. She’s marked too,” Lana whispered in the other’s ear.

Miri stiffened. “Marked? As in…?” Her eyes motioned toward the other’s hand.

Lana nodded. “I wonder how that happened?”

“Strange things happen all the time,” Serena declared, setting a rack of coffee cups on the counter and starting to put them away. “Still wouldn’t that connect her to you and your Professor?”

“Exactly. And has she told you her name at all? Jasmine claims she doesn’t have one,” Lana indicated.

The others shook their heads.

Terrific. Another mystery. Just what we need. She frowned.

At that moment, Chloe walked briskly into the café with a big grin on her face.

“Uh oh,” Miri presumed, knowing that expression. “Big story?”

“I’d say so,” Lana concurred. As the reporter reached the counter, she greeted, “Hey, Chloe, coffee?”

“But of course,” Chloe agreed, confirming that coffee came before almost anything else. “Lex wanted me to tell you some stuff.”

“Such as?” Serena asked, feeling uncertain about the situation.

“First, I guess Miri’s Aunt Caroline is going to be the new advisor for the school newspaper. Second, Lex wants to meet with us at the farm about something big. Finally, Dr. Kane wants to check on our new friend over there. Have any of you found out her name?” Chloe informed them.

“Not a single shred of info. Uncle Dave doesn’t know who she is. Only that she was in a side realm of some sort,” Miri noted. “Maybe Emma can help her. As for Auntie Caroline, that will be so cool! That’s why Aunt Karen was so happy the other day.”

Still more family for Miri to lean on. With everything else that’s happening, at least she has something to be happy about. “Be right back.” She took the two mugs over to their friends.

Chloe looked at the others and then at the red haired girl. What is her deal? And how is she tied to the Professor? There’s definitely a story in all of this waiting to be told.


Chapter 2 [Ruthwen—Hall’s End Palace]

[Note: Dave’s remembrances here occur in “Back to the Drawing Board” and “Forbidden” from the first Dubois series.]

Even as the students discussed the red haired girl, Dave stood in the midst of the palace gardens, studying a funerary statue of a rather slender and petite woman. Despite his royal commission, the monument could have been one of any woman save for the inscription:

Deirdre Brigid Roberts

Dearest Friend and Companion

Taken before her Time


He shuddered, recalling the good times and bad he had spent with her. They had been the best of friends for three years. Then the ghost appeared in Tucson, forcing her to reveal herself to him. Unfortunately, Lichtenfeld blasted her with the blue flame infecting her fatally.

At that point, the Child erupted, driving the Witch away.

But that was nothing compared to what would come later from the priestesses….

Dee-Dee, you didn’t deserve that. I’m glad that I could finally see you to your favorite spot. He took a deep breath.

“It’s a great spot,” Angie commented.

He turned to see his wife walking toward him. “Hi, Princess. I was going to come in a minute.”

She shrugged. “That’s okay. I just wanted to make sure that everything’s all right.”

He hugged her. “Now that’s she’s here, it is.” He cleared his throat. “I don’t know how much Xena told you about her. You understand why I haven’t mentioned her until now. Right?”

She nodded. “I can’t believe the Empress did that to you both. Xena told me about the other thing too. Dave, that happened before we met. She kept you sane and told you to have hope. She allowed you to find me.” She hugged him. “I’m all right with that.”

“Anyone ever tell you that you’re the most understanding wife in the world?” he inquired.

“Not lately but it’s good to know that,” she replied, giving him a warm grin. “I’m secure in the fact that you love me and the girls. That’s all I need to know.” She turned to the monument. “Deirdre’s a friend even if we’ve never officially met. I owe her a lot. That’s why I suggested that we honor her.”

He held her close. “Thanks, Angie.”

“My pleasure, Sweetie. Now we have a banquet to attend. Sorry I have to bring business back into this,” she reminded him.

“Not a problem,” he agreed, feeling the tug of duty on him yet again. “Our work is never done. Is it?”

“Nope. But we keep plugging,” she declared, taking his hand.

I’ll keep doing my best, Dee-Dee, as you’d want me to do. Having made that silent vow to himself, he returned with his wife to their duties.




[Following the banquet]

After another sumptuous meal in which the cooks surpassed themselves (yet again), Dave stood on the citadel’s battlements and looked out toward the Dark Lands beyond. Still the cloud festers. He had felt something pulling at him of late but couldn’t identify it. What could it be now?

“Another issue, my brother?” Ferali wondered, coming up behind him.

Dave saw the gnome standing behind him. “Always. In this case though, it’s one of those old feelings.”

“Old feelings?” Ferali inquired, quirking his brow. “We’ve vanquished Lousain and his evil lot! What could there be?”

“I don’t know.” Dave stared at the abyss. “Something’s out there. I feel as though I should know what it is.”

“Whatever it is, we have enough strength to meet it head on,” Ferali affirmed.

“I hope you’re right, my friend,” the Professor-king expressed. “Come; the others will be expecting us soon.”



Chapter 3 [Kent Farm—that night]

Martha arranged enough places around the table for family, neighbors and close friends to sit comfortably. With Lana’s help, coffee and dessert abounded for everyone’s enjoyment.

When everyone had arrived, Lex eyed them all carefully, considering his words.

“What’s the big secret, Luthor?” Chloe teased. “Even keeping it from me, are you?”

“I didn’t want a front page expose before I was ready to spill my big plan,” her husband countered with a smirk. “Okay. I guess I can indulge you all. The Talon’s been a surprising success since Lana and I became partners seven years ago. While I admit that I would like to see profits a little higher, it holds its own. I was thinking about opening another Talon actually.”

Lana rubbed her forehead, trying to think of how she would balance school, training and two shops. “Lex, we can’t travel to another café. I’m maxed out just getting here on the weekends from Arizona.”

Seeing the expression on his friend’s face, Clark guessed, “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. Right, Lex?”

“That’s correct, Clark,” the billionaire concurred. “The next one’s going to be in Tucson actually.”

“What?” Chloe asked. “Lex, there aren’t any other places available!”

Lex shook his head and took a gulp of coffee. “There is one. You know Bartleby’s Café by campus?”

“The place where the profs hang out? Sure. What about it?” Clark wondered.

“I got a call from its owner, Max Edgerson. He’s decided to sell the place and retire. Apparently, Dave’s told him some stories about the Talon. Well, Edgerson and I did lunch two days ago. He wants a quality place to go in there. I think we can do it. I can handle the financing. Between all of us, I figure we can redo the inside of the place so that it looks like our Talon here. What do you all think?” Lex proposed.

“I still want to know how we can handle two cafes,” Lana insisted. “We have our studies too.”

“True but Miranda’s there to help you in Tucson during the week. And the others have been looking for part time jobs too,” Lex countered. “Besides you do have help to manage this one.”

“And that would be?” Lana asked.

“I’ve agreed to do it,” Martha indicated, patting her husband’s hand as she said it.

“Mom, how can you handle that and help Dad here?” Clark wondered.

“We need the money, Clark,” his mother replied.

“Martha, please….” Jonathan requested, squirming in discomfort.

“You know we do,” Martha told him.

“And we can figure out a way to pitch in if needed,” Hercules offered.

“Besides after six months, I feel I’m starting to figure this out,” Serena added. “Maybe I can do some more there as well.”

“We’ll need to talk with Professor Dubois to see what he thinks,” Lana stated. “But Mr. Edgerson owned the whole building. Who’s going to take the rest of it?”

Lex grinned. “The campus needs a flower shop. Your Professor’s already found a florist to move into the empty space.”

“And who would that be?” Clark asked.

Lana scratched her head. “Would that be April McKenzie?”

“Exactly. She’s wanted to find a way to relocate down there. This was her opportunity. Besides, other things have changed for her,” Lex noted.

“Such as?” Martha queried. “She’s all right, isn’t she?”

“She’s fine. When I spoke to her last week, she told me that she’s tired of being the last person left in Amherst. Besides, Agent Singleton asked her a certain question last week,” Lex continued, smiling at the end. “And she said yes.”

Martha snickered to herself. As she recalled more and more of the week following the meteor shower, she remembered that Garth had his eye on April during the group’s entire visit/ordeal. And with David out of the picture, she’s decided to move on. “It’s about time.”

“And with our new advisor, I guess that means everyone’s there,” Chloe presumed.

“Excuse me?” Clark asked. “You know who the new advisor will be? I thought that was a big secret.”

The reporter shrugged. “It’s no big deal, Clark. You remember Caroline Alvarez, Karen’s sister? She’s just finished her Ph D in journalism. Apparently, the university offered her a position and she took it.”

“That’ll make Karen and Mika excited,” Lana mentioned. Seeing the red haired girl sitting silently in the corner, she asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I’m happy for all of you. I just wish I knew who I was or had a place to go like that,” the stranger declared.

“You do,” Jasmine assured her. “You always have a place with us and the Professor. Remember that.”

“Thank you, Jasmine,” the girl expressed seriously. “I hope this Dr. Kane can help me remember.”

“He has a way of doing that,” Lana assured her.

“When are you going to see him?” Jonathan asked.

“Tomorrow morning,” the Middle Eastern princess mentioned. “I, for one, would like to know more about you such as where your mark came from.”

“Mark?” Martha inquired.

The red-haired girl put her right hand on the table. “Lana, can you?”

The former cheerleader nodded and placed her hand near the other’s. The two hands glowed with the matching symbols.

Clark stared incredulously at them. “You’ve seen the ghost too?”

“Ghost? What ghost?” the newcomer asked fearfully. “Before all of you, I only knew the Elf-lady, this Pro…fessor and the one called Cybelle. I would like to know what the symbol is.”

“We’ll get to the bottom of it tomorrow,” Jasmine promised earnestly while giving her friends an anxious look. If she’s never seen the Witch’s ghost, how could she have been marked? By the Prophet, that’s a mystery needing to be solved.



Chapter 4 [Next morning]

[New Sanctuary]

Adam calibrated his scanning equipment and finished entering in the initial data on the mystery girl. Within the hour, the computers would have some answers as to her identity and genetic make up.

“How’s it going?” Shalimar inquired, offering him a cup of coffee.

“All right,” he informed her. “Thanks.” He drank a bit from the cup and set it on the bench beside him. “This girl’s an interesting puzzle. I can’t believe she was alone for all of those years.”

“Yeah well, when it comes to that Empress lady, who knows why?” she retorted.

He nodded grimly. “According to the others, she has a mark like Dave’s and Lana’s. However, she claims that she’s never run into Lichtenfeld’s ghost.”

“That’s weird,” she concurred. “I thought the only way you ended up with one of those things is if you ran into Ms. Creepy.”

“Hopefully, Emma can shed some light on this issue as well.” He stood up and took a deep breath. “We’re set. They should be here any minute.”

“Let’s eat then,” she urged, leading him from the lab toward the common area where the others were waiting.




[Cathedral of Crystal, Faerie Lands]

The Faerie Empress snickered to herself. In the past few days, she had much to consider. The girl and the elder Deirdre provide two more links to the prophecy. Soon, it will be upon us again. I cannot believe that David Dubois would not know the time that approaches. He senses it but soon, he shall deal with the dark situation from before.

“Milady?” Cybelle asked hesitantly.

“Do not be afraid, Cybelle. You have nothing to fear from me,” the Elf-Queen bade.

The High Priestess approached. “You summoned me?”

“I did indeed,” the Empress agreed. “You know what year this is?”

“It’s 2006 AD. Why?” Cybelle replied. “Milady, why do you ask?”

The Empress scratched her chin and looked into the mist portal. “Do you remember your brother’s earliest trial, Cybelle? The weekend spent in the Lower Valley fighting demons for his friends?”

Cybelle mused on this cryptic clue for a minute. Then she did recall the very instance. “The encounter with the Mystery Man and Dahak!”

“Your memory serves you well,” the Empress complimented. “You are about to get your wish.” She looked at the priestess. “You will have to engage the Enemy for everyone’s sake.”

“I am ready to do my duty as the goddess sees fit,” Cybelle asserted.

“Good. For the 28 years of grace are almost up. Within the next few weeks, he will remind you all of that. Be ready,” the Empress informed her.

“I will let Deirdre and Genaria know. Can I tell the Amazons?” Cybelle responded.

“By all means. You should confer with Nai-Jin and get her advice. Soon, an attack will come from within as well as without. That is all I know, Child,” the Empress concluded. “Go now and make preparations. Soon we’ll be in the mix again.”

When aren’t we? The priestess bowed and vanished into the mists, leaving the Empress to consider her options.

The Empress rubbed her chin. They want to know the truth, do they? I wonder if they’re ready to handle it.




[Adam’s Lab, New Sanctuary—Twenty minutes later]

The red haired girl walked through Sanctuary, gawking as she went. After her life on the desolate island, she couldn’t believe everything around her. The lights astounded her. The pretty flora by the fountain dazzled her. The smooth tile allowed her to almost glide toward her destination. “You come here?”

“Uh huh,” Dave concurred, offering her a smile. “It’s okay. Adam’s a really good friend.” Even if Eckhart, Lie-Boy and Dad tricked him into hurting us. Chill out, Dave, he’s redeemed himself several times over for that.

“I appreciate that,” the geneticist expressed, walking down the stairs to meet them. “And this is our friend? Welcome to Sanctuary. I’m Adam.”

“Good to meet you,” the red haired girl replied nervously, looking around. “Sorry…it’s so big.”

“It is that but I hope you’ll be comfortable,” he responded warmly. “I just need to check something.”

Seeing their companion stiffen, Jasmine assured her, “It’s all right. He’s going to scan you with a light like those.” She pointed to the ceiling. “It doesn’t hurt.”

“Really?” the newcomer asked fearfully.

“Really,” Dave promised. “Jasmine and I will be with you all the way.” He smiled. “I just want to make sure you’re okay. Adam’s really great at that.”

The girl looked at the Professor and then at Adam. “All right if you say so.” She followed them into the lab where Emma and Shalimar were setting the bio bed into position. “What next?”

“If you could lie down on the bio bed where the girls are, we can get started,” Adam suggested.

“Right this way,” Shalimar declared, giving the visitor a big grin.

Emma sent waves of soothing feelings into her. “It’s going to be all right.”

The girl reclined on the bed and stared upwards. “Now what?”

“Just relax,” Dave told her.

Adam pushed a button and started the scan.

The light passed over the girl four times, sweeping every feature and picking up all of her nuances. Then it shut down.

“When are you going to scan me?” she asked.

“I just did,” Adam declared with a smile. “Data’s coming up on the screen now.”

A CGI-image appeared in the middle of the room, displaying the girl’s results.

Needless to say, she was astounded by the display. “How? It’s magic!”

“It can seem that way but it’s not,” Dave told her. “What’s the verdict, Adam?”

“She’s healthy and I’d say she’s a mutant,” the geneticist diagnosed. “Running cross scans now.”

At that moment, the computer declared, “Subject female’s DNA matches data already on file.”

“What?” they all queried in disbelief.

Why is it that we always run into this? Dave assured the girl. “It’s okay. This happens occasionally.”

“What is ‘DNA’?” the girl asked.

Adam explained, “DNA is at the core of what makes you…well you. It’s strands and molecules wrapped into patterns. Everyone is unique. Strange though, you’re from another place. Computer, do a search linking subject’s DNA to database. What is the result?”

The computer showed the girl’s image accompanied by Dave’s.

“What?” Jasmine wondered.

Dave gaped. “Adam, does that mean what I think it means?”

“What’s happening?” The girl wondered.

Adam scanned the database again, performing several tests to confirm the result. “Well there’s one answer.” He looked at the girl. “You’re a Dubois.”

The medievalist stared at him. “She’s my relative?”

Emma joined Adam at the console and looked at the results. “She’s got the mark on the hand too, Adam. That’s odd.”

“Emma, spill it,” Dave insisted.

The psionic sighed. “Dave, she’s not just your relative. She’s your daughter.”

“WHAT?” Dave asked. “Emma, come on! Karen and I didn’t…. And Angie and I only have the twins and Deirdre. So…what…?” Then his eyes went wide. “No. Impossible!”

“Professor?” Jasmine asked. “What is it?”

Dave slumped onto the stairs fighting his churning emotions. He reached into his pocket and took out a lock of hair. “It isn’t much. Adam, can you scan this? We need to know.”

“What is this?” the girl asked desperately.

“The truth. I think I know who you are,” Dave told her while handing the hair to Emma. “That’s from Deirdre.”

The computer scanned the lock and cross-referenced the DNA, locking on a match.

Adam smiled. “It’s definite, Dave. You and this Deirdre are her parents.”

“You…you’re my father?” The girl asked, looking at Dave. “You left me and her alone?”

“You’re suppose..d to be dead. Said ya’ll were stillborn,” he rasped, changing.

The Child glared around at everyone. “CYBBIE, GIT YER STINKIN’ ASS HERE! PRONTO!”

His daughter, Deirdre appeared, putting her hands up. “Now, calm down.”

“Calm down? CALM DOWN? Git this, Squirt! They let us think she was dead! We covered ‘er an’ Dee-Dee in rocks! They banished ‘er! They put us through CRAP!” the Dark One bellowed. “Ah thought ‘nelope was toast!”

“Penelope? What?” Deirdre wondered.

The Child glared at them all again before pointing at the red haired girl. “Tha’s ‘er name! Awright? Ah hadda see ‘em cover her Mama in rocks! Then they tol’ us she didn’t make it! DAMMIT! AH’M PISSED!!” He bellowed his rage, shaking the complex with his fury.

Penelope shuddered, recalling several such fits on the island. “That’s why the Elf-Lady allowed you to visit me.”

“We jus’ saw Dee-Dee. We didn’ want ya to be ‘lone,” the Child sobbed. “Sucks to be ‘lone!”

“Neither of you are alone,” Emma told them. “We’re with you.”

“I can go if you don’t want me,” Penelope offered.

“Big Bro an’ Ah want ya to stay,” the Child insisted. “Little Woman’s gonna be ticked ‘bout this. Crap, is she gonna be ticked.” He rubbed his forehead.

“No, she won’t,” Deirdre told him, approaching them.

Penelope looked at the priestess. “You’re the one from the island! Did you call him ‘Papa’?”

“His other side is Papa,” Deirdre told her.

“What is ‘Papa’?”

Deirdre noted, “It’s a name for ‘Father’. And that makes you my sister.” Seeing the other girl stiffen nervously, she asked, “What is it?”

“You don’t want me around, do you?” Penelope retorted.

Deirdre shook her head. “Why do you think I led Xena, Jasmine and the others to you? Granted, I didn’t know this but I’m glad. Okay? Mind if I try something? Another custom called a hug.” She embraced the other woman.

“Don’t hurt me,” Penelope pleaded fearfully, not understanding the intent.

“I would sooner die,” the priestess corrected gently, letting her eyes shine into the other’s. “Stay right here, I’ll be back!” Opening a mist portal, she vanished.

“Where’d she go?” Penelope insisted.

The Child muttered, “She’s goin’ to git Little Woman. Crap!”

“It’s going to be all right,” Emma assured them both as Deirdre stepped back into the chamber followed by her mother.

Angie asked, “What’s going on with this?”

“She’s Big Bro’s kid too,” the Dark One noted. “With Dee-Dee.”

“The computer confirms it, Angie,” Adam added.

The oncologist let the knowledge settle in her head for a minute before realizing what it all meant. “Then she has a name?”

“Penelope,” Jasmine declared. “Dr. Dubois, we didn’t know before the scan.”

Angie nodded, recalling how they found out that Karen was Dave’s sister. “That’s how it usually works.” She sat down beside the Child. “Can you let Dave out please? I need to talk with him. I want to let him know it’s okay.”

The Child took a deep breath and released Dave.

“Sorry, Angie, Cybelle and the others told me Penny was dead. That Deirdre died before she could be safely born,” Dave noted.

His wife hugged his shoulders supportively. “And all of those times you went off to the island, you were taking those things to Penelope?”

He nodded. “I didn’t know who she was. I just wanted to make sure she was okay. And the Empress forbade me from talking about her too.”

Angie took a deep breath. “That sounds like her. I wish she’d get over these games.” She stood up and walked over to Penelope. “I hope you don’t mind a second Mama.”

“Y…you don’t hate me?” Penelope inquired nervously.

“Hate you? Never!” Angie smiled at the younger woman and hugged her. “You’re family. Well that is if you want to be. I’m not your mother, Penelope, but I’d like to be there for you. Would you like to meet your sisters and cousins?”

“Cousins?” the confused girl asked.

“Family,” Dave told her. “Your Mama would have wanted this for you, Penny. Come on; your sisters, Aunt and cousins await.” Turning to Adam, he asked, “You don’t mind if we bug out early, do you?”

“Not at all,” Adam agreed. “You all go on ahead. Let us know what happened.”

“We will,” Angie promised, following Dave and the teenaged girls into the portal before Deirdre closed it.

“Will wonders never cease?” Emma asked. “At least it turned out better this time.”

“We can hope,” Adam concurred. For the girl’s sake as well as Dave’s, we can only hope.


Chapter 5 [Bartleby’s Café, Tucson]

Even as the others discovered the truth about Dave and Penelope, Lex led the Smallville contingent through the closed café, imagining the possibilities there.

“Everything seems pretty well in place,” Lana declared. “Maybe we might take out a few booths for some table seating and a couple of couches. Otherwise, we just have to get some wallpaper and paint.”

“That’s easy enough,” Clark agreed. “We can handle this in a day or two.”

“Not all of us operate as fast as you, Mr. Speedy,” Chloe quipped. “Still if we all pitch in, I think we can do this ourselves.”

“At least this half of it,” Lex indicated. “The flower shop will have to be done by professionals. Equipment and all that.”

“I wonder what’s going on with Auntie Angie and Deirdre?” Miri inquired, still worrying about the ‘emergency’ at Sanctuary.

“Probably some irregularity with the scan or something,” Lex argued, looking at another part of the establishment.

Lana shook her head. “There’s something going on with the Professor and the girl.” She ground her teeth and slumped into a booth. “He just changed.”

“I knew it!” Miri exclaimed, as she sat down beside her best friend.

“Is there anything you can pick up on?” Clark asked.

Lana nodded. “The girl…she’s his…daughter.”

“You mean that red headed girl?” Chloe wondered.

“How could that be?” Miranda wondered. She asked Lex, “How?”

“It had to be that woman he just buried in Ruthwen,” the billionaire remembered. “She’s the mother. They were pretty close before she died.” He rubbed his scalp. “At least we know.”

“Poor Uncle Dave though. How does he deal with all of these surprises?” Miri wondered.

“He goes crisis to crisis,” Lex told them. “Still, this is one thing I’m sure he doesn’t mind.”

Lana put her hand up, cutting him off. “There’s something else. Her name’s Penelope. Apparently…oh wow…apparently…the Empress made him think she was dead until now.” Her eyes watered. “How can anyone be so cruel?”

Her husband embraced her, trying to give comfort where he could. “You know how they play games. It just like the way Jor-El played games with us.”

“The important thing is that she’s here and no longer alone,” Miri affirmed. “And I have another cousin.”

“Indeed,” Deirdre concurred, stepping back into the area through the mists. “Papa’s cooled off. Still he and Auntie are going to have words over this. You can count on that.”

“How’s Penelope?” Lana inquired, rubbing her forehead.

“She’s confused and upset as you might expect,” the priestess noted tersely. “So am I for that matter.” Her eyes went red and she fired a psychic blast, scoring the wall. “I’m sick of these foolish things! Penny and Papa shouldn’t have been made to go through that! Banishment or not!” She seethed, seeming to grow in size and stature.

Seeing the symbol glowing on the back of her hand, Lana advised, “Cool it, Deirdre, you’re getting close to pulling one of your Dad’s stunts.”

“SO WHAT?” Deirdre yelled. “I have to stand by and watch as Papa’s hurt AGAIN? You have any idea what that’s like? DO YOU?” She took a deep breath and forced herself back into control. “I’m sick of the games too. I’m sorry you had to see me like that, everyone.” She opened a portal and vanished.

“Wow,” Chloe whispered.

“She’s upset because her father and sister are hurting,” Lana declared. “Any of us would be doing the same thing. We can allow her to blow off some steam.”

Lex concurred, “I think we can organize something once we get going. Speaking of which, what do you think?”

Lana nodded. “Let’s do it. Have you spoken to Ms. McKenzie yet?”

The billionaire nodded. “I’m heading up to Amherst with Dave and Dr. Miles tomorrow to help her move. I was hoping that you all and maybe Peter Parker might want to help?”

Clark looked at his wife and nodded. “I think Pete would go along with that. Sounds good.”

And to have Spidey there would be a good thing too in case of trouble. Lana felt a sense of anxiety about this trip.

“What is it?” her husband asked.

“Nothing. I’m still keyed up is all,” she lied, not wanting to egg them on any further. Let’s hope it stays that way.


Onto Part 2

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