Legacy – Amazon Imperative
Bargaining with the Devil
An alternate Earth’s story line…
What's happened so far...
Kara Alura Kent, daughter of Diana, Princess of the Amazons and Kal-El of Krypton, was raised by Lois and Clark Kent. She's thoroughly human in her upbringing, but with a mixture of Kryptonian and Amazonian blood flowing in her veins. She proudly flies through the skies as Supergirl, upholding both her long-deceased aunt, Kara Zor-El, and her father's Kryptonian heritage.
Now Superman and Wonder Woman, have been captured by a group of Amazons who have been given vast powers by exposure to meteor rocks, thanks to Lena Luthor and her father's collection of Kryptonite. Lena herself was bathed in the radiation of those rocks since conception, and she's fulfilled the fondest dream of her father -- she's grown up with Kryptonian powers. She now wears a version of Superman's uniform and is attempting to take over his role as the protector of Earth, claiming the role should always have belonged to a woman.
Yet Lena possesses none of Superman's famous compassion, and instead fights crime and terrorism with vigilante intensity, acting as jury, judge and executioner, all in one.
Lena has further influenced the Amazon leadership into intervening on Earth, purportedly to help her save the world from the dire perils of nuclear and biological terrorism. An honorable cause, or so most people believe.
But Kara knows the Amazons have a more sinister plan -- they want to create a feminine culture where the male population will be reduced to a handful of genetically perfect men who will give daughters to the reigning Amazons.
She and family friend, Bruce Wayne, the former Batman, now confined to a wheelchair, are left facing the juggernaut of the Amazon Imperative.
While they desperately search for a way to stop the Amazons, most of the world is foolishly cheering the Amazons on, thankful for their promise to put an end to decades of Islamic terrorism and the ever increasing traffic in illegal drugs. Crimes that the US and its allies have been helpless to stem.
There was a package waiting for me when I returned home. Inside was a memory card. I loaded it onto my laptop and watched it in my room. The video showed three people, my birth-mother Diana, grandmother Hippolyta and dad chained to huge stone columns. The sparkling clean landscape and Greek architecture said the video had been taken on Themyscira. The three of them looked angry and defiant as they struggled against massive chains, which in dad's case gave off a faint greenish hue. Kryptonite steel -- the only thing in the universe that he couldn't break free of.
A massively muscled blonde woman walked into the scene to hold Hippolyta's face in her hands. She bent down to kiss her, and a brilliant blue-green glow slowly outlined the blonde's body. Seconds later, Hippolyta collapsed to hang limply by her chains. The blonde repeated the kiss with Diana, generating a brighter glow, and then with dad, creating the brightest glow of them all. Yet the aftereffect of her kiss was the same in each case -- her victims hung from their chains, limp and unconscious.
The glow around the blonde's body slowly shrank inward and faded as she turned around to face the camera. I instantly recognized her face: it was Ariel, the same woman who'd taken me down in Metropolis. The energy leach. She’d really bulked up since I encountered her a few days prior, and now looked like some kind of body builder. Plus she had that bleached white hair sticking out straight from her head like straw. Yet another meteor rock mutation.
Great... not only could she absorb energy, but she could steal a victim's physical traits as well. Probably bathing herself in Kryptonian super-testosterone or whatever she'd used to built those muscles.
Ariel walked toward the camera before pausing in the middle of a grassy lawn to show off the biggest biceps I’d ever seen on a woman. Her muscle was just as big as dad's. She was staring down at that massive biceps with obvious pride when another Amazon came over and started running her hands over Ariel's vein-popping arm -- and then followed that with kisses, worshipping that mound of steel that erupted from Ariel's arm.
I stabbed the STOP button on the video. I'd seen enough to know where this was going -- Amazon lesbianism was focused around the celebration of physical power. The stronger an Amazon was, the more respect, and sexual partners, she was able to attract.
Power they were sucking out of a man? That didn't seem right.
Whatever was going on, Ariel looked bizarre now, what with having dad's upper body combined with a serious pair of boobs while also keeping Ariel's slenderness from the ribcage down. She looked like some kind of erotic cartoon character.
If this was any indication of the progress Lena was making with her band of meteor freaks, then I was in really deep shit. My muscle tone was nearly as good as dad’s, but I didn’t have a fraction of his mass.
Ariel would break me in half if she got a chance to use those muscles on me.
I was starting to feel like some kind of weakling, despite the ‘S’ on my chest.
Still, I did what I could. I’d already doubled my usual patrols, focusing on saving lives as opposed to crime fighting. I know that sounds like I’d joined the Coast Guard or something, but saving lives is my thing.
Dad and Bruce had always taken down ordinary criminals. I’d help them sometimes, especially after Bruce wound up in a wheelchair, and I'd deal with any crime that I came across, but otherwise I did my lifesaving thing. I like to work on my own.
Now the Amazons were out there taking down every bad guy they could find, itching for any excuse to unleash their strength to defeat what they called “worthy men”. Meaning, in Amazon speak, any man who tried to stand up to them.
And as much as I decried the Amazon’s vigilantism, arresting, judging and then executing criminals on the spot, I couldn’t go out there and stop them. I'd wind up defending men who were truly evil. Besides, how many times had I argued with dad about doing exactly this? Bringing men to justice that the legal systems of their respective countries could not.
I also had to use what spare time I had to keep up at school, which increasingly seemed insane given that the entire planet was poised at the edge. But my life as Kara Kent was just important as being Supergirl. I guess that makes me a little schizoid. Also sleep deprived. And while I don’t need the sleep physically, I’ll go insane if I can't dream a little each night.
I was down to bare minimum now, an hour of sleep a night, and my resulting dreams were way more vivid than usual. Also more disturbing, with most of them focusing on Amazons torturing and killing Robert and Jeremy in some truly sadistic ways. That and Ariel sucking everything out of dad and turning him into a zombie.
I didn’t need a shrink to interpret those dreams -- they were nothing more than a reflection of my waking fears. I’d never felt so helpless.
But I'm Supergirl, damn it. I'm not supposed to be helpless.
But I was.
And not only was I largely neutralized, but the whole world saw it happening. Where I’d always been page 1 news in the Daily Planet, now the reports of my exploits were relegated to the middle or even the end of section A. The world was focusing on Lena’s very public heroics instead.
It wasn’t hard to see why. She wore an ‘S’ uniform too, except her ‘S’ was stretched across a pair of DD boobs that wouldn’t stay covered. Her uniform was always getting blown off by some explosion or by bullets, which provided endless risqué photo opportunities. Many of those appeared without editing in British newspapers, yet even the Daily Planet started pushing its usual editorial boundaries. Lena was news, and sometimes the news came at them naked.
Like this morning. She’d stopped a bomb from killing dozens in a crowded train station in London by hugging the explosive to herself, smothering it in that ridiculous bosom of hers. Her red and blue uniform was the only casualty of the blast, and the explosion left those invulnerable boobs of hers glowing red hot as she helped people back to their feet. In this era of cellphone cameras, it took only minutes before some very revealing pictures of her were on newspaper editorial desks and on people's blogs.
Meanwhile, I was busy dealing with a ship collision off New Jersey. A supertanker had run down a cargo ship in the fog and both were in danger of sinking, which would release a million tons of crude oil to float toward shore. Predictions were that the oil would destroy bird and sea life from Cape Cod to Florida and foul the beaches for a decade or more.
That was definitely a job for Supergirl.
I started by helping the Coast Guard lift all the crew members off the ships, barely succeeded before the cargo ship went down. By now, the oil spill from the gushing tanker was miles wide and growing fast. I couldn't tow it the ship to any port or sink it -- that would only ensure that oil would bubble up for years. So I did something only a Kryptonian could do. I circled the wreck, blasting both it and the oil slick my heat vision, igniting the whole mess. I kept it up for hours, forcing both the tanker and its cargo of oil to burn so hot that the fire created very little smoke. I also circling around overhead fast enough to create a tornado-like wind that sucked the stench high enough to reach the offshore air flow. In the end, the fire-cleansed tanker sank, and I kept every single drop of oil from reaching the shore.
That took a hell of a lot more skill than just smothering some damn explosion, but other than the Coast Guard guys, nobody saw me doing it.
Predictably, Lena's exploit wound up on page 1, along with ecstatic testimonials from all the people she'd saved. They ran a a picture of her crossing her arms across her naked, glowing boobs, taken only seconds after the explosion. That scandalous front page picture sold papers as fast as they could be printed, pushing the London Times into after-hours reprint.
My ecological heroism made page 2 of the Times along with a couple of pictures of the ships before they collided. Just the dry facts, along with some words of praise from the Coast Guard.
I knew I shouldn’t care. I wasn’t competing with Lena. But nobody seemed to realize how incredibly dangerous she was. She was worse than her dad, and he’d been dad’s greatest enemy for decades.
Also, saving lives was a lot harder now that Bruce’s earpiece had been silenced. I wasn’t getting any heads-up on situations until they were full blown crises. People were dying who shouldn’t have.
The Amazons, of course, ignored all that. They were hunting far bigger game.
One contingent of warriors went after Islamic terrorists, starting in the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan, while another group took down drug dealers and smugglers. A third group went after organized prostitution, white slavery and pedophiles.
The terrorists tried to shoot it out as expected. They’d dug deeply enough into the Pakistani mountains to resist the US military’s attempts to dislodge them – Rao knows they’d tried, ever since the initial invasion of Afghanistan nearly two decades earlier. When the Amazons started to make progress in penetrating their hidey holes, the terrorists kicked off a wave of suicide bombings across the globe, hoping to draw the Amazons away from their strongholds.
The Amazons didn't waver. They just let the bombs go off while they continued to dig for the leaders of the terrorists, knowing they had to kill this weed at its root.
I went after the bombers instead, sometimes stopping a half dozen detonations in a single day. But the world suffered another dozen horrific explosions that I was helpless to prevent, including a couple of downed airliners. The best I could do was help clean up the mess. Those terrorist cells were everywhere.
All of which begged the question of why dad and I hadn’t dug those terrorists out of their holes a long time ago?
The simple answer was that dad insisted that we stay inside the boundaries of international law. That meant we didn’t invade another country and take matters into our hands unless the government asked for help. The Pakistani’s were one of the few countries who refused our help. Which made their country a terrorist paradise.
Predictably, the terrorists put up a hell of a fight against the Amazons. It was machine guns and explosives and various kinds of EFP’s and IED’s against swords and shields. The Amazons depended on raw strength and athletics instead of firepower, but an EFP projectile would cut them in half nearly as easily as it could a human. Hell, those things could disable the best armor the military had.
A lot of sisters were dying as the Amazons ventured deeper into the extensive labyrinth of booby trapped tunnels, falling victim to defenses that were designed to stop an invading army.
Then Lena joined the hunt, using her artificially-imbued Kryptonian powers to force her way past the explosives, past the collapsing tunnels and through the strongest defenses, opening a way for her Amazons. EFP’s couldn’t hurt her any more than they could me.
Terrorists began to die by the hundreds now; most of them hacked to death in bloody underground battles, the rest buried under debris from their blasted tunnels.
The media played up the irony of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, who’d granted few rights to women, and still dressed their women in black from head to toe, being killed by scantily clad – even naked in Lena’s case -- superwomen who’d invaded their most sacred strongholds. I guess I’m enough of an Amazon myself that I found that scene both appealing and somehow fitting.
Welcome to the 21st century, assholes!
I’ll never forget the visit I made to Riyadh when I was barely sixteen, arriving as a special ambassador from the UN. The Saudi officials made me don a burqua, leaving only my eyes visible. I was insulted, but complied. This was their culture after all.
Then, once we got inside the royal palace and I was standing in closed court before the king and his brothers, I was told I should remove my burqua. That was even weirder, as it came off in layers. I felt like a stripper in some cheesy men’s club as I unwound it, listening to their hearts race as my hair and bare skin appeared. Several of the princes held themselves beneath their flowing robes as my short skirt appeared, obviously forgetting that I could look through things.
It was embarrassing and insulting, especially after the King dismissed me without even inviting me to speak with his advisers. They didn't give a damn what I had to say, they'd simply used me to feed their sexual perversions. I swear I'll never go back to Riyadh, not even if the friggin’ Earth opens up and tries to swallow the place.
The second team of Amazons had it easier – the ones taking down the drug lords. The smugglers and mules were dumb enough to shoot it out at first, only to discover that out in the open, Amazon swords, shields and bracelets could trump automatic weapons. Also that an Amazon sword can easily slice limbs from bodies and heads from shoulders. It was a bloodbath.
Their masters, the drug lords, were a lot smarter – or so they thought. Once they saw how badly things were going, they gave themselves up to local authorities for trial. They had faith in the corruption of the legal system in their countries and knew they wouldn't be imprisoned for long. They were using the jails for their own protection.
Lena figured that ploy out in a heartbeat, and sent her Amazons in to tear open the cells with their bare hands. The cops could only watch helplessly as the Amazons ritualistically beheaded every single drug lord.
That sent a message that everyone heard, and trafficking in illegal drugs dried up overnight. None of those cockroaches wanted to face the Amazon exterminators.
Despite the thankful elimination of men who’d been such a drag on society, I expected a violent backlash from the media and public over the killings, given that the Amazons had violated the laws of every country they’d landed in. Especially so, given the heinous nature of the beheadings.
Instead, the governments of the countries involved stayed mum while the North American media and public heaped praise on the Amazons for finally getting tough with the corrupt law enforcement in Latin America and parts of Asia.
Fox News said what a lot of people were thinking: “Superman and his daughter should have taken care of those terrorists and drug lords a long time ago. Thank god for the Amazons and Direct Action.”
For the first time, I was actually glad dad was sequestered on Themyscira and couldn’t hear any of that. He’d be horrified.
A few wiser observers on National Public Radio and the BBC looked past current expediency and tried to predict where this was going. Specifically, the concept of superhumans solving the world’s most difficult problems. Some of the observers came to the same conclusion that dad had long ago: that people would become dependent on superhumans for their safety. They’d look into the sky for guidance instead of into their own hearts and minds. Ultimately, they’d give up responsibility for their world, and along with it their very humanity.
I know it sounds preposterous, but don’t forget about those crazies who'd been trying to make religious icons out of dad and me. We’d done everything short of disappearing to ensure that we downplayed our role, helping but never leading, never contradicting the opinions of elected and legal representatives of governments, hoping that the Church of Krypton stuff would die out as they saw us deferring to human leadership. But instead, the cult grew stronger every year. People wanted visible gods to worship, even to pray to. They wanted deities who could save them in the physical sense, not just in the life-everlasting way.
Someone once wrote that dad and I, not to mention Wonder Woman, would be the death of monotheistic religion. That the world would soon return to its pagan roots, worshipping different gods for different purposes.
I’m not sure they're wrong, especially after I saw the reaction when Lena and her Amazons started fanning those pagan flames as hard as they could.
Lena started her conflagration by appearing on the Larry King Live show while calling herself Goddess Lena. She wore a black leather dress that was cut deeply down the front. Her back was bared down to the hem of a scandalously short skirt. Large golden earrings and a silver pendant finished her exotic look. She sat across from Larry, her blue eyes gleaming as the cameras zoomed in on her from every angle.
I thought she looked more like a thousand dollar hooker than a goddess, and Larry must have had the same thought, given the questions he asked about her inappropriate clothing.
Lena simply claimed divine expediency. According to her, since a goddess didn’t need clothing to stay warm or protect her, nor did she require garments to cover any imperfections or enhance her beauty, then why wear more than absolutely necessary to satisfy the sensibilities of others?
Sensibilities? I thought she looked and sounded pretty nonsensical, given she was just playing into men’s desires to ogle her.
On the other hand, I’ve weathered my share of criticism for my skintight uniform and my tiny skirt. I wasn’t going to be the pot that called the kettle black, but at least my boobs didn’t hang out that way. And my uniform didn’t vaporize. Plus my outfit was from Krypton. It had tradition -- my aunt, Kara Zor-El, had worn it. Plus it was the way Kryptonian women dressed. Period. End of story.
Larry started to dig into Lena’s upbringing, especially the details of her growing up under the control of her infamous father -- the ultimate control freak. He tried to discredit Lena by asking what she thought of her father’s criminal activities, before he started giving his wealth away through Luthor Charities, Inc.
“Reputed criminal activities”, Lena quickly corrected, reminding Larry that her father had never been convicted of a single crime. Not even a parking ticket.
I laughed at that. Yeah… none of the witnesses had lived long enough to take the stand. Either that, or they’d been bought off by his lawyers or scared silly by his henchmen, who always threatened to get at someone through their family and loved ones. The last was a Luthor trademark.
Instead, Lena made the preposterous claim that her father had been the subject of a smear campaign by the Daily Planet, even by Superman himself, who was jealous of her father’s intelligence and wealth. She claimed her father’s methods were so creative as to appear unusual, yet they were hardly criminal. Any more than hers were.
That really got Larry going. He dug into her recent dealings with criminals and terrorists, correctly observing that she and her Amazons had committed capital offenses under the laws of every country they’d operated in. He went further; accusing her of leading a wave of Amazon vigilantism, becoming cop, judge and executioner, all in one fell swoop. He said she’d abrogated the rule of law and had opened a new era of barbarism.
Larry was on a roll now, and I cheered him on so loudly that I’m sure the neighbors could hear me.
Lena wasn’t rattled. She smoothly deflected his pointed questions, asking Larry in return if he was willing to sacrifice the future of all mankind in order to preserve the technicality of a few antiquated laws?
Larry was visibly fuming now – there was nothing technical about the way she broke laws, he said. And murder was never antiquated. Cold-blooded vigilantism was just another kind of pogrom. She was taking humanity down a very slippery slope.
Lena just smiled and looked sympathetically at the audience, asking them if they’d break a few laws if it meant saving all of mankind? If it meant preserving a safe and prosperous future for their children?
The audience gave her a standing ovation, leaving Larry sitting in his chair, looking both petty and foolish.
I'd never seen anyone steal Larry's show from him the way she did. He'd lost control of his own interview.
But she was determined to work that superhuman equals goddess equals divine right thing of hers. And she spoke with all the conviction of a zealot. She said her powers were a gift from her ancestral gods who did not want to see the Earth destroyed by a handful of evil men. That any reasonable person, any natural law, would dictate the destruction of men who stood in the way of the future health, prosperity and happiness of humanity.
Man, could she sell soap!
Larry was smart enough to back off at that point, and shifted gears to a softer subject, trying to regain control of his interview. He asked Lena what it was like to grow up as a normal woman and then gain such incredible powers. To be able to fly. To be so physically strong, something that wasn’t normally a female trait.
To her credit, Lena shifted gears as smoothly as Larry, and she did a credible job of explaining the feelings and sensations. She described how she’d been afraid to let herself go at first, having grown up with a human’s frailty. And then, when she grew into her power, how liberating it had been to find that even the most violent forms of lethal force were harmless against her.
She also talked about her connection to the ancient but still living goddess who’d created the Amazons -- Athena. She claimed her powers had been suppressed by the goddess while she was a child so she’d learn the ways of humans. Then, when the world truly needed her, she’d been granted her birthright.
That was pure bullshit – she’d started life just as human as her father. Her powers came from meteor rock exposure, which had nothing to do with theology or mythology. Even worse, she was blatantly titillating men, putting her body and those oversized boobs on display everywhere you looked. She was nakedly appealing to people’s hidden lust to mate with a god or goddess -- heathen, pagan kinds of dreams. Dreams I swear are part of the ancient human DNA, but which they should have evolved past by now.
Lena kept hammering home her theme, finally telling Larry that she was here to help humans escape the trap of man’s innate tendency toward violence and destruction. To escape the kind of collapse that had taken down so many civilizations in the ancient past.
Total crap! She was just reinforcing the Amazon theme that said men were in need of divine guidance to protect them from themselves. That women had been forced into subservience by male violence. The “women need a goddess to protect them from men” thing.
The only reason it played was that people were clutching at straws. Everyone feared that nuclear or biological terrorism was just around the corner. Either that, or Global Warming. Some new virus or superbug. An Asteroid Extinction Event. The list of fears was long and growing. Most importantly, they didn't trust their governments, or even dad and I, to save them. Lena went so far as to hint that we were actually part of the problem.
People didn’t know that I had secretly kept the nuclear genie in the bottle these last few years, silently removing all enriched uranium and plutonium from laboratories worldwide and stashing it on the Moon, ensuring that no terrorist bomb was ever made. I’d also sabotaged key equipment in biological warfare labs.
Technically, my activities violated dad’s rule on non-intervention. But it was never made public. No country wanted to admit that their nuclear programs had been gutted from the inside by some teenage girl. Instead, they rattled their sabers even louder, trying to gain legitimacy by threatening to become members of the nuclear club.
Even worse, those with weapons, like the US and Russia, promised to make cleaner ones, as if that was any kind of excuse for feeding the forces of Armageddon.
Dad wasn’t happy with my activities, warning me of the effect on human initiative and independence if it became public. Humans had to solve human problems, he claimed. Even the nuclear one.
Yada, yada, yada I thought at the time. He's so wrapped up in his Kansas farm boy Republican crap that he doesn't see Rome burning around him. But for the most part, I did as he asked. If there was one thing I had for dad, beyond the love of a daughter, was that I respected his absolute integrity. His ability to see beyond the current crisis and envision a future for mankind.
Yet the fearful public had lost faith in him, thinking he was an artifact of a different time. Instead, they fixated on Lena and her simple solution to every problem -- eliminate the men who brought that evil into their lives. Even more, given her appearance, and her claims of godliness, they worshipped her.
I finally understood dad’s restraint. When things are bad, people will always chose a tyrant offering a simplified version of salvation over the endless struggle and personal responsibility of maintaining their freedom. It's far easier to kill those who threaten you rather than trying to understand them, to change them, to find an accommodation -- perhaps even to change yourself.
Larry's interview was thankfully winding down when a sudden explosion sent dust flying across the sound stage. A half dozen men with assault rifles barged onto the stage, while other men crashed into the network control booth to demand that the cameras remain running.
I nearly gagged. Obviously, this was just another stunt arranged by Lena. Shockingly, the attackers blamed Larry for helping Lena spread her heathen gospel of superhuman dependence. Of portraying men as the source of the problems facing the entire planet.
OK... it was kind of hard to argue with that. But that wasn't Larry's problem.
Unfortunately, the men punctuated their claim by opening fire, aiming directly at Larry.
Lena didn’t move until the bullets were in the air, and then she became a blur on camera, putting herself between the shooters and Larry, blunting every single bullet with her body. The bullets punched dozens of holes in her leather outfit, smoking shell casings and spent bullets piling up on the stage floor.
The audience roared with applause when Lena walked directly into the gunfire, her dancing boobs the focus of everyone’s eyes as she used their softness to blunt the bullets to the floor, protecting the audience from the ricochets. She closed the distance to the shooters and buried the muzzles of the men’s useless rifles against her chest, and then jerked the weapons from their hands to bend them around their wrists, binding the men together in the middle of the soundstage. All the while, she seemed blissfully unaware that her bullet-holed top had given way to provide the audience with a Janet Jackson moment.
It was the cheesiest, most disgustingly staged demonstration I’d ever seen, but the cameras stayed on Lena as she paraded herself around the stage, rubbing the lead spots off her boobs as she more or less covered them with her hands. She was working her Goddess Factor overtime, sending a message that juxtaposed her beauty, voluptuousness and invulnerability.
But to prove what? That her boobs were capable of defeating the violent tendencies of men. It was nothing more than a cheap porno.
But it sure got people's attention.
And for once she didn't kill anyone. I laughed at that, but it wasn't really funny. I guess killing one's employees during the execution of their duties would be tough on company morale. I'm guessing those men all worked for some subsidiary of Luthor Charities. Lena would insist that the Amazons deal with their punishment, not the police. We'd see these assholes again.
I stabbed the OFF button on my remote so hard that broken plastic flew everywhere, and then rose from the couch to pace around my room, realizing I couldn’t let this continue. It was time to slow the bitch down. Lena was even more corrupting of public morals than her father had been.
That’s when the phone rang. It was Bruce. He tried to calm me down, knowing I’d be hot after watching the show. He reiterated his earlier advice, claiming I needed to get inside the Amazon movement. To think with my head, not my emotions. To try to play the game one move ahead of Lena instead of just reacting to her provocations. To get the core of SOE to collapse inward on itself and prevent a war.
I didn’t want to hear any of that, but damn it, Bruce was right. He was always fucking right. Besides, it was the only way I was going to free dad or Diana.
But damn it all… I wanted to just fly over to that studio and prove Lena had set those men up to attack her.
But what would that accomplish? Prove that I was jealous of her new popularity? Open up questions as to why I wasn't getting tough on terrorists and criminals? She'd find a way to deflect the criticism back on me.
I mean, hell, I’d done the “boobs blunting bullets” thing enough times when I was surrounded by potential victims and facing a shooter. The difference was that I’d used my heat vision to burn out any cameras that were focused on me. But still, you could find some cellphone video on the net that proved that my having smaller boobs was no handicap in that area. Damned cellphone cameras are everywhere.
Dad had told me years ago that shooters unconsciously aimed at the ‘S’ on his chest. There was something magnetic about that shield. And the way mine wrapped across my breasts, not to mention Lena's… well, you can guess what that does to a guy’s brain.
So I listened to Bruce, like always. And instead of flying off to ambush Lena in public, I used my brain, struggling to find a way to penetrate the movement and challenge Lena’s leadership. Clearly, I had birthright on my side. Also, there was a tradition that said the Amazons choose their leaders by contest.
Unfortunately, on my last visit to Themyscira, I’d denounced the Amazon side of my roots, claiming I was as Kryptonian as my father. I further proclaimed that my emotions and my heart were purely human, given I was raised among them.
How dumb was that, cutting off my options? But I'd been angry with Diana at the time, and it had felt so good to just thumb my nose at her and her Amazon heritage.
Fortunately, Diana and Hippolyta were mature enough to leave the door open for me, publicly claiming that I’d one day see the wisdom of the Amazon cause and return to become their princess.
I decided to work that angle. But I needed an issue to justify challenging Lena. Something that the public and the Amazons would understand. Clearly, defending terrorists and drug lords wasn’t going to work. The Amazons were also busy wiping out the practitioners of white slavery, prostitution and pedophiles. I sure as hell wasn’t going to mess with that, even if the Amazon punishment for those crimes was grotesque. Traumatic castration was their favorite method of punishment for pedophiles – grabbing a man by his balls and swinging him around until he and his manhood parted ways, leaving him in unimaginable agony as he slowly bled out. Disgusting, but effective, but also something I didn't want to think too much about.
No, I needed another angle to justify challenging Lena.
I decided on a simpler issue: I wanted to share in the leadership of the council. Given my birth and my upbringing, I could bring balance to the movement. I could help humans, meaning women, to grow and manage their own affairs after the Amazons had cleaned things up. Or so my logic went.
So I sent a message to the SOE that demanded they allow me to be on their council. A role I claimed that my Amazon royal birth and Kryptonian legacy entitled me to.
A day passed after I issued my challenge, yet I heard nothing back from Lena or anyone else in the SOE.
Obviously, I was going to have to start acting like an Amazon to get their attention. To behave like a princess born.
I also had to get Lena on my side. Being a Luthor, she thought everything was a conspiracy, and I could play into that, maybe convince her that I was plotting something devious. That I wanted to take the Amazon leadership. As long as it was devious and Machiavellian, then she'd take me seriously.
She was her father's daughter, after all.
I needed to confront Lena before I approached the Amazon Council. That meant I had to find her.
I started searching by climbing far enough out of the atmosphere to scan a quarter of the globe or more, just below the geosynchronous satellite orbits, and then zoomed in on every tiny object I saw below. Most were aircraft. A few Amazons appeared, none of them flying faster than Mach 3 – Lena would be flying twice that fast.
I kept scanning, working my way slowly around the planet until I was over the Middle East. That’s when I found a small Mach 6 target. The ionization around the target was too bright to see through, but no aircraft or missile could fly that fast. That said, the tiny object dove into the side of a small mountain to impact with a very short duration flash that was nearly nuclear bright, followed by a small cloud of dust. It was the signature of a kinetic energy weapon.
Specifically, Lena Luthor. She’d turned herself into a bunker-busting weapon to dig the terrorists out of holes that no bombs could penetrate.
I hate to say it, but she’d gotten pretty good at using her ill-begotten Kryptonian abilities. For a human anyway. Now it was time to show her what a real Supergirl could do.
I started by sending a burst of my heat vision at the closest surveillance satellites, invoking their protective shutdown circuits and sun shutters. It would take them a half hour or more to cycle back on. The Intel people were probably as interested in Lena as I was, but I didn’t want an audience for what I was going to do next.
Then I dove back into the atmosphere, traveling as fast as an incoming meteor, staying hypersonic at around fifteen miles altitude until I was directly over the mountains, letting the worst of my shockwave dissipate. Then I dove vertically, staying just above the Mach to ensure a silent approach.
Two Amazons were hunting a small group of men in a valley in the Karakorum Mountains. The first one raced along the side of a gully, outracing a small truck which was traveling along a road next to the creek bed. Once she got ahead of it, she hoisted a boulder several times the size of her body and tossed it at the approaching truck, crushing it and its occupants. The other Amazon leaped on top of a car full of men just behind that truck, gripping the roof with outstretched legs as she jammed her sword through the roof, skewering the driver. The car crashed into a tree. The Amazon then cleaved the vehicle in half with her sword and reached in to grab two men, her long fingers gripping the tops of their heads as she held them off the ground, feet dangling. Their bodies shook in the throws of a seizure as she tightened her grip until their skulls crushed.
These were ordinary Amazons, perhaps with the strength of a hundred men -- and they were hunting men and killing men the same gruesome way Amazons had done for thousands of years.
I turned away from the mayhem to search for Lena, and found her engaging a Pakastani tank. She threw a punch that propelled the tank fifty feet to the side, denting its armor plating. Then she unleashed a blinding burst of heat vision that heated the tank through red to white-hot seconds, cooking off the ammunition inside to blow the tank and its occupants into a million pieces.
Seemingly satisfied now that her Amazons could mop up the rest of the escaping terrorists, she landed in an icy stream to wash the dust and blood off herself, and then dried herself with more bursts of her heat vision. As expected, given her bunker-busting tactics, all traces of her uniform were gone.
She was massaging her oversized breasts as I approached, looking calmly my way as if she'd been expecting me.
“Those terrorists fired every weapon known to man at me, Kara. I just let them shoot until their weapons melted. Very stimulating.”
“Yeah, if you’re a walking porno.”
Lena ignored my jab. “Well, I like the way bullets feel against my body. Although I swear my boobs are getting bigger -- absorbing energy or something. Guess I’ll need a new wardrobe soon.”
“I didn’t come to discuss wardrobe malfunctions, Lena. We have to talk.”
“I thought we already were.”
“About something serious.”
Her eyes narrowed as they bored into mine with a violent intensity. I recognized that predatory look – it came from her father.
“Gea communicated my demands, Lena. Representation on the Council.”
“What makes you think we even need you, Kara?”
“Because you don’t want me as an enemy, Lena. I’m the real thing, not some irradiated imitation with blow-up tits.”
She smiled with all the warmth of a wolf. “Ah… but I’ve got Ariel. And she has your dad. Your birth-mother too.”
“They're the past. Previous generation. We're the future Lena. As fond as I am of them, they'll only interfere. They don't want to change anything, even if the world goes to hell."
"Interesting..." Lena said slowly. "Especially coming from a girl who worships her father."
"You don't know me as well as you think you do, Lena. We were born in the same year. We both know how fast the world is changing. Must change."
"And don’t forget that I’m half Amazon, Lena. Amazons stick together when the chips are down, especially the royal family. I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means these few days.”
Her smile faded as she stared at me for a long moment, trying to judge whether I was bullshitting her or if I was serious.
“OK, let’s assume for the moment that I accept your claims at face value. Even that you want to regain your Amazons heritage. What’s in it for me, Kara?”
“I bring the legitimacy of my royal birth to the Council, not to mention a great deal of goodwill from the humans. You bring your Luthor cunning. Together, we can ensure that both the Amazons and the humans will follow us anywhere.”
It was bizarre talking about the people I’d grown up with as if they were aliens. But Lena had distanced herself from humanity further than I could ever do.
“Very interesting…” Lena said softly. “Go on.”
“We both know it’s ridiculous to wipe out most of the men, despite the dreams of the Amazons for a feminine world. We should just put down the ones with violent tendencies and those who demand more than they can give to our new society."
"Athena and Artemis have already made up their minds, Kara, and I agree with them, especially if it..."
“Bullshit, Lena. You're smarter than to think that. You Luthors more than anyone else know how messy the Earth is. You need laborers and clerks and... whatevers. A huge underclass of men to handle the messy details. We can keep the young and healthy ones around for that, even as we reserve the finest male genes solely for mating. The others… the violent, the weak, the old and sick, the unskilled… I agree we can live without them.”
I felt like throwing up. I was bartering with billions of lives.
“And what do I get in return?”
“You get to avoid a war, Lena. A power struggle between you and me. You’re not a real Kryptonian. Nor are you an Amazon. You have no idea how powerful I really am.”
I heard her take an involuntary breath, but her facial expression barely wavered. That slick, confident Luthor smile returned in a heart beat. “But my meteor rocks weaken you, Kara, even as they strengthen me. You think I haven't considered the prospect of facing you as my enemy?”
“I never said you’re stupid.”
She smiled. “So you're condemning your father?”
"Like you did yours. I happen to know you killed him." I had no proof of this, but Bruce was pretty sure about it.
"Don't try to pretend you're a Luthor, Kara. I know how you think."
“That's where you're wrong. My father would be a disruptive force if he lived. Same as Diana would be. We both know they would opposed us at every turn. I accept that there are certain compromises that are necessary to reach the new order. Their lives are one of them.”
Lena stared at me for a long moment and then smiled: “That’s bullshit, Kara. You won’t give him up that easily. You chose his side over that of the Amazons when you were sixteen.”
“I’ve had some time to think since then. I admit that I rebelled against the Amazons when living among them, choosing my father’s way instead. But the world has been spinning out of control since then. I have long begged my father to let me take more direct action. He forbid it. He was wrong.”
That much at least was true, and Lena knew it.
Lena just stared at me for a long moment, saying nothing.
“Every Amazon knows the truth of what I say,” I continued. “They will also accept my right to challenge you for the leadership. To force a contest. I was born an Amazon princess and this is our way. If I defeat you in combat, which I surely will, then the Amazons will follow me before they maintain alliances with a mere human.”
“Mere?” Lena shouted, clenching her fists, powerful muscles shaping her arms. “I alone have opened the door to Amazon rule. I have awakened the sisters. They will follow…”
“They will follow their traditions,” I shouted back, my voice loud enough to send rocks rumbling down the canyon behind us.
I lowered my voice to a whisper now. “But a contest would not serve our cause Lena. Our special cause. We both know we have little time to bring peace to the men of Earth before they manage to destr...”
I couldn't finish my sentence before Lena spun around at supersonic speed to deliver a kick to my stomach that would have bent a battleship in half. The next thing I knew, I was half buried in the granite cliff behind me, a craze of broken rock extending for twenty feet in all directions. She came after me, landing blows against my face that shattered more of the cliff face as she literally drove me into the solid rock.
I was seeing stars -- she truly possessed Kryptonian strength. Like... all of it.
I fought back as I'd been trained, blasting her with eyes with heat vision to dazzle her as I launched myself upward, ripping a huge section of the rock face off the mountain. Lena raced after me, flying through the half million tons of rock I dropped on her, the rocks exploding into dust as she smashed them with her fists, clearing a path toward me.
I acted as if I was dazed from her blows and wasn’t flying well, letting her catch me. She wrapped her arms around my legs, trying to drag me down. I spread my legs wide enough to break her grip, and then reached down to grab her hair, holding onto her as I struggled to wrap my legs around her head, finally grinding her face against my pubic bone as I crossed my ankles to lock my legs closed. She started to struggle violently -- but it was too late. Every Amazon was trained to avoid this hold -- an Amazon can compress an opponent's skull with tons of pressure (in my case, way, way more than that), their pubic bone grinding painfully into their opponent's face, compressing their forehead until the pressure prevented blood flow into the brain's cortex, causing unconsciousness.
If their unfortunate opponent was a man, then their skull would flatten between those steel thighs. Very messy.
Lena didn't suffer either effect. Instead, a sharp, painful lance of heat pierced me, vaporizing any moisture, heating my inner thighs to white-hot. She was using her heat vision!
It hurt like hell to have her eyes focused on my sex -- heat vision is one of the few things that can hurt me. I squeezed my legs as hard as I could, hoping to knock her out, but she kept blasting away. The intense pain radiating inward, heating the blood in my pelvis until it boiled inside me, making my legs shake violently.
Before I knew what had happened, she tore herself free, leaving my lower body glowing white-hot. My head was swimming as bubbles of boiling blood made it to my brain, but I managed to double myself over to grab her arms before she could pull further away, using my Amazon training to leverage them behind her back. I spun her around to press my chest against her back, grinding her boobs into the rock face to rip two swaths into the stone. She tried to squirm away, but I managed to wrap my glowing legs around her waist, her sweat sizzling and squeaking against my skin. I tightened that scissors hold for all I was worth this time, and felt her ribs bent inward as I bent her back further, twisting her to the side at the same time. I jerked one hand free to stab my thumb into her lower back, hunting for the ganglia that would send her nerves into spasm.
She howled in pain and began to thrash around like a banshee, her berserker panic making it impossible for me to keep my thumb in place. She was incredibly strong!
I couldn't stop her from twisting around in my arms to slam both fists down on my shoulders, driving my face down to the level of her chest. Before I realized what she was doing, she'd wrapped both arms around my head and buried my face in one of those oversized boobs.
This wasn't an Amazon hold, but I should have expected it. Lena had a thing for crushing men to death this way, their skulls popping like ripe mellons. An ugly, messy death.
Her strength was awesome, shocking even, and that boob of hers was big enough to envelop all of my face. Fortunately my head is made of tougher stuff than her other victims. Instead of dying, I grabbed her other tit and dug my fingers in as deeply as I could, hoping to hurt her enough to make her let go. She groaned in pain, but just held me tighter, hoping to stop the circulation to my brain like I'd tried with my legs. Her fingers worked around my neck, searching for pressure points.
I decided to return her earlier favor, and unleashed my heat vision, blasting millions of watts of coherent energy directly against that enveloping softness. Her breast lit up like a firework, sending out a spreading wave of heat that turned her upper body as hot as the surface of the sun.
Still, she didn’t let go.
My face was heating painfully as well, steam whistling up my Eustachian tubes and out my ears -- its only escape path with my face buried this way. It wouldn't take long for me to fry my brain this way -- my heat vision was hotter than the surface of the sun. Still, I kept pouring it on until I heard her heart racing on empty as the blood vaporized in her coronary arteries, leaving nothing but bloody steam to pump. Without circulating blood to carry energy to her muscles, her grip weakened her just enough so I could pry her arms loose and pull myself away.
I was nearly blinded by the heat now, my brain dangerously overheated. The best I could see were some blurry images. But I still had all my strength, and I poured every ounce of it into one perfect punch, an uppercut that caught the bottom of her jaw, launching her skyward.
I dropped like a rock to splash into the icy stream below, trying to cool down before Lena could shake off my blow. Unfortunately, between the water boiling around me and my overheated eyeballs, I lost sight of her.
That’s when the two Amazons hit me, diving into the water to wrap their bodies around mine, hoping to take advantage of my disorientation. I leaped into the air, bursting out of the water with the Amazons hanging onto my legs for dear life, racing straight up. I tried to shake them off, but my brain was still so hot I couldn’t coordinate my arms and legs. I considered going orbital, exiting the atmosphere completely, but ordinary Amazons can't survive in hard vacuum. I was gunning for Lena, not the rank and file.
Instead, I slowed down and dropped back into the thickening air, even if that made me a perfect target for Lena.
She didn't take the shot. Instead, I caught sight of her going suborbital, heading west.
Thank Rao for small favors. I was alive, but with any luck I’d convinced her that she didn't want to fight me again. The first seed had been planted.
Now it was time for the second.
“You dare attack a princess born?” I started screaming at the Amazons as they clung to me, trying futilely to take me down.
“You gave up that righ…” one of the Amazons started to say, only to scream as I wrapped my leg around hers and tightened it until I heard her femur snap, proving just how strong my legs really were.
She dropped away as the other Amazon jabbed her fingers into the pressure points on my neck, trying to put my carotid artery into spasm. I tensed my neck muscles into steel to block her fingers, and then spun myself around to face her, recognizing Gea. We’d both belonged to the same Arie back on Themyscira. I grabbed her neck and pressed my thumb into her trachea until she started to gasp.
"I could kill you, Gea... you know that. Stop fighting me."
She fell limp in my hands.
"Good. Now I want you to carry a message for me. Tell Athena that I want a meeting of Council. That I wish to challenge Lena.”
Gea’s green eyes lit up. “You are returning to us, Princess?”
“I never left you, Gea. Not truly. Not in my heart.”
She suddenly hugged me, her kisses finding my lips before I knew what was happening. My first reflex was to push her away. Amazons had tried to push their affections on me before. But it was time to plant a third seed. I let her kiss me for a long moment, and then returned the favor, wrapping my legs around her to press my heels against her ass, working my hamstrings to press her pelvis powerfully against mine the way Amazons do.
She gasped in pleasure, and slid her hands down my back to cup my ass, holding me tightly enough to crush steel (if I'd been made of something that soft!), working her pubic bone against mine. I felt her body stiffen with desire.
That was where my skills as an actress ended, and I quickly slipped away, leaving Gea breathless with desire. She was such a minx that our kiss and simple embrace was nearly capable of taking her to ecstasy, despite the fact that we hung in the freezing, thin air ten miles up. Her soft, green eyes were filled with passion, her body clearly aching for mine. This wasn't the first time she'd come onto me, but in the past, I'd always made it clear I wasn't wound that way.
Now it was time to convince her otherwise, knowing she'd carry that message back to the sisters.
I screwed up my determination and took her back in my arms, kissing her deeply as I dug my heels back into her ass and held her close, vibrating the muscles of my lower body with Kryptonian speed -- basically turning my pubic bone into the ultimate vibrator. She went crazy in my arms seconds later, and by the time her display of fireworks ended, I knew I'd made my first believer. I'd also crossed a line. It was so easy with someone like Gea.
I held her gasping for air in my arms, the thin air getting to her now, yet I could feel the echoes of her fading passion surging through her body. I whispered in her ear, telling her she must return to Themyscira to tell the Council of my request. That I wished to return and become the Amazon I was born to be.
Then I pushed her away, forcing her to leave, watching as she fell for a ways before struggling to fly under her own power. She wore a huge smile on her face. Seed one panted -- she'd enthusiastically carry my message of challenge, but also the news that I'd finally decided where my true passions lay.
I just hope I don't have to convince any other sisters this way.
But I'd plotted my course now. I'd do whatever it took to travel it.
I took my time getting back home to Silverdale, pausing to perform a few rescues along the way -- saving a dozen lives. A car crash, a truck fire, a collapsing building. An idiot trying to shoot up a 7-11. All of which would mean nothing if I didn't stop Lena.
Mom looked at me very weirdly when I finally got home, and then pointed upward, asking: "A new friend?"
I glanced up through the ceiling to see Gea walking around my room, looking at my stuff.
"An Amazon," I shrugged.
"I guessed as much when she floated through the window and through that superor-than-thou Amazon attitude at me when I asked her what she was doing. You ready to tell me what's going on?"
"I... I can't mom. Not right now. Some things I have to do first."
As soon as I said that, I realized how dumb it was to tell the famous Lois Lane, investigative reporter, that something was none of her business. It would only pique her curiosity. But I couldn't bring her into this. Just describing what I was planning would devastate me. It was bad enough that I was going to have to endure the nightmares.
"Don't pull that crap with me, Kara," she tossed back. "I know your father is in great danger, what with that energy leach woman or whatever. And now an Amazon is in your bedroom? Wearing a lot of nothing. You don't like them any more than I do. And certainly not that way."
"If this all works out, I'll tell you everything later, mom. If it doesn't, then better you don't know. But I have to do what I have to do."
With that, I turned and floated up the steps the way I had since I was three, never touching a single one of them.
Gea was lying on the counter in my bathroom by the time I got up there, wearing nothing but a pair of panties.
"I could kill her for you, Kara. She's a vile, bitchy, demanding kind of human."
"Nobody is killing anyone in this house," I said firmly. "And why are you here?"
"To give you the good news. First, the Council will allow you to address them tomorrow. Second, I've been asked to keep you company. To help ease you back into the way of the Amazon."
"You mean, to spy on me?"
She shrugged. "That's what they want. But I have a better idea."
"I'm sorry, Gea, but I need time to think. Alone."
"No you don't. You've obviously thought enough about this or you wouldn't have challenged Lena. Plus we both know that its better to relax the night before going into battle. And make no mistake, convincing the Council will be a battle, Kara. They sense deception."
"You mean, Lena does?"
"She suspects everyone. It's her heritage."
I laughed. "Yeah. Luthors."
She smiled. "It's good to see you laugh, Kara dear. You were starting to develop worry lines."
"So I can't send you back even if I want to?"
She shook her head. "I'm part of the deal. If you want the Council to receive you."
"To be my lover too? Is that what they said?"
"I've always been your lover, Kara. Or wanted to be. I'd do anything for you."
I clenched my teeth. This was not good. I didn't need the baggage, and my acting talents only went so far. Plus they were better practiced in the stratosphere when Gea was half hypoxic than down here in my bedroom. But she had to remain convinced.
"Not here. There is this other place..." I described my underground retreat, which was more or less the equivalent of dad's Fortress. Except instead of in the frozen north, it was located in some farming country not far from here. "Wait for me there," I finished.
"I'm not supposed to leave your side until you meet with the Council."
"I'll be there soon. Trust me."
She rose to float across the room, wrapping her long legs around my waist as she bent down to kiss me. "Don't keep me waiting long, my love."
Then she sauntered down the stairs to parade half naked past mom, then out the front door in full view of the neighbors before flying away. A typical display of Amazon superiority.
Mom was in my room a minute later. She locked the door behind her.
"We are going to talk now, Kara. You are going to let me help you with whatever you're planning."
"There's nothing you can do, mom."
"You don't know that. So out with it. The whole plan."
"You have no idea how..."
"I know the Luthors and I know the Amazons. Nothing you can tell me could surprise me."
I could have flown away. I could have saved her from the agony. But I didn't. Instead, I told her the whole plan. Such as it was. Mom and I had always had that kind of relationship.
To her credit, she never blinked. Lois Lane was a lot tougher than most people realized.
"I was wrong," she said when I finished.
"That you couldn't surprise me. Lena is far more dangerous than her father. Diabolical. She thinks nothing of the lives to be lost in her struggle for power."
"Don't forget the Amazons, mom. She's just feeding into their oldest desires to rid the planet of male influences."
"Don't get me started on Amazons," Lois said angrily, pacing back and forth across my bedroom. "So from what you've told me, Ariel can kill you or your father if she wants?"
I nodded. "I think so."
"Then we've got to do what needs to be done, honey. While you are still free. Regardless of what it means to a few individuals."
"Like dad?" I asked, astounded.
"He's tougher than either of us know. But even then, the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few. Or the one. We're talking billions of lives and the future culture and religion of this entire planet."
"You sound like Spock on Star Trek or something. Everything so logical." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This from the woman who'd been madly in love with Superman since she first met him.
"Sometimes we have to be logical, Kara. Even cold. You know your father would do anything to save this world. He's put his life in jeopardy many times."
"But never as a hostage. He's helpless."
"And Lena is pure murderous cunning, just like her father. Plus the Amazons are consumed with male-hating passion, despite Diana's claims to peace. They see this as a chance to destroy men, and they'll take it. Trust me on this."
"Diana isn't even part of it, mom. They've got her and her mother chained up next to dad."
"Even worse then... you know I don't like Diana, but she is the best of a bad lot. By far."
"Well, I meet with the Council tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes." I glanced at my watch. "In the meantime, I've got to meet with Gea. The Council's spy. I have to convince her I'm an Amazon, right to the bone. So to speak."
She reached out to place her hand on my arm. "I'm sorry, honey. We all have to do desperate things sometimes."
I shrugged. "Not so desperate," I lied, "at least compared to what dad's facing. But it's not exactly how I'd planned on spending tonight. I wanted to see Jeffrey and Robert." I picked up my cape and twisted it around my hand. "Also to ditch this uniform and just be Kara Kent for a few hours."
Lois smiled. "We women can be... versatile. When we need to be. As for me, I'm going into the Planet. Now that I understand what Bruce is up to, I can help plant some seeds of doubt. Maybe get a few other people to start thinking and not just reacting to Lena. And I'm going to start by reminding them that she's a god-damned Luthor."
"Careful, Mom. Vigilantism has no limits. Anyone could become a target."
"Which is why we have to stop it now."
Lois Lane, an unstoppable force of nature in her own right, was unleashed once again. Rao help anyone who got in her way.
Themyscira was as beautiful as always when I arrived the next morning. The sun was shining and the white pillars of its Greek architecture gleamed. But I wasn't here to sightsee, any more than I'd wanted to spend last night in Gea's arms. But Gea's enthusiasm had been real, and in time, it got easier to continue my little act. I'm not going to say more, other than to say that I was more relaxed than I should have been, considering the fate of the planet rested on what happened these next few minutes.
I started my battle as soon as I walked into the Council chambers, before even bowing to the council members, before they acknowledged my presence. I took a page out of Artemis book -- offense is the best defense, and I acted as if I was surprised and horrified to see Lena sitting next to Athena.
“Why is a human sitting on a council of Amazons?” I demanded. “Such a thing has never been done.”
Athena and Artemis glanced at each other and then back to me. “You are only half Amazon, Kara, despite your royal birth. It is not your place to cast accusations. Lena has proven she is a true sister, despite her birthright. Unlike you.”
“She’s a common criminal who has merely absorbed power from some rocks and imagines she is a goddess. My grandmother is the real thing. As is my mother. As are you, Athena.” I paused, daring myself to slowly say: “As… am… I.”
Artemis smiled faintly… she’d always told me to be more assertive. She was getting her wish.
“Feel fortunate you are even getting a hearing, Kara,” Athena replied coldly. “You made it clear three cycles ago that you had exiled yourself to man’s world. You rejected everything it meant to be Amazon.”
“I was a girl, barely fifteen, looking to her father for guidance. I was under his influence. A mistake. I’ve grown since then.”
Athena started to nod and then caught herself. They’d all been horrified by the prospect of my being raised by a man. And in their eyes, my mother, Lois Lane, didn’t even count. She was both human and subordinate to Superman.
Which just went to prove they didn’t know a damn thing about Lois Lane. Or dad’s desire to live a human life as Clark Kent. Mom was the alpha personality in the Kent household.
“It was difficult,” I admitted, lowering my head as if in shame. “Also confusing, being guided by a human woman and a man. But I’ve seen the truth now. I’ve seen what your Direct Action can do. Only the Amazons can save Earth.”
Athena and Artemis whispered for a moment, seemingly forgetting I could hear them, the two of them wondering if it was possible I’d truly changed. Artemis sounded doubtful.
I snapped my eyes up to stare directly into her eyes. “But now that I have found the true way, I challenge Lena’s right to sit on this council instead of me. I am born of Diana. Of Hippolyta.”
“Only an Amazon warrior can challenge another for a council seat,” Artemis replied. “A true warrior.”
Artemis was the warrior’s warrior. The Rambo of the Amazons. She knew that I hadn’t passed the most fundamental test at my coming of age: I hadn’t killed a man in cold blood. By tradition, Artemis always selected the target for a new Amazon’s coming of age. She chose violent and strong men who she deemed to be an adequate challenge -- also men the Earth could better do without. It was a tradition that Diana had tried to change, but the Council had voted against her. Now instead of five members, the Council consisted of three.
I cursed under my breath. I’d feared this demand. It was the oldest and most important of all Amazon traditions. My earlier argument to Artemis that no man, other than my father (and clearly he was exempt), was an adequate challenge for my strength hadn’t held water. When she insisted, I'd renounced my Amazon heritage.
Now the situation had changed. Dad would never understand it – but trading the life of one man for millions suddenly made perfect sense to me. Clearly this moment required some compromise. A coming to terms. Something we women are a lot better at than men.
“Of course I understand that,” I said. “The final hurtle of my training must be overcome. Command me, and it will be done.”
It had always amazed the Amazons that despite the years I’d been flying around as Supergirl, I’d never deliberately taken a life, no matter how vile the criminal. I truly was my father’s daughter, despite my protestations of the moment.
“You will prove you are a sister before we talk further, Kara,” Artemis declared, as was her right. “You will take Bruce Wayne’s life with your bare hands and in public, to be seen by all humans. Then, the life of one of your two closest friends, thus proving to all that you are an Amazon first.”
A ball of coldest ice gripped my stomach, but I dared not show surprise. Bruce was so vital to me, a mentor, a guide, even if we didn't agree on most things. He challenged me, something no one person other than my mother was capable of.
Clearly, Artemis was substituting an emotional challenge for a physical one. But Jeffrey or Robert…? I closed my heart to that pain, and tried to think only of the millions of lives at stake.
"Tradition demands a single life, Artemis," I said, trying to sound defiant.
"Times have changed, Kara," Artemis replied. "Your motivations are frankly suspect. Only by publicly taking the life of Batman, someone who has meant so much to you in the past, and also a man you've grown so close to, who you loved, will you prove that you have renounced the world of men. That you have chosen the way of the Amazon above that of any man. That you have truly joined our cause and become the Princess your mother tried to raise you to become. Only then can you challenge Lena to her seat on this council.”
Lena smiled at me. That damned Luthor arrogance was peeking out again. She knew I’d never do it.
Just as clearly, I wasn't going to get to argue my case.
“I submit to the judgment of the council,” I said in a strong voice, refusing to bow as tradition demands. I was a Princess, a goddess even, and I bowed to no one.
“You have one week to carry out your tasks,” Athena added, one eyebrow lifting. Obviously, I’d impressed her. “Only then may you approach this council to make your challenge.”
Lena started to open her mouth to protest, but she paused when Athena waved her hand to dismiss me.
I turned on my heel and flew away, tears coming to my eyes as my emotions finally caught up with me. I’d just condemned one of the most noble of men to an ignoble death. Not to mention one of my best and oldest friends.
Then I remembered Lena’s smugness – she thought she had me cornered. She didn’t think I could do it. She would continue to spread her poison among the Amazons, encouraging them to take billions of lives to fulfill their vision of a feminine world.
My anger fought against despair, pushing away the coldness, replacing it with determination.
Lena was wrong.
Mom was right.
I would trade Bruce’s life, any man’s life, for the chance to save those billions. Even giving my life if that's what it took. There was no nobler cause.
Yet I was hardly inspired by it. Those billions were just strings of zeros with no meaning. Jeffrey, Robert and Bruce were all warm compassionate beings. I loved them all.
Then I thought of Bruce’s reaction. He was a hero and he’d die like one. He’d see the logic of it all and submit. That part at least would be bearable, at least until the nightmares started.
But Jeffrey or Robert… I didn’t want to think about them. I couldn't bear the thought of having to choose one of them to live, one to die. I closed my eyes, trying to shut out the pain, trying to rationalize it. I could at least make it a surprise. A painless death.
Yet I already knew that none of that would be any consolation in the end. By killing those who I loved, I would be damning my mortal soul and renouncing everything I’d been raised to believe.
“So you met with them?” Bruce asked as I returned to his command center. The so-called Bat Cave.
I nodded while floating a few inches off the floor, looking down at my bare feet.
“And let me guess... it didn't go so well.”
Bruce had always been able to read me better than anyone else.
I settled to the stone floor, enjoying its cool, roughness against my soles. “Yes and no. But they are willing to acknowledge me as an Amazon Princess and allow me to challenge Lena for the leadership.”
“Challenge? You already duked it out with her in Pakistan. She’s stronger than you.”
Obviously I hadn’t taken down all the satellites. Bruce's information tentacles were everywhere.
“But she’s not trained as well as I am, Bruce. Next time, I won’t let her get away.”
“This is all good. So why the long face?”
I shrugged, trying to act nonchalant. “I've just got a couple of things to do first.”
Things that turned my blood cold just thinking about them.
He nodded, sensing the spring steel-like tension in my body. “But you don't like the terms they gave you, do you?”
I shook my head.
“Then wake up, Kara,” he said loudly, startling me out of my funk. “Did you think they'd make it easy? Open their arms and welcome you back? They'll make you prove you are truly one of them. Just like criminal gangs do. They make you do something where there is no going back. Something that binds you to them for life.”
I clenched my fists. “Yeah, whatever, so what. I can handle it.”
“Bullshit, Kara. I see otherwise in your eyes.”
“Then lets talk about something really important, Bruce. ” I was struggling to keep my voice calm. “Even if I defeat her in a challenge, I feel they may allow her to remain on the Council, poisoning everything. It is supposed to be composed of five sisters, not three or even four."
"Your voice will be heard even then, Kara. The Amazons don't truly know the ways of Earth. They only know what Lena tells them. Now they'll hear two views."
"Worse than that, Bruce. I planted the seed with Lena that she and I should take over. Get rid of the Council, whatever. Something that would appeal to a Luthor's predatory instincts. But I don't think I can pull off playing the conspiracy game with a Luthor. She'll eventually see through me."
"You're stronger than you realize, Kara. And a better actress."
"If this was just about muscles, or acting, it would be easy. But Lena's not only giving the Amazons misinformation about Earth, but she's giving them bits and pieces of Kryptonian powers, but all kinds of other meteor weirdness. You saw how Ariel wiped me out. Now that's she's been in intimate contact with dad for so long, she's got all of his strength. She's like this Kryptonian killing machine.”
"I was speaking of mental toughness."
"And how do I pump up that muscle?"
“Well, to start with, by asking for my help.” He smiled and slid a folder across the table toward me.
I glanced up at him, feeling a spark of hope. “You've got this all figured out?”
“Maybe part of it.”
I smiled, feeling the blackness around my heart lifting a little. Good old Bruce.
“You just need some help from people who are organized and skilled at taking down people as powerful as Lena and her friends.”
“Ah... in case you forgot, dad's the last of the pure Kryptonians, Bruce.”
It galled me that we Kryptonians had once been the most advanced and powerful race in the universe. But with dad in captivity and me with my half Amazon blood, the lifeblood of Krypton was running pretty thin now. Lena and Ariel were the closest to being true Kryptonians now, and that was damned depressing.
“Look at the folder, Kara.”
I sighed as I impatiently opened it. It contained a hundred or so sheets of paper, printed in a small, dense font.
“I don’t have time to read a book, Bruce.”
I slumped in my chair and started scanning, reading a page every ten seconds. I’d barely gotten past the third page when my eyes opened wide. This was all about the Supremis: descriptions of their abilities (which sounded the same as dad's), their social structure, customs... There was a lot of stuff here.
I gasped as I came across a section that detailed an encounter dad had with a Supremis. Clearly he hadn't intended anyone to read this, because the journal entry described a sexual affair he'd had with some “beautiful platinum blonde” who “had all of my abilities” who he “didn't have to hold back with, not even as I did with Diana.”
Holy shit! He'd been cheating on mom! And with a Supremis, who he'd always told me were the most evil beings in the universe.
The date said the encounter happened nearly ten years ago. I remembered dad's long trip into space when I was nine -- he was gone for months. I also remember him acting funny for a while after he came back. Patrolling all night. Not sleeping with mom. He said he had a lot to catch up on, which made sense to me at the time.
I clenched my fists in anger. He’d hidden all this from me, telling me how evil the Supremis were when he was off bonking some hot blonde. What the hell was he…?
“It was out of character for your dad, Kara. We both know that. Clearly, he was just trying to gain information.”
“Yeah, and he needed to fuck her to figure that out?”
“Possibly. The Supremis are a very sexual culture. Perhaps that’s how he learned the true depths of their power.”
“Or the depth of her pussy!”
Bruce just shrugged. He knew better than to argue with me when I’m pissed. I took some deep breaths and counted to ten. This was not turning out to be a good day.
I waved the folder at him. “So, is this all for real, Bruce?”
“To the best of my knowledge. It's your father's personal journal. I'll apologize to him later, assuming any of us survive the coming storm.”
I winced, very aware of what the SOE had demanded of me.
I struggled to rein my emotions back in, trying to look past dad's transgression. What dad had done wasn’t so bad. A quick affair, light-years away. With a superwoman, no less. Hell, if I did what the Amazons demanded of me, my sin would be far greater than any of his.
Plus this was bigger than any of us, I rationalized. Where should any of us draw the line when it came time to save humanity?
“So, Bruce, according to this, the Supremis have Kryptonian abilities. It also says there are two races, warring with each other. Also there are millions of them, living on two worlds, plus there are hundreds of seeded worlds, mostly populated with humans but with a handful of Supremis.” I looked up at him. “How come we've never seen evidence of this before? And why don't we know anything about this seeding thing?”
“Because the seeding happened a long time ago and very far away. Also, your father turned up no evidence that the Supremis have ever been on Earth themselves. Apparently the Seeders were another group. Your father didn't document anything about them.”
“But why would the Supremis want to help us?”
"By giving them what they are searching for."
I shook my head. "I don't understand."
“Your father claims the Supremis are searching for what they call Manhome. They believe that all human life began on that planet. That they, and by implication, Krypton, which, by the way, the Velorians think was destroyed by the Arions because the Kryptonians were pacifists, are all genetically engineered humans, originally from this Manhome. Which, of course, we know as Earth.”
“You’re shitting me!”
“That’s your dad's conclusion. It's quite convincing.”
“Yet there’s nothing about this in Kryptonian history. At least, not in Jor-El’s crystals.”
“I can't explain that, Kara. History books, or crystals for that matter, always tell the story people want to tell. Maybe Jor-El knew but didn’t want your dad to know. Or maybe he didn’t know.”
“Lots of maybes.”
“But at least it ties up a very obvious loose end, Kara: why you and your father look identical to us but have vastly more complex DNA.”
“What about the Amazons?”
“It's my guess they're related too. They have a portion of your abilities and they certainly look human enough. Maybe they were the first stage of the genetic manipulation. Diana carried you to term.”
“Rao! What’s next? Finding out we’re related to porpoises too?”
“I have my own theories on that,” Bruce deadpanned.
I rolled my eyes. “Great.” His idea of humor. I hoped.
“Plus, those two Supremis groups aren't different races, Kara, but rather one group that split into two sects. Sects that hate each other with a superhuman passion that we can only imagine.”
“Yeah, and they're apparently fighting some endless war. How can that help us? We have our own war to win.”
“Read these last pages.” He handed me some sheets of paper that hadn't been in the folder.
I quickly scanned them, and for the first time in a long time, I felt a surge of hope.
“One of the sects nurtures the humans on those seeded worlds, protects them from alien interference as well as subjugation by their dark cousins?” I looked up at Bruce and laughed. “Oh, how cool is that! And they probably wear uniforms with an ‘S’. Right?”
“I don’t know about the uniforms, but they sound just like what we need, Kara. With you leading them to Earth, that is.”
“Yeah, but that other sect sounds like Darth Vader and the Empire. Way worse than even the Amazons. What’s to say they won’t follow me back here?”
Bruce nodded slowly. “This is very risky. We don't know which sect you'll run into first. But apparently you can easily identify the members of the two groups by hair color. The blonde woman your father met said that was done early on in an attempt to distance the two sects.”
“Blonde hair is good, black hair is bad? Reminds me of the old Westerns where the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys black hats.”
“Agreed, Kara. But what puzzles me is why they can’t they just change their hair color to masquerade as the other group?”
“I can’t change my hair color. I can cover the blonde with dye, temporarily anyway, but the strands are unbleachable. And if they have x-ray vision like I do...”
“We have to assume they’ve developed better technology than L’Oreal or Clairol, Kara. Just be careful who you trust.”
“All of this assumes I can find any of them. I don't recognize any of these coordinates.”
Bruce turned and typed some commands on his keyboard. A polar projection of the Milky Way galaxy appeared on his huge screen, with a glowing dot on the far side of the galaxy. “That's where your dad was.”
I laughed. “Bruce, that's nearly a hundred thousand light years from here. I can't fly faster than lightspeed. Nothing can.”
“That's where wormholes come in. Surely your father told you about those?”
I shook my head. “But I remember them from Deep Space Nine. Does that help?”
He sighed, remembering that a lot of my knowledge of the cosmos came from movies and TV. “One of the wonders of science fiction is predicting the future, but it doesn't always get the facts right. According to your dad, they're actually the secret of galactic transportation. Kind of like an elevator system that provides short cuts through the folds of the universe.”
I just stared at Bruce, my stomach cramping as I wondered how in hell I was ever going to get by without him? He knew everything.
“Your dad's been using them for decades to get around the galaxy.”
“He never told me...”
“Guess he wanted to keep you closer to home. Here... you need to spend some time looking at this data on wormhole transiting.”
He handed me a Blue-Ray he’d made, apparently from dad’s journals.
“So that's the deal, Bruce? I go out there and grab some of those Velorians and come back and we kick ass together. They take down Lena and her meteor freaks while I take down the Amazons. Is that it?”
Bruce shrugged. “You have a better idea? You can't take down Lena and Ariel on your own. And it will take you years to change the course of the Amazon movement from inside. Too late for mankind.”
I didn’t have a better idea.
“The problem now is to explain your absence, Kara. According to this file, even with the wormholes and some time dilation, it's going to take you weeks to get there and back. Maybe months.”
“Damn… so close.”
“And I suppose you have those “tasks” to perform during that time.”
“Bruce, I have to tell you that…”
“Why don’t you let me handle all that while you’re gone?”
I spun around in mid-air as a strangely familiar female voice spoke from up near the ceiling. A voice with a distinct Amazonian accent.
I was greeted by the sight of a blonde dressed in a pair of tight jeans and frilly gold halter and black patent leather jacket. The jacket was open, revealing her flat, bared midriff. Her eyes were as bright as mine as she floated on air.
It was like looking into a mirror.
“Kara… you never told me you had a twin,” Bruce said softly as he stood behind me.
The girl floated down from the ceiling until her boots were inches off the floor, studying me.
“That’s because I… don’t…” I started to say.
“Actually, you do,” the girl said. “I’m Cassie. Nice uniform you got there. You wouldn’t have a spare, by chance?”
“What… how…” I sputtered.
“Short story,” Cassie interrupted. “Simple really. We are indeed twins, Kara. Identical. The Amazons didn’t tell your dad or your Earth mom about that, and they weren’t allowed on Themyscira to witness the birth. One of Hippolyta’s little games, I suppose.”
“And you’ve been growing up exactly where all this time?” I asked. This had to be another SOE game. Fucking with my head. Yet other than the shorter hair, I swore I was staring into a mirror.
“With Troia. Our mother’s twin sister. She raised me in Bama. Twins and more twins. Weird, huh?”
“Bama? That militaristic colony of Amazons that was destroyed a thousand years ago?” I’d heard talk of Troia, also rumors and myths about Bama.
“Yeah. That would be the place,” Cassie winked, studying Bruce now, her eyes sparkling as she used her X-ray vision on him. “Except that we rebuilt Bama. Thanks to Troia.”
“And how come nobody knows about this?” I asked.
Her eyes snapped back to mine. “Diana knows all about it. But Troia didn’t want anyone else to know, especially not your father. Or Lois. Let alone Hippolyta or the other Amazons. Especially not you.”
“Troia was cast out. Hippolyta chose Diana as her champion. Troia was supposed to leave Earth. But instead, she found a few other outcast Amazons and rebuilt Bama. Then there was the twin thing and Diana and Troia defied Hippolyta and worked out a deal. As far as any of the other island Amazons know, only one child was born – you.”
“And you picked this time to return to help man’s world in its time of crisis? How come I’m not buying any of this?”
“Because it isn’t true. The part about coming to help Earth that is. I’ve never even been here before today.”
“Simple. I came to help my sister. Troia and I have been watching you from afar, Kara."
“But why help me… weren't you were raised as an Amazon? We’re on the verge of a war between Amazons and humans.”
“And Troia and I know the game you are about to play, Kara. Plus I’ve just heard everything you’ve been talking about here.”
“So you could tell Athena or Lena and it would all be over for me. For the men of Earth.” I snapped my fingers. “Just like that.”
Cassie nodded. “Yup. I could end it all.”
“But…?” I asked daringly.
“But as I said, I came to help you. Because that’s what family do, Kara. Care for each other when nobody else does. And if that means saving your precious Earth in the process, then so be it.”
I just stared at her, dumfounded. Her voice and accent had gradually shifted from Amazonian to American English in the minutes we’d been talking. She was an amazingly fast learner.
“And for the record, forget that Amazon stuff, Kara. Troia was cast out, which means I’m an outcast too. Even more importantly, I consider myself a Kryptonian first. Just like you do.”
“This is… unbelievable…” I started to say, still reeling from the shock.
“We can’t save our home world, Kara, any more than grandfather Jor-El could, but maybe, just maybe, we can save this one.”