Legacy – The Diaries (Part 4)
An alternate Earth’s story line…
Diary - Part Four
I was almost sixteen when I finally fell all the way into the “save the world” routine. At first I thought it would be easy. No problemo to disappear for a bit when I was home. School was more challenging, but I'd excuse myself from class to go to the bathroom, and then change into my red and blues, zip off to save someone or stop some heinous crime, and then be back in the classroom before anyone started to wonder about me.
Other than maybe thinking I had a weak bladder or something. There were just so many things to do that ordinary humans couldn’t do that I was starting to get pretty busy being Supergirl.
But I thought I was in total control. Plus, between my powers, my strength and my Amazon training, not to mention my near invulnerability, who could hurt me?
Dad, of course, being a father, told me I was way wrong about the last. He said it was always this way with teenagers… we all think we’re unhurtable until we get hurt. He claimed there were some bad guys out there who could snuff the life from my body as easily as they’d done with Aunt Kara.
I listened with one ear, but largely ignored him like any other kid my age. I mean, by now I’d been shot with every kind of gun, I’d been poisoned, knifed, maced, machete’d, beaten on by supposed supervillains, even nuked by this terrorist cell in Pakistan… you name it. Nothing had hurt me.
Along the way, my skills had improved. I’d found that my uniform and cape were great tools to contain explosives. I’d wrap the bomb up in my cape or, if time was of the essence (as it usually was), just stuff it under my skirt and kneel down, wrapping my arms around my legs to direct all the explosion downward.
As you might guess, that got me some strange looks, given my legs would be glowing brightly for a bit and my skirt trying to lift from that heat. But hell, I was Supergirl, damn it. Every part of me was super.
Then the fateful day came when I ran into someone who could really hurt me: this crazy chick who called herself Poison Ivy. She was a mutant who had this special ability to synthesize various types of drugs and poisons to either kill or control people.
Dad had been trying to bring her down for years, but every time he got close, she’d zap him with one of her toxins. Dad thought she had some kind of tie to Lex Luthor, although we could never prove it, but Luthor was the likeliest place for her to get her hands on the meteor rocks she used to create her super-toxins.
I first ran into Ivy when I was digging out the survivors of the big San Francisco earthquake. My job was to hoist sections of a collapsed bridge away so rescue crews could get beneath. It was hard, physical work, even for me -- bridge spans weight tens of thousands of tons -- but it was what I found beneath that made it really difficult. Hundreds of cars had been crushed flat by the falling spans, oozing this red pulp that used to be people. It was hot and the flies were everywhere. I must have thrown up a half dozen times the first hour, but after a while I just stopped thinking about the red goop as former people and just focused on what I had to do -- saving the people in the less badly crushed cars. It would take days or weeks to get to them if not for me.
I was balancing a hundred foot long section that weighed Rao knows how may thousands of tons over my head, every muscle in my body tense as steel as I slowly maneuvered it away from some victims. I was planning on tossing it into the bay with the rest of the debris when this weird looking girl with green skin started walking toward me. She had what looked like plants growing out of her head instead of hair, and her eyes were the color of an African violet. Her only clothing was some strategically placed vines, and she was tracing her fingers over the bare skin of the cops and rescue workers closest to her, and they collapsed.
Dad had told me to watch out for her. I’d read Bruce’s notes that described her as the product of some government genetic engineering project that went bad -- they'd been trying to infuse chlorophyll-based metabolism into a human. She’d gone off the deep end and started identifying with plants, deciding it was her job ot protect her "children". Bruce's theory was that Lex had then exposed her to meteor rocks, which had mutated her even further. Whatever. What was clear was that she gave off enough toxins through her skin to knock him for a loop.
He said to do anything possible to avoid contact with her. He emphasized: at all costs.
That proved impossible for me, given that bridge span resting on my back. I tried to twist away, even to kick at her, but it was taking every bit of strength I had to keep control of that section of roadbed.
Ivy just smiled as she saw me struggling, knowing that I'd never risk the deaths of the rescue workers and victims still on the lower level of the bridge by dropping that span.
Of course, as freaked out as I was, I didn’t realize that I was having a blonde moment. I mean, I could have just blown her away with my breath… but by the time that occurred she’d wrapped her arms around my neck and laced her fingers into my hair and started kissing me... a deep, wet, soulful kiss!
I twisted my head violently away, but she just wrapped her legs around me and held on until this rush of incredible goodness raced through me, making me feel so warm and cozy and tingly. Then my world shattered into a million dazzling bits of sunshine, and I felt as if I was soaring upward into a bright tunnel filled with the most amazing colors.
The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back in a small white room, covered in a simple white sheet while a cold breeze blew on me from an overhead vent. I was gripping the table beneath me so hard that my fingers were embedded in the stainless steel and my heart was beating very slowly – about once every five seconds. I worked my fingers out of the steel, and floated off the table, the sheet sliding off as I rotated in mid-air. I spotted a full length mirror, and dropped down to study myself.
I looked normal… no sign of any green stuff or any injures.
I trying to remember what had happened when I heard the sound of breathing behind me. I quickly spun around to find Bruce sitting there in his wheelchair. I quickly grabbed the sheet and wrapped it back around myself – Bruce might be the perfect gentleman, but damn if that bat can’t come into a room without making a noise. Freaky.
I continued hovering in mid-air as he calmly explained that I’d been badly poisoned by Ivy’s drugs… worse than dad had ever been. He said Ivy had used a hypnotic drug that made me very susceptible to suggestion.
That didn’t sound good, especially given she’d attacked me with a friggin’ kiss. Even worse, I couldn't remember anything after the kiss.
Bruce turned on a screen at the end of the room. Typical Bruce stuff… he monitors everything. The video was made up of a series of clips that he’d intercepted in his usual way. It started with Ivy kissing me – that went on for easily a minute. How gross. Leave it to someone on the bridge having a damn video camera focused on me. But I'd learned to expect that anytime I showed up in public. The videos were on the internet an hour later.
My stomach turned as the kiss went on and on. So much for avoiding "even the briefest contact with Ivy". Ivy definitely had her way with me. When she released me, I just stood therewith that bridge section over my head, muscles all hard, my body rigid. Then I turned and tossed the concrete span over the edge of the lower bridge, and went over the side with it.
The next video was taken at a huge power plant that was surrounded by an endless field of corn. Probably Iowa or Kansas. I was blasting through the walls of the power plantlike a projectile from a cannon, moving just as fast as one too, my body piercing the boilers to send clouds of superheated steam into the air. That was followed by footage of me wrenching the huge generators from their mounts (they were the size of city busses) and mashing them all together into this huge block of steel and copper windings.
I guess Ivy didn’t want that thing polluting her plants or something.
The next video clip showed me tearing a huge bank vault open with my bare hands. I was ripping the foot thick steel apart as if it was little more than wet clay, leaving jagged sections sticking out in all directions. I wedged myself in the gap and used my legs to fold the steel door up like an accordion.
I'd never tried to do that before, for obvious reasons. I was surprised it looked so easy.
Bruce said I’d opened nine vaults that way. Nobody had been killed (thank Rao for that) but hundreds of millions in cash was gone and a handful of security guards were in the hospital, apparently injured by ricochets from their shooting at me. You’d think by now that people would have figured out how dangerous that is. But no.
Bruce said Ivy had disappeared with the money, but hadn’t left enough of a trail for him to track her. He figured Luthor had the money by now, but once again we couldn't prove it.
He tossed a newspaper across the table, the headline screaming: Supergirl Poisoned by Ivy. All Charges Dropped.
I guess that was the good news… I wasn’t being charged with a crime. The cops knew all about Ivy; she’d put the zap on more than a few cops on that bridge, and some of them were still in a coma.
On the other hand, I now had the distinction of sharing my first really soulful kiss with a crazy, half-plant, half-human chick! People were already speculating I'd grow up as a lesbian -- I was half Amazon -- and now this footage was all over the internet. Plus there was the matter of that huge power plant which I’d junked and all that missing cash.
I wrapped the sheet tighter around myself as I took a moment to stretch the kinks out, only to be surprised that I felt just fine. Better than fine. I asked Bruce where my uniform was, and he nodded toward a package on the counter, wrapped with a band that bore the bat symbol. How in the hell Bruce had undressed me, I’ll never know – that uniform might be stretchy to me, but to anyone with human strength, it might as well be made of woven steel.
Bruce saw the questioning look in my eyes and said Diana had brought me in. Apparently she’d put an end to my rampage.
Great… mom’s going to love that. I glanced back at the stack of newspapers and read the previous headline: Supergirl Rescued by Her Super Mother.
Beyond that, I saw some very negative headlines about how I'd become a dangerous criminal. Apparently my rampage had gone on for a few days.
It suddenly wasn’t so cool to be the Girl of Steel. That ‘S’ on my chest was just a target for the crazies.
Mom was cool about it, but Dad was angrily. Not at me, but for the way some newspapers had handled my rampage. Everyone knew from the start that I'd been poisoned by Ivy.
Jeremy and Robert teased me for a bit, mostly about the kiss, and Jeremy tried his hand at capturing the event through his eyes (although he forgot about the bridge I was supporting) and came up with a drawing that nicely captured my initial surprise. Actually, I think he got a bit too much into it, including the bloody scratches and Ivy’s Green-K-enhanced toxin, but this is how he saw it.
The drawing went into my growing private collection.
But hear this… the next time I meet Ivy, I’ll be ready for that bitch. Super breath is what I’ll start with. Maybe freeze her solid. It would serve her right.
A bunch of other weird supervillains came and went that year, and I beat them all, but not without a little of dad’s help a couple of times. I could take out anybody in a fist fight, and there wasn't a weapon that could hurt me, but it was the sideways attacks, like Ivy's, that were hard to handle. Messing with my head or emotions when they couldn't bore holes through my invulnerable bod.
Then there was Lex Luthor. He was the master of the sneak attack. Except this time, he had public opinion on his side. He’d started this foundation to give his tens of billions away to charity, and he wanted me to travel all over the world as his personal ambassador.
As expected, this new foundation checked out as legit. He had the best lawyers on his staff, and none of Ivy’s stolen money had been traced to him. Over the years, he'd been acquitted of every crime the state had ever charged him with, mostly on technicalities regarding how dad or Bruce had collected evidence against him. His public relations campaign had convinced a lot of people that while his methods might be on the edge (they were way over the edge according to dad), his generosity of supporting any charity or foundation that jurists found worthy had ensured his acquittals.
Now he was trying to bribe the entire planet.
But on the other side, I knew he could make a huge difference in the health and wellbeing of millions by finding ways to use money where muscles didn’t work. I met with him one time, and his argument was that people would trust me, where they might not trust LuthorCorp or even the US government.
Given I’m a true believer that people could change, especially for the better, I thought I’d at least give it a try. I mean, hell, he had all those billions of bucks to give away. We could help a lot of kids in Africa. I sure couldn't help them myself.
Dad, of course, didn’t trust Luthor an inch, despite the technically legal nature of his actions and the benefit to the recipients, and he refused to let me get involved. He was convinced that Lex wanted to put me in the front row of his den of horrors. And given that LuthorLabs had recently gotten access to some of the Kryptonian science that dad had given to Star Labs, apparently legitimately as a sub-contractor, he figured Lex was just preparing a new way to come after us.
So I ignored my best instincts and turned Lex down.
Lex wasn’t happy about that, but he said there would be other times. Once I was old enough to stand on my own two feet and started to think for myself, that is.
Ouch. He really knew exactly how to twist that knife. Funny thing was, I kind of liked him. He seemed to really be trying to make amends for his questionable past.
I ran into a few other mutants after that, our Earth seems to have a lot of them, with more appearing each year. Most of them are up to no good. I managed to survive several very nefarious plots on my life, mostly because I was getting more skillful at this superheroine business. If it’s true as they say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, then I got a lot stronger that year.
But back home, I tried to carry on as normal.
Whenever I had time to hang with Jeremy and Robert, we goofed around, claiming that, like my father, the power of the force was strong with me. We were all Star Wars freaks. On a dare (some things never change, I guess) I went to a Trek convention in my uniform. The guys thought it was a gas as I floated around overhead. Everyone was getting off on the beauty of flight (or maybe just trying to look up my skirt), but the organizers were really angry when I disrupted the whole convention hall. What the hell did Supergirl have to do with Star Wars, they asked?
The answer is: nothing if you consider just the TV show. But maybe a lot if you consider what’s really going on out there on distant worlds. Of course, I couldn't share any of that. Well, except with Robert and Jeremy.
Dad had been telling me about a very militant race that’s spreading its influence toward our part of the galaxy. He said they call themselves Homo Sapiens Supremis, but they sound like Darth Vader and the Empire to me. Even worse, the Supremis believe they are the next step of human evolution and that the “frail” humans need to be wiped out to make room for them.
What blew me away was that dad said their physical powers were the same as ours. But they weren’t Kryptonians.
I was staggered…what were the odds of that? A zillion to one? It couldn’t be true, parallel evolution, but dad refused to consider otherwise.
He believed the Supremis, whoever they were or whoever had futzed them, were searching for a mythical place they called Manhome, the world where humans had first appeared. Given that Earth was populated by humans in all the alternate universes we’d visited, he was afraid they were really looking for this little blue planet.
He said we needed the military forces of Earth to be ready to fight along side us if we wanted to stop the Supremis. Which meant Earth had to have lots of very high power energy weapons. Stuff that could hurt even us.
Star Wars-grade stuff to be specific. Some of which involved controlled nuclear detonations. That was simplest source of the massive power required.
Unfortunately, the nuclear test ban treaties of the 20th century made it impossible to test new types of nuclear weapons on the Earth or the Moon, and the governments weren’t about to change that until they saw what the US president called a “clear and present threat”.
That would be way too late.
Dad tried to work around that by arranging for testing on Mars, but I thought that was a terrible idea. I knew how beautiful Mars was under the surface and I didn’t want to wreck it before people even got there to see it.
So I suggested we go and get ourselves an asteroid.
Dad gave me that look that said I was too young to understand how stupid that idea was, but I’d done the math. My calculations said it was possible to bring an asteroid close enough for the scientists and engineers to create shuttle ships to fly between them. The trick was not crashing it into the planet.
Dad consulted with NASA and they thought my idea was workable in theory, but far too dangerous in practice. He said to forget about it.
I refused to give up, and after making a few phone calls, I found an engineer at NASA who was receptive. He invited me down to Houston, and I wound up spending a weekend with his buddies, all math wizards and engineers, helping set up simulation models for their computers to analyze.
It was pretty weird the first day, what with me in my tiny red and blues sitting in the middle of a computer kab full of geeks. Unfortunately, not much was getting done as the engineers just stared at my legs. Or whatever. Sometimes my uniform bling thing is a real curse.
The long day ended at nearly midnight with the gang inviting me out for drinks. A little unwinding.
Right. Like anyone on the planet didn’t know my real age?
I was sitting outside the building waiting for it to open the next morning, dressed in one of my usual Ugly Betty outfits, but of course, with my blonde hair hanging out. Sneakers, unlaced of course, and a long blue skirt with a black corset slip worn on the outside of it, plus a blue jacket and yellow t-shirt. Plus a lot of eye makeup and jewlery. I didn't get to walk around being Supergirl without my uniform very often, so I figured, why not have some fun with it? Aunt Chloe said I had a good fashion sense, even if my taste was a bit eclectic.
The good news was that I looked like a high school girl now, so the temperature in the room came down enough for the guys to get some work done.
As long as they didn’t look into my eyes, that is. Then they were lost. They do something to guys. And not just the seeing through walls thing.
Now that we could work, I gave them the parameters of my strength and max flight ability, which raised some eyebrows given how I look and my age, and then tossed around some ideas on how to bring the asteroids in. They looked really skeptical at first, but I’d been reading textbooks on astro-physics and space flight dynamics. I went up to the white board and wrote down the equations I’d been working on. I wound up circling the room, covering every whiteboard in the place before I was done.
They were blown away by the time I finished, which made me feel really good. Especially when they started plugging my equations into their programs to run some heavy-duty simulations. My engineer friend, Craig, winked and said that it just went to show that I wasn’t just the blonde T&A with muscles like everyone else thought I was.
Duh. And he thought that was clever or cute?
While the computers were cranking away (it takes days to run those kinds of sims) I flew out near Jupiter to scope out a dozen or so likely asteroids that were too small for NASA to see with their telescopes. Then I fed that data into their programs as well. More crunching.
In the end, despite all their initial doubts, the engineers concluded my plan actually was doable with an adequate safety margin. They all shook my hand. It was really embarrassing, but way cool too. I mean, hell, I was just a kid.
Craig celebrated by asking me and the entire Flight Dynamics department to a party at a sports bar. Somebody knew somebody and I got in despite my age. The party was a gas, what with all those guys knowing I was Supergirl but nobody else in the bar did, although obviously I looked underage.
Most of the engineers got drunk as skunks as we traded stories (and good lies). I related my experience with Poison Ivy, and the kissing part kind of got their attention. And no, thank you very much, I’m very straight.
I started to describe some things about Mars that nobody knew, especially that underground lake, and that earned me a hundred questions. I didn't answer many of them. I wasn't supposed to be talking about Mars anyway... but these were NASA guys.
I didn't drink, not that it would have affected me anyway, but the spirit was contagious. By the time midnight came, I was sitting in one guy’s lap with my legs in someone else’s, but nobody was getting too frisky. They “valued me for my brain not my body” as one guy said as he hugged me after too many drinks, holding on to me seemingly forever as he tried to dance. I held him up while everyone else roared with laughter.
Before we left, they wanted pictures. To keep from freaking my mom out about my appearing in public without my uniform (the picts would be on the internet in hours), I changed back into my red and blues first.
Then I made sure everyone got home in one piece. That meant flying a lot of cars and their inebriated occupants from the bar to their driveways.
To Serve (alcohol) and Protect. That’s me.
Once they were all home, safe and sound, I flew home to meet with dad.
He was pacing around the house, mad as hell at me. He’d apparently peaked in on me during our celebration down in Houston and was angry about the drinking thing. And the no uniform deal. I was glad mom wasn’t there or they’d have ganged up on me.
Dad eventually mellowed and began studying the simulation data before agreeing that maybe "our plan" (it wasn’t just mine anymore) was doable. But he wanted more data on the specific asteroids I had in mind, including compositional analysis.
I flew off with a hardened computer that NASA had given me and a bunch of geological test probes, and landed on the two asteroids I thought would be best. Once there, I detonated some explosions to let the equipment capture the echoes, and then I took some star and sun shots to establish exact position.
When I got back, I plugged the star shots into the NASA program to calculate the vectors and error margins, and sent the geological data to the Colorado School of Mines to get it analyzed.
It took a couple of days for the analysis to come back, but it showed that the asteroids were solid iron-nickel and that they had the right mass and position to fit within the parameters of the NASA model.
I’d called it exactly right.
Dad seemed even more impressed with me than the NASA guys had been, which I thought was nice. I think he still equates me with Aunt Kara sometimes, and she’d been into the soft side of life. Actress, guidance counselor, whatever. Not a math and physics geek like me.
But then, I am Kal El’s daughter, most importantly, I’m an El, not a touchy-feely Zor-El. Our two families had never gotten along all that well back on Krypton, or so dad said.
He would know… he has this huge archive of data in those crystals that Jor-El gave him. All the knowledge of Krypton and so forth.
The asteroid project was approved by both dad and NASA two weeks later. Now the heavy lifting started. Per the models, I had to push the asteroids for days at a time, using every ounce of my strength, applying it along precise vectors. I might be strong, but those things weigh billions of tons.
Once I got a bit of delta V on each asteroid, I took more sun and star shots and the computer would give me new vectors. Then I’d go back to work, tensing every muscle in my body as I grunted against the mass of nickel-iron, that raw metal slowly squishing aside as I dug long tunnels into the frozen metal with my body. It was just too soft to stand up to the force I was applying.
That went on for two months, during which I had to fly over to the sun twice a week to soak up enough energy to keep going. I didn’t go back to Earth a single time during that period. No food or drink either. Or sleep. Those ten-mile long rocks weighed a hell of a lot, and mass and inertia are simple laws of nature. No tricks allowed.
Once the asteroids were finally falling inward at the right speed to catch up with Earth a half orbit later, I went home and back to school. I had a ton of work to catch up on after my supposed “illness” and my time in a sanatorium in Europe. Mom’s excuse. She was good at coming up with really weird ones.
Once back in school, I still flew out to my asteroids once a month to verify the coordinates and make some tweaks on the asteroids as necessary, but I could do that in a weekend. I was really getting fast now.
Still, it was scary when the six month point came up and we started to catch up to those rocks. If we’d goofed the trajectories up, it would be like the dinosaur extinction event all over. But dad and NASA kept a close eye on my rocks and by the time my fifteenth year came to an end, Earth had three moons, the newest ones called Jor and Alura. I’d named them after my Kryptonian grandparents.
Now I just had to convince the UN to let us go ahead with the testing. I figured that would be the easy part.
But as usual, whenever I tried to predict what is going to happen politically and diplomatically, I was way wrong. Those UN guys don’t think logically.
Let me explain why.
The US and China were the two superpowers now -- the only countries that had advanced nuclear weapons programs. Advanced in this case meant very small, clean high-yield thermonukes.
Dad turned over part of his Kryptonian science archives to the Chinese and US. The result was that the Chinese scientists developed the first anti-matter weapons, and the US began to manufacture particle beams. The best of those could cut through tank armor as easily as a .45 slug punched through a sheet of toilet paper.
He also showed the scientists how to make something that looked like a lightsaber, which I thought was totally cool, being a Star Wars fan and all. I brought one of those home to show Jeremy and Robert (Dad would have killed me) and they had a blast slicing chunks of solid granite from the walls of the quarry. They stabbed the blade all the way to the hilt into the granite and watched as the rock bubbled and melted all around the blade.
Of course, they were only fifteen year old guys, and we all know guys mature slower than girls, so instead of focusing on military applications of the lightsabers, they fell back into our old Three Musketeers game: they dared me to touch the beam. I should have known better than to fall for one of their dares by then, but I didn’t. And as scary as it was, I needed to know how much damage the saber would do to a Supremis.
I took a deep breath, and while Robert held the saber, I wrapped my fingers around the blade. It gave off a horrible squeal and sent a wave of intense pain up my arm. I stupidly held onto it, only to have my hand, then my whole arm, heat up to a blazing white-hot glow. My clothing caught fire (not a good thing since I wasn’t wearing my uniform underneath), which forced me to finally jerk my hand away.
I’m glad I did, because there was a shocking black burn line across my palm and along the inside of my fingers. I gasped in horror as I saw that the skin had burned away to reveal the muscles and tendons beneath. No way to hide that, not to mention I was in horrible pain and had to find dad. He flew me to his Fortress and used this crystal to heal me -- it contains the pattern of Kryptonian DNA and can restore any damaged tissue to that initial state.
To say he wasn't happy with me is an understatement. The testing wasn't supposed to start until next week. I'm just glad I didn't tell him that Jeremy and Robert were involved.
The end result was that I had a lot more respect for that saber now. Also, for the first time in my life, I’d found a weapon that could really hurt me. Well, other than Green-K and Ivy’s toxins.
That was both good and bad. Good because it said we could arm humans with weapons that would slow down the Supremis if they came. Bad because things would get tougher for dad and I if those new weapons got into the wrong hands.
I prayed to Rao every night that those murderous Supremis never found our Earth. (I’m not sure Rao exists, but it makes me feel good to pray). But if they did come, then, man, were they ever going to be in for a surprise. Lightsabers, anti-matter bombs, particle beams.
Plus dad and me.
I figured they wouldn’t stand a chance.
Now, I have to explain something. When I say ‘our Earth’, you need to understand what I’m talking about. You see, there are an infinite number of them according to dad, each with a different history. I know that sounds weird, but that’s just how it is. Alternative Earths in alternate universes. Different dimensions. Whatever.
Dad doesn’t have a clue which one was the first or the ‘primal’ universe, but as I mentioned before, I figured Earth Prime was the one where no superhumans or mutants lived. All dad would acknowledge is that he’d been searching all his life for a universe where Krypton still existed, but he hadn’t found one.
I traveled with dad to several different Earths that year, thanks to being able to do some fancy maneuvering inside wormholes. We saw some scary things. From that simple Earth that didn’t have Kryptonian or Supremis people or any other kind of superhuman involvement, to one where the only humans who were still alive lived in Supremis zoos. We found another Earth that had been burned to a crisp by the Supremis war. Ours was the only universe we found where both Supremis and Kryptonians existed, and where the Supremis hadn’t yet found Earth.
Most interestingly, while we Krypts and the Supremis were in some universes and not in others, humans were in all of them, and Earth was always pretty much the same. Other than the zoo planet and the one where it had been incinerated, that is.
I concluded that Earth really was the origin planet of all humanoid races like the Supremis thought.
Dad wasn't ready to go there, especially after I told him that I believed in a higher power who’d created us all. Based on my reading and what I’d seen, I assumed that Rao had started with the primates and then nurtured the humans on Earth. Or whatever you wanted to call Him.
Dad protested, claiming my logic was faulty, that my theory was little more than a simple guess. Blind belief. He said there could be a hundred other explanations.
Not that he had any better ones.
But he’d always had a problem with the concept of God. I guess he’d seen too many evil creatures who pretended to be supreme beings to accept that there was a caring, loving God out there. He certainly hadn’t found him.
What I did know was that flying around and visiting other universes made me feel really special. Privileged. And, increasingly, more than a little superior to ordinary people.
Dad reminded me that the last feeling was really unhealthy. He said our emotions were the same as any human, and while we had high IQ’s, we weren’t any wiser than the smartest humans. He also believed that showing any form of arrogance or embracing elitism was just plain ugliness. It was a step in the direction of the Dark Side.
I understood that, given I was a fan of Star Wars and all. We weren’t gods despite the hopes of millions of people who prayed we were, and if we began to think of ourselves that way, then we’d be no better than the Supremis. It would poison our souls and we’d never recover.
Still, that didn’t change my theories about our race. We Krypts had to be some kind of souped-up human. We’d certainly once been a single species, as the odds against parallel evolution were a zillion to one. And if that was true of us Krypts, then it was also true of the Supremis.
Dad hated that idea most of all. He was in love with everything Kryptonian, and he loved the strivings and emotional heart of humanity, especially their courage despite their frailty. In contrast, he hated everything about the Supremis. He couldn’t put both Krypton and Supremis in the same sentence. There was no way we and the Supremis could be related, he said, and he didn’t want to talk about humans being the aboriginal species because he didn’t want to look down on them.
I gave up on arguing with him and visited Diana to try my theory out on her, and she saw my side of things. She said that Amazons were clearly a step along the path from human to Kryptonian, which surprised me given all their lesbian/amazon superwoman superiority rhetoric. Especially since Amazons and Krypts were sexually compatible -- I mean, they'd made me.
I did some research in some medical books on genetic compatibility, and found that even a 1% difference in DNA was enough for an ova to reject a sperm. You had to have almost an exact species match.
I asked Diana if her people were related to the Supremis, but she didn’t know anything about them. Nothing more than dad knew, anyway. But then she told me about this shadowy dimension that dad had found, but hadn't told me about. A scary place of wraiths that he called the Phantom Zone. Another dimension that wasn't aligned with normal space/time. Apparently Krypton had used one of those as an ultimate prison.
I don’t pretend to understand anything about continuity streams or spirit worlds or even religion, but what I do know is that I had to put my uniform away for a few days after one of those alternate universe trips and keep my feet on the ground. Unfortunately, as I grew taller and filled out more, acting ordinary and weak and unattractive was getting harder all the time.
”Humanizing” is what I called it. Dad called it “detuning”. Mom just called it “getting my feet back on the ground.” Diana said I was “deflating the goddess view”. Jeremy called it “Gentling”. Robert just said I had to “go back to just being me”.
I liked Robert’s explanation the best. I just had to be me. I’d grown up among humans. In the end I wasn’t better than them. Just stronger.
In any case, I was turning sixteen now and dad said that was the age of majority on Krypton. In his eyes, that was far more important than reaching the age of majority on Earth, which was eighteen in the US. I was now an adult in his eyes, with all the privileges (and responsibilities) that come with that.
Sometimes I think he clings too tightly to things Kryptonian.
Not that I was going to complain in this case.
I was ready to become an adult in his eyes.
But not without a ceremony. We had a small private party on my birthday and Jeremy and Robert were invited.
For the second time since that ill-fated moment in Robert’s basement, I could be myself around them without the three-color uniform or my Ugly. Which meant, out came the blonde hair, the blue-eyes and some clothes that were cute and sexy. Specifically, a thin, tight sweater that was cut low enough to show off some cleavage, and a pleated miniskirt and pair of Italian heels to make my legs look amazing – my best body part. I’d been buying clothes for a while that would look good on me (which with my bod, meant tight, tiny and short) but I never had a chance to wear any of them.
I gave the guys a smoldering look when I entered the room, striking a leggy pose, and the effect on their faces (and their heart rate – I could hear them beating from across the room) was precious. They took one look at me and nearly fell on their asses. I’d grown a lot in the right places since that earlier episode in Robert’s basement, and I’m definitely more comfortable in my own skin now.
Dad just gave me a wink, which was very weird. I could see that he’d decided tonight was going to be a night to practice another of my powers – one he wanted me to try while under supervision -- the power of a woman. Little did he know that I'd been practicing for the last year.
But in dad’s eyes, I was officially an adult now, and he surprised me by loosening up a bit as the night went on. As did mom. He read some Kryptonian verses that nobody else understood, and then rang this little bell and kissed me on the forehead, saying I had come of age. Everyone else kissed me too. It was a lot more subdued than the Amazon's naked orgies to celebrate womanhood, but dad was from Kansas after all.
After a dinner where he told some pretty good jokes (I didn’t think he had it in him), we put some music on, stuff from my iPod naturally, and we all did my favorite thing: dancing.
Mom and dad joined in for a while, and dad didn’t even pretend he was clumsy or anything for once. He was a great dancer, his feet barely touching the floor.
Show-off, mom said.
Then he and mom went to bed, leaving the Three Musketeers alone, just like they had hundreds of times before.
Except it wasn’t like always. The air was charged, and the guys were both getting high on me. Not on ugly Kara Kent, or even on the fabulous Supergirl, but instead, on Kara El the Kryptonian girl who’d just become a woman.
For my part, I was dancing with my two best friends; who could beat that?
They eventually got tired of dancing (me, never!) and we snuggled up on the couch to watch the late, late show. They were totally turned on and everything. But as opposed to that being embarrassing this time, I found it was cool. I could feel the energy too. We’d always been a threesome. Ever since kindergarten.
Jeremy gave me his gift: another drawing of course. It showed me leaning against a lamp post, my shoulder scrunching up the metal as I hooked by thumb under the belt of my skirt to reveal a glimpse of my panties beneath.
The pict was a near perfect barometer for where his head was going: below the belt to be specific.
Robert was right there with him. They were pressing in on me, their eyes large and liquid, and completely turned on.
I was sorely tempted to change the rules tonight and stop ignoring the fact that the air was thick with pheromones, hormones and everything else. To stop torturing them. To just let things happen.
We all knew that tonight was supposed to be a celebration of change. Both a beginning and an ending. A Rite of Passage. A coming of age. The end of childhood and the start of adulthood.
But I didn't know anything about Kryptonian sexual pheromones back then, or even the fact that I gave them off when I was turned on. While mostly subliminal, they were faintly detectable as a flowery, sweet scent. What wasn't subtle was their effect on Jeffrey and Robert. Complete and total sexual desire. An accompanying loss of control. A compulsion to have sex with me that overcame every other thought or feeling even the boundaries of our friendship. A sense of overwhelming desire so powerful and irrational that it scared me.
It also nearly drew me in. I wanted to please them so much. But I wasn't feeling the same desire. They were my dearest friends, but not lovers. They were also clearly out of their minds for some reason. Something was happening to them, something that would have been wonderful with the right guy, but not with my the Three Musketeers. I was smart enough to know that changing our relationship into something it could never be was the fastest way to end our friendship.
That made me sad, because sex and desire and jealousies were starting to get in the way of simple friendship. Men are territorial by nature. And sex is never casual to a sixteen-year-old boy. The following morning, with pheromones gone and clear-headed reality returning, would have been awkward. Impossible.
It was in such a way that our innocence ended.
And my adulthood began.