Continued from: Corrupted: Superman 2.0 Issue three
Sins of the Past (Part II)
The Block, Somewhere in the Mojave Desert
The Block was an amazing place to carry out operations from. Dr. Vertias kept her systems constantly updating, and Connor would hear of events as they were happening, and sometimes, the systems would predict events before they happened. In the following week since Connor’s arrival at the Block, Vertias had prevented Connor from doing any further investigation into the rebel cloning efforts. Instead she had elaborated on how out of shape he was, and made it a point that he prepares himself in case circumstances required it. So the first week consisted of workouts, and tests, just so Vertias could see to the true extent of his abilities.
“Impressive,” Veritas said at the end of the first week, “I would be willing to say that you’re just as strong as the president. Maybe even stronger. “
Connor sat in the middle of a large machine, fastened into it. To the common eye, the machine could have given off the impression of a massive generator, or server for the world’s most powerful computer. In truth, it was just a high tech bench press. Dr. Veritas had explained to Connor that Superman himself had used the machine ages ago, and it was capable of simulating over a Quintillion tons, just so which Connor so happened to have it set at. Connor brought his arms down finishing his last rep, detached himself from the machine, and floated down to the platform where the hologram of Dr. Veritas was waiting on him.
“I highly doubt that,” Connor grunted as he twisted his neck which cracked loudly, “Arthritis has made that almost a certainty.”
“You do not have Arthritis.” Veritas stated while rolling her eyes. Connor smiled and let out a small chuckle, as he grabbed the towel and wiped the sweat off his brow.
“Well I had to try.” Connor said, “I have been feeling kind of sore here lately you know.”
“After a few more days with your training regiment, most of that soreness will go away. Now would you please get dressed, and meet me in the observation room. I’ve put your uniform over there.” Veritas said while pointing to a locker that began to lift out of the floor.
“I thought, I said when I agreed to help, that there would be no uniforms.”
“Stop whining, it’s a simple enough garment to satisfy your standards. Now hurry up, we can’t put off the investigation any longer.” Vertias hologram said before disappearing. Connor started to wonder what she had meant by no longer being able to put off the investigation. Something must have happened. Connor moved quickly over to the locked, where a simple military issue uniform was waiting on him. Veritas had been right about it being simple. It was no different than the uniform that standard army officers wore, except this one had no markings, or unique distinguishing characteristics about it. It was as plain as the mass produced house of El crest that existed as a patch on the upper left part of the shirt. He grabbed the uniform, and threw it on as quickly as possible before taking off and flew out from the training deck and up to a higher platform where the real Doctor Veritas stood waiting.
“I would have preferred to ensure you were more up to the proper standards of strength, but it seems we finally have a lead on the case, and we better address it before our fearless leader does something to jeopardize it.”
“You mean, Kal. What has he done now?”
“See for yourself.” Veritas said as she displayed the public execution of the rebels who had attacked Metropolis. Connor felt his blood run cold when Superman said his name, and then snapped the neck of the first rebel. He then watched stone faced as he did the same thing to each following prisoner. All the way to the one he called Hawkgirl, who he made suffer just a little more than the others.
“I never imagined that it would have ended up this bad.” Connor said.
“That’s not all, the Harbinger has been unleashed on Kahndaq.”
“The Harbinger is Superman’s top operative.” Veritas explained, “She is the Warden of Themyscira, and the greatest warrior amongst New Amazonia. Though essentially she only follows Wonder Woman’s orders, Diana often directs Harbinger in ways that benefit Superman’s command. The Harbinger has been known to do whatever it takes to accomplish the missions that are given to her. Once she finishes reclaiming Kahndaq, she will surely be brought here.”
“Why not bring her here now?” Connor asked, “I figure Kal would pull out all the stops to find his son.”
“He is pulling out all the stops, but Kahndaq is a show of power. He won’t let what happened there go unanswered, and sending Harbinger there is a death sentence for many. Believe me when I say Mr. Kent that we do not want the Harbinger coming here. She will hinder our investigation even more than it already has been.”
“Alright, I understand, so what’s our next step?” Connor asked.
“Here take this,” Veritas pulled a disk from the console. She then walked over to a nearby table and picked up a file, before walking over to Connor and handing it to him, “I have discovered from evidence taken from the first cloning lab that the cloning cells were being transported in from somewhere, but from where I’m not certain. Take this to Dr. Robert Gordon, in Gotham. He’s the nation’s top geneticist, and he can more than likely pinpoint where the cloning cells are being harvested from. It seems that my files here have been corrupted, so I was unable to pinpoint a location, but Gordon keeps all those records, so he may be able to point us in the right direction.”
“Got it,” Connor said, “I’ll be back before you know it.” As Connor took off into the air, he did not notice the brief look of pity and distress that crossed over Shay’s face as she watched him fly away.
Gotham City, Wayne Enterprises, Level 24, Genetics Lab.
When the justice league came into power, no city saw greater changes than Gotham. It was no longer America’s lost city. Now it was a thriving city that rivaled Metropolis. Not long before the Metropolis Massacre there was a gang war in Gotham. It was very bloody and many died, but the turf war saw the beginning of the end when Batman, after years of battle, finally killed the Joker. After that Arkham Asylum was renovated from its facilities to its rehabilitation programs. It now carried the nation’s highest rehabilitation success rate for the criminally insane. Blackgate became a more secure facility. The streets were wiped clean of gang activity and poverty. There were a few hopeless cases, but they were dealt with swiftly, and without mercy.
At least that was what Connor had learned about the place in recent days. His fly over the new Gotham was enough to convince him that something major had to have happened there for it to be as peaceful as it was. Gotham was eerily quiet compared to what it was when Connor would come there with the Titans ages ago. Back then Connor had sometimes felt Gotham was a city without hope, but somehow Tim, Dick, and Barbara had all found the strength to keep going in their crusade to save this city. It gave Connor chills to attempt imagining just what it took to sweep Gotham clean.
Once Connor arrived at Wayne Enterprise towers, he started to feel a little more comfortable. All the technology and steel reminded him a lot of Tim and the others. In a way it was kind of like visiting the home of an old friend. It was strange, because Connor figured that coming here might make him feel uncomfortable, but considering how topsy-turvy the world had become, seeing something just a little familiar was comforting.
The genetics lab was stretched across the entire twenty fourth floor of Wayne Towers. There were several tubes with things growing in them stretched across the floor, along with several workstations, and chemical labs. Connor walked through the labs looking around for some sign of anyone, but was distracted by the things growing in the tubes. He recognized the face of Carter Hall on one of the things being grown.
“Hawkmen.” Connor realized, “But this facility is way too small to be a breeding site.” Suddenly Connor picked up the sound of the elevator coming up to the floor, and then the sound of a heartbeat. Approximately thirty years old, 6’0 even, and approximately one hundred and ninety eight pounds. He turned sharply, and looked up to a platform where the elevator opened up onto the floor. The man who stepped out of the elevator caused Connor to freeze, because the man who appeared was the spitting image of Dick Grayson.
He knew that it couldn’t be though, because Dick had died years ago. That was when the memories came back. He remembered how for many years, Dick had been romantically involved with Barbara Gordon. There had also been rumors that they had a child together, so it seemed that the man he was supposed to speak with, Robert Gordon, was none other than the child of Nightwing and Batgirl. Connor suddenly found himself struck with a “small world” feeling.
“Ah, I see you’ve found the fourth generation template.” Robert said as he descended the stairs with a smile on his face. His hair was dark black, and was parted neatly down the middle. He wore black rimmed glasses, and he had a mustache which Connor felt made the young man look a little silly, but he wasn’t about to tell him that. “It’s quite a remarkable specimen isn’t it? It’s supposed to stronger, faster, and smarter; all the things that upgrades are supposed to be right?” Robert chuckled.
“Um, I suppose. By the way, I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Connor Kent?”
“Oh I know who you are Mr. Kent.” Robert smiled while grabbing Connor’s hand and shaking it, “And may I say it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Oh, Robert Gordon, Geneticist.” He said, and shook Connor’s hand once again. Connor reached into a pocket of his uniform and pulled out the disk Veritas had given him.
“I was told to bring this to you.” Connor said as Robert took the disk, “I was told that maybe you could look at this information and tell us where a strand of cloning cells may have been harvested from.”
“Of course,” Robert said, before turning around, “This way please.” Connor followed Robert up the stairs and to a desk where a small computer station stood waiting. Robert put the disk in, and pulled the files up. As Robert looked over the files, Connor found himself suddenly distracted by the picture that Robert had on his desk. It was family portrait of Robert, a blonde woman, and an infant. Connor picked the picture up, and starred at it. At this point, he was completely oblivious to what Robert was saying, because he knew the woman in the picture.
“Excuse me, Robert?” Connor said as he picked up the picture, and put it in front of Robert, “Who is this?”
“Oh,” Robert said startled, “I had hoped that you wouldn't see that, but I suppose I forgot to put it away. You see Mr. Kent, that woman is my wife: Lyla, but I think you already know that."
Connor did know the woman, but the last time he had seen her she was just sixteen years old. Back then she was still his daughter: Lyla Sandsmark.