On both earth's, on the outskirts of Metropolis lie a range of mountains overlooking a good part of the city. On earth one they're more or less vacant, on Earth Two however, high up on one of the bigger mountains, far from climbing range, lies a golden and diamond doorways carved into the side of the mountain. Carved into the diamond part of the door is a large hexagon with a large letter S carved into it. This is the entrance into The Secret Citadel, Earth Two's Fortress of Solitude. For a good many years, this secret cave had been the HQ of Superman. Now, after the death of Clark's wife Lois from old age, The now over 80 year old Superman now resided here as a permanent resident. Retired, but still keeping a watchful eye over the city from the giant monitor/computer inside. With it, he had not only the ability to watch over the town live, but could tap into any news broadcast he chose.
Within this base were a number of objects in a private museum that acted as a memento to the aged Kal-L of all the adventures he'd experienced over the years. As well as his old costumes. There was also a gym the size of the masonic hall in London that housed training equipment that only someone with the strength of superman could use. the centrepiece of this was a two metal plates between which were a pair of giant steel springs which Clark claimed was ''good for the shoulder blades.'' Superman himself now lived out his retirement mostly in peace. And for the most part, he despised it. He knew all too well that Kara and Clifford had things under control in the city, but he longed for the old days of the 40s and beyond. He had retired in the 90s and even after that cold October day when he said he would be hanging up his cape for good, he still held the desire to help out with the affairs of the younger generation of heroes. He still wore a costume of course, it was one that Kara had designed for him, based on his kryptonian heritage. Black and white, as a tribute to those lost in the Oklahoma bombings (Later on the 9/11 attacks) and easy to wear for his current health conditions. Right now, he was sitting in the main hall on a large golden throne with his old symbol on it. Waiting. Suddenly, he heard the sound of the great door opening. His fingers began to drum as the sound of footsteps came to his ears, followed not to long afterwards by a voice.
''Clark? Superman? It's me, Clifford.''
Clark gave a sigh of frustration. He didn't like having these kinds of talks with the kid, but they needed to be said whenever Samaritan stepped out of line, which wasn't often thankfully. Still, he needed to be firm with the guy.
''Main hall. Now!''
Clifford felt a chill run up his back. It was certainly something whenever the man of tomorrow wanted to have a word with you. A loud word at that. Making his way past the museum, Samaritan made his way into the Citadel's main hall where KaL-l sat, looking at him, semi-disapprovingly. Clifford wasn't sure what to do, he wanted to say something but Clark beat him to the punch.
''Why did you fly off?''
Clifford raised an eyebrow. ''What?'' he asked?
Kal sighed, resisting the urge to yell at his self proclaimed nephew. (he'd always seen his cousin as a niece). Slowly, he got off his throne. ''You know what I mean.'' he said sternly. ''Why didn't you stay when the police came to question you?'' Samaritan knew he should have felt ashamed, but for self styled political reasons he didn't. He walked up to the giant throne and putting on as brave a face as he could muster replied... ''The same reasons you used to, I guess.'' He said this with a smile hoping it would curb the wrath of ''Colonel Tomorrow'', as his family had affectionately nicknamed him in his later years. No such luck as Superman gave a small groan of disapproval. Samaritan gave a small frown and tried to talk to sense into the older Kryptonian. ''Look, I took out the Ultra-Humanite didn't I? Isn't that enough to let me off the hook for once?'' To his surprise, Clark actually gave a small smile. ''Clifford, What do you think?'' Clifford looked like a schoolboy who had just brought home a bad report card, nervous and expectant of punishment. Kal-L's face softened somewhat and he looked the heir to his metaphorical throne and stood up in front of him. ''Look, Cliff. I understand you're trying to replicate my old actions, but this is not the right way to go about it. You said it yourself to the humanite, that was then.'' Samaritan loved his great uncle to death, but sometimes the patriarch of the dynasty could be a real pain in the ass. Though of course he'd never say it himself. walking away to give himself some space he turned back towards Superman. ''You have no reason to be ashamed.'' he told him. ''Those adventures were some of your best times in the suit.''
Somehow those words seemed to strike a bit of a nerve with the aged hero who shot his fist down onto his throne, cracking it. His powers had since reverted back to the old trifecta of ''Super leaping, Super strength & Super speed'', half out of neglect and half out of old age, but he still had the strength to through the much younger Samaritan around. ''There was NOTHING ''best'' about those so called ''Adventures!'' '' He snapped! Clifford backed away nervously. Ooh, boy. NOW he'd done it! He'd gone and P.O'd The Man of Tomorrow. OK, it could be argued that he having more power wise, he could have easily taken on the guy, but ''The Colonel'' still had a few tricks up his sleeves. Thankfully Superman calmed down and regained composure. ''Look, Kub.'' He said, referring to Cliff by his Kryptonian name. ''I didn't mean to fly off the handle like that, but you're looking through rose tinted glasses at these kind of things. I should be in jail by now, if you're looking at things technically. Reckless endangerment, Kidnapping, Coercing confessions, threatening with violence, sometimes even with MURDER! Thank god I stopped all that when the war broke.'' Samaritan wanted to say something about that. Maybe something along the lines of... ''Yes there was that, but think of all the social improvements you helped to make.''But he knew better than to interrupt the big guy when he was making a speech. Turns out he needn't have bothered as supes seemed to have the drop on him there already. ''I know you want to make changes Clifford, but Ultra had a point. The reason I acted the way I did then is nearly the same reason you're doing it now. Because I was young, angry and wanted to make a big difference. Hell, who doesn't? But roughing up mayors and forcing rich families who don't agree with gay marriage to go out wearing rainbow suits and dresses ISN'T my idea of change.'' Clifford thought about this for a bit, then said... ''You have to admit those things are doing allot for the little guy.''Superman almost smiled at Cliff's tenacity. Despite all the stuff he'd pulled off in the past, he did admit it was funny to see the reasoning he'd used in his Salad Days used by his own heir.
''In a way.'' he said. ''But it's mostly superficial. A cheap laugh for the latest internet meme. If you wanna make real changes, encourage people to write to their elected officials or to raise awareness to the causes you're trying to promote. Don't ruin your rep by threatening the well off with an ass whooping. Remember,'' he said, looking Cliff in the eye. ''You may not be Superman, but the world is always watching Samaritan.''
The points were clear as glass and Cliff knew it to be true, but all the same he liked the progress he had been making with his causes and didn't really want to give them up 100%, but at the same time he didn't wanna make Superman hate his guts. It was quite a dilemma. His own mixed Liberal/Socialist ideals clashing with his love for his Great Uncle. So, clearing his throat he made his deal.
''Dammit, Supes. You just had to make me love ya didn't ya? Ok. I'll lay off on the beatings...mostly.'' Clark heaved a sigh of relief, knowing that at least now the reputation of Samaritan was in tact for the time being. ''Glad to hear it.'' he said. With that out of the way, he decided to change the subject somewhat. ''How are the other two.'' The ''other two'' referred to the heroes known as Zealot and The Question, Part of a new trinity with Samaritan. They were of course descended from Batman and Wonder Woman. Old crime fighting biddies of Superman. Question was actually, for all intents and purposes, Samaritan's best friend. ''Fine, mostly.'' came the simple reply. ''Why'd you ask?'' superman shrugged. ''Just wondered.'' he said. Then, as if he'd had it on his mind all along he added... ''You 3 should join the Society, you know.'' Samaritan's eyes bulged! The Justice Society? Was Supes out of his mind? Hell, he Zealot and The Question had barely made a name for themselves in their solo careers, something he knew all 3 of them wanted to focus on before joining the biggest Superhero group in existence. They'd dropped the ''Of America'' part in the 90s, when it became apparent that America wasn't enough and they needed to expand. Samaritan was about to speak up when suddenly, the breaking news jingle of the ''Daly Star News Network.'' filled the room, on the monitor, the face of TV reporter ''Bessie Silvershot'' coated the screen. Both men turned to look.
''..and just behind me the devastation of the factory explosion that has reportedly caused the injury of 40 people. Fire fighters have been dispatched, but right now those caught in the blaze have one thing on their mind. Where is the so called ''Samaritan'' who calls himself the ''Heir'' of tomorrow.''
Clifford slapped his head. Bessie always had it in for him, she wasn't the best metahuman fan, especially since she's grown up on stories by her grandpa about a time when men ''knew how to look after themselves''. Still, there was no time for moaning. There was a fire in need of putting out. He turned back to Clark.
''Talk about this some other time?''
At 1st, Superman seemed slightly taken aback Then his mouth curled into that million dollar smile, as if to say, ''See, ya round kid. See ya round.''
As Samaritan lifted off into the air, on the monitor screen, Clark Kent, AKA Kal-L, AKA Superman watched with hope in his heart. But in his mind, he could think of only one thing.
''Well, that's the seeds planted. Now let's see if they grow.''
(Next time on Earth 2.5; The Question NO:1)