Corrupted: Kon-El Issue Ten

Authors Note: Wow, guys this has truly been a blast. Never in my life did I ever think that a story like this would consume me like it has. It's been real ride. I have received so much joy from writing this series, and though may not be perfect it has changed me in a way that I would have never expected. As of this Chapter this story, not counting the side story "Little Corner of Smallville", has reached over 33,000 words. Though I passed the mark some time ago, Corrupted: Kon-El is the longest work I have ever written.

None of this would have been possible without those who have followed me from the beginning, and my friends who have encouraged me. Also I would like to give special recognition to @batkevin74, who I also dedicate this issue too, for creating this wondrous universe that he has so kindly let me use as my own personal sandbox. Without his idea, none of this would have been possible.

Now without further ado, I give you all the Tenth Issue of Corrupted: Kon-El, and the oversized finale of the "Sins of the Past Story Line". Enjoy.

Sins of the Past (Finale)

There had been something in that Goodbye. Something left in the words of a dying girl who did not deserve tears or pity. A girl who had slaughtered hundreds felt like another victim as she lay in his arms. Another failure. He was embarrassed. He had been reduced to a sobbing child. How much longer would he go on like this? Then she had said, “Thank you”, and in that one moment everything changed, and Connor finally saw the world for what it truly was. What it had truly become.

The world he had left behind was gone, and in its place was a twisted caricature of what it once was. Those who had stayed behind to protect it had changed into the very beings they had once fought against so long ago, and those who had left faded from existence, leaving the Earth to its fate. There was no exact event that could point to the turn in the century, it was many things. Failures, negligence, and attempts at control were all part of the Corruption that had befell the world. On all of this, and the dying gratitude of a lost alien girl, who had adopted this world as her home, helped him to realize that the world could still be saved from the Corrupting force that had twisted it.

All this time, he had still been a boy. Despite his grown physique, he was no different now than he was when he first left everything behind him thirty years ago. Like a little boy, he had run from responsibility, he had run from those who loved him; he had run away from the world, because like a little boy, he was afraid. He was afraid of what would become of him. Ever since that fateful day in Metropolis, when he saw his closest friends die, when he held his best friend in his arms, when he abandoned the woman he loved, and his daughter. All he had ever done was run. This entire time the world was catching up to him. He would never outrun it.

The wind blew softly on the barren landscape that had once been one of the great American cities, and out of the corner of his eye he spotted the S, still clinging to his standard issue uniform. That symbol, Clark had said, meant hope and that wherever he went, he must inspire that hope in others, because without hope there is no tomorrow. When he abandoned the world years ago, he had lost his hope. He had walked right up to his mentor, pointed at the S on his chest and told him, that he didn’t deserve to wear it anymore.

In truth, he didn’t deserve it either, but for some reason. The symbol of hope still clung to him; still had faith in him. A dying war mongering woman, who had no hope of returning from what she had become, upon seeing him had been reminded of a better time, and even in her dying breath, she had been thankful for him for bringing back something to her that she had lost. Kori, a woman with no hope, had felt hope again, and if that was possible perhaps this corrupted world, could feel hope again too.

It was time to grow up. Connor realized that he could no longer remain the Superboy that he had always been, and with renewed resolve, he stood his feet and looked up in the sky at the emerald star that shined bright over Keystone. He knew what had to come next. He wouldn’t be just fighting against the rebels, against Kyle Rayner, but against Superman, Wonder Woman, an entire corrupted system. The road would be hard, but someone, he had to do it.

The cells in his body, burst forth like billions of exploding suns, as he flew faster than he ever had before, and stopped right in front of Kyle. Connor could see the shock in Rayner’s eyes. He must not have expected that he would have had the strength to face him. His loss.

The old man was fragile, and he had to place the appropriate amount of strength and speed in his next strike to teach the old man a lesson, but not kill him, because the world didn’t need another murderer. He lifted his right hand, the back of it facing its mark. He slowed it down just enough to where Rayner would have the appropriate time to take up defensive measures, but not counter. The Lantern threw up his shield, but the force of his swing shattered it, and the back side of his hand slammed into the side of the old man’s face, knocking him off balance, and then he grabbed him by the shoulders, and threw him down onto one of the nearby roof tops of the buildings that surround him.

Rayner struck the ground, and rolled before finally stopping as he slammed into the side of a central heating unit. Connor could hear the man groan, and his bones pop. He was elderly, so this fight wouldn’t last long. Connor hovered over the man and looked down at him, waiting for him to make the next move. Rayner coughed and spit blood onto the concrete, and looked up at Connor gritting his teeth, before he shouted,

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“I could ask the same of you. We used to stand for something, and despite the fact that I was a kid back then, I stood alongside you and the others. We all fought for the same ideals, but now all I see is war and death everywhere I go.”

“That’s why the order has to be stopped. Why can’t you see that!?”

“Oh I do see it. As a matter of fact I’m seeing things clearly for the first time. Things do have to change, but they won’t change by what you’re doing. The world doesn’t need more fear. It needs hope.”

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to do!”

“No, what you’re doing is more of the same. In my eyes right now, you’re no different than Kal. You should be ashamed, because your actions have spit on everything the Hal and the Lanterns once stood for.”

Kyle burst forth, the power of will bursting from his body. In his hands, a large emerald sword erupted from between his clasped hands and he raised it high over his head ready to strike, “Go to hell, Superboy!” The sword grew to an enormous size, towering high into the sky before Rayner brought the sword down willing it to swing at a speed that would normally be impossible for a normal human. Connor was annoyed, and dodged the first two swings effortlessly, before drawing back his fist, and slamming it into the next oncoming attack, and shattering the blade.

Kyle, roaring with a ferocity that he probably had not possessed in years, held out his ring, and light erupted from it forming constructs in the form of a dozens of images from Rayner’s past. First there was Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Simon Baz, and Guy Gardner. Then beyond them were Sinestro, Sodam Yat, Soranik Natu, Kilowog, Arisia, and many more. They all filled the sky as they raced to attack Connor, but he stood his ground, ready to face these images from that past that both he and Kyle possessed in their hearts and minds. Connor knew that with so many constructs summoned, that the ring must be facing a great strain, and it would soon loose what charge it had. The image of Hal came after him first.

Connor punched the construct so hard that is shattered, and then two more grabbed onto him trying to hold him, as the Kilowog construct attempted to cave his head in with an emerald axe. Connor flew into Kilowog, cracking the construct and then began to spin in place at a heightened speed, so much that the constructs holding him could not keep their grip. One flew off and shattered on the ground, while Connor grabbed the other and threw it at Kilowog, destroying both copies. Bits of light flew at him, keeping Connor on his toes, and they charged, the constructs of Guy Gardner and John Stewart leading the way.

“Enough!” Connor growled as his eyes grew to a bright red, and unleashed a spread heat blast engulfing the entire construct corps in its red light. As they all exploded into puffs of green smoke, Connor swore it sounded like they were screaming. Almost as if they were alive. Kal had once told him that a Lantern draws their power from their own force of will, so Connor knew that in a sense that these fake images, were like the actual dying cries of all that Rayner had once held dear. An anger rose up in Connor‘s chest. His enemy or no, this action that Rayner was committing; this sad mindset that Rayner was clinging too, that this charade was real, had gone on long enough. It was time to end it.

There was one last burst of effort that emanated from Kyle, as what burst forth from Kyle’s ring next was the largest creature that Connor had ever seen. In a way it looked like a large whale. Its skin was green like all constructs and along its back were the repeating patterns of the Green Lantern symbol. It maw opened wide to swallow Connor whole, but instead of dodging Connor flew right into the creatures gaping mouth, and down its throat. Seconds later streaks of red light busted out from inside the creature. It let loose cries of agony until Connor busted out from the back of the creature causing the entire image to shatter into thousands of tiny fractals of light, that showered down onto the landscape below.

No more constructs came, and Connor began to hear the sounds of heavy breathing and an elated heartbeat. Connor turned to where the sound originated from, only to see Kyle Rayner standing propped up against a car on the street below. Bringing himself down to Rayner’s level he steadily approached him. Kyle grunted, and stood himself up, barely able to lift the arm that he tried to aim toward Connor. Connor leaped forward and grabbed the man’s arm, pulling it away from him.

“Stop this.” Connor said, “This is senseless. If you keep going your heart is going to give out.”

“I would rather die than quit now,” Kyle growled, through gritted teeth and labored breaths, “Now get your hands off me boy!” Kyle didn’t get to say another word, as the back of Connor’s right hand met his face, but this time with no shield to take the blow, and before he could realize that he had been hit, another backhanded slap, this time from the left struck the other side of his face. The emerald armor began to flicker, and Kyle started to fall, but Connor grabbed him by the collar and held him at eye level.

“I’m not a boy anymore,” Connor stated, not in a shout, but in a voice that was clear and true as the past, “and this is over.” For a brief moment, it truly did feel like things were over, and that change would finally come, but in truth there is no such thing as closure. A war always rages on, and when one enemy falls, there is always another standing behind them, or in this case behind Connor.

Connor could not tell how they had managed to sneak up on him, but suddenly two large dark hands grabbed hold of his head; the person’s fingers squeezing his face, and then the sudden searing pain as several hundred thousand volts of electricity raced through his brain. Connor screamed out, but the pain wouldn’t stop even after the lighting stopped arcing across his vision. His head pounded, like it never had before. He felt something warm on his face, and when he touched his face and brought his hand back to where he could see it, it was covered in blood. Then suddenly the pain in his head grew sharper like thousands of knives burrowing into his brain, and it felt like his eyes were about to pop out of their sockets.

He fell to the ground, as his body started to twitch uncontrollably, and his mouth locked down. A seizure? What the hell was going on? When the pain finally stopped it was all he could do just to lay still on the ground. He didn’t want to move. Hell, he didn’t want to breathe.

He could barely see the three figures that walked into his vision. One of them was clapping, and laughing before he began to speak in a Scottish accent,

“That was a hell of a show, mate. You sure gave our friend here a real butt whooping.” Connor’s vision began to clear some and he could make out the details. There was one helping Rayner stand up that looked like a woman, but she was strange. Her skin was green and scaly with tattoo like lines covering her body, and leathery wings sprouted from her back. Her pupils were slit and yellow like that of some reptile.

“Get to your feet old man,” she spat, “I’m not your nurse.”

“Ah, be nice to the old fart, Menagerie. He’s been through the fight of his life. Why I bet that diaper he’s wearin has been filled to the brim. Sure would explain the smell.” The Scott scoffed, but the one called Menagerie pushed Rayner away, and turned to hiss at him.

“Disgusting! Shut that trap of yours Jensen,” she lifted her arms and the tattoos came to life in the form of horrific insects that Connor had never before seen, “before I have my babies rip that tongue of yours from your throat.”

“Relax Lass!” Jensen spat back, “Besides I thought I told you to call me Superior when we’re out in the field!”

“The only thing Superior about you is that ego that over-compensates the sad excuse for what’s in your pants.”

“There she goes again, busting my balls! Nice to know though that you’ve been looking at me with my pants down though, it makes me feel all tingly and warm inside. ”

“He’s awake.” Came a deep voice just outside of Connor’s field of vision, and then suddenly the towering behemoth stepped into sight. He was easily the largest man that Connor had ever seen. His skin was dark, and long grey dreadlocks fell down past his shoulders. His eyes burned bright blue with energy, and that was when Connor realized that this big guy must have been the one who had shocked him. There was also something about the man’s face that looked familiar, but his head hurt so much that he couldn’t place him.

Then suddenly the man named Jensen jumped down and looked in Connor’s face grinning from ear to ear. He then got real close, stuck out his tongue and licked his face.

“Well don’t we taste like an over-cooked ball of haggis!” Jensen laughed, “You see mate, though I’m impressed by your high and mighty act I just don’t think you get the picture. You see, what you told the old man was partially true. Sure you’re a big boy, and I bet you even got on your big boy pants. Though you might want to change them, considering that seizure I just gave you probably made you wet yourself like a two year old at your Gram’s tea party. Besides that though, there is one thing you got wrong, this is far from over mate.”

Suddenly there was a beeping noise that drew Jensen’s attention away from Connor. He stood up, and put his hand up to his ear.

“Yeah, Boss, everything right as rain now.” Jensen said before turning to face Menagerie, “Eh! Minnie, how’s Gramps holding up over there.”

“He got a bit overzealous,” Menagerie said, as the insects crawled out from her arms and across Rayners chest and shoulders. “He can’t even properly hold the suit together now. If what my drones are telling me is correct he’s maybe got a ten percent charge left. In other words the ring is useless now.”

“Bullshit,” Kyle spat, breaking his silence, and then in a wobbling motion managed to straighten himself, “I’m a Green Lantern, I can do more than enough with just ten percent. I can still finish this.”

“Mister Rayner, you’re weak.” The big man said, “Stand down.”

“It’s like Thunderbolt here says, Gramps. It’s just not your ca…” Jensen stopped in mid-sentence, a slightly confused look on his face. “Are you sure boss, the geezer looks like he could kill over any second. You’re sure. Well alright.” Jensen turned and grinned at Rayner, “Well, you big Christmas light, it looks like you get your wish! The boss gave you the go ahead.”

Kyle stood straight, and took a deep breath and said, “Thank you.” Then he walked up to Connor and looked down at him scowling. “You lose,” he said before he spit on him. The suit glowed bright once more, and Kyle began to lift up high into the sky. Connor felt himself being flipped over, his head still pounding. The one named Thunderbolt, placed his foot right in the middle of Connor’s chest, and Jensen leaned over,

“Don’t be getting any funny ideas now,” he said. “Just sit back and enjoy the show mate, you’ve got the best seat in the house.”

He hurt all over. Had the Outsider’s Elite not shown up when they did, Connor would have beaten him. How the boy had managed to burst through all his constructs like it they were nothing. It had been agony for him, but none of that matter now. All that mattered was what had to be done. He looked up at the sky and smiled.

“You watching, John?” Kyle said, “This is for you old buddy.” Kyle then looked to the East towards the direction of the Capitol, where a tyrant sat on the throne of one of the greatest achievements in his lifetime; defiling his legacy, for the last time. Kyle lifted his ring, and said, “I hope you’re watching too, you son of a bitch.”

Kyle took a deep breath, and shouted out those powerful words for the last time,

“In brightest day, In blackest night, May no evil escape my sight!” Energy began to gather at the rings source, all of it compressed by Kyle’s will, “Let those who worship evil’s might! Beware my power!” Then with one great loud roar he cried out “GREEN LANTERN’S LIGHT!”

A massive blast of energy erupted from the ring engulfing everything around them in a bright light. Kyle felt the light swallow him whole, and it felt like he was soaring. High above the stars. It was liberating, and for a brief moment, he was back on Oa. Surrounded by everyone, and they were all smiling at him, and welcoming him to join them. It felt wonderful.

Washington D.C.

It was a quiet night at White House. The staff leisurely walked about tending to the massive halls. It would soon be time prepare the Presidential breakfast. The chef’s scurried about the kitchen cracking fresh eggs, and in the dining room the maids moved about placing down plates just in case the Fist Lady and her husband decided that they would attend. Outside, Hawkmen patrolled the grounds, repairmen were just showing up for their shift to finish up the nearly done repairs from the last attack. Inside secret offices, SHADE agents worked diligently attempting to locate the villainous Deranger and his band of treacherous scum. Their hearts were full as they felt themselves growing closer, and they could all see the traitors as they were duly executed. Long Live the World Order.

Then suddenly there was nothing, because on that morning, the sun rose an hour earlier than it was supposed to, and its Emerald light was the sign of a new dawn for mankind.

Keystone City

He was back on Earth, and had been taken from the sweet reverie. His heart felt lighter than it had in ages, and he was so tired.

“Ring Power at zero point five percent” the ring called out to him, but Kyle didn’t care.

“It’s finished,” He said, closing his eyes and smiled up toward the stars. Kyle felt free and was so lost in his bliss that he never heard the sound as a shot ringed out from the barrel of a high powered rifle, and then there was nothing as the bullet went through his brain.

Connor had seen it all happen, and he could scarcely believe it. He had failed. He lay beaten at the feat of these total strangers, and now he could only look on silently as the corpse of Kyle Rayner fell from the sky and into the dirt.

It was unbelievable. Everything, he had gone through coming here. The renewal of his own spirit, the faith that Kori had given him, was it all for nothing? Why did he keep failing? What was he doing wrong?

Then it appeared out of the sky, a cloaking shield dissipated revealing a strange aircraft that Connor had never seen before. It was long, and its black metal plates were cut into sharp triangular angles. It looked like something that might have been in the Batcave some time ago, but it was much too big. A platform let down from underneath the cockpit, and out stepped a tall stranger with a long barreled high caliber rifle cradled in his arms. He was covered from head to toe in a black armored suit, and Connor thought he could pick up the faint sound of circuitry beneath the metal plates. This newcomer’s face was fully covered, and two ruby red lenses for eyes placed in the middle like a creature from some nightmare.

Connor still could not move, whatever Jensen had done to him it had paralyzed him, but he had no way of telling if it would last. The stranger walked straight for Connor, and tossed his rifle over at Jensen who caught it clumsily, earning a look of annoyance from Menagerie. The stranger knelt down, grabbed Connor by the neck and lifted him up. This new enemy was strong, because his gripped choked off Connor wind pipe, and he couldn’t help but gag. He slammed Connor down on his knees, and positioned him in a sitting position. The stranger held onto Connor, and Connor couldn’t help but feel a sense of uneasiness as he looked into those blood red eyes. Despite the fact that they were lenses he had a strange feeling that the eyes behind them were empty.

He tried to use his X-ray vision to see who this stranger was, but instead he was met once again with a stabbing pain on the inside of his skull.

“Now we won’t be having any of that.” The stranger said, its voice concealed by a voice changer, and a good one at that. Despite the damage that had probably been done to his inner ear, Connor should have been able to pick out the voice behind disguise. Connor began to feel a bit uneasy. He had no way of determining who he was facing, and he couldn’t move. He was completely at this stranger’s mercy.

“So we finally meet. The famous Connor Kent.” The strangers voice was robotic and monotone, “I bet you’re trying real hard to figure out who I am, but you should know the answer. After all you’ve been hunting me ever since you left that farm.”

Of course! How could he have been so stupid, “You’re the Outsider.”

“My, My, it took you long enough. Perhaps Superior here damaged that beautiful brain of yours. It would explain the slowness of your ability to rationalize.”

“What do you want?” Connor spat, “If you’re going to kill me, go ahead and get it over with. You’ve taken enough from me today.”

“Actually, no I haven’t. You see, I will never be finished taking away from you. You and your kind, have taken away the freedom of the human race. You have squandered them, shoved them into the dirt, and fed them worms. You’re kind relishes in its ability to enslave. Even before the Order, you caused human kind to look up to the sky for you to save them, and in such you held a power over them. You took away their strength, and that Mr. Kent, is a crime I intend to make you pay for dearly.”

“Then what do you call what you’re doing.” Connor grunted, “What about them,” he looked over at the Outsider’s men, “What about yourself, aren’t you doing the same thing!?”

“When the time comes we will lay down our arms, and mankind shall take its rightful place on the Earth once more, but your kind will never change. You must always save them. You must always do what’s right. It’s in your nature. It’s in your nature, to take away the decision between what’s right and wrong, and for change to happen Mr. Kent, you must die.”

“Then get it over with.”

“Not yet,” The Outsider hummed, “I still may have a use for you. You’re more valuable of a pawn in this game than you will ever know.”

“What are playing at, psychopath.” Connor hissed,

“You will see soon enough, Mr. Kent, but until then, I must bid you adieu.” The Outsider stood up, and raised his fist, and then swung it down with a force that could not belong to know normal human. The strike was so hard that vision left his right eye, and his heard his skull crack. Such a blow should have been impossible. Connor fell to the ground; his body had no energy left and he was very tired. He just wanted to sleep. It was hard to keep his eyes open.

He thought he heard Jensen say, “Get us out of here, Sorcery. We’re done here.” There was a bright light, and the Outsider’s elite force disappeared. The Outsider walked toward his aircraft boarded it. Connor tried to fight the sleep, tried to crawl, but he could do nothing, but watch as the aircraft lifted into the sky and disappeared completely from view. Then suddenly it was too much. He couldn’t fight it any longer, and fell to the ground and passed out.

Approx. One Hour Later, Keystone City.

“Connor!” A woman’s voice drifted through the blackness, “Connor! Oh for the love of God Connor, you have to get up!” It hurt to open his eyes, but he forced himself and was at first blinded by the light of the first rays of sunlight. He could feel his strength return to him slightly, but it he hurt all over still. The Outsider and his men were long gone. Connor stumbled to his feet, and looked around for the voice again. It had sounded so familiar. It was almost like the voice of Doctor Veritas.

“Connor, hurry you have to get out of there!” Connor looked around and found the origin of the voice. Not far from where he lay was the corpse of a Hawkman, his comminatory still active. Connor reached down, wincing in pain from what he guessed were bruised ribs. He picked the communicator off the Hawkman’s body, and activated the return call button.

“Is that you Doctor?”

“Yes it’s me Connor, now you have to listen very carefully. You need to leave Keystone now! The Order has decided to nuke the city. They’re going to cover up everything that happened there, wipe out the rebels remaining in the area, and then blame it on them all in one fell swoop.”

Connor took a deep breath and fell to his knees again.

“Listen to me Connor, you have to get up! SHADE is going to launch the missile any second now, and I can’t stop them. If you don’t move now, you’ll die.”

Connor didn’t move though, he stood frozen in place. His hearing had returned to him, and he could hear everything. Keystone was a war zone. The dying screams of men and women, the roars of the Order’s soldiers as they blindly attacked with no leader to guide them, and the cries of children lost in this hell all filled his ears. What kind of sick twisted world was this? Was it ever going to end? He couldn’t just do anything.

“I’ll stop the missile, throw it into space.” Connor grunted as he tried to stand to his feet, but he did so too fast and stumbled to the ground once more.

“Connor, your vitals are off the charts. You don’t have anything left. Escape. Fight another day!”

“I have to do something. I can’t just abandon them.” His voice was raspy, it hurt to talk.

“I’m sorry Connor, but you have to. If you don’t, it’ll happen again.” Connor wanted to fight, to deny Vertias words, but then he heard the sound of the missile as it launched from its silo. He would have only have maybe a couple of minutes, to act.

“It’s launching Connor. Please! Please fly away now!” Veritas cried. Connor looked around for anything. Anyone he could save, his body wouldn’t let him. The Outsider was right. It was in his nature to save people; to always do the right thing. He would not let that be a weakness though.

His ears picked up on the sound of a faint heartbeat, and not far from where he stood lay the body of the clone that had started the attack just hours earlier. He could hear the missile getting closer. Calling on what strength he had he hobbled over to the clone of Kara Zor-El, and picked her up, wrapping her arm around his neck and shoulders. He winced in pain, but he fought through it. Then looking toward the sun, he tensed his muscles, gritted his teeth, and ignored the pain that rocked his entire body. He cried out in agony, as he soared up into the sky and away from Keystone City.

Then for the third and last time, the sun rose over Keystone City, and there was silence.

THE END

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Corrupted: Kon-El Issue Nine

Sins of the Past (Part VII)

The Daily Planet, circa 2055

Kyle Rayner, formally known as Green Lantern, was a man who many saw as a hero. After the destruction of Coast City he rose up, and defeated the being known as Paralax who had been responsible for the horrid deed. He had saved the earth countless times, and had continued to do so for many years even after many more lanterns had appeared.

After a forced retirement, Mister Rayner had went on to develop one of the most prestigious architecture corporations of the century. He was the driving force behind the rebuilding projects of many cities that had been lost to the bombings that ravaged the nation and brought about the great Order we all live under today. For his service as a hero, both in from his time of service in the Justice League, and his reclamation project, Kyle Rayner had been immensely honored and considered a legend among many. Then one day, on a very sad Sunday morning in September, Kyle Rayner’s home was destroyed, and his body was found among the rubble. This horrid act that had resulted in his murder of one of the great pioneers of this century was the victim of what has been considered to be the first act of rebel terrorism against the Order. It is a sad day for the New Order of the World.

The funeral has attracted thousands, and a memorial statue will be erected in his honor at the Hall of Justice Museum. Many are sad on this day, but we all know that Mister Rayner has left us all with an incredible legacy, and in his death the Order is now stronger than it has ever been before. Those who have taken Mister Rayner from us, you will be found, you will be tried, and you will face judgement. To Mister Rayner, wherever you may be, your hands have drawn this new and beautiful world we all live in today. Your sacrifice will not be in vain, and we all hope that you rest in peace. Farewell Mister Rayner, we miss you you.

Keystone City, 2065

It had all happened so fast, and much of it was a blur. It had all started with a visit from Wonder Woman, a terrorist attack on Metropolis, and the rumor of conspiracy. Connor had left Smallville, and a quiet life only to learn that his friend and mentor was a murderer, that the world was on the brink of collapse, and just a blink away from being flooded with an army of monsters.

A battle against a clone had left Connor’s body feeling worn, and he could taste blood in his mouth. For what felt like hours, Connor had been thrashed, and tossed around by a caricature of his late friend Kara Zor-El. His struggle to keep the clone of Kara alive had been nearly impossible. The clone had grown stronger with every second the fight had dragged on. Had it not been for the Tamaran Princess, Koriand’r, he would not have been able to stop the clone’s rampage, and now she lay in his arms dying from a mortal wound.

Connor had seen the flash of light seconds too late, and Starfire collapsed falling forward onto him. The blast had knocked the breath from her, and her eyes were wide from shock and pain. Groans gurgled from her throat as she began to breathe again in ragged uneven intervals.

Connor’s eyes felt like they were about to pop out of his head, and his hands shook violently as he eased her down to the ground keeping her head elevated. Blood poured down her front from several small wounds, but it was her back that had took the full brunt of the damage. The hand that Connor used to support her was soaked in her blood, and he was terrified to move it, because he knew that there would probably be nothing left for him to hold on to.

With a slight tremble in his voice Connor said, “Kori, please hold on. Stay with me. Don’t you dare die on me.” He had not noticed the elderly man, approaching him. His sunken face held no sign of remorse, but instead he carried the gaze of pity.

“Do not mourn for her Connor,” Rayner said, “For all she has done, she doesn’t deserve any sorrow. She’s killed hundreds, and now she will finally pay the price. Now, she won’t be able to kill anyone else.”

Connor looked up at Rayner, he’s eyes were filled with tears, and disbelief. Kyle Rayner’s face was filled with disgust as he said, “The world is much better off without her. Save your tears for someone who deserves them.” Kyle held up his hand, and on his finger was an impossible device: a Green Lantern Ring. The ring began to glow as Kyle said, “Hal once killed a Guardian with one of these rings, because he had the willpower to do so. If Hal can do that, I know I have the will to use the charge left in this ring to do what must be done.”

An emerald light erupted from the ring enveloping Rayner’s body within. The light was so bright Connor had to look away for a moment, but when he looked back Rayner stood before him, and image of a bygone era. The suit had changed from the old days, and had been replaced with a glowing suit of armor with a cape sown from light billowing behind him, but the mask that covered his face stood an ever potent reminder to the past.

Kyle Rayner slowly began to lift up into the sky, light pulsating from his body as he said, “Goodbye Connor.” Kyle Rayner lifted higher and higher into the sky, until he was just a small emerald light glowing in the sky over Keystone City.

Connor was at a loss, and his mind was completely numb. His senses were paralyzed from the flood of emotions. Confusion from the constant betrayals, rage at the ever climbing death count that surrounded him, and disgust at the perversion of a world that he had once loved. It started to seem like it was all just pointless. He couldn’t stop Clark from becoming the monster he was, he couldn’t prevent his daughter from growing up alone, he couldn’t stop the rebels from making the clones, and now he couldn’t even save one life. He looked down at Kori, as the light slowly began to fade from her eyes, and blood dripped from the corners of her mouth.

Then for the first time in ages, he began to sob. He cried and screamed out in pain and anguish. All at once everything just broke, and he couldn’t stop. He felt like an infant, just lying there doing nothing, but what could he do. He was a failure; that was all he had ever been, and all he ever would be. A cheap copy.

Then suddenly the world stopped, as he felt a cold hand touch his face. He open his eyes, to see Kori smiling at him.

“I want to tell you why I kissed you.” She said, her voice barely audible, “I’ve lived my entire life in the moment, it’s in a Tamaran’s nature.” She winced struggling to hold on, “You reminded me of a simpler time; a time when I was happy. I had forgotten what it felt like, but you brought that back to me. It was nice to feel it again. Thank you for that, for everything ” Kori’s voice trailed off, and she closed her eyes. The rise and fall in her chest had slowed to a crawl. At this point Connor knew there was no hope for her, but bad habits die hard. Holding her tightly, he begged, “Please, Kori just hold on. Please don’t go.”

With her eyes just barely open she whispered, “Goodbye.” At that point, her breathing completely ceased, and Connor heard the beat of her heart come to a complete standstill. Starfire, the princess of Tamaran, was dead.

It had been many years since he felt this. The power of Will flowed through him like an unstoppable force, and it gave new life to a man who was already dead. When Hal Jordan had turned on Superman, he was instantly struck down, his ring was seized, and Superman made an appeal to the Guardians. He called for a cease of Lantern activity in Sector 2814, and per galactic law, should any Sector so desire, the Lantern Corp will not exercise galactic polices in the event that said Sector does not encroach on any other sector, and show ample ability in protecting their own from galactic threats.

Superman agreed to their terms, and the remaining Lanterns of earth were either decommissioned, or fled into space to continue operations in other sectors. The lanterns Simon Baz and Guy Gardner elected to leave Earth while Kyle and John Stewart stayed. Several years had passed, and Kyle and John both remained close friends, until one day. Out of the blue, John contacted him, and told him there was something wrong with Hal’s death. He wasn’t sure what, but he would soon find out, and he would let him know more soon.

Weeks went by, and there was never any response from John. It was like he had vanished off the map. After some digging Kyle finally found the old man. He was wasting away in some old sanitarium out in the middle of nowhere Montana. By the time, Kyle got to him John had been chemically lobotomized. His former friend, ally, and last connection to the past was gone forever.

Enraged by what he witnessed he started doing some digging of his own, and started asking questions. Everywhere he looked, he found no answers, and those he once took orders from; Superman, Wonder Woman, Jonn, all of them simply told him to go home, and that he was getting too worked up over what happened to John, and that sometimes tragedies just happen. Right when he was about to give up, he was visited by a mysterious caller. The man called himself the Outsider, and told him the truth about what happened to Hal and John. Hal had openly defied Superman in an unsanctioned and unjustified execution and was struck down for it. John had come too close to the truth, and the Manhunter made him pay the ultimate price for knowing said truth.

At that point, Kyle was prepared to throw everything away, refuse to offer any more support to Superman, and do whatever it took to expose him. The Outsider had a counter offer, and that was when Kyle got the Ring. The Outsider told him that all he needed was access to Kyle’s government bank accounts, and in exchange he could have the ring, and promised that one day he would be able to have his revenge on the Order. After that Kyle faked his death, and tagged along with the Outsider as his personal benefactor, and lieutenant.

Years went into the effort to prepare the Outsider’s plans to strike back against the Order. Locating sites, getting the equipment, and preparing the cloning process to raise an army. At first, Kyle had thought, since they were using the old Cadmus clone files, that they were going to make more clones like Superboy, but he was surprised to learn that the first clone was of Supergirl. When he asked the Outsider what the reasoning was he explained that the death of Supergirl was one of Superman’s greatest failures, and that to be faced with the past it would catch him off guard, giving the clone a fighting chance. It had seemed a shaky plan, but when Kyle watched him work, with such precision and organization, and the fact that he told him the truth about everything he felt he should trust him.

When Superboy, well when Connor reappeared for the first time in nearly thirty years, it had shocked the entire operation, and even the Outsider had seemed slightly disturbed by the turn of events, though it was hard to tell underneath the mask that he wore.

That was when Kyle way sent to Keystone city, right in the middle of a new conflict. Another rebel faction had stirred things up in Keystone, and Kyle along with the clone of Supergirl had been sent in to protect their assets there.

When he arrived at Keystone, he saw the rebels struggling to survive, and that was when he knew what he had to do. He rallied the remaining rebels under him, and tactically deployed them to hold the Order at bay, but that was as far as his plans went. All he could hope for was back up, but he knew it wouldn’t come. He knew that those men would die fighting, but to die fighting is better than to be massacred.

He sat down in that bunker for days, surrounded by the clones that had yet to be birthed. His only companion a silent living statue of Supergirl, and a dormant Green Lantern ring. He had tried many times to see if the ring would power up as it did before, but to no avail he could not call on the Power of Will as he did before, and so long as the treaty that prevented Corp operations in Sector 2814 was in place, the ring would not work. Then one day, as Kyle sat alone in that dark cellar, the ring began to glow. It had been faint at first, but Kyle knew very well the power of will once again flowed through the ring.

That was the day that Connor had showed up in Keystone city. Kyle had watched the now grown Superboy as he attempted to quell the growing threat of the Order across the city though means of peace. For a second, Kyle had felt a small sense of hope in what he saw, but he also saw Connor’s weakness. He saw a man that did not want to fight; a man who had turned his back on the world, when the world needed him most. He saw as the Tamaranean harlot cast her charms on Connor, and watched as he succumbed to them. There was no help for the man named Connor Kent, and he felt no remorse as he had told the clone to attack them.

Knowing that the facility had been compromised Kyle destroyed the cloning facility, and had hoped that Starfire would have died, but she had been stubborn, and like a rabid beast he had been forced to put her down.

As Connor held her, Kyle looked into Connor’s eyes, and saw for certain that the boy’s spirit had been broken, and that his will to fight was finally gone. He also saw that in killing Starfire, he had also wounded Connor, and ripped something from him. Was it lust? Signs of Friendship? Could it have even possibly been the beginning of something new? Could it have even been love? Whatever it was, Kyle pitied Connor. He pitied him for being a fool, and being weak.

It didn’t matter now though. The bitch was dead, and the Order had lost one of it’s Generals. It wouldn’t be long before their wrath would descend upon him, and he knew that now was the time to have his vengeance on the Order, and he knew that he would die doing so.

Calling on his own dying will, the ring had roared to life, and had cloaked him in it’s brilliant light once more. For this one last time, he was the Green Lantern again. He rose up into the sky, knowing that there was very little he could do, but he recalled something he heard once a long time ago. He had been sitting out in front of the White House, and was marveling at his work, when a man approached him. The man told him, that the White House of the Order was so beautiful. It was so beautiful in fact that it would be forever a symbol of the Order’s power, so long as it remained standing. That man had also said though, that it was a shame that history teaches that nothing lasts forever.

Kyle started to laugh, and muttered under his breath, “You crafty devil. You knew all along didn't you, but I guess I couldn't have picked a better target myself.” Kyle lifted his hand and pointed the ring in the direction of Washington D.C. and muttered under his breath, “Beware my power.”

Sharp gust of wind. A looming shadow, and a dark gaze. Kyle stood frozen in the air.

“Superman.” He muttered, but he was mistaken, and as he looked up, he quickly realized just what stood before him. It was Connor. He stood straighter, his uniform had been mostly destroyed in the battle with the clone, but it clung to him and fluttered in the wind like a cape draped around the form of a god. His face looked as if it was chiseled from stone, and his eyes, which normally held a look of sorrow and longing, now held a look of cold passion, and of damning judgment. What now stood before Kyle was no boy. Connor Kent now stood before Kyle Rayner, as a Man of Tomorrow.

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Corrupted: Kon-El Issue Eight

Sins of the Past (Part VI)

Keystone City, 2065

It wasn’t possible. There should have been no way for them to bring her back, but somehow they found a way. The last time Connor had seen Kara Zor-El alive, had been thirty years ago, at the Battle for Metropolis. A blast from a Kryptonite cannon had rendered her human long enough for Bane to run her through. The wound had been so fatal that there was no way to heal from it. She had died on the spot, and afterwards Superman cast her body into the sun. There was no way this was the real Kara Zor-El.

Connor stood firmly to his feet as he faced down his opponent, the clone of Kara Zor-El who matched the sight of Connor’s long lost friend like a picture except for a solid white one piece that covered most of her body. She began to charge him with an animalistic ferocity, but she was slow. As she swung strike after strike at him, Connor dodged side stepping each blow with relative ease. This was good. This would give him time to make sense of what was going on.

This Kara was obviously a clone, probably an early prototype model, and the others in the tubes below Keystone General were mass produced copies, most likely. When he had studied the monitors, he saw the truth behind what they were trying to accomplish. They were attempting to make full Kryptonian copies, which never worked well. A Kryptonian’s cellular structure was so vastly different from humans, and if the proper measures were not taken then a mental collapse would occur. The mind was too young, and would be overloaded with information right out of the tube resulting in extreme aggression, terror, and paranoia. The Kryptonian clone would instinctually lash out at anything it perceived as threat, and since it was impossible for a clone to differentiate friend from foe, which meant anything that got in its way.

The only way, he had survived the process was having a mixture of both human and Kryptonian strands of DNA, and even then it had been a struggle. With female Kryptonians, matters were much more severe. From his understanding of the time he had spent with the real Kara Zor-El, female Kryptonian seemed to metabolize sunlight at a much faster rate than Kryptonian males did, which could mean a variety of factors. In Kara’s case it meant being able to rival Kal-El’s strength at only sixteen years of age. Had she been able to fully mature, she would have been far stronger than Kal could have ever hoped to have been. Now Connor had to fight her clone, and since that meant an accelerated growth process that meant the absorption rate was amplified. The poor creature’s entire body probably felt like it was on fire.

Kara’s clone roared as Connor continued to dodge her strikes, and went for a tackle which ended up with her missing and crashing into the ground.

“Calm down,” Connor said gently, “I’m not going to hurt you. I don’t know what these people did to you, but I promise you I can help.” What Connor received in reply was a large chunk of pavement that the clone ripped from the ground and tossed at him like it was a softball. Connor leaped over it and dodged the attack, but it crashed into another building causing it to collapse. He could hear people running about all around him. He was going to have to stop this clone before she ended up destroying the city, but he didn’t want to kill her.

Connor sped forward using flight to easily whip around her. He wrapped his arms around her squeezing as hard as he could. She screamed and struggled trying to break free. It took all Connor had to hold her still, but perhaps if he could…

That train of thought was suddenly interrupted when the clone threw her head back and slammed it into his face, and then followed up with an elbow to his ribs, ultimately breaking his grip, she then grabbed his arm and threw him over her shoulder, and slammed him into the ground. After that it was hit after hit on his face. Left. Right. Left. Right. With each consecutive punch it hurt more and more as he felt his head sink further into the earth.

“Screw this!” Connor thought as the next attempted punch was met with a blast of heat vision. The clone roared in pain, but it was quickly silenced when he connected his right fist with her chin. The force of the blow sent the clone flying. Connor dug himself up from the ground and began to cough. He felt something wet and warm running down his face. He checked his face and confirmed that his nose was broken.

“Girl has a hell of a right hook.” Connor thought. He groaned in pain as he forced his nose back into place. Something wasn’t right though. The attacks were instinctual in the sense that she was coming at him with blindly driven brute force. No tactical sense was there, which was normal for a Kryptonian clone. Down in the hospital bunker though, the clone didn’t attack until Rayner had told it to, and right before then it had exhibited some knowledge of her other abilities when she had took Starfire’s hand.

That reminded Connor of Starfire. She was alone down in the bunker with Rayner, and she was hurt. In her state, there was no telling what Rayner could be doing to her. Despite all the things she had done, she was still an ally, and he wasn’t going to leave her. That was until the clone decided to use his head as a baseball.

The light post slammed into the side of Conner’s head, knocking him off balance. Then the light post hit him again, but this time it came from above knocking him to his knees. He prepared to jump out of the way, but she was already on him, having tossed the remains of the light post away she slammed one punch into his gut, and then another causing him to double over, and the air to leave his lungs. Next thing Connor knew the clone was grabbing his head, and he felt himself being pulled downward, and his vision was filled with the sight of her knee.

She was getting faster, and Conner’s head was pounding. His vision was fuzzy, and as two more massive blows of pain on each side of his head overwhelmed him, his ears started to ring. This was his only chance. If he didn’t retaliate now, he was done for. He forced himself to get his air back, and despite the pain in his chest, he drew in as much air as he could and blew directly into the clone’s face. His vision was still blurry, so he couldn’t tell if he was truly hitting his target, and his ears had failed. The only thing he had to go on was the feeling of the air around him as it rapidly cooled to frigid temperatures. He waited for a hit to come, but it never did. He stumbled backwards, and his vision slowly began to return to him. When it fully returned what stood in front of him was a Krypto-sicle in mid-swing. He would have to forget about Starfire for now, because that ice wouldn’t hold the Kara clone for long. He had to stop the clone, and going on a hunch he used x-ray vision and sure enough his hunch proved right. Her brain was laced with an entire network of cybernetic circuitry.

Connor surmised that it had probably been installed during her development and under infrared light while her skull had still been week. The girl had been used as a lab rat, and now was a puppet. It sickened Connor to think of what the girl could have gone through to be in the state she was. There was a chance he could still free her. Looking harder he found the central hub of the cybernetics. If he destroyed it, then she could possibly be freed from Rayner’s and the rebel’s control, but there was no guarantee that she would be able to rationalize, and she might continue the attack. Then there was even the possibility that if he destroyed it, it could kill her.

He didn’t know what to do, he weighed the decision over and over in his mind. He could end up breaking all chains and letting loose a monster on the world. She could kill hundreds with nothing to stop her. All those deaths would be on him. If he killed her, then he would have to live with that memory, and he didn’t know if could. If he did nothing, the rebels would continue to use her, once possibly killing thousands. Either way, it seemed every choice involved killing someone. Connor gritted his teeth.

‘It shouldn’t have to be this way,” Connor thought to himself, ‘Why can’t I just save somebody I care about for once.’ Then the ice started to crack. She was breaking free!

‘Dammit, you’re taking too long! Stop second guessing yourself Connor and make a decision!’ he screamed at himself mentally. No matter how small of a chance. If he destroyed the central hub of the circuitry in her brain. There was a chance he could stop her and she would still live. He had to go for it. He prepared to focus his heat vision.

CRASH!

The clone’s roar filled his eardrums as she burst through the ice, and slammed her fist still encased in ice into his chest. Luckily stumbling through had caused her to loose balance, and the hit wasn’t as strong as it could have been, but it still hurt, as it ripped through the front of Connor’s jumpsuit. The ice shattered and scattered all around. Her body temperature was still low causing her movements to be just slow enough, for Connor to grab each of her arms as she swung at him. Has he held her in place he tried to look into her eyes, and attempted to focus his heat vision once again, but her eyes turned red before his did. Conner screamed as the left side of his face burned, and when the most agonizing physical pain he had ever felt washed over him as several metric tons of pressure slammed into his groin all at once, he stopped breathing and everything went dark.

He fell to his knees and felt hot white foam come up his throat and out his mouth. He still couldn’t breathe, when she grabbed ahold of his face with both her hands blocking his air passages, and cutting off any chance of ever breathing again, and she pressed her thumbs into his eyes attempting to gouge them. He couldn’t focus enough to blast her hands away because the pain was too immense, and before long he wouldn’t have the strength to hold her back, and then his eyes would be gone. Was this it? Was this as far as he was meant to come? If it was, perhaps it was fate. He had abandoned those who needed him most, the world he had come to love was now a slave to turmoil, and he had let those he once cared for most turn into monsters or die. If this was his punishment, if this was to be his end, then Connor couldn’t think of a better way for it to. He let go. He stopped resisting. He prepared for the end to come, but suddenly there was yelling.

“LET GO OF HIM!” screamed a woman’s voice. There was a bright flash of green light that permeated the darkness, and huge wave of heat washed over him. Suddenly light flooded into the world again as the clones hands were ripped off his face, and air rushed into his lungs once more. His vision cleared in just enough time to see the orange skinned Tameranean princess throw the Kara clone away from them by her hair, and then blast her prone form with a Starbolt blast sending her rolling across the ground.

Starfire stood in front of Connor, breathing heavily, her entire body drenched in sweat. The stub, where her right hand had once been, was stuck under her left arm.

“Can you still fight!” She called back to him. Connor slowly stood to his feet, coughing as he did so trying to take in air. He couldn’t see out of his left eye at all, and his right was really fuzzy. It was still hard to breathe, and he hurt all over, it was amazing he could even stand let alone fight. He knew that he had to though. Starfire was powerful in her own right, but there was no way she could have stopped Kara. As a matter of fact, she probably may have only managed to piss the clone off even more, and sure enough, just as soon as he thought it, He saw the clone rise up from the ground at a high speed and hover in midair above them.

“Damn you!” Starfire screamed, “Fall!” She fired off a starbolt at the clone, and it struck her. The clone had thrown her arms in front of herself to protect her from the attack, and that was when Connor saw it. The clone was getting tired! The clone’s breath was labored, and instead of dodging the attack and attacking the clone was relying on defending itself. This was their chance.

“I think, I can stop her just keep your attack up!” Connor shouted.

“For how long!?” Starfire shouted, “I don’t have much left.”

“Just long enough to catch my breath.” Connor replied,

“Oh you have got to be kidding me right now!” She cried, and threw another blast at the clone, “damn you! You better hurry this up Connor Kent, or I’ll kill you myself!”

Connor’s vision was starting to come back into his left eye. He steadied his breathing bringing it back under control. With the clone on the defense, all he needed was one clear shot with heat vision and it would be all over. He looked up, and searched for the clones eyes. She was focused on Starfire. Now was his chance. He readied his heat vision to fire, and suddenly , she disappeared.

“What the hell!?” Connor spat, and then suddenly he heard Starfire screaming in pain. He turned in time to see the Kara clone holding Starfire by her hair and spinning around using her body as a counterweight for the spin. She spun faster and faster, until she let Starfire go seeding the Tameran soaring straight towards Connor. She slammed into Connor sending them both crashing to the ground in a tangled heap. The two of them pulled apart from one another. Starfire was the first to stand up.

“That does it!” She spat, “This bitch is going to die!” Starfire roared, and flew toward the clone as fast as she could, as starbolt charging in her hand. The clone was too tired to dodge the attack, and ended up receiving the blast straight into its face at point blank range. Connor could hear the clone screaming in pain, as Starfire continued to hit the clone with starbolt after starbolt, causing the clone to stumble backwards with each strike. The clone had had enough though, and pushed Starfire’s arm out of the way, and wrapped her hand around Starfire’s throat.

Starfire struggled and started to hit the clone’s fist trying to break her grip, but she was just too strong. Starfire tried to breath, but all that emerged from her collapsing windpipe was stifled gurgles. The clone could have easily killed Starfire then, but it was smiling as it watched the Tameran strangle. It was taking pleasure in watching its victim writhe in pain. That’s when Connor could take no more. It didn’t matter what he felt any more. It didn’t matter if he could save the clone or not. It had to be stopped.

Taking what strength he had left, he pushed himself forward, and flew head on into the clone of Kara Zor-El breaking her grip and freeing Starfire. He slammed the clone into the ground. The clone was weak now, and using all his strength there was little she could do to resist him. Connor grabbed both sides of the clone’s face, and using his thumbs and index fingers, pried open the clone’s eyes. He took barely even a nanosecond to take aim, and focused his heat vision through her pupil’s. When the clone roared in pain, he knew he had hit his mark. The clone threw him off of her, and Connor crashed a few feet away from her.

At this point, Connor didn’t care though; he knew the battle was over. He stood up from the ground, and saw the clone grab its head and flail about screaming in pain before it finally fell to the ground and stopped moving all together. For a moment everything was quiet, and nothing moved in the streets of Keystone city. After a moment Connor slowly lumbered over to the fallen body of the clone, and breathed a sigh of relief. A second later, wincing all the while, Starfire stumbled up to Connor’s side.

“Woah, easy now.” Connor said as he took hold of Starfire and helped support her. “You look like hell.”

“Be quiet.” Starfire groaned, before looking down at the fallen clone its chest slowly rising and falling. “Wow, the bitch is actually still alive. Not bad, hero.”

“You weren’t too bad yourself. You’re pretty tough, you know for a Princess.” Connor teased.

“I’m amazed you still have enough strength to jest. Consider my offer for you to join me in bed later officially retracted. Momma’s going to need a few days off.” She hissed, more so in pain than spite. Connor chuckled grabbing at his ribs as he did so. Then for a second he saw the corner of Starfire’s mouth curl upwards into a smile. It reminded Connor of the old days, and though he knew now wasn’t quite the appropriate time, he couldn’t stop himself from asking.

“Kori, what happened to you? You used to not be this way?” Starfire’s eyes widened and she looked sharply up at Connor.

“Kori?” She paused, “I haven’t heard that name in a long time.” She smiled once again, “I never thought I would ever hear anyone call me by that name ever again.” She laughed. “It’s nice.” She turned and looked at Connor and smiled. For a brief moment, Connor saw something in the eyes of the Tameranean princess. He wasn’t quite sure what it was. Happiness? Longing? The discovery of something long lost? A second chance at love? There was no way to tell. All there was, was the broken and bruised, but beautiful woman hanging onto him. He leaned in closer, not sure of what he felt. He knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t stop himself. His lips were inches away from hers, and he watched as he closed her eyes.

Then suddenly there was bright emerald flash, and a sharp sudden gasp, before he felt the warm splatter of blood spray across his face.

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Wonder Woman: Daughter of the Stars (Issue Zero)

Authors Note: Just as a warning I'm giving this issue an M (Mature) rating, for elements light sexual content, intense/dsiturbing situations, elements of violence, and slight language. So Read at your own discretion. You have been warned. Hope you enjoy,

The Shooting Star

Fire, blood, and stone. The putrid stink of burning flesh. Clumps of hair in clenched fists. Vacant eyes and open mouths. Screams and tears. Then at the middle of it all, a warrior. A devil. A woman. Amazon.

Hippolyta shot up from her bed, her breathing ragged her blonde hair and body drenched in sweat. She looked around her chambers frantically, all her senses alerted to their highest point. The night air was stuffy and it made feel sticky all over. It had been the nightmare again, the same nightmare that had been plaguing her for weeks and depriving her of a decent night’s rest. She took a deep breath, but the confines of her bedchamber made it impossible for her nerves to ease themselves. She needed to go outside.

As she threw the covers off of her and set her feet on the floor, a hand grabbed hold of her wrist. Hippolyta flinched slightly; she had feared that she had woken her, but when her partner had not moved upon her own violent wakening from the dream, she had been thankful for she had a tendency to worry more than was necessary.

“My Queen, are you alright?” Philipus asked, as Hippolyta turned and gazed at the dark skinned beauty before her.

“I’m fine,” she replied, “I’m just stepping outside for a moment.” Philipus set up in the bed, and looked directly into the queen’s eyes.

“You had the dream again.” Philipus stated. Hippolyta did not retort for her sister had known her for so long that attempting to do so would prove pointless. “You’re thinking too much about what the oracle said. The oracle was a servant of Heracles, and a fraud at that. Surely the blasphemous ramblings of a treacherous whore could not prove true.”

“You never knew the truth of the sin I committed against Hera, Philipus, and that will have to forever remain my secret. I have my reasons to be fearful. I fear most of all for Diana.”

“Whatever sin you committed my Queen, your daughter is one of the strongest and brightest pupils I have ever tutored,” Philipus declared. “I have watched her grow, and I know that more than one of the Gods on Olympus has shinned their favor on her. Diana is meant for great things; surely Hera would not be so quick as to harm her for fear of bringing the wrath of Olympus down on herself. You have not slept in a many a night, and seeing the strain it places on you concerns me greatly. Please, if you just tell me what I need to do to quiet your mind, I would gladly do so.”

Hippolyta turned to face her lover, and reached up touching the scared face of the most beautiful woman she had ever known, and then leaned forward and lightly kissed her. “I am blessed to have someone such as you care so much about me, but don’t worry this night. I will return shortly.”

“As you wish my Queen.” Philipus sighed, “I will eagerly await your return.” Hippolyta smiled, turned around, and stood up from the bed. On the way, from her chambers she grabbed her gown and wrapped it around her shoulders as she strolled from the room. She followed the torch lit halls of the palace till it led her out into the open night air. It was summer night, and though the night air was warm the sea that surrounded Themyscira gave the night air a sweet and soothing aroma. The insects that inhabited the island had come out to begin their nocturnal symphonies. The sounds of Artemis realm were a sensational and calmed her nerves, but it was not enough. There was only one place on the island she could go, that she knew she may finally find some peace from the dreams that haunted her.

She began to follow the path that led down to the shoreline of Themyscira. Thinking along the way, about the path that she had walked through her life. They had been slaves of the mighty Heracles. The Amazon’s a once proud and civilized race of strong women had been tricked by the man Greece had called hero. He had come to her and wooed her with sweet words and strong resolve, and from her he took her people and placed them in chains. They had become the spoils of Heracles, the fruit of his nine labors. For years, they lived in humiliation and servitude, herself and her sisters lived only to serve the appetites of the demi-god. Those who resisted were met with the wrath of a brutish man, and few survived. Poor Philipus, whose physical beauty once rivaled her own, was one of those who survived the drunken stupor of the disgrace of Olympus.

Night after night they were ravaged, and the days held no rest, and she had been forced to watch her sisters be whored to the lusts of men. They were beaten, spat on, and scoffed at. She had wondered what great offense she had committed to bring down such a fate on herself and her sisters. Then one fateful day, her cries were answered by Hera, who was disgusted with Heracles. The chains around their necks and feet were broken, and the Amazon’s slaughtered the men who had defiled them, and those Amazons who had chosen to cast their lot with the side with the men. Heracles himself choked on the very chain that had been wrapped around Hippolyta’s neck, before she severed his head with his own sword, and placed his head on a pike for all to see. The last to fall was Heracles sorceress and oracle, who declared, before Hippolyta ran her through with the same sword that had slain Heracles, that one day the wrath of Olympus would fall on Hippolyta and all her people and it would come in the form of a fruit bared as the result of Hippolyta’s own sowing.

The Amazon’s were now free, but they were still broken, so the Goddess Hera had given them the Paradise of Themyscira where they would live forever as immortals free from the wanton world of man. For a time, their wounded souls began to heal, but the world of man had corrupted some of them, and they began to succumb to old desires. Some wished to leave the island to rejoin the world of men, and others sought companionship in their sisters. Even Hippolyta herself, struggled to fight her own earthly desires, had it not been for the love of Philipus as well as her wise counsel, perhaps she too may have abandoned Themyscira. The only ones that had been spared from this curse were the youngest of them, who were but mere babes upon the liberation.

Then began the true struggle. The young babes grew into young women, and Hippolyta felt envious of her sisters who experienced motherhood. She could not bring herself to take from her sisters, so many nights she ran down to the shore of Themyscira where she wept. Then one night she had fell asleep on the shoreline, and she was awakened by what she thought at first was a man, but no man could step foot on Themyscira. This had been Zeus, here to take his vengeance for the death of his son. Hippolyta had feared for her life, but instead the god took her. She tried to resist, for knowing what such a thing meant, and how it would incur the wrath of Hera who had saved them, but she couldn’t, and to betray her Goddess even further she found herself taking pleasure in the King of the Gods. When it was over the deed was done, and Zeus declared that she would have a child and that the child would one day be taken from her, as she had taken his son from him.

For many months, she had been afraid as she watched her belly grow, and felt the first stirrings of life, but on the day Diana was born. All that fear and dread suddenly disappeared. It was replaced with love, and she could not bring herself to slay the child. She swore that she would do everything in her power to assure that Diana would be brought up as a brave, strong, and noble Amazon that could not be taken from her.

Hippolyta’s reminiscence was suddenly interrupted when she felt the cool waters of the ocean rise up around her ankles. She looked around, surprised that she had walked so far, like she had not been the one guiding her own feet. She took a deep breath as she let Poseidon’s touch caress her feet. It had been right here, right on the edge of the water, where Zeus had taken her nearly seven years ago. Seven years since her daughter had been born. As she thought of the beautiful raven haired child that more than likely lay asleep in a her own bed at the moment, Hippolyta boldly looked towards the sky, while remaining on the borders of the God of the Seas.

“I know you can hear me!” Hippolyta called out, “I do not regret killing your son, and I never will, but Diana is mine and she will break your curse. She will stand proud one day before Olympus,” she paused before screaming out the last words reducing the boom of her voice to that of a soft and smooth tone and said, “and so will I.”

She had done it now. She had cried out a call to war against the King of Olympus. She knew she was done for, but even if she had to watch her daughter grow into a beautiful woman from the depths of the pits of Tartarus, then that would be enough.

Hippolyta looked to the sky once again, looking for any sign that the Gods had heard her. For a moment, all that answered her was the twinkling of the stars. Then suddenly out of nowhere the stars began to fall and shoot across the night sky.

“Shooting stars!” Hippolyta muttered, “How beautiful.” As she gazed at the spectacle before her, thoughts of her dreams and other such fears fled her being, and for a brief moments, Hippolyta began to feel some semblance of peace, but that peace was short lived, as one of the shooting stars veered off course from the others, and shifted color from the brilliant white to that of burning read. A deafening roar filled Hippolyta’s ears, and the earth began to vibrate. The star was falling, and it was going to fall on Themyscira. She fell to the ground as the star grew closer and closer. The shore was illuminated by the fire burning on the star and it flew directly over Hippolyta’s head. There was a loud explosion of earth, as the star crashed onto the ground, and Hippolyta looked back at the crash site in horror for the star had fell on their village. Leaping to her feet, Hippolyta raced down the path back to the village as fast as she could.

When she reached the village she was greeted by frantic yelling, and fire. The Amazon’s had quickly risen to combat this disaster, and were preforming to the best of their ability to mend the situation. What she saw next though, made her blood run cold. The star had crashed into the palace.

Her mind instantly went to Diana. The gods had already taken her daughter away from her. Oh how foolish she was for daring to speak out against the gods. Tears in her eyes she ran to the palace screaming the entire time:

“DIANA! DIANA!” She cried, “DIANA PLEASE ANSWER ME!” Tears were streaming down her face as she pushed through the debris of the palace. A sinking feeling rose in her gut, and she fell to her knees, and wept violently. Her daughter was lost, and it was her fault. She wanted to remain where she fell, and did not care if fire took her. Her hope was gone. Then suddenly,

“Mommy!” a small voice cried out through the darkness.

“Diana!?” Hippolyta turned, her eyes still filled with tears as a young seven year old girl with hair as dark as night, and brilliant blue eyes ran into her mother’s arms, and following close behind was Philipus, who grabbed the both of them up and pulled them away from the palace. Once outside, Hippolyta held her daughter, and hugged her tightly the both of them were crying. One because she was terrified, the other was crying tears of joy that something truly precious had not been lost.

“I grabbed her quickly as I could my Queen,” Philipus said, “I was still awake after you left, and I saw the star as it approached.”

“Thank you, Philipus.” Hippolyta cried, “Had it not been for you, Diana and I both would have been truly lost. Thank you so much.”

“It’s my duty your majesty, but I must ask are you alright. You were gone for some time. Are you hurt?”

“Right now, I’m fine, Philipus.” She said, “Right now let’s get those fires put out, and see what the damage is.” Philipus nodded and ran off to join her sisters. Hippolyta remained with Diana until she was certain she was safe, and then too went to help with putting out the fires. After a few hours the fires were out, and the sun was just beginning to peek up over the horizon. Hippolyta, Philipus, and a few others made their way over to where the star fell, but when they arrived they were surprised at what they saw. What lay in the crater where the star fell, was a strange craft. It reminded Hippolyta of the boats they used to fish, but it was made of some sort of metal.

Hippolyta was the first to approach despite Philipus shouts of caution. It was indeed a curious thing, and it was evident to Hippolyta that this was no star, but what it was she had no idea. It was long and angular, shaped like the tip of a sword. On the surface was a strange symbol of some kind: a diamond with a single wave that rose and fell once between the top and bottom of the inner side of the diamond.

“Philipus!” Hippolyta called, “Give me your sword.” Philipus drew her sword, and handed it to her Queen, who took the sword and quickly struck the craft, but when she did the sword broke in two. Hippolyta’s eyes went wide. Whatever this craft was made of it was harder than Amazonian steel. All of a suddenly the craft whirred, and light began to emit from the cracks. It was blinding and they had to shield their eyes. Most began to back away, but Hippolyta heard one thing that the others did not. She heard the cries of a child, and it was coming from inside the machine! She leapt forward and plunged her hands into the cracks, and pulled with all her might while doing her best not to look directly into the light.

Finally the craft burst open, the light died down, and the whirring stopped, and for a brief moment all was quiet on the Island Paradise of Themyscira. Hippolyta looked down at what lay before her, unsure of what to feel, but then all of a sudden it was as if her hands moved on their own. She reached into the opening, and when she pulled them out resting in her arms was a blonde haired little girl. She was a toddler, not much younger than Diana. The little girl’s eyes opened revealing eyes as blue the sky.

The little girl began to mumble in some strange language that Hippolyta had never heard before. In fact she wasn’t sure if even was a language or just some kind of gibberish. The little girl started to cry, and grabbed hold of Hippolyta’s hair, and wept into it. Maternal instincts took over, and she held the toddler and began to easily bounce the child all the while trying speaking softly to her in an attempt to sooth the distressed little one, and shortly the child stopped crying, but still clung tightly to Hippolyta.

“Who is she, Mother?” Diana asked as she walked up to her mother.

“I don’t know Diana?” Hippolyta replied,

“She fell from the sky right, like a shooting star!?”

“Well, yes child, I suppose she did.”

“Then I know, We should call her Galatea, since she came from the stars!” Diana cried out, and suddenly Hippolyta began to laugh. It was so strange how moments ago they were fearing for their lives, and now they were trying to think of a name for a wayward child. The energy and mind of child amazed her.

“That’s a beautiful name, Diana. I suppose that settles it then,” Hippolyta smiled and looked down at the little girl in her arms, “welcome to Themyscira, Galatea.”

From that moment own the Blonde haired little girl that fell from the sky was known as, Galatea: The Amazon Princess.

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Corrupted: Kon-El Issue Seven

Sins of the Past (Part V)

Keystone City, 2065

If there was one thing Connor could say about Starfire is that she never did anything quiet. He had expected a small team to infiltrate the area around Keystone Medical, and to go in on foot. Starfire had other plans though. She brought a battalion of Hawkmen and Beetlemen, and they blasted through the heart of the rebel forces guarding the hospital. He had been ordered by Starfire to stay with the group, and to kill any rebel on sight. That had been one order that Connor was not able to follow.

He could hear their heart beats, and their ragged breathing patterns. These rebels were terrified, and knew that they faced a losing battle. X-Ray vision told him that most of those defending the hospital had to be no more than thirty years old. Judging by how they handled their weapons these people weren’t even trained properly, probably blue collar workers, average everyday civilians. Why would anyone fight like this? Something didn’t seem right. There was no sense of organization, no one calling the shots from behind the enemy lines.

“We can bypass these rebels.” Connor called to Starfire, “They’re scared and unprepared. There’s no way they’ll be able to stop us from reaching the hospital.” Starfire glanced at Connor briefly before smirking.

“Then this should be easy.” She said, raising her hand toward the rebels and sending out a flurry of Starbolts that struck multiple targets. Connor looked in disbelief as he heard the dying screams of these kids as their chests burned away. Connor flew up and grabbed Starfire’s hand.

“Stop this, you don’t have to kill them!” He screamed, Starfire gritted her teeth and glared at Connor, before grabbing him by the neck and moving him in front of her. All of a sudden there was an explosion as an RPG struck Connor in the back, as Starfire used his body to shield herself. She tossed him to the side before firing another starbolt at the offending rebel, burning away his head.

“You killed him!” Connor yelled,

“Yes I did, and if you touch me like that again I’ll call off this whole operation. Keep in mind, Superboy,” Starfire hissed as she placed emphasis on Connor’s old name, “you’re in my city and here what I say is law.”

Connor said nothing as he glared back at Starfire before he turned around to face the rebels firing up at them. He threw back his arms, and brought them back together clapping his hands together with as much strength as he could. The result was a massive shockwave that caused windows to shatter, walls to crumble, and debris and rebels to go flying away from the fight. By the time the dust settled there was no more gunfire, and what was left of the rebels in front of the hospital fled.

Connor turned back around to face Starfire

“Understood, now if you don’t mind I’d like to hurry this up and get the hell out of your city.” Conner said as Starfire crossed her arms and shrugged.

“You know if you had done that sooner, hero, you could have probably saved more of them.” She returned. Connor clenched his fist, and grit his teeth. He wanted to strike her, and wipe the smug look off her face. She was doing this intentionally, trying to make him angry, and it was working. He couldn’t let her get to him. He had a job to do, and starting a fight with those who were supposed to be helping him was not in the job description.

The two of them touched down in front of the hospital, and Starfire ordered the other Hawkmen to stand guard outside as Connor used his X-Ray vision on the building. Sure enough there was a room deep beneath the hospital with lead lined walls, making it the obvious place to go.

“What do you see?” Starfire asked,

“There’s a bunker roughly a mile underground that I can’t see through the walls of.”

“Sounds a bit cliché,” Starfire commented, “A hidden room underneath a hospital.”

“If you knew Lex, he often seemed very cliché in his methods, but he was anything but. Still it’s the best place to start looking, all the same we better be careful, so don’t go in there blasting.”

The two of them walked into the abandoned hospital, their footsteps echoing. There was an elevator near the middle of the hospital that led down to the bunker. As they walked Connor looked over at Starfire who looked straight ahead her face like stone. She was nothing like he remembered her. She was a strong warrior, but she was never ruthless. He wondered what could have happened to her, but he knew he would never get an answer out of her if he asked. Still there was one other thing burning in the back of his mind. He knew he shouldn’t let something so trivial bother him in light of what they were trying to do, but before he could stop himself the words had already escaped his mouth.

“Earlier, back on the boat, Why did you kiss me?” Connor asked. That stone face suddenly cracked as Starfire seemed slightly taken aback by the question.

“I told you, I was just greeting an old ally.” She replied, smiling which made Connor feel uneasy. It was unnatural how she could seemingly change her mood from a terrifying force to that of a cheerful woman.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen you greet anyone like that before. I know it’s been a long time since we’ve worked together, I mean we were just kids and all, but even for you I would think it’s a bit strange that you would just walk up to some random stranger and plant one on them. “

“Why are you so curious about who I kiss all of a sudden? Not to mention, Connor we aren’t exactly strangers.” She said, giggling slightly, and making Connor feel more uncomfortable.

“I suppose that’s true, but aren’t you worried about what your men…” Connor was suddenly taken off guard as Starfire grabbed him and pushed him up against the wall. At first he thought he had angered her by bringing her men up, but when he saw her face he felt a bit more worried. She was smiling, well more so smirking seductively, as she pressed her body up against his. She reached up and caressed his face with her hand.

“Hmm, do you really think I care what the clones think? They know who their master is, and they will obey me without question. It is no concern of theirs who I decide to show affection towards.” She whispered, as she leaned in close and kissed him again. Connor had to admit that she was an amazing kisser. For a second, he lost himself in the warm bliss as she clung tightly to him, but then reality came crashing back, and he pushed her away. She was a murderer, he had watched her kill those people in cold blood. All he should be focused on was stopping the rebels from using the cloning technology. He didn’t have time for this.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Connor spat as he wiped his mouth.

“I call it foreplay.” She said smiling, “You should consider yourself fortunate you know. I haven’t felt this way in a long time, and despite your rather pointless attempts to act all noble, I know you liked it.”

“No I didn’t, You’re a murderer, just like he is, and in the long run you’re all going to have to answer for what you’ve done.”

“Oh, feeling a bit feisty aren’t we.” Starfire teased, as she walked up to him and lightly took hold of his chin “The whole noble hero act is really cute Connor, but there’s no place for people like that in this world anymore.”

“If that’s so then why didn’t you leave? Why did you let yourself become some monster?” Connor asked. Starfire let Connor go and backed away from him.

“I couldn’t leave.” She murmured, “Now let’s hurry this up. I’m tired, and I would like to get back to my own bed before tomorrow morning.” Starfire turned and began to walk away, but stopped and looked back at Connor, “By the way, Superboy, you’re not too bad of a kisser yourself, and in case you change your mind your mind about me, you’re welcome to join me.”

As she turned and walked away, Connor felt a bit uneasy. He hadn’t been that close to a woman in a long time, and no matter how he tried to fight it. He couldn’t take his mind off of her.

‘Focus Connor’ he told himself. He needed to finish this mission and get the hell out of Keystone, and back to Smallville as quickly as possible. What Starfire had said about heroes was right. There was no place for them in this world. He knew the system was broken, but he had no idea how to fix it. The only thing he could think of was to find some way to stop all the fighting, and right now that meant stopping the rebels from using Cadmus tech, and no rebel, Superman, or Tameranean princess was going to stand in his way.

When they finally reached the elevator, Connor pried the doors open and looked down the shaft. It was pitch black inside, but Connor could see everything. There was a bulkhead blocking the way down to the bunker, and the elevator itself rested below it.

“There’s a bulkhead in the way, think you can blast through it. It would be a lot quicker than heat vision.”

“My pleasure.” She said as a bright green orb began to glow in her hand. She threw the ball of energy down the shaft where it collided with the bulkhead melting it and causing bits of dust and debris to come flying back up. Connor looked back at Starfire who gave him and “after you” sort of gesture, and without another thought Connor and Starfire began to descend down the shaft, where they landed just outside the room. There was one more door that stood in their way.

“Looks like this is it,” Connor said, before taking a deep breath and slamming his hand into the crack in the door bending the metal. He grasped hold tightly and began pulling it apart opening the door, and when he did his ears were filled with the sound of several beating hearts. The room was filled with monitors and large tubes. Each tube had small humanoids floating inside them. All at the growth stage of an infant. Something wasn’t right though. All these clones were nowhere near the developmental stage to be emitting the biometric rhythm he was hearing. It was like all these cloning attempts were experiencing accelerated growth. They should be dead, there’s no way that size of body should have been able to sustain that kind of pressure.

“Connor come look at this.” Starfire said, as she drew his attention over to one of the monitors. He raced over to the monitors as quickly as he could and began studying the content on the screen. What he saw sent chills down his spine, because what he was looking at was impossible.

“What’s wrong?” Starfire asked him.

“This isn’t happening,” he said disbelief racking his voice, “There should have been no way for them to be able to get a hold of this strand of DNA. Just what the hell are they planning? Is there anything else here?” Connor started frantically typing as he glanced through files.

“What’s not possible? What are they cloning? You? Superman?” Starfire asked.

“Neither, they’re attempting something much worse.” Connor replied as he typed, but then suddenly he stopped, “There’s someone here, someone besides the clones.” As they quieted down, they heard a tapping sound approaching, and the slow labored shuffling of feet. Connor and Starfire turned around to face an old man, supporting himself on a cane. He was dressed in a grey suit, the top of his head was bald, but to the side there was white hair, and his skin was extremely pale.

“Hello Connor,” the man said, “It’s been a long time. I was hoping that it would be you that found this place.”

“Kyle?” Connor said

“Kyle Rayner? You’re alive?” Starfire stammered, “You’re behind all this?”

“Oh no,” Kyle laughed, “I’m just a benefactor, an old relic attempting to bring back justice to the world.”

“You call this justice?” Connor spat gesturing at the screen behind him, “Since when is playing god, and screwing around with life and death justice?”

“Since they did,” Kyle replied and pointed at Starfire, “Since they decided that they were more important than the people they were supposed to protect. Why are you siding with them Connor? You’re no murderer.”

“I’m not siding with anyone,” Connor spat, “I’m just here to stop you from creating something that will destroy the world.”

“Kyle Rayner, despite your past service in the League, by the laws of the World Order, I hereby sentence you, and the sentence is death.” Starfire said as she rose up her hand, and the energy of the starbolt filled her palm. Kyle did not move though, and by the time Connor saw the red glow there was nothing he could do. Starfire began screaming in pain and fell to the floor as she clutched the part of her arm where her hand had once been. Connor rushed to her side, and looked at the wound. She had been struck by a strong heat blast, there was no trace of her hand or any bone, and the flesh that had been exposed was cauterized.

Starfire lay in the floor tears streaming down her face as she tried to bear the pain. Connor had to get them out of here. If he didn’t Starfire would be finished, and he didn’t know if he could hold off what was about to come.

“Star, we have to go now!” Connor screamed, as he attempted to lift her to her feet, but as he did he heard Kyle say:

“Finish them.” All of a sudden the world started to spin, and the air was knocked from his lungs as he felt himself being propelled throw rock and earth. His entire body was racked with pain. She felt the air of the surface hit him as he emerged up from the earth, and felt his body be thrown through the air as it went through building after building, until finally he came to a stop against the outside walls of a large bank, and then finally falling onto the street. He heard the feet of his enemy land near him as he attempted to catch his breath. Connor stood to his feet and prepared himself for the fight of his life, and looked up at the face of Kara Zor-El.

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A Belated Vinerversary

For those of you who know me, I've been on CV for nearly three years, and let me just say it has been quite a ride. Though it's way past my own third "Vinerversary", I kind of want to just look back at my time here, and reassess, and maybe even "reboot" the dying Delphic franchise. So lets take a look back in my book of CV adventures.

When I first came here three or so years ago, I wasn't very experienced in the realm of comics. Pretty much my experience was just a couple trades (Gotham City Sirens: Union and Titans: Old Friends for those who might be interested). Since then I've been all over the place. I started collecting single issues. I would review and write blogs, and some were a little controversial (i.e Why I Despise Injustice Wonder Woman and The Corporate Rape of Power Girl). Yeah those two landed me in hot water a couple times; however, my most favorite of all blogs that I have ever written here on CV, has really nothing to do with comics at all and that is: In Memoriam: Ray Bradbury, which was sort of my own personal send off to a brilliant author, and one of my personal idols.

The next two following years, were not much to talk about. I didn't do much, seeing as I really fell off of the review and blogging scene. For a time I tried RPing, but that didn't work out because of my job. Then I tried writing a few fan-fics. There I got a good bit of recognition for what I was used to, and most people seemed to really enjoy my work. For Corrupted Kon-El, I have received a lot of praise that quite honestly I'm truly humbled by (and for those wanting to know when the next issue comes out....umm well...I'm getting around to it ^_^)

Here recently though, I've had some trouble that deal greatly with my reasons for being here. A large portion of it is contributed to comics themselves. I recently found myself overwhelmed, by extremely large stacks of unread comics, and before I knew it I found myself faced with the question: "Why am I buying comics, if I'm not going to read them?" Then before I knew it, no more blogs, no reviews, and no fan-fics were coming out of me. I was completely dried up. Also one other thing, to be honest I really like seeing those little numbers at the top of the CV page that tell me "Hey you got mail". Those numbers got lower and lower, and eventually they pretty much ceased altogether. (So yes everyone, I love attention :P) Thing is though, you have to participate in the community here in some way if you want to get those little numbers, and that's what happened. I was no longer participating.

For a little while, I went over to Anime Vice, and I've made a little bit of an impression there. I made it on community spotlight two weeks in a row. Thing is though, I still missed CV, despite its new abusive demeanor with hardly functional page designs and more bugs than a cheap hotel in the worst part of town. The reason I missed it was because of the several people I consider friends: @wildvine, @razzatazz, @joygirl, @daredevil21134, and many many more. These people have stuck by me, some since the very beginning. They've put up with my quirks and oddities, they've put up with my more selfish and mopey moments, and they've even put up with me during those times that I'm just quite honestly flat out annoying. So to all of you, I want to say thank you, for sticking by me, because without you all, I would not be who I am today, for I feel my experience with you all here on CV has made me a much wiser man...In some areas anyway, I still think action movies are really cool and scientists are bags of hot air. ;-P

So what does this all mean for me and CV. Well for one thing, I want to re-evaluate how I do things. I'm definitely not going to worry so much about my notification an PM count, but I don't think it would hurt to put some content out to provide me with some sort of buffer there. I don't want to experience PM withdrawals. XD So in saying that, I'm wanting to go back to my roots that I had my first year of CV. I want to start making blogs, lists, and reviews again. I want my fan-fics return. Another thing that will change will be how I get my comics. Oh yes, the days of the piled up single issues are gone, my friends, so don't expect me to be able to keep up with the latest comic gossip, but I'll have other means of engaging. This is going to be a new day for all off us.

I know some of you may have thought, I was leaving a month or so ago. This is not a big "I'm Back" deceleration, but more so the realization that this old Kryptonian here still has a few magic spells in his TARDIS (whoops, I think I mixed up the fandoms there.). Also in case I disappear again in the future for a little while I'll leave you all with a little description of my given to me by my dear friend:

I'm like a Sandshrew, I may burrow down for a little while, but I never run away.

haha, anyway, here's to you all, my CV comrades, here's to another year on the Vine, and a new Delphic. ^_^

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Corrupted Superman 2.0 (Kon-El) Issue Six

Sins of the Past (Part IV)

Keystone City, 2065

She tasted like a summer day and surprise, not that such things had taste. The kiss that Starfire had given Connor caught him completely off guard, and for a moment he just froze, his mind trying to comprehend what just happened. She had just killed the two Hawkmen that had escorted him to her, and then she just turned right around and started snogging him.

Connor’s reflexes finally kicked in when he shoved Starfire away from him sending her flying for a few feet to which she easily corrected using her own powers of flight.

“What the hell is wrong with you!?” Connor spat wiping his mouth, while Starfire descended near to him a smile across her face.

“I was merely greeting an old ally, Connor. I didn’t think you would be so sore about it.”

“Sore about it, you just murdered two men in cold blood right in front of me.”

“They deserved it. One of them had rather choice comments about the wife of our leader, and the other gave into your story too easily. In reality, it is a relief to be free of their burden, and hopefully their deaths will set an example to the rest of the men.”

“And what example would that be?” Connor asked.

“That in war it is sometimes wise to know the proper use and misuse of your tongue.” Starfire replied, as she winked at Connor. Connor gritted his teeth, and clenched his fist. Every fiber in his being told him to go after Starfire, and bring her down for what she just did, but he didn’t move. He had to remind himself that the world was much different now. So different that the ruler of the nation and his former friend was now considered one of the most pathological murderers in the history of the world. It was so different that no one except for him, batted an eye when two men were murdered by their commanding officer for no reason. Connor couldn’t stand it, he wanted to stand against all of this, but he knew that if he did nothing good would come of it. He knew there was no way he would stand a chance against the new direction of the world.

This was why it would just be best to get his job done with, and do what he had to do to help the world in the only way he could. To do that job though, he would need Starfire’s help, regardless of his opinions.

“I came to seek your permission to enter Keystone City.”

“The City is closed off to all, but those under my command.” Starfire stated bluntly, “Those are my orders.”

“Can we discuss this matter more in private; I have sensitive information that is best not spoken out here in the open.”

“Of course, but this better be important. The situation in the city is most dire,” Starfire informed as she turned around, “Come with me.” Connor followed star to the boat that was pushing the barge and into the cabin. Starfire sat down at one of the chairs and crossed her legs taking on a relaxed posture.

“So what is this matter that is so private that it cannot be shared in front of my men?”

“Um, are you sure this is safe? We’re on a tugboat after all.” Connor said looking around surprised that he was on something that actually wasn’t government issued.

“It blends into the scenery; most of the men on the boat are disguised as civilian workers. The rebels in Keystone would have a hard time picking us out, not that it would matter if they did. Their attacks have been more centralized inside the city. Petty attacks against patrols and things like that. They have been keeping us rather busy if I do say so myself. We should have them taken care off soon.”

“You sound really sure of yourself.” Connor said,

“I should be. Several weeks ago, their leader Escrima, one of our most wanted, fled with another wanted criminal known as Deranger. I also took out, Nuklon, one of the rebel leaders, and ever since then the remaining rebels here in Keystone have been in disarray. We were almost finished here until a week ago when the rebels seemed to organize themselves. We believe one of the remaining rebels must have stepped up and have attempted to organize their rag tag group, but it’s nothing we can’t handle. Now are we going to discuss the matter we came in here for, or are you going to continue to question my efforts in this city?”

“I can’t reveal too much,” Connor said sighing trying to rack his brain for what he should and should not tell Starfire, “I have recently obtained evidence that the rebels may be attempting to clone metahumans, and that one of the possible locations is at an old hospital that was once owned by LexCorp.” There was a pause between them for a moment, and Starfire brought her hand up to her mouth positioning it in such a way that was common for people searching their memories.

“I know the place you speak of,” Starfire said, “Come to think of it resistance around that area has been stronger in that section of the city than other places. It’s strange to consider the strategic value though. There’s nothing in that area, but slums and abandoned buildings. It’s as good of place as any for those Sargnorfs to hide.” Starfire said using a word that Connor wasn’t familiar with, but he tried to brush it off considering there were more important things at stake than finding out what sargnorfs were.

“So will I be allowed to enter the city?”

“I’m afraid not,” Starfire said, “At least not on your own.” Connor felt his heart sink into his stomach. He didn’t like the idea of someone fallowing him, especially considering that Doctor Veritas had told him to keep this investigation as quiet as possible.

“My order stands as that only my own men may enter the city, so I will allow you to enter the city, but I will go with you,” Starfire said, “and you will have to follow my orders. Is that understood?”

“I suppose I don’t have any other choice?” Connor asked, and Starfire stood to her feet and walked toward the door.

“No you do not.” Starfire said as she opened the door, “Meet me on the deck in one hour. I still need to assemble my team before we make our way to the hospital.”

When Starfire was finally out of the room, he flopped down in one of the chairs, and began rubbing his head. It just seemed like things kept going from bad to worse. His job was to keep Starfire as far away as possible, and now she was coming with him. Now if Starfire found out more than she needed to, and caused the investigation to go south, it would be on him.

The cabin on the tugboat suddenly started to feel cramped, and he felt like he needed air, so Connor walked out onto the deck of the boat and looked out across the burning cityscape. There was nothing going on near the shoreline, but he could hear screams and gunfire going on inside the city. He wanted nothing more than to just lift off the deck of the boat, and take off as fast as he could into the city, and put a stop to all the fighting, like he had done back in Metropolis just a few weeks ago, but he knew that he couldn’t. If he just flew in there, it could alert the rebels and harm the investigation.

Then suddenly, Connor heard a voice he had not heard in a long time.

“Let go of me, you bastard!” Iris Allen’s voice rang in Connor’s ears. He scanned his vision over the horizon looking for where the voice was coming from, and he finally spotted the source coming from an elderly woman, pulling away from a Beetleman that had ahold of her. Iris was out in the housing projects that were located near the edge of the city, and though Connor knew that he shouldn’t be doing what he was about to do, something took over. He lifted off the deck off the boat and took off as fast as he could toward where the beettleman had Iris.

“Enough, Lady” The beettleman said, as he lifted his arm which morphed into a blade that started to vibrate at a high frequency that was so fast that it made a shrill cry as it came to life, “Stop resisting or I’m going to have to get rough.”

The beetle started to raise the blade up to strike Iris when suddenly Connor appeared between them and separated the Beetleman’s grasp from Iris’s arm that he had been tugging on.

“That will be enough, soldier.” Connor said glaring into the Beetle’s eyes, as he shoved him back. The beetle stumbled slightly and then glared back.

“The hell, you’re that guy from Metropolis.” The beetle spat, “You have no jurisdiction here, and no right to command me.” Connor stood up straight and marched right up to the Beetle.

“I rather not have to hurt you kid.” Connor said coldly, “You know what I did in Metropolis, and that was several men moving faster than the eye can see. What chance does a punk like you in a tin suit have?” The beetle’s look suddenly shifted from a look a pure rage, to a mixture of that and terror.

“How, how dare you!” The beetle stammered, “The commander will hear about this!”

“Go ahead tell her, tell her you were afraid of someone that interfered in the performance of your duty. I’m sure your, commander,” Conner spat as he put emphasis on commander, “will take really kindly to the news, and I think you know what I mean by that.”

The beetle said nothing, but merely scrunched up his face and growled, but in the beetle’s eyes Connor saw fear, and he knew that he had won.

“Get out here.” Connor spat. The beetle then snorted and flew off into the night sky leaving Connor and Iris alone in the street. Connor turned and attempted to show a friendly face, but he could already hear her heart racing, and he could see the look of pure terror.

“Look, please just don’t hurt me.” She begged, “I have a niece to look after, she’s only thirteen. Please, I don’t want any trouble Superman.”

“Iris relax, It’s me Connor.” He attempted to explain trying to put on as friendly of a presence as he could, “You remember, Superboy? Bart’ and Wally’s friend?” For a moment there was a pause, as Iris attempted to comprehend what she was just told and then her eyes went wide in shock.

“My god Connor,” She said as she walked up to him, and placed her hand on the side of his face as if trying to see if he was actually real.

“Yes, Mrs. Allen. It’s me.”

“Dear God, you look just like he used to, in the old news photos.” She said as she took her hand down from his face, “What are you doing here in Keystone and why are you wearing that uniform.”

“I’m just doing a job, Mrs. Allen. Wonder Woman came to…”

“Wonder Woman!” Iris shrieked, as she backed away, shocking Connor.

“Yes, Wonder Woman came to Smallville, and asked me to come do a job.”

“I see,” Iris paused and looked away and Connor noticed tears starting to well up in her eyes, “Thank you for saving me from that thing, but I think you need leave now.”

Connor stood froze to the spot. For a brief moment, he had thought maybe, just maybe, he may have found something about this world that wasn’t completely insane, but it seemed that even here the insanity that was going on had affected those who should not have been affected at all. It chilled him to think of what Diana could have done to Iris to make her so afraid. If Clark could wipe out the entire Justice Society, then what had was it that Diana had done to make Iris break down at the mere mention of her.

“Iris, what’s going on?” Connor asked, “I don’t understand. You’re in danger here, and I want to help you, but I…”

“Auntie!!!” Connor didn’t get to finish his sentence, as he saw a young girl come running up to Iris, who Iris immediately grabbed hold of, and hugged tight.

“Thank god, Thea.” Iris shrieked, “Thank god, are you alright?”

“I’ll be fine, Auntie, but I need to get you out of here.” Thea said, and then she turned and noticed Connor who she immediately grimaced at, and spat “Who’s the creep?”

“Hush Thea, this young man just saved my life, but he was also just leaving, weren’t you Connor?”

“I, uh, yes I was just leaving.” Connor said with sorrow in his voice. He knew when he was no longer welcome. He began to lift up and hovered slightly off the ground when he noticed something different about Thea. He had to look closer to be sure at first, but after he did he was certain. Thea’s molecules were vibrating at a speed that he had only seen before in Bart and Wally.

“You’re name’s Thea right,” Connor asked,

“Yeah, what of it?”

“You have a really special gift.” Connor said, “Always try to use it to do the right thing, okay?”

“What about you, you have gifts too, and you’re a spook.” She retorted, only to earn a scowl from her aunt, but still continued to ask, “Are you doing the right thing?”

“I hope I am,” Connor muttered, before turning his gaze back to the horizon. After a quick glance around he turned back to Thea and Iris to say, “Take the road to the northeast away from the city. It’s the least guarded, and you should be able to get out with no problems and still be able to take it easy on your aunt.”

“Um, thanks. I guess.” Thea stammered, slightly confused by the information, “Uh, Goodbye, nice-government-spook-guy-dude?”

“Goodbye,” Connor said, smiling slightly at the girl’s word choice, and then turned back to Iris, but he quickly lost sight of the small hint of happiness he had felt when he looked into the old lady’s eyes, “Goodbye, Mrs. Allen, and for what it’s worth I’m very sorry.”

“Me too, Connor.” Iris mumbled as she looked away from Connor and to Thea, where she said softly into the girl’s ear, “Let’s go, Thea.”

Then in a flash the two women were gone, and once again Connor was left behind, standing alone.

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Corrupted Superman 2.0 (Kon-El) Issue Five

Continued from: Superman 2.0 Issue Four

Sins of the Past (Part III)

Outskirts of Keystone City, Ground Zero, 2065

Just when you think that you have everything figured out, and that the world might finally start making some sense, something new pops into place. It wasn’t a very long flight from Gotham to Keystone City, but Connor wanted the flight to be a little slower. He needed some time to wrap his head around the fact that a short while ago, he met his son-in-law for the first time, and found out that he was a grandfather. It was a bit surreal, because the last time he had seen his daughter she was only sixteen years old, and the mirror image of her mother. During that meeting all those years ago, he had at first mistaken her for Cassie, but he had heard about Cassie’s death years before. It had amazed him even then just how much Lyla had grown, and even more so just how much of her life he had missed. What hurt the most about that meeting though, was the look that Lyla had given him.

The look she had given him was the same look that he would sometime give to criminals he had encountered for the first time during his days as Superboy, but there was something different about the way Lyla had done it. In her eyes he saw no pity, he didn’t even see anger or disgust, there was just nothing there at all. Then she had turned away from him without even saying a word, and he knew right then that his daughter did not regard him as a living person, much less her father. He had known right then she had only showed up in Smallville that day, to show him just how far she had come, and how she had done it without him.

Robert had been much more accommodating and understanding during their meeting. Robert had talked to him about Donna, his granddaughter. He would tell Connor about how the little girl would wake up wailing in the night and how Lyla was able to instantly calm her down, and how he had much less luck in keeping up with the child since she was already starting to crawl. Robert had offered him the chance to see Donna one day, perhaps when everything with the war going on was finally over, but he had also felt that perhaps Lyla would take a lot of convincing.

He didn’t blame Lyla though. The fact that he had abandoned her tore at Connor, and he constantly wondered, why he didn’t even try. In truth he was afraid. He was afraid of coming back, and seeing the faces of his friends and being reminded of all the death and destruction. He was afraid of losing control again.

Cassie had even come to him once not long after Lyla had been born, and wanted him to be a part of her life. Cassie told him that she didn’t care whether they shared the same beliefs about the world anymore, or any chance that the two of them would ever be together again; all she cared about was that she did not want to raise their daughter alone, and that she wanted Lyla to have her dad in her life, but all he could say was:

“I’m not her father.” At that time Connor had immediately regretted saying it, but he had let his frustration and fear get the better of him. After that Cassie left, and he never her again. It wasn’t till years later when Diana had come to Smallville once again and told him that there had been a battle on Themyscira, where some of the Amazon’s went rogue and that Cassie had died during the battle. During the battle Lyla had been safely hidden, and later found by Diana. Diana had offered to leave her with Connor, but he had felt even then that he still was not someone who needed to be in Lyla’s life, and he had felt that perhaps Diana would be a better parental figure for her. She was only six years old then.

“What the hell was I thinking?” Connor thought. He felt he deserved everything he was feeling right now. The hollow emptiness that was circling in his gut, the blankness of his mind, and the ache he felt in his heart was all duly earned. He had no right, to have anything to do with Lyla now. Back then he had a chance, but now he was a stranger to her and her family. Looking at what she had become, why did she need him? She had become Wonder Girl under Diana’s tutelage, and was said to be even more skilled than her mother was. Now she was a wife to the nation’s top geneticist, she had retired from being Wonder Girl in favor of being an Ambassador to the European Union, and she was also the mother to a very beautiful little girl. In the face of all that, he could not blame her for wanting nothing to do with him.

At this point the best that Connor could do would be to concentrate on the investigation. Robert had finished isolating the location of where the cells had been harvested from. The cells were definitely Kryptonian in their structure, but there was never any lab that had operated using Kryptonian stem cells. The way Robert finally found out was by looking at the genetic mapping structure. The design was a very old one, and its purpose was to clone human beings, not metahumans. It wasn’t even meant to clone living humans, but instead it was meant to be used as a sort of harvest for human organs to be used in transplant surgeries. Robert Gordon had actually scoffed at the rebels, calling them fools for even thinking that such a thing would work in the cloning of metahumans.

He then told Connor that there was only one place that this particular template had been used in the past fifty years, and that was at a now defunct hospital that was formally owned by LexCorp located in Keystone City.After saying goodbye to Robert and leaving Wayne Enterprises, he put in a call to Dr. Veritas to tell her what he had found.

“I see, alright proceed to Keystone City and continue your investigation, but be careful,” She had said, “Keystone City is currently ground zero, head to Central first and meet with Commander Starfire there at the Order’s Outpost, you’ll need her permission to enter the city, otherwise you’ll probably be considered a hostile.”

Veritas had also informed him to be very careful with Starfire, and to be very selective with what information he shared with her. It turned out that Starfire had grown into a very cunning Tamaranean warrior, and that she had a reputation for getting what she wanted out of people, whether they are friend or foe. She also had a reputation for being very violent and unforgiving against those who stood against her, and if the situation escalated then she could be a threat to their investigation.

This time Connor didn’t even bother to think about how things used to be. He had met Starfire a few times, but he never really knew her. Sure he never really imagined her being the way Veritas had described her, but as crazy as everything had become lately, and with everything else he was dealing with Connor figured it would just be better to accept what he was told, and just go with it.

Connor was approaching Cental which was on the other side of the river from Keystone City when he first saw the flames. Central had also seen its fair share of damage, but compared to Keystone City it was virtually untouched. Keystone City was an inferno, and he could hear all kinds of cries coming from the city. He honed in using his telescopic vision and that was when he saw the wall. It wasn’t a literal wall, but there were hundreds of Hawkmen and Beettlemen circling the perimeter of the city. The bridge between the two cities had been destroyed, and no one was being allowed out despite the crowd pushing and shoving at the barricades that had been set up.

When he looked at the river he saw some people trying to swim across only to be stunned by a beetle and then carried off by a Hawk back into the city. Connor looked away from the people, and gritted his teeth attempting to force back the urge to fly straight into the city and start helping people. He remembered what Veritas had told him, about how the investigation was of the upmost priority. If they found out the rebel’s plans and put a stop to them then perhaps all of this would end sooner, and Connor knew if he ran in there and started playing the hero the rebels would be alerted to his presence, and may try to flee or cover up their operations.

Connor was scanning the area looking for any sign of an outpost for the order when two Hawk’s swooped in beside him.

“Halt!” one of them said, and not wanting any trouble Connor obliged.

“You’re flying in restricted air space. State your name, and purpose for being here.”

“My name is Connor Kent, and I’m doing an investigation of rebel activity for the First Lady.”

“Humph,” the other hawk said, “well you’ve come to the right place. We’re up to eyelids in rebel scum.”

“I was told to speak with Commander Starfire, before proceeding into the city. Can you take me to her.”

“There have been many attempts on the Commander’s life in the past few days.” The Hawk who had stopped him spat, “No one sees the commander without the proper authorization.”

“My contact is Dr. Shay Veritas, Chief Scientist for the Order, tell your commander that and that should get me the proper clearance.” Connor said, but the Hawk bared his teeth and got really close to Connor.

“I’m not telling the Commander anything, like I said this is a restricted air space, so as far as I’m concerned you can fly right back out the way you came.”

“Brother,” The other Hawk piped up, “Perhaps we should call this in.”

“I told you we’re not calling in anything. Now shut your mouth before I put my mace through it.”

“You’re a second generation aren’t you?” Connor said to the Hawk in front of him. Connor had caught on when he saw that this Hawk was a little older than his counterpart.

Though, a lot had gone on during his time in Smallville, there were a few things that had not slipped his notice. He remembered when the first Hawkmen came to Smallville, and he too thought it was a great way to honor the once great Carter Hall by having his legacy forever police the sky over the new world. He had thought that perhaps it might help prevent more atrocities like what happened in Metropolis. The Hawkmen had their troubles though. The first generation despite their strength and level headedness proved to be defective by aging too quickly, having seizures, or having a complete mental breakdown. There were few of the first generation left, and the only one Connor knew was the Chief over the legion that patrolled near Smallville.

The Second Generation, were most like the man that they were cloned from. They did not have the same problems as the first generation, but they lacked the strength and had a temper that made them much more susceptible to violence. The second generation also tended to have variations in them ranging from hair color to height. Connor had once had to embarrass a second generation in Smallville for attempting to use his mace on old Mrs. Potts over not being able to defend herself from a local purse snatcher, whom Connor also found himself taking care of later.

This guy was a second generation Hawk, there was definitely no mistaking that attitude.

“Oh, Looks like we have a wise ass here.Well I like to show you what we do to guys like…huh.” The Hawk was suddenly stopped when his counterpart, obviously a third generation, built more to take orders than to their on their feet, reached up and grabbed the second’s shoulder holding him back.

“Brother, this is an anomaly, calm yourself, call into headquarters and confirm to see if this Connor Kent’s story is true.” The third said. Connor found himself caught a little off guard. A third generation was normally rather dull in its nature, and normally didn’t speak out of turn. A mutation perhaps?

“I don’t need a robot like you telling me what to do!” the second generation growled as he jerked away from the third.

“I would listen to him.” Connor added, “I was having sparring sessions with your template long before you made your first bubbles in the breeding tubes, and I rather not have to embarrass you.”

The second looked back at Connor gritting his teeth, and his right hand gripping the handle of his mace. He then looked back at the third, who narrowed his eyes at him urging him to make the call.

“Bah,” the second spat, “I’ll let the Commander deal with you. It’s going to be fun watching you get roasted.” The Hawk pressed a button on his gauntlet activating his communicator.

“Patrol to Base. This is Hawkman 2-A239. I like to put a message in to the Commander.

“Go ahead, 239.”

“I have a guy here claiming to be an agent for the President’s shag. He wants to speak with Commander Starfire. Should I grant permission?” There was a short pause, before whoever it was on the other end of the line answered.

“Go ahead, 239. Commander Starfire will meet you on the deck of the Resolution.”

“Well looks like it’s your lucky day, or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, I can’t wait to find out.” The second turned and flew away, while the other one looked back at Connor.

“This way sir.”

Connor followed behind the Hawks for a short while as the approached a barge floating in the middle of the river. As they lowered their descent Connor caught his first glimpse of Starfire in years. She had not seemingly aged a day, and despite her alien appearance of amber skin and glowing green eyes, she was still just as beautiful. She was already walking towards them when Connor and the Hawks were touching down on the deck, her scarlet hair draped down past the middle of her back, the tips of it appearing as if they were on fire. The second generation Hawk that was with Connor started to speak:

“We brought the subject as reques…” The Hawk never got to finish his sentence as his head suddenly burst into flame from the starbolt that Starfire had unleashed from her right hand, catching both Connor and the third generation Hawk off guard. Starfire turned on the third and narrowed her eyes.

“My lady, please wait!!” the third generation exclaimed, before he too was struck in the face with the same energy that had just killed his brother. Connor looked down at the Hawk who had just murdered with horror in his eyes. He turned back to Starfire gritting his teeth and eyes full of rage.

“You killed him!” He roared, but Starfire walked right up to him never taking her eyes away from his, “What the hell is wrong with you! Is this how you treat your…” Connor suddenly found himself unable to speak when Starfire suddenly wrapped her arms around his neck and planted her lips on his.

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A Corrupted World: Issue 01

Harbinger of Destruction (Part I)

Kahndaq, 2065

Kahndaq has never truly been a peaceful place. It has had its times when there was less fighting, but there was always a war, somewhere in Kahndaq, but this one was by far one of the darkest in the nation’s history. Superman had ruled the nation of Kahndaq for years from his throne on the far side of the world. Relatively everything was peaceful in Kahndaq, that was until someone claiming to be Black Adam struck back and killed several of the World Order’s soldiers. He and another calling herself Isis, also claiming to be a figure from Kahndaq’s past, laid their claim on Kahndaq, and went to war with Superman.

Kahndaq’s self-proposed new leaders, in their push for independence forgot the most important treasure to a nation: it’s people. Now war covers Kahndaq once again, but this war is not one of gain, but of punishment. Kahndaq dared show it’s fangs to the King across the sea, and now all were paying for it. No one was being spared, not the women, children, or the elderly. It was purely a show of force, nothing more.

For Aleena Bal, this war was another curse that had been placed on her. The woman with tangled dark hair that descended past her shoulders and mud covering her face held tightly to the hands of the children that followed her.

“This way, and keep quiet little ones.” She said softly to the two girls and three boys surrounding her, “We don’t want the soldiers to see us.”

“Umm Bal, I’m scared,” said one of the children.

“I know, I’m scared too, but I promise nothing will happen to you. Now follow me, and be quick. We have to get out of the city tonight.” Aleena said and she began to move toward the door. The skies were on fire tonight. Hawkmen attacked planes that the rebels had managed to get ahold of, after the destruction of the old US Embassy. In the streets Aleena could hear screams as men were being slaughtered.

“Come, let’s go.” Aleena urged the children, and holding their hands she started running down the streets while keeping her head down. As they ran one of the children fell, Aleena urged the other children forward before running back and picking up the young boy that had fallen. The boy screamed into Aleena’s ears as they ran. Crying in pain from a scrape he had sustained while falling which was now bleeding onto Aleena’s robes.

“We’re almost there children.” She said, “Keep moving, where almost …” Her words were caught short, as one of the creatures known in the nation of Kandaq as Hawk’s swooped down out of the sky and grabbed up one of the children, and carried the little girl up into the night sky. Aleena could still hear the child screaming as she disappeared into the blackness. Screams came from the other children, as Hawk’s dropped down out of the sky onto the ground. There were at the very least five of them, and they took the children while they were screaming:

“Umm Bal, help us! Please help us.” But Aleena was terrified. She knew there was nothing she could do, so with tears in her eyes, she turned away and started to run, but when she tried she ran into something solid which unbalanced her causing her to fall. When she regained sense of her surroundings, she realized that she had lost the child that she was holding, and looked up only to see three more of the Hawks. The one in the middle looked older than the two by his side, and his armor was different, more of a bronze instead of the metallic that most of the Hawk’s wore. In his right hand he was holding the child by his shirt, and the child kicked violently at the air trying to break free.

“Quite a feisty one isn’t he.” The Hawk said as he lifted the child up and slammed his fist into the kids face causing blood to spray everywhere from the sand to Aleena’s feet.

“Allah, beg you,” She cried, “Please have mercy. He’s only a boy!” She tried to get up and reach for the child, but the Hawk merely kicked her in the gut, and sending her crashing back to the ground, gasping for air.

“He’ll live,” the Hawk said, and tossed the boy back to one of the Hawk’s behind him, “Take that one and put him with the others.” The other Hawk nodded and took off into the sky with the boy in his arms.

“Now, what shall I do with you?” the older Hawk said, as he knelt down, and moved Aleena’s hair out of her face. “Now you’re not too bad looking? And young too, oh I bet I could have a lot of fun with you.” He chuckled and grabbed hold of Aleena’s hair. Aleena screamed in agony, as the Hawk yanked and pulled, “I want the rest of you to get those little brats out of here, and you,” She barked at the other Hawk next to him, “You come with me, and stand guard while I take care of the prisoner. Now all of you get to it! That’s an order!”

The Hawks who had the other children took off into the sky, while the leader dragged Aleena over to one of the houses that lined Kahndaq’s streets. He kicked open the door, and then grabbed Aleena throwing her inside. Aleena slammed into the wall and the breath left her lungs. Her head was throbbing, and she could barely see. Her ears were ringing, but she could still make out what the lead Hawk was saying.

“You stay guard here, and don’t open the door for anyone while I interrogate the prisoner.” The leader said,

“But sir, our orders are to capture the area, not interrogate…” but he was suddenly cut off, when the leader started screaming

“I know what our orders are, because I’m the one that gives them! Now shut up and guard the damn door!” he screamed, and the door slammed. Aleena heard the footsteps as the Hawk walked into the room. She could smell the stink of his breath from where she lay. Aleena knew what was coming. She had felt this kind of man before. A man so vile, that it made Aleena’s insides run cold.

“You can stop this, that you can.”

“No,” Aleena muttered to herself, “No.”

“Ah relax,” the Hawk said, as his armor chest plate fell and clanged against the floor, “I promise you that you’ll enjoy this.”

“His flesh, the hunger, I will not fast.”

Aleena felt herself jerked up off the floor, pushed up against the wall, and the violent jarring as the Hawk ripped her robes, and grasped her.

“I’m not like the robot out there, you little skank. You see unlike them, I’m going to get to enjoy every second of this!” he said as he held tighter. Aleena who had felt the vile putrid stink of the Hawk, felt her will finally break.

“Foolish, girl. Why does thee wait, Let him feel your fiery hate!”

Aleena had once been a godly woman, who was faithful to all that she loved. She had once been a beautiful woman. The elders described her as the flower of the desert. As something so pure that it was a true treasure, but she had sinned and Allah had forsaken her. Her god was not going to come tonight.

“You know,” Aleena gasped, “You’re absolutely right. I will enjoy this.”

“THAT’S IT SHELL, CALL ON THEE, LET THEE ARISE THE DEMON!”

“ETRIGAN!!!” Aleena roared, her voice turned deep and feral, and fire burst from her body, engulfing the home in a hellish inferno. The Hawk, screamed as the fire burned not his flesh but his soul. Then out of the fire emerged a creature from the deepest depths of hell. Though the demon had the body of a woman its skin was yellowish and like leather, horns like a ram’s protruded from its head, and the tips of its fingers ended in razor sharp talons. The demon grabbed hold of the Hawk and opened its mouth and buried it’s fangs into the Hawks neck and ripped away a large chunk of bloody flesh, and scarfed it down like a starving rabid wolf. It did not stop though, it bit down again, and again, and again, blood spreading further across the floor with every bite.

By the tip the other Hawk burst into the room, the demon, had already removed much of the flesh on the leader’s neck, cheek and shoulder. The Hawk that was guarding the door did not have time to react as the demon leaped out at the Hawk and tackling it to the ground outside the now burning home. The demon flailed it’s claws at the Hawk’s face separating flesh from bone.

“This children Etrigan! Save them and you can still have your pound in flesh.”

The demon growled, as bat like wings protruded from its back, and with one great thrust the demon took off into the sky. The night was like home to the demon, and the Hawks were intruders into its domain. Etrigan swatted them out of them out of the sky like flies, and when they attacked in force, the demon’s eyes emitted a fiery glow, and it opened its mouth unleashing a torrent of fire onto the unsuspecting Hawk’s, which now fell to the earth in balls of flame.

The demon flew swiftly, and it soon caught sight of the Hawk’s that had taken the children from Aleena. The demon roared out its battle cry, causing the Hawk who wasn’t carrying a child to turn back, and charge. The demon ignored the Hawk’s attempt to attack and went right for its head, which it whipped around, ripping the Hawk’s head and spine from its head from its body in one fluid motion that sent the body back at the other Hawk’s which struck the one closest to the rear, causing it to drop the child it was holding.

The demon dove after the child, grabbing it long enough to break its fall, before letting it go again, and crash into the desert sands. The child would be banged up, but it would live. Nothing a few months of therapy wouldn’t cure. If they had therapy in this country.

The demon lifted its glide and soared back up to the other Hawk’s. There were three left. The one in front was terrified, and flying as fast as he could. Way faster than the other two, which flew side by side. The demon decided he would let the one in the lead feel it’s fear long, for the flesh is much sweeter when it has been seasoned with terror, so instead the demon went after the other two, flying right over them, the demon grabbed the two Hawk’s wings, ripping them from their backs and causing them to plummet to the ground. Then holding out its palms two orbs of flame appeared, and it tossed the flames at the falling Hawks which erupted into flames almost immediately before crashing into the ground.

“NO ETRIGAN! HOW COULD YOU!”

“SHUT IT!” Etrigan growled, not caring that two innocent lives just ended. “The last one is getting away!” The demon took off soaring as fast as it could. The Hawk, with the additional weight of the child was no match for Etrigan’s speed. Etrigan caught up with the Hawk and grabbed a hold of it, and went plummeting toward the ground. Right before they reached the ground, Etrigan ripped the child from the Hawk’s grasp and the demon spread its wings slowing their fall. Etrigan landed putting all its weight on top of the Hawk, and snapping its spine. Etrigan stood up straight, and though its appearance was the hellish rendition of Aleena Bal, the child saw no resemblance in what had it had once called: Umm Bal. The child screamed and cried thrashed about, as Etrigan held the child up and hissed.

“Bah, what a waste of time.” Etrigan hissed and tossed the child away and into the sands where to landed and began to cry, and apparently wet itself, which Etrigan caught the scent of, and then commented saying, “disgusting.”

Suddenly a bright light appeared in the sky shining down on Etrigan causing the demon to shield its eyes. The roar of the engines created a large down draft causing the sands to fly up into the air. It was one of the World Order’s dropships. Etrigan looked up and saw the door open, and one solitary figure leaped out of the dropship where it landed in front of the demon. The figure was armored from head to toe, and Etrigan could tell from the size and shape that he armored warrior was a woman. The woman drew a sword from the scabbard on her back and took her stance not saying a single word, and Etrigan smiled.

“Now this is more like it.” Etrigan growled as the demon dropped down into a fighting stance, and the warrior leaped out sword raised over her head poised to strike.

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Corrupted: Superman 2.0 (Kon-El) Issue Four

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?”

“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.

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