Honor's Last Call (An Usagi Yojimbo Story)

I was competing in a Fan-Fiction tournament when I wrote this, and though I lost I was still very proud of this piece. I had no idea at first who or what Usagi was, so I really delved into research, and when I mean research, I don't mean I just read the wiki. I went to the Library and picked up the trades, and I did a little inspiration research and learned about the historical figure, Miyamoto Musashi, that Usagi was based off of. I even went as far as to buy the Samurai Warriors video games in hopes of learning more about ronin from it, and fortunately this was the only thing that turned out to be fruitless in all my research. When I wrote this I wanted to tell a complete story, and bring it full circle since it needed to be so short, so I figured what better story to tell, than to tell the last story of the great ronin rabbit, Miyamoto Usagi. Now without further ado, I proudly present for the second time:

Honor’s Last Call

Time is like the tide of the great sea. With each new passing moon, things that were once true are swept away into the sea of time; only to be replaced with new meanings and traditions. Many of the things I did in my time, that I had considered to be honorable, are now seen as senseless and perverse. The rifle has replaced the blade, and numbers, not honor, guide the lords of my homeland.

I, Miyamoto Usagi, head now to my final conflict along the dirt roads from Reigando, my chosen place of isolation, to Yokoshima, a growing village that rests in the shadow of my mountain. As I walk this road I feel my bones ache with every step. My fur has grown rough and coarse in my old age, my hearing is not what it once was, and the ability to see in detail the beat of a hummingbird’s wing, left me many years ago. I am slower than once was, and my body is plagued with a horrid cough that strikes me with a pain much greater than any wound I had ever received in the days of my youth.

Despite all these complications, I still make the journey to face this new breed of warrior, which my land now so eagerly boasts. At one point, I had considered the lad unworthy of a challenge, and I had hoped that my swords would have finally received their rest, but the call of battle reached out to them once again, waking them from their slumber. As I walk amongst the trees and tall grass surrounding my home, I begin to ponder the steps that I have taken in my life, and if anyone would bother to walk in this old rabbit’s footsteps. Does Bushido, the way of the warrior, still have a place in this age? Or am I merely a relic, who is too stubborn to leave behind such things as honor and pride.

As I step onto the bridge that crosses over the flowing brook which separates the great woods from the bustling town, I close my eyes and listen to the sound of the water that flows beneath my feet. I let its soothing voice wrap me in a sheet of serenity, and then the earth opens up to me. I hear a symphony, not of instruments, but instead of the wind blowing through the leaves on the tress surrounding the village, and of the birds singing their morning melody as they soar through air. These are sounds that have comforted me over the past few years that I have spent up on the mountain.

Then I enter the bustling village, and the comfort of nature’s symphony leaves me, to be replaced with the clatter of people as they go about their daily lives. I do not fault them for being so noisy, but it is simply that in my older age, I have chosen company of a much different kind. It is then when I finally hear them. The crowd is gathered awaiting my arrival, and so is my opponent.

I see the young lion who has challenged me. In one hand he holds a musket, and at his waist are two pistols. His body is adorned in armor, as if he were suspecting a great battle to break out at any moment. At each side of him there are two men, bodyguards, hired for their brutish appearance rather than their skill. I knew, for I had seen their kind before. The warrior looks at me, and laughs

“So the old man finally shows his face!” He shouts out to me, “I was beginning to wonder if you had died up in that cave, but I’m so glad you have the courtesy to come out, so I don’t have to walk as far to see you die.”

I do not respond to his taunts. He knows nothing of honor, for that is why words are seated with poison. I think of the young girl in their possession, a temple maid by the name of Misao. A sweet girl who showed an old man kindness by making the journey with her brother up to my home on the summit of Mount Iwato, to provide me with food, supplies, and even conversation that was a bit one sided, for it was the young Misao who did all the talking while I remained silent. Still it had been nice to hear her voice, but only a day ago her brother raced to the summit alone, and pleaded with me to save his sister from the brigands who had abducted her. He had explained that they were looking for me, and when they had discovered Misao, she refused to hand me over to them.

Brave girl, I thought, but foolish. Her brother then informed me that if I did not come, that she would be killed. I had wanted to remain in isolation, I had wanted to forget the child, and leave her to her fate, but honor always has a way of speaking to a warrior, when it calls him to battle.

“Where is the child?” I say to the warrior. The words come out dry and unclear, for they are the first words I have spoken in a long time. This causes the lad and his band to break out in laughter once again. It is embarrassing, but the moment is fleeting, for I have no time for such feelings.

“What was that, I can’t hear you? Can you speak a little louder?” The young lion teases, and begins to break out in a giggling fit once more. This boy is no warrior, and this time I make sure my voice speaks with authority only rivaled by the Shogun himself.

“THE CHILD!” My voice booms as it echoes between the walls of the village, and my opponent’s look changes from the jesting appearance of a small boy to that of an offended cub. He motions his hand in the air, and from amongst the crowd I see another of the warrior’s lackeys emerge holding a young woman by the shoulders and forcing her forward. Her hair is disheveled, and her kimono barely clings to her form. Her face is swollen and bruised, and her eyes which I had seen sparkle many a time were impossible to see amongst the black circles that surrounded them. Her once luscious fur was tangled and matted, and I could see parts of it caked with dirt. I wanted to look away, but something prevented me. I feel rage rise up inside me, but I suppress it and focus instead only on repaying in full what disgrace was done to her.

“Here is your whore, old man.” The lion says as he grabs hold of her and shoves her out towards me. Misao stumbles at first, but slowly rights herself, and begins to take slow, yet steady strides towards me. She stops right in front of me, and looks up at me. I see sorrow in her face, and she beings to speak, but I stop her.

“Go to your family girl.” I say with a soft voice, but a firm tone. I look away from her and lock eyes with my opponent. Misao’s mother comes running to her to help her, and when I am sure they are safely out of harm’s way, I speak to my opponent.

“What is your name?” I ask the lion

“I am the great, Kenji Yukimura, fastest gun in five provinces, and I am here for your head Usagi Miyamoto.” He shouts proclaiming his name, and intention to the crowd. He is confident, and sure of his victory.

“Well then Kenji Yukimura,” I reply. “Do what you have come to do.” Yukimura grins and raises his rifle. He takes his aim, and there is a brief moment where I see a flash and a loud roar deafens me. I hear the crowd scream out in fear, for they are not used to the loud, clumsy sound of a firearm. I see the small lead ball as it races towards me at speeds that no normal man would be able to see.

I feel the familiar sensation as pull my Katana, Yagi No Eda (Willow Branch), from its sheath. I pull my sword up in time to block the shot. The lead ball falls harmlessly at my feet. I am a bit slower than I used to be. I remember the days when I could once split the ball into even halves, but those were days long past. I look into the Yukimura’s eyes and I see that confidence has been replaced with fear. I smile for I know the battle is already over.

He screams as I race towards him, dropping his musket and fumbling for his pistols. His fear makes him clumsy, and years of watching archers line up shots have prepared me for moments like this. The shot from each pistol rings off loudly, I side step one easily, but the other grazes my right arm. I am much slower than I once was.

Yukimura stumbles backwards in an attempt to avoid my strike, and he nearly does, but not before my sword severs his thumb and trigger finger from his right hand, and destroys his pistol. Kenji falls to the ground screaming as he holds tightly to his bleeding hand. For a moment all is silent, save for the screams of Yukimura, but then the crowd erupts into cheers for my victory over him. Yukimura’s men are frightened, and it only takes one glance from me to tell them to leave. His men break their ranks, and flee has fast as they can from the village. I wipe the blood from my sword before returning it to its sheath. Yukimura has stopped screaming, and instead glares at me with rage filled eyes.

“You are not worthy of a warrior’s death, Kenji Yukimura. Instead you will leave this village, and never return. You will also carry that wound for the rest of your days, and walk this earth in the disgrace that you have wrought on yourself. You are without honor, and I turn my back on you.” I say as I turn from him, and begin walking away. With each step I hold onto a blind hope that the fool will stand, and walk away as I told him. Instead, I hear him clumsily handle his other pistol as he attempts to load it. I wait until the pistol is loaded, and I hear him the hammer click into place. He does not see me unsheathe Aoyagi (Young Willow), my short sword. I turn and throw the blade and I see it embed in between the Lion’s eyes. He is dead before his body falls the rest of the way into the mud.

“Fool” I mutter under my breath as I stare at his lifeless corpse. All is still until, Misao’s brother runs over and pulls the sword from Kenji’s skull. He runs over to me, and kneels down, holding the sword up to me.

“Thank you, Samurai.” He says to me. I take my blade, wipe away the blood and return it to its sheath, and nod at the boy, dismissing him. I look around one last time and look into the face of young Misao. She manages to smile, and for that I am grateful. I turn from the crowd and walk away from the village. I look up at my mountain, and I feel a slight ache in my chest, but shrug it off, and I begin to make my way home. I find myself hoping that the journey will be swift, for my body aches and my spirit is tired and in need of a long rest.

THE END

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Corrupted: Superman 2.0 (Kon-El) Issue Three

Continued from:

Corrupted: Superman 2.0 (Kon-El) part two

Sins of the Past (Part One)

The surface of the moon, 2065

Silence, sometimes it’s all one needs to be able to make sense of their thoughts, and that was what Connor had sought out in the face of all that had recently come to his attention. Several hours ago, Connor had retreated from Earth’s atmosphere, and sought solace on the surface of the moon. It was the first time he had ever been all the way up here, because even when he first emerged from the tubes and joined the titans, the heroes of earth had left the moon behind long before. Connor was walking now amongst the rubble of what had once been the Justice League’s Watchtower. There had been a great battle ages ago, and it left the Justice League without a place to call home.

As Connor walked amongst the rubble, he couldn’t help, but feel a strange sense of kinship with it. Though it was nothing but a ruin, it still was a part of the past, and Connor had started to feel that perhaps he too was just another old relic in a new world. Perhaps the world had left him behind, and was it really the right thing to do to fight against the powers that be and carry out some damn fool crusade against those who sought to use that which created him? New worlds and new ways of life were built on the death of customs which make up the foundation of new worlds, and new ways of life. It was just the way things in life went. Out with the old and in with the new.

He came across a large metal block that seemed sturdy enough, so he decided to have a seat, but as he did he looked out at the giant blue marble before him. Earth was truly beautiful up here. From the surface of the moon it was hard to imagine that something that looked so serene, peaceful, and alone in the giant black void of space was actually a place full of turmoil and strife. From here though, Connor, even with super-hearing, couldn’t even hear a peep.

The quiet gave him a chance to think about everything that had transpired in the past couple of days. He had left Smallville and traveled to Metropolis to help the world government in putting a stop to rebel cloning efforts, and at the same time he discovered that the world he had left behind had changed. Kal-El, the man he had looked up to his entire life, had murdered people who had once been their friends, and possibly even more. Diana, the woman who had convinced him to return, had been keeping secrets from him, and just how much was being kept secret he couldn’t possibly know. A new kind of costumed vigilante had emerged in the form of a sort of guerrilla militia, and they had kidnapped Kal and Diana’s child.

Connor had confronted Kal and Diana about their wrong doings only to be sneered at. A few days ago when he had saved Metropolis from an attack he had been praised by the populace, but now at every turn Hawkmen and SHADE agents would appear and tell him to leave constantly hindering every attempt at investigation. He had scanned all of Metropolis with X-ray vision and the like, but his efforts had turned up nothing. He wasn’t even allowed into the crime scene where the initial cloning lab had been found. He wasn’t allowed to look at the reports, and he wasn’t allowed to question any witnesses. Diana was impossible to get into contact with at this point due to the disagreement they had, and the fact that she was leading efforts to find their child.

He couldn’t blame her though. Diana was a true warrior, woman, and a mother. She was more of a parent than he had ever been, and that was a scar he knew he would have to carry for the rest of his life. For a brief moment he thought about his old girlfriend Cassie, and the life that he had turned away from and gave away. At the time, he had felt it the proper thing to do, for how could someone like him ever be a father, but ever since he made that choice there wasn’t a day that went by that he did not think about it. He could have tried.

Connor shook his head, now wasn’t a time to get himself lost in the past. He still needed to figure out a way to find what he was looking for. Perhaps he could float at the top of Earth atmosphere and listen for any sign of activity, but even that seemed ludicrous. There were over six billion people living on the surface, and even if he did hear anything it could take days, possibly weeks and whatever the rebels were attempting could be completed by the time he found something. Then there was the fact that he would need rest himself, because despite all his strength, he would still get tired. He was at a loss.

It was about time to be getting back. Perhaps he could fly over Metropolis again, maybe there was something he had missed. He lifted up off the moon’s surface, but as he did, something happened that wasn’t supposed too. He heard something.

In space, sound doesn’t travel as it normally does on Earth, but Connor was picking up something as if it were only a few feet away. It was a constant ringing, not all that different from the land line phone that Connor kept in the house back in Smallville.

The sound was coming from Earth, but where? Connor began flying away from the moon at top speed towards the Earth atmosphere. He broke earth’s atmosphere, the Kryptonian jumpsuit taking the friction of re-entry with ease, and the sound grew louder and louder the faster he approached the ground; to a point where it was almost deafening. It hurt so much that he had to slow his flight to be able to maintain his altitude. He was compelled though to find out where it was coming from. Eventually his search led him into a desert; well more like crashed him into it. Eventually the sound became so loud that it caused him to lose control over flight completely. He cried out in agony as he crashed down into the desert wastes.

His mouth was full of dirt and his bones ached a little from the hard landing. All that on top of the massive pounding in his skull resulting from the constant ringing, Connor found it amazing that he was even able to stand, but he had learned long ago how to master his senses. For a person with Kryptonian genetics it was all about focus, and though it took nearly all he had it caused the ringing to lessen in his ears, but it also helped him to focus on its origin.

It was coming from underground. There was a canyon not too far from where Connor had landed, but the ringing seemed to be coming from deeper than that. He leaped over to the Canyon, and used x-ray and telescopic vision to look down further into the Canyon depths. He wanted to be sure to avoid any traps if there happened to be any, but when he looked into the darkness of the Canyon all he saw was a large metal door.

“Now, what would that be doing down there?” he said to himself rhetorically. Leaping down into the Canyon, he shortly found himself in front of the door. The door was massive, towering above him, and it appeared to be several meters thick. When he tried to see through the door he was met with a solid sheet of black.

“It’s lined with lead.” Connor muttered, trying to figure the whole situation out, but as soon as those words left his mouth the ringing ceased. Since he was focusing on blocking out the ringing, he had almost not noticed its disappearance, and it wasn’t till a voice spoke, that he knew otherwise.

“I see you found the place Mr. Kent. It took you long enough.” A female voice rang out from the Canyon walls.

“What the,” Connor muttered startled, “Who’s there, and what the heck is going on?”

“Relax Mr. Kent,” the voice continued, “We’ve met before, and I can assure that you are in safe hands.” Then with that the massive door began to shift as it creaked open and disappeared into the rock surface of the Canyon, and there just behind the door stood a pettie woman in a strange outfit and violet hair.

“Dr. Veritas!?” Connor piped, “That ringing and all this was you?”

“Yes Mr. Kent, I’m sorry about the noise, but after that little show you put on at the Capitol, you disappeared. I needed to get into contact with you, and you left me no other option.”

“I’m sorry; I had to clear my head. There had been a lot going on that I didn’t know. What in the world was that ringing though?”

“It’s simple really. I’m sure you remember James Olsen’s signal watch from your younger days?” Dr. Veritas inquired, and unfortunately Connor wished he could forget about that damn watch. Both he and Kara had confided in each other back then that both of them had at times wanted to rip that watch off Jimmy’s hands and shove it down Kal’s throat for having the stupid idea in the first place. There was nothing quite as unpleasant as trying to eat a bowl of cereal in the morning only to end up choking on the milk because of a noise that was so ear splitting that it caused every muscle in your body to seize up in that initial second when first hearing it.

“As crude as the initial design was it gets the job done, and the modifications that I have made have allowed me to alter the signal in such a way that I can reach you and only you if I need to, but it seems I had to boost the signal quite a bit actually. You must have been a long ways away.

“I was on the moon.” Connor snapped, and Dr. Veritas suddenly looked taken about.

“Oh my, I’m sure you must have quite a headache. I do apologize, but if you don’t mind me asking what were you doing on the moon?”

“I needed some quiet to help me think, I’ve run into quite a bit of resistance in my investigation.”

“So I’ve heard. By the way, that’s a stylish outfit you have going on there,” Dr. Veritas said as she put her finger on the Kryptonian one piece. The suit was black and it covered his entire body save for his hands and head. It had slots on the shoulders for a cape, but there was no family crest on the chest as was normal for most Kryptonian body suits.

“It’s Kryptonian. Superman gave it to me a long time ago. It tends not to burn up as easy as cotton and denim do during atmospheric re-entry.”

“Well it looks good on you; perhaps you might consider adding color to it though?” Veritas inquired, but Connor just smiled and shook his head. The Kryptonian garb was for Kryptonian’s, and Connor had always just looked at it the outfit as if he were only borrowing it. It seemed like now though, Connor would be borrowing the outfit indefinitely.

“Oh well, you can’t blame a woman for trying.” Dr. Veritas said as she turned and stepped up onto a platform which rose up and floated in front of Connor, “now if you don’t mind come this way please.” The platform turned and sped off down the long dark corridor, and Connor followed along lifting off, and then landing on the platform behind Veritas. The light’s turned on as they moved, and eventually the reached a doorway that lead into a small room. It didn’t take Connor long to realize they were in an elevator, because as soon as they entered the room the door closed behind them, and Connor felt a slight rising in his stomach.

“Uh, Doctor, if you don’t mind me asking. Where am I?”

“You’re in a place that was once known as the most advanced research facility on the Planet Earth,” The solid paneling suddenly gave way to glass and Connor marveled at what he saw before him. The interior of the facility was massive, far bigger than the Fortress of Solitude. Connor could make out all kinds of machinery, both human and alien in origin. On platforms all over the place there were holograms floating, all in Dr. Veritas image and at its center was a bright glowing light, and as concentrated harder the realization of what he was looking at finally struck him.

“I don’t believe it.” Connor stammered, completely baffled, “Is that…”

“The Earth’s core.” Dr. Veritas said with a grin on her face, “Welcome Mr. Kent, to the Block.”

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Corrupted: Superman 2.0 (Kon-El) Part Two

Continued from:

Corrupted: Kon-El returns

Part One

Washington D.C. –Forty Eight Hours after the attack on Metropolis.

Doctor Shay Veritas had worked with the Man of Steel for several years. Years ago she had created a facility known as “The Block”. It was a training facility built specifically for Superman, but in the past several decades it had fallen into disuse. After all why would the most powerful man in the universe need to better himself. He had all his trinkets now, so there would be no need for the human ingenuity that Kal-El had once relied on to help make him the most effective hero known to man.

Now Kal-El wanted to be the greatest leader known to man. He wanted to be a visionary and push humanity to the next stage of evolution. He often spoke to her about how he was going to make order out of all the chaos. Though she did not see the effort he was making. He instead seemed more like a petty dictator, who had been reduced to viewing people as either tools to be used or as cogs in some machine running. Unfortunately, Shay knew that she just so happened to be one of the tools that would keep the machine going.

Shay had been in her early thirties when she first met Superman, but the one thing that scared her more than the wrath of the county’s fearless leader, was the idea of dying. When she had turned thirty five she had developed a tumor on her brain. She had felt that what had happened to her was unfair, and she felt there was still much she needed to do for the world, so she took it on herself to repair the damage. She performed extensive and experimental surgery on herself removing and repairing the brain tissue that had been damaged. She made a full and miraculous recovery. Many of her colleagues could not believe what they had seen. It was a true miracle, but it was no miracle of supernatural significance, but rather the miracle of science.

She had studied the subject known as Brainiac, one of Superman’s former adversaries. She incorporated Brainiac’s structural design into her own, and merged her flesh with machine. With her mind now reinforced with cybernetic technology, she could process more information now than she could when she was just an aspiring Nobel peace prize winning scientist. The initial surgery had been addicting though. As more and more of her body parts began to fail, she replaced them with cybernetic ally enhanced flash copies of the organs that had ceased to function properly.

Though now she was going on eighty nine years old, she didn’t look a day over thirty. Her tanned skin still appeared smooth, and not a single one of the violet hairs on her hair showed any sign or graying or falling out. If she had been the once ego-maniacal being known as Brainaic she might have viewed herself as perfect, but she was not like that creature. Veritas saw herself as an imperfection, sure she appeared beautiful and healthy, but there was always room for improvement. There was always more to learn, for that was the motto that Shay Veritas had always lived by, and it was that motto that had elevated her to such a high ranking position in Superman’s house.

Today, Shay stood in the Oval office of the White House, busily typing away at the reports that were being gathered from the rebel subjects, that her most recent partner, the clone known as Kon-El, had apprehended. It appeared that the rebels had been injected with a super speed serum known as Velocity 9. It was an old drug that had been developed by Vandal Savage ages ago, and it had been believed to have been completely wiped out, but that was apparently not the case. At the time there was no way they would be able to trace the drugs origin, seeing as the files on the drug had went missing.

“These traitors have my son Dr. Veritas, and I need answers,” Kal-El stated calmly at first before turning to face Shay, “and you’re telling me that our best lead to find where he was taken to have been stolen!”

“Yes, Superman that is exactly what I am saying. We only discovered this a few hours ago, and SHADE is investigating. I would have more information for you if I could, but your green friend has locked me out of my lab.”

“I don’t want excuses!” Superman shouted. The helmet of Nabu was off and on the desk, so Shay could see the anger in his eyes. It would take nothing for Superman to snap her neck like it was a twig, but she knew that he wouldn’t dare. She was valuable to him.

“You’re supposed to be my chief of staff on the science committee, but so far all I’m getting from you and your department are a lot of shrugs and guesses! You haven’t even made any progress on the cloning movement that was recently uncovered” Superman spat, but Shay just glared back at him.

“Well, If you would tell the Martian to get off my back, and stop hindering my investigation the perhaps I would have answers, but I suppose SHADE is this nation’s main source of security. After all without SHADE we might know too much, and it would be a shame if we knew something we weren’t supposed to. We have to be protected from all those nasty little facts don’t we Superman.”

Superman growled and gripped the edges of the desk in his hands crushing what was in his palms to splinters. His eyes started to go red, until Diana walked up and put her hand on his shoulder.

“You forget your place, Veritas.” Wonder Woman said, “We respect you as our colleague, but keep in mind you are questioning your president, and I can promise you that Kal is acting within our nation’s best interest.”

Veritas clasped her hands in front of her and bowed, “Forgive me, I speak out of turn.” She said before standing back up straight, “These past several hours have been frustrating. I assure you I will try even harder to assist you in putting a stop to this fight.”

“You had better.” Superman grumbled.

“Now,” Diana said, “Onto other busin…” Diana was suddenly interrupted when the phone intercom rang. Superman reached over and pressed the button to open the line.

“What is it?” he asked

“Sir, you have a visitor, and he says he needs to see you.” It was the receptionist at the front desk.

“I’m not receiving visitors today.”

“I know sir, but this one is really persis…Wait sir! You can’t go in there without proper clearance! Security! Help! Security!” The receptionist started shouting, and it was only seconds later before the doors to the oval office were blasted off their hinges, and flew across the room. Shay hit the ground as quick as she could, hoping to avoid the debris. Diana had remained in place only shielding her face. The only one in the room who did not move was Superman. When the dust finally settled, Shay looked up to see none other than the clone, Connor Kent standing where the door had once been. His eyes were glowing red, heat vision just waiting to burst out, and his first were clenched tight.

“MURDERER!” He screamed out at Superman.Shay started to lift herself up off the floor and dust herself off as she watched the peculiar event unfold in front of her. Connor marched forward coming face to face with the Man of Steel.

“Connor, what is the meaning of this!” Diana shouted at him.

“I’ll tell you what the meaning of this is! I want to know why! I want to know why Kal, that you decided to kill our friends! Why did you kill the Society, the Ten, and Hal! Why did Billy and all our friends have to die?” The room was silent for a moment, and everyone’s gaze in the room shifted to Superman.

“They were traitors. That’s why I killed them.” Superman replied calmly.

“Traitors!” Connor said appearing taken aback, “These were our friends Kal! People we fought beside for years and you strike them down in cold blood!?”

“Yes, you were there at the Massacre. You know that the Society never showed, nor did the Ten. Hal himself showed his cowardice years later. Had these people had showed the courage that you had that day, and then perhaps the Massacre might not have happened. Perhaps your friend Tim might not have died.”

“Don’t you dare say his name! Tim had more courage than you or I both! You have no right”

“I have all the right!” Superman shouted, “You weren’t the only one who lost loved ones, Connor. I saw Kara murdered right in front of me. I almost died myself. I chose to stay and fight, but what did you do.” Superman paused for a moment before getting inches away from his face and muttered, “You ran.”

Connor did not attempt to retort this remark. As Shay looked on she only saw Connor lower his head. A small part of Shay felt a bit of pity for Connor. There was a since of nobility and loyalty in his words that was not very common these days. She watched on in silence as Superman continued.

“You ran away Connor.” Superman spat, “You told me all those years ago, that you were done. That you couldn’t stomach it. So I let you go, in honor of what you once meant to the world to Diana, and even me.I let you rest, because I saw you as my family. Yet you spit at me claiming I was wrong in striking down those who turned their backs on all of us. You know when I went to the Society and asked them where they were, they turned on me. Attacked me! The people that you say were our friends, attempted to kill me and strike me down right there. They forced my hand Connor. People like that I could not let live, and I could not let their powers go to those who might misuse them. So it was my responsibility to take on what they had disgraced. So tell me, boy, do you understand now, why I killed them.”

“Whatever it was, whatever your reason. The Kal-El I know would have never killed his friends. Regardless of their crimes.” Connor said in return, “I don’t know what happened to you Kal, but I know that you,” Connor pointed at the S on Superman’s chest, “Don’t deserve to wear this anymore.”

“Well if that is what you think,” Superman growled, “Then you can leave, and go back to Smallville and die like the old coward that you are.”

“No.”

“What did you say to me!”

“I said no.” Connor said calmly, as he stood up straight, “I didn’t come back to fight for you. I came back to do a job. I came back because I found out that the people who are trying to destroy the world that I and my friends fought for are attempting to use the technology that was used to create me to make monsters whose only purpose is to destroy, and I’m not going to allow that to happen. I’m going to stop these rebels, and put an end to their plans. I’m going to re-establish order to his world, and unlike you. I won’t kill my friends in the process, and when I’m done, then I will go home knowing that I provided the people with a symbol of hope. Like you once did.” Connor turned around and began walking away, but before he walked through the gap where the door had once been he said, “Goodbye, Son of El.”

There was silence for a moment, until Superman brought both fists down on the desk crushing it.

“You little shit!” He roared, “How dare you talk to me like that! I’ll kill you!” Superman started to move forward, but he was stopped once again by Diana.

“Out of the way, Diana. I’m not going to take that from him!”

“Yes you are!” Diana spat back at him, “We have more important things to worry about, like finding our son!” Superman calmed himself, but the look of rage never left his face, “Besides, we can still use him. Connor doesn’t need to agree with out methods in order to carry out the task he has to do. Don’t worry though; we’ll keep an eye on him. Now calm yourself husband, and let’s get back to the matter at hand.”

“You’re right,” Let’s do that, Superman turned sharply and walked out of the room. Through an adjacent door that led into the next room. It was then that Diana turned to Dr. Veritas who had just finished observing the whole ordeal.

“Doctor, I want you to continue with your initial orders. Turn your attention to the rebel’s cloning efforts, and put a stop to it as soon as possible. Also in the meantime keep an eye on Connor, and be sure he doesn’t do anything, rash.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Doctor Veritas said giving a bow, as Diana exited the room following her husband. Doctor Veritas did her best to hide the smirk that was growing on her face. She had just witnessed what was said to be impossible. She just witnessed an act of insubordination and contempt against Superman, and the aggressor had actually just walked away. The very concept of it sent chills through the organic parts of Shay’s body. She turned and walked away grinning from ear to ear. It seemed like things were about to get very interesting.

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Corrupted: Superman 2.0 (Kon-El) Part One

Continued from Corrupted: Kon-El returns

Washington D.C. – Shortly after the attack on Metropolis

Connor had flown to the capital as fast as he could. The whole time focusing only on Diana’s heartbeat. She had left Metropolis to go and fight the rebels that had appeared in Washington, while Connor stayed behind. Most of the rebels in Metropolis had been stopped, and was now either being apprehended by Hawkmen agents, or they were long gone. Now Connor had to shift his attention elsewhere.

Diana was a priority to him. It wasn't only because she was an old friend and the wife of the President, but also because she was his only connection to the world outside of Smallville. Without her his decision to return and put a stop to the rebel cloning efforts might run into more resistance.

Diana’s heart beat was elevated, but that meant she was still holding her own, against whoever it was she was fighting. This time he called on his sight, looking far ahead in the direction that he was moving. He saw Wonder Woman fighting against what looked like…Captain Marvel!?

“Billy?” Connor muttered. He pushed himself further and this time he was right on top of them. Right before Captain Marvel was going to strike Diana, Connor slammed his fist into Marvel’s face sending him plummeting to the ground at a high speed. He stopped long enough to see if Diana was alright. There were a few cuts and some bruises, but it wasn’t her wounds that disturbed Connor the most. It was the glowing red ring on her finger, and the steaming blood dripping from the corner of her mouth.

“What are you doing here?” She spat, “What about Metropolis!?”

“Metropolis is fine. I've come here to help.”

“I have this handled!” She growled, but before she could speak again, Connor grabbed her arm and held up the hand with the red ring.

“This doesn't look handled to me.” He retorted, and Diana snatched her hand away. Connor started to get a nasty feeling in his gut. He looked back down at the ground and saw Marvel getting back to his feet. He turned back to Diana just long enough to say, “We’ll talk about this later.”

Connor flew down to the ground and landed in front of Marvel, and stood up straight and looked down at him.

“Billy, I don’t know what point you’re trying to prove by throwing your lot in with these rebels, but it’s not you. The Billy Batson I know would have never done anything like this.”

“Who the heck do you think you are!” Marvel spat, “You a super-wannabe or something,” Marvel charged back at Connor throwing his fists at him. Marvel wasn't like the hyped up rebels he had dealt with in Metropolis. Connor struggled a little more in trying to dodge the Mightiest Mortal’s attacks. Connor didn't want to fight him though. He wanted to talk him down because, none of this made any sense. Captain Marvel was an ally not an enemy. Connor’s thoughts were interrupted though when Marvel landed a blow on the right side of Connor’s head. Causing him to stumble. His vision blurred and his head seared with pain. Connor retaliated with a few blows of his own. Punching Marvel in the stomach twice causing him to lurch over, and then he slammed his elbow into the back of Marvel’s neck sending him crashing to the ground once more.

“Stop, this pointless. It’s against everything you and I both stand for! What the hell happened to you Billy?” Connor asked, Marvel coughed and spit blood into the dirt. He then glared up at him and said:

“For the love of god, my name is not Billy!” Those words shocked Connor long enough to take him off guard. Marvel moved quickly around behind Connor grabbing him and lifting him skyward before shouting: “SHAZAM!”

Connor knew what was coming next, and he braced himself, but nothing could have prepared him for the bolt of magical energy that struck him square in the middle of his chest. For a minute everything got dark, but he could still see just a little, but his ears were ringing and he could feel the blood trickling from his nose. His chest was heavy, and it was a little hard to breath. He felt himself hit the ground hard and knocking the wind out of him further. He didn't lay motionless for long. He grunted in pain as he rolled himself over, and slowly lifted himself up.

‘I guess now I know why Kal hates magic so damn much,’ Connor thought, ‘that freaking hurt like hell.’ Connor would have thought by now that Marvel would have retaliated once again, but instead the next blow had never come. The next words he had heard was

“Let’s go, we’re leaving.” He looked up into the sky and saw Marvel flying away with what Connor believed was Black Adam, but that couldn't be. Adam and Billy were mortal enemies, but then again. Marvel had said that his name was not Billy, but if Captain Marvel wasn't Billy Batson anymore then who was he. None of this made any sense.

The next thing Connor heard was a loud roar. It was a roar he had heard long ago. It was Kal. He looked to the source of it, only to see Kal burst from the walls of the White house, but he looked different. His costume was green, and a lantern symbol marked the seal on his chest. On his head was a golden helmet that looked all too familiar. He looked on the scene long enough to see a blur moving. Narrowing his vision he thought he saw someone who looked like Deathstroke, carrying a small bundle in his arms. It was right before the man disappeared that Connor realized that the bundle was actually a child.

At this point Kal had stopped and was going on a rampage, blasting things left and right. From what looked like a green ring on his right hand erupted emerald blasts tearing at the surroundings. From his left gold energy flowed shifting the very fabric of everything it touch attempting to unravel it all. Kal continued to trash about like a mad beast.

As Connor looked on frozen, he couldn't shake how surreal it all was. None of this made any sense to him at all. Why was Superman dressed like that? Why did Diana have a red ring? Why did that man just kidnap a kid, and who in the world was Captain Marvel if not Billy Batson? Connor started to feel sick to his stomach. He knew he had been gone from the world a long time, but he never could have imagine that the world would have turned completely on his head like he had witness it do today. Things were spiraling out of control, and Connor knew one thing for certain. He needed answers, and he was definitely going to get them, and soon.

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Corrupted: Kon-El Returns

About five months ago, I started writing for a group known as Corrupted. The whole idea behind Corrupted was pretty much as the title states that the Justice League became corrupted by the power they obtained after an event that left the United States without a government. In the near future, a group of rebels would rise up against this tyrannical regime and fight back against the tyrannical rule that held them in it's grasp. When I first had the idea for Kon-El, I wondered if there were still people from times long past who still had good in them in this Corrupted world. Thus the idea for Kon-El was born. A man who had given up the cape for a simple life must return and don the cape once again and fight for what he believes is right: peace. Here in this post I have collected the three initial chapters detailing Connor Kent's leaving and return to the good fight. Also collected in this volume is the short story "Little Corner of Smallville". I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Prologue

Metropolis, June 18, 2034 2:35 PM

Metropolis. The city of tomorrow. It was hard for Connor to look out across the beautiful city, with its towering skyscrapers, and down at the clean streets below. It was hard to believe that only a couple of weeks ago the city had been a battleground. The streets below had been littered with blood, and pieces of flesh belonging to friend and foe alike. It was enough to drive any hero insane, or make them want to run away.

Connor had not had a good night’s sleep since before the battle, and now when he tried to sleep he had nightmares. He could hear screams, feel the blood on his fingertips, and hear the voices of friends now dead pleading for him to save them. Many had died, and Connor knew he would forever be haunted by them.

He and a few others had tried desperately to stop them. Asked them to cease and desist to prevent further bloodshed, but it was in vain. Deathstroke had struck the first blow when he fired off three rounds at Superman. After that, everything happened so fast. He had seen Kara and Dinah butchered, Dick burned alive, and worst of all Tim bled out in Connor’s arms. Blood and screams were all that he could pull from the shredded remains of his memory.

When Connor looked back at the final reports; he could scarcely believe what he had done. His kill count had been massive. According to the reports, Sinestro, Black Manta, Sliver Banshee, Metallo, Cheetah, and many others had fallen to him, but Connor could barely remember any of it. He remembered seeing Cheetah plead for her life before he ripped her head from her sholders, but outside of that it was a blur. By the time it was over and Connor finally woke up, he could scarcely move, and he was holding a broken, but still breathing Cassie Sandsmark in his arms. For that one brief moment, he was thankful.

His hands though were covered in blood, and no matter how many times he washed them it seemed like the blood would not come out. Cassie, who was now in recovery, had sustained a few burns, a laceration on her right leg, and a broken arm, but she would not even look at him. She said that she had seen firsthand what he had done, and that for the first time in her life she was afraid of him. Even now she refused to see him.

In truth, he couldn’t even stand the sight of himself anymore. He refused to wear the ‘S’ because he felt like it didn’t fit him anymore. Connor just wanted all the pain and emptiness he was feeling to go away, he wanted to forget about it, but he knew he couldn’t do it in Metropolis and that was why he currently stood on the roof of the Daily Planet waiting. He was waiting for the only person he could think of to reach out to at the moment. Suddenly there was a slight change in the wind, and the person he had been waiting for had arrived.

“Took you long enough.” Connor said turning around and looking up into the face of the Man of Steel.

“You’ll have to forgive me. “ Superman said, “As you know there’s been a lot going on.”

“Yeah tell me about it.”

“Is Cassie still refusing to see you?” Superman asked, landing next to Connor, and leaning up against the side wall of the building.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“Diana told me.”

“Oh, I see.” Connor replied. A moment of silence passed between them. Connor knew Clark had not been without his losses as well.

“So what did you want to talk to me about?” Superman asked, and after a brief moment Conner let out a sigh as he said.

“I’m retiring.”

“What?” Superman replied with a shocked tone.

“I can’t do this anymore Clark. Kara, Dick, and Tim. They’re all gone. I tried so hard to stop everything from happening, but I failed, and I got pulled right into it. Now I have blood on my hands.”

“We all have blood on our hands. Me, Diana, and even Cassie does.”

“Maybe you can live with that Clark, but I can’t. I can’t close my eyes without seeing their faces. The friends who died. Those I killed.” Connor spat a look of rage on his face before finally pausing and looking away and muttering under his breath, “Those who fear me. I still see Cheetah begging for mercy when I close my eyes. She was crying. Saying ‘please spare me’, but all I could think about was what she did to Tim. I loved the feeling of my hands around her face as I pulled, the sounds of her screams in the palm of my hand, and the sound of ripping skin and muscle as I took her head.” Connor said as he held his palms up looking down at them. “I loved it so much that I would do it again, and that scares me.”

Superman stood there, not saying anything, but just looking away.

“I’m sorry,” Connor sighed, “I forgot to ask. How are the wounds?”

“I’ll live.” Superman replied, “Look Connor, I understand what you’re going through. We’ve all had to do things in this fight that years ago we would have never dreamed of doing.” Superman walked up to Connor and placed his hands on the nineteen year olds shoulders. “Are you absolutely sure about this, about walking away from all of this? The world needs you.”

“Yes.” Connor replied. “I’m sure.”

“Then I guess you’re mind is made up. Do you know where you’re going to go from here?”

“Yeah, I thought about going back to Smallville, and maybe fixing up the old place. Living the rest of my days out there in peace, you know?”

Superman let out a short laugh, “That doesn’t sound too bad. Will you take Cassie with you?” Connor was silent for a moment, but finally replied.

“No. She can’t stand to see me right now; besides, she’s better off without me.”

“So you’re going to end it?”

“Yeah, I guess I am. It’s too bad though. I really saw a future before, but now…”

“It’s alright Connor, I understand. Do you know when are you leaving?”

“First thing in the morning.” Connor replied “I have to pack a few more things first, and I have to figure out how I’m going to tell Cass.”

“Alright. If you do this though, I have one condition.” Superman said causing Connor too look at him with a puzzled look, “Swing by the Fortress and pick up Krypto. I’m not there as much these days, and he’s been spending too much time alone. I think some wide open spaces would do him some good. Just promise me you’ll take care of him for me.”

“You bet.” Connor smiled, and held out his hand. Superman smiled back, and took the boy’s hand.

“Goodbye Connor.” Superman said, shaking the boy’s hand in friendship, for the last time.

Chapter One

Thirty years. It had been thirty years since Metropolis. Thirty years since a majority of the world’s heroes and villains were wiped out in one bloody conflict. Thirty years since the world suddenly went in a new direction. Thirty years since the man who was once known as the Superboy, turned his back on the world to choose a life of peace and humility.

Connor Kent took in a deep breath of fresh air as he stepped out onto the front porch of his home. It was a beautiful day in the Midwestern plain. The sun was just beginning to rise up over the horizon. The roosters rose up out of their pens and began to crow, and Connor could hear the flutter of wings as birds in the dogwood set out in front of the house took to the air to search for their morning meal. Connor wished he could just remain standing and watch as the Sun rose to begin the day, but he had responsibilities, and he had seen many a sunrise in his lifetime, so he stepped off the porch to begin the days work.

Life on the farm had been somewhat of a blessing for Connor. In many ways Smallville had been untouched by the hands of time. It was still a small rural community where many of the people knew one another. Most of the people tended to be fairly nice, and usually greeted you with a smile, but like any place there was always the occasional grumbler or someone that wanted to stir up trouble. Overall though, it was a nice place for a person seeking rest from the world.

Connor’s role in the town had been that of an unassuming citizen. Most days he worked the farm, and some days he would sit in on the occasional town meeting. He attended Thursday night book club at the local library, and often caught the eyes of the local single women, much to his discomfort sometimes. He even attended church on Sundays despite not really believing in the sermons, but he loved the sound of the old hymns sung by the choir, and he loved the sense of community. Most of them knew of Connor too, and he often would help out if any of them needed something.

For a fifty year old man living alone, Connor had to admit that he wasn’t doing so badly. Then again if he had told anyone that he was fifty years old, they would have never believed him. He had a little bit of gray in his hair and beard, but not enough to really notice. Also the fact that he had the body of a twenty year old body builder that was six foot tall and two hundred twenty pounds made it even harder to believe.

The Kryptonian DNA in his system is what made him that way. His cells would soak up the sunlight, and that gave him an advanced healing factor which kept him fit and healthy. It also caused him to not physically age as fast. The human side of him still felt some of the signs of old age. His joints and back did ache a little and his eyesight, though still better than most humans his age, was not what it used to be.

Growing old had not been without its perks though. Connor had the growing suspicion that some of his Kryptonian abilities had grown. He felt like he could lift more, hold his breath for much longer, and move at faster speeds than he could when he was a teenager. Then again his DNA structure was constantly in flux, so it was never certain what was going on with him internally.

After a couple hours the animals were fed, eggs were gathered from the coop, the cow was milked, and the horse stall was cleaned. If he had wished he could have probably finished all of it in just a few seconds, but he liked taking his time. It helped to put things in perspective, which was that he was still part human, and sometimes being Super didn’t mean rushing through the small things, but more so appreciating them.

The only problem with that perspective was that it was still a lie. He was Kon-El, the Superboy, and no matter how hard he tried, he knew he couldn’t run away from it. Sometimes he fooled himself into thinking that maybe the world had forgotten about who he once was, but on days like today, he knew just how foolish such a thought really was.

He had noticed her out of the corner of his eye at first, as a black dot on the horizon, but once he focused, he could easily make out the form of belonging to the Queen of the new world order. He wasn’t expecting any visitors today, least of all Wonder Woman.

As she touched down near him his gaze met hers. He had to admit for a woman well into her seventies, she was still very beautiful. The gray in her hair was less noticeable than his own, and where most women her age were wrinkled and frail, Diana was the exact opposite, still sporting the physicality that most Amazon women in their prime were known for. He supposed being the daughter of Zeus had a lot to do with that. She was dressed in her traditional outfit of the red and blue with the headdress, bracelets and eagle emblem adorning her chest; however, it had sustained some changes over the years. She had pants now. Connor could still remember the days that Diana sported a one piece swimsuit as a battle harness. He still couldn’t quite tell if that had been a ploy to deceive her opponents, or if it was the Amazons ignorance in what they perceived as how women presented themselves in America at the time. Regardless of her outfit though, some part of him was still happy to see her.

“Hello Connor,” Diana said smiling at him in greeting.

“Hello Diana,” Connor replied, “How are you?”

“I’m doing well, I see you’ve been busy” She said while looking around at the farm.

“Please, it hasn’t changed that much since you last were here. The horses have done more to the place than I have since then.” Connor retorted, causing her to chuckle a little.

“No I guess it hasn’t changed much; although, that was nearly fourteen years ago now.”

“So what brings you out here this time?” Connor said as he set his tools down, and wiped his hands on the handkerchief that he had pulled from his back pocket.

“Cutting to the chase pretty quick aren’t we?” Diana retorted holding her hands out in a jesting manner.

“We’ll I don’t get a lot of visitors, outside of a couple folks. It’s even rarer that I get visitors from outside of Smallville, and normally they want something other than to just catch up on old times. I mean, why else would anybody want to bother an old war veteran living out in the middle of nowhere?”

“Because he’s needed.” Diana answered, changing her tone. Connor easily picked up on the serious nature, and new right away that apparently something was going on.

“What’s happened?” Connor asked as he knelt down to pick a dandelion, and trying to act like he wasn’t really interested.

“Pretty much what you see in the news.” Diana replied, crossing her arms, “The rebels are causing a lot of trouble, and the people are becoming more zealous in protesting Kal’s policies.”

“Then perhaps he should change them?”

“Connor, you know it’s not that simple. The world is still in chaos, and you know Kal is the only one who can bring order to the world. As world leader he is constantly caught up in bureaucratic matters. He rarely even steps out of the White House anymore. The people have no one to really look up to anymore, and as a result their losing faith in what we are trying to achieve.”

Connor let out a sigh as he stood up, and dusted off his coveralls that he normally wore around the farm. He thought about Superman and the world he had left behind. Not long after he had first emerged from the cloning tubes at Cadmus, it didn’t take him long to see what Superman was doing. He was bringing about peace, and wiping out a criminal element that had caused so many deaths. He believed in a vision for a better world, and he knew without a doubt that if anyone could pull it off, it would be Superman; however, though he believed in Superman’s dream it was something he had left behind a long time ago, along with many other things.

“What do you want from me?” Connor asked.

“We…” Diana paused for a moment, considering her words, “I want you to come back to Metropolis, and serve as the symbol of Superman to the people.”

“The answer is no.” Connor replied without pausing for a breath.

“Connor, please think about this!” Diana pleaded.

“No! I left that place years ago, because the world didn’t need someone like me in it. You know what I did that day. The world doesn’t need a loose cannon serving as Superman’s symbol.”

“Connor that was thirty years ago, and you had just witnessed your best friend die. Anyone would have lashed out in anger after witnessing that.”

“Clark wouldn’t.” he exclaimed, but Diana glared right back at him.

“I think we both know that’s a lie.” Diana countered. There was a brief moment of silence between them, as Connor thought about what Diana said. Connor himself had seen Superman’s rage first hand many times. Sometimes it had even been him that had calmed the man of steel down from fits of rage. “Look Connor, I don’t want to argue, and the choice is still yours, but I don’t want you to say no without really considering just what it is I’m asking of you.”

“Alright,” Connor said throwing his hands up, “Go ahead say what you need to say.”

“Metropolis is one of the cities that we are losing the fastest.” Diana revealed, “There are more and more riots every day. The jails are crammed full, the people are complaining about how we aren’t paying any attention to them and how they don’t feel safe. The rebels are gaining more and more leeway over the city every day. The Hawkmen have done their best to enforce the law, but they have been unable to bring these criminals to justice. They’re destroying the city, and it’s because we have no-one operating in the city as a fixed agent that’s willing to take risks. The city needs the Man of Tomorrow, but it can’t be Kal anymore, it has to be you.”

“I left Metropolis and came here to Smallville for a reason. I don’t even know if I could go back.”

“Of course you could Connor. Yes, you will have to face a lot of your own personal demons; I won’t deny that. If you come back though, serve as a symbol to these people, and show them that its government hasn’t forgotten them, then perhaps you can defeat those demons and maybe give your mind some peace. You’re not going to find it by running away, and tending crops. That’s not you.”

Connor didn’t bother to reply, but simply remained there silent and taking in all Diana had to say. She was right after all. He had come to Smallville to get away from all the killing, but he could still remember everything that had happened like it was yesterday. Tim gasping for air as he drowned in his own blood. The weight of Cheetah’s head in his hands. Cassie’s lingering silence as he left her room after breaking up with her. It was all still there when he closed his eyes.

“Listen, if you still need convincing, I have one last piece of information to give you.” Diana reached around and pulled something from her waist band, and held it out to Connor. Connor recognized it immediately as a Mother Box. Mother Boxes were very powerful sentient computers that were once used by the New Gods. These days every prominent member of the League, and the various heads of the Hawkmen legions had one. Each one was different though, with varying capabilities. Obviously the heads of the League would have ones that were the most capable.

“This mother box contains all the information we’ve gathered thus far on the rebels operating in Metropolis. We’ve discovered that they’ve been using old Cadmus cloning specs in some of their labs.”

Suddenly Connor’s eyes went wide as he looked up at Diana. “You’re kidding!” Connor exclaimed, hardly able to believe what he had just heard.

“I only wish I were.” Diana crossed her arms, “So far we haven’t seen them accomplish anything, but if they do, I hate to imagine what they will do with it.”

Connor was dumbstruck. He thought all the Cadmus files had been destroyed long ago. The idea of an army of abominations soaring through the skies caused a sick feeling to rise up in his gut. If the rebels really had the ability to create more super clones like him, it would be a complete disaster. Hundreds would die, entire cities would crumble. Connor agreed that something like this had to be prevented from ever happening, but was he really the one to do it? He just didn’t know.

“I’m going to have a look at this,” Connor said holding up the Mother Box, “Do you mind giving me some time to think this over?”

“Of course,” Diana nodded, “, but need to know your decision within twenty four hours; try to understand that we need someone in Metropolis now.”

“I promise that I’ll let you know as soon as I can.” Connor replied. Diana started to lift off to fly away when Connor called out to her again, “Diana wait a second!”

“What is it?” Diana replied

“How’s Lyla doing?”

“She’s doing well, as a matter of fact she’s close to wiping out the remaining resistance in Bialya, and she should return back home soon.”

“That’s good to hear.” Connor said breathing a sigh of relief. “Anyway, I’ll get back to you about this other.”

“Thank you, Connor. I really appreciate this. I’ll talk to you soon.” Diana waved and then turned around before flying off, and leaving Connor behind to stir in his thoughts. Connor who had planned to go out to the fields and work, decided to instead put the tools back away and go into the house.

Once inside he sat down at the table and placed the Mother Box down on top of it.

“Show me.” Connor said to the mother box, and suddenly a hologram appeared before him showing him all the information he needed to know. As he looked over it all he reached up, and rubbed his eyes. It was a lot to take in all at once, and Connor had no idea where to start.

Chapter Two

It had been a long time since Connor had been here, but he knew the streets of Metropolis as if it were only yesterday. In a way, it was very surreal because being in the city felt in a way a lot like looking at an old photograph. That feeling you get when you see the picture, and start reminiscing the good old days, but you know those so called good old days are in the past, and will never return. The thing was he had returned though, and it made him feel very uneasy. He had a job to do though.

Connor stepped into the main hall, of the Themysciran embassy. A long time ago the embassy had been used to spread the Themysciran culture to the rest of the world, but it had long since been converted into an operations center for the league. It stayed busy with people coming in and out of it. Most of them government employees, and leaders of the Hawkmen Corps. He looked around for a familiar face, or hopeful some sort of notification of where to go. Then he spotted a young woman walking up to him. She looked familiar too him, but he couldn’t quite place her. She had very exotic tastes in style and attire. Her outfit looked almost alien in nature, and her violet hair draped down past her shoulders. She held a tablet in her hand and was looking through it, seemingly not paying attention to her surroundings, but somehow she managed to move through the crowd with ease.

“Nice of you to join us Mr. Kent.” The woman said, “If you would please come with me, we have been waiting for you.”

“Uh, sure. No problem.” Connor replied, falling in behind the woman. She took him upstairs away from the main hall and through some double doors at the top. As he followed behind her, he couldn’t help, but shake the strange feeling of Déjà vu. He knew he had seen this woman before, but he just couldn’t place her name. He opened his mouth to speak, when suddenly they stopped at a set of large double doors, with a lock next to it.

“We’re here.” She said while pulling her badge from around her neck and swiping it through the card slot. There was a loud click and the door swung open. Inside there was a large computer monitor, with what appeared to be dossiers all across them. There were a few Hawkmen, and some other people moving about in the room, but standing right in front of the monitor was none other than Wonder Woman herself.

Diana turned around at the sound of the doors swinging open, and her face broke out into a smile.

“Ah, Connor, I’m glad you could make it. I hope the trip wasn’t too hard.” She said.

“The trip was fine, but your guards at the front door caused me a little trouble.” He laughed,

“I see. I’ll see that they are properly taken care of when this is done.” She said, shocking Connor slightly.

“They were just doing their job. No trouble really.”

“I hold my guard to a higher standard than any others under my command. Even you. They should know when an arrival is official or not. Now I will hear no more of it.”

“Alright fine, Anyway, I do have a couple things I want let known before I do this job.”

“And those are?”

“No press and no costumes. You said you needed an agent, not a Superhero, and I believe if we take that approach then things should go a lot smoother.”

“Very well, I see no problem with that. Now perhaps we can get down to business?” She asked, and Connor nodded. Diana started typing into the console, and brought up a gallery of pictures. It appeared to be an underground bunker of some kind, but it had tables all around, some turned over. The place was littered with all kinds of lab equipment. In the center of the room were three large tubes. Two of them had bodies floating in them, which were shriveled up and deformed. The other tube had been broken, but one of the pictures showed the former occupant on a stretcher. The body was so warped that it didn’t even look human.

“These are from the assault on the terrorist cloning facility that we made a few weeks back. As you can see they haven’t been successful, but their progress here suggests that they don’t have much standing in their way. DNA testing on the husks has shown to have Kryptonian DNA, but we don’t really know how the rebels managed to get ahold of it. We have assumed that they are using your old genetic structure.” Diana explained to Connor, who remained silent starring at the images.

“We have obtained documents from the facility that lead us to believe there are other labs like this one.” Diana continued, “Your job is to find them and destroy them.”

“Any idea where to start?” Connor asked,

“That will be up to you and Doctor Veritas here.” Diana said motioning toward the woman who had come in with Connor, and suddenly Connor remembered who the woman was.

Doctor Shay Veritas was at one point in time Clark’s personal doctor. Since he had been Kryptonian, he couldn’t exactly have gone down to the local clinic for a checkup. Luckily, Dr. Veritas was an expert in Xenobiology, and she had helped Clark many times. Connor had met her once, many years ago when a battle with a villain had messed up his genetic structure, and it had been thanks to Dr. Veritas that he had been cured. Had it not been for her, he probably would not have been alive today. One thing surprised him though, about the Doctor. She had seemingly not aged a day, but as far as Connor knew the doctor was human. It would be something he would have to ask her about later.

“There is one other thing Connor.” Diana said, causing Connor to shift his attention back to Diana. “You’re secondary objective will be to find the leader of this operation an eliminate him. On most of the terrorist we have a decent amount of information, but this one has avoided us.” Diana brought up a data file. Normally these dossiers were accompanied by a picture, but this time there was only a grey box.

“They call him the Outsider.” Diana informed him, “It’s very rare that anyone sees him. Rumor has it, most that have don’t live to tell the tale. The only real evidence we have of his involvement is this recording.” Diana clicked a button on the console and an audio file opened up. The voice that spoke belonged to a male, but something was wrong, because he sounded half crazed.

“You think you can stop him? Haha, no one can stop him. You can’t lock him in a cell, or crush him like everyone else. You can’t derange him. Haha! You all have no hope! He’s an ideal. A symbol to us all. He…He’s the wrath of mankind and he will bring in the new age of the world. Long live the Outsider!”

BLAM

Suddenly the tape stopped, and Connor looked at Diana who had a look of concern on his face.

“That was taken inside the lab. One of the technicians working on the clones was left behind. We found him half crazed, and he shot himself before we could take him into custody.” Diana explained. Connor started to feel like he was already in too deep. This was war he was dealing with, and though he knew he was coming into that scenario, the grim reality of it was enough to shake any sane man to the core. It wasn’t the death or pain caused by this Outsider fellow, and it wasn’t that the labs were an abomination. What mattered were the people still alive. The people that needed saving and Connor knew that in order to save those people, the war must end, and for the war to end, people like the Outsider needed to be stopped.

Suddenly, the room went dark and red flood lights came on, and alarms began blaring throughout the building. Diana was the first to move in the room. Pressing the comlink on the console.

"Status report!" She demanded.

"There have been multiple attacks across the country ma'am. At least twelve confirmed right here in Metropolis." There was a pause for a moment, "Dear god, the terrorists are attacking medical facilities."

"Raise the forces, get the Hawkmen mobilized. If the terrorists, want war this badly then we'll bring the fight to them."

"Ma'am, reports just in. The white house is under attack as well!"

"What!?" Diana's shrieked, "Bring me up a visual!" As soon as she commanded it a live feed was brought up on the view screen. The white house was on fire, Connor could make out what looked like several others moving at speeds he had only seen Wally and Bart accomplish. The skies were filled with Hawkmen, all concentrating attacks on two men. Connor recognized one as Black Adam, but the other looked like Captain Marvel.

"What the hell? Why is Billy fighting against us?" He wondered. Connor looked over at Diana who had a slightly panicked look on her face. She had a son in the midst of all that, and he knew full well what if felt like to have a child in the midst of battle. Not knowing the well-being of your kid was worse than most tortures. He also knew that she didn't need to be here. So much for not making a public appearance.

"Diana, Go!" Connor said, putting a hand on Diana's shoulder, "I'll take care of things here. When I'm finished I'll join you in Washington."

"Alright, just make sure you come back alive. I didn't go through all the trouble of bringing you back just so you could die before you even start to make a difference." Diana said, and then turned to Dr. Vertias, and started to speak to her. Connor didn't stand around to listen to their conversation. Instead he stormed out of the room, down to and out the main hall onto the streets. To the people, looking on it would have seemed that he only stood out in the open for only a brief second, but for Connor it was an eternity.

As he closed his eyes and focused on his other senses, the world seemed to slow down so much that the movement of the polar ice caps would have seemed like a blink in time. He felt the sun's rays wash over him, and the Kryptonian part of him awaken. He clenched his hand into a fist, and flexed his muscles feeling them tense like never before. He could hear everything, people's screams, the sounds of ripping metal, and the clatter of boots on the ground as they moved at speeds that no normal man or woman should. He opened his eyes.

"I see them." He said under his breath, and in what seemed like only a blink of an eye Connor set himself free. He took off flying through the air at speeds that were faster than he had ever gone. He had little time though. Clinics were being destroyed every few seconds. People running and hiding from the chaos would have only seen a flash suddenly followed by a great thunderous sound and a gush of powerful wind that broke windows and blew over cars. People would stumble, some would fall, women would scream at the sudden change in the air. They had no way of knowing what was now soaring through their skies.

Connor was approaching the first clinic, and could see the first of the rebels. A young man, wearing a suit. Frictionless. Designed to increase speed and reduce wind resistance. He never saw Connor coming.

Connor drew back and slammed his fist into the speedsters jaw, stopping his motion and sending him tumbling down the street in front of the clinic. He heard every bone crack as the sudden change in momentum, and unforgiving force of gravity slammed him repeatedly into the pavement like a stone being skipped across the surface of water. Connor paused long enough to make sure that he had misjudged the hit. People were fragile, like cardboard. They were so easily broken, but Connor was not here to break them, but repair them. He listened, and could hear the man's heart beat, and slow wheezing breaths. He would need medical help soon.

"Oh my god!" Connor heard, and looked up to see himself surround by three other men similarly dressed as the rebel he had just defeated. "He just took out Harv, but how man! We're moving too fast. Can't no one hit us!"

"Holy shit, man!" Another one said, "It's him! It has to be. Look at his face!"

"Shut your pie hole!" The one Connor assumed was the leader said, "Ain't no way he's the big S. Probably just some new hyped up recruit. We can take him. No way he can stop the three of us."

"I suggest you cease what you are doing," Connor barked, "Leave this place, you're hurting innocent people. On my word your friend will receive medical treatment, but stop any further action now. Take your forces and leave, or so help me I will crush every single one of you."

"Good luck with that, you tyrannt! Come on boys let's get him!" The three speedsters took off toward him, but the moved so slow. Too slow. They took up a circular formation moving around Connor at speeds matching hurricane force winds. Fools.

Focusing on the heels of one of them, he sped up the molecules on the suit and just on the edge of his skin. Heating them up, and causing one of the speedsters to scream out and crash to the ground and curl up cradling his burning limb. Connor reached up and grabbed the leader by the neck and slammed face first into the ground. He was out within seconds. One left

Connor was almost too late. The last one saw what happened to his teammates, and fear had run through him faster than he was moving. He was brave though, and had taken off through the clinic doors as fast as he could. He was about to slam his first through the main operation console for the purple ray machine, when he suddenly stopped.

Connor grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him around. The boy's eyes were wide in shock. Connor smirked, and held up a finger wagging it back in forth in a disapproving gesture. He then rose up his fist, preparing to strike,

"OH GOD PLEASE NO! DON'T KILL ME!" The boy screamed, as Connor's fist raced towards him, but only stopped just in front of his face. Then Connor thumped him. Thumped him hard enough that it cracked his helmet, and caused his eyes to roll in the back of his head, and pass out. Connor dropped him to the floor, and heard people start to come out of hiding. Connor stood there, and raised his hands up looking at them. He felt strong, and thrilled like he hadn't in years. He had forgotten, just how good it felt, and just why he became a hero in the first place. Then he picked up the sounds across the city. There were fifty seven medical clinics in Metropolis. Twenty had already been hit, twenty four were in the process of being attacked, and the remainder hadn't been attacked yet, but Connor could hear the boots fast approaching.

He couldn't waist time any longer. The rebels weren't going to stop. Drawing on his strength he soared out the front door of the clinic. Moving as fast has he could push himself. All he could see were faces, and the boots of the rebels as he tripped, punched, burned, and froze in place one rebel member after another. It finally ended in city square, where Connor stood holding the last member of the rebel attack force on Metropolis. The rebel fainted, and Connor finally slowed himself down long enough to get a grasp of his surroundings.

"Oh-no." he muttered as he looked around. There were crowds of people. Hawkmen stood still either hovering in mid-air or looking up at him. The jumbo screens all had his face, there were so many cameras, all looking up at him.

Suddenly the crowd erupted into cheers and applause. Connor stood there, froze in the moment, unsure of what to do, until one of the Hawkmen approached him.

"Sir," He said gestured toward the fainted rebel Connor was holding. Connor hesitated for a moment. A little unsure of what to do, but he took a breath and looked at the Hawkmen with a glare of authority.

"Round them up," Connor said tossing the rebel to the Hawkman, "Have your men search the city, and arrest any stragglers. I have to get to Washington. There's a lot of work to do still."

"Yes, sir" He replied and took the rebel away, and began briefing the other Hawkmen on what to do. Connor looked at the cheering crowd one last time, before looking to the sky and taking off. He wasn't sure how he heard the voice of one little girl over that entire crowd, but nevertheless her words rang clear in his ears.

"Mommy, Mommy, look! It's Superman!" the little girl piped. Connor didn't really know how to take that statement, but for some reason, he couldn't stop from smiling.

Little Corner of Smallville

Notes from the Author: When I first wrote this I had intended it to be part of my Corrupted story, but I cut it out because I felt it didn't really fit with the story I wanted to tell. Despite cutting it out this piece still meant a great deal to me, because in many ways this is a part of my life, and I feel it wouldn't be right to let this sit in a file on my desktop. So without further ado, I present...

Little Corner of Smallville

Smallville, Jun 19, 2034 4:32 PM

Connor took a deep breath as he looked at the old Kent farmhouse. In truth it had seen much better days. The paint was peeling, a couple of the windows were broken, the back porch had fallen in, the doors were boarded shut, and not to mention the grass was at least waist high. The barn was now a really a large pile of burnt wood, which was the result of a lightning bolt strike that had happened a few years ago.

Before Metropolis, Connor remembered how Kal-El often talked of fixing the place up in his spare time, but the only problem was that he was Superman, and Superman didn’t have spare time. The good news for him though was that a retired Connor Kent had all the time in the world. Connor knew he had a lot of work cut out, and a long life ahead, but despite that he couldn’t help but smile. For the first time in many days he felt like some of the burden had been lifted.

A whimper came from around his knees, and Connor looked down to meet the longing eyes of his newly adopted, yet longtime friend, Krypto the Superdog.

“What’s the matter boy?” Connor said to the dog as he knelt down and patted him on the head. The dog merely whimpered more in reply, and then moved his head slightly before he started to lick Connor’s face. Connor quickly pulled away, and laughed.

“Don’t worry okay.” Connor said while rubbing the dog’s head slightly, “It doesn’t look like much now, but before you know it, I think this will be a good home for the both of us.” Krypto let out a bark and began to pant, and Connor smiled.

“You know what boy. With you and me, I bet we may just be able to pull this off.

30 Years Later…

Connor hadn’t been sleeping much for the past few days, but this time around it wasn’t nightmares that were keeping him up, but instead a sense of responsibility that fueled the restless nights. He had only slightly dozed off, but Connor could tell it was time and he would not be going back to sleep. He stood up and walked slowly over to the bathroom, turned on the sink and splashed some cold water onto his face. When he looked into the mirror placed over the sink, it was no longer a young boy looking back at him.

Connor was pushing 50 years old now, but for what Earth considered old did not appear that old to Connor. In truth he looked like a human who was just starting to hit thirty. His hair still had color, but the gray was showing, and he had grown a full beard which was showing gray as well. Physically speaking though, it was as if he had the body of a person in their mid-twenties. He still stood tall and his frame was still muscular and toned, of course being part Kryptonian had a lot to do with why he looked the way he did.

Connor remained standing there for a few moments, staring back into his reflection. He didn’t want to move, but he knew what he had to do, so he took a deep breath and closed his eyes focusing in on a particular sound with his Super-hearing. It was a quiet night in the Kent house. In the house, Connor could only hear the sound of two hearts beating, one a lot slower than it used to be. He took one hand, ran it through his hair, and sighed deeply. It would do him no good to beat around the bush any longer. He had made a promise after all.

Moving with a steady stride he left the bathroom, and began to descend the stairs that led into the living room. From the living room he could see the Kitchen, which still had its light on. The sound emanating from it caused a lump to rise up in Connor’s throat. He wanted to turn back, because he didn’t want to see what lay beyond that door frame, but after all, he had made a promise.

He let his feet do the work, with each heavy foot fall bringing him one step closer to what lay in the Kitchen. Within what seemed like forever, he finally stepped into the Kitchen. In the floor, lying on his bed was Krypto. His chest heaved heavily as if each and every breath he took was more painful than any hit he had ever taken from any villain. His heart beat which rung like thunder in Connor’s ears, began to have longer and longer spaces with each passing beat.

The dog had grown frighteningly thin, his fur was discolored and crimped. His eyes were wide open darting from left to right around the room, full of fear. His lips began to curl inward causing his teeth to show, and his tongue stuck out sideways in between the gaps.

It took everything Connor had to make that next step, as he moved over to the dog and sat down into the floor next to him. Connor picked the dog’s head up and laid it in his lap. He brought his hands down and fixed the dogs lips to where the fangs wouldn’t dig into them. Krypto looked up at Connor, with eyes longing for mercy and relief.

“It’s okay boy,” Connor said, his tone shaky. “I’m here now.”

Krypto let out a half whimper and brought one trembling leg to rest on Conner’s leg. Connor ran his hand down the dog’s side, rubbing him gently.

“You don’t have to fight anymore boy. You’ve done an amazing job. All that’s left now is to let go, I’ll be all right. Don’t be scared okay, because I’m not going anywhere.” Krypto’s eyes seemed to change at that point. They were no longer filled with fear, but instead a look of thankfulness and acceptance. Kyrpto moved his head and laid it flat on Connor’s lap, no longer looking up into his face. Connor remained there holding the dog and petting him until there was only one heart left beating in his little corner of Smallville.

In Memory of B.C.

Rest in Peace Old Friend.

16 Comments

Corrupted: Kon-El Part Two

It had been a long time since Connor had been here, but he knew the streets of Metropolis as if it were only yesterday. In a way, it was very surreal because being in the city felt in a way a lot like looking at an old photograph. That feeling you get when you see the picture, and start reminiscing the good old days, but you know those so called good old days are in the past, and will never return. The thing was he had returned though, and it made him feel very uneasy. He had a job to do though.

Connor stepped into the main hall, of the Themysciran embassy. A long time ago the embassy had been used to spread the Themysciran culture to the rest of the world, but it had long since been converted into an operations center for the league. It stayed busy with people coming in and out of it. Most of them government employees, and leaders of the Hawkmen Corps. He looked around for a familiar face, or hopeful some sort of notification of where to go. Then he spotted a young woman walking up to him. She looked familiar too him, but he couldn’t quite place her. She had very exotic tastes in style and attire. Her outfit looked almost alien in nature, and her violet hair draped down past her shoulders. She held a tablet in her hand and was looking through it, seemingly not paying attention to her surroundings, but somehow she managed to move through the crowd with ease.

“Nice of you to join us Mr. Kent.” The woman said, “If you would please come with me, we have been waiting for you.”

“Uh, sure. No problem.” Connor replied, falling in behind the woman. She took him upstairs away from the main hall and through some double doors at the top. As he followed behind her, he couldn’t help, but shake the strange feeling of Déjà vu. He knew he had seen this woman before, but he just couldn’t place her name. He opened his mouth to speak, when suddenly they stopped at a set of large double doors, with a lock next to it.

“We’re here.” She said while pulling her badge from around her neck and swiping it through the card slot. There was a loud click and the door swung open. Inside there was a large computer monitor, with what appeared to be dossiers all across them. There were a few Hawkmen, and some other people moving about in the room, but standing right in front of the monitor was none other than Wonder Woman herself.

Diana turned around at the sound of the doors swinging open, and her face broke out into a smile.

“Ah, Connor, I’m glad you could make it. I hope the trip wasn’t too hard.” She said.

“The trip was fine, but your guards at the front door caused me a little trouble.” He laughed,

“I see. I’ll see that they are properly taken care of when this is done.” She said, shocking Connor slightly.

“They were just doing their job. No trouble really.”

“I hold my guard to a higher standard than any others under my command. Even you. They should know when an arrival is official or not. Now I will hear no more of it.”

“Alright fine, Anyway, I do have a couple things I want let known before I do this job.”

“And those are?”

“No press and no costumes. You said you needed an agent, not a Superhero, and I believe if we take that approach then things should go a lot smoother.”

“Very well, I see no problem with that. Now perhaps we can get down to business?” She asked, and Connor nodded. Diana started typing into the console, and brought up a gallery of pictures. It appeared to be an underground bunker of some kind, but it had tables all around, some turned over. The place was littered with all kinds of lab equipment. In the center of the room were three large tubes. Two of them had bodies floating in them, which were shriveled up and deformed. The other tube had been broken, but one of the pictures showed the former occupant on a stretcher. The body was so warped that it didn’t even look human.

“These are from the assault on the terrorist cloning facility that we made a few weeks back. As you can see they haven’t been successful, but their progress here suggests that they don’t have much standing in their way. DNA testing on the husks has shown to have Kryptonian DNA, but we don’t really know how the rebels managed to get ahold of it. We have assumed that they are using your old genetic structure.” Diana explained to Connor, who remained silent starring at the images.

“We have obtained documents from the facility that lead us to believe there are other labs like this one.” Diana continued, “Your job is to find them and destroy them.”

“Any idea where to start?” Connor asked,

“That will be up to you and Doctor Veritas here.” Diana said motioning toward the woman who had come in with Connor, and suddenly Connor remembered who the woman was.

Doctor Shay Veritas was at one point in time Clark’s personal doctor. Since he had been Kryptonian, he couldn’t exactly have gone down to the local clinic for a checkup. Luckily, Dr. Veritas was an expert in Xenobiology, and she had helped Clark many times. Connor had met her once, many years ago when a battle with a villain had messed up his genetic structure, and it had been thanks to Dr. Veritas that he had been cured. Had it not been for her, he probably would not have been alive today. One thing surprised him though, about the Doctor. She had seemingly not aged a day, but as far as Connor knew the doctor was human. It would be something he would have to ask her about later.

“There is one other thing Connor.” Diana said, causing Connor to shift his attention back to Diana. “You’re secondary objective will be to find the leader of this operation an eliminate him. On most of the terrorist we have a decent amount of information, but this one has avoided us.” Diana brought up a data file. Normally these dossiers were accompanied by a picture, but this time there was only a grey box.

“They call him the Outsider.” Diana informed him, “It’s very rare that anyone sees him. Rumor has it, most that have don’t live to tell the tale. The only real evidence we have of his involvement is this recording.” Diana clicked a button on the console and an audio file opened up. The voice that spoke belonged to a male, but something was wrong, because he sounded half crazed.

“You think you can stop him? Haha, no one can stop him. You can’t lock him in a cell, or crush him like everyone else. You can’t derange him. Haha! You all have no hope! He’s an ideal. A symbol to us all. He…He’s the wrath of mankind and he will bring in the new age of the world. Long live the Outsider!”

BLAM

Suddenly the tape stopped, and Connor looked at Diana who had a look of concern on his face.

“That was taken inside the lab. One of the technicians working on the clones was left behind. We found him half crazed, and he shot himself before we could take him into custody.” Diana explained. Connor started to feel like he was already in too deep. This was war he was dealing with, and though he knew he was coming into that scenario, the grim reality of it was enough to shake any sane man to the core. It wasn’t the death or pain caused by this Outsider fellow, and it wasn’t that the labs were an abomination. What mattered were the people still alive. The people that needed saving and Connor knew that in order to save those people, the war must end, and for the war to end, people like the Outsider needed to be stopped.

Suddenly, the room went dark and red flood lights came on, and alarms began blaring throughout the building. Diana was the first to move in the room. Pressing the comlink on the console.

"Status report!" She demanded.

"There have been multiple attacks across the country ma'am. At least twelve confirmed right here in Metropolis." There was a pause for a moment, "Dear god, the terrorists are attacking medical facilities."

"Raise the forces, get the Hawkmen mobilized. If the terrorists, want war this badly then we'll bring the fight to them."

"Ma'am, reports just in. The white house is under attack as well!"

"What!?" Diana's shrieked, "Bring me up a visual!" As soon as she commanded it a live feed was brought up on the view screen. The white house was on fire, Connor could make out what looked like several others moving at speeds he had only seen Wally and Bart accomplish. The skies were filled with Hawkmen, all concentrating attacks on two men. Connor recognized one as Black Adam, but the other looked like Captain Marvel.

"What the hell? Why is Billy fighting against us?" He wondered. Connor looked over at Diana who had a slightly panicked look on her face. She had a son in the midst of all that, and he knew full well what if felt like to have a child in the midst of battle. Not knowing the well-being of your kid was worse than most tortures. He also knew that she didn't need to be here. So much for not making a public appearance.

"Diana, Go!" Connor said, putting a hand on Diana's shoulder, "I'll take care of things here. When I'm finished I'll join you in Washington."

"Alright, just make sure you come back alive. I didn't go through all the trouble of bringing you back just so you could die before you even start to make a difference." Diana said, and then turned to Dr. Vertias, and started to speak to her. Connor didn't stand around to listen to their conversation. Instead he stormed out of the room, down to and out the main hall onto the streets. To the people, looking on it would have seemed that he only stood out in the open for only a brief second, but for Connor it was an eternity.

As he closed his eyes and focused on his other senses, the world seemed to slow down so much that the movement of the polar ice caps would have seemed like a blink in time. He felt the sun's rays wash over him, and the Kryptonian part of him awaken. He clenched his hand into a fist, and flexed his muscles feeling them tense like never before. He could hear everything, people's screams, the sounds of ripping metal, and the clatter of boots on the ground as they moved at speeds that no normal man or woman should. He opened his eyes.

"I see them." He said under his breath, and in what seemed like only a blink of an eye Connor set himself free. He took off flying through the air at speeds that were faster than he had ever gone. He had little time though. Clinics were being destroyed every few seconds. People running and hiding from the chaos would have only seen a flash suddenly followed by a great thunderous sound and a gush of powerful wind that broke windows and blew over cars. People would stumble, some would fall, women would scream at the sudden change in the air. They had no way of knowing what was now soaring through their skies.

Connor was approaching the first clinic, and could see the first of the rebels. A young man, wearing a suit. Frictionless. Designed to increase speed and reduce wind resistance. He never saw Connor coming.

Connor drew back and slammed his fist into the speedsters jaw, stopping his motion and sending him tumbling down the street in front of the clinic. He heard every bone crack as the sudden change in momentum, and unforgiving force of gravity slammed him repeatedly into the pavement like a stone being skipped across the surface of water. Connor paused long enough to make sure that he had misjudged the hit. People were fragile, like cardboard. They were so easily broken, but Connor was not here to break them, but repair them. He listened, and could hear the man's heart beat, and slow wheezing breaths. He would need medical help soon.

"Oh my god!" Connor heard, and looked up to see himself surround by three other men similarly dressed as the rebel he had just defeated. "He just took out Harv, but how man! We're moving too fast. Can't no one hit us!"

"Holy shit, man!" Another one said, "It's him! It has to be. Look at his face!"

"Shut your pie hole!" The one Connor assumed was the leader said, "Ain't no way he's the big S. Probably just some new hyped up recruit. We can take him. No way he can stop the three of us."

"I suggest you cease what you are doing," Connor barked, "Leave this place, you're hurting innocent people. On my word your friend will receive medical treatment, but stop any further action now. Take your forces and leave, or so help me I will crush every single one of you."

"Good luck with that, you tyrannt! Come on boys let's get him!" The three speedsters took off toward him, but the moved so slow. Too slow. They took up a circular formation moving around Connor at speeds matching hurricane force winds. Fools.

Focusing on the heels of one of them, he sped up the molecules on the suit and just on the edge of his skin. Heating them up, and causing one of the speedsters to scream out and crash to the ground and curl up cradling his burning limb. Connor reached up and grabbed the leader by the neck and slammed face first into the ground. He was out within seconds. One left

Connor was almost too late. The last one saw what happened to his teammates, and fear had run through him faster than he was moving. He was brave though, and had taken off through the clinic doors as fast as he could. He was about to slam his first through the main operation console for the purple ray machine, when he suddenly stopped.

Connor grabbed him by the shoulder and turned him around. The boy's eyes were wide in shock. Connor smirked, and held up a finger wagging it back in forth in a disapproving gesture. He then rose up his fist, preparing to strike,

"OH GOD PLEASE NO! DON'T KILL ME!" The boy screamed, as Connor's fist raced towards him, but only stopped just in front of his face. Then Connor thumped him. Thumped him hard enough that it cracked his helmet, and caused his eyes to roll in the back of his head, and pass out. Connor dropped him to the floor, and heard people start to come out of hiding. Connor stood there, and raised his hands up looking at them. He felt strong, and thrilled like he hadn't in years. He had forgotten, just how good it felt, and just why he became a hero in the first place. Then he picked up the sounds across the city. There were fifty seven medical clinics in Metropolis. Twenty had already been hit, twenty four were in the process of being attacked, and the remainder hadn't been attacked yet, but Connor could hear the boots fast approaching.

He couldn't waist time any longer. The rebels weren't going to stop. Drawing on his strength he soared out the front door of the clinic. Moving as fast has he could push himself. All he could see were faces, and the boots of the rebels as he tripped, punched, burned, and froze in place one rebel member after another. It finally ended in city square, where Connor stood holding the last member of the rebel attack force on Metropolis. The rebel fainted, and Connor finally slowed himself down long enough to get a grasp of his surroundings.

"Oh-no." he muttered as he looked around. There were crowds of people. Hawkmen stood still either hovering in mid-air or looking up at him. The jumbo screens all had his face, there were so many cameras, all looking up at him.

Suddenly the crowd erupted into cheers and applause. Connor stood there, froze in the moment, unsure of what to do, until one of the Hawkmen approached him.

"Sir," He said gestured toward the fainted rebel Connor was holding. Connor hesitated for a moment. A little unsure of what to do, but he took a breath and looked at the Hawkmen with a glare of authority.

"Round them up," Connor said tossing the rebel to the Hawkman, "Have your men search the city, and arrest any stragglers. I have to get to Washington. There's a lot of work to do still."

"Yes, sir" He replied and took the rebel away, and began briefing the other Hawkmen on what to do. Connor looked at the cheering crowd one last time, before looking to the sky and taking off. He wasn't sure how he heard the voice of one little girl over that entire crowd, but nevertheless her words rang clear in his ears.

"Mommy, Mommy, look! It's Superman!" the little girl piped. Connor didn't really know how to take that statement, but for some reason, he couldn't stop from smiling.

22 Comments

Corrupted: Kon-El Part 0.5 (Little Corner of Smallville)

Notes from the Author: When I first wrote this I had intended it to be part of my Corrupted story, but I cut it out because I felt it didn't really fit with the story I wanted to tell. Despite cutting it out this piece still meant a great deal to me, because in many ways this is a part of my life, and I feel it wouldn't be right to let this sit in a file on my desktop. So without further ado, I present...

Little Corner of Smallville

Smallville, Jun 19, 2034 4:32 PM

Connor took a deep breath as he looked at the old Kent farmhouse. In truth it had seen much better days. The paint was peeling, a couple of the windows were broken, the back porch had fallen in, the doors were boarded shut, and not to mention the grass was at least waist high. The barn was now a really a large pile of burnt wood, which was the result of a lightning bolt strike that had happened a few years ago.

Before Metropolis, Connor remembered how Kal-El often talked of fixing the place up in his spare time, but the only problem was that he was Superman, and Superman didn’t have spare time. The good news for him though was that a retired Connor Kent had all the time in the world. Connor knew he had a lot of work cut out, and a long life ahead, but despite that he couldn’t help but smile. For the first time in many days he felt like some of the burden had been lifted.

A whimper came from around his knees, and Connor looked down to meet the longing eyes of his newly adopted, yet longtime friend, Krypto the Superdog.

“What’s the matter boy?” Connor said to the dog as he knelt down and patted him on the head. The dog merely whimpered more in reply, and then moved his head slightly before he started to lick Connor’s face. Connor quickly pulled away, and laughed.

“Don’t worry okay.” Connor said while rubbing the dog’s head slightly, “It doesn’t look like much now, but before you know it, I think this will be a good home for the both of us.” Krypto let out a bark and began to pant, and Connor smiled.

“You know what boy. With you and me, I bet we may just be able to pull this off.

30 Years Later…

Connor hadn’t been sleeping much for the past few days, but this time around it wasn’t nightmares that were keeping him up, but instead a sense of responsibility that fueled the restless nights. He had only slightly dozed off, but Connor could tell it was time and he would not be going back to sleep. He stood up and walked slowly over to the bathroom, turned on the sink and splashed some cold water onto his face. When he looked into the mirror placed over the sink, it was no longer a young boy looking back at him.

Connor was pushing 50 years old now, but for what Earth considered old did not appear that old to Connor. In truth he looked like a human who was just starting to hit thirty. His hair still had color, but the gray was showing, and he had grown a full beard which was showing gray as well. Physically speaking though, it was as if he had the body of a person in their mid-twenties. He still stood tall and his frame was still muscular and toned, of course being part Kryptonian had a lot to do with why he looked the way he did.

Connor remained standing there for a few moments, staring back into his reflection. He didn’t want to move, but he knew what he had to do, so he took a deep breath and closed his eyes focusing in on a particular sound with his Super-hearing. It was a quiet night in the Kent house. In the house, Connor could only hear the sound of two hearts beating, one a lot slower than it used to be. He took one hand, ran it through his hair, and sighed deeply. It would do him no good to beat around the bush any longer. He had made a promise after all.

Moving with a steady stride he left the bathroom, and began to descend the stairs that led into the living room. From the living room he could see the Kitchen, which still had its light on. The sound emanating from it caused a lump to rise up in Connor’s throat. He wanted to turn back, because he didn’t want to see what lay beyond that door frame, but after all, he had made a promise.

He let his feet do the work, with each heavy foot fall bringing him one step closer to what lay in the Kitchen. Within what seemed like forever, he finally stepped into the Kitchen. In the floor, lying on his bed was Krypto. His chest heaved heavily as if each and every breath he took was more painful than any hit he had ever taken from any villain. His heart beat which rung like thunder in Connor’s ears, began to have longer and longer spaces with each passing beat.

The dog had grown frighteningly thin, his fur was discolored and crimped. His eyes were wide open darting from left to right around the room, full of fear. His lips began to curl inward causing his teeth to show, and his tongue stuck out sideways in between the gaps.

It took everything Connor had to make that next step, as he moved over to the dog and sat down into the floor next to him. Connor picked the dog’s head up and laid it in his lap. He brought his hands down and fixed the dogs lips to where the fangs wouldn’t dig into them. Krypto looked up at Connor, with eyes longing for mercy and relief.

“It’s okay boy,” Connor said, his tone shaky. “I’m here now.”

Krypto let out a half whimper and brought one trembling leg to rest on Conner’s leg. Connor ran his hand down the dog’s side, rubbing him gently.

“You don’t have to fight anymore boy. You’ve done an amazing job. All that’s left now is to let go, I’ll be all right. Don’t be scared okay, because I’m not going anywhere.” Krypto’s eyes seemed to change at that point. They were no longer filled with fear, but instead a look of thankfulness and acceptance. Kyrpto moved his head and laid it flat on Connor’s lap, no longer looking up into his face. Connor remained there holding the dog and petting him until there was only one heart left beating in his little corner of Smallville.

In Memory of B.C.

Rest in Peace Old Friend.

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If Only (A Bleez Story)

(Originally this story was meant to be my submission for @awesam's Fan Fic Versus Tournament, but circumstances prevented this one from being posted, so I decided that I would go ahead and post it on my own for those who might like to read it. Also this is rated M for violence and language, so beware and all that. Now that is out of the way, I hope you all enjoy.)

If Only…

What is it that causes your body to break out into a cold sweat after a nightmare? Is it the fear of what you witness? Is it the exertion of rage from witnessing the events of the mind? Or is it the struggle of the subconscious attempting to realize that what you are seeing is not real?

Bleez let out a short scream as she quickly sat upright in her bed. Her heart was racing, and it felt like at any second it could just leap out of her chest. Her hair was damp from sweat, and her hands were shaking. She attempted to slow her breathing, because even in the face of a nightmare she did not need to hyperventilate right now. She closed her eyes, and took in a deep breath.

“It’s not real, it was just a dream.” Bleez said, “Just calm down. Think about the baby, and calm down.” Bleez reached down and rubbed her hand over the bump on her abdomen. She was well along now, and it wouldn’t be long before she brought a new life into the world. The last thing she wanted at this point was any complications.

Bleez tossed the sheet off her and walked over to the window at the far wall. The window was covered over with a shade, but when she reached up to the frame of the window the shade faded away, and granted her the view of the emerald city covering the surface of the Planet Oa. Bleez smiled as she looked out across her new home. She had to admit that even though Oa was not Havania, she had become quite fond of the homeworld of the Green Lantern Corp.

As she stood there looking out it she found herself slightly amazed as she thought about how much her life had changed over the past couple of years. She recalled how the Yellow Lantern had killed her mother, and imprisoned her on Ranx where he tortured her and took away her wings. As a matter of fact in her nightmare she was back on Ranx, and she had just leaped out into the vaccum of space in an attempt to take her own life, but the Lantern had not let her. It was bad enough to dream about that time of humiliation while he grasped hold of her in the blackness of space, running his slimy disgusting tongue down her throat.

Then there was the monster. It was the monster that terrified her; it had appeared in a flash of red light, with bone wings, sharp claws, and spewing blood all over the both of them. In the nightmare she had watched in horror as the creature ripped the Lantern apart, and was helpless as the monster finally turned on her.

That was when she had woken up. What bothered Bleez the most was that the dream had seemed so real, regardless of how crazy it seemed. Thoughts of the nightmare continued to race through her mind as she walked away from the window and into the bathroom. She felt a cold shower was in order. The feeling of the water rushing over her skin normally helped her to sort out her own thoughts, and calm her when she was restless.

Once inside the bathroom, she eased the straps to her nightgown off her shoulders, and let if fall around her ankles. She looked over in the mirror, and could see the long scars in her back where her wings had once been. At one point, she was devastated that they were gone, but she had since forgotten old sorrows. She stepped into the shower which seemed to wash away a lot of the previous night’s tension, and instead of the nightmare she tried to focus on the more pleasant side of the dark memory.

In reality there had been no monster. Instead, it was a lone Green Lantern that would come soaring into the middle of the scene to pry her away from the hell she had been forced to live in. He struck out at the Sinestro Corpsman with a rage unlike anything she had ever seen.

“Get her to safety!” he had screamed, as she had been suddenly enveloped in a green light and carried away by other Green Lanterns. Even as they carried her away she still saw the lone lantern smash through everything her captor threw at him, and finally ending the battle with a roar as he sliced through her captor with a sword construct, separating his upper half from his lower.

At first she had been angry at the lantern for not letting her be the one to finish of the Sinestro Corpsman. She had felt like she deserved it more than anyone, and she made sure the Lanterns knew how angry she was about it by causing a scene at the hospital on Oa. The Lantern that had saved her had arrived at the hospital that day, and somehow he had managed to calm her down.

Later on she would meet with the Lantern again, and as each day passed she would speak with him more. He had treated her differently than she had been back on Havania, and over time she felt herself growing closer to him. Then a few short months later they were married, and she was living in the civilian sector on Oa carrying his child. Back before all of this had happened she would have never dreamed that she would be living like this today. As a matter of fact, if you had told her that on Havania, she might not have hesitated to have the offender imprisoned. Now, despite being wingless and living as a commoner, she couldn’t think of a time when she had been happier.

As she stepped out of the shower, she finally felt a sense of relaxation wash over her. She wasn’t about to let a nightmare ruin her day. Her husband was off-world at the moment, so she had plenty of time to fill, and despite the pregnancy she still didn’t like the idea of being the type of wife who sat around the house all day. She had made plans to go into the market sector today, and bad dream or not she was going.

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Civilian Marketplace, Oa...

Bleez sat down on a nearby bench, and let out a long breath. She was thoroughly exhausted, and had once again underestimated just how much carrying around an unborn infant took out of her. Her feet and back hurt, and not to mention she was hungry again. She rubbed the hump in her dress and let out a long sigh,

“I know I shouldn’t rush it, but honestly I can’t wait till you’re out.” She said to her unborn child. As if it had heard her the infant let out a hard kick, causing Bleez to flinch. “Ouch!” She yelped, and rubbed the place where the child had just kicked.

“Seems like you’re going to be a handful. Well you can wait till your father makes it back, but any longer and there’ll be hell to pay for the both of you.” Bleez chuckled slightly. It seemed kind of silly to be talking to the overgrown lump, but some part of it was nice, and despite all the physical agony she was going through, she was excited, and honestly couldn’t wait to hold her child in her arms.

For a moment Bleez thought about her mother, and how long she had begged her for a grandchild, and now she was finally going to have one, but her mother was dead. She felt a little sorry for her late mother now, and sometimes wished she had done as her mother asked, and not been so selfish. If she had, then her mother might still have been around, and she would have never suffered like she had. Then again if she hadn’t, she would have never met the love of her life, and might have not been happy.

Bleez shook her head trying to rid herself of the thoughts about her mother. It would do her no good to continue thinking about it. Her mother was dead, and that’s just the way it was. There was no going back. She tried to focus on the things about her life now:

“I’m an excited mother to be, and I’m the happy wife of the most amazing husband in the universe. I’m living a good life. I don’t want any other.” She thought to herself, and as she kept repeating the line over and over she felt a warm feeling rise up in her chest, and the sad thoughts about her mother, and what could have been disappeared.

There was a ringing throughout the plaza where she sat on the bench, alerting all of the civilian sector that certain areas of the market would be closing soon, which coincidentally meant that she would need to be getting back home soon. As she grabbed her things which she had bought at the market that day she noticed something strange out of the corner of her eye.

The civilian market was always crowded, and Oa was home to a multitude of races. Some didn’t look so different from her, some looked bizarre, and some even looked absolutely vicious. Before her marriage she would have never associated with any of them, but she had come to learn how it was wise to not judge by appearance. This creature however looked so vicious that she knew it was bad news.

It stood tall over most of the other races in the crowd, it’s yellow eyes and sharp teeth matched went along perfectly with its red tinted skin and crimson uniform. Bleez looked at the creature’s chest and noticed a strange symbol. It reminded her a lot of the Green Lantern crest, but the one on it’s chest was sharper and more angular in appearance. There was something strange about it, and she couldn’t look away from it. She started to feel strange, and the feeling intensified the longer she stared at the symbol. It felt like her heartbeat was pounding in her ears and she could taste blood in her mouth. She pulled her eyes away from the symbol, and that was when she noticed that the creature was starring directly at her.

She noticed the small trickle of blood running from the corner of the creature’s mouth, and felt then it was best to get away from it as quickly as possible. She started to move as fast as she could through the crowd. She had to get back home, as far away from that thing as possible. She thought about the baby, and reached down to see if it was alright. In her panicked state she was worried that something might happen to her child. She looked back, and a cold chill ran down her spine when she realized that the thing was following her.

She picked up the pace and moved as fast as her legs would carry her, and praying the entire way that nothing would happen to the baby.

“Dammit all! Where is the corp, do they not see what is happening!” She thought. It was becoming harder and harder to breathe. The taste of blood in her mouth was overwhelming now, and the sound of her pounding heart had been replaced with strangevoice that were saying things she could not make sense of.

“Red Ring…Red Ring…Atrocitus…RAGE!” The voices shrieked, becoming louder and louder. So much it made her head reel with pain, and it made it hard to see as the pain caused the tears to well up in her eyes. She pushed on though, thinking only about the safety of her home, of her husband, and her unborn child. She had to protect her child, and keep the monster away from it.

She finally made it to her apartment, and looked around. The monster was no where in sight. Maybe she had somehow got away, and lost it in the crowd. All she wanted now was to get inside, and call her husband. She needed to hear his voice now. She just didn’t want to be scared anymore. She had left that on Ranx. This wasn’t supposed to be happening.

The door had just slid open when suddenly, from inside the darkness of her apartment, a large red hand grabbed her around the throat, and lifted her off the ground. She screamed out completely terrified and unsure of what had happened. When she opened her eyes, she saw the monster from the market. Its breath was utterly foul, and its face was scarred. The words “Red Ring” and “Atrocitus” were screaming now louder than ever.

Bleez screamed out hoping anyone would hear her, and come stop the monster that had her in its claws. The monster brought her close to his face and growled before saying:

“Into the Ocean with you.” Suddenly Bleez felt a sharp pain in her stomach that took her breath away, and then she began to feel something warm run down the inside of her legs. She was afraid to say anything, and even more afraid to look down at where the pain was coming from. The monster snorted at her, and tossed her away from him.

She felt her body slam up against the wall of her apartment, and then crash into a heap on the floor. She finally was able to breathe again, but she hurt all over.

“No, No, please no.” she cried as she reached down to feel where the baby was supposed to be. Instead she only felt something warm and wet, and she could feel the holes along her abdomen where the creature had dug into her. She brought her hand up to her face only to see it stained red. She could no longer feel the child moving inside her, and tears began to stream down her face. It was gone.

“Why!” She screamed out at the monster, but as she looked around for it, she could only see darkness. “Where are you, you bastard!” She screamed, but this time something else came out of the darkness. A red light appeared, and out of the darkness came the creature from her nightmare. It stood in front of her wearing the crimson outfit, the bone wings protruding out of its back, and its talons bared. At first the monster’s eyes were yellow like the creature that had attacked her and killed her unborn child, but as in creeped closer the yellow glow began to fade, and Bleez’s eyes went wide with horror as she starred into its eyes, realizing that she had seen them before. In fact the creature’s eyes were the same eyes she looked at every morning when she looked into the mirror, and she finally realized that the monster was her.

She tried to scream, desperate now more than ever to get away, but the monstrous version of herself was too close. It roared and a torrent of blood came flowing out of its mouth covering Bleez.

She screamed out in agony as the blood burned her flesh, and her mind was filled with visions. She felt everything about her life melting away only to be replaced with memories of a monster that served a being known as Atrocitus. It was a monster that ripped through its victims; slaying them without mercy. A monster full of rage, and then suddenly everything went black as the woman who was once Bleez was finally no more.

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The Blood Ocean, Ysmault...

Bleez rose up out of the blood ocean on Ysmault, only to meet the eyes of Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lantern Corps. She felt a rage rise up within her as she remembered everything since the day she first received her ring and before. The bastard had taken away the mindlessness where she was free from those horrid thoughts, and had given back to her nothing but pain. As looked into her leader’s eyes she silently swore that he would pay dearly for what he had done, but for now she would play her part and do as the monster before her asked. After all she was Bleez, Red Lantern of Sector 33, and a slave to rage.

THE END

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Corrupted: Kon-El Part One

Thirty years. It had been thirty years since Metropolis. Thirty years since a majority of the world’s heroes and villains were wiped out in one bloody conflict. Thirty years since the world suddenly went in a new direction. Thirty years since the man who was once known as the Superboy, turned his back on the world to choose a life of peace and humility.

Connor Kent took in a deep breath of fresh air as he stepped out onto the front porch of his home. It was a beautiful day in the Midwestern plain. The sun was just beginning to rise up over the horizon. The roosters rose up out of their pens and began to crow, and Connor could hear the flutter of wings as birds in the dogwood set out in front of the house took to the air to search for their morning meal. Connor wished he could just remain standing and watch as the Sun rose to begin the day, but he had responsibilities, and he had seen many a sunrise in his lifetime, so he stepped off the porch to begin the days work.

Life on the farm had been somewhat of a blessing for Connor. In many ways Smallville had been untouched by the hands of time. It was still a small rural community where many of the people knew one another. Most of the people tended to be fairly nice, and usually greeted you with a smile, but like any place there was always the occasional grumbler or someone that wanted to stir up trouble. Overall though, it was a nice place for a person seeking rest from the world.

Connor’s role in the town had been that of an unassuming citizen. Most days he worked the farm, and some days he would sit in on the occasional town meeting. He attended Thursday night book club at the local library, and often caught the eyes of the local single women, much to his discomfort sometimes. He even attended church on Sundays despite not really believing in the sermons, but he loved the sound of the old hymns sung by the choir, and he loved the sense of community. Most of them knew of Connor too, and he often would help out if any of them needed something.

For a fifty year old man living alone, Connor had to admit that he wasn’t doing so badly. Then again if he had told anyone that he was fifty years old, they would have never believed him. He had a little bit of gray in his hair and beard, but not enough to really notice. Also the fact that he had the body of a twenty year old body builder that was six foot tall and two hundred twenty pounds made it even harder to believe.

The Kryptonian DNA in his system is what made him that way. His cells would soak up the sunlight, and that gave him an advanced healing factor which kept him fit and healthy. It also caused him to not physically age as fast. The human side of him still felt some of the signs of old age. His joints and back did ache a little and his eyesight, though still better than most humans his age, was not what it used to be.

Growing old had not been without its perks though. Connor had the growing suspicion that some of his Kryptonian abilities had grown. He felt like he could lift more, hold his breath for much longer, and move at faster speeds than he could when he was a teenager. Then again his DNA structure was constantly in flux, so it was never certain what was going on with him internally.

After a couple hours the animals were fed, eggs were gathered from the coop, the cow was milked, and the horse stall was cleaned. If he had wished he could have probably finished all of it in just a few seconds, but he liked taking his time. It helped to put things in perspective, which was that he was still part human, and sometimes being Super didn’t mean rushing through the small things, but more so appreciating them.

The only problem with that perspective was that it was still a lie. He was Kon-El, the Superboy, and no matter how hard he tried, he knew he couldn’t run away from it. Sometimes he fooled himself into thinking that maybe the world had forgotten about who he once was, but on days like today, he knew just how foolish such a thought really was.

He had noticed her out of the corner of his eye at first, as a black dot on the horizon, but once he focused, he could easily make out the form of belonging to the Queen of the new world order. He wasn’t expecting any visitors today, least of all Wonder Woman.

As she touched down near him his gaze met hers. He had to admit for a woman well into her seventies, she was still very beautiful. The gray in her hair was less noticeable than his own, and where most women her age were wrinkled and frail, Diana was the exact opposite, still sporting the physicality that most Amazon women in their prime were known for. He supposed being the daughter of Zeus had a lot to do with that. She was dressed in her traditional outfit of the red and blue with the headdress, bracelets and eagle emblem adorning her chest; however, it had sustained some changes over the years. She had pants now. Connor could still remember the days that Diana sported a one piece swimsuit as a battle harness. He still couldn’t quite tell if that had been a ploy to deceive her opponents, or if it was the Amazons ignorance in what they perceived as how women presented themselves in America at the time. Regardless of her outfit though, some part of him was still happy to see her.

“Hello Connor,” Diana said smiling at him in greeting.

“Hello Diana,” Connor replied, “How are you?”

“I’m doing well, I see you’ve been busy” She said while looking around at the farm.

“Please, it hasn’t changed that much since you last were here. The horses have done more to the place than I have since then.” Connor retorted, causing her to chuckle a little.

“No I guess it hasn’t changed much; although, that was nearly fourteen years ago now.”

“So what brings you out here this time?” Connor said as he set his tools down, and wiped his hands on the handkerchief that he had pulled from his back pocket.

“Cutting to the chase pretty quick aren’t we?” Diana retorted holding her hands out in a jesting manner.

“We’ll I don’t get a lot of visitors, outside of a couple folks. It’s even rarer that I get visitors from outside of Smallville, and normally they want something other than to just catch up on old times. I mean, why else would anybody want to bother an old war veteran living out in the middle of nowhere?”

“Because he’s needed.” Diana answered, changing her tone. Connor easily picked up on the serious nature, and new right away that apparently something was going on.

“What’s happened?” Connor asked as he knelt down to pick a dandelion, and trying to act like he wasn’t really interested.

“Pretty much what you see in the news.” Diana replied, crossing her arms, “The rebels are causing a lot of trouble, and the people are becoming more zealous in protesting Kal’s policies.”

“Then perhaps he should change them?”

“Connor, you know it’s not that simple. The world is still in chaos, and you know Kal is the only one who can bring order to the world. As world leader he is constantly caught up in bureaucratic matters. He rarely even steps out of the White House anymore. The people have no one to really look up to anymore, and as a result their losing faith in what we are trying to achieve.”

Connor let out a sigh as he stood up, and dusted off his coveralls that he normally wore around the farm. He thought about Superman and the world he had left behind. Not long after he had first emerged from the cloning tubes at Cadmus, it didn’t take him long to see what Superman was doing. He was bringing about peace, and wiping out a criminal element that had caused so many deaths. He believed in a vision for a better world, and he knew without a doubt that if anyone could pull it off, it would be Superman; however, though he believed in Superman’s dream it was something he had left behind a long time ago, along with many other things.

“What do you want from me?” Connor asked.

“We…” Diana paused for a moment, considering her words, “I want you to come back to Metropolis, and serve as the symbol of Superman to the people.”

“The answer is no.” Connor replied without pausing for a breath.

“Connor, please think about this!” Diana pleaded.

“No! I left that place years ago, because the world didn’t need someone like me in it. You know what I did that day. The world doesn’t need a loose cannon serving as Superman’s symbol.”

“Connor that was thirty years ago, and you had just witnessed your best friend die. Anyone would have lashed out in anger after witnessing that.”

“Clark wouldn’t.” he exclaimed, but Diana glared right back at him.

“I think we both know that’s a lie.” Diana countered. There was a brief moment of silence between them, as Connor thought about what Diana said. Connor himself had seen Superman’s rage first hand many times. Sometimes it had even been him that had calmed the man of steel down from fits of rage. “Look Connor, I don’t want to argue, and the choice is still yours, but I don’t want you to say no without really considering just what it is I’m asking of you.”

“Alright,” Connor said throwing his hands up, “Go ahead say what you need to say.”

“Metropolis is one of the cities that we are losing the fastest.” Diana revealed, “There are more and more riots every day. The jails are crammed full, the people are complaining about how we aren’t paying any attention to them and how they don’t feel safe. The rebels are gaining more and more leeway over the city every day. The Hawkmen have done their best to enforce the law, but they have been unable to bring these criminals to justice. They’re destroying the city, and it’s because we have no-one operating in the city as a fixed agent that’s willing to take risks. The city needs the Man of Tomorrow, but it can’t be Kal anymore, it has to be you.”

“I left Metropolis and came here to Smallville for a reason. I don’t even know if I could go back.”

“Of course you could Connor. Yes, you will have to face a lot of your own personal demons; I won’t deny that. If you come back though, serve as a symbol to these people, and show them that its government hasn’t forgotten them, then perhaps you can defeat those demons and maybe give your mind some peace. You’re not going to find it by running away, and tending crops. That’s not you.”

Connor didn’t bother to reply, but simply remained there silent and taking in all Diana had to say. She was right after all. He had come to Smallville to get away from all the killing, but he could still remember everything that had happened like it was yesterday. Tim gasping for air as he drowned in his own blood. The weight of Cheetah’s head in his hands. Cassie’s lingering silence as he left her room after breaking up with her. It was all still there when he closed his eyes.

“Listen, if you still need convincing, I have one last piece of information to give you.” Diana reached around and pulled something from her waist band, and held it out to Connor. Connor recognized it immediately as a Mother Box. Mother Boxes were very powerful sentient computers that were once used by the New Gods. These days every prominent member of the League, and the various heads of the Hawkmen legions had one. Each one was different though, with varying capabilities. Obviously the heads of the League would have ones that were the most capable.

“This mother box contains all the information we’ve gathered thus far on the rebels operating in Metropolis. We’ve discovered that they’ve been using old Cadmus cloning specs in some of their labs.”

Suddenly Connor’s eyes went wide as he looked up at Diana. “You’re kidding!” Connor exclaimed, hardly able to believe what he had just heard.

“I only wish I were.” Diana crossed her arms, “So far we haven’t seen them accomplish anything, but if they do, I hate to imagine what they will do with it.”

Connor was dumbstruck. He thought all the Cadmus files had been destroyed long ago. The idea of an army of abominations soaring through the skies caused a sick feeling to rise up in his gut. If the rebels really had the ability to create more super clones like him, it would be a complete disaster. Hundreds would die, entire cities would crumble. Connor agreed that something like this had to be prevented from ever happening, but was he really the one to do it? He just didn’t know.

“I’m going to have a look at this,” Connor said holding up the Mother Box, “Do you mind giving me some time to think this over?”

“Of course,” Diana nodded, “, but need to know your decision within twenty four hours; try to understand that we need someone in Metropolis now.”

“I promise that I’ll let you know as soon as I can.” Connor replied. Diana started to lift off to fly away when Connor called out to her again, “Diana wait a second!”

“What is it?” Diana replied

“How’s Lyla doing?”

“She’s doing well, as a matter of fact she’s close to wiping out the remaining resistance in Bialya, and she should return back home soon.”

“That’s good to hear.” Connor said breathing a sigh of relief. “Anyway, I’ll get back to you about this other.”

“Thank you, Connor. I really appreciate this. I’ll talk to you soon.” Diana waved and then turned around before flying off, and leaving Connor behind to stir in his thoughts. Connor who had planned to go out to the fields and work, decided to instead put the tools back away and go into the house.

Once inside he sat down at the table and placed the Mother Box down on top of it.

“Show me.” Connor said to the mother box, and suddenly a hologram appeared before him showing him all the information he needed to know. As he looked over it all he reached up, and rubbed his eyes. It was a lot to take in all at once, and Connor had no idea where to start.

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Corrupted: Kon-El Prologue

Metropolis, June 18, 2034 2:35 PM

Metropolis. The city of tomorrow. It was hard for Connor to look out across the beautiful city, with its towering skyscrapers, and down at the clean streets below. It was hard to believe that only a couple of weeks ago the city had been a battleground. The streets below had been littered with blood, and pieces of flesh belonging to friend and foe alike. It was enough to drive any hero insane, or make them want to run away.

Connor had not had a good night’s sleep since before the battle, and now when he tried to sleep he had nightmares. He could hear screams, feel the blood on his fingertips, and hear the voices of friends now dead pleading for him to save them. Many had died, and Connor knew he would forever be haunted by them.

He and a few others had tried desperately to stop them. Asked them to cease and desist to prevent further bloodshed, but it was in vain. Deathstroke had struck the first blow when he fired off three rounds at Superman. After that, everything happened so fast. He had seen Kara and Dinah butchered, Dick burned alive, and worst of all Tim bled out in Connor’s arms. Blood and screams were all that he could pull from the shredded remains of his memory.

When Connor looked back at the final reports; he could scarcely believe what he had done. His kill count had been massive. According to the reports, Sinestro, Black Manta, Sliver Banshee, Metallo, Cheetah, and many others had fallen to him, but Connor could barely remember any of it. He remembered seeing Cheetah plead for her life before he ripped her head from her sholders, but outside of that it was a blur. By the time it was over and Connor finally woke up, he could scarcely move, and he was holding a broken, but still breathing Cassie Sandsmark in his arms. For that one brief moment, he was thankful.

His hands though were covered in blood, and no matter how many times he washed them it seemed like the blood would not come out. Cassie, who was now in recovery, had sustained a few burns, a laceration on her right leg, and a broken arm, but she would not even look at him. She said that she had seen firsthand what he had done, and that for the first time in her life she was afraid of him. Even now she refused to see him.

In truth, he couldn’t even stand the sight of himself anymore. He refused to wear the ‘S’ because he felt like it didn’t fit him anymore. Connor just wanted all the pain and emptiness he was feeling to go away, he wanted to forget about it, but he knew he couldn’t do it in Metropolis and that was why he currently stood on the roof of the Daily Planet waiting. He was waiting for the only person he could think of to reach out to at the moment. Suddenly there was a slight change in the wind, and the person he had been waiting for had arrived.

“Took you long enough.” Connor said turning around and looking up into the face of the Man of Steel.

“You’ll have to forgive me. “ Superman said, “As you know there’s been a lot going on.”

“Yeah tell me about it.”

“Is Cassie still refusing to see you?” Superman asked, landing next to Connor, and leaning up against the side wall of the building.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“Diana told me.”

“Oh, I see.” Connor replied. A moment of silence passed between them. Connor knew Clark had not been without his losses as well.

“So what did you want to talk to me about?” Superman asked, and after a brief moment Conner let out a sigh as he said.

“I’m retiring.”

“What?” Superman replied with a shocked tone.

“I can’t do this anymore Clark. Kara, Dick, and Tim. They’re all gone. I tried so hard to stop everything from happening, but I failed, and I got pulled right into it. Now I have blood on my hands.”

“We all have blood on our hands. Me, Diana, and even Cassie does.”

“Maybe you can live with that Clark, but I can’t. I can’t close my eyes without seeing their faces. The friends who died. Those I killed.” Connor spat a look of rage on his face before finally pausing and looking away and muttering under his breath, “Those who fear me. I still see Cheetah begging for mercy when I close my eyes. She was crying. Saying ‘please spare me’, but all I could think about was what she did to Tim. I loved the feeling of my hands around her face as I pulled, the sounds of her screams in the palm of my hand, and the sound of ripping skin and muscle as I took her head.” Connor said as he held his palms up looking down at them. “I loved it so much that I would do it again, and that scares me.”

Superman stood there, not saying anything, but just looking away.

“I’m sorry,” Connor sighed, “I forgot to ask. How are the wounds?”

“I’ll live.” Superman replied, “Look Connor, I understand what you’re going through. We’ve all had to do things in this fight that years ago we would have never dreamed of doing.” Superman walked up to Connor and placed his hands on the nineteen year olds shoulders. “Are you absolutely sure about this, about walking away from all of this? The world needs you.”

“Yes.” Connor replied. “I’m sure.”

“Then I guess you’re mind is made up. Do you know where you’re going to go from here?”

“Yeah, I thought about going back to Smallville, and maybe fixing up the old place. Living the rest of my days out there in peace, you know?”

Superman let out a short laugh, “That doesn’t sound too bad. Will you take Cassie with you?” Connor was silent for a moment, but finally replied.

“No. She can’t stand to see me right now; besides, she’s better off without me.”

“So you’re going to end it?”

“Yeah, I guess I am. It’s too bad though. I really saw a future before, but now…”

“It’s alright Connor, I understand. Do you know when are you leaving?”

“First thing in the morning.” Connor replied “I have to pack a few more things first, and I have to figure out how I’m going to tell Cass.”

“Alright. If you do this though, I have one condition.” Superman said causing Connor too look at him with a puzzled look, “Swing by the Fortress and pick up Krypto. I’m not there as much these days, and he’s been spending too much time alone. I think some wide open spaces would do him some good. Just promise me you’ll take care of him for me.”

“You bet.” Connor smiled, and held out his hand. Superman smiled back, and took the boy’s hand.

“Goodbye Connor.” Superman said, shaking the boy’s hand in friendship, for the last time.

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