By Delphic 8 Comments
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.