By Mrs. Luthor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Summary: A what-if story in which Jor-El builds two spaceships: one for Kal-El and one for another baby.
I have been working on this story on and off for quite awhile. After watching "Big Girls Don't Fly" I considered changing the story-line a bit, but decided against it and went with my original idea. This is a "what if this happened differently" type story and I try to explain my theories on Krypton.
Some of the characters are mine and some belong to DC comics.
Input positive/negative are very welcome. Hope everyone likes it.
Kennah ran through the halls of Krypton, carrying her daughter, Ailah, with her. She was terrified and she didn't know where else to go but the home of Lara and Jor-El. Their young son, Kal-El, was about Ailah's age, slightly older. They were supposed to be married someday, as Lara and Kennah had arranged. Just as the mother's of Kennah and Zor-Ez had set up their marriage. It had worked well in her case, and it would probably have worked in the case of Ailah and Kal-El. But those thoughts no longer mattered. Kal-El and Ailah would never reach their first birthdays. Krypton would be destroyed within the week. Even now it was unbearably hot. Kennah had wrapped Ailah up in damp cool clothes to keep her from over-heating. Ailah was a beautiful baby, with dark hair and lovely big brown eyes. The thought of Ailah dying in a nuclear explosion was unbearable to Kennah and she choked back a sob.
Coming to a white sliding door she said, "Kennah and Ailah, wife and daughter of Zor-Ez visiting the family of Jor- El. Access requested." Kennah waited, knowing that the request had to be relayed to Jor-El before she could get in. Impatiently, she bounced Ailah on her hip. Ailah, not pleased at the rude awakening she had just received, squawked loudly at the interruption.
"Oh, Ailah! I'm sorry!" said the young mother, trying unsuccessfully to quiet her outraged infant. At that moment the white door slid open. Directly behind that was a transparent energy field. To the right of the door was a red S on a yellow shield with a red border, the sign of Jor-El's family. Kennah placed her hand in the middle of the "S" shield and gritted her teeth at Ailah's screaming. The plate heated, signaling to go in. She walked through the door, put Ailah down, and stood perfectly still on another S shield in the middle of the room, while censors performed a full-body scan. The far door opened almost immediately, signaling that the scan was over and there was confirmation of her identity. She walked, thankfully into the air-conditioned room as Jor-El emerged from the other side of the room, looking very happy under the circumstances.
"Kennah, welcome, you and Ailah! Lara will be here in a moment. Why did you come?"
"I … uh … I'm scared, Jor-El, I'm really scared." He nodded in understanding.
"This is a scary time, not knowing what will happen." She laughed bitterly.
"Oh, I know what will happen, all right, the over- heating of our planet by the sun will create a nuclear explosion in our system, destroying the entire planet." She looked down at Ailah, "It's not the unknown that I fear, Jor-El."
"You're going to die, we all fear that, especially now." He said in understanding.
"Well, of course I fear my own death, but … but … Ailah won't even have the chance to live." Jor-El smiled suddenly. Kennah was shocked. How could he smile as she talked about her baby dying.
"Do you want to save your baby, Kennah?" he asked hesitantly.
"Of COURSE I want to save my baby, but how could I?" she asked, annoyed. Jor-El smiled. He walked over to his wall where there was a huge white screen." Kennah gasped when he touched an S shield button, turning the wall a dark green.
"What is that?" she asked, shocked.
"The color green." he answered matter-of-factly, as if it wasn't illegal to possess the color.
"Green? Turn it off, we'll die!" she cried, alarmed. He grinned suddenly and Kennah realized the absurdity of her statement. They were going to die within the week regardless. She looked into the screen and saw people there too. But they looked strange. They weren't wearing the shapeless white cloaks of Krypton, but almost vulgarly tight clothes, that clung to their body shape. Kennah gasped in shock. Jor-El laughed. The people, a man and a woman, were sitting on the course green floor, which wasn't smooth like the white floors of Krypton. The woman had long hair. Where were they? Suddenly she thought she knew.
"Jor-El, is this ancient Krypton?" he laughed.
"Good guess, but no." she looked flustered.
"Then where …?" Just then Lara came into the room and surveyed the situation. She smiled and bounced Kal-El on her hip.
"Look, Kal-El, your fiancee has come to play with you!" she teased the infant who had no knowledge of what she was talking about, but contented himself with grabbing her ear. She patiently removed his tiny hand and plopped him down next to his toys in the corner. "Kennah, I'm sure Ailah would like to help Kal-El make a mess?" she grinned. Kennah gratefully put her squirming burden down next to Kal-El.
"Baby." said Kal-El, pointing to Ailah in amazement and then shock when she picked up HIS toy. "No, no, ba- bee!" he said, yanking it back. Ailah's bottom lip quivered and she wailed. Lara swooped in immediately, slapping Kal- El's hand and giving the toy back to Ailah. Ailah stopped crying immediately, seeming to know that she had won the battle. Kal-El, however, was outraged at the injustice and his chubby face turned red as he screamed in innocent indignation. Kennah laughed at the display. Ailah's satisfied look at Kal-El's tears made Jor-El chuckle. Kal-El looked up to find his parents laughing at him. Although he didn't understand what was going on he grew louder at their laughing. He rocked from side to side, crying loudly. Ailah happily gurgled and gummed Kal-El's favorite toy. Kal-El, getting excited, fell over and found himself on his chubby belly. For moment he stopped crying, bewildered and shocked. Then, finding he couldn't get up, he screamed in frustrated annoyance. Lara picked up the fallen soldier and put him back at his post, where he sullenly eyed his adversary gumming his toys.
Lara laughed again. "Maybe it's good they aren't getting married." Her words, spoken without thought, brought them all crashing back into reality with a bang. Kennah bit her lip. She pointed to the screen.
"Where are they, Jor-El?" she asked.
"Earth." he answered solemnly, letting his reply sink in.
"Planet Earth?" she asked in shock. Jor-El nodded. "But we only discovered it existed last year!" She was amazed at his revelation.
"You know we've been studying the Milky Way Galaxy for some time, Kennah. We just didn't announce this information to the public until early last year." Kennah tried to find her voice.
"Do they … know about us?" she asked finally.
"No, as far as they know they're the center of the Universe." he answered.
"Oh … then they can't help us?" she asked, depressed.
"No, they cannot. But they do provide a way to save our children. If you are willing." he finished softly. "Are you?"
"Am I?? Of course I am! I love my baby. I want her to live." She gazed lovingly at Ailah as she elbowed Kal-El.
"Lara?" asked Jor-El.
"Yes, my love?" she answered. Jor-El leaned over and whispered into her ear. She nodded as he left the room. Kennah was confused. She looked at Lara in question. Lara smiled.
"Don't worry, Kennah, he went back to start work on Ailah's spaceship." she answered the unspoken question simply.
"Ailah's … what?" she asked, sure she had heard spaceship yet absolutely positive she had severe auditory problems.
"Spaceship." Lara answered again. Kennah's mouth dropped.
"How could … ? Why is … ? HUH???" Kennah's questions came out in a jumbled heap. Lara chuckled.
"Would you like an explanation?" she grinned. Kennah rolled her eyes.
"Yeah, I guess you could say that! I am a little interested as to why my baby needs a spaceship!" she finished, annoyed. Lara grinned again.
"Why don't you call Zor-Ez first?" Kennah shrugged.
"Whatever." She laid her hand against the S shield. "Kennah requesting visual and auditory contact with Zor-Ez." The green picture on the screen was almost immediately replaced with Zor-Ez, who was still asleep in bed. Kennah was furious, he should have been up hours ago!
"Zor-Ez! Get up!" she yelled at him. Getting up with a start, his short dark hair standing on end, he looked up at her groggily. She put her hands on her hips, annoyed. "Zor- Ez, will you never stop sleeping in? You've been sleeping in since you were a child!! I'll never forgive your mother for never getting you up on time, it has severely damaged my own personal life after we got married! Of all the things I hate your mother for most I think that that's it. Except for the time she announced that I failed my Krypton History test. She had NO right to tell everyone! She wasn't even supposed to know!! How did she find out my grade anyway?? I was TEN!!" Zor- Ez, just becoming aware of what was going on, held up a hand to stop her, to no avail. "That was cruel to announce to everyone that I Failed. Why would she do that to me? Besides her OBVIOUS jealousy! She has dull, blond hair, but I have thick BROWN hair. The darker the better, you know! I ALWAYS know she hated me because of my hair!"
"KENNAH!!! WHAT DID YOU CALL ME ABOUT?" Zor-Ez asked, finally coming through to her.
"Oh … I … you need to come over to Lara and Jor-El's, please, it's really IMPORTANT!"
"Why didn't you say that?" he asked, exasperated. He cut off the call as Kennah tried to fabricate a reason. He shook his head, "I hope Ailah never goes on tangents like that!" The thought made him choke back a sob. Ailah wouldn't have the chance. Zor-Ez quickly threw on his long, shapeless white coat and ran into the door. Cursing under his breath he laid his hand on the triangle "A", his family sign. The door slid open immediately and he ran out the door.
Kennah looked up from Ailah and Kal-El's squabbling as Zor-Ez came through the door. Lara asked them both to sit down on the couch, a relic of ancient Krypton. They sat and she placed her hand on the "S" shield.
"Lara requesting visual. Earth #4379." The picture of the couple on the green floor reappeared. Zor-Ez gasped.
"That's green, it's dangerous, turn it off!" Lara laughed. "Please sit down, Zor-Ez, and I'll explain this to you." Zor-Ez hesitated, but sat down after a moment, looking skeptical.
"Are you both familiar with Kryptonian History?" she asked. They both nodded hesitantly, not sure where the conversation was going.
"But, " Kennah interrupted, "Jor-El said that this wasn't Krypton." she gestured toward the screen. Lara sighed in exasperation.
"Kennah, do you want an explanation or not?" Kennah nodded grudgingly and settled back into the couch, her arms crossed sullenly. Lara grinned.
"Good. In Ancient Krypton everyone lived out of doors, there were many green plants that lived by gathering the sun's energy. They covered Krypton's ground, which was made up of soil. Have you seen soil in the Gardens perhaps?" They nodded their heads slowly. "Anyway, there were many little plants growing in the soil called grass. And that is what these people are sitting on!" she said excitedly, gesturing to the screen.
"Ohhh … " said Kennah and Zor-Ez in unison.
"Unfortunately, the people of our planet did some awful things to our planet's environment and destroyed our ozone layer. This is what will be the cause of our death, it has taken a long time, but our planet is going to overheat and explode within the week. Had we not built a nuclear power central system, this may not have happened, " Lara sighed, "but we did and it will. However, this planet, " she gestured toward the screen, "has an intact ozone layer. They aren't always forced to be inside and, in fact, enjoy the beauty of the outside scenery. They are also allowed to have all the green they want to have, while we have been instructed to limit green to only the gardens and, of course, the green of the central power system." Kennah and Zor-Ez nodded, they had never seen the green glowing rock, but it was said to be extremely powerful. Lara continued her story. "We have many probes and such in Earth's area and have been watching this couple in particular." Lara ignored Kennah's questioning look. "At first we had a problem with the speed of light, but have been able to drastically increase it's speed, due to Jor-El's new invention. We are presently looking at a picture about a day or so in the past. Under ordinary circumstances it would have been about 500,000 years into the past." Kennah's mouth dropped and Zor-Ez looked stunned.
"But … "Kennah started to interrupt. Lara glared at her. Kennah lowered her head meekly and let her continue. The corner of Lara's lip curled up slightly and she continued.
"Using a similar method we have devised a way to greatly increase the speed of Kal-El's spaceship … " This time no one could stop Kennah from cutting in.
"SPACESHIP??? Where is he going?" Kennah was stunned, but not as much as Zor-Ez. He stared at Lara, saying nothing. Kennah looked at him, noting his lack of reaction. She realized he wasn't moving and snapped her fingers in front of his face. Zor-Ez turned to her with a start.
"Did she say what I think she said?" he asked Kennah, still dazed. She nodded grimly. Lara interrupted their discussion, demanding to be heard.
"Are you guys going to listen or what??" They nodded dubiously, but eyed her with suspicion as she continued.
"We have greatly increased the speed of Kal-EL's spaceship, but there will be some minor affects on Kal-El." Lara and Zor-Ez exchanged looks, knowing Lara's habit of understatement.
"Like …?" Zor-Ez asked.
"Oh, an increase in all senses, the ability to fly, and invulnerability." Lara gasped and Zor-Ez's eyes widened in shock.
"All that from the speed of the spaceship?" Zor-Ez asked incredulously.
"No, The star there, similar to our sun, but younger, will be the cause. The effects, as far as we can see, are irreversible, unless, of course he comes into contact with OUR sun, " Lara and Zor-Ez sat in stunned silence as Lara continued, "Which we all know will no longer exist in a few days, because of the extent of the explosion." Lara finished and looked at her shocked audience. They all sat in silence for a few moments. Kennah watched Kal-El, who was happily gumming at the toys Ailah had discarded. Kennah was glad he couldn't see the future. She looked to her own daughter, Ailah. Such a beautiful child …
"So what does all this have to do with us, Lara?" she asked. Lara took a breath.
"If you want to save Ailah, she can be sent to Earth as well." Kennah gasped and her heart constricted. She had to send her baby away. Zor-Ez lowered his head and his broad shoulders sank.
"Lara … you … can't ask me to send my baby away!" Kennah pleaded.
"I'm not, Kennah, I'm telling you that if you don't, she'll die." Kennah swallowed hard.
"You're blunt, aren't you, Lara?" she asked. Lara nodded. Kennah was on her feet pacing recklessly. Zor-Ez stopped her in the corner.
"We have to do it, Kennah." he said Kennah. Kennah was shocked.
"How can I send my child out into the Universe?" her heart was breaking as she looked at the man she loved.
"She's my child too, Kennah, we need to let her live."
"But what kind of life could she have … ?"
"One in which she would be alive. And with powers like the ones Lara mentioned, she would be able to help earth a great deal." Kennah shuddered and tried once more.
"But … you just can't expect a mother to let her child go!" Zor-Ez almost glared at her.
"I love her just as much as you do. And, yes, I can and do expect a mother to let her child go. It will give the child life, one that you can't provide. If you keep her, Kennah, she'll die. Besides, Kennah, you aren't the only mother in the room." He turned to look at Lara. Kennah followed his gaze.
Lara's gaze was resting lovingly and tearfully upon Kal-El. She turned back to Zor-Ez and Kennah swallowed hard. She tried to form the words she knew she had to say, but her tongue refused to function. Finally, she just looked Lara in the eye and nodded. Lara smiled in understanding. Zor-Ez took Kennah's hand and they sat back down on the couch. Lara spoke first.
"Jor-El should be back any minute now, he went to start work on Ailah's spaceship. But it shouldn't take too long." Just then Jor-El entered the room with a smile.
"Did they agree, darling?" asked Lara's handsome husband.
"Speak of the devil," Lara laughed, "they did, my love."
"Good, I thought they would." He smiled, and warmth filled the room. Kennah watched him gaze at Lara. He was, beyond a doubt, one of the most beautiful men Kennah had ever seen. Next to Zor-Ez, of course, she tried to lie to herself.
"Well, " said the subject of Kennah's thoughts, "I'd better give you a rundown of what is going to happen. First, one of you should go get a blanket or something to keep her warm in the spaceship. The ship is metal and she could easily catch cold." Kennah and Zor-Ez looked at him blankly. Krypton hadn't been cold for hundreds of years.
"Blanket?" Zor-Ez asked, confused.
"I'm sorry, you've never seen one. It's heavy material used to keep heat against your body." Zor-Ez and Kennah exchanged looks, it sounded awful.
"Why would anyone want to do that?" Kennah wondered allowed. Jor-El smiled.
"It is much colder on earth than it is here, Kennah. We're about to be killed by the heat, that will not happen to them for thousands, if not millions of years. Besides, they are used mostly during the night. When their sun is on the other side of the planet."
"But, Jor-El, does Earth cool off that quickly?"
"Remember, Zor-Ez, they live outdoors and it doesn't collect as much heat, even with the greenery."
"But all that doesn't matter." Kennah brought them back to the subject at hand, which Zor-Ez found somewhat amusing, seeing as she was usually the one off subject in the first place. "You said we needed a … blanket … " she tested the word. "for Ailah?"
"Yes, space is cold, and it might be awhile until someone finds her on earth." Kennah didn't want to think about her baby in the cold universe alone.
"So how do we get one?"
"I'm sure that if we looked for a collector of ancient things we might figure out how to make one."
"Don't you have one for Kal-El yet, Lara?"
"It is in construction, in the factory. We gave the computer instructions. I don't know if we'll have time to do another one, though." she said uncertainly.
"Oh, sure we have time!" said Kennah, "Do we have a direct access link from here?"
"Yes, of course. We aren't something out of the 34th century, you know!!" she ran her hand over the seemingly blank wall.
" 'S' imprint?" Kennah asked when that section of the wall slid away to reveal a computer. Lara nodded slightly and started typing.
"Will it work?" Kennah asked anxiously. Lara shrugged.
"It'll definitely be a squeeze, but I hope so." She smiled.
"The ship will be done in a moment, Kennah, would you and Zor-Ez like to write something on it for Ailah?" Jor- El asked kindly.
"Yes, we'd love to." Zor-Ez answered for both of them.
"Great, come this way, please." he placed his hand in the "S" shield by the door, and everyone save Ailah and Kal-El followed him into the next room, a laboratory, apparently. Kennah and Zor-Ez had never been in this part of Jor-El's home before, only the closest of friends ever entered into someone's house any farther than the sitting room. It was considered impolite to pry into others' business, and one's home is filled with very personal things. It was an honor to be invited in.
Kennah was in awe of the room. It was filled with charts, maps, globes, and telescopes. Everything imaginable was in that room. There were no walls visible, just pictures of the universe. It was beautiful and amazing. She pointed to one globe in particular. It was mostly blue with some, she shuddered, green.
"What is this, Jor-El?" she asked. He smiled and picked it up. Kennah gasped as it transformed into the familiar Planet of Krypton.
"What this old thing?" he asked jokingly. "Nothing much, just a lifeline." Kennah and Zor-Ez looked EXTREMELY confused. Lara giggled slightly at the look on Kennah's face.
"Please explain, Jor-El." said Zor-Ez.
"Simple enough. I have sent probes out into the universe, circling at random, they will activate the globe's messages." Zor-Ez looked at him blankly.
"Messages?" he asked blankly. Lara jumped into the conversation.
"The ones we have pre-recorded for Kal-El, to explain his existence on earth with such tremendous powers. We have no doubt that he will wonder. You could make something similar, we have another. Want to?" she smiled, they were obviously annoyed that she had asked.
"Let me think." Kennah said with dripping sarcasm. Lara grinned.
"I thought so." she said with satisfaction. "But first you might want to engrave this." Lara crouched next to a Planet in some unknown star system and pressed her palm against the moon. The wall opened, taking out some stars, to reveal 2 small metallic spaceships. Kennah had never actually SEEN a spaceship before, but she couldn't think of anything else they could be. They were identical with 2 exceptions. The first was the lack of engravings on one. And the second was the brands. The first sported the red "S" shield, and the second the blue "A" triangle, which was often just called the triAngle.
Kennah was amazed and ran her hands over Ailah's ship.
"It's beautiful." she whispered. Lara smiled with pleasure. She had helped Jor-El a lot with the design.
"You want us to engrave it? In what language? She will probably only speak the languages of Earth!" Kennah was visibly upset.
"She will speak English, unless you choose otherwise, Kennah."
"Why English? We've just been introduced to that language, wait … were you the one who introduced it to Krypton through the computer system, Jor-El?" he shook his head.
"No, Lara did that." Lara grinned slightly, it had been a hard job, but she understood the language very well.
"Ok … let's back up a minute, how could we possibly choose what language she will speak? Krypton didn't develop a one-language system until the 40th century! Unless Earth is a great deal faster I'd have to guess that they have more than one language! How could WE choose?"
"Simple, we know where the ship will go. Kal-El is going in the middle of a country called 'The United States of America' it is a country of similar skin pigmentation and Lara and I believe it would be one of the safest places for Kal-El to grow up. Perhaps Ailah's ship could be directed there as well." Kennah looked overwhelmed. Zor-Ez nodded.
"Yes, that would be fine. Let's get to work, shall we?"
"Indeed, Kennah, come with me where we can start work on messages of Ailah's beginning, she's sure to be curious. Hers will be activated in the same way as Kal-El's. Most likely at the same time, too. Zor-Ez, you can stay with Lara and engrave the spaceship." Jor-El led Kennah back to the globe and began work.
Kennah was just about to wrap up the holographic message to Ailah when an alarm sounded. Lara looked up suddenly, a frightened look in her eye.
"I'll be right back, keep working you guys." she ran out of the room.
"What was that alarm, Jor-El?" Kennah was scared.
"The Planet is approaching very dangerous levels of heat, explosion should come within 15 minutes, tops." Jor-El said grimly. Kennah blanched and Zor-Ez looked back to his work, hurrying. Kennah started talking again.
Lara came back in carrying two blankets and two infants. She immediately handed Kal-El to Kennah and Ailah to Jor-El, not really noting she had given them to the wrong parents. The outraged infants kicked and howled until Kennah and Jor-El decided to switch children. At which time they both calmed considerably.
Lara and Zor-Ez smoothed down the blankets in the spaceships as the floor began to shake. Jor-El and Kennah laid their babies down gently into their respective spaceships. Ailah's tiny arms flailed as her parents kissed her good-bye and her screams almost drowned out the final alarm. Jor-El quickly pushed down the lids on the spaceship and pointed to a button only Kennah could reach.
The last action of Kennah's life was the hardest thing she ever had to do. Though Kennah was about to die, her last thoughts were of life as she pressed the button sending her baby away from her, to Earth.
… (for now)