Conflict of Interest

By David Schock <>

Rated PG

Submitted April 2000

Summary: With her husband away on a mission with the Justice League, the only thing standing between Lois Lane and a crazed super-powered Meta human is the one other woman who is in love with her husband — a woman who has a conflict of interest. A teamup story between Lois and Wonder Woman strongly based on the current DCU (comics universe).


On a fair and more equable world, Lois and her husband would have found themselves lying side by side on a beach some were under a hot tropical sun. In order to make this dream possible they had worked on holidays, weekends and traded the odd vacation day with their fellow staff members at the planet. They did all this in the hope they would be able to spend a little of their all to rare free time alone with each other.

After all the sacrifices these two had made for the world through the years. It would seem only fair that the powers that ran the universe would allow them to have this one small gift just for themselves. To almost any one you would care to ask it would seem to be the only fair thing to do, but the world is not a fair place and neither is life and as for fate, fate is as the wise men say is the cruelest joke of all.

If life were fair, or fate less absurd, Lois would be lying on the beach of some sunny tropical island. Or if not that, then at least lying happy and content in the arms of her husband and not standing alone on some elevator feeling sorry for herself.

Most important of all Clark, her Clark would be with her now and not on… 'Well that is the question now isn't it?' Lois thought to herself as she found herself standing all alone in the elevator. As she stood there alone watching the dancing lights Lois thought to herself, 'At this moment in time just were was Clark, was he on New Genesis or God forbid Apocalypse?'

The very name of the place made Lois shudder just to think of it. Or perchance the love of her life found himself on some all together unknown alien world. No matter the name or the place, Lois was sure that at this very moment her love was fighting for his life along side the rest of the Justice League.

As for herself she was as always, left behind, left to wait, left to wonder and hardest of all left to worry. The elevator door opened and she stepped out on to her floor. To once more make that long painful trip to her now empty apartment.

She was tired and only the force of her own incredible will allowed her to drag herself down the hall. Her fatigue was not brought about by over work, sickness or the time of day. In truth this sudden lassitude was brought on by to much fear, to much worry and the dread of coming home to an empty bed.

When Lois was single and foolishly thought of herself as complete and fulfilled she did not mind coming home to empty rooms and frozen TV dinners. She had after all come to think of her own apartment simply as some place to rest and sleep between assignments for the paper. But ever since her marriage to Clark, rooms that were once cold and lifeless had been transformed into a home, their home and a home with out Clark she soon found out was almost unbearable.

Lois fumbled with the key but finally managed to unlock the door and let herself in. Locking the door behind her she turned on the lights and started walking towards the kitchen. She was halfway across the living room rug when she first realized she was no longer alone.

Standing up from her husband's favorite easy chair was a very tall and physically imposing women, wearing a colorful costume. The women standing before her was nearly six feet tall, with hair as black as a ravens wing and piercing blue eyes the color of the morning sea. She was well muscled, with an imposing athletic physique, she was also very very beautiful.

Even with all her size and physical presence, it was those pale blue eyes that drew Lois's attention. The body and face of the women who now stood before her were young. But those eyes that seemed to draw her in seemed almost ancient. It wasn't that they looked old. For even with the passing of the years they remained bright and clear. But to gaze into them was to know that they had seen things that were never meant to be seen. Or perhaps they had simply looked to long and to hard on the passing of time.

Lois was at first taken back by the sudden appearance of her uninvited visitor, but she quickly recovered from her surprise. Lois forced a smile as she asked her visitor, "Wonder Woman what ever brings you here?"

"Please forgive me for forcing my way uninvited into your home Mrs. Kent," answered the powerful Amazon princess.

Then suddenly it hit lois like a fist to the stomach. She suddenly felt all hollow inside and for a brief moment she actually thought she had forgotten how to breath.

Lois began to shake as her heart started to race and her legs threatened to betray her. A sudden lump in her throat made speech nearly impossible. It was Lois's worst nightmare come to life. This was the way she always imagined it would be like, with the arrival of her husband's closest friend to bring her the news.

It was then Lois thought to herself, 'Best friend or not why of all people, did it have to be her to bring me the news?' It was only Lois's own incredible will that allowed her to force the words past the lump in her throat as she asked, "Is it Clark?"

Seeing Lois's sudden distress The Amazon princess quickly answered, "No it is nothing like that Mrs. Kent." She then added, "As far as I know your husband is alive and well and still on New Genesis. But he is the reason I am here and why you and I must talk."

Some four days earlier on the moon, in The Justice League Watch Tower. Big Barda, one of the so called New Gods and proud warrior of New Genesis was making her report to the assembled members of the Justice League.

"It would seem, "she said. "That Darkseid and his dreaded Parademons may once again be on the march." Barda than added, "Even as we speak the dark lord may well be preparing a first strike aimed at my own home world of New Genesis or perhaps his real target might well be earth."

Always the skeptic, It was the Batman who asked, "What proof have you Barda?"

Barda glared at him for a moment before she went on, "High Father has informed me that for the past three months there have been a sudden rash of unauthorized Boom Tube gate openings back home on New Genesis. They usually happen in the more sparsely settled areas of of my home world and almost always seem to happen at night."

Barda then went on to say, "Even more disturbing then this discovery, are reports from this past week alone, telling of strangers who appear to have an unhealthy curiosity about our more important military centers."

"Sounds to me like scouting parties probing for weakness in your defenses," said Wonder Woman.

"More likely my father's filthy spies hell bent on our destruction," growled Orion.

"Six of one, half a dozen of another," interrupted Batman.

As acting chairmen Superman thought the best way to handle any meeting of these extraordinary people was by keeping the gathering as informal as possible. Because of this he encouraged every one who was present to contribute to the meeting with their own opinions and ideas. As he did with the world at large he never used his own incredible powers or abilities to dominate or force his will on the others.

It was because of this belief that he told Big Barda, "Please continue Barda."

Barda smiled warmly at the man of Steel before she explained, "Since Darkseid was so interested in us, High Father thought it would be only polite if one of the New Gods was to return the visit," Barda explained.

Wonder Woman interrupted her by saying, "A most sensible precaution."

Continuing on with her story Big Barda went on to say, "My own husband Scott was the one who volunteered to go."

"Why your husband?" asked the Flash.

"Because Wally, my husband Scott knew he was the one best suited to accomplish this mission."

"How so?" asked the Huntress.

For an answer Big Barda turned to her and explained," My husband Scott was raised on Apocalypse just as I was. He knows his way around and most important of all he knows how to blend in with out being noticed."

"He is also with out a doubt the greatest escape artist on three worlds," Barda added with wifely pride. She then quickly added, "No offense meant to you Batman."

"None taken," the Dark Knight quickly replied with a slight smile.

It was Wonder Woman who interrupted them both when she asked, "Did Scott discover any thing of value while he was on Apocalypse?"

Barda answered her, "Small things only, unusual troop movements, a substantial increase in small arms production, intensive training of the militia and there was a substantial decrease in the number of Parademon sightings while he was there."

"Is that a bad thing?" asked the newest and perhaps the last of Green Lantern corps Kyle Rayner.

"If your planning a military first strike, you would be wise to concentrate your best troops at the point of attack," explained Wonder Woman. She then added, "To do that you would first have to gather them together in one place."

"Make sure you pay attention to that Kyle. That little lesson in tactics comes from someone who has been taught by women with over three thousand years of military history to call apron," explained Superman.

For a come back the Amazon playfully elbowed The Man of Steel in the stomach and laughed as she asked, "Why do I suddenly feel so old?"

"That's because you are old." said the file cabinet.

This particular file cabinet's name was Eel O'Brien. For that was once his name when he was nothing more than a petty criminal and a bad one at that. That was until the day he fell into a special vat of acid while he was robbing a certain chemical factory.

So the one time failure as a criminal became by the way of chance and a guilty conscious the superhero {?} known to the world as Plastic man. He had also become, since joining the Justice League the bane of Big Barda's existence.

Dropping his file cabinet disguise Plastic Man stretched his malleable body over to were Barda sat and said to her, "If I'm lying, I'm dying big Mama, I mean Barda."

Wonder Woman's reaction was to laugh at his foolish antics, Barda's reaction was to seize him by his throat, roll him up into a tight little ball then toss him back over her shoulder and against the wall as hard and as violently as possible.

Big Barda already knew even as she threw him she would never really be able to hurt the insufferable idiot in this manner. But the sound of the splat, as his malleable body hit the wall of the Justice League Watch Tower was most gratifying.

As Barda and her plastic playmate carried on together, the rest of the Justice League were with only a few exceptions laughing at their antics. Superman thought to himself how good it was to hear Diana laugh once more, as he watched the Amazon princess laugh at her friends comical feud.

It had been almost a year since he and Diana found out some things about themselves and each other that they both could have done with out. Most of all a possible shared future that they both had mixed feelings for and perhaps even dreaded.

"How many days was Scott on Apocalypse?" asked Jonn Jonzz The Martian Man Hunter.

A visible wave of pain and sadness washed over her face as Big Barda answered, "Scott was on Apocalypse for three days before he was discovered."

Concern for his two friends prompted The Man of Steel to ask, "Is Scott all right, did he make good his escape Barda?"

Taking a deep breath in an attempt to once more regain control of her emotions, Barda was soon betrayed by the tears that began to well up in her eyes. All those who were seated around the table could not help but see the expression of pain on Barda's face as she told the rest of the Justice League, "Scott's an escaped artist, so he did what he does best by escaping back home to us with the information we sent him for."

Barda shut her eyes as if to shut out the memory as she said, "But this time he paid a heavy price making good on his escape, in fact he was badly wounded."

Big Barda had been raised and trained in the orphanage on Apocalypse by the sadistic Granny Goodness. Since birth she had been trained and schooled as a warrior and the future leader of the Female Furies. It was in the very shadow of the fire pits of Apocalypse that she and Scott first met and eventually fell in love. It was only the love they had for each other that allowed the both of them to find the courage to defy Darkseid and escape the hell that is Apocalypse.

Superman and the others knew that with her back round and training Barda would never show such emotion in front of others, least of all cry. For her to break down like this in public, meant that Scott her husband must be in far worst shape then she willing to let on.

Gently Superman asked her, "Barda stop trying to be the good soldier and tell us how Scott is doing?" He then added, "Sometimes sharing pain with friends can help."

Diana held on to her hand as Barda tried her best to appear as impassive and stoic as ever. With a deep breath Barda then explained, "They are not totally sure he will live, if he does my love is facing months if not years of painful rehabilitation for his injuries."

"I should have been the one to go on that mission," growled Orion.

"NO," The Martian Manhunter said. "With your proclivity for violence and the hate you hold in your heart for your father Darkseid. You would have been far to busy fighting with your father's forces to gather any useful information."

It was Superman who added, "Barda at a time like this your place should be with the man you love and not here with us."

Barda sat up straight and proudly as she explained, "My duty as a warrior of New Genesis must take precedent over my domestic affairs. But I do have an urgent need to return home to my husband as soon as duty permits. So if you all don't mind I will be as brief as possible."

She then went on to say, "The High Father believes that if the Justice League were to join forces with those found on New Genesis. Darkseid may be dissuaded from attacking in the face of this combined power and then perhaps no fighting at all would be needed."

It was Arthur Cury, king of Atlantis and better known to the world as Aquaman who gave voice to the thoughts of many of the heroes that were gathered around the table this day by saying, "I'm truly sorry for all your troubles Barda and please believe me when I tell you, I wish only the best to you and yours."

"But I want you to tell me why the Justice League should run off to some God forsaken alien world to confront Darkseid, when our time and best efforts would be better spent reinforcing our defenses here at home?"

"Were trying to avoid a fight Arthur and a show of force on New Genesis might be the way to accomplish just that," observed Superman.

"Besides," added Batman. "If we are forced into a fight, I would rather we do it on New Genesis or Apocalypse or any were else but here on earth."

Superman then explained, "My suggestion then, is to have a strike force travel to New Genesis that is powerful enough to act as a deterrent. In this way Darkseid may have second thoughts about the wisdom of starting a war at this time."

He then added, "To play it safe we will leave a sufficient amount of force here on earth to hopefully cope with any attack until we can return home to face it."

When he finished Superman asked, "Does any one have any objections or comments on this plan?"

When no one spoke up it was Wonder Woman who finally broke the silence by saying, "The only question I have is who among you will be joining me in confronting that pig Darkseid?"

The laughter around the table only subsided when Superman asked, "Does anyone else care to make any suggestions about who goes and who stays?"

When no one was forth coming with suggestions Superman looked around the table hopefully staring in turn into the face of each of his friends and allies. Waiting or perhaps even praying some one would at last speak up.

When no one did he turned once again to Bruce Wayne, AKA the Batman and this time waited.

'Damn you Clark,' Bruce thought to himself. 'Why is it that you never want to impose your will on others. You have all the power any one could ever want or need and after all these years your still so damn reluctant to use it.'

Batman then spoke up, "I think our best deterrent force that will travel to New Genesis should be made up of the following members, Superman, Jonn, Diana, Kyle, Wally, Barda, Orion and Barda's playmate Plastic man. While the rest of us and the reserve members do our best to hold the fort back here"

Batman's strange attempt at humor was lost on big Barda. For their part close friends Kyle and Wally, better known as Green Lantern and the Flash gave each other a high five and shouted out, "road trip."

Plastic Man stretched his way over to were Big Barda was sitting and asked, "Can I bunk over at your house big bad Mama I mean Barda?"

For an answer she seized him by the throat and when she was eye ball to eye ball with him then told him, "There is one good thing about you coming to confront Darkseid at my side."

"What would that be? "Eel O'Brien asked.

"If you annoy Darkseid only half as much as you do me, you won't be coming back," She answered with a wicked smile.

"Does any one else wish to comment or make any suggestions about those of us who are going and those who will be saying?" Superman asked.

When no one offered any further suggestions. It was The Man of Steel himself who then said, "Then I have a suggestion to make." All there turned to look at him as he took a deep breath to steady his nerves, then summoning up his courage he went on to say, "It is my sad judgment that Diana should be left at home and not be allowed to go any were near Darkseid."

Wonder Woman's smiling face almost at once suddenly turned dark and foreboding as if a dark cloud had suddenly passed over it. She quickly turned to Superman and fixed her eyes on him as a snake does a bird. But Clark neither flinched or turned away from her glaring stare.

Springing to her feet she stood over the still sitting Man of Steel. Shaking with rage Wonder Woman had all the look of a predatory beast preparing to strike. One quick look into those wild blue eyes made many of her fellow members of the Justice League suddenly wish they had in fact missed this weeks meeting. She took hold of him by the shoulder and tried to spin him around in his chair to face her royal rage.

Diana quickly discovered that she would have had better luck trying to move a mountain than The Man of Steel. But failing in that didn't stop her from snarling at him, "There is no way I am going to be left behind and be cheated out of my chance for revenge."

She then added in a cold and chilling voice, "I have a personal score to settle with Darkseid and no one is going to stop me from getting my chance at him, not even you."

Clark looked up and in a calm voice told her, "That is why your not coming with us Diana. This is a mission to prevent a war not start one. In this instance your personal feelings may well cloud your judgment and lead you down a path that I know you would later have cause to regret."

In a voice filled with bitterness and sorrow she told Superman, "What I regret most is having to watch as over fifteen hundred of my Amazon sisters were laid on their funeral pyres and than worst of all be forced to smell their burning flesh when they died in battle protecting our home on Paradise Island from that monster."

When Wonder Woman finished saying her peace Batman than took the opportunity to tell her, "The Justice League is not in the revenge business Diana. Nor was it created as a weapon for you or any one else to use as an instrument to take your personal vengeance. If you have that strong a need for pay back Diana, then may I suggest you go somewhere else to find it."

"You hypocrite," she sneered back at him. "You dare speak to me of vengeance when your whole career, your very reason for living is nothing more but one long never ending act of revenge."

Batman rose slowly to his feet but before more words were spoken or something far worst happen Superman interrupted the both of them by saying, "This quarrying among ourselves is not helping matters."

When both Batman and Diana once again took their seats Superman offered her an explanation, "There are other and far more important reasons why you are needed right here at home Diana."

"Such as?" she snapped at him.

He explained to her, "The shear raw power needed to protect the earth will be severely depleted when we leave for New Genesis. So some one with your power and abilities will be needed right here on earth."

Superman then told her, "Like it or not Diana, Wonder Woman has become a symbol to the world. A symbol which human and meta human alike will rally around, but only if you are there to lead them."

Diana hung her head in shame, humbled by her friend's simple but honest explanation. All most at once Diana found herself regretting her sudden and violent outburst. This in turn lead to the Amazon Princess saying, "It will be an honor for me to stay behind and make it my duty to help defend our mutual home."

It was Batman who added, "I'm sure if fighting does break out Barda or someone else from New Genesis could open a boom tube back to earth so Diana and any of her Amazon sisters who wish to could get in on the fighting."

"Take heart sister, perhaps we may both yet enjoy the sweet taste of revenge on Darkseid, You for your home and sisters and I for my husband" Barda replied with a sinister smile.

It was then that Superman took the opportunity to stand up and say, If no one has any objections I move that both Batman and Diana stay behind preparing earth's defenses and rallying support among the meta human community, while the rest of us are gone."

"He then added, "Since many of us have love ones to talk to and all of us have our own arrangements to make. I move we end this meeting and all of us who are going to make the trip to New Genesis report back here tomorrow no later than two o'clock"

There were no objections so the meeting ended quickly and quietly as the colorful members of the Justice League began drifting away to the transport tubes for the trip back to earth and home. After the meeting had broken up Diana took Clark by his elbow and led he into a quiet corner of the room so she could tell him how sorry she was for her sudden outburst.

Wonder Woman's mother Queen Hippolyta had always told her, 'never apologize it's a sign of weakness. But more important still never do any thing you have to apologize for.'

Sound wisdom for a young princess growing up in isolation on a island paradise. But in the real world such advise just wasn't enough. Not in man's world and most important of all not with friends especially this very special one.

Diana was just about to tell Clark how sorry she was for her behavior. She just managed to say, "Kal I'm sor…" When he placed his finger over her lips and told her, "Hush there is no need for that between us."

Then with a wink and a warm smile she knew all was right once more between them. What she did not see because her back was turned to him was Batman shacking his head in disapproval at the sight of the both of them together. It was then that Clark told her he was going to talk to Barda and maybe she would feel better if she tried talking things over with Bruce.

Diana waited for Clark to leave to talk with Barda before she started to walk over to were Batman was standing alone. She was more than half way there when Orion beat her to the Dark Knight, as she watched they both started a conversation together.

Not wishing to disturb them Diana turned and once more to looked for Clark, she found him with Big Barda. Barda was a huge woman, tall imposing and heavily muscled. She was also very massive but with almost no visible fat on her body. Even as big and as imposing a women as she was. Her body could never be mistaken for anything other than female. Scott Free her husband was at five foot six was all man. Just as his wife Barda at six feet four and some one hundred pounds heavier than her husband was all women.

But standing next to Clark she looked almost petite, as she rested her head on his chest, as he tried to comfort her by holding her in his arms. Diana watched as Clark led her to a chair and sat her down. He caught Diana's eye and motioned for her to come and join them. When Diana got closer she saw that Barda in fact had been crying.

"I have been trying to talk her into leaving so she could go back home and be with Scott," Superman explained.

Barda replied, "I have my duties to perform here Superman. Ask Diana she knows all about a warrior's duty."

Barda suddenly became very quiet before she went on, "Still all of this trouble could not have come at a worst time for Scott and myself."

"Why is that Barda? "Superman asked. "I thought you of all people enjoyed a good fight?"

"Not at this moment in time Superman, "Barda replied.

She bowed her head and began to blush before Big Barda said, "Scott and I have been talking about starting a family."

Diana smiled and asked tenderly, "Barda are you pregnant?"

Barda had a coy smile on her face as she answered, "No not yet Diana, but Scott and I were planning to go off on a sort of a second honeymoon so we could start to work on it."

Trying to cheer her up Superman teased her by asking, "Is that sort of thing considered work were you come from Barda?"

She gave a school girl giggle in return and said, "Neither Scott or myself ever considered it so. But my love always did enjoy teasing me by telling me that it was a lot easier on his back when I carried him up to our bed, than when he got all macho and tried to carry me."

She then added, "I always could get Scott to laugh when ever I told him there were far more enjoyable ways for him to risk hurting his back than by trying to carry my big carcass up the stairs to our bed chamber."

When she finished telling her little joke she also began to laugh along with Clark and Diana until her pain filled sobs once again betrayed her emotional pain. Fighting for control once more, Barda took a deep breath and wiped away her tears with the back of her hand.

When she finished wiping away her tears she said, "Self pity is disgusting, I should be ashamed of myself. I am a warrior of New Genesis, hand picked and raised by Darkseid himself to be the leader of the Female Furies and here I sit weeping like some school girl."

Superman told her, "There is no shame in tears Barda, my mother always told me that tears are what we use to wash away the pain."

"What about you Diana? Your a warrior born and bred have you ever cried? "asked Barda.

Diana answered her, "It is different for us Barda. Amazons are incapable of crying, but there have been times when I wish we could." Suddenly Diana found herself lost in a sea of her own thoughts. She thought to herself, 'All of my life I have been taught that an Amazon can't cry. I have been raised to believe that simple truth, yet I have twice managed to do that which is supposed to impossible."

It was ironic that the only two times she had managed to shed tears. The man standing next to her was not only involved both times, but might well have been the cause. The first time came at Clark's funeral, as for the second it happened a few months ago in Gateway city when a sweet beautiful dream came to an end and died. It was the sound of Clark's voice that brought Diana back from the depth of her own thoughts.

"Is there anything either Diana or I can do for you Barda?" asked the Man of Steel.

"Just make sure everyone is here on time tomorrow so I can complete my task and then be free to rush back back home to my husband," she said.

"Why don't you go back home now, in fact this very minute," suggested Superman.

Barda thought about it for a moment then sighed and said sadly, "No, as much as I want to be at his side and even as my own heart keeps telling me to leave. I still have my duty to perform here."

"To hell with duty," said Diana. "It doesn't make a bit a difference if you open a boom tube to New Genesis tomorrow or some one else does it for you."

"Diana is right Barda," said The man of Steel. "The only duty you have left now is to Scott and yourself. As your friend Barda, I'm begging you please go home!"

Big Barda looked up into his earnest face, smiled and with a grateful smile nodded her head yes.

Superman then said, "Diana please stay with Barda, I'm going to talk with Orion about taking her home."

As Superman left to talk with Orion Diana sat down next to big Barda and took her by the hand to try and give her at least some small measure of comfort.

While Diana sat there alone with Barda she thought to herself, 'Strange how this women who is as fierce and as formidable as any warrior that could be found on Themyscira has the courage to weep and the strength to share her life with the man she loves.'

Wonder Woman thought she would never again allow herself the gift of tears and as for the other. She looked over were Clark was talking to Orion and began to drift, perhaps someday we might yet… 'NO, NEVER AGAIN!,' she thought to herself.

"You must drive those thoughts deep down inside of you and never let them surface ever again. We already went through all of that in Gateway city, Clark has his love, his partner in life, the other piece of his soul and her name is Lois. As for me I have no right to dream of such things in my life."

As Diana wrestled with these disturbing thoughts another one slowly began to take form in her minds eye. Of the memory of a baby son held in the arms of another Diana and a baby boy named Jonathan that she held in her arms and who more likely than not will now never come to be.

Diana thought back to the day when she, Clark and Bruce had met their possible future counter parts. An learned of that possible dim future and the joy and tragedy that may yet be laying in wait for them all. It was at that moment that the Amazon princess longed to go into battle and lose herself in the conflict and thus drive such thoughts from her mind for at least a brief moment of time.

Only concern for Barda allowed Diana to escape back the real world. "Barda have you and Scott decided on the sex of your child yet?" Diana asked.

"NO, not yet," Big Barda answered. "Scott and I have both agreed that we should have our baby in the natural way and leave it up to nature to decide that and other things and not to depend on New Genesis technology to make the choice for us."

"That is not the way such things are usually done back home is it?" asked The Amazon Princess.

"NO, not normally but my husband Scott and I have spent many a happy year here on earth. We traveled together performing for the public, he billed himself as the worlds greatest escape artist and I was billed as the worlds strongest women."

"In your dreams," Diana protested with a scowl.

Barda was taken back by her friend's reaction, fearful that her story had offended The Amazon princess in some way. That was until he saw the mischievous gleam in her team mates eyes.

A moment more and the two formidable women warriors were laughing in each others arms.

Catching her breath Barda went on with her story, "Scott and I loved living here on earth. But it was in the United States were we shared our happiest times together." Barda then recalled, "We even bought a home in New England and I was content to play the domestic. I wore a dress, drove a car and even learned to cook and bake cookies."

"You bake cookies?" Diana asked in total incredulity.

"I make great cookies, if I do say so myself" Barda answered proudly.

"Then you do indeed have me beat," admitted Wonder Woman. "For every time I try my hand at cooking, it comes out either burnt, raw and always inedible."

Once more the two warriors started to laugh together only to be interrupted by the arrival of The Man of Steel. Encouraged by Barda's happier attitude he asked, "Mind telling me what you two ladies find so funny?"

"Diana's cooking skills," answered Big Barda with a grin.

Superman made a exasperated face of near total disgust and said, "Brrr.. Diana's cooking is worst than Kryptonite!"

For an answer Diana once again threw her elbow into his stomach. But Barda saw in fact that she was smiling when she did it.

Barda saw how well her two friends always seemed to get along with each other. Even after the argument they had earlier in the day she could see how close to one another these two still remained.

She had heard all the rumors of a possible relationship between them but had always dismissed it as fantasy created by the news media. But seeing them in this way made Barda begin to suspect that there was more than just good nature horse play between them.

Barda was running the idea thru her mind. But she quickly dismissed the thought when Clark told her, "Time to go home to Scott Barda."

She jumped up and gave Superman a huge hug lifting him off his feet. Barda then turned around and she and Diana embraced and kissed each other's cheeks. Tears began to roll down Barda's face as she said, "You never did explained tears of happiness Superman?"

"Because those are the most precious of all," He told her.

"And the ones we Amazons miss having the most," added Wonder Woman.

It was then that Orion joined them and asked," Ready to leave Barda?"

With a huge smile and a simple "yes" she told him she was ready to take her leave.

A simple command to Mother Box and a hole in space suddenly appeared in front of them. It was soon followed by a loud "BOOM!" as air rushed in to equalize the pressure.

With a last good bye and a cry of, "Give our best to Scott" ringing in her ears. Barda and Orion walked into the hole and were gone as the Boom Tube collapsed shut behind them.

Soon as Barda and Orion left Diana whispered, "That was a very nice thing you did for Barda Kal."

"What was that?" he asked her.

Convincing her to return home to be with the man she loves," answered Wonder Woman.

Couldn't have done it with out your help," he told her with a smile. He then added, "Now I have a favor to ask of you?"

Happy to be of service to her friend Wonder Woman said eagerly, "You only need to ask."

Holding Diana by her hand the Last Son Of Krypton told the Amazon Princess, "The reasons I gave you and the others for you to stay behind were all valid. But I have to confess to you that I have a more selfish and personal reason why I wanted, and most of all need you to stay behind."

"Just what would that be?" asked Diana.

Humbly Superman asked his close friend, "I have a need to ask you to look in from time to time on Lois while I am away."

Flattered by the trust that he showed he had in her, Wonder Woman said, "You have my word as an Amazon on it."

"No Diana before you give me an answer and make a promise you have to know all of what I am about to ask of you," explained Clark. Superman was silent for a moment, trying to frame in his mind the right words he wanted to use to tell her.

When he thought he found them Superman said, "When the rest of us take our leave. If you find out that in fact we have been wrong and that it is the earth that is Darkseid's real target. Your going to be finding yourself in one hell of a fight."

"I certainly should hope so," she told him with a big smile on her face.

Superman let out with a short laugh at what she had just said before continuing on, "If there is a fight Lois will be right there with you. Gathering the news and covering the story for the paper."

Diana asked, "If worst comes to worst and there is a battle with the Dark Lord's forces. Do you wish me to make sure that the love of your life stays out of harms way?"

"If only I could ask that of you Diana, it would take a terrible weight off of me, but I can't," He said.

"Why not?" she asked him.

He gave her a sad smile and then went on to say, "I can not ask that of you because I don't have the right. Before we were married Lois and I had to come to an understanding between us."

"Lois convinced me, no to be honest with you she ordered me. That I had to let her be herself and allow her to do the job she was both trained for and loves.

Superman then looked above him as if he was appealing to God as he said, "If she just wasn't so damn brave."

"She is like you in that respect Diana. The both of you are almost totally with out fear. But I'm not, especially when it concerns her."

Diana smiled sweetly and asked, "You must love her very much."

For an answer Superman gave her a shy smile and with his head bowed told her, "More than life itself."

She smiled back at her large friend and asked, "So what will you have me do?"

Superman explained, "If you are forced to go into battle with the forces of Darkseid and you find that you can no longer hold the line against him. I want you to retreat back to Paradise Island and take Lois with you for a final stand. She won't want to go, but take her there any way even if you have to drag her by the hair to do it.

Wonder Woman touched his cheek with her finger tips and while looking into his gentle eyes proclaimed, "I swear by my Gods, my life and my honor as an Amazon to protect your love no matter the cost to myself."

Relieved at last Superman told her, "Of that I have no doubt." Reaching into his belt he came out with a piece of paper with an address written on it and handed it to her.

"What is this for?," she asked him.

He explained to her, "It's my parent's address back home in Smallvile. I want you to drop in, on them. You and Bruce are going to be very busy finding allies and preparing your defenses, your going to need a place to stay and to rest."

He then added, "Most important of all you might discover you have a need for some one to talk to. There are many things about Bruce that I admire. But having a emotional heart to heart conversation with the Batman is not one of them. If you ever have need to talk over a personal problem with some one, a place to rest or just some great home cooking you will find that there are no better place than my parent's."

Smiling Diana told him, "Seeing how their son turned out I can believe that."

Superman was beginning to bush from his friends compliment when he said, "Now for the truly frightful part."

"And just what would that be?" asked Wonder Woman.

"Telling Lois about about the delay to our vacation," he answered her. "All you have to worry about is Darkseid. I have to deal with an angry Lois Lane Kent, now that is some thing truly frightening."

Wonder Woman began to laugh at his joke as Clark bent over to kiss her good bye on the lips for the first time since that day in GateWay city.

As their lips met once again Diana felt the same surge of excitement, the same Wonderful exhortation she felt months before in Gate Way city. As Superman straightened up Diana thought she caught a glimpse of something in his face that told her that she was not the only one who felt something very special pass between them. But she soon dismissed it as nothing more than wishful thinking on her part.

Clark was making a high speed dash towards the air lock for the trip back home when she called out to him, "If you do come face to face with Darkseid give him a punch for me."

"And I will make sure to tell him just who it's from too " he shouted back as he quickly disappeared around the corner.

When she heard the air lock door close behind him and she was sure that she could no longer be heard not even by him she whispered, "And please be careful Kal!"

Then he was really gone, gone back to his Lois and Wonder Woman was left behind with a smile on her lips and a ache in her heart she couldn't begin to understand. Diana was not sure how long she had been standing there alone with her thoughts. It was only when she turned around did she come to realize that in truth she never had been alone at all.

For there standing directly behind her was Bruce Wayne, known to the world at large as the infamous Batman.

How long he had been standing there behind her, Diana had no way of knowing. For she failed to either see or hear him arrive as he moved out of the shadows.

Batman never shared with the Amazon princess the other part of his life. In the past she had met Batman as Wayne but never connected the two. It was when he and Diana along with Clark actually met up with their older counterparts from some possible dark and twisted future did his secret come out.

It happened in a way he only had himself to blame. His older counterpart was not wearing his cowl when Diana met him. She didn't need the wisdom of Athena to make the connection, one look was enough.

Bruce I thought you had already left," she said. Wonder Woman waited for him to speak. When he failed to do so she asked, "How long have you been standing there?"

Lifting his mask and cowl off his face he told Diana, "Long enough for me to watch you and Clark perform your little mating dance."

Diana forced out a nervous little laugh and said, "Don't be absurd, Kal is a married man deeply in love with his wife and I am an Amazon which means I have no interest in such things."

"Then you won't mind telling me what Clark wanted from you Diana?" he asked.

She tried to walk away but found her path suddenly blocked by a surprisingly agile Dark Knight.

Starting to become annoyed she told him, "It was nothing that important, he simply asked me to drop in on Lois from time to time while he was away."

"And your telling me you actually agreed to do this?" He asked in disbelief.

"And why shouldn't I?" she asked right back.

The Dark Knight asked her, "Do you think that is a very wise thing to do Diana, especially after what you discovered about yourself back in Gateway city?"

"What happened back in Gateway city when the three of us had our little accident together was never that important," She answered.

"Not important?" Bruce asked in disbelief.

"He then added in an accusing voice, "Maybe that is what you want to believe Diana. But the only way your going to be able to believe that princess, is if you keep lying long enough and hard enough until even you start to believe the lie."

Once again she tried to get away from Bruce before he could secede in tearing down the carefully constructed emotional facade she had built for herself to hide her true feelings. All the time Bruce was pushing the issue, Diana was in a fight with in herself to control her temper, struggling as hard as she could to retain her emotional control.

She tried to leave but once again he was there booking her way of escape. Doing his best to tear away the emotional scab she had placed on her wounded conscience.

He did this by telling her, "Don't try those denials with me Diana, remember I was also trapped in that fantasy world your subconscious created for you when your secret and more importantly true feelings for Clark began to surface."

"The very same feelings you have always fought to keep hidden, even from yourself."

Wonder Woman had grown wearily of trying to avoid The Dark Knight. So instead she moved eyeball to eyeball to him with only the width of a hand to separated them.

IT was then that the daughter of Queen Hippolyta decided to respond to his accusations by saying, "What did or did not happen in Gateway city never has nor ever will have any effect on me."

Seeing Wonder Woman in this way would intimidate almost any one, but Batman isn't just any one.

So instead of cowering or retreating he instead attacked by asking, "What about what the three of us learned from our future counterparts. Or are you going to try and tell me that their revelations also has had no affect on you?"

"Why should it?" asked Diana? "You know as well as I do that there is no guarantee that any of those events are destined to come about."

She then added, "Or are you going to live the rest of your life Bruce, waiting for that nightmare to come true?"

"As for me," she added. "I refuse to live the rest of my life on the basis of some possible nightmare or even less likely fairly tale."

Wonder Woman finally managed to break away from Batman. She showed him the small of her back as she started to walk away.

Only to be suddenly stopped in mid stride when Bruce Wayne asked, "Not even for the sake of your son?"

"I have no son!" shouted Wonder Woman as she suddenly appeared in front of her tormentor.

"That child belongs to some other Clark and some other Diana. They are living a life in a possible future that will ever be denied to me. Nor would I wish to have one like it, even if that life were possible."

"If you must lie Diana, than lie to yourself, but don't try to lie to me. I was there, I saw the look on your face as that other Diana held her baby in her arms. I know just how much the sight of the two of them together ment to you"

"NO!" she all but screamed in Batman's face. I will not live the the rest of my life built on a foundation of dreams. No matter how sweet that dream could be."

"But still," Batman asked? "Even if you truly believe in every thing you have told me. Why put yourself through all of this pain?" "Every time you see Lois a thought must creep up from the darkest regions of your soul Diana."

He quietly said to her, "There must be times when you think to yourself, 'If only she were gone. I could have all the things I ever wanted and all I would have to do is…'"

Before he could finish Wonder Woman seized The Dark Knight by the front of his costume and lifted him off the floor with one arm. She held him suspended in mid air as she stared into his eyes and snarled, "How dare you suggest such a thing to me?"

With out so much as a single flinch Bruce Wayne stared straight back into those ancient blue eyes and told her, "I dare say it Diana because I'm your friend and because I'm Clark's friend but most of all I dare because I care about you both."

He then added, "But most of all I know better than most that we all have dark places in our souls. Places we keep hidden from the world and if were very lucky from ourselves as well."

Going on he explained, "These are the same dark places we all must fight to keep under control, so tell me Diana just how good is your control?"

Wonder Woman stared straight into the soul of Bruce Wayne before she said, "I have given my word to my friend to protect the most important thing in his life. This I swear I will do no matter what the cost may be. Be it in the here and now or in the future, no matter what that future may hold."

"You also said that what happened in Gateway city had no affect on you. So what do you call this Diana?" asked Batman as he continued to dangle in mid air.

Slowly almost as if she was offering an apology Diana lowered Batman back down to the floor with a mixture of shame and revulsion at her own behavior. When Batman was once again standing on solid ground Diana Royal Amazon Princess of Themyscira bowed her head in contrition.

As she stood there trying to come to terms with her own pain and the shame, Bruce Wayne spoke to her, "Diana I know you truly want to believe ever thing you have just told me. I only hope for your sake it's true."

She looked up at him and in a voice filled with pain and shame said, "I don't know what to do Bruce?"

"Every time I see him, I hurt inside and if it's to long before I see him again it hurts even more."

"I don't know what you should do either, "He said to her. "I only know one thing Diana, if you can not find some way to come to terms with your feelings, if you can't find someone to help you with this. Your running the risk of destroying yourself and perhaps even taking Clark down with you."

Batman had left the JLA watch Tower to return to Gotham to begin the recruitment of earth's remaining meta human community. After her confrontation with Batman, Wonder Woman decided to remain behind so she could have some time alone with only herself and her conscience for company.

She wished to have this time alone by herself in an attempt to find some way to think her way past the problems she was now facing. She had hoped to find some way to come to terms with the feelings she had been able to hide for so long and so well from herself. That was until The Dark Knight was able to tear down her carefully constructed facade.

As Diana sat all alone, she tried to use meditation as an aide to calm her troubled soul. These techniques that she tried to use were thousands of years old. They were the same ones that she had been taught to her as a child by the best tutors on Paradise Island. Only now when she had needed them most, they sadly failed her. That was the reason why Diana soon found herself all alone starring out of a view port over looking the dead and barren surface of the moon.

She sat there brooding alone over what The Dark Knight forced her to acknowledge about herself. The longer she thought, the worst it had become for her. She had feelings for a person, that as an Amazon she simply should not have. Every thing Diana had been taught since childhood denied it's very existence.

The very culture she was raised in should have prevented it, but here in this lonely place was were she realized that it was all a lie. Since a child she had been raised on a diet of honor and attention to duty that would have crushed a normal person, but Wonder Woman came to thrive on it. So why now of all times, has the very pillars of honor and duty that were the foundation she had built her whole life on, had now become a threat to crush her?

At this moment in her life, Diana's warrior's soul cried out for battle, so she could at last drive these disturbing thoughts from her mind. She longed to become one with the harsh but simple equation of war, were the mathematics of life were simple and easy to understand.

In war, life's most difficult questions were reduced to life's most basic terms. Kill or be killed, alive or dead became very easy answers to life's most difficult equations. But there was no battle Diana could lose herself in. No chance for a glorious victory or even for a equally glorious defeat yet presented it self.

Still Wonder Woman needed to find some form of escape from herself, some small respite from her own troubling thoughts. In was in the preparation for war, that Wonder Woman's troubled soul found at least the illusion of peace.

Diana suddenly sprang from her chair knocking it over. A moment later a single powerful kick sent the chair flying across the room were it crashed into a trophy case. The Amazon Princess looked about her and realized just how quiet and lonely such a place as this could be.

As she stood there all alone Diana said to herself, 'Your right Barda, self pity is disgusting.'

With all that said and done. Wonder Woman used the speed of Mercury to make a high speed dash to the transport tubes for a quick trip back home to earth. Leaving the moon and arriving on earth, Diana's first objective was also her first duty.

That duty dictated that she first return once more to her own queen and mother on Paradise Island. With in a few hours Diana found herself on bent knee, with her head bowed and her right fist crossed over her heart as she subjugated herself at the foot of her own mother's throne.

After performing the Royal Amazon salute she was granted permission to stand by her mother. Then and only then did Hippolyta queen of the Amazon nation of Themyscira allow herself to walk down from the royal dais, to at last greet Wonder Woman not as a queen or as a ruler, but simply as her mother.

For it was only as her mother, that Hippolyta could once again welcome home a daughter that had been absent far to long, just as any other proud loving mother would. As her mother once again held her only daughter in her arms. One of the most physically powerful people on the planet, perhaps second only to The Man of Steel himself could feel at this most precious of moments. The same way she did as a child, once again safe and secure in the gentle loving arms of her mother.

It was later that day after Diana had cleaned up and exchanged her Wonder Woman costume for more traditional Amazon garb, did mother and daughter at last find themselves alone together in the Amazon's queen private chambers.

Over golden goblets of chilled wine Diana told her mother almost all of what had unfolded on the moon. The parts concerning her own troubling thoughts about Clark or her even more shameful confrontation with The Batman she kept to herself.

Diana had decided to hold back the rest because she convinced herself that her mother never could nor ever would be able to understand what she had been going through. Then again perhaps the little voice in her heart, the same one we all have and to few of us listen too, told her something else entirely.

That annoying little voice told the Amazon Princess that there was another reason, a far simpler reason and in the end a far more honest one. Diana knew she was simply to ashamed to tell her own mother about what was really bothering her.

As she poured another goblet of wine for herself and her daughter, Hippolyta told her daughter, "I am deeply saddened to hear from my child's own lips that she was so willing to obey the dictates of a man. Even if it meant losing the opportunity to avenge the death of her sisters."

"You know better than most mother that Clark isn't just any man and I'm not just talking about what he can do," Diana explained.

"When he told me I shouldn't be allowed to go with the rest of the Justice to confront Darkseid I admit I lost my temper and argued bitterly with him about it. At length he managed to explain his reasons to me and in the end I accepted them."

Queen Hippolyta took a sip of wine then asked, "Do you mind sharing with your mother what these reasons were and why they were so important that you would forgo your righteous vengeance for your fallen sisters?"

"Peace mother," Diana replied. "Or have you forgotten that is why the Gods created us and why I was sent to the world outside of our island home as our nation's ambassador?"

Hippolyta put down her goblet before she stood up and in a harsh voice said, "I am queen of our people Diana and that means I can never forget anything when it concerns their welfare. Just as you should never forget your place, when it concerns your mother and your Queen."

Both mother and daughter stared into each other's eyes before Diana's mother gently stroked her daughter's cheek and in a soft voice said, "You seem to have forgotten my daughter that it is indeed true that Ares The God of War is not the patron deity of the Amazon nation. But Athena along with Artemis is and Athena besides being the Goddess of Wisdom is also the Goddess of righteous warfare."

Diana's mother then added, "I for one can not think of a more righteous cause than the confrontation of the evil that is Darkseid."

Diana tried her best to explain to her mother by telling her, "I can only share with you what Superman told me mother. The mission he and the rest of my fellow members of the Justice League are about to go on is designed to avoid blood shed by preventing a war not by starting one. The one thing they don't need is having a hot tempered Amazon around to risk starting a war out of some misbegotten act of revenge."

"Do you now agree with his judgment?" asked her mother.

"I must admit not at first, but now I do," answered Diana

Princess Diana didn't need the wisdom of Athena to see and recognize the look of disappointment etched on her own mother's face. She thought to herself, 'Has man's world so changed me, has Clark's influence become so strong that I am in danger of losing touch with my own cultural beliefs and in losing them perhaps losing my own mother as well?'

It was her mother who interrupted her own musings when she asked, "You said that Clark had other reasons why he wanted you to stay behind. May your mother ask what they are?"

It was then Wonder Woman laid out to her mother and queen the grave responsibility Superman had entrusted to her in preparing earth's defenses. Diana also took the opportunity explained to her mother the arrangements to bring her Amazon's into the battle if the Justice League failed in their mission and fighting in fact did break out.

Queen Hippolyta listened intently to her daughter. When Diana finished telling her mother the Amazon's place in the possible upcoming battle. Her mother smiled and said, "Perhaps we have been to hasty in our judgment of Superman. He has proven himself to be a friend of the Amazons in the past and his love of peace is admirable and his plan use of my Amazons is military sound."

A moment later Diana's mother added, "Let you and I meet with the the royal council so we may begin to make our preparations for any possible battle."

As mother and daughter slowly walked arm in arm down the long corridor that led to were the royal council was in session, queen Hippolyta asked her daughter, "So just how is that big friend of yours doing since he has taken a wife, are they happy, are they expecting any children yet?"

Diana told her mother, "I know nothing about their plans or hopes for children mother. I only know how his face lights up when ever Lois's name is mentioned or even when he simply has a reason to think about her."

Later that afternoon after much discussion and no small amount of debate, it was decided that Queen Hippolyta would call for five hundred volunteers. These Amazons would be the spear head that would act as the strike force that Diana's nation would send if fighting did break out on either earth or New Genesis. The rest of Hippolyta's warriors would be organized to follow later when ever and were ever they would be needed.

To accomplish this the call went out to the Amazon nation that they should all assemble in front of the temple of Athena. At top of the temple steps at the feet of the twenty foot tall statue of the Goddess of war and wisdom. Princess Diana dressed in her royal finery stood next to her mother. Queen Hippolyta fully dressed in her finest battle armor steeped forward to address her gathered subjects.

She told her Amazons of the threat of Darkseid that not only loomed over Paradise Island but the rest of the world as well. She also told of the plans their own princess Diana brought back from the outside world to deal with the threat and the part that they as Amazon warriors were expected to play in this plan.

It was then queen Hippolyta began to walk back and forth in front of the entrance to the temple of Athena, as she addressed the gathered sister hood. Doing her best to motivate her troops in the same manner any good general would.

She told her subjects of the allies the Amazons would have in the coming struggle. Of the legendary Justice League and the powerful New Gods of New Genesis. Even the mighty Superman trusted friend of the royal family and whose fame is even known by the Gods of Olympus would be fighting at their side.

Diana smiled as she witnessed the nods of approval from her sisters, at the mere mention of her friends name.

Then Diana's mother reminded her subjects of the deaths of so many of their sisters at the hands of Darkseid and his forces, when they bravely fell in battle defending their island home of Themyscira. She then told her subjects of the possible opportunity they might have to avenge their fallen sisters.

While her mother continued on with her speech Diana looked up at the imposing statue of Athena that loomed above her. She couldn't help but wonder what the Goddess would think of how her mother was wiping the sisterhood into a frenzy of blood lust. Diana was not sure that Athena would approve of her own mother's actions.

True enough that this cold carved stone symbol to one of the Amazon's patron deities was posed with shield and spear while wearing a war helmet. But her shield and spear were held in her right arm, telling all who gazed on her she was the Goddess of war.

But her left arm, the one closer to her heart perched an owl the symbol of wisdom. It was in this manner that the Goddess wanted to tell her children that wisdom and the love of knowledge were closer to her heart than the arts of war.

It was the sound of her mother's voice calling for the war spear to be brought her that awakened Diana from herself absorbed musings. The high priestess of Athena came forth from the darkened center of the temple carrying a bundle. It was a spear, a near perfect copy except for the size of the one the statue of Athena herself carried.

It was wrapped in the finest purple silk and it was Diana's duty in this scenario to unwrap the spear and present it to her mother the queen. The spear itself was of the darkest ebony with bands of purest gold etched through out the shaft. The head of the spear was made of a gleaming metal called Amazonium, the same metal that the bracelets that Diana and all the rest of her sisters wore.

These bracelets were slave bracelets vivid reminders to all Amazons of the day when Hercules through lies and deceit had abused and enslaved Diana's mother and the rest of the Amazons with her. As Diana carried the spear to her mother she thought that these same bracelets were also a symbol of the pact that each Amazon made to one another. Never again to allow themselves to be subjugated by men, never to be dominated and never more to trust in the word of men again.

For the ceremony Diana knelt at the feet of her mother, holding the war spear outstretched above her head. As she waited for the hand of her mother to take the spear from her. Diana caught sight of her own reflection in the bracelets she was cursed always to wear and then at that moment knew she would never be able discuss her feeling for Clark with the mother she loved. Not with the history the Amazons had with the world of men and especially with her mother's own history of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

When Hippolyta took the spear from her daughter, Diana then stood up and took her place next to her mother. As Diana's mother held the spear above her head all of the race of immortal Amazons gave forth with The Amazon victory cry. It was then that Hippolyta pointed the spear at the mass of women standing below her and charged any of them who wished to volunteer to step forward and be counted.

It was then that the hearts of both mother and daughter had reason to swelled with pride as the whole of the Amazon nation steeped forward as one to volunteer in mass. Hippolyta thanked all of her gathered subjects for both their loyalty and their bravery and told them she would not only pick the five hundred warriors she wanted herself but would also lead them into any possible battle personally.

Immediately her daughter Diana began to protest her plan saying, "Mother you can OT go into battle and leave the nation with out their queen."

"Silence!" she told her daughter. "This is neither the time or the place to discuss such weighty matters."

Later when both mother and daughter were with the royal council in their chambers a spirited argument broke out. Most of the members of the royal council along with their princess tried their best to convince their queen that it would be to dangerous to the nation for their queen to undertake such a dangerous mission herself.

The debate went on for over an hour until the infamous temper of the Amazon queen Hippolyta exploded, cowering every one in the room save one. That one being the queen's own daughter.

The result was that both mother and daughter lost their tempers. "You have forgotten your place Diana, I am queen here," said her mother.

"No mother, it is you who have forgotten her rightful place. It is your duty to stay here at ohm and lead our nation, not run off to some alien world to fight.

She then added, "The captains of your personal guard, Phillipus or Cassandra are more than capable of leading the volunteers into battle."

"NO NEVER!," shouted Hippolyta. "I will never ask even one of my children to face any enemy that I myself would not be willing to face."

After another bitter round of yelling and arguing between mother and daughter. It was Diana who finally conceded in the face of a simple fact. That her mother was indeed the queen and therefore her will was supreme her word the law.

Later in the day in an attempt to make amends to her only child Hippolyta asked Diana to stay the night so they could talk. Diana was tempted at first to stay and try to explain to her mother what was troubling her about Clark. But a single glance of her mother's face caused Diana to think the better of it.

Diana knew all to well that the Gods created the race of immortal Amazons from the clay of the earth and the souls of women who died before their time, more often than not because of the cruelty of men. Diana's own mother feel in love with Hercules the legendary hero and son of Zeus. Only to betrayed and physically and sexually abused by him.

If Diana was to dare and tell her about her own feelings for Clark, Diana was sure that her mother would come to the conclusion that her own daughter not only betrayed her but her Amazon sisters as well.

It was later that evening when Diana was preparing to leave that her mother came to her, so she might say her good byes in Private. Hippolyta held her child to her breast and kissed her on her forehead and told the daughter she loved, "Ever since you came back home to me, I could tell something has been troubling you. I am equally sure it has nothing to do with this mess with the monster Darkseid or the argument we had."

She then asked, "Please my daughter won't you let your mother at least try to help you?"

Diana was very tempted to unburden her soul to her mother but an almost unknown emotion to her called fear prevented her from doing so. So instead she gave her mother a bitter sweet smile and told her, "No moma I don't think you can help me mama, in fact I don't think any one can."

Her mother tenderly stroked her cheek as she said, "It's been a long time since you called me moma little one."

"Almost as long since you last called me your Little one moma," said Diana.

It was then that Diana and Hippolyta hugged one another. Not as queen nor as princess but simply as mother and child. With a final wave and a last good bye Diana rose into the night sky and headed due south towards the Antarctic and The Fortress of Solitude.

It was dark when Wonder Woman landed. This in itself was not surprising since it was June and that meant another three months of Antarctic winter, which also meant another three months of almost total darkness. It was a rare night for this time of the year in the frozen desert known as Antarctica.

Here at the bottom of the world the ever present wind for at least this night seemed to be missing, instead it was replaced by a cold frigid stillness. With out the ever present gale force winds there was no wind chill to speak of, which meant that Diana found her self standing alone in the relatively balmy Antarctic night.

That would be the case if your are one of the few people on earth who could consider forty below zero balmy. If you were someone like Wonder Woman, who had already in her life walked the surface of the moon with out a space suit and could survive the minus two hundred degree cold of airless space with out protection for short periods of time. Then forty below would seem rather like a warm spring day in contrast.

Diana looked up into the clear night sky and watched the southern lights, the Aurora borealis of the frozen south dance and shimmer across a field of almost uncountable stars.

She stood in front of one of the hidden entrances to her friend's Fortress of Solitude. Entrance was in reality a rather lose description. If truth be told the entrance to the Fortress looked the same as the rest of the area, nothing more than frozen rock, ice and permafrost.

But Wonder Woman new better then all most anyone that looks could be deceiving.

As she stood there all alone waiting and watching for the portal of Superman's secret Fortress to appear. Diana knew that as she watched, she in turn was being watched by the computer guards of the Fortress. Her height, her weight the very cell structure that made up her body down to the basic D.N.A that made up her now human cells was at this moment being studied and compared to the samples kept on file.

This was all being done to insure that she and she alone could gain entrance to her friend's Fortress. After a few minutes of waiting, which to her seemed more like hours, she kicked the side of the mountain out of frustration and shouted, "Hey you in there open up!"

When nothing happened she smiled and said to the vast emptiness around her, 'You would think Clark would simply leave the key under the floor mat like everyone else.'

"Name?" A cold mechanical voice seemed to ask from out of no were.

"Diana," She answered back.

"Insufficient response," was the emotionless reply.

"Wonder Woman," Diana replied.

Once again the voice asked, "Code word?"

"Lois Lane, "was Wonder Woman's reply.

A few moments latter there was the sound of machinery as a portal opened up in what a few minutes ago appeared to be a solid rock wall. As Wonder Woman entered and the door closed shut behind her, she could hear the sound of machines being turned on and the faint hum of electrical circuits as bank after bank of once dormant computers were brought back to life.

Diana had the distinct feeling she was being watched. She suddenly wirled around and much to her surprise, saw the cutest little robot she had ever seen. Diana was some what familiar with many robots in her career, but none of them were ever like this one.

The ones The Amazon Princess was used to dealing with were usually twelve feet high, bad tempered and almost always doing their mechanical best to separate her various body parts from one another. This one was different, it or he {Diana couldn't be sure which term was applicable?} was only three feet tall with no legs, so it hovered some two feet above the fortress floor.

Her robot host had two arms and a head but with out eyes or ears nor did it have a mouth. In fact it had nothing that any one who observed it could call a face.

Bending over Wonder Woman asked, "What is your name my little friend?"

"This unit is servo-druid aa-1, but I have been program to respond to the name Ke-lex Princess Diana."

"Do you know me?" asked Wonder Woman.

Floating higher off the floor so Diana could talk with it with out bending over Ke-lex responded, "Affirmative you are Diana also known as Wonder Woman. You are the trusted friend of my master Ka- el. You have also been granted free access to the Fortress and I and all other droids and computers have been programmed to serve you."

Wonder Woman smiled at her newest friend and said, "As my young friend Cassie would say, how about you giving me the ten cent tour?"

"No remuneration is required for this service Mistress Diana," Ke-lex responded.

"Then lead on Macduff," Diana said with a big grin on her face.

"This servo-droids designation is ke-lex, but will respond to Macduff if the mistress so wishes."

As Ke-lex began the tour of the Fortress Diana had a hard time keeping up with her new little friend. The reason for this was because she was laughing so hard.

After the tour Diana found herself standing at the base of the statues of Clark's Kryptonian parents Jor-el and Lara. Each statue was about fifteen feet tall, they stood side by side and held a large globe of long dead Krypton between them and above their heads.

As she stood at the base of their statues, Diana took the opportunity to study the faces that loomed above her. She could see the intelligence in both of their faces, the determination even their nobility. But something seemed to be missing. As Diana continued to study their faces she sensed something about them was lacking.

What this missing quality was, at first eluded the Amazon Princess. Diana continued to stare up into the faces of Superman's biological parents. In the face of his father Jor-el she could see Clark's face except for the eyes. His eyes were a gift from Laura his mother.

Wonder Woman stood there as the statues of Clark's parents stared down at her. They both looked grim and determined just the way her friend looked when ever he was forced to go into battle. Then as if she was struck by one of Zeus's thunderbolts it came to her.

These sad reminders of a long dead world lacked any of her friend's warmth, compassion or kindness and most important of all his ability to love. Ka-el's love of family, friends and above all else his love of life it self were just not here to be seen.

From Clark, Diana knew that Krypton had become a sterile place, were intellect was prized over humanity. A world were emotions withered and purity of thought became that sad world's highest virtue. Krypton had become perfect, pure and above all else sterile, but nothing can grow in sterility least of all love.

That is how the Kryptonians had lost their humanity and in time became worshippers at the altar of science and reason. It was Clark's father Jor-el who began to rebel at this way of living.

He had come to realize that when the people of Krypton sacrificed their humanity, their capacity to love on the altar of science, they were dooming themselves to eventual extinction.

On a world were men and women were denied the physical act of procreation and children developed in artificial wombs. One man had the courage and foresight to save his child from the oncoming conflagration. He did this by sending him to a world were he would not only survive and flourish. But perhaps once more be able to reclaim the humanity that would have been denied to him if Krypton had not perished.

Alone with her thoughts Princess Diana mused, 'Clark and I have many things in common and many more things that are different. But the two strangest ones of all that we do share is the fact that neither of us were born of woman and that we both died only to discover that death wasn't the end. What else will we share fifty, hundred or a thousand years from today?'

Once more Diana princess of the Amazons looked up into the faces of the imposing figures above her. Here in the faces of Clark's biological parents, she found his physical power, the intelligence and most of all the determination. The things that drew her to Clark came from some were else. The love, the kindness, the honesty, his gentleness and above all else his compassion, were precious gifts given to him by two warm loving people living on a Kansas farm.

It was then that Wonder Woman knew such things were not bred into the bone but in truth had to be taught. Diana did not know which God or Gods had guided Clark's birthing matrix to that particular farm and to those two very special people. The only thing Diana was sure of, that it couldn't have been be a simple matter of chance.

For his sake and the sake of a grateful world she bowed her head and made a short heart felt silent prayer of gratitude to what ever deity was responsible for bringing Clark and his parents together.

It was the tug on the golden lasso that fore ever hung freely from her waist that interrupted Wonder Woman's devotions. She turned to see Ke-lex floating beside her. As she looked down at him the little robot said, "All is in readiness mistress."

Smiling at her strange diminutive companion Wonder Woman said, "Call me Diana Ke-lex."

He responded, "Affirmative mistress Diana."

"NO, Ke-Lex just call me simply plain Diana."

"Affirmative, simply plain Diana and you can call me Macduff," answered Ke-lex.

For a moment Wonder Woman wondered if her new little friend was laughing at her, or if he could laugh at all and then she wondered how does a robot laugh? Diana didn't have the time to ponder such matters because she soon found herself laughing so hard at he companions antics.

As she followed Ke-Lex into his master's monitor room Diana made a mental note to ask Clark if it was the Kryptonian technology or his own personal programming that gave Ke-Lex so much personality. When Diana entered Superman's monitor room she sat down in the only chair that was to be seen. It was positioned in the center of the room. All around her in every direction she looked were rows of television monitors, computer screens and terminals.

The chair it self was large and comfortable with high arm rests and computer controls at her finger tips. Every time she moved her head the chair would respond and move with her. The most fascinating aspect of this room was all of the information that came to her with the simple turn of her head. For there before her on all the screens and monitors was a virtual flood of information available at her finger tips.

Information coming to her in the form of news programs, net work feeds, private government channels. She saw real time photos from spy and weather satellites. In the back ground Diana could her the incessant hum of the Fortress Computers as they monitored earth's electronic highway.

Three thousand years ago the ancient Chinese Philosopher Sen-Su once told Diana's mother, 'That knowledge was power.'

Wonder Woman knew that this room itself was a very powerful weapon, especially if it was ever abused. Diana knew that only some one like Clark had the moral and ethical code and most important of all the strength of his convictions not to abuse it.

"Oracle are you there?" Diana asked.

"Here," a female voice answered. She then added, "May I ask who is calling?"

"Wonder Woman," Was Diana's simple reply.

"My computers are not able to get a fix on your location Diana. May I ask were you are calling from?" Oracle, AKA Barbara Gordon asked.

Diana replied, "At the moment I find myself in the monitor room located in Superman Fortress of Solitude." For a few moments there was nothing but a deathly silence at the other end of the com- link. At first Wonder Woman thought she had lost her connection to the Justice League's computer expert.

She was about to ask Ke-Lex to re-establish the link when the voice of the one time Bat Girl came back on line. "You are kidding me right?" asked Oracle as she sat back in her wheel chair. "No I really am here," answered Diana. She then added, "But I don't know for how much longer I will be."

Barbara Gordon used her hands to shift her life less legs into a different position as she asked, "Who was it that tried talking to me earlier?"

"That would be my newest friend Macduff," Diana answered.

"Who is Macduff?" asked Barbara.

Wonder Woman told her, "He or it is one of Superman's servo droids or robots for lack of a better term. He was the one who set up this one way relay link."

"In other words," Oracle said. "Superman's computers can call to me, but I will be unable to talk to them."

"Correct," Said Diana. "In this way no one will be able to trace any information back here to discover the location of this place so it will remain secret. Also any attempts to hack into the Fortress computers will meet with failure."

Wonder Woman then went on to explain, "The Computers here in the Fortress and their world wide sensor net will search for any unauthorized inter dimensional openings here on earth."

"If any boom tube gate openings should occur his computers will inform you and you in turn will inform Batman or myself."

"I understand," Oracle replied.

Wonder Woman then asked, "Has Batman made contact with any of the meta humans on the list he made up together?"

"Most of the reserve JLA members have already reported and a little more than half the names on your list have come on bad," was the answer Oracle gave her.

Diana said, "Excellent, even better than we could dare hope for."

Diana then said, "Inform Batman That I should arrive back in Gotham some time tomorrow."

"Will do and good luck Diana," said Barbara.

"Same here and good bye who ever you are," Said Diana.

As Diana was getting ready to leave she was once again interrupted by Ke-Lex who said, "The master's Bio-computers have been monitoring your physiology, Simply Plain Diana and they have informed me that you are in grave need of nourishment and sleep."

Rising so he would be face to face with Wonder Woman, the newly christened Macduff told her, "I have taken it on myself the responsibility to prepare a meal for you and a place to sleep."

Diana was just about to refuse the invitation out of hand until she realized just how hungry she truly was. What's for dinner?" she asked. "Fresh green salad, Beef Bougignon and home made Rhubarb pie for dessert," Was the answer she received.

"Fresh Green salad at the South Pole?" Diana asked.

"Grown in the Fortress Green house," was the answer Ke-Lex gave her.

Her curiosity aroused Wonder Woman asked, "May I ask were you got the Beef Bougignon?"

"That and the rhubarb pie were made by the master's mother. A large supply of both and other selections are frozen and stored here," was his answer.

Clark had always bragged about his mother's cooking, almost as much as he teased Diana's disastrous attempts at doing like wise. It would be most interesting to find out for herself just how good a cook his mother really is.

After three large helpings of the beef and two large slices of the pie Diana was convinced that Clark was not extravagant in his praise for his mother's culinary skills.

Diana was reaching for the a third slice of pie when Macduff asked if she was satisfied with her meal?

"Most assuredly, "Diana reassured the faithful little droid. She also added, "I now have some idea how your master got to be so big!"

Since her new little friend was right about the meal, Diana decided to take him up on his offer and catch a few hours sleep before heading back to the States. She gave order's to Ke-Lex to wait until she feel asleep then wait four hours before waking her.

With all that said and done Princess Diana of the Amazon Nation of Themyscira soon found herself fast asleep in the bed of The Man of Steel.

Almost four hours later measured down to the second after she fell asleep, Diana was awakened by Macduff. He or it, she could no longer be sure which description was correct hovered by the side of her bed holding a tray. As she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Diana noticed the pot of coffee, cup, cream and sugar that her little friend was patiently holding for her.

Ten years earlier when Diana first arrived in Patriarch's world fresh brewed coffee was one of her first and most enjoyable discoveries. After two quick cups and a pleasant good bye to Macduff Wonder Woman found herself flying northward back to the United States.

Diana was tempted to use her Wonder Dome as a mode of travel. It would have been faster and a great deal more comfortable. But with the American Military put on full alert, ever since Superman had informed the president of the possible threat by Darkseid.

Diana reasoned the sudden appearance of a huge piece of alien hardware floating over the cities of America would not have been prudent to. That is why it took Wonder Woman, even with her speed all of two hours to land on the back lawn of stately Wayne manor.

She was just about to knock on the back door when that same said door suddenly opened and she in turn was greeted by Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler, friend, and confident. With typical English formality Alfred performed a slight bow and said, "Greetings Ms. Diana, master Bruce has been expecting you, please be so kind as to follow me."

She followed him down the corridors of the mansion until they reached Bruce's private study. Stopping in front of a large grandfather clock Alfred reached up and turned the hands to 10:47. The whole clock move away from the wall in one section revealing a hidden stair way which led downward.

With Alfred as her guide Wonder Woman followed him down the winding stairway until she entered the huge expanse of the legendary Bat cave. Looking past the gloom into the lighted section of the cave Wonder Woman could see Bruce and a young teenager sitting in front of separate computer screens.

When they stopped Alfred with all due pomp and ceremony announced, "You guest has arrived Sir."

With out looking up from his work Bruce said, "Thank you Alfred, that will be all." As Alfred walked up the stairs to return to his duties. Bruce {Batman} Wayne suddenly spun around in his seat and said, "Welcome to my home Princess. If I can not promise you a pleasant visit. I can at least be able to guarantee you an interesting one."

Bruce Wayne got up from his computer and walked over to were Wonder Woman was standing. He put his hand out in greeting and in turn Diana reached out and gratefully accepted them. As she reached out and grasped his hand even Diana with all her power could feel the strength and most surprising of all the warmth that he always tried his best to hide as well.

Before he let go of her hand Batman told her, "Welcome to my home Diana, and I really do mean welcome."

Surprised by his greeting Diana said, "Thank you for such a warm greeting Bruce."

She continued by asking, "May I ask why, especially after our little talk on the moon?"

"There is such a thing as showing the proper hospitality to one's guest in your home. Most of all if that guest also happens to be a friend," he explained.

Diana noticed that she was being stared at by Bruce's young friend. She had that effect on men. especially the young ones.

When she first entered Man's world such behavior would infuriate her but in time she got used to it. Even more importantly she began to understand it.

It was then that he said, "I seem to have forgotten my manners. Diana I would like to introduce you to my young friend Timothy Drake. He is the one who is standing there with his tongue hanging out." "And Tim, this is Princess Diana better known to the world at large as Wonder Woman," he added.

Wonder Woman held out her hand to Batman's young ward and said, "It is an honor to meet you Timothy."

It's an hon.. honn… I mean it's an honor Princess, "he stammered.

"No need for formality on my account Tim. You just call me Diana," she told the young man.

"Sensing his distress Wonder Woman asked, "Bruce would you mind if Tim here would escort me around to see the wonders of the Bat Cave?"

Normally the Batman would take umbrage at any one who would dare to make such a request. But then again this wasn't just anyone, it was Wonder Woman who had made the request. Besides one glance at the anxious and very red face of the young Mr. Drake changed the Dark Knight's attitude and his mind.

"What a fine idea," Bruce replied. "While I am finishing up here Tim can show you around the old homestead."

Taking the young man by his elbow Wonder Woman could feel the tremors in Tim's body as they walked arm in arm around the cave as Timothy pointed out to his famous guest the wonders of the Bat Cave. When they had completed the tour Bruce was just finishing up on his own work when he said, "That's it Diana, A full two thirds of the world's Meta human community have come together and agreed to follow your lead for the duration of the crisis."

Smiling Diana said, "That is more than we had any right to expect."

Batman answered, "It only goes to show that if the common enemy is big enough and freighting enough, petty squabbles are quickly laid aside."

"I also have good news," Wonder Woman reported. "The whole of the Amazon nation are preparing themselves to answer the call to arms. Even as we speak my mother and five hundred of her best warriors are prepared at a moments notice to travel any where on or off earth to confront Darkseid."

"Very good, things are finally starting to look up," he answered in turn. After a moment of silence Batman spoke up once again by asking, "Don't you have some home work to finish?"

Young Tim said, "Yea but!"

"But nothing," Batman scolded as he interrupted his ward. He then added, "Now go upstairs and start hitting the books."

He was about to protest once again, but one scowl from is mentor started him climbing however reluctantly up the stairs to the main house. Tim was half way up the stairs when he suddenly turned and said, "It was an honor to meet you Wonder Woman."

Diana gave the youngster a warm smile and said, "The honor was all mine Tim."

When he was finally gone Diana turned to her host and with a smile said, "When I was but a young Amazon growing up on Themyscira my tutors had the same problem with me about not doing my homework. But that was not the real reason you sent him away was it?" asked Wonder Woman.

Sitting down slowly in a chair Bruce looked up at his guest and said, "Your right, Diana I wanted to talk to you alone about what happened between us on the moon."

Wonder Woman slumped down in the chair in front of him and begged, "Please Bruce no more, I feel bad enough as it is. I have no wish to fight any more with you, most of all about that. So please I'm asking you just let it drop."

"Wasn't there anyone back home you might have talk this over with, a friend or perhaps best of all your own mother?" He asked.

She answered back, "You have no conception of the problems I face Bruce. How could I discuss this problem with my sisters let alone my own mother. That by all rights as an Amazon I should not be even having."

"I only wish I had the sensitivity to help you Diana, but I don't," he sadly replied.

He then asked, "Can't you think of anyone who you could talk to?"

Diana was thinking all right, thinking of what Clark said about trying to talk to Bruce. But then she remembered something else Clark said. Reaching into her girdle Wonder Woman pulled out a slip of paper and clutched it as a drowning man would hold on to a life preserver.

Bruce asked, "May I ask what that is Diana?"

She answered, "An address, or perhaps a prayer. Or a better description might be my last best hope!"

The past forty eight hours had been a very busy time in the life of Wonder Woman. With most of earth's Meta human community on board in the face Darkseid's potential attack, Diana thought due to the gravity of the threat from the Dark Lord of Apokolips the final reservoir of power to oppose him might yet be tappet.

Most of theater governments around the world were following the lead of the United States and had already placed their militaries on alert.

Wonder Woman thought the final well spring of potential allies to call upon in defense of earth might be found in the out law community. Diana's idea to seek out potential allies among those who on a regular basis preyed on society was to say at the least, vehemently opposed by the Batman.

To describe his low opinion on these so called potential allies was to state the obvious, to him Diana's idea to call upon these misfits for help was too dangerous an even more potentially disastrous than The Dark Lord himself. It was only after Wonder Woman promised to by pass the more sociopath candidates did Batman at last reluctantly agree to her plan.

With this in mind, for the next forty eight hours Wonder Woman had searched for support among these misanthropes, but sadly found very few converts. At the mere sight of the legendary Amazon, most either fled in a panic or attacked her out of shear terror. Only a few of them were brave enough or maybe intelligent enough to listen to reason or even delay attacking long enough to listen to Diana's offer as she tried telling them of threat they all now faced.

In the end she could not call her attempt at this strangest of all her diplomatic missions a complete failure. In fact she was able to draft a surprising number of he Meta human communities darker individuals to the common cause. These few were the ones intelligent or perhaps simply brave enough to recognize the threat they now all faced together and were willing to help out in dealing with it.

It was with these thoughts running wild in her head that Wonder Woman found herself winging through the sky to talk with the last, most intelligent and therefore perhaps the most dangerous one of all. Diana landed on a roof were once stood the world famous symbol of a once great metropolitan newspaper. Even after her long flight she stood there more to catch her thoughts more than any need to catch her breath.

She looked up almost expecting to see the globe above her, but sadly it was long gone. Ironically she was here to ask for help from the one man most responsible for the loss of one of the fourth estates most venerable institutions.

It was only recently that the Daily planet had once again opened it's doors. It gladdened Wonder Woman's heart to know that soon the globe the world famous symbol of great newspaper would be once again were it should have always been. She took off from the roof and flew slowly towards her objective.

Busy pedestrians paused in their never ending race to look up, point at her and say, "Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's HEY! that isn't Superman."

If those down below her were disappointed few showed it. Most of them still waved and smiled up at her, Wonder Woman forgetting her dignity as princess of the Amazons, could do nothing to prevent herself from smiling and waving back to the passing people below her.

Wonder Woman at last arrived at her destination. Here was to be found the last name on her list, potentially the most useful and truth be told the the most dangerous. That was why Wonder Woman found herself entering the main entrance to the Lex-corp building. So she could have a personal one on one meting with Lex Luthor. Walking through the lobby entrance Wonder Woman walked past a set of two beefy rent a cops.

With out bothering to turn her head she gave each of them a brief but informative glance. They were both large men with more beef than brains. Diana knew from their body language and her own Amazon training that these two posted at the entrance were strictly there to intimidate the locals. As she walked past their astonished faces Wonder Woman smiled, she instinctively knew that the only way these two slabs of beef could stop any determined attacker was if they tripped and fell on them.

She noticed immediately that in the center of the lobby was a large circular information booth, manned as they say by two female employers sitting behind the booth. They were giving detailed instructions to the various visitors who stopped in front of them to ask directions. Wonder Woman patiently waited her turn to speak with one of the young women.

As she stood behind a over weight business man she could sense that all of the eyes in that train station of a lobby turn in her direction. No one called out her name and surprisingly very few even bothered to point in her direction. But in a few moments the three hundred or so people gathered in that lobby knew she was there. It was if a electrical spark had jumped from one person to the next until every one there knew of her arrival.

The corpulent business man, his questions answered walked away with out ever looking behind him and thus never knew who had been standing there all this time. The red head behind the large desk gave Diana the official Lex-Corp company smile and asked, "Can I help you madam?"

Diana asked, "I wish to see Lex Luthor please?"

The corporate shill behind the desk asked, "Do you have a appointment?" "No," was Diana's simple and direct answer.

"Mr. Luthor never sees anyone with out an appointment."

"He will see me," was Diana's short reply.

Picking up a special red phone the red head asked, "Who should I say wishes to see Mr. Luthor?"

Starting to become annoyed Wonder Woman said, "Tell him princess Diana, ambassador from the Amazon kingdom Themyscira is here to see him."

After she repeated what the Amazon said, she listened intently then told Diana, "It's just as I told you Madam, Mr. Luthor refuses to speak with anyone with out an appointment."

Having played Luthor's mind games long enough, The now bellicose Amazon said in a most menacing voice, "Tell your employer if he does not see me now, I will see him later, but under far less pleasant circumstances!"

Frightened the young woman behind the counter panicked and began frantically pushing a button hidden under her desk. Wonder Woman saw all of this but did nothing to try and stop her.

She continued to do nothing as the two slabs of beef left their post at the main entrance and instead now appeared suddenly on either side of the Amazon Princess. Diana remained calm as each of them held firmly to her elbows.

With a calm reassuring voice Wonder Woman told the young woman, "Tell your employer Lex Luthor what I just said."

After some frantic whispering the young women looked up at Wonder Woman and in a frightened voice asked, "They want to know upstairs if you have any identification to prove who you are?"

Diana scowled and asked, "Do you see any pockets in this outfit?"

"No MS. Wonder Woman," was the stupid answer the young woman gave.

Annoyed by the rampant stupidity of those around her Wonder Woman started to lose her own temper, she decided to prove her identity in the most dramatic way possible.

Suddenly and very majestically the two slabs of beef rose off the lobby floor until they found themselves suspended some twelve feet in the air. Terrified and ashen faced they clung desperately to the arms of the powerful Amazon as the three of them floated peacefully above the main lobby of he Lex-Corp building.

Looking down from her elevated station Wonder Woman calmly asked, "Do you think this might qualify as identification enough your employer?"

After a frantic description in to her phone of what she was witnessing, the shocked receptionist became very quiet as she listened intently to who ever was on the other end of the line.

After receiving instructions from above, she laid down the phone and told Wonder Woman, "Mr. Luthor will make time in his busy schedule to see you now."

Then and only then did Diana gently lower herself and her two terrified companions to the lobby floor. Looking first to the right then to the left Diana said, "Thank you gentlemen for being so kind as to help a women in distress."

The two slabs of Beef mumbled something that Diana couldn't understand about being glad to be of service. Diana wanted to ask them just what they had meant, but for some strange reason she suddenly found herself very much alone.

Turning her attention back to the young women behind the counter she saw the shaking girl point across the lobby and herd her say, "Across the lobby you will find a double red elevator door, that's Mr. Luthor's private elevator to his Penthouse office."

Thanking the young woman for her help Diana began to stroll confidently across the lobby of the Lex-Corp building. There was complete silence from the hundred or so people gathered there in the lobby. They had momentary paused in their own frantic lives to stare at the legend that was calmly strolling in front of them.

Looking neither left nor right Diana stared straight ahead as she slowly strolled across the lobby with her chin held high and her eyes looking straight ahead. When she reached the elevator door she was met by a short blond man with stringy hair who held a key to the private elevator in his right hand.

It took Diana only a few moments of study for her to know that this unlike the other two so called guards she met earlier, that this one was indeed dangerous. It wasn't the bulge she saw from the shoulder holster under his tailored jacket, but the smile on his face. It was because of Diana's years of training and martial experience and her own insight she gained from being both a woman and an Amazon that allowed her to see behind his toothy smile.

What she saw behind the facade was the face of a Hyena and more likely than not with a mind to match. Just as she suspected the closer one got to Lex Luthor, the more lethal became his protection. It was then she knew she came to the right place and more importantly still the right man.

The two legged hyena was inserting his key into the lock of the door panel, while he was doing this Wonder Woman looked at the television camera that was keeping her under close surveillance.

After he finished turning the key in the lock Diana could feel the vibrations as the elevator made a rapid decent to pick her up. In a very short time the car came to a halt and the door opened before her. Wonder Woman entered the elevator and turned around to face the lobby and was forced to endure the infuriating smile of the human hyena one last time.

As the door slid shut, Diana looked over the control panel before her. She saw there were only two buttons, one marked P and another with an L. Assuming the P stood for the penthouse Diana pushed it and was immediately rewarded with a rapid acceleration upward, she estimated the speed was about three times faster than any normal elevator.

Looking upward at the passing lights that marked her rapid assent Diana took notice of the ever present eye of the camera as it followed her every move. Wonder Woman had a sudden urge to put her thumbs in her ears and stick out her tongue. She smiled at the thought and began to Wonder if the ever farcical Plastic Man was beginning to rub off on her.

The elevator began to slow and Diana began to wonder what the next level of Luthor's security would be like? Diana did not have long to wonder as she was greeted at the door by two large guards in black suits holding automatic weapons. She walked out of the elevator and was told by one of the granite blocks in a black suit to, "Please wait here for your escort."

After five or six minutes two members of team Luthor came marching down the hallway, they were in full body armor and carried laser pulse rifles. With one of the men in front of her and another bringing up the rear the three of them marched down the long corridor and entered a small alcove. It was here that the trio stopped, it was also here that Wonder Woman was informed she would have to be searched before she proceeded further.

Taking one step backwards Wonder Woman looked up at the ceiling and said, "I know you can see and hear me Luthor and I'm telling you right now, if you think I'm going to let one of your trained apes to put his filthy paws all over me. Then you really must be out of your mind."

The bigger and less intelligent of the two trained Apes made the first of two terrible mistakes. The first was in shouting out, "HEY BITCH!… don't you ever talk to Mr. Luthor like that."

The second and far worst mistake was when he put his hands on the Amazon Princess.

Suddenly there was a loud crash and the sound of two pulse rifles going off, quickly followed by a sudden scream of pain. While all this was going on Lex Luthor sat back in a thousand dollar office chair watching the television monitor in front of him.

Luthor puffed away on a ten dollar Havana as he enjoyed watching Wonder Woman deflect his men's laser bursts with her bracelets. Four seconds after discharging their weapons, those same weapons were to be found bent and twisted in the middle of the room.

The men who were until a few moments ago were using these weapons were far luckier, only their armor was smashed and crumpled on the floor. As for the men themselves, the second was peacefully asleep on the floor in the far corner of the room. As for the other, the one who had made the terrible mistake of putting his hands on the Amazon princess, he was fully awake. But at the moment he was to be found hanging upside down from a light fixture that hung down from the ceiling.

Wonder Woman's blood was now up and she found herself in her attack mode.

Kicking the door down to the inner office Wonder Woman was met by four more members of team Luthor, all of them were wearing armor and all of them heavily armed. Before the members of Luthor's elite security force could react and bring their weapons to bear against the enraged Amazon, they became victims instead.

The members of Team Luthor soon found themselves sailing through the air and bouncing off the four walls of the room. The leader of the team managed to get off two quick shots with his weapon that Diana defected with her bracelets. The third member of team Luthor was just getting back to his feet, when he was hit in the chest with a missile. This particular missile was the leader of the team who had fired the shots at Wonder Woman.

After colliding with his fellow team members, the both of them collapsed to the floor in a tangled heap of flesh and smashed ordinance. Team member number two managed to get off two quick shots at Diana. The first missed, but the second one hit Wonder Woman square in the back, she grunted once and fell to her knees in pain.

Her attacker lowered his weapon for a third and far more lethal shot. But just as he pulled the trigger, The Amazon princess had taking to the air, she managed to do a back flip at the apex of her leap that enabled her to land in back of her assailant, a heart beat after he pulled the trigger.

Number three and the leader of the group had just managed to untangle themselves and get to their feet. But were immediately forced to dive for cover as the shots fried by the second member of the team had missed Diana who fortuitously for her was no longer in the line of fire.

Unfortunately for Luthor's men they almost discovered to late that they had remained in the line of fire. This discovery was the reason they both found themselves diving for cover under a handy desk. Even with all they had been forced to endure at the hands of he enraged Amazon princess, after all things were considered it had been their lucky day after all.

This was because the man who had shot Diana and had fired wildly in their direction, suddenly was no longer a threat to them. The reason for this was because the shooter was being held aloft over the Amazon's head. Diana held him there at arms length for a moment, as he squirmed like a turtle that had fallen on his back and was now trying to right it self.

After a few moments of his frantic and ultimately useless attempts at escape, Wonder Woman grew bored with his struggles and ended the farce by throwing her attacker through the nearest wall.

Just as she knew it would, his personal body armor had absorbed the brunt of the impact, but the blow was still violent enough to render him comatose. She stared at the men who had attacked her and seeing that one and three were still trying to get to their feet, she turned her attention to the fourth member of their combat team. Diana quickly spun around to confront this last member of Team Luthor.

Diana was quick to realize that she had nothing to fear from this corner. She could see that number four at this particular moment in time was doing his best to fade into the wood work.

This was because after one quick glance at the face of the enraged Amazon. The final member of this so called elite combat unit had become so frightened at the sight of enraged Amazon standing before him, he dropped his weapon and raised his hands up in total and abject surrender.

The rest of the guards had once again regained their footing and began frantically to look around for their weapons. Diana for her part was just about to launch herself at the remaining members of Team Luthor. She had every intention to make a sudden and as violent an attack on these men as needed. So she might put an end to this senseless battle as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

Before she could strike as unseen voice was heard, "Luthor one and Luthor three carry Luthor two to the infirmary. Luthor four Your fired! If there is one thing I hate even more than incompetence it's cowardice. You have exactly ten minutes to get your yellow ass out of my building."

Suddenly the voice said once again, "I will leave it up to your imagination what will happen to you one minute after that."

The unfortunate number four had no attention of waiting around to find out. He was soon seen rushing out the door and running down the corridor as fast as he could manage. Just as he left a door opened on the far side of the room and four fresh members of team Luthor came marching into the room.

For the briefest of moments Diana thought she was in for yet another battle, but these fresh troops peacefully took up their guard posts and waited at attention. Instead of a fight, a door opened instead and a calm voice said, "Please come in."

As for Wonder Woman, she began to wonder what new challenge awaited her on the other side of that door. Cautiously Diana walked through the door and into the next room. What she found waiting for her was something totally unexpected.

Wonder Woman had expected yet another threat to herself or at least a further display of even more lethal security measures. Instead what Wonder Woman saw before her was a large office with four desks and what at first glance looked like four typical secretaries, typing busily.

There were two desks on either side of a runway that led to two ornately double wooden doors. The doors swung open and Diana could see for the first time the bald head of Lex Luthor as he sat behind a large wooden desk. Believing the open doors to be an invitation she walked boldly but wearily between the rows of desks and towards his office. Wonder Woman noticed that all of the secretaries were very young and very pretty.

Diana thought to herself, 'Luthor besides being a brilliant man of business and a criminal, he has shown himself to be just like any other stereotypical sexist male.'

As she walked between the rows of desks on her way to Luthors office. It was only then that Wonder Woman noticed that all the ladies of the typing pool had stopped their typing. As she walked past each of their desks she noticed that every one of them had their hands buried in the top draws of those same said desks. Diana did not need the wisdom of Athena or a certain close friend's x-ray vision to now what each of these woman were clutching.

Diana was amused to think that Luthor's apparent sexism did not extend so far as to prevent him from hiring the very best thugs money could buy. Soon as she entered his private office the twin doors closed behind her. It was then that Diana saw the women who walked over and stood protectively behind Billionaire Lex Luthor.

The woman was tall, well built and had the look of a predator about her.

She was wearing high black leather boots and a short gray skirt. Under her hand tailored jacket she had on a white dress shirt with a thin black tie. Her large hands were covered in tight black leather kid gloves. To top it all off she wore a chauffeur cap pulled low over her face. With a change of clothes and a different attitude, Diana thought she could have easily passed as one of her Amazon Sisters.

Luthor smirked as he said,, "Please excuse my bad manners Wonder Woman. This ladies name is Ms. Mercy, she is my chauffeur and all around gal Friday."

"Don't you mean body guard and personal hit man, or is it hit person?" Wonder Woman asked in a sarcastic tone of voice.

Mercy glared at the Amazon Princess in pure hatred, Luthor for his part simply threw back his head and laughed. When he finished, he asked in an innocent voice, "What ever gave you that idea Princess?"

"Lucky guess," answered Diana. "Or perhaps it was the twin shoulder holster your so called chauffeur carries under her very expensive jacket."

She then added, "If I were to hazard a guess, I would have to say couple of nine millimeters or twin Baretta Automatics?"

Once more Luthor roared with laughter and even Mercy had a most decidedly wicked grin on her some what feline face. Turning to his so called chauffeur Luthor said, "You can wait outside Mercy, we will soon be done here."

As the formidable Mercy was making her way past Wonder Woman she suddenly stopped and said to The Amazon princess, "None of that modern crap for me, I prefer the Colt forty five automatic, model nineteen eleven, deep down inside I guess I'm just an old fashion girl."

When she reached the door she paused for a moment and with her hand on the door knob turned and said to Diana, "Mr. Browning designed the forty five automatic so a serviceman could bring down a cavalry horse at a full gallop."

"I will remember that next time I find myself in the middle of a cavalry charge," answered Wonder Woman.

"Also comes in handy when you have to put down tired old war horses, especially the mares," said Mercy as she left through the door.

Turning back to face Luthor, Diana watched as he sat back down and reached into his vest pocket and pull out a gold pocket watch.

Flipping open the cover he laid it flat on his desk and said, "You have five minutes of my valuable time Wonder Woman, start talking."

Looking him straight in the eye Wonder Woman told him, "The reason I am here is to ask for your help."

He answered Wonder Woman's request by telling her, "The employment office is on the second floor. I do believe there are some openings in the secretarial pool or if you would prefer the janitorial service is always looking for a good cleaning women."

Wonder Woman suddenly exploded, she had been harassed, attacked, pawed over and now finally insulted, enough was enough and Diana reacted accordingly. Taking hold of the end of Luthor's expensive hand carved desk with one hand, she sent it crashing into the far wall were it landed with a crash and a shower of splinters.

Suddenly there came a second crash as the door behind Diana flew open and Mercy came into the office with a Colt-45 pistol in each hand. Four rapid shots came Diana's way one after another which the Amazon Princess easily managed to deflect into the far wall with her bracelets.

For a moment Mercy paused in her attack to see what affect her bullets were having on the Amazon. This moment of hesitation allowed Diana to take her lasso from her hip and send it flying into the face of the lethal lady body guard. After ducking instinctively Mercy was quick to straightened up so she could once again renew her assault on the Amazon Princess.

But it was to late, momentary distracted by Diana's lasso, Wonder Woman used the distraction and the speed of Mercury to suddenly appear in front of Luthor's body guard. She had already disarmed Mercy and was holding her pistols up to the lethal body guard's face. Lex Luthor's Girl Friday watched helplessly as Diana stood before her with one of her pistols in each of her hands. She then crushed them as we would an empty beer can.

Mercy screamed, "My daddy gave me those pistols!" She then quietly added, "Except for the beatings, they were the only thing the bastard ever gave me."

To demonstrate her point Luthor's body guard then proceeded to launch an elbow into Wonder Woman's face. Luthor heard a sudden cry of pain as he watched Mercy clutching at her damaged elbow joint as she fall down to one knee in pain.

Looking down in sympathy at the stricken women kneeling at her feet, Diana told her, "I think it is a terrible mistake for a father to give such an awful gift to his child."

Looking up at the Amazon princess that seemed to tower over her, Mercy snarled in a voice filled with hate and even worst memories, "In the end my father thought the very same way you did and he lived just long enough to regret it."

Shocked at what the women at her feet just told to her, Diana let her guard down just long enough to permit the enraged body guard to leap to her feet and deliver a side kick to Wonder Woman's stomach. The kick landed with all the force Mercy could summon, but much to her horror she saw that it had no effect on the formidable Amazon. Mercy then tried a round house kick at Diana's head, who easily blocked the blow.

Wishing to prevent the women from injuring herself any further, Diana took hold of her in a reverse bear hug and whispered into her ear, "Peace sister, you have no reason to continue this battle with me!"

Mercy twisted her head around and sneered, "Yes there is, It's my job, it's what I'm paid to do." As Wonder Woman finished listening to the ranting of her brave but foolish opponent. Diana gently tossed her along the floor were she slid into the far wall.

Turning her attention back to the true author of this one sided conflict, Wonder Woman said to him, "Call off your warrior Luthor."

The only response Wonder Woman got for her request was the smirk on Lex Luthor's evil face.

Infuriated by his attitude and his total lack of concern for his employee. Diana was distracted just long enough for Mercy to pounce on her back and begin to claw her leather covered fingers into Diana's eyes. This time it was the Amazon who finally lost her temper.

Reaching behind her Diana took hold of her attacker and slammed her to the ground harder then she intended. Mercy lay there at the feet of the Amazon, stunned and with the wind knocked out of her. Regretting her own actions Wonder Woman extended her hand to the fallen women to help her up.

To show her gratitude Mercy slammed the spike heel of her leather boot into Diana's face, just missing her eyes. Seeing that this at least appeared to have had some effect on the Amazon, Mercy lashed out with her other foot to try the same maneuver once again.

Only this time Wonder Woman caught her by her ankle and held her suspended upside down above the Polished floor of Lex Luthor's office. As Mercy continued to struggle in a vain attempt to escape a grip that was second only to Superman's. She finally gave up and began cursing out the Amazon Princess instead.

In her most menacing voice Diana warned, "Call her off Luthor before she harms herself. Because if you don't, I swear by all the God's it will be you who will be taking her place."

Luthor was once again started to say something smart, but one quick glance into the strange foreboding eyes of Wonder Woman quickly forced him to change his mind.

Instead he simply said, "That will be all Mercy your dismissed, wait outside until I have need of you."

With that done Wonder Woman gently lowered her erstwhile opponent gently to the floor.

When Mercy regained her footing she began to plead, "Lex honey, don't you think I…"

Outraged that some one in his employ should be so personal in public, Luthor

yelled, "I told you your dismissed, now wait outside."

She turned and started to limp away but before she left she turned and addressed Diana one last time, "This isn't over Wonder Woman, not by a long shot."

"It should never have even started my sister," was Wonder Woman's only reply.

As he watched his body guard limp her way out of his office, he held his tongue until he saw the door close behind her. Lex Luthor then looked up from his desk at the tall women in front of him and asked, "What is the real reason you have come here today Wonder Woman?"

Wonder Woman did not answer straight off, instead she went over to were her golden lasso lay and picked it up and replaced it back on it's home on her hip. Having done that she turned back and faced Lex Luthor.

She began by saying, "The story I have to tell you started almost four days ago on the moon. I think it was four days ago. But I have been crossing and recreating so many time zones recently I can no longer be sure."

Going on with her story Wonder Woman said, "Most of the Justice league was there and Big Barda one of our most trusted members was making a report."

Diana then preceded to lay out to Luthor most of what had happened the last four days. Concerning the possible looming crisis the people of earth soon might be forced to face.

When she finished Luthor looked up and asked her, "What does all of this have to do with me?"

Pausing for a moment he then added, "Perhaps what I should be asking is what is in it for me?"

"Nothing, except perhaps your life," she answered.

"Always a most valuable commodity," he replied. "Still," he added," it wouldn't hurt to see what the other side is offering."

It was now Wonder woman's turn to laugh, "Do you think you can make a deal with Darkseid Luthor?"

She then warned, "I wouldn't try it if I was you." She then waited for a moment to let what she just said work it's way past Luthor's massive ego.

She then told him, "Darkseid doesn't make deals Luthor, he has no allies and no friends, just victims and slaves."

"So what can I do for you?" he asked.

"You have a global organization," she told him. "You also have close ties to numerous foreign governments and certain criminal organizations scattered through out the globe."

She then added, "You are a man of power who controls his own massive security force. You also have the ear of certain heads of foreign governments and the men and women who really rule those same said governments from behind the scenes. I am here to ask you that for once in your life to use these assets for the common good and the benefit of all mankind, as well as yourself."

When she finished he asked, "May I ask, what will the rest of the Justice League will be doing while I am performing this public service?"

"You already know that Luthor, I will be correlating the defense back here on earth, while Superman and the rest of the Justice League are on New Genesis as our first line of defense."

Luthor then gave Wonder Woman the sweetest of smiles as he said, "I hope nothing bad happens to the big blue hero while he is away."

"I find it very difficult to convince myself that you really mean that Luthor?"

"That is the one thing you can be sure to believe about me your highness. The end of that egotistical, galactic wet back is something I have reserved for myself."

"Only in your most deluded dreams Luthor," Wonder Woman replied. "But if the day ever comes when the impossible ever should happen. You better hope I too am long since gone. If I'm not, I will come to visit you again Luthor and on that day you will discover that I don't have any were near Superman's restraint."

Waking over to the window she opened it and once again said to Luthor, "Don't bother getting up Luthor, I can see myself out."

She stood on the window sill and opened the window and looked down one hundred floors to the street below her. Turning once more to Lex Luthor the Amazon Princess asked him, "When can I be expecting your answer Luthor?"

"Two or three days," he replied.

"Best you make your mind up quickly Luthor, before you wake up in a slave pen on Apocalypse or as simply one of the all to common victims here on earth," Diana advised.

"Listen to me women," Luthor shouted! "Lex Luthor is no man's slave and I will never again be a victim!"

"That is what I am counting on Luthor," Wonder Woman replied. She then added, "And that is why your going to be helping us."

With that said and done Diana stepped out the window, soared upward and quickly was out of sight. For the next few minutes Lex Luthor sat alone, thinking and brooding.

Suddenly in a loud voice he cried out, "MERCY!"

The office door soon opened and Mercy quickly entered. "You called Boss?" she asked.

"Who the hell else would be calling you?" he answered sarcastically.

"Right Boss!" she replied.

"Do you have your note pad?" he asked.

For her answer Mercy reached inside her jacket and pulled it out.

"You ready?" he asked.

With a nod of her head Lex Luthor billionaire was off and running.

"First I want you to double, no triple security around this building. Two, then cancel all of my appointments for tomorrow. Three, inform all Corporate heads and the various heads of my personal security staff to be here by ten o'clock in the morning. In the mean time order me a corn beef on rye with mustard and a kosher pickle cut length wise and don't forget the celery tonic. Four order a repair crew up here to fix this place up."

He then added, "And Mercy."

"Yes Boss?"

"Get cleaned up, your a mess!"

With that she turned and left. As the door closed behind her, Luthor said to himself, 'Only a fool fights in a burning house and Lex Luthor is no ones fool'

If Diana wasn't feeling bad enough about herself before her meeting with Lex Luthor. The brief time Diana had been forced to wallow in the filth that was Lex Luthor's life made her feel even more guilty and ashamed.

It had been her Idea that every possible avenue of support in the Meta human community should be attempted. She had been the one who thought to seek out those Meta humans who regularly prayed on society and try to gain their support to defend it.

Wonder Woman still had her hopes, but the more contact she had with these lost souls. The more she began to think that she should have listened to the Dark Knight.

With few exceptions only Lex Luthor with his vast fortune and ego could see the danger the whole world was facing and agree to give all his support to the cause of defending earth.

Even if it had been her idea, the short time Wonder Woman was forced to spend with Luther disgusted her. Luthor was one of those individuals all to common these days. The ones who could all to easily justify in there own heart and minds their right to take anything or use anyone they so desired.

This was the fear that had begun to eat into Diana's soul. That she too might begin to justify the needs and desires of her heart at another persons expense. The only thing that stood between The Amazon and her own heart's desire was the life of a good and brave women.

A woman whose very life Wonder Woman had sworn to protect. She now realized this is what Batman had been trying to warn her about on the moon. Diana had nothing but contempt for the way Luthor lived his life. Perhaps he had an excuse because of the way he was brought up.

Diana knew she had no such excuse, she was brought up better than that. She was raised with a sense of honor and dedication to duty and most important of all with love. This was the reason why she was revolted at her all to human weakness. Diana wanted to feel clean again, not just clean of body, but clean of mind, clean of heart and most important of all she needed to have her clean soul back.

This was why the daughter of Hippolyta found herself racing with the rising sun as she headed westward and into the heart of the nation. Maybe here in the bread basket of the world she could at last find the help she now knew she so desperately needed. Perhaps a friend's family had the answers that her own family didn't.

As she streaked westward Wonder Woman held tight to an address written on a scrap of paper as if her very life depended on it, or even more importantly in her case her very soul might be depending on it.

When at last she reached her destination Wonder Woman made sure no one was around to witness her landing. She came to earth behind the barn and waited to make sure there were no curious eyes about to spy on her. She walked quickly to the back door of the modest but well kept farm house. Standing there all alone, she was about to knock on the screen door when she noticed her hand was shacking. It was only then that she took notice that her body was trembling also.

Turning away from the house to take her leave Diana thought to herself, 'I have no right to be here.'

She was about to take to the sky once again, when an old man with gray hair turned the corner of the house and looked at her with a kind eye. He was wearing a flannel shirt under bib overalls and well worn work boots. She was about to rocket away in panic until he gave her one of the warmest smiles she had ever seen.

Diana had only met one other person with such a smile as this and the fact he was the son of the man who was now standing there before her did not escape her notice. Even if she couldn't speak, all thoughts of leaving quickly vanished. Diana soon realized she couldn't do anything but return the farmer's warm inviting smile.

So what she couldn't do for herself, the old farmer did for her as he called inside the house, "Ma! we have company."

Suddenly the screen door opened behind Diana. She turned and saw a silver hair women with a kind face that was covered with flour. As she stood there in the door way she was wiping her hands off on an apron tied around her waist.

Once again Wonder Woman saw the same inviting smile as the elderly woman spoke up, "Are you just going to stand there all day Jonathan or are you going to bring the poor child in before she catches her death of cold?"

Martha Kent was already leading Princess Diana through the back door and into the house by her hand. With Clark's mother taking the lead and with Jonathan his father in the rear Diana was led into the cool darkness of the Kent's family home.

As she was going inside with the Kents. Wonder Woman listened to Jonathan Kent complain, "Here it is middle of summer, eighty five degrees out side and she is worried about someone catching a cold who can fly into orbit on her own power."

For the briefest of moments Wonder Woman thought Clark's father was angry at his wife until she turned around and saw the mischievous grin on his face.

Diana was led into the living room were Martha and Jonathan both took turns saying, "This is a real honor your highness."

Diana smiled back and explained to them, "My friend's call me Diana, "Mr. and Mrs. Kent. It is also the name your son knows me best by, so please do me the honor and call me Diana."

"Only if you promise to stop calling us Mr. and Mrs. Kent," Martha replied.

Smiling Diana said, "It would be an honor Martha."

With that out of the way the parents of Superman took turns hugging princess Diana in greeting as they tried their best to make her feel welcome and even more importantly wanted. It also allowed Diana in some small way to experience for herself the love and affection that Clark had been raised with.

A few minutes later the three of them found themselves in the kitchen drinking coffee. It was over coffee and pie that Martha said, "Clark told us you might be dropping by for a visit. But he never told us when."

I didn't know until the last minute that I was coming myself," Diana replied. "But evidently your son did know," added Diana.

She then said, "I guess in some ways he knows me better, than I know my own mind."

"He doesn't know all that much," Martha said. "If he did you wouldn't have to be satisfied with something I just slapped together. I would have preferred a chance to prepare a proper welcome for you, one fitting a real live princess."

Jonathan took the opportunity to lean over and whisper to Diana, "Slapped together my eye, she has been cooking for nearly two days."

"Mrs. Kent, I mean Martha you should have not put yourself out for my sake," pleaded Diana.

"Nonsense," Martha said. "Not only are you a guest in my home, but you are also our son's closest friend in his other life. That makes you very special to us and always welcome here."

"Besides," Jonathan said. "Since my heart attack Martha has been forcing me to eat all this health food garbage. The only time I get to taste real food is when Clark comes home for a visit or if we have company. So in my book that makes you even more welcome."

For the first time in days Wonder Woman began to physically relax. Something about these two wonderful people made her, at least for the moment forget her own troubles. Instead Diana marveled how quickly they had accepted her and more important still to her, welcome.

Diana was finishing her second piece of pie when she told Martha, "I can not for the life of me Martha, decide which I prefer, your apple or your rhubarb pie."

"When ever did you get the chance to sample my rhubarb pie?" asked Martha.

Diana answered, "It was yesterday in Your son's fortress."

Seeing the look of puzzlement on the Kent's faces Diana went on to explain, "Because of the crisis we are all now facing, I traveled there to do some work for the Justice League. One of your son's robots, a friendly little fellow called Ke-Lex found out I had neither slept or eaten for almost two days. My little friend prepared for me a meal of your delicious Beef Bouguignon and for desert I had your wonderful rhubarb pie as a special treat."

"I had always wondered what Clark did with all of those frozen meals he asked me to make for him?"

"What I could gather from Ke-lex, is that when ever your son is busy working in his fortress that is what he enjoys eating."

When Diana finished with her explanation Superman's father asked, "Have you received any word from Clark or any the other's since they left?"

Wonder Woman saw the look of worry that suddenly appeared on both of their faces. Diana wanted desperately to be able to offer the both of them some measure of comfort. Wanting to relieve some of their fears for the safety of their only child Diana took both of them by the hand smiled and told them both, "No nothing so far. But don't worry, in this case I truly believe that no news is indeed good news."

It was Martha who said, "Our son has often told the both of us Diana how much he admires you and your abilities." She then paused for a moment to carefully pick her words then went on to ask, "May I be so bold to ask you Diana, why your not with Clark now and the rest of your friends?"

"That was your son's idea Martha," replied Wonder Woman.

Diana then explained to her friend's parents, "He knew many of my Amazon sisters had lost their lives in defending their home against the forces of Darkseid when he attacked my home on Themyscira as a prelude to attacking the Gods of Olympus."

"Clark with some justification came to believe that if I ever came face to face with that monster. The temptation for me to challenge him would be to strong for me to resist."

Diana paused for a moment to finish her coffee. When she finished the cup she went on with her story, "Since this was a mission to prevent a war and not start one. Your son came to the conclusion that a hot tempered Amazon with a personal score to settle was not the best person to take along on a mission to prevent a war. Especially one who had sworn a blood oath and was spoiling for a fight."

Martha asked, "What did you think of my son's decision?"

"Not very much at the time," Diana admitted.

"In fact when he first made his suggestion that I should be left behind. I'm sorry to tell you that I lost my temper, blew up in his face and started a rather nasty argument with him."

"Good for you," laughed Jonathan. "I'm glad to know that Lois isn't the only women who cares enough about my son to regularly tell him were to get off."

At the very mention of Lois's name, Diana felt a sudden twinge of quilt. She had reason to wonder if that same said guilt had registered on her own face. Clark's father had noticed nothing. This was to be expected, as a man he had not been blessed by Mother Nature to be as sensitive to body language as a women is. It was because of this fact of nature that Wonder Woman looked over with trepidation at Clark's own mother.

It took only the briefest of glances to tell the Amazon that Clark's mother had all ready picked up on Diana's stress at the mention of her daughter in law's name. Trying her best to be a good host by changing the subject Martha asked, "How would you like a nice hot bath before supper Diana?"

"That is a very tempting offer," Diana replied. "I have not been able to bath or change my clothes or get a full night's sleep in almost three days."

Shocked at what she just heard Martha Kent asked, "I know your an extraordinary women Diana, but don't you think you might be pushing pushing yourself to far?"

Besides she continued, "Your costume looks like it could do with some mending and a good wash."

Diana blushed then smiled as she said, "Before I arrived here I did have a small run in with a couple of Luthor's Goon squads and they have been known to play a little rough."

"What brought that about?" asked Martha

Wonder Woman explained, "I needed to speak to him abut the threat of Darkseid. His underlings took umbrage about someone seeing their employer with out an appointment. Before the day was done, I had to help them change their minds."

"I can imagine just how you went about doing that, "added a amused Jonathan.

Wonder Woman's only response was to smile shyly and lower her gaze.

"All the more reason your clothes need a good wash and some mending," chided Martha.

"Please don't go through all of that for me," begged Diana.

Clark's mother explained to her, "It's really not all that much trouble dear. I'm all set up for handling emergencies such as this."

Seeing the puzzled look on the face of The Amazon Princess Martha leaned closer to The Amazon Wonder and explained to her, "You really don't think that son of mine makes his own uniforms do you?"

Diana began to laugh as she said, "I always had wondered about that."

"I'm sure we will be able to find you something to wear while your costume is being looked after," added Martha.

"What is wrong with what Diana is wearing now?" asked Jonathan? He then added, "I think she looks very becoming just the way as she is dressed now."

"You would, you dirty old man," scolded his wife.

Before her husband could think of something to say to defend himself, Martha turned back to her guest smiled, quickly winked then complained, "The way you have been ogling poor Diana in her costume. I'm surprised you haven't had to take one of your pills."

Just as Diana started to giggle Jonathan answered back, The only reason for me to take one of my pills would be if you had been wearing Diana's costume my love."

"How can you talk like that in front company?" scolded his wife.

"Because I am a dirty old man," he answered. "And if the good lord is willing I will remain a dirty old man until the day he decides to call me."

Martha Kent tried her best to look indignant while trying to give he husband the stare. But one single glance at her Jonathan's smile and she burst out in laughter instead.

Her own laughter was quickly followed by her husband's and her house guest. When she finally caught her breath Martha told Diana were the bathroom was and were to leave her clothes.

Diana was just starting to get undressed in the Kent's bathroom when she suddenly remembered that she should leave word with Bruce of her location in case she was needed. She quickly stopped what she was doing, walked down the hall and started down the stairs.

When she reached the bottom of the stairs she stopped and was about to ask permission to use the Kent's phone. That's when she looked into the kitchen and saw Martha was sitting on her husband's lap. They held each other in a warm loving embrace and they were kissing.

Not wishing to disturb them and most of all not wishing to let them know that they had been seen, Diana dashed back up the stairs and stood for a moment at the top of the second floor landing. She took a moment to go over in her mind's eye what she had just witnessed, a sweet smile slowly began to crawl across her face. The sight of those two elderly people sharing their love was one of the most spiritual and beautiful things Diana had ever been witnessed.

It was when she was undressing in the bathroom that Diana began to go over in her own mind what she had been privileged to just witness. It was this that made Diana begin think to herself that her mother was wrong, that her sisters were wrong. Man and women could come together, that together the sum of the whole could be greater than the sum of the parts.

When it comes to the affairs of the heart two plus two could in fact equal five. Diana could see that Clark's mother did not come to his father as either his slave or his servant. But as the second half of his heart and most important of all the missing piece of his soul.

The only chains Diana could see were the chains of love that they used to bind their lives to one another. It was at that moment that she admitted to herself that she also longed for the very same thing. Diana no longer cared what her mother would say or what her sisters might think. She was tired of playing the part of the stoic warrior.

Wonder Woman had now come to believe that with out some one to share her life with, she was in truth living only half a life. Diana once more began to undress and as she did so she began to think of Clark, or Kal as she always called him alone or in public.

She thought about what the two of them could have had together and what such a thing might cost her, friends, home, family maybe even her own mother, she thought she might be willing to give all that up if only?

Then another thought started to creep up from one of those dark places that Bruce tried warning her about. Diana was thinking about the one person who could put an end to her dreams, a person with the name of Lois. From the darkest of all those regions came a thought of just what Diana might be willing to do to eliminate that obstacle.

Suddenly a wave of nausea came over her as she felt disgusted with herself for even daring to have such a thought. For the first time in her life Diana knew what true shame felt like. It made her literally feel sick that she was capable of having such a thought. Let alone that she might be able to actually carry out such a plan.

Wonder Woman shook her head as if to drive such terrible thoughts once and for all from her troubled mind as she said to herself, 'No, never, I refuse ever to sink so low as to ever do that to someone, most of all to her and most important of all to Clark'

She quickly finished undressing and left her clothes out in the hallway as she was instructed. After pouring to much of the bubble bath she climbed into the huge old fashion tub.

Turning the hot water on full she let out an audible sigh as the steaming water climbed higher and higher until it reached up to her chin. The temperature of the bath water would have badly scolded an ordinary human. But for this Amazon who had been blessed by the Gods of Olympus with many gifts, found it simply relaxing.

The Bubbles from the bubble bath tickled her nose as she let the steaming hot water at least for a short time wash her cares away. From outside the bathroom door Diana thought she heard Martha in the hall way picking up her clothes. It was the last thought she had as Diana closed her eyes and began to nod off.

Diana was awakened by a knock on the door. It was then that she noticed her hot bath had turned strangely cold. Suddenly there came another knock and the sound of Martha's voice asking, "Diana are you all right?"

Wonder Woman answered in turn, "Please come in."

Martha entered the room with a neatly folded bundle of clothes in her arms. Putting her bundle down on the vanity Martha said, "We were starting to get worried about you dear. You have been up here for over four hours."

"I'm sorry I must have fallen asleep," replied Diana.

"So how do you feel now dear?" asked Martha.

"Refreshed, relaxed and hungry," replied Wonder Woman as she sniffed the air and took in the wonderful aroma that was coming up from the kitchen.

Putting her hand on the bundle of clothes she brought with her Martha said, "Here are some things you can wear after you shower." Martha turned to leave then suddenly stopped, turned and said, "Best you learn child that in one respect, this truly is a man's world."

"Diana asked, "And just what would that be?"

"Underwear!" Was Martha's answer as she held up a pair of jockey shorts in one hand and a pair of boxer shorts in the other. She then added, "It is so unfair to our sex that men's underwear has to be not only so much more practical then the frilly things we are forced to endure but their underwear is designed to be so much more comfortable besides."

If Superman's mother expected an answer from the legendary Amazon princess, she would have to wait a while longer for it.

For at that moment Wonder Woman was laughing so hard that her head had slipped down the back of the tub were it rested. Diana soon found her face underwater, when she bobbed back to the surface she was gagging on the soapy water that went up her nose and down her throat. But even this couldn't stop her from laughing.

Seeing that her guest was all right Martha left so Diana could shower and change. After Diana had showered she was getting dressed when she noticed that the clothes she was putting on had never been worn. Still they had a strong, but all together a most pleasant smell of cedar and rosewood. The smell invoked memories of a thirteen year old girl taking part in her first ritual hunt in the forest of Themyscira.

When she was finished dressing she walked down the stairs to the living room were the Kent's were waiting for her. Diana stopped at the entrance to the living room and stood waiting for their inspection. Diana had pulled her hair back into a pony tail. She wore a flannel shit that was two sizes to big for her and a new pair of jeans that were a little tight in the hips. On her feet Diana wore a new pair of sneakers but strangely of an old style, simple white cotton socks were worn under the black high top sneakers.

When the Kent's turned to look at her Diana asked, "Well do I pass inspection?"

It was Clark's father who said, "You look like the typical farmer's daughter."

Wonder Woman smiled at his compliment but was surprised when Clark's father asked his wife to bring him his shotgun.

"What ever do you want your shot gun for?" asked Martha.

"To keep all of those traveling salesmen you always hear about away from my new daughter," he explained.

Every one laughed until Wonder woman asked, "Do you mind telling me were these clothes came from Martha?"

Martha took her by one arm and her husband took Diana by her other arm an escorted her to the kitchen between them. As they walked arm in arm Martha told Diana, "They belonged to my son but he never got a chance to wear them."

Leading Diana into the kitchen Martha continued with her explanation, "I bought them in May when Clark was no more than fourteen years old. They were supposed to be for his first year of junior high school. But he grew so much that summer, that when school finally rolled around they no longer fit him."

When they were all around the table and Jonathan was busy carving the roast Martha finished her story, "I should have donated it all to good will or at least give it to a neighbor. But I was hopping that one day one of Clark's children would wear them. So instead they have laid in the cedar chest in the attic all of these years. I'm glad to see there are being put to good use at last."

When they started dinner and the plates of food were being passed around, a sudden thought crossed Diana's mind.

"May I use your phone Mr. Kent?" she asked. "I must let someone know were I am in case…"

Diana let the last part of her statement trail off. She realized that the elderly couple who were seated around the table knew what she meant and more importantly what was at stake.

"Only if you promise to stop calling me Mr. Kent," As he chastised her with a gentle smile.

Getting up from the table Diana walked over to the wall phone and dialed a very select and secret number. Moment's later a voice answered with a unmistakable British accent, "Hello Wayne residence."

"Is your employer in Alfred?" Diana asked.

"May I ask who is calling Miss?"

"A recent visitor and friend," she answered.

"Understood, please hold on while I connect you," he replied.

In less than a minute the unmistakable voice of The Batman was suddenly on the other end of the line. Ever cautious he asked, "Is this a secure line?"

"No," she replied.

"Are you at least alone?" he asked.

Once again the answer was, "NO!"

"Can they be trusted?"

Diana told him, "I would trust them with my life."

He said, "That's because you have always been much to trusting."

"And you don't trust enough," she told The Dark Knight.

"If an emergency should arise and I have a need to get in touch with in a hurry you were do I call?" he asked.

Not wanting to give an address in case someone might be listening Wonder Woman was in a quandary. Turning around and looking into the smiling faces of Clark's parents she had a sudden inspiration.

As she continued to look into the Kent's kind faces Diana said, "If you need to get in touch with me. I just became the farmer's daughter."

For a few moments Diana heard nothing but static on the other end of the line.

Then suddenly an all to rare sound was heard, the laughter of The Batman.

Diana thought he had a very nice laugh. To bad he didn't use it more often.

The laughter ended as soon as it begun as he said, "I understand, and Diana?"

"Still here," she said.

"I hope they can help you," he answered.

"I do too, "she whispered into the mouth piece."

"Good luck and good bye," he added.

"Same here," Diana said. With that Wonder Woman hung up the phone and rejoined the Kent's at the table. When dinner was finished and the dishes cleared from the table. Diana and the Kent's sat around he kitchen looking at the family photo album.

Diana found herself fascinated with the photos of Clark as a young boy growing up here in Smallville. She was surprised that there were no pictures of Superman which made Diana wonder a bit. But she quickly put that question aside and chalked it up to security.

Diana then came across a most interesting photo of a baby lying naked on a home made quilt. As she pointed to the Picture before her Diana asked, "Who is this little fellow Martha?

Pausing a moment before she answered Martha Kent smiled and said, "That believe it or not Diana is the Mighty Man of Steel himself."

Wonder Woman fought a desperate losing battle with herself as she tried to hold back the laughter, but she ultimately failed. First came the near uncontrollable giggling and as the Kent's joined her, she broke out in loud rollicking laughter.

As Wonder Woman caught her breath she took the time to touch the photo tenderly with her finger tips before saying, "Clark was such a beautiful baby."

Martha then told her guest, "Strange as this may sound Diana, but Lois said the exact same thing you did."

"Lois even laughed the same way you just did," Jonathan volunteered.

It was at that moment at the mention of Lois's name, That Diana royal Amazon Princess of Themyscira had a near over wheeling urge to lower her head and closely examine the top of the Kent's kitchen table.

As Wonder Woman was pretending to examine the fine wood grain of the table. Martha took the opportunity to take a small black photo album from the bottom of the pile. Opening it up Martha told her guest, "You just might find this interesting Diana."

It was a photo of a very young Clark Kent and two other young people, one a boy with blond hair and a pretty young girl with red hair. The trio were posed in front of an old red pick up truck. They were waving to the camera and holding up in triumph what looked like rolled up diplomas.

Diana asked, "Is this your son's high school graduation picture?"

"One of them, in fact his favorite one," Martha said. "The boy with the blond hair is Pete Ross. The youngster on the right with the silly grin is of course Clark and the girl in the center is Lana Lang."

Martha pointed once again at the blond boy and said, "Pete was our son's best friend as he grew up here in Smallville. As for Lana, Lana had always been very special to Clark and Clark was even more special to Lana."

Martha finished the last of her coffee then went on with her story, "Ever since they were in diapers together, then through elementary school, junior high and high school the both of them were always to be found together. Every one who ever knew them always thought that one day the two of the would marry and maybe even settle down right here in Smallville."

Martha took Diana by her hand as she added, "Lana's parents thought so, so did we, even Clark and Lana thought the same way. But something happened during Clark's sophomore year in high School."

"His powers began to manifest themselves," Wonder Woman interrupted her.

"That's correct dear," Jonathan said.

Continuing her story Clark's mother than said, "It was slow at first, Then during his last year in high school was when the real changes happened. Lana was the first one that Clark told outside of the family of his powers because he considered Lana as part of our family in all but name."

"He needed to tell her because his life had changed. His horizons broadened but most of all he began to accept the terrible responsibility he felt he came to owe the world, but most of all he wanted to tell Lana how much he loved her."

"He needed Lana to know that he loved her and always would, but only as a friend and as a sister. But he couldn't love her in that special other way that we all search for. As for Lana, sadly she still loved him in the only way she knew how."

"When Clark left home to explore the world and later when he started his life as Superman. She continued to hope against hope that he would someday return to her."

Martha then added, "Even when she left to pursue her own life's work she continued in that forlorn hope. When Lois and Clark met and fell in love Lana refused to see the truth that had been standing along side of her all this time."

Martha told her, "When Lois and Clark finally married that became the worst of times for her and strange as it may sound the beginning of the best of times for her. Only when she had finally given up this forlorn hope did Lana see what had been under her own nose all this time."

Wonder Woman interrupted her, "Your talking about Clark's other friend, Pete Ross aren't you?"

"That's correct dear," answered Martha. "When Lana at last stopped looking to the heavens for love, she found heaven right here on earth. The good boy had in time became an outstanding man. As for Peter he had always loved Lana and with Clark gone, Lana finally allowed herself to fall in love with Pete. They were married had a son and today are very happy together."

Martha went on to explain, "When Lana stopped reaching for the one thing she could not have and instead allowed herself to look for her happiness elsewhere. Only then did she found her happiness at last."

Diana did not know how much Clark's mother knew about her own torment. Or the relationship she had with her son. But she was convinced that Martha had told her that story for her benefit and more importantly as a warning and perhaps more important still as an attempt to help her.

It was Kent Jonathan who ended Diana's self absorption by saying, "This is still a working farm ladies and I have a busy day tomorrow. So I guess it is time for me to say good night."

When he stood up to take his leave Diana stood up in front of him and proceeded to give him a big hug and a kiss on his cheek.

"WOW!" he said. "Another kiss like that and I won't be able to sleep for a week."

Diana was just sitting back down just as Jonathan bent down and kissed his wife.

Martha took her husband's hand in her own, squeezed it and said, "I'll be right up after I do the dishes."

Clark's father was just starting up the stairs when Wonder Woman said, "Why don't you go to bed also Martha, I can do the dishes."

"I wouldn't hear of such a thing," Martha told the Amazon princess. "You are our guest in my home Diana. Besides dish washing is not a proper chore for royalty."

Wonder Woman laughed out loud and replied, "If only you were there to speak to my mother as I was growing up, I wouldn't have had to spend all those hours in the royal kitchen."

"What ever do you mean?" Martha asked.

Diana explained, "Besides my school studies and instruction in the use of bow, sword, spear and hand to hand combat. I had to put in time working in the royal kitchen."

Diana waited for her host to finish laughing before she went on, "As I grew into womanhood I waged many a hard fought battle against the forces of burnt pans, greasy pots and dirty dishes."

"That is why I think I have always hated to cook and why I never learned. It was my one way to rebel against my mother's edict that I should do an honest day's work less I become spoiled."

"Clark had his chores to do too," Martha told the Amazon. "The one Clark hated the most was cleaning out the chicken coop."

Diana laughed at her friend's plight and said, "With me it was working in my mother's royal stables. I had made the mistake of asking my mother for a horse of my own and ridding lessons."

"She told me I would have to earn them both by working in her private stable. I had imagined I would be spending some pleasant hours brushing and combing and feeding the horses. No one bothered to warn me of all work I had to perform with a shovel."

After she got done laughing Martha answered her, "Perhaps mother's are alike were ever you go."

Diana gently held on to Martha's hand and said, "Only the best ones."

Martha smiled sweetly to show her gratitude for the compliment Diana just gave her. Grinning Martha then said, "Since you are a guest in my home and if you want to wash dishes that badly who I to say no to a guest."

"Besides," she added. " To tell you the truth my husband really can't manage to fall asleep unless I am laying there beside him. When your ready for bed Clark's old room is ready for you, it's the door opposite the bathroom."

With that she stood up, gave Diana a last warm embrace and started to walk out of the kitchen.

When Martha reached the stairs she stopped looked back and told Diana, "From now on dear why don't you call me Ma." Martha then added, "Lois and Lana always do so and I don't see any reason why you shouldn't?"

"Thank You Mart…,I mean Ma. I only wish I had the right words so I could tell you just how much that means to me."

"Good night Diana," said Martha.

"And good night to you too Mart.., I mean Ma," answered Diana in return.

Diana could have finished the dishes in mere moments using her incredible abilities. But she wanted to do the job slowly and carefully and be able to use the time alone to think. As she washed the dishes memories of herself as a young girl suddenly came flooding back to her. She remembered how much she hated as a child to have her hands soaking in dirty dish water and how much she resented her mother for making her do it.

Wonder Woman smiled to herself as she remembered that some of the best thinking she did as a child growing up was done in front of a sink full of dirty dishes. Back then she did her thinking by the sink as a means of escape from the drudgery imposed on her by her mother's determination to teach her responsibility.

She did this by escaping into her own mind. Then she dreamed as a young girl dreams, of the time when she would become a full fledged Amazon and a great warrior. She dreamed of the time when she could be of service to her mother, the sister hood and the Amazon nation as a hole.

The child that she was then, thought as a child did. Of the battles and glory that would be here’s as she grew into an adult and became a full fledged warrior. But this time as she washed the dishes she thought as a adult does. Not as a princess or as a warrior or even an Amazon.

Instead she stood there and washed dishes and thought of herself as a women not an Amazon just a woman. Long ago she learned the price she had to pay for being a warrior. She no longer thought of glory for herself or as a so called super hero.

Now at this moment she found herself thinking as any other woman would with problems, that were all to real and all her own.

With the problems that she now faced, she realized that all her training as an Amazon and as a princess could not begin to help her. In fact her duties and cultural beliefs as an Amazon princess only exacerbated them.

Before Diana could come to terms with herself, the dishes were done and put away. She turned off the light and climb the stairs to Clark's old bed room. When she entered she had a bit of difficulty finding the light switch on the wall, but with luck and persistence she managed.

When Diana finally found the wall switch and turned on the light she saw that her host had already turned down the covers for her. She also found on top of the sheet an old football jersey waiting for her. Diana quickly got undressed and put it on.

'This had to be Kal's,' Wonder Woman thought to herself when she noticed how the jersey reached almost past her knees and how lose it hung over her own broad shoulders.

Diana began to look around her at the various objects in the room her friend grew up in. Diana was glad to see that the Kent's did not keep it as some perverse shrine to their famous son.

They simply had to much pride to do anything so mawkish. True there were still bits of Clark in the room. But these were more like gentile reminders of a beloved son left by his parents and not icons to be venerated.

Diana sat down at Clark's old desk and opened the draws and found his old portable typewriter. In comparison to toadies computers and word processors, it was one step removed from writing on parchment with a quill. But with it, Clark took his first tentative steps on the road that would in time lead to his career as a journalist and author.

On the shelve over his bed she saw the trophies he won in junior and high school before he stopped competing when he discovered the unfair advantage he held over others.

Wonder Woman walked over to the closet, all the while she walked she was touching the things he used as he grew up, doing her best to get the feel of the man from the room of the boy. When she reached the closet she opened the door and peered inside. Except for a bath robe and some old pants and two shirts it was devoid of clothing. On the top shelf of the closet she found a shoe box full of baseball cards and some boxes of comic books.

It was plain for Diana to see that Martha had evidently defied the old cliché and had not thrown out his baseball card or comic book collections. She was closing the closet door when she noticed the life size poster of a big busted blonde in a very tiny bikini tacked to the inside of the door.

Such a sight ten years ago would have outraged her feminist pride and even today her Amazon sisters would have been outraged and insulted at the sight. But after living the past twelve years in man's world Diana only smiled.

As she looked over the blonde Diana said to aloud, "I see you weren't always the world's biggest boy scout were you Kal?"

"He was never a Boy Scout or a saint Diana," a voice behind her said. "My son managed to get into more than his fair share of mischief and like any other growing boy he got into more than enough trouble."

"Just as I did," Wonder Woman replied, as she turned and addressed Clark's mother as she stood in the doorway in her bath robe.

Martha Kent walked slowly into her son's bedroom and sat down on the bed. Diana closed the closet door turned to Clark's mother and remarked, "I hope my curiosity didn't wake you."

"Not really, I was in bed reading," She reassured her guest. She then added, "Jonathan is the lucky one. As long as he knows that I'm in bed next to him he nods right off. At my age it takes a while so I usually read myself to sleep."

Some what embarrassed by her own actions Diana asked, "You must be wondering what I am doing snooping in your son's old bedroom?"

The only answer Martha gave her in return was to pat the top of the bed next to were she was sitting. Diana understood the gesture and did as she was instructed and sat down next to Clark's mother.

With a smile the mother of the most powerful man on the planet asked, "I suppose you have questions about my son and perhaps you hope to find some of the answers here in the room he grew up in?"

Diana tried to explain to her host, "No, not just answers, what I was really searching for were revelations. I was attempting to feel his presence in the things he loved as a child."

She then added. "By doing this I hoped I might discover why he turned out the way he did and perhaps in doing so find the answer to some of my own questions."

Suddenly Martha's face turned into a mask of anguish. As she suffered silently with the question she was about to ask this most remarkable of women.

"I don't know how to go about asking you this Diana. Or even the best way or for that matter even the polite way to start. So please forgive me if I seem rather blunt."

Clark's mother paused for a moment, then took a deep breath before she asked, "Are you in love with my son Diana?"

Diana did her best to look into the face of Martha Kent and failed miserably in the attempt. As Wonder Woman she had been witness to unspeakable horrors and never once had she ever flinched at the sight of danger.

To often than even she cared to remember, she had stared into the face of death and yet never blinked, even when death stared back at her.

But now in the presence of this kind and most gentile of women Diana discovered she was unable to summon up the courage to look her in the eye. Instead all she could do was to sit beside Clark's mother and hang her head in shame.

Marshaling all of her courage Diana told Clark's mother in a shaky voice, "Yes, I have come to believe that I am ."

"And Clark?" Martha asked in a shaky voice, as she at last managed to summoned up her own courage.

"I'm not totally sure," answered Diana. "I know he has strong feelings for me. Way beyond any thing as simple as friendship, perhaps some might even call it something akin to love. The only thing I am totally sure of is his love for Lois"

In response Martha asked, "I never thought the day would come come when when I would ever have to ask this. But as painful as this is for me I have to ask it, are you and my son having an affair?"

"NO!" Diana all but screamed as she snapped her head around to look into the kind and understanding face of the woman sitting next to her." "Clark would never do anything like that to Lois," she added almost as a plea.

"What about you Diana?" Martha asked. "If you were given the opportunity would you or could you be so resolute?"

Diana saw the look of pain and worry she had caused to be reflected in the kind and gentile face of Clark's mother. Most of all she was sickened by the shame of being the cause of it. Diana clinched her fists so tightly as she held them to her bowed head that her nails pierced her palms and drew blood.

The Amazon princess hid her face with her hands as she pleaded, "I'm so sorry Martha, for having come here, and being the one responsible for hurting you by telling you all this. I had no right to come here in the first place."

Diana started to stand up to take her leave but a gentle touch of an old women's hand stopped her. A main battle tank could not hold back this incredible women from moving if she so wished. But the frail arm of a simple farmer’s wife around her shoulders did just that.

Cupping her free hand under the chin of her Amazon guest. Martha gently forced Diana to turn her head around and look into her face. As she stared into Diana's tormented face, the mother of Superman said, "I thought we agreed that you were going to call me Ma from now on."

Diana now knew why Clark had suggested she come here. She had just told her most shame full secret to this most remarkable of women and instead of being repulsed by her weakness she instead reached out to help her.

"How long has all of this been going on? "Asked Martha.

"Which part," Diana asked? "Do you want to know how long I have had feelings for your son? Or how long I have been lying to myself or perhaps you wish to know when I finally admitted the truth to myself?"

Martha told Wonder Woman, "The best place to start any story has always been at the beginning."

"In this story," Diana said. "The beginning started twelve years ago, when for the first time I met your son."

"It was in Washington D.C. during that horrible Godfrey affair, when I first felt the evil that was Darkseid and the light that is your son." Diana paused for a moment then went on with her story, "At the time I thought your son was a God who came to earth."

"What ever gave you that idea?" asked Martha as she interrupted Wonder Woman.

Diana smiled at Clark's mother and said, "As his mother I think you sometimes forget just how impressive your son can be."

Martha smiled sweetly and said in a quiet voice, "Sometimes when I am alone with my thoughts, my most vivid memories of my son are the ones of the little boy I carried in my arms."

Diana was deeply moved by a mother's memory of her child and honored that that Clark's mother would be so willing to share it with her. In turn she felt a need to share with Martha her memories of the first time she met the man they both cared so deeply about.

It was because of this that Diana continued on with he story, "When I first met your son he was a man who's power rivaled the very Gods that I had been worshipping all of my life. I found myself drawn to him in a way that as an Amazon should not have been possible. Even if I had no experience in such matters, I could sense he was drawn to me in the same way. When the danger we faced had finally passed Clark tried to come nearer to were I was standing, but I ran away."

In shock Martha exclaimed, "Wonder Woman running away, I don't believe it."

Diana smiled and told her host, "Believe it you can, I acted just like a shy school girl being chased in the school yard for the first time by a boy."

Her Hostess asked, "Why did you run Diana?"

She answered, "I could barley speak English at the time, also I was new to the outside world and almost totally ignorant when it comes to relationships between men and women."

"Welcome to the club," Martha replied.

Now it was Diana's who was confused as she asked Clark's mother, "After all the years you have shared your life with your husband. Are you trying to tell me you don't yet know the answers?"

Martha replied, "Answers! I don't even know the questions."

Seeing Diana's look of confusion Martha went on to explain, "I have close to fifty years experience sharing my life with the same man. From this I have managed to collect at best a few insights, but no one has all the answers Diana."

Martha then went on to explain, "When relationships go bad between men and women the world around them can turn to poison. No matter how much you once loved or even if you still love one another. This is the pain and the danger you risk as you enter into any loving relationship. But when love does work out you discover the rewards are worth any risk."

Wonder Woman sat there on the bed next to Martha trying to understand what Martha had just shared with her.

While Diana was lost deep in her own thoughts, Clark's mother thought it was the proper moment to lighten the mood by asking the Amazon Princess, "By the way Diana, did that son of mine ever manage to catch you?"

"In time and in his own way," Diana admitted with a grin.

"Care to explain?" Martha asked.

Diana told her, "I was living and working in Boston at the time and I had a friend named Minde Church. She was in public relations then. One day I asked her if she knew a way she could get in touch with Superman. She thought she knew a reporter from the daily planet who might be close to the Man of Steel. The reporter turned out to be one Clark Kent. As I waited in the office She got in touch with your son over the phone. In fact when Clark found out I was in the office with Minde he told her that superman just came into the office and wished to talk to me."

"We talked, and made arrangements to meet for the want of a better word, a first date. It was with a joy filled heart that I took to the sky and soared happily out over the city of Boston. I found out later that your son was also thinking of me. In fact we were both having some very interesting dreams about one another."

"Minde was delighted in all this it was a publicist dream come true. She got back on the phone with your son and tried to get Clark to help her exploit the meeting between Wonder Woman and Superman. Your son played dumb and soon hung up on her, but that didn’t stop Minde from pushing her agenda."

Martha asked, "I had always wondered were all those stories in the national media came from at the time?"

"So you were following the news reports," Diana replied.

"Naturally, after all he is my only child."

Diana nodded her head to show she understood and went on with her story, "Minde and Mr. Kent arranged our first meeting."

"Don't you mean date," asked Martha?

Wonder Woman began to blush as she answered, "Yes, for the lack of a better word, you could call it a first date. As soon as we met your son gave me a very passionate kiss," She added.

"Did you slap his face?" asked Martha.

"Should I have?" Diana asked right back.

Martha told her, "It would have been the appropriate and proper response to my son's rather rude behavior."

"Even if I enjoyed it?" asked Wonder Woman with a shy smile.

Martha smiled and told her guest a secret, "Especially if you enjoyed it."

When both Wonder Woman and Martha Kent finished sharing a short laugh together, Diana went on with her story, "When I pulled back he did happen to apologized for his behavior."

With that out of the way the both of us laughed it off as we settled down for a most enjoyable first date," she then added. "Or it would have been if I hadn't been called away to face a crisis on Mt. Olympus," explained Diana

"Your son as was his nature insisted on coming along to help. It was then that I first was introduced to true evil in the form of Darkseid."

"To make a long story short Clark and I were able to over come his evil plans together, but that was not the end of the story. When it was all over Clark's attitude about me seem to change suddenly, it was if someone had turned off a light switch."

"He swore that we would all ways be friends but my life was too strange for him, that he was, and I quote, 'Just a farm boy from Kansas!' at the time I accepted what he had to say."

Martha told Diana, "That doesn't sound anything like my son."

Wonder Woman told her, "At the time I had no way of knowing that Martha. But here and now and after ten years of facing death with your son I have come to agree with you."

Intrigued Martha asked, "What do you think could have happened to my son to change his attitude about you so?"

Diana answered by saying, "I can not be totally sure. But I have come to believe that we were both subtly influenced by some one or some group who did not want to see your son and myself continue with our relationship."

Martha asked, "Do you have any idea who might have done this thing to you both?"

"Only suspicions," Diana answered. "Some day I will follow those same suspicions back home to Paradise Island and if I must to the very gates Of Mt. Olympus itself as well."

Martha asked, "You don't mean you suspect?"

"I don't know who to suspect," answered Wonder Woman as she cut her off. "I only know when I do begin to look, I will only be sure of one thing and that being I won't like the answers when I do find them."

Martha asked, "If all of this started almost ten years ago what has happened recently to cause you all of this pain?"

Sitting there as she was, next to Clark's mother, Diana was silently debating with herself wither she should share with this kind woman all that she knew.

Diana was not sure she had the right to burden this kind woman with the painful knowledge she herself shared with her son.

Wonder Woman thought to herself, 'What right do I have to complicate her life and the life of her husband just to ease my burden?'

Martha Kent mistook Diana's silent contemplation as a reluctance to speak to her about personal problems. "Perhaps you would prefer sharing your story with someone else?" Martha asked.

"Maybe a friend, or one of your sisters? Then again you could always go to your mother and…"

"NO NEVER!" Diana cut her off. "I would never go to my mother with this, she would never, could never understand."

Martha Kent was shocked at the emotional outburst from the Amazon princess.

Diana was silent for a moment before she admitted, "NO Martha, the real truth of the matter is my mother would never allow herself to understand."

Clark's mother asked, "Don't you think your mother deserves more credit than that Diana?"

Her only reply was, "There are other issues here that you have no way of knowing about Martha."

"Oh I don't know about that," Martha replied. "You will often be surprised what people are capable of doing when you give them half a chance. Most of all a mother who loves her child, especially the love between a mother and a daughter."

Diana sadly replied, "That's because you don't know my mother Martha."

The Amazon Princess then went on to add, "It is the very love I have for my mother and the love she has for me that prevents me as her daughter from going to her with my burden. Your son knows this and the reasons why I can not go to my own mother for help in this matter and that is why I think he has guided me here. To the two people most responsible for making him what he is today."

Martha was silent for a moment before she asked, "May I ask you what those reasons are Diana?"

For an answer Wonder Woman pulled back the long sleeves of Clark's old football jersey and held up her hands before saying, "It's because of these bracelets that I wear and most important of all what they symbolize."

Martha replied, "I thought they were weapons, as well as decorative parts of your Wonder Woman costume

Diana took Martha by the hand and said, "They are much more than that. They represent the very soul of an Amazon and the duty as sisters we owe to one another. They also serve as visible reminders of the shame each of us carries in our hearts and the stain on our souls."

Diana went on to explain, "The race of immortal Amazons were crafted from the dust and the clay of the earth by the hands of the Gods. But even the Gods themselves could not create a soul."

Continuing Diana said, "So when the breath of life was given to my mother and sisters it was in the form of the souls of women who were taken before their times, often because of the cruelty of man and all to often at the very hands of men."

"Then one day many years before I took my first life's breath a stranger entered into the lives of my mother and her Amazon subjects. He was the legendary Hercules, the son of Zeus himself."

"He and his men were welcomed and offered the hospitality of the sisterhood. Which by ancient laws of hospitality was the custom of the time," explained Diana.

"Time past and in it's wake my mother fell in love with the son of Zeus. "In return through his lies and deceit and promises of love, he and his men showed their gratitude when they chained and enslaved my people. My own mother was then chained like some animal, physically and emotionally abused."

Here Diana paused in her story searching for the strength to describe what else had befallen her mother. She found that strength in the arms of Clark's mother as she held the Amazon close to her by holding the Amazon close to her by putting her arms around Diana's own broad shoulders.

Wonder Woman took a deep breath and went on to say, "That was not the only thing my mother and her subjects were forced to endure."

Clark's mother held Diana close to her and said, "I understand."

Continuing on with her story Diana said, "It was only with the help of Athena and Artemis that the Amazons were able to break free and slaughter most of the Greeks and drive the invaders from our shores. As punishment for their folly the Amazons were cursed with immortality and charged with guarding the entrance to Tartarus located on the island of Themyscira."

"As Amazons we have kept the slave bracelets on to act as a reminder to what happened and as a symbol to remind us of the oath each of us makes, Never trust in man, never to allow ourselves to be enslaved by men and never more to allow ourselves to be dominated by men ever again. Very few outsiders know of this. Your son knows it and now you know of it it," Diana explained to Clark's mother.

When Diana finished with her explanation Martha Kent sat on the bed next to her in complete silence. Letting what she just was privy to sink in.

After a few moments she spoke up, "Perhaps if your mother were to meet Clark and talk to him she would know that all men are not the cruel monsters she has come to believe?"

"Getting to know your son Martha was never the problem," Diana replied. "My mother all ready knows Clark and there is not a man that she respects more, or trusts more or even more importantly owes more to."

"Owe?" asked Martha

"To understand that," said Diana "I must tell you something first."

"There is one more secret about my bracelets that no outsider knows save one," She said as she held up one finger.

"My son, is that one person isn't he?" Martha asked.

Wonder Woman nodded her head yes, than told her, "He swore an oath to keep our secret and has always done so. He has never shared this secret with anyone. Not his mother, not his father, not even with the woman he loves most in the world."

"But I am now going to share with you just what this secret is Martha. So you can understand why my mother respects and trusts your son. Why she holds him in such high regard and even a great deal of affection.

"But I want you to remember Martha that after I tell you my story. I still believe that if I would go to her with this problem I have because of my feelings for your son. She would consider it the final act of betrayal. No matter how much my mother likes and respects Clark.

Diana stood up and began to nervously pace the floor in front of Martha as she sat on her son's childhood bed. Martha knew her guest's frustration would not only continue but would increase until the only way Diana could ever hope to release it would be by her willingness to confide in her.

Suddenly just as Martha had expected, Diana did stop her pacing and said, "I first need to tell you the story of how my mother, Queen Hippolyta first came to meet your son and the reasons why she has come to hold him in such high regard and even with a great deal of affection. You will also learn the reason why both mother and her daughter and even my Amazon sisters have come to owe your son so very much."

Pausing for a moment Diana searched for just the right words before she continued on with her story. After taking a deep breath princess Diana told her, "What I am about to reveal to you is a secret no outsider knows except for your son. You are also about to learn just why my mother and myself, as well as the whole Amazon sisterhood owes your son."

"Even after all that and no matter how much my mother likes and respects your son. At the end of my tale, you will know why I still believe that my mother would never and could never bring herself to accept the idea of me sharing my life with your son."

"Because he is married to Lois?" Martha asked.

"NO! not even if he was free and single," Diana replied.

Pausing for a moment Wonder Women suddenly stopped her pacing and pulled out the wooden chair from beneath Clark's old writing desk. She placed it in front of her host facing backwards and sat down on it as if she was straddling a horse. Diana then leaned forward as she rested her forearms on top of the straight back of the wooden chair.

As Diana sat there in such a overtly masculine manner Martha began to smile at the memory of all the times she had scolded her own son for sitting in just the same way as Diana now sat. Even with all of Diana's obvious femininity, grace, and regal bearing.

At that moment with her hair pulled back into a pony tail and wearing her son's old football jersey for a night gown. She seemed at this moment more like a farmer's teenage daughter than a ageless Amazon warrior.

It was the sound of Diana's voice that brought Martha back from her own pleasant musing.

"Any women, or man for that matter, who has lived as long as my mother. Could not go through such a full and event filled life with out making her share of enemies," Wonder Woman explained.

"Amazons have always believed a women's greatness is measured by how great her are. My mother has none but the truly great as her enemies," replied the Amazon princess with more than her share of pride in her mother.

"But the greatest with out a doubt, of all my mother's enemies is Circe."

"Circe the witch?" asked Martha. For an answer Diana nodded her head in the affirmative.

Wishing to be sure Clark's mother reiterated her question, "The Circe from Homer's Odyssey the women who turned Ulysses crew into swine?"

"The one and the same," affirmed Wonder Women.

"I thought she was a just myth?" Martha asked.

"Your myth, is my history," Diana answered with a smile. "Or perhaps you are about to tell me that you don't believe in Amazons either?" she asked with a grin.

"I believe in Amazons as much as I believe an alien space ship could ever land in a Kansas corn field," replied Martha.

"TOUCHÉ!," Diana exclaimed, as she nodded her head out of respect.

It was then both women broke out in quite laughter. Each trying her best not to make to much noise less it awaken Clark's father.

After both Diana and Martha caught their collective, breath Martha smiled than asked, "So what is the this terrible secret that no outsider knows except my son?"

Before Wonder Women could speak Clark's mother had abruptly wiped away her own grin when she saw the look of pain and distress which suddenly appeared on the face of her guest. Before the Amazon could begin to tell her story Martha was already trying to apologize for causing the look of anguish that suddenly appeared on Diana's face.

She told, "I'm sorry Diana, I didn't know my questions would bring you this much pain."

Shacking her head Wonder Women gave Clark's mother a sweet little smile and whispered, "You didn't do anything to hurt me Martha. What you see written on my face are the guilty memories of the part I played in the story I am about to share with you and the terrible things I did in it."

Martha reached out and took the strong hands of the Amazon princess into her own. She did this both to comfort her and as an attempt to try and share the pain of Diana's sad memories. How long they sat there together, simply holding hands neither one of them could be sure.

It was Clark's mother who broke the mood by telling Wonder Women, "You don't have to tell me any thing Diana, if it hurts you this much."

"I have come finally to admit to myself Martha, that I in fact have come to you for help. Your son knew all to well that I could never bring myself to go to my own mother for such advise let alone help. That is why he guided me to you, so I might find the help I need from the two people he could always turn to as he grew into a man."

She than added, "But If you are to help me then you must know the whole story so you might comprehend the problems I face and why you may well be my last hope for the peace of my soul."

Diana took a deep breath and began her account, "My story begins almost six years ago, Clark and I had already gone our separate ways some years earlier. At he time I was making my way in Boston as my nations ambassador to the outside world, all the while trying my best to bring some sanity to an insane world."

"Clark good to his word had remained my closest friend but only a friend, or at least that is what I always told him and more importantly myself. In fact I did such a fine job of hiding the truth from myself even I came to believe it."

"Continuing with her narrative Diana said, "Your son on the other hand was doing a much better job than I did with the more personal side of his life. He was fortunate enough to find the answers he searched for in the arms of Lois Lane. It was at this time in his life that he won the heart of Lois not as Superman but in the only way that would matter to him, he did it as Clark Kent."

"It was right around this time that Clark revealed to the women he loved the other side of his life. Your son once confided in me, that he feared once Lois found out the truth about him she would end their relationship. Much to her credit the great love she had for your son and her own moral courage gave her the strength to deal with the truth. Instead of this ending their relationship Lois and Clark began to make their wedding plans. It was right around then when my story started."

As Diana paused in her story to catch her breath Martha took the opportunity to ask her, "How did it make you feel when you heard about their engagement?"

"I can say in all honesty that I was happy for them both, but most of all I was happy for your son," Diana answered.

"Was it because of your friendship for him that made you feel that way?" she asked.

"Naturally," Diana said. "Being among the few people who shared in your son's secret I knew better than almost anyone just how much the idea of a wife and perhaps some day a family had always meant to him."

"I prayed to my own Gods for their happiness but as they had so often done in the past, they once again failed me. For looming before them was the terrible trails and tribulations that would test them both. Including the one known to all as the terror known as Doomsday."

It was then Martha's turn to wince in pain at the memory of her son's apparent death and resurrection.

It was if Diana had a sudden flash back, as she said almost in a whisper, "It was at your son's funeral that I cried for the first time in my life."

Suddenly Diana shook her head as if she was attempting to rid her self of the pain filled memory. Failing in that, she instead continued to share her story with Clark's mother as she said," But that and other tragedies and triumphs still lay in the future. It was at this time that I fell into the hand's of my mothers greatest enemy."

Martha asked, "May I ask, just how you let that happen?"

"It was a combination of things," answered Wonder Women. "I was both to trusting and naive. Circe was her usual master of deceit and treachery and of course my own stupidity and foolishness must have been a big help to her."

Diana then told Martha, "What ever the reason I soon found myself unconscious on the dirty floor of a cell especially built for me some were on the outskirts of Boston. Wishing to inflict as much pain on my mother as possible, Circe decided the best way to torment my mother was to share with her the nature of my predicament."

Wonder Woman turned to look into the face of Martha Kent for the strength she needed before she could go on with her story. She found it in Martha's compassionate nature.

"Most of all she wanted, no needed to tell my mother in person of my capture and torture. Most of all she had a perverse need to see in person the look of anguish on my mother's face when she informed her my capture."

"Circe had been careful to strip me of my bracelets before she left me alone. She did this for two reasons, the first was as proof to show my mother that I was in fact her helpless captive."

"As for the second reason," Diana continued. "Circe held on to the mistaken belief that they were the source of my strength and with out them I would be helpless."

Martha Kent watched as Diana's eyes narrowed in hate as she said, "Circe could not be further from the truth, the real truth, the truth no outsider knows except for your son and now you, is that I need those bracelets to control my own berserker rage. With out them I have almost no control of myself.

Wonder Woman bowed her head in shame as she continued, "I literally become a living engine of destruction. With out the influence of my bracelets I become stronger more violent. The only song I hear is the song of the warrior. My only reaction is to set free my own warrior's bloodlust and in the end that is all I cared about."

{For the whole story check out the Wonder Woman story in sensation comics spring 1941}

Wonder Women paused for a moment to catch her breath before continuing, "Not even Circe knew of this, no one outside the sisterhood ever has."

She then added, "Can you imagine what would happen if the world at large ever found out what I was capable of becoming?" "The fear and paranoia this knowledge would produce would destroy any hope of I or my sisters being accepted by the outside world."

"I could never hope to accomplish my mission of bringing peace to the world. Not to mention what our enemies might do to us if this knowledge ever became known. After all thanks to the lies passed on by Hercules and the other Greeks we Amazons already suffer from a some what flawed and soiled reputation."

"This is what my son has been keeping secret all these years?" asked Martha.

"Yes, that and other things besides," answered Diana.

"If this is such a big secret?" asked Martha? "How did my son come to know of it?"

With a sly smile Martha added, "Especially since he is after all a man and as you yourself have told me one of the reasons you and the rest of your sisters wear those things on your wrists are to remind each of you of the oath you take never to trust in the word of man?"

Diana answered, "To learn that you will have to hear the rest of my story and of my shame and most important of all the part your son played in it."

Wonder Women slumped forward in her chair with her eyes closed. Clark's mother could see Diana was torn between the need to relate her story and the all to human desire to conceal both a shameful and painful memory.

Martha stood up from the bed and gently pulled Diana up with her. It was just then that Martha realized for the first time just how tall the Amazon truly was. The top of her own head barley reached Diana's chin.

Even with her short stature Wonder Women could still sense the inner strength of the women who was holding her. The ability to endure hard ship and sorrow and the ability to temper that strength of character with gentleness and kindness. Martha then led Diana back to the bed and gently forced her to sit down next to her.

All the while she used her arm around the thin waist of the Amazon as an anchor that Diana in turn used to bolster and reassure her own courage. It was this gift from Clark's mother that allowed her to go on with her story.

"As I told you before," remarked Diana. "Circe wanted to be there to see my mother suffer in person. Using her black arts she transported herself to the Royal court on Themyscira. She appeared at the foot of my mother's throne in the proverbial puff of smoke that some who were there that day swore smelled of brimstone. Holding my bracelets aloft to make sure that all of those who were gathered at royal court could see them. When she was sure everyone saw what she was holding she threw my bracelets at my mother's feet in triumph."

"She laughed as she told my mother of my plight, even as I lay unconscious back in my lonely cell. She waited with anticipation for my mother's cry of anguish and hoped she would soon hear the queen of the Amazons begging for the life of her only child. My sister's made ready to spring to the attack but a simple gesture from my mother held them back. Slowly my mother the queen walked down from her throne towards Circe. Some of my sisters who were there that day told me later that they saw the witch actually lick her lips with anticipation at my mother's impending humiliation."

"What she got wasn't the response she planed on. Instead much to her surprise and most of all her horror my mother attacked her viciously and with out mercy. Coward that she was Circe used her arcane arts to flee from my mother's righteous wrath."

"What did your mother do then?" asked Martha Kent.

"When she was gone my mother picked up my bracelets and retired to her own quarters having first commanded that Magalla the most powerful of the Amazon mystics be sent to her. Soon as my mother was just finished changing into her own traveling clothes Magalla arrived. Immediately she was informed by my mother that she needed to send help to me so my bracelets could be replaced before I woke up and went on a rampage."

"Magalla in turn explained to my mother that her own abilities were limited as compared to Circe's and she would only be able to transport one person to my side. That one person in fact would have to be my mother because of the ties of love that bind mother and daughter together. The royal council immediately sprang up as one to denounce the plan saying it would be to dangerous if my mother arrived to late."

"What do you mean by to late?" interrupted Martha.

"You will know why in a moment," answered Diana.

Wonder Women stopped for moment to gather her thoughts and actually said, "Now were was I?"

"Are yes, none of that mattered to my mother lease of all the possible danger to herself. All she knew was that her child needed her, nothing else mattered. Ignoring the advice and pleas of her own council my mother ordered Magalla to perform the ceremony. A few moments later she had arrived at my side. But it was already to late. I had already broken out of my cell and had began my rampaging march towards Boston."

"My mother caught up with me and did her best to reason with my deranged mind. But it was no use, I was to far gone caught as I was in my warrior's madness and blood lust. To my mother I was still just her daughter, her child that was at the moment in desperate need of her help and that and only that was the only thing that mattered to her."

"As for me, the only thing my crazed mind saw was an enemy to be crushed. So as my mother talked I attacked. We fought, my mother doing her best to subdue me long enough to replace my bracelets and as for me I was doing my best to kill her."

Clark's mother could feel Wonder Women began to shake with her pent up emotions as she held the Amazon close to her. Martha remained silent, patiently waiting for Diana to once gather the strength she needed to go on with her story.

She didn't have to wait very long as Diana said, "My mother is a most formidable women Martha, a warrior of the highest class and achievement. An Amazon that I and the rest of my sisters try our best to emulate. She she has all my strength and even surpasses my skill in the use of weapons and unarmed combat. But I have been granted certain gifts by my Olympian Gods that she herself has been denied."

Here Diana paused a moment to take a deep breath before she continued on with her story, "Some of those gifts that I have been blessed with and my mother lacks are the power of flight, the speed of Mercury and a few others." But my single biggest advantage I had over my mother in our sad confrontation is the love she has for me. When we fought she fought as a mother trying her best to subdue a sick child with out injuring her. I on the other hand suffered from no such handicap. Lost as I was in my madness I just wanted her dead."

When Wonder Women said the word dead Martha watched Diana's face contort as if she just received a physical blow.

Regaining her composure Diana took a deep breath then went on, "After a long battle that lasted close to an hour it was at last mercifully all over. My own mother lay at my feet almost beaten to death at the hand's of her own child. She had a broken arm and leg."

"Her ribs on her left side were all broken were I kicked her over and over. One of her broken ribs had punctured a lung and she was bleeding internally. Not to mention numerous cuts, bruises and of course a concussion."

"OH my God Diana!," exclaimed Martha. "Your own mother how could you?"

Her voice trembled as Diana answered, "Don't you think I asked that same question every day of my life Martha? If I was stronger, braver a truer Amazon. Perhaps if I was just a better daughter I would have some how found the strength to resist the madness none of this would have happened. But I just couldn't stop myself no matter how hard I tried to quench the fires that raged inside me."

"But do you want to know the worst part of all?" Diana asked.

Clark's mother silently nodded her gray hair covered head yes.

"To this day and all of the many centuries that may yet loom before me I will be for ever cursed to remember every terrible awful thing I did to my mother that day."

Taking Diana into her arms Martha hugged her tightly and looking into the face of the Amazon princess said, "You poor poor girl you can't even cry about it can you?"

"I have no tears to wash away the pain," Diana replied.

"I see you have been talking to that son of mine," Martha replied with a small smile.

A shy smile and a simple nod of her head was all the answer Clark's mother needed from Wonder Women.

Brushing Diana's hair back from her face Martha asked, "Are you sure you want to continue with your story?"

For an answer Diana simply nodded her head yes and then went on telling her tale.

"My last feeble grasp on sanity allowed me to walk away and leave my poor mother alive but grievously injured. She was in agony when she finally came to her senses. But even as she suffered, still the only thought she had was that her little girl was in trouble and needed help."

"My mother is a proud women Martha. Just how proud, is almost impossible for me to convey to you or any one else who does not know her. For her to ask for help from any one is both hurtful and a blight on her personal honor as an Amazon and as our queen. To ask for help from a man, was for her inconceivable. More so especially with her own history and my peoples history with the male of the species."

Taking Martha's hand into her own Wonder Woman went on with her story, "But the love of her only child came first, above her life, her pride and even her honor. It was her love for me that gave her the will and the courage to crawl on her belly for half a mile to reach a pay phone. It was only the love of a mother for a daughter that had allowed her to swallow her pride and do the one thing she thought she would never do. Dial a certain number I had gave her to memorize in case of an emergency. A number which she swore she would never use."

"Clark," interrupted Martha.

"Yes it was your son's number at the Daily Planet," admitted Diana.

"I don't know which God or God's were smiling down on me that day. It must have been a kinder more generous one that I'm used to dealing with. Because the person who picked up the phone that day non other than Lois Lane. My mother used the code words I gave her and thank the Gods your son already had shared with his wife to be the knowledge and meaning of them. My mother barley finished telling Lois her Location when she collapsed back down to the street."

As Martha put her arm around Diana's broad shoulders Diana went on with her story, "She told me later she woke to find a very large man in a outlandish costume leaning over her with a worried look on his face. A simple glance with those wonderful eyes of your son told him of the broken bones and the internal damage.

He picked her up and my mother told me, even in her pain she had the sensation of floating on a cloud. Your son wanted to take her straight to the hospital, but my mother instead insisted that he had to find and help me first. Instead he told her that her injuries came first. My mother ordered him to put her down and commanded him to find me first. He refused and took to the Sky heading for Boston general."

"Seeing that her commands had no effect on him my mother did the one thing she had never did in her whole life, she begged. She begged him not as an Amazon, or as a warrior or even a queen. She begged him as a mother would to first find her poor, sick and deluded child. Touched by the pleas of a mother's love and fearful that her struggles might cause further harm to herself your son reluctantly agreed."

"Finding me was not that difficult, the two of them only had to follow the path of my destruction. In was in a section of condemned waterfront ware houses that were coming down to make way for the Boston tunnel was were they found me. My mother had told your son what had happened and of our secret so he would know what he would be dealing with."

Wonder woman stopped her story here and asked, "I hope you can appreciate just how hard and pain filled a thing that was for her to do?"

Martha replied, "Hearing the pain in your voice as you told your story, I could do nothing else but believe you."

Diana nodded her head in understanding and went on with her story, "I was in one of the ware houses when they caught up with me. Landing out side Clark placed my mother gently on the ground an did his best to make her as comfortable as possible."

"He came inside and began to talk to me. He walked in slowly with that special reassuring smile of his, all the while talking softly to me. I too was smiling as I walked up to him."

"You were smiling?" Martha asked in disbelief.

"In fact I was very happy at the time," said Diana.

"Happy?," asked Martha. "How could you be happy at a time like that?"

"The way my mind was working at the time I was truly happy, after all I just found my next victim. As soon as I was near enough I viciously attacked him. Even as I attacked him he kept talking to me all the while, doing nothing to defend himself. I started kicking and punching him besides using any object I could find as a weapon to use as a weapon."

"Even as I attacked him he did nothing but beg me to clam down. I know now he was praying that I would come to my senses or at worst exhaust myself. It was simply never going to happen. The more I hit him the worst my rage grew. I was becoming frustrated which only added to my anger."

"My hands and feet were becoming injured from the blows I was raining down on him. I punched, kicked and threw your son through walls and still he did nothing to defend himself. My only thought was one of satisfaction as I began to see the first signs of damage I was starting to inflict on him."

The bruised and bleeding face were I kicked him, his grunts of pain were at the time music to my ears as I kept on beating him. But my satisfaction soon turned to total rage, when I had discovered, that no matter what I did he just would not stay down no matter how much damage I was causing him. He always managed to drag himself back to his feet"

"How much longer this terrible dance would have continued I have no way of knowing. It was my own mother who finally ended this terrible farce. To this day I have no idea how she managed to drag her poor broken body into were your son and I were having our confrontation."

"Neither did I know for how long my mother was watching the two of us play out our little scenario. But it must have been long enough for my mother to see what Clark was attempting to do. Even more importantly long enough to realize what ever plan he had in mind to stop my rampage was just not going to work."

"It was then my mother yelled out to your son, "HIT HER! if you love her please hit her."

"Soon as my mother cried out I let out a scream of rage started to go for her only to be stopped when Clark hit me in the stomach with his fist. I went down to my knees, unable to breath. But even in my distress I still managed to pull your son down with me. We struggled together on our knees as he held me tightly to his chest, as if we were in a lover's embrace."

"All the while he was pleading with me to stop, but I paid no attention. I screamed and cursed at him, I pulled his hair and bit his shoulder and had broken a tooth for my trouble."

"I told him I was going to kill his parents, his friends and his precious Lois and every one else he ever loved or even cared about. Even as I continued to struggle and fight with him, my mother once again called out to him, 'Please Superman for the love of any God you might believe in hit her. It's the only way you will be able to save her. It was then and only then he seized me by the throat with one hand and reared back with his fist."

Here Wonder Women stopped for a moment to catch her breath and ask a question of Martha.

"Do you want to know what my most painful memory of that fight with your son was?"

Martha nodded her head silently and sorrowfully yes.

"It wasn't the grip he had around my throat or the sight of his huge fist that was about to come crashing into my face. My most vivid memory of all, were the tears in his eyes as his fist crashed into my jaw. It was those tears welling up in his eyes and running down his face which were the last things I saw as the world went suddenly totally dark all around me."

"When I came to my bracelets were back on my wrists and I was in the arms of my mother. Clark was holding the both of us up as the three of us were on our knees on the dirty floor of that warehouse. Once again I found that I was in control of myself. The only real damage I had suffered was the pain in my jaw, the ringing in my ears and the awful memories of what I had done."

Diana then added, "Memories that hurt more than any physical blow ever could. Clark kept apologizing for hitting me until my mother yelled at him to stop apologizing and instead told him that he was the one that saved the both of us."

"As I held my mother's broken body in my arms it was Clark who said, 'We have to get the both of you to the hospital now'."

"I told him I was all right, it was my mother I feared for. She had a punctured lung along with a broken arm and leg and more likely than not a concussion to go along with her numerous scraps cuts bruises and various broken bones."

"Clark put his large hand on my shoulder and told me, 'We have to get your mother to the hospital now!' I started to pick my mother up when she commanded me to stop.

'No hospital,' my mother said. 'We must never let the world know what happened here today.'

'That's all well and good you majesty,' your son said. But you are in serious need of medical treatment and you need it right now.'

My mother answered, 'I can get all the medical treatment I need under the purple healing ray in the temple of Apollo.'

He looked at me with a puzzled expression until I told him, "What my mother means, Is that we have the means to see to her recovery back on Paradise Island."

He asked, 'Were is your home Diana and how long would it take you to get there with your mother?'

"I was about to speak when I felt the still strong grip of my mother's one good arm. I looked down at her as her head rested in my lap."

She looked up at me and said, 'No Diana I forbid it, no outsider, most of all no man is permitted to know the location of Themyscira.'

"I looked down at my mother and told her, "I trust my friend more than I trust the Gods on Mt. Olympus mother."

She tried to protest once more but a coughing fit brought up some blood than trickled out of the corner of her mouth.

I became frantic at the sight and it spurred me to action, "The dimensional entrance is located in the Bermuda Triangle in the south Atlantic and as close as I can figure I could make it in a little over two hours."

Clark looked down at my mother and said, 'I am sorry for being blunt your majesty. But the only way your daughter would arrive would be with a corpse.'

"Mom we have to get you to the hospital now," I begged my her.

'No, she commanded. The peace and safety of our home comes first, the world can never know what happened here today and the reasons for it. No matter the cost we might have to pay.'

"I did not know what to do, my mother was dying in my arms and I could do nothing to save her because of my duty to our nation. I looked up into the face of your son in the hope he could do something, anything to help."

'I can get you both home in forty five minutes,' was what he told us both.

"My mother was about to object when Clark cut her off by saying, 'I will be back in ten minutes with some equipment for your mother's trip Diana. Either way it's a flight to your home or a flight to Boston General. I will not stand by and watch some one bleed to death. Even if it is the wish of the Amazon queen.'

"With all that said Clark steeped back then rocketed through the ceiling on his errand. As soon as he left us my mother said, 'How dare he speak to me like that. The Queen of the Amazon's takes orders from no man.'"

"I could see once more the old fire in the eyes of my mother but another spasm of coughing soon quench it."

"I wiped the blood from her mouth with my hand and told her, 'My friend is not trying to give you orders mama. He cares about people, so much in fact that he can not stand idly by and watch some one die. If you don't let him take us home, he will take you to the nearest hospital and I think there is no way I could prevent him from doing so, even if I wanted to."

'There is the law Diana,' my mother said. 'Even the queen and the heir to the Amazon throne must obey the law,' she then added. I leaned over and kissed her cheek and as I brushed the hair from her face I asked her, "If the law forbidding men on Paradise Island is so important to you that you are willing to die for it."

"Then I want you to stop thinking about the law for one moment and instead think about me. Or is the idea of your own child forced to live the rest of her life with the knowledge that she is the one responsible killing her own mother is acceptable to you?"

"She pulled my head down to her face with her one good arm and kissed me. Trying her best to comfort me even after what I had did to her," explained Wonder Woman.

"Can you think of a better definition for a mother than that Diana?" Martha asked.

Wonder Women was silent for a moment thinking about what Clark's mother had just said. Then she continued with her own story, "For a moment I thought I might have even seen a tear in her eye but I must have been wrong. We waited there together for minutes that seemed to me like hours, all the while I could feel my mother's life ebbing away. After some twelve minutes Clark came streaking back into the warehouse carrying a large metal case."

"He placed it on the floor of and opened it. As he knelled down at my mother's feet he reached inside and came out with two temporary casts."

"Seeing the look of curiosity on my mother's face he explained, 'I Just came back from Loring air force base in Main. They fly B- 52's and SR-71 spy planes out of there. When I arrived the commanding officer was kind enough to let me get in touch with the President. He gave orders for the general in charge to let me have anything I might need.'"

"My mother then gave your son a sudden look of worry which soon passed when Clark added, 'With no questions asked?'" "I could see my mother physically relax at the news. He reached back inside and came out with a small vile and a disposable syringe."

"My mother squeezed my hand and shook her head. That will not be necessary Superman," I told him.

"'It's going to hurt,' Clark warned as he looked at my mother."

'Pain and I are old friends Superman,' My mother told him.

He threw the vial and the syringe on the floor a sudden blast of radiant heat from his eyes and destroyed them both to prevent them falling into the wrong hands. When he had finished destroying the drugs he told my mother, 'Your daughter calls me Clark when we are alone.'

My mother looked up at me with a questioning look. I told her, "That is the name his mother here on earth gave him, it was her maiden name."

'The full name is Clark Kent,' he said.

He then added, 'Since it seems this is the day for sharing secrets. It only seems right and fair if you share in one of mine.'

'Then your the man at the paper my daughter instructed to get in touch with if ever there was an emergency?' my mother asked.

'The one and the same your majesty,' he answered with a worried look on his face.

'And the women who answered the phone?' my mother asked.

"That was Lois Lane the love of his life, who is soon to be his wife," I answered.

"A strange look came over my mother's face. Almost as if she was guilty about something but it soon passed. It was then Clark said, 'Hold you mother Diana, I'm going to set her leg.'

"She squeezed my hand and I could her my mother grinding her teeth together as Clark manipulated the bones back in place. But she made no sound to betray her suffering or show her pain and when it was over the only sound that came from her was the sound of her breath as it passed her clinched teeth."

"When he finished your son checked my mother's leg once again with his X-ray vision and then told my mother it was set. He put the temporary cast on and then repeated the whole painful procedure over again with her arm. When he was finished with her arm he once more went into his trunk and came out with a high altitude pressure suit."

"Together Clark and I got my mother into the suit as gently as possible. As we worked Clark explained to my mother, 'This suit is the same one the pilot's of the SR-71 wear on their missions. They fly at the edge of space, we will also. That is how I plan on getting you back home so quickly. By taking you and Diana on a sub-orbital flight half way around the world. I know Diana will be able to survive a short trip through space but I don't think you can. At least not now in your present condition. So we have the suit and as a bonus the pressurized oxygen will help you to breath.'"

"With the helmet on my mother did start breathing easier. Clark told me to tie my unbreakable lasso around his chest so my mother and I could have a good hand hold. Mother made a gesture to open her visor which we did after we shut off her air supply. She looked at Clark and told him, 'If you tie yourself up like that with my daughter's lasso you will be giving control of yourself to her.'

He just smiled and said, 'If you can't trust Wonder Women who can you trust?'

My mother stroked his face with her gloved hand, turned to me and said, 'Your right my daughter he is a very special man.'

"Your boy immediately began to blush but quickly changed the subject by describing our up coming flight. He held the palms of his hands together and told us both, 'The first half of our trip is fairly easy the re-entry will be difficult. When we enter the earth's atmosphere I will come in with my back facing the earth I will act as the heat shield. You Diana will be on top of your mother protecting her with your body as well.'"

"He waited a moment then asked, 'Are there any questions?'

"When none came he closed up my mother's helmet turned her oxygen supply back on and as he held on to the both of us as he once more took to the sky and headed out over the Atlantic. Higher and faster we went, as I watch as the blue water's of the ocean fell away below us."

"Suddenly the world was no more than a blue hazy ball below me while above and around me. I saw more stars than I had have ever seen before. I looked down and saw the brown and green of the east coast give way to the blue of the south Atlantic it was then we started to descend."

"Clark as he said he would turned his back and bore the brunt of the searing heat. We began to slow and some were over Bermuda we once more started to fly in level flight. I pointed in the right direction and started to untie my self and my mother from Clark. We were over the water when I pointed straight down and I saw Clark staring, using all of his many visual senses that he possessed. It was then that I knew he could see past the barricade set there by the Gods and into my home land. We continued to spiral down passing through the mystic gate of time and space till Themyscira suddenly appeared below us in all her glory."

"I was leading the way by then when I happened to look in back of me and saw Clark taking the helmet off my mother. Seeing my look of concern he called to me, 'She' all right her tanks are empty that's all.' The three of us landed in my mother's private garden located on the grounds of the royal palace. I told Clark to wait there with my mother as I went to make sure all was ready at the temple of Apollo for my mother's arrival."

Diana then explained, "What happened next began while I was in the temple of Apollo, making arrangements for my mother's arrival. I only learned of the events I am about to share with you Martha from second or even third hand sources."

Diana then added, "Some of what happened to your son I learned from my mother and most of the rest came from my sisters, all most none of it came from your son. From what I could piece together, Clark was standing in the garden with my mother in his arms, waiting for my return."

"While I was gone my mother woke up in your son's arms, the first word out of her mouth was my name as she called out, 'Diana?' as she began to look around for me."

"Clark told my mother, 'Your daughter went to the temple of healing to make all the arrangements for your medical treatment, your majesty.'"

"I was told later that it was then that my mother kissed his cheek and told him, 'You are very special Superman.'"

"With a warm smile he reminded her, 'I'm just an overgrown farm boy from Kansas your majesty and my friends call me Clark. Or you can use the other name your daughter always uses, Kal'"

"Kal?" my mother asked.

"My Kryptonian name, your majesty."

"It was then my mother said, 'I'm sorry.'

'For what?' he asked.

'For not having enough faith in my daughter, for not trusting in you. But most of all for allowing the pain of the past to justify my own fears for the present and even more so for the future.'"

Martha then interrupted by asking, "What did your mother mean by that?"

"I never did find out," answered Wonder Woman. "For it was then that a member of the royal guard who was at that same moment making her rounds and who by the way was the guard that told me the story I just shared with you, saw the unbelievable. An accursed man had dared profane the sacred soil of Themyscira with the imprint of his foot. If that was not bad enough this same accursed male had injured and captured her beloved queen."

"How did she get that crazy idea?" asked an excited Martha Kent?

Diana shrugged her shoulders and tried explain, "It seemed perfectly logical to my sister at the time. All she saw was that a man for the first time in thousands of years was on our home Island and he was holding our queen captive. That's all she saw and that was all the rest of the Royal Guard saw when they answered her call to arms."

Wonder Woman went on with her story, "Ten of my mother's finest warriors rushed to the royal garden to answer the call to duty to save their Queen. The warriors who responded were not just members of the Royal Guards. But were the elite members of my mother's own personal body guard. Every one of them was a member of a select group, the finest, bravest, strongest and most skilled warriors our sisterhood had to offer."

"Every single one of them in turn has sworn a blood oath to offer her life and die if need be to protect and defend her queen and in that garden every single one of them was prepared to fulfill her oath."

"With their weapons drawn they were ordered to form up in their attack formation by Phillipus my first teacher and captain of the guard. Each of those warriors heard the call of their warriors hearts and felt their blood as it began to pound in their brains."

"In the face of this potentially lethal threat your son turned and said, Diana then interrupted her own story by saying, "I want you to under stand Martha I have this on good authority and this is a direct quote."

"Go on," Martha said. Eager to hear what her son had to say to these most formidable of women.

Smiling Diana continued her tale, "In passable Greek Clark turned to them and said, 'Ladies is their some sort of problem you want to discuss?'"

Martha started to laugh and said after she managed to catch her breath, "Now that sounds more like my boy."

Smiling Wonder Woman went on with her story, "Living as we do in isolation for these past centuries, has caused many of my sisters to become more than a little arrogant of their own abilities and their superiority over men in general. This belief was strongest in the sisters of the Royal Guard and even more so in my mother's own elite personal body guard, who have come to accept the belief in the natural superiority of women as a divine truth."

"But on this particular day, they were all about to receive an education, with your son acting as their teacher."

Diana then went on to explain, "Three of my mother's less disciplined guards rushed forward to do battle. Your son, who was afraid that they might accidentally injure my mother in their enthusiasm to get at him. Prevent this by taking a deep breath and blowing them into the garden fountain to cool off."

"Four more of my sisters let fly with their javelins, Clark in turn quickly spun around to protect my mother and much to the horror of my sisters, they watched in shock as their weapons bounced harmlessly off his back. Then Phillipus raised her sword over her head in order to lead a charge, instead she was stunned to see it cut in half by a blast of your son's heat vision."

"A more enterprising member of he guard who had herd all the noise, quietly crept along the top of the garden wall behind Clark. With drawn dagger she tried leaping onto his back, but was caught in mid air by him with one hand. There he stood gently cradling my unconscious mother in one of his arms as he would a baby and in the other he held at arms length a snarling, fighting mad Amazon warrior spiting cursors at him."

Martha noticed the tinge of a smile on Diana lips as she told her story, "At first my trapped sister was content to concentrate on freeing herself from your son's grip on her armor. But failing in that she did the next best thing for her, which was to do her best to plunge her dagger into your son. In the mean time Phillipus ordered a second charge, but before her warriors could obey most of them were knocked down when Your son tossed the warrior he was holding aloft into their faces."

Martha noticed that Diana smile began to grow larger as she went on with her story.

"All of my sisters were now convinced that your son was a demon sent by Ares himself to steal their beloved Queen. Even this did not matter to them, only my mother's safe return did. As they got back to their feet and were just about to rush forward in what they all believed would be a mad suicidal charge."

"Clark on the other hand decided the best way for him to keep the peace was by surrendering. Then once in custody, wait for my return to explain his presence here on Paradise Island. With this in mind he told them, 'I know this looks bad ladies, but if you would be so kind as to allow me to peacefully surrender you will soon realize my being here like this is nothing more than a simple misunderstanding.'"

"Now that sound's more like my son," interrupted Martha Kent.

The Amazon princess grinned broadly as she nodded her head in understanding before she went on with her story, My sisters thought he was crazy, they couldn't understand why such a powerful invader would be talking like that. In response to Clark's plea the second in command shouted out, 'The only peace you will find here invader is the peace of the grave.'"

"Clark as always, had the answer to my sister's threat by saying, 'Listen ladies, if your not going to let me surrender. Then I will simply leave and find someone more reasonable I can surrender to.'"

"He accomplished this by using his power of flight to take to the air and simply hover some twelve feet above a very frustrated and angry group of Amazon warriors. Phillipus shouted up at him, 'Come down here and fight you coward,' as he hovered above their heads.

Clark looked down at her and said, 'NO! not unless you promise to allow me to surrender.'"

"She was about to send for more troops, only this time armed with heavy weapons. When all of my sisters who were gathered there were stopped in their tracks by a sound no one who was there ever expected to hear."

Diana paused here more for the effect more than any thing else.

Clark's mother asked, "Well what was it?"

"It was the sound of laughter Martha," Diana answered. "My mother's laughter, despite the pain she was in and all that she had suffered. The sight of her personal body guard being tossed around like the autumn leaves in a winter wind by your son was hilarious to her."

"But another coughing fit cut short her enjoyment of the moment, as the pain soon overwhelmed her. She asked your son to lower her back to the garden floor and then called Phillipus to her side."

"The captain of the royal guard rushed forward and fell to her knee with her head bowed. My mother told her loyal captain, 'Stand Phillipus.'"

"When she obeyed, my mother than told her, 'This man is a friend of your queen and your princess and is to be treated as such.'"

"With a look of bewilderment on her face Phillipus asked her, 'But my Queen, what of the law?' She was cut off by a simple gesture of my mother's hand as she said, 'All will be explained to you in time.' It was then that I arrived back from the temple of Apollo to bring my mother to be treated. When I arrived I saw the broken weapons and the disheveled guards and I knew at once that a battle had taken place."

"I was outraged that after all he had done for us Clark at been attacked and maybe even worst my mother had been put at risk. In my foolish anger I lashed out at poor Phillipus and made to strike, she who was my first teacher and my friend."

"Thank the Gods Clark was fast and strong enough to catch my hand and stopped me from doing something I would have regretted the rest of my life. For a moment I fought to break free until he said, 'Diana stop it they were just doing their duty.'"

"I knew right then and there that Clark was right and it was with a near overwhelming feeling of shame that I bent over to Phillipus as she knelt at my feet. Taking hold of my old teacher I took her into my arms and begged her to forgive me."

Martha told her guest, "You were under a lot of stress at the time dear." "That was the same thing both Clark and my mother told me," Wonder Women replied.

She then added, "But deep down I knew I should have known better."

Martha then told her, "The longer I sit here and listen to you Diana. The more I'm convinced you are more and more like my son."

She then added, "The both of you are your own worst critics."

As Diana was letting what Clark's mother just told her sink in she asked, "What happened to your mother?"

"With the treatment of the purple ray my mother was soon out of danger. She would need a few days of bed rest for a full recovery, which I was determined to make sure she got."

"What happened to Clark?" Martha asked.

"Before or after I had him arrested?" asked Diana.

"WHAT," Martha almost yelled in disbelief.

Diana went on to explain, "The royal council came to see me and ordered me to put your son under arrest for daring to violate the most sacred of our laws. Since I was in fact my mother's daughter and thus acting regent until she had recovered. I was compelled to obey the letter of the law for as long as it took my mother to recover enough of her own strength, so she herself could straighten this mess out."

"How did Clark take the news?" Martha asked.

"Actually very well, He knew the problems I was facing and tried his best to help me by agreeing to be my prisoner for the next forty eight hours. After which we both hoped my mother would have recovered enough to over rule the council."

"After we finished discussing the problem he then asked me were I was planing to lock him up? I told him since he was now my prisoner he should consider the whole of Paradise Island as his prison. He began to laugh and I joined him."

"I bet this so called Royal council didn't appreciate the humor," said Martha.

"Not for one moment," Diana agreed.

"Wishing to be near my mother I ordered a cot to be brought to her room so I could be near her when she woke up or if she needed anything. I then made the mistake of leaving orders with the guards not to be disturbed."

"Mistake?" asked Martha.

Diana explained, "That is in fact the main weakness of monarchy, some fool will always take you exactly at your word. So when I fell asleep next to my mother no one would dare came to wake me to tell me what was going on outside with your son."

"Because of this I was not aware until it was to late, that the council had waited until I was with my mother. Then as I slept along side my mother they issued the orders for your son to be chained and put under arrest."

"How did they ever manage to put my son in chains?" asked the mother of the man in question.

Diana just sat there next to her at first not offering an explanation. After a moment or two Martha answered her own question.

"He let them do it," she said.

Diana nodded her head in agreement.

She then went on with her story, "After he had finished exploring our Island home your son found himself sitting in the same oak tree were it was the custom for Amazons to come together to discuss and debate questions of philosophy."

"This custom fascinated your boy as did the topic, what form of government is best, a enlightened monarchy or a republic? This particular debate was being led by one of my best friends Cassandra. To be polite and out of curiosity she asked your son if he wanted to join them in debating the issue?"

"Some of the sister's objected to his presence and insisted that since he was only a man he had nothing to offer to any civilized discussion. Cassandra thought it might prove interesting or at least amusing to hear the opinion of a barbarian on the subject."

"Cassandra later told me that all of the sisters who were there that day were most impressed with the points your son made as he defended his belief of the natural superiority of democracy over monarchy. Especially when he quoted some people by the name of Washington, Adams, King, Jefferson and Lincoln. According to all of the reports I have heard it was a very spirited debate with almost everyone having a good time. A curious crowd gathered around that venerable oak to listen to the strange visitor from Patriarch's world."

"But trouble all to soon came to that ancient tree in the form of the royal council. They came with Phillipus in tow and hate in their hearts."

"Why did they hate my son so?" asked Martha.

Diana told her, "Most of the member's of the council were my mother's oldest friends they along with my mother were the ones that had suffered the most abuse at the hands of Hercules and his men."

"So they like to hold on to a grudge," observed Martha.

"Wouldn't you?" asked Diana.

Martha said nothing and from her silence Diana knew she wouldn't hold a grudge or let revenge take root in her heart. That is what made Clark's mother so special and because of her in turn her son.

When Martha didn't answer Wonder Women continued on with her story, "They ordered Phillipus to chain him and throw him in a cell. Phillipus refused saying that I had already in fact had arrested Clark and by my order was considered already incarcerated right were he was."

"They ordered her to chain the invader any way, once again she refused and they immediately dismissed her as captain of the royal guard. With that done they ordered the chains forged by the God Hephustus himself to be brought from the museum. These were the very same chains that were used to chain Prometheus I might add."

"Ten Amazons came caring the length of chain and manacles made of the finest Amazonian promethium steel. They slipped them on Clark's outstretched wrists and attached the chains of Hephustus to them. All the while Clark quietly sat there under that old oak tree offering no resistance."

"Cassandra protested this treatment of Clark by saying he was causing no harm and was surprisingly bright and well behaved for a man. The sisters who had participated in the debate agreed with her, even the ones who were debating against him agreed."

"Seems they were more than a little condescending to my son," Martha observed.

"You have to forgive my subjects Martha," pleaded Diana. "They did not know your son the way we do."

When Martha nodded her head in understanding Diana went on with her story, "Ten Amazons took hold of the chain to drag Clark off to a cell. But to their surprise and shock they discovered they could not budge him."

"As they struggled he just sat there under that tree with that smile of his. All the while holding on to the chains of Hephustus in his hands. When they failed to move him. Ten more of my sisters took their place, but they also failed to budge Clark were he sat under that tree."

"Cassandra latter told me, that soon a crowd began to gather from all over the island to witness the strange spectacle. Cat calls and good nature insults from the gathered crowd soon started to ring in the ears of the warriors on the chains. When they finally gave up, ten new Amazons took their place and after they failed, ten more, when these also failed others were eager to take their turn."

"Some of my sisters brought out wine in goat skins. Others brought out bread and goat cheese, sweet meats and pastries, an arrest was starting to turn into a party. More and more of my Amazons who gathered there demanded their right to test the man from the out side world. Friends began to search out other friends so they could form teams to try their luck at moving the immovable object."

"Laughter was heard as more insults were directed at the sisters pulling on the chains. One of my more daring or drunker sisters came up to Clark with a goblet and a wine skin and asked him, 'You must be thirsty stranger care for a drink?'"

"All of those there became silent save for the sound of the sisters grunting and straining on the chains."

"She poured him a goblet of wine and offered it to him with a smile of trepidation. He looked up at her in turn and as he smiled he raised his hands which were still chained and said, 'That would be nice but I seem to find myself tied up at the moment.'"

"Martha gave a brief giggle and said, "I can't believe Clark would try and use that tired old joke."

"But you must understand," said Diana. "To my Amazon sisters It was a very new and very fresh joke and they responded to it by laughing hysterically. The inebriated Amazon brought the wine to his lips when a sudden jerk on the chains caused her to spill the wine all over his head."

"There was an audible gasp as every one wondered how he would react. Then that's when that sweet, gentle son of yours licked his lips an said, 'This is far to fine a vintage to bath in.'"

"Again the crowd broke out in laughter as the clumsy Amazon brought the whole wine skin up to his lips and poured him a generous mouth full."

"It was when this was going on that Cassandra managed to bluff her way past the guards and wake me up. Soon as I awoke Cassandra told me about Clark being chained. I exploded in a fit of anger. Asking Cassandra to stay with my mother I stormed of in a rage to confront the members of the royal council, only to be greeted by the sight of this, the strangest of contests and the party that surrounded it."

"I wandered through the crowd listening to the good nature jibs and insults and hearing the cheers and some of them, miracle of miracles were for your son. I came to were Phillipus was standing and I asked my teacher how long had this been going on. For close to two hours she informed me."

"Just then Serana came up to her and handed her a new sword and hilt. 'You win,' she told Phillipus, 'I didn't think anyone or anything could be that strong.'"

"You bet against your own sisters?" I asked her with a phony frown on my face.

'There is no more loyal Amazon than I am my princes,' she told me. 'Nor will you find a warrior on this island prouder than I am of her people. But pride and loyalty, as I have taught you since you were a young girl. Has nothing to do with making the right bet, remember I was there in the garden when your so called guest played nine pins with my best warriors.'

She then added, 'If that wasn't bad enough he cost me a fine sword. I think it's only right that he does his part to help replace it.'"

"Shame on you for taking advantage of your own sisters," I scolded her as I tried my best not to laugh."

"She turned from the contest before her and said, 'And if the prisoner is able to hold out for one more shift change I will take advantage of my sisters in the form of a new shield and brand new helmet.'"

"I turned my back to her and did my best to walk away with out letting her see me laugh. As I wandered through the gathered throng I herd more and more cheers for your son. Finally more voices from the crowed demanded their turn to test the big stranger. A few moments later Phillipus had her shield and shiny new helmet. As I waited and watched along with my sisters some one brought me a mug of wine an another shoved a plate of pastries in to my hand."

"As I ate the joyful battle went on. I knew that if I didn't due something soon this contest might not end for weeks."

"Why was that?" asked Martha.

"Amazons love to compete," answered Diana. "We are always competing with each other, it is in our nature. Running, singing, jumping, boxing, wrestling, debating anything and every thing."

"Couldn't that lead to hard feelings or God forbid, perhaps even violence?"

"Sometimes it does," Diana admitted. "But it is very rare, because with us wining truly isn't every thing. Don't get me wrong, we all play to win Martha but to us the contest is in fact the most important part of all, not the victory."

"I know my people," Wonder Woman explained. "I knew that if I didn't do something to end this contest, soon every Amazon on Themyscira would demand her right to take your son on in this most bizarre of athletic contests. With that in mind I worked my way to were Clark was sitting and casually sat down beside him. I still had my plate of pastries and I continued to eat as he played with my sisters."

I asked him, "Mind sharing with me what your up to?"

"I resent being chained like some animal Diana," he told me.

Curious I asked him, "Then why did you let my Amazon sister's do it to you?"

"He told me, 'I have no wish to be the cause of a battle between your subjects and myself Diana. Especially when they did it out of loyalty to your mother and to you. So I borrowed a page out of reverend King's bible and decided to use a form of passive resistance to show them I do not appreciate being chained like an animal."

"I saw he was eyeing my plate so I asked him, 'Want to try some?'"

"'He smiled and said, "Don't mind if I do."

"I brought one of the pastries up to his mouth, then he pulled back his head and asked, "You didn't make them did you?"

"Ha, Ha very funny," I scolded him as I shoved it into his mouth."

"Why did Clark make a crack like that?" asked Martha.

"Because that son of yours enjoys teasing me about my lack of cooking skills," complained Diana.

"How so?" asked The mother of The Man of Steel.

"Because he knows I can't cook and it infuriates me.." Wonder Woman answered.

"It was a very strange sight Martha. My subjects who were gathered around that tree were cheering on their sisters, still other's were cheering for your son. Then there were still the Amazons who kept trying to pull Clark off that bench and while all this was going on their princess sat next to your son feeding him pastries."

"We sat there side by side like friends, or perhaps for me even sweet hearts as together we enjoyed the party like atmosphere that was going on around us. After ten minutes Clark turned to me and said in all seriousness, 'I learned some important things today Diana.'"

"Do you mean what you found out about our bracelets?" I asked as I whispered into his ear.

'No Diana, I meant the truly important things,' he replied. 'I learned what a great and brave women your mother is. How much she loves her daughter and how much in turn her daughter loves her. I learned you both have every reason to be proud of your sisters and this beautiful Island you all call home.'"

"I kissed him on his cheek for his complement and was drawn even closer to him than before. I was proud to feel this way even as we both heard an audible gasp from the assembled sisterhood."

"Weren't you worried what your fellow Amazons might have thought after they seen you do something so personal?" asked Martha.

"At that moment I no longer cared what any of my sisters might think about your son and I sharing our friendship or even seeing a open display of the feelings held for one another," explained Diana.

When she finished answering Martha's question Wonder Woman went on with her story, "Suddenly I saw a devilish gleam in your son's eye as he said, 'But most of all I learned that their is at least one Amazon in your kingdom princess who knows her way around a kitchen."

"With that I held up the last pastry and told him, "I saved the best for last, raspberry your favorite." and offered it to him. He looked at me smiled and said, 'Don't mind if I do.' But instead of putting it in his mouth I shoved it in his face."

"Good for you." said Martha laughing. "That should teach that son of mine, some manners and about teasing you."

Wonder Woman joined in the laughter as the mental picture of Superman with his face covered in jam came back to her.

When their mutual laughter finally subsided Diana continued on with her story, "His face was covered with raspberry jam as I quickly stood up laughing. He looked at me and slowly started to get to his feet. As he started to stand he said slowly, 'So the little Princess wants to play,'"

"He was off balance so I was able to shove him back down on to the bench. I walked to were my shocked sister's still held on to the chains and turning back to face Clark I told him, 'Before you wipe that jam off. I think I will wipe that smile off you face."

"With that I walked over to were my sisters stood at the chains and ordered my them to drop it. A combined groan of disappointment came from the crowd as well as from the warriors on the chain. But an even bigger cheer was herd as I picked the chain up and planting my feet took a firm grip on the links."

"Clark nodded and gave me that gentile little boy smile of his. In turn I leaned back and started to pull. I gave it all I had and was rewarded when I managed to actually pull Clark to his feet."

"A roar of triumph went up from the gathered sister hood. We struggled together for at least a half an hour when I began to feel my self pulling Clark closer to me. Once more a cheer went up from my sisters but I knew something was wrong, it was simply to easy."

"I gave a slight shake of my head and whispered, "No, not this way knowing that he and he alone would be able to hear me."

"Why would the fact that he was throwing the contest bother that much Diana?" asked Martha.

Diana tried to explain to her friend's mother, "To an Amazon there is no shame in losing if one competes with honor and does her best to win. In the way that Clark proposed for me to win would not only be shameful. But an insult to me and my Amazon sisters and and most of all my nation."

"So what happened then?" Martha asked.

"Your son began to pour on the pressure. In response I too fought back with every thing I had at my disposal. It did not mater how hard I tried to resist I was unable to stop myself from being pulled closer and closer to him. I had always known I couldn't win but I was determined for my own pride to make my sisters proud of me. I continued my fruitless resistance, sweat poured off my body and my tendons stood out like braided rope. Still as hard as I tried I couldn't stop from being drawn ever closer to your boy."

Martha asked, "If you already knew that you couldn't win Diana, why did you still insist on putting your self through all that torture?"

"Because after more than ten years in the outside world and after all the fame that I have received as Wonder Woman. I know in my heart I am still an Amazon," replied Diana. "With the same love of competition, the same pride, only with problems no other Amazon has had to deal with and besides, when you come right down to it there is no shame in losing to Superman."

Martha smiled and began to blush at the mention of her son's other name and more importantly what that name had come to represent. It was then that Diana decided to go on with her story by saying, "At last when I was a mere two feet in front of him I had to drop the chain in the acknowledgment of my defeat. My sisters gave me the Amazon royal salute to honor my effort. Then your son smiled an gave me a deep bow and warped his arms around me in a big hug."

"A roar went up went up from all those who were gathered there as my sisters rushed to my side to congratulate me for my effort. I was wiping the jam from Clark's face with the sleeve of my tunic when he picked me up and put me on his shoulder so I could have a better perch to acknowledge the cheers of my sisters."

"Some of the sisterhood were slapping your son's back to congratulate him also and in turn found wonder in the pain they felt in their hand's when they did it. I told Kal to put me down when he did I stepped up on to the same bench he was sitting on earlier. Pulling him up to stand along side of me I told him in a loud voice that I made sure everyone could hear, "Take off those manacles you look silly with them on."

He replied with a smile, "Your wish is my command my lady."

"With that he tore them from his wrist as if they were made from paper. The chains might have been forged by Hephustus to be unbreakable. But the manacles were made of so called unbreakable Promethium steel and no match for your son."

"I tossed down the mangled manacles to my sisters who in turn passed them around to one another. I heard many of my sisters talk in whispers of the power needed to destroy some of the finest of Amazon metal work."

"I took Clark's hand and raised it high in the air with mine and said, "Sisters this is my friend, known to world outside as Superman. We have often stood side by side and faced death many times together in Patriarch's world. He has come to us today after saving the life not only of your princess but of my beloved mother and our queen."

"There was stunned silence at first then a cheer that began to build. Suddenly from the palace my mother walked out on to her balcony. That day almost half of the Amazon nation were gathered there in that one spot."

"Seeing my mother on the balcony they rushed forward and knelt to pay the homage that was her due as their queen. Then my mother gestured for Clark to join her. I pushed him in the back to fly to her. He took to the air in a graceful ark and landed at her side. When he landed I saw many of my sisters reach for their weapons, so concerned were they for my mother's safety."

"But all that changed when my mother threw her arms around Clark and taking him in her arms gave him a kiss on his bowed head. When she held his hand up in friendship and triumph such a roar arose from my sisters, that even today it gives me a thrill when ever I think of it."

"I jumped down and walked over to the council members who were still standing in stunned silence beneath the tree and said to them, "Let me see you try and put my friend in chains now."

"There was a great celebration of Thanksgiving the next day for the safe return of the royal family and of course to honor your son."

When she finished Wonder Woman became strangely silent with an almost melancholy look on her face. Martha patient as always waited in silence for Diana to continue.

Once more Diana said, "Just as I told you earlier, after all that your son did for my mother and more importantly for me and our nation. Even after all of that, I honestly believe If I went to my mother with this problem about my feelings for your son she would believe I had betrayed her. No matter much how she respects your son or how fond she is of him."

"Your son knew this to be true Martha. That is the reason I believe he sent me to you and your husband," explained Diana.

When she finished talking Diana fell back on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. Martha for her part looked down at her and asked, "After that story, you still believe you can't talk to your own mother about your feelings for my son?"

"Not with out hurting her," Diana answered. "Most of all not with out her feeling betrayed."

"You told me for nearly eight years you managed to push these thoughts from your mind," said Martha. "What happened recently that started you and maybe even Clark to think about one another?"

"I believe I have always in some way been drawn to your son Martha. Ever since that day in Washington D.C when I first met him," admitted Diana. "I just managed to keep it hidden from your son as well as myself for all these years. That is until a few months ago back in Gate Way city," added Diana.

"That incident in Gateway city, did that have any thing to do with what happened to your so called invisible plane"

"In a way it was the catalyst for what I am facing now," Diana answered. "An old enemy of my Gods struck at them through me. As the spiritual daughters of the Olympian Gods the Amazons make excellent targets. I as the most visible member of my race, made the best target of all."

Wonder Women went on with her story, "Using the same gift of lansinarian technology that was my so called invisible plane. This ancient enemy of my gods corrupted this gift the lansinar bestowed on me. Normally it reacts only to my will forming it self in to what ever shape I so desire."

"I was in my bed room of a dear friend's house asleep. At the time this wondrous gift sat on the night table next to were I slept in the form of a crystal globe no bigger than my fist. One of old Cronus's children took control of this example of Lansinarian technology by using my own dreams against me."

"Cronus?" asked Martha.

"Cronus was one of the Titan's the forbears of the Olympian's," answered Diana.

She went on to explain, "Wishing to attack the Gods he first began by attacking me. He did not dare try a direct physical confrontation against me, but instead used my own subconscious desires as a weapon against me. He taped into my own dreams which gained him access than control over my own devise."

"I soon found myself lost in a dream of my own creation as my body was trapped inside the crystal itself. In the mean time the crystal continued to expand as it caused havoc as it spread across the city. Later The Batman accused me of being responsible for the destruction my construct was causing."

"How dare he accuse you, of all people of something like that," snarled Martha. "Especially him of all people."

I wouldn't be that hard on him Martha, his reason's were sound."

"may I ask In what way?"

"As he later pointed out to both Clark and myself, I had mental control of this alien technology. Which meant my own subconscious desires might also be able to tap into the lansinarian gift."

"He reasoned that the destruction it caused might have been a reflection of my own subconscious resentment I felt for the world. Because my mission of peace and love, that I had brought from my people was for he most part a failure."

"BULL!" exclaimed Martha angrily. "I refuse to believe that you would capable of doing anything like that, even consciously or subconsciously. You just don't' have that level of spite, let alone hate in you."

Wonder Woman said, "I wish I had half the faith in me that you have Martha. But as a friend recently told me on the moon, we all have dark paces in our souls. The darkest of which we all must fight to keep under control."

"So how did this creature manage to turn your own devise against you?" Martha asked.

"By the cleverest of strategies," Wonder Woman replied.

"But how did he do it?" asked Martha.

Diana shook her head sadly and said, "It accomplished this by giving me just what I had always wanted."

Wonder Woman went on to explain, "He did it by creating a fantasy world for me, formed from my own subconscious and my own hidden desires. I soon found myself helpless to resist."

"Why were you so helpless against him?" Clark's mother asked.

"Because I was so happy," answered Diana. "In this dream world of the mind I lived years in mere minutes. Minutes in which all my hopes and dreams came true. My mission to the world of man was becoming a success. Peace, love and understanding spread through the world and I and my Amazon sisters were at last content to lay down our burden of our immortality and finally enter the sleep that never ends."

"I was content and being content at last I began to die and even as I was being killed by my own mind, I was to happy to care," added Diana

"How did you escape from the trap?" asked Martha.

"Fear," answered Wonder Woman. "Fear that I would never be able to experience the love between a man and women. Fear that I will never know the ache when you are separated from the one you love or the joy you feel when you once again find one another."

Wonder Woman paused to take a deep breath before she began to speak once more, "I awoke from my beautiful dream with an emptiness in my heart. Unknown to me my plight and my battle with myself was not going unnoticed from those I call my friends."

"The psychic force generated from the mind of this creature and my own troubled soul began to spread out. It was soon picked up all the way on the moon in the Justice League Watch Tower. Jonn Jonzz the Martian Manhunter was the first one who picked it up due to his own powerful psychic abilities. He likened it to a a bomb going off in his mind."

"Jonn tried to contact me mentally but all he received back was my own thought's of happiness, he knew I needed help and informed your son of my plight. The Justice League feared if I had in fact lost control he would be the only one able to stop me. He in turn got in touch with the Batman and asked him to join him in Gate Way city."

"Why did Clark ask him of all people to help him?" asked Martha.

Wonder Woman answered, "No matter what you may think of him Martha. Your son respects him, even I dare say trusts him, and if I may add so do I. But I now have come to believe the real reason he asked him along is Clark didn't want to be alone with me."

Martha Kent nodded her head in response to show she understood.

Diana went on to say, "Under the influence of the creature and my own troubled mind, my one time plane kept expanding causing random destruction as it continued to grow. Both your son and the Dark Knight did their best to control the ever expanding engine of destruction, which was once my so called invisible plane. But they failed and soon the both of them found themselves trapped inside with me. Once inside they were herded to were I was trapped in a world of my own making."

"They found me floating in a liquid medium sound asleep and dying. They tried to wake me but failed it was only when the fear that I told you of over wheeled me that I managed to escape from my nearly perfect world. By that time I was released, the chamber were we found ourselves started to contract. Together the three of us tried to escape from the ever expanding creature and our own ever shrinking cell. But instead we were caught up again and once trapped the three of us became part of a world created by my own subconscious."

"Only now their minds were also being taped into and were being used to complement my fantasy. It was here in the most beautiful of make believe worlds your son and I didn't end our relationship, instead it continued to grow."

"Together the both of us fought the good fight even as we began to love one another. In time he introduced me to his friend, and the three of us together continued the struggle to make the world a better place. In my fantasy world the love I felt for your son continued to grow as was his love for me. In time we were married and all of us were happy but something was always missing for Clark."

"A part of his soul always seemed to be missing and even in my deluded fantasy world I could sense your son was always looking out of the corner of his eye for the one thing that would make his life complete."

"Lois!" said Martha. "Yes, Lois" answered Diana. "Even in my own fantasy world I knew Lois had won. When Clark and I were being intermit in my little fantasy world we both knew something was missing from his life. I even created a fantasy pregnancy for myself. But it was this very thing at last that caused my dream to start to unravel."

"We were at dinner when we made the announcement and it was Batman who managed to slip me a note at the table telling me that this whole beautiful, perfect world of mine was nothing but a lie. I had A life built on a foundation of glass and like glass, cracks all to soon began to appear until my whole fantasy world came crashing down around us. We were free from my craft and the entity who was the one responsible for corrupting my construct was in turn destroyed by he very thing he had tried to corrupt."

Wonder Woman took a deep breath before she continued, "When the Dark Knight left us to resume his never ending crusade Clark and I talked. We talked of friendship and of loneliness."

Clark's mother asked, "Why did who talk of loneliness with my son?"

"Because I have always have been fearful of being alone," she answered her. "As A little girl growing up on Paradise island I had respect and companionship even love from my mother and my sister Amazons. But I didn't have anyone my own age. I was a very lonely little girl, this I carry with me even today. Your son knows of this fear and he promised me that day I would never have to fear being lonely ever again with him around. But he also told me that no matter how much he cared for me or even loved me in the end for him there is only Lois."

"Did anything else happen recently that contributed to your dilemma?" asked Martha.

For an answer Diana thought for a moment then asked, "How much did Clark tell you of what happened when all those people died in the mid west recently?"

"Not very much actually," answered Martha. "He told his father and I how a mad man from the future came to the past to cause a catastrophe so he could blame it on him and how you and the Batman helped him to prevent it."

"That's all he told you?" asked Diana as she sat up.

"That and that alone," said Martha.

Staring down at the floor Wonder Woman said, "If that is all he wished to tell you. Perhaps it is not my place to share any more of the story with you."

Martha Kent put her arm around the fabled Amazon and held her even closer to her. It took only a gentile touch of her hand to guide Diana's head to rest her own shoulder.

As her head rested she said to her guest, "You say my son sent you to us because he knew you wouldn't be able to talk over certain things with your own mother. Let me share something with you Diana."

"Ever since that day his father and I both know he has been keeping something back from us, something so painful he couldn't share it with his own parents. Maybe just maybe there is another reason he brought you to us. Have you ever considered that perhaps he needs you to tell us something that he cannot bring himself to share with us"?

In response Diana turned around and gave Martha a big hug and said, "Clark is so lucky to have you for a mother."

Martha smiled and hugged her back. Diana then said, "What I am about to tell you must remain with you and Jonathan and only you two. No one must know of what I am about to tell you, most of all Lois."

"Clark shouldn't try to hide these thing from his own wife," said Martha.

"Normally I would agree with you," said Diana. "But in this case, you must believe me, it would be a true kindness if she never found out."

Martha nodded her head yes to show she understood.

Diana took it as a sign to begin and said, "This madman who called him self Gog came from some thirty five or forty five years in the future. When he pierced the veil of time to arrive in his past and our present he didn't come alone. He came with a child, a new born baby boy, a boy named Jonathan. He was or to be more accurate will be your grand son."

With a big smile on her face Martha said, "Grandson?"

Wonder Women saw the joy in the face of the women sitting next to her. But she turned away, unwilling to watch as the inevitable was about to unfold. The Joy in the face of Superman's mother shown like a bright light, a reflection of her happiness fueled by her own inner goodness. But none of that could protect her from the cold uncaring laws of arithmetic or the all to painful truth the mother of Superman was just now beginning to face.

Martha said, "You told me this mad man, this so called Gog came from some thirty five years in the future and with him Clark's baby son."

"But that only means Lois could not possibly be the child's mother. So who will be my Grandson's mother?" Martha demanded to know.

Diana continued to stare at the floor, unable to even look into the face of the women she admired and perhaps now had even began to love. But if she of all people could not summon up the courage to even look into the face of Martha Kent.

How could Wonder Woman ever hope to summon up the courage to answer a question like that? From this the kindness and gentlest of women. Who since she had arrived only offered her the comfort and sanctuary of her wisdom and her home.

Diana felt a surprisingly strong grip at her elbow as Martha asked, "I have to know Diana, who is the mother?"

Tried as she may Diana could not bring herself to speak in the presence of this most remarkable of women.

"WHO?" shouted Martha. When she still received no answer from the Amazon her own insights as a woman and as a mother answered her question for her.

She tenderly placed her hand on the broad shoulder of the Amazon Princess and quietly asked in a emotionally filled voice, "Your the mother aren't you? Or perhaps a more accurate description is that you will be my grandson's mother."

The only answer Diana had the courage to muster was a simple nod of her head.

"Diana, you have to talk to me. You can't leave me hanging in limbo like this."

Summoning up her courage at last. Diana lifted her head up from staring at the floor and asked, "What do you wish to know Martha?"

"Every thing." was the answer Martha gave.

"I can not tell you every thing Martha for your own sake and for Lois's sake."

She then added, "But the other reason I can't tell you the whole story is simply because I don't know the whole story myself."

Martha nodded her own head and said, "I understand."

After that Wonder Woman continued on with her story, "When Gog arrived in our past with young Jonathan he was being pursued by Jonathan's mother and father and even the boy's godfather," Diana told her.

Martha interrupted her by asking, "You mean future versions of yourself, Clark and who ever the godfather was or will be?"

"That will be The Batman," answered Diana.

"Whose idiot Idea was that?" asked Martha.

"I was the idiot or perhaps I should say I will be the idiot." Diana answered.

"I guess I will come in time to believe that my child would need a human influence on his life. An Idea that your son must have come to agree with and as hard as it is you to believe Martha. He is the one man that your son trusts most in the world."

Deciding to let the question of the Dark knight's lack of qualification to be a godfather drop Martha said, "Tell me about Lois."

With a voice choked with emotion Diana began, "If this time line plays out the way I was told. Lois's life will be stolen from her some twenty years from now. This naturally broke Clark's heart but the fates were not yet finished in tormenting your son. At the same time when he was at his lowest period of his life the very people he had always sworn to protect and love rejected him."

"The public no longer cared for what they believed was his naive sense of morality. Nor did they value his love of life and his ideals. The public demanded the quick fix and even swifter justice. Most of all they demanded vengeance and for that they needed a hero who would kill over the hero who would not and there for could not kill."

"As the wise man once said, 'Be careful what you wish for you just might get it.'"

"Clark his heart broken, began a self imposed exile and most of the other heroes his generation followed his lead and retired from the stage. These in turn were soon replaced by a new more violent generation. Full of power but also short on restraint. The result was a world that all to soon fell into the abyss."

Diana paused for a moment to let what she had just said sink in. But also to allow her to work up the nerve to tell a mother of her son's greatest failure.

"When Clark gave up his never ending battle things only got worst until one day the unimaginable happened this whole area, most of this state was all but destroyed turned into a radiated waste land and it was your son's fault."

"How can you of all people Diana, believe such lies," asked a suddenly angry Martha Kent?

"Because it was your son who told me," answered Wonder Woman.

"Clark, by that I mean the other Clark tried to tell all of us right from the beginning. But was cut off by me, I mean the other me," explained Diana.

"This is all very confusing," observed Martha.

"I was there and I'm still confused by it all," admitted Wonder Woman.

"In any case my other self seemed to be doing her best to protect Clark from losing face in front of the rest of us."

"At least one good thing will happen that I am happy to find out about, “said Martha.

"And what would that be," asked Wonder Woman?

"It's a comfort to know that my boy will be able to find another woman who cares enough about him that she will do her best to try and protect him from the world."

In response Diana could only manage to blush and stare at her own feet. Martha went on to say, "Lois once confided in me, the one thing she worried most over was her fear that Clark would one day find himself all alone in the world. With only the bitter sweet dreams and memories of long dead family and friends as his only company. I only wish I could tell her she wouldn't have to worry about that happening to the man she loves."

Diana shook her head sadly and said, "It's not good to know to much about the future Martha. Even if it is only a possible future. Of the little I do know I only wish now that I could forget. I only know for sure that one day something very bad will happen that Clark will blame himself for. Because he gave up the struggle and stopped being the inspiration to the world at large and the Meta human community as a group."

Diana then added, "I'm sorry to say that with out your son to lead by example the world soon turned into a very dark and foreboding place."

"What of my grand son?" Martha asked.

"I will only tell you there was a battle and at the end of which, parents and child were reunited," promised Diana.

"As for the rest I find it hard to believe and I was there, but that part of the story must remain a secret between Batman, Clark and myself."

Martha asked, "When you found out about the baby Diana, how did that make you feel?"

"Afraid and jealous, "answered Diana.

"I find it hard to believe you would be afraid of anything Diana," observed Martha.

Wonder Woman replied, "I am not ashamed to admit to feeling fear in my life,"

"I was afraid of what the future held for all of us and the part I played in it. And yes Martha I also found out that I too would have to do penance for the part I played in the future."

"As for my feelings of jealously," she continued. "When I saw that other Diana holding her baby in her arms and Clark holding her close to him. I envied that other Diana for that moment."

"Looking back I now believe it was then that the last of my defenses that I have so carefully built up over the years began to unravel. It forced me to see the truth about my feelings for the first time. But still I refused to admit it to myself, let alone any one else, until I met you."

Martha said, "It was also the moment that you began to suffer for the first time because of the things you had begin to feel."

"Not the first time," Diana said. "Just the worst."

Martha suddenly stood up and said, "Lord will you look at the time."

With that said she bent over an gently guided guest to lay back down in the bed. Pulling the covers up over her guest Martha made sure the Diana was tucked in for the night. She bent down and kissed the Amazon princess on the forehead and told her good night.

Wonder Woman looked up at Martha and said, "Many a year has long since past since anyone has tucked me into bed."

"I'm sorry if it makes you feel uncomfortable, said Martha.

"On the contrary," Diana remarked. "It is only now that I know how much I have missed it."

"Hasn't your mother done this for you?" asked Martha.

"The last time I had it done for me was when I was thirteen years old. I had just turned into a women," Diana told the gray haird women standing over her.

"The following day I was scheduled to leave the home I grew up in, and alone take part my first ritual hunt. When I returned after making my first kill, I would be accepted as an adult and a full fledged Amazon warrior. I would become one of the sisterhood with all the responsibility and rights that want along with that honor."

"The night before I was to leave. My mother and I talked most of that night together as I lay in my bed. It was the last time she tucked me in and the last time she as an Amazon mother could talk to me as her baby."

Martha asked, "Why was that?"

"Because we both knew that when I returned from the hunt things never again could be the same between us."

With out commenting Martha Kent walked to the bedroom door and turned off the light switch. Pausing in the door way silhouetted by the light in the hall Martha turned to face Diana and said, "I wish I could have been more of a help to you Diana."

It was Wonder Woman who told her, "You have no Idea just how much help you have already been to me Martha just by being here to talk with me."

With that said and done Martha Kent said good night and quietly closed the door behind her. She walked slowly down the hall until she reached her own bed room. She slide gracefully through the door and took off her robe.

Sitting down on the bed she kicked off her slippers and lay down on her side in the dark. As she settled back into her bed, she did so with her arm draped over the man she had been sharing this same bed with for close to half a life time.

She felt that same man take hold of her hand and with his back to her ask, "Is it as bad as we feared?"

"Yes and no," she answered him.

Not waiting for him to comment she went on to say, "We were right she does love him."

"And Clark"" her husband asked.

"Yes," she answered. "In his own way he does, maybe not the same way he cares for Lois. But that love is still there."

"She is a good women Pa Brave, honest, kind and caring. Any mother would be proud to have her as a daughter or a daughter in law. Right now she is in pain and confused by emotions that she has no experience in dealing with."

"She deserves better, she of all people has earned the right to be happy and find a love of her own. I only wish we could do more for her."

Jonathan hesitated then asked, "Have they… Well you know what I mean?"

Knowing her husband could not bring himself to finish the question she still gave him the answer. "No they haven't and if I am any judge of character they never will. Not as long as Lois is alive."

Turning over on his other side so he could look into the face his wife Jonathan asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Martha took her lover of fifty years in her arms and with the saddest of smiles on her face said, "To understand that, I will have to tell you about your grand son."

For most of the rest of the night the elderly couple lay in each others arms and together whispered through the night.

It wasn't the bright sunshine streaming through the bedroom window that woke Diana. Nor was it the alarm clock that never had time to go off. In truth it was the smell of cooking that arose the Amazon princess from her deep and restful sleep.

Diana set up in bed stretched and headed to the bathroom for a quick shower.

When she finished, she dressed made her bed and bounded down the stairs to search for the Kents. She found Martha standing in front of the stove frying the last of the thickly sliced country bacon.

Turning from the stove Martha cheerfully said, "Good morning Dear, how was your sleep?"

Diana returned the friendly smile and told her, "It was the best sleep I had in weeks."

"Must be all that country air," Martha said.

"I have to believe the reason I slept so well last night was because of the company I had rather than the air I breathed," said Wonder Woman.

Martha smiled at the compliment and told Diana to take a seat. Putting a dish of fried bacon and fresh baked bread in front of her Martha asked her how many eggs she wanted?

"About half a dozen," replied Diana.

Martha laughed and said, "You remind me so much of my son, your with us is like having my boy back home again."

Diana took notice of the time from the clock on he kitchen wall. "I really have slept late," Diana confessed.

"I thought you could use the extra sleep," Martha answered.

"I wasn't kidding when I told you earlier how well I slept. Last night was the best night sleep I have had in weeks," admitted Diana.

"Good, I'm glad to hear that," remarked Martha. "May be our little talk did some good after all."

Wonder Woman smiled and said, "I know it did, It may not have solved all my problems. But I am feeling better about myself."

"Good. I'm glad to hear that," said Martha as she put a plate of bacon and eggs in front of her guest and sat down beside her.

Diana noticed that Martha was not going to be joining her for breakfast. She was about to ask why, when Clark's mother, as if she could red her mind cut her off by saying, "Jonathan and I already had our oatmeal and prunes dear. Were both on the wrong side of sixty and have to watch our diet. But I doubt if a little cholesterol will ever be able to harm you."

Diana admitted, "I never have had to worry about putting on weight."

"Stop it this instant, now you have just succeed in making me jealous," chided Martha.

With that the two women began to smile then started to laugh. As the laughter began to fade Martha saw her house guest suddenly had a strange far away look in her eyes.

"Mind telling me were you just were?" she asked.

"No not at all," said Diana. "I was just wondering what that other Diana felt like as she put on all that weight and watched herself get fat."

Martha smiled and said, "I suppose the same way billions of other women felt over the countless ages and down the never ending corridors of time."

Diana's only response was a sweet smile and a far away look in her eyes.

It was Martha who took the opportunity to say, "Speaking of time Diana, last night you mentioned something I would like you to try and explain to me."

"I'll be happy to, if I can," she said.

"Last night you happened to mention the phrase, 'if this time line plays out.' mind telling me what you meant by that?" she asked.

Wonder Woman explained, "All that I have told you about that adventure with our older selves, has no guarantee of ever coming to past. The future is not written in stone."

Wonder Woman then added, "There is no proof that what I told you last night, will happen or might happen or even should happen."

"So what you are telling me," said Martha. "Is when you saw the possibility of a child and a life in the future with my son that knowledge started the final demolition of the facade that you had used all these years to hide from yourself the feelings you had for Clark."

"That and other things," admitted Diana.

With that said Martha Kent nodded her head in sympathy and took Diana's hand into her own. A moment later Wonder Woman said, "May I ask you a question now?"

Martha replied, "Of course you may my dear."

"That story you told me last night after dinner about Lana and Pete Ross was that for my benefit?" she asked.

"Yes," Martha replied.

Diana asked, "You knew about your son and myself back then. Even before I told you?"

"Pretty much, "admitted Clark's mother. "I did, or to be more accurate we did have our suspicions."

Martha hesitated before she asked her next question. Not totally sure if it was any of her business.

Then decided that Diana's possible future happiness was to important for her not to ask, "Diana is their some one else out there who has feelings for you."

"Some one that you may be over looking?" inquired Martha.

"There is one man who has shown an interest in me. But it could never work out," confessed Diana.

"Why not?" asked Martha. "Why not at least give it a try?"

Diana replied, "Because Martha I could never hold my breath that long."

For the rest of the morning Wonder Woman and Martha Kent talked together while they washed dishes and drank coffee. It was afternoon when Wonder Woman gave in to the urge she felt to do a little exploring and decided to satisfy that urge by walking around the Kent's Farm.

She walked through the fields of grain and corn and even took the time to pick a vine ripened tomato from the Kent's personal garden and enjoyed it as if it was ambrosia.

It was on her way to the barn that Diana stopped off at the chicken coup to look at the chickens and even took time out to try feeding them. It was when Diana reached the barn that she thought she herd the sounds of a struggle. Peering inside she saw Clark's father under his old Ford truck.

She saw he was trashing his legs about, his breathing was labored and he was grunting and groaning. Wonder Women dashed into the barn to free her friend's father. Reaching down were he lay Diana took hold of the truck and lifting it off of him, held it over her head.

There at her feet lay Jonathan Kent on his back with the rusty old drive shaft he had been trying to remove all that morning cradled in his arms. He sat up totally in shock almost speechless with the greasy drive shaft now in his lap.

Breathlessly he asked, "Diana, what's wrong?"

"Please forgive me," she begged. "But when I was outside I heard you struggling and then when I looked inside and saw you thrashing about I thought the truck had fallen on you and you had become trapped underneath."

Jonathan sat there and started to laugh as he looked up and asked, "Isn't that starting to get heavy for you?"

"No!" she answered with out emotion.

The Man of Steel's father collapsed back on barn floor and began to laugh at the absurdity of the sight of Wonder Woman holding up a truck as if she was holding a bag of laundry.

Diana slowly looked up at the truck she was holding up over her head. Blushed then began to giggle and finally began laughing so hard at her own mental picture of her self she had to quickly put it down less she drop it by accident.

Looking up at the Amazon Princess Jonathan said, "I forget sometimes the effect my son has on people when he does the things he does. I have grown so accustomed to seeing him over the years doing the things he can do that I sometimes forget what other folks must think. But seeing you stand there holding that truck over your head I can understand other peoples reaction to Clark."

After she put down the truck Wonder Woman bent over and gently lifted the old farmer to his feet. They moved over to a bale of hay and sat down side by side so her best friend's father could catch his breath.

"I'm sorry I over reacted and rushed in like a fool," Diana apologized as she sat next to Jonathan.

He took Diana by her hand, patted it and said, "You have nothing to apologize for. If I did have a truck on top of me, I would hate the idea of you standing around debating with yourself before you came in to remove it."

He then took the opportunity to ask his house guest, "When you were growing up Diana, were you always able to do the things like you just did?"

"I was blessed by my Gods at a very young age. I was not as strong as I am now of course, but I have always been exceptionally blessed," explained Diana.

"With my son it was different Diana. As he grew into his manhood there were only subtle hints to what he would one day become. He never got sick or ill, injuries would heal frightfully fast and he became a phenomenal award wining athlete."

"When Clark first started to be able to do the things like what you just demonstrated, he was so frightened he stayed alone in his room for two weeks. I remember how his super powers became something that absolutely terrified him. It only got worst for him, since the older he got the stronger he got and as a result even more worried."

Jonathan then added, "It was only when he started to think of these strange abilities as gifts that he could share with others by helping them did he begin to lose his fear."

Wonder Woman had always thought to herself that she would never want to meet the thing Superman was afraid of. And here she sat listening to his own father tell her that the thing that Clark feared most in the world was himself."

As they sat side by side in he barn Jonathan and Diana began to talk together about many things they had in common and also about the things they didn't.

Diana shared with him what her life was like as she grew up on her home on Paradise Island as a child. Jonathan in turn shared with Diana some of the stories of her friend as he grew up here on the Kent farm.

It was during a pause in their conversation that Clark's father said, "I hope you don't mind Diana, but Martha and I had a long talk about you and Clark while we were in bed last night."

"I don't mind Jonathan, it is after all one of the reasons why I came here."

Almost as an after thought Wonder Woman added, "Did Martha tell you everything?"

"Just about," admitted Jonathan. "Especially about my name sake."

"Of all the terrible things that might be awaiting all of us in the future. That is one of the things I would like to see come true," Diana admitted.

Clark's father then asked, "Do you want that for yourself Diana?"

"NO! not for me, for you and for Martha, but most of all for your son."

Jonathan asked, "Are you being totally honest with yourself Diana?" "Or does the idea of loving and being loved still frighten you that much. If something God forbid ever did happen to Lois. I want you to remember this, 'Love is the one thing you can spread around and it never gets any thinner.'"

He then added, "Martha and I will be long gone when those events you told her last night might unfold. But if you can save my son from living the rest of his life alone and miserable, Martha and I will both be grateful to you, were ever we are."

Wonder Women threw her arms around Jonathan kissed him and held him close with her cheek pressed close to his.

As she held him tight Diana told him, "Because of you, for the first time in my life I now know how much I missed not having had a father, especially one like you."

"And I always wanted a daughter," said Jonathan. Perhaps the two of us together can find at least a small piece of what the both of us have been missing in our lives."

They sat there together drawing comfort and strength from one another. Until Clark's father said, "Time to get back to work, that old truck of mine won't be fixing itself."

"Can I help?" begged Diana.

Jonathan was about to tell her she was a guest or something equally silly like not being fitting work for a princess. But one look at that eager face and into those strange compelling eyes and he changed his mind.

Instead he said, "Why not? You have already been a big help when you helped me get that old drive shaft off and in a most unique way I might add."

Clark's father then asked, "Do you want to help me put the new one on?"

Eager to help Diana said, "Just tell me what to do!"

Jonathan told her, "If you could pick that truck back up and hold it. I could put the new drive shaft in record time."

For an answer Wonder Woman walked over to the truck picked it up off the barn floor and braced the back bumper on her knee so the underside of the truck was facing Jonathan.

"Like this?" she asked.

"How long can you hold it up like that?" asked a shocked Jonathan Kent.

"Not as long as your son," she admitted. "Two or three days at the most."

"I will be done in fifteen minutes," Jonathan told her even when he was laughing so hard he kept dropping his tools.

Twenty minutes latter he was tightening the last bolt on the connection to the transmission when he peered around the side of the Ford and said to Diana, "A women like you would come in mighty handy during the fall harvest."

"I would enjoy that very much," said Wonder Woman.

"Then consider your self invited Diana,"

"Now I really am the farmer's daughter and you won't be needing your shotgun," she added.

He was wiping the grease of his hands when he went into his pocket and took out a set of keys. Tossing them to Wonder Woman he said," Why don't you take it out for a test drive?"

Diana stared at the set of keys in the palm of her hand and said, "I can't."

"OH!" said Jonathan. "You can't drive stick?" he asked.

"I can't drive anything," she answered.

"Be it a stick or a car, I simply never learned to drive," she added.

Taking hold of Diana by the elbow with one hand and opening the door of the rusty Ford pick up with the other Jonathan half pushed half guided the Amazon princess into the front seat of the truck. When she was in he slammed the driver side door shut and walked to the passenger side and stepped in.

When he was seated next to Diana he told her, "Your in luck Diana. I am the worlds greatest driving instructor."

For her part Wonder Woman found herself behind the wheel of a twenty five year old truck, and with no idea what to do. Seeing the bewildered look on her face Jonathan asked her, "Have you ever seen anyone drive before?"

"OF course," she answered.

"Then your half way home," he told her.

Saying the Amazon princess was nervous was an understatement. She was worried that she might look foolish in front of Clark's father, not to mention terrified of having an accident and wrecking his beloved truck.

Jonathan knew for a fact that his guest was nervous because of the way she griped the trucks steering wheel so hard that her fingers were turning white and the tips of those same fingers were leaving imprints in the hard plastic of the steering wheel.

Wishing to relieve her tension and having no wish to see his his steering column turned into a pretzel. Jonathan Kent tuned to his student and asked, "Nervous?"

Wonder Woman turned slowly to face him, smiled weakly and nodded her head yes.

"A certain friend of yours learned to drive in this very same truck," Jonathan told her as he patted the dash board as he would a faithful steed.

She asked, "Kal.. I mean Clark learned to drive in this very truck?"

Jonathan nodded his head yes then said, "That means you have no reason to be afraid or nervous Diana. There is no way you could ever do any worst then my son did on his first driving lesson."

"What do you mean by that?" she asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

For an answer Clark's father said, "For his first driving lesson the future Man of Steel took out one hundred and ten feet of barb wire fence, knocked down the chicken coop and ruined the truck's bumper and broke two head lights."

Diana covered her mouth with the palm of her hand in a vain and forlorn attempt to keep from laughing, she failed.

Clark's father only added to her decidedly and sudden lack of Amazonian self control when he told her, "Next time that son of mine teases you about your cooking you have my permission to remind him of that story."

With that the legendary Amazon princess completely lost it. She began laughing so hard she had to lean on the steering wheel for support till the horn started to blast out a crescendo. When they both caught their collective breath, Jonathan went over the mysteries of the clutch and the gas peddle.

After twenty minutes of delving into the holy of Hollis of automotive instruction. Jonathan thought Diana was ready for her first hands on lesson. There were at first the usual problems, the staling and the gear grinding, not to mention the two very lucky chickens who just avoided becoming instant Sunday dinner.

But after a surprising short time Diana started to get the hang of it. With the mantra of, "If you can drive a stick, you can drive anything." from Jonathan ringing in her ears, Wonder Woman proceeded to drive around the Kent farm.

It was the second time past the front porch that Clark's father blew the horn and shouted, "Yahoo!" as he stuck his head out of the side window.

As they drove around for the third time Diana took the opportunity to ask, "Yahoo?"

He asked, "Doesn't your people have a word or phrase they use when they want to shout out hello or when they get excited?"

"Yes we use HOLA!" she answered.

When the truck past the porch for the fourth time Jonathan shouted out, "Hola!"

Which Diana quickly followed by sticking her head out of her window and screaming, "YAHOO!"

By this time Martha Kent was standing on the porch wiping her hands on her apron. When the two rowdy adventures came by again Martha had just enough time to shout, "You two are no better than a couple of rounders on a lark or revers on a spree."

As she scolded the both of them, she waited until they reappeared from around the house before she shouted once again, "Both of you are nothing but a couple of over age delinquents."

In response the dynamic delinquents both waved out the side windows of the truck as they drove down the drive way and then on to the road heading west. Shaking her head in disapproval but still with a smile on her lips Martha Kent went back inside to her kitchen.

It was some fifteen minutes later that Martha herd the knock on the screen door. She turned around from the kitchen table and saw Wonder Woman standing there.

Getting quickly to her feet Martha asked in an excited voice, "Has there been an accident?"

"Of a sort," Diana answered. "We ran out of gas."

Taking the key to the gas pump from were it hung on the wall Martha told the Amazon princess, "Follow me."

As Diana followed her first to the shed for a gas can and then to the pump to fill it Diana tried to explain. "When we ran out of gas I offered to fly Jonathan and the truck back here. But he said, "no." If any body saw a flying Ford pick up, folks might start to talk, so I came on ahead by myself instead"

"I'll get the car," Martha said.

"No need Pa's in a rush," Diana said in return.

With that she rocketed off into the sky caring the can of gas. Martha went back to the front porch and sat down in the porch swing to wait their return planing to give them both a piece of her mind. She did not have long to wait.

She soon saw them pull up into the driveway. She watched as the old red truck stopped at the foot of the drive way and saw her husband get out of the passenger side and walk over to the drivers side. What she didn't and couldn't know was what her husband told Diana, "Time for you to solo Diana."

"But I'm not…,"

"Yes you are," he told her as he cut her off. "I want you to drive up the driveway, go around the house few times then drive the truck into the barn and park it."

"And remember he added, "I want you to drive it in the barn not carry it in."

With that said he walked up to the house and sat down next to his wife on he porch swing.

Diana was making her first swing past the front porch when Martha waved at her and asked her husband, "Did you two over age children have a nice time playing together?"

"Matter of fact we did," he told her. "It was for a short while like having Clark back home again."

"I know what you mean," Martha agreed.

Diana had stopped in front of the porch during her second trip around the Kent's home. She halted put the truck in neutral, stuck her head out of the window and asked, "How am I doing?"

"Wonderful dear," replied Martha.

"But can you park it," asked Jonathan with a smile.

"Just watch me," Wonder Woman said proudly.

With a final wave of her hand and a cloud of dust Diana, the first Amazon truck driver headed for the barn door.

As Jonathan watched the departing cloud of dust he turned to the women he loved and told her, "Your right Ma she is a good women. She does deserve to be happy if any one does." "Isn't there some way we could help her?" he added.

Holding his hand Martha said, "We can offer her our advise, listen to her problems and give her all the support we can." But she then added, "In the end Diana has to travel her own road. If she is ever going to find the way to finally bring peace to her heart and most importantly of all to her soul. Then she must choose the right road and in the end walk it alone."

The Kent's ended their discussion when they saw Diana walk out of the barn and make her way in their direction. When she had reached the porch were the Kent's were sitting Diana stood at the bottom of the steps with a big grin on her face.

Looking down from were she sat Martha said, "I was about to ask you how much you liked driving Dear. But that smile on your face tells me all I need to know in that regard."

"Give her a couple of weeks and Diana will be pushing a semi hauling freight across country," teased Jonathan. He then added, "Not that she needs a truck to do that now."

Diana smiled and sat down on the top step of the porch with her back leaning against the post that supported the porch roof.

"It's a miracle that Diana could learn to drive at all in that tired old rust bucket you call a truck," complained! "I can not understand for the life of me just why you keep the old thing around."

Her husband took no offense to the insult to his treasured old friend and instead simply said, "Just because something is old, has a little rust and a few extra miles, is no reason to throw it away." Besides he added, "Your even older than my truck, with even more miles and I still keep you around."

"I wonder why that is?" he asked. As he winked at Diana as soon as he finished saying it.

"Because no other woman would be willing to put up with all of your foolishness," His wife pointed out to him.

"I suppose that is true too," admitted Jonathan. "Besides it takes time for a prime piece of machinery to become properly broken in," explained Jonathan Kent as he patted his wife's fanny.

For her part Martha Kent slapped her husband's hand away and scolded him by saying," Jonathan! not in front of the company."

"What company?" he asked. "Diana is part of the family now and besides I'm sure she knows all about the birds and the bees and the facts of life."

"You do know the facts?" teased Jonathan.

"Oh I know the facts all right," admitted Diana. "I just never had the opportunity to practice with the few facts I do know," said Diana as she teased Clark's father right back.

Diana and Jonathan were both sharing a laugh together even as Martha Kent began to scold the both of them for their behavior. "The both of you should be ashamed of yourselves," she scolded.

Wonder Woman herd the words but took no offense because she also saw the look of love and the smile that Martha tried to hide from them both. The same wonderful smile that went along with the scolding.

For the next hour or so these three remarkable people who came from far different backgrounds and yet who were tied together by a mutual love for an absent son. Were content to sit together on the front porch of a modest farm house in Smallville as any other farm family would.

With the help of these two kind and generous people Diana knew for the first time what it must feel like to be part of a typical nuclear family. Wonder Woman would always be proud of her mother and her own large extended family back on Themyscira. But now she also felt proud to be in some small way a part of this special one also.

Later that evening when Diana was helping Martha in the kitchen, Martha discovered another side of her house guest. Diana was deftly peeling potatoes and at the same time demonstrating to Clark's mother her dexterity with a blade.

Martha watched enthralled for almost a good ten minutes as Diana went through her repertoire with the carving knife. Diana spun and tossed and balanced the sharp point on the back of her hand. When she finished her performance Clark's mother asked the Amazon princess were she learned to handle a knife in such a manner.

"My mother taught me," answered Diana. "She instructed me on how to pick the right blade for the right job. How to keep a proper edge on a weapon, how to hold it how to parry an attack and of course how to and were to thrust it into an opponents body."

Diana noticed the distress on Martha's face and did her best to make amends by offering her an explanation, "When I was growing up on Paradise Island, I too had to go to school just as any other child in the outside world would."

Wonder Woman explained to her host, "But instead of class rooms or school mates I had tutors and instructors but that only ment I was always alone. The most brilliant women on our Island home tutored me in various languages, history, art, and music."

"The natural sciences were my playground and mathematics the bane of my existence. Amazons who had herd the words of Homer, Plato, Aristotle and Socrates from their own lips instructed me in reason and philosophy."

"Lastly I learned how to kill, quickly and efficiently, that last piece of my education was a part I neither took to or enjoyed. Even if it was my own mother who did the teaching, I always did find it troubling. No matter how good I got at it. Still it was a part of my life that my mother knew I needed to learn."

Martha was quiet for a long time before she asked, "May I ask if you have ever had to use the knowledge your mother had given you?"

Diana couldn't bring herself to answer and her continued silence was in the end, all the answer Martha needed.

"My husband had fought in Korea and he told me that he had to do things that even today still haunt him. We had had always hoped and prayed our son would never have to make such a choice as that, but even with all our praying he was forced in to doing what he had always feared most."

Martha then added, "The worst part of all, was what it almost did to him."

"Three more vile creature's you could never hope to find, "Diana pointed out. "If anyone deserved such a fate it was they, especially after what they had done."

"Still even after the deed was done, it still prayed on my boy's mind," said Martha.

"That is what makes him so special," Diana pointed out.

"I think your special too Diana," Martha said. "You have been here only a short time Diana. But in that all to short passage of time my husband and I have come to care a great deal about you. If you ever have need to talk with someone, we will always be here for you. If you need a place to rest or just unwind our door will always be open to you."

For a brief moment Diana thought she was about to be moved to tears, but she proved to be an Amazon after all and so managed only to say, "I only wish I was eloquent enough to properly tell the both of you just how much that means to me."

After dinner had been eaten and the dishes washed and put away the Kent's and their guest once more sat on the front porch together to watch the setting sun. To Diana the sun seemed to take longer to set here in the nations heart land.

To an Amazon raised in the the green hills and forests of Themyscira and who had lived for the past ten years among the tall buildings of first Boston and then Gateway city. The sun seemed here to hang suspended over the flat fields of wheat and corn that to her seemed to stretch endlessly before her.

It way the sun looked as it set on the horizon reminded her of the many times she watched the sun set into the sea surrounding Themyscira. But Diana was just beginning to appreciate the changing colors of the sunset when the phone rang.

When Martha went in to answer it Diana took the opportunity to once again thank Clark's father for all that he did for her.

It was then that Martha came back out with an ashen face and told her, "It's for you Diana, some one named Tim wants to speak to the farmer's daughter."

Wonder Woman stood up quickly and rushed past Martha on the way to the kitchen to pick up the phone. The Kent's saw the concern and above every thing else the look of dread on the face of their house guest. Hand in hand they walked to the living room and waited for Diana to finish talking on the phone.

A few moments later Wonder Woman came out of the kitchen and stood before the Kents.

"I have to leave," she told them both.

It was Martha who asked the question that was on every ones mind. "Did that phone call have anything to do with the problem you were expecting with Darkseid?" Martha asked.

"NO," answered Diana. "It had to do with Lois!"

She led Clark's shocked parents to the couch in the living room and sat down with them. She then proceeded to share with them the contents of the conversation she just had with this mysterious Tim.

When Diana finished Jonathan asked, "What are your plans?"

"Fly to Gotham to get as much information as I can and check on a friend's health. After that a fast trip to Metropolis to keep a promise I made to your son!"

"This promise you made to Clark, Does it have any thing to do with my daughter in law?"

"It has everything to do with Lois," answered Wonder Woman.

With that Martha got up and began to walk into the back of the house. Diana started to get up to follow her but Jonathan's reassuring hand on her thigh stopped her.

"She needs to be alone for a moment," he told her. He then added, “Mind telling me what your plans are for Lois?"

"Get to her as fast as I can and stay by her side until your son returns." was the only explanation she offered.

It was then that Martha returned holding a bundle in front of her. Stopping at the edge of the living room rug Martha said, "If you are about to go into harms way, you should be properly dressed for it."

Walking over to Clark's mother, Diana took her clean and mended uniform from her outstretched hands and into her own. Diana bent down and kissed the tear stained face of Martha Kent and received the same in return.

When they finished Martha told her, "You can change in Clark's room."

Wonder Woman was about to speak then discovered she was unable to. So instead she rushed up the stairs and into Clark's old room to change. With Diana gone Martha went into the living room and sat down next to her husband.

A short time later they both herd the groan of the steps as Diana walked down the stairs. She seemed to glide into the room rather then walk, a creature of grace and beauty and most of all power.

She stood there in all of her glory. Replete in her famous costume cut high at the hip, her girdle around her waist and her legendary golden lasso hanging from her hip and all of it toped off with the gold tiara on her head. The Kents walked over to her and the three of them clung together to emotionally moved to let go.

"Were going to miss you princess," said Jonathan.

"And I in turn will miss the both of you," answered Wonder Woman.

Rubbing her eyes with her sleeve Martha said, "Try to be careful and remember you always have a second home here with us."

With a promise of a return visit and a last good bye Diana turned to leave. Her hand was on the door knob when Diana suddenly turned to face the elderly couple once more. Suddenly to their astonishment Wonder Woman dropped down to one knee in front of them, bowed her head and placed her right fist over her heart.

It was then that Jonathan Kent said, "Please Diana were no bodies, we don't deserve such reverence."

"Your wrong!" she told the both of them as she continued to kneel down in front of them both. She then added, "I do not know of any two people who could possibly be more deserving of it more."

Continuing to keep her head bowed Diana said, "If I am about to go into battle I would consider it an honor if you both would give me your blessing."

Placing their hands on top of her head Martha and Jonathan Kent both said, "For what it is worth we both feel it is an honor to give it to you."

With that all said and done Diana stood up kissed both their cheeks and with a final warm embrace from them both and a final kiss good by Wonder Woman was out the door and into the star covered night sky.

The well cared for farm land disappeared below her as Wonder Woman headed east towards Gotham to check on the condition of a friend and then on to Metropolis to keep a promise to a man who was more than a friend.

"Why is the Batman so sure that Maxama is coming after me," asked Lois.

Wonder Woman put down her coffee cup before she told Lois, "According to what he found out during his confrontation with Maxima. Some mysterious third party has convinced the one time queen of Almarac that the reason your husband refused her advances was because he was having a affair with a married women."

"That was why she had the confrontation with the Dark knight. Knowing his connection with your husband she tried to use her mental abilities to rip any information he had about this so called mistress and Kal from his mind."

"I take it she failed," said Lois. "Or else she would have been here already."

"Yes," answered Wonder Woman. "Batman's mental defenses were to strong, His mind to well disciplined for her to find out anything using her mental powers. So she tried beating information out of him using her meta human speed and strength levels."

Concerned Lois asked, "How is he doing?"

"Hurt, but he will recover. A couple of weeks rest and he will be swinging through the night once more," answered Diana. She then added, "He gave almost as good as he got. I would say that Maxima would think twice before taking him on again."

"Clark holds him in high regards, even more so since he does what he does with out any special powers or meta human abilities," explained Lois.

Diana agreed with her hostess, “Yes, he is a man worthy to be listed among the hero's of ancient legend."

"He still gives me the creeps," Lois told her guest.

"He gives everybody the creeps, he likes it that way." Diana then added, "Why do you think he wears that outfit."

"If Maxima has convinced herself that Superman has a mistress, wouldn't that mean she should be coming after you Diana. After all there was all of those stories about Superman and Wonder Woman in the papers."

"No," answered Wonder Woman. Remember Superman's so called mistress is supposed to be a married women, so that leaves me out of the loop."

"What about Lana, Wouldn't she fit the bill?" "After all she is married."

"No Lois," Diana replied. "Lana's past relationship was with Clark, not The Man of Steel. Besides you were the one who was once known as Superman's girl friend."

Lois thought for a moment then told the Amazon princess, "If you put it that way, then I would be the best choice for Maxima's wrath. But I can't help be amused by the whole thing," said Lois.

"I don't understand," said Diana.

"Come on Diana, you have to admit it's pretty ironic that I have a crazed Meta human after my life because she thinks I am having an affair with my own husband," Lois explained.

Lois then asked, "By the way Diana what does all this have to do with you,"

"I made a promise to your husband," Wonder Woman answered.

"And that means…"

"It means that until Clark comes home, you have a new roommate," explained Diana.

"So your telling me this is the way it's going to be and I have no say in the matter?" Lois asked.

"You can order me from your home and I will leave," said Diana. "But that would only will mean having a very tall and strangely dressed women hanging around your neighborhood scaring the children and attracting perverts."

Lois laughed and said, "We can't go around having that now can we, after all we wouldn't want to frighten the children in the neighborhood, besides there is the other reason."

"What other reason would that be?" asked Diana.

Lois pointed at Wonder Woman's famous and revealing costume and said, "If you ever were so bold to hang around this neighborhood dressed in the manner you are now Diana. Some over zealous law officer would be with in his or her rights to arrest you for soliciting."

That statement by Lois made Wonder Woman shake so hard with laughter, she spilled the coffee she was holding into her own lap.

For the next two days, Lois and Diana fell into a polite if some what strained routine. To pass the time Lois would interview the Amazon Princess about her life and place in the Amazon nation and of her hopes and observations for the modern women in today’s society. Wonder Woman spoke freely and honestly about her own career in man's world and her hopes and even her fears for that same and all to often sad world.

After two days with her Amazon house guest Lois knew she had gathered enough material for a whole series of news articles. Perhaps even a book based on Wonder Woman and her Amazon sister hood. But one thing Diana would not share with her was her trip to Smallville and her secret relationship with Clark's parents.

Lois still knew next to nothing about what had been going on back at the Kent Farm. Every time she would bring up the subject Diana would in turn deftly manage to change the topic by telling Lois yet another story of the ancient Amazon society of which she was so proudly a part. Or her own colorful career, here in what Wonder Woman called for lack of a better word, 'Man's world.'

Lois Lane had always prided herself on being a reporter who was almost always able to uncover the facts of a story. If you were to ask her fellow reporters in the newly reopened Planet's Bullpen, almost all of them would have told you Lois's work ethic went way beyond any simple dedication to uncover the facts of a story.

Truth be told, all to often she bordered on being totally obsessive with being able to uncover the facts of the story she was covering at any given moment. This near obsession with the truth was what had been driving Lois in her futile attempts to uncover what had been going on behind her back in Smallvile. Between these bouts of polite but strained social intercourse Wonder Woman kept in touch with Oracle, Batman and Diana's other world wide net work of allies with the help of Lois and Lois's own home computer.

It was on the third day that Lois and Diana received a brief message from Oracle informing them of a trip to the forbidding world of Apokolips and a face to face meeting between Darkseid and a delegation from New Genesis and the Justice league.

The members who traveled there to talk to the dark lord of Apokolips were Superman representing earth and the Justice League and a delegation of New Gods from New Genesis which included big Barda because of her combined ties to earth, Apokolips and New Genesis.

When Lois first found out about Clark's sojourn to the dark and foreboding world of Apokolips. Lois felt sick from the knot of fear she suddenly felt in the pit of her stomach when she heard the news.

Her heart began to race and she suddenly felt faint from the sudden attack of anxiety she was feeling as she began to imagined all the dangers the love of her life might at that very moment might be facing.

As for her guest, when Wonder Woman heard the news, she played the part of the ever stoic Amazon warrior and the dedicated professional. This facade would of fooled almost anyone, but Lois Lane is not just any one. She had made her whole career out of being able to read people. Maybe this was a natural gift passed down from mother to daughter down the countless generations. Then again it could have been a skill developed over many years from interviews to numerous to count.

Lois wasn't sure of any of this. The one thing she was sure of was her house guest's reaction to the news that Clark was on Apokolips. What Lois Lane Kent saw in the face of this legendary Amazon warrior was fear and also dread. Not fear for members of the Justice League or Barda or even earth. For these, her friends and team mates she felt concern and Lois knew how truly worried she was for their safety.

The fear Lois noticed on Wonder Woman face had suddenly appeared there when she found out that her husband was on his way to Apokolips for his upcoming meeting with Darkseid. This look of fear was different, more intense it was a fear a person could touch and perhaps even taste. Lois was determined to find out the reason for that sudden look of fear and dread on the Amazon's face.

In the beginning when Lois first saw with her own eyes what her head and her heart refused to believe. Lois Lane star reporter did her best to convince herself that the fear she read on Wonder Woman's face was simply concern for one close friend for another. For any one else that would have been explanation enough.

But Lois knew that fear was not a trait normally to be found in this most remarkable woman's make up. At least not for herself. Lois knew all to well that Diana cared more for the well being of others than she ever did for herself. That was one of the many fine traits she shared with her Clark.

With her background and up bringing, Lois knew for Diana to show this much emotion no matter how brief or clandestine could only mean one thing. Lois now knew the Amazon must care very deeply about her husband. How deeply or in what regard was the one question Lois Lane was bound and determined to answer one way or another.

If there was one advantage life in the big city had over life in the country, Lois Lane would sure to be the one woman most Likely to find out about and take full advantage of it. It was not mass transit, opera, the museums or any of the other forms of cultural icons found in the great cities of the world which Lois and now Diana came to depend on most.

Even access to instant communication and the world wide net were no longer just limited to the city and the other high density urban population centers. The same access could now be found on the remotest of Kansas farms.

The one truly great thing big city life had over life in the country was by it self only to be found in the biggest and busiest of cities. Because only there could you get Chinese food delivered to your apartment at one o'clock in the morning.

With her own lack of cooking skills and those of her house guest, which were hard to believe even worst. This home delivery wasn't just a convenience for the two women but more akin to a life preserver. While they shared their meal together the two women talked.

Lois for her part satisfied her reporters soul by asking Diana personal questions about her adventures here on what Wonder Woman called Patriarch's world. The stories Lois Lane showed the most interest in were the ones that her husband had shared with the Amazon.

For her part Wonder Woman's questions were for the most part all aimed at the domestic side of the life Lois shared with her famous husband. After relating a funny story to Diana about how she learned for the first time how Clark had to shave with a mirror and a blast of his heat vision. Diana worked up the nerve to ask a most personal question of her host.

Wonder Woman asked, "Lois may I ask you a rather personal question, one women to another?"

"How personal?" Lois asked with a smile.

Diana began to blush and quickly answered, "Never mind! I have no right to ask such a thing of you."

Lois began to laugh and taking Diana by the hand said," I'm only kidding you Diana, you go right ahead and ask your question."

Taking a deep breath Diana asked her host, "Lois, when you and Clark are being er…I mean.. you know…close is there any thing different you have to be careful with because of who your husband is?"

Lois gave Wonder Woman a very sweet smile before she told her, "No Diana, we are for the most part the same as any other married couple. But we did have one little problem the first time we were as you so sweetly put it close."

"Can you tell me what it was?" Wonder Woman asked innocently.

For an answer Lois grinned and said," In the beginning of our intermit relationship, I had to convince Clark he didn't have to worry so much that I was going to break."

Lois thought for a moment then added, "But then you must have worried about the same thing also Diana. Except in your case it must have been from the other side of the question?"

"In my case," said Wonder Woman. "I have yet to have such worries or be forced to come face to face with that particular problem."

"OH I didn't know," responded Lois. "I am sorry to hear that."

In response to what Lois just said Diana smiled slyly and exclaimed, "Your sorry!"

Sharing the absurd sweetness of the moment both women started to giggle which soon was replaced by mutual fits of laughter.

When Lois finally caught her breath and regained her self control she took the opportunity to ask, "From what I have been told, I always thought Amazons didn't worry about such things, that they had…other interests?"

Wonder Woman for her part stated simply, "Don't believe in every thing you hear, especially about us."

The next morning Lois was able to prepare for her guest and herself some toast that was not to badly burned and eggs that if were a little runny still could be eaten, as always her coffee was top notch. For Lois this breakfast was a major victory for her never ending battle against domesticity. While other little girls were learning to wear make up roast a chicken or play fashion model.

Lois learned from her professional soldier of a father hand to hand combat, the proper way to field strip an M-16 and of course how to fire it. Even with all this Lois still had been and always would be a major disappointment to her father. This was because according to Lois's father, her first mistake came early in her life.

This mistake was when she had the nerve to be born a daughter instead of the son he had always demanded. Her father tried to correct natures mistake by taking it on himself to raise her as his son.

Lois loved her father and she in turn knew he loved her. But being so much alike, they simply couldn't like each other and they never could or would get along with each other. Lois's father did not approve of her choice of Schools or careers and most of all husband.

He thought Clark was to soft, to much of a wimp and of course much to yellow to be married to the daughter of General Sam Lane.

General Lane on the other hand would have been shocked to know that the very traits he found most infuriating about his daughter were the very ones he himself had the most responsibility for installing in her. He would never know that these same said traits were the ones that had attracted the wimp to his oldest child in the first place.

Her courage, her spirit her dedication to the truth and the passion that raged like a fire in the pit of her soul were to some extent his creation. The compassion in her heart. The love in her eyes and her caring nature in some part came from her mother but mostly from some where deep inside Lois herself.

This most dysfunctional of families that Lois came from was the furnace in which she was tempered and strengthened like a piece of steel to become the wife and love of a man with the powers of a God.

At a very young age Lois learned about intimidation. Her father was a career army officer and as such tried his best to intimidate his daughter the same way as he did with his men. But no matter how hard he tried or how much he blustered, Lois wouldn't let him intimidate her. This inner courage, and moral strength of character carried over into her work. Street gangs, thugs, organized crime, corrupt government officials, both foreign and domestic and a whole host of others all tried at one time or another to use some form of intimidation to stop or at least try to control her.

They all failed to intimidate Lois into forsaking her calling as a reporter or prevent her from telling the truth. It was her own incredible courage that made her a bright shinning star to her fellow members of the fourth estate. She shared her marriage bed with the most powerful man on the planet and if that could not intimidate her nothing ever would. It wasn't Superman the legendary hero who could move mountains who finely managed to move Lois Lane the ice queen.

But Clark the man and just the man that at last melted the ice and freed her heart and in doing so became the anchor to his own humanity and the missing piece of his soul. Even if she was married to the Man of Steel Lois Lane would never be like her mother, would never take the bull her mother took from her Father.

Clark never offered any and neither would Lois take any and she wasn't about to start taking any bull from this Amazon she was now sharing her home with. No matter how much Lois had begun to like and respect her.

Lois had convinced herself that Wonder Woman had a secret about her husband, a secret that Lois Lane was determined to discover. By hook or by crook she was going to find out just what that secret was. With this in mind Lois found herself at her computer hard at work doing research on her house guest.

As Wonder Woman was reading a novel in the living room Lois was scanning back issues of the Planet and the Boston Globe concerning any possible link between her husband and her recently acquired nurse maid. What she was able to find for the most part she already knew.

The headlines, the gossip the jokes both cruel and humorous about these two public Icons she was once again reading a new. She could with the help of old newspaper articles and radio and television transcripts trace the brief and tentative steps Diana and Clark had made towards each other. All of this was being made possible by the files she was now scanning on the net.

With the power of the Internet at her finger tips. Lois could follow the stoking of their passion until suddenly seemingly with out rhyme or reason these two exceptional people both abruptly ended it. When Diana's own mother had opened Themyscira to the outside world for the first time. Lois was one of the reporters who covered that event.

It was Wonder Woman princess of Themyscira who had invited Clark in his capacity as a reporter to cover the story. But instead he arranged that Lois who was by this time was engaged to marry to take his place. It was there on the Island paradise of Themyscira that Lois and Diana talked for the first time together. At the time Diana did her best to reassure her that what ever she and Clark had or might of had was long since over.

Lois chose to believe her then because what Diana said is what the Amazon truly believed and what she herself wanted to believe. Or perhaps Lois now thought to herself, 'What I needed to believe?'

Now Lois Lane was no longer sure what the ageless Amazon beauty believed in any longer. It was two o’clock in the afternoon when the knock at the door came. The daughter of Hippolyta was instantly on alert as she asked Lois, "Were you expecting any one to call on you today?"

"No," Lois answered. "As far as any one at the office knows I am on vacation."

Lois got up and moved towards the door. Before she could open it Diana was at her side and taking hold of her by the shoulder whispered into her ear, "ask who it is first?"

In response Lois asked, "Who is it please?"

A moment of silence soon followed than in a husky but feminine voice replied, "I am looking for princess Diana. I was told she could be found here?"

Wonder Woman immediately recognized the voice and slowly but cautiously opened the door less it be some kind of a trick. As the door opened there standing in the door way of the Kent's apartment was the last person in the world the Amazon princess had expected to see.

As her latest guest entered the apartment, Lois closed and locked the door behind her. Setting her eyes on Wonder Woman the new visitor immediately dropped to one knee bowed her head put her right fist over her heart. Under her long green trench coat Lois could see the hilt of a sword were it rested between her shoulder blades.

Diana looked down at her Amazon sister and said, "Stand up Artemis. You know how much I dislike being greeted in such a manner."

"I am sorry my Princess," Artemis said. "But many of our sisters will always consider it a privilege and not just a duty to give the royal salute for a member of the royal family."

Gesturing for her Amazon subject to stand Wonder Woman said, It is bad enough that I have to put up with the trappings of royalty back home. I will not tolerate it here in the outside world."

"Yes my Princess," was all the answer Artemis gave for a reply.

As Artemis and Diana were having their conversation Lois was hard at work studying her newest guest. The first thing Lois noticed about the new arrival was that she was almost as tall as Diana. She had red hair pulled strait back into a pony tail.

Her face was strange, not ugly or repulsive in fact it could be called pretty. But there was a harshness to it, a touch of danger was ever present to be seen around the eyes as they darted around observing all around her. She never seemed to relax.

Neither her body or her mouth ever seemed to softened. Lois looked over to were Diana was sitting and saw none of this in her face. Lois knew from her husband how dangerous the daughter of queen Hippolyta could become.

Still Diana managed to cover her warriors face and even her martial nature with kindness and the reflection of her inner goodness. As well with the bright light of compassion which seemed to beam out from her like a beacon.

Lois saw that Artemis was a pure warrior and nothing but a warrior, she had none of Diana's sentiment to mask her calling as did Diana. As Lois took her visitors coat it was Diana who made the formal introductions.

"Lois this is Artemis one of my sisters, and Artemis this is Lois Lane Kent our host. Make sure you show her the respect due her as my friend," Diana ordered.

"Of course your highne… I mean Diana," said Artemis as she caught herself. "Thank you for inviting me into your home Mrs. Kent."

"From now on you just call me Lois, that's what all my Amazon baby sitters call me," interrupted Lois with a big grin.

Suddenly Diana had a look of concern and dread mixed with panic appear on her face.

"Has something happened to Cassie?" she asked.

"No she is safe and sound and with her mother even as we speak," explained Artemis.

Relieved that her young friend and protege was safe Diana asked, "So what does bring you here to me and even of more importance how did you know were to find me?"

"The answer to both your questions my princess lies with your noble mother the queen," answered Artemis.

"Your mother has ordered me to find you and report as your aide for the duration of the crisis we now face. As for the other she told me if I had trouble finding you I should seek out the one called Lois Lane for help. "Further more she has informed me that Lois and her husband have been of service to the sisterhood in the past and may be trusted."

Wonder Woman asked, "Did my mother share with you what that service was?"

"No I was not privy to that information," replied Artemis.

"Good that is the way it should be," said Diana. She then added, "I never want you to bring it up again or discuss it with any one."

"By your command," said Artemis as she in turn bowed her head.

Lois stood up and announced, "I'm going to put the kettle on for some tea, I see you both have things you need to talk over." As Lois made her way towards the kitchen she shouted back over her shoulder, "Diana, I'm telling you right now if any more of your Amazons start knocking at my door. I'm going to skip the tea and head straight for the brandy."

Diana laughed and even the grim faced Artemis managed the tiniest of smiles. Leading her subject to the living room the two Amazons sat side by side.

When Lois left Artemis took the opportunity to ask, "May I be so bold to ask what you are doing in the home of this mortal Diana?"

Making sure not to tell a lie Diana said, "Lois and I have a mutual friend in Superman," said Diana. "With him and the rest of the Justice League away on New Genesis it came to my knowledge that recently a mentally disturbed Meta human of great power has come to have a grudge against her, I am here to see that no harm comes to her."

"Do you deem it wise my princess to put yourself at risk for the sake of this mortal. Especially now with the crisis we all may soon be facing?"

"First of all," Diana told her sister. "I have given my word to a friend to protect her. With my life if need be. More important still when will you learn all life is precious and must be protected Artemis."

"Life is but a commodity like any other Diana," explained Artemis. "If history teaches us anything it is also the cheapest. Only honor has value and your life is the only currency you have to spend to keep it."

"After all this time with us Artemis it saddens me that you still think the way you do. If protecting a life is not enough reason for you then let us agree I am here to keep a promise to some one I respect and hold dear and by keeping my promise I am protecting my honor."

Artemis was about to resume debating the issue when Lois called to Diana from the kitchen, "Diana will you come here for a second and give me a hand?"

As Diana stood up to go to Lois's aide Artemis took her by the arm and said, "This woman dares to ask the daughter of my queen to work in a kitchen as if she was a common servant?"

"Won't be the first time," replied a smiling Diana as she walked to the kitchen and began to help Lois with the tea service.

Whispering Lois asked Diana, "What service have I ever done for the Amazon Nation?"

Wonder Woman told her by saying, "Remember when you were first engaged to Clark he shared a certain code parse if ever some one was in need of Superman?"

Lois nodded her head yes and said, "I remember a phone call from a women a few years back." "Was that you?" she asked.

"No my mother and please don't ask me about it," added Diana as if she was reading Lois's mind. "Your husband swore never to reveal what happened that day and he never has, and never will, not even to you."

'Yet another mystery,' thought Lois as she loaded up the tea cart and with Diana's help pushed it into the living room.

Wonder Woman took her seat next to Artemis and Lois sat down across from them both and began to pour out the tea.

As she poured Lois remarked, "I decided that between the three of us the concept of a formal tea should not be to far out of place."

"This tea serving is beautiful Lois," remarked Diana. "And if I am not mistaken very old."

For an answer Lois told the Amazon Princess to look under the tea pot. Holding the tea pot above her head Diana then proceeded to do just that and read Revere 1782.

"This was made by Paul Revere?" asked Diana in a voice filled with awe and wonder.

Lois nodded her head yes, then said, "Yes it was, the tea service along with those two silver candle sticks on the mantel were a wedding gift from Martha and Jonathan. They were made of the purest silver and have been in their family for one hundred and twenty six years."

Diana handed the pot back to Lois who proceeded to pour out the tea for her guests and herself. Artemis asked, "I hope you got more than a old tea pot for selling yourself into bondage?"

"What do you mean by bondage?" Lois asked her guest.

"What else can you call what happens to any woman foolish enough to voluntary subjugate herself to a man?" Artemis asked.

"I don't know what has has happened to you in your past to caused you to think the way you do Artemis. But in this house you can believe me when I tell you I am no man's slave."

"Then you must be able to physically dominate the man you have chosen for a mate," observed Artemis.

"Only when he lets me," said Lois laughing. As she winked at Wonder Woman, Diana also began to laugh along with her. While Lois was making her point with Artemis, Lois took the silver sugar bowl from Diana and tried to hand it over to Artemis.

When the bowl came to her she refused politely by telling her, "No thank you Mrs. Kent I have given up on sugar."

"What?" asked Wonder Woman? "The only normal weakness I could ever accuse you of is your love of sweets and now your telling me you went and denied yourself that one small touch of human softness."

"To be a slave to ones pleasures is a corruption that is nearly as bad as being a slave to a man," said Artemis.

"Come Saturday night I bet your just one regular real wild party girl," Lois answered sarcastically.

For her part Lois grinned as Artemis glared back at her host. If Artemis expected Lois to cower under her glare she was soon disappointed.

Lois for her part was wondering what her one time teachers at that snotty finishing school her father once forced her to attend, would think of this formal tea. Her father had once made the mistake of enrolling her in Ms. Grapshaw's finishing school for refined young ladies.

It had to be with out a doubt the worst six weeks in her very young life. The then Fifteen year old Lois Lane spent six miserable weeks with Creepy Crapshaw. Because it took young Lois all of six weeks to finally get herself expelled. Lois's first attempt was by the simple act of thinking up Creepy's nickname, which spread among the rest of the student body like wild fire.

When this failed to produce the desired expulsion which young Lois sought. She simply reasoned she would just have to try that much harder to get out. Before this snobortorium they called a finishing school could drive her insane.

Lois shuddered as she remembered the young fifteen year old girl forced to take part in Ball room dancing, high tea and French lessons. It was enough to make her run away twice. She spent so much time in detention her rich snobby class mates organized a weekly betting pool based on the number of detention days she would receive for the week.

Lois's father who at the time was a major, thought his teen age daughter needed a little refinement in her life. That's how he got the idea of enrolling his oldest daughter in finishing school

After six weeks, three visits by her father and numerous phone calls, Ms. Crapshaw at her wits end suggested a private military school or better yet a reform school as the most suitable place for his daughter to finish her education.

Young Lois would have been satisfied even happy with either choice, if it only meant her never having to return again to Ms. Crapshaw's finishing school for refined young ladies. As Lois played host to her two guests she would have dearly loved for Creepy Crapshaw to be here to witness how Lois was putting all those lessons she gave her on how to host a proper formal tea.

Crappy Crapshaw never did get around to cover the proper etiquette for serving high tea to a pair of Amazon Warriors. Is it proper Lois thought to ask your guest if she would be more comfortable if she would take off her sword? What is the proper side to pour tea for a woman who could knock over your apartment building.

Ms Crapshaw insisted on formal gowns and the ballet to install style and grace. What would Ms. Crapshaw have thought of the way Diana was dressed. Or for that matter what would she think about Diana? A women who's every movement, no matter how slight not only caused the muscles of her impressive physique to ripple and dance. But whose mere presents showed off her natural grace and beauty.

Lois was interrupted from her self absorbed day dreams by Diana telling her sister, "I'm glad you have come Sister, your unexpected arrival here is most advantages."

After taking a sip of tea and putting down her cup Diana continued, "I want you to return home to Themyscira with two messages, the first of which will be for my mother the queen, informing her of the preparations I and our allies have made here in Patriarch's world in case of any attack by Darkseid."

"The other message you will carry back home will be secret, it is to be delivered only to the guard captains Phillipus and my friend Cassandra with out informing my mother of it's contents."

"Even you do not have the right to ask me to go behind my rightful queens back," protested Artemis.

"It is because of the love I have for my mother that I am asking you to do this thing for me Artemis," explained Diana.

Wonder Woman then added, "Our queen for her own reasons has decided if the need arises for the sisterhood to go to war, that she herself will be leading the strike force of our Amazon sisters into battle."

"The message you carry will be orders by me to Cassandra and Phillipus to include an extra fifty warriors composed of my mother's own elite Body guard. They will be under my orders to take no part in any possible battle, but Instead their one and only duty is to protect my mother in any possible future conflict."

"If your mother the queen were to find out about your plan she would never stand still for it and if we do find ourselves going into battle there will be no way we will be able to keep your plans from her."

"When and if that happens, that's when the three of you can inform my mother that you were only following my orders. In that way if my mother has need of a target for her infamous temper I will be the one she can set it lose on," explained Wonder Woman.

"I hear and obey." exclaimed the red headed Amazon warrior in response to the orders Diana issued.

"In the mean time as part of those preparations, I have to leave for an hour or so to talk with a potential ally right here in Metropolis," explained Diana. "I want you to stay here by Lois's side and see to her safety while I am gone."

"I don't need a baby sitter Diana. I know how to take care of myself," said a defiant Lois Lane.

"I'm sure you can," admitted Wonder Woman. "And against almost any one else my money would be on you, but Maxima is not just anyone."

"But I resent being treated like some helpless child," said Lois.

"Who doesn't," Diana agreed. "But if something were to happen to you I would never again be able to look upon the face of your husband or Superman again," said Diana as she remembered the presents of Artemis and caught her own mistake in time.

Lois said sarcastically, "All right, MOTHER! bring on your baby sitter, I give up,"

Diana smiled at Lois's little joke, stood up and stretched.

Diana took the opportunity to say, "There are many things that Artemis and I fail to see eye to eye or even agree to disagree on. But the one thing she knows how to do is obey an order."

Wonder Woman then turned to Artemis and said, "Your orders are the following Artemis, you are to remain here when I am gone and protect my friend as if your life depends on it."

A moment of silence followed then in a serious voice Diana added, "Because Artemis let us have no doubts between us, it does!"

"I would expect nothing less than that, my princess." said Artemis as she acknowledged her command.

Lois took an extravagant sniff of the air around her and asked with a sarcastic smile, "Is that the faint odor of testosterone I smell?"

For her part Diana simply laughed. Artemis not catching on to the joke just passively sat there and finished her tea.

Leading Diana to the door Lois threw back the bolt, stuck her head out of the door and looked up and down the hallway to see if any unwanted eyes were about. Seeing that none of her neighbors were in the hallway, Lois gave the Amazon princess the all clear sign.

Wonder Woman said a quick good bye and then made a even quicker high speed dash past Lois on her way to the stair well that would take her to the apartment's roof for a covert take off.

As Diana left and Lois closed and locked the door behind her Lois turned and said to her remaining quest," Any one up for a little girl talk?"

As Lois and Artemis were settling in for their little talk Wonder Woman was flying over the city of Metropolis, once again on her way to the Lex-corp building. She had reason to smile as she flew past the old Daily Planet building and saw that they had started work on replacing the world famous globe.

Landing in front of the main entrance of the Lex-Corp building, Diana soon realized her sudden and unexpected arrival was the reason that a crowd of the cities busy citizens and tourists began to gather and press in around her. Looking past the sudden rush of autograph seekers who had quickly crowded around her Diana stared into the main lobby and noticed that her friends, the two sides of beef were now missing.

The two rent a cops had been replaced by two rather nasty looking gentlemen in expensive tailored suits which due to the skill of their haberdashers almost managed to conceal the shoulder holsters they both wore.

Having no wish to once more run the gauntlet of Luthor's security force, Diana gently brushed off the people that were crowding around her and took to the sky. Wonder Woman rose slowly and majestically upward so she wouldn't give any alarm or excuse to the guards she was sure were at that very moment keeping a close and watchful eye on her. As she reached the penthouse level Diana saw the armed men on the roof of the Lex-corp building.

A moment later Diana herd the approach of the helicopter long before she ever saw it as it came roaring around the corner of the Lex-corp skyscraper. The attack helicopter hovered right in front of her as it's twin Vulcan canons pointed right at her mid section. She simply smiled and waved as she continued to hover in front of Lex Luthor's private penthouse office.

She turned slowly and was about to knock on the window but stopped when she saw by the smile on Lex Luthor's face he already new she was there. Pushing a button under his desk the window slid opened as he said, "Please come in Wonder Woman I was expecting you."

In turn Diana replied , "I can see by your friends outside and your other changes to your security just how anxious you are to meet with me Luthor."

As she floated into the room Luthor pressed a button on a control panel at his desk and said, "That will be all pilot resume your normal patrol."

Turning once more to the Amazon Princess Luthor said, "I hope you don't think these new security measures were meant for you?"

"That's to bad," remarked Wonder Woman. "For a moment I was almost flattered."

"Well don't be Wonder Woman," replied Luthor. "None of this was meant for you. But I will admit to you that our last conversation did inspirer it."

"Then I take it you have come to a decision on the question of wither your own self interest lies in helping to protect the world from the danger we now all face?"

"I have had talks with certain important and very powerful people concerning your interesting proposals," Luthor explained. I have talked to the head of Intergang, the Illuminarte and the heads of some of the biggest and most powerful families across the country."

"You do know what I mean by families?" asked Luthor.

"I'm afraid I do," answered Diana.

Luthor laughed and said, "I see your time in the outside word has broadened your outlook on life Diana."

"I only allow my friends and those people I respect to call me Diana Luthor and you don't qualify in either case"

Luthor shrugged then said. "What ever makes you happy."

He then continued by saying, "The people I have talked to all agree for certain considerations, you will have their full cooperation during the present crisis."

Diana told him, "No deal Luthor." "You can tell your so called friends if that is the price they ask, then their help will not be welcomed. If their cooperation must be bought for some ready cash or to satisfy their own lust for power you can tell them to forget it. If they are unable to see that their own self interest lies in opposing Darkseid then I say the hell with them."

Luthor crossed his arms threw back his head and laughed out loud as he said, "That is almost the exact same thing I told them. It took no small effort on my part to convince them of this."

"But after I explained to them that Darkseid was no more than a poacher who was coming to earth not only to shear our sheep, but to skin them as well. They agreed to fully cooperate with you. The analogy I used concerning sheep was one they could all understand and there for prompt them to promised to cooperate fully in opposing him."

"Then why did you lie to me? asked Wonder Woman.

Luthor smiled and said, "Can't blame a guy for trying."

Pressing a button on his intercom Luthor said, "Send them both in."

When he finished he continued, "All of these so called organizations have put their members on alert. If a war should erupt they will be put at your disposal."

Just as he finished speaking the massive wooden doors of his office opened and Mercy Luthor's body guard and some time chauffeur entered, followed by a small man in a dark suit carrying a brief case.

"I am very glad you came to day Wonder Woman I have been putting this presentation off until you had a chance to return to witness it," Luthor explained.

Opening the bottom draw of his desk he took out a wooden box and handing it over to Mercy and said, "This is for you my dear."

Mercy placed the box on Luthor's desk and opened it. As she reached inside the box she squealed with delight as she came out holding two army Colt forty five semi automatic pistols model nineteen eleven.

She held them up to the light and said, "Thanks Lex baby I mean Boss. They are just like my father's old set of Colts."

"I thought it was only right that some one should at least try to replace your families heirlooms that were so cruelly taken from you," he told her as he looked over at Wonder Woman.

"Now Wonder Woman we have something for you, "Luthor said as he nodded to the man standing next to Diana.

As he reached into his briefcase Diana prepared to defend herself in case of an attack. When his hand did come out of the brief case he held in his hand something far more terrifying than almost any weapon, a subpoena.

Taking it from Luthor's lawyer Wonder Woman quickly looked it over and said, "I don't believe it Luthor, your suing me for ten million dollars?"

Luthor replied, "What else could you expect, you came into my building attacked and injured my faithful employees not to mention all the damaged property you were responsible for, add on to that all the physical and emotional trauma you were responsible for."

"Now you have to pay," he said as he began to laugh along with Mercy.

As the two of them were laughing and enjoying their moment of triumph a sound was heard that Luthor or his body guard had expected to hear. It was the sound of even more laughter but much to his surprise it was coming from Wonder Woman herself. She was laughing even as she tore the legal document into little pieces and tossed them around the room like snow flakes.

"Before you go around spending big money on crooked lawyers Luthor. You really should try and let your lawyer have all the pertinent facts of a case before you go around trying to sue people," she explained to him.

"What facts?" asked a confused Luthor.

Diana smiled and told him," Facts such as the treaty of Vienna, or perhaps you should have checked first with your nation’s state department about me being an accredited diplomat of the Amazon Nation of Themyscira and the fact that I have.."

She was then interrupted by Luthor's expensive lawyer as he finished her sentence, "Diplomatic immunity."

Luthor's face started to turn red as Diana explained, "That means you know what you can do with your law suite Luthor"

In response the head of Lex-corp once more hit the button that opened the window to is office and said, "You have not heard the last of this princess, now get out!"

"There is nothing I rather do more," she said. But then added," But before I do go I have to speak with Mercy first and in private."

"Drop Dead!," Mercy told her. "Anything you have to say to me you can say in front of Mr. Luthor."

Diana looked over at Luthor and saw the smug expression on his face and for a moment had a all most over whelming urge to put her fist in it. But instead she controlled her anger and instead said to Mercy," No I won't."

Having said it, a split second later Diana had seized hold of the now struggling Mercy and flew out the open office window.

As she continued to struggle with Wonder Woman Mercy shouted into her ear, "Let me go you crazy bitch."

In response Diana took Mercy’s by her chin and forced her head down to face the pavement some one hundred stories below and asked, "Do you still want me to let you go?"

For an answer Luthor's Body guard clung frantically to the neck of the Amazon warrior. They flew clinging together until the both of them Landed in the rich green woods of Centennial park.

It was there that Wonder Woman let her all to reluctant Passenger go. Mercy showed her gratitude to Wonder Woman by unleashing a round house kick in the direction of the Amazon's head. Easily blocking the kick Diana once again reluctantly took hold of her in a bear hug and gently squeezed until she felt the petulant body guard go limp in her powerful arms.

Letting her go Mercy collapsed onto the leaf covered floor of the woods gasping for breath. Reaching down The Amazon princess gently picked up Mercy as she would a baby and sat her down on a near by park bench. Diana then sat down next to her and waited for Mercy to catch her breath.

When her breathing slowed down to a more normal level Diana decided the time was now right to begin talking with her, "I didn't take you from your employees office to fight with you Mercy, but to talk," explained Diana.

When she caught her breath and realizing the futility of trying to fight with the Amazon, Mercy instead decided to talk. "What do you want to talk about?" she asked.

"You," Diana answered. "You have the heart and the courage of a warrior Mercy. I learned this for myself during our first confrontation and again just now."

Diana then added, "But I can not understand why a women like yourself would take up with the likes of Lex Luthor of all people?"

"Because I owe him," answered Mercy.

Diana asked, "May I ask in what way?"

Mercy answered, "He found me when I was no more than a child running wild in the streets. Doing almost any thing I could to survive and survive I did but I wouldn't call it living."

She paused for a moment then added, "Lex changed all that."

"And because of what you believed was an act of kindness on his part. You now find yourself doing certain things for him. Things that you know deep in your own heart are just not right," Diana pointed out to the body guard.

Mercy answered, "Sometimes," as she looked at the ground.

"Lex Luthor has never and will never do a kind or unselfish act in his life. Unless he can be sure to profit from it in some way," she added.

"I wanted to speak to you alone today in order to let you know, that if you ever get tired of serving that man you can come to me for help. I can offer you a place to stay on Paradise Island if you so wish or a new identity in a new city. All you would have to do is leave a message with the Justice League message board and I will be there for you," Diana explained to her.

"Why do you care what happens to me?" asked Mercy.

For an answer Wonder Woman told her, "I don't like to see anyone abused the way you have been. First it was your father, then society and now worst of all Lex Luthor."

Diana then added, "If that is not reason enough for you then try this reason, Sometimes we all need help. That includes me, the man in the street or even the hero who normally watches over this city and if we are able to, we all should be willing to give that help. Especially if it is from one sister to another."

Mercy in turn said, "I will have think on it."

"I have no right to ask for any thing more than that," said Diana.

She then added, "Do you need a lift back to Lex-corp?"

Mercy shook her head no and replied, "No thank you, it's not that far to walk and Lex does keep me on a pretty short leach. I really could do with some time alone with myself to think."

"Then I will leave you here alone with your thoughts my sister, "Diana said.

Wonder Woman slowly started to rise into the night sky.

She looked down once more at Mercy and said, "Fare well my sister. When next we meet I hope it will be as friends and if not friends at least not enemies."

A moment more and Diana turned on her speed and disappeared into the night sky and was quickly out of Mercy’s sight.

As Wonder Woman was flying through the rapidly descending veil of night, she had no way of knowing that her flight over the streets of Metropolis was taking her to the most pain filled and emotional confrontation of her adventure filled life.

The reason for this coming confrontation would have nothing to do with the threat of Lady Maxima or even with Darkseid himself. In the next few minutes The Amazon princess would soon find herself wishing that she in fact was facing the dread Lord of Apokolips rather then face the person she would soon be forced to confront.

Just around the time that princess Diana first landed at the entrance of the Lex-corp building the spark that would ignite this emotional conflagration was set.

Lois Lane had just sat back down next to her guest when she remarked," When I made that little joke about the brandy I wasn't kidding Artemis. If you would prefer something stronger?"

"You do brew a very fine cup of tea Mrs. Kent, but if it isn't to much trouble?"

Lois smiled and told her guest, "No trouble at all." "Besides," she added. "Remember what the poet Ogden Nash once said, 'Candy is dandy, but liqueur is quicker.'"

Artemis began to smile as Lois stood up and went into the kitchen to take down the bottle of brandy from the top of the pantry shelf.

Blowing the dust from the bottle Lois also found two large brandy snuffers and carried them and the bottle of Napoleon brandy out to her guest.

Sitting down next to Artemis Lois poured each of them a more than generous libation for them both.

When Lois finished pouring she swelled the drink around the inside of the brandy snuffer and took a sip making sure to breath in the bouquet as she did.

Turning back to Artemis Lois watched in shock as Artemis gulped down the contents of the snuffer in two quick gulps. Pouring out another brandy for her guest Lois sat back in the couch and asked, "How long have you known Diana?"

"We have been friends for almost seven years," she replied. "May I ask you a question Lois?" Artemis asked.

"Why not," Lois answered.

"If princess Diana is so concern about this rouge female meta human, why are you still here in your own home waiting for Maxima's attack?" asked Artemis.

Lois told her guest, "Because I'm not one to run from my troubles Artemis."

Artemis then pointed out, "You could travel to Themyscira, you would be safe there and I'm sure our queen would welcome you. Especially if princess Diana would ask her mother on your behalf."

"It's an honor to know that," said Lois. But I'm not sure that is totally true," she added.

Artemis asked, "What makes you say that?"

"Last time I found myself on your Island home, your queen seemed to be trying to avoid me. Strange as it may sound I don't think she felt very comfortable to be around me."

"Besides I never would allow Diana to do that for me," Lois said.

"If it meant your safety why wouldn't you?" asked Artemis. Lois thought for a moment and realized the best way for her to explain her reasons to the Amazon warrior was for her to answer her question with a in a question of her own.

"Before I answer you, may I ask you a question first Artemis?"

Artemis nodded her head yes and said, "Go ahead and ask."

"If the forces of Darkseid do attack earth and your queen leads her warriors into battle against him will you stand by her side?" asked Lois

"Of course I will, "answered Artemis.

"Why?" Lois then asked her guest.

"Because it's my duty to fight for my queen and nation and it is also an honor for me to do so."

"Same thing with me," Lois explained. "If Darkseid does attack I too will have a duty to perform.

"Just what would that duty be?" asked Artemis.

Lois answered by telling her, "I have a job to do. It's a job I both enjoy and take great pride in doing."

Lois then told her, "Part of that job is to uncover the story and do my best to inform the public about the news and the story as it unfolds. It is both a trust and an obligation to perform this service for the public that I, in my own way serve."

Lois paused for a moment in her explanation to have another sip of the Napoleon before continuing, "I have my job to do here in my home city of Metropolis just as you and Diana and the rest of your sisters do."

"If Darkseid does attack I have a duty to the cover the story and get out the news and the information to the public and I can not do that hiding on Theymscira."

"Does Diana know about your sense of duty and obligation to your work?" asked Artemis.

"I believe so," Lois answered.

Lois then added, "Why else would she be here and if she has been talking to a certain someone we both know, then I am sure of it."

"That must be the reason why she has yet to offer the sanctuary of her Wonderdome to you," observed Artemis.

"I have heard rumors about the place," Lois said. "Have you ever been there?"

"A few times with Diana or her friends," Admitted Artemis. She then added, "It is a very strange and wondrous place."

Smelling a good story Lois asked, "What is the place like?

Artemis said, "The whole thing looks like it is made of crystal. The dome is very large with many levels and a number of rooms inside. Beside a living area and a museum of past and present heroes. There are whole rooms that have been dedicated to her friends and family."

Artemis then went on with her description, "The beasts and the creatures of what you would call fable and myth have found a home with her."

"My favorite room is the armory were Diana not only stores her weapons. But is also a training area were Diana can sharpen and hone her warrior skills against constructs created by the dome itself."

"What part of the dome is Diana's favorite?" asked Lois?

"That's easy," Artemis answered. "It would have to be her Garden of Dreams."

Curious Lois asked, "What is that?"

Artemis went on to explain, "This structure we are talking about was a gift from an alien culture Diana discovered under the Antarctic Ice.

"There I can believe you Artemis," interrupted Lois. "You would be surprised just what is buried under all that ice."

"What do you mean by that?" asked Artemis.

"Nothing, I was only thinking out loud," remarked Lois.

Deciding to let the matter drop Artemis continued on with her story. "It has many amazing capabilities, "explained Artemis. "The most remarkable one of all is it's capacity to reflect the conscious and unconscious feelings, needs and most of all hidden desires of my princess."

Artemis downed another brandy and while she held out her glass for a refill went on with her story. "My princess's deepest and most personal desires are reflected by her garden of dreams."

Intrigued Lois asked, "How?" As she poured another snifter of brandy for Artemis.

"The garden itself creates crystal statues, non-living tabloids which reflect my princess's inner most dreams and hidden desires," explained Artemis.

"When last I visited there it was with Diana's friend and protege Cassie. Together we saw a statue of our Good queen Hippoylata holding my princess as a baby at the very moment of her creation."

After she thanked Lois for the brandy Artemis went on, "The one my princess's young protege found most interesting was in the form of your friend Superman."

"What about him?" Lois casually asked, careful not to show any emotion less she betray the secret of her love and herself.

Artemis answered her, "To put it simply as possible it was a reflection of my princess's emotional connection and her hidden desire for The Man of Steel."

"Desire?" asked Lois as she choked on the word.

Artemis then added, "To reflect her emotional state, her dome formed a statue of shining crystal of the two of them in a rather sensual and passionate embrace and kiss."

"I often fear how my queen would react if she were ever to find out about her only daughter's true feelings for this so called man of steel," Artemis pointed out.

Lois hadn't herd about the part about Wonder Woman's mother and she didn't care to know. All she did know was the pain in her stomach and the racing of her heart.

The anger came next followed by the fear as the pieces of the puzzle came all to soon and far to painfully together. Lois thought to herself, 'That explained her husband's reluctance to talk to her about what happened in Gateway city months ago or why Clark never talked about the fires in Kansas.'

'That also explained why the Damn Amazon was in Smallvile, more likely than not she was there to break the news to Clark's parents.' A small laugh fought past the pain Lois was suffering as she thought to herself, 'The tired old cliché is true. The wife is always the last to know.'

The short brief nervous giggle that followed ended as Lois felt the tears start to well up in her eyes. She stood up quickly and excused her self and headed for her suddenly very lonely bedroom.

She rushed off quickly to be alone, suddenly having had her fill of Amazons and their company.

But another reason she left in such haste was that she would be damned if she would let one of them see her cry.

It was only when she closed the door behind her did Lois first noticed she was still holding the now empty brandy glass in her hand. It was not there for long as it shattered into a thousand pieces as it hit her bedroom the wall.

It took Wonder Woman almost two hours to get back to the Kent's apartment.

She was delayed in her return, when on her way back she noticed an ambulance caught in rush hour traffic with its lights flashing and it's siren wailing. Setting down next to the driver's side window she asked the driver if she could be of help?

For a brief moment the driver thought that Superman had landed beside him. But one glance at the figure of the woman outside his door quickly changed all that. Taking a deep breath he quickly explained to her the ambulance he was driving was rushing one Mrs. Katz to the hospital to give birth.

But the baby had become a breach birth so now the the rush to the hospital had became a true emergency. It was then they found themselves caught in rush hour traffic made even worst by a jack knife truck.

Sizing up the emergency immediately, Wonder Woman told the patient and ambulance crew to hang on as Diana lifted the ambulance on to her back and flew it and it's precious cargo over the stalled traffic and straight to Metropolis maternity hospital.

Sixty five minutes minutes later both mother and baby were doing fine and for the rest of her life Diana katz then Diana Rosen took great delight and pride in telling her children. Then her grand children and all the members of the ladies auxiliary of Temple Beth Shalom how she came to be named after a legendary Amazon warrior and a real live Amazon princess of the blood.

But that lay in the future but in the here and now darkness had long since claimed the day as Diana landed on the dark balcony of the Kent's apartment. Diana thought it was dark enough and quiet enough to risk landing were she did and she was right.

After she landed Diana found the doors that closed off the balcony were locked but a moment of frantic taping brought Artemis to her to unlock them. When Diana entered she closed the doors behind her and drew the drapes shut.

That done Diana started to look around for Lois and not seeing her asked her sister Amazon, "Were is our host?"

Dropping down on one knee Artemis with her head bowed told her, "She went into her bedroom my princess and has locked the door. I have tried to talk with her but she only tells me is that she wants to left alone."

Ordering her to stand an angry Diana confronted her fellow Amazon by asking her, "What did you do?"

"Nothing my princess, I swear it," she pleaded. "We were having a brandy and talking, then suddenly she seemed upset excused her self and went into the bedroom. Since then she has not come out and except for telling me she want's to be left alone, she has been silent."

Ordering Artemis to wait for her out side on the Kent's apartment's balcony, Diana swiftly moved to the door of Lois and Clark's bedroom.

Taping gently on her door Diana asked, "Lois is every thing all right?" Diana heard Lois move around behind the locked door that separated them.

"Lois I have to know if your all right, please open the door," she begged.

When her plea did not result in the opening of the portal that separated the two woman. Diana changed her tactics by saying, "I'm sure Artemis didn't mean to upset you like this. Perhaps if you tell me the problem I could help."

Suddenly Diana herd the creak of a bed spring and footsteps that rapidly were coming in her direction. Wonder Woman heard the lock as it was turned and saw the door open wide. There stood a stone faced Red eyed Lois Lane shaking with rage her hands clinched into claws. Lois stood there with her head held high staring directly into the eyes of the Amazon princess.

Lois sneered, "I have no problem with Artemis Oh so high and mighty one. Artemis didn't do anything wrong," she added. "Your my problem, not poor Artemis."

With an worried filled voice Diana asked her, "What problem could you possibly have with me?"

Lois moved closed to the woman that seemed to tower over her. She stood on her toes so she could look at the Amazon standing before her straight in the eye.

With their noses almost touching Lois shouted, "What the hell else would you call a women who has the hots for my husband?"

Diana tried to speak. Her mouth moved but she seemed to lose the words and found herself unable to say anything.

"Don't try and lie to me," Lois said. "All I want to know from you is how long the two of you have been having this affair behind my back?" Lois demanded to know, her words full of venom.

Diana second only in power to the husband of the woman now standing before her staggered backwards under the righteous anger of this same woman and the weight of her own guilt and shame. One of the most powerful of beings seemed to wilt as she staggered backwards and collapsed into Clark's favorite chair.

She sat there with her head bowed her hands clutching at the arm rest. Slowly Wonder Woman shook her head from side to side as she spoke with out looking up to face her accuser, "Your wrong Lois, it's not like that. At least not the way you think."

"It's not what I think," Lois shouted. "Tell Me Diana what else should I think?"

Looking up at the woman who stood above her Diana said, "We have done nothing that you should be concerned about."

"Do you actually expect me to believe that bull? "Lois snarled.

"Lois please, I give you my word that we have done nothing wrong, nothing that would give you cause to worry or a reason for your husband to feel guilty," swore a remorse filled Wonder Woman.

"Bull!" Lois said, "If Artemis didn't slip up and tell me about your statue collection in your so called Garden of Dreams. I never would have found out because you never would have told me."

Lois waited for Diana to respond. When no answer was forth coming from the Amazon princess, Lois took Diana's silence as an admission of her guilt.

As a result Lois asked her, "And you expected me to believe you?"

It was now Wonder Woman's turn to become angry. "No one calls the daughter of Hippolyta a liar," she warned.

"Well I just did," replied Lois. She then added, "What else could you expect me to call you."

"What I expect from you Lois is for you to have at lease some faith in Clark if not in me," said Diana in a voice suddenly filled with anger.

"Very cleaver your Highness," Lois sneered. "Were you using the wisdom of Athena when you tried just now to shift your guilt to me?" she asked.

"I don't know what your talking about," said Diana shaking her head sadly.

"If you don't know, than who will?" asked Lois.

Not waiting for a reply Lois went on talking, "I want to know straight out princess and I have no wish to listen to your excuses or your metaphors. There is only one question I want you to answer."

Lois paused to gather her courage then asked, "Are you in love with my husband?"

Looking down Diana said softly, "It's not as simple as all tha…"

Suddenly Diana was cut off by an outraged Lois shouting into her face, "Yes it is and all I want to hear from you is a simple, YES or NO!"

Suddenly Wonder Woman's own temper seemed to exploded as she leapt to her feet. Taking hold of Lois by her upper arms Wonder Woman lifted her off the floor. As she did so Wonder Woman shouted into her face, "YES I AM!"

Suddenly with that said and the truth out in the open at last. They found themselves each emotionally drained by their ordeal.

Diana for her part slowly lowered Lois back down to the floor and released her grip. Once free from the Amazon's grasp Lois staggered over and slumped down in to the very chair that Diana had just been sitting in.

Diana looked down at her and in a voice full of shame and remorse quietly said to Lois, "I'm sorry if I hurt you by taking hold of you the way I did. I had no right to lose my temper and even less to take hold of you like that."

As for Lois she didn't seem to notice or acknowledge the presents of The legendary Amazon standing over her. She didn't even seem to notice the pain from the bruises on her arms were the fingers of the Amazon had dug into her all to human flesh moments earlier.

She sat in that chair with her head slumped against the back rest, her eyes staring off into space. This was her husband's favorite chair that she sat in and she could still smell his presents here in the fabric.

Quietly in a low and pain filled voice Lois spoke. She could have been talking to Diana or even to her own fears or maybe to some all together unseen presence.

Quietly and at first with very little emotion Lois began to speak, "Every day when Clark leaves me, I am worried sick with fear. Every day when he walks out the door to help some one I think to myself, 'Is this the day when I will lose him?' Will I ever see him alive again?'"

"To the world at large he is Superman the invulnerable Man Of Steel. But to me he is only Clark my husband, the man I love and every time he goes out to face some grazed madman or some unspeakable horror a little piece of me goes with him and another small piece of me dies that day."

Turning her head from the wall Lois looked up at Wonder Woman and said with a voice filled with pain and sadness, "And if all of that wasn't bad enough. Now every time he leaves me for the day I have to worry about you too now."

Kneeling down next to her Diana took Lois's hand and held it as she said, "What I feel for Clark is my problem not yours. It is true that Clark cares for me. He might even have what you would call strong feelings for me maybe even love. But as strong and as deep as those feelings are, compared to what he feels for you they are as nothing, like the love he carries in his soul for you."

She then added, "This is the only thing that should matter to you. I am a candle in the wind when compared against the bonfire of love he carries in his heart for you."

Lois suddenly snatched her hand away and in a voice filled with anger said, "More lies!"

Wonder Woman stared at Lois for a moment, then told her in a voice that was now filled with anger, "If you have so little faith in your own husband. Perhaps you do not deserve to have his love in the first place."

With out thinking Lois lashed out and slapped Diana across her face. Springing to her feet Diana shook with rage as she fought to control her temper and herself.

Slowly Lois pulled herself up from the chair and as she pointed to the balcony she said slowly, "Get out."

With clinched teeth Wonder Woman said in return, "There is nothing I would rather do more and If I had not promise your husband to watch over you I would already be gone."

"Then I release you from any promise you might have made to Clark about me," said Lois. "I just want you gone and out of my life," she added.

"Clark told me that you had more courage than any one he ever knew. But he never told me you were stupid," said Wonder Woman.

Lois became even more angry as she said in a sarcastic voice, "I have taken all the crap I'm going to take from you PRINCESS! This is still my home and I want you out of it right now."

For a moment Diana shook with rage as she tried to find the right words until suddenly she shouted, "So be it, let what ever happens be on your own head. I wash my hands of you and this whole stinking mess."

With an amazing burst of speed Diana soon found herself on the balcony standing next to Artemis. Looking at the city lights below and with out turning to face Artemis she asked her, "How much of that did you hear?"

"More than I would care to admit," Artemis answered.

Telling Artemis to hang on. Diana put her arm around the waist of her companion who in turn put her arm around the shoulder of Diana. As Diana supported her the two Amazons took off into the night sky. Leaving the sounds and the smells of the city coming through the still open doors of the balcony.

Wonder Woman and her passenger landed gracefully in the now all most deserted Centennial park, Ironically right next to the same bench were earlier in the day Diana had her conversation with Mercy.

Diana sat on the bench slumped over, depressed and lost in her own thoughts. Not to mention the fact that she was a honorable woman who found herself riddled with guilt.

Artemis for her part sat next to her her princess, she sat up straight and tall, ever alert for the first sign of danger.

With out bothering to look up from he ground Wonder Woman said, "I should go back and try to explain."

"Never," shouted Artemis. "Is my Queen's daughter some wiped dog forced to crawl back to the master that wiped it?" asked Artemis.

"I gave my word," said Diana. "I at lease owe Lois and explain…"

Artemis Interrupted, "You owe that ungrateful women nothing my Princess. You offered her your hand in friendship as well as your protection and she showed her gratitude to you by spitting on them both. Will you shame your mother your people and most important of all yourself by crawling back to her?"

"Why should I," Diana agreed. "She is the one after all that threw me out of her home."

Artemis agreed with her by saying, "Your right you know."

She turned and said to Wonder Woman, "If that is not enough reason for leaving this ungrateful wretch to the fate she so foolishly made for herself."

"Remember what you yourself said, when you told this creature that if she didn't have faith enough in some one like Superman maybe she didn't deserve having his love in the first place."

Having Diana's undivided attention at last Artemis went on to say, "All the world knows of the honesty and the high morals of the Kryptonian. Even back on Paradise Island his name is mentioned with respect and honor by your mother and the sisterhood. If this Lois can't appreciate what she has than she should find some one she can appreciate."

Diana remained silent taking in all her companion was then telling her. "There is one thing more my princess," added Artemis. "I admit I can not understand this attraction you have for this man, for any man for that matter. But have you ever thought that Superman might be happier in the arms of a women that is more his equal, a women who really could appreciate him."

Turning to face her sister Diana said, "To often we have found ourselves at odds with each other Artemis. So all the more reason I should be the one to thank you for all of the help you have given me at this time."

"I live to serve your mother and my princess," Artemis said with bowed head and with the slightest of smiles.

"May I ask you what are your plans are?" asked Artemis.

"I think I shall sit here for a while in the quietness of the park. I need time to be alone with my thoughts with only the stars for company," Diana answered.

"Then when I am finished here I will move on to Gotham to check on the health of a friend and to complete the work I have taken upon myself.

"As for you Artemis," remarked Wonder Woman. "Don't forget you have messages to deliver."

Standing up straight and tall Artemis gave a slight bow and said, "To hear is to obey my princess." With that said she turned and was gone, as she walked off and was swallowed up by the night. Diana for her part stared up at the stars above her, lost deep with in her own troubled thoughts.

Lois was also lost in her own thoughts as she stared straight ahead, only for her it was the far wall of her apartment that held her attention as she sat in the chair her Clark so often sat in. Lois was so lost in her own thoughts she paid no attention to the breeze or the sounds of the city coming from the open balcony doors.

Suddenly Lois heard a noise from the balcony and with out bothering to turn around said, "I thought I told you to get the hell out of here!"

"If I were you I would chose my very next words with the greatest of care. They might just be the last words you will ever have the chance to speak."

Lois turned her head towards the sound of the voice and seeing a tall women with red hair dressed in a scant green spandex and exclaimed in a low voice, "Maxima!"

Slowly standing up from her husband's chair Lois started inching her way towards the front door of her apartment.

Even as Lois kept talking to Maxima she continued to make her painfully slow move in the direction of the front door and hopefully to safety. "I was informed that I might be having some unexpected company dropping in on me," Lois said calmly as she continued to slowly make her way in the direction of her front door.

When Maxima responded by starting to calmly stroll over in the same general direction as if to block her path. Lois responded by saying, "Please forgive me for being such a poor hostess, is there any thing I might offer you Maxima?" "Tea, coffee, a brandy or how about a nice tuna fish sandwich?"

For an answer Maxima sneered, "How about your life?"

"Sorry I happen to be using that right now.".

In turn Maxima smiled as she said," If I were you, I would be looking for a weapon to defend myself instead of making jokes."

"Why do you think I offered you the tuna fish," explained Lois as she moved ever closer to the front door.

"Tuna fish, how could you ever hope to turn a simple can of tuna fish into a weapon against me?" asked Maxima with a look of bewilderment on her face.

"You wouldn't have to ask that if you were ever foolish enough to actually try to eat my tuna fish," Lois explained just before she picked up an end table and with all her strength sent it flying at the head of her uninvited guest.

Much to her credit Lois actually managed to reach the front door of her apartment and was even able to remove the chain on the door before she felt the pain of Maxima's fingers digging into her shoulder. Spinning her around Maxima gave her a glancing back hand blow that sent Lois reeling across the room. Lois landed dazed and bleeding from her nose and mouth, in a heap of over turned and broken furniture.

Slowly and painfully Lois picked herself off the floor, she had to fight to stand erect on her unsteady legs. On will power alone she was able to finally make it but found she still needed to hold on to Clark's chair for support. She shook her head to clear away the cobwebs and once more began to talk to her would be killer in order to buy some badly needed time.

"Just why are you after my blood Maxima?" asked Lois in a surprisingly calm voice.

Maxima answered her, "Because of your ignoble affair with Superman, he has had the Gaul to spurn me. Me the ruler of all Almarac, I offered him my heart and my love and the right to share my throne and most important of all the high honor of being the father of my children."

Lois’s attacker continued her ranting, "It was his obscene and accursed love for you that made him refused my offer and in the end cost me both my Throne and my home. Just as it will now cost you your life," Maxima screamed in a voice filled with hurt and anger and a large portion of madness.

Calming down she then added, "For any one of these crimes you deserve death, and with you gone perhaps the Man of Steel will come to his senses. If not, the picture of him mourning over your dead and broken body will for me do just as well."

"Hasn't he already told you?" Lois asked. "That he has no wish to join with you and sire a collection of would be interplanetary conquerors. If that alone is not reason enough for you, there is always the fact that you are after all crazy."

"If I were you, I would be very careful what and how you address me," warned Maxima.

"Why should I?" asked Lois.

"Either way you have every intention of killing me Maxima and I sooner have it done for telling the truth than for trying to humor a certifiable lunatic."

"Exactly what is your truth?" She asked.

Holding herself erect on her still shaky legs, Lois looked straight into the beautiful but disturbed face of her would be executioner and with a strong steady voice said, "The simple truth is that I am a married woman in love with my husband."

Lois then went on to say, "I will put this to you in a way that even you can understand. The plain truth is that since my wedding day, the only person I have shared a bed with has been my husband and only my husband."

Suddenly Lois felt a terrible pain in her head as if some one or some thing was trying to violate the deepest and most personal regions of her mind and soul. Lois fought back as best as she could. She suffered for it, but did so willingly just so she could hide the truth. Not just for her sake, but for her parents, and Clark's parents and all their other friends and family they both shared.

But most of all she fought back and and paid the price in the pain she suffered for the man she now knew she still loved, no matter what that damn Amazon now meant to him or him to her.

Even as Maxima pealed away the levels of Lois's own layers of mental self protection as a chief would peel away the many layers of skin off an onion, Lois still refused to surrender to the pain in her head and allow Maxima to discover the truth.

Then just as mysteriously and as strangely as it started the searing pain behind her eyes was gone. Lois shook her head to clear her thoughts.

Maxima then told her, "For a moment I might have actually believed you. I grant you have a strong will Lois. You were almost able to completely block my psychic probe of your mind and your memories. But enough came through your mental shields just now to tell me that you in do fact have a strong emotional and personal connection with Superman and that connection is about to cost you your life."

"Why can't you get it through your thick alien head when I tell you that I'm not Superman's mistress," Lois yelled at Maxima.

Even as the one time empress came charging at her from across the room with murder in her eye, Lois stood her ground. When Maxima reached Lois's side she made an almost casual grab for her. Much to the surprise of lady Maxima's Lois struck first at the over confident warrior queen.

Lois accomplished this feat by grabbing Maxima by the arm and performing a perfect hip toss on the one time leader of Almarac. That sent the obsessive and even now more enraged meta human crashing to the living room floor.

Lois followed her momentary advantage with a side kick to her red headed attacker's jaw. Sam Lane would have had every right at that moment to be very proud of his oldest daughter's skill and courage. Against almost any human opponent the fight might have been over right there and then. But Maxima was much more than human and she was in all honesty more surprised than hurt.

Lois for her part was not about to wait around to ask about the health of her foe. She had almost made it to the door when Maxima flew over her head and instead was waiting for her.

As Maxima blocked the door with her own body. Lois came to a sudden halt and said, "I forgot about the flying part."

Maxima said nothing in return. Her answer came in the form of her hand closing off Lois's wind pipe and Maxima's other hand roughly pulling Lois's head back by her hair.

Lois was all but helpless in Maxima's overpowering grip and even if she new knew she was about to die. Lois was not someone who would give up her life with out a fight. She proved this by fighting back using every lesson, both fair and foul her father had ever taught her.

But no matter how brave she was or how hard she fought it ended as Lois knew it would, with her all but helpless at the feet of the lady Maxima. The one time member of the Justice League leaned down to stare closely in to the strangely calm face of her would be victim.

As she did so she took the opportunity to tell her, "You have both courage and spirit Lois. Here at the end I can at last understand why Superman might find you worthy enough to be attracted to you as a woman."

She went on to say, "When I came here to finally punish you for your crimes, I had every intention of killing you both slowly and painfully as possible, as payment for all you have cost me. But in this short time we have spent together I have come to respect you Lois. Therefore I have decided to grant you the boon of a quick and painless passing, one warrior to another."

"Eat dirt and die," was Lois's defiant answer.

Hearing what she said The Lady Maxima laughed out loud as she said, "It is a pity your life has to end, but before you go let me reassure you by sharing something with you that I have just decided on. You shall have a place of honor among the other respected enemies that I have destroyed Lois, to honor the memory of your courage."

"Don't do me any favors," Lois sneered defiantly into the face that leaned over her, even as she continued to fight.

Then suddenly Maxima's fingers closed around her throat cutting off her air. Lois's last thoughts were of of the man she loved and the short life they had shared together. When Lois was at last to weak to struggle, a strange calm came over her as that last dark curtain enveloped her just as one day it would do the same for us all.

Strange as it sounds Lois no longer suffered from the pain of Maxima's savage attack. It was then Lois realized she had the oddest feeling of contentment. Much to Lois's surprise she even felt a strange form of gratitude that she was the first to die and thus would not have to try and live out her life, with out the one person that made her life worth living.

Unexpectedly and very suddenly Lois felt the blessing of pain once again. Even in her present condition she knew that the pain her body was expressing could only mean one thing and one thing only, she yet lived. Lois willed herself to take a huge breath of life giving air. It hurt as it passed her tortured throat and burned as it entered her starved lungs. Even as she suffered she thought nothing in her past ever felt as good, well almost nothing.

Along with the precious gift of air and thus of life came the memory of what had almost happened. As her thoughts became clearer Lois found herself on her knees, being held up by some one holding a fist full of her hair. As she continued to take in deep lung full of life giving oxygen she discovered her eyes still had trouble focusing.

She thought she heard voices as if they were far away and in a dream. Lois heard or thought she herd a voice say, " If you insist on committing murder Maxima you might at least have the decency to make sure you have the right victim."

In her confused mind Lois blurted out, "Clark!" Thinking her husband had at last returned back home to save her.

It was only when her vision cleared enough for her to see clearly across the room. Then and only then was Lois able at last to see standing in the doorway of her balcony in all her magnificent glory the daughter of queen Hippolyta, known to her friend's as Diana and to the rest of the world as Wonder Woman.

"Are you all right Mrs. Kent?" Wonder Woman asked in a quiet and surprisingly casual manner.

By her attitude Lois knew that Diana was trying her best to calm down this potentially lethal confrontation. Being the one who was at the moment sprawled helpless at the feet of this super powered killer. Lois found herself agreeing whole heatedly with Diana's attempt at diffusing the situation.

"I have had better days, "Lois managed to crock in a voice barely above a horse whisper.

"This is none of your affair Amazon," Maxima warned.

"I'm afraid it is," said Wonder Woman as she slowly took two steps closer.

Suddenly Maxima took a tight hold of Lois's throat once more and asked, "In what way would that be?"

"In the most simplest way of all," answered Diana. "The dictates of duty and conscience would compel me to help any one in need. Most of all an innocent who was about to be murdered."

As Wonder Woman took another step forward. Maxima began to tighten her grip around the throat of Lois Lane.

"One more step," Maxima warned. "Just one step closer and I'll break her neck."

Diana's response to Maxima's threat was to take a step backwards. With that Maxima let go of her victims throat but she continue to pull back Lois's head with a firm grip on her hair.

Able to talk once more Lois said," I wish this bra wearing cement mixer would make up her mind and either wring my neck or simply rip my head off."

Even after their own confrontation Diana couldn't stop herself from admiring this women with courage enough to make any Amazon proud.

"Since leaving that stubborn fool Batman I have been near bye watching this apartment for almost two days waiting first for you and then that other Amazon to leave," Maxima confessed.

Almost as an after thought Maxima asked, "Just why are you here Wonder Woman"

"Your the reason for me being here," admitted Diana.


"Your confrontation and subsequent battle with The Dark Knight was the catalyst," Wonder Woman explained. "He told me of your obsessive belief and subsequent search for certain information concerning Superman's so called mistress and about your mistaken belief of an affair between my friend Superman and a certain unknown married women."

"Unknown no longer," sneered Maxima as she once again tightened her grip on Lois's hair.

"Your totally wrong Maxima," protested Wonder Woman. "Mrs. Kent is just as she claims to be. A loyal loving and most important of all faithful wife."

"Faithful, don't make me laugh," sneered Maxima. "I have probed her mind and felt the emotional connection to Superman and because of that nothing you could do or say will ever make me change my mind."

"What you felt Maxima, was the emotional tie that binds one close friend to another," Diana explained. "Any past infatuation this women may once had for Superman as a lover has long since been displaced for the real love she feels for her husband."

"Lies nothing but lies," shouted Maxima. Who prepared to seize hold of Lois's aching throat once again.

"Wait ," shouted Diana. "I can prove to you what I say is true."

Curious Maxima asked, "How?"

"With this," Wonder Woman said as she took the golden lasso from her hip and held it aloft for Maxima to see."

Once again Maxima's hand went to the all ready abused throat of Lois Lane as she said, "Don't try and use any of your pagan magic on me Amazon."

"Not on you Maxima," said Diana. "On her," said the Amazon warrior as she pointed at Lois. Wonder Woman saw a puzzled expression cross over the face of the one time Empress of Almarac and the hostage at her feet.

Maxima suddenly appeared confused and undecided. She not only released her grip on Lois's throat but on her hair as well. Lois slumped forward on the hard wood floor rubbing her throat. For a moment Diana thought of using her own amazing speed in an attempt to rescue her friend's wife. But Maxima was still to dangerously close to the woman Diana had sworn to protect.

Wonder Woman saw the look of confusion on the face of Maxima. Seeing the state Lois's attacker was in, Diana decided to take advantage of Maxima's state of mind. "Do you know how this works," Diana asked as she held up her Lasso.

For an answer Maxima simply nodded her head yes. To make sure Wonder Woman decided to tell Maxima the story any way. "This was made from the golden girdle of Gaea The Earth Mother," Diana explained. "Not only is it all but unbreakable but anyone warped with in it's folds is compelled to tell the truth."

Becoming annoyed with the whole explanation Maxima told her, "I have ready heard the story."

Unfolding her lasso Wonder Woman tossed Maxima the loop end of it. Catching it in mid air Maxima asked, "What do you want me to do with this thing?"

Diana told her, "Draw the loop tight around Mrs., Kent."

For a few moments that seemed like hours to both Diana and Lois, Maxima just stood there holding the end of Wonder Woman's golden lasso in her hands.

Suddenly with a shrug of her shoulders she threw the loop over the still knelling Lois and drew the loop tight around her prisoner's chest.

With that done Diana thought to herself, 'I only need the right words for the right questions asked in the right order.'

The sudden smile on Wonder Woman's face betrayed the fact that she had discovered the right answer.

Slowly and very carefully Diana asked, "Mrs. Kent what do you think of Maxima?"

Lois was compelled to tell the truth as she said, "I think she is totally insane and should be locked up in a mental ward."

Maxima took hold of Lois's head once more and while looking down said to her, "I warned you."

"Hold " Diana cried out, "That was a test for your benefit Maxima."

Maxima managed to break a smile and released her grip as she told Wonder Woman, "I understand."

Diana said, "I'm glad you do, now for the proof."

With that said, Wonder Woman first took in the slack from the line that separated them. Diana then asked, "Mrs. Kent do you love your husband?"

"More than any thing or any body, even more than life itself, "Lois answered honestly and perhaps even more important, passionately.

Wonder Woman then asked, "Since you first discovered your love for your husband. Has there ever been any one else in your life. Have you ever cheated on him, have you ever betrayed him or been with anyone else?"

"NO! never," Lois said.

"This must be some sought of trick," said Maxima. "He told me everything. He explained to me how she is still in love with Superman and he with her. This must be some sought of trick."

"No Maxima there is no trick. Lois told you the truth, you heard it with your own ears. You need only to look at her to see how much she loves her husband. If you truly seek the truth it lies there in the heart of the woman at your feet."

Wonder Woman explained, "The simple truth Is that since her marriage and a good time before. There has been only one man in Lois Lanes life and the only trick was the lies this mysterious man has told you."

"AND THIS ONE!" Soon as the words were out of her mouth, Diana gave a hard pull at the end of her lasso which caused Lois to be jerked right in to Diana's waiting arms and away from the feet of Maxima.

Diana caught Lois in her arms as gently as she could and sat her down on the living room couch. Maxima screamed out her outrage at losing her hostage. "So it was a trick all along," she screamed.

"No Maxima, the only trick was in the way I got Lois away from you. All the rest is the truth," explained Diana.

"If Superman doesn't love her and she doesn't love him than give me the name of the woman who does," demanded Maxima.

Diana knew that this was now the crucial time. She knew Maxima's obsessive hatred of Lois must be directed at some one else. If Lois was ever going to be safe from Maxima and her mad obsession another target must be found for that obsession and most of all her wrath.

Maxima then threatened them both, "If you won't give me the name of Superman's lover Amazon. I will happily return one day and dispose of this one just to make sure."

Maxima watched in amazement as a large smile slowly formed on the face of the Amazon princess. Then she watched in fascination as Wonder Woman started to laugh as she stood in front of her.

"What's so funny?" Maxima demanded to know.

"I will give you one Guess Maxima," said Diana as she once again started to laugh.

"YOU!" snarled Maxima as she began to shake with rage.

"BINGO!" replied Diana.

Maxima might not have known what the word Bingo meant but she knew all to well what the Amazon meant. Still she had to make sure. So as she stared into Diana's face Maxima said, "No! None of this is true. I read all of the news accounts, saw the television broadcasts. What ever the two of you once had it was over."

"And you would be right," Diana answered her. "But things have a funny way of changing. People grow up and change their minds. Events unfold that all to often open a man's and women's eyes to what they almost lost."

"What types of events could change things between you so much?" asked Maxima.

"An event such as Doomsday," answered Diana.

At the very mention of the name. Lois winced in pain at the memory of what happened that day. "What does the like of you know of Doomsday," sneered Maxima. "I faced and fought that monster along side The Man of Steel himself, I don't remember seeing you there. Nor were you there when Superman diee…"

Maxima trailed off not finishing her sentence. But Diana finished it for her. "You mean when he died, isn't that what you meant Maxima?" asked Wonder Woman.

Maxima asked, "What does that have to do with what is going on here."

To answer her Diana said, "We have a saying here on earth Maxima, 'You never know how precious a thing is until you lose it.'" "Well the same can be said for people too."

Maxima started to move slowly forward, like some wild beast stalking her prey. Diana matched her movements as she stepped in front of Lois to protect her as Lois lay injured on the couch.

'One more push,' Diana thought to herself. 'One more push and Maxima will become so enraged at me she will have forgotten every thing about Lois including her name.'

It was then the Lady Maxima herself supplied the opening for that final little push that Diana was searching for.

"I don't understand any of this, "Maxima said. "I myself have heard the rumors of your own alleged death Amazon."

She then asked, "Are you going to stand there and try and tell me that this too is part of your cover up?"

No sooner had Maxima finished talking. That Diana saw the final piece of her plan fall into place.

"Oh that," Diana said with a smile. "That whole business about dying came in very handy."

"What do you mean by that?" asked Maxima her voice becoming filled with rage.

"How long was I gone Maxima?" Diana asked her.

Maxima didn't know or didn't want to tell. Instead Lois answered for her. "Almost one year," Lois told her as she sat up on the couch behind Wonder Woman.

"I really needed the time off from my duties as Wonder Woman," explained Diana. Looking Maxima right in the eye she added, "After all Maxima who wants to see a Wonder Woman with a big belly."

She then added, "I also needed the extra time to get back into shape after going through something like that."

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to fit into this costume," explained Wonder Woman with a sardonic smile.

Diana leapt over the back of the couch and stood waiting in front of the balcony as Maxima began to stride slowly in her direction. Maxima completely ignored Lois as she walked right by the reporter in her slow motion pursuit of the women she now was begging to blame in her disturbed mind for all of the things she had lost in her life.

"You stole even that from me," snarled Maxima as tears began to roll down a face etched in hate. Diana than preceded to tell her, "You can not lose what you never earned the right to have Maxima."

"Perhaps I have lost what I wanted most with out ever really having it." Maxima said sorrowfully. "Still there is one thing I am going to have and I don't care how I go about getting it."

"What would that be?" asked Diana.

"YOUR LIFE!" screamed an enraged Maxima as she slammed her shoulder into Wonder Woman’s mid section, sending both of them tumbling over the safety railing and down towards the waiting side walk some ten floors below them.

Wonder Woman and Maxima went flying over the railing of the Kent's balcony and started tumbling down together towards the unforgiving pavement below. They had managed to fall almost eight floors before they disengaged from battling with one another. As they both broke off their fight each of the powerful women in turn soared as if they were eagles high into the night sky.

Diana hovered above the lights of the city as Maxima came streaking at her. Once more she drove her shoulder into the rock hard stomach of the Amazon. Even with her powerful physique Wonder Woman let out an audible gasp of pain as she was propelled down the block with the air knocked out of her.

Rushing after her, Maxima quickly caught up to the Amazon Princess. Taking advantage of Diana's distress Maxima warped her hands around the amazon's throat and started to squeeze the life out of her.

But Diana soon showed to be the stronger of the two and proved it to Maxima by being able to pry a shocked Warrior queen's fingers from around her throat. Soon both women of royal blood found themselves in a quiet but intense test of strength as they hovered above the city with their fingers inter locked with one another in a struggle for dominance.

Maxima couldn't bring herself to believe any women could be as strong as this Amazon appeared to be. As Wonder Woman slowly forced her hands down to her side Maxima finally realized that she had only felt power like this, since the last time she fought with Superman himself.

"Maxima Please stop this madness," begged Diana. "You were in the Justice League once, you fought along side some of the finest and bravest people I know, that had to have meant something to you?"

"Yes it did mean something," said Maxima. "It meant I was able to stay out of prison," was the answer she gave Wonder Woman. Diana now realized that appealing to Maxima's conscience was useless. She hoped for better results appealing to her heart.

This she did it by telling Maxima, "You should know by now that you can't force some one to love you Maxima. Nor is love something you take from someone, for love to have any value it must be given freely."

Maxima screamed into Diana's face, "Pretty words from some one who already has her heart's desire."

Maxima finally managed to pull her hands free from Diana's grip. With it she took a handful of Wonder Woman's hair and with the other tried to claw her eyes out. Wonder Woman kept Maxim's nails at bay and away from her face with a firm hold of the red head's wrist.

With Maxima's attack checked once more Wonder Woman told her, "Your wrong Maxima, I do know the pain of loving some one and not having that love returned in the way you had hoped."

Praying that her talk was having some effect on her Diana decided to risk letting her go. As Wonder Woman released Maxima she told her, "It doesn't matter how much power you poses, the strength of your arm or how noble your birth."

"If the one you love already loves another. If their souls have become woven together so tightly until now, their is only one soul between them. Then no one has the right, no matter who you are or how much pain your in to try and tear them a part. No matter how much your own heart and soul cries out to have that same type love."

As the two powerful women hovered over the city some ten feet apart, the battle that Diana hoped to avoid took a momentary pause. During the break Maxima asked, "Do you expect me to believe the rubbish you just told me?"

Diana explained, "I spoke to you from the heart Maxima. What you chose to believe is your concern."

"What I believe is that you are a weak, sentimental fool," sneered Maxima. You don't deserve some one like The Man of Steel nor are you fit enough to be the mother of Gods. Now at last I know that I will be doing Superman a service by riding him of you."

Soon as Maxima finished her tirade she unleashed a powerful psychic attack aimed at the Amazon Princess. Diana felt a searing pain in her head as she was propelled ten feet back wards from the force of Maxima's mental bolt.

Maxima took advantage of her mental assault by including a physical one. Streaking forward feet first Maxima cruelly rammed Diana in the chest with her boots. Even with all her physical strength and her own perfectly conditioned body Diana let out a cry of agony. Maxima then took advantage of Diana's distress as she followed up this attack with another, as she threw two quick punches to Wonder Woman's head. She followed this up with two vicious left hooks into Diana's rib cage.

Soon Diana discovered it was painful to breath as she felt one of her ribs break under Maxim's onslaught. Maxima was holding the front of Diana's costume with her left hand as she prepared to deliver a right cross to the side of her face with every thing she had into it.

Instead it was Wonder Woman who struck first as she used her left fist to doubled Maxima over with a punch to the stomach followed by a right to her jaw that sent the one time queen crashing into a fire escape across the street.

The one time queen of Almarac soon found herself draped over the railing seemingly unconscious. Reaching her side Diana peeled Maxima off the railing in a way most observers would have describe as being almost tenderly. The reward for her compassion was another psychic attack from Maxima. As she sent a bolt of psychic energy straight into the Amazon's brain.

Diana reeled in pain as she suddenly discovered that she had suddenly lost the ability to control her power of flight. She fell a good two stories before she was able to catch hold of the railing of the same fire escape.

Pulling herself up Diana stood on the edge of the railing fighting the sudden wave of nausea that threatened to overwhelm her. The searing pain Diana felt behind her eyes made her think that her head was about to explode.

As Diana stood on the railing fighting to regain control of her own body, she was also coming to some conclusions. First of all, she was positive she was both stronger and faster that her opponent. But she was equally sure that Maxima's psychic mind blasts and her own skill at hand to hand combat, along with her own meta human strength levels made Maxima one of the most formidable foe's Wonder Woman had ever faced.

The pain in Diana's head eased enough to let her begin to think clearly once more. She now knew that these mental attacks by Maxima was a grave threat to her. Especially when they were combined with Maxima's physical assault.

Just then Maxima renewed her attack once more in the form of three fast brutal kidney punches into Diana's back. She screamed out in pain from this sudden and brutal assault. A moment later it was Wonder Woman who found herself draped over the railing. But not for long as Maxima circled her forearm around her throat and leaned back cutting off her air supply.

Wonder Woman wasn't sure she knew what Maxima was trying to do. Break her neck or simply choke the life out of her. As she continued to increase the pressure Maxima whispered in her ear, "Just think Wonder Woman I get to make a orphan and widower all in the same day."

"If that's the way you want to play it Maxima it's fine by me," wheezed Diana. "Just remember it was you who called the tune."

With that Diana brought the point of her elbow back hard into the pit of Maxima's belly. Diana herd a satisfying grunt of pain from Maxima's but still she refused to release her choke hold from around Diana's throat. Just as her mother had taught the then very young Amazon to do in such a situation. Diana drove her head violently backward were it landed solidly on the tip of Maxima's nose.

In an instant Diana was free as Maxima screeched in pain then covered her face with her hands as blood began to flow from a now possible broken nose. Falling lightly to the pavement below them, Maxima sank to her knees in agony trying her best to stop the flow of blood from her nose.

Diana still clung to her perch on the fire escape trying her best to over come the agony in her back right were her kidneys were. It was during this mutual rest period as the two combatants licked their wounds that Terrible Dan Turpin came rushing into the office of his commanding officer Maggie Sawyer. She was the captain in charge of the Metropolis Special Crime Unit or the S.C.U. a specially trained and armed police unit charged with dealing with Meta human activity and crime.

"That big red head Maxima's back in town Maggie " he told his boss. "Damn!" she shouted as she threw down her pen.

"Were is she now?" Maggie asked.

"Down on Clinton street, near the north side entrance to Centennial park," he answered.

"I hope Superman punches her lights out this time," Maggie said.

"It's not Superman she's fighting with this time," he told her.

"Than who the hell is that nut job mixing it up with this time?" she asked.

"By the reports we have been receiving it sounds like it could only be Wonder Woman," he answered.

Captain sawyer thought for a moment then said, "Good, maybe this time we'll get lucky and she'll do what Big Blue could never bring himself to do." She then added, "Maybe just maybe a women can finally do what the Big Blue Boy Scout could never bring himself to finish."

"What should we do in the mean time captain?" asked Turpin.

"What else," she said. "Have the the troops suit up in full gear and be outside in five minutes."

He rushed out of Captain Sawyer's office pounding on each door as he passed shouting, "Every body up, we got a hot one boys and girls. Every body in the court yard in full riot gear in five minutes, Maxima's back in town!"

While the battle raged Maggie Sawyer and the lead elements of the S.C.U were in the units helicopter on their way to the sight of the battle. When they were with in five minutes of their destination the pilot leaned back and said to captain Sawyer, "Dispatch just relayed a beat cops report of two television choppers in the area."

"Damn," cursed Sawyer. "Radio those idiots to clear out before they go and get themselves killed."

Dan Turpin taped her on the shoulder and over the roar of the engine asked, "You don't really expect them to clear out do you?"

"No," answered Sawyer over the roar of the engines. "But this way if they do go and get themselves killed we can cover our own ass by telling our idiot mayor that we did warn them."

As they settled back down one of the troopers taped Dan Turpin on the shoulder and asked, "Hey sage how come one or more of those TV choppers always beat us to one of these super powered free for all's?

"Because they have the money to buy new helicopters instead of the old surplus coffins were forced to fly in," Dan Turpin explained with a smile.

As the S.C.U was winging it's way to deal with the crisis at hand. Diana was landing next to the woman who was the cause of it all. Diana pushed through the crowd of on locker’s that had gathered around the fallen Maxima. When she had reached her side she looked down at her and asked, "Are we done Maxima?"

In response Maxima slowly stood up and smiled. It was then that Wonder Woman noticed four of the local citizens break off from the crowd and started coming at her with a blank look in their eyes. Soon as they got close enough they attacked Diana all at once. They were under Maxima's thrall and under her mental influence they began to pound on the Amazon princess.

"Fight your own battles Maxima and leave these innocents alone, "Wonder Woman pleaded with her.

"A warrior fights with what ever weapon she has at her disposal Amazon," said Maxima. She then added, "As a so called Amazon warrior I'm surprised you don't already know that!"

"Amazon's believe in fighting their own battles Maxima and not putting innocents in harms way to fight those battles for them," answered Wonder Woman as Maxima shrugged her shoulders and laughed.

Even as Diana spoke, Maxima's four victims kept up their attack on the Amazon princess. The four deluded people couldn't really hurt Diana but then Diana had no wish to hurt them either. Taking two of her attackers in each arm she flew them in front of a wrought iron fence.

Taking hold of the iron bars she bent the fence around Maxima's four victims were they would be trapped but safe.

Even trapped the way they were they had already done their jobs. Which was to buy some precious time for Maxima to gather her wits and recover from what she now knew was a broken nose. Wonder Woman was just finishing up with Maxima's four latest victims when Maxima appeared behind her with a Parking meter in her hands that she had just ripped out of the the cement sidewalk.

Using it as a club she knocked Diana across the street and into a parked car caving in it's side. It was just then the helicopter with Captain Sawyer and the lead units of the S.C.U appeared over head.

Immediately the leader of the S.C.U used the helicopter’s loud speaker to yell down at Maxima, "Freeze Maxima, your under arrest, any resistance on your part and you will be severely dealt with."

Caught in the glare of the choppers search light, Maxima stood there on the street as if she was an actress in a spotlight performing on some obscene stage. Looking up at the hovering police helicopter Maxima answered Maggie Sawyer's order to surrender the best way she knew how. By using the parking meter as we would a spear to knock the tale rotor off the police Helicopter.

All most at once the craft went into an uncontrollable spin. Before the Helicopter could crash into the crowd below Wonder Woman was already rushing upward to the stricken craft. Driving her fingers into the metal on the bottom of the craft for hand holds, Wonder Woman fought against the torque of the spinning blades.

As she began to lower the police filled helicopter safely to the ground, Maxima suddenly appeared before her. She had flown up were Wonder Woman was struggling with her burden. As she hovered in front of Diana Maxima smiled broadly and said, "I see you have your hands full at the moment Wonder Woman. Bad luck for you good luck for me."

Maxima began to laugh slowly as she reared back and fired a straight right hand into the face of the Amazon, drawing blood from Diana's mouth. Maxima began to laugh gleefully as the straight right was followed by a left hook to Diana's face then an uppercut to her stomach.

The knee she brought up into Diana's stomach brought forth a gasp of agony from the Amazon princess. Still she refused to let go of the police helicopter and thus sacrifice the lives of those inside and even more on the ground to defend herself. By this time the pilot had turned off the engines so Diana no longer had to fight against the powerful torque of the main Rotor blades. But it didn't help Wonder Woman as Maxima fired yet another let hook into her already damaged ribs.

Diana thought she felt another one of her ribs break from Maxima's onslaught. But still Diana hung on, she now only had to lower the stricken air craft safely to the ground while enduring the beating she was receiving at the hands of Maxima.

Soon as her feet touched the pavement and the helicopter was at last safe on the ground, Wonder Woman collapsed down on her hands and knees as the police helicopter landed with a jolt.

Diana had only a moment to rest before Maxima leaned down and picked Diana up by the back of the neck and slammed her face first into the pavement. Diana let out an audible groan as she tried picking herself up. Once again Maxima bent down and picked Wonder Woman up by her hair just before she drove her knee into her face.

Diana fell on to her back stunned as she continued to bleed from her nose and her mouth, as well as a nasty new cut over her right eye. Maxima reached down and picked her up there she held the Amazon princess over her head for a moment before she tossed her across the street and into another parked car.

Mean while Dan Turpin was starting to frantically climb out of the disabled helicopter in an attempt to come to Wonder Woman's aide. But he was prevented in accomplishing this when his commanding officer Maggie Sawyer pulled him back into the police helicopter.

He turned to her and began to plead for permission to help the Amazon princess but was cut off when Maggie Sawyer told him, "Don't you think I want to help her too?" "But until our heavy equipment comes our first duty is to the people in the area. We have to block off the street to traffic and get these citizens off the street and out of harms way."

As they started to climb out of the Helicopter together he told her, "I know your right Maggie but it doesn't make any of this easier."

"I know what you mean, "agreed Sawyer. "Especially after she saved our asses and took a beating in order to do it."

As Maggie Sawyer's men rolled out of the Helicopter to clear the street. Wonder Woman was dragging herself off the pavement. Even as she pulled herself off the pavement and leaned against the car for support, Maxima was casually strolling over to were Diana stood stunned.

Taking her by the shoulders Maxima spun Wonder Woman around and immediately brought her knee up into her stomach. As Diana once again began to fall to her knees Maxima brought her knee once again only this time into her face.

Wonder Woman was knocked down onto her back and lay there in the middle of the road as Maxima hovered above her. Looking down at the Amazon princess Maxima started to talk to her, "That was a very brave thing you did in saving those peasants. Very brave and very stupid leaving your self vulnerable and unable to defend yourself."

"Mind telling me why?" she asked.

Looking up at Maxima were she lay in the filthy street Diana wiped the blood from her eyes and said, "If you don't know by now why I had to do it. You never will know or be able to understand."

"Never mind," Maxima said. "It really doesn't matter, after all I still have a job to do."

She started at first to speak softly but soon began to shout and then to scream at the woman sprawled at her feet, "This is for my nose and this is for my stomach," She shouted after each blow she landed.

Maxima took careful aim as she repeatedly kicked Wonder Woman over and over in the ribs and into her injured back. Reaching down she grabbed Wonder Woman by her hair and as she held her fist in front of Diana's face said, "And this is for ruining my life."

Maxima reared back with her fist, planning to send it crashing into the face of Diana or to be more accurate would have crashed into her face if Diana's own fist had not intercepted it first. Wonder Woman held Maxima's fist in the palm of her hand refusing to let her go. Maxima tried to pull her hand free but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't free herself.

Slowly and relentlessly Diana started to squeeze her hand, all the while slowly saying to Maxima, "I, have had, enough, of you!"

Suddenly Diana heard a crunching sound, followed almost immediately by Maxima screaming in agony. Letting her go Maxima fell to her knees clutching her broken hand.

Wonder Woman slowly got back up to her feet and while she looked down at Maxima on shaky legs she asked, "I will ask you one more time are we done Maxima?"

Maxima clutched at her injured hand as she kneeled in the street. She looked up at Wonder Woman and with hate in her eyes and with tears running down her face nodded her head yes and said, "Yes, no more."

Reaching down Diana took Maxima by her shoulders and pulled her back up to her feet as gently as she could. She was rewarded for her pity when Maxima sent her good fist into the middle of Diana's stomach. Followed by a round house kick to the jaw of the doubled up Amazon that sent her flying across the street.

"Death is the only way to end this," shouted Maxima.

Slowly Wonder Woman pulled her self erect. For a moment she stood there on wobbly legs than she took a deep breath and said, "So be it, what ever happens let it be on you head."

Slowly the enrage Amazon started to march in Maxima's direction. Maxima saw for the first time a different look on the face of the Amazon. Diana has been transformed into her pure warrior side.

In response Maxima fired one mental bolt after another trying to stop her. Even when Diana was staggered and knocked back on her heels, still she kept coming on. Maxima's mental attack was becoming weaker and weaker, even as the Amazon princess kept getting closer and closer to her. Finally Wonder Woman could see the fear in the eyes of Maxima.

Fear that soon turned to full blown panic as Maxima felt for the first time, Wonder Woman's crushing grip around her throat.

"Now you know how Lois felt when you had her by the throat," growled Wonder Woman as she held Maxima above her head.

Lowering the one time empress of Almarac to eye level Diana brought her face to with in mere inches of her own. As Maxima stared into those ancient blue eyes and realized for the first time that she was staring her own death in the face, she still managed to hear Diana say, "Time to die."

Even as Diana reared back her fist to launch the blow that would more likely than not smash her skull to jelly and end her life. Maxima still couldn't drag her eyes away to see anything but those penetrating blue eyes.

All of her training as an Amazon and the ancient warrior's blood in her veins cried out for her to take this woman's life. It was what she had been trained to do since she was a young girl. The ancient warrior's blood from a proud lineage, that flowed in her veins cried out for her to do just that very thing.

But suddenly Diana thought of Clark and her own belief in peace and just as suddenly Wonder Woman let Maxima go, only to see her collapse on the pavement coughing and fighting for air.

As Maxima lay on the pavement fighting to catch her breath Wonder Woman looked down and told her, "If ever you do meet Superman again, be sure to thank him for your life."

With out bothering to look up Maxima said, "This isn't over Wonder Woman, not now, not ever."

Wonder Woman looked down at Maxima and told her, "Count yourself lucky that I am not more like my mother or even a better Amazon." "If either case were true, than this truly would be over, for you," Wonder Woman added.

Just then Maggie Sawyer came over as he rest of the S.C.U showed up. She took off her helmet and offered her hand to Wonder Woman saying, "I see we weren't needed after all."

Taking the offered hand Diana said, "On the contrary I only wish you arrived here ten minutes sooner."

"Doesn't look that way to me," she said "All we did was to cause you to endure one hell of a terrible beating because you were busy saving our asses.

Not waiting for Diana's reply she turned around put two fingers in her mouth and whistled. When she was done doing that she waved her arm and shouted out, "Bring the restraints."

The armored car backed up and two beefy cops came out carrying what appeared to be over size shackles. Another policeman arrived and put a head band on the fallen Maxima.

"What is that for?" asked Diana.

Sawyer answered, "That scrambles her brains just enough to prevent her from flying off or from using any of her mental abilities. We wouldn't want her ordering my men to start shooting each other would we?"

The massive shackles were designed to go on the upper arms of a prisoner not the wrists. All the same Diana told the captain, "Be careful of her right hand it's broken."

The same officers who attached the restraints picked Maxima off the street and on to her feet. While they were putting on the leg irons, Maxima looked at Wonder Woman and said, "Your the one who should be careful Amazon. You should have finished me off me when you had the chance."

She then added "This will not be over until one of us is dead."

"I know," said Diana. "That's why it's so tragic."

As they lead her off to the armored car Maxima turned and shouted back at Diana, "One day I'll have your heart Wonder Woman, I swear it by all the Gods of Almarac."

"Take a number," was Wonder Woman's only reply as she shouted back at her.

"Well time for me to get going too," said Maggie Sawyer. "Speaking of going I think you should let us take you down to Metro emergency and have some one look you over Wonder Woman, you look terrible."

Diana laughed and said, "I feel worst than I look." With that she took off climbing into the night sky.

As she looked back she could see the S.C.U cutting free the last of the people Diana trapped in the wrought iron fence.

'I thought I had forgot something,' Diana said to herself as she headed back to Lois's apartment to check on her condition and see how she was doing.

Once more Diana found herself alone on the balcony of the Kent's apartment. She had made a long loop around the city so no one would suspect or be able to follow her to her final destination. As soon as her feet touched down she found herself putting her hand out to lean on the wall for support, but even that wasn't good enough as Diana slowly sunk to her knees from the pain and exhaustion.

As she fought to catch her breath, she realized she was almost totally spent. As she knelt there she looked down at the balcony floor and watched as the red drops from her own life’s blood that driped down onto the balcony floor.

It was during her lonely flight over to Lois's apartment that Wonder Woman first began to realize just how much the fight with Maxima had taken out of her. After she finally caught her breath Diana got back up to her feet, tapped meekly on the glass door and waited anxiously at the entrance. Lois came out of the kitchen holding an ice bag to the side of her face. The two women eyed each other for a moment in total silence.

It was Diana who broke the silent stalemate by speaking first. "May I please come in Mrs. Kent?" she asked.

Lois winced at seeing the condition of her one time house guest and body guard.

"Only if you promise to stop calling me Mrs. Kent," Lois answered with a small smile.

Wonder Woman responded by giving Lois a shy grin in as she entered the room.

Lois was the next to speak when she said," I hope you don't take offense at what I am about to say Diana. But you look awful."

"You should see the other guy, "Wonder Woman said with a touch of gallows humor.

"I did on television," said Lois. "To tell the truth your the one who looks like she got run over by a truck."

"No use in me trying to deny that and in all honesty that is just the way I feel."

For a very long and awkward moment each of these two extraordinary woman did their best to try and silently stare into each other's souls. Until finally it was once again Diana who broke down and was the first to try an speak.

She pleaded, "Lois I'm sorry for causing you so much pain and worry. Please try to find it in your heart to forgive me. I want you, no I need you to believe that I never… we never have done any thing you would ever have cause to worry about."

Lois took Diana by the hand and led her to the couch and sat her down then joined her guest. For her part Diana was grateful that she was seated and not just because of the beating she was forced to endure at the hands of Maxima.

"I'm sorry Lois can you ever forgive me for…," Diana then discovered she couldn't bring herself to finish the sentence.

Lois asked, "For what Diana, for loving? "Isn't love suppose to be the strongest, purest and most beautiful of all the human emotions?"

"I guess it all depends who you love," Diana answered.

"Perhaps I should be the one begging for your forgiveness for doubting your word Diana."

"Then again maybe you were right, maybe I don't deserve Clark. Because I didn't have enough faith in his love for me to believe in you."

"You don't believe that any more than I do," said Diana. She then added, "You and Clark are two people tied to together by a love so strong that now you both have only one heart and one soul between the both of you."

"Is that some of your Amazon philosophy or the observation of a woman with a broken heart?" asked Lois.

Diana didn't want to answer Lois, choosing instead to remain silent.

A few awkward moments past until Wonder Woman asked, "The condition of my heart means nothing nor is it important. The only thing that should matter to you or to me is that you believe me when I tell you just how much Clark loves you?"

"I have to believe you Diana," said Lois. "Because after all that was said and done. After all the cruel and hate filled things we said to one other, even after I struck you and threw you out of my home, you still came back."

Lois then asked, "Why did you come back Diana?"

"It's what I do, " she answered.

"No," said Lois. "It's much more than that. It was in your own self interest for you to wait out side on that balcony while Maxima finished me off." "My death might have opened the door to what your heart wanted most. No matter how much you needed to be loved you would not put your own self interest and happiness above my life."

"Can you tell me why?" asked Lois.

"I could sit here and tell you it was the promise I made to your husband, which would be true, or my honor as an Amazon was what compelled me to come back. But it wouldn't be true," said Diana. "To tell you the truth Lois I came back because it was simply the right thing to do," explained Diana.

Lois gave a sweet smile to Wonder Woman and as she held her hand and said, "This world could be a paradise if the rest of us simply did the right thing."

Suddenly as they sat there on the couch the two Woman held on to each other in a display of trust and affection. Each in turn drew strength from the other.

Pulling apart Lois picked up the ice pack from the coffee table and handing it over to Wonder Woman told her, "You need this lot more than I do Diana."

A moment later Wonder Woman let out an all most audible sigh of relief as she felt the cooling comfort on her swollen face. For the next hour the two woman spoke as sisters who had come together to speak of the mutual passion that they both shared in.

They were interrupted in their musings by a knock on the door. As Lois stood up to answer the door she said to Diana, "I swear by all the saints in heaven if that's Maxima I'm just going to surrender."

"That will be the day," said Wonder Woman as she watched Lois walk to the front door.

Looking through the pep hole in the door Lois said, "I was wondering when you were going to show up."

She opened the door and there stood Artemis once again. Entering quickly Artemis ignored Lois except for a hate filled glance as she passed her bye. She was about to drop to one knee when a stern look from Diana stopped her.

Wanting to give them some privacy Lois passed them both on her way to the kitchen.

As she was about to go inside she shouted back with out turning around, "This time I skip the tea and go straight for the Brandy."

Wonder Woman was laughing as she watched Lois disappear into the kitchen.

Turning back to face Artemis Diana asked, "What are you doing back here Artemis?"

"I was about to leave to return home when I saw the news reports about your battle with Maxima," Artemis explained.

"I returned to see if you needed my help." "Instead I find the queen's daughter bringing shame to herself by licking this mortals shoes in order to beg for her forgiveness."

Diana stood up to confront Artemis by saying, "Remember your place Artemis. But most important of all remember that the dictates of my conscience is no concern of yours or anyone else."

Artemis bowed and said with a sneer, "Yes my Princess."

Just then Lois came out of the kitchen with the brandy and three glasses. Handing a glass to each of her guests Lois remarked, "I already had one fight in here already ladies and I could do just find with out another one breaking out especially between two Amazons."

She poured the brandy into each of their glasses as Diana said, "Please forgive my rude behavior in your home."

She then turned to Artemis and waited. When no apology was forth coming Diana said in a harsh voice, "Artemis!"

"If you expect me to lick this mortal's hand as you have done, then you will have a very long wait in hell," Said Artemis.

Diana made a sudden move towards Artemis but was in turn intercepted by Lois who suddenly blocked her way. "Stop it Diana," Lois pleaded.

"Artemis has told me you have been friends for close to seven years. I don't want to be the cause of ending all that."

Lois then held out her glass and with a gesture Diana and Artemis soon followed. They touched glasses and each in turn drained the contents.

Except for Diana who stopped at half a glass. Lowering her glass slowly Diana had an odd look on her face which she soon covered up.

Diana hoped no one had noticed when she asked Lois, "Can I use your phone Lois I have to call Batman and check in with him."

"Of course, you can use the one in the bed room for the sake of privacy," Lois said.

Putting her glass down Diana said before she left, "I could do with a refill." She walked casually into the bedroom and closed the door slowly behind her.

Soon as she was out of sight she quickly picked up the phone and dialed a phone number she knew by heart. She mumbled under her breath, "Be home, be home, please be home." Her prayers were rewarded when the phone was picked up.

When she herd someone on the other end say, "Hello."

Wonder Woman said, "Diana here." "Are you all right?" a excited and very young voice on the other end asked.

"We saw the fight on the news."

"I'm Fine," Diana reassured her. "It looked worst than it was," Diana added.

Not wishing to use any names in case her suspicions proved correct. Diana asked, "Were is your mentor?"

"Up stairs with Mom," the young voice answered.

Diana dropped the receiver back into place before who ever the person on the other end of the line could finish talking. Walking out of the bedroom Wonder Woman joined her two companions.

With a smile on her face Diana picked up her glass and said," I want to make a toast."

When Diana saw that both Lois and Artemis had picked up their glasses. Diana raised her own glass and said, "To absent friends."

As they touched glasses during the toast Wonder Woman threw her own brandy into the face of Artemis and immediately pushed Lois in back of her.

Lois cried out, "Why Diana?"

"WHY!" she answered.

"I will tell you why Lois. Because I'm an Idiot that's why," Wonder Woman shouted.

"I might have made a mistake," admitted Diana. "But you made a bigger one by over playing your hand when you told Lois you have been my friend for these past seven years," said Diana as she kept her eyes on Artemis.

She's not?" asked Lois.

With out taking her eyes off Artemis Wonder Woman then explained, "There are some things you must understand about Artemis Lois."

"She is brave, loyal, and a true and dedicated member of the sisterhood. There is no one, save my own mother and your husband I would trust more than her to guard my back in battle."

"But there is also one more thing you should know about Artemis and myself."

What's that?" asked Lois.

For an answer Diana said, "She hates me and to be honest I am not all that found of her either."

"Then who the hell is she?" asked Lois.

"Not she Lois, he, isn't that right Neron?"

Suddenly before the astonished eyes of both Lois and Diana the form of the woman they had known as Artemis began to shimmer and change shape until the demon Neron stood before them both.

"God must hate me," Lois all but screamed to an uncaring world.

"Here I am, sitting in the middle of the biggest story of the year. A story that has everything a reporter could ever hope for, Amazons, Darkseid, a punch up between two super powered women and now a full blown demon and I'm the only reporter in Metropolis who can't cover it."

"Losing out on a good story is the least of the troubles you will find yourself facing today women," said Neron.

"Leave her be Hell spawn, your fight is over here," Diana said as she stood protectively in front of Lois.

Neron laughed wickedly at the sight of the Amazon hovering protectively close to Lois Lane. "First you risk your life to protect this insignificant flea from Maxima and now you risk even more than your life to protect her from me," observed a laughing Neron.

He then added, "Even when she is the one and only obstacle that stands between you and what you want most in the world. Your still willing to risk your life, your very soul to protect her." "I simply can not understand you," he then added.

"How could you," said Lois. "To be able to understand her you would first need to have a soul."

Ignoring Lois's insult the demon Neron continued to walk around the room as he asked, "Just how did you catch on to my little masquerade Wonder Woman?"

Diana kept moving in step with Neron, never taking her eyes off him, always making sure to stay between him and Lois.

"I should have caught on a lot sooner," said Diana.

"You did have a lot on your mind," interrupted Lois.

Diana smiled at what Lois said then continued, "Right off when you showed up here as Artemis the first time I should have realized something just wasn't right." "My mother would have never have given the the location of Lois's home to any one. Not even to one of her beloved Amazons. To do so would mean she would have to betray a trust. A trust she gave to Superman and that she would never do."

"Why not?" asked Neron. "She betrayed you on at least two times that I know of, why not Superman?"

"You lie," Diana cried out. "Your trying to drive a wedge between my mother and myself."

Neron told her, "The wedge between your mother and yourself is already there. Wither you care to admit to it or not."

"Don't listen to him Diana, the bastard is trying to mess with your head," Lois whispered into Diana's ear as she stood behind her.

"Enough reminiscing," said Neron. "What other clue was there to my real Identity?"

"The tea service," answered Diana.

"What about the tea service?" asked Lois.

"Not only wouldn't you pour your own tea but most important of all you wouldn't touch the sugar bowl. Because both were made from the finest silver and demons like you have problems with things like silver."

"Very good," said Neron. "It looks like you might have the wisdom of Athena after all."

"It's not that I am so wise," claimed Wonder Woman. "It's that you have proved yourself to be so incredibly stupid."

Neron asked, "In what way?"

"All the little mistakes you made," Diana answered. "Such as the slip you made when you told Lois of the so called friendship between Artemis and myself. "To top it all off when I went into the bedroom to call the Batman. You were so sure of yourself, so arrogant. You didn't even think I might be using the opportunity to check up on you. To in fact find out the real Artemis was in the family den talking with my young friend's mother."

Diana started to laugh into the face of the demon Neron as she said, "You really are an Idiot, aren't you?" "A foul smelling insignificant toad. Why don't you put your tail between your legs an go slinking back to what ever foul pit you crawled out of."

"You dare speak to me like that women. I who destroyed the hanging gardens of Babylon and tempted a foolish boy king into turning his own people into my slaves for a chance at immortality, only to find it as king Tut."

"You dare incur the wrath of he who whispered into the ear of Judas. And most foolish of all you still dare to talk to me in this manner, especially after what I did to you the last time our paths crossed."

Diana told him, "Last time we met you were facing only a half an Amazon."

"That too you can blame on your mother," Neron said.

That happened in the past," said Diana. "I care only for the here and now."

"Speaking about the present, since your little folk dance with Maxima there is even less left of you now than when we met the first time," said Neron.

Diana walked towards the demon till her nose almost was touching his. She then said in a voice full of contempt, "More than enough to handle a slime covered third rate hell spawn such as yourself."

The enraged demon lashed out at Wonder Woman knocking her across the room. She landed in a heap at the foot of the book case in a tangled pile of broken shelves and over turned books.

Lois thought that Diana had gone crazy. There she lay with a certified demon walking across the room towards her to do God only knows what to her and all she was doing was lay there with a big stupid grin on her face.

As Neron was standing over the grinning Wonder Woman he looked down at the Amazon and said, "As you yourself said to Maxima just a few moments ago, 'Time to die'."

"Not to day devil," said Lois as she caught the demon in the face with the silver candle stick just as he turned around at the sound of her voice.

Another blow from the craftsmanship of Paul Revere sent the demon Neron to the floor as Lois learned even a demon can be made to cry out in pain.

"If you think I'm going to stand around and let you kill my friend under my roof then you really are as stupid as Diana says," Lois pointed out as she raised the candle stick to continue her attack.

But before she could strike Neron lashed out knocking Lois back across the room to land sprawled on the couch.

In a flash Neron stood over her with his hand paused to strike. Lois watched in fascination as the hand of Neron was transformed before her eyes into a claw not unlike a talon of some great bird.

"You hurt me mortal," said Neron as he looked down on her. "For the first time in over a century a mortal has brought me pain. For that I bring you death."

Neron brought his hand down to cleave the breast of Lois Lane in two. But what the demon Neron intended never had a chance to happened. Using the speed of Mercury Diana was already on top of Lois using her own body as a shield as Neron's claws tore into her own back.

Diana let out a gasp of agony from the pain as she was knocked to the floor. Much to Lois surprise Wonder Woman got to her feet quickly. She seemed to stumble as she walked over to Clark's chair and stood behind it holding on to the head rest.

Both Lois and the demon Neron turned to face Diana as she slowly and carefully said, "Hold demon by your own rules you now belong to me."

Lois started walking to Diana's side to check on her injuries but a simple hand gesture by Diana held her back.

"Well Neron?" asked Diana. "Do I speak the truth or not?" Lois could see the frustration in the face of the Demon Neron. In his human form some would call him handsome, to Lois his sinister appearance just gave her the shivers.

When he finally blurted out, "Yes damn you!" Lois was more than a bit satisfied to see the author of her and Diana's troubles put in his place. But being who she was and what she did for a living Lois found herself more than a we bit curious.

That is why she asked," Diana, Just how did you manage to pull this off?"

With out removing her eyes from Neron Wonder Woman then satisfied Lois's curiosity, "Even this evil, amoral hell spawn is governed by certain rules. Rules even he is forced to obey."

Diana told Lois, "The first thing a warrior should do is know her enemy. After our first meeting I made it a point to learn all I could about his like. When I finally came to realized who he was I knew this whole crisis was an elaborate way of tempting me."

Continuing with her explanation Diana said, "If I gave in to temptation I would have been his. My body and soul would have been his to command, to do with what ever he wished. But when I resisted what he offered me I remained a free spirit. I was still a free women and master of my own soul when he struck me and before I was his to command."

"By placing his slimy paws on someone was not yet his he broke the rules and now he owes me."

Lois said, "That's why you were goading him into losing his temper. You wanted him to strike you."

"Just so," Diana said.

"Well that explains why you were sitting in a pile of books with a silly cat who just ate the canary grin on your face. But that doesn't explain why smuck face here was about to carve me open like a Thanksgiving turkey?" asked Lois.

"That was a simple act of revenge Lois. He had no interest in your soul, just your life," explained Diana.

"To obtain ownership and gain power over a person's soul certain rules and legal forms must be carried out."

"I'm sorry for almost ruining your plans Diana," said Lois.

Diana then told Lois, "What ever you did you did because you were trying to save my life. How can I feel anything but gratitude for such a brave and noble gesture."

"Tell us Demon, why this elaborate charade?" asked Wonder Woman?

"None of this would have been necessary, if you had the courage to remove this obstacle to what you wanted most in the world," said Neron as he looked over at Lois.

"It would have been simple enough. A little squeeze of her throat or a creative accident and this talking monkey here would have been out of your way," said Neron as he once more stared at Lois.

Lois felt a sudden chill crawl up her spine as the demon described what he thought Diana should have done to her.

Neron than added, "But you were to much the pacifist, to caught up in the trap of morality to seize in your own hands the one thing you wanted most in your life. To soft hearted to act in your own best self interest, To much the coward, to soft, to…"

"To noble!" interrupted Lois with a smile.

Neron glared at her with hate in his glowing red eyes. For an answer Lois made a rather rude gesture in his direction as he looked on. This show of bravado by the wife of Superman brought a wave of laughter to the lips of the Amazon Princess.

When she stopped her laughing Diana asked, "Why was it so important that Lois die by my hand?"

"By doing so," explained Neron. "You would have instantly belong to me. After a time Superman would have found his way to you for comfort. With the way you felt about each other, in time you would have started a life together. That is when I would have seen to it that Superman found out what part you played in the death of his beloved. The knowledge would have destroyed him."

"In the end she would be dead," said Neron as he pointed at Lois. "You would belong to me Wonder Woman and The Man of Steel would have been a broken man. With out the two most powerful and famous Icons of the meta Human community to inspirer or lead by example the rest of your contemporaries would have lost heart. Best of all when they finally found out that you princess had gone so far as to go over to the other side as some would say. It would have destroyed them all and the world would have fallen into chaos and began that long march straight down the road to hell and into my waiting arms."

"But you soon realized that Diana would never sink so low as to take my life," said Lois.

"Yes, Neron sadly answered. "But if I am anything I am resourceful."

"If I could not Lead Wonder Woman into killing you I could guide her into killing the Moral code she lives by. By arranging to put you in harms way then have Wonder Woman giving in to temptation and abandoning you to your fate. She might have just as well have taken your life with her own hands the results would have been all the same."

"You were this so called stranger who told Maxima about Superman's alleged mistress?" asked Diana.

"Yes I was," answered Neron. "I was well aware of the demons that drove Maxima. I used her jealously and her thirst for revenge to point her on the road to Lois. I knew some one sooner or later informed you of Maxima's mad quest."

Neron than added, "I was confident that you would be intelligent enough to realize that road would lead inexorably to Lois Lane Kent."

"Once you had made the moral commitment to be Lois Lane's protector, your soul was on the line," explained Neron.

"I knew that once you gave in to the temptation of anger that I foisted in you. That anger in turn would lead to conflict between the both of you. If because of this conflict abandoned Lois to her fate, it would simply have meant that you gave in to temptation Wonder Woman and than you would have been mine," explained Neron.

That's why as Artemis you let slip about Diana's Garden of dreams and what was there," said Lois.

"Yes," answered Neron. "You too had your part to play in my own little morality play."

Turning to Diana Neron said, "Did you know she has always been a little jealous of you when it came to her husband."

"There was always a little doubt in the back of her mind when it came to the two of you. She had always wondered about how strong the feelings were between Wonder Woman and The Man of Steel."

"Silence hell spawn," shouted Diana. "Your here to answer questions not bring pain to my friend."

"Friends now is it. My, my what truly strange bed fellows you two have become. Tell me Wonder Woman will you be moving in with the two of them now," asked a smiling Neron.

"Perhaps with a big enough bed the three of you can get all nice and cozy for the winter?"

"You vicious bastard," Lois yelled as she bent over to pick up the candle stick from the floor.

"Stop it Lois," Cried Diana. "Remember what you told me. He's trying to mess with your head."

Diana watched as Lois stood there her face contorted in rage as she stared at Neron. All the while pounding the silver candle stick into the palm of her hand.

Turning back to Neron Diana asked, "While you were Artemis why was it that you kept trying to tempt me in the park?"

"I saw your resolve was weakening, The guilt you felt over your love of Superman and the duty you felt you owed Lois, was over coming your anger for her," explained Neron. "Your conscience once more began to get the better of you. I had to try to tempt you away from the strength you find in your own moral center."

"The saying Pride goes before a fall is true. Pride has always been one of my most potent weapons. So I used the pride you had in yourself, your heritage and most of all the pride you felt for the mother you so loved to dissuade you from coming back to aide Lois."

"But sadly," Neron said. "Your over developed sense of responsibility and the unbreakable grasp you had on your own personal moral code ruined all that for me. When you insisted in coming back to Lois's apartment and putting your own life on the line for someone who by all rights you should have wished to see dead."

"I have one more question," asked Diana" "The trouble on New Genesis and with Darkseid how much of that was your doing?"

"Sad to say none," answered Neron. "In a few days Superman and the rest of his friends will find out that Darkseid had nothing to do with the incursions into New Genesis, or the troop movements on Apokolips or any thing else that so concerned the High Father."

The Demon Neron went on to explain," All of it was the latest pathetic attempt by Darkseid's idiot son Kalibak to try and win the approval if not the love of a cruel and a indifferent father. All I did, like the good business man that I am. Was to see an opportunity and take advantage of it. Now since I have answered all your tedious questions I will now be taking my leave."

"Aren't you forgetting something?" asked Diana.

"What did I forget now?" asked the exasperated demon!

"My wish," answered Wonder Woman.

"Oh that," said Neron. "I already know what you want princess."

"Then turning to were Lois stood Neron said, "Don't we Mrs. Kent!"

"YOU BASTARD!" yelled Lois as she raised her wedding gift over her head and prepared to charge at Neron.

Wonder woman put out her hand and taking hold of her by her waist pulled the enraged Lois Lane back from the demon saying, "Lois please."

Lois stopped and turned to face Diana. It was then she noticed how pale and weak the Amazon Princess suddenly looked to her.

Turning her attention back to Neron Diana said, "Here is my wish when you leave here I wish that you are totally and forever more convinced that the only family Superman ever had or ever will have lies dead on the rubble that is left on the world once known as Krypton."

"Very good princess, an excellent choice of words. Even I can't think of a way around that wish," said Neron.

"I all so want Maxima to forget all about me," said Wonder Woman.

"OH no little princess, sneered Neron. "You get only one wish. Either Superman's family is safe from my interest or you have Maxima thirsting for your life as long as both of you live."

Diana didn't even take time to think as she said, "Then I choose the safety of Superman's family."

Lois began to protest, "Diana please think what your doing, sooner or Later Maxima will escape and you will have a maniac at your throat."

"I know exactly what I am doing Lois," said Diana. "I owe this to you and your husband both. But most of all I owe this to you."

Lois turned away and stared at the floor trying to stop her own tears.

"It's done," said the Demon Neron. "One more thing before I go. I want to leave you ladies with a gift."

"What gift could we ever want from you?" Diana asked.

"The truth," answered Neron.

"What does the Lord of Lies know about the truth?" asked Lois.

"More than anyone the Lord of Lies knows the value of truth," said Neron. "Most of all just how powerful the truth can become especially when used as a weapon."

Suddenly Diana, strange as it may sound thought she knew what the Demon was about to say. "We have no wish to listen to your lies or your so called truth Neron," Wonder Woman observed.

"Well listen to it you will, the both of you," said Neron. "For what I am about to say concerns you both. Lois has often wondered why the passion you and her husband shared when you first met seemingly cooled over night."

"But most of all it was you Diana who has been troubled about it almost every day since. You have wondered why seemingly when the passion you and Superman were beginning to feel for one another was almost about to burst into a white heart flame. Why did Superman suddenly for no real rhyme or reason pull away from you."

Neron added, "You always had your suspicions Wonder Woman about what happened that day. Right in the here an now princess and before I leave and forget. I am telling you, you were right. Your precious Gods were so fearful and jealous of what you and Superman could have been together that they feared for their own power and even their very existence. Your own mother fearful that Superman would do to you what Hercules did to her helped them."

"You lie," said Diana in a deep menacing voice.

"You know different," said Neron. "Think back to that filthy warehouse when Superman was trying to control you with out harming you. Was it not your own mother who said, 'If you love her hit her.'" Neron said in a perfect imitation of Diana's own mother.

"Did she not apologize to Superman about being wrong about him and told you how special he truly was?"

Seeing the pain and anguish in both their faces Neron started to laugh. "You may have won the war Amazon," he said.

"But this way neither of you will leave here unscathed or be able to celebrate in your victory."

The words were barely out of his mouth when the silver candle stick Lois just threw bounced off his head. If there was one thing Sam Lane made sure it was no one would ever accuse his daughter of throwing like a girl.

Neron would have agreed if he bothered to stay around but with a scream of pain and the proverbial puff of smoke he was gone.

As the room cleared Lois said, "I thought he would never leave."

"Diana for her part simply smiled gave a little laugh and said, "Speaking of going, I think it is high time that I was on my way also."

She walked from behind Clark's chair took three steps and collapsed on the coffee table smashing it.

Lois removed her hand from supporting Diana's back, when she looked down she saw her palm was stained red with blood.

"OH my God!" she said out load as Lois frantically reached for the phone lying on the floor. When she reached it Lois managed to dial 911 with one hand as she supported Wonder Woman with the other. She waited for a few moments as the phone rang, moments that to her seemed to go on for hours.

Finally when she heard a voice on the other end Lois calmly said," I need an ambulance sent to my home. This is an emergency."

It was just after the operator asked for Lois's address that Diana's regained consciousness. Almost immediately her hand reach up and broke the connection to the 911 operator.

Looking up into Lois's face Diana said, "No ambulances and no Doctors. You can't afford to have me found in your home."

"Why the hell not," Lois interrupted her.

Diana explained, "If it was known that Wonder Woman was staying in your apartment, what ever life you had with your husband would soon be over." She then added, "Sooner or later some one, most likely one of Clark's enemies would put together the connection between Kal and myself."

"I don't care about any of that Diana. You need help and you need it now," Lois pleaded. Diana put her hand on Lois am and looking up at her said, "If you won't think about yourself or even Clark than think about your own family and most of all think about Martha and Jonathan."

Lois hesitated for a moment as she thought. Then once more quickly picked up the phone and started to dial out.

Once more Diana pleaded with her, "In the last few days I have seen Lex Luthor twice. If he ever finds out that I was staying in your apartment all will be lost for you."

Diana than added, "Together we have managed to over come one demon today. Will you throw your husband, yourself and all the rest of the people you love into the waiting arms of another?"

Lois knelt there next to Diana, torn between what she owed the woman who was laying in her arms and her concern for all of the people she loved and who in turn loved her. With a curse spoken more out of frustration than anger Lois put Diana's arm around her neck and her other arm around her waist.

Working together Lois and Diana managed to get to their feet as they stood there together Diana told Lois, "If it wasn't for you and that candel stick I would be on the other side by now."

Lois smiled as she said "You saved my life twice today Diana, so I guess that still makes you one up on me."

With Diana leaning on Lois for support they continued with there trip to the bedroom. When They finally got inside Lois laid Diana's tall frame on her bed face down. Running to the bathroom Lois came back with the first aide kit and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

As Lois sat on the edge of the bed she took out a pair of scissors from the kit. "I have to cut your custom off Diana,"

"Don't worry about it," said Diana. "I don't believe even Martha's skill with a needle and tread would be able to repair it now."

Removing her tiara Diana placed it next to the pillow her head rested on. She then took her cherished golden lasso from her waist. Wonder Woman held it in her hands for comfort as if it was some sort of security blanket.

Lois in turn undid the clasp that locked Diana's girdle in place. She then pulled it out from beneath Diana and put it on the floor. Taking out the scissors from the first aide kit Lois cut Diana's colorful costume straight down the back.

Pulling back the two pieces Lois poured the whole bottle of peroxide down Diana's back to flush out her wounds and to wash away the blood so Lois could see the extant of Diana's injuries. When she saw what the damage was Lois let out with an audible gasp. Ripping open a package of sterile gauze Lois proceeded to clean the wounds.

Mere moments had passed when Lois told the stoic Amazon Warrior, "You have three deep gashes on your back, two for the most part have already stopped bleeding. The long one is very deep, almost down to the bone and that one is still bleeding rather badly."

Diana told her, "That's the one you have to worry about, if you can stop the bleeding I should be all right."

"Any suggestions how I should go about doing that?" asked Lois.

"The quickest and surest way is the one all warrior's know of," answered Diana.

Lois thought for a minute then said, "OH! That one."

Diana turned her head to face Lois and said, "Clark once told me your father was a warrior, he must have been the one who taught you."

"That and other things," replied Lois. Wonder Woman heard the note of bitterness in Lois's voice when she mentioned her father. But since it wasn't her place to ask for the reason why it was there she didn't.

"Do you have the right size knife?" asked Diana.

Lois looked at the wound measured the length and breath of it in her minds eye and said "Yes I do." Going back to the kitchen Lois took a very wide long bladed carving knife from the wall and laying the blade on top of the burner of the stove turned the flame on high.

Moving into the bathroom as the blade heated Lois found some clean towels an face clothes and filling a basin with hot soapy water carried it all to the bed room in one trip. She washed the blood and dirt off of Diana's back and patted it dry. When she was done with that she used a white clean towel to cover the whole of Diana's back.

As she worked On Wonder Woman's back her hands felt down to Diana's ribs. Her sensitive fingers felt something out of place. Her suspicions were confirmed when her guest winced in pain.

Lois then told Diana, "I think you have broken one of your ribs Diana."

"Two actually and I didn't break anything, it was actually Maxima who was the one who did the breaking," replied Wonder Woman with a pain filled grin on her face.

Changing the subject Diana told Lois, "When the knife is hot enough come straight back here and don't hesitate. Hold it to the wound until you see the bleeding stop than count to ten slowly and your finished."

Returning to the Kitchen Lois waited until the knife glowed almost white and the wooden handle started to smoke. After saying a silent prayer Lois put on a oven mitt picked up the knife and rushed back to the bed room. Soon as she returned to the bed room Lois pulled back the towel from Diana's back and with out hesitating placed the red hot knife on the wound.

She kept it there until the bleeding stopped and then just as she was told kept it there until she counted to ten. Lois could smell the seared flesh and thought she would be sick.

Diana just clutched her lasso and buried her face into the pillow and remained silent except for the sound of her breath passing over her clinched teeth and a deep groan of pain from deep inside of her throat. The only other sound she made was her breath as it past her clinched teeth. Lois removed the blade and immediately told Diana that the bleeding had stopped.

"I'm afraid your going to have some rather nasty scars on your Back Diana," Lois said sadly.

"I may not heal as fast as your husband, but in a few days I seriously doubt you will be able to tell I was injured let alone find a scar."

"That's remarkable Lois said. She then added, "How do you feel now?

"Weak as a new born babe," was Wonder Woman's answer.

"You feel strong enough for a shower?" Lois asked.

Diana had always been most fastidious when it came to her appearance and most important of all her personal hygiene. With that in mind Diana said, "Right now a long hot shower does sound wonderful."

Lois smiled and said, "You got it just wait here until I get every thing ready."

As Diana rested on her bed. Lois rushed around seeing every thing was ready for her. Knowing Diana was to weak to stand on her own she carried one of her kitchen chairs into the shower stall of the bath room. Coming back to the bedroom Lois helped Diana sit up on the edge of the bed and took off her boots and the rest of her ruined costume.

Lois then reached for Diana's bracelets to remove them for her. But Diana suddenly pulled back and said in a harsh and surprisingly angry voice, "No they never come off not now not ever."

Lois was taken back by her companions sudden out burst but let the matter drop chalking it up to the pain she was in and her fatigue. With Lois to lean on for support Diana made it to the bath room and the shower stall sitting down on the chair. Lois offered to help her wash but Diana's pride would not let hear of it. Treating a sister's wounds was one thing, but only children needed to be washed.

"Are you sure you will be all right alone?" asked Lois.

"I'm sure," Diana said. "In fact I'm starting to feel better already."

Turning the hot water on full Wonder Woman let the steaming water wash over her body easing the soreness and washing her own blood and the dirt of the street off her body.

As Diana washed herself. Lois striped the bed turned over the mattress and put on fresh linen. Her first thought was to pick out some of her own things for Diana to wear but realized Diana was just to big to fit into her clothes.

Lois then decided on a pair of her husbands pajamas reasoning to big is better than to small. She placed the Pj's on the bed and went back to the bathroom. Diana had just finished. Lois had difficulty trying to see passed the billowing steam when she saw Diana was having trouble standing. Going to her side Lois helped her out of the stall.

It was then that Lois for the first time really took notice of the figure of the women she was helping to her feet. The long powerful legs the flat stomach the small waist every thing from the swell of her hips to the size of her breasts spelled perfection. Even Wonder Woman's broad shoulders and muscular arms and legs only enhanced the athletic perfection of Diana's physical form.

As Lois was wrapping a over sized towel around her guest, Diana seemed to sense what Lois was thinking after seeing her this way. So Diana told Lois, "Always remember it's you that Clark loves most of all." "Besides Lois, You have seen a lot more of me in the past half hour than Clark ever has."

"Are you counting all the times Clark used his X-ray vision on you," Lois asked with a dead pan expression as she helped Wonder Woman back to the bed.

Suddenly Diana stopped moving and with a blushing face asked, "You don't really think Clark ever…eh you know ever"

"Ever what?" asked Lois with a dead pan expression.

Finally making it to the bed Diana sat down and said, "You don't think your husband ever used those eyes to look at me with out my clothes on, do you?"

"Well you must admit you are one magnificently built woman Diana, said Lois. "If I was Clark I couldn't help but be a little curious about what you looked like under that costume." Lois continued with her teasing, "After all boys will be boys and men will be men. And take it from me, Clark is all man"

Diana had never been prudish and she thought of the nude human form as a thing of beauty. But the thought of Clark seeing her in that way seemed strangely upsetting to her.

The two women stared at each other for a rather long moment. Then suddenly Diana remembered just who she and Lois was discussing here.

Soon a smile appeared on both of their faces as they then said in unison, "No, not Clark. Not the worlds biggest boy scout." They then both started to laugh as they sat side by side.

After they settled back on the bed Lois noticed the red patch of blood on the towel. After Removing the towel Lois told Diana to lay on her stomach as she worked on Diana's back.

Lois applied disinfectant and began to bandage Diana's back. As she worked the two woman talked together.

Lois asked, "Your back over your left kidney is all black and blue did Neron do that to you?"

"No," Wonder Woman answered her. "That was Maxima's gift to me."

Taking rolls of Ace bandages Lois proceeded to bind up Diana's ribcage, to support the broken ribs. When she was done Lois asked her, "How does it feel?"

"Tight," Diana answered.

"Sorry," said Lois. "But if your ribs are going to heal, it has to be that tight."

Diana then replied, "I know."

As she worked on Diana Lois asked, "How could you stand as long as you did the and talk so calmly to Neron when all the time you were bleeding so badly and hurting so much?"

"I knew if I kept the fool talking he might not notice how badly injured I was. I could not let him see how weak I was becoming," answered Wonder Woman.

Lois then helped her into her husband pajamas and then into bed. When Diana asked, "Are these Clark's pajamas?"

"Yes they are," said Lois. Leaving her patient to go to the kitchen Lois came back with a gallon of cranberry juice and a tall glass.

Lois poured her glass and watched as Diana quickly downed it. Another one soon followed the first. "I really was thirsty," Diana said. As she handed the glass back to Lois. "How ever did you know?"

"I knew you would be dehydrated after all the blood you lost," Lois said. Besides Diana Cranberry juice is supposed to be good for the Kidneys and after what Maxima did to yours it sure wouldn't hurt.

"After Lois was done tucking her patient in to bed Diana said. "I have not been tucked into bed for a great many years. Not since I was thirteen years old and now I have had it done for me twice within the past week. First it was Martha and now you."

Lois said, "Some day you must tell me what went on back in Smallville Diana." "I promise some of what went on I will share with you," promised Diana.

"And the rest? "Lois asked.

"No, there are some things you don't want to know," said Diana.

Changing the subject Lois said, "Try and get some sleep, I will be out side cleaning up if you need any thing just call me." "I will wake you in a few hours to get some hot food in you but for now sleep. Rest is what you need most."

"Yes mother!" Diana said with a smile.

Lois got up drew the blinds shut to block out the rising sun. Walking over to the wall switch Lois shut out the light and was about to close the door when Lois said to Diana "One more thing about my husband's Pajamas Diana."

"What would that be?" asked The Amazon Princess.

"This better be the only time I catch you in them," Lois told her with a big smile.

As Lois closed the door behind her so Diana could get some sleep. She could hear the groan of pain escape her lips as the Amazon's almost hysterical laughter aggravated the pain from her broken ribs.

It was the afternoon sunlight that suddenly came crashing into the bedroom was what had awakened Wonder Woman. Diana slowly opened her eyes and peered around the room in total confusion.

It was only the sight of Lois by the window rearranging the shades, that brought the Amazon Princess crashing head first into reality. Wonder Woman sat up stretched and then noticed how sore her ribs still were and how much her head hurt still.

Sitting on the edge of the bed Lois looked down at her guest and said, "Welcome back to the land of the living princess."

Rubbing the sleep from her eyes Diana asked, "How long have I been out?"

"All most ten straight hours," Lois answered as she handed the rest of the juice to the thirsty hero.

Diana eagerly took the rest of the juice from Lois's hands and finished it in a series long gulps. She drained the containers contents and let out with a sigh of contentment before she spoke.

"I can not remember ever being so thirsty, "remarked Diana.

Lois then asked, "How do you feel?

"My body feels like it just been run over by my mother's war chariot," said Diana as she shut her eyes against the glare of the sunlight that was streaming into the room. As for my head, it feels the same way it does on the day after the two day festival of Baccus comes to an end."

Looking up at Lois and seeing her confused face Diana added, "God of wine and joy."

"I know who Baccus is," said Lois. "What I didn't know was that Amazons liked to party hearty."

"My sister's and myself live such controlled and self disciplined lives. When we do as you say, 'party' we have a tendency to over do it."

"In some way it's comforting to know that even immortal woman with centuries of experience are capable of making the same foolish mistakes we mortal women do," observed Lois.

Deciding to change the subject Lois asked, "How is your appetite?"

"Famished," answered Diana with a big grin.

"Well the food is on it's way and I thought this would be a good a time as any to change your bandages before it arrives," explained Lois.

Diana smiled and nodded her head in approval. She turned around so Lois could work on her back, She draped Clark's pajama top and waited. First thing Lois did was to remove the wrapping from Diana's ribcage. When this was done, Lois was surprised when Diana told her that her ribs seemed to be healed but still sore.

Lois then reached into the first aid kit and taking out a digital thermometer placed it into the protesting mouth of the Amazon. "What's this for?" Diana asked as she pulled it out of her mouth.

Forcing it back into her mouth Lois told Diana, "That's to make sure your wounds are not becoming infected."

Once more Diana protested and made an attempt to remove the offending thermometer. Lois intervened by placing her hand over the Amazon's protesting mouth and told her, "There is a another place I could put that thermometer Diana were it works even better."

"You wouldn't dare," mumbled the indignant Amazon.

All the while she complained Diana made sure to keep the thermometer in her mouth. Lois answered her protests by staring straight in her eye and smiling.

Wonder Woman returned the smile and mumbled, "Maybe you would dare."

Removing the bandages Lois was shocked and surprised to see that the wounds in Diana's back had already closed. Even the massive black an blue splotches that Diana suffered at the hands of Maxima were beginning to fade.

As Lois marveled at princess Diana's recuperative powers the digital thermometer signaled by beeping. Taking it out of her mouth Lois read a temperature of one hundred and one.

She could not understand why Diana was running a fever when her wounds showed no signs of any infection.

Suddenly Lois had an inspiration as she asked, "Diana what is the normal body temperature for an Amazon?"

"Right around one hundred and a hundred an one," she answered. Showing the temperature to her guest, it was Diana who said, "We Amazon's are a hot blooded race."

"According to myth weren't Amazons supposed to be cold blooded killers?" asked Lois.

"Lies written by men," Answered Diana. "Nothing more than distorted propaganda created by Hercules to cover his own guilt and crimes." Wonder Woman then went on to say, "When my mother and her sisters with the help of Athena broke the chains of slavery that they were put in by him and his men. The Amazons led by my mother slaughtered all his men in their righteous wrath. Only Hercules himself escaped to spread such lies about us."

Seeing Diana's reaction to her question Lois wanted to drop the subject. "Your a fast healer Diana," observed Lois.

"All your wounds have closed, There is no sign of any infection. Even the tell tale signs of the beating you suffered at the hands of Maxima are starting to fade."

Lois then handed a hand mirror to Diana to see for herself. For the first time since the fight Wonder Woman saw her own reflection. Diana let out a gasp as her mind for a moment refused to believe what her own eye's saw.

Looking back at her was a caricature of the woman that she once was. With two black eyes a swollen face covered with scraps cuts and bruises Diana looked like she had just had her own encounter with the monster Doomsday.

Putting the mirror aside Diana told Lois, "When I was a young Amazon growing up back on Themyscira there would have been a time, that I would have been very proud to have those black eyes."

"And now?" asked Lois.

"I discover that I still have a small amount of a child's foolish pride in a red badge of courage and an adult's gratitude that the God's granted me the gift to be a fast healer."

Diana was putting Clark's Pajama top back on when Lois said, "I have a confession to make Diana."

"What type of confession?" asked her curious patient.

"That beating you took from Maxima when you were saving that police helicopter was my fault," said Lois.

"In the name of Zeus how could you ever come to that mad conclusion?" asked Wonder Woman.

I saw on television how you had to rescued those police officers. I watched in horror as you had to hold up that S.C.U helicopter and couldn't even defend yourself as Maxima pounded on your face and body like you were her own personal punching bag," said Lois with a voice filled with guilt and regret.

"You still haven't explained how it was your fault?" asked Diana.

"Who do you think called the S.C.U?" asked Lois.

Diana fell onto her back laughing as she looked up at the ceiling. When she caught her breath she told Lois, "A few days ago Martha told me, 'she thought her son was the only one who lived on guilt and responsibility and it saddened her to see that I too suffered from the same affliction."

"I can't wait to tell her her daughter in law suffers from the same disease."

"She all ready knows," said Lois.

Lois stood up and looking down at Wonder Woman said with a smile, "I'll bring a tray of food to you when it arrives,"

"I rather eat out side like a normal person. If it's all the same to you," said Diana.

"Do you feel like your up to it?" asked Lois.

Wonder Woman nodded her head yes.

Lois then said," I'll go and set the table. You will find a pair of my slippers and one of Clark's robes in the closest."

When Lois left Diana slowly stood up fighting the pull of gravity. She was still weak and a bit shaky on her feet but she knew she was making rapid progress towards a full recovery. Diana then said to herself, "Before you put on that robe and slippers you best take care of all that juice you have been guzzling."

She then walked slowly and on unsteady legs to the Bath room.

Lois watched in fascination and awe as Diana went through the Chinese meal the same way Sherman marched through Georgia. Straight ahead, unopposed and destroying every thing in her path.

Lois sat dumb founded as she watched Wonder Woman finished her second helping of Moo- shu-pork. Not waiting for any reinforcements or even pausing to rest, Diana continued her campaign by immediately launching into a major attack on her third serving of fried rice.

All ready the top of the table were littered with the bones of her earlier victims. Those bones being what remained of the double order of spare ribs Diana had already finished off. Along with the egg rolls, fried shrimp, soup and Dim Sum which were mere appetizers to her main attack.

"I had come to believe that Clark is the King of the knife and fork. But you Diana have got to be the Queen," said Lois her voice filled with admiration.

Having finished the rice Diana moved on to the shrimp in lobster sauce but sadly was beginning to showing signs of finally slowing down. "I admit to a passionate love of good food," admitted Diana. "But in this case I believe it's the demands my body is making for the fuel and protein it needs to repair itself."

"That may be so," said Lois. "But watching you attack this meal belongs right up there with the other tales of legend and mythology that I could never bring myself to believe."

Diana laughed and said, "Thank you for the compliment Lois." Then pausing for a moment Diana added, "It was meant as a compliment wasn't it?"

Before Lois could answer the phone rang and she stood up to answer it. As she walked to the cordless phone on the wall she muttered to herself, "Better not be that damn idiot again."

She listened for a moment than found herself yelling into the mouth piece, "Listen you stupid smuck, how many times do I have to tell you that there is no farmers daughter here."

Lois turned around at the sound of giggling coming from the Amazon Princess. Diana was doing her best to hold in her laughter by placing the palm of her hand over her own mouth. When she finally recovered enough to speak Wonder Woman said, "I'm sorry Lois but I think that phone call is meant for me."

With a bewildered look on her face but with out saying a word Lois carried the phone over to Diana. "Hello," she said.

A male voice on the other end of the line asked, "Are you all right?" "I'm fine," she answered. "I watched the beating you endured on the news," The voice said.

Diana added, "I'm all right now, thanks to Lois. In a day or two I will be fully recovered."

"Then I take it she knows?" The voice asked.

"Yes!" said Diana.

"How is it going?" he asked.

"Were talking it over," she replied. Diana then added "How are you feeling?" "I'm doing fine," he answered. "Maxima wasn't all that interested in me."

"Give my best to Tim and Alfred," Diana said. "Please no names," The voice said.

"Good bye," said Diana with a smile.

"I hope things work out," said the voice then he said good bye and hung up.

"Who was that?" asked a curious Lois.

"How many people do you know in Gotham?" answered Wonder Woman?

"You mean to tell me I just called The Dark Knight a smuck?" asked a shocked Lois.

"Don't worry yourself about it. I have called him worst things to his face," said Diana.

"Wish that could say that helped," said Lois. "But I called him even worst things this afternoon when I thought I had a pervert on the phone."

Diana gave her host a big smile then suddenly remembered something. "May I make a phone call please?" asked Diana.

Lois answered by standing up from the table and telling Diana, "When your done I'll wait for you out side in the living room."

After a quick call to her young friend and protogee Cassie to reassure her. Diana then talked with her mother and the real Artemis her mentor.

Diana reassured the trio that despite of what they witness in the news. She was in fact all right and with out giving names Diana told them that she was recovering and in good hands.

Wonder Woman also told the true Artemis that if her mother queen Hippolyta tried to get in touch with her. She should inform her mother to remain on guard for a possible attack from Darkseid but also inform their queen that the crisis may in fact be soon coming to an end.

Having hung up the phone Diana walked slowly into the living room were Lois was sitting.

Picking Clark's chair Wonder Woman sat down in it's roomy construction with and audible sigh of contentment.

"How do you feel after your meal and conversations?" asked Lois.

"Tired but strangely content and at ease," answered Diana.

"Do you think your strong enough to be left alone for the next couple of hours?" asked Lois.

"That shouldn't be any problem," said Diana. "I could watch some television or take a shower," she added.

"Spending some time with the idiot box is a good idea Diana. But I should forget about the shower if I were you, at least until I return, "Lois remarked.

"Why is that?" asked Diana.

Lois explained to her," When you walked in here just now, you were a little unsteady on your feet. I don't want you to pass out or faint in the shower when I'm not here to help."

Seeing the wisdom of Lois's argument Diana agreed to sit quietly and watch some television while Lois was out attending to business. Picking up the TV remote and the TV guide she handed them both to Diana. Finding her handbag next Lois told Diana she should be gone no more than two hours.

Saying her good byes Lois was soon out the door.

Soon as Lois left Diana turned to the T.V listings and saw that Dexter's Laboratory was on in two minutes. Putting on the television she thought to herself, 'I love Dexter and his sister Dee Dee.'

Settling down Diana prepared herself for some wholesome and mindless entertainment. When Dexter ended Diana enjoyed herself by watching almost two straight hours of Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons. It was when the Super Friends came on did she shut the T.V off out of embarrassment.

Wonder Woman was soon falling asleep in the roomy comfort of Clark's favorite chair. In fact she was sound asleep when she was awakened by the sound of a key in the lock of the door.

A moment later Lois walked in carrying to large shopping bags. Placing them down on the couch she turned to Diana and said, "Diana you are with out a doubt a very hard woman to shop for."

Deeply touched Diana stood up and asked, "You bought clothes for me?"

She then added, "I really appreciate all that you have down for me Lois, but this is really to much for the likes of me."

"Shouldn't that be the other way around?" asked Lois.

Before Wonder Woman could answer. Lois added, "After all you didn't really think I was going to let you leave here wearing my husbands pajamas did you?" "Or are you planning to just take off and fly over the city in your birthday suit?" Lois added.

"I can see your point," conceded Diana. Walking over to the couch Diana took a seat next to her.

Lois talked as she reach into her shopping bag, "I had to guess on the size of the underwear Diana so I hope this fits."

Taking the offered gift from her hostess. Diana took a quick look and told her, "You have a good eye Lois, these should fit just fine."

In the other bag Lois came out with two sweat suits of the same style but different colors. One dark blue the other a burgundy red.

"I thought with the same style suits but different colors you can mix and match to a style you prefer," said Lois.

"I didn't bother with shoes," Lois added. "I didn't know your size and besides your boots are still in fine order."

Diana took the offered gifts and told Lois, "I only wish I had the proper words to tell you how much this and all the rest you have done has meant to me."

"Don't worry yourself about it," said Lois. "I could say the very same thing to you."

Wonder Woman then told her, "I don't think you know just how special you are Lois."

Lois in turn asked, "What's so special about me?"

"You would be surprised just how special you are and I don't mean just because your married to Clark, answered Diana.

"Even though any woman who could share in Clark's life, would by definition have to be extraordinary."

Diana explained to her, "No, what I am referring to is how you stood up to Maxima when you thought you were all alone in the world." "Even when you knew you were about to die, you never thought of giving up," explained Wonder Woman.

"And what you did to Neron with only a candle stick was a deed any one of my Amazon sisters would be proud of."

"But most of all," added Diana. "It was the way you treated me. A person you had every reason to hate for the pain I gave you, proves just how truly special you are. In fact with out your help I might be on the other side by now."

Lois blushed and said, "For the first time in my life I find my self lost for the right words."

Diana said, "Then allow me supply you with some in the form of a story."

"Among my people there are tales that are whispered when we are with our closest friends. Stories about Amazons in the past who have given up their immortality and left Paradise Island, because the call to be wives and mothers prove to strong to be ignored."

"I would have no doubt what so ever that one of your ancient grand mothers were one of those refuges from the sisterhood," Wonder Woman added.

"So you think I might have some Amazon blood flowing in my veins?" asked Lois.

"I would not be at all surprised?" admitted Wonder Woman.

Standing up in front of Lois Diana pulled her up off the couch to face her. Taking her hands Diana placed the palms of her hands flush with the palms of Lois's hands.

Diana then interlocked her fingers with Lois and told her, "This is the way Amazon sisters greet one another."

Diana then hugged the smaller women in a friendly embrace and said, "And this how we end the greeting."

Lois returned the embrace and said, "All I need now is a toga."

"And the bracelets," added Diana.

For the rest of the evening the two women sat at home relaxing with one another enjoying each other's company.

They managed to watch some television but mostly the two women talked. Being careful to avoid the one subject they had a mutual interest in. That night Diana insisted that she move to the guest room so Lois could have her bedroom back. Lois of course protested but finally agreed to the arrangements.

The next morning Wonder Woman came out fully dressed in her new clothes. She wore the dark blue pants with the red burgundy top. Around her waist she wore her girdle and ever present lasso on her hip.

As she entered the kitchen for breakfast Lois turned to look at her and said, "Very nice Diana. You even manage fill out that outfit well."

Diana blushed a bit at the complement and said, "The pants were little short so I decided to wear my Amazon boots over the pants leg."

"Good idea," Lois said. "It makes you look like a pirate."

It was after they had breakfast and settled down in the living room. It was then that Diana had begun to note the change in her companion's demeanor. All morning Lois had been strangely quiet. It was if she had come to a cross road but, once there couldn't decide which direction to take.

Finally Wonder Woman asked, "What is troubling you Lois?"

Leaving her own private thoughts behind her, Lois told her guest, "I have been sitting here thinking about what Neron told us just before he left."

"How can you let anything that lying hell spawn had to say trouble you?" asked an agitated Wonder Woman.

"Because," Lois answered. "I saw on your face that you believed him and the only way you would have reason to believe him, was if that you had already come to suspect what he himself had put into so many words."

"Your starting down a dangerous and painful path Lois. I suggest you get off this road this instant and make another choice all together," advised Wonder Woman.

"Before it brings you even more heart ache and pain that you of all people don't deserve to suffer," pleaded Diana.

"That rope you carry at our side Diana is a symbol of the truth," observed Lois. "If you truly care about what that symbol represents Diana then tell me the truth."

"Did Neron tell the truth about what happened in that warehouse and did the story you told me earlier about what transpired between Hercules and your mother have a part in it?" asked Lois.

For a few moments deep with in her self Wonder Woman fought one of her toughest and strangest battles. She fought this inner demon in her own mind and in total silence, with only her conscience and decency as her only weapons.

In the end Wonder Woman decided to share the truth with Lois. Not out of kindliness or guilt on her own part. In the end Diana made her decision on the basis that Lois more than anyone had a right to know the truth.

So Wonder Woman told her every thing, everything Diana knew and every thing she suspected. She also shared with Lois all the things she told Martha and Jonathan.

She shared the story of how she first met Clark and the story of her Bracelets. What went on in Gateway city everything except the disaster in Kansas and Lois's own possible fate in that dark future. That burden Diana was bound was determined to keep to herself.

When she was done Lois Lane the tough [ do anything to get the story ] reporter sat in her husbands favorite chair and wept. She wept not only for herself but for the woman who sat across from her. Who had her chance at love and happiness stolen from her by a mother's fear and the envy of her own Gods.

When she was done Lois Lane the tough [ do anything to get the story ] reporter sat in her husbands favorite chair and wept. She wept not only for her self but for the woman who sat across from her.

Who had her chance at love and happiness stolen from her by a mother's fear and the envy of her own Gods.

"How long have you suspected that it was your own Gods with the help of your mother who were responsible for ending your relationship with Clark?" asked Lois.

Diana admitted, "Ever since that day we faced Darkseid together on Olympus I have often wondered about the possible reason's for Clark's sudden change of attitude about us."

"I now know it has for ever lurked in the back of my mind like an annoying tune you are unable to get out of your head. But only recently when I shared those thoughts with Clark's mother and now with you have I finally found the courage to admit the truth to myself," explained Diana.

"This may sound strange but when I told Martha the same story that I have just told you. I think she came to the same conclusion you did even before I could admit it to myself," said Diana.

"I have known for some time just how incredibly wise Martha is, "Lois Observed.

"And how special," Wonder Woman added.

Wonder Woman nodded her head in agreement and said," Seeing how their son turned out I believed both of Clark's parents have to be extraordinary people."

"As for Martha," Diana added. "Even though I only have had the privilege of spending a short time with her. I too have come to the same conclusion you have," said Diana.

"The same can be said for Clark's father," added Lois.

"The more time I spent with Jonathan the more I came to realize how much I lost by not having a father," admitted Diana. "At least one like Jonathan," said Diana.

"It's too bad all father's aren't more like him," Lois said as her mind wandered to thoughts of her own troubles with her father.

Not wishing to relive in her mind her sometimes hostile relationship with her father, Lois tried to change the subject.

"Will you be talking about all this with your own mother Diana?" asked Lois.

"It is as I told Martha. My mother could never, would never bring herself to understand my feelings for Clark," said Diana.

"Even worst how can I stand before my own mother and question her about the part she played in driving us apart?"

"You shared those feelings with me," said Lois. "And as angry and as hurt as I was, I am doing my best to try to understand what you are suffering."

"I am truly grateful for that," said Diana.

"If you do feel some small measure of gratitude to me Diana, then do me one favor in return," asked Lois.

"What will you have me do?" asked Diana.

Lois pleaded, "I want you to take a chance on your mother. You will be surprised how people can fool you. Especially a mother who loves you," Lois added.

"It's strange you should mention my mother," said Diana.

"Because Martha said almost the exact same thing to me a week ago."

"And she was right," Lois added.

"When I was in college I fought with my father over my choice to study journalism," said Lois.

"It was my mother who stood up to him on my behalf. It would be the the first and only time she ever did it but she did it all the same. Because she knew how much it meant to me."

"I can only promise that I will think on it," said Diana.

"That's all any one can really ever do," said Lois.

"Just as I must now think of a way to tell Clark that the love we share may in fact only exist because of the petty jealousies of ancient Gods and the unreasonable fear of an immortal's mother."

"Are you mad?" asked Wonder Woman in horror! "You can not tell Clark any thing except about the battle with Maxima and the reasons for it and only that because he will hear all about it soon enough in the media. Every thing else that you or I learned or did never happened," said Diana.

Lois watched in fascination as Diana's face betrayed her fear and worry when she mentioned telling her husband.

Doing her best to ignore the look on Diana's face Lois asked, "What else can I do?" "I have never lied to Clark and I won't start now."

Diana stood up from the couch an walked to were Lois was sitting. Lowering herself gracefully to the floor she knelt at Lois's feet.

Taking her hand in her own the Amazon Princess quietly asked, "What good would it do for you to tell Clark any of this story?"

"But I owe him the truth," said Lois. "What's more I owe it to you, to share the truth with him."

"Why?" asked Diana. "So you can complicate his life and yours. That by any measure you care to use is already far to complicated for the both of you."

"Would you risk your marriage and the love you have for each other for something that may have never worked out or was never really meant to be?"

"You don't believe that an more than I do." replied Lois.

Lois saw the sincerity and the pain etched in the face of the Amazon as Diana told her, "I believe that you are the foundation that Clark has built his whole life on."

"You have over time become the roof that protects him from a world driven mad with fear, envy and hate."

Wonder Woman then went on to say, "I know that Clark loves you with all of his heart and all of his soul. No matter what he feels for me or how strong in truth those feelings may be. In the end you are the only one for him."

"But most important of all I know that you love him with all of your heart and all of your soul and I don't need this to tell me that," said Diana as she held up her lasso of truth."

"This is no good Diana," Lois explained. "Because every time I see you on television, or even read your name in the paper. There will always be in my mind the question of what might have been or perhaps even more importantly what should have been between you?"

Wonder Woman looked at Lois and in a emotional filled voice replied, "There is only one question that should be of any importance to you and the only question in the end that should matter to you," said Diana.

"And just what will that be?" asked Lois.

"Do you believe?" asked Diana.

"Believe in what?" asked Lois.

Wonder Woman told her, "The belief you carry deep in your own that Clark loves you?"

For a moment Lois was silent. Then with tears welling up in her eyes she said, "The only thing I believe more deeply is how much I love him."

"Than every thing is all right," said Diana.

"It is for me and for Clark," said Lois. "But what of you Diana?" asked Lois.

"What about me?" asked Diana.

"I'm no worst off then I was and in truth I might be far better off for having shared my problems with both you and the Kent's."

Lois replied, "For some one who once was once the Goddess of truth you make a very poor liar."

"Will you promise me not to reveal any of this to your husband?" asked Wonder Woman.

Lois was silently thinking what her answer should be when she was interrupted by yet another appeal from Diana.

"If you won't do it for me or even for yourself," begged Diana. "Than most important of all do it for Clark."

"You really do love him, don't you?" asked Lois.

For an answer Diana put her head down and stared at the floor to moved to be able to answer. When Lois realized that no answer would be forth coming Lois said, "I promise to keep silent if you promise to do something for me in return."

"I promise," said Diana. "What will you ask of me?"

Lois leaned wearily back in her husband's chair stroking the cloth of the arm rests as she spoke.

Lois then told Diana, "Some day Clark's parents will be taken from us. God willing I will be there for Clark when that sad day comes. To help him face his loss and to comfort him the best way I can."

"But these sad good byes won't end with just his parents," explained Lois. "His friends will leave one by one and some day I know that I too must travel down that road."

"When I do take that final journey I will be alone. But not as alone as Clark will become."

"So what is it that you want from me?" asked Diana.

With a sad smile Lois told her, "I want you to promise me here and now, that when that day comes. If you haven't found some one or Clark hasn't found some one special."

"I want your pledge that you will not let my ghost come between the both of you."

"Do you know what your asking from me?" asked Diana.

"Yes I do, I want you to look after my Clark when I am gone," said Lois. "I want you to love the one person I love most in the world and make him happy and in doing so maybe make yourself happy too."

"I don't know what to say," said Diana.

"Yes would be good," Lois said with a smile.

Diana gave her own sad smile and said, "I promise you if there is away to do as you ask I swear to do my best to find it."

Lois wiped her tears with her sleeve and said with gallows humor," Good that's one less worry I will have on my death bed."

She then added one more thing, "If you screw this up Diana and hurt my Clark. I swear I will find some way to come back and kick your ass."

"If any one can do it, I believe it would be you," said a suddenly smiling Diana.

Lois stood up and pulling Diana up from he floor held her hands in the fashion of the Amazons. Making sure not to forget the embrace as they each held on to one another sharing in each other's strength.

"What are your plans for the rest of the night," asked a emotionally charged Lois.

"I planned on waiting until it got darker. Then I thought I would test myself by soaring over the city to see if I have fully recovered."

"Promise to come back here before you leave?" asked Lois.

Wonder Woman told her, "I was not planning on leaving any time soon Lois."

"No matter what Neron said Darkseid still looms as a possible threat. If the worst should happen Batman will Know were I am in case of an emergency."

Diana then added, "By staying at your side I will also be the first one on earth to know that the crisis at hand is at an end."

"How do you figure that?" asked a curious Lois.

Diana smiled and said, "When the problem with Darkseid is truly over your husband will return to earth and were do you think he is going to come first?"

"I think your right Diana and to tell the truth I could use the company," said Lois. "Besides I want to give you a letter to take with you for safe keeping before you do decide to leave."

"I will consider it an honor," said Wonder Woman.

"Your not even going to ask me what is in the letter, are you?" asked Lois.

"No!" Diana answered.

Lois was proud that Diana trusted her and she wanted Diana to know that she trusted her in turn.

To do just that Lois proceeded to tell Wonder Woman, "It is a letter to Clark telling him about us. About the fight we had and what we talked about just now. I will tell him the whole story about Maxima his parents your mother and me."

She went on to say," I will tell him everything an anything connected with all this, I will try to explain everything to him. But most of all I want to tell him how much I loved him and how happy he made me. And my hope and prayers that the two of you also will find some of that same love and happiness together when I'm gone."

"I thought we agreed not to trouble Clark with what we learned?" asked Diana.

"I won't," Lois answered back. "This is one letter that is to be delivered later."

"How much later?" asked Diana.

"Wait twenty five years or so after I'm dead and if things work out between you, then hand it over to him on the anniversary of this day."

While Wonder Woman was joyfully soaring over the streets of Metropolis testing her own recovery. Lois found herself shut up in her study trying to write the most personal and important letter of her life. Lois worked on the letter for almost four hours while Diana toured the night skies of the city.

Diana was already back and reading a book in the living room when Lois came out of her study. In one hand she held a thick white envelope and in the other a paper bag full of shredded paper. All what remained of the copies of her letter to Clark she never wished to share with any one.

She walked out the front door of her apartment and across the hall and threw the bundle of shredded scrap down the garbage shut. Walking back inside she held the precious letter to Clark in her hand.

When she entered the apartment she saw Diana had been waiting for her. "How did the flight go?" asked Lois.

"Fine I'm almost back to normal at last," she answered.

"That's good to hear," said Lois. "How was the letter writing, Diana inquired?

"Took over four hours and a truck load of paper. But I got it done," said Lois.

She handed over the envelope to Diana and said, "I wrote it by hand so Clark will know it came from me and besides I think something this personal should be written in long hand and not on some cold machine."

Placing it in her girdle she wore under her sweater Diana said, "I will keep it in the archives on Themyscira were it will be safe."

"Thank you," said Lois. "I do appreciate that."

"One more thing," said Wonder Woman. "I do have enemies. If something were to happen to me. Do you wish for me to make arrangements for one of my sisters to deliver your letter or destroy it?" asked Diana.

Lois thought for a moment than said, "Deliver it."

"It will be done," promised Wonder Woman.

"What are we going to do now?" asked Lois.

"Pizza?" answered Diana.

"Thank God for all night delivery and speed dials," said Lois as she headed for the phone.

They had been talking over a large mushroom pizza they had just finished. Diana was finishing the last slice when Lois heard a familiar sound coming from the living room.

Jumping to her feet she rushed from the kitchen followed a minute or two later by a discreet Wonder Woman.

Diana heard Lois shout out, "CLARK!"

Long before she saw Lois in the arms of husband, her feet dangling two feet off the floor as she smothered him with kisses.

Diana stood back and quietly waited as Lois and Clark held each other close and exchanged a passionate greeting of home coming.

So engrossed was The Man of Steel in the woman he loved he even failed to notice Diana standing in the kitchen door way.

When her husband at last Put Lois down Diana could see she had been crying but the smile on her face and the joy in her eyes told Wonder Woman that these tears were tears of happiness.

"DIANA!" exclaimed a surprised Superman. "I didn't expect to find you here."

"You did ask me to drop in on Lois from time to time," didn't you?

Sticking out her hands she took his large hands into hers and said, "It's good to have you back home again Kal.

"It's good to be back home," he said as he let go of her hands.

Lois for her part shoved Diana in her back as hard as she could. Right into the surprised arms of her husband and said, "Now welcome him home the right way!"

With a smile they both embraced and kissed each other on the lips.

Diana for her part once again felt the excitement as her heart began to race. Lois saw on the face of her husband that he did in fact care deeply for this remarkable women.

As strange as it may sound she was not bothered by it. So sure Lois was of her husband's love she felt no pangs of jealously.

"WOW!" said Clark with a big smile on his face. "If I knew I would be welcomed home by two beautiful woman like this I would make these trips more often."

"Like hell you will," said Lois as she pulled his head down to her face by his hair so she could kiss him once again.

"What happened on Apokolips?" asked Diana.

"How did you know I traveled to Apokolips?" He asked.

For an answer Wonder Woman simply gave a shrug of her broad shoulders. Not bothering to wait for an answer he knew that would never be forthcoming.

Superman said, "Nothing much of anything really happened, Darkseid blustered and threatened he even denied that he ordered an incursions into New Genesis. In the end it turned out he did in fact have nothing to do with it. In fact all the trouble was started by…"

"Kalabak," interrupted Lois. "How did you find out about him?" Clark asked.

"Oh we girls have our ways," said Diana.

Lois and Diana turned to look at one another then gave each other a wink. All at once the two women started to giggle like a couple of young school girls on the play ground.

"What have you two been up too since I'm been gone?" Clark asked.

"We talked," said Diana.

"About what?" he asked.

"Oh a little of this and a little of that," said Diana.

Turning to his wife The Last Son of Krypton asked, "What did you talk about?"

"We talked about sailing ships and sealing wax," said Lois.

"And cabbages and kings," finished Diana.

"When a star reporter and a Amazon warrior both start quoting Lewis Carol I start to think you two have something to hide," said Clark.

"Your really not going to tell me are you?" he asked the both of them.

"Some day," Lois said. "Some day Diana will tell you all about it." "When?" Clark asked.

"Hopefully in about fifty years or so," said Lois.

"NO!" said Wonder Woman. "Seventy five years at least."

"Hell I might try for an even century," said Lois with a smile.

It was Wonder Woman who dropped her smile when she said quietly, "I hope so!"

Suddenly her jovial mood changed as she asked, "How is Scott?

Superman smiled and said, "He's going to be all right."

"Thank the Gods," said Diana.

"In fact," Clark said, "Barda told me just before I left to remind you of that little project she and Scott were talking about."

"What of it?" asked Diana.

"Before I left she told me that she and Scott had already started working on it."

"In his condition?" Diana asked in disbelief.

Clark smiled and explained, "They don't call him Mr. Miracle for nothing!"

"What is that all about?" Lois demanded to know.

Clark hugged his wife and told her, "I'll tell you when were alone."

Lois nodded her head in agreement. Then suddenly Clark leaned over and whispered in to her ear, "Better yet I'll show you just what work they were talking about."

"By the way," said Clark.

"Barda sent you a gift Diana."

"Reaching into his belt he came out with piece of paper and handed it over to Diana.

"What is this?" she asked.

"Barda's recipe for fool proof oatmeal raisin cookies," he explained. She said, 'If your ever going to learn to cook this is as good as place as any to start.'

Lois pointed a finger at Diana and said Laughingly, "Now your known as the worst cook on two worlds."

I wouldn't laugh if I were you," said Clark.

Reaching into his belt once more, he came out this time with a metallic disk. "I told Barda about your culinary skills and how I did all the cooking at home, she sent you over all her recipes on disk."

Lois punched him in the shoulder at the indignity. Which in turn only forced her husband to pick her up once more and begin kissing her again.

When he finished Superman said, "I'm starving. How about we order take out ladies is that all right with you Diana?" But when he turn to look for her answer Wonder Woman was long gone.

"Why did she run off like that?" asked Clark.

"You always told me she has the wisdom of Athena," said Lois.

"And by leaving she just proved it," said Clark.

As Clark and Lois returned to picking up the pieces of his life. Diana was on the roof of a building almost two blocks away from the Kent's condo.

She watched as the light of their bedroom came on and again a few moments later when it went off.

Diana had tears in her eyes as she watched, but there was also a smile on her lips.

Following the advice of both Martha and Lois, Diana took to the skies and started towards home. For her own talk with her mother that had been to long delayed.