By Philip Mogul <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted June, 2005
Summary: Descendents of Lois and Clark journey between different dimensions (island universes) and are marooned in a parallel cosmos. The civilization they eventually encounter on their world of isolation is comparable to their home planet of 12,000 years ago. On this new planet, they further discover an isochronal Lois Lane Kent, her husband, Clark, and their children — all with super abilities.
Standard Fanfic Disclaimer's apply
Again many, many thanks to my GE, Jeanne Pare, for her invaluable assistance in assembling this Superman story into a more readable and interesting tale.
Oren Kal-El Lane-Kent Gellmann and his soulmate Lara Ya-El Lane- Kent Cogen were to meet for supper at the Flamingo Bistro in Scobey Montana, a small hamlet not far from their wilderness laboratory retreat.
Scobey was a small village, not far from the ancient Canadian border on a planet once referred to as Earth, but now known as the Terran Republic. The third planet in the Sol star system had formed a federation with the planet Krypton some twelve thousand years in its past. In the intervening time, four other space faring civilizations had united with the Terra-Kryptonian Federation forming a vast and peaceful union that encompassed a sizeable portion of the Milky-Way Galaxy.
While old Earth was administered by republican laws, the Kryptonian society supported a governmental structure which on old Earth was similar to a constitutional monarchy. The supreme leader of Krypton's governmental bodies was given the title as either the Selar (first Lord) or the Sela (first Lady).
Also, an interplanetary body existed which was composed of elected members from the six planetary societies that formed the Federation's commonwealth of star systems. These elected representatives were responsible for the fundamental ordinances that permitted six diverse cultures to be joined and peacefully work together for the betterment of all members. Aside from some minor conflicts early in the Federation's history, the political machinery of these federated worlds now functioned smoothly, and the peoples of the interstellar coalition lived in a near utopian harmony.
*The Tale of Two Worlds*
So it was that in fall of the year twelve thousand and one that Lara Lane-Kent Cogen, a prominent Federation scientist, was preparing to teleport early one evening from the great city of Metropolis to the hamlet of Scobey. In this small Montana town, Lara was to rendezvous with Oren, her lover and soulmate.
Teleportation was the preferred mode of travel throughout the inter-planetary Federation. This method of transit could whisk an individual nearly instantaneously between any two locations within the galactic league.
Residents of the spatial commonwealth could depart on a journey either from their homes or from numerous public teleportation portals. Both types of entries had direct access to towns and cities throughout the worlds within Federation space.
The transit network, as were the Federation's interstellar spacecraft, was the result of devices developed from The String hypothesis — a monumental work propounded some twelve millennia in the past by the Kryptonian soulmate team of Lara and Jor-El — the progenitors of the current seven Lane-Kent genetic lines.
It was this couple, the natural parents of Kal-El, aka Clark Jerome Kent, the first Kryptonian known by this name, who first fabricated a string propelled interstellar spaceship. A spacecraft that, under their control, reached the planet Earth midway across the known universe, as measured from their home world of Krypton.
Unfortunately, the spaceship's computer failed as the Kryptonian vessel was preparing to land near Smallville, Kansas. Failure of the spaceship's principal computer caused a crash, killing the adult Els, Lara and Jor-El, and their daughter, Kara. However, the couple's infant son, Kal-El, survived this calamitous happenstance, and the spaceship's remains were located a short time later by a childless couple, Martha and Jonathan Kent. These kindly people, whose ethics and morals were beyond reproach, raised the boy as their own lad. Fortunately, in the close-knit hamlet of Smallville, no one challenged either the acquisition or the adoption of the new Kent baby — named Clark Jerome by his adoring adopted Earth parents.
When the Kryptonians made their next intergalactic voyage to Earth, forty-six years had elapsed. By this time, Clark and Lois Lane had been married for sixteen years and had conceived seven children. Lois' first issue was triplets followed over the next decade by two sets of fraternal twins.
So, when the second generation of Kryptonian's star sailors arrived at Sol-Three, the extraterrestrials were easily guided to Lois and Clark by the unusual — super -activity occurring in and around the large cosmopolitan center known as Metropolis of New Troy. After the Kryptonians successfully contacted Earth's super beings, Ultra Woman and Superman, the Kent clan immediately helped the new Kryptonian arrivals to establish a small colony in a subterranean chamber evacuated under Clark's boyhood home. From their Smallville location, the Kryptonian emigres began to cautiously interact with the people of Sol-Three and begin to enhance Earth's technological base. The knowledge imparted by the Kryptonian colonists, in a relatively short time, allowed the people of Earth and Krypton to meet under peaceable conditions, and from that beginning rapidly developed a dynamic partnership between the two planetary societies.
After the Terran-Kryptonian working agreements went into effect, more Kryptonian space sailors visited Earth and many of those established themselves on Sol-Three. Other colonists soon followed and founded numerous communities on Earth. Over the ensuing years, Kryptonians residing on Terra began to encounter soulmates from among Earth's teeming population. The offspring from these Earth- Krypton marital unions became the social driving force which eventually caused the politicians to bring about the unification of two distinctive interstellar cultures — Earth and Krypton — and the foundation of the Federation. Like Clark's life partner, Lois, Terrans who joined in marriage with a Kryptonian soulmate had their genome modified — chromosomes nineteen and twenty-one were physically mutated. The genetic metamorphosis of the Earthlings in a Terra-Kryptonian marriage allowed them to acquire the unusual superior abilities of their consorts from Krypton.
The unique super powers acquired by the natural Kryptonians and their Terran soulmates were discovered to be solar induced — powers generated by certain wavelengths within the radiation absorbed from Earth's G-type star. These unique abilities were caused, therefore, by Sol's radiation interacting with the genomes of natural Kryptonians and the modified genetic's material of their Terran spouses. The descendents resulting from Terran- Kryptonian unions not only produced healthy offspring, but ones with super powered abilities.
The Earth's name, by a planet wide referendum, during this time, was changed to Terra.
With her altered genetics, Lois Lane-Kent acquired her greatly increased life span. It matched the life span of the Kryptonian people — a thousand years seemed to be the norm. All Earth natives whose genetic characteristics were altered to mimic the Kryptonian genome could expect the same life expectancy of their soulmates. The life expectancy of the progeny from all Terran-Kryptonian couples was also found to be in the millennium range, as measured in years — the same as their parents. As was determined, the genome modification procedure was responsible for the longevity trait, which would be passed from one generation to another. Over time the two distinct planetary cultures, as expected, merged and became essentially one people.
Clark was especially delighted when he discovered the results of the genetic modification procedure. Now he and Lois would not be separated by time. They would always be together — now and forever.
The earliest Kryptonian scientist who settled on old Terra Firma discovered early on that the characteristics controlling their super abilities were a dominant genetic trait, which could be stimulated by yellow type suns similar to the star that bathed Sol-Three with its special radiation. As the Terra-Kryptonian study into this phenomenon continued, it was discovered that pure Kryptonians and the descendents of Terra-Kryptonian unions would also acquire solar induced super powers from all suns similar to old Sol.
After twelve thousand years, seven Lane-Kent lines existed, established by the original Lois and Clark progeny. Five clans made their homes on old Earth, while two Lane-Kent family groups resided on Krypton.
Although outsiders occasionally married into one of the seven Lane-Kent lines, most of the Lois and Clark descendents found their soulmates within one of the existent Lane-Kent family groups. While it was believed for a short time that soulmate unions from within the seven clans would eventually lead to unhealthy progeny, it was discovered that there were as yet unknown genetic factors within which would abrogate any inbred genetic conditions that might cause sickly and/or still born progeny between Lane-Kent soulmate couples.
Oren and Lara, for example, were from two different Lane-Kent family lines whose genealogy attested that they were fourth cousins twice removed. As their time of marriage approached, genetic testing gave the two lovers a clean bill of health. The obligatory genetic testing revealed that any progeny from their union should be perfectly normal. Mentally, the children from their union were expected to be of the alpha-prime category — mental measurements beyond the genius level.
*The Adventure Begins*
After Oren and Lara's scrumptious evening meal at a local supper club, The Flamingo Bistro, the fated pair retired to Oren Ka-El's current Laboratory-home. As the soulmates, Oren and Lara, were leisurely walking toward their Scobey home, they talked excitedly about the experiments they would perform on the morrow. Both forever partners were mindful that if their investigations proved successful, the results of their research project would herald a new age of exploration for the Terra-Kryptonian Federation.
Early the following morning, the two lovers arose with the rising of the sun and, after a light breakfast, descended into their subterranean laboratory. By noon, the equipment needed for Oren and Lara's ground-breaking experiment had been assembled and connected to their individual power modules. Then, each piece of equipment in the experimental array and its power source were checked and rechecked to verify that the entire system was good to go. Following this phase in their experimental routine, the equipment now just awaited activation. When the inter-dimensional vessel was activated within the next few days, the historic inter-dimensional journey, on which Lara and Oren had directed their energies for the past two years, would be set in motion, and their adventure of a lifetime would commence.
Now that Lara and Oren were on the brink of completing their inter-dimensional equipment check, Lara started to reminisce how nearly two years ago she and her soulmate had uncovered, within Jor-El's original String Theory documents, mathematical relationships which strongly suggested that other dimensional spaces existed side by side with their own universe. Each dimension, Jor-El speculated, would be separated from one other by an ultrasonic curtain or energy barrier. Oren and Lara had also discerned from Jor-El's and his soulmate's commentaries of twelve thousand years ago that if these other dimensional expanses existed, they should be similar to their own colossal macrocosm.
It was shortly after their initial discovery that Oren and Lara obtained a small house in Scobey Montana, a section of North America. In the cellar of their house the soulmates constructed a laboratory, filling it with all the needed equipment for their dimensional hopping venture.
Now, after nearly two years of planning and fabricating the material for their inter-dimensional vessel, the time had finally arrived for Oren and his beloved Lara to embark upon a voyage of discovery and to ascertain whether Jor-El and Lara's String hypothesis was indeed the key to traveling between inter- dimensional spaces. As the soulmates looked over their exploration gear, goosebumps blanketed their bodies as they both realized that their adventure of a lifetime was finally at hand.
After completing one last painstaking inspection of their equipment, the scientists began to activate the various components of their inter-dimensional transport vehicle.
First, a constant ultrasonic field was generated between two stabilized neutronium posts situated six point one meters apart (about twenty feet), and the ultrasonic fields then steadied. A high powered variable LASER was then positioned ten meters from the ultrasonic field with its discharging aperture perpendicular to the ultrasonic energy web pulsating between the stabilized neutronium girders.
When the ultrasonic curtain had been balanced, the LASER was activated and discharged toward the center of the energy screen pulsating between the stabilized neutronium posts.
When the Ultrasonic generator and the LASER discharges were behaving in a normal pattern, Lara began tuning the LASER — a light beam device — like a radio. She slowly alternated the frequency of the energy pulses. As Oren's soulmate was tuning the LASER, a portal abruptly appeared at the center of the ultrasonic field — the ultrasonic curtain between the stabilized neutronium posts. Soon after the appearance of the portal, Oren checked the stability of this new doorway and the tunnel he observed behind the pulsating energy field. Satisfied that the new portal and its connecting tunnel was relatively stable, Lara maneuvered the recording equipment, housed within a special mobile vehicle, toward the new ultrasonic entranceway. The recording equipment would be used to assist Oren and Lara in their exploration of the unknown regions beyond the ultrasonic portal.
The equipment within the mobile exploration vehicle consisted of primarily audio and video detectors. These detection devices were utilized to both record and to send information. The exploration vehicle was mounted on antigravity lifters, which allowed the exploration conveyance to be in a levitated position as it traveled through the passageway beyond the ultrasonic portal. A small propulsion unit attached to the exploration unit was used to push this vessel and provide it with some degree of maneuverability. Sometime during the fabrication phase of the exploration vehicle, Lara dubbed this vessel the 'Rover.' The name had flare and stuck. As construction of the Rover neared completion, a fiber optics system was attached to the experimental transport. The fiber optics wires that protruded from the Rover were encased in a stabilized neutronium sheath and would shield the detection system's optical bundle. This fiber cable would be released and retrieved by the Rover as it moved through the tunnel beyond the portal. All information gathered by the Rover would be transmitted through the cable arrangement to the recording instruments located in the Scobey subterranean laboratory.
Finally, after checking and rechecking the Rover power modules and similarly scrutinizing the sensitive recording devices, Lara sat down at the Rover's control panel and activated the propulsion mechanism of the exploration vehicle. She then slowly routed the Rover through the ultrasonic gateway into the passageway behind the energy curtain.
As Lara carefully maneuvered the Rover into and through the tunnel, Oren closely watched the monitors. All systems appeared to be operating satisfactorily.
When Lara advanced the exploration vehicle about fifty meters through the tunnel, she reversed its direction and returned it to the Scobey laboratory. After retrieving the Rover, Oren and Lara gave the exploration apparatus another thorough checkup. Nothing appeared to be out of sync.
To be certain of their check-over of the Rover's various mechanisms, the soulmates utilized other and more dependable diagnostic equipment to examine all aspects of their exploration ship's mechanical tools and electronic instrumentation.
Since the more sensitive inspection of the Rover would require at least ten hours, Lara and Oren departed for supper after which the two soulmates grabbed a little shuteye.
If the diagnostics went well, tomorrow would see the beginning of their great adventure, a sojourn into the great unknown.
Early the following day, Lara and Oren examined the results from their special diagnostic analysis of the Rover's systems. They were delighted to discover that the new screening process agreed with the initial set of data and the Rover's own internal checks.
When everything was green to go, the Rover was returned to the tunnel and two hours later was moving at a moderate rate towards an unknown destination. It was hoped that a terminus to the ultrasonic generated passageway would be encountered before days end.
After the Rover traversed about eleven hundred and fifty meters (close to seven tenths of a mile), the exploration vehicle suddenly emerged from the ultrasonically created tunnel into what appeared to be a heavily forested region. Lara and Oren were informed of the Rover's breakout and the conditions of the surrounding area by the Rover's electronic monitoring systems.
Using the specialized diagnostic tools built into Rover's scanning devices, the soulmates discovered that the environment of this new terrain was very similar to the conditions on their own planet.
After retrieving the Rover at sundown, the two scientists spent nearly a week carefully scrutinizing the information their exploration vehicle had gathered.
>From a rigorous study of what appeared to be the physical and biological conditions of a new world, Oren and Lara were firmly convinced that journeying to this new land was feasible for their kind of life forms. The two scientists, after much discussion, decided to journey to the new expanse they beheld through the Rover's monitoring instruments.
It must be noted that the information acquired by Rover was one of the dominant factors that convinced Oren and Lara to make their trek. So, without much ado, the soulmates began modifying their exploration vehicle to carry them and 'Infinity' their pooch through the ultrasonic gateway, hopefully to a new world.
*The New World*
As Lara and Oren were modifying Rover, Oren's older brother, Joshua, unexpectedly popped in for a visit. While his stop over was somewhat of a surprise, it, as always, was nevertheless a most welcomed visitation.
Joshua Lane-Kent Gellmann, like his brother Oren, was a scientist and soon to be the brother-in-law to Lara Lane-Kent Cogen. Although Josh was a trained physicist, he generally applied his talents to engineering projects — the more practical side of his profession.
Josh was jovial, but a lonely man. He had never located his soulmate and therefore, more often than not, was alone in a society that catered to couples. While Josh's single status didn't produce unfavorable professional repercussions, socially Josh was considered sort of a third wheel. While never shunned by his peers, Josh's unique situation within the Terra-Kryptionian societal structure, where soulmate couples were the norm, did have its awkward moments.
So, eventually, Joshua Lane-Kent Gellmann unintentionally attached himself more often than not to Oren and Lara. While Josh's friends and other acquaintances never intentionally excluded him from their activities, they never made him feel quite comfortable.
On-the-other hand, Oren and Lara never minded Josh's presence and always thought of him as part of their immediate family. Wherever Lara and Oren resided, Josh was always welcome to subsist. When Lara and Oren finalized their soulmate union, they fully expected Josh to become and remain an integral part of their household, even as their family naturally expanded.
With Lara and Oren's strong family ties with Josh fully established, Oren's soulmate had no qualms about apprising her future brother-in-law about their discovery and intended trek into the unknown. Upon hearing Lara's news, Josh became very excited and insisted that he too should be included in their forthcoming adventure.
After the impact of Josh's promulgation subsided, Oren and his soulmate attempted to dissuade the older Gellmann from joining them on their expedition. He was cautioned again and again that this trip was risky at best, and to take an unenlightened individual with them would increase the perils of their journey.
"If you would just considered the odds," Oren said to his older brother, "you would realize that there is a strong possibility that Lara and I may never return from our venture into the unknown — our new world."
However, Josh argued that since he didn't have a soulmate or other pending future responsibilities within the Federation societal structure, Lara and Oren could not deny him a spot in their exploration party. "If anything happened," he added, "Josh Lane- Kent Gellmann wouldn't be missed. Without a soulmate," he reminded his kin, "my life already feels like a dead-end street."
Then, after a lengthy discussion, which lasted long into the night, Lara and Oren finally agreed, but reluctantly so, to allow Josh to be a part of their scientific journey.
The pooch Lara and Oren had named Infinity really wasn't a true dog. It was a beastie hybrid — a genetic mixture between a Terran Lynx and a Kryptonian Soran. The resulting crossbred animal had a mass of about seventy kilograms (near one hundred-fifty pounds), stood about hip high, and moved on four legs. Each limb possessed a set of retractable razor sharp claws, while the mouth of Infinity was packed with five centimeter long knife-like teeth. This varmint, as Josh often affectionately call Infinity, was very intelligent and readily domesticated. This Terra-Kryptonian hybrid was a loyal animal and exhibited a keen array of senses. Infinity was usually well aware of the doings within its territorial habitat and in essence was the protector of Oren and his immediate family.
As was well-known, this cat-like hybrid was not only a loyal companion but was fiercely protective of its adopted family or clan. This Terran-Kryptonian hybrid could also distinguish whether a stranger entering its territory was friendly or a possible threat to his family. Animals like Infinity continually proved that they were loving protective shields to their household, especially when baby-sitting younger children associated with its home.
Eight days after Josh's arrival, the exploration party was ready to move out.
Just before they embarked on their epic journey, Lara recorded their observations to date and setup a communication Link with Zara Lo-El, Oren's great-great-grandmother — a gifted scientist in her own right. This communication link would be activated, dispatching a come hither message to Zara ten days after Oren, Lara, and Josh's departure to the new world, the soulmates had dubbed New Terra. If Zara was notified, such a message would indicate that the exploration team had not returned from the planned safari and might be in some difficulty.
Once Lara's special communication system and other back up procedures were in place, the explorers traversed the ultrasonic passageway to New Terra or dimension X as it was so named by the three Terra-Kryptonians.
As soon as the Terra-Kryptonian exploration party reached their destination, Lara, Oren and his brother Josh, quickly established their base camp and ringed it with standard security devices. Infinity also prowled the perimeter of the camp and protected the explorer by its unique physical prowess.
A short while after the New Terra base camp was operational, long- range observational aircraft was sent aloft to examine the topography of the planet and to ascertain the kind of living creatures, if any, inhabited this world. As information was fed to the electronic data banks from the soaring electronic spy in the sky drones, the Terra -Kryptonian explorers began to visualize an Earth-like world possessing a civilization that was perhaps ten to twelve thousand years younger than the current Federation's culture. The data from the low flying drones also corroborated other information acquired from satellites launched into low level orbits about New Terra. The data gathered from the entire assemblage of reconnaissance vehicles were stored in the electronic collection systems aboard the Rover. After thoroughly analyzing the mounting data describing their newly discovered planet, the scientific trio could almost say with certainty that they had uncovered an Earth like planet with a primitive civilization similar to one which once existed within their own island universe.
After several additional days of data collecting and study, Lara and her colleagues could not avoid the inescapable truth that this new world possessed an Earth-like civilization similar to one which existed on their home world some twelve thousand years in the past.
When still more information had been recovered from the reconnaissance aircraft, Oren and his scientific mates found out that within this new universe they named dimension X, a Superman and his soulmate Ultra Woman existed and were active. Oren, Lara, and Josh also surmised that since Ultra Woman was now assisting her super partner, this world's super couple already possessed a growing family of their own. This presumption was generally confirmed when other less mature super humanoids were eventually spotted flitting through the atmosphere of New Terra and, at times, aiding Superman and his spouse in their rescue efforts.
While everything appeared to be proceding normally, Josh still kept a wary eye on the conditions in and around the camp. On the ninth day on New Terra, Josh noticed that the portal allowing the expedition entrance to the passageway leading to their home world was beginning to deteriorate — becoming obscure and ill defined.
Upon learning of his brother's observation, Oren hurried to the portal's entranceway and after several attempts to thrust different objects through the gateway, the expedition's leader knew that he and his comrades could not reenter the inter- dimensional passageway and return home by that route. The dimensional gateway was closed to him and his colleagues. After reconfirming the condition about the portal leading to the inter- dimensional tunnel, Oren quickly returned to the expedition's encampment and informed his soulmate and brother that it appeared that they were marooned, at least for the present, on this world.
Although Oren became listless for a moment, he still managed to sustain the spirits of their little group by reminding them that enough fundamental goods and essential equipment had been brought with them to sustain a Federation like existence on New Terra for more than a millennium. "So you see," he added, "we possess sufficient gear to sustain us for the remainder of our lives. If we can never return to Federation space, we'll teach our descendents how to produce these selfsame items from the habiliments extracted from this world and other planets in this and nearby star systems."
Pausing for an instant, Oren then continued, "Of course, what I'm describing is the worse scenario between us and returning to our own time-space continuum."
For the remainder of that day, the little group of explorers watched as the gateway leading to their home world continued to dematerialize. Near sunset the ultrasonic portal and tunnel system, the way home, completely vanished from view.
When the last vestiges of the inter-dimensional gateway finally vanished, Oren placed his head between his hands and mumbled repeatedly, "What happened? Oh, G-D, what happened? How did our figuring go awry?"
After his illogical mantra induced by this tragic happenstance finally ceased, Lara embraced him. As his soulmate caressed him, the overwhelming despair that had engulfed his body dissipated. Soon, Oren was asking himself rational queries again. Did he and Lara overlook some critical, but subtle details, when they performed their calculations, and so on, until Oren had essentially reviewed each step in the expedition's preparation procedures.
Then, as Oren began to ponder his family's predicament, Lara reminded her soulmate that the link with their Scobey laboratory was still functioning. Apparently, the stabilized neutronium shield had prevented the communication cable from being destroyed when the ultrasonic portal became inoperable. Apparently, the bundle of fiber optics — the cable — had not been pulverized when the inter-dimensional door collapsed. Smiling for the first time that day, Oren knew that a means of contact still existed with their own island universe.
Later that evening Oren spoke quietly to his soulmate and brother and informed them that he had discovered the computational error that brought about their present predicament. It was such an asinine error, he added. An error that one would expect from a novitiate Federation scientist.
The mistake, Oren added, was not considering the entropy differences among the various dimensions, within the larger void, where all the independent island universes moved relative to one another. Incorporating this thermodynamic factor into the mathematical model of the inter-dimensional drive engine would have corrected for this randomness factor brought about by the mutual influences between all the island universes — entropy is defined simply as a measure of disorder. Here, the entropy problem was the result of not considering the entropy generated by the relative motion of the independent island universes throughout infinity.
Oren then apprised his soulmate and brother, "It appears that each different dimension is in a state of flux (a dynamic condition). I wrongly assumed that the positions of each of these separate universes would remain fixed relative to one other. As we have unfortunately found out, this assumption is not valid. All dimensions moving within the larger dimensional continuum, like the stars in our own universe, are constantly changing positions relative to each another."
Pausing for a moment, Oren added, "As each dimensional macrocosm (a universe) shifts, the coordinates that governed the ultrasonic portal's position would be altered causing the coordinates of our connecting passageway to vary and over time become nonfunctional at the terminus of the ultrasonic passageway. While the starting point would still be viable, a return through the ultrasonic corridor would be impossible."
"Can be we still receive material from our home world?" Lara asked her soulmate.
"Yes," Oren replied. "However, in time even this connection will be lost to us as the Scobey coordinates also vary. However, I expect these changes to progress very slowly. Millions of years may be required for such shifts to occur."
After his castigating discourse, Oren paced about the campsite for a bit. Returning, he said to his little family, "While our current situation is alarming, it is not insurmountable. One of the Federation's planet wide computer networks could be employed to solve the corrected mathematical relationships needed to fashion a rescue operation."
Oren then elaborated, explaining to Lara and Josh that at present there existed only a single set of valid coordinates, essentially one point, which connected this planet to Terra, their home world. "As you are aware," Oren pointed to a mark on an earthen graph, "we are just a mathematical singularity, one point representing a lone locality which could be used with an infinite number of other loci (points) and could create many erroneous relationships.
"You two know that at least two valid points, and better yet three real locations, would be needed to produce favorable mathematical functions that could be utilized by our people on Terra to extract us from this world."
After meditating for a moment, Lara said, "Gathering those two or three additional mathematical points could take a century or more even if a computer with a planet wide capacity were allotted for our rescue attempt.
"Since we do not possess that kind of computing capacity ourselves at our current location," Lara added, "and we cannot expect our home world to expend such resources on three people, we're essentially marooned." Both Josh and Oren nodded agreeing with Lara's comments.
Soon after Oren had finished apprising their condition, their discussion ended with Lara's views. Then the three Terra- Kryptonians, utilizing their super abilities, excavated a large cavernous area near the spot they had arrived on this new world. When completed, the subterranean structure was lined with stabilized neutronium for protection and acted as a stealthy material, which would conceal their underground lair from possible prying eyes.
When the subterranean chamber was completed, all members of the exploration party agreed that their new hamlet was a secure habitat and would serve them and their descendents well if assistance from the Federation never materialized.
Soon after the completion of the grotto, dwellings were constructed within its prodigious interior. A small town quickly arose within the cavern. Houses and work places were expeditiously established, and then the three Terra-Kryptonians speedily landscaped their new subterranean habitat — parks, lakes, and foothills became part of their little world. Grass and trees were planted to beautify the subterranean surroundings within and about their new town. When their underground world had been complete, for the present, the marooned explorers moved the Rover and the expedition's other equipment into storage facilities within their new hamlet. After settling in and activating their communication equipment, the explorers waited for a message they hoped would come from their home world.
*A Message From Home*
Six days after their passageway leading homeward dematerialized, the face of Oren and Josh's paternal great-great grandmother Zara Lo-El suddenly graced the Rover's monitors.
Zara Lo-El, the sister of Krypton's first Lord, had married Seth Dar-El Lane-Kent Gellmann. Like many others before her, she too had found a soulmate among the seven clans of her people — clans peopled by the Lane-Kent descendents.
Seeing his nanna's small image on the Rover's monitoring units, Oren raced to the hamlet's primary communication center and activated the town's master viewing screens. As the large monitors came to life, Zara, immediately recognizing her two great-great grandchildren, began weeping, a very unusual and note worthy happening for such a self-willed woman. However, within moments, Zara Lo-El was again in control of her emotional state.
As Zara was preparing to speak, her soulmate Seth was by her side holding her hand to add his strength to hers. He was also using Zara's closeness to help maintain control over his own languishing emotional condition. When Lady Zara Lo-El began speaking with her great-great grandsons, Seth's eyes started to glisten as unshed tears began pooling in his eyes. Soon, after Zara was conversing with the kids, Seth lost it, and rivulets of salty liquid rushed over his cheeks as his sobbing became ever louder while he increasingly mumbled, "They're alive…Lara and our great-great grand kids are alive."
Hearing her soulmate's distress, Zara quickly excused herself and drew Seth to her, placing his head on her chest. Then she began to massage his back and neck with both kneading and caressing motions. Within a few minutes, Zara's physical ministrations helped her soulmate and forever partner to gain control over his troubled emotional state.
Never before had the three marooned Terra-Kryptonians seen this affectionate side of Zara Lo-EL. They were stunned and amazed to see this tough lady behave in such a tender fashion.
Later Oren was to say to Lara and Josh that Zara's behavior was not really out-of-line. She was ministering to her soulmate, the other half of herself and the love of her life.
"You'll have to excuse Seth, my children," Zara said. "He was always something of a softy when it came to our immediate family. When we received Lara's message, my beloved thought that you were already lost to us. He nearly collapsed when he found out that all of you had survived your mishap. The tears and actions you see now are mainly those of relief and expressions of gratitude to the creator of the universe."
As the marooned Terra-Kryptonians watched the monitors, they could see the relief that was becoming more evident on both Seth's and Zara's facial features. Relief that their great-great grandchildren and Oren's soulmate Lara were alive and well.
Following a series of loving sentiments by nanna Zara, Seth again became more serious and commented, "Since you are now in a different dimension, the three of you should be aware that any rescue attempt will be severely hindered by the lack of more positional information. I'm sure you are cognizant of this condition and know that many computers will be needed to pinpoint your current location.
"At present the Federation is mindful of only one point within your new dimension. Being mathematical scientists, you all know one point is only representative of a singularity. At least two loci are necessary to produce the simplest function, a straight line — one which could generate the data that could enable us to locate your current location. Three points, as you are well aware, would greatly enhance the Federation's inter-dimensional search patterns and greatly enhance the probability of a successful search."
When Seth ceased his verbiage, Zara then informed her marooned family members that only the Federation's world-wide computer networks could solve their dimensional impasse in time. While she, Zara, had already submitted their situation to the planetary computing board, there appeared to be some political hanky-panky from a member of the supreme Federation council that was hindering the startup of the needed computational project.
"While political hassles are somewhat archaic in the Federation, the Frelo-Le clan has moved to halt the use of any planetary computing systems, which would be required to discover a way to bring you all home. Our opponent in the high council used the echo argument that valuable resources would be squandered in this computational endeavor. While the scientific community, given a chance, will eventually debunk this false logic, Aric of the Frelo-Le's clan can politically stymie our attempt to rescue you for a number of years."
Zara's soulmate, Seth, now functioning on all thrusters again, told Oren that his wife didn't pull any punches in her presentation to obtain planetary computing time. "Our current situation is serious," Seth added. He then told Oren and the others straightup that it might take a century or more for the Federation's planet wide computing system to discover a solution to their dilemma after Aric's political maneuvering was swept aside.
Since the life expectancy of a Terra-Kryptonian was in the one thousand year range, time was at present not a critical factor.
After Zara and her soulmate had concluded their remarks with their marooned family members, Oren told his great-great grandparents that he wished to talk with his sister, Debra.
As Zara, Seth and Lara were discussing her coming marriage to her soulmate Oren, Josh was busy collecting a special cargo of critical material which had been forwarded through the inter- dimensional tunnel on orders of Zara and her husband Seth. Enough material and gear had been sent to support her marooned great- great grandchildren for many lifetimes. Zara's keen mind had fashioned a scenario where her great-great grand kids might never return from their sojourn to their home dimension. So she was supplying them with critical materials not only for their current usage, but for their possible descendents as well.
While the Terra-Kryptonian castaways could not return via the inter-dimensional tunnel, it was discovered that equipment could be shipped to the new world through the same dimensional artery which had ferried Oren, his soulmate Lara, and his brother Josh to their newly discovered planet. The tunnel, because of something in the entropy phenomenon, had become a oneway thoroughfare — away from their home world.
The most important items forwarded to the castaways were three complete library systems. These electronic knowledge bundles contained all the Federation information back to the dawn of history.
As the materials from the Federation worlds arrived, Lara, Oren, and Josh constructed more storage facilities to store these supplies. The library bundles, however, would be situated within the abode of each marooned Terra-Kryptonian and linked to one another — new information acquired by one of the library system would be automatically transferred to each of the other archival knowledge arrays — library systems.
Some two hours after his request, Debra Kar-El Lane Kent Fine, nee Gellmann, Oren's sister, appeared through Zara's communication network. After Oren explained the entire inter-dimensional scenario to his twin, Debra sent a copy of her confidential work regarding ultra fast computers through the inter-dimensional tunnel to her brother.
By the end of the month, Debra and Oren had completed their theoretical study and had fabricated a working model of their new kind of computer. A computational system that produced data some fifty to one hundred times faster than the current planet wide computer networks.
When completed, each of Debra's and Oren's new computer systems could be accommodated on a desktop and be easily carried from one location to another. The older Planet wide computational systems needed to be housed in a building with an area of 1.44 square meters (about one mile square).
These new high speed desktop computers were also presented to each of the seven Lane-Kent clans.
While the political battle raged in the Supreme Council regarding the new dimension situation, all the Lane-Kent Clans went to work on their cut off brethren's problem. When the new Lane-Kent computers were up and running, four operated on the New Terra extraction problem simultaneously, while the other three computational units were utilized for more conventional research issues.
After the new computers were functioning, Oren's mind moved from the political wrangling within the halls of the Supreme Council to more pragmatic issues relative to the explorer's plight except in one specific area. He asked his nanna Zara to inquire as to why Aric was behaving in such a ruinous manner. If his reasons were belligerent, when the new world exploration group was again united with their clan, as a member of the warrior cast, he would ask for, no, demand first kill rights with Aric as the objective. The reason — cruel and unworthy practices while acting in the capacity of a Federation official.
*Soulmate Union — Marriage*
After the survival details had been sorted out, to insure the explorers continued existence, Lara then brought up the subject of her final soulmate union with her beloved Oren Gellmann. Since Lara was unsure how long Oren and she would be isolated on New Terra — an appellation coined by Josh for the new world — she wanted her soulmate unification question resolved as quickly as was possible. The youngest age, by current Federation law, that a soulmate pair could wed was twenty-three years. In her current situation, that time line was unsatisfactory.
Currently Josh was twenty-two, Lara was eighteen years old, and Oren had just reached twenty years of age. Therefore, none of the marooned Terra-Kryptonians, according to their existing home world's legal codes, could complete a soulmate union. Therefore, it was obvious to Zara that the system of home world wedding laws had to be modified in some manner for couples or individuals ensnared in the same or similar untenable conditions.
When Oren and Lara presented their nuptial dilemma to Zara Lo-El, she immediately approached the Federation office of soulmate unions with this problem.
Because of the extraordinary conditions confronting the Terra- Kryptonian explorers, within two days a special dispensation from the Federation's Governing Council was issued, which granted special matrimonial rights to individuals in circumstances analogous to the extra dimensional marooning fiasco.
Lara and Oren were united in wedlock soon after the granting of the special dispensation — Lara and Oren took their final soulmate vows witnessed by three non family members through the monitoring system, which connected the newly discovered dimension and their home world of Terra.
After becoming husband and wife, Oren and Lara took a month long honeymoon through New Terra's Fiji island group.
For the moment, all appeared serene for the marooned Terra- Kryptonians.
While Lara and Oren were honeymooning, Zara was almost daily in contact with Josh. She informed Oren's older brother that the Federation's spiritual philosophers believed that soulmate essences could be found in each closed (isolated) dimension where Terra-Kryptonian life forms could exist. So, with Zara-Lo-El's help, Josh constructed an aura detector. If Josh had a soulmate in this exotic dimension, the aura recognition device would be able to locate a life partner for her eldest great-great grandson.
Eleven days into Josh's search for a soulmate, a strong pheromone identification field was detected — a meeting of life partner auras. One part of the signal was recognized as belonging to Josh Lane-Kent Gellmann while the second source belonged to as yet Josh's unknown life distaff partner.
After an intensive search, using Josh's soulmate aura as a guide, his unknown soulmate was now residing in the Midwestern region of the United States and was currently in a university town known as Lawrence, Kansas. Scouring the town with more sophisticated aura telemetry, Josh located the young lady. Additional surveillance indicated that one of her areas of interest at the university's school of sciences nearly matched Josh's academic passions. Sally Stark, his soulmate's name, was focusing on material sciences with a specialty in mathematical modeling of physical structures.
*A New World Soulmate*
When Lara and Oren returned to their subterranean home, now called Helios, the newlyweds were informed of Josh's marvelous discovery.
Following an ambrosial banquet the three marooned Terra- Kryptonians discussed how Josh could meet and court his recently discovered life partner and lover, Sally Stark. Oren's watchword for his brother's coming courtship was prudence as Josh dealt with his future soulmate.
"If Josh's potential soulmate panics and informs the authorities about us," Lara said, "Helios would be sought after like Shangri- la by the world at large, and as we are well aware, the people on this planet are especially leery about unknown phenomena, and particularly those which embrace off world life forms."
Because the mores of New Terra were somewhat different from those of their new home world, it was decided that Josh should journey to Lawrence, Kansas, purchase a small house in that community, and establish a teleportation linkage between his Kansas home and the hamlet of Helios. The group also decided that Josh should register as a non-matriculating student emphasizing natural sciences as his major area of study. As a student, he could naturally get close to the Stark gal.
A week later Oren's brother, Josh, in a cloaked scout craft, was hurtling toward Lawrence, Kansas at more than two thousand kilometers per hour. In roughly thirty minutes from Helios, Josh's ship alighted in a secluded wooded area, which surrounded the university campus.
Within several hours of his arrival, Josh had purchased a small house, set up a teleportation link with Helios, and registered for three advanced courses of study — one in mathematics, another in chemistry, and the third in theoretical physics.
At sundown, Josh returned to Helios to have supper with his family.
*Meeting Of Soulmates*
As a new semester approached, Josh prepared for his math and science courses. Using his unique abilities, he read and rapidly digested the contents of the required textbooks. Completing these requirements would allow him additional time to locate and begin sparking his soulmate, Sally Stark.
Luckily for Josh, Sally was also enrolled in the same classes as Oren's older sibling.
As Josh described Sally, Lara and Oren pictured a young lady who stood about one point seven meters in height (five feet seven inches), with emerald green eyes, and flaming red hair who also possessed a electrifying peach and cream complexion. When comparing Sally's physical attributes to Lara, Josh knew that his Sally was a stunner and would give her future sister-in-law a run her money in the beauty department.
As Josh was mentally admiring Sally's physical attributes, he was also aware that real beauty comes from within. It radiates from the soul and is modulated by the mind. When this kind of combination acts in tandem, a truly desirable and productive individual generally results. Such beauty is radiated by the person's aura and is the subtle mechanism responsible for the come hither message which subtly summons his/her life partner into a unique relationship with a lifetime kind of love.
While the university at Lawrence, Kansas, was heavily engaged in academics, the school maintained a strong intercollegiate athletic program. The commitment to a sports agenda also meant that many athletic oriented undergraduates were enrolled at the university. While most athletes were okay, some jocks were always flexing their muscles to advertise their sexual prowess and attract the feminine population at the school. Fortunately, these individuals also possessed an intellectual vacuum between their ears and did not survive as a university student for any length of time. They were generally not seen on campus after their freshman or sophomore years. Unfortunately, while these individuals wandered the campus as registered students, they could be a real nuisance and seriously disturb the more academically oriented individuals at the school — what they termed the campus nerds.
It was at the end of the second week of school when the physics division invited all students engaged in this academic discipline and their escorts to the department's annual soiree. It was held at a local inn, and it was at this shindig that Josh met his soulmate face to face for the first time.
As Sally and Josh clasped hands after being introduced, they both sensed a sudden surge of energy, which swiftly coursed through their bodies and bound their souls. Later, Josh and Sally were to realize that this energetic phenomenon was the beginning of the process called their soulmate union. To both individuals, at that moment, the idiosyncratic sensation rushing through their bodies just appeared to be an emotionally strong attractive force.
After their introduction, and without the utterance of another word, Sally placed her hand upon Josh's arm and led him past a group of revelers to a quiet place on a terrace adjoining the inn's ballroom.
As they walked toward the edge of the balcony, away from other couples who also came to this spot for a bit of romantic solitude, Sally asked Josh if he understood what had just occurred between them when their hands made contact. After a moment of silence, Josh attempted to explain the philosophical, spiritual and mystical aspects of the soulmate concept without referring to their blossoming feelings.
Although Josh attempted to explain the soulmate process in simple terms, Sally informed him that she didn't fully comprehend his philosophical twaddle. However, she did apprise her new acquaintance that she felt strongly that something had occurred which she somehow appreciated would have long-range consequences for them both.
Although still feeling stunned by the energy that had coursed through their beings, Sally was still rational enough to suggest that they should begin dating and explore their special feeling for one another, a feeling which had suddenly corralled the two of them without prior warning and possessed amorous implications.
Over the ensuing months, Sally and Josh dated with increasing frequency and became ever more ardently linked to each other.
By mid-year, they were a couple and were expeditiously approaching one of the major events of their lives — their engagement to marry. While Sally and Josh's courtship had reached a flat-out pace, other students at the school were still attempting to disrupt the couple's developing romance, but to no avail. Those despoilers were generally individuals from the athletic clique who just couldn't comprehend the meaning of true love. To these individuals, love was equated to just a lustful relationship, and therefore, any male or female was fair game depending on your gender preference.
By the end of their freshman year at the university of Kansas, it was obvious to all who had any sort of brain that Sally and Josh were an item and headed for a life long union — life partners as Sally and Josh often referred to their budding relationship.
*The Truth Revealed*
Near the end of the academic year, Josh with his new fiance, Sally Stark, attended a gala sponsored by the university at the student union. Accompanying Josh to this affair was Lara Lane-Kent Cogan- Gellmann and her soulmate Oren Kal-El Gellmann. Within the Federation worlds, the Lane-Kent portion of the appellation or other official names were generally not specified. They were mainly used to denote descent. However on special occasions, the official names were used to express the status of an individual and his/her family line. Most of the time, therefore, Lara would be known as Lara Cogan-Gellmann by her family and her contemporaries.
As the grand party was winding-down, Josh, accompanied by Lara and Oren, escorted Sally to a secluded part of the rose garden, which rimmed the edifice that was holding the end-term affair.
When the two couples reached their destination, Josh seated his fiancee and proceeded to tell her a tale of two worlds.
When Josh completed his narrative, Sally, smiling at Josh, said, "I've always had a feeling that you were different from anybody I've ever met or dated. I sensed that difference when you and I first met. I somehow perceived that you were human, but different. Your behavior at times was not part of this world's customs. I must tell you, beloved, that at times I thought my sanity was up for grabs. However, I learned one truism during our courtship. One's feelings for a lover don't change because of unusual circumstances. True love is forever because it just is, and the feeling it engenders between two loving individuals is the greatest feeling one can experience during an individual's lifetime. When the love bug strikes, grab it with both hands and hold on tight for all eternity. Two people bound to one another by that kind of view can accomplish almost anything together.
"Love," Sally then quietly said, "borders on a heavenly blessing. One that was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden."
When Sally Stark completed her mini dialogue, Lara hugged her future sister and said, "Welcome to the family, sis."
Later that week, Sally told her parents, Michael and Lori Stark, of her engagement to Josh Gellmann and showed them the nearly perfect diamond mounted within a platinum setting that sealed her commitment to Joshua Lane-Kent Gellmann.
Wedding preparations commenced almost immediately, which concluded three months later with the nuptials of the soulmate pair.
After a traditional New Terra marriage, Josh and Sally were wedded according to the customs of the Terra-Kryptonian Federation. Present at these off world nuptials were members of all the Lane- Kent clans. These Lane-Kent lines were linked to the wedding proceedings by the Federation's electronic broadcast media.
After settling down in Helios, Sally's genetic system was modified, and she began upgrading her knowledge base via special study programs using the town's electronic library system.
During the following seven years, seven children were born to Lara and Oren — triplets and two set of fraternal twins — four males and three females in all. Also during this time frame Sally delivered five offspring, a set of triplets, two girls and a boy, and fraternal twins, one male and one female.
It was an idyllic time for the two couples.
The two families essentially remained within the hamlet of Helios and raised their children — education of all Terra-Kryptonians youngsters began at a year old. During this crucial period the underground village of Helios was enlarged so that the kids, all of whom at an early age had mastered the art of levitation, could fly about their subterranean home unhindered.
Intelligent synthetic robotic devices were also fabricated during this period and maintained by the Helios community. These ingenious machines were programmed to explore the domain of New Terra and monitor the ever-changing civilizations that inhabited their new planet. Furthermore, these ingenious robotic fabrications were instructed to establish concealed teleportation sites throughout New Terra so that reconnaissance excursions to various locations on this new world could be seen periodically.
Generally, these hidden locations were frequently utilized as observation posts to scrutinize the ever-changing customs of the New Terra's inhabitants. In time, these teleportation sites would be employed to help educate the Terra-Kryptonian children about the world in which they were born.
During this period of relative isolation, the marooned households frequently used their communication network to send information about New Terra to their home dimension.
Conferences between Zara Lo-El and Helios occurred about once a month on the average. As one would expect, these deliberations were filled with noteworthy happenings regarding New Terra and the island universe in which that planet existed.
As one year silently followed another, Oren and the inhabitants of Helios became aware that their periodic discussions with Zara were increasingly directed toward the planet on which they now resided and the kind of universe in which their world existed.
While the denizens of Helios slowly became aware of the subtle content shift in their monthly rap sessions with the Federation, a sense of foreboding surfaced, brought about by the altered agenda of their monthly meeting with Zara and occasionally with her and other Federation officials.
For a while, the marooned Terra-Kryptonians still accepted the premise that their meetings with the Federation were to assist in formulating a plan that would return the occupants of Helios to their home world.
One particular day, when Oren and Sally were returning with their kids from a sojourn to Metropolis, he was informed that his great- great grandmother had left a coded electronic message for him, which was stored in the communication center.
After extracting and decoding his great-great grandmother's message from its electronic mailbox, he sent for the other senior members of the Helios community to inspect the information within Zara Lo-El's communique.
When the four Gellmann family members of the Lane-Kent line made themselves comfortable, Oren activated his great-great grandmother's decrypted electronic message and displayed it on a monitor.
*A Deteriorating Universe*
Her communique began, "Oren, my dear great-great grandchild, I bear heavy tidings this day. Please share these thoughts with my other beloved family members, Lara, Josh and his soulmate Sally."
After a momentary lull in her message, Zara added, "About ten years ago, several eminent astrophysicists, after extensive study, were able to unravel a scientific enigma — a mysterious phenomenon that had baffled some of the Federation's best minds for generations.
"The solution to the old scientific brain teaser has been sought by many souls over the centuries and has to deal with what is generally called dark matter, or more simply the void that exists within the globs of matter permeating the known universe. The astrophysicists, whom I cited, discovered that the voids between atoms were responsible for the dark matter and caused the repulsive forces permeating our cosmos and have been slowly overpowering the forces of gravity through the ages. This new hypothesis, which has already been confirmed, is a simpler explanation and essentially stipulates that our accelerating and expanding universe has been created by the various energy systems occurring within the empty region that exists between the atoms of normal matter we encounter throughout the cosmos. This energy, which forms in the atomic vacuum regions, produces the repulsive forces that are thrusting familiar objects like stars and planets apart with increasing speed. So, in time the luminous objects that appear in our night sky will become dimmer and eventually cease to exist. The current theory has also indicated that as the stars in our heavens vanish, we, and the universe in which we now subsist, will also perish.
"To corroborate the inferences predicted by the new dark matter hypothesis, the Federation sent probes to the frontiers of our island universe to secure more information, which would either authenticate or discredit the new universe ending scenario.
"When our probes reached the farthest reaches of our universe and secured the required data, the Dark Theory concepts were unfortunately confirmed. The universe, as we know it, will slowly wink out over time. Fortunately, this event will not occur for billions of years. In that time, the Federation scientists firmly believe that a life saving scheme for our people could be devised.
"However, a more immediate threat to the Federation's existence was unexpectedly discovered by our reconnoitering vessels. Another island universe was sighted and traveling in our direction. While two island universes in one dimension space are unlikely, it's still a possibility, as was recently confirmed by the Federation's scout ships — information gatherers.
"From the analysis of the survey ships information, actual collision between our island universe and this new neighboring cosmos will not occur in a real sense. The fields from each universe will interact by rubbing together, generating a frictional energy of sorts that will flood both plenums — the two separate island universes that are in collision.
"As these special energies penetrate each universe, it will begin to annihilate the matter within the realm of each cosmos. As destruction of matter persists, geometric distortions of the surrounding normal space will begin to occur. Wormholes will be generated. These spatial holes will provide the frictional energy with short cuts through hyperspace to other parts of both universes and produce a rapid proliferation of the frictional energy's destructive capacity. This proliferation is analogous to sparks from a roaring fire, which would speedily assist the spread of the conflagration.
"Within a hundred thousand years — ten Terra-Kryptonian generations — the frictional energy will reach us and end our civilization — destroying all traces of the Federation. Soon after our demise, our island universe itself will cease to exist.
"My children," Zara added, "after we perceived that the demise of our universe is imminent as far as geological time goes, the Lane- Kent Clans fabricated seven additional super computers — still an unknown quantity to the Federation at large. This additional computing capacity will speed our ability to locate the spatial coordinates leading to your universe. Our new estimated time of our arrival within New Terra universe is now estimated at forty- seven years from this point in time.
"While we are making plans to move the Federation into your recently discovered dimension, you must send your exploration vessels close to the edge of your universe and comb the space beyond your macrocosm to ascertain whether more island universes exist within your dimensional continuum. While the likelihood of this event occurring in two different dimensions with the same chemical composition is very low, the Federation must be certain of this condition before our people crossover to your space.
"Plans for the probe ships and the necessary materials for their construction are currently being sent through the one way inter- dimensional passageway leading to New Terra.
"As I end this communique, I must say that it seems fortuitous that Lara and Oren discovered the inter-dimensional notions found in Jor-El and Lara's original String Theory manuscripts.
"Because of Lara and Oren's work, we now are aware that there are an infinite number of inter-dimensional island universe systems within the creator's domain separated by sonic curtains of energy. And, in at least one of these new cosmos, we've discovered that life forms, similar to those within our Federation, can flourish. Most probably, many other dimensions will some day be discovered that will also be able to support our kind of life forms.
"So, because of your discovery, my children, we of the Terra- Kryptonian Federation will probably survive the dissolution of our present island universe.
"Once we are sure that your present island universe is a singularity within your dimensional plane, the Federation will prepare an exodus to its new living space.
"You should also be aware, guys, that it will take the combined scientific muscle of the entire Federation star systems to move our people from their present dimension to the safety of your island universe.
"At present all the Federation star systems are being moved to within five light years of the planet Krypton. When this new planetary array has been created, the Federation worlds will await the exodus directive, which allows us to move into your island universe and our new home.
"To prepare for the coming migration, the Federation's Great Council wants you to explore the space close to New Terra — to within twenty to fifty thousand light years of your star system, and locate a moderate size star cluster where the Federation can set up shop once the exodus has been effectuated.
"Again, don't worry about us, my children. If there is any kind of delay, remember the Federation has nearly a hundred thousand years before the matter in the space about Krypton deteriorates and all vestige of our culture vanishes. However, kinder, I'm sure when the frictional energy invades our current spatial region, we would have been long gone and be settled within a star cluster somewhere within the New Terra dimension.
"Another point, kids," Zara added, "the spectral information you've sent us indicates that the dimension you now inhabit is about half the age of our present universe. So, when the Federation passes into your space, our civilization will not have to emigrate again for about eight billion years. In that period, I'm quite sure our scientific establishment would have unraveled the mystery of dark matter and learned to control its destructive potential.
"So, kids, it looks as though you won't be coming home after all. We'll be coming to you."
After a slight pause, Zara added, "If you need anything at all during this tumultuous period, just make a request and your needs will immediately be heeded and sent through your inter-dimensional tunnel."
Then Zara addressed Sally. "My newest great-great granddaughter, do you think that you could persuade your parents to come and live within the Helios habitat? If they can find a way to join your family group, you'll have additional nurtures for those fast growing Lane-Kent kids or yours, and your parents' actions would free more adults to explore the galactic regions surrounding the New Terra star system."
Then Zara declared, "May the creator of all things bless you and guard you, show you his favor in all worthy undertakings, and be gracious to each of you. May the architect of all the island universes show you kindness and grant everlasting peace to you and your descendents.
"Zara Lo-El, out."
*Strangers Among Us*
As the Terra-Kryptonian youngsters, born on New Terra, grew into young children, they quickly learned to levitate. To enhance their flying abilities, they would practice their unique soaring skills under the dome of the Helios habitat for hours at a time.
In time, unbeknownst to their parents, they would leave the confines of Helios and sail through the New Terra atmosphere above the primeval forests that blanketed their underground home.
Unfortunately during one of their airborne sojourns, a civilian aircraft pilot captured several of the soaring super kids on film.
Some months later, the telltale pictures found their way to the desk of Marc Thompson who administered a small agency within the government bureaucracy entitled the "Search For Extra Terrestrial Phenomenon," SFETP.
After Marc had thoroughly scrutinized the surreal photographs, he was able recognize the region where the pictures were exposed. After some thoughtful considerations, the bureau director decided to use part of his agency's rather limited budget to investigate the flying children caught on film — without any fanfare, of course.
Marc then summoned Dani Sigel. She was his assistant, a charming young woman with attractive features and a keen mind. Dani also was a scientist with an earned doctorate in physics and, in addition, she was a heck of a chopper pilot.
Several weeks after receiving the intriguing photographs, Marc and Dani were cruising unknowingly over the densely forested country covering the hidden hamlet of Helios.
After making a survey of the region, he and Dani made a landing in a forest clearing near the spatial coordinates Marc deduced from his picture data, and the two SFETP members then set up camp.
At sunrise the following day, Marc and Dani arose and by seven a.m. had commenced their search for further evidence that beings who possessed unique flying abilities existed on their world. This could be accomplished if the images of the subjects imprinted on his photographic film could somehow be verified.
On the second day of their search, the two government agents ran across another individual trekking through the dense underbrush and were rather surprised. His name was Oren. When Dani shook Oren's hand, she knew that he was no will-o'-the-wisp.
After some congenial introductions the three settled down to enjoy a delectable luncheon and share information about the surrounding forested terrain.
During this restful period, Marc and Dani were informed that Oren was a scientist from Iowa State University at Ames and was studying the propagation of the flora and fauna on the forest floor in this area.
Although Oren's research activity appeared valid, as the two government snoopers initially believed, the off worlder's task that day was, in reality, to check the structural integrity of the dome concealing his subterranean home. When Marc and his partner spotted Oren, he was measuring the stress levels on the large hemispherical roof safeguarding the hidden hamlet of Helios.
Several days later, however, the SFETP investigators had discovered that the person known as Oren Gellmann was not employed as a field scientist by Iowa State university — Marc Thompson had checked Oren's credentials and found them wanting.
When the government employees again located the supposed Iowa State researcher in the dense brush studying the forest floor some days later, Oren was immediately confronted with the fact that they were aware of his bogus credentials.
Instead of reacting in a vitriolic manner or defending his position with another bold face lie, Oren just smiled and produced a small device from his jacket. When it was activated, a portal appeared.
As Oren was stepping through the entranceway of the virtual door, he beckoned Marc and Dani to accompany him. When the last member of their party had pasted through the portal, the doorway slid shut. After the doorway had been sealed, artificial lighting automatically illuminated a tunnel, which Marc noted was about twenty-five meters in length. As Oren and his two visitors reached the other terminus of the passageway, they passed through a second opening that led them to a small, but beautiful, village.
Bringing Dani and her companion into his home, Oren introduced the government people to his soulmate Lara and their two eldest children Kitra (Kit), their first born, and her twin brother Ari- El (Ari) born six minutes after his sister.
As Dani took Ari by the hand during their introduction, a strong energetic pulse surged simultaneously through their bodies causing Ari and Dani to grasp each other as they collapsed to the floor gasping for breath.
Surprised at what just occurred, Lara telepathically summoned her husband, Oren. He had taken Marc into the family's rose garden to get a better view of the town's beauty.
Startled by his soulmate's mental summons, Oren arrived in the dining area several seconds later pulling Marc along with him. Lara then expeditiously recounted the events that had just occurred between Lara's first male issue and Dani of New Terra.
As Lara narrated the events that had just unfolded she noticed that her life partner became somewhat unnerved. When Oren faced the youngsters, Ari and Dani, he realized that his premonition founded on Lara's information was all too valid — he was gazing on a pair of newly created soulmates. Lara, reading her husband's thoughts, gasped, as she also understood what had just occurred. Thinking back, Lara then recalled the time of her own soulmate recognition happening. That occasion occurred in a very similar fashion.
This milestone, Lara knew, was just the first of numerous biological signals that Ari and Dani would issue and encounter. The biological transmissions between her son and the New Terra woman, Dani, would steadily pull them together leading to a completed soulmate union. At present, Ari and Dani were still unsure how to manage their new passions, which Lara and Oren knew were already beginning to blossom between this soulmate couple.
While Lara and Oren were surprised about the speed and intensity of the soulmate linkage between their son Ari and his new life partner, Dani, Lara and Oren were not really concerned about the event itself. After all, it was a well-known fact among the Terra- Kryptonian people that soulmate recognition signals and soul binding could occur any time after the onset of puberty and were not damaging to either partner.
How to handle the current situation with the proper finesse was Lara and Oren's main concern.
As Ari and Dani began to acquire control over their faculties, Lara, looking at her future daughter-in-law said, "We'll talk about what occurred this afternoon and what it means for the future. Right now, just enjoy the repast that's on the table and try to get acquainted."
That evening Dani, Marc, and the entire Gellmann family assembled in the living room. After the family quieted down, Lara announced that a special incident had occurred earlier that day. Taking a breath, she told the gathering that her son Ari and the New Terra woman, Dani, had become soulmates.
Following the whoopla her statement caused, she also told those assembled in the den that this event was similar to what occurred between her and Oren early in their teen years.
Lara smiled and said, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Following her cliche, laughter erupted for a time through the lounge. As semblance of decorum again returned to the gathering, Ari and Dani slipped out of the den into the rose garden.
Remembering what occurred after her bonding sequence to Oren was initiated, Lara again asked the family members to leave Ari and Dani to themselves so they could thrash out any problems which might complicate their budding relationship.
After a few moments, Lara added, "I know that we should be rejoicing with Ari and his soulmate Dani. However, the situation here is delicate and will require patience and understanding from us all. If the new soulmates resolve their differences and decide to remain together, then we'll party. Remember, Ari and Dani are from two different cultures."
For the remainder of this family gathering, we'll allow the new soulmates to direct their questions at the adults of this family group. The children will be allowed to stay, since all but the very youngest of you are close or have already entered puberty. What has occurred today will probably affect you kids sooner than you think. So, what you learn today may be beneficial in the not too distant future with an individual whom, like yourselves, will be born on this planet.
After Lara finished her comments, Oren chimed in and told everybody present that Zara had informed the people of Helios that they could never return to their home universe. "We must await the exodus of the Federation to this dimension before we can rejoin our people.
"Since you, our children, were born within this dimension space, it is likely that each of you will locate your soulmate from this world. So, listen and learn well what could occur in your soulmate quest."
Then, turning toward Dani and Ari, who had returned to the gathering, Lara remarked, "Do you have any questions for me?"
Ari responded to his mother, "I've already studied a good deal of our soulmate philosophy, so why don't you concentrate on Dani's queries?"
Lara agreed and faced the young New Terran.
After a few seconds, Dani asked, "Suppose I do not wish to follow the soulmate dictates. How will that affect my life?"
Lara answered Dani succinctly by telling the New Terran that her life would not be altered as long as Ari's life was not somehow terminated — that is, he passed from this plane of existence.
"You see," Lara added, "an aura, specific to you and Ari has formed about your existing bodies and has linked your souls. If Ari were to live out his normal life span, a thousand years by your standards — you too would exist the same length of time and perish when he dies. Since your life expectancy would have greatly increased, you'll have to devise a clandestine method to live through forty generations of your people without being singled out as an idiosyncratic individual and probably be incarcerated in a research institute to study your longevity. Or, on the other hand, Ari could perish in battle, and you would cease to exist, die, almost simultaneously. If the death scenario were to occur, your two essences would return to the well-of-souls together and await your rebirths at some future time, where it is hoped your soulmate forms will create a successful union.
"When a soulmate pair has young children who would need additional nurturing to survive, this circumstance prevents the automatic death of both soulmates in the event one of them perishes. This modification of the death mechanism is to insure the continued survival of the couple's defenseless offspring."
"When you talk of children, Lara, how do I know that your son and I can conceive? We are of a different species."
Before Lara could respond, Sally stood and said, "I'll respond to that question, my sister.
"Dani," Sally said to Ari's soulmate, "like you, I was born and raised on this world — in a small town on the great planes of North America. More information you don't need, and I wouldn't tell you anyway to safeguard relatives who still reside in my hometown."
Pausing for a moment, Sally added, "My husband and all the others here are of the same species. The only differences that exist between us are man-made. Several chromosomes have been modified, and this slight transformation provides us with our unique abilities. You have seen some of our special capabilities in action as you wandered about our grotto. Ask yourself, have these genetic modifications caused any monstrous mutation? I think not. The rest of this discussion I leave for you to ponder."
After Sally's chat with Dani, the questions and answer period continued for a further two hours and then the meeting adjourned.
As Dani and Marc were about to leave the gathering, Ari said to Marc, "Please inform Dani that I will not attempt to follow you. She's fearful that if I do so, I will become an annoying figure in her life. I have no intent to impose myself upon her and interfere with her freedom of thought and action. Also, please inform Dani that at some future time when I'm a half-forgotten memory I hope she realizes that I was not some silly immature boy she has assumed was being forced upon her by a set of silly superstitious beliefs in an effort to make her my life partner."
Pausing briefly, Ari continued, "From my observation of Dani during the question and answer session, I had the feeling that Dani's mind was closed to what concepts she encountered and therefore learned virtually nothing of our soulmate views. As things now stand, I'll not attempt to see her again. It's best for her if I take this course and slowly fade from her life." Then he bid Marc goodbye and disappeared.
When Dani and Marc were about to leave Helios on the following day, Oren presented each of the STETP operatives an electronic key, a special implement that would allow them to return to Helios and visit with the small group of Terra-Kryptonians living in the village. Each Key was a ticket to the subterranean habitat, but could only be used by the original holder of the electronic device.
*Behold A Pale Horse*
Within a week after Zara's dispatch about the coming destruction of the Federation's island universe, Sally's parents entered the hamlet of Helios. Their arrival freed a few more Terra-Kryptonians to explore New Terra's galactic neighborhood.
As their cosmic quest went into high gear, Oren instructed their mechanical allies, the artificial intelligence modules- android population — to establish monitorial outposts throughout the galaxy, which housed the New Terra star system. From these surveillance outposts, all suspicious bodies were monitored approaching or entering New Terra's galactic turf. Such objects were automatically scrutinized to insure non-hostile intent.
About a year after the Helios exploratory project had been inaugurated, a cluster of young stars — about six thousand in number — was located approximately twenty thousand light years from New Terra. The star systems within this galactic cluster possessed enough planets to sustain the Federation's teeming billions and all its myriad races for an immeasurable time period.
As the Terra-Krptoninans in both dimension spaces were rejoicing over the favorable news transmitted from the crews of the New Terra galactic exploration parties about a star cluster that would be suitable for the Federation populations to colonize, warning signals were being received by the residence of Helios from their android guardians located on various outposts established throughout the New Terra galaxy.
After reviewing the influx of the outpost information, Oren, in a subdued but terrified voice, yelled one word, "Hellhounds!"
As Oren's voice pierced the air, Lara gasped, and Josh's complexion took on a death like pallor.
"What are Hellhounds?" Sally immediately inquired.
"The pale horsemen of space," Josh Gellmann gravely replied.
Gathering his wits, Oren quietly told Sally that the Hellhounds were a race of beings who wandered the cosmos singling out Terra like planets for conquest. When these belligerent life forms discovered a Terra like world, uninhabited or one populated with a technology inferior to their own, these bellicose terrors of space would either settle on the unoccupied planetary site or conquer the indigenous population of the technologically weaker world and then literally rape the planet.
When a Hellhound horde had finished vanquishing the inhabitants of a planet, the subdued population was immediately rounded-up and sterilized. This procedure was to ensure that the surviving indigenous population of the devastated planet would be the last generation of their kind. After the sterilization process was complete, the original inhabitants, now infertile, would be herded together and resettled in the harshest living areas on the planet to hasten their extinction.
Then the Hellhounds would plunder the conquered planet until its natural resources were all but depleted. They would then move on seeking other worlds to pillage and to live upon for a time.
The Hellhounds are a moderately intelligent life form and could best be described as very aggressive canines. They have a predatory drive similar to dinosaurian raptors and the glutinous appetite of a Tyrannosaurs Rex.
The instruments from several outpost stations had already deduced the trajectory of Hellhound's space armada. As feared, their interstellar war ships were proceedings on a trajectory that would bring them directly into New Terra space.
"Even with their antiquated spacecraft," Oren told his family, and later to lady Zara, "it will take these beasts onlyabout six months to reach the New Terra star system, which is their present home."
"How many Hellhounds ships constitute their invasion fleet?" Sally inquired.
"From all past information concerning these creatures and our current assessment, there appears to be about fifteen hundred spaceships in this Hellhound task force," Lara added to her husband's information.
"How can you be sure of our adversary's number?" Sally queried her sister.
"Historical records, Sal, are our main source of information," Lara replied. "Twelve thousand years ago, on our home space, Krypton, while attempting to contact the young civilization on old Earth, we were forced into a battle of annihilation with a large force of these very aggressive creatures. Now, it appears that these canine varmints have unfortunately evolved within this dimension as well and have set their sights on New Terra — an inhabited Earth like world, and our current home planet."
"What are our options?" Sally asked her kin.
"Well," Oren replied, "we can vacate New Terra after first contacting the Lois and Clark of this world, apprising them and their offspring of the Hellhound situation, and presenting them with the same options we'll have to consider.
"First though," Oren continued, "I think we should talk with Zara and others of our clan in Federation space."
Then Oren, with Lara on his arm, slowly walked around the room. Placing her head on his, Lara was aware of the various options Oren was contemplating.
Oren suddenly stopped pacing. Facing his family, he commented, "There are really only two options for us. Do we vacate Helios and establish a new home in some nearby planetary system and await the Federation's exodus to this dimension, ignoring New Terra's people, or do we fight the Hellhound scourge and attempt to save this world?"
Pausing for a few seconds, he continued, "Even if this planet's super folk, Lois, Clark, and their kids decided to defend this world, Oren added, somewhat depressed, they would be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of Hellhound invaders. Faced with this military catastrophe, this world's super family would eventually have to withdraw from the fray and abandon New Terra allowing it to fall into the clutches of the Hellhounds — the world despoilers.
"However, the people of Helios," Oren added, "could help Lois and Clark's family save a cross section of people from this planet — people of letters, scientists, artists, physicians, etc. — and move them to a planetary sanctuary the people of Helios themselves are considering establishing in another planetary system and wait for the arrival of the Federation.
"If such a scheme were utilized, part of the New Terran population could be saved, preserving the genome of the New Terra indigenous population. While I believe that all the unique genetic information indigenous to this planet could be preserved by this cross-sectional selection game plan, there is still a possibility that much genetic info could still be lost.
"Or," Oren said after a short pause, "should we four Terra- Kryptonians give into our anger bordering madness and battle for New Terra's right to exist even knowing our fight for this world and its people may be futile at best."
As Sally gazed at the others in her clan, she noted a change in their demeanor. She sensed something she couldn't explain and watched as an intense flame filled their eyes. This disposition intensified as Oren was finishing his final and somewhat radical suggestion.
As Oren gazed at his family after he finished summarizing the family's options in this crisis, he smiled. After a few seconds, Oren remarked, "I guess our position is clear and our path of action determined."
Then with eyes flashing and filled with the passion of a warrior, he said, "We stay, and we fight for this world and its people."
At that moment Sally was so proud of her kin that her chest nearly exploded. Given time, Sal would have performed a series of barrel rolls as she flew to the moon and back again.
That evening, the adult inhabitants of Helios had a long and profound discussion concerning the Hellhound situation and in the end they somewhat reluctantly agreed with Oren's strategies for the coming battle. His plans were also firmly supported by the other Terra-Krytonians within the Federation's military.
During their conference, it was also agreed that none of the Helios children would be engaged in the coming hostilities.
While many past civilizations, and a few existing ones that had arisen on New Terra, had espoused many altruistic views, most of these cultures backed-off and disregarded their supposedly deep- seated convictions when confronted by an opponent with a stronger military establishment. Especially one that threatened their comfortable life styles. By Oren's action and with the support of the other Federation members, Sally realized that her husband's civilization not only embraced altruistic views but would commit itself, if necessary, in the defense of others, not necessarily belonging to their own social grouping, and defend people from the fear caused by injustice and terror of an aggressor society. To support their principles and help all cultures seeking freedom, the people of the Federation had on occasion even waged war to defend civilizations who sought to preserve the dignity of freedom for themselves and their descendents — Societies who were in no position to defend themselves.
That next evening Oren had a long strategy meeting with his great- great grandmother, Zara Lo-El. Battle plans were summarized, and the specific war materials needed for the coming campaign were itemized and orders rapidly dispatched to expedite this equipment to the Helios citadel on New Terra through the still functioning inter-dimensional tunnel.
Unfortunately, the finest cruisers, those with hulls overspread with stabilized neutronium, were not available. The entire fleet was on maneuvers and would not return to their bases in time to be used in conflict with the Hellhounds. Even if some of the super warships of the Federation were immediately recalled, they would still not arrive in time to intercept the advancing Hellhound fleet.
So, Zara had to send Oren and his kin older assault vessels, which were the backbone of the Federation's armed forces in the past. These fighting vessels were a generation out-of-date — retired after the last fleet modernization. Fortunately, the weaponry forwarded with these older war ships was the latest and most lethal in the Federation's arsenal.
Within forty-eight hours, fifteen Federation battle cruisers were sent through the dimensional tunnel — four of these vessels would be kept in reserve in the coming conflict. These vessels would be utilized to plug gaps as they occurred in their battle array.
The armor plating protecting these Helios battle cruisers was an alloy composed mainly of spent uranium. The crews of these starships would, for the moment, have a compliment of Oren and the other Terra-Kryptonian adults. Forty or so AI personnel (artificial intelligence units) would complete the ship's compliments. An ultrasonic Laser system — defensive weaponry — would protect each ship and was capable of rending all kinds of matter; they would be used at close range. These laser devices would be utilized also when the enemy vessels attempted to close with the New Terran war craft.
The main offensive battle weapon in the Helios fleet was called the Disrupter. This military attack device possessed an almost infinite range and created a space warp dragging an enemy to a null continuum — normal matter ceased to exist in this spatial plane. Emitting an electromagnetic ray, whose properties were known only to a hand-full of individuals within the Federation's military-science complex. This weapon would draw any object captured in its field to a null continuum and its destruction.
The Disrupter would essentially envelop a selected area of the cosmos that contained large numbers of the enemy. The electromagnetic field produced would then pull that specific region of space, loaded with the attacking space ships, and thrust the void itself and any objects within it into a null continuum where neither space nor mass could exist. If a hostile space armada could be corralled in one fell swoop within the disrupter's beams, the battle would essentially be terminated as the enemy space fleet, trapped within the en-globing field of the disrupter, was destroyed.
The backlash caused by the Disrupter was usually called a space quake, and was caused by the surrounding normal space as it rushed to fill the spatial cavity created by the weapon. As normal space moved to fill the empty spatial cavity, stars, planets, and other celestial bodies would be pulled along within the normal time- space continuum. During such a spatial dislocation, stars might collide and destroy planetary systems and spew other interstellar objects about the disrupted area. Because of the space quake that accompanies the use of the Disrupter, the Federation was extremely cautious when using weaponry of this character.
The day following Oren's discussion with his great-great grandmother, military equipment began arriving by way of the inter-dimensional passageway at a prodigious rate.
As the martial accouterments arrived, Sally, after some experimentation, discovered that living organisms could no longer pass through the inter-dimensional gateway unscathed. They simply perished. The slightly displaced inter-dimensional entranceway now generated a local electromagnetic field that would eradicate living entities. The off-center inter-dimensional doorway had no adverse effect on inanimate objects.
While their AI were busy transferring the incoming military supplies from the ultrasonic portal to the hamlet of Helios, Oren called a meeting of the four Terra-Kryptonians adults.
When they had seated themselves around the conference table, Oren outlined the battle strategy and the tactics that they would employ when the Hellhounds were bushwhacked near the Deneb star system.
It was during these deliberations that Oren informed his kin about their fighting equipment — the laser rendering device and the Disrupter system.
While the preparation of New Terra's defenses was proceeding, it was decided by the Terra-Kryptonian colony members, with the Federation Council's blessing, that Kal-El and Lo-El — the Clark Kent and Lois Lane of New Terra- be apprised of the situation. However, it was also decided that the Kent/Lane offspring were not to be informed of the Helios colony just yet.
The logic of the Federation's council concerning the Lane/Kent kids was puzzling to Oren, but he would follow the council's orders for the present. Irrational thinking by Federation politicians was the least of his problems at the moment.
So, several days later, Oren entered the Daily planet searching for Lois Lane and/or Clark Kent. Seeing the hustle bustle of the bullpen, he was stunned by the apparent chaos that accosted his eyes.
As he stood at the entrance to the news floor, Oren attempted, by using his super senses, to locate the whereabouts of this world's home spun super beings, Lois Lane and/or her husband, Clark Kent.
While Oren was surveying the Daily Planet's bullpen, a young man approached him and introduced himself as Jimmy Olsen. After some friendly chitchat, Oren was courteously asked whom he wished to see. When Jimmy was informed, he directed Oren to a small office at the Northeast corner of the newsroom.
Arriving at the front of the rather small office, Oren introduced himself to the secretary and asked if he could have an audience with either of the Kents. The secretary then inquired if he had an appointment with either of the Kents. When Oren replied negatively, the Terra-Kryptonian was asked to take a seat.
For the remainder of that workday and the entire following day, Oren sat in the foyer of the Kent's office — known to him also as Superman and Ultrawoman.
On the third day of Oren's vigil, Lois became cognizant that there was a young man seated in the antechamber of her office who looked familiar.
After entering her office, Lois called her secretary, a woman who serviced both herself and Clark, and asked about Oren. She was informed that this man had been waiting more than two days to see either herself or her husband. Because he didn't have an appointment, the secretary informed Lois that she'd been ignoring him, hoping the man would just leave. Lois was shocked at her secretary's response. Tomorrow Lois Lane would speak with Perry and obtain a more professional and humane administrative assistant from the secretarial pool. She and Clark must always be available to any individual who wished to see them. Her current secretary's attitude really shocked her. For now, however, she told her current secretary to send the young man to her office. The intrepid reporter realized that the man had been sitting in her office antechamber for the past several days, far too long, to see either herself or Clark. "What persistence," Lois thought as Oren entered her office and took a seat himself when Lois offered him a chair. When Oren was comfortable, Lois introduced herself.
As Lois reached across her desk toward Oren, he immediately arose and clasped her hand to complete their introduction. She smiled. Not since Clark had acted in a similar fashion, when Lois first met him, was she exposed to this type of manners especially in the Planet's usually chaotic bullpen.
After they had shaken hands, Lois asked, "What can I do for you, sir?"
After a slight lull in their conversation following their introduction, Oren remarked, "I'm here to speak with either you or your husband, Ms. Lane."
Smiling Lois said, "You mean that either one of us can be of service. You must admit that sounds a little odd."
"Not at all, Ms. Lane," Oren responded. "One needs to converse only with one member of a soulmate pair, and the other life partner will be aware of what was transmitted to his/her life partner."
Although Lois was momentarily taken aback by Oren's language, she rapidly regained her composure and invited the young man into an isolated section of her inner office, one she shared only with her husband. Nothing said in this part of the office could be heard outside this area.
As Lois was seating herself, she invited Oren to make himself comfortable.
When Oren was seated, Lois asked, "Are you an emissary from NK?"
"NK?" Oren inquired.
"New Krypton," Lois replied.
Smiling, Oren said, "I was unaware that any Kryptonians survived the destruction of their world in this space-time continuum, except, of course, baby Kal-El."
Before Lois could field more questions, Oren raised his hand and said, "It is important that you and your soulmate come to Helios, which is our subterranean hamlet. In our concealed village you'll meet the rest of my family. During your sojourn all of your questions will be answered to you and Clark. But, please hurry, my inter-dimensional kin. Time is short, and becoming dangerously shorter even as we speak."
"Inter-dimensional kin?" Lois queried her guest.
"Please, Lois, come to Helios. I really can't say more at this location."
Then Oren handed Lois what appeared to be a button-like device. As she examined the smoothly rounded instrument Oren told her, "When activated, this contrivance will connect you to a teleportation network which will allow you and your soulmate to be whisked to Helios, the home of my people.
"Another thing, Ms. Lane. Please don't tell your children or any other individuals about our little tete-a-tete."
Before Lois could say more, Oren activated his own teleportation implement and disappeared.
When the Lane-Kent household had settled down one evening a week later, Lois and Clark, adjourned to their secluded home office, activated the teleportation device and were instantaneously transported to the hamlet of Helios.
Soon after they arrived, the New Terra's home-grown superheroes saw a host of youngsters flying rapidly above the village. As they watched, it became obvious that the youngsters were apparently involved in some sort of game as they streaked across the sky toward a large grotto leading away from the village.
As the kids moved off, Lane and Kent of New Terra focused on the village and saw four adults walking rapidly towards them.
When the six super beings finally met and introductions exchanged, three couples made their way to Josh and Sally's abode.
After a small repast, Oren told the New Terra Kents the entire saga leading to their arrival and settling upon their world. Then, Zara, by using an inter-dimensional communication system between the Federation and Helios, added her comments about the marooning of Oren's family and informing the Lois and Clark of New Terra that after her great-great grandchildren's inter-dimensional experiment, the Federation had discovered that their space-time continuum was rapidly approaching its end. She also informed the entire group that in about forty years, the Federation would enter New Terra's space and establish itself in a cluster of stars discovered by Oren and situated about twenty thousand light years from New Terra itself.
Then Zara gave Lois and Clark the cold water treatment by informing them about the possible forthcoming Hellhounds invasion threat.
To sooth Lois and Clark's fears, Zara explained that her four great-great grandchildren aided by a number of androids would do battle for their planet's survival. As her kin prepared for the coming military engagement, Zara asked Lois and Clark to create a list of one hundred thousand New Terra inhabitants who would be transported to Helios by the Terra-Kryptonian teleportation system if the battle appeared to be going against her great-great grand kids. In Helios, they would find an ark, a large spacecraft, which would carry those individuals on Lois and Clark's survival list, including the offspring of the New Terra's super beings. Room in the ark had also been reserved for Sally's parents and the children sired by Oren and Josh. When loaded, the ark would transport these people to star systems within a cluster of solar furnaces twenty thousand light years from their current world. Here, they'd be lodged in villages that had already been erected and provided with necessary provisions.
After a slight pause in Zara's rhetoric, she added, "Please don't be alarmed when the Federation enters your island universe. We will not interfere with your maturing civilization, except to provide protection from space born enemies, if needed. Eventually, we'll begin to add to your knowledge base, surreptitiously of course, so the social and physical conditions on your world will improve. Of course, we'll first talk to you about any such endeavors before we become embroiled in any undertakings."
Zara also informed Lois and Clark of New Terra that when the Federation entered their dimension space, any Hellhound populations still in existence would be promptly eradicated.
When Zara finished her comments, Lois Lane sought out Oren's wife, Lara. After a few friendly words, Lois quietly remarked, "You and my first born, Laura, could almost pass for twins. Except for hair and eye color differences, your complexion and to some degree your features could pass for those of my daughter."
"I'm not surprised," Lara replied. "In each dimension where our life forms can exist, an essence permeates all new life as it is conceived, and after birth, that life form will seek its soulmate. In your case, Lois, it was Kal-El who sought you out, and after your soulmate recognized its life partner, a forever partnership was forged between each of you. If you look closely at Oren, you'll see many traits that are common to your husband and my beloved. You shouldn't be surprised when the men we love behave in many similar ways. Although Oren and I are Lane-Kent descendents in a Federation founded within another dimension, if you examine our DNA, Lois, you'll discover that it's very similar to yours and your offspring. Lois, always remember that Oren and I are Lane- Kent descendents born twelve thousand years after Jor-El and his family reached old Earth within our dimension and perished, unfortunately, upon landing. So in each isolated universe, I believe, identical soulmates exist. When the Federation enters your dimension, however, that condition will cease — two dimensions will combine to become one."
Lara then became more solemn and said to Lois, "I'm glad that you told me about your Laura." Pausing for a moment, Lara added, "If I'm slain in the coming battle with the Hellhounds, please get your daughter and Oren together, somehow. It is more than likely that your daughter and my Oren are soulmates, born in two different dimensions. They could have a life together."
After a slight pause Lara also told Lois, "Normally, if one half of a soulmate pair dies, the remaining half perishes as well. It appears, however, that among isolated dimensions duplicate soulmates can exist. If I am correct, my Oren would survive. Your Laura and my Oren would be able to form a soulmate union because of this unique soulmate duplication condition. As I indicated, when our dimensions become linked, future soulmate duplication will cease to exist."
Lois took Lara by the hand and remarked, "Let's hope and pray that none of you will perish during the approaching conflict of which Oren and Zara both spoke.
"Anyway, Laura is too young to be considering a serious romantic relationship — she's only sixteen," Lois informed Lara.
Then Lois added, "There is a guy who frequently takes Laura out and wines and dines her. His name is Lyle Langdon. At present, he's on the executive board of LL Industries, Inc."
When Lara heard the name of Laura's occasional dating companion, she asked Lois, "Do you happen to know what the initials LL refer to in the name of Lyle's corporation?"
"No, I don't," Lois replied.
"If I were you, Lois," Lara remarked, "I'd find out more about LL Industries. When I once gazed upon Lyle Langdon an ill wind blew through my soul."
"All I can tell you, Lara," Lois commented, "is that the meaning of the LL letter grouping appears to be a corporate held secret, known only to a handful of trusted board members. Lyle is a ranking member of that official body."
"I know your planetary civilization doesn't yet possess the technical means to expeditiously investigate LL industries," Lara said to Lois. "But," Lara continued, "my colleagues and I do. I'll see what I can discover about Lyle Langdon and LL Industries in the next few weeks. The Helios androids will help speed up my quest."
Several weeks later, Lois received a message from Lara asking that she meet her at Ferdangos of Metropolis for Lunch in two days. A postscript in the note simply said that the meaning of LL notation had been deciphered."
Sitting at the restaurant, Lara first described her research methods. Then she said to Lois, "You can certainly understand why Lyle's firm would wish to keep the LL tag as a proprietary item. As you well know, Lex Luthor became, before his demise, one of the most scorned men in Metropolis, if not the world. Knowing that Luthor was somehow attached to LL Industries would not bode well for the financial future of the LL corporation.
"Here's the kicker, Lois," Lara said, "Lyle Langdon is Lex Luthor's grandnephew. Also, my New Terra kin, Lyle's surname is Luthor not Langdon. Langdon is a fictitious appellation designed to conceal Lyle's real family connections."
Upon hearing Lara's news, Lois paled for a moment. History seemed to be repeating itself. Lois Lane-Kent realized that Langdon, by making use of his charm and wealth, was attempting to gain the trust of the Kent family.
Looking at Lara, Lois asked, "Is Lyle attempting to win Laura's hand in marriage by playing up to us? Lex Luthor knew, just before he was dethroned and perished, that Clark was Superman. So," Lois commented, "it would be natural to assume that Lyle was now cognizant of the Kent family secret and would act against us in some manner."
"It's more insidious than you can imagine," Lara responded to Lois' worrisome questions.
After a brief pause, Lara informed her inter-dimensional kin, "Lyle intends to prevent your children from marrying and procreating another generation of Lane-Kent family. If his plan is successful, New Terra's super family will become extinct. When your kids pass on and leave no descendents, the vision of Utopia will vanish."
While Lois was recovering from the shock of Lara's info, Oren's soulmate added, "Remember that Lyle is not a psychopath like his great uncle Lex. However, he is not above using devious methods to obtain what he desires. I must tell you that Lyle, like Lex, is a control freak. Since there appears to be no true affection between your daughter and Luthor's grandnephew, he seems to have two objectives where Laura is concerned.
"His first goal appears to be one of effecting her negative views concerning LL Industries. Then, after altering your daughter's opinions about his company, have her compose complimentary editorials about his business ventures.
"Secondly, by creating a false romantic impression and dating Laura on occasion, Lyle expects to discourage other males from becoming attracted to your daughter as a romantic interest and perhaps begin a relationship leading to marriage. Laura's marriage must be avoided at all costs.
"Oh," Lara asked, "do to you have a neighbor, a young man, by the name of Damon Bainbridge? Sort of a large brutish type guy."
"Yeah," replied Lois. "His folks own a house a little way down our street."
"Lois," Lara added, "LL corporation is paying Damon to prevent guys from visiting your twins girls, Kara and Rebecca. Damon is doing Lyle's bidding to earn monies for his education fund.
"My nephew, Jeremy, came to your home when he was about twelve years of age because he was attracted by a come hither pheromone aura from one of your girls. However, he was prevented from meeting either of your daughters by Lyle's gargantuan guardian, Damon.
"After you received Damon's report about male prowlers, you helped Lyle's plan along by restricting Kara's and Rebecca's ability to adequately socialize.
"Your boys, Jon and Sam, thus far, seem to be A-OK. You and your soulmate seem to allow them more freedom to mingle with opposite gender. If either of the boys locates a soulmate, I believe Lyle will hirer a hit man to eradicate the young lady in question."
After some thought, Lois said to Lara, "What am I to do?"
"If Laura were my daughter," Oren's soulmate replied, "I would not forbid her from seeing Lyle after, of course, apprising her of his plans. Let her enjoy herself at his expense. He'll provide her with an international education while he wines and dines her in his attempt to secure control of her thought processes and control her views about the actual aims of LL Industries. As Lyle plies her with an unrealistic life style, Laura will be able to provide your family with valuable information that will help stifle his iniquitous activities.
"Your youngest offspring, Kara and Rebecca, are still too young to be affected by a lack of more sociable activity. However, I would loosen up a bit and allow them to have more freedom of movement and a bit more party activity within your neighborhood.
"Since you are aware of Langdon's sinister designs, any moves by Lyle to harm your girls or any of your kids can be easily thwarted. Because of their unique abilities and Dr. Klein's Kryptonite vaccine, I don't believe that Langdon could hurt your kids by any kind of physical means."
Lois then smiled at her inter-dimensional kin and commented, "Lara, you think exceptionally well. Your ideas about vanquishing Lyle Langdon merit a decoration."
"I have ancestors with good genes," Oren's soulmate replied. Lois just giggled.
As Lara and Lois went off to obtain some refreshments, Oren said to Clark, "Did you overhear what Lara said to your soulmate through your telepathic connection with Lois."
Clark nodded his head and remarked, "I feel like a fool. To be taken in by that Langdon fellow really galls me."
"Don't fret, my friend. Your new found information can now work for you to the detriment of Lyle Langdon, the last of the Luthors. Come, let's take a stroll through the park." Clark nodded as Oren pointed the way and off they went.
After Oren and Clark returned from their walk, they were off to Josh and Sally's abode where they found Marc and Dani waiting. As Marc was about to address the Hellhound problem, Lara and Lois joined the group and their soulmates.
After formal introductions were made, Marc again spoke with Oren and said, "Dani and I are aware of the impending Hellhound invasion of our world."
Oren, taken aback for a few seconds, suddenly smiled and replied, "The telepathic linkage between Ari and Dani keep you informed with the doings in the Helios community." Marc's assistant, Dani, smiled as she nodded, supporting Oren's communication thesis between the reluctant soulmate pair.
Then Lara's soulmate, facing the two SFETP agents, asked, "So, my New Terra friends, where do we go from here?"
When Oren finished his query, the SFETP director's appearance took on a more serious bent and he said, "Since our world and its people have been threatened with possible extinction, Dani and I feel that we should be part of any military action waged against the hellhound hordes wishing to devour our world."
Looking at his friend, Oren said, "I cannot stop you from assisting us in the coming fray. However, if Dani joined you in this military action, her demise during the coming battle will cause my son, Ari, to mount the Pale Horse and be whisked from this plane of existence."
As Oren made his dire comments, Dani inserted her views into their conversation. "Your assertions, Oren, while most likely true, are forcing me to make a melancholy choice. Do I enter the battle fearing that my death will cause the demise of another. Or do I fight for the greater good, the salvation of my world and its people and cease to worry about the consequences of my choice. That is the choice I now face."
Before Dani could say more, Ari, who had entered the chamber while Marc and his father were discussing the soulmate's dilemma between Dani and himself, now felt it was his time to speak.
"Father, Marc," Ari's spirited voice was suddenly heard, "You have placed Dani in an untenable position. She wishes to support her people, which to my mind is the proper thing for her to do. Yes, my life will be forfeited if she perishes — it's a soulmate statute. However, what good is our existence if a trek through life would be agonizingly lonely, as the situation now exists, if we both survive and travel the road of life separately? Every day I can feel her in my mind and at night by body longs for her, my life partner, to be at my side. For both of us to suffer for a thousand years is also a criminal act. So I suggest that both of us become part of New Terra's defense forces and fight the Hellhounds in an attempt to save our world. Since there are no statues which govern the age at which a Terra-Kryptionian can face combat if that battle is forced upon him/her, you cannot legally prevent me from joining Dani in this muster."
After pondering Ari's words, Oren said, "You're correct, my son. So be it. You and Dani are now part of the Terra's military and in the creator's hands."
As soon as Oren acquiesced to Ari's request, a scream was heard throughout the room. Lara ran across the floor yowling, "No, no, no… He's too young." Lara's lament, while not logical, was a normal response for a parent, especially a mother, attempting to protect a cub from a situation placing a son in harm's way in a situation that would most likely cause his demise.
Following Lara's outburst, Oren gently took his wife in his arms and led her into the next room. Still holding her affectionately, the soulmates conversed and eventually reached a meeting of the minds. Both Ari and Dani would join their warrior contingent, which would fight against those life forms attempting to destroy New Terra — the Hellhound scourge.
That evening Dani sought out her soulmate. When she located him, he was sitting in the park and completing the final draft of an important scientific work — a treatise which would demonstrate how to ascertain which of the multifarious time-space dimensional fields could be populated by their species or a similar type of life form.
This academic work was Ari's first creative endeavor and could very easily be his last inventive undertaking. His coming military action with Dani at his side could easily be the last undertaking of its kind in their lives.
When Dani sat beside her life partner, she watched as he addressed the folder to his sister, Kit. She would know what to do with his new theory if he did not return from the coming military space engagement. He then gave it to a passing android to be delivered post haste to his twin.
After the android departed with Ari's manuscript, he momentarily forgot himself and began to seek Dani's hand. Fortunately, the young Terra-Kryptonium soon realized what he was doing and halted his advancing hand, and began to withdraw his wandering appendage back to its normal position — to his side.
Feeling embarrassed, Ari jumped up and said to Dani, "See you on the flight line and then disappeared in the dense underbrush that was growing throughout the park area."
As Ari vanished in the foliage, Dani could feel his mental anguish and became keenly aware that she also had been deprived of something precious.
*The Battle off Deneb*
Four months after the meeting with New Terra's super beings, fifteen outmoded Federation battle cruisers began their journey to a location near the Deneb star system. Deneb was the brightest solar furnace in the constellation Cygnusm, which was about sixteen hundred and thirty light-years from New Terra. It would be in this region of space, three weeks later, that a titanic struggle would rage between the Federation war vessels and more than fifteen hundred Hellhound interstellar battleships. Without the protection of a yellow sun, all super beings with the New Terra contingent participating in struggle would be vulnerable to injury and even death.
Marc, Dani, and Ari were assigned to one Federation battle cruiser; Lara and Oren, Josh and his soulmate Sally occupied a second Federation war craft. The remaining contingent on these ships would be made up of staunch and highly trained androids. Androids also manned the other battleships within New Terra's tiny space fleet. The warships from New Terra would be arranged in a spherical array in the coming battle. This geometric pattern would allow the largest volume for maneuvering and expose the smallest surface area to the enemy to maximize the protection perimeter around the teensy-weensy New Terra fleet in comparison with the Hellhound armada.
As the Federation-New Terra battle group waited for the Hellhounds, Oren explained that when a fight was forced upon you, numbers were not a crucial part of the engagement. Surprise was the critical factor — a first thrust at the Hellhound fleet.
So, when the time of battle arrived, Oren, the Federation and New Terra fleet commander, hit the Hellhound armada as their ships emerged from hyperspace annihilating a large portion of their fighting implements as they immerged in what we define as normal space. Although Oren's tactics were brilliant, the lack of essential war materials would not furnish the firepower to pummel the entire fleet and destroy or severely impair the Hellhound armada in one strike. Oren's guesstimate in the present case was that about a third of the enemy vessels would manage to survive Oren's initial military maneuvers and break though the New Terra's defensive screen ferociously attacking the fifteen Federation battle cruisers scattered across space. After the military engagement commenced, the war craft of New Terra and the Federation now positioned themselves to defend all spatial corridors leading directly to New Terra.
When the fighting off Deneb began, the fury of the pitched battle rapidly intensified. No quarter was given by either antagonist. The behavior of the hastily dwindling Hellhound warcrafts, which were soon facing total eradication, became suicidal in nature. It was during this phase of the titanic struggle that the Hellhounds began crashing their spacecraft into the federation ships. During this period of the Hellhound's suicidal onslaught, five of the fifteen federation star ships were quickly shattered, killing Oren's soulmate Lara, his brother Josh and his wife Sally. Also, the android personnel on these battle cruisers were obliterated.
Although Oren survived the loss of his battle cruiser, he was left physically infirm from the Hellhounds' suicidal onslaught. It would take the dexterity of a special orthopedic surgeon to restore Oren's physical health. That event would have to await the Federation's exodus to the New Terra's island universe in the near future.
While Oren was being whist to Helios for emergency surgery, the Federation fleet was moping-up the last of the Hellhound fighting vessels. During this action another suicidal Hellhound ship struck the battle cruiser containing Marc, Dani, and Ari causing a breach in the hull in the Federation ship.
This rupture in the fighting vessel's outer skin allowed more than ten Hellhound warriors to crawl through the gash in the hull and enter the Federation-New Terra warship.
While Marc remained at the controls of their ship and continued to obliterate more Hellhound warships, Ari, Dani, and a company of android warriors repelled the invading Hellhound troopers.
Using a sword of the El clan that his father had presented to him, Ari hacked his way through the Hellhound soldiers, always keeping his body in a position to shield Dani, who was herself giving a good account of herself. She eradicated many of the enemy soldiers.
As the fighting area steadily decreased, the final hand-to-hand clashes occurred in a small corner of the ship. During this period, a sudden stroke severed Ari's left hand from his body, about five centimeters above the wrist.
Mentally subduing pain and not allowing his body to be incapacitated, Ari dispatched the last of the Hellhound soldiers with his cutting weapon.
After the shipboard battle was been successfully concluded, Ari, like his father, was rushed to a Helios medical facility.
A month after being wounded, Oren and Ari were well enough to be released from the hospital. Leaving the healing institution, Oren and his son Ari presided over a service that sanctified all those who had fallen during battle with the Hellhound rapscallions. Those who had perished during the conflict had already been interred in a mausoleum, which was constructed for the honored dead, who had given their all to save the fledging civilization of New Terra. Although the mourning period had ended, Oren still felt it was his duty to have a service ennobling those beings who had won the day during the battle off Deneb.
After exalting the fallen warriors, Oren and Ari held a private service for the members of their family whose spirits had returned to the well of souls.
When the mourning period ended, Dani and Ari were married. Two years later triplets were born to the fated couple.
Over the next five years, Oren, Ari, Dani, Ari's older siblings, and Sally's parents worked long and hard to ensure that the Lane- Kent Gellmann children, conceived by Dani and Ari, were raised properly.
As Ari and Dani's kids were being educated, it became obvious that their youngsters were as academically ingenious as others in their family — cousins, uncles and aunts. The children's minds were well beyond the topmost level of the Federation's mental measurement scale.
Over this time span, Lois and Clark often visited Helios and enjoyed the warm interaction with Oren and the inhabitants of Helios. Marc, too, became a frequent visitor to the subterranean village, and when Dani's kids were born became their G-D father.
It was just after the birth of Oren's grandchildren when a lull in Helios' activities provided Marc with the opportunity to speak privately with his spiritual brother, Oren, about the passing of his soulmate, Lara.
Marc had noticed that since Lara's death Oren behaved as he was walking with death — he had not smiled or enjoyed the beautiful and boundless offerings that life provides as one travels through this plane of existence.
As the Helios community was celebrating the birth of new life, two closely linked spirits slowly walked through the town's large rose garden. As they perambulated, Marc quietly commented, "I know there is nothing I can say that will comfort you about Lara's loss. You know, Oren, memories are a funny thing. They mold a man. From a time a man can remember, his main memories are those given to him by women — his mother, sisters, first sweetheart, his wife, even those women he might like to forget, even they may give him memories that may help some time. No, Oren, there is nothing I can say that will comfort you. You are like me now, a man with a memory. But we're not alone. In this as in all past and future conflicts within the universe, wherever a destroyer appears and uses weapons to kill, they'll make thousands or maybe millions like us. Men without wives, without children, without a single thing they ever held dear. For those men and us there always will be a job to do. We must fight. Fight with hands and sticks, if we must, with all the weapons at our disposal. Fight to destroy destruction. We must destroy destruction, Oren. That's our job now."
Pausing for a moment, Marc squeezed Oren's shoulder, and then said, "Take care, my brother. I'll always be here to help." Then he slowly walked back toward Ari and Dani's home and the celebration of new life emanating from their home. As he strolled toward the festivities, tears began to cascade down his face.
After Marc had spoken with Oren, Zara's great-great grandchild, after much reflection, returned to the haunts of man and began working within life's great interlocking connections.
During the next five years, Lois and Clark also became deeply involved with the nurturing process of Ari and Dani's kids. Their involvement was much appreciated by the entire Helios community. The love and guidance Lois and Clark gave to Oren's grandchildren were prodigious. So great was the Kents' influence on the Gelmann youngsters that soon the children began calling the New Terra super beings Auntie Lois and Uncle Clark. When the Kents of New Terra heard these appellations, they couldn't help but feel a tingling sensation, an exhilarating feeling coursing through their souls. They had desired grandchildren, but, at present, had none.
Half a dozen years after the encounter with the Hellhounds, the children of the first generation born within Helios were reaching their full mental and physical capacities and were quite able to care for one another. The eldest female of Helios, Kit, had become an alluring young woman, while her male counterpart, her twin Ari, was now a dashing young man.
By this time, Ari and Dani had been married for a number of years and had conceived five youngsters -a set of triplets followed by fraternal twins, one of each gender.
Aware that the Helios children were well on their way to becoming sophisticated, beguiling, and self-sufficient people, Lois and Clark asked Oren if he would be interested in joining the Planet's journalistic staff and head its science department. In this capacity, Lois pointed out, Oren could unhurriedly learn about the habits and customs of the many kinds of New Terra communities which then existed on the planet. Knowing that his grandchildren were well cared for, several weeks after the Kents made their gracious offer, Oren became a member of the Planet's staff.
*Life In The Bullpen*
When Oren began his career as journalist, he was introduced to the Planet's core staff members and the paper's department heads by the then Editor in Chief of the paper, an elderly Perry White. It was Perry who approved Lois and Clark's offer to Oren for the science position he now held at the Daily Planet.
The following week, Perry announced to the planet's crew that both Lois and Clark had been elevated to the status of associate editors and would manage the general affairs of the Planet while he and Alan Jacobs, a long time friend and colleague, would establish a central wire service on the island nation of Singapore.
To assist the Kents in managing the paper, the owners of the Planet, on the recommendation of Lyle Langdon, employed Nigel Nash whose function would be to maintain a smooth flow of newsworthy material to the Planet's presses at the proper time.
For the next six months or so, Oren interacted within the Planet's bullpen without any difficulty. Not only did the paper's staff accept the new hire, who turned out was a really nice guy, but ignored his disability — he needed to walk with the aid of a cane or stick as some called his support. While Oren's injury caused the Terra-Kryptonian to be somewhat immobile at times and occasionally required some assistance, his workload nevertheless was always complete.
Despite his physical impairment, Oren successfully, when required, would function as a city beat reporter.
During this time frame, Oren acquired an assistant, a meteorological reporter, Sandi James, who joined him at the science desk.
Clark informed Oren that his science articles had begun to attain international recognition, and his increased workload warranted a helper or assistant.
Oren found Sandi to be an honest and hard working colleague. So, without revealing the inner workings of his advanced weather equipment concealed within a normal laptop computer, he showed her how to manipulate his meteorological equipment, which she used when Oren was not available or on another assignment.
A few months after Oren and Sandi had established a sound working relationship, Laura, Lois and Clark's eldest child completed an earned doctorate in journalism and had just returned to her position as a Daily Planet journalist.
A week later, when the news was rather slow, Oren made his way to Laura's workstation. When reaching her desk, Oren held out his hand to introduce himself and welcome the young lady back to the newsroom.
As Oren stood before Laura Lane-Kent, leaning on his walking stick for some support, he felt a tingling sensation, a feeling that he hadn't savored since Lara and he trudged through this world together. While attempting to regain control over his memories and their emotions, Laura watched as this somewhat infirm individual used a cane to prevent his body from tottering. Becoming flustered and irritable at Oren's apparent ineptitudes, Laura said to the young man standing before her, "I have little or no inclination to socialize with people at work nor with people who are imperiled both mentally and physically."
Shocked at her words, Oren quietly turned to leave Laura's work area. As he began to depart, she asked with a cavalier attitude, "Just what do you call yourself?"
With a satirical smile now covering his face as he continued to move away from one Dr. Laura Lane-Kent, he remarked, "My name? Do you really want to know my appellation? It appears from my point of view that my infirmity or lack of communication because I was startled by your appearance makes me appear irrelevant in your eyes. However, since you did inquire, you deserve a reply. I'll be gallant and tell you. I'm called Oren Gellmann by my friends and colleagues. Good-bye, Ms… or should I say Dr. Kent."
Pausing for a moment or two, Oren added, "You know that that monicker of yours, Dr. Laura Lane-Kent, is your key to the high society events in this town. I believe that such social groups would be fitting for such a grand lady. I'm now aware that your crusty attitude matches your appellation, don't you think?
"I hope that I've not used much of your time on a slow reporting day — apparently watching the monitor for events is the prominent components of your world, not befriending cripples as myself. I guess to you living beings are just back up items, something to be used and then discarded."
Then Oren turned again and hobbled away from Laura's desk and toward his work area, the science desk. As he moved away from Laura, he heard her parting guileful remark, "You, oh bullpen cripple, would just be a waste of my valuable time as you so elegantly indicated. I'm much too engrossed in my work to deal with an injured journalist who couldn't possibly keep up with me. You know, I never found out what journalistic features, gimpy, was your bailiwick."
Oren did not respond to her somewhat cruel ending remarks. As Clark had informed him, Laura, like her mother in the early days, had to have the last word in all encounters.
Late in the afternoon, Lois sauntered over to Oren's work place and casually remarked, "I was informed by Sandi that you finally met my daughter, Laura."
Turning toward his computer and feigning to be occupied, Oren looked up and replied, "Yes, my friend, I did run into your daughter this morning. She and I had a very frank and interesting, but brief, tete-a-tete. Believe me, your Laura is no Lois Lane, not even a bargain among women. She doesn't appear to be a very tolerant person nor is she cordial with her Planet colleagues."
After a few seconds of silence, Oren further commented, "There are some people in this world who possess attitudes that he/she would staunchly defend and in a philosophical fracas may attempt to harm people who possess opposing beliefs. Laura appears to be one of those individuals. From my brief conversation with your daughter, I learned that she is not the kind of person who would seek a partner anywhere within the confines of the Planet. To be blunt, Lois, Laura doesn't seem to be someone who would share the pleasures and rigors life often throws at you in equal measure. I sensed that Laura's view of life would simply be her way or the highway, I'm afraid. That kind of philosophical approach to living, Lois, my friend, is not soulmate material nor even someone I would wish to known socially."
Excited that Oren and Laura had met, at last, Lois did not really pay close attention to what Oren was saying about the character of her daughter. As soon as Oren had completed his comments, Lois said, "We're having a welcome home wing-ding for Laura this Saturday evening. Clark and I would like you to come and bring your entire family to help celebrate this festive occasion."
After contemplating Lois' invitation, Oren said, "I'm sorry, my friend, this weekend is out of the question. A lot is going on at home, which makes it imperative that I remain in Helios during the time you've stipulated. Now if you'll excuse me, Lois, my nerves feel like a collection of taut strings and will require some time to unwind. So, I'm taking the afternoon off and going home to rest. I hope the tranquility of Helios will ameliorate my ire. My time away from the bullpen, I hope, will relieve some of my body's stressful symptoms."
As Lois was returning to her office, she remarked, "I hope you feel better, and forgive my daughter's inappropriate behavior. Lois had finally become cognizant of Oren's remarks concerning her first born."
Entering her office, Oren's pronouncement of feeling stressed out didn't ring true. Lois knew that Terra-Kryptonians didn't succumb to physical, emotional, or biological maladies common to the people of New Terra.
Lois then began to realize that something was amiss between Oren and her first born. Lois Lane-Kent would now have to put on her investigative reporter's hat and sniff out the reasons for the apparent estrangement between her daughter Laura and Oren.
By early Sunday afternoon, Laura's welcome home party was in high gear.
About two hours into the festivities, and to the astonishment of Lois and Clark, Lyle Langdon made a surprise appearance at the Kent residence. Smiling, Laura immediately moved to greet the ranking board member of LL industries.
Lois and Clark quickly followed their daughter to greet Lyle and his accompanying sycophants. To put it mildly, Laura's parents were very unhappy at Lyle's appearance. He had not been included on their guest list for the Kent's shindig.
As Lois engaged Langdon in conversation, Clark pulled his daughter aside and asked, "Who enticed Lyle to our little bash?"
Laura replied also immediately, "I did, Father, when, after commencement, I returned to Metropolis."
Stepping back from his daughter, Clark intimated, "You mean to tell me that Lyle Langdon, whom I consider a Machiavellian iconoclastic schemer, at best, was the first person you saw upon returning home?"
Shocked by her father's rather harsh words about a man she'd considered a very close friend, Laura, with a stupefied look upon her face just shook her head in disbelief.
At that moment, Clarence Chase arrived from the Planet's headquarters and immediately dispensed copies of the paper's latest edition to both Clark and his guests.
Inasmuch as Clark and his wife had taken a few days off to prepare for their daughter's homecoming party, neither associate editor was aware of the hard hitting article that graced the Planet's current front page.
After perusing the story by Oren Gellmann and Sandi James, Clark returned to Lois and handed his wife a copy of the paper's current edition.
As Clark was furnishing the paper to his soulmate, Lyle commented, "It looks like gimpy, the axe philanderer, and his ungainly brood were not invited to your lovely affair."
"On the contrary," Lois replied, "Dr. Gellmann declined our invitation because of the rather despicable comments directed toward his physical impairment and ungrounded insinuations that he and his family would be unwelcome guests in our home. Those comments are an absurdity, and to classify him and his beautiful family as an undesirable element is plainly not true. He and his family were invited by me. I was wondering where people were obtaining their false information unless, of course, it was being orchestrated and broadcast by your slanderous network, Mr. Langdon."
Lois continued speaking, this time with her anger quite evident, saying, "Your comments, Lyle, have been most informative. They've demonstrated to me just where Laura learned those vile comments she's used from time to time to describe particular kinds of people. Your comments have also indirectly informed me who those ignoble individuals were who furnished Laura with her erroneous information about Oren and his family and perhaps about others." Lois Lane-Kent then emphatically stated, "Oren and his household will always be welcome at the Kent home, contrary to what some people have been erroneously told. I guess Clark and I failed to warn Laura about corrupting influences from individuals like you, Mr. Langdon."
Before Laura could refute her mother's accusations, Lois sighed and left her daughter with Lyle and his group of sycophants, and eventually, unseen, left the party.
Also, disgusted by his daughter's crass behavior, Clark had left Laura's bash sometime before Lois' departure and had been wandering about a nearby park attempting to discover where he'd failed as a father in Laura's upbringing, and especially in his daughter's decision making skills when dealing with apparently charming but unscrupulous people.
Just prior to her departure from the party scene, Lois handed a copy of the Planet's afternoon edition to Lyle, and smiled.
After he scanned the Gellmann-James editorial, Lyle mumbled to himself that the Planet had better possess the essential supporting evidence to back-up the Gellman-James accusations — the Planet's front page presented an editorial, in somewhat inflammatory language, accusing LL Industries for profiteering.
Sandi James, who was standing nearby, remarked as she walked away from Lyle's rat pack, "We do possess the hard evidence which you mentioned. Furthermore, Lyle," Sandi added, "Oren is no philanderer. His wife, brother and his brother's spouse all perished during an incident which not only saved our world, but that worthless hide of yours."
While Lyle was in denial and attempting to explain the Gellmann- James article to his following, Clark returned to his house looking for his wife. He heard Lyle Langdon's unflattering comments about Oren and Sandi's story. Clark was stunned. Making allegations without supporting evidence is indefensible. How gullible have people become? Or, Clark thought, have they not really changed over the centuries? I think not. Britons' Prime minister Chamberlain, for example, in his dealings with Herr Hitler partly demonstrated Lyle Langdon's modus operandi. When we study Chamberlain and his dealings with the Fascist dictator, Herr Hilter, the British leader seemed to be continually out foxed because he and his French counterpart were obsessed with the notion of peace in our times and tended to believe the German leader to achieve his noble goal. Like Hitler. Langdon was a man with much power and the propagandist on his staff to beguile people. When people as in Mr. Chamberlain's case possess overpowering strong feeling about a subject, like the peace in our times notion, they have a difficult time considering other options. In Mr. Chamberlain's situation, it appeared that he never considered Herr Hitler's political manipulations were acts of hostility until war starred him in the face. By the end of the global conflagration that finally resulted, the costs in human terms were horrendous — nearly fifty-five million souls perished during the Second World War.
After a pause to regain his emotional equilibrium, Clark angrily said to Lyle's and his pack rats, "You know, Mr. Langdon, only once in my life have I manifested a hatred for an individual. His name was Lex Luthor. Now, his great nephew is behaving in a similar fashion. Although I must say you haven't illustrated any of Luthor's psychopathic tendencies, as yet, my distaste for you has been greatly enhanced this day. Please take your followers and leave my home. Your stench is beginning to fowl the air and spoil our festive celebration."
As Laura heard her father's comments, she gazed unbelievingly at Lyle, a look of horror beginning to contort her beautiful countenance.
"Is my father correct about your Lex Luthor connection?" Laura asked.
Lyle, without uttering another word hastily left Laura's home, hatred surging in his breast and silently vowing revenge upon the Kent family and all Lois and Clark held dear.
*The Return Of Bureau Thirty-Nine*
Shortly after Lyle Langdon returned to his New Troy estate, he telephoned Nigel Nash, a man beholden to him for his current professional success, and a man related to him by blood — his second cousin.
Hearing Lyle's voice, Nigel moved himself to a secluded spot on the news floor. First, Lyle inquired about the doings at the Planet. More specifically, Langdon wished to know whether Oren was still experimenting with his weather detector — a device which could appear to be an off-worldly device to the unenlightened public of Metropolis and ignorant governmental agencies.
When Lex Luthor's grandnephew was advised that Oren's contraption was in the testing phase, but still was being utilized for advanced weather prognosticating, he terminated his call with Nigel and immediately contacted General Cash, a colleague with mutual interests. He was stationed presently at the Pentagon and could be contacted by a specially coded telephone link.
Lyle had met Cash at a Pentagon affair some years back where LL Industries and the military were celebrating the successful trial of a new weapon system devised and fabricated by LL Industries.
Over the ensuing years, Cash and Lyle Langdon became rather close associates, bosom buddies so to speak, and in this interim the LL Industries board member discovered that General Cash had surreptitiously rehabilitated Bureau Thirty-nine, now an illegal governmental agency. Running Bureau Thirty-nine's day to day operations was a man known as Billy Trask — the son of Jason Trask who had headed the past sub Rosa secret government division that had been financed by some military fanatics operating within the military bureaucracy. Billy, now the current second in command under Cash, was the one who reconstituted the alien hunting organization. He was just as fanatical as his sire, the patriarch of the original organization. If an individual or object appeared to be off-worldly, they fell under the jaundiced eye of bureau Thirty-nine. Eventually the operatives of this organization were dispatched and any suspicious devices were confiscated and were summarily destroyed. People suspected of off-worldly origins just simply disappeared without a trace.
When Lyle informed Cash about Oren's weather contraption now being tested at the Planet, Langdon's information almost immediately triggered a military operation that would unfortunately bring about the demise of many people — Lyle Langdon's vengeful war against the Daily Planet had been set in motion. Lyle dubbed Cash's Bureau Thirty-Nine and its facilities as his strike force.
Several weeks after Lyle's conversation with General Cash and Oren's regrettable resignation from the Planet, Billy Trask, leading a company of Bureau Thirty-Nine's troopers, assaulted and seized the Planet building and its communication facilities. This military strike essentially isolated the Daily Planet from the rest of the world.
After securing their takeover of the Planet building, Trask and several of his lieutenants entered the bullpen and immediately made their way to the science desk.
Scanning the science work area, Trask quickly detected the object of his search, Oren's weather instrument. After thoroughly examining the weather contraption without touching the device, Trask finally decided that it was safe to handle. He then grasped the electronic contraption and handed it to a subordinate. The Bureau Thirty-Nine operative, without hesitation, began to move Oren's weather tracker towards one of the building's exits, followed, of course, by Billy Trask and several other Bureau Thirty-Nine's lackeys.
As the Bureau Thirty-Nine people now hurried away from the science desk area, Sandi James uttered an agonizing sound and said to Trask, "You're stealing the Planet's weather computer and condemning many people throughout our world to die a horrible death when unknown to us nature goes hog-wild."
"So what," was Billy's brusque reply.
The young science-journalist then leaped forward and attempted to retrieve Oren's weather instrument from the hands of the Bureau Thirty-Nine operatives.
As Sandi began running toward the man transporting the weather instrument, Trask whipped out his pistol and discharged two bullets, which struck the young reporter. Struck in the abdomen by Trask's bullets, Sandi collapsed almost immediately striking her head on a desk chair as her body careened toward the floor. Her blood was soon seen flowing from Sandi's lacerated head and her bullet mutilated body.
Sandi lay on the newsroom floor, now seriously bleeding from her wounds, her life forces ebbing from her body; the weather computer suddenly wrenched itself free from its captor. It then rose quickly to a position near the ceiling of the bullpen. From this location, bolts of high voltage electrical energy flowed from the weather mechanism's defensive weapon system dispatching most of Bureau Thirty-Nine's men guarding the newsroom and killing Billy Trask.
After Bureau Thirty-Nine's chieftains and most of their cohorts in the bullpen area were slain, Oren's weather computer drifted back to its resting position at the weather desk.
While the weather predicting contrivance was reestablishing its location within the newsroom, the area within the central region of the bullpen began to shimmer. A few seconds later, a virtual gateway materialized. From it's portal came twelve young adults armed to the teeth. Following just behind these warriors came Oren Gellmann hobbling through the ghostly entranceway and moving directly toward Sandi James.
Kneeling beside his friend and partner, Oren knew that Sandi needed immediate medical care if she were to survive.
Turning toward his children, he yelled, "Kit, I need your assistance now."
After his vocal cry, a redheaded, green eyed buxom young woman in her twenties was seen scooting across the newsroom floor toward Oren.
After examining Sandi, Kit said, "Papa, I don't have sufficient medical skills to treat this type of injury."
After receiving his daughter's pronouncement, Oren rose quickly and activated a rather small device on his person. Within another area of the newsroom, the air again shimmered briefly followed by the materialization of a large monitor. This screen hovered between the floor and the ceiling within the newsroom.
A few seconds later, a regal looking woman suddenly appeared on the screen. When she saw Oren, the woman on the screen smiled and said, "It's good to see you again, Oren Kal-El."
"It's a pleasure to also see you again, great-great grandmother, Zara Lo-El," Oren replied.
Since a precious life hung in the balance, Oren ignored most of the usual formalities and said, "Grand mama, I need the services of surgeon Dar Ke-El. Death hovers over my friend and colleague," he said, pointing to the injured young girl lying nearly motionless on the newsroom floor.
Hearing that a life and death situation was at hand, Zara beckoned a person from off camera. A few moments later a man's image appeared on the monitor. After he was informed what was unfolding within the other dimension, he tenderly kissed Zara on her forehead and scooted off to locate their surgeon.
While waiting for the surgeon to appear, Kit worked feverishly, aided by her twin, Ari, and his soulmate, to stem Sandi's bleeding and stabilize her bodily functions.
Within a few minutes, the image of Dar Ke-El appeared on the inter-dimensional screen.
Seeing the surgeon, Kit rose and bowing said, "Dar, while my knowledge of general medicine may be good, my surgical skills are not yet up to snuff. Could you please assist me while I operate on my father's friend?" The surgeon smiled and simply nodded affirmatively.
Pausing for a moment, Dar said, "First, You'll need the following instruments." The Federation surgeon then created a holographic set of medical instruments that either had to be fashioned or obtained from the medical facilities which were in storage at Helios.
Studying the needed medical devices, Oren sent for the material that would be required for the fabrication of the needed instrumentation and special laser augmented surgical scalpels. As Oren waited for the needed materials, Dar said, "Cuz, I was sorry to hear that Lara, Josh and Sally had passed into Death's domain during the battle with the Hellhounds off the Deneb star system. When we physically see one another again, I will take care of your mutilated leg."
Oren just nodded and simply replied, "Thanks, Dar, I'd be much grateful. The pain is now continuous, and the dosage of drugs needed to allow me to function is increasing."
With bowed head, Oren then said to his kin, Dar, "The battle with the Hellhounds was necessary, but costly in human terms. The survival of this world was at stake. We really had no choice about intruding in the affairs of this planet. Unfortunately, we had to take on the total strength of the Hellhounds in the Federation's antiquated intergalactic war-craft. It was our fifteen battle cruisers which fought against more than fifteen hundred star-ships fielded by the enemy."
In a solemn voice, Dar remarked, "You and your kin deserve the solar cluster for what you did that day."
"Keep you damn medals," Oren yelled. "Just give me back my wife, Lara, my brother Josh and his soulmate Sally."
As Oren was about to continue his discussion with Dar, the needed medical materials arrived from Helios.
With the pictures of the surgical knives firmly set in his mind's eye, Oren, using his laser vision, fashioned the required medical devices that kit needed to use in the surgery she would perform on Sandi.
When Oren completed his task, Kit and her twin brother, aided by Dani under the guidance of Surgeon Dar Ke-El, performed the delicate operation, which removed the bullets from Sandi's body, and then closed her wounds. Oren's daughter skillfully implemented all parts of the surgery needed to preserve the young journalist's life.
After the surgery had been completed, Sandi was placed in a makeshift recovery unit for her bodily functions to stabilize.
During the waiting period following, Dani turned to Dar Ke-El and asked, "Could you repair by husband's injuries when we meet after the coming exodus." Dani then added, "His bodily injuries were sustained during Ari's battle with the Hellhounds. He fought off a large group of the enemy when our vessel's hull was breached, and the enemy boarded our ship in relatively large numbers. In the hand-to-hand fighting that ensued, my soulmate lost his left hand. When he was heavily engaged, I was covering his back."
The physician replied, "It would be an honor to do so."
"That's all that needs to be said," Dani responded as tears of gratitude tumbled down her cheeks.
Soon after Sandi's biological functions had stabilized, Kit's twin, with his soulmate Dani, rushed the young journalist to an intensive care unit that had been prepared at the medical center at Helios.
As Sandi was being removed from the bullpen, Oren assured the remaining Planet employees that she would be returned as soon as her body was properly healed.
The surviving members of the Bureau Thirty-Nine's command were captured and taken to the Planet's bullpen, including General Neal Cash, shanghaied from his Pentagon office. After a short period at the Planet, these militant individuals were taken to holding cells deep within the subterranean community of Helios. As the inhabitants of Helios were finally leaving the Planet office building, Oren assured the news people that justice would be fairly administered to the Bureau Thirty-Nine prisoners. They were assured that these military individuals would not trouble the people of New Terra anymore.
Later in the day, Oren, standing alone just inside the gateway leading to his New Terra home, said to the Planet people within the bullpen, "I want you to know that all your recording devices have been rendered inoperative. So, my friends and colleagues, you do not possess any hard evidence that Bureau-Thirty-Nine's assault on these premises occurred." Pausing for a moment or two, Oren added, "We, the people of Helios, will not interfere with your desire to print stories about these events. Even if you wish to discuss the occurrences which happened in this place with others, it is A-Okay with us. Smiling he then said, "Farewell, my friends. I don't believe we'll meet again during your lifetimes.
"When the Federation from which my family originated is capable of penetrating the inter-dimensional barrier between our two island universes, we of Helios will journey with our kin to a star cluster about twenty thousand light years from this world. It may be that our two civilizations will establish some sort of relations, at some future date, when the various cultures on this planet have matured — when hatred, war, and ignorance, have been eliminated on New Terra, when all peoples on this planet are free from want. Then, the Federation and New Terra will be in a position to meet and discuss the possibility of establishing relations between our two planetary societies."
Raising his arm again in a gesture of farewell, Oren hobbled further into the Helios gateway and disappeared. Several seconds later, the entranceway to the subterranean enclave closed, and the connection between New Terra and the Federation vanished, maybe for all time.
The survivors of the newly reconstituted Bureau Thirty-Nine military unit were tried under Federation law and found guilty. They were sentenced to be marooned for life and set adrift in a damaged spacecraft, which had been placed in an orbit about Alpha Centauri, a star system about four and a third light years from New Terra.
As promised, Sandi James, when her wounds had healed, was returned to her home on New Terra. Soon after her return she was reinstated to her position at the Planet. In a short time she became the head of the science desk, and as Oren predicted, she did a bang-up job.
*The Blueprint For Extinction*
As the ensuing years slipped by, Lyle's plans directed at the Kent children appeared to be functioning as he and his cousin Nigel had planned.
Wandering about his plush penthouse residence, Lyle concluded that his schemes should be infallible. A Luthorian strategy always produces exceptional results, with rare exceptions — no mishaps were expected in this undertaking. Langdon then Lit-up a cigar and smiled an evil smile.
Unaware that Laura and the senior Kents were aware of Lyle's maniacal plan, the now LL Industry senior executive continued to entertain Laura Lane-Kent, using plush accommodations and upscale hangouts for wealthy patrons around the world to keep Laura under his domination, or so he believed.
>From time to time on his outings with Laura when Lyle consumed too much wine or other intoxicating spirts, discreet information was inadvertently revealed to the young lady. For example, on a trip to Bali, Laura found out that LL Industries was excavating two huge underwater canyon like structures in the Atlantic Ocean not far the African continent. When the work was completed, Laura found out that huge explosions would, at the proper time, be discharged in each of the underwater dales being constructed by LL Industries — each canyon would have nearly vertical slopes.
After Laura relayed this info to her parents, they in turn informed Oren of what Laura had learned. Ari, in time, worked out the basic reason behind Lyle's foolish enterprise. The Terra- Kryptonians would be prepared to act when Langdon unleashed the evil fruits of LL industries' huge destructive construction project.
When the dating habits of the Kent boys, Jon and Sam, appeared to have altered significantly, Lyle Langdon and his kin Nigel Nash suspected that the male Kents had apparently located their life partner and acted accordingly. While Nigel kept a tenacious surveillance on the Kent's dating companions, Langdon hired professional assassins or hit men to exterminate those particular women — Jon's and Sam's potential life partners.
Jon Lane-Kent and his soulmate Debra Roberts with his brother Sam Lane-Kent and his soulmate Lynn Garr had been on an outing in the country and now were on their way home. Suddenly, a cluster of rifle shots was heard and Debra went down as a bullet penetrated and passed through the hip region of her body.
Jon immediately covered Debra with his body while Sam pulled Lynn to the ground and covered her with his body preventing her from also being struck by the flurry of bullets, which still peppered the turf about them.
As quickly as the shooting had started, it ceased. A few seconds later, Superman and Ultrawoman landed beside their sons with the shooter in tow.
Seeing that Debra was injured, Clark used his electronic key and opened the portal leading to Helios.
Gesturing for his sons and their dates to follow, the super family flew though the passageway and emerged at the underground hamlet of Helios. Moments after the super group and their companions arrived at the subterranean village, they headed directly towards the village's medical facilities.
Receiving a telepathic call, Oren and his daughter Kitra also quickly arrived at the Lara medical pavilion where an injured Debra Roberts awaited their medical attention.
While Oren considered an explanation of the shooting event, Kit was busy readying her medical kit. Then she examined Debra and happily informed everyone present that Jon's soulmate would be fine. The bullet had missed the bone and any essential blood vessels while passing through the fleshy portion of the young woman's hip area.
When Kitra had immobilized her patient she stopped Debra's bleeding and patched up her leg.
When Debra was resting comfortably, Oren brought the genome converter to the treatment room.
Then both Debra and Lynn were hooked up to the genome conversion equipment, and chromosome nineteen and twenty-one of both women were modified, providing Debra and Lynn the unique super abilities of their future soulmates, Jon and Sam, and more important for the present, impenetrability.
Kitra thought, as she was disconnecting Debra and Lynn from the genome transformation equipment that two additional super beings had just been created increasing the promise of a better tomorrow.
When everything within the Helios medical facility had been completed, the group moved to Oren's lodging and settled in the den.
There, Oren and Kit acquainted the Kent children and their new soulmates about the saga of Helios.
Before the Kents left the subterranean hamlet later that evening, Oren asked that Sam, Jon, and their future brides keep the information about the hidden Helios community confidential — even from their sisters.
While Oren was working at the Daily Planet, Jeremy Seth Gellmann, on the verge of puberty, made a sojourn to see his uncle. During his visit, Jeremy sensed an auric attraction emanating from somewhere within the bullpen arena. It happened that Jeremy's visit occurred on the same day that Lois and Clark were entertaining their identical twin daughters. Both Jeremy and the Kent girls were rapidly approaching adolescence at this auspicious time. Lois and Clark's daughters were the youngest of the Lane- Kent brood — Kara Debra Lane-Kent and Rebecca Estee Lane-Kent. While Kara liked to use her first name, Rebecca preferred the appellation of Beck as her pet cognomen.
Since Jeremy and the Kent twins were nine or ten years of age when their auras weakly interacted, and, therefore, only approaching sexual maturity, the potential soulmates could not definitely locate each other.
Although the full manifestations of their soulmate processes were yet unnoticeable, the hormones, which would soon drive their bodily changes, were already racing through their corporeal blood systems. It was the presence of these special hormonal substances which eventually would produce the auoric field and the come hither message, which would encircle each maturing super child.
After analyzing the situation and considering the people who visited the bullpen that day for a period of time, Jeremy, several weeks later, found himself at the front door of the Kent residence. As he stood there, he was immediately challenged by an older boy named Damond Bainbridge, who Jeremy later discovered resided in a house near the Kent's abode. Unbeknownst to Oren, at the time, the Bainbridge boy was being paid for interfering with Jeremy's attempt to meet with Kara or Beck. Intimidated by Damond's presence, Jeremy's sojourn to the Kent's home to uncover the meaning of the strange feelings he'd experienced weeks earlier was now at an end.
Although Damond rudely attempted to bully Jeremy and failed, still Jeremy made no further attempt to see either of Lois and Clark's two youngest daughters. He assumed, incorrectly, that Kara or Rebecca and this Damond character had, in some way, had an attachment for one another. An attachment that, in Jeremy's mind at least, might lead to a life partnership between the Bainbridge boy and one of the two sisters.
When Oren left the haunts of Metropolis on New Terra, he and his family remained in relative seclusion for the next fifteen years or so years. During this isolation period, Lois, Clark, and Marc Thompson would often visit Helios and the Terra-Kryptonian people who resided within this subterranean hamlet.
During this period, Dani continued to work with her friend and colleague Marc Thompson, except, of course, during her maternity furloughs.
Then after nearly two decades of research work and nurturing his children and the other kids in Helios through their educational period and acting in general as family mentor, Oren became aware that the sinister under the sea project, directed by Lyle Langdon, had been completed. Almost immediately, Oren dispatched Jeremy with a packet containing sensitive data concerning Langdon's super revenge project to Lois and Clark. This was the second time in his life that Jeremy was to visit Lois and Clark's suburban Metropolis home.
While Langdon's water weapon was aimed at Metropolis, it would also do considerable damage to the New York docks as well.
Jeremy — aka Jer-El — was asked to take on the task of tracking Langdon's lethal weapon and, when the time came, he would be the one to assault Lyle's weapon system and prevent it from wrecking havoc within the Metropolis — New York basin like depression. He was chosen for this assignment because of all the Gellmann family members residing on New Terra, he was the only one who had not acquired a soulmate. Also, at the present time, his siblings and cousins were deeply involved in nurturing their children. Jer-EL, unfortunately, was still a bachelor, and by Federation law was childless and considered expendable in the scheme of things. Arriving at the Kent's Metropolis home in the late afternoon, Jeremy announced his presence by a knock on the front door of the dwelling.
A few moments later, the door opened wide and before him stood Damond Bainbridge with an infant of about three months squirming in his arms.
Smiling, Damond mumbled to himself, "I see my wife Sandra has engaged an adult as a baby sitter, and a male at that, for our infant daughter, Amanda. That was a clever move on her part. This baby sitter with provide my little girl with the security she needs," he added.
While Jeremy stood within the entranceway, Damond quickly handed his infant to Jeremy and then readied himself to leave. Amanda, as she settled into Jeremy's arms, ceased her squirming, looked into the stranger's eyes , wrapped her arms about the Terra- Kryptonian's neck, and placed her head on Jeremy's shoulder.
After Damond noticed that his daughter was settling down, he put on his coat and was about to depart the Kent residence, saying, "I must meet my wife, Sandra, post haste. See Ya."
As Damond was darting for the door, Jeremy asked, "I thought Kara or Rebecca would be your wife."
"No," Damond replied. "They're just very good friends. Sandra and I are just using the Kent home today for you to baby-sit our infant daughter. My Mom is having some sort of shindig at her home this afternoon and had no room for any baby-sitting activities. You see, Sandra and I are currently living with my parents until we've saved sufficient funds to purchase our own home."
Waving a final goodbye, Damond said, "We'll continue our conversation when my wife and I return from our early dinner and a movie."
After watching Damond get into his car and drive off, Jeremy turned and scanned the room that contained the infant and noted that all the necessities for her care were carefully and neatly arranged on the dining table.
A few minutes after Damond left the house, Jeremy heard the squeal of a distressed infant. He immediately changed Amanda's diaper, producing a happier baby — Jeremy happened to be an exceptional sitter because of his extensive experience with young kids throughout the hamlet of Helios.
As he was giving Amanda her bottle somewhat later, Kara came home bounding through the door. Astonished at the presence of an apparent stranger tending Damond's child, she asked in a rather sharp tone, "Who are you and just why are you here?"
Pausing for a few moments, Jeremy furnished to the rather irate Kara Lane-Kent the details of how this situation evolved. Damond was in such a hurry to leave that he never gave me the opportunity to explain my purpose at your home. Jeremy then added, "I'm really here to see Lois and Clark Kent."
As Jeremy again changed Amanda's diaper, Kara, ignoring the Terra- Kryptonian's efforts to alleviate the baby's discomfort, demanded to know what was Jeremy's real intent with her parents.
"Boy, is she a suspicious person," Jeremy thought to himself.
Jeremy then put Kara off as he prepared another of Amanda's bottles for another feeding.
While he was alternately feeding and burping Amanda, he informed Kara that he carried a message for Clark Kent or Lois Lane-Kent, which was most important, and he could not hand over the dispatch that he carried to any other individual. His reply inflamed her sensibility. Kara never did like to be outside the loop.
Kara, like her mother during her hell-for-leather youth, did not accept tales she heard from relative strangers. So, believing her own personal agenda she asked Jeremy, still attending Amanda, to leave her home. Then Kara added, "There are no journalistic positions at the Planet, at present. Waiting for my parents will be a total waste of your time."
Smiling, Jeremy remarked, "If you don't mind, I'll wait just the same." Kara, without another word, picked up the phone and dialed Henderson's office. When Jeremy heard the words police headquarters, he immediately handed Amanda to Kara and vacated the premises. Jeremy, like the other Terra-Kryptonians from his hamlet, could not afford to be questioned by the authorities.
When Lois and Clark returned home later in the day, Kara informed them about her encounter with a person named Jeremy. After Kara finished her story, Lois had a bad feeling about her daughter's encounter with that Jeremy person. She informed her husband, telepathically, of course, that she believed that Kara's rather foolish behavior toward the unknown caller and her rather hasty decision to summon the police was poor judgment on her part. Furthermore, valuable information might have been lost to them. Since there was apparently no hostile intent, she should have allowed him to wait. What was the harm? Furthermore Lois thought, Kara had ignored the fact that this Jeremy fellow was caring for Amanda, and as far as she could tell, he was doing a darn good job of it. That alone should have told Kara a great deal about the young man's character and the veracity of his intent, and the veracity of verbal utterances.
While Lois and Clark were being informed about Kara's unusual happenings during their absence, Jeremy was also informing his father, Oren, about his Metropolis exploits — especially the one at the Kent home.
Smiling, Oren said, "Take it easy, Jer-El. I'll deal with this matter tomorrow evening."
True to his avowal, twenty-four hours later, Oren was knocking at the front door of the Kent residence. Fortunately, Lois and Clark were at home that evening with two of their children, Laura and Kara. Kara's twin, Beck, had gone to a movie, while the two boys, having married, were with their soulmates in their own homes.
Using his x-ray vision, Clark recognized the visitor standing at his front door. He arose from the table and rapidly proceeded to the entrance of his dwelling. When Clark opened the doorway, the two men immediately smiled and then energetically embraced one another.
Clark then escorted Oren, who still hobbled a bit from his injuries, to the dining room where CK helped seat Oren at the table. As Clark was making his visitor comfortable, Lois prepared a plate of beef stew for their guest and very good friend. Tasting the food, Oren said, "My dear Mrs. Kent, your culinary abilities have markedly improved." Lois just smiled. She loved compliments.
As Oren broke bread with the Kents, Clark remarked, "Your visit, although very welcome, is somewhat of a surprise, amigo." Before Oren could respond to Clark, Lois introduced Oren to Kara and hopefully indirectly reintroducing Laura to her Helios kinsmen and possible soulmate.
Laura smiled and said, "I was in the Planet's bullpen when you and your people apprehended Cash's Bureau Thirty-nine brigands." Since she was present during the Bureau Thirty-nine escapade, Laura was aware that Trask had been killed and the Bureau's commander and his surviving followers had been taken captive and transported to a place of confinement. After a slight pause, Laura asked, "Are any of those Bureaus Thirty-nine militants still alive?"
"As far as I know," Oren replied, "all the survivors are alive. However, after they were tried and found guilty, the Bureau Thirty-nine captives were placed in a large prison vessel which is now circling a star called Alpha Centuri, a planetary system about four and a third years from New Terra. They've been incarcerated for life. Don't fret, medical droids have been provided to the prison vessel to maintain the health of the Bureau Thirty-nine inmates. A one way communication system also has been placed within the prison vessel which allows the captives to view the doings on this Planet."
Then without warning, Laura lashed out at Oren saying, "You call what you've done justice?"
Oren just shook his head and sort of mumbled to himself, "The voice of chaos rears its head — a head filled with cotton, hay, and rags — he was heard to say. She still hasn't learned to think or ask questions before verbally assaulting people. Now her aggressiveness seems to be focused on moi."
After Oren made his few polite comments attempting to tone down Laura's heated rhetoric, Lois said, "Laura, your comments were uncalled for. You owe Oren an apology."
"I appreciate what you're attempting to do, Lois, my friend, but Laura," Oren said, "with her sharp tongue long ago rendered any soulmate linkage forming between us inoperative. She's no Lara.
"You know, Lois," Oren added, "as Laura has aged, her physical resemblance to my late wife has become uncanny — they are now nearly identical, excluding hair and eye color, of course."
Oren, ignoring Laura for the present, turned to Lois and CK and commented, "Read the material in the packet I've given you. It's the same info I initially sent to you yesterday. The courier in that failed endeavor was my son, Jeremy. You'll note in the info packet that Luthor's descendents have nearly completed their undersea project — the man made canyons just off the African coast. My family and I will do what is needed to block Lyle's destructive designs, and once that is accomplished, we'll rid New Terra of the last descendents from the House of Luthor. Not only are they planning to destroy Metropolis and New York, but in the last fifteen years, LL Industries has become a haven for many New Terrans bent on vengeance and creating havoc throughout the world. I'll present you with a full set of particulars and our counter measures within the month. Let's hope that Lyle and Nigel and their devilish works can be expunged before Metropolis and New York experience wide spread devastation."
Oren then rose and said his adieus. As he limped toward the middle of the room, Lois said, "May the creator grant you health, peace, and prosperity Oren Kal-El, born out of the house of El and into the house the El." He smiled and then nodded as he activated the spatial doorway leading to Helios and home. As he began to move through the portal, he turned and said to Clark, "Always cherish your soulmate, my brother. Let nothing ever separate the harmony and love between you and your lady."
As Oren stood in the passageway beyond the portal, the Kents viewed Ari and Dani approaching with their two youngest children. After reaching her father-in-law, Dani placed her daughter Debra, who was struggling hard to reach her grandfather, into Oren's arms. As the Kents watched, they saw the youngster immediately place her arms around her grandfather's neck and then lay her head on his shoulder. As the portal began closing Debra was heard giggling happily.
The Kents' final view was that of Oren holding his laughing granddaughter and saying to Lois and Clark, "Unless Laura and Kara learn the meaning of understanding and controlling their acid temperament, they'll spend the next millennium trekking the roads of life alone. If this scenario is fulfilled, the grandchildren you desire from your girls, my friends, will simply become a figment of your imagination."
Kara and Laura also observing the gathering in the passageway turned somewhat pale after Oren's proclamation. They observed as Jeremy joined Ari and Dani and took their other child in his arms and began nuzzling her face just as the door to Helios vanished.
After Laura, Kara, and their parents were again alone, Clark asked that they adjourn to the den area. It was more comfortable in that room.
Once they were all located within the den area, Clark began to relate several philosophical tales and then suddenly stopped speaking. Lois, because she and her husband were telepathic, was quite aware of what her soulmate wanted to convey to their daughters, but since he didn't want to hurt their feelings, Clark just shook his head and ceased making any more comments.
Lois, placing her hand on her husband's arm, said, "I understand how you feel, Clark, but it's time to confront Laura and Kara about certain issues and their shameful behavior."
Then facing her daughters, Lois said, "One of the stories that your father was loath to tell involved Laura and Oren during the time they were working together as so called partners at the Planet. I say so called…because Laura's behavior toward Oren was atrocious — inappropriate and shameful."
As Clark listened to his wife, he heard her inform Laura how despicably she treated Oren Kal-El during the time he spent at the newspaper. The vulgarity of Laura's behavior toward Oren she informed her daughter was based upon slanderous tales she heard from Nigel Nash, the Planet's floor manager at the time. Lois informed Laura that Nigel subtly corrupted Oren's character in her eyes through the countless fabricated stories she heard about Oren's life style. These slandering narratives all came from the same source and were concocted by Lyle Langdon, her supposedly close friend or maybe boyfriend during this period.
To defend herself, Laura said, "Several times when Oren attempted to ask me out to dinner, I recalled that Nash had advised me of Oren's young children, who occasionally visited their father at the Planet. When I inquired, Oren never denied that they were his offspring. I believe strongly in fidelity between a married couple, Mother. I would never consider a relationship with a married man."
Lois then asked Laura, "Did you happen to notice that Oren was physically impaired during the time you and he worked together?"
"I believe so," Laura replied.
Lois then arose from the couch and phoned Marc Thompson and asked him to please come over.
Several seconds later, a shimmering aura appeared in the Kent's den area, after which a portal appeared. Marc Thompson emerged from the shimmering entranceway several seconds later.
Entering the den, Marc first saw Kara and Laura, and turned around and began to reenter the portal to escape what he believed was an error in spatial navigation. It was then that he heard Clark's booming voice, which halted his departure.
Turning again, he saw Lois pointing toward a chair. Sitting down, Marc waited for Lois or her husband to explain the reason for his summons and the presence of their daughters.
When Lois saw that Marc was comfortable, she explained the reason for his summons and then asked him to explain to Kara and Laura what occurred during the space engagement off Deneb between the Federation, a few New Terrans like himself, and their Hellhound antagonists.
"Space engagement?" both girls shouted when they heard Lois' utterances.
Lois said, "Be quiet and listen."
Taking a deep breath, Marc Thompson then described, in detail, the military engagement between the Hellhounds and the Federation. As he talked he began to illuminate the horrific clash between the humans and the Hellhound horde.
While the nightmarish space melee narrative between the humanoid and canine life forms became more gruesome, tears from both Laura's and Kara's eyes began cascading down their faces.
As he narrated the story of the two species conflict, Marc also illustrated the events that occurred as the battle was joined. He showed the Lane-Kent sisters and the senior Kents a special video rendition of the crucial battle sequences. These pitched battle illustrations highlighted the horrible moments as the opposing species — humankind versus hellhound life forms — clashed and fought to the death giving nor receiving quarter. After the Kent family had viewed the horrors related to the battle between the stars, which had preserved their world's existence, an unusual quiet spread throughout the Kent household. Laura and Kara quietly contemplating the events Marc Thompson had so eloquently described now understood Oren's crippled leg and how the battle had decimated Lara, his wife, and his brother with his soulmate Sally. In this war of annihilation, Soulmates were destroyed to ensure that the people on New Terra would live on. An offering of life had been given to their world by the blood shed during the macabre military engagement in which opposing life forms fought to the death. As they continued to view the video, the Kents fully realized that life was sacrificed and many lives were cut short, freely given so that New Terra could continue to exist. And, as the Kent family listened to Marc's narrative they became aware that nothing was ever expected by the battle's victors from the people of New Terra. In return for what the Terra-Kryptonians accomplished that day, many perished so that the people of New Terra would continue to endure.
As the emotionally charged atmosphere at the Kent home began returning to normal, a monitor unexpectedly appeared on the far wall of the den. Soon after the communication instrument appeared, the image of Lady Zara filled the screen. When contact had been fully established, she asked Marc where her great grandson, Oren, could be found. Marc replied, "My lady, you've just missed him." After mometary pause, Marc added, "Zara, I believe that Oren and his son, Jeremy, have returned to Helios. They usually can be located there when nothing important is pending. You know Oren, being a widower, and Jeremy, a bachelor, more often than not take their meals and move about together much of the time. In that way they're able to avoid being an annoying presence to other soulmate pairs living in the Helios community."
"And you, Marc," Zara asked. "Is there anybody in your life to share your passage through this realm we call life?"
A sad smile crossed Marc's face as he sadly shook his head indicating a negative reply to Zara's query. Then bowing his head, Marc continued, "In Washington, my home turf, most of the females are young and on the prowl for husband material. If they don't locate a suitable mate within a specified number of years, they usually move on or return to their hometown. The time of a woman's stay in the capital city varies with each young lady's matrimonial strategy."
Pausing for a few moments, Marc continued, "What young girl would consider an ancient codger like myself as husband material? Since I do not possess any wealth according to the standards of our society, most view me as too elderly and poor to be a first-class mating item. I fear that the remainder of my existence on New Terra will be rather lonely, except for my occasional interactions with friends among the Terra-Kryptonian people.
"When my wife Sarah and I first came to Washington we fell in love rather quickly and were quite content with our lives. Several years after our nuptials, Sarah was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver. Except for my position with the SFETP, my world ended at the moment of her demise. Now I just work and await the coming of the grim reaper.
"There's one consolation of being a New Terran," Marc said to Zara. "My life expectancy is about a century in length, not the thousand years Oren and his son will have to endure without a life partner.
"A thousand years of essentially a solitary existence." Marc sighed and then remarked, "I'd blow my brains out if that were my future."
After a pause in the conversation, Zara said, "Marc, I'm sure that Oren and his boy have made a few plans after the Federation has concluded its exodus and is safely housed within the New Terran universe."
"I hope so," Marc replied.
Marc then commented, "Oren did mentioned something to me a while back. Something in passing. Oh yes, He seems bent on touring this dimension."
Scratching his head, Marc then remarked, "Now I remember. After the Federation has been settled in that star cluster he discovered some years back, the one about twenty thousand light years from here, he and Jeremy plan to tour the New Terran universe until they pass from this plane of existence. Their ship will be programmed to return their remains to its point of origin so their bodies can be interred in the El mausoleum — with the other members of their family.
"'In death my soul will finally find peace,' your great-great grandson once said," Marc informed Zara.
"Well," Zara said, "Oren, Jeremy, and I shall have a little face to face chat about this plan of his in the next few days."
"A few days!" Marc nearly yelled, with surprise very much evident on his face.
"Yes," Zara replied. "With the El super computers working at full capacity, we've worked out the relationships for dimension hopping earlier than expected. Even as we speak, the Federation is crossing from our dimension to the New Terra universe. All our facilities are now entering our new dimension near the Ort field at the edge of the New Terra planetary system.
"And Marc, when my family obtains a sample of your DNA, we'll attempt to locate a life partner for you. We've known of your situation since Dani filled us in some years ago. Of course, we could do nothing until the Federation had crossed into its new island universe."
Smiling, Zara said, "I'll see you too in a few days when we rendezvous with Oren and Jeremy. Till then my friend, live well and prosper."
After lady Zara's said her goodbyes, the inter-dimension monitoring screen flickered and disappeared.
When the communication linkage between Lady Zara and Marc Thompson had been severed, he leaned back in his chair and just relaxed. As he was contemplating the future, he said to Lois and Clark in a joyous tone, "We've succeeded. The Federation will survive."
Turning toward the girls, Laura and Kara, Marc said, "I don't known what the future holds for you. To be honest, right now it appears rather bleak. At least you'll have one another through your sojourn on New Terra as you travel the highways and byways of life.
"Since you have already developed your full super abilities, you can aid your parents in sustaining justice throughout this world. How you both will endure the loneliness in your lives is a situation I thankfully will not be here to observe. For both your sakes, I pray you can find someone with whom can form some sort of life relationship. If you can, then you could find a measure of contentment during your existence on this world Terra. You might even bear some children."
"What about love for Laura and myself if such a situation should develop?" Kara queried Marc.
"I don't think it would be the kind of love your parents have shared all these years," Marc replied to the Kent girls.
Then Marc sadly shook his head and added, "Love is out of the question, my dears. I'm afraid you both discarded that spiritual commodity when you cast off your soulmates. As I implied, you should now attempt to find someone with whom you possess some compatibility and could form some sort of functioning relationship."
"Who were our soulmates, Marc?" Kara asked.
After Kara's question was posed, Marc began to pace about the den as he pondered whether he should reveal that information to one of Lois and Clark's youngest daughters. He was fairly certain that Laura already knew or strongly suspected that Oren was her lost life partner.
Looking at Kara, Marc finally remarked, "Jeremy Gellmann should have been your life partner, your soulmate, my dear. He, like you, was born on New Terra, while his parents were originally from the Federation's universe. Oren's brother was also a Federation citizen, and Sally, Josh's soulmate, like you, born on this planet.
"By the way, don't worry about the last of the Luthors, Langdon and Nash. They'll disappear soon after it's demonstrated they're the culprits who attempted to wreck the harbor installations of New York and Metropolis by creating two great waves -Tsunamis — to decimate these great cities. Langdon and Nash have been planning these man made disasters for nearly fifteen years. During this period, Oren and Jeremy have been closely monitoring their activities and have devised several counter strokes that will negate their destructive schemes.
"After the Luthor family's attempted ruinous attack on Metropolis and New York has been negated, both Lyle and his cousin Nigel Nash will be apprehended by the people of Helios.
"Soon after Nigel and Lyle have been apprehended, these scoundrels will be placed on trial and judged by their peers as to their innocence or guilt. If found guilty, Lyle and Nigel will quietly vanish from the world of New Terra for the remainder of their lives. Also, the instrument of their evil, LL Industries, will become insolvent and financially collapse within a year. I am also optimistic that within a short period after Lyle and Nigel have been removed from the scene of human activity, I expect peace initiatives to arise and intensify between nations. With some sub Rosa help from the Helios population, these negotiations should lead to a relatively peaceful planet of nations. New Terra's governments, it is hoped, will eventually begin to inaugurate actions that would breed harmony among the planet's various societies and begin dealing with the critical needs of the New Terra's inhabitants.
"In time, I foresee a unified world. A world that could eventually unite with the Federation.
"Lois, your girls, Kara, Rebecca, and Laura are horses of a different color.
"When you take Rebecca to visit Helios, she'll discover her soulmate. He's Oren's great nephew Jori, the son of Josh and Sally. Her future appears to be very bright indeed.
"However, Kara and Laura must work out their own problems, issues partially due to their gullibility, but I must say largely caused by the actions of Langdon and Nash. These two Luthorian descendents were largely the reason for Laura's, Kara's, and to a much lesser extent, Rebecca's lack of social graces. Rebecca, I'm happy to say, overcame Lyle's attempt to negatively influence her as she matured.
"Kara, your indifference and crass behavior to others began when Jeremy, as a boy of about ten, felt the presence of your pheromone aura when he sensed the come hither message in the Planet's bullpen. Although the three of you were at the Planet simultaneously, you unfortunately never encountered one another.
"Discovering several days later that Lois and Clark's twin daughters were in the Planet building at the same time he felt the auric pheromone, Jeremy decided to follow up his investigation and visit the Kent home.
"Upon arriving at the Kent abode on the following day, Jeremy ran into the neighborhood bully, Damon Bainbridge. Damon was being recompensed by Lyle to restrain anyone, except the Kent's neighbors or family members, of course, from seeing or dating either Kara or Rebecca. Damon was told by Lyle that he had social interests in the girls, which also bordered on romantic attritions, and wanted to keep his competition to a minimum or even non existent. So following his job description, Damon chased Jeremy away before he could reach and converse with the Kent girls.
"What Damon Bainbridge didn't know, of course, was that Lyle Langdon's plan was using the Bainbridge boy as a sort of guard dog to keep Lois' daughters relatively isolated. Lyle believed that a lack of social skills would stunt the girls' development in opposite gender relationships, and as Lois and Clark's girls matured, their ineptitude within the dating arena would impair their ability to locate marriageable life partners.
"Laura was of no immediate concern to him. He firmly believed that she was firmly under his control, and he would see to it that she never married and produced offspring.
"Lyle's relatively elaborate plan was initially brought about by a taped message he found from Lex Luthor telling Lyle that Ultrawoman and Superman were Lois Lane and Clark Kent. To avenge Lex's untimely demise, he created a plan that would cause the super family to become extinct. Because his scheme failed with the Kent's boys, he could really only say become partially extinct. Since his tactics when dealing with Lois and Clark's boys had failed, Lyle scaled down the scope of his vengeance project and decided to concentrate on the Kent's girls. He hoped to wreck Kara's and Rebecca's ability to date properly. This tactic just might pay off for him. If he ruined the girls' ability to meet potential mates or court successfully, marriage opportunities would be lost to them, denying Lois and Clark grandchildren from their distaff offspring. If his strategies were successful with the girls, then his extinction game plan, now specifically aimed at Kara and Rebecca, would partially compensate him for his unsuccessful designs aimed at the Lane-Kent boys. It was unfortunate, but the Kent boys had grown to manhood, married, and had sired children.
"Of course, Lyle's beliefs were all hogwash. They were based upon pure bunk. The nonsense spewed forth by a very superstitious nanny and accepted by Lyle as he grew to manhood.
"However, as faultily as Lyle's plans were, his distorted antics did cause Kara and Rebecca some annoyance, and at times more aggravation than they deserved. The Kent girls did have some rather dismal evenings — with just one another for company."
Soon after Marc's visit, Lyle and Nigel exploded huge quantities of TNT in both of LL industries man made canyons within the South Atlantic. The ensuing landslides launched two Tsunamis headed for Metropolis and New York.
When the waves struck the large cities, they would decimate mainly the downtown areas and the docking facilities.
However, the monitoring stations in Helios were on alert and sensed the explosive event nearly as soon as it occurred. Jeremy too was alerted, and he immediately flew to a site off the East coast of the U.S., which had been prepared years earlier.
From the special location off the U.S. coast, he could monitor the on coming Tsunamis and readied his equipment to alter the courses of these waves with a special pulse device, which had been developed at Helios.
When the Tsunamis were altered, at the proper computed location, they would slam into a desolated area of U.S. coastline between Metropolis and Boston.
On this remote coastline region, LL Industries had secretly constructed docks and supporting facilities, which could manage all kinds of transatlantic ships and their cargos.
If the Tsunamis were permitted to make landfall, it would take Metropolis and New York more than a century to recover from this disastrous disaster incident.
Meanwhile, LL Industries, headed by Lyle Langdon, would become the shipping center of the U.S. East Coast. The vast amount of monies acquired from the LL Industries venture would make Lyle Langdon, like Lex Luthor before him, one of the main if not the preeminent financial power in the world. With Lyle's strange notions and corrupt tendencies such a happening would not bode well for New Terra.
Therefore, it was decided early on by the people of Helios to thwart Lyle Langdon's plans.
So, Jeremy was given the authority to derail LL Industries' grand scheme.
While Jeremy waited for the Tsunamis to reach a specific location in the Atlantic, the people of Helios were busy evacuating the LL Industries port city, ironically named Luthor, of its inhabitants.
When the Tsunamis were deflected and had decimated port Luthor, Lyle and Nigel were quickly apprehended by the Helios security forces and brought into Helios for trial in the subterranean hamlet.
Within the week of being convicted of crimes too numerous to mention, Nigel Nash and his cousin Lyle Langdon were placed aboard the convict vessel and sent to the Centauri star system.
While the Tsunamis affair on New Terra was winding down, Oren had already joined his Federation comrades and was leading them toward a star cluster twenty thousand light years from his current home planet.
Once the Federation of souls had been established within the stable collection of solar furnaces called the Federation cluster, Oren's family at Helios connected the subterranean village of Helios to the Federation's teleportation network and then returned to New Terra by way of the Federation's new transit system.
The trip home to Helios, Oren estimated, required less than ten nanoseconds. From Oren's experience, it seemed that the time required to teleport from one location to another was independent of the distance between the two locations, as measured in the normal space.
Later that day, as he again walked through the rose garden Lara had planted near his Helios home, Oren started to cogitate about the teleportation time constant. This phenomenon, he now realized, required study, and Oren decided that understanding the teleportation process would be his first project post Langdon and Nash, when his new labs on Terra and in the Federation star cluster were completed.
While Oren had been on his birth world as it proceeded toward the star cluster, Lady Zara Lo-El had helped him acquire a research- teaching position at Terra's renowned Metropolis University.
Being within the heart of the Federation every day would also allow Oren to locate, challenge, and hopefully kill Aric from the clan of Zer. He was a member of the Federation council whom so vociferously attempted to keep himself, Josh, and Lara imprisoned on New Terra, apparently for some reason known to himself. To be honest, he couldn't even rationalize what motivated the man. Hell, he didn't even know this individual.
For the moment, however, Oren had an obligation to fulfill. Tomorrow he would help transport his family's mausoleum to the El estates on Terra and have it placed in the area presented to him and his line for all eternity. When that undertaking had been discharged, he could freely hunt Aric.
Several days later, Oren's sister Debra and her family visited Helios. The festive celebration at Oren's habitat that evening was one for the book. Nephews, nieces, and cousins all met face to face for the first time and the joy and festivities surrounding this family confluence lingered until the dawn.
While the celebration of the El family continued through the night, Oren and Debra walked in the rose garden started by Oren's soulmates Lara. Upon seeing the magnificent floral arrangement, Oren's twin wept buckets at the sorrow she felt for her brother's loss of Lara, Josh's demise, and the death of her sister-in-law Sally, whom she never knew. She wept too for the grandchildren who would never know the joy of grandparents.
On the following day, Debra and her family returned home to Terra. However, Debra's visit to Helios left Oren with a warm feeling within his soul. A fervent feeling of belonging that wasn't there since Lara passed beyond this plane of existence.
Looking at the sky that morning from Lara's rose garden, Oren's mind began focusing on more pressing concerns.
After picking a rose, the mentor of Helios retrieved the El sword and teleported to Terra.
There he discovered the information he was seeking. Lady Zara Lo- El had provided him with all of the necessary information about one Aric of the Zer, Grand Council representative on the Federation Council.
After studying Zara's report, Oren was off to Government House to challenge his antagonist to a fight to the death. While a challenge could never be arbitrary, it could be used to correct an injustice if the required evidence could be produced. No one in the Federation was beyond the law, and the right of challenge had been established many millennia in the past and placed in the Federation's constitution. Aric might attempt to use his political muscle to avoid the mortal combat proposed by his challenge, but the evidence possessed by the mentor of Helios was too powerful to avoid, as was Oren's own political allies. Oren's supporters were much too strong politically to allow Aric to avoid the El's challenge.
Arriving at the Federation's Government headquarters, Oren quickly located Aric's whereabouts. He was attending a sub council's meeting in a small meeting chamber. Arriving at the meeting room, Oren burst into the conference chamber housing his quarry.
Once inside the small council chamber, Oren limped towards the center of the room where, in a bellicose voice, he issued the El combative challenge to Aric. Then Oren presented his credentials to the director of the council session including evidence to the presiding sun council chairperson allowing Oren's challenge to be heard.
As the evidence was perused by the government officials present, Aric argued that such barbaric proceedings had not been in vogue for centuries.
"If I'm legally forced to face you in mortal combat, Oren, your combative challenge will have to wait until I can obtain a surrogate from my clan to stand in my stead."
"That will not be possible," Oren replied. "Under the laws governing a combative challenge, the challenger or the party challenged must himself compete in the duel." The council members present all agreed with Oren's interpretation of the law.
As Oren was readying himself for battle, a middle-aged woman presented herself to the man from Helios. She, he informed Oren's second, was Aric's sister, Tira. She pleaded with Oren not to fight her brother. Tira told Oren that she was quite aware of what Aric had become over the years — he sought only power and glory for himself. Still, Tira, by tradition, was compelled to seek mercy for her sibling.
"Your compassion for one as ignoble as your brother does you credit and speaks well of your house."
While Oren and Tira were conversing, Aric, unknown to the others in the room, stealthily drew his weapon — a sword of his clan — and crept toward his adversary. Coming within striking distance, Aric leaped toward Oren and attempted to impale him. Only Tira's scream saved the mentor of Helios from severe injury or death.
Quickly stepping aside, Oren drew his own sword and in three strokes had slain "Aric the Impaler" as history later named him.
As was customary, in a Combative Challenge, the victor was to sever the head of his opponent and place the head on a pike next to the victim's body.
Returning the El sword to its sheath, he returned it to Lady Zara Lo-El. As Oren moved toward the exit of the council chamber, Zara raised the sheath sword to her forehead and quietly uttered the words "Justice was served and honor preserved."
Just before Oren left the council chamber, Zara asked, "Oren, where are you headed?"
"To the hospital, great-great grandmama. I have a date with the surgeon to fix this bum leg of mine. After the surgery has been complete, I'll reside in the healing center, which you know is adjacent to the hospital until my body has mended. My physician informed me that my post op recovery time would be approximately two months — time to allow my surgical wounds to heal," Oren replied. "Visit me if you can. I know that your schedule is incredibly busy, great-great grandma Zara, but do try to come around."
*To Be Or Not To Be…*
Nearly a week following Oren's surgery and his transfer to the healing center, Lady Zara was advised that the man from Helios could begin receiving visitors.
Given the go ahead, Zara hastened to Oren's side. As she entered that portion of the healing center that housed her great-great grandson, she saw that he was walking with the assistance of a nurse droid.
Joining Oren as he struggled to perambulate, Zara was asked to provide him with several specific books and other scientific materials, some of which were stored on New Terra. He suggested to his great-great grandmother that Jeremy bring the off world equipment he required to his hospital recovery unit. Lady Zara agreed with Oren's suggestion. It would allow her to extent her visit to New Terra, where she had some important errands to perform.
So, after a week of visiting with Oren, once each day, Zara decided to journey to Helios on New Terra. She was satisfied that her great-great grandson was in very capable hands and healing nicely.
Content with Oren's care, she informed her great-great grandchild she had to attend to some business and would be gone for several weeks.
When Zara reached New Terra later that afternoon, Jeremy, her companion, informed her that Oren was responding well to the ministrations of the therapy droid.
As both Jeremy and Lady Zara awaited their turn on the transporter, Zara thought that once she shipped Oren's requested materials from Helios to Terra, she would have an opportunity to visit with her New Terra Kin. Not only would she become acquainted with her Helios family, but she'd also visit with the New Terra Kents living in Metropolis.
So, when Lady Zara arrived at Helios and acquired Oren's materials, she asked Jeremy to see her. After a conversation with Oren's son, Zara gave him the items that Oren requested, and he returned to Terra in the Federation cluster on the following day.
Before Jeremy left for the Federation star cluster, it was decided that he would stay with his Lane-Kent kin on the El estate and use Oren's home as his abode.
Traveling between Helios and the Federation was no problem. The distance between any two locations in the universe could be accomplished nearly instantaneously by using the Federation's transportation system.
Zara then informed Oren that he would not be lonely for long. Jeremy was returning to Terra with the materials he'd requested. By tomorrow Jeremy would be with his father.
Before leaving Terra, Zara informed Kit of her coming. When she arrived in Helios, Oren's daughter met her in the village square.
The evening Zara arrived there was a gathering at the grand hall were a magnificent feast was served in honor of the grand lady from Terra. As the festivities progressed, Zara observed Oren and Lara's children, and the offspring of Josh and Sally. All tan alpha primes, on the Federation's intelligent scale — which indicated they were above genius intelligent level.
While she watched the interplay of the Helios community, she noticed and could feel the zest for life that permeated through the population. The four progenitors had forged a magnificent community of Terra-Kryptonians.
On the following day, Jeremy was off to Terra and Zara, after resting a bit, had a long talk with Kit as they walked about the village.
A week later, after seeing her Helios kin, Zara was on her way to visit with New Terra's Kent Clan.
As she traveled, with Kit as her guide, Zara told her great-great- great granddaughter about her plan to maintain the various physical and intellectual strengths that had been developed by the residents at Helios. When the Helios community had matured in time, the full extent of Helios' potential contribution to the Federation could be revealed. At present, the glitz of the Federation worlds would very likely corrupt and therefore could injure or destroy the blossoming unique culture within the subterranean hamlet.
Continuing their discussion, as Kit and Lady Zara Lo-El soared towards Metropolis, Zara commented, "The adults of Helios must develop a plan by which the young can visit the Federation worlds and observe what they see, without a jaundice eye and hear what's about them with a clear head. Corruption must not find its way into the Helios community. As I see it, Helios is a unique society and must not be disappear."
The two super beings reached the outskirts of Metropolis after nightfall and descended in a nearly desolate park not far from the Kent residence.
Zara thanked Kit for traveling a longer path than usual so she could observe the manner in which some of the New Terra people lived on this world.
At moonset, Zara and Kit arrived at their destination, and a few minutes later they were knocking upon the front door of the Kent home.
A few moments later a young woman, Laura Kent, opened the door and inquired what they wished. Kit said, "This woman is my great- great-great grandmama and I'm Kitara Gellmann. We wish to see Lois or Clark Kent, preferably both if you don't mind."
Without inviting them into the foyer of the house, she turned and went in search of her parents.
As Laura walked away from the front door, she overheard the older woman informing her companion, "Except for the eye and hair color, she's the spitting image of Lara."
"That's all which seems to be similar," Kit replied. "Her manners are atrocious, as she, unfortunately, just demonstrated, by leaving us standing outside her home and not inviting us into, at least, the vestibule area. You should know that it was a steady string of false statements, which Laura believed to be true without investigating their validity, that castigated my brother and drove him from the Planet and from her life. From that time until now, he has made it a point to avoid places where Laura could be found."
After a pause, Kit added, "Oren once told me the soulmate pull between them was strong and the come hither message was becoming stronger, but this woman is no Lara. I could not allow my children to come into contact with her distorted views of life."
After a slight pause, Kit remarked, "Oren is now living and working within the Federation, which will keep him well away from this Kent offspring. He now only comes to New Terra to visit with his family at Helios. Now that Jeremy is with him, he's also removed his son from Kara's clutches."
Zara said, "Jeremy has just obtained an instructorship in Physics at Metropolis University. Oren and his boy will be teaching at the same school." Then Zara added, "At the university, they'll be able to complete their interstellar exploration vessel. Soon, my boys will be zooming off into intergalactic space between semesters and studying this universe."
The two super women remained silent, until a younger Kent, Kara, came to the door and asked Kit and her great-great grandmother to please come with her.
Laura, because she was so embarrassed after hearing the remarks of the two strangers made it a point to avoid seeing these women again by asking Kara to escort the visitors to meet her parents — while a true statement can hurt an individual if not handled properly, on occasion it can tear a person to emotional shreds.
After taking Zara and Kit to the sitting room where her parents were viewing the evening news, Kara retired.
When Kit and Zara entered the sitting room, CK and his wife recognized Kit, they rose and greeted Kitara and her older companion. Lois then gave Kit a huge hug.
As Clark shut down the Tele, Zara activated a red crystalline device that shielded the sitting room from any kind of sound waves — either leaving or entering a specific chamber.
Zara's soundproofing device was so effective that Laura and Kara with their super hearing were not able to hear what was being discussed within the sitting room.
After Kit had introduced her great-great-great grandmother, the older woman began to speak.
Zara told Lois and Clark that Laura and Oren were soulmates as were Jeremy and Kara.
Lois indicated to Zara that she had an inkling of a relationship between Oren and Laura after her discussion with Lara just prior to the battle with the Hellhounds off Deneb.
Kara and Jeremy, she admitted, was a new wrinkle in the soulmate saga.
Nodding to Lois, Zara said, "Unless something is done to abrogate the current impasse, the Kent girls and my kin with never make a match. While the pheromone attraction chemicals had been activated, neither physically completed the attraction cycle by making contact with one another. Touching or any other kind of contiguity would have brought about the final binding situation between the fated couples.
"While the pheromone part of the soulmate equation is distance oriented, the contact binding, once constituted, is independent of spatial expanse. One can't cloak themselves from its effects.
"So, my friends, since the people of whom we speak have only been affected by the pheromone portion of the soulmate process, and Oren and Jeremy are now on Terra, in the new Federation space — about twenty thousand light years from this world — the pheromone's pull upon them will be negligible or probably nonexistent.
"Since the stresses upon Oren's and Jeremy's persons have been essentially annulled by distance, it is unlikely that either of them will return to this planet and reignite the soulmate pain, except maybe for quick visits to family at Helios.
"Since our male birds have flown the coup, so to speak," Zara said, "the female birdies must follow their quarry to resolve this condition.
"Laura and Kara must travel to Terra, in the Federation star cluster. They can stay with me and my soulmate, in our home, on the El estates."
"Before we talk to the girls," Lois said, "I have something to add to our discussions."
Pausing for a brief period, Lois told all those present about her conversation with Lara just before she died battling the Hellhounds.
She informed Kit and Zara that Lara was aware that her Laura was also Oren's life partner, but with biologically inactive soulmate elements.
"I guess when Lara perished in the battle off Deneb, Laura's soulmate potential toward Oren started functioning."
Lois then added, "Although she now possesses active soulmate prerequisites which should have permitted her to bond with Oren, Laura's personal traits are wanting. Her social and loving attributes were corrupted by Landon and Nash and caused irregularities in the soulmate connection."
Kitara then chimed in saying, "Both Nash and Langdon were apprehended by the people of Helios, tried and convicted, and have been incarcerated within a prison space barge situated in the Centauri star system near the space penitentiary that holds the Bureau Thirty-nine felons."
Zara then added, "Aric, the individual who was most probably the cause of Lara's death and the death of the others in the fight with the Hellhounds, has been slain by Oren in a Combative Challenge. This event took place on Terra in the Federation star cluster some weeks ago."
When the women had grown silent, Clark remarked, "Kara is another problem. She possesses her mother's temperament when Lois was her age. Kara always has to be right and must have the last word. If someone disagrees with her views, my daughter becomes somewhat bellicose, but not in a physical manner, at least not yet."
"Let's hope never," Lois added to her husband's contemplations.
"That explains some of Jeremy's behavior toward Kara," Kit remarked. "Jeremy will go out of his way to avoid any kind of confrontation. While he is not fearful of becoming involved in an affray, physical or verbal, he'll do so only after he's tried to resolve the issue peacefully. Once committed to battle, though, G- d help his opponent."
"So, Clark continued, when a rather boisterous and somewhat threatening female came into play, Jeremy just took off."
"You know, I find this Kara-Jeremy affair very interesting," Zara said. "It will bear some study.
"Think about it," Zara added. "Why would the soulmate process have chosen to bond such an unlikely couple as Kara and Jeremy?"
"Maybe Kara will mellow after Jeremy and she form a union," Clark responded to Zara query.
"Perhaps," Zara replied. "Only time will tell."
"Now, let's talk to the girls," Zara then remarked.
When they all nodded affirmatively, Clark rose, left the sitting room area and began looking for Laura and Kara. About ten minutes later, three Kents returned to the sitting room.
When the introductions had been completed, Zara quickly told Kara and her sister Laura what she, Kit, and their parents had been discussing.
After finishing her rather lengthy discourse, Zara asked Laura and Kara separately, if they wished to overlook the blunders of the past and endeavor to salvage their soulmate unions.
Without hesitation, both Laura and her younger sister, Kara, leaped at the chance of reconciliation. A harmonious and happy life was at stake in their risky venture.
A few days later, Lady Zara Lo-El, accompanied by Lois and Clark and their daughters, Laura and Kara, teleported to the El estates on Terra in the Federation star cluster.
Before they left their home world, Clark saw to it that the Superman and Ultrawoman duties were transferred to Lois and Clark's sons and their wives. They had been schooled for such an emergency and taken to their duties as a duck takes to water.
The evening after, the Kents arrived at the El estates, the Gelmann-Cogan clans threw a soirŽe that was the envy of every great house in the area. The guests of honor were, of course, the Kents from the New World.
For the next few days, Zara took the Kent family on a whirlwind tour of Terra's Metropolis. To say the least, they were amazed at what they beheld.
Zara had to point out several times that this was what New Terra would look like in about twelve thousand years. If New Terra could find the means to affiliate themselves with the Federation, Zara implied that she believed that time factor would be significantly reduced.
The people of Helios and their broad skills could possibly be the key to New Terra's scientific and sociological advancement to a level that would be acceptable to the Federation. Future evaluation of New Terra would indicate whether the New World's state of development warranted a place in the Federation.
About a week after Laura arrived at the El estates, she visited the healing center, which was caring for Oren as he mended from his surgery.
Entering the healing center a nurse droid escorted her to Oren's room. Oren was aware Laura was present soon after she entered the building — the come hither message from her pheromone source was detected by Oren's soulmate network. As the pheromone feeling suddenly burgeoned, Oren turned toward the doorway of his room. Standing there was Laura, his one time partner at the Planet, and more recently his soulmate tormentor.
Immediately, he said to Laura, "Please make no physical contact between us. Such an act would trigger the final phase of our soulmate process." Laura complied with his request.
"Can we sit down somewhere and have a serious conversation?" Oren nodded and beckoned her to follow him. A few minutes later they entered a conference room in a part of the medical facility that was sparsely occupied.
Once inside the secluded conference chamber, and comfortably seated, Oren asked how Laura had discovered his whereabouts.
He was also informed that Lady Zara had engineered this rendezvous.
Oren smiled and said. "Leave it to great-great grandmama. She wants me to reestablish a stable life, and she's well aware that without a soulmate union such a condition can't exist. If you and I fail to form a soulmate union her plan will be shattered and we'll trek the long road of life alone. To tell you the truth, Laura, I'm unhappy about the prospect of a lonely reality for the remainder of my life. Being solitary, where couples are the norm, is a ghastly existence. Such individuals are generally precluded from such societies and eventually become reclusive or disappear from the society."
Sitting across the room from Laura, Oren said, "You know Laura Lane-Kent that you are the spitting image of my deceased wife, except eye and hair color. With the exception of those traits, I believe you and she probably possessed identical genomes. Those genetic factors of yours, however, with that aggressive psychological profile which you might have acquired from your mother, Lois, made you appear to be a disconcerting individual in my frame of reference. After a daily period of your quarrelsome chatter, I simply withdrew from your presence and New Terran society."
"I'm terribly sorry for my behavior. You should know that I was being psychologically influenced by two of Luthor's descendents, not my mother. Because I was seduced by their bad mouthing rhetoric, I treated everyone about me with contempt. You I dealt with more harshly because I felt something between us. Even so, I take full reproducibility for my terrible actions toward you and my colleagues."
At that moment a spasm shot through Oren's leg.
Acting automatically, Laura seized Oren and stopped him from tumbling to the ground.
After Oren, with Laura's help, had regained his equilibrium, Zara's great-great grandson remarked, "It looks like we inadvertently, by happenstance, initiated the final soulmate process."
Smiling, Oren said, "I was going to propose that we consider the soulmate potential within us and give you time to consider its consequences considering your hostile psychological profile. Shaking his head, Oren smiled and added, "Now that suggestion is moot."
After a few moments, Oren said, "I don't think our deliberations would have mattered much. You seemed to be a much changed woman, Laura.
"I only wish we could have formed our union when the kids were young. Nurturing them, even with the aid of Sally's parents, was nearly an impossible task. If we were bound soulmates that process would have been eased. You may think that I'd be using you as a pack animal in a sense, but our soulmate bond would have informed you about the truth of the matter. As it was, I nearly went down on several occasions. My energy reserves were always at a low ebb. To compensate for this drain, I spent many hours in the sun to recharge my energy stores. Still, if it weren't for your folks who, at critical moments, pitched in, I would have gone down for the count. They're great people. Later Marc Thompson and Dani pitched in to help with my nurturing tasks. I believe G-d was on my side at these critical times. I'm very grateful.
"Now that the soulmate bond is being created, you better stay close to me until our bonding is complete or we might become very irritable to others and ourselves during this period."
As Oren became silent and pensive, Laura, said, "Who will help us when our children are born?"
"Aside from your parents," Oren replied, "the people of Helios will help us nurture our kids. Remember, Laura, you are a genetic duplicate of Lara, so there will be natural brothers and sister of our babies to help during the critical nurturing period of our offspring."
Then Oren sat down alongside Laura and said, "Single births in my clan are an unusual event. Usually, two or three issues and occasionally four children are born during one birthing period." After a pause, Oren added, "As we share everything in life, I'll be present when you deliver and syphon off as much of your discomfort as is possible.
"Now, my dear, you better invite the family to visit us here post haste. We have much to tell them."
While Oren and Laura were resolving their soulmate issues, Kara, bent on the same remedy as her sister Laura, was actively seeking Jeremy Gellmann. She finally located him at the spaceship foundry in the basement of the main shop in the scientific laboratory. As she stealthily approached close to Jeremy's location, Kara overheard Jeremy speaking with the workshop master about building an interstellar ship, which could be utilized to explore this new island universe a sector at a time.
Returning to the El estates, Kara learned that Laura had resolved her rift with Oren — their relationship was back on track. Although happy for her sister, Kara still felt somewhat envious.
Kara now was aware that she would have to lure Jeremy to a secluded area or a room with a single entrance/exitway where she could speak with him without being interrupted. She also knew that Jeremy was extremely shy and wary of women with manipulative scenarios when men became the object of their pursuing frenzy. "What was that saying?" She murmured to herself. After a few seconds later she smiled remembering that old ditty, "A man chases a woman until she catches him." She chucked and continued on her way. However, deep down, Kara knew That Jeremy didn't exactly fit that mold. With, Jeremy, the embodiment of her soulmate, she'd realized that straight forward and honest communication between them really was the only way to convince Jeremy that they would be better off together than being apart and miserable, which would place them on a track going their separate ways.
But first, she must be able get him alone for her strategy to have a chance of succeeding. Kara scratched her head and wondered how to get Jeremy to an isolated spot where they could talk in private.
Just before sunrise on the morrow, Kara suddenly awakened from a deep sleep and in her excitement she flew around the room colliding with the ceiling and the room's furniture before settling down.
Kara had the answer to her dilemma. She would entice her potential soulmate to the interstellar exploration ship Jeremy and Oren were having constructed. She would ask Lady Zara to make the call and create a fiction that would cause Jeremy to hasten to the spacecraft. She would be waiting to ambush him.
Several days later, Jeremy received a communique from the master craftsman overseeing the construction of Oren and Jeremy's interstellar spaceship. The note indicated that he wished to speak with either Oren or Jeremy as soon as was possible. "You will find me in the command center of your vessel," the note stressed, which is in the forward part of the ship.
Jeremy, knowing that Oren was still convalescing at the healing facility, would see the master craftsman and overseer at sunrise on the morrow.
Receiving Jeremy's telepathic thoughts, Kara was awake and dressed before dawn and off to the shipyard. After boarding the partially completed interstellar vessel, she made her way forward and entered the control room, which thankfully contained only one hatch. There, Kara patiently awaited her soulmate quarry.
Several hours later, Jeremy arrived at the foundry and boarded the nearly completed interstellar cruiser. He moved forward into the interior of the vessel, opened the command compartment hatch and entered.
As Jeremy moved toward the control panel, he heard a click as the entrance/exit portal was closed and locked.
Hearing the click of the locking mechanism, Jeremy turned at super speed and saw to his emotional discomfort, Kara Lane-Kent. He knew that any kind of physical contact with her would initiate a final soulmate bonding sequence, which might cause a catastrophic situation for Kara and himself.
Jeremy was aware that Kara was ill tempered. Possessing an explosive temperament would more aptly describe her disposition. She always had to be right when a situation was considered and always had to have the last word in any discussion. That was definitely not the kind of life partner Jeremy sought.
"My greatest fear," Jeremy thought to himself, "is that she'll continue to behave contemptuously toward me eventually causing a separation. Kara's hostile attitude would eventually drive me from her presence, and the pain we'd endure after such an event occurred would be formidable and be a constant source of torment throughout our lives. To avoid such an unsatisfactory condition, it would be better to remove myself from her presence, but how?"
Jeremy, turning toward a wal away from Kara, focused his eyes on the ship's hull and hurled beams of laser light from his eyes upon the ship's internal wall.
Nothing occurred. Then Jeremy realized that this interstellar craft was composed of stabilized netronium — a material that is essentially impervious to all the forces within the universe.
Jeremy then realized that bit of info, while interesting, was unimportant at that moment. He had been duped and was now in an untenable position. How was he to move by Kara and get through the control room hatch without making physical contact with her?
Then Jeremy sat down. He said, "It's your move, Kara. If you decide to touch me, then our soulmate union process will commence. Since I will not officially complete our union through marriage, pain will soon begin to surge through our bodies, which unfortunately will intensify each day. Since the threshold of the soulmate induced pain will, in a short period, become intolerable, I will end my life to avoid further suffering and by doing so will terminate your life simultaneously. You can avoid this situation by allowing me to leave this compartment without making any physical contact with me. You must believe I will do what I've stated."
A few minutes later Kara unlocked the hatch and stepped aside. Without uttering a word, Jeremy left the compartment and disappeared.
Later that afternoon, Kara returned to Helios and then teleported to her home in Metropolis. Tomorrow she'd be back at work.
Several weeks later, Laura returned from her vacation and returned to her job at the Planet.
A few days after Laura returned to New Terra and work, Lois and Clark showed up at the Planet.
The next day, as Lois and Clark were having lunch over their desks, Perry stopped by. Closing their office door, the editor in chief of the paper said, "You know guys, I believe that Laura's behavior has changed, and for the better. It wasn't obvious to me until I saw her aiding colleagues by sharing ideas and helping them write difficult articles without demanding a byline for her efforts. You know she's starting to become a sweet young woman. The pattern of her development seems to be following the Lane-Kent path before you decided to marry." Perry also said, "Laura's writing has a less brittle side to it. It's still hard nose news, but there's also compassion in her articles that was not there before. If she keeps this trend going, she'll definitely be a candidate for a Pulitzer some day soon."
When Perry finished speaking, Lois quietly told him, "Laura is engaged to be married. She and her fiance would like to marry as quickly as possible. Clark is sort of in shock at the speed at which her marriage will be occurring so soon after her engagement, so I'm pulling this affair together by myself for the moment. When Clark pulls himself together, we'll both start working out the plans for Laura's nuptials."
"By and by." Perry asked, "Who's the lucky fellow?"
"Oren Gellmann," Lois replied.
"Isn't that the fellow that used to worked at our science desk?" Perry remarked.
"Yep," Lois replied.
"I remember," Perry commented "that Oren took on a young reporter as an assistant, neophyte who was well versed in the sciences. Oren appeared to be a fine teacher, patient, and kind to Sandi. These were difficult and stressing times for her. But, Ms. James eventually got the hang of the knowledge base she needed to master. Oren was so proud of her. Sandi James now heads the Planet's science department. Oren inspired her so much that she went back to school and earned a master's degree specializing in geology.
"Now that I recall," the chief remarked, "Oren was kind and considerate to all his colleagues, and even helped Jimmy with his physics homework on occasion.
"When it came to your daughter, Lois, she would ignore him, and I once recall her reading him the riot act when Oren asked her to dinner. She said, 'A Kent didn't work and play well with a philanderer.'
"After Laura had left for the evening, I asked Oren about this philanderer business. He responded, 'I guess she saw me with some of my kids from time to time. My wife is deceased, Perry. She was killed sometime ago.'"
After a pause, Perry added, "Nigel Nash, supported by his cousin Lyle Langdon, made it a point to slander Oren every time the opportunity presented itself. Laura never caught on how she was being duped.
"I believe the reason Oren left the Planet's employ was an incident that occurred after Laura and Oren had a light supper together. Because she didn't want to eat alone, your daughter, Lois, asked Oren to accompany her so she could go to one of those fancy places that would only accommodate couples. When they left the restaurant, guess who was waiting in a chauffeur driven car at the restaurant's front door? It was Lyle Langdon all spruced up with a bouquet of exquisite red roses. The chauffeur opened the door, and Laura got in and drove away with Lyle leaving Oren standing alone in front of that fancy eating place. A few days later, Oren resigned from the paper. I haven't seen or heard from Oren since the day he left the Planet.
"A few weeks after Oren had left the Planet, Laura came to see me for one thing or another, and she happened to ask what had become of the head of the science desk. I simply replied, 'Oren resigned. Too bad,' I told her at the time. 'He was a good man.'
"'Good man?' she said, in a very sarcastic tone. 'How could a philanderer and who knows what else be a good man?'
"I then asked her, 'Who told you Oren was a philandering individual?'
"'Nigel informed me of Oren's unsavory antics and Lyle backed him up,' she replied.
"'That interesting,' I said to her, 'Because Oren's wife has been dead for some time.'
"A shocked look suddenly covered Laura's face, and she slowly walked out of my office.
"For months after our talk about Oren Gellmann, she searched long and hard for the ex-Planet employee. From that time on, while she didn't cut her ties with Langdon and Nash, Laura was wary about what they had to say. She was an investigative reporter, and she began to inquire into the activities of the Lyle and Nigel combo."
"It's too bad Clark and I weren't here during this period," Lois commented.
"That true," Perry said. "It was unfortunate that both you and Clark, during that time period, were on the island nation of Singapore. However, the Planet's owners needed you there to oversee the modernization of the paper's wire service facilities."
"If we were in Metropolis, this entire situation would have been snuffed out in a hurry. Anyway, thank G-d, that the two lovers have been reunited. As the familiar saying goes, 'All's well that ends well.'"
That weekend the entire hamlet of Helios teleported to the El estates on the Federation world of Terra. There Lois, Clark, Laura and Kara joined with the subterranean community for a festive celebration surrounding a soulmate union.
At sundown, Laura and Oren completed their soulmate union according to Federation custom.
Following the Kryptonian marriage ceremony, the festivities that followed lasted seventy-two hours. Oren's clan, during their riotous gathering after the official part of the affair, became enamoured with babies that had also been transported from Helios. They were adorable and appeared to be extremely intelligent, which of course, they were.
One of the most desirable effects of the meeting between the people of Helios and Oren's clansman on Terra was an influx of visitors to Helios after this get together. It united a fragmented clan separated by twenty thousand light years. Once on the new world, the people from the Federation would also take a glimpse of the happenings on New Terra.
Keeping Laura's apartment as a front in Metropolis, Laura and Oren lived in Oren's home, which they shared with Jeremy.
Following Laura's marriage, Kara and Jeremy ran into one another. After an uncomfortable beginning, Jeremy motioned that Kara should walk with him and they slowly meandered into the rose garden where they located a secluded spot so they could privately exchange thoughts in private.
After finding a secluded spot, Kara and Jeremy chatted for quite awhile. Kara commented during their conversation, "I hope you realize that a person can change when something important comes one's way. And you, Jeremy, over time, I discovered became very precious to me."
Then Kara commented, "If you'll observe my mother, you will notice a gracious and understanding woman. Like me, she was a hellion at my age and traveled alone through the world. When my father came into her life, her universe was turned upside down. After Lois and Clark married, my mother mellowed until you see the result of my father's loving influence upon her. She is now a kind and affectionate individual, strict when raising children, and loyal to a fault. My father is no longer a shy and reclusive guy because of his super abilities — one of my mother's contributions to the Lane-Kent union.
"With you by my side, Jeremy," Kara added, "I'm positive our togetherness can eventually make us one. Do you think that you can take a chance on me?"
Jeremy stood and paced to and fro for a while. Then he turned and took Kara in his arms. Her question had been answered. The final soulmate union had been initiated by their contact.
Holding tightly to her soulmate, Kara began to cry. Her sobs were those of joy and relief. She would never be alone again.
Looking at her straight in the eyes, he said, "What the hell would we do by ourselves? We belong to one another. Where we go now, we go together. That was the only answer to any logical question we could ask."
Kara again began to weep from joy. She knew that she would share a special kind of love with this man. A love that would endure forever and a day.
That evening, Oren and Laura were informed by Kara and Jeremy of their final soulmate decision. Laura was so excited that she nearly forgot about her own affair.
Tomorrow or the next day would be time enough to deal with her sister and Jeremy's marriage.
Several days later, Laura with her sister Kara at her side approached Lois.
The two young women waited passionately or not so passionately until Lois completed her chores. Then Kara spewed out what was on the tip of her tongue, "Mom, can we modify Laura's wedding to accommodate two couples instead of a single pair?"
Lois smiled and said, "I assume by your pronouncement that you and Jeremy have resolved your differences." Kara just nodded.
"Have you been married according to Federation guidelines?"
"Not yet," Kara replied.
When Clark heard of Jeremy and Kara's engagement, he sat down and tears began to cascade down his face. Lois too began to weep, and she placed her arms in a circle of love about her husband.
Lois then inquired whether there could be a double wedding. After hearing Lois' request, Clark said, "Tell the girls to be patient and he picked up the phone. The contact told CK that he would get back to them in a few minutes."
After both Lois and Clark calmed down, they locked themselves in an embrace of love.
A few minutes later the phone rang. After a few seconds, Clark, looking at his daughters and potential son-in-laws, said "A-okay, guys." Lois just smiled. A double wedding it would be. It was decided by the girls that their marriages would occur when Laura returned from her first excursion in space as an explorer of the cosmos. Her training was nearly complete.
Time flew by as Laura completed her training as an intergalactic explorer. Then with her fiance and Jeremy, they ventured into the void.
They first halted their journey at the edge of the Milky galaxy, on the brink of the space between their home galaxy and the Andromeda nebula.
On the day they arrived at the galaxy's periphery, Kara appeared from her hiding place. She had stowed away to be with her husband to be.
Instead of becoming petulant with his soulmate, Jeremy passionately embraced her. She whispered in his ear, "If we were alone, I think I'd rip your garments from your body and have my way with you."
Jeremy, blushing as he broke his kiss with Kara, asked Laura to please contact Zara.
When Zara appeared on the ship's monitor, Laura explained the situation. Zara immediately reacted summoning a philosopher-Priest to her chambers.
Within the hour, Kara and Jeremy, and Oren and Laura completed their final soulmate rituals. The required documentation was teleported to the newlyweds, signed and returned to the priest. A copy was made and then returned to Jeremy, Oren and their brides.
On the following day Zara would visit the Federation's department of civil affairs and register both couples' nuptials.
That afternoon, Oren and his soulmate left the exploration vessel on a space walk to look over the immensity surrounding their exploration vessel. Their absence would allow Kara and Jeremy to their union.
Laura and Oren had physically completed their lovers union when Kara and Jeremy had left the ship earlier in the day to look at the infinite expanse of the cosmos.
When Oren and Laura returned to the ship, they could see that the tension between the other newlywed couple had also abated.
That evening, the two newly married couples enjoyed an ambrosial wedding supper which Zara had teleported to their interstellar exploration cruiser.
After that rather-exciting day, things returned to a semblance of normalcy.
After three days of exploration at the intergalactic region between Andromeda and the Milky Way, Laura, when she analyzed the data, discovered something that could prove to be rather alarming.
When the four Terra-Kryptoniams restudied Laura's findings, they confirmed her results.
In about three billion years the Andromeda nebula would collide with the Milky Way galaxy.
In their discussion after supper, they considered what to recommend to the Federation's Supreme Council.
On one hand, they could allow the natural events to unfold and move their civilizations either to another part of the universe or do more dimension hopping — moving a star cluster around.
Oren, after some thought commented, "In three billion years only a small portion of the stellar material within the Milky Way would have been exhausted. Furthermore, this is a relatively calm sector of our universe, and I hate to leave this stellar region. I say the Federation should stay put and stop the Andromeda Nebula from colliding with our galaxy by altering its collision Trajectory. Our people possess the know-how to send the Andromeda star cluster into deep space, away from the Milky Way, which is now and will remain nearly vacant of all interstellar material."
Soon after breakfast was finished, Oren and Jeremy began designing a gravity generator that would slowly shift the Andromeda nebula from its current path. Both scientists calculated that the time required for Andromeda's course alteration would be near a hundred million years, plenty of time to avoid a galactic catastrophe.
Early the following day Oren and Jeremy forwarded their information about the pending galactic collision and their own research data to Lady Zara Lo-El.
The two newlywed couples remained in the intergalactic region for several more days checking and rechecking the potential Milky Way- Andromeda collision data.
Just before the exploration vessel they named Infinity Plus One headed home, Oren and his family saw the first of many Terra- Kryptoniam science vessels moving into the space between Andromeda and the their home galaxy. When these spatial space ships reached their predetermined location, they saw the construction begin on the field generators that would alter the collision trajectory of the Andromeda nebula and eventually prevent a great intergalactic catastrophe.
Arriving on Terra nine days before their traditional New Terra nuptials, they stored the exploration craft with its special gear and then teleported to Helios.
After partying for a few days, on June fifth they journeyed to the Kent's home where Lois and Clark had been preparing everything that would be needed for their comfort and the forthcoming wedding.
On June ninth, the wedding day, also the wedding anniversary of Lois and Clark, two couples were united in marriage according to the customs and laws of New Terra.
After the nuptials had been concluded, Laura, Kara and their spouses, according to tradition, were escorted to a secluded room.
When they were quite alone, Jeremy remarked, "I've received a communique from Zara. She says the field generators are working well. The nebula's trajectory has already been altered by six centimeters."
Laura smiled and commented, "That's great. However, you do know that in a hundred million years, or so, we'll be less than a memory." Pausing for a moment, Laura added, "I guess recalling who was responsible for our achievement is not all that important. The priority here is the salvation of two huge large galactic star systems and the beings living within each." Oren then smiled and nodded at his soulmate agreeing wholeheartedly with her logic.
Now, Oren said, "Let's consider us. We have a month before the girls are due back at the Planet, and the new teaching term commences at the university on Terra. My suggestion, therefore, is that we set up house in Helios. Living within the subterranean village would be a good midway location between our places of work and home. Jeremy and I could teleport to the Federation planet of Terra while you gals could either fly or teleport to a house we'll use as a base of operations in New Terra's Metropolis."
Taking a breath, Oren added. "We can have the droids construct the homes each couple will design for themselves which should require about seven days worth of labor. Then we can use the remaining time shopping for the furniture we'll need for our three homes and do some sightseeing."
Oren's idea was adopted almost at once.
"Another thing," Oren said. "Make sure your home has plenty of rooms. When we begin to conceive, remember that single offspring among Terra-Kryptomians is a rarity. The normal number of kids among our people is two or three per pregnancy."
"Don't worry," Jeremy added, "The nurturing of our kids will be a corporative affair — a partnership. Talk to my sister, Kit, and your parents to find out how they raised their children. Anyhow, folks, that's for the future and I am quite sure that each soulmate pair will privately discuss their coming gravid situation in the profound solemnity it deserves."
At the supposed end of the honeymoon period their homes had been completed, and they were prepared to return to their professional pursuits.
As Oren walked alone through the rose garden that Lara had started many moons before, he thought to himself that maybe now he would know some peace and enjoy with his soulmate the ideas he and wife would bring to fruition. Jeremy and Kara, he was quite sure, were having similar thoughts.
Oren was so deep in his deliberations that he was unaware of another presence in the Garden. Not until he heard a man clearing his throat did he turn and behold a middle-aged gentlemen wearing late nineteenth century attire.
Before Oren could speak, the other man remarked, "My name is H.G. Wells. I'm a time traveler."
Pausing for a second or two, Oren said, that would be an interesting area to investigate."
"I wish you wouldn't consider studying the time stream," the man called Wells quickly said to Oren.
"One foolish error and you could change the history of humankind or of this entire universe. It could be one of the greatest disasters in all history."
Seeing the seriousness on Wells' face and after some discussion, Oren promised Wells not to delve into any Kind of time travel research.
After a quiet pause, Wells said to Oren, "Lois and Clark did themselves proud. It was one of the most splendid weddings I've ever attended. That's why I traveled to this time period."
As Well was about to leave, Oren said, "Do me a favor, Mr. Wells, please visit me from time to time during my lifetime. My scientific curiosity compels me to make this request. Wells smiled and agreed to Oren's petition. Then he entered his strange contraption and soon had vanished into the midst of time."
Two years later, Laura delivered a set of triplets, two girls and boy, while Kara gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl.
There would be additional children conceived periodically over the many years during their thousand year life spans. However, when Laura's and Kara's born issues reached their twenty-first year, Lois and Clark retired.
Staying at the planet any longer period would have focused suspicion upon the Kents, and their linkage to Ultrawoman and Superman — their physical appearance already appeared years more youthful than other people similar in age.
After retiring, Lois and Clark moved to Helios to be among their own kind of people — they didn't have to continually put on a false front.
About a year after Lois and Clark moved to Helios, Oren presented his father and mother-in-law with a spaceship constructed of stabilized neutronium. With this vessel, Lois and Clark were able to wander space and behold the wonders on their universe.
Oren's gift was often used to take their grandchildren on voyages of exploration through the Milky Way.
After their grand kids were old enough to manipulate the spacecraft by themselves, Lois and Clark joined Oren, Jeremy and their soulmates in more research involving inter-dimensional travel.
About a hundred years after Lois and Clark retired from the Planet, they traveled to Australia and accepted a position at one of the eminent Sidney newspapers. Soon, the team of Ellis and Ellis was a byline recognized throughout the world of journalism as two fearless investigative reporters who plied their trade in a constant battle against evil.
The routine of the Lois and Clark team did not vary much throughout each New Terra lifetime they needed to assume.
Like all living creatures, death eventually claims their mortal spirits and returns this spiritual essence to the well of souls.
In time, Lois and Clark passed on. These magnificent people who seemed to have appeared to have wrought miracles throughout their life now returned to the well of souls, there to await the call of their soulmate rebirth.
When the essences belonging to both Laura and Lara encountered one other within the well of souls, they amalgamated forming a single entity, sharing all the intimacies and awareness each individual had experienced when they subsisted in mortal form.
As Oren and his soulmate and the others who had preserved the Federation and battled the Hellhounds to save New Terra lingered in the well of souls, New Terra matured and became a member of the Federation. After that alliance had been achieved, the Sol star system was moved to the Federation star cluster — a region of space reserved for its members.
Over the millennia that followed, the Federation became basically a scholarly union and explored their island universe defending and persevering all fledgling civilizations that were discovered.
As the Federation politically natured, it developed a noninterference policy, which allowed each planetary culture to develop its own culture aims.
Because of these evolving planetary societies the universe was being enriched and providing the Federation with a growing pool of new and useful knowledge.
One of most innovative devices that the Federation had improved upon was Oren and Lara's dimensional transport. It was now being utilized to jump from one dimensional system to another nearly instantaneously.
A hundred thousand years from the death of Lois and Clark of New Terra, while investigating the nearly infinite dimensional spaces, the Federation happened across a galaxy wide rather bellicose civilization that itself had just developed dimensional jumping. Because of the warlike attitude of these beings, called the Vortexians, the Federation quickly withdrew from their island universe but placed many stealthy monitoring devices within their spatial realm to keep watch on this gladiatorial society.
Unfortunately, the dimensional jumping generators used by the Federation vehicles left an electromagnetic signature, which could be traced back to its point of origin.
Soon after the Federation's intrusion into the Vortexian's dimensional space, this militant civilization sent a scouting expedition into the universe that housed the Federation.
Because the Vortexians's detector was a relatively crude instrument and easily detected, these truculent beings withdrew from the Federation's dimension temporarily.
On the day the Vortexians visited his universe, Kale Jerome Lane Kent Gellmann was born — CK in his previous life. Several days later Lori Estee Lane-Kent Wells entered the world on the Planet Krypton — Lois Lane in her former lifetime.
Lori and Kale formed their soulmate bond at twelve years of age and completed their soulmate union at their marriage when they were twenty-three years of age.
On the day Kale and Lori married, Ozmon Gamliel was born into the Gellmann Clan of the Lane-Kent line — this baby was called Oren during its previous lifetime.
The remaining group of the scientific-warriors, made their appearance on various Federation worlds within a short span of time after Ozman's birth — men and women who had been Oren's kin when last they had walked the Federation worlds of Terra and New Terra.
For those who are interested in Lane-Kent family lines, the history of these magnificent people and their actions in the Vortexian war can be found in the Federation archives which can be located on Terra and in the Federation's main space library on Mirra Alpha. Several works are also in preparation which will chronicle the Lane-Kent families and how these people seem to spawn exceptional individuals who appeared whenever danger threatened the Federation.
As the festivities celebrating the Federation's military victory over the Vortexians simmered down, the individuals mainly responsible for the Federation's military triumph congregated at the Lane-Kent Gellmann estate. Once assembled, the main topic of discussion was aspects of the conflict that did not truly relate with the pitched battles, which occurred in the late Vortexian war.
The dominant topic of conversation concentrated instead on the soulmate resurrection principle.
As their conversation heightened, Ozmond placed some antediluvian history texts on the table and allowed the individuals at the gathering scrutinize the contents of the past Federation records.
He then invited those present to examine the past chronicles of the Federation. After these texts were thoroughly scrutinized, the assembled group of warriors had to conclude that the philosophical beliefs surrounding the soulmates concepts were indeed more fact than fantasy.
As they pondered their findings, an elderly gentleman of the Lane- Kent Gellman clan started to chuckle. After gaining control over his lightheartedness, he commented, "What made you believe that you and you alone are the only individuals who ever deduced that our philosopher-priests, when contemplating soulmate notions connected with the rebirth ideas, might have been more than just myth?"
After a slight pause, the elderly gentleman of the Lane-Kent Gellmann clan added, "Gentlemen, what you've discovered this day will remain in the recesses of your mind for all time. However, other Federation souls should not be cognizant of what you've unearthed from the scared writings of our people.
"Now that you have become mindful that the information about the post death soulmate concepts is well-founded, as you discovered from your deliberations, you will soon deduce a true understanding of the entire soulmate phenomenon and its philosophy. This knowledge will not now be lost to any of you as you are reborn into future generations of our people. Your rebirth repetitions will continue in your memory and through an eternity of repeated existences — during both good and evil epochs."
As the old man's eyes shimmered, Ozmond, his comrades, and kin made their way toward the dining room and a repast, which more than delighted the olfactory senses.
Before the meal commenced, however, the old man, still with twinkling eyes rose from the table, raised his glass of wine and said, "TO ETERNAL LIFE," a phrase repeated with gusto throughout the banquet hall.
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