In the Shadows
22 years ago a boy from the stars fell to Earth.
If it had been the 1930s or 40s or 50s or 60s or the 70s and maybe even into the 1980s, you probably would have never heard of him until he wanted you to hear of him. He might have grown up like everyone else and had the time to figure it all out with the support of family and friends around him.
These aren't the 30s to the 80s though and things don't happen in a vacuum anymore. Even the best cover stories fall apart under enough scrutiny. What would be the chances of an average farm couple being able to fool the combined forces of local, state, national and international governments and law enforcement? With all the resources, technology and information available in this digital, counterterrorist, data-mining world, how long would the boy from the stars remain off the radar?
5 years? 10? 15? How long before they would question everyone within a 500 miles radius of the crash site, looking for anything out of the ordinary. How long would it take before someone would look into birth and adoption records of everyone? After 9/11 how long would it be before someone came around wanting to see the baby? If they ran, how long could that same average farm couple stay underground before they were caught?
When they were caught, what if the boy had disappeared?
Into the Shadows.
Smallville, Kansas – 18 years ago
Jonathan and Martha Kent stood on the porch of their farm house, arm in arm waving as the government sedan pulled away. They were smiling, but this belied both of their worries. The sedan disappeared into the last of the evening light. They were silent as the sun slowly slipped below the horizon.
"I know, Martha."
"They'll be back,' she said.
They both turned and looked inside their home. One the floor their 4-year-old son was innocently playing with a toy fire truck. He glanced up briefly and smiled at them before returning to his play.
"We need to talk about what we're going to do,' he said.
"He's our boy, John, I'm not going to let them take him,' she replied.
He smiled a warm, generous smile.
"You know what that means then?"
"We can't stay."
"No, we can't." he whispered. "They won't let us keep him if we stay."
"Then our choice is made,' she replied.
He leaned in and kissed her.
"I'm sorry, this isn't the way I wanted things to be,' he whispered. His eyes looked out over their farm before returning to hers. "When I married you, I made so many promises that it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to keep. I'm sorry, Martha, I didn't want it to be this way."
She gently reached up and stroked his cheek before lightly kissing him.
"You've kept the important ones, John," she replied.
"I wanted to do more."
"We love each other, that was always enough,' she said. "Now we're a family, that's all the matters."
He kissed her.
"It's not going to be easy. They'll come looking for us, for him."
"Then we'll keep moving,' she said. "He's our boy, John."
"Yes, he is,' Jonathan said with a smile. "He deserves a chance and I'm not going to let them take that away."
'We're not going to let them take it away.' She corrected her husband.
Smallville, Kansas – 5 years ago
The running was over. Living underground, always on the run had taken its toll on Martha Kent. The once warm, generous smile had been replaced by a hard, world-weary stare. The constant moving over the years had worn down her husband, Jonathan, until his heart finally gave out. His dying wish was to go home, back to Smallville and be buried with his people. Martha had promised to make that happen, which she did. Like everything else about the last few years it had come with a price. Federal agents stood on either side of her as she listened to the preacher deliver his eulogy over the open grave. More agents patrolled the perimeter, weapons at the ready. Martha's hands were cuffed and her ankles shackled. It had been something of a coup catching them, the modern day, middle age Bonnie and Clyde as the press had dubbed them. The only blemish against it being a complete success was the boy had disappeared.
The agents found no photographs, nothing to identify him, not even a name. Hour after hour of grueling interrogation had yielded nothing. All Martha Kent would say was "he's gone and you won't find him if he doesn't want to be found." Threats hadn't worked, as her expression remained stone cold and stoic to all of them. So the authorities tried a different tactic. They granted her request that her husband be buried in his family's plot. They thought perhaps showing some goodwill would change her mind. It hadn't but she didn't tell them that.
Trying to block out the constant chatter of the agents, silently she said her good byes to the man she loved. A few tears came, but just a few. They had made vows to each other about in sickness and health, good times and bad and through it all they had kept them. A few of the old friends stopped to offer their condolences, but the squad of agents circling the small cemetery ensured they didn't stay too long. As the preacher finished, Martha shuffled forward and took a handful of dirt. She slowly let it slip through her fingers, whispering a silent prayer for Jonathan to find the peace in the next life this one hadn't afforded him. He was a good and honorable man, she thought, she had no complaints.
"Unknown civilian on the hilltop!" Came over the radios the agents were using.
Martha glanced up and saw him. The jeans and hoodie were like a million other boys his age wore, but she would know him anywhere. Clark, their boy had come to the funeral. She'd told him not to, that it was too dangerous, but it seemed she wasn't the only one that wanted to say good-bye.
"It's him! It's the boy!" An agent shouted. Guns were drawn and aim was taken.
"Run!" Martha screamed, lunging towards the nearest agent. They took her move as hostile. As she slapped at the gun in the agent's hand, he fired and then others fired. Instantaneously the air was filled with bullets. Things seemed to go in slow motion for Martha as she felt herself falling, the impact of being shot multiple times didn't seem to register at first.
It was a scream of someone having his heart ripped out. One moment he was on the hill and the next a wave of red washed over the agents. Their weapons meant nothing against it. Screams started as flesh was burned away along with muscle until only bones remained. It was over in a blink of an eye. Everything was quiet again.
He was at her side in the next moment. She could see the tears in his eyes and the anguish in his expression.
"This is my fault, my fault, all of it,' he mumbled, the emotions too much for him.
She knew she was fading fast. The pain of her wounds hit her like a sledgehammer and she winced against them, willing herself not to cry out. There would be no last minute rescues this time.
"Listen, listen, listen to me,' she whispered. "It wasn't your fault. Your father and I knew what we were doing and would do it again. We regret nothing."
She could see her blood staining the front of his shirt as the tears rolled down his face.
"Don't let them win, son,' she said. "If you let your anger consume you then all we did was for nothing. Show them you're better than that. Show them all."
She raised her hand and slowly brushed the tears from his face. Her boy, the son she and Jonathan thought they would never have. It had seemed like a miracle when they found him, yet others had tried to turn it into a nightmare. The years of running and hiding seemed worth it as she looked up into his eyes. They were protecting their boy so one day he'd have his chance.
"Promise me, son.'
"I promise, Ma."
He felt her hand slip away and her body went limp. Her heart stopped and he heard that too. He held her against his chest weeping uncontrollably.
"Son, I know it doesn't seem like it, but this is all part of God's plan,' the preacher said. "Turn yourself in, my boy. Do the right thing."
"Get away from me!" He shouted, not even turning to look at the man as he gently rocked his slain mother in his arms.
Washington – Several hours later.
General Lane and Eiling, of military intelligence, Lynch of covert operations, Amanda Waller of Special Projects, Steve Trevor of the newly formed A.R.G.U.S. and a whole host of high ranking officials from the various branches of government and the intelligence community sat and listened to the end of the briefing. The room was oblong, the windows tinted and shuttered. It was sound proof and what was said in here was implicitly understood to not leave here.
"We lost him after that. He moved too fast for us to track him."
"So he killed a whole squad of agents and we're no closer to finding him,' Lane growled.
"I think his actions tell us all we need to know. He's hostile and extremely dangerous. This alien just made number one of the most wanted list." Eiling added
'Wanted alive.' Amanda Waller added.
Most of the others nodded in agreement.
"It was his father's funeral and they killed his mother right in front of his eyes,' Steve Trevor said. "What did you think the boy would do? In his situation I would have done the same damn thing if I could."
"This boy as you call it, isn't from this world,' Lynch said. "He looks like us, but he's not one of us. I would think your experience with Metas would have taught you something Trevor. They're a threat and this one could be the worst of all."
"He's a 17 year old boy, Lynch.'
"He's a weapon,' General Lane countered. "A very dangerous and valuable weapon."
"You saw the technology in the space craft, Steve,' Waller said. "This alien 'boy' as you call him, is the key to unlocking all of it for us. Who knows what other wonders we might find if we can capture and study him."
"Study?' Steve scoffed. "You mean keep him in a cage until you let your scientists dissect him, don't you, Amanda?"
"I think everyone was clear what I meant when I said study him," she replied.
"I still say the wise move is to kill him on sight,' General Eiling grumbled. "We don't give him another chance to do what he did to those agents."
"That's why you're not in charge of the decision, General,' Lynch replied. "Anything you don't understand you want to kill. As the others have already said, the potential value is too high with this one. We keep looking."
"And if he doesn't want to cooperate?' Eiling asked.
"Then we can always kill him,' Lynch replied.
"He's still just a boy,' Steve Trevor said to no one in particular as he slowly shook his head.