"The world may never truly know what occurred over the past few days, but all they know is that a new day has dawned," a crisp and clear voice commented over the news. "Our savior has once again stopped the world from being enslaved. And we have to thank them."
"But there are those who are willing to pick up the slack again," another newscaster picked up. "Tony Stark and Reed Richards have agreed to work with Kal Shaw in an attempt to enhance the security around this planet. Threats will no longer reach the planet, but rather we will be warned from them. While this new technology is just in the incubation stages, there are those who are confident that they will get off the ground."
There was some video footage of portals open.
"All system security has been put back on line," the first newscaster narrated. "And now the question is how can we prevent events like this from happening in the future? Many of the world's governments have been put in the line of fire as they try to answer these pressing questions. We'll get the answer to them in the coming days, one way or another."
Kal leaned back in the room that he was in. He was watching the news and he allowed himself a moment to allow it all to sink in. He was sitting along side Gwen, Barbara, Kara, and Sue. All of them were looking into something that could help them.
"There are going to be questions regarding something like this,' Barbara said. They heard the newscaster say about the same. "People are going to assume that their privacy is being invaded."
"And yet it's no worse than any government has done, and it's not looking into what's on the planet, but rather what comes from outside," Carol said. She showed up to join them. "SWORD is right in the midst of this, so you figure that we would have a say in this."
"I didn't say anything," Kal said. Carol found herself a space next to them. They were expecting a few more guests to turn up to join them sooner rather than lather. "SWORD has done some amazing things so far."
"Yes, one could say that," Carol commented. She stroked his broad shoulders for a second. "I just wish that we would have been able to figure out that Darkseid was coming when he did."
"One of the most dangerous forces in the universe and deceitful as well," Kara said. "He is a master of avoiding detection. You shouldn't have worried if you weren't able to locate him."
The problem was Carol did worry. Kal sensed her worry. He leaned in towards her. "Just consider this as an example to learn from your mistakes."
"You didn't make too many mistakes," Carol replied. In response, Kal rose up his arm and pointed out the scar that had been carved into it.
"That says differently," Kal informed her. He listened to the news with interest.
Carol frowned and was about to apologize.
"Oh, and naturally he would have to be the one to have a few words," Gwen groaned. Kara nudged her and caused her to hush up.
"The world has a hero that it can rely on and it's about time, because it's not like the government was able to do anything," Jameson said. "About a year ago, they were the people who sentenced us to death with their large robots. Because of their mutant protection act. Well, people, both powered and non-powered, were put in danger, so I don't see how much that protects us. If you ask me, the government should stop helping us and let someone who actually knows what they're doing, to do something for a change."
Jameson slammed his fist down on the desk.
"Hate to say, but he has some interesting points," Gwen said.
"It isn't the government per say, just the stupid people running it," Carol replied. Gwen raised her eyebrow. "Yes, that could be a problem, couldn't it?"
"Indeed," Gwen replied. Jameson was on a roll. If he just stopped now, he might have come out ahead on points in her book.
"And we need to allow heroes to do what they need to do and maybe we wouldn't have problems like that wall crawling menace known as Spider-Girl," Jameson ranted.
Gwen nearly put her face into the desk. Barbara reached forward and patted her on the back.
"Remember that good point that I said he had earlier?" Gwen asked. Kal smiled and nodded in response. She made a motion with her hand like it was something flying out the window. "Yeah, he lost that good point, you know."
"Well, you can't be perfect all of the time," Kara said. "And old habits die hard."
"For Jameson, I agree with that," Gwen said. She really wished that she had some kind of shock collar.
"I'm more impressed that you reigned in Reed's ADD more than anything else," Sue said when she looked at the blueprints. It was completely out of the blue and Kal turned towards her. "Sorry….."
"Genius can be used in certain ways," Kal added. "And I did use a lot of your ideas."
"And he gave them more credence since they came from you," Sue replied. She pulled out a face.
"Do you want me to tell you a lie or tell you truth?"
Kal was back on the island of Nova-Roma and it was an amazing place for him to be. The Fortress was enhanced better than ever.
"Ah, you showed up a little early, it was supposed to be a surprise," Amara said. She stepped over towards Kal and leaned towards him. She caught him with a nice little kiss on the lips and then she pulled back from him.
"You know how much I'm uneasy about surprises," Kal said. His tone seemed to be a bit uneven.
Amara shook her head and grinned at him. She leaned towards him and grabbed him by the arm.
"You'd like this one," Amara replied.
"Yeah, I'm sure he would," Kara said. She was pretty sour that she lost her race with Kal to the island. She dropped down next to the two of them. "Although it's kind of a surprise to me."
"Really, you weren't involved in this?" Kal asked. He was skeptical and he eyed Kara.
Kara placed her hands down by her side and she shook her head. "Contrary to popular belief, I'm not involved in everything that goes on. But I did pitch in a couple of ideas, yes."
Guilty as charged look did cross over Kara's face. She frowned and Kal reached over. He grabbed her gently and pulled her in.
Alura poked her head outside. Kara recognized that look on her face. It was the same look that crossed her face when she was excited.
"It's ready," Alura said. Kara, Amara, and Kal crossed the courtyard and into the entrance of the Fortress. "Brainiac might have been a bit bent, but he does have some good ideas. And once we were able to make sure none of his ship's components had been corrupted by him, we were able to use that."
"Impressive, you expanded the Fortress," Kal commented. He looked around and saw several rooms. Amara's eyes widened as well.
"It's not too much bigger on the outside, but it's much bigger on the inside," Kara replied.
"When you manipulate the right particles, you can allow time and space to shift," Alura added. She rubbed her hands together and brimmed over with excitement.
"Easy, don't get too excited now," Kara teased her mother. Alura turned towards her and she frowned when she looked at her. "I mean…."
"I know exactly what you mean," Alura replied. She moved in closer to Kara and closed the gap between the two of them. She tightened her grip around Kara's waist and pulled her on in close to her. "Believe me, Kara, I know exactly what you mean."
"Show him the best part, Alura."
The moment from mother and daughter would have to wait, at least for now. Lara made her presence in the room and crossed it. She gave her son a nice little kiss on the lips and pulled away from him.
"Remember the lost city of Kandor?" Alura asked.
"Yes, didn't it get destroyed?" Kal asked.
Alura smiled. "No, not destroyed, but rather it was shrunk down in a bottle."
Kal turned around and saw the city. He saw the images of the city flicker on the view screen above him.
"It's going to be difficult to bring them out of there for now, without killing them," Alura said. Kal opened his mouth and Alura shook her head. "Difficult, but not impossible."
"She loves a challenge," Lara replied.
Alura snapped back and looked at her friend. "So do you?"
"That's true," Lara agreed. "We're able to transport food and supplies in there, but living people is not an easy thing."
"How did they survive that long?" Kal asked.
"They had enough resources, although many did perish when they tried to find a way out," Lara said. "There are less than a hundred citizens left in the bottle. The majority of them are female."
Kal's eyebrows furrowed when he spoke. "Interesting."
"I figure that would pique your interest," Lara said. Excitement brimmed through her eyes, as she couldn't wait to show Kal the rest of this. "And here is the new and improved upgraded database. Some of the planets Brainiac sadly destroyed, but there are others that might still exist."
Kara laughed, she could see how proud her mother and aunt were of the new and improved Fortress. She had to say that she couldn't really blame them.
Selene and Emma waited to join Kal for a meeting. Helena also decided to tag along and there might be a few others that were willing to join them too.
"His popularity is at an alltime high, both inside and outside of the costume," Helena remarked. She decided to ask a question that had been vexing her. "Do you think that people would make the connection?"
"They might, eventually," Emma admitted. "But, if you had the powers of a god, would you waste time being a normal businessman?"
"That's an interesting question actually, but most wouldn't," a voice said. They turned around and saw Kara, Diana, Jean, and Carol arrive and Kal brought up the rear. He brought up several nice ones at that. "We might be expecting a few more, but for now, that's all that we have."
"That's good," Emma said. There were more than a sufficient amount of chairs. "Sue seemed to be excited that her grand ideas were being immortalized in the planet's security system. Even if Reed Richards held the credit, despite being responsible for only around twenty percent or so of the overall project."
"Well, he did help, both him and Stark," Diana offered.
"And Stark behaved himself, did he?" Emma asked.
"For Tony Stark, he did," Jean replied. Emma gave a wistful sigh when she spoke next.
"That doesn't exactly inspire me with that much confidence," Emma replied in an extremely dry tone. Kal smiled when he tightened his grip around Emma and pulled him in close to her. She gave a pressing sigh when he held her in tight.
"Well, for most people, it really wouldn't," Kal admitted to her. "But seriously, he needs the good PR points, after the latest company scandals. And I did get to know his assistant."
"I'm certain you did," Emma answered.
"Yes, he naturally did," Selene said. "And she's put in all of the hard hours while Stark was galivating around in his tin toy."
"Hey, he built that in a cave, using a box of scraps," Helena said. There was a bit of amusement that went through her eyes. "But, we're down to business now, aren't we?"
"Given that the traditional orgy doesn't happen until after the meeting is completed, I agree," Emma said. She was so blasé about what she said that it was extremely amusing.
"Well, that pretty much makes me want to skip to the end of the meeting," Kara replied. There were a lot of eyes that were on her. "What, I'm just saying what everyone else here is thinking?"
"I know that you are," Diana said. "But you could be a lot more subtle with it."
"Maybe," Kara agreed. She frowned deeply. "But then again, when has anyone in this particular group subtle?"
"She has a point," Carol answered. "So, you have mastery of the world pretty much in the palm of my hand."
"Someone has to control the world," Kal said. "You see what happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen."
"Yes, yes, we have," Emma said. The Sentinel incident was something that was brought up and the poor security around the world was putting many government leaders on the hot seat. The blame was being sent elsewhere. "And you have every chance to…"
"To make sure this doesn't happen again," Jean answered. She plucked the words off of Emma's tongue. Emma frowned when she turned towards Jean. "Come on, we were both thinking about it, you know. You're just jealous that you didn't find the words. But, that happens sometimes. You have been working hard and you're allowed at least one blonde moment every now and again."
"Yes, I know, but you don't have to rub my face in it," Emma said. "Great minds I guess think alike."
"Yes," Jean agreed. She didn't say what she was thinking. She did think long enough to get a response out of Emma.
"Yes, because that's mature," Emma replied.
Selene watched the interplay. She leaned towards Kal. "We may have to put these two in line. They haven't quite learned their place."
"Well, I'd like to see that," Diana commented. She turned towards Helena and she could see the calculating look spreading through her eyes. "But I'm sure that we can keep our minds on business long enough before we head towards more pleasurable endeavors."
"Yes," Emma agreed. She sensed that this discussion could be picked up at a later date. "So, how is the project SWORD is working on?"
"We're monitoring several other alien races," Carol said. "Some of them are obviously more welcoming to outsiders than others."
"Krypton was among the coldest, believe it or not, they had a strict non-outsider policy," Kara said.
"We'd like some allies though that won't invade us, if at all possible," Kal replied.
He thought about it for a long time. He expanded his influence throughout the country and the Hellfire Club expanded it even further through the world.
"So we have the world, are you thinking the universe next?" Emma asked.
"That is the next logical step," Selene agreed.
None of them had any idea what would happen. The big plans Kal and his collective had would be galactic.
One chapter of his rise continued, but another chapter would begin someday. Perhaps it would begin sooner than one might think.