In the Perkins Observatory an IBM 1130 mainframe computer processes incoming data.
18 months ago
'You are not alone...'
Alarms are ringing. Everything is spinning. Sky and water, and water and sky. Round and round, and over and over.
High in the sky, a fighter jet tumbles and spins, battered by waves of energy. The right wing cracks and peels and the jet jerks in its spin as its new shape acts as a counter. An engine flares and then explodes, pushing the jet head over heels.
Alarms are ringing and the cockpit is on fire. The snapped eject-lever bounces around and the dashboard sparks. Everything is spinning. Beyond the spinning there is a young woman flying.
Fire and sky and water and a young woman.
Metropolis is in ruins.
There are screams and people running.
'I will make you all suffer! One...by...one!
In a large room within the UN compound in Metropolis dozens of people attend an urgent meeting, and a powerful and influential man finishes his speech:
'The world has changed, my friends, and it's down to us to make sure that that change is for the better, for us – for mankind.'
Large screens in the NorthCom centre display scenes from various battles and scenes of destruction from across the globe. The effects of the World Engine, satellite readings of the changes in landscape – from the South Indian Ocean through to the Grand Canyon – and the piles of rubble in the middle of Metropolis. A man turns to Swanwick, gesturing at the various screens:
'At the end of the day, General, what guarantee is there that he won't one day turn against us? Or turn against the world?'
A torn piece of see-through plastic-looking material is being examined in a sealed room. It sparks a little and the delicate probes are repelled. Red lights flash in warning, but no alarms sound.
On a large screen are images of a densely packed molecular structure covered with 'error' and 'unknown' markings. On a number of smaller screens are a series of computer generated models of structures that have a passing resemblance to the one of the large screen. Computer simulated tests on the models reveal instabilities in the structures and the structures collapse.
A tangled mass of metal and concrete the size of a small office block rises up from the ground, revealing a ruined subway station.
17 months ago
There is a satellite by the roadside in what looks to be a quiet area of desert. A car pulls up along side it and General Swanwick and Captain Farris get out of the car and approach the quiet object. Superman steps out from behind it, his arms crossed, and he frowns at the General.
'That's a twelve million dollar piece of equipment!' shouts Swanwick.
'It still is; it's just not where you want it to be. I know you're trying to find out where I hang my cape. You won't.'
'Then I'll ask the obvious question: how do we know you won't one day act against America's interests?'
'We've been over this before, General, and my answer is the same: don't do anything that would make me want to work against you.'
'No, it's not a threat and it's not a promise. I grew up here, and I'm as American as it gets, and I'm here to help. But it's going to be on my own terms and Washington is just going to have to accept that.'
'And if they don't?'
'Then perhaps my positive actions will speak louder to them than the fears they whisper among themselves,' says Superman, shrugging. He rises into the air a little, hovering, and, despite his aggressiveness towards him, Swanwick can't help but smile a little. Superman nods and then flies away, breaking the sound barrier when he's higher in the sky.
A young man lies in a bed and looks to be sleeping. Purple energy washes over him and he stirs a little.
'The trauma to his head is almost healed,' says a female voice. She's speaking in Greek. 'I believe he will awaken in the next day or so.'
'Good,' says another female voice, in a much firmer and more authoritative tone. 'Perhaps then we can get some answers.'
Slow-motion footage of Zod's fight with Superman in the Grand Canyon is being displayed on dozens of screens in a massive and dark room. Supercomputers analyse points of impact and display various readings.
Footage from the Battle of Smallville is also being displayed, with the focus being on the energy output that had turned a large part of Smallville's high street into a pseudo-glass floor.