Two Months After Golden Noon.

"Excuse me."

Annette looked up from the book she was reading, her brow furrowed slightly. A teenager was standing across the table from her, anxiously shifting from side to side. Her hair was cropped short, so much so that one might have mistaken her for a rather feminine boy at first glance, and she looked no older than fourteen. She was tall for her age, however, and Annette could see the girl's muscles under her sweatshirt; she looked as though she had been in intense sports for years. A pair of thick-rimmed glasses adorned the bridge of her nose, obscuring the blue eyes underneath.

"I'm sorry, but..." Annette began.

The girl sighed. "Don't feel embarrassed or anything; I didn't expect for you to know me." She sat down, slouching as she did so, and Annette realized that it was on purpose. "It's just that... in a way, I'm your daughter."

Annette's eyes shifted, scanning the empty café for possible ways out in case things went out of hand.

The girl let out a small chuckle. "I can tell I'm making you nervous. I'm sorry about that; there's just no other way to really put it. You're not my mother. This version of you, anyway. The version of you from Earth Bet was my mother, but not even then, as I was... adopted."

"I see. I guess I should have expected something like this when the portals started opening up, but it just didn't seem very likely at the time. I mean, the odds of two versions meeting..."

"Are infinitesimal," the girl finished. "Yeah, I know. The version of you where I come from, the one who raised me, she died around a year back. Car accident. I guess I just wanted to see her face again, even if it isn't really her."

Annette closed her book, fidgeting with the hard cover. She glanced down, watching as the sunlight glanced off the words Lord of Light embossed on the front. "There's nothing wrong with wanting that, I suppose. If we were in different places, I would be lying if I said didn't want to do the same." She looked back up from the book. "What's your name?"

The girl chuckled again, more nervous than the last. "Well, it's kinda complicated. Hell, I probably even't shouldn't be talking to you, let alone telling you my name. I came here to help out with the refugees; seeing you was something that just popped up at the last minute."

"Oh, you're an aid worker? A bit young to be one, considering you'd have to be under eighteen. Does the other Earth have different labor laws or something?"

The girl straightened in her seat, tall enough to look Annette in the eye. "You know what? Screw it."

Slowly, as though she was still debating the decision, she removed the glasses and folded them. Without the thick lenses to impede the view, Annette saw that the girl's eyes were really blue, inhumanly so, yet she could tell it wasn't the work of contact lenses or make-up. They were like a clear sky in the mountains, reaching a shade she had never really seen before.

The realization hit her like a freight train. I recognize that face. It's been splayed on the papers and net for weeks, now.

"Y-you're her," Annette said. "The alien girl on the other Earth, the one who stopped that Scion thing. Superwoman."

The girl nodded. "Ever since all of these Earths have linked up, I've been moving around, helping as much as I can," she said, her voice deeper than before, almost a contralto. "Hasn't been easy, but it needs to be done. So much got destroyed those months ago, and it's resting on everyone to help rebuild, myself included."

Annette scooted away from the table, rubbing her face. "Sorry, sorry, just freaking out a little," she said hurriedly. "I didn't actually think I'd meet you of all people."

Superwoman sighed. "I shouldn't have come here. Sorry for interrupting your day like this."

She rose to leave, only for Annette to gesture for her to stay. The older woman took a deep breath and pulled her seat back in. "No, no, you don't have to leave. I'm feeling better, now that the shock is starting to wear off. Don't let me scare you off, especially considering the circumstances."

Superwoman paused, thinking, then sat back down. She grabbed her glasses and slid them back on, her slouch reappearing. Once more, she looked like any teenage girl, not the savior of humanity. Annette had to admit, it was a clever disguise.

"You must have a lot on your mind right now, seeing someone who looks like your mother after so long. I can only imagine what you're thinking right now."

"A lot, really. So much has happened in the last few months, and I've barely had the time to think about it. Learning I was an alien, discovering my powers, becoming a cape, falling in love... that's enough to last a lifetime, and my life's barely getting started."

"That's just life, really. You think you've seen all that's going to happen, then a curveball comes at you. You might have it a lot more than others, but you're not alone in it, you know. You're in it with everyone else."

Superwoman shrugged. "True, I guess." She rose to her feet again. "I couldn't stay here for long. There's so much to do, and so many places to do it in. Helping with refugees here, then reconstruction on Bet... a lot of work on my hands right now." She turned, and made for the exit.

"Superwoman," Annette began.

"Taylor," came her reply. She turned, a small smile on her face. "Taylor Anne Hebert."

"Taylor," Annette repeated. "Whoever your mother was, the version of me over on Bet... she was very lucky to have you."

The smile widened, tinged with something deeper. Sadness, perhaps. "Thank you."

She left the café, the door gently swinging shut behind her.


S


"I've learned something over the past few months," I said, sitting down at the makeshift table in the hall of the ship.

Colin looked up from the reports he was reading. His cowl was different now, with a pair of stylized horns on its head that gave him an almost monstrous silhouette. After months of trying to live it down, he had finally embraced his moniker. "Oh?"

"When I first started out, trying to be a cape and everything, I thought I could do this alone," I said. "I mean, if I could take down Hookwolf on my first night out, what could the gangs in Brockton Bay throw at me? And after that, when I became the girl who killed Behemoth, I thought I could handle everyone, become a one-girl crusader for justice and stuff. Pretty foolish of me, but something like that seems pretty feasible when you're on top of the world."

"Everyone has that in their heads at first, when they become a cape," Dragon said. "When I first started producing suits, I thought I would be able to mop up the gangs in Canada. Saint disillusioned me of that pretty quickly."

"Same here," Amy admitted sheepishly. "Though, I was thinking more of hospitals than anything else."

I rubbed my left arm absentmindedly, tracing where the scar had been. It felt good as new, though I found myself preferring my right more and more when it came to writing. "Took me something a bit bigger than any of that. Even before then, though, I still had to rely on others."

"You mean Behemoth," Colin said.

I nodded, then turned to Amy. "If it weren't for you and Legend, I would've died after the fight." I shifted again, looking back to Dragon. "If you hadn't started Tinkering with the Phantom Drive, we wouldn't have beaten Scion. All of these contributions helped me along, made me into who I am today."

"Don't sell yourself short," Amy said. "We'd all be dead if it wasn't for you."

I shrugged gently, running a hand through my hair. Parts of it had been burnt after the fight, and so I decided to cut it short instead of trying to have Amy grow it back. "Still, it shows that I never did anything alone. No matter what I did, someone helped, even if it was only in a small way."

"What point are you getting at, anyway?" Colin inquired.

"To be honest? I'm thinking about what we've done together, what we could do together. There's still a lot of problems out there, entire Earths that need help, and there's only so much I can do. When we put our heads together and combined our efforts, we managed to beat Scion. Think of what we could do to help with recovery if we didn't go our separate ways."

"So, basically, you think we shouldn't split up," Dragon said. "I never even considered doing that, and I'm pretty sure the same goes for Colin. Why bring it up all of a sudden?"

I thought about the meeting I had with M- er, Annette a week ago, and the words of advice she had given me.

"We need to be more than a group," I finally said. "We need to be a symbol, to show everyone that we're all in this together, no matter what you are. Artificial intelligences, parahumans, Kryptonians; we're all trying to make the world a better place. Our Earth's distrustful of parahumans, now that the truth about Cauldron and Scion are out. The Protectorate is getting flack from both the public and the government, but they're still trying to help. We need to show that we can still be a force of good, a team."

"You want to make us into a public team?" Amy asked.

I nodded. "Why not? When people see that even the Endslayer, the Savior of Golden Noon, needs the help of others, the impact of our message will hit deeper."

"That actually is a good point," Dragon admitted. "I've been giving the thought of making a team myself, though there's still my membership in the Guild to consider. I'd imagine they'd be willing to join in if we go public."

"It sounds like a good idea to me as well, but I'm not sure if I can join," Colin said. "It'll be hard to sell the whole "dark avenger of the night" shtick when I'm a member of a big team full of colorful characters like you and Dragon. If we go ahead with it, I think I'll just be an "honorary member", so to speak."

I shrugged. "Shouldn't be hard to manage."

"What would the team be called, anyway?" he continued.

"How about 'the Superfriends'?" Dragon offered, trying to hide a snicker.

I leaned back in my seat, tenting my hands as I tried to storm up a name for the team. Suddenly, a large grin broke out on my face. Straightening in my seat, I leaned forward.

"I was thinking more like... a Justice League."


S


I sat down on the bench beside Emma, folding one leg over the other as I watched the scene unfolding across the bay. A portal was forming near the beach, leading to Earth Gimel. Apparently, there were vast oceans out there that had never known of fishing, which would be a massive boon to the city's economy. Naturally, environmentalists protested the motion, and I still felt a bit uneasy about it, but the logic was somewhat sound. It would be time before everyone learned to be more ecologically aware, and having two oceans to fish from would really help reduce the strain put on our Earth.

"How many of these other Earths are out there?" Emma asked.

"Tons. Bigger than any number we can conceive; more than there are particles in the universe. Pretty mind-boggling, if you think about it." I breathed deeply, taking in the scents of the coming spring. "I can actually see them, now. It came in little bursts at first, like with seeing the Source, and got more focused as the weeks went by. If I focus juuust right, I can see how this is in Aleph, or Gimel. Not easy, though, considering just how many there are."

"I stopped trying to think about it when people started throwing around exponents," Emma said, rubbing her hands together. "Fucking crazy. So much has happened with just a few of them opened up, and we're not even scratching a few atoms off the surface or something."

"It's insane, how big it all is. I mean, is it possible that there's an entirely separate Earth, somewhere out there, where there's two versions of us having the exact same conversation? The numbers seem against it, actually, but still..."

"Maaaaaaaaybe we should move away from this heavy discussion topic," Emma said. "So, how are things with you and Amy? You two... ya know..."

I turned to her, shocked but not surprised at the boldness of her question. Leaning back into the bench, I sighed.

"No. At least, not yet, anyway. We're a bit young for that, don't you think?"

Emma shrugged. "Eh. You two seem made for each other."

"There's always the chance things might not work out," I said. "Maybe we'll stay together, but that isn't set in stone."

"It'd be pretty hard to find another date," Emma said. "You know, with the whole "I'm actually an alien superhero" bombshell you'd have to drop at some point."

I chuckled. "Yeah, that raises a good point." I rose from the bench, dusting myself off. "Anyway, I have to go. There's some stuff I need to attend to."

"Just one last thing," Emma said.

I turned to her. "Yes?"

"How do you keep it real? I mean, I'd be acting pretty cocky if I had powers like you, 'specially after you beat down Scion."

I paused, then turned my gaze skyward. The vast expanse of the universe hung above me like the most beautiful mural ever painted, something crafted over billions of years by seemingly random forces. I could see countless stars through the glare of daylight, illuminating the endless void around me. If I focused enough, I could see the light of the Source itself, fractured into a myriad of countless infinities.

"Sometimes, when I think I'm getting a bit full of myself, I just look up at the sky, and remind myself of just how small I actually am."

I turned back on my original heading, and took off.


S


Five Months After Golden Noon

"Has everyone arrived?"

The hologram of Jor-El nodded. "Dragon brought the last one of them aboard fifteen minutes ago. They're waiting in the hall as we speak."

I paced around the bridge of the ship, rubbing my hands together. "Okay, good. Feeling a little nervous right now."

"It's to be expected," the AI replied.

I stopped, looking out the windows around the bridge. Earth filled most of the view, spinning underneath us like a delicately carved and painted marble. It was easier than expected to get the ship into orbit, but renovating proved to be far more difficult. Removing anything that might cause accidents, storing away files on more dangerous technologies, making sure Riley's cell was secure... the list went on and on. Eventually, however, we managed to make it a fine base of operations.

Amy stepped inside, wearing her uniform. "Crowd's getting kinda antsy. Ready to do the speech?"

I let out a long sigh. "Yeah, I guess. Why aren't we having Dragon do it?"

"Because they didn't come for Dragon," Amy replied.

"I heard that."

Amy scowled. "Whatever. They came to see Superwoman give a speech, and you're going to deliver." She gave me a peck on the cheek, then gently pushed at my back. "Come on, let's not keep the crowd waiting any longer. They agreed to come aboard, despite all the stuff on their hands."

I let her push me to the doorway, then stepped through and made my way up the podium we had hastily erected. A good fifteen capes or so were in the main hall, waiting for me. Two or three were independents, but the rest had been members of teams at some point. Legend stood at one side, along with Chevalier and Miss Militia. I could also recognize a Case 53 in the group, a metal boy named Weld.

Any conversations they were having died when they realized I was present, and the room became deathly quiet. I surveyed the room, then took a deep breath. Stay calm.

"Welcome," I began. "We have gathered you here to make an offer of membership to a team we are making..."


S


You are currently logged in, ADallon

You are viewing:
• Threads you have replied to
• AND Threads that have new replies
• OR private message conversations with new replies
• Thread OP is displayed
• Ten posts per page
• Last ten messages in private message history
• Threads and private messages are ordered by user custom preference.

Topic: Cauldron Whereabouts?
In: Boards ► Worldwide ► Cape Doings ► Villains

accelpoeration (Bet User) (Veteran Member) (Original Poster)
Posted on May 14th, 2010:

So, it's been a few months since Golden Noon passed, but we still haven't gotten a whiff of the conspiracy group who was planning for it. Are they dead? In hiding? Away on some other Earth? This is the speculation thread, so feel free to go nuts.

(Showing Page 121 of 456)

nomolesti (Aleph User)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

Don't ask me. I think we'd know if a conspiracy consisting of powerful parahumans was hiding here. :p

omgtehrei (Bet User) (Veteran Member)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

Considering how well they were able to hide in plain sight, I wouldn't be surprised if they're still lurking around somewhere. I mean, a team like them probably has Shifters and Masters who can help with camouflage, right?

gameraisbetterthangodzilla (Shin User)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

Or, they're just hiding on another Earth. They have a few hundred trillion trillion trillion to pick from. Finding them doesn't sound like a very easy thing to do.

godzillaisbetterthangamera (Aleph User) (Veteran Member)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

First off, what a coincidence. Second off, I'd imagine they're a bit limited in places where they can hide. There must be Earths that are too dangerous to make bases in, or just plain shitty ones. Even if they are only small fractions, that still knocks a few trillion universes off of our list.

nomolesti (Aleph User)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

I wonder if that new Justice League team is looking for them?

Superwoman (Bet User) (Verified Cape) (League Chairwoman)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

We are, but they're a low priority, despite the terrible things that they did.

Firstly, there is still a lot of damage that needs reparation ever since Golden Noon. There are millions of refugees that need homes, which requires a great deal of resources and logistics. Between bringing a few bad people to justice, and saving countless people from dying of starvation and disease, the latter is a preferable option.

Secondly, there are the issues of uncontrolled trigger events going on. Since Scion is no longer around to manage them, people are often horribly mutating when they gain powers, almost like an exaggeration of the Case 53s. If we want to properly address the issue, we need to stop the source at the root. That has two main options. The first: I go around and disable everyone's shard connections, which would involve a lot of legal issues since they are unlicensed medical operations. The second: We find the Earths that have shards, then scour them. Either option is time-consuming and difficult, but must be done if we want to save trillions of lives over the coming decades.

And finally, we need to help with integration. One Earth doesn't get along with itself, now imagine four. We already had that scare between the CUI and the PRC last month, and I have a feeling that won't be the end of it, especially as we contact more and more Earths. To combat this, we are planning on offering memberships to capes and specially trained individuals across all the contacted realities.

Hope this helps. :)

nomolesti (Aleph User)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

Did... did Superwoman just respond to my post? And give me a smiley face?! Holy shit holy shit holy shit! :D :D :D

omgtehrei (Bet User) (Veteran Member)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

Well, that was unexpected.

bakabjorn (Shin User)
Posted on May 22nd, 2010:

Fuck me. Sweeeet. I can't believe she actually got an account.

(End of Page) (121, 122, 123,... 456)


S


Six Months After Golden Noon

Amy nuzzled against me, holding my hand tightly as we walked down the street.

"Lovely day, isn't it?"

I nodded, pulling her closer. Summer was in full force once more, bringing about lush greenery throughout the parks in the city. Everything was more vibrant than before, and not just because of my ever-expanding vision. With the nearby portal, the Bay was in full boon again, pulling it out of the deep depression it had been in before.

"Yes, yes it is," I said.

"I wonder how long this is going to last. The boon, that is. I mean, everything is going fine right now, but it's going to have to come to a stop eventually, right?"

"Maybe," I replied. "But that doesn't mean it's going to turn horrible again, either. I think the worst is behind us."

There was a pause as we continued down the street, heading towards the beach. The waters were still a bit polluted, but nothing like the sewage choked broths they had been less than a year ago.

"Do you think we're going to last?" Amy asked, her voice soft. "I mean, how often do first relationships stay together?"

I stopped and turned to her. Then, I pulled in close, pressing my lips against hers.

"I'm not sure," I replied, my voice quiet. "But I do know this, Amy. As long as we're together, I'm going to enjoy every last moment of it."

"Always an optimist, aren't you?"

I tapped my breastbone, right where the sigil of my uniform lay under my shirt. "Well, it is the family crest, after all." I moved to kiss her again, only for my phone to beep. Sighing, I fished it out of my pocket and held it to my ear. "Hello?"

"Taylor? It's Dragon. Just wanted to let you know there's an earthquake in Aleph-Turkey that'll need League assistance."

"Alright," I replied. Snapping the phone shut, I turned back to Amy. "Work needs us."

"Well, let's get going, then," she said, sighing.

I smiled, then leaned in and gave her a peck on the cheek. "Don't worry; we can finish the date later. Head over to the station for pick up; I'll meet you there later."

Amy smiled back. "That sounds good."

I watched her go, then made for a secluded place to get into my uniform. I unbuttoned my shirt, revealing the sigil underneath, then paused, thinking.

Turning, I focused my vision, peering into the heart of the Source itself, where infinity itself was displayed for me to see. I fixated on one spot in particular, a window to someplace only I could see...

...where I see you...

...and winked.

"This looks like a job for Superwoman."


You have been reading

The Last Daughter


Superman was created by JERRY SEIGEL and JOE SCHUSTER


Batman was created by BOB KANE and BILL FINGER


Worm was created by J.C. McCRAE


This story uses elements from various other franchises. None of them are mine, and all credit goes to the original creators. This is a non-profit work meant solely for fun and entertainment.


Superman shows us time and time again that we can be better than what we are. When things are at their worst, there is still a glimmer of hope, and he exemplifies that like no other character. This story may be far from perfect, but I hope that it brings out the themes he stands for. Because of him, there is still an excited child inside of me, looking around at the world with awe and wonder.

This is an imaginary story. But aren't they all?

...

Is anyone still actually reading this? If you are, good.

You didn't actually think I forgot about Sleeper, did you?


Much earlier...

A man sat in a simple lawn chair, reading a book aloud to himself. On the surface, there appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary about him. His clothes were nondescript, and there was no sign at all of what lurked underneath. There was only a strange glint in his eyes, one that hinted at something beyond his exterior.

Deep within Sleeper, watching the outside world with eyes he didn't control, a man sobbed to himself. He raged at the dark force that bound him, stripped him of his will, but it was as useless as draining an ocean with a dropper. Despite it, however, he pushed on, clinging on to that last sliver of hope within his soul.

Please, he whimpered. Please, you don't have to keep me like this. Just leave me or kill me, I don't care anymore.

Another voice chuckled, the sound dragging across the back of the man's mind like a rusty blade.

Death would be a kindness to you, it rumbled, its voice as deep as hate itself. No, you are needed where I am going. I need a body if I wish to further my plans, as well as someone to torment. You suffice for both, insect. Be grateful you will not be required for as long as your predecessors had been. The Kryptonian's presence has forced me to accelerate things. For too long I have been here, recuperating from my being cast from my own world. The time has come to truly regain what I have lost.

The man's body snapped the book shut, then rose to its feet, guided along by the dark presence like a marionette. The man struggled against the presence's control, trying to move of his own accord, but it was utterly futile.

Please, continue, the voice said, a hint of amusement lining its words. It will give me great pleasure to see your will break like the others before you.

Why are you doing this? the man asked. Why do such terrible things to the people in your territory? Why take me over and make me into a puppet, just like all your other victims?

Why? Is not the answer clear? I enjoy this, insect. I am incomplete when there is no one to torment, to rule over and terrorize. It is why I seek for the antithesis to life itself.

What, that's it? You just want to kill everyone?

The voice chuckled again, scraping at the edges of the man's consciousness, gnawing away at his soul. For the briefest of moments, he swore he felt something beyond the presence, but dismissed the thought. The alternative was too horrifying to comprehend.

I do not wish for everything to meet with death, it said. Death is but the negation of life, the end of it. No, I seek for something else. Life is not just the existence of living things. It is freedom. Choice. The ability to control and decide your own destiny, to carve out an identity for yourself. It is a disgusting, chaotic thing, and I will turn it upon itself and make it mine. I will corrupt life itself, steal away its soul and make it part of me for all eternity.

The man found himself lurching forward, moving against his own volition. He exited the drab stone room that were his quarters and prison, making for the vast courtyard within. It was nighttime outside, and the Moon was nowhere to be seen. The blackness of the night was overwhelming, deadening the colors he managed to see.

Everything in Creation has an opposite, a yin to a yang. Order and Chaos. Beginning and End. Life, and Anti-Life.

Something flickered before him, like a swirl of concentric rings, then solidified into something else. It was like a vast starry field had been revealed through the circle cut into the air, laying bare an entire universe beyond the one he knew. As the moments passed, however, he realized that they weren't stars. They were Earths.

Infinite Earths.

There are places I must go to, the voice said. Armies to build, allies to make. It will take time, but time is one of the few things I have in overabundance. Soon, everyone will know there was a time when the old gods died.

The man moved forward, screaming inwardly at the sight before him, and stepped through.

Soon, all will be Darkseid.


The adventures of The Last Daughter of Krypton will continue in:

CRISIS