Authors note: this chapter is going to be delving very deeply into the mythology of the WildStorm universe, mainly The Authority and Planetary. Buckle up and hold on…

Calling of the blood
Part 10: A Finer World

University of Metropolis
2008

"You took your time." Chloe smiled as Clark walked across the quad towards her. "How was New York?"

"Busy, and rather useless: they still claim that they have no information on Krypton." Clark shrugged as he put his arm around his fiancé. "It's almost impossibly to get a Kherubim to tell you anything at the best of times, but since Snow told them what we found…"

"You can't hold that against Elijah forever. He's provided us with all the equipment and support staff we needed to get this thing off the ground. If not for the support of the Planetary Foundation or the Hark Corporation, you'd have never gotten this off the ground. Even with what happened to Pete after he found the travel stone, I don't think anyone took you that seriously."

"What about you? Did you take me seriously?"

"Clark, you're talking about seriously changing the established world order. This goes beyond anything anyone has ever attempted before. You bet I took you seriously!"

"Have I told you I love you today?"

"No, and you're not getting off the hook that easily. That Lane woman's been asking after you again."

"You're not still holding that against me, are you?"

"You're the one who kissed her…"

"I did not kiss her. She kissed me! I was the kissed, not the kisser!"

"You're still sleeping on the sofa tonight."

"What? Why?"

"God, you are easy some times! You've been away for over a week… Do you really think I'd kick you out of bed?"

"You can be very evil when you want to be, Chloe Sullivan."

"Yes, and you love me for it."


Planetary Field office, living quarters
2 days later

The phone started to ring. A hand reached out from under the bedclothes and groped around until it was found and pulled under the covers.

"Hello?"

"Chloe, it's Elijah. Is Clark with you?"

"Yes, but you'll have to fight me for him. He's under house arrest 'til the meeting Wednesday."

"Chloe, it is Wednesday. Everyone's here, waiting for the two of you."

"Are you sure it's Wednesday already? If this is some kind of joke, and you drag us all the way up there, I'm going to ring your neck…"

"Chloe, it's Bruce. The meeting was supposed to start twenty minutes ago."

"Well I know you're not lying. You don't have a sense of humor. Ok, give us half an hour to get changed and dressed and we'll be right up. Tell Pete to circle the block or something." Chloe dropped the phone back into the receiver.

"What was that about?" Clark asked from the other side of the bed.

"Snow. We're late for the meeting." Chloe pulled herself out of bed. "Be a good boy and put the coffee on while I have a shower."


The Carrier

"You so need to stop letting your mom dress you." Chloe snickered as they made their way along a seemingly endless corridor. "I'm almost embarrassed to be seen out in public with you."

"If it's that bad, why did you ask me to wear it in bed the other night?" Clark asked as they reached an elevator. "It distracts from the face. People see the outfit, not the person in it."

"I still think a mask would have been a good idea."

"This from someone who's taken great pains never to be photographed?"

"It works." Chloe chimed as the elevator came to a stop, the doors opening onto a very busy room. Technicians in Planetary uniforms were working at consoles set up in a barn-sized room that was dominated by a huge holographic globe.

Pete was leaning against the far wall, talking to a young woman. He said something that made her laugh and blush slightly, evidently the effect Pete wanted.

"Why is it that you men seem intent on using superpowers to pick up women?" Chloe asked, arms crossed with indignation.

"It worked with you, didn't it?" Clark winked.

"Don't push your luck farm-boy." Chloe warned as she started to cross the room. "You could still end up sleeping on the sofa."


"About time you got here." Bruce Wayne was sitting on one side of the circular conference table.

Chloe glared at him as she sat down next to Show, Clark sitting next to her with Pete taking the next seat along. Jack Hawksmoor and Shen Li-men occupied two additional seats, but there were still several empty, giving the room an uncompleted feel.

"Right, now that we're all here, we can begin." Snow stood and started to walk around the table. "We are all here because we recognise that there are problems in this world that can not be handled by existing agencies. People are, for the most part, completely unaware of the daily threats to the very existence of our planet. It will not be long before we can no longer hide the true nature of the world we live in."

"Elijah, you're starting to monologue." Chloe leaned back in her chair and put her feet up on the table. "Our cosy little secret world is about to be blown wide open, and we have to decide just how we're going to react when it happens."

"I presume you have a plan?" Wayne asked, growing impatient.

"I do." Clark nodded. "We can continue to fight the little fights… you in Gotham, Chloe and I in Metropolis… or we can join forces. Go after those who profit from the crime, from the secret deals and hidden agendas. We can make a difference. We can make a better world."

"Planetary cannot get involved directly. We're still to busy cleaning up after the Four." Snow sat back down. "But we have contacts, people we've come across, things we've heard. There is talk of a warrior-priestess leaving the hidden city of Opak-Re to bring civilization to the rest of the world. The files we took from the Four suggest that there is an interplanetary organization dedicated to creating finer worlds. We are trying our best to contact the civilization hidden on an island somewhere in the Atlantic…"

"And what of this ship, this 'Carrier' as you call it?" Wayne asked, looking around the room. "I've yet to get a straight answer from you as to just what it is."

"She's alive." Pete spoke up for the first time. "We don't know her full story, apart from the fact that her original crew abandoned her after some sort of accident. We know she was built to travel between parallel dimensions by accessing what we call 'The Bleed', the wall between realities. From what she's told me, she was originally a trading ship of some sort. When her crew abandoned her in The Bleed, she ejected what she calls 'Travel Stones' into the nearest reality. Our reality."

"Mr. Ross encountered one such Stone while investigating a case in Smallville," Snow explained. "He was the first living being to walk her decks for an unknown length of time."

"She asked me for help, for guidance. I said yes," Pete chuckled. "Guess I should have read the small print."

"What small print?" Wayne looked slightly concerned. "What are you not telling me?"

"It would be easier to show you." Pete stood and backed away from the table slightly. A strange blue light enveloped his body from head to toe.

When the light faded, a strange looking gold and grey suit had replaced Pete's clothing. A strange looking cowl covered his head, while his skin and hair had turned the same shade of grey as his clothing. A golden cloak hung down from his shoulders, matching the sash wrapped round his waist.

"This is what I am now." Pete held his arms apart. "The Carrier made me a superhuman so I can control her systems. Not all of them. It takes seven superhumans to operate a shift-ship, but most of them."

"So what can you do?" Wayne asked; his previous concern lost to curiosity.

"I can control where in The Bleed the Carrier goes," Pete sat back down. "She doesn't seem willing to leave Earth, but I could take her out of The Bleed and into our reality with very little effort. You won't be able to ascertain her full capabilities until we have recruited the other six people we need."

"You think that you'll be able to convince six other people to have a sentient ship with a serious fear of loneliness stick god only knows what into them?" Wayne laughed. "Why on earth would you want to do that?"

"Because it's the right thing to do." Chloe eyed the billionaire coolly. "Jack and Shen are leaving Planetary to help, but they've spent all their time in the shadows. Only you, Clark and I have operated overtly to any extent. 'Superman' is gaining quite the reputation. I have managed to remain a little more secret, but people are stating to talk about 'Miss Electric'. And I doubt that anyone in Gotham truly believes that Batman is just an urban legend anymore."

"In exchange for joining us and helping when we need you, you will be able to call on any of us, at any time," Snow smiled, "as well as the considerable recourses of Planetary. Anna Hark is also willing to discuss a pact to stop Lex Luthor taking over where his father left off."

"We need a public face that people will trust if we're going to pull this off." Clark stood. "So the question is this… Will you stand in league with us?"

Wayne sat in silence for sometime, his emotions unreadable behind the best poker face any of the others had ever seen. His eyes moved from time to time, examining the others one by one, trying to gage their reliability as an ally. Ever since his parents' death, he had taught himself never to rely on anyone else, but there was something in their voices that made him believe that they truly wanted to change the world for the better.

"I can see the merit in your plan." Wayne stood, offering his hand. "I think we can work together."

"So do I." Clark smiled as he shook the older mans hand. "Welcome to the Justice League…"

The End

Well, that was a strange journey…

As with most of my stories, I don't necessarily know how it's going to end when I start writing it. Hell, when I wrote 'Coffee and Gossip', I never intended to have Chloe the secret daughter of Jenny Sparks. All I knew was I wanted to add a little of Ellis' humor and cynicism to the Smallville universe.

At the start of this story, all I knew was I wanted Chloe and Clark to end up together. How that was going to happen, I didn't know. I just knew it would.

I'd like to again thank Sara 'Crazy Danae' Nielsen for beta reading most of this for me, and for putting up with my rather erratic writing style.

A sequel, if any, will have to wait for me to finish a few other works in progress.

Thanks for reading,
Jeff