Hellsister: Part 1
Note: In "Kara and the Dreamsmith", an alternative multiverse
was created in which Earth-One did not perish in the Crisis on Infinite
Earths, and Supergirl, with the help of Kara Zor-El of Rokyn, survived
her battle with the Anti-Monitor. For more details, consult that
story. But more than a few of you wanted to read new adventures of
a Supergirl with powers and a costume. In response, we're launching
this series, which begins not long after the aborted Crisis and details
the adventures of the rescued Supergirl. Since Kara of Rokyn is set
in what I call the "Earth 1.5"
universe, this series is set on "Earth 1.75". Hope you enjoy it!
Characters in this and succeeding chapters are property of DC Comics. No money is being made from this story, no infringement is intended.
Linda Danvers caught the bouquet.
She gasped in surprise and pleasure, standing there in her light blue dress outside Metropolis's First Presbyterian Church. She stood beside her foster parents, Fred and Edna Danvers. All three had been throwing rice till the flowers were thrown. Linda looked at the bundle of yellow roses for an instant. Then she glanced at Lois Lane, in her white bridal gown, grinning and giving Linda a big wave. Linda smiled back.
Clark Kent, in a black tux, held onto Lois with one arm, waved with the other, and winked at Linda. She smiled shyly at him. Linda didn't have to guess whose super-breath had guided those flowers just where he'd wanted them.
For a second or two, there was a painful flash of loneliness. Dick Malverne, Jerro, Brainiac 5, maybe one or two others...none of them had been the right one for her. Would there ever be one? She wondered, fleetingly, if the Supergirl who had fought beside her in the Crisis was still single.
But then she looked across the way to where another blonde girl was standing. This woman resembled her to an astonishing degree, but hid her features behind a black veil and stood, unspeaking, in a black dress.
Her gaze rarely left Clark Kent's face. A month ago, this woman, as Power Girl, had seen her cousin die in the great battle against the Anti-Monitor.
No matter what, Linda decided that she still had it better than the Kara Zor-L of Earth-Two.
Fred Danvers looked at his foster daughter and said, "I never thought he'd finally do it, Linda. But tell me something, will you?"
"What's that, Dad?" asked Linda.
"I know who he is. And I know who you are. But are some of these guys and ladies around here, maybe, well--part of the team?"
"What team is that, Dad?" Linda asked with faked innocence.
"You know what team," said Fred, in mock exasperation. "It'd be
really fun if you took me up to
shake hands with some of them. Now, it's not like I want to know which ones they are. But you know, I have met the Gotham guy. And I'll bet I could guess which one he is, if I tried. Is it kind of like the Mafia? Do you say, 'This is a friend of mine'?"
Linda smiled cautiously. "Dad, I've gotta tell you. Whenever we think somebody's getting too curious, we have to take him to the guy from Coast City. And the Coast City guy has to use that thing on his finger to go over your mind like a Disk Doctor over a hard drive, and purge out those curiosity bumps. After it was done, you wouldn't even remember everyone that was here."
"Hmph," Fred snorted. "You guys used to have to go through such stupid stunts to keep your secrets secret."
"That was before we met the guy from Coast City," said Linda, nonchalantly.
Fred, hands in pockets, said, "Irregardless, I'm glad your cousin, uh, Clark finally came to his senses. Edna's wanted to sit him down and talk sense into him for a long time. Now there's just barely time for Lois to have a baby."
"Yeah," said Linda. "But I think ol' Clark will do all right in that department. And if me trying to play matchmaker all those times with him didn't work, I don't think Mom's would, either. But I finally told Lois about how I'd tried to get her and him together once, without showing my hand, and she cracked up. She said, 'That's just like what he'd do! You're a real member of the family, all right.'
"Then there was that time I went nuts from the red rock and tried to make her think I was married to him, and almost froze her. And we were both laughing, even though, my Lord, when the red rock wore off I was just about lower than an ant's belly. I'm so darn glad that stuff is all iron now."
"She knows who you are?" asked Fred.
"Yep. Clark and I told her when I went by to give her the wedding presents. We all had a good time, and Clark said that if it took a Crisis to make him get married, he was just glad he was around when it hit. That's a joke. At least, I think it is."
Fred looked at her. "How about you, Linda?"
She looked back at him. "I'm dating, Daddy."
"All right, all right," said Fred, and went back to looking at the crowd.
The Justice League of America and Teen Titans had inflated the list of guests, all of them incognito. The Phantom Stranger stood near the back of the church, protected by a spell that cloaked him from the sight of all but the ones there who knew him. Billy Batson, Mary Batson, and Freddy Freeman had made the voyage from their Earth to attend.
Most of the Earth-Two contingent had decided against coming. The
reporters at the soiree were
already curious, and the Earth-One heroes' attendance was already pushing the security envelope. Clark Kent did have a secret identity, after all. Instead, the Justice Society had made an en masse visit to Superman in the new Justice League satellite and wished him well. Lois Lane of Earth-Two also came, still in mourning, but bearing up bravely. "We had over thirty good years together, Clark, and that was more than most could ever hope for," she said. "I wish that much
happiness and more for you and your Lois."
After a few seconds' silence, Superman had embraced her, and she wet his cape with several tears.
Later, he excused himself, sought out Power Girl where she sat in the trophy room of the satellite and comforted her. The tough-libber front she usually put on had vanished in the wake of her Superman's death, and of the crippling of Wildcat. "I never told him I loved him," she said to Kal-El.
Superman had taken her hand and said, "But Kal knew. He told me, Kara. He told me he loved you like a father. Do you think these things have to be said out loud for them to be true?"
Power Girl had looked up at him wonderingly. Then she dropped her gaze back to her lap, and said, "Thank you." Reluctantly, the Man of Steel had returned to his guests. Power Girl rejoined them, on the periphery.
Lois's parents, Sam and Ella Lane, were seated up front, as were Jimmy and Lucy Olsen (the latter had eloped two weeks earlier). Other attendees included Mr. and Mrs. Perry White, Morgan Edge, that idiot Steve Lombard on his best behavior with another cheerleader-type girlfriend, Pete Ross, Bash Bashford, and Lana Lang, who was still torn between wondering if she now had a clear field with Superman or if Lois had finally won the battle at last.
"I wonder if he'll really tell me," mused Lana aloud.
"What's that, Lana?" said Pete, casually.
She glanced at him, made up her mind, and said, "I wonder if he'll really tell me how he got Lois after all these years, Pete." Lana put a weather-girl's grin on it.
Pete, his other arm draped around his son Jon's shoulders, considered his widower's status for a
second. "If he tells you, Lana, pass it on to me. I might could use it, you know."
The redhead studied him for a second. Every woman knows the Look when she's being given it. She'd known Pete for a long time, ever since Smallville when they were both kids. He was a geologist now, had done quite well for himself, and was a single dad with a young son, Jon.
But now, she looked at him with a different eye.
He still had boyish good looks at 39, worked out enough to keep in shape, and was intelligent enough to be interesting. Lana felt some tentative urges stirring, and was glad.
"Wanna go for something after this?" said Lana.
The Rokynians, those survivors of Krypton, were out of phase with Earth for the next month, but had sent congratulations to their favorite son. The Kent family was represented by several cousins and their offspring. All were glad to see Clark tie the knot. All were wondering why a big shot like Bruce Wayne had shown up.
Bruce, in a tux, had excused himself from Selina Kyle for a few minutes and was huddled with several of the other guests: Arthur Curry, John Jones, Ray Palmer, Diana Prince, Ollie Queen, Dinah Lance, Hal Jordan, Carter and Shiera Hall, Ronnie Raymond, and John Smith. Even with his Power Ring, Hal had had a hell of a time getting Smith, the android Red Tornado, through the metal detector.
"Yes, it's just as scheduled, next Saturday at Gotham First Episcopal,"
said Bruce. "I know we've got these things going off closer together
than firecrackers in a string. But please try to make it.
For Selina's sake, if not mine."
Ollie, holding Dinah's hand, said, "Bruce, paisan, ain't no way we'd
ever miss you and the Cat--"
Dinah elbowed him. "--and the Catch of the Day over there getting married. Besides, you know us. Dinah and I never pass up free food."
The black-haired beauty gave him a firm look. "And you'd better not back out of our ceremony next month, Ollie. Or you'll be shooting arrows with one busted arm!"
Everybody laughed, the Halls most loudly. Di pointed a thumb at him. "You think I'm joking. He knows!"
Ollie grinned and spread the fingers of his free hand in an I'm-helpless gesture. Then he pointed to Hal. "My erstwhile partner has a dime to drop, too. Let 'em know it, Hal."
Hal Jordan, hands in his pockets, gray starting at the temples of his
brown hair, cleared his throat and said, "Carol and I have decided to make
it a double wedding with Ollie and Di. Naturally, you're all invited."
There was another round of congratulations and back-slapping. Ollie said, "You thought the security here was tough. What happens when those other guys in his bunch decide to crash the party? You know, the robot guy, and the one in the fish helmet, and the plant, and the grasshopper..." He tried to hold a straight face, but he just couldn't. Ollie was doubled up in laughter. Ray Palmer, smiling, grabbed him by the hair and pulled him upright.
"Queen, I thought I made all the jokes on this team. You want a better one than that? All of Hal's friends turn up there in their green uniforms, and there both of you are in yours. And one of them looks at you, and points, and says to the guy beside him--maybe the fish or the grasshopper--'Is that what the Corps wears on Earth-Two?'"
"Aw, hell, Ray!" said Oliver, sheepishly.
Diana said, "I'd like to thank all of you for the gifts you sent Steve and I. And I'm sorry you couldn't make it to the ceremony. But you know it was a Crisis wedding!" Another big laugh. "I want you to understand that we can't make all the weddings, but you can regard us as present in spirit at the ones we don't attend. Is that all right?"
"Sure," said Jones. "Perfectly all right with us."
The others put on brave smiles when they heard him. But everyone knew how left out the Martian was feeling. As yet, he had no prospect for marriage.
Arthur Curry sized up his friends and said little. He was glad to be back with the team. But he was still embarrassed over the fiasco his "new JLA" had proven to be. The group had disbanded after the Crisis. Vixen and Steel had joined the Outsiders. Vibe had gotten out of superheroing and was working on an entertainment career, without much luck. Gypsy had quit altogether and gone back to a normal teen-aged life, and Arthur was glad of it. He squirted himself in the face with the old trick-spray flower in his lapel. Couldn't afford to get too dry too long.
At least nobody rubbed his face in it. Yet.
A discussion was going on about villains.
"Bruce, Ra's Al Ghul knows about you," said Ray. "What do you want to do about it?"
Dinah said, "Send him notice to keep out of it."
"Right," said Ollie. "And tell him if he doesn't, Clark and Diana will pound him flat."
Bruce smiled, folding his arms. "I've already given him notice about that. He's honorable in his own way. I don't think he'll try to crash the party."
Jones spoke up. "What about afterwards? I hate tosay it, Bruce. But the Talia thing...he might think you're still married to his daughter."
The Earthman regarded his Martian friend for a few seconds before he spoke. "Selina and Talia worked together once, John. There wasn't any animosity back then. If there is any now...we'll take care of it."
Ronnie Raymond, one-half of Firestorm's two civilian identities, saw
a chance to enter the
conversation. "What about Kobra, guys?"
Silence. Then, Arthur said, "What about Kobra, Ron?"
Ronnie, the youngest of them all, felt like the junior partner at a big law firm sometimes. Now was one of those times. "I know this sounds wild, but hear me out. If we got together on an aggressive operation, all of us, we could take down Kobra and send a message that way to Al Ghul and all the rest. It'd say, 'Don't mess with us, or you'll end up like this guy.' We could do it, you know. We don't have to just sit around here waiting for him to attack something."
Bruce, who had the most experience fighting Kobra, and the biggest grudge against him, said, "Not now. Nice idea, kid, but not right now. Let's wait till after the season is done."
The youth spread his arms wide. "Fine. What if Kobra decides to hit halfway across the world while we're all out at a wedding? I mean, what then? He probably knows who some of us are, already."
"Not now," said Bruce, brooking no argument. He turned and walked over to another group.
Some of the Leaguers were turning away. "What's gotten into him?" wondered Ronnie. "I was just trying to make a suggestion, you know."
Ralph Dibny stretched out an elongated hand and set it on Ronnie's shoulder.
"Ron, it's still too early after the Crisis. Nobody wants to take
on big operations right now. We're tired. So are the
villains, apparently. Kobra and Ra's may be planning...but so far, they're not doing."
Ronnie considered it. "Well, hope you're right. Any more leads on Barry?"
"No," admitted Ralph, sadly. Barry Allen, the Flash, had been
Ralph's greatest friend among the
League. "No, Ron, not yet. But after that trial and all...I'm glad he's gone. Wherever he is, he's
probably someplace better."
Ronnie shrugged. "I always thought the League could find out everything."
Ralph replied, "School's out, kid," and turned to the punchbowl.
A few seconds later, Ronnie joined him, and only made small talk.
So went the wedding of the season in Metropolis.
Clark Kent and Lois Lane drove off in the brown car with the tin cans tied behind and the funny slogans painted on the windows in white shoe polish. Linda Danvers stood beside Fred and Edna, holding the bouquet and looking after them.
Edna put her arm about her daughter's waist and whispered in her ear, "Maybe there's still hope for you after all, dear."
Linda put on her first aggravated expression of the day. "Mom, will you cut that out? I'm not ready for a husband yet. I've still got so much to sort out."
Still speaking in a low voice, Edna answered, "You're almost thirty, Linda, and you've been 'sorting things out' for a good while now. Three or four big jobs now, and you're back in college as a grad student. How long do you think life's going to wait while you're sorting?"
The girl's exasperation almost made her crush the flowers in her hand before she remembered to ease her grip. "Mother, we've had this discussion before. I told you, I've been doing some dating, but I haven't found anybody real yet. I'm doing okay alone."
"You call what you're doing okay?"
"You really want an argument here in front of God, guests, and everybody, Mom?" Linda stared down her mother.
"All right, Linda, if that's what you want," said Edna, finally. "But when you get to be forty and you still haven't found somebody, just remember that I tried my best."
Linda sighed. "If I get to forty and I haven't found someone,
Mom, I'll go to Rokyn, find a
matchmaker, and elope. Now, will you please get off it?"
"Of course, dear," Edna replied. "I always do."
- S -
Later, Supergirl made the flight back to Chicago, the flowers wrapped up in her cape to protect them from air friction. She was flying too quickly to be seen by the naked eye, and she flew below the range of defensive radar. A nanosecond of opening the screen and window, disabling and enabling the burglar alarm, and she was home in her apartment.
Kara unwrapped her cape, put the roses in a glass of water, took her comb from her cape-pouch and ran it through her hair to change it back to her brunette Linda Danvers style, took a blue pea-sized object from the pouch and decompressed it to reveal it as her blue dress, lay it on the floor and ironed the wrinkles out with a sweep of her forearm, and hung it up.
She then stripped off her Supergirl costume, compressed it, dropped
it into a coin purse, removed
her underwear and stood naked behind drawn curtains.
Kara sighed. She trudged into her bathroom, turned on the water in the tub, heated it with two bursts of energy from her eyes, and turned it off when it became full. Before she got in, she walked barefoot into her bedroom, where a framed photo of the Danverses reposed on a bedside table.
She used her X-ray vision to see the picture of Zor-El and Allura behind it.
Mom and Dad. Half a galaxy away, in a world that was out of phase with her universe right now.
Foster Mom and Dad, in Midvale, almost as distant from her emotionally as her real parents were physically.
And those damned flowers from somebody else's wedding.
Then she took her bath, went to bed, and slept, crying only a few tears in the process.
In the night, she had a visitor.
Despite all the defensive devices and alarms she had secretly installed, an intruder appeared within her bedroom. He had not come through the door or the window.
One instant, he was not there. The next, he was. That was the sum of it.
Anyone who was present and awake at that time would have sensed a presence darker than the darkness in that room. But Kara was not awake.
And the intruder had business with her.
Her super-senses did not respond to his presence. Her sleep was, if anything, deeper than it had been before his arrival.
Had he merely been thief, rapist, or murderer, she would have been far safer. But she did not stir, and the intruder went about his work.
He extended his hand towards her, and directed beams of energy at the girl.
Several ropy threads of substance came from her brow, in response. Kara stirred, but did not awaken. The unbidden visitor noted this, and was careful in his actions.
The operation took less than a minute. Seconds after its completion, Kara was alone in her apartment again.
She was more alone than she had been before the intruder's visit.
And that was a very deadly thing indeed.
- S -
Ten centuries in the future, this will happen. Let us say that it did happen, to make our story easier to relate.
A masked woman dressed in black was presented to a white-bearded man
sitting on a throne. She exuded power, but the power he possessed
made hers look insignificant. To some extent, they
understood each other. Their purposes overlapped a bit.
"Show me what you can do," said the bearded man.
"And if I do, what then?" she snapped, not wavering her gaze from him.
"I could destroy you with greater ease than you could imagine," he replied. "But you may be of use to me. I can bring to you the Supergirl, so that you can destroy her. With my help, if need be. I need powerful allies. It is more efficient for me to work through them, and concentrate my power on the higher objectives. And after I have conquered the universe, the rewards will be great.
"Now. Show me what you can do. The United Planets has a starship crossing our space."
With only a cruel smile to show her acknowledgment, the woman defied gravity. She rocketed away, smashing a hole through the roof of the bearded man's palace.
Within seconds, she was in outer space. Her course was set to intercept that of a massive United Planets patrol ship.
A message was shortly received at the headquarters of the United Planets. It was the last one they would get from that particular starship.
The message stated that their craft was being destroyed by an unarmed woman. It was cut off before the end.
The woman in black returned to the palace and brought with her the corpse of the starship's captain. She had stained her costume with blood, and burned it clean with heat from her eyes after tossing the body at her host's feet.
"You promised me Supergirl," said the woman, quietly.
"You shall have her," he replied.
The Science Police got the word quickly. Chief Brannard was briefed by Lt. Varon on InstanTime over quite a few light years' distance.
"Was it a Daxamite?" asked Brannard, still in his underwear and sitting on the side of his bed.
"Doubt it, sir," said Varon. "The ship had lead in some shields. A Daxamite would be dead. Rokynian is a possibility, but not too many around, as you know. Repeat: one woman did that. Killed 312 people."
Brannard said, "Thank you, Lieutenant. I'll take care of it."
"Aye, sir." Varon's image faded from the hologram generator.
"16 dash 540 dash 21 slash b," said Brannard. The generator called forth an image of the Legion of Super-Heroes's headquarters, a gateway for messages.
"Science Police, Brannard," he said. "Problem."
- S -
Linda woke, feeling rested but somewhat woozy, and chalked it up to her usual morning blahs. Supergirl or not, she hated rolling out of bed at 7 a.m.
She glanced at the clock. The time was 6:38. The alarm had not gone off.
Then what had wakened her?
On the edges of what would be normal hearing to a human, she caught a familiar hum-tone. She stepped up her ear-power to superhuman status. There it was. The unmistakable sound of a Legion Flight Ring alarm.
Bounding out of bed, Linda pulled open her closet door. She shoved her hangered clothes to one side of the pipe rack and pressed her fingers to an area of the wall at the back. Her prints were recognized by a sensor device. The fake wall telescoped back.
Inside the shallow compartment were several accoutrements of her Supergirl identity, including the Legion ring. The rings belonging to herself and Superboy were outfitted with trans-time pulsers that received signals transmitted through a thousand years of time itself.
She slipped the ring on her finger. There were several different
series of pulses, like ringing bells
on an old party line telephone. One of them was for a general alarm, several others denoted conditions from Ready Status to Emergency Summons, and one specifically requested the aid of Supergirl. She rarely received the last.
This time, it was playing her song.
Linda twisted the top part of the ring to a point which signified: Message Received, On My Way.
Briefly, she wondered how much of her life she'd spent in the 30th Century. Linda guessed that, if she took that time into account, she could probably celebrate her birthday six months early. Well, at least she could return in time to only a few seconds after she departed. That way she wouldn't be late for work.
Unless, of course, something happened to her in the Legion's time.
"Think happy thoughts, Kara," she told herself.
Within five seconds, she performed her ablutions in the bathroom, did her hair and makeup, zipped on deodorant and a mild perfume, threw on her Supergirl uniform, and was out of the building at super-speed.
The air friction formed a corona of fire around her as she streaked invisibly through the skies. She ignored it.
Supergirl burst out of the ionosphere, vibrating at a certain frequency, still accelerating. An IFF device in her belt identified her to American and Russian radar trackers as the Girl of Steel, not an ICBM. They only registered her for a few seconds, anyway.
The reaches of near-space gave way to the unsettling kaleidoscope of
time-flux. It wasn't that
hard to do, Kara reflected, if you knew how and had enough power and speed to do it. Superman had had to drill her for a week before she could pop out with pinpoint accuracy at a targeted time.
A subseries of flight ring pulses signalled to her the date and time from which the alert was being sent. She rocketed on, well past the speed of light.
Supergirl wondered if, should she somehow get lost in time-warp space, she would be stranded there forever.
Well, at least it hadn't happened yet.
Mentally, she calculated her time spent in the warp against her rate of speed and began to slacken it. Over 800 years had passed since her time of departure.
It was almost two centuries later that she reduced her velocity and bodily vibrations. I'm like a train pulling into a station, she thought. All off for Azusa, Anaheim, and the 30th Century.
When she had slowed enough, Supergirl simply winked out of warp-time and found herself back in orbital space. Her lungs automatically tried to breathe, found vacuum, and ceased action. Kara willed them subconsciously to retain what oxygen they contained. She made a few quick orbits around Earth to reduce speed and checked things out with her super-vision. No great disasters to which the Legion had been summoned on-planet, no invasion fleets menacing the world.
Well, then, she'd simply have to learn from the Legion why she had been summoned.
Mentally, she kicked herself. All this incredible power, she thought.
The ability to fly faster than
light, to exist in the vacuum of space, to pierce the time barrier and reappear whenever she wanted to, and most of the time she took that for granted. No wonder that so often, life was stupid, dull, and boring to her.
No wonder that she'd never really managed to fully give her heart, or her body, to anyone yet. How many potential mates could understand the power and needs of a Kryptonian?
And most Kryptonians were dead.
The red-caped woman sighed without breath, reduced velocity to Mach 12, and sped into the atmosphere. The sensory devices that guarded Earth in this century registered her presence, picked up her flight-ring signal, identified her automatically as Supergirl, and set off no defensive measures.
Thirty seconds later, she was a dot on the Metropolis skyline.
With all the time she had spent
here, Kara reflected, there was still so much about the Earth of this time that she didn't know first-hand.
She was never quite comfortable here. But luckily, she had friends.
There was the Legion headquarters complex.
Supergirl decelerated, dodging flightcars, ignoring the rubberneckers on the ground who pointed up and identified her as Supergirl, Superboy, or some other Legion kid. She was older physically than the other Legion members, who took youth treatments. But they had extended their age cutoff date for her, and would probably soon abandon it altogether.
Kara slowed down to almost a standstill before she touched ground outside the Legion's main building. A small squad of Science Police were there to meet her. One of them held a scanning device in his hand.
"Excuse me, miss...can you identify yourself for the record?"
She stepped up to him, somewhat annoyed. "For the record, I'm Kara Zor-El, better known as Supergirl. Why? Do I have to show you a green card, officer?"
Another cop looked at her. "What's a green card, miss?"
The policeman holding the scanner said, "That should be good enough,
but let me check your EEG first."
Her brow furrowed. "EEG? What is this?" She focused a burst of X-ray vision on the device. No Kryptonite, nothing harmful to her in there. Reluctantly, she let him pass it over her head. She stood with folded arms, waiting.
Finally, he said, "The brain waves check out, guys. No negative flow. She's legitimate."
Kara snapped, "What makes you think I wouldn't be? Costume? Powers? Flight ring, for goodness sake? Is someone impersonating me?"
The cop said, "Sorry, miss. You'll learn about it from the Legion. And for the record...a flight ring can be stolen."
"Only from my dead body," said Kara.
"Maybe so," he replied.
She gave him a final look, pushed off on her tiptoes, and flew parallel to the ground up to the main entranceway.
One of the Policemen said to the cop with the scanner, "Sir, what would
we have done if it hadn't
The scanner-cop replied, "I would have pushed this button here, set off an alarm in Legion headquarters, and prayed some of us were still alive by the time those kids got out here. That answer your question, Tyrril?"
"Affirmative, sir," he replied.
Once inside, Computo's voice notified her from a speaker, "Identification: Kara Zor-El, codename Supergirl. Entrance granted. You are wanted in the main meeting room. Thank you."
"You're welcome," called Supergirl. She touched ground and walked briskly through the hallway. Despite all the opulence, the LSH Headquarters reminded her of a big mall in New York sometimes. She saw no one in the halls, and decided that the meeting room must be packed.
Then Phantom Girl poked her head and shoulders out of the wall beside her.
"Kara!" chirped Tinya Wazzo. "Great to see you again. Are you feeling all right now?"
"Sure, Tinya," said Kara. Phantom Girl could make her body immaterial at will, enabling her to step ghostlike through material objects like walls. "Why shouldn't I be? Oh, right, you haven't seen me since the Crisis."
Tinya glanced, despite herself, at the part of Supergirl's torso that
had been torn open by the Anti-
Monitor. It had been healed completely by Raven of the Teen Titans. But, for a time there, Phantom Girl had thought that Supergirl would be the next to join the ranks of the Legion's honored dead.
"So tell me what's going on," Kara continued. "Why did you summon me?"
"I don't have all the details," said Phantom Girl, stepping all the way out of the wall. "There's been big strikes on at least five worlds. A lot of our Rogue's Gallery are active. Everybody's on tap, maybe even Kal. Brainy and the others are strategizing. They want to see you."
She smiled at Tinya. "Brainy always wants to see me. Well, it'll be good to see him and the rest, too. Hang on."
Supergirl rushed through the hallways at super-speed until she stood outside the Legion's main meeting chamber. Another spy-ray identified her as a Legionnaire, and the doorway opened before her. She stepped inside.
Fifteen Legionnaires were present, grouped about a long table. Brainiac 5 was standing up, holding a control device. The images of the Fatal Five appeared on holoscreens above them, with printouts in Interlac identifying them and where they were sighted recently.
The others were Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lass, Dawnstar, Ultra Boy, Chameleon Boy, Element Lad, Blok, Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet, White Witch, and Mon-El. Adult minds at the mercy of adolescent bodies. But still one of the mightiest super-teams in existence.
Brainy swung his green head in her direction, and broke into a smile. "Kara, hello. Uh, quite glad to see you. You are all right, aren't you?"
She smiled back, leaping through the air to stand beside him. "Sure, Querl. And hi, gang. Don't worry, Raven put me back together better than a Houston heart surgeon. It's nice to see you again."
She felt the presence of Saturn Girl, the blonde telepath, in her mind. Welcome back, Kara. Sorry I'm doing it this way, but I wanted to make sure that it's really you. I just did a mild probe, and it's you, all right.>
Kara faced her, briefly, and thought, I'm glad, Imra, but next time,
tell me first. I don't like
uninvited guests in my head.>
Mon-El was up and glad-handing her. "Welcome back, Kara mia! It's been too long since you've been in touch. Just wish we didn't have to meet over disasters so often."
Supergirl gave him a big high-five. "You said it, Mon. It's
double-plus good to see you, too. How's Shady?"
"Doing all right," replied Mon. Her eyes lingered on the Daxamite youth. Mon-El was one of the guys she'd trust all the way down the line. He had the same powers as a Kryptonian, with a weakness for lead which he controlled by a serum. More than once, she'd contemplated him as a lover. But in earlier days, she and Brainiac almost had a thing going. In later times, he'd fallen for Shadow Lass. Kara wasn't a housewrecker, and, anyway, falling for Mon or any other Legionnaire would mean spending a lot more time in this century than she wanted to. A bicoastal relationship in which the coasts were time-eras.
She collected handshakes, hugs, and greetings from most of the rest. Dawnstar briefly shook her hand and didn't meet her eyes. Kara didn't understand her reticence, but didn't press.
Supergirl liked the Legion a lot more than she did the Justice League. These heroes and heroines had sought her out for membership, traversing a millenium to make their pitch. Not only had they been in her age-group back then, but they'd given her a second chance to qualify when she failed her first initiation test by a fluke. Also, there was no stupid "no duplication of powers" rule like the one that kept her out of the JLA. The League had waived that rule some time ago when Hawkman insisted on Hawkwoman being admitted to the group. Now Kara might be able to gain admission to the League, but she really wasn't hot on the idea just yet.
The Legionnaires, as little as she saw them, were her friends.
"Now--here I am," she said, taking a seat at the table. "I see you've got the Fatal Five out again.
But you could probably handle them without me. And I've been brain-scanned twice in the last few minutes. It sounds like something's coming up for me, specifically. Why did you summon me?"
"Because of this," said Brainiac, and thumbed the controller again. The image of a masked woman came up on one of the holoscreens.
Supergirl dropped her jaw.
"Her!" she said, after she found her voice. "Great Rao, after all these years...her!"
"Now you know why we need you," said Brainy, quietly.
To be continued...