Many thanks to Mr. Beeto and Chuthulupenguin for their talents in nit-picking. It's easy to lose track of details and three letter words.


Prologue

Do we stand in our own light wherever we go, and fight our own shadows forever?
Lord Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton, Lucile (pt. II, canto II, st. 5)
English statesman and poet (1831 - 1891)

We should never let our fears hold us back from pursuing hopes.
John F. Kennedy
American politician (U.S. President) (1917-1963)

He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own.
Confucius
Chinese philosopher (c. 550-478 BCE)

Ed Straker threw down his copy of the Daily Planet and swore. That damned alien was back from wherever he'd been for the past six years and nobody seemed worried that an alien entity from only God knew where was being hailed as a planetary hero. This was despite the fact that it was alien technology that had put the planet in jeopardy in the first place. He also noted that Clark Kent was back at the Planet. He wasn't sure which one he hated more, Kent for sticking his nose where it wasn't wanted, or that damned alien.

He picked up the paper again and flipped through to the science section. New Krypton was what the Planet dubbed the alien crystal construct that was currently orbiting Earth's sun between Mars and Jupiter. 'New Krypton' he sneered. Even the name was an abomination. A glossy name for an alien staging platform in our own solar system, filled with unknown alien technology of incredible power. Technology that might, just might, be useful in fighting off the invasion he knew was coming. In fact, the invasion had already started and it was only a matter of time before Metropolis's resident space alien showed his true colors – and they weren't red, white and blue.

Straker considered both the reporter and the superhero for a long moment. SHADO, Straker's project since its inception in 1970, would still be doing its job defending the planet from an alien invasion, if Superman hadn't shown up in Metropolis, giving everyone on the planet the notion that aliens from outer space were benevolent and peaceable. The fact that the aliens Straker was charged to defend the planet against had disappeared was irrelevant.

But it was Kent whose actions six years before that filled Straker with venom.

SHADO had found other sources of revenue when the various world governments who had been its sponsors decided to cut their support. Clark Kent had been the one to expose SHADO's new revenue sources, equating the organization to drug runners and arms dealers. The man saw no difference between criminals out after their own gain, and a once respected military operation forced to find funding wherever it could to continue its mission. Yes, Kent would get his due very soon. And soon that damned alien would get his.