Future Imperfect

The Present. Earth. Metropolis. Jason White.

Jason White rushed excitedly into his uncle's office next to the bullpen. He set his back pack down and plopped down on top of it without even loosening his tie or taking off his school jacket.

Uncle Perry had the best TV. And there was only one thing he liked as much as playing the piano or watching his mommy and daddy put the newspaper together every afternoon. That was seeing his father in action, or flying with his father, or...okay I have a lot of favorite things. Or maybe I just like anything with my parents. Jason wondered when it would be his turn to right sinking ships or save crashing airplanes, stop bank robbers and foil bad men's plots.

The President was on the TV when Jason looked up at it. The President was talking about how no one else but Jason's father could stop the great Evil that was headed for earth. Does he mean the asteroid?

The then lad heard the President mention his Cousin Chloe and the new Space Cop from out in Los Angeles. His father didn't need any help with the asteroid, just time. It must be something bigger and worse than an asteroid headed for the world.

The news went to a split screen format and showed a photo of Chloe dressed up in her Amazon uniform and listed off some facts about her on one side. Then it switched to the Green Lantern symbol and some facts about the Green Lantern Corps. Jason wondered why they didn't have a picture of Green Lantern's face.

Then Lantern symbol disappeared and second view appeared of the President appeared in its place. This one showed the President from the opposite side. The second camera then panned out to see the crowd. The crowd looked awed. And they were staring up at the sky and pointing. The President stopped talking and looked up, too. His mouth smiled, but not his eyes. The view of the crowd panned up into the sky

Father! Superman's crimson cape billowed behind him in the breeze as lowered down, red boots first. His arms of blue spread wide and gripped Cousin Chloe, all dressed up in her Amazon uniform and she wore the the battle armor, too. With that helmet and the wing-shaped armor on, she looked like a red and black and gold eagle, but even with her arms spread wide, she couldn't fly. The news announcer was saying that the last Wonder Woman, and the one before her, could fly. On the other side of his father Green Lantern floated down, his arms spread wide, too. Green Lantern's black and green uniform looked like the pressure suit Daddy Richard wore in the old photos, the ones with jets and Uncle Kyle.

The three heroes floated down, waving at the crowd on their way down. They landed on the stage near the President, but not too close. Green Lantern and Cousin Chloe looked like they wanted to salute but they weren't sure if they should so the din't. The President walked over and shook their hands and posed for photos with them. Then one of the President's helpers came over and showed Father and Chloe and the Space Cop where to stand.

The President went back to talking and Jason got bored. He didn't like it when the President used such strange words to describe a bus full of kids. Who calls school kids pupils anymore or talks about public school kids like they were any different from us at the Montessori School. Odd. Even for a grown up. The last President seemed to talk so much more naturally.

Jason walked over to the TV and studied the image of his father. He just looked calm and confident. His gaze moved from the President out to the crowd sometimes. Sometimes he nodded at what the President had to say. Chloe and Green Lantern looked like they were so excited about the crowd and the President and the Mission that they were almost couldn't stand it.

Uncle Perry walked in, "Hiya, Sport," the older man said in his normal booming voice as the door closed. He walked over to his nephew and mussed the lad's hair. He glanced over at the TiVo recorder and saw two red dots. Good.

Then he sat down in one of the wing chairs beside the large flat screen TV. "Watching your father or the President?"

"My father?" Jason look aghast and slightly confused. "Uncle Perry, you know Daddy Richard went back in the Air Force..."

"Son," Perry smiled, "I mean the one who doesn't need a fighter jet to fly."

"Hey! That's a secret! How did you know?"

Perry White smiled and patted his youngest nephew on the shoulder, "Well, I only figured it out the day of the Metropolis Earthquake, a few weeks ago. He hid in plain sight behind those glasses for a few years, before his trip to Krypton. But when returned, I saw his face up close for the first time on TV the baseball game. Next, he caught the Daily Plant globe as it was falling and about to crush me. Then your mother finally told me about you and the piano on Luthor's boat."

"Oh..."Jason looked up into his Uncle's face. He saw warmth and compassion there. His own face showed a mixture of excitement and concern. "He's going away again. He told me so at lunch."

At least he got that right this time. "What about your mom and your Grandma Martha? Did he tell them?"

"He said he was stopping off to see each of them before he went up to the Fortress to plan his Mission with my Cousin and the Space Cop." Jason replied confidently, beaming that his father was taking time to be considerate of the important people in his life.

"Did he tell you anything else?" the veteran newsman asked.

"He told me he loved me and he said that my Uncle Bruce and my Aunt Diana and my Uncle J'onn and Mr Steel would be watching out for me while he was gone."

"Hmm, he did, eh?" Perry smiled. This kid was the easiest interview ever. But then innocent children always were.

Jason scrunched up his face like he was confused. "I get why Aunt Diana and Uncle J'onn and Mr Steel would watch out for me. Aunt Diana used to be Wonder Woman and Uncle J'onn and Mr Steel are Superheroes." He paused like he was making one last try at puzzling something out for himself before asking. "But why would Uncle Bruce watch out for me? He has a big house and he owns this newspaper, but why would he watch out for me? Father takes me over there to play with Uncle Bruce's daughter Helena sometimes and to visit with Mr Dick and Miss Barbara and Mr Alfred. I don't get it. Is Uncle Bruce secretly the Green Arrow or the Atom or something?"

"No, son. Mr Wayne is definitely not Green Arrow." The newsman chuckled. The thought of Mr Wayne putting on a Robin Hood costume and a Lone Ranger mask to battle street thugs and robbers as a vigilante was quite amusing. On the other hand, the monastery of the legendary ninja master R'as al Guhl wasn't farm from where Alfred Pennyworth had recovered Mr. Wayne in Asia. So, maybe Mr. Wayne actually did have another side the world seldom saw, or didn't associate with the Prince of Gotham when it did.

There was a knock at the door to the Editor-in-Chief's office. "Come in." Perry boomed. The door opened and Jason's mother walked in.

"Mommy!" Jason leaped up off his back pack and rushed over to hug his mother. Lois Lane stumbled backward and caught herself on the doorframe. "Whoa, Mom. Are you okay?"

"Sure, Munchkin. Mommy just stumbled in her high heels is all." Lois Lane squatted to hug her son. "Grab your book bag. We need to let your Uncle Perry make his afternoon conference call as soon as the President is done speaking."

Jason looked up at the TV. "Hey!" The lad turned to his uncle, "Where's Superman and Trinity and GL?" Then he looked up at his mother, "They were just there next to the President, Mommy."

Perry answered. "Oh, while you and I were talking, Green Lantern said something about how they had to leave soon and couldn't wait for the Genesis Orbiter to be fueled and mounted on the big jet. They just walked off stage a moment ago to give their exclusive to our very own Ron Thorpe and Jimmy Olsen."

"Yea us! We rock!" declared Jason as he shouldered his back pack. "Don't we rock, Mom?" He waved to his uncle on the way out of the office.

"So, what happened at school today?" Lois asked. "How was the trip to the Museum of Natural History?"

"It was great! We saw dinosaur skeletons and there was another class of kids from out of town there. I made two new friends today. Billy Batson and his sister Mary. Did you know that brothers and sisters could be twins? I din't know that, 'till today; 'till I met Billy and Mary."

The Future. Earth. Mediterranean Sea. Superman, Trinity & Green Lantern

Superman, Trinity and Green Lantern hovered 400 miles high in a green energy bubble over the Mediterranean Sea in and looked north over Europe. A vast monstrosity of fire pit stretched from the Italian Alps all the way north to just below the Danish Peninsula and from the coast of France in the west to the River Elbe in the East. Most of France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, all of Luxembourg and Switzerland, norther Italy and parts of Austria and Czech Republic just didn't exist any more. The three heroes looked at each other, breath caught in their throats at the utter desolation, then said in unison, "We're late"

Superman looked east with telescopic vision and saw Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and parts of Jordan reduced to a fused glass crater and radioactive rubble. In the west, Chloe could see the new Colossus standing astride the entire straits of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco: A humongous statue of a humanoid form, muscular, wearing a tunic with trousers and jackboots. It's face was craggy and filled with menace. It's skin was jagged and apparently it had been carved to look that way. "When are we?" asked Trinity.

Green Lantern replied, "I'm working on that." With Ring energy he'd formed a telescope on the spaceward side of the bubble. With the telescope, he was sighting on known stars, identifying them by their spectrum rather than by position. After sighting in on five, he reformed the telescope into a computer and fed in the coordinates of the stars today and from where the each had been the last time he'd sighted them in college. After a little while of looking at the spinning hour glass... "We're about fifteen years late, give or take a few months.."

"Oh God! Jason... I have to find my son." Superman pushed through the gel-like substance of the bubble, which then reformed behind him, leaving Chloe and Kyle warm and breathing.

"Clar—No! Superman wait!" Trinity lunged in the direction Superman flew. She turned back to GL, "Come on! We have to go after him"

Ring, Kyle asked, can you communicate with Superman via bone conduction through the Reserve Charge over his collar bone?

Yes

GL put a hand on Trinity's arm and subvocalized, ::Superman, we need a plan.::

::Who's that in my head?::

::It's GL and I'm not in your head. The Ring is letting us communicate through the Reserve Charge over your collarbone. Don't give in to emotion. We need to assess the situation, review our resources and capabilities and-::

"How can you be so calm and analytical?" Trinity elbowed GL in the ribs. Apparently she was hearing the whole thing on the same circuit through the Reserve Charges.

"It's all I have left." Green Lantern looked west over toward the Atlantic Ocean, beyond which lay the Americas and Los Angeles. "My girl broke up with me when I told her I had to go on this Mission. Besides, to save the world you've got be a cold calculating b $t rd."

::Fine.:: Superman lowered himself from 400 miles down to about fifty, far enough into the atmosphere that he could hear. ::You assess the situation, you're the military man. I'm going to find my son. And Chloe's coming with me:: And with, that Superman vanished in a blur of speed.

"That went well." GL turned to his right and saw that Trinity had vanished along with Superman. His son! He has a son. Named Jason. I taught Richard White's son, Jason, to throw a baseball last summer. Richard taught him to catch. Between bouts with asthma. Asthma that recently vanished after the lad hurled a piano across a room to save his mother. Could it be? Sure could. Superman and Lois Lane were rumored to be linked romantically before he left for Krypton. Kyle shook it off. He clapped his hands together twice loudly. Whatever the truth about Superman's son it would keep until after Kyle pieced together what happened that day fifteen years ago when the music died.

Guess that leaves me on recon duty. Kyle looked west toward Gibraltar. There he, too, saw the Colossus that was Darkseid's likeness, in the form of a statue. A giant statue twenty times bigger than the biggest of buildings. He couldn't quite make out what surrounded it's feet. Smaller figures, maybe.

Turning east, the fighter pilot placed himself on trajectory that would end near Jerusalem. Have to see how it ended. Maybe if I can comprehend what went wrong, sort what almost worked from what didn't quite...Maybe then I can figure out what to do differently when we get back to our own time.

The Future. Earth. Italy. Superman and Trinity.

"Where is he; where's Jason?" Chloe asked.

Kal-El listened intently and then answered, "Rome. Or what's left of it."

Superman and Trinity approached from the southeast; he brought them in low, flying over Catanzaro and Salerno on the way up the west coast of Italy. Many of these formerly charming and picturesque little seaside communities had withered over the past few years. Shutters hung crookedly, cracked and broken panes filled windows and once gorgeous tiled roofs had fallen into disrepair, literally crumbled tiles lay at the base of several buildings. Vines and weeds and wild vegetation had taken over the outskirts of the cities. The farmland looked blighted, as though it still produced but not abundantly. Billboards flapped in tatters; except the ones with Darkseid's picture.

"That one looks like the face on the Colossus of Gibraltar." Superman said glumly.

The air smelled foul and the sunlight didn't seem to penetrate in full force all the way to the surface of the world.

"Do you think that's him?" Trinity asked as they passed one of the billboards. The Amazon nestled up closer to the Kryptonian's chest

The Metropolis Marvel tucked his cape around her. "Do you?"

Chloe looked away into the mist over the Tyrrhenian Sea. "I never saw his face when we were on his ship. Not clearly."

"And you think I did?" Clark reached up and pushed her blond hair out of her face, tucking it back into her helmet.

"Yes, Clark. Your powers of perception are far better than 20/20, and you've always had total recall."

"I can't quite recall his face either. I remember the red smoldering eyes, like coals from a furnace, but to answer your question, I'm certain it's him, yes."

They flew in silence from Salerno to Napoli. "I haven't seen any small children." Trinity broke the silence. All this way up the coast of Italy, I've see tweens and teenagers, but none that looked younger than twelve. Do you hear any children anywhere around here?"

The Son of Krypton slowed and looked thoughtful for a few moments..."No, I don't hear any children playing or sleeping anywhere around the Mediterranean."

"I've seen people shuffling along through the towns or working out in the fields, but no one has looked up to see us yet."

"They all look like they're sleep walking don't they?" Kal observed.

The Amazon nodded.

"This is a dying world. A world without hope."

The Future. Earth. Jerusalem. Green Lantern.

With his force field activated against the radiation still left after fifteen years, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner flew past the center of where Jerusalem had once stood. He could almost still see it, a thriving city of culture, spirituality, religion, commerce, government and learning. It was still there in his mind. He looked around trying to place landmarks from the time he'd stopped here with Superman on the way back to America from the Mission in Persia. But nearly everything was scorched, blasted and flattened. He spotted the foundations of two buildings and the Wailing Wall. Four shadows were scorched onto the surface of the wailing wall. Three of them wore cloaks and held up staffs in their right hands. The fourth wore a cape with a high collar and extended both arms.

It occurred to Kyle that based on its closeness to the Western Wall, one of the foundations had to belong to the Dome of the Rock: the Mosque constructed over the ancient Hebrew Temple Mount, also the site where the Muslims believe their prophet Mohammed ascended into the Heavens. The artist and warrior hovered up to take the bearings of the final surviving foundation and concluded it had to be the Cathedral of the Holy Sepulcher. Ruins of three houses of worship were all that survived... perhaps the accumulated belief of generations of the faithful had preserved them against furious blast of the dozens of nuclear warheads unleashed here fifteen years ago...

Kyle returned to contemplate the shadows scorched upon the Western Wall. He studied the three staff wielding cloaked figures. One of the cloaked figures appeared to have long hair and an open hand.

Rayner thought back through his conversations with Dresden, to the one when the Wizard had explained to Rayner and the other costumed heroes, the Working that Dresden and his friends would set into motion over the Dome of the Rock and the ancient Hebrew Temple Mount. Dresden had related his concerns about having enough power for the spell. Rayner and the Amazon Princess had hatched the idea of a Ring construct to harmlessly transfer the energy of nuclear weapons into the spell.

The entire conversation is recorded and available for playback.

That's okay, Ring. I'll stay with my own recollections. Rayner felt slightly unsettled at the notion that his Ring recorded his words and actions...

In that talk with Dresden and Diana, the painter/pilot had projected a white board with his Ring and worked back through some of the science he'd learned at the Air Force Academy. Within a few minutes, an idea for a workable solution in the form of a Ring construct took shape in his mind. He could employ every last Watt of light, and Joule of heat from the nukes harmlessly to power the spell.

Now that he remembered what the Wizards had intended to accomplish, Green Lantern looked around again at the devastation wrought by the nuclear weapons. The crater seemed quite shallow for the number of weapons they'd planned to use. Rayner wondered whether it had been a flaw in his construct design or in the ability of Retired Lantern Alan Scott to carry out Rayner's role in the plan.

The flaw was not in your construct.

That's somewhat reassuring. Wait a minute. Are all my conversations recorded?

Yes.

It's like a cockpit flight recorder, the ones crash investigators try to recover to find out what went wrong in the final minutes of a doomed airplane flight. On long flights overseas, flight deck crews will swap out and the recorders continue recording...Ring, are the words and actions of prior Lantern Corps Officers who wielded you also recorded?

Yes.

Did any of them ever face a situation like this where they had to look at the scene of an event or a crime years later and piece together what happened.

Most of them did that.

So what should I do?

No regulations in the Book of Oa prescribe actions for situations such as this.

This was not the sort of answer Rayner wanted. He needed an idea. No prescribed actions. The situation comes up often but there's nothing in the procedure manual for it. Must be too many ways to handle it to prescribe just one. The Guardians leave it to the Officers to determine what to do. Ring, what can I do?

You can do anything you set your mind to do.

Ask a broad question, get a broad answer. This is going nowhere. Rayner spun in frustration. He didn't want to strike out physically and damage the only evidence he pilot instincts kicked in and the Lantern began to control his breathing and pulse so that he could think his way through this calmly. Better questions might yield more useful answers. Ring, name the last two Corps Officers to wield this Ring before me.

Hal Jordan before you, Abin Sur before him.

What did Abin Sure do when confronted with an event scene years after the fact?

Abin Sur would search for physical evidence left by radiation and it's interactions with surrounding materials.

What might radiation leave behind in a stone wall?

Speculation is not part of the Ring's programming. The Book of Oa requires that only sentient beings speculate.

When searching an event scene like this one what kind of evidence did Abin Sur find?

The shadows of organic beings burned into surfaces by hard radiation contain traces of the beings themselves. Chemicals in the air such as pheromones are also burned into the shadows.

So the shadows scorched onto the Western Wall are like a molecular record of the last events here?

Just so.

Rayner floated back over to the Western Wall. What had happened here in those last moments? Everything they said, everything they felt, whatever worked but almost didn't, whatever misfired but almost worked...it was all seared into the surface of that wall by the nuclear blast. Everything was right there: sound vibrations of words, pheromones released by fear or love, their last acts had all been embedded into the rock of the Western Wall by the energy of the blast wave along with their shadows. And the accumulated belief of the faithful held it all there against time, entropy, the weather.

It was all right there writ in the rock like a chemical form of braille, if only he could read it...If only he had the most powerful weapon and most versatile tool in all the known cosmos...but wait he did. He had it right there on his own hand: The Ring.

So this is like molecular archeology...Indian Jones and the last bacterium. Rayner chuckled.

Elaine turned toward Harry and called out to him.

The other two cloaked figures apparently had short hair, in addition to his staff one carried a sword, the other a gun. Wizard Harry Dresden must have wielded his staff and the Sword Amorracheus.

Harry called up all of his Power and even threw his Soul Fire into the spell.

Joining Dresden and Elaine in this last stand would have been their friend and fellow Wizard, Ramirez, with the six shooter.

Ramirez and Elaine combined their magic with Harry's to... To do what?

The Future. Earth. Rome. Superman and Trinity.

As Superman and Trinity soared into Rome, they saw wanted posters, hung like banners around a square. They floated down to see if they knew any of the faces. "There's Grayson," the Amazon pointed to a serious faced man with a scar and dark hair. Blue shoulders in an otherwise black uniform were all she could make out as the picture cut off below the collarbone.

"I don't recognize these" the Man of Steel indicated two young men dressed in ragged military uniforms, the names Connor and Reese stood out bold beneath their pictures.

"Or that one in the red top with the white cape and the yellow lightening bolt..." the Amazing Amazon added.

Two more posters featured women one dressed in a red,white and yellow uniform that matched the hero with the lightening bolt on his chest. Hers didn't seem to be a wanted poster, though. Hers seemed to praise her for returning or turning herself in to Darkseid. She also noted Green Arrow, Black Canary, Raven and Zatanna among the wanted banners. The final wanted poster showed a simple brunette with a serene smile and intense eyes. Margaret Angelica was all Trinity could make out under her face.

"You know these are the first clear eyed people we've seen and they're on wanted posters...hmmm." Superman thought out loud.

"Uh oh." Trinity pointed toward other banners on the far side of the square.

"Yeah, those have been captured." They both recognized the Speedsters: Max Mercury, Jay Garrick, Wally West, Jesse Quick and Bart Allen. The Martian Manhunter was unmistakeable, as were the Atom, Diana and Hippolyta. The final category on the far side held just three: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, well it was the face of Chloe Sullivan in Amazon battle regalia, but it said Wonder Woman.

"We've seen enough," the Amazon said as she and the Kryptonian faced each other.

"Let's go find my son." Superman locked arms with Trinity and the floated up out of the square.

Someone finally saw them from a second floor balcony. "Sentenza Campionato!" an old washer woman blurted out as she hung clothes from line across the crumbling balcony. The few people shuffling through the street below turned and looked up.

Many ran screaming. All the Amazon could make out over the hue and cry was "Dios Mio!" and "E Il Heir et Lasciel des Denarii!"

"What are they calling us?"

"The old lady said we were Judgment League. The younger man in the square who almost fell into the fountain, said we were the Heir and Lasciel of the Danarians."

They flew on in silence.

The Son of Krypton set them down on a deserted rooftop and pointed to the adjacent, slightly lower roof where they saw Jason on a rooftop terrace with a woman. Jason wore a black uniform without a cape, form fitting, it showed that his son had a couple of inches in height and more muscular bulk than Superman did. The black uniform had twin lightening blots within a five sided diamond. It looked like a combination of the SS emblem worn by the Nazi shock troops of the Second World War and the family crest from the House of El back on Krypton, the symbol Kal wore on his own chest.

The Future. Earth. Jerusalem. Green Lantern

Kyle and his Ring worked out where the blast had originated, computed where the blast wave would have moved and how the particles of Alan Scott, Harry Dresden, Ramirez and Elaine would have been carried by the blast wave and smashed into the wall like a surfer riding a wave into the beach.

The four shadows stood facing a spot directly over the center of the Mount. He detected the residual of the spell Dresden created, sustained and strengthened by the Ramirez and Elaine. The spell opened Crack in the Universe, now mostly healed over. Perhaps held together by the same Faith Magic that preserved the foundation of the Dome and the Western Wall.

Darkseid had stood there next to the Crack but hadn't fallen through it.

Dresden had detonated the nukes and this had been the moment when the fourth shadow had been so important, the one with the cape and high collar rather than a cloak.

The fourth shadow, naturally must haver been Alan Scott, the retired Green Lantern, wearing the old union suit from his days among the Mystery Men of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations. And while Kyle could see clearly in his mind's eye the exact construction of Ring energy that would route 99.999 percent of the power from the detonating nuclear warheads straight into the supernatural working, Alan must have faltered.

The results of that blast stood all round him now on the irradiated, rubble strewn plains: the shallow glass crater, the flattened hills, the vaporized Sea of Galilee, the destroyed buildings and two million lives extinguished in an instant, mostly Jews but with a sizable number of Arabs, Christians and others, too. The results of the blast had left Darkseid in the world, and along with him, his dreadful band of evil minor deities and Swarm Troopers.

The Future. Earth. Rome. The Heir of Darkseid.

Jason slow danced next to a pool with a tall, beautiful, powerful, woman in a small pale dress, or maybe it was a swim-suit. Her hair had traces of gray and her eyes had the faintest of crows feet. She might have been enjoying herself as well.

The young man stopped suddenly and stepped back gripping his dance partner by the shoulders. "Lyta, be a dear and refill our wine goblets."

"Of course, my Lord." the once proud warrior shuffled away slump-shouldered. She too appeared to be sleep walking.

Trinity stiffened in Superman's arms when she saw the face of the woman Jason called Lyta. "That's my Queen!" she whispered.

As the Queen walked across the terrace to a wine rack, another tall, slim, powerful woman who might have been gorgeous if she'd any poise, rose from the pool and threw her hair back. She sauntered sleepily over to Jason and leaned her head against his chest. He kissed her. She kissed back weakly.

"And that's Prime Minister Ariadne, the Chancellor of the Amazon Senate!" Chloe whispered again.

This time Jason looked across to the adjacent rooftop where the Kryptonian and the Amazon stood behind a rampart. "Look what the cat dragged in, Ladies. It's Kal-El of Krypton returned to Earth at long last."

Trinity and Superman extended their arms toward each other and gripped each other by the shoulders. They floated together across to Jason's rooftop terrace. The two former warrior chieftains of the Amazons glanced uncaringly in the direction of the visitors as they settled down on the terrace. Trinity rushed over to her Queen. "My Liege! Whatever are two glorious women such as you and your Prime Minister doing in this...place?"

"Oh..."the Queen smiled vacantly. "He wants us. He's our champion."

As Jason's face hardened toward his father and he stiffened, Ariadne slipped away toward Trinity and the Queen. "Cassiopeia? Is that you?"

Jason marched over to Superman and placed a hand on his shoulder. The younger man looked appraisingly into the face of his elder. "You're not so big any longer." Then he turned toward the women. "That's the only way I take after you Kal, your taste in women. I just can't get enough of Amazons, but those two are my favorites. My Lord gave them to me, but he kept Diana for himself."

"What do you mean your Lord?" Superman asked his son.

"Why Darkseid. Of course." Jason whispered. Not wanting to draw the attention of one of the Beings who seemed omniscient.

"Is that why your face wasn't on a banner with Nightwing, Connor, Reese, Black Canary, Angelica and the others?" Chloe asked, the journalist beginning to emerge from within the Amazon.

"Oh, and don't forget the one true thorn in my side, Captain Marvel. The only Super we haven't captured or turned. He's the Prince of the Resistance. The Abbot, the Scholar, the Preacher, the Imam and the Priestess...all annoy my Lord, but not so much as the Captain of the Lightning and the Thunder annoys me."

"Have you joined the Conquerors?" Kal asked his son, comprehension dawning in his face.

"After you abandoned me and mom and the whole world to run of with your little hooker over there-" the venom dripped from Jason's voice as he spoke, but Trinity's voice and the back of Superman's hand cut him off.

"I heard that!" she screamed and drew her sword. Seeing that Kal had struck, she put the weapon back in its sheath and returned to tend her Lieges.

"Wow. I never thought you'd have that in you." Jason rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "As I was saying, Richard and Perry died in the early fighting. Bruce disappeared. Grayson went on lam with the other mortal heroes. My Lord took me in. He raised me. Not you.

"As I grew I joined him in hunting down the Supers. Now I run the Judgment League for Him. Lasciel, Glimmer, Maloria, Prometheus, White Martian, Ocean Master and I will be rounding up all the Resistance's Leaders soon. And then we'll finally put an end to their hope. Then finally all will kneel before my Lord."

Superman but a hand on Jason's shoulder. "Surely you can't mean that. Surely our line has bred true in you, Vann-El."

"Because of the naming ceremony...?" a tear came to Jason's eye. The Krypton's Last Son let the Son of Krypton begin to pull him into an embrace. The with a sudden ferocity Jason slammed his father mightily forehead to forehead. Superman staggered perhaps from the blow, perhaps from surprise. His son followed that up with a knee to the gut. "Never call me by any name! I am the Heir of Darkseid! Now, away with you! I will hunt you down in due time." Jason stepped into the pool and summoned his ladies to him, completely ignoring Superman and Trinity.