AN: This story is based on Fenris' Fan Challenge to the archive. Hope you like it.
Brave New World
A Dying World
Kal-El never liked going before the Kryptonian Council. They were a group of arrogant, vain individuals. They never listened to anyone who questioned them. Kal-El often felt the Kryptonian Council had a personal vendetta against him because he supported his father's theory about Krypton.
His father, Jor-El, was a prominent and respectful scientist until he miscalculated Krypton's doom. Jor-El thought Krypton would explode and argued with the Kryptonian Council to evacuate the planet. The Kryptonian Council didn't listen and Krypton didn't explode.
Jor-El's career never recovered. *He* never recovered. Jor-El was exiled from the Science Guild and was considered poison. His name became synonymous with failure and disgrace while his previous successes in Kryptonian Science were ignored. Jor-El could not get over his miscalculation and still believed Krypton would one day explode. When Kal-El was ten, Jor-El was imprisoned for continuing his research and sent to be rehabilitated. Jor-El never was and died in his prison. Kal-El was thirteen.
Kal-El's mother, Lara, was gone as well. Without her husband, Lara raised Kal-El alone. Though her husband's reputation as a scientist was tarnished, Lara's as a historian and Keeper of the Archives of Krypton remained intact. She met an untimely death when her air car crashed in an accident. Kal-El was twenty-three.
Kal-El was a part of the Science Guild at this time and, believing his father was right about Krypton, hoped to redeem him. Kal-El rose in the ranks with his sharp, scientific mind and inventions. The Science Guild was open to Kal-El, feeling he wasn't his father until he started spouting his father's theories about Krypton dying.
Now that Kal-El was making the same predictions his father made thirty years ago, the Science Guild and Kryptonian Council were losing respect in Kal-El fast. Kal-El didn't care. He studied his father's findings and saw where he miscalculated. It helped Kal-El prove he was right.
Though right with his theory, Kal-El was also alone on this. His parents were gone, the scientists he worked with pulled away from him the moment Kal-El mentioned Krypton's doom. Even his friends were distancing themselves from him. As much as it bothered him that everyone was avoiding him like a plague, Kal-El knew he was right and it was worth it if he could save the people on this planet. But standing before the Kryptonian Council making his case once more, Kal-El knew the Kryptonian Council was going to ignore his findings. Again.
Mon-Dar, high member of the Kryptonian Council spoke. "We have studied your research again, Kal-El. Once more, we've come to the same conclusion as before. The equations are inaccurate."
"You're wrong," Kal-El defied Mon-Dar. "I've calculated and recalculated my findings. Krypton is set to destruct in less than thirty days."
"Your father had the same findings; made the same accusations thirty years ago," Sola spoke. "As you can see, Krypton is still here and will continue to be here long after we are gone."
"I know my father made a mistake. I know where he went wrong, but I haven't," Kal-El said strongly. "It's because of my father's mistake I checked my findings numerous times before bringing it before you. Please," Kal-El pleaded, "you must believe me. Ignoring my findings means the blood of every man, woman and child on this planet will be on your hands."
"You will accuse us of killing our own people?" Von, another member, was highly offended. "You are the one putting the people's lives in danger with your crazy accusations and inaccurate information."
"Listen to me, dammit!" The Kryptonian Council's thoughtless dismissal of Kal-El's findings angered him. "My calculations are correct! Krypton is doomed!"
Mon-Dar shook his head, disappointed. "We had high expectations for you, Kal-El. We hoped you would bring honor to the House of El again after the shame your father brought it but that is not meant to be. You are like your father, if not worse, for not learning from Jor-El's mistake. Your findings are wrong and if you dare cause fear and panic on this planet with your madness, you will be imprisoned just as your father."
Kal-El knew what that meant. He heard the things that were done to his father in their attempt to rehabilitate him. It not only angered Kal-El but made him sick to his stomach that a supposedly superior race could be so cold and cruel to their fellow man.
Kal-El knew this meeting before the Kryptonian Council would be his last. He hoped the outcome would be better but it wasn't. The Kryptonian Council sentenced an entire planet to death. Determination filled Kal-El that moment. The Kryptonian Council may let themselves die but Kal-El wasn't going to. He was getting off this planet and take whoever would come with him.
Kal-El briskly walked down the hall leading to an elevator that would take him out of the Kryptonian Council's building. He wasn't coming back to this place ever again. "Damn fools," he muttered. "They are committing genocide."
Kal-El turned and saw Lolana approaching him. She was a childhood friend turned girlfriend and friend again. She was the daughter of Mon-Dar, high member of the Kryptonian Council.
Lolana saw the frustration on Kal-El's face. "They turned you down again."
"Yes." Kal-El continued down the hall.
Lolana followed him. "Perhaps they are right, Kal-El."
"They are wrong, Lola."
He was the only one Lolana allowed to call her Lola. It was his pet name for her when they were dating, and even though things fell apart with them, she still allowed him to call her Lola. "You're only one man. Several scientists studied your findings. They studied it over and over. Why can't you see they are right and you are wrong?"
"Because I know I am right. It's they who are wrong. I don't know how they keep miscalculating," Kal-El admitted, puzzled. He didn't understand how so many scientists got his calculations wrong. "Maybe they want to think Krypton won't end. Maybe they are punishing me for my father's mistake. I know Krypton will explode in less than thirty days and everyone will die unless something is done."
"My father loves this planet, Kal-El. He would not send everyone to their deaths." Lolana sighed frustrated. "You can be so stubborn and arrogant, Kal-El. You never liked being wrong."
"I admit when I'm wrong," Kal-El told her. "The problem is you won't see your father is wrong." Kal-El gripped Lolana gently and stared at her pretty face. "I don't want to see you die. We didn't work out. You are married to my best friend and you two have a child together. I know you don't want them to die. Please, talk to your father. Look at the equations again."
Lolana broke from Kal-El's hold. "How dare you? Trying to deceive me to believe you by using the love I have for my husband and son? If I have to choose between my father and you, it's going to be my father."
Kal-El tried again. "Fine. Don't talk to him but at least save yourself, your husband and son. I'm building a ship. I'm getting off this planet and I'm taking anyone who wants to come with me. Bring your family and you can save them."
Lolana slapped Kal-El. "Snap out of it! You speak madness, Kal-El! What you are saying can get you thrown in the Phantom Zone. You know building a spaceship is against Kryptonian law."
Though shocked by Lolana's slap, Kal-El didn't let that stop him. "I have to try to save our people."
Lolana wondered if she ever knew him. Kal-El was a proud, smart man but he wasn't insane or so she thought. "You've lost it. You're just like your father. You've gone mad just like him." Putting more distance between them, Lolana said, "Don't contact me anymore, Kal-El. If you do, I'll tell my father about you."
Kal-El spent the remaining days on Krypton at home building his ship. With the limited time left, the ship he built only had enough room for five people. Jor-El had notes on what he planned to do when he thought Krypton was going to explode when Kal-El was a baby. Kal-El used that as a guide to save himself.
Jor-El had extensively studied the planet Earth before deciding to send his son there when he thought Krypton would explode. Kal-El made a flight log to land in Smallville, Kansas. He chose that place because it was a small town and it would allow him to land on Earth inconspicuously. Compared to Kryptonians, Earthlings were primitives. That knowledge was a double edged sword to Kal-El. It would give Kal-El an advantage over them to survive but it also meant Earthlings knew little to nothing about space travel and beings of other worlds. Earthlings foolishly thought they were the only race out there. They could fear him; may even try to lock him up and do experiments on him. Kal-El vowed to not let that happen.
Reading his father's notes, Kal-El knew his body would undergo serious changes when he landed on Earth. The planet's gravity and yellow sun will make him weightless. He will be able to fly and have phenomenal strength. There were other changes his body will experience but Kal-El will find out what when he's on Earth.
Kal-El studied other planets to find some related to Krypton so his body wouldn't change so much but there were problems from each planet. The heat or cold would be unbearable. Some planets had no life on it. Some couldn't sustain life. It was better to go to Earth than stay on his dying planet.
As Kal-El worked on his ship, tiny tremors occurred on the planet and the Kryptonians didn't think anything of it. It was a sign of Krypton's impending end and no one realized that. Kal-El was disgusted. How could such an advanced race be so blind and stupid?
Kal-El completed his ship the morning he predicted the world would end. He could leave now and save himself and the nightmarish visual of his world ending but Kal-El couldn't do that. It was too late to save the world but Kal-El was going to try one more time to reach his best friends. He couldn't reach Lolana but Kal-El thought he could reach Lolana's husband, Jax. If anyone could change Lolana's mind, it was him.
"Kal-El! It's been a while!" Jax greeted Kal-El with a brotherly hug. Lolana immediately left the room as soon as she saw Kal-El.
"It has." Kal-El wasn't blind to Lolana's abrupt departure. "I'm sorry for arriving unannounced. I've been busy. It's what I want to talk to you about."
Jax was a commander in the Kryptonian military. Not only was he a skilled fighter, he could read people by their words and body language and always read Kal-El like a book. "What's going on, Kal-El? This is more than an unannounced social visit, isn't it?"
"I have something to tell you, Jax. It's important."
"Come in," Jax waved Kal-El into his home. "Is this national security important or personal important?"
Kal-El chose his words carefully. "A little of both but it mainly concerns you and your family."
Before Kal-El could speak, Lolana returned to the room. "I told you to stay away!"
"I can't stay away when I know I can save you and your family!" Kal-El argued.
Jax saw the fire in his wife's eyes and the concern in his best friend's and demanded, "What's going on here?"
Lolana didn't hold back. "Kal-El thinks Krypton is going to blow up."
Jax frowned and turned to Kal-El. "I thought the Kryptonian Council proved your theories wrong."
"They did," Lolana said. "But he won't listen. He's crazy like his father."
"My father was not crazy and neither am I." Kal-El looked to Jax. This wasn't how Kal-El wanted this to come out but now that it had… "There isn't much time, Jax. This planet has seen its last sunrise. We can't save everyone because of the Council's foolish decision but at least save yourselves and your child!"
"Keep your voice down," Lolana hushed Kal-El. "I don't want my son hearing these lies. You'll scare him."
"If it saves his life, then it's worth it!"
The fighting was cut off as a quake coursed through the home. "It's already starting," Kal-El said. He looked to Jax and Lolana who were standing as a united front. "Come with me."
Lolana wouldn't budge on her decision. "I'm not leaving."
The doorbell rang. Lolana went to the door. "I warned you what would happen if you contacted me again." She opened it and three Kryptonian policemen stood at the door.
Kal-El's heart fell at the betrayal. Lolana told him she would tell her father. He never thought she would do it and have him arrested. It was now Kal-El realized he couldn't save anyone. He could only save himself.
Kal-El stepped back and turned in an attempt to run only to have Jax blocking him. "I'm sorry, Kal-El, but I will stop you if I must. I think you should go with the police. You need help."
"I'm sorry, too," Kal-El turned as if facing the police but suddenly turned back to punch Jax across his face. While Jax was dazed and knocked off guard by the blow, Kal-El ran up the stairs with the Kryptonian police after him.
Kal-El pressed a button on his belt turning on his air car outside. Running to Jax and Lolana's bedroom, he locked then barricaded the door. With the police pounding and trying to break through, Kal-El, climbed through the window. His air car wasn't there yet and the police broke through the door. Kal-El couldn't wait. He jumped. It was two stories so the fall wouldn't hurt his strong Kryptonian body. Had it been a four story jump, Kal-El would be worried.
Unfortunately for Kal-El, just as he was landing did his car arrive and hit him, knocking him to the ground. Kal-El slowly rose and grabbed his bruised ribs in pain as he limped to his car.
As the air car flew off, Kal-El saw there were a line of police cars surrounding Jax and Lolana's home. The police saw him leaving and shot after him as a high speed chase began.
Kal-El increased the speed of his air car as he out ran the police. Quakes started again. Not only was Kal-El fighting off the police who were trying to shoot him down but he was dodging pieces of debris from homes and buildings that were collapsing over the increasing quakes.
Kal-El barely dodged the debris while other police cars weren't so lucky. A police car managed to shoot the back of Kal-El's car making him swerve just as he neared his home. Kal-El fought to get control of his air car but at the last second ejected and his air car crashed into a tree, exploding upon impact.
While the police was momentarily distracted in putting the fire out and searching for Kal-El's body, Kal-El limped the last quarter mile to his home. Kal-El's body ached; his ribs were bruised, legs throbbed in pain. Kal-El rationalized he was running on adrenaline and had a strong desire to live. It was the only way he could explain why he was still conscious.
Kal-El made it to his home as the quakes were getting worse. He was grateful his ship was still intact and that he packed his things on the ship days ago. Kal-El slipped into the pilot seat and turned on his ship. He managed to escape his home just as it collapsed.
Kal-El saw the destruction of his home planet. The ground opened up, swallowing homes, buildings and people. Lava spewed from the streets and into the sky like a geyser. In the safety of his ship, Kal-El was spared the screams but his heart was breaking at the senseless death of so many people. It didn't have to be this way.
Once in space, Kal-El stared at his beloved planet. The once lush planet was now a molten red planet of hot lava. Everything was gone. It's people. It's culture. Nothing existed. Suddenly, there was a loud explosion as Krypton blew up creating a giant quake in space. It even rattled Kal-El's ship. Saving himself from getting his ship hit by the debris, Kal-El opened a space portal that took him directly to the Milky Way Galaxy where Earth was.
The portal closed behind him but parts of Krypton's debris followed in. It didn't matter to Kal-El seeing as the debris didn't hit his ship.
For the moment, Kal-El was safe. Kal-El was also tired, physically and emotionally. He set his ship on auto. From the speed he was going, he would reach Earth in four days. Kal-El went to his room and collapsed on his bed, not bothering to treat his wounds. What he wanted now was some much needed sleep.
When Kal-El awakened twelve hours later, he felt different. Kal-El's Kryptonian body was already dense but it felt tougher. His ribs were healed and the throbbing pain in his legs was gone. "Is it happening already?" Kal-El wondered. "The affects of the yellow sun?"
Kal-El stepped out of his bed. He grabbed the foot of the bed, and to his shocked, lifted it with one hand. "Great Rao!" Kal-El lowered the bed. "I knew I would be stronger but to actually be…" Kal-El sat on his bed again.
The feelings excited him but it also scared him. To be possessed with such power. He had to be careful with whatever he did. If he pressed a button too hard on the ship, he could damage it and he didn't want that to happen. This ship was his only connection to Krypton.
Krypton. Everything and everyone he knew was gone. The reality hit Kal-El hard. Damn the Kryptonian Council. Damn them for banishing space flight. Damn them for not listening to his findings. Damn them for killing themselves and everyone else on the planet.
If only his father hadn't died in prison. If only his mother never died in that accident. They would be with him now and he wouldn't be alone. Kal-El had accepted their deaths but still mourned them. He was glad they never lived to see their planet die.
Kal-El thought of Lolana and Jax. His best friends. He still loved Lolana even though her last feelings for him were hatred. The two dated when they were teens but Lolana broke things off when Kal-El started his career as a scientist. Lolana told him she feared he would be like his father if he became part of the Science Guild. And when he wouldn't change Guilds for her, she left him and became involved with Kal-El's best friend, Jax, who was part of the Kryptonian Military. He thought if there were anyone he could save, it would be them but they refused.
And now he was alone. On his way to a planet of primitives. A planet of people who will more than likely fear him than accept him. Kal-El tried to remain positive and hoped to be accepted and welcomed long enough to get his bearings and start a new life, but he also knew there was a chance he could be hunted. Still, it was better than dying on his home planet.
Three days later, Kal-El sat in the pilot seat of his ship. He was still getting over the shock of losing his planet and still accepting the changes in his body. He was feeling stronger by the day. Though he wanted to, Kal-El decided to not experiment with his powers until he was on Earth.
As soon as Kal-El's ship passed Mars, Kal-El activated a cloaking device. Now his ship appeared invisible and would be undetected by Earth's science. If Earth had advanced scientifically, they wouldn't spot his ship coming into Earth's atmosphere. Kal-El passed the moon first and saw an amazing piece of structure on it. It looked like a satellite. Seemed Earthlings were more advanced than he thought but still behind according to Kryptonian standards.
Kal-El descended into Earth's atmosphere smoothly. It didn't take him long to reach his target: Smallville, Kansas. It was nighttime. Perfect, Kal-El thought. Most of the lights were out in the small town. Kal-El thought everyone was asleep and felt comfortable enough to turn off his cloaking device. Now all he had to do was find a safe place to land.
"Do you have to do this tonight?" Martha Kent asked her husband, Jonathon Kent, as he changed the tire on his truck. "It can wait until the morning."
"I need to leave at dawn to start my deliveries," Jonathon told his wife. "If I wait until the morning to change the tire, it will push my schedule behind."
"But Jonathon, it's late, you're tired, it's---" Martha words were cut off as she saw something streak in the night sky. "Jonathon, look!"
Jonathon looked up and dropped his wrench as he saw a spaceship fly over them. Jonathon stood. "What was that?"
"It looked like a spaceship," Martha said. "It was flying in so low. You think it may land here?"
Jonathon grabbed his flashlight. "Let's see if it did."
Martha grabbed Jonathon's arm. "Who says it's safe? Maybe we should call the police."
Jonathon shook his head at the thought. "We'll check it out first. If a ship has landed, we'll call the police."
Jonathon and Martha walked half a mile before they spotted the spaceship. The spaceship covered a quarter of the field. It looked too big to carry one person. The side of the ship opened and someone stepped out. Jonathon flashed his flashlight in the alien's direction.
"Holy…." Jonathon gasped.
"He looks human," Martha said.
Kal-El frowned. When he landed his ship in the large field, he hoped he was inconspicuous and alone. He took off the cloaking device too soon he told himself. Now he would have to deal with the humans sooner than he thought.
With his keen eyes, Kal-El could make out the face of a middle age man and woman; both frightened and curious.
Kal-El knew speaking in Kryptonian would frighten them. He knew the people in this land spoke English and he brushed himself on the language before leaving Krypton.
Kal-El opened his mouth to speak but at that moment, his ears were attacked by so many sounds at once. He could hear the heartbeats of the man and woman, animals and bugs making noises in the night. He could hear conversations going all at once from miles away; sounds of vehicles on the streets and planes flying in the sky. Then there was the smell. All types of smells and aromas, bad and good, hit his nose. It was too much for Kal-El to take at once. He fell to his knees and grabbed his head in pain.
Kal-El closed his eyes and concentrated. He didn't know how long it took but he closed off all the noises and smells around him. When he did, he realized two pairs of hands were on his arms. The man and woman were looking at him with concerned eyes.
"Are you all right, son?" the man asked.
"No, not really. My body is trying to get use to this planet," Kal-El said heavily.
The man and woman helped him to his feet. "Can you stand on your own?" the woman asked.
Kal-El put a hand to his head. "I think so. Thank you."
"So," the man said, "who are you?"
Kal-El took a chance on the strangers. They didn't run from him when they could. Instead, they approached him and seem concerned for him. "My name is Kal-El. I am from the planet Krypton. My home world was recently destroyed and I have no other place to live."
Jonathon and Martha looked at each other. Do they take a chance and trust this alien? This world was invaded by aliens not too long ago. Not every alien who came to Earth were honest and good like the Martian Manhunter. Jonathon kept his eyes trained on the young man. He was tall and physically built like a linebacker. He could be imposing if he wanted but Jonathon saw honesty in the man's eyes. Jonathon was always a good judge of character and he wouldn't consider himself a decent person if he didn't help someone in need.
And this man needed help.
Jonathon held his hand out to Kal-El. "My name is Jonathon Kent and this is my wife, Martha. Welcome to Earth." Kal-El looked at Jonathon's hand curious and remembered from his studies this was a welcome gesture. He took Jonathon's hand carefully and shook it. Jonathon looked pass Kal-El to the spaceship. "You don't know this but it's not common to land a spaceship on Earth. It could cause a panic here."
Kal-El looked back at his ship, realizing the problem he could cause. "I could set my cloaking device on it before I can find a permanent place. No one will be able to see it."
That seemed like a good idea to Jonathon and Martha. "After that, you can come to our home and tell us more about yourself."