"No! Absolutely not!" Rogue slammed her cup onto the table, causing it to shatter. The coffee sprayed out, splattering the others.
Rogue didn't even notice. Even as the others were ducking she stalked out of the dining area.
Kara shook her head, staring as the doors closed behind the yellow and green clad one time X-man. Jenny merely frowned and looked towards Jean, who, at the moment, was wiping coffee droplets from her face and eyeing the table, looking for cracks or signs of breakage. She was thankful the coffee had cooled to a lukewarm state or she would have been burnt!
"I don't understand." Kara finally spoke, her voice somewhat shaky. "It's for her own good!" She turned to look at Jenny and Jean.
"Don't look at me." Jenny put her hands up. "I tend to agree with her!"
"Damn it!" Kara realized that Jean had moved away from the table a bit, just in case Kara decided to show her temper as well. "You heard what my father said. That thing is a monster! The Daxamites used those things to kill their enemies…by destroying the entire planet!"
"I'm not arguing with you about that, Kara." Jenny shot back. "And neither was Rogue, if you would have just listened!" She shook her head, calming herself. "I have no intention of giving the damned thing a kiss, but I don't plan on being far away, either." She pointed a thick green finger towards the ceiling. "I plan on being out there, with my team. Do you remember what that is?"
"Hush!" Jenny stood, towering over the seated Kryptonian. "Kara, sometimes you amaze me with your intelligence, and at other times you amaze me with your stupidity! What I just told you is the same thing Rogue told you! Nothing more and nothing less. Girl, I think you have more things to get settled in your mind than just this problem. Because, no matter what happens to Rogue or I, if you live through this, you are going to remember everything." She waved towards the door through which Rogue had stormed. "Is that how you want to remember it?"
That said, she spun and made her way out, leaving Kara, her mouth open, speechless, alone with Jean.
Jean waited for a moment than then retook a seat, sitting across the table from Kara, waiting.
After a few moments, Kara refocused and looked at Jean.
"And what have you got to say about all this?" She asked. She then shook her head. "And forgive me for being impolite…but what are you doing here anyway?"
"Actually, I asked Jenny to bring me." Jean answered the second question, ignoring, for the moment, the first. "She was concerned about your team and I offered to help, if I could."
"What about the team?" Kara began…then held up a hand. "Never mind. I guess it doesn't matter now."
"Actually, it does." Jean disagreed. She leaned back in her seat and studied Kara. "Unless you plan on giving it up."
After Zor's revelation at the Fantastic Four's headquarters, the team, with Jean in tow, had decided to return to the Fortress. Both Reed and Zor had wanted to take some more readings before Triad made their way out to intercept the Hunter-Killer.
Once back at the Fortress, Kara had led them all to a kitchen/dinning room, made coffee and hot chocolate, and then proceeded to talk about their plans. Her first suggestion had been the last. She had suggested that she, alone, go out to meet the Hunter-Killer. Things had gone to hell from that point on.
"Rogue isn't happy here." Kara now told Jean. "What ever happens, she would probably be better off back with the X-Men."
"First of all, let's get one thing clear." Jean leaned forward now. "Rogue is a grown woman. She can make her own decisions. She made the decision to remain here and form a team…with you." She stood and moved to the door. "Kara, I suggest that you get some rest. Go take a nap or something. I imagine Rogue will come by later to talk with you. You insinuated, right before she stormed out, that she had come to your room earlier to resign from the team. Do you know that for sure?"
"Well, no." Kara shook her head. "I guess I never really gave her a chance to really talk."
"No, you didn't. You became defensive." Jean took a breath and then plunged in. "Kara, I should let you know that both the Prof. and I are aware of your feelings for Rogue."
Kara began to blush furiously, but refused to take her eyes off the telepath. "Prying now?"
"No. Observing." Jean denied. She started for the door. "Tell her, Kara," Jean requested as the doors slid open, "if for no other reason than your own well being. You practice a dangerous profession. Anything could happen. And you would have to live with the knowledge…and regret." And she was gone.
Much later, Kara had retreated to her rooms, and sat behind a computer screen. She had tried to take Jean's advice, yet sleep had been elusive. So now she scanned through the images and schematics her father had shown them. Desperate to find some weakness, some avenue of attack, that would destroy the Hunter-killer…without getting her team killed in the process.
So engrossed was she that the door buzzer caused her to jump, her heart racing.
"Come in." She called, trying to keep all irritation out of her voice. She kept her eyes on the computer screen.
She jerked her head up and turned to see Rogue standing in the doorway. As she looked, the red head stepped in, allowing the door to slide shut behind her. When the buzzer had sounded, she had expected either Jean or Jenny. Despite Jean predicting that Rogue might come by to talk, she had not believed it for a moment.
Rogue was wearing a short terry cloth robe, her hair still damp from a shower.
"Jean is gone." She announced, her voice soft. "Jenny took her back to the X-Men mansion."
"Good." Kara nodded. "I hadn't thought about that."
"Me neither." Rogue's lips quirked in a half smile. "I guess we were both too wrapped up in our own problems."
"Yeah." Kara turned her attention back to the computer screen and the scene it was displaying. She was very much aware of Rogue coming up behind her, leaning over slightly to see what Kara was looking at. The smell of her hair, scented from shampoo, drifted around Kara, causing her to close her eyes and clamp her jaws shut.
"Find anything useful?" Rogue asked. Kara opened her eyes and took a breath, regretting it instantly as the scent, even stronger, drifted around her as Rogue leaned further over for a better look.
"I'm not sure." She answered, trying to make her voice sound light. "I think…"
Whatever Kara had been about to say was interrupted by the general alarm that sounded throughout the Fortress.
In a fraction of a second the room was empty.
"What's going on?" Jenny demanded. She had arrived in the control room seconds behind Kara and Rogue. If she noticed Rogue's attire, she made no mention of it.
"We're about to find out." Kara muttered as she tapped on the keyboard. Instantly the giant monitor came to life, splitting itself into several smaller screens.
"My god." Jenny breathed. All around the globe weather and geological disasters were striking. In each screen teams of heroes could be seen battling the very elements.
"That's our Hunter-Killer." Rogue growled, her lips tight.
"At this distance?" Jenny was understandably skeptical.
"At this distance." They heard Zor-El's voice. A small window appeared on the giant monitor, showing the haggard looking Kandorian.
"The Hunter-Killer has stopped in space." He informed them. "At the moment it is broadcasting a beam of energy directly at the moon. Either it is trying to nudge the moon from its orbit or it is trying to destroy it."
"Either way means disaster here on Earth." Kara sighed, standing. "Looks like study time is over, Dad. We've got to go take that thing out."
"Kara!" Zor looked worried now. "We have reason to believe that this Hunter-Killer is the same one that nearly destroyed Krypton."
"What makes you think that?" Kara demanded, her eyes narrowing.
"We've done an analysis on the Rocky covering." Zor explained. "If it was not the same one, then it was another that passed through the Rao system after Krypton exploded. Kara, that thing is covered with Green Kryptonite!"
Kara slowly sank back into her seat.
"We can't touch it." She breathed. "We would never be able to close enough to it to do any good."
"Who has to get close?"
Kara turned and looked up at Rogue.
"Well?" Rogue demanded. "Weren't you the one that showed me how to juggle asteroids? We just stand off and throw rocks at it."
"Rogue, that thing has been traveling for millions of years. It's been hit by meteorites so many times…"
"Has it been hit by a rock thrown by a Supergirl?" Rogue cut Zor off. "Zor, we are strong enough to move the moon! Surely we can throw rocks hard enough to crack that thing's shell."
"Well, you are strong enough." Zor conceded. "But I do not believe you could actually move the moon. The surface would crumble beneath your hands long before you could exert the pressure needed and you would simply tunnel through."
He stopped, aware that all three women were looking up at him. They were not friendly looks.
"Ah yes. I do believe, taking everything into account, you could possibly throw…rocks…hard enough to crack the shell."
"And while Kara and I are taking pot shots at it, Jen could be rounding up more ammo and building up a shield to intercept the beam at the moon."
"And," Kara turned in her seat to look up at the green giantess from her seat. "She can furnish us with an environment."
"Why an environment?" Jenny inquired.
"We're only human." Kara shrugged, smiling. "Actually, Rogue and I can survive in space for several hours. Yet we will need to breathe. And the more we exert ourselves, the sooner we'll have to take in fresh oxygen."
"And here I thought you two could survive forever in space." Jenny responded, secretly pleased to find that there were things she could do that neither of the power packs before her could.
"Hardly." Kara snorted, turning back to the monitor. "We're built along the same lines as a Terran humanoid. Our blood carries oxygen through our veins just like theirs. But, like the Terran whales, we can survive for long periods on one breath."
"So that's why you and Rogue never stayed out more than a couple of hours when you were training her in space!" Jenny put the pieces together.
"Exactly." Kara now spoke to her father. "Dad, inform Reed that we are on it and that we'll be out of the loop for a while. Have him get together a second team in case we fail."
"If you fail, then I don't think there is another being close enough to stop that thing before it can destroy us." Zor responded bleakly.
"Do what you can. Kara out." The screen blanked and she stood. "Okay you two jokers. Let's go throw some rocks."
"You got it!" Jenny started out the door then stopped. "Almost forgot. Communications. I think we have some equipment Reed donated that we can use." She looked thoughtful and then smiled. "If I remember correctly, he also let us have some deep space video equipment. We may want to get some footage of you two in action. Good PR." She turned and was out the door before Kara or Rogue could respond.
As Kara started to follow her out, Rogue touched her on the arm, causing her to hesitate.
"When I came to your room, I was going to tell you that we need to talk." After we take care of this, promise me that we'll have no more emergencies until we can. Okay?"
"I'll try." Kara gave a weak smile. "But no promises." She started to follow Jenny out but then, on an impulse, stopped and turned. Before Rogue could react, Kara closed the distance between them and grabbed her by the arms.
One hand snaked behind Rogue's head, holding her in place, while she brought her own face closer, allowing their lips to touch.
A short, hard kiss and then Kara let her go. It was the first time they had touched like that since that day, so long ago, when they were just building the fortress.
"For luck." She whispered. Then she was gone.
Rogue, stunned, touched trembling fingers to her lips.
"Luck..." She murmured. Then, shaking herself, she followed the others out. It was time to meet the Hunter-Killer.
From the Arctic Circle the three women shot into the sky, reaching the upper atmosphere of the Earth in mere seconds.
As they reached the outer edges, Jenny focused her will and both Rogue and Kara found themselves outlined in a green glow.
"Environment and communication." Jenny's words flowed to them naturally, despite the airlessness of space that now surrounded them. "We can also keep in touch with Reed and Zor!"
"Good thinking." Kara nodded though she silently cursed herself for not thinking of something so simple. Perhaps Jenny was right; she did need to get her self squared away.
"Hold on, it gets a little bumpy about now." Jenny warned. With a blast of energy, the giantess opened a small hole in space and the group vanished, skipping through hyperspace for a brief instant before emerging on the outer boundaries of the Solar system.
"There it is." Jenny pointed. She turned her head to look at her teammates and gasped aloud. Both Kara and Rogue were writhing in obvious pain.
"oh my god!" Jenny used her energy to fling the two away, back in the direction from which they had came. "I got us too close. That thing is covered with Green K!"
Pushing Kara and Rogue ahead of her, Jenny sped through normal space back towards the sun. She kept her eyes on both Kara and Rogue and began to slow her retreat only when the two showed signs of recovery from the Green K radiation.
"I guess that settles that question." Kara wiped sweat out of her eyes, wishing for the thousandth time that she had not given up wearing the headband. She used her telescopic vision to bring the Hunter-Killer up close. "Dad, Reed. Your instruments are faulty. There is no way that thing is the size of a planet. I've seen asteroids bigger!"
"Our instruments are gauging by the gravity pull it is generating, Kara." Zor's voice came back. "And they still insist it is the size of a large planet."
"It may be generating gravity, but it is not that big." Kara countered.
"Zor, How big is a black hole?" Jenny ventured. There was silence and then…
"A good point, Jennifer." Zor responded, slowly. "Size is misleading. Since we can not rely on our readings, can you give me an estimate of its size?"
"I would venture about five miles in diameter." Kara answered. "And you were right…it is literally coated with Green K!"
"Which means we throw rocks." Rogue smiled.
"Rocks coming up!" Jenny formed a green energy net that swept nearby space, scooping up large rogue asteroids and meteors.
"We throw rocks." Kara repeated Rogue's words as she grasped a huge asteroid. "Obviously we can't toss these like little rocks. But we can aim them and give them one hell of a super shove!"
Putting words in to action, Kara heaved and sent the asteroid flying towards the distant object.
No one was really surprised when a beam shot out, intercepting the asteroid.
"Automatic defenses." Kara mused. "We'll just have to overwhelm them."
Jenny watched as Rogue and Kara kicked it into high gear. Moving far faster than the eye could follow, the duo sent asteroid after asteroid raining towards the stationary Hunter-Killer.
Beams crisscrossed through space as the defenses sought to nullify the potential planet busters before they could strike. Yet not even a machine could move that fast. Again and again asteroids flashed through the defenses, striking the dull green rocky surface.
"Reed, you should see this!" Jenny focused her transmission so thatneither Rogue nor Kara could hear. She then brought out the deep space camera, holding it in place with a small tendril of energy, began beaming images back to the FF headquarters.
"Wow!" Jenny smiled, hearing Johnny's exclamation in the background.
"Jenny, what ever you are doing has caused the Hunter-Killer to stop its transmission towards the moon." Reed's voice cut in. "But might I suggest something. Since neither Kara nor Rogue can approach that thing, could you possibly use your energy to slice the covering away? Or even transmute it?"
"Oh." Jenny gave Kara and Rogue a sheepish look and then focused her energy on the Hunter-Killer.
Bright green beams of destruction stabbed toward the rock covered machine, tearing out tremendous chunks of the poisonous material and sweeping it in a wide arc, flinging it in an arc that would carry it away from Kara and Rogue, yet allow her to come back later and dispose of it.
Whenever she could, she would pinpoint where a laser blast was emitted and target that area. Soon, the green beams and rocks were raining down on the machine, unhindered.
Jenny lost track of time as she slashed out, again and again with her green energy.
"Hold up!" Kara called a halt to the barrage and squinted, peering through the distance with her telescopic vision. "Dad, Reed. We've blasted the covering away. Damn that is a big monster!"
Kara was looking at a marvel of destruction three miles in diameter. A deadly tribute to the science of a bygone day. A cold, unfeeling machine constructed for one purpose and one purpose only: the total destruction of the enemy. Never mind that the enemy it was created to battle had long-since ceased to exist. Its simple mind was not programmed to take any such thought into account. If it was not a maker, and it fit a specific profile…it was the enemy.
"Rogue and I are going in for a closer look." Kara ventured. "If there is any kryptonite in the area Jenny can get us away quickly enough."
"Roger." Reed's voice came back. "Be careful."
Moving slowly, Kara and Rogue edged closer. Jenny didn't bother to wait until they got within range. She had an energy umbilical cord attached to both of them and was prepared to yank them back at the first sign of trouble.
"We've broken away most of the covering." Kara reported. "By Rao, the Ancient Daxamites thought big."
"They were damn fools." Zor's voice came back. "Or we were, I should say. At that time, we weren't Kryptonians yet. Just a colony from Daxam."
"Dad! I can't see through it. It's lined with lead!"
"Not surprising." Zor's voice came back. "When those were built the Daxamites didn't have a problem with lead. There are those that believe that the Hunter-Killers are responsible for the weakness both we and the Daxamites have."
"I don't understand that." Kara was only half listening as she scanned for some sign of weakness.
"According to the notes we have, it was theorized that the Hunter-Killers tried to turn the planets themselves against the inhabitants. Thus the Daxamites developed their weakness to lead and our ancestors developed a weakness to Kryptonite radiation." Zor's Voice droned on. "Remember Kara, The Daxamites were, at that time, extremely advanced scientifically. Even now, we have not yet been able to attain that level of advancement."
"That's just peachy." Rogue cut in. "But does that tell us how to stop this damned thing?"
"Rogue's got a point, Dad." Kara turned and scanned the area. "I am sure this is extremely fascinating, but this thing has to be shut down. I think…"
Kara felt her self shoved aside as a wide beam sprang from the Hunter-Killer, engulfing Rogue completely. At the same instant she felt Jenny yank on her energy cords, pulling them both back to her.
"Rogue! Rogue?" Kara flew to her team mate, not bothering to attempt to hide her concern.
Rogue floated in space, huddled in a fetal position and it was not until Kara was next to her that she realized the sounds she was hearing…was laughter! Rogue was laughing!
"I'm okay." She assured Kara, straightening. Though her uniform was torn and burnt, there did not seem to be a blemish on her.
"Zor, remember what you said about when this thing was constructed?" Rogue spoke but she was looking directly at Kara and Jenny, smiling.
"About the possibility that they were responsible for our weakness to kryptonite?" Zor answered, uncertainly.
"No, before we headed out here." Rogue grinned broadly. "You mentioned that, at that time, neither the Daxamites nor your ancestors had ever displayed any unusual abilities under the rays of a yellow sun."
"Yesss." Zor was obviously puzzled.
"Don't you see? That thing was not built to take into account a super Kryptonian! They had no way of knowing any such thing could exist." Rogue shook her head. "I think that thing just threw everything it could at me…and it barely tickled!"
"I think she's right, Zor." Jenny put in. She had been watching the machine closely. "It seems to be moving now. Heading back out of the system!"
"By Rao!" Zor exclaimed. "You are right!" But then, his voice changed. "You've got to destroy it! NOW! Those things were built to adapt! If you do not destroy it now, it will return…and it will be better prepared!"
"You got it!" the three zoomed after the retreating Hunter-Killer. "Dad," Kara called, "something's going on! It's starting to glow. A yellow glow."
"Kara, this is Reed Richards. That thing is creating a dimensional portal! It is trying to escape into another dimension!"
"Kara, Stop it!" Zor yelled.
"We…too late!" Kara pulled up short, Jenny and Rogue beside her, as the Hunter-Killer slipped out of their reach into some other Probability.
"This is not good." Zor's voice was subdued. "It will be back. Sooner or later…it will be back."
Kara sighed as the hot water cascaded over her body. For a long moment she just stood there, allowing the shower to ease the tension away.
After washing and drying, she stepped out of the restroom, towel wrapped around her hair.
"Uh. I'm sorry."
Kara stopped. There, seated on the foot of her bed, was Rogue.
"I seem to be making a habit of showing up at just the wrong times." The one time X-man looked away.
Kara moved to her closet and started to reach for a nightie. She caught her self this time and shrugged into her terry cloth robe instead. She then crossed over and sat behind her computer, pulling up an image of the Hunter-Killer.
She tensed as she heard Rogue stand and cross the room to stand behind her.
"Think we'll see it again?" Rogue asked, putting her hands on Kara's shoulders as she bent forward to look at the image.
"Dad seems to think we will. If what he says about those monsters is true, then yes, I think we'll see it again. It didn't run away. It merely retreated to regroup and adapt."
"What happens if it finds other Daxamites or Kryptonians in that other probability?" Rogue asked softly.
"Then Rao help them." Was the only answer Kara could give. She hesitated…and then. "Earlier, when you came in here to talk to me, I guess I was a bit of a bitch." She turned and looked up into Rogue's face. "If you want to talk now, I'm listening." Rogue was silent for a moment and then shook her head.
"No, I don't want to talk now." She whispered. Kara moaned softly as Rogue dipped her lips down to press them against her own. She felt Rogue's hands tugging at her and she stood unsteadily, never breaking the kiss as their tongues intertwined. Rogue then stepped back, her face flushed, looking Kara in the eyes as she untied her robe and let it slide to the floor. She pulled Kara over by the bed and then lay back across it, her eyes full of love and a hunger that could no longer be denied. "It's time we communicated in other ways." She whispered, her voice husky.
"What the hell?" Jenny opened her eyes and looked at the clock beside the bed. It was five o'clock in the morning…and some one was singing! She struggled into her bath robe and stepped out her room, heading for the kitchen area, the smell of fresh coffee and frying bacon guiding her.
She stood at the entrance for a few moments staring in disbelief as Rogue, in a short nightie and kitchen apron, bustled around, preparing breakfast. It had been her voice Jenny had heard. This was not the same Rogue Jenny had last seen, so disturbed, so fraught with worry and emotion. This Rogue literally beamed with joy and happiness.
"Either go in or move out of the way!" A voice sounded behind her. She spun to see an equally cheery Kara bearing down on her, her arms full of printouts. Like Rogue, she was still dressed in her nightclothes. She stepped aside and watched as Kara zipped by to plop her burden on the table. Then she saw the unexpected. Kara had gone straight to the coffee pot, and stopped long enough to quickly kiss Rogue. And, despite its quickness, there was nothing chaste about the kiss. Jenny had no doubt she had just witnessed a kiss between lovers.
"Well, I'm glad some one got laid last night!" She drawled, leaning in the doorway. Both Kara and Rogue froze and then looked at her. The spatula in Rogue's hand clattered to the floor and both women blushed. "Oh, stop it." Jenny entered the room, letting the door close behind her, and headed for the table on which Kara had dumped the printouts. "What is all this stuff?"
"Uh…print outs." Kara stammered.
"Well duh." Jenny looked at the two and shook her head. "Look you two, I thought we had an agreement, no work in the kitchen…that is why we don't have a terminal in here."
"Well…that is…" Kara looked to Rogue for support. Jenny heaved a sigh and walked over to them, take each by a hand. Her giant green hands dwarfing theirs.
"Okay, obviously we need to get this out of the way." She smiled at them. "First of all, though you have not asked for it nor do you need it, you have my blessing. I think that it is absolutely wonderful that you have finally decided to cut the bullshit and admit the truth." She looked first one then the other in the eyes. "Jean hit the nail on the head. You love each other and were afraid to admit it. It was making you miserable. Both of you." She smiled sadly. "I only wish you had discovered this some time ago." Both women, tears in their eyes, pulled Jenny into a hug.
"So do we." Kara whispered. "So do we."
"Now." Jenny disentangled herself. "Would some one please tell me what else is going on?" She indicated the pile of printouts.
"Kara is just doing all the research she can on the Hunter-Killers. When that one shows up again, she wants to be ready." Rogue began. "She started it last night…." She blushed when Jenny leered at her. "Oh hush!" She growled, glaring.
"Well, if it shows back up, we'll handle it." Jenny stated, reaching over and snagging a piece of bacon from the pan. She blew on her fingers and then popped the crispy bacon in her mouth. "We're a team, after all!"
"Yes…yes we are." Kara smiled, looking at Rogue and Jenny.
"Now…what are your plans for New Years?" Jenny plopped down at the table, looking at her team mates. "Reed has invited us to a party at the FFHQ…"End of To Save a World.
- Story written and copyrighted (C) 2003 by Dylan Clearbrook
- and may not be reprinted without permission.
- The Continuum Worlds Concept is a joint creation of
- Dylan Clearbrook and Eldric. Otherverse, Dark Earth,
- and Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes, as depicted in the
- Continuum Worlds, are original creations of Dylan Clearbrook.
- Alterverse and The Inheritors, as depicted in the Continuum Worlds,
- are original creations of Eldric.
- The Realm and Shadowverse, as depicted in the Continuum Worlds,
- are original creations of John P. and Jason G respectively.
- Some characters in Continuum Worlds stories are original creations
- of Dylan Clearbrook, Eldric, Michael Liebhart, Jake H., Jason G.,
- Andrew Shields, Kyle M., Brian, or Jason Froikin and may not
- be used without express permission of the respective author.
- All DC characters are property of D.C. Comics.
- All Marvel characters are property of Marvel Comics.