Superman X seethed with anger, stalking through the underground hallways that served the Earth Resistance as a headquarters. People got out of his way quickly, as they always did- no one ever wanted to be around the 'Living Weapon' that was to destroy Imperiex.
What on Earth was K3NT thinking? Go back in time and ask for assistance?
From the Legion of Superheroes?
It was their fault the galaxy was in the state it was today! And K3NT expected them to be able to clean it up?
He stopped and leaned against the wall of a deserted corridor.
Well, K3NT had always been right before, hadn't it? Maybe it knew something he didn't.
But he'd go to hell and back before he went to the Legion of Superheroes.
The next day they received word, from a grievously wounded and dying messenger, that Imperiex was headed for Earth with all his armies.
Superman X stood in the back of the briefing, as always.
The leaders of the resistance clamored and shouted. It was impossible to miss the fear and the dread in the room.
"Calm, calm!" K3NT said over the din. "We have a solution!"
That shut the leaders up. They listened to K3NT- it was really the one in charge, not any of them.
"We shall send Superman X into the past," its male voice said.
Its female voice picked up. "And recruit the Legion of Superheroes to come and stop this threat."
There was a dead silence, and then the leadership exploded in rage.
Superman X smiled to himself, satisfied. They held the same opinion he did.
Early the next morning, Superman X found himself being handed a warp key.
"Why are you doing this?" he demanded.
K3NT spoke with a woman's voice. "You were created to face but one foe: Imperiex."
"You were never meant to face an army," the man said. "We wouldn't expect that of you."
"Go to the past and bring the Legion of Superheroes with you," the woman told him. "Bring them back and win us this war."
"The leadership will never approve!"
"The leadership has been convinced," K3NT said in unison. "They see the error of their ways and the unflawed logic of our plan. Now GO!"
Superman X knew an order when he heard on. He turned and pointed the warp key at thin air and pressed the button.
A few moments later, he found himself standing in the past, facing some of the most reviled people in human memory.
Lightning Lad, Triplicate Girl, Chameleon Boy, Timber Wolf- these people had had statues in New Metropolis, to serve as a warning to all those who would aspire to their ideal.
He glared at the worst of them as he explained the situation.
He was standing within three feet of Brainiac 5, but K3NT's orders made it impossible for him to kill the Coluan right there. The Legion was to come to the future and help him win the war against Imperiex- even if it meant taking along the monster who hid so cunningly behind the seemingly-inoffensive façade of a humanoid teenager.
Superman X was slightly surprised when the Legionnaires he'd encountered assumed they were going to the future right away, but he went along with it, in his own small rebellion against this horrific idea.
Let's see five Legionnaires take down an entire army!
Not ten minutes later, he was forced to admit that the Legionnaires were more competent than he'd thought, and that K3NT was most likely right to have them brought to help.
Most infuriatingly was the way that Brainiac 5 was so good at that. Clearly that was how he'd managed to worm his way into the trusted position he held now- he made himself out to be indispensible.
And now the tyrant had a plan, and everyone was listening to him.
It was, Superman X had to admit grudgingly, a good one.
Superman X stared in horror at the vast bubbles of antimatter eating his home. This wasn't right- this wasn't supposed to happen! The resistance was gone, K3NT was gone-
He had no life.
And he knew who to blame.
Oh, he should have seen it coming, when K3NT had first had the idea.
It was the Legion's fault- no, it was the Legion's fault, but there was someone who was more to blame.
They had fled back to the 31st Century- fled, helpless to do a thing!- just to find New Metropolis in ruins and the Legion distracted by an insignificant threat.
It gave him a certain satisfaction to see the horror he felt at the destruction of his home mirrored on the Legionnaire's faces when they first saw the carnage.
The Legion was in the hospital, pouring over the few there.
Talking about going after the rest.
Didn't they get it? Imperiex would kill millions; trillions, if he was given the chance. A few Legionnaires was nothing compared to that.
And they'd be doing the future a favor by letting them die now.
But he knew how the Legion played, all too well. They focused on the wrong problems, straining their resources too thin and completely missing the enemy within until it was too late-
And then they paid for their folly with their lives.
Superman X didn't care about the ceiling- he didn't care about anything but Imperiex, now. The Legion was making a bad decision, and he would have nothing to do with it.
They had even dragged Superman- the original one, everyone had made pains to point out- into their insane view of the situation.
No wonder the heroes of the 21st century had fallen so hard. They followed Superman, and Superman had been corrupted by the Legion.
He didn't care about the hole in the ceiling. There was just Imperiex.
What had the deceitful little traitor thought he was doing, coming after him like that?
Brainiac 5 had saved him from Imperiex. He didn't need saving. Perhaps he thought he owed Superman X something, for saving his life.
He was a fool, if he thought that. He had only saved the Coluan because he still had Imperiex to destroy.
No, the he was too smart for that. What game was he playing?
For one moment, Superman X found himself falling for the ruse. He'd thanked the tyrant.
Clearly, that just showed how dangerous he was.
And now he was sitting next to him in the Legion's cruiser, listening to his voice counting down to doom. He should have known better than to let Brainiac 5 tag along. The other Legionnaires hadn't been around- no one had been around. It would have been easy to get rid of him. It could have been seen as an accident, the villains from before back to take out the strategist.
Brainiac 5 had rescued him again. But now Superman X knew to be on guard. The Coluan was up to something, and he would not fall for it.
And the Legion was still going to risk the lives of everyone in the galaxy to save a few dozen who were captured because of their own incompetence.
Let them die! Superman X howled inside as he sped away from the Legion's new cruiser. Let them crash and burn, but I will have no more to do with you! I will find Imperiex; and I will destroy him!
And then, when Imperiex has been ground to dust and scattered to the winds- then I'll come back for you, Brainiac will pay for the destruction of everything I know.
There is nothing more either of you can do to me. I have nothing to lose.
Yet Superman X found himself turning back, flying to Takron-Galtos.
Brainiac 5 made too good an argument. Worse, he made others, people who seemed trustworthy, parrot his ideas. It seemed so harmless when the oh-so-false seeds of destruction were delivered with complete sincerity.
His enemy had a point.
The galaxy could not be a worse place- the enemy had even given him a name.
He had a name…