Hello everyone, I'm Broken Ben. This is my first story on fanfiction, and also the first in my Infinite DCU series. For more information on that, check out my profile! At first the changes to Superman's origin in this story may seem minor, but if you follow the story over the next few chapters you will realize just how drastically the man of steel's beginnings have been altered.
And of course, I'd love to see any feedback you readers may have to help make my stories the best they can be, so review!
Chapter One: Awakening
Metropolis – 1994
The brisk November air easily penetrated the cracked windows of the small shop. Sixteen year old John Henry Irons had long since given up on the small electric heater in the corner, which barely produced enough warmth to keep his teeth from chattering. John Henry had landed a part time job at a small auto-shop called Mikes Auto-Repair, working for minimum wage doing little more than sweeping up shop and the occasional tire rotation.
Another gust of wind blew, and John rubbed his hands together, trying to warm his fingers up. "I would give up my paycheck for a month if it would convince Mike to install some freakin' heat." He muttered to himself, flipping the light switch off. John had been instructed to close up shop, and he was eager to get out of there before he missed the meteor shower that was supposed to be passing over. It had been all over the news for a week, and he wasn't about to miss it.
John inserted the key into the lock on the doorknob, and at that very moment there was a thunderous crash. The entire shop trembled as if it had just been struck by a powerful earthquake, and the windows shattered under the weight of the impact. John hit the floor in a panic, but just as suddenly as the tremor had begun, it stopped. "What the hell was that?" He screamed frantically into the dust-filled air. Slowly, he wobbled onto his feet.
John looked back to see the rear wall of the shop had completely collapsed, and buried into the concrete was a round metal object about the size of a small car. John was no rocket scientist, but it didn't take him long to deduce that the object was no meteor. "What in the…" he eyed the strange object that had fallen from the heaves and, by all account of his poor luck, collided with the store. Grabbing a large crescent wrench to defend himself, John cautiously approached the metallic sphere. As he drew nearer, he noticed several strange symbols arranged in intricate patterns along the sphere. He immediately associated the symbols with hieroglyphics, but they were much more complex than anything he had seen in The Mummy, that was for sure.
Now within reach, John extended his hand forward and cautiously touched the sphere. Immediately, the symbols lit up with bright fluorescent blue light. Loud mechanical sounds erupted from the sphere, and John backed away quickly, startled. A blue beam shot out from the sphere and ran up and down John's body, as if scanning him. An automated voice erupted from the sphere; "No Threat Detected. Opening Capsule."
Slowly, what appeared to be a door began to open, ready to reveal whatever lurked inside of the sphere. "No threat huh? We'll see about that." John muttered, turning the wrench over in his hand. He raised the tool into the air, ready to strike. John leapt forward to see what the capsule contained, and was shocked to discover that inside was… a baby. A small, human-looking infant baby. Slowly, John lowered the wrench. "You have got to be kidding."
The baby looked as if it were waking up from a long sleep. With a big yawn, the infant looked up at John, revealing bright blue eyes full of interest. John couldn't help but grin; it was pretty cute. But immediately, his mind went into a frenzied swirl of questions. A baby? What am I supposed to do with a baby? Where did it even come from? What's up with that sphere?
Suddenly, John's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of several vehicles pulling up the drive. Large vehicles. He spun around and looked through the frame of the now shattered front window to see four military Jeeps parked outside the shop. A small squadron of armed soldiers got out from the vehicles and began approaching the front door.
"Crap… the feds." John grumbled, looking back down at the baby. His mind put the equation together quickly, Guns + Baby from space = Bad news. Moving quickly, John picked the baby up and removed him from the capsule. To his relief, the door slid shut as soon as the baby was out. Looking around frantically, John spotted an empty tool bag sitting atop a work bench. Working as fast as he could while still being gentle, he stuffed the baby inside the tool bag and zipped it shut. Please don't cry. Please don't cry.
Just as John was stepping away from the bag, the door burst open and the soldiers moved in swiftly. They all raised their guns, and John held up his hands, terrified. The soldiers stood in line, all except one. A tall, muscular man, probably in his mid-thirties approached John with a stoic look of superiority on his face.
"What is your name?" The soldier demanded.
"John Henry Irons." He squeaked. "I work here."
"Lieutenant Samuel Lane." The soldier introduced himself professionally, and then looked over John's shoulder at the orb. "You are in possession of government property. We are here to extract the object, and then we'll be on our way."
"Government property?" John looked back at the orb. "Exactly what is it?"
"Just a fallen satellite."
"Affirmative. It was knocked out of orbit during the meteor shower. You are lucky not to have been injured. Now kindly step aside so that we can retrieve it." Lieutenant Lane ordered.
"Look, I'm no expert… but I'm pretty sure that's not a satellite. Mind telling me the truth?"
Lieutenant Lane's expression turned fierce, dangerous even. "Don't ask questions that you aren't prepared to know the answers to, Mr. Irons. Now kindly step aside, so that we can retrieve our satellite."
Out the corner of his eye, John saw the tool bag moving. Damn. Quickly, John Henry stepped to the side, being sure to stand in front of the bag so that Lieutenant Lane didn't notice it squirming. "Go ahead."
The soldiers moved forward. Someone else came up to question John, asking if he had touched the pod. John told him no, deciding it would be safer to lie. Within minutes, the soldiers had attached cables to the pod and pulled it into the back of an armored truck. Lieutenant Sam Lane approached John one last time. "The government thanks you for your cooperation, Mr. Irons."
"Anything for my beloved country." John replied, forcing a smile.
The military left, taking the mysterious pod with them. Once John Henry was sure they were all gone, he turned and pulled the baby safely out of the tool bag. It was a boy. "Ah… what am I supposed to do with you?" He asked. The baby looked back at him with curious, energetic blue eyes. "Ok kid," John sighed, "I guess I'd better go find an orphanage."
Smallville, Kansas – Eighteen Years Later
The sound of the rooster crowing pierced the ears of eighteen year old Clark Kent, forcing him awake with an agitated groan. "Stupid bird." Clark sat up on the foot of his bed and looked at his reflection in the mirror. Bright blue eyes, slick black hair, muscled and tanned from working on the farm… your average Kansas boy.
He got on to his feet and pulled on a clean pair of jeans and a white t-shirt, driven only by the alluring scent of bacon and waffles down below. Once he was dressed, Clark opened his bedroom door, turned down the hall, sped down the stairwell and veered into the kitchen where a delicious breakfast awaited him, prepared by Martha Kent, his adopted mother.
"Good morning Clark." Martha Kent hummed as she did every morning.
"Hey ma." Clark responded, loading his plate with blueberry waffles.
"Hay is for horses."
"Don't insult yourself like that ma; you look nothing like a horse."
"Ha-ha." She rolled her eyes.
"Morning Clark." Jonathon Kent entered the room, Clark's adopted father.
"Hi." Clark said through a full mouth.
Within six minutes, Clark wolfed down twelve waffles. He then reached into the fridge, opened a carton of milk, swallowed it all in two gulps, and grabbed his backpack.
"Well someone seems strangely eager to go to school." Martha smiled.
"Football starts today. I'm a bit excited for practice." Clark responded, "Besides, who wouldn't be eager to get their senior year over with?"
"I suppose you've got a point there." Jonathon laughed, opening up a newspaper. "Come right home after practice though. I'm going to need your help repairing the fence after that last twister that came through."
"Got it dad." Clark said within a belch. "After all, it's not like I have a social life or anything."
"Do you?" Jonathon raised an eyebrow.
"Thank you dad, poking fun at my lack of popularity is sure to boost my self-esteem."
"Imagine that, sarcasm." Jonathon rolled his eyes. "Honestly Martha, did you have to pick out the most sarcastic child in the world from the orphanage?"
"He was just a baby Jonathon. He hadn't learned to be a smart ass yet." Martha replied with a grin.
"I suppose that's what I get for adopting a baby from Metropolis." Jonathon shook his head. "Damn city punks."
"Oh, you guys are just wonderful." Clark smiled, and then headed out the door. He hopped into his old, rusted and beat up pickup truck that he had bought for two-hundred dollars from the neighbor. It wasn't the nicest ride in the world, but it got him from place to place and that was good enough for the time being.
As Clark started the truck, he caught a glimpse of something strange out the corner of his eye. It appeared to be a wolf. A wolf? Clark thought, startled by the oddity. But when he looked over, there was nothing. "Weird." Clark shook his head, "This truck must be putting out fumes."
Secret Military Base – Same Time
The meeting was now almost fully assembled. Present were the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and General Sam Lane. "This had better be good." Lane announced, "I'm supposed to meet my daughter in Metropolis in one hour, and I will not be made late by anything short of extraordinary."
"I trust that what I am about to share with you will prove to be well worth your time, General." Echoed a sophisticated voice. And then, from the shadows, out stepped the man who had called the meeting; Lex Luthor.
"Who are you exactly?" General Lane beamed.
"Allow me to introduce myself, general. I am Lex Luthor. I lead many of the U.S. government's more… shall we say, under the rug studies."
"Like what, exactly?" General Lane asked.
"Classified information, General." Responded the secretary of defense automatically.
"Then why the hell am I here?"
"We'll be getting to that, I assure you." Lex nodded curtly. "Now that the formalities are over with, I suppose you are all wondering why I requested an audience with you."
"We are." Agreed the President.
"I trust all of you are familiar with UFO Alpha? The one that crashed in Metropolis in November of 1994."
"Of course. I was part of the squadron that recovered it." General Lane nodded.
"Exactly why you are here, General." Lex smiled. "Like all scientific findings that are classified above top secret, the UFO was handed over to my research team at LexCorp."
"The company that makes blenders and electric pencil sharpeners?" General Lane raised an eyebrow.
"Those are our public endeavors, yes." Lex smiled. "However, the true work of LexCorp is kept hidden from the public eye."
"What do you know; the hippies are on to something." General Lane scoffed. "Do you have a car that runs on water too?"
"Old news General. We built that in the seventies." Lex looked away from the general and continued speaking. "A short time ago, scientists at LexCorp uncovered something truly fascinating within UFO Alpha."
"What are you talking about?" The Secretary of Defense demanded. "All reports indicated that the UFO was empty upon retrieval."
"Void of organic life, yes. That is accurate." Lex responded. "However, there was something else within the UFO. A program, designed to navigate the UFO's flight path and constantly scan its surroundings. We have named it the Braniac program."
"So the aliens know how to program a GPS? So what?" General Lane spat.
"That was our original viewpoint as well, general. However, further inspection revealed the Braniac program to be much, much more." Lex pressed a button on a small remote, and a holographic image instantly appeared in the center of the room. The image was an incomprehensible mess of bizarre moving shapes and symbols.
"What is that?" The President questioned.
"That, Mr. President, is a techo-genetic coding found within the Braniac program. It isn't just a GPS, you see. Braniac is a DNA based techno-organism."
"Meaning what, exactly?" General Lane inquired.
"It means that the Braniac program is alive, general."
A stunned silence fell over the group. Finally, the secretary of defense broke the silence. "A living computer program?"
"Yes. One with a bio-technological genome coding like nothing we have ever encountered before in any known species. The Braniac program has only one function, you see, and that is to learn. It learns faster and far more efficiently than we do, and most importantly; it never, ever forgets. Even now, it is analyzing every single aspect of its surroundings on a subatomic level, collecting all of the information there is to be collected in the vicinity."
"Fascinating." The President leaned forward. "Mr. Luthor, if this program really is as advanced as you claim, doesn't it pose a potential threat?"
"As of now, no. The program is being carefully controlled by the world's best analysts and programmers. Unfortunately we have unable to access any of the knowledge that the program had prior to landing on Earth, it is all carefully restricted by security systems that our planet's best hackers cannot even begin to comprehend. However, we have been able to uncover one thing…"
"What's that?" The President asked.
"The Braniac program is coded to another specific set of DNA. I assume the DNA of a default setting, if you will. Someone who Braniac is designed to watch over. And upon further investigation, the DNA that Braniac is set to track… it too is unlike anything on Earth."
"Wait a minute, do you mean…" General Lane began.
"Yes general. With the use of Braniac's navigation, we can find the alien that UFO was carrying eighteen years ago."
Smallville High – Later That Day
"You ready for this bro?" Asked Pete Ross enthusiastically.
"I guess." Clark Kent shrugged.
Both boys were suited up in their football gear, waiting for practice to begin. Pete and Clark had been best friends since first grade, and that had remained a constant fact throughout their entire school careers.
"Why do I get the feeling you aren't nearly as pumped up about this as I am?" Pete frowned.
"Another year of sitting on the bench. Woo-freaking-hoo." Clark sighed.
"Well maybe if you actually tried once in a while, you'd get to play now and then." Pete smiled.
"That's kind of the problem." Clark groaned, "Football is my dad's dream, Pete. Not mine. I only pretend to be into it because he loves it so much."
"Yeah, yeah. I've heard it before." Pete sighed. "You know, Clark… you don't have to try so hard man. Your dad is gonna' love you whether you play football or not."
"That isn't the point." Clark dropped his gaze.
"I know what the point is Clark. You think that because John and Martha adopted you, you have to try extra hard to please them because they could have picked anybody else to take home. I get it. You want them to be proud. You want them to think they made a good choice when they adopted you. I know how it is, Clark… but that doesn't change the fact that you're blowing it all way out of proportion."
"Shut up Pete."
"They've raised you since you were a little kid, man. And they've always loved you. You don't have to earn it."
"Pete, I mean it! Shut up!" Clark snapped.
"Fine." Pete shrugged. "Let's talk about something more productive then. Like, for example, all those fine, fine ladies over there."
Clark looked up and stared across the field, where the cheerleading squad was having their first practice as well. Pete's eyes wandered, but Clark's gaze was focused on one girl; Lana Lang. The beautiful, dark skinned, long haired Lana Lang. The girl he'd had a crush on since before he even liked girls.
Suddenly, a firm hand locked on Clark's shoulder. "You have thirty seconds to get your eyes off of my girl, Kent." Barked the voice of Jon Corben, the school's single most stereotypical bully.
"Sorry Jon. I just couldn't help but feel sorry for her. After all, she's dating a borderline-alcoholic dick." Clark replied calmly.
"That's funny." Jon nodded, yanking Clark onto his feet. "You know what else is funny? Me, kicking your ass so hard that your shit comes out your nose."
"If you can do that, I will be thoroughly impressed." Clark grinned.
"You're about to be thouroughly dead, Kent!"
Jon shoved Clark as hard as he could, almost knocking him down. "Why don't you open that smartass mouth of yours, one more time?" He warned.
"Hey, guys, let's just be calm here." Pete stood between the two. "We're all on the same team."
"Not that Kent ever plays." Jon smiled. "Honestly, I don't know why you even bother trying out for the team every year Clark."
"I like to watch douchebags embarrass themselves. And Jersey Shore isn't on until 6:00."
"Clark, stop talking back." Pete snapped.
"You should really take advice from Gandhi here, Kent." Jon warned, nodding to Pete. "It might save you a whole lot of pain in the near future."
"Wow, do you get all of your lines from crappy movies, or just the ones that make you sound especially retarded?" Clark shot back.
"That's it Kent, you're dead!" Jon Corben balled his fists and lunged at Clark, knocking Pete away easily. Clark held up his arms to defend himself, but Jon's fist made an early contact with Clark's face, drawing blood from his jaw. Clark stumbled back and Jon shoved him onto the ground, and then kicked him in the ribs.
"Corben!" The coach screamed. "Get your ass over here!"
"Sorry coach. I was just showing Clark here how not to fight like a pussy." Jon stated, and most of the team laughed.
"Alright, all of you give me ten laps. I'll start easy. Go!" Coach Rose shouted, and the team took off running, generating an ocean of groans. Clark stood up and started to jog when the coach stopped him abruptly. "Not you, Kent."
Once the team was out of earshot, Coach Rose said, "Clark… why do you insist on picking fights that you aren't going to win?"
"I don't know." Clark groaned.
"You've got a lot of anger inside you, kid." Coach Rose observed. "I don't know where the hell it all comes from, but you've got a whole lot of anger. Just stop taking it out on people bigger than you, ok? Unless it's on the field, against somebody who isn't on your team, of course. Then its ok."
"How about you go clean yourself up kid? Your lip's bleeding all over your new jersey."
"Thanks coach." Clark sighed, and walked back toward the locker room. However, as he was about to step inside, he saw something out the corner of his eye again. A dog. This one looked slightly less wolf-like than the one he thought he'd seen that morning, but there still seemed to be something off about it… something dream like. "What the hell?" Clark looked out at the dog, standing in the middle of the road near the school.
Then he noticed something else… a truck. A large truck heading at full speed, straight at the dog. It clearly had no intention of stopping. "Oh crap." Clark groaned. He thought back to when he was eight years old, and the Kent's family dog was run over by a car. He'd cried for a week. Now all he could think was, that's some kid's dog.
A strange instinct washed over Clark, a sudden feeling of power like nothing he had ever experienced before. Acting on pure instinct, Clark sprinted toward the road and dove for the dog! The truck's brakes squealed loudly, but there was no way it would stop in time. Clark held out his hands for protection, closed his eyes and braced for impact. And it came, but not anything like he had expected.
There was a thunderous crash as the truck collided with his hands, and to Clark's surprise, the truck came to an almost immediate halt. The front end practically exploded, Clark's hands smashing deep into the hood, just as easily as if it were made of snow. "What the hell?" The driver screamed, bursting out of the cab to see his destroyed front end. "What did you do?" He shrieked frantically.
The football team and several cheerleaders were now rushing over to the scene, drawn by the collision. Clark slowly pulled his hands out from within the twisted steel of the hood, and stumbled backward, dazed and confused.
"Clark!" Pete grabbed him. "Dude, what are you doing?"
"I wanted to save the dog."
"Clark… what dog?"
"It… it was right there just a minute ago." Clark pointed to where he had seen it standing, plain as day.
"Kid, there wasn't anything on that road but gravel!" The truck driver screamed, still enraged.
"Dude…" Pete looked over the distance between the road and the locker rooms. At least two hundred feet. "How did you even get over here that fast?"
"I- I have no idea."
There were loud murmurs among the crowd now. "What a freak!"
"Did you see that?"
"How did he do that?"
"Dude, Kent's on steroids!"
"Is he delusional or what?"
"Who is his dealer? I need some of whatever he's on!"
Pete pushed through the crowd quickly, helping a dazed Clark along. "Seriously, how did you stop that truck?"
"Pete… I have no idea."
Office of Lex Luthor
"Everything went according to plan." Luthor smiled. "Our correspondent in Smallville is already preparing the final necessities, and now the President himself has given us approval to do as please."
"What of the general?" Asked an omnipresent voice, originating form a source that could not be seen through human eyes.
"General Lane? He's an imbecile. Easily manipulated. As long as we keep him blind to what we're really doing in Smallville, he will pose no threat."
"Good. And this correspondent of yours, you are certain he can be trusted?"
"Mr. Morgan Edge can never say no to a paycheck. As long as we keep a portion of the revenue stream flowing his way, he'll do whatever we tell him." Luthor looked out his massive office window, onto the sprawling city of Metropolis which, if his plans were realized, would eventually be under his rule… along with everything else. "In no time at all, the Doomsday Weapon will be ours… master."
A/N: And so it begins! We'll see more of the story unfold soon, and uncover the Infinite DCU truth about Clark Kent. I promise you, it will be nothing like you've ever seen before. So keep on reading (and reviewing)!
As a quick side note, have you noticed that there are already 3 characters in this named John? DC is really not very creative with their names. I've distinguished them a bit, as far as spelling goes (John, Jon, Jonathon) to help you all keep track more easily.