For the writerverse quick fic amnesty challenge prompts: It's Only the End of the World, Superpowers, Sunshine, Planetary, In Space, Lament, Not Serious, Serendipity, Dawn, What Would _ Do?
The abandoned factory, set amongst overgrown grass and a parking lot full of pot holes, was absolutely not housing a secret V facility where humans were being brainwashed.
Sometimes leads panned out and other times they didn't. There was no question that this was one of the latter.
Jack had insisted on going with Hobbes, just in case. Erica had a meeting she couldn't get away from. Ryan was supposed to meet them there, but was running late. He still hadn't arrived when they'd checked out the entire facility and were heading back to the van.
"It's only the end of the world as we know it," Hobbes complained. "Why not waste our time following up worthless tips instead of trying to take our planet back!"
"Do you remember when we were alone in the universe?" Jack lamented. "Just us – and God, of course." He had his hands tucked deep into his pockets, and kicked at a loose pebble. Hobbes didn't reply, but he did tug at Jack's arm. Jack looked up and saw Lisa standing by their van.
She regarded them coolly, as was her wont. Yet her hair, usually smooth and neatly tied back, fell in loose curls about her shoulders, and instead of her Peace Keeper uniform she was dressed in red boots, a short skirt, and a figure hugging top that emphasised her cleavage.
"Lisa?" Jack asked, shocked by both her presence and appearance. "What are you doing here?"
"And is it Halloween already?" Hobbes asked, because his response to pretty much anything out of the ordinary was to treat it as not serious, something to be mocked or prodded and see what happened.
She tipped her head questioningly. "Who are you people?" she asked.
Jack and Hobbes exchanged glances.
"Memory loss?" Hobbes suggested. It certainly wasn't beyond the Visitor's capabilities, Jack supposed although he gave Hobbes an exasperated look at his suggestion she'd maybe "got knocked on her head".
Jack took a slow step forward, one hand held out in a gesture of peace. "Don't you remember? We're Fifth Column. I'm Jack Landry. This is Hobbes."
"Whom your people framed," Hobbes put in.
Her eyebrows drew together. "My people? I do not think so."
"What are you doing off the ship?" Jack asked, glancing around. She gave him a look that suggested he was the one behaving oddly rather her.
Ryan finally appeared, and began jogging over when he saw Lisa. "Lisa," he gasped. "What are you doing here? What are you wearing?"
"Who is this Lisa?" she asked. "I am Kara, of the House of El."
Hobbes glared at Jack. "Great. You've just outed us to an impostor princess who's a few sandwiches short of a picnic."
Kara took a step forward. "What have you done to this planet? Those ships in space above the Earth, who do they belong to? And where is my cousin?"
Ryan turned, open mouthed to Jack, who shrugged helplessly. Hobbes had moved one hand casually to his hip.
"Do not think of drawing your weapon," Kara told Hobbes. "It will go badly for you if you do." Next she pointed to Ryan. "You are different. Not human."
"And neither are you," Ryan said.
"True. Yet I am not like you, either. I am Kryptonian. I come from beyond the stars."
"As do my people." Ryan pointed upwards. "Those are our ships."
She frowned. "What are you doing here?"
"Well we'd all like to know the answer to that one," Hobbes said wryly. "Anna says she comes in peace but that's a flat out lie."
"We call them Visitors," Jack added.
"More like invaders." Hobbes glanced at Ryan. "I'd say 'no offence' but that wouldn't be true."
Kara stared up at the alien ship visible in the sky. The skies were clear, spring sunshine having replaced the previous day's rain. "Invaders," she repeated. "There are more, ones you cannot see from the Earth's surface. A planetary fleet. Enough to destroy or colonize your world."
"Wait, so you're another kind of alien?" Hobbes sighed. "So much for being alone in the universe, Jack."
Kara tipped her head. "You said you are Fifth Column. Explain."
"If you're not Lisa, how do we know if you're trustworthy?" Hobbes asked.
"You don't." Kara said. "But I can help you, if you will confide in me."
Hobbes looked unconvinced, taking in her outfit once more. Kara walked calmly over to their black van and lifted it high up into the air. With one hand.
For a moment there was silence.
"Is this proof enough of my power?" Kara asked.
The three men nodded and Kara lowered the vehicle back to the ground. She folded her arms across her chest. "Fifth Column. What is it?"
"It's a resistance movement," Ryan began. Kara held out one hand and he fell silent.
"Why did you all address me as Lisa?"
Jack cleared his throat. "Because you look very much like – exactly like, really – Lisa, the daughter of the Visitor's leader, their queen, Anna."
"Aside from the clothes. And the hair," Hobbes added.
"Those can be changed. But the resemblance I bear to her – that's serendipity. More than you can imagine, I am a valuable asset to you, and this will make things even easier." Kara considered for a moment. "Tell me everything."
Despite a few disagreements about the timeline of events, and some arguing about which events were most pertinent, and some unnecessary if biting commentary from Hobbes, the three of them outlined the sequence of events concerning the Visitor's arrival.
"I see," Kara said at last. "Where is my cousin? He would never have allowed anyone to take up unfettered residence here if he was suspicious of their motives."
"Who's your cousin?" Ryan asked. "Maybe he's Fifth Column."
She gave him a withering glance. "If he were working with you, the invaders would be gone, or he would have proven them peaceful as they claim and your movement would have been disbanded."
"Some kind of superhero is he?" Hobbes asked.
She didn't take umbrage. "Yes," she said simply. "To humans, he does appear that way. As do I. Or do I need to demonstrate my superpowers again?"
Jack shook his head. "We believe you. But we've never seen anyone with abilities like yours, cousin or not. I'm sorry."
Kara paced, thinking. "What would Kal-El do? He would help you. So must I." She turned to Ryan. "I need you to brief me fully on this Lisa, so that I can infiltrate the ship posing as her. I will get onboard, find this Anna, and put a stop to the invasion."
"You make it sound so simple," Jack said.
"For a Kryptonian, your situation is difficult but not impossible to rectify," Kara said. "Though in future, you might take better care of your planet."
"We'll put up a 'No Vacancy' sign, shall we?" Hobbes asked.
A small smile crossed her lips. "I forget that humans are so vulnerable. No matter. Kal-El will protect your world, if I can find him." The smile vanished as suddenly as it had arrived. "Though I fear for him, if he has done nothing to stand against Anna."
Or maybe he had tried, and failed. No one wanted to voice it aloud, lest it upset Kara.
"After I have defeated the invaders, you will help me find Kal-El," Kara said at last. "That only seems fair, yes?"
"We'll start with the phonebook," Hobbes said unwisely and Jack elbowed him in the ribs.
"Hobbes, for the love of God, do not piss off the woman who can lift a car above her head without breaking a sweat," he begged. Hobbes made to protest but had to concede that Jack had a point.
"I have other powers too," Kara said. "If you're nice, maybe I'll show them to you."
She and Ryan spent thirty minutes discussing the situation. At last Kara nodded.
"Meet me back here tomorrow at dawn," she said. "Get the real Lisa off the ship as you say you can. And bring this Erica you speak of. I want to meet her."
"We will," Jack promised. "Can we give you a ride somewhere?"
She beamed at him, a genuine smile. "There is no need, Jack Landry. I have my own transport."
They watched as Kara flew, bullet straight, up into the air before disappearing eastwards with a sonic boom in her wake.
"I didn't imagine that, did I?" Jack asked faintly.
"I saw it too," Ryan said. "Do you think she really can defeat Anna?"
They all looked over at the van, remembering Kara's show of strength.
"I think we better start looking for this Kal-El bloke," Hobbes said. "Before she gets back."