I do not own any DC Characters used herein, and am only employing them in a story meant for entertainment purposes only.

Man Of Steel

Original Story By Twisted-Wun & LJ58

Edited and Reposted (With Permission) by LJ58

I

"Don't let him reach the hatch," General Flagg shouted as explosions seemed to rock the once sturdy underground bunker. "Get those blast doors down! Get them down! Who the devil even raised them?"

"Sir, Delta squad just fell, and Baker is being torn apart," a soldier reported as someone shouted frantically in his ear to be heard over the communications headset he wore.

The burly general swore. "Just give him a little freedom," the general growled. "What could it hurt?" He swore fluently, then grabbed the radio, his scowl as dark as his mood.

"Report, Baker," he snarled. "Baker? Damn it, someone talk to me!"

"Sir," an obviously injured man rasped over the line after a moment. "He…. He can't be stopped. We…. We've hit him with everything! Everything! He just keeps going. He was…. He was laughing at us, sir! Laughing!"

Richard Flagg swore. Not good, he knew. Not good at all.

"General," someone shouted. "He's tearing through the blast doors! He's…gone," the man with the radio headset frowned as he turned to look at him with a stunned expression.

"What do you mean gone? What happened out there? Baker? Baker? Are you still there?"

"He's gone, sir," the man on the other end finally croaked, sounding as if he were barely conscious. "He….. He went through the doors….. Like they were tissue. Then he just looked up, and….and he was…..gone."

General Flagg resisted the urge to fling his radio to the ground, and glared at his men. "I'll be in command," he said to those around him, not really caring what they thought at that point.

He was against this madness from the start.

'Don't borrow trouble,' he had told the new scientists. Bleeding hearts, more like it. They took one look at the specimen, and started babbling about humane treatment.

First they reduced amount of the crystalline particulates that kept him weakened, and manageable. Then they started feeding him more than regularly, as if they somehow starved him. Then they even started demanding he be allowed space for exercise, and even privacy. Privacy! None of them seemed to understand what they were dealing with here. Not one of them.

All they saw was a young man, apparently human, held immobile by thick, reinforced chains that even weakened as he was at the time, barely kept him restrained. That had been when the bleeding hearts showed up with new agendas. New guidelines.

'Treat him as a human, and he will react humanely,' they had parroted their usual liberal bull.

Well, that was really smart.

To be honest, the subject had been fairly docile for all of three days after his relative freedom was granted. Until one of the scientists had the bright idea of allowing the subject to interact with certain artifacts in their care. Curiosity aside, they were certain the humane treatment, and more lenient strictures would allow them to breach the specimen's consistently stoic, and often hostile demeanor.

Well, he had three hundred men who could tell them how well that had worked.

"Get me Lane," he barked as he walked into the main command center of the underground facility built sixteen years ago for a single purpose. A purpose they in which they had spectacularly failed today. "And get those damn eggheads debriefed, and out of my facility. Now!"

He sat down, waiting as the encrypted landlines were doubly encrypted, and then rechecked again before being doubly encrypted yet again before he dared use them. It was that kind of world.

"General Lane," a gruff man drawled on the other end of the line he put on speaker just because he didn't feel like holding a phone just then. He was also of the feeling he might smash the damn thing in his current mood.

It had been known to happen.

"Sam. It's Rick. We have a situation."

The line was silent for a moment, then he heard a long exhalation.

"Rick, in the nine years since you took command there, you have not called me to do more than discuss the lousy chow, or the morons we send you to help play doctor with your guest. Don't tell me…..?"

"Whoever set up the new procedures for your eggheads was a moron."

"That would be Dr. Luthor's people. They felt a new approach might yield….." Sam Lane paused as he heard the sharp intake of breath. "Hit a snag?"

"Snag? You could call it that, Sam. X-1 just broke out. He tore threw my best like they were untrained recruits, and literally took off. As of now, X-1 is MIA."

If the soldier had cursed himself, it was nothing like the grizzled Marine general's reaction on the other end just then. His reaction made Rick sound like a choirboy.

"Sam, listen. He went through over three hundred of my best like they were wet-behind-the-ears schoolboys. We need medical support, and relief ASAP. And I want these damn eggheads debriefed, and sent to Greenland! Maybe Antarctica! They're all idiots," he growled.

"Rick, I'll be in touch. Meanwhile, hang on. I'm sending out a full relief force now."

"Sam. Damn it, Sam, we couldn't even slow him down. Nothing stopped him," he told his longtime friend. "Nothing."

"That is not good," Sam admitted. "What about the crystals?"

"To be honest, of late they seemed to have been loosing their efficacy even before we reduced the amounts around him. Maybe he's built up an immunity over time. I don't know. But right now, we're looking at a real cluster….."

"I get it. I'll be in touch. Just hold the fort," Sam told him. "I have to call the old man."

"Understood. Flagg out."

"It's a phone, Rick. Just say goodbye."

Rick scowled, and pressed the disconnect switch. Hard.

"I know it's a damn phone, you damn jarhead," he growled at the device, then rose to his feet, looked around the stunned, pale faces of his men standing around him in command, and nodded. "Okay. Everyone grab whatever medical supplies we have, and follow me. And get someone down to level nine. We have fires to contain, and people to treat. Move, you pantywaists. This isn't over yet," he barked.

MoS

He hung in the air thousands of feet over the planet below. Even he was stunned when he jumped from the wall of the dam concealing his underground prison, and found himself rising into the air so far, and so fast that he knew that he must have just seemed to vanish to those he had left behind.

He looked down, stunned as he realized his senses were now suddenly so sharp, so sensitive, that he was hearing voices and sounds from miles away. Seeing things at impossible distances if he focused just so.

He had been feeling restless for years, but especially of late. That feeling had only intensified when those new scientists had finally presented him with genuine evidence of why the military that had held him captive for so long apparently feared him.

He wasn't human.

He had wondered what he was for years, but no one told him a thing. No one ever truly said anything to him. Yet the moment he had no more than brushed the small, shimmering rainbow crystal still clutched in his left hand he had heard a shrill burst of sound, and what he now knew was a holographic recording exploded in his mind, feeding him a data-stream with the entire history, science, and culture of a long dead planet right into his head. Data that began with a startling declaration.

"My son," the silver-haired man who 'appeared' before him had stated somberly. "I am Jor-El. I am your father."

He looked down at the crystal he still held, and focused his attention on it rather than the paranoid people on the planet below. The planet where his father had sent him, thinking he would have a chance to survive the destruction of his homeworld. To thrive. To build his own life.

Of course, he had not known any of that when he was found wandering not far from where a small spacecraft of unknown origin was discovered by the military over nineteen years ago. He had only known that he was not well received anywhere he had gone since they found him. He supposed he would have been only been about three years of age at the time he crawled out of the spacecraft he only dimly remembered in spite of a brain that could and did soak up knowledge like a sponge.

What had gotten him dragged out of a rather ordinary government lab, and all but buried underground was fear. Fear that as he grew older, he grew still ever stronger, and more unassailable. At just five, he had already been lifting half a ton of dead weight. Bending and breaking their needles, and even hearing their intentions for him through solid walls. He would have fled then, but he had still been just a child, lost and frightened. Unsure of what he could do, and even if he should do it.

Then, of course, came the discovery of the green crystals that sickened him.

Fear and paranoia at their height during that time he was growing up, he was virtually buried in the underground bunker with the strange, glowing rocks they found could make him sick. For sixteen years he had been kept in a cage. More and more chains added as they realized that even with the rocks necessary to weaken him without actually killing him that he was still growing stronger, and in their minds, more dangerous.

He had the feeling that some of them would have simply killed him if they could have actually managed it.

Then the old man with kind eyes came, and started making different demands. Chains were actually removed. Some of the crystalline rocks he now suspected were actually pieces of his own lost world were removed, and he began to grow even stronger. Still, some of those rocks had already been replaced with very good, but ineffectual duplicates. He did not know why. He did not care. That fact only added to his recovering strength. A fact he kept to himself, as he had learned to stay silent over the years since he had no answers to their often ridiculous questions anyway. Meanwhile, the old man, Dr. Emil Hamilton, let him read. Let him watch their television. He was genuinely friendly. He treated him as a real human.

Then the old man led him into a special lab, and for the first time since he was a child, he was presented with the weird, egg-shaped craft that had apparently brought him to this planet. In it, he found a simple blue blanket he had lifted and ran his hand over as he had flashes of memory that involved a willowy woman with dark hair, and smiling, if sad eyes.

Then the old man handed him the strangely glowing crystal he produced from a heavy, lead box, and then everything had suddenly made sense.

Even as the soldier in charge of his security had started demanding to know what was happening as he absorbed that holographic farewell from his parents. From Jor-El and Lara. The soldier started barking orders to bring the chains back. And more rocks.

Kal-El, last son of Krypton, had had enough of that kind of hospitality.

He chose to die fighting if necessary, and shocked even himself when he grabbed for the nearest guard's gun, thinking only to try to get away, and found the carbon steel folding like soft putty in his hands. He hit a man trying to grab at him so hard he flew twenty feet across the large chamber where his ship, and other alien artifacts were housed by the government, and watched him hit with enough force to shatter bone.

Even he cringed at the sound of his impact.

He turned to the old man, eyes round in shock, and the kindly old man had said one word.

"Go."

And so he had run.

As he did, he realized he was faster and stronger than the men around him. He found that his preternaturally tough skin was tougher than even he realized as not only bullets bounced off him, even their explosive rounds couldn't pierce his skin. He began to laugh. Struck by the grim knowledge that only his own despair and ignorance had truly held him here all this time, he now reveled in the idea he could finally be free, and no one could stop him.

He tore through those last barriers before him with ridiculous ease, and then leapt up into the night sky with such speed and ease, it was as if he had been doing it all his life.

He looked down on the world again and knew, positively knew, that everything had changed.

Everything.

But what did he do now?

It was certain the military would still be hunting him. They would never stop. He didn't need the wisdom of an entire doomed planet to tell him that much.

He sighed, and looked down at the crystal again, ignoring the planet over which he hung well out of reach of most of their aircraft. The crystal, he realized was starting to hum again. This time the louder it hummed, the more he realized he had a sense of…..direction.

Turning north, he followed the guiding pull, and trusted that his father must have planned something for him even as he had built his star-craft. One that he knew could not remain in the humans' hands. Sentiment aside, he now realized Kryptonian technology would be much too powerful for their scientists to handle if they finally pierced its secrets. They could conceivably end up killing their own world if they tried to tap a science they had no true understanding of by reverse-engineering his vessel.

Just then, however, he had to wait. First, he had to find his own way.

Afterward, however, he would be back. After he found his own way on this obviously hostile, alien world that remained his only sanctuary in a cosmos he now knew could be a grim, and dangerous place for a man alone.

He was, he now knew, completely alone.

Continued…