Located off San Diego Bay, the West Coast metropolis known as National City was the shining jewel of San Diego County. It might not have had the scale of San Diego, but it didn't have the crime element or the accusations of illegal immigration that the cities of Chula Vista or Los Angeles suffered through. Known as the "Jewel of the County." It rested just south of San Diego between Interstate 5 and Interstate 85 on the National River, formerly the Sweetwater River in previous times. The Spanish conquistadors had founded the area in 1854 and had used it to graze their horses here; they had called it "Ranch of the Nation," but in 1867 when Andrew Johnson added it to the Union, he called it, "National Ranch."
The second oldest city in the county, the city had undergone several large housing booms in its history. Settlers arrived here looking for work in 1875 when it became a port on the West Coast, and it had huge housing booms after both of the World Wars, transforming the once sleepy Western community into a bustling metropolis on the level of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The summers were dry and the winters were mild. It may not have had the community of towns like Seattle or Nashville, but it possibly had the highest standard of living than most towns in California.
Dominating the cityscape was the building for Catco World Wide Media, but it also wasn't hard to pick out the structures for the local LexCorp or Lord Industries buildings. The Spanish might have founded this city, but industry had built it up. The commercial district was full of media and digital enterprises, and the industrial district on the side of the National River bordered several of the toughest neighborhoods in the town. In recent years, an enormous boost to the city's morale and tourism agency was the sightings of a mysterious young beauty in blue and red streaking in flight patterns over their heads amidst the skyscrapers and apartment buildings. According to the local tabloids contributing to her legend and reputation, she was one of the last denizens of a long lost extra-terrestrial civilization, one that had left behind another champion for truth on the planet. Those who debated the existence of such things swore she didn't exist. She was just a hallucination, an exaggeration from more normal accounts, but those who knew she existed celebrated and cheered for her victories. It was just a few months ago she had saved a plane crashing into the National River, and a few weeks after that that she defeated a terrorist calling himself or his organization Reactron. Two months ago, she had appeared to shut down a malfunctioning military project called Red Tornado. Since then, there were rumors of a terrorist agency lurking in the underground of the city, hoping to subvert it for themselves.
"You worried?" Former Daily Planet photojournalist Jimmy Olsen sat in a booth across from Kara Danvers at the Schuster Diner on Reeves Street. He twisted a French fry around in the ketchup on his plate and popped it in his mouth ahead of his hamburger. In front of him, Kara was picking at the last of her salad, pulling the left over detritus into one last spoonful.
"A little bit…" She looked up to him through her glasses obscuring her All-American looks. She had long faded brown almost blonde hair brushed backward out of her face, but she had been twirling the tip of it around her finger off and on at the table. Realizing she was doing to again, she pretended to be distracted a minute and freed her finger to finish her salad. "I know she's my aunt, but… how can I trust anything she says."
"What does your gut say?" Jimmy looked at their bill and pulled his wallet for the appropriate cash.
"My gut says…." Kara stopped and mused over her thoughts. "Ask Kal-El for advice, but if I keep going to him for advice, he's never going to take me seriously."
"There are worse choices you can make." Jimmy covered the bill as Kara finished her salad and sipped the last bit of soda and melted ice that had been her Coke. Sliding out of her seat, she checked her sweater for anything that had stained it from dinner and stepped quickly to catch up with Jimmy. A brief wave good bye to Louis the chef and the two CatCo employees stepped from the air-conditioned lighting of the diner out into the muggy summer air of National City. Mentally praying for a nice cool breeze, he looked up to the starry sky above and hoped for rain.
"Must be a thunderstorm coming…." Kara looked up.
"Now, how could you….."
Now he heard the distant thunder. Looking over to Kara, she looked up to him with a huge adolescent grin.
"I wish I had your ears." He heard her giggling. "So, what are you doing this weekend?"
"Oh, I don't know." Kara followed alongside him to her apartment building down the street. "Probably just laying around, resting, unless something happens."
"Yeah, I imagine having a secret identity doesn't give you time for a private life."
"Neither does being a personal assistant to Cat Grant." Kara rolled her eyes.
"Well, look at it like this…" Jimmy proposed. "You can't stay Cat's assistant for your entire life." When he glanced into the closed hardware store window, he noticed a flickering light in the reflection of the city on the glass. Turning around, he realized it was coming from the top floor of the Hancock Building, National City's equivalent to the Empire State Building until 1986 when the Siegel Tower went up and dwarfed it by a mere five floors. Over the years, it had been an office building and even a derelict for several years, the scene of several ghost stories by local urban explorers, but since it had been acquired by STAR Industries, it was the local seat for a scientific think tank working on projects for the government. Looking at the top floors blinking on and off, he wondered what kind of experiments they were working on at the moment.
"I wonder what they're working on." Jimmy wondered.
"I don't know." Kara looked around and noticed a strange breeze picking up. The dry litter in the street was waving around in the air and getting pulled north toward the Hancock, and the clouds in the sky that were once invisible were now starting to appear, forming a vague spiral in the sky over the building.
"I think Supergirl should possibly check that out."
"I think you're right." Kara handed Jimmy her glasses and hastened her footsteps across the street. Dodging around the pedestrians and locals weaving around her, she rushed past several stores for the alley way ahead of her and ducked down it immediately as fast as she could reach her. Turning into a blur of yellow and violet, she shed herself of her sweater and skirt falling to her feet and was nothing more than red and blue by time her feet left the ground. Ascending high over the top of the library, she weaved around the apartment buildings in her path and extended her curled fist ahead of her to balance her ascent. Ahead of her, the Hancock Building once twenty-two blocks away increased in size before her from a mere dot to the vast structure rising up before her. As she came closer, the wind currents she was riding upon seemed to be pulling her closer and closer. The flying debris around her alerted her to a much serious event happening, and upon reaching the top, she noticed the structure's skylights wide open to a huge room full of computer banks, several frantic physicists scrambling around and a huge ring of light in the far room glowing brightly and pulling in all the debris around the room.
"Professor…" Kara dropped down as Supergirl from the skylight in her blue costume and red cape, a red insignia was pulled across the cape. She had met Dr. Joseph Hofstadter in an interview as Kara with Miss Grant. He was one of the foremost specialists in his field specializing in dark matter. "What's happening?"
"Supergirl?" Hofstadter noticed her, fussed with his glasses and gestured to his experiment. "We were adjusting our telescope on the Orion constellation when it got hit by lightning and charged the surface, creating a cascade with our power source and somehow creating a small black hole in space. We tried shutting it down, but it's still pulling in power from another source."
"Circumference has expanded another twelve point eight decimeters." Dr. Moses Wolowitz came up to him. "If it keeps expanding at this rate, it will be five meters in an hour and the gravimetric forces will pull the building in with it."
"Is there any way to shut it down?" Kara asked.
"We could short circuit it." Dr. Lawrence Koothrapalli looked back at the bright glowing monster only sucking in trash and anything light enough to be pulled through the air. "But doing so would be dangerous. There's enough energy going through it to fry a side of beef."
"Anyone else maybe?" Kara looked at it. "What do you need to short-circuit it?"
"A bar of iron long enough to go across the opening."
"I'm on it." She lifted off again and shot up through the skylight, leaving the three physicists scrambling around reading the data from the activity created in their lab. The device was humming loudly, producing random bolts of electricity and pulling in the trash around the room. The paper from the wastebaskets was gone, the junk food wrappers were burning up in the air and the notes from the bulletin board were long swallowed up by the electrical gullet. Rushing through the city, Kara recalled the new high school being built in the Waynesboro sub-division and landed on the construction site. The workmen were using iron rods in the concrete foundation, and at eight feet long, they were perfect for the job they needed to do. Borrowing one, she turned and ascended to the sky once more, the five miles back to the Hancock Building flitting by under her as she hurried back to the top floor and dropped through the roof, ready to slay her dragon with her makeshift spear. Holding the iron rod across the opening, she felt the charged telescope sending a pulse through her body, vibrating her as if she was being hit by lightning.
"It's working!" Dr. Hofstadter called. "The energy signature is subsiding!"
Gritting her teeth, Kara closed her eyes and pressed the rod closer as the power going through the magnified telescope started sending feedback through herself as well. Even with her eyes closed, she could tell she was starting to glow from the neutrinos and protons passing through her. There were several short bursts of energy followed by one large one that blew her off and resulting in her losing her grip. The Hancock Building turned dark as the scientists cheered and hoped their computers had complete readings of the remarkable phenomenon. Kara however felt herself flying backward from the explosion; her head and feet spinning and rolling over and over from the experience. Opening her eyes, she was weaving and rolling over again, trying to correct herself. The blast seemed to have thrown her from the building, tossing her as far as the Hillsboro housing area beyond the Otto Binder Bridge. Composing herself, she hovered briefly to catch her breath, looked around once and started heading back to see the damage. Following Vannacutt Boulevard back into town, she dipped up with her arms balancing her to avoid a few electrical lines and slid over to Hull Street to enter downtown, but as she followed traffic past Gracey Street, she was distracted by another sound. It sounded like a security alarm going off near Carmichael. Coming to a stop, she stopped just thirty blocks from the Hancock Building, hovered for just a second to roll her eyes amusingly and realized her nice weekend was delayed another few minutes.
At the Carmichael Community Bank in the neighborhood, three men came racing out of the structure cursing obscenities and hurling profanity at each other. Former teller Leonard Howard came rushing out of the employee exit with three bags of cash, his brother Sheldon has set off the alarm in one of the windows from emptying the drawers. His buddy, Reggie Cooper, came rushing out behind them for their car in the parking lot next to the community center and noticed Kara in her blue costume and red cape dropping down behind them.
"Hi guys," She grinned effervescently. "Little late to be making a withdrawal, isn't it?"
Sheldon and Leonard looked at each other confused and dropped their bags to pull guns from their pockets. Kara then felt the pinpricks of several bullets striking and bouncing off her Kryptonian physique and falling in a littered pile at her feet. Smiling amusingly, she feigned a small yawn then bobbed her head amusingly as the thieves ran out of bullets and dived into their 1995 Ford Citation.
"Drive, get us out of here!" Leonard screamed to Reggie, but before the key could reach the ignition, they had another weird experience as the back of the car started rising up and the hood of their vehicle started tipping over to the asphalt. The girl was lifting their car! Screaming and yelling as they fell over each other, they became crowded on the ceiling of the car and suffered the indignity of not just being stopped by a girl but reduced to such as ignominious end. Police sirens filled the neighborhood as Kara left the car upside down with its tires sticking up and waited for the police. With the police cars pulling into the parking lot, she felt another presence hovering over her and looked over her shoulder. Suspended ten feet off the ground was another blonde heroine peering down on her with extreme surprise. Clad in a blue leotard with a short red skirt and large red cape, her arms crossed before the large red "S" on yellow emblazoned across her chest. Kara was just as stunned to see her as she was to see Kara.
"Where the heck did you come from?!"