Cerion-Vex knew death and he didn't fancy his chances to go through that horrible and cold feeling once again. That statement was not entirely true as Cerion didn't exactly know death. Before he was Cerion he had another name and he was just an employee of a bank working in the HR department. Unfortunately, fate decided to throw a curveball in the form of a car accident that left him in the hospital for a week. At the end of that week, he died from internal bleeding which the doctors were too late to find. He knew he was going to die and he dearly wished some miracle would save him. That didn't stop his vision going dark and a terrible cold spreading from his legs to his head. The last memory he had was the red puffy eyes of his girlfriend who he should have treated a bit better.
Contrary to his leap into the unknown abyss that was death he woke up into the light and a whole new world was waiting for him. It took him only a few months to piece together exactly what happened and where he was. Somehow, he ended up in the fictional DC universe and that too in Krypton before the planet went boom. Strangely enough, he was born into the house of Vex which was supposed to die out with Nyssa-Vex. Instead, he learned that he was a descendant of Nyssa's sister Celia Vex who happened to be his grandmother. He couldn't care less about that as he was bombarded with the enormity of the situation he was in right now.
His wish has been granted and now he lived as Cerion-Vex albeit it was in a world that only existed in fiction. The situation became all the more problematic because he was living in a planet that was a ticking time bomb and not to mention there were very dangerous beings lurking out in the galaxy. He also feared the circumstances behind his rebirth as it could only happen with quirky omnipotent beings. He feared what that means as every human soul was just a piece of entertainment for some random all-powerful beings or did this happen by some cosmic mojo, he didn't know.
What he knows for sure is that he didn't want to die again. Staying in Krypton was a death sentence and he had no idea the exact year or date the whole thing was going to go boom. The only thing he knew for sure was that it was going to explode into a thousand pieces when Kal-El was born. Therefore his only option was to somehow escape the planet of doom at the exact moment of Kal-El's escape or perhaps even before that.
With this simple plan in mind, Cerion began his new life in Krypton. Ten years into his life he realized that escaping Krypton before Kal-El's birth was just a dream and an impossible one at that. Krypton's deep-space defence security systems ensured no unauthorized hyperspace launches can be possible.
The security was too tight and there were gravity wells placed around the planet to ensure nothing goes in or out without the express permission of Kryptonian military. It was at this point he realized that his time of escape has to align with Zod's military coup. He had no intention of standing in the guy's way as he didn't fancy to die by the general's hands.
He also doubted he could somehow influence the Kryptonian council to start preparing for an immediate evacuation. If Jor-El and Dru-Zod couldn't do it then he was certainly not the guy to convince the council and that is if he would even be heard by the Council.
The House of Vex 'was' very influential but because of its association with the previous administration, they were very much in the blacklist. It took his father and mother every scrap of goodwill to even be allowed as low ranking members in the Lawmaker's guild.
It took a lot of bribes and his father's marriage to a distant relative of one of the Council member to earn that goodwill. His own birth which the oracle predicted and his subsequent 'fate' to be a good member of the Science Guild also helped somewhat. This ensured the future of the Vex family lay in science and research rather than in politics.
He didn't complain about his supposed 'fate' one bit as that was exactly what he wanted. Being in the Military guild would put him under Zod but in the Science guild, he would be exposed to Jor-El. At least he hoped he would be exposed to the man before everything went nuts.
So, knowing that his life was at stake Cerion gave his entire being into education. His distant relation with Jor-El also helped to speed up his entry into the Science guild. At the age of fifteen, he managed to enter the guild and for one whole year, he worked as an apprentice to Jor-El.
Working under Jor-El made him realize just how much of a genius the man was. Jor-El was working on a ton of projects all at once. Alternate energy, increased range of Phantom drives, monitoring the seismic activities of Krypton and research into artificial intelligence were some of the few areas that Jor-El was researching. The guy was Krypton's foremost scientific expert in about every major field. It was by his recommendation that Cerion was selected for the research team that focused on alternate energy more specifically energy extraction from Anti-matter.
It was a project under the direct oversight of the Kryptonian Council as well as Jor-El. For the moment the facility has yet to extract the energy sufficiently as research was still ongoing but the results were very promising. If the extraction process can be efficient then Krypton will be able to stop the exploitation of the planet's core.
Cerion's involvement in this project allowed him to access the lab in the moon of Krypton named Koron. The moon base was damaged very heavily in the last civil war and now it was depopulated. Only a research facility was left in the base and that too mostly automated. This access to the moon base allowed Cerion to access a ship.
Unfortunately, the ship was not equipped with a Phantom Drive and there were other Kryptonian scientists nearby with a full platoon of military guards. But fate gave him an opportunity through Laura-El. The wife of Jor-El was working in the same energy project with him and that was an opportunity he used to his advantage. He kept a very keen eye on Laura and being very close to Jor he was on good terms with his wife. When Laura suddenly decided to quit the project altogether he knew that the jig was up.
That's how he found himself before the house of El family. Well, not all El's lived here Jor and Laura certainly called this tower their home. As Cerion stepped out of his hover-car in the landing platform of the tower the doors opened to reveal Jor. Usually, Jor would never greet guests as it was Laura the more social of the two and that alone confirmed his suspicions.
"Cerion! What a pleasant surprise." Jor greeted with a forced smile.
"It's nice to see you as well Jor and don't try very hard to smile. It doesn't suit you."
His joke just floored the scientist and Jor laughed awkwardly.
"I was curious about why Laura would suddenly quit the project. We were making stellar progress and then she suddenly stopped one day." said Cerion and then he conspiratorially leaned closer. "Has the core destabilised already? Is there no hope left?"
Having worked closely with Jor-El has had its perks. Cerion was in the know of what was going on with Krypton so he had some leeway with the lab and its facilities. He was also keeping an eye on the core and it has yet to completely destabilize but it was only a matter of time. Krypton has never seen such phenomena and an exact timeframe was hard to predict.
"Not yet but as you know anything can happen. The council has refused to even stop the mining despite my best efforts. All I could get out of the last meeting was for the matter to be considered as an issue. The Council will deliberate on my findings and make a decision sometime later."
"You and me both know that is not useful. We are all dead anyway. Have you suggested an evacuation procedure?"
"I did but they immediately shot that down. The Council is extremely concerned that it will only cause mass hysteria and has asked me to never speak of this again."
"Those fools will sentence this planet to ruin while they debate endlessly. We need to at least ensure something survives of Krypton. Perhaps we can send some children out into one of the colonies or a distant planet without the council's knowledge."
Cerion's suggestion took Jor by surprise.
"You are suggesting that we betray the trust of the council. We will be committing treason and heresy." Jor warned but Cerion could see Jor was not that bothered by his supposed treason.
"The council exists for the betterment of all of Krypton but we both know that Krypton is going to die. Is it not our duty to salvage something from Krypton? I know we can't save everyone without the Council's cooperation but we can at least ensure some children live through the disaster. Perhaps they will be able to give our race a fresh beginning."
Jor was silent for some time carefully watching Cerion and then seems to let out a sigh.
"Come inside. We have a lot of things to discuss." Jor invited him inside and history changed for better or worse none of them knew.
After that conversation, Cerion was filled in about Laura's pregnancy and he agreed to help them transport their son off-world. The next few months were dedicated to working out a new Phantom Drive that could open the hyperspace channel even under the influence of gravity of Krypton. The modified Drive also requires a longer range to escape any pursuers and for quick access to the destination. With Cerion having access to Jor's plans he managed to build a modified Phantom Drive on his own which he was planning to install on the ship docked in the moon base. For months they planned and plotted while Laura carried the baby. Cerion had to work day and night for the day to make his escape along with Kal-El.
Every day that he worked on the moon base was a risk. Cerion knew that if there was a whiff of treason from his side he was a dead man. The military was getting restless especially with General Zod creating a ruckus against the council. All the higher echelons of various guilds knew just what was going on with Krypton. The signs have started to become very visible for the council to dismiss them. Most of the water bodies on the planet were getting heated up rapidly. Most volcanoes were starting to go active one by one across the planet. The seawater was getting desalinated rapidly and all aquatic creatures were dying due to rapid climate change Thunderstorms were now abundant on the planet and it was causing enormous destruction to remote settlements. Only the energy shields around major cities like Kandor have proved effective against thunderstorms. But such measures were only going to be effective for a time being. It was only a matter of time before even the most advanced cities of Krypton was going to suffer under the wrath of the planet.
Cerion was working on some of the firewalls when he received a message from Jor. "The flower has been delivered safely. It is class M. Laura wants a child and we are planning to name the child Kal-El."
The message translated to the delivery was a success and the child was a male. They have also named the child as Kal-El. So he quickly replied knowing that time was at stake and they had many preparations to see through.
"Congratulations. The procedure is ready to be enacted."
Minutes after Cerion's message was read Jor called back all personal from the moon base except for a few guards and Cerion himself. Cerion had the task of taking control of the moon base and then shutting down the gravity wells around Krypton. He didn't have to deactivate every single gravity well but just those that were close to the moon. Jor was going to initiate the launch and trace a path for the launch vehicle straight for the moon. Cerion will have to take care of the guards after Jor give the signal so he started preparing.
Cerion watched as the ship returned back after transporting all of his colleagues. There were now almost twenty guards left in the base and he knew just how to take care of them. But the coup had yet to start and Jor had yet to give him the signal. So Cerion used this time to make his own preparations. He took the command key that would override the security systems of the base and inserted into the prime slot. For a brief moment, the security alarms blared in the base before everything returned to normal.
"This is Cerion-Vex speaking. Please don't panic. This malfunction is the product of a new command key designed for this experimental procedure. For the duration of this experiment, no one is allowed to leave the base under any circumstances. Please maintain your positions and cooperate. Thank you."
With that part of the plan over he directed the droids to replace the Phantom Drive of the ship with the modified Drive. While this was happening he began to set some explosives and poison gases around the base. The Antimatter chamber was going to be sealed with himself staying inside and when the time was right he would be taking care of the armed guards in the facility. For hours he waited all the while hacking into the generators powering the gravity wells close to the moon. Then all of a sudden Jor's voice came through the comms.
"Cerion! Are you there? Can you hear me?"
"I can hear you Jor. What's happened? Why are you delaying the launch?" Cerion asked as the time that they had planned was passing away.
"I was held up by Zod. The General has launched his coup. I am on my way to the tower but a full-blown civil war is being fought down here. Are you ready up there?"
"I am ready. On your signal, I can deactivate the gravity wells."
"What about other orbital forces?"
"I doubt they can intercept the launch, especially with the civil war. I am already getting reports of the fleet descending into the planet. Even if they decide to interfere I have some other contingencies in place."
"We owe you, Cerion. Thank you for everything."
"Thank me after the plan succeeds. Launch Kal to space Jor and leave the rest to me. May the light of Rao be with you."
With that Cerion cut the connection and initiated the program to clean up the lab.
"Initiate STRIKE protocol."
"Command key accepted. Initiating STRIKE protocol."
The holographic image of the lab flashed into existence and several yellow spots in the image began to pulse signalling the start of poisonous gas infusing into the breathing air. While this took place Cerion began to gear up with a re-breather and battle suit. He loaded his gun and adjusted the settings to kill mode. He could stun any stranger but what was the point? All of them were going to die anyway and he didn't need some fool to wake up from a stun gun and foil all his plans.
"Initiate Project WISDOM and standby for Project DISMANTLE."
Project WISDOM was the protocol to hack into the archives of Krypton and store specific data regarding technology and military secrets to a separate databank in the ship. Project DISMANTLE on the other hand was designed to secure Kal-El's escape. With the lab under his command key, he set out of the lab's secure vaults straight for his ship.
He carefully navigated the tunnels of the lab making sure that there was no life signature to any of the guards stationed on the facility. As he came across the final tunnel that led to the dockyard he noticed his armband projecting two life signatures.
'They must have used a rebreather and escaped the effects of the poison gas.'
He took out a small metallic ball and quickly threw it into the tunnel straight for the two surviving guards. The ball flashed red and exploded which was his cue. He threw himself into the tunnel and began firing his gun indiscriminately. Cerion shouldn't have bothered because the guards were already dead as their rebreather was damaged in the explosion itself. With the path clear he opened the doors of the tunnel and made his way to the ship. Thanks to the emergency lockdown he initiated the ship's crew were also stuck in the lab which made commandeering the ship all the easier.
Taking a speeder from the dock he sped towards the ship as fast as possible. When he finally arrived near the ship he saw that all the drones were loading the ship with supplies for the long trip. After making sure all supplies were loaded into the ship he occupied the command chair waiting for Jor's signal.
"All weapons online."
The drone that he had dubbed as Optima reported diligently.
"Shield at 100%."
"Status of the Phantom drive?"
'Looks like all there is left to do is to wait for Jor's signal.' He thought.
All of a sudden a pop up barged into the main screen with Jor's face on it.
"We are ready for the launch Cerion."
"Good. We are ready over here Jor. Send in Kal and leave the rest to me. Do remember that we have only a half-hour window. After that my position will be crawling with Kryptonian fleet." said Cerion as he initiated DISMANTLE protocol.
Jor just nodded before the screen abruptly cut off.
Cerion increased the range of the ship's sensors and he immediately noticed the launch of a ship from Krypton.
"The gravity wells have been disabled, Lord Vex. Project WISDOM has also run its course." reported Optima
"Good. Looks like it is time for our escape as well." said Cerion as he received the command key containing Project WISDOM. He secured it inside his tactical belt before taking the ship out of the base and began to steadily move outside of the moon's gravitational pull.
"Lord Vex, several vessels are in pursuit of Kal-El." Optima reported.
"Well, we can't have that now can we." Cerion muttered as he needed Kal-El to be on earth else the timeline would go to shit. Besides his own escape depended on the absence of any enemy ships.
Cerion gave full power to the ship's engines and took it straight to intercept the ships on Kal-El's tail. Within a few minutes, his ship's sensors picked up signatures of four ships.
"Plot their course and engage battle mode."
Immediately Optima came through and began to project the course of the ships. He let the first one flew past him as it was the ship of Kal-El and then greeted the other three with a rain of fire. At the angle they were fighting they had to depend completely on virtual display because they were under the cover of Koron, one of the moons of Krypton.
Cerion winced as his ship shook under enemy fire.
"Shields at 90%."
"Arm Dismantler Cannon." He ordered as he pulled his ship through evasive manoeuvres. When the screen showed the cannon achieved 70% power he fired the weapon in the general direction of the enemy ships. A bright silver light pierced through the vacuum of space and punched through two enemy ships in a blink. The bright explosions in the space before him could be observed by his naked eye.
"Kal-El has made his escape from the Rao system, Lord Vex."
"Good. Now, let's make our move and join little Kal." He said as he turned the ship around and blasted straight back.
"Engage the Phantom Drive."
"The gravity wells are being reactivated lord Vex. Their systems are rebooting itself. It seems there was a failsafe in the system." Optima warned
"When will the Phantom Drive activate?" Cerion asked in panic.
"Not before the gravity wells are re-engaged."
"This Phantom Drive is a modified version. It can withstand the strain of gravity wells." He consoled himself even though he knew that he never tested the new Drive in extreme gravity. 'Looks like I will just have to wing it.'
His ship violently shook as the gravity wells suddenly came online. A few minutes later the Phantom Drive came online as well.
"Engage the Phantom Drive!" he shouted in alarm as the gravitational intensity was increasing. He could hear the metal frames of his ship warp under the pressure. There was a flash of white light and a violent tug. He could hear the warping of metal under the immense strain and in a jiffy he was airborne. All of a sudden he felt as if he couldn't breathe and his body felt like it was being squeezed through a narrow tube and then he knew no more.
1st January 2000
Phil had worked closely with Nicholas Fury throughout his career in SHIELD. In those long years, he had never seen Nick Fury who was now the Director of SHIELD being this anxious. His eyes traced the Director who was anxiously pacing back and forth in his office. Phil couldn't blame the man. Even he was skittish but his director was doing it for both of them. Who wouldn't be skittish especially when the Director of NASA calls in and report a space-time anomaly was detected close to Earth. Keep in mind that this call came right after celebrating the New Year and the arrival of a new millennium.
By the time SHIELD was mobilized and all its firepower was focused on the sky NASA reported the phenomenon was over and an alien object was floating aimlessly in space spinning close to Earth. The Director immediately called in some favours and locked out NASA from the entire process and SHIELD took over. After all, SHIELD did have some expertise in handling alien invasion which itself was not much but they were more qualified than any other agency. The Director had the option to blow the object up or he could capture the object and bring it back to earth. The Director chose to bring it to Earth especially after their analysts pieced together that the object in question was an alien. That alone was enough for Director Fury to send a Quinjet and bring the dead alien back to the base.
Just letting the corpse float around in space would be ripe for disaster. The body would inevitably be drawn into Earth's atmosphere and who knows what would happen after that. There is also the distant possibility that some other space agencies of the world may also take notice and if they do then the knowledge that there were aliens around would only spark mass hysteria. The retrieval operation was named Blue Lotus and SHIELD's best agents were in that Quinjet.
"Director Fury. Do you copy?"
With that, the crew of operation Blue Lotus broke radio silence.
Phil stood up from his seat and looked at the Director calmly and gave a nod of support. He watched as his colleague slash boss press the button on the communication device.
"Agent Hill, report."
"We have collected the package, sir. But you will not believe this. The alien is still alive. Both heartbeat and pulse are steady."
Phil exchanged a look of surprise with the Director. What kind of an alien entity has the capacity to survive vacuum?
"What should we do sir?"
Phil noticed that the Director was silent for a few minutes before he took a deep breath.
"Bring it in Agent Hill. Your mission remains the same."
With that, the comms cut off and once again radio silence.
The Director sagged into his chair with a sigh.
"Interesting days are ahead of us Coulson. The new millennia is off to a good start." said Fury with a shake of his head.
"At least we didn't have an alien invasion, sir. We might even benefit from a diplomatic exchange if the alien is friendly." He tried to lighten the mood.
"I don't have to tell you that in this line of business we can't afford such luxury." said Fury
"Prepare for the worst and you won't be surprised." He said grimly
"Indeed. I want you on this right away Coulson. You have direct oversight."
AN: I don't know whether I will be updating all these stories. At the moment I am focusing on The Promised Prince. I just had these ideas floating in my mind and decided to do share it here. If I get inspiration for a clear plot I will update the stories. But don't expect regular updates.
Also, this is a Man of Steel crossover. Fanfiction is not showing the tag for Man of Steel so I'm going with DC.