Chapter 22 - House of El

(Grace Mallory Estate- Upstate New York, Adirondack Mountains -21st April 2020)

Annie was staring at the unmoving figure of Clark who was laying completely unmoving on the table before her, her mind failing to connect the reality of what her eyes were seeing to what her brain knew to be true. Clark was invincible, she knew that, the media knew that, the world knew that, everyone knew that, there was nothing on earth that could harm him. Yet….apparently there was a glance at his bare chest which although now completely normal a few hours ago had possessed a nasty blackish mark. The black charred mark had slowly vanished overnight and although they were taking it as a good sign they didn't really know what to think as Clark had yet to move to respond to any external stimuli.

"WELL WERE FUCKED!" MM's voice caused her to blink as she raised her head and the reality of the situation she found herself crashed unwelcomely back into existence.

Annie was currently in what she was generally calling a makeshift recovery/treatment room trying to avoid the gnawing pit in her stomach at the reality of the room. She was in someone's dining room with a white bed sheet thrown over it, a half open first kit placed next to her friend which was just one of the things screaming there was no real plan to help Clark. Her eyes flicked to Lois who was just sat by Clark, her eyes were fixed on him not even the yelling breaking her out of whatever reality she was trapped in. In all, although the kitchen was a very poor attempt at trying to help Clark it was a scene of tranquillity compared to the living room that was right next to them, and thanks to the house's open floor plan they didn't even have a door or wall to filter it out.

MM, Frenchie, Hughie had been in a near non-stop shouting match for the last few hours, Kimiko had also joined in but due to everyone's near inability to understand her her contribution had been minor arm waving and looking angry. Lois' sister Lucy was there too but the woman hadn't said a word from helping her and MM drag Clark from the car into the room, she had disappeared for an hour but since then she had just kept an eye on Lamplighter who sat awkwardly on the sofa eyeing the exit. The other two occupants of the house however drew her eye, but not due to their volume it was for the exact opposite, if the house was a storm then they were its ever calm eye.

The first was the house's owner Grace Mallory, for a woman in her late 60s she was still very imposing standing as straight as a ruler, her dirty blonde hair was tinged with grey and her cold icy blue eyes seemed to miss nothing. She was standing at the very edge of the living room and had positioned herself as far away as possible from Lamplighter as she could without leaving the same room. The coldness that ran off of her clearly indicated that she didn't trust herself to get any closer to the monster that had killed her grandchildren but the sternness of her unblinking stare also showed that her professionalism or at least years of spycraft won't allow her not to know where he was. Mallory had in truth been the least helpful out of everyone since they arrived, all the woman had done was let them in and then just stared at Lamplighter, a fact the man was very aware of as he glanced at her every few minutes.

The second surprisingly was Butcher. Annie had more than a few words to describe Hughie's nominal 'boss' and none of them were good. He had never missed an opportunity to a shot at her or voice his very proudly held opinion on what they should do with any Supe they could get their hands on. However, when they had scrambled to bring Clark in he had cleared the table gotten a clean sheet to cover the table and even grabbed the first aid kit and then had briefly spoken to MM about what had happened and then nothing. The man who had come to represent at least to Annie the very personification of asshole-ism and a fuck-you life philosophy had just sat on the couch and done nothing.

"I wouldn't say that exactly," Hughie spoke, trying to calm the very tense room as shifted glancing at Clark's unmoving form.

Annie bit her lip as she watched her boyfriend's face grimace as he moved uncomfortably, hoping he hadn't pulled any of the stitches that were keeping him together. During their escape from Sage Grove he had taken a very nasty hit by one of the escape test subjects however much to everyone's surprise the injury barely slowed him down. He had lost a lot of blood, would have a nasty scar on his abdomen for the rest of his life but once he was patched up and heard there was more trouble namely Clark in an apparent coma they couldn't stop him rushing over here.

"Oh yeah and what makes you says that," MM gave a very clearly unamused chuckle as he gestured to Clark with one open hand "The fact that apparently indestructible ally just got fucking shot! Or the fact that after being shot he as yet to wake the fuck up! OR THE FACT THAT I JUST LEARNT THAT ALIENS ARE REAL AND FUCKING HERE!"

"Well, I….I, uh…..are you sure what you saw was….you know….that?" Hughie winced as he stumbled over his words looking at Annie for support who just glanced away knowing MM was right and didn't really have a rebuttal ready for this line of argument.

"Yes, motherfucker I am sure, there was a freaky ass floating met pod thing, you would have loved it, it was right your white nerd fanboy ally. There was also the fucking labtory from fucking Franskenstien that was turning sleep blonde beauty's blood into fucking it V," MM explained as the look of his face showed that although he was now acting calm he was anything but especially as he then gestured from Annie to Lois, "And the fact that they aint saying shit, tells me I am right. Aren't I? Fucking Supe-boy there is an alien and so was blonde jumbo tits in the pod?"

MM addressed his last question to Annie, his eyebrows raised daring her to refute his statement or come up with some sort of explanation for what had happened over the last day. Instead the superheroine just glanced at Lois for support, the woman met her briefly before she looked at Clark then released a sigh before giving Annie a dejected nod. Annie swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat as she prayed to god that Clark would wake up right now and everything would be okay.

"It's….yes, BUT it's more complicated than that okay?" Annie's voice was tinged with more than a little desperation as she tried to control the spiralling situation "Clark didn't know okay, he really didn't he thought they had a corpse or a piece of ship at most, he -"

"Okay, I'm out," MM cut off Annie as he moved towards the couch to grab his coat looking at Mallory as he spoke again, "I'm getting my girls and you set up, I'm thinking Canada, like the remotest part possible"

"What do you mean you're out?" Lois' head suddenly snapped up as she managed to stand up with a little effort, the weight of pregnancy almost keeping her in her seat.

"Fuckin hell LL, I signed up to fight Vought, I am all in hitting back at Supes but this…" MM trailed off as he looked at Clark and then at the group who all had become quiet as the grave "I ain't prepared for this, aliens, rayguns, I ain't that guy,"

"Marvin, please we can't do this with-'' Lois looked at one of the very few people she could genuinely call a friend, ready to plead with him to stay only to be cut off by her own sister.

"We've got to get to a hospital," Lucy was looking directly at her sister and her face was one of pure sudden stunned realisation as if MM's words had triggered her brain to make connections, "Like right now,"

"Lucy, we can't take Clark to hospital," Lois sighed eyeing MM as she moved over to her sister, thankfully her friend didn't take the opportunity to take off.

"What, Clark? NO! We got to get you to a hospital right now! Fuck I've been so stupid," Lucy cursed as she moved towards her sister reaching out to grab her arm only for her sibling to quickly walk backwards away from the outstretched limb. "Lois! Stop being stupid we need to go now!

"Lucy what are you doing?!" Lois managed to stop her retreat when MM mercifully stepped in and placed a pair of careful hands on Lucy's shoulders keeping her in place.

"We need to get that….thing out of you!" Lucy gestured at Lois' swollen belly a look of pure confusion as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, "Christ we have no idea what its doing to you. We need to get rid of it, like right now,"

"You are not touching my baby!" Lois' face went into a mixture of shock and rage at her sister's suggestion.

"Hey, not cool," MM pushed Lucy back as she tried to approach her sister, but found her path blocked not only by MM but Annie and Frenchie too both who were glaring at her.

"Oh come on! She's got a… alien growing inside her, some sort of hybrid freak we need to get rid of it!" Lucy wheeled around looking for support in the room, her anger raising as she found she had none. "Butcher! You got to agree with me on th-"

"Agent Lane stand down,"

The room went quiet again as everyone turned to look at the man who had just entered the living room. Standing proud and tall in civilian yet still militaristic clothing, which was punctuated by the shoulder holster he was wearing under his left arm which itself was accompanied by a very large handgun. Lucy went straight straight as a ruler, a lifetime of military training causing her to snap to attention whilst her sister just released a deep sigh as she looked at her father. Butcher finally reacted standing up from the couch and turning around to face the director of America's every dirty secret and black op, his hands slipping into his trench coats pockets.

"Good now lets g-SLAP!" Sam Lane's face didn't move as the sound of the fast open palmed hand struck him across the face, the only reaction he gave beyond stopping talking was a small twitch of the eye.

"Sam, what the hell are you doing here?" Mallory hissed out her question which in most circumstances would have been ineligible to a room full of people but was easily heard in the graveyard silent room "And how the hell did you get in?"

"I still have a set of keys," Sam whispered his response almost tenderly causing both his daughter's eyes to widen before he strode past Mallory casting his gaze over the room "And as to why I am here, Agent Lane informed me of the situation. You've gotten yourselves in a real pickle here"

"Yeah, a pickle that doesn't require you gov, so you can fuck off," Butcher's voice carried clear across the room as he glared at Lois' father, his eyes narrowing as the man looked at him with an impassive expression only raising a single eyebrow.

"Really, so you have everything handled, you know how to help Mr Kent, locate this rogue female and how you are going to get your wife's son back from her?" Sam's Lane's voice was steady and even as his questions silenced the room all of whom just looked at each other

"What the fuck are you on about? WHAT HAPPENED TO MY WIFE!" Butcher's narrowed eyes went wide with alarm as he tried to rush the General who stayed still as Frenchie and MM stopped Butcher, whilst Lucy moved to protect her father.

"So, I take it you didn't know?" Sam Lane's didn't change at all remaining steady as he looked at Butcher and then back to the room at large, "Late evening yesterday, the female, that you released appeared in the skies above Smallville Kansas, she waited less than 90 seconds before heading to the Kent Farm at which point she broke into the residence forcefully removed the child and then headed west our surveillance team lost track of her over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado,"

"Surveillance? You've been spying on Clark's family?" Hughie moved forward wincing slightly but resisting the urge to touch his wound.

"Of course, Mr Kent by the military's estimations is the strongest man on the planet and a viable option in preventing any threat posed by an individual or collective group of supes." Sam Lane glanced at Clark, his oldest daughter instinctively stepping in front of his vision, the act however only caused him to look back at Hughie his expression still in passive "We took measures to monitor his commitment to America and put pieces in place to force cooperation if needed, his mother for example, is useful leverage."

The room went silent at Sam Lane's words, his casual admittance of the military's contingency plan to use Martha Kent as a hostage caused Annie and Hughie's eyes to widen in shock. However, as Annie looked at Lois and Hughie looked at his teammates they saw neither shock nor even surprise, the news didn't affect them at all. Annie felt her blood go cold as she looked from Lois and then to her father, the man's calm demeanour suddenly took on a dark undertone and she saw a glimpse of what Hughie had mentioned he had been warned about. She had seen Homelander's murderous side fueled by his warped perception of reality and lack of human connection, she had seen Stromfront's vile hatred fueled by self-delusion, bigotry and ignorance and in her role as a superheroine she had encountered some truly evil people. Sam Lane however was different from anyone she had every met, looking at him she could see why the Boys didn't want to work with him. It wasn't his willingness to cross ethical lines or his fervent belief he was in the right, no what made Sam Lane dangerous was that he lacked empathy, he was devoid of it. To the military man there was no difficulties in crossing lines or using people, to him everything was permissible because in Sam Lane's cold strategic mind human life just didn't matter, only results and if those results benefitted his cause.

"Motherfucker, you have changed one bit" MM gave a harsh humourless chuckle as he shook his head at Lois' father.

"Dad, why the fuck are you helping? You hate supes, I don't know why, lord knows I've looked, I don't know the reason but you hate them more than any person alive or dead, including anyone in this room and that's saying something." Lois spoke up, moving forward so that she was nearly on top of her father, her eyes narrowed at her, who she was still trying to figure out even now "So why would you help Clark? Especially now that you know what he is? Why are you helping?"

"It's tactical, Superman is the only asset we possess that can engage in a direct combat with a hostile Supe community if conflict breaks out. And seeing how things have developed in the last 24 hours my concern for this country's safety overrides my dislike of your boyfriend," Lois' father didn't miss a beat in his reply, his eyes meeting his daughter's narrowed judgemental gaze, his feature unchanging apart from his eye twitching at the last word. "So, are we going to stand around glaring at each other or get to work?"

"You know how to help Clark?" Annie's voice sounded out breaking the silent, emotionless yet intense standoff between the Lanes as the room focused on him.

"No, but I know where we might find it," Sam Lane replied, moving past his daughter's so that he was more central in the room so he could lead the meeting. "With this Sage Grove gone, there are only two places we might find answers about this woman and how we possibly might 'help' Superman. The first is the secured medical wing in the Seven Tower, whilst they have no digital records they must have physical files hidden somewhere that might hold medical information we can use. The other is a man named -"

"Jonah Vogelbaum," Mallory cut off "That slippery bastard would know all about this, fucker ran everything shady in Vought whilst he was there."

"Yeah well that doesn't fucking help my wife now does it?" Butcher chimed back in his voice still hard and his impatience clearly growing.

"No it doesn't Mr Butcher, which is why we need to divide our resources to cover the most ground," Sam Lane replied his taking charge of the situation "You and Agent Lane can pick up your wife and Martha Kent, they are still at the Farm fortunately we have contained word of the incident for now of least."

"I don't need any fucking he-" Butcher shot Lucy Lane a dismissive look as the CIA agent gritted her teeth in response.

"And what should the rest of us do?" MM asked cutting off Butcher not wanting to waste time, crossing his arms as he looked at the man he never liked and every interaction they had only reinforced that feeling.

"You and Gr- Mallory should see Vogelbaum, she has leverage on the man, even if knows nothing to help Clark we can still use him against Vought, that threat hasn't receded yet" Sam's face finally changed as his eyes narrowed as the cold calculating gears worked in his head to divide his forces up correctly "Lois and Starlight should stay here protect Clark, no point getting help if we lose who we are helping, Serge and Miss Miyashiro should go to protect Victoria Neuman, her vocal criticism of Vought has made her target and she is the one you've been contacting to set up a hearing on Vought is she not?"

"She is," Mallory admitted with a small nod. The look of distaste at working with Sam was present on her face as if just looking at him left a bitter taste in her mouth.

"What about the tower? How are we getting in there the place is a fortress and given what we just did I doubt Annie's going to be welcomed in and the place is a fortress" Hughie asked, the intelligent question earning him a very rare nod of approval from Lois' father "So how are we going to get in without you know? Being brutally murdered?"

"Very astute observation Mr Campbell, Miss January can't but he knows a way in I am sure," Sam raised a hand and pointed to Lamplighter who had observed everything from his corner very awkwardly whilst eyeing the door. "You spent enough time sneaking out and in of the tower you must know a way in."

"And why the fuck would I help any of you?" Lamplighter stood up, the action meant as a show of defiance was somewhat defeated as he flinched backwards when Sam Lane suddenly strode up towards him.

"You'll help for two reasons." Sam Lane's voice was calm as he placed his hands behind his back his calm features narrowing into a steady icy stare. "The first is Vought screwed you and you want revenge, the made you an errand boy cleaning up messes and pushing you out."

"Fuck you," Lamplighter sneered at the very astute observation, a look of pure bitterness on his face. "You think you so clever I coil -Ack!"

Lamplighter suddenly collapsed to his knees grabbing his throat as before even Annie could blink Sam Lane had struck the super hard in the throat. The general's fist adorned by a set of very heavy brass knuckles at that dented slightly at the strike and the act had bruised his hand but the old solider didn't show any signs of discomfort. Lamplighter as he tried to catch his breath and reached for his lighter in his pocket the act however just earned a kick to his hand from Sam Lane causing the lighter to fly away from them. hair.


Lamplighter went still apart from the wheezing in his throat as Sam Lane placed the barrel of his incredibly heavy handgun flush with his left eye and grabbed his hair pulling his head up so the two were looking at each other. Lamplighter looked up at the grey haired man who was still eerily calm his expression hadn't changed at all and even the physical of exertion of assaulting a superhero had only caused his breathing to increase slightly. However, there was a glint just behind his eye that stilled Lamplighter more than the gun or the strike, this man didn't want to kill him, he wanted to annihilate him.

"Interesting thing about supes, same weak points as regular people, strike to throat equals the same result requires much more force but still valid target against most supes especially those whose powers don't enhance their physiques beyond the standard supe enhancements." Sam Lane sounded a west point instructor standing in a classroom of fresh faced first years as he pressed his gun into the man's eye. "Now, this is a Smith & Wesson model 500, slightly modified it fires a 50 calibre bullet, usually even firing this against a supe would do little beyond maybe a bruise. If I shot a regular person in the head at this range, well, I'd be pulling bits of bone from my body. However, my theory is if I shot you at this range through your eye which is the soft part of even a Supes body, the bullet might not exit the back of your skull but I don't think your brain would survive. Should I test my theory?"

"No," Lamplighter whispered, the single word was all he could manage.

"Good, the second reason you're going is because it's not a request. I have an asset that will join you, get them into the Tower and out thats it." Sam Lane gave the instruction with his gun still pointed to the man's head, removing it only once it was finished. "Perfect that takes care of that part,"

"I'm going to," Hughie's voice broke Sam Lane's calm steady feature as he along with the rest of the room not currently choking blinked and looked at the man bewildered. "I'll go to the tower and get the info to help Clark,"

"Hughie your injured, you can't go" Annie moved over to her boyfriend gesturing at his stomach that they had only just patched up.

"I have to, everyone else is needed somewhere else, you can't go, Lois and Clark need you and besides you go within a mile of the tower hell will break lose." Hughie then moved away from the group to stand in front of Sam Lane gesturing at Lamplighter and then Lois' father "And no offence but from what I've heard about him and you, there's no way I'm leaving anything that can help Clark in either of your hands. I'm going,"

"...Very well, Mr Campbell, it's your team. My asset will come along to keep that one in line and protect you" Sam Lane replied

"You've got an asset that can keep a tier one Supe in line?" Butcher asked, raising an eyebrow, his fist tightening in his pocket over the small silver of green rock MM had retrieved from Sage Grove's freaky alien room during the whole Clark being shot by a blonde busty chick with a ray run situation.

"He does," Grace Mallory answered, her eyes narrowing into a steeliness that no one apart from Sam Lane had seen before. "I wouldn't trust the 'asset' to keep Hughie safe or that piece of shit alive however,"

Sam Lane moved to open his mouth but found himself cutoff by of all people Hughie Campbell.

"Oh no worries I'm bringing my own back up," Hughie's statement again caught everyone off guard as he gave a rare proud smile reaching into his pocket and flipping open a burner phone, "Clark gave me her number. Given her history and what's happened over the last 24 hours I'm betting she will help,"

"Who?" Sam Lane asked his voice taking on a dangerous tone as this new piece entering the board hadn't part of his calculations.

Hughie only responded by lifting up a hand as the phone rang in his ear the act causing Sam Lane to blink as Butcher smiled at the young man who was learning quickly whilst Lois gave a very supportive nod and even Lucy had to stifle a giggle at her father's reaction.

"Hi, Joy?...Yes, it's Clark's friend, can I speak with Diana?...Yes I can hold," Hughie waited for a few moments before he heard a new person taking over the phone on the other end "Yes, it's the skinny one…Clark's needs help….Yeah it went bad, like really bad…..I need your help….Well how fast can you get to New York?"

(Las Vegas Strip– Las Vegas, Nevada- 21st April 2020)

Ryan looked around uncomfortably as he tried to keep pace with the very tall, very powerful, very delusional woman that was keeping him by her side. Although she wasn't touching him Ryan didn't make any move to escape, since his abduction yesterday he had already tried a few times but whatever he did just resulted in the woman grabbing hold of him. She was faster and stronger than him, she possessed all the same abilities Clark did, she also seemed to know when he was about to try something but he wasn't sure the latter was a result of her powers.

Her sixth sense about when he was about to try something seemed very different from the rest of abilities, like it was something she had learnt instead of just being able to do. She moved like some of the cops he had seen on TV, her eyes always scanning the area and her body positioned to but herself between him and any potential harm. It reminded him of Clark a little, but there was some more normal in the way she moved, he had spent a great deal of time watching Clark and could probably write a report on the man. Clark walked with confidence, he didn't flinch, wince or react to loud noise like other people did, he moved completely unfazed about the world around him whilst nearly everyone else slowed, observed or hesitated at the confusing world around them.

As he looked at her, he noticed that she was the third person in her life that at least to him seemed too…..perfect, is the word he wanted to say. The only other two people he had seen even remotely like her was his fath- Homelander, and Clark. Both were abnormally tall and board chested even amongst supes, their faces were perfectly proportioned, a fact that some of the websites Ryan had found seemed to mention, a lot, especially the more girly ones and of course there was the eye colour. Ryan's mom had always described his eyes as blue and they were, but where everyone else had slight imperfections in their iris, a slight tinge of dark shades or hint of another colour Ryan's eyes had pure perfectly blue iris'. Kara glanced at him, her eye's with their perfect solid blue irises connected with his as she gave him a warm friendly smile before looking back up at the path ahead, as a group of people broke apart to let them past every single one of them stared at her.

Whilst Ryan's clothes were slight torn in places due to having been forcibly smashed through a roof and flown at incredible high speeds he was at least wearing normal clothing. Kara however was striding round in what Ryan could only call a tight form fitting white skin suit that although gave her slight modesty hide nothing and certainly stood out. Fortunately there were a few women dressed in strange get-ups many coming or going into the hotels and casinos, most showing a lot of unnecessarily skin Ryan thought, which meant that although Kara stood out she wasn't causing a scene. Ryan however felt very uncomfortable as they walked down the street of the famous city as although still early in the day groups of slightly drunk men could still be found especially around the entrances of some of the casinos. They actually howled and whistled at Kara calling out things that Ryan had never heard before and never wanted to hear again, most were about her very large chest, if his mom knew he was hearing the things shouted she would have washed his ears out with soap.

"Um, Kara?" Ryan coughed slightly as he tried to get his words right, the woman was crazy talking about aliens and a mission, he didn't want to set her off or let her be set off if one of the very stupid men around did something because of the way she dressed. "I think you might want to change,"

"Why? My clothing is functional." Kara stated her voice clear and steady, slowly down slightly as she looked at Ryan with kind curiosity.

"Uh yeah it is, but um…well you see it's attracting attention," Ryan's point was supported by a group of very young men calling at her and making several obscene gestures about her chest. "And you said earlier you needed to figure things out, won't that he easier without you know drawing attention."

Kara didn't respond for a few moments she frowned slightly her face becoming one of thoughts as she looked down at her seamless white uniform, then to a group of males that passed them who were staring at her and then to a few of the females nearby. Kara's mind was clearly racing as she looked back at Ryan making an assessment to the benefits of adapting her clothing style to blend in with the locals. She released a sigh and gave a reluctant nod after a pair of very young adult males passed her, one of them openly propositioning her for a sexual encounter, whilst she was very easily able to ignore it she had seen that it was making Ryan uncomfortable.

"Very well, it is clear that my current attire is deemed overtly sensual by the standards of this culture. I require instruction on what human females were," Kara addressed Ryan her tone friendly if a bit monotone, her eyes glancing at the mixture of women around in various styles of clothing. "What do women such as I wear on this world?"

"Um, well most dress like my mom I think, you know a shirt and jeans, like her," Ryan had to look around to find a suitable example but was eventually able to point to what he guessed was a tourist in knee length jeans, a practical top with a baseball cap. "Or I guess for people like us you would dress like Starlight or Maeve."

"Who are these individuals? Starlight and Maeve? And how are they like us?" Kara asked genuinely curious at Ryan's statement, as far she understood humans were very different to them apart for some slight similarities in outward appearance and even then only on the board strokes.

"Uh, like you know, being able to fly, lift heavy things and shoot lightning out of our hands. You know their Supes." Ryan was actually thankful for being in public as he spotted a bus nearby whose side was adorned with the words 'Girls Get It Done' and had a picture of Maeve, Starlight and Stormfront standing shoulder to shoulder, "That's them, that's what people like us usually dress in. Kind of wish I had mine with me right now,"

Kara examined the images of the three females, although she claimed to be an alien her face fell into a very sceptical look as she very eyes glanced over the white leotard Starlight wore, the accentuated importance Maeve' clothing gave her chest, and the billowing cape Stromfront had. However, the sceptical look quickly disappeared replaced by one of contemplative thought as Kara took the information in and then glanced down at her uniform her eyes showing she was making determinations. It all lasted for only a few minutes until she looked back up at Ryan and gave him a very confident nod.

"Very well, I shall modify my appearance, however, I may require additional clothing. Tell me must we produce our own garments or is there a vendor or facility that provides them?" Kara asked Ryan her confidence and steadiness was almost infectious.

"We would get them from a shop but I don't know any around here," Ryan stated before an idea clicked in his head as he tried to sound normal hiding the thought that had come to him. "If we go back to Smallville, the place I was I know lots of places we could get clothes,"

"That won't be necessary," Kara gave Ryan a smile, before she turned around looking at people nearby before settling on a trio of women wearing elaborate feathered costumes, with cigarettes in their hands clearly on a break. "Pardon me fellow citizens, I find myself requiring new clothing, I was wondering if you could direct me to a provider of styles similar to the women on that transportation."

The trio of women exchanged glances with each other as they looked at the very tall, very well endowed blonde, very clearly muscled women in front of them, who spoke very oddly and was pointing at a 'Girl's Get It Done' advert. The women on the far left who was apparently the leader got shrugs of the shoulders from the other two, she moved her head sightly to see Ryan who Kara had positioned protectively close behind her as she spoke to the women. She raised an eyebrow for a moment before deciding that she had heard far weirder requests and there was no harm in helping another working class girl, especially one with a kid.

"You working a gig for your kid there, honey?" The woman asked, wanting to confirm her suspicions, the women's outfit clearly meant she was working someplace unusual, it might be a stage show but she knew all the main ones so she guessed the woman was for a service.

"I….require the outfit to perform my duties," Kara replied carefully, her wording caused Ryan to look at her for a moment, it would have been easier to straight up lie but Kara hadn't. "And they are necessary for Kal, I would do anything to protect him."

"Cal? That's a lovely name darlin," The woman smiled at Ryan as she put out her cigarette and then fished for her phone in her purse next to her, opening it up to pull a map up for Kara "Yeah, been there myself before I landed this. Here you go honey, there's a shop just a block off the strip I used to use, might want to leave him outside, not really the halloween costume scene."

"Thank you, you've been most helpful," Kara thanked the women giving her and her friends a nod as she memorised the map in less than a second.

"Oh honey here take this, it's our manager's number he's always looking for girls with 'good features' for the floor and stage." The woman gave Kara a business card who took the card however held it oddly Ryan guessing she had no idea what it was or if it did something "The gig might pay less than your current job but its a steady paycheck, fixed hours, we've got daycare and child sitting rota worked out for the single moms, and you deal with way less assholes. Just in case you're thinking of a career change."

Kara just gave the women another nod before heading off towards the shop they had been directed to, she placed a hand on Ryan's shoulder to guide him down the street. Although the woman was crazy, Ryan was impressed Kara had only looked at the woman's map for less than a second, took another few seconds to get her bearings and then was able to walk straight to the store location. Ryan wanted to voice that when he had mentioned how superheroes dressed he had meant it as an example not for her to go and do it. However, he was still very hesitant in correcting her or trying to push her as he was figuring out how to get back to his mom, although as they reached the store with female mannequins in the windows dressed in costumes that covered very little he was really to figure out what to say. His eyes glanced away from the costumes only to be greeted by the store's sign that caused him to gulp at the partly neon sign that he was staring at:



"Um Kara, you know that maybe we should try -" Ryan tried to speak up but before he was able to finish his sentence Kara had gently guided him into the store, she was confused at his gestation and completely oblivious as to why.

"Do not worry Kal we shall not be long" Kara stated with a soft smile trying to calm Ryan who was trying to look away from the various images and costumes that he definitely knew his mother would not approve of him looking at, before turning to the owner. "Greetings, proprietor, I am in need of additional garments. I am looking for footwear, gloves, a belt and a cape as well."

"Geez darling are those things real," The late middle aged owner of the store stated ignoring Ryan and looking squarely at Kara's chest, glancing only at the blonde bombshell's face that had walked in.

"They are," Kara replied, looking at her own chest before raising an eyebrow at the man finding the interaction odd this culture was very bizarre in greetings, "Apologise but I most ask again about procuring the items I am after,"

"Uh what, yeah sure, take a look down the accessory aisle" The owner blinked broken from his hypnosis that had made Ryan want to punch the man as he gestured down into the somewhat large but cramped store. "Tell me if you are looking for a specific outfit I'll be happy to take your measurements so we get the right size."

"I shall be fine, Kal come you will assist," Kara moved and offered her hand to Ryan like they were out at a park, he took it and again wanted to say something but was stopped as Kara powered on.

They spent the next ten minutes looking at heeled boots, shoulder length gloves, a few belts and a couple of capes. Ryan very much tried to voice his objection to their presence in the store or at least his presence as he eyed some of the more revealing costumes causing him to go bright red. Kara wasn't oblivious to his discomfort however Ryan quickly realised she just didn't understand what was causing him discomfort, she looked at the clothes he seemed to go red at and it was like nothing registered in her head that it was inappropriate or too revealing especially for a boy of eight. As Kara pulled on a red cape that barely reached her waist that had a golden shoulder pauldron over her right shoulder to keep it in place, probably a parody of Homelander's eagle, Ryan was starting to wonder if the woman wasn't crazy. He still thought she was insane, she was a Supe who was talking about space-ships, being aliens, other dimensions, and a mission but part of him was starting to doubt. He felt a strange connection with her, she also didn't seem to be able to lie for what he had seen, and seemed genuinely clueless about a lot of obvious stuff.

"Well would this pass me off as a native with abilities?" Kara's question snapped Ryan out of his thoughts as he looked at the woman who was tapping a holographic screen that had appeared on her white suits forearm.

Ryan's eyes widen as her tapping transformed her white suit before his eyes, the high neckline that had almost reached her jaw lowered, the parts covering her legs and feet receded up to waist, whilst circular on her chest also appeared. Her white suit had changed into a sleeved leotard and somehow was hugging her figure even more tightly. She was still wearing the red cape with the golden pauldron he had already seen, it had now been joined by a thin red belt with a golden buckle over her stomach, and completed by a set of blue gloves and boots over her hands and feet. She gave a power pose to show off her frankly quite impressive new look, to which Ryan gave a hesitant thumbs up although she looked like a superheroine part him felt that as a boy of eight he shouldn't be looking at her.

"Yeah, you look good, but…." Ryan trailed off releasing a sigh knowing that his attempt to talk to the crazy lady about clothing was just going to fail.

"Good, not that I can blend in better we can continue with the mission," Kara smiled at Ryan, gesturing for him to move which he did reluctantly, his mind still trying to figure out how to get away from the crazy woman.

"HEY! You got to pay for that!" The owner's voice caused Kara to freeze as she was about to leave the establishment.

"P-ay?" Kara spoked the simple word very confused as if it's meaning was foreign to her, she gave Ryan a glanced very confused at what was happening.

"Yeah, those tits might get you free stuff elsewhere but I see enough fake-chested broads that it don't work on me," The owner's sleazy voice and vulgar statement made Ryan really want to punch the guy, Kara may have been crazy "So I'm going to need cash or plastic. Or else you and me are going to have a problem,"

"Kara, you need to pay for the clothes," Ryan tried to explain but his words just caused Kara to look even more confused, "You know buy them, with money,"

"Mon-I? P-ay? I do not know these words. Kelor is not finding suitable translations" Kara blinked at Ryan his words failing to clarify the problem she was facing so she moved to the owner, "I am sorry, but what is the issue?"

"The issue sweet tits, is you owe me like 150 bucks, so I need cash or a card," The owner tapped the his stores card reader that had a contactless strip on-top for emphasis and was showing a price of just over $150, "Or you need to get my stuff off and out of my store,"

Ryan opened his mouth to argue he may have only been eight but there was no way what Kara had picked up was costing anywhere close to what the man was saying. However, before he could say anything Kara placed her hand flat against the card reader a beep was heard and then the machine registered a successful payment had occurred. The owner frowned a little clearly he had thought the strange woman wouldn't have been able to pay and so whatever he had thought of as an alternative payment wasn't going to happen. Kara receded her hand before he was able to look at it and before he could question her she was already at the door gently moving Ryan outside. The two walked for a few blocks in silence, Kara glancing at her forearm summoning a map that was directing her towards something.

" Um Kara?" Ryan finally broke the silence, causing her to look at him with a smile appearing just like every time she did, "Do you really not know what money is?"

"I do not," Kara answered simply, her eyes darting to her map as she adjusted her route back to the main strip, oblivious that her new look hadn't caused her to blend in as several men took pictures of her from across the street.

"So you've never bought anything before?" Ryan was curious, he also remembered Clark's lessons about gaining as much information as possible before acting so if he was going to escape more information could only help.

"This word bo-ught I do not know it, I am assuming it means the same as the others P-ay and Mon-I?" Kara asked, earning a nod from Ryan who was glancing at the people taking photos of them. " This world is strange, on Krypton everything that is necessary is provided, including clothes, it is not the same here?"

"Uh, no, here we have this thing called money, people have jobs and they are given money for doing it. They can then use it to get things like clothes, food, or houses" Ryan felt quite proud of himself at the explanation of money looking up at Kara who raised an eyebrow at him before turning back to her map.

"Very odd," Kara stated, a little grimace on her face clearly not liking this aspect of human culture, she suddenly stopped her map having gone blue with a small white dot appearing, Kara suddenly raised her head and started to scan the area.

"Kara? Why exactly are we here?" Ryan finally broached the subject that he had been very cautious about in case it set off Kara.

"Kelor is scanning for Krypotain technology or genetic signatures. It's how I found you, her power cells are very low for some reason however so I am limited in range, thankfully you were near your projected landing site so my limited range scan found you. There were supposed to be more pods launched as insurance, but I do not know how many actually left, so I am searching the nearest settlement to one of the designated arrival sites. " Kara explained moving forward slightly to try to find what her suit's AI was picking up on. "I would recharge Kelor but my pod was significantly damaged, its fuel cells were lost, along with my Zone Index apparently. I am surprised it was able to revive me at all, according to the flight log I was dosed with a high amount of Inertron radiation during my escape. It shouldn't have been able to fully revive me, not without a close genetic match to work from."

"Okay?" Ryan eyes widened if Kara was crazy she was super crazy as she was very convincing with how honest she sounded explaining her story "So are we looking for a ship or a pers-"

Ryan was interrupted by a sudden jet of ice shooting into the air a few hundred yards away that soon melted in the hot Nevada sun. Ryan found himself pulled forward as Kara gently but firmly took his hand pulled him towards its source, there was a small crowd gathered and now that they had moved Ryan could see a large flashy sign nearby: Planet Vought Casino & Resort.Ryan looked up and saw that they were near the entrance of a very large casino that had flashing neon signs, multiple hero symbols on its walls and now they closer he could see the staff was dressed in hero costumes. As Kara moved them through the crowd as another torrent of ice shot into the sky, they were greeted by a woman with pale skin wearing basically a white bikini with fur lining.

Planet Vought Casino & Resort - Presents:

Ice Princess

(Jan 1 to June 15)

Ice Princess did a flirty pose for a male fan that had paid for a picture as she then did another trick with her ice powers creating some localised snow for a few seconds. Their presence hadn't gone unnoticed as several people from the gathered crowds were looking at Kara in her costume and some of the Vought staff looked at each other. However, no one did anything as they just assumed that Kara was an overeager cosplaying fan of Supes or was something to do with the superhero themed Casino.

"This can't be right?" Kara whispered, her eyes narrowing at the forearm that was displaying a scan of Ice Princess, Ryan looked around at the crowd finding it odd no one was reacting to the glowing holograph it was like only he and Kara could see it. "Kelor run it again… It can't be right she's human? Where is this Kryoptain genetic signature coming from?...What do you mean she's been augmented with Kryoptain gene sequences? How did that happen? Augmented by what?"

"It's probably V," Ryan answered, trying to help, hoping if he was helpful he could convince her to let him go.

"What is V? How does it work? Where does it come from?" Kara asked, evident alarm and confusion in her voice as she looked from Ice Princess to Ryan, her barrow furrowing as she processed this straddling information, quickly dragging Ryan away from the crowd.

"Well, I don't really know how it works. Clark could he's like super smart." Ryan gulped at the sudden barrage of questions trying to stay calm as they halted away from the crowd of fans who had went back to watching the superheroine do tricks. "I know it's made by this company called Vought and it's this drug that gives people superpowers like mine and yours. They make it in labs from what I've overheard Clark saying"

"Gives….people….powers…..made in…..a lab" Kara repeated Ryan's statement slowly her eyes going wide as she looked back over to Ice Princess as her mind recalled the strange room she had woke up in a needle had been in her arm, she blinked expelling the memory "Uh, Kal who is this Clark? He says he knows about this V substance?"

"Yeah, he does, he's like the smartest person ever and he's also Superman! So he will totally help you" Ryan couldn't hide his smile, if he played this right he could get her to take him straight to Clark who would save him and take him home.

"Superman?" Kara asked, confused again, the two words translated but seemed strange

"Yeah! He's the world's greatest hero!" Ryan smiled and if the universe was on his side Ryan spotted an electronic billboard that the Vought Casino had put up had changed to an advert that had Clark present in his Superman suit. "That's him, Clark Kent, aka Superm-"

"Uncle Jor-El?!" Kara's sudden shocked shout caused Ryan to jump as her eyes went almost cartoonishly wide, going even wider as she saw the symbol on his chest and suddenly remembered the man she had blasted through the wall during her slightly delirious state upon awakening. "You know that man? He's, he's, he's…..who is he? Why is wearing that symbol?!"

"Uh..he's Clark, Superman," Ryan suddenly froze as Kara rounded on him, her voice loud and high as she pointed to the image of Clark, Ryan was trying not to show panic or fear "It's his symbol, he's had it since he was Superboy! Most think it's just an S but Clark told me to his family it means"

"Hope," Kara finished Ryan's statement, her voice trailing off as she looked off into the distance before looking back down at Ryan's doubt on her face for the first time, she then knelt and extended her gloved hand out to Ryan. "Ka- Ryan can you please give me your hand, I need to check something"

Ryan froze for a second before lifting his hand and allowing Kara to take it, the woman gently placed his palm flat on her forearm and summoned her holographic display. She tapped the display and her eyes locked the 3-D display of Ryan that was projected as Kelor scanned Ryan's genetic structure completely. Although it took only a few seconds for Ryan it felt like an hour passed before a feminine robotic voice sounded out, Kara having made her AI companion audible to share the results.

"I have a run a complete genetic scan and have determined that the individual Ryan is not Kal-El" Kara's eyes widened and was about to say something before Kelor continued with her results "However, I believe I have determined why my sensors registered him as a member of the House of El and Kryptonian,"

"Why?" Kara asked, her breathing slightly elevated as she looked at Ryan who didn't have the words to describe the look on Kara's face.

"Because according to my readings he is. Ryan is genetically a Kryptonian, his previously dormant Kryptonian genes are overriding his human ones, I predict eventually his genetic structure will be 98.2% Kryptonian." Kelor's explanation caused Kara eyes to widen again as her breathing slowed as she stared into Ryan's blue eyes "The gene sequences present are from the House of El genetic lineage making Ryan a member"

"And?" Kara whispered as she placed her other hand over Ryan's their eyes staring into each other, knowing her companion was leaving something out not wanting to hurt her but she needed to know.

"I have run the data 5 times, the House of El genetic markers they belong to you. My conclusion is that Ryan is….is your direct lineage descendant by at least 1 possibly 2 generations." Kelor answered, her voice although robotic had clear undertones of emotions "I believe Ryan is your grandson,"

"Wait? Grandson?!" Ryan took back his hand shock running through his system as Kara just let his hand go.

"Grandson?" Kara looked even more shocked as her breathing took on a heavy almost hyperventilating quality as everything hit her at once more than did Ryan, "Grandon? You not Kal-El? I shot him with…..By Rao's grace, we need to find him,"

Ryan couldn't react as before he could think Kara pulled him into a tight embrace as she shot into the air faster than before gaining altitude, she left a crater behind and everyone who had been watching Ice Princess was now trying to take pictures of her leaving. However, Kara just held Ryan tight to her side as she gained the needed altitude to run another scan, she knew it would likely drain the last of Kelor's power but that was the risk she needed to take, only one thing mattered now. She had to find Kal-El and figure out what in the name of Rao was going on.

(Vought Tower - New York - Midday, 21st April 2020)

"You sure this will get us in?" Hughie asked Lamplighter as the man lead them down a dirty looking side alley.

Well Hughie guessed lead was a bit of stretch forced was more like it as Hughie walked down the street Daina by his side as Sam Lane's asset walked directly behind Lamplighter. When Lois' father had said asset Hughie had guessed it was going to be some sort of secret agent or black ops soldier like Butcher or MM, however the reality was very different. The man was about 6 feet in height had broad shoulders and looked physically fit enough that he could strangle a cow by Hughie's estimation, it was what he was dressed in that drew the eye. The man was wearing something straight out of urban sci-fi fantasy novel, jet black kevlar armour covered nearly every square inch of him, along with orange flared gloves and boots, dark tactical pants, a utility belt, a metal chest piece, and an ammunition belt. The look was completed by a divided half-black-half-orange mask that the man wore over his face and when he spoke his voice was distorted electronically which did nothing to settle Hughie's nerves. In fact as he looked at the man he thought the man looked a lot like Black Noir but had refrained from voicing that comparison outloud.

The man was also armed to the teeth; he seemed to have a gun or knife strapped to every possible place on his body that wouldn't impede his movement, which included a large katana strapped to his back. Luckily the man seemed to have awareness not to draw attention to himself and had covered his walking urban warfare arsenal with a trench and sweater with a hood, both were very loose and could easily be discarded. The man had spoken very little during their interaction and with his mask and armour Hughie had no idea if it even was a man but he guessed it was due to the broad shoulders and body dimensions. He had asked the man's name when he had arrived at the parking lot Sam Lane had sent him to meet this asset, but had only received a 'That's classified' as a response and had been told to call him 'Deathstroke'. Again not something that settled Hughie at all.

"Yeah I am sure, me and Mr Marathon used to sneak college girls in this way," Lamplighter responded as he moved an air vent "Well they were applying to college at least,"

"Real charmer you," Diana scoffed, she was wearing regular clothes but was covering her face with a bandana, hood and sunglasses.

"Move it, we are on the clock," Deathstroke's voice was harsh and distorted by a voice modulator as the man glanced down the dirty empty street. "The tower is largely empty due to Vought scrambling from Sage Grove but we shouldn't push our luck,"

"Yeah, yeah cool it terminator," Lamplighter grunted as a gun was japped into his back slightly, earning a shake of the head from the ex-superhero. "This way there is a secret elevator that's not on the plans, no cameras or sensors it used to move stuff without any trace."

Hughie looked at Diana who although he couldn't really see her face could tell she was grimacing her body language screaming that she didn't like any of this. As the group moved into the tower, walking down a dark service corridor Hughie found Diana placing herself between him and the other pair in the group. Her body language screamed that she was expecting something to go wrong any second however Lamplighter just seemed resigned to be doing this whilst Sam Lane's black clad enforcer was unreadable.

"Hughie, what do you know about him?" Daina whispered as they turned a corner giving a nod towards Deathstroke who titled his head a little as if he had heard her which Hughie guessed might have been possible.

"Nothing, he works for Lois' father, he's operative for the military or something" Hughie whispered back his eyes on the walking arsenal of a man who shifted again in a way that clearly showed that he could hear them despite their lowered voices. "Why do you know him?"

"No but I heard rumours of enhanced soldiers running black ops for the army. They apparently came from a defunct weapons program the army ran in the 60s. Didn't pay much mind at the time as I was out of the game." Diana replied, her eyes flickering to Hughie underneath her glasses but quickly went back to the man who had seemed tense since the conversation started. "Heard most didn't survive the experiments and the ones that did fell far short of expectations, so the program was canned by the early 70s."

"So wait, the army was making supes?" Hughie asked, his voice rising a little too loud which caused Lamplighter to glance at them only for the topic of their conversation to jap his gun into his back to keep him moving.

"Honestly I don't know from what I heard it wasn't superpowers they were after, just super soldiers, you know tough, strong, fast healing basic stuff without the messy shit supes end up with . Like I said I only heard rumours, they didn't know about V so apparently they used Freddy Vought's advanced research into human genetics to enhance them." Daina recalled the rumour remembering hearing it from one of the few friends she had left from WW2 days in the 60s, "According to the rumours what they got fell far short of supes, it created some deadly SOB's but in the end more soldiers than super. Honestly, I thought it was a lot of cold war BS."

They eventually reached what looked like an underground load bay, the area was deserted and if the slight layer of dust was anything to go by this area was rarely used. Lamplighter moved over to a set of elevator doors with a large biometric pad next to it; it was the only thing in the area that looked modern. Lamplighter walked up to it and took a deep breath as wriggled his fingers in the air holding it just over the pad, as he did so his black armoured watcher shed his trench coat and jumper.

"Okay, moment of truth either I am still in the system or we about to be swarmed by a lot of guys with AKs" Lamplighter released a sigh as he placed his hand on the biometric pad.

"Wait? What did you just say?" Hughie asked, his eye's widening as he twisted his head expecting a guards to appear any second.

"And….BOOM BITCHES! We are in," Lamplighter grinned as the pad light up green and the doors open he moment of triumph was defeated slightly as Deathstroke pushed him into the elevator. "Hey, watch it!"

"Just do your part, remember the deal" Deathstroke grunted as entered followed by Diana and Hughie as Lamplighter pushed a button causing the doors shut and the elevator to rise.

"What deal?" Diana asked her head turning not to Lamplighter but to Deathstroke looking at the right side of his mask which was solid black and had no visible silt for his eye like the orange side did.

"Nothing that needs to concern you," Deathstroke replied unmoving his vision fixed firmly forward however Hughie spotted that his hand that was holding

"And why is that?" Diana asked, her hands becoming fists at her sides as the elevator doors opened with a ping, revealing a semi-light floor with medical equipment present.

"Here we are Floor 67, this is the medical wing that creates V, so I've held up my end. You boss said I was free to go af-" Lamplighter had exited first turn ing with a grimace of disgust on his face at being forced to do something but stopped as he suddenly saw a black void square against his right eye.

"For Helena and Greg," Hughie blinked; he recognised the names of Grace Mallory's grandchildren Lois had told him once when he had asked about the woman.


"Because we are not honouring it," Deathstorke lowered his heavy Smith & Wesson model 500 handgun back to his side his other hand wiping Lamplighter's blood and brain from his mask "Huh, his skull did break, not so much of tier 1 supe after all more like tier 3,"

"What the fuck?!" Diana cursed, pushing Hughie behind her, raising her fist ready to strike the masked man that had just fired a 50 calibre round into a man's head and was now standing casually.

"He served his purpose and this was more than he deserved," Deathstroke replied his gaze lingering on the corpse that Hughie guessed he would have spit on if not for his mask before suddenly walking away into the floor "Now you have 10 minutes to search the place,"

"Why ten?" Hughie asked as they exited the elevator stepping around the corpse whose leg was stopping the doors from closing.

"Because in 11 minutes the guards will sweep through this area" Deathstroke stated whilst pulling a small circle device from his ammo belt that he threw against one of the walls "But more importantly in 10 minutes 20 seconds this place will be a burned out wreck."

"You think I am going to let you blow up the tower?!" Diana stated, moving forward at blinding speed causing her bandana and glasses to fall away as she grabbed the man's forearm as he was about to throw another device.

"Yes I do, Wonder Woman because of two reasons" Deathstroke didn't flinch at Diana's action and just met her stare his mask showing nothing "First you hate Vought as much as anyone, and two although you could stop me you don't have the time to stop me and search this place. 9 minutes and 50 seconds "

"Hughie, we need to move," Daina grimaced, shoving Deathstorke's hand away as she stalked off heading towards one of the labs, with Hughie following her as he looked at the explosive device and dead body.

"If it makes you feel better these are incendiary devices, they'll burn this floor to ash but won't bring down the tower" Deathstroke shouted after her as he walked in the opposite direction, continuing to throw his devices to walls "9 minutes 33 seconds,"

Diana moved quickly through the floor like a woman possessed as she and Hughie started going through the labs that occupied the floor, her eyes glancing at Deathstroke whenever he came into view. Hughie tried to ignore the man and focus on his task of trying to find anything that could remotely help Clark or could be used against Vought which was quite difficult as the man wasn't subtle about his planting of explosive devices. Hughie was pulling open a filing cabinet that Diana had busted open and although the files were a treasure trove of information on V production it was largely useless for Hughie and the team. That was largely everything that he came across, if they had access to this a year ago it would have been incredible but now it was largely useless.

"I'm getting nothing," Hughie threw the files he was reading over his shoulder as he pulled another draw open and poured through another load of documents. "Are you finding anything?"

"No, and I don't think we are really here to find something to help Clark," Diana grimaced as she threw the clipboard she had been reading so hard that it impeded into one of the walls. "I think this was all just to take out this lab. With Sage Grove in ruins his would cripple Vought's ability to produce V"

"Yeah, from what Lois told me that is something her father wo-" Hughie never finished his sentence as Daina suddenly pushed him out of the way of a blade slicing the air where he had just been standing.

Diana followed up her save by managing to kick Hughie's assailant square in the chest sending him smashing through the glass wall of the lab they were in. Hughie raised his head from the floor and was greeted by the sight of Black Noir silently standing up as he pulled another sword from his back. Noir gripped the two blades perfectly as he titled his head assessing the woman he was fighting briefly examining the shattered plate glass she had kicked him through. Diana just raised her hands ready to fight off the man, Hughie could swear he saw her smile slightly as if she was looking forward to the fight. However, Noir took a step forward to start the fight he was suddenly stopped as knife suddenly logged into his right shoulder causing him to turn his head in the direction of the throw.

"EARVING!" Deathstroke's yell was loud and for a brief moment the voice modulator didn't work and Hughie could swear the voice sounded familiar. "You and me have a score to settle, remember Nicaragua,"

Noir didn't respond instead he glanced at Diana before refocusing on Deathstroke bringing his swords out to his sides as he started to walk towards his foe. Deathstroke responded by pulling his own sword from its scabbard on his back and lifting his heavy handgun and started to fire at the approaching Noir. The silent supe ignored the bullets as the logged into his body although heavy calibre they were slowing him down in fact Noir picked up the pace and started to run full speed at Deathstroke.

"Come and get," Deathstroke stated emptying his clip before throwing the gun away and meeting Noir's blade with his own as the two started a brutal sword fight.

"Should we he-" Hughie looked at Diana only to be cut off this time as he ducked as the sound of automatic gunfire rang out.


Diana threw herself over Hughie, several rounds bouncing off of her invulnerable skin as a number of guards appeared in the corridor hefting assault rifles. Hughie blinked as he found himself oddly not panicking for once as the world went to shit around him, he pulled the handgun Butcher had given him out and waited for a lull before returning fire. Diana went to work quickly she picked up several pieces of debris and threw them at trio of guards who went down when struck as she charged another set. Hughie opened fired on another group and although he would love to have said he hit something or really helped all he did was force them to take cover, MM would be clipping the back of his with how bad his aim still was even after weeks of practice. Diana was in her element though as Hughie looked at her, the woman smiling broadly now and he even heard her let out a laugh of joy as she kicked a man through a wall.

As Diana dealt with guards and Hughie did his best to help her with that he was also privy to the sword dual also occurring. Noir and Deathstroke moved in what could only be described as a ballet with swords, the two moved and bent in ways that made the fight look elegant and graceful. However, that illusion was shattered as a spray of blood marked the wall as Deathstroke managed to slip past Noir defence and tried to put his sword through the man's shoulder. Deathstroke's triumph of skill however only result in his sword snapping against the Supes invulnerable skin and Noir using the opportunity to slash his sword in his right hand across Deathstroke stomach splattering blood on the wall.

Deathstroke tried to recover pulling a backup gun from his side but his injury slowed him enough that Noir was able knock him to the floor with a jab to the face which the supe followed up by impaling one of his swords through the fallen man's left shoulder. The blow to his face had cracked Deathstroke's mask slightly, the man tried to pull the sword from his shoulder but quickly turned his attention to a more pressing issue, namely the other sword aiming from his eye. Deathstroke raised both hands to grab the blade and stop it, his palms turning to red mash of blood as Noir's blade sliced through them. Noir knelt pushing the blade down towards Deathstroke's right eye and despite the man's attempt seemed only able to slow the inevitable.

"AHHHH!" Deathstroke's scream of pain sounded out as Hughie watched helplessly as the tip of Noir's blade broke Deathstroke's mask and was clearly pushing into the man's eye.

"Uhh, AHH!" Noir's grunt of protest suddenly sounded out as Daina turned after leaping across the room to smash her fist into the last guard, she was greeted by the sight of Maeve choke holding her teammate from behind.

"Oh shut it!" Meave grunted as she pulled Noir's mask up with great difficulty and then smashed an almond joy into the man's mouth.

Both Diana and Hughie blinked as Maeve let go of the man who instead of getting up and continuing the fight suddenly started trying to grab something from his utility belt. As he managed to retrieve an EpiPen from his belt Maeve just sighed and unceremoniously grabbed the pen and threw it away as the man collapsed on the floor. As Maeve turned to look at Diana, the older supe just lifted her fists up not sure if the woman who had attacked her apparent teammate was on her side, however Maeve turned to face Hughie a scoff escaping her lips.

"Your that twinkie Starlight is fucking right?" Maeve asked already knowing the answer shaking her head at the shitshow she was seeing, about dozen plus dead guards and the whole floor shot to shit

"Uh yeah, I'm Hughie and that's -" Hughie tried to answer gesturing to Diana who had blood driping from her fists.

"Hughie we need to move," Diana cut him off her eyes turning from Maeve to the nearby wall where one of Deathstroke's devices was still ticking down. "This place is about to get very hot,"

"Go, I'll scrub the footage no one will know you were here," Maeve looked at one of the devices on the wall and frowned but quickly started to move down the corridor leaving the area to take care of the cameras "Tell Clark to call me, I am still 100% in and tell your saintly girlfriend she owes me one."

Hughie gave the supe a nod as she left quickly before moving over Deathstroke who was laying unmoving on the floor, the wound to his stomach and shoulder were pouring blood and Noir sword was still logged in the man's head. If it hadn't been for the raspy sound of breathing along with the slow raise and fall of the man's chest Hughie would have said the man was dead. As he approached Hughie froze as he could see Deathstroke's face clearly now as his mask had been shattered, Hughie gulped before scrambling to lift the man up. He found he couldn't move him as he was still impaled on the floor so the skinny former Bryman Audio-Visual employee tried to pull the sword free from his shoulder as the fallen man lifted a weak hand bloodied hand and pulled the other sword from his own eye..

"Hughie, leave that asshole!" Diana grunted her eyes darting to the devices that were very close to going off.

"Help me!" Hughie grunted as he managed to somehow pull the Noir's blade free stumbling backwards before moving to lift the man up, Diana open her mouth to protest, "Please! Just help!"

Diana sighed but seeing as Hughie was for some reason not going to abandon the man that had caused this mess opted just to help instead of wasting time arguing. She moved over and quickly placed the wounded man's arm over her shoulder and started to move quickly to the exit. She did glance at the man who she had not expected to have dark grey hair and light age lines all over his face. Hughie's mind was spinning about the new piece of information he had just found out and hoped his teammate already knew or else this was going to be a very awkward conversation.

"2 minutes 12 seconds ... .Thank you son," Sam Lane managed to eek out just loud enough for Hughie to hear, Lois' father looked at him with one clear bruised eye and one that was just a dark wound that was bleeding, his voice starting to trail off. "You're a good soldier. A…good…..soldier"

(Grace Mallory Estate- Upstate New York, Adirondack Mountains - Late 21st April 2020)

"I should have gone with Hughie or gone to get Martha," Annie paced back and forth resisting the urge to bite her fingernails, a habit she hadn't done since she was nine. "Have you heard from anyone?"

"Not yet," Lois answered the question that Annie had been asking all day, shifting in her chair next to Clark's still unmoving form, placing a hand on her stomach that felt odd.

"Sorry, I know I am being a pain." Annie sighed, stopping her pacing as she looked at Lois who despite a brave face had looked more and more uncomfortable throughout the day.

"It's alright I am worried t-AHH!" Lois suddenly lurched forward in pain, as she felt something odd shift in and felt wetness beneath her.

"OH SHIT! Lois, your water just broke!" Annie's statement was barely heard as Lois cried out again in pain clamping her stomach as suddenly felt more pain than she ever had. "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay, it's okay, it's okay!"

Annie's repeated statement was accompanied by her gently lifting Lois from her seat and moving her swiftly to the couch in the living room. Lois started to swear as Annie moved like lightning to clear a space and get her comfortable, the supe was technically fully qualified as paramedic and that had covered the basics of delivering a baby. However, Annie would be lying if she didn't say she was panicking on the inside, training was one thing but she had never actually dealt with the real thing. She gently removed Lois' trousers and underwear whilst grabbing a set of towels and pillow to make the woman more comfortable.

"Oh fuck! SHIT! FUCK!" Lois cursed as started to dig her hands into the couches pillows so tightly they tore.

"Don't worry, just breathe your water breaking is one of the first stages, nothing major will be happening for at 24 hou-" Annie stopped herself as Lois' hallowed in pain and did a quick check as something wasn't right she just clicked Lois wasn't near 9 months yet and her water breaking shouldn't be causing pain. "OH! OKAY! Um….yeah you've already started contractions! That's….that's okay we can deal with that"

"WHAT?! WHAT DO MEAN I'VE ALREADY! AH FUCK!" Lois head writhed back as pain shot through her as she felt an overwhelming urge to push "ANNIE I CAN'T I CA-"

"I've got you," Lois' eyes snapped opened as she turned to see Clark was kneeling next to her he looked a little groggy but was awake and gripping her hand "Annie take her hand,"

"Clark?" Annie asked dazed at seeing the man awake but quickly did as he asked as he moved to take over, "Clark we need a hospital it's too early,"

"Actually it's not, Kryptonian pregnancies are faster than human's I thought she might come early by human standards and the birthing process is fairly quick as well," Clark stated as he moved into position to support Lois' whose head snapped up at his words.

"WAIT! YOU KNEW?! YOU BAST-AHHH!" Lois' admonishment was stifled as pain shot through her as she could only focus on what was happening to her.

Annie just held Lois' hand for the next hour offering words of encouragement as Lois just swore and cursed at both Clark and her. She got especially viscous at Clark whenever he gave her a direction and Annie would have laughed if not for the seriousness of the situation at hand. Speaking of hands even with her enhanced strength Lois grip was actually hurting her a little and she guessed if she was human Lois would have reduced her hand to mulch.

"That's it just push, one more! And we are….." Clark stated as Lois gave one last push, he felt weight in his hands causing him to trail off

The room went silent for a moment before a single piercing noise sounded out as Clark gently moved the precious weight in his hands.

"Wah! Wah!"

Lois' head snapped up her eyes going wide as she the source of the noise in Clark's hand. She chuckled slightly as Clark tried to cut the cord with a pair of scissors only for them to break and he was forced to use his heat vision to complete the task. He quickly cleaned and wrapped the now quieting bundle of joy moving over to Lois' side as Annie stepped back fighting off tears in her eyes. Lois hands shook slightly as she took the most beautiful thing she had ever seen from Clark into her arms, although she felt drained and just wanted to sleep she couldn't take her eyes off the small baby girl in her hands. She was prefect, she had a small tuft of jet black hair on her head and as her eyes blinked open Lois was greeted by a sea of blue perfection.

"Hello there, I'm your mom," Lois chuckled a little at the statement as she nestled the child to her chest and raised her free hand to allow the baby to grip her finger.

Clark placed a loving hand on his daughter's head and was about to speak when suddenly a loud noise sounded from the front door.


Clark and Annie shared a look as Lois' eyes widen knowing they were not expecting company at least not without prior warning. Lois tried to move and calm her daughter who didn't like the loud noise but didn't have the energy and stayed still as Clark rose and gestured for her to stay. He was still shirtless but that only to Lois' eyes made him more impressive as his muscles were on full display his eyes narrowed as he peered through the door to see who was knocking. His eyes widened and before either Lois or Annie could say anything he was already moving to the door, Annie placed herself between Lois and the door as Clark opened it. Annie blinked as instead of Homelander or some Vought security team meeting Clark at the door she was saw tall blonde woman in white leotard, with a red cape and huge chest standing next to a skinny blonde child wearing slightly torn clothes.


(Author's Note)


So extra super long chapter for my very patient fans I hope you all enjoy it. Longest chapter I have ever written but so worth it!Answered a few questions, set up a lot for next time and for the rest of the story as we approach season 2 end and get rolling with season 3!

Until next time