(33.1 Lab on the outskirts of town)
Batman smirked as he led the attack on the lab, making sure to take down the guards hard, but causing no serious injuries to them as they went on. Kara and Diana had just blown right through a section of the wall followed quickly by Jade and Nightwing as he went through the glass skylight and landed in between two guards who were raising their guns to fire at Robin. He quickly lashed out and knocked one off the guardrail and then head-butted the other, causing him to drop his gun before nailing him in the face with his gloved fist and dropping him to the ground.
“Nightwing heed to their computer core and get whatever information you can from it before blowing it,” he said into his earpiece. “Zatanna, you back him up,” he added.
“Confirmed Batman,” was the response from both of his team mates. He then launched himself off the rail and headed for the next set of guards as Jade followed Diana who was using her bracelets to rebound the bullets that were shot at them while Kara was hiding behind a boiler.
He frowned at that until he looked down and noted the bullet cases that were on the ground were all coated in green kryptonite and he cursed as he realized why Kara was so careful. He reached into his belt and withdrew a batarang and flung it upwards catching both guards in the back of the head allowing Kara to move forward.
(33.1 Lab in the abandoned factory complex)
Kyle led the charge straight through the roof of the lab complex after Green Arrow had blown the roof with an explosive arrow. The guards all looked up in shock and then began to raise their guns upwards to meet the threat, but most of them were too late and they were easily taken down by the superior skill and powers of his team. He ordered Huntress to find the computer core and destroy it with Arthur to back her up. He and Bruce had both agreed blowing the cores of the labs would set Lex back quite a lot and anger him even more. He ducked as machine gun fire spat in his direction before he raised his hand and projected a huge gloved fist which ploughed into the guard and flung into the wall and knocked him out cold as on the other side Donna took down the next guard while she was covered by Obsidian. Flash shot forward in a blur to take down two more who were guarding a steel door.
(Fortress of Solitude)
Talia looked up as Chloe and Lois appeared in the fortress but frowned when she realized Lana and the Kent’s had not come and she wondered why. She listened as Chloe explained what had happened and what Jonathan Kent had told them to tell them. Lionel nodded and vanished from the fortress to make sure he was able to meet the sheriff when she came to question him.
“Are they okay?” Lois asked, pointing to where Clark and Raya lay.
“They should be,” Dax-Ur responded as he looked up from his work bench. “The kryptonite bullets were removed fast enough so they didn’t cause too much damage to them and they should recover soon enough,” he continued.
“Where is everyone else?” Chloe inquired as she looked around the almost deserted fortress.
“They decided to hit two of the 33.1 labs Lex has set up,” Ra responded from where he was reading a document Jor-El had given him. “This should distract Luthor somewhat and buy time for us to really come up with a plan of attack and for Clark and Raya to fully recover,” he added.
They all paused as J'onn returned followed by three others who Chloe and Lois didn’t recognize, J'onn went to check on Clark and Raya while the three newcomers went into another section of the fortress.
“Who were they?” Lois inquired.
“Cyborgs built by Jor-El to give us some more help and so we don’t get recognized by anyone,” Dax-Ur answered with a smile. “I take it Lex has the final fake stone?” he asked turning to the Martian.
“He does and what is almost amusing, he actually believes he won it in a fight,” J'onn responded with a smile of his own. “He does not for a minute believe he has been manipulated, it is almost sad,” he added.
“Indeed but from what I have learned of the man he has such an overflated opinion of himself it is no surprise he believes himself incapable of making a mistake or being manipulated,” Dax-Ur stated. “He reminds me of some of my own people before I left Krypton,” he continued with a sad look on his face.
They were all shocked when Clark bolted upright in his bed and then rolled onto his knees and clutched his head in his hands. J'onn knelt down and tried to speak to him, but Clark seemed to be unable to hear him or just ignored him, Raya moaned as she opened her eyes.
“Raya, are you awake?” Chloe asked desperately as she believed she knew what was wrong with Clark. “Raya, something is happening to Clark,” she almost shouted.
Raya rolled out of the bed and walked unsteadily to Clark’s side before dropping to her knees and pushed his head up so she could look into his eyes and what she saw disturbed her, but before she could say anything Clark shot upwards and changed into his costume.
“Where are the others?” he ordered and everyone could hear the change in his voice, it sounded deeper and more hollow.
“Bruce led some of the League to the lab on the outskirts of town, including Diana and Kara while Kyle hit the one in the abandoned factory complex with the others,” Dax-Ur responded and was shocked when Kal-El shot out of the fortress.
“What the hell just happened?” Lois asked.
“I believe he has been consumed by the memories and emotions of his future self brought on by the attack,” Raya said as she forced herself back to her feet still feeling weak. “It almost seems as an alternate personality has appeared within him which is along the lines of what his future self was like when they sent the message backwards in time,” she added as Talia helped her back to her bed.
“And Clark?” Chloe asked. “Our Clark?” Chloe added horrified by this turn of events and wondering what Lana and the Kent’s would say when they learned this news.
“He is buried underneath the new personality and should be fine. He most likely will regain control after he has gotten over the shock of having been attacked. I believe this only happened due to the shock and pain of the attack. It has triggered something inside him, something I don’t believe his future self took into account when he chose this course of action,” Raya tried to explain.
“This is a dangerous turn of events, but it also could be a blessing. Chloe, return to the Kent’s and report what has happened, we may need Lana soon,” Dax-Ur spoke up before he opened up a com line to Bruce and the others.
(33.1 Lab on the outskirts of town)
Batman ducked the wild swing of the meteor infected man he was currently fighting. They had discovered several of them in a cell and they hadn’t realized the people inside were all insane until they had opened the cell, most likely driven into it by Lex’s experiments. He cursed as he was forced backwards unable to hear Dax-Ur in his ear piece as he was fixated on the fight. Diana was off to the side and even she was having trouble fighting these insane people, their powers seem boosted and it made him wonder what exactly Luthor had been doing to them.
As he, Diana and Kara were forced back to back there was a huge explosion. The wall nearby was shattered as Clark swept in taking the meteor freak attacking Diana down with a hard right hand, but he didn’t stop there. He picked the man up and threw him upwards before grabbing the man’s leg and jerked hard enough on it to break his leg and knock him out cold as the man hit the floor. He did not pause and jumped the meteor freak who had just managed to knock Kara down and drove him into the wall raining down blow after blow until the man fell unconscious and finally he fired his heat vision at the one Batman was fighting. Bruce almost winced at the scream of pain before the man dropped to the floor.
“Are there anymore?” he asked as he headed to where Diana stood and pulled her into a tight hug which seemed to surprise Diana.
“Jade has them trapped in the cell we found them in and Nightwing and Zatanna have just blown the computer core after downloading everything in it,” Bruce responded, noting Clark seemed very different.
“Good, make sure you destroy the camera footage before you leave Batman. I’ll go and help the others,” he added before he vanished.
“He seemed different,” Kara noted with a worried expression as she just barely saw her cousin vanish into the distance as Bruce finally managed to hear Dax-Ur.
“Damn, according to Dax-Ur and Raya Clark’s personality has been overtaken by a facsimile of his future self,” Bruce informed them with a frown. “We better finish up here and then see if we can help Clark regain control. Kara, destroy all the cameras while I make sure there is no backup computer core,” he ordered before he walked away.
Diana herself continued to tie up the last few guards and the three meteor freaks Kal-El had taken down. She was worried by this news because it meant the warrior with barely anything to live for was now in charge of Clark’s powers and she knew from what he had admitted to her how dangerous he could be and she also knew it would be down to her to bring him back and to keep him in control. She informed Bruce she was headed after Clark before she left as Nightwing and Zatanna entered the room.
(33.1 Lab in the abandoned factory complex)
Kyle and the others were just as surprised by the brutality of Clark’s attacks after he appeared as Bruce and his team had been, but they could not deny how effective he was in taking down the last few guards and someone who was either a meteor freak or one of Luthor’s allies. They were just watching as he finally put the man down just evading a blast of what looked like heat from the man’s hands and he managed to land a wicked right hook which knocked the guy flying backwards into the wall.
“Enough Kal-El, he is defeated,” Diana’s voice rang out and they all turned to face her as she landed behind Clark.
“I’m just making sure they stay down Diana,” Kal-El replied somewhat perplexed by her order. “We are in a war, remember? They don’t care for us and we have lost too many friends to care for them,” he added.
“Kal-El you have forgotten we are not in your time, this is the past,” Diana stated moving closer to him. “Your memories and emotions have overwhelmed your past self and somehow forged a facsimile of your future self, which has assumed control of your body,” she told him.
Kal-El was confused by what Diana was saying before he turned and noted that many of the people standing were in fact people he knew to be dead. He clutched his head as he felt pain before shaking his head and focusing on Diana.
“This makes no sense, this cannot be possible,” he said.
“Obviously something has gone wrong. Something you didn’t know would happen when you sent back your memories, but it has and now we must deal with it. We shall return to the fortress,” Diana responded. “Green Lantern, remember to destroy the camera’s and to check for a backup computer core before you leave,” she added before she grabbed Kal-El and transported them back to the fortress where she hoped they could pull Clark back into control.
(Fortress of Solitude)
The two teams returned to find Clark pacing as the others argued, all but Diana who stood off to the side staring at Clark. She seemed to be waiting for something. Lana was the most vocal and Bruce could tell she was horrified by the news. Raya was trying to calm her down, but neither she nor Clark’s parents were taking this well. There was no sign of Lionel, but then he wasn’t needed for them to talk to Jor-El, but he was silent at the moment.
“Silence,” Jor-El spoke finally and instantly the shouting and arguing stopped. “Enough, what has happened was clearly not part of the original plan Bruce and my son put forth in the future, but it has happened and now we must deal with it,” he added firmly. “Kal-El, can you hear me?” he asked.
“I hear you Jor-El,” Kal-El spat in distaste, surprising many by this. “I’m not shocked to find you have somehow survived the fortresses destruction and somehow built a new one,” he added.
“Kal-El, you are letting memories of a timeline which no longer exists to influence you. Your past self has changed much already, including how I have acted toward you my son,” Jor-El responded, ignoring his son’s sudden hatred as he could understand it. “The war has not happened yet and we may yet prevent it altogether if we are lucky,” he continued.
“Lies Jor-El, all lies,” Kal-El shouted. “Obviously I have either been captured by Luthor and he’s injected me with some kind of drug or this is one of your twisted games,” he added. “Well I won’t break father not to you or Luthor. The war may be a lost cause, but I will fight to my dying breath for this world,” he promised, clenching his fists.
“Kal-El, none of this is an illusion I promise you,” Diana spoke up stepping forward with her arms raised in a non threatening manner. “What you have been told is the truth. You are in the past and your younger self has been overwhelmed by the memories you sent backwards in time and the attack Luthor ordered on you and the others. It has caused his mind to build a facsimile of you, his future self to deal with the emotions it has caused,” she explained. “I swear to you on all bonds we share I speak the truth,” she added.
Kal-El stared at her long and hard while the others all watched on, waiting to see if she would be able to break through to him. He began to pace again as he thought over what Diana had told him.
“Kal-El, I will prove it to you. First look around and you will see people alive who according to you should be dead. You will also notice that they are younger than they are supposed to be and lastly,” she stated before moving up right next to him and speaking softly into his ear. “Your younger self told me you are in love with me, but you refuse to do anything about it out of fear of losing me,” she whispered before pulling back and staring him in the eye.
Kal-El’s eyes widened at this before he looked around again. He noted Diana was correct as, nearly everyone in the fortress at this moment in time should be dead, except Bruce, Oliver, and J'onn. He also had to admit they all looked younger than he was used to these days. Then his eyes came to rest on two people in particular. He looked at Diana for a few minutes before turning and walking over to Raya and Lana.
“Raya, you are alive?” he said almost in shock.
“Thanks to your younger self’s determination yes I’m Kal-El. He entered the zone and freed me and since then I have been helping him first in stopping the war from ever happening and second trying to stop him from being overwhelmed by your memories, sadly I failed at this,” Raya replied, looking away only for Kal-El to turn her head back to his.
“This was not expected Raya and you did the best you could. I think Clark did this. I think he forced the memories and emotions into a personality who could fight a war. I think he may be losing the hope that he can stop it from happening,” Kal-El told her.
“But what does this mean for Clark and to a point aren’t you Clark?” Lana asked from beside Raya.
“No,” Kal-El answered firmly as he gazed at Lana with an almost lost look. The same look he had when he first recovered from receiving his future memories and it once again took her breath away. “Clark Kent died two years into the war. I stopped being a hero and partly human when the world collapsed and many of my friends died including you Lana. I’m Kal-El and I’m nothing but a warrior, a soldier who has seen too much death, too much destruction and too much horror to ever hope again,” he explained his tone fatalistic.
“What happened to me and why do you look at me like that?” Lana asked, trying to keep her fear under control.
“You ended up being infused with Kryptonite to a point where we could no longer be anywhere near each other and so you had to leave me permanently. The suit you wore allowed you to be a hero, but the price for us was too high,” Kal-El said, turning his back to her. “Two years into the war one of the largest battles took place, signaling the true end of the world as you know it right now. You were killed by Luthor who had created a suit which gave him powers such as speed, strength, endurance, as well as many powers from various meteor freaks he had studied,” he explained to them all now. “The suit also had hidden kryptonite in it so he could fight me with an advantage. You attacked him hoping to get rid of the kryptonite which you could do thanks to the experiment you interrupted and that caused your change in status, but he was too much for you and he killed you. He made sure I saw your dead body before he left. I was held up by Doomsday and couldn’t save you,” he added before falling to his knees, the despair almost too much.
Diana knelt next to him and pulled him into a hug joined a second later by Raya and Lana. Everyone could tell this Kal-El was someone who truly had seen too much.
“Who is Doomsday?” Oliver inquired.
“Doomsday is the ultimate weapon from a long dead race. He is one of the strongest most resilient creatures I know to exist. He has the claim of having killed me once before the war, although I didn’t actually die. It just seemed that way,” Kal-El answered before pausing briefly. “He has no known weakness, he just keeps coming. He will destroy everything and anything in his way just because it’s there,” he added, causing a shiver to run down many people’s spines.
“Is he on Earth right now?” Nightwing asked, not truly understanding what had happened to Clark and wondering if it would interfere with their plans.
“Yes, he is buried under the earth in a stasis tube,” Kal-El answered. “Luthor must not find and free him, no matter what and if he does only I can fight him,” he said as he slowly pushed himself back to his feet, followed by the three women at his side.
“Why just you Kal-El? I’m just as strong as you,” Kara protested while stepping towards her cousin who quickly stepped forward and pulled her into a hard hug.
“Kara... you can’t believe how happy I’m to see you alive once more. Your death has haunted me,” Kal-El said while pulling back. “And to answer your question yes you have my strength, speed and every other advantage. Except my experience in dealing with Doomsday as well as the kind of mentality you need to fight someone like that and I don’t want to see you become like me Kara,” he continued, his eyes telling Kara more than he was saying and it upset her to see how much her cousin had changed since she had met him, it was like he had no real soul left in him.
“Father, please update me on what has happened, it maybe sometime before Clark manages to resume control,” Kal-El ordered as he walked over to the control console. “I’m sorry if this upsets some of you, especially the Kent’s but maybe with my help we can end this faster,” he said as he sat down and turned to listen to the voice of his father.
The Kent’s looked devastated by this news and by the lack of emotion as Kal-El spoke to them. Lana tried to comfort them obviously just as upset as them. Raya walked over to Kal-El’s side as did Diana to keep an eye on him as the others broke to discuss what they had just learned.