--AND WHO, DISGUISED AS MILD-MANNERED REPORTER CLARK KENT, FIGHTS A NEVER-ENDING--
"--ill has been unclear about whether he will resume the role, or if rumors of the studio recasting and replacing him are--""--right and there is wrong in the universe, and the distinction between the two is not hard to--"
"--show will be concluding after its tenth season, citing low ratings for the network to finally--""--little guy needs a name. How about Jonath--"
"--suffered a massive spinal injury, leaving the actor paralyzed from the neck d--""--could have changed the world. Now look at us. I'm a political liability. And you....you're a--"
"--restarting their line of comic books from the ground up, streamlining the company's infamously complicated--"
--CAME TO EARTH WITH POWERS AND ABILITIES FAR BEYOND THOSE OF MORTAL--"--hope this experience hasn't put you off flying. Statistically speaking, it's still--"
"--upstart company, with their own hip and off-beat brand of amazing and uncanny superheroes, has replaced the stodgy old super-friends of yesterday from--""--a girl, flying, dressed in a super-costume! It must be--"
"--actor's death has been deemed a suicide, though many still suspect foul--"
--THAN A SPEEDING BULLET, MORE POWERFUL THAN--
"--blames the violent content of 'super-hero' adventure comic books for delinquent beha--""--see how I destroy the mighty Man of Steel! No one can stand in Luthor's--"
"--went from a simple children's comic strip character to a genuine cultural--"
LOOK! UP IN THE SKY!*BBBRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGG--
IT'S A BIRD!
IT'S A PLANE!
The first great test of self-control every morning, being able to tap the alarm clock next to my bed without smashing it to pieces. I sit up and yawn, eyes bleary, my back and neck stiff, then climb out of bed and stretch out the dozen little aches and pains up and down my body.
I rub the sleep out of my eyes and look out the window, the sky still a deep black, only tinged at the horizon line with a barely perceptible glow of red. Dawn is still an hour away, but the first rays of sunlight have begun their work of brightening the day ahead. I should start doing the same.
Walk over to the bathroom and do my business. A mouthful of minty foam and sharp-tasting tonic as I brush my teeth and gargle some mouthwash. A whiff of burnt hair as reflected lasers clear my neck and chin of stubble. I pause for a moment at the upper lip, pondering the possibility of letting it grow out, then decide against it-- somehow I don't think me with a moustache would quite work. A cold splash of water from the sink across my face. I throw on a T-shirt, button up a worn red flannel over that, followed by some overalls, work boots, and finally, my glasses.
They say it's important to establish a morning routine. It builds discipline, and gives you a measure of control.And control is something you haven't had in quite some time, ain't that right?
I ignore that remark.
Down to the kitchen for breakfast. Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, milk, butter, eggs. Mix it all together, pour the batter onto the skillet. Allow to heat for two minutes, until it becomes golden brown on one side.
That gives me time to check on a few things. Leaving the batter to warm up, I unlock the back door to the farmhouse and step outside. Krypto stirs, but quickly goes back to sleep once he sees it's just me, and I head out into the pre-dawn sky, reaching high orbit in a few fractions of a second."Let's see....."
I say to myself as I look and listen to the swirling blue planet below. "I think we'll start by heading east today...."
A highway overpass in South Carolina is dangerously neglected, ready to collapse and endanger hundreds of lives. This early hour, wthout a driver in sight, gives me ample time to work. Crushing concrete into dust, melting down steel supports and rebar, reforging the metal and mixing the concrete all over again, rebuilding the bridge from the ground up, all of that isn't the hard part. The hard
part is painting and weathering it so it doesn't look
like it was suddenly and suspiciously rebuilt from the ground up. Some men in their old age take up building complex and realistic train sets or model airplanes. I guess this could be seen as the same, only the models I build are to replace crumbling infrastructure.
Next is a quick trip across the Atlantic to the island of La Palma, off the coast of Morocco. The Cumbre Vieja volcano has been building pressure, threatening an eruption that could cause a massive landslide into the ocean. The resulting wave will cause an enormous wall of water to travel across the Atlantic, a mega-tsunami that will devastate the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Or at least, it would
. I've been drilling channels through the volcano, pressure release tunnels that will keep the worst-case scenario from happening. Many scientists have already discredited the mega-tsunami theory as completely farfetched, not realizing how accurate their first predictions may have been.
It's best to take care of things like this while they're still little problems, before they get the chance to become big ones. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure, they say. On top of that, it's the best way for me to save lives and do some good while keeping a low profile.
I make a few more quick stops-- filling potentially lethal pot-holes in roads, triggering small landslides and avalanches while no one's around to be endangered by them, and using wide but low-intensity blasts of Heat Vision to equalize air pressure in a storm system to prevent a tornado from forming-- before heading back to the farmhouse to flip my pancakes.
As I approach, I hear Krypto barking. He's normally not up and about for another two or three hours, let alone making a racket. Slowing down to a manageable speed, I swoop down to the old oak tree about fifty paces from the front of the house, where my dog is growling at a shape on the ground."What's the matter, boy?"
I say, scratching him behind the ears to calm him down. He looks up at me and whimpers, confused. "It's okay, buddy, I'm here. Now what's--"
That's when I see what Krypto was barking at. A form left in the dirt, a thin coat of dust dulling the colors of a bright red cape and blue suit."Great Scott...."
This isn't any sort of coincidence. This is deliberate. A message. Maybe a warning, maybe a threat. But a message nonetheless.
? This isn't my world. Kara switched places with Kal-El in this world, arriving on Earth first. There's no recorded precedent of interaction with parallel universes, alternate timelines, or any other form of other-Earths in this reality.....myself excluded. I've made absolutely certain that none of my actions have shown up on satellite photos, and that any written accounts have either been discredited or purged from the internet. As far as this world is concerned, there is no Superman, and there never was. Nobody could possibly
know who or what I am, let alone that I'm here.
And yet, someone knows.
Lying in the dirt in front of me is a pile of bones, dressed in an unmistakable uniform.
Someone has sent me a dead man.....
Worse than that, actually......
......a dead Superman.