A P A R T M E N T 3 0 2
Noon | Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City
"Oh, thank you so very much, Superman!" The old woman's voice pitched and shook, her lips spread out into a wide grin. She stood before her apartment door, her old, scratch-ridden key clutched between her fragile fingers as she looked back over her shoulder at 'Superman.' He was shorter than he looked on TV. And that red and blue suit he always wore was absent, replaced by some white, capeless variant; truthfully it looked like a downgrade, but who was she to tell Superman that after he helped her carry her groceries all the way up here?
"Let me give you something for your trouble," She grunted, struggling to poke the key into the lock. Her hand was shaking too much to focus. It was hard not to be nervous with the Man of Tomorrow standing just behind her, after all. "some cookies, maybe? My grandchildren say they're the best they've ever-"
"No." Kon-El interrupted, his voice more forceful than he intended. He didn't notice the affect his words had until he saw the look of absolute shock on the elderly lady's face, and he felt his own quickly heat up. "I...I mean, er, I appreciate the offer, ma'am. But I have to go. And I'm not-"
"The world can wait a few minutes!" She insisted, still fighting to even open her front door while Kon-El bounced impatiently behind her; she either paid him no mind or was too oblivious to see how eager he was to move on with his day. "You deserve a break, sweetheart."
When he ran away from the Fortress and came to the New York City his sort-of cousin had told him so much about, he'd been expecting...more. Where were all the villains Kal was always fighting? Where were the disasters he and Kara insisted they had to stop when they left Kon-El alone in that frozen castle? He didn't think they'd lie to him, yet...
"Oh, I hate this dumb thing sometimes. Always has to jam on me." The grandma huffed, slapping her palm up against the wooden frame.
She'd said something after that, too, but Kon-El missed it. It was too far away for the aging human to hear, yet to Kon it was as loud and thunderous as if it'd happened just outside. A clap like thunder rolled in the distance, followed shortly by the sound of screeching wheels, honking horns and the screams of the wounded and the dying. By the time the woman had turned around, 'Superman' was gone, her groceries scattered across the hallway and the nearby window shattered into a thousand pieces.
C I T Y S T R E E T S
Noon | Midtown, Manhattan, New York City
Superboy crossed the city toward the source of the explosion as quickly as he could, leaving behind broken concrete and a collapsed- thankfully empty- taxi. Each leap dragged him through the air and right back down to the earth with a crash, shaking the streets with a thunderous smack before he took off once more. It didn't take long to arrive at his destination, though how he'd handle what he found there was another matter entirely.
The first thing he noticed was the smell. CADMUS's simulations of smell were far less...visceral. He could pick out the individual stenches, differentiating each crushed body and every burning car from all the rest. Smoke choked his nostrils, thick and black thanks to the tires caught in the explosion; it was like a punch straight to his nervous system.
His ears, too, suffered. Screams of the frightened and the hurt, punctuated by the clamor of rending metal and the screeching of unearthly tongues. The flickering flames were a constant, quiet thumping in the back of his head as he rose to his feet and shook off the sensory overload as best he could.
Once Kon wrestled back control, he looked out over the street, and found it occupied by monsters. Giant, lipless lizards with bodies like gorillas and eyes burning with otherworldly hate. It didn't take a genius to know they were aliens, but it was the flying girl that gave him pause. Her skin was orange, and her eyes glowed green. Her heart didn't beat like a human's. She wasn't a meta, and the language she yelled in didn't sound like any he had ever heard.
'Another alien.' He decided with a wordless grunt, rising to his full height. He was no Superman, but Kon was still rather tall and broad for someone his age; the skin tight, white solar suit that he wore showed the contours of his lab-built body well. Strong yet thus far untested hands clenched tight into fists brought level beside the bright red crest he wore. Alien as it felt on him, Kon knew it meant something- to more than just the people of earth.
Kon took in a deep breath, empowering his lungs as he shouted at the top of his voice. "HEY!" He roared until he'd gotten the aliens' collective attention. "I'LL SAY THIS ONCE: Get down on your knees and put your hands on your heads." Superboy let power flow up into his eyes, lighting them a bright, dangerous red. "Or you're not gonna like what happens next."