Re: Superman - Future Generation (Part 3)
- Nice bonding, with a good show of the relationship between the two
survivors of different Kryptons.
And a great cliffhanger ending. What does Kal-L have in mind now?
- Thanks. I'm having fun writing the personal stuff, but there will be
some action coming up. As for the "Pop", "son", "Ma" stuff - I'm
from the Midwest and we still do talk like that sometimes.
--- In theJSAallstarstorysite@y..., "Doc Quantum"
> Good to see you again, GooseGansler! I liked this chapter for the
> father-son interaction between Clark and Cal. The "Pop," "son"
> and "Ma" thing didn't really ring true with me, but that's probably
> more because those are American expressions I've only ever seen in
> comics or TV, not in real life.
- Chapter 4
The next morning, Clark was up before the crack of dawn and quickly
outside to work the land. He left a bottle ready for Mary when she
woke up and a stack of pancakes for Cal in the oven. He grabbed his
scythe and started walking the crop rows. Though he hadn't slept
much the night before, he was not unhappy about the lack of sleep.
Those waking moments had helped him formulate the plan that Cal's
suggestion had inspired. It was time to put an end to Colonel Future.
By eight o'clock, Lois had packed up her things and headed off for
the Smallville Gazette. Cal had to hurry in order to catch the
school bus to Smallville High. The babysitter had arrived in order
to watch over Mary for the day, though Clark kept tabs on his
daughter via super-hearing and super-vision. Once he had finished
his threshing chores, he slipped into costume and headed east for
Familiar sights greeted him along the way. The towering buildings of
Metropolis eventually loomed in the distance. However, he was not
heading for the city proper. Rather, his destination was his
mountain retreat at the edge of the city. It was here that he would
begin the work on his campaign against Colonel Future.
Even moving a super-speed, it took the better part of the morning for
him to make all of the preparations. Colonel Future was a clever
foe; he had to make sure that his plan was as bulletproof as his
"If you can't beat `em, join `em."
Cal's words had reverberated in Clark's mind the entire day. He had
made the necessary preparations at his Fortress on the outskirts of
Metropolis. Now he needed to act. It would be a dangerous ploy,
but he felt that it should prove successful in drawing Colonel Future
out and subsequently defeating the arch-criminal.
He discussed the plan with his family over dinner. Lois expressed
her reservations over it, but she knew that Clark was determined to
smash Colonel Future's criminal enterprises. The murder of Kil-Lor
had been too much for him. Cal was overjoyed that his Pop was
allowing him to play a part in this dangerous gambit. He hoped that
he would be able to pull off the role.
"I could be gone for some time," Clark noted.
"No pun intended, I'm sure," Lois chuckled.
Clark had to smile even though he had not been attempting to be
jovial. He knew that this operation could pose deadly risks to him,
but he was determined to see it through.
The dinner conversation returned to more mundane matters until all
were finished eating. After clearing the table, Clark embraced his
wife. "You know I have to do this."
"I know," Lois nodded. "Be careful for your sake and for Cal's."
Clark looked her in the eyes, his own gaze showing his
confidence. "I'll be careful, and Cal will be able to handle his
He kissed her and then called out to Cal. "All right, son. Let's
get to work."
Cal came out of his room wearing a version of his original costume
cape, tights, and all rather than his modified version that had been
wearing in his days as a Junior JSAer. "You know, wearing cape is
kinda cool. Maybe I'll go back to wearing this kind of get-up."
"That's your choice. Don't feel that you need to ape me. But, as
you know, for this mission, I need you in that outfit."
"Check," Cal replied. "Let's get that stuff out of the barn and get
the flight plan from Alex."
Clark took Mary in his arms one last time and kissed her. "Be a good
girl while Daddy's way, OK, pumpkin?"
Mary gurgled and smiled in reply.
In a flash, Clark donned his Superman costume and headed outside.
Superboy followed closely behind. Once inside the barn, they opened
the secret vault that lay underneath the floorboards. They took out
the two items that Clark had brought back from the Fortress. One was
an electronic device with a rotating disc of swirling colors mounted
atop it. The other was a lead-lined box.
With the items in tow, the super duo knocked on the door of the
bunkhouse, the building that served as the headquarters of this
universe's Monitor, Alexander Luthor (though he was known to the
public at large as Lois' nephew Alexander Lane)
The door opened automatically and the pair slipped inside. Alex was
seated in his command chair overseeing a wide array of display
screens and computer terminals. He was staring intensely at a screen
depicting some chronospatial simulations. With a wave of his hand he
beckoned them to come in. "I've almost got it plotted."
"You know, you should join us for meals more often," Clark
said. "Lois worries about you. You're carrying a lot of weight on
your shoulders for a young man."
"I know, but there's just so much to do,": Alex shrugged as his hands
typed furious commands into his chair's built-in keyboard. "It's a
responsibility I don't take lightly."
"Maybe you ought to lighten up a little bit, Alex. You know, maybe
drop the `home schooling' pretense and join me at Smallville High.
Sorta like getting to know the common people," Cal suggested.
Alex pondered Cal's words for a moment. "I suppose there's merit in
that." He looked at his screens. "OK, I've plotted it now." He
pointed at the screen in question. "Take a look at the trajectory,
Uncle Clark. It should get you when and where you want to go."
Clark looked at the screen closely and with understand. To Cal it
was just a bunch of mathematical gibberish, but he knew that `cousin'
Alex knew his stuff. "So, you gotta do something while you're in the
time stream, Pop?"
"Exactly," the Man of Steel replied. "There's a number of possible
futures out there in the time stream. I've visited a few and been
visited by a few others. What I want to do is arrive in one
particular possible future. That's why I needed to get Alex's help
here. Time travel's a little bit trickier these days. That's why it
took so long for Karen and me to find you when you were lost in time."
Cal grimaced. He didn't care to recall the long period he spent
trapped in other eras as a result of the trick that Bluestreak of the
Junior Injustice Society had sprung on him. "So which future are you
"The one that Moth Aunt Lois recently visited the year 2956 in
which Craig King poses as Superman," Alex answered. He switched the
video display to a new data channel, certain that Superman had
absorbed the necessary information.
Superman headed outside. "Thank you very much for your help, Alex."
The Monitor of Earth-Two nodded and waved goodbye as the super duo
exited. He returned in earnest to his work, but the words of
Superman and Superboy percolated in his mind. Perhaps he really did
need to experience the world at large.
Once outside, the Man and Boy of Steel took to the air and zoomed
towards Metropolis. As they flew, they went over the details of the
"All right, it looks like you're clear on everything," Superman said
confidently. "I don't know how long I'll be gone in 2956, but I
should arrive back in a matter of seconds, from your point of view.
Be ready with the box and the device."
"Gotcha, Pop," Superboy replied. "Good luck."
"To both of us." Superman headed up and quickly accelerated to supra-
light speed and vanished into the time stream.
Superboy, for his part, waited within a cloudbank and steeled himself
for what was to come. "This'll show if I'm really up to wearing the
costume," he joked half-heartedly.
- Chapter 5
Once Superman entered the time stream, he began heading for the
future. The swirling colors that defined this non-place were as
beautiful as always. He made the appropriate changes in his
trajectory, as Alex had indicated, so that he would arrive in the
"Not that I wouldn't mind visiting the Lora's 2957 again, though I
wouldn't want to deal with Rohtul again." He hoped that the Luthor
descendant had been returned to prison after the `Family Legacy'
case. "But only Craig King has what I need." The decades sped by
with increasing rapidity until he had reached the right era.
Decelerating, he dropped out of the time stream and back into three-
The Metropolis of 2956 certainly was not how he remembered it. The
gleaming spires of the superskyscarapers were no longer gleaming, if
they stood at all. The world had suffered a heavy toll under the
despotic regime of Metalo. Lois had told him about what had happened
here when she had been catapulted to this era during the `Time Bomb'
He found it a little unsettling that Metalo would be able to survive
the ages, at least in this future. He found it more unsettling at
what Metalo had been able to wreak here. He was glad that Lois had
been able to help put an end to Metalo's reign, but it would take
some time before the world regained its techno-utopia nature.
Accessing his super-memory, Superman tried to identify the building
where Craig King's home was. It took a few moments to locate the
place amidst the changed landscape.
After a short flight, Superman landed on the balcony of King 240th
floor apartment and knocked on the feroglas window. The portal's
shading disappeared for a moment and Superman could see King on the
other side. The portal shaded once again and then slid open.
Superman stepped inside,
"Superman!" Craig King extended his hands to grasp those of his
idol "It's great to see you again,"
"The pleasure's mine, Superman," the original Man of Steel
replied. "I need your help, Craig."
"It would be an honor," King answered enthusiastically. "I owe you
for the assistance that you and your wide have given me. Is there
some crisis in the past?" He started taking off his sleek silver
outer garments to reveal his red and blue caped costume underneath.
"There's a situation that I need to resolve with Colonel Future back
in my time. I can't find him, so I'm hoping to draw him out. That's
where you come in."
"How can I help?"
"I'd like to borrow your equipment your degravitator, your rocket
belt, and your force field generator," Superman said.
"Certainly," Craig replied. "But I don't see how these things are
going to help you. They're just pale imitations of your powers."
"True," Superman nodded. "But it's highly developed futuristic
technology. And that's what I'll need if I hope to convince Colonel
"Convince him of what?"
"That I'm one of his followers from the future."
"Looking like that, and wearing that costume, you won't be fooling
anybody," Craig joked.
Superman smiled devilishly. "True, but I've planned for that." He
handed Craig a piece of paper. "Do you think your electro-tailor
could put something like this together? And would you have something
to dye my hair?"
Craig looked at the drawing. It was of a caped costume considerably
different than Superman's red and blue. "The electro-tailor will
have no problem with this." He darted into the washroom and came out
with a silver spray bottle labeled `Chameleoncolor'. "This should
take care of your hair color. Just punch in the color you want. He
tried envisioning Superman in the outfit and different colored hair.
He could still recognize him as Superman. "You know, I don't think
the disguise is sufficient. That face of yours is legendary."
Superman had been looking out the window, gazing at the rebuilding
efforts outside. When he turned to face Craig, his visage was
"Great planets!" Craig exclaimed. "How did you do that? A holo-
"No," Superman chuckled. "Just one of my lesser known powers." He
started pushing on his cheekbones. "With super-muscular control, I
can change my facial features and appearance. Now let's see that
"Craig handed him the bottle and then opened up the electro tailor
panel in the wall. He placed Superman's drawing in the input slot
and then waited a few moments. A bell rang, a green light flashed,
and the costume came rolling out of the electronic device.
Bringing the costume to Superman, Craig could see that the Man of
Steel had used the Chameleoncolor to change his dark locks to sandy
brown. Superman had also shaped his hair to have more of a brush cut
Superman took the outfit that Craig had handed him. With super-
speed, he slipped into the new outfit, compressing his traditional
uniform into a pouch in the cape. As he stood before Craig, Superman
appeared to be a completely different man. The outfit was a purple
shirt emblazoned with an "F" within a white shield. The white cape
matched the white trunks over his bare legs. The white boots
completed the outfit.
"Well, you certainly are something else now," Craig had to
admit. "But where did you come up with the idea?"
"The look is from a dream that I had once. It was a dream of growing
up on Krypton. In the dream, there was a super-powered Kryptonian
who wore this outfit. My sleeping mind called him `Futuro'. So
that's who I'll be for purposes of this ruse."
"Well, you've got me fooled. Even your voice is different," Craig
"Then I'm ready to go. Thanks for all your help, Craig. I'll return
the equipment once I'm done with the mission." He shook Craig's hand
"It's my pleasure to help out a legend," Craig beamed. "Good luck!"
Superman opened the feroglas window and darted into the air. Soon he
was up to supra-light speed and vanished into the time stream. He
knew what awaited him back in his proper era.
- Excellent idea. I love the use of Craig King and the considerate
references to the other stories I did. Thanks. I agree that the face
changing power is a very welcome surprise. Really clever!
- Superman did not have much time, at least subjectively
speaking, to think as he sped along the timestream. To his
frame of reference, it was only a few seconds of flying as
he traversed the centuries that separated 2956 from 1987.
He knew that he would reappear moments after he left. He
hoped Cal would be ready.
Reaching the desired time, Superman, decked out in his
'Futuro' costume, decelerated and re-entered normal space.
Cal was there, box and device in hand. Without saying a
word, the youthful Superboy opened the lead-lined box,
taking care not to expose himself. Crimson radiation
emanated from the red kryptonite chunk contained within.
Superman instinctively put up his hands to his face, but
there was no escape from the baleful rays. In the split-
second after the radiation began to take effect, Superboy
activated the device. The multi-colored swirling disk spun
at incredible speed, dazzling Superman's eyes.
Superboy could tell that the plan was working. This
particular sample of red kryptonite had the ability to
strip away a Kryptonian's power temporarily. It had been
used before against the late Kil-Lor. Snapping the box
shut once again, Superboy launched it and the hypnosis
machine into orbit. He propelled himself at a low level of
super-speed at Futuro.
With a twitch of the invisible hand controls, Superman
activated his jet units and reacted instinctively. His
belt rockets flared and he shot up above the lunge of
Superboy. "Hah!" he cried out. "I guess the history
records exaggerate your skill, Superman. That was a clumsy
attack." To his hypnotized eyes, Superboy appeared to be
Superboy looped back and sought to tackle Futuro again, but
the mesmerized Superman was apparently too quick. The Boy
of Steel careened by again. The spectacle was beginning to
be noticed by the citizens of Metropolis below. The aerial
dance continued but Superboy was not able to lay a hand on
"Now let me show you what I can do!" Futuro exclaimed. He
activated his degravitator, rendering Superboy's weight to
virtually nothing. He shoved the Boy of Steel and sent him
The Boy of Steel recovered and flew back at Futuro again.
This time Futuro did not dodge but rather hovered in place.
Superboy would and swung at Futuro, but his blow came up
short. The force-screen projector had coated Futuro with a
protective screen, absorbing the energy of the blow.
Inside of his underground compound deep beneath Metropolis,
members of Colonel Future's gang were rushing to inform
their leader of the developments outside.
One minion, dressed the retro-futuristic military attire of
the Future organization, came to the Command Center and
brought his hand to his cap in salute. "Colonel Future,
The caped arch-criminal looked up from the maps and
blueprints arrayed before him. His outfit was similar to
that of the underling, although epaulets about his
shoulders made it very clear who was in command. Next to
him stood his armored 'son', the product of Indian magic
whom he had named 'Futurian'.
"Report," Colonel Future replied. Although he had gained
vitality from that same Indian magic, it had not given him
the patience to suffer the ever-present incompetence of his
underlings. "And it had better be important."
"Communications Section reports that Superman has been
sighted again in Metropolis battling another super-powered
figure," the minion announced.
"Interesting." Colonel Future stood up and smoother out
his jacket. "The Man of Steel hasn't shown his face around
here much in recent days. Is there any television
"Then have it patched in to this room. Also have
Communications see if they can pick up the battle on any of
"Already done sir," came the prompt reply.
"My," Colonel Future smiled. "Aren't we efficient today?"
"Surprisingly so" the Futurian added.
The minion walked over to the large flay screen on the far
end of the room and activated it. The feed from WGBS-TV
appeared on it, showing the high speed battle between the
familiar red and blue figure and the unknown combatant.
Touching some other controls, the underling activated the
'screen in screen' function. Four additional windows
opened up, one each of the large screen's corners, showing
the battle from the vantage points of the spycameras.
Their images were just as blurry of the high-speed battle,
but the spycameras afforded Colonel Future the ability to
hear the battle as well.
Superboy (though all spectators assumed him to be Superman)
continued to battle 'futilely' against Futuro. His
Kryptonian powers far exceeded the technological powers
that Craig King's equipment was granting Futuro. However,
Superboy was the only one who knew that. The super-
hypnosis program that Superman had made, combined with the
amnesia-inducing effect of the red kryptonite, had turned
Superman into an entirely different man. The imprinted
identity was coming more strongly forward.
"You're lucky it wasn't one of my descendants who came to
the past, Superman," Futuro boasted in a voice not his own.
"My technology makes me more than a match for you." He
laid into Superboy with degravitation-assisted strength.
"I'm just disappointed to know that Colonel Future will
have any descendants, Futuro," Superboy replied, his voice
mimicking Superman's real voice correctly. He struck at
Futuro again but was blocked again by the force-screen.
"Interesting," Colonel Future mused back in his lair.
"Could this Futuro really be a descendant of yours, or
perhaps ours?" the Futurian wondered.
"It certainly seems possible," Colonel Future noted. "He's
going toe-to-toe with Superman, using technology that even
outshines your armor." He tried to study Futuro but the
high speed of the struggle made that difficult to do.
"Even if he can't defeat Superman by himself, he could tip
the overall balance in our favor."
The two combatants continued to square off, exchanging
blows and quips - both of which could be heard by the
spectators below and afar. Just when it seemed that
'Superman' would defeat this Man from the Future, Futuro
focused the maximum output of the degravitator on his
opponent. The personal gravitic field of Superboy grew to
immeasurable magnitude, overtaxing the flying powers of the
young survivor of Krypton- and Earth-Prime. Superboy
dropped like a lead weight into Metropolis Harbor.
Futuro exulted in his triumph. "Today only humiliate you.
In the days to come, I will you destroy you utterly. For
the future belongs to Futuro!"
As the battle reached its conclusion, Colonel Future was
already planning his next move. He had to have the power
of this Futuro at his disposal. He turned from the
viewscreen towards his 'son'. "Futurian, invite this
Futuro to our lair."
Futurian saluted and powered up his armor's jet-pack. "As
you command." He took to the air en route to one of the
accessways that led to the surface.
In the meantime, Colonel Future knew that he had
preparations to make for their visitor. The proceedings
that he had witnessed on the screen seemed genuine enough,
but precautions were essential. He paged the Storage
Section. "I need a canister of green kryptonite
immediately." He didn't wait for a reply. He knew his
order would be obeyed as fast as humanly possible, if not
sooner. Promptness was a hallmark of the Future
organization. Then he paged the Armory. "I need the
Kryptonian Detector." The unit had been very effective in
tracking down Kil-Lor. He would make sure that this Futuro
was not a Kryptonian in disguise.
The apparent triumph of Futuro was only a few seconds old
when the armored form of the Futurian arrived at the scene
of the battle. The Futurian's jet-pack kept him aloft
while he sized up the apparent vanquisher of the Man of
"Greeting Futuro, if I may call you that," the Futurian
said without any malice. His weapons systems, however,
were charged and ready if the situation warranted it.
"Greeting to you, Futurian," Futuro replied. "Your name is
much revered in my era."
The Futurian was silently pleased with the compliment. He
certainly hoped that his Futuro was indeed a traveler from
the future. "I'm flattered. Then you undoubtedly know
about my father."
- "Of course," Futuro nodded. "The Progenitor, the Molder of
the Future - Colonel Future!"
"Indeed?" The Futurian allowed himself a small smile. "It
is he who offers you an invitation. It would be best if we
departed. Who knows what heroes might respond to your
besting of Superman? The Man of Steel is not dead, at
least not yet, but perhaps with your power that might be
"It would be an honor to meet with Progenitor. It is the
reason I came back to this time to ensure his ultimate
triumph," Futuro declared.
The Futurian turned and fired his rockets at maximum
output. Futuro's concealed jet units allowed him to follow
with ease. In a matter of seconds, they were gone from the
scene. However, their departure did not go unnoticed.
From the bottom of Metropolis Harbor, Superboy had watched
and listened with his super-senses. If he didn't know
better, he would believe that Futuro was from the future.
He did know better, but that didn't lessen his concern. He
was only dressed as Superman. The real Man of Steel was
undoubtedly going into the lair of the enemy. "Good luck,
Pop," he thought. "I'll be waiting."
After a circuitous high-speed route to throw off any
pursuit, the Futurian and Futuro arrived at one of the
entrances to Colonel Future's underground lair. There were
guards who approached them after they had only taken a few
steps into the passageway.
"Futurian," one of the guards announced as he eyed Futuro
warily. "You're to bring your guest to the central command
The Futurian shot the guard an annoyed glare. "I know full
well what I'm supposed to do." With an indignant shove, he
pushed the guard out of the way.
"Come, Futuro," Futurian said graciously. "Let's leave
this rabble behind. They may be necessary, although
insignificant, cogs in Colonel Future's machine, but that
does not mean we need to suffer their impertinence, or
their presence, for long."
"Agreed," Futuro said forcefully. "I am eager to meet the
great Progenitor face to face."
After winding through the lead-lined passageways, the duo
finally reached the central command chamber. Standing
amidst the plethora of futuristic electronic equipment was
Colonel Future, decked out in all his pseudo-military
"Welcome to our era, Futuro." Colonel Future greeted
warmly. "I am very pleased to meet you."
"As I am pleased to meet you." Futuro offered a small bow.
"Your exploits are legendary in my time. Your
technological mastery laid the groundwork of our entire
"That is very kind of you to say." Colonel Future was very
interested in the implications of Futuro's statements. Did
they mean that his triumph was inevitable?
"However, I don't recognize that apparatus from the
historical records." Futuro pointed at the tripod-mounted
machine with an antenna disk facing him. He also wondered
about the metal box that Colonel Future held on his left
"This, my friend, is a detector for a very specific type of
energy the energy given off by a superhuman Kryptonian.
This kryptodetector was instrumental, if you'll pardon the
pun, in the death of one particular Kryptonian Kil-Lor."
"Are you expecting the Nemesis today?" Futuro asked.
"One must take precautions." Colonel Future reached over
and activated the detector. He checked the metered
readout. There was no sign of any Kryptonian within a ten-
"I am not a superhuman Kryptonian," Futuro declared. He
put his hands to his hips and effected a dramatic pose. "I
am of your own lineage."
"A fact I will most readily believe . After one more
test." He flipped open the lead-lined box and exposed the
chunk of green kryptonite within.
"That must be kryptonite," Futuro stated matter-of-factly.
"Completely harmless to someone like me,"
Colonel Future and the Futurian exchanged knowing glances.
Futuro was genuine. With his power at their disposal, they
would be able to at last destroy Superman.
Convinced that Futuro was the genuine article, Colonel
Future and the Futurian gave the supposed Man from the
Future a tour of the base. They peppered Futuro with
questions along the way. They wanted to know about the era
from which he came, an era in which Colonel Future had
Futuro's answers painted the picture of the 2956 AD world
of Craig King, albeit with the added aspect that Colonel
Future's descendants ruled absolutely. That extra detail
had not been too difficult to construct. Superman had
simply substituted the Future dynasty for Metalo's despotic
"So we are destined to succeed, Father," the Futurian said
gleefully. Not that he ever had any doubt in his creator,
but independent verification was important to the
"In a particular future," Colonel Future's reply was a bit
more subdued in its enthusiasm. "You know that the future
can take numerous divergent paths. Still, it is reassuring
to know that my power triumphs in that particular future."
"And perhaps in the only potential futures," Futuro added.
"The chronospatial knowledge we have accumulated in my era
has indicated that we can shape the timeline so that there
is only one path from this time stretching out to
"That would be glorious." The magnitude of such an
accomplishment dazzled Colonel Future's mind. "We should
begin working towards that immediately."
"All in good time, Progenitor," Futuro said. "However, the
most important part in that overall scheme is the
destruction of the Nemesis."
Colonel Future put a hand on both the Futurian's and
Futuro's shoulders. "With your combined might, the
Kryptonian does not stand a chance."
- It did not take much planning before the Futurian and
Futuro headed out in search of Superman. Their first stop
was naturally where Futuro had supposedly defeated the Man
of Steel at the bottom of Metropolis Harbor. However, no
sign of the Man of Tomorrow was to be found there.
"I didn't expect to find a lifeless body here," Futuro
commented. "But it pays to be thorough."
"Agreed," the Futurian replied. He activated the device
strapped to his wrist, its yellow color in stark contrast
to the rest of his armor. It was a portable version of the
kryptodetector. "Perhaps the Nemesis will help us get on
his trail." Continuing to hover in place, the Futurian
turned through a 360 degree sweep with his outstretched
arm. There was no distinct signal being picked up,
although there was a faint one coming from the northwest.
"Strange. It seems as if he might be shielded. What do
you think of it?"
"That's entire possible. We should verify before we
contact the Progenitor with our findings." Futuro turned
his rocket boots to full power and blasted northwest.
At the northwestern outskirts of town, Superboy, still
dressed in his faux Superman outfit, paced within the walls
of the Fortress. As per the plan Superman had worked out
with him, the massive doors built into the carved out
mountainside were left unlocked. It would take
considerable power to open them even then. He had to wait
uncomfortably until the forces of Colonel Future came.
"Pop figured that the Colonel had some way to track
Kryptonians," Superboy mused. "That was the only way he
could come up with that Future was able to find Kil-Lor and
know he was Kryptonian." He hoped that his Kryptonian
makeup, being born of another universe entirely, was
sufficiently similar to allow the enemy to find him here.
Just then, the super-radar signaled that objects were
approaching on a direct line to the Fortress. "Looks
similar enough." He took a deep breath and readied
On a rapid approach vector streaked the forms of Futuro and
the Futurian. Futuro's futuristic telescopic contact
lenses allowed him to spy the Fortress ahead, but no
inkling of familiarity came to the hypnotically submerged
consciousness of Superman.
"Ahead, built into the mountainside. Do you see it?"
Futuro called out.
The Futurian's visor's optical powers focused in on the
area in question. "Indeed. There can be no doubt. This
must be Superman's lair." A quick cybernetic command
opened a communications link back to Colonel Future's
underground base. "We believe we have located the Nemesis,
sir. Zero in on our trajectory. The Kryptonian should be
dead when you arrive."
Lashing out with force beams, the Futurian battered the
Fortress' doors. They fell back open at the assault.
"Kryptonian! Face your doom! Futuro called out as he sped
inside. There was so sign of Superman upon their arrival.
He scanned the area with his lenses but detected nothing.
"I don't see him," he muttered angrily.
"He must be here." The Futurian's cut his rockets and came
to land on the floor. The kryptodetector indicated a
presence very near. "Face us, coward."
The door to a lead-lined compartment slid open and the
famous blue and red costume emerged. However, it was worn
by the youthful Superboy, much to the Futurian's surprise.
"Hi. I heard you knock. You didn't need to blast your way
in. The doors were open." Superboy smiled impishly.
"What trickery is this?" the Futurian raged. He instantly
recognized the teenager as not being his intended quarry.
"Even in that lead-lined container, you couldn't hide from
the Kryptodetector." He raised his arm and energy crackled
about his gauntlets. "Tell us where your sire is and we
might be merciful."
"Oh, he's closer than you might think," Superboy said
slyly. He took to the air before the Futurian could
connect with a plasma burst. Swooping around the charged
particle beam, Superboy drove into the Futurian, sending
him tumbling backwards.
The Futurian sprang to his feet after somersaulting a few
times. His near-instantaneous recovery took Superboy by
surprise. A double-barreled blast smashed into Superboy's
chest, staggering him considerably.
Futuro joined in the action now, amping up his degravitator
in reverse mode. He stretched out his hand and bathed
Superboy in a high gravity field. The Boy of Steel
struggled to move against the massive force.
"What do you have to say now, boy?" Futuro mocked. "I've
rooted you to the spot. Now the Futurian will be able to
slay you at his leisure, if you don't reveal what we want
"I'll tell you what you want to know." Even speaking
under the effects of the gravity field was a struggle for
the Kid from Krypton.
These words were music to the Futurian's ears. He smiled
broadly. The Boy of Steel did not have much in terms of
steeled resolve. "Hold for a moment. Colonel Future is
nearly here. I would like to have him hear these words as
Beads of sweat began forming on Superboy's brow. The
immense gravity was beginning to take its toll on him, but
he knew he had to persevere. He knew he had to follow the
Moments later, Colonel Future arrived on a futuristic
flying platform. He had brought none of his retainers
along. With the combined might of the Futurian and Futuro
here, he felt no need to have any extra protection, even in
the lair of his nemesis. As he brought the platform to a
soft landing, he marveled at the technology that the Man of
Steel had incorporated into the place. In some ways, it
rivaled his own headquarters.
"Sir, the youth is prepared to tell us where Superman is,"
the Futurian announced with military-like precision.
"Very good." Colonel Future studied the boy closely.
There definitely was a family resemblance between Superboy
and the Metropolis Marvel. He wondered how Superman had
kept him a secret all of these years. He noted that
Superboy sported a costume identical to that of his sire.
Colonel Future seemed to recall the Boy of Steel sporting
a modified outfit in his adventures with the Junior JSA.
However, that was of little importance. He would learn
where his true nemesis hid, and then he would slay the
"Where is Superman?" Colonel Future asked coldly.
Superboy looked him straight in the eye. "He's fighting
a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the
"Impudent child!" Colonel Future wanted to strike him, but
he calculated that it would not be wise to cross the high
gravity field with which Futuro had surrounded Boy of
Steel. Futuro, for his part, seemed strangely transfixed.
Futuro's change, while unnoticed by Colonel Futurian, did
not escape the Futurian's attention. "Futuro, does
something ail you?"
Suddenly a broad smile came across Futuro's face. "No, I'm
fine. In fact, I feel super." With a flick of a button,
the gravity field was deactivated. Superboy's words had
triggered a post-hypnotic suggestion, one that restored the
memory of his true self Superman.
"What are you doing?" the Futurian cried. His armor's
systems went into attack mode via cybernetic command. He
leveled a wrist-blaster at Futuro.
"I've come to my senses," Futuro shot a look over to
Superboy. "Are you OK, son?"
"Son?!?" Colonel Future drew his ray gun from his holster
belt. The truth, however inexplicable, was beginning to
dawn upon him.
The Futurian fired the first blast, but it was blocked by
Futuro's force-screen. "You can't be Superman. The
Kryptodetector, the kryptonite. You couldn't fool us!"
"Oh, but we did." Superboy darted into the air before
Colonel Future could draw a bead on him. A well-placed
blast of heat-vision turned the ray-gun into slag. The Boy
of Steel was silently proud that he did it without burning
Colonel Future's hand, at least not seriously.
The Futurian continued to blast against the force-screen
ineffectually. "Your technology cannot be better than
"It's not mine," Superman said as he adjusted his feature
back to his normal face. "It really is from the future.
All of my powers as Futuro were." He took to the air while
continuing to fend of the Futurian's blasts.
Colonel Future decided that there was no victory to be had
here, not on the hero's' home ground. He unclipped a
microbomb attached to his belt and hurled it at Superboy.
Before the explosive could detonate against him, Superboy
blew the bomb out of the Fortress' doors with a gust of
"Can't have you messing up the place," Superboy joked. "I
hate sweeping up." Before Colonel Future could employ
another weapon from his personal arsenal, he was held tight
in the grip of Superboy.
The struggle between Superman and the Futurian continued.
The force-screen kept Superman safe from the Futurian's
barrage, perhaps even better than his temporarily nullified
powers would have. He knew that it was probably just a
matter of minutes before the effect of the red kryptonite
wore off and his powers returned. However, with Craig
King's 30th century technology at his disposal, he was
confident he could triumph without his natural powers.
"I don't know why you're depending on technology,
Superman," the Futurian said in-between salvos. "Perhaps
your powers have disappeared with age. Whatever the
reason, all that matters is your defeat."
"Not today or any day in the future." After minutes of
defensive weaving, Superman took the offensive. Pushing
the degravitator to the maximum at reverse flow, he induced
another high gravity field about the Futurian. Then,
returning the device's flow to normal, he completely
canceled the gravity about the Futurian. The shock of the
massive change in gravity was weathered by the Futurian's
armor. However, for the man inside, it was a different
story. The Futurian's senses blurred and he slumped
"Well, that just about wraps everything up." Superman
turned to where Superboy held Colonel Future fast. "Now to
deal with you, Colonel. You've killed one of the only
Kryptonians left in the universe. Now you're going to
answer for your crime."
Colonel Future looked at Superman defiantly. "I don't
think so." He gritted his teeth together, connecting a
circuit between his upper and lower molars. With the
homing signal thus activated, a teleportation beam arrived
from Future's lair. Superman reacted quickly, erecting a
dense gravity field around Colonel Future now. The beam
was distorted by the localized warping of space and
couldn't complete the transfer. However, the interrupted
process took its toll on Colonel Future. The sudden
cessation of dematerialization caused massive internal and
Superboy gently laid down the injured Colonel Future on the
ground. "What happened, Pop?"
Superman was already scanning Colonel Future with his x-ray
vision, noting the damage that had been done. "Something
unintended. I had thought the gravity field would stop the
teleporting process completely, but that wasn't the case.
Colonel Future is seriously hurt."
"You didn't mean it, Pop. Though one could argue he
It was well-deserved, Superman thought. For all of the
suffering and death that Colonel Future had caused, the
villain certainly deserved it. When he ha d begun his
career nearly fifty years ago, Superman would have had no
compunctions about letting a foe perish. The decades had
mellowed that harshness. However, the care that Colonel
Future needed was probably more than standard medicine
"We'll keep him here, Superman announced. "The healing
chamber might be able to mend his injuries."
"I though Colonel Future was immortal now." Superboy said
more as a question than as a statement.
"No," Superman shrugged. The magic totem gave him
vitality, not eternal youth of immortality." He gently
lifted Colonel Future body and carried it towards one of
the deeper compartments of the Fortress.
Not sure of what to do, Superboy followed with the Futurian
in tow. He wasn't quite as gentle with the unconscious
"You do bring up a good point, though." Superman laid
Colonel Future on a cold white table inside of the medical
bay. He manipulated the controls for a few seconds. A
pale purple light began to wash over Colonel Future's body.
"With his vitality, he could outlive any sentence that the
courts might pass on him. That's assuming that he could be
held prisoner that long."
Superboy was troubled by this line of thought. "Pop,
you're not thinking about exec "
"No, but Colonel Future has committed a heinous crime.
Society needs to be protected from him," Superman replied.
His hands were clasped behind his back as he paced around.
"I'll have to keep him here."
"Pop, are you sure you want to do that?"
Superman took a deep sigh. "Not really, but it will take a
long time for Colonel Future to heal. That could only be
done here. Plus, I have an idea in mind to make it more
"What about the Futurian here?" Superboy had placed the
villain on another bed next to Colonel Future.
"He's not a real human being. He was created by the power
of the magic totem. You could say he's not entitled to the
protections of the law," Superman said grimly.
"You're not going to "
"I don't know if I could, with him being a product of
magic, even if I wanted to. Why we Kryptonians are so
vulnerable to magic I've never figured out." Superman went
to the control board for the Futurian's bed and activated a
restraining force field. "Assuming that his mind worlds
like a human being's, the Futurian fits in with my plan for
what I have in store for Colonel Future."
After a quick dash to the other end of the Fortress,
Superman returned with a pair of strange helmets. The
devices had eye coverings and headphones. Superman placed
the helmets on Colonel Future and the Futurian. Then he
attached some cables from the helmets to the control
boards. He pushed a sequence of buttons and stepped back.
"That should do it."
"So what did you do? What are those things?" Superboy
Superman put his arm around Superboy's shoulder and led him
out of the room. "They're based on Cousin Kara's
symbioship. They can generate an entire world inside of
the mind "
A few minutes later, Colonel Future suddenly became aware
of his surroundings. He was in the middle of a public
square of a vast technopolis. Atomic powered cards raced
through transparent tubes connecting various parts of the
miles-high city. He turned to see the Futurian standing
next to him, a similar look of confusion upon his face.
"Sir, where are we?" the Futurian could only guess at the
technology employed here.
"Don't you remember?" a third voice called out. The duo
turned to see the figure of Futuro standing behind them.
"Superman had impersonated me and had nearly defeated you.
However, I escaped the prison in which the Nemesis had
trapped me. I came to your rescue and brought you here."
He made a wide sweeping arc with his arm. "Welcome to the
world of the 30th century!"
On their beds inside of Superman's Fortress, Colonel Future
and the Futurian smiled as they continued to experience the
generated world of the future.