Consequences of Nature

Chapter 13

Battle over Metropolis

Kara, John Stewart, Hal Jordan, and Simon Baz attacked Brainiac's ship, as it hovered above Metropolis. Unfortunately for them, Brainiac had the knowledge of hundreds worlds at his disposal, including Krypton. As they came up against the technology of hundreds worlds, all more advanced than earth, Clark and J'onn battled Zor-El on the ground, while many other members of the Justice League preserved the lives of the innocent citizens of the city.

In the Watchtower's monitoring room, Bruce sat barking orders to league members trying to save innocent lives from the backlash of the fight. Zatanna joined him. On the screen she saw Zor-El hit Clark with a high intensity beam of Kryptonite radiation. Clark crumpled to the ground in obvious pain. J'onn stepped in front of Clark and took the next blast of Kryptonite radiation. It had no effect on him. He then attacked Zor-El.

"Bruce, how can I help him?" Zatanna asked.

"Stay out of trouble and let him deal with this, Zatanna. He doesn't need to worry about you," said Bruce.

"I can do more than that," she growled.

She started to head out of the monitoring room. Bruce stopped her.

"Zee, if you are going to help him then use your magic to protect him from Kryptonite. This cyborg Superman seems to have all his powers without his weakness to Kryptonite," he told her.

"I will," she said.

Kara took a shot from a sonic cannon. The effect was to turn her hearing against her. She was intense pain. Unable to focus she spiraled to the ground landing with enough concussive force to cause the city an earthquake of 6.5. The Green Lanterns doubled their attack on the ship.

Clark slowly stood up. Suddenly, Zatanna appeared just behind him. She leaned close and whispered, "I love you."

He smiled. Most of his life he was an outcast never fitting in with those his age or of any age. He and there he found acceptance, even found illusion of love with Lana and one or two others. But never had he really found this level of intimacy and affection until now. Like the sun it gave him strength.

J'onn was in distress. The arm that had turned into a weapon firing a beam of Kryptonite radiation was now a flame thrower. He spent his time dodging the flames but he forgot about the speed of the faux Superman, who blurred into J'onn sending him cashing through buildings.

Zor-El turned and faced Clark. Clark used his enhanced vision to scan him. He could see that he was part Kryptonian and part machine. On the DNA level it appeared his DNA had markers placing him as a relative.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

Instead of answering he fired another beam of Kryptonite radiation at Clark. Zatanna shouted, "Thgilnus ot nurt etinotpyrK."

Instead of being hit with Kryptonite, Clark was hit with a steady beam of sunlight. His body absorbed. Whatever pain he was feeling was now gone. His body was awash in energy and strength. He flew straight at Zor-El and started to exchange blows. Zor-El unleashed a sonic blast, but it wasn't at Clark, it was at Zatanna. She saw and felt it coming and yelled, "Dleihs!"

Her shield came up just as the sonic blast hit her. Zatanna was able to stop the majority of the blast, but not all of it. He was thrown back into a car and knocked unconscious.

Clark was infuriated. His eyes began to glow red and heat vapors began to waft from them. He grabbed the cybernetic arm of Zor-El and tore it off his body tossed it over his shoulder. Immediately, Zor-El started to repair himself, but Clark was going to allow that. He let loose with his heat vision letting the heat and power of several suns melt and destroy newly growing cybernetic arm. Zor-El cried out in pain.

Kara floated out of the crater she created. Brainiac used a sound wave that she could hear and sent her a message.

"Look closely at my creation, Kara Zor-El. It is half machine and half your father, Zor-El, and your cousin is going to kill him," said Brainiac.

She looked over at the cybernetic Superman. She ignored the machine half and looked closely at the Kryptonian half. He was handsome, not as handsome as his brother Jor-El, who Kal-El took so much after, but close. Of course, Kal-El and Zor-El could pass for relatives that had such similarities, and Kal-El was about to kill her father.

"No!" she screamed and sped off tacking Clark in the midsection and driving him into the ground.

"Kara, damn it, what is wrong with you?" he demanded.

"That is Zor-El, Kal-El. That is my father," she said.

The anger Clark felt softened. It was Kara's father he was fighting, his uncle. What sort of creature would turn a man into a monster and send it off to fight its only surviving relatives.

"Kal, we have to save him," she said.

"I don't think we can, Kara. Use your vision. Scan him. Whoever did this to him they have taken his soul and replaced it with programming. Half his mind is a computer and the other half handles bodily functions," Clark to her.

Zatanna gingerly got up. Luckily, she was more than human; she was homo magi. Her body wasn't invulnerable like Clark's but it was tough. She turned to see Kara arguing with Clark. The cyborg Superman was now armless. Its attention stopped focusing on its arm and turned its attention to her. His mechanical eye was red, but now his regular eye turned red.

"Oh, tihs," she said then called out, "Dleihs!"

Zor-El unleashed a blast of heat vision at Zatanna. Clark saw this over Kara's shoulder and yelled, "No!"

Zatanna was engulfed in the red raw energy and heat of heat vision. Clark couldn't tell if her shield was holding up or not. He tossed Kara aside and sped in front of Zatanna. He took on the heat vision and started to walk towards Zor-El.

Zatanna was no longer under attack. She collapsed to the ground as Clark made his way to Zor-El. With on his strength, he hit Zor-El with a left hook to the mechanical side of his head. The power and force of the blow caused shockwaves that blow out the glass of all windows from two miles and cracked cement and bricks. Bruce from the monitoring began barking evacuation orders to all buildings in a two mile radius. Immediately, all league members not involved in the fight responded to their duty.

Kara rushed to the side of her fallen father, as Clark rushed to the side of Zatanna. He had dug up a long canal of dirt and concrete for a mile and came to rest in the middle of an intersection. When she got to him, the mechanical side of his head was flattened and destroyed. A quick check told her that he was dying.

"Kara," he said in a weak voice.

"Father," she said with tears in her eyes.

"Thank Kal-El for releasing me. I was a prison of my own body," he said.

"Who did this?" he asked.

"Brainiac, my dear. Stop him," he said then he smiled. "I love you, daughter. You make the House of El proud."

With those words he died. Kara took her dead father in her arms and started to cry. As she mourned, Clark held the unconscious body of Zatanna. He scanned her to see she had broken ribs and some internal injuries. She needed a doctor.

A boom tube opened and Batman walked out. He walked over to Clark.

"I'll take her to the Watchtower," he growled.

Clark looked up at his friend. Bruce took see the fury in his eyes.

"I have Dr. Mid-nite and Mister Terrific waiting for her. They are our best doctors," he said. "This battle isn't done, Superman. You are needed her."

Clark stood up with Zatanna in his arms. He handed her to Batman.

"Take care of her," he ordered.

"I will," rasped Batman.

Clark then looked up at the battle with the Green Lanterns and Brainiac's ship. Next, he looked over at Kara and sped over to her side.

"I'm sorry, Kara," he said.

"Before he died, he was himself again, Kal-El. He thanked you for releasing him," she said then she looked up at her cousin with teary eyes. "Brainiac is behind this."

"The Collector of Worlds," he growled.

"Destroy him," she said.

"Take Zor-El to the Fortress of Solitude. He deserves the burial and honors of a honored member of the House of El," said Clark, the head of the House of El.

She stood up with her father in her arms and said, "Destroy Brainiac."

She took off like a rocket. Clark stood there for a moment then he headed up into the troposphere. It was time to absorb as much radiation as he could because Brainiac was being stopped here and now.

The Lanterns made little impact against the shields of Brainiac's ships. Inside Brainiac computer mind calculated how his creation lost to the son of Jor-El. It should not have happened. He was underestimating these earthlings and Kal-El. He needed to recalculate.

Before Brainiac could turn his ship around and head into space, a fireball sped down on it and crashed through its shields then its hull. The Green Lanterns stopped their attack and floated back to watch. Superman made another and another pass through the ship. In their ears, Batman told them to not let any pieces of the ship fall to the ground. If any part of the ship or Brainiac survives then Brainiac survives. The Green Lanterns began to collect pieces of the ship.

Clark stopped destroying the ship and instead flung it into orbit then followed it. The ship was damaged beyond flight. He entered it to find Brainiac waiting for him. Brainiac was waiting to attack him, but Clark knew this. And he knew what his weakness was, which was why he loaded up on solar radiation.

"Kal-El, at least, I can kill you before leaving this planet to repair myself," said Brainiac.

"Sorry, Brainiac, this is your last stop," said Clark.

"You know me," Brainiac said.

"I have Krypton's codex," he said.

"That is where it went," said Brainiac. "I need to collect it."

"You need to cease to exist," said Clark then he let loose with his heat vision cutting into Brainiac.

He sliced off piece after piece. Brainiac countered with Kryptonite radiation, but Clark ignored the pain. He continued his onslaught on Brainiac until the construct couldn't even emit a sound wave let alone Kryptonite radiation. Next, Clark collected the pieces of Brainiac's ship and Brainiac and delivered them in the corona of the sun.

Instead of returning to earth and Metropolis, Clark head of the Watchtower and Zatanna.

Watchtower

Members shifted through the Watchtower, some for rest and some for food. Clark could be found in the waiting area of the infirmary along with Bruce. They waited on news about Zatanna. A tired looking Dinah entered the waiting room along with the Flash.

"How is she?" asked Dinah.

"They are still operating on her," said Bruce.

"I should have taken her to my Fortress," stated Clark.

"She's in good hands," said Dinah.

Clark stood up. He looked down at Bruce.

"I need to go to my Fortress. Kara is waiting for me to hold her father's funeral. I won't be long," he said.

"Do you want me to come, Clark?" asked Bruce.

"No, Bruce, this is for Kryptonians," he said then he voice softened. "Be here for her."

"I will, Clark. You hurry up back," said Bruce.

Fortress of Solitude

Dressed in black Kryptonian armor, Kara had set up a crystal coffin with her father in it and put it in Clark's memorial room to all things Kryptonian. Besides a globe of Krypton, there was a statues of Jor-El and Lara Jor-El, as well as the ship he arrived on earth in and several other Kryptonian artifacts. Clark arrived, changed his armor to the cape less black armor and joined Kara.

"How is Zatanna?" Kara asked.

"In surgery. Bruce is there for her. He'll let me know when I'm needed," said Clark.

"I'm sorry about her getting hurt, Kal-El. She's good for you," said Kara.

"Shall we begin the ceremony, Kara?" he asked.

Kara turned and raised her hands and started to prayer to Rao in Kryptonian. Clark stood beside his cousin. He had promised to be here for her, but his heart and mind were somewhere else.

Watchtower

Bruce had long pulled his cowl down exposing his face to his fellow members. He sat beside the sleeping Zatanna. Dr. Mid-nite and Mister Terrific had set her bones and performed surgery on her. With her homo magi physiology and their care she was going to make a full recovery.

Bruce closed his eyes in order to rest them. They were burning from having been up thirty-three straight hours. He just needed a few minutes to rest his eyes and he'd be ready for another fifteen hours.

"Clark," he heard the weak voice of Zatanna.

Bruce opened his eyes and leaned forward in his chair.

"Zee, Clark isn't here now, but he'll be here soon," said Bruce.

She looked had him. Her face was paler than normal making her violet eyes stand out.

"Is he alright?" she asked.

"He's fine. The Cyborg Superman was half machine and half his uncle. Clark destroyed him and then he destroyed Brainiac," said Bruce. "He's have a Kryptonian funeral with Kara for his uncle."

She nodded her head and closed her eyes going back to sleep.

"Thank you, Bruce," said Clark, who walked into the room.

"She is important to me, too, Clark," said Bruce.

"I know, Bruce," said Clark.

Bruce got up from the chair and left the infirmary without a further word. Clark sat down in the chair. He reached over with his right hand and enveloped her left hand in his.

"Clark," she whispered.

"How can you tell?" he said.

"No is as warm as you are," she said then opened her eyes.

"You scared me," he said.

She smiled then she said, "I had to protect you."

"You almost got yourself killed," he retorted.

"For you," was her reply.

Clark leaned over and gently kissed her.

"Zee, um, I… I want to ask you something," he said.

Zatanna felt her heart start to beat quicker. He was acting shy and afraid to ask a question. This was Clark Kent speaking to her not Superman.

"Zee, I really don't want to lose you," he said, "or be apart from you. So, what I'm trying to ask… well, what I'm saying is…"

"Clark, I'll marry you," she said.

His face became a mask of shock and surprise.

"How did you know I was going to ask you that?" he asked her.

"I'm magical, Clark," she smiled.

He leaned in again and kissed her.

"Yes, you are magical," he said, "and you're mine."

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