Jor-El surveyed the semi-circle of the leading minds of Krypton. "I know that you think this to be nothing but rumors. What can I do to convince you of their truth?"
"Jor-El," began the head. "You are an honored member of our council, but if you continue in this mad repetition of personal beliefs, then you are on an excellent path to be –"
"Personal beliefs have nothing to do with it," Jor-El interrupting, rising. "Hear me when I say that if this were a matter of belief, then the council would have heard much more from me upon this subject."
"Then thank Rao that it is not," Lor-Van put in.
"Did it ever occur to the council that my husband's passion stems from great knowledge, rather than great self-importance?" Lara put in.
"Jor-El would have us believe that Krypton's future is nothing more than fragments of ash suspended in space and time, and that we will be forgotten by the peoples of the universes. Is this true?" The head inclined his gaze toward the scientist.
Jor-El took a deep breath. "When I look toward the future, I see these things. It is true that they cannot be averted. I want to believe in a bright future for Krypton, but I –"
"Perhaps if the councilmember were to look about him instead of at data screens, he would be confronted with the obvious facts that such a civilization could not possibly be destroyed in such short order." Jir-An sneered.
Jor-El raised his voice. "The core is collapsing."
"Order, order..." insisted the head's assistant.
"The lives of Krypton are safe, and so are the lives that are yet to come," Lor-Van said with finality.
"The only life that has a future here is the one growing within my wife!" Jor-El shouted. Silence reigned following his words.
"What did you say?" The head narrowed his eyes, and leaned forward, looking as if his ears might be decieving him. Lara held her head high, meeting Lor-Van's eyes.
"Jor-El speaks the truth. I carry life within me."
"A child within a woman..." Jir-An breathed. "Such a thing has not been done since –"
"Cycle 12,187," Jor-El said dryly. "But it is happening now."
Lara rose, as if to prove her words, and parted her cape, revealing the El glyph on the breast of her dress, and the fruitful bulge beneath it that contained their child. The council gasped and murmured to one another, while Lor-Van's eyes filled with rage.
"This is unnatural," he finally burst out, "And a violation of Krypton's ways! The traitors should be punished."
"Peace, Lor-Van, they are not to be harmed," the head spoke firmly. "Although Lara and Jor-El have proved to us once again that they do not desire unity or conformity with our planet's systems."
"We desire what is right," Lara said boldly.
"Right is a matter of opinion," began Lor-Van, but the councilman beside him looked at the timepiece and announced,
"It is time for us to adjourn, is it not?"
The head agreed, and all were charged to forget the matter until the following day. The moment the council was dismissed, Lor-Van approached his daughter and arrested her retreat.
Lara turned and beheld him with the glory only a woman who knows she is in the right can muster. Jor-El appeared by her side.
"Why did you not tell me of your disorder?" he demanded. "I did not know that you suffered from this dangerous and ancient condition! It has been all but eradicated."
"This is not a suitable conversation to be having," Lara said quietly. "My husband and I disagree with the ways of the genesis chamber and chose to do things another way."
"But this is preposterous. The child will not appear on records nor will it have an assured future here."
"If we are to believe my husband, then none of us do," Lara answered dryly.
Jor-El wisely said not a word, but gently took his wife's arm and ushered her away down the corridor.
"Are you alright?" he murmured in her ear, once they were a sufficient distance away.
"Could not be better," she replied through her teeth. "Though it is hard to be constantly surrounded by fools."
Jor-El laughed at this. Lara glared at him.
"I mean it. I am tired of people not listening to you when you obviously know what must be done."
"What must be done..." her husband echoed. "Have you been thinking?"
"About what must be done," came the cryptic response.
Lara suddenly understood. "About the child..." Jor-El nodded.
There was a long silence as they were both lost in thought. Once again, he could see the inner battle raging on her face.
"I decided," she said, her voice thin. "You are right."
"This is something we decided before," he began gently, but she cut him off.
"Every day I must decide anew. This is no easy thing, Jor."
"I know. Believe me, I know." His voice grew thick. "Come, let us away from prying eyes. I have something to show you."
Jor-El turned and strode out onto the nearby platform and raised his voice. "H'raka!"
Lara watched as slowly the tiny shadow on horizon became a four-winged creature which drew nigh to the tower and then hovered, before landing gracefully. "Lara, meet my new friend. She is a warkite."
Lara appoached the creature which swung its head from side to side, getting a good view of her.
"Where did you –"
"The Scarlet Forest. On my return from the Phanrom Zone I realized that if we need to evacuate the planet, we will need something untrackable. This is an non-modified warkite."
"Will it try to find the others that belong to the law council?"
"Perhaps. But their genetic codes have been greatly altered, and they may not find each other. Besides, she seems docile enough, and comes at my every call."
Lara raised a hand and laid it upon the leathery head of the beast, and smiled as it's eyes closed and a low sound emitted from deep in its throat. "An untrackable warkite..." she whispered. "Only you would think of such a thing."
Just then, an alarm began to sound, and angry voices were heard approaching. H'raka tossed her head and beat her wings, sending a current of air blasting around the two.
"I knew it," Jor-El muttered. "We are in trouble already."
He clambered aboard the warkite, and offered Lara his hand, pulling her up behind him.
"Hold on," he instructed, as H-raka gave a powerful thrust with her back legs and sent them launching into the air. Lara caught her breath and clung to Jor-El's back as they rose above the city and out reach of the angry councilmembers.
"Is this illegal too?" Lara shouted above the rush of wind about them as H'raka's dizzying flight propelled them toward the house of El.
"Yes," Jor-El admitted. "But reliable, swift, and most importantly, unaltered from its originality. I still have not fully discovered the limits to the intellect and loyalty of this creature. But I can tell you, it is great."
H'raka folded her wings tight to her body and began to dive, slicing down through the planetary levels and plunging toward the red canal far beneath them. Joe-El felt Lara cling tightly to his back, and heard her shout, "I hope you know what you're doing."
"I don't, but I trust H'raka does." This gave Lara very little comfort, and just as they were about to plunge through the waters and likely cut through the very core of the planet, the warkite skimmed the canal with an earsplitting skreech, and they began their ascent again.
Jor-El laughed loudly and freely. "I suppose she has a sense of fun. Are you alright?"
Lara nodded wordlessly as the third planetary level whizzed by her sight, and she turned her head, trying to see behind them as they flew. Her hair blew in front of her face, and briefly she let go one hand to brush it away. Just then, H'raka veered abruptly to the right, and Lara screamed as she felt herself slip.
"Lara!" Jor-El shouted, catching her by the arm just before she fell, dragging her back aboard the dragon's leathery back, and continuing to tighten his grip on her. "Hold on!"
She nodded mutely as the tower loomed before them, and with a final cry, H'raka hovered, and then landed lightly, shaking her head and flaring the ruff on her neck in excitement.
"We need to get a saddle, and a safety strap," were Jor-El's first words as he slid to the ground, lifting Lara down after him. "Are you alright?"
She was windblown and a bit rattled, but she nodded. "Yes, I'm alright." A funny look crossed her face, and she dropped her hands to her stomach. "I think that your child enjoyed the ride."
Curiously, Jor-El put his hand on the side of her stomach to be rewarded by a vigorous kick. The child continued to squirm and stretch within its mother as Jor-El joined their lips in a kiss.
The warkite yipped, drawing his attention to matters at hand. "You may go, and many thanks, H'raka," he said. With a parting screech, the dragon beat her wings in the air, and was gone onto the hot night air.
"Will she come back?" Lara asked, watching the warkite's departure.
Jor-El nodded. "Yes. She will do whatever I say, but often I have left her to her own devices and found them to be better." He chuckled. "Another precaution."
But they knew it was no laughing matter, as judged by the sad look on Jor-El's face as he gave his wife's promising swell a final caress, and they descended the steps indoors.
"Our hope," she said quietly, and he smiled.