Lara rose early the following morning, and made her way to the landing pad to watch the goings-ons of the busy capitol. Jor-El had left hours before that, proclaiming his mission of fitting a proper saddle to H'raka with a dock on the back for Kelex, the 'bot that had proved to be the most useful to him of late for communication with Lara whenever they were apart. It made Jor-El unhappy to be spending increasingly more and more time away from his wife as the time for the child's birth grew nearer, but it could not be helped.
"Kelex," Lara said, and the droid hovered near her. "Tell Jor that I am going to the council today – just to watch." Jor-El's time as a member of the council had expired in Lara's sixth month, and since then, he had been keeping himself quiet, and out of their sights as much as possible. Lara had done the same, but was a little bored, and very curious as to whatever Zod may be plotting. She hurriedly drove thoughts of Jir-An from her mind. He will not be there; he has no need, she told herself.
Kelex's core gradually morphed to form the perfect image of Jor-El's face. "Kelex tells me you are going out," the apparition said.
"Be careful. I'm not sure that you –"
"I didn't have to tell you," Lara said loftily, her eyes twinkling.
His face creased into a brief smile, and then he repeated, "Be careful."
Lara pressed a button on Kelex's control collar and the core erased the image.
"Should I accompany you?" Kelex's synthesized voice asked.
"I think not," Lara replied, fastening her cloak.
The council seemed quiet today, and there were several empty seats, one of which, Lara couldn't help but notice, was her husband's. She was under the impression that his term had not been renewed because there was another waiting, but clearly that was not the case. Silent stares followed her now wherever she went, and she slipped into a seat, pleased that she seemed to be unnoticed. Thankfully, as well, the high back of the chair which sometimes held Jir-An had it's back to her, and so neither could see the other. In fact, after several hours of dull agendas, it would seem from the seat's silence that it was empty of its occupant.
Lara found her attention wandering. She was tired, but would not admit it to Jor. She did not want him to think her weak, or that she regretted having their child this way. But the child was now large, and quite formed, as the nightly scans revealed, and it sapped her strength. It had become a ritual of theirs every night, to watch their baby's image on the scanner's display as he kicked and stretched, even smiled and frowned. Lara lay very still; he seemed comforted by the deep sound of his father's voice.
"He has a combination of data within him that has never existed before and never will be repeated again," Jor-El murmured softly. "It determines everything about him – his hair color, his eye color, all that he will someday do."
"He will be great," Lara whispered, closing her eyes as Jor-El continued to watch their son happily, telling her about his theory that unborn children must dream while they are asleep just like any other child. "I wonder what he is dreaming of..."
Lara jerked back to the present when she heard the zoom of a ship nearby and felt the heavy blast of it's air trail swirl about her. She rose and slipped from the council platform, but not without raising the eyebrows and indignations of all who noticed her – the rebel wife of the mad scientist. She did not care – in fact, she was tempted to be proud. She thought she heard footsteps behind her, and turned, seeing no one, just as she crashed headlong into a figure exiting the chamber to her right.
"Oh!' she exclaimed, stopping short when she saw it was Jir-An. "I'm sorry. I didn't see you there."
"Clearly not." Jir-An's eyes dropped to her altered form. "Is it working?" he said, trying to keep the sneer from his voice.
Lara's eyes got a strange cast to them. "I don't know what you are talking about."
"It seems to be taking an eternally long time, that's what I mean," Jir-An gestured to her belly. "Surely the genesis chamber –"
"This is not something I am willing to discuss with you again, Jir-An," Lara said, fighting the urge to raise her voice. "It is mine and my husband's choice. If it is strange, then so much the better. Perhaps it is good to be strange in this day and age when those regarded as normal are fools like you and my father."
Jir-An took in his breath in pretend shock. "Such words... I don't think the council would be pleased."
"Then it is fortunate I do not live with the goal of pleasing the council," Lara said grandly. "Now, if you'll excuse me –"
"But I will not," Jir-An said, grasping her by the arm, and wrenching so that Lara gritted her teeth in efforts not to cry out. "I will not excuse the remark you made. Unless my ears are deceiving me, you called me a fool."
"I did." She met his eye boldly. "You spare no pains in proving it to me."
He broke into a slow smile. "Very good – now I have a justifiable reason to do this."
Without a second's hesitation, Jir-An shoved Lara into the chamber behind them, and slammed the door. Lara's eyes blazed. "Just what do you think –"
"Too many words," Jir-An snapped, forcing her back against the wall, and grasping both her wrists in one of his hands. Lara twisted away, and drew the hidden blade she always carried. "I do not want to use this," she began, but he let out a bark of laughter, knocking it from her hands. Lara let out a cry as he took her arms, one in each hand, and fastened them above her head in metal cuffs joined to the walls.
"When my husband finds out –" Lara hissed, struggling against the restraints as Jir-An beckoned a scanbot to hover near, "He will likely kill you for this, Jir-An."
"Then lucky for me he won't find out." Jir-An drew his face close to hers, a tiny detonator in his hand. "You suffer an accident – an unexplainable fainting spell. I alone save you from certain death... but the child..." He shrugged. "You will have to begin again, this time, more properly."
Fear flashed through Lara's gaze for the first time. "What do you have against this helpless one?" she demanded. "He will be just the same as any other child."
"That's not what I hear," Jir-An said quietly.
"You would dare –!" Lara exclaimed, and suddenly a purplish haze filled her line of vision, and she gagged as a breather was locked around her neck and its field muzzled her face.
"What is it they would say in the ancient times when a woman would give a child birth?" Jir-An's face flickered in and out of her vision, and his voice echoed with the strangeness of one talking through wavering waters. "Breathe..." he whispered, and everything went black.