It was some time later that Lara received word the Jir-An had returned. There were rumors of him working with General Zod, as Lor-Van was forced to find another assistant now that Lara functioned as Jor-El's (and rightfully so). The council took the news of their marriage quite well, all things considered, but Lara did not know if Jir-An had heard the news, and had yet to see him. The day came when their paths crossed in the passageways of the council tower.
"Lara!" Someone calling her name caused her to stop and turn. When she realized it was Jir-An, she directed her steps toward him.
"Jir-An – good to see that you are in one piece," she said, giving him a smile. He seemed surprised.
"I would not have expected that of you. One would almost think you wished me dead."
Lara crossed her arms. "Who has been spreading such rumors? You are a friend."
His eyebrows lifted. "That's an improvement. I should go away more often if this is how you react."
"Nonsense." Lara looked about to make sure that no one was listening, and then leaned in closer. "Is it true you are working for the General?"
Jir-An narrowed his eyes. "Why do you ask?"
"I heard that you came under his command while inspecting the outposts and continue to do so even now.""What if I told you he has a use for me?"
"I would find no objection in that; my father has another assistant now."
Jir-An looked surprised. "Not you?"
Lara cocked her head. "Have you not been to the council?"
"Not since I have returned. Other things occupy my time."
"No doubt," Lara replied, haughtily, it seemed. "But no, I assist my husband now."
Jir-An looked as if he had been slapped. "Your what?"
"My husband, Jor-El," answered Lara, holding her head high. "You had not heard?""Jor-El –!" Jir-An looked shocked. "You married him?"
Lara nodded, wondering in spite of herself if she should not have brought this up when she was alone with her would-be suitor.
"You little traitor!" he spat, his eyes burning. "You defied the will of Krypton's laws!"
"It is not a law, Jir-An, it is an intention. The two are very different.""But Jor-El is a self-important maniac who thinks he will get esteem and power by predicting the end of our world! He is an idiot! A fool, and I will not –"
"You're making yourself ridiculous," Lara hissed. "Stop it or you'll bring the guardbots on us."
"I really thought you had more sense than that, Lara," Jir-An said, giving her a scathing glance. "A woman as intelligent as you are, to ally yourself with that madman."
"If he is mad, then I am mad with him."
"That is the first sensible thing you've said in a long time," Jir-An muttered, making as if to go, but then turning on his heel and demanding, "How long has it been?"
"The ceremony was the day you were due to arrive at the outpost."
"And if I were here, you would not have engaged in such folly, yes?"
Lara shook her head. "I'm afraid the outcome would have been the same."
"I'm afraid you're right," Jir-An sneered.
"Come, don't be nasty. It could not be helped. Say you won't be our enemy, Jir-An. Jor-El has wisdom that none of the council would believe, and if you were on our side, then –"
"I would not willfully harm you, Lara Lor-Van. Jor-El is a different story."
Lara gritted her teeth – his blatant use of her maiden name came as an insult under these circumstances.
"It is just Lara, and you would do well to remember that, Jir-An," she said grandly. "My husband now has nothing against you, but if you continue in this juvenile behavior, he is likely to become your enemy."
"Then so be it," Jir An snapped, and he strode off down the passage, leaving Lara looking after him. Lara sighed, and went to find Jor-El. She was not surprised to find him in the chamber beneath the council room, engaged in a lively discussion with an expert on the nearby star systems.
"Admit it, it would be difficult, not impossible," Jor-El was saying as the old man floundered, and finally stuttered out his assent.
"Very good, thank you – that's all I needed."
"You ought to be flattered, Dal. My husband only seeks the opinions of experts," Lara said, smiling, and standing next to Jor-El. He took her arm within his, and gave it a squeeze. "Excuse me," he said, bowing, and leaving a confused, albeit elated Dal standing alone in the chamber.
"I was speaking with Jir-An," Lara said in a low voice as they walked side by side. "Watch out for him."
"Did he threaten you?"
"Not exactly. But he certainly wasn't full of goodwill toward any of us."
"Any of us?" Jor-El stopped and met her eyes.
Lara looked away. "Either of us."
Jor-El gave her a long look. "What is it you're not telling me?"
"I'm not secretive, I'm indecisive," Lara said pushing him aside and continuing to walk. "I don't really know yet."
Jor-El's hand on her arm caused her to come to a halt. When she turned to face him her eyes were large.
"Tell me," he whispered. She shook her head. "Not here."
Lara sighed. "I don't want to. I am not sure."
"Is it –" Jor-El's eyes glowed as he drew closer to her. Lara nodded.
Jor-El seized her hand. "Come with me. I have equipment in the workroom."
They returned with all speed and in answer to Lara's questions, Jor-El admitted that he did reinvent some of the old technology used when natural births were possible, in the hopes that one day it would be of use.
Lara lay very still as she was scanned, and the surface of the scanner gradually took the shape of her body. Jor-El's face was hidden behind the droid as he manipulated the impression and then she heard him take in his breath. His face was as picture of awe. "It is," he whispered. He gathered Lara into his arms. "Oh, Lara," he breathed. "It is." She felt the damp of his tears on her neck and held him close, her breath coming in short gasps.
"What is going to happen?" she managed at last. "Can it be hidden?"
Jor-El took a deep breath. "Not forever. And it shouldn't be."
"Shouldn't it? It is defying the order –"
"We have defied the orders of society already, have we not? I say that this be a proud example of the things possible – of Krypton's future hope."
"Others won't see it that way," Lara reminded.
"Others can go to Vohc," he said.