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Mr. Beeto
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Family Reunion - 7/?
Aug 15th, 2008 at 12:57am
 
Title: Family Reunion
Author: Mr. Beeto
Rating: PG-13
Beta: htbthomas and Shado Librarian
Summary: AU Twist on Donner/Singer Movieverse: Tie the three films together into a cohesive whole, and provide a more credible and interesting reason for Superman to have returned to Krypton.

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Author's Notes:

Thanks again to my beta team, htbthomas and Shado Librarian.

Chapter 7 - Intruders

Thursday, September 14, 2006 3:05PM

The sole occupant of the ship's magnificent glass-bottomed ballroom was unable to relax to the soothing sounds of Léo Delibes' The Flower Duet flowing from the Gertrude's sound system. Though Lex Luthor hardly noticed the irregular motion that the rough arctic seas forced upon the 271-foot yacht, his preoccupation with the delays locating the alien treasure made it impossible to enjoy the music. Not only had he spent months waiting for Gertrude Vanderworth to die, they were also spending an unbearably long time searching for the bounty, despite having prepped the ship while the old crone was on her deathbed and embarking on the journey within moments of her heart's last beat. Their sprint north along the eastern seaboard to the arctic's Queen Elizabeth Islands had taken an excruciating ten days, given the ship's top speed of a mere seventeen knots and the mandatory ports of call for fuel and provisions. The riches Lex sought remained hidden even now, after three days of scanning the damned frozen wasteland with the best precision sensory equipment that the Vanderworth fortune could buy. If those buffoons would just pay a little closer attention to what they're doing and less time complaining about the cold, maybe we'd have found the damn place by now, Lex fumed.

Lex turned his attention to the numerous scientific texts and journals that he'd brought with him on the journey, each offering a hint of a lucrative opportunity, if only the technology for realizing that vision was available. He was just the visionary genius to deliver it, if only the imbeciles up top could find Superman's secret base. If the Kryptonians had safely delivered a man to a world galaxies away, as the alien had boasted in that debut interview, then surely they had the means of bringing such dreams to fruition. Superman certainly would not have allowed that wondrous knowledge to die with his doomed world. Yes, the Rosetta Stone to that advanced alien technology was somewhere nearby and his for the taking, opening up countless opportunities for wealth and power. Of course, he'd gladly deliver those dreams to his eager customers, for the right price, and he'd be sure to include back doors in the products to protect and extend his interests.

Lex looked over the books and magazines opened up on the desk in front of him, and recalled the potential revealed in these scientists' infantile efforts to unlock the secrets in their various disciplines. The life-like Japanese robot described in the issue of Live Science was little better that Disney's animatronics, yet the writers were giddy over the allegedly advanced technologies behind its primitive features. Simple-minded amateurs! Lex scoffed. Once I find the Boy Scout's base, I'll give them something to write about. He'd produce domestic robotic servants that would become an essential status symbol in every mansion and boardroom. Of course, they'd surreptitiously record everything and transmit it back to LuthorCorp, allowing him to ensure his customers' continued support. True robotics had so much more potential than the amusement park gimmick the Japanese had boasted of.

Another intriguing area with great promise was nanotechnology - machines only several dozen nanometers in size. The results so far had achieved little more than a few motors or switches that lecture audiences swooned over, but had little practical application. With the alien's database, Lex would show them what a true visionary creates. For the right price, his nanites would be injected into the body to clear clogged arteries, destroy cancerous tumors and repair spinal cord injuries. They would also expertly perform cosmetic procedures, dissolving fat cells, tightening wrinkled skin, and restoring one's youthful appearance. Of course, they'd also be able to take over the patient's nervous system, allowing Lex to press them into service without it ever being traced back to him. That probably never occurred to those simple-minded fools, Lex sneered.

Stable fusion power was another puzzle that Krypton must have deciphered, and which Lex looked eagerly to exploiting in this energy-hungry world. That fool alien never realized what he had, Lex concluded. The world will be much better served with me as the guardian of that knowledge. Once he delivered the new clean power plants, and shut down the old fossil fuel ones, he'd set the prices for the energy monopoly at his whim. Of course, his ventures in domestic robotics and nanotechnology would keep the public utility commissions in line.

Among all of the possibilities, Lex was most enamored with all the new land just waiting to be claimed elsewhere in the solar system. Lesser minds ignored that possibility, given that the current state of space technology that was still so young that humans could barely reach out to the moon. However, if Krypton could send a man across several galaxies, they certainly had vehicle designs that could bring the planets within easy reach. Lex glanced over the National Geographic issue in front of him, opened to the article titled, "Mars Once Had Oceans, Evidence Suggests(1)." He nearly drooled over the artist's conception of a Mars with an atmosphere and oceans similar to what the Earth now had. So much beach-front property, Lex thought dreamily. If it was like that once, it could be again. Certainly, the freak's ancestors knew how to terraform a planet. Lex dreamed of a Mars transformed by Kryptonian technology into LuthorWorld, and opened to tourism and immigration, if you were wealthy enough. Of course, there would be no tired, poor or huddled masses crowding his world. And with a monopoly on the transportation and all public services, he would certainly get his cut.

These were but a few examples of the seemingly infinite opportunities waiting for him when he assimilated the alien's technology. However, his hired help first needed to find the damned alien base. He knew it was there, abandoned when the flying freak had died, and Lex had no doubt that he was dead. If he had simply left the planet as suggested, he'd have released a statement through his favorite member of the press. Whoever killed him was a fool not to have recorded his death or paraded the corpse through the streets, Lex thought casually. They could have gotten so much mileage out of that... Finally noticing the time, he pulled himself from his ruminations and irritably pushed himself away from the desk. This is the treatment I get, he complained to himself. The boldest criminal genius of our time, and I'm surrounded by fools and slackers. "Kitty!" he bellowed, "Where's my martini?"

-o-o-o-


The three men in the wheelhouse were all leaning forward in their seats, hovering over their coffee as they silently scrutinized the equipment that had been installed in the countertops. That quiet was abruptly ended when Grant stalked menacingly into the room; almost unrecognizable bundled under his parka's heavy protection against the cold. "What the hell are we doing up here freezing our asses off?" he asked irritably. "All that's out there is ice and snow!"

"And icebergs," Brutus added helpfully.

"Why did you rob banks?" Reilly countered. "Because that's where the money was."

"There's no money up here," Grant hissed.

"But whatever Mr. Luthor is looking for is up here," Reilly clarified. "He hasn't led us wrong yet."

"Yet," Grant emphasized.

Reilly resisted the impulse to roll his eyes, sighing deeply instead. "His lawyers got us all out of prison, just like he promised, and it's been easy money ever since."

"I'm still freezing my ass off," Grant grumbled.

"We all are," Brutus pointed out unsympathetically.

Blip! Any response was prevented by the warning tone from one of the monitors. Stanford adjusted the controls to zoom in on the targeted area and attempted to decipher what the sensor had briefly detected.

"Got anything?" Reilly asked, focusing his ever-present video camera on the equipment.

"I'm not sure," Stanford muttered. "Whatever was there is gone now."

"It's probably interference from the storm," Brutus suggested. "Make sure you steer around that. I definitely do not want to ride out another storm in this tub."

"Next time, take the Dramamine like the rest of us," Stanford suggested as he maneuvered the ship closer to the menacing storm hovering over the island.

Blip! Stanford looked again, and then spoke into the intercom. "Boss, I think we might have something."

-o-o-o-


"This is what you interrupted my afternoon martini for?" Lex inquired irritably, staring at the indicated screen. "A phantom blip?"

"Boss, it's not like the other false positives we've seen," Stanford answered defensively. "The density's all wrong. It's too heavy to be snow and ice from the storm, but too light to be the rock or glaciers of the island. It only lasts a second, and it's gone again."

"How long before the storm moves off?" Lex asked sternly.

"It's kind of stalled over the island right now," Stanford informed him nervously. "I looked at all the weather satellite, and it hasn't budged in the last couple days."

"Show me," Lex demanded, his curiosity piqued. Stanford quickly brought up the images on the screen, showing the weather pattern loop over the past forty-eight hours. The storm clouds swirled from Northwest to Southeast, except for the storm over the island they were now circling, which remained mysteriously anchored to the spot. Clever, Lex thought. Not clever enough, though. Aloud, he informed his mean, "That's it. Download the GPS coordinates for the center of that storm into the handhelds, and get geared up. The helicopter leaves in ten minutes."

"We can't fly into that," Stanford protested.

"We'll land on shore, and hike the rest of the way," Lex explained irritably. "Now, get moving!"

-o-o-o-


The group trudged slowly through the shrieking wind and endless snow, protected against the storm by their heavy parkas, snow pants, skier's goggles and face masks. Stanford led the way, constantly checking the GPS, with Lex and Kitty right behind him. Brutus, Reilly and Grant brought up the rear, laden down by their heavy packs. The snow swirled fiercely against them, and Lex had to continue urging them on. "Keep moving!" he commanded harshly.

"There's nothing here!" Kitty complained. "We're going to freeze to death in this!"

"The storm is merely the stupid blue Boy Scout's 'No Trespassing' sign," Lex assured her, impatiently. "We'll be fine once we get there."

"Yeah, right," Kitty muttered disbelievingly.

"It's his security and early warning system rolled into one," Lex explained harshly. "He naively assumed that no one in their right mind would press forward through this storm."

"And he was right about that," Kitty deadpanned. Lex glared at her, and unkindly pulled her along the path, and the group plodded forward in defiance of the unrelenting storm.

An hour later, the storm suddenly dissipated into light snow, though visibility was still low through the thick white fog that surrounded them and they could barely see Stanford twenty feet in front of them. Lex verified their position on his GPS handheld, and they continued their slog forward into the fog. When it finally cleared to reveal the alien structure, Stanford came to a sudden stop. "My, god," he muttered. "It's bigger than the Meteor-Dome back home."

"The scale can be deceiving at this distance, though it is big," Lex concurred, stopping alongside Stanford with the others. He only allowed himself a moment before marching forward. "Now, let's get on with it," he commanded. Twenty minutes later, they finally crossed the threshold of the secret base.

Once inside the Fortress, the group pulled off their ski goggles and face masks, and gazed around the cavernous main room. Though not quite as large as Stanford has first speculated, the place was immense. Kitty pulled off a glove and put her hand on one of the columns. "This ice is warm," she declared in astonishment.

"That's not ice. It's crystal," Lex informed her. He frowned when realized that there was nothing remotely resembling technology around them. The place was huge and majestic, but the alien technology still remained hidden. "We need to search this place, top to bottom," he declared. "Everybody spread out. If you find something important, don't touch it. Just call it in."

"I guess he forgot to get the roof fixed before he left," Kitty muttered, her gaze fixed on the gaping eighty-foot wide hole in the ceiling, and the huge crystals shards littering the floor beneath.

Lex glared at her. "Don't just stand there!" he chastised her. "Get out there and search with the others." After Kitty left in a huff, Lex made his way down to the crystal debris beneath the breached roof. Well, it's the right size for a hanger, but where is the ship, and why the hell didn't he think to put in a retractable roof? Lex pondered. There still was no video screen, no control panel, nothing to indicate that this was anything more than a random oddity of crystal growth.

"Found it!" Kitty's voice echoed throughout the Fortress. When the others finally joined her, she was in the upper level, leaning against one of the walls with a smug look on her face.

"Well?" Lex demanded. "Where is it?"

Kitty brushed her hand against the wall behind her, and a three by seven foot section of the wall slid to the side. Lex eagerly followed Kitty through the door, only to be disappointed by the contents of the room. Though its construction was alien and crystalline, the features inside included a clearly recognizable shower, sink and commode. "You called us up here to show us the bathroom?" Lex asked incredulously. "I said to call it in if it was something important!"

"It's important to me," Kitty insisted, pushing Lex out of the room, and brushing the panel on the inside wall to shut the door.

Then men silently stared at the closed door for a moment, before Grant declared, "I'm next."

"Just how much coffee did you have before we left?" Reilly muttered mirthfully.

"Quiet!" Lex commanded, and he bent over to take a closer look at the spot Kitty had touched to operate the door. There was nothing more than a razor-thin line around the area to reveal it as anything other than part of the wall. "Well, there's obviously a power source for the door," he concluded. "Keep looking, and keep your eyes open for these geometric patterns in the walls."

An hour of searching had revealed a bedroom and a sitting room of sorts, but no control panels, no computers, no books, no Rosetta Stone to decipher the still elusive alien technology. At one point, Stanford was inspired to shout the command, "Computer, acknowledge." But that was also only answered with silence.

The group now gathered with Lex Luthor near the roof debris in the center of the Fortress, waiting for further directions from their leader. "Is this my reward?" Lex groused quietly. "The boldest criminal mind of our time, wasting two weeks in this frozen wasteland on a wild goose chase?"

"Well, this was stupid—" Kitty began.

"You weren't supposed to answer the question!" Lex screamed.

"I meant the floor tile," Kitty clarified, pointing to a roughly two by four foot oblong pattern of faint contiguous hexagons. "Why'd he just tile this one spot? Why not the entire floor?"

Luthor moved closer, squatting down to inspect the area. "This isn't floor tile," he explained. "There was something here - something important." He stood, and reaching his hand out towards the pattern, he added, "Maybe some kind of control panel." His supposition was supported by a screeching sound as the Fortress crystal console grew from the hexagon pattern towards his outstretched hands. Lex stretched his hands out even further, his spirits lifted in anticipation of finally unlocking the alien treasure. He smiled at Kitty, telling her kindly, "Well, I guess you're good for something after all."

"It's the least I could do for the oldest criminal mind of our time," Kitty muttered sarcastically.

Lex walked up to the console, brushing his hands against it, as Kitty had done at the bathroom door. His smile faded when he realized that his actions had no effect. He rubbed his hands over another spot, then another. Still, nothing. "Oh, come on!" Lex complained. "Do something!"

Unbeknownst to Lex, when his outstretched hands had activated the console, the missing father crystal caused the console's logic circuits to initiate a countdown while it waited for the crystal's reinsertion. The countdown continued during Luthor's tirade, and was unmoved by his kicks to the console's base. When the timeout period finally expired, the logic circuits followed the decision tree, concluding that the father crystal had been lost. That invoked its disaster recovery procedure, growing a new father crystal and populating it with the data distributed among the remaining crystals. However, the years of recorded conversations between Kal-El and Jor-El were lost with the original crystal, and thus the procedure had the effect of resetting the system's state as it was immediately after the Fortress' creation, when the then teenage Kal-El first approached the console.

"It's not fair!" Luthor ranted. "This was supposed to be my destiny! I'm the—"

"My son," Jor-El's voice reverberated through the Fortress. Luthor and his companions looked in the direction of the voice and witnessed the dancing blue light coalesce into an unfamiliar face. "You do not remember me. I am Jor-El... I am your father..."

He thinks I'm his son...

"By now you will have reached your eighteenth year, as it is measured on Earth. By that same reckoning I will have been dead for many thousands of your years..."

I'll be damned. The freak grew up here. He's been masquerading as one of us.

"Embedded in the crystals before you is the total accumulation of literature and scientific facts of other worlds spanning the twenty-eight known galaxies..."

At last! The Kryptonian Database! And it's mine now...

"These are important matters to be sure, but still matters of mere fact. There are questions to be asked and now is time for you to do so. Speak."

"Tell me everything, starting with these crystals," Lex commanded.

-o-o-o-


The alien database had exceeded Lex's wildest dreams. After Jor-El had explained the basis of the crystal technology to Lex, the criminal had systematically queried the Kryptonian elder on each of the technologies he had researched on his journey north. Finally, they reached the subject of terraforming, and Lex was surprised to learn that Krypton had itself been terraformed, after the world of their origin was destroyed in a nuclear holocaust eons ago during Krypton's last war.

The Kryptonian survivors of that war had transformed an airless, desert planet into a life-giving world of air and water in just a few months, using their crystal technology. They'd grown new continents to cover the oceans, and even grew new cities from the crystals. Jor-El's detailed descriptions of those growing continents provided Lex with his epiphany. I don't need to go to Mars to claim my land, he realized. I'll grow a new continent here, on Earth... and I can punish all those who stood in my way while I'm at it.

Lex spent the entire night with the Ghost of Krypton Past, designing his new continent. When the first rays of the morning sun finally broke through the open roof, all of the details had been set, all conflicts ironed out, and a special crystal grown with the design uploaded into it. All Lex had to do was drop it in the ocean at the predetermined location to begin the continental growth process. Lex greedily stuffed the new crystal into the inside pocket of his parka and then stowed the rest of the crystals into a separate bag. We certainly wouldn't want these falling into the wrong hands, now would we?

-o-o-o-


(1) "Mars Once Had Oceans, New Evidence Suggests", National Geographic News, June 13, 2007. For a rendering of Mars with oceans and a Earth-like atmosphere, refer the Lunar and Planetary Institute: (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links).

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« Last Edit: May 20th, 2009 at 11:32pm by Mr. Beeto »  
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