March 27, 2018:

Superman meets Faora-Ul

New York City rooftop and sky


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\#https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPhTGkW2iTM Welcome to my World]

Fade In…



It hs been a sirens call, at first a dull ache on the senses, but then a clarity that few on this world could know would cut through the static of the low frequency transmission. The message is simple, words curled in a dead language, one that Kal-El was not raised on, but that it's sender hopes he knows well.

'To the last Scion of El, I invite you to meet me atop the building bathed in red, in the city known as New York. We have much to discuss.'

It is a voice masked in distortion, as if written by an artificial being. But the being atop the Epson Tower does not seem artifical at all, if dressed in a slightly dour fashion. Brimming in black, she waits, her cape flowing int he wind, and her gaze cast along the building she stands atop, staring at the red-glowing projectors that are already running the holographic lightshow that will procede into the night.

A half turn, and it is clear that she bears the mark of another great house of Krypton, the House of Ul. Known among the military caste as Those Who Follow, they have supported the caste at large for generations. Or did, until their world fell to the ashes of time. And yet, this one seems to have survived.

She looks to the sky now, as if expectant, blue eyes reflecting the light of the sun.

Interior - City Cafe - Metropolis

A little contemplated benefit to being both Kryptonian and beneath the influence of a yellow star is a near-perfect control of one's physiology. With a body that functions almost independently of caloric intake and a gastrointestinal system whose ruthless cellular efficiency atomizes anything almost anything he ingests prior to absorption the Man of Steel has little concern that his waist might someday paunch over the yellow-belt he once wore.

The need for Clark Kent to appear somewhat overweight through the strict control of his abdominal muscles has meant that he can casually consume whatever he wants both benefitting his secret identity and allowing him to always eat the high-calorie foods that both men and Kryptonians enjoy.

Layering mayonnaise atop a toasted bun he squishes it down atop a medium-rare hamburger in a squeeze of clear fluid from the meat. Hefting the monstrous he prepares to take his first bite?

..suddenly he winces, dropping the burger to his plate and splattering ketchup upon his shirt as he presses his hands over his ears in surprise. This gets him several odd looks and so Clark takes his hands from his ears and makes a brief show of wiping ketchup from his lap. All the while listening to the distant transmission the language of Krypton all too familiar to its last son.

Having only successfully smeared the ketchup he stands and with masterful sleight of hand deposits Kent's wallet upon the table before walking to the rear of the building towards the rest room and then out the back door.

Exterior - New York City

A figure approaches Superman's horizontal flight correcting itself so that he seems to stand as he wills himself to close the last two hundred yards to the lip of the observation deck - where he lands. Red boots alight upon the edge and then, allowing gravity to act upon him, he steps off and hops down onto the rooftop.

The intrigue upon his face is obvious and as she turns revealing the seal of House Ul his dark brow furrows and his features betray his surprise. He knows this and so he nods, as if accepting her and his reaction, "What's on your mind?" He answers in kryptonian since that's the only language he's certain she knows, his tone remaining guarded.

"A great many things."

Her accent is not natural to all Kryptonians, but from a province south of Kalise, a city known for it's hard ways, and architecture that would reflect in hard, gothic lines and industrial efficiency. It is also reflected in the armor she wears, something ceremonial for many, for war was not a thing the Kryptonians had known for a long time. But not for them, not for those who had through the years so strictly guarded Krypton, if not in practice than in duty. It is a duty that reflects in her gaze, an unending resolve that seeps into every step she takes towards this, the Man of Steel.

"I am Faora-Ul, Sub-Commander of a once mighty force that would defend our world. A world that is now gone, thanks to the inaction of the foolish and the prideful. And so I ask you, bearer of the symbol of House El. How do you fit into this fading puzzle, so far from what is left from our home? Who are you to stand upon this rock and represent our people? I would know you."

Her English, despite the accent, is perfect. Her fingers curl and the metal of her armor grinds, and with a slight tilt of her head the flat tone she has used so far, perhaps laced with some curiosity, turns die. "Then, I would judge you."

Perhaps the implication that he survived at all is some how part of accountability, or maybe she believes some remnant of Krypton, any remnant, is her's to pass a guardian's judgement on. Yet, she does not attack him. This is the courtesy in her eyes, drinking him in as if he were just another ray of the sun. This is the courtesy of her heart, known to feel something now and again - but only for those she has deemed 'superior'.

Kal-El listens to her words. His eyes subtly flicker to the left when she says '-Ul' as he attempts to recall what information exists within the Kryptonian archive about her lineage.

"I am Kal-El," the Man of Steel responds to her question his tone protective for her declarations of judgement and yet also very clearly intrigued by what is occurring, "Son of Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van. They sent me here as Krypton was near it's end — I was a child."

His forehead flattens a bit as his brow narrows in thought, "I've never intended to speak for Krypton," Kal-El responds to her question, "this planet has limited contact with extraterrestrial life and so because their interaction with Kryptonians is based primarily upon me they have ascribed the sum of our culture to my beliefs and ideologies." He shrugs at that with broad shoulders that roll and stir the crimson cape at his back.

Then he looks at her knotted fists, a clear dip of his head, before walking his gaze up her body so that he addresses her face-to-face again, "Okay," he says to her need for judgement, "It's important that you feel I'm not disgracing the billions who did not survive." There's a pregnant pause and he gives a thoughtful expression as if to say 'what now?'

There can be no doubt as recognition flashes in her eyes, a slight backward tilt of her head, perhaps to account in some form for the difference in height between them. It comes when he speaks the name of his mother and most especially his father. Her mind churns, and she slows her advance when he speaks of her judgement, fingers uncurling as if to release the tension from her smaller frame.

"They are known to me. Your father was not a man I understood well. His friendships outside his caste were even more perplexing. Still, he did as he could to warn those who lead Krypton to ashes." Close enough now to touch him, she reaches up, but it is not the caring hand of a friend that extends, only the cold metal grasp of a warrior who stops short of contact, outlining his jaw in some phantom of proximity. Then comes her smile. To say it is saccharine is an over-exaggeration, but it is still almost sickly in how unnatural it looks on her face.

"I see it now, your mother, in your eyes. Your father, in your jaw. They have a beautiful son."

As her hands drop the smile fades and her gaze runs to the cold default she so often holds. "I wonder if you could imagine how disappointed they would be to see you fail in your mission to save this world.. It needed a hero, Son of El. A savior. Yet they war. Yet the weak lead, as they did on Krypton, churning this world towards the very same doom.. Explain it to me. Why do you let them call you The Superman, when the world rots beneath your feet?!"

It opens with a cross towards his stomach, right about where that ketchup had landed on him back in that diner so many miles away, motion moving in fluid form as the Horo-Kanu takes form. It exists as another remnant of their world, dead and gone, and here she faces one of the few where it may be at it's most effective, a martial art meant to disable, to unwind, to dismantle, chipping at defenses until pressure points were on fire. Faora will show him her culture, in the motions of one of the form's true masters.

His microscopic vision has already confirmed her cellular biology. More than perhaps anyone else in the entire universe he understands the scope of her power and that she ranks as one of a handful of creatures upon this world which might do him permanent harm.

So is it foolishness that he holds his ground? A combination of his unending optimism mixed with a lack of experience both in dealing with an equal and the simple discomfort of pain? Perhaps, it is bravery.

Whatever trepidation existed in his features amidst the curiosity seems to soften when she speaks of knowing his parents. For a moment his mind spins - running wild, hyper-cognition unconsciously picking through a decision tree of tens of thousands of questions without him even realizing. Here stands a key not to knowing his people; his archives have already given him more information than any single person who lived upon the world ever possessed.

No, here stands a key to knowing who his parents really were and so he stands there for a moment as a metallic hand moves across the outline of his jaw - completely disarmed.

Then she goes for the kill. A blade of Kryptonite plunged into his back would have wounded him less than the idea that he failed his parents. A beat of his heart carries a shock of numbing cold through his body. Disarmed. Broken. He never even thought to react..

It happens so quickly. The blow to his stomach doubles him over and he gives a gagging wheeze as the air escapes his lungs from the spasm of his diaphragm. The power of the blow will send him away but her speed brings the next blows in quicker than the force of the blow can push him away. Impact. Impact. Pain rips through his body shooting fire through him.

..and there he goes. Rocketing backward through the air for hundreds of yards and into penthouse of a nearby apartment by way of its wall.

Vision tracks him in his trajectory, sees through the flimsy material of this world to give her the arc. She does not so much fly here, as leap, but the speed of it is all the same, a black blur that threatens to collapse the entire floor of the building. Threatens to pancake it and bring the while of the complex down. This is her culture, one secured away in a caste system that made sure Krypton's killers were on a certain kind of leash. But here the leash is broken, here her feet will find him, powering him one floor down amidst the screams of the innocent. The miracle of it all, among the power it takes to inflict pain on a Kryptonian, is that no one else has died.

So far.

There she looms, fierce and full of a primal menace, she stands upon him as if he is already dead, a creature built through generations of marriage and genetic manipulation to be ready for war, for death, and even genocide.

"I would know you."

The words repeat, echoing in hyper-senses, drilling into the mind. Perhaps her attack is little more than part of the conversation. To measure him in the only way she knows how. "And what I know does not inspire me, Kal-El. Tell me, why do you fight for them, and yet allow them to destroy one another? Why are you not as Rao was for us, in eons passed? You have so much potential. With our rule, Kal-El…."

Her head tilts down, and to him she relays part of the religion of Krypton, a reverence for Rao, meant to evoke wisdom and the end of a path taken for some higher purpose. A saying he may have heard in a different voice. "…they could join us in the sun."

In her voice, the metaphorical sun does not shine with hope. It grows dark, as if broken by an eclipse that will not end. In her voice, it is the end of hope.

[Interior - Penthouse]

The shooting pain in his arms is overwhelming rendering limbs which can shatter mountains limp and useless. He blinks through the thudding pain in his head seeing her dark form fill the hole in the side of the penthouse through blurry vision. As she stalks forward he tries to get his arms up underneath him the miracles of his abilities and defiance of gravity seemingly lost to him as he tries to move the way humans do.

Kal-El seems about to protest but for his effort he receives only foot to his head. He feels the floor collapse beneath him. The sound of his own heart in his ears mixes with the screams of terrified men, women, and children throughout the building.

"My son..," he wheezes in response to her question, "..forbidden to mettle..," his vision begins to clear, "..in the development of humankind."

He locks eyes with her clear blue eyes boiling with fury, "You know nothing of my father."

Fury manifest. A surgical blast of blistering heat energy into her eyes - a sharp searing pain without enough power to melt her eyes but surely enough to disable her vision if only momentarily. He inhales and then exhales.

[Exterior - New York City]

The wall below the trashed penthouse explodes as hurricane force winds are leveled narrowly at it from within. The explosion of stone and wood sprays outward as does Faora.

Superman is right behind her. He wills himself in masterful defiance to gravity pulling beneath her rotating so that he's upside down and then flying up with bent knees in an upside down mule-kick towards the east where the urban sprawl gives way to deserted ocean.

Where she goes so does he his unnatural physiology rapidly returning the use of his arms.

While Faora speaks of the sun, the son shows her the light. It forces her to blink, but even with her eyes closed it is overpowering, enough to snap her head back, to fill her vision with the fury that seems to surge from the heir to the House of El. What happens next is not known to her by any means of vision, only by sound and the sensation of gaining momentum after a sharp kick to her midsection.

It forces sound from her, true pain unlike any she has known since arriving here. It is a sensation she has missed, given to her by one of her own.

Here out over the ocean, here above the clouds the sun's rays wash over her. Just as function returns to his limbs in little more than moments, her eyes clear and she proves that while she has not the depth of experience he has had growing up on this world, learning power after power and every limit year by year, that she is fast learner.

Gravity and motion both stall on her form, bits of wood and cement floating around her in a momentary reprieve from all force aligned against them, and then she blurs back towards him, back towards the city, aiming high but going low, proving that herding cave cats would be far easier than fully dictating the battleground of this altercation. Yet, he already has in some ways. Even with shockwave generating force, even with blows not aimed for pressure points but instead meant to brutalize and punish, to power fist after fist into his midsection, it benefits her to keep this above the city, with clear line of sight. Where she might attack from any angle.

"I know enough to know that by sending you here, he has already meddled in their development. I know that even if your idealistic fool of a father did not foresee this inevitability, that I am not bound by his covenant. I will bring the Children of the New Dawn to their rightful place, as our people should have done eons ago. Tell me, Son of El."

Her fury ends with an arm looping under one arm, drawing them close.

"Do you know of the Mound of Surah? This, a place of reverence on our world? A mountain constructed by the dust of the fallen, and the Earth of their homelands?"

In ancient times it was a place where whole armies of the fallen were buried. In even older times, it was a place of great shame, where those unworthy were cast out, an entire mountain, made of people who were deemed weak, unworthy. For this, it was forgotten, by all but the military caste, who for reasons unknown traveled to the wastes in which it lay, year upon year. One secret yet left, from a world long dead.

"Do you know why my family would go there?"

The Man of Steel is better prepared for her counter-strike than he was her initial assault. As she comes screaming back towards him he pulls the orientation of his flight backward presenting himself as a fighter with knuckles at his chin and elbows at his midsection - a defensive maneuver suitable for two-dimensional fighting and not well practiced against his equal.

Such his her low that hits his lower-abdomen which spares his diaphragm another jolt. Expectantly, he lowers his guard then and she goes high drilling him in the center of the face. End-over-end he tumbles through the air in a momentary loss of control and then suddenly pulls left and up clear of any follow-ups as he tries to maintain their altitude.

"My father sought only to save his son," Kal-El explains as they circle, "the caste system and the hubris of its council failed our people," he replies raising his guard again, "We are free," he says as if part of some greater revelation, "to determine for ourselves the sort of people we will become."

"Why impose an ancient injustice on these people? Let them choose." Idealistic fool.

As her arms full he stops circling so that they face one another and he drifts higher, slightly further away, placing his back at the sun.

Her question is met with momentary contemplation, "I don't know," his admits, earnestly, Kal-El's earlier curiosity into Faora and matters Kryptonian having evaporated into terse exasperation over her motivation.

The Man of Steel speaks and she knows already why they look to him in this way. It is true, Faora knew his father, but mostly by reputation, by passing introductions, through a man that was Jor-El's best friend. Through a man who held him in utter contempt at the end. But she had begun to understand why they liked each other, after a time. Just as she understands now the legacy before her, crafted by human hands into a person of great principle.

In her eyes, a reflection of respect, even if it is clear his words move her no more than a human might move a mountain.

"They will have a choice. They can choose to allow those they call Mutants to rise to their proper evolutionary place, or they can choose to take the place of those who fail to heed nature's will. Like so many of our ancestors did, heaped on a pile. Like humans, we had those who would be born as champions once. Like humans, we sought to corral, control, and destroy them. Unlike humans, we were successful. I know because the Military caste was called when science failed to fully eliminate what we called Abherrents. For thousands of years, we have mourned our mistake in not defying their order, as we watched Krypton grow weak, grow inward, all because we did not let evolution run it's course. Only now, at the end of our people, do I fully understand our mistake."

Her hands drop, her posture no longer that of a combatant, some emotion broiling under the surface of her gaze, in the quiver of her lip. The truth is not in her emotion however. It is a physical strain. "We travel to dip our blades in the ash of their remains, to vow to never repeat our mistake."

Her eyes burn bright, and she has not the experience or control to blind him, but it is a flash meant to distract, so that when that physical exertion manifests - moving at the limit of their speed - she can try to be ahead of him.


She slams into him from behind, initiating a grapple, one moment in front of him, the next powering him through the sky, over the city.

Kal-El can see the glimmer of respect and so, as she bares her motivation, so too can she see the sadness wash across his countenance. The symbol of House El heaves in a great sigh as the realization washes over him that she is a zealot - a crusader - and that the thousands of years of Kryptonian eugenics that coils through her DNA will not be unmade with his dime-store philosophy.

As her hands drop he is seen to hesitate before succumbing to courtesy and lowering his guard. A piece of him believing that the outcome now will be 'agree to disagree'.

Superman's powers developed slowly and through experimentation that has spanned his entire life. He can see the tell-tale glimmer in her pupil and the pinkish hue which appears - as a light in the pre-orbital puffiness beneath her eye. Even at maximum yield there are only a few places upon the body where a Kryptonian's heat vision can have a prolonged effect upon their bodies. In his earlier display he has taught her one..

…predicting his error he raises his hands and turns his head to shield his face.

He can hear the particles of air sliding over one another as her movements displace them. He whirls to match her, utilizing his X-Ray vision to see through his own hands, but a reaction based upon his senses is far too slow to stay ahead of her action.

She impacts him mid-turn and like a Greco-Roman wrestler she maneuvers across his body. The Last Son of Krypton has wrestled Hercules himself who it is said invented the sport. Attempted to keep pace with Diana whose physical capabilities rival his own. Despite Faora's superior military training he manages to slip free of attempts at submission.

Breaking out he rapidly creates distance between them once again guarded but very much over the city. His blue eyes flicker between Faora and the city below.

"Then give them the freedom to have that choice," he says, "You wanted to judge me and now you know the limits of my physical strength and my conviction. We endanger them all by continuing this; no one will care for your ethos if your introduction to this world is indiscriminate slaughter."

Her eyes close as he slips free, as he throws her, for in fighting with someone who has her strength, her speed, and even speed of thought, has given her a momentary reprieve from this world so filled with mediocrity. Sadness fills her gaze, crystal blue and beautiful and bold. It is the sadness of a longing that will go unfulfilled now, even as his words plea for restraint. Her lips part, and there, in the small places that might draw his attention, the truth.

The way her cape shifts against the wind, but his falters, just a little. How her skin is free from the strain of struggle, but he will notice at his brow, the hint of perspiration.

Her pupils dilate, to take it all in, to absorb this in minute detail. To wait and watch for realization, because Faora was not grappling him, not really. She was not explaining some archaic ritual from her family, but explaining how one God supplanted another.

"My slaughter is most discriminate."

Forged in the fire of the pit of Surah, blade is small but sharp in a way few things are. A scalpel, littered with glitter once clear and pure that would make it sing against the atmosphere. Forged by her father, a gift to his daughter, on the day she would take her place at Zod's side, it means all the world to her. But that world is dead. And like all dead things from that world, it now glows green under the light of a yellow sun.

A growing moisture at the small of Kal-El's back, a growing weight, as if gravity can once again hold him. Pain will begin to catch up with him, with that slender blade that lets minute amounts of his homeworld into his bloodstream. As one God looks on, saddened as another God, her only challenge left on this world, is sacrificed to her worthy cause.

"I do not need to kill them. Nor do I want to. Only to put them in their proper place. With proper guidance. Today I begin, with the death of hope."

Faora leans close, whispering in his ear. "Do not worry. I will take care of them. Goodbye… /Superman./"

With his Earthly name, she divorces him from a shared lineage, with a push, she sends him from the sky and towards the city, and as fate has it, towards a building that already has a hole in it.

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