Season 6, following my story "Ever the Same"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read the previous chapter here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
"The House of El is the key to opening the gateway."
Raya stopped below two large rocks that rose together, giving the impression of a doorway. In front of them Chloe saw a rock, with a symbol hewn into the stone, a symbol that she recognized. It was the same five-sided symbol that was carved into Raya's crystal.
"Your electromagnetic field," Raya hissed in her ear, "will open the gateway."
Nam-Ek and the other woman had followed them. Now they stood just behind Raya and Chloe, watching avidly. "Open it," Nam-Ek growled.
"Not yet." Raya's eyes shone with a fanatical light. "We will only get one opportunity. And my lifemate--"
"I care nothing for your lifemate!" Nam-Ek strode forward, looking very large and very intimidating. "Open the gateway!"
Raya's eyes flashed with anger. She moved quickly, shoving Chloe to the ground and swinging the knife outward in a vicious arc. There was the terrible sound of vulnerable flesh being sliced open. Blood gouted, and Nam-Ek collapsed to the ground, gurgling and clutching at his throat, his eyes wide with the panic of the dying.
"Nam-Ek!" cried the woman, and fell to her knees beside him.
Nam-Ek gave one last gurgle, then lay unmoving, his emerald eyes wide open.
The woman on the ground sobbed and buried her face in her hands. Chloe swallowed, fighting back nausea. She knew she would kill for Clark, but there was something creepy and disturbing about the way Raya had slashed Nam-Ek's throat. There had been something so cold and deliberate in her eyes that it made Chloe's skin crawl.
Perhaps, she thought, it was the result of being trapped in a half-existence for so long, the result of battling for the necessities of life on a daily basis. The result of being imprisoned among murderers and criminals for an eternity.
Perhaps it was impossible to be trapped among cold, ruthless beings for so long, and not wind up cold and ruthless yourself.
Raya lifted her head, and her face glowed. "He is coming," she said softly. "But so are many others."
Chloe struggled to her feet, seeing a tall man swathed in robes racing toward them. Behind him, dark-robed figures swarmed, coming from all directions.
Criminals, she thought. Hundreds of the worst criminals twenty-eight galaxies had ever known, who would be loosed on the unsuspecting Earth to wreak havoc. To plunder and fight and kill.
She looked back at the rock, remembering Raya's words. Your electromagnetic field will open the gateway.
Nam-Ek's mate had been huddled by his body, sobbing, but suddenly she rose to her feet with rage in her eyes, drawing her own knife. She stabbed viciously at Raya, who countered with a savage stab of her own. The two women circled each other in a deadly, strangely graceful dance, feinting and stabbing and dodging.
The other woman's attack had distracted Raya, and the tall man racing toward them was still some distance away. Chloe realized that this was the best opportunity she was likely to get.
She moved quickly, spinning around and dropping her hand onto the symbol.
A column of white light shot upward from the symbol, engulfing her. She heard Raya's anguished cry of denial, saw the blonde woman swinging toward her, knife raised. But before the knife could fall, white light surrounded her, blinding her.
When she could see again, she was tumbling through the air, a long distance above what she thought was the Earth.
Great, she thought grimly. Apparently she'd successfully made it through the portal. But somehow she'd expected to find herself back on solid ground. She hadn't realized the portal would open into the atmosphere, far above the Earth.
Things had just gone from bad to worse.
"I don't understand." Clark knew he sounded like a man who'd just been struck viciously in the stomach. He felt that way, too. "How can you be... carrying... my child?"
Zod's voice was as cold as ever, but he got the impression she was amused by his stammering shock. "We had the opportunity to take your genetic material while you were... otherwise occupied."
He supposed that was true. He'd been in such extreme pain that he'd barely been aware of anything outside his own head. They could have drawn his blood, or a swab of cheek cells, or a sample of sperm cells, for all he knew.
Hell, he thought bleakly, they could have sliced off his balls and stitched them on again later, and he probably wouldn't have noticed. The excruciating pain had made him oblivious to everything.
And he remembered he'd been unconscious for a while, too. It wasn't hard to believe they'd found an opportunity to take a sample of his genetic material during the time he'd been imprisoned in that cell.
"So you took my DNA and... and..."
"Inserted it into one of this body's eggs. Yes. It took a good deal of manipulation to make it work. But fortunately your friend Lex Luthor has been dabbling in cloning and genetic manipulation, and the LuthorCorp scientists I... recruited... were able to follow my directions and unite the human and Kryptonian DNA. The egg was then reinserted into my body."
Clark gaped at her. The impulse to x-ray her, to see if she was telling the truth, hit him, but he figured that might not be good for a developing embryo. And besides, it couldn't possibly be more than a few dozen cells at this stage, anyway.
But if she was telling the truth-- then he and Chloe were having a baby, in a bizarre sort of way. The idea of having a baby with Chloe, even a posthumous one, made a little flicker of hope glow somewhere deep inside him. But the knowledge that the baby would be raised by a brutal dictator, brought up to rule over humanity, all but extingished that flicker.
If Zod was telling the truth, he was going to have a child, but with absolutely no control over its upbringing.
Emotions battered at him, and he stared at her, wordless. She turned back toward the computer.
"Yes," she said softly, her tone laced with irony. "Rejoice, Kal-El. Your child will one day rule this new Krypton."
Her hands moved toward the keyboard, and he realized with despair that she was about to set off the pulse that would destroy the climate. And he couldn't do a damn thing about it, not unless he wanted to wind up on the floor, screaming.
"And now," she said, "You will bear witness to the creation of a better world. Behold the destruction of Earth, son of Jor-El."
Read Chapter 12 here.