Clark angst, futurefic
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
"Make the world a safer place, Clark."
Those were the last words she ever uttered. She'd been shot by a mugger, desperate to get a few dollars to fuel his drug habit, and I hadn't been able to get there in time to stop the bullet. I flew her to the hospital, but by the time we arrived, she was dead.
When they told me she was gone, everything inside me shattered into shards of ice. Numb, still covered in her blood, I went outside and flew in random circles for a while. Eventually I landed on top of the Daily Planet building and looked over the city I loved.
I'd been the protector of Metropolis for ten years, but what I was doing wasn't working. Sure, crime rates had lowered. But what did that matter, when people couldn't even venture out onto the street without getting shot?
I looked down at my blood-stained hands, and remembered her last words: Make the world a safer place.
And I knew I had to do more.
It slowly became obvious to me that relying on the court system to deal with criminals wasn't working. Too many times, I caught people in the act of some heinous crime, and yet their cases were thrown out on minor technicalities. Even when they were convicted, all too often they were released after just a few years, going right back to a life of crime.
If I was going to ever make the world safe, I realized, I couldn't rely on the courts to help me.
I began placing every dangerous criminal I caught into the Phantom Zone. Murderers, rapists, drug dealers, abusers-- every last one of them went into the Zone. It had been my father's method of dealing with criminals, and if it was good enough for my father, I thought, it was good enough for me. I could no longer bear to take the chance that a murderer might be set loose on a technicality, or released once he'd served a few years.
I had to act, or more innocent lives would be lost.
Due process, I began to understand, was a meaningless concept, an archaic notion that only benefitted criminals. For that mater, the entire slow, meandering, hopelessly muddled American court system was meaningless. I saw far more than humans did, understood more, and therefore I could ethically act as judge and jury.
In fact, I recognized, it was actually unethical of me to stand aside and let them suffer, when I could fix so many of their problems single-handedly.
People weren't happy about my new crime-fighting program. There were a lot of angry editorials in the Daily Planet about due process and the rule of law, editorials deriding Superman as a dangerous vigilante. When I, in my Clark Kent persona, tried to sway public opinion by writing articles defending Superman's new methods, I ran afoul of my editor and was fired.
I didn't really care all that much. I'd been struggling against the truth of who I was for a long time. I'd been raised by humans, and as an adult, I'd wanted nothing more than to live among humans as one of them. But I no longer had an anchor to the human race, and it began to dawn on me that there was no real point in living among them.
No matter how much I pretended, I wasn't one of them, and never could be.
A voice from the distant past began to echo in my head: On this third planet from this star Sol, you will be a god among men. They are a flawed race. Rule them with strength, my son. That is where your greatness lies.
I'd fought against those words a long, long time, but I slowly began to realize my father had been right. They were a flawed race, and I was their only hope.
I remembered my other father's words, too. Clark Kent, you're here to be a force for good, not a force of evil.
Everything I was doing, I thought, was for the good of the planet. Humans might not fully understand that, but I was convinced of it. And I had a perspective on the world that no human could. No matter how they fought against me, I knew that what I was doing wasn't evil.
I was a force for good, just as Jonathan Kent had told me, long, long ago.
Make the world a safer place, Clark. She'd asked me to do that, but I'd been trapped in archaic, human ways of thinking, and I hadn't yet accomplished it. Innocent people were still dying.
I realized more drastic measures were necessary.
It took a few years for me to realize that it made no sense to put criminals into the Phantom Zone, where they could possibly escape. The death penalty was a far more sensible solution, because it took the criminals off the streets forever. It was efficient, practical, and sensible. And the death penalty had long been a recognized part of most human justice systems, so it wasn't as if humans should be opposed to it.
Somewhere deep down, I had the niggling concern that she wouldn't have approved of the death penalty being administered without trials and judges and juries and all those human notions of justice. But I pushed that concern aside. Because as much as I'd loved her, she'd only been a human, and she'd seen the world in the human way.
I saw the world so much more clearly than any human ever could, and at last, I saw plainly what must be done. And steeling myself, I did it.
Over the course of a day, I went through the world's prisons and exterminated every convicted violent criminal on the planet.
The public outcry when I had started putting criminals into the Phantom Zone was nothing as to the outcry that arose now. People were angry and afraid. Afraid of me. Which was ridiculous, since I was only trying to protect them. It wasn't as if the ordinary citizen had anything to fear from me.
Americans in particular were outraged. They admitted their criminal justice system was flawed, yet they clung to it, useless though it was. Even Metropolis turned on me, its people booing and hissing when they caught a glimpse of me flying overhead.
Their rejection hurt a little. But I couldn't let them continue to muddle on without help, so I continued on.
I executed all the criminals I'd placed into the Phantom Zone, to ensure that none of them could ever escape and hurt anyone. And then I continued to patrol the streets relentlessly, executing anyone I caught in the midst of a violent crime. Not just murder, but rape and assault as well.
Despite the angry editorials in the papers, the worldwide murder rate fell to zero within a year.
I'd done what she wanted me to do. I'd made the world a safer place.
The violent crime epidemic taken care of, I finally had time to turn my attention to other matters. She'd been killed by an addict, so the drug trade was of major concern to me. Many of the drug dealers had been executed in what the newspapers had referred to as "the Purge," but I took care of those that hadn't, and executed the hopeless addicts as well. I used my heat vision to destroy all drug crops worldwide, and destroyed every facility that created drugs.
That problem solved, I began to realize how many people were starving, due to the cruelty of others, and the callousness of governments. I started toppling the worst regimes, and replacing them with men and women who would listen to my advice. I removed American politicians I disagreed with as well, and when the people tried to elect politicians with the very same erroneous viewpoints, I saw to it that the elections simply didn't happen.
Anyone I removed from office was given the death penalty, of course. But there was no outcry in the papers this time, because I'd made it clear to the media that they were no longer to propagate the outdated, foolish ideas of justice and due process that had once held sway in the Western world. Headlines in the Daily Planet and the New York Times praised me and my actions, calling me a savior.
Sometimes I worried that in influencing political matters, I'd gone too far, but my father's words echoed in my head, reassuring me. You will be a god among men. They are a flawed race. Rule them with strength, my son.
And I remembered my other father's voice, reassuring me: Clark Kent, you're here to be a force for good, not a force of evil.
They'd both been right. I was all that was standing between the world and chaos. It wasn't evil for me to protect humans, or to serve them.
In fact, it was my duty. It was up to me to save humanity.
My next job was to remove all weapons of destruction from the planet. I removed nuclear missiles, biological weapons, and conventional weapons, destroying them or taking them far into space, where they could never hurt anyone again. Then I dismantled every branch of every armed force in the world. The men and women who stood against me were summarily executed.
Before long, Earth was a planet of peace. I floated far up in the sky and looked over what I'd wrought with satisfaction, and something close to joy.
I'd finally accomplished what she wanted. The innocent were safe at last.
Years slid by, and to my sorrow, I began to recognize that no one on the planet was innocent. There were far fewer people on the planet now, yet no matter how much I tried to keep them out of disputes, they quarreled and fought and battled. No matter how evenly I tried to distribute the resources, they hoarded and stole and cheated one another.
I began to realize the world wouldn't be safe until I'd managed to purify the human heart.
I had no choice but to police them closely. Anger, pettiness, jealousy-- every negative, destructive action was met with the ultimate punishment.
And yet the more of them I executed, the more the rest fought, both against me and among themselves.
The human heart, I realized sadly, could never be purified. No matter how much I tried to make the world safe, it could never be safe as long as humans lived on it.
There was only one possible solution.
The world is a beautiful place now. Quiet, free of strife and discord and hunger. I fly over it, marveling at the peace and tranquility and beauty of it. It's like Eden, sparkling and lovely and new. I feel like God, staring down from heaven at the work of his hands, and pronouncing it good.
After all these years, I've finally accomplished what she wanted. After all these years, I've achieved what I was destined to do, what I was sent to this planet to accomplish. At long last, I've made the world a safer place.
It's really too bad I'm the only person left to appreciate it.