by Starsky Hutch 76
Not right away turned into a week, then two weeks, then a month. Before long, Kent Shakespeare was a regular member of the family, and Krypto the Superdog was as much a family pet as their first dog, Sassy.
John and Mary Shakespeare watched the news anxiously as Superman dealt with the situation in Metropolis to slowly bring it to some since of normalcy, assisted the Justice League of America in dealing with Despero, and then joined the other heroes of the world to stop two massive, worldwide alien invasions occurring within two weeks of each other. (*) They worried that once his life there was under control, he might come for Kent. If he was Kent’s true father, what force could keep him from taking him back, even if he was an unfit parent?
Kent filled an emptiness in their lives they’d barely even realized was there, but once filled, they knew a contentment like they’d never known. The idea that something could come to rip it from them was too painful to contemplate.
John would have nightmares in which Superman would come bursting through the walls of their mountain cabin in a rage and rip little Kent, screaming, from Mary’s arms. In other dreams, John was the villain and turned kryptonite on Superman when he came to ask for his son back, and he would wake up plagued by guilt.
He wished there was some way he could know for sure if Superman was or wasn’t Kent’s father — some way he could know if he were doing the right thing. When he looked at how happy Mary and Kent appeared to be, he thought he was.
Even Sassy seemed to be adapting to the new members of the household. She had been afraid of Krypto at first, but the alien dog eventually won her over. And when one looked at her mid-section, it was all too apparent how well. The thought of a cabin filled with flying puppies made John’s head spin.
John Shakespeare sat with his head in his hands, too depressed to work. Krypto, sensing his distress, walked over and attempted to console him, resting his head on his leg.
“You’re a good dog, Krypto,” John said, scratching the dog behind his ear. “I don’t feel like playing now, though. Maybe later.”
Another newscast was playing with the volume turned down low about the rebuilding of a kryptonite-free Metropolis and Superman’s renewed activity in the rest of the country. “I suppose he’ll be here any day to take our boy away,” he sighed.
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, John saw Krypto trotting over to his drawing board, nosing through his collections of pens and brushes, and lifting a brush up with his teeth. “Krypto, no!” John called out in an annoyed voice.
Krypto nearly tipped over a bottle of ink as he shoved the end of the brush in. John watched in amazement as Krypto began to drag the brush over the piece of paper and spelled out the words, “DON’T WORRY.”
“That’s some dog!” John gasped.
“We’re now entering Earth’s orbit,” the first alien member of the Superman Revenge Squad said.
“Good,” the second alien said. “Then let us see if we can track the signature of the former Bizarro child’s rocket.”
“It’s weak,” the first alien said. “But we’ve tracked it to this region of the North American continent.” He pointed to an area of the holographic map before them.
“Excellent,” the second alien said. “Then let us investigate further. Send in a stealth agent from Alpha group. If possible, have him retrieve the child now. The less attention we attract, the better.”
Krypto was having a wonderful dream where he was chasing animated meteorites through a nebula in the Polaris system. When he caught one, he discovered it was made out of dog treats. Needless to say, he was quite perturbed when a noise woke him up.
He let out a low growl as he rose to his feet and stretched. He looked over at the sleeping form of Sassy next to him. Her earthly ears hadn’t picked up the sound, so she continued to snore peacefully.
The armored figure stealthily approached the Shakespeares’ mountain cabin. He’d taken every precaution to go undetected. His craft was equipped with the finest cloaking device. His armor was fitted with the finest camouflaging device. X’hal willing, he would be able to slip in and out with the child and report back to his masters without incident.
The agent approached the door to the Shakespeare cabin, pulled out a device, and pressed it to the lock. There was a brief quiet hum and then a click as the door unlocked. He reached for the door knob, turned it, and then stepped through the doorway cautiously.
“Rrrrrrrrrr,” came a menacing growl.
The agent looked around in alarm to where the sound was coming from and then looked down to see a rather puny white dog looking up at him. He chuckled as he inwardly reprimanded himself for having been startled, then reached to his side for his blaster and fired at the animal.
The blaster did nothing. He might as well have aimed a flashlight at it. The animal’s growl became louder, and then it leaped at him. He fell back through the doorway, and it was on top of him.
The agent screamed as the dog’s teeth penetrated his supposedly impenetrable armor. With a brief shake of its jaws, his breastplate went flying. His vision was suddenly impaired by the clamping jaws of the dog as it sank its fangs into his face-plate. In blind panic, he reached for the controls on his wrist and teleported away.
Krypto was stunned to suddenly find himself holding the crushed remains of the intruder’s helmet. The man had teleported away. Where had he gone? He sniffed the air for a trace of him. Bingo!
The agent was in a panic. Were all the creatures of this world like that? This was supposed to be a simple retrieval. What had his masters gotten him into? He fired up the engines of his cruiser and took to the air.
The agent looked into the viewer of his back window and let out a startled yelp as he saw the dog soaring through the air in pursuit. “What manner of demon is he?!” he cried, hitting the button that fired emergency thrusters of his cruiser to set sail for the main ship.
The two alien Superman Revenge Squad members watched in shock as the cruiser careened wildly into their docking bay. The hatch was thrown open, and the stealth agent ran out. They stared in amazement at the ragtag figure who stood before them, waving his arms and screaming about demons.
The ship suddenly shook violently, and the emergency sirens sounded, echoing off the walls. “What was that?!” the first alien cried.
“We’re under attack!” the second alien yelled.
“Command deck, what is happening?” the first alien said into the communicator.
“I don’t know,” the voice over the speaker said. “Whatever it is, it’s too small to get a bead on.” The ship shook again.
“He’s here!” the agent half-groaned, half-sobbed.
“Who’s here?!” both aliens shouted simultaneously.
The ship gave another lurch, and from out of the viewer ports, the stars seemed to shoot by faster and faster until they began to appear as streaks of light. “Red alert!” a voice shouted from the loudspeaker. “All hands on deck!”
“What is happening?” the second alien gasped.
“It’s him!” the agent said. “The demon!“
“What demon?!” the first alien shouted, grabbing him by the shoulders. “We have no time for your damned superstitious Vegan nonsense! Tell us what is happening!”
“He looked like an Earth dog, but he wasn’t,” the agent stammered.
“The Kryptonian’s pet,” the first alien gasped knowingly. “You fool! Obviously, you have led Superman to our very doorstep! He’s the one doing this!”
The ship suddenly began to accelerate dramatically. A planet began to appear in the viewports. “Brace for impact!” a voice warned over the intercom. Everyone rushed to grab ahold of something, preparing for the coming collision.
There was a horrible sound of rending metal as the ship collided with the surface of the planet. Everyone aboard stood shakily to their feet, not daring to hope that it was all over.
“Computer, what is the post-collision status of the crew?”
“Zero fatalities, zero serious injuries,” the computer answered.
“Just as I suspected,” the first alien sneered. “Only Superman could engineer a shipwreck so perfectly.”
“Such an offense against us cannot go unpunished,” the second alien said.
“Oh, it won’t,” the first alien said. “He caught us by surprise, but now we’re ready! Prepare the kryptonite weapons!“
The hatch of the ship opened, and the troops poured out. “Death to Superman!” the first alien shouted.
The Revenge Squad troops gave a mighty cheer. “Death to Superma–” Everyone then stopped.
There, to meet them as they disembarked, were the full forces of the prison planet Takron-Galtos. From every tower, a plasma cannon was trained on them. “Lay down your weapons, and put your hands on your head!” a voice said, echoing from every direction.
Watching from a distant orbit, Krypto the Superdog let out a happy, contented yelp. He then turned to fly back toward Earth.
“Here comes another!” John Shakespeare said, looking down into Sassy’s bed. “Maybe this is the last one.”
“Anudder doggie,” little Kent said, nodding excitedly. Krypto stood by his new master’s side, beaming down proudly at his mate.
“That’s right, son,” John said, putting his arm around his shoulders. “Another doggie. That makes six puppies in all.”
“Look, John!” Mary said. That one has a black circle around its eye, like Petey from the little rascals! Maybe we should name it Petey.”
“Petey?” John said, wrinkling his nose. “Seems like a funny name for a dog who can fly. Seems more like he should be named Astro or something.”
“Astro was the dog from The Jetsons, dear,” Mary corrected.
“Well, I’m sure we’ll figure it out in time,” John said, looking down at the mostly white assortment of puppies. Some were short-haired, others long-haired like their mother.
“We’ve got plenty of time for that, right, boy?” John said, giving Krypto’s head a playful tousle.
Krypto nodded. He knew, better than anyone, that they now had all the time in the world.