Brainiac 5 nodded resolutely to himself. “She was so noble right up to the end. She joined Superman soon afterward, and together they convinced Blackstarr to use her cosmic powers to stave off some Crisis-spawned damage to the universe. Even during that epic battle she refused to give up hope, although she expressed certain anxieties to Superman.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Into the Valley of the Shadow,” DC Comics Presents #86 (October, 1985).]
He watched for a few moments as Kara Zor-El convinced Blackstarr to restore the boundaries of Earth-One’s damaged universe, then he adjusted the dial again and saw the Maid of Steel fly off to her Chicago apartment at super-speed.
Supergirl swooped inside an apartment at Fargo Street and tried to study as brown-haired Linda Danvers for a few moments before she sighed and put down the book. “I can’t shake this ominous feeling,” she said to herself. “It’s just a vague sense that something bad is going to happen. I think I need to see my folks, or at least one set of them.” She fed her cat Streaky II and said, “I’ll be back soon. Don’t get into too much mischief!”
She soon soared over California and reached a small but comfortable-looking home. “Seems so odd to find Mom and Dad here,” she said. “I never have lived in this house that they bought when Dad switched from his old lab in Midvale to run the new STAR facility out west. I guess I’ll always think of Midvale as my Earth home.”
Fred Danvers put down his pipe in surprise and called out to his wife. “Edna, Linda’s here!” he said as he received a kiss and hug from his adopted daughter.
Kara assumed her Linda Danvers role with a super-fast change of costume and hair. “Daddy, it is so good to see you again!” she said. “With all the crazy weather going on, I wanted to spend some time with you and Mom.”
Edna Danvers emerged from the kitchen. “Linda, how are you? Is something wrong?”
Linda laughed and hugged her mother. “Now, are you trying to say I only visit when I’m in trouble?”
“Why, no,” said Edna. “Still, a mother can tell when her child is worried. I know you haven’t been seeing anybody since you broke up with the deceitful Phil Decker. Is there a new man in your life?”
Linda sat down in a soft armchair and said, “Now, Mother, a modern woman’s life doesn’t revolve around a man. You know that! I’ve been happily single for a long while now. School is going great, too. I relish learning what makes people tick. Kind of the way Dad loves to tinker with gadgets in his lab.”
“Speaking of labs, my work at STAR is beginning to be really stimulating,” said Fred. “Those cosmic anomalies popping up of late have us scrambling for answers!”
Linda nodded. “Those weird storms are just obvious signs of something worse that is yet to come. They are outward manifestations of an as-yet-hidden threat.”
“And your own anxiety is a sign of something, too,” said Edna. “What’s wrong, honey?”
Linda shook her head. “I honestly don’t know. I just have a feeling of dread. I know the thing to do is to ignore it and keep on trying to make things better. That’s what you’ve taught me. That’s what my Kryptonian folks taught me when they sent me away from the destruction of Argo City. They had survived one disaster when Krypton died and Argo was spared within its protective shield, and they weren’t about to see me die when the anti-kryptonite began to break through the lead shields. They always believed in never losing hope.”
Fred nodded. “Zor-El is a wise man. I’ve never found his equal as a lab man.”
“Wise and caring,” said Linda. “That’s how I see both of my two dads and my two moms!”
“Can you have dinner with us?” asked Edna. “The pot roast is nearly done.”
Linda hesitated, then said, “I’d love to.”
Brainiac 5 switched the time-viewer ahead. “She spent one last happy evening with the Danvers before she returned to battle the Crisis. I notice she also made stops at San Francisco’s KSFTV, where she’d briefly worked, and at Vandyre University where she’d studied drama. She wanted to revisit the past where she had been happy. Ironic, how I’m doing the same thing vicariously.”
He watched Supergirl cross the country to briefly visit New Athens Experimental School and the set of New York’s Secret Hearts soap opera. She had worked at both places as well. However, she lingered longest at the small community of Midvale.
Supergirl landed outside the Midvale Orphanage and scanned the place with her super-vision. She saw two children playing in the main yard. “Great Krypton! It’s good to see the old place again. I spent my earliest days on Earth at Midvale Orphanage.” She noticed a colorful banner and said, “It looks like the kids are getting ready for a special event. Mrs. Hart is retiring!”
“Ah, Melanie, you are such a baby!” taunted a boy with red hair.
A small blonde girl rubbed at her eyes and shouted. “I’m not a baby! I just wanted to give Mrs. Hart something just from me.”
“We’re all giving her a present and cards,” the boy said. “You should just learn to draw, and then you could, too!” He ran inside and left the little girl alone, where she began to weep.
Supergirl rushed over and bent down next to the child. “Hello, why are you so sad?” she asked.
“I want to make something for Mrs. Hart,” said Melanie. “She is so nice. But I don’t draw well like the others.”
“I bet we can make a nice gift for Mrs. Hart together,” said Supergirl with a gentle smile. “There are many different ways to show someone you care. Drawing is just one way.”
Melanie looked up and said, “You’re pretty. You dress like Superman! He’s my hero!”
Supergirl laughed and said, “Mine, too! Now, why don’t we take this rock and work with it.” She scooped up a small stone and used her super-strength to shape it into a heart shape and polish it until it was smooth and shiny.
Melanie smiled broadly. “It’s pretty! I could give it to Mrs. Hart. It’s like her name!”
Supergirl hugged the child and gave her the altered stone. “Right! See? We made a nice gift together!” The child ran inside clutching the rock as Supergirl watched for a moment. “Mrs. Hart was always so kind to me when I lived at the orphanage,” she said. “I’m glad I could contribute to her retirement and help that lovely child at the same time.”
Reaching the house she had lived in so happily with the Danvers during their years at Midvale, she entered unseen and walked around the empty home. “I’m so glad Dad didn’t sell this dear place,” she said. “It’s precious to me. I couldn’t bear to think of strangers living here.”
She smiled as she recalled memories from her time in the happy home. “Dick kissed me under that tree by the side of the house. He was so determined to prove that Linda Lee was really Supergirl! I’m glad we were able to continue our special friendship after we both were adopted. I saw Dr. Malverne, Dick’s father, when I passed his office coming here. He looks well. I bet he’s so proud of Dick and his progress in law school.”
Linda had last seen Dick Malverne around seven months ago. He had briefly reentered her life, only to eventually part from her again. She was happy in Chicago, and he was really still looking for the girl she had been and not the woman she had become since leaving home.
She gathered some wildflowers and made one final stop in the small community. “Midvale Cemetery. It’s a well-tended resting place, but today, even in the warmth of the sun, it gives me a chill. Must just be my imagination. I can resist far colder temperatures.” She placed them on one grave and knelt briefly by the headstone.
“Jan, I never met you, but Mom and Dad told me all about you,” she whispered. “They were so proud of their soldier son. (*) I want you know that you are not forgotten. Death doesn’t remove a loved one from the memories of those left behind.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Supergirl’s Big Brother,” Action Comics #303 (August, 1963).]
Brainiac 5 watched as she flew over the New Athens Experimental School and Stanhope College before heading for Superman’s Arctic Fortress of Solitude, where Supergirl had her own wing. “She felt the need to return to some of her former homes,” he said. “What odd impulse led her to make that pilgrimage? I know all too well that after one last stop, she joined me and other heroes aboard that satellite, where we all learned more about the true nature of the threat. On the Monitor’s satellite, Kara and I found ourselves together among a sea of costumed beings from a myriad of times and worlds! She clung to me at first. I can still feel her touch! She said that she was glad I was there.”
He paced across the floor again as his agitation increased. “My presence brought her comfort. How I wish I could have done more than that! I had no idea she was going to die before the Anti-Monitor met his own demise. All I did was offer her bland reassurances,” he said in disgust. “I recall her exact words! She said, ‘Brainy, I have felt like this Crisis might be more than I can handle. I’ve felt as insecure as I did when I first left Argo City to its own fate all those years ago.
“I tried to make her feel better,” he continued. “I said that history showed no massive disruption or major disaster in her era. I even glibly said Supergirl’s career was a long one, even after the turn of the century. And yet, all the time I knew that the temporal anomaly that was the Crisis was literally changing all the known rules of the universe. Still, to this moment, I can’t believe all my sources were wrong. They show Supergirl as being active long past the 1980s.”
He stopped and returned to adjust the time-viewer. “Still, I am getting ahead of myself. Before she joined me on that satellite, where we tried to make some sense out of how the parallel Earths were merging, she went to the Fortress of Solitude and spoke once more to her real parents on their new home of Rokyn. I was the one who gave her the communicator that allowed her to see and hear them, even when their world was not in phase with Earth’s dimension. I pray that gesture shortly after they first reached Rokyn added pleasure to her life.”
Brainiac 5 watched Supergirl enter the hidden Fortress and activate the communicator. She smiled winningly as she saw the home of her father and mother.
Zor-El and Allura greeted their daughter warmly. “Kara, love, it is wonderful to see you!” said the brilliant scientist. “I have been working with Nightwing to keep order here. The odd weather and strange clouds of antimatter have many here fearing a second doom like that which befell lost Krypton!”
Allura, a mature but lovely woman who resembled her daughter, said, “Kara, are you and Kal able to deal with the problem? Are others joining you in this Crisis?”
“I’m glad to see you both,” Kara replied. “We’re trying to bring some sense of order and calm here, too. Things are OK so far, but I needed to see you and hear your voices. I know I’ve been an independent woman for a long while, but it still feels so good to hear you two say things will all be fine!”
Zor-El frowned. “Kara, they will be fine. Science and courage may make all things right!”
Allura nudged her husband. “Above all else, love and faith will keep you safe!”
Kara smiled and nodded. “Thank you both! I’ll remember that. You said those words when you sent me here all those years ago. I thought I’d lost you forever! How happy I was when I later learned you had both survived Argo City’s doom. Rao watch over you both. I love you!”
“We love you, too!” said Allura as the signal broke up.
Kara had wandered around the Fortress for a few final moments. She caressed a display showing her friends Comet the Super-Horse and Jerro the merman. “I’ve been so very fortunate to find so many caring people on my adopted world. I won’t let them down now. I’ll see this thing through and honor their efforts on my behalf!” she vowed.
She departed from the Fortress and soon ended up among the other heroes aboard the massive satellite of the Monitor. Lyla and Alexander Luthor, Jr., the enigmatic being’s aides, explained the peril to the assembled heroes, and they raced to try to bring order to the surviving parallel Earths.
“Kara joined a group of heroes on Earth-S. She aided them in calming a maddened Marvel Family. After she restored hope to a dispirited Mary Marvel on that world, she helped the heroes, who set out to confront the Anti-Monitor himself in his evil dimension,” he said as if noting calculations in his head.
“Her final battle,” he said with a sigh. “I can barely stand to witness it, and yet I cannot turn away!”