As Pan’s music began to fill the city of New Kandor, the children there began to fly and giggle when they felt the new experience of having super-powers. All the while, Darkseid watched on the scope from his command ship, kept well out of Rokyn’s reach in case they had any weapons. DeSaad ran into the room excitedly.
“I have just finished the atmospheric analysis,” DeSaad said. “It should not be difficult to alter the atmosphere of Earth to match it.”
“What good would that do us, you fool?” Darkseid said angrily.
“Under a red sun and increased gravity, Superman would be powerless,” DeSaad said. “Surely with your greatest enemy on Earth out of the way, you can conquer Earth with ease!”
“Do they look powerless to you?” Darkseid asked.
As DeSaad looked at the scope, he saw Superman fly by, not knowing that it was actually his double Van-Zee wearing a duplicate of Superman’s uniform.
“No! I have not come this far to be beaten by him again,” Darkseid said angrily.
“What can we do? With Superman here, surely he will lead his people against us,” DeSaad said.
Darkseid walked to the center of the room and a glass case, which held the Staff of Hippocrates. “I will destroy their sun, which will ultimately destroy their planet, and the inhabitants will die like they should have with Krypton,” Darkseid said as he broke the glass.
“But, sire, the weapon is not completed,” DeSaad complained.
“Without your computers, you are useless,” Darkseid said. “I will use the staff as the Earth god Hermes does, to absorb the energy from the sun myself.”
“Are you sure that is safe?”
“Leave a small contingent to act as my rear guard, and send my son back to Apokolips with the rest of the fleet,” Darkseid said.
DeSaad backed out of the room without question.
“I told you once that your arrogance will be your undoing,” the Phantom Stranger said from a darkened corner.
“You cannot interfere,” Darkseid said.
“Do you expect me to stand by and watch you obliterate all the remains of a once-proud and noble race?”
“Yes, because I am only letting nature take its course, something that you cannot stop.”
“I may not be able to interfere, but there are those that can,” the Phantom Stranger said as he vanished.
“That was quick thinking, Powergirl,” Don-El said.
“It’s not over yet — he left a small group here. I wonder why,” said Todra Than-Ol, the Green Lantern of Rokyn.
“I can’t find them on my scope,” said Don-El.
“That’s because they are heading for your sun,” said Pan.
“I don’t know if I need oxygen to survive or not,” Powergirl said.
“One thing we do know is that Orion does not, and that Green Lantern can protect us,” said Valor.
“Your body absorbs energy and stores it like a battery,” Pan said. “Part of that’s the benefits of being the daughter of Darkseid and Kara Zor-El.”
“How can I do it and they can’t?” Powergirl asked.
“Maybe it’s the lingering effects of Darkseid’s powers, or your mother’s ability to absorb energy like that,” Pan answered.
“Supergirl could never do that any more than any other Kryptonian,” Powergirl said.
“I never said your mother was Supergirl. I said she is Kara Zor-El,” Pan said with a smile, then went back to playing his flute.
Powergirl’s eyes snapped open wide in shock as her jaw dropped. “Wait a minute, are you saying what I think you are saying? Are you saying that the woman I was cloned from is Kara Zor-L, the Power Girl of Earth-Two?” she asked.
“I don’t know what she calls herself, but she used to come in and out of this realm from time to time before the old wizard strengthened the barriers,” said Pan. “Darkseid used her as a guinea pig for his experiment and shipped her back to her realm.”
“How do you know all of this?” Powergirl asked.
“Athena watched it right after he took the staff from my father. She told me and sent me here to wait for you,” answered Pan.
“That would explain why I can fly here, but not much else,” Powergirl said.
“You can rediscover yourself later — right now we need you,” Todra said.
“I know. I was giving Darkseid time enough to get to the sun,” said Powergirl. “Now I need something to get his attention.”
“How about Orion?” Valor suggested.
“Orion can’t go one-on-one with his father without starting another war with New Genesis,” Powergirl said.
“Hello! Nothing quite like a lantern to light up the skies,” said the Green Lantern of Rokyn.
“That was funny, but we need you here to evacuate and protect the people if I fail,” Powergirl said.
She walked out of the office and flew straight up, smiling as she left the nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere and was still not starved for oxygen. Her telescopic vision still worked, and she saw Darkseid’s command ship and the two ships that had been left behind to guard him. With her super-hearing, she picked a radio transmission between them.
“Continue scanning for enemy fire, and shield the command ship at all costs.”
With her x-ray vision, she scanned both ships. Pretty standard propulsion units; shouldn’t take much to take them out. The automation systems should protect the crews, Powergirl thought to herself as she accelerated toward them.
At near-light speed, her invulnerable body punched through the ships like a bullet, completely destroying their propulsion systems. As life-pods fired from both ships, Powergirl turned her attention to Darkseid’s ship, which was slowing as it neared the red sun. A platform raised out of the middle of the ship holding Darkseid himself on it. In his hand he held the Staff of Hippocrates. Powergirl landed on the ship behind him.
“How is my daughter today?” Powergirl asked in a voice perfectly mimicking Darkseid’s.
“You heard?” Darkseid asked as he turned, a smile on his face.
“In a dream, my subconscious playing it back night after night. Now I know the truth,” Powergirl said.
“That you are my daughter?” Darkseid asked.
“Yours and a woman whom you kidnapped from her world and forced to participate in your evil,” Powergirl said.
“My failure here was your doing,” Darkseid said.
“No, it was Kara Zor-El’s — both of them, my other and her doppelgänger,” Powergirl said. “I have Power Girl’s body and Supergirl’s memories.”
“DeSaad never did like the idea of infusing you with her memories. He said you might absorb some of my power as well,” Darkseid said.
“These people may not be from my Krypton, but I will give them the chance that my people never had,” Powergirl said.
“Insolent little whelp! I made you and I can destroy you just as easily,” Darkseid said as his eyes began to glow bright red.
Beams of Omega energy flowed from his eyes and struck Powergirl’s body. She staggered slightly, finding that her body was not as invulnerable as Supergirl had remembered it. She shuddered as she fell to her knees.
“Even you cannot stop me here, girl,” Darkseid said.
As Darkseid’s Omega energy washed over her body in waves, Powergirl sank to her hands and knees in pain.
Think, girl — you may not be able to deflect his power, but you can absorb it, Powergirl thought to herself.
She let out a grunt as she began to will herself to absorb the massive amount of energy that Darkseid was projecting at her. She looked up at him as the pain began to subside. At the moment their eyes met, so did their minds. Powergirl saw Kara Zor-L, the Power Girl of Earth-Two, as cells were extracted from her body. She watched as guards led her away and DeSaad removed cells from Darkseid’s body. She saw herself as she was created in a lab on Apokolips. She watched as the process was repeated with Kara Zor-El — Supergirl. Supergirl’s clone was led from the room, and for the first time Karen Sorrell understood the screams that she had heard in her dreams. Powergirl watched as Darkseid used himself as a conduit to copy Supergirl’s memories into her mind. Guards led Supergirl away, and Darkseid’s memories shifted to Lady Death.
“Enough!” Powergirl screamed as she stood.
Beams of Omega energy shot from her eyes and nearly threw Darkseid from the ship. Darkseid righted himself and looked toward Powergirl.
“You may be able to absorb some of my power, but not all of it. After today, that won’t really matter,” Darkseid said as he raised the Staff of Hippocrates toward the red sun of Rokyn.
As he raised it toward the sun, he did so nearly behind his back, keeping his eyes on Powergirl. There was flash behind Darkseid, and the staff in his hands vanished. Powergirl laughed to herself as she watched Hermes himself running through space on his way back to Earth.
“How?” Darkseid asked in surprise.
“Never steal from a thief; he’ll only steal it back,” Powergirl said.
“You did all of this for him?” Darkseid asked.
“The power of that staff is much safer in the hands of thief and a liar than it is in yours,” Powergirl answered.
Darkseid pushed a hidden button on his belt, and a boom tube formed behind his ship. “Come with me — you could rule the galaxy by my side, as it should be,” Darkseid said.
“As long as I’m around, you won’t be ruling anything at all, and nothing if I can help it,” Powergirl said as she launched herself off his ship.
The ship flew into the boom tube, which closed behind it. Powergirl flew back toward Rokyn with a slight smile on her face. At least now I know who I am. I think I was better off not knowing, Powergirl thought.
She landed in New Kandor near Don-El’s office.
“That was amazing, the way you shot those things back at him,” Valor said.
“I guess Pan was right about me being able to absorb energy,” Powergirl said.
“You and I should compare notes sometime,” said Valor, herself possessing energy-based powers.
“He took off right after Hermes snatched the staff back. How did you know he was here?” Orion asked.
“Pan told us. He said that his father knew I wouldn’t believe him,” Powergirl said.
“You said you were retired from the super-hero business, so I suppose you don’t mind taking off the mask now?” Don-El said.
“I was retired, until I saw what I saw in Darkseid’s mind — who I am and what he did to create me in that alchemist’s den of his,” said Powergirl. “He kidnapped my mother and Kara and used them as lab rats. I know my mother only through Kara’s memories. I know that in doing what he did to her, he made a joke of everything that Power Girl stands for. From this day forward, I will do everything in my power to ram Powergirl down his throat.”