Supergirl: A Hard Act to Follow, Chapter 1: Pretender

by Starsky Hutch 76

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Lydia-7 sat at the kitchen table in her cramped, sparingly furnished apartment in Manhattan. After she and Superwoman had helped Superman overcome severe kryptonite poisoning last year, they took the time to help her to establish her life in the twentieth century by creating her new identity and finding her a place to live. (*) She had appreciated what Kristin Wells and Kal-El had done, but the rest would be up to her. She needed a source of income.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Superman Family: Recovery.]

In her own time, when she had used the name of Louise-L, she had worked in a food-processing plant alongside her best friend Lydia-T when she wasn’t making her world safe as Supergirl. But that had only been because her options had been limited. Her world’s government was very similar to socialism, and one’s role in society was delegated early on. Now she had choices, and she wanted to find something she would enjoy more.

She looked through the want ads, and one particular ad immediately struck her eye. The soap opera Secret Hearts was holding auditions. This had been the daytime television show that Kara Zor-El had once worked for when she was alive. The future Supergirl had even met one of the writers and a producer when she had posed as Kara’s secret identity of Linda Danvers during her last visit to this era. (*) Much of her coming to grips with her life in this time and her in it was coming to understand her predecessor, the original Supergirl. This might be a new way for her to further that goal.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Crisis at the Crossroads of Time,” Superman Family #215 (February, 1982) and “Victory is Only 5,000 Centuries Away,” Superman Family #216 (March, 1982).]

She circled the ad, quickly dressed, placed her brunette wig over her own short blonde locks, and headed out the door. Unlike all her adventures in this new era, this one would be a job for her new identity of Lydia Lee.

***

Lydia-7 had hoped for an uneventful walk on her way to the studio for the tryouts. She didn’t get her wish.

She hadn’t gotten more than a couple of blocks from her apartment building when the brake-line gave out on a bus, and it went hurtling through the stoplight toward a line of pedestrians attempting to cross the street.

Lydia ducked into an alley, changed at super-speed, and streaked toward the bus. Putting herself in the path of the bus, she braced herself against the ground, attempting to stop it. The pavement crumbled beneath her heels as it slowly skidded to a halt.

“Disgraceful,” she heard an old woman say as she slowly turned to check on the condition of the pedestrians.

“I beg your pardon?” Lydia-7 said.

“The way you parade around in that outfit, pretending to be that poor dead girl,” the old woman said.

“Lady, in case you ain’t noticed, she just saved our lives,” a businessman said. “As far as I’m concerned, she is Supergirl.”

“No, she’s right,” another man said. “Supergirl died saving Superman and all of us. That’s just plain disrespectful.”

“Yeah,” someone else said. “That Valor chick looks just like Supergirl, but you don’t see her trying to be her.”

“I have more right to be Supergirl than her,” Lydia said.

“Yeah? How?” the someone else snapped.

“I am… a relative,” she said.

“Then you should show some respect for the dead!” a man yelled.

“Shaddap, you! You ungrateful @^&^[email protected]#!” a construction worker yelled at the man.

“But I have always been Supergirl,” Lydia said sadly. The crowd was too busy arguing to hear her. She flew off miserably, hoping to at least be able to make it in time for the tryouts.

***

“SAG or AFTA?” the man with the clipboard said.

“I beg your pardon?” Lydia replied.

“SAG or AFTA? Are you SAG or AFTA?” he said impatiently.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

Wow, honey. You are new to this. But that’s what they’re looking for. Alan wants a complete unknown to be the new Margo Hatton. Name?”

“Lydia Lee,” Lydia said nervously, responding with the new last name Superman had come up with for her. He asked her a few more questions and then said, “Do you have a glossy?”

“A glossy?” she gulped.

“Just what I thought,” he said, mildly irritated. “Mike, bring the Polaroid,” he called out to an assistant. “We got another newbie.” The assistant snapped her picture and it was attached to the file. “Take this and go stand with the other girls,” he said, pointing to a line of hopefuls.

When Lydia saw the huge line of actresses trying out for the role, her heart sank. How could she hope to compete against such odds?

“There’s the man himself,” the girl next to Lydia said, “and what a man he is.”

“The man?” Lydia asked.

“Alan Ward!” the girl said. “The producer of Secret Hearts! You mean you didn’t recognize him?”

“Oh, him,” Lydia said, trying to cover up her ignorance. “I didn’t recognize him at first. He looks younger in person.”

Alan Ward joined head writers Herb and Marilyn Silver and director Jeremy Kane behind a door at the head of the line of actresses. “Looks like you’re up,” the girl said. “I’d wish you luck, but… you know.”

When she stepped through the door, Marilyn Silver looked up and gasped, “Linda?”

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