by Starsky Hutch 76
The producer, director, and head writers of Secret Hearts all stood transfixed in shock as they saw standing before them a woman who appeared to be the very actress they now hoped to replace — Linda Danvers.
“No, I’m Lydia,” said the Supergirl of the future. “Lydia Lee.”
“She does look kind of like her from a distance,” Herb Silver laughed. “That works in your favor.”
“It’s remarkable!” Marilyn Silver said. “She could be her sister!“
Lydia hoped they wouldn’t remember the fact that they had met her before. The last time, she had accidentally exposed Linda’s secret identity because of her inexperience under Earth’s stronger yellow sun. She’d been forced to hypnotize them into forgetting the encounter.
“I’m sure you’ve been told what this audition is about,” Alan Ward said.
“Yes,” Lydia said. “You are reviving the Margo Hatton character formerly played by Linda Danvers.”
“That’s right,” Alan said. “Miss Danvers left us in kind of a dilemma when she made the decision to jet out suddenly to go back to college — a decision I’ll never understand. So we were forced to write out her character. That hurt the ratings, so now we’re going to try to work in the Margo Hatton character again. We haven’t been able to locate Miss Danvers, though, to try and hire her back. So we’ve got to try to find a suitable replacement.”
“I shall do my best to be that replacement,” Lydia said.
This drew a laugh from Alan Ward. “Glad to hear it. That’s all we can ask. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Lydia read her lines, and the group behind the table listened intently. Their expressions gave no clue as to what they thought of her performance.
“It’s the perfect mixture of the old Margo Hatton of Linda’s days with the influence of everything we’ve said happened to her during her disappearance — a hardened Margo.”
Alan shot him a look that said he was saying too much too soon. He looked at her file and said, “Is this home number on your file correct?”
“Yes, sir,” Lydia said.
“No sir,” he smiled. “Just Alan. We’ll be in touch.”
“Thank you,” Lydia said. Did this mean she had the job? She’d be a nervous wreck until she knew for certain.
As soon as the last girl left the room, Alan Ward turned to his two head writers and said, “So what did you guys think? I know your opinion, Herb, but what about you, Mike and Marilyn?”
“I agree with Herb,” Marilyn Silver said.
“No surprise there,” Alan said. “You two are practically joined at the hip.”
“Only when he’s right — like now. Ms. Lee had a nice edge,” Marilyn said. “She plays the ice queen to a T. Linda did Margo Hatton well when she was a nice girl, but there was something missing when we turned her character into a villainess. She just wasn’t enough of a bitch.”
“Hmmph. Obviously you’ve forgotten what it was like in the days before she quit,” Alan said.
“Oh, we all had our run-ins with her,” Mike said. “Some people just can’t handle stardom. Her running off was still surprising, though.”
“Well, she had a lot of pressures on her while she was here. We all miss Linda. This–” Herb looked down at the file. “–Lydia Lee seems to pull off the role convincingly, though. She’s also got the benefit of not having to make a dramatic character change the way Linda did, so she can only get better. I think we should call her back.”
“Fine,” Alan said, putting a check by her name. “She’s probably our best choice of everyone we’ve seen today.”
Supergirl watched in horror as the sky turned red and storms wracked the sky. She fought in earnest to save the citizens of the floating cities, but she was just one hero, so very, very alone.
Lightning struck the cities, blasting piece after piece from their gleaming spires, raining rock and metal down on the screaming dwellers below.
The seas below, already a bubbling mass of lava, began to boil, bubble, and pop even more, sending streams of fiery rock to rise up and strike the underbelly of the floating landmasses. The cities teetered on their floating axes, struck from both sides.
There were too many cities in jeopardy. She’d save one group and another would die. She couldn’t be everywhere at once. Nothing she did was enough.
A bolt of lightning struck her as she flew from one imperiled city to another, and she fell into the boiling inferno of the lava ocean and a mind-numbing haze of painful heat which she felt all too well under an orange sun.
When she finally broke the surface, she saw the last of the floating cities crumble beneath the brunt of the storms and fall into the ocean. There was nothing left for her now. Her closest friend, Lydia-T, was dead. And now so was Supergirl’s life as Louise-L. If there was any place left for her to live out the rest of her life, she would do it in memory of her dearest friend by adopting a form of her name. It was the greatest honor anyone in her era’s culture could bestow.
Lydia-7 awoke in a sweat and a twisted jumble of bedsheets from her tossing and turning. It was the same every night, and she knew the nightmares would never end. All that was left for her to do was try to make a new life for herself in this time.
She turned on the television her ancestor Clark had given her, since she couldn’t sleep. On the screen was another TV special on her other ancestor, the recently deceased twentieth-century Supergirl, Kara Zor-El. She let out a weary sigh.