Superman and Batman: Of Mainframes and Timeframes, Chapter 1: Supergirls in Time

by Libbylawrence

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The males of Metropolis stopped their normal preoccupied passage through the city’s bustling streets as they passed the WGBS Building one noon hour.

An attractive redheaded girl caught their eyes. She wore a very short red tunic and black strapped sandals. She seemed oblivious to the attention her outfit was getting. Whistles and other comments made no impression on her as she scanned the cityscape with interest.

The buildings were more primitive than I ever imagined, she mused. The holo tapes made the era seem more… advanced! I guess the dating on them was incorrect! Still, just how I got here is a bigger mystery.

A redheaded man stopped her as he rushed by. “Lana, cover up! You’re stopping traffic!” gulped Jimmy Olsen.

She smiled and said, “Uncle Jimmy! Why, you’re barely older than I am! This is a treat!”

Jimmy frowned at the attractive girl. “Wait, you’re not Lana! You can’t be older than sixteen or seventeen!” he said. “And what’s this uncle stuff?”

“Wait here,” she said. “I’ll be back in a flash!” With that, she was gone.

A flying form soon hurtled over the city in a bright red and blue costume.

“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Supergirl!” cried an onlooker.

Nope, not Aunt Kara, thought the girl who was a twin of Lana Lang as she blew a flaming building’s destructive fires out. Just a girl named Joan — Joan Superman, that is!

***

The Mole felt like he had found his stride. A simple bank robbery was good enough for him. It would finance repairs to his Mole Mobile and let him live the good life in Europe. He’d never fight Superman again — or those weird Omega Men, either. The winged one gave him the creeps. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: The Mole fought Superman and the Omega Men in “Enter the Omega Men,” Action Comics #535 (September, 1982) and “Battle Beneath the Earth,” Action Comics #536 (October, 1982).]

Loading the loot from the bank vault, he turned to fire up the digging craft and plunge through the earth’s layers to safety and freedom. But when the Mole Mobile would not move, he began to worry.

“Nah, could be anything. Just a slow start is all,” he said to himself, then adjusted the engine and tried again. Sweat covered his brow as the craft remained in place.

Popping the front escape hatch, he looked out to see there a pair of bare legs. “That’s not Superman!” he muttered.

A pretty girl with long black hair bent low and tapped him on the chin. As he passed out, she laughed. Lifting the entire Mole Machine, she shoved it to the surface, right through the floor of the bank. The bank staffers gawked in wonder.

“Don’t worry, folks. I’ve got the perp. He won’t cash even one credit!” she announced.

She wore a blue and red costume with a large stylized S. Her one-piece suit left her arms and legs uncovered, and her red boots flared at the knees.

“Who are you?” asked bank manager Sterling Tate.

“Call me Supergirl!” said the pretty woman as she flew off.

Kind of looked like that Lois Lane from the Daily Planet, mused Tate as he watched the girl carry the Mole and his craft to jail.

After defeating the Mole, Laura Kent flew toward the Arctic and one particular structure.

“Daddy’s Fortress!” mused the daughter of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. “Wonderful to actually see it in all its splendor before Mongul blew it up! It’s even more awesome than I’d heard!”

She frowned as she saw a female figure already inside. “Lana Lang?” she gasped.

“Nope, Lana’s my mom, as the whole viewing world knows. My father is Superman. You do know that, or did you somehow skip the wedding of the century in your education?” asked Joan.

Laura Kent and Joan Superman circled each other warily.

“You’ve gone totally nebula!” said Laurie. “Lana became a top Entertainment Tonight hostess. Best legs on TV and all that. But she certainly never married Superman.”

“That costume is a nice try,” said Joan, “but your features reveal just who your mother was: Lois Lane Luthor! I guess your old man Lex turned bad again and suited you up to cause trouble.”

A fight then erupted as alarms buzzed and sirens wailed.

Joan kicked high and sent Laurie crashing down. The raven-haired girl blasted back with super-cold breath that froze the redhead in mid-movement.

Then Joan shattered the ice by slamming both hands together. “You know, luv, you really have your mother’s poor fashion sense. I could actually believe you are Lois Lane’s kid!” she said.

Laurie smiled. “As Superman’s daughter, I see you do have the physiognomy of a half-Kryptonian — plus really kinky underwear!”

“Like I said, I have Mommy’s tastes,” Joan said. “I hear no deviation in your heartbeat. You are who you claim to be! Truce?”

Laurie the Supergirl nodded. “I’m from the future. I was on my way to class when I literally found myself here in this era. My dad is Superman — Clark Kent — and mother is Lois. My kid brother is Jon Kent.”

[(*) Editor’s note: Laura Kent appeared in the imaginary story “Unhappy Anniversary,” Superman Family #200 (March-April, 1980).]

Joan dusted off her costume and said, “That icy breath ruined my hairdo! I’m Joan Kal-El. My mother is Lana Lang Kal-El, and my father is Superman. He married my mommy publicly as Superman, and thus to the general public I’ve only ever been known as Joan Superman!” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: Joan Superman appeared in the imaginary story “Lois Lane’s Outlaw Son,” Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #46 (January, 1964).]

“Joan, we come from two potential futures. Either one of our histories could come true, or neither!” said Laurie.

“I know, I know! I also just turned a corner and found myself here,” explained Joan.

“Say, shouldn’t Daddy — Superman — be here by now? We set off all kinds of alarms!” said Laurie.

Joan adjusted a monitor. “Nope. He’s busy elsewhere — fighting his own double!”

“We’d better help him!” said Laurie.

Joan pulled her backward by her cape. “No, luv. We have our own problems. Look at the other screens. Something bizarre is happening at Stonehenge!” said the beautiful girl.

Laurie gasped. “Looks like creatures out of fairy holos!”

Joan nodded and patted her curls in place. “This looks like a job for the daughters of Superman!

Laurie smiled and said, “Let’s go!”

***

Stonehenge, the early British ceremonial site, dated back to at least 3200 B.C. It looked as if it belonged to a world apart from the modern-day United Kingdom of Margaret Thatcher. This impression was magnified as trolls streamed out of the ground to scare the tourists.

“In my era, this is a Princess Diana theme park,” said Laurie.

Joan said, “In my era, it’s the same!

They flew down toward the hairy creatures, whose misshapen forms and flashing teeth and claws sent tourists screaming from safety.

“You know, luv, you’d make a darling coat!” said Joan as she lifted one furry brute into the air.

Laurie laughed out loud. Maybe she could like the flashy redhead — maybe. She carried people to safety while Joan tossed the trolls into one another.

“They aren’t hurt. But magic is a weakness of ours,” said Joan.

“I know. Thanks for the tip,” said Laurie as she belted one troll with a hard left.

“There are dozens of them!” gasped Joan as she was pulled down under a mob of the beasts.

Laurie flew around and around them until her whirlwind took away all air and left them stunned. She helped Joan to her feet.

“Thanks,” said Joan. “Nice idea. I am not as quick as you. I just rely on muscle and looks!”

“Tell me, did my mother really marry Luthor in your timeline?” asked Laurie.

Joan nodded. “He reformed, despite my sarcasm earlier. He is a good man, almost as big a hero as Superman or Batman. His son Larry is a hunk.”

Laurie grinned. “You kinda like Luthor’s son. I bet that annoys your folks. “

Joan grinned back. “Drives them crazy! Bald and bad is sexy.”

The trolls vanished in a sudden flash, and the two girls groaned as pain irradiated their bodies.

“What is it? Magic?” cried Laurie.

Joan gasped, “Magic, but so painful! Feels like it’s burning me up!”

Laurie fell to her knees. “Got to fight it. Resist.”

Joan shook with effort as she also dropped forward. “Hurts so bad. This was a trap. We were lured here by those trolls. Something about this particular locale makes it a magic center,” she cried.

The girls began to pass out as their vision dimmed. It cleared enough, and the pain eased slightly as they saw a pair of shiny high-heeled boots walk up to them.

The boots ended in fishnet hose, which in turn led to a short purple costume and pink cape. The woman wearing the outfit was a coldly beautiful woman with a regal manner.

“Excellent!” laughed Syrene. “The trap worked. Two super-bodies whose owners lack much experience in the use of power, unlike their hated father. Two bodies to house the power of the Runestone.”

***

Later, Laurie Kent and Joan Superman awoke to find themselves hanging upside down in the center of the rings of stone. Syrene lounged across a divan in the middle.

“You see, the Runestone is an artifact of power. It is mine by birthright. My father ruled the far future with it. My husband stole it, only to be beaten by Superman. The problem with the Runestone is that it may only be of use after the lethal magical energies within it are refined, if you will, by passing through a body durable enough to house the magic while a ceremony is performed. Usually that can happen only at specific times, but time itself has been damaged, and the rules are off. Thus I came from my future realm and made use of you two.” She laughed wickedly.

“How did you bring us here?” asked Laurie.

“I? My dear child, I merely made use of the flux in time that allowed you both to exist when only one of your futures can be possible. A girl makes the best of her circumstances! You’d learn that if I allowed you to mature. Sadly, my dears, that eventuality is one future not in the making!” she said as she caressed Joan’s face.

“The magic builds within your bodies. Eventually, it will be refined enough for me to claim it; you’ll both be burnt ruins by then, I fear.” She laughed again.

Joan tensed and tried to spin. “Vibrate to another dimension — Earth-Two, Three, S, A!” Meanwhile, Laurie tried to relax and use the new energies. Neither ploy worked.

Syrene idly polished her nails. “Should all be over soon. Then I rule all of the future and never share with my toad of a spouse,” she sighed.

“Not if I can stop you, you Vegas version of the Wicked Witch of the West!” said a determined voice.

A dynamic figure landed with hands posed defiantly upon her hips. Red hot pants, slippers, and a blue blouse identified her, as did her gorgeous face and flowing blonde hair.

“Supergirl!” hissed Syrene.

“Kara!” gasped Laurie.

“But isn’t she dead?” asked Joan.

Trouble in San Francisco delayed me, but I see I arrived just in time, thought Kara Zor-El, alias Linda Lee Danvers. As Supergirl she had just defeated the plot of aliens who had planned to conquer Earth via the use of a mind-controlled JLA when she felt the urge to come to Stonehenge. (*) Syrene’s call for the super-girls had apparently reached through time itself to pluck the deceased beauty forward to this era.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Treachery,” Adventure Comics #423 (September, 1972).]

Strange — those cars across the way have a date years from my time. I must be in the future! mused Kara. She smiled warmly to the girls. “I’ll free you both shortly. I think I can guess who you are.”

Laurie teared up. “Cousin Kara’s been like an aunt to me all my life. As Superwoman or Linda Danvers, she’s beloved by my whole family. Joan said she was dead in her era. Can’t bear that idea.”

Joan stared at the beautiful blonde. “She died during the Mongul Wars. I never imagined how vibrant she was as a girl!”

Three super-bodies will speed up the process,” said Syrene. “I’ll be using your pretty little form next!”

Supergirl laughed. “I’ve heard that line from aliens, villains, and football players. None of whom got very far with this girl!”

She flew toward Syrene, who gestured wildly and created a two-headed serpent. The beast was red and scaly, and in seconds, Kara had skillfully dodged in and out of the area between its heads until it was dizzy and tangled in its own body.

“You know, Dino, here, needs a break. I think I’ll leave him alone and skin the bigger snake!” she quipped as she targeted Syrene.

Syrene cursed and said, “What did you do?

Joan sighed as she fell free of the spell. Laurie fell free also by her side. The pain was gone.

“I just gave the girls a super-boost in vibrating to another era and back. That broke your spell. All they needed was the experience I was able to give them. Now for you!” she said as she made a fist.

“Demons of Denak take you!” cried Syrene. “The Runestone spell was broken. All my efforts were for naught. But I’ll begin again after I slay you!”

Supergirl smiled. “Nope. In case you didn’t notice, I delayed you enough that you didn’t notice the time. It’s after midnight. Your special day of ritual is passed. You lost!”

“But the time flux makes such a spell potent any time!” shrieked Syrene.

Supergirl grinned as Joan and Laurie each returned from a super-speed trip.

“We followed Supergirl’s super-ventriloquism order and used a device from the Fortress to place this little spot in an altered chronal zone,” said Laurie. “Despite the time flux, the old rules apply!”

Supergirl tapped Syrene in the face, and the witch passed out in her arms. “Well done, girls. I assume you’re my future cousins in some manner. Nice to meet you,” she said.

Joan Supergirl and Laurie Kent greeted the Maid of Steel warmly. “Thanks for saving us. If not for you–!” began Joan.

Supergirl stopped her short. “That’s what family is for! Now to get you two back to your own eras and return to mine!”

Before any of the women could speak further, all three found themselves back in their respective eras. Supergirl returned to her career in San Francisco as a college girl. Laurie and Joan each resumed their own lives in alternate timelines with a newfound respect for their famous relation and the hope that they might just meet each other again.

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