by Libbylawrence and Starsky Hutch 76
As the rocket left the Fortress of Solitude behind, a sheet of white closed back over the Fortress’ roof exit. Any potential observer would assume that the icy wastes had never been disturbed. The rocket was programmed to largely fly itself, so the two young women were left with time to talk.
“It is exciting to me to be going home like this for two reasons,” said Valor. “I lived in Kandor and was born there as Lesla-Lar, while my memories as Kara Zor-El hold a special place for the world of Rokyn, since my — her parents Zor-El and Alura live there now.”
Lydia-7 nodded. “Tell me more. You can share things about my predecessor that would otherwise have been lost or distorted by my time.”
“Well, as you know, family is of major importance on Krypton. Marriages are only allowed if the computers deem a couple bring the appropriate genetic blend to the altar. The most important family in the history of Krypton, and thus by extension of Rokyn, is the House of El. While it is unrivaled on Krypton as a whole, the House of El was historically rivaled by the House of Lar, at least in Kandor alone.”
“The Lar family raised you and gave you a name when you were an orphan?” said Lydia. “Odd that both you and Kara were orphans, for she too believed herself to be what you in fact were.”
“True, Kara’s — my — parents, Zor-El and Alura, survived the destruction of Krypton in sheltered Argo City where Kara was born and grew up to age fifteen. They sent me — her — to Earth at that time to join her famous cousin in safety. They did so because kryptonite radiation threatened to destroy all of Argo City. But later we learned that the Els survived Argo City’s loss in the survival zone. (*) Then they relocated to Kandor, when it was a miniaturized bottled city, and finally to Rokyn where it was enlarged.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Untold Story of Argo City,” Action Comics #309 (February, 1964).]
“Lydia, it is also strange that of the El brothers, only the one most concerned about Krypton’s fate failed to escape it!” continued Lesla. “Jor-El died on that world.”
“And history records, as you said, that Jor’s younger sibling Zor-El did, in fact, survive in Argo City to father you — er, Kara!” added Lydia. “Now you’ve got me doing it!”
Lesla smiled. “And the twin brother of Jor-El also survived due to a twist of fate. Nim-El, the weapons maker, was in Kandor when Brainiac stole that entire city and shrank it to bottle size. Kal-El would later rescue it and place it in his Fortress until years later when we — he and Supergirl — were able to enlarge it on Rokyn where we are headed.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Let My People Grow,” Superman #338 (August, 1979).]
“Nim-El interests me as the least known to history of the trio of El siblings,” said Lydia. “Did he live in Kandor when you were born? Does he have any children?”
“He has a son, Don-El, the police chief or justiciar of Rokyn,” said a thoughtful Lesla-Lar. “When I was young, there were rumors in that city that I, Lesla, was his unclaimed daughter, explaining my uncanny resemblance to Kara. I was teased greatly about it.”
Lydia pondered the implications of this idea.
A massive world with a red sun soon came into view. “Kilowog’s warp engine makes the trip so much easier now that that phase time is not an issue,” said Lesla.
“I am eager to see my ancestral people’s home,” said Lydia.
Lydia asked a second question of Lesla-Lar. “Tell me more of the House of Lar in our history.”
Lesla smiled. “The House of El may be traced back to the flood and old Jaf-El who, along with his sibling Tio-El, saved a remnant of the people from the flood with winged beasts who took them to Mt. Mundru — the highest mountain on Krypton. (*) Well, a member of the Lar family was also a survivor. Esk-Lar was his name. He sired a son who worked hand in hand with Kil-Gor, the famous inventor. An Earthling would call Kil-Gor the Ben Franklin or da Vinci of our world. (*) He was brilliant, yet he needed some help, too, and Kor-Lar provided that research, not that he is as famous as Kil-Gor.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Race to Overtake the Past,” Krypton Chronicles #3 (November, 1981) and “A Tale of Time and Tide,” Superman #268 (October, 1973).]
“I have heard of Kor-Lar,” said Lydia, nodding. “Kal-El allowed me to spend some time in the Fortress familiarizing myself with both current Earth history and Kryptonian history. I recall reading that Kor-Lar, in turn, had a daughter who was in the exploration party led by the noted El ancestor Val-El. (*) Her name was Nora Kor-Lar, and she captained the ship named 4-Val on the trip to what became Argo City.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Bring Back Yesterday,” Krypton Chronicles #2 (October, 1981).]
“True! Nora Kor-Lar stayed loyal to Val-El when his brother Tro-El mutinied. There was no enmity between the families of El and Lar in those days.” Lesla added grimly, “But that would change.”
Valor continued her history lesson. “The El and Lar families continued to succeed through the dark years of the Vrang conquest and the Erkol-Kryptonopolis War which leveled Kryptonopolis. (*) They were even in agreement when the Federation after the war decided the make the new government a technocracy ruled by men of science. This naturally pleased both families, since both boasted gifted intellects, and the Lar family seat in Kandor was especially based on science.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Superman’s Day of Truth,” Superman #176 (June, 1965) and “All In the Mind,” Superman #248 (February, 1972).]
“You received your own advanced science training from the Lars, didn’t you?” asked Lydia.
“Yes I did, but that was long after the point in history we are at now,” said Lesla. “The split came over a power play. The Els favored establishing a new capitol of commerce and science in a rebuilt Kryptonopolis, largely since one of their own named Gam-El designed it. (*) However, all of the Lar family fortunes lay in Kandor alone. Such a shift would damage their prestige. They opposed the Els and won. Kandor remained the capitol, and that started the feud between the two great Houses of El and Lar.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Search for Superman’s Roots,” Krypton Chronicles #1 (September, 1981).]
“When Pym-El, the great detective, uncovered a criminal scheme by a Lar named Sed-Lar, he brought about his ruin, and the family never forgot that. Next, a Lar named Roh-Lar won the love and the computer’s approval for his marriage to Lynda-Tor-Re. She had been adored by Zim-El — the grand-uncle of Superman himself.”
As the ship soon drew close to Rokyn, the girls silently gazed in awe at the sight of the rebuilt city of Kandor below. It was majestic, and the experience of seeing it for the first time was very much a moving experience for them.
As the rocket eased to a landing at the space port, Lesla-Lar marveled at how much had changed since the city was transported to Rokyn. “Those old buildings are known to me from the past, but they added much after the newer ones crumbled when brought here,” she said. “No super-vision or any powers under this red sun. Makes it hard to see the details of the city artworks displayed below.”
Lydia-7 gazed in wonder as well. “This is the last true resting place of all that was Krypton. I feel closer to living history with every moment. That statue is one I do recognize from history. Val-Lor, the man who died inspiring Krypton to rebel against their harsh slave-masters, the Vrang.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Superman’s Day of Truth,” Superman #176 (June, 1965).]
Lesla smiled. “Yes, Val-Lor was a heroic alien fighter. That is why I found it appropriate and ironic that Earth’s press named me Valor when I fought the aliens that came to conquer our world.”
Pointing at one building, Lesla said, “There sits the Hall of the Imperior or Judge. Ro-Lar is High Imperior and has been for years. He is the head of the Lar family along with his many brothers and descendants.”
Kara Zor-El’s memories allowed her to remember how she had once been placed on trial before the harsh old man. (*) And though she was found not guilty, she now felt she understood why a member of the House of Lar would so relish punishing a member of the rival El dynasty.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Kandor Versus Supergirl,” Superman Family #188 (March-April, 1978) and “Memories of Menace,” Superman Family #189 (May-June, 1978).]
She was feeling very confused, because she remembered through Kara’s eyes how she had fought the Lars as represented by Zora Vi-Lar — the masked Black Flame — yet as Lesla she considered Zora her closest friend from girlhood. (*) How could she reconcile both emotions? How could Zora not hate Lesla for being merged with Kara’s clone?
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Maid of Menace,” Action Comics #304 (September, 1963).]
The rocket pulled into port in front of the capitol building of Rokyn. As they exited the rocket, they were met by a stern faced Van-Zee, who had been expecting them. Both women were struck by how much he looked like Kal-El. He, in turn, was struck by their resemblance to his dead cousin, Kara.
“I thank you for returning the dead of Argo City to us,” Van-Zee said to Lydia-7. He turned to Lesla and said, “Superman has informed me of your heroics on Earth. This and the unique circumstances of your resurrection are why you have not been taken into custody. The Science Council has made me directly responsible for you while you are here. I trust there will be no problems.”
“There won’t be,” Lesla said. “I am no longer capable of what I once was.”
“For both our sakes, I hope you are telling the truth,” Van-Zee said.
The two of them followed Van-Zee into the capitol building. Staring up at its enormous cathedral ceilings, Lydia suddenly felt very small and helpless as the fact that she was powerless for the first time in her life began to sink in. “It is surprising that you Kandorians chose to make your new world under yet another red sun,” she said.
“This one was chosen for its similarities to Krypton. Anywhere else would not have seemed like home,” Van-Zee said. “Rebuilding our society would have been a struggle in and of itself without the added factors of every citizen having the powers of Superman.”
“Understandable,” Lydia said. Her gaze drifted to the various people walking about the building, and she noticed the looks they gave her and especially Lesla. She wondered if her companion hadn’t made a mistake choosing to come here.
Lesla also noticed the hostile looks on the faces of many Rokyn residents. This disturbed the pretty blonde, because she had memories of many of them as affectionate friends from her memories of life as Kara. Even as Lesla she was used to being respected for her mind and for her tie to the powerful Kandorian House of Lar.
She wondered if Van-Zee would ever treat her like she remembered him treating her as Kara. His wife, Sylvia DeWitt, was from Earth; perhaps she or his ex-criminal nephew-in-law Ak-Var would be more forgiving. Surely Ak-Var, of all people, would understand about second chances.
Valor saw the spoiled but gorgeous Shyla Kor-Onn as well. Shyla had once tried to steal Supergirl’s powers but had supposedly since reformed. (*) Yet during one visit to Rokyn, Kara had been attacked by Black Flame (Zora Vi-Lar), who had also claimed to reform. Zora was oddly close to Shyla during that last visit. Lesla wondered if Shyla had been an undiscovered party to the attack.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Shadows of Phantoms,” Superman Family #183 (May-June, 1977).]
She looked around, and there was Zora, too. As Lesla, she had thought of Zora as her best friend. As Kara, she knew her to be an implacable foe. How would she treat her now? “Zora, it’s Lesla! How are you?” she asked.
Zora smiled enigmatically. “Welcome, Lesla. It is long since you were reunited with the House of Lar. I understand you have proven yourself to be over the old enmities now. You even befriended the family of El. How times have changed.”
Lesla smiled and embraced her old friend, but a shiver ran down her spine. Her memories from Kara’s clone told her not to trust Zora anymore.
Van-Zee pointed out the ornate tomb of the Els. “Here you’ll find the monument to the real Kara. The honored dead of Argo City will also be placed in this region appropriately.”
A handsome man with dark hair and an official uniform approached. “Welcome to you both, daughters of Krypton. I am now the Head of the Police here on Rokyn — a world almost free of crime — so my duties are light, indeed.”
“Don-El does have it easy,” said Van-Zee. “Our former criminals, like Brenn-Bir and Shyla Kor-Onn, have reformed and given their talents to rebuilding our homes.”
Lydia smiled appreciatively, as did Lesla. This man — the one-time head of the Superman Emergency Squad — was, at least, more friendly than the grim Van-Zee.
Lesla and Lydia followed Van-Zee and Don-El to the home of Zor-El and Alura. Lesla, of course, thought of this couple as her own parents. She felt nervous and scared about facing them and being rejected if they saw her only as their daughter’s evil twin. Still, Zor-El was known as the most reasonable and calm El sibling. He lacked Jor-El’s passion and Nim-El’s wilder side.
Shortly, Alura In-Ze gasped at the sight of her daughter in two new forms. She had been aware of their impending visit, yet how could any mother truly prepare for such a shock?
“I am Lesla-Lar,” Valor said breathlessly. “I beg you to forgive me for the pain I caused you and your daughter. I now share her memories, so my past actions pain me doubly. I cannot say more, except I will make up for my past and honor Kara’s legacy in my own way.”
“I am the descendant of your family from five-hundred-thousand years in the future,” said Lydia. “I, too, seek only to serve in her name.”
Alura and Zor-El remained silent, wrestling with emotions and memories. Finally, Alura spoke. “You did no lasting harm to Kara, and we know that she would have forgiven you as Kal-El has. We will try to do no less. Welcome, Lesla and Lydia. You’ll forgive us if we have some trouble adjusting to you two for a while.”
Zor-El nodded. “I would be honored to share science with you, Lesla. I know your mind is a gifted one. Lydia, your future world intrigues me greatly, too.”
Both girls relaxed at the warmth of this noble family. Lesla hoped the hate between the Lars and Els had ended after generations of strife. As far as Zora Vi-Lar and Imperion Ro-Lar were concerned, she was far from right.