The Kent house, 11:07 P.M.:
Jonathan Kent was cleaning up the mess that Clark had left in the living room as he had changed into his Superboy costume and abruptly exited the Kent home through the secret tunnel in the basement. Still strewn on the floor in front of the TV from when Police Chief Parker had summoned Clark was the book the young man had been reading, and his pajamas, which he had only been half-wearing at the time. Jonathan shook his head. He thought that he and Martha had raised that boy better than this. Oh, well, he thought as he picked up Clark’s copy of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, we’ll discuss it in the morning.
While Jonathan had been straightening up the family room, Martha Kent had gotten up and come down the stairs to see what was going on. She was quietly standing just behind her husband in her pale blue robe, her arms folded across her chest. “Land sakes, Jonathan,” she said finally, startling her husband, “just what are you doing?”
“Martha, please don’t do that,” Jonathan replied, holding his chest with one hand, “you frightened me half to death.”
Martha chuckled. “Oh, don’t you act like I scared you. We’ve been married for so long that you can almost sense when I’m standing behind you, Mr. Kent.”
“Touché, Mrs. Kent, touché.”
“I take it from the fact that you are cleaning up after our usually very conscientious son that he was called away on super business.”
“Quite right. Sometimes I don’t get that boy. He can be completely responsible when it comes to his job as Superboy, but when it comes to the smallest of chores, like picking up his clothes, he can be so forgetful.”
“Well, he was probably in a bit of a rush. Any idea what it was that called him away?”
“Not a clue, Martha. All he said before he left was it was Chief Parker calling him, and then–” Jonathan never got to finish his statement, as just at that moment, there was a loud crash off in the distance. Hearing the sound, Jonathan sprang for the window and looked out just in time to see a momentary flash of light coming from the northeast. As he looked out the window, Martha soon joined him, her small hands gripped around his arm.
“What is it?”
“Darned if I know, Martha, but whatever it is, it looks like it’s coming from Oak Street, up by where the hospital is.”
Both Kents knew that, whatever it was, their son was on hand to deal with it. However, despite the fact that he was Superboy, they still worried for his safety.
“I hope he’s all right,” Jonathan said after a few tense moments.
“You know he is, Jonathan,” Martha replied in a reassuring tone. She only wished that she were as confident as she sounded.
Outside Smallville Hospital, Oak Street, Smallville, 11:10 P.M.:
The two super-powered teens stood facing each other, each one perched on opposite sides of the gaping hole in the pavement, staring each other down. Superboy didn’t want to move, as he was still feeling quite woozy from the green kryptonite exposure he had felt when Ultraboy collided with him, and because he felt that even the slightest movement on his part might be viewed as an aggressive action by Ultraboy. No, it was best if he kept his eye on the villain with his face and powers to try to size him up, see what made him tick. Ultraboy merely lifted his hand to his open mouth, feigning a yawn.
“Am I boring you, Ultraboy?” the Boy of Steel asked after a few tense moments. He was trying to provoke a response from the super-thug.
“Not at all,” Ultraboy responded. “You’re just like me.”
“How do you figure that?”
“It’s simple. You’re sizing me up. Your yellow sun-enhanced super-brain is running through all of the myriad possible outcomes, and you’re trying to come up with one that doesn’t involve the injuring of innocent bystanders.”
“Very good. Apparently, we do think alike. I assume that you planned the whole injuring of Jim Jeffries and the statements you made to him as a way to draw me out.”
“Correct-a-mundo, Superboy. I knew that if I injured him, and then tripped the silent alarm… oh, that’s right, you didn’t know that I did that.”
“I figured as much. I didn’t start to put things together until you collided with me. Very clever, Ultraboy. Very clever.”
Ultraboy smiled arrogantly back at his double. “Thank you, I do try. Right now you’re tryin’ to figure out how it is that my body radiates green K energy without apparent harm to me, and how to deal with me, since you can’t come into contact without gettin’ sick.”
Superboy stood there staring back, not answering.
“I’ll take your silence as an affirmative. In my universe, green K works on me similar to the way that red K works on you — sometimes it mutates you, sometimes it gives you new powers. Green K works the same on my body, though most of the time it just gives me added strength. For example, yesterday, when I was exposed to it, it gave me a new form of ultra-vision that enabled me to peer across the dimensional void that separates your reality, which we’ll call Earth-One, and my reality, which we’ll call Earth-33.”
“Why call it Earth-33? Why not call it Earth-Two?”
“Earth-33 just has a nice ring to it,” Ultraboy said, laughing. “At any rate, my body is still infused with the green K energy… at least for another, oh, five minutes. Hence, until the new ultra-vision wears off, you can’t come near me without gettin’ sick.”
“Indeed it is, Superboy. Indeed it is.”
“Why come here to my Earth?” Superboy was trying to buy himself some time. He needed to get some assistance, particularly that which wouldn’t be bothered by the green kryptonite effect.
“Why come here? Simple. I needed a challenge. Back home on my Earth, the police are ineffectual. What challenge is there for me with an ordinary human? And the so-called ‘super-heroes’ that exist on my Earth are completely laughable. Oh, Alex Luthor is extremely intelligent, able to make weapons and devices to stop me… but the Kryptonite Kid and his dog just seem to make me more powerful, and that bizarre duplicate of me, Perfecto — I destroyed him with one punch. No, I needed somebody who could match me power for power, mind for mind, punch for punch. So, I built this little handheld device here to bridge the gap between our worlds.” Ultraboy held up a silvery, cigar-shaped metallic cylinder, about three inches long with a crimson button at the top that could be depressed by the flick of his thumb.
Keep talking, stupid, Superboy thought as he looked down the road toward the Kent house on 321 Maple Street, smiling. I gotta time this just right with my x-ray vision so that I can summon help.
“And now that I have shown it to youse, I’m goin’ to press the button and take you back to my world where we can fight, and I can finally have that challenge that I’ve been so looking forward–” Ultraboy was cut short just as three Superboy robots flew up from behind him, lifted him off the ground, and began to restrain him.
“Robots 3, 7, and 9, try to keep him restrained for two more minutes while I wait for the green K effect to wear off him.”
“As you command, Master,” the three robots in Superboy’s image said in unison as they struggled with the immensely powerful teenager from another reality. As they held on for dear life, Superboy could hear the metal that made up the robots’ frames begin to scrape and buckle under the strain of trying to restrain the super-criminal.
“The robots? Don’t make me laugh,” Ultraboy said, laughing, as with one mighty flex of his powerful muscles, he tore the three robots into pieces. “I was expectin’ this, after all, since we do think alike.”
Superboy grimaced. He had just over one minute to go until the green kryptonite effect wore off, and he could start taking the fight directly to Ultraboy. Superboy took a deep breath and then exhaled a gust of his super-cold breath, freezing Ultraboy solid in a block of ice. He wiped his forehead, knowing full well that he didn’t have much more than a few seconds before Ultraboy freed himself. Within moments, Ultraboy’s eyes began to glow red hot and intense beams of heat-vision blasted out, melting the ice that surrounded him.
Superboy was ready for him, though. The Boy of Steel also used his heat-vision to emit twin beams of intense heat, which struck the beams that Ultraboy projected from his own eyes, the two beams so hot and solid that they stopped each other. At the point of impact of the two beams of heat-vision, a ball of flame was generated, growing in intensity as each second ticked by. Superboy knew that he couldn’t let the ball of energy get out of control, otherwise Smallville and its people would be endangered, and by his hands, to boot. He needed an edge. As the two titanic teens continued to blast heat-vision at each other, Superboy, using his super-ventriloquism, sent out a quick whistle for his one, true loyal friend and ally.
“You can’t win, Superboy. We’re too evenly matched. Why not just stop? We’ll go back to my world, I’ll beat you up, proving I’m the better of the two of us, and then I’ll send you home to lick your wounds and cry like the baby you–”
Ultraboy never got the chance to finish his statement, because just at that moment, something super-hard and super-fast collided with his back, knocking him to the ground. It was Superboy’s trusted canine companion, Krypto the Superdog. As the villain from another world crawled out of the hole that Superboy had made earlier when Ultraboy collided with him, the hound of steel landed next to his loving master, who patted him on the head. Krypto stared the villain down, baring his fangs and growling at the villainous counterpart of his master.
Ultraboy only roared again in laughter at the new development. “You bring the dog? Oh, that’s rich. Don’t you think I thought of that?” Ultraboy depressed the crimson button on the top of his cylindrical device, creating an opening between the two parallel realities from which stepped another super-powered canine. He looked exactly like Krypto, save that the red cape he wore was adorned with a stylized yellow letter U similar to the one Ultraboy wore on his chest, and his dog collar was made from blue leather and adorned with silver metal studs. “Superboy… Krypto… please allow me this rare opportunity to properly introduce you to my faithful super-canine, Neutro the Ultradog,” Ultraboy said, smirking, as he gestured to the vicious, growling dog to his left.
“Well, boy,” Superboy said to Krypto, “I think we’re in for the fight of our lives, ’cause it looks like we’ve just met our match.”