by Starsky Hutch 76
Jor-El and Lara were startled by the reception they received when they arrived on Rokyn. During the final days of Krypton, they had been treated with scorn and ridicule because of Jor-El’s prediction of doom. So it was with some trepidation that they ventured toward the place that was known alternately as New Krypton. They were surprised to find that they were greeted not only warmly, but as if they were returning royalty.
The two were delighted to see how many of their cousins had managed to survive, thanks to being in Kandor when Brainiac took the city. And Jor-El was overjoyed to be reunited with his old college roommate, Kim-Da, who had become a revered Kandorian professor in the decades since he’d known him. But nothing compared to the surprise of seeing Jor-El’s own brothers, Zor-El and Nim-El, alive and well and living in New Kandor.
Nim-El had already been living in Kandor when it was taken, so the fact that his twin survived was no surprise. Zor-El’s survival had been a wonderful surprise when Kal-El told the story of how Zor-El had saved Argo City by turning it into a planetoid. Later, it would fall victim to a plague of anti-kryptonite poisoning when it eventually encountered the same transformations of the other remnants of Krypton. He and Alura In-Ze had sent their teenaged daughter Kara off to Earth in a rocket patterned after the one Kal-El had made his journey in years earlier. (*) They were then projected into the Survival Zone. Kara located them years later, and they relocated to Kandor. (*) Now here they were before him.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Supergirl from Krypton,” Action Comics #252 (May, 1959), “The Untold Story of Argo City,” Action Comics #309 (February, 1964), and “Supergirl’s Rival Parents,” Action Comics #310 (March, 1964).]
“Look at you two!” Jor-El said, chuckling jubilantly at the receding hairlines and laugh-lines his twin brother and younger brother now wore proudly. Turning to his twin, Jor-El said, “Nim, I don’t think anyone will have trouble telling us apart now.”
“Probably not,” Nim-El said, giving him a playful slap on the shoulder.
“And you, Zor! While I was gone, my little brother became my older brother!”
“Rao, it’s good to see you!” Zor-El said, embracing him again with a mixture of gratitude and shock.
Jor-El’s next big shock came from the Science Council of Rokyn. Krypton’s Science Council, based in Kryptonopolis, had treated him like an outcast when he refused to recant his findings about Krypton’s destruction. Rokyn’s Science Council in the capitol of New Kandor practically begged him to accept a seat. Not one to sit idly, he accepted. And that was what would lead him to the defining moment of his career.
Ro-Van, the elderly head of the Science Council, slowly stepped to the podium, and the assembled councilmen and members of the audience in the balcony above stood and applauded. Ro-Van smiled graciously and waited for the applause to die down before continuing.
“My fellow councilmen, for many years it has been my pleasure to serve this body, both as a member and as its head. The accomplishments we have made, both for the city of Kandor and the new world of Rokyn have given me a feeling of pride beyond measure.
“We are entering a bold new era as Rokyn leaves its infancy. The population of old Kandor has spawned many new cities across the globe, and our once-cramped populace has spread out across this world and continues to expand.
“This is truly a brave new world before us, and I can think of no better man to guide us into the future than the man you have chosen to be my successor. His family has stood at the forefront of Krypton’s proudest achievements, and it was his own son who freed Kandor from the bottle. It is only fitting that the father guide us the rest of the way. Gentlemen, I give you Jor-El.”
Ro-Van removed the ceremonial sash from his shoulders, and Jor-El leaned down so the older man could loop the sash over his neck to hang down across his shoulders. They shook hands, and Jor-El turned to take his place behind the podium. He could barely contain his smile as he looked out at the assembled crowd and said, “It is with great pride that I call this meeting of the Science Council of Rokyn to order.”
A thunderous applause filled the enormous room. Standing before their own council seats, Nim-El and Zor-El grinned broadly as they clapped with enthusiasm.
From the balcony above, the rest of Jor-El’s family watched with pride as well. Superman placed an arm around his mother’s shoulders and hugged her to him as they watched. Both were overjoyed as Jor-El finally received the recognition he deserved.
Superman mused at the irony. Brainiac had tried to deliver the unkindest cut of all, but in doing so, he had given him the greatest gift he could ever imagine.