Within the Fortress of Science, Lena Luthor tossed and turned beneath her silken sheets as the pretty girl’s rest was troubled by dark visions. “No!” she cried out and sat up suddenly with her heart racing and her eyes wide with fright.
“It was the same nightmare. Alex dies at the hands of our enemies. It must be a true vision of things to come. Oh, how can I go on like this?” She shuddered.
A voice seemed to whisper softly at the edges of her mind. A faint will-o’-the-wisp-like tugging that echoed within her mind or soul passed across her awareness as she struggled to find answers.
“I can help you. I’m not a dream. Your psychic sensitivity allows you to hear my thoughts. Help me, and I shall do the same for you,” said the seductive female voice.
Lena said, “What must I do?”
The voice said, “Let’s talk in your brother’s lab.”
Lena Luthor padded down the hall on bare feet and entered Alex Luthor’s now-empty lab. He had joined his wife Lois in their quarters, and the lab was silent. She glanced at the chamber in which the robotic Amazo slumbered on in his electronic sleep. He was a failed experiment of Alex’s, one of many attempts by her heroic sibling to stop the evil Crime Syndicate once and for all.
Another such experiment was John “Brainiac” Smith. John was Lena’s special friend, and even at six inches, he retained her respect and affection. She could have used his advice and his steady modulated words of comfort. However, he wasn’t present, either.
Thus, Lena Luthor alone took her furtive steps that promised to change her life forever. She followed the soft urging of the voice and manipulated various machines. Even though she was a bright girl, the science was beyond her level of intellect. Still, images of exactly what should be done and how to do it flickered through her mind like subtle phantoms from a dream. She worked through the night and finally received the praise of a job well done from her ghostly aide.
“Now activate the machine, and I shall help you get all you deserve,” hissed the voice.
Lena flipped a switch, and a glow burst from the projector. In seconds, a woman appeared before her startled eyes. She was Lena’s exact twin, and she wore an alien costume of red and blue. A short red skirt and red slippers, along with a blue top, completed her costume. Her hair was fair and her features were lovely, if cold.
“Who are you? And why do you look like me?” gasped Lena.
“Our looks are alike by a jest of fate, and my survival is due entirely to genius all my own. I survived the death of my world and now hope to avenge that loss,” snapped the blonde.
“My name?” she said with a smile as Lena frowned in concern. “Call me Ultragirl!” she laughed and then flew off, leaving a shocked Lena to stare as alarms echoed and Alex and Lois rushed into the lab.
“Lena, who was that? She tore out of here with the raw power of Ultraman himself!” he said as he held his sister.
Lena wept softly. “I fear she was a nightmare made all too real.” As Lena sobbed gently in her sister-in law’s arms, her heroic brother Alex checked the data his hidden scanners had gathered after the appearance of the powerful blonde woman.
“Lena, she’s apparently from Krypton like Ultraman. I’d believed all of that sad world’s natives to have died except for the obvious and infamous exception of Ultraman. That means she has potentially all the power he has, plus she apparently has a good mind, too. Somehow she escaped the destruction of their world years ago via some type of other-dimensional safety zone. She remained trapped within this zone until you freed her. Apparently your psychic sensitivity allowed her to mentally contact or even dominate you.”
Lois held Lena and hushed her tears. “It wasn’t your fault, dear. She must have manipulated you.”
Lena shook her head. “No — I fell for her lies. I thought she could help me protect you all. I never imagined she was such a fiend. This projector she guided me to construct tells you of her likely origin from another dimension. Can you send her back?”
Alex said, “I hope to do so, and perhaps if it works like the one we took from the Lawless League’s Hypernion, we could even trap Ultraman and his allies there as well.”
Lois said, “Oh, Alex, could you really? They escaped from one such Phantom Zone before.”
He nodded. “Yes, that makes it an exceedingly difficult proposition, but we have a new ally as you know.”
Lois said, “I hope his deception works.”
Alex sighed. “As do I. John is helping him. They are both good men.”
Lena said, “Alex, can you ever forgive me?”
He drew her near and said, “There’s nothing to forgive. That blonde vixen might have tricked any of us.”
Lena accepted his words of reconciliation, but she blamed herself and wondered if she had unleashed yet another super-villain on the unsuspecting world outside.
Ultraman himself was brooding in the hidden base of the Crime Syndicate when Owlman entered with a sardonic grin on his face.
“Why so grim? Did you break another super-hero?” Owlman chuckled.
Ultraman frowned. “You wouldn’t understand. I was recalling my life on Krypton, if you must know.”
Owlman nodded in silent understanding. He had a keen insight in the workings of his menacing ally’s dark nature, and he speculated at times on why he was so troubled by his past and his father.
“You had the last laugh. You lived — Krypton died. Your old man died. How smart was he? You sure showed him,” insisted Owlman.
Ultraman nodded. “Yeah, I showed him. How come it doesn’t feel like a victory sometimes?”
A female voice said, “It doesn’t feel like a victory, because your survival was undeserved. Your father was a better man than you are. He taught me well, and that’s how I survived.”
Owlman jumped aside as the blonde in the red miniskirt, cape, and slippers, and blue blouse smashed into the room from above.
“Kira? How in the world?!” gasped Ultraman.
Owlman smiled as he watched the powerful girl defy her hulking counterpart.
“Your father, my uncle, taught me about extra-dimensional transport,” said Kira Zot-LL, Ultraman’s Kryptonian cousin. “I escaped into what I called the Survival Zone when our world exploded. Now I’m free, and I’d like to make you as dead as Krypton,” she shouted.
He pulled her near and caressed her lithe form. “Now, Kira, that’s no way for cousins to behave,” he smirked.
She slapped him across the face and pulled free. “I told you years ago not to ever try to touch me like that again! Your advances sickened me then and still turn my stomach!” she snapped.
Ultraman said, “You always were a conceited little thing. Your beauty gave you airs.”
Owlman cleared his throat. “May I interrupt this touching family reunion? This fetching young woman is your cousin?”
Kira said, “I am his cousin, and I’m bitterly ashamed of it.”
Owlman held up a hand as Ultraman moved toward the girl. “You have all of his powers and may easily dominate many on this world. What are your plans? Do you mean to defy us or join us?” he asked.
She tossed her long blonde curls and said, “At first I meant to kill him. Now I wonder if this world is not large enough for us both. I warn you, Ultraman — keep your distance. I’ve watched all that you’ve done here, and I will not interfere with your team if you leave me alone.”
Ultraman smirked. “She was my father’s pet. She’s smart. She’ll leave us alone.”
She said, “That’s right. I won’t cross your dark path again, Rao willing. Oh, and don’t call me Kira. Call me Ultragirl.” She flew off, leaving the two Syndicators staring at one another.
“Quite a girl. I hope she won’t present us with a problem,” said Owlman.
Ultraman slammed his fists together. “She won’t, or I’ll kill the spoiled brat!”