“The Broken Chain”

Rated PG-13






Lex woke up because the bed was vibrating.  At first he thought that it was an earthquake.  He quickly realized that it was Clara.  She was trembling in her sleep.  He pulled back the covers and saw that Clara’s nightgown was soaked through with sweat.  He pulled back quickly and pinched his nose closed.  On the rare occasions when Clara perspired, the odor had a powerful, almost narcotic effect on him.  He was concerned for her and didn’t want to get so aroused that he couldn’t be of any help to her.  Her loud moaning wasn’t helping him think clearly.  He used his free hand to shake her until she woke up.


When Clara’s eyes opened, she said, “The planet is going to explode!”


Lex said, “You’re having a nightmare.”


Clara said, “I can sense it.”


Lex asked, “You think that someone going to bomb “The Daily Planet” building?”


Clara said, “NO!  The world is going to blow up.  The core is unstable and a chain reaction has begun.  The entire thing will blow up within the week and there’s no time and no place to evacuate everyone in time!”


Lex said, “Wake up, Clara.  This is Earth, not Krypton.  We’re all safe.  You’re just having that nightmare again.”


Clara said, “I AM awake.  I’ve lived here almost 80 years now.  I certainly know what planet I’m on.”


Lex said, “Just relax and take some deep breaths.  This isn’t the first time you’ve woke up thinking it was the end of the world.”


Clara said, “It’s not a nightmare this time.  I’m wide-awake and I can feel the magnetic field changing.  Earth is too beautiful to die!  People have come o far in such a short time.  There is a brilliant future ahead.  I won’t let it happen!  I won’t!”


Lex said, “If you are sure about this, we’d better contact the JLI right now.”


Clara said, “Not right now.  I need you here right now.  You can tell them later.”


Lex said, “I thought you said there isn’t time.”


Clara said, “They’ll have plenty of time but we won’t.”


Lex asked, “What do you mean?”


Clara pulled Lex’s hand away from his face and pulled him close.  She said, It doesn’t matter.  Nothing matters.  Hold me.  I want you to hold me.  Make love to me!”


Lex said, “This isn’t the right time for … this.”


Clara said, “It’s the only time.”  Clara began kissing Lex.  By now he was lost in his desire for her and couldn’t control himself anymore.  She said, “Please call my name.  Call me Angel again.”







Five hours later, Le stepped out of the shower and dressed in his black body suit.  Clara stepped out behind him and wrapped a robe around herself.  Lex asked, “Aren’t we going to the JLI now?”


Clara said, “You go.  I’m tired.”


Lex said, “You’re rarely tired.”


Clara said, “An 86 year old woman is entitled to be tired once in a while.  This is one of those times.  I’m emotionally drained.  I’ve lived through this before and I’m not ready to fce losing another world.  Say hello to all of them for me.  Tell them I wish I could be with them this time … but I just can’t.  Have them say a prayer.”  After giving Lex a long loving look, she said, “You know that worlds may come to an end but our love will endure no matter what.”  Lex took Clara in his arms and gave her a lingering kiss.  Clara said, “You know I love you more than anything … and I have since I first set eyes on you.”  Lex gave her his biggest grin that said it all and then kissed her again.  He pulled his mask over his head, totally obscuring his face.  He vanished in front of her and she almost fell to the floor.  She propped herself up by putting her hands on each side of the sink.  She took pains to not look at herself in the mirror as she gathered her wits by taking a few deep breaths.  Then she made her way downstairs.










The mansion was strangely silent.  Usually there was at least one grandchild or great grandchild somewhere on the grounds.  She caught herself thinking that the house felt like a mausoleum … then mentally slapped herself.  In the den, she moved aside the bookshelf that concealed the wall safe.  She worked the combination, opened the door and walked inside.  She leaned over and kissed the Palac.  She touched a small locket on a broken chain that Leah used to love to wear.  Then she found a tiny box in the special place that she kept it.  She opened the box and took out the green ring with the lantern icon on it.  As she slipped it onto her finger, the ring said, “Good afternoon mistress, it has been many years!”


Clara said, “Drink your fill of me.  You’ll need a good charge for what I am going to ask of you.”


The ring said, “A poem is customary … nothing silly this time, okay?”


Clara said, “I guess I could come up with something.  I’m not promising any Shakespeare.  Let’s see.


When trouble comes

That I can’t fight

I call upon

Green Lantern’s might.

May the Guardian’s grant

The strength I need

And the help

Of Tomar-Re.


How was that?”


The ring said, “I’m no critic.  At least it rhymed.  What is it you require from me, my Lady?”


Clara said, “Well since you asked and I’m not dressed for work, how about a uniform?”  Clara immediately found herself dressed in a tight fitting green and black outfit with a green lantern icon over her heart.  Clara said, “Hey!  You are supposed to do what I visualize!  This isn’t my uniform!”


The ring said, “Sorry.  Due to a necessary impurity in my composition, I can not reproduce the yellow in your customary attire, so I substituted a uniform that meets the Green Lantern Corps guidelines.”


Clara said, “Green really never was my favorite color … for obvious reasons.  And this suit is almost too tight for me to breathe.”


The ring said, “It is my understanding that you don’t need to … but whoever you intend to do battle with probably will need to and this uniform should take their breath away.  An off-balance opponent is more easily defeated.”


Clara said, “It won’t help me because I am up against a woman this time – Mother Nature.  I won’t say that I wouldn’t be caught dead in this uniform … because it’s not that bad, but do you really thing that a great, great grandmother should wear something like this?”


The ring answered, “You don’t look any different physically than you did 67 years ago when you first peeked into the box Hal Jordan gave you.


Clara said, “It’s a curse.  People still treat me like a kid if they don’t recognize me.” 


The ring said, “But you are different.  I can sense that your power is much greater these days.”


Clara said, “The sun keeps shining and my body keeps sucking up the energy.  At least it doesn’t make me bloat or I’d be as big as a barn.  Well, I’ve delayed this as long as I had better.  Ring, please contact Tomar-Re’s ring for me.”


The ring said, “Tomar-Re doesn’t have a ring anymore.  He retired 20 years ago.”


Clara said, “Is he well?”


The ring said, “He is fit – a side effect from wearing a power ring all those years.  Do you want me to contact hi replacement?”


Clara said, “No, only Tomar-Re can help me this time.  Go to him immediately and tell him that it is urgent for him to return with you.  Let him wear you and do as he commands of you until I bid you to return to me.”


The ring said, “Yes Mistress” and disappeared.






Clara closed the safe behind her and walked outside and into the back yard.  It was a glorious day.  She breathed deeply and took in the view.  Soon a hole in space opened up and Tomar-Re stepped through.  He was wearing Clara’s ring.  She opened her arms and smiled like a child.  He went to her and they shared a hug.  Tomar-Re said, “You need me so I came at once!”


Clara said, “I am sorry to get to business so quickly my dear friend, but time is running out.  Do you remember the machine that my Uncle built to save Krypton?”


Tomar-Re said, “It would be hard to forget.  I lived inside of it for 3 years!  But the machine wasn’t capable of doing that for which it was designed.”

Clara said, “Only you know the inner workings of that machine.  The ring should be able to build one from your memories.”


Tomar-Re said, “Yes, the ring could easily re-created the machine.”


Clara said, “Please make one for me!  I want to see it.”


Tomar-Re said, “It was like a prison to me … and a reminder of my greatest failure.  Seeing it again would be like revisiting a horror from my worst nightmare.”


Clara said, “Why waste words?  You know that you would do anything I ask of you.  I’m like your very own hatchling.”


Tomar-Re said, “Sadly, that is true.  You make me helpless and without a will of my own.”


Clara said, “So, make me one … my Uncle’s machine … now … please!”


Tomar-Re pointed his hand towards to an area some distance from the house.  An enormous machine made of glowing green energy materialized.  He said, “That is it down to the last detail.  Will you share with me why you insist on seeing it here and now?”


Clara said, “A chain reaction is in progress at the Earth’s core.  It is very similar to the process that destroyed Krypton.  Without this machine, this planet will die … just like Krypton did.”


Tomar-Re asked, “Why didn’t you tell me your intentions before having me recreate this thing.  It is useless.  It will not save your adopted world any more than it saved the planet where you were born.  The ring should be used to make useful things … like spaceships to get as many Earth people to safety as possible.”


Clara said, “I won’t save only a handful when this machine can save everyone … well, almost everyone.”


Tomar-Re said, “Even all the energy in the Great Lantern on Oa wouldn’t be adequate to make this machine do what you want it to do.  At best it will delay the inevitable and buy the people of Earth some time.  Is that what you intend?  Do you want me to get inside that thing and delay the death of this planet?  As you have said, if you ask, I can not refuse you.”


Clara said, “No, I don’t intend to delay the chain reaction, I will STOP it and stabilize Earth’s core … with that machine.”


Tomar-Re said, “Aren’t you listening to me?  There is no power source in the known universe that could make that machine stop that kind of chain reation!”


Clara smiled and said, “You’re wrong.  There is a power source that will do the job.”


Tomar-Re said, “That is not funny!  Your humor still evades me at times.”


Clara said, “What makes you think it’s a joke?  You put yourself in there for Krypton’s sake – for 3 long years.  You inspired me.  I will do the same thing, but It will take less than a minute for me to do the job.  I will not suffer even a moment of what you endured.”


Tomar-Re said, “That machine will try to suck the life out of you.  What makes you think that you could survive?”


Clara said, “I don’t.”


Tomar-Re let out a loud squawk.  Then he shouted, “It’s not worth it!  Let this planet explode!  If the universe has decided that it is this planet’s time to die, so be it.  Had the natives worked together all the years they lived here rather than fighting all the time, they could have left on their own long before now.  Their petty bickering has condemned them.  Let them die!”


Clara said, “I know that it is your love for me that is talking.  I know you would give your own life for these people if you had the resources within you that I do.  You do not even know them, yet you would do that.  But, me, I know and love these people.  This world adopted me when I was alone in the universe.  It sheltered me, nurtured me, gave me a husband and a large, loving family.  I owe this world a debt I could never repay.”


Tomar-Re said, “You are wrong, dear Kayla.  You have repaid that debt a million times over.”


Clara said, “You can not possibly imagine.  Any day with Lex is more precious to me than what I am about to give up.”


Tomar-Re said, “Then live and spend another thousand years with your Lex.  Come with me now and we will ask the Guardians to tell us another way.  There must be another way.”


Clara said, “Dear Friend, there just isn’t the time.  I won’t take the risk my Father Jor-El took by waiting for a group of people to decide what has to be done.  What is at stake is far too precious.  I was chosen to survive last time.  Now it is my turn to pay the price.  It is long over due.  But, do me one last favor.  Stay near Lex a while.  Watch over him as you once watched over me.”


Tomar-Re shouted, “KAYLA!  NOOOOOOO!”  He pointed his hand at the machine and it began to fade out of existence.


Clara willed  her ring to return to her.  It flew off of Tomar-Re’s finger and onto hers.  The machine became tangible again.  Clara smiled at him and blew him a kiss as she floated backward then vibrated through the wall and into the reactor chamber.  The machine came to life and in one mighty pulse, it sucked the energy out of Clara and sent a discharge into the planet … reversing the reaction at Earth’s core.  The machine disappeared leaving Clara’s lifeless body lying on the ground.  Tomar-Re walked up to her, fell to the ground, cradled her in his arms and wept.






Lex said his goodbyes to Clara in private.  He had dressed her in the gown she had worn on their wedding day 63 years earlier.  He stayed inside the mansion while the heroes of the world gathered t say goodbye to the woman they had known as Super Woman.  Sealed inside a large crystal, Clara’s body was to be launched into space by her oldest son Larry.  But as he approached the crystal, the strongest man on Earth trembled and fell to his knees.  From behind the circle of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, Krypto stepped forward and took human form.  He gently lifted the crystal and threw it into the heavens.  The crystal entered into a close orbit of the Sun.  Deep inside Clara, her energy symbiote began to slowly drink in energy.