“The Two Trios”
Linda was asleep but she heard a man’s voice calling her. The voice said, “It’s time. It’s time!” She felt a hand gently shake her shoulder. This time it was her Mother’s voice saying, “It’s time. Honey, it’s time!” Linda woke to see her Mother standing over her. She wasn’t fully away and asked, “Time for what? Pancakes?”
“No,” answered Martha, “It’s time for some new lives to enter the world. My water broke and I’m in labor. Clark will be here soon. I’m uncomfortable having him deliver the babies, but I wouldn’t want to trust anyone else.”
Linda shook herself fully awake and jumped out of bed. It felt like Christmas all over again. She wondered what she should wear to make the best first impression on her new brothers and sister. As she made a decision and grabbed a simple white dress, she heard an insistent male voice say,”It’s time.”
Without turning, Linda shouted, “Daddy! Don’t come in while I’m getting dressed! Mom already told me that ….” Linda felt dizzy and startled. The room had gone dark. Somehow she was already dressed. Her feet were wet and dirty and standing on something cold instead of the plush carpet of her room. In her hand was clutched the key to Clark’s spaceship. She realized that she wasn’t home anymore. The key leapt from her hand and did a dance in the air before finding its place in the cave wall. The image of Jor-El appeared before her. Linda shouted, “Teacher, why am I here?”
The image of Jor-El answered, “We have waited too long for Kal-El to accept the logic of you as his life mate. It is time for a new mate to be selected for you so that the work of building a new Krypton can begin. Our race must continue. The universe needs us.”
Linda said, “This is not a good time. My Mother needs me now.”
The image of Jor-El said, “What is the significance of a single woman when weighted against the fate of an entire race – a race destined to bring order to a chaotic universe and through order – peace for all intelligent life everywhere.”
Linda answered angrily, “If a single person has no value in Kyrptonian philosophy, I want no part of IT or YOU!”
The image answered, “An individual is important. Martha Kent has been of service, but the philosophies she taught Kal-El has hindered our noble purpose. New Krypton has been delayed due to Kal-El’s focus on this world, his lack of interest in the bigger picture and his need to feel a special kind of love for you before doing his duty by siring children with you.”
Linda said, “I don’t want him to have babies with me because of duty. I WANT him to feel that special kind of love for me.”
The image said, “Yet, I sense that you would have children with him if he was simply doing his duty.”
Linda hung her head in shame and said, “I would have Clark on any terms he set for me.”
The image asked, “Would you have children by another if you knew that many innocent lives depended on it?”
Linda said, “If I have to. But I won’t if I know my babies will be forced to have awful lives for the “greater good.” Do I have to? To I have to be with someone other than Clark?”
The image answered, “It can be done in a clinical way if you so chose. Is there another man you would have as a life mate -- one that I can make suitable for you?”
Linda said, “Do we HAVE to do this now? Can’t it wait until tomorrow. My Mother is having babies right now!”
The image almost sounded excited as it asked, “Babies? How many?”
Linda answered, “Three. Two boys and a girl.”
The image said, “Excellent, they can easily be altered to be as you are. They can serve as the hosts for the memories and experiences that I have in storage for Jor-El Lara and Kal-El.”
Linda shouted, “NO! They are as God intended them to be. Mom and Dad deserve the chance to have normal children that they can raise from birth to adulthood. I will be whatever you need me to be, but they are off limits or I will fight you until one of us is destroyed!”
The image said, “There are other options. Jonathan Kent is now as you are. He could sire children with you. I can manipulate the resulting offspring to ensure genetic diversity so that his being a genetic donor to you will cause no abnormalities.”
Linda said, “NO! He’s my Dad! Why did you say that! OH! Dead puppy! Dead puppy! Now I’m really mad.”
The image said, “He could be made suitable. Societal prejudices are of no significance when ….”
Linda said, “SHUT UP! I SAID NO!”
The image said, “Chose a human that you feel is suitable. I will make whatever changes are necessary to make him suitable.”
Linda said, “I have no right to force that on anyone, and I couldn’t possibly select someone. Clark is the only one I have any interest in. That’s the way you made me.”
The image said, “You are much more than what you were made to be. You give me very few options. We will make a new Kal-El. But this one will be raised by Jor-El and Lara.”
Linda asked, “Aren’t you Jor-El?”
The image answered, “I use much of what he was in order to communicate with your kind. My initial mission was the safe delivery of the infant Kal-El to this planet. The memories and experiences of Jor-El, Lara and Kal-El were downloaded into my matrix so I could answer any questions Kal-El or those chosen to raise him might have. The entire data base of Kryptonian civilization was also downloaded into me. I am what you might naively call an “artificial intelligence.” As you have pointed out, I have less love for humanity than Jor-El had. My primary mission of delivering Kal-El being complete, I was free to spend every minute planning for a universe in which Kal-El and his offspring could prosper and live in peace. I am of Krypton and see the benefit of Krypton’s re-emergence by whatever means necessary. If I can achieve these ends without disrupting lives or causing inconvenience to a few I will, but if the end goal can only be achieved through a minimal sacrifice, then so be it. One person’s happiness will not compromise peace for the universe.”
Linda said, “I hear that a grave can be peaceful and to a machine ….”
The image answered, “I wish you only the best and I know that you are one that will willingly sacrifice for others. You yourself said that today’s time is of value to you. So let us accomplish what must be done today so that you can be on your way. I will require 3 babies. They will become the new Jor-El, the new Lara and the new Kal-El. Kal-El will be of sufficient maturity in 12 years to begin siring children. Jor-El would also be an acceptable mate for you as would any other children that Jor-El has with Lara. Maximum number of offspring and maximum diversity is the goal. If your “Clark” should decide to have children by you in the intervening years, all the better.”
Linda said, “I told you can not have my brothers and sister!”
The image said, “But you said you would do what you could if I left them alone.”
Linda said, “Yes, I said that and I will.”
The image said, “So be it. This will be painful for you. But it is either this or ….”
Linda said, “I don’t care if it hurts. Just hurry up so I can go home. My Mother is calling me already and I don’t want her to worry about me.”
The cave filled with light. The glyphs on the wall stirred and came to life as energy beyond measured poured into the chamber and into Linda’s body. She shook violently from the forces flowing into her. Soon, she woke up on the floor and could hear her Mother calling from miles away. She got to her feet and struggled to maintain balance as her body changed and her center of gravity shifted. She exited the cave and lost her footing one more time as a violent quake shook the ground. Dirt and debris from well over a thousand years fell from the area that had been disguised a cave system within a hillside. Energy flowed through the structure and it began to alter its shape and heal the damage of time. The hole Clark once fell though grew shut. Dull, irregular surfaces became symmetrical, clean and shiny. Where once there was a hillside, now stood an enormous space ship – advanced beyond anything 21st century man had ever imagined.
Linda’s weight stabilized and she found her footing. She put on a burst of speed and was soon entering her gymnasium and headed for the planetarium that she had built as a birthing suite for her Mother. Clark was preparing the bed for his mother when he caught Linda’s scent. He heard the sound of her wet feet approaching the bed. Without turning from his task, he said, “Where have you been? You almost missed the big event. Mom will be here in a minute.” He noticed her muddy feet as she stood next to him. He said, “You know that this room needs to be kept clean. You need to go wash up. I never thought you would show up here at the last minute barefoot ….” Looking up, he saw that Linda’s abdomen was huge and completed his sentence “… and PREGNANT!”
Clark moved the birthing bed slightly off center in the room
and helped Linda onto it. A quick look had verified that she was pregnant with
3 children just like Martha was and she was about to give birth, just as Martha
was. Linda had two male and one female child inside her just like Martha. Clark had an idea of what was going on here. He had seen Linda impregnate herself at will.
He figured that, being so closely linked with Martha, she had made herself
pregnant in a sympathetic response to Martha going into labor. As soon as Linda
was on the bed, Clark was making trip after trip to the carpentry shop. First
he returned with a second birthing bed then on the next three trips he returned
with baby cribs. Linda finally caught his attention and told him that two of
the beds would need to be at least twin size and one would need to be for a 2
or 3 year old. He was about to argue with her about it but thought better of it
and made 3 more trips to the carpentry shop. As Clark was finishing up, Jon
came into the planetarium with Martha on his arm.
Martha was shocked to see Linda’s condition. She asked Clark, “Is she having a hysterical pregnancy?”
Clark said, “No, it’s very real.”
Martha asked, “Did she make herself pregnant so that we could do this together?”
Clark said, “That would be my guess.”
Linda shouted, “Clark, we’ve already established that you stink at guessing games. I’m in the room and I’ve got damn good hearing, you know? Why don’t you just ASK me what happened? Geesh!”
Martha said, “Sorry, Dear. How did you get this pregnant this fast? And, PLEASE leave out any details I might be embarrassed to hear about for the moment.”
Linda said, “Jor-El made me pregnant since Clark wouldn’t get his act together.”
Jon said, “You are having only one baby, right Anna?”
Linda said, “No, three. And thanks for asking me. Clark would probably have counted wrong.”
Jon said, “I was prepared to explain one extra child. How am I going to explain three?”
Linda said, “Mine aren’t staying. They’re just passing through. Jor-El got custody.”
Martha said, “Oh, no! I’m sorry, Dear.”
Linda said, “I’m not. They will be born having memories of someone else being their Mother. It’s a Kryptonian time saving device. They come out without giving you any credit or appreciation rather than taking years to get like that. Jor-El didn’t even take me to diner or a movie first. I don’t think it will bother me one bit when they’re gone. I wasn’t expecting them and they’ll be gone before I really believe that any of this ever happened. I have more connection to your babies, Mom. I’ve been preparing and waiting for them for so long.”
Jon asked, “If they are going away as soon as they are born, who’s going to raise them?”
Linda said, “Two of them will rapid age to adult bodies. They already have the memories of adults and should behave as mature adults as soon as they are born. Those two will raise the third one who may never mature. I’m giving birth to Clark’s parents and to another Clark. But Clark, if you dare to call me Grandma I swear I’ll knock you into the next state and you KNOW I can do it!”
Jon helped Martha onto the birthing bed. Martha and Linda took each other’s hand. Martha thought to tell Linda to stop taking out whatever was bothering her on Clark, but she was kind of feeling like knocking Jon into the next state as well – although she didn’t know why. Jonathan threw a switch and the planetariums light show began while symphony music played. Linda and Martha began breathing exercises and started to meditate. Martha was feeling no pain. She pushed when Clark instructed her, but she was shocked when Clark told her that she was fully dilated and the first babies head was almost out. She looked at Linda and could see the pain etched into her face. She shouted, “Linda! Don’t do that! I can handle my own pain. You don’t have to take it from me.” She turned and Clark was holding a baby in front of her.
Clark said, “Mom, you have a baby boy. By what name will he be known?”
Martha answered, “He is Ryan Andrew Kent!”
A very proud Jonathan took Ryan and kissed him then took him to wash and dress his son. Clark barely had time to get to Linda. He held up her first and said, “Linda, you have a baby boy. By what name will he be known?”
Linda said, “I don’t have anything. He’s not mine. He came from me but he is not “of” me. He is either Jor-El or Kal-El of the planet Krypton.”
Jon took Linda’s baby while Clark prepared for Linda’s second child to be born. Clark dispensed with the formality this time. He said, “This one is a girl, Linda.”
Linda said, “Then that one is your mother Lara of the planet Krypton. I don’t know what the El her last name is.”
Long minutes passed. Martha got a chance to get a good look at Ryan. Linda looked at Ryan for a minute but didn’t want to see the babies she had given birth to. She called to her father and said, “Daddy, please open the skylights. The babies and I need all the energy we can get.” Then she called Clark to come close and softly cried as she told him, “I’m sorry Clark. I didn’t mean to spoil everything. I never wanted things to happen this way. It was all supposed to be different and romantic and it’s not its terrible and I don’t feel good. I can’t make it through this without you. I’m too weak to go any further unless you are willing to help me.”
Clark nodded and said, “Anything you need. Anything.”
Linda said, “Hold my hand but not too long. Let go when I let go. You still need your strength to finish delivering the babies.” Clark didn’t quite understand, but when Linda took his hand, he felt a rush of energy flow from him. He felt dizzy and weak at the knees and there was no small measure of pain. Then Linda let go of his hand and said, “Let go now Clark and thank you.”
Clark took a break while he had the opportunity and decided to look at the babies for a while. Ryan was a tiny red faced boy with a full head of dark hair. Clark strolled to the next bed to look at his nephew/father? There was a sleeping boy who looked just like he did in his 5th grade school photos. In the next bed was a young girl who looked to be 10 years old and growing older as he watched. Her face had a supernatural kind of beauty to it that made her look unreal. Clark couldn’t help but stare at her as deeply buried memories of a face like this fought their way to the surface. He was startled back to the moment by a sharp groan from Linda. He barely made it back to her bed in time to catch her third and last child. Linda asked, “How old does the first boy appear to be now?”
Clark answered, “Somewhere between ten and eleven years old.”
Linda said, “Then that baby in your hands is you. Don’t drop him on his head because he is supposed to marry me someday.”
Clark cleaned the baby and tried not to think about there being a duplicate of himself in the world. He had always been troubled by how different he was. Now suddenly he didn’t feel as special anymore. He thought how funny it was that he could put a negative spin on it either way and consciously decided not to. Their age would make them different; the times in which they were raised would make a difference; and having Jor-El and Lara to raise him would make this Kal-El much different. If there was room in the world for a Superman, there should be room for a Superboy as well. He was done cleaning and dressing “himself” so he headed over to a crib to put the baby down when he heard a female voice call out to him – in Kryptonian.
Lara said, “Jor-El, bring my son to me.” Lara, now looking to be 16 years old was sitting up in bed wrapping a sheet around her self to cover her nakedness. As she tucked the sheet securely, she motioned for Clark to come over with the baby. Lara handed the baby to a Lara. Lara told Clark, “I’m feeling very disoriented. The baby is too small. I feel too small. You look too young. If Kal-El is so small I should have milk to feed him but I don’t. Was it only a nightmare? Did I only think that Kypton was dying?”
Clark answered Lara in Kryptonese, “Prepare yourself and make sure not to drop the child. Look through the skylight. That is not the star Rao. It is the star Sol. I am not your husband Jor-El. You have been given a new body as has your husband who sleeps in the bed next to yours. You are on the planet Earth.”
Lara looked around and tried to take it all in. She asked, “Who are you that you can look so much like my Jor-El.”
Clark answered, “I am the son you sent to Earth to save my life. The child you have in your arms is a child who will be as I was when I left Krypton, given for you to raise so that Krypton can live again.”
Lara lifted an arm to indicate for Clark to draw near. He sat on the bed and hugged Lara with the child in between them as Lara wept, “I didn’t want to send you away! I had to! I HAD TO!”
Jonathan tapped Clark on the shoulder to remind him that his other mother still needed him. Jon nodded at Lara and they exchanged silent greetings. Clark returned to Martha. Soon Martha’s second child came. Clark said, “Mom, you have a baby girl. By what name will she be known?”
Martha answered, “She is Josephine Ellen Kent!”
A happy Jonathan took Josie from Clark. It was only a few short minutes before Martha’s last baby was delivered. Clark said, “Mom, you have another baby boy. By what name will he be known?”
Martha answered, “He is Jonathan William Kent the Second!”
As soon as Linda heard the name of Martha’s last child, Linda let go of her mother’s hand and fell into a deep sleep. While Jon dealt with Jon Junior, Clark went over to continue his conversation with Lara but was shocked to see the spitting image of himself staring menacingly back at him. Jor-El said in English, “I always hoped you would grow up to look like your Mother. By Rao, you’re so ugly I can barely stand to look at you!” Clark stared blankly back at Jor-El until Jor-El broke into a huge smile and threw his arms wide in an invitation. Clark rushed over and gave his father a big hug. Jor-El whispered in his ear, “I am so sorry that the mind gave you such a hard time of it, Son. It used methods that I NEVER would have sanctioned!”
Clark moved back and asked, “The mind?”
Jor-El explained, “The artificial intelligence that controlled your ship. Had I had the time to prepare it properly, I wouldn’t have. I would have used the time to construct a ship big enough to accommodate more of us. The mind was supposed to protect you and help educate you about your beginnings. But the ancient ship that was left here centuries ago – the one that was camouflaged as a cave, influenced it. I had no intention of creating a second Krypton. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the first one when they wouldn’t listen to reason or let me leave when I knew the planet was doomed. And the idea of setting you up as the ruler of Earth! Being the head man makes you responsible to everyone. A slave usually only has one master, but a good king is the servant of every member of his kingdom. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! This Mind has a … mind of its own and has set its … mind on having a New Krypton. Because I am grateful to be alive again, I will give the New Krypton idea a try for a while. But you can only be grateful for being given a life SO long. After all, once it has been given to you, it is yours and you have to choose your own path rather than have it be dictated to you. No one, not even the one who gave you life should have the right to choose your path for you. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Clark said, “Yes! Yes I do! And you can’t believe how glad I am to hear you say that.”
Jor-El said, “Well, there is an exception. That lovely young lady over there with my baby in here arms can dictate to me any time she pleases. I am her slave by choice. As much as I enjoy talking to you like this, I still feel uncomfortable sitting here … NAKED! I’m sure Lara wouldn’t mind some clothes either even though she still knows how to wear a sheet better than any woman I have ever met. Had you had the foresight to put us in the same bed, I wouldn’t be asking for clothes. One other matter – it feels like I haven’t had a thing to eat in decades!
Clark said, “My Earth mother has just given birth to triplets. Give us a few minutes to make sure that she and her babies are taken care of and we’ll find you and … Mom some clothes and some food. I hope Earth food is suitable.”
Lara and Jor-El's radip aging ended when they appeared to be about 22 years old. Little Kal-El looked like a three year old when his aging slowed to normal. Martha was ready to get up and around almost immediately after the babies were born. She wanted to get up and be a good hostess to Jor-El and Lara. She felt that Earth's reputation for hospitality and good food were on her shoulders. Jonathan had to almost restrain her physically to get her to take it easy. The babies were in excellant health and slept except for when they wanted fed.
Linda was barely conscious for any length of time. Her only words when she woke up was "Are they gone yet?" She made it clear that she wanted no contact with the individuals that she had given birth to after carrying them inside her for 3 to 4 hours. She knew that they would not consider her to be their mother. And she wanted no reminder of her committment to leave her beloved home and move to New Krypton in 12 years. Twelve years sounded like a long time, but she dreaded it as if it were going to happen next week. Kal-El may grow up to look like Clark, but he wouldn't be the Clark that Jonathan and Martha raised -- the Clark that she loved.
Linda had had her first taste of being a baby making machine and she did not like it at all. Her breasts were big again and they hurt. And everytime one of the babies cried, her pajama top would get soaked. Her life was no longer wholly her own. She had promised away a portion of her future and had committed to leaving the Kent farm. She had been waiting for months for this day. She had planned to introduce herself to her brothers and sister, pledge her undying love to them and promise to protect them for all their days, but now she could only promise them that for 12 years. At the age when they would need her the most, she was obligated to go away. She considered making herself pregnant one more time and sending her baby with the others to New Krypton to serve as a mate for the new Kal-El. But that wasn't the promise that she had made and that wouldn't be a fair to obligate a child of hers to a life she wouldn't willingly choose for herself. For the moment, she was glad that she was tired. He body needed a chance to repair the damage done to it. Her mind needed the oblivion of sleep to keep from thinking about her promise.
The time soon came. The Mind that had guided Clark's space ship to Earth now guided the ancient space ship that was now fully restored to its former glory. The ship hung over the Kent farm. The Mind could have easily cloaked the ship, but it cared nothing for the Kent's desire for secrecy.
Before saying goodbye to Jor-El, Clark asked, "Do you know how far away New Krypton is from Earth."
Jor-El answered, "Exactly six months."
Clark asked, "At what speed?" Jor-El laughed. Clark tried a different question, "In what star system is New Krypton?"
Jor-El answered, "It isn't in any system yet. We intend to build it. We will build it in Sol's system in the most suitable, available location. Any day, you would be able to look directly towards New Krypton and not see it." Clark said nothing so Jor-El explained, "We are going to use the asteroid belt and other debris in this system as well as material extracted from Sol herself to construct new Krypton in the same orbit about Sol that Earth follows -- only on the exact opposite side of Sol at any given moment. We will be 180 degrees away -- six months difference in orbit. We will be your newest neighbor."
Jor-El, Lara and young Kal-El looked in on Linda one last time. They had visited several times but Linda had never opened her eyes or said a word. Both Lara and Jor-El stroked her hair and spoke words of appreciation in English and Kryptonian. They wished her well until the time they would call on her in 12 years. They promised to build her a fine home on New Krypton. They went downstairs and said a final good-bye to the Kents and asked them to thank Linda for them when she woke up.
When the space ship left. Martha went upstairs and sat on Linda's bed and stroked her daughter's golden hair. One of Linda's eyes popped open. She quietly asked, "Are they gone yet?"
Once Martha had -assured her that they had left, Linda sat up and asked how her brother and sister were doing. Martha told her that all her siblings including Clark were doing fine. She told Linda that the babies were a very hungry bunch and that they might like a little Kryptonian milk in their diet. Martha said, "I'd especially appreciate help with little Ryan since he's a real biter and I don't think that he would hurt you at all."
Linda answered, "OK, Mom. I'll help all I can ... while I'm here. And you're right, Mom. Ryan can't hurt me. Nobody can hurt me. Nobody at all. I'm invulnerable." Then she looked into her mother's eyes and burst out crying. Martha had expected it. Martha had hoped for it. Better sooner than later. Linda lay her head on her mother's shoulder and cried until she fell asleep in Martha's arms.