Untitled Superman Fan Fiction

Once again, I completely misread the brief for FanFiction Comedy. I've been a guest in this NZ-originated show for nearly five years now, so you think I'd remember the 'comedy' part of the title, instead of writing mournful, soul-searching stories about my favourite characters. Anyway, there were a couple of laughs in there, more than I was expecting to be honest. This is an idea I've had for about a bazillion years. If I had the time, I'd explore it properly, rather than just jumping out where I do. Hope you like it.

Clark imagined sometimes he could  hear a signal. Incredibly faint, nearly lost in the cacophony of noises he had to filter out every day. People arguing about their coffee order being wrong, fare evaders spinning excuses for the authorities on the Metropolis cross-town monorail, that homeless guy that wanders around the city, almost whispering his plea for a dollar. The only reason the sound stood out in the maelstrom of noise that flooded his Super-hearing every second, was the name: Kal-El. His alien name. The name that very few knew. Some of the humans knew him as Clark, nearly all of them had some recognition of him as Superman, but only a handful, mostly other extra-terrestrials and super-powered beings, knew him as Kal-El. He wondered at first if it were one of them, in trouble deep in space, for that was the origin of the signal.

A part of his super-hearing was his ability to concentrate on the source of a noise. He could hear how far away it was, whether it was being produced from a larynx, from objects colliding or electronically. This was definitely an electronic signal, a transmission, and it had come from the other side of the galaxy. As he narrowed his concentration, he began to realise it was a woman’s voice. Then it dawned on him that not only was it his birth name that was being uttered, but also that the woman was speaking Kryptonian, the language of the lost race of people who had first sent him to earth, in a rocket.

Before he even had a chance to translate the words for himself, he was breaking the sound barrier and exiting the Earth’s atmosphere. Soon he was flying even faster, hoping to get to the source of the broadcast before it was too late. It was twenty-seven light years away, which meant the broadcast originated not long after he had been sent from Krypton. He willed himself forward, he could feel the solar radiation that fuelled his cells burning away as he punctured the light barrier, and became pure energy.

Eventually, he was nothing but thought, a will to go on, transcending the physics of reality itself. Even time meant nothing to him, now he had unshackled himself from the very structure of being, so there was no accurate way for him to measure when he stopped his forward momentum and hung suspended in space, the light of a red dwarf star bathing him. The energy he drew in from it was not as powerful as that he pulled from the yellow sun the earth orbited, but it recharged him nonetheless.

He had arrived at the right position, expecting to see this other planet where they spoke Kryptonian, where a woman transmitted a plea to him into space. Perhaps it had happened as his planet exploded, but surely he would have found flotsam floating nearby. His eyes could see many different spectrums, and soon saw that a planet had indeed been here. He traced the orbit, and there, just beyond the burning red sun, was a planet. Intact, teeming with life, millions of signals bleeding out into space.

His feet touched the soil of this unfamiliar world, and the sound of Kryptonian voices filled his ears with chatter, filling his heart with hope. Here were his people. He would not even need to change his clothing to fit in, as he did on earth. Everybody on this planet wore similar garb, although what many on earth took to be his Superman uniform, seemed a little out of date here. Fashion had moved on. Capes were shorter, sleeves seemed optional, and knee high boots such as he wore were nowhere to be seen. He saw ankle high boots occasionally, but most wore sandals.

Clark, or Kal El as realised he must think of himself here, approached a stranger on the street.

“Excuse me --”

“Dude!” the red-haired man said, “are you wearing grandpa’s hand-me-downs? Woah.”

“Ah, yes. My clothes are a bit dated. I’ve been away a long time. Can you tell me, where am I?”

“Where have you been? The phantom zone? This is Kryptonopolis.”

Clark stood open-mouthed. That was the city of his birth.

“You have rebuilt Krypton on this new, adopted world?”

“Oh, man, you have been gone a long time. Were you in that weird suicide cult that thought the world was going to end? Have you been in a bunker somewhere? This is Krypton, dude. Hey, what was that guy’s name? The one who went to jail for blowing his kid up in a rocket, and trying to convince everybody they were all gonna die? Bor El? Kor El? He was one of the Els. Mad old coot.”

Clark was gone before the man finished his sentence. He was soon in the sky, looking down on the city with his remarkable vision. He found what he was looking for. She had always seemed so young and beautiful, he was not expecting this mature woman of sixty.


Lara stood looking at this stranger, wearing the crest of El on his chest, and as she looked into his deep blue eyes, she knew who this was standing before her.

“Kal? How?”

“I thought Krypton was dead, a destroyed world. How is this here? How are you…”

She embraced him. Then pushed him back to look at him again, holding his shoulders between her hands.

“My, you look just like your father before…”

A tear welled up in her eye.

“Your father has been in jail for much of his life. For murdering you. For so many transgressions. He tried to destroy the planet. When his prediction didn’t come true, he tried to make it happen. So much destruction.”

Clark stepped back from his mother.

“Kal El, you cannot be here. Your father can never know you have survived. He has spent so many years regretting what he did. He is only now coming to terms with it. It has been over thirty years. Please, I don’t know where you have been, or how you got here, but you must go.”

“I heard your transmission mother. You asked me to come back, to forgive you for what you’d done.”

“Thank you my son. This moment will be one I cherish forever, but for your father’s sake, you must go. Please. I hope your life, wherever you live it, is full of joy.”

It was months later, when Jimmy Olsen asked where he was originally from, Clark told him, as he always did, that his home planet had been destroyed.  He did not go into details, but he would look into the sky, as if he could somehow see his family there, still living under the light of a red sun.