hazelrah: (superman)
[personal profile] hazelrah
Written in late 1999. This is crackfic of sorts, although how long it takes for the penny to drop depends on the reader.

Escape From Krypton?

Rated PG.

A very different look at Lara and Jor-El's reasons for sending Kal-El to Earth. Set pre-series, with vague spoilers for Foundling.

***

"Oh, Maker," Lara breathed, staring with horror at the ominous sight on her scopes, still only a fuzzy image at the very edge of sensor range. "It'll be here in less than a day."

Pulling the earphones off her head, Lara tossed them onto the console and hurried out of the control room. She ignored the curious looks of her colleagues, who clearly wondered why she was leaving her post so abruptly without calling for a replacement. There was no time to lose. She had to warn Jor!

Determined not to cause a wide-spread panic, she forced herself to walk at a reasonable pace through the quiet streets. Why alarm a populace that could not escape its grim fate? Once she reached her home, though, she virtually bolted through the halls until she reached Jor's laboratory.

Under normal circumstances, the sight that greeted her eyes as she burst through the lab doors would have brought a fond smile to her lips. Little Kal sat in his baby seat, deep brown eyes following his father's every move with deep interest, while Jor often paused in his work to favor the infant with a broad grin. Now, however, Lara's attention was taken up entirely by the horror that was rapidly reaching their planet.

"It's happening, Jor," she blurted as she stumbled to a halt at her husband's side. "Just like Bail said it would."

Jor reached out and gave Lara a steadying hand. "It's on the scopes, then?" he asked quietly.

She nodded, blinking hard against the sudden moisture in her eyes. "We have less than a day," she whispered. "There's no way to escape, Jor. In less than a day, the planet will be blown to bits."

"Have you warned anyone yet?" Jor frowned as his wife shook her head. "Why not? We can't save all the populace, but surely if we arranged for mass lift-offs..."

"Do you think they'd allow that?" Lara asked bitterly. "I'm sure there are plenty of fighters in reserve, waiting to pick off anything that tries to get away."

"A small shuttle...?" Jor turned and took three swift strides to his computer console, an oddity on a world where 'droids usually crunched numbers for their human masters. Without bothering to sit down, he started typing rapidly, calling up data and assessing the possibilities.

"I don't think so," Lara said soberly. "With a station that size, there's no way in Aldera that anything will escape its sensors." Her shoulders slumped as her gaze was drawn inexorably to the gurgling infant trying to eat his toes. "Oh, my Kal," she said in a hopeless whisper.

"Wait, Lara."

Lara tore her eyes from her son and turned to Jor. "What?"

Jor gestured at the computer screen as he finally settled into his chair. "I've been running simulations. Come and take a look."

She came forward and leaned over his shoulder, following his pointing finger as he ran over a column of figures.

"When the planet explodes..." He faltered for a moment, and Lara squeezed his shoulder reassuringly. "The ionization and the irradiated debris should make enough of a camouflage to let something get through. Not a large ship. Maybe not even a shuttle. But something the size of an escape pod might make it."

"An escape pod? That's no help, Jor. An escape pod has no propulsion to get out of the area, and you can be sure they'll scan after the explosion to make sure there were no survivors. Nothing short of..." Her voice trailed off.

Jor turned around in his chair and took her hands in his own. "We can't escape, Lara," he said softly. "But maybe Kal can."

"In that prototype?" Lara swallowed hard. "But you've never tested it, only the probes."

"Lara. You're the one who created a fuel stable enough and strong enough to send a probe to explore other galaxies. I just programmed the probes to navigate the distance. I trust your work, love. There's that little planet I told you about, in a galaxy far away from here..." He stopped to make some rapid-fire calculations on the computer, then nodded. "Yes. We can use your fuel to send the prototype to Earth."

"Are you sure you can trust that prototype with our son's life?" Lara said, her voice strained.

"I trust it enough to offer him the chance at life, as opposed to no chance at all." Releasing her hands, Jor rose from his chair and headed to the far side of the lab. Lara followed.

Jor tapped the code into the lock on the storage cabinet. The door slid smoothly open to reveal a small pod, just large enough for a six-month- old infant.

"If we time it just right," Lara said slowly, thinking aloud, "we could send this ship off when the station is orbiting the far side of the planet. It's small enough that it will probably avoid detection."

Jor nodded. "You saw the numbers, Lara. When the station comes into firing range, it will be almost a full one hundred eighty degrees away from us. I think we can successfully launch, just a few minutes before it fires..." He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them. "And then," he added with difficulty, "once the planet explodes, it will mask the pod's escape into hyperspace."

"It might work," Lara said. Her face hardened. "It has to."

***

By the following morning, all was in readiness. Death loomed menacingly over the planet's skies, drawing nearer and nearer with each passing moment. There was still time, though. Time enough to rescue a single child and send him to a haven far away from the evil that threatened their galaxy.

"Are you sure we're doing the right thing, Lara?" Jor frowned as he shut down the last of the holograms. He tucked the globe into the nose of the tiny ship. "Making up a name for the planet, pretending its destruction is natural... Should we be lying to our son like this?"

"What's the alternative, then?" Lara demanded. "We don't dare explain his true heritage. We're sending him far enough; that rotten old dictator will probably never sense him. But if he knows of his true powers, and he uses them properly, it'll be like a beacon. Better he remains ignorant, and safe."

"It will manifest itself in other ways, though," Jor reminded her. "It's an incredibly rich planet in that respect. He'll be tremendously strong there."

"Let him be," Lara said. "Let him be strong, Jor. Let him be more powerful than any other being on the planet. Let him fly, for all I care." She hugged her precious son tightly. "Just let him live," she added, her voice so low Jor could barely hear her.

"He will live," Jor promised her, hugging both of them at once. The small family stood there for long moments, a motionless tableau. It was with great reluctance that Lara finally broke the embrace.

"No time left," she murmured. Reverently, she laid her baby in the little ship. Jor laid a hand on the infant's head in a last benediction.

"The Force will be with you, Kal-El," he whispered. "Always."

They gazed at their son for one last, loving moment before they set the controls. The tiny ship blazed through the atmosphere, shielded from the battle station orbiting the far side of the planet. Even as it reached the blackness of space, the Death Star's superweapon shot a single, massive beam at the planet Alderaan, obliterating the planet completely. In the spectacular explosion that followed, no one on the Death Star noticed a tiny mote that accelerated away into hyperspace, heading across distant galaxies to a blue-green jewel where one of the last surviving children of Alderaan would find a safe haven.

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Hazel-rah

August 2010

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