"Underworld": When he was seven years old, Clark Kent fell out of a tree, and after realizing that nothing could hurt him, he decided he was going to fly. He climbed up high into the same tree, but he was distracted suddenly by how well he could hear the sound of a b
- ... Let's try not to make friends with any more monsters.
- -- Lana Lang
Appearing in "Underworld"
- Imperial Subterranea
Synopsis for "Underworld"
When he was seven years old, Clark Kent fell out of a tree, and after realizing that nothing could hurt him, he decided he was going to fly. He climbed up high into the same tree, but he was distracted suddenly by how well he could hear the sound of a bird pecking at the ground nearly 300 feet away. It's only the beginning, as he begins to hear noises and conversations from far and away. Though his parents were whispering, he could hear them talking about his having fallen out of the tree, and worrying at the thought of anyone discovering that he was not human. This came as a shock to Clark, though, because he had not yet discovered that fact.
He tried to hide his concern, but Jonathan and Martha Kent could see the change in him, and within a few weeks, they revealed the truth about how they came to be his parents. They showed him the blanket that Clark had been wrapped in when they found him, explaining that the fabric seemed to be indestructible. Touching it, Clark could feel the love of both the parents that had first wrapped him in it, and of the parents who had kept it for him until that day.
Now, Clark has wrapped another child in that same blanket - now his cape. Only a short time earlier, that child had been a monster whom he'd had to save from frightened and violent humans. Clearly, it is a shape-changer of some kind. Safe in the Fortress of Solitude, the creature wakes, and Clark feels guilty for having to keep it in his menagerie. This seems no problem for the little creature, who uses electrical energy to slip through the glass wall, and escape, shouting "Baka!" over and over. Clark decides that "Baka" must be its name, and can't help but let it run free, feeling sentimental.
Baka runs into Clark's bedroom, seemingly drawn by the photographs on his bedside table. Clark explains that these are photos of his friend Lana, who had been working on the drilling rig that Baka destroyed. He'd nearly killed her. As if on cue, Clark's phone begins vibrating with a call from Lana. Hurriedly, she explains that she went down into the hole the creature had come from, and she had seen something he would be interested in. She sends him a photo of the runes she discovered, and when Baka sees them, he seems to become agitated. Unfortunately, Lana must hang up abruptly when some government representatives plan to lay claim to the site, and she intends to get down there again before they do.
Lana believes that something more than just the ruins she found lie down in the tunnel, and if she can get there first, it will belong to everyone instead of the government. Unknown to her, though, Ghost Soldier has followed her down. He reports back to his employers that she may be in danger, and they assure him that Superman will come for her if she gets into trouble. As she goes in deeper, Lana begins to worry that maybe she should turn back. That is, until she sees the strange pink light of a hovering orb illuminating a round hall. As she approaches it, though, more monsters begin to converge on her from all around.
Fortunately, Superman arrives soon after, and while he deals with the larger creatures, she defends herself using a special energy gun that she designed. She is not aware, though, that the creature she first uses it on is Baka, and he likes the electricity it produces. When Lana realizes that this is the same creature that had attacked her before, she is suspicious, even as Baka attacks the other monsters to protect her. Clark explains that he intends to find Baka's people, and she warns that they may be just as bad as he is. They are both surprised to hear Baka say that his people are worse.
At that moment, a larger humanoid adult creature appears, grabbing Baka up by the tail, and commenting that they are not so bad as they seem. Unwilling to see Baka be bullied, Superman attacks. His efforts are wasted, though, when Baka's rage transforms him back into the monstrous creature Clark had encountered before, and his bursts of electrical energy threaten to bring down the roof. Superman turns his attention to rescuing Lana, who warns that perhaps they had better not befriend any more monsters.
After getting to safety, Clark spots the man-like creature preparing to chain Baka, and warns him to stop. He assumes that this person has created an army of monsters to attack the Earth - a plan that Baka wants no part of. The man responds that the monsters are meant to protect this world from what other things lie within the realm of Imperial Subterranea.
Deeper within the caverns, the Queen of Imperial Subterranea realizes that with the defeat of Ukur's beasts, she is free - and it is high time that the people of the sun pay her homage.
- This book was first published on January 8, 2014.
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