"What Lies Beneath": Superman is uncomfortable to learn from the creature Ukur that their battle several hundred feet underground has opened the seal on Imperial Subterranea, unleashing a threat the likes of which neither Earth nor Ukur's undergrou
- I can barely talk. Imagine this kind of clean energy replacing every refinery on the planet.
- -- Lana Lang
Appearing in "What Lies Beneath"
Synopsis for "What Lies Beneath"
Superman is uncomfortable to learn from the creature Ukur that their battle several hundred feet underground has opened the seal on Imperial Subterranea, unleashing a threat the likes of which neither Earth nor Ukur's underground monsters have seen in some time. However, when Superman and Lana Lang lay eyes on this so-called threat, neither feels particularly threatened. The creatures before them are cute, and it's all either of them can do to keep from laughing.
Lana decides to check out the globe of light illuminating the subterranean cavern, and receives a boost from Baka, the monster Superman befriended, and they determine that the luminous orb is merely emitting light and warmth, and not much else. Seeing it, Lana's breath catches in her throat. This could be clean energy. It could save the planet, but according to the laws of thermodynamics, it shouldn't exist.
Meanwhile, Ukur tries to determine what happened to these creatures they've found since he left Imperial Subterranea, only to watch them scatter as Kokya, Queen of Subterranea arrives with her vassals. She passes by Superman, speaking directly to Lana, assuming that Earth uses a matriarchal system as well. Lana and Superman keep up the charade to get the answers they need.
Ukur bows low to the ground as he explains that he was the one who sealed off Imperial Subterranea, having been led to believe that the Queen was dead; killed by monsters who needed to be contained. The Queen responds that she and her people were betrayed, but that they will forgive him. In the meantime, she invites Lana - as Queen of the "Uplands" - back to her castle to discuss the future of Earth and Subterranea. As they follow, Lana eagerly hopes that by brokering a partnership with the Subterraneans as a representative of Earth, she will gain access to this clean energy source powering the orbs. Meanwhile, Ghost Soldier watches from the shadows, and reports his findings to his superiors, who are also interested in the orbs.
Lana and Clark are shown to their quarters, and are impressed by how large the room is. They take the opportunity to clean themselves up, and in the process, Lana notices that Clark was wounded during his fight with Ghost Soldier above ground. He senses her worry for him, and assures her that he will heal fast. She explains that she isn't worried, she's annoyed that he lied about killing Baka. It's not so much that he didn't kill the creature as that he was deceptive. This, she feels, is out of character - at least when it comes to her. He had always been honest with her. Suddenly, though, the sound of a pained scream draws both of their attentions, and they rush out to investigate.
From their vantage point, they determine that the Subterraneans are draining energy from the cute little creatures they'd seen earlier, and transferring it into their orbs. Naturally, this enrages Superman, who eschews better judgment and leaps into action. However, he is diverted from intervening by Ghost Soldier, who phases them both through the building. He removes his helmet, introducing himself as Leonard Sawyer, and explaining that as a soldier, he has seen far worse. Because they are making first contact, neither of them has a right to interfere. There may be consequences. Superman understands his perspective, but ignores the advice, rescuing the creature, and incurring the wrath of the Queen.
With monstrous stone giants retaliating, Superman and Lana are aided by Ghost Soldier, but Lana is worried that the fighting will destroy all of the orbs she covets. The Queen agrees that it would be wasteful to see them destroyed, and offers a deal to let Lana go if she leaves Superman behind to be drained. Lana responds by blasting the queen with her energy gun, catching one of the orbs in her arms. Riding on Baka's back, she, Clark and Ghost Soldier escape through the ground to the surface. Unfortunately, the creatures they rescued are sensitive to the sun's light, and they transform into monsters when exposed to it.
Before Clark can do anything for them, he spits blood as Ghost Soldier thrusts his knife through his back again. He explains that he is human, and he will never side with monsters against the human race.
- This book was first published on February 5, 2014.
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