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Superboy 2099 #3

Writer: Tony Thornley
AEIC: Ryan May
EIC: Lierson Morais


"Superboy, DOWN!"

A cry not to be taken lightly, given my current situation. And then there was the guy screaming it at me: Cadmus, a powerful psion and my mentor. Given the fact that I had arrived in a fit of rage and that there was a swarm of DNAliens coming at me, I dove.

Several of the DNAliens started to follow, but were caught up in a blast of energy. Cadmus weilded his energised staff like a gun. The DNAliens changed direction and headed for him. I decided to prevent that. I landed quickly and harnessed the Speed Force, the energy that had given any hero that wore the name of the Flash his or her amazing speed. I then dashed towards Cadmus. He stood preparing for the onslaught of creatures headed towards him when I hit him. I took him to safety and then spun to face the Guardian.

The head of the Cadmus Project's security force stood on a raised dias surrounded by new fodder for the Project's twisted experiments, young children, all younger than eight, and the directors of the Cadmus Project. In front of Guardian knelt Kara, the girl I grew up with after Guardian killed my parents, the girl I loved.

The girl whose life I was here to save.

"Let her go!" I roared, psionic energy spewing from my right eye.

"Jake, how nice of you to join us," Guardian laughed maliciously, "Come to see your friend's funeral? I hope so, because you're going to see it anyways!" Guardian spun back to Kara and fired the blaster in his hand. The shot strayed from his target, Kara's heart, and went through her body, just above her left breast. Kara screamed and fell forward. I cried out and dashed towards Kara. Cadmus lowered his staff from where he had fired at Guardian, forcing the man's shot to stray.

"Welcome back, old man," Guardian taunted. "Couldn't live without the Project?"

"Quite the opposite, Guardian," Cadmus said, his voice echoing through the ampitheater. "I couldn't continue living without killing you."

I reached Kara and found her bleeding to death. I turned her over and pressed my hand to the wound, ignoring the blood, ignoring the fight, ignoring the DNAliens coming towards me. I focused on one thing. Kara. Her life. Her future. OUR future. I pressed my hand tight against the wound and focused my tactile-telekinesis like never before.

I reached Kara and found her bleeding to death. I turned her over and pressed my hand to the wound, ignoring the blood, ignoring the fight, ignoring the DNAliens coming towards me. I focused on one thing. Kara. Her life. Her future. OUR future. I pressed my hand tight against the wound and focused my tactile-telekinesis like never before.

The flesh started to knit. The blood stopped flowing. The broken nerves reached out for each other and found a connection. The viens and arteries regenerated and became whole again. The bone melted, filling the burnt hole. I healed Kara. I saved her life.

Her eyes fluttered open. She weak, but she would live. I took her hand and helped her up.

"What say we take care of these DNAliens?" I asked.

"Sure thing," Kara said. She took my hand and started using her psycho-kinetic powers to change the torn rags that barely covered her into something different. Something red, yellow and blue. The uniform of the twencen Supergirl, with some minor changes, including a missing "s-shield."

"Let's rock and roll!" I cried. A blast of psi-fire stopped the first rank of DNAliens. Kara and I flew away from each other, weaving in and out of the horde of DNAliens. My weapons of choice were my fists, slamming the DNAliens with my arms, beating each one that came at me horribly. Kara used her psycho-kinetic powers, throwing the creatures without touching them, erecting indestructable force-fields, and all around messing the creatures up. We dispatched of the monsters quickly, and spun around to face a new foe to find a deathly silent room.

On the dias, in mortal combat fought Cadmus and Guardian. Cadmus swung his staff, not bothering with the energy discharges that kept going off. Guardian used a cerimonial shield, the emblem of the Guardian since the time of the original. The fighters were equal in every way, except one. One of them was the most powerful telepath one the planet, and could predict the every move of his opponent.

Cadmus exploited that power. Guardian never stood a chance. He came in high, swinging his shield down like a club. Cadmus easily countered it with his staff and knocked Guardian on his butt.

"I knew the first, Guardian!" Cadmus cried. "I was his equal. You are not!"

Guardian spat blood. "Traitor! You betrayed the Project and that it stood for, then took its name! You are a disgrace!"

"No," Cadmus said, "YOU are! I took this name to represent all that the Project once was. Hope. And you and your filthy coporate scum tainted that. Well, I'm here to end that!" Cadmus raised his staff high. It was glowing with energy, fully charged. A fatal discharge. "Goodbye Guardian. Tell Neron hello for me."

"YOU FIRST!!!" Guardian screamed. With that he lept to his feet, and pulled a blaster out of the small of his back. He held to Cadmus's forehead and started to pull the trigger.

"NOOOOO!!!"

A massive psi blast made Guardian collapse. I floated above him, energy spewing from both my eyes. Blood was pouring from Guardian's nose.

"You will not harm him or any other this day," I promised. "So swears Superboy!" Guardian tried squirming away, whimpering.

"I'm not through with you," I continued, "You will release each of these children. If any one of them remains in the custody of the Project, I will hunt you down, and I will kill you. Slowly. So swears Superboy. The pain you just felt from my psi blast will be nothing compared to what I will do if you keep this children and do to them what you did to me. Do you understand?"

"Y-y-yes," Guardian whimpered.

"What was that?"

"YES, JAMMIT!" he screamed. "I'll let them all go. But I swear Jake Collins, I'm not through with you."

"Nor I with you." I landed and turned around, the psi energy fading away. Cadmus followed and Kara joined us. On the dias, Guardian wiped the blood away from his nose. All around us children erupted in cheers, and the biz suits cowered in fear. That day a legend was formed. My legend. The legend of Superboy 2099.

***

That next morning I stood on the rooftop of the building I had been living in since I had escaped from the Project. Below me Kara was eating breakfast, her first real meal since I had escaped. What had happened to her in that week would forever scar her and me. Guardian had violated her, something sacred that no mental massaging could ever restore. I hated him for it, and I wanted him to suffer for it. I loved Kara though, and I would help her through it. I reached into my pocket and felt for something that I had worked on ever since my escape. A ring with a simple stone.

I could sense Cadmus nearby, but he shielded himself well enough that I couldn't pinpoint him. I moved to the center of the roof and slowly rotated. I saw a glimmer of metal, and I spun to face it. There stood Cadmus, leaning on his staff, decked out how he had been when I first met him, only one thing was missing.

"The shield," Cadmus said, answering my question before it was asked. "I've worn it since I left the Project. Now, I will not anymore. Now, it is yours to wear. You are Superboy. I am not. Clark made me swear I would wear the shield until I found a suitable replacement. You are more than worthy."

"So is there a final exam?" I asked.

"Yes," Cadmus said. "You passed it last night. You could have killed Guardian. You did not. That is a true symbol of a hero. I want to you have something." He stood straight and tossed me the staff. "You channel telekinetic energy into it until it discharges. It is a powerful weapon, one to be used in extreme circumstance."

"Thank you," I said, examining the staff.

"Use it well in my absence."

My head snapped up. "Absence?"

Cadmus nodded gravely. "I have fulfilled only part of my calling here. I live to gather a team of heroes to save Earth. I am supposed to gather one of power, you, one of heart, that is Kara, one of strategy, one of speed, one of smoke, and one of bravery. These six will form Young Justice, a team you will lead. Goodbye Jake Collins. We will meet again."

"I hope so," I said.

"Hope has nothing to do with it, Jake," Cadmus replied. "It is a matter of fate. We WILL meet again. And when we do, we'll save the world."

"Oh yeah," Cadmus laughed, his youthfulness shining through. "It's definitely a promise."

"I'll miss you," I said. It was the truth. I walked over to him and hugged him tightly.

"Me too," Cadmus said, deep emotion in his voice. He walked away from me and waved. He kept going to the edge of the roof. I suddenly thought of something.

"Cadmus!" I said. He turned. "You said that the original Superboy never aged. Where is he now?"

"Oh," Cadmus laughed, "He's still around. You meet him again soon."

Again? Before I could question him further, Cadmus was gone from sight. I attempted to find him with my psi powers, but he had completely shielded himself.

"Goodbye, my friend," I called into the morning.

"Who was that exactly?" Kara stood by the door to the roof. I smiled.

"A living legend."

***

I joined Kara for breakfast and then set out for morning patrol. As I flew over Hob's River, I shadow was cast over me. I looked up to see a man wearing an emblem similar to the one I wore on my own chest.

"Superboy?" he asked.

"Yes?"

"I am Superman. We need to talk."

***

To be continued...

***

Author's Notes: Here it is, the finale of the first Superboy 2099 story arc! I hope you all enjoyed the ride, and the ending of this issue. Cadmus will be returning to the series in several months, but in the meantime, he'll be featured in back-up stories in which he will be gathering Young Justice 2099!

Also, I'm doing a contest. Anyone who can come up with names for the five members of Young Justice (including Kara) not yet named, I'll include your names in a future issue. Thank you all for reading and I hope it's been a great ride!

- Tony Thornley