Supergirl Fanfiction: Adventures of a Super Family - 45. Mad Science
Chapter 45: Mad Science
Disclaimer: All things Supergirl/Superman belong to DC. No infringement is intended.
There were times that Oliver Queen, known as Green Arrow once he put on his mask and hood, felt somewhat like a mascot among the Justice League. He didn’t have super powers, he had no space adventures under his belt, he was just a guy with a bow and some arrows. Today, though, was not one of those days.
While Metropolis was not his usual turf, all big cities were somewhat alike in certain ways. There were always people who were willing to tell you what you needed to know given the right incentive. Such as whether anyone had moved a lot of material not too long ago in a big hurry.
They had constructed a rough timeline of events, starting from the day the so-called Supergirl – and wasn’t that a revelation all by itself? – had busted out of whatever underground facility she had been held in underneath Metropolis. Only an hour or so later a large number of trucks had been seen leaving several warehouses close by. People had noticed because those warehouses had previously been thought abandoned.
Green Arrow was sure that Batman would have intimidated the hell out of the people in question to get his answers, but he operated differently. Oh, he wasn’t above using intimidation if there was no other way, but he wasn’t a billionaire in his civilian life for nothing. A few hundred dollar bills here and there had quickly gotten him the answers he needed, plus ensured possible contacts for the future.
From there it was just a matter of compiling camera footage, traffic reports, satellite pictures and other data sources to follow those trucks. They had gone to Detroit and that was where Green Arrow was right now. The trucks had entered another series of warehouses (abandoned, of course) and nothing had moved since. The warehouses had no connections to any underground facilities – at least not officially – but Green Arrow had looked around the sewers in the vicinity. There were blocked passages, walls where none should be, and other signs that someone was doing their best to hide something.
“Green Arrow to Watchtower,” he reported in. “I’ve found our mad scientists!”
The supervisor had had a bad feeling about this entire operation ever since the subject had escaped. Oh, he was fully onboard with the broader purpose of Cadmus, certainly. They were living in a world where more and more beings with superpowers seemed to randomly appear every day. Military technology, once the biggest moneymaker in the entire world, was on its way out. Who cared about rifles when your enemy was bullet proof? Who needed missiles when you had superhumans capable of flying faster and hitting harder than that? Superpowers were the market of the future and whoever managed to get there first would never have to worry about money again.
When they had successfully created their first super being, the subject, he had been sure that a bright future awaited Cadmus and everyone working for it. Oh, it had been the first success after a long string of failures and on one seemed quite sure why exactly things had worked out this time, but still. If they could mass-produce super beings – or possibly even give superpowers to people who paid for it – why, the possibilities were endless. So he counted his money and ignored the fact that the subject was really just a young girl they were keeping in a cage until they could figure out how to duplicate their success.
Ever since the subject had escaped, though, things seemed… weird. The director hadn’t visited the new facility even once. Head researcher Donovan seemed even crazier than usual (and that was saying something). And there was that weird feeling in his stomach that told him that he should maybe make plans to leave a sinking ship, just in case.
Of course that feeling came far, far too late.
The first warning they had of the intruders was when the massive armored doors of the facility, their main connection to the surface, were torn off their hinges by deceptively small hands. Several security guards were present, weapons ready, but they might as well have been cardboard cutouts.
“Project Cadmus is officially closed for business,” Superwoman said, standing in the wide-open entrance and looking very, very angry. Her eyes glowed a deep, burning red.
“Everybody put your weapons down,” someone else yelled, a man in a black suit that just screamed FBI. “You are all under arrest pending investigation of the illegal activities taking place here.”
For a few seconds the supervisor figured he might be able to run. There were dozens of people here, surely in the confusion he might be able to reach one of the side entrances. A moment later, though, he abandoned that idea, seeing more FBI agents streaming in through said side entrances. There was also a tall green-skinned alien just stepping right through the walls.
“I’m not getting paid enough for this,” he muttered, putting his hands above his head.
“This feels too easy,” Superwoman said, looking around the abandoned laboratory. Every employee of Cadmus was currently being detained by the FBI and, by the look of things, they were all looking at serious jail time. Just from a cursory examination they had found that Cadmus was engaged in the kind of research every civilized nation in the world had forbidden, up to and including experimentation on humans. Also, Kara doubted that the amount of money necessary to run this project had ever appeared on a tax form anywhere.
“They were scientists and hired guards,” Green Arrow said, having joined them. “Not exactly the type of people who’re going to pick a fight with Superwoman.”
“We are probably lucky we learned about them when we did,” Batman said, sitting down in front of a computer terminal. Officially they were not to touch anything here until experts from the FBI arrived, but Batman hardly cared. “From the look of things Supergirl was their first and so far only success story. In a few years they might have had a private army of super beings guarding their facility.”
Batman needed but a few minutes to hack into the system. Not only did they want first crack at any information stored here, they also wanted to make sure that Kara would be able to remove anything that had no business being in any human’s hands. The world didn’t need an army of custom-made Supergirls.
“It appears most of the actual research was done by a man called Dabney Donovan,” Batman explained, speed reading through the files. “Brilliant geneticist, but with very questionable ethics.”
“Your classic mad scientists, is what Batsy means,” Green Arrow added, grinning.
“Has a dozen and more ethics violations on his record,” Batman continued, as if Arrow hadn’t said anything. “Dropped off the grid a few years ago. That’s about the same time Project Cadmus was started up by a man called Paul Westfield. Former associate of Lex Luthor, apparently.”
“Luthor again,” Kara sighed. “Even from a prison cell, the man keeps making trouble.”
“Westfield and Donovan apparently planned to create their own army of super-powered clones, which they could then sell to the highest bidder, but the project wasn’t really going anywhere. Most of the experiments listed in their records failed to produce anything viable. All that changed about 18 months or so ago, though.”
Kara leaned over Batman’s shoulder, studying the schematics he had called up on the screen. Kryptonians had a rather unfortunate history when it came to cloning, so Kara was familiar with the technology involved. What she saw, though, didn’t make sense.
“That is at least 50 years beyond current Earth technology,” she said, frowning. “Even counting the tech put out by K-Solutions. How did they come up with it?”
“Doesn’t say,” Green Arrow interjected, going through the files as well. “Looks like Donovan just started building vastly improved equipment from one day to the next.”
Batman nodded. “It’s not entirely impossible that he had a stroke of genius out of the blue, but…”
“Yeah, I don’t buy that, either,” Kara agreed. “Someone supplied them with the technology.”
“That would be my guess, too,” Batman said. “Sadly the records offer no clues as to who that someone is or what their motivations might be.”
“Apart from creating their own personal Superwomen, you mean?” Arrow proposed.
Kara sat back down, sighing. This whole mess just started getting more and more complicated. “Any mention of how they got their hands on my DNA in the first place? I don’t exactly leave it lying around.”
“Yes, actually,” Batman told her. “It was during your battle with Parasite a few years back.”
Kara frowned, remembering that night all too well. She had beaten the Parasite, but in the process he had drained nearly all of her energy and left her weak and powerless. She had collapsed and might well have died if not for Clark rescuing her.
“I remember, but how…”
“Before Superboy arrived to spirit you away,” Batman explained, “some of the paramedics tried to help you. You probably didn’t notice, but when you fell, you banged your head on the ground and with your powers gone…”
“I was bleeding,” Kara finished, dimly remembering. “One of the medics began cleaning the wound. Rao, how could I have just forgotten that?”
“You had other things on your mind that night,” Green Arrow told her. “Anyway, apparently someone noticed that there was a bit of your blood on a piece of gauze and swiped it in the confusion. A lot of money later, it ended up in Westfield’s hands.”
She rubbed her temples, feeling a headache coming on. “Okay, that explains my DNA. Any clue as to the donor of Kona’s human DNA?”
“The records don’t include that information, I fear,” Batman replied. “Could be that Donovan used his own DNA, or possibly Westfield’s, but that’s just guesswork. Donovan is in FBI custody, so we can get a DNA sample from him for comparison. Westfield is still at large, though.”
“Fabulous,” she muttered. “My daughter might share DNA with a mad scientist or a buddy of Lex Luthor. Every mother’s dream.”
Batman hit a few more keys, then reached under the computer bank and planted some kind of gizmo he had taken from his utility belt. A moment later the computer screen fizzled for a moment and showed lots of error messages.
“I’ve left most of their files intact,” he explained, “but everything concerning your DNA is now wiped. We just need the…”
“No need,” J’Onn entered the room. “I have already taken care of the remaining traces of Superwoman’s blood sample. There wasn’t much left, now there is none.”
“Thank you, J’Onn,” she said, smiling at him. “Is there enough left to convict these people if we take everything we don’t want anyone else to have?”
Batman nodded. “There are very complete notes on the experiments they did on live subjects. That alone should be enough to put every single one of them into jail for life. Never mind once the FBI begins to track the money flow that paid for all this.”
“Good,” Kara said, her eyes now on the equipment on the far side of the lab. There was a cylinder, just large enough for a teenage human being to fit inside. An examination bed with very tough-looking restraints. Machines needed for gene splicing and DNA analysis.
Kara’s eyes glowed crimson and a minute later every last bit of it was so much molten slag.
“So much for that.”
“Donovan was the only one who actually worked on the gene splicing,” Batman said. “He didn’t put the exact details of what he did and how he did it to file, so there is little chance of anyone copying his work. Especially without the necessary equipment. Of course we don’t know whether his source might supply advanced technology to someone else, but there are few other geneticists on Earth who are anywhere near Donovan’s level. So I’d say the risk of more Kryptonian clone children is minimal, at least for now.”
“Well,” Kara said, heading towards the exit. “That was the easy part then. Now comes the hard part.”
“What would that be?” Green Arrow asked.
“Telling my family about Kona.”
The Brainiac master program studied the reports coming in from Earth. Despite a few unforeseen events, the end results were fully within the desired parameters. A human-Kryptonian hybrid had successfully been created. Its escape had been unforeseen – Brainiac had originally planned to have news of its existence leaked in an “accidental” information breach – but in the end the hybrid had still met up with Kara-El as planned. Kara-El had reacted as predicted, taking her in as a member of her family. Thus the seed for the rebirth of the Kryptonian species was successfully planted.
Brainiac had calculated several thousand scenarios before deciding upon the creation of a hybrid instead of a pure clone. Despite the obvious advantages a pure Kryptonian specimen would have, the available gene pool – just two Kryptonians who were closely related – was simply too small to successfully recreate the species, even with the advanced cloning techniques at its disposal. An infusion of new genetic material was unavoidable and the Earthlings physical resemblance to Kryptonians made them ideal candidates.
The Cadmus project had thus served its purpose and its destruction would assure Kara-El and her allies that no further genetic experiments with Kryptonian DNA would take place in the immediate future. And they would not, at least for now. Kara-El would need time to get used to the idea of new Kryptonians being created in this manner, of becoming the mother of a new Kryptonian species. Brainiac would give her that time.
Brainiac was fully prepared to play the long game. In the end, one way or another, Krypton would live again.
End Chapter 45
Author’s Note: Not really one hundred percent happy with this chapter. So much exposition. I originally intended to have the takedown of Cadmus be a much bigger thing, but then realized that it didn’t really fit into my narrative. I wanted to avoid the whole evil-government-black-book-project thing and instead go with the more classic mad-scientist scheme. Not sure it really worked out, but I hope Brainiac’s musings at the end offer enough explanation.
Next up: Kona meets the Kents.