Power Girl realized that the damaged time machine of Per Degaton had tossed her back to February, 1939, as shown by the Metropolis signs and clocks. She had made her way there as if by instinct. I could just leave by my own power, but that would put me no closer to Clark, mused Kara Zor-L. I guess I’d better do just that.
But just as she began to fly off, a cry caught her attention. “Some kind of robbery. Better shut things down fast.” She soared over the busy city, admiring the old-style clothes and cars until her super-vision spotted the source of the cry.
A green-and-gold-costumed man was leading five thugs out of the First Metropolitan Bank. I’ll take this creep down easily, she thought, flashing heat-vision from her eyes. The thugs yelped and dropped the suddenly red-hot guns.
“What the–?! That’s sure not that Superman guy!” whined one thug.
“No matter the gender, I’ll beat the do-gooder into submission!” sneered their costumed boss.
“You get her! Yeah!” cried a shifty punk. “Go for it, Moon Man!”
Power Girl smiled. “Yes, Moon Man! Show me how tough you are!”
He fired rays of concentrated force at her and increased the pressure. She fell flat, to her surprise, then literally blew him backward as well.
“You actually moved me! I didn’t expect that in these good old days,” she declared.
She charged him and smashed with pure determination through an alarming array of energy fields he created as protection. Then she tackled Moon Man and slammed him through the pavement. He jumped back up to ram Power Girl in the stomach.
“I can increase my own mass till I hurt even a super-doll like you!” he laughed.
“Well, I don’t care for punks who hit women!” said a brash voice from above as Superman himself bounded to the ground.
“Superman!” cried Moon Man.
“You’ve heard of me? Good. Can’t say I know you, though. I must have missed your wanted poster!” laughed Superman as he marched forward and grabbed Moon Man. He tossed the villain skyward and tried to use a concentrated dose of his mostly undeveloped x-ray vision to try to melt it, but it merely glowed dimly.
Moon Man landed softly as he decreased his mass. Superman blew him skyward again and leaped up to meet him with a hard right cross. The criminal fell and said, “Take this, you jerk!” He fired at Superman, who stood still with a cocky smile and allowed the ray to bounce off his chest.
“Can’t move a Man of Steel!” he said.
“No, don’t!” cried Kara. “It’ll deflect into the gas tanks!”
She flashed forward to shove a group of mechanics aside as her super-body shielded all from the deflected ray’s exploding blast.
“Didn’t think of that!” said a regretful Superman. In the tumult, Moon Man had made good his escape.
“You could have hurt someone with that grandstanding!” she said angrily. “Those rays may not hurt us, but they could kill a passerby!”
Superman smiled ruefully. “Say, you’re all right! I never met another superhuman before that was a good guy… or gal! I should have thought it out. Sometimes I just charge in without using the super-brain, too. I won’t forget this lesson or the warning to be more careful.”
Power Girl smiled back at her cousin. It was so weird seeing him as a brash young man. Was I that reckless when he first met me? she wondered. No wonder I drove him up the wall!
“I am Superman,” he said.
“I’m… I’m Lightning Girl,” said Kara. I’d better not give my true name and history to him at this point in history. He doesn’t even know a Krypton exists yet!
“How’d you get those powers?” he asked.
“I was caught in a lab accident,” she fumbled. “Lightning hit me, and… knocked me into a table of chemicals.”
“Sounds reasonable,” he replied. “Do you need help finding a place to stay in Metropolis?” he offered. “I know a good apartment for rent in my building. I can even supply you with a background, if you need friends or an introduction.”
“I… sure. Let me join you for a while,” she said on impulse. I might enjoy seeing this side of him, she mused. I never knew him except as the scolding, legendary older cousin.
They went to the alley behind the Daily Star after he changed into his Clark Kent identity. He must sense I can be trusted, or he’s a lot less worried about his ID, thought Kara. I suppose he’s just happy to meet someone else like him after living in a world of normal humans for so long.
Clark explained, “I pose as a meek guy to throw off any curious co-workers, like–”
“Lois Lane!” said a suddenly appearing young woman. She thrust out a hand.
Kara had barely had enough time to don clothes from a nearby store at super-speed. I’ll have to leave some money later, she mused. On a whim she added a pair of horn-rimmed glasses from Clark’s extra supply.
“This is Clara Kent,” said Clark. “She’s a visiting cousin just in from… Gotham.”
“Pleased to meet you,” said Kara, mimicking Clark’s shy and bookish demeanor on a whim.
Lois smiled. “Do you always hold family reunions in the Star’s alley? Bring her up, Clark. Show some gumption!”
“Sure, Lois,” said Clark. “Clara, this is my friend, Lois Lane.”
“Make that co-worker Lois Lane,” snapped Lois. “I’d not call us friends. My friends have spines.”
Kara watched in amazement. Lois never talked that way to Clark in my day. Back then she was a real witch. I like her!
As Clara Kent she followed Clark and Lois up to where George Taylor ran a busy city room. A chubby office boy smiled admiringly at Clara.
“Hi, Mr. Kent,” he said. “Who’s the lady?”
“Jimmy Olsen, office boy supreme, meet Clara Kent,” said Clark.
Clara shook hands with young Jimmy, who gazed up at her with a look akin to adoration. “You know, Mr. Kent is my hero,” said Jimmy. “I want to be a reporter just like him someday!”
I can’t picture the bald Jimmy Olsen I know as this plump little boy! she mused. “I’m sure you’ll go far,” said Clara demurely.
“Kent, Lane, get in here!” barked George Taylor. “I want this ‘Moon Man’ fellow covered. His powers, motives — everything you can find out about him!”
“Yes, sir. We’ll get right on it,” said Clark. “Superman and a newcomer called Lightning Girl fought him earlier today. I’ll have the story for you in no time at all.”
Lois frowned. “Lightning Girl? Is she some sidekick like the Crimson’s partner, Wing?”
“Could be, Lois,” said a smiling Clark, returning to his desk to type up the story.
Kara awkwardly smoothed her long pink dress and merely frowned. Is Clark smitten with me? she thought. That’s all I need. Clara better leave town, ASAP.
Jimmy ran up with a glass of iced tea. “Here, Clara!” said the boy, beaming in admiration. “Thought you might like a drink.”
“Thanks,” she said, giggling in character. Now Jimmy has a thing for me, too! I’m messing up history already. This was a bad idea.
Later, back at the roof of the Daily Star, Lightning Girl and Superman planned how to find and capture Moon Man.
“Say, I like that new costume,” said Superman. “What happened to the old one? It was a bit racy.”
“I thought for this time… I mean, for Metropolis, I’d wear something more in keeping with my name,” she said, now wearing a golden mask and short cape over a little yellow dress with a pleated skirt and slippers. I figured too much Power Girl in 1939 might have consequences, she thought, so I made this more timely Lightning Girl outfit to finish this one case before I get out of here.
“Clara… what is your real name?” asked Superman. “Where did you–?”
“Hey, I have an idea,” she interrupted. “Let’s track the Moon Man by his power stone. It seems like more than a decoration. It must give him his powers. Where could he find a moon rock like that?”
Superman grinned. “That’s an idea! The moonstone came from that meteor shower that happened last month. I know where the rocks landed. Let’s check it out.”
They quickly arrived at the site, with Superman leaping and Lightning Girl flying.
“You know, I bet you could fly like me with those muscles and this gravity,” she offered. “Try it.”
“Actually, I can fly, but not for long,” he said. “I hope to develop that power and others more when I get time. I stay pretty busy as it is.”
The field was lonely, the stars were lovely, and Kara was beginning to feel a bit awkward being there alone with her cousin. Please don’t let him make a move on me! thought Lightning Girl.
Thankfully, Superman spotted the hidden base first. “There’s a building in those woods — a perfect hideout, and it’s close to more space rocks.”
They separated and closed in on the house. Moon Man did indeed lurk within. His gang of four new thugs cried out as the Kryptonian duo rocketed through the window and the wall.
“This time I know how to beat you!” declared Superman. He grabbed the stone and tossed it into orbit at super-speed.
Moon Man frowned in disbelief. He moved for a second fragment on a table, but Kara cut him off and tripped him. He fell at her slippered feet and lurched for the door with his gang.
Superman clipped the villain, and he fell backward. A blast of breath by Lightning Girl sent him into his startled gang, too. They rounded them up and carried the rocks to the authorities.
“No more Moon Man,” he said as the two stood upon the roof of the Daily Star Building. “You know, I liked that trick you did with your breath. I’ve got to try that sometime. We made a great team.”
Lightning Girl smiled. “You’d work well with anyone,” she said. “You have no need of a partner, but if you ever need one, look in Gotham City.” She walked to the edge of the rooftop and looked back at Superman. “I must go. But I’ll never forget working with you.”
Superman smiled. “I’ll look you up in Gotham.”
She soared off into the sky. Got to start over and find him in a new way, she thought as she flew at super-speed through time back to her own era. Time travel isn’t working.
Superman grinned as he went back home. “That girl was something else! I hope I can find a partner in Gotham.”