A hidden lair, three hours later:
The Ultra-Humanite sat quietly in the darkened computer room, his simian features barely illuminated by the dull glow of the single working terminal before him. He had been sitting here in the dark for the last three hours, completely motionless, his huge gorilla hands steepled in front of his grim face. He had been mulling over recent events with Superboy and the man who claimed to be the Boy of Steel’s counterpart from the future, wondering where he had gone wrong. He was not happy.
“My plans were flawless,” he whispered finally. “The boy should not have been able to defeat me as… easily… as he did. What could have gone wrong? I planned for everything, down to the last minute detail, and yet I was still defeated. Perhaps I have greatly underestimated Superboy, much as I have done on numerous previous encounters with his father. Of course, the appearance of this so-called Superman II did not help matters at all.”
“Ah, the Boy of Steel, such a pain,” answered a strange guttural voice from the surrounding shadows, “much like his father, who turned me into a shadowy stain.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Case of the Runaway Skyscrapers,” Superman #16 (May-June, 1942).]
“Shut up, Sinister,” the Humanite growled back. “I have no need of your two-bit rhyming at this very moment. You would not like it if I put you back where I found you, turned you back into a ‘shadowy stain,’ as you put it. This was merely a minor setback in the scheme of things. The Superman Family shall be destroyed soon enough, and the boy will never grow into the man I faced this day. This will not affect my plans for the election in the least.”
“Perhaps,” replied Mister Sinister as he stepped from the shadows, the dull glow from the computer terminal now illuminating his pale purple skin. “You have, however, said words like those before. What makes you think that this time will be any different from all those others, you ‘smelly gorilla’?”
The Ultra-Humanite sneered for a long moment at his erstwhile companion, and then began roaring in laughter. “Because this time, my dear friend, Superman, and the JSA by extension, has no idea at all what I’m really up to. I will take over this pitiful country and destroy the Man of Steel. So swears the Ultra-Humanite!”
As the Ultra-Humanite left the computer room, boasting of his sheer brilliance and utter greatness, Mister Sinister stood there for a moment in utter silence, wondering just exactly what he had gotten himself into this time by joining forces with the Ultra-Humanite, and all he could think of was a short phrase: Famous last words.
The Connecticut coast, three days later:
Superboy gently touched down on the beach in front of the cave where the adventure of three days past had begun, and watched the waves crash around him against the shore. A lot of things had happened, a lot of things that he needed to think about. He’d worked everything out with Ma and Pa, and apologized for his actions. He knew he was wrong. He only wished that he could change what had happened, but that was impossible now. The only thing that he could do from here on was learn from his mistakes and grow from the experience.
C.J. Kent had returned to the beach to try to collect his thoughts a bit before going home and getting ready for tomorrow’s big game against Midvale High. Superman II had said a lot of things to him, about why he had come back in time, what his future would bring, and the great responsibility that he had before him. Some of those things were starting to sink in, but others, for some unknown reason, he just couldn’t remember. He knew that the Man of Tomorrow had said some very important things about his future, specifically about Laurie, but for the life of him, every time he concentrated on those things and tried to remember them, he just couldn’t.
Maybe it was a side effect of the time travel, and maybe it wasn’t. C.J. didn’t know; he wasn’t an expert on things like that. What he did know was that he was not going to let it deter him in the things he did. He knew now that things were destined to work out for the best, and whatever the outcome, whatever mistakes he might make, he was going to be OK. Pa had said that night when they got home that making mistakes was just a part of growing up.
C.J. looked skyward, thinking of his parents, Jerry and Naomi, and smiled. He wasn’t sad anymore. Wherever they were now, whether they were alive or dead, they’d want him to be happy and to move on. He couldn’t dwell in the past anymore, but he could live for the future. After all, he was destined to one day become Superman.
“Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad,” he called out to the emptiness of the secluded beach. “I love you both, and I miss you so much, but for the first time in a long while, I’m gonna be OK.” Superboy leaped into the sky and soared back to Smallville, the smile still on his face. He was content. He had finally buried the past and was now ready for whatever the future had in store for him.
And somewhere, Jerry and Naomi Kent were also smiling. They were so proud of their boy. He had finally moved on from his pain, and they knew that he was going to be all right.