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Strange Visitor
Samuel Hawkins

Chapter 1:  Prelude to A Visitation 

"You agree."

It was not entirely clear whether the phrase was intended as a command or a question.  In either case, the visitor let them hang precariously in the thick air of the great hall.  Carefully, he surveyed the chamber in which he was standing, his gaze pausing to rest on each of the geometric ballads woven subtly into the ancient architecture.  Did they ever redecorate, the visitor wondered.  Every few million years or so, perhaps?

Somehow, he doubted it.

Finally, he answered.  "I agree."

"To everything," another of the ancient ones surrounding the visitor said.  No doubt was left as to the meaning of this being's utterance.  Like the rest of his cohorts, only more so, he was accustomed to being obeyed.

The visitor was not particularly accustomed to receiving instructions, but saw no real reason to challenge the older being. Some, the visitor knew, are more ... invested in their station than are others.

"We are agreed," he said with a hint of fatigue.  "I shall go to Smallville.  I shall seek out the young Kryptonian.  I shall ... test him."  He paused, then added, "I shall make my own assessment."

Another member of the assembly raised an eyebrow, as much at the visitor's tone as at his words.  "And should you find him wanting?"

"I will take the appropriate action," the visitor answered without hesitation.  He paused, then added, "I will, of course, be willing to consult with you at that time."

The ancient being shook his head almost imperceptibly.  "That will not be necessary.  Our wishes are clear."  He was perhaps more considerate than his fellows, and therefore added, "It is also true that we ... appreciate your judgment in this matter."

The visitor ever so slightly inclined his head.  "Then I thank you.  And I take my leave of you."

No response was made as the visitor turned to exit.  He had nearly done so when one of his hosts called after him.  "I think you will find this young Superboy most ... challenging."

The visitor lingered briefly at the chamber entrance.  "Perhaps," he said, almost wistfully.  Then he shook his head.

"But it's not Superboy I'll test.  It's Clark Kent."

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STRANGE VISITOR Copyright 2000 Samuel Hawkins.  All rights reserved.  This story is neither authorized nor endorsed by DC Comics.   Superboy and all related previously established characters are TM DC Comics & © DC Comics, Joanne Siegel, and Laura Siegel Larson.

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