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snippet: The value of restraint

doc savage
TITLE: The value of restraint
FANDOM: DC AU, I guess. Or retcon. Or badfic. I'm not sure.
SUMMARY: Eehhh... Everything you thought you knew about Krypton is wrong?

WARNINGS: Explicit content: Zero. Non-explicit content: between slightly over zero and brain-breaking, depending pretty much on what you choose to read here.

THANKS: Te wrote this. I wrote this comment. I should learn to shut the hell up. Mad, mad props to hermitsrme and adn_heming for their many helpful suggestions.

Necessary notes at the end, because it's that kind of crack fic.


The Value of Restraint
----------------------

It's a spaceship, you realize with a sudden spike of fear. Before you can tear your eyes from the hologram, the House's defense systems sense your distress and target your visitor. He drops to one knee in the standard gesture of submission/not-threat, but the soft hum of the armed weapons persist. If they were to fire, his own personal defense systems would activate and both of you, along with a relatively big section of the city, would die.

No society with technology as advanced as Krypton's could survive without an inflexible system of hierarchies, submission and control. And technology isn't even the most dangerous thing about your people.

You look again at the real-time hologram your visitor is projecting, showing the small spaceship located in his own House. In the elaborate structure of prohibitions that you learned as a child to follow and uphold, there's nothing worse than this.

Space travel. The possibility - the temptation - of a yellow sun over your head and a galaxy under your feet.

There was a time when Kryptonians traveled through space and were like gods. There is also a thousand dead planets to remind yourselves that power and wisdom are very different things.

A thousand painful reminders about the value of restraint, and yet this man has built a spaceship. You don't dare to let him raise from the floor. A man capable of doing that, even if he were stripped of his defense systems, shackled, broken, would still be dangerous. Mad.

"Why?," you ask, attempting and failing to sound disgusted and imperial. In control.

"Krypton is dying, Kij" -it's the word for 'owner of the House and everything in it', the most complete surrender a Kryptonian can make outside his House. Your defense systems barely waver, as does your fear. It is surrender, but it's also a gambit.

"And if it were, Kon?" There's volumes of irony in how you've chosen to address him. 'Kon', 'he who is a gift'. He has made a gift of himself, and yet it's a dangerous one, even if you don't know yet why. "Would you try and escape? Rule other planets, become the abomination we were in our past?"

You see him wince, his eyes still locked to the patch of floor in front of your feet. Kryptonians are taught to obey and be peaceful. They are too good at conquest, too terrible in war, for their society to work in any other way. They break each other so they can all live.

He's not as mad as you feared, then. But then he adds "But my son could escape."

You run to him and strike him in his face before you know what you're doing. His forcefield activates, your House's weapons achieve maximum charge, and there's but a word, now, between both of you and death.

"Not to rule," he says, still not raising from the floor. "To serve."

You blink once, twice, and when he smiles mischievously you have to smile with him.

"All the other Kryptonians will be dead. Who will he serve?"

"Everybody." The sheer scope of it takes your breath away. Mad. Tempting. Exciting.

"Who will teach him?"

"We'll send mnemonic crystals with him in the ship . His adoptive family, if we choose them well, will provide an adequate environment. And we shall also burn the teaching in his very cells before ever sending him away. He will enjoy serving. Protecting. Making them happy."

You shake your head with amusement at the image of an unshackled, untamed Kryptonian serving aliens willingly and with joy. You are not sure if he will be the peak of Krypton's civilization or its last, most degenerate heir, and you realize then that you won't stop this Jor-El from trying. "You really think whatever planet you send him to will have any chance of surviving?"

He nods, and it's both faith and despair, and also shame and joy. "They must. Our culture must."

Next to you, the image of the spaceship promises death to an entire planet but also a whispered teasing of flight and life.

"This son of yours, does he have a name?"

"He... he doesn't exist yet. That was why I wanted to visit you, Kij." He touches your hand once. You're not in the Reproduction Chambers, and you haven't been Appointed, but you sigh and lift him to your lips.

It's just another obscenity.

.finis.



It all comes down to this: It makes no sense for a society as advanced as Krypton's not to have had space travel way before Jor-El's prototype (maybe it made sense in the 1930's, but not now). This means Kryptonians did explore space before their planet went boom. This means they encountered yellow suns.

You see the problem, don't you? What kind of society could stay away from that sort of potential power? What kind of society would want to, and why?

The traditional canon about "cold, rational Kryptonians" (e.g., the whole Erradicator storyline) mixed in my head with the alien emo porn that is toon!Clark, a bit of science-fictionish elements (whereby you try to make technical sense of things, even if it's just not possible) and I ended up with this.

The fact that this also retconned toon!Superman into something far weirder and scary, but without needing to change anything at all in his actions, is not accidental. At all.

Can I go back to something sane and cheerful now, like Bat-angst or Slade/Dick?

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
thete1
Dec. 11th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)
KON. GOOD LORD. UM.

Yes. I'll be thinking about this. *Man*
__marcelo
Dec. 11th, 2005 05:54 pm (UTC)
It was an unnecessary aside, easy and cheap, but what the hell, I *am* easy and cheap anyway.
ratcreature
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC)
Guh. This snippet makes the kinky part of my brain very happy. =)
__marcelo
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC)
Glad the kinky part of your brain liked it! The kinky part of mine enjoyed writing it, too *g*.
adn_heming
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC)
You posted it! Yay! :D
__marcelo
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your beta - it relly helped me. *g*
rubynye
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
Dear freaking GOD.

Meep.

I want to reply coherently but my brain, my brain, my broken broken brain!
__marcelo
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
Pretty much my reaction to the bunny, too. "I want myself to write WHAT?".
brown_betty
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
So much sense! Kryptonian society and development is a horrible deus ex-machina of pro-wank.
__marcelo
Dec. 11th, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC)
*ahahaha*
"A horrible deus ex-machina of pro-wank" must be in the top ten best phrases *ever written*.
brown_betty
Dec. 12th, 2005 02:08 am (UTC)
I win!
ladyvyola
Dec. 12th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)
Re: *ahahaha*
Much though I love that phrase, I'm fairly certain it's already been copyrighted and applied to Anne Rice....

*snerk*
robin_redbreast
Dec. 11th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful concept. It just creates plot bunnies on top of plot bunnies. Awesome.
__marcelo
Dec. 11th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC)
*is pleased* And you're welcome to write *any* of them you want to. It'd scare me to be alone in that universe *g*.
valdjinn
Dec. 11th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
You made it PLAUSIBLE.

I am terrified of the implications and awed that you pulled this off. Also very impressed that you tied so many nagging questions into one neat package.
__marcelo
Dec. 11th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC)
THANKS!
mtgat
Dec. 12th, 2005 01:52 am (UTC)
I just Friended you last week and you keep breaking my brain. Gah!

EXCELLENT reconsideration of the source material, omg.
__marcelo
Dec. 12th, 2005 12:50 pm (UTC)
We aim to please *g*.

Also, your icon made me laugh in a totally inappropriate way.
buggery
Dec. 12th, 2005 05:28 am (UTC)
The most terrifying thing about this is that it makes so much sense. ::shivers::
__marcelo
Dec. 12th, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC)
I just need to share the dread.

I wonder if this will pop in my head when I'm watching the new Superman movie...
kidzero
Dec. 12th, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC)
It's people like you who can make sense of the craptacular mess that is the Byrne-revamp Superman. This is an amazing thing. :)

I miss the old skool Supes, where there was actually a halfway intelligent reason Kryptonians never did much space travel.
__marcelo
Dec. 12th, 2005 03:27 pm (UTC)
I miss him, too. Sometimes current Superman seems like a guy approaching thirty unsure about his role, his job, his life, a bit lost... (ok, I might be projecting a bit *g*)
chevauchee
Dec. 13th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
Please don't make me think of Supes having a midlife crisis. Because it could be scarier than this was.

Great theory, and it *felt* like a different culture in the wording/viewpoint. Nice job.
__marcelo
Dec. 13th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
Thanks! And, yes, it could.
amarin_rose
Jan. 2nd, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)
This is...entirely plausible, and it breaks my brain in good ways.

But now I want fic wherein Clark/Kon find out what Kon's name means. Or where Kon finds out, and gets mad at Clark for the perceived slight and Tim says, "Well, you were the best gift I ever received..."

*eyes encroaching plot bunny* Either you write it, or give me permission to (as long as I attribute Kon's name to you), because I don't fancy having to buy more carrots. *backs away from humongous plot bunny pen*
__marcelo
Jan. 2nd, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
But now I want fic wherein Clark/Kon find out what Kon's name means. Or where Kon finds out, and gets mad at Clark for the perceived slight and Tim says, "Well, you were the best gift I ever received..."

Gods above, *go* for it. Pretty please with a cherry on top.
amarin_rose
Jan. 3rd, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
Heh. Will do. :) Hopefully it will write itself quick.
amarin_rose
Jan. 13th, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
I went for it. Here 'tis: Gifts

I hope you like it. :)
razorsmile
Jan. 19th, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
Defense systems. Lovely.
dessieoctavia
Nov. 27th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, awesome. It's funny, just a couple of days ago I was thinking about this, wondering why more Kryptonians didn't go to planets with yellow suns so they could walk among the stars like giants.
__marcelo
Nov. 27th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
I wonder that, too. I think the latest Superman mentioned that during their "Imperial" phase a lot of Kryptonians did, and later their society became so deeply xenophobic at one point that they chose to stay in Krypton. But I'm not sure how much I believe that, seeing how much of a factor in the recent history of the galaxy has been even a single powered Kryptonian.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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