Dan Kent was not giving up.
"It'll be rough, I'll admit. But you've always managed. You always will."
"I know I could. It would be the biggest juggling act since Atlas and Hercules, but I know I could do it. That's not the problem."
He finally said it aloud.
"Sometime, somewhere--I'll have to kill. I won't want to, and I'm gonna fight like hell to make damned sure its rarer than Halley's Comet. But it will happen. For a defender of life, limb, and property, that's a troubling but livable way of going about things. But for a doctor, who takes an oath that he will first do no harm? I'll break the rules, bend the regs, throw away the book, look the other way, wink, nod, blink, and rob from the rich to give to the poor, if that's what I have to do. But I will not break an oath. If I swear by Apollo The Physic, then I can not be an effective Superman. If, as Superman, I am forced to end a life--then I'd have to give up being a doctor anyway. I don't see the two as being compatible."
Dan looked down, obviously dissapointed.
"I had hoped this family would produce another doctor, Ben. With your powers-- medicine could have made strides beyond imagining. Think--think of all those lives."
"Believe me, I am. And as to another Kent doctor--with my powers? I've heard rumours of a well-built blonde who's been like a sister to me--in fact....."
Dan brushed him off.
"Samantha's not the one, Ben. And I'd prefer it if you'd not refer to your sister as well-built. Its disturbing, and a little off the mark."
Hawkeye could easily take any number of broadsides, it was known. But shots aimed at his twin were a known sore spot.
"She's a knock-out. Mom knows it. At school, I have to run away from my friends when they talk about her. The only two people who don't know how utterly beautiful a human being she is are you, and by extension, her. Would paying your daughter a compliment kill you? Cause it would do wonders for Sam. As to her not being the one--would it help if her name were Samuel?"
Dan stood up, and walked out.
"This conversation is over."
Hawkeye stood up, and flew out.
"For awhile now."
A month later, Hawkeye and Sam returned from a round of college interviews to find their home ransacked, and their parents mysteriously vanished. To the present day, neither of them had found any clue as to what really happened.
"So you see, my husband is no hypocrite. He knew that he could not be both Hercules and Hippocrates both. So he chose, and as a result, the world has Superman. Even though this choice hurt his own father."
Wally O'Reilly, The Third Flash, stood up. Wonder Woman acknowledged him.
"Yeah, maam. Speaking of Hercules, your Dad called from Olympus. Should I let him know how the trial's goin'?"
BJ shot off a quip of his own.
"Oh, absolutely, Wally. Maybe I should even subopena him. Margaret, didn't Hercules, in a spell-created rage, force himself on your mother--creating--oh, I don't know---you?"
Margaret chose not to respond, but The Green Lantern had scored another point about a hero who, under the influence of rage, had done something heinous.
Margaret calmed herself.
"I call to the stand Cassandra Grant."
The 3000 year old beauty indeed came forward.
"My name is Cassandra 'Cat' Grant. In the Bronze Age, I was a slave to The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse. In The Middle Ages, I was a Sorceress of no mean skill. In The Media Age, I am a bouncy-jiggly investigative reporter whom no one takes seriously--til I turn in my copy. Then come the lawsuits, and death threats."
The Immortal pulled out her sword.
"But I was also an attorney, in another life, and the death threats usually mean little unless they come from another of my kind. I was eternally young and beautiful, and I thought I was invulnerable, too."
She pulled out a picture of a sandy-blond boy of about 12 years.
"His name was Adam, and it was for him I crafted the ID of Cat Grant, just to be his mother. I won't bore you. He was my son, and I did not use the word adopted. He was my heart. I thought I would see him die in a nursing home, while I pretended to be a friend of the family. I thought I would cry as I said goodbye to great-grandchildren I would never know. I've only adopted thirteen times in my 150 Score. It is too painful, watching the wrinkles take over from the dimples, the grave take the place of the cradle. But I thought that Adam would be mine perhaps 80 to 100 years more."
Shaking, she put the sword away.
"Winslow Newsome had other ideas, damn him. Each time he escaped our wondrous system, or was released, he would escalate. From stalking to break-in. From break-in to kidnap. From kidnap to child abuse. The rest is known. The Toyman got hold of my Adam. He took him. He used him. He butchered him. I went, sword in hand, to repay the debt. Superman stopped me. Not by force, but by word. Simply put, the man who stopped me would not have done what you all allege. So I grabbed Newsome, and broke his hands in a method taught me by a man who knew how to break hands---Kronos himself. I used a monster's technique to punish another monster. Though The Toyman would continue, he would never fashion one of his wretched toys again. I'm told his final hunt was a difficult one, and that he grew sloppy. That this may have helped Hawkeye find Erin Hunnicutt in time."
Cassandra looked at BJ.
"You who are Earth's Third Green Lantern. Your child is safe at home. My child's ashes are scattered over Gaia's domain. Please thank your best friend for this, rather than prosecutng him. He couldn't reach my Adam in time. I hated him for this, til I realized that he felt the pain almost as deeply as I did. I have known the four worst killers in all of history. At his core, Superman is their polar opposite."
BJ nodded, but his quick mind was at the ready.
"May I remind the witness that Martian Manhunter and Batman had to peel Superman off The Joker, after the murder of Carlye Lane?"
Cassandra was unimpressed by the angry man, having known true anger and having set it aside.
"May I remind you that if Superman had wanted the Joker dead, he would have been dead, then and there? That he could have done it silently, made it look like it was an accident? Oh, and for the record..."
She now looked at The Batman. Frank Burns gulped.
"The Joker is now dead."
Cass Grant hugged her former WGBS newsmate, and left, to finally begin life under yet another name.
"Hey, Cat--where you headed?"
"Oh, I'll be around, Kent. There's this space station out yonder, that I've heard tell of. I'd best go, now. I don't wish to babble."
"Oh, babble on. Just take five and remember there's people here who care about you."
BJ watched the scene, and wondered anew what really happened the night Newsome was killed. Soon, he would know, and then wish that he did not.
Erin was frightened. It was that night again. The night the man came for her.
As Winslow Newsome broke in, Erin could not know that she was safe. In the background of this hideous replay was - The Spectre. Nicholas Knight stared out.
"What secret do you hold, child? Does your silence protect Superman? Does it insure his condemnation? Newsome can no longer harm you. But can The Truth?"
Erin pleaded to the spooky man with the knife.
"Please go away! My Daddy is The Green Lantern!"
Newsome grinned a crazy grin, one that would have had the late Joker gulping.
"Funny. Usually they just say he's a policeman."
This told the dead cop something he had not known before--Erin had been a random victim, not one targeted because of her father's affiliation. But he needed more, and he would have it, no matter the cost involved.