Krypton was doomed.

For months now, Jor-El had known it. All his investigations lead to the same conclusion. There was fiery death building in the heart of Krypton and her Great Mother Ocean. But the dotting old men of the Science Council had forbidden him to act publicly. An alarmist, they called him. Fools! May Rao curse the waters of their lives. Their foolish intransigence had doomed all of Krypton and her people.

He smiled.

Well, perhaps not all of them...

Not if Jor-El had his way.

And he intended to.

There was still yet hope for the child. But time was rapidly running out. As he'd worked frantically on the small model rocketship in these last few hours, he found himself interrupted several times by sea tremors that shook the spires of Kryptonopolis like a hapless toy in the hands of an irate child. His gills straining hard to keep up with his exertions, the scientist recalibrated the tiny ship's warp drive vectors one last time, shaking his head. Not perfect, but it would have to do. There was simply no more time. The floor of his private laboratory began to shake, almost gently at first, then with increasing severity. Tumbling through the water, Jor-El caught himself by reaching out and grasping at a passing sonic generator with one webbed hand. Clinging to the heavy piece of lab equipment, he found himself staring out the sweeping plas-steel window of his lab out into the vista of his doomed city.

Buildings rumbled and shook, falling to the ocean floor; the shock waves of the great quake rippled through the waters of Kryptonopolis like a swelling tide. Crying in terror and distress, aquatic Kryptonians fled the destruction like glittering, startled flamefish who saw their deaths reflected in the crystalline forehead of a hungry thought-ichthyus. As if this were the wilds of the Scarlet Sea, and not the cradle of Kryptonian civilization itself.

It was all futile, Jor-El knew.

he ordered his wife, and swam to meet her as she entered his domain, his lab. He had never forbidden her presence there, but, prudently, she rarely invaded this sheltered part of his life. His research was vital to him, she realized. And she had no wish to intrude.

With a frown, Jor-El looked up from strapping his infant son into the vehicle's tiny, cramped interior, being careful not wake the sleeping child. Briefly, his wife leaned down and kissed the drowsy child's forehead. The baby cooed and gurgled in his slumber, and Jor-El's heart fell as he watched Lara carefully arrange the dark blankets around the baby's chin. Jor-El took his wife's hand in his, and held it tightly as he sealed the ship's environmental systems and began the power up preparatory to launch.

Lara whispered. Understanding her desire, Jor-El activated a hologram of Earth to allow her to see their son's future home. Like a great lovely blue and green marble, it hung in the air of the lab, peeking out from beneath its fleecy cloud cover like a shy young girl with her first lover. Lara gasped at the beauty before her.

And then there was no time left at all. The lab shook itself like a drenched animal throwing water from its coat, and Jor-El keyed the launch sequence with a frantic hand. The roar of rocket engines filled the air, louder even than the sounds of destruction all around them. Jor-El shielded his wife from the treacherous falling glass as the small rocket tore through the ceiling of their crumbling home, out into the atmosphere of their dying world. Great fissures ripped open the ground beneath their dwelling as, together, hand in hand, they watched the rocket, bearing its small, precious cargo, claw its way through the atmosphere to the safety of space. For the final time, Jor-El embraced his wife, clinging to her tightly, secure in the knowledge that all was not lost.

he whispered.

* * * * *

Doctor Namasara spilled out onto the wet, slippery deck like a ripe seed. Windmilling his arms frantically, the slight scientist fought for balance against the heaving ship, falling hard to the deck with an audible "whoosh" of escaping air from his comically open mouth. The Captain might have smiled if he hadn't been so busy.

And afraid.

"Hard astern!" he shrieked, once more striving to make himself heard over the howling wind.

"Remember the 'great wind'!" cried Doctor Narasama, climbing to his feet again, only to fall once more as the ship lurched away from beneath his scrambling feet. "Quickly! Grab hold of something!" Almost against his will, the Captain obeyed, grabbing for purchase at a convenient rail, lest he be swept overboard by the strengthening wind that blew hard in his face. Kenjiro-Sama was no fool. He did the same. For several unfortunate crewmen, the warning came too late, however. With despair, Hiro Fugimoto watched as two of his crew were swept from the heaving deck like dust before a housekeeper's broom.

"Man overboard!" the cry went up. "Man overboard!"

Brave Kenjiro released his hold on safety, and joined his Captain as the older man threw life preservers over the side of the vessel in the faint hope that the two lost men might be able to make their way to them. In these seas, their chances were not good. In the bitter cold of the Antarctic waters of the Weddell Sea, his two crewmen would not last long before hypothermia claimed them.

The wind abated for a moment, and Hiro breathed a sigh of relief. "Wha - ?"

And then, as if by magic, his two crewmen fell from the sky onto the pitching deck of the Shinobi-Maru, coughing up sea water drenched and shivering. Ancestor's be praised! In all his twenty-five years as a sailor, the last ten of them as Captain of his own vessel, Fugimoto had never lost a single crewman. He was loath to start such a detestable practice now. On a research mission of all things.

"Get those men below and into some dry clothes before they freeze!" he instructed, and several of their crewmates fell to, assisting the beleaguered pair below decks.

And then the wind picked up again.

With a vengeance.

"Kamikaze!" whispered Kenjiro at Fugimoto's side. "'The Divine Wind'! We are undone, Hiro-Sama, my friend!"

With an effort, Fugimoto restrained himself from striking his friend and subordinate. "Nonsense!" he cursed. "This is *not* 1281, Kenjiro! And that is surely not Khublai-Khan's invading fleet! Besides," the Captain tried to be reasonable even under these most unreasonable of circumstances, "the Kamikaze -- the 'Divine Wind' -- that forced the Great Khan to abandon his plans for the invasion and subjugation of Nippon was a sign of Nippon's favor from the gods. Whatever this is, I would hardly call it that!"

Much chastened, Kenjiro dipped his head in a smart bow of respect for the Captain's greater knowledge. "Hai!" he agreed.

Suddenly, with a great lurch that sent the crew tumbling from their feet yet again, and filled the air with the ear piercing screech of rending metal, the Shinobi-Maru rose into the air. Covering his ears against the cacophony of noise that assaulted him, Captain Hiro Fugimoto could only offer up his most humblest prayers for mercy from their unseen foe, even as he buried his face in the welcome warmth of his parka against the cutting wind. Clinging tightly to the deck, the Captain tried to ignore the sensation of great speed that engulfed his ship and crew. His queasy stomach rolled and pitched with the flight of the vessel through the air. Impossible! For a moment, he feared he might disgrace himself by being sick. Not since he was a boy, a gopher aboard his first vessel at the age of fifteen, had he been seasick. He felt somewhat better when he noticed Kenjiro-Sama and realized that if he were to be ill, he would scarcely be alone.

And then, gently as a floating piece of thistledown, the Shinobi-Maru splashed back down into her native element, calmly riding the gentle swells of a sheltered bay. The breeze that touched his cheek when he made brave to lift his head and look about in inquiry was almost warm.

"Look!" cried Kenjiro in awe, pointing at a familiar skyline. Even at this distance, and in the falling gloom of evening, the neon lights of the Ginza burned splendidly garish and bright. The Captain's eyes widened in disbelief. No! Impossible! A trip of thousands of miles, accomplished in the twinkling of an eye!

"Tokyo," the mariner breathed, sweeping back the hood of his parka to better orient himself. "My friends, this is Tokyo Bay! We -- we are home!"

Part 3