March 16, 1939:
It had been months since Kem-L had last seen Zod, Non, or the strange Martian. It had equally been months since that strange entity he had encountered had hurled him into the depths of the sea where he had emerged and sunned himself until his power recovered. Such were the primitive minds of these inferior apes, however, that the dramatic events of that time had seemed to recede. While the United Kingdom had begun to accelerate its rearming, he was not sure whether or not his dramatic arrival in what he knew now as London had been the cause or the threats from that primitive simpleton in charge of the Empire without an Emperor. In the course of his time since then, Kem-L had made great exploitation of the Kryptonian mind's abilities to learn human speech. In the course of learning human languages, Kem-L had come to favor Mandarin Chinese, seeing in its simple yet complex grammatical structure a language suitable to the would-be conqueror, and more importantly in its writing a script so opaque that he could conceal his ambitions openly.
Kem-L had in his hands the major newspaper of 1930s New York, a newspaper that had arisen with the coming of new media as part of a global media engine. This newspaper, The Daily Planet, covered the incident where Adolf Hitler's armies were marching into Czechoslovakia. The Leader (Kem-L spared a second to groan internally at the unimaginative titles of these primitive despots. This seemed rather unbelievable. How even primitives could aspire to the power of Gods making men new without suitable titles.....) had claimed that his armies were marching as a means of protecting the new state in a hostile world where it was now known that men could have eyes that burned like suns and breath like howling gales. It was with a carefully hidden smile that Kem-L saw that this man, the architect of so much simple-minded brutality, had referred to the great clashes between himself, Zod, and Non as part of some demented plot on the part of the Yehudim. From all Kem-L had seen if that people had that power, it was unsuited to wield it, but he was not at all sure why the demented conspiracies of primitives should focus on such people instead of on the shadowy tones of true power.
Kem-L, however, was very offended to see this Leader in Germany promising to make a New Man who was the superior race. Perhaps, after he had returned to Krypton and gathered a sufficient-sized force to overwhelm the entire planet he would personally eviscerate that hut-dweller, but time would tell. He continued to turn the page and then prepared to meet his secretary, hearing her footsteps well before she knocked on the door.
"Your eight-O'Clock is here to see you."
"Thank you Penny,"
He smiled. It would be a matter of time, but if he had enough time to build the El-Corporation into a cartel with influence on the material capable of producing matter and antimatter, he could begin creating a portal that would return him to Krypton. He carefully avoided fuming about one of the stories he'd seen, where a vigilante known only as the Green Lantern had prevented a major famine in China, where a war was ongoing on a grand scale. This hero had managed in the process to down a major air strike by Japanese fighters and to likewise provide the first basis for a kind of counterstrike force. So long as the Green Lantern Corps had an aggressive agent on this planet, he would need to move very carefully indeed.
A breadline, New Orleans, LA:
General Zod ensured that Non, in carrying the bread that both were intending to eat that day, did not drop it and that Non did not initiate another brawl. In this new life, until both could find some way to return to their home planet, Zod and Non had also needed new names. Zod had decided to name Non Lennie, and to take for himself the name George. They were primitive, human names, but they would do. He had overheard thanks to that extraordinary hearing of the work the Green Lantern was doing in China. As Zod bore the primitives no great grudge, he hoped that this would continue.
Seeing a flyer for the El-Corporation's Research and Development sector recruiting, Zod calmly breathed in and out before biting into the bread. He could not yet challenge Kem-L. It was a hard reality to accept, but a good general did not start wars recklessly. And this was a war that he was incapable of winning. It was in that context that Zod had heard three things he was very interested in also, snippets of conversations that included the latest deed of the Crimson Avenger, pursuing a criminal who had conducted an excessively brutal breakout and was now inaugurating a new wave of terror. This man, the Joker, interested Zod. So did another snippet, referring to rumors of a man who ran so fast that he could not be seen, rumors pooh-poohed as people needing to be excited about every new flash in the pan.
Then there was the most interesting statement of them all. A man named Le Colorado, who could leap tall buildings in a single bound working with a woman who looked vaguely Greek-ish. Both were going to be speaking before Chief of Staff Craig about the grave matters that had recently occurred. As Zod stewed on these matters, he would see for himself the charismatic doomsayer Yolanda Azania, as she once again appeared in New Orleans.
Only this time was to be slightly different. As she spoke, a car came careening toward her, driven by a drunk lunatic, only for her to calmly continue to harangue the crowd as the car slammed into her and the driver was thrown from it, caught on an invisible wall of force, alive and stunned with the car crunched strongly against the invulnerable body of the prophetess. Turning this to her advantage, she spoke with a sonorous power:
Truly there is a fire to be lit upon the earth, and I warn you all that even now it shall soon be kindled. A man calling himself a leader steals an entire state because of the cowardice, the inanity, the frivolity of men! Fear that future that awaits you! None know when a miracle may happen, that a man be saved and an object destroyed. Ye cannot predict it, how these precious rings of power that fate weaves around us call to us, ensuring that we claim that which is ours!
Zod finished his meal and then said to Non "Come on Lennie, she's spoiling our afternoon." As the two strode off, Zod heard in his mind what seemed like a mocking word that he dismissed as simply his imagination. That word, Lor-Zod only was his own imagination wishing to hear a real Kryptonian's voice. This it was, and nothing more.