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Kara didn't know to be grateful for this discovery or angry. Once again it seemed like she was going to be in a position where she would be forced to choose between her family and Zod.
Daughter of Fire and Steel is a Man of Steel Alternate Universe Fic written by HardBoiled.
Kara Zor-El is a soldier under Zod's command who has her loyalties tested when her leader invades Earth and she meets her long lost cousin, Kal-El.
Daughter of Fire and Steel provides examples of:
- Accidental Murder: It's revealed that Zod unleashed Doomsday to kill the council and that Zor-El's death wasn't intended, but he uses this to emotionally hurt Kara after she betrays him.
- Adaptational Backstory Change: In this story, rather than being Zod's reanimated corpse, Doomsday is a Super Soldier gone wrong. Additionally, while his Doomsday identity was given to him by Lex Luthor in canon, here it's derived from him taking the Kryptonian sigil for Doomsday as his own.
- Adaptational Badass: Kara tends to fluctuate between being a standard Kryptonian civilian or having some combat training prior to her planet's destruction. Here, she's a soldier and one of Zod's sub-commanders.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the films and comics, Doomsday was a psychotic monster from the get go. Here, he started off as a valiant and heroic Kryptonian hero before the experiments that made him so unstoppable drove him mad.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: Doomsday was created by Zor-El in this story while in canon he was Zod's reanimated corpse. Not to mention he's the one who kills Kara's father in this story, making him functionally one of her greatest fears and enemies.
- Adaptation Name Change:
- In DC canon, Doomsday doesn't have a name outside his Appropriated Appellation. Here, his name before his mutations was Terrax.
- Kara Zor-El's name is changed to Kara-El.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: Lex Luthor is still an antagonist, but his reasons for opposing Superman are far more noble and sympathetic here than in either the comics or Batman v. Superman. In this story, his sister, Lena, was one of the victims of Metropolis' destruction during Superman's fight with Zod, so Luthor wants revenge for her death and genuinely sees Superman as a threat to the world.
- Age Lift: Kara, by the time she leaves Krypton, is usually in her mid-to-late teens. In this story, she's well within adulthood, being an experienced commander in Zod's army by the time Clark was born.
- Aliens Speaking English: Zod's crew appear to have no trouble understanding English when they approach Earth and tap into the global networking grid.
- Alternate Universe Fic: In this story, Kara is a member of General Zod's crew.
- And I Must Scream: General Zod's coup fails, and he and his followers are put into individual fluid-filled pods, where they will be "reconditioned" for their sentence's duration, and then sent into the Phantom Zone. Zod irately states that nobody will release them because Krypton will be destroyed, so they are being condemned to remain frozen inside sarcophagi and floating in a black nothingness forever.
Dru-Zod: (scoffing) Krypton is dying and you respond by clinging to protocol. The Phantom Zone isn't even a death sentence! Who will be left to release us when our conditioning is finished?
Lor-Em: We are here to discuss your punishment today Zod. Not your release.
Dru-Zod: You won't kill us but you'll damn us to a black hole for eternity so you won't sully your hands.
- Anti-Villain: Kara starts off as this. She serves under Zod and doesn't really care about the human race, but she has a strong moral code and actively refuses to kill any humans she fights. She ends up pulling a HeelFace Turn and joins Superman in the end.
- Apologetic Attacker: In the first episode Jor-El and Lara are putting Kal-El into the rocket when Kara barges into the place. Jor-El quickly knocks her out and then he apologizes for hitting her.
The words also had the intended effect as Jor used the opportunity to rush forward and slam his forearm into Kara's face. Stunned, Jor ripped the rifle form Kara's hands and knocked her to the ground. Jor brought the butt of the rifle down on Kara's head and everything started losing consciousness. "I'm sorry about this Kara," was the last thing she heard before everything blacked out.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Zod pulls his coup, he tries to sway Jor-El over by showing how his own niece is on Zod's side. Jor-El snaps "Is this what you've become, Kara? Is this what Zor would want you to be?" While she keeps her emotions in check, Kara is inwardly affected by his words enough to later help ensure Kal-El escapes Krypton.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Discussed. Before going out of their ship, the Black Zero crew test the Earth's atmosphere to ascertain whether its air is safe to breathe.
- Bizarre Alien Senses: As soon as they make it to the planet, Kara tests the Earth's atmosphere's effect on her organism. She becomes amazed when she finds out she can see and hear things she had previously been unable to.
Kara: It was like I could see everything. I could see through walls, flesh, bones, machinery, everything. I could see heat and cold as if they were visible to the naked eye. I could hear Nam-Ek's breathing, Faora strolling back and forth on the bridge, the heartbeats of everyone board this ship, all of it as if it was happening right inside my ear drum.
- Broken Pedestal: Before he attempted to commit genocide, Kara used to look up to Zod as the greatest soldier to ever live. And whatever admiration she had left was shattered when Zod revealed he accidentally killed her father.
- Canon Discontinuity: Due to the author's disappointment with later installments of the DC Extended Universe, he decided that the story will ignore the later films for the most part. For example, Task Force X already exists at the start of the story while in the DCEU continuity, they were formed after Superman's death.
- Cardboard Prison: After her capture, Kara gets placed in a bunker that will detonate in the event she tries to leave. It's noted that something like that can't hold her and that the only reason she hasn't broken out is because she wants to be there.
- Composite Character: Lex Luthor gains elements of the DCEU incarnation of Batman given that he now has the motivation of killing Superman because he sees him as a potential threat to the world (though he also wants revenge for the death of his sister).
- Conflicting Loyalty: When Zod and his crew find signs of Kal-El, Kara wonders whether she will have to choose between her family and Zod once again.
"Should Kal-El resist then we'll cross that road when we come to it but the Codex is our first priority," said Zod. Kara didn't know to be grateful for this discovery or angry. Once again it seemed like she was going to be in a position where she would be forced to choose between her family and Zod.
- Decomposite Character: In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Doomsday was the resurrected corpse of Zod. Here, they're separate characters.
- Defends Against Their Own Kind: At the end, Kara lets herself be arrested and jailed, but Amanda Waller hopes being able to shape her into a weapon against other alien menaces.
- Designer Babies: In this universe, Kryptonians are test-tube babies grown in pods. Kara was genetically engineered to be a soldier, but something went "wrong" with the process and she was born with emotions.
On Krypton, natural births had been banned centuries ago. All Kryptonians were born in test tubes and large lab vats. Only a few bloodlines were used in the process of a caste system. Warrior, Worker, and Leader were only a few varieties created and had no way of changing their fates. If you were a soldier, you stayed a soldier for life regardless of your own choice.
Kara-El was born to be a soldier but something went wrong with her genetic makeup. Normal traits excluded from Soldier Class were in her DNA. Emotions especially compassion were things that were not wanted on the battlefield. But the codex process wasn't perfect. Sometimes children were born with a flawed genetic makeup.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Zod uses the Black Zero's systems to hijack all broadcast systems in the world in order to deliver his speech.
Dru-Zod: Tor prepare the com to transmit on all frequencies. I want every single human on that planet to hear what I have to say.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Kara is a highly accomplished Kryptonian warrior, having successfully defeated and subdued Doomsday and also serving as General Zod's sub-commander. Despite this, the Black Zero crew doesn't give her any respect due to her flawed genetics.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Lex is opposed to Superman and set up as an antagonist, but he genuinely loved his sister, Lena, and her death is his reason for going to war with the Man of Steel.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Black Zero crew do not understand why Kal-El is keeping his existence a secret instead of taking over the world. Kara is the only who figures out that her cousin obviously wants to rule over nobody.
Dev-Em: I've tapped into their global networking grid but I haven't found anything on Kal-El. Not a single mention of him dating back to the time he should have landed on this planet.
Dru-Zod: There has to be something. Someone with his kind of strength and abilities would have not gone unnoticed."
Tor-An: Maybe the signal didn't come from him.
Faora Hu-Ul: Or maybe he's in hiding.
Aethyr: Why would he hide? With his abilities he should be ruling over this world.
Kara Zor-El: Unless he truly is like his father then he wouldn't feel he has the right to.
- Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Kara pummels Aethyr to the ground when she finally gets sick of her insults and beatings.
This wasn't the first time Aethyr-Zer, Car-Vex, and Quex-Ul attacked her but this would be the one she makes them regret it. She retaliated by kicking Car in the knees and Quex in the groin. Both of them dropped, surprised by the violence. Kara shot up and tackled Aethyr to the ground, unleashing a fury of fists that turned her fellow cadet bloody.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Kara's genetics have elements of all castes in Kryptonian society. Because of this, she was frequently seen as an abomination.
- Similar to how he's usually portrayed, Lex despises aliens. Though here, he's given more sympathetic reasons for his hatred.
- Fate Worse than Death:
- The Phantom Zone.
- In flashback, Kara reveals that Zod and his forces are released from their status by the guard of their ship who shows them the destroyed Krypton. He rants that this was only supposed to be a three-week assignment before he was rotated out but now was unable to die with his family. He decides to let them suffer by freeing them all on a ship with only a week's worth of supplies so they have a slow death while he takes his own life.
"This is all your fault. You and your damned rebels needed a living breathing being operating your prison at all times. It was only supposed to be a three week assignment before I was rotated out," he said seemingly on the verge of tears. "NOW'S IT ALL GONE!" He stepped off to the side and Kara finally saw what he was talking about. A massive debris field of planetary rubble rested in the foreground, it's green glow lighting up the room. She didn't need to be told what it was. Kara already knew. Her uncle warned that this would happen but the Council wouldn't listen and now the origins of the great Kryptonian people, the seat of their space empire, and their home since the dawn of their civilization was gone.
Beside her, other pods were beginning to open and release their contents. "I should have been here then I would have died with my family. But because of you people I was forced to see this and now I want you all to suffer just like me. The ship's supplies are limited and may last you a week at best. I also took the liberty of disposing of all the firearms on this ship except for the one I'm holding and it only carries enough charge for one more shot. The rest of you will starve to death but for me this is all over," the jailer said before putting a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.
- First Contact: In order to find Kal-El, Zod has the ship enter the Earth's atmosphere and begins his global broadcast with a "You are not alone" message.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Doomsday was originally designed to be the perfect Kryptonian warrior; unbeatable in battle. The experiment appeared successful at first, but then he started mutating and went on a rampage.
- Groin Attack: During a brawl with her Academy bullies, Kara kicked one of them -Quex-Ul- in the groin to get him off her.
"Freak!" one of Kara's attackers shouted as they knocked her to the ground. This wasn't the first time Aethyr-Zer, Car-Vex, and Quex-Ul attacked her but this would be the one she makes them regret it. She retaliated by kicking Car in the knees and Quex in the groin.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: As trying to convince Zod to spare the humans, Kara points out that Kal-El will let them have the Codex without further conflict if they leave Earth alone, and she insists Zod will be remembered as a bloodthirsty monster if he continues with his plan. Zod looks shaken, but he stubbornly clings to his original goals.
- HeelFace Turn: Kara joins her cousin when she realizes that Zod intends to wipe humans out to create a new Krypton.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Invoked. Kara suggests Kal-El leaving Earth and forcing the Black Zero to follow them to another habitable planet. She expects them to be executed as soon as Zod catches up with them, but she and her cousin are willing to risk so Earth remains safe. Unfortunately, her plan fails.
Kara: I'm not giving them a choice. I'm going to launch the World Engine and jump us to another system. Zod and the others will follow us and we can lead them on a war-kite chase until we find a suitable planet for terraforming.
Kal: (frowning) And then what? Bygones become bygones and we all become one happy family with Zod?
Kara: "No... I expect Zod will execute us both. This is the only way our people can begin anew and not at the humans' expense. I'm willing to give my life for that. Are you?
Kal: If it means Earth stays safe then yes.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: General Zod's decisions consistently ruin his chances to achieve his goals. He gets Lois kidnapped, even though Kara points out such an action will make Kal-El to not trust them, and turns down Kara's suggestion to look for another suitable world after talking Kal into coming with them, despite she had already convinced her cousin to cooperate.
- Hostile Terraforming: As soon as General Zod is debriefed about the effects of the Earth's environment on their bodies, he decides he'll turn Earth into a New Krypton, whether its inhabitants like or not.
Zod skimmed through it and saw the usual readings. Atmospheric composition, geological elements, temperature and weather conditions. But as Zod continued reading, he realized what his scientist was so interested in. By itself any one of these readings was irrelevant but taken together they showed a world that truly perfect for Kryptonians to settle on. Add the nurturing radiation provided by the local star and you have the best prospect for terraforming. No wonder Jor-El sent his son here. This was world was perfect for them to start anew and with the codex they could do just that.
- Hot-Blooded: Kara is emotional, fierce and passionate. Unfortunately, her emotions make her an outcast, and her temper tends to get the better of her when she is subjected to bullying.
- Humans Need Aliens: General Zod would have wiped humans out if Kal and Kara had not turned against their alien kin to protect them.
- I Have Your Wife: General Zod gets Lois Lane abducted to ensure Kal-El's cooperation. When Kara points out that holding his lover hostage is guaranteed to alienate him, Zod just brushes off her concerns.
Quex-Ul: "There's one more thing you should know sir. The humans found out about Kal-El from a human they believed discovered his identity and befriended. A female named Lois Lane."
Aethyr: "Befriended? Please tell me he hasn't mated with one of those humans."
General Zod: "Well done Quex. This could be important. Bring back this Lois Lane as well. Having a hostage should keep him in line should we need to."
- Interspecies Romance: When the Black Zero hears about Kal-El befriending a human named "Lois Lane" they express disgust at the idea of a Kryptonian "mating" with humans.
- In Spite of a Nail: Despite Kara's presence and aid during the Kryptonian invasion, everything ends the same way; Zod is killed, the World Engine is destroyed, and the rest of the Black Zero's crew get sent back to the Phantom Zone.
- It Was with You All Along: Kara tries to talk Kal into giving her the Codex so she can convince Zod to leave Earth, but Kal does not know where it is. Shortly after, Zod guesses Jor-El hid it inside his son.
Kara: General, you have the Genesis Chamber and the World Engine. Once we have the Codex...
Zod: (shouting) We?!
Kara: ...We can find a suitable world to colonize and reform Krypton.
Zod: We have everything we need right on this planet. The only two things stopping us are you and Kal.
Kara: You still need the Codex.
Zod: You're standing next to it. Jor-El was far more clever than I gave him credit for. Instead of simply leaving it inside the ship when it could be damaged or rioted away in time, he put it inside the one thing that couldn't be destroyed on this world. The Codex is inside Kal's DNA.
- Kangaroo Court: General Zod's coup fails, and its perpetrators are trialed and sentenced to Phantom Zone time. However, Kara thinks their trial was a joke and they were simply railroaded.
The rebellion was over and what could be laughably called their trial was over even quicker.
- Klingon Promotion: Zod seizes control of the Council by barging into the Council Chambers and shooting the leader in the chest.
Dru-Zod: This council has been disbanded.
Ro-Zar: (outraged) On whose authority?
[Zod guns the Council leader down]
Dru-Zod: (seething) My own.
- Military Coup: In the first chapter, General Zod stages a military coup, dissolves the Kryptonian Science Council and assumes total authority.
- Mythology Gag: The bullies taunting Kara in the in first scene -Aethyr-Zer, Car-Vex, and Quex-Ul- are named after several Phantom Zoners enemies of the House of El in several comicbook continuities.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- Overwhelmed by Krypton's destruction, the guard of the prison ship carrying Zod and his followers decides to release them and have them suffer a slow death by starvation while he takes his own life. Instead of fighting among themselves, the prisoners use their smarts to engineer the Phantom Drive into a hyperdrive to scavage for supplies and survive.
- As in canon, Zod and his people were ready to settle on another world to start anew...and then got the signal from Kal's ship to zero in on Earth.
- Past Experience Nightmare: Kara suffers recurring nightmares during the Black Zero's voyage where she relives her classmates' bullying, General Zod's coup, her getting sentenced to the Zone, the destruction of Krypton...
- Phantom Zone: Kara and the remainder Zod's partisans were sent into the Zone after their failed coup. Zod describes it as a "black hole".
- Translation Convention: It is understood that Kryptonians speak their own language during the flashback scenes.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Zod delivers a scathing speech in the first chapter when he finds his trainees brawling:
Dru-Zod: This is what our warriors have been reduced to? A bunch of pathetic squabbling children who don't know the meaning of the word discipline.
Aethyr-Zer: Sir we were
Dru-Zod: Did I give you permission to speak?! You called Kara-El a freak and defective and yet you are the ones I see as defective and useless. If you cannot maintain discipline when you are off duty then you aren't worthy of standing in these halls. You three are dismissed." (to Kara) "Who threw the first punch?
Kara Zor-El: I did.
Dru-Zod: Your father assured me that your genetic flaws would in no way impede you in maintaining military discipline. Perhaps he was wrong and perhaps you should reconsider your place here. You are dismissed.
- Self-Made Man: Lex Luthor founded Lex Corp on his own when he was just 19 years old.
- Sensory Overload: Kara gets overwhelmed when she uses her super senses for the first time. Jax guesses her senses "were enhanced beyond [her] brain's ability to handle it."
Whatever euphoria she felt before escalated tenfold as her lungs completely filled with the alien atmosphere. Then she twitched as the walls seemed to fade right before her eyes. She could see Jax in the other room and even Zod then the two turned into skeletons and then shapes of bright red light. the sound of the engine, machinery, footsteps as Kryptonians wandered the halls of the ship, all roared in Kara's ears. Everything was so bright and so loud, it was all too much. Screaming, she quickly tapped her helmet once more and its shield reactivated. Kryptonian air quickly replaced the alien air as Kara dropped to her knees, slowly regaining her senses.
- Strong and Skilled: Kara is a highly-trained soldier with the full Kryptonian powerset. She's also the first of Zod's crew to master her senses without the need for her helmet.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: When Kara tries to appeal to Zod by saying that if he succeeds then the future generations of their people will see him as a monster, he hesitates, but ultimately decides that if he must be a monster to ensure his people's survival, then so be it.
- Truer to the Text: Kara is back to being Superman's cousin in this story while the canon Kara for the DCEU was his ancestor.
- We Used to Be Friends: Jor-El and Dru-Zod were friends and colleagues until Zod stages a coup against the Science Council.
Dru-Zod: Be reasonable Jor. The last thing I want is for us to become enemies El. Join me and save Krypton.
Jor-El: You've have abandoned the principles that bound us together. You've taken up the sword against your own people. I will honor the memory of the man you once were. Not the monster you've become.
Dru-Zod: (to his men) Take him away.
- Worf Had the Flu: Kara ends up getting captured by the military after getting knocked out, but she was suffering from Sensory Overload due to losing her helmet, making all the loud noises caused by the military's weapons very painful for her.
- You Killed My Father: