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Chapter 23

Some days later Superman summoned Supergirl and Superboy to the fortress of solitude. "Take off your boots," he instructed, "and put these new ones on. They've got something special in the heels...kryptonite! They're shielded so the radiation is only emitted behind you. Get your adversaries to chase you. When they get close the kryptonite will weaken them. That is when you can turn and attack. Of course blows with your feet will also be effective so if you get an opportunity to deliver kicks, use them!"
Darklight appeared. "They're coming!" he remarked. "Brought somebody I thought could help.
Krypto bounded in an immediately went to Jason. "A dog!" Jason cried.
"Yes," Superman answered. "I had intended to introduce you when this was all over, but I think our friend is right! He could be useful in this struggle."
"There's someone else too," Darklight remarked, "in orbit. I had to give him a boost to get him out this far, but he'll be able to fight for several hours out here."
"Let's go!" Superman snapped.
He led the way outside. As they headed into space Lex Luthor joined them in an armored space suite, but he kept his distance. "The hull of this thing," Luthor remarked, "is made of fusium, impregnated with kryptonite. It was designed to fight you. It ought to work just as well against these invaders."
"Why are you involved?" Superman asked.
"Two or three super beings," Luthor answered, "interfering with my operations are acceptable. Several hundred of them eviler than I am taking over my world? No way! This is my turf, my territory! They won't get it without a fight! Got to keep the playing field level!"
Superman siled. "Darklight! Jason!" he snapped, "You're not as vulnerable to kryptonite as the rest of us. Stay on this side with Luthor. Luthor, the plan is get them to chase us. Let the kryptonite weaken them, and then attack."
"Sounds good!" Luthor answered.
They took up a line in space. Superman could see the ship approaching but it was coming very slowly. "They've realized about the guidance system," Darklight explained. "One of them is pushing the ship. The others are inside." Supergirl suddenly spoke up. "Scatter! The phantom zone projector, it's extended and activated! They're going to try to project us into the phantom zone!"
Before anyone could react something shot from the Earth's shadow and hurtled passed Superman and the others travelling at incredible velocity. It hit the phantom zone projector smashing it apart, curved around and headed back the way it had come!
"What was that?" Supergirl cried. "Nothing on Earth could rip apart something made by Kryptonians!" '
"Well, it was going too fast for even me to make out!" Superman answered. "It was some kind of weapon. Apparently we have an unseen ally! For some reason I can't even detect them with my telescopic vision!"
"Them?" Supergirl asked.
"I saw three separate movements," Superman answered, "in the Earth's shadow. In the Earth's shadow," he repeated. "Yes! the Earth's shadow! Lead them into the Earth's shadow. It will make them even weaker! We've had plenty of time to absorb solar energy, they haven't! We'll be able to fight in the Earth's shadow far longer than they can!"
The space ship stopped. A large man came around it and eleven others came out of the ship and joined him. "Surrender," Superman called, "and we'll return you to the phantom zone!"
"Surrender?" one of them cried, "There's only six of you and twelve of us. And one of you is a man in this silly suit, and a dog and a boy and a girl! We are grown people. We can easily defeat you!"
The man who had been pushing the space ship cried out "The boy is mine! I like dealing with little boys!"
"Be my guest!" the leader cried.
They started forward and Luthor let loose with a barrage of kryptonite rays. The attackers were momentarily startled. While they were confused Superboy shot in and brought both his feet into the big man's groin, then sped away. The big man and one of the three women took off after him. The other two women headed for Supergirl, who got a couple of kicks into both of them before she headed for the Earth's shadow with them in pursuit.
Krypto shot around, got behind two of the younger men, and gave both a quick chomp in the rear! Then he took off for the Earth's shadow with them in pursuit. Superman and Luthor attacked those remaining, fought them for a few minutes, and then headed for the Earth's shadow. The battle was on!

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