The thud of severed flesh on concrete is a wet, squelching sound, and Clark is hit with a wave of nausea at the sight of Guy’s hand lying near their feet. The sickness fades as soon as it comes, giving way to cold fury. Dismemberment is nothing unusual for Darkseid’s gaggle of sadistic sycophants. Clark knows from experience that, if anyone can make him lose his resolve to subdue his enemy with the least amount of force necessary, it’s Darkseid. But regardless of what Superman risks by facing Darkseid again, there’s only one way to know if this is the only limb Guy’s lost— only one way to prevent him from losing anything else. “Get the hand and the ring to the Tower,” he orders to John or J’onn or both, but regardless of who tends to the matter, Clark is determined that he’s going to be the first one through the boom tube.
The portal swallows him in a rush of light and sound, all narrowing to a point until he’s spilled into what appears to be a surveillance room, shattered equipment buzzing and smoke billowing from electrical fires that light the corners of the chamber. Even indoors in this alcove far beneath the ground, Clark can recognize the sulfuric scent of Apokolips, the taste of soot and misery in the air. If he weren’t raised with manners, he’d spit.
A silhouette stirs behind the green glow of a broken monitor. “The Kryptonia—”
It’s as much as Kalibak manages to utter before Superman is on him, hurling him across the room into a cluster of sputtering keyboards. Clark pursues him with a bellow from deep in his chest, fist smashing down into Kalibak’s face as soon as he lands. He continues to pummel the vile creature, raining down blow after blow with no reprieve. Kalibak doesn’t seem interested in fighting back at the moment, unusual as it is, but his lack of retaliation does nothing to curb Clark’s attack. “Where is he?” Clark demands, punctuating it with a wrenching jab to Kalibak’s gut. “Where is he?”
Kalibak looks at a spot somewhere behind Clark, bloodied mouth splitting in a manic grin, and Clark turns his head to follow the gaze. A monitor flickers with a weak feed every few seconds, gray bands of static humming across the screen. When the image is distinct enough to identify, Clark knows without a doubt the familiar form of Guy Gardner, savaged though he is almost beyond recognition, flanked by Darkseid’s menacing bulk.
Soft laughter from Kalibak makes Clark turn back to him, just in time for his enemy to spit a thread of bloody saliva into his eyes. There are no manners on Apokolips. “Tell me where he is. You have five seconds,” Superman informs Kalibak calmly, swiping his face clean. When he opens his eyes again, they burn red. “Five… four…three…”
"Two…" the Kryptonian continued, before an immense energy blast struck him directly in the back sending him across the room and into the opposite wall.
"One" Desaad finished. He lowered the still smoking energy blaster and smiled as Kalibak rose. "Welcome back Kryptonian. It’s so nice to see that you have saved us the trouble of hunting you down."
Darkseid’s torturer raised the blaster rifle to his shoulder, aiming it at Superman’s head as the Man of Steel struggled to stand. “And now you get to achieve the fate that all living beings will one day achieve: you get to die for Darkseid!”
(To be continued in ‘Salvage’)