Scout Ship 0344, also known as the Fortress of Solitude, is a Kryptonian scout ship and the base of operations of Superman. It is an ancient Kryptonian colonial vessel originally commissioned for Explorer Guild teams to scout out planets during the Great Age of Exploration. Its former commander, Kara Zor-El, abandoned the ship after arriving on Earth, where it remained for thousands of years before its discovery and eventual commandeering by Kal-El in 2014. During his invasion, General Zod commandeered the vessel in an attempt to use its genesis chamber to revive the Kryptonian race, but Superman forced the ship to crash in Metropolis, destroying the chamber and most of the ship's functions.
The ship has a few robotic servants which appear like small oblong drones that hover about the vessel performing maintenance. These robotic servants are the reason the ship has remained functional after nearly twenty thousand years of neglect.
The ship was breached again in 2016 by Lex Luthor, who re-purposed the damaged genesis chamber to create the ancient Kryptonian mutant Doomsday using Zod's corpse, overloading and depleting the power reserves in the process. After being placed in the possession of S.T.A.R. Labs, the ship was infiltrated by the Justice League, who used the biomatrices of the chamber and a Mother Box to revive Superman, who promptly repossessed the Kryptonian vessel.
- "Long ago, in an era of expansion, our race spread throughout the stars seeking new worlds to settle upon."
- ―Jor-El[src]During the height of Krypton's power, a campaign was launched to journey beyond their world and explore the universe. Scientists from the Thinker Guild began developing thousands of scout ships that would allow deep-space voyages to be conducted, and the Explorer Guild was established to train citizens for colonization missions.
Kara Zor-El graduated at the top of her class and was promoted to the rank of captain. After capturing the murderer Dev-Em, Kara was assigned as the designated commander for a scout ship. Soon after they disembarked from Krypton on their scouting mission, Kara's crew placed themselves into a 10-year stasis.
Marooned on Earth
While in stasis, Dev-Em, having escaped custody and hidden within the vessel, murdered the crew save for Kara. Ten years later, Kara awoke, coming across Dev-Em, who had diverted the ship's course to the Milky Way system.
During the ensuing confrontation, the two discovered they possessed newfound powers due to yellow sun radiation, eventually destroying integral parts of the ship as they fought. Because of this, they were forced to crash land on a prehistoric Earth. Afterward, following the death of Dev-Em, Kara abandoned the ship, leaving it to eventually become entirely covered in ice over the ages.
- "Our satellites pinged the anomaly first. The ice shelf plays hell on the echo soundings, but there's definitely something down there."
"A submarine, maybe Soviet-era?"
"Doubtful. That's 300 meters; considerably larger than anything we know they built back then."
"But here's the spooky part: the ice surrounding the object, it's nearly 20,000 years old."
- ―Sekowsky, Lois Lane and Nathan Hardy[src]
After the expansion's campaign was abandoned, Scout Ship 0344 remained dormant on Earth for thousands of years until it was discovered by a satellite from NASA. During his travels in Canada, Clark Kent learned of the craft's existence when he overheard two Canadian airmen talking about it, and so journeyed to Ellesmere Island to investigate. Once the opportunity presented itself he forged a path through the ice with his heat vision and entered the ship.
- "The people of Earth are different from us, it's true. But, ultimately, I believe that's a good thing. They won't necessarily make the same mistakes as we did. Not if you guide them, Kal. Not if you give them hope."
- ―Jor-El to Clark Kent.[src]
Inside, he was briefly attacked by a service android until he placed his command key inside a port, powering up the ship. Simultaneously, an artificial intelligence hologram of Jor-El activated, guiding Clark throughout the ship and revealing his origins. He explained how the ship was built during Krypton's era of expansion, during which they explored the stars until the mission was abandoned in favor of artificial population control, abandoning colonial outposts and exhausting natural resources for years to come until General Zod led a failed coup on the council in an attempt to save the planet.
After teaching him of Krypton, Jor-El passed on words of wisdom to his son, explaining the reason he was sent to Earth was to help the humans become what Krypton had once been without following their mistakes. As they journeyed throughout the ship, Jor-El revealed a Kryptonian skinsuit manufactured for Clark as he explained the nature of his powers and that Clark needed to keep pushing himself to realize his full potential. Unbeknownst to Clark, his activation of the ship sent out a distress signal that was picked up by the Black Zero.
- "Our people can coexist."
"So we can suffer through years of pain trying to adapt like your son has?"
"You're talking about genocide."
"Yes. And I'm arguing its merits with a ghost."
- ―Jor-El and General Zod[src]
After the Sword of Rao's arrival on Earth, the ship was commandeered by General Zod, who erased Jor-El's programming and attempted to use the genesis chamber's embryos to rebuild Krypton's population on earth. However, Zod was ultimately stopped by Superman, and the ship crashed into the city of Metropolis.
Birth of Doomsday
- "Advising: Action forbidden. It has been decreed by the Council of Krypton that none will ever again give life to a deformity so hateful to sight and memory. The desecration without name."
"And where is the Council of Krypton?"
- ―Kryptonian Service Android and Lex Luthor[src]
Following General Zod's defeat, the United States government took control of the ship and built a containment facility surrounding it. Lex Luthor managed to gain access to the site after striking a deal with Senator Barrows, using General Zod's fingerprints to enter the ship. Luthor then used Zod's command key to gain access to the ship's archives, instructing it to teach him everything about Krypton. Using this new knowledge, Luthor procured Zod's body and used it to recreate a Kryptonian mutant using his own blood and the ship's genesis chamber.
In the aftermath of the ferocious battle between Superman and Doomsday, a SWAT team infiltrated the ship, interrupting Lex as he viewed a liquid geo construct of a towering figure wielding three cubes. As the SWAT team arrived, the figure let out a roar as it disappeared, leaving Lex to turn to the face his arresting officers.
Return of Superman
A year after the death of Superman, the ship was still kept within the government's containment facility. After the Justice League made the decision to bring Clark back to life, they discovered that if his body was submerged in the ship's genesis chamber and exposed to the energy of a Mother Box, they could jumpstart his accelerated healing to revive him.
Following this revelation, Cyborg and Flash were sent out to retrieve Clark's body from the cemetery in Smallville, Kansas. Afterward, they brought his body back to Metropolis, where Barry snuck into the government's containment facility where the ship was being held, posing as military personnel while Victor falsified his credentials.
The league members arrived at the facility, and Aquaman placed Clark's body into the chamber's water. However, after attempting to initiate the ship's computer systems, Victor discovered that Lex Luthor's creation of Doomsday previously overloaded the vessel's systems, depleting the power reserves entirely. However, Flash came up with the idea to jumpstart the Mother Box by creating a powerful surge of electricity, to which Victor agreed. Running to the opposite end of the ship, Flash was instructed by Victor that he needed to charge the Mother Box the moment it touched the chamber's fluid. As Cyborg initiated the countdown, Barry prepared himself, then sprinted to the chamber as the Mother Box fell, activating it and reawakening Superman, who flew through the roof of the ship.
Former Crew Members
- In DC Comics, the Fortress of Solitude is the base of operations of Superman. The fortress has been located in various regions around the world, including the Arctic, the Andes, the Amazon rainforest, a mountain on the outskirts of Metropolis and an underground complex in a mountain cliffside.
- Carla Gugino is the voice of the ship's artificial intelligence program in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. She previously worked with director Zack Snyder in 2009's Watchmen, where she portrayed the superheroine Sally Jupiter, the first Silk Spectre.