Synopsis: Kyle arrives in Gotham to meet with Alan Scott the first Green Lantern of Earth who is able to provide additional information about the Lanterns, the status of super heroes in general and provide context around the fallen Lantern, Hal Jordan.
ALAN: Gotham City is known for its special type of scum and villainy. Most people believe that came with the arrival of the Bat, but they’re wrong. It started way back. During the Great Depression. It was a time when the United States was down on its luck. Hard working people did more than an average day’s labor for a dime. People scrambled for food on good days and barely went hungry on others. History records that America came through it, but those books in those classes rarely give a true accounting of how the working class made it through the days. I know, first hand. Because I was there.
My name is Alan Scott, but people used to call me the Green Lantern.
Truth be told, I don’t look my age. You might call me lucky, but more than once I’ve considered myself cursed. I was born here, in Gotham. Just before the Great Depression. So I got a birds eye view of how it happened, what we went through and most of all? I saw what it meant to live in Gotham City when times were really hard. When if you needed a ride to work, you didn’t dare go for something called ‘Uber.’ Because the chances were the Cabby would shank you and steal your shoes to pay for Gas. There were no monorails to carry you place to place. We didn’t have the luxury of buying things from the Amazon, because the only Amazon we knew back then would punch you in the eye if she thought you were going to tell her to get her cute butt in the Kitchen. We suffered. Some of us persevered. Others gave in to the simple baser need to put food on the table by turning to a life of crime.
Sure. We didn’t have Clown Princes, nor Presidents for Life. I’ll be the first to tell you that it was a simpler time back then. Less elaborate. That doesn’t mean Gotham was better than it is now. I don’t see the world’s History through rose colored glasses, I’m rather fond of emerald city green anyway. Gotham was, as it is now, a little too proud of not being Metropolis. Happy to cavort with the dangers of the criminal element if it means being just good enough.
Little wonder this is where I came. This is where I made my home. Her in the City of Gotham, in the state of New Jersey. Not too far down the river from Metropolis, but far enough away from the glitz and glamour that I don’t have to worry about visitors. It was always supposed to be a place of rest, where I could disappear in to retirement. Sure, the place I own isn’t Wayne Manor but it’ll do. Unlike the Waynes, I worked for my money. Scraped by tooth and nail to create the communications network that even now supports Gotham. Not just Gotham, but most of the East Coast. The Scotts have been here since the beginning. We built the first newspaper, owned the first telegraph in town. Eventually that became more. Newspapers, then Radio, before shifting to television. I stopped there, getting out of the way before things became too much about the ‘Intrawebs.’ Not my style. I like to hold, touch and feel the news in my hands. That’s what I’m doing too. Reading the morning paper. Scanning through the terrible images of yet another clash with the world that the Joker is having. When I hear something that I haven’t heard in a very long time. I’d almost forgotten the ring was there, it’s been -that- long.
[:Alert. Energy Signature Identified. Oa Power Ring Detected.:]
KYLE: It wasn’t the first time that I had been to Gotham. We’ve been to Gotham a few times usually for the museums and the architecture. It was a sight to behold, but different from Metropolis. Two sides of the same coin perhaps? I wasn’t sure, but I wasn’t here to take a walking tour of Gotham if those things still happened I was here seeking someone out. The moment I got into the city I found myself determining where to start. It wasn’t like I could land in the city center and announce that I was here. That’s the last thing that I needed. It would draw all the wrong types of attention.
Not that the city needed any more attention. There were talks of ninjas. I didn’t even want to get caught up in that, but if some happened to cross my path and were doing what I felt was wrong they might have found themselves snared for a moment until authorities arrived. That slowed me down while I did my best to stay out of sight as used my phone to figure out where I might be able to find Alan Scott. I was given a name, but not an address so that meant I found myself standing in front of the communication network that Scott built. It had him listed as ownig it. He was the CEO of the Gotham Broadcasting Company, the GBC.
I wasn’t sure how I should go about doing this. Should I go in and ask to speak with Alan Scott. Do Green Lanterns have signals like the Bat Signal? I thought about it for a moment before I moved away from the building. Several minutes later a green light might be seen flying over head landing on the building. Immediately a spider like construct began to make its way through the shaft while goggles appeared around my eyes providing me with what I needed.
“Alright let’s do this spider friend. Let’s find Alan Scott.”
ALAN: One thing is for certain. ‘Alan Scott,’ isn’t hiding in mediocrity. GBC is the biggest, oldest, communication company in the City. One of the oldest in the Nation. With holdings across the Globe in order to stay relevant. It was always important to me, after that Great Depression, to bring something back home. Here, to Gotham. Not the ring, not the power or the crazies that go with it. Jobs. Money. Economic growth, development and the assistance that goes with it.
Security at the GBC is good enough to give people an opportunity to get clear, in the event of Super-Villain Take-Over. Not so good as to keep a Green Lantern from finding an ingenious way to breach the security. I’m not sure what he’s looking for, but by the time I arrive? He’s got fancy goggles on his head and is sending some sort of remote control robot down the air chute. There’s no sound to be made, I’m not really sneaking up on the kid. After all he’s the one breaking in to my building.
“Fancy. Those constructs are intricate. You’ve gotta have firsthand knowledge of that sort of technology to make it work like that. A guy that smart, should probably know that one of the Bat-People are probably going to show up any minute.” Says the man in the business suit and ruffled hair, no costume, who’s making no effort to hide his own similar ring to the one Kyle’s sporting. Similar, but not the same. “So. I’m Alan. This is my building. If you could do me a favor and not break anything. That’d be great. I upped my insurance premiums to cover ‘Damage by Ninja’ but after Coast City? They don’t cover Green Lanterns anymore.”
KYLE: The mechanical spider was making it’s way through the vents checking each area it came in contact with. “Oh, it’s just something saw in a Japanese animation I watched a few months ago combined with the Minority Report. Remember that scene with the spiders when they were searching for the target that was on the run.” I said it so matter-of-fact that it was like something I had done before.
Of course, the voice behind me is usually one that I hear in my head, but it wasn’t in my head it was outside of my head. I blinked a few times and the spider stopped in its movements. “Scrap.” Turrning my head slowly towards the person that wasn’t in my head I hopped back like the roof of the building was on fire.
“Alan? Wait Alan Scott. You’re the person I’m looking for.” Pausing for a second my brow arched. “Oh no no no. I’m not here to…wait. They don’t cover Green Lanterns? Is that a real thing?” There’s specific coverage for superheroes.
“Double scrap.” I’m totally not in uniform. “We can’t start over can we? I’m totally busted. Civilian face and everything.” A green construct starts covering my face and I’m now wearing something that looks very reminiscent of the Green Power Ranger…the original Green Power Ranger. Just over my head though.
ALAN: “Japanimation? That stuff with the tentacles and schoolgirls? Well, I mean. Each person has to find their own inspiration, I suppose. Not really something I’d think of when I think about the things most likely to meet with Guardian approval though. Hey, what I know. This generation of kids is doing a lot of things we never dreamed off back in my hay-day.”
The chipper demeanor isn’t a ploy, it’s the real thing. I’ve never let the world or the things going on bring me down completely. It all goes back to those humble beginnings, seeing my Father scrape by to put food on the table. When a good meal was a can of Soup that the whole family shared. After that I came out the other side resolved, understanding that you have to take the good in life when and where you can. Otherwise the bad in life will drag you down, too far to ever get out.
Maybe this kid understands that too? He seems awfully squirrel for your average run of the mill Space-Cop. “Yeah. Didn’t need telepathy to figure that out, Kid. Just a good security system. When a guy and a power ring show up, breaking in to one of my buildings? That’s too much of a coincidence to actually be one. Can’t be too careful.”
“Also. I’m serious. ‘Act of Green Lantern’ is right next to ‘Act of God,’ in the insurance policy, under the listing of ‘Definitely not covered, under any circumstances.’ I wish it weren’t so, but kinda public enemy numero uno.” With a shrug of the shoulders, I come in closer to Kyle as he’s working on his mask. All around me is the same green hue that surrounds him when he’s in flight. The difference is in the flickering of green flame, that you don’t see with other Green Lanterns. “Sure thing. Do-over. I like a good mulligan as well as the next average skilled golfer.”
“So. Fresh start. Hi. I’m Alan Scott and you are…?”
[:Designation: Rayner, Kyle. Sector 2814, Trainee.:]
“…Kyle, then. Sorry. I never upgraded to the model ring. I’m still fighting against getting a smart phone too. This old ring is as cranky as I am supposed to be.”
KYLE: The entire construct fades away line by line when he says that and my eyes are as wide as saucers that scream. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I don’t speak, because I’m starting to wonder if I give off some kind of vibe. No, of course not. That is totally not the case.
“Japanese Animation of which hentai is a part of, but I’m totally not refer to that. Not at all. No, sir.” My hands move emphatically to ensure that my point is made. “Is that the first thing people think about when they hear that. I mean sure there are some interesting things that the animators like to think about that do that particular kind of work, but I’m too young to be thinking about those things. Don’t I look it. Babyface cherub.” Cue my most innocent smile.
“I wasn’t technically breaking in. I was trying to find you. I mean I didn’t want to walk up to the desk in the lobby and go I need to speak to Alan Scott one Lantern to another. I don’t think that would go over well. Also, there was no guarantee you were here.” I totally should have consulted the ring.
“Act of Green Lantern. Aww man. Does that mean I could get sued?” All of sudden cash registers were around us popping opens CA-CHING! CA-CHING! “Nothing about that in the message, Ganthet.” I say to the ring. This is totally not cool, but given everything that happened I could see why insurance companies would deny claims.
About that fresh start now that I’m exposed again I hold out my hand when the ring introduces me. I’m also zeroing in the green flame that surrounds Alan. He really is a Green Lantern, but different. Definitely different unless it supposed be like that. “Well, as your ring just told you…” I glare at the ring. “…Kyle Rayner.” Trainee? Really? I’m a Trainee?
“Smart phones are the wave and bane of the future. Continue to fight.” I say with a nod. “However, I guess you’re wondering how this all happened? Why am I here? What do I want? Am I here to cause trouble. I can tell you right now I’m not here to cause trouble. Promise. Scouts honor.” Technically I was never a scout, but people say that a lot.
“A friend of mine. Between me and you he’s the number one contender for best friend, but he told me that you might be able to help me. Provide a little context on who and what Green Lanterns are since I’m a trainee and apparently there’s no one here to show me the ropes. ”
ALAN: “Sorry, kid. That thing you’re doing with your face? Just screams ‘nutty pervert’ to me. Don’t do that around Grant or he’ll start calling you Chester.”
Whether or not that too was part of the over-all demeanor of good cheer? Is a little suspicious because of the grave-sound to that warning. Ted Grant gives out ‘Codenames’ that you’re stuck with for life. Whether they’re fun, friendly, cute or unflattering? Ted’s intent is normally easy to figure by the tone of the nickname. Baby Bird? Black Canary, prized student. Numbnuts? Well, not many people talk about good ole Chuck Lane anymore. Poor old Jester, he really did have the best of intentions. One bad joke over a beer with Ted Grant and now? Now he’s numbnuts.
“I wasn’t here,” jerking my thumb back over a shoulder the way I came. “Was back at my little hovel, reading the newspaper. Hostage Crisis. Terrible stuff. Glad for the interruption.”
At the question of being sued? I’m quick to answer his cash register constructs with a convict’s ball and chain forming around one of his ankles. Giving the kid a wink, to show I’m not put off by the zany special effects. “Sued? Maybe. You’d probably be assassinated first. Put in Super-Prison, if you’re real lucky. Speaking of, Kid. Aren’t you..um.. well, I don’t mean to sound rude here, but you seem a little… green … around the ears.”
Then it’s time to listen, and I do that a lot better than most. When you’ve been doing the sort of work that I’ve done, for almost a century at this point, you have to be a good listener. Kyle is quick to profess himself as a good guy. Nice start, but I’m not so easily convinced. The last guy I met with one of those rings was a nice guy too. Until he wasn’t. It’s at that point though, that I want to correct him but hold off doing so. He’s got more to say, a story to tell. Someone sent him to me? Very interesting, that’s a decidedly small number of potential people who would even know to send someone to me.
He’s introduced himself, filled in the blanks that my ring didn’t offer. Now it’s my turn. I should probably make this something Grand. Something awe-inspiring, to put Kyle in the proper mind set. Right? Eh. Nah. “Well, as your friend told you, I really am Alan Scott. About sixty years ago? They called me the Green Lantern. Feels like a life-time ago, to be honest.”
“Wait. Wait. Hold on. Kyle, you really are new aren’t you? Oh, damn, kid. I thought you were putting me on. Taking the whole secret identity thing a step further. Damn. Listen kid, have you learned how to fly? Course you did, that’s how you got to the roof. There are some things you need to know, but if we hang out here in Gotham putting our Schwatz on display like this? One of the bat-kids is going to show up and do this growly voice. It’s extremely disconcerting to have a twelve year old boy trying to sound like Barry White, while telling you to get out of their City. Last time it happened, I almost threw my hip out trying to hold back to laughter.”
Without any further banter the ring on my hand lights up. Literally. The green-white flames spark up all around me as I lift back up in to the air. “Follow me, Kid. I’ll tell you a little story. Hope you like Dramatic Comedies, with a splash of Sci-Fi Horror.”
KYLE: I gave it a little thought remembering how quickly that can happen. I’m in high school it happens every day. Make one faux pas and you’re it for life. You can try to escape it, but the moment you run into someone that knows it starts all over again. I try not to frown, because frowning wouldn’t make the best of impressions.
Chester. I’m not sure I want to know what that means. Some things I’m better not knowing.
Seeing the ball and chain at my ankle I shake my head. “I rather avoid that if possible. My bestie pretty much told me the same thing. He’s putting himself on the line for me.” Con was and that meant something. He could’ve taken me in. I rather not be on the run and have my mom find out about all of this on the television. It’s the last thing she needs.
“Wait…did you say sixty years ago?” Sixty? He was the Green Lantern then? He doesn’t look. I try to work it out in my head without triggering my ring. I rather not telegraph what I’m thinking. “How did you stop aging or has your cellular decay somehow been suppressed?” Could his ring do something like that? Also, how do I know about cellular decay? Star Trek naturally.
“Really? Try to do the right thing and they’re trying to sweep you out like you’re the tress. How rude!” My brows knit themselves together at that one, but flying. We should be doing that. I’ve flown a few places, but I’ve tried to stay off the radar when I can. When he takes to the air I still find myself fascinated by the aura of his ring it’s definitely not like mine. The energy is different.
My ring lights up and it’s simple green aura when compared the green white flames that surround Alan. Of course, I’m following behind him until I’m flying beside him on my sweet looking green Vespa.
Aw yeah! I always wanted to ride through Rome on a Vespa. It looks fun. I even have a helmet. See safety boy!
“I guess I should start at the beginning.” The beginning. “I was in a plane crash several years ago. Only survivor. Short term coma actually along with you know a broken body. I was on a class trip coming back from DC. You know school trip to see how the government works. On the way back, the plane started having trouble. It took a turn for the worse and well, the next thing I remembered I was in the hospital, in traction. Lone survivor.” I think my mom inquired a few times about what brought the plane down. We never got a real answer. Mainly because I was whisked away.
“It was about a year of rehab along with tests from the DEO to make sure there was nothing ‘special’ about me. They couldn’t understand how I survived. I wasn’t super-durable or strong. Couldn’t change shape, but I survived. They needed to be sure.” I glanced at the ring. “It didn’t even look like this in the beginning. It was a simple ring. Nothing special about it. It was dormant. I think it was a safety feature. No one thought anything of it, but after all was said and done. My mom was given a modest amount and strings were pulled and I got into a really good boarding school in Metropolis that had a really good art program, but…” There was always a but.
“Psychiatrist were worried about trauma and gaps in the memory. The fact that I couldn’t recall anything, and I was having nightmares was troubling, but after a while I stopped.” They didn’t stop I stopped. “I didn’t want to talk to them anymore. I wanted to know, but I didn’t want to share my feelings about it.” Not how I was built. I had to work through it may way. “There were reoccurring images a pair of hands, blue eyes and voice. You will do. Always the same, all engulfed in flames. I didn’t tell anyone about it, because what if I was going crazy? What if it was a meta-human that helped me out? It would suck if I snitched. Also, I didn’t want to worry my mom.”
ALAN: “Mhm. Sixty years or so. I found my ring in the summer of nineteen thirty-nine, to be specific.” I’ll let Kyle worry about the Math, because the kid seems a little conscious of such things. Instead I focus on giving him some more information in exchange for his. “Mine was a Train Wreck. Literally. I was also the sole survivor, at least of the train car that I was in.”
The Vespa is actually pretty cute. For a guy trying to attract very little attention, he’s got a certain flare about him. Playful. What can I say? We’re already glowing green and flying across the night’s sky. What is a little personality going to do that we’re not already doing? So I up the ante a little bit. Giving myself a Chariot and two Flying Goats. Chariot of Fire, mind you. Which allows for me to talk, to fly, without having to be the one guiding us to our location: Casa del Scott. Lonely Mansion on the Outskirts of Gotham City.
“Safety feature? Yeah. Kinda. The rings can take the shape of anything you need it to be. It’s connected to you, Kyle. If you were anxious about being caught or worried about them thinking you were a Meta? The ring recognized it and concealed itself. Most likely, it was also waiting and conserving power until you finished your rehab. That’s actually how it worked with me too. Kinda weird. History repeating itself like that.”
Though my Home isn’t Wayne Manor it’s still a pretty sizable ‘Retirement Home.’ I’ve got money, I don’t feel like I should skimp on amenities when I’ve been -forced- in to semi-retirement. So I don’t live in a real Hovel, like I joked about earlier. I’ve got a pool and a tennis court. Actually two. A set outside and set inside. Plus a Bowling Alley, that I keep hidden otherwise Ted Grant would never leave.
Our chosen landing spot? Is the balcony leading in to my study. Oh, and the House? Is actually older than I am. “The Alien in your memories is called a Guardian. They’re an ancient and evolved alien culture. Who decided a long, long time ago to bring order to the otherwise chaotic galaxy. In the Grand Scheme of the Universe, at least my understanding of it? They’re the Good Guys. Which is good news, right? The ring you’re wearing, is a power ring from the Planet Oa, home of those Guardians. It was created to help the Guardian’s empower their a corps of sector guardians.”
“Generally speaking there is a finite number of power rings. One, maybe two, for each Sector of Space that falls under the Guardian’s protection. Normally, when a Lantern is selected, they’re replacing a fallen Lantern.” Now that I’m starting to explain things, and we’re inside, I’m starting to create a small power point presentation upon the walls of my study. Giving the younger Lantern a bit of a quick overview of the ‘world’ he’s stepped in to. “If you’re having memories of an actual Guardian giving you that ring, Kyle, then that makes you a very special young man. It also answers a question for me.”
“You see, Kyle. As soon as that Ring came out of its dormant state. When you were physically able to begin wielding it and learning? You should have been immediately recalled to Oa, for training. In some case,s a trainer would be sent to you, but that’s normally only the case of certain Lanterns that can’t physically traverse space to Oa. All of which means, Kyle. That if you’re not there and someone isn’t here to train you? Then the War that the Corps was waging with Parallax is going very poorly.”
KYLE: Nineteen thirty-nine. Less than 80 years ago. My eyes widen for a moment, which is magnified a bit because of the goggles that I’m wearing along with the helmet. It completes the look with my Vespa. Smirking at the chariots and goats I wonder if he has a fascination with Thor or if this is just what he likes. Interesting. Definitely creates a certain look. “Really?” That is quite the coincidence. We were both lone survivors.
“I definitely wasn’t ready back then. There was too much to focus on I also think…” I think there was another reason it was dormant. I don’t even know how to put together yet. I mean it had to be connected. The fact that my story is remarkably similar to Alan’s is eerie. However, does this mean that I’ll look that good when I’m older. That would be an interesting perk.
Following along I make sure Vespa keeps up with the goats as they seemed to know our intended destination. “Definitely weird, but maybe some events are meant to repeat themselves. People are always talking about how there are certain patterns to life and the universe. I think it’s true to a point. Perhaps it’s meant to help us notice something. Or at least make us aware. I don’t know, but after everything that’s happened sometimes you have to stop and think.” Then again, I shall have to do and what not.
When we arrive at his residence, his hovel I look over at him. “This is pretty nice…” Better than pretty nice. There’s a tennis court and swimming pool. When the Vespa lands it fades away when I stand up looking around. “Really nice.” However, priorities. “Ganthet.” I add. See I learned a few things. A lot of things, but not everything like I had no idea how the rings came to be.
“It was described by my friend as Intergalactic Peackeeper. So pretty much a space cop.” I’m space cop. I’m still shocked by that. Despite my comments I take everything Alan says seriously going as far as to walk towards the projections.
“Which isn’t good.” I don’t full on frown all the tie, but when I do it changes my entire posture. It almost seems like I’m a few inches shorter. “I’ve only been using the ring for a couple of weeks. First is…was a fire in Metropolis. It was bad. No one had arrived. I heard people and it was like the crash all over again. I ran towards it.” Instead of away. “I was inside trying to help some kids get out and had to jump through some flames with only a wet blanket to get to them. That was a little surreal. I saw the eyes, the hands reaching out of the flames, but I had to. I couldn’t just turn away.” Through the flames I went.
“The ring changed and started talking then it just went…it was pretty amazing. Fire truck arrived with firemen to help get people out and take out the fire, but they weren’t real. They were green. I was thinking that’s what we needed, and it happened.” My mind was blown right there. Like Boom.
“If that wasn’t enough I hide out with the fire crew and slipped away in one of their uniforms and I flew. Like up, up and away. Like Superman. Classic Superman.” I say with a spin before looking at him.
“I didn’t know who to tell or who to talk to. However, it did make me think about what happened with the crashed and the voice I remembered. It was then I remembered. I thought all this time he said, “You will have to do,” when he actually said, ‘You shall have to do.’”
I ball my fist and focus, and the projection actually activates like right out of Star Wars. No need to bang on the ring and tell him to release the message that he’s carrying in his rusty innards.
It’s a vivid projection of Ganthet. It’s not just green, it shows everything as it should be like a 3-D image with full colors. However, he wasn’t talking. He remained inactive. I turned to Alan and scanned him with the ring.
[Subject identified. Alan Scott.] The ring stated.
“Replay greeting message. Um…Kyle Authorization. Please?”
[Permission granted.] Just like that the image of Ganthet came to life.
”Kyle Rayner if you are viewing this then not only have you successfully demonstrated that you are capable of overcoming great fear you have provided the correct passphrase to access this message.”
“Sufficient time has elapsed for you to grasp that this is a prerecorded message that I meant for you and you alone to access. Humans have always been clever creatures and despite the circumstances I believe that I have chosen wisely.”
“I am called Ganthet and I am a Guardian of the Universe and yes, you shall have to do, Kyle Rayner. While our exchange was brief I know that I have entrusted the last power ring to the right individual. I wish there was more that I could tell you, but my time is limited. However, I wish for you to know that I sensed within you all the traits that are desired for those who wield a Lantern’s power ring. Let it be known that hence forth from this moment you are the Green Lantern.”
“I offer you my apologies as I am not able to provide as much information as I would like, but my presence will not go unnoticed by the Fallen One. You have been entrusted with a great legacy, Kyle Rayner. One that larger than your wildest dreams no matter how vivid they may be.”
”Perhaps our paths will cross again, but if not know that both I and the ring have chosen wisely. Until then may your ring and power battery serve you well and you them. Farewell.”
The projection fades. “I found out who the Fallen One was.”
Everything else is lip-service. Nothing that we’ve spoken about is as important as that name. Who he is and what he did. How he came to be. “Hal Jordan, to his friends. He was the last Green Lantern on this world. There have been others, but they’re either off world or gone at this point. Ganthet is right, you’ve got quite a legacy, young man. Some of it to live up too, some of it to make up for. Your shoulders are broad, you look like a strapping young lad. If Ganthet is right, you’ve already got all the tools you’ll need.”
Moving over to the sofa in the study and reclining across it. Lazing, almost, but as I do the Green comes alive again. A spark turns in to flame in the fire place. A leggy young maid springs to work in taking my sports coat and offering the two of us drinks. He’d mentioned the firemen who he created, this is something like that. Although there’s a similar difference in how it manifests. That, for now, isn’t half as important as talking with this young man. Putting him at ease and getting him to stop worrying so much.
“Alright, Kyle. Let’s talk turkey, such is the season. You’ve told me your story, so I feel like I should give you mine. Just keep in mind that I’m abbreviating most of a century. When I awoke from my train wreck, I didn’t have an explanation. Nor did I have a ring. The only other thing that survived the wreck was a single train lamp. Which was given to me, by the owners of the Train. Along with a sizable settlement. It turns out that the Lamp was the source of my rescue. Like your Ring took another form? The Lamp was actually a Lantern, in another shape. It had been on this world for a long, long time. Looking for someone it considered worthy. Apparently, I was it.”
“I called your ring a new model. That’s because my ring is spawned from the Guardians too, just from a point in time prior to their having made rings like yours. A long time before, in fact. The Guardians, Ganthet among them. Decided that ‘Magic’ was a chaotic force. So, they decided to contain it. Lock it away from people who would abuse it. They gathered all of the ‘Magic’ they could in to a single vessel, for safe keeping. It was intended to be the original Central Battery, for rings just like yours. What the Guardians didn’t understand at that time, is that Magic isn’t just casual energy. It happens to be alive. It believed in the Guardian’s Goal of Order and Preserving Life, but it didn’t wish to be used as nothing more than a battery. Son it escaped their custody and found its way here. On Earth.”
Making a gesture of my hand, the ring on my hand floats away from my finger. Levitating on its own towards my desk. Towards the small Lamp that settles there. As it draws near the Lamp reveals itself to be a massive Lantern, the likes of which Kyle is sure to recognize. “This is the Starheart, Kyle. Though it works very similarly to your Battery and my abilities manifest similar to your’s, they energy behind them is different. Same Smartphone, different batteries.”
“For a long time, I didn’t know about the Green Lantern Corp. Then a ring came to Earth, by accident. He was fleeing from some sort of battle. His ship was damaged. He was dying. His ring sought out his replacement. That replacement was Hal Jordan. Whom would become Parallax. When the two of us met, our rings identified one another. We helped one another over the years. Through Hal, I was introduced to the Guardians. To Ganthet. Through me they were able to reconnect with the Starheart. Whom they now recognize as sentient.”
“After Coast City… after Hal… fell…the Guardians asked me to be this Sector’s Lantern. The Starheart feared that the Guardians would eventually revert back to wanting to contain it or if circumstances became Dire, they might seek to use it for its original purpose. So, a compromise was reached. The Guardians appointed me as the Guardian Sentinel. Apparently, it’s some sort of honorary position.” Once more shrugging, as I take a drink of what has been brought by the constructed waitress. “I think, it means that I’m your Guardian, Pal. I feel like I owe you an apology. Because, after all of that? This world changed. Tonight, was the first time I’ve even flown in ten years.”
KYLE: Looking at my ring I watch as Alan uses his how the fire comes to life and the maid who comes to take his jacket and take our drink orders. I can already tell that she’s a construct, but the more I understand how different our rings are, but how alike they are. Pressing my lips into a thin line I find a chair to sit in, because I think this is best taken in while sitting.
“Water, please. Thank you.” Have to stay hydrated. It’s what I tell myself. It helps me pace myself. I know a zillion questions could swirl, but I listen, because sometimes you just need to. Sometimes the questions you’re about to ask might be answered if you listen.
Upon hearing Alan’s story it’s like the start of a mythical story. One page flips after the another in my mind. From meager beginnings to something greater. The realization that Starheart is more than tool, that it is alive. When the ring floats away towards the lamp I gasp when the lamp reveals itself to be the lantern that he spoke of. It’s massive and it looks very reminiscent of the power battery that I retrieved in Coast City. They wanted Starheart to power all the rings. I wonder how different things might have been if it had happened?
“Got it. Magic.” That made me think on something, but it could wait. The idea that magic exist still doesn’t make me pause. I take it all in stride. Con talked about magic and now Alan is talking about magic. Sounds like a common thing for certain individuals, those who come in contact with it on a regular basis.
“I want to make a note that I want to come back to the magic business. I have a question. Two questions. One’s magic related the other is related to your business.” I state it, because if I don’t I’ll forget to ask. It’s important, because it could help two people out. One I don’t know, but knows my friend and I know he was concerned about the possibility. Alan could help, but it may become a matter of wanting to help.
“It’s not safe for meta-humans. It’s dangerous. You’re working with the Guardians to protect people. They recognize the relationship you have with your ring, the fact that Starheart is sentient. It’s not simply a tool. In a lot of ways Starheart sounds like your partner.” My ring has spoken, but it sounds more preprogrammed than anything.
“You have nothing to apologize for. This is a less than ideal situation for everyone.” I’m not saying that I don’t want the ring or I wish the ring had never come into my possession, but I know what it represents. “I started doing research on the Green Lantern as much as I could without drawing attention. It led me to Coast City. I saw what Hal Jordan was capable of how he gathered heroes to defeat Mongul, but then I saw how that battle changed him, the birth of Parallax.” I had been given that a lot of thought.
“I want to know more about the Green Lanterns about this Corps. I won’t lie it was a lot to take in to find out that one of the single greatest heroes is now the most nefarious, but my new friend…he said something similar to what you said about carrying on a great legacy and forging our own. There is a lot to live up to, but it can’t define me, because Hal Jordan was Hal Jordan and I’m Kyle Rayner.” Is there a possibility the same thing could happen to me?
“It’s why I’m here. To learn. It’s why I went to Coast City to learn. I could have put the ring away after everything I learned, but I can’t. Surrendering to the darkness is not allowed. I’ve seen what fear does to people. I’ve seen what fear has done to this country, to the planet.” And we’re just one planet among many.
Parallax may have been driven away, but he will return.
“The specter of Parallax can’t be Green Lantern’s legacy. It can’t be the legacy for any meta-human. The shadow that’s been cast must be beaten back. I want you to be able to fly again and again. Our light is supposed to instill hope not fear. The world has had enough of the later. It needs the former.”
ALAN: “Ask whatever questions you need, son. I’ve got nothing but time.”
I also wanted Kyle to see something else. The ring has floated back to the Lantern, but the constructs are still alive and working in the room. I’m waiting for him to catch on, to see it and recognize it. That the ring I’m wearing is little more than another construct actually. The Starheart creates it to give me a focus for the power, but I’ve been working with it all these years now. The ring is something for me to channel through. Like a laser passing through a focus, it gives me a greater deal of control. A finer type of control if anything. It just isn’t needed.
Partner? I hadn’t thought about it in those terms, but that actually makes sense. It has me nodding, even smiling and shooting the finger gun at Kyle. “Right on, Kid. It’s a lot like that, really. Though, I suppose we work together for entirely different reasons than your Corp selects it’s ring bearers.”
“Hold on there, Tonto. Let’s take a step back here. I want to give you a piece of advice. Don’t worry about what Hal did or who he was. You’re not him and if you devote any amount of time to thinking about the What If, you’ll lose time to think about the right now. Right now, you’re Kyle Raynor. Green Lantern. You were chosen because you have all the tools to be a good Lantern. The thing you need to focus on, is what kind of a Lantern do you want to be?”
“It’s not even a difficult thought, Kyle. Just close your eyes. Think about your Mom. The woman who raised you to be worthy of that ring. What would make her proud? Start there. Build on it.” Once more I’m taking a drink, but this time it’s more to give Kyle a second to think about what I’ve said. “There’s a lot about the Lantern Corp that I can tell you, but there’s also a lot that I don’t know. Like I said, Starheart was born from an earlier stage of the Guardian’s plans. When she escaped, the Guardians had to re-think their plans.”
“I also know, that the Guardians aren’t perfect. My own story tells you that. They made a mistake with ‘Magic.’ What makes them, normally, good guys? Is that when they recognize that they’ve made a mistake? Ordinarily they admit it and try to correct it. That makes them a source of Good, out there. That ring means you’re not just Kyle Rayner of Earth, kid. There’s a bigger universe out there and the Guardians are a force of good for a big chunk of it.” Putting my hands out, one to the construct for a refill and the other to call Kyle off for a second. “Back to what I said about not focusing on Legacy yet. Kyle, you’re a kid. The ring called you a trainee. So. First lesson. Stop worrying about Legacy, until you even know what the hell you’re doing.”
“Lesson number two? Parallax wasn’t born here. It’s existed for as long as those rings of yours have. For a long time it created a singular impurity in those rings, actually. Parallax feeds on fear. It harvests fear, for power. That impurity in your ring? It awoke when Coast City was destroyed. It felt the fear of an entire planet, it harvested it… and then Hal became little more than my ring to Parallax. A focus, a tool.”
“You’re not a tool are you, Kid? God, I hope you’re not a tool. So. Question number two?”
KYLE: I hadn’t caught on until I saw the ring moving back to the Lantern. I had been caught up with so much that it hadn’t dawned on me. Con said that there was a former Green Lantern in Gotham that I could talk to. He was a Green Lantern past tense. My eyes move between the ring and Alan. I was so caught up in what was happening, that I didn’t focus on what I was being shown.
He said he hadn’t flown in quite some time. Also given the fact that he operated as a Lantern in the past and he was still here suggested something. Logically speaking at least.
“When I did my research, there was a lot about Jordan, but nothing about you. The only reason I know about you is because I was given your name.” Meaning someone removed all records of his activities or they weren’t reported on. I find that difficult to believe.
Alan’s pretty much been leading a normal life. “Why did you stop being active as the Green Lantern?” This is leading somewhere a suspicion. I’m curious now, but I keep watching Alan interact with the constructs. When he tells me to think about what my mom would want. “She would want me to be a good person.” That’s my mom. “Do what’s right. Help people. Appreciate the gift I was given.” I lived.
Be Kyle Rayner. My mind shifts to all of the people who didn’t live. All the lives that were lost. All the lives that might have been. Not to conjure guilt, but to remind me that every victory I have is a victory for everyone. A victor for all the people that were on the plain with me and all the people that believe in me just being me.
“I’m not a tool.” That’s a promise. Have no say in what they do. They are directed from one tasks then the next. Never speaking. Never objecting. Never fighting.
ALAN: Yeah, when the Starheart originally found me, I wasn’t really a member of the Green Lantern Corp. Hell, Earth didn’t even have a Green Lantern at the time. We were considered, as a planet, a bit too backwater for the Guardians. That’s one of the many reasons that the Starheart thought she’d be safe here. Another of those reasons, is that Humanity had blocked the walls off on Magic, but also still had some people who believed. Just the right mixture for her to find a protector, without risking entangling herself in something that might end up being detected by the Guardians.”
This feels like a tale, when it’s really history. Not ancient history, because it sure all feels like it was just yesterday. There’s warmth in my voice for this, for what I’m telling Kyle Rayner. Because this is all important to me and to the source of what power I’m using here. Something as old and as strange as the Guardians of Oa themselves. Created by them in fact. Manifesting in a nearly identical way of their own power. Though at the same time decidedly different.
“During the Great War, I operated as a Lantern. Starheart agreed that we needed to protect this world, since it was her new Home. After it though, we knew right away that we’d be ‘retiring’ sooner than Later. We kept at it for a time, but when the world started it’s first turn against Capes? We were among the first to be approached with the ultimatum.”
“Join them. Be part of their group, act when called upon. Retire. A number of us were offered the opportunity to retire. Thanked for our contributions to the War Effort and recognized as Heroes. We were given special dispensations. So long as we didn’t act out, through becoming vigilantes or through becoming something worse. We were promised immunity. Not just for ourselves but our continued families, which were encouraged to have.” Pausing, long enough to take a drink and leave Kyle to ponder which of the options I’d taken. A rueful smile crosses my face, as I watch this boy. He seems to take it all in as part of some fanciful story of the Ages. “Surprisingly, I initially took Door Number One. I joined with the group, under the pretense of keeping it and the Starheart Safe. Several members of the Society did the same.”
“Our goal was to shape this new group. To work from within to make it a true force for Justice and Prosperity. For a time, it seemed to be working. Which is why you won’t find much of me in the History Books. I was what you might call Upper Management. So I didn’t get out in the field much. That was just fine for the Starheart. Eventually Hal got his ring and I stopped feeling the need to be out there.”
“Most people don’t realize this, but things in the D.E.O. started taking a turn for the worse long before Coast City. It started with the arrival of the first Superman. An Alien of nearly unstoppable power, who wouldn’t agree to work with the ‘Team,’ nor would he be forcibly retired. He threatened the entire paradigm. Forcing the D.E.O. to get aggressive, to seek alternative means to protecting the world. That change, is what lead us to this point.”
“Not very reassuring, Kid, since that’s what a tool would say. Make your own decisions. Out there. Some of them will be mistakes. Own them as much as you own the good ones and you’ll be alright.”
KYLE: I listened to every word that was said considering everything that was being shared with me. The reason why I hadn’t heard of Alan before, why there was nothing in the papers about him. I also considered how well it seemed that Alan and the Starheart seemed to be in step with one another. They seemed to be of one mind. I wondered if they mutually influenced one another over time.
That aside what did concern me was the statement that Alan made about how the government pushed the heroes of his time into working with him. “So, no matter the choice that was made they encouraged you to start families and procreate.” I glanced over at the other. Nothing altruistic about that. “Sounds like when someone shelf life has experienced they would already have a new generation to pick from.” And if they couldn’t do that they would make their own. That made me think about Con and some of the things that were happening right now.
On the logic side it makes sense, but it’s still shitty. That’s the government for you. “There’s nothing more natural than that. If there’s a problem, if a system is broken there’s two paths you can take. Work within the system or outside of it. Given the choice that was handed to you chose the one where you wanted to do the most good from within. Also, someone had to fight the fight from within for the generations to come. If you chose to walk away any access you could hope to have wouldn’t be there. The government would become a black box that no one could see into which would make them far more dangerous, because no one would know what to expect.” I could be way off the mark, but that’s how it makes sense to me, however given the way things are now I doubt I will be taking door number one. I’m not a big fan on the anti-alien talk.
“So, when they come for me…” Because they were going to come for me. It’s not that I didn’t trust Con, far from it. I trusted him I don’t know why I just did and had nothing to do with the big D. Not that I looked! However, they could eventually send someone other than Con the more I start acting out in the open.
“…they’re going to try to go through my mom to get to me.” There were few people in the world that I cared about. It wasn’t like there were gaggles of Rayners in my life or anyone from my mom’s family, so she was the person that I had to be concerned about. Her and Con, because if Con tries to stick up for me, run interference then they would do who knows what to him, probably go after the people that were important to him, like Wonder Woman who can take care of herself, but there’s always someone. Right?
“So, since Superman didn’t play ball they decided that gave them carte blanche to do whatever it took to make people play ball using old and new methods.” He paused for a second wondering something.
“Did you know the first Superman? I met him once, but it wasn’t like meta to meta.” Despite the fact that he’s not human. I was just curious what he was like in that capacity.
“Honestly, I think that’s all we can do. Do the best we can. Learn from our mistakes. Own our mistakes. I try to do that every day. It’s the only way I learn. It can be scary yeah, but life is scary. But you can’t let it paralyze you. Can’t let it make you doubt yourself. The moment that happens it all falls apart.”
ALAN: “I wasn’t the only one, but yes. We thought it best to have some sort of view on what was happening. Take whatever voice that would give us in the ‘Company’ and use it to shape the future.” It had worked too, for decades. A lot of people don’t even realize that and I’m quick to point it out. “We stemmed the tide of that first turn too. When the Keene Act passed it could have been all out war on Metas, right from the start. We disbanded the Society, with a unanimous vote.”
“Right then and there. We agreed on what had to happen. All it took was one of our best friends giving his life to stop some crazy jack ass, called War Wheel. Those of us who went to the inside worked for years to keep it together. As time passed a lot of us worked our way up in the Company. We found roles that suited us, where we could get the most accomplished for the good of the people.” Gesturing at myself, to draw attention to the fact that I don’t look my age. “A lot of my friends have retired, at this point. Somewhere along the lines, it would seem, that I have been Starheart’s Champion for a little too long. I’m infused with her energy. You probably noticed, I don’t need the ring anymore. It’s still good as a focus, but I don’t need it for the casual stuff anymore.”
“Think of it like this, Kid. With the ring I’m a brain surgeon. I can make precise constructs that defy reality, like that Spider-Bot you did. Without the ring, I could still make a fist that would knock you in to next week.”
His last question is something that has me pause though. Even set my drink aside and wipe my hands off on my slacks, before pushing up to my feet. “Kal-El, of Krypton, was the greatest person I ever met. He wasn’t just a Hero, Kyle. He was a believer. A true believer. Everything he did was for Truth and Justice. The Company was sure, even to this day, that he had some sort of secret life, but I’ll be damned if I know how he’d manage it. The guy was always there when you needed him. Cat in a Tree in Metropolis? He’s there. Bomb threat in Ireland? He’s already there. Crashing plane in National City? He’s bringing it down safely in the harbor. The things that happened to him, the things we did to him? Terrible. Unconscionable, really.”
“He left this world to stop Luthor. If he had stayed, Luthor would have won. He would have turned Superman in to the Villain, just like they did with the Batman. Supes left, to deny Luthor his final victory. He got out in time to save his legacy and leave the people with just enough of a good feeling about him, that people miss him. They still worship him. Guy was smart, I think. Because I think he knew what he was doing. Leaving that spark is what kept the door open for people like these kids in the news. Kids like you, son.”
“Now. You said you had another question. About magic. Go on then. Ask away.” Raising my hand once more, I summon the ring back from its place on the larger lantern upon the desk. “When you’re done. We should probably get started, unless you want to be a Poozer your whole life.”
KYLE: I was getting there with the ring, because constructs were being maintained without him wearing the ring, but he beat me to the punch there. I noticed, it was hard not to notice when my water was being topped off and the ring was hovering around the lamp/lantern.
Listening to Alan was like getting a history listen that I was immensely interested in. I had to make sure that my thoughts were just that thoughts. I didn’t want it to be converted into a construct. “Your ring is your focus.” I look at my ring. “They’re the lens through which our thoughts are magnified.” I would not get into how this was much like a focus from Mage: Ascension probably best not to get all geeky. However, it helped me. There were many ways that I could think of the ring.
“There’s only so much that can do to hold such things back. Choices are made and either it can help change things or the course is set.”
Hearing him talk about the first Superman in such glowing terms made me smile. There was a definite impression that was left upon me. “Trust me when I say there’s still a lot of people that believe in him. That didn’t believe the stories or the reports that came out. He didn’t abandon us.” That’s just bull. I didn’t believe that for one bit.
Balling my fist, I consider the sacrifices that everyone made for a better future. Alan, his friends, what they lost in the process. This can’t be the end not in the least.
“Two questions actually. The Superman question just made me wonder. With all your work behind the scenes I wondered. Not many people you can talk to that would know, but yes my questions.”
I needed to get back on track. “Magic question. My friend and I was curious about someone being able to use something made of magic to track someone and possibly use it to surveil on them. The cloth is made of magic, but it was in the D.E.O hands for years and possibly manipulated by its black ops team.” That’s what I call them. “Someone’s using this for good things, but we’re worried that they could be using magic to eavesdrop. I was wondering if Starheart since she…” He did call Starheart she right? “…is collected magic, if she could determine if it has been tampered with.” It was a possibility, right?
“Second question. GBC. I was curious given you’re a news organization if you know anything about Ted Kord. I think he might be able to help my friend. However, I was wondering what you know about him. I know he runs K.O.R.D. Incorporated, but have you heard anything negative about him?”
“And hey! I’m neither a tool or Poozer.”
ALAN: “You bet your ass there are people who still believe in him, pal. We do. All of us. Even those of us who were here before. He was the Best, Kyle. I mean it. The best Man, I’ve ever had the distinct pleasure to meet. He might not have been a Human, but he was everything we should aspire to be and then some.”
There’s just no denying the way in which I speak about Superman. It is so glowing, that it just can’t be faked. You can’t lie and still have this level of unabashed admiration for someone. It is as if I might actually be willing to sock someone in the kisser for saying otherwise. I’ve contained this thought, those feelings, for years. Kyle is a rare specimen that I seem to feel more free in speaking too. How? Given that I’ve known him a couple hours, tops. It’s all about the ring. He wouldn’t be worthy of it, if he wasn’t the real deal.
Once he gets to the other question, I’m actually a little surprised. This isn’t what I was anticipating. More questions about the ring and the Corps? Sure. This is a question of Magic and not even ‘Is it real?’ Kyle gets right to the nitty gritty. “There’s no simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer to that, Kyle. With the right item, paired with the right enchantment? Sure. It could be done. There’s a lot of variables to magic though. Does the Item have a specific purpose? If it does, would the enchantment infringe upon that purpose? A lot of magical items require a certain amount of ‘Worthiness’ to even use them. And ‘Worthiness’ isn’t always good. You might have to hate the exact right type people, to wield a magical item designed to hurt that type of person. Not all items are created equal, so to speak. Your ring is given to a good person. Mine is not necessarily reserved for someone good, so much as someone Starheart would see as a Protector.”
“The Starheart is … I’m not sure how to explain this. She is a collection of magical energies that existed hundred of thousands of years ago. Those energies were stored together, in a single prison. They exist there even now. I’ve found very little limit in what she can do. Other than her own limitation of what she will do. You see her major motivation is self-preservation, Kyle. So, for the most part? Starheart is willing to empower me to do whatever I need to do to protect the ‘Green’ or the Magic of this world or protect this world itself. She is rarely willing to apply her powers directly. Think of it this way. The ring is my focus, it gives me greater, finer, control. I’m the Starheart’s ring. Through me she has greater control of her vast energies.”
“More accurately, through me she takes less risk of losing control of the chaotic nature of her own power or being detected by someone like Parallax.”
I feel as though I’ve literally talked the kid’s ear off by answering that last question. There’s an unspoken apology on my face as I approach and clap him on the shoulder. “Chum, you’re about as Poozer-ish as they come. Just accept it. One of these days you’ll understand and when that happens, you’ll look back on today with a smile.”
“You second question sucks, by the way. Because there’s knowing Ted Kord and then there is knowing Ted Kord. Unfortunately, you can’t run a business-like mine without it being the latter. If you want, I can arrange for you or your friend to meet with Ted. But. Kyle, I’m going to say this exactly once. I’m busy that day. Doesn’t matter what day it is. I’m busy. Ted’s a special kind of guy. The kind of guy you invite to your Reunion. Every ten years. I’ve got sat least six more before I have to endure him again.”
KYLE: I believe what he’s saying about the first Superman. I don’t know how he feels about the new Superman. Something tells me that they’re tangentially on the same team, but they might see things different and I rather not get down into the weeks about it. Not to mention Alan’s been inside he knows how much good the government has tried to do, and how much bad it’s done and is capable of. Rather than jump the track here I keep on target and focus on the things he says about the first Superman.
There’s a reason why I don’t pepper him with questions about the Corps. There are some things that need to be doled out on doses. Getting it all at once could lead to information overload and I rather not experience that right now. There is a lot of information that has been shared during our exchanged. I learned a lot, but I also want to see what my ring will share with me, what will be unlocked. There is a bond that needs to be forged between. I need to know what it’s capable of.
I need to know what I’m capable of.
When we switch to magic I smile, because I can see it in his eyes. I leave myself to open possibilities. We live in a world where people fly, bring it down a building with a single punch, read minds, move things with their mind, be gifted with the privilege of wielding a powerful tool used in peacekeeping. How can I believe in all of that, but not magic?
When he discusses how Starheart behaves how it might come together I give a nod. “Then I think I should put it this way. Wonder Woman stated that she was the daughter of Zeus. She is magic. She is of this world. She wants to protect and help people. Helping her helps you both. If she’s been unknowingly compromised as she tries to bring about hope for a new generation of heroes.” Not based on what little Con shared, but what Wonder Woman said in her press conference. “Then a danger could exist for the planet, potentially magic, because you know Zeus and everything. It’s more of an ask and something to consider. Just think about it.” I say not only to Alan, but to Starheart. Has anyone ever asked. “It’s the most I can do right?” Ask.
When he speaks of Ted Kord in such interesting terms I start to get an idea that the man is a bit…extra. “Alright. If you could set up a meeting I would be super grateful, and I promise I won’t call you at all.” I almost want to ask what happened. It sounds like something happened. Maybe I should ask Ted, but at the same time the way he talks about him I have to wonder does he know him outside of just normal channels.
“Interesting.” I hold up my ring. “Mister Ring. Remember that. Poozer will make me smile when I know what it means.”
ALAN: “Hrm. Maybe not a totally useless Poozer, but a Poozer none the less,” says the man who is eyeballing Kyle in a different way than before. “Smooth. Trying to work the angles. I’m seeing why you might just do well enough, like your Guardian said.”
Kyle wasn’t asking me to do something that I’d just said Starheart wouldn’t be interested in. He’s taking what he wants and putting it in to the terms that might actually appeal to the necessity of protecting Her. Good. I like it. The kid learns quickly and that’s going to be a tool he needs in the coming days. Learning quick, on your feet, that’s something that just might save the world. This world doesn’t need a Poozer, it needs a full-fledged Lantern. Fast.
“So, this item you’re talking about is Wonder Woman’s. Got it. You’re worried that the people I work with might have done something to compromise it or her. ” Yeah, I’m restating it my way because Kyle hadn’t really spelled it out. He wasn’t sure exactly how to say it the first time, but now he’s putting meat on the bones. “You’re in luck Kid, one of my jobs for the Company was ‘Procurement.’ Specifically of items of a certain type. Given my connection to Magic, to Starheart, they thought that would be a task I was specifically suited for.”
“The rope she’s using as a lasso? Was once upon a time the Golden Fleece. Yeah, not joking. That Fleece, from History. We discovered it in a Nazi Germany vault, along with a lot of other toys they’d been playing with. Someone in their Regime had discovered that the Fleece gave it’s holder some pretty fantastic abilities. But. There was some ‘worthiness’ involved in getting it to work. I never told them that part. So they tried for a couple decades to get it to work, then some Brainiac had the idea of turning the fleece in to wool yarn. Bypassing the ‘Worthiness’ aspect all together, they planned to weave it in to something. The problem was, even at that stage it still needed to be worn by someone. So that same Brainiac, decided to try to twine it up even further, using it’s densile strength to make it in to a fine wire. Using it as a conduit they finally succeeded. It would transfer energy across it, then give it’s user momentary flashes of the Fleece’s gifts.”
“They eventually discarded the project because it was still unstable. You never knew which of the Fleece’s gifts you were going to give someone and you could only do it for small bits of time. Depending on how much energy you put through the wire. Eventually, when the project was rejected for being unstable, it got mothballed. Your ‘Friend,’ the new Superman. He broke out of a containment facility. Tore the place down around their ears. When the Company cleaned the mess up, a lot of items went unaccounted for. The Golden Fleece is one of them, but they’ve never moved to take it back because… the truth? They saw it work for her. So they want to see what else she can do with it.”
“So, you’re worried about the wrong thing on this one Son. They’re not using it to spy on her. They’re using her to unlock its secrets. If they ever move against this Wonder Woman? They’ll also be re-taking a very powerful weapon. That they have a much better idea of its uses.”
KYLE: I wasn’t sure what Starheart and Alan might be able to do but it was worth it. I wasn’t even sure if trying to put the question a different way would help, but I had to try. There’s a lot of things that I don’t know, that we don’t know. We’re trying to help the world, change the world a little bit. Keep the hope that people have that keeps growing.
I was hoping for a possible, but what happens is way better than possible. My eyes go wide as saucers again when he shares what seems to be a good amount of information that he has about the lasso. I knew of its origins, but I wasn’t aware of everything that had been done to it. It was pretty impressive when you think about it, but it also gave me another bit of information that I wasn’t expecting. Perhaps not something to share completely with everyone I meet, but a resource I could consult.
“That’s like wow.” I’m not sure if we can keep that information out of the hands of the watchers so to speak, but it is something we can be aware of.
I’m still taking it all in stride, but it isn’t lost on me that it is the <i>Golden Fleece. </i> How cool is that? Pretty darn cool if you ask me, but I think about Alan and Starheart. That’s pretty cool too. So many cool things, all the cool things.
“Thank you.” That’s more information than I could have hoped for. I may not need to be concerned about surveillance like Con’s suit, but there is something to be concerned about for Wonder Woman, and with her announcement there is a potential that she may be viewed by black ops D.E.O. group unfavorably.
“I have my moments. I thought it was worth a…” I start, but think about what he said.
He knows I’ve been talking about Con. Darn his investigative journalist powers! “How long did you know who my friend was?”
ALAN: “Not going to lie to you son,” giving a quick shrug of my shoulders, half-heartedly in fact. “The Project sent Superman to investigate the signature of a Green Lantern’s energy. Then you randomly show up at my company’s doorstep. Now you’re asking about a friend, who’s got another friend, with a magic item she’s concerned about them watching her through. Logic takes me from Point A, of Superman and you meeting, but you still having that ring and no visible signs of a fight. To him being nameless friend numero uno. To Point B, which is Wonder Woman having an item that Conner ‘Liberated’ from the Nowhere lab that he destroyed a couple years ago.”
Now that the ring is back on my finger, I take a moment to look at it. It’s different than Kyle’s. Obviously, an older design, but it’s distinctly older in the style too. My lantern and his are two different things. Though they work almost identically, they derive their power from different sources. It makes me wonder, much as I had with Hal, what could have been if Starheart had empowered other Lanterns.
“Now. I’m going to have my lovely assistant Jeannie show you to a room. Get settled in. Grab a shower or a nap, whatever you need. Mi casa es su casa, Kyle. We’ve just met, so I want you to look around. Take your time. Explore. There’s no hidden rooms. No locked doors. Nothing to hide that you haven’t already seen.”
“While you freshen up, I’ll get my people to call Ted’s people. Set up a meeting.” I’m about to step past him to the desk and the phone that awaits when I clap my hands, at the thing I almost forgot. “When you’re ready. Meet me downstairs. In the Gymnasium. Poozers have to train. So. Be ready. Because if you can’t dodge a magical green wrench, you can’t dodge a punch from Metallo. Seriously, Kid. This might be the only place in the whole world where you’re going to get to go full tilt with that ring, without setting off alarms. They know a Green Lantern lives here. No better place to train a Poozer to not be a Dead Poozer.”
KYLE: My ears picked up on one thing out of that entire explanation which I did listen to. However, there was something I zeroed in on. I go over everything that was said wondering if I missed anything, but I don’t suspect I did. However, if I did I will go over everything. The ring records everything. Which could be kind of creepy, but I guess it helps when going over certain situations. I found that out when I had it replay events from previous nights.
I recall saying that I met the first Superman. However, I don’t recall saying I met the new Superman. I wasn’t sure how he felt about the new Superman, so I kept that under wraps. Does he have someone in the inside or someone that doesn’t think about, because Alan was a company man for a while until things went bad.
Interesting or he’s keeping tabs on Conner.
“Oh.” That Oh says many things. I don’t want to come out and ask, because that would be rude right? However, it gives me an idea, potentially at least at how well-connected Alan is. “Here I thought I was being clever.“ With a snap of my fingers I offer him a grin. “I didn’t want to betray his confidence.” Best buds and everything. However, the fact that I didn’t look like a mishmash of multi-colored bruises should show that Conner isn’t all in with anti-Superfriends.
“A shower would be great. It would be awesome.” A quick nap too, but something tells me I’ll want to poke around. How many times have I been in a mansion? Seriously? “Thank you, Mr. Scott for everything.” Because he could have slammed the door in my face so to speak the moment he saw me.
“Gymnasium…” I had already turned to be shown to the room, but head is turning back towards him. “Right. Right.” Training. Oh wow. I wasn’t expecting that. “Roger that.” As we reach the door way I hold my ring up to my lips whispering.
“What’s a Poozer…” I step out as the ring informs me.
Cue a little grumbling.