ARTHUR: It was a relatively quiet trip. Arthur contacted Kori to let her know that they were going to be going a trip. He didn’t say where they were going only that they would be out of pocket for a bit. She was to dress comfortably for the car ride, because there would be no flying. He would be driving them to their destination.
He advised that they would arrive bright and early for their road trip. Not that it would take long, but he wanted to get an early start. There were things to do, and people to see. His request had been granted and he was about to waist anyone’s time. Of course, earlier meant that he would arrive after rush hour. No reason for them to have to deal with that. Not one to honk for someone to come out he stepped out and rang the doorbell.
Once Kori was ready he escorted her to the car opened the door and let her get in. He was back in the driver’s seat and they would be on their way to destinations unknown…actually Gotham. Outside of Gotham actually, but Kori didn’t know that not until they were well on their way. Arthur said nothing he kept a stoic face as he drove. Perhaps he had something or some things on his mind difficult to say as they drove. Either way outside of NPR coming from the speakers not much else was offered beyond pleasantries.
KORIAND’R: There had been an ominous mention of something during their last meeting. Something about an examination, a thought that troubled her and made her anxious. That anxiety was almost palpable on the ride there but she remained quiet, looking out the window and watching the world whiz by at an almost painfully slow pace. Flying would have been faster. These vehicles were not good for this planet’s environment and the reliance these humans had on them was startling. Then again, they couldn’t fly. A journey more than a couple of miles on foot was probably troublesome and tiring for most of the citizens here. At least they were not employing animals to pull them around or ride on them to carry them about from one place to another. She still didn’t understand why cars had ‘horsepower’ when there were no horses inside at all. She looked. She was disappointed to find that there were no tiny horses under the hood.
The road signs were the only indication of where they were going. She wasn’t familiar with where the roads went and she knew general destinations and landmarks to go by from up in the air. The first sign that said ‘Gotham’ made her draw in a sharp breath.
“Really? After what happened? They don’t want me there, they don’t even like super powered people there.”
Perhaps because the more criminal and heroic elements of the city seemed to have some psychological issues they needed to work through. Some more than others. They seemed to embrace this though, embraced those oddities and weaknesses. She hadn’t really gotten a chance to learn more. She was just so careful and made her choices carefully so she didn’t disrupt the careful balance of things and upset people like…Dr Light.
“Are we going to see Red Hood? He was probably concerned about me.”
ARTHUR: There was a lot on Arthur’s mind. The things that had been shared. The things that were not shared. To say he had a lot on his mind was an understatement, but it did not show. If anything it seemed like any other day when he encounter others. He engaged them in conversation and went about his business. Arthur was not known to be a ball of energy. He was rather subdued. When it became obvious what their destination was he opted not to answer the question. Really? Did it matter that Gotham was their intended destination? Yes, there had been a great deal of damage that had occurred here, but it had been handled.
Arthur would not go as far to say that he was puzzled, but he was curious. Curious about a great many things, but he kept his eyes on the road while traveling. Opting not to pull into the city he continued along the highway, past the city proper heading towards the outskirts. One might thing he was heading to Wayne Manor instead their destination was another Manor one where the grounds weren’t as well as maintained, but it seemed to have an order all its known, order out of chaos. Out of the city there was a tangle of green that seemed to be teaming with life.
Through the gates they went as Arthur pulled the vehicle up towards the entrance he stopped the glancing over towards Koriand’r.
“No, we’re not going to see the Red Hood.” However, they had arrived at their destination. “I thought it best to consult another regarding our situation.” He fastened his seat belt after shutting off the car. “They’ve agreed to the meeting. ” Opening the door, he slipped out of the car waiting for Kori to join him. “I’m afraid I will not be allowed inside. “However, you are expected.” It is best that he did not join her inside. Plausible deniability.
“I can escort you to the door.” Which he did. The manor was large, but not massive. It had a very peculiar air about it. If it felt like they were being watched perhaps they were, by who Arthur wouldn’t be able to tell her. However, there was something wild and untamed about it much like the wild growth that surrounded the structure.
Upon reaching the door he reached out to ring the bell.
KORIAND’R: “All of this secrecy is troubling me,” she said softly. Maybe it was better that she didn’t know exactly what she was walking into. If she had known, would she have gone? Only Dr. Light knew the answer to that question.
This house was not like the others she had seen. The grounds were not as well maintained, like things were allowed to grow wild and untamed. In a way it was appealing, she liked the idea of allowing things to grow unhindered. Some of it brought back memories of the gardens she had visited when she was a child and back on her home planet. Though the climate here was much cooler and the plants were less colorful and full of foliage.
She remained close to Dr. Light as they approached the manor. Despite being stronger, faster and capable of firing devastating rays of energy, she was still susceptible to her emotions. She did her best to keep a strong face on but her eyes kept wandering and darting about.
She thought about asking who they were seeing but more than likely it wouldn’t have been a name she would recognize. She could only get an idea from how the grounds were. Either someone didn’t care to tend to the grounds or they just simply preferred it this way.
ARTHUR: All of the secrecy was troubling her. Interesting, but it was true. He wasn’t being very forthcoming. Unfortunately for Koriand’r that was anot about to change. Instead he offered a nod acknowledging her discomfort. It is all that he could offer her at the moment.
He was about to say something more when the locks on the door undid themselves and the door slid open slowly creaking loudly as it did.
“Enter Koriand’r of Tamaran. We have been expecting you.” The voice was loud but not overbearing, but as the door continued t to open there was no one there. Until there was there was a flickering bit of light which caught Arthur’s attention given that it wasn’t what he expected, but he didn’t let on too much.
The little flickering bit of light danced around in the air zipping around both Light and Kori before settling back into the door way.
“He will guide you to where you need to be, Princess of Tamaran.”
KORIAND’R: A more serious look was cast at Dr. Light. The voices were ominous and the fact they knew her title and where she hailed from was a bit disturbing. Whoever ‘they’ was. She had never laid her green eyes harshly on him but at this moment she did for a very brief moment. It was an unspoken promise that there would be some problems in his future if harm came to her.
She took a deep breath and took a slow step forward to follow the little light creature. She was almost waiting for the doors to close behind her, just like those horror films.
There were just so many questions, how did they know about her? What were they? Why do they have a bouncing light doorman?
LIGHT/GREEN LANTERN: Light was unfazed by the serious look that was leveled his way, though he was more than a bit curious. He knew this was not one person’s style. People believed his associate to be a tad eccentric, but dramatic. He wasn’t sure if that’s the way he would describe his colleague. Watching Koriand’r take those brave steps forward across the threshold Arthur waited and a few seconds later the door did just that it closed on its own. Or at least it appeared that way to anyone that was looking.
The flickering light moved away from the door into the foyer. It danced around Kori before sliding through the air moving slow enough for her to keep up as it moved past the grand stair case it was heading elsewhere zipping down the hall before stopping to make sure that their guest was still with them. If she lingered too long there were a few pulses followed by a high pitch tone to get her attention. It was his way of saying, “This way! This way! Follow me!”
When Kori caught up it moved down the hall towards the room of requirement…well in this case a very large room that was filled with books. It was a library. There were other rooms that could have been selected, but perhaps it was the best place to start. The room was filled with light and there were books that lined every wall and it even had a stair case that went to a second level where there were more shelves that lined the walls. It was something out of a classic movie, including the individual that stood at the railing dressed in a black cloak.
“Welcome, Koriand’r. Welcome to the Mansion of the Emerald Grove. I am one of its guardians. I have been told you came to this world in search of sanctuary. Now that sanctuary is threatened. Your past has refused to stay where you placed it. It has followed you here to your chosen refuge. Tell me. Why have you come? Is it protection that you need? What dangers have followed you from your homeworld?”
The voice was slightly distorted, but could be made out clearly, but it did not sound human in the least.
KORIAND’R: “I came to seek refuge, away from a life of slavery. My right to freedom and control over my own destiny.”
She considered the questions very carefully, her eyes never leaving the figure. Did she need protection? That was a very good question. She had been able to fight off nearly every foe thrown her direction. It was only in numbers that they even had a chance of defeating her. Not even the bounty hunter concerned her too much. She was more concerned about the damage he would do in order to get to her though. It was the people around her that needed more protecting. It was a funny twist of fate in that way.
“I have nowhere else to go, Stranger. I may have…endangered my people by escaping my situation. A bounty hunter was employed to kill me. There was an arm of a dangerous race that had interest in me. Their resources would be poorly spent sending a ship here…not to devalue myself but I do not see it worth their investment.”
She took a deep breath before continuing, attempting to be as honest and and clear about her intentions as she could be.
“I did not wish to bring harm to those on this planet. I feel as if the consequences of my actions are causing the very thing I feared bringing upon these people. I made an oath when I arrived that I would protect them and I would do my best to embrace this planet as my own..for I have no other to call my home. If I continue as I am, more threats may come to me…more innocent people caught in the fire.”
She chewed on her bottom lip for a moment. Maybe she didn’t need a guardian to explain what she must do, she already had thoughts and there were pieces in play that could assist her. Should she return? Should she go back to the mess she left and clean it up before it haunted her once more?
GREEN LANTERN: “Tell, me Princess of Tamaran. Does Tamaran have no allies you could turn to? No one that could help you liberate your people and planet? Were you comfortable with leaving your former life behind? Surely it must have crossed your mind the danger your courted when you chose to escape? Your actions would have consequences. Your people. Those that came in contact with. Surely the specter of your past would haunt your footsteps no matter where you went. Yet you selected a world that may be ill prepared for the consequences of these actions.”
The figure pushed off the railing walking towards the stairs.
“There must have been someone that you could have reached out to to aid you against this tyrannical force of miscreants.” The cloaked figured stopped. “Does Tamaran stand alone in the dark against the villainy of the Daemonites? Do they run rampant unchecked by no one? I was told that there was a force dedicated to upholding order across the galaxy. Did they not come to your aid? Did you not think to seek them out?”
He began to walk down the steps stopping at the middle of them as he looked upon Koriand’r. “I have heard your tale. What brought you here. Why you stand here before me. Yet I find myself concerned that there are pieces missing. I find myself perplexed as to why a bounty hunter a Czarnian origin would be dispatched to kill you. Why would he want to kill you? A failed experiment as you have described it. As Mister Spock would say, that is…”
Removing the hood Green Lantern revealed his face, masked face. “…quite illogical.”
KORIAND’R: “There were not Lanterns there to stop what happened. No one heard the cries of my dying people when they invaded. No one came to aid my mother and father when they were slaughtered. No one came to aid when the tears of a child princess stained her dress as she was unwillingly taken away.”
She was getting angry with the questions. She answered them the best she could but with each passing word she found herself angrier and irritated with the entire situation. She brought her hand to her collarbone very quickly, turning the image off that disguised her as human so that this man could see the pure fury that was in her eyes and the fire that ignited among the strands of her red hair.
“I was a CHILD. I was innocent. I grew up with those creatures, my skills and my body were honed to their desires.
What else was I supposed to do? I didn’t find a Lantern until I came to this planet.”
She snorted dismissively as he mentioned the bounty hunter, “Well, he failed. I attempted to ask him but he would give no answers. I do not know what is going on with Tamaran, at all. I have not known a thing since I stepped foot off that planet. If I could find that pest I would blast the answers out of him myself.”
There was an abrupt silence when the figure removed the cloak. She wanted to scream at him but at least the shock had caused her to loosen her fists.
She was still angry, it was very difficult for her to shift her mood so suddenly. At least she went from a boil to a simmer but her eyes were narrowed at the Lantern.
“…was not funny at all.”
KORIAND’R: “I have already considered those options. I am aware of how the organization handles ‘threats’. I was spending my time attempting to find another solution. I find sunbathing very useful for thinking.”
Though the only she had considered wouldn’t have been very nice but it certainly would have involved the bounty hunter, as he is the only one with something resembling space craft capable of travel.
Had it really come to this though? Even Dr Light was out of options for her? The only option seemed to point…wherever that fool was.
“He is capable of regenerating from devastating attacks. I’m not sure how strong he is but the chain and the bike seem to be his best tools. He was essentially grounded when the bike was blasted. However, it too seemed capable of repairing itself. I don’t know anything about Czarnians beyond the fact that they are essentially extinct. I suppose anything can be brought back with cloning.”
For a moment she thought she had misheard what he had said, neutralize sounded a lot like ‘neuter’ for a brief moment. Either way, the fact stood that he was a problem.
“More will come. I doubt he was boasting about the sizable bounty. I want to end this before it becomes worse. So…”
She feared the answer to this question, there were very few ideas jumbling in her head and there was nothing brute force was going to be able to do in this particular situation. She may have to use more subtle skills.
“…any ideas on neutralizing my bounty hunter problem? I was considering resorting to negotiations that may appeal to him.”
She didn’t really want to get into the details of what that particularly meant but she knew what the hunter had a fondness for, though it may only be a distraction at best.
GREEN LANTERN: “Doesn’t that sound like a terrible waste of resources to keep sending someone after you time and time again? Not to mention the amount of damage it will cause?” Perhaps it’s time to stop playing defense and go on the offense. You were meeting the Czarnian head on. Sounds like he was looking for a fight. Also, from everything I’ve gathered he doesn’t sound like one that will keep his mouth shut. Big bounty. Alien warrior princess.” Kyle shook his head. “Also discretion doesn’t sound like his cup of tea. You know not when there are buildings exploding and the sort. That could be a way in.” That is if they talk with other individuals.
“What I’m getting at if there will be others that means a couple of things. We have a total Han Solo – Bobba Fett situation going on. Empire Strikes Back. Recommended viewing.” He had to throw that in. “However, that means that despite the fact he wants the big score he may not be the only person on their way. They could be arriving any time to do what needs to be done. So we have decisions that we need to make. Staying planet side while potentially full of allies puts innocent civilians at risk and even if you do a death match beat down and either end it for them or send them packing their going to keep coming. That’s a total no win scenario for anyone. Total Kobyashi Maru.” No one wants that.
“There for we need to find out who’s sending these bounty hunters after you and why and that’s going to involve information gathering. If this Czarnian bounty hunter won’t give up the information some one will. Something be a secret not if there’s going to be a whole host of bounty hunters coming our way. However, this does mean that our immediate problem needs to be handled. We need a plan and we can’t come up with a proper plan if we have a Czarnian on our back.”
Which is problematic. “I don’t know what we can offer him outside of a complementary kick in the ass. I’m pretty sure asking or telling him to leave will be laughable at best. If that was possible problem would already be solved.” He pursed his lips. “I can do a bit of research see what I can find out about Czarnian’s, but I also think it would best if you stay here at least for the time being. You were tracked to Gotham and probably can be tracked no matter where you go, but I believe the manor can offer a bit of protection.” Maybe. He should really confirm that with Alan. Kyle was 90% sure.
“Also, it will give us a chance to come up with a plan and just as important train together.” Find out how they work as a team. The thing that always goes down how fast is trying to work together and not knowing how to work as a team. Kyle watched enough ani..read enough man….read enough to know that. Additionally, it would give him a chance to figure a few things out.
KORIAND’R: The princess was left blinking several times. There were names and things mentioned that she had no clue what they meant. One sounded vaguely Japanese but it wasn’t a language she had yet absorbed into her vocabulary but she had heard it spoken enough to know of its origin. Half of what he said made sense but she was lacking the context of some of the situation.
She was safe where she was too. Raven had good shielding up, she was very skilled even if she was quiet and a bit dark. Kori didn’t have feelings for her one way or another but it felt safe there.
“I…wasn’t going to ask nicely. I was planning on seducing him. He has a weakness and a fondness for women. I could easily use that to my advantage and perhaps he’ll even speak more about this bounty. If I can isolate him somewhere there isn’t an immediate threat to the citizens nearby, this may be possible. Though if we keep waiting, he may grow impatient and start blasting away again. He may take the safety of this planet hostage until I am given up. This other plan would cut him off before it got to that point. Or…he kills me. Or…I am taken back to Tamaran. Either way, the threat is removed from this planet. I will fight until I cannot fight anymore. This is my way.”
She shrugged. It wasn’t an ideal situation but she didn’t have strong feelings about it either way. Sex was just sex, when it was more intimate that was when things tended to get mixed up and scary. It was easier with detachment. It was what she was familiar with.
GREEN LANTERN: Sex and violence. Apparently, that was the way the world heck the galaxy worked. Who knew? Probably everyone. Kyle didn’t know if it was an epiphany or some type of cruel joke. There were dozens of thoughts that ran through his mind as Kori laid out what she wanted to do.
It was a plan to which Kyle could offer one response.
“That’s the very definition of asking nicely.”
Kyle didn’t balk, but seriously how was that not asking nicely? Anyone? Anyone?
“Ok let’s logic bomb this. Game?” She said it right?
“Let the logic bombing commence. The bounty hunger is seduced. You get the information that you’re looking for. What then? I mean was sex on the list of things that he would take in exchange for your life?” Fair question.
“If so. Well, that solves that problem. If not, is there a follow up to neutralize him after you get everything you need out of him? And to clarify neutralize him to the point that he is no longer a problem.” He thought it was a fair question. Unless she’s like Zoe from American Horror Story Coven, and it’s death by “V” Kyle didn’t see that solving the problem completely. All’s fair in logic bombing.
“Second question. What are you going to do with the information after you’ve gotten it from him? Does it change your predicament?”
KORIAND’R: “I didn’t expect that to work so easily. So, no. It’s a tool, not an end game. He has a lust for destruction as well, he could be turned towards a more appropriate target. That would also be a win. Maybe they’re only paying him so handsomely so he won’t turn on the deal. Imagine how rich he could get off of destroying them and taking the loot?”
It was very much a pirate angle, if they were already promising him a good fat sum, they probably had more to offer if they were split open with his bare hands. Part of her was pleased with the thought of being able to orchestrate such a chain of events but things didn’t always work so simply.
“I’m not sure, it depends on the information. I have considered that I may have to leave, regardless. If it’s something only I must address and fix, it would be better done with at least one powerful ally beside me. I will report anything I find, of course. If that sector is assigned to someone, perhaps they will see fit to aide me as well.”
There was a problem in this though, she didn’t know who was behind the bounty. If the Daem were involved there was a lot of unknowns about them and how far spread their influence was. If it was from Tamaran? If it was from one of her own people? It was also a complicated situation. If her leaving negated the arrangement then they were probably already under attack.
“…I need information. There is only one man with the truth of what is going on. That is completely and utterly unavoidable.”
GREEN LANTERN: The red flags were up all over the place, but, he did so Kyle listened as this was laid out. It gave him a moment to take it all in “Okay, assuming that you are successful with this plan of action you want to then suggestion to the bounty hunter that an even bigger bounty awaits if he turns on the individual or individuals that hired him?” He was restating to make sure that he heard that part correctly. He needed to make sure he heard that.
“Negotiating to bribe him is one thing with something you have is one thing. Negotiating with him for something you don’t have just on a promise is another. That can go wrong many different ways, no matter his proclivities. Sure he likes violence, but is that enough of a lure to turn him off his original bounty. I mean what happens when they make a better deal?” It happens. “Someone flips once they’ll flip again.” At least that’s a possibility that should be considered.
“I mean if he wants a challenge and he enjoys violence well, one thing to consider is that if there are more coming why not hire him to take out his competition. Like all of his competition. If the Daem hired him apparently they have resources that outstrip his competitors unless they have something of value he wants. I guess it does come back to if he was to take that type of deal what do you have or could you potentially have that would be of some value to him to take that job for you. I guess I’m just a bit iffy on turning on the person that hired you. It’s bad for busisness though someone could just as easily say you get what you pay for.”
Also, it would be nice to have a backup plan.
“I can’t say what the other Lanterns will and won’t do, but my offer to help you stands, but I have to take it a step at a time. There are too many pieces on the board right now and equal amounts of unknown.” He said honestly.
“The immediate problem needs to be handled.” Frankly without it coming back in the third act to bite them in the ass.
KORIAND’R: Everything I had was confiscated…then later destroyed and burned when he attacked.”
The wreckage was in the custody of Nowhere though but she doubted there was much left to bribe with. They had probably already destroyed it to prevent it being taken or possibly reverse-engineered.
“X’hal, I only have hope and faith. It’s all I’ve had for many years. I know in the sense of logic that doesn’t really amount to much but when things are desperate…sometimes it’s the only things that count.”
There weren’t a lot of options left and there were fewer contingencies. If they removed the Hunter’s tools…he’d only be slightly more manageable. It was a matter of taking them and destroying them utterly and completely that was the very difficult and potentially disastrous part. That would leave them both stranded and without options though.
She winced as she pushed her hair from her face and rubbed at her temple with her fingertips.
“If that fails, he kills me. That will satisfy his bounty and possibly end the conflict. It is not the option I want but it is a very real possible outcome.”
GREEN LANTERN: “Well, that’s very fatalist of you,” he said regarding the last statement. “Hope and faith are good, but a good solid plan is even better.” And that they were severely lacking in. They also should have a plan, B, C and D, but Kyle would start with A once he could get his thinking cap on.
“There are some things to consider, but there’s also some things that you need to think over, as well. Specifically, how far you’re willing to trust people, because from where I’m standing there’s there’s a severe lack of trust.” That was Kyle’s truth, and no one could tell him different as of right now.
“It may be the nature of your situation, and if it puts me out of line then it puts me out of line. As my friend…closest person I have to a best friend told me once, I can only be me. I can’t be the Green Lantern people want me to be. I have to be the Green Lantern I need to be me. The Green Lantern they need me to be and need and want don’t always go hand in hand.”
What does that mean? Hard truths.
“Fighting until you can’t fight any more isn’t a real option. It’s nice way to get dead and frankly it’s a pretty shitty thing to do to your people. You can’t help them if you’re dead.
“You are their Princess, aren’t you? That means that they look up to you, that they have some affection for you unless they don’t care? That’s not the situation is it?” Again, was it out of line? Maybe? However, there was just something about it that rubbed Kyle the wrong way. Maybe he was a little naive ok a lot naive about things, but things weren’t adding up.
“As far as getting killed or being willing to be taken back to Tamaran I don’t know. If that were the case, you wouldn’t have come here. You would’ve resigned yourself to that fate long ago.” It was frank, it was honest, it was the only way Kyle knew how to be at the moment, because…he had his reasons.
“You would’ve gone there instead of coming here or you would have attempted to figure out how to rectify the situation that you currently find yourself in. So, before I find myself trying to solve the unlogic puzzle that’s sitting here in front of me how about you tell me what’s really going on Tamaran that you don’t want to talk about?” Or whatever it is that she’s playing close to vest, because it’s obvious.
“Because A. As stated before you’re a princess. That means you have some modicum of responsibility and/or authority.” At least that’s the way Kyle saw it. Unless she’s a princess in name only.
“So, you should give a damn about your people. Which I think you do. However, you didn’t come here and say, “my planet is under attack I need your help to save it, you came and sought sanctuary. Maybe it was everything that happened I don’t know. Still those were the choices that you made. Decisions that have and will follow you no matter where you go.”
“Which brings me to B. You’re willing to get pissed off about some things, but not the right things as I see it. It confuses the hell out of me, and probably frustrates the hell out of others, but I can’t speak for them.“ The entire getting upset about being questioned the way she was. Who wouldn’t question her like that?
“Last but not least there’s C. You put this planet in jeopardy knowing full well what could and would happen, and seemed a-ok about it, because you had a nice place to chill. So, was earth a pit stop on your getaway tour? Did you really think you could out run what you’re trying to run away from? The Daem is just one part of it.”
“If we’re going to do something about this then we need to be focused and free of surprises and right now this isn’t as they say isn’t passing muster.” And no one has time for that.
“If are you going to get angry, throw a fit, and toss in some tears to boot then do so. I’ll sit and let that play out.
“I want to help you, but I feel like I’m operating partially in the dark. There’s pieces here and there that offered up, but there are other pieces that are missing at least that’s what it feels like.”
KORIAND’R: She inhaled deeply. She was trying not to be grim and dark about the potential outcomes. It didn’t suit her and darkness wasn’t something she could wear very well. She’d rather be happy, or disguise as much as she can with some optimism and finding joy in the little things.
She finally felt calm enough to sit without breaking the furniture, or setting it ablaze or any number of things she wanted to do when she was angry. It wouldn’t have been right, not when she was a guest in this man’s home and it had put Dr. Light out of his way to bring her here as well. She’d be letting two men down.
“My sister is their queen, she was put into that position during the invasion and not very long after my parents had died. The terms were quite simple, my sister Komand’r would serve as queen and I would be exiled, taken into the care of the invaders. Never to return to my home. Returning would put the safety of my people and my sister at risk, it may even negate any agreements my sister may have made to make sure our people were looked after. So, my family may be respected and I may be fondly remembered as the sweet young princess…but I fear any return may cause a great deal of problems.”
It wasn’t so simple when there were agreements that were signed. Oaths that were required to be honored.
“I didn’t have anywhere else to go, except as far away as I could. So, I don’t know if someone put the bounty to ensure I never return to my home planet. It could also be an effort to clean up any research that was performed on me. Perhaps someone doesn’t want me falling into the wrong hands. There seems to be a great deal of concern or fear on part of whomever created the bounty. They don’t want me around, they don’t want me alive and they don’t seem to like that I am here either. I do not know anymore without going straight to the Hunter, the Czarnian.”
There were other problems but at least the calmness had allowed her to think things through. What was it that frightened someone so much that they would pay many riches for her to be gone? Knowing what that is would be like possessing some intangible power.
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle watched, but said nothing. Ordinarily he was game from plenty of things, but at the moment he had to play the “straight” man to all of this. It was a lot and he could allow himself to be overwhelmed or delight in the fact that he was standing across from a rea- life alien, again, but he couldn’t. That had to be set aside by the fact that a great deal of harm came to people, a building was destroyed and there was an intergalactic bounty hunter on the loose looking for a princess.
This was the stuff comics were made from him. Who was he kidding? This was the stuff that cool ass anime were made off, but again he couldn’t bask in that. No. No. No. He had to be the Space Cop. Yay! At least that is what was passing through his mind at the moment while Koriand’r spoke about what amounted to very limited information.
Nothing about that sounded right in the least. Kyle had seen enough episodes of Game of Thrones to know how things like that worked out.
However, they would get back to that.
“Let’s do a little information sharing here. What do you know about the Czarnians? Like do you know how they died out? Do you know what they were like? What we’re dealing with here? I know. I know. I ask a lot of questions, but this is where we head into the realm of the unknown. At the moment we control neither the vertical or the horizontal. So, let’s find out what we do control.”
KORIAND’R: “I don’t know much, admittedly. I had a lot of lessons and a lot of stories were told to me but sometimes stories are tales of caution and twisted somewhat.”
She was feeling a little frustrated, she was trying to be as honest as she could manage and be forthcoming with what information she knew. It was hard when her learning was halted by her own world’s changing events. Her education had become much more brutal and out of necessity for survival.
“Czarnia used to be a thriving planet, much like Krypton. A very proud species. Something went horribly wrong. I’m not sure if it was a virus that preyed on their genetic weakness or some other kind of weapon altogether, but they were all eradicated. The entire species was gone with the exception of one. The Last Czarnian, or so the stories have said. Some say he was responsible for what happened, others say he was just lucky and was the only one immune. If that is true…then what the Hunter said was very confusing. He said something about clones. Many other races have the technology to do such a thing. It’s possible if they had the source material, I guess. I didn’t get a chance to ask more questions. I was being electrocuted and it was very unpleasant.”
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle thought about what he should share. Would it help the situation or make the situation more confusing? Clones. Should it matter? Did it matter? However, if it was possible that they were dealing with a clone it would be interesting. Kyle find himself curious about this, but decided to set it aside. Whether this individual was a clone or not it was after Koriand’r and given the fact that she was currently residing on Earth it placed the planet in jeopardy. It could quickly become a battlefield, or a bargaining chip and Kyle rather avoid either of those possibilities. He was determined to make sure that was not an option.
Koriand’r’s frustration was the least of his concerns at the moment, because she was currently was the epitome of frustration. Whether it was intentional or not she was not being as forthcoming as Kyle believed she could, because he didn’t think for a moment she was naive, far from it. Every so then he saw glimpses of the person that he wanted to get to know. Not the bubbling individual that spun tales of woe that made as about much sense as a Klingon saying Kahless skipped in fields in flowers hand in hand with a Romulan.
This was definitely two plus two equals five situation and right now there was only one person that could correct the equation.
“So, it’s possible that we can be dealing with an actual Czarnian or a clone of one?” Makes you wonder who’s churning out clones and what that could mean.
And she wants to use her powers of seduction to pump him for information. Then what? There was no real follow through there. More like hopeful humpings and potential for a bad plan of action afterwards.
“What I know of the last Czarnian is that he doesn’t roll over on his contracts. It’s part of his code. Maybe that’s a rumor. If he’s a clone, then maybe that didn’t make it through the process. Who knows, but we could be dealing with either or.” That’s the way he saw it.
“That aside, when he decides to make his next move I would prefer it to be away from earth. Alien battlefields don’t make for friendship bracelets and ice cream parties. Usually they you strapped to table and cut open. Additionally, there’s no telling if there isn’t another bounty hunter waiting in the wings.” Home court advantage only goes so far and based what he knew the amount of destruction that the Czarnian could cause would devastate the planet and if he was a clone who’s to say there aren’t more waiting to take his place and finish the job. Though this is a bit of an odd situation giving his best bud was cloned and engineered himself.
“So, how do we want to handle this? Step 1 is to remove Earth from the equation. Step 2 is to acquire information and neutralize threats. Step 3 is how do we stop this from becoming a common occurrence meaning that whatever business is going on at home will have to be handled or you’ll be running and fighting until the end of time and that’s no way to live. If there are cards to lay out on the table then lay them out. You no longer have the luxury to pick and choose, because I suspect you value life over death. If you wanted death you wouldn’t have fought back. You would have ended a long time ago.”
KORIAND’R: “I am without a craft that could handle space travel. What I arrived with was confiscated and it was hardly in flying shape. Physically I couldn’t handle the lack of atmosphere very long. I am strong, but I am not that strong. You could…your ring grants you the ability to do so? I’m assuming. Forgive me if I’m wrong. Do I just…go to Tamaran? I risk breaking the treaty, this would put my people at risk. Doing nothing would put the people of Earth at risk.”
The Lantern was right about her not wanting death. It was the reason she fought, it was the reason she endured. That and she didn’t want what happened to her and her people to happen to anyone else. Enduring everything had made her a hardened warrior and she hid that behind an armor of positivity and aloofness. She didn’t like peeling that armor back, it felt vulnerable. These people didn’t want an alien that had murdered so many in an effort to survive. They didn’t want a warrior that had been trained and changed to be some kind of weapon. She had seen that in how they treated Damien and in a way she and him were so very similar in that shared darkness.
“The Czarnian could be used. He has the information but he’s choosing not to share it right now. Clone or not, he’s a formidable opponent that not many would want to cross. Without pulling you out of your jurisdiction, without pulling others from their other missions and responsibility…he’s the only tool we have if he can only be turned the right direction. Or he won’t and then we’ll need to figure out how to throw him at the star you call The Sun.”
If the Lantern was looking for a peek into her brutality, there it was. She wasn’t above absolutely burning every atom of his body. Still, more may come.
“I don’t know what else to do. In the end, I’m the problem, I’m the focus of this. Do I turn myself back over to the Daem? It’s not death, it would cease any hardships for either problem. They would have to deal with whoever made the contract themselves. Their problem. The odds are not great.”
GREEN LANTERN: “You already broke the treaty when you escaped.” He said it before and he said it again. “Standing here right on this ground not in the “care” of the Daem mean that the treaty is null and void. The treaty that you refer to is predicated on the idea that you would remain in the care. Unless there is something that I misunderstanding? You have violated said treated by making your escape.” He arched his brow.
“Before we go any further. Before we say anything else tell me what is the difference between you escaping and you going home? The treaty went up into smoke when you escaped.” He generated a story book and sent a rocket ship through it. “You’re blowing holes through you’re own cover story. So shall we start again from beginning or shall we continue from the middle of this half-truth, half fiction word dance you want me to engage in?”
KORIAND’R: The truth hurt. The truth she was attempting to deny all this time was thrown right in her face and it hurt worse than a slap. She needed to be told that, it took hearing it from someone else, someone who was angry and frustrated at her for it to really sink in. When it hit, she shrunk back into the couch and pulled her knees up to her chest. It was like feeling helpless again. She was a prisoner to her actions and the consequences that had rippled across the cosmos.
She broke the treaty. It didn’t matter what the reasons were or what she was trying to escape. It was a very simple chain of events, she escaped and this put Tamaran in a bad position. If the bounty had come from Tamaran like the Czarnian said, it was highly possible it came directly from royal decree. This more than likely meant that her beloved sister, Komand’r, issued the order herself. Another truth that was painful and it made her a little angry as well.
“Then I broke it. I brought this on myself and to my people. It is my responsibility to set things right but I will not surrender myself to such torment again. I feel…I feel like breaking things until it is fixed. I may even need to come against my own sister, the queen. This is not what heroes do. Does this make me a horrible person, Lantern? Does this make me as bad as they are?”
Those green eyes were wide when she looked to the man. She was out of tears to cry over her situation and it didn’t feel like it was appropriate. Still, she was nearly overwhelmed by everything she felt in this very moment. It didn’t feel like there was a ‘right’ solution.
GREEN LANTERN: “I’m less concerned about whether or not this means you’re a hero. I’m more concerned about what you want to do about this. Your actions have consequences and it’s time to deal with them. I could sit, get you something to drink and we can commiserate about what a shitty deal you got. I could say that someone in a similar situation probably would make the same choice over and over again. I don’t know. I can’t deal in hypotheticals. I have to play the cards that have been dealt as do you.” There was no way around that.
“That said if we’re working under the assumption that your sister has decided that you’re not worth the salt of your tears then we have a place to start from. This is not about whether or not you’re a hero it’s about what your survival means to you? I mean if I go big picture. I can say. Well, if one person is the cost for my planets survival than by all means let’s do this, but at what cost? Honestly, truthfully, hasn’t that struck you as odd that your planet came under attack. Your parents killed and it all stops because this deal is struck. The planet’s survival comes down to one single person being placed into the care into the aggressors. They get you and everything’s good now? Wars are usually fought over something for something. Not just because some group wants one person unless there’s something you’re not sharing or something that you’re not aware of. Theft and plunder of resources I get. Oppression I get.” Those were things that people have fought over before. A single person out of an entire planet?
“This I don’t quite get, but let’s start. What do you know about your sister? What kind of leader is she? She handed you over to the people who murdered her parents. She gave you up to stop a war. For the good of the planet. It sells well, but no festering anger or hate for the Daem? Now she or someone within her government have sent a bounty hunter after you?” He paused for a second.
“To what? Prove to the Daem that you are no friend of Tamaran? I mean…let’s think about this for a second. If this is coming from Tamaran a planet that lost a war it sounds like they’ve recovered quite well. Well enough to hire a bounty hunter and from the sounds of it he doesn’t come cheap. They can set this in motion so quickly. Doesn’t that strike you as odd?” It felt odd.
“What do you know if anything about the arrangement that was established after your were handed over. Did the Daem pack up and head to parts for unknown or did they maintain contact with Tamaran?” She may not know, but Kyle was trying to figure out what was what. He was also trying to figure out motives.
“Let’s not forget that if the Czarnian fails there are going to be more bounty hunters. As bounty hunters fail then the price will go up. How many coffers does Tamaran have to offer up? Is this the legacy you want for your homeworld? Where does it end? Say the bounty hunter kills you, succeeds in ending your life what happens then? It’s not like this a clause in the treaty is it? In the event you escape then you die. All is forgiven and the Daem forgives Tamaran? Doubtful. Do they get someone to take in your place and they become the tribute? The fate of a world rests on one person’s forced sacrifice?”
KORIAND’R: “Taking hostage is common practice to gain political leverage. Sometimes it’s not aggressive at all, some royals taken as wards instead and raised with different families to create bonds and ties. It’s not the strength of a marriage bond but it’s a show of good will between two families. Taking me may have had the effect of making my sister compliant to their demands, I don’t know what has happened since. They could have reshaped the entire political structure of the kingdom in my absence. I’m not just one person, I’m a symbol of my people, I’m a princess, I hold…held…power and influence.”
Talking this out sort of helped things make sense to her. She had to withdraw herself from her emotions about her sister to see it.
“I’m a threat, Lantern. If I am free, I am also free to disrupt whatever they have established. If my sister is out of the picture, I am next in line to rule. I don’t know if this is being done to get in the favor of the Daem again. I honestly don’t know what would make me so valuable otherwise. What they did to me made me much stronger, it unlocked power in me that was considered very dangerous. I could have easily struck a hole in the hull of their ship with a powerful blast.”
She lifts her head to give him a slight glare, “I’m not dying. It wouldn’t set things right, the next bully race would just come along and start the whole cycle all over again. Maybe not soon but perhaps the same thing would happen to my sister that happened to my parents.”
She didn’t have all the answers to these questions, the fact she didn’t was very frustrating.
“…Dr Light mentioned seeing a doctor, a medical one to see if there was something uniquely tied to me. I am not thrilled by the idea, I am absolutely nearly paralyzed with fright at the thought, but perhaps it would answer some questions.”
GREEN LANTERN: “That I’m familiar with, but you weren’t taken hostage, you were handed over. They didn’t come in and snatch you. Your sister passed you over and usually when something like that happens it occurs because the individual that was the aggressor needed to be put in check to ensure they wouldn’t be foolish to do that again. At least that’s would make more sense.”
He looked over at her. “Which would suggest that the people of Tamaran put up some type of resistance at some point. See, we keep going in circles about this and you keep telling me you were given to the Daem, but from what I understand the Daem were individuals that were causing great harm to Tamaran, so before I move forward again. Did Tamaran get conquered or did they put up resistance and get dealt a decisive blow that caused you to be taken as their “ward”? They didn’t need to stop anything if they were winning? They wouldn’t need you to keep the planet in check. They already murdered the ruling class. So, can you expand on the events with the Daem, beause otherwise I’m going to get stuck here and continue to wonder how this come to pass and have thoughts that maybe I shouldn’t have about motivations.”
He shrugged “There is always going to be someone that thinks that they can push people around. That they can do whatever they want, but see that’s the thing. If the Daem are the bullies and they were winning was it some type of situation where they were like. Alright we kicked you around enough we’re going to let you have your queen, but to remind you we’re in charge we’re going to take her sister and we’re going to what? See that’s where you lose me. They bully you for what? Resources? Then decide to take you and go off and what bully another planet? Beyond having you whatever checks do they have? They have all the upper hands here. Did they really need you to remind a defeated people who was in charge?”
KORIAND’R: “There was a lot of destruction. Many people died. We were up against weaponry that destroyed what defenses we had. I did not witness much, my sister and I were protected by the guard for as long as they were able to. I do not know how to answer these questions as I am not sure and like I’ve said before, I was a child. It was some time ago. I also do not know the details of the arrangement. My life after those events was very different and a lot of information was kept from me. I spent a lot of time in cells and labs, drugged or in too much pain to really be completely coherent of what was going on around me.”
She wanted to know the answers to those questions too but she had no way of truly knowing at the moment. The only one with a small bit of information was the one hunting her.
“The Hunter may know what I do not.”
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle took in the information that was provide and let it sit for a moment. There were things that he could say and do that could help and hinder. There were dozens of thoughts running through his mind, but he knew better than to get away from him. He should be overwhelmed, but he wasn’t. From the moment he started speaking he spoke with one thought on his mind. There were innocent lives at stake here. There were situations that he would never be able to control or assert some influence over, this was not one of them. He was taking part in this and why he may not win ever little battle here he could to make sure that his points were made, understood, and not set aside.
Whether people wanted him to or not he had been entrusted with the office a Green Lantern, it wasn’t about trying be the best it was about doing what was best. He could make it a numbers game, but the fact of the matter was this was not a problem that the people of earth needed to take on, nor should they. This was something that needed to be handled away from Earth and probably as far away from the sector as possible.
There were far too many unknowns, but that would not prevent him from doing what he felt was necessary to try to bring this to resolution. This could not and would not stop at Lobo. While he was a threat, a major one, he was one of potentially many. If he could be handled, then it would begin a never ending line of bounty hunters. This had to be stopped at the source.
“Alright. That’s fair, but as for Light’s Doctor that’s why you are here. He came to speak to my mentor about another option. This is us finding another option. This is us trying to prevent it from being a situation where you would be subjected to any type of procedure that was similar to the ones you endured already. This is us trying to figure out where to start.”
Sliding his hands to the arms of the chair that he sat in he pressed himself up to his feet so he could address one of their concerns. “As far determining what was done to you I could give it a go. There’s no guarantee that I would immediately find anything.” It all depended on what information his ring had access to. He could do a scan similar to the one he did on Conner. There should be away to detect changes that were made.
“A passive scan should be able to do the trick.” Kyle didn’t need to speak he merely needed to think it. He could keep chugging along, but Koriand’r might want a moment. “Though, I would be poor host if I didn’t give a chance to rest some and let you have a meal.” Give them both a chance to take in what had been shared and discussed.
KORIAND’R: “There is a chance it may reveal something, perhaps something I do not know. It may or may not help but it is all we can do this very moment. Confronting the Hunter is the next step. I do not have the ability to do that off the planet without the appropriate craft and appropriate permissions to leave. Something about the network they have orbiting the planet. That is completely in Nowhere’s hands. I do not expect them to grant me any favors, I am not in a good place with them.”
She wasn’t very hungry, she could eat until near bursting most days but her appetite was absent at the moment. She didn’t feel as if she had the luxury of time to eat and rest. The sooner this was dealt with, the better. If it meant going off planet, then that is what it meant.
“There are places on this planet that are barely inhabited by people, some barely habitable to most lifeforms. I could lure the Hunter there. Either way, this can not be avoided. At worst, I may be able to convince him to take me there alive. I will figure out how to deal with it from there. If I am not here, the threat to this planet is lessened. It’s not ideal but it’s all I have given the options.”
She shook her head at the offer of his hospitality, “Thank you. We have much work to do.”
GREEN LANTERN: “Then I’ll do the scan, but I’m going to veto the meeting with the bounty hunter here on the planet. Even if you go somewhere uninhabited it doesn’t mean that someone won’t be watching. Like I said Earth needs to be removed from the equation. If that means we leave the planet then we leave the planet.” Fights happen yes but the moment this takes a turn for the worse and someone catches wind of it it will make things incredibly difficult going forward.
“Put yourself in my shoes in anyone on Earth’s shoes. Would you want that going down on your planet? If it could be avoided? We have an individual that possibility caused the destruction of his entire species. An entire species. I’m not say one or two Czarnian’s and entire species. They were once a peaceful race and then things took a turn for the worst and he is either directly responsible or indirectly responsible. Whether it is true or not that is not a risk I’m willing to take. It is an unacceptable risk.”
There were other reasons why Kyle wanted him off planet. “His regenerative abilities are off the charts. His mere presence…” A chill ran through him as he considered. The possibilities. What if NOWHERE got their hands on a sample just enough to create some last resort type of weapon. What if he was turned against Conner, Wonder Woman, any metahuman that got out of line. What if they made dozens of them them that they could control. What if they behaved as the original. Was this a game of hypotheticals? Yes. However, given the rumors, what he gathered from Conner, and various bits of rhetoric if something wasn’t recovered from the Mariposa this Lantern in training would rather avoid gifting them with anything of that sort.
“The risk is too high. As for not being permitted to leave. Let me worry about that.” Among other things. They would have to figure out where this meeting and/or confrontation would take place. He didn’t care if he sounded or was behaving like an alarmist, but this wasn’t the time for him to go conservative when it came to risk.
“Let’s get the scan completed.” With a thought visor glasses appeared over his eyes they were tinted green and appeared to be a single piece that spanned across his eyes. They began as outlines that quickly were filled in as if they were bring drawn out of air. To Kori they looked like nothing more than high tech specs, but Kyle there was a HUD that gave him various readouts that were projected in front of him. They could be made visible to Kori, he was making sure everything is working order which it was.
“I’m going to need you to stand up so I scan you.”
ALAN: … and then…
Everything around the two turns green, just seconds before the spirits all around them begin to take shape. Little ghostly elements of the green spawning to life. Small impish creatures. With blue-white eyes, white hair, and smurf-like skin tones. Kyle has seen the figments of his Mentor’s before. They don’t normally have any other coloration but that of the green, similar to his own constructs. This is different. One by one their eyes turn toward Kyle and Koriand’r. Each of the impish creatures seems to have the ability to look through you with those thousand yard stares.
Except that their shapes are suddenly dispersed by…
“…. times up, Lantern. If you’re going, you’re going now. They’re coming,” Alan Scott isn’t wearing his mussed up old three piece suit, his hair isn’t loosely kept and for perhaps the very first time he doesn’t seem even the slightest bit inebriated. “If you’re both here when they get here. She’s going in a Cage and you’re going back to your Mother, without the Ring.”
“Make a choice. Right now. What do you stand for, Kyle?”
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle was in the middle of completing his scan which provided him with useful information, but noting that seemed to speak of the Daemonites. He was about to speak when the ring decided to convey some important information.
[Warning: This deals with a banished sector, please return to your central battery and await instructions.] The scan stopped and the construct disappeared.
That was not good. Definitely not good. Just then the images began to appear, they seemed to be fading into reality out of nothingness the green images, but as they came into focus he saw the eyes, eyes he had seen before. This had gone from bad to worse it seemed as Kyle took a deep breath and within in a flash they were gone and…Alan?
Was that really him? He didn’t have time to can’t his head to the side because even when they were training Alan still did it with a smoking jacket on and a drink in his hand. They’re coming. He didn’t need to be told who they were given the eyes that had gazed upon him. He had a choice to make. Hadn’t he already made it?
Saying it is one thing doing something about it is another and right now he wasn’t going to surrender the ring. Not because of something that needed to be done. He knew that there would be consequences, but if they were going to come and reclaim the ring then it was going to have to be done for something more than a simple scan.
“I think both know answer to that. I was given a ring to help keep the peace. To do what needs to be done to protect others. To help restore order. I chose to help those that need help. That’s never going to change.” It was time for them to go. They really can’t be the Guardians of the Universe less one Sector. That’s really not what they call themselves right? They say Guardians of the Universe. They are empowered to help keep order. Things have gone wrong and now it’s on his doorstep. He has no time to argue that point doubtful that they would listen.
“Time to go Princess. My superiors are coming to try repo my ring and put you in the clink.” And that’s not happening. Time to stay a step ahead as long as they can.
KORIAND’R: Kori shot up on the couch. She was on her feet, hands balled in fists and standing far taller than everyone in the room because she was actually standing on the couch itself. It was the quickest reaction she could have. The room went green and there were very strange figures and suddenly, two Lanterns. Were there two here?! How was that even possible and was this planet in that much of a threat that they needed both here?
She was shocked, looking between the two of them. She wasn’t sure what happened exactly but there was certainly something happening.
“That is not going to happen, I don’t even want to know what a clink is.”
She was trying to picture what that might be in her head but she had trouble figuring out something that made sense. It seemed such a silly word and it was conjuring similar silly imagery.
“Then we go…”
Her eyes were on the other Lantern, perhaps considering whether or not he was going to stop them or hinder their escape from this incoming threat. She wasn’t even sure where they were going, out of their reach? To Tamaran? To some far corner of space where nothing was?
ALAN: POST MISSING
GREEN LANTERN: Kyle can feel his heart racing just a tad faster. Adrenalin was kicking in. He focused on what Alan was saying. Six or seven recharges at the most then he would be cut off. Then he would have to use Alan’s old Lantern to recharge his ring. Kyle closed his eyes for a moment and remembered what Ganthet told him in the prerecorded message. Kyle was the only one that could limit what he could do. If there was a enemy that stood before him it would be Kyle himself. That’s what he focused on. He understood the risks of charging up his ring with the Starheart Lantern, but if he didn’t try then Ganthet had every right to take the ring back.
“Got it. Ration my power. Last resort is your Lantern.” He took the Lantern from Alan nodding. “Lobo on the dark side of the moon.” He looked at Kori then back to Alan. “Thank you, Alan. I promise I won’t let either of you down. Thank you Starheart.” He didn’t have time to go on about anything. “I don’t know how long I’m going to be gone. My friend the one I was going to seek out Ted Kord for. Pass Ted’s name to him. Tell him I think he can help with his situation. He’ll know what I’m talking about.” His mom. She’ll be okay. She’s always okay.
“We have to go.” He held onto the Lantern his own was with him at all times. He made sure of that. It just wasn’t visible. He wasn’t sure if he could do the same with Alan’s lantern. He considered what he could make part of him thought Falcon, but he needed conserve his power.
Walking towards the door Kyle nodded. “I’ll make sure I keep my ears open for you.” Was he ready? Was he ever going to be ready? His mother told him that sometimes there was nothing to it, but to do it. This was one of those times.
The moment they stepped outside a construct began to appear before them. It was a interesting design. It was a shaped like a ‘T” with the end coming to the point and the top making the wings. The cockpit was spherical, but large enough for two. There was a gun that was along the bottom of the ship tip and the back of it appeared to have a booster of some kind. Anyone that was familiar with Cowboy Bepop would instantly recognize the Sword Fish II with some modifications.
Kyle got into the front when the cock pit opened. “Strap yourself in.” He told Kori as he did the same once she was inside. Once she was in the hatch closed. The craft roared to life and they were already lifting off, rocketing towards the sky. They needed a ship and now they had one. They were comfortable, but there would be no walking around or auto pilot, they were basically going to be hot rodding it.
“Our first destination. Darkside of the moon. Best to meet this head on. Agreed?”
KORIAND’R: Kori was a little annoyed, but she only allowed it to show a moment. She didn’t understand what was going on between the Lanterns, only that the Lantern she was dealing with was on a ration with his power. It was noted. She may need to do quite a bit of the heavy hitting if they encountered problems to avoid him using his own power. Everything was going so quickly, moving at such a pace that it seemed difficult to keep with but she adapted, she was quick to catch on. Some things weren’t worth questioning.
Part of her annoyance was the fact he could craft a space-worthy ship so easily. He could have just mentioned that it wasn’t a problem as she had indicated multiple times. She said nothing though, instead following his orders and settling into the cockpit quickly, the harness straps quickly clicking into place. This wasn’t her first rodeo with a quick escape and she doubted this would be her last. She just didn’t like that she had very little control over the situation at the moment.
“No. No stopping. Swing close enough for him to see us. He’s been stalking after me, he’ll continue to do so if he sees I’ve left. The faster we pull him away, the sooner we can get to our destination.”
Tamaran. Home. She wondered if it was even the same anymore, she had such fond memories of her home planet. Those words were not forgotten though, advice to not trust her sister no matter what she says. Perhaps time and their experiences had changed them both. She hoped it didn’t change Kom for the worst but there was no telling what happened in the years since Kori had been away. She only hoped her sister didn’t endure the torment she did. She didn’t deserve that. No one did.
“If he is able to catch up, we can deal with him then. Let him work for the prize…or his demise.”
Something had certainly changed over time. Kori felt a little bit like her old self at the moment, the personality she had to adopt for her survival, the darker edge she needed to claw through each day and each victory. Those passions she often wore on her sleeve were tossed aside for the moment and the gaze she had towards the unfamiliar evening sky was full of determination. It was time to end this, to find some closure and discover the true reasoning for the events that changed the course of her life so violently.
Synopsis: Kyle is out discussing the pros and cons of been a Green Lantern to determine whether or not he should tell his mother. His discussion of one is interrupted by a high speeding Koriand’r aka Starfire. Kyle catches up with her and they proceed to make introductions.
KYLE: To say that things had gone from interesting to amazing would be an understatement. One moment I went from trying to learn more about who the previous Green Lantern to making a brand-new friend not only a new friend, we were totally going to be best buds. Superbuddies. That was totally going to be us, though I think I should find a better name than that. Oh yeah the Riggs and Murtaugh of superheroes.
Conner’s tip totally paid off. Alan is way awesome if not a little terrifying during training. I really did not expect a subway train to come barreling towards me like I was James Bond and anyone who’s met me knows that I’m anything but that, but it was good. I needed the sessions. Of course, that means that I’m totally going to be coming back for more. That was a promise, because how else am I going to make sure that I’m the best Green Lantern I can be. Me Kyle Rayner a Green Lantern that’s best buds with Superman.
Check me out.
Sailing through the air I stop for a moment taking stock in everything that’s happened. What are the pros of my life.
I’m the Green Lantern. I’m best buds with Superman. I have a kick ass mentor who was the original Green Lantern of Earth.
Lines slid across the air as white board or in this case a green board was created before my very eyes as I listed out the pros and if there are pros there have to be cons.
Previous Green Lantern right before me is responsible for really, really bad things. My mom could become a target if my secret is found out. Things aren’t the best for superheroes right now.
The words join the others that write themselves across the projected white board in front of me. Sometimes it helped to visualize it.
Did the pros out way the cons? That was the question. Right in this moment I could say yes. Still there was a lot for me to learn. However, at the moment I was still over the moment as I moved up into the air doing a corkscrew maneuver.
“I can be a soldier, I can be a king. I can be your president, gangster on the scene. I can be your hip-hop bulletproof vest. I can be the tattoo bleeding on your chest.”
Some things can’t be helped, and everyone knows that I like to sing and engage in seriously bad dancing when I think I can’t be seen. Besides up this high who can see me as I literally dance on air, or dance on cloud Mine.
“I can be a soldier, I can be a king. I can be your president, gangster on the scene. I can be your hip-hop bulletproof vest. I can be the tattoo bleeding on your chest.” I belt out again before I’m interrupted by…
[Inhabitant of Sector 2828 detected.]
The ring stated. My eyes glanced down towards it before turning left right then look up then down.
“Sector 2828? Inhabitant? Alien?”
[2000 feet. 1500 feet. 500 feet.]
WHOOSH! There he, she, it went and there was a contrail for me to
“Well, then.” Dusting myself off. “Pursuit time.”
iTunes. Internal tunes that is. “Boys Want to be Her – Peaches.”
“Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040. Motoslave.” A green version of Pris’s battle motorcycle was created by the ring. Slipping onto it I started it up, reved it and began my pursuit. I reigned it in by deciding against the flashing police light and siren, but pretty soon I caught up with the Sector 2828 Inhabitant.
I had a light generated helmet on that read MWPD across the front of it with the 2814 Precinct beneath it.
KORIAND’R: She wasn’t planning to swoop between buildings and cause a mass panic. Exploring in silence on the rooftops had become cumbersome and irritating. There wasn’t much interesting to see but she had taken away some notes. The real work could begin if and when that device could be designed for her. For some odd reason it had made her feel a little more at ease, the thought of being able to interact freely without anyone becoming freighted by her appearance or her origins was a very exciting one.
The snow heavy clouds above Gotham were softly glowing a warmish orange hue, each time Kori had dove into them or around them and above them, well out of sight and reach of the citizens below. Well, or so she thought. Someone was able to reach her and the flashing lights were caught from the corner of her eye. She could have sped off, gone faster, moved back to Metropolis and back to Conner where at least more predictable things happened.
She stopped. It was very sudden, very quick and her arms were crossed over her chest as she turned in the air to face the ‘sky police’.
“It is illegal to fly too?!”
KYLE: The helmet disappeared, but the mask remained as I slipped off the bike which disappeared the moment I moved away from it. Before my eyes a HUD displayed appeared along with lens over the eyes of my mask. The lens weren’t to hide my eyes, but they were scanning providing me with information that I would deem useful.
It had worked for Conner, why wouldn’t it work here. It was a massive scan it wouldn’t register, because there was no dramatic flash and sweep of light. Instead I was being feed information. The ring seemed to be aware of the individual, young woman. Don’t say girl, because that might be rude.
Information began to appear before my eyes. Tamaranean. Augmented. I glanced back towards Koriand’r as additional information was fed to me. It was a combination of the construct, and the information that was stored within the ring.
She was an alien.
“You were traveling awfully fast and flying on your own power can get you noticed by all kinds of people. Good, bad and well I would hate for it to be bad.” I say honestly while hovering there in the air. Did she know about the Lantern Corps? I wondered how I should address her.
Universal Greeting! No, no, don’t do that. Wait she spoke English. The ring wasn’t acting like a Tardis was it? Did it? Could it? OH MY GOD! What if it did have a translation matrix field.
Kyle. Back on track.
“I’m the Green Latern of Sector…” What did the ring say? 2828 Oh god that’s like Cleopatra 2525. Wait it was on the helmet. “…2814. The planet Earth is my home. If you come in peace. Welcome to earth visitor from Tamaran. If you have not come into peace well, let’s pretend you do, because if you don’t I’ll have to take you to jail and then you’ll tell your friends about how we’re locking up aliens left and right and really, that’s not what I want to happen. So, you come in peace right?”
I was having one of those moments wasn’t I?
“I also have a superpower. I know when people are lying to me.” Emma Swan for the win. Wait…Emma could never tell when people were lying to her? D’oh!
KORIAND’R: “You’re…a lantern,” her green eyes widened as her arms dropped to her sides. For a brief moment she was searching her memories, memories from what felt like an entirely different life. She had been told stories, she remembered the stories, but she had never met a Lantern in person. They didn’t need to come to her planet. Tamaran was peaceful and self-sufficient, there was no crisis that needed tending to until…well, the rest is history now.
“I do not lie, Green Lantern. I am also not a threat. My species is peaceful…” …until provoked, or forced to fight. Well, they were known for being passionate.
She frowned for a moment. She had felt like she had told everyone her story a hundred times over and at this point it was just emotionally exhausting.
“My name is Koriand’r, I am a refugee, visiting would be a massive understatement. My escape ship crashed into the bay, I was imprisoned for a very long time. Many earth years. My friends, they pulled me from the ship and are looking after me. Wonder Woman and Superman.”
She had hoped dropping their names may help clarify the situation, she had been here for a little while now. She opted to leave M’Gann out of the equation, it was an action did in kindness to keep her out of whatever mess this may bring on. The Lanterns were one organization and NOWHERE was something else entirely.
“I apologize, I was attempting to be discreet and it has been so long since I have flown.”
KYLE: She knew who a Lantern was. Seeing her eyes widen like that would have brought a smile to my face, but I’m supposed to be all official. Still. Green Lantern cred. I couldn’t help, but be jazzed about that, but at the same time she didn’t back away. So that was something. She’s not the only one that was making a bit of a display, but if I’m going to be the Green Lantern then I was going to be the Green Lantern. Lantern’s don’t skulk around in the dark. At least that’s not the feeling I got.
God or bad, rain or shine I was going to make sure that the people who needed to get my help received it.
Information was still coming across the HUD when I stopped it. The frown gave me pause, but I waited for her to explain how she came to be here. I’m sure there was more to the story, but it’s interesting that off all the places she could have crashed it was Earth. “I’m afraid that I’m not acquainted with Wonder Woman. I’ve wanted to meet her.” I may be a little curious. Conner was going to pick up macaroons for her from Paris. You just don’t do that for anyone.
“However, Superman is…” Total best bud. We’re so going to hang out and help make the world a better place. “…is a close colleague of mine.” Of mine. Maybe I should have swapped that around. Saying he’s good people would probably not be the way I want to go with that. Still, if she was being looked after by them I had to wonder.
“Apologies aren’t necessary, but Superman and Wonder Woman frequent Metropolis.” Not that it was far away and it hadn’t dawned on me that she meant Gotham Bay. “What brings you to Gotham?” Bigger question. Do they know she’s here and does she know about the unwritten rule.
The heroes here don’t like capes coming into their city. That’s more or less what Alan said. Then there was the bull horn. NO CAPES IN GOTHAM! Among other things. When he wants to hammer in a point he can be quite effective.
Flying’s the best. “I see. Hard to do so when there are so many rules and people potentially watching. I get that.” It’s pretty new for me. I wonder if she’s been flying for a while. Interesting.
KORIAND’R: “I was checking up on someone who was there when I landed. He was kind to me. He still is. I also understand my kind may not be welcome there. My decision to fly was on impulse, the clouds should have been concealing me.”
For a moment maybe there was just a rule that no fun was allowed. Somehow, she got on the radar of the Lantern this way. That couldn’t wholly me an awful thing, she wasn’t doing anything wrong and wasn’t planning to either, at least from her perspective.
“I set the course on the ship as far as it could go, to the most suitable inhabited planet. Do you know of The Daem? They were my captors. They invaded my planet and took me hostage, while my sister was left to rule and provide them with resources. It was not one of those honorable hostage situations. I was forced to fight to live, when I wasn’t fighting they were experimenting on me. If I disobeyed I was punished harshly. Failure was worse. I have….I….many perished at my hands, Lantern.”
There were tears in her eyes as her words began to choke up on her. She wasn’t sure why she had confessed to all of this, she couldn’t forgive herself, how could others forgive her? She could have let herself die but the cycle would have just gone on without her. She’d have just been another body thrown out the air-lock or preserved in their labs for study.
“I just want to do the right thing. I want to help others. I never want anyone to experience what I did.”
KYLE: Someone kind? Here? I thought for a moment who could have been here, but there were far too many people to consider not to mention I don’t know everyone.
“There are many ways to detect someone. Earth is a wonderful place with wonderful people, but things haven’t been easy over the last decade. There are some that chose not to trust. They choose to pull away and close themselves off to the wonders of the world, the galaxy…the universe. They rather focus on what’s happening here and only here and it’s easy to when you’re not aware.” When you don’t realize how truly vast the universe is. Perhaps it scares them because to consider its vastness they get caught up in feeling insignificant. A drop within a seemingly endless ocean. It’s possible.
I didn’t lose track of her words I was right there with her as she spoke of what happened. “The Daem? I can’t say that I am, but I can make it a point to learn about them.” They attacked her planet, took her hostage? Isn’t this something that Green Lanterns are supposed to stop? Don’t we stop bad things from happening? Is this what happens when light goes out in the universe where there are no Green Lanterns. Sector 2828 who was the Green Lantern of that Sector did…Jordan.
The thought off it caused my chest to tighten. The idea that what happened here could have rippled across all of space. That she could have been casualty of this. I pull it together, because I focus on what Alan and I spoke about. About what and Conner and spoke about. Living up to people who carried our mantles. Being who they were versus who we want to be.
“Experimenting.” My voice went low at the thought.
Experimenting. Making her fight. Making her a weapon. My fist clench at the thought. “I can’t say that I know what that’s like. I can only imagine, and people have told me I have a very, very, very vivid imagination. Also, my best friend went through…is going through something very similar.” I won’t let my buddy be someone’s weapon.
“People trying to control him. Make him do things that he doesn’t want to do. Sometimes…sometimes it’s a Kobyashi Maru,” I offer. “But…you broke away just like I’m going to help my friend break away so he can live the life he wants to. The one he deserves and show the world the person he can be. The hero he can be on his terms not theirs.” Not the puppet masters.
“I’m sorry for what’s happened. Even more I’m sorry that more was not do to aid you in your time in need.” Why? I want to know why, but I don’t want to get her caught up in that.
“The earth has laws many laws I can’t speak for everyone, but I can say that I meant it when I welcomed you to earth. Whether people want it or not I’m responsible for helping to protect earth and all its inhabitants, native and foreign and that includes you. You found the courage to escape our captors, Koriand’r. Take solace in that. You live. You’re free and if these Daem come looking something tells me that we will do the right thing. ”
That much was certain. “Superman and Wonder Woman will help you. If that is what you want is to help people they’ll help make it happen. Just be careful and also. It’s ok to be happy. To be free. Even though many have perished at your hand, your hand was forced. Weep for them if you must, but in the end the best you can do, the best you can hope for is to honor them. ”
KORIAND’R: “What’s a….Kobyashi Maru?”
Her head tilted to the side, it was not a term that was familiar to her, the language was not one she had absorbed yet and she felt like she should know it because the Lantern so easily let it out. The moment of confusion allowed herself to pull back together. His words were kind, reassuring. Mentally she was trying to wipe away those feelings of doubt, shame and guilt as she wiped the tears from her eyes. She was a warrior, warriors do not cry. It was one of the rare times she was allowed to and in a way it felt good to let a few tears loose.
“Yes, it felt like your friend’s situation. I am trying to be happy, Lantern. I am also making an effort to fit in, as much as I am able. I want to help the man in this city, I think I can. It would be a good opportunity for me to learn more about humans and how to blend into their culture. There is only so much the shows and movies can teach me, it’s not substitution for real situations. I enjoy very much interacting with others.”
KYLE: “Metaphor for a no-win scenario.” It slipped out, probably because I watched Star Trek II not so long ago. Still it was enough to give us both pause while I let the anger drain away and she wiped the tears away. I was angry, because it seemed like no matter what and no matter where someone was from the same things was happening. I can’t say that earth was the safest place, because I know that the same people that Conner was attempting to liberate himself from would be the same people that would see Koriand’r as a new resource to mine so to speak.
Still she was being looked out for by Conner and Wonder Woman. There was a tightrope that was being walked and it seemed that with each passing day it was being pulling tighter. Which meant that I needed to get in touch with Conner as soon as possible so we could meet with Kord and he could help do something about the suit.
However, I focused on the matter at hand. “Hmm. I see. ” I don’t recall see seeing any press conference about Koriand’r. “Given your status. I think you should talk to Wonder Woman and Superman about it. Make sure they know where you’re at. From what I can tell not everyone is aware of your presence and the last thing anyone wants is for there to be a misunderstanding.” And that could easily and quickly happen.
“Going back and forth between the two cities someone’s bound to notice. Just be careful.”
KORIAND’R: “They know where I’m at. Maybe not Superman but….”
She was imploring him with her gaze. He must have known something about NOWHERE and she was receiving a mixed bag of information about them. She wasn’t allowed to just roam the globe without some rules or someone watching over her. M’gann may have said she was leaving but she could be right beside them, observing and watching. Koriand’r hoped there was more trust than that between them though.
“I can use the public transportation when I am able to conceal myself more appropriately. I thought I would just, try not to show that I am stronger and faster and able to fire energy blasts from my hands. Just…blend in. Does that make any sense? I could try to pretend to be like them and I can use that to learn. I have so very much to learn about this planet and the people if I am to spend the rest of my days here.”
KYLE: It was possible that they knew where she was at, but at the same time they comprised of who exactly. Things like this could become problematic given everything that’s occurred involving aliens. Given everything that I’ve learned over a few short weeks I knew that there were some aliens that were bad news and some that weren’t. The same could be same about anyone really, but the majority of public had begun to accept a certain narrative that wasn’t helped by the Coast City incident. It’s one of the reasons that I was worried, because this could quickly go badly for everyone involved.
I knew what she was asking, and while I heard stories and I knew what Conner told me and what he inferred, but he was apart of that organization. If I said something it could undermine anything he and Wonder Woman were trying to do to help protect Kori and place her in far greater danger than she wanted to find herself in. Also, it sounded like she wanted some dirt.
This had a really ‘What’s the tea, sis’ vibe to it.
“Trust Superman and Wonder Woman.” It’s what I could say at best. “Learn what you can about Earth, Kori. There’s plenty of information out there. “ I didn’t want her to make a judgement based on my opinion. I knew there were unsavory elements in the government, but could I identify them all know. Also she could find allies within the system and it sounded like she had some already and I didn’t want to be the person that soured that by a few misplaced words.
Conceal herself? I understand why she would want to do that. I wonder if it was a suggestion she made or someone else made. I get why it would happen, but…I don’t know. There’s this part of me can see how that would make things easier, but I know I could see how it backfire.
“Take a step a day at a time. I think you’ll be able to figure out how much of who you are to reveal to the world. There’s only so much that you can conceal. There will always come a point when you have to choose between making the right choice for the moment versus the best choice for you. Sometimes it may happen so quickly that you might not even realized you’ve made it. I guess what I’m trying to say is to be authentic. Be the you that you want to be. You didn’t escape from one prison to become trapped in another.”
KORIAND’R: “That was exactly what I was trying to do, what I said to my friend. I don’t want to put myself in another situation where I’m a slave, where my freedom is stripped from me. I don’t even want the illusion of freedom, and I feel like that is what is being offered. I’m taking it slowly and being very cautious of my actions with…them.”
She didn’t even know how else to word it without outright saying the name and she was attempting to be subtle but subtlety didn’t always come easy for her. She was also trying to absorb as much information she could and that did mean interacting with some of the other ‘agents’. If she was better educated on the situation she could at least make a better decision on how to handle it. She tried not to think about the worst possible outcomes. They didn’t set well with her.
“Are you able to check with someone about Tamaran? To see if my sister is safe? She was crowned queen when I was taken, I have been very worried about her. It would soothe my spirit to know she’s okay.”
It was the closest she had gotten to admitting she was actually royalty to the Lantern. She tried not to advertise it otherwise, not that it could be used for any political gain at all. These people did not have the space travel technology even anywhere near where they would have to have it to find her planet.
“Please, let me know if I do something bad? I don’t want to create a problem, or make an existing problem worse.”
KYLE: It was the best that I could do at the moment. I didn’t want to jeopardize anything by saying too much. All of this had to be a bit overwhelming. A new world, alone, trying to figure out who she could trust. Figuring out if we could trust her. I didn’t sense that she was being deceitful. If I said anything that swayed her thoughts one way or another I could accidentally put her in a dangerous situation. If I told her to run, then Nowhere would be after her, and they wouldn’t stop until they had her in custody and what ever latitude that had given her could be snatched away. The only thing I could do is suggest that she be careful. Any more than than then I risk turning a delicate situation into a disastrous one.
However, given the fact that she was here gave me pause. Not anything I would say openly. No, better to share that with Conner. She’s new to the world, hasn’t been introduced and despite the fact she was high in the sky from what I gathered from Conner and Alan Nowhere isn’t someone to let something like this happen. The more I thought about the more I believed she was right that they knew where she was, but how far did that go and in what context.
I don’t want to go down the path of conspiracy, but you had to wonder what they were playing at if they were playing at anything and given the fact that I was working to help get Nowhere out of Conner’s hair I had to assume that they would use whatever means to get what they wanted.
However all of that was sidelined when she asked me about Tamaran and then her sister.
“I can see what I can do.” How do I tell her that in terms of Lantern’s I’m it. At least that’s what Ganthet said. I don’t know if I want to get into the fact that the previous Lantern went all Dark Side turned to Vader and decided to Order 66 the other Lanterns. I don’t know how successful he was in his efforts. “I can’t make any promises, but I can try.” That’s all I could promise for now.
“If that’s your way of asking if I’ll be your friend. I can do that. Friends help each other out.”
KORIAND’R: “I would be happy to help you in return. I tend to feel like I am imposing on all the kindness these days and I have very little to offer. Someday I will have more I can offer in return but right now I don’t have much. Does that make much sense? I suppose my clothes are all that I own and everything I had before was taken when I arrived. There wasn’t much. Those are just things though. I have skills I can offer but…”
Her lips twisted as she mentally reminded herself not to say too much, even to the Lantern. She didn’t know who she could trust just yet. He likely knew what she was probably capable of, if he had any data on her people at all. Unfortunately there were less tangible things that could be taken advantage of too. Her faith, her honor, her pride, all of those things had been chipped away at until there was very little remaining. She was just trying to gather up the pieces and pull it all together so she could function and slowly rebuild. Such weaknesses are things she would never admit to. Awful individuals could take advantage of it.
“I will be assistance to you if you are in need.”
KYLE: “You’re not imposing. I think if I found myself in your shoes, you would do the same.” This is it. This is a moment whether people believe it or not and it has little to do with me being Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern, it’s all Kyle Ryaner. I don’t know what will happen. Koriand’r can make Earth her home for years to come or she could eventually leave. What will she think of Earth? What would she tell other people? What would the other beings of the galaxy, the universe think of us.
Are we a closed off planet that looks to use, abuse any and everyone that crosses our path. Or will be spoken of kindly. I want the later. Sure, I don’t want to suffer fools or be foolish, but it doesn’t mean that we have to do things that will cast us in a negative light, because with as big and vast the universe is I think, I believe we can use all the friends we can because there come a time when we need to reach out to those that lay beyond the planet. Hope gets you far, but yo have to do more than hope you have to act.
We both were being guarded had to be, but it didn’t mean that I couldn’t start to foster good relations between myself and what will probably the first of many meetings. I’m a Green Lantern, threats can be anywhere from planestside to beyond. It’s the job right?
“Thank you and I will do the same.” That said. “I should let you get back home before people start to worry.”
KORIAND’R: “I suppose I must,” she wasn’t thrilled about going back and it was clear in her voice.
This night though, it was better than nothing. It was better than watching television all day and studying. It was that divine taste of freedom and hope and purpose she had been hoping for. She had even created something of a mission for herself, but she did want to get back and reflect on her thoughts, on what she had offered. She wasn’t even sure if she could help Damien and it wasn’t very fair to expect him to help her either.
“Thank you, Green Lantern. Travel well.”
The princess was capable of picking herself up from her thoughts and perking up enough to smile. There was plenty of time to dwell on her thoughts after she returned to M’Gann.
She offered the man a polite wave, pausing only to retrieve her cell phone and quickly tap out a message. She was checking in and planning to get back quickly before too many questions were asked. Kori would have to take a different approach the next time she wandered into Gotham.
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.