Post by lissilambe on Nov 27, 2008 20:06:00 GMT -5
“That doesn’t make any sense.” Jim Jordan was plopped down on the dingy couch in Hal’s apartment. “I mean, what do I know about magic rings from outer space, but it just sounds so…weird.”
“Hm.” Hal stared at the power ring on his hand, his power ring. It stared back at him, the most powerful weapon in the universe. It had taken him all over the galaxy, to other universes, even to the edge of reality. Through it all, the ring had never betrayed him, never led him astray. But recently…his mind wandered.
“It’s not magic,” he half-muttered under his breath.
“Huh?” Jim dropped the trinket he had been playing with, sending it careening to the floor. At the last second, a green force field shimmered around it, catching it an instant before it hit the ground. It floated back to the table next to Jim, and Hal continued.
“The ring. It’s not magic. I know, all the stuff it can do sometimes makes it look like it. But it’s a tiny super computer, really. Which is almost better than magic.”
“Yeah, well, what are you gonna do? Every time I open my eyes, it feels like someone else is using the ring against people.” Jim carried the dishes into the kitchen. “Or, the ring is letting you down.”
“I’ve taken certain precautions against that ever happening again.”
Jim walked back into the living room, drying his hands.
“What about the other thing? What are you going to do about that?”
“Hm.” Hal fished in his pocket for what had been weighing him down for days. “I have no idea what to do about this.”
The power ring, shaped exactly like the one on his own finger, glowed slightly in his palm.
“What are my two favorite nephews talking about?” Both Jordan’s turned to see gray-haired Ace Morgan standing in the doorway.
“So…where is it?” Hank’s voice carried over the roar of the cooling down engines on the Ferris Aircraft tarmac.
“Will you keep it down?” Hal looked around at the maintenance crew working, shooting a quick wave at Tom, who was overseeing the breakdown of the new engines. “You want everyone to hear?”
As they crossed the threshold into the locker room, Hal swung his head around.
“Well?” Hank followed Hal closely to his locker, almost like a kid waiting on Christmas morning. Hal deliberately took his time opening the locker, savoring Hank’s anticipation. Reaching in, he pulled out two small rings from a shoebox in his locker. “A shoebox?”
“Would you really want to go rooting around my sweaty locker?” Hal shrugged over his shoulder. “Besides, it seemed like the safest place given how little time I had to hide them since you demanded I bring the other ring in today!”
“Well, it is mine, isn’t it?” A silence passed between the two pilots, as Hal considered what Hank had said. He hadn’t really considered the fate of the second ring that had come into their lives a few days prior. The new ring had come out of nowhere, and floated into Hank’s hands calling him by name. “Isn’t it?”
A ruckus erupted by the door, as the rest of the pilots entered the room.
“We’ll talk about this later,” Hal hissed. As he turned to leave, Hank grabbed his arm, and stared at him.
“You’re damn right we will.”
“Uncle Ace, good to see you!” Jim jumped up, as both Jordan boys’ faces lit up at the sight of the man who had pretty much raised them once their father had died. Handshakes and hugs passed between the three men, and they settled back into Hal’s living room.
“So what were you two knuckleheads talkin’ about before I walked in?” Ace eagerly accepted the offered beer from Jim. “Sounded like you two were trying to hash out something serious.”
“Um,” Jim swallowed hard. “Well, you see…uh…we were figuring out how…or, that is…where the kids…”
Hal rolled his eyes.
“Jim, he knows.”
“I know.” A small smile crept across Ace’s face. “But it was fun to watch you squirm.”
Exasperated, Jim looked between his brother and his uncle before sinking back into the couch. “Is there anyone left in this city who doesn’t know you’re really Green Lantern?”
“We were talking about what to do with this.” Hal opened his hand again, the second ring bathing the room in a soft green glow. Ace let loose a low whistle.
“So now you got another one of those doo-hickeys?” Ace tipped back the bottle. “Where’d it come from?”
“My ring spit it out after the whole ‘Coast City gone wild’ thing.” Hal drank from his own green bottle. “What’s more is, it flew into this other guy’s hand, and welcomed him to the Corps.”
“Wait, wait.” Ace sat down his beer. “I thought that you were the last one, that the Corps had been uh, what’d ya say? Scattered across the universe? So now, you’re not alone?”
“Well, I don’t know much about magic rings, but I know you know better than to turn down a helping hand.”
“It’s not magic…I don’t know, maybe you’re right. Anyway, what brings you down Uncle Ace? Missed your nephews that much?”
“Might as well get to it,” Ace exhaled hard. “I’m here because of Jack.”
“Where the hell are we goin’?” Hank could barely hear himself over the roar of the wind, as Hal wove them deep into the desert in Hank’s jeep. They had wound along State Route 18, to a place Hal knew well. Pulling down the frontage road, the ring searched the area for any other life-signs, but found none.
“Relax,” Hal answered back, as he slowed the vehicle to a stop. “We’re here.”
“Great.” Hank hopped out, and tread onto the dried lakebed. “What’s here?”
“The beginning.” Hal smiled, as the memories of his life since the ring had arrived flowed through his mind. This was where he had bested Sinestro, where Guy took his one way ticket to the stars, and where Kilowog had trained him. Now, he was going to try to train Hank here.
“The beginning of what?”
“Never mind. Well, let’s get started, ya poozer.”
“What’d you call me?”
“Don’t worry about it.” Hal tossed him the second ring, and powered up his own, replacing his clothes with his new, improved uniform. The lantern on his chest glowed softly in the darkness. “Put the ring on, and we’ll get to work.”
“Okay.” For once, a bit of unease crept into Hank’s voice. “Here goes nothing.” Hank slipped the ring on his finger, as it stretched to fit his finger. He closed his eyes, ready for his own Corps uniform to appear.
And nothing happened.
“Oh, come on!” Hank’s eyes flew open, and he screamed into the night. “What the hell is wrong with this thing?”
“I actually have no idea.” Hank sent a sideways look at Hal. “I don’t! Check your power levels.”
<Power levels at 1%>
“Why does that voice sound familiar?”
“Haven’t the slightest,” Hal lied. “Anyway, looks like you need to power up your ring, I guess. Try retrieving your power battery.” Catching the confused look on his face, Hal continued. “Picture the battery, and the ring can utilize your will power to get it for you.”
Furrowing his brow, Hank envisioned the battery, and just as suddenly, it appeared in his right hand.
“First try, nice job.” Hal couldn’t keep the amusement out of his voice. Is this how Kilowog and the other senior Lanterns had seen him? “Now, the oath.”
“Oath?” Hank tore his eyes away from the battery that had appeared as if from nowhere. “I don’t know any oath.”
“Just put your ring to the face of the battery, and the words will come.”
Nodding slightly, Hank pressed the face of his ring to the battery, and the words came straight into his mind…
IN BRIGHTEST DAY, IN BLACKEST NIGHT, NO EVIL SHALL ESCAPE MY SIGHT. LET THOSE WHO WORSHIP EVIL’S MIGHT BEWARE MY POWER…GREEN LANTERN’S LIGHT
Subconsciously, Hal mouthed along the last words of the oath, as bright green light enveloped Hank, and coalesced into the standard Corps uniform on him.
“Woah.” Hank looked into his hands, in awe of the power he felt. A flash of recognition darted into his eyes, and a second later, he shot into the air, leaving behind a trail of emerald energy. “WOAH!”
Rookies, Hal thought as he rocketed into the air, settling in alongside Hank.
“I-I’m flying! I’m really $#[email protected] flying!” Hank was screaming at the top of his lungs, darting through the night sky.
“Yeah, and you’re doing a real bad job of it.” Hal smiled beside himself. “Point your head, and your body tends to follow where your head goes.”
“Okay..okay. I think I’m getting the hang of it.” Hank’s flying grew less and less erratic, and he was even controlling his speed better now. The both settled onto the ground, and Hank fought to regain his bearings.
The rest of the night was filled with Hal enforcing the basic capabilities of the ring. First, they covered more of flying, defensive and evasive flying being the first lessons. Then, they moved onto simple constructs, and quickly moved onto multiple constructs. Henshaw was proving an eager and attentive student.
“Not too bad for the first night.” Hal checked the time via his ring. “Let’s cut it here…I’m no Kilowog, and we are both gonna need our rest.”
“Okay, do we have to drive back?” Hank looked longingly into the night sky.
“No worries,” Hal started. “We’ll each fly back, I’ll bring back the jeep under cloak, and leave it outside Ferris. See you tomorrow, rookie.”
“I don’t want to hear it.” Hal grabbed two empties and violently tossed them into the trash can in the kitchen.
“What part of I don’t want to hear it do you not understand?” Hal came back into the living room. “Is he dead or dying?”
“Jim.” Hal pointed at his younger brother menacingly. “You can’t be serious…you know what happened between he and I…hell, between he and all of us!”
“Hal, be fair. He put his life on hold while our mother was dying and you--”
“I thought we covered this, Jim.”
“We did, but call me the devil’s advocate here; he knows that he screwed up before now, but he wants to fix this family. The least you could do is hear him out.”
“That’s all I was gonna say, Hal. Jack called, begging me to get involved, he thought Jim would need back-up. Your little brother’s right, listening is the least you could do.”
“No, Jim is wrong. Again. The least I could do is absolutely nothing…which is exactly what I’m going to do.”
“No, Uncle Ace. And no fair using my full name. I’m wheels up in a minute, and I’m taking the ring to Ferris with me today. I’ve already got enough on my plate.”
“You’ve barely touched your food.” Carol looked almost sideways at Hal. “Look, your plate is still full, and we’ve been sitting here for 45 minutes. Are you even paying attention?
Before Hal could even muster a feeble reply, the bank across the street erupted with people screaming, as the sounds of gunshots could clearly be heard coming from within. Saved by the bell.
“I guess you’re saved by the bell,” Carol frowned. “Or at least by the gunshots.” Seeing her boyfriend just watching the robbery unfold, she pushed him sharply. “Um, isn’t it hero time?”
Hal looked at her carefully, and sipped his coffee.
“Who me? I think Green Lantern can handle it.”
Almost on cue, a green light filled the bank, and quickly extracted the weapons from the criminal hands. A single figure descended from the sky and through the front door of the bank.
“Is that…but you’re…” Carol struggled for words. “You think you’re soooooo cute, don’t you?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Hal grinned, but their flirtation was interrupted by a fresh peel of gunfire from inside the bank. Now what’s this damn fool doing in there?
Okay, thought Hank as he watched the team of five men enter the bank. Here goes nothing… He ducked into an alley, and stared at the ring on his right hand. The power arched from the ring and transformed his clothes into the black and green of the Green Lantern Corps.
Floating high above the street, he watched as the multitude of people swarmed out of the bank. Lowering himself slowly, he reached out with the ring, grabbing the four weapons of the robbers effortlessly. Easier than I thought it would be… Suddenly, behind him erupted another report of bullets. Dammit Henshaw, didn’t you count five crooks? The bullets slammed into his force field, crumpling instantly, falling harmlessly to the floor. Turning his will onto the remaining armed robber, he slammed him into the far wall with a beam of pure will power, causing the gun to clatter to the floor.
“While you’re dealing with him, what happened to the other four?” Hank turned to see Hal in full uniform floating over four unconscious perps, bound by construct chains. “Don’t mention it.”
As the sirens outside grew louder, Hal readied himself to leave.
“Race you to work?”
“Can’t. Carol took me to brunch, and I promised I’d ride in with her.”
“Well, I’ll see you in the locker room. And Hal?” Hal turned at the sound of his name. “Thanks.”
“That was amazing, I mean, all that power. Training is one thing, but to be out there, really helping people…you know man, you know. You’ve done this for like forever…”
“I wouldn’t say forever. And keep it down.” Hal looked around them. “You did pretty good, for your first time out. But now, we’re just pilots.”
“Right.” As Hank pulled on his flight suit, Jordan grabbed him around the wrist.
“Leave the ring.”
“The ring. Leave it. Never fly with the ring, it’ll keep you honest.”
“But what if--”
“What’s the matter?” Hal zipped up his suit, and headed to the tarmac. “Scared?”
“So you ready?” Hal and Hank had flown to the lake bed this time, and were ready to begin night two of training.
“Yeah, let’s get going.” As he powered up, Hal was forced to reach out and grab him by the wrist again
“What’s up with your ring?”
“Huh? Oh that.” Hank shrugged. “I guess I didn’t like your style, so I altered the ring. I’m gonna fly around some before we start combat training again.” Instead of the lantern inside the circle, instead a large lantern was affixed to the band of the ring. Something about this ate at Hal as he watched Hank take off.
“Ring, is it common to alter the appearance of one’s ring?”
<Changing the appearance of the ring requires either a trip to the forge on Oa or a heretofore undocumented level of willpower>
As the training in ring combat wound down for the night, the two exhausted men sat on the lake bed edge, drinking the two beers that Hal had brought with him.
“You’re picking all this up really well. Your constructs are strong, you’re an instinctive flier, and you are able to juggle multiple targets. Once we tackle some of the more advanced abilities of the ring, you won’t need me at all anymore.”
“This thing is great; universal translator, ability to do anything I can imagine, and I bet it can even program my VCR.” Hank threw his bottle into the dirt. “I just hope that one day I get to see what this baby can really do in the field.” Both of their rings seemed to answer his request.
<Code Zero. All available Lanterns, report to Oa immediately. Code Zero>
“Looks like you might just get your wish.” Hal looked up from his power ring. “I think we just got drafted.”