V2 #6 (46): The Parallax View (Wilkins / Vasquez) Sept 5, 2013 2:13:11 GMT -5
Post by Alex on Sept 5, 2013 2:13:11 GMT -5
PREVIOUSLY IN GREEN LANTERN...
The Red Lantern Corps are making themselves known across the galaxy...
Arisia Rhab and Guy Gardner have been ambushed, but not before Guy misunderstood Arisia's actions and attacked her. What's going on with him?
Katma Tui, Kyle Rayner, Stel and Thaal Sinestro were attacked on Korugar, and a weakened Rayner sent Katma's sister, Sinestro and the human baby he is guardian of, away to parts unknown before reinforcements joined the Red Lantern Corps! Katma and Stel against a horde of Red Lanterns... how will they make it out alive?
John Stewart's place of work was obliterated by Alex Nero, a madman claiming to work for the psychopathic, devious first Green Lantern Parallax! With dozens brutally murdered at Nero's hands and a close friend of Stewart's near death, the Green Lantern is going to be looking for revenge!
And on the dark side of the moon, a new player has entered the game... a seemingly exact duplicate of Hal Jordan wielding immense power! Who could this be?!
Check out the title of this new issue, readers--
Issue Six (46): "The Parallax View"
Written by Charlie Wilkins
Covered and Edited by Alex Vasquez
<We have been followed,> buzzed Atrocitus' ring, speaking for the leader of the Red Lantern Corps due to his burned out voice box. He looked to the Corps that followed him. <It is him, Hal Jordan is here! Parallax.>
“You don't have to do this!”
<What would you have us do, Atrocitus?> asked one of his number.
Atrocitus looked down at the savaged Green Lantern he held in his clawed hands. His soldiers had found the rookie patrolling the border separating the Forbidden Sectors and the blank expanse of Sector 3600 and attacked him viciously. Only the emerald ring on his finger held his body together, but his concentration was shot, the aura around him shimmered as sparks of pain ran through his body.
<We send a message to the Green Lantern Corps.>
“No! No! Noaaaa--!”
If it was possible to hear sound in the vacuum of space, a horrible, brittle snap would have echoed out as Atrocitus finished the deed.
<Ring status report. Green Lantern 3600.2 deceased. Space sector 3599-->
<No.> Atrocitus caught the emerald power ring before it could zip away in search for a new bearer. His ring sparked and swelled with power as the green light in his hand tried to escape, but his ring was too much, and the latter settled down. Atrocitus took the ring between two thick, clawed fingers and placed it on his other hand, opposite his crimson power ring. His uniform did not change. He was not inducted into the Green Lantern Corps. The power ring of Green Lantern 3600.2 was under his control. It knew it's master. <Good. Ring,> he was talking to his own, <Begin intervention systems. Begin Oan power ring override programs.>
< // ttttssssstttttt // alien system detected // ttssskkkkkshrrrrtttt // warni ## factory settings ## awaiting input ##>
Atrocitus smiled with blistered, burnt lips.
<Open all channels.>
< ## open ##>
Sector 2814 - Earth - Above New York City:
John Stewart was floating high above the city, scanning for Alex Nero's energy signature. Bradley Roth was currently in Intensive Care in a Manhattan hospital, but he couldn't stay behind to wait until he pulled through.
"Where the hell are you, you bastard?" John whispered.
<Incoming transmission on all frequencies // Priority White // attention all Green Lanterns>
"Priority White?" John looked at his ring. In all his time as a Green Lantern he'd never heard of a Priority White communication. As his ring buzzed, a face began to form above the centre jewel, pulled together by wisps of emerald energy.
<I am Atrocitus, sworn leader of the Red Lantern Corps,> said the face.
John said nothing but his ring whispered quietly under the scratching, aggressive voice of Atrocitus. "Is it time yet?"
The voice surprised him. It belonged to Hank Henshaw, the Lantern who wielded the ring before him. As was standard procedure, the ring would speak to you in the voice of the Green Lantern who last held the honour of bearing the ring. Hal's ring spoke to him in Abin Sur's soft, fatherly voice. Guy's ring held the voice of Kyle Rayner, for reasons unknown to any on the Corps. John's was Hank's, but why was it speaking now? Why was it whispering that question again and again?
"Ring, run diagnostic, full internal sweep," said John, looking down at the jewel on his hand.
<Running,> replied the ring.
Sector 0 - Oa:
The face formed in front of the Central Power Battery. Green Lantern and Star Sapphire alike flocked in front of the visage, some digusted, some concerned, all curious.
<I have travelled across the gulf of time so as to avert a dystopic future that the Green Lantern Corps is the cause of.>
"Priority White?" said Salaak, standing side-by-side with Kelso Noss, current leader of the Star Sapphire Corps. "Priority White is the communication channel used in times of great cosmic unrest-- only the Guardianshave access to it-- what is this?"
"Listen," said Noss, quietly. "I think your great cosmic unrest is talking to you right now."
Sector 1417 - Korugar City:
"They've stopped," murmured Katma. "Why have they stopped?"
Stel held his ring up. <They are listening to this transmission. Their leader, perhaps?>
<The Green Lantern behind the ruin of a time period I have journeyed from is Hal Jordan of Earth. He will bring about the enslavement of all sentient beings across the galaxy and then the obliteration of the universe in his mad quest for power.>
<Until he is mine, we will slaughter every Green Lantern that we meet. And I promise you, Green Lantern Corps... we are looking for you.>
<Listen you slime-- LISTEN!> Guy Gardner's throat was a shattered, ragged mess. Blood lined the emerald aura that kept him safe from the vacuum of space. The Red Lantern that held him was squeezing, even now, even as Guy's skin was flapping empty and his blood was pouring. Bones were shard and muscles were shredded.
"Get off of him!"
Arisia ignored the Priority White transmission emerging from her ring. The face hanging above her ring was there, speaking in tones and terms that induced foreboding, but Guy was dead.
Arisia didn't know what to do other than fight. She threw up a construct, harder than diamond and powered by the sheer power of her will, and threw it at Koarse.
The Red Lantern vomited up a deluge of his crimson blood-like energy and the construct became emerald paste, flowing across Koarse and the twitching Gardner.
Guy must be dead.
He couldn't be dead.
He wasn't allowed to be dead.
Not now. No. Not now!
<You're not so scary, Rrab, not so impressive> buzzed Red Lantern Koarse's ring. He drew her in with a scorching lasso of fire that bit through her aura and then swatted her back with his spare hand, a lashing of raging fire catching her square in the face. She reeled back, coolant forming, her aura pushing the liquid, impossible crimson fire back, but she was blind, unable to fight back--
<Now is not our time.>
Arisia was able to clear her vision, her skin blistering but no longer exposed to the napalm-like substance that had nearly eaten its way completed through her aura. She grimaced, and then let out a shocked sound that flew from her lips, to her ring, and finally to Guy Gardner.
"What's wrong with you?" asked Guy, rubbing his bruised neck. "Who's ugly over here?" he motioned to his ring, and Atrocitus' emerald face.
Red Lantern Koarse's body floated, shattered into dozens of pieces, in the void. The crimson ring was still on his finger, but that did not last for long. It began to zip away into the void, and Guy threw a strand of emerald light at it, a tracking beam so he could follow it.
"Don't sit there gawping, go tell Salaak and the rest of the Corps what's going on, our ring communication is screwed. I got this!"
Guy was gone in seconds, following the scarlet power ring as it shot away.
"Ring," whispered Arisia.
"Play back from--" she thought about the voice, about the fire, but more importantly the voice, and she closed her eyes tightly as her ring buzzed to answer her request.
<Voice print: Guy Gardner // distorted // query // calculating : <Now is not our time.>
The voice was Guy's, but wrong, different. Something was not right. Something terrible was happening. The Corps had to know.
Arisia headed to Oa, praying she wouldn't be too late.
Sector # Unknown #:
<I am not a monster. I am not the villain. Hal Jordan is a creature of ultimate evil. He is Parallax. And Parallax. Must. Die.>
Alex Nero arched an eyebrow and turned to his master.
Parallax rose off his throne and floated slowly toward the bank of emerald monitors his slave scientists had constructed at his behest. "Hal Jordan is Parallax?"
"Master..." started Nero.
"Parallax is Parallax," growled the yellow-skinned former Green Lantern. He was insectile in appearance, hairless, evil and ancient. "I am Parallax, and there are no others! I am Parallax! I. Am. Parallax!!"
"Master Parallax, we will kill him," said Nero, enthusiastically, "split his soul and piss inside his being, ravage and rape what's left of the pieces, Hal Jordan is nothing, nothing compared to your majesty," he was sweating, caught up in the throes of his psychosis. "Kill and kill again!"
Parallax swung his large, elongated head around to face Nero, his jaw clicking as he shook with anger. "The Corps I am building will rise, Alex Nero. You, my knight, my first, so alike we are... we shall tear Hal Jordan's life down."
Sector 2814 - Earth - Coast City:
Hal Jordan was drinking a beer, and had no idea what was going on.
He scratched his beard, and took another long swig from the bottle.
"Where are we?" asked Naal Tui, cradling the year old child in her arms.
Sinestro ran his hands through his hair, the buzz from Kyle Rayner's teleportation still ringing in his ears. "I don't know," said Sinestro.
"Sir," said Naal, drawing the baby closer to herself. "I'm sorry, but sir."
Naal pointed at Sinestro's hand.
He lowered his right hand so it was in front of his face. The stubbed, scorched stub of his missing digit was no longer there. He flexed, and saw all five of his fingers move. But that should have been impossible. Parallax had torn that finger off some time ago. Why did he?
The emerald power ring on his finger shone in the singular light of the Sun.
<You always had the ability to overcome great fear,> said the ring, the voice it spoke with being that of Kyle Rayner himself. <Thaal, we both know you never truly left the Green Lantern Corps.>
Sinestro felt his tattered, old uniform begin to transform, some quiet thought in the back of his head triggering the change. Gone was the black and the blue Korugar tunic. Back was his Green Lantern flight suit.
Sinestro smiled devilishly.
Sector 1417 - Korugar City:
The Red Lanterns resumed their attack. They were concentrating all their might on the emerald shield erected by Katma Tui and Stel, the two Green Lanterns struggling to maintain the separation between their attackers and themselves.
Kyle Rayner was unconscious at their feet-- but smiling-- and what Katma would do to have the power of Ion at their side once more. But he needed to be protected, no matter what. The damaged Stel, kept together by the strands of emerald energy that he had used to pull his cybernetic form back into some semblance of its former self.
"I don't think we can hold them off for much longer," said Katma, gritting her teeth. "Can't even... counter-attack, taking all my concentration to--"
A catastrophic explosion of violet energy ravaged the backs of the Red Lanterns attacking them, and their attack fizzled out. Katma and Stel looked at each other, and Stel took Kyle in his arms. <Energy readings match-->
"Star Sapphire," murmured Katma. She focused herself. "Come on, let's get some distance between us and them, lead them away from Korugar!"
The three of them hit orbit quickly, Kyle enveloped in an emerald shield, when a familiar face joined them.
"Lantern Tui!" Miri Riam zipped next to them, wiping sweat from her brow, "you went into subluminal as soon as you left the orbit of Oa!" She glanced down at the scarlet blur that was approaching them from Korugar City, "What are they?"
"Apparently they are Red Lanterns," said Stel, "Though we have never heard of such a Corps before now."
"They've got a mad on for you guys," said Miri. "Who's that?"
Stel went to answer, but Katma cut him off. "We do not know," she said, slowly, "but he is not of this world and the Red Lanterns are seemingly after him."
Stel nodded slowly, unsure of Katma's ruse, but trusting her none the less. "We should return to Oa quickly," he beckoned them forward, "there will be safety in numbers."
"You're right, let's go!" said Miri, and the four of them vanished into the subluminal tunnels beneath space that would take them back to their home.
Sector 2814 - Earth - Above New York City:
The Red Lantern transmission cut off. "...Jordan?"
Stewart's power ring generated a map of the United States. "Locate Hal Jordan."
The map seized up, jerked around, and then zoomed out until the Earth was visible as well as the moon.
<Error // two matches found // match 1 : Coast City // match 2 : region of the moon not facing the Earth [dark side]>
"Two?" said John. "Coast City then, to Coast City." Two?
Sector 2814 - Earth - Manhattan - Bellevue Hospital:
Bradley Roth stirred from unconsciousness, much to the surprise of the nurse checking his IV. The nurse was lost for words, considering the medically induced coma Roth had been put in after coming out of surgery. In his panic, he went to pick up the phone, but Roth grabbed him by the wrist.
"S-Senator!" gasped the nurse. "A-are you okay?"
"You cut me open," he said incredulously, looking down at his bandaged up chest. "Do you have any idea how much this hurts?" He lunged forward, grabbed the nurse by the throat, and twisted, killing him with relative ease.
Roth stood up, and clicked his fingers. He looked down at the gown he was wearing and sighed, discarding it immediately. Naked, he entered the hallway, and any passers-by were shocked at the sight of him, not only naked but with his chest incision stitched up, catheter attached, other wounds dressed, a walking mess of a human being.
A doctor moved toward him but he screamed as something mounted his head, and pulled him to the ground. Dozens of small, goblins came out of the vents, from the store rooms, and began to attack everyone in sight. They chattered and shrieked happily as they went about their business of subjugating anyone in sight before the alarm could be raised.
Roth grinned. He tore a patch of artificial skin away from his wrist to reveal a portion of an alien device that was surgically grafted up the length of his arm, all the way, starting where he had pulled.
"You'll love this."
Roth pressed the largest button available to him.
A costume formed over him. Anything not of his body was rejected. His wounds were healed. The stitches pushed out of his skin. The catheter was released with a pop and a wince.
"Ladies and gentleman, if you hadn't guessed, I am not who I initially appeared to be. I am a simple scientist who is far from home. My name is Evil Star. Do you know what that means?"
The doctor who was being held down by one of Evil Star's goblins was shaking, shaking his head. "N-no."
Evil Star leaned over and grinned. "I'm the bad guy."
The villain reeled back, opened his hand up over the doctor, and light started to be pulled into his palm. Onlookers screamed as the doctor struggled, the light coming from him. His skin turned pale and grey, his hair white, the doctor's life force sapped out of him by Evil Star.
"Don't look so shocked," said Evil Star, closing his hand and ending the life force sucking process.
The doctor wheezed pathetically, decrepit but still alive. "heeeeeepppp muuuuhhhh"
Evil Star smiled. "You're all next. And when I'm done, when you're all dead, I'll trigger the end of the universe." He clapped his hands gleefully. "My starlings! My goblin children! Bring me a baby!"
Sector 0 - Oa:
"Hal Jordan is no longer a Green Lantern," said Salaak, as he walked in front of a collection of Green Lanterns specially brought together for this meeting, "he has cut off all ties with the Corps after the death of his daughter. But if Atrocitus is after him, we cannot leave our former Corpsman undefended. Boodika?"
Boodika nodded. She was stood by the side of the Lanterns. "Hal Jordan is to be contained. Bring him back to Oa for protection."
"He won't like it," said Isamot Kol, the reptilian Lantern from Thanagar, "Jordan's never liked being told what to do."
"If he refuses, you are authorised to use force," said Salaak. "In grief, he may not know what is best for him."
"Have we made contact with Green Lantern 2814.1?" asked Vath Sarn, former Rannian soldier and currently Isamot Kol's partner-in-light.
"John Stewart is en route to Hal Jordan and will prepare him for transit," stated Boodika. "We have also sent a transmission to Lantern 2814.2, Guy Gardner, but have not heard b--"
<Hey mooks, say my name three times in front of a mirror an' I appear, what's going on?>
A holographic vision of Guy Gardner's head appeared before Salaak, who breathed a sigh of relief at Guy's appearance. "Thank goodness, Lantern Gardner--"
<Hey now, that's Honour Lantern Gardner,> interrupted Guy. <I didn't work my ass off to be some regular Joe Lantern now, did I?>
"Guy," spat Boodika, "Hal Jordan is in danger, this Atrocitus bastard is threatening to kill him!"
<Yeah, I caught the broadcast, so what do you want me to do about it?>
"Honour Lantern Gardner. We want you to lead a group of Lanterns to Earth and ensure Hal's safety," continued Salaak.
<S'all about Hal, isn't it? Jeez. Yeah, sure, why not? I'll meet your boys in Earth. C-catch, up quick, y'hear?>
The transmission ended sharply.
"This cannot stand," spat Boodika, "Gardner's insolence--"
Salaak raised his hand. "Gardner has always done what is right for the Corps. Even in these dark times we must stand by our own."
"But--" started Boodika.
"Enough," growled Salaak. "Boodika; Isamot, Vath and yourself will rendezvous with Gardner. Make sure Jordan gets back to Oa in one peace. Once we have secured Hal, we shall take the fight to the Red Lantern Corps."
"Yes sir," said Boodika. She turned to Isamot and Vath. "What are you waiting for? Let's go."
Gardner was surrounded by the brutalised bodies of two Red Lanterns he had killed. He held the three power rings from their fingers-- and the finger of Koarse-- in an emerald bubble, the chunks of mineral bouncing off the surface trying to escape.
Purple strands of energy drifted off the broken bodies of his enemies.
Guy was struggling to think straight, thoughts fighting to bubble up through his defenses, to form emerald hard in the space before him. He threw the rings into the dimensional rift he kept his portable Power Battery inside. They'd be safe there, for now. But these thoughts-- the ones refusing to leave his head-- of pain and hate and love and lust and wanting-- they scratched at him, and he knew that if he let them out again, then those around him would end up like the two Red Lanterns he'd just eviscerated...
"--C-catch up quick, y'hear?" Guy ended the transmission and looked at his hands. His bones shifted and cracked under the skin. Blood stained his white gloves. "What's... what's happening to me?"> He ran his hands through his hair, and began to cry. "What's happening to me?!"
Sector 2814 - Earth - Coast City:
"Hal," said John, projecting his thoughts forward in space. "Hal, can you hear me?"
Hal Jordan's bearded, bleary-eyed face appeared in front of John, the finder beams John had sent out sending the image of Jordan back to John. "Wwhat?"
"It's John Stewart, you need to listen to me, something bad is happening--"
"Go away!" Hal's face distorted then vanished, John grimacing at the idea of the drunken Jordan dispelling the tracker beams with a wave of his hand.
"Dammit, if I have to drag you out of--"
"John." John Stewart turned at his name. Floating behind him was Hal Jordan, wearing a suit armour Stewart did not recognise. "I'm so glad you're here."
Ring, thought John, Where is the second Hal Jordan located?
The ring responded directly into John's brain. <Coast City>
John laughed, smiled and shook his head. "You're not the Hal Jordan I know."
The armoured Jordan nodded slowly. "I am, John. I am Hal Jordan. But I'm not from this time period, I've come a long way to stop something terrible from happening."
"Who is 'Atrocitus'?" asked John.
Jordan flinched at the question. "A cosmic terrorist from my time period."
"What's with the armour?"
"Things change in the future," said Jordan. "But I need your help now, John."
"This stinks, 'Hal'," said John. "You have to know that."
"I know we've never really been... friends, John. Our times in the Corps never really overlapped. But you were a great ally in my time period."
"When is that, exactly?" asked John.
"Ha, right, okay," said Hal, visibly agitated. "I'm from twenty years in the future, and John, it got bad. It got so bad. So I've come back to see if I can stop that future from every occurring."
"Since when can you travel in time?"
"What is with all these questions?" snapped Hal.
John nodded and levelled his ring at Jordan. "Yeah, I've heard enough. Take off your..." Stewart looked at Hal's hands. No ring. "Power down."
"I don't wear a ring," said Jordan. "It's in here," he tapped his chest. "Like Ion before me. I took it all in. It's how I can do this." Hal snapped his fingers, and John's ring went dead.
And he fell.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT TIME IN GREEN LANTERN: "STARS FALL"