Post by lissilambe on Dec 16, 2009 17:31:37 GMT -5
Hal Jordan was naked, floating in darkness, yellow stars burning in the furthest reaches of his vision. He was cold-- his skin was covered in a sheen of sweat-- and he couldn't stop shaking. Words refused to form in his mouth, his teeth chattered together, and he continued to drift in this bleak darkness, wordless, thoughtless. With the greatest of efforts he moved his right hand out in front of him, and then looked to where his Power Ring rested-- and then, as if at that moment, the horror of the situation dawned on him, he screamed in silence. He had no ring. He had no voice. And outside of his mind, in which Hal Jordan was trapped, his body was being piloted by an alien virus capable of ultimate universal destruction.
Post by lissilambe on Dec 16, 2009 17:35:07 GMT -5
"I need to get out of here-- I need to stop Highball..." Guy Gardner looked at his ring, and then to the sky. "Take us on up, come on--!"
<Power levels at 7%, do not advise deep space flight.>
"I need a battery, $%^&!" shouted Guy, as he paced. "He's getting away, and--" There was a flash of green light as a tear in reality formed, and Guy instinctively knew what it meant. He pulled a Power Battery from the tear, and then thrust his ring into the centre. "Automatic, hoo-rah." he closed his eyes, and the words begin to pool into his brain. his eyes opened, a smile crept onto his lips. "In brightest day, in blackest night, heh, let those who worship evils might beware my power-- Green Lantern's light!"
<Power levels at 125%: Error? Negative. Charging complete.>
The power ring exploded. it had been running on the Legion virus for so long, and suddenly it was inundated with energy. Sparks shot every which way, like dozens of fireworks being set off simultaneously. If anyone was nearby, they'd have been dazzled, hiding their eyes and trying their best to take a peak at the same time.
Guy laughed as he felt the energy shiver over his skin. Suddenly, the lightshow ended, and Gardner was glowing with power, his ring sparking every other second with excess energy. He looked at the Green Lantern flight suit now present over his body, and then shrugged. "Gotta do something about that when I'm done." With that, he shot into the sky, following the energy trail.
Chloe Sullivan had been dreading this moment since conception-- giving birth to her and Hal Jordan's child? Not only that, but she was running a dying metahuman intelligence community and spear-heading the development of a new one. She bit down on her lip, trying to shove those currently inconsequential thoughts out of her mind. "Hhhhhrrrnnnghhh!"
"Breathe, Chloe," said Carol Ferris, as the others present helped her into a wheelchair. "You're in STAR Labs, this'll be fine."
"Yeah... I'm... sure," managed Chloe, "because I really wanted... my child... to be born... in STAR Labs... because... in our line of business.. that's fantastic, right?"
Carol smile beamed, and Chloe actually felt comforted by it-- for a moment, at least. "It'll be fine. They're doctors, aren't they? The best."
"But where's Hal? That's... that's what I want to know," said Chloe, through gritted teeth.
"I..." Carol looked around, not knowing what to say. "...I don't know..."
"Hey," mumbled Chloe, before another contraction hit, "this is Hal we're talking about... like I was expecting... him... to... ghhhhhhh!"
Out from Oa, high speeds:
Kilowog was flanked by the rest of the Honor Guard present on Oa at the time of the lockdown. Sector 0 was in universal lockdown-- no one could get in, no one could get out. Oa-- fortified after the Krona incident mere months ago-- was waiting for Hal Jordan to arrive. The Honor Guard would do their best to stop him before he touched down, and if they failed the Corps members on Oa would rise up in defense...
"Rings are ready and charged." Hank Henshaw floated in near the front of the group of Lanterns, massaging his wrist with his spare hand, contemplating the coming battle.
"Anti-Legion precautions are in place," nodded Katma Tui. Their rings were surrounded by a thick emerald energy shield, and she tapped hers, checking that it was still in place. "I don't think he's going to get through this."
"We can but pray, Katma," said Kilowog. "The Guardians have really hooked us up with these enhancements, here's hoping they hold up under pressure. I'm not wanting to see yellow again, y'know?"
Katma stared off into space, before replying, "I'd rather die."
"Then die." Golden tentacles lashed down on Katma Tui, and the Honour Guard reacted instantly, shields up, weapons primed-- but there came no attack. Just the continuous silence of deep space.
"The Hell was that?!" Hank ran sensor sweeps of the Sector, but no trace came of Hal Jordan. The constructs had faded nearly as soon as they'd appeared, but the dent in Katma's force field was there-- albeit fading as she regained her composure. "He's not here-- how is that...?"
"Jordan is one of the best," muttered Kilowog, as he strengthened his personal force field, "one of, if not the. Ain't nothing wrong with admitting that. His mastery of the ring rivals... hell, it rivals that sonofaPoozer Sinestro."
Henshaw bristled under the comment. "Your point?."
"Remote projection." Salaak looked to Kilowog, and nodded.
"Exactly, Sal. The range of yer ring is dependent on yer willpower. Corps 101. S'why those lacking in the willpower department can't get a spark out without popping an aneurysm, you follow?"
"Of course," replied Hank.
"This ring is tapping into all that willpower, and without Hal's own inhibitions, the few that there are, he's just thrown himself a construct across the universe. If that ain't an indicator of what we're up against, then I don't know what is."
"We'll put him down," said Henshaw. "if that's what it takes now."
<"Kkkkk... hush little baby, don't say a word--">
"What is that? Christ..." mumbled Henshaw, as an ethereal voice began to whisper into their comms.
<"...never mind that noise you heard...">
Salaak put up his ring, and a web of sensor drones swept out from the middle drone. "This is madness..."
<"...it's just the beasts under your bed...">
Hank's eyes opened wide, and he shook his head vehemently. "My God. he's pumping music into our comms. He's sending out £$%^ing Metallica across the universe... he's trying to put us off our game, that's what this is. He's trying to make us afraid-- Not going to work," he said, as he blocked his comms.
Out from Earth, high speeds:
Guy Gardner moved as fast as he could, but he didn't think that was fast enough. He changed his mind, decided that he could go faster, and so he did. Subluminal passages had been closed, he was travelling under his own steam. and he didn't think-- No, he thought, don't think that, think right. think straight as an arrow, think as fast as you can, and you'll-- the stars shot past him like droplets of paint, and he shot through the recesses of space. He couldn't hope to catch up with Hal, could he? Not like this. Hal was under the control of something that would take his every strength and use it as a weapon. He soldiered on. He headed deeper and deeper into Sector 2814, straight toward the centre of the universe, and Sector 0. Guy tried communicating with the Honor Guard, with Kilowog, with anyone, but all he got was static, and the hint of a song that scratched his memory...
"Is that Metallica?" he asked no one in particular.
<Sounds like,> replied his ring, in a voice that was surprisingly familiar.
Shocked at the recognisable tone of the voice in his ring, Guy's eyes opened wide. "That's not possible!"
Three Green Lanterns were assembled from the neighboring sectors of 2813 and 2815, all travelling here as fast as they could under the circumstances. Arisia Rrab stuck close to Tomar Re and his partner, Dalor, and they'd been able to assemble a fleet of ships capable of establishing a blockade between Hal Jordan and Oa. The fleet was comprised of a patchwork of cultures that had come together to defend the universe from the threat of the Manhunters, and Tomar simply shook his head as he saw more and more crafts arrive. "It won't be enough."
"One of us alone could dismantle this fleet with a thought, Arisia," replied Tomar. "With enough concentration, with a full charge and enough wanting, this fleet would be scrap. "
"Your point?" asked Dalor, his large, green eyes belying no change in emotion.
"I have fought beside Hal Jordan. My friends, Kilowog trained him, and according to him, Jordan is one of the most powerful Corps-members ever to be inducted. And if Legion has him..." his voice trailed off.
There was an explosion to their right, and an entire ship was on fire, as golden flames licked impossibly at the hull. Emergency announcements were fed straight into their heads, and Tomar grimaced and nodded at Dalor, who left Arisia and Tomar to counter the power-ring generated flames with his own willpower.
"He's here! Tomar's voice rang out through the ships, and through the ears of the Green Lanterns present, "on your toes, people!"
A blast of yellow energy ripped into Tomar's chest, and then Hal Jordan came into view, clinging to the side of one of the ships that had arrived late to join the fleet. A sinister look of glee covered his face, and his ring was sparking and dribbling, yellow tentacles whispering out, searching for a Green Lantern ring to infect.
"Did you miss me?"
Arisia didn't reply. her ring was surrounded by a Guardian generated energy-cocoon, and they had told them all that it would resist Legion-- she was still concerned. Not scared, no, that wasn't for a Lantern, it wasn't for her, but she was concerned, curious... she wondered how hard she could punch Hal without cracking the cocoon...
She hurtled into Hal, and the two of them dented into the ship's hull, and she slammed her fist into his face, red splattering his own force field.
"That actually hurt, you stupid bitch!" Hal went to punch her back, but she dodged, her force field sending out tendrils of energy to counter the golden tentacles searching for weakness. "Stay still, you little wh--"
"No." Arisia encased Hal in a block of emerald energy. She opened up her communication channels, and addressed the fleet. "Get out of here, get clear, you need to--."
"Don't turn your back on me." Hal wrapped his hand around her throat, and she coughed. Her concentration slipped, her bonds on him weakened. "I want to do all kinds of things to you, Arisia, you have no idea. but right now I'm going to give you the greatest gift I could ever think to give." he leaned in close, and put his ring-wielding hand over hers. "Freedom."
The golden tendrils lashed and fought against the band of energy that was wrapped around Arisia's hand, but to no avail. "Gift this." She pooled all her concentration, even as his grip tightened, and threw a hurricane of force his way, peeling his hand off from her around her throat, and sending him flying into the void of space.
"I underestimated you all." He opened up his hand, and the tendrils from his ring pooled into his palm, a throbbing, gold sphere forming. "Won't make that mistake again."
The sphere exploded, and the universe went white for the Green Lanterns. By the time their vision cleared, Jordan was gone, the fleet was scattered, and Arisia couldn't help but feel relieved. "...He's gone."
"We're not moving fast enough!" screamed Guy Gardner, even as the universe shot by him. During his time with a Legion infected ring, he'd never flown this fast, but he was still lagging behind. "I could charge my ring, I could... I could... dammit, I can't do anything! The fights gonna' be over before I get there! Jeez..." He looked at his emerald power ring, and then straight forward. "Wait. Wait, no, no, that's... charge my ring..."
Out from Oa, high speeds:
"Here's where we make our stand--" said Salaak, as he typed something into the consoles that flickered in and out of existence before him. "The Guardians have generated spacial distortions surrounding Oa, this is the only way in."
Kilowog nodded, and looked over to the swirls of un-existence that the Guardians had cobbled together in the time they had before this moment in time. Amazin.
"Our comm channels are down. Hal's creating some kind of chaff, long range communications are out of the question," said Salaak, checking his ring. "By the time we fix that problem, it will be too late. Stay close."
Hank's ring sparked. "...The music stopped.."
"You're right..." Salaak's consoles faded out of existence. "Weapons free. Remember-- keep your distance."
"Hello, Salaak." Hal Jordan was moving too fast for their eyes to follow-- he was in front of Salaak before he could think up a defense. A yellow pistol was in the rogue Lantern's hand, and aimed squarely at the Honor Guard's lower torso. "Goodbye, Salaak."
The weapon went off, and a blast of gold exploded through Salaak's force field, and into his gut, causing him to reel back. Hal punched him in the wound, lasso'd the Lantern, and threw him into Katma Tui. "Salaak!!"
"Yes, Katma, be a good nursemaid, take care of him for us all."
"Dammit, Hal!" Kilowog's ring exploded-- if they were in space, the noise would have burst their eardrums-- and a projectile cut into Hal's shoulder, gouging out a chunk of flesh. "Next one takes off yer head, poozer, don't make me do this--!"
"Make you?" Henshaw grabbed Hal from behind, and Hal turned slowly, all the while his flesh knitted back together as yellow threads of energy went to work on the wound. "Hello, Green Lantern 2814.2."
"Hrrgh," grunted Henshaw, his ring lashing at Hal, trying to weaken him, "Highball."
"Let me tell you a secret, Spaceman. Carol will never love you. The other pilots will never see you. You'll never be the greatest Green Lantern. Because honestly, Hank, ol' friend, ol' pal... I got there first." Hal laughed, and then threw his head back, cracking into hank's nose. His elbow collided with hank's ribs, and he spun around, and aimed his golden gun at Hank's head. "And it feels gooood!"
"nuhh no!” Hank’s ring exploded with energy, and the back of Hal Jordan's skull split open in an emerald and crimson explosion as the ring beam found it’s target. Hank was free, the floating corpse of Hal Jordan floating in the recesses of space behind him. "Hal..." whispered Hank, looking at his ring, and at the result of his thoughts. "I... you… he…"
"Henshaw, why'd ya-- how’d ya--?" Hal’s head jerked forward, and his ring followed suit-- he blasted Hank away, and then slowly began turning to face his mentor. His floating brain matter was being caught by threads of golden energy, skull fragments being caught in tiny spheres of yellow, and within seconds, everything was pulled back inside, and back together. A dagger of golden energy was already forming in his hand before he finished turning round to Kilowog. "You can't stop me. You can't kill me. But I can kill you--"
"Nursemaid this!" Katma Tui thought up chains, and thought of them around Hal Jordan's throat, wrists and ankles. She thought of massive boulders of unimaginable weight resting just on the fringes of the spacial distortions around Oa. She then thought of them falling in-- and Hal Jordan with them. The Legion infected Jordan gagged as he was drawn toward the holes of un-existence. Katma's determination didn't waver.
"Noaarrghhhhhhggghhh-- Katma! Katmaaaa--"
Katma's eyes opened wide. "Hal?!" Her concentration lapsed, and Hal Jordan grinned as the chains stopped pulling him down down down. He shot forward, punched her in the mouth, fired off a barrage of blasts at Kilowog and Henshaw, and then looked over to Oa.
"Homeward bound." He shot toward the planet, and away from the Honor Guard.
"We gotta... we gotta..." Henshaw was struggling to think, struggling to breathe, "God, why is it so hard to think?"
"It's Legion, the closer it gets to us, the more chaff it can send out... it's making thoughts fuzzy, we need to get to Oa, we need to stop him before he reaches the Central Power Battery... Henshaw," shouted Kilowog, "get Salaak to safety, help him get back on his feet, Katma, you're with me--!"
"I should go with you," said Henshaw, "I can do more with you, on Oa!"
"You took a shot. You took a shot and it failed. You blew his blasted head off! An order is an order, Poozer, and we may both be Honor Guard, but I'm still your superior. Help Salaak. Now."
Henshaw watched as Kilowog and Katma shot away toward Oa, following the yellow streak that was Jordan. Salaak and he were in an energy bubble, and Henshaw turned to the injured man. "Come on, Sal, concentrate on knitting up your wound, we need to get back in the game..."
Mongul checked the readings that the weapon was giving off. "The Guardians knew of our plans for a War World. But they didn't know where we were building it. We hollowed out our world, and made it there. Our atmosphere disguised energy readings being given up. So when they destroyed my people, they didn't realise they'd simply left the weapon, inactive, hiding beneath a world they'd already burned."
Lobo picked a lump of flesh from his hook, and looked at his client. "So yer goin' to take this... 'War World'... and destroy the Guardians?"
"No, it's not War World that'll destroy the Guardians, but the weapon inside." He turned to one of the helmsmen. "Activate trans-mat!"
There was an explosion of light in the middle of the room, and a square of pure, white light moved from the ceiling down the ground. In the middle, on a platform, was a rectanglur device, with a yellow centre lens and a dozen large tendrils sticking out of the back.
"Psycho-chaff is emitted from the centre. Power Rings don't work without concentration. The energy the device emits is itself capable of sending vibrations through the nervous system of whoever it connects with and cancelling out their brain-patterns. War World was a ship. This is the weapon." Mongul picked up the device, and examined it. "In perfect working order." He then jammed it toward his chest, the limp tendrils suddenly coming together like a dagger and penetrating his chest, causing an eruption of green blood to spray out. Mongul grunted, and fell to his knees, much to the surprise of all those watching. The tentacles burst his heart, and began to spread out, tiny threads being drawn out and plugging into his nervous system. His eyes opened, glistening red, and he grinned. "In perfect. Working. Order."
The Citadel of the Guardians was in lock-down. They couldn't afford to leave the confines of the tower, they were as susceptible to Legion as their Corps-- if not more. A Legion infected Guardian of the Universe was not an option. They watched the battle unfold outside, they watched rookies fall under the pressure of Hal Jordan's attack, they watched seasoned veterans fall-- but he wasn't killing anyone. he was making his way toward the Central Power Battery... and the Guardians prayed they hadn't made the wrong choice...
"Come on then, you bastards!" screamed Jordan, dog-fighting a dozen other Lanterns in the Oan skies. "Is this all you can muster? Is this all there is to fight me? You're barely worth it!" He collected his thoughts, he thought about a collective seizure piercing the force fields of all the Lanterns on the planet, and finding a way into their minds. He thought about this for a good ten seconds, and then the Green Lanterns started to fall from the sky they were fighting in. "Superior thoughts, you Guardian lapdogs."
Hal Jordan simply landed then, and trudged his way past the fallen Lanterns until he reached the Central Power Battery. "There's no one else." He flew up, and moved his ring-wielding hand toward the smooth, emerald surface of the Power Battery.
"Yes there is," snapped a voice, and Guy Gardner erupted from the Central Power Battery, and slammed his fist into Hal Jordan's face, knocking out twelve teeth. Gardner didn't stop his attack. he couldn't give Jordan a chance to think. All personal power batteries were stored within the Central Power Battery itself, accessible through pocket dimensions assigned to all Green lanterns on acceptance of their Power Ring. Guy had fought his way through the pocket tear in reality his ring could create, and landed here, straight into the fight, right in time to punch Highball in the mouth. "You need to fight, Hal!"
Through swollen lips and shattered teeth, Jordan just grinned. "Fffight yyouu."
"No," grunted Guy, punching Hal again. He found it hard to think, and then remembered how he beat Hal-- not only did he overwhelm him, put him in a situation that was near unwinnable, but the Legion ring-- it sent out chaff, something capable of blurring the thoughts of Green Lanterns, making them all the more susceptible to it's influence. He shifted it into autistic mode, and he stopped talking, and simply went to work. Blow after blow was landed, punch after punch thrown, and Hal was coughing blood and without his force field. With his thoughts unable to focus, Legion couldn't defend it's host. Instead, tendrils shot out from Hal's ring, and latched onto Guy's-- "Nnaarhhh--"
"No..." whispered Hal, a sickly-yellow, thin, horrific hand clawing out of his ring, and trying to climb into Guy's. His mind was no longer clouded. He concentrated all his energies as the Legion virus was caught between the two Green Lanterns, becoming almost tangible. It's shape was distorted, completely alien to the two of them, but the two Lanterns thought back hard, pooling their willpower, and chanting the mantra that had got them here--
"In... in... brightest day..." managed Hal, blood dribbling out of his open wounds with every word.
Guy almost managed a smile as he nodded in agreement with Hal."...In bla... blackest night..."
"...No evil shall escape our sight..." they said in unison, the Legion virus entity shrieking between the two men, unable to climb into either of their rings. It was weeping, horrific sobs leaving what resembled a mouth as it was dragged into existence on Oa.
"...Let those who worship evil's might..." It was almost fully out of the rings now, becoming more and more tangible as the oath went on, Hal and Guys' voices becoming stronger, clearer. Claws lashed at Guy, but the limp fingers barely made a mark on his uniform. He sniffed in disdain at it, his half smile becoming full.
"...Beware our power--"
"Noooooooo--!" screamed the creature, thrashing about between Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner.
"GREEN LANTERN'S LIGHT!" The Legion entity snapped away from Hal's ring, and didn't climb into Guy's. Instead, it fell to the stone paving that surrounded the Central Power Battery, and looked up pathetically. Before Guy or Hal could think to do anything, it withered away into dust, and came to rest in a pile.
"God..." said Hal, as Guy helped him up, "that was... the worst thing... I have ever felt."
"Welcome to my world," nodded Gardner.
"And you mine," replied Hal with a smile. "Nice costume."
"It's not me. I'll come up with something once I recover from climbing into that battery."
"Hal Jordan," a voice boomed, "remove yer Power Ring, and step away from Honor Guard... Gardner." Kilowog came into view, his ring raised. "I've been authorised to use lethal force on you, Jordan."
"It's out of me, 'Wog, I'm clean!" said Jordan, his hands raised.
"You tricked us before, up above Oa, not taking that chance again. Yer lucky I've not blown yer head off. Now remove. Yer. Ring."
Hal looked to Guy, who was looking at Kilowog angrily, and whose own ring was sparking. "Power down, Gardner, I'm complying with him. He's doing what's right."
"Can't say I agree with that, Highball," replied Gardner, "but fine, fine..."
Jordan kept his hands above his head, and removed his ring slowly, before placing it on the floor. Katma Tui secured the ring in an emerald sphere, and vanished from sight. Kilowog cuffed Hal's wrists and ankles, and then turned to Gardner. "The Guardians want to debrief you, Gardner. Proceed to the Citadel." Kilowog then turned back to Jordan. "I'm hoping that this time it sticks, Jordan, but we're taking you down to secure containment to make sure. You're relieved of your duties for the time being."
"But Earth--" started Jordan.
"Earth, and Sector 2814, will be under the protection of your partner," said Kilowog. "Standard protocol."
"Right. OK." Jordan nodded. "Then let's get this over and done with. I've got a lot of explaining to do back home."
"That's the Hal Jordan I know," Kilowog said with a smile. He then turned to Hank Henshaw, who was supporting Salaak as the two touched down on Oan soil. "Henshaw! Yer to return to Sector 2814, and resume yer duties there! Lantern designation 2814.1 has been temporarily assigned to you."
"Good to know," said Henshaw. "You alright, Highball?"
Hal held up his chained hands. "Been better, Spaceman. Tell Carol everything is alright, OK? I'll be home soon."
Henshaw nodded as Kilowog and Jordan descended through the ground, to the underground sciencells, and to secure containment, miles beneath that. So he was the Green Lantern of Earth now. "...Who would have thought?"