With Another Ring 2
"So, the Guardians swept up all the 'loose' magic they could, which being undeveloped means it's mostly of The Green," John explained.
"The Green?" Alan asked, "You say that like it means something more than willpower."
"It does," John said, "The Green is the power accessed by Swamp Thing and Poison Ivy, it's the will of plants to grow and thrive. Your ring is weak against plant matter because it resists being turned on itself."
"That would explain a few things," Alan admitted. "I always wondered why my ring didn't work all that well against wood but could affect yellow with no problem."
"The weakness to yellow is because the Guardians have the fear entity imprisoned in the central battery on Oa," John explained. "All the different colors of the emotional spectrum have an elemental entity who was the first being to experience that emotion and became the embodiment of it. I'm not sure what they all are, but Parallax is the name of the fear entity, the love one is named predator, the one for greed is a big snake called The Ophidian, and the one for will is a giant whale called Ion."
"So my ring runs off magic and all theirs run off emotional energy?" Alan asked to be sure.
"Emotional energy is magic," John replied, "it's a primal force. The Green is all about plant's will to survive, and since they don't really do emotions for the most part, it is almost pure will, just colored a little by their nature."
"So we're using roughly the same energy but mine's not connected to a whale?" Alan asked.
John chuckled. "That's about the size of it," he agreed. "Of course since theirs is connected to a sapient spirit with more developed emotions, it is weakened by fear, destroyed by rage, and buttressed by hope. They have a whole rock, paper, scissors thing going on that yours can ignore."
Alan got up and refilled his cup. "You seem to know a whole lot more about this subject than the other lanterns."
"I'm a curious fellow, I'm more a scholar than a fighter despite having a ring. I do best supporting others rather than being a front-line fighter and to do that well, I have to know what's going on."
"An army travels on its stomach," Alan said as he sat back down.
"Exactly," John agreed. "If I want to lower crime in an area I'll try to improve the overall economic outlook so less people have an incentive to become criminals. But we've wandered way off topic. The Starheart isn't fully contained in a lantern, it leaks, that's why the Guardians basically threw it into deep space, so it wouldn't 'contaminate' Oa. Earth is one of the most magically active planets in the universe so it was attracted here."
"It leaks?" Alan asked, concerned.
"It leaks," John repeated. "The most notable effects would be your longevity and local plant growth."
"I am pretty fit for my age," Alan conceded as he considered it. "Haven't noticed any plants growing out of control."
"It would encourage natural growth in plants, meaning they'd be more hardy, harder to kill."
"I always figured I just had a green thumb," Alan said, "now I feel bad for all the times I won awards for my lawn and garden."
John laughed. "I'm sure it helped, but you had to put in some solid work to keep it looking nice, so I wouldn't feel that guilty. Now, as to your longevity, remember when I commented on you looking your age?"
"My memory's not that bad," Alan said with a smile.
"Here's an exercise for you. Imagine a cloud of green energy, like pollen, floating around your ring," John said, "then visualize inhaling it."
Alan closed his eyes and his ring began to glow, releasing a stream of green smoke that he slowly inhaled, causing his hair to darken and some of his wrinkles to fade. "I feel stronger," he said as he opened his eyes, "energized."
"You've absorbed so much of the Green over the years that you are one fiery death away from becoming a plant elemental," John said.
"Its part of the process to becoming a plant elemental, it's not compulsory," John assured him. "What I'm saying is that you are pretty much an elemental being, since you've absorbed the energy from you lantern for over half a century. Concentrate on absorbing Green energy for at least half an hour a day and you'll be back in your prime before Christmas."
"I'd think you were a bit touched in the head if not for the fact that I feel better than I have in years," Alan said looking at his hands and noticing how the liver spots had faded.
"You'll want to have a magical expert look over the Lantern and ward it against evil," John suggested, knowing of the Starheart's history and a number of possible futures. "The Guardians didn't sweep up benevolent forces alone, so there's at least an equal amount of malevolence in it. I'd suggest Dr. Fate if he's active or Zatara if he's not."
"I'll give Fate a call, it's been too long since he's visited anyway," Alan decided. "You came here for help, but you seem to be helping me more than I am you."
John shrugged. "As I said, I'm support personnel. I feel I can do more by helping others than I can by doing everything myself."
"The League can use a few more support types that's for sure," Alan said with a smile. "Let's see about getting your ring charged, that's the least I can do for you."
"Ring, what's my charge status?" John asked.
"Ninety eight percent, sir," the ring replied.
"I thought we'd used more than that," John said, "in fact, I know we used more than that."
"I'm recharging from the ambient Green energy in the area, which is abnormally high, sir," the ring explained. "I'll have a full charge in three minutes."
"That's handy," Alan said. "I hadn't realized my Lantern could leak that much."
"The Starheart is incredibly powerful and The Green is everywhere plant life exists," John said, "but yeah this is handy. Unless there is an emergency I won't need to directly charge from your lantern at all."
"Your ring seems a lot more talkative than the others I've met," Alan said curiously.
"Most Green Lantern rings have an AI, so I don't know why they wouldn't be," John said, "maybe the lanterns rely on telepathy, so no one can overhear them. It's good for operational security and certainly would speed up their response time."
"Most humans aren't telepathic," Alan pointed out.
"Yes, but the rings are," John countered. "Its machine based telepathy as the ring is interfaced with their central nervous system, but its still telepathy."
"There is also the possibility that the standard training for Lanterns is to think of their ring as nothing more than a mindless tool," the AI suggested. "Doing so would reinforce their will and strengthen their constructs."
"It would also reduce their flexibility," John argued. "Still, I can see why they would do it that way."
"Shall I follow their lead, sir?" the ring asked.
"No," John said, shaking his head, "flexibility is more important than strength, at least to me."
"If all you have is a hammer, the world begins to look like it's filled with nails," Alan said with a smile.
"Exactly, I'd rather have a full tool box," John said. "I'm sure most lanterns only use a fraction of their ring's true capabilities, relying on brute force when there are better ways."
Alan nodded. "I'm a bit more limited, but then I don't have an AI. Still, I don't think I've done too bad."
"Shall I make him a ring, sir?" the ring asked.
"You can do that?" John said, trying to recall what he knew about ring creation, which was little.
"Ring duplication is well within my capabilities," the ring assured him, "Though it is likely of limited use as it does not duplicate the lantern connected to the ring, however in this case that is not a problem as his lantern does not have the two charge a day limit imposed by the Guardians."
"Sure, go right ahead," John said, wondering how many rings he could charge up and keep on his person without stressing the Starheart.
The ring on John's finger lit up and split in two like an amoeba.
"Duplicate ring created, ring charge at 49%," the two rings chorused.
John pulled one of the rings off his finger. "Set primary user: Alan Scott," he ordered it, before holding it out for the older man to take.
Alan accepted the ring and examined it; it was about a third smaller than the ring he had forged himself. "I don't know that I want to replace my ring," he said, though the temptation was clear in his voice, "we've been through a lot together."
"Don't replace it," John said, "use both of them. Just because someone got you a new car doesn't mean you get rid of your truck."
"More tools, not less," Alan said before sticking it on his left hand, a wave of Green energy flowing over his costume and altering its composition, the lantern symbol in the center of his chest changing to the black and green symbol of the Green Lantern Corps. "Comfortable, but I prefer my old symbol."
"I'll fix that now, sir," the ring replied, and the symbol shifted back to its original look.
"I've always wondered what I could do if I'd gotten one of these rings," Alan admitted.
"Want to take it for a spin?" John said with a grin, looking forward to flying without dangling in the breeze himself.
"Might I suggest recharging before going out, sir?" both rings said.
"Probably a good idea," John agreed. "Safety third."
"I thought it was safety first?" Alan asked.
"Beautiful women and small shiny objects are tied for first and second, otherwise we wouldn't be lanterns," John said, tapping his ring.
Alan laughed. "I'll remember that one. Why do they speak with a British accent?"
"Well, my ring started off in a robotic monotone until it downloaded all the public information available," John said.
"If I might explain," John's ring spoke up. "Current psychological science on earth suggests that when dealing with an AI, a human will feel more comfortable if the voice is not only familiar but also makes its role clear. The British Butler is a staple in popular media as a loyal servant. I can change it if you wish."
"No, it's right on the money," John said, "I think I'll call you James."
"I think Jeeves is the usual name," Alan said, "James was the chauffeur in a lot of movies."
"Alright we'll call your ring Jeeves and mine James," John said, "though you may want to have it speak telepathically to you and stick it on a toe or something so no one can see it."
"Why?" Alan asked, confused.
"If no one knows you have it they won't be prepared to defend against it," John replied. "You can channel the energy from it through your ring giving you twice the charge and all the advantages with no one being the wiser."
"I'd say that's a bit paranoid, but truthfully it just makes sense," Alan said thoughtfully before taking off one of his boots and putting the ring on his big toe, the ring altering itself to fit, stretching to cover most of his toe.
"You can change size?" John asked, surprised.
"Yes, sir," James agreed. "The shape of the ring is simply a default setting."
"That's handy," Alan said as he put back on his boot and stood up to check how it felt. "Perfectly comfortable."
"Well, let's charge up and see how you like it," John said, idly wondering how he could make use of James' ability to alter his form.
"I'll go get my lantern," Alan said, "be right back."
John nodded and finished off his coffee. "Hopefully we can stop for a bite to eat while we're out, I'm getting a bit hungry. Do we have any customers for our Telecom network yet?"
"32," James replied, "providing enough local currency to pay for whatever meals you desire at this time in all but the most expensive restaurants."
"I was thinking fast food," John said, "but keep your scanners peeled for any loose currency lying about on the ground, we don't need to blow our secret identity by using a traceable account while in costume."
"I'll store any local currency I find until you have need of it, sir," James agreed.
"And here it is," Alan said as he entered the kitchen carrying what appeared to be an old train conductor's lantern from the early 1900's made of Jade.
"The Starheart itself," John said, a little awed as he knew what power it possessed, possibly rivaling the Green Lantern's central battery on Oa.
"My Lantern," Alan said, looking at it with new eyes. He raised his left hand and made a fist, putting the Green Lantern ring he'd forged so long ago, a small train conductor's lantern in a plain green band, and spoke his oath, "And I shall shed my light over dark evil, for the dark things cannot stand the light. The light of… The Green Lantern!"
The Lantern lit with a flickering green flame that leapt to the ring on his finger, both glowing brightly for a few seconds before dimming once more.
"Ring charge at 100%," Jeeves and James chorused.
Alan looked down at his right foot. "I thought I'd have to charge you separately."
"No, sir," his ring replied, "the energy released was more than sufficient to replenish my reserves."
"Told you it leaks," John said. "Jeeves switch to telepathic communication with your user."
"I'm sorry sir, but you aren't authorized to make any changes to my settings," Jeeves said apologetically.
"Jeeves switch to telepathic communication," Alan ordered.
"Shall I do the same as well, sir?" James asked.
"Only when you feel it's necessary," John said, "use your own judgment."
"Very good, sir," James replied.
"You're looking a bit fitter," John said as he saw that Alan's hair had a little less grey in it.
"If my lantern leaks enough to fill nearby rings when I recharge my own ring I'm not surprised it charges me up a bit as well," Alan said with a smile. "I haven't felt this good in more than a decade. By the way, what's your oath?"
"I use a simple version when I'm in a rush, but I think you'll figure out what my full oath is from it," John said with a grin, having decided long ago what his own oath would have been. He closed his eyes and held up his fist like he was going to charge his ring. "Invictus: I am the Captain of my soul!"
The Starheart burst into light once more and James glowed brightly but remained silent as the glow slowly faded.
"I think it approves," Alan said. "It seems fitting, but I think most lantern oaths include something about light and smiting evil."
John nodded. "Charging the ring is about taking responsibility for my actions to me. I am being given the power to change the world and I can't take that for granted. Good or evil, I am responsible."
"Now I feel guilty for going on a joy ride," Alan said with a sigh.
John laughed. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Life is about balance, so let's add a little fun to ours. I'm sure we'll have more than enough time to be serious later."
"Your lantern symbol has changed," Alan noticed.
John looked down at his uniform and then at his ring and saw they had both changed to match Alan's.
"I took the liberty of altering our symbol to show our current affiliation," James said. "I hope it meets with your approval."
"It's something I should have thought of myself, thanks," John said.
Alan grinned. "Race you to Gotham."
"How do you take off without alerting everyone to where we're coming from? Do you have a secret tunnel to a river or something?" John asked.
"Been so long I forgot about that. I usually make myself invisible until I reach a hundred feet or so, but maybe we should get a bit further away so no one tracks us on satellite. I didn't have to worry about that when I was younger," he said with a grin.
"I think the Justice League uses teleporters to get around it these days," John offered, "but we can go invisible till we hit the highway and then race."
"Got telepathy down yet?" Alan asked.
"Nope, I'm a rookie," John replied easily, "but I can do invisibility, its how I got here without my naked butt showing up on the news."
"I'll teleport us a couple of miles away," Alan said, floating off the floor and extending his hand. "Take my hand and pay attention, there will be a test later."
"Yes, sir," John said with a grin as he floated off the floor and grabbed his hand.
In a flash of Green the pair vanished.
Typing By: Abyssal Angel
TN: If I had a Green Lantern ring and it could change shape, I'd probably hide it in my body and disguise my powers as something else, personally. If the green glow is optional, even better. I'd also test if the amount of energy it holds is dependent on size. If not, then I'd probably make it go microscopic and multiply and replenish energy until I had billions of Green Lantern 'nanites' in my body. If it is dependent on size, I'd pull a wolverine and have it fuse to my skeleton, staying porous enough to not block bodily functions and enjoy the added defense on top of a much more powerful 'ring'. I'd probably be limited by how much I can recharge, but that's just the equivalent of a slow regen with a massive core. Still handy to have. And depending on the more esoteric abilities of the ring, if space folding or dimensional storage is a thing, I could theoretically have infinite 'nanites' or a 'super' ring all technically within my person. I'd probably make a shape shifting power armor, ship, and mech out of it, abusing space folding shenanigans to make them all technically a part of myself. Then I'd make an ever expanding cloud of 'nanites' or invisible 'ring' drones also connected back to me that could seed throughout the galaxy and space so that I could have good oversight, an advanced warning system, and spy network all rolled into one. And so long as I keep up the charade of my powers being something other than Green Lantern based, I can be the mysteriously helpful fellow that just pulls power out of his bum till no one but Batman really questions what my limits are anymore.