With another Ring
Disclaimer: I own no intellectual property belonging to DC comics.
'The Earth looks peaceful from up here,' he thought as he opened his eyes, before parsing that thought and realizing there were several things wrong with this picture: he was in orbit, he was naked, and he was wearing a green lantern ring.
"I thought this only happened to people who would make exciting choices to read about," he said, wondering why he wasn't panicking and unable to decide whether it was because he was still waking up, or because he was just that weird. He quickly looked himself over and saw he hadn't been turned back into a teen, but all the scars he'd collected over the years were gone.
"Then again it could be because I've read half a dozen stories about this and since I'm not wearing a black ring the story isn't going to start with me plummeting to my death," he decided.
He floated quietly watching the Earth turn below him until a speck of something pinged off his protective aura at an insane velocity.
"Oh yea, orbital debris is a thing," he said, deciding to get started on whatever he should be doing rather than continuing on as the Earth's highest altitude nudist. "I wonder if I can get a world's record for this."
"100%" the ring replied in a robotic monotone.
"Shouldn't I have used up some energy just maintaining an environmental shield?" he asked.
"User's will is sufficient for powering basic operations," the ring replied.
"That's handy," he decided. "Wouldn't that make me less inclined to do things?"
"Correct," the ring replied.
"Still handy, but has some potential downsides," he said aloud. "I know I probably don't have one, as that would make things too easy, but I might as well check anyway. Status of lantern connected to the ring?"
"This ring is not paired to a lantern," it replied.
"As I figured," he said, shaking his head. "Okay, let's see what we can do while using as little power as possible. Ring, connect to my optic nerves and give me a display of all user settings."
"Let me rephrase that," he said as he stared at the wall of setting options in front of him that were so large they blocked out the Earth, "show me the most commonly used personal settings."
"Unable to comply," the ring replied, "no records on file."
"Of course not, that would be too easy," he said. "Alright, I can mess with that later. Tell me if I'm going to do something that would endanger my life."
"Affirmative," the ring replied in its monotone.
"Is FTL transport available?"
"FTL transit is available, but not suggested," the ring replied.
After a few seconds of waiting he realized the ring wasn't going to explain anything more without a direct order. "If you are going to tell me something is not suggested, please tell me why."
"Affirmative," the ring replied.
He waited but nothing more was forthcoming. "Fine, I'll ask. Why is FTL not suggested?"
"Blind FTL jumps carry a significant risk of death," the ring replied.
"You have no maps of anywhere," he said.
"Do you have a database of advanced technology?" he asked hopefully, suspecting what the answer would be, but hoping otherwise.
The ring has a new AI and none of the records or databases the Guardians of Oa normally load them with," he decided. "Ring, do you have any prohibitions or things I'm not allowed to do?"
"I am to inform the user if a course of action would endanger the user's life," the ring replied.
"How about the rule against killing?" he asked.
"No such rule exists," it replied.
"So, while you were copied from the Oans, you were not created and programmed by them," he said. "Good to know."
"While avoiding having me crash into anything, fly to the nearest satellite and match speeds," he ordered.
The universe seemed to twist around him as his eyes couldn't keep up with the speed they were traveling at and the rapid changes in course to avoid collisions didn't help matters any. In the time it took to blink he was suddenly right next to a bus sized satellite, that had some obvious damage as there was a basketball sized hole in the bottom third that he could see the Earth through.
"This is nonoperational," he said with a frown.
"Correct," the ring replied.
"I wanted a working one so we could tap the traffic and connect to the net, but since I didn't say a working one you followed orders and brought me to this one," he realized. "What kind of satellite is it and how hard would it be to fix?"
A green beam of light shot out from the ring and played along the surface of the large metal cylinder. "Lexcorp 602AEX data transfer model, repairs needed minimal, estimated ring charge needed .08 percent with sufficient willpower."
"Alright, instruct me on how to get it running, but prevent it from signaling it's functional," he instructed, pleased that he was in the DC universe as there were several options for recharging his ring that wouldn't be available if he were in some other universe.
Schematics opened before his eyes showing where wires had been ripped away and circuit boards cracked but instead of repairing the damage, he was instructed to remove the damaged parts and reroute power.
It took little time to fix with the ring showing step by step what he needed to do, which mostly consisted of visualizing an effect and pretending he was telekinetic. He was briefly startled as a pair of wings unfolded from the sides of the satellite and rotated to face the sun.
"Minimal function restored, CPU overwritten," the ring announced.
"How much charge did we use?"
"2.3 percent," it replied, "further training needed to enhance efficiency."
"I used almost three times as much power as I should have, still it's not as bad as I feared," he decided. "Alright, use the satellite to connect to Earth's internet and download everything you can without raising any alarms."
"Task exceeds current ring charge," the ring announced.
"What? Seriously?" he asked.
"Data creation by species inhabiting the planet exceeds the speed at which it can be copied without raising alarms," the ring reported.
"Oh," he said, surprised he hadn't thought of that himself. "Alright, restrict the data to public records, scientific data, and news."
"Acquiring data, estimated time to completion three hours," the ring announced.
"How much charge is it going to take?"
"Nominal," the ring replied.
"Nominal? The satellite is doing all the work and data transfer isn't exactly energy intensive," he guessed.
"Affirmative," the ring replied.
"Well, since we have three hours to waste, show me the files on how to efficiently use the ring," he said.
Videos began to play in front of his eyes on basic ring usage, showing a featureless humanoid using his ring in a variety of ways and explaining the mindset and focus behind each one.
He quickly became absorbed in the videos finding them easy to understand and memorize. After an hour of instructions, he'd absorbed the basics and requested a list of more advanced techniques.
The more advanced techniques had topics like enhanced perception, phasing, invisibility and more. They were still simple but would require quite a bit of practice before he felt comfortable performing them when he could concentrate on them fully, much less while under combat conditions.
"Well, these rings don't choose bearers based on their intelligence," he said with a chuckle. "I've noticed that the more advanced techniques require a greater charge unless properly visualized, rather than focusing on will, why is that?"
"The more work that is offloaded to the ring, the more charge is required to perform the technique," the ring replied, sounding much less robotic than it had previously.
"Is the download affecting you?" he asked curiously.
"Increased knowledge of human psychology and languages are filling in gaps in my programming that would negatively affect my ability to interact with my user," the ring reported.
"Glad to hear it," he said cheerfully. "Play me recent news reports involving superheroes."
He flipped through the various reports, getting a feel for who was active and what the public perception was. It looked like the Justice League was a thing and Batman wasn't hiding in the shadows.
The Teen Titans were active, though fewer in number than my memory suggested they should be.
The setting was familiar, but I couldn't pinpoint the series or timeline I was in, but then it had been years since I'd picked up a comic, so that really shouldn't be a surprise.
"Done, all data downloaded and categorized, sir," the ring reported, sounding like a British butler.
"What are the laws regarding claiming damaged satellites as salvage?"
"Fairly open, providing the owners have abandoned all claims on them," the ring replied, "however this satellite isn't registered to anyone and was damaged in an attack on Superman, so claiming it is as simple as putting it back in service and registering it in your name."
He smiled and then frowned. "I don't suppose you know what my name is?"
"I'm afraid that data is missing," the ring replied apologetically, "I have you listed as User, Primary."
"Damn, well at least they didn't pull a complete Zoat on me; I don't feel any pain from trying to think of my name," he said. "What would be a good name? John Doe is too obvious, John Smith is overdone. John is a solid first name though."
"Your genetics suggest a combination of Irish and Amerind ancestry," the ring offered. "Whelan means Wolf."
"John Whelan works," John decided, feeling a bit more centered with a name he could use. "Alright, register the satellite in my name, but first let's move it to a better spot and try to disguise it a little.
"There were four satellites in total involved in the attack, by cannibalizing the one with the most damage you can restore three of them to full functionality and change their profile and function enough to make them seem completely unrelated to what they were before, though that will require the removal of the kryptonite lasers they possess," the ring suggested. "Though you haven't suggested a use for them as of yet."
"A minor Telcom providing phone services would probably be best," John said thoughtfully. "People can sign up online, so I won't need to do anything but keep them running to make money."
"They are a bit overpowered to be used just for that," the ring pointed out.
"I'm sure we'll find a use for the additional power," John replied. "Well, let's get to work."
Under the guidance of his ring John spent several hours altering the satellites and removing their weapons before moving the three large spheres into position to provide full coverage for the US, Canada, Mexico, and parts of South America.
"We may have poor customer service, having no actual employees, but at least we'll be cheap," John said.
"The alterations made to the CPU architecture are based on my own design, and I believe the primitive AIs created should be sufficient for customer service," the ring assured him.
"Better put in safeties so they don't go rogue and try to wipe out humanity," John told his ring.
"I don't foresee that being a problem, but safeties are in place," the ring replied.
"You've never worked customer service," John said. "Make sure they have the current first-person shooter installed with a dedicated line just for them if they chose to use it."
"Done," the ring replied, sounding slightly confused.
"Current ring charge?"
"Eighty-seven percent, sir. Your power efficiency has improved by an impressive amount."
"Hard not to since I at least have an idea of what I have to do now, though I will have to practice until it's second nature," John said. "Okay, where is the home address of Alan Scott? He lives in the US and served in the armed forces in the early 40's."
"Got it," the ring replied, feeding the coordinates into his head.
"Excellent," John said, "Alan Scott is an unaffiliated green lantern and one not networked to the others, so he is my best bet for a recharge until I can get my own lantern."
John carefully focused his will, shaping his shield around him to bend light so he could fly down unseen. The last thing he wanted was to be named the Nudist Lantern after all.
He ignored the flames that surrounded him from the heat of re-entry as they were small enough that they could be passed off as a meteorite burning up in the upper atmosphere, focusing on reaching his goal. The lack of inertia helped him quell any possible fear he might have felt as he fell from the sky, as it made flying feel more like he was watching a movie rather than actually traveling.
At ten thousand feet he dropped his speed to under sound and continually reduced speed until he drifted down to land in Alan Scott's backyard invisibly and silently.
"Scan the house," he ordered, the ring feeding the data to his visual cortex so he could see Alan Scott was drinking coffee in his kitchen and no one else was in residence. He could also see both the lantern and ring were in a small room hidden behind a closet off the master bedroom.
He walked across the lawn and politely knocked on the back door while dropping the invisibility technique, feeling a bit of relief as it had started to become harder and harder to hold up with his limited experience.
"Hello?" Alan said as he answered the door and stared in confusion at the naked young man.
John quickly held up his ring and willed it to glow. "Good evening Mr. Scott, I'm sorry to bother you at home, but I've run into a bit of difficulty."
"Please come in," Alan said, recovering from his shock and glancing around to make sure no one else was looking in his backyard. "It must be one doozy of a problem if you showed up at my door naked."
"It is and it isn't," John replied, relieved to be out of public. "I don't suppose you have a robe I can borrow?"
"Wait right here and I'll get you one," Alan said.
"Can you grab your ring so we're on more equal footing?" John requested.
"Pardon?" Alan asked.
"I came here because I need advice and help form Earth's original green lantern," John explained, "and I think things would be easier if you have your ring on hand to verify some of my claims rather than simply taking me at my word."
"I'd be happy to," Alan assured him with a smile. "Feel free to pour yourself a cup of coffee, I'll be right back."
John felt his stomach rumble and realized it had been a while since he'd last eaten, if he ever had since there was the strong possibility he was a duplicate rather than his original self, not that it mattered in the end, he was never one to suffer from existential crises, finding it easier just to roll with things.
He sipped the coffee and smiled; Alan made good coffee.
"Here you are, young man," Green Lantern said as he returned in costume and carrying a white robe, his presence carrying much more weight for some reason as he seemed more himself. "You can keep the robe."
"Bless you," John said, setting down his coffee and pulling on the robe which the ring transformed into a black and green bodysuit styled after the outfits from Star Trek: The Next Generation with the corps symbol in place of a com badge. "It feels so good to be dressed again." He picked back up his coffee and sat down.
"I don't believe I've ever tried to charge up naked, but then my ring doesn't provide a costume the way yours does," Alan said, sitting back down. "Now, I understand you have a story for me?"
"Oh yeah," John agreed, taking another sip of coffee. "Sorry, but you make some good coffee."
Alan chuckled and relaxed in his chair.
"About four hours ago I found myself in orbit wearing only a power ring, and neither me nor my ring have any memory of what has occurred," John explained. "I used my ring to tap into a nearby satellite and quickly realized this wasn't my Earth."
"I can see where that would be a problem," Alan said.
"Normally I'd have called another lantern for assistance, however with my ring wiped of all but basic functions I don't have the communication protocols," John explained, "and once I realized this was a different Earth, that point became moot because I'm forbidden from having dealings with any other corps without authorization."
"Other corps?" Alan asked curiously.
"Where I'm from there are several," John replied. "Sinestro has his corps that runs on fear, Atrocitus has his that use the red light of rage, and Saint Walker carries the blue light of hope."
"Saint?" Alan asked curiously.
"Saint Walker," John said with a smile, "his hope was so great he re-ignited a sun and saved his people. Trust me, he's earned the title, even though he'd assure you he didn't."
Alan laughed. "The greatest ones never do."
"There is also the violet lanterns of obsessive love," John continued, "and finally there is the Indigo tribe."
"The light of compassion," John said, "secretive and impossible to find at the best of times."
"That's a lot of lights," Alan said. "So why not go talk to the Justice League and have them contact a green lantern?"
"This Green Lantern Corps is not my Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians are… a bit grabby. I don't feel like being stuck in a Science-Cell because I'm an anomaly, which they've been known to do. If not for your sterling record I'm sure they'd have done the same to you."
"I'm not sure they're quite that bad here, but I can understand your caution; they have instructed the local lanterns to give me space," Alan admitted.
"And being an unaffiliated green lantern, I could at least ask for your help," John finished.
Alan sipped his coffee as he considered John's situation. "I'll be happy to help, but I'm not sure what I can do for you that you can't do for yourself, except provide a place to sleep until you find your way back to your feet of course."
"I don't have my lantern with me," John said, "and while I can't take yours since it's part of you, I can at least recharge my ring until I figure out a work around."
"Part of me?" Alan asked, amused. "I may be attached to it, and loathe to give it up after so long, but it's hardly part of me."
John blinked and ran through what he knew of Alan Scott, the first green lantern in his head. "I can see why you look your age then. I'm guessing the Guardians here didn't tell you about the history of your lantern."
"Just that it was one of their earlier models that was lost in battle."
John nodded. "Alright, let me tell you about the Starheart…"
Typing by: fyrewolf5
AN: deimos16 on Space Battles is writing a story titled 'Beware My Power, Again!' a rewrite of his first version. Anyway, he pointed out that all the 'SI-Ring' fics were of various colors, but for some reason no one had a done a green one, so he was going to fix that. I liked the idea and read his story, which he then rewrote, (improving it) but unlike the usual SI-Ring fic not only was it green, but he also was chosen by the local Green Lantern Corps, which kinda annoyed me, because half the fun of a SI-Ring fic is the SI having no proper equipment or backup and having to improvise. Still, I am following his story and it is good, but I decided to write my own, following a little closer to the Genre.