"Krypton is only 27.1 light years away."
"Superman may have a problem with that," Alan pointed out.
"He's had plenty of time to go back and collect everything he wants," John replied, "besides while he may have a reasonable claim on his family's personal property, he doesn't have one on his entire species."
Alan gave a reluctant nod. "He's probably reasonable enough to acknowledge that."
"My plan is to scan for survivors and any equipment that taps into the emotional spectrum," John said. "Even with a power ring it'll take some time, but if you help out we can probably get it done in under a week."
"Survivors?" Alan asked. "Do you really think anyone survived the planet exploding? Not to mention a couple of decades floating in space."
"Not any of the adults," John replied, "but the Kryptonians were big on artificial wombs, cloning, and redundant systems, so I figure the odds of finding some developing fetuses or possibly even fully developed babies held in stasis are pretty good."
"I hadn't thought of that," the older lantern said. "What do we do with them if we find them?"
"If we only find one or two, Superman might be interested in raising them," John replied. "If we find more than a handful the Kryptonian colony on Daxamite can take them in."
"I hope we find hundreds," Alan said.
John raised his beer. "I'll drink to that."
"I've got it,' Alan said, extending a green thread through the door.
"Thanks!" Tom called out from outside.
"Ice fishing is definitely going on my list of approved hobbies," Alan said as they appeared in his living room in a flash of green light.
"Did you get it that time?" John asked his ring.
"Not fully, though I have more data on his method of teleportation than I had previously," the ring replied.
"Well, keep plugging away at it, we'll get it sooner or later," John told his ring.
'Thank you, sir," James said and fell silent.
Alan chuckled. "Maybe I'm just not explaining it right."
"Maybe it's something unique to you and you would have learned to do it in moments of stress before you even got the ring," John replied.
John shrugged. "Hell if I know, but if it helps protect the poor fragile ego of James and I, I'll easily claim you're a latent meta."
Alan burst out laughing. "Yeah, that must be it."
"Give me a minute to create my Lego lantern and we can charge up and go," John said, as he telepathically communicated with his ring.
"Let me grab my lantern," Alan said, eager to see how John's crazy idea would play out.
John held his left-hand palm flat out and a duplicate ring fell into it, spawned by his ring. It shimmered slightly as it shifted to form a small rectangle, which he set on the coffee table before holding his hand out for another one.
By the time Alan had returned with his lantern there were thirty small green blocks sitting on the coffee table that John was stacking together to form a larger block about the size of a coffee pot.
"Kinda small," Alan noted.
"I could make a bigger one, but this should be enough for an entire month under normal use," John explained.
"I'm surprised you haven't made a ring mail shirt of them yet," Alan teased as he set his lantern on the table.
"Didn't think of it," John admitted, "plus that would leave them open to damage if someone got a good hit in on me."
Alan grinned, amused. "I've already charged up my ring, so let her rip."
John nodded and held up the green brick. "Invictus: I am the captain of my soul!"
Green fire poured out of the lantern covering John's form for a few seconds before it retreated, leaving him unharmed and the dull green brick he'd been holding glowing brightly.
"I feel like I've just drank two pots of coffee back-to-back," Alan said. "How about you?"
"I don't absorb green energy the way you do… but I am feeling pretty energized," John said thoughtfully.
"Are you sure?" Alan asked. "Because your nose was glowing like Rudolph for a second there as the fire went out."
"Backup ring," John replied.
"You stuck a ring up your nose?" he asked in disbelief.
"It's in my sinus cavity," the younger lantern explained. "It's a backup ring, but instead of sticking it on my toe I stuck it inside my body and of the available orifices it was the best choice, close to the brain and not easily found."
"Yeah, I can see where that's a good choice," Alan admitted, "but it's a little close to the Batman line."
"Possibly," John agreed, "but it serves its purpose and will be useful if someone hostile ever gets my ring off me."
"Isn't it uncomfortable?"
"I felt a little pressure when I put it in, but that quickly went away and I'm barely aware of it now," John replied with a shrug.
Alan sat down and took off his boot and sock so he could get his ring off. He looked at it for a second before it glowed brightly and reshaped itself into a green slug-like shape which he stuck up his left nostril. He frowned and wiggled his nose a little before nodding to himself and putting back on his sock and boot. "When you're right, you're right."
John smiled and turned to the brick in his hand. "All fully powered with no malfunctions?"
"Ring twenty-six is experiencing an unknown error," the brick replied.
"Pop out ring twenty-six so I can take a look at it," John ordered.
The brick shimmered and an obsidian brick popped out and into his hand.
"Burn one out?" Alan guessed.
"No," John said thoughtfully, as he examined it, "I can feel it has power. I think we should leave this for Dr. Fate to take a look at. Messing with Black power rings seems like a bad idea, at least until we get someone qualified to take a look at it."
"Probably a good idea," Alan agreed. "I'd guess it was connected to the Shadowlands, considering my son, but that was because of what I'd been exposed to, not the lantern."
John subspaced both items. "Ready to go into outer space?"
"Been there before, but I've never been to see the remains of Krypton," Alan said eagerly. "I'll teleport us up a couple of miles and then you can take us FTL."
"James," John addressed his ring, "how do I handle FTL transitions?"
"You've never… of course you haven't or at least not as far as you remember," Alan said, shaking his head. "Jeeves, how do I handle FTL transitions?"
Sector 2813, Red Dwarf LHS 2520, Kryptonian designation Rao
There was a flash of green light and a pair of lanterns appeared.
"That was a lot easier than I thought," Alan said.
"I think the hardest part is navigation and the rings' AIs handle that," John told him.
"With the entire universe just a step away I'd imagine so," Alan agreed as he scanned the solar system. "The planetary debris isn't scattered as far as I'd thought they would be."
"Tomar-Re, the lantern for this sector, probably gathered it all up as penance for failing to save Krypton or simply because it was a travel hazard for his sector, maybe a bit of both," John guessed as he turned his attention to the debris field and started scanning.
"Either way it makes our job easier," Alan said. "Is that a mountain made of gold?!" he asked in disbelief.
"The uranium in the planet's core displaced all the gold and pushed the majority of it up through a single volcano," John replied as he saw what Alan was scanning. "Krypton was a weird place. We can use it as a base since it'll protect us from the high radiation levels out here."
"My ring is having a hard time getting a clear scan through all the radiation," Alan said with a frown.
"We're going to have to use close range scans to get any accuracy," John said, "that's why this is going to take so long. Look for power sources and beware automated defenses, Kryptonians were really xenophobic."
"Meet at the mountain in an hour after a brief survey?" Alan suggested.
"Good idea, we can mark down promising sites and build a shelter in the volcano," John agreed.
"Build a shelter?"
"Someplace to kick up our feet and eat a meal in between searches, also a place to store any viable Kryptonians we find," John explained.
"Probably a better idea than dragging them to Earth before we figure out what to do with them," Alan agreed.
"I'll take the mass of rubble to the left," John said.
"I'll take the mass to the right then," Alan agreed with a grin before transitioning off.
John let James pick the route they'd take through the system before transitioning to a continent sized mass and scanning for signs of power and life.
He fitted around the enormous crystalline mass, as a good deal of the ground had been transformed into kryptonite by the explosion, but the few signals he was able to lock onto turned out to be automated monitoring stations keeping watch over enormous forests and jungles, both long dead.
His next transition turned out to be an enormous ball of ice that was probably once a good chunk of one of Krypton's seas. There weren't any active power sources, but there also wasn't any masses of kryptonite so it was possible some of the frozen sea life might be viable if defrosted, through cloning if nothing else.
His third jump was a good prospect for what he was looking for, it was a good-sized city, about the size of Hawaii and despite the widespread destruction and kryptonite there were dozens of power sources still functioning.
Despite his awe at examining the wreckage of the birth planet of one of Earth's greatest heroes it soon became routine as most of what he found was simply masses of kryptonite and frozen and decompressed sections of forests or jungles.
"Sir, it's time to head back," James informed him.
"Alright," John agreed, transitioning to the gold volcano and finding himself staring at it in disbelief; it was one thing to read about a giant volcano that spewed gold and another to see it.
There was a spark of green in the distance that quickly grew larger, revealing Alan who had transitioned a couple of miles away and had elected to fly over while examining the volcano himself.
"That is an unbelievable amount of wealth," Alan said, "I can't believe no race has laid claim to it yet."
"Gold is only valuable until you reach outer space," John said, "it becomes pretty common once you can mine asteroids for it. Also, the radiation level in this system would ward off most other races."
"Another good thing about having lantern rings," Alan said. "How are we going to build a camp?"
"Find a small, self-contained building and move it into the caldera," John replied. "Kryptonite is a great power supply, and the rings have the technical databases of countless species so repairing and setting everything up is even easier than following a set of assembly instructions."
"I've found two good sized cities and one small town, you?" Alan asked as they floated up the golden volcano.
"One major metropolis and a handful of monitoring stations," John replied.
"Jeeves was good enough to direct me towards places where I could find something interesting," Alan said thoughtfully, "but you know what I haven't found?"
"Bodies," Alan replied, "not a single body."
"Same here," John realized. "Krypton had well over a billion people, but I have yet to find a single corpse."
"Someone has done some serious clean up here," Alan said.
"Half of it was probably Superman," John guessed.
"Then we probably aren't going to find any survivors," Alan pointed out. "He'd check thoroughly for something like that."
"Doesn't hurt to double check, but I think you're right," John agreed, "it was a bit conceited of me to think I was the first one to come up with the idea of searching the wreckage for survivors."
"Better to try and fail than assume and let people die," Alan told him firmly.
"Point," John agreed. "Well, there should be a nature conservatory or something in the city I found, and they usually keep themselves isolated from the local environment for the sake of whatever it is they're conserving. A building like that should be perfect."
"I don't think they'd design it to operate in a vacuum," Alan said, thinking of the local butterfly conservatory back home.
"It was designed by Kryptonians," John said with a shrug, "it could probably survive anything short of a nuke."
"But probably not the planet exploding," Alan said. "Oh well, I need to practice all the repair techniques my ring's got anyway."
"That's the spirit," John said cheerfully. "Follow me."
Alan zipped off after him, following his floating green trail to a good-sized chunk of the planet's surface. "Whoa," he breathed out in awe.
"I know," John agreed, "it's like someone took New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco and smashed them together."
"With a touch of fairyland by way of Metropolis," Alan added.
"Crystal and chrome," John agreed as they floated down toward the dead city.
"I can't believe it's so… intact."
"Kryptonians built to last," John said as he searched the city for the appropriate building.
"Emotional energy detected," James announced.
"What?!" the two lanterns chorused, stopping twenty feet above an empty intersection.
"I think we found what I was looking for," John said with a grin as his ring fed him directions.
The two lanterns flew through the city heading for the center, their rings providing translations of the street signs and the few advertisements that didn't require power.
"History and science museum," John read off the large domed building as they landed in front of it.
"Huh," Alan said, "I thought we'd find the device in some mad scientist's lair."
"I think the science council would all qualify as mad scientists to us and they ran the place," John said as he walked up the steps to the entrance and examined the smooth crystal doors that provided a dimly lit view of the interior. "Looks like they still have power."
"Figured out phasing yet?" Alan asked. "Because if it still has atmosphere, opening the doors is going to cause a big mess."
"I can phase, just not quickly," he replied as the aura around his body started to increase in brilliance.
Alan watched as John cautiously stepped through the door and chuckled to himself as he followed, not breaking stride, recalling his first few times he'd tried phasing and getting stuck inside a wall.
"Light, what there is of it, and air," John noted. "Still going to keep my shield up, not sure Krypton has the same oxygen content or that the museum's systems are good enough to keep the air fresh for a couple of decades."
Alan raised a hand causing a ball of green fire to form. "Well, let's go see what they've got."
"A whole lot of fancy ray guns," John noted as they floated down the hall, glancing at the displays.
"Rays for every occasion," Alan agreed. "Not sure why you would want to turn small rodents into lead, but they have a ray for that." He gestured to a small grey pistol floating in a circle of light in its case with a series of pictures showing the effects behind it.
"Like I said, mad scientists one and all," John said with a grin as they reached the end of the hall and took a right.
"Energy manipulation devices," John noted as the displays in this section all housed inverted pyramids of various sizes with small items floating above them.
"A pair of cufflinks that allow you to manipulate smoke… no, plasma," Alan said pausing at a display that glowed green, drawing his attention.
"Bingo!" John said, waving for Alan to join him.
"A blue ring," Alan said. "Not the green you were hoping for, but it is something."
"The inverted pyramid is the power source," John said as he phased his hands through the glass and pulled them out, the pyramid being a little larger than a lantern while the ring was somewhere in between the size of a normal lantern's ring and the one Alan had hand crafted for the Starheart.
"You mentioned a blue lantern corps," Alan recalled while John sent the pyramid into his subspace pocket and put the blue ring on his left hand, "is this one of theirs?"
"Unauthorized user," the ring complained and began to glow brightly.
"James overwrite the ring AI please, but save all the data you can," John quickly ordered.
"Can it do that?" Alan asked.
"Yeah, Kryptonians are up there as one of the brightest races in the universe, but the Guardians have them beat," John assured them as both rings started pulsing. "The blue rings I'm used to are basically the same as your standard issue green ring, except it has different strengths and weaknesses since it's tapping hope instead of will, this is something different."
"Ring AI overwritten," the two rings chorused.
"Well, at least you can go out as a blue lantern when you run low on green," Alan offered.
"Actually, blue lanterns can recharge greens," John said, "or increase their power or efficiency or something to that effect." He held up his blue ring and an aura of blue light encompassed the pair for a few seconds. "Ring charge?"
"One hundred and eight percent," James reported, before the blue ring added. "Eighty nine percent."
"Jeeves?" Alan asked.
"One hundred and sixty four percent," Alan's ring replied, making his nose glow for a second.
"Impressive and takes care of your power problem," Alan said, "of course Superman may be a bit upset."
"Why?" John asked and looked at his ring. He groaned, staring at the S shaped symbol on the face of the ring.
Typing by: fyrewolf5
TN: Just no luck for John getting his own lantern or other method to recharge easily.
Omake: Cheksum Data
John woke up to find himself floating in the middle of what appeared to be deep space. He looked down and thought, 'Well at least I'm wearing clothes' followed immediately by the thought of "Why am I wearing a dress?" which he voiced out loud.
"I have no explanation as to why you are wearing a dress," James replied.
"I thought it would be amusing," said a voice that sounded oddly like Gilbert Godfrey.
John turned to see a little man in a green suit and hat sitting cross-legged on nothing.
The little man was looking at him intently, wearing bright green 'Elton John' spectacles. "But it wasn't as amusing as I thought," he said and he took off the spectacles and they disappeared.
John then looked down to see himself back in his Green Lantern costume.
"In any case, the Boss asked me to look you over, since it's about my time to come and mess with Superman. Anyway, here we are. My name is Mr. Mxyzptlk."
John waited, then asked, "And where is here?"
James spoke up and said, "Wherever we are is not known to the Green Lanterns nor to the people of Earth."
"That is because I took us back a few thousand years to study John here. It was necessary because he's an anomaly. The Boss wanted to know if you posed a danger to reality. So I scanned your quantum resonance and you are stable. From what I can tell, a quantum paradox, what you call a time change, sort of copied and then pasted you here."
"So that means...what exactly?" asked John.
"That you won't die a horrific and painful death, which is good news, and you wearing a dress is absolutely not amusing at all, and finally you are actually a member of this reality on a quantum level," said Mxyzptlk, now wearing a lab coat and Graduation Cap.
"The quantum event means that it's unamusing when I wear a dress?" asked John, not believing it.
"Yes, absolutely. In fact, you wearing a dress of any type for any reason is absolutely not funny in any way, shape or form," said Mxyzptlk, still wearing the lab coat and having added some nerdy glasses. "Watch."
Mxyzptlk snapped his fingers and John was suddenly wearing a bright pink dress with very small oranges in the chest area followed by a bright blue dress and rather large oranges in the same area followed by a very bright green dress with nothing in the chest area followed by a dress worn by someone's Aunt Gertrude when she met her 12th husband with size triple D fake breasts. (John had the size triple D fake breasts, not Aunt Gertrude's 12th husband as his breasts were only size double D. He was a large man but Gertrude loved him.)
"See? Nothing, not even a chuckle. You wearing a dress is unamusing on a quantum scale," said Mxyzptlk, wearing a smaller copy of the dress, "and that was Gertrude's 12th husband's favorite dress; he loved wearing it so much."
Then Mxyzptlk seemed to brighten up and change into his regular outfit. "Oh, but that does give me an idea. I'll put Superman in a dress, a frilly pink dress with lace and stockings and bigger boobs than Wonder Woman! Oh, will you change back already, you're actually sucking the funny out of the universe."
John then said, "Well, I would change but I don't have god-like powers."
Mxyzptlk then said, "Oh, right...I forgot," and snapped his fingers, which resulted in John once again wearing his Green Lantern costume, although with a bright green tutu added to it. "On the other hand, you being in a tutu is absolutely hilarious," said Mxyzptlk as he actually started laughing. He kept laughing until he exploded.
"Oh, look at me, I went to pieces. I gotta pull myself together." Then he put himself back together. He chuckled a bit before he removed the tutu. "You in a tutu is hilarious on the quantum level."
"So, are there any clues as to how I was copied and pasted?" asked John.
Mr. Mxyzptlk looked thoughtful and then changed to looking like a miniature version of Dumbledore (from the first two movies) and said, "Yes. Explaining this is going to take my sock puppets."
He snapped his fingers and an anatomically correct apparently naked sock puppet that looked like John appeared on his left hand. He then snapped his fingers again and another identical, naked and also anatomically correct sock puppet appeared on his right hand. He then snapped the fingers on his third hand and two bubbles appeared. One bubble was marked 'Original Universe' and the other was marked 'This Universe' with a thin line connecting them. Then he put one sock puppet in the 'Original Universe' bubble and one sock puppet in the 'This Universe' bubble. He snapped his fingers again and the sock puppet in the 'This Universe' bubble was wearing a green lantern mask and costume with a tiny green tutu and had a tiny green ring. Then a pair of scissors labeled 'Cosmic Forces' cut the connection. Then Mr. Mxyzptlk said, "There you go. Simple, right?"
Mr. Mxyzptlk blinked.
"Yes, okay but how was I copied and pasted?" John asked.
Mr. Mxyzptlk sighed, morphed back into his regular outfit and said "Oh, well, that would take several hundred years and several hundred sock puppets to explain; I'd have to grow five or six hundred hands. Basically, you were mostly right, an event happened that changed time and something else happened that changed time back, but this universe and your original's home universe were briefly connected, long enough for you to be pasted here and the universes to correct themselves."
"Universes?" asked John
"Yes, the multiverse is self-correcting, self-healing or self-maintaining, whatever you call it and sometimes will create several universes to help correct something that impacts reality."
"What happens to them when the event is corrected?"
"Depends on the cause and effect," Mr. Mxyzptlk replied.
John slowly nodded as he got the gist of it.
"Well, in any case, it's time for you to get back," said Mr. Mxyzptlk and snapped his fingers.
And John once again found himself in orbit, wearing Aunt Gertrude's dress, and of course he had the same size triple D fake breasts.
"Still not funny," complained Mxyzptlk before John was suddenly back in the bed in Alan's guestroom. He stared at the tutu hanging on the door for a while before he decided to ignore it and go back to sleep not even noticing the green lantern sock puppet on the nightstand with its tiny glowing ring and lantern.