"Of course a family who's crest is their race's symbol for hope would be the ones who would try to create a lantern equivalent based on hope," John said with a sigh, turning to look at the display he'd taken it from.
"Yeah, in retrospect it's pretty obvious," Alan agreed with a chuckle.
"Or someone who was sucking up to them," John corrected himself with a slowly growing grin.
"Sucking up?" Alan asked before turning to examine what his sidekick was looking at.
"Xand of the house of Ur, grandson of Jax-Ur who is famous, or rather infamous, for accidentally destroying the moon and being the first person sentenced to the Phantom Zone. To distance himself from his grandfather, Xand-Ur concentrated on non-destructive inventions," John said.
"So the symbol on the ring is simply hope and not Superman's family crest," Alan said. "Lucky break."
"I really have to stop jumping to conclusions before checking things out," John said. "Well, I've got what I was looking for or something close to it. Do you wanna head back or look through Krypton's wing of the mad scientist museum to see if we can find anything useful?"
"I don't think we're going to find anything else compatible to a lantern ring in here, though from the sound of it we may find things that will destroy the moon or turn the seas into chicken soup," Alan said with a shrug.
"Good point," John agreed. "I'll probably come back at some point and look at the exhibits but that's just for curiosity's sake. Let's go visit the volcano and then head home."
"What's at the volcano?"
"Enough gold to keep the orphans of Gotham fed for the next millennium," John replied.
Alan nodded. "That's a good use for it."
"Argo still exists and that was going to be my next stop after this one," John said as they fazed through the building, "but I can't imagine that whoever cleaned up Krypton didn't look it over for survivors, a job made easier by the planet being largely intact. I'd suggest seeing if we could enlist a few more lanterns and see if we could put it back in place, but the radiation level in this system would kill whatever life actually survived it freezing over."
Alan transitioned them to the mountain of gold as soon as they cleared the city. "I'd check with the local Lantern to see what he has planned. He may have altered its trajectory to set it up in another solar system."
"That's a good point," John said. "I'll get it on my to-do list for my next visit to this sector." He pointed his ring at the mountain, carving a large cave in the side of it as he subspaced gold in convenient one ounce bars. "You should fill up on gold while you're here, I'm sure you can think of a charity or two that can use a leg up without collapsing the price of gold."
"I know some local charities that could use the help," Alan agreed before using his ring to carve out a much more modest amount.
"Today's been really productive," John said. "Now all I have to do is meet with your friend to finalize my new ID, get your lantern warded, have whoever is doing that look at the black ring, and set up a fund for Gotham's orphanages."
"Batman is setting up a meeting with the Justice League to make sure you aren't secretly evil, but he hasn't really scheduled it, so that's kind of up in the air," Alan reminded him.
"He probably wants to surprise me with it," John said, "either because he thinks it will help circumvent any defenses I could use against his tests or because it helps him feel in control."
"Probably both," Alan said. "Not the best way of building trust, but probably effective at weeding out villains."
"Short term gains costing long term goals," John said, shaking his head. "Yet another reason to never go full Batman."
"I can see how it serves short term gains, but how does it effect long term goals?" Alan asked.
"Well, if a villain was trying to slip in you could be welcoming and seduce him into the heroic lifestyle," John explained. "Monitor him to see what he's up to while showing him what it's like to know someone has your back and people are happy to see you."
"Would that work?" Alan asked thoughtfully.
"Couldn't hurt," John said with a shrug. "Just look at The Flash's rogue gallery vs. Batman's, at least part of the difference has to be because of how they treat them."
"You may have a point there," Alan admitted.
The pair transitioned into space between the Earth and the moon.
"Man, I'll never get tired of this view," Alan said.
"Looks even better with clothes on," John said, getting a chuckle.
John's ring flashed a couple of times and James announced, "Incoming message from Guy Gardner, sir."
"Patch him through," John said.
A hologram of Guy Gardner in greenscale appeared in front of them. "Hey John, got word back from the Guardians. In exchange for the info you're offering I'm to give you a weird looking lantern. They said it'll fully charge a ring, but you have to leave the ring on it for two hours for a full charge."
"Sending file now," John replied, his ring glowing for a second as it sent the data.
"It's only been a day, that's a pretty fast reaction from the Guardians for a non-emergency situation," Guy said.
"It's not an emergency now, but why wait until it is to fix the situation?" John replied.
"Good point," Guy said. "When can you pick up the Lantern?"
"I'm near Luna at the moment, where are you?"
"At the Watchtower," Guy replied, "having lunch."
"I can be there in a few minutes, just guide me in," John said.
"Make it ten and I'll meet you in shuttle bay five," Guy replied.
"On it," John said.
"See you then," Guy said and the hologram vanished.
"Blue, Black, and two Greens," Alan said with a laugh, "you're going to be wearing more jewelry than a 70's pimp if this keeps up."
"The Power Pimp," John said with a laugh. "Somehow I don't think it has the same ring as The Green Lantern."
"We do have brand recognition," Alan agreed with a smile.
"Now if I could get my hands on one of the Indigo tribe's staffs, maybe shrink it down into a pimp cane, well..."
Alan laughed. "How much chance of that is there?"
"None," John replied. "The Indigo Tribe are the strangest Lanterns of all and only take the worst people in the universe."
"The worst?" Alan asked, confused. "Isn't Indigo compassion?"
"Yeah, and once you put on one of their rings all you can feel is compassion," John explained, "it's basically a life sentence to make up for whatever horrible crimes they've committed."
"That sounds horrifying," Alan said.
"It is," John agreed, "so you can see why I'm unlikely to ever get my hands on one of their staffs."
"Yeah, I think you'll have to settle for being a Blue-Green Lantern," Alan agreed.
"I think I'll just stick with Green Lantern so I don't have to explain my name endlessly," John said.
"Probably a good idea," Alan said as they came within sight of the Watchtower and Martian Manhunter's mental voice directed them to where they needed to go.
"I've never visited the Watchtower before," Alan said as they flew into a hanger bay through the thin green membrane that was keeping the atmosphere in, "and I don't recognize most of these heroes."
"It has been a generation or two since you've been active," John said with a shrug as they landed and moved aside to not get in anyone's way. "Let's see who I recognize. The guy in the blue and gold armor with the floating robot is-"
"Booster Gold, we've met," Alan interrupted him.
"I'm sure you know Supergirl, the last Argosian," John said. "The blonde girl with the staff next to her-"
"I know Stargirl, Starman passed his cosmic rod to her," Alan pointed out.
"Are you sure there is someone here you don't know?" John asked, amused.
"Who's the guy in the detective outfit with no face?" Alan asked.
"That's The Question, and before you ask we are not going to play out a Laurel and Hardy sketch here, his name is… The Question," John explained. "He wears a pseudoderm face covering to hide his identity. He's like every conspiracy theorist rolled into one who can somehow come to the right answer."
"I think I've heard of him," Alan said thoughtfully.
"The beautiful woman in the orange animal themed outfit is Vixen, she wears a mystical amulet that connects her to the Red," John explained.
"Rage?" Alan guessed.
"Animal kingdom," John replied. "She can call on the strengths of anything in the animal kingdom. The Green light of will and the Green of the plant kingdom crossing over the way they do with the Starheart is pretty unique; most of the time they refer to completely different things. The Green refers to plants, The Red to the animal kingdom, The Blue or Clear refers to aquatic life, The Grey to fungal life. The Grey has some crossover with The Black or The Rot which is the natural force of death and decay. It's all very confusing. I believe another… cosmic force is forming for machine life, but it's not quite there yet."
"How do you know all that?" Alan asked.
"No idea," John reminded him.
Alan winced. "Sorry, but you come up with the most esoteric facts like its common knowledge. I'm half convinced you know everyone's secret identities."
"They aren't that secret," John replied with a shrug.
"Alan," a woman's voice called out from one side.
Green Lantern turned. "Diana," he said, his face lighting up.
Wonder Woman swept him up in a hug before setting him down with a smile on her face. "You are looking… surprisingly young."
"I'm getting there," Alan said with a grin. "Turns out I was only getting old because I'd stopped using my ring."
"Really?" she asked hopefully.
"Really," John assured her, "he's an elemental being kinda like yourself."
"And this is?" Wonder Woman asked.
"I'm his new sidekick, John," he said, offering her his hand.
Wonder Woman gave it a firm shake. "Batman may have mentioned you. Would you mind answering a few questions under lasso so I can calm him down?"
"Sure, as long as they aren't too invasive or reveal secrets I have," John said.
"I'll do my best," she promised as she took off her lasso and wrapped it around his hand. "Let's start with something simple. How old are you?"
"A little over three days or so, I'd have to consult my ring for the exact date I popped into existence," John replied.
"Are you sure your lasso is working?" Kara asked, having approached after overhearing the comment about secret identities.
"Popped into existence?" she asked.
"I'm calling myself a paradox child since I'm not from this timeline and was basically copy and pasted as far as reality is concerned, but we're getting off topic," he pointed out, not wanting anyone to ask any really pointed questions about his origins as there was only so much dancing around the issue he could do.
"Alright," Wonder Woman said. "Are you a villain?"
"Not remotely," John assured her.
"Any plans on taking over the world?"
"I could come up with some workable plans if you like, but I'd suggest avoiding it. I wouldn't even take over as shift manager at McDonalds unless forced," John replied honestly.
Wonder Woman laughed and unwrapped his hand, putting her lasso away. "I think we can skip whatever tests Batman has planned now."
"Thank you," John said earnestly, "I was a little afraid of what crazy thing he would come up with."
"I'm happy to help," she said graciously. "Could you explain a little more about being a paradox child? It sounds a little… unnerving."
"I made up the term, but it seems to fit," John said to reassure her. "My ring gave me partial protection from changes to the timeline… theoretically. At any rate I woke up, naked, in orbit with just my ring. No lantern, no clothes, no memory of my life or identity. I don't even have any scars. As far as reality is concerned I popped into existence from nothing."
"Then shouldn't you try and find a way to change things back?" Wonder Woman asked.
"Back to what?" John replied with a shrug. "I don't remember it, have not a single clue to go on, and morally every timeline has as much right to exist as any other. Besides, messing with the timeline is incredibly dangerous and could threaten all of reality. No, the best thing I can do is make a new life, so that's what I'm doing."
"We really should get pamphlets printed up," Alan told John, "it would save time."
"But what if you were in love with someone?" Supergirl asked. "You could have been engaged."
"And you could have been pregnant," Alan replied, "with one kid already in diapers."
"What?!" Supergirl blurted out wide eyed. "B-but I'm only eighteen!"
"I was unaware that pregnancy was impossible on this Earth before eighteen," John said, pretending to be confused. "When did that happen?"
"Hey!" Supergirl complained, catching on to what he was doing.
"What, it's only okay for you to try to make me depressed over a timeline that no longer exists?" John said.
"Point taken," she admitted with a frown, "still mean though."
"Nah, if I was going to be mean I'd ask why you insisted she be named Barbara," he said, before getting distracted by Guy's arrival, unaware of how the Argosian had frozen in place.
"I've got the Lantern, though it's kinda funny looking the Guardians said it'll work," Guy said, before noticing the second ring John had on. "Is that…"
"A Kryptonian wedding ring?" John joked showing it to him.
"So, you and Supes eh?" Guy fired back with a grin.
"Sadly he only has eyes for Lois," John said melodramatically.
"Well that certainly narrows it down," Alan said.
"The symbol of hope on it in Kryptonian narrows it down more, but only because any of the Daxamite branch of the house of El are Xenophobic and would have nothing to do with me," John said.
"Daxamite?" Wonder Woman asked.
"A Kryptonian colony that didn't get forced back to Krypton," John explained. "It's under a red dwarf star and they don't like outsiders."
"I wonder if Kal knows," Wonder Woman said.
"Every Green Lantern ring has the Coordinates for Daxam, so he can ask any of them if he doesn't," John offered.
"I should check," Wonder Woman decided. "Alan, we really should get together, what are you doing tomorrow night?"
"Nothing I can't reschedule," Alan said with a smile.
"I'll come by at seven," she said and took several steps before turning around to address him. "Wear something sexy."
Alan groaned. "I am never going to live that down," he said as a laughing Wonder Woman left.
"Let me guess," Guy said with a grin, "you told Wonder Woman to wear something sexy way back when."
"It was the fifties," Alan said, "and a perfectly reasonable comment back then."
"Except for the fact that it's just about impossible to beat what she normally wears," Guy said.
"Oh no," Alan said, "she can top it. Trust me, she's one woman you don't want to underestimate."
"I believe it," Guy said before turning to John and extending a hand, a green crystalline pyramid appearing in it. "It balances itself on the tip somehow and you just stick the ring above it and it hovers as it charges."
"Interesting design," Alan said, grinning at John.
"The Guardians said it was actually the most efficient design for a Lantern, but since we often don't have two hours to wait they had to go with the ones we use instead," Guy explained. "I asked cause it's kinda weird, like I've mentioned."
"It's just what I need," John assured him and sent it into his subspace pocket.
"Sorry about the delay in getting it to you, but Green Arrow's chili really does a number on me," Guy said.
"Green Arrow made chili?" Alan asked eagerly. "Think there's any left?"
"Only a couple of us eat it and he made a big pot," Guy told him with a grin.
"So we're staying for lunch?" John guessed.
"You have to try his chili," Alan told him, "it's… the bomb? Did I use that right?"
Guy grinned. "Probably and I could go for another bowl."
The three Green Lanterns left, leaving a worried Supergirl behind unnoticed.
'I don't think I ever told Babs I was planning to name my first daughter after her,' she thought to herself. 'So how did he know?'
Typing By: Abyssal Angel
TN: Xand-Ur? Really?
Really? XD Poor guy really can't catch a break from his relatives huh.
AN: Almost gave away that joke last chapter cause I kept writing Xander instead of John.