AN/ Been a while since I've posted anything, but anyway here's something a little different from me. I'm not sure it will be everyone's cup of tea but I wanted to try something different. I'm hoping you guys will like it :D
My Name is John Stewart, I'm the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 and right now I'm in the middle of a mission.
Right now my name is Hunger Dog, a bounty hunter aimlessly wandering the universe for any kind of work, I've ended up on the planet Rekkis, a distant, murky ball in space that is as hospitable as Batman is on his off days. Of course I'm not here by accident, I was sent here by the Guardians to reprimand a crime lord here, he has of course branched out into politics and not just petty if sometimes terrifying crime. Politics is a bad place for a crime lord, especially when the social stability of a planet is as precarious as this one...that's why I'm here.
While I'm playing a card game with the mob, I'm thinking. I've always been good at that, doing one thing and thinking something else, I've had a lot of experience with it in the League and the Corps, the mission comes first regardless of what you're thinking...or feeling.
Right now I'm thinking about Earth, I always do when I'm away, it is after all my home even if I don't always belong there. There was a time when I was scared of the place, scared that after fifteen years in space that I just wouldn't fit in anymore, that I was more alien than human. It doesn't help when half of your friends and close family are aliens as well.
The big guy on my left just threw in a few more chips, being Hunger Dog I know I have to throw in a few more, top up the bet, I'm a fearless and arrogant bounty hunter, I've got a facade to keep up. So as I toss in the chips I keep my eyes on the cards, the illusion my ring is generating over my appearance doesn't indicate much but I keep my emotions and expressions in check at all times. Nothing new there, I've been doing that for years. The hand goes around the table a few more times, we're waiting for our 'leader' to come back with some more crew members, the plan he has in mind leaves us sorely undermanned. Of course I know that the more he brings in the more I have to fight later but for now I'm confident, these guys aren't in the same league as what I'm used to. I hear Bruce's voice then, something about never underestimating the enemy, I know that, I'm not a green as grass recruit but I can't help the little lump of confidence in my chest. A little confidence never hurt, I'm still sufficiently wary that I won't get myself killed.
I take a sip of the drink I was given earlier, by now I'm certain that aliens have different taste buds because quite frankly...it's revolting, but I swallow it anyway and manage to avoid the gag reflex that's itching at the back of my throat. I don't flinch when the small but fierce looking alien sat opposite hits his fist against the table, he doesn't like losing and he has a foul temper so while the others at the table goad him, I'm watching his hands and the distance they are to the rifle I know is tucked inside his jacket. A moment passes and he gets over it, slumping back into the seat and grumbling something about cheaters and pigs. My ring is translating everything that goes on, even translates me so that I sound like I'm from another dust ball planet and not Earth, it's a handy thing to have I won't lie about that.
I used to be afraid of the ring sometimes, used to be afraid that the ring was me or at least everything that I was, that it defined me. I learnt of course, various experiences in the League taught me that I define the ring and not the other way around, I remember someone telling me once too, someone close to me but I've tucked all of that away somewhere, now isn't the time for distractions.
There's a knock behind me, we're sitting it out in a rusty warehouse somewhere, one of the universe's consistencies practically every city has one whether it's on Earth or halfway across the galaxy. Bragon, the big fella on my left, the one that keeps chucking the chips in the middle as if he's allergic to them...I know that on some higher level he's challenging me, pushing to see how far I can go. I know that if he pushes far and hard enough that he'll catch on to my rouse faster than the others but I keep my head on and stay focused, it's always about focus. So while he keeps tossing in chips I keep rising to the bait, it's a kids game but Bragon is as close to second in command as anyone can get, if he pulls a Brutus and stabs the leader in the back...well it saves me a job later. The problem with Bragon is he's willing to go further than the top man here, that being Mufek. Mufek's the type of alien that's gotten where he has with a reputation he didn't earn, he's been in the right place at the right time but he's more of a politician than a criminal. Putting it simply, I'm not the only one here who has noticed that he never pulls the trigger...Bragon does.
I know Bragon's gonna be more trouble for me and if he isn't, I'm sure he'll try his hardest to be.
"The stakes too high for you Dog?"
Bragon spits his words whenever he talks, I've put it down to too many teeth, none the less I check my cards, I've been watching the game closely, I know I've got the winning hand between us.
I nod my head and put my cards down, face down. Using my ring I will the cards to change, at least I put a glamour over them to make them look like a losing pair, I'm folding. I'm probably crazy, Bragon will get half of my funds but I've got to keep him sweet, make him think he's still top dog here...even if I am.
He's pleased when he reveals his cards, I was right I did have the winning hand but that doesn't matter now, it's all about strategy. I watch him pull the chips towards him mouthing off about his prowess at cards and a challenge won.
"It's a shame you don't talk much Dog, but maybe if you lose enough it may perhaps loosen your tongue."
He's right, I don't talk much but that's who Hunger Dog is, I've worked on this character for a while now and I know how to play it right. In the back of my mind I can hear Wally make a joke about what Bragon's said...cat got your tongue? But I swallow the mild humour down and carry on with my act. It's harder than it seems and it takes a lot of effort to hide yourself under the disguise of someone else, I've done work like this before and I know a few others that have too. One in particular starts to creep up on me but I push it back down as Bragon starts shuffling the cards again in his scarred hands, I know to watch the cards because cheating is second nature to him.
I don't want to play another game, not really but like everything else I've got to keep it up, keep Hunger Dog in character but to my relief there's another knock at the warehouse wall. Two more follow alternating pitch and Bragon tosses the cards to one side mildly pouting as he kicks the chair out from under the smaller one that had a tantrum earlier.
"Let them in."
The weasel obliges, he doesn't have a name so we all call him what we want, he seems to know when we're talking to him so there's no problem there. I've got my back to the warehouse wall so the weasel disappears somewhere behind me and I wait until I hear him pull the wall back and let Mufek in with the rest of the men he's bringing along.
"Who won?" is Mufek's first question, he's an avid gambler even though he refuses to partake in the games, I'm guessing he's a gambler who doesn't win many.
Bragon plays smug and Mufek smiles, the smile is wary though even I see that, Mufek knows that Bragon's close to sliding a blade between his ribs. It's interesting to some extent watching it all transpire; it almost feels like I'm watching a film, it's ridiculous just how accurate the movies are at capturing guys like these, another of the galaxy's universals.
"So where are they?" Bragon demands, he's impatient when it comes to actual work especially if Mufek is the one organising it, it's probably because he thinks he can do better...I don't doubt it.
Mufek whistles, it's a high tone that almost hurts my ears, it obviously hurts whoever is waiting outside because we all hear them yell before they stalk inside.
"Don't whistle for me like some-"
Mufek holds up his hand as if to silence the other man who I can feel making his way over, he's stamping his feet as he goes making it easier for me to pinpoint where he is in the room.
"I'm not some little H'thka you can call on."
I frown at the sudden foreign word, so far my ring has been translating everything but it neglected that one, maybe it's a more recent term or maybe it's slang, it doesn't matter I get his point. There are a few choice words of Weasel's that my ring doesn't translate either.
"You're working for me now Thanagarian, so you'll come when I call for you...however I chose to do it." Mufek is enjoying his authority, shame he doesn't really have any but I'm not thinking about that, I'm thinking about what I just heard.
It takes a lot of my will not to turn around in my seat to look; it's out of character so I stay frozen in place, staring out across the table and at the rusty warehouse walls opposite me.
Bragon is sitting up with obvious interest now, his elbows resting on the table as he eyes the newcomer that I still can't see.
"What's a Thanagarian doing this far from home?" I can tell he isn't really all that interested, this is just his preliminary interview, he wants to learn enough about them to gauge their threat level. There's a spare seat at the table and the newcomer doesn't waste time with permission and chucks himself into the chair.
The first thing I see is his helmet, the second is the large grey wings. I swallow down the lump in my throat, there's only one Thanagarian I have time for and she's not here. I start to question this whole mission; it's crazy of me to do so because not much has changed in the last ten minutes.
The Thanagarian huffs in disgust as if the question is absurd "I have no home," He snaps slinging the cards by his hand out of the way and slapping a short battle axe onto the table, I know enough to know that it's made of Nth metal and has an electric charge that packs a nasty punch. "Not since that traitor betrayed us." He chooses that very moment to turn his head and spit on the floor. As I watch the gob of saliva hit the floor I feel something tug in my chest, but I can't lose focus.
"You Thanagarians breed traitors." Bragon quips, it doesn't surprise me that Thanagarians don't have many fans. They're violent and single minded at least when it comes to war and I'm guessing ours wasn't the only planet they tried to take over, but I know they aren't all like that...one of them isn't.
Bragon's words set the Thanagarian off and he reaches for the axe and slams it into the table burying the blade about three inches into the surface. I don't flinch because I saw it coming.
"Don't possess to know my people, we are a warrior race and I'd sooner cut your heart out and feed it to you than abide by your orders."
Bragon doesn't move and everyone watches the little standoff between the newcomer and our second in command.
"Get back in your cage Thanagarian, your threats and your reputation won't help you here."
I can tell that Bragon has worked him out already, it never takes him long, Mufek though...well he took about five steps back as soon as the axe was picked up.
The Thanagarian sits back down and tugs his axe out of the table, I can see even with the mask covering half of his face that he's still angry, it means he's unpredictable and I unconsciously touch the pistol that's holstered on my hip to check its still there, I can't use the ring here.
"This is only temporary." He says as he noticeably squeezes the handle of his weapon.
I wonder if he is referring to Bragon's authority over him or his time with us in general...something tells me it's both.
"Why do you suppose that?"
The Thanagarian glares at Bragon "I just want my cut."
Mufek pipes up then, he's gotten over the earlier outburst "I promised him a bag of credit for his services-"
The newcomer cuts him off waving the axe in front of his nose "I just want enough for a ship so I can find the filthy Brishka that betrayed us."
I can feel my blood running cold at his words even if not all of them are translated, it wouldn't be the first time someone has gone after her. He's still talking and it takes a second for me to realise and catch up.
"I will be honoured for bringing her back to the resistance."
Bragon snorts in amusement and the Thanagarian turns on him again, glaring, daring him to make a challenge but Bragon just sits there and takes a swig of his drink.
"Honour means nothing."
"It will when I tear her wings off and hand them to the Elders on a platter next to her head."
I know I shouldn't do anything, logic tells me I'm being a fool but I've always been a fool when it comes to her. So before I realise what I'm doing I've stood, before I gauge what's happening I've got my hands around his throat and I'm in his face, snarling like my name sake.
Mufek is there in an instant "Dog! What are you doing?"
Bragon is there too but obviously less panic stricken, this is all an amusing game to him, a nice little morsel of entertainment before he kills off Mufek and takes over this little pack of criminals. It isn't until Bragon laughs that I take my hands reluctantly away from wringing the newcomer's neck.
"You're full of surprises Dog." He gestures for me to move and I realise that my hands are shaking. "You see," Bragon is addressing the Thanagarian now "Dog here is sensitive, he doesn't like the thought of hurting women and children." I'm relieved that Hunger Dog has that sense of honour; it's gotten me out of a few tough situations and continues to do so.
The Thanagarian man spits at me but he's too far away so misses, Bragon laughs again before turning to Mufek "Consider him initiated Mufek...when are we going to get down to business. I'm sick of waiting around playing games."
Later I'm sitting alone in the warehouse, it's my turn to watch so I'm there alone while the others are sleeping or out in the city doing whatever it is they do. I've followed them a few nights, surveying them and studying them but tonight I'm just sat here at the card table.
We went through the plans a little while after the other men arrived, there were four of us before the Thanagarian, there's seven of us now and I know that before the night is up there will be six and Mufek will have a knife in his heart. I know what I have to do over the next few days, I should be planning it right now to every second, every scenario so that I can come out on top with another crime lord dealt with, but instead my head is thinking about something else.
I'm thinking about what the Thanagarian said, I'm thinking about her. Once she gets in my mind I can never seem to get her out again but I'm anxious, I'm wondering how many other Thanagarians are out there looking for her. I keep thinking about the coincidence of coming across one while I'm undercover, I keep hearing Batman in my head telling me there's no such thing as coincidence, I'm thinking about fate, about destiny and I suddenly feel sick to my stomach. Either way, whatever happens in the next few days, that Thanagarian that's sleeping twenty feet away isn't going to find her and he isn't going to rip her wings out or take her back to the resistance so she can be made an example of.
Despite myself I get the sudden urge to talk to her, I want to talk to her. Halfway across the universe I can't but I decide right there and then that I will when I get home.
I choose then to stop thinking about her, focusing back on the mission, focusing on being Hunger Dog and stopping this pack of criminals before they turn over the elections in the next few days. If they succeed in what they're planning the negotiations of a peace treaty between Rukkis and Galandor aren't going to happen and I can't allow that. Too much blood has been lost already.
There's a rustle behind me and I look into the reflective surface of the mirror I'm holding, I've been making it seem as if I'm shaving with the rugged blade in my hand, of course I'm not though, Hunger Dog is, at least what appears to be Hunger Dog. The mirror shows Bragon creeping along behind me, moving as silently as I've ever seen him as he slowly makes his way towards the room where Mufek is. I smile inwardly, my predictions were accurate and the plan I've got swimming around in my brain is going to work even with the extra men to deal with.
In an hour it will be Weasel's watch, he isn't very bright so I know I can get out of here for a few hours and communicate with Oa and let them know what's happening even if they do always seem to know what's going on before anyone else does.
I check the mirror again and Bragon's already walking back, I've got a hunch that he'll pin the blame on the newcomer, the Thanagarian, kill him as an example before promoting himself top dog as it were. I've also got a feeling that after my performance earlier he'll make me do it.
I think of Shayera and I let myself smile, it's been a while now since I've seen her...it's been a while now since I've really wanted to talk to her.
As much as I hate it, destiny means that right now I can protect her. It's the first time I'm thankful for it and I'm sure that if destiny has its way...it won't be the last.
AN/ Hunger Dog is a reference to the Comics when John went undercover. I've had this idea for a little while and this is what I came up with.
Anyway hopefully I'll post something again soon, oh and I know I shouldn't because I have loads of other things I want to write but I've been thinking about another drabble/oneshot series for HG/GL. I've put a poll on my profile to ask you guys whether you'd like to see another one or not so it'll be much appreciated if you can let me know :)
Thanks in advance and again I hope you liked this! :)