Disclaimer: I don't own anything
Law & Order
"Come on, come on…" muttered the space pirate, Kanjar Ro, as he pushed his ships thrusters to the maximum speed in an effort to escape his pursuer. The native of the planet Dhor in the Antares star system was considered odd in appearance even when it came to aliens. Possessing grayish pink skin, a long sharp nose, bug eyes and jagged teeth, he looked like the humanoid bastard love child of an insect, a dead rat, and a fish. Appearances aside, the thief had 'acquired' some 'rare' blasters and was looking to flip them to some rebels on the planet Ajuris 4. Unfortunately, Naruto was lying in wait for the pirate upon his approach to the planet's lunar orbit. Quickly finding that out running the Green Lantern was out of the question, Ro fired at the blond with the ships main blaster. Naruto formed a massive mirror construct in response, reflecting Kanjar's blast right back at his own ship. One reflected blast took down the main canon, before a flurry super-sized senbon needle constructs pierced the ship's hull and knocked the engines offline. The damage forced Ro to crash land on the moon of Ajuris 4 and surrender to the Green Lantern. As soon as the ship came to a stop, a construct hammer shattered the windshield before morphing into a massive hand which yanked Ro out of the shit and unceremoniously dropped him on the ground at the feet of Naruto.
"We've been trailing the money of this little smuggling operation for some time now. I'm tired of chasing down you little rats. Give me your boss, now." demanded Naruto.
"I can't give you what I don't know!" exclaimed a fearful Kanjar Ro. "I'm only making small change, nobody tells me anything except what to deliver and where to take it."
Naruto wasn't having any of it, "Don't even try to bullshit me, Ro. You've received the biggest payoff of anyone involved. Everyone else seems to think this is just your basic, intergalactic smuggling operation, but I've dug deeper and found out the truth. The people you're working for have been trying to manipulate the Green Lantern Corps. They already know I'm getting close, that's why I decided to ambush you out here in space, before you could hatch whatever plan you have cooked for me to stumble into down there on Ajuris 4. You're going to talk to me, one way or another..."
Kanjar's expression of panic and fear suddenly morph into a smirk, "You're a fool, there was no trap on Ajuris 4! It was merely false information planted to lure you into this one. Just take a look behind you!"
Naruto grabbed Kanjar by the throat with a construct fist as he turned around, "What are you trying to pull…"
The blond's voice trailed off as he turned his head to find a large fleet of nearly twenty space cruisers hovering right above them. His eyes quickly narrowed, 'Unfortunately my hunch it seems to be dead on. That was all me bullshitting. Even so, I'm still no closer to figuring out who's behind all of this.'
The veteran Lantern quickly devised course of action: cause a diversion and retreat with Kanjar Ro as a prisoner for further interrogation. The ships quickly opened fire on Naruto, forcing him to dodge several blasts before throwing up a construct stone wall to block the incoming fire. He then fired a projectile ball of energy towards the enemy ships that would have produced a blinding flash of light for some cover if not for an enemy ship errantly dodging into the way of the fake attack. The energy ball bounced off the reflective shields of the ship and ricocheted towards Ajuris 4. The Lantern though nothing of it until several seconds later when a chaotic surge of volcanic and seismic activity rapidly spread across the surface of Ajuris 4 before the planet suddenly exploded.
Naruto knew that energy ball didn't have the juice behind to cause that reaction, but it didn't matter. He'd walked right into a setup that was far bigger than the setup he anticipated since it now looked like he was responsible for the destruction of Ajuris 4. As the now invisible Lantern fled from the scene, the voice of his old friend Shikamaru rang through his mind, 'Naruto, whenever you stick your nose into anything, and you always end up neck deep in some troublesome shit.'
Within 48 hours, Kanjar Ro found himself handcuffed in an interrogation room on Ajuris 5 under the 'care' of Ajuris Department of Investigation (ADI) Agents Vritsko and Qrene. After everything went down on Ajuris 4, Kanjar Ro's friends all fled along with Naruto, leaving Ro stranded at the apparent scene of the crime. The pair were leaning hard on the space pirate, but he'd stuck to his guns to what in their opinion was a ridiculous story involving a Green Lantern inadvertently blowing up Ajuris 4. Being that only Ro was found at the scene of the crime, they didn't buy it. At this point the two agents were waiting on the arrival of a device, the Cortex Visualizer, which would reveal the actual sequence of events experienced by Kanjar Ro before the arrival of agents on the scene.
"Over Three billion dead Ro, give us one good reason why we shouldn't send you directly to the gas chamber." demanded Vritsko.
Ro pounded his fist on the table, "Look, like I told you guys before! It wasn't me or my crew!"
"We find that hard to believe when you were the only one found on the scene." countered Qrene.
"I was running from a Green Lantern! He grounded my ship on the moon, when my friends showed up to bail me out of trouble he returned fire. One his blasts ricocheted of a deflector shield right into Ajuris 4 and the whole planet went boom! I'm telling the truth." pleaded Kanjar Ro.
Vritsko snorted in disbelief, "Yeah, a likely story Ro, tell it to the visualizer."
There was a knock on the door to the interrogation room and Qrene opened it. He was handed a helmet shaped device before he shut the door once more.
"That was your last chance to come clean, Ro. Now we get to see what really happened." declared Qrene as he slammed the device down on Ro's head and started it up.
Kanjar slumped into his seat as a projection emitted from the device onto the two-way mirror of the interrogation room, allowing the other observing agents to watch as well. To surprise of all the agents, they watched as the sequence of events played out just as Kanjar Ro said they would.
Qrene couldn't believe it, "One bad shot, and then three billion gone in a blink of eye…"
Vritsko could only shake his head in disbelief before shrugging it off, "He screwed up big time for sure, but at least he managed to cancel all of my future alimony payments in the process."
Within those same 48 hours, Naruto was already working on a plan to reveal the real culprits who were trying to frame him for turning Ajuris 4 into space dust. He was just glad that he'd gotten sucked into this scheme and not another Lantern like John. Naruto felt his friend's Marine training made him too rigid and by the book, never allowing the man to look underneath the underneath.
'He probably never would have seen the set-up coming and tried to take the fall for the whole thing. Then I'd been ten steps behind in trying to figure this all out before he got himself killed. Then again, if I had Shikamaru's brain, I would be 200 steps ahead and never have gotten stuck like this in the first place. Although, he would have thought that the whole thing would be too troublesome to deal with in the first place.' thought Naruto as he landed in the parking lot of Zlikto's Casino on planet Arcose.
Having sent off several clones to be sighted in a variety of locations, the Lantern had disguised himself in a hooded black cloak which concealed his face. He scanned the parking lot for a few seconds before finding the vehicle he'd been tracking and heading inside the casino. Bypassing the various gaming areas, he headed straight for the bar.
At the bar, a well-known Czarnian bounty hunter could be found making a ruckus while watching a fight one of the massive television screen.
"Oh, come on! You're going to drop after a weak hit like that!" yelled Lobo, crushing the mug in his hand in frustration.
"Hey barkeep, next rounds on me." called out an all too familiar voice.
Lobo's eyes lit up with excitement as he turned around, "Well if it isn't the Ninja Man! Finally decided to ditch those puke green space cops and team up with the Main Man?"
Naruto rolled his eyes, "I need a favor."
Lobo narrowed his eyes in response, "Last time I checked, I didn't owe you any more favors. This is going to cost ya, but since you're a friend I won't overcharge."
"This isn't a freebie. The favor I want you to do, it's to collect a bounty. It's a big one, should be on the books by the end of the week." explained Naruto.
The 'cha-ching' of a cash register went off in Lobo's mind, "Alright, you've got the Main Man's attention."
"You heard about what went down with Ajuris 4?" inquired Naruto.
Lobo scoffed, "Who hasn't heard? Three billion weaklings wasted in the blink of eye. That's kind of mayhem the Main Man can admire. So, you got a lead on who did it or something?"
Naruto shook his head, "No, even better than that, I was there."
Lobo's jaw dropped in shock, "You're shitting me."
The blond looked him straight in the eye, "Dead serious."
The Czarnian's eyes lit up, "Then you know who did it! You puke greens can't touch 'em, so your giving me the bounty. Is that it?"
"This is way bigger than a planet of 3 billion getting reduced to space dust. Trust me on this one; it's better if I show you what went down. I've got an angle I'm trying to work on this thing." informed Naruto as he got up and led Lobo out of the casino.
The citizens of the Ajuris star system were in uproar about the destruction of Ajuris 4, causing a strong political push to get a resolution to the situation as quickly as possible. The various government officials were happy to pin this one man and toss him to the wolves. After one week, the High Tribunal of Ajuris 5 was prepared to try the case. Not a seat was left empty in the gallery of the Tribunal court, and outraged citizens were protesting in mass around the courthouse, all crying for the perpetrator to be put to death.
"Order! Order! We will have order!" demanded the one of the reptilian courtroom guards in attempt to silence the raucous crowd.
The crowd ignored him as people continued to rant on and on about the travesty befallen Ajuris 4 and demand justice.
"Silence!" exclaimed a booming voice as the massive screen in the rear of the courtroom came to life. A bright light emitted from it before fading to reveal the robotic face of the tribunal chief. Everyone in the crowd rose to their feet as he spoke, "This High Tribunal is now convened. Never before have so many put aside their differences in pursuit of a single goal."
A second feminine robotic face appeared to the right of the chief and spoke, "However, there has never before been a crime so vast and so heinous that it could unite all of us in both grief and revulsion."
Another male robotic face appeared to the left of the chief, completed the tribunal, "We have gathered here today to seek justice."
The chief prosecutor, an eyebrow-less, hairless, and purple-eyed alien with yellow skin dressed in elegant ceremonial robes, pressed a button on the console of the platform he was standing causing it to levitate from its position near the floor up to the monitor close to the faces of tribunal.
"Where is the accused?" questioned the Tribunal chief.
"Unfortunately, he is still at large." replied the prosecutor.
"Very well…" spoke the chief as the three judges turned to each other to discuss something for a moment before arriving at a decision. "Manhunters, step forward."
A dozen hulking red robots wielding metal staffs marched forward to face the judges.
"This is no ordinary criminal. Locating him and bringing him back will most certainly involve great peril. Are you prepared for that?" asked the head of the tribunal.
"No man escapes the Manhunters." declared the leader of the robot platoon.
His fellow Manhunters echoed his declaration, "No man escapes the Manhunters!"
"Show us an image of the accused." requested the lead Manhunter.
"The accused is a member of the famed Green Lantern corps. He is a native of the planet Seijin and the Lantern currently assigned to Sector 2418, Naruto Uzumaki." informed the prosecutor as he pressed a button on the console of his platform and a projected image of the masked and bandana sporting Naruto appeared on the screen. The gathered crowd roared in fury at the sight of him.
On the second moon of Ajuris 5, Lobo the bounty hunter waited patiently in his Nevis-IV Space Cruiser for the signal to depart to Earth. For some reason, Naruto wanted him to tail the Manhunters on their way to Earth, and allow them to approach Naruto first. It didn't him though, with the bounty he was about to cash in on, he'd roll the red carpet out for the Manhunters in Naruto told him to. Even if in his opinion, the Manhunters were the biggest junkyard toaster reject excuses for bounty hunters in the entire universe.
"You better know what you're doing Ninja Man. You asked for the Main Man, you got him!" declared Lobo as the engines on his ship roared life at the sight of the Manhunters.
He waited until they got some distance in front of him before following.
"Manhunters, what a waste a scrap metal…" muttered Lobo as started making his way to Earth.
On Earth, the Justice League had officially been in operation for several weeks now. The majority of the masses were down right thrilled about having a team of some of the best superheroes on the planet working to protect the world from major threats. Since Superman came up with the idea, he was positioned as the face and spokesperson of league. Between him and the intrigue in Diana from a being a new hero in the eye of the public, the others were allowed to carry on with business as usual in the fight for justice. Flash was bummed out at the lack of attention being thrown his way, while to his surprise Naruto was thrilled by the fact that he was considered 'just another Green Lantern'. Batman, Hawkgirl, and J'onn didn't care at all about how much attention there were receiving. Batman was around the least frequently, Gotham was still the being his highest priority. He typically only interacted with the league on the occasional threats that intersected his own cases up to this point. Naruto was only step up from Batman, coming through the watch tower at irregular time intervals. The blond made an effort, but he was still busy tying up a few loose ends left behind John Stewart. He was making his rounds throughout the sector to make his presence as the new Lantern felt, a whole lot of good that did him though. Currently Flash, Hawkgirl, on J'onn were on monitoring duty. Flash sat munching on some snacks while watching Hawkgirl keep busy by performing maintenance on one the stations consoles on the second deck.
"So, you were a cop back on Thanagar?" inquired Flash.
"A detective." replied Hawkgirl.
"At least your more honest than, GL. He told me that before he became a Lantern, he was a ninja on his home planet, a home planet full of ninjas! Can you believe that?" remarked Flash.
Hawkgirl shrugged, "Anything is possible; I've seen and heard of stranger things."
Flash dismissed the possibility, "No way, he was just yanking my chain. That guy is definitely from Earth. So, what's it like being a detective on Thanagar?"
Hawkgirl shrugged as she finished her work and closed up the console, "The same as being a cop here on Earth, I supposed. We have criminals, and we catch them."
Flash scratched his chin, pretending to be in deep thought, "So, what about when you're not catching criminals? When you're not at work…"
Hawkgirl glanced at him, "What about it?"
Flash grinned, "Well, is there a…Hawkboy?"
A smirk found its way to Hawkgirl's face as she spotted J'onn exit the elevator behind Flash. She jumped up and landed next to J'onn, "I've got some more maintenance to do."
A smirking Flash appeared next to J'onn as she walked away. The Martian turned to the speedster with a blank look.
Flash shrugged, "What? Don't you get bored doing guard duty in absolute silence?"
"More than you could ever imagine." replied J'onn in a solemn tone.
Flash winced and frowned, having forgotten just exactly who he was talking to, "Sorry, I didn't mean to-"
His apology was cut off by the alarms of the Watchtower going off, warning of an incursion. The pair moved to the window to see a trio of Manhunters fly by in route to Earth.
"Looks like we've got an invasion on our hands." stated Flash.
"I'll notify the others." declared J'onn.
As J'onn went to contact the rest to league, Flash sped off to help Hawkgirl prepare the Javelin for takeoff. Ten minutes later, J'onn arrived at the launch bay and joined Hawkgirl at the controls of the ship.
"Superman is dealing with an earthquake; Wonder Woman is on another case and Batman would only say that he's busy." informed J'onn as the engines roared to life.
"Typical." remarked Hawkgirl as she opened up the bay doors.
"What about GL?" asked Flash as he buckled himself into his seat.
"He's still out in space dealing with an interplanetary smuggling ring." answered J'onn.
"That's what he's been saying for the last week and a half." remarked Hawkgirl.
Flash shrugged, "Must be a really big smuggling ring."
The Manhunters quickly passed through Earth's atmosphere and locked onto the energy signature of the Green Lantern. It hadn't been difficult for them to find it, the energy shined like a beacon to their sensors. Passing over cities, and even rural area, the tracked the energy to what appeared to a barren wasteland in the middle of the wilderness. There wasn't much vegetation to speak of in the rocky area that possessed several cliff faces and rocky outcroppings. Waiting for them in the middle of the area, was Naruto, who was going through some stretching exercises.
"Took you three long enough to get here." remarked Naruto as they landed in front of him. If the barb irritated the Manhunters, they didn't show it.
"You are the Green Lantern known as Naruto Uzumaki?" questioned the lead Manhunter.
"Yeah, who's asking?" replied Naruto.
"You are wanted for trial on Ajuris 5; surrender your ring." ordered the Manhunter.
Naruto grinned beneath his mask, "You didn't think I was going to come easy, did you? I'm not going to entrust my well-being to a few tin cans that would be better served as toasters than bounty hunters."
"Very well, use of force is authorized. Target to be detained alive." commanded the leader of the trio of Manhunters as they advanced on Naruto. Each Manhunter hit a switch on their metal staffs, extending them to full length. The top ends of the staff all charged up with energy as they aim at Naruto and fired. The three blasts all seemingly hit the Green Lantern and triggered an explosion. When the smoke cleared, Naruto was nowhere to be found. Using their scanners, they all quickly scanned to area to see where he escaped to.
"That's the problem with you Manhunters, no sense of imagination in the whole lot of you." echoed Naruto's voice.
The three Manhunters were suddenly yanked underground down to their necks. Naruto phased up from below ground shaking his head at the struggling hunters, "All too easy."
The javelin had landed nearby seconds before, with Hawkgirl, Flash, and J'onn arriving just in time to see Naruto imprison the three Manhunters underground.
"You three stay out of this." commanded Naruto as they approached. The other three heroes all halted, "These three only want me and that's exactly who they're gonna get."
"You claimed you were out in space handling a smuggling ring." stated Hawkgirl with an accusatory tone.
"I was until I got myself into a little bit of trouble, and picked up a bounty on my head." explained Naruto. "I've only been waiting out here in the middle of nowhere for that past few hours, so the hunters could come to me."
"You can't expect to just pick off the bounty hunter one by one as they come after you." reasoned Flash.
"I've got this under control, these three couldn't beat me unless I wanted them to." assured Naruto. "Besides, I do have a plan. I'm just waiting on a friend to show up."
J'onn directed his attention back the Manhunters, "Then he or she better arrive quickly. They aren't finished yet."
"You parlor tricks will only take you so far." declared the lead Manhunter as they used their strength to break free from underground.
Naruto smirked beneath his mask, "Did you silly robots actually think you stand a chance against a Green Lantern? Your brains must have short circuited or something. Maybe if there were 300 of you Manhunters, you might stand a chance. But sending only three? I won't even break a sweat."
This time two of the hunters rushed at Naruto while the leader stayed back to charge his staff to full power. Naruto took to the air and the pair followed firing blasts with their staffs. Naruto avoided the attacks and slowed up to allow the Lanterns to get closer so he could engage them in hand to hand combat. The Manhunters were large in stature and very powerful, but their attacks were easy to predict and they lacked any sort of speed. They came from opposite angles and attacked with a furious assault of punches and staff strikes that Naruto managed to all dodge effortlessly. The Manhunters thought their blows were barely missing the Lantern, but Naruto was simply lulling them into a false sense of security by waiting until the last second to dodge.
"Give up Lantern! This all you can do just to dodge us! You can't even fight back!"
"We're wearing you down. As soon as your speed starts to fail, you're finished!"
"I wouldn't be so sure!" rang out the voice of Naruto as he suddenly vanished from between the two robots and reappeared above them. His maneuver caused one Manhunter to nail the other in the face with a hay-maker, while he simultaneously hit with a charged staff strike to the chest.
"No one makes a fool of the Manhunters!" roared the third hunter from the ground as he fired a massive blast of energy from his staff at Naruto.
"Look out GL!" shouted Flash.
Naruto had been anticipating this attack from the third Manhunter all along, and was merely biding time until he could direct of the other Manhunters into its path. However, Superman had other plans as he arrived on the scene. The man of steel darted right into the path of the blast and took it right in the chest. A strong right hook and vicious spin kick sent the hunters next to Naruto flying, giving the lantern some room to operate. A construct hand caught the falling Superman and laid him down next the other league members before grabbing the last Manhunter and throwing him straight up into the air and following suit. It didn't Superman long to recover from the blast he took. Once he regained his senses, the Kryptonian didn't even give a thought to why the others were standing on the sidelines and went to aid Naruto.
J'onn stopped him from jumping back in the fray, "He claims to have a plan; it is best if we do not interfere."
"Not yet, at least…" added Hawkgirl.
"Fine, but the minute this looks like it's going south, we step in whether he likes it or not." stated Superman.
"I don't think that's going to be necessary." stated Flash, directing their attention back to the fight.
High in the sky Naruto had been utilizing his vastly superior skills in hand to hand combat to reign down a furious assault on the robot. The hunter couldn't even manage to mount a decent defense as, punches and kicks came at too quick a pace for him to avoid. Even when the machine managed to block, Naruto easily broke through his guard. Despite having the upper hand and mixing in some vicious knee shots to the chest and elbows to the face, Naruto quickly found that the Manhunters were built to withstand a lot of punishment. The blond was dominating the air battle, but the robot had taken minimal damage so far forcing Naruto to step things up a notch. He vanished from in front of the robot and suddenly reappeared behind the Manhunter, restraining him with chains of energy from his ring. The blond then nose-dived towards the ground while rotating at ferocious speeds. The other heroes watched in awe, as the Lantern executed a Front Lotus, pile driving the Manhunter head first into the ground. Naruto floated back into the sky, above the massive crater and cloud of dust generated by the technique.
"All right, there is no way that thing is getting up anytime soon." declared Flash.
No sooner did the speedster say that did metallic arm burst out from the ground in middle of the crater. The Manhunter managed to pull himself out of the ground; however, he looked to be on his last legs. His left forearm was bent completely in the wrong direction, have of his head was caved in, and he was missing a chunk out of his back. He only made it two steps before his systems automatically shut down to prevent catastrophic failure and he collapsed to the ground face first.
"Okay, now he's not getting up anytime soon." reasserted Flash.
The other two Manhunters were still up for the challenge, flying in from opposite directions and rapid firing blasts with their staffs. Naruto substituted from between the two of them, leaving a log in his place. The hunters froze in the air, scanning around for Naruto and spotting something coming in from above at high speeds. The fired at it, but it only proved to be a construct decoy. The real Naruto came rocketing in feet first from behind the hunters like a missile collided with one of the hunters sending him crashing into a nearby rock formation, and burying the machine under tons of rubble. Before he could turn his attention to the third sound of a revving motor cycle engine caught everyone's attention.
"No junkyard scrap heap collects a bounty on my watch!" declared Lobo as he plowed into the second Manhunter with his bike and sent him flying into a cliff face.
"Score another one for the Main Man!" proclaimed Lobo as he landed his motorcycle next to the other heroes.
His grand entrance was ruined as Naruto dropped down next to him and smacked Lobo across the back of the head, "Where the fuck have you been?"
"You said to let them engage you first, then come steal the collar." retorted Lobo as he rubbed his head where Naruto hit him.
Naruto shook his head in exasperation, "Yeah, which could have happened 30 seconds after they arrived. Not only did I have to waste time toying with the Manhunters, you got the Justice League dragged into this too."
Lobo shrugged, "Meh, those rust buckets had it coming to them."
Superman voiced his opinion on the absurdity of the situation, "Your plan is Lobo?"
Naruto elaborated, "I needed someone I can trust to 'apprehend' me."
That didn't make it seem any less crazy, "But Lobo?"
"Hey, the Main Man never goes back on his word, just like the Ninja Man." defended Lobo.
"So, what now? You make it look like you've been captured to buy yourself some more time?" inquired J'onn.
"Something like that." vaguely replied Naruto.
"If all the hunters are as weak as those three, there's no reason to run and hide." asserted Hawkgirl.
Lobo scoffed, "Those tin cans aren't that weak bird brain, we just make it look easy. Someone like you wouldn't stand a chance."
Hawkgirl's eyebrow twitched in irritation as she stalked towards Lobo, mace in hand, "Why you-"
"You two can duke it out some other time. The hunters are back, make sure this looks real." alerted Naruto.
"Lights out!" declared Lobo has he planted a fist in Naruto's gut. The blond doubled over in pain before collapsing to his knees at then falling to the ground unconscious. The bounty hunter then slapped some restraints on blond before hefting him over his shoulder and leaping onto his motorcycle.
"Smell ya later, Justice Dweebs!" yelled Lobo as he revved up the engine at took off towards his space cruiser.
With their target now captured the remaining pair of Manhunters picked up the disabled third and also cleared out, leaving the League members standing on the battlefield in confusion.
Superman still couldn't believe it, "His plan was Lobo?"
Upon their arrival in the Spaceport on Ajuris 5, the hunter and fugitive were met with a massive crowd of angry aliens on the verge of a riot once they exited the ship. Naruto had switched outfits on the way to Ajuris 5; he now wore a black suit, Lantern green shirt, and black tie displaying the Lantern symbol. He'd also swapped his bandana for a green clothed forehead protector with the Lantern symbol. The yelling and screaming aliens were already riled up into a frenzy, carrying Anti-Green Lantern signs and various other signs with vile statements targeting Naruto specifically. The pair didn't get two feet from the ship before they were met by four Manhunters on a hovering platform.
"We have been tasked with ensuring this prisoner's safety." informed the lead hunter as he pulled out a document. "Here's you're warrant voucher. Now, hand over the prisoner and his ring."
Lobo grabbed the voucher and made sure it was legit before flipping the hunter Naruto's ring and left the restrained blond in their care, "Alright then, he's your problem now. Time to get paid!"
Had his hands not been restrained, Naruto would have flipped the bounty hunter off as he fled the scene for his big payday.
Back at the Green Lantern Headquarters on Planet Oa, the Guardians were watching as the scene of Naruto being taking into custody unfolded via holographic projector.
"What now?" questioned one of the Guardians.
"With any luck this matter will not require our attention. Naruto Uzumaki is one our best and brightest, not to mention very resourceful. I have full confidence in him." replied the Guardian seated next to him.
"And if it does require our attention?" countered the other guardian.
His counterpart narrowed his eyes, "I don't need to remind you how much we've gained because of the core's diversity, but sometimes it forces us to make sacrifices. However, as I said before, I full confidence in Lantern Uzumaki."
As the platform moved towards the courthouse, Naruto amused himself by artfully dodging the objects thrown at him by the crowd. He made effort to apologize to the masses for their poor aim in a patronizing fashion each and every time they missed. From the outside the courthouse was a massive intimidating structure that rose high into the sky with spherical dome level positioned at the top. When he finally arrived at the front gate, he was greeted by a group of his fellow Lanterns that included Galius, Arcas, Kilowog, Arisia, and Tomar-Tu in a less than pleasant fashion.
"He was among the best of us, that's for sure. But now..." muttered Galius Zed as shook his head in disgust.
As the majority of them glared at him in disgust, he merely eye-smiled in return as he stepped off the platform, "Hey you all come see to the show? Here it's going to be a real shocker!"
"You're a real piece of scum, Uzumaki." snarled Arcas.
"I always knew you were nothing more than a loose cannon. Surprised it took you this long to show your true colors. You're a disgrace to the core!" added a sneering Zed.
To their surprise he showed no shame, no remorse. He didn't back down from them one bit, "Don't hold back Zed, tell me how you really feel."
A furious Tomar-Tu grabbed Naruto by the collar of his shirt and lifted him up off his feet and held him against a wall with a fist cocked back. Naruto didn't flinch, he just stared back into the furious eyes of Tomar-Tu, the son of the man who previously wielded his ring. At waging an internal battle with himself, the Lantern let Naruto go and stormed away. Naruto rolled his shoulders before nodding to the Manhunters, "Let's go."
As the hunters lead him away, one of the robots bumped into Arcas, who took offense, "Watch it, you big hunk of junk."
The hunter turned to go after the Lantern, but the lead Manhunter stopped him with a hand to the shoulder and a shake of his head. As Naruto departed Zed kicked off another 'bash Naruto' session with all the other Lanterns except two. Arisia remained silent, not really knowing what to think about the whole situation as she waited upon the arrival of John and Katma. Kilowog stared at the departing form of Naruto with narrowed eyes and one thought running through his mind, 'That little poozer is up to something.'
The Manhunters lead Naruto into the facility to a room with whether the other aliens were held in cylindrical barriers of bright light that served as holding cells.
"What now?" questioned Naruto after the lead Manhunter placed him inside a cell.
"Your trial will begin soon. If I had been programmed with emotions I'd almost feel sorry for you." stated the Manhunter before he walked away.
Naruto scoffed, "Sarcasm does not suit robots."
Back at the watchtower, J'onn had been trying to telepathically track Naruto, to no avail. As Flash, Hawkgirl, and Superman tried to piece together what the Lantern had gotten himself involved in, the Martian stood looking out into space with his eyes glowing yellow from the use of his telepathic powers.
He suddenly came out his trace shaking his head, "I cannot get a good read on Green Lantern. His focus seems to be scattered across multiple locations."
"How is that even possible?" questioned Flash.
Hawkgirl shrugged, "Perhaps he is in a location that is interfering with J'onn's telepathic abilities."
"Then track down Lobo instead." ordered Superman. "Wherever he's at, Lantern shouldn't be too far away from him."
J'onn went back into his telepathic trance for minute before coming out of it with a concerned look on his face. The Martian floated over to the nearby console and activated the hologram of a star system with the keyboard. He pointed out a particular spot, "He's currently at this planet, Ajuris 5. He's collecting a rather sizable bounty for Green Lantern after turning him over to be arrested."
Superman gritted his teeth and clinched his fist in frustration, "He should have come to us first. Whatever plan he had cooked up, Lobo bailed on it for the big payday."
"To Ajuris 5...and beyond!" declared Flash as he sped to the Javelin Bay.
As the four league members approached Ajuris 5, the kept running over the events of the day, trying to piece together the situation. None of them were having much luck.
Flash scratched his chin as he tried to wrap his head around the situation, "I wonder what is that GL did to get this bounty on his head in the first place."
"I'm not quite sure, perhaps he was in the wrong place at the wrong time will investigating that smuggling operation." replied J'onn.
"I'm starting to think that Green Lantern isn't right in the head." remarked Hawkgirl. "Who comes up with a plan to escape one set of bounty hunter by using another bounty hunter?"
Superman smiled, "I think you have to be a little crazy to get involved in this line of work."
Hawkgirl shrugged, "Yeah, but there's a difference between having a few quirks..."
"...and making Batman look normal. We are talking about a guy who caries around more 'just in case' explosives than Batman." finished Flash.
'A whole lot more...' simultaneously thought Superman, Hawkgirl, and J'onn. They all had seen Naruto's large collection of homemade explosive tags at work when reviewing film from the battle with the invaders and then learned that he'd doubled the amount on his person at any time since then.
"And that's in addition to wielding one of the most powerful weapons in the universe." muttered Hawkgirl.
Their musings were interrupted as a trio of Ajuris 5 police air cruisers surrounded them an opened fire. The man of steel managed to guide the Javelin out of the line of fire, but the police ships wouldn't let up.
"They're not responding to our request to land!" alerted Flash.
After missing out on the battle back on Earth, Hawkgirl was itching to throw down.
"If it's a fight they want, I'm happy to oblige." declared the winged warrior as she grabbed her mace.
"Hey, we didn't come here to pick a fight." reminded Flash. "It won't do GL any good if we get arrested right along side of him."
Superman nodded in agreement, "He's right. We take them down without causing any harm. Flash take the controls."
The three league members capable of flight were already outside the javelin before Flash could respond.
"Flash take the controls. Does anyone ask if I even know how to work the controls? No!" grumbled speedster as he moved to cockpit to figure how not to crash the ship.
Superman and J'onn forced two of the ships to make emergency landings by taking out the ships' power sources. However, Hawkgirl decided to let out some pent up aggression by bashing in the thrusters of the third cruiser with her mace.
"Did not hear the taking them down with out harm part!" yelled Flash over their radios as he watched the last ship go down out of control and headed for a crash. Fortunately Superman made it to the cruiser in time to catch the ship and prevent a crash, saving the lives of the cops piloting the ship and any potential innocent bystanders. Flash's relief only lasted for a moment as he then had to deal figuring out how to activate the landing system before the Javelin's autopilot caused the ship to crash by continuing down the current path to the spaceport that was too narrow. The wings of the Javelin were clipping and scraping the sides of buildings, sending out hazardous sparks. Flash just started activating every control and pressing every button he could see, until finally he initiated the landing system. The javelin came to a skidding halt a top the targeted landing platform, but everything looked to still be in one piece.
He let out a sigh of relief as he exited the ship's hatch, "Any landing you walk away from is a good one I always say."
The minute he exited the hatch he found himself and the Javelin surrounded by dozens of security personnel with their weapons all trained on him.
Flash raised his hands up, "Uh...I come in peace?"
The soldiers ignored his sign of surrender and fired at him with their weapons. The speedster darted away from his position and avoided blasts as he zigzagged around the area. Several members of the security team quickly found themselves both unconscious and relieved of their weapons. The speedy hero then caused several of the men to unleash fire on each other in their effort to take him down. He kept wearing down their numbers until the others arrived and there was only one man left standing. J'onn dropped down and grabbed the man by the scruff of his neck as he used his telepathy to read the soldier's mind before knocking him unconscious.
"Nice timing." quipped Flash.
He was ignored by J'onn who had more important news, "Green Lantern is being held close by. That way!"
The Martian turned and directed their attentions towards the courthouse.
Once they reached the facility where John Indicated Green Lantern was being held, Superman used his heat vision to melt through the hard glass of dome like wall, not knowing that is was a courthouse. As they flew inside, Naruto couldn't help but face-palm at their timing and method of entry. The prosecutor had been giving his opening statement using rhetoric along the lines of "There can be no excuse for this horror" and "An example must be made" and "There will be no escape from punishment". Then the Justice League decided to drop in on what looked like a jail break. The crowd immediately grew restless and started making chatter.
"Order! We will have order!" commanded the head of security.
"What is going on here? Some sort of trial?" questioned Flash at the sight of all the people.
"Apparently..." responded Superman.
"Remove these intruders immediately!" commanded the third tribunal judge.
A trio of the reptilian court guards jumped on some levitating disks and flew up to where the League members had entered intent on apprehending them. Superman used his speed and strength to knock them all of the disks and down to the ground.
As the Manhunters also serving as security moved to engage them, Superman turned to Tribunal Judges, "Wait! We apologize for interrupting these proceedings, but Naruto Uzumaki is our friend."
Everyone froze and went silent as the judges took a moment to discuss the situation.
"This is a public trial." reasoned the female judge.
"Very well, you make take seats in the gallery." stated the relenting third judge.
"But this tribunal will tolerate no further interruptions or outbursts." declared the Tribunal chief.
"Thank you, your honor." replied Superman before they all moved to the gallery.
"Are you ready to call your first witness?" the chief asked the prosecutor.
"Yes, I am my lord. I call Kanjar Ro." announced the prosecutor.
The space pirate emerged from the passageway beneath the gallery, escorted by a guard.
The chief of security swore him in to testify as they reached the disks hovering at floor level, "Kanjar Ro, you agree to allow us to probe any and all of your memories and experiences?"
"I've got nothing to hide." replied Kanjar as he stepped on the disk, which elevated him in front of the prosecutor.
"State your name and profession." commanded the prosecutor.
"Kanjar Ro, the space pirate." announced Ro.
"You are a criminal, and yet you are here to testify as a witness to another crime. Why?" questioned the prosecutor.
"I may be a thief, but my crimes are nothing compared to what he did." answered Ro, pointing at Naruto.
The prosecutor activated some controls on the console in front of him and a cylinder of light enveloped the platform disk Ro stood on, "Tell us of your encounter with the Green Lantern Naruto Uzumaki."
As Kanjar Ro told the tail of his encounter with Naruto, his memories were projected for everyone in the courtroom to see. He began the story with how he procured some blasters and was making a run to Ajuris 4, where Naruto started chasing him near the moon. He explained how he attacked Naruto, who in turn disabled his ship and interrogated him after he crashed on a moon.
He then went on to when his friends arrived and attacked Naruto, "...As he fired back at my friends, one of his blasts bounced of their deflector shields towards Ajuris 4. There the blast impacted a volcanic region causing a devastating reaction that caused the planet to explode. Three billion, that's how many, were on that planet, all gone in an instant."
Nearly everyone in courtroom were visible startled by both the visuals and his testimony. The room went speechless from a moment before they all started to whisper. Despite what was presented before them, Hawkgirl and Flash thought something was fishy about Kanjar Ro's testimony.
"I have no more questions for this witness." stated the prosecutor.
"Very well, this account is most disturbing. We will rec-"
"I still have questions for this witness." interjected Naruto. "It would be far too prejudicial to recess at this point."
"Very well, you may proceed." decided the Chief Judge.
"Thank you, your honor." replied Naruto with a bow before his platform was elevated to face Kanjar Ro. "Now Kanjar Ro, your profession is a space pirate is it not?"
"Objection!" declared the prosecutor. "Asked and answered already."
"The line of questioning relates to the validity of the witnesses testimony." countered Naruto.
"Overruled." ruled the Chief Judge.
"Yes, I am a space pirate." confirmed Kanjar Ro.
"Then how could you possibly know precisely know how Ajuris 4 exploded?" questioned Naruto.
Ro rolled his eyes, "I saw your blast bounce off my friend's ship and then hit Ajuris 4 causing the planet to explode. It's very clear."
Naruto smirked beneath his mask, "So, the blast was not strong enough to overpower the shields on a ship, yet you claim it was powerful enough to destroy an entire planet?"
Ro was caught off guard, "Well, not normally no, but it hit in precisely the right spot to produce this catastrophe."
"Are you a scientist?" asked Naruto.
"Well, no." answered Ro.
"A physicist then?" inquired Naruto.
"No, but-" replied Kanjar Ro.
Naruto cut him off, "How about a geological expert?"
Naruto cut him off again, "Then how could you possibly know how Ajuris 4 exploded?"
"I saw the blast from your ring bounce off the shields and towards the planet. Then the planet exploded!" yelled an irritated Ro.
"So, you saw it fly off towards the planet, but you didn't see it hit the planet." continued Naruto. "Therefore you cannot conclude where exactly the blast hit, or when it hit. The planet could have exploded before the blast even made contact! The blast could have hit a pile of rocks and something else caused the planet to explode!"
"Objection! Is there a question in there?" interjected the prosecutor.
"I'll rephrase." countered Naruto. "From your recollection of the events, can you conclusively determine where and when the blast hit the planet before it exploded or even if it did?"
Ro glared at the Lantern, "No, I cannot."
"Then I move to strike from the record anything in this witness's testimony beyond the scope of seeing the blast deflect off the shields and towards the planet." proclaimed Naruto.
"Motion granted." declared the female justice.
"Now in your retelling of the events you didn't go into much detail about the brief time I questioned you after you crash landed on Ajuris 4. Why is that?"
Ro started to get nervous at this line of questioning, "It didn't seem important at the time."
Naruto chuckled, "Not important? Did you not say specifically I quote 'You're a fool, there was no trap on Ajuris 4! It was merely false information planted to lure you into this one. Just take a look behind you!' during my brief interrogation, just as your friends arrived?"
"Well yeah I said that, but that only had to do with payback for you busting our smuggling ring!" defended Ro.
Naruto shook his head, "It only involved with payback for me busting your smuggling ring? Then why in your the projection of your memories does it clearly show me firing blast for which the trajectory was not in line with any of your friends ships, nor the planet Ajuris 4 and your friend diving in front of the attack at the last moment to deflect it towards a Ajuris 4?"
Ro shrugged, "He zigged; you zagged. It happens."
"It happens...You know what I think happened here? I think that this was all a big set up, you tried to make it look like I blew up Ajuris 4 to cover your own crime of ending the three billion lives on that planet!" declared Naruto.
"Objection! Argumentative!" exclaimed the prosecutor.
Naruto raised his hands in a placating fashion. "Withdrawn. Now, with it being confirmed that your profession is that of a space pirate, I ask what did the prosecution offer you in exchange for your testimony?"
"I have received full immunity from any crimes pertaining to this incident." replied a sneering Kanjar Ro.
"Quite the incentive to embellish your testimony and implicate anyone other than yourself as the real culprit." flippantly remarked Naruto.
"Objection!" roared the prosecutor in outrage.
"Withdrawn. I have no further questions for this witness." declared Naruto, enunciating the last word as if the idea of Ro as credible witness was entirely laughable.
"Very well, there is much to be considered from the examination and cross-examination of this witness. We will recess for forty penticycles." stated the chief justice as he and the rest of the Tribunal vanished from the screen.
With recess in session, Naruto had the Manhunters take him back to his cell and motioned for the rest of the League to follow. Once the arrived to the room with his cell, they were surprised to find Lobo waiting outside the cell with Naruto. Before they could speak, Naruto held up a hand to silence them as Lobo activated a device in his hand.
"Now no one can listen into anything said in this room." explained Naruto.
"So this was your plan all along, you came back here to clear your name." asserted Hawkgirl.
"Did you used to be a lawyer before you became a Lantern or something? You ripped that guy to shreds on the cross!" exclaimed a grinning Flash.
Naruto shrugged, "Not exactly. I have some clones back on Earth studying footage of a prosecutor and a defense attorney from some TV legal dramas back on Earth. Anything they learn, I learn."
The group sweat-dropped at that admission.
Superman had known there was something familiar about the way he was working the courtroom. "You're basing your entire legal defense on imitating Jack McCoy from Law and Order." deadpanned the Kryptonian.
The Lantern scoffed, "No, I'm just using that as means of how to act and operate properly in courtroom. I have experience in infiltration via impersonation and working a piece of scum like Kanjar Ro in an interrogation is the same anywhere."
"This is still very elaborate plan only to defend yourself in a trial." asserted J'onn.
"There is much more to this than just a trial. You must look underneath the underneath as my old Sensei used to say." responded Naruto.
Their discussion was interrupted by the arrival of the Lanterns John Stewart and Katma Tui. The former marine stormed over, intent on giving Naruto a piece of his mind, "Have you lost your damn mind? Just what the hell have you gotten yourself into!"
Naruto was not in the mood to be lectured, "Who in the hell to do you think you're talking to? Shove off Stewart."
John wasn't backing down, "You're telling me to shove off? You and end all of this nonsense right now! Testify to what really happened and stop screwing around with another one of your crazy schemes!"
Naruto's tone turned completely serious, "I can't end this now. This whole thing is much bigger than someone wanting it to look like I reduced Ajuris 4 to space dust."
"What in the hell could possibly be bigger than that!" exclaimed John.
"There is a mole in the Green Lantern Corps." declared Naruto.
(Dramatic Musical Trail off) To Be Continued...
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