Not Very Secret Origins
The far off planet of Odym revolves around the North Star. It is considered by many to be a paradise; the multi-colored trees and bright sun make every day seem heavenly. The streams sing as water trickles down towards the Central Blue Lantern Battery, the heart of the Blue Lantern Corps. The Blue Lantern Corps is one of the seven factions that use the power of the emotional spectrum, theirs' being hope. The deeper than deep blue Battery towered above the trees as the only structure built on the angelic world. At the base of the Battery sat the first Blue Lantern, Saint Walker of Space Sector 1. Walker was the new leader of the Blue Lantern Corps, since the corps had been abandoned by their former leaders, Ganthet and Sayd, and while he had little experience with his new position, he was eager to give it his all. Currently he was doing what many thought impossible for a mortal: craft a Blue Lantern power ring. This had proven especially challenging for him, though he did have the resources, he lacked the specific designs of such a ring and was using his own as a comparable design. The Blue Lantern Corps was one of the smallest of the emotional spectrum, having only four members. The corps' recruitment process was a laboring task that took days for one member to be fully recognized as a Blue Lantern, then the new corpsman would select the next candidate from the next space sector and the pattern would continue. It is difficult to find a person who was strong enough to wield the power of hope to be an efficient corpsman and hence why their numbers were so few.
Saint Walker had been working for a solid month on the ring and, though trial and error had made what appeared to be a fully functional Blue Lantern power ring. "Brother Warth, come quick!" he shouted. Brother Warth was the second member of the Blue Lantern Corps and representative of Space Sector 2.
"Your labor has proved fruitful I take it?" he asked, as he flew to meet his comrade.
"Oh yes," said Saint Walker holding the ring up to the sun, "is it not beautiful?" The ring gave out a small, slow, pulsing light of deep blue. It was covered in scratch marks of Walker's toil and the symbol of the corps hadn't been perfectly replicated but it was magnificent. Suddenly, the ring yanked itself out of Saint Walker's grasp and began to fly up into the sky. Brother Warth quickly started to chase after it but as he flew faster, so did the ring. Warth began to strain as he kept accelerating, yet the ring was still faster. "Wait!" said Walker, as the ring sped off far beyond Warth's reach.
"But Saint Walker," said Warth, "we are meant to choose who wields our rings, not the rings themselves."
"I know that Brother," said Walker, "but perhaps this one is special, destiny does reveal itself in strange ways. What we must hope is that the ring shall choose a corpsman of Sector 5 wisely, and that all will be well." The two stared up and say a blue light leave Odym's atmosphere and disappear into the cosmos.
Saint Walker and Brother Warth stared up into the heavens for a while longer until Brother Warth, with a confused look on his brow, turned to his leader, "Saint Walker, I do not mean to sound impudent but I do not believe that to be the direction toward Space Sector 5."
Walker continued to stare upwards for a moment until he said, "You would be correct, Brother Warth. On second thought I believe we should pursue the ring."
"Agreed" The two rocket upward through Odym's atmosphere, the cheery songs of birds was quickly replaced by the wind rushing past their ears as they flew. Walker and Warth then entered the cold of space, the ring still traveling onward.
"Ring," said Saint Walker, "where is the new Blue Lantern ring heading?" Walker's ring spoke to him, "According to current path, unnumbered Blue Lantern ring is on course to Space Sector…Warning, incoming vess-" Saint Walker suddenly felt a burst of burning pain from behind, it felt like he had the wind knocked out of him and his back felt like it was on fire. He couldn't feel his arms or legs and began to drift across space without his own accord. Walker could dully hear his ring saying, "Warning: incoming hostile, take evasive maneuvers." Despite his vision blurring, he could still see Brother Warth, who called out Walker's name while dodging an energy blast. However a second attack struck Warth's head and he ceased to move. The last thing Saint Walker saw before he black out was a tall figure in a space suit approach them.
"Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!" "I'm going to murder that clock," thought Karen Cassidy. Her alarm was blasting in her ear at the horrid hour of seven. Refusing to open her eyes, she reached toward her clock trying to break it despite her barely being awake. She smashed her palm against the clock's buttons and it must have worked since the alarm went silent. She let herself slowly sink back into blissful sleep. An alarm clock could never wake her, not entirely anyway. She thought about how her day would play out, full of the same mediocre practices of a normal life and jumping through hoops to pass high school. She hadn't cared much for the mundane practices of learning about how to use mathematics to solve problems that would never actually appear in real life, but as her mother said, "You have to go through Hell to appreciate the things worth living for." Suddenly Karen's actual alarm kicked in, her brother. Every morning, Calvin Cassidy would rise bright an early and play his guitar, it didn't help that the only thing separating their rooms was a thin wall that did nothing to muffle the sound or that he liked to turn the volume on his amplifiers as high as possible at such a fine hour. He would play loud enough that books would fall of selves downstairs, but their parents did nothing, saying how it was nice for him to seek a musical career. Karen rolled around on her mattress dreading the day her brother discovered music, and fell off her bed with a dull thud, pulling the sheets with her. Still with her eyes still shut, she laid sprawled on the floor which was now shaking thanks to Calvin's "musical career". Blindly, she reached for the closest thing she could get her hands on. She found a hardcover book that felt heavy in her hand, perfect. She threw it in the direction of the wall that divided their rooms but the book bounced back and painfully landed on her in the stomach. "Calvin!" she shouted, "I'm going to break that damn
"Then say good bye to your ride!" he shouted back. Curse the people who thought someone like Calvin was a responsible driver. She finally rose, placing the sheets back on the bed and opened her curtains. The sun blasted her in the eyes, blinding her with the beautiful day. "It's a perfect day and I get to spend it inside, what a wonderful way to start school," she thought in her usual early morning sarcasm. Calvin then stuck his head through the door, "Come on Sis, get a move on!"
Fifteen minutes later, the siblings were out the door and off to school. The two rode in a beat up lime green Volkswagen titled the Rust Bucket which their father had bought at a cheap price off one of his friends from college. The car smelled like something out of this world, a mixture of strange and powerful scents that their father had seemed all too familiar with. There were many stains on the floor and seats that were probably from things neither of the two wanted to know, the gas needle would jump around whenever the engine was running, if they got up past twenty-five, the car would rattle side to side and the left side mirror would bounce on the duct tape that held it in place. Whenever the horn sounded it sounded like the car itself was dying, and the radio could only get a station that played 1920's jazz. Despite the car's shortcomings it was a great source of pride for Calvin, almost to the point of bragging about the car's shabby qualities to everyone who showed more than a passing interest.
"Someday you're going to find that guitar of yours broken over something hard," said Karen after she took a sip from her coffee, she hadn't fully awakened yet and was still angry at her brother. He knew how much she hated waking up though she suspected he used his practicing to get her out the door; he would often use cheap tricks like that to hurry her along.
"Stephen King said he would lock himself in a room and wouldn't leave until he had written a thousand words."
"The big difference though is that he actually knew what he was doing." replied Karen. Calvin didn't object to this, he wasn't very good, but if he wouldn't let Karen score a low blow like that.
"You know what sis? You're right; in my failed attempt at playing music, I shall swear off my guitar and stop playing altogether. But if you take too long, you're walking to school. Have fun with that."
"Har har har" said Karen as the Rust Bucket entered the school parking lot.
While the siblings walked across the parking lot, they spotted someone familiar. Karen shouted, "Hey Alice!" Alice Waller had been the "third sibling" of the Cassidy family, her father had served with their mother when she was in the army and had become good friends of the family. Alice was walking slowly towards school, weighed down with a backpack bursting at the seams with books. Despite her general dislike of conflict, her father had taught her martial arts since she could walk and would wipe the floor with the Cassidys whenever they got into fights in elementary school. She didn't seriously hurt them, but teachers were always hesitant to intervene after Alice had accidentally broken two of her 1st grade teacher's fingers, something she was not at all proud of.
"Hi guys" she said quietly. Karen eyed the bulging bag of books "Whatcha reading this week?" she asked. "I picked up a few books on mysticism; I heard cults have been forming around a form of blood magic and I wanted to see if it was possible." If it had been anyone else, Karen and Calvin would have been taken aback, but they knew better. If there was anything worth knowing, chances were Alice would have already read about it, she was compulsively trying to learn more and more and sometimes she would seem to take it a little too far. One incident involved her coming into 8th grade with a copy of every single banned book in the state simply to find out what the school thought was controversial. While she was definitely the brightest of the three, she could come off as a tad arrogant. "I've read up on some of this stuff, it's usually just a trick of the eye, some chemicals used to make smoke and scam people out of some pocket money."
"You say it like it's a bad thing," said Calvin, "You can make a good living off of pocket change."
Karen stared at her brother with a snide look on her face, "Well aren't you noble."
"Hey, if people want to give me money, that's their own decision. There's a sucker born every minute after all."Alice and Karen stared at Calvin in surprise and a bit of disgust. "Don't judge me," he said. The trio remained silent as they walked into the school.
Slowly, Saint Walker's vision returned. He was onboard a small dark cramped space ship. The atmosphere was cold and dry; the engines bellowed a loud electronic hum. Walker realized he was lying on the floor in front of a wall of weapons ranging from swords to laser-rifles to battle axes, all of which had been cleaned, but the color of blood was still prominent. To his right was Brother Walker who was still unconscious, and his ring was gone. Walker looked to his right hand and saw that his ring was missing too and that he had shackles around his wrists. He flimsily pulled on them in a vain attempt to free himself which only served to rattle the thick rusty chains that bound him. Suddenly he heard approaching footsteps, clanging heavily against the metal floor.
As the clanging grew louder, a tall large figure approached from the shadows of the ship and crouched to Walker's eye level, "I have met many Green Lanterns in my time, powerful and terrifying. I have learned the hard way that one can never underestimate a Lantern's size or appearance. I must congratulate you; a Blue Lanterns is something I was not expecting." The person before Walker was a red skinned alien with burning red eyes and wearing amour coated with dried blood and adorned with skulls and spikes, and two large swords were sheathed upon his back. Staring at his scar covered face, Walker noticed the figure's large sharp teeth which were yellow and rotten. His breath was just as pleasant; it was so awful he thought he would pass out.
Saint Walker was only able to utter a few words, "Who…who…who are…" "Oh forgive my informality, I am Bolphunga the Unrelenting. I am a warrior on some worlds, a mercenary on others, and in rare cases a barterer," Bolphunga, by the throat, pulled Walker closer. Walker saw that in his spare hand he held both his and Warth's rings. "I must say that these rings of yours are quite the oddity I have never seen anything like them, I bet they will fetch a pretty price in some markets. However it's not these two that interest me, but more the fact that I have never seen Lanterns chase the rings of their corps. Now tell me, Blue Lantern, where is that ring traveling?" "Unnumbered Blue Lantern ring is currently on course to Space Sector 2814, Planet Sol-3, commonly referred to as Earth." said Saint Walker's and Brother Warth's rings in unison. Bolphunga smiled as he saw Walker straining to try and control the rings from afar, something few Lanterns could accomplish. Yet Bolphunga kept a strong grip on them, underestimating any Lantern was foolish, "Next time, maybe you should reconsider making your ring so useful to anyone, blue man." "Saint Walker" "Forgive me. Saint Walker. Tell me, what capabilities does your blue ring have?" "Default Blue Lantern rings are programed for flight and protection from the vacuum of space." Bolphunga looked somewhat annoyed, "I figured as much but what offensive abilities?" "None" was the response. "Nothing?" replied Bolphunga with a surprised look, "What is the purpose of your corps?" "The Blue Lantern Corps exists to create hope in the darkest hours, to give courage to hearts lost in sorrow, to-" "I get the point, " said Bolphunga, "regardless of your mighty cause, the rarity of your rings is proof enough of some worth. And now, if you will excuse me Saint Walker, I have a ring to catch. Have a good sleep." Saint Walker saw Bolphunga's fist right before everything went black.
Karen, Calvin, and Alice sat at the same table in the crowded noisy lunch room, each of them engrossed in their own activities. Karen Cassidy was gorging on her lunch, having gone without breakfast and had felt its absence through the last three classes. Calvin Cassidy was reading the school's online blog on the works of student artists, writers, and musicians, reading up on what he had missed over the summer break. Meanwhile, Alice Waller was working on the calculus homework she was given last class. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me," said Calvin with a face of disgust, "Martin North won some best young artist in the city competition. He got an award that unfairly says he's more talented than me."
"Who?" asked Karen through a mouthful of food.
"Martin North, the guitarist," said Calvin. Karen and Alice stared at him blankly. "The guy how constantly says he's better than me." Their expressions did not change. "I did nothing but complain about that smarmy little arse last year."
"Ooooh!" said Karen, also spitting some of her food on Calvin, "That guy!"
"Yes, him," replied Calvin, brushing mashed potato of his shirt, "How do you not know him?"
"Sorry, it's just whenever you go on a tangent; the two of us just nod in silence."
"You don't do that. Alice, you don't do that, do you?" Alice, not looking up from her work, quietly bobbed her head up and down. "You guys suck."
"Nuh-uh," was Karen's muffled response.
She was about to give her full retort when Calvin pointed his finger at her, "Eat first, then talk."
Suddenly the crowded cafeteria became shrouded in a bright blue light. The source of the blinding spectacle hung in the air above the crowd, as if taking a small moment to contemplate the choice it was about to make. The students directly below the light were forced to close their eyes or look away from its intensity. While the moment that it hovered was short, it felt so much longer, as if the alien presence had brought the very precession of time to a screeching halt. Eventually, the bright light subsided, allowing the people closest to the source to see what had caused the spectacle, a deeper than deep blue ring. Some people began to whisper to each other about what they were seeing, if it was some kind of illusion or possibly some bizzare prank, the chatter was silenced once again when the ring began to move. The ring darted down, weaving through the crowd. A few people tried to catch it but the ring evaded their grasp with little effort in changing its course. Finally, it found its target, Karen Cassidy. The ring hovered in front of Karen's face, about a foot away, shining its brilliance upon her bewildered expression. Everyone was silent staring just like her at the thing from the heavens, not knowing what it would do. "Wha-," before she could say anything, the ring slid itself onto her right middle finger. "Karen Cassidy of Space Sector 2814, you have the ability to instill great hope. Welcome to the Blue Lantern Corps."
She felt a surge of optimism and joy, as if all her problems had shrunken into insignificance, she felt the presence of every human on the planet, all their problems, all their regrets, all their broken promises and lies, but also all their hopes and dreams, every piece of good from the entire human race summed up into a single experience, she shed a tear, it was beautiful; she felt light, as if she was barely touching the ground, as if a gust of wind could blow her away like a leaf. Her clothes became a black and blue outfit, leaving a white circle on her chest. The outfit was made of a spandex-like material that fitted her perfectly; it did not sag or prevent her from moving. The black areas of the outfit were smooth and cold like ice while the blue was soft and warm like a blanket. Finally, she managed to speak, "Wha-, wha jus-" "You are now a potential member of the Blue Lantern Corps," said the ring, "an interplanetary peacekeeping group that exists to create hope in the darkest hours, to give courage to hearts lost in sorrow, to stare into the face of despair and know that all will be well. To serve is a great honor. This duty, should you choose to accept it, shall be entitled to you when you report to Odym." "What's O-" "The homeworld of the Blue Lantern Corps which currently revolves around what you planet knows as 'The North Star' you may also know it as-"
"Karen! Since when were you a superhero?" said someone in the crowd that began to gather around her, a barrage of questions soon followed. "What's your power?" "Can you fly?" "Do you know Superman?" "Who have you fought?" "Are you with those guys with the U.N.?" "You costume looks like Green Lantern, but it's blue. What does that mean?" "Are you Green Lantern's sidekick?" "Do you know the cute Lantern with the big mask?" "So are you with the U.N. Justice League?" "I heard Green Lantern stopped a bridge from collapsing, how'd he do that?" The crowd kept rambling on, endlessly asking questions and taking pictures on their cellphones. Karen tried to shove people away but they were pushed back by the people in the back who were in the back, trying to get closer. She was swung back and forth by the conflicting masses, trying not to fall and possibly be crushed by the swarm. The sounds of their questions and comments became deafening as Karen couldn't even hear her brother trying to calm everyone down.
Crack! Suddenly, the mass of questions was finally silenced by an ear splitting sound as parts of the ceiling fell directly on the table Karen was sitting at. Immediately the people backed away from Karen's table as a giant boot opened up a hole in the roof. A hulking figure stuck his head in through the ceiling and dropped through the opening. The intruder bent his legs during the fall and landed on the table, causing the legs to give way and break. Slowly standing up, the figure looked directly at Karen through the obscuring dust from the broken roof. The only defined features Karen could make out through the dust were the two Blue Lantern rings hanging on a string around his neck. "Forgive my intrusion," spoke the intruder as he drew one of the swords on his back, "I am Bolphunga, the Unrelenting; your membership must be cut loose young Lantern. Now, Hand me your ring, child, or lose the hand attached to it."
Saint Walker's head was still ringing from being knocked out the second time, as he slowly regained consciousness; he was welcomed back by the realization that he was still a prisoner on Bolphunga's ship. His shackles had dug deep into his wrists and….wait…where had Bolphunga gone? He pulled at his restraints, digging them in even deeper; he gave up since he knew it was fruitless. Brother Warth began stir, "Brother Warth," said Walker, "Are you alright?"
"I am fine," was the reply albeit groggy, "Have we stopped?" "Yes, I believe Bolphunga has made it to Earth," said Saint Walker, he paused; somehow Brother Warth was able to speak his language without the translator in his ring. "His absence would imply he is looking for or has found our recruit," said Warth.
"Ye-yes," stuttered Walker, taken aback by Warth's continued use of Astonian, "We need to get out of these restraints befor-" Brother Warth broke the shackle around his right hand, followed shortly by the second, and the he stood. "Oh," said Walker, even more surprised, "that simplifies things."
Shortly after, Saint Walker was freed as well and the two began to inspect the rest of the ship. The ship was small, clearly meant to home one or two people. While the weapons had been well maintained, the ship itself had not. The ship's bathroom in particular had a rank smell and both the Lanterns decided it best to leave it alone. When Walker inspected the cockpit, he found what appeared to be the ship's onboard computer with read-outs in a language who couldn't understand. Brother Warth approached the computer and began to read the alien letters. "According to this, we are approximately two hundred and thirty six feet above our rogue Blue Lantern ring which is inside some kind of educational adolescent nursery, interesting." Warth pressed a button which caused a shield that black out the windshield to dissipate. Instantly the two were blinded by sunlight that poured into the cockpit. "I would say we are on Earth," said Walker. When he could see again, Warth turned back to the readout, "Bolphunga's down there as well and he has our rings," the last sentence was said with particular distain.
"We will deal with Bolphunga," replied Walker, "but without our rings, we can't get down."
Warth turned his gaze back towards the console, "I think I have a solution."
With a loud "swoom" Bolphunga's sword swung by Karen's head, missing by a few inches and imbedding itself into a nearby wall. "Do not fear, all will be well," the ring said. "You 'huff' keep saying 'huff' that but it isn't 'huff' helping," replied Karen. She turned right down a hall, running with Bolphunga right behind her. "Give me your ring!" he shouted. "Negative, you must report to Odym," said the ring. The metal club in Bolphunga's left hand crashed to the floor in a deafening thud that shook the whole building.
"If he stays here it won't be long before he takes down the whole building!" thought Karen, "I need to get him out of the school." Karen barely dodged the sword which sliced through the metal lockers along the hallway, taking some of her hair with it. "Though I might not be able to make it that far," she thought. "Ring!" she said, "You're a Gre-Blue Lantern ring. Do something!" Karen was flung down the hall, escaping from the blunt of Bolphunga's club but flying sideways into the door of the chemistry lab at the end of the hallway. "Ow," said Karen as she began to float aimlessly around the door. "Oh crap!" she flew out of the way of Bolphunga, who ran the door through, ripping it off its hinges and charging into the classroom.
"It will take more than that to save you," he shouted, smashing the doorframe when he turned around. He ran out, leaving a very surprised and confused chemistry class.
"Ok," said Karen, "so I have flight. Flight is good. Any other powers you decided not to mention, and if you say, I didn-" "You didn't ask." Bolphunga's club returned, smashing a gaping hole in another wall. While still new to flying, Karen managed to keep a safe distance from the alien but close enough so he would continue following her. "List of Blue Lantern powers, now." "Blue Lantern rings are capable of flight, translation, data scanning, creating emotional tethers among Blue Lanterns, construct projection, emotional displacement, remote access to electronics..." "Scanning and electronics, I can work with that. Locate everyone in the school and find a path out of the school that passes the fewest people." The ring created a small model of the school. A bright blue light showed a path that would take out to the football field and only have to pass a few rooms with classes in session. "Perfect," said Karen, "Now get me onto the school speaker system." Karen heard some feedback from the speakers in the ceilings. "Everyone listen," she said into her ring trying to somewhat sound like a school official, "you all need to stay inside your classroom until an all clear is given." She told the ring to take her off the speaker system and flew down a hall to her right. "You have sixteen new text messages." "Kind of have more important things to deal with, ring." Karen dashed ahead, Bolphunga not far behind.
Calvin Cassidy was sitting in his own end of the cafeteria, away from everyone else, still trying to take in what had happened. His sister had been attacked and there hadn't been a thing he could have done. Calvin had always thought he had looked out for her; it was his job as a brother. Now she had been attacked by some giant gladiator…thing. Something as insane as this made him feel out of control and powerless. His sister could be dead for all he knew and what was he doing? Nothing, pathetic.
"So Calvin, since when was your sister a superhero?" asked Mitchell. Mitchell was one of the writers for the school newspaper, Calvin had never liked him much, he was one of those people who always sounded nosy and snobbish.
"What?" asked Calvin.
"Your sister's a superhero, right?"
"So, care to say anything for the presses?" Calvin noticed how Mitchell's phone was recording him.
"I think I'd prefer just to be left alone."
"Oh come on," said Mitchell, "Your sister's a Blue Lantern, whatever that is. Could really use some details here Cal. Actually, what do Blue Lanterns do, and why is Karen one? As a matter of fact, wh-"
"Mitchell!" shouted Alice. Mitchell almost jumped as she had seemed to appear out of nowhere, but Alice's hand forced him back down into his seat. "I think you should give Calvin some space, he's going through a lot."
"But I…I…I…" Calvin noticed how Alice's fingers were digging into Mitchell's shoulder. "I…think….I might be needed elsewhere."
Mitchell stood and quickly walked away, holding his shoulder. "Thanks," said Calving.
Alice sat down next to him, "No problem," she said. The two stared at each other for a few seconds. "It's hard to give any words of comfort. To be honest I don't think anyone really knows what just happened."
"Yeah," replied Calvin, slumping over the table.
"My sister joins some Green Lantern impersonators and is attacked by an alien, what the hell's to say?" He stared at the table. "I would call the cops or something but I'm pretty sure they've already told everyone on the face of the earth." Calvin pointed to the group of teenagers at the other end of the cafeteria quite a few of which were on their cellphones. "I've always thought I've been there for my little sis but this… What's to do?"
Suddenly a voice came onto the speaker system, it was Karen, "Everyone listen you all need to stay inside your classroom until an all clear is given." Karen's voice sounded confided and calm; there was something about it that gave Calvin a new sense of optimism. His sister was alive; she must have found some way to survive against whoever had fallen through the ceiling. All of a sudden his phone buzzed, he pulled it out and saw that he had a message. He didn't bother reading who it was from and opened it, reading, "Dude! Your sis is fighting some alien guy on the football field!" Calvin jumped up; everyone including Alice stared at him in surprise. "Alice," he said, "Come on, we're going to save my sister."
"I am tired of chasing pathetic Earth Lanterns!" shouted Bolphunga, "give me your ring."
"Negative, you must report to Odym," said the Blue Lantern ring. "It would be nice if you could help me! Try making a giant blue fist or a fly swatter or…something!" Bolphunga began to run directly at Karen, holding his club over his head, he let out a thunderous roar. Karen shot up into the sky out of the way of the club which left a hole in the soft plastic and rubber gravel ground of the football field. Karen suspended herself forty feet above Bolphunga. "You're the Blue Lantern ring, why don't you help me? Hit him!" asked Karen. "This ring is not programmed to create constructs." "What?" "Blue Lantern rings cannot forge light constructs unless within nearby vicinity of a Green Lantern or a powerful source of hope." "You could have mentioned that earlier." "You did not ask." "Gah!" "In addition, you have forty three new text messages." "Why won't you do anything useful?"
"I grow tired of your quarrels with that ring, hand it over," said Bolphunga from the ground.
"Negative, you must report to Od-" "Shut up! Just shut up!" shouted Karen, she was beginning to tear up. "I didn't ask for any of this, I didn't want any of this. This damn ring falls out of the sky and tells me I'm some superhero, I'm chased by a rampaging alien monster…thing. Why does all this have to happen to me?" Tears started to run down her face as she slowly sank back down to the ground. Bolphunga was walking towards her with the club in his hand and a self-satisfied smile on his face, but Karen didn't care. "I'm nothing special, I'm just-" "Incorrect," said her ring. "What?" she replied weakly. "This ring was programmed to seek out someone with the potential to instill great hope. Out of all of the universe you have been deemed worthy." "Me? Why?" "You are the one who can overcome the ultimate despair." "What ultimate…"
"You are brave girl, I will give you that," Bolphunga's hand clasped her by the throat and hoisted her into the air, bringing her level to Bolphunga's eyes, "but I have already exhausted all of my patience. Hand me your ring or…" "You have seventy nine new text messages." "And why does your ring keep doing tha-"
Bolphunga fell silent as he heard something behind him, the sound of a creaking engine. Karen heard it as well; even from a distance she couldn't mistake that rusty sound. Bolphunga turned around and spotted something approaching rapidly, kicking up dirt and the ground up rubber turf of the field, "what in the name of the Star King is that?" It was the Rust Bucket.
A figure rose out of the passenger window, "Faster Alice!" shouted Calvin, swinging his guitar over his head. Bolphunga stated, confused, at the approaching vehicle,
"This planet continues to confuse and annoy me," he said. Throwing Karen to the ground, he turned toward the approaching car, sword in hand.
"I hate to point out the insanity of your plan, Cal," said Alice, "but I noticed how gigantor has a sword."
"Just let get me close," replied Calvin, half out the window and only hanging on by the grab handle. "Listen up ugly!" he shouted, "you mess with my family, you mess with me! Alice, ramming speed!"
"You're insaaaaaane!" she shouted.
"Your friends have valor," said Bolphunga, "or they are incredibly stupid. Ah, to be young." His sword drawn, he stuck his foot out. When the car rammed him, Bolphunga's spiked boot engraved itself in the hood he managed to stop the car. Calvin was thrown out the passenger window and hit ground with a painful smack, still holding onto his guitar, while Alice was pinned between her seat and the air bag. The back reared up as the Rust Bucket's wheels spun in place. Bolphunga's sword then pierced the hood of the bug, going through the bottom of the car and deep into the field's turf. The Rust Bucket sputtered and died, oil leaked from the car like blood. "Well, that's taken care off," said Bolphunga, pulling Calvin off the ground by his collar, "Now you. I've been having a bit of a day and I-"
"AAAAAAA!" Calvin smashed his guitar into Bolphunga's face.
The guitar shattered, the splinters went flying, leaving Calvin clutching only the neck. Bolphunga, unphased but now much angrier, continued to talk, "and I think I'm going to stomp you into the ground now."
Calvin stared blankly into Bolphunga's eyes, "I…I…I-"
Bolphunga threw him down, "next time, it will take something more than pathetic, outdated, piece of garbage to stop me-"
Suddenly, Bolphunga's ship crashed into him, missing Calvin, and knocking Bolphunga across the field. Everyone was struck dumb by what has just happened, gazing vacantly at the smoking vessel. The door of the newly crashed spaceship opened up. A white, fish looking alien climbed out followed by some kind of elephant-man dressed in robes. The fish alien spoke to Karen, "I am sorry," he said, "for the frightening things you must have had at the hands of that monster. My name is Saint Walker, this is Brother Warth may we have the honor of welcoming you to the Blue Lan-"
The back of Bolphunga's forearm knocked them both into the hull of his ship, rendering them unconscious, "I have lost my patience on you foolish peacemakers!" Bolphunga drew his other sword and held it over the two lanterns, "Now-"
"STOP!" yelled someone. Bolphunga turned in surprise to where the shout had come from, the girl lying on the ground. Karen, terrified, slowly stood. Her knees were trembling with fear, she was breathing intensely, not really thinking of what to say. So she said whatever came to her first, "I didn't ask for any of this, I didn't want any of this…this…this responsibility...whatever it is. But you….you come here, you attack me, you chase me, you threaten my brother," she raised a quivering arm and pointed towards the school, "and endanger all those people. Who the hell do you think you are?"
Bolphunga's surprised stare quickly turned into a bellowing laughter, "Bwahahahaha! Who am I?" he asked, wiping away a faint tear, "I am Bolphunga the Unrelenting, I am one of the mightiest warriors in the universe! There is not fighter I cannot beat! Green Lanterns run at the utterance of my name, and you are hardly a Green Lantern, child." Karen raised her ring, now glowing bright blue, pointing it at Bolphunga. "I think you'll find that ring to hardly be a weapon, what is there to do? Hope that I'll submit?"
Karen smiled, "Not exactly, But I've been getting quite a few text messages lately and I finally started reading them. They're from my classmates, and they're cheering someone they call 'Teen Lantern' on. I may not be a hero, but they sure think I am." "
Your point?" he asked.
"My ring is powered by hope genius," replied Karen. "Auxiliary hope source accepted, ring capacity at 2%."Bolphunga stared at Karen, "What are you getting at?"
Bolphunga found his arms forced his arms forced to his sides by a rope made of blue light and wrapped around most of his body. The other end, Karen held in her hand, "Have anything to say?"
Bolphunga laughed at her, "You think your weak little ring can actually-" Karen swung Bolphunga over her head and slammed him into the other end of the field with a loud wham! Then she slammed him into the other end, wham! Wham! Wham! Wham! Wham! Bolphunga now found himself lying face down on the ground. Karen looked him with her arms crossed, "How about now?"
Bolphunga, quickly picked himself up, he didn't even look bruised. "You know, there is a reason Green Lanterns are scared of me," he said, brushing himself off, "I think it's time you learned why." Karen held ring arm out, ready to fight. "Auxiliary hope source expended, ring capacity at 0%." Karen's face was stark terror as she held the ring to her face, "What!" Bolphunga then knocked her to the ground. His foot pinning her down, "It is time you learned that there is no escaping this, your ring will belong to me!" The boot on Karen's chest started to press down. Karen screamed as she felt several of her ribs snap like twigs. Bolphunga smiled sinisterly, "Oh, I am going to enjoy this," his eyes burned bright red.
"You're angry, really angry. I can see it. You're giving off this red aura made of rage, just like me." Bolphunga stared at the girl under his boot, "What are you getting at?"
"Next time, don't wear a Blue Lantern ring around your neck without glancing at the manual," said Karen. "Searching for emotional connection, rage found. Connecting emotional tether. Connected." "Emotional ghaaa!" he roared as his emotions were filtered out of him. Instantly, the rage of Karen Cassidy and Bolphunga swirled into each other. She saw herself as a little girl being bullied by her brother, she saw a small boy without a family, she was lying on the ground with a broken foot, he was fighting in a gladiatorial arena, he was maiming, killing. They both hated the same things, they had the same rage. Their eyes glowed as burning red energy linked their minds together. Bolphunga fell over in pain, reliving all the worst moments of his life, all the things he hated, even the things about himself, all those years fighting, fighting, fighting for a prize that would never be won back. Karen felt it too, all the pain he had suffered; it was so much that she could barely stand. Slowly, tears pouring down her face, she trudged toward that alien.
"I'm so sorry," she said, "I'm so, so sorry." She held out her hand toward Bolphunga, "All…will…be…we-"
"Shut up!" yelled Bolphunga, ripping off the Blue Lantern rings around his neck. The emotional link broke; the energy vanished into thin air. "You have no idea how much I have suffered. You think you can simply consult me about something you know nothing of?"
"You do not know the way of a warrior like me. What do you know?"
"I know how much you've suffered. I've seen everything that ever fueled your rage. " replied Karen, clenching her head in pain, "I know about the vow you made, the one bond in blood, how your family's spirits must writhe in you attacking a child. " Bolphunga stared at her, almost weakened by what she had said, Karen could have sworn at one point see saw fear in him.
Bolphunga's face quickly turned to contempt, "I've had enough of you Lanterns," he said, "Peacemakers are not worthy sport for battle, regardless of fortune." Bolphunga backed away from Karen and started walking towards his ship, "That's it?" he heard.
Bolphunga turned around and saw Alice glaring at him, a bruise on her forehead from when Bolphunga had stopped the car. "You show up, attack people and then just leave?" Bolphunga smiled, "yes."
He shoved her to the ground and kept walking. He approached the Rust Bucket and pulled his sword out from the car, now covered in oil and grease, he stared at it with a bit of disgust and placed it back in its hilt and continued onward. He had one foot in his ship when he looked back to Karen, "One last thing child Lantern." His eyes were burning bright, "If you ever mention my vow or my family. I will kill you." He climbed inside his ship, closed the door with a loud metallic thud and the ship shortly after flew off towards the skies; Karen, Calvin, and Alice watched as the ship vanished out of sight.
Calvin turned to his sister, "Well sis, you're going to have to explain this to Mom and Dad." "Alright," she said, still holding her head but smiling, "You explain what happened to the car." Calvin eyed the smoking remains of the Rust Bucket, now with a new boot imprint on the hood and a destroyed engine. "Have fun with that," replied Karen, "Ow, ow, head still hurts."
"Hate to interrupt, but what about what about those two?" asked Alice, pointing at Saint Walker and Brother Warth who were now coming around.
"Is it just me, or is unconsciousness becoming our motif?" asked Warth.
"Hopefully not," said Saint Walker, turning to Karen. "I humbly apologize for all the misfortunes you must have come upon at the hands of that…hunter."
"Heh," said Karen, "I think I managed alright. I take it those are yours?" Karen pointed to the two Blue Lantern rings lying on the ground.
"Yes," Saint Walker, picking the rings off the ground and placing his back on his finger. When he did, it let off a spark, "Ow! My ring is telling me that you somehow managed to connect Bolphunga's rage with your own. I didn't know our rings could do that." "Your ring is incapable of creating emotional tethers, this ring is only able because of you own design." "But I never I created the ring to do that." "Then it would appear this ability to be an unintentional result of your…amateur programing skills." "Ms. Cassidy," said Walker, "I think it is best you refrain from using an "emotional tether" until I can further study it, especially considering that it seemed to syphon some of his rage onto you."
"Don't worry, you don't need to ask me," replied Karen, holding her head, "Ugh, I think I got a bit more than I bargained for...I said something about an oath, but now I can't remember, it's like how dreams fade away once you're awake. Ah!" Karen felt her stomach moving as her broken ribs were mended by themselves.
"Do not fear, your ring allows you to heal much faster than normal," Saint Walker said with a light-hearted smile. Suddenly his ring glowed bright blue, "I must say I am impressed with how you managed Bolphunga. I think you would certainly make an excellent addition to the Blue Lantern Corps."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa," said Calvin stepping in between Karen and Walker, "Are you serious? You almost got my sister killed dealing with some nut job that not even you could handle. You're the guys who fought those zombies that attacked Coast City a few years ago. You can't honestly-"
"Um, Calvin?" said Karen. "I think that's my decision."
"Might I remind you, YOU WERE ATTACKED BY CRAZY GLADIATOR ALIEN MAN!"
"He makes a point with his crazy gladiator alien man position," said Alice. "and you let him get away!" continued Calvin, pointing towards the small speck that was now Bolphunga's ship.
"Do not fret," said Brother Warth, "Once he leaves the atmosphere, Bolphunga will notice, too late, that his ship is programmed to hyper-jump directly to Oa." Warth laughed to himself. Alice and Karen stared at him at surprised at Warth's somewhat vindictive nature. "What? Even a peacemaker is entitled to hold a grudge." The two continued to stare at him with surprise and a bit of disgust. Warth frowned, "Don't judge me."
Their conversation was cut short by the sounds of police and medical officials approaching the field, followed by television reporters and a crowd students and teachers. "I think we should talk this over with my parents. That and I don't want to deal with crowds again," Karen said to Walker and Warth, "Follow me." Karen grabbed Calvin and Alice by the back of their shirts and took off towards home, "I can't wait to explain this one to Mom and Dad."
"Could be worse, your ring could be powered by angst," said Alice. "Who in their right mind would actually make a ring that does that?" "You would be surprised what powers some rings," said Walker, as the group flew away from the impending crowd.
The smell of salmon as it roasted on a skillet brought back so many memories for Ryan Cassidy. It reminded him of his childhood, fishing off the coast of New England. He remembered back when he used to break into the privately owned beachheads of probable millionaires with a hook and line in hand. He knew he could likely find the same fish anywhere else, but there was a certain satisfaction in sticking it to rich snobs. Even has he grown old, the fun of defying authority always had the taste of self-satisfaction. The scent brought back memories of his wedding day, when he had salmon as the main course. It was a smell that always reminded him of the happiest moments of his life and so he always felt content when cooking it. The aroma was an irresistible whiff of nostalgia; the amazing scent of sea salt tickled his brain. He was jolted back into the present when he heard the doorbell ring. He turned the burners off and put down the skillet, and dreadfully had to leave the comfort of his salmon. He opened the front door and saw his kids, Calvin and Karen, both smiling uncomfortably. He was mystified to how Karen was wearing what could only be described as blue and black full-body spandex. Then he saw the two people behind them. They were both wore similar blue and black suits as Karen but they were wearing monster costumes as well. The shorter looked like some kind of albino fish-man with a tentacle hanging from the back of his bald head and tiny black beady eyes. The taller one looked like an anthropomorphic elephant, with monk robes. "Uh hi dad," said Karen. "Hey kids, what's with the guys in costumes?" Karen and Calvin exchanged glances out of the corner of their eyes. "Yeah, heh, heh, costumes…" Karen stared back at her father. Calvin spoke up, "You probably should sit down first."