Was this a dream? No it couldn't be. This wasn't the type of stuff that Kyle Rayner, a struggling artist from Brooklyn, would dream about. There had suddenly been a bright flash of green light then suddenly he was covered from head to toe in black and green garb. As the light had swallowed him whole he heard a voice speaking to him.
"You are a Green Lantern…A protector of the galaxy…The ring is your weapon against the might of evil…use it well."
When Kyle's head finally cleared he took a moment to look over what he had become. He had seen this on television. The Green Lantern was a member of the Justice League. He had seen him on the news with the likes of Superman. Kyle couldn't help but wonder, if he's the Green Lantern now, what happened to the other guy. What was he supposed to do? Could he fly? There were just so many questions. However, there was only one question that could escape his lips:
"What the hell?"
Approximately a Month Later…
Those first few days of having the ring had been strange for Kyle, but eventually he took to it like a fish took to water. He had spent the time not knowing how to use the ring researching the Green Lantern that he had seen on the television and all over the internet. When he learned just how much good the Green Lantern had done on earth with the Justice League he figured he too could do some good. About a month ago he took to the streets. Well, the skies around Brooklyn and Manhattan. Here and there he picked off a mugging, a night time robbery, and even had a couple drug busts. He felt really proud of himself, and felt like he was doing some good.
He knew though that things, as good as they were, couldn't last. Surely the Justice League had noticed him by now. They would want to know where their Green Lantern had gone, and what was he doing wearing his get up. Kyle wished he knew that himself, because if and when that moment finally came he would be able to tell them something. Right now, all he had was: "I was stumbling out of a bar into an alley way when suddenly this ring pops up out of nowhere and says 'Hey! You're a Green Lantern! Good luck buddy!" As true as the story was it was still ridiculous, and there was no way anyone would believe it. Heck even he didn't believe it.
As these thoughts ran through Kyle's mind he had almost completely forgotten about the vibrating phone in his pocket. He reached in, and pressed the answer button?
"Hey Kyle, I was just calling to check in." It was Kyle's girlfriend Alex.
"Hey babe, you have no idea how good it is to hear your voice right now." Kyle sighed, and Alex started to laugh.
"You say that like you haven't seen me in months. I was just over at your place last night."
"Well when you left, the night just seemed to drag. Hey have you gave any thought yet to what I asked?" There was a sigh on the other end of the line.
"Uh…I don't know if I'm ready for that yet Kyle. I mean yeah we've been seeing each other for a while now, and I really do love you, but it's just…I don't know, can we talk about this some other time?"
"I'm just asking you to move in, it's not like I'm asking you to marry me or anything."
"It's still a big step Kyle."
"And I think we're ready to make that step."
"Ugh, you are not going to let this rest are you?"
"Nope." Kyle said smirking as he did. She heard as laugh and then a sigh.
"I'll tell you what. Just give me a couple more days to think about it, and maybe by then I'll have an answer for you. Until then you don't say a word understand?"
"I read you loud and clear."
"You promise?" Alex said, and Kyle laughed.
"You're not a scout." God Kyle loved this woman.
"Alright, I promise."
"Hey Alex! You coming or what?" Kyle heard over the phone. It was from Alex's side of the line. "Oh shoot that's Jennie. We're supposed to eat lunch together today. See you after work?"
"You can count on it."
"Great, I love you."
"I love you too." With their goodbyes exchanged Kyle hung up the phone. From there he brought up the gallery, and pulled up a picture. In the picture was Alex, a beautiful red haired green eyed twenty two year old woman. Kyle had met her while touring an art gallery that a friend of his had been putting on. Their first conversation had been about the sophistication of one particular piece, then shifted to their favorite classical pieces, then to about Kyle's work, then about Bugs Bunny, and from that point on it was click after click, with each moment punctuated with both a laugh and a smile.
Kyle had only been joking earlier about the marriage bit, just to sort of help ease Alex's mind. Why he thought a joke about marriage would help he would never know, but still right now, if there was one woman in the entire galaxy that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with? It was definitely Alexandra DeWitt.
Kyle put his phone away, and stood to his feet looking off of the roof of the Empire State building across the vastness of Manhatten Island. He had almost forgotten that he had flown up here earlier. Normally Kyle had been sticking to night time heroics, but every once in a while it felt good to fly in the warmth of the sun. As he lifted off the top of the building Kyle couldn't help, but feel that his life was awesome.
WHAM! KA-POW! SLAM! KA-BOOM!
Kyle had only seen the flash of green for a second before he felt himself getting pummeled. First in the gut, then two strikes to each side of his face. The sound of shattering glass, and then finally climaxing in having the breath knocked from his lungs as he was slammed to the ground. He could hear screaming, and the sound of chairs overturning. He must have been thrown through an office window. He went to get up, but something wrapped itself around his neck choking him. Then his limbs were pinned to the floor, and a sharp pain shot up from in between his legs. A pain that no man likes to feel, and all he could do was whimper.
His eyesight started to focus, and on top of him was what looked like a young woman with short blonde hair, but this was no ordinary woman. First off she wasn't human. Her ears were pointed and se wore a uniform: white and green, with the same insignia on her chest that Kyle wore on his. Not to mention an emerald ring on her finger that seemed to have chain like structures extending from it that were also holding Kyle to the ground. Whoever this woman was, she was a Green Lantern too.
The woman released the emerald binding that were holding Kyle's neck, and he started to cough while sucking in deep breaths of air. The woman grabbed him by the hair on his head, and glared right at him while gritting her teeth.
"I'm only going to ask this once, and you better give me a good answer." The woman growled, "What have you done with, Hal?" As Kyle lay there resisting he couldn't help, but wonder who Hal was, and what he had to do with him.
"Look lady, I don't know any Hal, but whoever he is I have nothing to do with him!" Kyle yelled at her. The woman planted a right hook on the side of his face.
"LIAR!" She exclaimed. Kyle gritted his teeth in anger. He wasn't about to be man-handled by this broad any longer. Within an instant he had already willed into existence a hammer wielding Viking warrior that hit her so hard with the emerald warhammer he was wielding that he sent the woman that had attacked him flying out the office window. Kyle stood to his feet for a moment to catch his breath, because he knew any moment she would be back.
He gathered his bearings quickly, and flew out of the office building trying to draw the fight away from civilians. When he came out though, the woman who had attacked him was nowhere to be found. He held up his ring to try and get a read on her, and that was when she decided to reappear. From her own ring flew out six strands of green light. Kyle took off as fast as he could trying to dodge them, but the woman had set them to home in on him.
"Dammit all." Kyle thought, "I really don't have time for this." He turned to face the beams while in mid-flight and this time formed a shield to block the blows. The woman's blasts hit the shield head on shattering and blasting Kyle back in the air a little bit, but not enough to make him loose his balance. It was a time to put this to an end. If this woman, whoever she was kept at it, she was going to not only hurt him, but possibly someone else. Holding his ring before him and concentrating, pushing his very will to its limit, he created a new construct. The largest one he had ever made.
When he was a child he had always been a fan of giant robot cartoons. It had been his love for such things that made him persue a career in being a graphic artist. Now it was assisting him during the fight of his life. His childhood stood before him in the form of a giant emerald colored mechanical titan. The woman had stopped now faced with the emerald guardian. Kyle caught her look for a single moment, seeing her shock. This wouldn't kill her, but she didn't know that. Kyle gave a quick smirk and a mocking salute before the giant emerald machine raised both of its arms each holding humongous green gattling guns. The woman brought up her shield, but the barrage that followed, no one could have expected.
RATT-TATATATATATAT! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! KRAKOOM!
When the barrage was finished the woman's shield had faltered, and the emerald light that kept her afloat disappeared causing her to start falling toward the Earth bellow. Kyle wanted her to feel the pain of a rough landing considering what she had given him earlier, but when you've just been shot up by a giant green robot, that was enough for anyone to have to deal with in one day. Kyle flew down forming a construct in the form of a catcher's mitt, and halted her decent. As soon as he was able he flew to a clearing away from the city and set her down. He had her leaning up against a tree tied up when he finally had his ring identify her.
"Lantern Arisia Rrab of Sector 2815 from the Planet Graxos IV." Kyle's ring relayed back to him. He was just getting the hang of the whole identification application. He never really had a use for it in the past. Though truthfully he had just not thought to really use it. He had only figured that maybe since this girl was also a Green Lantern it might be able to tell him something.
"Okay then, she was looking for a Hal?" Kyle mumbled to himself. "Does this Arisia have any relation to someone named Hal?"
"Hal Jordan, Green Lantern of Sector 2814, is her mentor assigned by the Guardians of Oa"
"Guardians of Oa?" Kyle mumbled to himself, wondering just what that was.
"What do I have to do with Hal Jordan? This girl attacked me asking me what I had done with Hal." Kyle said allowed hoping the ring would have another answer for him.
"You are Hal Jordan." The ring replied shocking Kyle. The question had been rhetorical, and he hadn't really expected an answer, but it was the answer that shocked him more than anything.
"Wait! What!? I'm not Hal Jordan! My name is Kyle Rayner!"
"Negative, Ring is registered to Hal Jordan of Sector 2814, and this ring has identified you as Hal Jordan."
"But I'm not Hal Jordan! My name is Kyle Rayner!"
"Would you like to request a name change to your Lantern registration Lantern Jordan?" The ring asked. Kyle was starting to get very irritated.
"Augh, what the hell sure. Re-register me as Kyle Rayner. Stupid ring."
"Processing…error…corruption detected…please contact the Guardian's for further assistance."
"What the heck is this, a cable TV service!" Kyle exclaimed. He scratched his head in agitation. He heard the woman named Arisia begin to stir. Perhaps he could get some answers out of her. He really didn't want to harm her though, but he had blasted her to kingdom come, and then tied her to a tree. She wasn't going to be very happen when she woke up. He only hoped he could calm her down. Kyle waited a few moments, until she finally opened her eyes and began to pulled against the roped he had constructed.
"Let me…mmmmhhhmmm!" Arisia had just had a Duct Tape construct slapped across her mouth, when Kyle got down to eye level with her. He took hold of her chin to make sure she wouldn't look away, and had even removed her ring for some extra insurance.
"I want you to calm down for a moment and listen to me very carefully. I really don't want to hurt you. I'm sorry about that mess that happened back in Manhattan, but you attacked me first. Now I know you're looking for Hal Jordan, and for some reason my ring seems to think I'm him, and so do you. I'm going to take the tape off, and when I do you got to promise not to yell or scream. I just want you to tell me why you came here and why you attacked me. Do you understand?" Kyle held her head still for a moment and the woman had tried to look away, but after a moment Kyle saw her take a deep breath, and then nod.
Then as he promised, Kyle removed the tape from Arisia's mouth where she could speak.
"So," Kyle started, "Why did you attack me?"
"I was looking for Hal." The woman started. "He's been missing for about one of your months now. He hasn't reported back or anything since he left Oa on an investigation. We tracked him down to Earth, and we figured he had just came straight back home. So we were dispatched to get his report. Then we come here and we found you wearing Hal's ring."
"He disappeared about a month ago." Kyle muttered to himself. "That's about the time I got my ring. Why would I have his ring though?" Then something suddenly dawned on Kyle. "Wait a minute. Why do you keep saying 'we'?" Kyle had not noticed the large shadow that now enveloped him.
"That's because she's with me Poozer." Kyle didn't even have time to react before something very large and hard slammed into the back of his head. He never even felt himself hit the ground.
"About time you got here." Arisia said, rubbing her wrists as her bindings disappeared. The hulking alien before her reached down and helped her to her feet, and then handed her ring back to her. The alien's name was Kilowog. He was not only her drill sargent, but also her mentor's best friend.
"I got here as soon as I could. You took off in quite a hurry." Kilowog replied, Then he got down right in her face and started jabbing her with his finger. "Don't do it again Poozer! Stuff like that doesn't fly in my corp!"
Arisia rubbed the spot where Kilowog had just poked her. She felt really ashamed all of a sudden. She had flown away immediately from Oa without any backup, or any authorization to do so. She had just been so worried about Hal she had not really given any thought to her actions. As a result she ended up getting her ass handed to her by some imposter wearing Hal's ring.
"So who's this guy?" Kilowog asked, crouching down over the unconscious human.
"I don't know." Arisia said, "But he's wearing Hal's ring." Kilowog used his own ring to scan the ring on the human's finger, and growled before slipping the ring off the unconscious human's finger. He then picked the guy up and slung him over his shoulder.
"Come on Poozer." Kilowog said has the green aura enveloped him lifting him up, "Let's get this guy back to the Guardians. They'll be able to sort this out." Arisia did the same, and followed Kilowog up out of the atmosphere. As they were leaving Arisia couldn't help but ask:
"Kilowog, do you think Hal is alright?" A long silence passed, before Kilowog looked back at her.
"I hope so, but there's something you need to know Poozer." Kilowog started. "Hal's tough, but let me tell you something someone once told me. You might not understand now, but if you're around, and still ring slinging several years from now, you will. Growing old in our corp, is a privilege."