A/N: Here we are - the final chapter of Joy to the World. A big thank you to leathman and Dextra2 for reviewing not just last chapter, but also every single chapter of this story. :D Happy 2013, everyone!
Of Things to Come
December 25, 3002
A commanding, authoritative voice rang out in the hallway.
"Garth Ranzz, get your stubborn behind out here now!"
A ginger-haired young man poked his head out from behind his room door. "Grife, Ayla – could you say that a little louder? I don't think they heard you on Winath."
His twin sister, Ayla Ranzz, tapped her foot impatiently. "Come on, already – everyone's waiting."
"I never said they had to. Tell them they can go right on ahead, no need to wait for me, I'll be along shortly."
"You mean after Rokk and Imra have already covered your speech for you?" Ayla raised an eyebrow. "Not on my watch. You're coming now."
"But I hate making speeches!" Garth said plaintively. However, he knew his sister wouldn't budge, so he reluctantly came out of his room.
"Tough." Ayla was unsympathetic as she prodded him in the back to make him move. "It comes with the territory of being a Founder. Now come on, slowcoach – I'd like to have our holiday dinner before January."
The conference room in Legion HQ, normally used to hold meetings, had been transformed into a veritable banquet hall. The long conference table was draped with a gold cloth, festooned with flowers and ribbons and glowing lights. Several smaller tables, all laden with delectable eatables from numerous cultures, had been brought in and were arranged at either side of the room. Swags of colored cloths and bunches of holocrystals had been pinned just below the ceiling. A massive banner hung from the doorway, wishing everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Blessed Winter Solstice, Yule Tidings, Joyous Winter Festival, Pleasant Harvest Time, and whatever else the various members of the Legion of Superheroes celebrated on their homeworlds at this time of year.
The Legionnaires themselves were not clad in their usual uniforms, but in smart, chic party clothes no less colorful than their costumes – many had a dash of the Legionnaire's home culture present in the design.
This holiday season marked the end of the Legion's fourth year; three weeks from now the team would celebrate the fourth anniversary of its founding. Today's occasion, however, was a simple commemoration of the various holidays and general goodwill – a get-together for the group of extraordinary young people who had formed strong bonds of friendship and teamhood. After speeches from the three Founders Rokk Krinn, Imra Ardeen, and Garth Ranzz (Legionnaires Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad, respectively) much to this effect, the dinner got in full swing. Conversations sprung up between friends, good food was enjoyed, and music was played. A few danced after they had finished their meal, while others were content to sit and talk – or, in the case of one Tenzil Kem, the aptly-named Matter-Eater Lad, go for third and fourth helpings.
At length, Jan Arrah, the Legionnaire Alchemist, ever philosophical, proposed that since the Legion was directly inspired by and so deeply entrenched in the legacy of the Second Age of Heroes, they should take the opportunity to remember their history.
"Let's make it more interesting," Nura Nal suggested. "Instead of rehashing our history lessons, let's make a game out of it."
"How do we do that?" Dawnstar wondered.
"First," said Nura, "we pick a date. Then we use a holopad to randomly select someone, and he or she has to tell the rest of us of something significant that happened on that date in history. Then we pick a new date, and…" She paused as a vision occurred to her. "Oh." She turned to Lyle Norg, who was sipping his punch obliviously. "You're right, that is a better idea."
Lyle looked nonplussed. "What idea? I didn't say anything."
"No, but you would have in ten seconds."
"What?" Jo Nah asked.
"We pick one date," said Nura. "One single date in history on which many things happened, and everyone takes turns thinking of one thing."
"Aw, come on!" Dirk Morgna protested. "There's thirty-one of us – what single date in history had twenty-seven significant things happen?"
"Two dates, to be exact," Lyle interjected, having caught on. "24th and 25th December 2002."
"Exactly one thousand years ago," Nura added.
There was a pause as everyone processed this.
"There aren't quite enough events to go round all of us, given the parameters of the game – but we can also cite connected happenings that resulted from those events," Lyle reasoned.
"It is a good way to test our knowledge of the past," Jan agreed.
"Oh, what the heck," Jenni Ognats said lightly. "Let's do it."
"I'm all for it," Thom Kallor acquiesced.
One by one, the other Legionnaires declared their concurrence (somewhat reluctantly, on the parts of Dirk and Ti'julk Mr'asz, and casual indifference on Querl Dox's).
Rokk pulled out his pocket holopad, in which there were files and membership photos of all the Legionnaires, and set it to random.
"Let the games begin," he said, as the holopad rapidly flipped through various names before stopping at one.
"It just had to be me, didn't it?" Reep Daggle complained as he saw his codename, Chameleon, hover above the holopad. "All right, uh, let's see…"
"One more rule," said Nura with a smile, "Each of us only has one minute to think of something and tell it to everyone else. If we don't do it in time, we have to cover a random Legionnaire's monitor shifts for a week."
"Oh, come on!" exclaimed Reep.
"You've got fifty-six seconds," Salu Digby told him helpfully. Reep glared at her. "Fifty-four," she sang.
"Ugh!" said Reep. "Okay, uh…it was the first Christmas celebrated in Jump City Titans Tower." He grinned, looking very pleased with himself.
"Next one." Rokk pressed the button on his holopad, and again it flashed through several names. "Phantom Girl."
"Shining Knight met Vigilante," Tinya Wazzo said at once.
The next name was Saturn Girl, so Imra responded, "Eris caused disasters in South America as part of her game with Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate, and Inza Cramer."
Garth was quick to build on her answer when his codename appeared above the holopad after hers. "As a result of the mission in South America, Doctor Fate joined the Justice League and became the first non-founder to do so."
"I'm impressed you actually know that," Rokk teased as he pressed the button again. "You never were one for history."
"Shut up, Cos."
Salu was next. "Lex Luthor signed a check for ten thousand dollars to the Faith, Hope, and Charity Orphanage in Metropolis."
"One of the few good things he ever did," Drake Burroughs commented. "I'm actually amazed he had the heart to do that."
Luornu Durgo frowned. "Isn't that a bit jaded, Drake?" she asked pointedly.
Drake shrugged. "Facts are facts. The man was a bastard. He got what was coming to him."
"You know," Imra interjected, "to this day, no one knows why he signed that check. There were rumors that he was seen around the orphanage, but nothing was ever confirmed."
"Maybe he just had a temporary attack of conscience," Wilimena Vauxhall proposed. "In any event, let's move on."
"XS," Rokk announced after glancing at the name.
Jenni grinned. "The Central City Rogues kicked Copperhead and Shade out of town."
"Finest thing ever done by a bunch of villains," Chuck Taine agreed, chortling.
The lot then fell to Nura, who said, "Cyborg reconciled with his father."
Jo was the first one to hit a snag; he was unable to think of anything that hadn't already been said, and when his one minute expired, he was duly informed that he would be held to his double shifts for the next week.
"We'll decide whose shifts you'll get," Garth told him.
Next up was Dirk. "White dwarf star matter landed outside Ivy Town," he said. "The properties of the meteorite later enabled Ray Palmer to become the Atom."
Salu added, "And Palmer's technology was independently replicated on Imsk and eventually incorporated into our DNA structure."
Lyle shot her a look. "You just couldn't resist that, could you?"
It was Dawnstar's turn after that. "The Royal Flush Gang attempted to rob the Midway Museum; Hawkgirl stopped them and became the city's protector soon after, marking the end of her migratory life on Earth."
"Ten down, twenty to go." Tasmia Mallor glanced at Zoë Saugin. "Think you can come up with something when your name gets picked?"
"Please," said Zoë. "My mother was an archaeologist. I so know things."
"Well, here's your chance to prove it," said Troy Stewart, nodding towards the holographic screen that was now bearing Kinetix's name.
Without missing a beat, Zoë answered, "The Question and Huntress met in Gotham."
"Really? At Christmas 2002?" Val Armorr asked interestedly.
"Those two were as secretive as they go," Brin Londo noted. "No one could positively pinpoint when they first met."
"Well, my mother did," Zoë replied. "I think the history logs were recently updated, too."
"Who's next?" Condo Arlik inquired.
"Luornu," Imra replied, reading over Rokk's shoulder.
Luornu had to think awhile before she responded, "Oliver and Dinah Queen adopted Artemis Crock, who later became Green Arrow's apprentice, codenamed Arrowette."
The next contender, Gim Allon, said simply, "Green Lantern Alan Scott died."
There was a short moment of silence as everyone remembered Earth's first Green Lantern.
Rokk cleared his throat. "Moving on, then…" He pressed the button again.
Twenty minutes later, almost everyone had had their turn citing moments of Christmas 2002. Most were well acquainted enough with the legacy of the Second Age of Heroes to avoid the forfeit – though Brin, Ti'julk, and Ayla joined Jo for double monitor duty. Only one Legionnaire had not yet had his name selected.
"Hey, Querl, where's your flight ring?" Thom queried, noticing the green-skinned Legionnaire's bare finger.
Querl Dox moved his hand. "I left it as an exhibit at the New Metropolis Museum of Art and History in the 25th century, along with one of my spare force field belts. I haven't gotten around to replacing it yet."
"Why would you do that?" Blok inquired.
"To ensure Booster Gold would travel to the 21st century." Querl glanced at the holopad. "By the way, as I am the only one who has yet to participate in the game, as my contribution, Booster Gold arrived in 21st-century Metropolis on December 25, 2002."
Several less historically-savvy people groaned.
"Brainy, Booster Gold was a fame-seeking, glory-hogging gold digger," said Jo.
"A human concerned only with himself," Ti'julk agreed, clicking his pincers disapprovingly. "An extremely sorry excuse for a superhero."
"Check the later records," Querl advised them. "Booster Gold matured a great deal in his first few years with the Justice League, and became a remarkable hero in his own right."
"Is that right?" Hart questioned.
"Yep." Lyle nodded. "He was instrumental in the Battle of Las Vegas against the Royal Flush Gang."
"Which enabled the League to eventually defeat the entire syndicate," Querl added. "Without Booster Gold, the Justice League would have been ended by the Royal Flush Gang, just three and a half years after its inception."
"I always did wonder how that museum ended up having a Legion flight ring on display for Booster Gold to steal, seeing how the Legion didn't exist until 2999," Gim remarked. "Now it turns out Brainy's the one who put it there."
"History must be preserved," Querl quipped. "Without the Justice League, the Legion would not exist."
"Here's to history, then," Imra said, holding up her glass for a toast.
"To history," the other Legionnaires echoed.
Rokk added with a smile, "And may we make history of our own."
A/N: Ah, the Legion - the very first fandom I published in. Of course they're gonna be part of Diamond Earth. Most of the Legionnaires in this chapter were referred to only by their actual names, so below I've compiled the complete list of membership of the Legion of Superheroes at the time of December 25, 3002. Note that a few codenames have been modified, because I didn't want so many 'boy's and 'girl's attached to them.
1. Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn)
2. Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen)
3. Lightning Lad (Garth Ranzz)
4. Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox)
5. Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo)
6. Triplicate Girl (Luornu Durgo)
7. Alchemist (Jan Arrah)
8. Leviathan (Gim Allon)
9. Shrinking Violet (Salu Digby)
10. Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg)
11. Timber Wolf (Brin Londo)
12. Gossamer (Ayla Ranzz)
13. Bouncing Boy (Chuck Taine)
14. Star Boy (Thom Kallor)
15. Inferno (Dirk Morgna)
16. XS (Jenni Ognats)
17. Matter-Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem)
18. Kinetix (Zoë Saugin)
19. Dreamer (Nura Nal)
20. Princess Projectra (Wilimena Vauxhall)
21. Umbra (Tasmia Mallor)
22. Karate Kid (Val Armorr)
23. Ultramarine (Jo Nah)
24. Gates (Ti'julk Mr'asz)
25. Wildfire (Drake Burroughs)
28. Tyroc (Troy Stewart)
29. Nemesis (Hart Druiter)
30. Chemical King (Condo Arlik)
31. Chameleon (Reep Daggle)
That's all for now, folks! Keep an eye out for the next Diamond Earth tale, Legacy. Once more, Happy New Year!