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| OPERATION LUMBERJACK
| January 30, 1945

You learned to listen for the whistle.

A boom followed by a whistle meant that the shell was outbound.

A whistle in the air, growing louder? It meant that the boom was incoming.

The young man should have still been in high school. He looked like someone who might have been the football team running back or maybe a track star. Possibly both. If he said he was sixteen, then he was lying about his age. As had many other youths in order to join the war effort that had claimed so many of their father’s and brother’s lives.

Bullets whizzed through the air, as the faint echo of something like thunder revealed German machine gun positions. Vaulting through the blown out window of what may have, at one time, been a storefront, the young American all-star flew from out of the structure. Rifle in arms, he tucked and rolled as he ducked behind a stack of firewood.

The structure he’d been in just a moment earlier blew apart in an explosion that momentarily stunned him.

A hand slapped down on his shoulder, roughly snapping the teen from out of his daze.

The boy wore the uniform of a U.S. Army private first class. The stencil on the chest read BATSON.

The hand that had shaken him belonged to a youth who was barely older. Maybe seventeen. He looked like he should have been enrolling as a freshman in college, not ducking German artillery on the Belgium border. The name stenciled on his chest was RAYMOND.

They all called him Toro.

The younger boy tried to breath, found himself choking on the acrid smell of smoke and gave a cough. Turning his head, he spit and then labored to catch his breath. When he finally looked up, he said, “I thought they said ‘lightly defended.’”

“The Soviets may have a slightly different definition of that than we do,” Toro quipped back.

Billy just gave a shake of his head as he sat up. Pulling his back against the wood pile. Cradling the rifle, the youth dared to peek out from one side. A flying flying by his head prompted him to quickly duck back again. “All right, I’ll go up the middle,” Billy announced, turning back toward Toro. “You go over top and...”

There was a strange sound.

It wasn’t thunder. And it wasn’t a mortar. It wasn’t a tank either. Glancing upward, the two youths were presented by the sight of a rocket taking off into the air.

That would probably be the rocket that they’d come to stop the launch of.

“Change of plan,” Toro announced. The smell of smoke grew strong, as flames started to appear along the teen’s form. Fiery eyes looked over at Billy, as the teen kicked his head to one side to indicate the German machine gun positions. “I’ve got this,” Toro announced firmly.

“And I’ve got that,” Billy uttered, giving a heavy sigh. Tossing his rifle to one side, the teen pulled himself into a crouching runner’s start.

Then he took off from the imaginary starting line. Bullets flew by, but a whoosh sound told him that Toro had started the fireworks to draw the German fire with some of his own.

Gritting his teeth, Billy’s boots dug into the earth as he put some more distance between himself and Toro, before he shouted, “SHAZAM!”

Lightning came down, arcing with a brilliant flash that enveloped the teen’s form. Thunder rolled as the light faded, revealing a red and gold clad figure with a white cape.

Transitioning from a sprint into a jump, the caped figure launched into the air. Another boom echoed a second later, as the figure accelerated like a rocket. In the town below -- or what remained of it -- glass could be heard blowing out as the figured sailed through the air in pursuit of the rocket.

The Soviets hadn’t offered a lot of information about just what this rocket was. Honestly, they probably hadn’t wanted to share any information at all, except it was clear that they were afraid of it and only the Americans had been in a position to engage the Belgian border towns.

Flying through the air, the youth slid up the rocket. Pressing his hands against it, the boy’s blue eyes peered around for options. Maybe he could pull it higher into the air and detonate it there?

No, they were about to go over the English channel.

Angling the rocket steeply downward, the crimson hero split off along the water’s surface as the rocket crashed into the ocean.

A violent water spout erupted a moment later, sending a light sprinkle of salt mist over the youth as he seemed to hover in mid-air.

Billy gave a heavy sigh, before looking back toward the direction that he’d left Toro.

Billy Batson.

The voice of the wizard.

There was a momentary feeling of vertigo, as though the youth were being pulled away to somewhere else. He felt his body starting to shrink, as he started reverting back to his true self. A now-familiar feeling of dislocation gripped him, the boy began to stammer, Notnow. Notnow. Notnow...

It was too late. When the feeling had subsided, the boy found himself standing inside of what looked like a temple hewn from rough stone. At the top of which was a dark skinned old man with a gnarled cane and an unkempt beard. “I gave you my power and you used it to fight a war,” Shazam uttered, his wearied, aged voice booming like thunder despite his physical frailty. “You must answer for your actions, Billy Batson.”

Looking down at himself, the sleeves of the Army fatigue shirt he wore extended past his arms. Comically, the boy in the military uniform that was now too big for him looked over and said, “My friend’s back there,” Billy barked, hand outstretched as though pleading as he added, “He could be in trouble...”

The familiar feeling of dislocation gripped him. The interior of the temple seemed to spin.

When it had stopped, Billy found himself standing in a square pulpit. A dias reared overhead, with three figures looking down at him.

Looking to his left and right, all that was missing was chains. As the scene resolved itself in his mind, Billy understood that he was on trial. In a very literal sense. Turning his head back up, he recognized Shazam in the center of the three. The other had the face of a horse, while the third was a woman with black hair pulled back into a high ponytail.

“Not to fight a war,” Billy offered, picking up on the wizard’s words. “To put an end to war.”

“Do you have any idea how many innocent lives the American bombing campaign has claimed?” the horse-faced figure demanded gruffly. “Can you truly claim to be the force of good in this conflict?”

Toro was probably still dodging bullets and these three talking heads wanted to have a philosophical debate? “War is war. Fighting to bring an end to hostilities is conflict,” Billy reasoned aloud, before adding, “It’s not perfect and neither are we.”

“You have known fear,” Shazam uttered, as the old man stared down on the youth.

Before he could answer, the woman added, “And you have known pain.”

“And you have known death,” the horse-faced figure intoned.

“Good.”

“Good?” There was a level of disgust in his voice, which the boy didn’t bother to attempt to mask or hide.“Good? That I saw men and women -- children -- their bodies...” Billy’s mouth hung open, but no words were forthcoming. He had no words that could provide any meaningful description. Hell. Hell on Earth was about as close as he could fathom.

Allowing his arm to drop by his side, the youth drew in a breath before saying, “You can’t imagine what I saw in Poland.”

“We have seen it,” the woman uttered coldly. “All of it, and more. Many times across countless centuries on innumerable worlds.”

“Did you think that humanity had a monopoly on atrocity?” the horse-faced figure asked sharply.

Billy looked up, a quizzical expression on his face. He looked away for a moment, then back toward the horse-faced judge. But he had nothing to say.

“Perhaps you do begin to understand,” the horse-faced figure noted dryly.

“He is ready.”

There was a certain finality to that statement that didn’t sit well with Billy. “Ready? Ready for wh--” he began.

The horse-faced figure interjected. “The boy is impatient.”

“So was I, if you remember,” the woman noted simply.

“There is nothing more he can learn from me.”

“Learn?” Billy echoed. What was he supposed to have learned? “You... you told me to say your name and then I just fought in the war in Europe,” the boy remarked, confused, as he turned his head up toward the old wizard. “I still don’t understand what it is that you chose me for.”

The question hung in the air. The woman stood and walked away. The horse-faced figure did the same. The courtroom seemed to fall away, the familiar sensation of vertigo gripping him as reality seemed to spin around until the boy was back inside of the temple.

Except the old wizard was no longer seated at the top of the dias.

Staring around the darkness inside the temple, the boy asked, “What am I supposed to do?”

That, Billy Batson, is the right question.



[ Start ] [ Soundtrack ] [ Next ]

| WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
| Present Day

“Your human methods of education seem most inefficient.”

The last bell had rung. Car pools snaked around the front of the school, as kids and teachers filtered from inside and out of the public school complex that occupied this part of the city block.

Billy had slung his backpack down, organizing his books and materials as a boy leaning on a pair of crutches hobbled over to share the table with him.

A weak smile played at Billy’s face. “You say that, but I definitely don’t remember having this much stuff to memorize when I was going to school before the war,” Billy offered, even as he looked around to see who might be listening.

With most kids trying to get home as fast as possible. There were not a lot that were lingering in the school yard. And only a few that Billy even recognized.

“With all the interest in the shuttle launch, I’m surprised at the inability to comprehend the basic physics of a Lagrange Point when..."

As the other boy prattled on, Billy was mildly aware of a strange feeling. Scrutinizing the school yard more closely, at first he thought that he was imagining it, until he saw her.

“Billy?”

His name snapped him from out of his brooding. Looking over at the other boy, as though confused, Billy stammered a moment before he asked, “I’m sorry. What?”

“Is something the matter?” the deceptively-looking human boy inquired. “You were staring at Courtney.”

“Yeah,” Billy uttered. Then seemed to realize the implication and immediately recanted. “I mean, no,” he stammered. Then, trying to explain, added, “There’s something about her.”

The other boy just tilted his head to one side, as though slightly taken aback. “Your physical body hasn’t been outside of the Rock of Eternity in several decades. Are you experiencing pubertal development?”

“What?” Billy asked sharply. “No, I mean her corporeal form seems normal, but I’m sensing an energy from her that isn’t human.”

The other boy turned his head, glancing at the blonde-haired girl across from them in the school yard.

Then seemed to do a double-take.

“Right!?” Billy asked, finding both relief and vindication in the other boy’s reaction.

“You are correct. But it is too faint for me to discern the precise origin,” the other boy remarked flatly. Then, turning back toward Billy, noted, “In either case, our remaining here past the allotted education hours would be an impractical use of our time.”

“In other words, you’re ready to bail.”

The idiom seemed to almost irritate the Kymellian in human clothing. “That is what I have indicated,” the other boy stated, with a slight shake of his head. “Were you still planning to visit the geriatric care facility that you mentioned?”

“It’s called a retirement home,” Billy corrected lightly, before adding, “And yes. Once I figured out how to use that Google thing in the library, I think someone I know might be there.”

“You are soon to be a hundred years old, Billy Batson,” the other boy stated flatly. “Members of your species are not typically as long lived. I would encourage you to seek emotional detachment from the people of your former life. These emotional entanglements will only form distractions.”

Heaving his backpack from off the table, Billy slung it over one shoulder. “When have you ever known me to be distracted?” he asked, flashing the so-called Freddy Freeman a smile.

The Kymellian in disguise, picked up his crutches and prepared to shuffle away. “Would you like that list alphabetically or chronologically?”

Billy just gave a slight nod of his head. “You heading back to Friday?”

“Correct. I wish to complete the book report on this Great Gatsby and then check in with Kymellia.,” the alien boy noted.

“I’ll see you later, then,” Billy offered.

The two youths walked away from the table.

As Freddy Freeman passed behind one corner of the school, the boy seemed to disappear into thin air.

As Billy passed behind a tree, he seemed to do the same.
C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T P R O P O S A L
C A P T A I N M A R V E L


W I L L I A M J O S E P H B A T S O N W I Z A R D R O C K O F E T E R N I T Y A V E N G E R S
C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T:


"S H A Z A M !"

Billy Batson is the current Shazam, the guardian of the Rock of Eternity. During WW2, he fought alongside Steve Rogers and was a founding member of the Young Allies -- and was dubbed Captain Marvel by the media of the day. At war's end, he entered the Rock of Eternity to study and prepare for assuming the role of the Wizard. During the Chitauri attack on New York, Billy was alerted to the crisis and emerged, only then realizing how much time had passed. He now slips back into society as a young boy attending school in Fawcett City, Ohio while he tries to get reacquainted with the world and his place in it.

C H A R A C T E R M O T I V A T I O N S & G O A L S:

Billy Batson has always been a character distinguished by trauma, much like Batman or other Golden Age heroes. His being an orphan, his struggles with the foster care system, and his vulnerability as a child have always been contrasted by both the power of Captain Marvel and his optimistic personality. I want to explore a fresh take on Billy as the wizard, where he’s still the same vulnerable child at heart but burdened by the weight of decades and struggling to remain true to who he is in the face of his responsibilities as Shazam.

C H A R A C T E R N O T E S:

As the current Shazam, Billy Batson is the physical embodiment of the Rock of Eternity and, thus, is always empowered by it. He can alter his outward appearance, either by use of illusion or temporally displacing his physical body.

In this context, Billy is both Shazam and Captain Marvel. Shazam being the title of the guardian of the Rock of Eternity and Captain Marvel being the name that the newspapers gave him during the Second World War.

Supporting Cast
- Aelfyre Whitemane. The Shazam counterpart for the planet Kymellia. A longtime friend of the Wizard Shazam and one of Billy’s mentors. Aelfyre is the guardian of the White Room.

- Roma. The daughter of Merlin and the Shazam counterpart for the dimension known as Otherworld. Serves as the guardian of the Starlight Citadel and is another of Billy’s mentors.

- Kofi Whitemane (“Freddy Freeman”). Aelfyre’s nephew and his chosen successor, learning firsthand from Billy. He has an equine appearance, to include reverse knee joints on the legs. To blend in on Earth, he assumes a human guise as Freddy Freeman but feigns a physical disability to mask his different leg anatomy.

- Courtney Whitmore (Stargirl). A new heroine starting out as young as Billy had. She wields a cosmic staff.

- Smartship Friday. Kofi’s Kymellian spaceship, which doubles as his home on Earth (shared with Billy). When not in use, concealed within an abandoned subway station in Fawcett City.

- (Flashbacks) Elizabeth "Lizzie" Lawrence (Liberty Belle). A young WW2 heroine and a member of the Young Allies.

- (Flashbacks) Thomas Raymond (Toro). A young WW2 hero and the leader of the Young Allies.

Rogue’s Gallery
- Dr. Thaddeus Silvana. The aging patriarch of Silvana Heavy Industries, with a hidden obsession into Nazi occult research into eternal life.

- Blaze. Daughter of Mephisto and one of the Under-Lords of Hell.

- Micah Flint (Rock). An astronaut irradiated and transformed into a rock-like monster in a cosmic accident.

- Belasco. One of Earth’s most powerful sorcerers, banished to Limbo over a century ago by Shazam.

- Zn'rx (Snarks). A crocodile-like alien race.

S A M P L E P O S T:



P O S T C A T A L O G:

A list linking to your IC posts as they're created. This can be used for a reference guide to your character or to summarize completed arcs and stories.
<Snipped quote by Bounce>

The sad thing is, there are three different heroes that could apply to.


I just assume that @Master Bruce's Superman is based on the Nick Cage screen test.
@Hillan

I am sorely disappointed by the lack of Nick Cage in your CS.
C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T P R O P O S A L
C A P T A I N M A R V E L


W I L L I A M J O S E P H B A T S O N W I Z A R D R O C K O F E T E R N I T Y A V E N G E R S
C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T:


"S H A Z A M !"

Billy Batson is the current Shazam, the guardian of the Rock of Eternity. During WW2, he fought alongside Steve Rogers and was a founding member of the Young Allies -- and was dubbed Captain Marvel by the media of the day. At war's end, he entered the Rock of Eternity to study and prepare for assuming the role of the Wizard. During the Chitauri attack on New York, Billy was alerted to the crisis and emerged, only then realizing how much time had passed. He now slips back into society as a young boy attending school in Fawcett City, Ohio while he tries to get reacquainted with the world and his place in it.

C H A R A C T E R M O T I V A T I O N S & G O A L S:

Billy Batson has always been a character distinguished by trauma, much like Batman or other Golden Age heroes. His being an orphan, his struggles with the foster care system, and his vulnerability as a child have always been contrasted by both the power of Captain Marvel and his optimistic personality. I want to explore a fresh take on Billy as the wizard, where he’s still the same vulnerable child at heart but burdened by the weight of decades and struggling to remain true to who he is in the face of his responsibilities as Shazam.

C H A R A C T E R N O T E S:

As the current Shazam, Billy Batson is the physical embodiment of the Rock of Eternity and, thus, is always empowered by it. He can alter his outward appearance, either by use of illusion or temporally displacing his physical body.

In this context, Billy is both Shazam and Captain Marvel. Shazam being the title of the guardian of the Rock of Eternity and Captain Marvel being the name that the newspapers gave him during the Second World War.

Supporting Cast
- Aelfyre Whitemane. The Shazam counterpart for the planet Kymellia. A longtime friend of the Wizard Shazam and one of Billy’s mentors. Aelfyre is the guardian of the White Room.

- Roma. The daughter of Merlin and the Shazam counterpart for the dimension known as Otherworld. Serves as the guardian of the Starlight Citadel and is another of Billy’s mentors.

- Kofi Whitemane (“Freddy Freeman”). Aelfyre’s nephew and his chosen successor, learning firsthand from Billy. He has an equine appearance, to include reverse knee joints on the legs. To blend in on Earth, he assumes a human guise as Freddy Freeman but feigns a physical disability to mask his different leg anatomy.

- Courtney Whitmore (Stargirl). A new heroine starting out as young as Billy had. She wields a cosmic staff.

- Smartship Friday. Kofi’s Kymellian spaceship, which doubles as his home on Earth (shared with Billy). When not in use, concealed within an abandoned subway station in Fawcett City.

- (Flashbacks) Elizabeth "Lizzie" Lawrence (Liberty Belle). A young WW2 heroine and a member of the Young Allies.

- (Flashbacks) Thomas Raymond (Toro). A young WW2 hero and the leader of the Young Allies.

Rogue’s Gallery
- Dr. Thaddeus Silvana. The aging patriarch of Silvana Heavy Industries, with a hidden obsession into Nazi occult research into eternal life.

- Blaze. Daughter of Mephisto and one of the Under-Lords of Hell.

- Micah Flint (Rock). An astronaut irradiated and transformed into a rock-like monster in a cosmic accident.

- Belasco. One of Earth’s most powerful sorcerers, banished to Limbo over a century ago by Shazam.

- Zn'rx (Snarks). A crocodile-like alien race.

S A M P L E P O S T:



P O S T C A T A L O G:

A list linking to your IC posts as they're created. This can be used for a reference guide to your character or to summarize completed arcs and stories.
I believe @Sep used the wrong image.

This is what he meant to post.

I am interested in writing Billy Batson/Captain Marvel (aka Shazam)
Interested.

One, I love period pieces. Two, I love VtM.
It's still Friday on the West Coast, so I'll take it.

Ringing in Friday intensifies.
K A I - R O
T A L E S F R O M T H E G R E E N L A N T E R N C O R P S

ACT I: AD ASTRA PER ASPERA
Part 3: “Al-x”

The young Tibetan’s eyes seemed even larger and more expressive than they already were.

Mouth agape, the black and green clad youth marveled at the landscape before him. It was a city unlike any he could have imagined. The violet hued sky above shimmered with sparks of green, as figures moved through the air as if propelled by the verdant light that radiated in streaks that vanished into the sky, or trailed through the streets of the alien cityscape.

A vine-like tendril looped around the child’s wrist, as the bulbous alien literally took the boy by the hand as the two emerged into this brave new world of Oa.

But for the guiding hand, the young monk would have walked into any number of people or objects along their path, as the child’s eyes marveled in sheer awe and wonder at the world in which he was being led.

“It’s really another world,” the boy uttered, the first time he had spoken since the two had left the room in which the monk had awoken. For that matter, the first time that he’d shut his jaw, which had been virtually dragging behind them at his surprise.

“There are many worlds, child.”

The voice in his head -- that is, the voice of the person who was talking to him without actually talking -- was named Apros. “Each is unique, though some may remind you of somewhere you’ve been. No one world is ever truly like another.”

From the street, the pair started up a winding stair that led them to a large structure that resembled the iconic form of the lantern sigil that the boy saw on the front of the strange attire that he was now garbed in. Variations of which seemed to reside on the clothing of everyone that they had encountered thus far.

“This is the Book of Oa,” Apros’ voice spoke, each word seeming to become Kai-Ro’s own thoughts. Entering inside, the walls seemed illuminated in green light, with all manner of shapes, sigils, icons, and other forms of writing tracing up and down the walls. “The repository of all knowledge that the Guardians of the Universe have shared with us.”

Craning his head around, the boy looked up at the tall, thin gourd. “The... guardians of the universe?”

“The architects of our future,” the voice replied. “Highly advanced lifeforms who seek to maintain harmony and balance among the various aliens that inhabit what you would think of as space. They created the ring that found you. Sent out among the stars to find rare individuals possessing extraordinary willpower.”

For some reason, that last statement seemed to trigger a memory for the boy. “It said that,” the young monk began, trailing off there as the recollection solidified for him. Finally, then, he turned his head back up as he recalled, “It said that I had the ability to overcome fear.”

“That is the first step.”

“The first step to what?”

Gilding the boy around the corner, Apros offered only, “For that question, I will leave you with a more appropriate companion.”

Confused, Kai-Ro turned his head and found himself staring at an alien who seemed roughly the same height and build as he was. He would have said that it was another kid his age, except this one had purple skin and pointed ears that seemed to stick out from the side of his head. And his eyes were large, almond shaped pools of pure white.

“This is Al-x,” Apros said, supplying the introduction as the vine at last unwrapped itself from around Kai-Ro’s hand.

Withdrawing from the two, the plant-like alien disappeared with a cryptic, “Al-x has waited to meet you for a long time.”

What was that supposed to mean? “Hi,” Kai-Ro said, turning his head back toward the other... boy? Maybe?

Did aliens even have genders like, well, people did? “I’m...” the monk began, though quickly found himself speechless as the purple kid leaned forward. Staring intently at him, the violet kid seemed to study him like a specimen of some kind “...uh...” Kai-Ro stammered, fumbling awkwardly, even as he took a step back away from the other kid.

“You look like a Graxian, except you’re the wrong color,” the purple kid stated flatly, slowly walking in a circle around the monk. Then, pausing back in front of Kai-Ro, noted “And, I’ve never seen a Graxian with brown colored eyes before.”

What was a Graxian? “I’m Tibetan,” the boy stated.

“Your planet is named Tibet?”

“Well, no,” Kai-Ro amended, fumbling for a moment. He wasn’t used to thinking in terms like this. “My planet is called Earth.” That really didn’t sound right. Was this how conversations in space went?

The purple kid’s head tilted to one side, an expression of what seemed like confusion apparent as he (?) asked, “So, you’re Earthian?”

“No, we’re humans.”

“But, you said you’re Tibetan?”

“I’m from Tibet,” Kai-Ro affirmed, with a nod.

“But you said you’re from Earth,” the purple kid quipped back.

“Tibet is a country on Earth,” Kai-Ro answered. Then paused there. “Well, it was a country on Earth. I guess I’m actually Chinese, except that’s, like, super offensive where I’m from.”

“Fascinating,” the purple kid uttered.

Seriously. What kid talked like that?

“You’re describing a system of division based on geo-political boundaries.”

Expressive brown eyes just blinked. “I’m..." Kai-Ro began. Then stopped. He blinked a second time. “...wait, what?” the monk asked, even as he tried to make sense out of what he’d just heard. “Are you really a kid?”

The purple kid’s head tilted over to the other side, as though contemplating this as a new question. “Are you?”

“I’m ten,” Kai-Ro stated.

“Ten?”

Yeah, ten. “Ten years old,” the monk clarified, pointing to himself and then gesturing toward the purple kid as he asked, “How old are you?”

“In order to have meaning, this ‘year’ requires a spatial or temporal context.”

These were words.

Kai-Ro understood that these were words. He even understood that these were words being spoken in what seemed like it was perfect Tibetan.

And he had no idea what any of these words meant.

Seemingly perplexed at his conversational companion’s speechlessness, Al-x touched a spot on the wall. As he did, the green light seemed to become malleable in his hands. Responding to his fingertips, soon there was a green construct of what seemed like an approximation of a planet and some writing in a script that Kai-Ro didn’t recognize.

“How did you do that?” the monk asked, in awe.

“What is a year, exactly?” Al-x asked.

“A year? Like, twelve months,” Kai-Ro said, though it likely sounded more a question. “Three hundred sixty-five days?”

“What is a day?”

“Like, one day to the next?” Kai-Ro responded, quite confused that the conversation had taken a turn for the, well, even more confusing. “Twenty-four hours, I guess?”

Consulting the various green icons, the purple kid gave a nod. “I think I understand now, your concept of time is connected to your planet of origin,” Al-x remarked finally. Glancing up, the purple kid stated, “You think in terms of orbital revolutions. Very well. If I understand your orbital mechanics, then I am one hundred and five of your years old.”

“One... what?” Did he just say one hundred and five?

“As for how I accessed this data, this is an archival data retrieval point for the Book of Oa,” Al-x noted, giving a wave of his hand. As he did, the planet and writing vanished. “You can use it, if you wish, to look up the relevant historical data regarding the Green Lanterns.”

“What’s a Green Lantern?”

“You,” Al-x answered. Then, amended, “Or, rather, you are a candidate. As am I.” Turning back toward the monk, the purple kid noted, “With your arrival, there remain two other candidates who will join us so that our training may commence.”

“Training?” Kai-Ro echoed. At some point, all of this was going to start making sense. Right? “Training for what?”

Tucking his (?) chin between the thumb and finger of one hand, Al-x seemed to ponder that question for a moment. Then, looking up, asked, “Does your planet have a concept of hierarchical governmental authority that is centrally controlled, but decentrally executed?”

Kai-Ro just blinked, again. “You keep using these words,” the Tibetan monk stated flatly. “I have... no idea what they mean.”

Re-phrasing the question, Al-x posed, “Are there authority figures on your planet whose role is the maintenance of society’s rules?”

It wasn’t a lot better than the first question. “Authority?” Kai-Ro echoed. “You mean, like, the police?”

“Policing?” Now it was Al-x’s turn to echo back a word. A slight nod, and a flicker of a smile -- as if what Kai-Ro had said was, in some way, funny. “A quaint societal mechanism,” the purple kid decided, finally, as he looked up and affirmed, “Yes, the police.”

Kai-Ro’s head went back. “Where I’m from, the police are the bad guys,” the child stated, in a surprisingly matter-of-fact tone.

Now, it was Al-x’s turn to be surprised. “You are an anarchist?” Then, the purple kid paused. “Or the product of a system of government oppression,” Al-x stated, amending his original theory with a few other snippets gleaned from the conversation. Turning back to Kai-Ro, the purple kid said, “Fascinating, but no. Green Lanterns seek to maintain peace and order among the various alien cultures which coexist. Like your Earth, space is also subject to many political boundaries that can be cause of conflict. And criminal elements may exceed the ability of any one planet to sufficiently address. These are the functions for which the Green Lanterns exist.”

The monk just gave a blank look, finally blinking before blurting out, “Are you really a kid?”

“I feel as though we have already addressed this,” Al-x stated crisply.

“I feel as though I have no idea what you’re talking about!”
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