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25 days ago
Current My father was a doorknob licker, his father was a doorknob licker, and I'm a doorknob licker. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
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29 days ago
Hey, now, can we get some likes for our Lord and Savior, the Dark Prince Satan?
5 likes
2 mos ago
Hail Satan
1 like
2 mos ago
What's that now?
1 like

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None of your damn business.

Most Recent Posts

No need to apologize. It's taken care of.
Done.


Oa
Space Sector
0001

Kilowog faced the galactic map with Salaak and Sinestro. The galaxy-wide display focused on a single star and the lone planet that orbited around it.

“Nevis,” said Salaak. “ Space Sector: 1254. They are currently in the midst of a major crisis. Scientific projections give the system a matter of weeks before their star explodes in a supernova. A planet-wide evacuation is currently underway and they are appealing to the Corps for help.”

“What’s the population size?” asked Kilowog.

“Two billion sentient lifeforms.”

“And I’m sure this is not something they discovered overnight,” said Sinestro.

“Correct. Their stars’ instability has been a known factor for at least the last few hundred years. It was only a matter of time until this moment came to be, and to their credit they have prepared adequately for it. There is a colony on second world with enough infrastructure to start the settlement process. People have already begun to make the move from Nevis.”

Kilowog looked at Salaak. “Where do we come in?”

Salaak zoomed the map out. A red line appeared from the Nevis system to another star system. At least a few light years apart.

“The journey to their new homeworld is about three days full FTL burn from Nevis. The planetary government's plan is to move the majority of the population out in a massive ship convoy in two days time. And since they pass through Terra Nullius, threats from pirates and raiders are far more real than they are in any other section of the galaxy.”

“So watchdog duty,” said Sinestro. “Keep an eye out, fly the Corps' flag, flex some muscle.”

Salaak nodded. “And I think it will be an excellent mission for you and your trainees to undertake.”

Kilowog raised an eyebrow.

“I am… not so sure.”

Sinestro crossed his arms and frowned.

“And why is that? You’ve been training them for a while now. Slicks have to be thrown into the deep end sometime, Kilowog. Plenty of new Lanterns have been asked to do far more with less training.”

“Regular Slicks, yes,” he said with a nod. “But don't forget these are… special cases.”

A look of concern flashed across Salaak's face. “Are they not up to snuff?”

He shrugged. “Jury is still out. I have two I know for sure are definitely Lantern material, two that are borderline, and the other two…”

“Well it sounds like to me a real test is called for, no?” asked Sinestro. “Time to finally see who has the right stuff.”

Kilowog saw the little smirk just beneath his mustache and knew exactly what was going through his mind.

“And what happens if one of the Slicks gets killed, or gets someone killed?”

“It’s a simple task,” said Sinestro. “And if this is too much to handle, then maybe they’re not Lantern material.”

A look passed between Kilowog and Salaak. Kilowog heard the rumors about Salaak’s psychic abilities, but in all the years they served together he never had full confirmation. But moments like this made him sure wish his fellow Lantern could read his mind.

“They have to learn sometime, Kilowog,” Salaak finally said. “And if things get too much for them to handle simply reach out to 1254’s Lanterns for backup. Anything else we can do for you?”

“No,” Kilowog said before a lingering glance at Sinestro. “Nothing at all.”




Venkoth
Space Sector 2813
70 Hours Until Solar Apogee

Zeke put the vaporizer to his lips and inhaled the smoke. He let it fill his lungs before he expelled a cloud of fumes from his slit nostrils. From his vantage point outside his cell, he could see almost the entirety of A-Block from below. The eightieth tier of A-Block exclusively housed criminals like Zeke: Political radicals, dissidents, and terrorists. Though if you asked every single one of the thousands that occupied cells here, they’d say they were freedom fighters unjustly imprisoned.

That was a load of bullshit as far as Zeke was concerned. Some of these men had committed terrible acts in the name of their beliefs. Just like Zeke. And they all deserved to be here. Just like Zeke. But just because Zeke was aware of his situation, it didn’t mean he accepted it one bit. But he had a way to change things. He just needed help, but time was running out.

“You,” a voice called from behind.

A musclebound alien stood in front of Zeke. His gray prison jumpsuit had its sleeves torn off and the alien’s thick arms was covered in crude jailhouse tattoos. On Venkoth, that tats were a shorthand for everything from who you were mobbed up with to how many lives you'd taken. The little dots running along the muscleman's jawline let everyone know he'd killed six men while incarcerated.

“The man wants to see you.”

Zeke flicked off his vaporizer and pocketed it. He could feel his nerves churning his stomach as he followed the goon down the tier. He was beginning to worry that Strok had either written off his offer, or it had never reached his ears. Communication between cellblocks around here was a bit dodgy to say the least. At the halfway point of the tier was an elevator. A guard in a caged security checkpoint sat in front of the elevator and monitored who came and went. Signs indicated that the elevators were for authorized personnel only, and any inmate who tried to use them would be severely punished.

The goon locked eyes with the guard and slowly nodded. The guard looked at him and then at Zeke, but he never really looked at them. Not the way guards did around here. He seemed to let his eyes glaze over and look past them as the elevator doors opened and they stepped in.




“You know you’re crazy right?”

Ekis Strok looked at Zeke. His cell wasn’t like any other one on Venkoth, easily the size of the warden’s quarters and maybe even a little bigger. A monitor roughly the area of a regular inmate’s jail cell covered the entire far wall. It showed a live feed of Civua as the entire planet participated in the annual Big Game.

Strok wore a loose fitting shirt and pants that looked to Zeke to be made of some fine material. The goon who came for Zeke flanked Strok on one side while an equally large and intimidating bodyguard flanked his other side. Strok was heavyset, a well-fed man was a rarity on this planet, and his grey dreadlocks were swept back and tied into a ponytail. While the copper skin Zeke could see showed no signs of tattoos, he was sure the parts not showing were covered in tattoos. You couldn’t be a shotcaller in Midnight Krew and not carry any ink.

“I’ve been called crazy,” Zeke said as a way of acknowledgement. “But genius is often confused with crazy.”

Strok chuckled deeply and sat down on a plush chair. He did not offer Zeke a seat. Instead he held his hand out and one of the bodyguards handed him a drink.

“Nobody has ever escaped off this godforsaken rock, man.” Strok paused to take a sip of his drink. “The wind rips the fucking meat from your bones.”

“Nobody has ever escaped because they don’t know the science behind it,” said Zeke. “In a past life I was an astronomer."

Strok raised an eyebrow at Zeke’s claim.

“Long story. A story for another time, perhaps. But the winds on this planet are due to its close proximity to the system’s star. Those winds that sweep through, the ones that ‘rip the fucking meat from your bones’? Those are solar winds. In less than three days time, Venkoth will have its solar apogee. It's a once a year event. An apogee means the planet will be as far away from the sun as its orbit allows. During that time, winds will be at their nadir. They’ll still be bad, but there will be roughly an hour long window where it will be enough to walk across the surface and rendezvous with a waiting ship.”

Strok snickered and scratched his forehead with a meaty hand.

“And why would I want to break out of here? Look around you. I live like a goddamn king here. I want for nothing and even the biggest, baddest motherfuckers on this planet give me respect. I’m gonna die here, and that’s okay with me.”

“I didn't say anything about you escaping,” said Zeke. “And you are a king. At the very least you have the connections of one. That’s what I need. Someone who can get the right guards to look the other way. You can do that for me. And I can do something for you. I bet even a king could use two million credits, right? Even in a place like this?”

“And where are you going to get two million credits?” Stronk laughed deeply and long. His muscle joined in and shared looks of amusement with their boss. “Aren’t you some collectivist asshole? What are you going to pay me in, bean sprouts?”

“You ever heard of the GB&S robbery?” Zeke raised his eyebrows.

“No way,” said Strok.

“Why do you think I’m in here,” said Zeke. “Twenty million galactic credits, all for the cause. Well, not all. Two million is what’s left of my share. I get out of here and I’ll wire it to your commissary fund.”

“Again,” Strok laughed. “You’re fucking crazy.”

“Doesn’t sound like a yes or no to me...”

Strok leaned back in his padded seat and stroked his double chin. A smile that showed not much warmth appeared on his face.

“Deal,” he said. “You’re so fucking crazy I think I actually want to see if you can make it. I’ll get a few guards to look the other way. You wire me the money as soon as you’re free or I’ll make sure Midnight Krew hunts you down and chops you into little pieces.”

“Okay,” Zeke said with a sigh of relief.

His plan to finally get off this godforsaken planet was in motion. After six years, there was a chance for freedom. A chance to return home and take power back. His thoughts of freedom were interrupted as loud klaxons sounded through the air. Strok’s muscle immediately went into action to protect their boss. Zeke felt a flash of paranoia at the thought that he had been betrayed. The guards had heard their talk and they were now coming for him.

"WARNING WARNING PLANET ON LOCKDOWN WARNING WARNING PLANET ON LOCKDOWN ALL PRISONERS ARE TO STAY WHERE THEY CURRENTLY ARE. LOCKDOWN WARNING WARNING WARNING."

“What’s going on?” Zeke said aloud.

“Fuck,” Strok said as he switched the feed on the wall-mounted screen. The Big Game disappeared and instead a live feed of Block B, population 2.4 million, showed a calamitous riot in progress. A mass of prisoners fighting each other, guards, and two figures in the air fighting dozens of prisoners from above…

“Green Lanterns,” Strok said with just a hint of delight in his voice. “Green Lanterns on Venkoth. Hot damn.”

He turned to Zeke, his eyes gleaming with excitement.

“A new deal. Your money's no good to me. I’m going to help you breakout… and you’re going to help me kill a Green Lantern.”

Zeke was about to respond, but stopped when he saw the cold looks from Strok’s muscle.

“...Deal,” he said softly.
Done
In Site Mod appointment. 22 days ago Forum: News
A belated congrats.
There you go.


Uncharted Space

The inscetoid beast scuttled across the surface of the thick forest. Each step seemed to be more laborious than the one before. Pale, purple blood oozed out the wound on its side and it wheezed with every breath it took. The blood falling left a trail through the forest. It couldn't comprehend it, but it was leading its attacker right to it. It was being hunted, and the hunter was rapidly approaching.

It wrapped its tentacles around the trunk of a tree and began to shimmy up it. If it acted fast enough it could either hide or ambush the hunter as it came through the thicket. The beast snapped its razor sharp mandibles and watched with its slit eyes as the hunter came through the bushes. The hunter kept their eyes down to follow the blood trail. The beast's eyes

The animal jumped from its branch and let out a high-pitched scream. The hunter looked up and, with its eyes wide in shock, thrust forward with its weapon. A bright emerald lance shot from the hunter’s fist and impaled the beast in its forehead. The monster gurgled and twitched in its death throes as the hunter let it fall to the ground at his feet.

“Fuck,” Guy Gardner said aloud. “You better be one tasty space squid.”




Guy watched the fire cooking the alien animal’s body on a stick. He figured it would be his first hot meal in several weeks, at least since he’d arrived on this planet. His pack lay on the ground beside him along with a hatchet. The hatchet was made from Vibranium, one of the strongest metals in the galaxy. He'd acquired it over the course of his travels, traded for it with another wanderer out here in this part of space. Tied to his pack were Guy’s canteen and his Lantern battery. The pack contained everything he needed for his mission. Two years worth micro-freeze dried meals, a star chart, blankets, a few Richard Stark paperbacks, and Guy’s favorite Ravens knitted hat.

He cut off a piece of space squad with the hatchet and tried it out. It was chewy but edible. Could have used some Old Bay. But, fuck, what food out here couldn’t be improved by it? After dinner, he settled in and rested his power ring close to his mouth.

“Record transmission: Gardner’s log,” he said into the ring. “Day… 432. Jesus Christ, it’s been that long? Anyway, Pinkie -- you like that I call you Pinkie and you can’t do anything about it? -- I’ve been on this planet almost three weeks now and haven’t seen any clues that this is the one. I’m planning on heading out after I rest. I found out the hard way that these star charts you provided me with are a bit outdated… by like several millennia, but I have a rough outline of where to go. There should be some kind of civilization about three days transluminal burn from here. We’ll see if that intel is good or not when I get there. More news as it develops. Gardner out.”

Guy held his fist into the air and fired the message overhead. The green bolt of energy tore through the night sky before it disappeared in a flash of light. It would probably take a week or two to arrive on Oa. By then… who the hell knew where he would be? He took another bite of meat and scratched his face. His beard was coming in nicely. Before long he would have real mountain main facial hair.

After he slept, he rose and packed up after dousing the campfire. Guy strapped on his pack and looked up at the still dark sky. He stared up at the foreign stars above and thought about where he’d come and where he was going. He was outside his home galaxy, that much he knew. He was on the outer edges of somewhere new, somewhere people had explored a long time ago but hadn’t since.

He was following maps and guides that were ancient in search of some lost planet. This was probably a wild goose chase, but Guy didn’t really care. He was a long way from Baltimore and it didn't matter to him if he ever saw it again. He was home now. Out here on the frontier, living the dream. With a smile on his face, Guy let the green aura cover his body as he shot up into the sky and left this small planet behind for whatever else lay in store for him out in the void.




Oa
Space Sector 0001

Kilowog led the pack of Lantern trainees through space in a flying V formation. At a few hundred miles away from Oa’s surface, they were the furthest in space Kilowog had allowed them to venture thus far.

“Alright so you can fly,” he shouted to the group as the followed in his wake. “Congratulations on mastering the bare minimum, Slicks. Let’s see if you can actually do two things at once. Where’s my bright penny. Al-X?”

“Yes, sir,” the small pink-skinned Lantern answered from the back.

“Why do I call you poozers ‘Slicks’?”

“Our chests and rings,” said the young alien. “There’s no Green Lantern logo on either of them.”

“We have to earn it,” said the Daxamite trainee.

“I didn’t tell you to speak, Yat,” Kilowog growled. “But since you’re so eager, I have a question for you. What are the official Lantern designations?”

“Alpha, Beta, Gamma,” said Yat.

“Wyrm?” Kilowog shouted to the insectoid Slick over his shoulder. “How about you explain the difference.”

The cockroach-like alien rubbed his hands together before speaking. “Gamma Lanterns' purview is only to patrol and protect their assigned space sectors. A beta Lantern oversees their own sector as well as the six immediate space sectors surrounding their own. They supervise the Gamma Lanterns in those sectors. Alpha Lanterns oversee hundreds of space sectors and the Lanterns beneath them. The Alpha Lanterns answer to the three Senior Lanterns, who answer to the Guardians.”

“Not bad,” Kilowog grunted. “And are all of you Slicks content to be Gamma Lanterns?”

“No!” They shouted in unison.

“Well, show me what you got!”

Kilowog began to steer into a nearby asteroid field.

“Fall in behind me,” he shouted behind them.

The trainees formed into a single file formation as Kilowog picked up the speed. The asteroid field was as old as the planet Oa and the GLC itself. Every Slick took their first flight through the field. Its debris was spaced out far enough to not seriously harm any but the most inept Slick, but not far enough apart to offer any sense of comfort. Kilowog looked back at his charges and flashed a wicked grin.

“Try to keep up,” he said. “And sing me a lovely tune while you do.”

The pack of Lanterns flew into the asteroid field. Kilowog went faster as his group of Slicks began to sing the song that was Corps legend at this point, handed down by recruits from generation to generation for thousands of years.

“I wanted a ring ‘til I got the godsdamn thing.
Now I don't want it anymore.
They taught me how to fly, then they sent me off to die.
You can save those dangers for some other stupid rangers.
I wanted a ring ‘til I got the godsdamn thing.
Now I don't want it anymore!”





Venkoth
Space Sector 2813
72 Hours Until Solar Apogee

Tomar-Re and Arisia jumped out of transluminal speed and made their way to the surface of Venkoth. Winds in excess of two hundred miles an hour roared across the surface of the planet. It took every bit of their willpower to keep themselves on course for the rendezvous spot. As far as Arisia could see, the entire planet was dead. No water, no flora, and certainly no fauna.

"Where is everything?"

"The wind," said Tomar-Re. "With the solar equinox imminent, tt's a pale imitation of it at its height. Wind that blows so fiercely nothing can grow on the surface, wind so fierce it strips the flesh from the bones of everything that dares to land here."

Arisia nodded without comment.

“Is this your first time coming to Venkoth?” Tomar-Re asked politely.

“It is,” she said as they touched down in the dirt. The wind howled so loudly they could only communicate through the comms in their rings.

"But not your last. That much I can promise."

She followed him across the sand towards what looked to be a shack. How it was still standing in this wind was beyond her. As they got closer she saw why hadn't succumbed to the wind. It was rusty and dusty, but the entire building was metal. Tomar-Re banged a fist on the thick metal door and waited. A slot in the door slowly opened and an electronic eye surveyed the two Lanterns.

“Tomar-Re, Lantern 2813.1.”

“Arisia Raab, Lantern 2815.2. I believe we are expected.”

The eye retreated back into its slot. There was a whirring noise from the door and it shot open quickly. They stepped through and it slammed shut behind them. They were in a small room with yet another metal door. A laser scanner swept over them several times before the second door opened. A group of five aliens in black uniform greeted them. Four held blasters down low while the fifth spread his four arms wide as way of greeting.

“Welcome, Lanterns, to Venkoth.”

They followed the group of guards down a sloped catwalk towards a bulkhead. Arisia glanced down and saw nothing but darkness below.

“The drop is about twenty-five thousand feet,” said the guard. “In the event of an emergency, this catwalk will drop and cut off any attempted escapes. Not our last line of defense, but pretty damn close.”

"The wind is the real deterrent," said one of the guards, this one seemingly older and more gruffer. "I've seen fourteen runners since I been here. Not a one last more than a minute out in that wind."

At the bulkhead of the corridor was another reinforced door. All five guards took turns scanning their palms against the surface of the door.

“You need at least three confirmed biorhythmic readings to get passages to open around here.”

The door hissed as it swung on its hinges. The guards went first with the two Lanterns following behind. They stepped out on a landing. Stretched out before them was a floor that went on for miles. Gray jumpsuit clad prisoners could be seen as far as their eyes could see.

“Welcome to gen pop,” one of the guards said over the noise. “Population: sixty-five million.”

“We need your special ward,” said Tomar-Re. "Isolation, protective custody. Whatever you call it."

“Who are you here for?” one of the guards asked.

"A threat big enough to require two Lanterns," said Arisia.

A look from Tomar-Re silenced him. A hover shuttle arrived and they boarded it. The shuttle passed above the prison floor. Arisia looked out at the prisoners. So many all together, packed in close.

“Where did they all come from?”

“All over,” said Tomar-Re. “Venkoth houses the worst offenders galaxy-wide. I don’t understand how they're behaving so well..”

“Fear and discipline,” said one of the guards. “We give them a healthy dose of both here. None of these guys are getting off this planet alive, so we have to make them far more scared of us than they are of death.”.

Arisia caught a few of the looks from the prisoners as they flew above them. She was a Graxosian and her people were known for their empathic abilities. While she had far less sensitivity than other Graxosians, bu she had enough to read the emotion's of the prisoners below. She felt no fear from them, saw no fear in the eyes of the men. She only felt rage. Murderous, burning rage. And she could feel more anger, a powerful rage, somewhere off in the distance. But they drew closer with every passing second. The shuttle began to dip as they went deeper under the surface of the planet and deeper into the prison. The large spaces gave way to narrow corridors. They flew below a sign that read: SUPERMAX WARD, SPECIAL CLEARANCE ONLY.

The shuttle landed at a docking bay. Another round of guards scanned them and gave them the okay before another set of guards led them through tight rows of cells. Arisia could feel eyes watching her as they ventured further in. More thoughts of murder, mayhem, and other unspeakable acts.

A small, furry alien in expensive clothing waited for them outside one particular cell. He grasped his taloned hands tightly as the two Lanterns approached.

“Greetings,” he squeaked. “I am the warden here, I am always happy to meet fellow law enforcement officers.”

“Is this his cell?” Tomar-Re asked without greeting the warden.

“It is. We have restrained him and made him ready for his journey.”

The warden stepped aside and let two guards open the cell door. They disappeared inside and emerged several seconds later pushing a hover gurney. A hulking alien monster was strapped to the gurney and stared down at the two Lanterns with a neutral look. Arisia could feel that this was the source. All the rage that swept through the prison started here. This was its epicenter, the root cause of the cancer.

“Atrocitus,” said Tomar-Re. “For crimes against the galaxy, the Galactic Council has seen fit to sentence you to life imprisonment in the Oan sciencells. Do you have anything to say about your crimes and the massacre of Sector 666?”

“Let me out of here,” Atrocitus hissed.



“Let me out of here and I’ll do it again. Burn… I will burn… this entire galaxy. Set it all on fire...”


Cromica C21
Space Sector 2814

Hal sat on the porch of Jelcs’ farmhouse and watched the fireworks display with the constable and his mate. The two men sipped the last of Hal’s D’Bari bourbon while Jelcs’ two children played in the yard. Tonight was a night of celebrating for Jelcs and Hal as well as the rest of the planet. The provisional council voted unanimously to turn Cromica into an independent star system.

“That was a pretty one,” Jelcs said as a bright red flash filled the night sky.

The crowd applauded their new official freedom, but all those attendance hadn’t been thrilled. Del’vin was dragged away hurling insults.

“A plague on you,” he shouted to the assembly. “You got no honor, go not respect. It's good you didn’t join the Empire, because we wouldn't have you. You're a lot of savages, that's what all you are. All you'll ever be. This isn’t the end of this!”

Del’vin was now in the newly renovated jail, nursing a black eye to go with his bruised forehead and awaiting trial. The Kree may have been a fool but Hal knew he was right. This wouldn’t be the end of things by a long shot. Arresting a member of Starforce would come with some consequences.

“I’m heading out tonight,” Hal announced after he finished his drink.

“Figured you might,” said Jelcs. “Like a thief in the night."

"It's not the worst idea to let people think I'm still around for a few more days," said Hal.

"Let me walk you out.”

Hal stood and nodded towards Jelcs’ partner.

“Ma’am.”

Hal said his goodbyes to the two children as he and their father walked across the farm.

“I’m probably going to have to hire a few farmhands to keep an eye on things,” said Jecls. “If I’m going to spend all my time policing Cromica, then Irrad is going to need help here on the farm.”

“So you’re going to stay on?” asked Hal.

“At least for now,” said Jelcs. “I was waiting for the first person to take it, but now I want to wait until the right person comes along to take the job… preferably someone who isn’t an undercover agent.”

“Look, Jelcs, don’t beat yourself up about it.”

“I’m not,” he said. “On the contrary, the meeting made me realize just how valuable this place is to the galaxy. The lengths Starforce went to? This is a place people are going to want to take from us. And we're going to have to fight if we want to keep it.”

Hal felt a surge of pride when he looked at Jelcs. The blood-stained tunic of his predecessor was gone. He wore the official uniform of the planet constabulary now, a golden star pinned to his chest. The meek deputy who greeted him upon his arrival here was long gone. And this lawman had taken his place.

“Are you scared?” asked Hal.

“Terrified,” Jelcs said without thought.

Hal flashed a smile and slapped Jelcs' back. “Good. It’s only a fool who feels no fear. They don’t pick Green Lanterns because they’re fearless. They pick us because we can overcome that fear. You overcome that fear, Jelcs, and you can become the stuff of legend.”

Jelcs flashed a crooked grin. They shook hands.

“And never forget," said Hal. "You’re in my space sector. I’m only one call away.”

Hal stepped away. His green aura shined brightly as he started to float off the ground.

“Good luck out there, Lantern Jordan.”

“Good luck on this planet, Chief Constable Jelcs.”

Hal blasted off into the night. As he left the upper atmosphere and prepared to jump into transluminal speed, he wondered to himself how long it would be before he came back. Del’vin’s words rang in his head.

This isn’t the end of this!




Alternate Earth
Space Designation Unknown

Jess stood on the battlements of the fort with a rifle slung over her shoulder. She was on sentry duty tonight, her first since joining the group. She hadn’t been completely pressed into service by the Savage Sisters, that’s what they called themselves, but she knew the deal. She had fighting experience and they needed help. The alternative was to find a way through this desert and strange war all on her own. According to the map she was somewhere in Colorado. At least in her world it was Colorado. Here it was the outlands of the great desert, just on the other side of the mountains. It looked as if the desert stretched across the land until it reached what she would call the Pacific.

The past few days were surreal. Sister Hellfire, the older woman who ran the show, gave Jess a bit of a crash course on what was going on in this world. Long before they had been born a great divide formed and this land was split into those who believed in the old ways of freedom and liberty, and a class of ruling elites who sought to make any and everyone serve their houses.

Sister Hellfire said that about ten years ago, things looked to be turning. The Oligarchs and their forces were being beaten back. But something changed. They’d gotten a second wind and pushed the armies of the Republic back. Now they stood on the brink of eradication. The main armies were preparing to take a stand somewhere on the other side of the mountains. The Sisters were just waiting for the call to join them for the last great battle.

“But how do I get home?” Jess asked herself.

She looked up at the stars. It was so different than anything she remembered back home. How could this be Earth and yet be so radically different?

“No,” she said again. “Not completely different.”

Sister Hellfire had recognized her Green Lantern logo. She didn’t know where or when she had seen it, but it was familiar. Maybe this version of Earth had its own Lanterns?

“Ring,” she said as she held her hand out. She prayed to... whatever it was she believed in. “Ping.”

Even with the charge dead, it could still send out an emergency ping to search for Lanterns or Oan technology in a close range. A tiny bolt of emerald energy flew out of the ring and disappeared over the horizon. A minute later it returned.

PING IDENTIFIED: GREEN LANTERN BATTERY WITHIN… 2000 KILOMETERS

Two-thousand kilometers? A little over twelve hundred miles, Jess figured. Twelve hundred miles… in what direction? She had no idea. It could be in the middle of a war zone for all she knew.

But she knew that somewhere on this war-torn and foreign version of her own home planet, was a battery. And with that battery there was hope. A chance to get home.




Kree Space
Unassigned Sector

Sinestro floated in space and watched the red giant star rage. Solar flares the size of entire planets flashed across its surface. A long tendril of energy exploded from the star and swept through the void. He was far enough to be in no danger, but he was close enough that the flares interfered with the Corps’ comms and tracking. If Salaak looked at the map, Sinestro would not appear anywhere on it. He was off the grid. As he had intended.

WARNING: OBJECT APPROACHING AT FTL SPEEDS

The Kree warship dropped out of lightspeed and started to burn towards the star. Sinestro stood in its path with his arms crossed and waiting. It came closer and closer until it was finally upon it. He was close enough to see through the protective glass, the figure standing at the bridge with his arms behind his back. He hailed the ship.

“Permission to come aboard?” he asked.

“Granted,” said Ronan the Accuser. “Meet me on the bridge.”

Ronan cast a glance at him as Sinestro entered the bridge.

“Your partner is quite the diplomat,” he said with a chuckle. “He convinced the Galactic Council that a truly balanced solution is our answer. A group of weapons inspectors will investigate and remove all Neutral Zone technology from Rann while overseen by two Lanterns. Apparently you have one officer who is a Rannian and one who is a Thanagarian?”

“Yes,” Sinestro said with a nod. “Kol and Sarn. The Lanterns watch the inspectors, and Kol and Sarn watch each other. Honesty through paranoia. Is that the idea?”

“Like I said, quite the diplomat,” said Ronan. “He also helped dismiss your contempt charge. So he deserves your thanks.”

“Salaak has his talents. Action just doesn’t happen to be one of them.”

Sinestro looked out the bridge window at the raging star as he spoke.

“Lantern Jordan has left the Cromica system without incident. It seems that your man there was arrested. Something about attempting to murder a constable. Jordan wasn’t involved in the arrest, I’m afraid. It was all locals. The one time I count on Jordan to make a mess of things he doesn’t.”

“This changes little,” said Ronan. “Those hicks imprisoning him gives the Empire justification to start flexing its muscle in the system. Your Lantern may not have set things off, but he help pack the powderkeg nice and tight.”

“Only a matter of time I suppose.”

“I forgot to commend you on a fine job acting,” Ronan said with a laugh. “That speech you gave in front of the Council? Bravo.”

Sinestro turned away from the window and looked at the Accuser.

“There was no mummery there. I meant every word that I said. Just because you and I find our goals in temporary alignment, make no mistake where my allegiance lies, Accuser. The Green Lantern Corps was once a great and powerful organization. The stories they tell about the old timers and the ancient heroes of the Corps... A single Lantern could tame an entire galactic empire. We could bring entire star systems to their knees with just the threat of our arrival. But in the centuries since, the bureaucrats and fledgling empires have robbed us of that power. The New Men attack one of our own, send her gods know where, and we are content to let the Galactic Council make a ruling? In the old days we would have watched the cities of Rann burn to the ground and we would have salted its surface so nothing could ever grow there again. Our arraignment? It’s only a small part of a larger plan. It’s been so long, the galaxy is in need of a reminder.”

“And what, pray tell, must they remember.”

“Fear,” said Sinestro. “They need to remember to fear.”


Hala
Unassigned Sector

Sinestro and Salaak rose along with the Rannian delegation as the Galactic Council made their way back into the chambers. The group sat in deliberation for hours and, apart from the occasional raised voice, gave no indication of which way their decision might fall.

“After careful consideration, the Galactic Security Council is ready to make a ruling,” Ronan announced to the parties. “Senior Lantern Thaal Sinestro, in light of the recording we have no choice but to reprimand you for conduct unbecoming. You are hereby banned from personally overseeing any Green Lantern peacekeeping operations in Space Sector 3120 for a period of two Rannian years.”

Sinestro began to comment on wether the Council had the authority before a gentle touch from Salaak silenced him. He could almost read his fellow Lantern’s thoughts: A mere slap on the wrist, the Corps will continue to uphold order in that sector even without your involvement.

“Now, as to the actions of the New Men of Rann.”

The premier wiped sweat from his forehead as he awaited what was in store for his planet.

“Based on the unredacted report given to us, we find that you are indeed guilty of experimenting with outlawed Negative Zone technology. Your punishment will be in the form of trade sanctions on the planet Rann and economic embargoes for a period lasting a Galactic year.”

Sinestro narrowed his eyes. It was surely bad news for Rann’s economy… but was that it? No mention of Jessica Cruz, of the attack and potential murder of an active Lantern. The Negative Zone tampering was the bigger crime, but still… no justice for the Corps?

“Furthermore, the Council hereby orders that all Negative Zone research and technology be turned over to us for proper disposal. A bi-partisan group of observers will investigate the planet and oversee Starforce as it handles the technology--”

“Starforce?” Sinestro and the Rannian premier, along with the Skrull delegate, all yelled at once

“I’ll be godsdamned if I let a bunch of Kree get their paws on Negative Zone tech,” hissed the Skrull. “Things tend to go missing when you lot start handling weapons.”

“WIth all due respect,” said Salaak. “This is one of the matters the Corps was made for. Interstellar disputes like this we act as a neutral third party. We should--”

“Yes,” Ronan said tightly. “I am aware of the Green Lantern Corps’ responsibilities…” He cast an eye towards Sinestro. “Apparently better than some of its more senior Lanterns. With the matter of the missing Lantern, this subject has proven to be one the Green Lanterns are too emotionally invested in to act without bias.”

“Oh, so now you mention Lantern Cruz,” said Sinestro. “As justification to whittle more power away from us.”

“The Senior Lantern will watch his tone,” the Shi’ar representative said.

“No,” said Sinestro. “The Council will watch their tone. You all sit in your conference rooms and talk, talk, talk, talk. You chatter nonstop of politics and treaties. Without the Green Lantern Corps, you’re all nothing but bloated bags of gas--”

“Lantern Sinestro,” said the Thanagarian. “You will at once cease--”

“Your power, your safety, your entire existence rests upon the Corps. You are allowed your cushy lives because we are out there in the void, keeping the monsters at bay. When the Annihilus Wave swept through the galaxy, who heeded the call? Was it the Kree? Was it the Skrulls? How about the New Men?”

Sinsestro laughed and jerked a thumb at the symbol on his chest.

“Silence” shouted Ronan. He stood and leveled his gavel at the Lantern.

“Sinestro,” said Salaak. He placed a hand on Sinestro’s shoulder. “Calm yourself.”

“No,” Sinestro said as he shook off Salaak’s touch. “We were the ones who pushed Annihilus back into the Negative Zone.”

“Ronan to Staforce,” the Accuser said into the comm in his ear. “Place Lantern Sinestro under arrest for contempt.”

Sinestro continued. “You are right I have contempt, Accuser. When the Black Order began to wipe out the outlands of the Norma Spiral Arm, who stopped them? It wasn’t Ronan the Accuser, and it wasn’t Starforce. It was Thaal Sinestro and the Green Lantern Corps. Time and time and time again we save an ungrateful and uncaring populace.”

He sneered at the group of politicians who sat on the dais above him.

“Three thousand Lanterns throughout the entirety of the galaxy. All of them at my disposal, ready to follow my orders. If we can contain the likes of Annihilus and Thanos, what chance do you stand?”

A half dozen Starforce members rushed into the chamber with their weapons at the ready. Ronan now gripped his cosmi-rod and it hummed with energy. Sinestro surveyed the Starforce officers around him with a neutral look before he glanced back up at the dais.

“You all serve at my pleasure, never forget that.”

He thrust his ring out and disappeared from the room in a flash of green light.




Cromica C21
Space Sector 2814

Hal surveyed the packed room from the back. Most of them were Cromica pioneers, the first people who made the planet their home long before any natural resources were found. A few mining executives mingled with the crowd in the meeting hall. He saw Quin Del’vin among them. A button with the Kree Empire’s jagged triangular symbol was pinned to the breast of his expensive tunic. It was pointless to try to hide his allegiance at this point. Now he wore it openly with pride.

Jelcs and his deputies worked the corners of the meeting hall and kept an eye on the crowd. They all carried blasters on their hips and a cudgel if a more hands-on version of crowd control was needed. Ergol and the other five members of the planet’s provisional government came in to applause. They each took seats at the little table as the room buzzed with conversation.

“The question has been called as to what to do with this planet’s future,” Ergol said over the noise of the crowd. “Do we remain independent, or do we take up the Kree Empire’s generous offer? As always, we will hear the thoughts of the citizens of Cromica. If you’d like to address the assembly, please form a line and we’ll take any comments you’d wish to make.”

Hal stood with his arms crossed and listened to the line of people step up and state their case for either independence or imperial annexation. Some argued that their was safety in the vast empire’s network. Others argued that the pioneers of this planet came here to break free of their old worlds and live their life in a quiet peace. Joining with the Kree would end that. Some preached that the Kree would bring a financial windfall with them. One old hermit claimed that blue skinned people were against his religion. That caused a very spirited response from a Volux who, while not a Kree, still had the same blue skin. Jelcs and his men were able to separate the pair and cooler heads prevailed as the meeting resumed.

“I'd like to ask someone who has a greater context of the galaxy,” Ergol said to the room. “Someone who might have witnessed the dangers of a truly independent star system. Lantern Jordan? Would you offer an opinion on the matter?”

Before Hal could speak Del’vin was on his feet.

“All due respect to the chairman, but I think it’s a little out of order for Lantern Jordan to comment. He is a neutral party in this matter.”

“Like a broke clock, Mr. Del’vin happens to be right this time,” said Hal. “I am here to keep the peace and enforce the laws. My opinion is… irrelevant.”

“We understand,” said another member of the government. “But you’ve become a trusted member of this community in your time here, Lantern Jordan. There are several of us who would like to hear your opinion.”

“And your protest will be duly noted, Mr. Del’vin,” said Ergol.

Members of the crowd murmured their approval. Jelcs was among those nodding. He flashed Hal a discreet thumbs up. Hal cleared his throat and walked towards the center of the room. Del’vin stared daggers at Hal as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“Well… I guess the big question is this: When you all came to this planet is this what you had in mind? I know you’re all here for different reasons. You may have come here looking for something -- be it god, or peace, or a lack of nosy neighbors -- or you may have come here because you were running from something. But whatever your reasons, I can bet the Kree didn’t factor in them. I’m a Lantern and I’ve never had the pleasure of patrolling Kree space, but I do know enough about them to know that if you go with them, this place will become a Kree colony. You’ll get all the good and every bit of the bad. They won’t kick you off the planet, but I’m sure you all know how Non-Kree are looked at in the Empire. Second-class citizenship is the price for that safety and security. Jelcs and his men will be replaced by new people, probably the same guys who work for Pax now. You’ll be off-limits to my jurisdiction. Just the Starforce goonsquad. And they only serve one thing: the Empire. Never the people.”

“Enough of this,” Del’vin said as he stood. “If he is going to talk, then I should get a chance. All races and species are treated equally in the Empire. Kree controlled government and law enforcement is just part of our system. And what would you rather have? One reckless Green Lantern who enforces laws on a whim, or a trained and capable agency like Starforce protecting your planet?”

Del’vin’s appeal was met with silence mixed with a few soft snickers. Hal crossed his arms and arched an eyebrow.

“It’s funny Mr. Del’vin mentions Starforce. I imagine he’s very familiar with their reputation since he’s part of them.”

Murmurs from the crowd as Del’Vin did his best attempt to look confused.

“I don’t even know what Lantern Jordan is implying. If he has some sort of proof, then maybe he should share it.”

“He’s not the only Starforce agent who has been running around here, though. He had a precursor. Korvus Melm.”

Hal projected a photo from his ring as the meeting broke out into more murmur and raised voices. It was the crime scene photo of Melm. Hal had cropped out the gory parts and instead focused on the tattoo on Melm’s hand.

“It’s odd, really. A Shi’ar with a tattoo on his hand that appears to be in Kree script. Not everyone is versed in the tongue so we may need a translation. Mr. Del’vin, you read Kree, right? What am I saying? Of course you do. Mind telling me what that says?”

“‘Service… Duty… Honor,’” Del'vin mumbled.

“The Starforce motto,” said Hal. “Something all Non-Kree members of Starforce have to carry around for the rest of their lives. Like a brand, a way for Kree to know that they are a-okay.”

Hal saw the look of confusion and sadness on Jelcs’ face. He felt bad. It seemed that his hero had feet of clay. It was like telling a kid that Santa Clause wasn’t real.

“Why did you kill Melm, Mr. Del’vin?”

The noise of the crowd vanished. All eyes were on the Kree as he looked around.

“I didn’t kill anyone, Lantern Jordan.”

“After he left the Navy, Melm joined a security company. Records are shady, but I was able to trace it all the way back to a parent company: Pax Inc. Which, among other things, is the parent company of Pax Mining. You and your whole company are just another arm of the Empire, Del’vin. Melm was still employed by your company until the day he died, and he shows up here just after the mining operations begin. Melm was sent here to keep an eye on things and lay the groundwork... but something went wrong and you had to step in. Did you kill Melm because he went native? He took the job as chief constable and was getting too cushy? Thought he could just quietly slip away and all would be forgotten? But it never works that way, right? You cannot leave Starforce alive, doubly so if you’re an outsider. All things must serve the Empire. Anything less is treason. Punishable by death.”

Hal saw Jelcs approaching Del’vin out the corner of his eye, one hand on his blaster. “Mr. Del’vin,” Jelcs said tightly. “I need you to come with me.”

“You put one hand on me, you will regret it,” Del’vin said softly.

Jelcs ignored Del’vin’s warning and reached out to put a hand on his shoulder. Del’vin snarled and flicked his wrist. Hal saw in slow motion as a hidden mechanism strapped to Del’vin’s forearm deposited a small blaster into his palm. He growled and aimed the blaster at Jelcs’ head as he pulled the trigger.

The crowd gasped and jumped back as the blaster fire erupted. Jelcs looked on in stunned silence at the blaster bolt. It hung in mid-air, just inches from his forehead and encased in green energy. Hal whipped his fist back and the blaster energy dispersed in the air overhead.

Jecls and the rest of his deputies surrounded Del’vin with their weapons out. The Kree dropped his small blaster to the ground and raised his hands in the air. Hal walked through the crowd towards the small encirclement.

“You take one swing at me, Jordan, and you will kick off an interstellar incident,” Del’vin spat. “You have no authority over Kree. You can’t touch me. Just try and you’ll see. You have no jurisdiction over me. I am protected, I am Starforce, I am--”

Jecsc cold-cocked Del’vin and dropped him to the floor.

“You are on my planet,” said Jelcs. “And you are under arrest for attempted murder.”
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