A LANTERN'S TALE
by Mark Alvin L. Poa -- email@example.com
Disclaimer: The name Green Lantern and all related names are properties of DC Comics. All other characters in this tale are the original works and copyright of the author.
Just five more minutes. . . Aww, who am I kidding? I can't afford to fall asleep again. That's the third time I set the clock. Mom's gonna be pissed that I woke up this late.
He got out of bed, turned the clock off (made it disappear, actually), then went to the bath for his morning routine.
Let's see today's Thursday the fifteenth, right? Or is it the Friday?
Looking at his haggard form in the mirror, his face suddenly shot up.
Ow, shhhhh----! Today's Friday! I'm late for gym class!
Spitting out toothpaste, Frank hurriedly splashed water on his face and hair, combed it a bit, and hurried out. His clothes were on his chair.
Good thing I decided to get them ready last night before. . . what did I do, anyway? Oh, yeah, Jane called up. Man, that girl can sure keep a guy talking for hours.
Getting dressed, his thoughts went back to Jane, the girl of his dreams. They've been dating for a while. Well not exactly dating. . .they went out together a couple of times with friends. Frank never got up the nerve to ask her out on a real date. He has known Jane since they were in the third grade, even gotten to be close to her but as a friend never as a lover.
And Kilowog said I was fearless. Can't even ask Jane out on a real date.
Frank laughed at himself at the truth of his statement. It's really hard to risk losing a friendship by asking her out, he thought.
Anyway, got to hurry or Coach would have my hide for being late. I'll grab a bite on the way.
Frank flew through the window surrounded by a green glow.
"What the heck's the matter with you today?!? Git your butts around that track on the double!"
Frank could not believe his luck. He was actually on time today. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be cheering him up with this "40 laps around the track" routine Coach Stanton had planned today. Irony of the situation?
14 down. 26 more laps to go. Man, wish I were fighting some supervillain rather than running around here. I'd take on a bank robbery, terrorists, or even the tooth fairy to get out of this. It's a good thing that I'm in shape for this or else I might be falling down about now.
THUD! At that instant, one of Frank's classmates just collapsed, exhausted.
"Hey, you okay, man?"
Frank looked up. Tony was over him now, looking worried.
"You almost made 40 laps. Think you're dehydrated or something?"
Frank sat up. He had always thought of Tony as a good friend, his best friend actually. Trusted him with all of his secrets, except for the secret identity part. He tried to remember what happened in gym. He remembered that he was up to 33 laps (with a little help from the ring) when he felt that he should stop then. No sense in finishing the 40 laps when he couldn't do it before, might just make Coach suspicious.
I'm not dehydrated, not tired even. The ring would take care of that. But faking that fainting spell was more painful than I planned. Must have bumped my head on a chair or something.
Remembering his friend, Frank replied, "No, I'm fine."
"You sure, man? You looked like you almost collapsed there."
"I said I'm fine. Anyway, our next class ain't until after an hour. I want to grab a bite."
"Sure! Your treat?"
"Separate checks, cheapskate."
"By the way, big dance coming up next week. Gonna ask Jane for a real date finally?" Tony asked over a hamburger and shake.
"I'm thinking about it." Which was true. I almost didn't get to sleep last night trying to get the topic of the dance into my phone conversation with Jane in order to ask her out. Almost did it, too.
"Oh, yeah. Been meaning to ask you, where did you head off to when we were at the mall last Saturday?" Tony asked before taking a big bite off his burger.
"Oh that. . ."
Would he believe me if I told him that the Corps contacted me to warn me of the attack of Legion and that I hurried over to the center of the Universe and was almost killed by alien bugs? Maybe. But still, can't let him know.
"Uhh, my mom paged me on my pager that she, uhhh. . . she needs . . . baking soda! Yeah, that's it!"
"Hey, only asking. No need to get that excited." He offered his fries to Frank. " From the way you're acting, someone might think that you have a secret identity or something. Maybe he'd think that you're that new Green Lantern guy the papers have been talking about. Ha, ha, ha!"
Frank nearly choked on the fries.
Ouch! Getting banged into a truck hurts even with this forcefield on. How come Superman never seems to get hurt when he's doing this? Gotta ask Kilowog or Tomar Re if they knows a way to get a better shield. But first I gotta take care of this crazy guy in weird clothes. Calls himself Doctor Polar or something. Has a mean magnetic power, enough to defeat me without throwing a punch, if you could believe that. But hey, I have the most powerful weapon in the universe (at least, that's what Sinestro told me during training.) so I should be able to handle him, right?
Another magnetic blast hurled Frank towards a storefront. Frank barely managed to materialize a green bed between him and the store window.
Or maybe not. Gotta formulate a plan of attack. But maybe first I must get the Doctor here someplace where the fight wouldn't endanger innocents. Gotta concentrate.
"Hey, Doctor Polyester! Is that the best you can do? Come and get me!" Frank launched a green rocket at his magnetic foe which was easily deflected by his opponent's magnetic shield. Frank flew off leaving behind trails of smoke (similar to one's left by jetplanes) forming words and phrases such as "Chicken!", "Shellhead", "Your mama was a toaster!", and such.
"Fool! You dare mock the great Doctor Polaris? I shall make you tremble beneath my boots!" With but a thought, Polaris levitated and followed Green Lantern away from the city.
Great! He fell for it!
Now, what do I do?
Man, never thought fighting Polaris would take me to the North Pole. But it was all I could think of as a barren enough place. Almost didn't make it to History class, too; even if the I am not looking forward to it. Still, it was a lucky break that his better personality emerged before I ended up buried or in ice. Maybe I should take up the Guardians on that training stuff. As long as it's not Sinestro who'll train me again, that is. Maybe Tomar Re or Kilowog.
Frank's mind was hardly into the History lecture now being given by his teacher. His mind was just not into American Civil War at this point. It was floating back to a few months ago when a blue midget in a red dress appeared before him on his way home from school.
Seems that the former Green Lantern, Abin Sur, crashed on the moon and died. They needed a replacement for the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 and they picked lil ol' me. Lucky me, huh?
Anyway, this Guardian (I think his name was Ganthet though all those blue midgets look alike to me) gave me the ring, the battery, and this costume. Even gave a little oath to recite:
In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight, let those who worship evil's might, beware my power, Green Lantern's light!
I changed the costume a little. The mask actually. Always did like those old ninja movies. Designed my mask to cover my face as well as hide my eyes with the white lens, ninja-like.
He warned me about the rings' 24 hour time limit and yellow weakness and all that; then told me to report to Oa, the center of the universe and the Corps headquarters, for training. That's when I met Sinestro. He was worse than Coach Stanton when it came to training, if that could be believed. He did hold a great resume: master tactician, proficient in all weapons, master of combat and war, the works! I did hear that he was in trouble with the Corps sometime in the past, something about using his power ring to enslave his world. He was punished for it, exiled I think. Though, they say he's now reformed. No more planet conquering plans or anything. The punishment made him a changed man.
At least, that's what they say. I dunno. He just gives me the creeps. His treating me like a slackjawed teenager is not helping my good impression of him. Hey, I'm already sixteen. Others on the Corps are younger than me. Like Arisia from Graxos IV . . . or was it Gravox VI? Can't remember all the planet names. Anyway, she's younger than I am. She's fun to be with, though, like Kilowog.
I cut the training short to get back to earth for school. Maybe I need it now.
"Freeze! Your trapped!"
Frank was caught by surprise. "Okay, you got me cornered. What do you want?"
"You know what I want. Just hand it over."
Slowly, ever so slowly, Frank reached in his bag. "You know that you will get it sooner or later, don't you?"
"Of course, but I don't care about later. Hand it over, now!"
Grinning, Frank took out the notebook from his bag. He handed it to the girl in front of him.
"Thanks again for letting me borrow your notes, Jane."
"No problem. What are friends for?" She smiled at Frank.
Yeah, friends. Wish it were more than that. Man, why is it so hard for me to talk to her when she smiles like that?
"Ahh. . . Umm, Jane, about that . . .um. . "
"Yes, Frank?" Jane asked, still smiling at Frank with that sweet smile.
Oh, man, ask her out now. This is your once in a lifetime chance. But her smile just strikes me dumb. No! I have to ask her now. A Green Lantern's supposed to be fearless, right? Right. Just ask her.
"Ah, Jane, umm.. . Nice weather we're having, huh?"
Jane looked surprised. "Sure, I guess so."
Frank could almost kick himself.
Nice weather we're having? Bad move, jerk! Just go out and say it! This is for Frank not Green Lantern. The ring can't help you now.
"Jane, there's this dance on Saturday and would you. . ."
"Greetings to the loveliest flower in St. Peters High!"
Oh, great, lover boy! Duke's here. And he's making another play at Jane.
"Stop it, Duke! Don't tease me like that!"
Jane's starting to blush. Gotta make my move. Can't let Duke ask her out.
"Yo, Duke, long time no see!" Frank managed to form a smile (barely). "How's the old dog doing?"
"Frank, charming to see you, but I have no time for pleasantries."
Yeah, right. Wish I could suckeer punch this English jerk with my ring. But that would not be fair. Maybe I could just trip him later with a ring generated rope.
Turning back to Jane, Duke reached for her hand. "My dear, if you would allow me the pleasure of. . ."
"Hey guys!" someone called out. Frank made the scotch tape he materialized in order to shut Duke up disappear.
The three faced towards the new arrival running towards them.
Richard. The old news mill. At least he managed to stop Duke before I did.
Wonder why his face looks grim? Must be bad news.
In between breaths, Richard narrated the news, "Frank. . . Tony's . . . been . . . run over by a car!"
All this power and I wasn't able to prevent it.
Frank and the others had just left Tony's hospital room. He was still unconscious. The driver who run into him was the one who brought him in. He's not in danger but one of his legs may need amputation.
Outside the hospital, Frank needed to release some rage. He punched the wall of the building. It hurt but he didn't care. He punched again. And again.
"Frank, stop it! You're only hurting yourself!" It was Jane.
"I just wish I could help him. Instead of just standing around here doing nothing."
"But there's nothing you can do for him. You couldn't have saved him."
Yes, I can. Or I could have. I'm Green Lantern, for Pete's sake. I have the most powerful weapon in the universe. I can't even protect my best friend.
Frank looked at the emerald ring in his hand.
This was just an accident. What if something worse happened to Tony. . . or my family. . . or. . .
His face turned towards the woman he loves.
Jane. What if something happened to them because I wasn't there. Some other accident. Some supervillain out rampaging or spreading havoc. What would I do then?
Jane approached Frank. She held her hand.
"Frank, it's not your fault. Tony's gonna be all right."
As he looked in her eyes, he smiled.
She's really something. No wonder I love her so much. I could ask her out now but first I need to find a way to help out Tony.
"Wake up, boy!"
Who the he -- ?
"Sinestro! What the heck are you doing in my room!"
"Quiet if you don't want your family knowing of my presence. It seems that you have a dilemma in your hands. A friend, I presume?"
"Wha- -? How did you know?"
"You were under observation by me all the time. The Guardians ordered that you be placed under observation following your training. It is simply to see if you are truly ready to be a Green Lantern, boy."
"Stop calling me boy!"
"Oh, so is the boy a man now? Truly this is a surprise. However I have not come here to debate your, shall we say physical and mental if not emotional, maturity. I have come to offer my aid."
"You offering me your aid? Aid for what?"
"You seek to help your friend. I know the way. The way to use a power ring to heal even the most severe of injuries."
I never tried healing someone with my ring. Thought the healing properties of the ring only worked for me, keeping me in one piece. I wanted to try it on Tony, but I didn't know how.
"Show me! . . . Wait a minute, what do you want in return?"
"I see, you don't trust me. It is perfectly understandable given my previous reputation. But in this one instance I cannot give you anything to cement your trust except my word that I require nothing in return."
"I guess I have no choice. One question, though, why didn't anyone tell me how to do the healing thing in the first place?"
Sinestro's answer has a hint of sarcasm. "That's what we were supposed to take up during our training, which you deigned not to continue."
In Tony's hospital room, Sinestro and Frank concentrated on Tony's broken leg. Slowly, signs of healing could be seen.
"Sinestro, thanks. I don't know how to ask this but why did you once conquer your planet?"
"You should know better than to talk while concentrating on doing something with your ring. Nevertheless, I shall answer you. I once believed that might is needed to ensure order and have acted upon my belief." He paused briefly. "I was punished for it and made to wander the cosmos for a period. Within my travels I have witnessed the pain and suffering brought about by those of my ilk in numerous other planets. Since then I have learned the horror of tyranny and vowed to overthrow it from the universe. I have helped overthrow several from other planets. For this, the Guardians forgave me. I was blessed to regain the honor of serving as Green Lantern once again."
He's not that bad a guy after all. Maybe I misjudged him.
Tony started to stir in his sleep. Sinestro stopped his power ring beam.
"His leg is fine. I must take my leave now." And with that, Sinestro slowly disappeared.
Frank started to leave, too. He never did learn how to dematerialize. He slowly crept out the window of Tony's room.
"Hey, Frank! Ever heard of a door?"
What in the -- ? How did he know it was me?
Frank returned to his friend's bedside. "I'm not Frank. I am Green Lantern."
"Yeah right! There's only one guy I know who would use a ninja mask as corny as that. It's gotta be you, Frank. Oh yeah, and you don't even try to disguise your voice."
Well, so much for keeping the secret identity from Tony. Still it might be better this way, with him knowing my secret, he can be my confidant.
Sinestro did a good job with Tony's leg. Healed it just enough that Tony needs crutches to get around. They'll be gone in a week. The doctor's were surprised enough as it is. If Tony's leg was healed to full health, it might shock the medical world.
Haven't been to church in a while. Must be why I felt the need to come here. It would help me to focus on things.
I'm going back to Oa for training in a few weeks, right during my vacation. Told mom that I would be at a friend's place, which is true enough. Tony would cover for me. Like I said, it would be handy with him as my confidant. I am going to finish my training, even if Sinestro would be my trainer. Have to become the best Green Lantern I can be.
I learned something from this episode. Green Lantern is not about just beating the bad guys to a pulp or taking down bank robbers. It is about protecting those closest to me. It's about being there for the ones I love.
Speaking of which, I never did get to ask Jane to go to the dance. Heard Duke asked her out. She refused. Tony says it's because she's waiting for me to ask her out. Sure hope it's true, though Tony isn't really what I would consider an expert when it comes to love. Maybe Sinestro has some ideas on it. Or maybe Kilowog or Arisia?
Arisia. Now there's someone who's quite attractive, too. Wonder if she would . . . Nah! I love Jane too much to even look at another girl. Man, I got it bad.
I pray to God to give me strength. I'll need it.
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power
Green Lantern's Light.
Author's notes: Thanks to anyone who made it this far. I wanted to do a different lantern story. As you can see, there aren't many fight scenes, supervillains, or all that. So sue me, I like a touch of romance and humor in a story. Anyway, though Sinestro is my fave villain, I thought it different to picture him as a good guy for a change. (Give the guy a break, he's dead already!) Oh yeah, and I'm a seventeen year old guy who likes to imagine what I would do if I had a GL ring. One of the reasons why my character is young is cause it's more fun that way. Kinda projecting my fantasies on the character. I'd like to hear feedback from other GL fans out there. Hope to write another short soon.
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