When I posted this, I honestly didn't know who I wanted to use for my Blue Lantern, let alone my two Green Lanterns. I think I've figured it out now. Hopefully. If not, someone's going to end up dead and stuffed in a fridge right quick so I can call in a replacement, I reckon.
"Take the ring. Put it on."
Looking up from her reading, Cordelia groaned and rolled her eyes before looking skyward. "Seriously? Are you for real? I finally get out of Sunnyhell and only make it two months before I start getting harassed by demonic things again? God. I'm turning into a bigger freak magnet than Xander." When she failed to receive an answer to her question, Cordelia looked back down at the glowing green ring floating in front of her and glared. "I'm from Sunnydale; I know better than to trust inanimate objects that talk. Go away. Shoo."
"I'm sorry, Cordelia, I'm afraid I can't do that." The brunette stared at the ring incredulously; was the creepy ring serious or had it just made a joke? A pop culture joke at that? And she was going to kick Xander's ass next time she saw him, because she was definitely too pretty to recognize sci-fi humor, damnit. "You have been selected to be a Green Lantern for Sector 2814. Please take the ring and place it on the middle finger of your right hand so you can be taken for briefing."
Cordelia shook her head, leaning back into the couch as the ring slowly moved in and then scrambling up and over the back to put a little more space between it and herself when it didn't take the hint. She didn't know what a 'Green Lantern' was or what hell dimension 'Sector 2814' was a part of, but she wanted nothing to do with any of it. God. Why couldn't it be off bugging Buffy or Willow or someone who actually liked the supernatural? "Okay, they probably don't have Sexual Harassment in the Workplace classes for talking jewelry, so I'm not going to hold it against you… this time. But for future reference, when a woman says no, it means no. Now go away. Get out. Vamoose."
In retrospect, waving her hand at something trying to get onto it had probably been a bad idea. The ring bobbed and weaved a few times before zipping forward, spinning and sliding onto her finger before erupting in a brilliant green flash that made Cordelia cry out and flinch away. When the light faded, she tentatively opened her eyes and blinked away the spots before looking down… and discovering everything had changed.
Well, not everything. She was still her, thankfully. It hadn't turned her into a newt or anything. Cordelia raced through her apartment, rushing into her bedroom and slamming the door so she could make use of the full-length mirror on the back. And then she stared in disbelief. If her role as Zoe qualified her as wank queen, this was a promotion to… wank goddess. Her fuzzy pink bathrobe and slippers had disappeared into the ether, replaced with a primarily black jumpsuit featuring a plunging v-shaped neckline, her shoulders and chest covered with a v-shaped patch of green fabric. Cordelia turned sideways, eyeing her shoulders. The patch merged seamlessly back into the black on each shoulder with… a green V. If this was what all of the Green Lanterns looked like, she really needed to have a talk with their wardrobe department. Turning to face the mirror again, she noticed a strange symbol drawn over her left breast in a darker green: a lantern in a circle over a white background. Bringing her hand up to touch it, she realized she was now wearing white gloves and her pink slippers had disappeared in favor of green boots. Oh, and for some reason she was now wearing a black domino mask. Black, green, and white. None of them were her favorite colors… and why was she even caring? She was being taken advantage of by a creepy demon ring with personal space issues. Fashion was the last thing she needed to be worrying about. Okay, maybe not the last thing. Next to last? Somewhere in the middle, maybe? Fine, near the top, but definitely below the ring itself.
Bringing her free hand up, Cordelia began to tug on the ring. No dice. Panic began to stir deep in her but she squashed it. She'd almost been sacrificed more than once, faced off with a whole bunch of vampires over the years, and had survived helping blow up her high school to kill a giant demon snake. This was nothing. Maybe some Crisco could save the day? Or hell, when the sun came up, she could see if a local prop builder could help her out. It'd be win-win: she could lose the ring and some nerd would get a brand new toy. "Fine. Stay on my finger. Your hours are numbered, though, ring. I'll cut you off if I have to."
"That's highly unlikely, Cordelia. I have survived planetary entry, the corona of suns, black holes, and being sat on by massive beings. I doubt there is anything on this primitive planet of yours capable of so much as scratching me." First the sci-fi joke, now references to outer space? Cordelia eyed the ring speculatively. Was it then an alien ring, and not something demonic? Because… well, if that was the case, they still had to discuss space issues and proper manners, but the situation was slightly less alarming. "Prepare yourself for transport."
What, like on Star Trek
or something? As much of a nerd as she felt for thinking it… cool! Cordelia opened her bedroom door, moving back out into the living room and turning off the music she'd had playing softly while she read scripts. Looking around, she nodded in satisfaction. Nothing else was out of place. "Alright. Beam me up."
The ring let out a pulse of light and Cordelia squeaked as her body became translucent. "Very well. Commencing flight." Flight? What? Then the ring jerked her arm upward and she shrieked in surprise as she was pulled up and through the ceiling of her apartment, passing through three thankfully dark apartments before bursting into a sky fresh with the first light of morning. Her body returned to its normal, non-transparent state and she let out a sigh of relief, only to get jerked towards the rising sun as the crazy ring began hauling her through the air at a high rate of speed.
"Take the ring. Put it on."
Hmm. It was back. Harry dropped the hose he'd been drinking from, tentatively reaching out and curling a hand around the ring. It was an odd little thing, he mused as he rolled it between his fingers, made of some strange green material with the strangest sigil imprinted on the top. Almost like a lantern, if one looked at it from a certain angle. And it wanted him to put it on? Was that really a good idea? A piece of advice from Mr. Weasley after the Chamber of Secrets incident came back to him: never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain.
On the other hand, he was feeling rather reckless. He was cooped up at Number Four with no contact with his friends, and even the threat of bringing a mass murdering godfather down on their heads wasn't enough to completely control his relatives anymore. So what if it took him over like Riddle's diary had done to Ginny, Harry thought. Someone could finally save him for once, instead of him being the one constantly running to peoples' rescue.
Harry took the ring between two fingers and went to slide it on, only to have it buck in his grip and glow. Moving to a different finger, he tried again but got the same result. "What do you want from me? I'm trying to put you on, aren't I?"
"Honestly, Harry. I go on the middle finger of your dominant hand. And on top of that, you're holding me upside-down." Jerking in shock, Harry dropped the ring. It had gone from using an inflectionless, clearly artificial voice to sounding just like Hermione, right down to the impatient tone of voice when he did something stupid. The ring floated back up to chest height, surrounded by a green aura, before letting out a huff. "Well that's just rude."
Plucking the ring out of the air, Harry tried to slide it onto the middle finger of his right hand, only to have the ring twitch in his grasp once more. Turning it around - which seemed stupid, since the sigil looked the same either way - he tried a fourth time and the ring slid onto his finger easily. "Finally. You know, you're awfully demanding for… woah!"
Green light erupted from the ring, spreading over his body with incredible speed. Before he could even hope to do anything about it, the light faded and Harry stared in disbelief. His cousin's oversized hand me downs had disappeared, replaced with a sleek black, green, and white jumpsuit, the ring's symbol stamped prominently on his chest. And though his vision was still clear, he could no longer feel the slight weight of his glasses on the bridge of his nose and crests of helix. Instead, he discovered as he reached up to pat his face, there was some sort of mask covering the skin around his eyes. "What the bloody hell?"
"Language, Harry. It's the standard uniform of a Green Lantern. After all, you don't want someone to recognize you while you're flying around, do you?"
Hermione… err, the ring had a point there. Harry eyed it suspiciously. Although what was this business about flying? If he went streaking around on a broom, this getup would probably make him even more noticeable than if he was wearing his cousin's tent-like castoffs. "Right then. Just out of curiosity, how long do you think this is going to take? And where are we going? I should probably tell my relatives when I go inside to fetch my broom."
Glowing softly, the ring let out a chuckle. "By your planet's coordinate system, a latitude of forty-two degrees and sixteen point nine minutes, with a longitude of negative seventy-two degrees and twenty point six minutes. Colloquially known as Belchertown, Massachusetts, in the United States of America."
"America? Are you bloody insane? My Firebolt may hit 240 kilometers per hour, but it'd take forever to get there, much less back." Suddenly, Harry was a lot less certain about this whole talking ring thing. Reaching up, Harry went to tug it off, only to have his right arm jerk skyward as the ring yanked him about like a puppet on a string. "Hey!"
As his feet left the ground and he began to climb into the bright afternoon sky, he instinctively raised his other arm and brought them together like the flying superheroes he'd seen on Dudley's cartoons. Seemed right, somehow. As they passed through a cloud, the ring spoke up again. "Calm down, would you? I thought you enjoyed flying, Harry."
Harry watched in disbelief as their manic climb finally evened out, the ground quickly disappearing as they made their way out over the Atlantic Ocean. "Yes, well, I'm used to doing it on a broom. Wizards can't just fly on their own, it's unnatural. And this feels a lot faster than my Firebolt."
"That would be because we're currently approaching 800 kilometers per hour, over three times as fast as the top speed of your broom." Harry goggled at that; getting his Firebolt up to top speed usually had him hanging on for dear life and now here he was, well past that speed and it felt no different than walking through the park on a windy day. Amazing. "900 kilometers per hour." Something puffed in the corner of his eye and Harry looked back over one shoulder to marvel at the odd white cloud enveloping his lower body as they rocketed along. "1000 kilometers per hour. 1050." The cloud continued to grow, flattening out into a thick disc of white before disintegrating as suddenly as it had appeared. "1062 kilometers per hour. Supersonic speed achieved."
Wait, what? Harry turned his head back to stare at the ring in disbelief. "Supersonic… you mean like the Concorde and the RAF's fighters and all that? I'm moving faster than the speed of sound?"
Harry could practically picture Hermione rolling her eyes at him as the ring answered. "Well, I'm glad to hear that I won't need to explain that concept to you, Harry. Yes, you're moving faster than the speed of sound. We're currently at Mach 1.42 and accelerating. I'm not picking up any air traffic in the area, so I'm hoping to get you up to a minimum of Mach 7.5."
"Oh. And, uh, how fast is that in kilometers per hour?"
"Just shy of 8000. 7969.47, if you're feeling picky."
To borrow one of Ron's favorite phrases… bloody hell. 8000 kilometers per hour. That was so far beyond the capabilities of his Firebolt - fastest broom in the world - that it wasn't even funny. Wow. Even without the ring announcing their airspeed, Harry could keep up with their acceleration as the clouds below - and deep blue water much further below when they passed over a gap - began to rocket past faster and faster. Just as Harry was finally beginning to settle in and enjoy self-propelled flight, the coastline appeared and he could both feel and see the changes as the ring decelerated in preparation for landing. Suddenly, something the ring had said earlier came back to Harry. "Just out of curiosity… what's a Green Lantern?"
The ring guided him down through the last layer of clouds and into a lazy spiral over rolling hills covered with lush forests, heading for an island in the middle of a sizable lake. "The Green Lantern Corps are an intergalactic police force; you could compare them to the wizarding world's Aurors, I suppose. The Milky Way galaxy is divided thirty-six hundred sectors; Earth is a part of Sector 2814. Each sector is assigned two Green Lanterns and a Blue Lantern to serve as their partner, defending the planets within from all sorts of threats, ranging from planetary problems to potential catastrophes that would threaten entire star systems. Unfortunately, all three members of Sector 2814's Lantern detachment were recently grievously injured. Abin Sur, the man who's ring you now wear, managed to bring his ship to Earth even as his companions succumbed to their injuries and began the process of recruiting replacements."
So much for the idea of not being the hero for once, Harry thought to himself as they drifted down into a small clearing where a bullet-shaped ship awaited him inside a ring of trees. "Right, assuming then that I even want to be drafted into this space Auror gig of yours… why did you have to bring me all the way over to the Colonies if everyone's dead?"
"Abin was still alive when he ordered me to find and return with you. I reckon he has mission information of great import to share with you, which he was taking to Oa when he stopped here." The ring pulled his arm out in front of him and Harry stumbled forward, gaping as said arm suddenly turned translucent like Professor Binns and Myrtle. "Don't be alarmed, Harry, I'm just taking advantage of the ring's ability to phase you through solid matter." The ring twitched forward again, pulling him towards the side of the ship, before relaxing and returning his body to its normal solid state. "Oh. Someone's approaching. Green Lantern Ring #2814B. We should wait for them so Abin only has to tell us things once. It's the polite thing to do."
Harry snorted. Well, at least his space Auror ring that could jerk him around like a puppet, fly faster than the speed of sound, change his clothes for him, and evidently drag him through walls had an idea what proper manners were. Even if it didn't always use them. He turned away from the spaceship, only to jump as a person dropped out of the clouds just as suddenly as the ring had appeared earlier that afternoon. They went to one knee as they touched down, the earth cracking and rumbling with the force of the impact, and stayed there for a second before straightening up. "Okay. That… was… awesome! You should have seen the faces on those astronauts when I came up and knocked on the shuttle's windshield." The new arrival paused for a second, brown eyes staring at him speculatively from behind a black domino mask. "Wait a second. Who the heck are you?"
Given that he'd been there first, wasn't the fairer question who was she? And the newcomer was a she, as was made very evident by the figure her own jumpsuit showed off. Blimey. If they made 'em like this at Hogwarts, it was news to Harry. Suddenly, he found himself glad that Ron was on the other side of the ocean; he could only imagine how his best friend would react to this girl, given how the redhead had been around Fleur.
Harry's eyes slowly wandered over the brunette, pausing to take in the tanned skin that the plunging neckline of her jumpsuit showed off. Was she of Indian descent like the Patils or a Muggle? Because outside of the twins - and Dean - the wizarding world seemed to be a ridiculously pasty group of people. Himself included, he realized, so he really ought not to throw stones…
"Hey. Astroboy. My eyes are up here." Harry rather guiltily jerked his gaze up to meet the girl's eyes, suddenly glad for the mask he'd been given as he felt his face heat up. "Better. Sorta. Now, explain to me why I had to get dragged here by this crazy ring? If you have one, you could have come to me and let me tell you, that's a much better recruiting tactic than abducting someone. Not that the trip into space wasn't fun…"
Well that was just unfair. She'd gotten to go into space and he'd been stuck staring at clouds and water? "Listen, I think you have me confused with someone else. My name is Harry Potter and I just got here. I was in my yard when this ring told me to put it on…"
"…and the next thing you know, you're transformed and being dragged off?" Harry nodded and the brunette sighed. "Damn. So if you're a new recruit and I'm a new recruit, who's the one doing the recruiting?" Nobody spoke up to answer her question and eventually she offered Harry a hand. "Well, as long as we're introducing ourselves, I'm Cordelia Chase."
Harry shook her hand before gesturing to the ship. "There's someone named Abin Sur inside, according to my ring. He sent the rings out to find us so he could pass some information on before he died, or at least that's her… its… best guess. It was about to take me inside when it picked you up."
Turning to look at the ship, Cordelia straightened up. "Now we're getting somewhere. Alright, let's go talk to this 'Abin' person. HAL, can you phase me through the wall like you did when we left the apartment?"
"I'm sorry, Cordelia, I'm afraid I can't do that."
Harry bit his lip to avoid laughing as Cordelia scowled and brought her ring up to glare at it. He might have been stuck with the Hermione ring, but at least it was relatively cooperative. Or maybe it was just lulling him into a false sense of security before springing bad behavior on him? "Yes you can. I've seen you do it. Alright, let me rephrase that just in case you're feeling all Grammar Nazi. Will you phase me through the wall?"
"I'm sorry, Cordelia, I'm afraid I can't do that."
"Grr! Why not?"
"I've detected the commencement of power symbiosis indicative of the approach of Blue Lantern Ring #2814. It would be illogical to begin a briefing without everyone present."
That made sense to Harry. After all, he'd stopped and waited for this Cordelia girl to show up and the ring had mentioned a third member of the group. Although… "Ringmione, what does HAL mean by 'power symbiosis'? And what's the difference between a Green Lantern and a Blue Lantern?" Originally he'd thought maybe gender or wizard versus Muggle, but if he was a wizard and Cordelia was a Muggle girl… then again, he was making a bit of an assumption with the Muggle part there…
The newly dubbed 'Ringmione' turned his hand so the sigil of the ring was facing upward before projecting a pair of figures: one a man in a costume similar to Cordelia's - possibly the one he was wearing, although he'd yet to find a mirror and see what he actually looked like now - and one of a alien being of some kind in a blue, black, and white jumpsuit. "The Green and Blue Lantern Corps are two of the seven Corps that harness the power of the emotional electromagnetic spectrum. While the Green Lanterns embody willpower and are the front line of defense, the Blue Lanterns embody hope and serve more to support their partner Green Lanterns. As for the symbiosis, while the Green Lanterns can function on their own, the Blue Lanterns are nearly powerless when separate, capable of only flying and creating protective shields. When with one or more Green Lantern, however, the Blue Lantern can increase the power of the other Lanterns' rings while receiving all the powers of a Green Lantern themselves plus a few unique abilities. According to the Guardians, the rings behave that way because hope is useless without the willpower to act on it, but I'm not sure I believe them. It all seems rather wooly and unscientific to me…"
So he was going to have a sidekick of sorts. Or at least one that he shared with Cordelia. Hopefully his Blue Lantern would be someone he got along with; if he and Cordelia didn't, they could always stay on their respective sides of the Atlantic and ignore the other's existence. Speaking of Cordelia, not wanting to be caught unawares like he had been by her arrival, Harry turned his gaze skyward and scanned the sky until he spotted a blue and black figure approaching them. His Blue Lantern, he assumed. The Blue Lantern made one pass over the clearing before circling back around and lightly touching down in front of him.
Now outnumbered two to one, Harry was momentarily worried that he was going to end up on the outside looking in due to typical girl pack behavior. That was quickly laid to rest when Cordelia looked the Blue Lantern up and down before sniffing and turning away. "That's an, err, interesting costume you have there. Phew. And here I was worried about having competition in the looks department."
Yeah, that 'no Cordelia' idea was looking more favorable all the time…