Brass isn’t just polished copper
Hal Jordan, Bay City’s very own Green Lantern, stood in the middle of the park with a case full of softly glowing green rings on a stand. Adorned in the typical green lantern uniform, black and green apparently never goes out of style in this universe, complete with a tiny black mask that really shouldn’t hide his identity, but somehow does, he pitched his wares.
Hal’s grin was a sight to behold as he called out, “Come one, come all! Get your power rings here! The greatest little gadget that money can buy!”
Yes, it was a bit of an insane grin, but that didn’t stop the crowd that had formed around him, buying Green Lantern rings as $1.00 a pop and flying off as soon as they put them on.
“The most coveted piece of jewelry in the whole universe can now be yours, that’s right, YOURS, for just one thin dollar!”
Rings and dollars changed hands so quickly that it seemed the case should have been emptied in seconds, but for every ring removed another appeared in its place, as he continued his pitch, passing a ring to a rather odd man, wearing a Hawaiian shirt that had seen better days, and carrying a double bladed battle axe that gleamed like newly minted silver.
Hal passed the ring to him without thought. The guy with the shiny axe had a prankish air to him that spoke more about an elaborate joke being planned than anything harmful and if anyone appreciated how the rings could be used for pranks it was Hal. As far as he was concerned, if you couldn’t have fun while doing your job, than you were probably in the wrong line of work.
“These are the very same rings that are worn by the Green Lantern Corps, the guardians of the galaxy, far and wide!”
He could just see Superman’s reflection in the window across the way and decided to play with him a bit, “With these rings you can be faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings…”
-A little while ago-
“So why the invisible jet,” Xander asked, curious.
“Well, teleporting down would be instantly detected and Batman doesn’t have anything in the local area we can use. Flying in under our own power is also easily detected, but my jet has magically enhanced stealth capabilities, so we can get close to GL without setting off any of his ring’s sensors. If he has… gone a little bit off track, us walking up to him will be seen as much less of a threat than simply appearing, which could spark a confrontation,” Wonder Woman explained.
“Good plan. Since he doesn’t know me, I can scout ahead, blend in with the crowd and signal you if he appears to have lost it,” Xander offered.
“That sounds like a good idea. Just whisper if you think something’s wrong and I’ll hear it,” Superman smiled, relieved that Xander appeared to be, as Batman had put it, unsettlingly helpful as he was when he arrived, despite his strange need to tease John.
“I don’t think a man coated in dried blood carrying a blood encrusted battleaxe would blend in anywhere but Gotham,” Batman pointed out.
“Touché. Hey Diana, does this jet come with a washroom?”
“Sure, it’s all the way back and on the left,” She replied.
“What’s on the right?”
“A twenty three bedroom mansion with an Olympic size swimming pool.”
“Really,” Xander asked, wondering if she was making a joke.
“Really. Hephaestus made this jet as a birthday gift and I mentioned I wanted some place to stretch out and nap If needed, so he decided to add what he referred to as an ‘Economy’ upgrade,” Wonder Woman explained.
“Neat! I wonder if I can get him to make me a tent for camping,” Xander muttered as he headed to the back of the jet.
-Back to the Present-
“What do you think you’re doing,” Superman asked, disapproval clear in his tone.
“Selling power rings, Superman. At a price every man can afford,” Hal replied with a manic grin.
“But, why,” Wonder Woman asked, wondering what was wandering willy-nilly through the green lantern’s mind.
Hal held up his hand, his face reflecting the green glow from his ring. “Wonder Woman, there is something you should get off your chest… Having superpowers is great!”
“But with great power…” Batman began, unknowingly quoting another hero and skirting copyright laws, with a growl.
“Stow the high school angst, batman,” Hal butted in. “Nobody’s buying it. But they are buying power rings and why? Because when you slip one of these babies on your finger, the world really is at your fingertips.”
A flash of red and a burst of wind interrupted whatever Batman’s response would have been.
“Sorry I’m late. What’s up,” The newly arrived Flash questioned.
“The Green Lantern is selling power rings for a dollar,” Batman growled, visibly upset with the flagrant irresponsibility the young GL was showing.
“Cool. I’ll take one,” Flash said excited at the chance to actually fly rather then walk.
“You have a dollar,” Hal asked with a grin.
“Not on me,” the Flash said, after patting his suit’s nonexistent pockets.
“Then step aside, Flash and let a paying customer through,” said a huge talking ape wearing a pink dress, with matching accessories and some nice pearls, as it shoved the scarlet speedster to the side.
“Here you go ma’am, enjoy,” Hal said brightly, exchanging money for ring in a second.
“You bet I will,” the gorilla with the excellent fashion sense, although the red wig was rather questionable with the pink dress (it did highlight its eyes however), as it grasped the ring tightly.
“I’m not so sure this is a good idea,” Superman said thoughtfully, as he looked at the talking gorilla attempt to fit the tiny ring on its enormous finger.
“Well I’m sure that doesn’t make it a bad one,” Hal said firmly.
Xander watched the entire show in disbelief. He kept waiting for someone to point out that a gorilla wearing a dress was most likely Grodd, but so far nothing, even though it was growling and cursing under its breath as it struggled to put on the ring. He waved to try and get someone’s attention, but they were all too involved in their argument.
“Face facts Justice League, despite all the wonderful things was can do, we can’t be everywhere all the time to do them. Why heck, just yesterday I was battling with the Misery Men on Rigel IV, and Gorilla Grodd was right here in Coast City, stealing all the gold in fort Ping.”
Xander considered taking an axe to Grodd, but he was sure it wouldn’t be worth the hassle he’d get from PETA much less the rest of the Justice League.
“Do you actually think that giving normal citizens power rings can thwart criminals,” Wonder Woman asked, her royal roots showing in her opinion.
Green Lantern leaned forward and gave them a dopey grin before putting a finger to his temple and saying, “Pretty smart, huh?” Firmly convincing them all that he needed psychiatric care.
Xander sighed and reached over and pulled off the wig and hat, Gorilla Grodd was wearing. He was pleasantly surprised the big ape didn’t notice, still fixated on the ring. Waving the wig around like a flag he waited for on the League members to notice. ‘I swear, it’s no wonder no one ever figures out Superman’s secret identity, they’re friggin’ blind!’
“Excuse me…” Hal said, quickly flying over to the cross-dressing primate.
“Damn ring, I can’t fit it on my fuckin’ finger,” Grodd growled.
“Let me help you with that,” the Green Lantern offered, before forming a huge boxing mitt out of green energy and slamming a right jab into Grodd’s stomach.
Xander picked up the extra ring off the ground, while Hal entertained himself with beating Grodd senseless. “Cool, free ring.”
“I’m sorry, I should have mentioned that these rings only fit on fingers and not dirty fuckin’ paws like yours… Gorilla Grodd,” the young GL exclaimed, as he pulled off the oversized glasses and pearls Grodd was wearing, stunning the League members, who hadn’t seen through his cunning disguise even though the hat and wig had already been removed by Xander.
“Shit,” Grodd cursed, upset at his capture, when near-ultimate-power had seemed to be in his grasp.
Good work, Green Lantern,” Superman praised him. “We should have known that Grodd couldn’t resist buying a power ring, especially at your price.”
“Should have known who he was when he walked up wearing a dress,” Xander snickered quietly to himself.
“Thanks, Superman,” GL said proudly. “I’ll meet you all later at JL HQ, once I’m done buying back all the rings I sold,” Hal lied, knowing that everyone who had put on a ring had been informed by the ring’s AI that it was just a temporary ring and would run out of juice with just a couple of hours of use, as this was part of a sting operation. It just wouldn’t do to upset the people in his city by offering them false promises of permanent power and besides, he trusted them enough to play along and they could have a great tag race.
‘All work and no play would turn Hal into John and we just can’t have that, now can we,’ he thought to himself while heading off to organize the festivities.
“OK, we’ll see you then,” Wonder Woman called out, as she easily slid into the pilot’s seat of her invisible (to everyone but her) jet while everyone else carefully felt out their way on board, trying to avoid the usual shin injuries that afflicted everyone, including superman due to its magical nature, and failing miserably as always.
“Where’s Aquaman,” the Flash asked, rubbing his shin as he took his seat. Seeing Wonder Woman bite her lip he simply grinned. “You forgot him again, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, let’s just go with that,” the amazon said, really not wanting to get into a conversation about the subject.
“I have to hand it to Green Lantern, the rest of us are bound by our physical abilities, but the bearer of a power ring is only bound by his imagination. In some ways his power is greater than all of ours combined,” Superman said thoughtfully, considering the restraint Hal had been showing, even while seeming to have been out of control.
“Hold on a minute, Superman. Did you forget whose finger that ring is on,” Flash said, thinking of the pranks him and Hal and pulled on the station when they got bored.
The four Leaguers laughed, remembering the trouble Hal got up to, when he wasn’t busy saving lives.
Batman grinned and in a moment of rare humor, pointed out, “Can you imagine if Wonder Woman had a ring? It’d just be another piece of jewelry to her.”
The four shared a laugh as they tried to imagine anything Wonder Woman needed a power ring to do.
“And you Superman, or you Flash! Why, you guys would just use it to get an edge in one of those races you’re always running,” Batman continued, the leagues laughing right along with him.
“Or me, imagine me being able to do everything I dream of,” Batman finished.
The laughter cut off like a switch had been thrown, as Batman got a thoughtful look on his face and the others suddenly gained a look somewhere between thoughtful and stark terror.
Xander chuckled to himself as he played with the two rings he had. Sure they were limited, but just wait until he got a chance to tease John!AN: A bit shorter then I had planned, but I wanted to get this out while I started on the next section.