Chapter 1: Loading….
Waking up to nothing is surprising easy. Well, not exactly nothing. The view I got when I opened my eyes was beautiful and breathtaking. The entirety of the sky was full of the clearest Milky Way I had ever seen. At least I thought I had ever seen. I started trying to figure out how I got here, but all I could remember was fog and someone whispering about a choice. I looked down at myself, hoping to find a clue as to anything that was before that night sky. Typical human male body, fully black clothing and a ring on my hand. My right hand to be specific. It was on my middle finger, and seemed to naturally belong there. It was ostentatious, considering its signet nearly covered all my inner fingers. I had no idea what to think of the complex design. I mean, what's the meaning behind a triangle inside a circle inside another triangle? While inspecting the ring, I turned over my hand, only to be greeted by a horrifically scarred palm. The scar, more of a burn, nearly filled my palm. Whatever the thing had been, it had marks on it. Five lines over an upside-down triangle in a large circle. It didn't hurt, but it had to be significant. I looked up at that sky again, once again my thoughts were struck silent by the sheer beauty.
"I wonder what's up there." I said to myself, my voice a little weak from disuse. The ring on my hand seemed to hum for a moment, then the stars seemed to come closer. Almost like…
"I'm in space." I whispered to no one. I looked down, expecting to see the grass I had felt beneath my feet, only to see more stars in stunning colors.
"How?" Did you do this?" I asked the ring, holding it where I could watch the mysterious piece of jewelry. The ring didn't react, didn't respond. Of course it couldn't, it's just a piece of shaped metal. I think it is; Anyways, I'm stuck in space, somehow not dead and talking to a ring. That would have almost been funny if it weren't ridiculous. I started turning myself around, trying to figure out how to move without the resistance of gravity. Eventually I figured out that I could move in all directions just by thinking about it.
"Okay ring, since you seem to take requests: Send me home. Send me where I belong. Preferably somewhere where I'm not alone in space." With another hum, the ring seemed to take control of me, flattening my body and sending me flying deeper into space. I think I blacked out, or when I hit the ship it made me forget, but all I know is one moment I was flying; the next moment I bounced off a gleaming white hull and started plummeting towards something that looked like a planet. I crashed into the surface, unable to control my fall no matter how much I focused on not falling. I expected it to hurt. Basic physics said I should be a smear, not in one-piece laying in a mile-wide crater.
"I hope I didn't just wipe out some alien equivalent of dinosaurs," I muttered, looking up into a dust-filled sky. When something red came flying out of the dust towards me, I hoped it was whoever I had hit. Maybe they knew something. The red thing resolved into a person, a man with red armor and a face that seemed to not know what a smile was. The man in red raised a fist at me, then shot a beam of red energy at me. Not a friendly way to say hello.
I didn't think, instinctively raising my ring and creating a red shield around myself. The energy flowed around the shield and then I put my hand down and the shield dissipated. The red guy came flying in to me, trying to punch me. At least that's what I assumed it was. About five feet from me, he slowed to a crawl. So I sidestepped and watched as the shock slowly crossed his face. As he finished passing me, he sped up, slamming into the crater wall. He pulled himself up with a growl and a grunt.
"How did you find me?" He asked, seemingly angry at my very presence. The hard snarl of a look he was giving, he clearly had some issues with meeting new people. Just my luck today.
"I have no idea, I was just flying home and hit your ship." I explained, trying to calm the guy down. It didn't seem to work as he attacked again, this time trying to kick and throw more of that red energy at me. Once again, they slowed as they got close and sped back up once I dodged them.
"Stand still so I can hit you!" He yelled clearly angry at not being able to pulverize me. His ring, I noticed, was a bright red and started speaking to him. Could my ring do that?
"Razer, you have not returned in the specified time. I am on my way to provide assistance." A female voice stated. Razer, that's his name, growled at his ring, seeming to think that an appropriate response.
"You missing a date because I hit you? I don't think I left a dent. I'm not hurt. If we both agree to it, we both leave and never say a word about this." I rationally say, hoping to calm this super powered rage monger. His immediate response was to try and punch me. Which failed miserably.
"Why would I trust a Red Lantern? I'm going to kill you and then you won't be able to tell Shard."
"What's a shard? And a Red Lantern? I'm not familiar with those words." I noticed a flash of green above me and could make out a female figure. I couldn't help but smirk, which seemed to irritate Razer even more. Apparently he hadn't noticed his date was actually fed-up with him. Is there any unspoken rules about picking up aliens if their dates attacked me first?
"Your date got tired of waiting. Just go take her to dinner or wherever already. I'm not going anywhere until I figure out how to use this ring anyways." I called out, running further away from Razer. His momentary surprise showed me that I could probably just confound him with a big enough word. What's a twelve-letter synonym for idiot?
"Get back here! Coward!" He ran after me, sprinting close enough to tackle me. Assuming he could make contact with me. I just watched as yet again he flew passed me as I stepped out of the way. I noticed the green glow was directly behind me, so I turned, knowing that Razer couldn't hit me even if he tried. I was not expecting the female to be a robot. Guess that's a no on the pity date thing. Just in case, I stayed civil.
"Hello, your boyfriend there seems to think I'm a… what did you call me? A Red Lantern? Anyways, I think he hit his head when I hit your ship because clearly I'm not one of those… whatevers." I said, only to be surprised as Razer managed to grab me with my back turned. We rolled in the dust until he got on top of me, fist glowing red with energy.
"Razer, stop. This is not a Red Lantern." The machine girl told Razer. Damn, I'm getting beaten by a brain-dead guy while a robot watches it happen. Could my day have gotten any weirder?
"Look at him you stupid computer, of course he's a Red Lantern! Can't you see the armor, the symbol? Are you blind?" He yelled back, turning his head to her. Clearly, his mother didn't teach him any manners. Even if she is a machine, you don't yell her because you have brain damage. Wait, that's probably why he's yelling in the first place.
"Hey, that's no way to talk to a lady. Try being nice and not insulting." I immediately fired back, only gaining more ire from the slightly bigger and much angrier Razer. Apparently, he really wanted to kill me right now. Like, really really wanted to kill me.
"Apologies citizen, Red Lantern Razer seems to be suffering from an optical illusion caused by an unknown entity. He seems incapable of seeing anything outside the visible light spectrum range designated red."
"No problem, but could he get off of me?"
"Not until you're dead!" Razer screamed, punching at my head. A quick shift saved my skull from being mashed. I could see two more streaks of green coming through the dust cloud. Maybe those things could get Razer off of me. They materialized into more humanoid forms, but one was quite a bit larger.
"Hold it right there Red! Hands off the GL!" An older male voice called out. I looked over Razer's shoulder to see a fellow human and a giant pig thing in Green armor, almost like Razer's.
"He's not one of your idiotic Green Lanterns! He's a Red Lantern somehow disguising it from all of you!"
"Green Lanterns Hal and Kilowogg, Razer is partially correct. This random citizen is not Green Lantern, however, he is not a Red Lantern either. If you could restrain Razer until we ascertain why all of your optics are malfunctioning." The robot girl calmly said while the other two did as they were told. With Razer off of me, I stood up and dusted myself off. I looked at the ring on my hand, certain that it was causing all this.
"I think my ring here might be the reason you guys can't see straight. The thing kind of stole me from Earth and when I asked to go home it flew me straight into your ship." I explained holding my fist out so they could see the symbol on the ring. The pig-looking one moved closer, inspecting the symbol emblazoned on the ring. He made something of grunt, then looked to his human compatriot.
"Never seen that before. A ring that makes people see things and the wearer can't control it. Jordan, I think this guy's legit. Something about him seems trustworthy. At least, more trustworthy than our Red Poozer here." The giant pig thing said, meaning that he was the Kilowogg the robot mentioned. I'm guessing poozer is a kind of insult directed at Razer.
"Let me take it off." I said without thinking. The moment the ring slipped off my finger, I was gone. Not unconscious, but more like comatose with a stopped heart.