THE WAR OF LIGHT
The Interplosion Mansion had experienced its longest period of peace, until the sky fell.
Nobody could have seen it coming. It was a bolt from the blue, a mysterious meteoric object flung from the farthest reaches of space. One night, as the mansion was gathered around the chatroom, the meteor plunged directly through the mansion’s upper floors and landed in the center of the chatroom. Nobody was harmed, miraculously – except for the dying alien they found underneath the meteor.
They pushed the meteor aside and began to nurse the alien back to health. This action doomed them all. Within a week, everybody in that room would be dead.
This is their story.
Interplosion Mansion, [LOCATION REDACTED], 8:42 PM
“FUCK,” Rando yelled as the deafening noise that had been building slowly over the last few seconds suddenly erupted into a crashing sound just above their heads. He hadn’t even managed to get the word out of his mouth when a large object – nobody could really tell what it was at the time, other than that there was a massive glowing green shape at the bottom of it – fell through the ceiling and landed in the center of the chatroom.
He had recoiled severely, falling backwards out of the chair he had been seated in, and tumbling over so his feet were now above his head. He took a moment to straighten himself up, dust himself off, and then surveyed the room. Darian, who had been seated next to him, was covering her ears, slightly crouched next to the wall. As Rando wondered why she was covering her ears, he became aware of the loud ringing in his own ears, and suddenly slapped his hands over his own ears. As he sat there, hoping the ringing would die down, he saw Karia pushing turned over furniture out of the way in order to free Rinsan, who had been nearly crushed by an armchair that had previously been occupied by Nick. Nick himself was standing outside the room, his hands clutching the doorframe as he cautiously poked his head in. Tod was consoling a distraught Dawn to the best of his ability, though it seemed like neither of them could hear what they were saying, the ringing still deafening their ears. Deimos had apparently been relatively unaffected, and was angrily dusting debris off his shirt. SHG had apparently been far more shaken by the impact, and had her arm against the wall for support, seemingly dizzied by the commotion. Zaphod was attempting to wrest a table out of the way so that Roast could climb out of an unfortunately phallic pile of furniture that had clustered on the side of the room opposite where the object now sat.
The ringing finally subsided, and Rando approached the fallen object. The glowing green base that he had seen as it fell had vanished, and it appeared to be simply a meteor. How it had survived entry mostly intact was a puzzle that went through Rando’s head for a few moments before Karia shouted, “There’s somebody under there!”
He looked, and indeed there was somebody under the meteor – but everybody was accounted for. There wasn’t anybody missing that he could see – so who was under the meteor? Rando turned and looked at Darian, who appeared concerned. Zaphod, seeing that nobody else was taking the initiative, moved over to the meteor and put his hands on it cautiously. Seeing that it was quite cool, he signaled to the rest of the chatroom. “Alright, come on guys. I think if we all push together we can get this meteor off whoever is crushed under there.” Nobody moved, and Rando was a bit uncertain about moving the meteor off whoever was trapped under there. It wasn’t likely to be one of them, and if they moved the meteor it could potentially harm the person under there even more. Zaphod was bothered by the lack of movement, and shouted “COME THE FUCK ON GUYS, THEY’RE DYING UNDER THERE.” This sprung people into action. Within seconds, the entire chat was pushing the meteor. It took a few seconds and quite a bit of strain, but they got the meteor off the person trapped beneath it.
What they saw underneath was something none of them were prepared for.
Beneath the meteor was a humanoid figure, roughly the size of an average man, with deep red skin and an improbably round head. He had no body hair to speak of, and his skin appeared to be vaguely reptilian, with a strangely iridescent quality to it. But most of his skin was obscured by a vibrant green uniform with a strange symbol on his chest. On his right hand, he wore a bright, glowing green ring on his middle finger. He was still breathing, but only barely, in drawn out, labored breaths.
“Jesus,” Dawn said, pulling her hand to her mouth.
“No,” Roast said, “that’s almost certainly not Jesus.”
“What the hell is he?” Nick asked from the doorway.
“I don’t know,” Rando responded. “I’m pretty sure it’s not human.”
“You don’t say,” Tod quipped, his arm wrapped around Dawn.
They all looked at the creature for a few moments before somebody finally spoke up.
“Are we just going to sit here admiring his wounds, which are bleeding profusely, or are we going to try to help?” SHG asked.
“It’s not that simple. What is he, and why is he here? He’s clearly alien. For all we know he could be the vanguard for some assault on the mansion,” Tod reasoned.
“That’s no excuse. This is an animal of some kind, even an alien one, and he’s in pain and probably dying. We need to help him if we can.”
Tod grunted and looked to Rando. Rando nodded curtly, and Tod got the message loud and clear. “Fine. Bring him into the medical station, and I’ll do what I can.” He took his arm from around Dawn and strode out the room.
“I, uh, I’m gonna go with him,” Roast stuttered, and quickly turned to follow Tod.
Zaphod and Karia picked the creature up and carried him down the hall into the medical station. Tod had already prepared the center table, a long surgical one with instruments hanging from the side. “His anatomy is likely entirely different from human anatomy, and his blood might even be toxic. But apparently we have to try to save him anyway, with no knowledge to speak of regarding whatever species he might be.” There was a significant amount of contempt dripping from every word he said.
He grabbed a swab and began to examine the wounds of the creature, poking around and seeing if there were any bits of the meteor lodged in there. Though the upper chest cavity wound appeared to be clean (if gaping), the wound in his lower right thigh was far more severe, with several bits of meteor lodged in there. “Roast, since you’re going to hang around here for whatever reason, hand me those pliers on the table over there.
“They’re just called pliers? Isn’t there a medical term or something?”
“Yes, there is, but you wouldn’t have recognized them by that term.”
“True,” he said as he watched Tod reach into the wound. He gripped the pliers around one of the shards, and was about to pull when Roast suddenly winced audibly.
“How are you not terrified?” Roast asked.
“There’s no sense in being scared of anything. You have to control your fear, or it controls you. It’s what is separating us from the animals. The subjugators from the subjugated.”
Roast nodded, swallowed hard, and closed his eyes for a moment. He opened them again, met Tod’s piercing gaze, and gave a smaller nod. Tod pulled on the shard.
Back in the chatroom, Karia and Zaphod had returned to assist with the clean up. Nobody was quite sure what to do with the meteor, so they more or less ignored it as they picked up the rest of the furniture. There was a tension in the air. Deimos and Rinsan appeared to be mumbling angrily to themselves, though nobody could quite hear what they were saying. Nobody else dared to speak up, unsure of what to say, until finally the silence bothered Darian too much.
“You know, this is the first big thing to have happened since…” Her gaze drifted to the window, and across the long Interplosion Mansion yard, to the treeline, where there were two small gravestones, unmarked. She shuddered. “I really hope it doesn’t end with death again.”
Rando shook his head. “It won’t.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t. But I hope it won’t, and that’s enough for me.”
Darian nodded, and returned to moving furniture. Karia asked Dawn to pass her the books that were at her feet so she could put them back in the shelves, and Dawn, after breaking out of a short reverie, handed them to her.
Dawn hesitated for a moment. “Yeah… I was just… it’s nothing.”
“It’s okay, you can talk to me.” Karia smiled.
“Well… it’s just when the meteor fell through, I sort of had like a brief vision of some sort. Tod had been… he was…” From the look on Dawn’s face, Karia could tell what she meant. Karia nodded quickly, and Dawn breathed a sigh of relief. “I don’t know what I would do.”
“Well I doubt it was anything significant. It was probably just a sudden reaction that made your mind jump to a dark place. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
Just then, Tod and Roast wheeled the creature back into the chatroom, with bandages covering the creature’s wounds. “I extracted most of the debris from his wounds, but there isn’t much I could do to stop the bleeding. He doesn’t have much longer at this rate.”
At that moment, the creature sat up slowly. “No,” it spoke, weakly. “Not long at all.” The room was dead silent. It spoke with a vaguely masculine voice. “My time has come… but you all need to be wary. My name is Abin Sur… I have seen the prophecy’s signs come true… war is coming… tell the Guardians… tell…”
He collapsed back onto the table. An electronic voice spoke from his right hand: “Lantern Abin Sur deceased. Scanning sector for replacement being.” The ring on his middle finger began to glow brightly, and it rose up, off his finger, into the air. As it flew off his body, the green uniform he was wearing faded, revealing a plain black jumpsuit. “Suitable replacement sentient found.” The ring zoomed close to Zaphod, right in front of his face. “Zaphod Beeblebrox of Earth. You have the ability to overcome great fear.” The ring zoomed down Zaphod’s arm and attached itself to his right ring finger.
“Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps.” There was a blinding flash of green light. Everybody covered their eyes and backed up a step. When they looked back at Zaphod, they saw him standing there wearing a green uniform virtually identical to the one that Abin Sur had been wearing. He also, for some reason, had a domino mask.
“Holy fucking shit,” he said disbelievingly.
The ring spoke again: “You will report to Oa for training.”
“Wait, what, training?”
Suddenly Zaphod was lifted off his feet. He was disoriented, and uncertain about just what was happening, but he tried to fight the ring’s influence. “No, damn it, I don’t want to go to Oh Uh for training! FUCK, LET ME DOWN.” He managed to fight it reasonably well, pulling himself lower and lower to the ground as he swung his arms around wildly. His fight didn’t last long, however, and the ring picked up the speed at which it pulled him along, through the opening in the ceiling the meteor had left. “NOOOOO!” he shouted, and he reached his right arm back down to the chat, who were looking on, transfixed at what was happening, when a bolt of green light shot from his hand into the meteor below. A bright shaft of white light shone from the center of the meteor, and everybody turned to gaze at it, as Zaphod was pulled faster and faster through the roof of the mansion, out of Earth’s atmosphere, and into the deep reaches of space.
Everybody was still staring at the light, despite Zaphod’s receding screams. There was an odd quality to it; though it appeared white at times, it was shifting through different colors frequently, never seeming to be any single color for more than half a second. Nobody said anything for a moment.
“Why is there blue light coming from the meteor…” Rando asked, calmly.
“Mate, that light isn’t blue. It’s red,” Deimos corrected.
“It definitely looks blue to me,” Darian added.
“Yeah no I’m seeing red,” Rinsan chimed in.
“For what it’s worth, I’m seeing yellow,” Roast noted. Tod nodded in agreement.
“It looks kinda pink to me…” Dawn muttered.
“I’m seeing green. Why is nobody else seeing green? Fuck,” Karia said, flustered. They bickered for a few more moments about what color it was, but eventually Karia had enough. “Oh there’s an easy way to settle this,” she said, as she grabbed a splinter of a wooden table that had been crushed in the impact, and shoved it into the hole in the meteor.
The light burst forth from the hole, enveloping the entire room in a blinding flash. It subsided after a moment, and then the light in the meteor had apparently vanished. Everybody looked around, silently. A quiet whirring noise had begun, though none of them could identify where it was coming from. It began to grow louder, and louder, and everybody had the realization at the same time. They all glanced upward…
A series of rings, similar to the green ring that had carried Zaphod away, was flying into the Interplosion Mansion.
“Deimos of Earth. You have great rage in your heart. You belong to the Red Lantern Corps,” a red ring spoke to Deimos.
“Rinsankajugin of Earth. You have great rage in your heart. You belong to the Red Lantern Corps,” a similar ring spoke to Rinsan.
“Karia of Earth. You have the ability to overcome great fear. Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps.”
“MesserTod of Earth. You have the ability to instill great fear. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps.”
“Roastbeef of Earth. You have the ability to instill great fear. Welcome to the Sinestro Corps.”
“Randoman of Earth. You have the ability to instill great hope. Welcome to the Blue Lantern Corps.”
“Mer_De_Noms of Earth. You have the ability to instill great hope. Welcome to the Blue Lantern Corps.”
“SuperHeroGirl of Earth. You have the ability to feel great compassion. Welcome to the Indigo Tribe.”
“Dawnkitty of Earth. You have great love in your heart. Welcome to the Star Sapphires.”
The rings all spoke over each other, in a great cacophony that drowned out all of the voices. But each person could hear the ring speaking to them loud and clear. The rings placed themselves on their fingers, and in several blinding flashes of light, everybody was outfitted in a uniform of the color of the ring that had chosen them. A moment later, the rings pulled all of them through the massive hole in the ceiling, and as they screamed, they were whisked off into the deep reaches of space.
It was at this point that Nick had returned from wherever he had gone – nobody really knew, he probably had secret places all around the mansion – and saw everybody departing. “What the FUCK,” he shouted, to nobody in particular. “Why don’t I get a goddamn ring and get flown off into space?” He grumbled to himself for a moment, until a large object fell on his head. Rubbing the spot it had hit, he glanced around and saw the object: a large, orange lantern. He picked it up, examined it, and an orange ring flew out of it and hovered in front of him. “Nickjackal of Earth. You want it all.”
He grinned widely as the ring flew onto his hand.