Colonel Rick Flag, director of the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency, listened as the feverish Rip Hunter, time master, raved on about his idea.
“We can take my time machine back to the Crisis and rescue the dead heroes before they died! Flash, Supergirl, all of them!” said the time-traveler known as the time master.
Karin Grace looked at Rick in surprise. “Could it be possible?”
“Anything is possible with my time machine. Will you get this new team of yours to help me?” he asked.
“I have no team at the moment. They are all on assignment. Can you wait?” asked Flag.
“No — it must be now! The chronal storms are still out there in the time stream. The window of opportunity is all too brief!” shouted Hunter.
“I can join you, but that’s it,” said Flag.
“We need power! Don’t you have any meta-humans?” said Hunter as he paced nervously.
“Rick, I haven’t been able to locate the woman called Moonbow you wanted,” said Karin. “I could see if the prison would let us try someone.”
“That’s all too risky. Who do they have?”
“I’ll check on it,” said the pretty doctor and administrator.
“I do have an idea. I’ll call in a favor a hero owes me,” said Rick, reaching for the telephone. Dialing a number, he asked, “Is this the Green Lantern Citadel? I got this number through special connections. I’m Rick Flag of the U.S. Government.” He turned to Rip and Karin and whispered, “Sounds like I’m talking to a chipmunk from a Disney cartoon.” He spoke into the telephone once more. “Can you put the real Green Lantern on?” He listened for a moment. “What do you mean you’re all real G.L.s?” A pause. “I mean the human one!” Another pause. “OK, thanks. I am Rick Flag. The first G.L. knows me. Could you have him come to this address in D.C. ASAP? Thanks.” He hung up. “The Green Lantern Corps seems to be overrun with aliens. Couldn’t reach the human, brown-haired G.L. from the JLA,” said Flag.
“No one is ready for potential use,” reported a breathless Karin.
“I guess it’s just you and me,” said Flag.
They hurried out to a lot near the city, where a small, shack-like building rested near a spacious lab. “This is my temporary headquarters. The time machine is in there,” explained Rip Hunter.
Karin Grace, who drove them, said, “I see a green light! Maybe a Green Lantern is joining us, too.” Sure enough, a figure alighted in a modified version of the famous Green Lantern uniform.
“She’s just a kid!” said an irritated Flag.
“Hi, I’m Arisia. I came as quickly as I could. The G.L. you know is busy. How may I help you?” The pretty, orange-skinned, alien teenage girl who, with her pointed ears and short, boy-cut hair, looked like an Elf or a Pixie, did indeed belong to the recently formed, Earth-based Green Lantern Corps. Her GLC costume, which she designed herself, was unique and consisted of a white corset, white gloves, a green miniskirt, green boots, and a tight green shawl with a Green Lantern logo embedded into it.
“I’m Flag. This is Hunter. We’ll explain on the way. Climb in this sphere and prepare for a trip through time itself.” They entered and activated the device.
Arisia smiled. “That sounds like fun.”
“Well, she’s fearless enough,” said Flag. As the machine started to glow, Karin leaped inside. “What do you think you’re–?” started Flag.
“I’m here to help. And you know you’re short-handed,” said the blond, standing defiantly with her hands on her hips. “I was one-fourth of the Suicide Squad, remember? I can handle it.”
“She’s got you there,” said Hunter.
The machine blinked out of sight before Flag could reply.
Arisia smiled in wonder as the universe blinked in and out of view outside Hunter’s Time Sphere. She had seen space many times as the heroine who protected an entire section of the cosmos for the Oans. Still, time travel was cool.
Rip nervously worked the controls as Rick Flag argued with Karin Grace, his adventurous partner. “What did you think you were doing?” he raved.
“You need me. You always did,” she insisted with a charm all her own.
“So are we going to save the Flash?” asked Arisia. She knew Barry Allen had been the best friend of her hero and crush, Hal Jordan.
“No!” roared Hunter. “I mean, that’s too risky. The word in heroic circles, of which I am on the fringe, is that he died saving the universe. If we pluck him away from that, we could all be dead. We go for Supergirl. She died after an energy blast from the Anti-Monitor hit her. We can pluck her away right before impact, if you follow my orders. She can be saved without lessening the impact of what she did,” he said as sweat poured down his brow.
This guy is too intense. Something’s wrong, mused Arisia.
Flag spoke to his old pal, “Rip, old buddy, take it easy. This is getting you too worked up. Calm down.”
“After we do the job. When we blink into this location, you must pluck Supergirl away right before the creature strikes! If you’re too slow, he’ll get us as well,” warned the agitated time master.
As the Time Sphere swirled through the time stream, the whirling purplish colors quickly began to vanish, replaced by the stony surface of the moon of Qward. On its surface, heroic figures and shadowy nightmares swirled around. As they looked around, they spotted a stark figure battling the beautiful Maid of Steel. She had almost won the battle until she looked back at Doctor Light, who shouted at her, “I have to help you!”
Supergirl turned back to her and yelled, “No! Go — go now!”
“You turn in battle, girl?” asked the monster. “That is a fatal mistake!” Then the Anti-Monitor let loose a blast of antimatter energy.
“Now!” screamed Rip Hunter. Arisia generated a shield that enveloped Supergirl, and she pulled her away into the Time Sphere. Hunter gunned the controls as Rick Flag steadied the battered blond heroine. They blinked away seconds ahead of energy that flickered and passed harmlessly through the now-intangible craft.
“We did it! Now will we save Wonder Woman?” asked Karin.
“No! The ship was damaged by the tail of that blast. We’re out of control!” screamed Hunter.
Supergirl blinked wearily and sat up alive and unharmed, except for a few cuts and bruises. “What are you? A witch?” she asked Arisia.
“No — I’m a Green Lantern. I know my costume is a bit different, but don’t you recognize the same insignia?” asked the puzzled but excited girl.
“Oh, of course. I’m just a bit dazed,” said Supergirl as the sphere careened through time.
As Rip Hunter worked to stabilize the Time Sphere, energy erupted from a central core. It hit the three passengers, yet ignored Supergirl. Arisia gasped as chronal energy irradiated her teenage form. She began to age rapidly into womanhood, and her uniform almost began to rip as inches and curves were added to her form.
The reverse appeared to happen to Rick Flag, Rip Hunter, and Karin Grace. They lost years and became young again, as young as they had been at the start of their adult heroic careers. Hunter slammed the sphere’s shielding back in place as Supergirl welded it firm with her heat-vision. “We’re young again!” cooed an excited Karin.
Flag gasped at her. “I can’t believe it. It’s too wild. Are you hurt?” Flag grinned madly. “You’re reinvigorated! It’s a side effect of this engine’s sudden absorption.”
Arisia concentrated, and her costume was repaired by her power ring. “I always wished I was already an adult. I can hardly believe my luck!” Wait’ll Hal sees me, she thought to herself.
Supergirl said, “I am glad you are unharmed. Thank you all for rescuing me.”
Odd — she isn’t curious about the outcome of the Crisis or her cousin? mused Arisia.
They lurched forward and settled down at a strange plaza. “I did it!” beamed Hunter. “I brought this damaged ship to the place we needed to go for replacement parts!”
“Where — uh, when are we?” asked Karin.
“The year 2462 — the Metropolis Space Museum, home to one of my machines, based on the matching chronal energy signature,” crowed a now-cocky Rip Hunter.
“Let’s go inside,” said an excited Karin.
They entered with the aid of Arisia’s ring and glanced with amazement at the exhibits. “There’s my baby,” said Hunter, pointing at the Time Sphere on display. “Now to adjust a few capacitors,” he muttered.
As they finished the work, they started to leave when Karin spotted an odd exhibit. It seemed to call to her, so she impulsively smashed a case and pocketed the oddly shaped device. It glowed faintly. “Star-band,” she read on the case label. Then, entering the sphere, they vanished once more.
“What is that you’re wearing?” asked Flag.
“It’s some type of battle suit. I figured it would make me more of a team player,” said Karin as she fingered the star-band.
“Just don’t blow us up,” said Flag.
Arisia smiled as they argued. She was eager to see Hal in her new, improved state. Supergirl remained silent and oddly cold. Funny. I’d always thought she was a really caring type of person, thought Arisia.
Hunter scanned the controls. “Aside from a brief hallucination in which I thought I saw some man in the sphere, the chronal energy has only helped me. I feel my mind is clear for the first time in days.” At this, Supergirl smiled enigmatically.
The sphere journeyed back to land at Hunter’s shack. “We did it. We’re home once more,” he announced.