Colonel Rick Flag, director of the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency, listened as the feverish Rip Hunter, Time Master, raved on about his idea once again.
“I’m telling you, we can take my time machine back to the Crisis and rescue the dead heroes before they died!” said the famed time-traveler who with Flag had been a member of the Forgotten Heroes. “We can save the Flash, Supergirl — all of them!”
Dr. Karin Grace looked at Rick in surprise. “Could it be possible?”
“Anything is possible with my Time Sphere,” assured Rip. “Will you get this new team of yours to help me?”
“I have no team at the moment, I’m afraid,” said Colonel Flag. “They are all on assignment. Can you wait?”
“No — it must be now!” shouted Rip Hunter. “The chronal storms are still out there in the time stream. This window of opportunity is all too brief!”
“Well, I can join you, but that’s it,” said Flag.
“We need power!” said Hunter as he paced nervously. “Don’t you have any meta-humans you can bring along?”
“Rick, I haven’t been able to locate the woman called Moonbow you wanted,” said Karin. “I could put in a request to Belle Reve to see if the prison would let us try someone new.”
“That’s all too risky,” said Flag, then thought better of it. “Who do they have?”
“I’ll check on it,” said the middle-aged doctor and administrator, who retained her beauty despite her years.
“I might have an idea,” said Rick, reaching for the telephone. “I’ll call in a favor a certain hero owes me.” Dialing a number, he asked, “Is this the Green Lantern Citadel? I got this number through special connections. This is Colonel Rick Flag of Task Force X, a branch 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. “Okay, thanks. My name’s Rick Flag. The first G.L. knows me. Could you have him come to this address in D.C. as soon as possible? Thanks.” He hung up. “The Green Lantern Corps seems to be overrun with aliens,” grumbled Flag. “Couldn’t reach the human, brown-haired G.L. from the JLA.”
“No one at Belle Reve is ready for potential use,” reported a breathless Karin.
“I guess it’s just you and me, then,” said Flag.
The trio soon hurried out to a lot near the city, where a small, shack-like building rested near a spacious laboratory. “This is my temporary headquarters,” explained Rip Hunter. “The Time Sphere is in there.”
Dr. Karin Grace, who had driven them there, said, “I see a glowing green light up there! It followed us here! Maybe Green Lantern is joining us, after all.” Sure enough, a slender, small figure soon alighted in a modified version of the famous Green Lantern uniform.
“But she’s just a kid!” said an irritated Colonel Flag.
“Hi, I’m Arisia,” said the teenage Green Lantern. “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 Rick Flag,” he replied gruffly. “This is Rip Hunter. We’ll explain on the way. If you think you’re up for it, ‘Teen Lantern,’ climb into this sphere and prepare for a trip through time itself.”
The Time Master had already opened the doors of the laboratory, where the latest model of his wondrous Time Sphere waited for them. Like earlier models, it was a sleek metallic craft built in the shape of a sphere that was large enough to comfortably house a handful of people at a time. The sphere’s technology had been upgraded recently, showing computer display screens where there had only been dials and gauges before.
Rip Hunter began to power up the device as Rick Flag entered the time machine.
Arisia smiled and said, “That sounds like fun.” And she followed him into the sphere.
“Well, she’s fearless enough,” Flag remarked to Rip Hunter, who was too preoccupied with operating the Time Sphere to hear him. As the machine started to glow with its peculiar electromagnetic field, Karin Grace suddenly leaped inside before the door could be closed shut. “What do you think you’re–?” started Flag.
“I’m here to help. And you know you’re short-handed,” said the blonde medical doctor, 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, of course, as a Green Lantern Corps member who had protected a Space Sector 2815 as an agent of the Guardians of the Universe. Still, time travel was cool.
Rip Hunter nervously worked the controls as Rick Flag argued with Karin Grace, his adventurous partner. “What did you think you were doing, Karin?” 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, knowing that 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’re going for Supergirl. She died after an energy blast from the Anti-Monitor struck her. We can pluck her away right before the deathblow, if you follow my orders. She can be saved without lessening the impact of what she did.” As he spoke, sweat poured down his brow.
This guy is way too intense, mused Arisia. Something’s definitely wrong with him.
Rick Flag spoke to his old pal. “Rip, old buddy, take it easy. This is getting you too worked up. Calm down.”
“I will, sure, after we do the job,” said the agitated Time Master. “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.”
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!”
Before Supergirl could do much more than gasp in shock, the Anti-Monitor let loose a blast of antimatter energy. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Beyond the Silent Night,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October, 1985).]
“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 blonde heroine. They blinked away seconds ahead of energy that flickered and passed harmlessly through the now-intangible craft.
“We did it!” cried Karin. “Now, will we save Wonder Woman?”
“No!” screamed Hunter. “The ship was damaged by the tail of that blast. We’re out of control!”
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 machine 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 slender form.
The reverse appeared to happen to Rick Flag, Rip Hunter, and Karin Grace. They lost years and became young again, about 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.
Rick Flag gasped at her. “I can’t believe it. It’s too wild. Are you hurt?” He grinned madly as he saw how young she looked, and Rip Hunter as well. “You’re reinvigorated — we all are! It must be a side effect of this engine’s sudden absorption.”
As Arisia concentrated, her costume was repaired by her power ring. “I always wished I was already an adult, so much so that my subconscious mind once caused my power ring to start prematurely aging me, which only made me sick until we figured out what was causing it, and had it reversed. (*) But this time it’s different! I can hardly believe my luck!” Wait’ll Hal sees me now, she thought to herself with a smile.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Turf,” Green Lantern Corps #202 (July, 1986), “Young and Innocent,” Green Lantern Corps #204 (September, 1986), and “In Deep,” Green Lantern Corps #206 (November, 1986), the last of which is only partly in continuity.]
“I am glad you are unharmed,” said Supergirl. “Thank you all for rescuing me.”
How odd! She isn’t curious about the outcome of the Crisis or her cousin? wondered Arisia.
The Time Sphere lurched forward through time, and finally settled down upon 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 looked around in amazement at the exhibits. “There’s my baby,” said Hunter, pointing at the older 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, which glowed faintly. “Star-Band,” she read on the case label. Before leaving, she also picked up a certain article of clothing that caught her eye.
Soon, entering the repaired Time Sphere, they vanished through time once more before the young night watchman on duty that night, accompanied by the flying security robot, could arrive from wherever they were to stop them.
“What is that you’re wearing, Karin?” asked Flag, watching as she donned the futuristic, sleek jumpsuit over her clothes. He couldn’t help but admire her trim, youthful form.
“It’s some type of power suit,” said Karin, pleased at how flattering the slender suit made her look. She idly fingered the Star-Band, still unseen by the others. “I figured it would make me more of a team player.”
“Just… don’t blow us up, okay?” Rick said with a grin, finding himself once again surprised by Karin Grace, despite all the years he’d known her.
Arisia smiled as the two argued. She was eager to see Earth’s original Green Lantern Hal Jordan in her new, improved state.
Near them, Supergirl remained silent and oddly cold. Funny, I’d always thought she was a really caring type of person, thought Arisia.
Rip Hunter scanned the controls. “Aside from a brief hallucination in which I thought I saw some young 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 Time Sphere soon journeyed back to land at the location of Rip Hunter’s shack. “We did it. We’re home once more,” he announced.