He walked into the bar, wiping the rain off of his long green coat. Water dripped from the brim of his green hat.
“Is Nebula Jav Gozar here?” said the Flarain in green.
“Who wants to know?” asked a short Golbinda.
“The law wants to know,” said the Flarain, revealing the Green Lantern symbol on the collar of his coat.
The men in the bar opened up with every single weapon they possessed. After a few moments, the assemblage ceased firing.
“That will teach you,” said the Golbinda, spitting a gob of mucous on the feccrete floor.
“Disintegrated him,” decided a Coluan.
“Let me ask once more — with vigor,” said the Flarain in green from behind the bar, startling the gunmen.
The bar exploded in a blast of green power resembling a large, roaring reptile. The humanoids were scattered like leaves in a high wind. Then the front of the building blew out.
“Where is Gozar?” the Lantern said, more mildly.
“We don’t know,” said the Golbinda. “He raised plasma this morning and took off.”
“You wouldn’t try to lie to me, would you?” said the Green Lantern, adjusting the brim of his hat.
“I swear,” said the Golbinda, raising his empty hands.
“If you see him, tell him I’m looking for him,” said the Green Lantern.
A moment later, he vanished in a flash of light.
“I never want to have to go through that again,” said the short humanoid.
Nebula Jav Gozar was doing what he did best — raiding a merchant ship just out of its home system. The best thing about it was that there wasn’t a Green Lantern or a Manhunter ship within spitting distance.
Gozar went about his work methodically. First, a massive spray of cannon into the bridge area, then magnetic clamps were used on the ruptured hull to hold it in place. The pirates went aboard, spacing the surviving crew as fast as possible. One cargo transfer later, the ruined ship was left to drift in space.
The whole raid lasted ten minutes in all.
Noleon Fae frowned behind the green mask he wore. The ring he wore on his right middle finger told him a distress call was active in the nearby system.
The Flarain veered slightly, carried on the soaring back of a power-ring-constructed reptile from his home planet. He held no hope he would be in time to help the crew of the distressed ship. Gozar moved fast when he was after cargo, but maybe a clue had been left behind.
Fae crossed into the system, his ring attuned to any nearby life. A frown crossed his thin face as he spotted the gutted ship. A weak pulse told him that someone had survived the attack — the first and only one, so far as Fae knew.
A moment later, Fae passed through the hull of the ship in a wave of emerald energy. He stood in a hall, his coat flaring around him, tail twitching as he walked toward the source of the signal.
A humanoid had grabbed a suit and hidden among the exploded remnants of the engine room caught by a stray salvo.
Fae cautiously approached the lone survivor. “What happened here?” he asked, knowing most of the answer just by a casual once-over.
“We were attacked as we left the system,” said the survivor, relaxing against the remaining wall. “The pirates breached the hull, and then they came aboard. The crew were pacifists. They were wiped out to the man. I hid in a storage bay, and then came and activated the emergency beacon for help.”
“Let’s see about returning you to your port,” said Fae, before vanishing through the hull.
The Green Lantern took up a station at the bow of the cargo hauler, then willed a large winged creature into existence. The creature wrapped nine of its ten tentacles around the craft. The last tentacle slowly wrapped around its creator. With a beat of its powerful wings, the creature began towing its burden back into the system from which it had arrived. Fae left a marker that resembled a large square stone so that he could find his way back to the spot.
Noleon Fae deposited his burden in a spaceport on the nearest planet, Wiatearp. He helped the lone survivor file out a report for the local authority before taking to space again.
Something nagged at him as he returned to the marker he had left. He had missed a vital clue somewhere. He decided to leave it alone as he scanned the nearby area with his ring
Fae’s ring gave him a faint trail to follow that partially stood out from the rest of the old departure trails left by traffic.
He grew wings as he headed after the marauders. That thing still bothered him, but he knew he would figure out why when he just put it aside and worked on other matters.
Nebula Jav Gozar wore a smile from one small button ear to another. He had found another ship within striking distance of his base, and he decided it would be worth taking it if he could.
He lined up his approach carefully. At his command, the overpowered cannons charged up with an audible whine. Gozar’s ship, the Wagon, roared down on the merchant marine. The cannons fired multiple salvos into the hull before the victim could raise its defensive screens. Gozar’s crew then secured a boarding chute and went over to finish the job.
Noleon Fae frowned as he flew after his quarry. There were several planets here and a small yellow nebula. Gozar wouldn’t hide in the nebula unless he had found a way to navigate that soup. So, he wondered, which planet would he land on?
A distress call caused Fae’s power ring to flash on his hand. He veered toward the vessel. A merchant had been holed and set adrift by the pirates. Bodies floated in space, destroyed by the effects of the vacuum. Fae paused in his flight to look for survivors.
Fae set a Corinthian necro-hound to looking for survivors from the ruined ship. It soon found someone hiding in a closet. The Green Lantern pulled the sliding door open with a lobster claw. The humanoid inside shrieked in fear.
It took a few moments for Fae to calm the survivor down and get a coherent story from him. It was virtually the same as the last attack.
By the time Noleon Fae towed the shattered ship to a spaceport, curiosity got the better of him. He decided a check of the records was in order. Just how many survivors did a deadly pirate leave in his wake?
Fae sent a squad of glowing green moths to get the answers he needed from the databases kept by the civilized worlds. Someone had to have recorded something useful somewhere. He waited patiently for his inquiries to be answered
Soon enough, Fae’s moths returned with dozens of notes. Fae scanned the information on a square screen. Gozar always left one being alive in each of his attacks. The survivor claimed the salvage when they were rescued by other ships or law enforcement of some kind.
Fae smiled slightly as he checked on the whereabouts of the last victim. He was still in the port, waiting for his papers to be processed. Got over his fear quick, thought Fae.
The Flarain became invisible as he took to the air and flew over to the hall of records. He watched as the survivor filed his claim and was handed a check for the wreckage the Green Lantern had towed to port.
Fae waited quietly for his prey to continue as if his plan had gone as expected. After all, there was no proof the man was in league with the pirates, only a curious coincidence.
The Green Lantern followed his quarry all over the planet in a tour of every brothel and bar his man could find. A quick use of the power ring temporarily blocked the pleasure gained in such pursuits. Fae wanted a quick answer to his question, not a prolonged leave of reality.
The humanoid gave up in disgust and sent a signal by a planetary radio network. A smile lit Fae’s lean face as he waited calmly for developments.
A shuttle dropped from orbit to the spaceport. The survivor boarded, and the craft took off. Fae followed invisibly.
Noleon Fae’s ring had warned him that the shuttle was armed out of proportion to its purpose. He followed swiftly as the shuttle docked with a larger ship that proceeded to the yellow nebula.
The ship and the Green Lantern alike plunged into the gaseous muck as Fae followed the ship closely. He knew the nebula would scramble even dedicated sensor arrays set to picking out others in the cloud.
The ship suddenly entered a volume of clear space in the middle of the cloud. Fae paused within the cloud, as his ring would not penetrate the cloud to spot defenses even as it rendered him undetectable.
Deciding to render himself as invisible to as many different detectors as he could, Fae plunged out of the cloud.
His plan appeared to work, as he closed on a satellite floating by itself in the cleared area of space. It appeared voluminous enough to hold several pirate ships at a time.
Fae frowned as he soared closer. The satellite gleamed a bright yellow under the flickering light from the gas cloud. Fae floated forward, encased in a green fish with a transparent skull. The Flarain directed his strange protection to a service airlock on the surface of the base.
Shrinking himself, he passed through the airlock. A simple command to his ring located the main control center of the beast. He located a stairwell and headed down.
The weed of piracy bears bitter fruit, he thought as he headed for the control center.
Noleon Fae passed into the control center invisibly, floating near the ceiling as he quietly watched the proceedings. A slight smile passed over his face.