Showcase: Doctor Light: 1979: Twenty-Six Light Years from Home, Chapter 2: Wrath of the Believers

by Martin Maenza

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A figure approached the village from the sky and touched down on the ground. The emerald glow that surrounded his body and enabled him to fly faded just as some of the villagers came out to investigate.

The dozen or so natives of the world looked upon the newcomer. He was dressed in a gray leggings with green boots. His tunic was the same green and bore some sort of symbol in a white circle in the center of his chest. His sleeves were a gray that matched his leggings, and long white gloves covered both his hands. The man had a roundish-head with green skin, and he wore a mask that covered his eyes.

“Qrieb da?” one of the natives asked as he spoke up. “Chee va da rellabub?” The others nodded, seeming to echo their speaker’s inquiry.

“Hold on,” the Green Lantern said. “Let’s make this a bit easier.” The Green Man looked at the power ring on one of his fingers, using his unspoken bond with the item to command it to do his will.

The ring flashed a spark of green in reply.

“There,” the Green Lantern said. “That is better. You should be able to understand me now.”

The natives all looked at one another in surprise. Indeed, the words this newcomer spoke were now comprehensible to them. “You speak our tongue?” the native asked.

“Well, not really,” the Green Man said.

“But you do!” another said. “Are you Traxonian?”

“No,” the Green Lantern said. “I come from the planet Uxor. It is on the other end of the Vega system.” This was met with blank stares by the natives. They had no idea what he was talking about. “It doesn’t matter. I am not here to explain the star charts to you.”

“You know our tongue, though.”

“My…” he started to explain, but realized the concept might be too far beyond such a primitive people, “…I have a way so that I can understand you, and you can understand me.”

The natives looked one another and whispered, mulling over the concept. Then they turned back to the Uxoran. One of them asked, “Then why have you come?”

The Green Lantern was about to speak when a blast of energy hit him from behind. The Green Man fell down to the ground, unconscious from the assault.

The dozen or so natives turned about to see Doctor Light standing there with a weapon in hand. The golden charge was subsiding from the barrel. They blinked at the man, staring. “Qrieb da ven? Riet ba X’Hal dia ro?”

Light wasn’t sure what they had just asked him, but he knew he had to remain confident. “Bad man!” he said firmly in a tone one would use speaking to a dog. He pointed to the Green Lantern and said it again. “Bad man! He would have hurt me, your king. Hurt your X’Hal.”

By the time the Green Lantern of the Vegan system came around, he found himself sealed in a sphere of golden energy. “Release me,” he said to the man in white pointing a device at him. His captor was obviously not of this world due to the fact he had a different appearance than the natives and the fact that he wielded technology far beyond the capabilities of the primitive race. “Do you have any idea who I am?” He started to thump his fists on the energy wall, but it did not give.

“Don’t get all uppity on me, Green Lantern,” Doctor Light said.

The Green Lantern’s ring translated the Earth tongue to his own and told him also from whence the language came. It also started to translate his words for the other man to hear. “You are from Earth?” he asked his captor. “You know this uniform?”

“Darn straight, Kermit,” Doctor Light said, now understanding the stellar policeman. “Where I come from, we know all about Green Lanterns as well as their weakness to anything yellow. Good thing I have a mastery over the luminescent spectrum, and thus was easily able to attack you and capture you!”

“Why are you doing this?” the Green Man asked. “Why are you here? What have you done to these peaceful people?” He gestured toward the aliens who were still milling about the area.

“Hey!” Light said, becoming defensive. “I haven’t done anything to these people. When I ended up on this world, they offered me a heaping helping of hospitality. I’ve shared knowledge with them, and they’ve shared what they wanted with me. All fair and square, ring-wielder!”

The Green Man considered. “You know of my power ring. You know of Green Lanterns. Do you know the Green Lantern of Earth?”

Light’s face became somewhat angered. “We’ve met…” he grumbled, “…on a number of occasions.”

“Then you know of the Corps. You know what we stand for. Surely… aaa-aargggh!” The Green Man fell to the floor of his cage, having received a surging shock of energy.

Doctor Light shook his head. “Uh-uh, Mr. G.L.,” he said. “I’ve heard enough out of you.”

One of the natives approached him. “Qrieb da trenu?” He gestured at the captive figure curiously.

“Bad man!” Doctor Light said. “We kill him.”

The native looked at him, still confused.

Light bent down and traced his finger in the dirt, drawing. He drew a figure that represented the captive Green Lantern. “We kill him. Kill him!” He emphasized this last bit by slashing his finger back and forth across the figure many, many times until the drawing in the dirt was hardly there. “Kill! Get me?”

It took a while before the native started to understand what Doctor Light was trying to convey.

The Green Man came around but did not stir. He knew that if he did so, the man in white would merely attack him again. He needed to figure out a way out of this predicament, even if his power ring was little help directly against his prison.

“Ring,” he softly commanded the device on his hand, “access central information on Oa. Cross-reference with the Green Lantern from Earth and any matching description of this individual.”

The ring flashed and then began to process. In a short time, it had the information required and fed it directly to its master. “Ah, then this one is a criminal, after all,” the Green Lantern said. “My fellow Corps member has beaten him many times, though, and I shall, too. I just need to find a way.” And so the Green Man started to ponder a solution to the problem at hand.

***

Sometime later, after the villagers had been gone a long time, the green-skinned Green Lantern rose inside his prison. Doctor Light saw this and smiled. “Well, now,” he said, “so glad you could come around in time for your execution.” The villain glanced over his shoulder as he heard the natives starting to approach. They carried with them spears and torches.

“Why are you doing this?” the Green Lantern asked. “Do you truly think you can get away with this?”

Of course I can!” Doctor Light gloated. “Why wouldn’t I? Who is going to stop me?”

“What about them?” the Green Lantern asked, gesturing to the large group that came upon them.

“They will be your executioners! They will do as I command! I am their king, their X’Hal.”

“X’Hal?” the ring-wielder blinked. “Did you say X’Hal?”

“Yes — king, X’Hal,” Light said. “That is what they call me.” The Green Lantern began to laugh. The Earth man frowned. “What…? Why are you laughing?”

“You are truly dim,” the Green Lantern responded. “Do you not know what X’Hal means?”

“King, ruler,” Light said. “That is what I am to these people. I show them a good light show, and they treat me like royalty. They’ll do anything for me. Build me a temple. Even kill for me!”

“X’Hal,” the Green Lantern began to explain, “was an Okaaran leader who was abducted by the Branx warriors and was forced to mate with a Branx in hopes of creating a new species. This led to the birth of two sons. When the Branx attempted a second mating, the abused X’Hal, despite having a peaceful nature, killed the Branx but was fatally wounded in the struggle.”

“Oh,” Light said with some surprise.

“The Psions brought X’Hal back to life in the form of pure energy and was endowed with mighty powers. X’Hal then destroyed the Psion lab and later, in a rage, attacked and destroyed three Vegan worlds before being subdued by a force of Okaaran warriors. The Okaarans began to worship X’Hal soon after.”

“There!” Light said. “See, pure energy! That’s me.”

“Really?” the Green Lantern said. “Did I forget to mention that X’Hal is a female? She is a goddess. You, most certainly, are not a female or a goddess.”

“Oh!” Light said again. “Well, that doesn’t matter.”

“It doesn’t?”

“Nope,” Light said. “These simple people don’t have their facts straight, and only two of us on this mud-ball even have a clue to the truth.” The villain then smiled. “And in a few moments, it will be just one — me!

“Really?” the Green Lantern said confidently. “And who is going to kill me?”

“Why, they are!” Light said, turning to indicate the natives gathered about them. It was at this point that he got a good look in the flickering torchlight of their faces. The people of this planet looked angry, on the verge of exploding. And they were not looking at the Green Lantern, but at Doctor Light.

“Uh-oh…” Light muttered.

The group charged him. Light let out a loud yell and started to run. The natives continued in pursuit.

One of the natives stopped and began striking at the device that Light had dropped. In a few moments, he had smashed it with his weapon, causing the golden sphere about the Green Lantern to fade.

“Thank you,” the emerald warrior said.

“Thank you,” the native said, “for opening our eyes, or should I say our ears, to the truth.”

“It was easy for my ring to convert all our discussion into your native tongue, just as my ring had done before,” the Green Lantern said.

The native nodded. “Now we shall kill the one who deceived us.”

“No,” the Green Lantern said, his power ring surging as he took to the air. “Allow me to bring him to justice.” The hero flew off after the crowd, who was chasing after the fleeing Light. They were nearly upon him when his emerald construct snatched the man in white into the air.

“Th-thank you,” Light said, nearly out of breath. “You saved me.”

“No,” the Green Lantern said, correcting him. “I saved these people from being subjected to by a greedy, loathsome being.” He began to rise up in the atmosphere, lifting Light with him. In a moment, an emerald sphere imprisoned Light as they moved into unbreathable space. Soon, they were rocketed off into the stars. “I will return you to Oa, where the Guardians will ensure that the Green Lantern of your world comes and takes you away. The sooner you are out of my sector, the better.”

The End

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