by Brian K. Asbury
“So what happened to you in the end?” asked Valura Tur-Thol.
“Well,” said Tan-Jay, “they got me back to the hospital in Kandor, where the surgeons patched up my busted ribs and lung, but I woke up to find some very angry faces staring down at me. After a lot of questions and a fair bit of shouting, I got a severe reprimand and was expelled from the Superman Emergency Squad. There were some who wanted me sent to the Phantom Zone, but Superman spoke up for me. He pointed out that I had acted with good intent, and I had kept Myrwhydden from doing any further damage to the city. It wasn’t as if I’d freed him deliberately, after all.”
“But you did steal part of Green Lantern’s ring.”
“True. And he was a bit annoyed about that, even though I explained why. Both he and Superman thought I acted foolishly — I should have explained my theory to them, not gone ahead and tried to be a hero.”
“And what?” said Tan-Jay.
Nenia Tan-Jay grinned. “I think she wants to know why they didn’t go for your grand plan, darling. Tell her why Green Lantern didn’t use his ring to enlarge Kandor.”
An embarrassed look came upon Tan-Jay’s face. “For the same reason that my ring had suddenly run out of power. A G.L. ring has to be charged every twenty-four hours. Mine simply went dead after its charge ran out.”
“So what…? Ooohh, I see!” said Valura.
“Green Lantern explained that if he changes something directly with his ring, it tends to revert back to its normal state if the ring’s charge runs down. He could have enlarged the city, and even gotten around the problem of being able to affect yellow objects within it, and it would have stayed enlarged so long as the ring had a charge. But the first time G.L. failed to recharge it within twenty-four hours…”
“Kandor would have been Smallville again,” said Nenia. “Pun intended.”
“Thank you, darling,” Tan-Jay said sardonically. “In fact, Superman had asked G.L. about that very possibility the first time they ever met.”
“And got the same answer.”
“More or less.”
Valura sipped her wine thoughtfully. “What an adventure. You know, I remember hearing some parts of it before. I was just a child then, of course, as I said before, and my family and I lived across the other side of the city from the Eastern Park, but I remember the rumors, of the dragon in particular.
“A couple of questions remain, though. How did Superman and Green Lantern manage to turn up in the nick of time? And what happened to Myrwhydden?”
“Simple enough,” said Tan-Jay. “When G.L. charged his ring that morning, it alerted him to the fact that part of it was missing, and the fact that the person who had taken it was a tiny little man who had Kryptonian-style powers. That prompted him to contact Superman, who deduced that a Kandorian must be responsible. He peeked ahead into the Fortress with his super-vision, witnessed what was going on, and they decided to pull a little trick on Myrwhydden to confuse him so that G.L. could pull him back into the ring, where his predecessor Abin Sur had originally imprisoned him. He’s still there today, for all I know.”
“So…” said Valura shortly. “So, you really were Kandor’s first Green Lantern! Do you miss it?”
Tan-Jay reached over to touch Nenia’s hand. “Not really. I’m much more suited, I think, to being a husband and a father than to playing hero. I’ve got to admit, though, that wielding a power ring, however briefly, was an amazing experience. If you were to offer me that ring on your finger, I’d be mightily tempted to accept.”
“Hey!” said Nenia. “You’ve already got a ring, hero. You want to accept a ring from another woman, she’s got to fight me first.”
Valura laughed. She held up her hands. “That’s one battle I wouldn’t relish, friends. But if I ever need somebody to stand in for me, Tan, I’ll bear you in mind. Who knows? Someday the Green Lantern of Kandor may need to take up the ring again!”