Green Lantern: No Strings, Chapter 1: Loss of Control

by Libbylawrence

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Shortly after returning from the adventure he had shared with Aquaman and Starman, Hal Jordan was summoned into the Ferris Aircraft office of the gruff co-owner Carl Ferris. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See Super-Team Family: Starman, Green Lantern and Aquaman: The Stars Below.]

Tom Kalmaku was outside, and he waved his friend over with a look of concern on his face. “Hal, Mr. Ferris is having a fit,” said Tom. “He says you are to get inside his office immediately. He’s furious about the way you missed this morning’s test flight.”

Hal shrugged. “I had to help some friends. Rick Flag himself called me. It’s not like I can ignore people in need to keep the old goat cool. I’ve tried to make allowances for him, since I know he’s worried sick about his missing daughter. I’ve felt bad that I’ve been unable to explain that Carol isn’t dead. She’s been living under her Star Sapphire identity in space since the Crisis. How can I make Carl understand such a truth?”

“That reminds me,” said Tom. “Two weird guys were asking about her a while back.”

“Well, two of my fellow G.L.s battled her recently,” said Hal. “She departed, but I’ve been unable to track her. (*) If Carol is on Earth, then she is shielding her sapphire energy from my power ring.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See Tales of the Green Lantern Corps: The Green Lantern Corpse.]

“Carol’s really been back?” gasped Tom. “Is there any way you can free her from that alien gem?”

Hal frowned. “I don’t know. She has never been so completely into her role of alien queen of the Zamarons before! If I could find her and restore her to the sweet, if bossy woman I love, I would!”

Tom nodded. He noticed his friend said he still loved Carol, and he wondered if the star-crossed pair could ever find happiness.

Hal entered the office, only to face Carl Ferris and a cocky man in a flight jacket and dark glasses.

“Jordan!” roared Carl. “It’s about time you actually showed up for work. If Smith didn’t want you on staff for some reason, I’d kick your sorry tail off my property. You missed the test flight this morning.”

“Carl, I have a young relation who recently returned from a trip to Europe,” explained Hal. “I had to visit him. It was all very sudden and unexpected. The kid had been gone for so long.”

Hal remembered how pleased he had been to have heard from his missing namesake Hal Jordan, alias the second Air Wave, a few weeks ago. The plucky young man had been imprisoned in Europe by his old enemy Sonar in Europe, and he was recently freed by Arisia, Hal’s fellow Green Lantern, and her allies in Titans West. (*) Hal had never quite given up hope that the resourceful Air Wave had survived his dangerous last mission during the Alien Alliance invasion in which he had originally vanished. (*) Hal had flown out east to the home of Helen Jordan in Dallas, Texas, after receiving the surprising call from Helen’s son. The two had tried to think of a story that would explain the younger Hal’s long-enforced absence. Soon enough, they quickly thought of the perfect story to explain away the teenager’s abrupt disappearance. He recalled their conversation as he listened to Carl’s angry tirade.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Titans West: Sound Decisions and Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Strange Visitors, Chapter 3: Battleground Australia.]

***

“I’d suggest we say that you’ve been in Europe,” the elder Jordan male said. “It’s roughly the truth, and some kids do often spend a year abroad to broaden their education. My Uncle Jeremiah offered to finance such a trip for me when I was your age, but I didn’t go.”

The younger Hal nodded. “Well, like you said, I was in Europe. My host Sonar wasn’t exactly looking out for my best interests.”

“I’d like to get my fists on him for a while,” said the older Hal. “He and I go way back.”

Young Hal shrugged. “He has immunity, but my new buddies in the Titans will keep tabs on him, too.”

“They sound like a good bunch of kids,” said the elder Hal. “I know Arisia could use some young friends.”

***

Hal hoped the story about being with the returning Jordan youth would explain his own absence that morning. It was stretching the truth, but for a good cause.

“Family has its place — after business,” said Carl Ferris. “Until you learn that, we’ll be using a new head pilot. This is Gary Trainer. He’ll be doing your old job. You answer to him from now.”

Trainer smirked in a cocky manner. “No hard feelings, pard. You just follow my lead, and I reckon we’ll get along right fine!”

“Now, wait a minute!” said Hal. “I’ve worked here on and off for years! You can’t just plunk in some rookie to replace me!”

Ferris grew red in the face and screamed, “Off and on! Those are the key words! You can’t be counted on! You let us down! You let Carol down!” Suddenly, he slumped forward and gasped in pain.

“He’s had a stroke or heart attack! Get some help fast!” Hal yelled to the cowboy-turned-pilot.

As Trainer rushed out to get the company doctor, Hal worked over the fallen Ferris. I’ve used my ring to invisibly scan his condition, Hal thought to himself, and it mentally tells me that he’s had a mini-stroke. He’ll recover rather rapidly if we get him to a hospital. In seconds, as Green Lantern, Hal transported the ailing Ferris to a hospital.

***

Hours later, a doctor confirmed Green Lantern’s power ring scan. “Mr. Ferris has had a mild mini-stroke,” the female physician said. “Green Lantern, you got him here in time. He’ll recover. He’s tired, but he has regained speech already. That’s normal for strokes of this degree.”

Smiling, the hero replied, “I’m glad I could help. I happened to be passing by Ferris Air when a buddy of mine waved me down!”

Green Lantern started to leave when some impulse caused him to return and silently enter the old man’s room.

When Carl Ferris saw the hero, he spoke in halting, whispered tones. “Help me. Please! Some voice in my head… been controlling me for so long. Man in gold costume. Smith knows it all!”

Green Lantern frowned and used his ring to gently scan the man’s mind. “Great Guardians!” he said. “That’s the same residue I found when I scanned Karb-Brak after he was forced to attack me. The same energy was used to control their minds. (*) Mind-control and a gold costume means Jordan Weir, the Puppeteer, is behind all this!” Speaking to the old man, he said, “Rest easy, sir. I’ll make things right!”

[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice League of America: To Conquer the Stars.]

Flying to his apartment, Green Lantern charged his power ring for the upcoming battle. “That stroke broke Puppeteer’s hold on Carl,” he said grimly. “He’s been driving him to act so hostile to me. Smith is behind it, too. I’ll have a showdown with him now!”

Thus it was a grim Green Lantern who left word with John Stewart of his news and his plans before flying off to fight the battle for Ferris Aircraft and personal vindication.

“Never did trust Smith. I’ll get answers from the oily creep or die trying!” he said.

Green Lantern recalled all that he knew about the oily Mr. Smith. The man represented a company called InterContinental PeTroleum, which was better known as Con-Trol and had been formed by Carl’s daughter, Carol Ferris. To be precise, Smith had worked for one part of Carol’s split psyche. Carol had been torn between a desire for corporate power and a more docile role as Hal’s love interest. This conflict would have been merely a troubling dilemma for most people, but Carol had been given an alien gem called the star sapphire. This powerful relic enabled her to do far more than just worry over her conflict. The gem of the Zamaron warrior women severed Carol’s already fractured psyche into her normal self, as well as into an aggressive male persona called the Predator. Smith had worked with the Predator to use the resources of Con-Trol to gain controlling interest in Ferris Aircraft.

Green Lantern frowned. “The Predator aspect of Carol’s psyche merged back with her Star Sapphire persona. (*) Mr. Smith was left on his own, but he used his controlling interest in the company to force Carl into giving him the run of the place. (*) I see now that he also had my old foe Jordan Weir, the Puppeteer, keep Carl in check via his mind-control devices. I didn’t have any real evidence to bring against Smith before, but I’m sure I can make Weir implicate Smith after a bit of old-fashioned persuasion!”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Macho,” Green Lantern v2 #191 (August, 1985), “First Star I See Tonight,” Green Lantern v2 #192 (September, 1985), and Green Lantern: The Play’s the Thing, Prologue: Con-Trolling Ferris.]

Swooping down, Green Lantern greeted Tom Kalmaku. “I’m going to take down our pal Smith. It seems he was using the Puppeteer to control Carl. A stroke ended that control long enough for the poor old guy to warn me.”

Tom’s eyes widened in surprise. “The Puppeteer! Long ago, as the Puppet Master, he was one of your first foes! (*) Count me in!”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Menace of the Giant Puppet,” Green Lantern v2 #1 (July-August, 1960).]

Green Lantern frowned. “I know better than to argue with you. You are too loyal for your own good. If you insist on coming, then let me take a small precautionary measure first.”

Tom nodded as emerald energy washed over him.

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