by Martin Maenza and Immortalwildcat
About a week later, at Ferris Aircraft just outside of Los Angeles, California, Carl Ferris heard a gentle knock on his half-closed office door. The elderly owner of the company glanced up from the report he was reviewing. “Yes! What is it? Who’s there?” he said rather gruffly.
The door opened wide, and the man saw a familiar dark-haired beauty dressed in a navy skirt and white blouse. “Carol?” Carl asked. “Carol! It is you!” He lifted himself from his chair, steadying himself with the edge of the desk, grabbed his cane, and hobbled over to her. “Honey, you’re back!”
Carol met her father and gave him a hug. “Yes, I am,” she said. “Thanks to the help of Hal and others.”
“Jordan?” Carl grumbled. “Humph.” The man had given the pilot such grief when Carol first turned up missing; still, he wasn’t that surprised to hear that Hal had been involved with her return. Despite Carl’s feelings, the two kids’ lives seemed to constantly come back together. “I’m just so happy you’re here!”
“Me, too,” Carol said, helping her father back to his seat. “How are you? I heard you had a stroke at the end of last year.”
“Yeah, yeah,” the man said, carefully lowering himself back into the chair. “But you know your old man. Nothing can keep me down! We Ferris are made of hearty stock!”
Carol smiled. “Yes, we are.”
“Besides, with you gone, someone had to keep this business up and running! Can’t just trust it to any Joe off the street, you know?”
“I know, Daddy,” she said. “And I’m ready to help out again. That is, if you still want me to.”
“Want you to?” Carl replied. “Want you to? Hell, yes, little girl!”
Carol was pleased to see the fire back in her father’s eyes. She could see he was tired, though, and needed to take some rest. “Good,” she said. “And I’ve got a feeling we’re going to be rather busy rather soon.”
“Oh?” Carl asked. “How so?”
“I think there’s some trouble brewing,” Carol admitted. “And if Ferris can help in any way, I want to make sure we’re ready to do so.”
In Coast City, a car pulled away from the offices of Ferris Aircraft. At the wheel, Hal Jordan was thinking over, for quite possibly the millionth time, the events of the past two weeks.
The day after the battle of Misty Hollow, he had joined the residents of Fox Hollow and the surrounding area at a memorial service for Red Crawford, in honor of the sacrifice he had made to save them all. Many of the townsfolk had spoken tearfully of the man whom Hal had known for only a few short days. But it was Carol Ferris, the woman who had arrived as an amnesiac stranger in the town less than a year before, who delivered the final eulogy.
“From the time we met, Red impressed me as a man who was never happy unless he was helping someone else. It was the selflessness that brought me to Fox Hollow, and that selflessness that would keep me here, even after I found out who I really was. He was very different from the men I’ve known in my life…” And here she paused, looking directly at Hal. “…and yet very much like them. It was Red who, when we discovered the threat that we faced here and found that we could not count on help from outside agencies, suggested that we could fight this battle ourselves. He had a great belief in the power of ordinary people, even in extraordinary circumstances.”
This had been preying on Hal’s mind ever since. By the time he and Carol bid farewell to Kari Limbo, who had decided to remain in Fox Hollow for a time, an idea was forming in his mind. Now, a day later, he’d had time to refine the idea, and even discuss it with Carol. Her reaction had been more positive than he had anticipated.
“If you’re right about the Khunds being just the start of a larger problem, you and the other Green Lanterns have to get involved. Besides, you might also be able to travel to Oa and discover what’s happened to the main power battery.”
“Are you sure you’re all right with me going, Carol? You’re the one who always said I was putting the Green Lantern Corps before my own life too much.”
“Who said I was right on that point?” asked Carol, a look of sadness in her eyes. “If it isn’t you, it’s going to be someone else. Better someone who knows what they’re doing.”
“Carol, are you sure? At a time like this–”
“At a time like this, I need to make sure my father is putting our people and equipment to work fighting a possible alien invasion, and not rushing them off to fight some politician’s petty war in Central America.” She gripped his arm. “And you need to get the other Green Lanterns together, and see if your idea of forming a fighting force using other alien technology is going to fly with them.” She had bent down through the car window and kissed him. “Then, when it’s all over, you need to come back here, and we need to figure out if our futures are together or not.”
“I will come back, Carol!” vowed Hal as he started the car.
“I know you will, Hal,” she replied as he started away. “I know you will.”
Now, Hal was off to the Green Lantern Citadel in order to regroup the Earthbound Green Lanterns into something new.