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"A Family Legacy" - Short Fic

Posted: 2013-03-03 05:32pm
by Steve
I work long hours on the weekend overnights, so I sometimes have time to write brainworm ideas. This is one of them. I think people may find it fun, though I'm not sure I'll end up writing follow-ups or not. It's rather silly and may even be cheesy, as one reviewer said.

New California, Beyond the Lyran Frontier
12 October 3049

Settled after the transformation of the Terran Alliance into the aristocracy-led Terran Hegemony, New California was a home for those from North America who could not reconcile the republican traditions and government of their ancestors with the creations of James McKenna and Michael Cameron. Left alone by the Lyrans, the age of the Star League, and the Succession Wars, the thirty million people who called the planet home had managed to keep their planet's technological level intact, if advancing at a slower pace than others before the fall of the Star League. 'Mechs were used for civilian purposes, as the aristocratic pretensions of the Inner Sphere's MechWarriors made the war machines disliked amongst the people of the planet. Instead they had focused their military efforts on maintaining their planetary militia and its tanks, fighters, and such.

That is, until the day the Jade Falcons came.

The Californians knew immediately this wasn't the typical pirate raid, which they usually were able to beat off without much loss. The President declared a national emergency, the militia called up reserves, and when presented with the Falcon "batchall" swore to fight for his planet's continued independence and freedom to the bitter end.

So far, Star Colonel Kevin Hazen was not too impressed by the Californians. Their primitive tanks were target practice for his OmniMechs and their aerospace fighters were faring only little better against his own superior forces. it was disappointing; this was barely a skirmish, no victory worthy of being on his codex.

He noticed a burning tank before him had two freebirths scampering out of it. He contemptuously swung his Summoner's PPC arm over and directed a burst of fire at them. He almost turned away but, at the last second, saw the results of his shots. Shining green energy appeared in a shield before them and caused the plasma fire to spray away like a water hose striking a wall. Hazen widened his eyes in surprise.

At the last minute he noticed the green-and-black suited man coming up beside the tankers. From this distance he could already see his foe was gray-haired, an old man who was long past his prime. But the green aura around him shined all the brighter still, and his right hand middle finger was the focus point of the light. "I am the Green Lantern," the man announced, his voice carrying over into the cockpit by the external receivers. "This planet is under my protection."

Hazen barely had a moment to react before the man extended his arm forward, showing the center of the green light coming from a ring on his middle finger. Energy erupted from it, as strong and coherent as a large-size laser. Warnings erupted in Hazen's cockpit at the same time he felt the 'Mech falter, its legs severed at the knees. Before it could fall of its momentum the old man reached his arm back as if to punch the air. But when he made his swing, a solid fist of green energy coalesced into the air in front of Hazen and slammed into his Summoner's chest. The entire 'Mech, save its severed lower legs, fell backward.

Hazen finally brought his 'Mech into a sitting posture, in time to see the old man fly rings around the legs of his Starmate Daniel, who fired at the figure to no avail as a tight green cord gathered around his Hellbringer's legs. The cord suddenly tightened and the Hellbringer toppled, opening it up to a powerful blast of green energy into its vulnerable rear armor.

"By Kerensky, I do not believe what I am seeing," he spoke into the radio. "But an old fossil is single-handedly destroying my Star! Quick, all warriors to my position immediately!"

For all that his power ring made him feel alive and energetic, Karl Jordan couldn't escape the aches in his old body. He tried to minimize how much stress he put his body under, relying on the ring to do the work for him. The strange BattleMechs of the Jade Falcon invaders were gathering on his position.

Karl dodged and weaved to avoid energy weapon attacks and cannon projectiles. He swept low and created construct blades ahead of him that sheered a 'Mech's torso from its legs, sending the machine down. He turned in mid-air and fired a blast of green energy from his ring that pierced the rear armor of one of the weaker 'Mechs, wrecking the engine inside. More fire came his way but he evaded the shots with precision.

A scream filled the air, prompting Karl to look over to a building. A 'Mech was advancing on a child trapped under fallen masonry and her struggling parents. Karl zipped over at full speed and used his ring to project a spring over and around. He grimaced as the 'Mech stepped on the construct and pressed the spring inward, but his will was stronger and the 'Mech's downward step was stopped by the spring. It popped back up and threw the 'Mech over.

Karl turned his attention to the family. He made a lever construct and used it to lift the fallen stone enough that the couple could get their daughter free. They looked up to him and smiled. Suddenly a look of horror came to their faces. "Green Lantern, look out!", the woman cried out.

Karl turned in time to see the biggest 'Mech he'd yet faced, a large war machine with two long-barreled cannons on each arm. All four erupted with azure fury and he barely got his energy shield up in time. He grunted with effort as the energy of the four PPCs tried to bash through, but his field held... barely.

Which opened him up to the 'Mech coming from his side. Machine gun rounds fired from the Catapult-like 'Mech ripped into Karl's hips and belly, sending blood everywhere. He cried out in pain and let his shield drop.

The PPCs would have destroyed him, but a streak of green energy zipped past and pulled him along. Karl was losing consciousness when they landed on a nearby rooftop and he looked up into a pair of blue eyes already welling up with tears. He tried to grin at his rescuer even as his life slipped away. "Good job. You'll be a good Lantern yet."

His thoughts slipped away to just a few hours ago...

Earlier that day

Karl stood at the entrance of his home, on the outskirts of Pasadena, and looked up at the distant flares that represented the strange "Jade Falcon Clan" forces invading his homeworld. A reluctant grin crossed his face due to his thoughts on what lay ahead, but first he had something more important to do.

He looked at the street and saw his granddaughter emerge from a taxi cab. Zandra was just 21 now, a defiant hellion and an active girl who delighted him with her devil-may-care attitude, one that he had admittedly helped foster (much to the chagrin of her now-late parents). She was wearing civilian clothing, but the family hunting rifle was slung on her shoulder. "Grandpa, what is it? I'm going to go join the neighborhood militia..."

"Don't worry about the invasion, Zandra, it'll be taken care of," he said to her. "But first, I need to show you something."

With a bewildered look Zandra followed him into the house. Given she'd lived here for the end of her adolescence and her teenage years, there would reasonably be no surprises for her. But there was, and he displayed it by taking her to the end of the ground floor hallway and pressing his hand on a green hourglass. He rotated it several times and caused Zandra to look on in surprise as the hallway end was revealed as a secret door with a staircase beyond, one leading to the basement, or rather what should have been a basement.

"Grandpa, you never told me about this," Zandra complained.

"Because knowing you, Zandra, you would have tried to sneak in," Karl answered with a laugh, and he could see she was unable to protest the truth of it. "This has been in the family for generations, Zandra. Our family secret."

"Dad never told me about it," Zandra answered.

A sad look came over Karl's face. "Your mother made clear her resistance to your learning of this heritage, and your father honored her wishes."

For Zandra, that sounded completely true. As much as she missed her parents, they had been unbearably resistant to her having any fun, and always overreacted to her getting hurt. "Does this have something to do with why Grandma died when Dad was still a boy?"

To hear that question reopened an old, painful wound, and Karl could only nod stiffly. "Yes, Zandra, it does."

He led her into the depths of the hidden basement. At the far end was a room that had no door to mark its entryway, merely a white sheet. On the sheet was an emblem, a green hourglass.

No, not an hourglass, Zandra reconsidered. A... lantern?

The room inside was spartan. There was a chair and a table, but the only other thing in it was an old oaken chest. Karl reached down and opened it up. Within Zandra could see... rings?

He took out one of the rings. It had no jewels on it, just the lantern emblem she'd seen on the sheet, and all in green. She watched him put it on. "Grandpa, what is..."

The ring began to shine with green light, a light that grew almost blinding as it covered her grandfather. His clothes became covered in light which turned into a green and black suit, the lantern emblem in the center of the chest. "It's a family secret, Zandra. A family legacy. Going all the way back to the first Jordans to settle here. You remember them...?"

"Hal and Carol," Zandra answered, still awestruck by the appearance of her grandfather. A strip of green had appeared over his eyes, turning his pupils white. She looked back into the box and saw six more green rings, a blue ring, and a purple one. She reached toward them. "What does..."

Karl took her hand gently but firmly. "Don't touch the purple ring, Zandra, it's dangerous," he said. "Now, your Grandma and I used these together. We fought off the pirates back in 2995 and 3001. The attack in '08 is when your Grandma got killed. But it took out the last major pirate band in our region, it's why the planet's been so peaceful in your lifetime. I haven't had to wear the ring since then." Karl drew in a sigh. "You're the last Jordan now, Zandra. Your Uncle John ran off to join ComStar when you were a baby. Your parents never had another kid, and all my siblings died childless. You are the only way for Hal and Carol's legacy to live on."

"Legacy? Grandpa, I don't under..."

Zandra was interrupted as Karl pulled out another of the green rings and laid it before her. For a moment it did nothing, but then it began to shine. It levitated into midair - by itself - and moved onto the middle finger of her right hand. A voice spoke directly into her mind. Zandra Jordan of New California, you have the ability to overcome great fear. I am a power ring made by the Guardians of the Universe. Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps.

"Green Lantern..." Zandra stared into the ring that now shined on her finger. She could feel its energy within her, a part of her, a great and vibrant power...

"The ring responds to your mental commands, Zandra. Whatever you imagine, whatever you will into being, it will create. It can be exhausting at first, but you get used to it." Karl smiled at her. "After all, you're a Jordan. The ring was made for our family."

"Are you going to show me how to use it?", Zandra asked. "I mean, we can use it to fight these Jade Falcons, right?"

"I will fight the Falcons," Karl corrected her. "You need more experience with the ring." seeing her begin to pout, he quickly added, "I need someone to go around making sure innocent people aren't getting killed, Zandra. It's a war zone out there. Someone has to protect people who could get hurt or killed. That's what we do, Zandra. That's the purpose of a Green Lantern. We protect people." He reached into the chest and took out a literal green lantern, shining with light. "Now, your first lesson is the one you can never let yourself forget. It's the oath. The oath that Hal passed down to his kids and grandkids and beyond to us....."

Hours later, Zandra was digging a family out of a fallen house. Grandpa had been right; using the ring was, in a way, very exhausting. But not in a way that left her feeling tired. Whenever she stopped using it the drain on her will was gone and just the thrill of using the ring seemed to be as invigorating as it was wearying.

The last family member emerged from the hole she was holding open with a construct pillar. She let go of the image in her head and the construct disappeared, causing debris to collapse until it filled the hole. She waved at the family she'd just helped and flew up to find other people in aid. When she saw flashes of energy fire about three miles in the distance, toward the heart of New Angeles, Zandra gathered her will and flew toward it with the ring.

She arrived in time to see her grandfather holding back four energy blasts with his ring. Another enemy 'Mech maneuvered around him and let loose with machine guns. "GRANDPA, LOOK OUT!" She willed herself to go faster and pull him to safety. She grabbed him just as his shield failed and flew him to a nearby rooftop. Karl looked at her through pain-filled eyes. Zandra brought a hand up and found it covered in blood, his blood, coming profusely from his torn up belly. "Good job," he rasped. There was pride in his eyes. "You'll be a good Lantern yet." He gripped her hand with his.

And then his grip failed and a final breath escaped his lungs.

"Grandpa!" Zandra shook him. "No! Not now! Not when you have so much to show me!" She held him close and began crying, hard. She'd lost her parents... now she'd lost her grandpa. She'd be alone.

At first the distant explosions didn't come to her attention, but when they did she looked down from the roof to see the war machines that had killed Karl Jordan. Her tears of loss became tears of rage and a hateful snarl crossed her face. "You murdering bastards!" Her will sent her into the air, green light trailing behind her, and she made a direct dive toward the closest one, the four-gunned big machine that had drawn her grandfather's attention. Her ring created a construct of a cone over her head, like a bullet, as she drove herself into the 'Mech's chest. Plasma splashed against her protective green aura as Zandra went through the 'Mech's fusion plant before coming out the other end. The plasma briefly seeped out of the crippled war machine before it fell, its source of power silenced.

She turned in mid-air and faced the machine that had actually put the bullets into Karl Jordan. Tears were still streaming from her face when she raised her arm and projected a solid beam of green energy that speared the 'Mech's cockpit, slicing into the pilot inside.

Around the corner more 'Mechs awaited. Zandra flew between them, peppering them with shos from her ring and watching it hit and degrade their armor. She flew in low toward the knees of one humanoid machine and formed the construct of a chainsaw which cut right though the 'Mech. As it toppled she put a bolt of energy into the rear that fried its engine. Turning she projected a massive sword in front of her that scythed along with her movements, talking the "head" off another 'Mech.

A laser struck her from behind. Without the ring it would have killed her instantly; instead the green beam was absorbed by the ring aura, though not without causing her pain and making her fall. The roar of powerful engines made her look up to see a couple of enemy heavy fighters overhead, coming back around for a strafing run. She took off after them, firing her ring at them as she reached their altitude. She got into the rear of one just to have two more green beams lash out of her from rear-facing weapon ports. She slid to the side to avoid the shots. Seeing the other jet coming alongside Zandra pointed her ring toward them.

Each fighter was seized by massive green talons. "What in the Founders' name?!", the Point Commander cried, looking up and seeing a massive bald-eagle of green energy gripping him and his Pointmate. "Stravag!" He had no choice but to eject as the gigantic energy bird brought its talons together, smashing the two fighters against each other.

From this height Zandra could see the entirety of New Angeles and the capitol area of Sacramento. The was still fighting going on and she was going to damned well put an end to it. Seeing that there were other enemy fighters around she headed off for them first, reasoning that if she took out the enemy's aerospace forces, it'd free up the surviving Californian fighters to focus on their land troops.

Word had arrived at Star Colonel Lewis Crichell's HQ on the DropShip Emerald Talon that there was a snag in the invasion. Nearly a Trinary of OmniMechs had been eliminated and, even as he watched in disbelief, blip after blip representing his aerospace Trinaries disappeared.

But what seemed insane was the reports on just how these puny freebirths had turned the tables on his invasion force; that it was all from one figure, not in a 'Mech, flying under his or her own power and using green energy of some sort.

Now he had visual confirmation. The Binaries of 'Mechs he had been obligated to hold back due to his bid against Star Colonel Alex Icaza were being directly attacked... and he could see on the viewscreen a dark-haired young woman zipping around his forces. Swords, energy beams, all sorts of things were appearing from a shining green ring on her hand and blasting through BattleMechs and Elementals with an ease he found insane to behold. "All forces, our landing zone is under attack!" He looked to the DropShip's weapons station. "Track all weapons and fire!"

Zandra finished slicing up a chicken-legged 'Mech with her construct sword when she saw the DropShip's guns begin to move. Several blasts converged on her position, forcing her to project a bubble from her ring to protect herself from all angles. She could feel the weapons try to tear through her bubble and reinforced it from her will, knowing if it failed she would die... and her grandfather's death would have been for nothing.

The weapons fire subsided. She had a few seconds to move and Zandra used it well, taking off toward the DropShip. She created an old steam train with cowcatcher to lead the way, knocking 'Mechs and armored infantry out of the way until she was inside the DropShip's closing hanger bay. More armored infantry brought their weapons to bear. Zandra beat them to the attack in a fit of humor, projecting a giant baseball bat and knocking them all out of the way. She saw a clearly-marked box of munitions and fired a blast into it, creating an explosion that rocked the bay. It provided the biggest distraction, letting her get into the ship's halls. "Now I need to find their command..."

Her ring shined brightly and projected a view of the ship. It seemed to be scanning it, and as it did it turned the ovoid form into a cutaway view of decks with one section shining brighter. "Wow, this is cool," Zandra couldn't help but say.

Star Colonel Crichell was screaming orders as all reports indicated the intruder was smashing her way to the ship's command deck. Blast doors were lowered and every effort made to secure the ship from the intruder.

There was a sudden rending of metal beneath them. Everyone leaped for cover as a hole ripped open in the deck below them. The young woman jumped through, wearing a sleeveless skintight suit of green and black color, a peculiar lantern insignia over the heart. An Elemental standing at the entrance charged at her with its claw arm raised. The woman's ring lit up and she was suddenly in a suit of stereotypical medieval knight armor that the claw struck harmlessly. She twisted around and a green lance appeared in her hand that she drove into the Elemental suit, striking the infantryman within with a serious wound. The armored soldier toppled.

But Crichell was ready. He brought his laser pistol up and pressed it to the back of her head. "Very interesting weapon you have, freebirth, but I have you now. If you surrender I will spare your life, and you may find service in our Clan as a bondswoman."

Zandra felt the weapon against the back of her head and the leader's offer. "Bondswoman" didn't sound particularly appetizing, but she had every man and woman in the room pointing firearms at her now...

She smiled. They didn't stand a chance.

Crichell was startled to find a hand made of energy grip his wrist and twist. He immediately pulled the trigger, out of reaction as much as out of deliberate intent, but instead of a laser drilling into the woman's skull and cooking her brain to death, a second green hand had materialized to grip the barrel and absorbed the laser blast. He dropped the weapon.

The others in the room fired to no effect; a field popped up over Zandra before the lasers could strike. She raised her hand and a host of green metal hands appeared, grabbing their weapons and pulling them out of the command crews' hands. Making that many constructs at once was the most taxing thing she'd done yet and Zandra was starting to feel seriously tired, a bother since the crew had decided to resort to fisticuffs. Zandra gathered her will and remembered her self-defense classes, using the ring to protect her from blows and make her own blows hit harder. She focused and created constructs of beer bottles in each hand; she was a trained fighter but also had her fair share of experience in the far more chaotic environment of a bar room brawl (much to her Grandfather's dismay, since he'd been the one who had to bail her out). Clanner after Clanner fell to blows to the head and face as she spun and dodged around them. Their commander came last, trying to wrap his arms around her shoulders to hold her arms in. Zandra grunted and pushed her will into the ring, creating a momentary set of eagle wings that pushed him off. She looked around and saw that her opponents were all dazed or unconscious and went to the leader. She was in no mood for constructs but she was thinking bloody thoughts; she pointed the ring at his head and willed its power to begin building, a clear warning to the Clanner. "You've killed friends of mine. Neighbors. My grandfather. I should do the same to you!"

There was terror on Lewis Crichell's face at the prospect of his imminent demise and the circumstances of it. "What... what are you?!"

Zandra almost willed her ring to plunge a blade into his head. She almost summoned a hammer to smash his skull in. She almost created a gun to blow his brains out. Only the faintest words held her back.

"That's what we do, Zandra. That's the purpose of a Green Lantern. We protect people."

She looked at him straight in the eye. Green light was starting to fill her pupils. "I'm a Green Lantern. This planet is under my protection." She narrowed her eyes at Crichell. "I'll let you go, but only if you and your kind leave their war machines and promise to never attack New California again."

"I... I am but a Star Colonel, I can't... the planet is vital to expanding our invasion route into the Inner Sphere..." Crichell saw the ring begin to brighten and tried to pull himself away. "Okay! I... I will inform my superiors of your terms. I'll encourage them to honor them even if it means my life, I swear it upon my offspring."

Zandra looked him in the eye for several more seconds. "Do that. And I'd better never see another damn Clan ship enter this system."

"Yes... I understand. Bargained well and done..... Green Lantern."

Hours later, Zandra was hovering above cheering throngs in New Angeles as the Clan DropShips became burning stars in the sky. She looked down at them and tried to smile... but she couldn't. Her heart still grieved for her grandfather.

They wanted to honor them both, of course. But she knew he didn't want that. This wasn't glory for him, it was a duty. A family duty and one she had inherited.

From that height she could see the wrecked buildings. She thought of the innocent people who'd died despite the efforts she and Grandpa had made. And Star Colonel Crichell's words.... that they were invading the Inner Sphere. The distant, large Inner Sphere, with trillions of people living there...

She could imagine all the worlds that were about to suffer this. People who were going to lose their homes, their lives.... their freedom. He said he'd make me a 'bondswoman'. That sounds close to 'slave.' And they'll do it on every world they invade. And with those war machines.... who can stop them?

Her eyes lit up with green, because she knew the answer: I can stop them.

The following days were busy for Zandra. Grandpa Karl had to be buried with her parents and all of the other Jordans in the family crypt and other arrangements made. The house had to be signed over to her officially. She had to make financial arrangements.

When that whirlwind was done, Zandra visited the Jordan crypt again, wearing a modest black suit that she would normally have never touched. Inside it she felt... strange. Empowered. She could see the holo-prints of every Jordan in their prime of life, all the way back to Hal and Carol and their sons Kyle, John, and Guy. Hal Jordan looked so much like her grandfather, and in Carol's face she could see a bit of herself as well. Both were wearing rings that, upon closer inspection, she saw were Green Lantern rings. So did many of the images of the rest of the family all the way to Karl and her late Grandma Andrea; they were, for obvious reasons, missing from her parents.

This was the Jordan legacy, then. To bear the power ring of the Green Lanterns. To wield the Green Light of Will, and to use it to protect those who could not protect themselves.

People like those in the Inner Sphere, facing invasion by the Clans.

"I'll do right by you all. Hal, Kyle, Jim.... Grandpa. I'll fight this fight for all of us."

Zandra turned and left. She returned home and went to the secret basement, where she found the power battery just where her Grandpa had left it. She picked it up and looked at it intently before carrying it out. She made her way out of the house and used her ring to fly up to the roof, the same roof that Grandpa Karl had once brought her up to by ladder so they could stargaze when she was little. She smiled sadly at those memories and even let out a giggle at remembering her mother's shrill reproaches for putting her in "danger".

"I miss you all," she sighed with tears in her eyes, thinking of Grandpa and Mom and Dad....

After blinking to get the tears out of her eyes, her expression changed. She looked at the stars with purpose, with determination. There were hundreds of worlds out there. Billions, trillions, of people. All facing an alien threat they couldn't imagine. It had to be stopped.

She had to stop it.

Zandra knew it wouldn't be easy. She had to train to use the ring better if she was going to win. And there were six more rings. Six more potential allies, if she could find those the rings would accept. This would all take time. And there wasn't a lot of time left.

A small smile crossed Zandra's face. She was alone, and spoke softly to herself just to hear the words her mind wanted to be said. "I've got worlds to save. Time to get started."

With a thought the ring on her hand shined brightly. Green energy wrapped around her and formed the sleeveless suit that her mind desired. Her grandfather had worn that eye mask... yes, it formed over her eyes as well.

She brought the battery up with her left arm and closed her eyes, drawing in a breath. The voice of Grandpa Karl returned.

"Now, your first lesson is the one you can never let yourself forget. It's the oath. The oath that Hal passed down to his kids and grandkids and beyond to us....."

Her eyes opened. Zandra looked intently at the battery and, with a bit of a grin, let Grandpa Karl's words lead her to speak the oath once more.

In Brightest Day
In Blackest Night
No Evil Shall Escape My Sight
Let Those Who Worship Evil's Might
Beware My Power
Green Lantern's Light!

Re: "A Family Legacy" - Short Fic

Posted: 2013-03-04 09:56pm
by JME2
Very nice, Steve.

Re: "A Family Legacy" - Short Fic

Posted: 2013-03-04 11:15pm
by Steve
It's essentially a fun little idea I had. At one point I was tempted to expand it past Lanterns by having Bart West and <insert first name here> Wayne show up to help Zandra repel the Falcons....

What's really funny is, of course, the fact that one of Clan Jade Falcon's WarShips is called Green Lantern (a SLDF Congress-class frigate).

I probably won't write any more unless my muse strikes me. It's just a fun little idea I wrote to pass time since my more serious work was not staying in focus in my head.

Re: "A Family Legacy" - Short Fic

Posted: 2013-03-05 12:54pm
by LadyTevar
I enjoyed it :)

Re: "A Family Legacy" - Short Fic

Posted: 2013-03-05 02:23pm
by Steve
Glad you did, Tev. I may yet write more, since the mystery of who's going to get the other rings remains to be seen, as well as the whole issue of Carol's Star Sapphire ring still existing.

Re: "A Family Legacy" - Short Fic

Posted: 2013-03-05 02:42pm
by Kuja
Hehehe. Abuse to Jade Falcons is funny.

No but seriously, I liked it. It's a neat little piece.