by Starsky Hutch and JSAGL
Alan Scott stood in the bathroom in his pyjama pants, staring in the mirror while lost in his thoughts. His wife of only a few weeks snored peacefully in the other room, but try as he might, he just couldn’t sleep, not since he had heard Dr. Charles McNider’s say that at least ten years had been shaved off of Ted Grant during his healing, and he seemed to be growing more vital every day.
“If this little bit of emerald energy did this when it reacted to whatever energy was apparently within Ted, then what will happen if all the emerald energy that we know has built up in your system over the years should ever react with Ian Karkull’s chronal energy?”
Obviously, a great deal had built up. One only had to look at his children to see that. Jennie-Lynn was green, for goodness’ sake.
How could he live like this? It was as if he had a bomb sitting inside him waiting to go off. The answer was that he couldn’t. He’d never been a man to sit idly back and let things happen to him.
He looked down at the ring on his hand and realized what he had to do. He would seek out the emerald energy inside him and either purge it from his system or force a confrontation with the Karkull energy. Either way, the waiting would be over.
The emerald energy issued forth from his energy and then internalized inside him, seeking out other energy like itself. Alan Scott began to glow. Suddenly, the radiance began growing, making the dust particles around him sparkle. His hair seemed to float as if gravity had disappeared in the small space surrounding him.
Then a horrible shock passed through his system as he felt energies collide. “Aaagh!” he cried out as emerald energy glowed forth from his eyes, mouth, ears, and nostrils.
He brought his hands up to his face and felt a smoothness that wasn’t there before. He had expected that after seeing what happened to Ted. Sure, he might be younger, but would he still be human?
“Aaagh!” he screamed again as a spasm moved through his muscles, forcing him to his knees.
“Alan!” he heard a voice cry out from the doorway of the bathroom.
“Molly, no!” he yelled, seeing his new bride run toward him. “Don’t! It’s too dangerous!” he said helplessly as she threw her arms around him in concern for his safety.
If anyone had been awake at that hour, they would have seen a green light flash from every window, as if a small green sun had suddenly gone nova inside the Scott estate.
Alan and Molly Scott laid head to toe, naked, upon their bathroom floor. Molly Maynne Scott awoke with a start, the blinding image of the emerald flash replaying itself in her mind. “Alan!” she screamed, leaping up.
Alan Scott awoke with a start. “Molly?”
They both stared at each other, startled by the appearance of their mate. Both of them looked exactly as they had the day they first met one another — younger, even, but with one noticeable exception. Neither one of them had a single hair upon their head. Their skin also had the soft, pink look of that of a newborn infant.
Alan looked down at the arm he wasn’t leaning upon and said sheepishly, “I’m not looking forward to going out in the sun.”
“What’s happened to us?” Molly said.
“Perhaps the energy has rebuilt us,” Alan said wonderingly. “At least that’s what appears to have happened. It’s as if we’ve been born again, only at our peak physicality. When you grabbed ahold of me, you must have been caught up in the process.”
“Will our hair ever come back?” Molly said, laughing nervously as she brought her hand up to her head.”
“I’m sure it will,” Alan said. “Babies eventually grow hair, after all.”
As they stood to their feet, Molly asked, “How can we go out like this? People won’t recognize us!”
When they turned to the mirror, they suddenly saw their old reflections staring back at them from the mirror.
“There’s your answer,” Alan said.
“Wha–!” Molly let out a shocked gasp.
“You’re doing that, Molly,” Alan said. “See if you can stop it.”
She concentrated, and the reflection changed to their new, younger selves. “How did you know it was me?”
“When the energy is in a system, it molds itself to the host. Since you already knew yourself in the Harlequin identity, you now possess those abilities internally. It also explains poor Todd. His powers are a reflection of everything he’s had to endure. Jennie-Lynn, on the other hand, has been much more fortunate.”
“This is great for when we’re together,” Molly said, holding him as the reflection returned to their older selves. “But what are you going to do when we’re apart?”
It had been a long, hard road, but Alan Scott had finally returned to his career as a media mogul. Having gone bankrupt back in 1976, Alan had been forced to close down Gotham Broadcasting Company and had instead worked as an engineer at Keystone Labs under his old pal Jay Garrick for the past decade. (*) But he had never given up the dream of re-entering broadcasting, and only a short while ago he had managed to raise the capital needed to complete his purchase of a television station in Los Angeles, the small beginning of the new media empire he planned to build. (*) This was quickly followed by the purchase of the old GBC studios in Gotham City, which was the head office of his new venture.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Yesterday Begins Today,” All-Star Comics #64 (January-February, 1977), “A Parting of the Ways,” All-Star Comics #70 (January-February, 1978), and “Green Dreams and Precious Illusions,” Infinity Inc. Annual #1 (1985).]
As the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Scott stepped off the elevator onto the top floor of the GBC building, the secretary greeted, “Good morning, Mr. Scott.” Her eyes grew wide with surprise. “Oh, and you, too, Mrs. Scott.”
“Good morning,” Alan said. “Hold all my calls.”
“I’ll be holding a lot of them, then,” the secretary said. “The phone’s been ringing off the hook since you’ve been gone.”
“I have full confidence in you,” Alan said with a wink over his shoulder as he led his wife into his office.
As soon as the door to his office shut, they returned to their youthful bald appearance.
“This is great for now,” Molly said. “But I can’t come with you to work every day.”
“Maybe I could pretend to be my own son,” he said. “Alan Scott, Junior.”
“Who just got out of the service,” Molly laughed as she brushed a hand across the very slight stubble beginning to form on the top of his head.
“Same as his new bride,” he said, rubbing his hand across her head, then pulling her toward him for a kiss.
“I’m beginning to see some benefits that might come from having youthful stamina,” Molly said with a wicked grin.
“And I’m starting to think this will be a short work day,” Alan said, returning the grin. “I’d better try to get some work done,” he laughed, pulling away from her and taking his place behind his desk.
“I’ll try not to prove too much of a distraction for you,” Molly said, taking her place on the sofa across from him as she crossed her legs, looking at him seductively.
“Definitely a short day, indeed,” he chuckled.
“All joking aside,” Molly said, “if the energy manifests itself in our powers, shouldn’t something like what happened to Jennie have happened to you? Would you still need the ring?”
“I think the question of the need for my ring has been taken out of my hands,” Alan said, pulling on his ring finger.
“What do you mean?” Molly asked.
“I mean, I can’t take it off!”
As the door to Alan Scott’s office shut, his new secretary returned to her desk. She was about to get something out of her desk, when the phone rang yet again.
“Alan Scott’s office, how can I help you? No, I’m sorry, Mr. Scott is in a meeting right now. Yes… yes, I’ll be sure to tell him you called, Mr. Garrick. Thank you, and have a nice day.”
She took the phone message pad, which she had been using quite frequently today, and wrote, “Flash called. Will try back later.” She put the message with the others and returned to her work.
After approximately fifteen more phone calls, she heard Mr. Scott cry out in his office. Quickly, she ran to the door, but it was locked.
“Mr. Scott, are you OK?”
“Mr. Scott? Mrs. Scott?”
The door opened slightly, and Alan stuck his head out. “Yes, yes, I’m sorry, Marcie. I stubbed my toe. Didn’t mean to scare you.”
“No problem, Mr. Scott. I just wanted to make sure you were OK. Can I get you anything?”
“No thank you. We’re fine.”
Alan shut the door, and Marcie returned to her desk. That was odd, she thought. It almost looked like he was young again for a brief moment.
The phone rang again. “Alan Scott’s office.”
Marcie’s face went pale as the person spoke on the other end. Turning away from Alan’s office, she lowered her voice to a whisper. “Why are you calling me here? They’re in the office right now! With that ring of his, he might even have the phone tapped, for all I know. No, I haven’t found them yet, but I’m looking. No, I haven’t been to their house yet! What do you want me to do, invite myself? No, I do understand. You just need to be–”
She gulped and continued, “Yes, sir. I’ll do my best.” With that, Marcie Cooper hung up the phone and stared at the wall. She didn’t have much time left.