Alan and Molly Scott, alias Green Lantern and the Harlequin, have decided to search for their missing triplets, even if it takes them to the stars. But will that decision cost them Jade and Obsidian?
The journey started with a dream and a blind date instead of one footstep. The dreamer was Molly Maynne Scott.
The people who went on the date were Todd Rice, Jennie-Lynn Hayden, and Frances Kane. Todd had several failed romances with women in the past and did not look forward to going out with a stranger. His father and stepmother had insisted on it, so he knew he was stuck for an excuse to get out of it. Then Jennie and Frances, along with Hank King, had pressganged him.
He wondered about the change that had overtaken Alan Scott, but said nothing. Alan had been in a pit of despair for a long time. Now he seemed like his old self, except for the green ring he had worn.
The dream had started the day after the Scott triplets’ abduction. Molly Scott had not remembered them at first, but each night the dream had returned. Things added to it as Molly watched. Slowly she came out of her shock and thought something important was going on. The problem became, after she was convinced, how to bring Alan out of his depression enough to try to do something about it.
“Alan,” Molly said one day some two weeks after the abduction. They stood on their balcony together. “The children are alive. I need you to come back here and help me.” Alan looked at her blankly. “Alan, I need you,” Molly said. “We need you.”
Alan Scott visibly shook for a second. Some of his old self winked at her from tired eyes. “I don’t know what to do,” he said.
“I have been dreaming, Alan,” said Molly. “I’m sure if we found the place I’m dreaming about, we will find the kids.”
Alan squared his shoulders, some more life coming back into his eyes. “Where do we start?”
“First, I think we should get the kids out of here,” Molly said. “Give us some time to come up with a plan.”
“You want to ditch them?” said Alan, rubbing his chin reflectively.
“They have been like mother hens,” said Molly. “I had to chase Frances out of the kitchen so I could wash dishes.”
“Do you really think you know where the triplets are?” Alan asked.
“I know they are alive,” said Molly. “That’s all that’s important.”
Alan Scott regarded his wife thoughtfully. He had known Molly for many years. She had that look in her eye that she got when she had set her mind on a course and would not veer away. “I have tickets for a play,” he said.
“Todd won’t go to a play,” said Molly.
“Yes, he will,” said Alan. “I’ll get Jen to work on him.”
Molly arched her eyebrow. “How are you going to get Jennie and Frances to go?” said Molly.
“I’ll think of something,” said Alan. “First, I need to get four more tickets.”
“I thought I was the devious one,” Molly said with a smile.
Alan smiled himself for the first time since this whole thing started.
The next two weeks passed in a blur for the Scott family as Alan gained the tickets and practiced with his lantern. He was used to channeling its energy through his ring. Instead of carving a new ring, he decided to use the lantern itself to help home in on its smaller piece.
He asked Jennie-Lynn Hayden and Frances Kane to go to the show. He knew Jennie would snap at it, just as he also knew Todd would balk. So he asked Jennie to arrange a date for Todd to go with to the show, since she must know someone who would not take no from the reserved young man — someone who would make him enjoy the date, or kill him trying.
“I know just the person,” Jennie-Lynn said, smiling.
While this was going on, Molly tried to learn more from her dreams where her children had gone. She found that she was always looking through someone else’s eyes. Several times she noted the use of green energy to form objects. Once a green hand had jumped into view to crush something that looked like a large mechanical beetle. She couldn’t place the stars in the night sky when she saw one, but she did note that the planet had two moons. It wasn’t much of a clue. Hopefully, Alan could use that when they left.
Everything went as expected, with Hank King arriving from California to escort Jennie-Lynn, and Frances going with them. Jennie’s friend Stephanie was working in Gotham City at the moment and would swing by to pick Todd up.
Todd Rice seemed suspicious as they sent the children off with waves and smiles. “This feels like a setup,” Todd complained as he was led downstairs by his two sisters and friend.
“They just need some time alone,” said Jennie. “So they want to get rid of us for a couple of hours. It’s not a big deal. It’s not like we can do anything in the shape we’re in.” Jennie held up her fair hand, no longer green since she had lost her power.
“Hank, would you…?” Todd started, glancing at the telepath.
“No mind-reading,” said Brainwave. “They’ll tell you when they want you to know.”
“This blows,” said Todd.
The group reached the foyer. Todd’s date rolled to a stop on her motorcycle as the group left the Scotts’ apartment building. The rider pulled off her helmet, shaking out her blond hair. She smiled when she saw Jennie and Hank bundled up on the sidewalk.
“Steph!” said Jennie, hugging her friend. “Thanks for this. I owe you one.”
“You know I can’t turn down a date with a handsome man,” said Stephanie. “Are you Todd?” He nodded, wondering what he was getting into. “Get on,” said Steph. “We’ll meet you at the theater, Jennie.”
Todd pulled on an extra helmet as he got on the bike. He thought he heard Steph say maybe as she was putting on hers. Then he had to hang on as the woman pulled away from the curb with a roar.
“OK,” said Frances, watching the pair pull off. “I never thought you were that ruthless.”
Todd hung on as the bike weaved through traffic. He noticed Steph was heading away from the theater district toward some place near the city limit. “Where are we going?” Todd shouted.
“I have to see a friend of my dad’s,” said Steph. “He’s in a retirement home. Then we’ll go eat and see the show.”
“Friend of your dad’s?” asked Todd.
“Yes,” said Steph. “His name is Nichols.” Steph pulled up in a space in front of the retirement home. She led the way up to a solitary apartment, tying her hair back.
“You know the Carter Nichols?” Todd asked, straightening his suit as he followed.
“He’s an old friend,” said Steph, knocking on the door. “He used to hang out with my dad, like I said.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Adam Blake: Times Past, 1954: Blake’s Seven.]
“Who’s your dad?” Todd asked belatedly.
“Hop Harrigan,” Steph said as the door opened.
Molly and Alan Scott watched their children leave from the balcony of their apartment. Then they went into the apartment and cleared a space in the middle of the living room. Alan got his lantern from its hiding place and placed it in the middle of the space.
“Are you ready?” Alan asked.
“Let’s get started before I lose my nerve,” Molly said.
“Never happen,” said Alan, smiling again. Molly was heartened by his seeming return to his old self.
Molly and Alan sat across from each other on either side of the green lantern. He took her hands in his own so that the lantern stood in a makeshift circle.
“Close your eyes,” said Alan. “I want you to think on what you dream about.”
Small images danced in the air. Alan could not think of any place that matched what he saw. He concentrated on the ring. The green energy swept up from the lantern in a column. Both of the Scotts fell over from the sudden surge.
“Think gentle thoughts, Alan,” said Molly, laughing.
“Har-de-har,” said Alan, smiling for the third time that night.
“Uncle Carter,” said Stephanie Harrigan. “This is my date, Todd.”
“Hello, Todd,” said the older man, sitting in his wheelchair. “Did they tell you what happened to her last date?”
“Don’t listen to him, Todd,” said Steph with a wink. “Larry died with a smile on his face.”
“I’m sure,” said Todd, finding himself smiling despite himself. “I’ve heard a lot of things about you, doctor.”
“My saving the world days are pretty much over,” said Dr. Carter Nichols. “Adventure has passed me by.”
“That reminds me,” said Steph, pulling out a package from her bag. “Dad sent this by. He said he was waiting for you take him up on his offer, you old shut-in.”
Alan and Molly took their places around the lantern. It flared brightly as they began to exert their will. An arrow shot out of the lantern and pointed at the ceiling. Numbers at the bottom indicated the light-years between the lantern and the power ring.
“Light-years?” said Molly.
“An alien, like we thought,” said Alan. “I think we need to get dressed and leave a note for the kids.”
“I’ve got your uniform in your luggage from Atlanta,” said Molly. “It should still be in the closet.”
“Let’s hurry,” said Alan. “The sooner we’re gone, the better.”
“The answer to that question is probably a no,” said Carter. “There is no way I am ever flying with your dad again. No offense intended.”
“He’ll be heartbroken,” said Steph.
“Not Hop,” said Carter. “He is as buoyant as the wind.”
Todd smiled at the banter. It reminded him of times with the others of Infinity Inc. It was something he heard but didn’t usually take part in. He wondered why.
“We have to go, Uncle Carter,” said Steph, kissing Nichols on the cheek. “Otherwise we’ll be late.”
“I’ll see you the next time you’re in the city,” said the scientist. “Maybe swap a tall tale or two. Nice meeting you, Todd.”
“Likewise, sir,” said Todd.
“Be careful, Stephanie,” said Carter, picking up the package and looking at it. He waited for the younger people to leave before placing it in a basket beside his bed.
Jennie-Lynn Hayden waited at the door of the restaurant. Maybe she should not have asked Steph for this favor. Todd Rice was moody at the best of times. Then she saw them walking down the sidewalk and smiled. Steph had changed into a dress somewhere, and they were talking, at least, as they came in.
Frances Kane joined her at the door. She seemed to have a smile to match Jennie’s. “About time he took an interest in another woman since Marcie,” she said. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Green Lantern: Emerald Renaissance, Epilogue: Enter the Harlequin.]
“You know how Todd is,” said Jennie. “Don’t wanna talk about it, and you can’t make me.”
“He looks almost happy,” said Frances.
“Impossible,” said Jennie, in mock horror. “Oh, no — he’s been exchanged for a total stranger. What shall we do?”
“Go back inside before they see us,” said Frances, tugging her younger sister away from the door.
Dinner passed smoothly as Jennie and Steph talked about their modeling and acting careers. Hank talked about what was going on at Stellar Studios. Frances talked about finding places for people where she lived in Blue Valley. Todd remained silent, only offering an opinion when something was directed at him. He seemed content to bask in the reflected warmth of the others.
Occasionally, Todd glanced at his watch. He didn’t say anything to hurry the others up. Jennie and Frances needed the time to relax a lot more than he did. Still, the way Alan had looked as he ushered them out tugged him away from the friendly conversation. Alan didn’t look he was going to enjoy a night at home. He looked like he was going out.
Todd glanced out of the front window. He thought he saw a green flash in the sky. Just his imagination; none of them possessed their powers since encountering that shadow thing. Alan didn’t even have his ring anymore. He just had the lantern he used as a power source.
Todd jumped up suddenly, wishing he could shadow shift right then and there. “I have to go,” Todd said. He grabbed Steph and gave her a kiss before he ran from the restaurant, tugging on his coat.
“What was that about?” Steph said.
“Todd isn’t usually that impulsive,” said Jennie, standing up. She stood up, her brown hair dancing slightly.
“I wonder what’s up,” said Hank.
“Have you seen my bike key?” Steph said, looking in her small purse. “I could have sworn I put it in my bag.”
Alan and Molly Scott enjoyed their dinner. Green light from the lantern flowed in the room as the small repast was eaten silently. Despite their efforts to be cheerful, only Molly’s visions showed that the triplets were still alive. That was something, but it could be wrong. The triplets could be on a pike on the side of a road. Alan knew they were both steeling themselves for that possibility. Better to know than not, he decided.
After dinner they changed clothes, donning their costumes as Green Lantern and Harlequin for the first time since this whole thing had begun.
Todd Rice raced through the streets of Gotham City on the stolen motorcycle. He hoped he had just made a mistake, something that could be explained as worry. After all, his parents wouldn’t leave him behind while they searched for his siblings. They couldn’t.
He saw a green glow as he rode up to their building and knew they were getting ready to leave him and Jennie behind. We’ll see about that, Todd thought as he whipped the bike toward the lobby door.
It was a strange group flying across town. They seemed ready to go to a party, or maybe a lynching.
“If that jerk scratched my bike up,” Stephanie Harrigan swore as solemnly as a couple taking a wedding vow, “I’ll be using his skin as a new saddlebag.”
“Calm down, Steph,” said Jennie, shielding her eyes from the wind with a hand. “Let’s not distract Hank and Fran from holding us aloft.”
“I mean it, Jennie,” said Steph. “That bike has been in the family a long time.”
“Todd won’t hurt it,” Jennie assured her friend.
“I wouldn’t say that,” said Frances, pointing at Todd taking the bike inside the apartment building.
“Thanks, Fran,” Jennie said heavily.
Alan Scott held his lantern in one hand, Molly’s hand in the other. A globe of green flame extended from the lantern to enclose them. They began to will themselves away from the earth.
The door banged open suddenly, and Todd Rice rushed inside. He threw himself inside the bubble as they began to disappear. He saw his sisters and Hank King enter through the balcony doors. They had brought Steph with them, and she looked mad enough to chew nails. Then everything went black. Todd’s only thought was to hold on.
Alan Scott lifted his lantern high. They had arrived, but he didn’t see any of the others in the light cast by his battery. He thought he was in a cave or a mineshaft. He began to walk the length of the tunnel, pushing back the darkness with the light from his lamp.
Then he saw a hand in a blue glove sticking from under a pile of rock. The hand was slim, feminine. “Molly!”
His shout echoed the length of the tunnel.