Jade awoke in what appeared to be the bed of a paneled truck. It was dark. The walls, floor, and ceiling were made of wood. She heard a moaning across the way, and she looked and saw the form of a man lying next to her. That must be that guy that was arguing with Corona, Jade thought to herself. What was his name?
The guy next to her moved and groaned again. “Where am I?” he asked. “Last thing I remember, I was talking to Alex.”
“Hey, you, uh, whatever your name is.” Jade nudged the guy with her foot. “Get up. We’ve got to see if we can get out of this truck.”
“Who — who are you?” the guy asked.
“I’m Jade, a friend of Alex’s,” Jade continued. “Don’t you remember? You burst into the JSA Brownstone demanding to see Alex. She came to talk to you, you ordered her to leave and come with you, and I came in and had the base’s defenses fire at you. You fell down, went boom?”
“Who the hell are you to talk to me that way?!” the guy demanded. “And how the hell did I get here?”
“Calm down, junior,” Jade went on. “After you hit the deck, some baddies calling themselves Injustice Unlimited burst in and overpowered me and Corona — uh, Alex. We tried to fight them off, but they were too strong for us. I wonder why they didn’t take her.”
“I knew I should have never got out of bed this morning,” Kyle Rayner sighed. “All I wanted to do is to be closer to Alex.”
“That would be romantic, if you hadn’t made a mess of it all.” Jade repressed a chuckle. “What was your name again?”
“Kyle. My name is Kyle,” he said.
“Kyle, that gemstone in your forehead is a very powerful weapon.” Jade pointed to the reddish oval gemstone that was embedded in Kyle’s forehead. “You can use it to get us out of here.”
“I’ll try,” Kyle said as he started to concentrate. The darkness was broken by a pinkish light that started getting brighter.
“Ugh!” Kyle collapsed onto the floor of the truck with a thud. “I can’t. I can’t get it to work,” Kyle gasped.
“Hmm.” Jade scratched her head. “That Luthor witch must have given you something that keeps you from using the power of the Powerstone. That would explain why I can’t use my Starburst.”
“Well, you’re the expert in these situations,” Kyle said wryly. “Can you think of a way out?”
“I’d watch my mouth if I were you, buster,” Jade warned. “I’ve been trained in a lot more than just using my Starheart powers.”
“I’m sorry. Just nervous, I guess,” Kyle apologized. “But really, you have been in these kind of situations before, haven’t you?”
“Yes, many times, but we always seem to get ourselves out of them,” Jade assured him. But what are they planning for us? How am I going to get us out of this? Jade asked herself.
The JSA Brownstone, Gotham City:
Hawkgirl, Harlequin, and Obsidian — minus the Scarab, who had gone off in search of a way to find the JSA — returned to the Brownstone to find the front doors bashed in and laying on the floor of the foyer. There they also found the unconscious Corona.
“Alex, wake up!” Hawkgirl shook Alex DeWitt gently.
“Huh, what’s going on?” a drowsy Alex asked.
“I was hoping you would tell us,” Hawkgirl said, smiling at Alex.
Alex sat up and straightened herself up. “Well, it’s a long story. Where’s Kyle and Jade?”
Obsidian came into the foyer. “Nobody else is here, but the defense system is offline. My sister’s nowhere to be found. Who’s Kyle?”
Alex blushed and then began to tell them what happened earlier. “Kyle is Kyle Rayner, my roommate and boyfriend.” Corona thought she noticed a grimace under Obsidian’s mask.
“Kyle came here to talk to me,” Corona continued. “He had this strange gem embedded in his forehead. Jade called it the Powerstone.”
“The Powerstone!” the other three said in unison.
“Kyle was crazy — talking out of his head. Then the gem on his head glowed and blew that table into splinters.” Corona pointed at the remains of an antique table.
Corona looked apologetic and went on. “Then Jade walked in, noticed the Powerstone, and had the defense system blast Kyle. He fell the the ground, unconscious. Just as Kyle slumped to the ground, the doors came crashing down, and this redheaded woman stood there. She said her name was Alexis Luthor, and that she was the daughter of Alexei Luthor, and that she and her team, Injustice Unlimited, had come for Jade.
“The Luthor woman had four others with her. She called them Artemis, Hazard, Icicle, and Nimbus.” Corona counted them on her fingers. “Jade and I held them off for a while, but I was knocked unconscious, and the next thing I remember was you waking me.”
“Why did this have to happen while the rest of the JSA were off who-knows-where?” Hawkgirl sighed. “So they must have taken Jade and this Kyle of yours. I wonder why they left you?”
“Jade is like a daughter to me, Shiera. We’ve got to find her before it’s too late!” Harlequin exclaimed.
Hawkgirl looked at Obsidian. “Todd, you and Jennie have a kind of rapport, don’t you, being twins and all?”
“Yes, but I can only feel her emotions, not where she is.” Todd kicked what was left of the table Kyle had smashed.
“Alex, the ring!” Hawkgirl looked at Corona. “That ring was created to fight against a Green Lantern. I’m sure it would have some way of tracking a Green Lantern’s ring.”
“But the Green Lanterns that ring was made to fight are different from our Green Lantern,” Obsidian offered.
“Yes, Todd,” Hawkgirl continued, “but the rings the Green Lantern Corps use and the Starheart were made by the same beings, the Guardians of the Universe. There has to be some similarity.”
“It could work,” Harlequin said. “At this point I am willing to try anything.”
Hawkgirl walked to the JSA monitoring board, typed in a few words, and something was printed out. “OK, Alex, look at this picture.” Hawkgirl handed Corona a picture of a man wearing a green costume with gray and white trim. She noticed the green symbol on his chest.
“Who is this?” Alex asked.
“That’s the Green Lantern of Earth-One,” Hawkgirl answered. “Now concentrate on finding the power of a Green Lantern.”
Alex held the ring up and summoned all her will to the task that Hawkgirl asked for. Suddenly, a yellow arrow appeared in front of Alex.
“Looks like we follow the arrow,” Obsidian said, smirking.
Jade and Kyle Rayner sat in the back of a paneled truck. Neither of their powers would work. They felt the truck come to a halt and the occupants of the cab disembark.
“Hello, simpletons.” Jade and Kyle heard Alexis Luthor’s voice through a speaker mounted on the ceiling of the truck. “I hope you have a good sleep,” she said as Jade and Kyle heard the hiss of gas. Shortly, the two were unconscious.
Alexis opened the door to the truck as three peculiar-looking men approached her and her team. “Good day, Miss Luthor,” the Wizard said. “Have you the package we ordered?”
Climbing into the back of the truck, Alexis quickly threw a padded blanket over the slumbering form of Kyle Rayner. She then grabbed Jade and carried her to the back of the truck. She lowered Jade into the waiting arms of the Wizard. “Here she is, gentlemen, just as you ordered.”
Wotan, the man with green skin who had an uncanny resemblance to the Devil of old legend, stepped forward. “How long will it be until the drugs you used to negate her powers wear off?”
“Within the hour,” Alexis said tersely. “She should regain consciousness by then as well.”
“Good. She will be awake to feel the power siphoned out of her until she dies,” Ian Karkull said, grinning evilly.
“Well, if we are done here,” Alexis continued, “Wotan warned that those who didn’t want to be affected by the procedure should keep their distance. I will take my leave and talk with you gentlemen when your plans have reached their fruition.”
An hour later, Jade — alias Jennie-Lynn Hayden — awoke. She was sitting in a seat, and her hands were placed in some kind of restraints. Sitting across from her she saw the bald countenance of Ian Karkull.
“Well, hello, sleepy-head,” Karkull said, grinning at Jade. “Are we ready to die?”
Jennie-Lynn looked around; it seemed the seat she was sitting on was attached to this funny-looking dome. The dome appeared to be made in the shape of a spiderweb. Jennie looked down and saw many figures milling about inside the dome; she recognized many of them. They were super-villains — many super-villains, and all of them very old.
“What’s going on here?” Jennie demanded.
“You, my dear, are here for a most glorious event.” Karkull grinned even more. “You are giving your life-force to rejuvenate all the criminals beneath us. With this army of villains, we shall defeat your father and the rest of the Justice Society once and for all.”
Jennie-Lynn screamed and tried to escape her bonds. “Let me go, Karkull!” she demanded.
“It’s too late, my dear,” Karkull said, smiling. “Soon, you and all you know shall be no more.”
Kyle Rayner awoke in the same truck that he and Jade had been trapped in earlier. Kyle noticed that the truck was again moving, but Jade was gone. He remembered how Jade tried to comfort him earlier, and he was mad. He summoned up his will, and the Powerstone on his forehead started glowing that pinkish light again. Only this time, Kyle didn’t collapse of exhaustion as he had earlier. This time, the glow got brighter and brighter as a beam of energy burned into the side of the truck.
The truck walls, made of wood, were a great defense against Jade’s abilities but were no match for the full force of the Powerstone. The wooden wall exploded, and the truck came to a screeching halt.
Alexis Luthor, Hazard, and Nimbus exited from the cab. Kyle didn’t recognize them; he had been unconscious when they had attacked Jade and his girlfriend Alex earlier.
“I don’t know who you are, but tell me where Jade is!” demanded Kyle. A pinkish-hued field of energy enveloped the three villains, and they stood motionless.
The Powerstone’s energy seemed to reach into each of the villains’ brains, and images of Jade being handed over to three men came to his mind.
“Damn you!” Kyle cried as another surge of energy pummeled the villains, sending them flying in all directions.
Kyle concentrated on the Powerstone, and slowly he floated above the remains of the truck and flew off toward Jade’s last-known location.
Shortly, Kyle reached the warehouse where Jade was being held. He used the Powerstone to blast through the doors. Inside, he saw a strange dome that looked like it was built by a spider. On top of the dome was a platform with two seats attached to it. In one seat sat a man who looked like he was made of solid darkness, and in the other was Jade.
Kyle looked into the dome; he saw dozens of figures, including one infamous face he recognized at a single glance — the Joker. “What’s all this have to do with Jade?” Kyle asked himself.
At the base of the dome stood two men. The first looked like an average man dressed in black. The other had green skin and looked for all intents and purposes to be the Devil. The green man stood in front of a control panel and flipped a large switch. “It is time,” the green man said.
With that, Jade began to scream as she started to glow with energy. The man of darkness also screamed as energy flowed through him and Jade through this strange purple crystal at the bottom of the platform they were setting on, bathing those inside the dome with its powers.
Kyle, seeing Jade in pain, flew toward her. As he did, the man in black stepped forward. “Who are you, and what are you doing?” he asked Kyle.
In return, Kyle blasted him with the Powerstone. Not expecting this kind of force, the man in black was struck in the chest and flew against the wall, slumping into unconsciousness.
The man in green looked up at the spectacle and rubbed his goatee. “I wonder what this tangent will add to the equation.”
Kyle reached Jade, grabbed her, and tried to remove her from the chair.
As Kyle attempted to free Jade, four figures approached the warehouse. They were Hawkgirl, Harlequin, Obsidian, and Corona — the JSA Reserves. They reached the tattered doors just in time to see Kyle grab Jade.
“Kyle, what are you doing?” Corona screamed.
Only focused on freeing Jade, Kyle did not hear Corona, and he willed the Powerstone to make him stronger. The Powerstone started to glow, but its power was siphoned into the device. The green glow stopped as it was replaced by the pinkish glow.
Karkull began to scream even louder while his shadow form started to dissipate as it was being siphoned into the device. “Damn you, Wotan!” Karkull screamed. “You had this planned all along.” Wotan just smiled and adjusted the control panel.
Kyle tried to break his grip on Jade but could not. To the others in the warehouse, Kyle seemed to be getting younger and younger.
Corona and the rest of the JSA moved to help Kyle and Jade, but a force-field impeded their way. Each of them made attacks against the field, but they were repulsed.
Meanwhile, Kyle writhed in agony as he grew younger and younger. Inside the dome, the villains were also groaning in pain.
In an instant, Kyle and Karkull dissolved into energy and were pulled into the device. A great flash of light bathed the warehouse as the Powerstone fell to the ground.
Blinded, nobody noticed the hand reaching from the shadows to grab the Powerstone. Wotan, seemingly unaffected by the flash of light, smiled to himself and laughed. “Debt paid,” he said as he disappeared.
The force-field fell, and the rest of the JSA Reserves scrambled to release Jade from the contraption. Hawkgirl checked her out. “She seems fine.”
Hawkgirl also looked into the dome where she saw all the groggy villains regaining consciousness. “I think we ought to get out of here. I don’t want to have to face all the villains. We’ll get ’em when the others return.”
With that, the JSA Reserves left, carrying Jade and Corona, who seemed in shock.
Little did they know that it would have been easy to subdue the villains at that moment, for it would take days for them to recover from the process — the process that left each of them twenty to forty years younger than they had been.