[ Written by Joygirl. Plotted by Joygirl and Avenging_X_Bolt. ]
For the rest of WotRL, future updates, and a glance at the full roster, check out (and make sure to recommend!) the Wrath of the Red Lanterns user list, which will be acting as the library and central hub for this title!
“What took the two of you so long?!” Zilius roared out, flailing his limbs awkwardly. The leathery, blob-like creature was trapped in an energy cage and suspended in midair – with his limited ability to create constructs, he had been... humiliatingly... unable to free himself.
“Well, taking into consideration that we didn't immediately get captured...” Bleez began.
“...We actually had to fight our way here to save you. It takes longer that way.” Razer finished.
The havanian turned to the other alien, arching one eyebrow briefly. There was a pause before Zilius Zox broke the silence.
“We get it, you're both snarky, it's amusing and the two of you have a quirky rivalry! Now get me out of here!”
Bleez nodded quickly, glancing behind her. The sound of heavily-armored footsteps could already be heard hot on their trail – but the mission wasn't to kill the space-raiders who had captured Zilius. The bloated little sphere had already finished the first mission (seeking out a possible recruit who had ended up dying before the ring arrived), and the new mission was to rescue him, not slaughter the people who captured him.
...Even if that seemed more fun than saving the life of Zilius Zox.
“Razer, hold them back with constructs,” Bleez barked, folding her wings against her back and sweeping her fiery golden eyes around the brig where Zilius was being held. “I'll try to get Zox out of this thing.”
Razer looked down, then sighed. The footsteps were getting closer. “Easier said than done,” he grumbled, lifting into the air and speeding towards the hallway they had just come from. He quickly erected a small wall, expanding it to fill the hall and starting to drill it into place with heavy crimson bolts – created from the combination of the red ring and Razer's own imagination.
It was seconds, however, before gunfire – heavy gunfire – could be heard, blasting against the barrier Razer had erected. Already the power of their weapons was creating spiderweb cracks against the thick red wall. “Bleez... where did they... get weapons like this...?” the white-skinned alien growled, holding his arms out in front of his body, his ring glowing vibrantly as he focused on steadying and rebuilding the quickly-cracking wall.
“The same place they got an energy cage like this,” Bleez hissed, glancing back briefly at Razer before turning to what she was doing. It was too volatile to tear about with constructs, and using plasma would burn Zilius, maybe even kill him (not that it would be much of a loss). The power source couldn't be seen immediately, drawing the havanian to believe it was remotely activated in some way. “I can't deactivate it, it's somewhere else on the ship.”
“We can't leave him,” Razer said quickly, glancing back at Bleez before turning his attention back to the wall ahead of him. The metal barriers that held the actual hallway were starting to buckle as the raiders used increasingly powerful weapons against it, and as Razer's wall expanded to encompass the empty space, so it became thinner... and weaker.
“No, we can't,” Bleez's eyes darkened briefly, and she slowly closed one clawed hand into a fist. “But any Red Lantern, even Zox, is more worthwhile than a ship full of space raiders with advanced weaponry....”
“Atrocitus said no unnecessary casualties! The raiders aren't our mission!” Razer roared, his voice strained with effort.
“No, they aren't. Saving Zox is our mission. And right now there's only one way to do that.”
“What are you–?” Zilius shouted out from his cage.
“We destroy the ship.”
“Bleez, we can't do that! The debris will hit the planet below, who knows how much destruction will be caused!” Razer called back, taking slow steps backwards as his wall was pushed and weakened with each new volley of missiles. “I won't go through with this!”
“You will go through with it, because as of yet I'm still in command.” Bleez walked slowly to the hull of the ship, and jammed one extended hand through it, her dense claws shredding the durable, space-worthy metal like a butcher knife through cardboard. Another few rips and she had created a hole large enough for her to exit. “We destroy the ship bit by bit, and when the power source for the energy shield comes down, Zox helps us finish the job.”
“How many casualties.” Hal asked softly, though the coldness in his voice mimicked a statement more than a true question.
“Between the raider ship and the ensuing casualties on Sector 485: Eighty-four dead, forty-three more injured. Howev–”
“Eighty friggin' four?” Guy bellowed, gesticulating wildly. “How have we not eradicated these psychos yet?”
“I'd have thought you would show more compassion for the Reds, Guy,” Hal Jordan set his hands on the table below him, gazing into the holographic map of Sector 485. “It wasn't long ago that you were one of them yourself.”
“Not by my own choice, flyboy,” Guy growled. “This is ridiculous. They're too random and they're too destructive, we have to do something about it.”
A fourth voice suddenly made itself heard as Ganthet stepped gently into the room, barely making a sound. “Things are not always as they seem, Guy Gardner. Consider the amount of blood that has been shed in the name of the Green Lantern Corps. Perhaps with good intentions, but not always with a peaceful outcome.”
“You know better than that, Ganth,” Guy retorted bluntly. “The Reds don't do stuff with good intentions, they do whatever they want.”
“Ask yourself, then, why they were on the raider ship at all?” Ganthet said softly.
“If I may interject–”
“We need to know more about them, what their goals are,” Hal added. “We've been ignoring Atrocitus and his growing Corps for about a year now, and we have no idea how his plans may have changed. Maybe a warband of our top GL's?”
“A warband against the entire Red Lantern Corps?” Guy squawked. “Did you forget how the war with them ended?”
“They caught us by surprise, Guy. We'd be the ones ambushing them, this time.”
“I would just like to add that–”
“What, Aya?!” Hal and Guy said in unison, looking up at the source of the voice. Aya, the artificial intelligence of the Interceptor, burbled shyly before retorting.
“Quick analysis of crime reports and obituary algorithms shows that, should that particular raider ship have stayed in space, there would have been over two-hundred more lives lost within the next year. Though their actions may have been destructive, the Red Lantern Corps theoretically saved untold amounts of innocent lives.”
Ganthet allowed himself a small (and maybe slightly smug) smile. “Aya may be on to something,” he said softly. “Maybe not a warband... maybe an emissary. A few Lanterns who have experience with the Red Corps, who aren't likely to be treated with hostility.”
Hal released a soft sigh, nodding. “Guy and I can go. We've both worn the red ring before, and I daresay Atrocitus even... likesme.”
The little blue alien shook his head. “Not you, Hal Jordan. I came here with a mission for Kilowog and yourself, a mission involving Ion. Guy Gardner, on the other hand....”
“Oh, no way. Nooo way. Those freaks don't want nothin' to do with me.”
“You'll have more luck than a Green Lantern they've never seen or met,” Ganthet persisted. “Bring Arisia with you, she has a small amount of experience with the Reds as well. Perhaps one more man.”
“One? A three-man team against the entire Red Corps?” Guy bellowed.
“This isn't an assault, Guy Gardner. Too many Green Lanterns will raise their suspicion. You are only going to learn more about Atros's new motives. Three will be just fine for that.”
Guy released a harsh sigh, glancing at the holomap and swishing his hand across it, redirecting it to Ysmault. He sighed again. “Is Kyle available?”
“Green Lantern Kyle Rayner is currently on a mission with the Justice League of America, and can be found on Apokalips. I don't suggest you disturb him.” Aya offered.
“Tomar-Re then,” Guy affirmed, exhaling. “Alright, dammit. I'll do it. But I'm not happy about it.”