Worlds Away

Written by: Tanith

With permission and help from Parallax






Beginnings

Time: Late December, Year 0
Place: Australia, Earth Prime (2.0)


Slowly, he trudged into his bedroom, ignoring the dull "thump" of the door closing behind him. It had been a tiring day, and he was just about ready to drop. As it was, there was too much to do... too much to think about. The future seemed so uncertain now, even moreso than before. The changes that swept across the Earth had left nothing unchanged over the entire planet, himself not excluded.

Yes. What he should do is catch up on the latest news regarding how the world and the world governments are going to handle the mass emergence of meta-humans; and he should visit his parents as well, he mused; and try once more to get the fine control of his own emerged powers down. But he was tired.

With a sigh he sank into his seat and rested his forehead upon the desktop next to his computer. Maybe just a little nap...



Dreams

Green...

    always, the dream began with green.

Personally, he'd always thought it was Irony at play. Or perhaps the universe toying with him. From what he'd been able to figure out of the more esoteric parts of his powers, he didn't think that guess would be off base by too much. By now, he'd thought he'd become used to it.

Tonight... tonight, though, there was an odd sense of anticipation to the verdant prelude of his dreams. At first, he shrugged it off to the lingering jitteriness of the day before. Yesterday - the last day of his job, as he'd planned even before the Net Event occured. But as the greeness began to fade into the Dreaming, there was a sense that things were not so simple as that. Indeed, it hovered on the edges of his ken - a sense of impending Change. Something was going to happen.

And soon...



As always, it took a moment for him to register the transition from pre-dream to lucid dreaming. He still wasn't quite used to it all, especially since he'd discovered that his dreams featured more than just the idles of his subconsciousness.

For he dreamed What Was, more often What Is, and rarely What Might Be. The multiverse seemed to speak its secrets to him there, in the dubious privacy of his mind, much more clearly than ever when he was awake. At times, he would be caught up in the realness of his visions (particularly irksome when he would wake to find that he had activated another of his powers during dreamtime). Sometimes, it would be enough to drive him into self-imposed insomnia.

Tonight might well have been one such night, he thought to himself sourly, as he found his "visions" being pulled along by an unseen force. He hated the loss of control, even though he had to admit that they were often neccessary, even as he worked to perfect his own control of his powers. When the whirl of visions finally stabilized, his dream-sight could have blinked in shock at what he saw.

Two figures soared across an alien sky, locked in combat, their uniforms were strikingly familiar to their unseen observer. The green emblem was something he had always wished for, and the rings they were emblazoned upon made his nonexistent fingers itch. The Green Lantern Corps...

But the moment of envious reflection was quickly cast off, as he realized that one of the figures was familiar. The bulky physique... the reddened skin tones... only the apparent youth of the alien differed from the Green Lantern Kilowog featured in his favorite comics. And the other figure... As he turned his dream-sight's focus.. The other figure was very familiar too...

It was like looking through a mirror. A mirror of dark desires and darker nightmares.

The agressor of the fight had features that matched his own, almost perfectly except for a short and neatly trimmed goatee at the tip of the chin. But the sparks of rage and bloodlust in those stormy blue eyes sent shivers down his nonexistent spine.

Just then, the eerie mirror image of himself suddenly whirled in midair and let loose a large beam of emerald energy at Kilowog. The other GL, though young and perhaps less experienced than in the comics, was just barely able to dodge it. However, Kilowog's dodge took him directly into a blast of golden energy that had poured out of the mirror double's outstretched hands. Evidently, this strange parody of himself shared more than his appearance.


As he watched the tide of battle turn against the youthful Kilowog, he felt his surprise wearing off. He knew he had to do something about this. Gathering his will, he tried to push himself out of the dream, into the setting he saw in the vision before him. He had used this method of travel before, but never onto what he'd thought was a fictional world. Straining with his mind -- he suddenly pushed free...

His eyes opened. And he nearly fell onto the ground, both from the disorientation and from the shaking of the earth beneath him. Grabbing a nearby tree trunk (or at least he thought it was a tree trunk), he kept his balance as his eyes automatically scanned his surroundings.

The sight of the battle that he had seen in his dreams was taking place right before his awed eyes. But the shuddering of the ground and the slight pain in his ankles when he had "landed" assured him that this was no dream. And the sickening crash of Kilowog into the ground nearby.

Almost without pausing to think about it, he moved forward, automatically extending his shield powers to enclose both himself and Kilowog. Immediately, a dome of glowing golden light sprang into being around himself and the fallen Green Lantern, just as a large green blast impacted against it. However, it activated in time, and the beam fizzled harmlessly against the yellow shield.

For a moment, all was silent as the battle abruptly halted. His double hovered midair inside his green bubble, staring in surprise at the mirror image facing him. Finally, the double addressed him curtly. "Who the hell are you?"

"Parallax," the name slipped out easily, though he had not intended to give out his internet handle. He thought about amending the answer with his real name, but the look on the other's face changed his mind. Apparently, his double found the name familiar. Perhaps too familiar.

"I don't know who you think--" the double trailed off mid-threat, his eyes flickering briefly to the green glowing ring on his finger, then blinked in surprise. "A mirror universe, eh?" the double murmured, then abruptly focused his attention back onto the matter at hand. Green energy lashed out once more, this time at the ground instead of at the golden shield.

He felt the ground rumble and shudder below him. Before he could think, though, he suddenly found himself lifted into the air by a light green aura. Just as he cleared the ground, the earth that he had been standing upon rose and clashed together in an awesome collision, one that he was not sure that his shields could have withstood. Turning slightly, he saw that it was indeed Kilowog who had saved them both, having not been rendered unconscious after all.

His double made a low growling sound in the back of his throat at being thwarted. "Stay out of my way." With that dark threat, and one last suspicious glare, the double abruptly departed in a flash of green light.


Letting out a breath that he hadn't been aware of holding, he suddenly found himself in free fall. With a thud, he and Kilowog hit the now unmoving ground. With aching limbs, he pulled himself from the turmoil-tossed earth and stumbled next to the Green Lantern. Alarmed, he noted the shallow breaths and the deathly pallor evident on Kilowog's features. Evidently, the previous defiance of his double's powers had been more bravado and sheer will than physical capability.

He was abruptly roused from shocked reverie by something being pressed into his hand. "Gone and got meself hurt that time," rasped the Green Lantern faintly, "take the ring and kick that poozers behind for me..."

Looking down, his shock was compounded at seeing the green glowing ring that lay there. His mouth worked once, silently, uncertain as to just what to say when one of his fondest desires lay in his palms, given him at this awful price before him.

Kilowog seemed to mistake his reaction for protest, and tried to assure him. "The ring don't lie ... if it says you got what it takes to kick that poozers butt then that's good enough for me. He'll kill for that ring, wetnose so watch your back." Another gasp for breath, this time even weaker than before, and echoing with an encroaching sense of finality. "Take it. Promise... to..."

With a gulp, he closed his fist around the brightly glowing ring. "I promise," he finally croaked to the dying GL, commiting himself to the price laid upon him for this priviledge. And to avenge this atrocity. With eyes fixed on the now deathly still form of Kilowog, he slowly rose to his feet, the ring still clenched tightly in his fist.

Above, the grey skies began to weep, as a soft veil of raindrops drifted over the land.



Decisions

Figuring out how to use the GL ring wasn't difficult - not for him. Years of experience in imagining being able to weild this tool of power was certainly a critical factor. But getting used to the effects of the ring's power took more experimentation. And then, of course, there was the question of how to find his mirror double. The answer that came to left him in doubt of his ability to so finely control the visions that normally came to him in dreams.

But it was the least he could do to try.

Slowly settling the green bubble holding him aloft down, he handed at the top of a cliff overlooking a bluish gray sea. As he stared at the hypnotic crests and eddies of the churning sea water, he slowly cleared his mind of all thoughts. With a clear mind, he tried to focus on the sensation of the lucid dreaming that had become so familiar to him now.

And then, in his mind's eye... he saw.



Like a faintly green ghost, unseen to all senses mundane and technological, he slipped through the Gallifrey's planetary forcefield as if through air. With but a few mental commands, his ring's AI led him through the central citadel of the Time Lords' homeworld, avoiding all detection by the security systems therein, before finally coming to a stop at the Castellan's office. There, he paused only to 'liberate' a set of TARDIS keys, and to rearrange the records to conceal the theft. Then, he slipped silently into the TARDIS landing bays, whereupon he utilized the ring's AI once more to trace down the TARDIS whose key he had stolen. Making sure to remain unnoticed, he used the key to opened the TARDIS door and slipped in. Moments later, unnoticed, the TARDIS unit slowly faded out of reality.

As the TARDIS surfed the time stream, he slowly circled the control room before turning to one of the circular patterned walls. His reflection looked back at him for a split moment on the metallic walls, before suddenly blurring. When the blurring cleared, it revealed an image of a darkly lit and apparently empty room with a table and a few chairs in the center. Slowly, the image centered and closed in on the table, revealing a small notepad on it. When the image reached the table's edge, it suddenly sharpened, becoming not just an image, but a portal.

Slowly, he reached across the portal and picked up the notepad. A transluscent green pen appeared from his ring and began to scribble on the notepad, leaving a dark green script on the surface.

Unexpected occurence interrupted retrieval of second Power Ring on Elseworld #2549. Secondary objective accomplished. Will retry on Elseworld #2559.

- Parralax

With a flicker of the ring, the notepad was replaced onto the tabletop. The portal then blurred into an image once more, before returning to the metallic walls of the TARDIS control room.


**FLASH**


Another vision, of another world, and another young and inexperienced GL attacked.


**FLASH**


The same future, but another possibility, one of countless many.


**FLASH**



Abruptly, the visions ended. He blinked to clear the afterimages of the scene he had just witnessed. The vision had profoundly disturbed him, not only with its familiarity, but also with its temptation. His double had so far been far too alike to himself in goals and methods... well, perhaps not methods. He at least would never be willing to kill for the Power Ring. But the theft of the TARDIS... he couldn't help but wonder if he would not have done the same if the idea had occured to him first...

But first, there was his promise to attend to. It was definitely not his attention to allow two innocent deaths, one of whom he'd admired, to go unavenged. With that in mind, he took to the skies once more.

'Parralax', huh?...



Conflict

He had almost arrived too late. A young GL, no one that he recognized, fell from the sky the crash onto the rocky ground below with a sickening crunch. He saw his double hover lower toward the unmoving GL, as if making sure the prey was unconscious... or dead. With a flicker of a green ring, the stolen TARDIS unit appeared as if summoned - a perfect getaway vehicle for the malicious crime.

But no longer. With a mere thought, and he was in motion.

A blast of green energy shunted the TARDIS unit to a handy pocket dimension - taking that escape rout out of the picture. Immediately thereafter, a green cage surrounded his startled mirror double. It was a cleverly designed cage, adapted from an unpublished GL script. The cage was a crystalline structure, designed to absorb any energy thrown at it to augment its own strength. The only addition he had made to it was a think shield layer of his own construction just inside - a red transluscent shield that was transparent to all but visible light. Its purpose was to ensure that any yellow light launched at the prison construct would not remain so upon reaching the actual crystalline walls.

But his opponent did not remain surprised for long. After a few futile blasts through both his native powres and the GL ring, the double's ring flared as well. Immedately, he felt energy being drained from the prison construct itself, much as he would have done in reverse. While the prison construct had much energy to draw upon, it was still finite; and his own powers moreso. Immediately, he banished both constructs, only to be bombarded by a barrage of missile constructs from his double. Before his conscious mind had recognized the exchange as a scene from the comics, he had already reacted reflexively in accordance to his memories.

A large green tunnel in the shape of a semicircular torus interrcepted the missiles, and prepared to reflect them back onto their creator. But before they had left the tunnel construct, the fight shifted unexpectedly from the comic scenario as the missiles collectively detonated, shattering the tunnel construct.

He reeled back from the aftershock of the explosion, and took to the offensive once more, harrying his double with a veritable deluge of ring constructs, each reinforced with gold shields of his own creation. For a moment, he regained the upper hand, but suddenly, he was blinded by a intense flash of bright light. It was during this few precious moments of blindness that, unseen by him, his double sent a simple blast of yellow energy careening toward him.

Fortunately, he had reflexively raised his native-powered shields tightly around himself as soon as his concentration on the ring failed. Even more fortunately, his own shields did not have the vulnerability to yellow that would have resulted in his death had he relied on the ring's automatic protections. As it was, his shields were merely strained by the impact of the blast, buying him enough time to recover his vision.

His double, seeing the difficulty that the golden shields posed, turned narrowed gaze onto them. To his surprise, his shields suddenly began to change color, slowly from a golden yellow to a more greenish tint. Immediately, he fought against the changes being imposed on his shields, concentrating his will on returning the shields to their golden color. Back and forth, the tug of war was played out on the surface of the transluscent shields enveloping him. Slowly, little by little, the greenish flickers on the shield's surface ceased.

Giving up on the futile struggle, his double tried another route. A thin layer of pale blue light suddenly appeared right outside the golden shield, the two colors mixing to appear greenish from both sides of the view. This was immediately followed by an enormous blast of green power from the double's ring, which was then immediately changed to yellow in midair.

Instead of meeting the blast full on again, he decided not to take the chance that his native shield might not hold against a ring-wrought blast. With a low rumble, the earth beneath him suddenly rose into the skies as if a huge stone wall, just in time to intercept the blast. The resulting explosion caused the air to be filled with stony debris.

When the air finally cleared, the two ring-weilders faced off again. Yet again, the double repeated his performance of before, this time also immediately creating a large green bubble around the both of them, preventing any intervention of outside factors. As the blast neared it's target, said target suddenly seemed to blur and vanish, revealing itself to be an illusion that had been left in place in the chaos of flying debris. Underneath the illusion was a concave shield - one especially tailored (and ring-enforced) to reflect blasts.

Meanwhile, under an aura of invisibility, he also surrounded his double on all but one side with forcefields, preventing any avenue of escape in such a short time. With less than a second to spare before his own reflected blast hit, the double suddenly flared once more... and turned into pure light. The light-being not only was able to reabsorb the blast without incurring physical damage, but it also easily slipped through the transluscent forcefields that were attempting to hold it.

Recovering quickly from his surprise, he immediately responded to his double's latest tactic. Another crystalline structure appeared around the light-being before it could turn back. This time, it was simply a crystal - but also one with a very high refraction index, and thus capable of keeping any light within it from escaping. At the same time, he decided to play another gamble on his now photonic double, and "reached" into the light with his ring.

With a small "plink", a small object flew out of the amassed light to land in his outstreched palm. It was not the GL ring that he had hoped to plumb out of the mass of light, but rather a strangely shaped key. A TARDIS key, he realized. But before he could try again, the crystalline construct suddenly shattered as his double forcefully returned to physical form.

Again, a face-off. In the back of his mind, a small voice of doubt took root. This foe was perhaps more powerful in native abilities than he was, and did not seem to be lacking in intelligence, willpower, nor imagination either. He was not sure if he could win this fight...

Again, the two tensed for action... and sprang--



Resolutions

--only to suddenly reel back as if physically pushed. The GL ring beams from both rings sputtered to a stop in midair, and dissipated. As one, both ring weilders turned as if on instinct toward the newcomer that had intervened.

Short. Blue skinned. Long robed.

Sure enough, a Guardian of Oa stood next to the fallen form of the long forgotten GL member that still lay deathly still on the ground. A severe expression was etched on the Guardian's face.

For a moment, he thought that the Guardian would take the both of them into account for the... death?... of the fallen Green Lantern. But then, almost too fast for him to register, the ring on his double's finger wrenched free and flew toward the Guardian. Immediately thereafter, a gree glow surrounded the double, who promply disappeared. Almost unconsciously, he reached with his other hand to assure himself that his own ring was still on his finger.

"I am Ganthet, a Guardian of Oa, who are in charge of the Green Lantern Corps. He has been transported to Oa to face charges for his crimes here." Ganthet did not look quite as severe when he spoke.

He nodded. There wasn't much he could say in response to that.

"You... you are different. One worthy of the ring you wear, though it does not seem to be one of ours." Ganthet seemed to look into and beyond him, with eyes that saw more than just the surface. His voice took on a more cryptic tone. "Perhaps... yes. It serves you well. Though one wonders if there are others such as you... or him... from the worlds of your birth." The Guardian gave him one final meaningful look, before hovering away, the body of the fallen GL floating after him. "We might meet again."


As Ganthet departed, he stood there for a few more moments, before looking down once more at the green glowing ring on his finger. It almost seemed surreal to him, as if this should all belong inside a dream... except he was intimately familiar with the sensation of Dreamtime. And there was also the issue of the stolen TARDIS... he wasn't sure if he could sneak it back onto Gallifrey without being noticed... or whether he really wanted to.

The future still seemed uncertain to him. But this time, it was filled with countless tempting possiblities.

But then, nor did he wish to totally lose himself to this new turn of events. Perhaps... a compromise...


And so, a tale closes, and another unfolds.






Years later...


He patiently waited behind the smooth silky curtains. Years of practice allowed him to keep a calm facade over the tiny bit of nervousness that refused to be stamped out within him.

Taking a deep breath, he focused back to the announcements beyond the curtain.

"...the opening ceremony of our new division of the The PaDT Polygnotic Institute of Transdimensional Studies, the Academy of Wizardry, I present our administration's arch-chancellor..."


And so it goes.



End Credits - Dramatis Personae




Parallax ......................... Earth Prime (2.0)

Powers:

1. Visionary Travel

Basically, it is sort of like a connection to fate/destiny/a high power/the universe... somewhat akin to Darkwolf's Sense. this connection to fate/whatever also sorta shows up in the "aura" of the "spirit", so that those people who are sensitive to such things can tell that this person is being driven/lead by a higher force type deal.

The power manifests fully in the form of lucid dreaming, but it can also be accessed through something like zen-focus or a trance like state. The way it works is like a combo of clairsentience and d-porting - the "spirit" self of the "dream" is shown things he needs to see (which might also include the past or possible future) or places that he needs to be in (present only). Then, if neccessary, the person is either "pulled through" to that place, or if it's not as important, then he can choose to go through. In times of emergency, and if fate/whatever requires, it might act more instantaneously than that, but those occurences should be *very* rare.

The power shouldn't be able to affect anything else in the real world either. By the same token, real life stuff can't hurt the spirit either, even if it's tailor made for ghosts and such. You're not really "there" until you are transported physically. It's only your point of view that's "there", like an application of clairsentience. The "dream self" as just a sensory viewpoint rather than an actual presence type "spirit".

2. Force Fields

Includes the creation of force field "constructs" of any shape or size (within reason). The force fields are golden by default but may be changed in color. It can also be made opaque (ie. blocking all light). The force field, when shaped into a closed surface (like a bubble), is also capable of blocking out non-line-of-travel powers such as psionics and telekinesis from the area enclosed within. With a lot of concentration, it may also reflect or absorb energy attacks upon it up to a degree.

3. Aura of Command

Basically sort of like a charm aura, it makes the viewer perceive him generally more positively, especially exaggerating any preexisting qualities. In general, it induces a lot of respect from the viewer, though if willfully concentrated, it can induce active infatuation and/or obssession (depending on the level of focus) for a limited duration. While the intensity of this power can be altered as described, it cannot be fully turned off, nor specifically focused on one or a select group of people. It affects everyone perceiving him within LOS automatically. Standard mental protections such as mind shield or psi-blockers can block this power when activated. Incidentally, this power also protects him from outside mental attacks or influences, up to a degree, by basically drowning them out.



Parralax ......................... Mirror Earth (0.2)

1. Scrying Portal

He can use any reflective surface as a focus to scry through - basically clairsentience. If he wishes, and if the surface is large enough, he can then make that surface into a portal to the place he was looking upon.

2. Spectromancy

The ability to create/control light. Abilities include turning invisible on the EM spectrum, creating non-solid illusions, energy attacks, and the ability to turn into an being of light for a short amount of time. This does not grant the ability to control all forms of energy, just light.

3. Aura of Command

A more powerful version of a charm aura, much like Brief's. Its intensity is powered by will, and the highest levels are capable of inducing near permanent obssession or submission. It can also be selectively targetted for more concentrated effects. It usually remains off by default unless selectively turned on and maintained. This power also grants high natural resistance to outside mental influences.




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