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Annual #1

 

 

The Sentinel

Issue #2,


Apollyon City Chapter 2: "It Continues..."
By Dave Marshall


The Skies over Apollyon City 2:05 a.m.
The Sentinel soared over the pristine architecture of Apollyon. The city was birthed seven short years ago, a bold experiment in city planning. Two teams of Civic Engineers, one from Metropolis University and one from Gotham University, decided to "grow" a city. It would be a sort of real-life "Sim City" on which to test their pet theories. It was touted as the perfect city. The short-sighted, well-meaning engineers boasted Apollyon would maintain zero unemployment, be a model of diversity, offer only the best educational opportunities, and most important to the lucky applicants from Gotham City, it guaranteed a zero crime rate, since citizenship was by invitation only.

It was a nice dream, but doomed to fail. The population was originally capped at one-hundred thousand. Funny thing though, when you make claims of a perfect city it is difficult to keep out those not invited to the party. Before long, developers struck deals with the city's "fathers" who were blinded by their need for funding the experiment. Soon the usual fast-food places and menial labor followed. Those from the outside claimed these "lesser" opportunities, and soon social classes developed. Within three years, Apollyon's founders deemed the experiment uncontrollable and abandoned it altogether. A flood of humanity pressed into this urban Eden from both Gotham and Metropolis. Now Apollyon, though much smaller than either of her neighboring cities, mirrored the daily routines of each. As first the Green Lantern, and now the Sentinel, Alan Scott had seen many changes come to Gotham, but never as many in such a short period of time as those thrust upon Apollyon.

The Sentinel landed on the skirting of Sellinger Industries' rooftop, one of Apollyon's larger employers. He peered into the streets below. They seemed so quiet, so peaceful, much like a well-behaved child. Gotham's streets, on the other hand, were more like angry, young brats who could be counted on to throw their nightly tantrums.

A shot rang out below, followed by an alarm. Now this was more like it! Spare the rod and spoil the child? Not this crime fighter! The Sentinel thought about the petty thief he had corralled a few nights earlier in Gotham. They were all the same, cowards who sought refuge in the very shadows in which they hid. Rats in need of a Piper. Just when he was feeling confident, sixty years of experience cautioned him against assuming anything. For all he knew, Solomon Grundy could be trying to force him into a fight. Or worse.

It was easy to determine the crime scene. Someone had shot out the window of a fine antiques store by the name of Stinson's. The glass littering the sidewalk told the Sentinel all he needed to know. The shots came from inside. With but an act of his will, a large glass-cutter emerged from the emerald ring on his finger, and trimmed away the excess shards of broken glass from the storefront's massive display window. He entered cautiously, as the glasscutter's glow began to subside.

The store appeared empty. The displays of rare antique furniture appeared untouched, unmoved even. Whoever left their calling card in the window wasn't interested in the merchant's wares.

A noise interrupted the Sentinel's sleuthing. The high-pitched timbre reminded him of a woman's high heel shoes slapping against the treated planks of Coney Island's boardwalk. The sound was quickly followed by another just like it, this one accompanied by a long shuffle. Someone was behind the sales counter.

"Hello?" The Sentinel grimaced. Good thing Wildcat wasn't here to hear that one. "Is anyone there?"

"St-Stay away, damn you! I-I'm warning you! You should have never come back!" The man's voice was saturated with fear.

The Sentinel levitated himself slightly off the floor, so he could make a quieter approach. As he approached the sales counter, the top of the man's balding head came into view. A loose hairpiece shook in unison with the man's trembling body. He didn't seem to notice the garishly dressed hero at all.

Once at the counter's edge, the glow from the emerald flame of the Sentinel's ring filled in the physical details of the man's appearance. Wire rim glasses framed his mousy face. A small, well-trimmed moustache lent a touch of dignified gray to his features. He was unusually small, and quiet bookish. He looked even more so with his knees cradled to his chest as he rocked in an upright fetal position. He appeared to be unharmed, except for his disheveled appearance and the tremors that shook his body. And the gun.

The Sentinel glanced around. What was the man shooting at? Why was he even here at this hour?

"Sir, I am here to help you. Please, it will be ok. I am the Sent-"

BLAM! BLAM!

With the help of his ring, the Sentinel's reflexes instinctively erected a protective shield in front of him. "Sir, please, shooting is not going to help." The bullets fell away harmlessly.

"Paul! Why did you come back? You should have stayed awayyyy!" the man cried. His face tensed in pain. He dropped the pistol and clutched at his chest. Sirens approached from outside. Good! At this point, the man would be better served by the aid of good E.M.T.

The Sentinel bounded the counter and was quickly at the man's side. Amazing! The man still fought against him!

"Paul! Paul!" the man grunted through clenched teeth.

The Sentinel recognized the man's condition as the beginning stages of cardiac arrest. He couldn't allow the man to die like this. Alan stretched the man's legs out in front of him and laid him back, while massaging the man's chest area with his free hand. The lights from an emergency vehicle illuminated the wall behind them."Who is Paul?" he whispered to the man.

"S-S-S," the man stammered. "He..." The frightened storekeeper collapsed.

"Police! Come out with your hands up!"

A green hand emerged from the Sentinel's ring and held an identical colored megaphone to his mouth. "Officers, this is the Sentinel! I have an injured civilian inside! He requires immediate medical attention!" The Sentinel winced. Do I really sound that old?

There were a few moments silence before a reply followed. "Who? Look pal, if this is some funny business..."

The Sentinel gritted his teeth, rolled his eyes, and sighed. "The Green Lantern! Do you know me now? This man..."

"In here! Hurry! Get a medic!" The sounds of the officer's eager boots filing into the shop shook the china in the china cabinets.

The Sentinel shook his head. This was the city he wanted to shepherd?

The Scott's Penthouse Apartment, Gotham City, 3:38 a.m.
Molly Scott half-opened one eye and peered through the shadows to find the digital alarm clock on her side of the bed. The bright red LCD nearly blinded her, forcing her to cover her eyes. She wanted to roll over to find her husband in their bed, but knew it would not happen. Not this night. Probably not in her fading lifetime.

Molly rubbed her face and closed her eyes once more. She settled into her large feather pillow and prayed that tonight would be the good dream's turn. That was the one where both she and Alan were young and in love. Most nights she was haunted by that other dream, the one that was very much like her present reality.

Molly rolled over at last, finding the nerve to face the empty shadows that awaited her. "Please dear God! I need the good dream tonight."

ACPD Headquarters, Corner of Broadway and 5th, 4.17 a.m.
"...and that gentlemen is all we have."

Police Chief Barry Westingmore commanded respect usually reserved for those twice his age. The Sentinel was impressed with the manner in which Chief Westingmore's steely blue eyes seemed to peer through everyone in the room. He smiled wryly. Usually the younger officers, like those in the room, tended to experience lapses in their concentration when he was present. These men hardly paid him any mind at all, as long as their Chief demanded attention. Westingmore was good.

Chief Westingmore turned his attention back to the laptop computer sitting on his desk. "Does anyone have anything else?"

Silence filled the room.

Westingmore nodded and began to stand. "In that case, this meeting..."

The Sentinel stepped forward. "Chief Westingmore. I do have one question. Mr. Stinson mentioned someone. Here, let me show you."

The Sentinel's ring began to glow. The glow was followed by an emerald green reel-to-reel tape recorder. Two gunshots could be heard on the tape followed by the Sentinel's own voice. "Please sir, shooting is not going to help."

The tape continued on in Stinson's voice. "Paul! Paul! Why did you come back? You should have stayed awayyy...."

The Sentinel continued. "I asked him who Paul was, but he went into cardiac arrest before he could answer."

Chief Westingmore's calm demeanor cracked. "Paul? That's the name he used? Are you sure Green Lantern?"

Alan wanted to correct the Chief about his name, but decided it was entirely out of line. "Very sure. It was there on tape."

Chief Westingmore leaned forward on his desk, his weight propped up on his elbows. "Councilman Stinson's son Paul was killed last year. Gangwar, in Gotham."

Somewhere. Sometime.
The being known as Beelzebub laughed maniacally as he peered into the fiery waters of the Lake to the Surface World. Yes. This one called Alan Scott could prove most entertaining.

"Yes. Come Alan Scott, Sentinel, to MY city! I'll give you everything you ever wanted, but it will cost you! And the price will be too high for even you to pay!"



Author's Note: I do hope you enjoyed my first foray into the world of Alan Scott. You'll notice that I have elected to continue in the direction set forth by Chris Barr. When I first heard the Sentinel was available, (and before I read Chris' first issue), I thought of moving Alan out of Gotham. Then, I read his story and saw that I wasn't the only one who liked the idea. Hopefully, I'll be able to maintain the dignity of one of DC's finest Golden Age heroes, while moving his fictional world forward. Does that mean I plan on ignoring his storied past? Absolutely not, but rather expound on it, and at the same time, introduce new characters and settings for him to interact with. Where possible, I will use existing characters to portray certain aspects of Alan's psyche. At other times, a new character may be employed to accomplish the task, but either way I hope you'll follow along for the ride. The Emerald Knight is returning strong for a New Millennium!

Thanks,
David Marshall

 

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