Buckley in Gotham

Buckley's Origins

{Written by: Lantern Landen}

From his office floor at Buckley LifeAid,  Michael Buckley gazed out over the sprawling mess that was Gotham City. Sirens wailed throughout the city and the Bat Signal illuminated the night sky, as was expected on a typical Gotham night. This night was different however, as the Dark Knight had not yet answered his summons. No doubt he was off saving the universe with the Justice League, once again neglecting the little guy. Sure, there were the newly arrived exobyte heroes, but they were untrained and sloppy. They made no real difference in street level affairs.

Michael had himself attempted to cleanse the city five years earlier when he started Buckley LifeAid as a "save the people" company. They would specialize in low-income families and people afflicted with disabilities, anything that presented a disadvantage. His plan was to systematically improve Gotham, section by section, year by year, and while he had been successful in the Diamond District, crime and poverty continued to grow in other areas of the city. With decreasing funds to maintain his business, even the Diamond District was once more beginning to deteriorate.

A sigh escaped his body as he pondered the effects his impending bankruptcy would have on him, and the city. With no income, he couldn't possibly hope to support his company, let alone himself. There were those interested in buying his company, such as LexCorp, but he had never trusted Lex Luthor, and there was no guarantee that any larger company would not slander the image he had established for the company. What then, would happen to the people who relied on Buckley LifeAid? Would they return to poverty and unemployment?

Michael stood from his chair and turned off his computer. He switched off the lights in his office and descended to the lobby of the building. On his way out, he nodded to the security guards, and, as always, thanked them for their service. As he left the building, he turned and took a long look at the towering structure. That's when he saw the Brainiac Harvester Ship descending from the clouds.

An eerie blue light originating from the ship began to envelop the skyscraper, along with several neighboring buildings. Michael stared on in horror as he realized the bubble was going to envelop him as well. A thundering crack boomed around him as a nearby building was split in two. He could only watch as debris began to fall his direction. Where was the Justice League when you needed them?

. . .

Michael awoke to unfamiliar surroundings. He desperately gasped for air and grabbed his throbbing head. He pulled his hands away only to find they were sticky from drying blood. His body ached from head to toe, making standing especially difficult. Despite the pain, he willed his body to obey his thoughts and began to look for an exit from this strange room. Seeing what looked like a door, he slowly limped towards it, only to be interrupted by a streak of green light that manifested itself in the form of a directional arrow and then a ball.

Cautiously, Michael reached out his hand to touch the emerald sphere, and to his surprise, it was solid and tangible. The work of a Green Lantern, most likely. Perhaps they were trying to show him the way out? Slowly, he began to follow the green light as it formed itself into a line on the floor, showing him the path to some unknown destination. Once or twice, the light flickered and died, and he was afraid he'd become lost, but it always returned, constantly beckoning for him to follow. For what seemed like an hour, he followed the light through Brainiac's ship, wondering what he would find at the source. At long last, the light returned to the caster, but nothing could have prepared Michael for what he was about to see. There, at the source, knelt a Green Lantern, as he had expected, but he was injured, bleeding from his side. The pink skinned alien lifted his head at the sight of Michael and spoke.

"Michael Buckley of Earth, I am an officer of the Green Lantern Corp and I require your assistance to complete my mission."

"Me? What can I do? I'm just an average human."

"Nevertheless, you must help me get off this ship. The one you call Superman is en route to this location, but he will arrive too late, I fear. No, you must help me. Do you have any kind of combat training?"

"No, like I said, I'm just a regular guy."

The Green Lantern's face twisted into what Buckley could only assume was a grimace. He struggled to his feet, and looked at his ring.

"Ring, how much charge do you have left?"

"Power level at 87 percent", came the response. The Lantern seemed to shrug.

"That will suffice. Earthman, I am going to encase you in a protective aura, you will not be harmed, and it will shield you from any harm directed towards you. See if you can locate a weapon for yourself, and then follow me".

"I'll do whatever it takes to get off this ship", said Michael with a newfound courage. He walked over to the wall and yanked a piece of piping out of the wall. A crude weapon, but effective. The Lantern began to leave the room, and Michael followed. They traversed down long corridors, but never once did the alien appear to be lost. At long last, they arrived at what he could only assume was the central control room. Suddenly, a mechanical voice boomed across the ship.

"Green Lantern, your will is no match for the Will of Brainiac. This world's culture shall be preserved through the select cities I am harvesting, and then the planet will be destroyed, much like yours. Surrender, and you and your companion may go free."

"I'll not give up so long as I draw breath, Brainiac. I will destroy this ship and then I shall help this human save his world. Never again will you commit such an atrocity as the one done to my homeworld. I will not allow it", rebuked the Green Lantern defiantly.

"Very well", replied Brainiac, "Guards, seize these intruders and then continue the bottling of this planet."

Hordes of Brainiac drones swarmed into the room like ants. One after another they entered, dozens after dozens. The Green Lantern entered a strange stance, preparing for battle, presumably. His side still appeared to be troubling him, however. The alien simply ignored this, and focused on standing between Michael and the machines.

A strange sensation flooded over Michael Buckley and he felt a great will to act. He could literally feel power flowing through his veins. A strange tingling sensation overtook his right hand, and looking down, Michael was surprised to see a Green Lantern Ring materializing on his finger. Looking at the alien, Michael saw a look of (presumably, he is alien after all) pure surprise upon his face.

"What . . .", began the alien. He was interrupted by energy bolts directed at them, fired from the Brainiac drones. The Green Lantern erected a wall between them and the robots, but Michael had another idea. Leaping over the shield, and landing on the far side, he thrust his ring hand forwards and a beam of pure will shot  out, cleaving one drone in two. He turned and did the same to another drone. Three, four, a dozen. Left and right, the drones succumbed to his will. They were no match for his power.

Michael was vaguely aware of the Green Lantern springing into action beside him. The two stood back to back, demolishing any drone foolish enough to come towards them, Michael with his energy blasts, and the Lantern with his alien constructs. More drones entered the control center, but met no better fate then their predecessors. The drones' numbers dwindled as emerald light bathed the entire chamber, fueled by their combined wills.

Once the fighting was done, Michael felt the ring leave his hand, evaporating into the air, but the strength inside him remained. The lantern looked at him quizzically, and opened his mouth, as if to speak, and then closed it again. Michael decided he would try speaking.

"What was that? How did I get a ring, and why don't I have it anymore?"

"In times of great peril, a power ring has the ability to replicate itself until the crisis is averted. Normally, it only reaches out to those with immense will, and today it seems, was no exception. You are no mere human, Michael Buckley. I think fate brought you to me today."

"The crisis isn't over though, Brainiac is still on Earth, so why did the ring leave me? What do you mean fate has brought me here?"

"I cannot say why the ring chose to leave you, yet I also cannot explain why the ring chose you in the first place. As for fate . . .".

The Green Lantern was interrupted as the wall behind him exploded in a brilliant ball of fire. Michael fell to the ground, but the alien stood his ground, raising a shield around the two of them. Michael struggled to his feet, attempting to see who is new assailant was. Gunfire ricocheted of the shield onto the walls, and muffled screams could be heard outside. Through the transparent emerald bubble, Michael saw a man in a powered suit fly through the whole. Raising his arm the man fired a projectile THROUGH the Lantern's shield. The tube rolled around on the ground and exploded. Michael fell to the ground, unconscious once more.

Once more, he awoke to unfamiliar surroundings. Twice today, this had happened, it was starting to get really irritating. To make matters worse, his head was throbbing again. Some remnant of strength still flowed through his body but it seemed to have lost it's prior potency. Michael attempted to rise, but found that he was strapped onto an operating table. He managed to turn his head and was sunrise of by what he saw.

To his left, the alien Green lantern, who seemed to be unconscious, also lay on an operating table, though the ring was missing from his hand. A thin, clear tube connected the two of them together, originating from either of their arms. A strange device was centered behind them, pulsating with a strange multicolored light. Michael noticed the tube was also connected to the machine. The door in front of him opened and in walked several scientists and a bald man in a suit.

"Ah, I see you are awake," said Lex Luthor, "I was told that wouldn't happen for another several hours. Well, there's no point in keeping you in the dark, Michael Buckley. Allow me to explain what's going on here."

"Where have you brought me, Luthor? Why am I strapped to a table? Why is the Green Lantern? Why did you attack us on Brainiac's ship?"

"You are in a secret LexCorp facility. The table is merely a scientific instrument, as is that tube connecting the two of you, though I'm sure you're aware of that. In regards to the ship, I didn't attack you or your alien friend. I saved you because I saw great potential. I witnessed the event with the power ring. I saw it appear on your finger. I think the alien is the key to this occurrence and I want to know how to replicate it, to save this planet."

"To kill Superman, you mean. You don't care about saving the planet. Everybody knows your scum, Luthor," said Michael.

"Contrary to public opinion, I do care greatly about this planet. I'm simply seeking power to combat Brainiac. Superman isn't even human, he has no place here. If he gets in my way, I will crush him, it's that simple," replied Luthor. He walked over to a nearby computer terminal and began typing. The machine beside Michael and the alien begin to hum.

"What are you doing, Luthor?", demanded Michael. The humming grew louder as he began to struggle against his restraints. Then alien, he noticed, still wasn't awake.

"I'm running a test. According to my scientists, you and this alien share some kind of bond. I don't like that. I'm going to discover the nature of this bond and find a way to use it to help mankind. And just in case your friend wakes up and resists, I've had the new S.T.A.R. Labs Emotional Dampener installed. He won't cause a problem."

Blood began to be drawn from both Michael and the alien, mixing together into the machine. The machine continued to pulsate, more frequently as the blood became constantly fed into it.  Louder and louder the machine began to hum, faster and faster it began to pulsate. The scientists seemed to be growing nervous. One of them walked over to Luthor and whispered something into his ear. Luther's face twisted into a grimace. After whispering something back, he walked over to the computer terminal again typed something else.

Michael began to feel drowsy. They were drugging him. Struggling to stay awake, he looked to his left again and saw the alien convulsing, as if he were having a seizure. His finger began to tingle again, and he began to feel the drug's effects wearing. The tingling spread to his entire hand and up his arm. Slowly, he felt his strength returning. The scientists were yelling about willpower spikes or some similar thing, and Luthor was nowhere to be found.

Michael's entire body began to glow green, and he thought he hear a voice speaking to him, telling him about the Green Lantern Corp. He glanced at the alien again, and saw that it's uniform was gone, and it had stopped convulsing. Was he dead? The sensation on his finger evolved into an intense burning and, despite himself, he uttered the Green Lantern Oath. All he could see was green light, and the machine was smoking.

There was an explosion of emerald energy and Michael Buckley found himself hovering, in the air, above the ruined operating table. The scientists had fled the room, but the alien's body was still lying on the table next to him. Raising his right arm to see his hand, he was astonished to find a Green Lantern Ring again. This time, however, he knew it was different. This time was real. The ring was his now.

Michael's mind flooded with information; different alien species, galactic maps, planets, more information than he could have possibly hope to comprehend on his own. The ring seemed to be storing the information for him. Michael began to wonder about the alien and he found that the ring gave him a detailed account of the alien's species, and since he was dead, burial traditions. The ring seemed to release a beam of light of it's own accord to form around the alien. Michael suddenly knew what he had to do to honor the alien's death.

Two Weeks Later

Michael, now simply calling himself Buckley, had already made a huge difference in Metropolis, helping the construction workers in Gotham City and Metropolis repair damaged buildings for the residents, stopping the all too common robbery and just generally looking out for the little guy. Batman had taken notice of this and requested his presence in the Hall of Justice on the Watchtower. Serious as Buckley had become, he still couldn't help feeling a little nervous about his upcoming meeting with the three premier members of the Justice League. Walk it up to the entrance to the Hall of Justice, Buckley took a deep breath and opened the door.

The Trinity were standing at the far end if the room, waiting for him to walk forward. Closing the door behind him, he began in their direction. The walk seemed to take hours. Upon, finally reaching the three heroes, he stopped, and bowed respectfully. Superman began to speak.

"Michael Buckley, Earth's newest Green Lantern, welcome to the Watchtower. By now, I'm sure you're wondering why you were summoned here instead of Oa to train with the Green Lantern Corp. The Guardians and I have come to an understanding regarding your training. They have programmed your ring to teach you everything involved in basic Green Lantern training, and once that's complete, either Hal Jordan or John Stewart will begin your advanced training. Your induction into the Justice League will be carried out by me, I'm going to be overseeing your growth as a hero. I wish you the best if luck, and now I believe Batman has something to say."

"I'm aware that you have started a company known as Buckley LifeAid and that it is nearing bankruptcy. I've contacted Bruce Wayne and he intends to buy the company from you and open up several branches all across Gotham and Metropolis. In regards to your assignments, I've noticed you tend to focus on street level events, so, primarily, all of your assigned missions will focus on that. There will be times when you are summoned to assist heavily in the War with Brainiac, but for the most part, your duties will keep you in the streets of Gotham and Metropolis. Someone needs to help the little guy", said Batman.

"Your first assignment will confront you with Gorilla Grodd in Metropolis", said Superman. "I realize you were experimented on by Lex Luthor, which resulted in your skin becoming pink due to the exposure to the alien's DNA during the tests. Naturally, I imagine you want to make Luthor answer for his crimes, and Grodd is the first piece if the puzzle in finding him. When we do finally expose Luthor, I will personally call on you to help me bring him in. Until then, you're needed in Metropolis. Oracle will contact you momentarily and give you an assignment. Welcome to the Justice League."

"Michael Buckley bowed once again, walked back to the entrance to the Hall of Justice. No matter how hard he tried to stop himself, he smiled. He was well on his way to becoming both a Green Lantern and a Justice Leaguer, and the founders themselves said they would let him focus primarily on the little guy. Plus, Bruce Wayne was going to buy and expand his company. Buckley had no idea what the future would bring, but for now, he was happy. Now he could help more people than ever before.