Let us begin our story with an introduction of Oliver Jonas Queen, better known as Green Arrow. Arrow was once a rich youth without much care for anything. Then one day he was marooned on an island by an enemy while at sea. On the island he gained more than survival skills, developing unparalleled skill as an archer and a newer outlook on life: to protect the oppressed from any corrupt system, or to “look out for the little guy” as he likes to say. After he was rescued, he sold his very successful company for three billion dollars and became a vigilante dressed as Robin Hood, and christened himself Green Arrow. Arrow has an arsenal of archery-based weaponry up to date with arrowheads ranging from explosives to boxing gloves, even kryptonite for reasons known only to the founding members of the league.
He joined the Justice League, an interplanetary union of superheroes dedicated to the protection of the Earth and surrounding populated universes, with hesitation, but soon grew to support the cause in regard for a need of a heroic force in the face of great threats. Not only this, but to keep the League honest in its actions on Earth with a human voice, along with Batman and the few members of the league without superpowers. The League has its headquarters in a satellite orbiting the Earth called the Watchtower, which is where our story begins.
While on the main deck, Admiral J’onn J’onnzz tuned to the news over the main intercom, broadcasting the league’s new involvement with the government as a chair on the president’s new committee on extraordinary affairs. The new committee would be called the Concord Committee, in honor of the government’s peaceful coexistence with the league and its members.
The news resonated on screens all over the ship, and a smartly dressed anchorman reported: “The founding members of the Justice League met with the President of the United States today in order to discuss the new committee instated for the interplanetary protection of the planet Earth. Critics are still skeptical over the involvement of the League and the ethic of their participation in government, however the President stated in an earlier press conference that ‘Now is the time to put aside earlier fear and doubt and accept’-Click. Arrow switched off the television in the workout room while Batman stepped into the room. “You disapprove?” he says almost sardonically while coming to stand next to Arrow.
“Somebody’s got to when were feeling a little too overconfident.”
“The President asked that we would become involved, and as of now, we are citizens of the Earth too; in order to keep Earth the way it is, we have to be the watchmen in the towers.”
There is an uneasy pause, and as if he knows what Arrow is thinking, Batman adds:
“Sometimes only trust, not judgment, is needed to keep everyone safe, Arrow.”
“And what do you trust in, Bruce?”
“That the good side will always win in the long run.”
Arrow smiled at this, and left the workout room mulling it over. Suddenly the alarm blared, along with a bright red flashing light.
“Here we go already” thought Arrow as he raced with Batman to the deck, “the riots probably got out of hand, or it’s some Cadmus accident, and after that Thanagarian invasion these fanatics will look for any excuse to…”
Arrow looked up and J’onn was already announcing the issue over all the present heads on the main deck when they got there, standing next to a platform with a holographic projection showing various red dots surrounding and converging around a single area. The familiar location had caught Arrow’s eye.
“Doctor Fate and I have felt the presence of a great too many instances of supernatural activity in the Nevada desert” J’onn explained skillfully “along with countless new disappearances in the same area. It may mean the reconnaissance before an attack, or some kind of trouble. I would like three teams of four at least to go and investigate this matter, and we will notify you of any changes that we notice from the Watchtower.”
Arrow, The Flash, Batman and Green Lantern volunteered for one search party, Superman, Captain Atom, Huntress and Kara in the second, and Izna, Wonder Woman, Black Canary and Captain Marvel in the third.
“Why so many parties?” wondered Arrow as he boards the ship for departure to Earth, “they hardly let us work alone on any small ET matters, as though we need to prove how professional we are by working in teams.”
The ship landed on a small plateau and the sun was high and hot in the sky. As the ship opened and group one stepped out into the desert, blustering winds blew into their faces. Arrow feels strangely pulled in the right direction, as though something was waiting for him.
“I say we split up” Arrow said immediately “we’ll cover more ground this way” heading to the right.
“Good idea” said Batman, walking off to the plateau on the left with a beeping device.
Lantern and Flash shrugged and went to investigate together in another wayward direction. Time passed by slowly and it began to get hot. Arrow didn’t find any thing after looking for several hours and decided to head into a very small, shallow cave for shelter and maybe some water, recalling he had learned how to survive in the desert when he was in the Army. In the cave he found no water and sat down with exhaustion and sighed. The moment he did, he fell onto a switch which hurled him into an underground cave. He looked around, and discovered that he was in a crystallized cavern with what looked like some old runes scrawled into the walls, and heard faint screams coming from them. Unfortunately, when he crashed in from the ceiling his entrance did not go unnoticed.
His musings were interrupted by a loud: “Who’s there!” A soldier with white eyes came into view with a green tarnished uniform that looked only slightly familiar to Arrow.
“Imposter!” “Declare yourself or be killed!” roared the soldier, facing Arrow with sinister white eyes, growing wider and wider with recollection as they peered at Arrow.
“Uh… sorry to barge in like this buddy” Arrow stammered, creeped out by this soldier’s haunting eyes “my name is Green Arr…”
“Your real name!”
“Oliver, Oliver Queen-” he corrected.
At this moment he punched Arrow squarely in the face, swiping at him afterward at every chance he got with tremendous force that seemed to dizzy the cave. Arrow returned as many blows as possible, barely fazing the ghostly soldier. He seemed especially angry at Queen for something, and Arrow wondered what the problem was.
After only a few bone-crushing blows, the soldier held Arrow against the wall by his neck and yelled “Traitor, do you remember my name!”
“N-No” coughed Arrow in the chokehold, gasping for air. The soldier threw him against the wall and turned his back on him, leaving Arrow to gasp for air as he reminisced.
“My name was Clint Elias Tanner, and we were in basic training together in the Army.”
At this Arrow gasped and looked up, recognizing the old uniform and his old comrade’s face. He remembered that Tanner used to be his best friend in the Army, until an accident befell him in the desert…
“No!” whispered Arrow
“Yes! We had survival training out in this desert together. Everything was fine until we split up; I went to find shelter and you to find food and water. We were to meet back at the red rocks but you didn’t come for hours, so I waited until nightfall. I decided to go back to the cave to get some water and head out to search for you, but there was a rockslide, and I fell into this cave to be crushed to death by rocks, because you never came back.”
“Clint, I’m so sorry, I was stupid and stubborn,” Arrow says slowly “I didn’t drink enough water and passed out from the heat, when I woke up I tried to find you, and…I…”
Arrow looked from the soldier’s dog tags to the ground from his seated position and was motionless and solemn.
“I was revived by the power of these runes that steal life force energy” Clint continued as though he didn’t hear him “and now I never have to die again as long as I have enough souls to feed the runes.” The soldier looks to Arrow “you will do just fine as a sacrifice.”
As the soldier reached for him, Arrow shot him with an arrow just below the rib, with rage all over his face. The soldier’s face registered with shock.
“You are not my old friend Clint Tanner!” bellows Arrow.
“Clint Tanner was a risk-taker, an individual, and he had a ring on his dog-tags-you don’t. Even though he could get in trouble for it, that ring meant a lot to him, so he wore around his neck anyway. Clint would never do this, and he knows I wouldn’t!”
“You are more perceptive that I hoped, but that will not save you” hisses the soldier, proceeding with the sacrifice ritual. Arrow was exhausted now from the heat and the fight and did a poor job of resisting.
“Ollie!” Flash shouts. Batman, Flash and Lantern all crashed into the cave, prepared to fight the soldier. Flash tried to get Arrow away from the soldier. “Ollie, you okay?” he says earnestly. In that instant, Arrow sees his old friend Clint.
“Wait!” yells Arrow to Batman “he’s mine!”
Both Lantern and Batman stepped aside, and Arrow went all out, using every boxing he knew in almost inhuman succession to take the soldier down. He knocked the soldier into the runes in the walls, which released the souls trapped in the wall. The soldier turned into a pile of dust without the souls.
Back at the Watchtower J’onn visits Arrow in the hospital ward to tell him that the spiritual activity in the area is back to normal. Batman visited just afterward with some words of encouragement.
“How are you holding up?”
“Four painkillers, feel no pain.”
“You did well.”
“Did J’onn tell you to say that?”
“No, gut instinct”
Batman left the ward, and Arrow smiled, falling asleep. In his dream he met in the Nevada desert with his old friend Clint.
“Clint? What are you doing here?”
“Sorry about roughing you up, Ollie, it was the only way to free the souls.”
Arrow raises his brows in disapproval and then smiles.
“You always were the smart one Clint”
“Just remember to drink plenty of water next time”
They both laugh. Clint shakes Ollie’s hand and walks off into the distance, yelling over his shoulder: “Thanks, Ollie, I owe you one!”