The Punchline; Its not Funny...

February 17, 2018:

Hal gets the unfortunate privilege of letting Starfire know that Kyle Rayner is not coming back for her.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Kyle Rayner, Batman, Alice Walker, Thor, Superman, Syn, Martian Manhunter

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

After the visit with Professor Zoom's victim Alice alongside Thor and the others Jordan cut out early to return to the Watchtower, he knows tonight the monitor duty is assigned to Starfire. Never a fun task, hours upon hours of 'watching' alerts and satellites, picking out which threats look like something the Justice League should tackle. A lot of the Leaguer's like to pretend it is punishment, it is not, especially if you ask the stranger ones, like Martian Manhunter and Batman who almost appear to enjoy staring at all these screens for hours and hours.

Jordan delivered by elevator is on the observation deck. It's smaller consoles allow a person to drift from one to the next without being considered 'shirking' their duty.

"Knock knock?" Hal calls out, he is trying for humor but he knows how this may go. It is not a funny affair.


Starfire does not find it punishment either, but for other reasons. Starfire is forced to sit still and yet do something that -requires- remaining still. The paint-stained Gotham Sports Jersey is hard to read The 'G' is mostly visible in the crinkle as a foot is on the desk, toes being painted with polish, the toe-wedge divider between each to keep the light wiggles from smearing the paint as she rocks forward with every tiny blink or blink.

Pupil-less emerald eyes will go wide, narrow, and back to the grind of her own personal mani-pedi, the 'spa' bath is even plugged in beside her chair while the mass of flame hewn hair is up and knotted into a bun that would give most migraines due to the weight. Starfire bares it like Medusa, except her smile is far more bright when Hal announces himself.

A kick off the console desk and her other foot is trying to slide the 'spa' out of visibility. The polish set aside and her hip props before it in her stand to hide it, arms folding over her chest to act casual…

"Do we have to knock and announce the sound now on top of our clearance?"


The announcement of Green Lantern 01 followed by a string of Justice League authorization code that Hal considers gibberish has become something he is so used to he has forgotten about. It's background noise that just isn't even heard by him anymore.

"Oh yeah." Hal manages with a chuckle and a rub of his neck, it's Kori's smile that has his heart sink, his eyes divert in their white recoloring under that emerald domino mask.

"A foot spa? You realize you are on duty up here?" Not that he has not been known to pop open a screen to television and some popcorn with feet up, no, he is just teasing. Got to lighten the upcoming impact after all. "How are the scanners? Paris still there?"


Starfire's smile does not fully lower, the spa that she is standing in front of is glanced down to, the shift of eyes is demure even as she tucks a stray strand of hair behind her ear to look off and away while her fingers are deftly working to close off the polish bottle.

What stops her motions of 'feigned innocence' is Hal's gesture. The sweep of palm to the back of his neck, the flash of white, the way his face crinkles around the mask, she knows that well enough when a Green is hiding something hard ad it is against their better… Will - while they parse through it. Find delivery.

"Did I miss something? Did I… " Star took his words as a hint ad she is quickly smearing the keys in still-damp nail polish to search over Paris in a pivoted point…

Nothing, It is a casual afternoon there despite the darkness here, hovering among the stars.

Star's cheek is pulled in, teeth clenching as she is moving to another screen, almost toppling the nail polish, but catching the Milky Way paint before it spills over the console desk. "What did I miss friend Hal?"
"…X'hal…" Breathed out as she taps through and is even trying to find an altering in coordinates of the whereabouts of J'onn's..
The Ship of the Occupying Yellow…

Slowly the cling of her smile, the afterglow of it is even fading as she looks on and moves back to the screen of the satellite relays orbiting Earth, her eyes narrowing. "What… did I miss… I swear it was not a distraction I do it all the ti—-," A pause as she turns to Hal. "Just… a few… Okay, every time."

But she is focused on him, too much to fidget or lose her focus upon him as she slowly turns to fully face him with a look that portrayed concern, and yet was awaiting a punch line!


"No no! I am sure Paris is fine. That was a joke. The nails and stuff is fine too." Hal says trying to ward her away from the monitor projection with a gloved hand, "Just trying to make you laugh a little." Before I tear you down - he thinks to himself.

"Seriously you are doing nothing wrong. Good job even. You're top notch in this whole… watching things happen." It is about as thrilling as it sounds.

"Well, friend Kori. This is not going to be easy for me." He admits, actually moving over to sit on one of the console's, up on it and with his backside on the projector the 3D display fades out, just casting a glow out from underneath him where able.

"You might want to just pop a seat too? I don't know. I'm no good at this crap."

Punchline incoming… slowly…


Starfire's smile has disappeared now, and when she turns to face Hal and he is moving as he is - to place himself on the console desk, between herself and the monitors her eyes rise when she pivots on her bare heel and faces him.

Eyes that are normally seen as pupil-less in their emerald cast reflect him like a mirror before he can see the pupils, more a mossy color, rising in the backdrop. A (fore)shadowing as her brows dip and the smile is a faded memory while she watches him carefully. "I do not feel I should sit as it would be a waste Hal Jordan, of the Green."

Her face says ready for a fight, her voice and her words… On the other hand, waver as arms fold over the Goliath's Jersey that is spattered in paints of Technicolor and smeared in a reminder, but despite several washes and a couple months have not gone away - but the fabric has been tumble-dried to comfortable, /sleep worthy/.

"Just rip the duct tape off," Kori states, but her eyes almost focus -through- Hal as if she wanted those screens now, more-so than ever.

Her throat fluxes in the long, slow, and dry swallow when her lids finally drop and shadow her gaze from him. "I was a Tamaranean Princess. I can take it."


"It is… a human thing is all Kori. For some reason it is something we tend to say when we are about to deliver bad news." Hal goes for blunt.

"Tear the band aid off. That might be what you meant also." Jordan corrects her, his hands dropping down to rest on his knees, thumbs rubbing back and forth.

"I had an instructor, back when I was first learning, used to say, "Almost always… " A noise escapes the man and he abruptly climbs down walks across the observation deck and kneels down, twisting a screw that's apparently loose only to slide it open and pull out a bottle of Jeremiah Weed. Hefting it up he looks at how much is left in the bottle and measures with a finger. Adjusting to reach in he pulls out some Styrofoam cups and walks back towards Starfire, "Lets take a drink first, yeah?"

Sure, punchline was meant to be incoming, it is apparently not yet.

"You know, I was a Princess once too according to grandpa Jordan. That doesn't mean I can take everything thrown at me. Sometimes, you know, a kick to the guts is a kick to the guts."
Hal begins pouring himself and to her, setting it down on the console. "Tell no one you seen this, especially Batman or Superman."

"Drink? I hate to drink alone. The moment I start drinking alone it is time I stop or at least start attending AA."


/Human. Thing./ Those two words stick with Kori as she looks at Hal and the sucked-in part of her cheek is released, the outer corners of her eyes slowly begin to drop, that feline mirth dissipating as he tries to iterate the 'human' customs to her while he mentions bad news.

Almost always…

"… what…" A whisper attuned to the level of Hal's small noise after those words.

"Almost always… What…?" Kori is no longer laughing, angry, pensive… Her hands are twisting in the jersey and the only expression she can bare is one that almost makes the figure 'always alguht and aloft' seem like a sagging marionette, ready to take the blow and impact as empty as she can so she can get back up.

Tension even drains as she watches Hal go for the bottle and fill cups, watching, and yet while she is waiting and trying not to tun his words into the white noise of an oncoming train-wreck - Kori is recalling where she put the flask Syn gave her.

Syn, Valkyrie, Protector and Friend of J'onn'z.

The thought has her sucking in a breath and focusing on Hal while that cup is offered and for several heartbeats he is holding it alone.
R Open air is heated by Kori's approach, a weight lifted. "Duct tape holds better, seals out fluids it is like my Pl—- It works better."

Aside from her simple fact, though, Kori lifts the drink slowly and speaks, deliberately. "Almost. Always…"" Kori's eyes look back towards the monitors now, not at Hal, his body language is something that bothers her more than his words.

The cup is downed, the cough held inside her throat.


"Duct tape is one of man's greatest inventions, I agree." Hal downs his cup and is already pouring more. Teeth being sucked on as he lets the drink burn it's way down his throat.

"Don't worry about that always things, I was attempting to be profound or insightful and really, that is just not me.' A sigh and he motions with a fingertip at the Goliath's Jersey, "One of Kyle's?" He asks, both brows dipping up almost high enough to peek over the mask he wears.

"Gotham teams are shit. Every sport." He grins, his cup hovering by his lips.

"Pull time…

"Kyle is not coming back, Kori. Dude has been reassigned out of his home sector for unauthorized engagement with the Sinestro Corps. Most likely right about now he is headed to the Rann-Thanagar nonsense going on. And… you're yeah… " Drink now being slammed. Full empty just like the man's ability to be that sympathetic delivery guy, he really is quite terrible with women.

It is no delay for him to begin re-pouring, zero hesitation as hes filling those cups again, more in them this time.

Hal glances up only enough to inspect her expression to reactions. He is waiting for it.


Starfire is holding the cup out, empty between herself and Hal. When he asks about the jersey Starfire smiles. and some of the spatters across it are met by her fingertips, matching perfectly, like a ghost… truly…

But more true than she knew until…

"They may have lost the last game but I looked for the videos and the final shot was…"

"… Wha—-…?" During that game she was in recovery. Kyle was trying to forge an alliance.. One that hovers the former Sinestro ship in their Sector in wait. A slow look to the screen where she had pulled up the Yellow Lantern Transport for observation, the second (over) filled cup is drained in the drag of her gaze from one screen to the next.

The cup that dropped to her side and tipped was not begging for the refill Hal gave her, in fact slowly it dripped back out, to the floor much like the nail polish she had knocked over in her scatter and does not bother to notice as the 'Milky Way' is about to leave a forever stain in the watch Tower's Observation Level Counter-top.

"He said he promi- … he lo."

For long moments there is silence, the cup tipping face down to empty the contents and she curls her fingers into the flask and melts through it with a heat that even snaps the band holding her hair into that Medusa bun upon her crown. There is a slow inhale, one that pushes out Kori's chest while the synthetic and 'man-made' cup melts to liquid between her fingers, stained in lacquer and dripping plastic that hardens before it even hits the Deck.

"Human thing," The exhale is shaky as heated tawny skin of her profile glistens and then dissipates, sapped by humidity in the lofting climate. "Right."

Band-Aid, not Duct Tape.

Punchline. Not Finale.
Not sold on that.

"I'm what, friend… Hal… Not human enough?" A flick of fingers as the melting slag of a cup and his stashed alcohol spatters the screens relaying… Stillness, serenity. But not at all what this room holds.

"I have promises *I* made… I'll keep.." A look towards Hal that is only a brief cast before she hides behind the descent of her hair, unfurling like flaring whips around her face and down.

But after? "That Valkyrie gave me a flask I intend to finish, first." Starfire turns, pauses, and with that look back to Hal her whole body shudders as if a frame in a move was abruptly paused then fast forwarded, scattering sparks from her frame. "Almost thought I was fired…" And with that..

Starfire leaves the observation Deck.


"I… hey, I'm sorry. Guys really are trash you know and I mean, speaking from experience we're not always good with this sort of thing, sometimes and just… " While he stammers as if searching for suitable excuses and failing hard, Hal is leaning back and lifting his chin high. Almost like Kori may burst in to flames and catch him too. Warily he is watching her wanting to comfort somehow, just, he is ill equipped at this and burning like a star or looking like she is about to? No. He isn't going to be the one to play hug the supernova.

"Star… Kori, yeah, just… you do you. If you need someone to talk to or to take you out to find something to beat the snot out of, hit me up." A long exhale, Jordan shakes his head and walks to the observation deck's large open window to the Milky Way galaxy, a lift up of his drink, a toast;

"The clouds may float across the sky."
"The bee may kiss the butterfly."
"The sparkling wine may kiss the glass."
"But you my friend… "


Green Lantern 2814.1 takes a long swig of his bourbon staring in to space aware of his own reflection gazing back at him from the corner of his eye.

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