The Flash blinked and then saw a couple he knew very well. The man was blond with a crewcut, and woman was attractive with brown hair.
“Uncle Barry? Aunt Iris? How is this possible?” gasped Wally West.
Barry Allen smiled and said, “Think, Wally. Do I look like I did when last we met?”
Iris elbowed her husband and smiled. “Now, don’t assume everyone thinks like a police scientist all the time!”
“I get your point,” said Wally. “Your hair styles, clothes, age, and general appearance are like those Barry and Iris had years ago like when I first met Barry, before you two married. Is this some type of illusion?”
Iris touched his face gently and said, “It does not matter. It is a chance for us to see you again and tell you that we are proud of the man you’ve become!”
“We’re also proud of the hero you’ve become,” added Barry. “You carry my old name well. I am very pleased with the care you’re taking of the legacy of the Flash. Jay would be as well. My friends are equally proud of you. Hal needs some encouragement, though. Will you be there for him as a favor for your old uncle?”
Wally smiled. “Of course. I wondered about the dreams I’ve had in which you appeared. They’ve given me a lot of encouragement, too. Will they continue? There’s something I need to tell you. Fiona is in trouble, and I failed to help her!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Flash: Speed Trap.]
“You will help her,” said Barry. “You never let me down. Remember what I said to you once? You’re my hero!”
They faded away, and Wally saw his friends Green Lantern and Wonder Woman again.
Meanwhile, Nubia had been confronted by Diana, the original Wonder Woman, who greeted her with open arms. “Hola, sister!” Diana said as she embraced her warmly, smiling her winning smile. Nubia tried to make sense of what she saw.
“By Hermes, what trick is this?” gasped Nubia. “You cannot be Diana. She is neither spirit nor woman. She lives as an infant!”
Diana laughed, and Nubia frowned at the sound. It was the exact same, warm laugh the original Wonder Woman had possessed. If this was a hoax, then it was a very good one.
“Nubia, I know you doubt your senses, but believe me, I am your sister!” said Diana. “I want to tell you that I am appreciative that you took my mantle and my crusade in Man’s World. I came to love that troubled place during my time as Wonder Woman, and I never wished to leave the world outside of Paradise Island undefended from avarice, aggression, and hate.”
“Diana?” said Nubia hesitantly. “If this is truly you, then I ask your forgiveness. I have not carried your role as well as you did. I am too different from you. The taint of Mars still drives me to act without the virtues you embodied so easily.”
Diana laughed again. “Oh, Nubia! Hera alone knows how many times I grew frustrated with my own performance. I did quit once. I cast aside my tiara and even gave up the name of Wonder Woman for a time. (*) Still, I returned to the role just before I met you for the first time as an adult and tried to do a good job at representing Amazon virtues. (*) You are doing a wonderful job. Don’t confuse being different from me with being a bad Wonder Woman. I admire your spirit and passion. Donna will come around, too. You both have become women of strength, courage, and compassion. I do suggest that you do not shut out the world too harshly. Open up even more to J’onn. He is a good man. I also would like to see you make friends with ordinary people. They will enrich your life! And take care of mother! She is too hard on herself, and I was also wrong to be so cold to her, too. Tell her I am sorry.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Wonder Woman’s Last Battle,” Wonder Woman #179 (November-December, 1968) and “The Second Life of the Original Wonder Woman,” Wonder Woman #204 (January-February, 1973).]
Nubia blinked and saw empty air as the Flash and Green Lantern also began to see clearly again.
Green Lantern had experienced his own vision. He faced the red-hued alien. “Abin Sur — the man who made me a Green Lantern!” he gasped. “This has to be some delusion!”
Abin Sur grasped his arm firmly. “Your ring would not lie. It tells you I am real. I am here to tell you that your doubts are your worst enemy. You are not Parallax. You shall never become that man. Your noble light will always shine brightly. You are the best and brightest of the Corps. You honor my name by your every action. I did well in finding you, Hal Jordan. The green light does not lie. Look within it and see that I speak the truth!”
“This may be a mental projection caused by the natives of this world,” said Hal. “They may be trying to stop us from removing their idol, but it feels so right! Abin Sur, I am a man without fear, but I do fear using my power the wrong way. I do fear becoming Parallax!”
“I tell you that such a fear merely proves that you shall never fail in that manner,” said Abin Sur. “You are our brightest knight! Never doubt that. Never forget that I picked you and have total faith and pride in the man you are. I do say to beware of the days to come. An ancient evil seeks to claim you as his own!”
Green Lantern blinked and saw his friends. How much time had passed was difficult to say, but it felt as if a heavy weight had been removed from his shoulders and his heart. “Thank you,” he whispered.
The three heroes faced one another and then glanced at the wreckage of the ship.
“Did you each experience a vision?” asked Nubia, her earlier brashness now subdued.
The Flash nodded and said, “Yes, but it was reassuring. If the aliens drew those mental images from our own minds, then they based them on what we needed to hear. I’d call it a gift from them and not an attack.”
Green Lantern agreed readily. “I think they have withdrawn for now. My ring does not detect those vibrations from when they made contact before. That gives us time to work.”
“Shall we take the astronaut and begone?” asked Nubia. “They seem to worship him.”
Green Lantern smiled. “I have a plan. I believe we can save him and still let them retain their idol. I’ll need a bit of speed and muscle from you each. My ring can do the rest of the job.”
In minutes, the Flash, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern had beamed the suspended animation chamber up to the medical ship; however, they had constructed a reasonable replica of the foggy-glassed chamber that now rested within the wreckage as the real one had.
“Nice job, G.L.,” the Flash said. “This way our bodiless alien pals can keep their idol. Their lack of experience with the physical should allow the copy we made to serve their needs as the astronaut did in his chamber. The new chamber we made and the power ring construct within should keep them satisfied.”
Nubia smiled and said, “Indeed, Green Lantern, you have proven to be a man with true resourcefulness, and compassion as well. A lesser man would have merely taken the victim away and disregarded the aliens and their needs.”
“Thanks,” said Green Lantern. “Those words mean a lot to me.”
Back on Hospital Starship One, the computers offered thanks to the heroes, as did the restored astronaut. He was a bear-like being named Ursak, and he growled his appreciation as the trio departed.
Green Lantern carried his friends away from the medical craft and realized that the aliens had sent the visions as a thank-you of sorts. They had sensed his desire to help all involved. He felt much better about his future and considered his efforts well-spent.