The Sacrifice... (CVnU)

Justice League Alliance Moon Base...

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Superion is dying from Chrysonite poisoning. A radioactive element that destroys the solar energy in his body, then destroying his cells one at a time in agonizing pain. There is a way to save him, Apex knows. But it will mean the cost of his own life. Humans may be a lot more resistant to Chrysonite, but there's a lot of it in the chamber where Superion is. A trap layed for him by Nemesis. A Lesson. Don't mess with her.

Apex walks into the chamber, quickly shutting the door. The power ring is working overtime trying to protect Apex from the radiation. But, this trap was set by Nemesis and she knew precisely how much radiation could overcome the ring. And besides, she made sure that device that manipulates time sped up the ring's charge. Apex has minutes at most before the charge in his ring runs out. He uses what is left to free Superion. But the core is headed for a meltdown and Apex cannot leave without trying to repair it. Normally this is not a problem, but Nemesis kidnapped several hundred civilians and trapped them on the Moon Base. If Apex leaves, they die. And Superion is in no condition to save their lives.

There is no choice. The ring's charge is almost gone, so he takes it off and whispers to it, "Search for someone worthy to bear this ring. Train them with the on-board training program I input in you. Go." The ring flies away, searching Earth for a worthy bearer.

Apex immediately feels the extreme levels of radiation eat at him even through his suit. Even now it's not too late to turn back, but Superion is still recovering. He's even mustering enough strength to beg Apex not to do this, to let him. But Apex touches the glass wall separating them, "I have to, there's no other way. Goodbye my friend."

"No...NO!" Superion tries to open the door, but the command inputs won't work and he doesn't have enough strength yet to bust through the reinforced glass.

Apex turns around, walking into the core and it's own radiation combined with the Chrysonite is absolutely deadly. Theron's body begins to tremble, but he pushes on until he gets to the core. He begins using the tools he brought to repair it but it's hard going. He pushes past the pain that radiation is inflicting upon him and focuses on his job. There are lives to save and he will not fail them. He ignores Superion's continued pleas to stop and the computer voicing a successful repair job.

Apex turns around and falls on one knee. His life flashes before his eyes. The pain he has suffered, the training he underwent to serve justice. His wife Rene and how he wishes they could have lived a full life together. He loves her to this day and misses her more than anyone can imagine. Hawkshade, a man he wishes he could have gotten to know better as friends. The possibility of falling in love with a woman again, gone. Children...a happy life. A Suicide Slum free of crime, but now nothing more than a smoking crater. Apex failed in his mission, but as the man falls over he smiles. Nemesis will pay, his contingency plan will see to that. There are no goodbyes to be said, this is the end of the Apex Predator.

Apex closes his eyes, finding peace in death that he never could in life. He dies a hero, saving lives. Hours pass before the radiation clears from the chamber and Superion holds his friend's body in his arms. His shoulders shake as his lip trembles at the loss of one of his best and dearest friends. But then his eyes turn red. Nemesis will pay, the kid gloves are off.

A New Hero is Chosen...

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In New York City, the Power Ring finds it's worthy bearer when Jessica Jordan takes a Chrysonite bullet meant for Paragon. Jessica's force field belt is enough to save Paragon's life and nearly ends her own. Keira resuscitates the one who saved her life. This selfless act of bravery is recognized by the Power Ring. It speaks directly to Jessica, it's power running very low now:

Jessica Jordan, you have the ability to overcome great fear, welcome to the Green Sentinel Corps.

Jessica gasps as the ring slips on her middle finger and her clothes re-weave themselves to a green, white and black uniform. "Whoa! Somehow, I think my life just got a little more complicated."

To Be Continued...