The Sounds of Silence
“Yeah sure, I’ll let Dick know. It’s his city after all. Two green guys welcoming him back - what an honor, amirite?” Kyle looked around the terminal again, fascinated by the general structure and hustle. Airports always fascinated him. He’d only been familiar with the ones from the late 80’s when he was nothing more than an infant. Once he got Green Lantern’d, airports seemed pretty irrelevant to him personally; but the life and energy in airports was nevertheless still exciting. ”You waiting for the flight to come in?”
“No,” J’onn replied shortly, his eyes now on the Arrivals screen posted high above them. “The flight arrived this morning. I was trying to find—”
J’onn’s voice was somewhat drowned out by the intercom loudspeaker in the airport. It was surprisingly loud, but perhaps people in this city were desensitized to loudspeakers. He chuckled to himself as a sedate female voice starting to speak by rote - “Attention flight passengers: Air Canada flight 634 to Toronto is now —”
The dull flourescent lights flickered in the terminal and everything stopped for a second. No - it was a nano-second, Kyle’s ring informed him, as well as telling him that the temperature spiked low for that nano-second; and he looked at J’onn in alarm, because he knew the Martian felt that blip too. Involuntarily, Kyle shuddered.
“Did you feel that?” Kyle asked. No. No, wait. His mouth formed the words. He was sure of that. He could even feel his throat working, and a space of breath from his layrnx.
It was really only then that Kyle realized the voices had stopped. The intercom, the people hailing taxis outside, the shouting of the TSA agent at the security check. All of it. Everyone looked frozen for a second (it was more like three seconds, Kyle’s ring informed him, but the ring no longer used words) and Kyle looked at J’onn again, grabbing his shoulder and tapping urgently at his own head, and then pointing at J’onn.
But the stout businessman’s face could not hide J’onn’s true feelings.
Panic. J’onn could feel it all around him. Rising panic. As the realization dawned on more and more people in the Blüdhaven airport that they have lost the ability to talk, civility quickly went the way of the dodo.
Passengers in line began pointing to their watches and menacing boarding agents. A TSA agent got into a shoving match with an unruly man. Two women began fighting in the duty-free store. Crying children clung to their parents in fear. Down the terminal a loud crash drew everyone’s attention. As it so often does in situations where fear runs rampant, the fearful reach a stupid yet similar conclusion. And it appeared that the people here have reached that same conclusion rather quickly.
Looting had begun.
“Kyle! Get these people back!” J’onn tried to shout. No good. His speech was gone. “Kyle! Get these people back!” J’onn shouted telepathically. His partner just looked at him, his expression unchanged. J’onn’s telepathy was no good here either. He could feel the fear, the panic, the anger all around. But he could not communicate with the people, or with his League teammate. This was no good.
Locking eyes with Kyle, the stocky businessman in the wrinkled clothes grew taller, his shoulder broader. Soon the Martian Manhunter stood where his disguise had once been. J’onn pointed to Kyle’s ring finger, then motioned to the looters down the terminal. The Lantern nodded in understanding, just as the sounds of breaking glass broke the silence on the other end of the terminal.
J’onn pointed to himself, then to the new outbreak of violence as he rose off the ground and headed towards trouble. Kyle gave him a thumbs up as he flew towards the original looters. ”This could get out of hand quickly” J’onn thought, “if we don’t -” He stopped short as a strange sight caught his eyes.