ST: Now it’s time to Run.
Wally West has never been more right in his entire young life. It’s time to run. The moment that ‘it’ happened, he was on the run. Whether he knew it or not. The Speed Force isn’t just any form of energy, it has the potential to alter time and space. It has been known, in the past, to be the flow that turns the tide. The United States created Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E to monitor ‘potential.’ At first it was simply potential threats, but eventually it simply became potential. Potential Threat that they could deal with or Raw Potential that they could utilize. Then Lex Luthor became President and the word Potential was once more redefined.
More aptly. Potential Threat was redefined. Rewritten. No one denies that this world has been turned upon it’s head. Bruce Wayne, dead. Clark Kent is gone. Arthur Curry deposed. Hal Jordan disgraced. Lex Luthor lauded as the greatest hero in the world, that the world has ever known. While President Luthor monitors all threats to his life and legacy, there is but one threat he cannot ‘forsee’ because it has already happened. Changing the Past is the greatest threat to Lex Luthor, to N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and the world they’ve created.
He doesn’t even know it, but the moment that Wally West started to run? He could never again stop.
His name is Percival Change, but his friends call him well.. nothing, because he doesn’t really have any friends. Mostly he’s called Agent Grunge. Today he has shown up at the Central City Police Department with all the credentials needed cut through the red tape in getting a tour of the Precinct of the Crime Lab. It’s during this tour that Percival is able to stage a meeting with one Wally West. Central City’s ‘best and brightest’ in the field. They Police Chief sends Wally up to the Roof for a ‘Photo Op’ with the DC Guy, while mournfully hoping they don’t lose Wally to that big Task Force….
“Mr. West. It’s a pleasure to meet you, we’ve been looking for a guy just like you for our team….”
Just as he reaches for Wally’s hand, the most incredible thing happens. A batarang from out of nowhere (pun intended) sinks about three inches deep in to Agent Grunge’s hand. Don’t ask how or why the Batman is there. Focus instead on the Woman above him. She’s the scary one.
Cassie: Scary. Honestly. Up until a a few months ago I don’t believe that’s a word that’s ever been used to refer to me. The people that knew I had powers certainly weren’t afraid of me, but then one of them is my Mother, the other’s probably my best friend, and the third and original? The only person that I know that actually outclasses me, and has a moral code or lack thereof that actually does make him scary. Scary also isn’t a word you would normally apply to someone that let out the entirely undignified squeak that I did about fifteen minutes ago on board a private jet when I found myself faced quite suddenly with a looming Batman over my shoulder.
Scary might have been the point where I nearly punched the looming Batman through the side of the jet, but I’d managed to rein that impulse in. It’s not a good idea to interrupt any girl’s watching Pretty Little Liars, let alone to sneak up on her like that. Especially when she’s Wonder Woman. Tempted as I had been to fly myself the rest of the way (and get there faster), I had to change still. Suiting up into the spangly red, with bits of armored gold that right now I suppose might look pretty menacing. No one wants to have a woman glaring down her nose at them with hands on hips. Especially not one who’s hovering in midair and apparently brought Batman with her.
“I would not touch him, Mr. West. Agent Grunge here was about to make you an offer you wouldn’t have the opportunity to refuse.”
Wally: When the batarang seemed to come out of nowhere and strike the hand of one Agent Grunge, it was like time stopped. Wally could see everything. But it was just for an instant. So, when the batarang finally struck and sank into the hand of Agent Grunge, Wally was already on the move. Becoming nothing but a blur of lightning. That lightning would go down the stairs, come back up, circle the Agent a few times before coming to a skidding stop. In that short few seconds, Grunge would be tied up with tactical assault rope and hands cuffed.
Though, now his clothes were slightly singed and smoking. His favorite pair of shoes now much less whole than they were. Turning to face Batman, then to Wonder Woman, he backs up a moment. “What’s going on?” Wally asked, lightning dancing out of his eyes as he stood his ground. “Don’t you two have like, world saving things to do?” Wally was fast. And had the potential to be faster. But, right now. Two costumes just stopped a dude in a suit who was supposedly about this new task force.
The problem with Wally at the moment is that he’s still learning to control his speed. More often than not putting everything into full speed rather than slowing down and learning. It’s caused quite a few spectacular high speed crashes. Wally joined the CCPD to make a difference, to see if he could figure out who drove Barry into the speed force, and control the information that goes out into the public about Flash.
ST: I’ve seen a Superman fight. I’ve seen the Woman above me throw down in full ultra high definition. I’ve read the notes. I’ve studied the files of my ‘Father.’ Not one of those things prepares me for what I am witnessing. Or rather, the complete lack of what I’m witnessing. Wally West is fast, I knew that coming in. Fast is an understatement. Only the fact that I’m wearing a Wayne Tech enhanced suit allows me to track the after-image of the Flash as he momentarily disappears, only to re-emerge with the trappings needed to secure Grunge.
“We are saving the world. Right now. Agent Grunge works for a secret government agency that catalogs Meta-Human abilities. He’s here to collect your’s. Or collect you. Either way.”
Wonder Woman was completely correct. It was going to be an opportunity that Wally wouldn’t be able to refuse. One way or the other. A fact which begins to become utterly clear as the Agent chuckles over the histrionics. He doesn’t even have the humility of letting the tactical rope hold him. One of his arms begins to shift, to change… literally becoming tactical rope itself. The other arm begins to shift as well, becoming even more dense and bladed. Akin to the metal of the handcuffs, which snap only seconds later.
It only takes the detective in me a glance to know what’s going on from the files. “He can bond with any element he touches. When he does he picks up all of the properties of it.”
But neither the Flash or Wonder Woman need me to tell them that at this point. Not when they can see the guy morphing in to a mish-mash of Tactical Rope and Titanium Alloy. Wally is fast, but what even I’m not seeing? Is the fact that the Grunge is also bonding to the roof. As he does so, he controls it while he’s in contact. Sending it up at Wally’s feet in an effort to slow him down.
Sorry, Kid. Nothing personal. You probably don’t even know how dangerous you are.
Cassie: Holymoley. ‘Batman’ over there is fast. For a normal person. That’s not meant to be condescending but as much of an exemplar of human capabilities as my friend is, he’s that. A normal human. I’m fast, and getting faster as I push and test my limits. Comparing me to to Superman, or to Freddy Freeman is about like comparing myself and my caped friend here in a footrace. They’re super fast. Then there’s what I just witnessed, or partially witnessed. More like didn’t witness. Wally West is like if you take all the degrees of the rest of us, multiply that together and then square it. It’s incredible. Not just the obvious effects on his clothing. It’s like the world around me skipped a beat, and something wasn’t, and then was, in short order.
The Speedster’s question gets a short, almost amused snort of laughter out of me, and Batman answers with what I was about to say while I’m doing so. We are saving the world. I already believed that I was, and that coming out here and talking to this guy would be important to do so. Now? Yikes. As much as I still try to not have some sort of agenda that I’m corralling people into, because I’m not NOWHERE. This is and should be about free will., but… I cannot let them get their hands on him. They get to Wally, convince him, turn him, coerce him or force him? Use this power in some way? No one else is going to have a prayer. No matter how hard I fight.
So I just get to look all… I don’t know. Regal. And incline my head in agreement with Gotham’s hero. An expression which turns into concern as I watch what Grunge is doing. Well. That’s…great. And getting greater by the second as the very roof under us (well, under them) starts to shift and alter. So, a fight it’s going to be. I’m sensing a building trend here.
Punching titanium, even if it is lower density than a lot of things, may not be the best idea. Neither do I want to batter up and hit him with anything else he can absorb (though I think he’s already probably gotten hold of about the worst thing he could up here). It takes no wind up for me to accelerate forward with a whipcrack of air behind me, driving my shoulder into the rope shifted arm, hopefully coming in at an awkward angle for him to take any sort of bladed swipe at me.
Wally: Wally watches with a look of amazement and horror as Grunge takes on the material of the cuffs and rope until he’s fully change. “Amazing!” saying as he speeds out of the way of his grasp. Fighting on a rooftop wasn’t really ideal. “Sorry. I suppose I shouldn’t gush how amazing the bad guy’s power is.” zooming away from Wonder Woman’s “Um. We should probably move this off the top of a roof! Pretty sure the whole CCPD isn’t going to be happy with us fighting a supervillain here.” explaining, as gestured.
“Don’t you have some kind of bat-bad guy-spray, or something?” asking as he looked to Batman while he watched Wonder Woman fight the big bad guy. “Argh!” getting fed up with at the speed this fight is going, Wally starts running circles around Grunge. Every pass Batman would see that his clothes were shredding, but something replaced them. A dark red costume would be seen, even if it’s just an after image. The roof isn’t designed for this kind of speed, and it was clear Wally hadn’t even reached his peak.
The air around Grunge started to shift, slow at first then building until Wonder Woman would start having problems flying against it. Almost like flight right into a headwind, or a tornado. First, rocks and little bits of debris start slowly lifting into the vortex, then parts of the actual concrete starts giving way and going into the vortex. All the while, Wally keeps running in circles, picking up speed.
“The roof is giving way!” shouting to his new allies “Supergirl I need you to move him to the new location! If you hit him at a ninety degree angle, your mass and speed should be enough to knock him into the abandoned building, where Batman can use his Bat powers to do … whatever it is he does!”
ST: Nothing at all stops Wonder Woman from doing exactly what she wants. Nothing. Because it’s exactly what Grunge was hoping for. One of the Heroes to actually come in close to duke it out. Wally gave him such a wonderful weapon to use against such a tactic. That winding tactical rope that works now like an extension of Grunge’s physical self. She lowers her shoulder. He accepts the impact. Grunts. But only part of him ‘gives.’ The part that is now more or less all tactical rope. It encircles and encompasses Wonder Woman.
Heh. I’ve been thinking ’bout all the fun we could have with you tied up for a couple years now. Tell ya what, you stay right there and we’ll play when I’m through talkin to Officer West here.
Whether he’s sporting the Cape and Cowl of Batman or the facemask of Red Robin, he’s no idiot. Putting himself right in to the fray is a quick way to end up dead. So he’s up, quick, on to the air conditioning unit for the building. Covering his movements with that long, flowing cape. It may be perfectly day light, but it affords it’s own concealment. Allowing him to dig in to his veritable bag of tricks.
The Flash is making more than one really good point. Not only is it probably bad to be fighting up on the roof of CCPD, but there’s also the question of what Grunge’s machinations are doing to the structural integrity of the entire roof as he uses it against the Heroes. Well. Less heroes plural and more, just the Flash himself. Neither the Batman -or- Grunge actually realized just how fast Wally is though. Turning the roof in to a tar-pit doesn’t do much. When the guy can run to fast to sink in to it.
To Wally’s credit? Batman isn’t arguing with the plan of action. His only addition to the action? Is the small pellet that he throws out when Flash begins to move. Only this isn’t a smoke bomb for Batman to ninja-vanish with. It’s liquid nitrogen. Which instantly reacts to the fluidity of the roof to temporarily render it frozen at the point where Grunge is in contact with the roof. With Wally’s efforts and Grunge’s connection to the roof brittle… if Wonder Woman actually does what the Flash suggests, it just might work.
Cassie: “If you can talk and fight at the same time, then by all means. Gush away.”
I have a feeling as fast as he’s moving he can do both, and play a game of chess the next state over, stop for a snack and do a few other things that strike his fancy in between. He’s also not wrong about the location of the fight. The rooftop isn’t great. Anywhere with a population or bystanders to get crushed in the fallout is definitely less than ideal, injuring officers looks even worse for the ‘good’ guys. I’m not exactly here to prove NOWHERE right for their tactics, or aims. Quite the opposite.
There’s no satisfying thud, no collision that moves him though in part I expected that, connected to the rooftop as he seems to be.
“As much as I’d love to hang around and beat those inappropriate fantasies out of you again later…”
Eugh. Really. Any other situation and I would probably have been already shuddering in disgust. Somehow I don’t even entirely doubt that it’s something he’s conjured up to throw me in the moment. I have been a known entity that’s equally off limits almost since the moment my powers turned on. But only because it worked for them. Timothy Drake can handle himself, human or not, and Wally has clearly not been actually bogged down by Grunge’s efforts.
The gritted teeth is more for what I’m dealing with than Wally getting my name wrong. But really. Supergirl was something I specifically avoided. Sidekick connotations, or even some sort of familiar connection to the Superman something I’d been trying to not call up. Restricted or not, it doesn’t actually stop me from flight, which means that I can still maneuver just with a tether. The pellet, the shouted plan, it all sounds like it’s got a reasonably good chance for success to me. The frozen and brittle structure of the connection, the amount of force I can generate. Whether it counts as shouldering him again, or just going airborn is debatable. Either way I’m moving and taking Grunge along with me, angling for what will probably not be the most graceful of landings on the abandoned structure. Possibly into it.
Wally: When Wonder Woman shoulders into Grunge and goes with him, Wally skids to a stop ontop of the roof as he looks down and sighs. “The Chief is going to kill me!” shaking his head, he turns to Batman. “Sup-er, Wonder Woman can handle Agent Grunge for a minute. You have some explaining to do.” pointing a scarlet clad finger at the man dressed in a bat outfit. “What the HELL is going on?!” asking as he starts zooming around the roof doing his best to put things back where they are while continuing the conversation with Batman.
“Can you super people schedule appointments like regular people?! I’ve got a Meta i’m dealing with here who can infect computers with his brain.” explaining as he continues zooming about the roof. The conversation taking all but a couple minutes. “Alright. Time to go! I’ll fix this later. If I can. I think.” zooming over to Batman, he picks him up with ease and then travels over the side of the building. But they don’t fall, they stay stuck to the roof as he hauls down the roof and onto the street. Paper and garbage whipping behind them, Car Alarms going off as they run past them.
Batman wouldn’t feel anything, except being carried. The world around him would seem like a blur. Just streaks of colors as they arrive at the block in just under a minute. Running into the building, he’s able to open the door, go through it and close it behind them. Seeing a giant hole in the ground, he skids to a stop, smoke coming up from under his feet. Putting Batman down he lifts a brow.
“Wait, This isn’t that weird group that keeps trying to tag me, is it?” asking, curious.
ST: Crouched there on the air conditioning unit, ‘Batman’ listens to the Flash as he holds most of a conversation with himself in the speed with which he’s talking. Good thing the two ‘supers’ came here prepared because otherwise this would be a whirlwind in more ways than one. As it stands the truth is, Tim Drake was prepared for Fast, but this is actually ridiculous. The man’s living in the span of a rabbit’s heart beat, if it was even possible to keep up with him what would even be the point?
“Cliff Notes: Grunge works for a government sanctioned group that ‘tags’ people with extraordinary powers. Those they deem to be a risk to society are dealt with. Those they deem safe are either recruited or monitored.”
Keeping it short and sweet is the only real way to give the guy any sort of information. Trying to give a more complete explanation right now would require him to slow down to a crawl, by his standards. Which is not the goal of this endeavor. Batman doesn’t want the Flash to slow down, he wants him to speed up. So that he won’t get caught. The problem is. How do you explain that in as quickly a manner as possible? You don’t. Not when ‘as quick as possible’ is still a snails pace for this guy.
Could Batman stop himself from being absconded with? There’s a good chance we’ll never know because he actually doesn’t even try. That’s far less important than explaining two other small points. “…. technically… Grunge is not a Super Villain. We. You, Wonder Woman and I, are the ones breaking the law here. And. For the record. She can handle almost anything. But. She can’t handle him.”
All that Batman hopes is that Wally got all that while he was being carried over to the abandoned building. The sheer vertigo of spacial displacement? Results in a very. Very. Un-Batmanly reaction. He’ll rejoin the fray a few moments later, when he’s done barfing and thanking the Ancient Greek Gods that Damien isn’t here to see -that-.
Why can’t Wonder Woman handle Grunge? It’s actually real simple. You see she let him keep hold of her. Tactical rope and titanium hadn’t done a whole lot of good. But that Golden Armor all over her? Well. Part of him is touching that. It’s all wrapped around her. She’s using it as a tether to pull him along. On to, even in to the building. Good plan. Civilians are safe. Cops are safe. Wonder Woman, is not safe. At one point she’s slamming him through walls, duracrete, steel beams, concrete slabs.
Then. Her tether tenses. Well. Actually it changes, getting more dense. Stronger. Heavier. Until he’s more anchor than passenger and her momentum forward is all too suddenly turned against her. Tether becoming fishing hook. With Grunge as the one at the end of the line who pulls her back. She’s been bit before. Bruised. Punched with Brute Force of a Superman. This is different. This is ancient warriors metal, that has helped her blunt those blows before being turned against her. Pulling her in. Releasing her…. just as she’s punched with every ounce of force mustered by the density strength of her own armor. Like lobbing a softball up to hit it with a bat.
Don’t worry, Wonderbabe, we’ll talk about those fantasies later. You ain’t who I’m here for.
Cassie: It’s impossible to keep a firm handle on what everyone else is doing here. Teamwork is something I’ve been trying to work on, but the truth is I don’t have an awful lot of field experience despite my title and public status. My resume is getting better, and I’m still training with Conner but that’s working with someone with similar, just stronger abilities than mine and a few extra on top. Wally’s far faster than me, reaction time better, and Tim’s loaded for bear with all the Batman things that make him a veritable toolbox for any and every situation. I’ve got brute, blunt force, and the ability to take a hit a whole lot better than either of them is going to. Which is important given the state of our opponent just now.
Which just got worse. Blue eyes widen as I get hauled back in towards Agent Grunge, and then sent sailing. Not just sailing. That simplifies things and makes them sound a lot less painful than what actually just happened. Taste of my own medicine I guess you’d call it, and it sends me careening through the parts of the building I hadn’t already crashed through with a ‘oooomph’ of air getting knocked out of me. Tumbling and bouncing end over end until I collect myself enough to do something about it. At the speed I’m going? That’s a fair distance, honestly, and I right myself with another whipcrack of speed and sound up into the sky.
Saying that smarted was an understatement, but adrenaline blunts it to a degree. It’s definitely not enough to stop me from flying back into the fray again. Fine. You want to use my gear against me? Two can play that game. Only one of us can play it a whole lot better than the other.
In theory anyway. NOWHERE had made that weapon in the first place. They had all kinds of theories about what it could be used to do. None of which seemed to actually have been workable for them. I’m assuming because they were lacking one important part of the equation. Divinity, or the blessings of it. I’m like a Grunge seeking missile on the way back in. A touch of my hand all it takes to uncoil my own ‘taser wire’ as Conner had called it. It’s more backup than main plan. Just in case Grunge shifts into something besides the sparkling material that had originally made up the legendary Golden Fleece.
I aim my anger and frustration crackling through it, into him but that’s more distraction in the sparks. I don’t think it’s going to actually hurt him. Not when he’s apparently made up of it. I’m not actually trying to electrocute so much as control.
Wally: Things were going from bad to worse as Wally see’s Wonder Woman just completely clocked by Grunge and sent sailing. But, then she’s back and with some kind of electrical rope. Wally didn’t believe much in religion, in gods or what have you. He was a man of science, like his Uncle Barry. Science was what made this world go round. It’s what gave Barry his powers and access to the enigmatic speed force.
Wally’s running around making sure the entire building doesn’t just collapse under all of them. He could probably get most of them out, but that wasn’t the point of this. The point is to put Grunge down. “Hold him! I think I have an idea!” yelling out before running out of the building in an instant. Wally isn’t running away, he’s reading an attack. Something he’s only used a few times to beat enemies that normal hitting methods didn’t work. Running out of the city, he circles around and charges back towards the building. There’d be a loud crash as he breaks the sound barrier.
All of Tim’s readings on Wally would start sky rocketing as he continues gaining speed. You see, Newton came up with a series of laws that’s used to govern physics. And so far? Newton hasn’t been wrong at all.
‘The net force on an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by the acceleration of the object.’
What does that mean in laymans terms? When Wally runs back into the abandoned building, It means when Wally punches Agent Grunge. He’s packing enough force behind the punch that it’s on equivalent of Superman’s (not Conner) punch completely letting go and not holding back. The actual science behind it is amazing…but right now, that’s not the point of all this. The point is to knock Grunge out before getting stronger. Wally wasn’t sure all what he could absorb. But, he was pretty sure pure force wasn’t going to be something he can absorb.
ST: What’s a matter baby, you need a safe word?
Grunge isn’t just a Meta-Human. He’s a prime. One of the few that are considered equally useful, destructive and unstoppable. Not to mention trained to fight. Taught for decades to use his powers in combat. One on one he’d take any of the three. Maybe even if this was the real Batman. In his mind there’s no question. This is something that sets him apart. On the surface his actions are those of a ‘Super-Villain’, but what puts him even further in to a unique space? He doesn’t think that. He’s not out for World Domination. He’s not motivated by Greed. There’s no thirst for Vengeance or desperate Need for overcoming his opposition.
Put simply? Grunge thinks he’s the Hero. He believes that he’s the one doing the Good Work. Saving the world from people just like these three. He’s willing to fight. Even die for his belief. If his unique power set and augmentation didn’t set him above the normal bar, then his beliefs would. He’s willing to put Cassie down to save the world from the Speed Demon and he’s winding up to do just that… when the most peculiar thing happens. He stops. Stops cold in fact. The moment that her taser line makes contact with him.
‘Wonder Woman’ made a bold gamble, but it pays off. Grunge is by far stronger and more durable than most anything in the world right now. This fight was about to go a very bad way. If only he had known, that he was absorbing the strongest material on the planet. Which obeys the will of the Gods. In the absence of a full-blooded one, it would seem that Cassie’s got the divine spirit enough to make him pause. In any other time, any other place, that might not be enough to stop her from being yanked in again and punched out of the state.
But. This time she’s working with someone that just wound up like Babe Ruth and called his shot from the opposite side of Central City. Grunge’s jaw almost swivels off of his face from the unmitigated force of the blow. So much in fact, is the impact, that only Cassie’s command to ‘Stop’ keeps Grunge from sailing in to the air himself.
… and perhaps for the first time in Wally’s life. He’s going to find out how quickly his body can repair shattered bone. Because his knuckles just collided with a mystical metal that had been commanded to a full stop. Agent Grunge is down. Down and out. Left laying. His unconscious form reverting to it’s human state. Just in time for the three darts to hit his bare chest.
“Well done, you two. With Grunge off-line they’ll send a retrieval team. We cannot be here when they arrive and you both need medical attention.” Where -was- the Batman during all of this. Wally brought him along, but he seemed to take little or no part in the entire battle. “Mr. West, we’re here to help you but you’re under no obligation to come with us. If you do I can get your arm treated and she can give you answers.”
“Either way. You’ve got to make a choice quickly. Because the people who come after Grunge? We’re not ready for. Yet.”
Cassie: “Nope, and I’m not giving you one.”
I don’t know if I’m amazed that it actually worked, or if I find the situation just a little bit funny altogether. I mean, it would be comical to the audience if this was a movie. Big bad cocky bad guy, who’s only the bad guy because we, the protagonists of this little hypothetical movie, are acting in opposition to him. Not only is he being a Grade A pain in the butt, he’s sexually harassing our heroine. In a way that I don’t doubt would be followed through given opportunity. But things that had been passed off as myths before clearly actually are more than that. At least where I’m concerned. He tries to move, only his body which is currently made up of Fleece, as well as wrapped in it, obeys me. Not him. It’s likely a very good thing that I’ve got only the best of motivations or that might be a highly dangerous toy to play with. As it is, I think it’s not something that ought to be highly publicized with the other things roaming the world right now or threatening to. It may not only be me that can wield it.
In a way, it all works even better than I might have hoped. Grunge is stopped, and out of literally nowhere comes Wally. I maybe get an instant more warning than Grunge does, and after that? Grunge isn’t seeing stars even, I don’t think he had a chance. He’s just a dead weight crumpling heap in the same instant that I’m cringing from the sound of breaking bones that makes me suck in air.
Oh. There’s Tim. Tranqs I assume, to make sure he stays down now that he’s there. Before Batman even has a chance to issue his warning though, my brain was processing the ‘we need to get the heck out of here asap’ instinct. Because this just isn’t going to fly for any number of reasons. NOWHERE doesn’t like being thwarted, they just haven’t had enough experience with it to get USED to the feeling. I, and Batman, have also just acted in direct and public opposition to one of their agents. I’m not sure how much success my goodwill is going get me in spinning this. There’s a look of concern on my face as I step over Grunge’s form towards Wally, but also urgency.
“This isn’t something either one of us wanted to force you to decide on quickly, but then Grunge beat us here. And he’s right. We’re not ready.”
I actually have a red and rapidly swelling eye, something that the image alteration built into my costume doesn’t actually hide. Not that I’m looking at my reflection to realize it. I just know I’m only really seeing well out of one side of my vision just now. Secondary and really minor concern in the grand scheme of things. I’m also aware of how ominous it probably makes a situation sound to say that Wonder Woman and Batman are ready to get the heck out of dodge because this is bigger than them.
Wally: Bones shatter like glass dropping on the ground. Wally’s never felt it before and happens so that not even his nerves have time to register the pain. Or, if it did, it was so that that even he couldn’t keep up with it. “I can feel the bones coming back into place already.” saying as he zipped around the abandoned building, making a makeshift splint and sling. It’d do, his bones will heal in a few hours. Or, at least, that’s his theory. Most of what he’s doing is based on the laws of physics. No matter how absurd they seem.
But, Wally listens to Tim and gives a nod.
“I’m in. Though, first. I’ve got my own problems to deal with. There’s a man terrorizing the city with some kind of tech based power. He’s able to override and control it. Like, a sort of technopathy.” looking at Grunge for a moment, then back to Batman. “I’m the only thing this city has that can stop him. Help me, and i’ll help you two.” offering a trade. “I can’t let him continue to terrorize my city. Your Batman. I’m sure you have a gadget, or a theory of how to do this.” explaining. Normally, Wally would start nerding out. But, at the moment, he couldn’t go with them.
“If you can find him. I can take him out, or Wonder Woman here.” thumbing over to Cassie. “His name is Kilgore. Take him out, and he’ll be locked away in Iron Heights for the rest of his life.” Kilgore had a vendetta against the city, they hired him to make their infrastructure, but canned him before the project could be finished. And then, he got super powers. “He’s already killed at least two people, and more if we continue, or rather, I, continue to do nothing.”
ST: It must seem like an eternity. The time spent with me looking from Grunge to Wonder Woman and then back finally to the Flash. I always feel about ten steps ahead of everyone else, so I can’t imagine how it feels to actually -be- ten steps ahead of everyone else. The literal physics verses the metaphysical psychology of it taxes my understanding of how the world works. Once more I’m struck by how Bruce prepared me for this moment by introducing me to the world of Meta-Humans by having me meet them outside of their costumes first. That is really the only thing that humanizes them for me as I’m struck once again by how very not-human each new one seems.
“Localized electro-magnetic pulse, in tandem with a synaptic inhibitor,” he’s right, I do know how to handle the power assortment that he’s describing. “I have the components in with me, but you’ve got the order of priority here backwards… we need to go… or you won’t be around to use the tech against Kilgore.”
A finger points in to the direction of the sedated Grunge, to keep Wally focused upon what is actually important here and now. “I won’t hide while innocents are hurt, we’ll help you. But. None of us are going to be here to help anyone if we’re here when Superboy and his team arrive.”
The Flash and Wonder Woman can continue having their discussion if they want, but those are the last words I’m going to speak until I’m out of this building and safely inside the lead-lined Jet, with a cloak. Their last sight of me will be the swish of black cape before I disappear in to the shadows, in order to make my way to a roof where the Invisible Jet can swoop in to pick me up. When we started this endeavor, I knew Cassie could fly but the rest of us? We need a mobile manner of staying off the grid. I also needed a way to keep it off the corporate radar, so I put it in the only name I could think of that has absolutely no sane reason to such a thing.
Cassandra Sandsmark, the Wonder Woman. Owns an invisible Jet.
Cassie: We already knew he’d been out protecting his city. That’s also how NOWHERE knew to come looking, after a sufficient number of blips on their radar. That’s exactly the kind of person that I want to help, too. I mean. That’s kind of the entire point in what I’m doing. Well. The ultimate point. The more immediate one has a lot more to do with why Batman and I want to get this show on the road as quickly as possible, especially with how this has just played out. I know how fast I could have gotten here from Metropolis. Which means I also know exactly how quickly the ‘Advance Guard’ could show up. Wally’s incredibly fast, but you have to know something’s coming to avoid it.
I hadn’t really come here intending to ask for his help, just to make sure Wally West was aware of and protected from NOWHERE. As much as he could be. But since ultimately I would have asked for that help? I’ll take it. I would want to help even without that but now? Just is not the time.
“We will help you.”
Even if it’s just a gadget that Batman’s able to lend or deploy, and me playing the muscle but I’d rather let Wally do the legwork himself. Not because I don’t want to go to the effort but. It’s his city. His people to protect. I’m not trying to be the biggest kid in the sandbox stepping on people’s toes. A flick of a finger points at the cowled man beside me as he supplies the ‘how’ to solve the Flash’s current problem.
“I can’t beat… Superboy.” Yeah, sure we’ll keep that old distinction to separate him from Superman. As if they’re different people entirely, and not admitting openly that Superman is ‘on the payroll’ so to speak. “And it won’t just be Superboy after that. We probably won’t even get to make the attempt before we’re dealt with.”
Yup. As ominous as it sounds. If I weren’t trying to impress the seriousness of the situation on him, I’d probably try to lighten it a little by mimicking a sound and gesture that Tim had made to me once, what feels like a very, very long time ago but was really only just a couple months ago. Fwaaaaaaaash. The sound effect that goes with Conner’s eye lasers.
“Only until they’ve finished sweeping the area and left. Then we can take care of this Kilgore. If we do it now? It’s only that much more likely he’s just going to get added to NOWHERE’s roster to be used against you. And in the meantime, we can make a plan and answer any questions.”
A fact that will probably happen regardless but we can only hope on the timing. Feet leaving the floor, I start to extend a hand to him, only to switch which one to the side of my field of view that hasn’t just finished swelling shut. Great. That’ll be fun to try and explain at school in the morning. Rogue cheerleader’s high kick maybe. Offering him a proverbial ‘lift’ to safety.
Wally: There’s a pause as he considers it.
“Deal.” saying as he listened to the pair.
Wally had already considered all the options, and with the seriousness of what they said? It was probably a good idea to vamoose while ahead. “We’re just leaving him?” asking as he looks over at Grunge. “Maybe once he realizes that he’s working for the bad guys, he’ll turn around.” saying, though he follows the rest up to the top of the abandoned building where… there is nothing.
While Wally didn’t like hiding, it sounded like that was the best option for now. “I expect details.” saying when he looked to Wonder Woman, who was housing a nice looking black eye. “Alright. Let’s go. So long as we stop Kilgore soon. I can wait.” it wasn’t something he *wanted* to do. There was a lot to think about right now, this new organization, Superboy, it was just so much.
“What’s on the agenda next? Just sit and wait with our thumbs twiddling?” asking, lifting a brow. Whatever it was, he knew it wasn’t much of a choice. But it was the right choice to make.
ST: The ‘Invisible Jet’ is actually just what it sounds like. A personal jet, built for luxury. One of the Wayne Corp type with the sleek wing style, forward cabin type. Seating for six in the mid-cabin. With a small facility that was once a bar, that is now outfitted for medical care. Then a bunk-room, which was formerly the ‘Captain’s Cabin.’ Aka the rich owner’s bed room. It’s still a bedroom, but where it was opulent before it is now a little more utilitarian. There are all the comforts of home or rather a small mobile base, without the lavish extravagance. Unless you count the equipment. Like the light refracting system that effectively renders the plane invisible. The lead lined alloy keeps it not just off the radar but out of the line of vision from prying eyes. Let’s not ask what function this was going to serve originally.
Once Wally has joined he’ll meet the Pilot. Because Alfred Pennyworth also doubles his pilot duty with field medic. Despite having the knowledge myself, I’m not even close to Alfred’s skill. “This is Penny-One. He’s part of the ‘team,’ so to speak. He knows more about … well, everything honestly, that all three of us combined.”
Really, sir. You needn’t really buoy my ego.
Draped behind that long cloak allows me to properly ‘loom’ while keeping out of Alfred’s way as he tends to first Wally’s arm, then Cassie’s eye. Though Alfred won’t force assistance upon either of them he has a certain way with the Wayne medical tools. He can at least assist the two of them with pain relief. In the mean time it gives me opportunity to put to work the brief ‘Power Point’ display on holographic displays for the Flash to listen to. He said he wanted information? That’s my half of this discussion.
“Agent Grunge, I use the term Agent lightly, is a member of a clandestine government agency that is employed and empowered by President Lex Luthor. Like I said before, they are lawfully charged with the duty of keeping track of Meta-Humans, Aliens and Extraordinary Technological Advancements. They were originally sanctioned shortly after World War II to catalog ‘Mystery Men.’ Over the intervening years their charter has expanded.”
“Following the Parallax Event, they were given the duty of protecting the planet from…” For the first time since meeting Wally there is actually a fractional hesitation, before I actually point at him and Cassie. “… people like you and her. This measure passed through the Congress and Senate, thanks to Luthor’s broad discretionary powers because the world believed that Heroes caused as much collateral damage as the Villains did intentional damage.”
“They’re indiscriminate Mr. West. They’re as likely to imprison you as someone like this Kilgor you spoke of. Simply because of the potential danger you pose. Even if you’ve never committed a crime yourself. What’s more is that they’ll go farther than imprisoning innocent people. As you’ve just seen yourself. People who manage to get themselves deemed a exceptionally potential threat are either recruited for their ranks, cataloged for further study and/or get …. retired.”
This is where I take the moment to gesture for Wally to look at one of the displays. I assume he can read the files I’m displaying there as quickly as he does everything else. Which means he’ll have the opportunity to read Bruce Wayne’s file on Barry Allen. The Fastest Man alive. Until the fallout from the Parallax Event, when Luthor feared Barry might do something stupid. Like go back in time to ‘fix things.’ Suddenly N.O.W.H.E.R.E. was given the green light to recruit or neutralize Barry Allen.
“The original Batman was resourceful. He had contacts and connections everywhere. One of them is inside of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and has been secretly supplying me with information on their targets. That’s why we’re here Mr. West. To save your life and in doing so. I believe if Agent Grunge had actually managed to make contact with you? He would have been able to bond with the Speed Force itself. At which point, if you had declined their offer… you would have been expendable. Just like this man, Barry Allen.”
“There’s your information, you can look through the file and confirm that it’s the truth.” Pointing to Cassie, with what can only be described as a half-smirk. “Let me introduce you officially to … Wonder Woman. She just saved your life. It’s what she does.”