The Flash: Terminal Velocity, Chapter 17: The War Wagon

by Hitman 44077

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Central City, nearly a millennium from late May, 1987:

The young woman with long brown hair stood inside her home, looking outside a window at a city that was still foreign to her. It’s hard to believe that this is the city I lived most of my life in, she thought as she remembered her previous life. I’ve come full circle, and I’m not sure if I’m glad for that.

The young woman placed her hand on her stomach and closed her eyes. I wanted so much in my life. I wanted a future the way I desired, and I did have it for such a short period of time. It’s too cruel for things to be this way, but I have one lasting reminder of the life I desired–

Suddenly, an earthquake occurred within the confines of the future city, and it shook the young woman from her thoughts. Though she wasn’t in danger of losing balance, she did brace herself for the duration. Almost as soon as it started, it ended, though the woman was still surprised.

That was very strange, the woman thought with concern. Earthquakes aren’t supposed to be a problem here, but over the past few days, they seem to be happening with more regularity.

Within seconds, a middle-aged man and his wife entered the room where the young woman stood. “Are you all right?” the man asked with concern for the young woman as the elder woman hugged her.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” the young woman said as her thoughts turned back to the conversation the three of them had several days before.

“Dear, both of us are glad you’re OK,” the middle-aged woman said as she released her hug. “Aside from the bizarre weather a few months ago–”

The young woman was shaken as she remembered the strange weather, among other things tied to that. She closed her eyes, fighting the tears that began building, and eventually placed her hands over her eyes as the tears finally dropped. “I don’t want to talk about that,” the young woman managed to say through her grief.

The middle-aged woman realized the error she’d committed through her words. “I am so sorry,” she said with remorse. “I didn’t mean to remind you of that. I know it’s still hard, but eventually the pain will fade.”

The young woman slowly regained her composure as her grief reignited her desires of the previous days. “I can accept the fact that I can’t change that particular event, but I refuse to just sit back and let the Flash die,” she said strongly.

“We already discussed this — there is nothing that can be done for the Flash. Not now, and not ever!” the man said sternly. “Time isn’t something to be toyed with–”

“And that’s why I’m standing here, right?” the young woman asked critically. “There has to be a reason that the archive continued to change headlines.”

“I’m not entertaining this any further,” the man said in anger, though his concern was evident for the young woman. “It’s a blessing and a curse to survey what one has no control of, but the ultimate responsibility is to never interfere, unless it concerns our time.”

“It’s not even worth discussing with you two, is it?” the young woman said angrily.

“You’re here for a reason,” the middle-aged woman said, trying to calm her daughter down. “You have a second chance–”

“What good is it if I can’t make it count?” the woman yelled before walking away. “I’d be better off dead rather than just watch someone else that I care about die!

The woman walked toward her room as her parents stood in shock at what transpired. “I can’t get through her, Fran. I wish I could do what she asks, but it’s just not possible,” the man said to his wife.

“Eric,” the middle-aged woman said, “she has so much going on within her now. Nothing is going to make her accept this except watching her own life move forward, especially with the new responsibilities she’s going to have.”

The couple slowly hugged, feeling shared pain for their daughter, even as another earthquake hit, and as it quickly faded. “I just hope these quakes end soon. It hasn’t been like this in years,” Fran said.

“I think it will. But this has me puzzled, too,” Eric said.

As the couple reflected on all that had occurred, elsewhere, near a street in the future Central City, the ground slowly turned white-hot. A longer earthquake occurred, even as the white-hot ground continued to shake.

Finally, the ground stopped shaking, but slowly a white-hot, molten-yet-rocky hand thrust from the white hot street, as if it was rejected from the very earth. Another hand thrust from the ground, and together, the two hands pulled a massive white-hot creature from the earth.

The creature, not sure what it was, stood there until its sight located a lightning-like symbol from far away — a symbol of the still-standing Flash Museum. The symbol ignited a long-buried hatred within the creature, and it began lumbering slowly toward the symbol that it hated.

***

Back in the twentieth century:

Day four in Central City began as Manfred Mota stood by one of his warehouse windows to watch the sun rise. The day has come, he thought as he managed a small smile of content. Everything I’ve done has led to this. I just need to play this final encounter the way I’ve envisioned, and I will finally have what I’d sought for so long — the end of the Flash.

Mota wailed away from the window and addressed his three accomplices, who stood waiting for his orders by the many hostages they’d taken over the course of the past several days. “My friends, it is time,” Mota said in a serious tone.

“Good,” Doctor Alchemy said, ready for action.

“I’ve waited as long as I have for your good, Barry, and I’m ready to kill the man who took you away from me,” Lady Rogue said to the man she thought was her former fiancé.

“I’m glad you waited. Now all of us will attain the revenge we want,” said Ross Malverk acting as Barry Allen, speaking truths that Lady Rogue did not fully realize.

“The three of you will load the hostages aboard my vehicle while I place myself within my armored suit,” Mota directed, motioning to a tank-like war wagon. “I’ll speak to you all once the hostages are in place.” The villains did as Mota requested and secured the hostages aboard the war wagon. Mota placed himself in his suit of armor and planted several small bombs all over the warehouse. Once all was complete, Mota made his way to the front of the war wagon where the three villains stood.

“The two of you know what to do,” Mota said to Doctor Alchemy and Lady Rogue. “Any questions?”

“Nahh… we already know where we’re going to meet up, so we’ll keep things real interesting for Mr. West,” Alchemy said.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Mota said with a glint of eagerness in his eye. “It’s time we were on our way. Let’s go, Barry.”

“Coming,” the scarlet-costumed Ross said as he and Mota entered the war wagon.

Doctor Alchemy and Lady Rogue entered their van and left the warehouse first on the final leg of their quest to strike at the Flash.

“This is an incredible vehicle, Mota. How’d you pick this thing up?” Ross asked.

“I had my methods and the motivation, Ross,” Mota said, as he started up the war wagon. “But enough of that. It’s time to end this game with the scarlet speedster.”

Mota drove his war wagon through the garage door of his warehouse, and when enough room was put between them and the warehouse, Mota detonated the explosives that lined the warehouse. All that was left were flames and little else, even as Mota drove himself, Ross Malverk, and the many hostages to a secluded spot to wait for the completion of Doctor Alchemy and Lady Rogue’s task.

***

The sun had barely risen when an elderly groundskeeper for the Central City Cemetery arrived for another day of work. Upon clocking himself in for his workday, the groundskeeper began to survey the lands within the confines of the Cemetery. “Every day it’s the same old thing. Clock in, clock out, and just maintain the place. Still, I wouldn’t give it up. It’s hard to keep a job in today’s world, and I have no plans on spending my last years among the unemployed,” the groundskeeper mumbled as he continued his job.

Within seconds, the groundskeeper spotted something odd from the corner of his eye. “What’s this?!” he exclaimed as he moved toward the site that had caught his attention. The groundskeeper walked toward the site and could hardly believe his eyes. There, without any signs of work, was the grave of Barry Allen. The big difference was that the coffin lid, as well as the six feet of dirt that had held the coffin in place, was nowhere to be found, as if it had never been at the site. “Oh, Jesus!” the groundskeeper said in shock over the sight in front of him. The groundskeeper didn’t waste any time. He made his way back to his office, where he immediately phoned the Central City Police Department.

***

Elsewhere, within Central City Police Headquarters, Darryl Frye sat inside his office, the lack of sleep noticeably holding him on edge. It was all he could do to drink coffee with the added stress of the kidnappings. We learned nothing from Desmond, Frye thought, disgusted at the lack of leads he’d hoped to discover by this time. Who on Earth could hate Barry Allen to this extent?

Frye slowly stood up and walked toward a wall, where a picture of Barry Allen, along with himself, Frank Curtis, and Mack Nathan when they had ventured on a fishing trip. Frye stared at the picture as a slow smile appeared on the captain’s face. That was an adventure, he thought as the memories flooded back. Barry had his act down pat. He was too slow to reel the fish in, or so we thought. He could have as easily just grabbed the fish from the water, but he was careful, and he got wet that day. “Slow and steady” was his motto, but he was more than anyone could have guessed.

“Captain,” a younger officer said, knocking on Frye’s half-open door, “Uh, I don’t know how exactly to say this, but there’s someone that needs to speak to you over the phone. It’s urgent, and I mean big-time.”

Frye turned from the wall as the memories faded, and addressed the officer. “Thanks, Tucker,” he said as he walked back to his desk and picked up the phone. “This is Captain Darryl Frye,” he said into the phone.

On the other end of the phone line, the groundskeeper spoke. “Listen to me, Captain,” he said frantically, “something really sick has happened. I can’t even believe it myself!”

“What is it?” Frye asked with seriousness.

“Look. My name’s Andy Tucker. I work for the City as a groundskeeper at the Central City Cemetery. I got to work this morning, and… oh, God, it’s just horrible,” the groundskeeper said, trying to keep himself calm, yet failing fast.

“Was there some vandalism?” Frye asked, noting that once in a great while, someone would have some sick kick on vandalizing gravestones.

“It’s much worse than simple vandalism, Captain,” the groundskeeper said. “There’s been a grave-robbing. Someone stole the remains of the Flash!”

“What?!” Frye screamed into the phone, the words spoken by the groundskeeper ringing inside his head. “I’m on my way! Don’t touch a thing!”

“I won’t. Just hurry,” the groundskeeper said as he hung up the phone.

Darryl Frye hung up the phone. Dear God, this has truly turned into some sick game! he thought as he ran toward the door of his office. After leaving the office, Frye rounded up several officers to help him in this latest piece of the puzzle. As the officers made their way to squad cars, Frye walked toward a phone and picked it up. He needs to know. I just hate to be the one that tells him of this, Frye thought, frantically dialing the phone number of Wally West.

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