The Flash: Terminal Velocity, Chapter 20: The Tale of Manfred Mota

by Hitman 44077

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Doctor Alchemy and Lady Rogue stood outside the Flash Museum, watching as police cars arrived at the scene. The sirens and lights continued to run as the police exited their vehicles and drew their own weapons, aiming them at the two criminals. “Do these people really think they can stop us?” Lady Rogue said to her partner.

“Of course they do. That’s half the fun,” Doctor Alchemy replied gleefully.

Suddenly, another police car arrived, this time with police Captain Darryl Frye. Once the vehicle was parked, Captain Frye exited the car and took shelter behind it. By use of a megaphone, he issued orders to the two criminals. “Surrender now! If you resist, then we’ll have no other choice but to do whatever we can to end this!” the Captain yelled. For a brief second, the two criminals stood emotionless.

“Never!” Lady Rogue screamed back, ever defiant. With almost superhuman speed, she removed her flame gun from its holster and fired it at the police car that Captain Frye arrived in. Darryl had just enough time to move out of the vehicle’s path as it quickly exploded.

“Stop them by any means necessary!” Frye screamed to his officers through his megaphone. The officers complied, firing their many guns at the super-criminals, but Doctor Alchemy used his Philosopher’s Stone to transform the bullets into clay pebbles, which promptly fell to the city streets.

“Wanna try that again, boys?” Alchemy said with an edge of anger in his voice.

This isn’t something I expected, not after the problems at the cemetery, Frye thought from his somewhat-safe haven. Doctor Alchemy hasn’t been seen in months, and that woman looks… familiar. I can’t place where I might have seen her before, though. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out these two are involved with the various kidnappings that have taken place… maybe even the robbing of Barry’s grave. I also have to wonder if these two forced Albert to help them.

“All of you have tried to destroy a great man’s legacy, but I won’t let you. Do you understand? Never again!” Lady Rogue screamed, placing her flame gun back in its holster and then removing a weather wand. Controlling the weapon, she managed to summon lightning to strike the many police cars at the scene. Most ignited, if not immediately exploded, from the sudden blasts of energy. The officers, including Captain Frye, managed to evade the destruction, but even they knew there wasn’t much they could do.

Their weapons have us stopped cold, Frye thought grimly, even as a few officers lunged forward and tried to attack Doctor Alchemy. If something doesn’t change quick, then this is going to end badly for everyone.

“I have to admire your guts, and your stupidity,” Alchemy said as he raised his weapon forward. The Stone glowed as Alchemy used it to transform the attacking officers into plastic statues. “However, I don’t want to play this game anymore. Therefore…” Alchemy used the stone again, this time transforming every officer at the scene into plastic statues to match the four men who’d sought to stop him seconds ago. Not even Captain Frye was immune, as he, too, was transformed into a plastic statue. “Game over,” Alchemy finished coldly.

“Where are you, Flash? I want your heart, you murderer!” Lady Rogue screamed as she raised the weather wand in the air. But before she could use it…

The weather wand was gone, vanished from Lady Rogue’s hand. “H-huh? How…?” she spoke, though her voice sounded as if it were a whisper.

“You want me, you got me!” a familiar voice called from behind the two villains. They turned to see the Flash standing behind them, holding the weather wand in hand.

“Finally decided to show, eh?” Alchemy sneered.

“I’ve been on the hunt since I saw your message,” Flash said in anger. “Was it worth it? Kidnapping Barry’s family and friends? Going after my family? Robbing Barry’s grave?

“Yeah, kid. It was all worth it,” Alchemy said arrogantly. “Especially redecorating your girlfriend’s place.”

“You bastard!” Flash screamed as he punched Doctor Alchemy with super-speed. Alchemy fell to the ground, dropping his Philosopher’s Stone in the process. But before Flash could grab it, Lady Rogue pulled a boomerang from her costume and threw it at the speedster. The weapon released a thin wire that wrapped around the scarlet speedster’s head. As he freed himself from the weapon’s grip, Doctor Alchemy recovered and retrieved his Philosopher’s Stone.

Should have expected that, Flash thought, removing the last of the wire as the two villains took off. A lot of things I should have been prepared for the past four days, and I felt like the kid I used to be, thanks to my fear of dying. No longer. It’s time to stop these maniacs and put the past behind me for good!

The Flash felt pain in his legs as he ran toward the two criminals, but he refused to let it stop him. Lady Rogue turned around, pulling a Trickster-style can of silly string from her costume. “I waited so long to destroy you–”

“That line gets old real quick, Fiona. You need more help than I can give,” Flash said, moving his hand at super-speed to shatter the weapon in Lady Rogue’s hand. The tentacle-like string not only entangled Lady Rogue, but Doctor Alchemy as well.

“No! It’s not supposed to happen like this!” Lady Rogue screamed, struggling in vain against the string.

“Calm down, Rogue! I’ll–” Doctor Alchemy started to say. But before he could finish his line, Flash had recovered the Philosopher’s Stone from his grasp.

“All you’re going to do is go to jail, Alchemy,” Flash said, tossing Alchemy’s weapon in his hand up and down. “Now, we have some business to discuss. It seems too coincidental that people Barry cared about would vanish all of a sudden, and then you’d attack, even going as far as to leave me a message. I want to know where the hostages are, and I want to know–”

“Wally?” a familiar voice called from behind the Flash. He turned around to see a man whom he knew was dead, but yet was standing almost in front of him. It was Barry Allen, dressed in the costume of the Flash. Wally West stood emotionless as Barry spoke.

“Wally, I’m here, and I’m back,” Barry said. “I’m back because you failed me. You cut me with the sharpest knife by your betrayal. You stole my identity — and my life! You sought to replace me in the hearts of those I cared about, and you did exactly that. But… I’m a forgiving person. All you have to do–”

The Flash had heard enough. With super-speed, he ran toward the man masquerading as his uncle and delivered punch after punch. “You scum!” Flash yelled at the impostor. “You rob Barry’s grave and dishonor everything he meant to this city and the people he sacrificed his life for by wearing his costume!” He then noticed the two rings on the impostor’s hands, Barry’s Flash ring and Barry’s wedding band from his marriage to Iris West. Snatching the two rings from the impostor’s finger, he continued yelling.

“Pal, this has happened before, but never to this length,” Flash said as he unmasked the impostor. Though surprised that the man did look exactly like Barry, he remembered that Barry himself related a case of mistaken identity to Wally shortly after he’d joined the New Teen Titans, never suspecting that Lady Rogue had managed to free herself and Doctor Alchemy. “So, what’s a mob figure doing back in Central City, helping Flash Rogues, no less?” Flash asked the impostor.

“I — I’m Barry–” the impostor began to say.

“Don’t even,” Flash said coldly. “There’s only one Barry Allen, and he’s dead.” Flash’s words angered the now-free Lady Rogue, who threw a top filled with electric wires at the Flash. Unprepared for the attack, the wires entangled Flash, charging massive amounts of current through his body. “Yearghh!” he screamed as he passed out.

“I won’t let you take Barry away from me again, Flash. Now–” Lady Rogue started to say.

“Fiona, dear. Mota wants to deal the final blow. He brought me back to you, so let’s bring the Flash to him, all right?” Ross said, trying to play the role of Barry Allen perfectly.

“Anything for you, my love,” Rogue said, eager for the Flash’s demise. Retrieving their weapons, Lady Rogue, Doctor Alchemy, and Ross Malverk dragged the unconscious scarlet speedster into the Flash Museum, where, in a matter of hours, all would be revealed.

***

Within the Flash Museum, the Flash slowly began to regain consciousness. “Uhh,” he groaned as he regained his senses, “my body still tingles from the electric current, but I’m alive.” His first instincts were to move, to use his speed and attack those who sought to destroy the legacy of his uncle, but…

“I can’t move!” he exclaimed, looking about with his eyes to see that he was held immobilized in an energy field. He couldn’t move his legs or his arms or, for that matter, his head. “I can barely move my fingers, much less use my super-speed.” Surveying his whereabouts, Flash knew immediately where he was. “I should have guessed the mastermind behind this would choose this place to launch his final plans.”

His eyes brought the rest of the scene to his attention. He spotted his family and friends and those of his uncle’s as well safe and sound, though held captive all the same. Thank God they’re alive, he thought, their welfare always being a prime concern. His eyes also spotted the foes who’d engineered this scheme. I see Doctor Alchemy, Fiona, and that scum who’s wearing Barry’s costume, he thought, keeping his anger in check. But where’s the person who planned all of this?

Almost on cue, a voice spoke from behind the device holding the Flash immobile. “My greatest foe, we meet again,” the voice called out. Slowly, from the corner of his eye, Flash watched as an armored figure walked from his left side.

“Who…? Who is this guy?” Flash thought as the man in armor stopped in front of him. “I’ve never seen this guy before.”

“Ah, Flash,” the armored figure said. “Of course you don’t remember me, but I’ll introduce myself just the same. My name is Manfred Mota, and I’ve waited over ten years for this day.”

Manfred Mota? Who?! Flash thought, still puzzled. He kept a straight face despite this, daring not to give this villain any satisfaction. Addressing this foe, the Flash spoke. “Over ten years, huh? I remember all of my cases, and never did I fight a Manfred Mota.”

“But I planned for the Flash all the same, dear foe,” Mota said. “The device you find yourself in was built almost three years ago. Charged with nitrogen ions, it holds whatever is inside it in perfect place. But I’m jumping well ahead of myself.”

Nitrogen — of course! the Flash thought as he realized he had a chance of escape. As he moved his fingers ever so slowly, the Flash brushed his fingers to the palm of his hand, still holding Barry Allen’s Flash ring. Perfect. They didn’t take Barry’s ring. His ring reacts to nitrogen, since he used it to hold his suit in place. If I can release the top of the ring, I may be able to disturb enough of the nitrogen in this field so I can escape… and stop this guy!

“My story began on December 12, 1973,” Mota began as Flash listened, still moving his finger toward the Flash ring in his palm. “Roughly two months before, the Flash first appeared in Central City, facing criminals both ordinary and extraordinary. I had the fortune of viewing a battle between the scarlet speedster and Captain Cold. I was rather unimpressed with the speedster, and even more so with the lack of competition he faced.

“My genius allowed me work at Central City University as a professor of physics. I decided that those who attempted to stop the Flash lacked the same genius I possessed. I also realized the windfall someone could have if he or she could manage to defeat the Flash. I spent nearly a month putting together a costume and weapons in order to defeat the crimson comet, and when I was prepared, I adopted the name of the Atom-Master.”

“Clever,” Flash said, trying to stroke his foe’s ego. “Using your own last name backwards as an anagram of sorts.”

“Ah, you are smarter than I thought,” Mota said, a slight smile appearing on his face. “Yes, I finally decided to lure the Flash to me by robbing a bank. That seemed to always be the best way to get his attention. Needless to say, I was unprepared for how fast the speedster really was, and thus my first encounter with the Flash ended in defeat on January 7, 1974.”

As Mota continued talking, Flash finally managed to reach Barry’s Flash ring. He pressed the hidden button, and the ring opened up, still out of sight of Mota. Good, the Flash thought. If I can keep him talking, then there’s a chance this field will eventually weaken, and I’ll be able to escape.

“The defeat was devastating to me, my foe,” Mota said, even as his own memories of the events came to light. “I was released from the University due to the crime and notoriety brought forth. It caused serious strains in my marriage and family, and my desire to defeat the Flash was replaced by a desire to kill him.

“Because this was my first offense, I only spent a few months in prison. I was released in time to read about the Flash defeating Doctor Alchemy. The newspaper revealed he’d operated previously as a criminal named Mister Element, and it inspired me to adopt a new identity myself.”

“Professor Fallout,” Flash said, though the name seemed foreign to him. “I remember Flash facing a guy who planned to destroy Picture News — that was you?”

“Yes, it was,” Mota said. “I altered my old costume and created new weapons, and though I posed more of a threat to him, he still managed to defeat me on May 10, 1974. This time, there would be no reprieve. My wife divorced me and took my son, and I was sentenced to serve ten years in prison. Even that doesn’t compare to what happened next,” Mota said, the slightest hint of pain evident in his voice.

“Two years later exactly — May 10, 1976 — the Flash struck the single greatest blow I’d ever receive. The Flash engaged in a battle with one of his newer Rogues, the Weather Wizard. The Wizard whipped up a large electrical storm, which the Flash contained most of, but a stray bolt shot forth from the speedster’s grip. That single bolt struck the home of my now-ex wife and my son. Both were killed instantly.”

A look of shock overtook Flash’s face. My God, I remember Barry telling me about the battle and how the Weather Wizard began losing control of his Weather Wand. Barry held the lightning in place to keep it from destroying Central City, but that must have been too strong even for him to stop. This guy’s brilliant and insane at the same time.

Mota spoke slowly, quietly, even as anger and rage exploded forth. “To spite me, the fastest man alive allowed my family to die! It wasn’t enough that he’d defeated me and cost me so much. He took what little I had left and let it be murdered!

“Listen to me, Mota,” Flash said with some compassion. “Barry would never allow innocents to die. He held others above himself… always.”

“You still don’t understand, do you?” Mota yelled. “It would be easy to blame someone else, like the Weather Wizard, but if there was never a Flash, then most of this city would have remained normal. I would have the life I used to have. I’d still have my wife and son!

“I suffered so much. The pain was so great, but I realized what I needed to do. I began plotting, waiting, changing myself so that others wouldn’t see me as some failed criminal, but as someone who sought redemption. I spent a total of nine years behind bars thanks to good behavior, and when I finally made parole, I continued to stay on the straight and narrow. I resolved to strike at the Flash, but at the moment he least expected. And Kid Flash was to be a part of my plans,” Mota confessed.

“Huh?! I only just met you!” Flash said, somewhat surprised at himself for regarding himself in that light.

“The Flash cost me my son. I decided to use the closest thing that I knew he had as a son at the time to lure him to me. I began keeping track of both the Flash’s career and Kid Flash’s career, all the while earning a job as an administrator at the Fallville Nuclear Power Plant. It was in September of 1983 that I managed to track down a man named Slade Wilson. He had connections to a bounty hunter named Deathstroke the Terminator, and this individual had undertaken a contract not only to kill you, but the rest of the team you belonged to — the New Teen Titans. Slade arranged a meeting between myself and Deathstroke.

“I explained my position to him, even striking a chord with him when I revealed my son had been murdered by the Flash. I offered him money to buy out the Kid Flash portion of his contract, but, unfortunately, he refused to accept my offer. He stated that he would finish his contract, but if I desired to place a contract on the Flash himself, it would be something he’d consider. Though I knew he had a perfect reputation when it came to finishing jobs of his nature, I couldn’t risk him being defeated by the Flash. Everything I would be working towards would be for naught. I apologized, but stressed that if anything were to change when it came to Kid Flash, then to please contact me.

“More than a year passed. A tumultuous year for the scarlet speedster, to say the least. However, on October 22, 1984, Deathstroke himself decided to pay me another visit. He mentioned that Slade Wilson had spoken to him on my behalf concerning Kid Flash. I was shocked, never imagining that the day would come. Deathstroke handed me a portfolio on Kid Flash. It contained his secret identity, his schooling, where he lived — all sorts of information.

“I inquired about the contract. Why would this information be given to me now? He replied that Kid Flash had retired and was no longer a Teen Titan. Thus, his place on Deathstroke’s contract was now void. Still, he said, as a favor to Slade Wilson, he’d give me everything he’d learned about you, since both Slade and I had lost sons. I offered him money as payment, but he refused. And, with that, he left.”

I never understood why Deathstroke didn’t come after me, the Flash thought upon this revelation. He went after Dick, though Dick had given up the Robin identity at the same time I did as Kid Flash. Odd that the final piece of the ‘Judas Contract’ would finally come to light now.

Mota continued speaking. “So I finally had some crucial information. Kid Flash was Wallace West, a student at Central City Community College, nephew of deceased reporter Iris West Allen and police scientist Barry Allen, who also was presumed dead. I began figuring out more of the puzzle, when during the Flash’s murder trial, his defense attorney mistakenly tried to prove that Flash was Barry Allen. Others dismissed the claims, but I knew it to be true. It made perfect sense.

“Part of me wanted to strike at the Flash during the trial, using you as bait, but I had no desire to give him public sympathy. I decided to wait until the trial was over to strike, and then he simply vanished. I was worried that maybe he’d discovered my plans, but nothing happened.

“I’d modified things during those months. I decided I’d use people that Barry Allen cared about to lure him to me, including you. But everything changed in early September of 1985. The Flash died, sacrificing his life to save the universe, or so we were told. I was dumbstruck, because it seemed that everything I’d worked towards was for nothing. How could I have final revenge? It came in the form of you!

Good, it’s working, Flash thought, feeling the field weaken. “Me?” he said, trying to keep the conversation going.

“You see, if not for you, the Flash would have died. But you kept him alive. You adopted the name and identity, and I thank you. Through you, the Flash still lived, and it inspired me to finish my plans to destroy your legacy. No matter who is behind the mask, it was always my intention of destroying the Flash — and everything connected to him,” Mota said with anger.

“I planned perfectly, but I needed soldiers to accomplish the job. With promises to help him with his complete opposite, I recruited Alvin Desmond, AKA Doctor Alchemy. I discovered the broken-spirited form of Fiona Webb at a local church. I recognized her from newspaper accounts of her mental breakdown, and she was wearing a costume, complete with weapons. She refused to give up on the love of her life, her fiancé Barry Allen, and I managed to convince her that I could bring him back.”

“You convinced her that Ross Malverk is Barry,” Flash said. “You tried that trick on me, and it failed.”

Lady Rogue — who, with the so-called Barry Allen and Doctor Alchemy overheard the conversation — marched over to the captive speedster and yelled at him. “You refuse to accept the truth! Barry is here with me, because I believed in him! Mota saved him!” she screamed.

“That’s really Barry Allen, right? Wrong, Fiona. Why don’t you ask him some personal questions, like where the two of you had your first date, or where the two of you became engaged?” Flash demanded. “I’ll tell you this: Ross Malverk isn’t going to know the answers. Ask away. We all want to see just how much he knows.”

The words struck Lady Rogue who, for the first time in so long, began questioning the figure who looked just like the man she loved.

“She already knows the truth, right, dear?” Ross said.

Lady Rogue looked at the man she had thought was Barry Allen, and for a second, she saw the man she feared long ago. “Barry, please,” Rogue said, near tears. “Share something with me, something only we could know.”

Ross paused a few seconds before growing angry. “You know who I am, Fiona. I shouldn’t have to explain something we went through together.”

“I need to know, for both our sakes. Please,” Rogue said, beginning to fear the worst.

“Damn it, Bev–” Ross said, but it was all that was needed to reveal the truth.

Great, the Flash thought, even as he began to slowly vibrate internally. He just slipped, and with a little luck, I’ll be able to escape before I have another attack from the disease.

What did you call me?” Lady Rogue said in disbelief.

“Fiona, I–” Ross began to say.

“Barry never referred to me by that name!” she screamed in a mix of fear and anger. “You all used me! My love for the finest man I ever knew, and you turned it into a sickening display to attain your desires!”

“You’re not leaving me any choice, Fiona,” Mota said, firing an energy blast at Lady Rogue. Though the blast connected, it wasn’t enough to kill her. It did throw her into the wall, where she slowly fell to the ground, nearly unconscious.

Mota turned his attentions back to the captive Flash. “Now, before this lingers any longer, it’s time for you to finish your race, old foe.” Raising his arm toward the speedster, Mota prepared to blast the scarlet speedster into oblivion.

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