The Flash: Back to Speed, Prologue: History Be Damned

by Hitman 44077

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Continued from The Flash: Terminal Velocity

Central City, nearly a millennium from May, 1987:

A woman in her mid-twenties with long brown hair found herself walking down the hallway of the home she occupied with her parents. Even after all this time, it’s hard to believe that this was where I should have grown up, the woman thought as she stopped near a window. She surveyed the landscape of the city she spent most of her life in and closed her eyes. Central City, and yet it’s so different than the place I once called home. My parents loved me enough to protect me, risking their lives for me, but… I knew others who were my family, too. Maybe not in blood, but that didn’t matter then, and it doesn’t matter now.

The woman placed her hand on the window, looking for something that would bring her familiarity, and meeting with success, she slowly smiled. The lightning bolt insignia she’d known most of her life reminded her of her past life and the joys and pains that accompanied it.

The Flash Museum, she thought bittersweetly. The legacy of two men I cared for is still alive, even here. I suppose that should comfort me, but it doesn’t. I’ve tried in vain to convince my parents of the bizarre circumstance Wally West found himself in before he died — or vanished — but they refused to help.

The woman lowered her hand and closed her eyes once more as a single tear dropped from her right eye. I have responsibilities — the greatest responsibility one could have, but I know he’d want to help Wally as much as I. Maybe moreso, the woman thought as a sudden earthquake shook the room and, indeed, most of the city. “My Lord!” she shouted, maintaining her balance even as the thoughts of her past faded quickly.

An older woman, the mother of this young woman, quickly entered the room where her daughter stood. “Are you all right?!” the older woman asked her daughter with great concern, placing her hands on her daughter’s shoulders.

“Yes, I’m all right, mother,” the long-haired woman replied, though there was no relief in her voice. “These earthquakes continue to happen, and yet–“

Without warning, a fireball erupted forth far from their home, but they saw it nonetheless, as it was within the sight of the window looking over the city. “What’s happening?! Are we under attack?” the long-haired woman asked aloud as she watched some of the city structures catch fire.

“I don’t know,” her mother replied quietly as her fears began to grow. Though the shock of this disaster was written on her face, she managed to regain her composure. “I do know this isn’t natural.”

Very unnatural, in fact,” a concerned voice called out from behind the two women. It was the husband of the older woman and father to the younger woman. He walked toward them and surveyed the city himself. “Are you both all right?”

“We are,” the older woman said reassuringly before turning back to the window. “Is it another war?” she whispered.

“No — despite our differences and tensions, I don’t think this is a planned attack. But I do believe this is connected to the series of earthquakes we’ve experiences over the past few weeks. This has me very worried,” the man said, wiping a bit of sweat off his forehead.

“Perhaps we should release a digiprobe?” the older woman suggested. “That would show us just what’s happening in Central City.”

“That may be our best option for now, dear,” the man said calmly.

The long-haired woman interrupted her parents, prepared for the worst. “The two of you mentioned a war,” she said. “The same war that nearly destroyed this world several years ago. Are the buildings and structures built to survive such devastation?”

“Some are. This building is, but others, like the buildings closer to the heart of the city, are not,” the woman’s father responded honestly.

“Isn’t there anything we can do?” the long-haired woman asked, feeling compassion for the lives undoubtedly lost.

“Once we launch the digiprobe, we’ll know more about what’s happened. That’s all we can do. But the equipment is within my lab. I’ll go there,” the father said.

“And we’ll join you,” the long-haired woman responded.

“You have concerns of your own, my dear,” her father said. “This isn’t what you need to be facing right now.”

“I need to keep strong,” the daughter said, keeping her feelings in check. “That’s what my husband would have wanted. We all need to keep strong in light of what’s happening.”

“Even in your condition?” he responded.

“Yes,” the daughter replied strongly. “My husband believed in hope, and that’s all we have.”

“Then… let’s head to my laboratory,” the father responded, both proud of his daughter’s strength and concerned over her condition. The family walked down the hallway toward a metal wall, which, when the family had nearly reached it, split into a liquid-metallic substance and joined with another portion of the wall. Once the family had entered the laboratory, the liquid metal returned to its position as a doorway to the lab.

The laboratory itself was a sight to behold. From a large spherical tank to a personal medical station, the lab had served its purpose over the years. The long-haired woman spotted a platform that was very familiar to her, and she remembered just how she came to live with this couple.

Her father’s words jogged her back to the present, however, as he sat down at a table and pressed various symbols that represented their present’s version of a computer. “This shouldn’t take too long,” he said as a transparent screen beamed forth from the table. He continued to operate the device, and within seconds, the digiprobe launched forth from its position within the laboratory. Roughly the size of a ladybug, the probe began to travel toward the damaged portions of Central City.

“I’m going to manually operate the digiprobe,” the father said, placing what appeared to be a metal contact lens in his left eye. “I’ll be able to see the damage firsthand and hopefully find out just what happened.” The digiprobe made its way to the devastated portion of the city, even as the man continued to take in the damage he personally viewed.

“This — this is terrible,” he whispered as the sight began to unnerve him. “What could have done this?” Almost as if he’d personally said it aloud at the scene, the digiprobe finally found the cause of the damage. “Good Lord,” the man managed to say. He watched a large, bulky creature made out of white-hot rock fight several law enforcement robots, easily melting most, while smashing others with debris from the scene. Even more frightening to the father, the creature seemed to be screaming, as if possessed by some unknown force. He pressed a button upon the board that he’d been using before to record the dialogue and continued to manually operate the digiprobe for several more minutes, even as the creature damaged more robots arriving at the scene.

“What’s happening out there?” the daughter asked with concern.

“I’m not sure what it is, exactly. The closest thing I could call it is a monster,” the father said, almost shaking.

What?!” the man’s wife shouted.

“Look, I’m going to bring the digiprobe back and plug it into the holovision. We’ll be able to see and hear this creature,” the man said, almost numb with fear.

Minutes later, the digiprobe arrived back at the laboratory of the father. He placed the rather tiny device into a small wall chip, and the scenes he’d just viewed unfolded once more. Needless to say, the wife and daughter were just as disturbed by the sight of the creature as he was.

But it was the words spoken by the creature that caught all off-guard. “FLSHHH… KLLL… FLSHHH! M-MTA… MMMO-TTTA! MMMOTA!” the creature screamed during its rampage.

“What is it saying?!” the older woman asked, the garbled voice she’d just heard still ringing inside her ears.

“Oh, my God. I know — I know!” the couple’s daughter yelled in a sudden realization. “I told you both before of the events where the Flash was to either die or vanish in 1987! He fought a man who nearly laid waste to Central City by setting off a nuclear bomb. The man’s name was Manfred Mota!

“Impossible,” the father said, though the sight of the monster still kept him on edge. “It can’t possibly be the same being!”

“Mota wore an armor powered by a mini-reactor,” the daughter responded. “In his fight with the Flash, the armor Mota wore was melted into place. It grew too hot, according to witnesses from that era, and it seemed to melt into the ground, Mota still trapped inside. The body was never recovered.”

“That still doesn’t prove that this… thing is this Mota person,” the mother responded.

“Think about this, then. Perhaps the damage done in your past, even before I was born, perhaps it awoke this thing? Perhaps the warring factions of our world led to this thing returning to life? Perhaps this could have been prevented if we’d saved the life of Wally West!” the daughter pleaded. The woman’s parents continued to listen, even as things began to gradually make sense.

“We’ve always had the means to cure Wally West of the disease which had been killing him,” the woman said, brushing her hair away from her face with her hand. “My husband saw to that. If we’d acted sooner, I think it’s safe to say this wouldn’t be happening.”

“We can’t meddle with established facts–” her father said.

“It was never established!” the woman yelled. “The headline from those ancient archives would change from Flash Vanishes to Flash Dies. Doesn’t that prove that the past, in this case, isn’t set in stone? Plus, both of you have turned to the Flash before to help protect this era.”

“Those were different circumstances, as you know,” the mother said, her voice trailing off.

“And I know damn well that Barry Allen isn’t an option,” the woman responded, even as the words stung at her heart. “If anyone has a chance against this creature, and if history is to be believed, the best chance we have is Wally West. We need to save his life. And I know we can, with what my husband left us. Will you bring him here? Will you save him?”

The woman’s parents looked at each other, then their daughter, and then at the holovision screen that continued to replay the creature’s attacks. They knew they only had one choice. “Yes. Yes, we will,” the father said, “history be damned.”

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