The Flash: From the Ashes, Chapter 5: A Three-Step Program

by Hitman 44077

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At Central City’s police lab, Patty Spivot found herself at work, combing through whatever she could to see whether or not there was anything sufficient that would help her in her efforts to clear the name of her friend.

It’s clear something happened here last night, Patty thought as she continued her work. The coffee pot’s burnt up, presumably from when Angie placed a pot together at the start of her shift. Her coat’s still here, too. Obviously, she wouldn’t have been in a hurry to grab it when it came to her safety. But there’s nothing that would prove that a fight took place between the two.

Patty continued looking about when, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a cigarette butt on the floor — and a small hole burnt into the tile where the cigarette was found.

Well, Patty thought bitterly, there’s a clue. Knowing that neither Angie or Dean smoke, normally I’d be optimistic, but right now I’m just not sure how this is going to affect matters for her. Knowing that she doesn’t smoke would normally reassure me, but at this point, nothing’s for certain.

Patty grabbed a glove, placed it on her hand to keep from contaminating the evidence, then reached down and picked up the cigarette butt. She held it to her eye, stared at it for a second, then took it toward a microscope.

I know the scope’ll pick up traces of fingerprints, but what I’m looking for is damaged tissue — blood from where the burns from Paul’s hands would have originated, Patty thought, placing the cigarette butt onto a glass slide. And since this the only reminder that something happened in here, I need to be certain. As much of a friend Angie is, just like John, I have to be a cop first and foremost when it comes to this.

Patty placed the slide underneath the microscope, then adjusted the microscope so as to examine the cigarette butt further. What she saw both surprised and reassured her.

“There’s nothing there!” she exclaimed loudly. “No blood or tissue! And this is where the incident was to have taken place.”

Though Patty felt that this was all the proof she needed to clear her friend’s name, she also needed to be sure. She continued examining the cigarette butt, then found traces of fingerprints that she wasn’t sure were Paul’s or Angela’s. It’s no surprise that someone held this. I’m going to have to get ahold of Angie’s file — compare the fingerprints with hers, then maybe do some type of toxicology test upon the butt, since she mentioned that Paul had been drinking, Patty thought to herself.

She picked up the cigarette butt with her gloved hand, then walked toward her desk and pulled a small plastic bag from one of her drawers. She placed the cigarette butt inside the bag, then placed the bag inside her bottom drawer.

At this point, that’s the safest place I can think of, Patty thought, pulling a key from her pocket and locking her bottom desk drawer. If Paul could find a way here to harrass Angie, then he could easily come back. But he won’t find this.

Taking her glove off, Patty headed toward the police lab door. She opened it, walked outside the door, and shut it. She then locked it behind her. I’m unsure if John’s had any luck with speaking to Angie. I may stop by her cell and speak to her before grabbing her file. Or I may just speak with John and see what he’s learned. Maybe she opened up to him — I don’t know. But I’ve got to do something.

Patty started walking down the stairs of the police lab on her way to the Main Station, not knowing that someone had observed her nearby. It was Paul Margolin, who witnessed the locking of the police lab door. He’d been watching silently and out of sight thanks to another room that was adjacent to the lab — a janitor’s closet.

Something’s up, the now-paranoid detective thought. From the Flash’s little battle earlier to this. I’m starting to think my girl’s starting to talk. And I can’t have that. She still needs to pay, and she’s got quite a lot to pay for. But I have time.

Paul pulled out a set of lock picks, then approached the police lab door. We’ll see who they believe once I’m finished! he thought angrily.

***

At another location within Central City, a police car pulled up to the home sitting at 4371 Bates Street. With their car parked, two officers exited the vehicle and walked toward the front door of the home that was somewhat run-down.

“Creepy place,” one officer said to his partner. “I’m surprised someone would go to the effort of buying this house.”

“Me, too,” his partner said as he knocked on the door. “But a home’s a home. And if you got the bucks, then you can make it into a paradise.”

A few seconds later, an elderly man with a handlebar mustache and matching short gray hair answered the door. He wore a surprised look on his face as he spoke to the officers. “My,” the elderly man said in a thick Markovian accent, “your police department acts rather quickly, doesn’t it?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” the first officer said before being waved off by the officer who knocked on the front door.

“Mister–” the second officer said, unsure of whom he was speaking to before being cut off by the well-dressed man.

“Corterov. Jorman Corterov. I was just on the phone with your department concerning a contractor whom I’m employing to renovate this home. He usually shows up in the morning, but he did not show up this day.”

“I see,” the officer said, puzzled. “You mind if we come in for a few minutes?”

The elderly, well-dressed man was worried but didn’t show his concerns to the officers at the front door. “It is quite all right. Allow me2 to hang up the phone with the officer I was speaking with,” he said pleasantly.

The two officers walked into the home even as Jorman picked up the phone and spoke to the officer on the other end of the line. “Yes, I am glad I spoke to you as well. I certainly hope that Mr. Lubinski shows up. His work is well-crafted. Thank you again for speaking with me. Goodbye.”

Jorman hung up the phone and spoke to the officers. “I recently moved to Central City from my European estate. Though the homeland was in many ways good for me, I felt it was time for a new start.”

“I thought you had some type of accent,” the more-polite officer said. “You come from…?”

“Markovia, originally. Most of my days were spent in West Germany after the Second World War had ended. The world was changing, and it was a good place to avoid any issues that were happening with my homeland and the other countries engaged with the Communist Movement,” Jorman explained.

“Why move here now?” the less-accepting officer asked.

“A new start, as I stated earlier. Opportunity, for one. And to be able to enjoy my later years without possible economic hardships like so many of my loved ones faced. That is why I bought this place — to fix up and make it into a home that I can be proud of.”

“That’s reasonable,” the more-accepting officer agreed. “We’re all entitled to opportunity.”

“When did you move here?” the less-accepting officer asked harshly.

“A little over two months ago, back in October,” Jorman answered, keeping cool, though his concern was growing.

Suddenly, on the more-accepting officer’s chest, the small portable police band radio called out, “Four Adam 14, incoming message from dispatch.”

The officer pushed the speaking button on the device next to his right pocket, then spoke. “Four Adam 14, go ahead.”

“Officers just inside city limits southeast of your location have discovered a charred van. There appears to be a casualty within as the investigation continues. Van matches up with missing vehicle attached to one Gerald Lubinski. Requesting help at the scene.”

“Ten-four. Four Adam 14 out,” the officer answered. He turned to his partner. “The southeast area near the outskirts of the city are known for dangerous roads. I can’t be certain, but it would seem to me that Mr. Lubinski may have made too sharp a turn,” the officer said with a solemn voice.

“Oh, man,” the less-accepting officer responded, feeling stupid for being as rude as he was to Jorman.

“Oh, my,” Jorman himself said, a shocked look on his face.

“Look, we better head on over. I’m sorry we took up your time, Mr. Corterov. It was good to meet you despite the circumstances,” the more accepting officer said, reaching his hand out for a handshake.

“I understand. Thank you for coming,” Jorman said as he shook the officer’s hand.

With that done, the two officers left the home, entered their squad car, and headed toward the scene of the accident — or was it an accident at all?

Jorman shut the door and breathed a sigh of relief. That was too close a call. That unfortunate situation could have cost me everything. I still have to accomplish my goal before it’s too late, and now, more than ever, I’ll have to be more careful if I’m to set out and do what I must for him.

***

Elsewhere, in the midst of a blizzard that was engulfing most of the state of New York, the android known as Amazo continued its flight toward the Long Island beachfront where he’d been reborn. Over his shoulder rested the still-comatose body of the Flash — whom Professor Ivo had ordered the android to capture hours earlier — encased in an emerald energy to protect him from the deadly weather, yet allowed oxygen within so the scarlet speedster could breathe. Despite the blizzard, Amazo navigated the harsh Atlantic winds and near-zero-degree weather in its efforts to deliver its fallen captive to its master.

After flying through some of the worst weather to hit New York in the better part of a year, Amazo slowly descended toward the near-frozen Atlantic Ocean and stared back at the beachfront property where he’d left earlier. Just as suddenly as he’d arrived at the scene, Amazo plunged both himself and his captive deep into the frigid waters and toward the tunnel exit that it had used hours earlier to leave Professor Ivo’s beach house. With quick reflexes, Amazo opened the tunnel doors and, upon entering the tunnels, closed the doors behind him. Once the cold waters had been drained from the tunnel, Amazo released the emerald casing it had placed the Flash into and carried him toward Professor Ivo’s basement lair.

Professor Anthony Ivo watched the proceedings, smiling as Amazo entered with the unconscious hero and tossed him like a rag doll onto a nearby table. In his left hand was what appeared to be some type of remote control.

“Very good, Amazo!” Professor Ivo shouted triumphantly. He then pushed a button on the device in his hand. Instantly, several intricate, machine-like wires shot out throughout the table, binding themselves around the Flash tightly. They also began emitting an energy wave designed to disrupt the Flash’s super-speed powers.

Amazo watched coldly, not knowing or caring what was happening, even as Professor Ivo began hooking up different biological devices to the crimson comet. Once that was set, Professor Ivo turned toward a screen and pushed another button on the small device on his hand. The screen slowly turned on, even as several computers began emitting various sounds of feverish work.

The wires holding Flash in place were unwittingly aiding the speedster, as the vibrations emitted by the energy waves served to slowly reawaken the hero. “Ughh,” the speedster said with a weakened stir. Professor Ivo heard the speedster reviving, but concerned himself with what was already going on with the various computer scans, and a look of success continued to rise on his face.

The Flash continued to shake the cobwebs from his mind, not quite aware of the peril he was in. Man, my head aches, he thought as he gradually reentered the land of the living. The last thing I remember was fighting Amazo, and then he vanished–

It was then Flash tried to move, to simply rub the drowsiness from his eyes, when he realized something was terribly wrong. “I can’t move!” he shouted in shock. He managed to turn his head toward each arm, not only noticing that each arm was bound tightly to the table, but that his whole body was entangled, and his super-speed powers were nullified as well.

“Of course you can’t move,” called out a voice that Flash recognized as Professor Ivo’s. Flash turned his head in the direction that Ivo’s voice came from and saw the disfigured genius walk toward him. “I wouldn’t have sent Amazo to capture you if I wasn’t sure I could hold you here myself.”

“I knew you’d turn up sooner or later, Ivo,” Flash said bitterly, staring at the villain with contempt.

“We always do,” Ivo said with amusement. “My kind are just as persistent as the rest of your breed.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Flash said coldly, narrowing his eyes. “What’s your game, Ivo?”

Professor Ivo grew annoyed by Flash’s remark and placed his hand against the captive hero’s jaw, squeezing it as he stared the hero face-to-face and shouted. “This is no game, boy!” the villain shouted, referring to the way he looked. “Years ago, maybe this was a game. Too many things have happened since for it to be anything like that!”

“The League’s beaten you every time, Ivo. This time’ll be no different!” Flash shouted defiantly, struggling against the bonds that held him in place.

“I don’t think so this time!” Ivo shouted, releasing Flash’s jaw. “You may have noticed the striking resemblance between Amazo and the Man of Steel. It’s more than coincidence, my friend.”

“Really?” Flash said in a curious tone, slowly trying to employ his internal vibrations in an effort to escape. “Let me guess: you attended the annual Lex Luthor garage sale, and you got this baby on discount?”

Ivo grew angry yet again, but managed to exercise enough self-control to keep from doing something that might give his captive audience a means to escape. “Perhaps Luthor’s Supremo could have been an equal to my old Amazo, but not now. You see, several months ago, some of my surveillance droids located a damaged Superman android in Metropolis in the aftermath of the invasion.”

“No way!” Flash shouted with surprise, his eyes growing wide.

Ivo smiled, then continued speaking. “After what the Justice League did to Amazo, sending my creation into the ultimate funeral pyre, it dawned on me that with the damaged Superman android’s body, Amazo could rise again like the mythical phoenix from the ashes of its destruction, reborn in a body that could withstand the blazing temperatures of the sun, among other conventional methods of destruction!”

“An immortality much like what you enjoy currently?” Flash said, regaining his composure while still trying — to no avail — to increase his internal vibrations.

“You would be wise to rethink your position here,” Ivo warned. “There’s a reason you’re here, but I’m jumping ahead of myself.”

This isn’t working, Flash thought with concern. I’ve got a feeling Ivo’s playing for keeps this time. If he wanted me dead, Amazo would have taken me out when he had the chance. Right now, I fit into his plans — whatever they are. I need to turn that to my advantage somehow.

“The rebirth of Amazo is the first of my three plans, speedster. Ultimately, it was the most pivotal. Fortunately, that will make the second and third matters that much more simpler to execute,” Ivo stated with confidence.

“A three-step program, eh?” Flash asked, feigning interest. “I’m sure world domination fits into the plans somehow.”

“In a sense, yes — yes, it does,” Ivo agreed. “I’m still in the process of deciphering various elements of Kryptonian data I removed from the Superman android before converting what I could into recreating Amazo. Once I’ve learned all I can, I’ll reinsert the data into Amazo, along with a failsafe which will allow Amazo to reprogram each and every Superman android into doing my bidding. No one will be able to stop an army of that nature!”

“I’m impressed,” Flash lied, growing more concerned over an army that would be much like an army of Kryptonians, but without the weakness to kryptonite to stop them. “That’s part two. What’s part three?”

“No, that’s part three. Part two is happening as we speak,” Ivo said with a icy grin.

Great! Flash thought, realizing that time was running out.

“Part two is two-fold, so to speak. One half was to see how my new Amazo matched up with a member of the Justice League. The other half was to examine a captured Justice Leaguer’s DNA. Several years back, I almost succeeded in restoring my humanity by kidnapping several individuals with the same physiology structure of myself, including the Black Canary. It would have meant their deaths, regrettably, but the Justice League defeated me. However, I wasn’t done. A short time later, I nearly managed to do the same thing to Superman but failed again.”

The Flash realized what Ivo’s scheme was. “You mean to tell me you’re going to pull the same trick again?”

“Not quite,” Ivo said, eyes narrowed. “Your DNA corresponds with mine. My computers analyzed it during your nap. Why drain your body of its potent energy when I can simply transfer my brainwaves into the unused portion of your mind?”

“You’re insane!” Flash exclaimed, struggling again without any signs of hope apparent.

Professor Ivo walked toward a table and placed a helmet onto his head. After sitting himself into the chair, he then pressed another button, and his body was surrounded by the same machine-like wires. “I’d be a fool to destroy this body. Once I’m finished with yours, or rather, after I’ve discovered a cure for this body, I’ll return to normal. Unfortunately for you, while you’ll be alive in one sense physically, where you experience the most vivid life — within your mind — well, it will be long-dead in the aftermath of these events.”

Time was running out. The Flash knew it and Professor Anthony Ivo knew it. The only question now was whether there was any semblance of time left or whether this was the end of the scarlet speedster.

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