Professor Zoom had ignored what he imagined were Abra Kadabra’s plans for their partnership by using his own super-speed to break the time barrier and head backward in time to the twentieth century. No speedster could make such a trip with perfect accuracy without the help of some device like Barry Allen’s cosmic treadmill or the famed time craft of Rip Hunter, the Time Master. Still, under his own impressive speed, the Reverse-Flash could still penetrate the walls of time, and now he smiled as he planned his next move.
I’ll kill Barry Allen before he ever became the Flash! he mused. Why, I could just murder his father, Dr. Henry Allen, before the old windbag ever married Barry’s future mother!
Zoom screamed with sudden pain as he found himself reeling unsteadily, then crashed to the ground. He found himself on a street in what could only be Central City. He had raced those streets more times than he could count.
I’ve reached Flash’s era and his home base, he thought. Now to keep going until I reach his moment of birth, or earlier.
He groaned in pain as waves of nausea swept over him. He staggered over to a small vending machine and glared at a paper within through blurry eyes.
I can’t do it! he realized. I only made it back to 1988, according to that newspaper in the vending machine, but my body won’t let me keep going! It burns like fire when I try to do it. Did my near death do something to limit my powers, or did something about time travel change while I was dead?
Professor Zoom shrugged as he raced toward a stately building on a hall. As long as I’m here in 1988, I’ll scan the data at the Central City Library and learn exactly when I am, he thought. As far as Flash history goes, Barry must have married Fiona by now. They may even be blissfully confident that their marital joy will last. I could just kill them both. One thing I can say about myself. I have all the time in the world! Barry Allen will die at my hands soon enough!
In the sixty-fourth century, Abra Kadabra was wringing his gloved hands in frustration. “That idiot! He left before I could make proper use of him. Well, at least he won’t be able to alter my plans. I did much more than merely pluck him from his moment of death. I altered his body so that he can no longer easily journey through time. After all, he is nearing the precise time for my grandest feat ever! I will use that swift simpleton to achieve a trick that will earn me my rightful place as the greatest magician of them all! The eons will echo with applause for me once I accomplish the most remarkable trick of them all! I will cheat death and leave fate itself staring in disbelief!”
He realized that he had been shouting, and he glanced around sheepishly before hesitantly beginning to clap for himself. It was music to his ears.
“Well done, Abra, you old dog!” he said.
Wally West, the current Flash and the fastest man alive, was putting the finishing touches on a grad school paper, and he smiled with approval as he removed the paper from his printer.
For all of the immediate pleasure I get from saving folks or taking down creeps like Captain Cold, I also relish making real progress with my education, he thought. I’ll earn my master’s in physics soon, thanks to the accelerated work I managed to fit in, and I can’t help but imagine how proud Barry and Iris would be. I wonder if there’s any chance Aunt Iris could attend my graduation. Since I learned that she is alive and well in the future and expecting a baby, I’d hoped she might visit here, but I know she had concerns about it. Everyone here — well, almost everyone — thinks she’s dead. I know she looks different now, thanks to that psychic transplant her real parents performed, but I guess she can’t be too careful about time travel.
He sighed as he looked over at a framed photo of a beautiful blonde girl. I miss Frances, but I’m glad she and her cousin are spending time together, he thought with a grin. Imagine having Batgirl as a relation! That’s, like, totally awesome! He referred to his girlfriend Frances Kane, who was also the magnetically powered mutant known as Polara.
The young man enjoyed living at the Kingsley Arms, and he enjoyed his super-heroic role as the second Flash. He had been Kid Flash since childhood, and he had been trained by one of the greatest super-heroes of the modern era. Uncle Barry’s got a child, or will have! he thought. Boy, he would have made a terrific father! As much as I love my own dad, I know Barry would have been even more fun to have had as a parent.
He started to put his finished papers in a folder when he caught a news alert on his muted television. The screen showed a reporter standing outside the Central City Bank, where an old man with a few shaggy strands of white hair on each side of his bald head was leisurely departing with bags of what appeared to be stolen money.
“The Turtle! Talk about a blast from the past!” he said as he recognized the aging thief who could best be described as the slowest man alive.
Well, at least it won’t take long to defeat him, he thought as he activated the ring in which his red and gold Flash costume was super-compressed. It expanded on contact with air, and he donned the famous garment in the blink of an eye.
The Flash raced out of the apartment and passed through the walls without missing a beat. He had the same complete control of his molecules that had enabled his late uncle to so effectively fight crime as the original Flash. They had even received their powers through the same type of freak accident involving lightning-charged chemicals.
Now, as the Flash made his way down Infantino Drive, he spotted the weird little man known as the Turtle in exactly the same spot he had been in on the news bulletin. For that matter, the reporter was unmoving as well.
Odd, I made good time, but no one is even in slow motion, he mused as he reached out for the thief but found himself miles beyond the scene. Blue blazes! I know he is slow, but how did I overshoot him by so much? he thought.
The Flash turned and raced back, only to shoot past the bank and reach the edge of Central City. The Turtle has slowed time itself! he thought as his body passed through a nearby stop sign. I’m out of sync with the rest of the world! My powers aren’t working right at all. I can’t control the amount of movement I need to do something simple like snatch the Turtle. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up circling the globe instead of just crossing the street!
As the Flash deliberately slowed his pace, he had a realization. There’s no way the old thief could have whipped up something to change the entire world around me. He must not have slowed the world down. He must have increased my own speed!
The Flash vibrated through the pavement, then made his way back up toward the approximate location of the robber. He emerged and allowed the flow of cascading rubble to surge out of his wake and rain down on the Turtle.
The aging criminal was swiftly buried in dirt, and the Flash found himself viewing the world in his normal manner. I figured whatever device he used to make me overly speedy would be on his person. He must have some good use from that stylized carapace he wears across his chest and back. I also figured that, while I couldn’t rely on my own hands to disable it, I could still use the impact caused by rubble tossed at him by my progress through the earth to do the job.
The Flash searched the startled Turtle, who had yet to say a word and smiled as he found and then shattered a small metallic control. He led the dazed crook out of the mound of dirt and smiled to himself. “I suppose he may utter a syllable by the time he’s safely behind bars.”
Little did the Flash know that he was being watched by two sets of eyes. The Reverse-Flash watched him from a place of concealment and sneered in contempt.
So, Barry Allen is dead! he thought. I guess Kid Flash is trying to fill his mentor’s yellow boots! I don’t really hate the punk kid like I do Allen, but I’ll gladly kill him if he tries to stop me from doing what I can to destroy his mentor and those Allen loved. Of course, to be safe, I’ll just irradiate the punk with some of my patented ultra-speed vibrations. He won’t feel a thing, but he’ll also be helpless against me when the time comes to face him.
Beyond the Reverse-Flash stood a blonde girl in a colorful costume of yellow and red. Her long blonde hair flowed out of the yellow cowl that covered her upper face but left her scalp exposed. The cowl had red wings on each side near her ears, and her yellow shirt was emblazoned with the famous Flash lightning bolt on a white circle. She wore red shorts and winged yellow ankle boots.
Deena Allen had made the costume out of material that her late father had left behind. He had intended the special material to be used by his successor, but not even the always prepared Barry Allen had necessarily envisioned the fact that one day his then-unborn daughter would one day become the second Kid Flash.
Professor Zoom gives me the creeps! she thought. It is cool to see Wally in action, though. I’ve heard so much about him and watched him on the holo tapes. Mom said she last saw him a few months before my birth when he came to our era. While fifteen years have passed for us, this moment must only be a year or so later from his perspective.
She hesitated for a moment and then made a decision. I’m not going to let Wally or Zoom see me just yet, she decided. Professor Zoom seemed tired or unable to travel like he wanted to do. I bet he needs a boost, and the only time machine available in this city is located in the Flash Museum.
The clever teenager was correct. The Reverse-Flash had made his way to the stately edifice known as the Flash Museum. The museum contained information, exhibits, and awards that celebrated the careers of Barry Allen and Wally West. While most of the devices on display were harmless replicas, the famous cosmic treadmill was a working model, since the device could only propel a runner through time or space after he or she generated the kind of super-vibrations only a superhuman could produce.
Professor Zoom sneered as he passed directly through the wall and raced by the colorful and nostalgic exhibits. “Bah! This shrine sickens me! When I’m finished with Barry Allen, there won’t be any reason to be annoyed by the museum, since there will never have been one! If the Flash was never born, then he certainly could not have inspired such tributes. I may not have had my chance to kill him, but I’ll wipe him out of history, and then claim Iris as my own!”
Zoom stopped long enough to use one rapidly vibrating hand to shatter a state of the Flash before stepping onto the celebrated cosmic treadmill. He made a few super-swift adjustments even as alarms began to sound. “Let the cops come,” he said with a grin. “By the time they arrive, I’ll have reached my destination.”
Deena reached the museum and took a deep breath. She was uncertain what to do next. Still, thanks to the superhuman reaction time she had inherited from her father, she had time to make a decision. “I’ve got to follow him. If he sees me, so be it!” vowed the girl.
She waited until Zoom vanished and then dived after him. I can trail him via the energy aura he’s generating, but I have to be careful not to get too close or fall too far behind! she thought.
The new Kid Flash had complete control over her molecules, and thanks to Abra Kadabra’s alterations, Zoom no longer had mastery over time travel. It appeared as if his body was now more vulnerable to the stresses found in such journeys than ever before. He needed the treadmill to pass from 1988 to the past, and based on his labored breathing, even the device itself was not fully shielding him from the pressure.
He grinned as he recognized the rural community of Fallville. There were quaint farmhouses and luxurious crops spreading as far as the eye could see. It’s so appropriate that a bore like Allen grew up in such a stilted and dull community, he thought. Of course, once I find Dr. Henry Allen, I’ll make certain that idyllic childhood never comes to pass!
Professor Zoom hurried toward the Fallville Hospital as Deena Allen followed in his wake. I feel really dizzy! she thought. Making that leap into time was unsettling, but I can’t let Zoom have his way with history!
She had mixed emotions. While it was true that she had possessed her super-powers since birth and had become rather capable with various uses of the abilities, she had certainly never worn a costume nor used her gifts on such a deadly serious mission.
Seeing Dad’s childhood home would be a real thrill under better circumstances, but I can’t enjoy it now, since one wrong move and I could mess up time myself if I’m not careful! she thought.
She gasped as she came upon a clearing where some kids were playing in a green field. A blond boy in an oversized red and blue costume and winged helmet was waving his arms furiously while a pretty blonde girl was gazing at him with an expression of mock horror as she posed near a small bush.
“Flash! Thank goodness you’re here!” the girl cried as she casually straightened her windblown hair. “You must save me!”
The boy grinned and said, “Don’t worry, Miss! I’ll be there in a flash… like the Flash!”
She yelped suddenly and gave a small squeal. “Oooh! Some kind of nasty bug!” she said as she swatted at a small red insect.
“Daphne, ladybugs don’t bite! It’s a fact!” he said impatiently.
“Barry Allen! You and your science trivia!” she said. “You make me so mad sometimes!”
Deena smiled as she watched the children. That’s my dad when he was a child! she realized. Mom said he told her how he played in a Flash costume his mom made him. He thought the Jay Garrick Flash of Earth-Two was just a comic-book character back then. It’s so cool to see and hear my own father in person like this. The girl must have been his childhood friend, Daphne Dean. She was an actress, but in our time she is only remembered for being a friend to Dad.
Kid Flash sighed and started to leave the scene. Zoom must either want to hurt Dad before he became Flash, or he messed up again and ended up in a time he wasn’t trying to reach, she thought.