Crime Syndicate of America: Earth-Three Remembered, Chapter 10: One Year Later

by Libbylawrence

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Debbie Ann Robinson smoothed down the bow in her hair and hurried downstairs to fix breakfast for her husband and their daughter, Debbie. She smiled as she heard her teenage daughter groan at the sound of the alarm clock signaling the start of the school day. “Deb! Don’t forget — cheerleading starts today!” she called as she hurried down to the kitchen. Jack smiled up at her as she bent down to kiss him. “Hmmm… You’re up early today,” she teased. “Usually have to drag you out of the shower kicking and screaming.”

Jack grinned. “Yes, I know, but today is special. It’s officially the one-year anniversary of your return. After that accident when we thought you were dead, we never knew if we’d smile again. But then you turned up with amnesia, and my pals at the FBI alerted me. Now you’ve been the perfect wife and mother you always were before you disappeared for a year.”

Debbie Ann nodded slowly. “Jack, I have never remembered our past. I still don’t. However, you identified me, and — being an FBI agent — your word was enough. I have been and am still very happy here with you and Debbie, but I sometimes fear that you might have been wrong.”

“Fingerprints don’t lie,” he insisted. “Your kiss doesn’t lie. I know my wife.”

Debbie Ann shook her head. “Silly old me. Always worrying.”

“That’s what makes you soccer mom supreme,” said the sprightly Debbie Junior as she skipped in to grab toast and head for the door.

“Young lady, that skirt is a bit short,” scolded her mother. “Change it now.”

Mommmm,” whined Debbie Junior as she flounced back to her room to change.

Easy, dear,” teased Jack. “You sound like some warrior princess leading troops into battle.” His wife sat on his lap and laughed, but that phrase also stirred something deep in her locked memories. “Anyway, I have a little present for you,” he said, holding out a wrapped box.

Debbie Ann smiled and ripped off the paper to lift open the lid. “What do you mean by this?” she said with a dangerous edge in her normally perky tone.

“Hon, it’s a solid gold bracelet,” he said. “Let me slip it on you.”

His wife’s eyes flared with a rage he’d never seen before as she shoved him, not merely back, but across the kitchen. “No one shall ever put bracelets of submission upon me again!” she shouted.

As he got back up, Jack Robinson saw his docile wife toss back her long black locks and rip off the ribbon.

“These clothes are only fit for some domesticated pet, not the warrior princess of Sanctuary Island!” she said in disgust as she tore off the clothes and marched past the startled man. “I assume my foes in the League altered my fingerprints and memories to make me your perfect little wife. Perhaps they killed her, or at least learned of her disappearance via the mental powers of their Martian. He certainly probed my mind enough before turning me free with no recollections of my old life. Well, Jack Robinson, I am not your Debbie Ann. I am Diana, princess of the Amazons, and I take my leave of you now.”

She rushed off in a long shirt that hung like a tunic upon her powerful frame. She would reclaim her golden lariat and costume when she trounced the League that had played with her thusly.

***

The man known as Johnny Quick had another name as well — Charles Drake. He had gained his super-speed powers through a helmet that had made him the fastest man alive. Now he no longer needed the helmet to use his powers, since years of use had altered his own metabolism. However, with the memory loss induced by the Lawless League, Drake couldn’t even recall that he had such amazing powers. He had drifted to a small town and was desperate for a job. He seemed to have no talents except for an instinctive desire to avoid the police. He made his way to Central City after bumming across the country. Here he encountered his destiny at speeds all too fast, even for him.

He had only been in town for a while when a handsome blond man approached him and offered to buy him a drink. Needing something to eat, he accepted the stranger’s hospitality. They entered a run-down cafe.

“What’s your name, pal?” asked the blond as he ordered a meal for them both.

“I’m… I’m Chuck,” he said after some hesitation.

“You don’t sound too sure,” said the man. “I’m Allen.”

“Well, the truth is, I’m a bit out of sorts. Need work. New to town,” stammered Drake.

“I think I can help you,” said Allen. “Let me get us some food here, and we’ll talk. Then maybe I can find you a place to stay and a job. See, I know a lot of people around this burg.”

They laughed and talked well into the night, and at closing time they made their way home to Allen’s house, where he offered Chuck a guest room.

“Pretty woman! Is that your wife?” asked Chuck as he picked up a photo.

“She was… she’s dead now,” muttered a now-grim Allen.

“How’d she die?” asked Charles Drake.

You killed her, you lousy thug!” shouted Allen, suddenly turning on him. “You murdered my Iris when you were in your Johnny Quick I.D. And now I’m going to kill you for it.” He then fired a small gun that he had produced from nowhere.

As fast as Drake was, he did not expect this sudden bizarre attack, and his body literally froze as ice hardened around him.

“You don’t remember any of it, do you?” said Allen as his once-pleasant features turned angry and hateful. “I’ll refresh your memory, killer, before I end your life. First, my name is Barry Allen. I was your boss at the police lab before you stole my invention and gained the speed that should have been mine. I realized you had no idea who I was when I saw you stumble around town, though my mirrors have been scanning your every move since you first returned to Earth from the bubble. I enjoyed seeing that League scum trash you, but I prayed only I could really kill you.

“After you stole my helmet and began your career as Quick, Iris tracked you down via her journalistic ties, and you killed her! I’ve spent years using my science skills to invent weapons meant to catch or kill you — ice guns, heat rays, mirror traps, tops of lethal design, even trick boomerangs! You killed and got away, but I’m going to reverse that! I’m your opposite number — the player on the other side, as Ellery Queen called it — and as your personal Rogue, I’ll make you pay!”

Drake’s memories returned with a rush, but he was helpless in the ice as his enemy prepared to end his life.

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