by Hitman 44077
The citizens, now under control of the Robot Ranger, obeyed his wishes. Adults and children alike began finding things to damage or destroy without any thoughts of consequence. Cars were overturned and building windows were being broken, all while the Robot Ranger watched from a distance.
However, even as police officers began responding to these latest riots, another individual was witnessing the events first-hand — Frances Kane.
“What’s happening here?!” she exclaimed as rioters continued to destroy vehicles. “I swear, it’s like I never left!” Such severe damage was done to one car that it eventually caught on fire. “If that car explodes, a lot of people are going to be hurt. Let’s see what I can do.”
Using her magnetic abilities, Fran managed to raise the car hundreds of feet into the air. Maintaining her control over the vehicle, she allowed the vehicle to explode, but still held it in one cohesive form, so as to not allow shards of metal to rain down on the city.
That’s one problem solved, but then there’s more where that came from, Fran thought, slowly lowering the remains of the vehicle to the street and making sure the pieces remained in its cohesive form. I never imagined coming back to Central City in the middle of a riot, but that would explain why Wally wasn’t home. Before my trip to San Francisco, I might have been hesitant to get involved. Not now.
Fran started to run, and once she found a safe-enough area, she opened her suitcase. She stared at the contents and knew what to do. It’s time for Polara to get involved, she thought, determined to make a difference.
The Flash had been heading back into the city when he heard the loud explosion that, unknown to him, had been contained by his former girlfriend. “What the hell?!” he said as he sped on. Upon his arrival, he couldn’t believe his eyes. The damage was on par with some battles he and his predecessor had fought in the city over the years, but those responsible would surprise the twenty-something speedster that much more. This is insane! he thought as he stared at the damage done to the city. Something’s definitely up, and this seems more organized — moreso than what happened earlier.
He sped forward, and it was only a matter of a few seconds that he saw with his own eyes the citizens who were rioting. But that wasn’t the worst of it. “That’s very odd — silent rioters?” Flash said, puzzled.
Flash sped up to one of the rioters, intent on finding anything that could be controlling them. Turning one of the rioters around, the rioter’s eyes appeared glazed over, even as Flash noticed something on the forehead of the rioter. “There’s a small pin-prick on this guy’s forehead, some swelling, and some dried blood!” Flash realized, starting to grasp just what had happened to this man.
He backed away, even as the rioter turned his attention back to other business. He took the time to check other rioters’ foreheads, and sure enough, the same symptoms were found on the others as well.
“They’re being controlled, and I’m guessing that either Basil Nurblin or Colonel Computron has finally launched his latest plan of attack!” Flash said, angered. “But how do you stop so many citizens without harming them? By going right to the source of this mess!”
Flash continued to move forward until he spotted the reason he’d started this case initially. It wasn’t what Flash had expected. There, standing in front of the Flash, was… “Robot Ranger?!” he said in shock.
“Flash, I knew we’d meet!” the Ranger said as he began to press different controls on his wrists. Springing forth from the wrist devices were four light-based doubles of the Robot Ranger. Somewhat translucent, which differentiated themselves from the real Ranger, they also contained an energy that held them in a more solidified form than other creations before them. “You can’t stop my lieutenants, Flash! They will aid me and my citizens into remaking your city!” the Ranger bellowed. The green-colored doubles began to shoot at Flash, who avoided the blasts.
Not what I expected, but I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s the one who’s controlling the people of this city, Flash thought before turning back to the situation at hand. This isn’t unlike something Doctor Light might’ve created at one time, but there are some differences. I need to see just how light-based they really are.
Flash sped toward one of the light-based creatures and punched it, but the impact upon the creature was like punching water. And then there was the electrical feedback Flash received from punching the light-based creature. “Agghh!” Flash seethed in a mix of pain and anger. Though in pain, he avoided more attacks from the light-based beings.
Well, I can’t touch them, but how about this? Flash thought, using his hands to form enough of a wind blast to attack one of the light-based creatures. The attack did little but disrupt the movement of the creature, simply vibrating within the water-like form of the creature for only a few seconds.
OK, let’s see. Can’t touch them, can’t really use my powers against them, let’s try another trick! Flash thought, ready for another round. Using his super-speed, Flash started moving so fast between the four creatures that he began leaving, in effect, after-images. Back and forth he went, making sure to stay in the same spot he’d been in before to see if the creatures would attack the images. Sure enough, the creatures began shooting at the various Flash images in front of them, to a point that the creatures actually began landing attacks on themselves. Such attacks continued, even when the images of Flash had finally faded.
I wasn’t sure how smart they were, or whether or not they could tell the difference between real or images, but it doesn’t matter now, the Flash thought before turning his attentions to the Robot Ranger. He hasn’t said a word since he launched his attack. It’s as if he’s zoned out. Maybe he needs the concentration to control the creatures. This is as good a chance I’ve got to stop him.
As the light-based creatures continued attacking each other, no longer concerned with Flash, he lunged toward the Robot Ranger, who seemed in a daze. “Let’s see what you do without these!” Flash said, shattering the wrist devices the Ranger had been wearing. With those destroyed, the light-based creatures simply vanished.
Flash also punched the Ranger down and ripped off portions of the Ranger’s costume, which was more cloth than cybernetics, something that surprised the speedster. And yet the Robot Ranger didn’t even respond. “All right, time to see who you really are,” Flash demanded, unlatching the helmet-style mask that hid most of the Ranger’s face.
Underneath the mask was an image Flash had thought was responsible for this mess, but not in this manner. “Basil Nurblin,” Flash said aloud before he noticed something a bit strange. Though he had unmasked his foe, Flash saw that Nurblin’s eyes were much like the rioters — glazed over. Even though he didn’t have any type of mark on his forehead, Flash realized that the foe he’d just fought was as much a pawn in this as the rioters, who still seemed under some type of control.
“All right,” Flash said aloud, angrily. “I think I see just what’s going on here. Show yourself!” Though he’d spoken his challenge aloud, the answer was given in the form of a large shadow looming low behind him. Flash turned his head upon the appearance of the shadow and faced the foe responsible. The large, six foot-plus frame of a silver-armored computer-like being was as much an answer to the identity as anything else. But still, it spoke to the Flash in a voice bordering on human and robot.
“Very observant, Flash. Still, Colonel Computron has a mission to uphold, and if you choose to stand in my way, you will be deleted from existence!” Colonel Computron raised his arm toward the Flash and fired a blast of energy at his foe. However, Flash was too fast, as he grabbed Basil Nurblin and sped out of the path of the blast.
This is impossible! Flash thought, a puzzled look starting to form on his face. I was convinced that Nurblin was involved, but not like this. My guess was that he’d operated as the Colonel, but — no time to stand still!
Indeed, Flash saw another blast of energy being fired toward himself and Basil. Using his arms at super-speed, he managed to fan the blast of energy into nothingness, even as several more blasts were heading their way. I think he’s a bit angry, the Flash thought, still fanning away the blasts of energy. But I can’t stay on the defense. I need to mount a strike, and what better time than now?
Flash sped toward his computerized foe and managed to avoid further blasts from the Colonel. Flash took turns trying to break apart the armored shell with super-speed punches while continuing to run circles around his foe. I have to be making some amount of progress, the Flash thought urgently as he continued to pound at the armored hide. I just wish I knew more about this guy and why he’s got it in for W.W. Wiggins and Basil Nurblin.
As Flash continued his assault, the Colonel stared at his foe as if analyzing his movements and reactions. He then pressed a button on his left wrist and activated a new weapon, a small cannon that was affixed to the Colonel’s shoulder. With his sensors, the Colonel managed to get a proper lock on the scarlet speedster. The shoulder cannon launched a bizarre force in the direction of the Flash, which immediately knocked the speedster off his feet and caused him to skid several hundred feet away.
“Uhh,” Flash said groggily, raising his left hand to his forehead. He shook his head, doing what he could to remove the effects of the blast. “Wha — what on Earth was that?“
It was then the Colonel pressed a button on the side of his helmet. Suddenly, every citizen who’d been under the control of the Robot Ranger stopped their rioting. For a few seconds, they all stood still. Then, they began to march toward the fallen Flash.
The Flash turned his head and noticed the citizens moving toward him. “Great,” he said, disgusted. “Now this guy’s going to use Central City’s own citizens as puppets. Or is he?”
The speedster turned his attention toward Colonel Computron. He managed to stand up and began to race toward him, ready to begin another round with the Colonel, when he noticed something wrong.
“Wait a second, something’s wrong with my speed!” Flash said, realizing that he wasn’t moving as fast as he could normally.
It was that same moment that Colonel Computron fired another blast from his shoulder cannon at the crimson comet. It struck Flash, who went flying back once more, even as the citizens moved toward the fallen speedster. “Surprised, Flash?” Colonel Computron shouted in the Flash’s direction as several citizens began to attack the helpless speedster. “I’ve disrupted your abilities with an enhanced sonic blast. It’s by no means fatal, but it will hamper your powers long enough for me to accomplish my goals.”
“Aggh!” Flash groaned in between kicks from several mesmerized citizens. “I can’t let him win, and I can’t hurt these people, either.” Flash struggled with the assault, but managed to summon up enough strength to use what weakened speed abilities he had to escape the citizens’ wrath.
“Instead of using the people to fight your own battle, why not try me one-on-one?” Flash challenged. Though he was in pain, he refused to let his enemy see just how weakened he was.
“I calculate your odds at a billion to one, Flash. I accept your challenge!” Colonel Computron shouted, firing another sonic blast from his shoulder cannon.
Flash managed to narrowly avoid being hit by the sonic energy, even at his diminished speed, but the Colonel continued his attack. I need, uh… I need to find a way to stop him before someone’s hurt! Flash thought as he dodged more sonic blasts. The battle wasn’t going to last much longer, as Flash was growing weaker and weaker.
“Oh, my God!” a female voice suddenly shouted out. “Leave him alone!”
The Flash and Colonel Computron turned toward the direction of the voice, a voice Flash immediately recognized. Clad in a mix of pink, magenta, and white was the heroine Polara.
Taking advantage of the situation, the Flash charged the Colonel with all the speed he could muster, smashing the sonic cannon mounted on his enemy’s shoulder with several quick punches.
“Polara!” Flash shouted urgently. “His suit’s made of metal! Rip it off his body!”
Polara glared at Colonel Computron, and the Colonel was lifted several feet in the air.
“No — no!” Colonel Computron shouted, trying to hit Polara with energy blasts. Keeping her balance in the air, Polara pointed her left hand in the direction of the Colonel’s arms and pulled the armored hands outward without causing any harm to the human hands of her foe.
“Hey, hasn’t anyone told you the good guys always win?” Polara said, her mask hiding the smile on her face. She then raised her right arm in the direction of the enemy and began to pull apart the metal suit as if it were paper. The body, no longer contained by the suit, fell back to the street. But the helmet-like mask remained on the Colonel’s head.
“Thanks, Polara,” Flash said appreciatively, remembering the name he’d been told during the course of the invasion.
“You’re welcome,” Polara said as Flash recognized a sense of warmth from her voice, a warmth he’d cherished for several years. However, the current situation still merited their total attention. Though the two heroes noticed that the citizens were no longer rioting, they were still in their mesmerized states. Polara lowered herself to the street as Flash made his way toward the large body, which, while clothed, was evidently female.
Once at the large woman’s body, Flash removed the helmet from Colonel Computron’s head. And behind the mask was someone he recognized. “Luna Nurblin?!” Flash exclaimed.
“Who?” Polara asked.
“Luna Nurblin, the daughter of Basil and Francine Nurblin. This can’t be right!” Flash said, disbelievingly.
Polara walked toward one of many Robot Ranger action figures that were on the street, then turned toward the direction of Basil Nurblin, who was still in a daze. She bent over and picked the figure up. “Let me guess, this has something to do with the case?” Polara asked, showing Flash the figure.
As Flash turned toward Polara and the figure, the device raised its arms slowly and shot one of its dart-like devices at his head. Flash moved out of the way in time and managed to catch the dart.
“Goodness!” Polara said, dropping the figure.
Flash examined the dart and pulled the needle out. He then shook what remained of the dart until a small microchip fell out and into Flash’s free hand. “Very interesting,” Flash said, narrowing his eyes. “Now we know how the people are being controlled. Hand me the figure.”
Polara did as Flash asked, bending back down to pick up the toy she’d just dropped in surprise. She handed the toy to Flash, and upon examination, the scarlet speedster realized another truth. “This has the markings of a Wiggins Toy Corporation logo!” Flash shouted. “This whole mess started with a commercial marketed for this Robot Ranger toy, and Willard Wiggins swore he’d had no knowledge of this endeavor. Plus, I fight two Wiggins creations, the Robot Ranger and Colonel Computron.”
“Then you have an idea who the mastermind is?” Polara asked.
Flash paused a second, placing all that he’d seen and heard together. He then snapped his fingers and shouted, “That’s it!”
“OK,” Polara said, unsure of things herself.
“Look, you have to head to the Nurblin home immediately!” Flash said urgently. “I wouldn’t ask, but until I shake the rest of the sonic vibrations loose from my system, I’m not able to be in two places at once. It’s at 451 Bates Street.”
“I’ll do it, but where are you heading?” Polara asked, starting to feel a sense of urgency herself.
“I’m heading to the Wiggins Toy Corporation!” Flash exclaimed. “And if I’m right, this is indeed a matter of life and death!”
Before the two heroes could head off on their separate missions, there was an awkward silence as the two heroes locked eyes, each of them remembering all that had happened before their relationship had deteriorated.
“It’s — it’s good to see you again,” Flash said, breaking the silence. “When this is over, we need to talk about us.”
“Yeah,” the muffled voice of Polara said. “We’ll have enough time to talk later. But until then, good luck.” Knowing what they had to do, both heroes sped off toward their destinations, knowing there was no further time to spare.