The Flash: Terminal Velocity, Prologue: A Toast

by Hitman 44077

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Within one of Central City’s warehouses, a tall man with thinning black hair looked through a window into the city that had been his home for so many years. “Hey, mister,” a voice called from behind. The man with thinning hair turned. He walked toward three people who were shrouded in shadows and addressed them.

“Good evening. I have called you here because there is business that needs to be dealt with in Central City. I assume you do not know me. But I, like yourselves, have a deep hatred for the Flash,” the man said. Anger could be detected in his voice.

“The Flash has been a problem that I wanted eliminated for many, many years. Unlike most rogues, I didn’t make a career of facing him. Nonetheless, I want him dead. You three fit my plan perfectly. I want every last reminder of the Flash destroyed — those that he cared about, and even those he doesn’t know.”

“Sounds like something I’ve wanted to do for years,” a man’s voice spoke. Stepping from the shadows was Doctor Alchemy, who smiled as the Philosopher’s Stone glistened in his hand.

“Alchemy, I’ve chosen you since you weren’t one of the typical Rogues,” the man said, seeking to stroke Alchemy’s ego. “I don’t need someone motivated by money, but by hatred. You fit my plans perfectly.”

“What about me? Doesn’t vengeance for murder constitute a clear-cut desire to destroy the Flash?” a female voice said, stepping away from the shadows. It was Lady Rogue, the former Fiona Webb. The hate in her eyes was alive, now more than ever.

“Lady Rogue, I can sympathize with your plight. I understood too well what the Flash has done to you, and I think what I’ve done has greatly helped you,” the man said.

The man still shrouded in shadows spoke with a familiar voice. “Fiona, Mota made it so. I live because of him. I live for you… and the death of the Flash.” The man walked away from the shadows, and his physical appearance was that of one Barry Allen. His smile wasn’t the familiar smile Barry was known for, but one of contempt.

“I know. I carried on for you, even after the Flash murdered you,” Lady Rogue said, her feelings for this man clearly evident. She kissed this man, who seemed to enjoy her affection.

“For me, this has been a long time coming,” the man with thinning hair said, walking toward a suit of armor more sophisticated than armor of the past. “I have made plans for all of you. Do not alter these plans. This needs to fit perfectly, and any change could destroy what I’ve planned.”

“That’s why I agreed to join you,” Alchemy said with a grin. “Just one thing, mister. We still don’t know your name.”

“I see no reason to hide that from you, now that you’ve agreed. My name is Manfred Mota,” the man with thinning black hair said. He walked over to a table, where specific plans were addressed to those in attendance. He picked up the plans and handed them over to the three villains. “These have been tailored to your expertise. Once you are finished with wave one, return here. We’ll need to keep the Flash off our backs until the time is right.”

“I will not fail you, Mota, or you, Barry. I swear I will kill the Flash myself!” Lady Rogue said, her hatred building by the second. “I will return, Mota… and thank you.”

Mota smiled. “You are more than welcome, Lady Rogue. Avenge Barry Allen,” he said, as Lady Rogue exited the building.

Once it was clear that Lady Rogue was far away, the man that looked like Barry Allen spoke. “That damn bitch! She cost me some of the best years of my life, her and the Flash. Oh, when I have my way with Beverly–”

“Until my goal is realized, ‘Barry,’ your revenge will have to wait,” Mota said as a warning.

“Since she’s gone, don’t call me that. My name’s Ross. Ross Malverk,” said the man who looked like Barry Allen, and he indeed has his own history with Fiona Webb. He was, in fact, the man responsible for her needing to change her name from Beverly Lewis to Fiona Webb in the first place.

Years ago, Ross Malverk was a businessman who secretly also ran a criminal operation. He was convicted on murder charges largely because of the testimony of one of his secretaries, Beverly. After the trial, Beverly was put into the Witness Protection Program and relocated to Central City under the assumed name of Fiona Webb. There, by some amazing coincidence, she moved in next door to Barry Allen, a man who was Ross Malverk’s exact double. Ross himself escaped prison and attempted to take revenge on Fiona. After an assassin he hired named Saber-Tooth failed to kill Fiona, Ross made the mistake of hiring assassins to kill Saber-Tooth for his failure, which prompted Saber-Tooth to try to kill Ross, forcing Ross to turn himself in for his own safety. (*) Fiona, meanwhile, began dating Barry and began a doomed romance that led to an aborted wedding day and Fiona’s own madness.

[(*) Editor’s note: For the story of Ross Malverk, see “Will You Believe Me When I’m Dead?” The Flash #290 (October, 1980) and “The Saber-Tooth is a Very Deadly Beast,” The Flash #291 (November, 1980).]

“All right, Ross. But don’t overplay your hand. You are the ace in all of this. Without you, we may very well fail,” Mota said.

“I won’t, as long as no one stops me when I finish Beverly off,” Ross said, referring to Fiona’s real name of Beverly Lewis.

“I’d be the last one to stop you,” Mota said, walking to a cooler. He opened the cooler and pulled out three glasses and champagne. After opening the champagne bottle, he poured himself and his two guests glasses of the bubbly liquid. After handing his glasses to Alchemy and Ross, Mota spoke. “I propose a toast. To the end of the Flash… and everything that is dear to him.”

“I agree,” Alchemy said, raising his glass.

“Cheers!” Ross said, unable to hide the hate-filled passion consuming him. He raised his glass as well.

The three brought their glasses together and drank the champagne. Soon, very soon, the Flash would meet his end — but not tonight.

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