The Flash: Terminal Velocity, Chapter 13: Can’t Go Straight

by Hitman 44077

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Darryl Frye stood outside the interrogation room at Central City Police Headquarters and stared at a man whom he’d regarded as a friend through a two-way mirror — Albert Desmond, who had faced the Flash earlier in the day as Mister Element. Frye slowly brought a cup of coffee to his lips and sipped the black liquid. It didn’t matter if it was cold. That was the last thing on his mind.

Frank already worked him over about an hour or so ago, but he hasn’t done anything to explain his actions, Frye thought, finishing the cup of coffee. He’s talked tough, but even I can see that he’s worried.

Frye tossed his throwaway cup into a garbage pail and slowly moved toward the door of the interrogation room. He opened the door and entered the room. Two officers on duty closed the door behind him as Frye moved forward to where Desmond was sitting.

Desmond seemed surprised but quickly recovered as Frye sat down across from him. “Haven’t I answered enough questions, yet?” Desmond said, doing what he could to keep his tough image alive. “You guys are so gullible.”

“Albert, I know you better than you think,” Frye said, not fooled by Desmond’s attitude. “You’re in some serious trouble, and that in itself is an understatement. You were seen kidnapping a woman — a very famous woman — Daphne Dean. Why did you do it?”

“I’m supposed to reveal my inner demons to you? No, thanks,” Desmond said with a laugh. “You don’t know me at all.”

“Really,” Frye said, not really asking a question but making a statement instead. “I think it’s odd that you’d turn to crime now, especially in light of the kidnapping of people that were close to Barry Allen. Am I supposed to believe that your actions were a coincidence?”

“Maybe — you’re the cop, here,” Desmond said, a little concern showing through his seeming arrogance. “Do some detective work.”

“I have, Albert,” Frye said matter-of-factly. “You have alibis regarding the other kidnappings, things we checked out since your arrival a few hours ago. It seems to me that there’s more to the story than you’ve told me.”

“So? I guess I can only be pinned with one crime, then,” Desmond said nervously. “Oh, well.”

“You don’t get it, do you?” Frye said, now angered by Desmond’s demeanor. “All you care about is yourself, right? Barry never hurt you. He did things to help you as well as others.” Frye stood up and leaned toward the sitting Albert Desmond and continued to speak, though now his voice was quieter. “I know damn well that you had nothing to do with the other abductions, but I’m starting to believe that you know more than you’re telling me.”

Desmond stared back at Frye and turned his head, thinking of the previous day’s events. Damn it. I wish I could tell you, Darryl. But for Rita’s sake, I just can’t. Even if it means that I’ll rot in jail.

Turning back to the Captain, Desmond spoke once more, this time without the arrogance that marked most of his earlier conversation. “I-I have nothing left to say, Captain.”

Frye stared back at the man. He felt some sense of sympathy for Desmond still, but he spoke again. “Where’s Daphne? And where’s your wife? Listen to me — anything you tell me could help in this case.”

Desmond stared at the floor, not looking once at Frye as he replied. “I — let’s just say that Daphne’s safe right now. As for Rita, she left me,” he said, somewhat truthful, even if the actual events were not.

Frye stood up in disgust, not knowing what to do. What is this going to take? I’m running out of options, and we’re nowhere closer to finding the captives, he thought, taking a moment to look at Desmond, who now had some remorse on his face. It looks as if he still has a conscience. Hopefully, he’ll be more talkative tomorrow.

He walked toward the door and knocked twice to alert the officers guarding the outside of the room that he was finished. They opened the door, and Frye addressed Desmond once more. “I can’t help you if you won’t let me. Maybe you’ll be more talkative tomorrow. And, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry,” Frye said, not knowing how else to aid Desmond through the stress of his personal problems.

Frye walked out of the room, shut the door, and addressed the guards. “Take Desmond to one of the jail cells. Maybe he’ll talk to one of the other guests. If you need me, just call. I’ll be in my office.”

“OK, Captain,” one of the guards said as the other one opened the door to the interrogation room and started to enter.

Frye walked back to his office, trying to come up with more to work from with the lack of details so far in this case.

Within a matter of minutes, the two officers that were in charge of guarding the interrogation room had taken Albert Desmond to the jail cells. As he was led to an empty cell, the only other occupant of the jail cells spoke aloud to Desmond. “Well, well, well,” a sarcastic voice called aloud. “It seems that even the high and mighty Al Desmond can’t escape his fate.”

Desmond was secured in his jail cell as the words echoed forth. He didn’t have to look at the other prisoner to know that it was the recently arrested Len Snart.

As the guards walked toward the jail cell exits, Snart continued to speak aloud. “Come on, Al! Show some of your bravado! How were you beaten this time?”

Desmond walked toward his jail cot and sat on it. Why can’t I lay the past to rest? Why can’t I just find some peace? he thought despairingly as Snart continued speaking.

“You just can’t go straight, can you?” Snart said, somewhat antagonistically. “It’s OK, Al, we’ve all done some stupid things. Mine was underestimating Wally West.”

“Listen, Len, you have no idea what’s going on with me. Just drop it,” Desmond said, trying to keep calm.

“You underestimate me, Al. You see, I have a stake in what’s happening to this city. My lawyer was kidnapped, and it was the same lady who represented Flash, the real one, during the murder trial two years back. You had something to do with the disappearance of that Daphne Dean chick, so I’m guessing you know more than what you’re admitting,” Snart said, almost deductively.

“Maybe I do, Snart,” Desmond said defensively. “But when it comes to my concerns, then I’ll do what’s best for me. I’m done talking, so you might as well just go to bed.”

“Pal, no one talks like that to me!” Snart said angrily. “Not you or West or anyone!” Tempers flared, but with the two villains in cages, there was no way for either of them to vent their physical anger. Each man grew silent, as if they could sense the changes that seemed to be in the air, even as the daylight began to fade.


Blue Valley:

Robert and Mary West were washing and drying dishes after a quiet evening. “There we go. The last dish,” Mary said proudly as she handed the plate to her husband.

“That was simple enough,” Robert said as he dried the dish. “Your cooking never disappoints, dear.”

Mary responded as Robert placed the now-dry dish in a cabinet. “Is that a compliment?” she said with joking sarcasm.

“That depends on how you take it,” Robert said, a small smile flashing on his face. He reached for the pipe in his pocket and, after pulling it forth, placed some tobacco inside it.

“Now, wait a second,” Mary said with a false pout. “I have no problem with you smoking, but don’t we have time for a kiss first?”

Robert smiled as he placed the pipe down on the kitchen counter. “I have all the time in the world when it comes to the people I care about,” he said as he moved toward his wife and hugged her. The two shared a kiss, their twenty-plus years of marriage still as strong as it was the day they were united in holy matrimony.

“That was nice. Care to do that again?” Mary said as she moved her lips closer to her husband’s.

“I don’t see why not,” Robert said as they kissed once again, this kiss lasting a little longer than their previous effort. “You know, it’s been a while since we’ve seen Wally. I never believed he could be a hero in the same light as Barry. I’m glad I was wrong. He’s definitely earned the Flash identity.”

Mary grew slightly distant over Robert’s mentioning of Wally’s alter ego. “I’d like to believe that his is a comic-book life, where the heroes can never bleed, but we both know the truth of the matter,” she said, a little fear in her voice. “I’ve been overprotective of him, and I know that, but the idea that he puts himself in dangers beyond comprehension… I wish he’d never received those powers.”

Mary turned away as Robert placed his hands on his wife’s shoulders. “Mary, Wally’s had to live with his powers for well over ten years,” he said softly into his wife’s ear. “He credits you and I, as well as Barry, for how he’s turned out. He never used his powers to gain an unfair advantage, and he’s saved so many lives during his days as Kid Flash and now as the Flash.”

“I just wanted him to settle down, to be more like you,” Mary said as she turned around to face her husband. “You made time for Wally and I. But being a crime-fighter–”

“–Has a price. I know, and sometimes — selfishly — I wish it didn’t,” Robert said with understanding. “I hope I would have the same convictions as Wally if I was in his shoes.”

“I just remember how scared I was during the events of two years ago,” Mary confided. (*) “I was so scared that he would end up dead, and I’m not ready to bury my son. Not then, and not now.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See The Flash: The Funeral of Barry Allen.]

“Do you… do you regret that we didn’t have any other children besides Wally?” Robert asked.

“Yes,” Mary said as she held off on her tears. “Wally wasn’t more like one of us, but rather both of us. I wish we’d been able to conceive another child before time passed us by.”

“We could adopt — we’re not too old,” Robert said, trying to help his wife with her issues.

“I don’t think that’s the answer,” Mary said, not really sure how to react. “Adoption is something for couples that can’t have any children on their own.”

“I’m not too sure about that,” Robert said. “It’s at least something to think about.”

But before any more words could be spoken, a jack-in-the-box crashed through the living room window of the West home. “What the–?!” Robert yelled as he ran toward the living room. Mary followed closely behind, and the two soon stood in front of their living room. The Wests saw that the floor was covered in glass, even as they spotted the jack-in-the-box lying in the middle of the floor.

“Is this some kind of joke?” Mary said as Robert debated whether or not to touch it.

“I don’t know, and I don’t think I want to know,” Robert said as he slowly bent down toward the toy. Without warning, the jack-in-the-box sprang loose, spraying a freezing dust that coated the Wests and held them paralyzed in a state of suspended animation.

Walking through the broken window into the West home was Lady Rogue, who smiled evilly at the plight of the Wests. “You fools never saw this coming,” she said. “I wasn’t about to chance another encounter like the one I had with Cecile Horton. No matter.”

Lady Rogue moved toward the living statue that was Robert West and removed a pair of car keys from his pocket. With the arrival of nightfall, she knew she could carry them outside the home and to their van. So, after dragging each of Wally West’s parents to the van and securing then inside, Lady Rogue drove off, ready to reach her own van that she’d parked elsewhere in Blue Valley, before making the three-and-a-half-hour trip back to Central City.

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