by Hitman 44077
At the Wiggins Toy Corporation, Willard W. Wiggins sat at his desk, typing a message onto his computer monitor. He remained emotionless as he continued to write, as if there was nothing more he could do. Inevitably, the message was finished, and as a precaution, Willard printed the message he’d typed.
Willard then stood up from his chair and walked toward a file cabinet. Upon opening that, he pulled forth a floppy disc, which was titled Reversal. With the disc in hand, he made his way back to his desk and placed it by his floppy disc drive next to his computer. He also placed the written copy of his document next to the floppy disc.
He sat back down at his desk and slowly opened one of his desk drawers. Within was a handgun he had picked up. Still emotionless, Willard eyed the gun in his hands and slowly began to point the gun at his head. He began to pull the trigger.
“Good God!” the Flash shouted aloud as he suddenly arrived on the scene, disturbed by the sight of the kind and gentle man who seemed ready to end his own life. But he wouldn’t let that shock stop him from saving Willard’s life.
“Let’s try this!” Flash said as he used his ability to steal speed to slow down the actions of Willard. He managed to pry the gun loose from Willard’s hands before the trigger could be pulled, and after unloading the gun, he tossed the empty weapon aside.
Flash then turned his attentions to Willard, who was still emotionless. A quick glance into the old man’s eyes told Flash the truth, something that didn’t surprise him.
“His eyes are glazed over, just like the rioters, and Basil and Luna Nurblin!” Flash observed, waving his hand in front of Willard’s face. “He’s been a pawn in this, too!”
Flash then turned his attentions to Willard’s computer and noticed the written note and floppy disc next to the device. Flash read the note at super-speed, which read:
If you are reading this message, then you know by now the guilt that has consumed my very being. My name is Willard W. Wiggins, and I confess that guilt. I am responsible for the criminal activities committed by George “Digger” Harkness, who utilized my concept to become a living, breathing Captain Boomerang. I am also responsible for defrauding Basil Nurblin, who created the idea for the Colonel Computron toy.
The legal issues at hand in my life, combined with the financial trouble the Wiggins Toy Corporation has experienced in recent months, has led me to commit this latest act of violence against those whom I once wanted to help. I created the Robot Ranger toy, and I employed methods that were of an unhealthy nature. One such end was my extended friendship with Luna Nurblin, whose dislike for Basil Nurblin matched my own. I purchased enough equipment for Luna, who decided to use the Colonel Computron concept as a new identity for committing crimes, and to raise suspicions on her father towards those very crimes. Luna also designed the concept of the Robot Ranger and, with her expertise with electronics, managed to build enough microchips which could engineer mind-control. Basil was the first test subject and proved to be a success. I, on the other hand, used what I could to build a line of Robot Ranger action figures, which would be used to lure children and adults alike into my mind-control trap.
I regret using the innocents of the city to gain revenge, and I fear the only responsible action I can now take is ending my life. I have left a disc which will turn off the microchips and allow the citizens to return to normal. Once more, I am terribly sorry for what I have done.
Willard W. Wiggins
Almost immediately after Flash had finished reading the note, he heard a gunshot ring out. He spotted the bullet in time to move himself and Willard out of the way, which hit the wall behind them. He then raced in the direction where the bullet had been fired from.
I had a feeling someone would be here to see that Willard’s suicide would be successful, and luckily my speed is mostly back to form. Of course, that’s bad news for the assailant! Flash thought as he dodged further bullets and disarmed the masked gunman. Flash then pulled the mask off the assailant, who turned out to be another familiar face.
“Bart Davis,” Flash said matter-of-factly. “Makes sense, from what I’ve read.”
“What do you mean?!” Bart fumed angrily.
“You seem to be in a position to gain a lot by the death of your boss. You knew what trouble Willard was in, and if I’m not mistaken, you used to be involved in another toy company, one Willard acquired in a buyout,” Flash stated.
“So?” Bart asked.
“Well, you and your partner are going to be spending a good amount of your time in jail. I hope this was worth it,” Flash answered.
“What makes you think I was working with someone else?” Bart asked.
“Oh, just some sloppy clues I observed over the day’s events,” Flash said sharply. “You’ve got a date in a jail cell in the meantime.”
Picking up Bart Davis and seeing that W.W. Wiggins was no longer in any danger, Flash took his prisoner to Central City Police Headquarters and deposited him within a jail cell. Once that was complete, he sped toward the Nurblin home.
Upon his arrival, he noticed that a car was floating in the air, and nearby, Polara casually looked at the vehicle. Inside the car, still held by the metal seat belt, was Francine Nurblin. “Looks like things are well in hand,” Flash observed, walking slowly toward Polara.
“You could say that,” Polara answered pleasantly. “When I arrived, Francine was very short with me, and I saw that several computers were smoking. There were also large amounts of paper burning, which what I’m guessing were notes. I asked her what was going on, but she pulled a gun from her pocket and tried to shoot me.”
“Sounds typical of a nut,” Flash said with a smile.
“So I managed to stop the bullet. No problem there, but Francine decided she could escape. She ran into the garage, started her car, and tried to get away. I simply used my abilities to prevent her escape. And, as you can see,” Polara said, pointing her finger to a screaming Francine Nurblin, “she’s very upset.”
“My heart is breaking for her,” Flash said sarcastically. “I think she needs to join her partner in prison.”
“Sounds like the way to go,” Polara said, lowering the car to the street. Once the car was lowered to the street, Polara opened the car door and released Francine. She looked at the two heroes with desperation but couldn’t find the nerve to speak.
“Don’t even think you can escape,” Flash ordered. “It’s over.”
Together, the two heroes took Francine Nurblin to Central City Police Headquarters and placed her in a jail cell next to Bart Davis. “So it’s over?” Polara asked Flash.
“Yes and no,” Flash said. “There’s more than enough proof that links these two, but I’m going to head back to the Nurblin home and see just what can be recovered. Do me a favor and bring W.W. Wiggins to the station.”
“OK,” Polara said.
The two heroes went their separate ways, each confident that things were under control, but wanting to ensure closure to the case.
Several hours later, during which time the citizens of Central City were freed from the effects of the microchips, Flash and Polara explained everything to Captain Darryl Frye, Detective Frank Curtis, Willard W. Wiggins, and Basil and Luna Nurblin at Central City Police Headquarters.
“All three of you were pawns in Francine’s sick game,” Flash explained to the Nurblins.
“How? Why?” Basil asked.
“I did a search of your home, and I found this,” Flash said, showing those assembled a book-like object. “More or less, it’s a journal going back several years. Very interesting reading, to say the least. Francine, from what I’ve read, was very jealous of Luna’s genius and feared that she’d grow smarter as she grew older.”
“But… I loved Mom. I never would have done anything to hurt her,” Luna said, sounding much different from Flash’s last meeting with her.
Polara glanced over at Luna and saw a part of herself within the large woman. That’s a hard thing to accept, something I know all too well about, she thought, feeling sympathy for the brown-haired woman.
“All of us know that, Luna,” Flash said, “but when it comes to madness, there are no easy answers.” Flash continued. “Francine was also greatly bitter over another subject, a subject concerning a toy called Colonel Computron.”
“Then… I share some blame with that,” Basil admitted quietly.
“The journal states that she created the concept of Colonel Computron and shared the idea with you, Basil. She didn’t suspect that you’d share the idea with W.W. Wiggins, and she grew even more angry when the toy became such a success,” Flash said.
“But I was never approached with the idea for Colonel Computron,” Willard answered.
“But someone in the company was, someone who worked with the two of you closely. Bart Davis,” Flash answered.
“I kept Bart in a high position in my company after I purchased Zonka Toys, where he’d worked,” Willard said, shocked. “But how did things get to this point?”
“It seems that Francine and Bart had been involved in a relationship years before she met and married Basil. Her hatred and anger building, she rekindled the relationship with Bart. The two wanted their own desires. Francine and Bart wanted to destroy Wiggins Toy Corporation in a more humiliating fashion than Zonka Toys had died. Francine also wanted to ensure that the family she hated would also be destroyed along with the company,” Flash said.
“To that end, Francine designed the microchips and the technology to control those who have the chip implanted within their heads, and Bart managed to inject one of those chips into your head, Willard. Francine also managed to inject chips within Basil and Luna’s heads while they were sleeping. The three of you became tools for their separate plans to destroy the company.”
Flash continued. “Inspired by the bad press Wiggins had received over Captain Boomerang, Francine was determined to duplicate the same results by creating a real Colonel Computron, using Luna to portray the new criminal and disguising her voice with a device specifically built to lower voices by a pitch so that she would sound more like a man.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: And now the truth of Colonel Computron’s identity is finally revealed, after it was first hinted at way back in “One More Blip and You’re Dead,” The Flash #304 (December, 1981).]
The revelation devastated Luna, who could only react by pouring her emotions out to those assembled. “How — how could she hate us so much?” Lena asked, near tears. “I didn’t ask to be a genius! I wanted her to be proud of me!”
“I don’t know. I wish I did, and I am so sorry that this happened,” Basil said, trying to comfort his daughter.
“Francine slipped up, however. In her efforts to play her trump card, she decided to create yet another criminal based on a Wiggins Toy. She created the Robot Ranger and used Basil to portray him. She had Willard, through Bart, to create the Robot Ranger action figures, and had them built so that they could fire darts filled with the microchips she’d built, not to mention the fact the two of them designed the Robot Ranger commercial aimed at those who could be susceptible to subliminal messages, something which would make a perfect distraction for yours truly. But she also slipped up another way. When I visited her house and spoke to her, she seemed to have some anger within her. What clinched things for me was noticing that she said she still loved Basil, but upon shaking her left hand, I noticed her wedding band was missing. I didn’t think anything about it until I unmasked both the Robot Ranger and Colonel Computron, who turned out to be you two,” Flash said, pointing to Basil and Lena.
“I had a hunch Francine was behind it from that point on, and with Polara’s help, we managed to stop both her and Bart before anything worse could happen. And that’s where we are now.”
Now that Flash had finished revealing things, Darryl Frye spoke to the three. “Everything checked out, and there’s enough to prosecute Bart and Francine. With the microchips turned off, it’ll be simpler to have them removed by a doctor, and we’ve found one who will do it without any medical charges,” Frye said.
The announcement did little to change the feelings the three were having. “Can we move forward after this, without Mom?” Lena asked, turning toward her father.
Basil hugged her and answered. “We have to. It’s all we can do,” he said, wiping some tears from his eyes.
“I don’t know if it’d help, and I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be in business, but I’d like the two of you to work with me,” Willard said, eying the father and daughter. “Hopefully, we can put the pieces back together, the three of us.”
“I have faith that you can do that,” Polara said, hoping to give them strength.
“I think we’ve kept you long enough,” Flash said, knowing there was nothing further to add. He placed his hand out to Frank Curtis and spoke to him. “Frank, thanks for keeping an eye on the streets. I hope there weren’t too many problems like that guy with the shotgun.”
“Nahh,” Frank answered, shaking the speedster’s hand. “Nothing Central City’s finest couldn’t handle.”
“All right. Take care, everyone,” Flash said, waving to the five people before he and Polara exited Central City Police Headquarters. The two stood outside and looked at one another.
“Well, I’m glad that’s been taken care of,” Polara said, though she started to feel nervous.
Flash felt just as nervous but addressed things as they needed to be. “Same here, but I think it’s time we had that talk,” he said.
“OK,” Polara answered, even as it felt like a lump was developing in her throat. “Let me change back, and we can talk at my place.”
“Have you been back to your apartment?!” Flash exclaimed, remembering the shape it had been in after Doctor Alchemy had vandalized it months earlier. (*) Though he’d cleaned the apartment as best as he could, there were items that weren’t recoverable.
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Flash: Terminal Velocity, Chapter 15: Lovers’ Spat.]
“No, why?” Polara said, surprised at Flash’s tone of voice.
“It was vandalized,” Flash said, telling her the truth.
“Oh, no,” Polara said, placing her hands over her mouth. “Tell me what happened!”
“The best place to tell you is at your apartment, okay?” Flash said, trying to calm her down.
Polara regained her composure and answered the Scarlet Speedster. “O-okay,” she answered, her voice shaking a little.
“I’ll meet you there,” Flash said before speeding off.
I leave town for a few months, and this happens?! I thought I could leave this stress behind! Polara thought, looking down at the street. Is this worth it? Polara looked upward, then slowly began to raise herself into the sky. She then began to fly, still in thought. I need to grab my suitcase and try to approach this mess in a positive light. But will it really matter? I honestly don’t know.