by Hitman 44077
Kid Flash and the elder Flash ordered their meals and began to catch up on what had happened since the last time they saw each other. “What’s been new with you, Wally?” asked Jay. “I was a little surprised that you retired.”
“Well, I made that decision shortly after I graduated from high school. I liked what I did with Barry, but I wanted to go to college. I had some goals that I wanted to reach,” Kid Flash said.
“I can’t fault you there. I went to college myself, and I know that you have to devote your full attention to your studies. Of course, I gained my powers in college, too, but you understand,” Jay said as he cut his pancakes into mouth-sized bites.
“Yeah. Believe me, I’ve had some good times as Kid Flash, but for the last year or so, I’ve felt like I had no control of my life,” Kid Flash said, taking a bite from his chicken-fried steak. “You see, I fully intended that when we teamed up before I graduated, that would be my last case. That was before Raven came into the picture.”
“You’ve mentioned Raven before. Isn’t she a member of the Titans?” Jay asked, taking a bite of pancakes.
“She was. She assembled the New Teen Titans to fight her father, a demon named Trigon. She needed my abilities the most, and she manipulated me into joining,” Kid Flash said, sipping some coffee, the memories flooding back.
Jay paused. “I didn’t know about that. I didn’t mean to bring up some bad memories.”
“No. It’s all right, Jay. It took me a while to accept that we didn’t share the same love, and I found myself falling for an old friend from Blue Valley. Her name’s Fran — Frances Kane. As for Raven, she was drawn to Trigon’s side, and Trigon took over our world. I was drawn back into the Titans, and we managed to stop Trigon,” Kid Flash said, as the owner filled his cup with coffee.
“What happened to Raven?” Jay asked as he took a bite of bacon.
“We — we stopped her. We were manipulated into giving in to our darkest thoughts, and we killed her demonic body,” Kid Flash said, wiping away a tear.
“I’m sorry,” was Jay’s consoling reply. He thought, Barry lost Iris to the Reverse-Flash, and I remember how I felt when I thought Joan was dead. Thanks to Barry and Doctor Fate, we managed to save her from that bizarre limbo dimension she was trapped in. I’d hate to imagine a life without Joan.
“We redeemed her soul. With the help of Raven’s mother Arella and an old teammate from the original Titans, Lilith Clay, her soul purged the evil from her dead body. Her soul destroyed Trigon, and our world was saved,” Kid Flash said.
“That’s good to know. There’s hope… there’s always hope. We need to continue believing that,” Jay said wisely.
“I think Barry feels the same way, wherever he is. I’m wondering if maybe the villains don’t have him. It would explain his vanishing in front of the Titans and why Brainiac designed those barriers. He didn’t anticipate that there was another speedster that could help the heroes,” Kid Flash said hopefully as he took a bite of hash browns.
“That could be it. So, tell me about Fran,” Jay asked, changing the subject to keep Wally from dwelling on Barry.
“Well, Fran has been a rock, safe to say. There’s something about her; it’s like she possesses the same quality that Iris had and Joan has. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but it’s there. I love her, Jay. I can’t see my life without her. She’s that important to me,” Kid Flash said.
“I’m glad to hear it,” Jay said with a smile.
“I’d like to know what’s been going on with you,” Kid Flash asked as he finished with his hash browns.
“Well, I’ve been semi-active for several years. In recent months, we — as in the JSA — were branded fugitives thanks to a plot by Per Degaton. He had the world thinking we were traitors to America back in World War Two with a forged diary of our world’s Bruce Wayne. We cleared our names, and Per Degaton’s threat was ended as he apparently ended his own life,” Jay said, finishing his pancakes.
“We’ve had some help in recent times. Several JSAers had children when they retired years ago. Those children applied for membership with the JSA, but we rejected them. We didn’t want them risking their lives like we did. It was just parental concern. They decided to form their own team, and they call themselves Infinity Inc. They have already proven themselves more than capable of handling themselves as heroes, and with the aid of our former members Power Girl, the Huntress, and the Star-Spangled Kid, they can only get better. Just like your Earth’s Teen Titans, they have emerged from their parent team’s shadow and have proven themselves as a separate team. I think I speak for the rest of the JSA when I say I’m proud of them,” Jay said, smiling as he took another sip of coffee.
“I’m glad to hear it. I don’t think I’d mind meeting them. Maybe I will after this mess is over,” Kid Flash said, finishing his meal.
“I think that would be good for everyone. Well, I’m full. We’d better head back to Harbinger’s post,” Jay said, standing up.
Jay turned to the owner. “Thank you very much for the meal. It was great.”
“Hey, it was my pleasure. It’s not every day that you meet a childhood hero. I hope you stop by again sometime,” the owner of the soda shop said.
Both the elder Flash and Kid Flash shook the owner’s hand. Then, after exiting the building, they sped off toward Harbinger’s monitoring building.
When they arrived, the group was still monitoring the progress on the three Earths. “What’s happened since we left?” Kid Flash asked Alex Luthor.
“Slowly but surely, progress is being made on the three Earths. While there have been difficulties on those worlds, our biggest success so far has been Martian Manhunter’s squad freeing the Marvel Family on Earth-S. The Teen Titans and Doom Patrol have made their way into Earth-Four’s New York City and discovered that most of their heroes still live. They’re making progress. If they can free Captain Atom and the rest, it will turn the tide toward our side, like our rescuing of the Marvels has accomplished. Earth-X has been difficult, to say the least. Both sides seem evenly matched. Unfortunately, Earth-Two’s Hawkman was critically injured in the melee–”
“What?!” the elder Flash said in shock. “Oh, no! Has he been removed from the battlefield?”
“Not yet. He’s being attended to by Northwind and your world’s Wonder Woman. At the soonest opportunity, he’ll be transported back to Earth-Two for the proper medical attention,” Harbinger said.
“We can’t lose him,” Jay said emotionally. “The Justice Society has lost too much since the War. Heroes like Batman, Black Canary, and Mister Terrific, and even men who weren’t members of the JSA, like the Crimson Avenger. Even in recent months and days, with Wesley Dodds’ stroke and heart attack, the destruction of the Red Tornado, and Ted’s legs being crushed. Carter can’t die. He just can’t.”
“They knew what was asked of them,” Alex Luthor said solemnly. “If we win, it’ll be because of the efforts of heroes like Hawkman and Aquagirl.”
The mention of Aquagirl seemed odd to Kid Flash. “What did you mean by Aquagirl? Is Tula okay?” he asked Alex.
“Aquagirl herself may be the closest to death,” Alex said sadly. “Aqualad has left the battle and taken her back to Earth-One’s Atlantis. She breathed in toxic waste that the creature known as Chemo spat into Earth-Four’s waters. It’ll be a miracle if she survives, but her condition is grave.”
Kid Flash grew quiet. It was shortly after I retired that the Titans needed my help against the HIVE, and I refused to help. Garth and Tula helped them unselfishly when I wouldn’t. This is horrible, he thought.
“I need a few minutes. I’ll be back,” Kid Flash said quietly. The young speedster walked out of the room. Jay Garrick followed him. “It’s not supposed to be this way,” Kid Flash whispered to himself.
The elder Flash placed his hand on Kid Flash’s shoulder. He saw that things were taking a toll on the young speedster. “I know how you feel, Wally. I don’t want Carter to die any more than you want Tula to. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do. We just need to trust God in this,” Jay said.
“You’re right. I feel helpless… helpless about a lot of things, lately–” Kid Flash started to say before catching himself.
Kid Flash’s pause reminded the elder Flash of their initial conversation when he and Harbinger asked him to help. “Harbinger mentioned that you had a problem. What did she mean by that?” Jay asked, concerned.
Kid Flash grew worried, but he tried to hide his feelings. “Problem?” he answered.
Suddenly, a shout emerged from Harbinger’s station. “Holy Hannah — you see that reading?” said Dale Gunn, who had been charting the progress of the heroes.
“What is it?” asked Alex.
Hearing the yell, the elder Flash ran toward the group. “What happened?” he asked.
Kid Flash felt relieved. In the nick of time, he thought. I swore I wouldn’t tell anyone about the disease. What they don’t know won’t hurt them, but it bothers me that the Monitor knew. What else did he know? Did he know anything about Barry’s disappearance?
Walking back into the room, he heard a voice booming from all around, and on all five Earths, even in different eras of time itself, the same voice was heard. It was the Spectre. “STOP! You must cease this mindless battle… for while you fight, the end of all universes is at hand! Hear the word of the Spectre… and learn what you must do! The Anti-Monitor still lives! And now he seeks the destruction of all life! He has fled from this era… retreated to the past — before life evolved… before this Earth was formed! He has traveled to the very dawn of time itself! From there he will change the course of all time!
“No longer will there be positive matter. Only antimatter will prevail! All Earths… all universes… all life will be eliminated! While your foe remained in the antimatter universe, I was powerless. But I saw… I observed! The Monitor recruited all people — heroes and villains — not to fight amongst themselves — but to combine their awesome powers! Half must travel to the beginning of time. The others must go to the planet Oa, where history must be changed!
“There must be cooperation or all life is doomed to nonexistence. Decide now! There will be no second chances!” the Spectre’s voice commanded.
I never knew — I never could have imagined it was this serious, Kid Flash thought as the implications of the Crisis truly dawned on him. Every foe I’ve ever faced, by myself or with others — this puts everything in perspective. I never thought there could be anything as evil as Trigon, with his utter disregard of all life.
Kid Flash’s thoughts were interrupted by the voice of Earth-One’s Superman through the JLA communicator band. “This is Superman. Lex Luthor and Brainiac have personally contacted me. There is a cease-fire. We await further instructions from you.”
Harbinger spoke on all three radio bands. “Inform the villains that our next action will take place in Death Valley, here on Earth-One. They will meet us there.” She then contacted Rip Hunter. “We need all heroes from the many eras of time. Please inform them to meet in Death Valley as soon as possible. Hurry… and thank you,” Harbinger said.
“We’re definitely going to need your abilities again,” Alex Luthor said to the two speedsters. “Do–?”
The elder Flash spoke. “You don’t even need to ask. We’ll be there. Right, Wally?”
“You can count on it,” Kid Flash said, putting on a brave face. His thoughts, however, told a different story. I vowed to help, but what will happen if I have another attack? I’m still dying, and Barry’s still missing. Suddenly, he got ahold of himself while still thinking. Five worlds depend on our success. No matter what happens, I can’t fail them.
Speaking to the group, Kid Flash said, “Let’s go to Death Valley.”