by Hitman 44077, partially adapted from Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez
Death Valley, California:
Many forces had already converged at the site as the heroes and villains began preparing, but not all had yet arrived. Kid Flash decided to find a pay phone to call Frances to keep her up to date on what had occurred.
In Blue Valley, Fran heard her phone ringing and picked it up. “Hello?”
“Fran, it’s Wally.”
“Wally, it’s good to hear from you! Are you all right?” she asked.
“I’m okay. I haven’t had any problems so far, so that’s good,” said Kid Flash. “There’s been a ceasefire. Now the heroes and villains have agreed to work together.”
“That means you’ll be back soon, right?” Fran asked.
Kid Flash paused. “Not yet. I’m still needed. We have a mission to accomplish. We’re attempting to travel back in time to the very dawn of creation. That’s where the Anti-Monitor waits.”
“The Anti-Monitor — he’s the one behind the destruction of the Earths, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” said Kid Flash. “He’s seeking to destroy our past, when our universe was born. That way, his antimatter universe will be the only universe remaining.”
“Is there anything I can do?” Fran asked.
“Maybe. We’re going to need as many electric and magnetic-powered individuals to help power our efforts. I’m not asking that you join us, but we wouldn’t be opposed to you helping, either.”
Fran paused before speaking. “I — I can’t.”
Kid Flash felt like a fool for asking, knowing how the people of Blue Valley once thought because of her magnetic powers that she was demonically possessed. He continued to talk over the phone. “I understand. It’s all right. I just wanted to talk to you before we began our efforts.”
“I’m glad you called. Really. It lets me know that you’re safe. Continue to keep yourself safe, and remember — I love you,” Fran said, feeling a little better.
“I love you, too, Fran. ‘Bye,” Kid Flash said.
“‘Bye,” Fran said, hanging up the phone.
Kid Flash hung up the phone. I can’t blame her. If someone tried to destroy me the way that unknown horned figure tried to do to Fran, I’d be unnerved, to say the least, he thought. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Although neither the New Teen Titans nor Frances Kane ever knew who that horned figure was, it was secretly Doctor Polaris who was manipulating Frances Kane’s magnetic powers to free himself from another dimension; see “The Possessing of Frances Kane,” The New Teen Titans #17 (March, 1982).]
Walking toward the many heroes and villains assembled in Death Valley, Kid Flash looked for his teammates in the Teen Titans. Before he could spot any of them, he found himself face to face with Captain Cold, one of the Flash’s oldest foes.
“So,” Cold sneered, “the junior half’s finally made it. What, is the Flash that scared to piss off the super-hero community with his murder conviction that he sends you to represent him?”
“Don’t even play that game with me, Snart,” Kid Flash said. “If you don’t remember, he was acquitted of murdering the Reverse-Flash. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if your forces weren’t holding him somewhere!”
“What are you getting at, Kid?” asked Cold.
“It seems mighty convenient that the Flash vanishes, then Luthor starts recruiting villains like crazy. What have you done with him?” Kid Flash asked, grabbing Captain Cold by his costume and pulling him to his face.
“You better let go, Kid, or you’re going to have a problem!” Cold yelled.
“Tell me! Did you freeze him in a block of ice? Did the Mirror Master trap him within one of his mirror dimensions? You Rogues have been set to destroy him for years — now tell me!” Kid Flash screamed.
Suddenly, a metal hand reached out to Kid Flash’s shoulder. It was the hand of his Titans teammate, Cyborg. “Calm down, Fleet-Feet,” Cyborg said. “He doesn’t know any more than the rest of us.”
Kid Flash, shocked at how personal Barry’s disappearance was becoming for him, let Captain Cold go. “You ever do that again, and you’ll wish you were dead!” Cold shouted, although his face showed some fear. Captain Cold quickly walked away toward the other villains.
“Look, I know the Flash’s disappearance bothers you, but we need to remember what the Spectre said. We can’t fight amongst ourselves right now,” Cyborg said consolingly.
“I know, Vic. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” replied Cyborg. “I haven’t had a chance to say this, but welcome back. I’m glad you’re with us again.”
“I have to say I’m glad, too. It doesn’t seem that long, but it’s starting to feel good wearing the suit again,” Kid Flash confided, feeling better.
“Let me tell you, we had one hell of a time finding your ring after Trigon destroyed Titans Tower,” said Cyborg. “Oddly enough, Kory stumbled upon it by accident. I’m glad it wasn’t lost, by the way. We sealed it away after the Tower was rebuilt. It would’ve stayed there, too, but you know the rest.”
“Is there any word on Tula?” Kid Flash asked cautiously.
Cyborg grew quiet. “She’s been taken to Atlantis by Aqualad, and they were followed by Mera and Lori Lemaris. From what I saw, she’s not gonna make it.” Vic Stone bent his head down.
“Oh, no. Poor Garth. He found happiness with her. You never expect things like that to happen, especially when someone’s that young,” Kid Flash said, thinking of his friend.
“I saw enough death with the gangs I hung around with as a kid. It’s never easy,” Cyborg said.
Their talk was interrupted by Alex Luthor. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but we’re almost ready. Rip Hunter’s associates are going to fit you with a speed converter. That will aid in our efforts to travel back to the dawn of time.”
“I’ll be there in a second. Thanks for letting me know,” Kid Flash said.
“It’s all right. I myself have something to do, some unfinished business, and I will join you shortly,” said Alex Luthor, walking toward some mountain terrain.
“You know that feeling you get when you’re about to take a test and you’re unprepared? I’m feeling it right now,” confided Kid Flash.
“Don’t sweat it. Just remember our battle cry,” said Cyborg.
“Titans together?” Kid Flash said with a nervous smile.
“Titans together,” Cyborg said with confidence.
Together, the two Titans walked toward Rip Hunter’s team as the final preparations were being made. They saw Wonder Girl and the Flash of Earth-Two near Hunter’s teammates. “Listen, Wally, I’m gonna check on Salad-Head, see how he’s doing. I’ll see you later.”
“Okay, Vic,” Kid Flash said as Cyborg walked off toward other heroes.
Kid Flash grew nervous as he watched Jay Garrick being fitted with the converter. Do I even have what it takes to accomplish this? he wondered. I was lucky before. What we did on the Treadmill didn’t hurt me, but there’s no telling what this will do.
Bonnie Baxter, one of Rip Hunter’s teammates, held a converter of her own. “We’re nearly set. Let’s put this on,” Bonnie said as she walked up behind Kid Flash and began connecting the device to his back.
Jay spoke to Jeff Smith, another of Hunter’s crew. “You fit the converter on tight. We can’t afford any mishaps now.”
Kid Flash’s concerns about his mentor and his health continued to eat at his conscience. “I still want to know what happened to the Flash! Why haven’t we found him? Where is he?” he asked aloud.
Wonder Girl felt there was more to Kid Flash’s concern. She knew him well after teaming with him since they were members of the original Teen Titans. “Something else is worrying you, Kid Flash. What is it?” she asked, concerned for her friend.
Kid Flash grew tense but kept his feelings to himself when replying to her. “Nothing, Wonder Girl! What could possibly be wrong?” he lied. “Let’s get this show on the road!”
“Wait! I want to join you,” a young voice shouted.
Kid Flash and the other heroes looked up to see a Superboy land in front of the two Supermen. With the others, Kid Flash learned that this Superboy had lived on Earth-Prime, but his Earth had been destroyed as well in the Crisis. The heroes agreed to let him join, especially after Superman of Earth-One vouched for him.
Before they began their efforts to travel back to the dawn of time, the Earth-X hero known as Uncle Sam spoke. “Mebbe it’s time t’remind us what this here’s all about. We got here folks not only from different countries, but different worlds! Not all of us believe in the same things… ‘least not politically speakin’. But that’s okay. The thing is we got us the right to think differently. But right now, we all gotta forget those differences.
“Y’see, we’re fightin’ not only for our lives… but for our freedom to think as we do… to act as we do… to be what we want to be. That may sound kinda corny to some of you… an’ maybe it is… but it’s what freedom’s all about… and I reckon deep down inside no matter where you come from, no matter what religion you are… or what politics you believe — you gotta believe that. That’s it, folks… we’re fightin’ to preserve life an’ liberty… so let’s give it our best shot, eh?”
He’s right. If we’re to win this thing, then I’ve got to do my part… even if it kills me, Kid Flash thought as he walked toward the track on which he would run. He waited in thought, not paying attention to anything other than the signal that he needed, the signal that would start this race against time.
“Sure you’re okay, Wally?” Jay interrupted.
“I said I was. Let’s do what we have to,” Kid Flash said.
Within seconds, after the Lord of Time’s spacecraft made its way into the past, Corky Baxter alerted the two speedsters via radio transmission. “Flashes — get ready!”
His sister Bonnie then gave them the pivotal order. “Do your stuff — now!” she shouted on the same band.
Instantly, the two speedsters ran on the spherical track. Kid Flash’s thoughts raced back and forth, mirroring his physical performance. They don’t know… can’t know… the faster I go… the faster I’m killing myself! But this is more than just Wally West, Kid Flash, he thought as Superman carried Alex Luthor into the field. If all those years with the Flash… or alongside the Teen Titans taught me anything — it’s that some things are more important than your own life!
Superman and Alex Luthor’s efforts were successful, as all heroes made it to the dawn of time. But they weren’t alone.
Standing in front of the heroes was the Anti-Monitor. My God, Kid Flash thought. This is the thing that killed Supergirl. What type of monster are we facing?
“I have been awaiting your arrival here,” the Anti-Monitor said to the heroes. “Indeed, I have been disappointed that it has taken you this long to find me.”
Kid Flash listened with the rest of the heroes as the Anti-Monitor explained his grand schemes, going so far as to admit that Pariah, a survivor who blamed himself for freeing the Anti-Monitor, wasn’t to blame for his universe’s destruction. Instead, the Anti-Monitor had merely used Pariah’s experiment of searching the origins of the universe to his advantage, converting antimatter to energy and destroying his universe that way. He then vowed to do the same to the five remaining universes before they could ever be replicated as they were originally and remake his antimatter universe in his own image.
Do we even have a shot at stopping him? Kid Flash thought.
Superman thought so. He gave the order: “ATTACK!”
Kid Flash and the rest of the heroes watched as their bravest and most powerful comrades began their efforts to bring this devil down. The energy-based heroes expended everything they had to wear down the Anti-Monitor, while the others gifted with physical strength threw their strongest blows. Nothing worked.
The Anti-Monitor finally attacked, channeling his own powers and turning the heroes’ life energies into themselves. Kid Flash, as well as the other heroes, were in immense pain. What’s… happening to us? Kid Flash thought in agony. What can… we do? Kid Flash collapsed to his knees upon some solid floor that should have been impossible in this time before time, resting one hand against his head, the other resting beneath him.
The Anti-Monitor placed himself in position, raising a pool of antimatter above him. He placed his hand in the center of the pool. Kid Flash couldn’t make out what the Anti-Monitor was saying as the pain continued to eat at him. Is this… what it’s like… to die? he thought.
Without warning, the Anti-Monitor sensed opposition. In that second, a fragment of the pain lifted from the gathered heroes. “I feel a force resisting me! Who dares?” the monster asked aloud.
“I dare, cruel one! And I will stop you!” the voice spoke.
Kid Flash, though he was still in immense pain, looked up to the Anti-Monitor and saw that he was locked in a grip with the embodiment of God’s wrath — the Spectre. It was like a nightmare come true. It was a battle no one could win, or could they?
Within minutes that seemed like an eternity, and seconds that seemed like hours, Krona’s time screen appeared. Kid Flash couldn’t take the pain anymore. He finally drifted into unconsciousness as the universe exploded.
It was the end of all that was.