by Hitman 44077, partially adapted from Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez
Kid Flash, Jay Garrick, and the Supermen of two worlds walked toward the Cosmic Treadmill and boarded the device.
“Wally and I have done this before,” Jay said to the two Supermen. “We have to hit a certain speed and vibration frequency before the portal between universes opens.” The four heroes readied themselves for this race, tense with anticipation. “Let’s go!” Jay yelled to his three friends, and they began to run. Within one second, their appearances were distorted by their speed. Faster and faster they ran as they began the crossover. While the four men were running, Kid Flash felt the pain kick in.
Agh! he thought as his chest felt the crushing pains through gritted teeth. Not now… not now! Got to… gotta work… through the pain. Can’t let them see me like this…
As they continued their run, the elder Flash looked over at Kid Flash, noticing his grimaced face. Something’s wrong with Wally… he looks like he’s in pain, Jay thought to himself.
Before he could speak, the four heroes finally hit the required speed and vibrational frequency to bring them to their destination. Instead of Earth-Two, however, all that was left there was a solid black void. Not a trace of life existed there except for the four men on the Cosmic Treadmill. The shock of this caught all men off-guard. “What happened?” Jay asked aloud. “Where’s our world?”
The elder Superman was more disturbed by this sight. “G-great Scott!” he shouted in shock. “Th-there’s nothing out there. No Earth-Two… no universe… nothing!”
“We’ve got to turn back… return home,” the younger Superman said, obviously unnerved. “Don’t you see what happened?”
The shock of this revelation began to set in with the elder Flash. “My universe doesn’t exist anymore. There is no Earth-Two. Nothing exists but one Earth… one universe!”
The elder Superman had until this moment held out hope that he would return to his Earth after the confusion he’d suffered through earlier in the day. This discovery destroyed that hope. “Wh-what about me?” he said. “I now know why nobody remembers me.”
If Kid Flash was feeling the same as his three partners, he didn’t show it. He saw what the discovery was doing to the Earth-Two natives. He had to snap them out of it. “Superman’s right…” Kid Flash said, referring to Earth-One’s version, “…we’ve got to get back to Earth. We’ve got to get everyone together and figure out what happened.”
“N-no… I — I feel like I don’t belong on that Earth. I belong elsewhere,” the elder Superman said, slowly losing touch with reality. “I belong out here… in the void… in this nothingness. I… I see it now. Nobody remembers me because I don’t have a past… because I don’t exist.” The elder Superman began to fly off the Treadmill. “Let me go!” he shouted aloud. “I belong in the dark!”
Before he could get too far, Earth-One’s Superman grabbed his elder counterpart’s cape. “No,” he said with determination, “whatever’s going on here, you still exist. You’re real… tangible. You belong. We can sort out the whys later… maybe even the hows… but you’re not staying in this nothingness. You’re coming home!”
“Don’t you see?” the elder Superman pleaded. “I don’t have a home. There’s no longer a multiverse… the universe was re-formed… my Krypton never existed!”
Earth-One’s Superman directed the two speedsters in what to do. “We’ve got to get out of here before it’s too late.” The three heroes began to run on the Cosmic Treadmill as Earth-One’s Superman held onto Earth-Two’s Superman by his cape. “Hurry! I can’t hold on to him for much longer. Hurry!”
With all the speed they had, the three heroes made it back to Earth, even as the strain of traveling to uncharted territory took its toll on the Cosmic Treadmill. The device shattered even as they arrived home in Jay Garrick’s laboratory. “Great Krypton, we’re back!” the younger Superman said, glad that his counterpart was also safe.
“The Cosmic Treadmill’s destroyed… this time beyond repair,” Kid Flash said.
Earth-One’s Superman tended to his Earth-Two counterpart. “Are you okay? Kal-L? Do you hear me?” he asked.
The chilled look in the elder Superman’s eyes was frightening, to say the least, as he looked at his young counterpart and spoke. “I — I do… My God… the void was calling to me. As if I truly belonged there.”
The elder Flash’s voice was full of dread. “You said something while in the thrall of that void… about there being only one Earth… one past… one Krypton. You may have been right.”
“Even I can see the implications of all that, and I’m not a scientist,” Kid Flash said, determined. “I think we ought to call in everyone we know. And I know just the place to meet.”
“Where?” asked Earth-One’s Superman.
“Titans Tower. From what I’ve seen so far, our new Earth has elements of both Earths One and Two. I’m guessing that there are other heroes from those Earths here as well. If we can get them all together, we might have a better understanding of what’s happened,” Kid Flash said.
“The four of us remember the many Earths, so I’m guessing the other heroes do as well. I’ll alert the Justice League of America, as well as past members before meeting you at the Tower. Kal-L, do you want to come with me?” the younger Superman asked consolingly.
“Yes. I… I need a friend right now,” the elder Superman replied, still numb from what he just went through.
“I’m going to call Alan,” said Jay, referring to the Earth-Two Green Lantern, Alan Scott. “He’ll alert the Justice Society, and with his children in Infinity Inc., he can get ahold of them as well.”
“And I’ll take the Teen Titans,” said Kid Flash. “If any of us run into anyone else, let’s tell them to meet at the Tower as well.”
“All right,” Earth-One’s Superman said as he walked toward the laboratory door and opened it. “We’ll see you two later.” With that, the two Supermen flew off.
Kid Flash and the elder Flash walked outside the laboratory and toward the Garrick house. The two entered the house and walked to the kitchen. “There you two are!” Joan exclaimed, then noticed their changed clothing. “Why are you two in costume?” she asked.
“Joan, some trouble’s come up,” said Jay. “I’ve got to go to New York with Wally, here. I’m sorry.”
“What’s happened?” Joan asked with concern.
“It involves a friend of mine… and a mutual problem we share,” Jay said. “The older Superman that showed up. He’s an old friend from the past. He needs help from both Wally and myself.”
“I understand. Only for you would I cook for nothing,” Joan said, trying to cheer Jay up. “I knew what I was getting into when I married you. Whatever happens, just be careful,” she said, hugging Jay. “I love you.” Joan and Jay kissed.
“I love you, too, hon. And when I get back, we’ll have that steak dinner done right, without interruptions,” Jay said with a smile. Even when there’s trouble, Joan’s been supportive. I hope I never lose her, he thought.
“You two don’t mind if I use the phone, right?” Kid Flash asked.
“No. Go ahead, Wally,” Jay said.
Kid Flash removed his mask and called Hank and Don Hall’s home. Don Hall answered. “Hello?” Don asked.
“Don, this is Wally West. Kid Flash. How are you doing?” he said.
“I’m fine. What’s up?” Don asked.
“I’m not sure if you’ve noticed some changes since we were gone,” Wally asked.
“I noticed a few things that were different since we traveled to the dawn of time. Hank found them odd, too,” Don confided.
“Something big is happening. The heroes are meeting at Titans Tower. Can you two make it?” Wally asked.
Don paused before answering. “Yeah… Hank and I’ll be there.”
“I’ll see you two there later. Thanks, Don,” Wally said graciously.
“It’s okay, Wally. ‘Bye.” Don hung up the phone.
Kid Flash then called Roy Harper, also known as Speedy. He picked up the phone on the first ring. “Hello?”
“Roy, this is Wally.”
“Wally! Hey, I heard they got you to come back! Congratulations! What’s up?”
“You remember anything about the battle at the dawn of time?”
“Yeah, that was a mess, and so’s this world we’re on right now.”
“You’ve noticed, too?” Wally asked, referring to the new world’s changes.
“Well, we’re getting ahold of any heroes we can and letting them know we’re going to be meeting at Titans Tower. Can you make it?”
“You know I’ll be there. After all, once a Titan, always a Titan, right?” Roy said with a chuckle.
Wally smiled before answering. “That’s right, Roy. I’ll see you there.”
“Take care until then. ‘Bye.” Roy hung up the phone.
Wally hung up the phone and pulled his mask back on. There’s no reason to trouble Mal and Karen, or Betty and Charley. Plus, I don’t have a clue on how to reach Thunder and Lightning. The others should be in New York already, he thought, referring to the current Titans.
“Jay, I’m going to Titans Tower. I’ll see you there,” Kid Flash said to the elder Flash.
“All right. I’m going to call Alan Scott and tell him what we’re doing. I’ll be there soon,” Jay said to Kid Flash as he ran eastward. Picking up the phone, Jay paused before pushing the phone buttons. I remember the pain on his face when we were running on the Treadmill, Jay thought with concern. Something’s wrong with him. But he hasn’t said a word of it. Does it have anything to do with the problem Harbinger mentioned? Jay began dialing Alan’s residence, thinking, Hopefully, whatever this is causing him pain can be resolved.