Keystone City, along with Metropolis, Gotham and Jump City it is one of the most famous cities in the world. Why, you may ask? Because of its resident superhero of course. Keystone City is the home of the hero known to all as the Flash and it isn't just the Flash's home base, but has been host to numerous speedsters over the years. So many that it has it has a museum dedicated to people, both heroic and villainous who move really, really fast. Of course the major problem with this is that people who run away from Keystone usually are too fast to be caught.
Case in point: say you were travelling in an airplane, travelling at a very high altitude on a cloudless day, being able to see for hundreds of miles. Say you could see things like that and you were looking at a highway that was leading out of Keystone headed east; say you could see like that, you might be able to see the dust cloud heading out of Keystone. Whatever was making that dust cloud was certainly moving faster than anything on the road. Could it be the famed scarlet speedster himself? Now if you could see that well to begin with, you might take notice of the fact that in front of the aforementioned dust cloud was, in fact, a red and white blur leading it. Doesn't the Flash wear red and gold? You may wonder. Now assume you could see well enough to see the blur leading the dust cloud; now imagine you are able to see more than that, see things that the living and the 'normal' aren't able to see. If such were the case, you might be able to see the black blur following the red and white blur. You might even notice that the black blur is slowly catching up to the red and white.
Jump City, home of the Teen Titans. Perhaps not as big as Metropolis or having the same dark underside like Gotham, but certainly as large a number of criminals and super villains as the previous mentioned cities. However none of them have ever come close to moving at hyper speed, the fastest on record being one Johnny Rancid, though in truth, he was only fast because he rode a motorcycle.
This, however, was not that great an advantage as he tore up the streets of Jump City trying to evade the Titans. Robin on his own cycle and the rest of the Titans in the T-Car were in hot pursuit.
"Give it up kid, you can't beat me!" Rancid laughed at Robin.
Robin said nothing as he continued to pursue Rancid. As they rode through the streets a third motorcycle joined up riding alongside Johnny. This motorcycle was a dark crimson, sleeker and of a more advanced design than Robin's cycle; its rider wore dark blood-red leather as well as a red helmet with a skull insignia on it. Rancid tried to knock this intruder off the road, but the stranger easily evaded him.
"Get off the road, geek! You wanna die?" Rancid shouted at the stranger.
The stranger said nothing, looking at Rancid. He pulled out a small handgun and aimed at Rancid's head. Rancid eyes bugged out as he saw the weapon; he'd never stared at the business end of a gun before. He was the bad guy; he was the one who was supposed to do the threatening. The stranger changed the direction he as aiming, pointing the gun at the front tire of Rancid's motorcycle and fired. The wheel blew out, causing the front of the cycle to jump up for brief moment. When the remains of the tire hit the road sparks flew, the metal and the pavement rasping together. Suddenly the bike pitched forward, flinging Rancid of it. The criminal flew through the air, crashing through the rear window of a car. The criminal, alive, but wounded, groaned in defeat. The stranger pulled up by the car, holstered his gun and looked down at Johnny, muttering 'Idiot' under his breath.
The Titans pulled up shortly afterwards to take Rancid into custody. Terra was the first to greet the stranger.
"Oh man, that Rocked! You ever considered becoming a hero?" She said animatedly.
"Thanks for the assist." Cyborg praised.
"We could have taken him." Beast Boy sniffed.
"Glad I could help. Perhaps we'll meet again someday." The stranger said as he rode off.
The stranger rode to a nearly abandoned apartment building. He secured his motorcycle in an adjacent alley and walked in. The place served as a sort of hotel as well as an apartment building, but the place didn't see much business and was in disrepair. The fact that it wasn't all that frequented suited the stranger just fine. He walked up to the front desk and rang for the building manager. He removed his helmet, revealing a handsome face and wavy dark brown hair.
"What do you want?" The fat, balding man asked churlishly.
"My name is Wade DeFarge. We spoke earlier about a room rental." DeFarge replied calmly.
"Oh, yeah… yeah I know who you are now. Your room's number 128, second floor. Sign here and pay now." The fat landlord said shoving a sort of sign-in sheet in front of DeFarge.
"I'll be expecting a delivery later on today, I would ask you not to look into the packages and please do not disturb me in my room. Other than to tell me that the packages have arrived of course." Wade signed the sheet as he spoke.
He placed a wad of bills on the counter and picked up a large and heavy looking duffle bag he kept with him.
"I expect my privacy to be respected." DeFarge said in a stern tone.
"Yeah, yeah. Dudn't matter ta me what ya do." The fat man said, taking the cash.
DeFarge went to his room. It was quite bare, having only a bedroom, bathroom and a closet; not very fit for living, but it would serve his purpose for his stay in Jump City. An hour or so later, the landlord knocked on his door.
"Uh… Y-your stuff is here." The landlord said nervously.
Wade left the room, looking at the landlord suspiciously.
"You didn't look in the boxes did you?" He demanded coldly.
"N-no I didn't. Told you I wouldn't, didn't I?" The landlord stuttered.
This was, of course, a lie; he had looked into the boxes and saw guns and other weapons. Obviously this Wade DeFarge was a criminal, a terrorist. And if he were turned in, the one who did so would earn a nice, fat reward. After a mover took the boxes to DeFarge's room the landlord picked up the phone and dialled 9-1… and was shot in the back of the head. He never saw it coming, nor would anyone have heard anything because of the silencer that was on the gun DeFarge used. DeFarge stood over the corpse, he figured that the place would make a decent base as he didn't have one in Jump City. It would take him a while to get the place set up; have it declared abandoned, set up a small generator for power and other things. If he were successful in his ventures in Jump City, it would all be worth it. He tossed the body in the basement, so he could dispose of it later and returned to his room.
He unpacked the first box and removed the suit that was in there. It was red and blue, made of a thick, flexible, wire mesh that would protect him like military grade Kevlar. He replaced his civilian clothes with the red and blue tights. His occupation was that of a mercenary; very high priced and highly skilled he had yet to fail a job. He put on the red mask; it wouldn't do for his face to be seen while he was working. He was the Ravager, one of the most dangerous non-meta-humans on the planet. This current job was special: it was personal and he was working based on an anonymous tip.
He took out his laptop computer and switched it on. While he could not, at the moment, access his Internet mail account because he wasn't connected online, he could review his older mail. He looked at the most recent one he had received, the one that had prompted him to make the trip to Jump City.
"Do you want to surpass your rival? Do you want to prove you are better than him? There is a way." The message had read. "Defeat those he has not yet defeated and you will prove to be his superior."
The attachments that came with the e-mail were images of Jump City's Teen Titans: Robin, Starfire, Raven, Terra, Beast Boy and Cyborg.
The Titans were as famous as the Justice League and there were many people in the villain community that would have loved to see the Titans go down and they were willing to pay through the nose to see it happen. Of course, most mercenaries were smart enough to know that the children and prodigies of heroes would not go down easily, would be far more trouble than they would be worth and thus would not take such a contract. Rumour in criminal circles was that someone was going after the Titans, though the reasons were unknown. Ravager had it on good authority that that person was his rival and had yet to defeat the Titans. If Wade, as Ravager, could defeat them, kill them, then he would prove to all that he was the better man, that he was superior. The e-mail had also dropped a large sum of money into his account for the job, though Wade would have done it for free, as he was given the chance to finally settle the score with his rival. Ravager strapped on the ammo cartridges and picked up a shotgun; soon it would be time to hunt.
Just outside of Jump City, something moving at a fantastic speed comes to a halt. A dust cloud billows and swells, engulfing him. The dust settles and clears, revealing a teen boy, lean and slightly muscular, dressed in red and white tights. The costume was designed to withstand the air friction caused by moving at intense velocities, speeds approaching the speed of light. He wore goggles to protect his eyes and the shoes he wore had small lightning bolt-like attachment on the ankles. Unlike other meta-humans he did not have any sort of emblem that would give a hint as to his name. He was cocky, confident and rarely thought things out in advance. He looked over his shoulder nervously and then out over the city that spread before him.
"Jump city, home to the Teen Titans…" He whispered to himself. "Cool."
Fast Facts: The Speed Force is what gives all speedsters in the DC universe their abilities. It seems to be a possibly sentient energy that will for one reason or another give certain people incredible speed. The way the Speed Force seems to work is that it powers any super-fast being not naturally fast. A cheetah, for instance, is naturally fast. Superman's speed is also a natural consequence of his Kryptonian heritage. All Flashes, however, have been normal people "noticed" by the speed force through accidents (lightning, supersonic flight, etc.) or intentional experiments (magic, steroids, etc.).
Author notes: This is the second story in my little Teen Titans series. Check out my other story 'Birds of a Feather' if you haven't already. A friend of mine is drawing my version of Impulse so I hope to post a link to his drawing as soon as he puts it on his online gallery. For the record, I've seen Bart Allen as both Impulse and Kid Flash and, quite frankly, I liked him as Impulse better.