By C.W. Blaine (

DISCLAIMER: All of the characters contained in this story are ©2001 by DC Comics Inc. and are used without permission for fan-related, non-profit entertainment purposes only. This original story is ©2001 by C.W. Blaine and may not be reproduced, archived or posted without the express permission of the author.

Barry Allen remembered the pain from the time the lightning had struck the rack of chemicals and doused him in burning hot fluid. That fluid had imparted the gift of super-speed onto him and in time, he took on the name and costume of the Scarlet Thunderbolt in honor of his favorite comic book hero. That pain was nothing compared to what he was feeling now as his very life force was being drawn out of his pores; his bioelectric field recharging the massive batteries before him.

Through tear-filled eyes, he peered at the face of his killer. Green eyes, cold and emotionless one second, completely composed of pain the next. As a hero, he felt compassion for his murderer; as a human, he felt fear as the end of life was quickly approaching.

Outside the fortress, through windows the size of skyscrapers, Barry could see the blue wave of energy that had originally drawn him here. A small imperfection in the time stream that he could feel deep in his bones and that he knew he had no choice but to investigate.

"You really don't know how sorry I am," a cold, almost metallic voice said. "Another time and place, you and I would be working on this together, but I'm afraid my sanity is not quite what it used to be."

Barry Allen thought it was a strange statement to make, but had no more time to ponder it as his world turned black.

Walter West paid for the juice and tuna sandwich and walked slowly down the sidewalk towards the small pond. He was thankful for the time to just relax and, literally, smell the roses. As he walked, he pondered his life and the direction it was taking.

As a child, he had been the #1 fan of the Flash. His Aunt Iris arranged for him to meet the super-hero. That night, in the laboratory of Iris's husband, Barry Allen, lightning had broken through the window and electrified the rack of chemicals he stood in front of. Either it was the lightning or the chemicals, or perhaps both, managed to open a conduit between Walter and the Speed Force.

It was a hokey sounding name, but it aptly described the dimension where kinetic energy was the primary component of creation. By tapping into this dimension, Walter found he could move at super-speed. Of course, at the time, he didn't understand the science behind it.all he knew was that he got to be Kid Flash, the partner of the Flash!

Later, Walter found out that the Flash and Barry Allen were the same and the bond that formed between the two heroes was like that of father and son. For years, Walter relished his lot in life, fighting super-villains and saving the world.

And then, Barry had disappeared. It wasn't like with a battle with a major super-villain, but it was just as devastating. One day, the older hero had told Walter that he had discovered something strange in the time stream and that he had to investigate it. Walter had begged to go, but Barry had said no. "Someone has to stay behind," he had said before disappearing in a.flash.

Whatever had happened to him was never discovered and all of Walter's attempts to find his uncle failed and eventually, out of respect, he assumed the mantle of the Flash. A kid thrown into a world of adults, he tried his best to fill the large shoes he had been left. Linda Park helped him through the more difficult parts.

Linda had been everything young Walter had wanted in a girlfriend: beautiful, smart, outgoing and more than willing to tolerate a boyfriend who had to get everything done in five seconds flat. They had planned to marry at some point, but that was never to be. Kobra, an international terrorist, killed Linda to get at Walter.

He succeeded more than he had dreamed.

The loss of Linda was the final straw in a life full of loss and too much change. Walter's mind snapped and in a rage, he murdered Kobra. Then he trained under Savitar, the self-proclaimed Guru of Speed, and learned the true secret of his powers.

And then he killed Savitar.

And then he killed any other person that tried to get in his way.

Finally, when it appeared he would be unstoppable, when there was no one to prevent Walter from ruling the world, Linda returned from the dead. Only, it wasn't his Linda, but a Linda Park from another reality. On the heels of the woman came her boyfriend, Wally West, the Flash. He and Wally battled, the insane versus the determined and it appeared that Walter had won.

The battle with Wally had done something to Walter's brain chemistry and he was sane again. With sanity came the knowledge and guilt for all that he done, especially for killing Wally and leaving his universe bereft of a Flash. Changing his costume, he traveled to Wally's reality and tried to take his place.

Wally's friends did not fall for the ruse, and physically, Walter was a decade older after he had healed himself from an injury that left the lightning bolt scar on his cheek. Much to Walter's surprise, Wally was alive and he returned to his reality. Then, Superman discovered that Walter's presence in Wally's reality was causing the two dimensions to merge. Walter had to leave; only he didn't know how to get back home.

When dealing with alternate realities, called Hypertime, you discovered early on that it was a maze of possibilities and what if's. In two years of traveling, Walter was no closer to home than he was before.

He finished his sandwich and waited for his companion. For the past several weeks, he had lived here, working for none other than Wallace West, a scientist of great renown. Wallace had determined that the rate of merging of two distinct realities was proportional to the distance between them. Walter had lived her for weeks, which pretty much said that he was going in the wrong direction.

"Find a world where the merging begins almost immediately, and you'll be close to home," the scientist had said. Though he was not gifted with super- speed, he still had the nickname "Flash" that he had picked up in college.

Today was the day Walter had decided to leave this world, and it was going to be very hard for him to say good-bye. He was a killer, a criminal, and he knew that when he returned to his home reality, he would no doubt be tried and convicted as a killer. His mentor, his Barry Allen, had instilled in him a sense of honor that dictated that he must atone for what he had done. In essence, he was always running towards his destiny.

"Lost in thought again, my young friend?" Wallace said. The gray at his temples was the only thing that gave away the fact he was older then Walter. Age was never a constant in the myriad paths of Hypertime.

"I was just thinking about what it will be like when I get home," Walter said, finishing his soda.

Wallace pulled out a pipe and lit it. He was smoking his cherry tobacco today. "It is a shame that you cannot have the heroes and persons you've helped out in your adventures speak as characters witnesses at your unavoidable trial. I know I would have given a stunning performance." He winked at Walter, the kind a father gives a son when he's trying to say he's proud, without actually saying it.

"I've got a good idea about which way I need to go, and thanks to you, I should be able to pick up on the paths of other speedsters as they travel through Hypertime. The device you made that I put in my ring will record my travels and."

"If you can find a world with common computer equipment, you should be able to get a graphical representation of Hypertime itself. Yes, and you do not know how envious I am of you."

"No," Walter began. "I'm the one who is envious. You have a life.a real life and you are able to enjoy it. My life is nothing but misery." Walter then stuck out his hand. "I appreciate everything."

Wallace took the hand and smiled. "God speed to you."

Breaking from the handshake, Walter seemed to disappear, only a strong wind marking his departure. Achieving faster-than-light speed immediately, Walter's civilian clothes melted into the uniform of the "Dark" Flash. Composed entirely of solid Speed Force, his uniform served no other purpose than to identify him as the Flash. As a speedster, his body was immune to the effects of travel at high velocities.

Vibrating his molecules to a certain frequency, Walter passed through the dimensional barrier and found himself running through the space between realities. At times, he felt like a mouse in a wall, scurrying here and there, looking for cheese. The cheese, of course, being his home dimension.

He looked down at his ring and saw that it was shimmering, indicating that the sensitive miniaturized components were working fine, power by the kinetic energy of his running. Right now, the sensors were searching out the quantum signatures of alternate realities and the Speed Force resonance of other speedsters. Eventually, there would be enough data collected that he would be able to see, literally, all of creation.

That was still a long time off.

"Can I get you some coffee, sir?" Lois Lane asked.

Walter continued typing commands into the computer and did not turn around. He knew that she was curious as to who he really was, but had not said anything. Upon arriving on this world two days before, he had been fortunate enough to meet up with Superman, or at least a version of him. Explaining his plight and desire to retrieve the information stored on his ring, the Kryptonian had allowed Walter unprecedented access to his Fortress of Solitude. "That would be great, Miss Lane," he replied.

He could almost hear her fuming at his obvious disinterest in speaking with her. Superman had warned him about her; she was digging around for stories to compile for a book about her husband's adventures and the chance encounter with a super-hero not from this world was very tempting. "Cream, sugar, young blonde in a maid's outfit?" she asked sarcastically.

"Black would be fine, ma'am," he said, reaching over to get a common USB connector to plug into his ring. "Though I am partial to strong-willed brunettes."

Lois said nothing, but there was a definite hard edge to the tapping of her shoes on the flawless flooring. Walter smiled to himself; he liked Lois. She reminded him a lot of the women he had loved in his life. There were a couple on some of the alternate worlds, quick whirlwind romances, but none like his first true love, Linda Park.

After making sure his ring was hooked up, he activated the program Wallace had taught him those many months before and waited. Superman had said that his computer was the greatest thinking machine on the entire planet. Walter had to suppress a shudder when he was the little "Curtains 3.1" sticker on the computer console. Luckily, Wallace had written the program for graphical display in BASIC, which seemed to be a constant in the various universes. Most of the computing took place within the microprocessor in his ring anyway.

Lois suddenly appeared behind him, holding a steaming cup of coffee. "Thank you," he said, taking the cup. She was dressed in casual clothes, but she seemed to radiate elegance regardless. Her dark skin was new, something different but very appealing, and her smile was genuine as she started to probe him again.

"So, are you related to Bart Allen?" she asked, flashing her best smile.

"No," he said. His few talks with Superman had revealed that the grandson of Barry Allen was the Flash of this world. That Flash had disappeared a year before, claiming that he had to investigate something in the time stream. It was eerily like what his own uncle had said and Walter had to wonder if all Flashes faced a similar fate. Was Hypertime the "elephant's burial ground" for speedsters? "I'm afraid I'm not very interesting, Ms. Lane."

She sat back and crossed her legs, revealing a little more thigh than what was necessary. "Are you even from this world? Is this about some dire, inter-dimensional crisis?"

Walter removed his eyes from her legs, and they were nice legs and an obvious ploy, and took another drink of his coffee. "Don't you think that if there was such a crisis your husband would be heading up the investigation into it?"

"Let's not talk about Clark and instead talk about you. I've written about Clark, I want to write about his friends," she said, acting coy.

"Do you act like this with Batman?"

She snorted and broke into a fit of laughter. "Oh, God, no! That womanizer would try to take me back to his cave immediately! He grabbed my butt once at a Justice League Christmas party!" She uncrossed her legs and smoothed out her skirt. "You can't blame a girl for trying."

"The great big diamond on your finger kind of dampens your sex appeal," Walter said flatly, putting the cup down on the console. The program indicated it was 90% complete in compiling the data.

"Honey, I never lose my sex appeal," she said as she got up to look at the monitor. "This isn't Clark's Pac-Man game is it? He just loves that game and won't let anyone play it."

" I assure you, Ms. Lane, that playing an old video game is the farthest thing from my mind right now."


Walter didn't answer, but instead concentrated on the image that suddenly pooped up on the screen. The image was that of a circle, the perimeter indicating the suspected end of creation. Wallace had explained that creation had an edge, which radiated out from the moment of the Big Bang and continued to spread out. It had a finite distance, but even Walter could not move as fast as the "thoughts of God" as Wallace had put it. The circle then changed into a sphere, a black sphere with splotches of color here and there. The splotches represented various dimensions that Walter had visited.

Most of the sphere was black, indicating how much work lay ahead of him. There was no way to pinpoint his home dimension.yet. There were also various lines running through the various splotches and the blackness, showing the estimated paths of other speedsters through Hypertime. If the speedster's path had a quantum signature that was the same as a dimension, the path had a color that matched the corresponding splotch. Walter's own path was in crimson.

"Very pretty," Lois said, obviously unimpressed. She turned around and walked away without another word. Walter paid no heed to her and instead marveled at the space between some of the dimensions and how his path sometimes took him past the same dimensions hundreds of times. There was no direct line to travel in Hypertime and his head started to hurt as he looked for some sort of pattern.

He detected a presence next to him and assumed Lois had returned. She could be very quiet when she wanted to. "Came back for another look?"

"If you think I look like my wife, then you have been running far too long," Superman said, laying a hand on Walter's shoulder. "Fascinating."

Walter nodded. "I'm trying to make sense of it all."

"Where is this dimension?" Superman asked.

Walter pointed to a blotch of color. There was a crimson line leading into it, coming from a green area some distance away. There was also another colored line leaving from it. "That looks like the residual path of your Flash. He must have been pouring on the speed."

"Why do you say that?"

"I was told that most speed force residual paths dissipate after a few weeks; you claim your Flash disappeared about a year ago, indicating he was tapping into the Speed Force at an accelerated rate. He wanted to get somewhere fast."

Superman put his finger on the screen and began to trace the path. It disappeared into the darkness. Walter saw the frustration on the Man of Steel's face and immediately typed in a command. The path extended almost immediately as the program estimated the trajectory. It also estimated the other paths except for Walter's. The result was shocking.

"Most of them appear to end in the same place," Superman said.

He had estimated correctly and Walter looked down at a series of numbers appearing on the screen. There was a high margin of error, based on the available information, but it certainly was unnerving that so many speedsters appeared to be heading in the same direction. Was this his "elephant burial ground"? "It's strange, that's for certain."

"Is there anyway you can get me there?" Superman asked. Walter turned slowly. "You don't understand, Bart was not just a good friend, he was an important part of our hero community. You don't know what it's like here. Some of our heroes aren't very heroic, but Bart was a cut above the rest."

"I understand completely, Superman, it's just that even if I could get you there, I don't know if you could get back. You're tough, I'll give you that, but even you couldn't handle all of that Speed Force energy." One of the things Savitar had taught Walter was to impart speed onto objects and people. Objects could explode, but people seemed to handle small bits very well. Without a full conduit to the Speed Force, however, excess speed could kill.

"Then, will you go?"

Walter smiled. It was nice of Superman to ask him, but the truth was that there was no way Walter could not go. He couldn't remain here regardless and he knew that this was a rock in the road he had to climb over. Besides, maybe he would find out what had happened to his own uncle. "Yes."

The printout wasn't the best in the universe, having come from a simple pen plotter that Superman had; apparently laser printers hadn't been invented in this world, but he was still thankful. It was not so much a roadmap as it was a compass, telling him what dimensional barriers to sense for as he ran. He thanked Superman and received a kiss on the cheek from Lois. In an instant, he was gone.

It had seemed like hours that he had been running and his legs were actually starting to hurt. That bothered him because Savitar had trained him to absorb speed force energy to overcome fatigue poisons in his blood.

He started to notice that he was sweating as well, which was rather uncommon when traveling in Hypertime. Certainly, the closer he got to this strange dimension, the weirder he felt. Then the thought occurred to him that maybe he was heading to a section of the Speed Force itself. If he entered the Speed Force, he would be absorbed into it. He was not aware of any speedster who ever entered it and returned, except for Wally West and that was a fluke as far as Walter was concerned.

Wally West was just the luckiest man alive is all.

Walter dismissed the idea, but it didn't completely leave his mind. He could sense he was about in the right place when a sudden wave of pain struck him. He screamed and cursed and by reflex alone, pulled the Speed Force to him. He surged forward and it felt like he was running though thorn bushes. Crashing through the barrier, he landed hard onto a cold metal surface.

His body shaking, as invisible needles seemed to poke his skin, he glimpsed the world he had entered. By design or by luck, he always ended up on the planet Earth, even though, statistically, he could have ended up anywhere, even in space. Here, he was on the floor of some sort of platform that floated under crimson skies. Black lightning crackled overhead and white thunder pounded his eardrums. It was warm, but he still saw his breath, which came quickly as his accelerated senses became overwhelmed by the pain.

It finally occurred to him why he was hurting; he could feel Speed Force energy being pulled out of him, like he was a faucet in a sink. He cursed again and tried to sit up, but his arms gave way beneath him. He tried to mentally increase the thickness of his costume, laying a layer of pure speed around him, but it didn't work.

In between lightning flashes, he saw a lone figure slowly approaching him. When the figure came into view, Walter could not say anything as he vomited from the pain. When his stomach contents had finished spilling out, his tear-filled eyes observed a green-skinned man with blond hair in a purple jumpsuit standing over him. When the man spoke, his voice was calm, but his eyes betrayed a madness that Walter knew all too well. "Welcome to the end, Flash."

Then Walter's world went black and thankfully, the pain went away.

"You are quite amazing man, Mr. West," the green-skinned man said, observing Walter from the better side of the holding cell. They were no longer outside, but were inside what appeared to be a fortress or a laboratory.or both. There were windows that showed a large white energy field just behind some inky black space. "Yes, we're in orbit above what was once the planet Earth. I'm afraid the only thing there is my little energy beacon with which I trap you speedsters. I liken it to putting sugar out to catch flies."

Walter was too disoriented to come up with a smart comment, and instead decided to allow his captor to keep speaking. "I know that you are trying to figure out a way to get out of our prison, and I commend your efforts. I was once a hero like you and I know much about the motto of 'never give up'.

"You are also probably wondering how it is I know your name and that is very simple; I've killed several of your duplicates over the years, drawing their Speed Force energy out of their bodies to power my machines, to allow my research to continue."

Walter shook his head, trying to get the ringing out of his ears. At least the pain had stopped. He looked behind the man and saw a door with massive locks on it. That would bear investigating.

The man continued, adjusting controls on the outside of the cell. "By the way, you may call me Brainiac 5 if you wish to threaten or plead with me, but I'm sure you're too heroic for all of that. Like I said, I was once like you.

"For years, I served the cause of good and the cause of the weak and the cause of the defenseless until I did nothing but use my intellect to solve problems created by those who could not. I worked day and night, night and day, toiling away to save the universe time and time again." He stood up and waved a hand at the windows. "Out there, you will see the problem I cold not conquer, the problem created by others."

Walter examined the energy barrier more closely, but could not tell anything significant about it. "Whoopee," he said, discovering his throat was raw from the combination of regurgitation and screaming.

"Ah, the famous West humor. You remind me of a Durlan I once knew, but that was so long ago. That, my uneducated captive, is the Crisis wave, the last little bits of energy from the Anti-Monitor's plan to reshape the universe. That is where Hal Jordan discovered the truth of the universe and then attempted to reshape it. It batters my force field technology, trying to break through, to consume this remnant from the universe that once was."

"Huh?" Walter said. He had read up on the Crisis wave when he had posed as Wally West. Wally's uncle Barry had sacrificed his life to stop it, but all of this talk about Hal Jordan, a Green Lantern and universes that were was nothing but rubbish to him. It was more than apparent that this guy was nuts and he was also apparently responsible for the deaths of several Flashes.

"Including my uncle Barry," Walter said out loud. "You bastard! You killed my uncle!"

Brainiac 5 regarded him with a look of puzzlement. "Did I? I'm sorry, but you certainly can't expect me to remember one particular specimen."

"Specimen! They were human beings! Living creatures!"

Brainiac 5 shook his head. "No, they were experimental fodder for something much more. You see, with their energies, I was able to create the force field that holds back the Crisis wave. My first attempt used other forms of energy, but they did not hold up for very long. I searched for a proper fuel for my force field and found it when Barry Allen sacrificed his life to destroy the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter cannon."

Walter knew which Barry Allen Brainiac 5 was speaking of; it was Wally West's uncle. He had been reduced to atoms destroying the Anti-Monitor's weapon. "That doesn't excuse what you've done! You lay out a trap for speedsters, using a beacon that touches us through the Speed Force and you then you claim you were a hero! You're full of yourself!"

"Perhaps.but it doesn't matter. I remember Irma used to tell me that sometimes I considered myself above humanity. I always dismissed it, but who knows?" Thoughts could almost be seen flashing in Brainiac 5's green eyes. "Have you ever lost someone you loved, Mr. West?"

Walter could not believe the question. "Excuse me?"

"Did you know that most geniuses go insane?"

Walter had heard enough. It was bad when someone lost their mind; when they realized it and didn't care, it was downright evil. Walter reached out to the Speed Force in order to vibrate through the prison, but found himself cut off. "What the hell?"

"Impressive. Your power readings are the highest I have ever seen. You may be the source I've been waiting for.maybe with you I can severe her link."

"You want power? I'll show you power!" Walter yelled. He was angry beyond comprehension and he felt an old feeling creeping up his back, the same feeling he had when he realized his Linda had been killed. He had felt out of control, just as now. This man was insane and killing people who deserved to live. Walter summoned the Speed Force again and came up against the artificial barrier that Brainiac 5 had in place. Walter slammed his red- hot will into the barrier again and again.

Brainiac 5 looked in astonishment at the readings scrolling on the small data pad he was carrying and then he looked back at Walter. Suddenly, the green face had a new look on it.

The look was fear.

Walter felt the barrier break away and his body was flooded with the Speed Force. He vibrated his molecules and passed through the cell's clear wall. Brainiac 5 pressed a button on his belt and was immediately covered in a yellow glow. Walter guessed it was a force field, but he didn't care.

As he brought his fist up, he accelerated it past light speed, thereby increasing it's mass. When it struck the force field, it shattered. Brainiac 5 flew across the lab and struck a workbench. Before the first shards of glass from the broken test tubes had separated from their initial structure, Walter was there, pummeling Brainiac 5.

"How does it feel!" he yelled.

Blood started to pour from the nose of Brainiac 5 and just when he was about to slip out of conciseness, his force field reactivated automatically. The electric shock to Walter now threw him back across the room.

Walter slammed into the wall next to the heavily locked door as Brainiac 5 slowly stood up. Walter shook his head, the pain from the impact starting to bring him back to his senses. He cursed himself for losing control and he began to wonder if there was something wrong with him. Normal people do not go insane every time they got angry.

He looked over at the door and immediately went for it. A laser beam burned a hole next to his head and Walter assumed that his attacker had regained his senses as well. Vibrating his hand, Walter passed it through all ten locks in less than a second. He quickly ran to the other side of the room, grabbing the small pistol from Brainiac 5 as he passed him. The locks, their molecular integrity destroyed, exploded, showering the room with metal fragments.

Walter's enhanced senses allowed him to watch every fragment as it flew towards them, making avoiding them easy for him. He saw one just getting ready to strike Brainiac 5 and he nudged him in the direction of the projectile. He smiled grimly as the shard penetrated and passed through the green shoulder of the scientist.

As Brainiac 5 stumbled from his injury, Walter sped passed the falling door and into the chamber beyond. Immediately, all aggressive feelings poured from him and he beheld a light that seemed so pure, it hurt him. He felt shame and remorse for everything bad he had ever done, from little pranks as a child to just now pushing Brainiac 5 into the flying shrapnel.

Though the light was intense, it did not hurt like sunlight, but more of a pain deep inside of him. In the light he saw what appeared to be a form floating inside the light. In his head, he heard a voice, a feminine voice that seemed to be trying to calm him and ask for help at the same time.

"I don't understand," he said out loud.

"Get away from her!"

Walter turned to see a bleeding Brainiac 5 standing in the doorway. "Don't you touch her!"

Walter waited for him to shuffle up next to him. His eyes were clear, the effects of the room having made him lucid. "I wasn't going to"

"Her," Brainiac 5 corrected. His voice had a different tone to it. "Her name is Kara. Some people knew her as Supergirl. She was killed by the Anti- Monitor."

As far as Walter knew, Kara was the name generally given to the various incarnations of Power Girl. That heroine did look similar to what Walter knew made up a Supergirl, but he didn't get the connection. He had read all of the Justice League files on the Crisis and there had been no mention of Supergirl's death. It was almost as if Brainiac 5 was talking about a universe and time that never existed.

The only problem was that Brainiac 5 was real and so was the figure in the light. "If she was killed, then what is she doing here and what have you done to her?"

The look of madness returned, like water washing up on the beach. Even the effects of the room could not beat back the insanity that permeated Brainiac 5. "I've captured her soul.I've kept her here with me.working on a way to bring her back."

The horror that Walter felt was beyond words, for it touched him on a spiritual level. This was something that defiled his basic understanding of life and death. Whether he believed that this was a Supergirl or not made no difference. This was someone crying out for help. "Why?"

"Because it was not was not right that she was taken away from me. Universe remade.what a crock! A universe created that forgot the sacrifice of its most noble member." Tears were forming in his eyes and Walter could tell he was battling with himself.

Walter remembered what it was like when he and Wally West had merged, their bodies vibrating in combat, their thoughts existing as if they were one being. He recalled the almost indescribable anguish he felt when he realized how foolish he had acted, how dishonorable his actions were. For a few fleeting moments, almost a lifetime to one who lived between milliseconds, he found himself at odds with his own psyche.

Walter had no idea when the last time Brainiac 5 had stood here, if ever. It was obvious it was having an effect on him, just as much as it was on Walter. The difference was, and Walter had to admit he was slightly relieved to discover, was that he had conquered his insanity. Obviously, Brainiac 5 could not. Walter could sense the goodness of the soul that was trapped and could feel the misguided evil that was Brainiac 5. "I don't care what your reasons are for anything.I only know that I'm setting her free."

Brainiac 5 produced another laser pistol. "No. I will not lose her again."

Before Walter could react, the light intensified, so bright it actually began to produce heat. A voice, like honeyed wind, radiated in the chamber. Let me go, my love, let me go.

"No! Kara! No, don't give up on us! I'm so close."

1 Our time is done.we must go.

Brainiac 5 fell to his knees, the laser pistol clattering on the hard floor. "Don't do this."

2 Let me go.

Walter had heard enough and he rushed the light, pulling the Speed Force tight around him. As he entered the light, he felt peace, but with a profound sadness. He continued to pull the Speed Force to him, trying to accelerate even faster, hoping that his energy trail would burst the field holding the soul of the Supergirl.

3 No, don't give.take.

Walter heard the voice, but did not understand immediately until he realized he was being told not to keep adding speed, but to absorb it. He slowed to a halt, finding himself literally floating in the light. He took in a deep breath and then began absorbing speed from the photons of the energy barrier. He increased his draw slowly, taking their energy in, allowing the field to weaken gradually. As he did so, he could have sworn he saw a face forming in front of him. It smiled at him and he felt.good.

Then it and the light were gone.

"No! No! No!" Brainiac 5 sobbed. His tone was almost childlike and Walter realized that no matter how great the intellect was before, it was completely gone now. Walter looked at him and felt pity.

He wondered if that was what he would have become had he not ever encountered Wally West.

Walter slowly stepped by the sobbing Brainiac 5 and left him there.

Walter opened the conduit back into Hypertime and stepped through. He had answers, but he didn't know if they were to his questions. Did his uncle die here, at the hands of an alien driven insane by the loss of his one true love. Did that love even exist, or was this all some type of dream?

Walter didn't care. He was tired, both physically and mentally. He still had Creation to map. Running, he headed off towards infinity.

Brainiac 5 stumbled through the remains of his lab, truly alone for the first time since the Crisis. It was then, when he was told that Kara, Supergirl, had been killed, that he began to formulate his plan. What was Heaven if not just some other place? And that meant he could get her back. Didn't he rescue Mon-El from the Phantom Zone? Hadn't his genius created the Legion flight rings?

Of course, none of it mattered now. The batteries were drained and his Speed Force shield against the Crisis wave was failing. Very soon, the wave would consume this small place in time and then the wave would disappear, it's cycle complete. He had stopped the inevitable for a while, preventing the Crisis from completing itself. Hal Jordan had discovered this and as the power mad Parallax tried to reshape the universe, but he had failed. Brainiac 5 had not wanted to do that.

All he wanted was to love Kara.

That was impossible now, as he had shamed himself to the point that she had begged another man to set her free, and he had been powerless to stop it. For his crimes, he knew he would burn in a place far from where his beloved had gone.

Staring up at the white wave eating up the last bits that were his reality, he whispered through blood-tainted lips and behind tears of defeat.

"Tell Kara I love her."