Sorry about forgetting this: Wally West= kid flash...I'm probably going to be doing that often.
…I feel like a terrible person after writing this.
Soulhuntress: no, his family has no idea. They captured "Phantom" not "Fenton"
Chapter 4: Iniquitous Rooms
A flash of white revealed a shining pole and defined square seats all down a row. The silhouette of a man blocked out the light. Danny tried to walk towards it, but the lights went out and he was left in the dark. Another flash revealed the silhouette again. It was one seat over. Danny tried to walk, but something held him back. His hands were cuffed together around the pole.
A white smile gleamed on the figure's face. "Too tight, Phantom?"
The lights flickered once more and there was suddenly a man at his feet, unmoving, unresponsive, with a half-open eye, lying on the floor with his arm drawn around his neck and Danny was attached to this figure by a gleaming handcuff. Trying to jump back, Danny got caught by the cuffs and was thrown forward on top of the dead body.
"Shit!" Danny screamed as he shot out of his bed and tumbled onto the floor. His eyes focused on metal bars and a concrete floor. Crackling 20s music broke the illusion. It was all a dream. All a bad dream.
A buzzer interrupted the song and the metal door swung open. "Subject Phantom, proceed to the door."
Danny noticed the white hallway and the blank environment. Not this again. Danny groaned. Poking his head out of the cell door, he knew it was the same stupid pure white hallway from the first time he woke. Did they move him in his sleep? That's weird, to say the least. The polished, welded, metal door was waiting for him on the other side of the constantly-narrowing hallway.
This place still managed to keep it's eerie charm and just stepping into the hallway seemed like an enormous task. Danny grabbed the cell door and tried to close it so that he was back in his safe little 7 by 7 cage. Unfortunately, the thing wouldn't budge and he was forced to give up the idea when the man on the speaker above him shouted, "Subject Phantom, do not tamper with company property!"
The pitch itself was enough to deafen someone. After that less-than-gracious warning, Danny sprinted through the hallway, still believing that it was too easy for him to walk down such a narrow space without anything grabbing at him or the walls falling in on themselves. It wasn't like Danny was claustrophobic; it had something to do with that particular hallway. Besides, white was never a good color for Danny to see. It always ment that agents were after him and he was going to have to high-tail it out of there or end up…here.
Danny went into the cramped elevator before the guy on the speaker could shout at him and make his ears bleed. The jolt up in the pitch-black space caught Danny by surprise and sent him crashing against the wall. Just then he realized that his hand wasn't in pain. He flexed it in the dark and there was no pain. When did that happen? It wasn't until the doors opened to reveal the bright white light that Danny managed to rise back to his feet. Squinting, he tried to get his eyes to adjust to the light and blink away the random spots of color that dotted the warehouse because of the sudden change. Just as the blotches started to fade, the guy on the speaker crackled through again. "Subject Phantom, Subject West, step out of the elevator."
Danny obliged as he started examining his surroundings. Unlike the last warehouse, this one had different elevations; platforms that kind of resembled city rooftops. The black window was to his right and there were more figures in it this time; Danny was sure of it. He squinted, trying to get a better look, but there was only so much he could see through that black screen.
"Subject Phantom, Subject West, turn to face each other."
Danny rolled his eyes, but he knew that he'd get shocked if he refused, slowly as possible, he turned to face some kid that was about his age. Red hair covered most of his right eye and his left was almost colorless. The whites of his eyes bleached most of the iris. Was he blind? No. He was looking at- no he wasn't looking at Danny; he was looking through Danny. Not a hint of expression or emotion showed on his face as he tilted his head up and down, surveying Danny. The only thing that caught Danny's eye about this guy's form was the new-looking black-and-white-check Nike shoes strapped on his feet. It took a lot to keep Danny from laughing. How did he get Nikes in here?
"Date: July 9. Place: Testing facility 3. Subjects: Phantom and West. Experiment: Effectiveness of enhancement agent on Subject West: Injection 2-98B."
Injection? Danny looked at the messy red-head in front of him. What kind of injection did they give him? Steroid type injection? What kind of powers did this kid have? If he was anything like the demon girl... If he wasn't, then Danny would have no idea what this guy could do until he made the first move. Villains always flaunted their powers and Danny got a feel for the basic attacks and weaknesses before he even threw a punch, but this was just hands down learn as you go along. That gave this kid, who was already some kind of prodigy, some kind of test tube injection… He was screwed in any other language.
"Inflicting mortal wounds: optional. Begin experiment in 3…2…1..."
A buzzer rang out over his head. Danny glanced up at the black screen trying to see the man who thought this was such a good idea. But, there was nothing but shadows. In the half a second he spared for that glance, the red-head disappeared. Before Danny could even change into his ghost form, something grabbed him from behind and half a second later, he was slammed against the wall. Without time to ready for impact, he hit full force and was gasping for air.
Whatever was holding him dropped Danny to the ground and let him cough and wheeze. Danny muttered a curse. What hit him? It didn't matter. If it could move that fast he had to change now! Two white rings flashed in front of him and circled his entire body changing him into his black and white jumpsuit. He really needed a costume change.
Something grabbed him by the back of his collar again, but Danny was ready and focused on making himself intangible. The momentum still made him fly forward, but he was out of this guy's grasp. Danny flew up into the air to try and see what this kid was using. Demon magic? Some kind of gear? What? All he could see was a flash of red hair running in circles on the floor of the warehouse, then up the wall, then on the roof and straight towards Danny. Keeping himself intangible, he watched the kid pass through him and slam into the wall on the other side. The impact made the kid topple and fall flat on the ground. There wasn't any kind of gear on him. Just the shoes, which were already worn. Danny could smell the burning rubber from all the way at the top of this warehouse.
This kid was just running. Danny watched him scurry on all sides and run up and down the walls trying to grab at Danny, but he just kept his form intangible and watched the kid run forward and back across the warehouse, getting more and more aggravated every time. This could go on all day and he wouldn't care.
Unfortunately, his thought was put to the test. He expected the guys to shock him for not participating like last time, or screw with his powers again, but they let him stay intangible and watch the kid run around. At one point, Danny flew up to the screen and tried to phase through it and there was no shock, just resistance and a warning from the guy on the speaker. They let him stay passive, but he was still trapped.
Hours had to be going by and the red-head was still running like a mad man. Was this guy ever going to get tired? He was starting to form ruts on the separate platforms as he jumped between each one and off the walls. Danny was starting to get tired himself. Even though he could turn intangible with ease, it's not such an easy task to hold it for hours. Danny never had to. This kid passed him at least ten times every other second, so he couldn't take a break from it.
It would have been smart for Danny to take an offensive stance, but he didn't want to hurt the red-head. Unlike demon-girl, this guy was at a complete disadvantage behind unable to touch Danny. There was no need for a fight and the guy looked freaky enough as it was. A bolt of energy to the face was just going to make it worse. Sure he was demented looking and all that, but there was some guy up behind that screen getting entertainment from watching this. He couldn't believe someone was sick enough to be entertained by two super-powered teenagers fighting each other for no other reason than because they were selected to be on opposing sides. It was partly compassion and mostly spite that kept him from even attempting to hurt the speedy red-head.
Eventually, he had to stop flying and sink down to the floor just to keep his passive strategy going as his mental concentration was strained by trying to balance more instinctive physical powers. This kid didn't look to be slowing down at all.
Weren't they going to call off this fight right around now? What time was it anyway? Did they get to eat? How long were they planning on keeping this up? The stray questions in Danny's head made him loose focus and in an instant, he was grabbed and slammed against the wall.
The jolt of pain sent a rush of adrenaline through Danny's system and he instinctively fought back, kicking against the wall and releasing a beam of green energy. Turning on his heel, he faced his opponent. The kid had no other emotion than a bland kind of annoyance on his face. Danny fired another beam of green energy and it shot him back against one of the walls of the platforms. Without time to even think about turning intangible, the kid managed to run across the roof, down the wall, grab Danny, spin him and throw him up towards the ceiling. The harsh impact was emphasized by the screaming steel he dented.
Falling back to the ground, Danny tried to switch to intangibility again, only to be jolted to one side in mid air. Something tackled him from behind and then left him falling, then again, and again. He was getting pushed around in mid-air by a kid who couldn't even fly! But, he could jump. Next thing he knew, Danny was slammed into the ground with the red-head standing over him with that creepy emotionless stare.
"Get back!" Danny lashed out a green concentration of energy, sending the kid flying across the room and slamming into one of the sides of the elevated platforms. Danny was not dealing with this anymore. It was all fun in games until this kid actually started throwing punches.
Gathering enough concentration to turn intangible again, he tried to phase through the floor. A sudden electric shock ran through his body and the white rings flashed in front of him over and over again. When it all calmed down, he was still in his ghost form. That stupid chip managed to monitor everything? It had control over his powers and did whatever else. If it was going to turn him into zombie boy over there, he wasn't going to stand for it. The only thing that annoyed him more than the chip was how long it took for him to remember what he could have done at the beginning of this.
"That's it," Danny turned his left hand intangible and reached into his right shoulder. All he had to do was grab the chip and- A harsh electric shock ran through his body the moment he touched the chip and the rings flashed in front of him again until he was back in his human state. Everything had happened in five seconds, at most, but that's all the red-head needed to recover, come running across the room and grab Danny by the throat.
There was no time to react and he was slammed into the floor in his weaker state. Agonizing pain in his arm sent Danny desperately back into his ghost form. His ice powers took over and Danny froze the runner in place with only his extended arm left out of the frozen encasement. The rest of "Subject West" was a Popsicle and Danny managed to slide out from his grip and focus on the injured arm.
His eyes were watering and there was some excruciating pain coming from his left arm. He tried bending it. Instinctively, a curse came out from under his breath. It had to be broken. When was the last time he had a broken bone? He didn't know. When was the last time he was hit in his human form? Some time back in high school. Supernatural strength was great and all, but why did it have to be limited to one form? It didn't matter right now. He could gripe and moan about being unable to hold his form later. The point was: his arm was broken. He wasn't a doctor, but ice was always a good thing. Dousing the pain with his cooling powers, he kept a wary eye on the frozen West. Was it over?
Danny thought too soon, and he watched as the red-head kid started shifting with the little room he had and he was a blur for a moment. Then, the ice cracked and the non-cartoon version of Speedy Gonzales was at it again.
"Come on! Don't you ever get tired?" Danny groaned. That's all he really had time for before he was met with a rapid fury of punches.
"That's it!" Phantom exclaimed. The subject concentrated his intangibility to his hand and reached into his shoulder.
"W-What's he doing?" asked Doc.
"He's going for the chip," he exhaled. "Wait for it…"
Phantom screamed in pain and the ghost converted to his human disguise again. West, quick to take advantage of the split-second opportunity, grabbed Phantom by the throat. West managed to break Phantom's left humerus and cracked the upper half of the ulna by throwing him to the ground.
"Well, he's not going to do that again," he said stirring his cup of coffee as the ghost-boy's scream of pain echoed through the warehouse.
"He's the third one to try it this month," the Doc said.
"They never learn." Phantom unleashed his freeze power, encasing West in ice and started tending to his upper arm with the odd ice-power in his hand. West was smart enough to generate enough heat by vibrating in place to break away from the ice-prison in thirty-seven seconds. "How long have they been fighting in there?" he asked the Doc.
"Eight hours, fifty-eight minutes, twenty-three, four, five, six seconds" the Doc glanced up at the clock. "They've only truly been in combat for thirty minutes."
"What was happening between that time?"
"Subject Phantom was intangible."
"You'd figure he'd be the more violent one."
"W-what do you mean by that sir?"
"Phantom is the murderer. West was a hero. Then again, West hardly knows his first name anymore. Either way, you'd figure the two would be in combat sooner, especially on Phantom's part."
"Subject West has been attacking Subject Phantom for the past eight hours, Sir."
"West has been running like that for eight hours?"
"Yessir. Y-you're sure you don't want me to take away one of Subject Phantom's powers?"
"Topping off all the other leashes we've put on him? Why spoil the fun? It's a success on its own that West is still going. His stamina limit was, what, five-ten minutes?" He looked at the monitor showing various physical monitors kept on West. His heart rate was steady and hardly over 120.
"Eight minutes and twenty seven seconds was our best record, Sir."
"And West hasn't even laid a hand on…wait…there he goes."
Phantom was suddenly thrown against the window, not breaking anything, but badly bruising his collar bone, and West was quick to peel Phantom off the wall and finish the job.
"He hasn't stopped once?"
"Only to take a rest for half a minute at the four hour mark, Sir. And, the impact of Subject Phantom's first attack crushed his right hand and he almost broke his right leg. He never had the supernatural strength to endure that kind of impact before, Sir," Doc pointed at the monitor. West was ignoring an injury and still actually using his right hand to throw punches at Phantom, damaging it more.
"Roth endured it."
"Um…well…Sir… She is not Subject West, Sir."
He watched as West ran through the various platforms chasing after Danny, who kept cutting through the narrow gaps between elevations and tried to stay out of reach. A cracked leg bone hurt like hell and West was running with one. If the former Kid-Flash was so quick to attack and sprint, it meant he wasn't holding back.
Nothing in the charts would have suggested any different, considering the different chemicals that had been pumped into him. Making him run faster was easy, but finding a way to keep him breathing at such high speeds and keep up stamina was a more complicated part. From what he saw, Subject West was a success all around.
He took one last sip of his coffee, pulled a twenty out of his pocket and dropped it on the Doc's clipboard. "Buy this room a box of doughnuts and call off the test in half an hour, or whenever Phantom breaks another bone. Patch 'em up and all that. Subject West is ready for a final test."
Danny had been trying to avoid conflict since the beginning of this, but with intangibility and invisibility practically spent, he had to rely on his more instinctive powers than the ones that took concentration. He'd admit that he was never the best at keeping focus, which is why punching and flying were always a preference. The only thing he could focus on was the stinging pain of his right arm every single time he jerked to one side while flying.
Although Danny had managed to break 200 miles per hour before, he was limited to probably about 80 going in an extended circle around the warehouse and just barely avoiding West. In any other situation, Danny probably would have used his ghostly wail, but remembering how week he was last time, he didn't want to take a chance on this guy. He was always on Danny's tail or bouncing off the walls. Most of the time, Danny was weaving through the platforms trying to keep out of his reach and get a clear shot at the red-head. Unless this West guy was directly in front of him and pausing to throw a punch, Danny always missed the guy by a hair.
Danny flew past one of the lower platforms when the guy jumped him and sent Danny hurtling into the ground. Of course this guy had to tackle him from the left, slamming into his injured arm and crushing his right side. A buzzer rang out over Danny's scream.
The words from the speaker echoed in his head, "Subject Phantom vs. Subject West. Time: ten hours, thirty six minutes, eleven seconds. Injuries: recoverable. Result: success of injection 2-98B."
West released his grip on Danny and took an automatic step back, with his eyes looking off to somewhere else. Men in white suits came running through the elevators and restrained Danny first, keeping a tight grip on his arm so that he couldn't and didn't want to move.
"Subjects Phantom and West are dismissed from the testing facility. Subject West is to be returned to the testing laboratory. Subject Phantom is to be returned to the mad house."
Raven sighed as she scratched through the crumbling rock in her cell. Never had she imagined herself digging her way out of a prison and it wasn't a preferable picture now. No matter how much she detested the idea, she was standing on top of a toilet and chipping in the blind spot of the camera while the guards were occupied with people downstairs at lunch time. They had been keeping up this routine for two weeks. It had taken her that long to smuggle two makeshift chisels out of the metal shop. Really they were over-glorified scraps of sharp metal. Garfield was sitting on her bed, with his head against the cell wall as he watched for guards.
Most of the time, they never drew attention to themselves, but it wasn't like digging was a completely silent process and it was either too noisy or too slow to dig at night. Raven only had the lunch break to dig since she would be missed if she didn't do her job. Garfield and Kory had a lot of the day once their job was done. Sometimes, Raven felt like a real criminal in this place. This was getting humiliating beyond belief. A frustrated groan passed her lips.
"Gettin' tired of digging already?" Garfield asked with a half-smile not bothering to turn his head.
"You're lucky those things don't record sound or that would have been bad," Raven said flicking her eyes to the camera.
"Hm," he shrugged and looked back through the bars. "It'd be great if it was more than just the four of us. Ya know? If we had some help." Garfield had insisted on letting others know about the plan. More people ment more help, larger system, a unified group. He may have grown up and gotten taller, but he still had the same childish ideas that he did before. Sometimes, his idealism was too frustrating for Raven.
"And what do you think Dick would say to that?" Raven asked.
Garfield exhaled, "No one can be trusted."
"And he's right."
"Why are you two so paranoid? They're still people."
Raven faltered in her work and looked over at Garfield, hoping to see some kind of smile or joking expression. These people had tried to kill them, multiple times. Half of these people were villains in jump city and the rest hated being in a twenty-foot radius of the former Titans. How could Garfield still see the benefit of the doubt in stray kids? Especially in the one that tried to kill her! Azarath…metrion…zinthos… "Tell me you're joking."
"I'm not," he said shifting into a darker tone. Under his breath, he said, "If I thought like that, I wouldn't even hang around you guys anymore."
Raven repeated her meditation in her head a few more times. She could question him on exactly what he ment by that, but that'd fuel her anger. Her limited meditation could only keep her so balanced. Sensing the change in Raven's behavior, Garfield was wise enough to change the topic.
"How's Kory doing?" he switched.
The tamerianian had decided to stick around the group the day that they were told this plan. The amount of nervousness on her that day drove Raven crazy. It took two days for Kory to talk normally towards the three of them again. She asked about Victor once to the former Robin and Raven remembered thinking how lucky they were that Garfield wasn't around at the time. Either way, she kept close to Raven after that, and apparently, "the braiding of each other's hair" was still on the table despite all of this. She talked to Garfield plenty and Dick in doses, but most of her socializing was with Raven. It was good to see Kory acting at least one shade of normal and bubbly.
"Fine. She's smiling a lot. I think this is getting her hopes up," Raven said.
"It's doing that for me," Garfield said.
"It shouldn't," Raven said trying to keep her concern from showing.
"You're always going to be negative," Garfield rolled his eyes.
"Call it whatever you want."
Azarath…metrion…zinthos…azarath…metrion…zinthos… She looked at her progress, trying to block out the frustration, only two sides were done and she only had another ten minutes, at best. Focusing more on the brick, Raven didn't bother to give a response and let silence hang in the air. Besides, if she said anything else, she knew something inside of her would set off.
"It's been two weeks," he said with a voice just coated in downtrodden. "Vic's not…I mean."
Raven knew exactly what he ment. Victor still wasn't back. That ment one of two things. Either he was dead, or they were testing on him. The latter was becoming less and less plausible. What if he really was- Azarath…metrion…zinthos…azarath…metrion…zinthos…
"We're not going to leave without him, are we?" Garfield whispered, dreading the answer. She could sense his unease with just a glance.
"That won't help."
What did he want her to say then? It's not like she had any clue about any of this! So far, it was a blind plan, but it was all they had! It's not like she was going to give Garfield false hope just-Raven felt a sudden rush inside her system and a sting of pain. She lifted her shirt off her stomach and saw a red gash down the side. One more trouble was the last thing she could worry about before a tipping point.
"Azarath," Raven said under her breath. With hardly any time to meditate, Raven hadn't been focused on keeping her emotions in check and this was going to keep progressing until she broke a bone.
"What's wrong?" Garfield asked turning.
"Nothing," Raven said, dropping her shirt and holding up the chisel. "You dig. I've got to go," she looked back towards the cell door.
Garfield eyed her suspiciously, hesitant to take the job. "Are you alright?"
"Peachy," she said sarcastically.
"I don't want to talk anymore," Raven said quickly.
"Raven." She was already down the stairs and out the door to the courtyard.
Danny hated this place. No. Hate wasn't a strong enough word. Loathe? Still not strong enough. Abhor? He wasn't exactly sure what it ment, but that sounded close enough. For two weeks he had been fighting someone every other day in that stupid ring and every time he tried to pull this stupid chip out, the thing shocked him and sent him back to a human form. It was just frustrating and exhausting. Constant fights were something he got used to, but it was freaky going against people with powers he wasn't familiar with.
There had to be something he was doing wrong. That chip shouldn't be able to sense him. He even did it when he thought he couldn't be seen by the black screen, but it still shocked him! Danny couldn't spot any cameras on the walls. Everything had a weakness. This chip had to have one!
The only thing more frustrating than the fights was the daily job. At least he was used to having to fight on a semi-daily basis. But, a job? There's always that one thing Danny never wanted to do for a living; that was sit in a room that reminded him of school. Yet, he was assigned (thrown into when he refused to do the job) to a room with so much paperwork, it made him sick. His job was boring, repetitive, and overseen by guards 24/7. Most of it was just boring shipping reports. Never stating to where or for what purpose, just a list of furniture he was supposed to document. Just put the cheese grader to his forehead right now, it'd be less painful.
One of his least favorite parts of the job was that the guy he worked with was the sunglasses guy, Robin something-or-other. There was something off with him. He didn't enjoy the job any more than Danny, but he was always keeping his eyes on the guards and on Danny. Danny only just caught the guy glaring, and the guards weren't focusing on their eyes as much as they were focusing on how prisoners handled the information. Just the basic uneasy feeling he got with his ghost sense set off. Something was off about that guy.
There was only one revelation that managed to keep Danny from going insane. The two guards were talking close to the wall and one of them mentioned a deserted basement storage room in the office that was filled with junk tools. It's amazing how casually the information was thrown around. The Guard was complaining about his knee or arm or something and he said he was doing a weekly check on the room. Apparently, no one goes down further than a few steps and the only reason this guy was near the bottom of the stairs is because he tripped. Isolated, underground, and unchecked. Could it be anymore perfect?
Ugh…just ugh…icky chapter…pacing too slow for brain…I hate setting things up *face palm* the realization of what kind of story I'm writing is getting to me.
Anyway, favorite, comment, follow, push the pretty button or fill in the box. Let me know the thoughts in your mind because I'm losing mine. Review= points for my sanity.