DC Heroes: MechWarrior I
By: Christopher W. Blaine
DISCLAIMER: Battletech™ , MechWarrior™ and all other related characters and situations are ©2002 by WhizKids Corporation. Batman™ and all other related characters and situations are ©2002 by DC Comics Inc. All previously copyrighted and trademarked materials are used in this story without permission for fan related, non-profit entertainment purposes only. This original story is ©2002 by Christopher W. Blaine and may not be reproduced in any form, in part or as a whole, without the express permission of the author.Prologue 1 Gotham City, North American Continent
Earth (Reality 900.45.XY (2.785 Allens from Prime Reality))
Sol SystemJune 16, 2002
My name is Walter West and I am the fastest man in creation.
That isn't a boast; it's the truth. Go through time both forward and backward, hell, you can go sideways too if you want, but you aren't going to find any single speedster that can keep up with me.
Unlike so many others who take up moving at super-speed as a way to do good, a part-time profession or even as a way to get rich quick through villainy, I have to run. I run not only for my life, but for everyone else's as well. I have to outrun the mind of God, keeping just one step in front of the walls of existence before they come crashing down.
Yeah, I'm Walter West…but I'm also called the Flash. Of course, some jerks refer to me as the Dark Flash, which does hold that air of mystery about it. Too bad I'm not in the business of trying to impress people.
Years ago, I was engaged to be married to a wonderful woman named Linda Park, only a terrorist named Kobra killed her to get to me. It worked; in fact it worked a little too well. My mind snapped and I killed Kobra. I went to Savitar, then the most powerful speedster on the planet, and convinced him to teach me the "ways of the Force", the Speed Force that is. Savitar taught me every last dirty trick there was until I surpassed him in skill and raw ability.
Then I killed him as well.
I wasn't finished, though, and I started killing not only other villains, but my fellow heroes as well until a day came when I confronted Wally West, the Flash from the Prime Reality. I can't tell you how hard it is to realize that you are a carbon-copy of the original. That everything you know is nothing more than a reflection in the mirror. Wally was living proof that I was the "could-have-been" of his life. What made it all the worse was that he was in my reality trying to save his Linda Park, whom I mistook for mine raised from the dead.
In the ensuing battle, Wally and I merged our molecules for a brief instant, but it was enough to knock some sense back into me. It also appeared that I had accidentally killed him in the process and so I left for his reality to take his place, trying to honor him as best I could.
It was an excuse, a sham to keep me from facing justice on my own world. The farce didn't last very long because Wally was not dead and the Justice League of America pointed out that my continued presence outside my reality was causing the two existences to merge. Ghosts, really just projections of duplicates from my world, began to appear all over Earth and mass-hysteria was beginning to ensue.
So I left, determined to find my home, but without my Linda as an emotional anchor, I had no way to find it. So I have vowed to keep running and mapping the expanse of time and space until such time as I found my world to face justice. It's a death sentence, I know, because either I face lethal injection or I'll simply run myself into the grave.
It's better than what I deserve.
The Flash stopped running and came to an instant halt in what was supposed to be the center of downtown Gotham City. The buildings reflected a modern style, but he could see an occasional hold over from the gilded age with a new sign slapped on it. There were cars of all makes and models, from decrepit station wagons to over-sized stretch limousines.
Newspapers and other debris, so common in any large urban sprawl no matter the world he was on, swirled around his feet as small tornados lifted up the trash. It was almost like a ticker-tape parade for him, a welcome befitting only the greatest of heroes. For just a moment, he imagined what it must have felt like for Caesar when he triumphantly returned form Gaul and entered Rome proper.
It would have been such an event if there were any crowds to cheer him. The silence made him shiver as he realized that this city of millions had only one occupant, himself. As he took in the scene, he began to see the telltale signs of what could only be described as instantaneous disappearance. Cars were smashed into each other and a truck had run through the front window of a department store. He was surprised to see anything left standing as he supposed that there would have been massive fires as vehicles careened into each other.
He started walking this time, more out of astonishment than anything else. His abilities allowed him to perceive things normally even when moving faster-than-light, but there was something to be said for just slowly taking things in. He noted a fire truck parked down the next block, fire hoses laid out from the truck and a hydrant. They had long lost their water pressure and were now strung out on the ground like the skins of prehistoric snakes. In front of them were the burned out remains of several vehicles, which told him that maybe things happened a little more slowly then he had first guessed.
Crossing the street, he saw he was now in front of police headquarters and there was a newspaper box. Vibrating his finger, he passed it through the lock and stepped back. The disrupted molecules of the lock blew it apart moments later and he then opened it and pulled out a paper. The headline read that the Rapture had occurred. Walter doubted it; he had seen too many odd things in his travels to pass it off as Divine Intervention, though he would certainly welcome such a simple solution. He scanned for the date of the paper. It was four years old assuming that this world had a dating system similar to most of the others he had been on.
He took a few minutes to read several articles in the paper, absorbing as much history as he could before he made some preliminary notes into his digital recorder. He had taken to analyzing every world and making comments, in case it could ever prove useful. The end of this world had been bleak, confusing and horrifying. It had started with the disappearance of all of the world's heroes and the rise of the villains as masters of the planet.
The villains, however, could not decide on who should lead and a war broke out between the factions of Dr. Sivanna and Lex Luthor. It appeared that by the date of the paper, Sivanna had been winning, but only barely. There were several references to a major battle that had occurred in Israel where the forces of Luthor, under the command of the Weather Wizard of all people, had confronted Sivanna's elite strike teams under the control of Mr. Freeze.
Before he could read any further, he felt something shoot by his head and he turned. It was moving very fast and had it not been for his enhanced vision, he would have never seen it. It was a globe, white in color, appearing to something like a tennis ball. It moved out to a twenty-foot perimeter where it was joined by several more, all appearing to be identical in shape and construction. When they moved in to surround him, the Flash moved outside the circle to stand behind them.
The globes reacted much faster than he would have thought possible and they took up a position around him again. The Flash arched an eyebrow, determined to see just how fast these things were and turned towards the west coast. Running at just under mach-2, he turned to see the globes hot on his trail. He pushed his speed, nearly hitting light speed and still they remained with him.
The Flash snorted and guessed that while the globes were fast, they probably weren't too bright and just as he cleared the Rocky Mountains, he made a 90 degree turn. The globes reacted, but were several miles away before they could arc into the direction needed to pursue the Flash. By then it was too late because the Flash was coming at them.
Opening his link to the Speed Force, he concentrated on removing the kinetic energy of the globes, essentially stopping them dead. The excess energy that he bled from them would be dumped into the Speed Force where it would be channeled into whatever speedster required it. He passed by each globe and without even touching them, made them like so many stones. They fell to the ground with small thuds.
The Flash waited a few moments to see of they would self-destruct and when they didn't, he cautiously picked one up. It was smooth on the outside and was made from some type of material he was unfamiliar with. Of course, science had never been his strong subject so he doubted that even if he could identify the subtance, it would hold very little meaning for him.
He turned it over and was surprised to see a manufacturer's address on it as well as several trade regulatory marks. The little globe vibrated in his hand and he could tell it was trying to do something and so he tossed it away. Just before it hit the ground, it fired a laser at him. His reflexes allowed him to avoid the snapshot and it struck a nearby tree. The Flash watched as the tree shimmered, turned purple and then faded away.
The Flash approached the building slowly, again walking, but with guarded steps. He did not want to be shot by one of those globes as he had no idea what the effect would be, but he was sure it wouldn't be pleasant. He was surprised to see the lights on in the building, as he could not imagine how electricity could be generated from power plants that had stopped operations years before. He supposed it was possible that there was another answer, some alternative energy source, but it did not change the dismay he felt at seeing the appearance of life coming from within.
The door to the front lobby was unlocked and he entered to find the air clean and sterile from being just slightly over air-conditioned. The floors gleamed from a fresh coat of wax and the plants appeared healthy and a quick check showed that they were not plastic. The only sign that this was not some Garden of Eden was the stack of magazines on the lobby table. All of them were several years old, even older than what you would expect to find in a typical waiting room.
There was a front desk and he approached it and rang the bell that was marked to be used to get service. From behind a curtain, a blonde haired woman, wearing a blouse that showed more meat than cleavage walked through. She smiled and the Flash noted that she was too beautiful. He scanned her for any defect, too much make-up, a mole, a stray hair or blemish. There were none. Her form and dress suggested someone accustomed more to the bedroom than the front office. "Good afternoon, how may I help you?"
He could detect no accent, nothing to tell what part of the country she was from. She leaned in, giving him a good look into her shirt. Her head was quite close and much to his shock, she whispered an offer of sexual delight that almost made him blush. Immediately, he stepped back and raced across the room as she pulled a pistol from under the counter and shot at him. Vibrating his hand just as he had his finger for the newspaper locker, he moved across the room and ran it through her torso.
He was already racing down the hallways by the time she exploded. When she had leaned it close and whispered to him, he realized he could not feel the heat of her breath. That meant she wasn't breathing. That meant another construct, only this one was meant to lead him into a false sense of security. Twice he had been attacked and twice he had gotten away. He hoped his luck would continue to hold.
It was moments later when he reached what appeared to be the administrative offices that he started to get some answers. In the hallway stood a massive robot, dark black in color with a single cycloptic eye. The eye regarded him and began to glow purple. Before it could shoot, he moved out of the way and tried the molecular disruption technique.
His hand bounced off of the robot's armor, deflected by an energy shield. Pulling back his bruised hand, the Flash realized he was within the grasp of the machine and barely managed to jump away as a four-fingered claw reached for him. The Flash dropped to all fours, wincing as his hurt hand hit the floor, and crawled underneath the robot's legs. Coming up behind the robot, he started to try to run, but was felled by a blow to the back.
He crashed into a table, a flower vase breaking on his head as it fell over, dousing him in water. The Flash cursed mightily, using a variety of words he had learned in his adventures and stood up. The robot turned and shot its eye laser. The Flash was up and out of the way immediately, plunging through the sheet rock of the hallway and tumbling into an empty office. A laser blasted through the hole, hitting the floor just beneath his feet, but did no real damage.
The Flash ran again, bursting through yet another wall in an attempt to put some distance between himself and the robot. Behind him, he could hear the heavy footsteps of the machine as it pursued him and occasionally a blast of purple light would streak by. He guessed that the machine was missing him because it was trying to guess where he would move. "Too bad I don't want to comply to your programming model," the Flash said as he reached an adjacent passageway.
The robot's hand reached through the wall just behind the Flash and grabbed him around the neck. It squeezed, but not too hard. The Flash attempted to vibrate out of the grip, but the robot's arm vibrated as well. "Cute," he said, finally giving up for the moment. "So, are you going to kill me or what?"
"I prefer 'or what'," the robot responded in a voice that while mechanical in tone, had a sentient feeling behind it. The robot's faceplate opened up and the Flash saw something small moving from inside it.
The small creature was no bigger than a few centimeters in length, green and black on color. It wore spectacles that seemed far too large for the ungainly human-like eyes it had. It was a worm, and the Flash felt nauseated while looking at it.
Around what would have been its neck was a microphone that the Flash guessed was tapped into the robot's main speaker. "I assume you know who I am?" the worm asked.
"Mr. Mind, criminal worm and escaped fish-bait," the Flash answered, suppressing a shudder as the worm started to move down the robot's arm towards his trapped head. "I suppose all of this is your fault?"
"I wish I could take all of the credit, I really do," Mr. Mind replied. "Thadeus, Dr. Sivanna to you, was mostly responsible. He came up with the idea of altering the quantum signature of the world's heroes."
"You've lost me," the Flash replied, gritting his teeth as he formulated his escape plan. Mr. Mind drew even closer to his face.
"Ah, just as I suspected. My sensors told me that your signature paints you as someone from outside this dimension. You have no idea what happened here, do you?"
"You see, we combined forces with Mr. Freeze to capture the world's heroes and then we froze them. Like packets of frozen vegetables, we loaded them onto ships capable of crossing the dimensional barrier and pop, they were gone." Mr. Mind smiled triumphantly. "Of course, I realized that when we gave them new quantum signatures, it would create a new reality for them, most likely drawing in components of the nearest alternate reality. I could go into the theory…"
The Flash smiled. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't." He waited until the worm was almost touching his nose before he spoke again. "So you took all of this world's heroes and just dumped them into Hypertime, fully understanding that you would be creating an alternate reality? A little too complex if you ask me."
"Do you know how many heroes return from the dead? Better to move them to a new neighborhood than trying to destroy them?" The little worm grinned. "Of course, Sivanna and Luthor then tried to take control of the world and it turned into a mess. In the end, I had to get rid of all of the humans."
"So I suppose you rule over everything else?"
"There are so many other worthy species on this planet…"
"Worms, right?" The Flash did not wait for Mr. Mind to respond and instead jerked his head forward and bit the worm in two. The robot's grip instantly released and it powered down as the Flash fell to the floor, the wriggling half of Mr. Mind lodged between his teeth. He spit it out and then vomited on the floor. He continued to do so until he thought he would simply turn inside out.
"God damn self-important insect! The whole damn planet?" he stood up on shaky legs. When Mr. Mind had approached, he had noted that he was also wearing what could only be a remote-control device for the robot. The only way to break the link was to destroy the transmitter. If only he could have gotten an arm up and around.
It didn't matter; no matter how intelligent Mr. Mind had been, he wasn't human and certainly had not been fit to have a soul. Still, the Flash hoped he was roasting in hell or had demon-birds chewing him up to feed to their babies…
He slumped against the wall, pondering what to do. Another reality created…mixed with copied portions of another. It made sense. It certainly explained why time sometimes moved at a different rate in different worlds. But it did leave a nagging question: where did the heroes go and should he try to bring them back?