Disclaimer: This is the 18th chapter in a story about an “other world” based on the Arrowverse, the CW shows that focus on DC superheroes. I am writing this as my way of paying homage to my fandom for the Arrowverse. The character names Supergirl, Green Arrow, The Flash, Canary and Brainiac are trademarks of DC Comics. These chapters are free to read, they will not be published in book format, nor will any revenue be generated from the chapters. If there are legal issues involved with the usage of these characters, please email me at bwmorris at mail dot com and I will cease with the writing. Critiquing of my writing is welcomed and may be left in the comments.
I hide among the trees that surround the Frontier Labs perimeter. The last time I was here, Green Arrow and I tried to infiltrate the building. Never did I expect events to unfold the way they did.
It’s all coming back to me. Green Arrow told me to run. That same moment, that strange being called Brainiac fired a blast at me. I took off running, a light blinded me and energy surged through my body. The next thing I knew, I was running in place through a blue haze — or, at least, I thought I was running in place.
I have no idea how I got there, though I’m betting I’ll find the answer should I confront Brainiac. But that’s not the first thing on my mind. I need to rescue my friends, Green Arrow and Canary.
And I don’t plan on doing it alone.
I glance toward the black sky dotted with stars. There’s a full moon out tonight, so there’s a fair amount of light peeking through the trees. Supergirl comes down from the sky toward me. She said she had to get closer to the sun to get back to full strength.
She sails through the trees and lands next to me. Her posture is strong and her breathing is steady. I can’t say enough about how scared I was when I was that green rock jammed into her chest. The image of her gasping for air sticks in my mind. My body shudders at the thought of what Brainiac might be doing to Green Arrow and Canary. I hope we can save them in time.
Supergirl gestures toward the Frontier Labs building. “Did you have a chance to scout?” she asks.
I shake my head. “Not yet. Was waiting for you.”
“I just don’t want to do this alone, that’s all.”
Supergirl turns her gaze to the building. A few lights illuminate the parking lot. She stares for a moment, then glances back at me. “I see a few people standing outside. They look like Intergang members.”
I can’t make out anybody from this distance. “How do you know that?”
For some reason, that makes me chuckle. “Looks like you didn’t need me to scout.”
She casts a brief smile. “I can see through most objects, too, if that interests you.” She hooks her thumb toward the building. “Take the lead here, Flash. I’ll follow you.”
I didn’t expect to hear that. “Why would you follow my lead?”
“You went through Frontier Labs earlier today. You should know the layout.”
I lean against a tree. “I’m not sure I’m the one who should take the lead.”
She tilts her head. “I don’t believe that.”
“It’s true.” I fold my arms and stare toward the building. “All I’ve been concerned about is getting my hands on Warren Hosills. When Arrow and I first encountered him tonight, I didn’t listen to Arrow and went straight after Hosills. And now Arrow’s been captured — all because of me.”
My head swivels toward Supergirl, who is about to open her mouth, but I speak first. “Maybe you were right about me. I hold a grudge against Hosills, for everything that happened to me, to my family. I was the last person that should have gone with Green Arrow earlier.”
She steps toward me and places a hand on my shoulder. “You’re not the only one who wanted to rush into something. Ever since I came out of hiding, I wanted the world to know what I could do, to prove I could be that symbol of hope. I never stopped to think about a plan of action.”
She pushes back a strand of her blonde hair. “But after what happened in Hub City, I realize that we need a plan. And because you’re more familiar with this place than I am, it’s only right that you should take the lead.”
I stare at the ground. Though she may have a point, I want to be sure her confident she is in me. “And what about Hosills? Do you still think I’m only concerned about him?”
“I don’t think so.” She smiles again — a warm, friendly smile. “It’s clear you’re concerned for me, Arrow and Canary. I shouldn’t have been so hard on you. So don’t be hard on yourself. You saved me — now you can save them.”
Her have a gentleness to them, like the stillness of a pond. For the first time, I think I understand why she lives up to the idea of a symbol of hope. Even after everything that’s happened, she isn’t giving up. And she hasn’t given up on me. If she believes Green Arrow and Canary can be rescued, I have to believe the same.
But I can’t help but correct her. “You mean, we can save them.”
She pats me on the shoulder. “You’re right. And we will.”
I pat her on the shoulder, too. Then I stand up straight and fix my eyes toward the building. “All right, let’s move closer. But stay on the ground.”
I rush out of the trees and toward a parked car, which I duck behind. Supergirl crouches down to the right of me. My head peeks around the end of the car and I can see the Intergang members standing in front of the building. They each hold a rifle and stand like soldiers in formation.
“What now?” Supergirl asks.
I crane my neck. “Looks like about ten of them. I don’t see Brainiac, though.” I study the scene some more. The rifles the Intergang members carry are long and black, but don’t look any different from the firearms I’ve seen Intergang utilize.
I pull back behind the car and turn to Supergirl. “We should be able to take them down — at least, long enough so we can get into the building.”
“Stay on the ground, I take it?”
I nod. “Exactly. Let’s go.” Taking a deep breath, I creep toward the side of the car and clench my fists.
Off I go, rushing toward the Intergang members. My right fist rises and I drive it into the jaw of one Interganger, then alternate each time I pass by another. When I skid to a halt, I see all ten Intergangers down on the ground. Supergirl stands beside me.
“That wasn’t too hard,” she says. “Though I wonder if we’re walking into another trap.”
I shrug. “Just stay alert.” I hurry toward the front doors and test one of them. Sure enough, it’s locked.
Supergirl reaches for a door handle, but I raise my hand. “Hold on. I know how to get in without making a scene.”
Taking a deep breath, I relax and let my body vibrate rapidly. A tingling sensation fills me and I step forward, phasing my molecules through the glass door. When I’m on the other side, I slow my vibrations and take another deep breath. I push the door from the inside and it pops open, allowing Supergirl to step inside.
“Strange that I don’t hear any alarms,” she says.
“I’m guessing those devices Arrow had me plant earlier did the trick,” I say.
We open the door into the main lobby, which is dark except for traces of moonlight peeking through the windows. I scan the surroundings and don’t notice anybody around, though I’m certain there must be somebody inside the building.
“Where to now?” Supergirl asks.
I remember the one room at Frontier Labs that made me curious. My instinct tells me that’s the first place to look. “Follow my lead.”
I rush down a hallway, confident that Supergirl will be right behind me. Up the stairs I go, then around a corner and down another hallway. I come to a halt in front of the glass door that caught my attention earlier. Supergirl slips right beside me.
Peering through the glass, I notice the lights are on inside and there are multiple monitors running. There also appears to be two inclined benches. And I notice one person who is strapped to one of them. Sure enough, it’s Green Arrow, who appears to be struggle against whatever is restraining him.
I reach for the door and find it locked, too. “Looks like I’ll need to pull my trick again. Wait here.” Taking a deep breath, I vibrate my molecules again and step forward. But I’m met with resistance, like something is preventing me from phasing through.
I’m forced to step back and relax my body. “I can’t get in. Something keeping me from passing my molecules through.”
Supergirl clenches a fist. “Looks like we’ll have to use my method this time.” With that, she grasps the handle and pulls, yanking it loose from the frame. The lock falls apart and the door pops open.
She immediately steps into the room. “Arrow, Canary, are you two all right?”
I follow her inside. Canary is strapped to the other inclined bench. “What happened, Supergirl? The last thing I saw was you down on the ground.”
“No time to explain.” Supergirl yanks on the straps that hold Canary on his bench, freeing him. “We need to get out of here.” She turns to Arrow’s bench and tears the straps away.
Arrow shakes out his hands and stands up. “Brainiac has Warren Hosills.”
“What?” I say.
Canary has hurried toward a counter. He grabs his amulet and throws it over his neck. “He said he was going to have Hosills give him the power to control every mind on the planet.”
“Does he have anybody else hostage?” Supergirl asks. “Like Mark Gregory?”
Arrow sighs. “The congressman is dead. Brainaic killed him and has been posing as Mark Gregory.”
A sense of dread overcomes me. I have no reason to doubt Arrow’s words. If Brainiac did kill one man, he could kill another. He could kill Hosills. Though I wanted to take Hosills down for so long, he doesn’t deserve a fate like that.
I know what has to be done. “Supergirl, get Canary and Arrow out of here. I’m going to find Hosills and save him.”
Supergirl spins her head around. “Flash, wait!”
But I don’t want to do that. Off I rush along the hallways and corridors, up and down flights of stairs, into this room and that room, trying to find any sign of Hosills. I already saved the others. Now I have to save him, even after everything he did. There’s no way I will let Brainiac take another life.
That’s when I come upon a large room in which there is a massive machine. It looks like a giant furnace, only with multiple lights illuminating the frame and various tubes glowing in different colors. I see Brainaic, resting on an inclined bench. He appears to have several cords hooked into his body, which remains still. His black eyes are vacant, no different from how they were before, but it’s almost like he’s offline.
Brainiac isn’t the only one here. I spot Warren Hosills. There’s two other people beside him that I don’t recognize, but given the white lab coats they wear, they must work for him. Hosills is standing beside some type of control panel. I’m not sure what he’s doing it, but whatever it is, I’m sure he’s doing it against his will.
I rush toward the three. The two lab coats turn but, before they can do anything eslse, I plow into both of them. They fly to the sides and fall to the floor in a heap. My feet skid along the floor and I’m standing in front of Hosills.
He has a surprised look on his face. “Flash. You’re alive.”
I motion toward the exit. “Come on, Hosills, let’s get out of here.”
He shakes his head. “I can’t. It’s not finished yet.”
“Whatever you’re doing, you don’t have to. I can save you.”
“Listen to me, Destiny. I have to do this.”
He said my real name. “How do you know who I am.”
Hosills keeps moving his fingers along the dials and buttons on the control panel. “My security cameras caught you when you were sneaking around Frontier Labs that night.”
I blink. “So you know what happened to me?”
“I know everything that happened.” He doesn’t look up from the panel. “I was running an experiment with dark matter here. It generated an energy pulse that must have tapped into a Speed Force and given you those powers.”
I stare at Hosills, who keeps turning those dials. So the owner of Frontier Labs is not only responsible for getting that drunk driver who killed my parents off the hook, he’s responsible for my superspeed. “Did you plan that from the start or…”
That’s when I hear movement. My head turns toward the inclined bench. Brainiac appears to be flexing his hands, but he’s still otherwise. It’s hard to tell if he’s aware of my presence.
“Listen to me, Flash.” Hosills’ voice draws my attention back to him. “You need to get out of here. I’m trying to stop Brainiac.”
I switch my gaze back to the inclined bench. Something appears to be keeping Brainiac from moving around, but it looks like he’s fighting it. “Hosills, I don’t think whatever you’re trying i is working.”
Urgency fills Hosills’ tone. “Just a little more and I’ve…”
Brainiac’s arm pushes upward and I see his hand raise toward me. Without a second though, I rush forward, grabbing Hosills and pulling him away from the control panel. I rush him out through the exit and into the hallway. Behind me, I feel the force of the blast and we slam against the wall.
Hosills is breathing rapidly. “I almost had him…”
“What were you trying to do?” I ask.
“Overload him with the dark matter.” Hosills holds his head. “If my calculations were correct, it would have destroyed his circuitry.”
“If your calculations…” I can’t wrap my head around that. “What if it didn’t work? What then?”
That’s when I notice movement out of the corner of my eye. My head swivels back toward the exit. Brainiac has sat up. His movements remain slow, but I know I’m outmatched against him. I’d better regroup with the others.
But when I reach for Hosills, he holds up his hand. “Flash, listen to me. I need you to get those people out of here.” He motions inside the room.
I glance back and remember the lab assistants who are down. Rushing in and out of the room, I bring them into the hallway. “I’m coming back for you, Hosills.”
“You won’t be,” he said. “I’m staying here.”
I don’t understand what Hosills is thinking. He doesn’t have any special powers. How could he survive against an unrelenting android. “I’m not letting you do that! I’m not going to let you die!”
Hosills reaches into his pocket. “This is my penance for everything I’ve done, Flash. I’m going to destroy the generator so Brainiac can’t use the dark matter.” He pulls out what looks like a remote control, along with a flash drive. What I don’t expect him to do is shove the flash drive into my palm.
“Take that. It explains everything about how the dark matter affected you, plus information on the counter for Brainaic’s implants,” Hosills says.
I stare at the flash drive for a moment. “I don’t understand. Why are you doing this…”
That’s when I notice Brainiac approaching the doorway. He raises his arm.
I lock eyes with Hosills, who whispers, “Run, Destiny… run.”
Next thing I know, Hosills raises the remote control and his finger goes down on the button.
Instinct takes over. I grab both lab assistants and throw their arms over my shoulders. My feet fly down the hallway, through the building and find my way toward the loading docks, right through a number of lab coats and Intergang members who appear to be in the middle of something. I screech to a halt and drop the lab coats to the ground. They’re still unconscious.
I’m prepared to go back into the building, but a rumbling sound catches me by surrpise. Nex thing I know, the earth starts shaking and I’m forced down to my knees. My hands push against the pavement and I try to steady myself.
And when I look upward, an explosion bursts from above the Frontier Labs building and fills the air.
To be continued in Chapter 19.