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Baggage, your passports ready,
And follow the green line to customs and then to immigration
BA two-one-five to Rome, Prado, Naples...

May I have your attention, please,
Customs will be receiving passengers
For BA two-one-five to Rome, Prado, Naples

Live for today,
...gone tomorrow,

....that's me!


"Don't let them get too--"

"--the SLIGHTEST IDEA what I'm going to--"

"--against the wall, NOW! I swear to God, I'll shoot--"

"--filled with beautiful lights! Don't you see, I can--"

"--backup! I repeat, we need--"



"God, I love it when a plan falls apart," the Joker mused to himself as he adjusted the fit of his jacket-- a little tight in the shoulders these days, "even when that plan's my own."

Stepping out from the washroom into the halls of general population, the air rang with the sounds of glorious chaos. Primal screams, threats and challenges, the sound of fists smacking against faces. The rattling of teeth as they scattered across bare concrete. Shrieks of pain and horror. The deafening roar of gunfire, some bullets made of rubber, others most definitely not.

Normally, the Joker would relish in this, drink in the mayhem the way other connoisseurs might take in a fine wine or the strains of Mozart. However, today he really did have to get going.

Someone had been picking off members of his old gang, including some of his very favorite henchmen over the years. And that someone needed to be taught a lesson: no one, no one, plays with the Joker's toys. And that was a lesson he wouldn't be able to teach until he got off of the island and back out into the big wide world.

"--around the corner, think that was the Joker! We can't let him--"

"Oop, gotta go!" the Clown Prince said to himself, breaking out into a sprint as the tromp of heavy boots approached. "Can't stand around daydreaming all day!"

"--ohshitthat'shim, hey, HEY! FREEZE!"


Fire from a guard's submachine gun kicked up sprays of concrete and tile shards, bullets whizzing past the thin white madman as he made a beeline for a crush of bodies in front of him, inmates and guards already engaged in a violent melee.

"Hot stuff, comin' through, scuze me, outtatheway!" he shouted into the din, elbowing his way past a few, wriggling like a snake between others, and trampling over those already on the floor. Stars and colors exploded in his vision as a stray fist caught his nose, causing his eyes to water and his head to swim for a moment. When he regained his senses, a big guy with bible verses tattooed across his face was holding a knife to his throat.

"After all my sins," the big man muttered to himself, "God delivers unto me a demon to slay."

"I-- *ngh!*--don't know about all that," said the Joker as he strained to get one hand into the breast of his jacket. "I've always been told it's in bad taste to make jokes about God and religion. But hey, it's always been a blasphemy!"

"....what's that supposed to mean?"

The clown rolled his eyes. "Blasphemy, but it sounds like 'it's been a blast for--' you know what? Never mind, I've got to get going."

With one hand in his jacket, the Joker squeezed the small rubber pump sewn into the inside, connected to the flower in his lapel. A fluorescent green fluid sprayed out, catching the big man in the eyes. A split second later, the hiss of acid burns was followed by blood-curdling screams, and the Joker casually freed himself of the big man's grip, relieving him of his knife.

"I really need to work on my puns," he muttered to himself, carving his way through the rest of the melee as the guard with the submachine gun let out another burst.

Ducking and winding his way through the building, he began making his way down and to the southeastern end of the island, where the helipad was sure to be receiving backup from the GCPD's SWAT teams any second. Sure enough, the heavy rhythmic pulse of helicopter blades from up above confirmed his suspicions, and he grinned.

"He's making for the helicopter. Good, that's just what we had in mind. Unlock the southeastern gate, but keep all the doors in that wing sealed. The GCPD will have to take their time breaching each one, and he'll slip right through in the air vents."

" want him to escape? I thought you wanted him dead."

"Are you questioning me?"

"O-o-of course not, my Lady! I j-j-just--"

"Believe me, I absolutely want him dead. More than anyone else in the world. But he can't die yet. First, he has to suffer. And he has to know why..."

"Beg your pardon," the Joker shouted over the roar of the helicopter blades as he climbed into the cabin, "But do you know if this one's headed to Sheboygan?"

The pilot turned in alarm, but before he could draw his pistol or radio for help, the Joker lunged forward, plunging the knife he had acquired earlier into the side of the pilot's neck. Dragging the dying man out of his seat, the clown sat down at the controls.

"Let's see, let's see," he muttered to himself, "rudder, pitch, throttle, seat warmer--hey, do you know how to play some tunes on this thing?"

The pilot let out a bloody gurgle as his body convulsed for a final time.

"Ahhh, I'm sure I'll figure it out," he said with a chuckle before opening up the throttle, "and awayyy we go!"

The helicopter rose high into the air, leaving Arkham Asylum behind, and leaving the GCPD officers stranded in the madhouse.

"AAAAAHAHAHAHAHA, OOOHOHOHOHOOOO!" the Joker laughed to himself triumphantly, now truly free and clear. "Ohhhh, that was too easy!"

"Indeed it was," a voice crackled over the chopper's radio. "Far too easy. I facilitated nearly every step of your escape. Diverted guards from your location, kept the more dangerous inmates busy, even made sure this helicopter would be there to whisk you away to freedom. You're very welcome for that, by the way."

"Oh?" the madman asked with a raised eyebrow. "And who might you be, that you're so willing to help out a poor old clown down on his luck?"

"All in good time," the voice answered, "But for can refer to me as 'Lady Arkham.'"

The Joker stifled a laugh. "That's a bit of a presumptuous name, don't ya think?"

"Oh, trust me, no one's more deserving of the title. I know the asylum inside and out, better than anyone. Even you."

"I wouldn't bet on that, sweetie," the Joker bristled at the newcomer's boast. "I've spent more time in that place than anyone."

"More than almost anyone, Joker," the voice responded. "But I'd rather not tip my hand just yet. You've still got quite a bit of game to play if you want to know who I am, why I helped you escape....and why I've been killing your henchmen."

The Joker's hackles raised. "I don't know or particularly care who you are, honey. But since you seem to be new to the Gotham City super-criminal scene, let me give you a free fact about me. I don't play other people's games. I have something of a thing when it comes to people expecting me to play by the rules. You'd know that about if you spent a fraction of the time in the looney-bin that you claim, 'Lady Arkham.'"

"Oh, I do know that," the voice said, a sinister edge growing in its tone. "I also know that you have a 'cousin' named Melvin, who works at a tuna canning plant in Maine, to whom you send $5,000 every month despite having never contacted him. I know that you only have seven of your original teeth left, due to multiple violent encounters with the Batman and his associates. I know that you talk in your sleep, and often mutter about a woman named Jeannie."

The Joker's smile was gone now, his lip curled into a scowl.

"And I know that, somehow, despite all logic and reason, you're going to find a way to survive this crash."

"Crash?" he asked. ".....what c--"


With a shower of sparks and a groan of twisting metal, a small explosive detonated in the helicopter's tail rudder, sending the aircraft spiraling out of control.

"Heh," the Joker chuckled to himself as he struggled in vain to control the chopper, "I just had to ask, didn't I?"

Warning alarms and klaxons blared as the helicopter careened towards the Gotham city skyline.

His head swam, his stomach lurched into his throat....

....and just before he closed his eyes, he saw the shape of a skyscraper filling his vision.

"This," he muttered, "is really gonna hurt...."
A short Flash post, trying to get Barry open to do a bit of roaming and interacting with other folks.

S.T.A.R. Labs
Central City Branch

"Nothing? Really?" I ask with frustration as Dr. Wells and his team go over their results, having thoroughly scanned Mercury Square after the Rogues' attack.

"Nothing yet, Flash," Dr. Harrison Wells, the founder of S.T.A.R. Labs and director of the Central City campus, corrects me. "We're just as concerned about this as you are, but the attack went over a fairly wide area, and going over it all is going to take time. It may not be your style, but you're going to have to--"

"--take it slow, right, right," I say, chafing at the words. "It's just...there's really no trace of them left? Nothing to go on? Not even a sliver?"

"We're working on it, red," Cisco Ramon answers from his desk, an edge of annoyance in his voice. "There's, like, a billion different things they could've done here."

"We have some working theories on how the Rogues pulled off the attack," Caitlin Snow reassures me as she reads data from her tablet. "Right now we're running simulations to see if any of our theoretical models line up with the data we've got on hand."

"Right, I gotcha," I nod, pacing back and forth with frustration.

Logically, I know they're basically doing the same thing I do at the CCPD. Forensics isn't a clear-cut field with easy answers, and you have to take your time slowly but surely sifting through bad data before you can reach a conclusion. Eddie Thorne gives me all kinds of hell for taking my time going over crime scene data, but it's always better to be slow and right than fast and wrong.

Barry Allen knows this, of course. The Flash, on the other hand, is supposed to be able to act faster than anyone alive. And until we have a lead to go on, there's nothing to do but wait.

"Any way I can make myself useful?" I ask, hoping there's something I can do to speed things up.

"At the moment, I think we're doing about all that can be done," Dr. Wells answers, "at least, until we have more data to work with."

"Of course, 'more data' means 'another Rogue attack,'" Caitlin chimes in, removing the sugar-coating that the doctor had put on his statement.

"Well, yes," he admits, "but hopefully we'll be able to crack it before then. Until then, I suggest you take the advice you gave your protégé: lay low for a while, don't make yourself a target. And if they do launch another attack, don't engage it."

"Makes sense," I agree, "I'm not exactly up for hanging around to get my butt handed to me a second time. On the other hand, I can't exactly stay put if there are people who need my help."

"What about the League?" Cisco asks. "I mean, I know you cape-and-tights types are all weird about territory, but I can't imagine the Rogues can keep up an attack if, say, Superman or Wonder Woman shows up to break you out."

"Maybe," I consider it, "I do need to let them know what's up. If I have to go help out with a League-level emergency, and then suddenly we have to deal with cold rays and boomerangs on top of whatever's going on, they'll need to know--"


As if on cue, a razor-edged boomerang emerges from thin air, inches away from my face.

"EVERYBODYGETDOWN!" I shout, sidestepping the weapon.

As Cisco and Caitlin hit the floor, the boomerang slices into a computer bank, sparks and smoke spraying from the now ruined machinery.


A jet of Heatwave's plasma erupts from the floor beneath a server rack, incinerating it.

"The data!" Dr. Wells exclaims. "They're destroying all of our--"


A bolt of Weather Wizard's lightning dances throughout S.T.A.R. Labs' mainframe, frying row after row of equipment.

Alarms sound throughout the facility, but after I take a few seconds to get everyone a safe distance from the building, there's no one left inside.

Dr. Wells, Cisco, Caitlin, and I look down from a hillside about half a mile from the campus, looking at the smoke billowing from the main building.

"Holy crap," Cisco mutters, "They just wrecked everything..."

"It's going to take weeks to replace all of that equipment," Dr. Wells groans, "But the data, that's..."

"That's gone for good now," Caitlin laments. "Any evidence our sensors picked up, the Rogues just wiped it out."

" now we're not even at square one," I say. "We've got no leads, and nothing to chase leads with."

Dr. Wells nods.

"...well, while we get this under control," he says, "it might be best if you don't stay in one location for long. However they're doing this, it's doubtful they can continue to follow you if you keep moving. Until we get a handle on this, I'd advise staying far from Central City."

"I can't just--"


An explosion from inside the empty S.T.A.R. Labs building interrupts me, and along the hillside, I hear the other employees scream in startled fear.

Maybe the Doc's right. If I stick to my familiar stomping grounds, Snart and his crew know where to find me, and I'll be putting more people at risk.

With a tinge of regret, I nod.

"Okay," I decide. "Maybe a road trip will do me some good. If there's trouble back home I can't guarantee I'll stay away, but until then, I'll keep some distance."

Overhead, a CCPN news helicopter flies towards the scene of the explosion. Knowing her, there's a pretty good chance that Iris is on that chopper.


"I'll, uh, I'll need to say some goodbyes before I go," I say, more to myself than anyone.

"Better make them quick," Caitlin remarks, which gets a chuckle out of me.

"Hah! Remember who you're talking to, Cate. Quick is what I'm all about."
Just a note for everyone, particularly @AndyC who's waiting on me: I recently started work at a new job and its absolutely goddamn killing me. Been passing out after every single shift so far, and I've had zero time to crack down and write posts for anything. Going to attempt to put something together on my days off, but uhhh my response time has dropped drastically. Sorry!

S'allright, life happens.
I will never un-see Batman teabagging us now.
For those of y'all in the Gotham area....

...breathe in the air...

...don't be afraid to care...

...but don't leave me...

Look around...

...and choose your own ground...
For long you live...

...and high you fly...

...the smiles you'll give...
...and tears you'll cry...

...all you touch...
...and all you see... all your life will ever be...

"Ahhhh," The Joker let out a long, satisfied sigh, stretching as he stepped out into the main corridor of the super-max wing of Arkham Asylum, "that first breath of fresh air after being cooped up for so long really is the best, don't you agree?"

"I'm gonna fucking kill you, clown."

"What's that?"


The Joker rolled his eyes. "Oh, loosen up, will you? We won't be spending much time together, so let's try to enjoy it while it lasts."

Captain Mia Jackson was a ten-year veteran in the super-max wing, and took great pride in her job. She'd seen her way through the some of the most horrific incidents the hospital had ever seen-- the breakouts, the riots, the madness, time and time again. Some people lost their nerve over time, let this place get to them. Mia, though, only grew sharper every time. Nothing could get to her.

Or so she'd thought.

She followed two steps behind the Joker, trembling with impotent rage as he took his sweet time strolling through the open. There were hundreds of sets of eyes on him, both real and electronic, and this wing of Arkham was equipped with at least a dozen different security systems-- both lethal and less-than-- which would render the clown helpless with the press of a button. A button that, sadly, wasn't going to be pressed.

Mia didn't know how he had found out about her daughters. She didn't know what he was going to do to them if she didn't comply. But she knew exactly what she was going to do to him the second this was over.

"You know, I was really hoping some more of the usual suspects would be here today," he remarked, his insufferable yellow-toothed smile tinged with a hint of sadness. "No Harvey today, no Eddie, no Cobblepot. I do love rubbing it in their faces whenever I get out before them. Hope you don't mind me saying, Cap'n, but the security in this place is lousy, lousy looowwww-zeeeee!"

Jackson gripped her pistol, but controlled herself. If she let her temper get to her, Kylie and Maddie would suffer for it. All she had to do was put up with this creep long enough to get to the end of the hallway.

"Ahem," a thin, quavery voice piped up from behind several layers of bulletproof glass, "I hope you didn't mean to overlook me, as I'm still very much here."

The Joker's eyes lit up.

"Johnny!" he exclaimed. "Good old Doctor Johnny Crane, my second-favorite former psychiatrist! How've ya been? Loved your work on the children's hospital last year, by the way."

"Oh, that was...quite a lovely evening," Dr. Jonathan Crane mused to himself, a grin crawling across his face as he stared off into the distance. "Shame it was cut so short, but I suppose one must expect such complications when the Bat-Man is about."

"Ohhh-hohohooo, don't even get me started," the clown chuckled as he leaned against the glass of Crane's cell. "If you're looking to swap bat stories, I've got a million of 'em."

"Hey, wait, no," Mia asserted herself into the conversation, "Nothing in your deal ever said anything about springing the Scarecrow!"

"Oh, I was just talking shop with a fellow artiste," Joker put his hands up innocently. "Buuuut since you suggested it...."

Crane put up a hand to signal a stop in that line of thinking.

"I appreciate the offer," he said, "But I'm afraid I have to decline. I have ideas of my own."

"Suit yourself," the clown shrugged. "I'll be out and about for a while, but do keep in touch. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've got in mind."

"You really don't want to know I've got in my mind, Joker."

"HA! I'll bet," he laughed, then continued to stroll, glancing back at Captain Jackson over his shoulder. "You know, I don't think Scarecrow gets enough appreciation these days. Poor guy always gets lost in the shuffle. I suppose I'm partially to blame, since I've already cornered the market on 'skinny pale guy with gimmicky poison gas.' But it's more than that, it's--ah! Here we are!"

Joker and Mia stopped at one of the junctions between cell blocks, where a pair of metal panels had been bent slightly. Given how much damage this building had taken over the years, some bent sheet metal was so low on the staff's priorities that it barely registered.

"What the hell are you doing, Joker?" Mia asked as she gripped her pistol even tighter, fighting every urge to draw on the monster in front of her and empty the clip as he pried back the thin sheet metal.

"Just picking up a party favor," he answered, rooting around a knot of wires. "When you've been in the game as long as I have, you tend to pick up knick-knacks from all sorts of people. In here, I've got a little gizmo from the Calculator, to shut down any security features in the Asylum that I want without setting off any of the alarms. Can't hack into the systems remotely, since they're on a closed server. Has to be hard-wired into the system itself. Calculator's a real poindexter, but he knows his stuff, I'll give him that."

"How long have you had that thing here without us knowing?"

"This one?" he replied as he dug deeper into the wiring. "I'd say about, oh, three years or so."

"What do you mean 'that one'?" she demanded. "You mean you've got more than one--"

"Oh I've got more than twenty of them," he laughed. "I've got little stashes like this all over the asylum. Makes it so much easier to slip about."

Mia stared at him in disbelief as she heard a hard click from inside the wall. The Joker, now shoulder-deep into the electricals, smiled wide.

"There we go!" he beamed, satisfied with himself. "Just need about ten more seconds and we'll have the whole place to ours--"


"Of course...."

Mia wheeled around to see a fresh-faced young man, pistol drawn, a confused and terrified look on his face.

"Clancy, right?" Mia asked carefully, trying to keep one eye on the murderous clown while she talked down one of her fellow guards. "You're new here. This...this isn't what it looks like."

"Are you kidding? Th--that's....that's the Joker!" he stammered. "Wh-why are you--"

"It's...complicated," she answered, her face burning with anger and shame.

"I--....I'm afraid I've g-g-gotta call this in," Clancy sputtered, reaching for the walkie-talkie. "All units, c-c-code red! I repeat, CODE RED! This is not a--"


The right side of Clancy's face burst open, a spray of blood and gray matter spattering the wall and floor as he fell backwards.

Captain Mia Jackson stared in horror at her pistol, its barrel smoking in her trembling hands.

Seconds later, sirens began to blare, emergency lights flashing as the alert went out throughout the asylum.

Neither of them moved. Mia couldn't bring herself to run from what she'd done. And the Joker was in no hurry now.

"Yow-wee, what a shot!" the clown congratulated her. "Remind me not to be on the business end of that thing any time soon, ha-ha!"

"Clancy....he was brand new...." Mia looked back and forth between the new guard's corpse and the gun in her hand. "Just transferred to Arkham a week ago....from Belle Reve. He was...he was still trying to make friends....brought everyone cupcakes on his first day."

"Sounds like a nice guy," the Joker said to himself. "At least it was over quick, right? Never knew what hit him. Didn't linger, didn't suffer, just bang, lights out, that's it."

Mia nodded numbly.

"At least, that's what everyone says," he continued, "but I wonder. I mean, most of his brain is still intact. Unless you manage to vaporize someone completely, I doubt the whole thing just shuts off the instant the gray matter becomes a gray splatter. Those last few neurons, how long do they stay on before fading to black?"

As if on cue, Clancy's body spasmed in a final reflex.

"See what I mean?" Joker gestured with his free hand, "Bits and pieces of his nervous system are still crying out, wondering what the hell just happened and where the rest of him went off to! Sure, maybe the higher functions of data processing and decision making that we think of as our 'mind' is the first thing to go, but those reflexes, those instincts, those little pockets of memory and emotion. They have that extra little moment of confusion, terror, and pain."

A wave of nausea washed over Mia, and she dropped to her knees.

"Of course, that 'extra little moment' is only 'little' to us," the clown kept going. "They say your perception of time slows down as you lose consciousness. So while it may have only been a split-second in real time, those last little bits of Clancy there probably felt that panic and agony for, who knows? Minutes, hours, days, maybe? He's long gone now in real time, but as far as we know, that final horror could have stretched out into eternity for him."

Mia's gun clattered on the ground at her side.

The tromp of boots signaled the coming of more heavily-armed guards.

In response, the whirring of electric motors and hiss of pneumatic pistons told the tale of dozens of cell doors opening, all over the asylum.

"It's pretty awful, when you think about it," he said, more to himself than to the captain, who didn't even notice as he picked the pistol up and pulled back the hammer.

Around them, Arkham Asylum erupted into a war zone.

"Which is why I usually don't think about it at all."



Dig that hole...
...forget the sun...

And when, at last...

...the work... done...

Don't sit down...'s time to dig...

...another one...

For long you live...
...and high you fly...

...but only if you ride the tide...

And balanced on...
...the biggest wave... race towards an early grave.

@TGM if Damian ever runs into Scarecrow, this is what he needs to see when he gets sprayed with Fear Gas.

"....Barry?....You okay?"

The warm, calming void of dreamless sleep begins to recede, and little by little, reality reasserts itself. Part of me kind of regrets it-- between my responsibilities to Central and Keystone Cities, my duties as part of the Justice League, and my job with the CCPD, getting a good night's sleep is almost impossible.

The first thing I realize as my senses come back into focus is that I'm on the ground, and I'm shaking. Or rather, someone's shaking me.

"Come on, Barry, you gotta get up...."

For a moment, I can't help but think of my high school days, when Mr. Garrick would have to spend the better part of an hour waking me up to make sure I wasn't late for school after staying up all night. I mean, I appreciate it now, of course-- if it weren't for Jay, I probably would have been expelled-- but in the moment, all I could think about was how annoying it was to have someone jostle you out of a perfectly good dream for--


"Owwww!!!" I yelp as I bolt upright.

"Ah, good, there you are," says a voice with a nonchalance that routinely drives me up the wall.

"Sleeping on the job, *tsk tsk*," Wally shakes his head with the sort of smugness that can only come from a know-it-all teenager. "You're really starting to slack off in your old age, Barry."

Wally West, Iris's nephew. A little over a year ago, he got pulled into the Speed Force, and I nearly scattered my existence into a state of simultaneous omnipresence and oblivion diving deep enough to pull him back out. This had some....weird side effects, not the least of which being that I'm no longer the only speedster in town.

I don't know if I'm the best teacher in the world, but one time I asked Nightwing how Batman trained him, and basically just did the exact opposite. To his credit, Wally's taken to hero training really well-- even though he's not as fast as me, he's come up with all sorts of crazy uses for his speed that I never would have considered.

"'Old age?' I'm twenty-seven, you little twerp," I say as I wipe bits of dust and grit off of my costume.

"Twenty-seven? OOOF," Wally wheezes. "Maybe we can swing by S.T.A.R. Labs and see if they'll make a Cosmic Walker for you."

If there's one thing I'm a little concerned about with him, though, it's this reckless, devil-may-care attitude of his, and his tendency to run his mouth.

No idea where he gets that from. Probably Iris.

"Okay, banter aside, what's the situation?" I say as I get back into 'business' mode.

"Well," Wally starts, "I got a call from Cisco saying you were in trouble, so I took a bathroom break from algebra class-- that excuse is really doing wonders for my reputation, by the way, everyone at school thinks I've got a bladder the size of an eye dropper-- to come bail you out. They filled me in that the Rogues were up to something, and that you were caught in the middle of it."

"You ran into the middle of a Rogue attack?!" I blurt out. "I've told you, those guys are dangerous! And anyway, we already agreed: no super-villains until you get your drivers license!"


"No buts, you could have died!"

"And you would have died if I didn't jump in!" Wally shouts back. "I thought the whole 'using your powers to protect people, even if it puts yourself at risk' thing is what you were training me for to begin with!"

"That's--.....actually, you're right," I have to admit. "Iris is gonna kill me when she finds out you ran into a fight with the Rogues,'re right. Thanks for the save."

"You're welcome," he replies with a defensive edge still in his voice. "And anyway, it wasn't much. Mirror Master's mirrors only work on one side, so when I saw that he'd surrounded the area, I smashed my way through the back side of one, grabbed you, then ran out before he could make another one. Once I got you to a safe distance, the Rogues just kinda...vanished. Like they'd made their point or whatever."

"Are you sure?" I ask. "The way they were attacking me, they were somehow....I dunno, attacking me remotely, I guess? Their weapons and powers were there, Rogues. Maybe they're still waiting in ambush."

Wally shrugs.

"I went back to try and help evacuate the area," he admits, "But by the time I came back, the coast was clear. Weather Wizard's storm had dissipated, no more cold beams or plasma bolts or killer boomerangs or anything. The only trace that they were even there was the mess."

"Hmmm," I mutter as I look back towards Mercury Square. "The Rogues usually don't like to fight me head-on, even when they've got the numbers advantage. A simple call-out fight just isn't their style. Whatever they're doing, I'm liking it less and less."

"Oh!" Wally exclaims, before zipping over to a nearby table and grabbing a pair of steaming paper cups. "And, uh, one other thing.....when I saw you were asleep, I grabbed some coffee from Jitters. Figured you might need some caffeine to help wake up."

"Oh, uh, thanks," I smile as I take one of the cups and have a sip. At the CCPD, I'm usually the one who has to grab coffee for everyone else, so having a go-fer of my own is a nice perk.

"Well, don't thank me too much," he says with a sheepish grin, "I, erm, didn't want to wait around for the barista to make your order, so I kinda sorta just swiped some drinks from a couple of customers and then placed enough money in their hands to buy another one. With money from, ahh, your wallet."

I roll my eyes.

"Well, at least you sort of paid for them," I say before taking another drink. "Good work, Kid Flash."

He rankles at the name.

"I told ya, I wanna be called Impulse!" he whines.

"You can call yourself whatever you want once you graduate," I grin. "Til then, you're Kid Flash."

"That's so not fair."

"Hey, you're lucky I didn't go with 'The Zoomer' and tell everyone you help me fight people who are 'acting sus.'"

"Uuuuugh, nobody even plays that game anymore!"

"I still play it."


"Seriously, though," I change the subject, "I appreciate the save, but until I get a handle on what's going on, I want you to lay low, okay? No need for both of us to be in danger until we know how to beat them. And anyway, I'm pretty sure if you don't get back from that 'bathroom break' of yours, your teacher's going to start to think you fell in."

"Oh, right, yeah!" Wally says with a startled realization. "Mr. Broome is gonna lose it if he thinks I snuck out to avoid today's quiz. I'll catch up with you later!"

With that, he turns into a yellow-and-red streak and blurs his way through the city streets back to Central High. Like I said, good kid. Still don't know where he gets that attitude, though.

As he runs off, my smile fades, and my thoughts start to turn grim.

They had me.

If Wally hadn't jumped in, I'd be dead right now.

And it doesn't make any sense. Snart, Harkness, Scudder, the rest of them, they're not morons, sure....but they're not that smart. None of them have the kind of technological know-how to make something that can project their weapons from another location, and certainly not with enough precision to box me in like that.

Maybe the Rogues started recruiting. I wasn't expecting Pied Piper to be in on the act, so maybe they've got someone who can teleport, or make wormholes, or something?

Who do I know who can make those kind of fissures that accurately, and that quickly?

Maybe investigating the scene of the crime will get me some more answers than just standing here stewing about it. But if I'm gonna look for evidence of super-crime, I'll need the right gear.

Which means it's time to hit up S.T.A.R. Labs and see what they can cook up for me.
yup its true, joker has too much plot armor to lose

(which is also why the 'debate' about why batman doesnt kill him is very silly)

Just once I want them to do a Batman story where someone grills him for not killing Joker for the 495th time, and Batman says "Dude, we live in a world where ghosts are real. Do you really want goddamn GHOST JOKER floating around? Because that's absolutely what we're gonna get."
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