Central City, Missouri
No sooner had Reed Richards run down STAR Labs’ defences than Harrison Wells had spun around to face him. It was clear from the look on his face that Wells had not been as oblivious to his presence there as Reed had thought. The self-satisfied smile on Harrison’s face would have been heartening if not for the threatening looking rifle in his left hand.
“Whoever you are, you spoke too soon,” he said as he pulled the trigger three times in quick succession.
Three balls of yellow electricity came sprouting from the muzzle of the rifle. It careened through the air towards Reed. He'd calculated their trajectory the second Wells had pulled the trigger. Two strikes to the heart and one to the head. It would have been enough to put a lesser man down – perhaps for good – but Reed barely had to break his stride to evade them.
The super scientist's torso bent like melted taffy and he simply ducked his head to avoid the third. “You always
were one to shoot first and ask questions later.”
The STARs Labs founder primed the rifle to unload another barrage of electricity towards Reed. This time the world's smartest man was having none of it. He reached out a smacked the rifle out of Harrison's hands. It went skidding along the floor of the laboratory and came to a stop beneath a desk.
Wells clambered around frantically, searching for something else to use as a weapon, but Reed's oven-sized hands were wrapped tightly around his shoulders before he could manage it. He lifted him off of the ground and attempted to calm him with a word. It had barely left his lips when Harrison's forehead came crashing down against Reed's nose. There was a loud crunch and Richards went staggering backwards.
"For the love of God," Reed muttered disapprovingly under his breath as his nose sprang back into place cartoonishly. "I'm not here to harm you, Harrison, I'm here to ask for your help."
Harrison Wells struggled between Reed’s fingers.
“People that need help don’t break in during the middle of the night like two-bit cat burglars.”
Every time Wells managed to pluck free one of his arms, Reed’s hands would swell with size and pull the scientist’s limbs back under their control. Harrison’s face grew red with exertion but kept struggling against the inevitable. Finally once it became clear that Richards had him, Wells stopped kicking out. He simply glared at Richards with contempt.
don’t wear the face of a man two galaxies away to do it.”
The words hit him like a sledgehammer to the chest. Two galaxies away, Reed repeated to himself in his head, as he replayed the real fate of this world’s Reed Richards. Maria Hill said that he – and Sue, Johnny and Ben – had been burned alive. It was enough to make Reed’s stomach churn.
He nodded wearily as he acknowledged Harrison’s complaint. “Ah, well I’m afraid there’s not much that I can do about that particular detail.”
There in Wells’ eyes was a glimmer of intrigue. It was all the reassurance that Reed needed. Slowly he began to loosen his grip on Wells and lower him to the ground. A few inches above it he sought some affirmation from the scientist that another barrage of attacks wouldn’t be coming his way – and he received it by way of a begrudging nod.
Wells dusted himself down and Reed took a few gentle steps back from him.
“You’re not wrong as such, Harrison. I’m not Reed Richards. At least, I’m not your
Reed Richards. I come from another world. One like yours in many, many ways – in fact where I come from, you and I have met on several occasions. That’s how I knew how to find you. And it’s how I know that you offer the Flash … assistance
from time to time.”
An incredulous look appeared on Harrison’s face.
“I don’t know what you’re t-”
“You don’t have to deny it,” Reed interrupted. “The people of Central City owe you a great debt. I don’t and haven’t always agreed with the methods of my
Wells, but there’s no doubting his – and your – commitment to the greater good, Harrison. In both the work you do here at STAR Labs and out there with the Flash.”
Harrison Wells had heard enough.
With a sigh he walked towards one of the hidden twenty-third floor’s walls and placed his hand against it. Without a sound the wall disappeared to reveal the Central City skyline. Yellow orbs mapping out the signs of life in the darkness. Reed watched him studying it. There was a heaviness to him, like a man carrying a secret, the weight of which Richards himself had perhaps only begun to appreciate.
Wells stepped back from the view and placed one of his hands through his thick brown hair.
“Let’s say for a moment that I choose to believe you. Let’s say that I believe that you somehow
managed to crack inter-dimensional travel. Why come here? What’s so important about this world?”
This was the part that Reed looked forward to the least.
“Does the name ‘Darkseid’ mean anything to you?”
There was nothing. Not an ounce of recognition in the look that greeted the name. Richards wasn’t sure whether to feel thankful for that or to shake Wells uncontrollably. Even now Darkseid was likely ruling Reed’s home world with an iron fist. He recalled to Wells every last part of their tale – Darkseid’s arrival, Luthor’s defeat and the craft Doom and Reed had built.
“Your world,” Harrison muttered as he tried and failed to comprehend the scale of the destruction. “I’m sorry.”
Reed shook his head defiantly.
“I don’t need you to be sorry, Harrison, I need you to help me get home.”
The time craft was Reed’s only chance of returning home. Where Doom and he had failed, Reed hoped that Wells would succeed. He was a brilliant scientist. Not quite on Reed’s or even that of a Ray Palmer but he had different specialisms, a different approach, and most importantly, an understanding of speed.
If anyone was capable of getting the four of them home, it was Harrison Wells – if he was willing to try.
“There’s plenty of room at the Baxter Building,” Reed promised. “If your Flash is anything like ours, she’ll be able to make do without you for a week or two.”
Wells let out a heavy sigh as if taking the decision caused him physical pain.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some reservations, Reed, but I’ve always been a sucker for lost causes. Give me a day to get my affairs in order and I’ll be on the first f-”
A beam of light so pure and blinding seemed to stop Wells in his tracks. It had come from out there – something was moving in Central City – and it wasn’t the red-yellow blur that Wells had become so accustomed to.
Reed Richards looked at him confused. “What was that?”
Wells sprinted over to a nearby desk and pressed his thumb down against it. The table sprang into life as a thousand of holographic buttons and symbols appeared on it. In front of Wells appeared four screens with schematics of the city, a frequency scanner, and other useful tidbits of information on it.
“My sensors are going crazy,” Wells muttered as he tried to make sense of the collection of information in front of him. “Whatever caused that thing is it’s moving fast.”
It took Reed a couple of seconds to deduce how to work the panel. “Cameras?”
“I’m working on it.”
Harrison’s fingers typed furiously as he tried to find footage from the city’s many CCTV cameras that could confirm the source. Pictures and videos flashed across the screen of the point of origin of the light. Wells slowed the video over and over again until finally in the blurry image something discernible came into being.
It was a sight familiar to Reed Richards.
“Flash?” Wells called into the microphone. “Can you hear me? What’s going on? What is
Reed reached out a hand and placed it on Harrison Wells’ shoulder gently.
“That thing is called the Silver Surfer – he’s the herald of Galactus. If he’s here, that means Galactus isn’t far behind him. Our whole planet is in danger, Harrison. We have to call in everyone
– and we need them to get to Central City fast.”