by M. Scott Eiland

Things were frantic, but being The Fastest Man Alive helped to keep the stress level down when a hundred things were happening at once. Wally was used to perceiving events on multiple levels--following a normal conversation while noting every nuance of a single droplet of water falling from a faucet and splattering against the sink. At this moment, he was looking for a safe place to deposit the six year old girl he had snatched out of mid-air from Weather Wizard's maelstrom, while keeping an eye on the rest of the battlefield. Toyman was cutting loose with some weird disintegrator from the giant robot he was operating, trying to kill Superman. The weapon was way too slow to hit Supes if he was aware of the attack, and Wally could hear the Kryptonian shouting that fact at the insane gadgeteer.

The robot had loudspeakers, and Wally could hear Toyman sneer, "Maybe- -but what about your friends?" The huge robot turned, and the disintegrator's emitter started to glow green again. Wally could see that Diana was still out from Kalibak's vicious assault, and Batman had just landed to help her. They were sitting ducks, and the damage left by the prior attacks made it clear that they wouldn't survive a direct hit. Wally saw Superman's eyes open wide, and the Kryptonian screamed, "NO!" as he began to dive into the path of the green bolt of energy.

In that instant, Wally focused his attention on the most split-second perception of time he could manage, and thought about what he should do as the green light oozed out of the front of the robot.

The Flash wasn't a science genius, but he had noticed that the bolts were detonating on impact with solid objects--meaning that Superman could save Diana and Batman by diving in the path of the energy. That also meant that he could save Superman if he could get between the robot and Superman before the bolt struck Superman. Could he jump high enough? Probably not, but there was another path. Wally took a good look, and forced down the surge of terror he felt.

The world needs a Superman--it can do without the Flash, though it is unquestionably a tragedy for the ladies of the world to do without me

With that thought, he grinned and quickly put the little girl down and began running as fast as he had ever run in the Earth's atmosphere, blazing along as almost everything else remained still. He could see Superman drifting along, now obviously in the bolt's path, and saw that the spherical bolt had almost completely left the emitter. Wally smiled as he reached the robot, ran up its side, and leaped forward, overtaking the bolt from behind and striking it in a spectacular display of green pyrotechnics. Wally screamed, and knew no more.


Superman had said good-bye to life, and was bracing for impact when he saw something blur into his line of vision and collide with the green energy that was rushing toward him. The bolt transfixed the blur, and Superman stared in horror as he saw the Flash stopped in mid-step, like a fly in amber. The hero blurred again and vanished, and the bolt dissipated. The Kryptonian stared, and Toyman seemed to as well before saying, "Huh--didn't see that coming," and began fiddling with his controls again.

In that moment, Superman felt a rage that rivaled what he had felt during his confrontations with Darkseid. He flew into the robot at his utmost speed, shattering its frontal armor and destroying the primary weapon with vibration damage. The robot fell over, and Toyman rolled free, scuttling away until he found himself next to a red and blue clad figure whose expression promised death. Toyman blinked, and a hidden survival instinct within him gave him a moment of clarity. He swallowed hard and held his hands up. "I surrender."

The Kryptonian's blue eyes stared at Toyman, and the little madman shivered as he recognized an echo of his own insanity there. Superman's eyes started to glow ever-so-slightly, and Toyman was about to scream when a gloved hand closed on Superman's arm: "Don't do this--this isn't you. Not a you that this world needs to see."

Superman turned slightly, and Batman was standing there, with Diana-- visibly in tears--standing nearby. Superman was about to snap at Batman for his cold expression, but he abruptly realized that the dark hero's voice was softer than he could ever remember hearing it, and that his hand was shaking. He turned his back on Toyman after a final angry glare, and went over to Diana. The Amazon threw herself into his arms, sobbing, and his own eyes were flowing before they broke apart and saw the others had joined them, along with a throng of onlookers who were not sure what they had seen. The Superman Revenge Alliance had missed its mark--but a hero had fallen.


"OK--he hit on you more than he did me--but I bet the lines he used on me were way cheesier."

"If so, I don't envy you, Shayera--it's just a good thing that he wasn't on Themyscira for too long. We have some rather gruesome rituals for. . .shall we say `overzealous' suitors."

Superman and Green Lantern cringed involuntarily, J'onn raised an eyebrow, and Diana and Hawkgirl laughed. They had gathered in the Watchtower Lounge after the memorial service for the Flash, and were sharing stories. Given the subject, the stories tended to be on the humorous side.

"Where's that van of his? Did he have it parked somewhere easy to find?" Green Lantern asked. The Flash had been particularly proud of that recent acquisition, but after his death it would be a target of both honest and dishonest collectors.

Superman turned away, startling the others. "I flew it to my Fortress of Solitude. I didn't want anything to happen to it until we figured out what he would have wanted done with it," he whispered. "I'll bring it back when the time comes."

"He must have some friends who might want it--it's not like any of us have any use for it," commented Hawkgirl, shaking her head sadly. "Unless Batman decides that he wants a new look." Green Lantern bristled, and Hawkgirl sighed at the reaction and commented, "John, he's just reacting in his own way to the whole thing--he's just not the type to grieve in the company of others."

The room was silent for a moment. Batman had left the company of the League soon after the Flash's death, and had not attended the memorial service in Central City. While working on the story for the Daily Planet, Clark Kent had heard reports of a shadowy figure at the site of the battle in Metropolis, taking objects from the wreckage and using strange scanning devices. Diana had called Batman twice: both times he had tersely acknowledged the message and broken the connection without further elaboration. Superman and Diana looked at each other, and it was the Kryptonian who frowned and said, "He's a detective--he's not going to rest until he's investigated the circumstances of the Flash's death to his satisfaction."

"I'm not completely convinced he is dead." Batman's voice came from the doorway, and the other six Justice League members turned to face him. Diana's eyes narrowed with concern: the mask couldn't hide the fact that he hadn't slept for days. Batman saw the reaction and waved it off, though he quickly found a chair and took a deep breath before elaborating, "The effects of that weapon were odd--it didn't leave the traces one would expect from a traditional energy weapon, or a disintegrator. No remains of the destroyed objects-- either residue or radiation--were to be found. If the inanimate objects weren't destroyed, the Flash might not have been--which means he might still be alive."

"That's a lot of `ifs', Batman." Hawkgirl--the only "professional" investigator in the room--commented, considering Batman's words with visible interest. Batman nodded in acknowledgement, and the Thanagarian pressed, "Have you found anything more conclusive in your investigations?"

Batman hesitated, then shook his head. "Not a damned thing. Toyman may be insane enough to give Arkham's staff pause, but whatever he used didn't leave any other traces that my technology is capable of detecting. . .which might mean that it really did disintegrate those objects without leaving the usual evidence." He slumped a little, and whispered, "I think he's really gone."

The station shivered, and Batman immediately snapped to attention and went to the small monitor station in the lounge. Superman joined him, and his tone was cold as he asked, "Boom tube?"

"No--the energy signature is different: nothing I've ever seen before." Batman replied. Good thing, too--if he saw Darkseid or his successor right now, I doubt we could stop Superman from fighting to the death He pulled out a portable scanner, and studied it for a moment before turning and inclining his head at a spot on the floor a few feet away from them. The others noted the motion and surrounded the spot, ready for a fight.

The air shimmered briefly, and two humanoid figures appeared. One was a tall, thin man wearing odd, loose fitting clothing that included a hat. The other new arrival caused the Leaguers to stare in silence for several seconds. It was Diana who broke the silence first with a whisper that was audibly both hopeful and disbelieving: "Flash?"

"Ah, so we are in the right place--excellent. Could one of you sign here, please?" The strangely dressed man walked forward, approaching Superman. "History isn't my best subject, but I'm fairly certain you're the leader of this group. I need you to acknowledge the delivery, so I can go."

The atmosphere in the room had become thoroughly surreal. The Flash was standing in the spot he had arrived in, unmoving. The strange man was holding a stylus out to Superman, who was looking at the man as if he was wearing a pink tutu. Batman stepped forward and said, "I'm in charge here--but I'll need some details before we sign for him. Regulations, and all that."

The man frowned, then sighed and replied, "Your friend here committed a violation of the Time Travel Code--it took a few days for us to sort it out and realize that someone else had sent him to us against his will. He mentioned someone named Toyman--do you know who he's talking about?"

Batman nodded, and quickly recounted Toyman's use of the strange weapon, and the effects they had observed from its use. The man listened with interest, and whistled when Batman had finished: "A ranged time travel projector? That's far beyond the technology level documented for this time period. Where is the individual who created it?"

"In a cell, about to undergo psychiatric evaluation," replied Batman. I may be joining him, when this afternoon is over "The experts still have to look at him, of course, but my own observations suggest that he's rather thoroughly insane--and he seemed to think that he`d built a disintegrator, not a time machine."

The strange man sighed. "A fine line between genius and madness-- that has always been so." He shook his head and added, "In that case, we've got a simple accidental time jump, and the subject was kept in isolation to avoid contamination of the timeline. I'll just need your signature to complete delivery and release him from stasis."

Batman took the stylus and signed the document, and the man nodded in satisfaction and walked back to the Flash. Diana shook off the shock and disbelief that had paralyzed the others and demanded, "Is he all right? Where are you from?"

"He's fine--if deeply troublesome, and I can't answer that question without risking contamination of the time line and changing the future I'm from." The man noted the scowls on the other six faces in the room, and decided that a small amount of information wouldn't hurt. "Suffice it to say that my time is as far removed from yours as yours is from that of Cro-Magnon Man. Your friend was a long way from home--but we've solved that little problem. Now, to wake him up." The man tapped the Flash with a small wand-like device, and a brief flash of light occurred. After a second or two, the Flash shivered and looked around him: "What? Where? Huh?"

The Flash was thoroughly disoriented; a condition that was not remedied when Diana walked over and silently hugged him. He blinked and turned to see the strange man, and the others were startled to see the anger in his eyes as he hissed, "You."

The man smirked, and commented, "Well, he seems intact enough. Farewell, then." He pressed a control on his wrist and vanished.

The Justice League stared at the spot where the time-traveler had been for a moment, then turned back to the Flash. The expression on his face could be best described as. . .humiliated. The others came up to him, smiles on their faces and greetings on their lips, but they stopped dead when the Flash glared at them and snarled, "Just leave me alone!" A blur of motion followed, and he was gone.

Green Lantern glanced the way that the Flash had departed, and turned to Batman. "Don't you ever get tired of being right?"

Batman smirked, and Hawkgirl looked out the door with concern. "He's really upset--someone should talk to him."

"I will," Superman replied, heading for the doorway. He paused briefly to pick up a small object, then continued out the door as he added, "I'm the reason he went on his little trip--and I think I know what's bothering him."


Wally was sitting on the edge of his bed, holding his head in his hands, when the soft knock came at his door. Without looking up, he snapped, "Go away!"

"Not gonna happen, Flash." Wally involuntarily sat up straight--that voice had meant "role model" to him since before he was old enough to drive. "Open the door, or explain to Batman why it was broken in during the next budget review."

Wally considered that choice briefly, sighed, and pressed a switch on his nightstand. The door clicked open, and Superman walked in, closing the door behind him. He folded his arms and said softly, "You've got a lot of friends downstairs who thought you were dead twenty minutes ago--now they're just worried about you."

Wally felt a pang of guilt. "You're right--I'm sorry. I'm not upset at you--I just need time to deal with this. Could you just ask everyone to give me a couple of days? I'll be OK--you can cover things in the meantime, and everything will get back to normal."

Superman looked at Wally with a sympathetic expression and shook his head solemnly. "Wally, you knowingly threw yourself into what you thought was a disintegrator beam to save my life--did you really think I'd leave you up here alone to deal with what that decision did to you?"

Wally blinked in surprise, and chose to dwell on the less emotionally charged element of what Superman had just said: "Hey--I don't remember telling you my secret identity. Did you peek under my mask?"

Superman snorted in amusement and replied: "You left a will here, Wally."

"Oh yeah--forgot that." Wally blushed, then muttered, "From what I saw, I didn't leave much more than that behind." Superman scowled, and was about to speak when Wally got to his feet and snarled, "Damn it, do you have any idea what it's like to think you're dead, only to find out that you've just been zapped into a world that thinks you're as primitive as a freaking caveman, and that doesn't have any interest in you other than making sure you're not going to screw up the world they have? They asked me all kinds of questions to find out where I belonged, and they searched through their records--do you know what they found about me? Not a damned thing--I'm not even worth a footnote in the history of their perfect little world. They found out where to put me from the dates I gave them, and the mentions of you and the League in their records. I might as well have been a dirty ashtray as far as they were concerned."

Superman saw the dejection on the younger man's face, and walked over to him and put his hand on Wally's shoulder as he commented, "Wally-- from what he said, that world was thirty thousand years in the future from us, if not more. How much is there in our history books about people who lived that long ago?" Wally frowned, then nodded to acknowledge the point. Superman smiled and added, "He knew I was a significant figure in history, but he wasn't in awe of me or anything- -he was just trying to do a job. He knew about the Justice League-- which you have been and still are an indispensable member of. He mentioned that you were troublesome--but that just means that he's met you."

"Very funny," Wally glared at the amused expression on Superman's face.

"I'm just saying that any one of us would have just been a problem for them to fix to get things back to normal, Wally--even me." Superman said softly, watching the younger man's expression lighten somewhat. He locked eyes with Wally and said, "And it doesn't change the meaning of what you tried to do. I'm tempted to kick your tail into next week for pulling a stunt like that, but I'd have five angry teammates on my hands if I did--and you've done enough time traveling for a while. So I'll just settle for saying thank you--and showing you something that most people don't get to see."

Wally blinked, and watched as Superman went to the TV set and slipped a DVD into the player attached to it. The set came on, and the screen quickly lit up and displayed a caption in the center of the screen:


The screen showed a large hall full of people, and Wally stared as he watched the camera pan down the rows, revealing a substantial number of important people--and a few more exotic individuals. Katma Tui sat next to Kilowog, both looking at the stage with edgy expressions. Solovar sat nearby, talking with Green Lantern. Mophir- -looking strange in a suit and tie--was sitting next to Hawkgirl. Wally was surprised to see Hippolyta sitting next to her daughter Diana--who was wearing a pretty nice looking outfit.

The camera continued to pan, and Wally saw that his family and friends from Central City who had known his secret were carefully mixed in the crowd, in accordance with his instructions. The camera moved again, and Wally's eyes widened as he saw the most important part of his instructions had been followed to the letter: there was a section of about five hundred seats that contained nothing but kids- -the kids at the orphanages that he had made a point of visiting over the years. He wouldn't have minded overly much if they had been acting up a bit--they were kids, for heaven's sake--but he saw that every last one of them was staring sadly at the stage, waiting for the service to begin.

The lights dimmed, and Superman walked up to the podium. He waited for the murmurs to die down, and began to speak: "We come here today to honor a friend, who died saving a teammate in battle. The Flash was the youngest member of the League, and by far the most optimistic and cheerful one of us. There were times when that enthusiasm could get on one's nerves--" He paused, and heard a good amount of chuckling in the crowd, and smiled before continuing, "--but when the moment came to take things seriously and get down to it, he was as dedicated a hero as I have ever been privileged to work with. There is a saying that those who show off are trying to hide their own inadequacies by doing so. My friend may have doubted his own abilities or worth to the League at times, but he proved that he could live up to the legend that he helped create about himself. As all of you here know, none of us would be here today if the Flash had not been willing to stare death in the eye without hesitation and do what had to be done. It was not by my choice that he gave his life to save mine, but--" Superman blinked, and a tear fell free as he swallowed and said simply, "--but it is not a gift that is in my power to refuse, so I must content myself by saying, `Thank you, Flash,' and to turn this podium over to his other friends, who will take their turns in honoring him. Thank you."

Superman left the stage, and the picture froze suddenly. Superman blinked, and saw that Wally had hit the "pause" button. He frowned and asked, "Don't you want to continue? The others gave some very nice speeches--wait until you hear Solavar's."

Wally smiled, and the warmth of it definitely looked like the Flash of old. "I'll watch it later--right now, I'd like to see my friends."

Superman grinned, and the two left the room together--leaving the image of the empty podium frozen on the screen.


Damn those incompetent fools!

Vandal Savage was a very angry man at that moment. He had escaped from prison, maneuvered to get Superman's worst enemies together in an alliance to destroy him, and waited patiently for Superman's death to set up his acquisition of the dwarf star fragment. Unfortunately, the clown in the red suit had screwed up that plan, and he had pushed back the attack date three weeks to allow for additional precautions. It was even more annoying when it turned out that Toyman's "death ray" was just a glorified teleporter, and the Flash had just been inconvenienced for a few days until someone found him unconscious on an iceberg in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.

No matter--he would succeed in getting the dwarf star matter, and he would rule--he was Vandal Savage.

He signaled to his troops, who quickly stormed the small building and secured it. Savage waited for them to finish before arrogantly striding in, walking past the various scientific artifacts and going to one particular one, pressing a few buttons and causing it to open, revealing--

Nothing. The tiny receptacle which had once held a nugget of dwarf star material weighing many tons was empty, and the magnetic force field which had prevented the container from collapsing under the mass of the immensely dense object was dark and silent.

The troops saw their leader's face go crimson with rage, and they quickly absented themselves from the room as Vandal Savage bellowed in absolute fury, kicking over tables and smashing equipment and furniture. "Damn that Justice League--they must have gotten wind of my plans somehow: but how?" The troops still in earshot knew enough to remain silent at the rhetorical question, and Savage growled, "No matter--burn this place to the ground. I will locate that dwarf star matter--and the conspicuously absent Dr. Palmer--later." He stalked out, and the troops sighed in relief before preparing to burn the lab down.

No one saw the tiny figure that ran out of the laboratory and zipped along until he was a good quarter mile away from the lab. Abruptly, the tiny figure grew to human size and concealed himself behind some bushes, where he watched his lab burn. Ray Palmer--who would soon be known to the world as the Atom--sighed in relief. Savage may have been wrong about the Justice League being behind that dwarf star matter not being where he thought it was, but I had better let them know that he's interested in some VERY dangerous technology He sighed and slipped into the night, and his final thought before heading to a pay phone to call a cab was:

It's a good thing that Savage didn't show up three nights ago, before I was ready to proceed. Sometimes luck is just on your side


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix