It came out quite a bit better than I was expecting. Got a couple of surprise set up and even better, the whole reason for the title of the fic. BlindmanX was talking about doing a side story to this at some point as well. So more may pop up here ina few months if he gets around to it.
Heh, enjoy and remember to review!
Sudden Burst of Speed
Chapter 04 - Racing the Ghost
Cory D. Rose
Right before Kid Rocket's eyes the world seemed to freeze for a few seconds. Her perceptions swirled around and she recalled an event from earlier that day. She could hear laughter echoing around her as her grandfather appeared before her. They were back in the house and he'd just handed her a drink.
She took it without thought and didn't think twice about drinking it since less than a day had passed since he forced her to take the shot. Grandpa had watched her of course, but that was normal for him. He liked to watch what was going on around them. Whatever was in the drink didn't take effect till after dinner was finished and by then even she could tell that something was wrong. She felt a little too good.
"I feel funny." She mumbled as she staggered to the kitchen.
"It's about time."
"What…did you…do?" She giggled and wobbled around.
"Just a little incentive my dear." He said as the walked over to the couch and picked up a small case. "It's time for the final enhancement."
Charlie tried to move away, but he grabbed her arm and dragged her over to the couch. "No…"
He threw her on the couch. "Be quiet and quit complaining."
"No more shots." She slurred.
"You won't hide from me this time Charlie. I won't deal with your attitude anymore with my plans so close to bearing fruit."
"No more pain. No more."
"Shut up." He snapped as he opened the case to reveal a needle.
"NOOOO!" Charlie yelled and tried to get away, but he held her down and grabbed her arm.
"This will be the final shot Charlie, then you will never have to take them again."
"Now shut up."
"No MORE!" She yelled and struggled to get away but her body wouldn't respond.
He pressed his knee into her back as he held her arm in place and twisted to bring a vein closer to the surface. He spotted it almost instantly. "Now Charlie, it is time you achieved your full potential."
"Leave me alone, I don't want to do this anymore Grandpa!"
The old man glared down at her for a second. "Why? With this shot you will be given the greatest super power ever created. Super speed, the ability to run like all the speedsters in the city. The ability to do what you want in the blink of an eye and never have to worry about things again."
"The…pain…" She whined.
"Doesn't mater, it is just a few brief minutes of pain. Something for you to forget, because of what you will gain in the end. You will be reborn." He told her in his caring grandfather voice, now tinged with just a little of his true madness.
She started sobbing.
"Choose your fate grand daughter. Take the shot or leave this house and never come back." He hissed in her ear. "I will not tolerate this attitude from anymore."
Shuddering, she gasped for air with tears running down her cheeks. "No, not that…the shot."
If she would have seen the evil grin on his face she would have ran from the house, but she didn't. The needle entered her arm, pierced her vein, and he injected pure fire into her body. She screamed as the needle left her body, making her writhe around as he stood there and simply looked down on her silently.
Eventually it passed and she curled into a ball, sobbing as she clutched her stomach. "Why, why must you do this to me. We're family Grandpa, family. I love you. Why must you do things like this?"
"Because it is a part of my plan." He growled at her. "Rest Charlie, this will be the last time you have to experience the pain."
"You always say that."
"This will be the last time, I…promise."
"What will it do to me exactly?"
"It will give you speed Grand Daughter. You should already be able to feel the changes happening throughout your body."
Crawling to her feet, she stood up and felt the energy swirling throughout her body and knew that he was telling the truth. "I don't even know how to use it."
"You will learn over time."
"Will you be showing me?"
"…" He nodded and turned. "I'll be in the garage. You will be going out of here in a few hours. I've decided to speed up the time table."
"Alright. I'll go get ready."
"You do that." He snapped. "I'm going out tonight as well."
"How are you going to beat Garrick?"
"I'll…create some distractions to keep him and the others busy."
"I'll be ready in half an hour. My body still hurts." She snarled and stalked out of the room.
"Is my costume still in the closet?"
"Good." He hissed, and the real world once again formed before her eyes.
"AHAAA!" Ranma yelled as he fell off the back of the hover cycle. She saw the bullet miss his head by more than a foot and felt slightly better about the situation. Until she realized that he was going to fall to his death ten stories above the ground anyway.
Cursing, she swung the hover bike around and fired the thrusters to dive at Ranma's falling body. She didn't want him to die, just to leave her alone, so she dove as fast as she could. Even then she knew that she wouldn't be able to catch up with him, she hadn't reacted fast enough. But she had to try.
Out of the corner of her eye she could see the towers of smoke rising above the city as her grandpa created his distraction, and wished him good luck. Then Ranma started to twist his body around as he fell, performing a series of moves in mid air that showed off his martial arts skills. She knew he was one of the speedsters so she was a little confused at first, until she realized that he was spinning against the fall.
He was slowing himself down. Yanking on the handle bars the hover bike she leveled out as Ranma bounced off the side of the building about three stories up. This slowed his fall by nearly half and allowed him to fall to the earth below and land easily enough. He stumbled several steps before he turned to look up at her.
She could see his blue gray eyes piercing through her soul. She just couldn't let him think she was worried about him though. The job needed to be done. "Too bad you made it jerk!"
"Come down here and give yourself up." Ranma yelled.
Snarling, she flicked a toggle on the tank. A small laser fired from the bottom of the hover cycle and nearly took off Ranma's pigtail. He ducked, rolled, and came back up to throw a rock at her. At super speed. It sailed at her like a bullet and she barely dodged out of the way as it hit the side of the hover cycle, which wasn't quite as fast as she was.
Warning alarms went off instantly. It lurched and the thrusters fired an instant later and sent her racing across a nearby parking lot at high speed. "Ah $!"
Ranma's eyes narrowed just as he shot after her in a blur of colors, leaving a trail of electricity in his wake. Reading Johnny Quick's journals gave him quite a few ideas about how to use his Speed. The man wouldn't believe in the speed force itself, instead he believed in the science of the Speed. Giving him quite a few ideas on manipulating speed.
He hadn't really thought about giving the rock a boost with the Speed Force, but he did it automatically, without thought.
He would have to remember that little trick along with several others, including some thoughts on the true source of speed when he got a chance. So as Ranma ran he focused on the air around him and forced to flow around him as he ran. Another of Quick's ideas. This allowed him to run faster than ever with only half the effort.
The parking lot was mostly empty as Kid Rocket struggled to regain control of the hover bike, but the thrusters were firing at full power, propelling her at over a hundred miles an hour, and accelerating. Gritting her teeth she reached for her gun and aimed it at the thruster.
If it wouldn't shut down she would break it. She yanked the hover cycle to the side and dodged a parked car, burning a stripe across its hood. Out of the corner of her eye she could see the boy running after her, moving so fast that his after image was streaking behind him, charged with electricity.
She shuddered as a chill ran down her spine and gasped for air. Just the thought that he was trying to save her touched her quite a bit. He was catching up with her a lot faster than she expected and it would only be a short while before he caught up with her, maybe she wouldn't have to shoot the thruster after all.
The hover bike suddenly lurched to the side as it caught the front edge of a car's windshield, right before it nearly wiped out against the fence at the edge of the parking lot. The sudden shift caught her by surprise and she dropped her guns before she could react. Screaming, she yanked the cycle to side with all she had in a panic. The bike rolled and plowed into the ground with a crunch of metal. She lost her grip and flew off the bike.
Electricity surged from her eyes as she sailed through the air. She unconsciously rolled into a ball in an attempt to save herself when she hit the ground. Then a warm comforting feeling enveloped her as all movement seemed to stop for a split second. She opened her eyes and found that Ranma had caught her before she hit the ground.
"Hold on, I'm moving too fast to stop quickly." Ranma said, energy flowing from his eyes, around his head, and behind him as he moved.
Charlie wrapped her arms around his torso as the air around them crackled with energy, streaming by at incredible speeds. She wasn't sure how fast they were going, but it was fast enough that she could make out the cars in the road as they dodged around them at high speed and left them in dust in the blink of an eye.
Ranma was concentrating as hard as he could as he left the parking lot, cruising around the city. He finally managed to slow down and skid to a stop at the very edge of town. Kneeling down he sat Charlie on the ground and gasped for air as the insane run finally caught up with him.
"You okay?" he asked.
Wide eyed, Charlie realized that she was safe and alive. "How?"
Ranma managed to control his breathing a little before he replied. "I charged the air around me and created a kind of cushion of air. It protected you, but created a slipstream that made me to run at a much faster rate of speed than usual. Johnny Quick came up with the idea a long time ago."
Charlie staggered to her feet, well aware that she didn't have any of her weapons on her anymore. "Thank you for saving me."
"I can't let you take me in."
"You hurt those people, I have to take you in." Ranma insisted and realized that he should have just taken the girl straight to the Police station.
"I didn't hurt them, they were just knocked out by a sonic barrage from the bike."
"I don't care. You broke into the building and need to pay for your crimes."
Charlie stomped her foot. "You heroes are all the same. You won't listen to people. You jump to conclusions, don't any of you ever think!"
"I know what I saw, including all those dead bodies!" Ranma yelled. "I won't ignore the dead! You're responsible to for some of them and will pay for those deaths!"
Charlie snorted. "I haven't killed anyone."
"Someone is running around Keystone killing people all over the city and you're a part of this. Now let's go." Ranma said and reached for Charlie's arm.
"Liar!" Charlie snarled. "My grandpa is a good person! He wants revenge on Garrick for ruining his life, not to kill anybody!"
Ranma blinked. "Your grandpa…I've seen the bodies girl, they litter the streets under each of those columns of smoke. Someone using the speed force killed them."
"I won't believe you." Charlie snapped. "I know my Grandfather wouldn't kill someone like that. It's why he created slow gas and sonic stunners, so that people wouldn't die."
Growling, Ranma lunged for the girl with super speed, but she jerked back even faster. "Wha…"
"I can use super speed as well, I just haven't had time to learn how yet."
"I don't care. I'll show you what is going on even if I have to pick you up and drag you there myself."
"You wouldn't dare."
Ranma smirked as electricity surged from his eyes. "Oh yes I would."
The forest belonged to a park at the edge of Keystone City and covered nearly twenty five acres of land and was one of the more over grown wooded areas in the state. It was a perfect place for Batman to store the Batwing while in Keystone. He was also on the investors that helped create the park in the first place.
He arrived at the edge of the park and knelt down in the shadows and saw the rising columns of smoke rising above the city, he was to late. Either that or something else was going on that he wasn't aware of. Even worse, it had taken him far to long to get here and it would force him to move around in the day light.
Spinning around he drew a batrang, but stopped before he could throw it.
The aging speedster looked him over. "What are you doing here. Are you involved in these murders?"
"No, but I am investigating some thefts…"
"Including some of the items that belonged to Wayne Enterprises in Gotham City. Still, I'm surprised to see you here."
Batman didn't relax or even answer.
"There is a madman in the city using the Speed Force to blow people and things up. It would be best if you left and let us deal with it."
"Not a chance."
"That wasn't a request." Max growled, he knew just how stubborn Batman could be.
"I'm not leaving." Batman growled. "This involves my City. I will find the cause and deal with it."
Max Mercury also knew that dealing with Batman could be a chore at times. The man was a control freak, had to be involved in everything, and it was nearly impossible to stop him from interfering. "This isn't your City Batman, you…"
"I don't care about your City, only that it involves Gotham. Now get out of my way." Batman said and reached for something in his belt and knelt down a little.
"Maybe I should just take you back to Gotham instead. It would only take a second. Even a little less if I went faster than a jog."
Batman's eyes narrowed.
Then the world turned purple around them. A being appeared right beside Max, bathed in purple energy and arcing like a Tesla Coil. Its arm lashed out with a burst of speed force and took Max across the chin before he could even move. Sending Max's head slamming to the side, his body bathed in purple lightning.
Screaming in pain he collapsed to the ground convulsing as the electricity nearly electrocuted him on the spot. At the same time Batman just reacted, sending the batrang at the thing, but it exploded almost a foot from the man. Its head slowly turned to look at Batman.
"Interesting, I didn't expected to show up."
"I won't let you get away." Batman snapped as he stalked forward.
"You are a weak a pathetic fool Batman. This situation has nothing to do with you. Leave, or I'll kill you where you stand."
"Do you even know who I am?"
"I don't care who you are."
The man seemed shocked for a second before he started laughing. "Oh I like you."
"You're old and that will be my advantage." Batman said, casually distracting the thing as he reached into his belt from inside his cape.
Max suddenly groaned and the man turned to look glance in his direction. "Time to finish my business. I put those Wayne Tech parts to good use. The vehicle I created should be on the other side of the city if you want to go and retrieve them." Electricity suddenly flared around the man again. "Time to go Batman, this has been an honor."
Batman lunged forward, throwing a flash bomb into the thing's face. The bright burst of light lasted for a brief second, but it's was enough to catch the scum off guard. Moving with the speed of experience, Batman managed to connect with several blows to the criminals body.
Each blow made his fists arch with electricity. His costume was insulated against that kind of thing though and gave him no damage at all. The man collapsed to the ground for a second, rolled to his feet, and flared with energy as he lunged forward.
A thousand blows rained down on Batman's body and sent him crashing to the ground. Batman tried to climb back to his feet just as a foot moving at super speed connected with his jaw. It was like being punched by Bane at full strength. Something Batman wasn't ready for after taking all the other hits.
"This is turning out to be quite a day indeed. The Heroes are coming out of the woodwork, but I expected that to happen eventually. Now it's time to finish this little game once and for all." The being said with an evil smirk.
With a burst of electricity he headed back into the city in a blur of purple energy. Seconds later another explosion rocked filled the air, quickly followed by screams and sirens. Even after he left, the battered bodies of Max Mercury and Batman lay on the ground, unmoving.
Looking off in the distance Ranma could see that something else was happening on the other side of the city, but with Kid Rocket thrown over is shoulder, he didn't think heading in that direction would be a good idea. She might be hurt and she really didn't know how to use her speed abilities yet.
He knew that The Flash was taking care of it so he wasn't worried. It bothered him just a little that he was starting to get used to this super hero junk though. He raced down the street, weaved past cars and emergency vehicles, and came to a stop. Kid Rocket squirmed out of his grip and turned around to glare at the scene in front of them.
"Is this your proof?" She snapped.
Ranma didn't say anything as he glanced over to a group of workers loading five burned corpses into a black van. "Those are."
"Their dead, so what?"
"That other speedster did it."
"My grandfather would never do anything like this!" She yelled. "I've been telling you that."
"Maybe, but he's doing something to cause all this."
"How do you know it's him?"
"Who else could it be? You told me that he was causing the fires as a distraction. Well your hover bike is down and he's still causing havoc throughout the city. There is no one else around that could be doing these things." Ranma blinked a few times and wondered where all that came from.
Kid Rocket glanced at the bodies as they were zipped into bags and shuddered a little. She could recall the times when she really wondered if her grandpa truly cared for her. Sometimes he showed her his true feelings. And sometimes he could be the devil himself.
She hung her head. "If he is doing…this, I have to stop him."
"No, we will."
Ranma nodded. "You need a little training, but if we catch him fast enough
we just might be able to bring him in."
"Grandfather would never survive prison."
"He has to be stopped." Ranma insisted.
"We have to find him first."
A sonic boom echoed over the city, startling both of them.
"Well that was ominous." Ranma muttered. It also reminded him that he needed to keep up his inner vibrations, to keep the people from identifying him after all this was over. A quick check and he nodded, he was vibrating instinctively and didn't need to worry.
Jay Garrick raced into the city at full speed, examining every inch in less than a second of real time. Every park, building, and road in the city. A worried look crossed his face as he tried to figure out what his enemy's next move would be.
He stopped several petty crimes as he raced, a couple of muggers, a drug deal, what looked like a kidnapping. The police quickly arrived at each scene and took over for him, but he still couldn't figure out where his enemy could be. He crossed the bridge and did a site by site search of each of the buildings throughout Central City.
Even that turned out to be a bust as he came to a stop in front of the Flash Museum. There was something evil in the air that set his nerves on alert, but he just couldn't figure out what the exact cause was. He shot forward at full speed again, running back and forth across the city looking for anything weird that might give him a clue.
It was then that he first started to notice the explosions rocking the city and the fires burning out of control. Barely two minutes later he started to find the bodies. Some of them were burned, others appeared to have detonated as they were walking along and covered the sidewalks and streets in blood.
The grotesque sight angered him.
"Edward!" Jay screamed as he looked down at the smoldering body of a teenager.
The air around whole area suddenly started to charge with energy as Jay stood there looking for his enemy. A form appeared right in front of him gaining shape as supercharged static electricity swirled around his purple form that mimicked Jays outfit, even the hat. As it died down Edward Clariss, The Rival, looked down on Jay Garrick with pure hate in his eyes.
"Call. Me. Rival!" The old man screamed into Jay's face.
"Edward, I can't believe you would do this."
Rival sneered and screamed at Jay. "You ruined my life Garrick, destroyed it completely and then forgot about me as if I was NOTHING! I've been planning this for years!"
"It was forty years ago!" Jay yelled. "One short fight and then it was over.
Look at all these people you've killed."
"They are nothing Jay Garrick, their death's are your fault anyway. It may have been one short fight for you, but not for me. That little fight destroyed my career, made me a laughing stock, and made it impossible for me to even get a job." Rival yelled, energy escaping from his eyes as he started to circle around Jay. "I've been forced to learn whole new levels of science just to survive. Perfecting my chemistry till I was one of the best in the world and still I couldn't get a job. I'm also one of the best engineers in the world and I can't hold a job longer than week because of my past. All because of you."
"You brought it on yourself!" Jay yelled back. "Your jealously and stupidity are what brought you down. Your own actions!"
Rival's eyes seemed to shrink down pinpricks as he stood there. His anger washing of him in waves of energy. "No! You are the one that started all his. You! And I'll make you pay for your actions a thousand times over!"
"Edward…" Jay's head exploded with pain as Rival punched him at supersonic speeds. He staggered backwards, but managed to keep his footing.
"Edward Clariss is dead Garrick. He died in prison after you sent him there to rot. The only thing left is The Rival. My son is dead because of you and pretty soon my grand Daughter will take my place. I've trained her my whole life and she will take down all your friends. Starting with that new recruit you picked up the other day."
Ignoring his throbbing head, Jay ground his teeth as he listened to Rival talk. "Ranma can talk care of himself. He hasn't even decided if he will even become a hero or not. I've just been teaching him how to control his new power."
"He will die Garrick, because he is close to you." Rival sneered.
"I won't let you hurt anyone else Rival." Jay snarled, his anger was rising to a slow boil.
Rival laughed. "I've been planning this for years Garrick. I've set it in motion and I don't even have to be there to make sure it keeps going. By the end of day everyone you know will be dead, just one among a mountain of bodies as Keystone City burns to the ground."
Boom, Boom, Boooom!
Jay ground his teeth a little more as explosions went off all across the city, small ones, big ones, even a couple of monster ones. "What did you do?"
"I've been planting explosive devices for weeks. I even planted several of them in your precious museum Garrick. By now it's a smoldering ruin." Rival sneered evilly and started laughing. "I was there the day you showed up with that brat in tow and you didn't even see me."
With a burst of electricity, Jay shot forward and attacked Rival. The old man just flowed around Jay with ease, but not before he tripped him. Sending Jay into the ground at a hundred miles an hour. Rival started cackling insanely.
"Pathetic idiot, you aren't even a match for me anymore! Even Flash or any of those other morons couldn't stop me. I've dealt with them all! Flash is across town fighting a big yellow space alien, the same one that took out Coast City…"
"Mongul…" Jay gasped.
"Quick's daughter is trying to save her building from collapsing, Mercury is out cold along with that Batman idiot over in the park, and my grand daughter is taking care of your protégé. And it gets even better. That other brat is running his tail off across the city trying to save all the people from dying. Leaving us to ourselves so that I can slaughter you properly."
"Rival, I'm warning you…"
"Then it gets even better." Rival continued, interrupting Jay. "I've placed the biggest bomb in the city right under your house. Poor Joan won't know what hit her when it goes off here in a few minutes. Kaboom, so long wife, your family, everything you ever cared about. Just. Like. Me!"
Jay lit up and raced across the area, but Rival was next to him in an instant with an evil sneer on his face. "You don't think you can out run me with my speed enhanced by Telaxia do you? I can run circles around you or anyone in this city."
They left waves of electricity in their wake as they shot across the city.
Jay ignored Rival and doubled his speed, setting off a sonic boom that shattered two blocks of windows and set off multiple care alarms. Rival didn't even seem to have trouble keeping up with him at all.
"You're going to be to late you know, just a few seconds left."
"I'll save her."
"I hold all the cards Garrick. I've won."
"Never!" Jay yelled as he bore down and shot several yards ahead of Rival.
"How do you know I haven't already killed her while you were running around the city!" Rival yelled.
Jay nearly lost his footing and crashed, but managed to regain control. "Because you want me to see her die."
"I'm not some show boat rogue Garrick. I just want you to suffer!"
"She's alive!" Jay yelled.
Rival started to laugh as he caught up with Jay, glanced at him, and passed him in a millionth of a second. "But will she be alive by the time you arrive!"
The first flash could only gape as Rival started to pull away from him at a steadily increasing speed. "Gods, no…"
"Time to Race, Garrick! I'll run you into the ground and kill everything you care for!" Rival yelled, an insane glint in his eye.
Groaning, Max Mercury sat up clutching his. It felt like something was pounding him over the head with a sledgehammer and refused to let up for even an instant. Resisting the urge to wince, Max slowly looked around and realized that he was still in the park. He spotted Batman unconscious in the grass a few yards away.
He quickly knelt down beside the man and checked for a pulse. Breathing a sight of relief when he found one, he stood up and looked around to see if Rival was still hanging around, but didn't see him anywhere. Batman's plane was still hidden in the underbrush, covered in its camouflage netting, so at least that was still in one piece.
Glancing at Batman again, he considered waking him up for a second before deciding against it. Batman didn't need to be here and he'd just get in the way as he tried to help out anyway. Sitting down and crossing his legs, Max started meditating and slowly accessing his connection to the speed force. Over the years he could remember learning his most interesting secrets this way.
The only person that ever surpassed him was Barry Allen, who could do things with the speed force that even Wally wasn't able to achieve. The most notable achievement was Barry's ability to run faster than the speed of light without entering the speed force. Moving faster than light played hell with the senses and the man did it without a second thought, pure genius.
Today's speedsters just didn't seem to be able to touch Barry's shadow, though he thought that either Bart or Ranma just might do it if they put a little effort into their training. The kids looked at the speed force differently than the rest of them did. The rest of the speedsters seemed to be restricted by what they believed was and wasn't possible. Wally's problem with his speed, always losing it for short periods of time, was a classic example of mind over matter.
Ranma, a complete novice, was now capable of things that Wally couldn't do on his best day. Although Wally wasn't aware of it just yet. The boy seemed to just do the impossible in an instant. Even now the only thing holding Ranma back was himself and that wouldn't last to much longer. The kid was a natural. Max considered this as he finally reached the state he wanted and touched the speed force. A surge of energy filled him instantly.
A white glow started to radiate out from his body as he sat there and directed the speed force. When a speedster was using their speed it left an imprint on the speed force that could easily be tracked if they were running fast enough. He quickly spotted what he was looking for and focused in on two signatures racing across the city.
The one in front was Rival, his dark aura and purple costume made him stand out like a light in the darkness. Just a little ways behind him was Jay Garrick, pushing himself to the limits of his speed. Jay was over sixty and hadn't slowed down much over the years, but Max could see that he was holding back for some reason.
"What are you doing Jay?" Max muttered to himself.
Then something else caught his attention and he turned away from the two men to see that speed force at their starting point was swirling out of control. It nearly made Max lose his concentration as he looked at it in shock. Whatever was causing it had to be incredibly powerful.
Like a black hole, the effect seemed to be sucking in the speed force in large amounts and slowly growing. A cold sweat broke out all over his body as he forced himself to come out of the trance. Shivering a little, he stood up and glanced around. He was relieved to see that Batman was still unconscious. With any luck they would be able to clear this mess up in a hurry.
Shaking his head, Max sighed and realized that just ignoring Batman would be a bad idea. He moved back over to the man and knelt down to shake him a little. The man did have a strong pulse, so he figured that he may just be asleep at this point. "Hey, wake up."
Batman groaned and reached up to clutch his head. Then he sat up and looked around. "Mercury, what happened to that…thing?"
"Rival wasn't here when I woke up. Jay seems to be chasing him across the city at the moment."
"We all have our secrets." Max said with a smirk that Batman found familiar.
Grunting, Batman jumped to his feet and made his way over to the Batjet. After opening a compartment in the back, he removed a flat backpack and pulled it one. "Come on, we need to get above that maniac and stop him."
"Maybe, but we may have to deal with something else instead."
"What?" Batman snapped.
"Something in the middle of town. I'm not sure what it is, but its causing a disturbance in the speed force and that can only mean trouble."
"Then let's go. Garrick can take care of himself."
Max nodded. "We may need to find Impulse and Flash to give us a hand."
"Flash is occupied."
"I'd heard. We could still use his help."
"I agree, but he's fighting Mongul right now and has his hands full." Batman said, his voice cold, and emotionless. He glanced at Max Mercury as he finished connecting his backpack. "Lets go."
A pair of solid wings spread out from under his cape and a rocket fired, launching Batman into the sky. With a half spin, Batman headed towards the center of the city. Cursing, Max chased after him a half a second later.
With any luck he'd run across Bart before he arrived.
Ranma shook his head. He was feeling a little weird again and this time his whole body felt like it was turning weightless. Charlie was still with him as they visited the tenth massacre scene in the last five minutes. The girl's opinion was wavering, but she just refused to believe that her grandfather could do something like this.
He could understand really, but it was a bit much to take things this far.
"He's the only one that could be doing these things Charlie."
"He isn't a killer!" She yelled and nearly started to cry.
Suddenly Ranma felt something, a force of energy heading right for them. He grabbed Charlie and pulled her to the side and let the speed force envelope them. In an instant they were vibrating at high speeds and the world came to a stand still, except for two people racing by at a slightly slower speed. Ranma wasn't even aware of what he'd done.
Beside him Charlie could only gape at her grandfather as he raced by as if he was in slow motion, a halo of purple energy surrounding him. He was yelling at Jay Garrick several paces back, his words slightly distorted by the speed he was moving at.
"Come on old man, you'll never save her now!"
"Rival! Stop this madness!"
Ranma watched them run by almost in shock as he began to realize what he'd just done.
"Grandpa…" Charlie whispered. "See, he's not doing any…"
Rival curved and suddenly raced through a group of people on the other side of the street. They could all hear Jay's scream as Rival passed through them. Then Ranma and Charlie watched as several of the people just detonated like bombs in slow motion.
"NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Charlie screamed.
Ranma just stared at the destruction with cold eyes. "He has to be stopped.
Tell me how to stop him!"
Charlie was starting to panic as her world started to crumble around her. "IDON'TKNOWIDON'TKNOW!
"Tell me!" Ranma yelled.
Crying, Charlie dropped out of the speed field curled up on the sidewalk.
Eyes flaring with energy, Ranma shot after Jay and left Charlie where she fell. Ranma couldn't ever remember running this fast in his life, but something told him that he could go even faster. Leaning forward his aura flared out just a little more and he started to steadily increase speed with every step.
He gritted his teeth and felt the speed force surrounding his body as he ran, protecting his clothing and pushing him to ever faster speeds. Then Ranma stopped thinking about running completely, he just needed to catch up with Jay and the monster.
Multiple sonic booms echoed over the city an instant later. Ranma wasn't thinking about this as a race anymore, it was a battle, something he excelled at. Even as he started to catch up with Jay thousands of battle plans rushed through his speed force enhanced brain.
That monster was going to pay for killing all those people even if Ranma had to rip the psychopaths legs off with his bare hands. Anything goes Martial Arts combined with the Speed Force gave him a brand new style. Moves raced through his head and combined into kata he could practice later. He suddenly understood every aspect of his training, and even the confusing parts of Johnny Quick's journals.
It all combined into a whole new form of knowledge and in that instant Ranma was side by side with Jay Garrick.
Jay nearly tripped as he heard Ranma's voice and looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "Ranma, you…look different."
"Whatever." Ranma said.
"I've never seen an aura like that before."
"Just tell me how to stop that monster." Ranma growled.
"He's going after Joan, to kill her."
"No. He. Won't!" Ranma yelled.
"Ranma, save Joan. Let me take care of Rival."
"He deserves to die!"
"We don't kill! Ever!" Jay yelled.
"Pray it's the correct decision." Ranma said coldly.
"It always is, no matter what."
Ranma increased his running pace and shot forward, easily passing Jay and caught up with Rival a few paces later. "I should kill you right here."
"You Heroes don't have the balls to kill kid."
"There is a first time for everything."
"Go for kid." Rival snapped, confident that Ranma wouldn't do anything.
For a second Ranma seriously considered it, but he could see Jay just off to the side catching up with them while Rival focused on Ranma. "I think you belong to someone else, geezer." Ranma said with a smirk and suddenly passed the old man, pulling ahead of him easily. A distance that quickly increased as the picoseconds passed.
"What!" Rival yelled as Ranma passed by. "No one is faster than I am! No one!"
"Then keep up slow poke!" Ranma yelled back. He barely noticed as they suddenly raced across the river that separated Keystone City and Central city, only to head back into Keystone several miles down the river in the blink of an eye. They were on the other side before the surface tension of the water even reacted to their presence, sending a tower of water a hundred feet into the air.
"Kid you are so dead!" Rival screamed.
Ranma flipped him off and smirked. "Bring it on!"
"I got you now Edward!" Jay yelled and took a swing at Rival.
Out of the corner of his eye Ranma could see Jay and Rival attempting to fight each other as they ran, throwing the occasional punch at each other. Trying to trip each other at super speed and shove them into a stationary object. Then Ranma was racing down Jay's street and he spotted Joan standing by the mail box, unaware of what was happening.
"Time for her to die!" Rival yelled.
"No she's not!" Ranma yelled back.
Rival gave him a startled look and realized he'd forgotten about the other speedster with them as Garrick distracted him. "AGHAAAA!" The purple speedster screamed in rage and reached into his belt to pull out a small device. He smirked evilly.
Ranma wasn't even paying attention to Rival as he moved closer and closer to Joan. They were moving so fast that the outside world wasn't even aware that they were around. The whole Run had taken less than fifteen seconds in real time anyways.
"No!" Jay yelled and dove at Rival just as he fired the small object.
"I win!" Rival screamed and started laughing.
Joan suddenly went from standing still to moving at super speed. She didn't even have time to scream as Ranma suddenly changed directions, doing a hundred and eighty degree turn with the twist of his foot. Half a blink later they were fifteen feet in the air and sailing through the air.
Rival's shot missed by more than foot and Jay crashed into him like a missile before he could do anything about it. They both crashed into the ground, still moving at super speed, creating a trench of dirt several feet deep as they came to a stop over two blocks away.
Joan was finally able to scream as Ranma twisted in mid air and landed on a roof of a house next door. His aura flared to release the speed force from around them. This sent a burst of wind flying in all directions and to the people round the neighborhood they just appeared there from out of nowhere.
Ranma breathed a sigh of relief.
"You can stop screaming."
Jay's wife shut up and blinked a few times. "Oh, that was a little too exciting."
Ranma smirked as he sat her down on the roof shingles. "Yeah, a little."
"That purple guy over there tried to kill you." Ranma explained with a shrug. "Jay called him Rival."
Joan nodded. She was used to think like this even though she didn't get involved in the fights that often. "You go help Jay, I'll use the roof hatch to get back into the house and call Linda."
She seemed safe enough, so Ranma nodded and jumped to the ground. Starting at the mailbox and running halfway down the block was a trench dug right into the asphalt. At the end Jay and Rival were laying on top of each other. Ranma raced over and quickly pulled Jay to the side.
"Jay, you okay?"
The old man groaned, but didn't wake up. Ranma could see a gash along side his head, just behind the ear that was forming into a bump. Cursing under his breath, he ripped the sleeve off his shirt and applied it to the wound. Jay would be out for at least a couple of hours.
"This isn't good." He muttered to himself.
Rival didn't seem to be that injured either. Every couple of seconds a bit of speed force lightning would arc around the man's body. He would only be out cold for a few minutes. Picking Jay up, Ranma raced back to the house and placed him on the couch. Joan was just gettingback into the house from the roof. She made her way over to the phone as Ranma finished placing Jay on the couch.
"With Jay down, can you stop him?" She asked. No one was answering at Wally's place, so she put the phone down. She would have to try again later.
Ranma glanced out the window and saw Rival slowly getting to his knees. "I'll have to, everyone else is busy."
Moving over to Jay, Joan reached one of the man's pockets and pulled out a black ring. She handed it to Ranma. "Every member of the flash family has one of these Ranma. There's a costume inside the ring, just hit that little catch there and the costume will spring out. Use your speed the get dressed so that no one else recognizes you."
He frowned. "I…"
"I know being a superhero isn't what you want to do, but the costume will hide your identity easier than Jay's vibration trick. The costume will also work better than your normal clothes." Joan said. "Those clothes you're wearing aren't in the best of shape either."
Ranma glanced down and noticed for the first time that pushing himself to move so fastcaused his clothing to shred themselves. His shirt and pants hung off him in rags, even smoking a little from all the friction. He wasn't to worried about his identity though, Jay had taught him how to vibrate in such a way as to keep his features blurred.
"I'll give it a shot, I guess." Ranma said, touched the ring and the costume jumped out. He blurred and stood there wearing a pure black costume, just the like the Flash's costume. Red lightning designs decorated his waist, shoulders, and forearms. His mask/hood was also down.
"You look great."
He grinned a little. "Well at least it's the right mix of colors."
"Indeed, now you need to go. Rival is nearly up." She said, pointing out the window.
Reaching back, Ranma pulled the mask up and over his face and let the material stretch around his head. Turning, raced around the room and out the front door in a slow burst of speed. Ranma accelerated towards Rival as the man came to his feet and shook his head.
"Garrick…" He growled, just as Ranma's forearm clothes-lined him from behind.
Rival yelled in shock and in the blink of an eye they were several blocks away, Ranma slowed down, and let Rival fly forward and tumble along the ground.
Rival rolled a few times and eventually came to his feet with a burst of speed force. The man's eyes lit up with energy as he turned to glare at Ranma. It didn't phase Ranma as he calmly walked towards the man. He knew Rival would go down today.
"You." Snarled Rival.
"What's with the change of clothes?"
"Felt like a change."
"You aren't even fully trained kid, you haven't earned a costume yet."
"Jay thought otherwise." Ranma said simply.
Rival growled, he wasn't going to let some kid ruin decades of planning. Jay Garrick was going to die today, no matter what. "I'll have to kill you then, no big loss."
This just made Ranma snort and taunted him. "Yeah right slow poke, I can out run you with ease."
"You little brat!"
He shot forward at full speed. Ranma almost flowed around the hundreds of punches that Rival threw at him. Then he reached out and caught the man's arm and shoulder threw him into the ground. "Pathetic, old man. I've seen pandas fight better than you."
Rolling to the side and to his feet, Rival attacked again and again. Each time Ranma would kick, block, punch, or just throw him after a few seconds. Rival was getting frustrated. He'd never dreamed that anyone could be faster than he could, especially not some punk kid could.
"I'll kill you!"
Ranma yawned. "Yeah right, now let's get you to jail before I die of boredom."
Just as he was about to attack again something on Rival's belt started to beep. He pulled a thin card out of his pocket and grinned. "Finally."
"This isn't time to play cards, Eddy." Ranma said, moving forward again. "Time to stop playing around."
"You got that right brat, the final part of my plan just went into effect and Garrick isn't here to stop it. He's the only one that could." Rival started cackling.
With a burst of energy a purple blur raced towards the center of town. Ranma shot after him, but the short distance wasn't enough to time to allow him to catch up. Rival came to a stop at the edge of an empty lot full of weeds and discarded junk.
He made sure Ranma was there to see as he pulled the little card out and pointed it at the lot. Ranma staggered as his senses went haywire for a couple of seconds, sound became color, and smells became sight. The world went tilt and Ranma fell to his knees.
The lot shimmered and a pair of massive antennas appeared. One on each side of the lot and between them was a massive vortex of energy. Ranma's senses slowly returned to normal, but it gave Rival time to walk over to him. He knelt down and grabbed him by the hair.
"Listen here brat, see what's in that lot? It's been charging since this morning, since before I sent my Granddaughter out to kill you. It's a speed force collector. The more you use the speed force inside the city, the more it collects and sends to me. Making me faster, stronger, and more powerful than ever before.
"I have a direct link to its energy reserves now. That little disorientation you just experienced was you losing about eighty percent of your speed." Rival let go and let Ranma's head fall to the ground with a thump. "This city is mine."
Ranma didn't want to believe the raving lunatic, but he felt weak, weaker than ever before. He grit his teeth as he came to his feet and noticed that the speed force wasn't working like it usually did. "I don't need speed to beat you."
Rival laughed. "Yes you do, but I'll just leave you here to suffer. I have to find out what happened to my grand daughter after all. She failed and that means I'll have to punisher her."
He heard a weird sound off to the side and turned his head just as something small and black flew by and slammed into Rival's chest. It exploded and sent Rival flying off his feet. He landed several yards away, only to bounce a few times before coming to a stop in the gutter.
It wasn't to much of a surprise when Rival rolled back to his feet with a snarl. "Batman! My speed field is strong enough to render all of your weapons useless!"
Batman, wearing a jet pack flew down from the sky and landed next to Ranma as the wings retracted. He stalked forward and even in his dazed state Ranma recognized some serous martial arts training in the man's walk. He grinned a little.
As usual, Batman wasn't one to talk while fighting. He just waded in, jumping at Rival as he sent a barrage of exploding batrangs at the man. Along with the special equipment, Ranma recognized an adaptation of several techniques he'd been taught a couple years back by some old fart near a volcano.
Forcing himself to move, Ranma pulled on the speed force as best he could and slowly started to feel more like himself. He would have to help in some way. Batrangs fell all around Rival, exploding along the pavement, walls, and even against his speed force field. As a chemist he instantly recognized several of the colored gasses that started to surround him. He would never be caught that easily.
Reaching into his belt he pulled out a couple of ampules and tossed them on the ground. He then blurred as Batman tried to catch him by surprise. Three things happened at once. The ampule exploded and quickly nullified the gasses around them, Rival grabbed Batman's arm, and the whole area exploded in a fire ball.
Yelling out in shock, Ranma rolled away as Batman sacrificed his arm to distract Rival long enough to light a match, igniting the gasses. The fire ball rose into the air before it fell back and washed over the street.
Ranma could hear a scream within the fire, but he also saw a dark blur as Batman ran out of the fire, cradling a broken arm. Then a blue and white blur appeared next to Ranma and patted him in the shoulder. "Hey Max."
"Ranma? Jay gave you the costume?"
"Joan did." Ranma said.
"Interesting, let's get this guy stopped and where's Jay?"
Ranma shook his head. "Rival did something to mess up my speed, I can barely move. Jay was injured and I left him at the house."
"You can't run?"
"No, I can barely stand. It's starting to annoy me actually."
"You access the speed force kid, just reach out and touch it." Max explained.
"I've been trying to. It has something to do with that thing over there"
Ranma said, pointing at the vortex.
Max glanced at it and nodded. "It's an artificial link to the speed force I think. I can feel it trying to tap into my speed as well, but I have enough control over my abilities to keep it from accessing them."
"Tell me how."
"It just takes will power kid."
Ranma frowned, closed his eyes, and dug deep into his mind. He understood that it took will power. Many situations came down to a life or die choice, this was one of them. He could sense something building around Rival.
Off to the side Batman took a second to set his arm and make a splint for his arm, using one hand and his teeth to tie it in place. He made his way over to Max Mercury. "That maniac needs to be stopped."
Max nodded. "True, but rushing in won't do us any good."
"Maybe not, but I'll keep trying till he goes down." Batman said with no emotion. "He does seem to have disappeared though."
"He's circling around us at high speed." Max said. "But I'm not sure why, he doesn't seem to be doing anything else."
"How can you tell?" Batman snapped.
"Rival is channeling massive amounts of the speed force, but he's not doing it correctly. He's forcing it to do what he wants instead of willing it to do what he wants, so he's only able to go so fast. That difference is making his signature easy to follow."
Batman narrowed his eyes at Max.
Seeming to understand what the glare meant, Max just shrugged. "Me and the Original Flash have decades of experience on Wally. The boy is good, but he's always holding back and it slows him down. I've had to track several speedsters in the past."
The Dark Knight turned his glare on Ranma, as if assessing him. Ranma was surprised to see that the man had perfected the technique known as the Mask of Death. To fight the enemy and never show nothing but cold emotion, locking away all feelings, and getting the job done at any cost or sacrifice. It was a very dangerous technique to learn because it required minor Ki manipulation abilities to keep it under control.
Under Batman's glare, Ranma opened his eyes and felt the speed force fill his body once more and he grinned in triumph. He wasn't back to full speed, but he could run again and his confidence was returning. The jerk wasn't about to beat him in a fight, no matter how many tricks he pulled.
Wearing a midnight black costume with red lightning decorations and grinning made him look completely evil. Even his mask's eye holes were covered in a red lens that kept the wind out of his eyes, glowing slightly in the dark to allow him to see in low light conditions.
Black and red lightning swirled around him for the first time, making Batman and Max jump back in shock. Using the same Mask of Death, Ranma assessed the situation without emotion and made a decision.
"Rival has over stayed his welcome and has gone over the line too far to forgive, killing means nothing to him, and the that leaves everyone in danger. Batman, those towers over there are channeling his extra power somehow, he said so himself. Can you take them down with those explosives of yours?"
"Do so." Ranma ordered coldly, matching even Batman's frosty orders. Max was more than a little impressed. "Me and Max will take down the madman."
"Good." Batman growled and headed for the towers and the vortex of energy.
Ranma and Max Mercury raced out of the area as Batman got to work. Max led them through several short cuts as they tried to catch up with Rival. As they ran, Ranma came up with a plan. "I've got an idea, but it may not work."
"What do you have in mind?"
"Leading him right into the speed force, just like that Savant guy that caused Flash so many problems."
Max frowned. "It's too dangerous. It'll catch you too. Going that fast could send you bouncing through time if you have any doubts in your heart at all kid, I know from experience."
"It's you that gave me the idea. Rival will eventually be the only one that can access the speed force if his vortex continues."
"Batman will take care of it."
"Maybe, but I don't know him very well. He doesn't seem to care about people, only doing his job, and that attitude of his will get him killed eventually."
"What makes you say that?"
"Batman is using a Ki technique without understanding what Ki is or how to use it. He accesses his Ki subconsciously at best, giving him only a slight boost. His mind is closed and won't accept what Ki is, he doesn't believe in it."
"Neither do I."
"Yeah, but you don't use Ki to fight like I do Max, he does. He's been using his Ki to shut down his emotions for years so he can dress up as a bat and be mean to people. His emotions are dying, buried under cold unfeeling logic. Soon he won't even be able to function as a human being. I've read horror stories of men like him that all ended in disaster."
"He's all we got right now." Max said, though he privately agreed with Ranma.
"Yeah, but we may need to have a little talk with him eventually, he doesn't have very far to go before he loses his ability to feel any emotion at all, no sorrow, no happiness, nothing."
"Focus on Rival, we need to stop him first."
Ranma nodded. "I just think Batman will become an even bigger danger than Rival."
Max didn't say anything, but he'd known Batman for a long time and knew Ranma was right. "Rival now, Batman tomorrow."
Ranma grinned. "Why not, now let's show Rival that there are speeds that even he hasn't touched yet."
"Can you go that fast? He is still drawing on your speed."
"No problem, I can get that fast, but Batman has to take down the tower before I can maintain it for longer than a few seconds. That's why I need you."
"I don't understand."
"Lend me your speed to give me a boost to sub light speed. Once the tower goes down, I can get Rival into the speed force and let him become of it."
"I don't like this Ranma."
"I won't stay in the Force, just a short visit and I'll come back."
"Wally needed an anchor, his girlfriend Linda to make it back."
Ranma nodded. "Yeah, but I don't need one. I'm connected to the speed force now, I can enter it whenever I want. I can even use it in ways that Wally never has. I have listened to your stories after all."
With a slow nod, Max focused on Rival and the two of them adjusted their speed to match up with him. They spotted him racing out of the city, heading for the countryside. Ranma could see him fiddling with the card-sized remote he used to turn on the vortex earlier.
"Be careful, I think he has more than one antenna set up for a vortex. He's messing with that remote of his."
"Damn! We have to stop him before he activates it."
"Give me your speed now." Ranma said.
"Find the towers first. Once I give you my speed I'll take the towers down." Max said.
"Alright." Ranma said with a nod. They scanned the countryside for several seconds before they spotted the second tower. "There!"
"I see." Max yelled as he raced for the tower. "Go get him kid!" Max yelled and shifted his momentum over to Ranma. Max came to a stop just a few yards from the towers and quickly got to work disconnecting several wires.
Black lightning surrounded Ranma as he shot forward. "RAAAGGGHHHAAAAAAAAAAA!" Ranma yelled as he raced at Rival.
The insane maniac was about to attack Max for interfering when he heard Ranma coming. He changed targets and took off, he had another tower that he could use, but it was in California, hidden among the giant red oaks. They were soon racing along the highway, quickly making their way across the country.
Rival was amazed that Ranma could even access the speed force, let alone even keep up with him. All the while, the two of them were getting faster and faster as they out raced cars on the freeway, blew through towns, and broke a dozen land speed records. Ranma focused on Rival as he ran, ignoring the low hum of energy as the he left a trail of black and red electricity a thousand mile long.
"Better run faster old man, or I'll catch you!"
"Nothing is faster than me now brat! I've won, but playing with you is so much more fun. Do you think for an instant that those are the only antennas I have set up? My grand daughter got me all the parts I needed to build several of them."
Ranma grinned, which made Rival nervous. He wasn't sure why either. Growling, he picked up speed as they headed for the coast.
Back in Central City, Batman finished wrapping several charges to each of the antennas. Disconnecting the wires wouldn't work while the vortex was active, so he had to blow it up.
He glanced at the swirling vortex above him and hoped that the charges wouldn't cause some kind of backlash either. After placing the final blob of plastic explosive, he plugged in the final wire. His cape flapped and fluttered as he raced out of the empty lot, ducked behind a wall, and pulled
a little remote out.
He pressed a button…
The instant the towers went down Ranma felt a massive surge of Speed Force energy surround his body, sending a wave of black lighting stretching all around him. At the same time his speed was increasing exponentially. Rival cried out in shock as he started to lose speed, but by the time he realized what happened Ranma was already on him.
"Got you now Rival!" Wrapping his arms around the monster, Ranma lifted Rival into the air and placed him on his shoulder, and then began to increased his speed even more. His feet, already a blur, vanished from sight as he shot off the end of the coast of the United States and raced out over the ocean. All the while increasing speed with every step he took.
Within less than a second Ranma raced around the planet picking up more and more speed, moving so fast that even things like color started to go black and white, slowly turning to pure light and energy. To Rival barely any time had passed at all as Ranma sucked the speed force from the old man's body to boost his speed.
Within a minute Ranma was running so fast that he raced three times around the planet in less than a second. And then four times in less than a second and strained to reach the speed he'd only ever reached once before. Energy exploded from his eyes and trailed behind him as he neared the speed of light, racing around the planet five times per second.
Even his special shoes were beginning to smolder at this speed, but Ranma didn't care, he had just a tiny little bit more to go. With a scream he pushed beyond the final wall of speed and the world turned into pure light. He heard Rival scream again, but ignored it as…
…a wall of pure energy rose up before him in the blink of an eye. They slammed into it and for a split second the world turned to pure ecstasy and bliss as they passed through.
Into the Speed Force.
Ranma came to a stop and threw rival down. There was no up or down, side to side, or anything else, just pure speed. Ranma didn't relax to much as he let the speed force saturate his body. He watched as Rival slowly sat up and looked around.
"What?" Fear filled the old man's face for a second as he came to his feet and looked around.
"Welcome to the speed force Rival." Ranma said.
The old man paled. "No…NO!"
"This is where you belong." Ranma said coldly. "The Speed Force wants you, I can feel its need urging me on. This is where you belong."
Rival lunged at him, but by the time his hand was close to Ranma's face it was already unraveling, absorbed into the speed force. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Ranma stood there for several seconds as Rival vanished from sight and his last word seemed to fade away until only pure speed force was left in its place. He reached out and touched some of the energy around him. It caressed his hand and body like a long lost friend and wished him luck.
He nodded, smiled, and shot forward as he tapped into pure speed. At first he didn't know what to expect, but then he looked to the side and saw that several speedsters were racing along beside him. He recognized Johnny Quick instantly as they ran. Beside him was a man in blue and black with an evil grin on his face, glorying in the run itself.
Another racer came up beside Ranma and for a second Ranma thought he was The Flash, Wally West. The only difference was that this Flash was wearing a simply red body suit and smiling. That and his Ki signature, while slightly different, wasn't anything like Wally, so that meant he might just be that other guy. "Barry Allen…"
"Hell yeah." Ranma yelled and poured on the speed, the two of them leaving the others in the dust.
Twin laughs echoed over the speed force landscape.
He passed through another wall and reemerged into the real world, racing around the planet just like when he entered the speed force. Glorying in the sheer speed of moving faster than the speed of light, he made his way around the planet a dozen times, before heading back to Central City.
In no time at all he was standing before Jay's house and wasn't winded at all. He made his way up the walk and went inside. Joan was sitting in a chair beside the couch keeping an eye on her husband. "Ranma, you made it."
Ranma nodded. "Yeah, has Max made it back yet?"
"I haven't seen him. Jay's still out cold from that blow to the head I'm fraid."
Walking over to the couch Ranma took another look at his teacher. "He'll be fine by tomorrow."
"I called one of his friends in the JSA and they said someone would be by in a couple of hours to look at him."
He nodded. "I need some food."
Joan was more than happy to make him a full course dinner. He was just finishing up when Max Mercury came by. "Ah Ranma, good to see you again."
"Hey max." Ranma said. "Figured you would be here before I was."
"Had a couple of things to take care of first. Batman is on his way back to Gotham by the way. He wouldn't listen to me when I tried to tell him about his problem."
"I'm not surprised, he'll need to be reminded by someone he would trust."
"He doesn't trust anyone."
Sighing, Ranma shrugged. "That's one of the first signs, then paranoia, and violent rages."
"Would you mind if I told the JLA about this? Or you could do it yourself, I thin they would listen to you now that you've taken down your first major bad guy."
Ranma snorted. "Yeah right."
He shrugged and didn't say anything.
"You entered the speed force today kid, I felt the surge as the barrier was breached. It was unlike anything I've ever felt before, what happened while you were in there?"
"Well…Rival didn't know what was going on at first, but once he figured it out he was completely absorbed into the speed force, becoming one with it."
"So he's dead." Max looked a little depressed about that.
"I don't think he is." Ranma said.
"Well I was absorbed into the speed force once myself and I'm still alive. I think he just became pure speed. As you know being in the speed force is like going to heaven. I doubt he'll ever pull himself back together enough even remember his own name, let alone escape."
Max nodded. "I ran across Bart helping get people to the hospital. He tried to help us out, but we were moving faster than even he could run."
Ranma laughed a little. "I'll need to give him a few pointers. I learned quite a bit while I was inside the speed force for a second time."
"Care to talk about it."
"Not right now. It doesn't feel like something I should tell anyone. Let's just say I learned some really big secrets and leave it at that. Wally hasn't even touched the secrets of the speed force yet. He's a bit dense isn't he?"
Max laughed. "Yeah, he doesn't like to listen to others."
"Well, I've got all my memories back as well."
"Oh? I thought you got them back earlier."
"So did I, but now I remember everything, from the day I was born until today. Entering the speed force fixed my head in some way. Here in a day or two I'm going to go and look for my father and beat the hell out of him."
"He's deserves it." Ranma growled.
Ranma nodded. "Did Batman have anything to say before he left?"
"Well, he did say that he would be watching you."
This just made Ranma shrug. "He is paranoid."
"Oh, what ever happened to Rival's grand daughter?"
"I left her to help you guys out. I hope she's all right, I never got a chance to get her to the police."
"Well she might pop up again. Most criminals do."
"Well Rival gave her the ability to tap into the speed force, just like him. Without those enhancements."
"Oh that's just great. Another super speed criminal, it's just what the twin cities need."
Ranma stood up and stretched a little, rubbing his back. "I need a shower. We can make some decisions on where to go from here, tomorrow."
"Hey Ranma, you need a superhero name."
"No I don't." He yelled back.
"Just pick something, we can always change it." Max yelled back.
"Ion, photon, or even Warp Speed, I don't care! The names are silly!" Ranma snapped back and grumbled a few choice words under his breath.
Max and Joan Just laughed.
Notes: Gotta end it at some point. As with comic book stories, it has a little bit of a cliffhanger, just in case it's ever continued. While in the speed force, Ranma meet Barry Allen, or an impression of him. As the most famous speedster ever, I just had to have the two of them meet up. This has several implications that aren't or won't be expanded on any time soon. Several speedsters have been absorbed into the speed force over the years, but I don't know them all by name. Savant thought the speed force made him a god, while Quick wouldn't even acknowledge that it existed. And a few others that I just can't remember.
When Wally left the speed force he went on a little time travel trip and went to the past to meet himself as a kid. I was thinking of doing something like this with Ranma, having him go back to the day he first got his powers, but decided against it, the 'Lame' kept hitting me over the head if I even started writing it. So I left the fic open ended instead, that way a sequel would be easier if I ever decided to do one. As with Prime Attitude, It's possible, it just depends on if I have the energy to do it.
Which is iffy right now.
Someone is bound to bring up the clothing issue. Ranma running around in normal clothing all day should have had friction burning his clothing off, or something to that effect. Not quite true, that only happens when speedsters don't concentrate enough. They all generate a low level force field that protects them a little bit. Ranma was doing okay until he had to push beyond his limits to save Joan, which in turn ruined his clothing. And gave me an excuse to get him in costume. Anyway, Jay runs around in a pair of jeans and a red shirt, noting special about them at all, even his world famous hat is normal.