Acute Multiplex Syndrome
Roleplaying Log: Acute Multiplex Syndrome
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

While studying the Speed Force, Wally West comes into contact with a strange contaminant that attacks his immune system - and runs into Firestorm, who's learning to use his newfound powers.

Other Characters Referenced: Danton Black
IC Date: December 19, 2018
IC Location: Louisville, KY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 19 Dec 2018 07:24
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

"I really appreciate you taking the time to test this for me, Professor Ramos," the Flash says into the communicator set into his earpiece as he races across the continental United States at high velocity, a scarlet blur of motion.

"I was once told that the Speed Force is a kind of universal fundamental sort of energy. I'm interested to learn if it's related at all to nuclear energy. While I /could/ have reached out to other contacts of mine, I heard that - well, that Professor Stein was a top mind in your field. I know he's gone, but as one of his colleagues, maybe you can help." He pauses before adding, "Maybe - maybe there's something to be learned about why that explosion happened, too."

The sensors tracking the Flash broadcast all kinds of expected biometric readings across a number of wavelengths.

Somewhere near the Ozarks, though, unexpected readings begin to arrive: microscopic levels of /something/ that has a nuclear signature.

Just then, the Flash pipes up, coughing. "Didn't see that coming … hey, look, I just ran through some kind of cloud. I'll admit that I am - *ahem* - /not/ experiencing the best reaction. Going to try and begin back in case this matters."

The unexpected readings begin to increase, slowly but steadily until a message appears:

ERROR > MULTIPLE READINGS IDENTIFIED.
1. FLASH [NAME REDACTED]
2. BLACK, DANTON - DECEASED

"Professor," the Flash wheezes a moment later. "I don't feel so good …"

*

"I'm not just imagining that, am I? It's like a little….eeehh, like a tickle? No?"

Ronnie's never been out this far from home, but now that he can fly he's been getting some serious frequent flyer miles as he explores distance and velocities he can reach as the nuclear man Firestorm. But while things have been exhilarating, there's still a lot of things he and his 'passenger' have been trying to work out.

Professor Stein's still troubled about the news he's been hearing as more reports circling the situation at the nuclear plant surface, but without directly engaging people they've only been able to learn so much, and the news only tells from a certain perspective. Although done so begrudgingly at first, Stein has come to accept that some things had to be directly seen to, and when it came to Firestorm's abilities the both of them were still largely working on what all they were capable of.

Your lack of being able to properly put it into words aside, I do think I know what you're talking about. It's difficult to describe. Familiar though, perhaps? I can't quite put my finger on it, Professor Stein notes, frowning.

"I think it's coming from that way, whatever it is. Something I'm sensing…" Firestorm mutters to himself. He veers off course then. "Let's check it out."

*

Outside Louisville, Kentucky, the Flash stumbles and barely manages to keep himself upright, his pace slowing somewhat to compensate.

"Having trouble … with my balance," the speedster communicates to Prof. Ramos. "And I'm breaking a sweat. I'm not running … nearly fast enough - or for long enough - for that to happen."

He coughs, and the biometrics readings indicate the presence of numerous foreign bodies in the Flash's system.

"Do you think -" the Flash begins to ask before his limbs spasm and he goes tumbling for a dozen miles. "Aaghh!"

Rudimentary visualizations of the foreign agents suggest human-shaped entities the size of bacteria that are literally combatting the Flash's white blood cells.

His eyes unfocused, the Flash warily gets to his feet, knees shaky. "Gonna try for one last push to make it … home," he says, his temperature rising. He begins running, but it doesn't look remotely like a straight line.

In fact, the Flash's run takes him up the side of an Appalachian mountain and then over its top, his speed shooting him out into the air.

"Help …!" he cries from a dry throat, limbs flailing.

*

The readings are troubling, especially the name that comes up outside of the Flash's. "Flash? Are you there? This isn't making any sense," Ramos says, his tone urgent, and then in a murmur more to himself, "…Danton Black…but how..?" It's the speedster's cry that has him jerk his thoughts back into focus as he stares at the readouts. "Flash—!"

It's coming from down there! Stein directs, even as Firestorm brings them towards the frigid mountains. "Yeah. Yeah! I feel it- I… Whoa, Prof, you see that?!"

Not a moment after spying the figure practically launched frm the mountain range, the fiery-headed man shoots off after him, light streaking in his wake as he tears through the sky. He opens his arms to scoop up the flailing form, eyes widening as it hits him once he finally gets a good look at just who he's trying to catch.

"Wh— The Flash?!"

*

His flailing limbs caught by an entirely unexpected figure, the Flash blinks and tries to focus his gaze at the individual holding onto him.

"Whuzza …? You - you saved me," he says with a grimace, his own hands not doing so great a job at clutching to Firestorm's.

"Need help," he mumbles, his tongue thick. "Something inside - allergic, maybe? Or poisoned," the Flash says with a groan. "Got help in New York … if we can make it." His head slumps for a long moment.

Meanwhile, the energy signature from his body grows stronger, its nuclear essence clear. The Flash coughs and a small cloud escapes his mouth - and it's evident that the cloud is comprised of many tiny, identical humanoid figures that quickly attempt to replicate themselves even as they plunge to their demise.

To the right ears, the myriad figures in the Flash's blood vessels can be heard, all talking together at once in a shared voice that's still nearly unregisterable to most senses: "Once motor control is ours, our revenge is guaranteed - and the false narrative of Stein as a hero will be corrected!"

The Flash's arms and legs jerk, and he grits his teeth. "Can't - can't control - I'm sorry!"

*

Firestorm is very much trying not to freak out at his meeting with yet another renowned hero-type. Professor Stein tries to keep him focused, but between that and the Flash's own obviously troubling state of being it's not so difficult.

"Inside? But what were you doing? Where did you come from—"

Ronald,there, Stein cuts in, and Firestorm's eyes narrow as he looks at the puff that comes from the coughing speedster. It's more than just vapor from breathing hot air in chilly altitudes, that's for sure.

"Did you just say somethi— Whoa! Flash, dude! I can't—" His hands tighten around the man's own arms as the Flash suddenly starts to twitch. They'd never make it to New York this way! "Something's super wrong. Should I bring us down? With all his moving around I don't think I'll be able to keep a good grip!"

In the Flash's ear, another voice. Ramos. "-Flash? Where are you? What happened? Is someone with you? These readouts, they're going out of control..!"

*

"I - I feel like - like I'm falling apart from the inside out!" the Flash manages to spit out, although it's unclear whether he's trying to explain this to Firestorm or to Prof. Ramos.

"Ground … would be good," he adds, "to keep me from - from making a splat down there." The speedster shudders and shakes his head, blinking again.

"Ramos - there's someone with me. A flying hero. Gonna try - try to shake myself free of whatever that cloud of dust was." The Flash groans. "Might damage the sensors, I'm sorry. But this is killllllling me." He spasms again, his gut tightening, as he finishes the sentence.

"And - no matter what," Flash continues, "thank you, man. You caught me. What's … your name?"

*

Descending towards a snow-covered field seems the best option given the speedster's current state. As strange as the Flash's response is, it seems to address both the inquiries of his current company and that of his commlinked observer. It doesn't quite clarify things, but it's something.

"Thank goodness you're not alone out there- I don't know who I'd contact that would be able to reach you all the way out there," Ramos replies, sounding slightly relieved, although still very much on edge.

"Splat would be no bueno," the nuclear man agrees as he brings them down, setting the speedster as gently upon the ground as possible. He can't help but look a little proud at being referred to as a flying hero. "Did'ja hear that, Prof?" Not now, Ronald. "Right, right…"

His grin is wiped from his face as the Flash's groaning reminds him of the situation at hand. "Y-you've got this. Right? I'm Firestorm. Kinda new in town, guess you could say- I think there's something more to this dust cloud you inhaled though," he says, squinting as he eyes the man for any more puffs of strange clouds.

*

Once the two touch down on the mountain, the Flash collapses to his knees but raises a hand weakly. "I - I think so," he says quietly. "Just watch out … I'm not sure if this will hurt you, too."

Putting his hands on the ground in front of him and balancing on his knees, the Flash begins to vibrate. He grits his teeth. "Aaaahhhhhhh -" he begins, and a fine mist slowly begins to materialize around him, like a dog shaking off a wet coat.

Only, of course, that the mist isn't 'wet' so much as 'angry', a fact that becomes evident as the mist gets darker as more invasive figures are expelled. The number of discrete figures begins to decrease as the cells merge together.

As they do, they grow in size - until, eventually, it's one adult-sized human.

The Flash stops vibrating and collapses in a heap, the heat from his body melting the snow all around him.

Danton Black sneers and kicks at the unconscious speedster. "Are you /kidding/ me?" he asks. "I finally had a way /back/! I -"

He pauses, turning to regard the other figure. His mouth drops a bit, staring at the man's flaming head. "What the hell are you?" Black asks in a tone that's half disdain and half wonder.

*

"Uh sure," Firestorm says, floating back a ways, eyes wide as he watches the Flash get to it. As though his eyes couldn't get any wider, he gapes as he watches the strange 'mist' coalesce into something much more than some strange poisonous cloud.

"Oh sh—"

And then, "-hey! Don't kick a man when he's down!" Immediately he goes on the defensive, hands balled up into fists, looking ready for a fight. He hardly notices the professor's stunned reaction.

That voice… But that's impossible..!

"Prof, what're you going on about? This guy tried to take out the Flash!" Firestorm addresses…the air beside him before turning back to glare at Black.

Right before he surges forward to try taking a swing at the guy's face. "The name's Firestorm! And you messed with the wrong heroes!"

*

Danton Black raises a hand to try and block the incoming swing, but he's too late. Firestorm's blow knocks him hard in the temple, and he hurtles several feet through the air, cartwheeling from the force of the impact before landing in the snow, as unconscious as the Flash.

The speedster, at least, wakes up groggily, rolling over onto his back and looking up toward Firestorm and then over toward his knocked-out opponent. "I … I feel so violated," he says with a deep exhalation.

The Flash puts a hand to his ear. "Professor … believe it or not, I'm feeling much better know. Don't get me wrong, I'm worn out like nobody's business, but I don't feel like I'm fighting a Kryptonian cold any more." He pushes himself to his feet and brushes off his hands, stepping toward Firestorm.

"Also, Professor, I've just met a superhero who saved my life. Firestorm, right?" the Flash asks. "Oh," he quickly adds, "I'm talking to a colleague back in New York. I hope you don't think I'm just some unhinged guy talking to some invisible friend." He grins sheepishly and extends a hand toward the nuclear man.

*

"Woo! That felt good!" the young hero whoops as he shakes out his fist. "Did'ja see that Prof? Professor Stein..?"

The waking speedster calls for his attention over the unusual quiet from his backseat driver, and Firestorm flies over to the man's side to see if he needs any help up.

"That sounds about right. I mean…you had a bunch of tiny versions of that dude in you. Ookay that sounds pretty funky even just saying it."

As the Flash makes his own report of reassurance to his professor friend that not quite lives in his head, Ronnie can't help but grin a bit, even at the explanation. "Heh, yeah. Invisible friend. Imagine that…" He nods and reaches over, shaking the speedster's hand. "That's my name! I kinda hang around New York too, actually. So, good? I would've felt really bad if I ended up dropping you back there."

*

"Tiny versions of that guy … /inside/ me," the Flash repeats, glancing over his shoulder at Danton. "Can you do me a favor and never, ever tell anyone else about this?" he asks before rapidly fashioning a length of rope from nearby trees' wood fiber and binding Danton's hands and feet.

"If you can help me get this guy back to New York, we can put him somewhere where we - and he - will be safe. He clearly needs help," the Flash says. "Think you can carry him for a bit? Once I've finished recuperating, I'll take the load."

He grins. "I knew you wouldn't drop me, by the way. Nobody with poofy sleeves like those would ever let anyone down."

The Flash claps his hands and takes a deep breath. "Alright! Meet you in Manhattan?" Without waiting for an answer, the scarlet speedster tears off toward the northeast.

*

"Ooh, ooh- I got this!"

As he sees the Flash make do with binding the unconscious Danton's hands and feet, Firestorm does one better and transmutes the makeshift rope into something even more sturdy. Yeaaaah, teamwork with the Flash!

He nods as he moves to pick up the man, although inwardly growing a bit more concerned for the pensive state of the Professor in his head. "Prof…? Something you wanna talk about?" he quietly asks.

…later, Ronald. Let's…just get back.

Firestorm looks over at the speedster, grinning briefly before frowning as the compliment (?) sinks in. "But they're not bad poofy, right? I was gonna go for something that shows off my guns but—"

He's….talking to air, the Flash but a red afterimage already fading.

….Ronald?

Grunting as he hauls up Danton Black's prone form, Firestorm launches himself skywards in a streak of light.

"Yeah, yeah! I'm going! -did he ditch us? I think he totally ditched us! I just got ditched by the Flash..!"

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