OCTOBER 16, 16:11 EDT
OCTOBER 16, 16:11 EDT
And though we know all seems lost, the one thing the aliens cannot destroy is hope. Hope survives because the battle is not over, not as long as even one of us is willing to fight. It doesn't matter how many fall, for new heroes will always rise to carry on, bringing all their resources, their skills, their talents to bear to defeat the enemy. The people of Earth will survive this. We will rebuild and we will thrive. Never doubt and never forget, the Earth will never surrender!
There's someone waiting for him in his room. He stops dead in his tracks and a woman wearing a pressed business suit looks up from her tablet device. She lays the device neatly on her lap and smiles at him. He can't tell if it's meant to be friendly or dangerous; he thinks it's maybe a little of both.
"Touching words," she tells him, giving a slow, silent clap of her hands. Wally isn't convinced that she's genuinely impressed; he has a feeling she's here to talk to him about more than just their speech — and it's not a good feeling.
"How did you get in here?" he demands from the doorway. He's keeping a safe distance, for now.
The woman chuckles and Wally narrows his eyes. "Cutting straight to the chase, I see," she says. Her voice lilts through the air, mocking him with every word. "But you're good at that, aren't you, Wally?" He opens his mouth to protest, but she simply holds her hand in the air and his mouth shuts. "Ah-ah, patience, Mr. West. I understand that isn't one of your strongest suits, but please, bear with me." She picks up her device and tucks it in the crook of her arm, motioning to the desk in Wally's room with her other. "Now then, if you will. I have a number of things to discuss with you. In private."
Wally eyes the desk and then the device the woman holds suspiciously. He has absolutely no reason to trust this woman, given that she somehow broke into Mount Justice undetected, but something tells him that if he tried to run and tell the others, she'd be able to stop him. His curiosity is stronger than his will to run, anyway, and he thinks she knows that already. The automatic door closes behind him as he makes his way toward his desk. The woman smiles again, that same fake, threateningly friendly smile. This she genuinely approves of.
"Your cooperation is much appreciated, Mr. West," she says, meeting him at his desk where she sets down her device and begins to pull up various folders from a graphical user interface more complex than even Robin's. He'd be impressed if he weren't so suspicious of her motives. "Sit, please." And he does so, if not a little hesitantly. He still doesn't like where this is going.
"I assume you're going to explain why you're here and what you want," he says, folding his arms over his chest. She only looks at him like she's amused, which he guesses she probably is.
"You're very astute," she says, "just like your friend Robin... Or is it Dick? Either way —" Wally shoots up and grabs the woman by her very finely pressed collar, eyes glowering with the intense threat that if she says his name one more time, he might do something he regrets.
"Don't say his name," he growls. "I don't care what you want with me, but don't bring him into this. This has nothing to do with him." He releases her with a shove and returns to his seat in a huff. She straightens her collar, making sure everything is in the right place again, before she returns to work on her device, as if nothing just happened — or, maybe, it's happened one too many times before and now she's used to nearly getting attacked for pushing the wrong buttons.
"Very defensive of your friends," she acknowledges. "That's good. It makes you angry." She pauses over a video file, only opening it when she says, "We want you to channel that anger. We need more people like you, Wally. The stubborn ones, the ones who won't back down and fight for their friends, their family — their whole planet — until the bitter end."
Wally stares at what he's seeing with wide-eyed horror. It's some kind of military video footage edited together with corporate propaganda. Decimation, fear, lies — that's all he sees. Death and destruction, all in the name of "business." Lex Luthor would be all over this if he knew it existed. He might already know; hell, maybe this is The Light's mysterious partner. His expression grows dark, though this only seems to make the woman more pleased.
"What do you want from me," he asks, though it isn't much of a question. The woman leans against the desk and shrugs. She leaves the file open, though its playback has now stopped on the CDC logo. Wally stares at it, then at her. "You came here, showed me this, but what for?"
"Because," she answers casually, "I can give you the opportunity to be the hero you always wanted to be. All the recognition, all the glory — I can see to it that the whole galaxy will know the name Kid Flash. Or Wally West, if you prefer. It doesn't matter much to me. All you have to do is say yes."
Wally narrows his eyes. She isn't telling him everything, and he's not about to agree to something he doesn't have all the facts about. "Yes to what?"
"To signing a contract," she says. "It's very simple, really. You come work for me, and we'll let this planet live. You saw the video: our business is destruction. Sure, you'll be part of that destruction, but..."
"If I don't?"
She sighs and shakes her head, as if she's heard this a thousand times. She probably has. "If you don't... You stay here, with your friends and family, tirelessly defending your home against invaders... and, well, let's just say I can personally guarantee you won't succeed. Just say the word, and all will be spared. You'll be a hero, Wally. The greatest hero the Earth has ever known. Face it, Wally, no one else is coming. The League is gone, the Corps is... well, compromised — it's just you, Wally. You're the only one who can save them."
Wally takes a moment to consider his options. He can't be a hundred percent certain this woman isn't lying to him, but at the same time... she's offering him a chance to save everyone he loves from certain death. He's seen it countless times in the past twenty-four hours — the whole League, Artemis, Kaldur... He can't bear to watch anyone else die. He hesitates, but eventually: "How do I know you're not lying?"
The woman smiles at him again. "That's the beauty of it: you don't. The real question is: is it worth the risk?"
Is it worth the risk? He can hear Robin's voice in his head and it's that voice that almost stops him — but it's exactly that voice that doesn't. He's doing this for Rob, for everyone. He lowers his head so she won't see him start to tear up. He won't cry, not over this. But this will probably be the last time he sees any of his friends. He knows the mindlink isn't active anymore, not during their downtime before their rendezvous at Smallville, but he thinks a silent I'm sorry anyway. When he looks back up, his face is serious, determined, and he only says one word.