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A Place Beyond Time and Space

Early March 2022


The Judges had come to them all. They had told the runners that they were among the fastest beings on this world, and this would be the race to determine the fastest being. A great title to be held, for sure. And the price would be great, one wish, to be fulfilled by these perfect beings, almost nothing would be impossible.


As long as they ran.


The runners that had accepted the race now stood in a wide open area, a barren wasteland with a dark red sky above. The moment they had acccepted, they had simply disappeared from where they were before, and now they were here, suddenly dressed in whatever they prefered to wear while running.


The hard ground under their feet were paved with dark asphalt, and the road stretched as far ahead as any could see, right from the glowing white starting line. The Judges hovered above. Flowing dark grey robes, with glowing lights in vaguely humanoid shapes underneath, shifting across all colors of the spectrum.


Heroes and villains from across the world mingled or kept to themselves. The heroes that had arrived would perhaps be able to recognize some of them, among the dozen or so runners. Get-Away, of Larceny Inc., a middle-aged woman with short black hair in a primarily white costume with purple shoulders and outer arms. Gumball Rally, a former intern to the Atom Family and super hero, now a member of the Candy Crew, wearing an Ultra-Speed Harness. Speed Freak, Johnny Rocket II's brother-in-law and Rocket's father, in a full body black suit with chaotic yellow and red lightning bolts, all features obscured. Faster Pussycat, the high profile thief in her skin-tight cat-themed costume. Johnny Speed, of the Tyranny Syndicate. He was older than when he had last fought Velocity, but his glare as he stared at her easily told her that he had not forgotten her.


The only prominent speedster that seemed to be missing from the crowd was Johnny Rocket.

Edited by RocketLord
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This was not Fast-Forward's first rodeo. He'd been his daughter's age the first time ancient beings of unfathomable power had challenged him to be part of a race; though in that case it had been the Roman gods and Mercury had been an awfully poor sport about the way Clock Queen and Tempus Fugitive had tried a little creativity to win the competition...well it wasn't like that guy from the Forever People had been seriously hurt. Then there'd been Mercury looking for a race back in the early 90s, then that thing for charity around the time Will was born... 


So he'd talked things over with his wife (telepathy and super-speed were an unbeatable combination), grabbed a bottle of water and an energy bar, and even gotten a very literal wish instruction from his teenage daughter just to make sure these guys were on the level. Just in case he won. Truthfully he didn't really expect that, but you never knew. Really, he was here for other things. 


Things called networking. And brand identity. Certainly he was rocking the latter, wearing mirror shades and a purple-blue jacket that showed off his synth-pink Fast-Forward! T-shirt. 

"Well what's up dudes and dudettes and duderiones!" he declared into the camera on his phone as he zipped out into the crowd, recording some footage for the Fast-Forward/Hologram Netflix special. "This is Fast-Forward coming to you from the mystic realms beyond, where me and some of the fastest people on Earth are going to have a little contest to decide who's the most radical." He looked around at the others and said with a wink for the camera, "I may let these kids win just to make 'em feel better, we'll see. Hey it's Get-Away, what's up Poppin' Fresh? Gumball Rally, what's up sweetheart? Speed Freak, my man, up top!" He pointed his finger dramatically at his own camera and declared "don't do drugs! Faster Pussycat, gotta respect somebody who knows a little thing about the classics, and heeyyy Johnny Speed, how's it...hangin?" He seemed on a stronger footing with the League member. "Velocity, how's my other favorite super-mom?" 

Thoughtspeed, being his oldest son, got a: 


Hey boy. I know this isn't your first time in the big leagues so I won't talk to you like you're a little kid. Just keep an eye on some of these goddamn lunatics


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Velocity had not really been interested in taking part in some competition to prove the fastest being in the cosmos (or whatever the mysterious judges had indicated the title would be). But given the interest various cosmic beings had shown in her son Lawrence in recent years the Freedom League speedster had figured it might be worthwhile to possible get a few that were friendly by cooperating with their little competition.


She was dressed in her rather iconic costume, the morphic molecule yellow body suit with a black and white checkered pattern that ran up the sides of her legs and torso and down the side of her arms. Her mirrored visor covered her eyes and the brown wig that stuck out the back of the mask that covered much of the rest of her head and face was back in a ponytail.


Although Velocity went through the motions of looking around at the others gathered for the competition, she really did not need to. The technology built into her visor gave her full view of everything around her. The speedster recognized most, if not all of those gathered for this competition, though there were a few that she had faced off with before. One was Get-Away of Larceny Inc., the two having tussled when the group of super-thieves had attempted a heist at a high-profile charity event in North Bay.


And then there was Johnny Speed. Velocity had faced him back toward the end of her Senior year in high school, when she had stumbled into a plan by the Tyranny Syndicate to replace key individuals on Prime Earth with their duplicates from Anti-Earth. Speed had been overseeing the operation and Velocity had gone one-on-one with the villain, and won. It was that case which earned her the invitation onto the Freedom League. Clearly Speed had not forgotten being beaten by a teenage girl.


Velocity was pulled from her thoughts when Fast-Forward made his way over to greet her. The League speedster turned toward him with a friendly smile. "Good to see you Fast-Forward. How is Hologram?"

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"Hologram is volunteering with Bryant's elementary school class for their first big field trip, hanging out with some real honeys over on Sanctuary, if you know what I mean," he added with a cheesy grin. "But that's what's great about living in Freedom City, you're never more than a few steps away from some superhero action. How's Mr. Velocity and the little shaver?" 

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Mona Simms (dressed in her Pacer duds) did, in fact, have a wish she wanted granted. A few years ago she might have been interested in proving she was the fastest, but now? Eh. It just didn’t mean anything to her anymore. Well…that was true of a lot of things, really. She knew Fast Forward from his TV show (oh right that ended recently didn’t it) and Velocity was like stupid famous (everybody knew the Freedom League duh). She guessed that wasn’t Johnny Rocket, from his mean expression. The others she didn’t know or only vaguely recognized. It would only be but so hard to win one race, get her wish, and go home to one of the islands. She did not talk to anyone because what was the point of even trying? She had her followers, her family, and her hero work. It was enough. She thought, lying to herself.

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-Do you mean the goddamn lunatics you're chatting up like they're your, what's the word, chums? Yeah, I got you, Dad.-


Thoughtspeed was going through a series of stretching exercises that might remind an observer of tai chi movements. 


-I spent an hour getting Eliza to not freak about this and I'm pretty sure she's not going to sleep until we're back. I gave her Mom's number but who knows if she'll call it.-


His costume almost gleamed, the sleek black material sporting a faintly-glowing tracery of green lines. His smooth helmet was retracted, leaving his messy hair flopping around a bit as he moved, the large domino mask with light green lenses covering enough face to do the job. The kinetic hero looked around, assessing the field. His father was talking with Velocity, trading war-stories. He saw Pacer, who he'd heard of once or twice but had never met, over by herself. In a green-black-blur of motion, he was over near her, close enough to speak out loud. He resumed his stretching exercises from before. 


"Hey there. I'm Thoughtspeed. You doing okay?"

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Jay knew most of the speedsters there by reputation. He hadn't ever really met any of them, but most of them were famous, and those that weren't, uncle Johnny had told him about. Johnny Rocket might not be as active as a hero as he had been, and Velocity had taken over his slot as the Freedom League's main speedster, but he was still connected, and he still kept up on other speedsters. Any other day, Jay would have been excited to meet the likes of Velocity and Fast-Forward, and he would've loved to talk try and talk with some speedsters at his own age, like Pacer and Thoughtspeed, but right now, the young blonde man that looked much like Johnny Rocket, but obviously wasn't him, was standing perfectly still, staring directly at Speed Freak. His father. The reason that his mom had to spend probably the rest of her life crippled, both in body and mind. No, Jay was not happy to see his father again.


Rocket was wearing sleek orange suit with a few yellow lines that left his arms and face bare, coupled with his usual goggles. It featured a yellow rocket on his chest. Uncle Chris had designed the suit, something for Jay to wear when he wasn't on Atom Academy business.


No, he wasn't feeling especially social right this moment.

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Get-Away, Faster Pussycat and even Gumball Rally seemed almost happy to greet Fast-Forward as he came around, with Faster Pussycat even doing a little pose where she bent forward and blowing a kiss at the phone, pulling Gumball rally, in her much bulkier and less revealing harness, along for the ride.


Get-Away looked a bit nervously a Velocity, but did a small, nervous wave to greet her. She didn't seem like she she was looking for revenge or anything like that, at least.


The same couldn't be said for Johnny Speed. If looks could kill, Velocity would be dead. He was vibrating, his body positively shaking, while he stared at her, barely containing himself from just flying towards her. It seemed like Velocity was right, that he hadn't forgotten.


Speed Freak laughed when Fast-Forward approached, moving to high five the speedster. His voice had a strange echoing effect as he responded. "Fast-Forward! Man, I was a fan when I was a kid! You were cool back then, before you sold out and settled down!" He laughed as he turned away, seemingly unconcerned with his son.


A disembodied voice spoke in the minds of all present, informing them, in their prefered language, that the race would start in 10 minutes.

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Vlocity gave an understanding nod at Fast Forward’s reference to the giant bees of Sancutary. "They are good, though my son is not so little anymore." She replied as he asked about her family with a small smile. "He starts high school next fall."


As the Freedom League speedster spoke with Fast Forward, she gave nods of greeting or small smiles to others than passed by and offered greetings to the pair. Velocity returned Get-Away's wave with a confident one, not bearing any ill feelings on her part toward the super-thief.


Johnny Speed….he likely would be a bigger issue, seeing as he had barely stopped glaring at her since they had arrived here.

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Mona saw him coming. Thoughtspeed (hey hadn’t he gone to Claremont too?). She was probably revved up too high again. He was probably supersonic, but to her perceptions he was moving in slow motion. Oh. He probably wanted to talk to her. She couldn’t imagine why. No, that wasn’t true. They’d never properly met, though she’d heard of him and seen him around here and there. It was probably the same for him. She wasn’t standing weird, was she? Oh, man, was she looking mopey? (he’s getting closer prolly gonna say something) That’s just inviting people to talk to you. (his mouth is opening, time to pay attention I guess) She slowed herself down to listen to him. Man, heroes were so nice. She blinked at him. How did talking go again? “Uh.” Sounds were a start? “I’m…” Her voice was rusty from disuse, and croaked slightly. Since her voice was high pitched, the effect was kind of…cute? Well, she hoped it was anyway, because the alternative was sad. Because wow, had it really been that long since she’s said words to another person? Man. She was a truly awful liar, so she settled for a joke instead while flashing a goofy smile. Hey, it worked in high school. “I’m alive. Can’t get better than that, right?” Whew, pleasantries. She could do pleasantries.

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It's called working the room! thought Richard without heat. If everyone thinks you're harmless, they're not going to stab you in the back. He let Will go so the boy could hit on Pacer, shooting a finger gun his way as he briefly circled the pack. Now that he thought about it, Speed Freak was maybe not quite as harmless as he'd remembered, but what could you do about that? The cosmic types tended to object to whoever threw the first punch, even if they threw it faster than the eye could see. "It's not so bad," he told the other man sincerely, "Get paid regularly and hassled a lot less. Scuse me." 


He zipped back next to Velocity and continued their conversation. "Man they grow up fast," he said, shaking his head. "No pun intended. Glad everybody's doing all right." 

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