Flash vs. the Armadillo

July 06, 2015:

The Flash fights the first appearance of Armadillo, but is this some sort of proxy battle for the real war?!

Metropolitan Art Museum

It's an art museum. In a Metropolis. But just not /that/ Metropolis. It's in New York

Characters

NPCs: Armadillo, Dr._Malrus

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

A FEW WEEKS AGO

"Are you sure she's alright, doctor?"

Malrus turns to the obviously concerned Antonio Rodriguez and puts his hand upon the younger man's shoulder.

"Tony, we've been through this. I have Maria stabilized." The doctor's words seem to have a soothing effect on Rodriguez, and for emphasis, the older man gives a squeeze to the shoulder. "She will be okay."

"And the money?" Antonio asks.

"Like I said," Dr. Karl Malrus replies. "You can work for me to pay it off."

  • * * * *

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
TODAY

"Alright, Dr. Wells, I'm here." The Flash radios in by transmitting via a radio at his right ear. As he looks out at the main lobby, there is mass confusion. Men, women, and children alike are flowing out of the building as fast as their legs can take them. There doesn't seem to be any immediate danger.

30 seconds ago a call came in from the NYPD. Some sort of monster was up on the third floor in the exhibit carrying the van Gogh painting Irises and Roses. Specifics are not clear at this point.

Back at STAR Labs, Harrison Wells leans forward in his wheelchair to get a better view of the monitor in front of him. The headset he's plugged into probably makes him appear more like someone who mans IT help desks than a scientist, but it gets the job done. With a few quick keystrokes, he inputs a command into the computer, "Good, Barry. Caitlyn is just pulling up the schematics of the building — not the public parts," most New Yorkers were familiar with MoMA, at least with some passing knowledge.

"The call said that whatever was going on was taking place on the third floor." There's a brief pause in Wells' speech, "We don't know what is going on, exactly. Be fast, get a look, fill us in."

"Hey Barry," Cisco's voice chimes into the radio as he finds the schematic of the building. "I got what you need. There's a secondary non-public entrance west of where you are — "

" — Get your own terminal — " Caitlyn chides teasingly as Cisco leans over to see the vitals on Barry's suit.

With a small smirk, Cisco doesn't even miss a beat, " — I'd suggest going in from there. Whatever it is shouldn't be expecting you. I'm looking for another exit if you should need it."

The Flash nods slowly in between deep breaths, "I see it. I'll be up there in a second."

The door slams hard against the backstop as Barry motors past. Everything slows down for him, even time itself, as he breaches the mysterious speed force. The trip takes only a split second, but in his reference, is much slower.

He has to slow down in order to not announce his presence on the third floor. The door is opened and he slips by, remaining undetected. Whirs of wind zip by throughout the floor.

As those zephyrs slip past, a gigantic monstrosity in one of the rooms looks over his shoulder. A sniff of the air, then beady little black eyes look back and forth, before he goes back to what he's doing.

Elsewhere, the Flash skids to a stop and mutters in a whisper. "Something is in there. It's giant, with a huge shell. It has a tail." This is nothing new, of course. The four of them have always gone up against the strange and unexplainable. As such, Barry seems pretty calm during the interchange. Experience breeds tranquility, or something like that.

"Like an armadillo," says a nodding Cisco.

Wells' gaze flits towards Caitlyn and an upward tick of his eyebrows indicates some silent assessment, "Check the database, let's assess whether any calls have been made to local police about large …. armadillo-like creatures being seen anywhere." He looks over towards Cisco, "And bring up what we know about any related mammals." Wells pinches the bridge of his nose, "From what I remember," from who-knows-where, "armadillos have a keen sense of smell. Barry, he's likely already smelled you. If you want to take him down, that might be something worth using. If it is like an armadillo, it probably has poor vision. We may need a better assessment."

Behind his terminal Cisco makes a few quick keystrokes and then notes, "Apparently armadillos jump three to four feet vertically when startled. And that's when they're smallish. So, be aware that /that/ could happen," Cisco shrugs as he continues to scan the file.

Caitlyn's teeth absently meet her bottom lip, "Barry, there's a ventilation system that runs throughout the building that you could definitely fit into. It's going to be tight, but I think you can still probably run with a little bit of care."

"Ventilation, got it," the Flash whispers, but from behind, a meaty, giant clawed hand comes out and grips the scarlet speedster by the throat. The jolt is so hard it nearly knocks the young man unconscious, and what the first strike started, the squeezing will soon finish. The STAR Labs tiny Go-Pro-like device gets a full glimpse of the Armadillo-Monster as it pulls the Flash towards it and sniffs experimentally.

Barry's eyes are rolling into the back of his head as he begins to lose consciousness. He's up off the ground, legs dangling, and a goner, for sure, right?!?!

"Barry! BARRY!" Caitlyn repeats. "He looks like he's unconscious, and his oxygen levels are dropping fast. I don't think it's let go of him. We need that thing to drop Barry…"
"Barry!" Wells repeats into the headset before directing his attention back to the other members of the STARS team. "Cisco, the suit — the built-in defibrillator still works, right?!"

Even before Doctor Wells asks the question, Cisco is moving towards a different terminal. "Yeah! I tested it two days ago!"

"We can't just shock Barry! That won't be good for him either!" Caitlyn objects loudly.

"But it may inspire his new friend to drop him," Wells counters as he pushes his glasses higher up on his nose. "Barry's heart can take more than your average human's. But he still needs air. A lot of it."

Despite Caitlyn's objections, Cisco has already readied the suit. Quietly he apologizes, "Sorry, Barry." And with that volts of electricity roll through the Flash.

The Flashes body glows a bright blue as the fingers of little bits of electricity run through and over him. He shakes violently like some sort of fish out of water.

*YELP!*

The Armadillo monster recoils at the intense pain and is thrown on its back while it drops the Flash. A faint smell of burning meat can be smelled and for what seems like a long time, each of them lies there, un-moving.

Finally, the monster rolls back and forth on its shell until it can get to its side. From there, to its feet, and it bounds away out the side door, skips several steps as it runs downward, and on to the side street where it disappears into an alleyway. That's the bad part. That the Flash is not dead and that the van Gogh painting is still there are the good parts.

Still, the Flash remains motionless, quite unconscious even as the NYPD gets to the front door.

"Life signs?" Wells deadpans without peeling his eyes from his screen. His elbows rest on the console and his fingers steeple together in front of him, and his jaw tightens as his breathing slows, considerably.

"I have a heartbeat and brain activity, but he's down for the count. I told you shocking Barry was a bad idea — " Caitlyn scolds cooly. Her own jaw tightens and her body stiffens as she reprimands both of her colleagues.

"But it let him go," Cisco counters. "And he's alive!"

"But vulnerable!" Caitlyn interjects.

While the pair have taken to bicker, the cogs in Harrison's brain have been moving. "Set off the alarm in the basement." The edges of his lips tick up slightly.

Cisco waves a single finger, "Distract them and buy Barry some time! Smart!"

Caitlyn makes a scoffing noise in the back of her throat and rolls her eyes.

Wells leans forward further, "Come, Barry. Wake up. Wake up, Barry Allen."

The alarms ring out in the bottom of the basement, and the police officers swarm towards it as though they are ants heading for something sweet. "He's down here! Go! Go! Go!"

Up on the third floor, all is quiet with the Flash lying prone in the middle of the floor. And it stays like this. For minute after terrible minute. Aside from his penchant for telling friends about his secret identity, and aside from SHIELD having had a mole pose as his girlfriend for the better part of the year, Barry's identity as well has his freedom has remained safe.

Finally, there's a bit of a cough. Then a moan. Then an understated whisper, "That hurt."

A collective sigh of relief echoes through the STAR Labs control room. "Glad you're back, Mister Allen," Wells grins as he leans away from the console, visibly relieved that Barry is, indeed, okay.

"Yeaaaaah," Cisco says, "Sorry about that Barry. Didn't know how to make that thing let go of you. The suit was the easiest solution to the problem."

"I told them not to do it," Caitlyn says blandly with another vague roll of her eyes. "Barry, I need you to come back here so I can look you over. Can you get out of there?"

"If not, I'm sure Cisco can find Mister Allen a place to hideout until he feels," Wells grin grows, "more up to speed." Pun clearly intended.

"Nah, I think I'll be alright. I can get there."

In just a few moments, Barry is peeling off his mask, and making odd contortions with his face as he throws the mask onto one of the tables. "That guy was incredibly strong. I'm not sure what he was, but I think you're right on that sense of smell thing."

Caitlyn stands at attention and is already flitting towards Barry. She encircles the Flash, and motions, rather frenetically, that Barry move towards the pseudo bed (which looks more like a dentist's chair than a bed), "Please, Barry. I want to make sure everything is working as it should be. No one should be shocked like that without having an irregular heartbeat," she shoots a look towards Cisco and then Wells in turn.

Cisco grins as he walks towards Barry, "Good to see you in one piece! Wasn't sure how things would happen there."

Wells wheels after Cisco, and hmmms quietly, "Strength, sense of smell, armadillo-esque appearance," Harrison's lips twitch to the side, "it's likely someone has seen him before. We should research any sightings of large beasts or strange occurrences. It also begs questions as to what kind of beast would want a painting."

Barry does as Caitlin says, sitting back upon the chair and nodding to his friend. "I feel fine, Caitlin. I'm sure I'll be alright." Barry gives Cisco a grin and may even wink. "Glad to be in one piece. I wasn't so sure I was going to make that one. It moves incredibly quietly. And, like Dr. Wells said, it uses its sense of smell. I could tell that it couldn't see well, even when I was right in front of its face."

The odd thing, is that despite the teams best efforts over the course of the next weeks, no one has seemed to have had any information on anything even resembling the Armadillo-man.

ELSEWHERE

Harrison Wells' final question will have to wait however, as the Armadillo bounds into the sewers and goes on a long, winding route, taking him back to the headquarters of his master.

Entering through a secret passage way, the Armadillo looks towards Dr. Karl Malrus worriedly.

"Not able to get the painting?" the doctor asks, swiveling in his chair from inside a network hub of computer monitors. Behind Armadillo a wall of the sewer is covered in priceless works of art.

The Armadillo's eyes look towards the doctor's left. There, his loving Maria sits unconscious. "I…wasn't." Rodriguez, still man under all that armor, braces himself for Malrus' anger.

"No matter," Malrus says with a shake of his head. "It would have been nice to have, but wasn't necessary. First we'll have Wells' lackey. Then we will have Wells himself!"

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