Calibration

January 27, 2018:

Owen finds a lab that can help him figure out what happened with his speed. Ironically the man who stole it himself 'helps' Owen with that.

S.T.A.R. Labs

Fancy pants S.T.A.R. Labs speed force lab.

Characters

NPCs: A S.T.A.R Labs research team

Mentions: Tony Stark

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

S.T.A.R Labs.

There are a number of facilities under its' umbrella, but in the end, Owen wants to find Doctor Eobard Stevenson… and the good Doctor works out of the Maryland facility.

Central city is where Own has to call to get an appointment. The lie for Speed Force research gets him a line to the Maryland facilities supervisor… who promptly puts him on hold to consult with Eobard.

Eobard, of course, accepts the appointment… and with a background check, even decides to keep the appointment.

Owen, when he gets there, is escorted in by some /very/ fancy looking guards; as Owen walks along, it becomes obvious this place is a major deal, as the sheet amount of technology on display in just the lobby ensures there's no deal this is real science going on…. with the blonde receptionist looking to Owen as he walks in. "Doctor Stevenson is expecting you. The escorts will bring you to the lab." She gives a genuine smile, before Owen is escorted into the research wing of the facility.

A set of massively reinforced doors later, and Owen is in the Speed Force lab proper… and unless he's a cutting edge researcher, most of it is probably /way/ over his head.

What isn't though, are the four men and women in lab coats at the far end, fretting over a device that looks like it's giving off some kind of energy in a vacuum tube.

Then Owen sees a blonde man turn and regard him.

If it weren't for the numerous scars on his ears and chin, it'd be very easy for Eobard to be pictured behind a PR desk as the pretty boy, with his handsome looks. Instead, he's got those neutral eyes that turn into warmth as Eobard regards Owen. "Oh! The consultant is here. I'm sorry you three, but I'll have to take my leave for a moment."

Owen can detect a slight accent he can't quite place as Eobard directs him to a far table, "Shall we?"

*

It's been a rough couple of days for Owen since losing his speed in the fight with Zoom. He lost a couple of days to trying to process it and then threw himself into finally actually caring about where his powers came from, now that they seemed to be gone. Finding the foremost lab that was publishing work on the speed force wasn't all that hard, there aren't many. With a little more research he was able to mock up a plausible enough reason for his little call.

Arriving at the facility Owen is barely recognizable. He is clean shaven, his hair neat, and his clothes look very much like 'University Professor'. He sports a gray tweed sports coat over a white oxford shirt and crisp blue jeans. He even went as far as fake glasses and a briefcase. It wouldn't do to get turned away at the door after all.

Owen does a good enough job of not marveling at the equipment, though he makes appreciative geek noises about how advanced it all is and how far beyond what the University has access to. When directed to the table, Owen smiles tightly and makes his way there. It doesn't take him long after a handshake to say, "Mr. Stevenson, I'm afraid I need to apologize. I'm not a researcher. My name isn't Harry Wells. But I needed to speak with you about the speed force, and I was worried you wouldn't see me otherwise."

*

"I know."

The two words have Owen grabbed by the fancy guards as Eobard places his hands into his pockets, "We checked up on your credentials, and followed up on your request with a call to the real Mr. Wells. He was not very appreciative of being called from Seattle at 4 in the morning." Eobard notes as he moves to sit down himself. The guards promptly attempt to force Owen to sit opposite Eobard, "I was curious what sort of man would bother to go through that trouble though… and after consulting with the supervisor, we elected to allow you to speak your piece… despite being on private property and one call away from being arrested for trespassing."

Then, Eobards eyes squint at Owen, a hard look, "So. What do you need to talk to us about the Speed Force for, Mr. Imposter?"

*

Owen's face does in fact show a little surprise, he figured he wouldn't have gotten this far unless his little ruse was successful. His surprised face twists into a wry smile when Eobard elaborates. He offers no further apology for the deception, it got him what he wanted after all.

"Well. I believe I'm a speed force user. Or I might have to use the past tense there."

How much does he share? He would prefer not to use his name or get on paper anywhere, which is why he wasn't more open in the first place but he does need to give them something.

"Another meta.. the fu*$in- err, sorry. The Banana Flash hit me with some crazy energy a few days ago. I haven't been able to use my powers since. I was hoping there was something you could check or .." He grimaces and says "To be honest, I'm not a hundred percent sure my powers are tied to this same speed force you are researching."

*

"Ah, you're referring to the new Speedster who is calling himself Professor Zoom, yes? I've seen the Stark Tower video." Eobard nods to one of the big screens, "We consider it valuable research material here."

Then, Eobard looks back to Owen, "The Speed Force we know of that the Flash uses is an extra-dimensional energy field that exists in parallel with our universe."

He takes a coffee, sips, and shrugs, "Presumably, it extends throughout the rest of the realities out there, as well. So. What makes you think you are a Speed Force user in the first place?"

*

"Yea yea. That asshole."

Owen probably wouldn't even use different language if he knew who he was speaking to, but still it counts as irony. He nods, as it makes sense that they would be curious about a new speedster and want to study this. The explanation of the speed force and the mention of the flash, just get a tight-lipped nod.

"I used to have a limited amount of super speed. Just a flicker for a few seconds to move at speeds like the Flash. I actually met him.. once."

Okay so he fought him more than once, on many occasions actually as Captain Boomerang, but we'll go with meet.

"He mentioned the speed force. I never cared before because my powers just worked. Now? I'm curious as hell as to where they came from and if I can get the back." If. Not how or when. That's the world he's living in now.

*

"Hmm." Eobard initially assumed Owen was a time traveler who was downplaying it like him… but with these revelations, Eobard taps his chin. "So you think you might have been a Speed Force user… but now that it was taken, you want to actually look into it. I can understand that. Tell you what."

Eobard nods to the treadmill near the energy vacuum tube, "Let's see if the sensors actually pick anything up from you, first." He looks back, "We can consider you a test subject for a new baseline. If you do, I'll even recommend to security that they let you go with no charges pressed afterwards."

*

Owen has no idea at this point about his time origins, and is only vaguely aware that the Flash assumed he was also a speed force user. He really knows ridiculously little about his life in general. He looks a little hopeful when Eobard mentions understanding where he's coming from. He has no reason to distrust STAR labs, and so long as they aren't digging for personal information he's pretty open.

"You want me to run on a treadmill?"

Owen guesses he was expecting blood tests? MRIs? Special fancy-pants scanning technology. A treadmill seems… out of place.

"I mean that's fine.. but if you want me to run, I might need a change of clothes? Even without my real speed, this outfit aint' gonna cut it."

Implicitly agreeing that he would appreciate it if the charges are pressed, he just pushes past that. If he wanted to break into STAR labs he would go about it totally different, but would still use disguises. Because disguises make every caper better.

*

"Those will come later. This is to see if you can tap into the Speed Force yourself. It's much faster -no pun intended- to do it this way." Eobard then stands and moves over to a console near the treadmill, and starts to push some button. "Grace, I need you on the energy connections. We have a new baseline subject."

*

Shrugging with an easy trust, Owen gets up and approaches the treadmill. He looks around for monitors or something to attach to himself. He's thinking of the classic stress test, the only medical test he knows of that involves a treadmill. Seeing nothing obvious to him, he asks "So you just want me to walk on this thing?"

Owen now becomes a little more observant of the others in the room, and the equipment. Who is this setup for? Are they just putting normal people on this thing? What would the point of this be without a speedster to run on it? He tries to keep his easy going confused facial expression from changing.

"Let me know when you want me to hop on and go..?"

*

The room itself is fairly spartan, except for the technology.

There's a chemistry set over in the corner opposite where one of the scientists is working. Over in the middle is a giant cylinder tower… and Owen has no idea what it's for. Another scientist is typing into the console next to it.

Right below the treadmill platform is a black haired woman, who is plugging cables into some sort of machine below the platform Owen is on.

One last click, and Grace thumbs up.

"You may walk when ready, Mr. Imposter. Speed up gradually. The system will keep up with you." Eobard notes.

*

Mr. Imposter. Totally taking that for my next mercenary identity. That sounds badass. Yes, it's probably meant as a dig or at least to show displeasure and lack of trust, but Owen will take it for a chosen moniker anyway.

He takes off his jacket, and the oxford shirt, leaving only a plain white undershirt. He starts walking on the treadmill. His eyes try to watch each of the various scientists. What are they looking for? What should happen? What shouldn't. He tries to remember even what it felt like for him to access the speed force. It's like trying to remember how to do something your body can't physically do, Owen can't remember how to shoot laser beams out of his eyes either.

He progresses into a light jog, awkward in the business shoes and jeans. From there he builds up to a run. He is in surprisingly good shape despite his many vices, but the real question, is his connection to the speed force there? Or no.

*

Eobard visibly frowns, before he looks back to Owen… and back to his console. "Grace, are you sure those cables are in?"

"Yes, Doctor Stevenson. Why?" Grace inquires.

"Because I'm getting an inconclusive up here." Eobard looks to Owen, before he walks around and begins to circle the treadmill, hands in his pockets. The blonde man is examining Owen, "Interesting." Before he goes back to the console, "Go faster, Mr. Imposter."

*

Well that's not very encouraging. Owen likewise frowns when they have to check cables, that likely means that there is no sign of the speed force. What if this is just a waste of time? What if the Flash was wrong? Stupid Flash.

"Sure."

Owen speeds his pace up, pushing himself now to try and see if he can make something happen. It never worked like that before. It was never about speeding up gradually, it was just on and then off. He focuses on that thought. On. Like tensing a muscle or deciding to take an action. He mentally reaches for that feeling as he continues to push himself on the treadmill itself.

*

"Interesting. Whatever power that drained your ability seems to have weakened, because we're getting a minimal possible hit." Eobard squints, before he nods to Owen, "Looks like you have Speed Force in you, but it was suppressed. It's coming back, slowly, though." Eobard purses his lips, "If I had to estimate, the red lightning that the man threw at you had a disabling effect that wears off over time. Keep going for another five minutes or so, let's see if you generate more."

*

Oh thank God. That's good.

I never said red lightning. Maybe it's because he saw the tape… but seriously I never mentioned that. Does he know that's me in Stark towers? Focus Mercer. Just run, you can figure shit out with Tony later.

He gives a thumbs up and says "That's good news right? You can tell there is a connection?" Fine, maybe Flash isn't stupid.. all the time.

Any speed that Owen can tap into last only a second or two at a time. It's not the constant flow like Impulse or Flash, it's here a little, there a little. But he continues to run, trying to sense it. Normally he can tell when he has plenty of speed to burn or if he's running low, but for the last few days that entire sense was just absent.

*

"And yes, I figured it was you on the tape." It's almost like he's reading his thoughts… but Eobard is a genius, it doesn't take much to put two and two together, "Doesn't take a scientist to figure that one out, with the timing, Sir." Eobard gives an amused smile to Owen, before he monitors. "There are definitely little spikes here and there. Grace, set the recorder, this one is a positive hit." Eobard notes, before he looks back to Owen. "I think we're going to get all the data we can from this now, you can step off the treadmill." His hands go back to his pockets again; a habit, that. "I'd recommend you come back when it's all restored, so we can get a comparison baseline. Who knows?"

He smiles, "We might be able to help you to strengthen your connection."

*

Oh. Okay, that kind of sucks, but there is no way Owen could have known ahead of time that they had the tape from Starks. Oh well, nothing you can do about it now. He smiles tightly and says "Okay. Fair enough."

He picks up his discarded shirt and jacket. He nods in agreement to come back and is about to speak when the doctor offers to strengthen the connection.

"Honestly, I'd settle for figuring a way to stop that dick from doing this again."

Owen is packing up his stuff at this point, not feeling as comfortable as he's gotten significantly less anonymous now. He packs up quickly, though of course not superhuman fast. He makes his excuses, thanks the 'good' doctor and is headed out the door for a second opinion. Next stop: Stark's.

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