The Chase

March 07, 2018:

Superman chases Zoom. A continuation of http://cmbeta.wikidot.com/log:7117.

Planet Earth

Characters

NPCs: Indianapolis cops

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

«Editor’s Note — Continuation of the events featured in: http://cmbeta.wikidot.com/log:7117»
The university and the buildings surrounding the Walkers are total losses, but the Justice League and friends managed to turn a disaster manageable… and get over a third of the bombs.

Once it becomes clear that Superman is on scene though, Professor Zoom /FINALLY/ comes out of nowhere… and starts to pick up his own bombs in a red streak of lightning that zooms around the city.

Timers are disabled and remote detonators cleared as Professor Zoom heads over to the where the National Guard tried to come into the city, and everyone in the city on the radio can hear the distorted voice of Zoom, "Until next time, Justice Fools." And he's gone in a red streak west.

*
Radios crackle, ‘Until next time, Jus—'

To Superman, the phrase is a cacophony of noise. Across the city and from tens of thousands of radio receivers the distorted phrase is forced out into the air such that to the hyper-acute hearing of the Kryptonian the words come from seemingly every direction and walk overtop themselves due to the time it takes for each utterance to reach him at the speed of sound.

[SPEED TIME – Superman’s POV]

The world slows..

The devastated streets burn as a near-still image with flickering flames that barely waver and people who seem locked into place; sometimes frozen in positions that would defy basic physics except for the absence of time.

Operating in the space between hundredths of a second the Man of Steel’s blue eyes lose their focus as he gives nothingness a glassy-stare – unrestricting the breadth of his incredible vision to witness the electromagnetic spectrum. Millions of images appear of varying hues and wave-lengths their near-light speeds giving them perceptible momentum through the stillness.

It’s a simple task to find the correct pattern and to focus on it. The hijacked radio repeating antenna practically screams with Zoom’s signal as it overpowers so many devices across such a broad range. However, he is not concerned with the transmission itself but rather its source. From the antenna eyes track the waves outward and beyond the city – distant buildings simultaneously peel away from his X-Ray vision and grow in resolution as his telescopic gaze focuses through them and onto Zoom.

. . o o (There he is..)

Acutely aware of both his powers and their limitations the Man of Steel doesn’t know enough about this speedster to accurately assess whose maximum velocity is greater. So, he benchmarks the villain against his scarlet doppleganger, the Flash. Publicly the last son of Krypton and the Flash have raced to close calls for charity but privately Kal-El knows that he would be hard pressed to emerge the victor in a life-or-death sprint and the devastating results of frivolously engaging in such a contest with a man whom just committed acts of terror is more than he would like to bear. But what the Flash possesses in superior speed he lacks in almost every other capacity when compared to Superman.

By experience, Superman knows that – like his own – the Flash’s perceptions are adjusted relative to his speed. However, in terms of acuity he’s never known Barry to be able to see any further than any other man and that once free from danger a hypersonic “jog” is oftentimes sufficient to move around the globe without worry.

The mesosphere. A layer of thin atmosphere fifty miles above the surface of the Earth – far beyond the visual acuity of men but not altogether distant for a super-man who can visualize individual events upon Earth by gazing out the windows of the league’s orbital Watchtower. Lifting one arm to the sky he pulls himself aloft.

[NORMAL TIME]

Superman’s posture seems to flicker and in an updraft of red and blue he and vanishes heavens ward faster than a man can easily perceive. He has flown away.

‘—ice Fools.’

*

People call the Flash the Fastest Man Alive. Professor Zoom seems to have broken that statement by his own presence. By the time Professor Zoom is going west, he's already nearing the political border through Pennsylvania at Mach twenty, though the red lightning distorts his visage as much as his blurring does.

He's also phasing through debris and walls like they aren't there… and a split second examination by Superman would tell him -like the Flash- the man in the yellow suit is vibrating his body to the exact frequency of what he's going through. Whoever this Speedster is, he's clearly very experienced with his power.

A third of the way through Pennsylvania, that red streak comes to a stop on top of one of the Pocono mountains in the state, looking over in the direction of Metropolis to see if anyone is coming his way. Red electricity arcs and dances around the Speedsters form, cooking his surroundings as he watches. It took all of a few seconds to get up there for the man, and it looks like he's expecting a chase.

With no one confronting him immediately, Professor Zoom waits about thirty seconds for anyone trying to tail him; and when it becomes clear there's nothing coming his way, he starts to run again, heading westwards once more.

Halfway through Pennsylvania. The border of Ohio. Halfway through Ohio. Eventually, Professor Zoom reaches Indianapolis, and runs straight up the tallest building to the rooftop. Those on the rooftop are knocked out in a few seconds by Zooms punches to the head, sending them to the ground with mild concussions. So far no deaths. Yet. There, he waits, red lightning arcing as he stares into the horizon.

*

The thin layer of atmosphere roars in the Man of Steel’s ears as he wills himself impossibly fast in observation of Professor Zoom. Almost ninety miles away he watches as the speedster breaks from his disjointed path to scale the Salesforce Tower. A beat later, seventy-five miles away he sees the flaxen terrorist begin to punch people in the head.

Forty-three miles above Zoom the Superman hovers his magnificent gaze peeling away layers of human biology to assess their injuries. Mild concussions, all. His relief is palatable.

Superman remains above as Zoom stares at the horizon.

. . o o (He’s expecting a pursuit,) Superman surmises, (he’s waiting. From this distance I can reach him in a micro-second but I don’t think he can see me.)

*

One minute. Two minutes. Five minutes. For a Speedster, the man is patient. Professor Zoom never stops blurring his visage, or removing the red glow from his eyes as the red electricity arcs around him.

Then, he talks, "I know you or someone else is trailing me, Justice Fool." Professor Zooms distorted voice can be heard probably from this distance. "Come here, or I'll start throwing these people right down to the street, one at a time. Or, I can throw some specialty bombs down instead. Choices. Choices." As if to emphasize his 'request', he superspeeds a small bomb out of a pouch on his suit, and starts to toss it… up and down.

He doesn't move from his position at all as he speaks; he's expecting the boy in blue to come after him, for sure.

*

Five minutes..

In the far-distance Zoom can hear sirens wailing as emergency personnel begin their approach to the tower. The radio he utilized earlier crackles with static as it scans through available frequencies to catch pieces of the traffic..

‘Metahuman threat,’ and, ‘the Flash’, and ‘he’s going to throw people off of the building,’ followed by, ‘he’s got a bomb..’

..and then, ‘it’s Superman!’

Superman descends from the sky his broad arms folded midway across the ‘S’ sigil upon his chest, “Here I am,” Superman’s speaks in a level baritone, “You’re going to run out of bombs,” he observes, “and then what?” His cool blue eyes narrow slightly upon the yellow cowl, “Tornadoes? Lightning? A few laps around the equator?”

“Okay then, let’s go,” Superman says flatly, “Throw me your satchel. I’ll even give you a head start.”

*

The sirens are nothing to him. Professor Zoom can outrun any of them at near the speed of light without trying. Superman, on the other hand? Superman gets his attention, and he stops tossing the bomb. Instead, it's kept in his hand… and a small smile creeps into his face; a sadistic one. At this close up, Superman is one of the few entities capable of seeing the suit underneath the blurring; If he tries, he'd see a yellow suit colored exactly the opposite of the Flash, complete with reversed black and red lightning bolt in front. Its an obvious mockery of the 'Fastest Man alive'.

"But the planet will never run out of the people you care /so much/ about." Professor Zoom sounds very confident in his abilities… and mocking. "You and your 'justice league' are the same in most other realities… imposing your ideas on the world, as if the world wants or needs your 'help'." The bomb is put into the pouch, "Since I arrived here, it's clear you're all just like the rest… only you hide your strength behind words like 'truth' and 'justice'. As if you people know a thing about it."

Then, he gestures to the police below. "They worship you people. It's a bit sickening how badly you've conned them, really. Tell me, 'Superman'… do you like it, the lie?"

*

Superman remains fixed in the air his body utterly still. Without errant physical movement or simple respiration, he merely watches Zoom — simultaneously interested in the man’s position but abhorrent of the violence that his ideology has already wrought.

“I don’t understand,” Superman admits, “You called to me. You terrorized Metropolis. It is your will which has directed the course of today’s events. I, as they,” his gaze drops momentarily to the swarm of unconscious people upon the observation deck, “am existing as a simple casualty in your war.”

“Did you design those bombs?” Blue eyes tighten subtly upon Zoom, “Are you a scientist?” Kal-El wonders, “Then, you understand cause and effect. Without your actions I would not exist. I am, at this very moment, here because you have commanded me to be. Could it be that you are imposing your will upon the world and I am here…,” broad shoulders sort-of shrug, “because of you.”

“Quantum Physics,” Kal-El states, “Infinite realities. Infinite possibility. This world is not /most/ other realities. Maybe the fact that I don’t want to chase you means that maybe you’ve finally found a place where free will matters more than power.”

*

"Hiding behind concepts instead of giving an actual answer. You're worse then the others. You think that because you know 'cause and effect' and 'quantum Physics' that means you're blameless in the state of the world." Professor Zoom gives a light laugh, before he smirks, "catch me if you can."

The red lightning around him spikes then as Professor Zoom runs around the rooftop, taking the nanosecond required with each knocked out person to throw them off the rooftop… before he starts to run down the side, picking up speed to Mach twenty once more as he starts to head west again. "See you later, Justice Fool." That confident mockery continues. With anyone else, he'd not have bothered… but Superman can undoubtedly hear him, if he tries.

*

Superman and Zoom face off like a pair of pistoleers preparing for a duel. A bright flash, as pure negative Speed Force leaps against reality sending a *CRACK* across the multiverse like the bells of the church, ‘Draw’.

[SPEED TIME – Superman’s POV]

Lightning flares across the rooftop as Zoom moves towards the unconscious humans and begins to hoist and hurl them off of the side of the building. Superman and Zoom were close enough to converse without metahuman senses and so even with nanosecond reaction the Man of Steel is on-top of the situation carefully altering the trajectory of each person so they are never in true peril.

He reaches for Zoom at one point; fingers that can fuse coal into diamond strain to catch the man’s bodysuit for the simple reality of physics dictate that he could both incapacitate his foe with a finger-tip toss and still save those subjected to terminal velocity. Perhaps this is why Zoom flees.

By the time Superman has assured everyone will land without great injury Zoom has moving one-fifty thousandth the speed of light and already but at Mach 5 he, after a hundred nanoseconds, he is less than ten miles ahead.

Superman shifts and accelerates gaining altitude so-as not to disrupt the cityscape below. This affords Zoom even greater distance but still only a few miles as the Man of Steel pushes faster.

[Normal Time]

A flash of light. The bodies upon observation deck suddenly re-arrange themselves and then there is only wailing sirens below.

*

For everyone else around them, the only real indication of what's going on are the sonic booms the two create once they get started. The attempt at touching him doesn't go unnoticed either, his body contorting this way and that to avoid the Man of Steel at superspeed. Eventually though, he's going west at near the speed of light by the time he's down to the ground, Professor Zooms visible command of his version of the Speed Force makes it clear he's just as agile as he is fast, with the way he goes around buildings without issue. Seems like things like momentum and air drag mean nothing to him while he running. Bending the laws of physics seems like it's part of his powers.

Professor Zoom goes much faster this time, way beyond Mach twenty. He doesn't have the luxury of flying…. but when he can turn and do 180s while running?

Speedsters are a pain.

Nonetheless, he keeps going… and heads for Los Angeles.

Once within city limits, he heads for a residential building… an apartment complex, by the look. He sets a timer of two seconds on one of his bombs, and tosses it into the basement, before he's running again. This bomb has enough yield to level four square blocks, if allowed to go off.

*

Superman lacks a direct connection to the speed force, negative or otherwise.

Zoom turns sharply with the practiced ease but is it so sharp when both individuals are relativistic the same speed, is it like sprinters attempting to change direction on a track?

While Superman’s lack of a speed force connection may limit his ability to change the fundamental elements of physics to alter his velocity his very nature – his indestructability - allows him to change direction mid-flight by willing his body another direction. The pull on ligaments and organs would cause serious trauma on the less adapted but even many times the speed of sound he feels no discomfort from the sudden change in direction.

To a great degree this is like two champions running, one slightly faster than the other, such that when the leader slows or alters course to take action the other is immediately upon him. There is a moment when Superman could bisect the structure to intercept Zoom for although it is uncertain whether the molecular vibration might slow the villain down walls of concrete may as well be a barrier constructed of sunlight for the effect it would have upon Superman’s momentum.

Alas, the Man of Steel is unwilling to topple the structure to gain an advantage and so as Zoom goes down into the basement so too does Superman. Tight corners. Little room to maneuver. Yet Superman passes by, intent upon the bomb.

As he reaches for the object his head turns when Zoom springs away. Up the steps? Through the wall? X-ray vision narrow upon posterior portion of his meniscus and then a jolt of mortar liquifying heat vaporizes the air between them attempting to surgically remove the speedster’s capacity run. He snags the bomb along the way.

*

Professor Zoom literally goes through solid objects like they aren't there… while Superman can just go /through/ objects. With their relative speeds, it very much is like a marathon across the planet.

In the basement, red lightning is arcing around him feet away, trashing electronics and his surroundings as the Negative Speed Force is channeled harder then it's been since he arrived in this reality. He's practically a lightning storm epicenter himself at this point; for anyone else, it'd look fairly menacing, since Zoom is known to be able to throw lightning at people. For Superman, it probably just looks like he's playing at being Livewire.

Then, that boiling heat comes from the Man of Steels eyes… and a spike of red lightning shorts out half the basement as he dodges those eyes beams at near the speed of light once more /inside/ the basement…. but not before he grunts in pain as the suit -and his skin- is burned.

The bomb dealt with already, Professor Zoom is already at the ocean when he's growling in frustration. There's visible arcs of red electricity moving around that heat vision induced wound as Zoom starts to heal. "Faster then I expected… but not fast enough." Zoom continues his mocking.

*

The boiling heat vision grazes Zoom and then strikes the interior wall of the basement. The mortar between the bricks liquifies in a narrow section the width of a tendon causing no actual structural deficiency.

The crackling speed-force crackles outward as Zoom pushes himself. Temporal energy lances across Superman’s form popping in crackling sparks across his body which is momentarily ripped across the timeline. This dazes him and hurls him into the stairs with enough force that the building shudders and the wood steps leading down onto the basement collapse around him.

The bomb ticks from ‘2’ to ‘1’ and in the next instant Superman is outside the building flying higher as he winds backward and hurls the explosive hard towards outer-space.

«KRAK-A-THOOM»

A future-tech century explosion vaporizes a section of the ozone layer but is otherwise harmless to those below.

Superman looks out towards the Pacific Ocean then; the mocking words of Zoom are barely audible as the distance between them increases.

..further …further …and then the Man of Steel seems to lose ground altogether.

. . o o (He got his chase,) Superman determines (Now the real work begins.)

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