Hell Hath No Fury - Chapter 2: The Scientist

Eight months later

Barry Allen stared at the padded envelope on his lab desk with mounting anticipation. He couldn’t wait to open it. He took a quick peek at the clock on the wall. Five more minutes before he had the lab all to himself. And those damn clock hands moved so slowly any moment now they’d go backwards.

“Come on, come on,” he muttered under his breath. “Move faster.” He glanced at his temporary partner fiddling with his computer. “Boot it down already and get out of here.”

Seven minutes later, two more than scheduled, he was finally alone. He’d made sure his partner didn’t forget anything he might need so desperately over the weekend it would prompt him to return, and now all he had to do was check that the hallway outside the lab was clear, lock the door just in case, and open that blasted envelope.

He tore it open and tipped the contents onto his table. It contained the usual. A piece of paper bearing an IM username and two vials of blood.

Yes. He was close. He knew it. He was so damn close in isolating the right receptor that made the blood cells in the samples he’s been receiving in—and studying compared to others he’s also been sent—so unique. And with the right receptor, he could create a cure for whatever the hell was plaguing the person whose blood didn’t have them. Although he couldn’t claim they were plagued by anything since their cells regenerated extremely fast and, over time, became extremely enhanced and resistant.

His long-distance patient seemed—according to the reports he’d at first been given by his pen pal—to have enhanced physical condition, strength, durability, stamina and speed, and appeared to have developed ‘powers of regeneration’. Which could easily explain the anomalies found in the blood samples.

His pen pal apparently experienced the same symptoms, only less pronounced. Which prompted Barry’s endeavors of finding the cure in the blood. So far, his theory seemed sound. All he had to do now was isolate the particles that blocked the disease from fully spreading through the blood and body of his anonymous pen pal and develop an antidote of some sort.

It was great he hadn’t been given a deadline. He worked much easier when not under pressure.

He logged into his IM program and quickly found the username—that was never the same—written on the paper in the envelope. This time it was Ta-Bitjet, that a quick Internet search revealed to be an Egyptian goddess whose blood was a panacea for all poisons. Quite an apt username.

Ta-Bitjet: What’s the progress on the antidote?

Barry smiled. No beating around the bush with this one.

CaptainSlow: Almost there.

Ta-Bitjet: How long?

Although it was only an IM conversation, Barry detected a note of urgency. He frowned. He didn’t like urgency. Not when working on something as delicate as this. One wrong move and months of research can go bye-bye. Not to mention, if he makes a tiny mistake, someone might die.

CaptainSlow: Not long.

Ta-Bitjet: I need a number.

Barry glanced at the two vials laying on top of his notes. If he worked through the weekend...

CaptainSlow: Ten days. Maybe a week.

Jesus. Did he just promise to have the antidote ready—and safe—in a week?

Ta-Bitjet: It has to be ready by Tuesday.

Barry stared at his computer screen with his mouth agape. Four days?! Not enough time. Not nearly enough time. And now he was starting to hyperventilate. Calm down, Allen, calm down. Breathe slowly. Breathe in. Count to five. Breathe out. Repeat.

CaptainSlow: That’s not enough time.

Ta-Bitjet: Make it enough.

CaptainSlow: How?

Ta-Bitjet: You’re the genius. Figure it out. On Tuesday you’ll receive the name of the test subject.

Test subject. The person he’d be testing his quickly-put-together antidote on. The person he’d probably kill with his quickly-put-together antidote.

There was no point explaining he couldn’t do it, that there wasn’t enough time, that he was afraid of doing more harm than good. His mysterious pen pal has already signed off.

Barry dropped his head onto his desk with a bang. His pen pal has waited long and patiently so whatever was going down after Tuesday was big. And Barry’s help was needed. Required. Expected. He’s never let anyone down so far in his life. He wasn’t about to start now.

Determinedly, he lifted his head, rolled up his sleeves, and got to work.

Λ

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Barry was dead tired, over-caffeinated, and he was pretty sure he was starting to see double and hear things...And he had a, what he believed and hoped to be, working sample of the antidote.

He hasn’t slept since his last IM session with his pen pal, and he was feeling the strain. And the elation at having accomplished the impossible. He’s created Isis. Isis as in Egyptian goddess of rebirth. The rebirth the person infected with whatever the hell it was, was about to receive. Barry wasn’t thinking about all the other stuff Isis had been goddess of. Barry wasn’t exactly thinking straight, hence the naming of his creation. All he knew, all he had to know, was that he’d been thinking straight when he’d created the antidote. Whatever has happened after was...well, a blur.

He took another long swig of his coffee, which had turned oily and thick—perfect for creating antidotes, if someone cared to ask—and stared intently at his computer screen.

He didn’t have to wait long for a name to appear, sent from an unknown username.

Roy Harper

Barry started to shake. It started as a tremor, but quickly grew uncontrollable. He knew Roy. They’d had coffee together, discuss movies and video games. They’d gone on a double date together. They were friends...He’d never suspected anything might be off.

He stared at the capped syringe containing the reddish liquid of his newly crafted antidote. Could he do it? Could he risk it? Could he trust his pen pal?

Did he have a choice?

What if whoever was behind this disease, this poison, planned on infecting others? What if they were planning to create a super-powered army? If the poison fell into the hands of the wrong people...

Barry didn’t dwell on the possible repercussions of the blackest scenario. There was no time to dwell on them. He backed up his data on a second flash drive and slipped it into the hidden pocket in his jacket. Then, with one last look at the name on his screen, he booted down his computer, grabbed the syringe, and headed for the train station. He could still catch the first train to Starling City.


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