The Scarlet Crusader

The Scarlet Crusader

} Relative to my other stories, this segment takes place earlier in the careers of Clayface and other featured characters.

Hey, my name’s Wally West. I’m one of the, what, nine or so people that’ve been dubbed “The Fastest Man Alive”? … I’d say I’m at least the second fastest, especially when you factor in that some of those guys can only reach top speed on straightaways, I happen to know two of them are doppelgängers, and really, I’d call Savitar more of a sprinter… I, uh, don’t like to get hung up on technicalities.

I’m an invaluable member of the Justice League, and not just for my powers. I’ve got a winning personality that neither hardened space-cops nor immortal warriors can resist. Even Batman likes me. Or, “trusts me”… Trusts me enough to protect his city, and that’s saying a lot, for him. He contacted me this morning, explaining that he has business on the other side of the world, something about his ex and a pool turning people into zombies… I don’t think I would’ve gotten the gist of it, even if he’d expounded. He says he’ll make it back by tonight, and if it were anyone else but him (or me, I guess), I wouldn’t have believed them.

Being Batman for a few hours doesn’t sound so bad, but the thing is, I’ve got a decent system with the Rogues back in Keystone. They’re good at avoiding collateral damage, usually even-tempered about the “getting arrested” part… Even got Tarpit to take it to an abandoned lot the other week. I’ve heard Gotham has less cordial villains. And more of them. And more than a few citizens that have had their share of false vigilantes running around. Nothing a dashing guy like me can’t work around!

0.082 seconds after I stepped boot inside city limits (I was taking it slow until I saw some action), I was in the GCPD precinct to let the commissioner know about the changing of the guard, maybe catch a whiff of a case that could use solving. Turns out you don’t need the Speed Force to find a crime scene in Gotham. The nice officer at the front desk informed me that a break-in had occurred INSIDE the station at dawn.



I probably should’ve thought about how people from around here aren’t used to a red and yellow lightning bolt zipping through buildings. I might not have made the lasting impression of causing the portly detective before me to hurl his styrofoam coffee cup into the air. I caught it too late to save his shirt.

Detective: What IS this?!

Me (handing the cup back): This is yours. (pointing at his stains) THIS is my dry-cleaning bill, sorry pal. (jerking both thumbs at my chest) And THIS is Gotham’s substitute hero for the day, made with 100% less angst.

Detective (glowing crimson): I’m gonna wring the Bat-freak’s neck! What’s he do, take sick days now??

Another detective walks in around a shelf. Her uniform is tidy, her hair even more so.

Detective #2: Don’t tell me you MISS the Bat now, Bullock.

Bullock: If he’s gonna be a nuisance, I’d prefer he be a predictable one. Now he’s phoning up other leotards to come stick their noses in my cases!

Me: “Leotards”. I get it.

Detective #2 (offering a handshake): Detective Montoya. Batman already got in touch with the commissioner, told us you’d be here before we knew it.

Me: That’s my thing. So… don’t take this the wrong way, but how…

Montoya: … did we let someone sneak into our evidence room and get away? We’re in the middle of breaking up a gang dispute at the docks AND a massive manhunt for a birthday-obsessed serial killer. The station has been practically vacant, and no one’s had time to fully assess our latest acquisitions.

I look over the unsorted items that have halved the room’s capacity, all strewn across tables.

Bullock: Hands off. I don’t care if you ARE wearing’ gloves!

Me: You don’t have to tell me that… although I could touch everything in here, and if you blinked, you would never know.

Bullock’s mouth opens wide enough to ensnare passing birds, but Montoya interjects.

Montoya: Cameras were wiped. I know it looks like a mess, but we’ve had a dozen other of our people take inventory, and nothing’s been nicked. Someone came and went without lifting a single thing…

Me: … Had the sense to take out the cameras…

Bullock (unwrapping a toothpick): … But was sloppy enough to set off the alarm. It’s gotta be some goon screwin’ around with no real plan in mind.

Montoya: On top of all that, if they touched anything in here, we’ll never find it against a hundred other fingerprints.

Amidst the chaos, a computer monitor and what appears to be a heavily modified hard drive catch my eye.

Me: Mhm… What’s the story with this?

Bullock (hurriedly): Some guy we nabbed last week; Etienne Guiborg, “The Dealer”. Thinks he’s a real mastermind, but we dismantled his illegal auctioning ring without any fight at all.

Montoya: He has his OWN inventory on that computer; thousands of heisted weapons, artifacts, and their locations. Once our schedule lightens up, we’re hunting down every last one. Actually…

Me: You need a speed-reader. On it.

Bullock: Wait a minute, I’ve seen you in the papers before. Can’t you do that, whatsit called, time-hole thing? Go back a few hours and catch the perp in the act!

Me: Do you want to run the risk of my actions causing a ripple in reality that changes this timeline to one where everyone is biologically half-chicken, all on the account of stopping an opportunistic thief?

Bullock: …

Me: Time travel’s nuts, man.


Me: Hey, anyone else notice this down here?

The detectives lean under the desk to where I went to plug in the machine.

Me: This outlet has dust all over it, but the lower socket, it’s clean. And what do you know… The Dealer’s extension cord has dust between the tines.

Bullock: Sunuva… they DID swipe something!

I think it over for 0.053 seconds (I’m sluggish on weekends), then a light bulb switches on.

Bullock: Well, are you gonna plug it in? They may have wiped the memory!

Me: Don’t touch anything.

Bullock: You can’t tell ME not-


*Scotch tape obtained from main office*


I begin tearing tape and sticking every inch of the keyboard’s surface.

Montoya: What is he-


Me (thrusting fistfuls of tape towards them): LOOK!

Bullock: … Congratulations genius, you managed to get NO fingerprints on even one of ‘em.

Montoya: Wait… no fingerprints? But it hasn’t been dusted, not since we busted The Dealer.


Bullock: Would you care to let us in on whatever harebrained theory you just concocted?

Me: No time, but I’ll have your guy in a jiffy.

Bullock: “NO TIME”, he says!

Me: Uhh, I’m going to need…


Me: (arms loaded with twenty-odd tape dispensers): … all of these. I’ll restock, promise.


Montoya: Under that mask, I’d put money on him being CSI.

Bullock: I’d put money on him being a fruitcake.


Thirty intersections later, and I find myself at what I’m hoping is the bad guy’s lair. A middle school, deserted for the summer. Everything’s fitting together.


My entrance, like last time, startles the classroom’s occupant. This time, they drop a neatly-organized box of Crayola. This time, I don’t bother to recover it. Villains don’t deserve neatly-organized boxes of Crayola. I rush forward and slug the surprised criminal in his cylindrical mask. He careens over the desks, and catch him by the collar on the opposite side of the room, before he has an unfriendly run-in with the floor.

Me: Alright, pencil-neck, talk to me.

Eraser: Hands off the suit! Do you know how much money you have to sink into a cyber-yellow pinstripe suit? Did you even know CYBER-YELLOW was a color?!

Me (lowering him): Okay, noted, the suit’s expensive.

Eraser: How did you FIND me??

Me: Familiarity with GCPD’s layout and security, leaving no evidence behind but still tripping an alarm to show off… Fits your m.o. like a glove. I do my supervillain homework before I go barging into other cities. You couldn’t resist wiping off the keyboard, so I had a hunch you also compulsively cleaned other public property before use… like crosswalk buttons. After some trial and error, and no small amount of tape, I tracked y-

Eraser (scoffing): Aaand Batman would have me snitching by now. You’re not so fast.

Me: Trust me, you don’t want me to get too Batman on you, or…

Eraser (dramatically): You wouldn’t be able to come back from the darkness?

Me: I was going to say it might make me physically ill. Speedsters eat way more than the average person every day, and if I vomit, it’ll be one heckuva mess to clean up. One that you probably won’t be able to ignore.

Eraser: … That’s the flimsiest, most contrived threat; you can’t actually get physically ill from tha-

Me (crossing arms): I’ll self-induce it.

Eraser: You wouldn’t…

Me: Tell me what you saw on Dealer’s database.

Eraser: Okay look, some guy I’ve never seen before hired me. Says he knew about Dealer’s confiscated computer, and wanted me to get him inside just for five minutes to look around. It’s not like I cared what he was doing, so I have no idea what he got out of it. But I know what I got out of it: Stencils. The good stuff.

Me (gritting teeth): I’m a millisecond away from collecting all the gum under the desks in this place and putting them inside your mask.

Eraser: EDWARD BURKE! I heard him whispering “Edward Burke” over and over! I’ve got nothing else!

Me: That’s oddly useful. Okay, I’m arresting you now.



Me: I’d appreciate it if you confessed to your crimes, whenever they happen to notice you in here. I’m sort of up against the clock.

Eraser: Nothin’. doin’.

Me (locking Eraser in): By the way, you made me waste a bunch of these guys’ tape just to find you. Why can’t you Gotham rogues all hang out at a bar, like they do in Keystone?


Eraser: … A supervillain bar… huh.

BURKE INSTITUTE OF ASTRONOMY (formerly Norbet Institute of Astronomy)

I pause for a entire 1.4 seconds to confirm the sign outside, before crashing through the main entrance and finding my way to the development facility. Machinery is scattered across the tiles, beakers bubble uncontrollably… and a man that looks like an astronaut suffering from insomnia is slouched on the floor, rewiring the circuitry running through his suit’s chest-plate.

Me: Dr. Edward Burke?

Burke: Oh, have you been here long? I’m very sorry, I’ve been preoccupied with my work for…

He glances at a wrinkled calendar, halfway lodged in a drawer near his head.

Burke: … a solid two weeks now, I suppose. Time management was never my strongest quality.

Me: Don’t get me started. Look, I know all about Etienne Guiborg using your laboratory to store his wares, and I think we can resolve this without any violence…

Burke (perking up): That name! I heard about him in the newspaper not long ago. Oh, no sir, I’m not involved with any smuggling, I must affirm! No, no more business with supervillains. My old boss Irving Norbet, he was a very bad fellow! Tried to use our technology to rob banks!

Me: You’re wearing the suit right now.

Burke (toying with small components and dials on the suit): AM I?!? … Ah, so I am. Well, it really has quite fascinating functions; I’m only looking to improve the design, not use it for anything nefarious, absolutely not! Dr. Norbet only did what he did after overexposure to a strange meteor we were analyzing… messed with his head. This was all confirmed by the police!

I take a quick survey of the room while he’s rambling, spotting a grey mass perched on a workbench, shrouded in a sort of haze, like it’s giving off energy.

Me (scowling): Does this meteor look anything like that one sitting over there, NOT in its container and likely effecting you?

Burke: Dear… dear me. Well, this all must look highly suspicious! If you didn’t believe I was innocent, as I’m sure anyone as keen as you would, you might be very confused by the circumstances.

Me: Actually I’m… still comprehending the idea that two people in this timeline wanted to use the name “Planet Master”.

Then the most embarrassing thing that can happen to a speedster happened; I got ambushed. Enough volts to jumpstart Gotham City shoot through my body, launching me straight through the reinforced wall of Burke’s Institute and into the evening air, leaving me a smoking red heap on freshly-cut grass.

… I’d like to take an intermission from my story to clarify that accelerated perception is a superpower that has to be turned on. OKAY? It takes a lot of adrenaline and carbs to activate. I can’t just see EVERYthing in slow-motion. … Moving on.

I crane my head and spit out a mouthful of sod, while my eyes adjust to see my attacker stepping through the Flash-shaped hole in the building. He’s dressed in black armor, orbs of electricity wavering in his fists, and grinning like a wild dog. Lester Buchinsky.

Electrocutioner: Heh. Friend of mine tipped me off that some hero might come poking around here tonight. Not the one I was hoping for, but murderers can’t be choosers.

Me (feeling Speed Force welling up inside me again): Just keep talking there, friend-o, I’ll be with you in a sec.

Electrocutioner (unfazed): Overheard you talking to that idiot Burke. You really think our kind would trust our gear with him? Be caught DEAD working with him?

Me: Yeah, well, the bar’s set pretty low, Taserface.

Electrocutioner: That’s it.

Before he can lift his arm to incinerate me, I dart at his midsection, only to once again rebound and land in the planters HARD.

Electrocutioner: Like the force-field? I’ve been upgrading. Get this…

I roll out of the way of a bolt lobbed from his fist, leaving it to carve a charred path across the lawn.

Electrocutioner (admiring the gloves): They’re projectile now.

Me: Mama Buchinsky must be proud.

I begin running circles around him, as Electrocutioner jerks around to try and draw a bead on me. The faster I punch him, the more the force-field will resist. If I try running at him at a normal pace, his gauntlets will meet their mark before I can land a blow. So… I guess I’ll have to try letting him hit me again.

I take a detour to the parking lot, rip the tires and hoods of off two vans, and race back to Electrocutioner before he knows I’m gone. I come to a halt and plant the hoods on either side of me, with the tires wrapped around my torso. Now for the only part of this plan that I know will 100% work…

Me: Yo, Shocker!

Electrocutioner lets loose a solid flow of electricity from his hand to me, and I brace myself as it races directly at my chest. My suit is a conductive elastomer: Good for streamlining my own charge, but the Speed Force doesn’t play nicely with outside currents. That’s why this guy is even a slight threat to me. Car tires, on the other hand, are great insulators. Or so I’ve heard. I’m really hoping that’s true.

Electrocutioner’s assault strikes the tires. I still feel it. A lot. But I force myself to stay put. As I hoped, Electrocutioner only pours on more power when he sees I’m still standing. I have no idea how much juice he has left in those gloves, or if I can outlast them. Just as everything starts turning grey and I feel my knees giving out, the pain stops, and he’s standing with outstretched arms and sputtering gloves, and I’M standing with two car hoods locked in potential difference.

Electrocutioner: Wha-?

Me: Capacitor. Seriously, you should know what that is.


Electrocutioner collapses with a black eye. I shake out my knuckles and check on Burke, who’s still tinkering away carelessly. Maybe whoever hired Eraser thought to make up Edward Burke a ruse, just to sic Electrocutioner on anyone potentially tracking him. In which case, I was looking at a dead end, unless Electrocutioner wasn’t as dumb as he looked. As I go to interrogate my third supervillain today, I notice something on Electrocutioner’s fingertips and boot soles.

Salt. I hadn’t drained his power supply with my capacitor at all; salt was its own dielectric, and enough had accumulated on his weapon to short-circuit the system when Electrocutioner overdid it. The question of why it would be anywhere near his equipment came to me just as quickly as the answer. Salt. The Dealer’s storage space. I knew where I had to look next.


WAMPUM UNDERGROUND, PENNSYLVANIA (a lively 300+ mile jog from Gotham) {

I zip into the mineshaft-turned-warehouse, slowing once I pass into the restricted sections, and all ambient light winks out. I try to muffle the slap of my boots on the expansive floor, but the echo is unstoppable. Rubbing my palms together at just the right speed, I generate a steady flow of Speed Force sparks, enough to brighten a few feet around me. I’m in the right place; old movie props, autographed portraits, film reels stacked to the ceiling…

A mannequin with a camera for the head…


Only this time it wasn’t me. Blinding white like I’ve never seen washes over my field of vision, and I stagger backwards, trying to shake it off.

Voice #1: Feeling a little EXPOSED?

Something damp and heavy envelops why chest and neck, lifting me off the floor. My head is still spinning, and before I think to phase through the restraint, I’m slammed back down. The back of my skull hits a metal shelf, and at once my strength gives out. I lay there stunned, barely picking up on another voice past the ringing in my ears. A choked, slithery sort of voice.

Voice #2 (sighing): “The Flash”, is it? No need to fret, in that event; your concussion will clear right up in a few hours, no doubt. You ARE one of those heroes that can heal. Makes for such dull, tensionless action sequences.

Me: What… are you looking… for, in here… Clayface?

Clayface: Ah, I needn’t introduce myself, how convenient. I see The Batman DOES brief his minions before sending them to their doom.

Me (ignoring him): Let me guess… a potter’s wheel? Been… wanting to lose some weight and… make a nice vase at the same time?

Voice #1: A regular Bob Hope, this guy.

Clayface (ignoring me in turn): You still managed to locate us.

Me: What, after you sent me on a goose-chase after Planet Master? Your hired meathead still had some salt on him from when he was, I guess, helping you break into this place? I already knew you were looking for something The Dealer had hidden away… Salt, secret stash…

I hear Clayface walking closer.

Me: … Salt mines. The moisture is great for preserving all kinds of stuff. I went to the one out in Hutchinson, Kansas for a field trip.

His pace stops inches from my face.

Clayface: I RIGHTFULLY assumed Eraser would betray me. I had not known he overheard my mention of Edward Burke until he queried me later on, and so I concocted a lie for him to pass on to YOU.

Me (the pain in my temple worsening): If you weren’t… looking for Edward Burke after all, then what… did Eraser hear?

Clayface: He heard correctly. I am looking for an Edward Burke… Edward C. Burke…

There’s a sound of metal clunking into metal; Clayface’s accomplice rummaging through the film reels. One last crash, and a whoop of excitement reverberates through the cavern.

Voice #1: Right where the computer said it was, Karlo!

Clayface (clasping his grimy palms): Splendid, Mr. Camera! You see, FLASH… Edward C. Burke is portrayed by the great Lon Chaney, in the lost film “London After Midnight”. That is to say, formerly-lost. The Dealer did indeed possess many antiquities.

Me: You… tampered with evidence in police custody, hired an… assassin, and broke into this place for a MOVIE?

Clayface: I cannot always gratify the wild imaginations of you vigilantes, assuming we supervillains are continuously out for blood, dreaming up blueprints for world domination. A film like this deserves to be in the care of someone who can appreciate it, not lock it away.

Me: And “Mr. Camera”; you suckered a C-Lister into… helping you with this insane hobby?

Mr. Camera: He’s in it to build a legacy. Me, I’m making a scrapbook.

Clayface (amused): You are so deluded, speedster, you think anyone branded a criminal has no allegiances to their own, never without an ulterior motive. Eraser, Electrocutioner, they knew precisely what they were in for. Now look at yourself, bludgeoned like a dumb animal, conveniently in a deep hole to have dirt poured over you… Did The Batman offer you some compensation for this humiliation? Why would he appreciate your reckless heroics when he would gladly sacrifice himself in the same manner, in the “righteous pursuit of evil”, and think nothing of it? … I could smother you right now, but I choose to leave you alive…

His footsteps leave in the direction of the mine’s entrance.

Clayface: … I do not wish to instigate bad relations with the Rogues. Unlike you noble heroes, I value partnerships. I would not dream of robbing them of their favorite quarry. Let us withdraw, Mr. Camera.

Mr. Camera follows him. I feel something light and stiff bounce off my arm. A Polaroid photo.

Mr. Camera (sneering): Here. I think I got your good side.

I muster the energy for one more sentence.

Me: Heroes don’t… need a pat on the back to feel… good about the work they do. You’re right, we hardly ever know what we’re… getting into… aside from our eventual deaths. That’s okay, because… we’re not living for ourselves…

The waves of nausea take their toll, and I pass out. Whether or not Clayface was still near enough to hear me, I can’t shake the feeling my words have fallen on deaf ears.

Posted by Gallisuchus (Clayface) on 2019-04-12 17:14:19

Tagged: , lego , dc , flash , superhero , villains , mystery , story , eraser , mr , camera , electrocutioner , custom , detective , montoya , bullock , planet , master , minifigures , basil , karlo , anthology , clayface

Photo added to “All Photos”

Photo added to

purple nebula and cosmic dust in star field

Posted by jonathansialreug on 2018-05-13 14:38:09

Tagged: , IFTTT , iOS , Photos , Backdrop , Astronomy , Textured , Big Bang , Bunch , Heaven , Abstract , Constellation , Milky Way , Planetarium , Dust , Exploding , Computer Graphic , Backgrounds , Infinity , Origins , Futuristic , Exploration , Mystery , Order , Star Shape , Dark , Multi Colored , Purple , Blue , Black Color , Deep , Science , Nature , Night , Light – Natural Phenomenon , Natural Gas , Field , Galaxy , Star – Space , Nebula , Planet – Space , Space , Cloud – Sky , Sun , Sky , Astronomy Telescope , Plasma , Astrology

The Space Seagulls – Mystical Life – Prime World

The Space Seagulls - Mystical Life - Prime World

The Space Seagulls – Mystical Life – Prime World by Daniel Arrhakis (2016)

With the music : Audiomachine – Reaching

A world in which life is a Universal Spirit and of which we are part.

A mystic universe in which the Light and Knowledge illuminate the darkness and help us attain immortality, eternal life through the generations … Travelers who are reborn in the dust of Stars and flying in the seas of the unknown …

In future when we finally look with eyes to see beyond the Earth’s oceans … and understand the meaning of our own existence … and rise … then we will understand that we are after all The Last Guardians Of Life.

The second most important commandment in Prime World: The Right To the Preservation and Conservation Of All Life on Universe !


Work made for the challenge : Spotlight Your Best .. June 2016 Contest .. Magical Birdies :


Two images of seagulls captured in Lisbon near Tejo river, a mannequin image modified, the planet is Mars (credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech).

The textures are mine and are computer generated images created for this work. Art collage, Glow processing, textured layered techniques and flares.

Posted by Daniel Arrhakis on 2016-06-24 02:51:24

Tagged: , Prime World , Prime , Mystic Surrealism , Futuristic Surrealism , Mystery , EnteredinSYB



Posted by kadek susanto on 2015-04-14 02:11:28

Tagged: , amazing , animal , antelope , aura , background , beautiful , black , color , coloration , colorful , computer , danger , decorate , display , dust , earth , emotion , escape , fantastic , feeling , free , freedom , glow , gold , golden , harmony , horizon , horns , inspiration , inspire , jump , kick , light , lovely , magnificent , majestic , mammal , mesmerize , mysterious , mystery , natural , nature , orange , plains , red , run , screensaver , shine , silhouette , splendor , springbok , springbuck , striking , sun , sunset , super , superb , symbol , symbolic , tree , unique , vast , wild , wildlife , wonder , wondrous , world , yellow

Somewhere a faucet drips.

Somewhere a faucet drips.


Clearly I’m going through a black and white, earthy noir moment. This song plays through my head when I look at this. So does this one for some reason.

I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of staying off the computer, which explains unanswered messages. Sorry for that, but I really need to keep myself offline especially now that college is starting again in a couple of weeks. I’m not feeling that photographic at the moment though…once classes begin I’ll probably be more motivated. I feel really bad about not being able to follow the work of others as much and I hope I can catch up as much as possible when I can! I don’t like missing out on your beautiful photographs even though being off the internet has been really good for my peace of mind.

Yesterday I modeled for the amazing Andrea Pun and I can’t wait to see what she came up with! I got to play fashion model, which was absolutely nerve-wracking since I’m not in the least modelesque, but we had a wonderful stylist and make-up team and though I was nervous it was very fun. Check out one of the shots here!

TTV, Argus Super 75, shot with a 100mm macro lens. Wanna know how?

Posted by Diana Pinto on 2010-08-19 03:07:00

Tagged: , black , white , self , portrait , ttv , through , viewfinder , argus super 75 , girl , film , noir , mood , moody , dust , dusty , scratches , scratched , mystery , mysterious , dark , emotions , emotional , 365days , 365 , project , day , 80 , natural , light , illumination , ttvwhores , diana , pinto , absence , is , steel , femine , femininity , shadows , shadowy , soft , focus , sensual , sensuality , hazy , drowse , drowsy