The sun was high in the sky in Central City on this beautiful, mid-summer, early-afternoon day, but the ice was still not melting! Flash spun around to make a hard right and dodged another ray of ice as Captain Cold shot at him. Usually, the fight would be over by now, but Flash had learned fairly quickly that he needed to be very careful not to get shot by Cold’s new gun. He couldn’t afford to get covered in this weird, apparently unmelting, ice.
“Nice upgrade, Cold. Where’d you get it? ‘Cause I know you couldn’t have built this by yourself,” Flash taunted. Captain Cold shot at Flash again, but the speedster had already moved.
“As much as I would like to take credit for this, Flash, no, I didn’t build it. But it was a good enough deal for magic ice.” Cold was shooting at Flash any time he so much as slowed down. Flash needed to end this soon; he couldn’t possibly escape every single blast, especially as the battle dragged on longer. He ran in a wide circle around Cold, purposefully kicking up the dust and dirt as he went. He gradually narrowed the circle, and Cold started shooting wildly, hoping to catch the speedster while he was concentrating on running in circles.
Flash took a deep breath and tapped into the Speedforce.
Everything around him seemed to stop.
The dust hung in the air, only moving to the side as Flash walked through. Cold was unmoving in the center of the circle, face contorted in concentration as a blast of ice was slowly making its way to where the Flash used to be standing. He quickly walked over to Cold and started carefully unbending his fingers, making sure he wouldn’t break the man’s hands, to let go of the gun.
After a few minutes of relative time, Flash had a complete hold of the weapon, and started to disassemble it, leaving bits and bolts in the space next to him as he went. Soon enough, he was left with the power source of Cold’s upgraded gun. It looked like a light blue sphere covered in frost, about two inches in diameter, which seemed to radiate cold and gave off a blue mist as it moved.
Right before he left this state of extreme time distortion, he tapped on Cold’s face with his fist, knowing that when time went back to normal, the force of the punch would likely knock him out.
He forced his body to slow down as time started picking back up again. The ray of ice shot off, missing its intended target. The pieces of the gun fell to the ground, clattering and rolling away in random directions. Captain Cold let out a pained grunt as he staggered back in a daze before he, like the scrap metal of his former gun, fell to the ground with a thud. Flash hand-cuffed the unconscious villain to a nearby pole, to be picked up by the CCPD when they get there.
When the dust finally started to settle, Flash took this time to properly examine the apparently magical power source. As he held it in his hands, he could feel a sort of fear coming from the icy orb; as if it had its eyes shut tight, not wanting to see what was going on. But it was just a sphere, right? Just an inanimate object, how could he be feeling emotions coming from it?
Slowly, the fear subsided, replaced with a hopeful wariness, as if it were peeking out from its shell. Suddenly, the orb was flooded with a sense of overwhelming relief and happiness as all of the ice around the Flash started to melt and evaporate into the air like it was never there to begin with. Flash stared wide-eyed at the small orb in his hand.
“Woah! Are… are you alive?” He asked quietly. He felt the frosty orb go into a state of what he could only describe as ‘shocked speechless.’ Then, as if finally comprehending the meaning behind Flash’s words, the orb was filled with hope, but a small amount of worry and anxiousness tickled the back of the emotion. Flash got the sense that the sphere was trying to ask for help, what kind of help, Flash was unsure, but without the words, or any other means of direct communication, the orb was preparing itself for disappointment. There was no way in Flash’s mind that this was just a simple magical object. The Justice League needed to see this.
“Hey, uhh, little cold ball… thing… How’s about we go to the Justice League? Maybe they can figure out a way to communicate with you!” Flash really hoped that this thing wasn’t some sort of evil artifact or something, but judging by the relief and happiness it felt after it was out of the gun, and how quickly the ice melted once it realized it was in control, he highly doubted it and dismissed the thought.
At his words, the ball let out a burst of optimistic surprise; like that solution was more than it was expecting. Flash noticed that the worry and anxiety were still present at the edge of the emotions. He wanted to try to put the thing at ease, but got the feeling that no matter what he said, it would still be worried about the League’s reactions to it until they actually got there and he explained what he had found.
He heard the sirens of the CCPD, breaking him out of his thoughts. Captain Cold was down for the count, the ice was melted, and the police were close; Flash felt that his job here was done, so he zoomed off in the direction of the nearest zeta-tube to the Watchtower.
… … …
As they approached the zeta-tube, the orb’s anxiety rose until it was at the forefront of the emotions instead of just at the back. Flash tried to comfort the thing by lightly patting its top, and smiled.
“Hey now, don’t worry little guy, this is a zeta-tube; it’ll teleport us to the League. It only lasts a couple of seconds, so it’ll be over in a flash!” He chuckled lightly at his pun as he felt the anxiety in the ball decrease slightly, replaced with a sort of begrudging trust, as if to say: I still don’t want to go in, but I’m kind of helpless at the moment, so lead the way.
They entered the tube and signaled the Watchtower to request a zeta activation.
“Flash.” J’onn’s voice addressed him through the communicator. “I sense another presence with you, but it does not appear on the scans.” Flash felt another burst of worry come from the orb.
“Uhh, yeah. About that, I kinda found this… magic ball? But it has emotions and responds to questions and stuff so I’m pretty sure it’s sentient? I wanted to show it to the League to see if we could find a better way to talk to it,” Flash tried to explain the best he could. The orb’s worry did not lessen as the seconds ticked on in silence.
“Alright. I shall gather everyone to the meeting room,” J’onn informed them as the lights and buttons around them started to blink and brighten as the tube whirred to life.
“Awesome! Beam us up, J’onnie!” Flash grinned as he felt the frosty orb’s amused, nonexistent eye-roll.
… … …
The trip up to space where the Justice League’s headquarters were really did only last a couple of seconds, but Flash could still feel the same sort of eyes-shut-tight fear from earlier the entire time from the cold orb in his hands. He really hoped this trip was going to be worth it, he felt bad for causing the little thing any undue stress.
Flash walked out of the zeta-tube in the Watchtower and started making his way towards the meeting room where the rest of the League was supposed to be, trying to fill the silence as they went.
“Now that wasn’t too hard, was it? Welcome to the Watchtower, little guy!” He lifted sphere and moved it around, showing it around the base. He felt that if the cold little ball had a jaw, it would be on the ground with awe. The background worry was still there, and slowly growing the longer it took them to get to the rest of the League, but Flash knew that they would try to help with whatever is was the little ball needed.
Right before they got to the meeting room, Flash felt every ounce of the worry and anxiousness coming from the orb disappear, and be replaced with amazement, wonder, and a good dose of giddiness. He instantly stopped and looked around, wondering what caused such a massive change in the sphere’s emotions. A wide grin spread across his face when he realized what it must be.
The Flash leaned up against the large window and held the ball closer to it, just enough so that its mist wouldn’t fog up the glass.
“So, I take it you’re a fan of space?” Flash could tell that if the ball had a head, it would be nodding vigorously. “Well, maybe I should have mentioned earlier that the Watchtower was is space. It would have been easier to get you inside the zeta-tube,” Flash joked. The orb directed a bit of sarcasm-laced amusement towards him, then allowed its whole attention to be placed back to the window.
Flash let the icy ball stare out into space for a couple of minutes, knowing that this was probably a much-needed distraction.
However, he also knew that they came here for a reason, and that everyone was waiting just behind the doors next to them.
“Okay, come on, time to get back to business, the League is waiting,” Flash gently reminded it. He felt a small bit of disappointment from the orb in his hand, followed by acceptance and cautious optimism. “Hey, when this is done, I’ll take you to the observation deck! It has a much better view than some old window.” The orb gave him a burst of appreciative happiness.
Flash opened the doors and saw the remaining six members of the Justice League: Batman and Superman were talking with Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman was with Green Lantern and Hawk Woman. The room fell silent as they all turned to the Flash expectantly. He felt all of the optimism from the orb evaporate, replaced completely with nervousness and worry.
“Hey, don’t worry, they’ll like you, I swear,” Flash whispered to the sphere as he turned to the rest of his team with a smile.
“What’s all this about, Flash?” Hawk Woman asked, frowning. A tiny bit of fear leaked from the orb. “J’onn tells us you found a little ball of emotions?”
“Okay, so this is what happened: I was fighting Captain Cold when I noticed that his gun was upgraded, ice that wouldn’t melt ohmygoditwassuchapain, and he says that he got a new power source for magic ice. So I went super fast and I broke his gun and knocked him out. Then I picked up this little guy,” Flash raised the icy sphere so the others could see it.
“When I touched it, I could feel emotions coming from it. So I asked it some questions and it responded with different emotions! I told it we could try to figure out a way for it to talk to us, so I brought it here.” He looked up hopefully to the faces of the other Leaguers. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman looked surprised, while Batman scowled, and Hawk Woman looked furious.
“You brought an unknown weapon onboard the Watchtower?” Hawk Woman took a step forward, but Batman put a hand on her shoulder. She frowned at him but stepped back nonetheless, growling to herself. Batman walked over to the red speedster. Flash could feel the orb’s anxiety grow with each step; Batman had that effect on people. He stood in front of the Flash and scrutinized the crystalline ball.
“You said that you could feel its emotions when you touched it?” Batman asked, his voice giving away nothing of what he was thinking.
“Uhh… yeah. You wanna hold it?” Flash felt a small bit of betrayal aimed at him from the frosty sphere, then the nervousness picked up again when Batman wordlessly held out his hand. “Hey, stop worrying so much, it’s just Batman, there’s nothing to be scared of,” he told the ball as he put it in Batman’s black gloved hand.
Batman’s eyes widened slightly when he touched the orb, and as soon as the Flash let go, he was left with a small empty feeling as he could no longer feel the little ball’s emotions.
Batman turned the sphere over in his hands. Frowned, then sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Flash asked, a little worried.
“It’s afraid of me. I doubt that I’ll be able to get any proper responses out of it through questioning,” he explained. Martian Manhunter cocked his head to the side and stepped forward.
“May I test a theory?” He asked as he held out his hand towards Batman. Batman remained silent for a few moments before he set the icy ball in the Martian’s hand. His eyes widened in shock as he held the sphere closer.
“Intriguing,” the Martian said as he looked around the room to the other Leaguers.
“He has a voice.”