Velocity's heart stopped for a brief second at the sudden interruption. Without letting go of the child she turned slightly (though not to the point where she couldn't keep an eye on her scarlet-haired pursuer) to see who was behind her. If you were to ask the speedster (or even Walkiria) to describe the man she saw, Velocity might say he looked like one of those actors that used to star in those old Greco-Roman mythology movies from the 60's. Steve Reeves or maybe even Kirk Douglas in his youthful prime. But to everyone who had a television set, cell phone device, computer, or any other tool that had internet access... he was simply known to the public as "Doc Valiant", the head of Aristotle Solutions.
The big man looked as if he had just stepped out of a mechanic's garage. Spots of oil, dirt and sweat dotted his attire. "I'll only say this one more time... let the boy go and give yourself up." repeated Doc, an icy glare in his eyes. Walkiria couldn't help but wonder if their actions interupted his work (if the files O.D.I.N. had on him were to be believed).
"Or you'll do what???" asked Velocity, confidence returning to her as she tightened her grip on her young hostage, backing away some. She sincerely doubted her new adversary could fare ANY better than Walkiria in chasing her down. Growling slightly Valiant took a step towards her.
"You're only making this harder on yourself my dear." he said, no worry, no fear, and no concern showing on his face. To this Velocity couldn't help but laugh at. "You're certainly amusing old man. By the time you try anything I'd be halfway to the next state, and you'd have a dead child on your hands." she replied, smiling despite the fact she wore a helmet. As she kept her eyes on the two "heroes" the speedster felt slightly dizzy, a sensation she merely chalked up to having run for too long. It certainly did burn the calories.
"Is that so??" asked the superscientist, grinning now as he took another step. "I have a different theory I'm afraid. I don't think you'll make it past this sidewalk." added Valiant, the grin turning into a cocky smile. Velocity was rendered speechless by the audacity of this statement. He didn't seem to have any weapons on him, just what looked like a tool belt around his waist. What could he mean? There was enough distance between her and the two of them to render any attempt to rush her a pointless gesture. As she pondered upon his words, the dizzy sensation increased. This only added to her confusion.
"Hell... I'd say you probably won't make it five steps from here." stated Valiant, halting his approach. Velocity. couldn't help but wonder if he was serious. Walkiria didn't say anything, opting instead to go along with this, though she herself was left wondering what he had planned.
"Well??" asked the superscientist as he folded his large arms, "Ball's in your court." Velocity was having a hard time concentrating, now feeling nauseous as her disorientation became increasingly unbearable. She tried to figure out what was going on, having a hard time understanding what her new opponent was saying. The situation was becoming less desireable with each passing second. When Doc Valiant resumed his approach, the speedster's instincts finally won out, deciding that discretion had become the better part of valor (or something), and tried to leave.
But to her shock and horror Velocity discovered that her legs weren't working. In fact very little of her body was working. When she tried to move all the criminal felt was her feet buckle beneath her, whilest the world seemed to spin before her eyes. As she fell, The speedster saw Valiant immediately rush to her young hostage's aid, and then the gloved fist of Walkiria came flying towards her face. Unconsciousness soon followed upon impact.
"So... uhh... what the hell happened to her??" asked Walkiria, as the two heroes watched the AFPD pick up Velocity. She couldn't believe she was meeting THE Doc Valiant. The (many) files she had read over the years (especially during her military academy days) didn't seem to paint quite as clear a picture as meeting the man face to face and seeing him in action. The superscientist simply smiled, chuckling as he pulled out a small object from his side pocket.
"This. This happened to her." he said, handing it to the Scarlet-haired avenger. It almost looked like one of those old Pagers. "It's a sonic device I made specifically for Speedsters. Plays hell on their equilibrium. If they can't stand, they can't run. Just glad it worked in time..." added Doc as Walkiria handed it back.
"Why's that? Is it because you were worried Velocity'd leave before it could be implemented??" she asked, curious by that last remark. Valiant chuckled some more. "Well yeah... that... AND the fact that if left on too long the device would begin to effect everyone else in it's vacinity and not just the speedster." he grinned as he pocketed the object once more. The implications were not lost on Walkiria, and she couldn't help but imagine all three of them (and the hostage... and the spectators) all virtually paralyzed on the ground had that occurred.
Her older companion seemed to pick up on this. "Yeah. It would've been unpleasant for all of us for about oh... fifteen... maybe twenty minutes till it's power source ran out." Walkiria's stomach churned at the thought. As she tried to blot out the images running through her head, she noticed Valiant holding out his hand to her.
"Doctor Alexander Valiant. Pleasure to meet you finally my dear." he said, smiling.
It took Walkiria a moment to process that he actually wanted to shake her hand. "Oh. The pleasure is mine, Doctor Valiant. An honor actually. I had to study several of your missions back in the Academy. You've done some really impressive things in your career." She took the offered hand and shook it firmly.
"Just doing my part, much like you are doing nowadays. You said the Academy; Colorado Springs or Annapolis?"
"Annapolis. Naval Academy. I was Marine Corps." Walkiria answered as she shook hands. "Several of your operations are still required reading."
Doctor Valiant laughed. "It's good to see they have an appreciation for ancient history." The super scientist and adventurer looked down as he brushed off his hands. His palms were flecked with flakes of red leather from Walkiria's gloves. "It looks like the police have everything in hand here. Do you need to go help stop her team mates?"
"Let me check. O.D.I.N., how are Dragon and Olga doing? Do they need help?" Maia asked over her com-link. After listening, she turned back to Doc Valiant. "It seems her companions are both in custody as well."
Doctor Valiant raised an eyebrow. "O.D.I.N.? The Yoyodyne Industries Artificial Intelligence?" he asked.
Walkiria nodded. "Yes, he was monitoring the city's traffic cameras. He was helping me track and intercept Velocity. He acts as my air traffic controller sometimes." She shrugged, the movement accompanied by a loud tear as the material of her costume around her right shoulder split and tore. "Damn it!" she exclaimed as she clutched at the split seam. "I knew that would happen soon enough."
Doctor Valiant looked on with concern. "Did Velocity damage your costume? You aren't hurt, are you?"
Walkiria shook her head. "No, she never touched me. She just took off running as soon as we arrived. No, this is like the third time I have worn this costume. And with all the Ionic energy I was using I knew it wouldn't last long. This happens to all my costumes after I wear them a few times. The more of my power I use, the faster it happens," she explained.
Doc Valiant stroked his beard as he considered what she said. "Sounds almost like neutron embrittlement. But you aren't giving off any hard radiation or else the scanners in the plaza would have alarmed."
"It's not radiation in the conventional sense. At least that's what the Yoyodyne scientists tell me. In any event it plays hell with my costumes. Just once I'd like to finish a fight without my costume disintegrating on me!"
"It sounds interesting. Would you like me to study the problem? Perhaps I can come up with a solution?"
"That would be awesome, but I am sure you have more important things to do, Doctor Valiant. I can't expect you to take time to worry about my wardrobe malfunctions," Walkiria protested.
"Nonsense, I'm happy to help. Do you have time to come up to my lab? I can run a few quick preliminary tests and get started."
"Well then Miss Walkiria, if you will follow me?" the super-scientist asked with a sweeping gesture of his arm.
"Alright, but call me Maia please," Walkiria said with a smile as she walked into the lobby. "O.D.I.N. please tell Olga I'll be busy here for a bit but that I'll be home in time for supper, ok?" She listened to the Artificial Intelligence's reply. "Yes, I'll ask him. Doctor Valiant, O.D.I.N. wants to know if he should deactivate the mini-cam in my glasses frame? He does not want to invade your privacy or violate your security."
"Oh. That's very thoughtful. I don't think it will be necessary. I don't have anything too sensitive in the main lab right now. But I will ask that he doesn't record anything."
Maia smiled. "O.D.I.N. promises no recording," she replied as they stepped into the private elevator.
Doc Valiant pressed the controls to take them up to one of the labs in the upper floors of the building. The button lit up with a green light as the security scanners verified his identity. As they rode the elevator upwards, the scientist explained what he proposed to for these tests. Maia smiled and nodded, trying to hide the fact that he had lost her after the first minute and could now be speaking in Aramaic for all she was understanding at the moment. When the elevator doors finally opened they stepped out into a huge room filled with all sorts of instruments and scientific devices. Maia looked around, thinking this room could easily rival or surpass anything she had seen inside the Yoyodyne Laboratories.
"Would you like something to drink? I just made a fresh pot of coffee before my security alarms went off for the plaza. Or I have water or juice if you prefer?" Doc Valiant asked, interrupting her inspection of the lab.
"Coffee sounds great. Olga is more of a tea drinker so I miss coffee every now and then."
The doctor led Maia to a small kitchenette and lounge and poured them each a cup. Maia declined cream and sugar and sipped the black coffee. She looked at the lounge, focusing on the strange chessboard sitting on the table. It featured regular looking chess pieces, but the board was divided into three separate boards with each set above the next in a vertical stack. As she listened to O.D.I.N. over her earpiece she studied the game pieces.
"Do you play?" Doc Valiant asked as he came over to her.
"Me? God no. Regular chess is about all I can handle. No, O.D.I.N. was wondering who had the next move?"
"White," the scientist answered. "I was trying to see if there was a way to prevent black from winning in 23 moves."
"O.D.I.N. says white should win in 19 moves."
"What? How?" Doctor Valiant asked, intrigued by the A.I.'s analysis.
"He says white rook to level 3 Queens-7, then use Bonetti's Defense," Maia relayed, hoping that it made sense to the scientist adventurer.
"Bonetti's Defense? But that would leave
ohh wait, I see what he is proposing. Very novel!" Doc said with a smile. "We should play some time."
"O.D.I.N. says he is ready whenever you wish."
"Excellent. But now let's see what we can do about your costume problem. Do you mind stepping over to the Quantum Resonance Scanner so I can take some readings?"
Maia nodded and waited for the doctor to point to which of the machines he intending to use.
To be continued