559 Government Interference

Edward, dressed in a well-fitted black suit, shoes, and a long blazer, walked toward a room where he heard chatters. From a distance, he could hear Team Flash talking about recent events.

Last year, Barry had to enter the Speed Force to save the city and the world, forcing him to be stuck there. However, the team did not give up on him and tried to get him back. After a few failures, Barry opened a breach from the Speed Force and returned to the world.

However, the breach released a large quantity of dark matter. Unfortunately, a bus full of passengers was in that area, and they were successfully mutated as a result. These meta-humans have been the main source of their trouble for the past few weeks.

"Who are you?" asked Joe, Barry's adopted father and Iris's real father; he was the first to notice Edward walking in.

"Oh, you're all here; that saves me a lot of trouble," replied Edward with a smile. "I'm agent Edward Bones from the SDMV— the Supervising Department of Meta-Humans and Vigilantes. It's a pleasure to meet all of you."

He handed Joe his badge before walking to Barry: "You must be the famous Flash—It's an honor to meet you."

"Same," replied Barry casually, but anyone could tell he was saying it for the sake of politeness. "What exactly is this SP–"

"SDMV," explained Edward. "Over the years, the world has experienced a rise in meta-human and vigilant activities. Previously, the US government ignored all of you because the good you did outweigh the bad. But recent events have made many people concerned. So, my department was established to facilitate a better relationship between vigilantes and the government."

"That's a nice way of saying you want to monitor us."

"You must be Iris West: love your writing," commented Edward. "But you're correct. However, it's best if you don't see it in such a negative light. The program has just started, and you guys are the first test run. You wouldn't believe it, but some of my superiors suggested starting with Oliver and his team in Star City." Edwards shook his head, showing how absurd such an idea was.

"We do not need supervision," refuted Barry directly.

"I agree with Barry on this," added Cisco Ramon.

"The government having control over how superheroes do their job? I cannot fathom a better recipe for disaster," stated Harrison Wolfgang Wells.

"Harrison Wells? Shouldn't you be dead?" asked Edward. "Let me guess, from a parallel earth?"

"Earth 19, and you're deflecting the issue."

Edward smiled before looking at Cisco. "Do you mind if I use your computer to show you something?" Cisco hesitated for a moment before agreeing. Edward pulled out a report with a number highlighted in bold red: 22, 345, 976,898.

"That's the amount of money your team has caused the government since you started— 22 billion dollars in over four years. All that money comes from taxpayers."

"How is that possible?" chimed in Caitlin, the team's doctor.

"Every time you run so fast that you destroy cars, windows, or the insurance paid for people's cars and properties destroyed, or even generate earthquakes or even tsunamis during some of your battles — all of these require money, and the government has been paying the bill."

"You cannot blame Barry for all of this," argued Iris.

"True, but it does not change the fact he's responsible for most of it," explained Edward.

"What exactly are you trying to get at?" asked Cisco.

"I will be direct. According to my orders. your team has three choices: disband and become regular citizens, pay the money owed, and you can continue your vigilante activities, or, I suggest you choose that one, accept the supervision."

Edward looked at Harrison Wells, "Personally. I suggest you pay the money. Many people are interested in the technology to navigate parallel dimensions: the benefits are simply endless."

"Impossible," denied Cisco, and Edward shrugged.

"And what if we don't comply?" asked Barry, staring him directly in the eyes.

"You guys don't seem to grasp the severity of the situation," sighed Edward. "Many people fear that Barry or one of his speedster little friends will one day travel to the past and eliminate the founding founders, thus erasing the birth of this great nation. Now, can you imagine what the US government—which has the greatest military in the world—will do to prevent such an event from occurring?"

Edward looked at him back, "In such a worst-case scenario, you might be fine, but that cannot be said for the others."

"Are you threatening me?"

"No, I'm trying to make you see the reality."

"What reality? Barry would never do such a thing," added Joe.

"One thing I've learned in my life is that fear is never logical. And when people with the power of a nation behind them began to act out of fear — that's a recipe for disaster."

The room became gloomily quiet for a few seconds before Edward continued, "I understand this is a lot to process. I will give you a day to mull it over. I will be back tomorrow at 1500 hours."

Edward took his badge from Joe's hand before walking out, and the team immediately began to discuss countermeasures.

"What should we do?" asked Caitlin.

"Let's check that weirdly named department first," said Iris as she used the computer. "Dad, do you remember his ID number?"

"Yes, I memorized it."

Soon, the team found Edward's identity, including the semi-classified ones.

"Ex-Special Force: Served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was about to retire but was called into this new department," explained Iris.

"So, he's legit?" asked Ralph Dibny or the Elongated Man, a new meta-human from the bus accident. He was quiet the whole time Edward was there.

"It appears so."

"You said he's an Ex-Special Force and served?" asked Barry.

"That's right."

"In that case, let's contact Diggle to see if he knows something."

The team then contacted Team Arrow in Star City, asking Diggle if he had any information. A few minutes later, they received a call.

"I got news from a few of my contacts," said Diggle. "Edward Bones led a task force called the Silent Diplomats. Their mission was to enter hostile territories and negotiate all kinds of under-the-table deals for the government."

"Diggle, did you hear anything about this SDMV?"

"No. Apparently, this department was of the highest security level: no news was leaked before it was formed. However, I must warn you. From what I hear, Edward Bones is an expert negotiator, manipulator, and ruthless man who will do anything for his mission. Be careful how you deal with him."

"Alright, thanks."

"No problem. I must go and deal with Olivier; he's not in the best mood after knowing the government knows his real identity."

The call ended, and the room once again became somber.

"So, what do we do?" asked Ralph, but no one could give him an answer.

Edward and Morgana looked at the screen before them.

"Are you sure you shouldn't choose a nicer identity?"

"No, they are bound to be suspicious of me. So, it's better this way, makes it more believable."

"If you say so. What's our next step?"

"Let's analyze the data we gathered."

They could not read Barry's mind, but this was not the same for the other members. People like Caitlin and Cisco have been with Barry for a long time, and as scientifically minded individuals, they have a great understanding of the Speed Force.

In their mind, Edward was able to gather a lot of data. From Caitlin, he learned a great deal about how Barry's cells and DNA reacted or connected to the Speed Force. Meanwhile, he learned about the force itself from Cisco's mind.

After summarizing and analyzing the data, Edward showed up to the lab the next day, as he stated.

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