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"Better to burn out... Than to fade away": In a facility run by N.O.W.H.E.R.E., Bart Allen discovers a screaming Solstice trapped in a holding cell. Unwilling to leave her there, he wraps her in a fire hose, incapacitates the guards, a
Appearing in "Better to burn out... Than to fade away"
- Detritus (First appearance)
- Mount Mary General Hospital
Synopsis for "Better to burn out... Than to fade away"
In a facility run by N.O.W.H.E.R.E., Bart Allen discovers a screaming Solstice trapped in a holding cell. Unwilling to leave her there, he wraps her in a fire hose, incapacitates the guards, and then uses process of elimination to find the four-digit code that will open the door - all in a matter of seconds. Outside, it is snowy, and Bart determines that they are in Antarctica, somewhere south of the Pendact Circle. Unfortunately, his sneakers lack traction, and they slip and slide until they find themselves headed for the edge of a cliff. Hopefully, he asks Solstice whether she can fly at all.
On a cargo train passing through the Badlands, a teen from Mexico named Miguel Barragan sneaks onto one of the cars, excited to see the sights in America for the first time. However, the sight he finds in the car is unnerving. On the ceiling appears to be a giant cocoon. He is further surprised by the appearance of a drifter behind him.
At a hospital in Los Angeles, Cassie Sandsmark disguises herself as a nurse and checks on Maurice Boviere, one of three brothers who make up the villain Thrice. She comments that his brothers have fared less well than he, and have been airlifted to Seattle and San Diego respectively - preventing the three of them from merging. Turning on him, she warns that if he doesn't tell her everything she wants to know about the people who hired her, he'll need several real nurses.
Fortunately for Bart, Solstice can still fly - a result of experimentation by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Unfortunately, Bart's rapid-fire questions and high-speed thoughts are overwhelming to her, and she loses concentration, causing them to crash hard into the ice and snow below.
Miguel finds his hobo companion's calm suspicious, considering the thing hanging from the ceiling behind them. The hobo notes that Miguel must be running away to have stowed away on the train, given that his shoes are expensive enough that he could have bought a ticket. Miguel tries to make excuses, but the hobo presses on until both of their suspicions are aroused to a breaking point.
Miguel reveals that he is a Metahuman, and the hobo attacks him, throwing aside his dirty garb to reveal that he was Red Robin incognito. Red Robin suspects that Miguel has been working for N.O.W.H.E.R.E. against his own kind, but he claims to have no idea about the accusation. When Miguel realizes who he's fighting, he drops his guard, and hugs Red Robin, exclaiming that he had actually come all the way from Mexico just to meet him, having been reading Red Robin's blog about the danger posed to metahuman teens. Miguel puts on his costume and introduces himself as Bunker.
Suddenly, the train stops, and they pop their heads out the door to see what's going on. The people of a nearby town are approaching them with vacant stares indicative of mind control. Red Robin leaves Bunker to protect the cocoon in the car while he investigates the source of the mind control.
Flying up high, Red Robin finds a rusty radio tower with a new-looking box attached to it. This must be the source, given how out of place it is. As he prepares to blow it up, a large metal hand shoves his head against the metal bars of the tower. A large humanoid creature made of scrap metal introduces itself as Detritus, explaining that it had once been cybernetic scrap meant for recycling until it suddenly gained spontaneous intelligence. It is now his mission to wipe out humanity. Rather than fight Red Robin, Detritus simply replaces his memories of their encounter, and returns him to Bunker, allowing him to continue unimpeded.
Moments later, Red Robin returns to the train, trying to remember the creature's name. When Bunker asks him what happened, Red Robin is unable to say what he was trying to remember, and instead, woodenly announces that he disabled the mind control device, and that they can be on their way. As they prepare to leave, Miguel reveals that the thing that was in the cocoon has hatched. It is Celine, who is now human rather than her insectoid form known as Skitter, and she has no idea where she is.
Somewhere in Antarctica, Bart and Solstice inexplicably find themselves on a city street amid the snow. However, within seconds, it and the pair of them are buried beneath a huge layer of snow.
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