[I do not claim ownership of the characters that appear in this story. But the STORY, is of my creation!]
“This is Vickie Vale of Gotham News 8, with breaking news. What you see before you on your screens. Is what remains of Arkham Island. Which mysteriously exploded roughly a half hour ago. What was once a sprawling mansion and medical facility for the mentally disturbed and Criminally Insane. Arkham Asylum and Arkham Island is now a smouldering crater. The blast sent shockwaves over the west river and the surounding area. We must try to remember, that there were more then just criminals and the disturbed on that island. There were innocent people there who dedicated their lives to serve those who needed the help. It was the late evenning shift and, according to records, a total of 350 people were on staff this evenning… It is too early to specify who these people were.. But our thoughts and prayers.. Go out to the families of these poor souls.. We will return momentarily after these messages..”
Nightwing awoke with a gasp. Flailing his arms, a hand pressed his chest down. “Dick! Its alright. Your safe.” Dick Grayson looked up and as his eyes adjusted to the bright exam table light. “Bruce? Holy hell.. What, where?” he asked. “The cave.” said Bruce, “I found you on the shore shortly after the blast. Oracle called me. How did you make it out?” “I guess we both have our ways of cheating death.” Dick said rubbing his head, wincing at the pain of such movment. “You hit your head pretty hard. Mild concussion. Nothing too sever. Even though.. Your lucky to be alive.” Bruce paused a moment, and turned away. Walking over to the bat computer he activates a moniter. The Gotham News replaying security fotage of Arkham Island exploding from a distance.
Bruce looked deeply in to the screen. “Dick..” he turns to face him, “What happened?” he asked solmely. “I dont know.” Dick started, slowly turning to sit on the exam table. “We were looking into the bombing on the pier. Two-Face’s body was on scene. But footage and reports had him in isolation in Arkham. *sigh* It was Clayface.. He warned me. He knew it was gonna happen, and he seemed content. There wasn’t enough time to get everyone out..” He went silent for a moment. “Black Mask” he said. “What?” “Black Mask was there.” Dick stated forcing himself up. “Roman Sionis is in maximum security in Blackgate.” said Bruce as he turned back to the computer. Pressing a series of buttons. A police file for Black Mask and Roman Sionis came on screen. “Military Grade explosives is not in his wheelhouse. What would make him change his M.O.?”
“Guess its up to me to find out.” Dick said, dressing in his Nightwing uniform. “Not a chance.” Bruce said, “You dont have any say in the matter.” Dick said flatly. “”He has every say! As do I!” called Barabra Gordon as she raced out of the Cave elevator, Alfred in tow.”Barb..” Dick started. “Your not going back out there!” She ordered. “So I should let some mad man run around with nukes at his disposal, and sit around and do nothing!?” Dick yelled. “Thats not what we’re saying. You were just in a massive explosion. You need to rest. You dont need to push yourself so hard! We can still work on this..” “Nobody bothered telling Batman to sit and rest..!” Dick shot back. “But your not Batman.” said Bruce sternly. “And neither are You!” Dick growled. “Batman is dead remember? You, gave up! You quit!.. Look.. I get it.. I do. But it was the Joker! That son of a bitch had it coming! Hes lucky it wasn’t me.. Thats why i came back. I figured you would need some time. I took the position at Wayne Tech just to show face. I wanted to Help you.. But it’s been a year! Get over it! You wanna do something? Stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off your ass and suit up!.. If not. Then stay the hell out of my way and let me do the job you wont.. Cause some of us still believe in what we do..” and with that Dick angrily saddled the Batpod and raced off.
Alfred and Barbara watched Dick speed away and exchanged looks. “Master Bruce, I’m sure..” “Its ok alfred.” Bruce cut in, “Barbara. Im gonna need your help figuring out where and how Black Mask could have gotten his hands on this type of explosive. Alfred, contact GCPD and Blackgate officials and find out the status of Roman Sionis.” Barbara and Alfred sighed, “Very well, Sir.” said Alfred as he walked off toward the comumications station. Barbara wheeled up to the computer consule next to Bruce. Bruce’s hands were typing fast on the keys. She reached and grabed his hand. He stopped and looked at her. She smiled soflty and said, “He means well. Its just.. He.. We, are still adjusting. All of us. We will get through this.. Together.” Bruce dropped his eyes. “We want you there.. He may not have the words for it. But he wants you at the wedding. He wants you by his side. I, want you there.. Ok?” He looked in to her eyes again and slightly nodded.
Suddenly, an alert appeared on screen and then a Black Skull appeared.
“Citizens of Gotham! I, am Black Mask. Some of you may think of me as some kind of, Gangster. A crook. A Criminal. A sociopath. But what i really am.. Is an instrument of change.”
“Start a Trace.” Bruce said, “On it!” Barbara began tyling away.
“Allow me to introduce to you, Jeremiah Arkham.” Black Mask continued, gesturing to a bound and gaged man. His face swollen and bloodied. “Head of Arkham Asylum, great grandson of Amadeus Arkham, the man who established Arkham Island and the institution in which stood upon its very soil.. At least.. It did, until i blew the place straight to hell!”
“Nightwing? Are you getting this feed?” Barbara called into a mic. “Yay.. Im hearing it.” Dick answered, “Tell me your getting a location.” “Im working on it. He’s bouncing the signal from what seems like everywhere.” she said. “Use the Wayne Tech satellites to boost the tracking beacon.” said Bruce, his eyes not looking away from the screen.
“Lets face it folks.. Arkham was of no use. And aint nobody is gonna miss the sick freaks that were locked up there!” Said Black Mask. “Was there ever a time where you found yourself wondering, ‘How the hell do these freaks keep getting out of there?!’ Well.. Heres your answer!” he said pulling Jeremiah’s hair to lift his head. “This little punk was turning a blind eye to his own job in keeping these maniacs and pshycopaths locked up! While You, the taxpayers of Gotham, were shoveling money in to his pockets to do his job.. He just ate it all up while jerking off at the desk.” Jeremiah began growling something through his gag. “You got something to add?” Black Mask removed his gag, “I never did any of the sort! I admit its been difficult to keep certain inmates in check.. But never once did i slack in my job to insure that those individuals remained behind bars..” Arkham spat, “I… REALLY, find that hard to believe.” Black Mask mocked, “Well now people aint gotta worry about that no more.. Cause I took care of it! Just like i took care of the mob! I’m looking to fix this city! First the dirty old mob heads and their old ways of bleeding this city to its core. Now, with the removel of all the psycho freaks that threaten the very sanity of this city! Soon.. The false gods who pretend to do whats right, while filling their stomachs and wallets with the blood, sweat and tears of the hard working men and women of this city!.. Im talking about the GCPD! Commissioner Gordon and his jackbooted flunkies.. The Mayor! The so called, High Society Types, who look down on everyone else from their great big mansions and skyline apartments! Once these people are erased.. Then, and Only then.. Will Gotham be whole.. Be renewed. Be Reborn!” Black Mask then pulled out a gun from his suit jacket and pointed it to Jeremiah’s head.”Wait! Please dont!” Jeremiah pleaded, “BLAM!!”
Barbara gasped as she clasped her hands to her mouth. “Damn it! Where’s that trace!?” Dick yelled.
Black Mask then stared in to the camera. Bruce stared back at the screen. In to Black Mask’s red eyes. Their eyes seemingly meeting each others gaze. “See you soon” Black Mask said, and the screen went black. “Master Bruce..?” Alfred said after a long moment. “I.. I have just recieved word from Black Gate..”
“Romain Sionis isn’t there.” Bruce said. “No sir..” Alfred said, his face ghostly white, “Roman Sionis.. Is dead.”
[GCPD BUILDING: DOWNTOWN GOTHAM]
The precincts phones were ringing non stop. Officers half arguing, half counseling callers. “Im sorry for what you just saw.”, “We dont have any control over what happens at the tv stations!”, “Well maybe your kid shouldnt be up watching tv late at night miss!”
Commissioner Gordon himself had about ten phone calls at once. The news outlets asking for comment. Concerned citizens asking what he was planning on doing. The governor and mayors office requesting immediate action. The national guard wondering when to deploy. The fire department giving updates from Arkham Island. It was becoming too much. He screamed and slammed the phones down. He grabbed his coat and stompped upstairs to the roof. He slammed the door behind him and pressed against it for a moment. Taking heavy breaths of air. He rubbed his eyes under his glasses and sighed deeply. “Damn this city!” he grumbled. Gordon reached for his pack of cigarettes in his pocket. He lit a cig as he strolled to the edge of the building. He took a long drag and let out a long puff of smoke as he stared off in to the distance. Thunder clouds began to rumble overhead. He looked out and over the skyline at the large pillar of smoke that was Arkahm Island. He shook his head and turned away. Only to find his gaze on the old Batsignal. Now resting under a large tarp. He slowly approached it. “I want him brought in.. By the Book!” his voice echoed in his mind, as his thoughts went back to that night one year ago. “Barbara? BARBARA!!!” his voice screamed in his head, as pictures of what happened flash in his mind. He gripped the tarp in his hand. “By The Book! Our way works.. Show him.. OUR WAY WORKS!”
“Jim?” a soft voice called. He wheeled around ready to draw his weapon. But then he saw her. “Sarah?!” he breathed in surprise.
There she was.. Sgt. Sarah Essen. Just as beautiful as he remembered her. She hadent aged a day, he thought to himself. “Hi, Jim..” she smiled. The rain pellets began to drop. She brushed a loose curl of hair behind her ear. “I-” she started, but he took her in to his arms and embrassed her tightly. She said nothing, but embraced him back. The rain grew heavier, and with a soft look into each others eyes.. They kissed.
[EPILOGUE: BLACKGATE MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON]
“Hey, Sionis. You got a visitor.” The guard called as he opened Roman Sionis’s cell door.
Moments later, Roman was seated and shackled in a dark room. A lone cieling lamp lit the room. The door behind him opens and a dark figure enters the room. The door slams.
“You wanna tell me, what the hell is this about?” Roman asks. The figure says nothing. Roman strains to look through the darkness. His visitor steps into the light.
“Oh.. Its you. The hell do you want from me now?!” says Roman.
The figure says nothing, But places a small leather briefcase on the table. Roman watches as the figure reaches in to the bag and slowly removes a Black Skull Mask.
Roman looked from the mask to the figure and back again. A sinister smile spread across his face, and he begins to laugh. “Ohhh ho ho ho. Hahahahaha! This is fucking rich! This. Is. Rich! Holy mother. This is.. Beautiful!” The figure put the mask on. “It feels good huh? You can feel it cant you? And It choose you!” Roman slaps the table with glee and laughs some more.
The figure removes a blade from the bag. Romans laugh dies away.. “*sigh* You know. Doing this makes it final. Take me out, The Mask owns you. Aint no going back.” The figure skirts the table toward Roman. Roman’s body tenses up. He pulles on his restraints, but they dont budge. “You could just give the mask back to me.. You aint gotta do this.” The figure grabs Roman by the hair. “HEY! I NEED HELP IN HERE!!” Roman screams. He looked up in to the blood red eyes of the mask. “The Mask owns you now.. You, my friend. Are Fucked!”and he spit in the Masked Figure’s face. And with a quick swipe, Roman Sionis’s throat is slit open and crimson gore poured from his neck like a fountain. He choked and gaged and spat as he bleed out. And The Black Mask let Romans head go and it fell forward on to the table. Roman gaged, and gasped for air as his life drained from him.
The Room door creaks open and slams with a clang.
Roman Sionis fades into darkness..
TO BE CONTINUED…