(I do not claim ownership of these characters. But i do own the story! Batman and all related characters are property of DC Comics and WB inc. Copyright and trademark and blah blah blah)
[James Gordons apartment: Lower Gotham]
Gordon laid on his living room floor. His legs proped on to the couch. The room was mostly dark, save for the neon lights that crept in through the window blinds. He stared at the dark cieling for a moment.
“Memories… So Treacherous.”
He grunted as he lifted his chest up to his knees suddenly. He huffed and puffed as he lifted himself up and back down. Up, and down.
Moments flashing in his mind.
“Damn it Gordon. I got the Governor breathing down my ass about this, Black Mask business.” said Mayor West. “Theres panic in the streets. The mafia is turning the streets in to their own personal war zone. I got Families giving me grief over the Asylum bombing, and i have nothing to tell them! What are you going to do about this Jim?!”
“One Moment your in a Carnival of delights, with poignant childhood aromas, the flashing neon of puberty, all that sentimental candy floss..” The Joker’s voice whispering in his ear.
Young little Barbra Gordon leaves her fathers arms rushing on to the waiting school bus. He watches her get to her seat. She sees him through the window and gives him the sweetest smile.
“The next, it leads you somewhere you dont’t want to go..”
BLAM! Barbara crashes in to the glass table. Joker stands at the door way, smoking gun in hand.
“Somewhere dark and cold” He says, “Filled with damp, ambiguous shapes of things you’d hoped were forgotten.”
Gordon reaches out for Barbara. But he cant move.
His stomach cramps and he quickly switches to push ups position.
He’s stripped of his cloths, his manhood, his pride. The photos of Barbaras nude body, bloody, helpless..
“BARBARA!!” He screams in his mind.
His arms and shoulders feel like they will explode. His heart pounding in his chest.
Joker smiles his wide grin. “All it takes. Is. One. Bad. Day!”
Gordon screams aloud as he pushes himself up one last time.
“JAMES!?” Sahra called to him. The living room lights flash on, snapping him out of his trance. Dressed in onky his dress shirt she rushes to his side on the floor. “What the hell, Jim? Are you trying to give yourself a heart attack?!” she said wiping the sweat from his brow.
Breathing heavily, “Sahra?” he sighed, as if finally realizing she was there. She looked at him, “Yea.. Im here.” she said. “Is this your new regimine? Work out till your heart explodes?”
“Im fine.” he said as he moved to sit on the floor properly. “It gets results. Im in the best shape of my life.” he adds as he gestures at himself. “I see that.” says Sahra, “But your not a young man Jim. You dont need to push yourself so hard.” “I was overpowered by three little people and stripped naked. I couldnt fight them off.. I could help my…” he stopped himself. His body shivered.
Sahra looked at him with sympathy in her eyes. “It wasnt your fault, Jim. It wasnt your fault.” He looked in to her eyes, and he began to sob. She grasped him in to her arms and cradled him close.
[GOTHAM METRO RAILWAY and GOTHAM EXPRESS TRAIN 7: Currently speeding way beyond its proper limit]
“Gimme the damn bag lady!” The thug growled through his mock Black Mask mask. The old woman cried. Several of the masked men filled the train car, stealing anything and everything from the frightened passangers. At the head of the Car, The Real Black Mask stood and watched.
“Thats all the loot boss” a thug said strapping his full bag over his shoulder. “Good.” said Black Mask, “Whats the word on the cargo hold?” in response, a voice came over the thugs radio, “Everything all set back here boss! Ready to Go!”
“Heh, Perfect.” Black Mask said, pulling the trains intercom mic, “Ladies and Gentelmen! I would like to personally thank you for being such great sports in todays exercise. And i hope this experiance hasnt turned you off from using Gothams fantastic public transportation. Just, next time, dont ride the same train thats carrying over 40 million dollars in diamonds on it. You never know when some psycho will try to rob it!”
“Chopper 2 to Black Mask. Come in, Black Mask.” Someone called over another radio. “Go ahead chopper 2.” said Black Mask. “ETA is 3 minutes. Im almost over you.”
“Well Folks! Thats my que to leave. Its been.. A Blast” Black Mask pulled out a small remote and pressed a button. A large explosion sounded and the train rocked wildly. “Last Stop folks.. The Diamond District… Fasten your seatbelts!” he said as he strolled down the aisle with his gang, toward the back of the train.
Nightwing raced at top speed on the streets below. Trying to catch the run away train. “Dick, We have a problem!” Oracle called over his ear piece. “Yeah, I noticed.” He said, “The Elevated rail way is down. That train is approaching 80 mph. You Have to stop that train!” “Yes, Dear.” He said. “Nows not the time for quips, ‘Honey'” He smirked under his helmit, “Right.”
“There’s an inbound Helicopter just above you.” she said. “Got it!” Nightwing quickly lept off the bike and drew out his grapnel gun. Attaching to the incoming Helicopter, he soared up in to the air. In one quick move he spring boarded off of the bottom of the copter and sprang out two underarm flaps allowing him to glide forward.
A thug kicked open the back exit door of the train, he looked up. “Ah hell.” he groaned as Nightwing kicked him in the face and barrel rolled in to two more men, knocking them back. He drew out his Escrima Sticks and quickly took out the other 5 men with expert precision.
[The WatchTower: Oracles base of operations]
“Dick. If you can get to the conducters cabin and plug in the new gauntlet interface. I could hack into the system and..” “I am a little busy right now. Just give me a sec!” He said.
Just then 5 more men came in to the cabin, Guns at the ready.
Suddenly, several alerts came upon Oracles screens.
Nightwing expertly fought his way through the thugs and crashed through to the next cabin using one of the men as a battering Ram. Two more thugs greeted him there.
“Uhm, Nightwing” Oracles voice came over the radio. “We have a situation..”
Using his helmit as a projectile he took down the two thugs. “What is it now?” he said as he turned to face The barrel of a gun.
“Black Mask is robbing The Gothem first National Bank, The Downtown Bank, Lincoln International Bank AND The Bank of Americas! Right now all at the same time!” She exclaimed as she starred at the several security camera feeds with Black Mask at the center of every one.
Black Mask clicked the safty off, “Whats the matter BirdBoy?” He said, “You look like your seeing a ghost!”
“Nightwing! Right? Thats the name, isnt it?” Black Mask mocked. “No longer the Boy Wonder, eh?” he chuckled as he circled Nightwing, his gun pressed to his head. “You’r probably finding out by now, I. Am. Everywhere. So now you got yourself a choice.. Stop the speeding train and save the lives of hundreds of passengers. OR bring to justice someone who may or may not be who he says he is before he spaltters my brains all over this cabin.. Easy choice if you ask me.” Black Mask leaned over for a large duffle bag on the floor. Without unlocking his gaze from Nightwing.
“Clocks ticking bird boy.. Whats it gonna be? This train aint goin any slower.”
“Dick! Forget the train. Take him down.” Oracle exclaimed. And without hesitation he lunged for Black Mask. “Bad move Bird Brain!” said Black Mask as he avoided his attack. Nightwing, a trained acrobat and expert combatant trained by Batman himself, used every move he had. But Black Mask was incredibly agile and fast. He couldnt land a single hit. “Impossible!” he thought, “How is he so fast? Who IS this guy!?” Nightwing started to become frustrated. He lost focus for a fraction of a second, ‘BLAM!’ a bullet wedged itself in to his leg. Nightwing fell forward grasping his thigh and Black Mask kneed him in the gut, knocking the wind out of him.
Just then, the cabin windows shattered around them as a Blue Streak whizzed by. “Ah, Ha! Looks like you had an ace in the hole.. Well. It was fun while it lasted handsome.. But i gotta run.” Black Mask raced for the door. Nightwing struggled in pursuit. Black Mask grabed ahold of the Hang ladder from the Helicopter. He turned back to face Nightwing, and said, “I’ll be seeing ya.. Dick!” and with that Black Mask was airbourn. Nightwing looked stunned. “Did he?.. Does he?!” his mind raced.
The Train suddenly came to a jolt and began to slow down. Until finally, just before it reached the end of the elevated rail. It stopped.
Nightwing limped through the train, making sure passangers were ok along the way. When he came to the front car, he found the passengers there in high spirits and excitment. Standing before them, looking all majestic and mighty was, Superman.
“I hope everyone is ok. I just.. Happened to be in the neighborhood. Glad to hear it.” He said to everyone as they mobbed him for questions and autographs. “Please, Excuse me.” he told the crowd as he spotted Nightwing. He marched through the people toward him. Nightwing watched every stride, and suddenly he had a very strange feeling. A feeling he never had before. “I got here as fast as i could. Youve been shot?! I can get you back..” He started, “No. I’ll be fine.. Uhm.. Thanks for.. The help.” Nightwing said nervously. “Are you sure?” Superman glared at Nightwings leg, “Doesnt appear to be any internal damage. No hit arteries. The bullet is lodged between..” “IM FINE!” Nightwing interupted.. “Sorry.. Im ok, really. I owe you one..” “Not at all, Consider us even. I owed Oracle for a favor she did for me a few weeks back. She sure knows when to cash in, huh.” Superman smiled. “Yup.. She sure does..” Nightwing said, feeling awkward..
“Hey, Superman. We need some help here..” a Passanger called. “Hey, why dont i help out the emergency crews with the evac and rescue.” Superman says Glancing over his shoulder “And you get that…” when he turns back Nightwing is gone. “Of course.” He says to himself.
“AARGGH!” Nightwing grunts as Alfred works to remove the bullet from his leg. “Hold still Master Dick. I’ve. Almost.. Got it!” Alfred pulled the bullet out and dropped in to a nearby metal dish. “Arent you glad, you switched to the new armour plateing in your suit?” Said Bruce, who stood watch. “Yea.. Lot of good it did.” said Nightwing as he braced for Alfreds stitching. “Prevented the bullet from going any deeper and causing serious damage to your leg.” Bruce stated flatly as he took the bullet to examine it.
“You know.. I actually get it now.” said Nightwing, “Get what?” asked Bruce. “Your.. ‘thing’ with.. ‘Him'” Nightwing said, nodding to the Bat Computer moniter as it showed newsfootage of Superman helping firecrews. “Oh.” Said Bruce, with a slight grin. “I never understood until today.. Its kinda wierd.. And ive always looked up to him, but It just felt.. Strange.” “Well, you should be glad i was able to reach him in time and call in that favor.” Barbara called as she wheeled herself out the elevator. “Black Mask made off with half of the diamonds he took from the train hiest. Which is an estimated 25 million. Thats not including the loot he got from 4, count em, 4! Separate bank hiests at the same time. We’re looking at a sizable 350 million dollars. In one day… How the hell is he doing this?! Body scans from the servalance footage points to it being the exact same person. Every body movement exactly the same. Same speech pattern. Same gestures. Its freaky!” she said as she showed them on the batcomputer the various servailance footage.
“Could Clayface still be alive? Was he even in arkham when it exploded?” Nightwing mused aloud as Alfred wrapped the final bandage on his leg. “I saw him myself.. But it cant be out of the question.” “This type of multiplicity would be too complicated for Clayface.” Bruce stated as he watched the footage closely. “Look at how he dodged ever hit you through at him.. Clayface never had such grace and agility. This is someone new.. Someone who knows what they are doing”
Nightwing hesitated a moment and finally said, “He said my name.” “What?!” They all said together, “I could be missreading it.. But, Its the way he said it.. He wasnt mocking me. ‘I’ll be seeing ya.. Dick!’ I dont know.. Maybe im nust reading too much in to it.” “I’ve taught you better then that.” said Bruce, “Your an excellent detective, and know how to read situations.” “Did he just complement me?” Dick quipped, “Dont make me take it back.” Bruce shot back, “If indeed This Black Mask knows who you are.. We must assume he knows all of us!” Bruce gazed in to the screen at the Image of Black Mask, “We need to handle this carefully.. We need to find out WHO is Black Mask!”
“YOU SAID, WHAT!?!” Black Mask yelled. “Do you have any idea, how long i have been planning this?! How much detail has gone in to this!?”
“It was a slip of the tounge” said another Black Mask. “I got caught in the moment.” There were 4 other Black Masks in the Room. They all groaned at those words. “You. Got caught up.. In. The. Moment…” Black Mask repeated. He slowly walked up to the other Black Mask and shot him in the head. The others grasped their heads and groaned in pain. “Let that be a reminder! I! Am running this show!” He marched over to a particular Black Mask and grabed him by the back of the neck, “Keep it in check. Do you understand me? We are.. So close! I wont have you fuck it up for me.. Next time something like this happens again.. I wont stop at just one… Understood?” The two Black Mask’s stared at each other, and the other nodded. “Good. Now all of you out.. Except you.” he gestured to the one in front of him.
[Meanwhile: In another undisclosed location]
Edward Nigma( aka The Riddler) sat at his computer moniter, his legs crossed atop his desk and a bowl of popcorn in his lap. Upon his moniter, was Black Mask and his doppelganger. “This is by far more entertaining then any primtime show on television!” he mused. Using a joystick, he zoomed in on on the room. “Its been sooo long since i used my old CC camera system. I used tonhave eyes and ears all over thos city.. Looks like i chose a good time to get back in to it.. I Must remind myself to dig into the archives and binge on what i have on there.”
“Now that thats out of the way.. We need to go over whats gonna happen at tomorrow nights Charity event.” Black Masks voice came over the screen. “Oh goodie! Spoiler alert!” Riddler giggled with glee. He watched and listened intently. As he watched, his smile suddenly faded in to a open mouth of surprise. He watched and listened. His eyes widedned at what he was seeing. He drew closer to his screen. Suddenly he bounced in his seat. The popcorn fell to the floor and he struggled to shut his moniter down. He clapped his laptop shut and looked around in stunned surprise. His eyes darted back and forth as his mind raced. Suddenly.. He had a plan.. A smile spread across his thin lips. He began to giggle with every thought that appeared in his mind.. “It’s Perfect!” He exclaimed, he laughed with such joy. “Riddle Me This!?.. Who Is The man behind the curtain? Who is the man hiding in plain sight? Who. Is. Black. Mask?!… Only, I know!… HAHAHAHAHAHA!!”
TO BE CONTINUED..