(I do not own any of the characters that appear in this story. Batman and all related characters are property and trademark of DC Comics. I Do claim the story though.. This is mine!)
*Huff!* *Puff!* *Omph!*
Barabra Gordon grimaced as she pulled herself up and then lowered herself down. Streathing her chin over the bar each time she came up. Huffing and puffing. Sweat dripping down her brow. “50!” she exhaled deeply. Slowly bringing herself down, she looked over at her wheel chair, which was a few feet away. She looked around the training area. The room was empty. She liked to work out alone.
[A YEAR AND SIX MONTHS AGO]
Barbra scanned the length of the pull up bar. She could easily scale it and be above the chair. With a sigh she began to scurry along the bar. Left hand, right hand. Left, right. Left right. Her legs bound together so they dont flail around as she moved. She hated not having control of them anymore. She clenched her teeth with frustration. She was alomst there. Her feet hit the chair and it rolled back out of place. “Shit!” She nearly slipped off the bars when Suddenly, Firm hands held her waist. “Easy there, Sahra Connor.” A kind voice said,
“Dick!?” she exclaimed in happy surprise. “Hey Barb.” he smiled, his foot held the wheel chair from slipping any further back and he helped her gently in to the chair. She hugged him tight. “When did you get back?” she asked. “Roughly an hour ago. Called your place. Your dad said, you’d be here.” He said. “So i thought i’d come pick you up.”
He helped her unstrap her legs. And handed her a towel. “Thanks.” she said. He looked at her and sighed. She looked back at him. His eyes asked ‘Are you ok?’ Barbra smiled sweetly and her eyes said, ‘I will be.’ They smiled. “Come on. Lets get some grub. I heard they just opened a new Big Belly Burger a few blocks from here.” Dick said quickly as he rushed behind the wheelchair and started pushing her out toward the door. “Oh nothing helps a good workout like some fatty greasy food.” she quiped, “I know right!” Dick said excitedly and she laughed.
[LATER: inside Barbra Gordon’s new apartment.] Boxes cluttered the entirety of the living room. One lamp was plugged in. Babara layed atop her loveseat and Dick sat close on a blanket on the floor. A nightstand served as their dinner table.
“Hahahaha” Barbra laughed, tears in her eyes and a covering a mouthful of fries. “So. So. Victor,” Dick said through chuckles, “Victor is just laying there, under Gar’s Elephant Butt! And hes like. ‘I swear! If you let one go Gar! Im gonna blast you!’ hahaha!” They laughed. “Oh my goodness” Barabra said, wiping the tears away. “Thats golden.” “Yeah. I, I’m gonna miss those guys.” said Dick. “So. Your seriously gonna stay?” she asked. He paused for a moment, “Yeah. I am.” “Is Starfire okay with the whole, long distance relationship, thing? I mean. Its not like it would be a problem for Her, cause of the whole flying thing.” She said. “Uh.. Yeah. Yeah, its.” He started, “uhm, We decided. Or I, decided.. It would be best if we took a break.” “Really?! Why?” She questioned.
“I. Just… I realised that.. There, was something. More important to focus on.” he said, as he gently griped her hand and smiled kindly as he just as quickly and gentley pulled away.
Barbra blushed. They stood silent for a moment. “Oh! I gotta show you something really cool.” she said suddenly. She moved herself forward and reached for her wheelchair. He motioned for it, “I got it.” she said sweetly, and he fell back. She got herself into the chair and wheeled to the other side of the living room. “Come on.” she said excitedly. He rushed to his feet and followed.
She paused just before the short hall way and placed her hand on the wall. A small panel glowed for a second and then flickered out. Barabra sucked her teeth. “Still working on the bugs.” she said as she slapped the wall and a secret door opened. She lead him inside the small room as the lights flickered on.
“Its still a work in progress. Mr. Fox helped me design it. I call it, ‘The Oracle’. From here. I can access almost all of Gotham. Police files. Security systems. Just about anything.” she said excitedly as she wheeled up to a large computer moniter. Dick looked around sternly. A tall display case was to the side. Her Batgirl costume displayed like a trophy on a mannequin inside of it. He carresed the glass as memories of the two of them leaping across rooftops danced in his head. His hand clenched in to a fist and he hit the glass.
“Son of a bitch!” he cursed under his breath. “Dick?” she wheeled around to face him. “I cant believe he’s having you do this.. Even after whats happened!” he grunted. “Dick, This is My choice. My decision. I may never be able to walk again, but i am not going to let that stop me from doing what I know is right. And helping those that need my help.. In any way that i can give it.”
He signed and looked away in embarrassment. “Have you even gone to see him?” she asked. “No.” he said. “You should. He.. He hasn’t been the same since that night. If he’s ever going to make it through this.. He’s going to need us, all of us. To help him. Whether he wants to admit it or not. Until that time. Gotham needs a protector.. Gotham needs a hero.. I cant do it alone..” She presented her hand. He looked at her hand, and then deep in to her eyes. “.. You.. You had me at hello.” he said dryly. She began to laugh as he leaned forward and hugged her in his arms tightly.
The GCPD’s Roll Call room was packed with officers, waiting for the days schedule. Muttled conversations polluted the air. In the furthest corner of the room, Officers Gruntkie, Berman, Portmen and Fogel huddled together.
“It’s going down tonight.” whispers Berman, “The meets at..”
“ALRIGHT YA BUMS!” Harvey Bullock stomps in to the room, cutting off everyones chatter. Sgt. Renee Montoya enters behind him. “We’re gonna skip roll call, cause i honestly dont give a crap if your here or not!” He grunts. Some chuckle. “Where’s Gordon?” a voice asks. “Commissioner, Gordon. Was called in to city hall this morning and he asked us to proceed for him.” Sgt. Montoya answers. “Thats right jackasses, so listen up!” says Bullock. He ruffles through some of the papers in front of him looking for where to start. “Get that out of the way” Montoya whispers gesturing to the first paper.
“Right! Uh.. Ok. Fluffy shit outta the way now. Tomorrow nights Gala at the grand ball room is supposed to kick off the city’s 200th anniversary celebration.. That crap is still happening.. So we’re gonna be pulling extra shifts from some of ya.” Groans erupted. “I know! But with this Black Mask crap still causeing trouble.. We gotta make sure the stiff upper lips going to thd ball are gonna be alright as they sip their souls away.” Bullock crumbles up the paper and tosses it to the floor.
“What else we got?.. Uh.. Right. China town’s got some crazy shindig going on..” “Its the new year!” Officer Chen calls out. “Whatever! Extra man power is gonna be spent to keeping that going smoothly and not have it turn into Hiroshima”
“Wrong Country!” someone mockingly called out.
“BITE ME!” Bullock shot back as chuckles and laughs started. “Let’s Settle down guys.” Montoya called out.
“Get to the REAL story! Is it true!?”
Montoya and Bullock exchanged looks. Montoya sighed, “Detectives are still taking Officer Brent’s statments about last night.. So we still aren’t sure what exatly happened.”
“Oh Come On!” More groans from the room.
“Look!” Bullock called over the voices, “Even if the Bat IS back.. We’re still gonna do our jobs and get shit done! Whatever comes after that.. We leave to the guys in charge to decide that. So when the commish has something to say to ya.. He will.. Now lets get this over with.. I got better things to do then be stuck in this room with you mugs!”
Berman and the other officers gather in the hallway by a rear exit.
“3 o’clock sharp. Be at the location at least an hour before.. No later.” He says.
“So.. This is it? It’s really going down?” asks Portman excitedly.
“Shh!” Berman nudges.. “Don’t worry about that.. You just make sure you have the package delivered on time.”
Montoya exits a nearby room and spots the group of men.
“Yea. No problem I’ll have Bird Man there right o-.. ” Portman starts..
“Hey! Guys!?” Montoya calls as she walks forward..
The group look up startled and shaken.
“What’s going on?” she asks.
“Nothing Sergeant.. We’re just.. Uh.. Making plans for the.. Next, poker game at Gruntkie’s place.” Berman stutters as the other guys start to slowly agree.
“Okay.. Why dont you boys do that on your own time.” she tells them sternly, “You got jobs to do.”
They hurridly agree, apologize and scatter. Her gaze follows Berman for awhile as he leaves down the opposite side of the hall. A feeling of suspicion crept in her mind.
Gordon sat outside the Mayor’s office. His leg bobbing up and down with annoyed and anxious nerves. He glanced at his watch and scoffed.Just then, The Mayor’s Assistant appeared at the office door. “Mayor West will see you now Commissioner.” she said kindly. He grumbled a ‘thank you’ as he rose to his feet.
“Gordon! Please, come in. Come in. Sorry for the wait my friend.” Mayor West greeted Gordon at the door as he walked in with a firm and rigorous hand shake. “Please. Have a seat. I dont want to take up too much more of your time, so I’ll try to make this quick.”
Gordon chose the nearest chair as a sudden feeling crawled up his back.
Mayor West smiled kindly, “How have you been Jim?” he asked.
“Fine.” Gordon said flatly. A awkward silence followed for a few short seconds.
“Ok. Thats good, that good. Uhm..” Mayor West searched for the words in his head, “Have you been considering any upcoming vacation time?”
“No.” Gordon’s back straightened. “With THIS job, in THIS city. One can’t afford the luxery of ‘Vacation Time’. Let alone contemplate one.”
The tension in the room began to build. Mayor West scanned the room as his mind continued to search for the proper words. “Is there any Real reason why we are having this meeting, Mr. Mayor?” Gordon asked, a tinge of sarcasm and annoyance in his tone of voice. Mayor West gave him a stern look.
“You. Have clearly had a very heavy work load as of late. This.. ‘Black Mask’ menace! And now, this. Sudden reemergence of The Batman?.. Maybe. Maybe it’s time for a freash prospective on the police force.”
“Meaning?” Gordon tenses up leaning back in the chair.
“After the 200th anniversary festival, I am putting in a formal request for you. To Resign as Police Commissioner.” Mayor West said in one breath.
Gordon’s chest lowers and he leans forward lowering his head.
“Jim.” Mayor West said calmy, “I may not have been in office for long. But ever since what happend last year.. I am sorry.. You have not been performing at the standards that i have come to know. You have been working very hard, that is clear. But.. Something is..”
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Gordon said, looking up into the Mayor’s eyes.
“Excuse me?” Mayor West said feeling offended.
“Do you have any idea, Just what the fuck i have been through all these years!?” Gordon rose to his feet, ” The things I’ve seen!? I’ve been a cop long before you came out your daddy’s sack! Ive been Commissioner of Police for just as long as you’ve been alive! What i have sacrificed for this job! For this god forsaken city! My Life! Who the fuck do you think you are!!”
“That is enough!” The Mayor yelled back. Jumping to his feet. “This outburst of yours has just proven my point. I could just as easily fire you right now. But i have too much respect for you. You have one week after the celebration to get your things together and prepeare for the transition. Now get the hell out of my office before i change my mind.”
Gordon’s face turned red from rage and then suddenly, as if realizing what jist happened. The red turned into embarrassment. Without a word he quickly turned and left the room. He rushed into the elevator. Breathing heavily, his mind raced a hundred miles a minute. His words echoing in his head.
“What I Have Sacrificed!” “This God Forsaken City!”, “Sacrificed!”, “My Life!”, “What I Sacrificed!”
Gordon let out a loud yell.
People stood waiting in the lobby for the elevator. The bell rings and the door opens. Gordon stood there. Expressionless.
Harvey Bullock stepped out of the corner deli. Two cups of coffee in hand and a grocery bag of snacks and donuts. He stepped up to a near by car, put the bag in his mouth and worked the door open. He wiggled himself in to the dark car, “Here Ya go.” he said handing one of the cups to Renee Montoya. “When are you gonna get a bigger car?” he groaned as he closed the door. “When are you gonna get a smaller belly?” she shot back. “Har har.” he said, bitting into a chocolate glazed donut. “What exactly are we doin’ here?” he asked as he chewed. “It’s a Stake Out Harvey.” she said. “I know dat! Can you at least tell me why? And who?”
Montoya nodded her head forward. “Him.” Harvey looked.
Officer Portman exited his apartment building accross the street from them and headed straight to his car. Glancing at his watch he quickened his pace.
“Aint that uh.. Uh.. Whats his face?” Harvey said. “Officer Charlie Portman.” Montoya said as she started her car. “We hot ourselves a ‘dirty’?” he grunted.
She watched Portman closely. “I dont know… Just.. A feeling.” she said. Portman began to drive off. She gave Harvey a look of hesitation. He looked her in her eyes, “Your Guts never lead us wrong before. Lets tail the bum and see what we get.” he said reassuringly. She smirked with a relieved sigh and began to follow officer Portmancs car.
Sahra Essen laid beside him sleeping soundly. Gordon sat in bed. In the dark, staring at the wall. His badge dancing between his fingers. He glanced at it. He frowned. Sahra turned over and he glanced at her. She was sound asleep. He ran his fingers thrpugh her hair and gentley stroked her cheek. He wanted to hold her. He turned to place his badge on his nightstand. He noticed the picture of him and Barbara together on the stand. Just then, his phone began to glow with a silent notification. He didnt pick it up. He looked at his daughters picture. He looked down at Sahra. The phone began to vibrate.
Bullock and Montoya sat in the car on the corner street, across from an apartment building. Harvey looked at his watch. “Its been 15 minutes.. Maybe hes got a mistress?” Renee sighed and shook her head, “Its not a mistress.” she said and got out of the car.
“Montoya?!” he called after her, “Keep the car running.” she said and closed the door. “Dont do anything stupid!” he hollard. She pulled out a baseball cap from her back pocket as she rushed across the street. Pulling the bill close to her face. She causally walked the front of the building. She scanned the front side. She walked up to the front door and peered inside. She sighed, she started for the side of the building. She made it half way around the corner.
A dark hummer pulled up from the opposite corner. She spotted Portman in the drivers seat. Them she noticed someone in the back passenger seat. Her eyes widened and she slightly paused. Quickly gathering herself she placed her head down and continued walking. From the corner of her eye she watched the hummer veer off and up the street. “Madre Dios!” she exclaimed and quickly turned on her heel and ran back for her car. She jumped in like a blot. “What the hell Montoya!?!”
She stepped on the gas and sped after the hummer. “What The Hell is going on with you!? What did you see?” Harvey said, struggeling to put on his seat belt. “The Dead!” she said.
[AN ABANDONED WAREHOUSE]
A dimley lit room. A dark figure sits at a desk. The Black Mask mask sitting atop the desk.
“I’m not afraid.” the mysterious man says, “I know what needs to be done…. “No. Im not having second thoughts.. I said No!” The Mask stared back at him with its red eyes. “Damn it! You do know what is at stake here!.. Nothing can go wrong. You understand?” The figure sat back in his chair. “Of course.. Everything is ready. Assuming our ‘friend’ fulfills his end..”
A light knock came at the door as it creaked open. A beautiful woman peeked her head inside.
“They’re ready for you.”she said.
The man sighed, grabed the mask and put it on.
Black Mask stepped through the door and on to a balcony that stood over a small meeting room below.
Two groups of people stood at a table. A Large muscular Masked man, flanked by military garbed men stood on one side. A young Asian Woman in elegant, traditional robes, flanked by masked men in similar robes armed with swords and various weapons stokd in the opposite side. Neither, wanting to sit down with the other.
“Lady! Gentleman!” Black Mask called from above as he headed for the stairwell. “Welcome! I am glad you could make it on such short notice.”
He stopped at his seat and looked at the each of them. “Please. Have a seat.” The group leaders exchanged looks.
The woman, “I refuse to sit with Hired Thugs, and a Common Criminal. Bane and yourself are not the kind we wish to associate with. However! Our leader has informed us that You have something of worth to offer. That, is why we are here. But we refuse to sit with you like.”
Bane laughed ar her words, his men laughed as well. “I, do not have such reservations,about you, Lady Shiva.” he said in a thick spanish accent. “But, I hold your master in high regard. That is why i dont reach across this table and kill you with my bare hands.”
Lady Shiva removes her Sword, “I would like to see you try!” her men also drew their swords, while Bane’s crew drew their guns.
“HEY! CAN YOU BOTH SHUT THE FUCK UP!!” Black Mask yelled. “Our guest of honor has arrived. Just then, a side door opened. Four other Black Masks entered the room. Flanked behind them was Officer Portman and at his side was, Oswald Cobbelpot, The Penguin. Behind them, Two very large men. Identical in apperance. Both missing an opposite arm. One a left arm, the other, the right arm.
“The Penguin? I thought he died on Arkham Island” Bane said. “Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated! Wah, Wah, Wah, Wah!” Penguin cawed with a laugh. “Yet another Honorless Criminal!” Lady Shiva grimaced.
“Oswald. I trust The Abramovici Twins have been taking good care of you?” Black Mask asked as he gestured for Penguin to take a seat. “Yes. Your boys have been absouloute professional. Wish i had this kind of muscle at my disposal years ago!” Penguin said getting in to his seat.
“Now.. Lets cut too the chase. Where is my shipment?” Black Mask asked. “Well, let it be said, Roman Sionis was a tad more cordial when dealing with business associates.” Penguin shot him a displeased look. “I’m not Roman Sionis.” Black Mask said flatly.
Penguin squirmed in his chair. “Well. My ‘friend’ overseas, has informed me ‘Our’ shipment of supplies will be hitting my warehouse later tonight.” he said.
“All of it?” Black Mask questioned. “Every single piece.. Except..” Penguin started, “Except? What?” Black Mask pressed. “Except.. Some sort of Triggering mechanism or something.. He wasnt very detailed in his explanation.” Black Mask rose from his chair. He started to walk toward Oswald very slowly.
“Uh.. He did. He did say that he left more detailed instructions.. With the uh.. Shipment.” Oswald stammered. Black Mask contunied to walk forward. “Wayne Tech! It’s something in Wayne Tech.” Oswald blurted. Black Mask stood before Penguin, paused Staring at him with his bright red eyes. A long tense moment passed. “That shouldn’t be a problem Oswald. I have people that can retrieve whatever is needed from Wayne Tech.” he said, reassuringly smacking Oswald on the shoulder. “Now.” He said, turning to sit on the edge of the table. “What Exact Time, was the shipment supposed to arrive?”
“Should be in the next couple of hours. I can take your people there myself.” Penguin said, trying to hide the quiver in his voice.
“Portman!” Mask called, “Yes, sir!?” Portman answered quickly. “Whats the report from the Docks?” Portman quickly pulled out his phone and after a quick look, “An unmarked Shipment came in alittle under an hour ago sir. Warehouse 17.”
“How..!?” Penguin gasped. Black Mask clasped his hand on his shoulder. “I have my ways Oswald… But its okay. Im not mad that you lied. I mean.. I would do the same if i were you. Have some sort of leverage to make sure I stay alive in case things go south. Or perhaps.. Double cross the next guy and make sure i come out on top..”
“I. I.. I.” Penguin stammered. “Oswald. Oswald. Calm yourself.” Black Mask rubbed his shoulders. “Relax… Gentelmen.” He said turning to the Abramovici Twins and snapped his fingers. The two men stood on opposite sides of Penguin and with each of their arms, clasped their thick hands around his neck.
Penguin gasped and struggled. The two men raised him up and out of the chair. Each applying great pressure. Penguin gurggled and spat for air. Blood draining down his nose, And then his tearducts. His eyes bulged, his face turning purple and then, with a sickening gurgle and snap. His eyes popped out the sockets. The two men dropped him like a sack of potatoes.
Black Mask gingerly walked back to his seat and sat down. “Now. Can we get too business?”
“Is this your way of trying to.. ‘intimidate’ us?” Bane started, “If so. I assure you. Your going to have to do better then that..” He smiled. “Indeed” Lady Shiva agreed. “You kill your buisness associates…”
“Oswald Cobbelpot is already dead.” Black Mask interrupted, “He died on Arkham Island. The GCPD is set to publicly release the list of the dead. It will only be a matter of time before The Batman figures out the medical records on Cobbelpots body are falsified.”
Bane and Shiva exchanged looks. “Thats right. The Batman is alive and well and once he figures out Penguin is still alive. He will turn every rock in gotham to find him. Once he does. And he will. Penguin would give up everything he knows. Now.. That loose end is taken cared of. So, Lady. Gentelman. Can we discuss the future of Gotham?”
“And why should we trust anything you have to say?” Shiva asked..
Black Mask sighed. And after a moment, quickly reached up and removed his mask.
Shiva’s eyes widened. She and Bane exchanged surprised gazes.
“Great.. Now, lets get to buisness shall we?..”
TO BE CONTINUED!..