Bats, Birds, and Psychotic Clowns
by T.J. Keitt
Robin stood on the ledge of a building overlooking a small apartment building in Gotham City. Next to him stood Nightwing who was looking intently down at the window of a certain aparment on the fifth floor. The younger hero looked over at Nightwing and whispered, "Are you sure this is it?" Without looking over at him, Nightwing nodded his head, still focusing on the apartment.
Suddenly, the window of the fifth floor living quarters was flung open and a young woman in a purple costume stepped out, a crossbow in her hand. Robin smiled and looked over at Nightwing saying, "Let's go."
The two vigilantes fired off their grappling hooks and swung down onto the ledges of two apartments to the left and right of the woman. She appeared startled for a moment and then said softly, "What brings you guys to my neck of the woods?"
Robin looked over at the pretty woman in the costume and replied, "We need your help Huntress."
With a smirk, Huntress commented, "What else is new? "
Nightwing, with his stern immitation of Batman, said, "There's no time for jokes Huntress. We're racing the clock on this one and I don't want to lose."
Huntress appeared shocked by Nightwing's stern words, but quickly recovered and said quickly, "What are we waiting for then?" She fired off her crossbow, which had a grappling hook attached to the arrow and swung out into the canyon between buildings.
Robin smiled over at Nightwing and replied, "You heard the lady." The two fired their grappling hooks and followed suit.
It had taken the trio a good portion of the night to track down Black Lightning. They found him at a small jazz club on the lower east side of the city drinking hot coffee and slightly bobbing his head to the subtle tones of the musicians on stage. Robin's fast talking convinced the one time Outsider to don his costume and follow them in their search for the Technocrat. At the cabin of the Technocrat, they found a man who was unwilling to help out and so the foursome left to tackle the U.S. Army by themselves.
"You've got to be kidding me," was all Black Lightning could say when he first saw Fort Gotham. The building was surrounded by a series of barbed wire fences with mine fields in between. On the inside chain of fences, there were guardtowers on with three armed soldiers in each. At both entrances to the base stood armed guards who carried automatic assault rifles. There were video surveillance cameras everywhere, and a group of soldiers with dogs walked around the perimeter with their rifles hanging loosly over their shoulders.
Huntress looked over at Robin and said, "Are you nuts kid? That place is locked up tighter than Fort Knox. What do they have in there, nuclear bombs?"
Robin returned Huntress's look and repiled, "Chemical weapons. And trust me, we're going in a much easier way. Follow me."
The four heroes climbed out of their perches in trees on the hill overlooking the base. Robin led the group down the slope and around a bend into a trickling creek. They splashed over the creek and were at a large ventilation shaft that had a laser protected grating. Robin took the vanity mirror from Huntress and used it to deflect the laser beam while Nightwing removed the grate and climbed through followed closely by Huntress, then Black Lightning, then Robin who allowed the laser to go back to its original postion while he replaced the grate.
Unknowing to them, a silent alarm had been triggered once they entered the unground shaft and dozens of armed soldiers were moving into the tunnel network. Robin took the point position and led the group into the tunnel network with the aid of the map being fed to him by his portable Cray uplink.
"Ok," Robin began. "We go another 30 meters and then we come into the first major intersection." At that moment, a group of soldiers came running out of nowhere. They were shouting and began firing their weapons at the group.
"Scatter!" Nightwing began to command the group into action. He dove into two soldiers while Black Lightning knocked another two out with a mild electrical shock. Robin roundhouse kicked a poor soldier and Huntress shot another through the hand with her arrow. The fight was over in under a minute.
"They're on to us," Black Lightning observed.
"We've got to move then," Robin said examining his uplink.
The group moved down the tunnel at a rapid pace. When they reached the intersection, Nightwing quickly asked, "Which way?"
"That's far enough," a voice from the shadows said. Out of the shadows stepped an aging officer with a cigar clenched between his teeth. He held a rifle in his hand and following him was what appeared to be two dozen soldiers. "You're under arrest for trespassing on United States Governmental Property."
Robin raised his hands and the other three followed suit. "Take it easy guys," Robin said. "We just came here for some answers."
"If you don't come along quietly, my boys here have 5.56 mm answers," the commander repiled.
The group was led away by the army unit to a brig inside the compound.
Joker stood on top of the tallest building in Gotham City holding the air dispersal gun he stole from the Gotham medical community. He was laughing crazily and looking out over the city. His mind was focused on the destruction of all life in Gotham City, and that prospect got a peculiar sense of excitment out of the harlequin villian.
"All right boys, let's destroy the city," Joker said with his trademark grin.
"Yes, Mr. Joker," the two beefy stooges said as they carried the barrel of chemical onto the ledge of the building.
Joker pulled the lid off the canister and quickly ordered the goons to fill the dispersal gun. One did and Joker pulled on a gas mask, something which neither of the goons had. "Ahhh, Mr. Joker," one of the men said, "What about our masks?"
Joker began to laugh and replied, almost in tears, "What masks?" He pulled the trigger on the gun and a green spray floated into the wind currents coming off of the East River in Gotham. The goons began to gag and laugh hysterically as they tumbled to the ground and then off the building. Joker began to bound up and down as he watched the gas float over Gotham to kill its seven million inhabitants.
"Bye-bye Gotham! The Joker has his revenge! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"
(To be continued)
[back to part four]
[go to part six]
[return to the journal index]