Chapter 1- Decisions
December 24, 2000
A family was celebrating the upcoming holiday in a cabin near the edge of the Gotham Bay. The Father was reading a newspaper by the fireplace. The mother was cooking hot cocoa on the stove and baking gingerbread cookies in the oven. The daughter played with her stuffed animal, it was intended to be Christmas present but her parents decided to unwrap for her early. It was a pink bunny with a white heart shaped center she named Princess Iggy. The couple exchanged a quick kiss under the mistletoe before hearing a hard knock on the door. The wife opened the door and saw 8 men staring back at her. Each wore a flak jacket and carried an assault rifle. The men stormed into the house, one man pressed the mother to the wall as other members of the squad pointed their rifles at the father. The daughter fell back in terror accidentally dropping her stuffed animal into the flames of the fireplace.
“ON THE GROUND--NOW BROWN!” One of the officers roared.
“Mommy what’s happening? Why are they taking daddy?” The young girl asked.
Tears began to roll down Crystal’s face. “Everything’s fine honey, your daddy’s just going take a trip into the city, he’ll be back soon.” Her mother said trying her best not to sob.
“Just listen to your momma Steph, and remember that Daddy loves you.--DADDY LOVES YOU!” He screamed as the officers pulled him out of the house.
As soon as the mother was released from the wall she ran to her child and squeezed the girl tightly in her arms.
“I DON’T WANT DADDY TO GO!” The little girl cried.
Her mother grasped her even tighter, she wept gently on her daughter’s shoulder, “Daddy doesn’t want to go either but he has to Steph. This will all make sense when you’re older.”
They both stared out the window as they watched an officer press the father against the hood of the police crusier. The officer hoisted the man to his feet and began reading him his rights.
“Do you understand each of these rights I have explained to you?” The officer asked.
“Yes! Just get me out of here.” He affirmed.
The cop placed Arthur in the cruiser and drove away. Even as the sirens faded they still rang in Stephanie’s ears while she rocked back and forth. She looked back in the fireplace at the remains of Princess Iggy. What was left of the once pure heart was now burnt pitch black.
July 4, 2010
The last bell rang as Stephanie Brown exited her final class. She walked out of the building with a group of her classmates when something caught her attention. She saw a navy blue sedan parked outside across from her school’s driveway. A man stood in front of the car looking through the large crowd of students. He was nearly six feet tall with a muscular build; he also had a faded blond crew cut and deep scarring across his face. Stephanie recognized that the man was her father Arthur Brown. As she began to walk back to the building the stranger locked eyes with her and began to call her over. She decided to move hastily to her father in hopes that she could reach him before he could attract the attention of her classmates.
“Hi sweetie!” He said
“Just get in the car Arthur!” She whispered hostilely.
He stared at her. He could see her cheeks flushed with red coloring and her eyes planted to the ground. Arthur rushed into his car and twisted the key. Stephanie slammed the door, still avoiding eye contact with Arthur. For nearly five blocks they both maintained an uncomfortable silence, until they were stopped at a red light.
“Did you have a bad day at school?” Arthur asked.
“Not until you arrived.” Stephanie snapped back.
“Steph, I just wanted to surprise you, I knew you wouldn’t be thrilled to see me but I wasn’t expecting this.”
“Couldn’t you have just given me a heads up? Maybe you should have stuck a copy of your release papers in my locker. Aren’t clues your thing?”
“I’m not who I used to be Steph. I don’t expect you to believe this but I’ve changed. I know that I’ve hurt you and your mother, but I wan’t to make things right.” He pleaded.
“You can’t make things right! You’re about 10 years too late! Now let me out of this car!” She demanded. “I can walk home from hear.”
He pulled his car over on a curb. “It’s okay if you hate me right now Steph, but I’m not gonna give up on you or your mom. One of these days I’m gonna make you both proud of me.—I promise!”
“Your promises mean nothing to me Arthur.” She stated. She left the car and walked away.
July 14, 2010
Stephanie’s Point of View:
I wish that things could go back to the way they were but I know they can’t. Over the last week my father has managed to find a job, convince his parole officer that he is well enough to leave his halfway house and sweet talk my mother into letting him stay in our home. Today’s the day that he moves in and I couldn’t be more livid. I could say that I don’t know why I hate him but that would be a lie. It might sound ridiculous but I hate him because I hate hating him. When I looked into his scarred face I have these feelings. This anger builds up inside of me that I can’t control. It’s like I become this whole other person. A person that I don’t like and a person that I never want to become. This person enjoys being cruel and causing pain but that’s not who I am. There’s another feeling buried deep beneath the hate and that’s hope, a gullible and childish hope. When I hear him make all those promises I secretly want them to be true. I want him to fix all of our family’s problems and I want us all to be happy again but I know better than that.--Like I said before, I wish that things could go back to the way they were, but I know they can’t.
He arrived in the afternoon shortly after 4:00pm. He was lifting a couple of boxes from his car into the house. My mother’s body language told me that she wanted me to help him so I did. I went to the driveway and picked up a couple of duffle bags. On the way back to the house I tried to feel around the bags to see if he was hiding anything unusual, nothing but clothes for the most part. I placed the bags around the couch, which was now his new bed until further notice. I moved a few more things into the room before we were done. He looked into my eyes, he was about to speak before I walked away into my room and slammed the door. I could hear my parents talking through the thin walls.
“It’s okay Crystal one day she’ll come around.” Arthur explained.
“No—it’s not okay Arthur!” My mother protested. “She has to know that she can’t behave this way anymore.”
I could hear my mother’s footsteps coming up the staircase; each step grew exponentially louder as she came to my door. A harsh collection of knocks pounded on the wood as my mother said, “Steph—it’s mom, open the door, we have to talk.”
I sighed and reluctantly unlocked the handle. She opened the door and came inside. She sat next to on my bed and said, “Stephanie, you can’t keep acting this way around your father. You can’t keep lashing out at him for trying to repair this family.”
“I liked this family when it was just the two of us. Now he just waltzes back into our lives and you take his side.” I responded.
“It’s not like that!” My mom affirmed. “Right now we have an opportunity to heal ourselves rather than just staying numb or bitter. Your father wants to make things better—I want to make things better too, but I can only do that if you’re willing to give him a second chance.” She explained.
“Why should I? This man ruined our lives mom! He chose a career as a criminal over his own family then he ends up getting caught because of the clues he left in his own arrogance and you expect me to feel sorry for him? He’s the reason why I’m not happy. He’s the reason you got hooked on those drugs. IT’S ALL HIS FAULT!” I shouted.
“You know it isn’t that simple Stephanie. I might have taken those pills because I was still upset about your father’s actions, but that doesn’t make him responsible for my addiction. I had a choice on whether or not to take those drugs and I made the wrong decision. Your father made a bad decision too and he had to pay for it every day since then. Honey, your 16 years old and pretty soon you’ll be 17. You can’t keep shifting the blame to someone else whenever you are faced with a problem. Part of being an adult is learning that your actions have consequences. Your Father just wants to come back into your life, he not asking for your forgiveness but he needs your acceptance. So now you have a decision to make, you can either give him a chance to be your father again or you shut him out of your life.” She walked away to the door and sighed before looking back at me. “I hope you make the right decision,” she said before exiting my room.
I stared at the ceiling and thought about what she said. I knew she was right but I still didn’t like it. Maybe I felt like I needed to raise my shield higher since mom dropped hers so easily. Regardless of what I felt in my heart and in my mind, I needed to give Arthur a chance.
August 7, 2010
It’s been a few weeks but in that time I’ve started to bond a lot with my father. Last week we finished building a motorcycle together. He actually volunteered to help me get my permit for it next week. In the weeks before, he dropped me off at the mall to go shopping. I said I was just buying new clothes but I really went to a private security store. He’s also been spending more time with my mom. Each weekend she accompanies him to his OCD therapy and in return he goes with her to a drug abuse support group. Lately they’ve been leaving the house more often to go on dates with one another. It seemed like everything was working out…until tonight.
It was just around dinner time when I saw my dad answer his phone. He stepped outside for a moment and I could hear his voice rise. When he returned he looked angry.
“What’s wrong Arthur?” Mom asked. “You look upset.”
He eye briefly shifted away from her before he said, “Nothing’s wrong honey. I just got called in to do a night shift. I’ll be back in the morning.” He kissed us both before leaving the house. Upon leaving the house he put a few bags into the back seat of his car then drove off.
“Sometimes I worry about him.” My mom said staring at the car as it faded in the distance.
“You shouldn’t worry about him so much Mom, maybe you just need to rest.” I suggested.
She looked back at me and smiled. “You’re right honey I’ll try to get some sleep, just don’t stay up too late tonight.”
“Sure thing Mom!” I said. I started walking with her up the stairs. Once I heard door to her room shut I went to my closet to grab a few important items. As I slipped on a blue and purple disguise I started think about Arthur’s strange behavior. I knew something was wrong the moment he shifted his eyes to the garage. He has been working at his new job for nearly a month and he’s never been called in to do a night shift—and what was in those bags he just put in his car? I know he’s up to something and I need to find out what it is. If Cluemaster has really returned to a life of crime, then it’s time for The Spoiler to ruin his plans.
Chapter 2- Actions
August 7, 2010
Stephanie’s Point of View:
Once I got on my bike it was easy to track down Arthur. I placed a bug on the inside of his car’s bumper and kept the tracking device concealed, in a hidden compartment that I built into my bike. He was heading to a slum on Gotham’s north side, Park Row. In the 80’s Park Row was considered a premiere venue to nearly all of the city’s entertainment. However, after the Wayne shootings, most of the wealthy decided to spend their money at more private estates. Within a few years, one of the city’s shiniest jewels turned into its most sour grape. Nowadays, it is most commonly known as Crime Alley.
Down at Crime Alley I watched Arthur exited his vehicle. He cut across backstreets, turning his head back in paranoia every few seconds; little did he know that today, he actually had a reason to be afraid. I followed him to an abandoned movie theater. I crouched around the left balcony and peered down to watch what was happening. As Arthur scoured the rows for human life, he detected a lit cigarette in the corner of the room. A man walked in close towards the light. He was just far away enough to prevent me from getting a good look at his face. From what I could tell the man was about 6’2”, he had a bulky build and a scruffy red beard with some graying in it. He wore a tan open suit, with a caramel dress shirt that had a caffeine stain on it, and a plaid tie. Arthur took a seat behind the mysterious man awaiting his engagement to the conversation.
“You’re late, Arthur.” The man said.
“What do you want from me Church?” Arthur asked.
“I need you to get in touch with an old friend. You remember Warren White don’t you? Though, now he’s called The Great White Shark.” The stranger informed him.
“Why would he even bother wasting time with me? Warren might have been small time when we used to work together, but now he’s his own boss.” Arthur pointed out.
“Don’t sell yourself short Arthur; you’re still one of the best thieves in Gotham. Rumor has it that Great White is on the verge of war with Intergang. He’s going to be desperate to take help from anyone who offers it, and that’s where you come in.”—
This was serious! Intergang is one of Gotham’s most powerful crime organizations. Last year they raided Gotham’s crime families in a series of multi-gang wars. Whichever gangs weren’t completely demolished, were at least pushed back and they’ve been expanding ever since.—
“The leader of Gotham’s Intergang is meeting White tonight to talk about working out a truce. He’ll most likely have a disc in his right coat pocket. White knows about the disc so he’ll most likely want it too. All I need is for you to get the disc back to me, I don’t care how you do it; just make sure you retrieve it.” Church explained.
“What’s on the disc?” Arthur asked.
“That’s none of your concern Arthur!” Church exclaimed. “My employers want it back and you will get it back, that’s all you need to know.”
“Any ideas on how I’m supposed to steal this item without getting killed?” Arthur inquired.
“Just use your imagination Arthur.” Church cried. “Maybe you could throw in one of your clues to suggest that a rival gang stole it. Personally, I wouldn’t try asking for it. Neither gang looked like they’re in a charitable mood right now,” the man chuckled. “Now get out of here, we both have other places to be.”
Arthur started his car and took off. I followed him a few blocks before he parked into an alley and reached for one of the bags in his backseat. After a few seconds he exited his car in his Cluemaster costume. He walked behind the car and pulled out a couple of items. First he put a tarp over his car that blended with the walls of the alley. Then he strapped a parking boot onto one of the front wheels of his car, in this neighborhood you could never be too careful. I rolled my bike behind a dumpster and trailed him on foot. He walked a few blocks east to a two story office. He was searched by the two guards before being led upstairs.
I quickly climbed up the fire escape of an adjacent building to its rooftop. Then I pulled out some of the spyware from my belt and attached a sound amplifier to my phone. The salesman at that the security story said it was pretty simple, just point and listen in. There were no windows so I slowly waved my arm around the wall until I could pick up sounds. I didn’t think the gadget was working until I heard Arthur’s footsteps moving towards the back. From that point I heard everything.
Inside White’s Office:
The Cluemaster entered the room filled with extravagant furniture, wealthy paintings, and an aquarium of sharks covering most of the walls. Sitting behind the large mahogany desk was Warren White, also known as The Great White Shark. White was called the Great White Shark mainly for his physical features and his carnivorous personality. Because of an incident at Arkham Asylum, White’s skin turned as white as bone, he lost many of his appendages, and he became even more emotionally unstable. He also filed his teeth to look more like a shark. In the corner of the room, stood a tall African man in an expensive white suit; he stature was almost robotic.
“Well isn’t this a surprise! The Cluemaster finally drops by to visit an old friend.” Great White said sarcastically.
“Hello Warren, it looks like the years have been good to you.” Brown replied, matching Great White’s sarcasm.
Warren chuckled, “Well that’s one way to look at it. Now what brings you here?” He asked.
“I need work, White. Do you have any quick jobs I can do?” Arthur asked.
“You sound desperate…I like that.” Great White said. “Alright Art, I gotta job for you, but it has to be done right now. There’s a chop-shop in crime alley that has some crates of mine on the top floor. Sneak through the fire escape and lockpick the door. Once you’re in text our associate here and wait for him to help you move the crates.--Understand!”
“Fine, I’ll go over there now.” Cluemaster said, taking the burner phone off of the desk.
11:00pm, Crime Alley, Frank’s Auto Parts:
Arthur had been up in attic of the building for nearly ninety minutes. “Were the hell is he!” He pondered.
The door began to open slowly as the tall African man entered with several of White Shark’s men behind him.
“What are you waiting for? Let’s move these crates!” The Cluemaster cried.
“There has been a change in plans,” the African man affirmed. “Mr. White wants you to go downstairs.”
Cluemaster climbed down the fire escape. While walking towards the front door, he noticed nearly a dozen cars parked in front. Upon his entrance into the room nearly 20 men aimed their guns at his forehead. A symphony of hammers cocked bullets into their chambers. On one of the room was Great White’s men, the other side with more men was Intergang. At the center of the room, Warren White stood face to face with John Denetto, who was more aptly named Johnny Stitches. Johnny got his stitches because he was caught stealing from a former employer. As a result his skin was peeled off of his body. To this day he still regrets getting caught more than actually stealing the money.
“Easy fellas, he’s one of mine.” Great White assured them; each of the men lowered their weapons. Great White waved him over. As the Cluemaster came closer White asked, “Was that problem of ours taken care of?” Brown nodded. “That’s a relief!” Great White said joyfully, before turning back to Denetto.
“Enough of the distractions—let’s get back to business!” Stitches demanded.
“Fine, we’ll take your deal, I’ll give you 60% as long as you stop invading my territory.” Great White conceded.
Johnny chuckled obnoxiously, “60!—No no no, that was the old deal. The new deal is 85 percent.”
Great White scowled, “You know I can’t make that deal Johnny, just agree with the old one or else”—
“OR ELSE, OR ELSE WHAT!?” Johnny roared. “You think you can threaten me? I’ve got more guns, more men, and more connections than you--You’re in no position to negotiate anything Coin-Boy! The only reason you keep any percentage is because Intergang allows you to. Now do you understand me!?” Stitches asked.
“Sure John, I read you loud and clear. We’ll take your deal.” White said.
“Thataboy Warren! I knew you’d see things my w”—
BLAM!!! The sound echoed through the room as Great White put a bullet through Johnny’s skull. “NOW TALLY!” White screamed. Before the Intergang members could raise their weapons, a storm of lead rained down upon them. Each of the Intergang members had been slaughtered.
Once the firing stopped, Great White went over to Denetto’s corpse and pulled out a disc from his coat pocket. Great White grinned widely, “That was beautiful boys! It’s about time those lowlives got what they deserved.” White declared. His head turned to Cluemaster, “And this guy, I couldn’t have done any of this without him.” Warren grabbed Arthur by the shoulders and cried, “Just like old times, ain’t it!? Maybe you should work for me permanently. I could use a guy with your skills. Keep up the good work and I make us all filthy rich.”
The Tally Man cleared his voice, which was White’s clue to leave. “I have to go now,” he said, taking his hands off of Brown. “You three, help Cluemaster get rid of the bodies.”
“Sure thing Boss!” One of the grunts nodded.
Nearby Frank’s Auto Parts
Stephanie’s Point of View:
Now was my chance—that huge gang left and only a few guards remained including Cluemaster. It was time for the Spoiler to strike. I snuck into the auto shop and crouched behind a car frame. I heard footsteps moving closer, it was one of the thugs armed with a pistol. He walked straight past the car frame to a large shelf on the wall and pulled a gas tank off of the shelf. This grunt was young and looked a little runty, he was probably only a year older than me. Easy pickings, I thought in my head. I grabbed a lug wrench near the car frame and chucked it at the goon’s head. He plummeted to the ground completely KOed.
“One down, three to go” I whispered.—
“What’s was that?” The Cluemaster asked
The sound lured of the strike was about to draw in the other men, so I climbed up the shelf and jumped to the nearest support beam. Cluemaster was the first one to arrive to the unconscious man. He knelt near the body to get a pulse as the other two guys advanced.
“What did you do!?” One of White’s men indicted.
“Relax man, this wasn’t me.” Cluemaster retorted.
“Well he didn’t just slam the tool over his own head!” The other grunt said. He tightened his grip on his assault rifle, keeping it close to his body.
“We should search the area.” Cluemaster suggested.
“Let’s split up!” The unarmed guard cried.
“No, we shouldn’t do that. This guy obviously wants us to split up so he can pick us off one by one.” Cluemaster explained. “You two should stick together.”
“What about you?” The armed guard asked.
“I can take care of myself.” Arthur replied.
“How are we supposed to know that you aren’t the one who did this?” The armed guard asked.
“Because if it was me, you’d either be like your friend on the floor, or like one of those bodies we were supposed to be lifting. So please get moving.” Cluemaster stated firmly.
I was amazed watching them panic, insult one other and accuse each other. It was pure, unadulterated mayhem and I loved every minute of it. After a few moments all of the men ended up taking father dearest’s advice. I followed the duo first since I wanted to save my father for last. I tossed a screw near the armed guard’s feet and he almost emptied a clip.
“What the hell are you doing!?” The unarmed guard asked.
“You didn’t hear that?” The armed grunt responded.
“Get yourself together man! I can’t have you freaking out over nothing. Let’s just keep searching.” The other thug said.
They were now directly underneath me. I dropped down and elbowed the armed thug at the base of his skull.
“Wrong move Chico!” The other thug said pulling out a butterfly knife from his pants leg.
“I’m a girl you idiot!” I shouted back.
“A dead girl then. Adios Chica!” He said swiping the knife near my head.
I ducked below the knife and kneed him in the ribs. Then I punched him in the jaw. He slashed me twice with the blade, first across my thigh, then near the side of my stomach. I staggered back and he plunged the knife towards my throat. I grabbed his wrist then I flipped him over my back. Before he could get back up I pulled the large shelf down on his body.
I heard footsteps again, this time it was my father’s. The smart thing to do would have been to sneak up behind him to keep the odds in my favor, but I didn’t want to hide anymore, I wanted to get revenge. It was time for me to hurt him, just like all of the times he has hurt me and mom over the last decade. I stared at my wounds I should have been in more pain but I wasn’t. The adrenaline coursing through my veins had numbed everything except my anger.
Arthur found me pretty quickly standing over the fallen henchmen. He looked astonished seeing a small shrouded figure staring back at him. “Who are you?” He asked.
“Me? I’m your worst nightmare, but you can call me the Spoiler.” I said briefly before charging at him. He reached for the rifle, as soon as he picked it up I kicked it out of his hands and roundhoused him across the face. I kicked him in the kidneys and then I turned him on his back, punching his face as hard as I could, over and over again. For a while I had lost all control. I continued wailing on him even after he had passed out, while a river of tears streamed down from my face. The only thing that prevented me from killing this man was the thought that death was too light of a punishment to bestow on him.
After I had regained my composure, I tied Arthur and each White Shark’s men to the car frame. I stared at the space on the wall where I knocked down the shelf; it had some weird ancient symbol on it and it gave me an idea. I assumed that the creepy symbol was some time of Intergang tag so I decided to leave one of my father’s infamous clues. I grabbed a few cans of spray-paint from the back and within a few minutes my masterpiece was complete. I ran across the alleys to my bike. Just before I reached my motorcycle I was tackled to the ground. I struggled on the ground attempting to outmaneuver him.
“Just surrender now, you can’t escape.” He said while reaching for my head. He pulled off my hood and froze. I’m still not sure why everyone’s so surprised I’m a girl.
“Just watch me creep!” I shouted when I punched him in the face with a hard left hook.
He winced in pain as I ran for my bike and threw some red piece of metal at my foot. I fell to the ground and as I tried to pick myself up a steel staff pressed me back to the ground.
“Who do you work for? Why did you kill all of those people?” He asked.
“That wasn’t me!” I shouted, following up with a leg sweep. I continued by throwing a flurry of punches and kicks at him.
He dodged them all, then caught my arm a flung me back to the ground. “Look, we don’t have to do this. Just tell me what you know and we can work this out peacefully.”
“Fine, I’ll talk.” I screamed back. After he released me I started to tell him everything that happened that night. For a creep in a red suit he was actually charming, he was also pretty cute for a guy with a swollen jaw. “So that’s pretty much everything there is to know, what should I call you?”
“I’m Robin,” he said extending his hand, “And your name?”
“Stephanie but you can call me Steph.” I affirmed.
“Well Steph, the GCPD will be here pretty soon, would you like me to escort you home?”
“I can take care of myself.” I retorted.
“Yeah--I know that,” he said, grasping his jaw. I smiled as he looked back at me. “So, is that a yes?” He asked.
“Well it isn’t a no.” I responded.
August 8, 2010; 12:05 am, Frank’s Auto Parts:
Arthur Brown awoke when bright headlights passed through a window of the Auto shop. He knew he didn’t have much time since the lights were getting bigger and brighter. Brown rubbed his wrists against the sharpest edge of the car frame to cut the ties on his hands. After hearing the car doors slam, Arthur slid through an open window in the back of the shop. He ran to his hidden vehicle and fled from the scene of the crime.
The front doors of the shop were opened as two people entered the premises. The first was a petite woman with a forked tongue and scaled skin. She had fiery red hair, emerald eyes, and a slender figure. Behind her stood a man with menacing eyes, jet black hair, and a muscular physique. Both creatures scoured the area in the hope of uncovering what had gone so horribly wrong that night. As the woman approached Denetto’s corpse she let out a loud hiss, signaling her partner to come near. The man hustled over while the woman rifled through Johnny’s clothing. “Does he have it, my lady?” He asked.
“No Abbot, he doesn’t.” The lady confirmed.
“Then who does?” Abbot inquired.
A faint groan came from the back of the room startled them both. The lady smiled wickedly, “Let’s find out,” she answered.
They both followed the sound of the groaning to the tied thugs. Abbot’s crouched by the three unconscious men and lifted a fourth set of ropes. “Someone else was here.” Abbot said.
“I gathered as much, but even four men couldn’t have done all of this. Wake them up; let’s hear what they have to say.” The woman cried.
Abbot raised the groaning thug’s heel and stomped down on his kneecap, completely shattering the leg. The man bellowed in pain, waking his nearby associates.
“Who are you?” One of the thugs asked.
“Why are you doing this?” Another thug asked.—
“Calm down gentlemen.” She advised them. “My name is irrelevant, but who I represent is of great concern to your well being. If you must refer to me by an alias, you may address me as Snake Fatale. I represent Intergang and I need you to answer a few of my questions. I assure you that the more honestly you reply, the less pain I will have to inflict upon you. Now what happened here?”
“F$%K YOU AND YOUR STUPID QUESTIONS, NONE OF US ARE SNITCHES, SO QUIT WASTING OUR TIME AND GET THIS OVER WITH!” The thug with the broken leg shouted back.
“And just when I thought we were about to make so much progress, Oh well!” Snake spat on the thug’s forehead, within a few seconds the acid in her saliva melted his entire face off.
Another thug started to scream hysterically, “SOMEBODY HELP US!—Ayudame!”
Snake Fatale scowled as she glanced over to Abbot. Abbot nodded, walked over to the screaming man and snapped his neck. Snake’s eyes shifted to the third thug, a young teenager with tears rolling down his cheeks, “I guess that only leaves you now.” She said.
“Please, I just want to go home.” The boy cried.
“Its okay child, we don’t want to hurt you. Just look into my eyes and everything will be fine.” Snake assured him. As he made eye contact with the serpentine, her eyes briefly shined. “Good, now tell me what happened here.” She demanded.
The boy stared back blankly and replied in a monotone voice, “There was a meeting between Great White and Johnny Stitches. Johnny changed the terms of the deal at the last minute and told White, if he didn’t give in, Intergang would wipe him out. White shot Johnny, took something from his coat, and had the Tally Man gun down all of the rest. He left us here to burn down the place down. When I went to get the gas, guy in a purple cape attacked us and tied us up.”
“What about the fourth man?” Abbot asked, glancing back at the severed ropes.
“He was new,” the boy stated. “White kept calling him Cluemaster.”
“I see,” Abbot replied. He growled viciously as his eyes shifted over to his partner. “Johnny $@%#n’ Stitches! Even in death he still leaves us with a mess to clean up! What should we do, Whisper?” He asked.
Whisper sighed, “I’ll give a call to the boss and see how he wants to handle things. Just watch the kid for now.”
12:15 am, Stephanie’s Neighborhood,
Stephanie’s Point of View:
On the ride back, I ended up talking a lot with Robin. Most of our conversations were about his adventures with Batman, but more importantly fighting crime itself. It was weird to think that my closest social relationship was with some boy in a red suit that I knew nothing about. I wanted to know more about him, but I understood why he couldn’t tell me. We stopped walking a few blocks from my house before Robin stared at me with a puzzled look on his face. “What is it?” I asked.
“There’s just still something I don’t understand? If you just wanted to fight crime tonight why did you keep wailing on that last guy? It seemed excessive to me.” He inquired.
“Oh that,” I responded. “That last man was my father. When I found out he was returning to a life of crime, I kind of lost it for a little while. I guess none of that really matters now, once the cop’s pick him up he won’t hurt my mother ever again.”
Tim stared at my briefly processing all of the details of my story. “I’m sorry about your father Steph, but I need you to make a promise for me.”
“What kind of promise?” I asked.
Tim continued, “Promise me that you’ll put away your Spoiler costume for good and go back to being to living a normal life. I don’t want you to endanger yourself.”
“No way!” I objected. “You don’t have the right to tell me what to do. Your probably the same age as me.”
“This isn’t about age Stephanie and besides, what I do is different from what you do.” He protested.
“No, that’s bull!” I countered. “You’re being a hypocrite Robin. Just because you have better training doesn’t change the fact that your life is in just as much danger as mine is. This was the first time in my life where I felt like I was making a difference and now you want to take it away from me.—My answer is no!”
“Believe me Stephanie, I understand why you want to keep doing this but you don’t have to anymore. You still don’t understand the sacrifices that come with this. Today you have a couple slashes on you; tomorrow you could be beaten, tortured, or even murdered. Your father’s probably going to prison for a long time and you have the choice to walk away from this kind of life. Sometimes I wish I had someone to tell me the same thing.” Robin explained.
I thought about his words before ask him, “Do you really feel that way?”
“Yes, I do.” He proclaimed.
“Fine, then I’ll stop, but on one condition.” I suggested.
“Name it!” He said.
“You have to promise me that we’ll see each other again.” I insisted.
“Sounds like a good deal to me.” He said, extending his hand to shake mine. I grabbed his wrist and pulled him close against my body, when I tried to kiss him he pulled back.
“Um, Steph I’m sorry, but I already have a girlfriend.” He informed me.
I kissed him on the cheek then whispered in his ear “Then tell her she has some competition.” I smiled then drove away on my motorcycle.
Back at the Frank's Auto Parts:
Whisper walked back into the room and saw the boy shaking quietly on the floor as she searched for Abbot. She found him staring at a wall in the back next to a fallen shelf. She scowled when she saw the image of a Great White Shark graffitied over the religion of crime symbol.
“BLASPHEMY!” Abbot howled, trying hard to conceal his inner beast.
“It’s a pretty obvious clue to who’s responsible.” Snake added.
“They will all pay for this! I swear it on the name of Cain, THEY WILL ALL PAY FOR THIS!” Abbot roared.
“Easy now brother, save your rage. It will come in hand later on when we retaliate.” Snake said in a reassuring tone.
“What were Mannheim’s orders?” Abbot asked.
“He’s calling in the Whale to take over Johnny’s operation. We are to follow his orders when he arrives at Wayne International Airport. Ugly says the top priority is to retrieve the disc.” She explained.
“And this mess?” Abbot asked, glancing around the room.
“We clean it up. Get the gas and finish their job.” She said.
Abbot doused the room in gasoline and pulled out a liter. The boy jumped up and screamed “Wait, what about me? You said I could go home if I told you everything and I did.”
Whisper smirked with another evil grin, “Yeah, about that, I lied.” She giggled. “Silly boy, didn’t your mommy ever teach you… you should never trust a snake, especially a fatal one.” She walked away as Abbot tossed the liter onto the gas. The boy's screams echoed through the garage as they exited the scene in their car.
Spoiler Alert! Chapter 3- Consequences
August 8, 2010; 12:33 am, Frank’s Auto Parts:
Church’s car pulled up to the burnt building. He exited his vehicle and approached the crime scene. He waved his tin through the small crowd of first responders and proceeded through the remnants of a garage door. Upon entering, the pungent smell of burnt flesh breached his nostrils. Though Church had seen more burnt corpses than most people have, the remains left an odor that few could ever grow accustomed to.
There were several investigators canvassing the room, but he drew his attention to the three people positioned in the back corner of the room. Crouched down in the center of the group was the fire scientist, Amanda Lynns-Kelso. She had platinum blonde hair, blue eyes, and a thin physique. Standing closely to her left side was the medical examiner, Eugene Phelps. There really wasn’t much to say about Phelps, he had an almost annoyingly timid personality and came off as the kind of guy that no one would bother looking at twice. Other than work he wasn’t known to socialize with anyone and it was rumored that he still lived with his mother. The man off to the right needed no introduction; he was the GCPD’s most controversial detective, Harvey Bullock. As Church’s footsteps came closer, Bullock turned his head to grimace at his colleague. “Well look at who finally decided to show up, you’re late Brian!” Bullock scolded.
“Aw, did you miss me partner?” Church teased.
“Like cancer!” Bullock retorted. He lighted up a cigarette and puffed some smoke at Church’s face. “And don’t call me partner either; I’m just babysitting you until Sawyer can make you someone else’s problem. Trust me pal, being anywhere near you is just bad for my health.”
Church eyed Harvey up and down. “Yes, of course, you certainly look concerned about your health.” He jested. “But enough with the banter, what did I miss?”
“Nothing much yet,” Bullock replied. “The fired department called us as soon as they cleared the building, the whole ground floor is littered with bodies. So far all we know is that the building is owned by Franklin Doherty and that the business has been behind on rent for the past two years. We’ve been try to contact the owner but we have haven’t had any luck.”
“Okay,” Church nodded. He pointed to a couple rookie officers behind him and said, “You, run the plates of the cars outside and tell me who they belong to; and you, I want you to find out everything you can about Frank Doherty.”
“Yes Sir!” Both rookies responded in unison.
“Now let’s hear what our examiners have to say.” Harvey suggested. The detectives approached the other investigators. Bullock looked down at Amanda and asked, “What have we got here?”
The fire scientist rose from her feet and paced around the room before speaking. “It all looks intentional, none of the wiring is damaged and the gas line was untouched. Judging by the burn patterns, I'd say that the fire spread rapidly and that gasoline was used as the primary accelerant. It started from the front entrance of the room to the back corner that we’re positioned in. The lighter we bagged into evidence was most likely the catalyst of the blaze. Though the fire moved quickly, there should have be ample time for the victims to escape from the back exits, which leads me to assume that they were already dead before the fire was ignited. Whoever did this knew what they were doing; if the fire department showed up even ten minutes later, the heat of the flames would have melted through the gas pipes and the whole building would have exploded.”
Harvey turned his head back to the medical examiner, “You got anything to add on this Eugene?” The detective asked.
Phelps fluttered nervously, almost as if he was astonished that he was acknowledged. “Um, yes…as Mrs. Kelso has told you m--many of these men have fatal wounds have occurred before the fire. There are large amounts of metal in nearly all of the corpses, but the fire has warped the shape of most of the projectiles. It’s going to take a while before I can identify which types of firearms were used in these slayings.”
The two rookies rushed to the back of the room, “Detective Churchill! We have what you wanted us to find.” They said handing a couple of sheets of paper to the detective.
Bullock began to theorize aloud, “So the owner butchers his staff and burns down his business to collect on insurance.”
“Not quite,” Church interjected, handing the documents he just received to Bullock. “Frank Doherty died from a heart attack four months ago, his son was trying to sell the place and the whole staff was laid off in June. Registration from the plate numbers came back too. All of the vehicles belonged to suspected members and associates of Intergang, except one car which belonged to one of Great White’s men. What we have here was the opening shot of a gang war.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding me.” Bullock scoffed.
Doctor Phelps cleared his voice, “I’m afraid Detective Churchill may be correct. The victims near us were tied in a seated position. Unlike the others they were not killed with bullets. Each of them was physically abused and one of them might have actually been burned alive.”
“What are you getting at Phelps?” Detective Bullock asked.
“He’s saying that these men were tortured because they had some involvement with the deaths of the other victims.” Churchill clarified.
“Um—yes, precisely.” Phelps nervously nodded in agreement.
“That’s just great, if this is gang-related than the guns will probably be untraceable and no one in this neighborhood is gonna talk to the cops. Sawyer’s just gonna love this.” Churchill said.
“If these animals want to kill each other we should just let them.” Harvey uttered.
“We both know that it’s never that simple.” Church added. His phone began to vibrate, after briefly viewing a text:
We’ve got a problem!
He looked back at Bullock and said, “I’ve gotta take this.”
“Go ahead, partner” Harvey affirmed, whilst his mocking chuckle changed into an uncontrollable cough.
The detective walked into a secluded alley and called Brown’s cellphone. As soon as the ringing stopped Churchill shouted, “What the hell do you mean we have a problem!—Where’s the disc?”
“Calm down and let me explain,” Brown responded. “White murdered Stitches and took the disc. Before I could follow him, I got ambushed by some psycho in a purple cape. When I woke up I was tied up to a car frame; I managed to escape and I’m on my way home now.”
“Then you’re going the wrong way, go back to White’s office now!” Churchill demanded.
Brown sighed, “Listen up Church, I almost got killed tonight searching for your stupid disc and I’m not going to risk my life for you again until I’m sure my family is safe.”
“Apparently you don’t understand the deal you signed, I make the rules and you follow them. If you don’t bring me back that disc you’re going back to Blackgate. Do I make myself clear?”
“Sure thing Church, but I think it’s time for us to renegotiate the terms of our deal. From now on I’m the one who makes the rules and if you have a problem with that, I suggest you find someone else to take the disc. This conversation is over.” Brown declared, before hanging up.
“Arthur? Arthur!” Churchill shouted. He closed his phone and winced in anger as he smashed his fist against one of the walls in the alley.
Meanwhile, at the Wayne International Airport:
Snake Fatale and Kyle Abbot waited anxiously for the new leader of Gotham’s Intergang to arrive. Little was known about the mobster, except that he was once the most feared crime boss in Metropolis and he was known to Intergang as the man who gave Johnny his stitches. After a few setbacks with Black Lightning, Whale was driven out of power and joined Intergang as a means of surviving the criminal underworld. Denetto would have surely taken his revenge on Whale if Bruno Mannheim hadn’t offered his protection. As a result, Whale has been indebted to his new boss ever since.
Tobias entered the lobby of the Airport, along with a small army of men that followed. Each of Tobias’ followers wore fine suits with embroidered I’s on their collars. The rough outline over their shoulders suggested the concealed presence of body armor. A bulky figure towered over the crowd; he was attired in a purple suit and adorned with a blue scarf. He also had a harpoon clench tightly in his fist.
The menacing figure looked down at both of his associates. “I presume you must be the ones’ known as Mr. Abbot and Snake Fatale. I apparently need no introduction, but allow me to enlighten you anyway. My name is Tobias Whale and I am currently your leader.”
Whisper scoffed, “Bruno Mannheim is our leader; you have been charged with managing the task at hand. The sooner you recognize that difference, the less difficult it will be for us to work together.” Whale’s grip tightened around his weapon causing Abbot to growl in retaliation. Snake's voice soothed before she asked her next question. “Now how would you require us to approach this situation?”
“Ms. Fatale, though I appreciate your straightforwardness, I would advise you not to challenge my authority again.” Whale said, as he loosened his grip to ponder his thoughts. “Hmm… decisions, decisions. First we should deal with this Cluemaster and his masked accomplice; we must punish them severely for their transgressions upon us. Then, we hunt down the Great White Shark; I’ll enjoy making an example out of him. Once that is finished, we’ll return the disc to Bruno as ordered.”
Snake smirked, “Shall I lead the way?” She asked.
“By all means,” he said, grinning back at her.
1:08 am, Stephanie’s House
Stephanie’s Point of View:
It’s been almost an hour, but I still couldn’t get any sleep. I was so excited from all of the action that I still haven’t taken my costume off. I stared at the phone, imagining that it would ring soon and it would all be over. I thought of my mother answering it, hearing Arthur’s final plea for help before he was sent back to jail, far away from the both of us. It would probably hurt her for awhile, but I know it’ll work out better in the long run. Just then, I felt another weird feeling about what I had done, it felt like pride. I took pride in knowing that tonight I defended my family from harm, I even helped the police put away three other bad guy’s too. I made a difference tonight and no one could take that away from me.
All of a sudden, I heard the sound of a latch flicking from downstairs. I put my mask back on and slowly crept down to investigate. I gazed at the moonlight on the floor, which led me to discover a newly opened window. Shadows filled the rest of the living room, along with an unusual silence. The silence was broken, when a fist swung out from the shadows and towards and towards my head, grazing my temple during my attempt to dodge. He followed up by smashing his knee into my stomach, exactly where my knife wound was. I collapsed to the ground briefly before he grabbed me by my throat and slammed me against the wall.
“What are you doing in my house?” He roared.
“I could ask you the same question!” I replied. I took my mask off and glared back at him.
Arthur’s eyes widened. He was shocked at what he saw, “Stephanie?” His eyes dropped again as he anxiously stared back at me. “I thought you and your mother were in danger. I came here to protect you.”
I noticed his hesitation and struck his swollen face. “The only one who needs protection is you!” I screamed as prepared to hit him again.
He caught my fists, then held me by my wrists and said, “It wasn’t what it looked like honey, you’re just confused. Please let me explain.”
I kneed him in the groin and wrapped my hands around his throat. “LIAR!--All you ever do is lie!” I screamed. As I choked him on the floor his lips began to move, I loosened my hands enough to hear his words.
“If that’s all you’re willing to believe, then do it,” he dropped his arms and stopped defending himself. Once his face began to turn purple, I let go of him and burst into tears.
After Arthur regained his breath, he wiped the tears from my face and began to explain himself. As it turns out, Arthur wasn’t released from Blackgate for good behavior, but rather, for agreeing to assist the GCPD with their cases against Great White. Apparently, White and my father have been committing crimes together from childhood, up until that Christmas ten years ago. Originally, he was supposed to gradually infiltrate White’s organization, but after the detectives he worked for heard of the meeting with Intergang, he was pressured to snatch a disc from White immediately.
I felt ashamed for what I had done. My father was trying to make Gotham a safer place for everyone and I was just trying to get revenge for myself. I allowed my prior feelings of him to cloud my judgment and it might have cost him the chance to catch one of Gotham’s most dangerous criminals. “Dad, I’m sorry.” I said, trying to be as sincere as possible.
“It’s okay Steph, there’s no point in crying about it now.” He affirmed.
“What are you gonna do now?” I inquired.
“Well I’m gonna have to get that disc, it’s either that or prison and I’m not going to spend another day away from you or your mom. Try to help me clean up this mess first; your mom will have a heart attack if she sees the living room like this.”
“Dad… I just wanted to tell you that, you were right.”
“Right—wait what was I right about?” He asked.
“About that promise you made the first day you came to see me, I am proud of you, and mom is too.”
He paused. I waited for him say something back, but before he could the door was smashed down. Nearly a dozen armed men stormed into the house. Two of the men shoved us to the ground and checked us for weapons, while the others searched the house. When I heard a scream coming from my mother’s room I tried to rise up, but I was slammed back to the ground. Mom was dragged down the stairs at gunpoint by one of the thugs. After our hands and feet were restrained, the men duct taped our mouths and raised the three of us to our knees. A large man in a purple suit sat down on the sofa across from us as another man and woman stood at his sides.
“Pardon my intrusion Mr. Brown, or do you prefer being called Cluemaster… I guess our titles have become redundant since everyone’s masks will be coming off tonight anyway.” He said, briefly grinning at me. “However, it would be informal of me to barge into your house in the middle of the night without properly addressing myself wouldn’t it? Then again, it would also be rude of me to do such a thing without stating my business for being here as well. My name is Tobias Whale and I represent a particular organization that for legal purposes shall remain nameless. Earlier tonight, nearly two dozen associates of my organization where stricken down, bringing their lives to an abrupt end. There is also the matter of a disc that was stolen shortly after this audacious crime took place. Though we have had such little time to grieve, we believe that our departed colleagues would have wanted us to succeed where they have failed and deliver the stolen item back to our most gracious leader. If you could provide information as to where this disc is currently located, we may try to overlook the part you play in the demise of our associates.” Whale signaled his guard to take the tape off of my father’s lips, “You may speak now.”
“I don’t have your disc; it’s still with Great White.” Dad confirmed.
“I seriously doubt you would be foolish enough to lie to me, but if you are telling the truth then we still have a few more issues to resolve. You want your family to be safe, but I still need my disc and to see that White is made an example of. Unfortunately, White is the type of person who does not like to share his toys. If my men attempted take back the disc, Great White would probably destroy it just so we wouldn’t be able to use it. Luckily, I’ve come up with an amicable solution that can solve both our problems.” He waved his hand towards the woman on his left. “Snake, if you wouldn’t mind.”
“Certainly,” she hissed handing a pistol over to Whale. It was a gold plated Desert Eagle, furnished with a polished rosewood handle with chrome on its sights and trigger. The weapon looked like a child’s toy in Whale’s paws. He pointed it closely at dad’s head which caused my mom to cringe. “Snake tells me that this was Johnny’s favorite gun. I’ve decided that you’ll use it to terminate Mr. White.”
“Fine” my father said, reaching for the gun.
“Not so fast” Whale said, pulling the gun away and emptying the clip. “There’s still one in the chamber, but I wouldn’t want you to get any silly ideas. Once your done take the disc and bring it back to me.”
“How am I supposed to get close enough to kill him?” Dad asked.
“Snake and Abbot will lead my subordinates to attack White’s base. While they distract the guards you sneak into White’s office and finish him. If you run into any difficulties along the way, you’ll just have to get creative.”
“Yeah, I’ve been hearing that a lot lately.” My father said.
“Good! But just in case you try to talk yourself out of cooperating, some of my men and I will stay here with your wife and the costumed vigilante for collateral of course.” Whale declared.
The Cluemaster pleaded “They have nothing to do with this Whale!”
“Well they do now Mr. Brown.” Whale replied. He had the restrains untied and tossed over the gun to my father. “Snake Fatale, Mr. Abbot please escort our new accomplice to White’s hideout.” They lifted him up and walked him out of the house.
“Don’t worry; everything’s going to be fine. You’ll see, I’ll be back in no time.” He assured me, before he was forced out the door. His car drove off along with a motorcade of impending destruction.
“So touching, if I wasn't doing my job I might have been rooting for him myself. Either way, they will all have to atone for they’re crimes. Do you two have anything to say?” He asked.
After the tape was ripped off our mouths, my mother began to reason with our captors. “Please, just let us go. We don’t even know anything about you or the people you work for.--”
“Enough!” Whale stated, having the tape put back on mom’s mouth. “Do you have any idea how many times I’ve heard people in your situation say that? Now, what would you like to say?” He wondered, switching his gaze to me.
“You’re not going to let us go, even after my father does your dirtywork. So why do you care what I have to say?” I replied
“My my, such a clever young girl, but to answer your question, I find interest in costumed vigilantes such as yourself. After all, you don’t see many teenage girls putting on a disguise and taking down criminals nowadays do you? My curiosity on the topic commands me to ask why such a person would do something so hazardous to their well being.”
“I did it because it’s worth the risk!” I exclaimed. “There is plenty of evil in this world, especially in Gotham. If what I did even had a fraction of a chance of making Gotham a better place, then I would gladly do it again. People like you are the reason people like me exist.”
“How noble of you Ms. Brown, but it appears that your efforts were in vain. Those men you tied up answered to my judgment before the police arrived, and no matter how many villains you subdue; there will always be plenty of room in our society for people like me. On the other hand, costumed fools like yourself only disturb the natural order of society. Heroes only interrupt the flow of power to deform the world, so that it fits their ludicrous notions of righteousness.” He claimed. Whale extended his hand and one of his guards handed him a harpoon. “Earlier in my career, I faced a similar predicament with another costumed hero. I am embarrassed to say that I had him at a disadvantage, but I still underestimated his capabilities. This mistake cost me dearly, which is why I vowed that I would never make that same mistake a second time.”
Whale continued to speak and my mother started to cry underneath the duct tape but my mind started to drift away from the hopeless conversation. “Was this it?” I thought to myself. “Was this how I was going to die?” Just then, my eyes lock on to the two sets of wings that were approaching my living room windows.
Whale approached closer and raised the harpoon over his head. “Do you have any last words Miss Brown?”
I smirked “Only a few, you should really look behind you?”
Instantly, Batman and Robin smashed through my living room, knocking 4 of Whale’s men on their backs. The Dark Knight threw several metallic objects at the remaining guards, knocking the weapons out of their hands. I grabbed one of the metal wings and began rubbing it between my wrists.
Whale was furious; he swung his harpoon at Robin. Robin backflipped out of the spear’s range, then pulled out a steel rod from his waistband. The pole extended into a bow staff and the two charged at one another. Robin knocked the harpoon out of Whale’s hands and positioned his leg for a kick, but Whale grabbed Robin’s leg and flung him across the room. Robin landed near the staircase and sprinted at Whale again. This time instead of jumping he slid underneath Whale’s reach and tripped him with his staff. At this point I cut through the ropes around my legs and worked on freeing my mother.
Batman was fighting all of Whale’s guards without losing any momentum. He smashed two of the thugs’ heads together, kicked another in his ribs, and countered an incoming kick by flipping the attacker’s leg over his head and swiping the other leg. Two more men tried attacking him at different sides while a third man ran for one of the guns on the floor. Batman ducked and the two men ended up punching each other in the face. He blocked another punch and chopped the assailant across his back.
After I cut my mother loose I noticed that the final thug managed to pick up one of the weapons on the floor. He aimed the sights on Robin (who was still fighting Whale at the time).
“WATCH OUT!” The Batman roared, running towards the thug. I threw the metal wing at the gunman’s head, hitting him perfectly on his forehead. Robin looked back at me in awe for a split second; his gaze was broken once Whale threw his body at Batman. He looked back at me with contempt before picking up his harpoon. Whale rushed forward and attempted to launch his harpoon like a javelin. Just prior to Whale’s release, a loud gunshot to his chest dropped him to the floor. I followed the sound and saw my mother holding a smoking gun. She dropped the pistol and wrapped her arms around me as a stream of tears rolled down her face. I consoled her as best as I could, before I talked with Batman and Robin.
Whale writhed in pain on the floor spewing blood all over the carpet. “Is he going to die?” I asked them.
“He’ll live,” Batman said in a reluctant tone.
“You have to help my dad! He’s in trouble.” I appealed.
“We already know, we’re going there next.” Robin assured me.
“Great! What’s the plan?” I asked.
“You’re not coming with us, Stephanie.” Batman asserted.
“What are you talking about? I just saved Robin’s life.--”
“And almost got yourself killed in the process.” Batman added.
“Batman’s right Steph,” Robin said. “It’s going to be too dangerous out there.”
“Enough!” I yelled. “We don’t have time to argue. We agreed that I would stop once my things were settled between me and my dad, but until then I’m still acting as a vigilante. You can let me help you save my father, or I’ll try doing it on my own and probably get myself killed in the process. Either way I’m going to White’s Office.”
Batman stared back at me with a cold glare and I stared back at him with the same intensity. “Fine, but you do everything I say the moment I say it. Understand?”
“Got it!” I replied.
2:47 am, Outside White’s Office Building:
It was nearly 20 minutes after Intergang arrived and the entire block had become a warzone. Trenches of cars filled the streets as bullets flew endlessly across both sides. Great White had used his time to amass enough gunmen to repel the invasion. Though the sharpshooters on the roof and fire escape kept the opposing gang back, Intergang’s rpgs blasted holes into their enemy’s fortification. Neither side was able to hold the upper hand for a substantial period of time. Without warning, wave of GCPD copters and squad cars closed off the perimeter. Before the police instructed both sides to surrender, an rpg knocked one of the copters out of the sky.
“Where pinned down my lady, we need to retreat before it’s too late.” Abbot said.
“What we need, is more time to get that disc. Now be a good dog and take care of the cops.” Snake demanded.
“Very well,” Abbot conceded. He howled loudly as his muscles and bones began to contort. A black coat of fur protruded from his skin whilst his fangs and claws sharpened. The police opened fire upon the wolfman, but his wounds instantly healed. Abbot growled ferociously, then charged at the blockade, dicing each of them limb from limb with his claws, before sniffing for more adversaries.
2:52 am, Stephanie’s Point of View:
My mother still didn’t understand much of what was happening, but she knew why I had to go with them. I promised her that I would be safe and that I would bring dad home. She kissed me on my forehead and told me that she loved me before I left.
I followed Batman’s car with my bike to the best of my ability. Even at top speed, it was hard to keep up with him. We stopped a couple of blocks ahead of Crime Alley and pursued on foot. Judging from the loud screams and the smoke in the sky, it wasn’t going to be hard to find White’s fortress.
We grappled up to the top of a neighboring building to get a better vantage point. From the looks of things the GCPD were in trouble. Though, they managed to weaken both gangs, their ground forces were being decimated by a werewolf. Most of White’s gang was now either dead or arrested. I scanned each opening in the building and spotted my father near the end of the second story. He was only a couple of rooms away from White’s office.
“I’ll take care of the Werewolf, go with Robin and stop your father.” Batman ordered.
“Follow me,” Robin said, as we grappled through a window on the second floor.
Outside White’s Building:
Abbot ran through the block, sinking his fangs into the flesh of anyone who wasn’t Intergang. He chased a group of cops into a narrow alley with a dead end. Each of the police officers fired whatever ammo they had left, but their bullets were rendered useless against the beast. Just before all hope was lost, Batman glided down and dropkicked the werewolf onto the brick wall.
“Get out of here.” He told them, as he reached into his utility belt. The cops ran back to the shattered blockade as the wolf rose to his feet. Batman clenched a batarang in one hand and a plastic explosive pack in the other, as Abbot got ready to pounce. Once Abbot charged Batman hurled a batarang at the edge of the wall. The batarang ricocheted off the edge off the wall, blinding Abbot before he propelled forward, giving the batman an opportunity to jump over him and plant an explosive on his back. After landing on his feet he detonated the charge. The vicious blast pushed Abbot down to the floor, causing him to holler in pain. Though, within a few seconds, the wolf man’s rage brought him back to his feet. Before Abbot turned around, Batman had latched a breather mask to his face and launched series of pellets down the alleyway. Abbot charged down the narrow street, steering himself with only the Batman’s scent. He passed through the black smoke, which now turned to purple, all the way to the brick wall and lifted a dumpster where the scent was the strongest. Underneath the dumpster, Abbot had found only a tattered cape as the purple fumes infested his lungs made his body collapse to the ground. The Dark Knight descended from the top of the brick wall and lifted Abbot’s unconscious human body through the alleyway. Batman handed Abbot over to the police officers he saved earlier and said, “Use the toughest restraints you can find. He’ll regain consciousness in a couple of hours.”
“Thanks Batman!” One of the officers said, checking if Abbot was really unconscious. “You really saved our butts tonight. How did you--,” The officer turned back and realized that Batman vanished, “Do that?”
Inside White’s Office:
White had barricaded himself behind a hallway of armed thugs and a state of the art security door. He sat in his chair and dialed a number. He stirred impatiently as another call was sent to an automated voice mailbox. “Where the hell are you Tally?” White asked, “In case you’re interested we’re being raided, now get back here as soon as possible and do what I pay you to do!” He shouted. Suddenly, White heard a loud bang, followed by gunshots, and a final bang. Within a few seconds, the cacophony simmered down to a faint groaning noise and the sound of metallic clicks coming from the other side of the door. Once the door was unlocked, Great White clutched a sub machine gun from his desk and approached the door. He waited for someone to open the door but no one had tried. He pushed the door forward and aimed rapidly down both sides of the hallway. Immediately he saw his henchmen groveling on the floor, vomiting from the tear gas that was entering White’s office. White closed the door as fast as he could, covered his mouth and stumbled back to avoid the affects of the gas. As White retreated he turned back to his desk and discovered that the Cluemaster was standing behind him.
Cluemaster struck White and snatched the weapon from hands. He took out the ammo clip and threw the gun to the ground.
“What’s your problem Arthur? We’re supposed to be on the same side.”
Arthur pulled out Johnny’s gun, “We were never on the same side Warren.” He affirmed. “Now where’s the disc?”
“Wait a minute, that’s Johnny’s gun! So I guess that means you switched over to Intergang. I’m curious Brown, how much did your loyalty cost?” White chuckled. “Look, whatever they’re paying you I can triple.”
“This isn’t about money--this is personal, and you’re the last person who should be talking about loyalty. I know that you’re the one who sold me out 10 years ago.”
“Oh yeah, I did do that. It got rid of a conspiracy charge, but I ended up getting sent to Arkham the next year anyway. It’s funny how life works out sometimes.” He said, walking over to the desk.
“Don’t move!” The Cluemaster shouted as he aimed the pistol at White.
“The disc is at my desk,” he said taking a seat. “See that’s the problem with you Arthur, you’ve always let your emotions get in the way. At the end of the day all that’s really left is business. Take the problem I had ten years ago, I was facing criminal charges and I had a thief who didn’t want to steal anymore, so I made a business decision.”
“Was that what it was all about?” Cluemaster speculated. “You betrayed me because I wanted to do the right thing. I was your friend!”
“No, you were my employee, and that’s all you ever were!” White protested. “Your job was to steal and my job was to sell, it was a simple as that. When you forgot your place you had to be taught a lesson.”
Brown scoffed, “And what lesson would that be?”
“That no one walks away until I say that it’s over.” White answered. He pulled out a second gun from a hidden compartment in his desk and squeezed the trigger. To his surprise, no bullets were leaving the trigger.
“If you want to shoot me you might need this,” Cluemaster said, pulling out a firing pin from one of his pockets. “I already searched your desk Warren; I know the disc is still on you. Now hand it over or else.--”
“Or else what?” White interjected.
“Or else I’m gonna put a bullet through you skull. Then, I’m gonna dump your corpse into that tank behind you and watch the fish shred you into pieces.” Cluemaster said, gripping his finger around the trigger.”
Great White chuckled again. “Well look at you! Ten years at Blackgate and you’re a whole new man. Maybe you should be thanking me.”
“Enough with the games Warren! Give me the disc or you die!” Brown yelled.
Just as Arthur was about to fire, Robin opened the door. “Put the gun down Cluemaster!” He said.
Arthur glanced back at the boy in the red costume “This has nothing to do with you kid. Just stay out of my way and I promise I won’t hurt anyone else.”
Robin cautiously stepped closer, “You know I can’t do that, now please lower your weapon.” Tim insisted.
“I don’t have a choice!” Brown cried. “I need to do this for my family.”
“No, you don’t have to do this.” The Spoiler said as she entered the room. “Your family is safe, Robin helped save them.”
Arthur glanced back at them. “Thank you Robin, but I still need to do this. This man destroyed my life and it’s my responsibility to make sure he doesn’t ruin anymore.”
“You know that this isn’t the answer. It’s time to accept responsibility for your actions.” Stephanie said moving closer to her father. “You were incarcerated because you chose to commit a crime, not for getting caught. You did your time and paid your debt to society, now you have to allow White to do the same, even if he doesn’t deserve it. You also know that if you pull that trigger it won’t be White who destroyed your life, it’ll be you. You’ll go back to jail and never get to see your family again. Is your revenge really worth losing all of that?” She asked.
Arthur sighed, “No, it isn’t.” He concluded as he lowered the pistol. He walked over to Robin and gave surrendered the weapon.
White grinned, “How sweet, I would have shot all three of us if I were you.”
“Well he isn’t you!” Steph yelled as she smashed her fist into his face. She took the disc from his pocket and handed it over to her father. “I believe this is what you were looking for.”
“Thanks honey!” Arthur whispered to his daughter as he took the disc. “Ready to go?”
The Spoiler glanced back at her new acquaintance. “Actually, I just wanted to talk with Robin for a little while. I’ll catch up in a few minutes.”
“Fine but don’t take too long, the police are gonna sweep the area soon.” He warned her.
After Arthur left, the two of them stared at each other as an awkward silence arose. After a few moments Stephanie finally mustered the nerve to speak. “Crazy night, huh.”
“You get used to them after a while.” Tim reassured her. “I’m glad you got your father back.”
Stephanie smiled, “Thanks, but I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you or Batman.”
“We were both wrong in trying to stop you from coming with us. If you weren’t here, things probably would have ended a lot worse.”
“So, what happens with our agreement now?” The Spoiler asked.
Robin hesitated to answer the question. As he was about to speak three loud gunshots interrupted their conversation. “That sounded pretty close” Robin claimed. Stephanie rushed out of the room to locate where the sound had come from. “Hold on” Robin urged her, as he followed her out of the building.
“DAD!” She screamed as she sprinted toward her father’s car, already noticing the blood that had spilt from the opened driver’s seat.
“I’ll get help!” Robin told her, as he searched for the closest ambulance.
When she reached her father she pulled off her masked and attempted to press down on the wounds to slow down the blood flow.
Her father grabbed her hands and said “It’s too late honey, there’s nothing more you can do for me.”
“Don’t say that!” She pleaded. “I don’t want to lose you.”
“I know you don’t want me to go, but I have to. Don’t be so sad honey; I’ll see you and your mom again one day.” Arthur promised, as he began to cough up blood. He reached for a blue bag from the back seat and passed it to his daughter. “I’ve wanted to give you this for awhile, there’s something important inside, just think of it as an early birthday present.” He smiled before he started to gasp for breath.
“Please just hold on a little longer” she cried. “I still need you.”
“It’s okay Stephanie; you’ve already grown into a strong and beautiful woman. You’re going to be an amazing person, even without me. Before when you said you where proud of me, I wanted to tell you that I was proud of you too.” He spit up more blood as his body began to shut down. “I love you Steph.”
She saw the light fade from his eyes. “I love you too.” She replied. By the time Robin had come back with the EMT’s the Spoiler had vanished leaving only a bloody mask on her father’s lap.
Later, at the Abandoned Movie Theater:
Detective Churchill sat in the corner of the theater, puffing from a freshly lit cigarette. As the doors of the theater opened, a man dressed in white took his seat behind Churchill.
“Is it finished?” Churchill asked.
“Everything’s been taken care of.” The Tally Man replied, as he gave the disc to Churchill.
“I’m sure you’ve already sent a copy of this to your superiors.” Churchill inferred.
“I have, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as you remain obedient to our will.” Tally asserted.
“And what is the will of the Syndicate?” Churchill inquired.
Tally scowled at Churchill. “That information is irrelevant to you. All you need to do is obey the orders that you are given whenever they are assigned. Do you understand me?”
Churchill sighed reluctantly, “Yes, I understand.”
“Good,” Tally concluded, rising from his seat. “Then we’re done here.”
August 11, 2010, Stephanie’s Point of View:
Today is my 17 birthday. Unlike most of seventeen year olds where I live, I won’t be hanging out with my friends, meeting boys, or driving a new car, but instead I will be burying my father today. Mom wanted to postpone the funeral for my sake but I insisted that we needed to get this over with. I figured that the best gift she could give me today was the ability to move on from all of the grieving. Once I got dressed, I entered the hearse with my mother and held her arm tightly until we arrived at the cemetery.
After the priest gave a short prayer and the coffin was lowered to the ground, the ceremony was over. Only a few people attended the ceremony; most of the people who attended only did so for my mother. A couple of neighbors and member's of my mom's support group also showed up, but none of them really knew my father, other than what they heard on the news about him. To us, Arthur Brown was a loving husband and father, but to the rest of Gotham he was just one of White’s many thugs who were shot down in the midst of a gang war.
There was still one person in the crowd who I didn’t recognize. She had long red hair, wore glasses, and was seated in a wheelchair. As the guests tried to console my mother, I approached the mysterious woman and said, “Thank you for coming to my father’s funeral. Did you two know each other?”
“I’m afraid I didn’t know your father, but I’m sorry for your loss. My name is Barbara...Barbara Gordon.” She replied. “I’ve actually come here to check on how you were doing.” She added.
For a moment I was puzzled, “I’m sorry but I don’t recall ever seeing you before. Have we met before?”
She smiled “No, this is the first time we’ve met one another, but we have mutual friends.”
Finally, I understood she was talking about Batman and Robin. “Did they send you here?” I asked.
“No, I came here on my own, but they would have come if they could have.” She affirmed. “They told me about how you handled yourself that night, so I decided to meet you in person. Have you thought about whether you want to continue doing those things again?” She inquired.
I wasn’t sure what to say. “Um, can I have some time to think about it?” I asked.
“Of course” she said eagerly, “I didn’t mean to pressure you like that, especially after all that just happened.” She reached into her pocket, then pulled out a piece of paper and briefly scribbled on it. “Here’s my number and my e-mail, just contact me when you feel like you’re ready.”
I folded the paper and clenched it in my hand. “I should go check on my mom, but thanks for the support.”
“No problem” she replied, smiling again at me.
Later that night I sat in my bed and looked through old family photos of my dad. I reached into the blue gift bag my father gave me and took out the stuffed animal inside. It was a pink bunny with a white heart shaped in its center, a perfect match to the Princess Iggy I briefly had in my childhood. I hung it up on my shelf and laid back on my bed.
As I rested my head, I stared back at the note Barbara Gordon had left me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I started to think about Tim’s words about the sacrifices that come with fighting crime. If I called Barbara, I would be jeopardizing the safety of everyone I’ve ever cared about. Then I thought about what would happen if I didn’t go through with this. Ever since I watched my father die, all of the anger and hatred I once harbored turned into a desire to help people. If I knew I had a chance to stop a villain from harming an innocent and I didn’t take it, I would feel like a coward.
I got up from the bed and walked towards the closet. My hand trembled nervously on the handle before I worked up the courage to open the door. When I saw my father’s bloodstains on the costume, my mind instantly switched on images of his blood soaked corpse. Once I saw the images I realized that I was terrified of the thought of ever experiencing that again. I slammed the door hard that my stuffed animal fell off of the shelf. As I picked it up, I noticed that the bunny had a zipper on its back, unlike the original Princess Iggy. Suddenly, I thought back to my father’s words that night, “There’s something important inside.” I unzipped the back and reached into the pink bunny. Inside the bunny was a small USB drive. I plugged the drive into my laptop and opened the files stored within it. The drive held a web of nearly every criminal who has every worked with my father and the people who have worked with them. This archive had a collection of major crimes, spanning over three decades.
I wondered what the odds were that my father wanted to pass this drive to me. He could have easily given this to the police at any time, but he chose to leave it in my birthday present. Perhaps he was just ordered to keep it at home until he had enough solid evidence to show to the detective he was working with. Either way my father had left me a legacy and I intended to use it.
I took a few moments to way all of the decisions in my head before I pulled out my phone. I dialed the number and wait for it to ring. Once the ringing stopped, I said, “Hello Barbara, it’s me Steph. I think I ready to do what we talked about. So, where do we begin?”
The end, to a new beginning
I hoped you all enjoyed the story. If you liked it then you might enjoy some of the other fanfics over at DC Mayhem. Please comment. Any feedback is welcome. I’d also like to thank nevermore999 for posting this link: http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/2377278.html it was a huge source of inspiration for my story.