#1 Edited by Irishlad (591 posts) - - Show Bio

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS HERE

Written By Irishlad

Edits and Contributions from Joygirl & Ravager4

Chapter 7: Revelations

Bane cracked his knuckles as he scoured the halls of The House of Secrets. The Joker might have been dead, but Bane couldn't shake the nagging thought that the clown was still out there somewhere -- hiding, ready to jump out with that wicked, bright red smile of his. Bane knocked on each door, not that he needed to; as the building had been a hospital once upon a time, it was a generally well-lit place, save for one room with the lights off.

“Mierda,” Bane whispered. Shattered pieces of glass belonging to empty whiskey bottles lay strewn about the room; they led like bread crumbs to a man lounging against the sofa. He trudged through the broken glass, boots crunching the tiny pieces like Doritos, eyes focused on the motionless figure. “Cole?”

No response. The man known as Grifter simply sat there, holding a drink against his lips as he stared blankly at the wall in front of him. He could have been dead, if not for the tiny, unflinching quiver of his pupils.

Bane's eyes narrowed harder as he approached. “Quit playing games, Cash,” he muttered. Reaching forward, he pulled the drink glass from Cole's mouth and smashed it on the table disdainfully, splashing the beverage across the floor below.

Still, Cole said nothing, instead slowly reaching into his pocket and pulling out a cigarette to light. Finally, as he placed the cig between his lips and took a puff, he muttered, “I didn't say anything because I wanted you to leave.....not so you could flex your muscles. Now, go away and let me smoke.”

“These bottles, they're all empty," Bane said, idly shifting his gaze back towards the broken glass on the floor. "How much did you drink?”

Grifter paused a moment, counting on his fingers with a goofy grin spread across his lips. “Two... five... ten... Not enough.”

Deepening his frown, Bane reached forward again, this time clamping his the fingers of his massive hand around the man's skull and lifting him upward. “Do not underestimate me, Cash... I broke the back of the last man who did.”

Cole leaned forward, expression unwavering. “Oh yeah? Wanna... wanna try it again?

Before either of them could make a further move, the door creaked open to reveal a man with a cat mask and spiked claws, one they knew well. “I hate to break up the party," Catman said, "but we've got a problem... Ragdoll's missing.”

“Bane released his fingers, allowing Cole fall to the floor and turning his eyes blankly at Thomas. "He is probably at the Botanical Gardens again. With the monkeys.”

“As convenient as that would be... I don't think so," Catman replied. "His tracker's been offline ever since the Joker's Funhouse.”

“Then I suppose it is our duty to go.” Bane exhaled quietly. “Very well. We shall search where he last was.”

“I'll catch up with you two in a sec," Grifter muttered, stifling a drunken hiccup under his breath. "I just... need to look into something.”

Catman shrugged. “Just let me know when you guys are ready."

When Catman was gone, Bane inhaled deeply, contemplatively, his chest expanding magnificently. “It is not wise.”

“What?” Grifter muttered, a bit worried that he was being conned into a false sense of security.

“I know you do not trust me, but believe me when I say that it is unwise to peer into a hole that you know nothing of.” As Grifter promptly snickered like an immature schoolgirl, Bane frowned and uttered a harsh grunt. “You know that is not what I meant.”

Grifter tried to hold back his laughter, but failed miserably. Within seconds, he burst out into a loud series of chortles, unable to calm himself in his inebriated state.

After several long moments, Bane folded his arms across his broad torso and asked, "Are you quite finished?"

"Yeah, yeah... yeah I'm good," Cole replied, with one final snicker. Sucking in a long breath, he finally managed to stifle his voice. "Please, continue."

”Here, take this," Bane said, reaching into his pocket to pull out a small electronic device. "It is a DNA scanner; if you are going to find out who Mockingbird is, you'll need it.”

Grifter waved it off, refusing to take the scanner. "Thanks big guy, but I got tech of my own. Plus... something tells me this Mockingbird won't be leaving cigarette butts lying around the place.”

“Ha.”

“What?”

“You think you are a man watching over Gotham City, yet you are merely a child wandering around an endless hall of darkness.”

“....What's so funny about that?”

“...Nothing.”

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Grifter closed his eyes for the first time in two weeks.

It didn't matter what was going on around him -- all that mattered was the comfort he felt as he sipped his glass filled with Jack Daniels, Vodka, coke and anything else he could find.

Clip-clop, clip-clop.

"What the hell?" Grifter uttered, the sound of boot steps echoing down the halls of the House of Secrets reached his ears. A million different possibilities surged through his head as to who it could be; was it The Weeper coming back to haunt him? Did Bane come back to say hello? Mockingbird, looking for a midnight snack?

No, this sound was familiar, the kind of sound that Cole could never forget. Oh, how he relished the sound of that distinctive walk. Familiar... comforting.

The light flicked on, and Cole squinted at the sudden glare of light that stung his intoxicated vision. After wiping his fuzzy eyes dry, he gave a little wave with one hand and lifted his pistol with the other, “Hey there."

The warrior stood there, staring down at the shards of glass on the floor, her stolid face streaked with painted crimson lines. “I am going to look away from you for five seconds," she said, gaze focusing on one of the labels of the broken bottles, "and when I turn around, I'm going to kill you.” It was a statement, not a threat.

Cole furrowed his brow, pistol lowering. “Why?”

The warrior flipped her blade forward as she turned gritting her teeth. “'Why' is a question I have asked myself ever since I started hunting you. Why am I worthy of the name Zealot? Why did you leave WildC.A.T to become a mercenary? And most importantly, why did you massacre a building full of innocent people?”

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“Damn it, he's not here,” Catman said, scraping his boot against the edge of the sidewalk. Caked pools of White Rabbit's mostly-dried blood and gore had... well, kind of stuck to his feet.

“How do you know for sure?” Bane asked, cracking his neck idly

Catman reached into his pocket and showed the big man a small, silver device. “Y'see this?”

“Yes," Band said, giving a knowing nod. "It is a Gameboy."

Catman paused for a moment trying to tell if he was joking or not, seeing as the device in question was about the size of a woman's fingernail. It was always hard to tell with Bane.

“Not quite... It's a tracking device we've on Ragdoll ever since he went missing and took over Gotham's petting zoo and declared himself the King of the Chimps a year or so ago."

Bane glared at the device. "So he slipped it off."

Catman picked up the device. "That's the thing. This was made of pure steel, so how the hell did he get it off? Even for Ragdoll that would be almost impossible... this also means that he always knew it was there, and simply chose to let us believe we had him under control."

A whisk of sirens circulated off in the distance, and Bane glared up into the sky. There was always the possibility of a bat, hiding in the shadows. “We don't have time to wonder. Gotham is a 606.1 km² long city cloaked in darkness. A city where nobody speaks to anyone else.”

Catman one outstretched hand to his temples as he scraped through his memories, a desperate attempt to remember a name. “Yeah... yeah, yeah. But I think I may know a man who everyone talks to.”

“Who?” Bane asked anxiously.

“They call him the Calculator.”

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Grifter inhaled, moving his free hand to his side to pick up a second pistol. "I didn't kill any--"

"Don't lie to me!" Zealot snarled, leaping forward with a furious of swing of her sword that only barely missed Cole's trachea. Apparently the five seconds was up.

"Wait!" Grifter back flipped behind the desk for cover.

"Wait?" Zealot sunk her blade through the wooden surface and scraped it down -- the blade grazed through Cole's cheek, causing a fat bead of blood to swim down his cheek. She didn't slow down, kicking the freshly-halved desk aside. "I've been waiting for far too long! Now you die!"

Cole had mapped out about a twenty different ways to kill her, contingencies from his name with the WildC.A.T.s, but for whatever reason, despite the fact she was about to execute him, his mind drifted to how beautiful she looked. It had been two years since they had last spoken, but he still loved her. Part of him, deep down. He tossed his guns to the side and knelt down on the shards of the glass without a hint of pain. "I don't expect you to listen to me -- you never have before -- but let me explain. I haven't become what you think I have. I was as part of a covert ops team known as Team 7. As much as I loved playing superhero with the WildC.A.T.s, it just wasn't my style. Besides, our objective was a little classier.

"Dictators, terrorists, flat out super villain serial killers -- we stopped them and put a bullet in their head. Everything was swell, and I had something to scratch my trigger happy itch, until that one mission that's gonna keep haunting me. It was supposed to be a simple assassination. Just go in and kill the guy -- Joseph Grant. The person behind the team told us he was responsible for one hundred and twenty-two killings, and he was a part of the biggest smuggling ring ever recorded." Cole glanced to the bottle he had left on the table, pushing at it gently with one finger. It tipped, falling unceremoniously onto its side with a dull clunk. Empty again.

"The joke of it was, his building was slapped damn in the middle of Metropolis, the building big blue passes every day. Our goal was to shoot twice and then ask questions; what we didn't count on was the man we were after already being strapped to a chair with explosives rigged to blow. The building went up in flames. Everyone on my team died. I only managed to survive due to my healing factor and a determination to take down the man who set us up."

Zealot sheathed her sword. "Mockingbird."

Cole straightened his legs and stood straight."Yeah. Look, I don't expect you to believe me, but as loony as the people I'm working with are... they have no idea what they're getting themselves into."

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Catman and Bane gazed across a room full of green flickering light and huge computer monitors, flickering with scrolling codes. Filled with, most importantly to Calculator, information.

"What is this place?" Bane asked drily.

"One of Calculator's safe houses, I think," Catman said. "I used to work for him -- this is where I came to get my briefings. Figured it would be a good place to start.

A sarcastic laugh emerged from the computer in the middle of the room. Calculator's face flickered on the screen, a wide grin slashing across his face. "You know, I usually kill anyone who walks into this room without my permission, but for an old friend... well, I suppose I can allow this one pass. For now."

Catman slowly approached the man sitting behind the monitor. "We want to--"

"I wasn't finished," Calculator said, his tone growing sour. "Now let me talk nice and slow so your minds can process what I'm about to say. When you're in my house you listen to my rules, understood? My hospitality only goes so far."

Bane bit his tongue, slowly nodding -- though it was not to his liking.

"Good. Now, as I've said, the only reason you two aren't a smoking pile of ash right now is because of our history, Tom. So tell me... what do you want? You get one question."

There were a lot of questions Catman wanted answered right now. Who is Mockingbird? That one was the at the forefront of his mind right now, and had been for a while.

Calculator grinned, as if reading his thoughts. "Time is information, Tom."

Catman took a quick look back at Bane, who simply nodded. "Where is Ragdoll?"

Calculator's eyes dropped towards the rubix cube held in his hand, a streamlined thing with at least six layers on each side, all in varying shades of chrome. A smile started to widen on his face. "Toooommy, for someone as dull as you, you can be rather amusing at times."

Catman clenched his fist. "What do you mean?"

Calculator removed his glasses, forcing himself to hold back a chuckle in the back of his throat as he wiped them off with his shirt. "Well, haven't you two read the newspaper?"

Calculator reached to the side of his desk and lifted that day's paper to the screen. The front page headline read: "Mummy Superhero Murders Mafia Family." Catman instantly huffed out a breath of regret, lowering his gaze.

"Oh, and to answer your question," Calculator added, "Your buddy Ragdoll is currently being chased by the Gotham City Police Department, the Falcones, and the Russos. I'd hurry if I were you, because his vehicle isn't exactly built to last."

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Zealot smiled and turned towards the hall. "Goodbye."

"What?" Cole said. "Where are you going? You're just gonna leave?"

The woman sighed casually, turning back and placing her palm on Cole's cheek. "I came here to find the truth, and I found it. Good luck."

Cole held his hand back against hers, smiling. "I love you. I know we haven't seen each other in three years but--"

Zealot held a finger to her lips, and nodded. "I love you too. I will always love you, but to the world I'm the good guy and you're the bad guy." She turned and walked back towards the hall, her fingers caressing across his skin as she broke contact with him.

"Maybe..." Cole muttered listlessly.

"We might not be able to be with one another in this life," Zealot said, "but in the next one... I'll meet you at the bar."

"Hah, next life?" Cole monotoned.

Zealot chuckled. "I don't believe in heaven. I'm an alien." Always so matter-of-fact.

Grifter paused yet again. "I guess I'll believe for you, then."

Zealot lunged back at Cole, crashing him into the glass below. Every part of Cole's body screamed "yowch", but her beauty took away the pain. She leaned in, her lips pressing tenderly against his. "There... will that do you until we meet again?"

Grifter allowed himself a smirk. "Maybe."

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"An ice cream truck?!" Catman yelled, as he drifted the car towards Ragdoll, who was blazing an unusual tune from the ice cream truck -- as he was being chased by cars. A mixed, even blend of Mafia Porsches and police squad cars.

"I scream, you scream, we all scream when I tear your leeegs off...!" Ragdoll yelled, as he chucked peppermint and chocolate ice cream at the windows of his pursuers.

"We need to get closer." Blake growled, slamming his foot onto the gas and weaving through the ocean of vehicles.

"Time to die, mummy." Alberto Falcone crooned, leaning out of the passenger window of his own pursuing car and whipping out an AK-47, one that was quickly met with a bulging right arm from Bane. The man had managed to leap cars in a fairly outstanding display of agility, and was now proceeding to yank the mob boss from his own vehicle.

"He is not yours to kill, today." Bane flung the man behind him, out into the occupied streets, and clung tightly to the car's roof as it swerved and weaved wildly. A thick fist smashed the glass of the driver's seat window, and as another gun-toting maniac was tossed out into the street, Bane hopped into the car. "I have this, Mr. Blake," the big man roared from the quickly-steadying machine, and Catman swerved his own car to the side, hoping to flank the dreaded... ice cream truck.

The heavily-built black humvee, staggeringly appropriate for the man driving it, battered through smaller cars left and right, plowing through them with no concern for the vehicle's lasting integrity. Bane was getting closer, and as he ground his heel into the accelerator, he finally managed to pull himself to the side of Ragdoll's vehicle.

"Oh, hello there. And here I thought you were never going to write or anything," the bandaged man squealed with a masked grin.

"These cars are going too fast, we have to stop!" Blake shouted from his adjacent vehicle, glancing into his rear-view mirror. The oncoming army of cars had not slowed.

Ragdoll's eyes widened. "Stop? What's the fun in that? Ah well, I suppose there is a red light up ahead -- I am nothing if not a law-abiding citizen."

A sudden jolt of the brakes sent the cars behind them flying across the runway.

A mess of cars flipped over onto the concrete. The news reported later that night that there were no deaths thanks to the Gotham City Police Department.

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The silhouette on the other computer screen was ill-defined, likely scrambled by some anonymity program. He was good.

"So what does it all mean?" Calculator stroked his chin casually, his face illuminated by the brightness of his own monitor. "What do you have planned for them? You have me intrigued."

The man in the pitch black room, the man on the other end, leaned back in his chair. "You'll just have to wait and see, won't you?"

Calculator shook his head "No need. I just needed to talk to you for... oh, eight or so seconds, so that I could download your files."

A soft, refined laugh came from the other side. "I know. Thoughts?"

Calculator cracked his fingers. "I don't know, it's hard to sum it up in one word but... cute. Very cute."

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Zealot uttered a tiny gasp, but no air came out, only a blood-filled gurgle. She tried to move, tried to reach for her fallen sword just inches away, but her body refused. All around her, a growing a pool of crimson stained the rooftop. It felt so... cold, as it began to soak against her skin. That was odd. Wasn't blood supposed to be warm?

“Shouldn't have stuck your nose where it didn't belong,” a voice said. “Can't have you snooping around, now can we?”

Eyes flickering sideways, she caught a shadowed glimpse of the man who had attacked her. She hadn't even seen him, though. No, all she'd felt was an electric bolt ripping through her body, followed by the sniper bullet shattering the base of her spine. Then had come the blade, puncturing through her backside and out the front of her chest. After that... nothing. Everything had gone numb. As grievous as the injuries were, though, her body could heal through this, she knew, if only given the opportunity.

She would never get the opportunity.

The blade pressed against her throat, the point drawing a cold trickle—again, why was it cold?—of blood. “You might have been a challenge in a fair fight, I know. Fortunately for me, I don't play fair. Not anymore.”

How long had it been since she had seen Cole? Twenty minutes? Thirty? It felt like an eternity. And why was she thinking about that? Even as the blade dug deeper into her neck, she didn't think about the pain, nor the blackness beginning to engulf her vision. All she could think about was Grifter. She had said they would meet again... and maybe they would.

But not now. Not in this life.

Perhaps... in the next one, then.

#2 Posted by jesusdisciple001 (546 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome

#3 Posted by dngn4774 (3517 posts) - - Show Bio

"Time to die, mummy." Carmine Falcone crooned


I didn't get that part.  Carmine's been killed off since Sensation Comics 1.

#4 Posted by Joygirl (19955 posts) - - Show Bio

Sensation #1 takes place several months after this part of Secret Six. Continuityyyyyyy

#5 Posted by Irishlad (591 posts) - - Show Bio

Thank you very much

What did you think of the story :P

#6 Posted by Irishlad (591 posts) - - Show Bio

The Next chpter is up in case you missed it, any comments are appreciated :P

#7 Posted by Joygirl (19955 posts) - - Show Bio

Buuuuump.

#8 Posted by Rabbitearsblog (6028 posts) - - Show Bio

This chapter is so awesome!! I can't wait to see who Mockingbird is and what would happen once Grifter finds out about Zealot!

#9 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Irishlad said:

Catman one outstretched hand to his temples as he scraped through his memories, a desperate attempt to remember a name. “Yeah... yeah, yeah. But I think I may know a man who everyone talks to.”

“Who?” Bane asked anxiously.

“They call him the Calculator.”

Oooooooooo nice! I use the Calculator over in Ravan but not for anything major, merely information

@Irishlad said:

“Yes," Band said, giving a knowing nod. "It is a Gameboy."

Ha! And you inadvertantly called him Band

@Irishlad said:

"I scream, you scream, we all scream when I tear your leeegs off...!" Ragdoll yelled, as he chucked peppermint and chocolate ice cream at the windows of his pursuers.

"Subject is armed and dangerous"

"What's he using Sarge? AK? Uzi? RPG?"

"Peppermint and chocolate icecream"

"THAT BASTARD!" :)

Great chapter

#10 Posted by Joygirl (19955 posts) - - Show Bio

Blimp.

#11 Posted by Irishlad (591 posts) - - Show Bio

BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMPA

#12 Posted by 4donkeyjohnson (1722 posts) - - Show Bio

Another excellent chapter, I liked the 'play' between Zealot & Grifter