|A Broken Wing|
|What: Robin's stakeout comes across a crime being perpetrated by the mysterious Batman impostor.|
In the dead of the evening, Gotham’s Central Business District hums far less than it does during the day. Nevertheless, windows are lit up and the most dedicated of corporate drones buzz here and there within their glass and steel hives filing TPS reports. One such hive is a tall, modern building with the logo for ‘Gotham Industrial’ illuminated across its face.
A dark, caped figure descends from the roof via a thin, black cable. He runs down the side of the building with the confidence of a practice professional, stopping only when he reaches a small balcony area. Disconnecting his cable, the caped man in black slinks towards the door and produces a security card which causes the heavy security door to acquiesce and grant him access.
A few levels above where the man ‘broke’ in, a young man in a well-tailored business suit sits with his back to the world outside as he reads over the contents of his computer’s monitor.
The Teen Wonder is really starting to hate stakeouts. First increased patrols, and then more practice, more lab work, more more more. Ever since the terrorist attack on Wayne Tower Gotham has been overflowing with new crimelords and wanna-be's, all fighting each other to rise to the top of the midden heap. Alan Winthrope, Jr. was hit, so the natural follow up would be the man's former company.
Robin sits in the dark shadow of one of the crouched gargoyles that this district is infamous for, and scans the Gotham Industrial buliding through a pair of high powered night vision binoculars. "Hello." he says at last, spotting the man in the cape lower himself down. "And who are you?" Robin zooms the focus in a little more and tries to snap a few pictures.
The figure, seemingly unaware that he’s been spied upon, continues to make his way into Gotham Industrial Tower like a man on a mission. As the camera focuses on him, however, his appearance becomes more clear when he is momentarily illuminated by the light of a computer monitor left on overnight by some employee in a rush to get out the door.
He wears a cape and cowl, only the grim line of his mouth and chin visible. He’s tall, broad-shouldered and muscular. Perhaps the most noticeable things about him, however, are the pointed ears on top of his cowl and, of course, the bat-symbol upon his chest.
Inside the building, still visible through the windows, he moves with stealth through the darkened cubicles and walkways.
Robin blinks a second, pulling his eye away from the binoculars a moment before looking back through the lenses again. ***Batman, this Robin, come in.*** the teen says, speaking over their private comm network. ***Is everything all right? You assigned me to this building tonight.*** he follows. Batman has never forgotten an assignment before, so clearly the young man is confused.
The figure in the building does not react, continuing to walk between the cubicles until he arrives at a door on the far wall. A wave of a security card and this door also swings open for him and he disappears into one of the building’s internal stairwells.
A moment later, the same floor in which that the young man in the well-tailored business suit sits in his cavernous office lights up. Shuddering, temporary bursts of light that fill up the darkness. The distant sound of gunfire follows soon after. At his desk, the young man looks up in terror before immediately fumbling through his drawer. He produces a pistol, clutching it to his chest as he hides beneath his desk.
The whole grim show plays out almost soundlessly from the Boy Wonder’s vantage point.
"What the f...." the Teen starts setting the binoculars down and pulling his grapple gun from his belt. ***Shots Fired! Shots Fired! I'm going in.*** he sends out over his comm before leaping into the open air and fireing the grapple gun with practiced ease.
A darker shadow agianst the night, Robin sends himself gliding towards the lit window, already throwing a tiny charge that hits the glass, and then beeps once as the teen approaches....beeps twice....
The commotion still shakes this floor of the building, the man underneath the desk more clearly visible and audible as Robin swings closer. It isn’t just any man, it seems, but Gotham Industrial’s CEO and acting chairman – Alan Winthrope the Third. He holds the gun out before him, heartbeat rapid and his body aquiver with terror. Still, he manages to summon up the courage to call out to the rest of the floor:
“What the hell is it?! Gus?”
Behind the wall obscuring the rest of the floor from prying outside eyes, the gunfire has ceased.
On the third beep, a high pitched sonic screech shatters the thick glass just as the Teen Wonder goes sailing through it. In a practiced move, Robin rolls forward with the motion into a low crouch just past the CEO's desk where he sends a batrang spinning towards the light switch. "Stay down!" the teen orders at Alan, alraedy rolling again in case the fool decides to shoot him.
Alan Winthrope the Third has a little sense in him, it seems, and he doesn’t shoot as Robin comes sailing through the open window. All the same, he’s in a panic and his knuckles are turning white around the gun he holds. Stay down? He can definitely do that. He says nothing, just attempting to conceal himself even more within the dark confines of the desk.
Outside the office door, the silence is almost deafening. No sounds at all. No cries of pain. No chatter amongst the guards. Everything is dead silence. The rest of the floor is plunged into darkness at the same time as the office.
Staying low, Robin reaches up and taps the side of his mask, activating the low light vision mode of his eye mask. He moves towards the entrance of the office, carefully pulling the slim cylinder that is his collapsable staff from his utility belt. Without a sound, the boy stops to the side of the door, crouched low, and listens.
There is barely a sound outside the door, not even the sound of footfalls. The fact makes it all the more surprising when the door suddenly flies inward under the weight of a heavy, booted kick.
There, standing in the doorway, is the figure dressed as Batman. Behind him, lying in pools of blood, are the three security guards - automatic weapons lying alongside their lifeless corpses. Perhaps the most unusual thing, however, is that the Man dressed as the Bat is armed with a high caliber pistol.
Spending years training with someone tends to lend a certin level of comfort with them. An understanding of sorts, and an unspoken communication that exists between two people whose lives come to depend on one another. With a quick scan behind Batman, Robin starts to relax, standing from the crouch. "Did you get the shooter?" he half whispers, until that detective part of his brain kicks in, and points out the gun.
The teen's face falls, and his head tilts a little to the side, as his logical brain tells him this is Batman, and his subconscious tells him something is very very wrong. "Batman....?" he asks hesitantly.
“Out of the way, Robin,” the supposed Batman announces as he levels the gun at the desk and narrows his eyes, “Justice must be served.”
He does not look as though he will wait, however, flicking the safety off the gun with his thumb and pointing it in the direction of the desk without waiting for the Boy Wonder to get out of the way.
Well, that settles things. No one pulls off the bat growl quite like the real Batman. Not to mention that Batman almost never calls him by name. The whites on Robin's eyes go wide, just before instinct and training take over. In what has fairly become a signature move for the Teen Wonder, Robin backflips onto his hands, and aims a kick at the large gun with his trailing leg as he finishes spinning all the way over.
"Who the hell are you!?!" he asks, landing in a crouch several feet away, his cape coming to pool around him and hide his hands.
The kick hits home, sending the gun cartwheeling up through the air before landing with a clatter to one side of the desk. The man dressed as Batman is no slouch, however, and he’s already moving back and into a fighting stance which proves that, whoever he is, he is well-trained. He simply stares impassively at Robin a moment before, in an emotionless voice, he says:
He then lunges, moving quick and already aiming a haymaker at the Squire’s jaw.
'This is wrong on so many levels', the teen's mind screams at him, even as training takes over and Robin sidesteps, spinning along side the haymaker, and using the momentum to extend his staff. In a straight hand to hand contest agianst the Batman, he's gonna need the range.
Still spinning around one more time, keeping the momentum going, the boy tries to sweep with the staff, using the low end to trip up his attacker.
"Oh sure. And I'm Superman." Robin quips, trying to get his head in the game. Think, think think.
The Man is swift, using his momentum of his missed punch to draw himself down into a semi-crouch. As the staff sweeps towards him, his hand shoots out to grasp it and attempt to yank Robin into close range. As he does so, he lifts his foot – his goal that the disorientated Boy Wonder will meet a swift boot to the chest.
“You stand in the way of Justice,” the Man growls, “I cannot allow it.”
Robin erks slightly as the staff yanks him forward, and then ooofs as he takes the boot the chest. The boy loses his grip on the staff and hits the ground, flat on his back, the air rushing from his lungs. 'Whoever he is, he's good.' is the thought that runs through the boys mind as he shakes his head, trying to clear away the momentary cobwebs.
The Man tosses the staff to one side, letting it clatter to the floor as he steps away from Robin and towards the desk. He bends a moment to retrieve the hand cannon from where it was dropped, checks that it is still loaded, and begins to step around it to where Winthrope the Third is hiding.
It is at that moment that a foot, clad in a purple wingtip, comes down sharply on Robin’s chest along with all his strength to hold him in place. There stands the Joker, a wide-brimmed hat doing nothing to conceal his grinning, white face from the boy.
He looks down; eyes alight with his own special brand of malevolent glee: “Hiya, kid!”
The boy's face goes almost as pale as the man standing on his chest for a moment. "Batman! Batman come in!" the boy practically screams into his open comm unit as he drops a hidden batarang from his sleeve and swiftly brings it up to stab the Joker in the ankle.
"RUN WINTHROPE!" the boy yells, trying to get back to his feet.
“Hushabye, Robby,” the Joker coos, shaking his head, “Batman’s already here. See? Over theraaaarrrgh! Yah! Knights of Columbus, that smarts! He he ha ha ha!”
The Joker quickly steps off Robin’s chest as the batarang stabs him in the ankle, but it doesn’t throw him for too long and soon he’s already bringing his other foot up in an effort to kick the lad across the chest.
Meanwhile, the fake Batman has his gun leveled at the desk as he slowly steps around it and –
A shot rings out from under the desk and the Man dressed as the Bat lets out a grunt of pain and a fount of blood erupts from his shoulder. A glancing wound by the look of it, but the surprise causes him to stagger and soon Winthrope is out from under the desk and scrambling to push his would-be assassin out of the shattered window.
It works, and the false Batman tumbles out and over the edge. Not sparing a moment to even try and help the Boy Wonder, Winthrope takes off at speed towards the open door.
Robin rolls quickly away once the weight is off his chest, and handplants and is quickly back on his feet. A quick step and he cuts the room off, giving Winthropre the chance to escape while he settles into a ready stance facing the Joker. "I don't think we've met." he states flatly.
“Short memory on you kids these days,” the Joker says, still chuckling to himself and apparently ambivalent to the plight of the fake Batman, “You don’t remember the time I knocked you about with that crowbar then blew you to smithereens?”
A pause and the Joker squints his eyes, looking a little closer at Robin before throwing his head back and laughing maniacally.
“HA HA HA HA HA HA! Oh, you’re not even the same one, are you? Good gravy Marie. And they say I’m crazy.”
Recognition seems to grow in the young man's eyes at the mention of another Robin and being blown to smithereens. 'This is the guy that killed Jason.' is the thought that flies through is head and causes Robin to shiver a moment like he was dunked in ice water.
The boy takes a deep breath, steadying himself while he releases it slowly, and then charges. He sends his second sleeved batarang into the light fixture above the Joker's head as a cover as he tries a double drop kick.
The Joker has dealt with the Bat’s partners before and, unlike the average goon, he doesn’t just stand there and get knocked out. No, even as the thought to charge passes through Robin’s brain he is darting to one side, the kick clipping his shoulder but not slowing him. The dropping lighting fixtures causes a commotion to be sure, but the Clown is not under it.
“Oop! Almost got me that time! He he heeee!”
The Joker’s gloved hand finds a heavy paperweight on the desk, a model of Gotham Industrial Tower rendered in steel, which he heaves bodily at the Boy Wonder’s head.
“Now pitching for the Gotham Knights ...”
Tim has received quite a bit more training than the Robins before him. He hits the floor on his shoulders, hands already planted beneath him and flips back to his feet in a moment of pure poetry of motion. He barely gets his hands up in time, as the model tower hits his left arm and deflects into his temple. The boy staggers for a second, hand coming up to cover the torn temple that begins to bleed heavily.
Half blind, Robin throws a knock out gas pellet at the feet of the Clown prince, trying to buy himself some time.
The Joker coughs and splutters, planting a hand against his chest as the gas pallet goes off.
“Oh - *kaff* *ack* - no! Gas! *kaff* *kaff* My … he he … my one … *kaff* weakness … ha ha ha HA HA HA!”
He wipes his eyes, but the tear is brought on by laughter rather than the gas. He steps through the cloud with a chuckle, bringing both his fists up to try and drop an unpracticed by brutal blow on Robin’s head.
“Sorry, kiddo! That stuff doesn’t work on me!”
'Oh shit, DUCK!' is the thought that runs through Robin's head, and he does...start to duck as the heavy blow cracks the boy on the side of the head on his now blind side. He drops to one knee, his head spinning from the concussive force as his brain tries to find a nice place to stop crashing into the side of his skull. Sheer willpower keeps the young man conscious, as he tries to push himself up again, his left eye swollen shut and bleeding heavily, and new bump forming at the edge of the jaw line.
The Joker doesn’t stop, doesn’t relent and gives Robin no time to stop and think. The Clown brings his boot heel sharply down towards the knee not on the ground, his goal to knock the Boy Wonder down completely.
“You’re quicker than the last kid,” the Joker reminisces, lashing out to try and strikes Robin’s head once again, “Better dressed, too. I mean pixie boots? Really?”
It's not a pleasant sound when a knee goes 'cruch' like that, and the scream of pain from the boy is quickly silenced by another punch to the face, this one taking Robin square on the chin. He hits the ground with a dull thud, laying face down. The poor boy groans softly, and remarkably, is still stuggling to try and get up. He's failing....but he is trying.
The Joker doesn’t give Robin the chance to stand up, planting a knee on either side of him and sitting squarely on his chest to keep him from regaining his footing. He sits there for a moment, stroking his chin as he looks over the boy for a second.
“This is an unexpected surprise. Honestly, I had no idea I’d get to kill you again when I got out of bed. I’m all a-quiver!”
He shakes and wiggles his fingers like he’s about to eat some particularly delicious dessert. He then brings his fist down on the boy’s head again and again. A punch from the left, a punch from the right, a few light slaps across the cheeks just to add insult to injury.
The Joker climbs up, bringing up his foot to stomp viciously on the Boy Wonder’s forearm with all his weight.
“But come to think of it,” he’s talking mostly to himself now, pacing back and forth with the occasional kick to Robin’s ribs, “That wouldn’t do. Ooo, I’m such a clever guy! He he ha ha HA HA HA! Don’t go anywhere, Bob.”
He turns towards the desk, knocking over a number of expensive-looking trinkets as he searches for a pen and paper, “Stupid digital age.”
Boxers have come out of the ring with a prettier face than poor Robin has at the moment. His screams of pain subsided into a low moan a while ago, and that awful thud of fist hitting meat is all that greets the last few punches. Thinking its finally over, the Joker then stomps on the boys arm, causing a fresh scream as Robin pulls himself into the fetal positon.
Then he starts to laugh. A deep, painful chuckle, as he clutches his arm to his chest. Half rolling over, a small tiny communicator drops out of Robins fingers, a tiny red light blinking over and over rapidly.
“How many P’s in pseudopseudohypoparathyroidism? Never mind,” the Joker finishes scrawling on the piece of paper, picking it up and walking over towards the stricken Robin, “So!”
He reaches into his belt, producing (of all things) a staple gun which he twirls on his finger idly as he crouches over the Boy Wonder again.
“Got a little message for Papa,” he replies, pressing the paper against Robin’s chest and stapling it in place with the gun, “Make sure he gets it, kiddo.”
Bloodshot, green eyes move slowly to the flickering communicator, “Oh, you scamp. Well, it was time I made my exit anyway.”
He picks up the communicator, jarring the kid’s mouth open with his fingers and dropping it in there just to rub a little more salt into the wound. That done, he stands up and walks towards the window.
“Ta-ta, Bobbin,” that said, he stretches one leg out in front of himself and drops out the window. It would be quite an end for the Joker if that is what it was. Instead, the bulky figure of the fake Batman, shoulder still streaming blood, swings through the night and catches him in mid-air. Soon, the pair are swinging away into the darkness at speed.
“He flies through the air with the greatest of ease,” the Joker’s cackling voice sings out through the night, “The daring young man on the flying trapeze.”
Robin feebly spits out the emergency tracking beacon, and just sort of lays there, doing his best to breath. With a broken arm, a cracked knee, and a face that looks like he served as Mike Tyson's punching bag for the afternoon as the poor boy bleeds all over the cheap carpeting.
It takes her a while - some vigilantes don't have the luxury of jet-powered supercars - but eventually, Spoiler comes crawling into view, pressed up against the outside of one of the office's windows.
"Hang--hang on!" she calls out, hoping that he can hear her through the glass. There are things not unlike suction cups attached to her limbs, though now that she's at the office, she's in the unenviable position of having to figure out how to fetch glass cutters from her utility belt.
She only just managed to save up enough to eBay this stuff; she was hoping she'd get to practice with it a little more before it got her killed.
"Almost there, almost there, almost there..." she continues, trying her best to cut a circle of glass away. Her hands are trembling and the climbing tools are, to say the least, in the way; it's slow going, but eventually, the glass she's cutting tumbles into the office, and she tosses herself in after it.
After rolling along the floor a few times, she winds up crouched near Robin; once she's caught her breath, she waves two gloved fingers in front of his eyes and reaches back to touch her ear with her other hand.
"Oracle, I--I've got him; I just have to get him downstairs..."
Robin half groans at the unfamiliar voice, and painfull coughs a few times. With his good arm, he fumbles at his utility belt, and struggles at a pouch on the wrong side of his body, trying to get the snap open. "Oracle." he whispers. "Who...you?"
Spoiler yanks her hand back with a start; it goes to her heart for a second, but when she notices him trying to go for his belt, she gently touches his wrist and shakes her head.
"Don't move." She looks him in the eye for a moment, then drops her gaze, swallowing. "You're--you're gonna make it worse. Can you stand? Can you see?"
He's speaking quite slowly, his jaw having some trouble moving. "Hypo...in the belt....painkiller." He says, as Robin's hand trys once more for the pouch. His movements reveal a bloodstained memo note, stapled into his chest armor.
'Dear B, Where do you FIND these kids? Make the next one a blonde. Love, J. - P.S. Ask him what he thought of Gotham's NEW Caped Crusader. HA HA HA HA!' is written in pen on the note.
"I can see. Barely." he continues trying to talk. "And you still didn't annswer my question."
Spoiler's eyes drift over the note once her questions have been asked, and by the end, she is grateful for her mask, grateful for the way it hides her so completely, even if it is a bitch to breathe in sometimes; it wouldn't do her non-existant reputation any good if her fellow vigilante could see how very pale she is right now.
"A-ah--" Hypo. Belt. Painkiller. Right. Snap out of it. She shakes her head, causing her hood to bob around a bit. "Spoiler." She sharply exhales and reaches for his belt; she tries to guess which pouch he was going for. Hopefully she doesn't accidentally arm an exploding Batarang or smoething.
"My name is Spoiler; you have to stop moving, because I'm gonna have to move you in a second, and that's gonna be bad enough as it is."
When it appreas that she's finally going for the drugs, Robin lays back and takes a deep breath. "Spoler...the one with the twitter account?" he asks, still talking slowly, his voice barely above a whisper.
"Next pouch. Thats knockout gas." he mumbles, when she starts to fumble with his belt. "No..your other next pouch." Lo and behold, an air hypos, almost straight out of a Star Trek movie, preloaded with the Batman's personal 5 star mix of pain killers, adrenal boosters, and vitamin C.
"Press agianst the skin and push the button." And if that wasn't enough he continues to whisper a few more instructions.
"First pouch to my right from the belt buckle. DNA swabber. Take a blood sample from the..." he stops, moaning softly as he coughs again. "Blood sample from the drops by the desk."
The instructions are followed to a T; Stephanie Brown may have only gotten a B in First Aid last year, but the Spoiler can apply hypos with the best of them. She even sticks her free hand out in his general direction while she gathers the blood samples and holds varying numbers of fingers, just to see.
When that's all taken care of, she tucks the sample into one of her own belt's pods, then crouches down with both hands out for him to grab onto as needed.
"You didn't answer my question, kid: can you stand up, or not? If I have to carry you..." She quickly looks him over and winces beneath her mask. "We'd need a bigger Spoiler, that's for sure."
The teen lets out an audible sigh of relief and the drugs quickly work their way through his blood stream. He lays still as Spoiler gathers the blood samples from the mystery Batman, and then smirks slightly as she calls him kid. The effect on his face isn't pretty.
Robin reaches out with one hand and grabs Spoiler's forarm, and starts to pull himself up to his feet. "I can stand." he grunts.
He's breathing a little easier as the powerful pain meds work through his system some more, but he hobbles up to his feet and nearly falls again as his left knee nearly buckels. "Torn knee, broken arm, cracked jaw, cracked rib..." he is mumbling to himself, running down the list of what is wrong with his body. "face beaten all to hell...my staff." Robin says, that last part coming rather suddenly.
He's pointing to the other side of the office, at a 6 foot titanium staff. "My staff, please."
When the Boy Wonder stumbles, Spoiler rushes to keep him steady by throwing an arm around his body; she narrowly avoids being pulled down with him before managing to stabilize her fellow teen vigilante.
"Are--" She gives him another look, this time focusing on some of the injuries he's rattled off. "--are you sure?" It's meant to be a joke, but it's entirely too strained. This is what happened to the bo that Batman apparently trained to fight for him; what would happen to her, if--?
Shaking her head, she tries to slip her shoulder under his arm. They can get the staff together, and then they can leave; it totally still counts as walking if someone else is doing most of it for you.
Along the way, she vaguely considers how she might look as a redhead.