Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

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Vox
Adenn Mirshko
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Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

**Rated M**

Gotham City

Night time in Gotham was unlike the nights in any other city. Darkness found each sunset like a welcoming family member, a black smile touching the city like a blanket covering a child laying down to sleep. There was no peace in that sleep though, no smiles of happiness at the welcoming of the dark. Night time in Gotham brought with it the demons of a city haunted by both past criminals and current crimes. Those that braved the night were the brave souls who saw the night not as a hole swallowing hope but as a fight for the cities redemption.

Criminals had once seen it as their own personal buffet of crime. Robbery. Battery. Murder. Rape. Grand theft auto. Those were minor crimes in this city. Those that dealt in more exclusive crimes such as narcotic and human trafficking has taken a liking to Gotham lately though even those who dealt in the richer crimes had found a reason to find shelter at night, their nemesis had returned. Rising from the darkness like a pool of water fighting gravity the Batman had returned and with it the mythos of his predecessor came back to life.

He stood sentinel over a city that wore the dirt and grime of industrialism like a badge of honor. Batman fit Gotham like no other hero did. Punishing, brawling, never giving in, always bleeding but never stopping. His fight was a lonely one but even he could not be everywhere. Crimes happened every night though the mere thought he could be nearby prevented more crimes than the man himself did in a night. No one was stupid enough to help him try to reign in his city even though some had tried they had left as quickly as they had arrived.

This reputation of both loner and menacing vigilante made the arrival of another like minded individual to Gotham both quizzical and arrogant in nature. Standing on the corner of a street crossing and an alley three stories above the asphalt a crimson clad hero stood watching as a man assaulted a woman dragging her into the dark abyss of the nearby alley. Taking a step and firing a grapple gun the man moved across the street without a sound perching on the roofs edge looking down through an artificially moonlight aided mask.

After another moment the man drew a weapon foreign to the city and loosed an arrow pinning the man to the dumpster behind him by his genitals. Screaming in pain the man howled as the wound made him shake in agony. Dropping off the roof the man landed, his right arm cracking the concrete beneath him as it took the majority of the impact. Standing upright the vigilante’s hood made him all more intimidating and fear inducing. Unknowns did that to the human mind, especially in a city such as Gotham. Moving forward the man walked toward the woman who was covering herself with what was left of her tattered clothing stopping for a moment at the man who had attempted to rape her.

A deep, menacing voice filled the alley as he held the man upright by the throat stretching his pinned genitals as he was lifted till his toes barely touched the ground. "Batman might not have been here tonight but I was. You're lucky I missed, I was aiming to cut it off."

Pulling off the man's jacket the vigilante covered the woman with it and then began walking out of the alley his hood turning slightly as the criminal spoke through gritted teeth and weak mocking laughter. "Who are you? You're not with the Bat. We know he doesn't have help so what are you, insane? You think he'll welcome you? He's already run off all the ones who’ve tried to help."

"I'm not here to help the Bat." Moving his bow to his left hand he flexed his mechanical arm contemplating the man’s plight for a moment.

"Then why come to this shithole of a city?" The man started to slur his words as unconsciousness came quickly.

"I needed to talk to him." Pulling another arrow the vigilante sunk it into the man's shoulder stopping him from falling to the ground while he smiled out of shock.

"Why come after me then, just ring him up. You're fucking Robin Hood I'm sure you've got his number."

"The names Red Arrow, and I don't so I had to draw him out to talk to him." Pulling a grappling gun out Red Arrow fired it at a building a few blocks away.

"Draw him out how?" Slouching the man looked at him glassy eyed.

"By using you as bait." Disappearing into the darkness the hooded vigilante heard the man start to scream again as the reality of his situation set in.

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Mir
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

The air was crisp, the wind moving in a steady rate. The man watched the events transpire from where he was perched, silent and above it all. From the height that he was at, the people below looked like ants, like nothing more than little drones, going about their activities. People had heard the woman's screams, but no one had stopped to do anything. They weren't there yet, no, but the city was slowly starting to get there. Soon there would come a time when if someone screamed for help, someone else did something. But until that time, it was up to people who had the will to act. The will was everything. All other things were secondary to that first, overriding principle. With will came solutions to problems that would otherwise appear insurmountable.

The man shifted from his perch, where he could have easily been mistaken for an out of place gargoyle on a building whose rooftop was covered with them. Rising to his full height, he looked down at the city below, his city. And he saw that it was good. With no thought to his own safety, he took a step off of the building and soon was falling, descending to the ground in a manner that foretold an unforgiving end. The black cape whipped around him until suddenly it went taught, guided by his actions.

The air lifted him back up. But it wasn't simply air. It was something effervescent, something ethereal. The air wasn’t carrying him, the prayers of a city that begged for him to save them that yearned for his guardianship held him aloft. It was not air, but the very physical embodiment of the outpoured cries of suffering of millions of people who knew that without him, without the Batman, this city would be lost. They cried out for their savior. That was what carried him, though some one more blind would construe it as air or the wind or currents. This was more than physics. It was something spiritual.

He was something spiritual.

The cape coalesced around his body as he turned into a bullet of sorts, his feet colliding with the rooftop. The shock of the impact would have buckled a normal man, but while this man was mortal, he was far from normal. Rising upwards, he stared down at the crimson hooded man.

"I suppose thanking me would be too much for you." Red Arrow said, turning and looking up. The caped man’s arrival had been telegraphed, intentionally. Brendan knew it was quite possible that it was the only consideration he was going to get from the other man during the entire conversation.

"What do you want?" Batman asked.

Red Arrow shook his head. "You know, I always figured that small talk was not something that you were good at, but this is ridiculous. Not even a hello?" He asked, and suddenly took a few steps back, as Batarangs embedded themselves in the wall around his head.

"What do you want?" Batman asked.

"We've got a problem."

"Other people have problems, I don't. You have two things to tell me and you have little time to do it in. The first is what this problem of yours is. The second is what idiot thought process made you think that you are welcome in Gotham City." Batman replied.

"I know where the children are going." Red Arrow said.

“They’re ending up in Star City.” Batman replied and Arrow nodded. “That’s not unexpected.” He added, and turned, looking at something in the distance. “Somehow they’re getting from here to your city, which means that I have some inquiries to make.” He said. “The second explanation?” He asked, turning white soulless eyes back towards the man below.

“I figured we could stop this together.”

There was a slight sneer. “I’m not your little Huntress.”

“You wouldn’t look as pretty in a dress.” Red Arrow replied and then sighed. “What was it you told me back in Bludhaven? ‘You’re doing good work’?. You also said that you monitor a lot of organizations, and there are groups that operate in Gotham that receive funding and help from networks around the country, including Star City. This is one of those groups, one of those people. I can help you.”

Batman cocked his head to the side. “You’re just pissed I never sent you the name of the fast cord supplier.”

“There’s that too. Also, I thought you might be low on venison and…what was it, need a hunter? Do you want to work on this or not?” He asked.

“If we do this, we do it my way.” Batman said and turned, starting to walk. He didn’t bother to see if the other man was going to catch up, though it took Red Arrow only a few moments. There was a whizzing, and Brendan had to duck as the three Batarangs pulled themselves out of the wall and flew past his head. Batman caught them without looking and put them away. “We’re headed to an illegal street fighting ring.” Batman said. “I want to see just how good you think you are.”

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Vox
Adenn Mirshko
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Falling through the air Red Arrow watched as Batman glided without effort using the wind to guide him. From his perspective it was the smartest use of a useless object he'd ever seen. Functionality was still something he was learning about as a crime fighter. It was easy to deal with criminals in a very basic sense. Investigation took patience and experience, stopping them took intimidation or physical persuasion. It was the logistical and technological equipment that he still lacked as a less experienced vigilante. He made a mental note to watch and learn everything he could from a man who thought he was insane enough to take up the mantle of Batman.

Rotating his body the man watched as the Bat fired his grappling gun to change course rapidly before releasing it and catching an updraft. Firing his own grappling gun the man let it reel in flying passing Batman for a moment he tapped a button on the side of the gun and the claw released causing the cord to wind back again. Flying upward still he allowed the momentum to carry him forward until Batman collapsed his wings and dropped from the sky. Launching his grappling gun again he let the cord spin out before he pulled hard against it. Accelerated by both gravity and his own strength he fired a second grappling gun to slow his fall landing softly next to the suited vigilante. Looking at the intimidating figure he realized that while he was physically the bigger man and they were about the same height but he felt like a four year old next to the man. Presence was power they said and the Batman carried a lot of both. “So, are there any rules to this “Fight Club”.”

Smirking Red Arrow thought he saw his partner physically restrain rolling his eyes. “Don’t you have a rich person to go rob to give something to the needy?”

Shrugging the red hooded vigilante followed Batman into the building. “I could go rob Isaiah Muir, he’d be a nice challenge considering what normal playboy billionaires do in their spare time, but I prefer to pick on more socially angsty ones like Connor Queen or Alex Burke. Far more amusement than physical activity though I’ll admit I tend to prefer the combat its the one chance I get to stretch my legs.”

“You talk more than Spider-man.” Batman’s voice carried with it a shut the hell up demeanor.

“Ouch...that was a low blow.” The two men went deep into the building opening up into a basement that was well lit and had a pit of sorts though it was only two foot below those watching the fight. Those watching the current fight made way for the two like rabbits fleeing a lion but none of them seemed worried about having an issue with either one. Looking around Red Arrow pulled his bow and various other pieces of weaponry off his suit. Handing them all to Batman the man in the suit seemed unamused and dropped them without a second glance.

“That stuffs not cheap you know.” Mocking exasperation the man dropped down into the fighting area.

“Says the man who shops at Bass Pro Shop.” Batman tilted his head just enough to show his compatriot that humor was easily wielded and rarely mastered.

“That was one time and it was because they had a sale on rodent repellant. You can tell how well that’s work--” As he finished the rebuttal the crime fighter found himself in a bear hug as another man moved in to land a few punches on the man’s abdomen. Flexing Red Arrow lifted his legs and swung them downward. Expecting the move the man on his back jumped and the two flipped forward. Landing on his chest Red Arrow quickly rolled forward and stood. Waving both men in the vigilante engaged both using a mixture of various martial arts but holding back from both using his metal arm and enhanced strength. Looking toward Batman he saw that the man carried a look of disapproval on his face.

“I won, what’s the issue. Not enough style for you? Did you expect me to use jazz hands or something?” The sarcasm in the statement was a good cover but the man under the cowl saw through it.

“Stop hiding it, they won’t hold back so neither should you. Otherwise you’re just another failed hero bleeding out on the sidewalk as the sun comes up.” Irritated by the seriousness of the statement the hooded man turned around to find four men armed with various weapons. Walking forward the four attacked at once and Red Arrow realized he was suddenly in a fight for his life.

Ducking a viciously swung axe Red Arrow punched with his human arm then bounced backwards. Two more men entered the fight and the man found himself up against the wall. Looking up over his head he saw Batman with his arms crossed. "Little help?"

"I'm not your nanny, play times over. Either take this seriously or go back to Starbucks City and enjoy your mid afternoon latte." Frowning for a moment the man kicked outward at two men and threw another into the rest.

"I feel like you don't like me, is it the witty come backs?" Dodging another punch Red Arrow heard Batman shift his weight and crouch.

"It's the fact you're a spoiled rich boy playing pretend hero when real lives are at stake. I'd rather have Connor Queen at my side than an arrogant self absorbed asshole like you. Those children aren't going to get rescued by a boy like you, they'll be dead before you show up." Feeling verbally punched in the face the young man behind the mask ducked another axe swing and his mind seemed to tune out. For a single moment he felt the urge to walk away and something inside of him squashed it like a bug.

Jabbing out with his left leg his snapped the axe wielders knee like a twig before a bat found his back. A front tepe kick launched another man across the makeshift ring while the wooden bat was swung again. Turning he caught the bat yanked forward and landed an elbow to the man's face. Grabbing at his broken nose man fell as Red Arrow set himself into a fighting stance.

Feigning a right cross the man took one step forward with his left foot and landed a roundhouse kick following it with two quick punches and a judo hip toss that opened him up for a left footed rear kick. Powerful blows landed with inhuman force as the fighting continued. Watching two more combatants enter the fight the hooded man let out a sigh of frustration. Without turning around he spoke at the Bat. "You trying to kill me or find out if I'm worth my salt?"

*********

Standing on a precariously mounted overhang high above Gotham the two heroes observed the citizens below with purpose. One seemed inhumanely focused while the other seemed to be trying to maintain focus. Frustration was building inside the younger of the two until he finally broke an hours long silence. "So what the hell was the point back there? For me to beat those men for no reason?"

"You proved you aren't ready to be my partner in hunting down whoever is responsible for taking those children." There was no perceived shift in the man's position but he seemed to become larger, more menacing to visually portray his irritation.

"I have years of training in countless combat styles. I'm better trained than my father or --"

Interrupting the young man with a tone that sounded as if it were going to shake the building Batman spoke. "You aren't fit to wipe your ass in the same room your father did. I can do this alone. I don't babysit."

"Then maybe it's time you stop treating me like a four year old and teach me what the hell to do." Looking at the man Red Arrow knew he was both right and wrong but had no clue how to actually ask the single greatest vigilante crime fighter in the world to teach him to be just as great.

“This is precisely the reason why I don’t want you around. I don’t have time to tell you all about the birds and the bees.” Batman replied. “You had your father to teach you. You had an actual legend. I didn’t.” He said, evenly, with a high level of razor sharp grit in his voice. “Everything you see me do, everything people fear me for, I learned how to do, on my own. I went and found the people to fill in the gaps.”

“Well that’s what I’m trying to do here.” Red Arrow replied.

They both looked down, as there was a car accident in the street. It was nothing more than a fender bender, but even still, it was going to start backing up traffic. That was just the way things worked downtown in a city the size of Gotham. This wasn’t something that Batman concerned himself with, though slowly the honking, and the cars trying to move around started to create a bit of noise, despite how high up they were.

“What do you want me to say to you to convince you?” Red Arrow asked.

“I want you to tell me what it is about knowing all those fighting styles that makes you think you can do this.” Batman replied.

The other man thought about it. “I know how to defend myself. I know how to take down an opponent.”

“That’s debatable, but that’s not what we do.”

“What do we do then?”

“We hunt.” Batman said.

“I’m a great hunter.” Red Arrow replied, raising his voice to get over the traffic, a slightly confused look on his face. It was more inquisitive than anything and in response Batman shook his head. Red Arrow gave him a look, indicating that he was more than willing to hear Batman’s explanation of what he was saying.

He pointed out over Gotham. “But what are you hunting?” He asked. “We hunt the scum to protect the few good that are left. We hunt a sickening mentality that makes some believe they’re better than everyone else and can do what they want because of it.” Batman said, and turned towards Red Arrow. “You’re just as conflicted as you were in Bludhaven. You asked me about knowing when I was the Batman. I told you that your pedigree should have answered the question.”

“I remember.” Red Arrow said, nodding.

“Yes, you can beat the men you fought tonight. But it was merely a test of the physical requirements. I know what you’ve done in Star City. But it still feels like you’re doing this more for yourself than for the people. You still can’t get past the problems you have with your big brother.” He said.

Just as before, Brendan’s slight change in posture gave it away, and Batman’s facial expression was enough that Brendan knew that he had caught it. “I don’t have any issues with him.” He said.

Batman shook his head, looking back out over the city. “I took a man’s eye once. He’s still got issues about it. It was years ago. You’d think he would have gotten over it.”

“Well you took his eye.” Red Arrow replied.

“Conner’s the reason why you don’t have an arm.” Batman replied. “You need to put that in the past and-“

“I have. Trust me. I have put all of that in the past.”

Batman nodded, letting the interruption slide. “Until you can tell me that, and make me believe it, I’m not willing to put you in the field. You’re not punching away at everyone because you’re angry with Conner. You do it for them, otherwise you’re a shitty hunter.” He said and turned, starting to walk away.

“I’m a what?” Red Arrow asked.

“A shitty hunter.” Batman said quickly, over his shoulder. It was barely audible due to the bustle of the city and the honking of all the cars and traffic

“I’m a shunter? That doesn’t even make sense. That’s not a word.”

“I’m leaving.” Batman said and fired his grappling hook. “You can follow, but I’m not going to pick up your slack. You fall behind, I will leave you.”

Shaking his head, Red Arrow walked over to him. “What made you change your mind?” He asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe you coming up with an easy word for me to call you from now on. Shunter. It'll remind you every time I use it. I’d get cracking on that if I were you. We’re going to a friend of mine to ask him a few questions.” He said and jumped into the air, taking off.

Taking two steps Red Arrow launched off the roof after the caped man and landed on the next roof with him using his speed to get in front of the man before he continued to move toward their destination. “You were wrong you know. My father didn’t raise me. He died when I was young. Old enough to remember everything but still young.”

“You still had Green Arrow.’ Side stepping to keep moving Batman found Red Arrow in front of him again. The man under the cowl had to admit that what he lacked in skill he made up for in determination.

“Queen? He was worse than his son’ Red Arrow stopped walking backward and stood his ground. “He left out of shame at feeling it was his fault my father died. I wasn’t raised to be a hero. I wasn’t raised to be a vigilante who hunted criminals or creeps. I left home at the age of eighteen after my daughter died in a car accident and her mother, Andromeda Queen, died less than a year later. I traveled the world looking for anyone who knew anything about my father and mother for years. I got training from people in more martial arts than I can count. My foster parents never let me stop training because they knew I would eventually take up my father's mantle.”

Taking a breath the man moved aside to show he was willing to let Batman leave. “My pedigree is in my blood, you're right. I see a crime and I go stop it. I have the skills to do that. Burke made me far better at stopping crime than I ever thought possible. That messes with your head. You know what it’s like to have part of your body be virtually indestructible? I’ve seen Burke run tests on this thing--’

Rolling his cybernetic arm the man brought it back down to his side. “and the only thing I do know is if I landed on the sun, this arm would still work properly. That’s an advantage I don’t know how to use. This can inspire fear when I need it to but that isn’t enough and you, you’ve figured that out. Criminals don’t run because of what you can do, its what they think you can do. You say it's hunting? I've been tracking prey since I was six. I can track my target for miles, what I can't do is turn that into psychological intimidation. You can, you've done that, you've separated the two lives you live. My two lives were intertwined from the day I was born."

Stepping up onto the rooftop ledge he looked out at the unfamiliar city and the Bat joined him staying silent in a way that nearly worried the man under the hood. "You want to call me unworthy, well, maybe it's time you teach me how to use my pedigree and to be worthy it."

"If you can save every child on your own so be it." Shrugging the man showed a deeply rooted passion in his body language. "I'm not going to stop though and I'll keep asking because out of everyone who's taken up the mantle of a hero from before you chose one the one that required you to truly become something else."

Pulling his grappling gun Red Arrow said one last thing. "My father told me the first time I saw Batman something I will never forget, Batman requires a sacrifice no one will ever understand because Batman needs the man under the mask. Without the man under the mask Batman loses his humanity. You are Batman but in doing so you sacrifice your humanity everyday so Batman can have his. You're the best of us for a reason, well I'm asking for the bests help. And yes, I'm aware I talk too much."

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Mir
KING OF STRONG STYLE
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

Star City – The Glades

There were puddles of water in different places. But that’s what happened when there were holes in the roof and it rained. The rain had stopped, but the sound of water dripping could be heard throughout the building. As the large warehouse style doors slid open, lights opened up on the insides of the building. It was a dingy place. A few men dressed in various states of disarray were in the building, ready and waiting. Most of them were unarmed, but a scattered few carried sawed off shotguns. They were waiting for the source of the lights, a van that drove into the building, coming to a stop near the middle.

The doors opened and a man dressed in a dark subdued green suit stepped out. He was wearing a colorful shirt and tie, but they too were subdued as well, if that made sense. He looked around, surveying the situation before him.

“I trust that we haven’t had many problems?” He asked.

“Course not.” One of the men holding the shotgun said. “Everything here has been quiet as a mouse.”

“Quiet as a mouse. I do like that.” He said. “That’s much better than the last time. The last time, we had a few cases of runaways and I don’t like that. Not when I’ve gone to great lengths, to build such a wonderful place for everyone. Isn’t this place just wonderful?” He asked, as more lights were turned on in the warehouse and the large doors were slid shut.

The lights came on and he looked upwards.

Hanging above the ground were a multitude of cages, of varying sizes and shapes. This would not have been that big of an issue for the average person, save for the people that were in the cages, except that they weren’t fully grown people, they were children.

“My children.” He said, with a smile. “They look so happy, so well adjusted now that they’re in Wonderland.” He said. Looking back down at the men, he gestured at the van. “Well? What are you waiting for? Time marches on its stomach, we don’t have time to waste.” He said.

“Sure thing, Boss.” One of the soldiers said, and started walking to the van.

They started pulling more children out of the van, each with their head covered and their hands zip-tied. Their heads were all that moved, as many of them tried to look through the thick black cloth bags that covered their heads. One by one the covers were removed and the children started to huddle together.

The man walked over to a table, where a candle lit meal had been prepared. He opened a bottle of red wine and poured some of it into a wineglass. Taking it into his hands, he brought it up to his face, inhaling deeply.

“You can just smell the subtle notes, rising to the top.” He said and looked at the children. “Children, who’s hungry?” He asked.

There were nods around the group, despite the fearful looks on their faces.

Reaching behind him, he grabbed the plate of food and turned, throwing it towards the children. Scooting backwards, they followed the trajectory of the plate with their eyes, and it shattered against the ground, the food splattering everywhere.

“Eat up, my lovelies. We’ve long road a head of us.” He said, tossing back the wine.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Gotham City

“If you’re aware that you talk too much, then shut the hell up.” Batman said. “If you want to learn, then watch and maybe you’ll do just that.” He added.

They were walking along a rooftop, and down below, there was a meeting of sorts going on, in a currently empty parking lot. There was a metal can filled with rubbish and trash and it was currently on fire. A few men stood around the fire, warming themselves. Without giving notice, Batman dropped down into the parking lot and started walking towards the men. Red Arrow followed suit, a bit more cautiously, because of the sheer unpredictability of the motion.

A few of the men around the fire caught notice and started backing up, but one of them made no motion, he continued to warm his hands, though his eyes were on the Bat. He wore a long trenchcoat, and a matching black fedora. The eyes were hard, and told the tale of a man who knew the streets of Gotham well.

He turned to the others. “I’d leave if I were you.”

They didn’t need to be told twice.

Finally turning back when the last man had walked away, he gave Batman a smirk. “Now, to what do I owe this pleasure? You were interrupting something did you know that? Who the hell is this guy?” He asked, gesturing at Red Arrow.

“You’ve been slipping.” Batman said. If he had noticed the query about Red Arrow, he completely ignored it, driving towards the answers that he sought. “You’re in charge of a network of informants and the information has been lacking, Toby.”

“Look, mate, I call ‘em irregulars for a reason.” He said. “You ask me what it is you’re after, and I’ll tell you if I’ve got anything. You know how it works. What do you want?” Toby asked. “I can’t really be seen in public with you.”

If Red Arrow had any reaction to someone talking back to Batman in this manner, he kept it to himself.

“The children.”

“Back to the children then, are we?” Wiggins asked, shaking his head. He lit up a partially smoked cigar, and the smoke started to laze up into the sky. “What is with you and kids anyway, like you’ve got some need to protect them? The world is a harsh place, bad things happen.”

“The children.” Batman repeated. “I want to know what you know about the pipeline to Star City.”

“Star City? I don’t know nothing about that.” He said.

Batman’s eyes narrowed. “What good is this network of informants, if I’m not going to get any information out of it?” He asked, and then reached out, his hand like a blur, grabbing a hold of Toby’s shirt and dragging him towards him. The cigar fell to the ground, continuing to smolder. “Give me the answers I want, now.” He said, his voice dropping in volume, and skyrocketing in menace. “I don’t turn you over to the cops because you’re useful. Trust me when I say that Santieri would salivate at the thought of breaking you.”

“I ain’t scared of Steven Santieri.”

Now it was Batman’s time to smirk. “I don’t think you are. But you should be. I may be scary, but Santieri can be just as scary if he wants to be, Toby. Stick with me. I’m the option that keeps you away from bars.”

Toby thought about it for a moment. “I might know something.” He said, looking away, and Batman released him. Toby bent and retrieved his cigar, blowing on it slightly before resuming smoking. “There’s a fellow named Blue Shoes Nathan. He’s the one you’re looking for.” He said.

“Blue Shoes Nathan?” Red Arrow asked, the first time he’d spoken. “What the hell kind of name is that?”

“I met him when he was gutting a man the way you might gut a fish, youngling.” Toby said. “You don’t question what a man calls himself when he’s got a fish knife in his hands and he’s using it on human small intestines, you know what I mean?”

“I know where Blue Shoes is.” Batman said, and turned, starting to go.

“Remember, that didn’t come from me.” Toby called out as they started retreating into the shadows.

He waited until his cigar had finished and then he waited some more. Toby waited until a car pulled into the parking lot. One of the doors opened and man dressed in a suit stepped out, arranging the lapel pin that he wore. It was the pin of one of the construction unions around Gotham.

“I did just like you asked.” Toby said.

“I know you did. I wanted to thank you for a good job.” The man said and Toby shook his head.

“I don't get it. A few weeks ago, you wanted me to help Carroll out. Now you want the Batman to find him? That’s not how you’re supposed to do business.”

“I’m a contrary man in a rather contrary world. It’s not like what I want would make sense to you, even if I explained it to you.” The man said. “You see, plans, wishes, hopes and desires, they’re nothing but that, not until you make them a reality.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Toby asked.

“You’re making my point for me. I assume you wish to be paid.”

“I don’t do this for free, if that’s what you’re asking.” Toby said, shaking his head. “You’re damn right I want to be paid. “ He added, and the newcomer nodded.

“I’m going to pay you in the best way I could possibly pay someone.” The man said, reaching into suit jacket and producing a small caliber pistol with a silencer on it. He leveled the weapon at Toby, who had started to take a few steps backward, raising his hands in the process. Fear had started to creep into his eyes and across his face. He knew very little about the man who was taking step after step towards him, and that made everything that much more dangerous. Toby knew that he had his own weapon on him, but he didn’t trust his reflexes at this point.

It might have been a twenty two caliber pistol pointed at him, but he didn’t want a twenty two caliber sized hole in any part of his body. Not at all.

He stopped moving when his back came up against the wall. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Don’t hurt me.”

“I’m not going to kill you.” The man said. “I’m going to turn you into a message. A message of a higher plan, of deep wishes, of heartfelt hopes, and of burning desires.” He said.

“Please, Mc-“

The gun fired.

McCoy watched as Toby slumped to the ground, a hole in his head. Reaching into his pocket, he took out a small postcard and crouched, placing the postcard on the ground, in between Toby’s legs and leaning against one of his thighs. On the front was a picturesque view of Star City. He smiled as he rose.

“Oh Batman, my Batman, why must you make me break my playthings? It’s not considerate at all.” He said, turning and walking back towards the car.

Another piece of the puzzle in play.

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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Star City

Patrol officer James Baldwin wrote down the statement of the woman sitting in front of her, the mother of a missing child, with the concern of any police officer, getting enough information to hand it over to a detective and then leave it at work. As a married man himself with two children he knew of the fears of every parent and was doing his best when a pair of detectives walked in. He recognized one but the other was new. Standing the officer greeted both officers by shaking their hands. “Detective Barnes, nice to see you again.”

“Officer Baldwin,’ Detective Barnes turned slightly and introduced the new female detective at his side. “My new partner, Detective Olivia Ruiz. So, what do we have Officer?”

“Just like the last three detective.’ Officer Baldwin flipped through his notes talking while he did so. “Playing at the playground with two friends, man walked up with his own child and they started to play, mom talked with the dad for a while and before she knew it both children were missing and when she went to look the dad was gone as well saying ‘I’ll go check the other side of the playground.”

Detective Ruiz looked at her partner as he shook his head and scratched it in thought. “Thanks Officer, we’ll take it from here.”

Stepping passed the two Officer Baldwin turned to look at the mother for a moment before stepping outside. Looking around he pulled his coat tight as the winter chill began to eat at his neck and he looked up seeing the silhouette of a hooded figure across the street. Tipping his hat nonchalantly the officer crossed the street to his patrol car turning around and leaning against the driver’s side door lighting a cigarette leaving it to burn without inhaling. Hearing a slight noise behind him he saw a hint of dark red moving in the shadows. “Another one, this time a girl. That’s the third time this week and it’s only Wednesday. Barnes is a good cop but he’s twisted in some way about this. He needs your help but he’s too prideful to ask for it.”

A voice modulated reply came from over his right shoulder. “It’s seven this week, not three. Make sure the Detective checks the trunk of his patrol car.”

“How do I do that?” Officer Baldwin waited for a reply and realized he was standing alone again without anyone listening. Flicking the cigarette away in frustration he saw Detective Barnes leaving the home before stopping to talk to the uniform assigned to watch the house. Crossing the street Officer Baldwin pulled out his pocket knife and stabbed the passenger side tire of the detectives patrol car. Walking up to the house the man could only think of the fact he was going to wind up going to jail for either vandalizing police property or aiding and abetting a known criminal who was more hero than villain.

¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

Two blocks away Artemis watched from afar as Detective Barnes threw a verbal tirade in the middle of the street as his flat tire blocked an entire lane of traffic. Kicking his car the man slipped and fell while his partner opened the trunk. After a moment the woman leaned around the trunk of the car yelling at Detective Barnes who scrambled to his feet, wiped off his tan raincoat and looked into the trunk. After a moment the man pulled out a few pieces of paper and looked around. Seeing everything she needed to see Artemis moved back into the night disappearing as ALICE forwarded a phone call she was expecting. “Detective Barnes, I see you found my present...”

~-~-~-~-~-~-

Gotham

Red Arrow looked past the Gotham Rail train that sped down the track three stories above the street it was built over. He watched for a target he had never seen, a man he only knew by name but somehow was supposed to know by sight. After a few more moments he felt a nudge and Batman nodded. “There.”

Looking down Red Arrow saw the man and pulled his bow. Firing an arrow it planted itself in the windowsill of their targets apartment and split opening the window. Taking two steps backward Red Arrow lept from the building launching himself into the air. After a few seconds he fired his grappling gun, yanking down on it once before landing softly in the darkened living room. Inhaling twice the man controlled his breathing and looked to see Batman already in the room. Giving the man a “How in the hell” he watched as the man in the cape disappeared right before his eyes. Suppressing a shiver Red Arrow slipped into his own spot out of the slim bit of moonlight that came into the apartment.

It was only a few minutes before their target entered trying the lightswitch as he did so. Flipping the switch several times the man swore moving to the lamp and trying to turn it on as well. Kicking over the lamp after it didn’t work either the man turned trying to pull his gun. Red Arrow moved impossibly fast his metal arm squeezing the hand that held the gun before it cleared the man’s jacket. Spinning he put the man in the chair and he stopped fighting once he saw the arm holding him in place. Looking up at the hooded man standing over him the man took a moment to compose himself and then lit a cigar letting the smoke fill the room as he did. “You got balls stepping into his neighborhood. You think killing the lights makes you intimidating? I’ve done it myself to people, I don’t spook easily. Ask the Bat.”

Staying quiet for a moment Red Arrow stood up rotating his metallic hand and pulling an arrow out of the quiver on his back. Lifting the man’s chin with his metallic arm he spun it just enough to show the star on his shoulder cap. “Impossible, you died in the invasion, no way you stayed alive through all of that.”

“The children,’ ignoring the implied question from his temporary prisoner Red Arrow let his own question hang in the air.

“What kids?’ Shifting uncomfortably Blue Shoes tried to rotate his head but found the metal arm firmly holding his chin in place. “You aren’t him, I know it. They killed them all off, plus an arrow? Really? Everyone knows he was a ruthless son of a bitch. Arrows weren’t his style.”

Flipping the arrow over impossibly fast Red Arrow sent the weapon straight through the man’s hand till it was buried into the arm of the chair the man sat in. “The children...”

He added no more stress to the word but spun a dagger in his hand letting it catch the moonlight just enough to where the shadow of a possibility could enter the man’s mind as he fought back the need to scream in pain. Gritting through teeth the man shook his head. “Russians did worse twenty years ago you think I’m going to give it up because you stabbed me?”

Standing without saying a word Red Arrow pulled the arrow backward up through the man’s hand till the broadhead began to pull his hand upward. Stopping he lowered his hood and let his hair fall. His mask protected his face but the man saw what he wanted to see and he did not see Red Arrow, the next words spoken in Russian made the ruse stick. “Gde deti

Eyes widening the man stayed quiet for a moment and Red Arrow slammed the arrow back down using the palm of his metal left arm. “Gdi deti!

“Okay...okay.” Blue Shoes shifted for a moment squirming to try and get away from the man. “I don’t know much but I know they’re taking the kids into a place called the Glades in Star City. Some freak show is running the ring.”

“I want a name.” Red Arrow didn’t need to look up to know his counterpart was growing impatient but he did notice the man in the suit had become visible as a reminder of that very fact. Blue Shoes acted as if he knew nothing and Red Arrow had seen enough. Picking the man up with his left arm the man drug him, chair and all, toward the window. “Dayte mne imya!

Throwing the chair out the window with his other arm Red Arrow watched as the arrow was forcefully ripped from Blue Shoe’s hand hitting the ground leaving the man hanging out the window. “Desmond Carroll! His name is Desmond Carroll. He’s the one in charge of taking the kids for whoever is leading it. They’re using van's to round them up. I got a license plate! 933-RYT. That’s all I know I swear!”

Throwing the man across the room as if he were tossing out a piece of paper he landed in a heap as Red Arrow pulled out his grappling gun and the man begged for his life. Waiting for a single moment longer he turned and fired the gun out the window joining Batman on a roof two blocks away his hood back in place. How the man had beat him to the roof again he did not know but the Bat stood stoically waiting for his partner.

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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

"All we have is a name and a license plate."

"We weren't going to be spoon fed directions. Blue Shoes has enough sense not to turn himself into a GPS of sorts." Batman replied to the man who had been shaking his head in annoyance.

He turned and looked out over the city for a moment, as if thinking about something. "I'll see what I can find on the name and license plate when it comes to Gotham. It follows the series of markers set aside for livery and transportation vehicles, so it very well could be a van." He said. "You should do the same in Star City." Batman added, his eyes shifting slightly towards Red Arrow.

"What are you going to do if you find him here in Gotham?" Red Arrow asked, as Batman turned to walk away. "You're going to call me right?" He asked, voicing the unspoken assumption he had made.

"Probably." Batman said, with a small shrug. "Maybe not."

"I'd call you if he turns up in Star City. The least you can do is extend the same courtesy." Red Arrow said and Batman nodded, though technically he hadn’t given any verbal indication that he was going to do as Red Arrow was asking him. "Do you have a number or something that I can reach you at?" He asked. "If we're going to be reconvening soon, I'd rather not have to come back to Gotham and..." Red Arrow said and then smiled, "...and do your job for you." He said, earning an unseen eyebrow raise from the Dark Knight.

He watched as Batman reached into the mythical utility belt and pulled out a small black card.

It was seemingly blank and seemingly made out of a thick cardstock. Batman held out his free hand and Red Arrow realized that Batman was waiting for him to do the same. When he reached out his hand, Batman grabbed his wrist and pulled, sliding Red Arrow's glove off. Taking the man's thumb, Batman pressed it on one of the corners of the card.

When the digit was taken off of the card, an imprint of Brendan's thumbprint remained, the lines a stark blue against the black background. A series of numbers appeared and then slowly faded. Batman tossed him his glove and then the card. "It'll respond only to your touch." He said, before firing his grappling hook.

"You could share your supplier on these things too." Brendan said, as Batman departed into the night. "These are totally cool." He said to himself. “Gotta get me one of these.”

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The license plate would make tracking the van down a bit easier, but it wouldn't narrow down where the van was at that moment. That was a problem. Finding a needle in a haystack was something that he excelled at. Finding one when the haystack itself was moving, it was a bit more difficult. Luckily, it wasn't impossible. There were very few complete databases in the world, meaning databases that were so powerful, and so up to date that they could truly be relied on. Everyone had holes in intelligence or in analysis.

One of the few complete databases belonged to S.H.I.E.L.D. If anything, Nick Fury was both paranoid and thorough, the second trait something that he required of any and all that called themselves S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. As a result, the S.H.I.E.L.D. database was one of the most valued databases in the world. Due to the paranoia aspect, it was also the most secure database in the world. No one had ever been able to crack it, not even Eva Rodriguez.

Many had tried, but no one had been able to get a true foothold into the servers for long enough to actually pull anything of substance, or to truly understand the masterwork that was the defense system. Except that was what Nick Fury believed. That was what helped him to sleep at night, the thought that all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s intelligence was secure.

The truth was that it wasn't. In reality, there was one person who had unauthorized access to the database, this database that contained the files of every government and every person of importance on the planet. It was the man who had convinced Nick Fury to trust him, and the man whose conglomerate of corporations was working on the design and construction of the first Helicarriers since all of them had been destroyed during the Chrell Invasion.

That man was John Isaiah Muir, the owner of the Muir/Nevins Trust. He currently sat, plainsclothed, in one of the many rooms of Wayne Manor.

It had been a few days since he and Red Arrow had spoken with Blue Shoes Nathan. A fire raged in the fireplace, and the light strains of Chopin filled the room. He was fiddling with his tablet, which lit up as his search of S.H.I.E.L.D. brought him results. S.H.I.E.L.D. did things like patch into cell phones and traffic cameras and a variety of other means of gathering intelligence. It wouldn't take their pattern recognition software too long to spot the van, if the opportunity existed. The information that had been given to him revealed that the van had been tracked all the way across the United States and was in Star City at that moment.

While it didn’t necessarily mean that Desmond Carroll was there, it gave Batman the best lead that he had had regarding this whole matter in a long time. It also meant that he was going to be taking a trip to Star City.

Maybe he’d finally be able to get to the bottom of all of this and return to the larger problem at hand.

The bank robber who hadn’t actually stolen anything.

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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Star City

Red Arrow stood watching a man frustratedly flip through television channels throwing the remote before standing and running a hand over his head. His muscular back flexed in agitation before moving to the kitchen and looking at the bow sitting on the bar. He ignored it for some time and then threw it across the room. Pouring himself a glass of whiskey the man took a drink from the bottle and then finished the glass. Pouring another Connor stumbled his way to the couch and then turned to the Star City Comets game. Zooming in on the television for a moment Red Arrow checked the score and then turned walking to the opposite edge of the roof. Gravel crunched under his boots as sirens filled the air but he ignored them knowing he had a bigger cause to take on.

Taking two steps the man leapt off the building using his bow as a handle sliding across the night sky. He moved swiftly through the darkness continuing to ignore the police sirens and updates from the artificial intelligence speaking into his ear and avoided any detection at all. As the police cars raced passed him he saw Artemis streak passed on a motorcycle fighting the urge to help. He needed anonymity for at least one more evening though given the nature of the call it took an added extra bit of resistance to move toward the Glades instead of following his partner toward the crime she was pursuing.

Following the lead given to him by ALICE the man stopped deep within The Glades warehouse district and watched as various heavily loaded vehicles passed by. Patient as he might be the act of standing still for hours weighed on the man but he stood silently as a sentinel watching and waiting. Flexing his human arm the new suit he wore stretched and expanded with the movement of muscle and limb its weave of various materials still molding itself to his body. Staying in the shadows the vigilante watched as white vans started to return while the sun began to set each heading to their various home warehouses while the guard absently checked the identification of each driver with the interest of someone who had no real investment in their work. As each one came in ALICE began to give him updates on various children disappearing throughout the city and one in particular drove past him causing a red light to flash momentarily in his mask. License plate 933-RYT...

Pulling out a black business card and removing the glove to his right hand he watched numbers appear for a moment on it after recognizing his thumb print. “ALICE, patch me through to the number I’m looking at right now. Do not, I repeat do not save the number in the database.”

After a few moments the other end of the line clicked and the voice Red Arrow recognized came back unaltered and gravely. “Found the van. Meet me at the top of Queen Consolidated. It’s the large building that was built on ego more than strong foundation. You’ll notice it.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It had been two days since the call had been made and Red Arrow continued his surveillance while waiting for Batman to arrive. He had left his silent post only minutes before heading to the large business tower in City Center when the call came from ALICE that Huntress had returned. That was nothing to distract the man but the notification that she had returned being chased by armed A.R.G.U.S. operatives did. Adjusting his direction he listened to the chatter between Artemis, ALICE and Huntress while a fourth female voice was sporadically thrown in through loud yelling. After another moment he heard the call that they had landed on the ground with Artemis having retrieved them but gun fire was filling the air around the van she was driving. Growling for a moment the man adjusted his direction again and launched into a full sprint across several rooftops. Leaping out into the open air Red Arrow fired his grappling gun and headed to the last known location he heard when he saw a black figure out of the corner of his eye. “About time you showed up.”

Batman landed on the roof next to the red hooded vigilante looking as out of place in Star City as most men did in Victoria Secret. “I figured you could wait, I hear the female crime fighters in this town needed a better standard of male idol worship so I decided to offer them my services.”

“They prefer men with less creepy tendencies.” Red Arrow moved across another roof and stopped waiting as the sounds of gunfire sounded from only a block away.

“Because grunge hair and a metal arm isn’t creepy?” Shrugging Red Arrow watched as the van rounded a corner and prepared to jump off of the roof.

Turning around for a moment Red Arrow pulled his bow and looked at his ally. “I never said it wasn’t, I just said less creepy tendencies.”

Jumping off the roof the vigilante landed from five stories above the van denting the roof and balancing himself against the swaying of the vehicle. Loosing an arrow the man felt the van shift under him for a moment and then begin to roll as it entered its next turn. Jumping into the air he watched as the vehicle fell over onto its side and slid. Landing on the vans exposed side the man fired three more arrows before jumping over Huntress and the unknown woman engaging the men carrying the assault rifles. He heard Batman land before he disabled the A.R.G.U.S. operatives nearest himself and looked around at the aftermath. Approaching Huntress the man paused briefly while Artemis pulled the pelican cases out of the van and pushed them into a broken into minivan. Looking down at Huntress the man asked her a simple question. “Are you here or still gone?”

“I’m here, but I don’t know for how long.” Nodding Red Arrow glanced toward the young woman standing awkwardly staring at Batman.

“Stick around for a few days if you can.” Following after Batman he heard Huntress fall into step with him.

“The kids? You’re actually working with him?” Huntress seemed intrigued by the fact Red Arrow had gotten Batman to leave Gotham City.

“Eh, more like learning from him and observing. Who’s the girl?” Red Arrow looked at her as they passed and heard Batman make a quip that was hard not to smile at.

“She’s the ‘don’t know for how long’. A.R.G.U.S. is chasing us, specifically for information she has. From what we’ve gathered a bounty is on both our heads.” Stepping into the side door of the minivan Huntress waited for Red Arrow to join her but he grabbed the sliding door of the van.

“I’m not done with my work yet and he’s waiting. Stay underground, off the grid. No crime fighting, no vigilante stuff. You back up Artemis from behind the computer desk. That’s it.” Turning Red Arrow heard Huntress say something under her breath and stopped.

“I mean it, off the grid and I need to know who ‘don’t know for how long’ is. I can’t have her around if she’s just a kid.” Pulling his grappling gun Red Arrow took three steps and heard the van door start to shut. Firing the gun into the air the man turned and looked at the young woman in the front passenger seat of the van.

“Nice suit.” Pulled into the air Red Arrow landed with a quietness that belied his size and saw Batman waiting. Leading the way the younger vigilante stopped after a few minutes looking down at the warehouse that the van had pulled into.

“Down there, second warehouse in. I’ve been watching it for two days. Nearly every delivery is right before dusk. Like clockwork except for a few stragglers from further out in the city. I have a tracking program running through the CCTV system and every van fitting the description of what they are using is traced and tagged. Each van switches neighborhoods daily but the cargo is the same, children.” Crouching Red Arrow held out a card with two frequencies written on it. Nothing nearly as high tech as what Batman had handed him but it contained vital information.

“The first is the frequency of the radios the men driving the vans are using. They don’t speak often but when they do the information tends to be limited to coming and going and how many they have in tow.” Standing back up the man pulled his bow. “The second is the frequency I operate off of. Highly encrypted and used by only three individuals. One being my artificial intelligence system, ALICE. She’s been tracking the vans throughout the city and sorting everything. Not that we’ll need that frequency but she provides valuable information we don’t have in a moments notice. You may not find her useful but I find her helpful at times."

Deferring to the more experienced man Red Arrow turned back to watching the warehouse as a slight rain started to settle in. “I’m going to assume we don’t do it my way and kick in the front door so you’re point on this one.”

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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

Batman looked down at the warehouse. “Do the children ever leave?” He asked as he plugged in the first frequency on the card he had been given, and Red Arrow shook his head. “How many do you think are in each ‘delivery’?” He asked and Red Arrow paused.

“ALICE’s has been trying to scan the vans as they move through the city, heat signature, things like that.” Red Arrow said. “The best estimates we have are between five and eight people in the van. If you take out two for a driver and guard, that leaves three to five children?” He asked.

Batman nodded. “This warehouse isn’t that large. With the number of trips that have been taking place, that means that there’s a lot of people in the this first floor, unless…” He said.

“ALICE, do we have any information on the schematics of the building?” Red Arrow asked, as Batman reached back onto the utility belt, plugging in the frequency that Red Arrow had given him.

“It would appear that the schematics that I have access to are incomplete. The originals that were filed say that it has two floors in total. The second set of blueprints, filed before the Chrell Invasion, state that it was renovated and expanded to three stories. However, there was a third set filed, for reconstruction efforts after the Chrell Invasion, but they are incomplete. The company that was building it went out of business due to a recession in the Star City local economy.” ALICE said.

Batman thought about it for a moment. “What about buildings in the area?” He asked. “Are there any subterranean levels on some of the warehouses in the area?”

There were a few pauses, as ALICE did the quick calculations.

“Yes. Roughly forty percent of the warehouses in this district of Star City have subterranean levels.”

“That means the odds leans that way.” Red Arrow said. “So, my way…or your way?” He asked.

Batman cracked a smirk. “When in Star City…” He said, and lifting his hand up from the utility belt, this time holding a Batarang. He threw it and a few seconds after he threw it, it oriented on the trajectory and mini rockets fired, propelling it towards the front door of the warehouse.

Impacting against the door, it exploded, bathing the two of their faces in orange light.

He gestured. “Go forth, and try to…what was it? ‘Learn and observe’.”

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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Red Arrow stood for a moment after Batman spoke and lept off the building. Batman floated down with the aid of his cape while the bow wielding vigilante landed from the two story drop with a jolt and jogged toward the entrance. He had to smirk as the road under his feet crunched slightly as broken asphalt mixed with random puddles of water to create a less than ideal entrance option. The men both had the same goal in mind but their ways off the building defined the very nature in which they handled the job at hand, fluidity and brute force.

Pulling his bow the man switched to his moonlight view and looked around the room. Shooting an arrow into the ceiling ALICE started talking as the two men entered further into the warehouse. Batman disappeared up into the rafters while Red Arrow moved into the main section of the warehouse finding cover where he could. ”Arrow, you have seven guards...correction six. Thank you Batman. Three over your left shoulder, two to your right and one straight ahead. I recommend--”

“Got it.” Red Arrow stood and fired an arrow the darkness sucking up the arrow like a void sucking up light. After a moment an explosion rocked the area and Red Arrow moved with inhuman quickness toward the one straight ahead.

”Batman, children located in the rear. The numbers do not match the amount we have reported being taken, not all the children are in the warehouse.”

“Noted. Start looking for them.” Batman moved to the rear of the warehouse when a loud crash rang out and a man flew under the caped vigilante sliding across the floor as Red Arrow moved forward, bow drawn and arrow knocked. Nodding slightly the man under the mask had to admit to himself that his protege was a quick learner.

Red Arrow moved to the right and took out the two remaining men with an arrow and a well timed tepe kick. Batman dropped between three men guarding the children and stopped them after only a few moments. Standing over the downed men Batman looked around as Red Arrow emerged from the shadows crouching to reassure the children that were still around. Taking another moment he saw Batman looking around the room. “ALICE, tell me you have something.”

”Sir, no vans left this facility carrying any children except for the one used as bait. No vans stopped to drop children off at any other location. They have to be located inside that facility sir.”

Looking around Red Arrow heard a laugh that sounded both disturbingly amused and exuberant as if something exciting had just happened. “What the hell was that…”

Batman tilted his head slightly and went to move when a child spoke. “Please, don’t let her come for us again. Every time she comes she takes one away.”

Red Arrow turned to the child while Batman moved in a direction with a purpose. “Who? Who comes?”

The young boy couldn’t talk out of fear but a young girl did. “Her name is Alice, she comes after the laughter most nights.”

Pivoting to look at the girl Red Arrow’s boot ground the floor and he set a knee on the concrete. “Who is she?”

“She is his most dearest of friends...” The voice that answered the question sounded slightly off and the person who said it surprised the man in the red hood even more. Dressed in a demented, burlesque version of a blue ball gown the blonde haired woman curtsied while holding a handgun in either hand. “Alice of Oxford at your service sir...here to welcome you to Wonderland...”

Holding out a hand the woman smiled and spun her hand as if it was the grandest gesture every made. Her smile was a familiar smile to the man under the hood and he had to focus through the messy makeup, steampunk inspired dress and disheveled ponytail to try and recognize her. Speaking Red Arrow stepped in front of the children. “ALICE, who is she.”

“Who is she?” The woman tilted her head and frowned perplexed for a moment and then her confusion turned into irritation. “I already said who I was sir.”

Curtseying again the woman introduced herself a second time as politely as she had the first time. “Alice of Oxford at your service, now if you may please allow me to take my guest to her tea party.”

Drawing his bow and pulling an arrow the vigilante saw Batman approaching and then five masked men appeared to aid Alice in her retrieval. “Ah, ah…we musn’t be late for our very important date.”

Holding up both guns the woman’s smile disappeared and five more men appeared as if out of nowhere. Their rabbit masks made the situation surreal and Red Arrow found himself feeling a bit out of place. ”Sir, that is Rachel Carter…former girlfriend of one Brendan Knight.”

Nodding his acknowledgement every so slightly Red Arrow moved to keep the children safe until a set of smoke grenades went off and the woman’s laughter filled the air. Running through the smoke Red Arrow saw her skipping along, child in tow, as Batman pursued her stopping as she reached a hole in the ground, gun to the child’s head. Smiling she tilted her head ever so slightly and Batman went to throw a batarang and the woman tisked at him and then made a pouting face as if she were legitimately disappointed in the cowled man. “Where are your manners, no weapons are allowed at tea parties.”

Bow drawn and arrow ready Red Arrow flanked Batman as the ten oddly masked men moved to shield Rachel from the two vigilantes. “Where are you going to have a tea party? This is a warehouse Rachel, stop this madness.”

Holding a hand Batman stopped Red Arrow from talking. “Alice...from Oxford England…”

“Alice, where are you taking that child.” Red Arrow corrected himself. “Is it that important to have a tea party with that child?”

“Yes...yes...I truly am sorry sirs but I must be going to this tea party, we really are incredibly late. Two whole days in fact.” The woman’s voice changed slightly as she spoke her inflection and banter operating at a different speed, near nervous but happy and energetic at the same time.

Red Arrow took another step and the woman who called her herself Alice followed one of the rabbit masked men down through the hole in the floor. After dispatching the remaining masked men around the hole in the floor the two men looked at it for a moment before Red Arrow quoted something he never quite thought he would use while hunting criminals. “In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again…”

Batman looked at the hole for only a moment more as they both connected the dots. “Alice in Wonderland.”

Turning and looking around the warehouse Red Arrow saw no signs of any other living beings within the building. “We have our Alice...now where the hell is our Mad Hatter?”

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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Alice led her lovely little sister down the hall to an open room. Skipping along she giggled as the puddles her feet found splashed up tickling her ankles. Feeling her sister tug she stopped and turned around frowning not understand her sister’s lack of excitement. “This is going to be fun! It is a Tea Party! Mr. Hatter is there and so is Viktor and his cat Chessie. I promise, you are going to enjoy it.”

Moving to skip again Alice hummed a tune and yet again her sister stopped. Pouting in frustration she spun and pulled one of her two handguns from her left thigh pointing it at the girls head. “I told you this was going to be fun! Now, it is time to have fun. Guns are funs but not the kind we want right now.”

Resuming their journey the two stopped as they reached the room and the cages that hung above it lined with children. Alice looked up and shook her head disappointedly as the girl holding her hand started to cry. “I know, I know...all these children didn’t want to come to tea. You do though, I know you do.”

Carousel music began to play as the cages moved up and down and Alice began to dance with a man the little girl found frighteningly disturbing. Dressed in a dark green suit the man was gauntly skinny but remarkably strong. Around his neck a cat was draped its face looking around, green eyes blinking here or there and a distorted, permanent smile on its face showing its teeth. Looking at the cat the girl went to pet it and recognized something strange, it was losing fur as she petted it. Taking a step back the cat turned and looked at her and then spoke. "Hello there child...what brings you to Wonderland?"

Screaming the child stepped back and the cat stood on the man’s shoulders arching its back and beginning to purr. "Now now child...that is entirely unnecessary"

“How...how are you talking? You are dead…” Turning to run the child found herself bumping into Alice’s legs and hiding behind them. “You aren’t real...cat’s can’t talk.”

Laughing the cat’s smile seemed to grow bigger. “But I am real, otherwise you wouldn’t see me. Even your imagination believes me to be alive.”

“No...I don’t want to have an imagination if a dead cat can talk.” Tucking her head further behind Alice the child sobbed out of fear.

“If you don’t want to have an imagination then that is a sad reality child…” Walking to the other side of the man’s shoulder the cat leapt from cage to cage the steam from the various vents making his body take on the illusion of disappearing. “...because imagination is the only weapon against the reality that this is all very real child.”

“No, no...this isn’t real…” Turning to run the young girl ran passed cage after cage the cat popping up on a cage here or there until finally she reached a corner with a man in a rocking chair. On his lap sat a young boy but he looked oddly disfigured. Bottom lip quivering the young girl went to turn and Alice appeared next to her.

“Ah!’ Alice said excitedly clapping fast to physically match her voice’s octave change. “You’ve found Viktor and Samuel! They have a special treat for us after tea. They have a story to tell.”

Stumbling backward the young girl watched as the boys head turned like he was a doll and his lower jaw moved as Viktor spoke without moving his mouth at all. “Welcome to tea young lady. I hope you brought friends, we love friends.”

Her bottom lip quivering the young girl turned to run again and Alice stopped her. “Don’t be rude, Be nice, tell Mr. Viktor hello.”

Turning around the young girl said hi shyly and Alice shook her head sighing exasperatedly. “No, no, say hello properly.”

This is unacceptable. she heard the Hatter say in her head. You must teach her manners Alice or we will have to postpone tea yet again.

We musn’t delay tea again! We can’t, we can’t! We just can’t!” Alice’s mind raced quickly knowing how disappointed the Hatter would be. Fighting the urge to pull her gun Alice smiled and thought of what to say. Quickly, quickly what to say, what to say…oh yes! Yes! YES!

Crouching in front of the child Alice took her face in her hands. “What is your name little one?”

“Su…Suzi…” The child said hesitating out of fear.

Running a hand through the childs black hair Alice smiled at her encouragingly. “What a pretty name. How old are you?”

“Eight.” Suzi replied confidently. Alice nodded and stood offering the child her hand.

Manners, manners she must have manners. Alice reminded herself.

“Watch me say hello to Mr. Viktor then you do the same okay?” Alice let go of Suzi’s hand for a moment and curtsied. “It is nice to see you Mr. Viktor.”

Turning to Suzi the properly mannered woman tilted her head and moved her hand invitingly signaling it was the child’s turn. Curtsying Suzi stood back up and spoke. “Hello Mr. Viktor.”

No! NO! NO! She must have manners! Shaking her head Alice felt her mind racing with ways to correct the child but stayed calm on the outside. “Why didn’t you tell him it was nice to meet him Suzi?”

“Be…because it isn’t nice to lie.” Suzi started to cry and went to pull away when Alice began to shake her head and audibly growled.

Manners! She MUST HAVE MANNERS! UNACCEPTABLE! Breathing Alice slapped the child and then stopped, frowned and hugged Suzi. “I’m so sorry little one, I cannot believe I just did that. You just don’t know proper manners yet. Shall we try again?”

Shaking her head the child heard a voice above her telling her to just listen to Alice and do what she said. Freezing in place the girl looked up at Alice and shook her head rapidly in short bursts. “Please don’t make me try again…”

Chessie appeared on Alice’s shoulder purring as he rubbed himself against the woman’s head causing her to giggle. "No need to be rude child…we’re all here for you.”

“You…you’re all mean!” Suzi screamed. “You are all scary and mean and –“

Sauntering through the steam a laugh started low and raised in tone as the skinny man appeared his suit immaculate as he held one lapel in his hand. “—and mad.”

He said. “We’re all mad here little one. That’s the best thing about Wonderland…being mad is nothing more than part of the adventure.”

Steam burst into the room again and Suzi jumped as the man in the suit had disappeared while Chessie appeared on her shoulder. Do you like adventure child?”

“I…I don’t know…” Moving her head away from the cat Suzi tried to remove it but found it impossible as the cat seemed to be made of nothing substantial and continued to avoid her attempts.

Maybe it’s time you found out…” Steam shot out again and Suzi found herself standing with just Alice again as suddenly Mr. Viktor was gone. Looking around Suzi saw Alice looking into the steam and tried to sneak away. Turning rapidly Suzi jumped as the steam shot again and she screamed relaxing as the steam subsided.

Popping through the steam the skinny man smiled. “Boo!”

His high pitched laughter filled the room as he disappeared again and Suzi jumped screaming as any terrified child would. Alice found her and shook her head. This child is not learning manners…she must know that she has to be polite!

“Suzi you must learn that it is not polite to scream. You cannot—“ Chessie appeared through the smoke causing Alice to laugh and Suzi to scream. "Child…we are all here to help you have fun.”

“No, no…I don’t want this kind of fun. Please take me home.” Suzi’s voice went up and octave.

Alice stopped and frowned nearly on the verge of tears. She doesn’t understand…she must understand…Wonderland is an adventure! Show her…yes…yes…I will show her!...she will understand that fun is fun, manners are manners and that Wonderland is wonderful!

Screaming again even louder Suzi turned to run and took four steps before Alice fired one of her pistols. Freezing where she stood Suzi turned and saw Alice frowning and crying before speaking softly “You must learn manners…”

Speaking to no one in particular Alice crouched in front of Suzi. “Bring me the box.”

A loud noise was heard and the cages began to move as an oversized jack in the box was wheeled out. Opening the front Alice peered inside and showed Suzi what looked to be a teenage girl huddled up inside. “She doesn’t want to learn manners Suzi, you must learn manners. I know you do not wish to be stuck in the box. The Hatter hates the box, he says it ruins the adventure of Wonderland.”

“I don’t want to go in the box—“

“—please let me out…I’ll stop…” the girl in the box said. Pulling her gun Alice sneered and fired another shot into the back of the box causing the teenage girl to jump.

“—You will come out of the box when you have MANNERS!” Alice’s laugh filled the air with a sound of angry insanity and Hatter appeared next to her his face no longer one of amusement.

“I do not tolerate adventureless adventures. One must always be ready for adventure Suzi…do not be like Emily. She hates adventures…” Turning around the Hatter offered his hand to Suzi.

“Shall we begin an adventure young one?” Tilting his hat the Hatter turned his head ever so slightly and Suzi took his offered hand staying closer to Alice than the man she thought to be absolutely bonkers.

“What adventure?” Suzi asked timidly now coming to realize that she had no choice.

“Our first adventure will be tea.” Alice replied. “After that…only the Hatter knows.”

“Tea down here seems to be impossible to enjoy.” Suzi said.

Continuing to walk the Hatter smiled down at his charge. “Believing the impossible is quite possible in Wonderland Suzi. All you have to do is practice.”

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Mir
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

“We don’t have a choice.” Batman said, indicating the hole that Alice had gone down. “We have to follow the rabbit hole and see where it goes.” He said. When he moved towards the hole and realized that Red Arrow was not following him, he turned back. “What?” He asked.

“I…I know her.” Red Arrow replied. “I mean, I know who she is.”

“What’s your point?” Batman asked.

“I don’t know how she became like this.”

Batman grimaced. “Worry about that on your own time.”

“What, am I on your time right now?” Red Arrow asked, angrily. “She’s a friend and she’s gone-“

“She’s gone down a hole, with a scared little girl in tow.” Batman said, finishing the thought in quite a different manner, as he stepped towards Red Arrow. “You’re not on my time. We’re on the little girl’s time. Don’t forget that.” He said, turning back around. “We have more problems at hand than the poor choices of some friend of yours. Worry about that on your time.” He said and entered the hole.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

"We have deadlines." A new voice said, and the Hatter grimaced as he turned to look at a small man, a middling man, who had surprisingly rodent like features. His attention first surrendered to a watch that he wore; he tore his gaze away to regard the Hatter and shook his head. "We have deadlines." He repeated. "Deadlines we're going to miss." He added. "You made promises, you remember, Desmond."

"I know I made promises. But there's always time for tea." The Hatter replied, with a little bit of a tune to his voice as his fingers steepled. They moved in rhythm to a silent drummer, an unheard jamboree. But no one could hear the Hatter's beat, only he could have the glee. "None of this works unless we take our time for tea."

Alice placed her hands over Suzi's ears, knowing what was coming now. But her fingers splayed, Suzi, with dismay, could still hear the pending row. "Don't worry, nothing's going to interrupt tea." Alice said and the cat, suddenly appearing again nodded, as if sagely agreeing with Alice.

"Of course." Hatter replied, sparing a glance towards Alice before looking back at the diminutive man with the mouse like features. "Nothing can interrupt tea."

"Tea! Tea! Tea!" The man replied, looking down at the watch again. "That is all I hear about. To hell with your tea." He said, rising up on his tip toes and pointing a finger into the Hatter's face. "To hell I say with it. There are people who are-"

He didn't get a chance to finish the thought. Suzi let out a short, high scream, as the Hatter grabbed the small man, by the throat, and lifted him, pushing him against the wall. One of Alice's hands came over Suzi's mouth, to stifle any future outburst. Chessie's eyes widened and he disappeared, diving into the ground.

"What did you say, it was more than a murmur, words that fill me with dread." The Hatter asked, his voice a deadly whisper. "Did you just utter without a stutter, what I think you said?" He asked.

"You made promises." The man squeaked out, trying to get around the vise like grip applied to his windpipe. "Deliveries must be made. We're wasting time. Time never comes back. Put me down, and let's talk about this in a reasonable manner."

“Reason long departed this place, for reason confounds the truth." Hatter said, reaching behind and cupping the back of the man's head. He brought him down, and turned, looking towards Suzi. "I feel that the child, with her beautiful mind, shall decide what we will do." He added. "Oh, Suzi, my little Suzi. You're learning your manners, I declare, you're getting the hang of this, yes." He said and dragged the man on the floor until he reached Suzi, whose eyes were wide, as she took in everything. He crouched to her height and held up the man, face first to Suzi. "What should we do, with this tactless fool, why he's created quite a mess."

Suzi leaned back, her eyes reaching Alice's who gave her a reassuring look before taking her hand off of Suzi's mouth.

"If...if he doesn't want to have tea...he shouldn't...he shouldn't...have to stay for tea?" She said.

"An option, my dear that it is, most definitely, certainly. But where would he go, where indeed, if he doesn't stay for tea?"

"Out." Suzi said, holding on to that word like if was a buoyant float in a raging storm. "He should go out."

The Hatter paused, and then looked up at Alice. "I was correct, her manners improving, with startling alacrity. Maybe hope can be salvaged, a party managed, and we can have our tea." He said, with a smile. The smile turned venomous, it turned feral, as he looked down at the man in his grasp. "Out! If the tea is sour, throw it out." He said, as music began to seemingly play. He took the hands of the smaller man and started to waltz with him, as Alice clapped, a smile on her face. Maybe there was music, maybe there wasn't. It could have all been a figment of Suzi's imagination. Her mind playing tricks on her.

Oh how she hoped it was her imagination.

Maybe it was the magic of Wonderland.

The two men continued to dance, one a willing partner and one whose struggles availed him no sanctuary. Chessie burst through the floor, scampering in between the moving feet of the dervishly dancing duo. "If the man be weak, call him a louse." Hatter sang, at the top of his lungs. He pulled the man in, pressing one of his hands into the man's body repeatedly, in a motion that seemed strange to Suzi, until she realized that he was stabbing the man in the gut over and over again.

From around the dingy cavernous room, pipes began to open up from the floor, steam rising from them.

"If he can't survive the easiest of trials, then my friend, we shall cast him out!" Hatter said, turning and dipping the man. His head hung, and Suzi's eyes met his, upside down though they might have been. There was pain in the eyes, there was fear in the eyes, but slowly, it seemed like all of that was simply leaving his eyes. Hatter let the man go, but with fast reflexes, he reached out and grabbed the man's head and neck, snapping it in one fluid motion, a move that would haunt Suzi's waking and slumbering moments until the day she died.

The music swelled in tone and pitch.

Multicolored powders started to shoot upwards from the pipes.

"Odiferous oranges and roaring reds." Hatter sang as the now dead body dropped to the floor with a thud. "Garish greens and blushing blues." The powders started to swirl as gases and steam shot through the pipes next, moving the colors into a haze, a cloud of color that stuck to everything. "Viscous violets and dyspeptic daffodils." He said, suddenly emerging from the haze, the amalgam of colors sticking to his face, like Holi powder. "Look at these marvelous hues."

Suzi screamed and the Hatter grabbed her, shaking her.

"Wander through the yawning door, like Alice did, once before. Gamble with your life my dear, for here there's simply nothing to fear. Drink." He said, producing a cup and a saucer. The liquid in the cup was impossible, it was extraordinary, it was evil. It was astonishing. The colors that had been floating in the air had convalesced into liquid form, swirling in the cup. Each color maintained its independence, creating a liquid with no one identifiable color. As if ink of different pigments had been dropped into water, but had managed to maintain their cohesive form. "Drink." He urged again. "It's time for tea."

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Vox
Adenn Mirshko
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Looking at the hole Red Arrow dropped down after Batman landing on the floor quietly as the caped figure beneath him moved rapidly out of the way. Keeping his bow away the hooded man walked through the basement with a look of disgusted wonder. Batman stayed quiet but his partner could tell the sight of children hanging in cages, rooms of odd coloring, chains on the walls and costumed men. Enforcers for the Mad Hatter tried to stop the pair but were no match for either invader. As the two approached the room with grating below and more cages hanging from above steam shot here and there around the room and both of their visors gave them a warning of movement. Slowing his gait Red Arrow moved away from Batman the quick movements of a cat could be seen. Moving opposite Batman across the room Red Arrow dropped to a knee and pulled his bow.

Listening past the steam and random noises Red Arrow heard the cat move and pulled an arrow releasing it without a second thought. No noises followed and the man walked in the direction of his shot only to see a man holding the arrow with a disappointed look on his face. Pulling another arrow the child on the man’s other hand started to talk as laughter filled the room echoing from another room near them. Pulling another arrow Red Arrow held his attention unsure of where Batman was. “Silly man…you don’t belong here, arrows and masks. Who do you think you are? Red is the color of the Queen…”

Giggling the little boy’s head turned unnaturally and the man holding the child tossed the arrow aside disinterested. “Queen?”

Arrow’s voice dropped an octave under modulation and the laughter became more dominant as a female’s giggling in excitement joined the man’s laughter. “Who’s the queen?”

“Why…the Queen of Hearts silly man. Don’t you know? She will come for us all. The Hatter knows this, he is preparing for the Queen!” Speaking nonsensically the child droned on and on until Batman appeared and scared the puppet. “You demon of a man! How dare you scare me! Don’t you know who I am!”

Punching the ventriloquist Batman looked down at the crumbling man as the puppet continued to talk going into an angry rant about respecting a persons rights and being violent towards children. Kicking the puppeteer in the head Batman seemed to shake his head in disbelief for a moment as Red Arrow approached a box with a teenage girl chained up in it. Slowly approaching the clearly frightened girl the man dropped into a crouch while Batman stood sentinel over the box’s entrance. Moving his hands to begin to loosen the shackles Red Arrow looked down at the girl. “We’re not here to hurt you, just to take care of who did this to you.”

Staying silent the girl shook her head before finally speaking. “Please…if you let me go they’ll come hurt me again. I can’t handle it. They know when you do something you aren’t supposed to. Leave me chained up here please, I’m safer this way.”

Undoing the final cuff Red Arrow heard footsteps approaching and Batman seemed to fill the whole entrance. Turning his head ever so slightly the vigilante spoke. “Two men, well built, armed with something from the sounds of it.”

“Armed with whatever they feel like using on me now that you’ve let me go.” The teenager tucked herself into as small a ball as she could and the booming sound of baritone mockery filled the room.

“We warned you, we did. Not to disobey the hatter, were you. You must be punished, feel pain.” The voice chained in tone but repeated again and then in a moment the two figures stood before Batman a look of brutal, sinister amusement covering their faces. Standing just over chest height to Batman the two men had alarmingly red hair that was disheveled and stuffed beneath two ball caps. The one on the left held a wooden baseball bat while the one on the right wore two sets of brass knuckles. Smacking the two sets of brass together by punching his own fists and man swung violently at Batman who ducked and kicked out sideways to the man holding the bat. An arrow flashed between the horns in Batman’s cowl sending a howl up into the air as the twin wearing brass knuckles took the arrow to his left shoulder. Ripping the arrow out the man growled and charged at Red Arrow out of anger.

“Unacceptable!—“ Laughter filled the air again as a third man appeared this one wearing a hat and a forest green suit. “You are interrupting my tea…”

Pulling a gun the man aimed toward Red Arrow who moved quickly and, using an arrow, deflected the gun just in time before the shot was fired. Batman threw two batarangs with lethal precision and the man howled in pain before regaining his composure. Blocking the way the two twins kept the top hatted man safe as all three backed toward the doorway of the room. Pulling two arrows Red Arrow adjusted his aim and both arrows tore through the air cracking as they reached the men. Splitting the arrows wrapped each man in an electrified cable shocked them sending them into convulsions. Stepping over both men Red Arrow moved forward as the tunnel shook violently and ALICE interrupted their pursuit. “Sirs, I suggest you hurry. It would appear Star City is experiencing an earthquake with the epicenter focused directly beneath downtown though no one at the National Geological Society can explain how. No movements within the earth’s crust have been detected.”

Looking at each other the men said nothing and Red Arrow let Batman take the lead. “A man made earth quake, just what we need. ALICE, send Artemis and Huntress to investigate the source of the earthquake. Wake up Green Arrow as well, it is time he earned his keep.”

“Yes sir, be careful sir. The tremors seem to be getting worse with no sign of slowing down.”

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Mir
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

“This needs to end. Now.” Batman said, as he started moving forward.

Steam continued to shoot up from the ground at random intervals, mixing colors and gases in the air. The two men continued their methodical clearing of the room, as the Hatter slowly kept backing away to one wall. He had picked up the pistol that he had dropped earlier, the .357 revolver. There was a door behind him, and he kept reaching his eyes fixated on Red Arrow and Batman, until his fingers grasped the door knob. A smile flitted over his features as he continued to stare at the two men coming towards him.

“I fear I must bid you farewell, these times are trying and I must be flying.” He said. There were red rings around his pupils, and they were extremely dilated from the swirling myriad of colored gases that he was ingesting. His green suit was already stained by the colors, taking on a variety of hues.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Batman asked. “We haven’t even had our tea.”

The man laughed, first a high pitched laugh that slowly dropped into a sickening cough of a laugh. He brought an arm up, wiping spittle on the sleeve. The revolver in the same hand twirled in the air. “Oh you think I’d have tea with you, but you’re proving yourself nothing more than a buffoon. Batman and Red Arrow think themselves grand, not knowing danger stalks the land.” He said, as both men stepped past the two convulsing men on the floor. Raising the pistol, he caused both to slow their gait, giving him enough time to squeeze off two shots.

But neither shots were aimed at Batman or Red Arrow. Instead they were aimed at the two arrows hitting his men with the electrical charges. As they were knocked off, this allowed the two men to be able to start to struggle with their bonds, and begin to raise themselves up.

“You see, my friends, the plot it must thicken, for in the end, with the rot you’ll be stricken. This is a tomb for many a beast, and you shall join the list of the deceased.” He said, wrenching open the door.

In the distance, Batman and Red Arrow could see Alice running while holding Suzi. Suzi’s eyes had changed, and despite the darkened setting, both men could see that they had turned completely purple, even the sclera. Some kind of thick liquid was leaking from her eyes, and they couldn’t tell if it was from tears or something else.

“I have my prize, at last victorious. I await my reward, oh so glorious.” Desmond said, tipping his hat up slightly to the two men with the barrel of the revolver. “Cheerio my foes, I hope you enjoy, the symphony of colors I have decided to deploy.” He added, and slammed the door shut behind him.

They had a choice.

Turn back to deal with the two neanderthals or save the girl.

At that moment, the pipes opened up again, spewing even more toxic colored gases into the room. The children in the grates started screaming, and calling out for help, including the girl that Batman and Red Arrow had freed. They had heard what had happened and realized that the Hatter was gone and this was their chance to escape. Unfortunately, tea time was coming to a close and they also knew what that meant. Another dose of the hallucinogenics. There were varying responses to the drugs that the Hatter employed. Some of those wards under his tender care received possibly the greatest blessing of all, they simply died under the weight of the psychotropics, their bodies not able to handle the load of the drugs.

The majority however, accepted the drugs, but with no real side effects other than the intended side effects of the drug.

Then….then there was Suzy. Batman realized as he looked around at the children in the various cages and under the floor.

Everyone had been exposed to the drugs for some time now, except for Batman and Red Arrow. Both of the two idiots coming towards them had eyes that looked like Hatters, and so did almost everyone in the room. They had also picked up their weapons from before and looked like they were ready to use them with maximum effect. But no one in the room or that Batman had seen thus far looked like they had a reaction the way that Suzy had.

“Can you handle this?” He asked, looking at Red Arrow.

“I mean, sure, yeah.” Red Arrow replied, nocking an arrow. “It’s only two guys. Get the girl.” He said, and Batman turned, running and barreling through the door like it didn’t even exist. It splintered and he came through. Farther down the hallway, the man and the woman turned, looking at Batman, as Suzy continued to stare, purple eyes and all. She looked like she was comatose.

Which is what the man and the woman were going to be once Batman got to them.

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Vox
Adenn Mirshko
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Red Arrow stood like an armed sentinel as the two men barreled toward him. Batman was sprinting down the hallway behind him while the two men seemed un-phased by the fact he was armed. Keeping his smart retorts to himself for once the man loosed an arrow and it embedded itself into the large man on the rights left shoulder but did not slow him. Grimacing slightly Red Arrow took two steps and leapt throwing his knee forward. Connecting with a right knee the vigilante felt the mans’ teeth slam together as he stepped backward. Landing the second of the two large men wrapped his arms around the hooded man and squeezed.

Flexing against the man Red Arrow grunted and felt his body flex for a moment before a voice ripped through his head sounding like Katherine. ”Use the power given to you or lose the fight you want to fight…”

Taking in a breath he exhaled and pushed outward against the arms pinning him in place. Landing he kicked backward and spun bringing his artificial arm up into his second assailants jaw. Dropping low to dodge a ill aimed punch Red Arrow jumped and threw both feet forward powerfully sending one of the two men falling down into the grating where he disappeared into steam. Standing up again Red Arrow blocked two punches from the remaining attacker before punching twice and pulling his bow again loosing an arrow into the man’s leg.

Dragging the lame leg behind him the man punched violently but missed as Red Arrow kicked the man in the head dropping him to the ground. Looking around he saw the chaos around him and let out a breath processing his next move. He had to save some of them if he could, it was just a matter of who and how.

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Mir
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

At this point, Suzy's body was a mere rag doll, moving back and forth in the Hatter's arms. But there was no concern for her from him, as he and Alice continued their run through the corridor. Due to the nice head start that they had on Batman, they were almost at the end of it, and Hatter turned his body, slamming through the wooden door with his shoulder. He sputtered as the door a bit more solid than he remembered. But still he shattered through it, and though he bobbled Suzy, he kept her in his arms. "Quickly Alice, my dear, I fear the end could be drawing near. The Bat gives chase; we must make haste, and leave without a trace." He said, fumbling with his revolver. Turning, he aimed it down the darkened corridor that he knew was the only way for the Batman to come through.

The gun went off, the blast jarring the night's reverie. The flash was spectacular, superhuman almost. It helped light up the blackened street, barely lit by street lights. Electricity from Gotham Power dueled with the muzzle of his Ruger to beat back the night as he fired again and again as Alice's fingers tried to jam the keys into the car that was parked near them. Her breath kept getting in the way due to the chill in the air. A getaway car, the Hatter thought of everything. Finally, she got the door open and threw herself inside, now trying to jam the keys into the ignition.

Soon, the car was running and she opened the door on the passenger side, beckoning him to come, as she also honked the horn. The noise grabbed his attention, as dilated pupils with red rings around them frantically, nervously, almost manically darted around the dark corridor, trying to peer into the abyss to see from whence Batman would come. Hatter cursed, firing off one more round before he turned and started crossing the street towards the car.

He saw it through the reflection of Alice's eyes as they widened. She clapped her hand over her mouth and with her free hand she pointed.

Spinning, he saw the Batman emerge from the shadowed corridor, a vengeful God of the Night. The cape billowed as he launched himself through the air. Hatter tried to squeeze off a round, but the revolver was knocked from his hand, clattering on the ground. Batman reached for the child, wanting to get her out of Hatter's grasp before he dealt with Desmond, but the Hatter went to the ground, kicking and clawing to keep Batman away. The Bat's focus was on the child, and he didn't see Alice fishing around in the backseat.

But the Hatter did.

Desmond moved out of the way, as Alice leveled a sawed off shot gun and fired, catching Batman straight in the chest. He was knocked backwards, flying close to six feet and onto his back. He stared up at the Gotham night sky as he grimaced. Thank God for that Vibranium I convinced T'Shon to sell Wayne Enterprises. That contract to be the global market distributor of Vibranium had been incredibly important for more than business reasons. The miracle metal had been used to build the Batsuit, giving him more armor than anyone would expect. Probably only Ree could tell that there was Vibranium in the suit. Deathstroke as well, if Batman was being generous. Rolling to his feet, he looked up as Hatter got into the car and slammed the door behind him.

Reaching down into the utility belt, he pulled out a small attachment for the grappling gun and then he aimed, waiting. The precise moment was what he was looking for. Then it came. Then he fired.

The thin spear whistled through the night cutting through the wind as it traveled towards it target. There was a bang and sparks covered the ground as one of the tires blew out.

Batman started walking as the car collided with a streetlight, crumpling the front of the would be getaway vehicle. By the time Batman got close to the car, Hatter was crawling out of the vehicle. Batman slowed as the Hatter pointed the gun not at Batman, but at the girl.

"You don't...understand, you simple little man, how important this girl is." He said, as Alice stepped out of the car, blood slowly dripping from her hairline.

"Tell me." Batman said.

"It's all in tea, I've been trying to say, more complicated than baking a souffle. The potion is potent but she can absorb it, and so with me she'll stay."

Batman's eyes narrowed. "What's in the tea?"

"Chemicals of a most sinister nature, for I was hired to be like a baker, and in that, look, success. But I'll start over, so don't come closer, or her face will be....a mess."

"Who hired you?"

"A man, a myth, a figment of thought, one with a dangerous ploy. If you think he's not, I assure you, you snot, he's the real McCoy."

"Take the shot." Batman replied.

Desmond's eyebrows knit together. "That doesn't...that doesn't make sense. You want me to kill her?" He said, abandoning the weird inner rhyme scheme that he usually used.

"Take the shot." Batman said again.

The arrow shot through the air, deploying behind Hatter's head. A powerful knock out gas enveloped Hatter's face, and he breathed it in. Despite the toxins in his system already, the gas' desired effect took hold, and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. Batman moved forward throwing a batarang in Alice's direction, intended more to scare than to actually stop, as he caught Suzy before she hit the ground. "Get Alice." He said, to Red Arrow who was perched on top of the warehouse building. "I've got the girl."

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Vox
Adenn Mirshko
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Location: Dreaming of a Vision worth Living

Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Vox »

Looking down the arrow shaft Red Arrow took a breath and waited. His right arm held steady in a near perfect ninety-degree bend as it held drawn back bowstring. “I have the shot.”

His words were a near whisper and Batman’s response was only a few moments later. “Catch the girl” was his response and Batman repeated his command. “Take the shot.”

Without another second of hesitation, Arrow released the bowstring and the gas canister tipped arrow leapt into the night. Moments later the canister opened enveloping Mad Hatter’s head in the noxious fumes. Batman moved quickly catching the girl as Arrow stood from his perch responding to the elder vigilantes command to retrieve Alice. Running down the length of the building rooftop the enhanced vigilante leapt tucking his knees to his chest pulling an arrow as he fell the five stories to the ground. Firing the arrow at the last moment fiber thread shot out and anchored to the ground while the arrow pierced the woman’s calf. Spinning the blonde haired female fell then pulled a knife trying to cut the cord.

Approaching his adversary, Arrow spoke as his former friend tried to saw through the cord restraining her. “It won’t work, unless you’ve got a blade far sharper than that.”

Standing the woman pulled a gun and quickly shot the arrow shaft that ran through her leg. Smiling politely before giving the hero a curtsy, the cabaret dressed woman took a step and swung a kick at Arrow. Catching the kick Arrow lifted her off the ground and slammed her down on her back. Scrambling quickly, the woman smiled behind blood-covered teeth and moved to punch her opponent. Catching the punch, Arrow landed a right mid-level kick and then knocked the woman out with a vicious punch.

**************************************************

Carrying Alice by her zip tied wrists Red Arrow dropped her in a heap in front of Batman next to Mad Hatter as they both overlooked the mass of police vehicles below them. Children received blankets, soup, and were slowly being sorted between those who belonged in Star City and Gotham as police officers and emergency personnel tended to them. Watching it all for a few moments Arrow handed Batman a card, embossed much like the one Batman had given him previously though it held a different set of numbers, a frequency that the man behind the mask probably knew already. “Decided to upgrade our system again, apparently sometime in the last few hours a large shipment of servers, computer equipment, comms and even a prototype upgrade to my A.I. with a name recommendation, though ALICE isn’t too fond of the name. No idea who sent it but I have a feeling they wanted to remain an anonymous partner. That is my new frequency, feel free to call me if you run into something that requires additional help in meting out justice.”

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Mir
KING OF STRONG STYLE
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Re: Batman / Red Arrow: Welcome to Wonderland

Post by Mir »

Gotham City
"I'm not sure if this is one of the ways you were supposed to welcome your new District Attorney." Clarence Rodgers said, rubbing his eyes as he looked at the burning red numbers displayed on his alarm clock. It was after four in the morning, and he'd already had a late night going over the parole board paperwork for the next day. Today, actually. He mentally cursed as he pressed the cellphone against his head. "What's going on?" He asked.

"This is a Major Crimes issue." Steven Santieri replied. "I figured it was something you'd want brought to your attention. The police have apprehended Desmond Carroll in Star City, in conjunction with a number of kidnappings."

"Star City?" Clarence asked, starting to get annoyed as he swung his legs out, his feet touching the hard wood floors of his high rise apartment in Downtown Gotham City. "That's in Washington. I don't care about Washington, why do you care about Washington."

Santieri's patience was starting to wear thin and it showed in his voice. "Remember the kidnappings we've been dealing with? Of children?" He asked, and Clarence's eyes opened, as if water had hit the back of his neck. Now he was awake. "Desmond Carroll was found tied up in a warehouse, filled with children and drugs of some sort, and a lot of the children match up with the missing children reports. I figured since you're new to the position, that you wouldn't get word about this before the Attorney for the United States' offices swooped in and stole it from you. I'm trying to throw you a bone here, Rodgers."

"I appreciate that, I do, Lieutenant." Clarence said, rising to a full standing position. "The problem is that the feds have the stronger case. The moment he took those kids across state lines, this became a federal case." He said. "I'm not sure how I can convince any AUSA to pass up on a case like this."

"You convinced the majority of Gotham County to vote for you. You're a lawyer. Figure it out." Steven said. "Look, I've got to get going, but hopefully you can do something with this. I've got to make calls to start getting the kids back to Gotham."

"Of course, of course." Clarence said as Steven hung up.

Looks like his day was starting now.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Star City

There were bright lights in the warehouse area now.

Floodlights, set up by the Star City Police Department, illuminating the night to provide light for the police to do their work. Children were being pulled out of the warehouses, freed from the cages imposed upon them by Desmond Carroll. Carroll, for his part, would soon be in the back for a police van with Alice, both handcuffed and restrained. The police were moving through the whole area, taking pictures and gathering pieces of evidence, evidence that would be undoubtedly used in the case against Carroll. Suffice to say, he was going away for quite a long time. There was no federal minimum, but there was also no federal maximum on kidnapping either.

Even at the state level, Washington imposed a minimum of twenty years per count for first degree kidnapping, considering it a Class A felony. New Jersey's imprisonment terms were between fifteen and thirty years, with the possibility of extending to life sentences. The evidence was incredibly damning against Carroll and his accomplice, and only a miracle would save them from multiple life sentences at the state and federal level. A miracle not unlike the one that had happened for the children this night, in the form of the two men who stood above the organized chaos below, a top a building not too far away.

"Good work tonight." Batman said, pocketing the card without a further comment on it, or how Red Arrow had gotten the equipment upgrade.

"I can't believe you complimented me."

"Savor it. You were still pretty sloppy."

"There it is." Red Arrow replied. "You know, you weren't half bad either." He said, and Batman turned, giving him a look. "That one right hook you threw? Could have been tighter. Just saying." He watched as Batman turned around to walk away. "You're not actually going to leave, are you? I thought we were making progress. You know, I could get a splash of yellow and green paint on this outfit."

"You might be more annoying than the Kryptonian." Batman replied. "We're done here. I finished what I came to do. There are things I need to attend to back in Gotham." He said.

"I wasn't even going to get a good bye? You take me out for this wonderful night with passionate words and actions and now we're done?" Red Arrow asked, catching up with Batman. "This is why you're alone."

"Your sense of humor isn't winning me over, either. You gave me the card, what else do we need to do?"

"I could give you my mixtape. It's fire. Got a lot of nice grunge tunes on there. Seriously though, thank you for the help."

"My pleasure." Batman said. "Remember what I told you. Let go of the anger towards Conner. All that matters is the hunt." He said, before leaving Red Arrow alone on the roof top.

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