|3 BATMAN: The Sleepless Knight
Author: Dan Bivens PM
How will Batman and Superman survive the arrival of the only supervillain whose vastly numerous superpowers exceeds both with no seeming weakness to be exploited? Read THE DARKEST KNIGHT firstRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 7 - Words: 10,969 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Updated: 02-21-08 - Published: 06-25-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3615652
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
THE SLEEPLESS KNIGHT
"Sir," Alfred Pennyworth's dulcet British voice said as the Dark Knight continued donning his famous blue-gray outfit, "I must once again disagree with your decision to go out without first getting at least a few hours sleep. It has, quite literally, been several days since…"
"No time for sleep, Alfred," Bruce Wayne, quickly transforming himself into Batman, said, "not so long as Gotham City's under siege. In case you've forgotten, old friend, Arkham Asylum was attacked barely a week ago by a new as-yet-unidentified 'super-villain' and there're not only costumed criminals, such as Penguin, Riddler, and Two-Face…but, curiously, not the Joker…on the loose, but dozens of the non-costumed monsters previously housed in that venerable old institution. I can't even think about sleeping…until I've rounded all of them up!"
"But surely, Master Bruce, the police could…"
"I said no, Alfred!" Batman snappishly shouted, even as he finished adjusting the impermeable cowl upon his head. Almost immediately, he turned apologetically toward his faithful gentleman's gentleman. "I'm…sorry. I'm just a little…keyed up."
"Well, I shouldn't doubt it, sir," Alfred said with a sniff. "One's wit would be most assuredly strained under normal circumstances of deprived sleep, let alone those of a man who spends his days as a billionaire head of the internationally mercurial Wayne Foundation corporation and his nights as a skulking masked marauder seeking out the most dangerous elements of Gotham."
"Dammit, Alfred," exclaimed Batman as his already short fuse finally ignited an emotional powder keg, "I have to do this! The innocent citizens of this entire city can't hope that normal police methodology might stop heinous criminal activity before it erupts! Besides, the police have far too many legalities to observe and nowhere near enough ingenious devices at their ready disposal. Given the fact that the majority of these now-escaped inmates were put into Arkham by me…especially those that were the deadliest! …then only Batman can successfully bring them down! Only Batman truly knows how such as they think."
Before Alfred could even attempt to interject another note of lucidity, Batman had already slid in behind the steering wheel of his famous Batmobile, fired up its turbo-engine, which spat a tongue of flame from the cylindrical end, then stomped hard onto its accelerator with his Bat-booted foot…
"Let us hope that your lack of adequate sleep does not impede your ability to distinguish 'friend' from 'foe'," said Alfred under his breath even as the stench of squealing rubber leading away from the depths of the Batcave reached his aristocratic nose.
Just as the sometimes stogy steward was about to ascend the secret stairs leading up from the menacing confines of the Batcave to the magnificence of the Wayne mansion above, a thought crossed his genuinely concerned mind, Perhaps it would be advantageous to contact the one and only 'friend' who could truly watch over Master Bruce and, simultaneously, keep Batman from becoming a cold-blooded murderer. The Batcave does, at least, have a direct and secure connection to this person's unknown, to me at least, identity.
At that very moment, hundreds of miles away, in a modest apartment near downtown Metropolis…
"Go ahead, Batman," the voice said in a hushed but strong tone.
"Well, sir," said a very proper, though immediately recognized, British-accented voice, "it isn't actually Batman, but it is about him."
"Alfred," Clark Kent said with a smile warming his square-jawed features, while subconsciously replacing his eyeglasses as if speaking to the butler in person and wishing his true identity to not become known. "How can I help?"
Clark knew that Alfred would not have used Batman's ultra-secure phone system to talk about Metropolis' weather, which was quite chilly for April, and waited for Bruce Wayne's butler to lay it out.
And "lay it out," Alfred Pennyworth did.
"Don't worry, Alfred, I can be in Gotham City in seconds. I won't let anything bad happen. At least…not so bad that Batman couldn't recover from it" Clark finally said, while standing and starting to slip out of the dress shirt and tie that concealed his blue, red, and yellow super-suit from the world at large.
No sooner had Clark Kent hung up, than he swiftly, at blinding super-speed, changed completely into Superman, slipping super-strength folded clothing into his red cape's hidden inner pocket, then streaked away at super-fast flight to disappear from Metropolis' urbanite sky.
In the fleeting seconds it would take for the Man of Steel to span such a significant distance between two major cosmopolitan cities, Batman had pulled his Batmobile down a side street and, tossing up a Batarang-secured grappling line, pulled his athletically muscular frame halfway up the alley side of a tenement building he'd learned, through methods employed only by the Caped Crusader, was the temporary hideout for none other than…
"Penguin, why the hell're we holed up in this piece of…?"
"Silence, cretin!" snarled the squat, fat, homicidally-inclined super-criminal, glaring up at the normal height thug to instantly command the same respect any Alpha male should garner from the rest of his brutish pack. "Do you think I want to stay in this putrid place for even a single night longer? Don't answer that, you idiot, it was a rhetorical question!"
Batman thought, Still treating your underlings with the same old kid gloves, eh, Penguin? as his hidden-within-the cowl's eyes narrowed and every well-trained muscle strained and flexed within the protectively padded confines of his blue-gray costume.
Straining and flexing in preparation for eventual combative use…after he'd listened a bit longer through a window stupidly left slightly open in order to learn all he could about intended criminal activities. And, quite possibly, learn the whereabouts of the Riddler and Two-Face. Not to mention the dozens of lesser demons also currently on the loose.
"Now, let's get back to our plans, shall we? As I was saying, ever since we were liberated from that hellhole by our mysterious benefactor…" began Penguin, satisfied that he'd sufficiently cowed the larger thugs, then placed a cigarette into a short, black holder which he, then, clenched rabidly between yellowing teeth.
Batman thought with an inner sigh, Great. Not even Penguin knows this new "super-villain" who'd set him, and all the others, free.
"…it is time to forego our currently petty crimes, such as penthouse break-ins and the quick fencing of stolen jewels for twenty grand here and fifty grand there. It is time, my featherbrained followers, to go for the biggest prize of all. It is time to…"
"So, Batman," said an electronically altered voice loud enough to not only attract the attention of the dangling Dark Knight, but the Penguin and his cohorts as well, "I wondered how long it would take you to track down any of your archenemies!"
The source of the electronically altered voice was a huge silhouette in the alley's darkness and it appeared as though his eyes were eerily glowing, as if belonging to some massive demonic apparition, which, believe it or not, seemed to also be hovering in midair.
Batman had to act fast…as only Batman could.
Using both Bat-booted feet and coiled leg muscles, Batman forcefully pushed away from the outer brick wall of the tenement, while still clinging to his anchored-by-Batarang grapple line with the expertise of a practiced trapeze artist, and swung himself out and around via a rapid and powerful arc that allowed him to firmly plant those Bat-booted feet against the torso area of the foreboding shape hovering above the dark dirty alley.
Under normal circumstances, such a well-considered maneuver, making use of physical laws regarding a variety of equation-supported actions/reactions, would've knocked an ordinary opponent from the chilled Gotham air. Clearly, these were not normal circumstances and, also just as clearly, this was no ordinary opponent.
"Uhn!" Batman grunted as it felt as if he'd just swung himself straight into an oncoming semi. His Bat-gloved hands slipped from the grappler line and, barely at the last possible moment, managing to grab the rusting edge of a decrepit old fire escape. Unfortunately, for the Caped Crimefighter, it would prove to only be an all-too-brief stopgap measure.
The severely rusted, loosened by too much time and too little maintenance, metal structure pulled away from cracked brick face to send the Dark Knight crashing hard to the alley's dirty, unrelenting surface. If not for the combination of applied acrobatics and well-padded Bat-suit, Batman would've wound up with broken bones, instead of painful body-wide bruising and small bleeding cuts to the exposed via skull-protecting cowl portion of his face.
By the time the Penguin and his men rushed to the window, throwing it the rest of the way open in order to peer down, the indirect cause of the Caped Crimefighter's fall had disappeared into the night as noiselessly as he'd arrived, all while Batman lay in a semi-conscious heap several stories below.
"Looks like our own personal 'fairy godfather' has struck again. And what a prize. Heh heh heh hehheheh!," said Penguin through yellowish clenched-about-cigarette holder teeth.
At that instant, soaring high over the dark city of Gotham, Superman was using both super-vision and super-hearing to seek out his crimefighting colleague. By the time those super-eyes and super-ears located the fallen Batman, currently in the merciless clutches of the Penguin's criminal group, the Last Son of Krypton, resplendent in his blue-red costume and billowing red cape, prepared to make a super-fast dive.
Before the Man of Steel could so much as look at the hover-flying figure slipping so silently up on him so far above the gothic rooftops…
"Here's a little 'gift'!" the electronically altered voice said with a malevolent laugh.
Glowing green mist, clearly crushed Kryptonite, was blown via some sort of high-pressure system, from an outstretched arm and hand, directly into Superman's face.
Subsequently sucked down into his powerful Kryptonian lungs, amidst searing pain and overwhelming weakness, the Man of Steel was sent tumbling from the sky.
"My plan is proceeding perfectly," sneered the mysteriously massive, hovering, heavily shadowed super-villain with palpable hatred. "Soon…I shall not only destroy both Batman and Superman…but I shall become an overlord of crime within two immense cities! Once my control is total over them…the world would not be far behind! Ha ha ha ha ha hahaha!"
END OF CHAPTER 1