|Team Chaotix: Arkham Asylum
Author: Newbie-Spud PM
Espio the Chameleon, Vector the Crocodile, and Charmy Bee are whom Gotham turns to when super-criminals abound. And today, they're delivering the Joker to Arkham Asylum, who has planned for them to be the guests of honor at a very special party.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure - Chapters: 2 - Words: 10,554 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 07-05-10 - Published: 01-01-10 - id: 5629707
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Team Chaotix: Arkham Asylum
A Serious House on Serious Earth
No one would deny that Gotham City had seen far better days than this. But if you went around asking people what they thought about today, you'd get rather varied answers – given that you could find an answer at all instead of a bullet to the face.
Today was different, some would say. In response, others would argue that today was completely run-of-the-mill – in spite of the unusual circumstances. Gotham, a chaotic urban sprawl by any standards, was a hub of so-called "supervillains" and "normal" criminals besides. Every day, someone was shot, murdered, or robbed. Every week, a gang fight broke out between factions. Every month, some super-criminal had a plan to destroy Gotham City entirely. If the world were to end tomorrow, it would be no different from today.
To reaffirm their point, members of the first party would look out from under their umbrellas and point to the heavy rainclouds above. A skylight from the Police Department building was shining a familiar symbol into the sky. It was a little distorted by the contours of the cloud cover, but everyone in Gotham knew it by heart anyway.
Three swirling circles, arranged in a reverse triangle. That symbol meant two things for every Gotham citizen. One, something big was happening.
Two, some very special detectives were being called in for the job.
Police, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles were crowding the streets of Gotham. Police scanners were wild with reports of the latest action of the night.
Then, racing down the streets, came a large, expensive-looking van. At the same time, a female voice cut through all the chaos on the police scanners: "All units, proceed to Gotham City Hall."
The van swerved around a corner, shakily realigning itself on the road before some crudely-applied rocket boosters propelled the car faster down the street. Regardless, the police report continued, "The Joker has been apprehended. Team Chaotix is now en route to Arkham Island."
After a few near-crashes, the van was now safely on a straight, unoccupied road. It entered a thick forest of leafless trees, scattering leaves on the road as it sped by. The car passed a sign on the left side of the road, indicating that ARKHAM was straight ahead. Underneath it was a smaller yellow sign offering the subtitle, "Hitchhikers may be escaping patients."
The driver and its passengers sat in silence, save for the one in the very back of the van. The back seat had been modified to simulate the back of a police vehicle, complete with glass and metal grating to section it off. This section's single handcuffed occupant was a tall, sharp-looking man giggling to himself. He had bright green hair gelled straight up, perfectly white face-paint, and a red smile painted around his lips and across his cheeks. Combined with a purple pinstripe suit and an off-yellow dress shirt beneath it, the man was an otherwise unimaginable combination of colors.
To top it off, the man's mumblings seemed to complement his demented color scheme. "Stand back fool, I've got a bomb...! ...Huh? Oh, right. Hehehehe!"
After what seemed like an hour of this, the van passed through an iron gate prefacing the one and only bridge to Arkham Island. Faceless stone wraiths guarded either side of the main gate, and arcing over the road were the words "ARKHAM ASYLUM."
They would soon reach their destination.
Green lights lit up on a high security door, and the pressure lock disengaged. One by one, metal clasps lifted and retracted away from the door until the two slabs of steel were finally allowed to split open.
The door opened to a rather peculiar scene. The purple-suited man was knelt down on the ground in a daze, but the stranger imagery was situated right beside him.
Three creatures stood at the front door of Arkham Asylum's Intensive Treatment building. The most noticeable of them was a humanoid, brutish-looking crocodile creature with bright green skin. He was the largest of the bunch, and taller than most people by a few heads. Like most of them, his clothing was simple but stylized. Black headphones, a necklace of gold chain links, thick black bands at the cuffs of his white gloves, and heavy black boots.
Standing to the crocodile's left was a much, much shorter chameleon with purple skin. Even as he stood closest to the kneeling criminal, he barely managed to be taller. This one wore the fewest accessories, but the armor and bandages around his gloves and purple boots suggested a much more serious occupation.
Finally, hovering in the air over the crocodile's shoulder, there was a relatively harmless-looking bee creature wearing an orange jacket, orange boots with black trim, and orange goggles situated on top of his head. Compared to the crocodile's smugness and the chameleon's seriousness, the bee had by far the least threatening composure of the bunch.
These three, Team Chaotix, were delivering this criminal to Arkham Asylum.
With the moment well and truly past, the crocodile scowled and pulled the clown-like criminal to his feet with one enormous hand. The man stumbled to his feet but quickly regained his composure as he was led down the wide stone corridor. As he did so, guards in black wearing helmets and face masks kept their automatic weapons trained on him.
The criminal chuckled to himself as they neared the group at the end of the hall. At the front was a balding man with a stern expression and a jeweled cane.
As he was given one last push forward by the crocodile, the man's smile grew unnaturally wide before he said, "Hey, Sharpie! Love what you've done with the place."
"That's Warden Sharp to you," the man said simply, the tone in his voice showing that he had no intention of engaging in wasteful banter. He straightened his tie and looked to one of the guards behind him. "Boles!"
The guard in question was a short-haired man in his thirties, apparently no common officer seeing as he lacked a face mask. As he approached, the criminal – hands still held by the crocodile – kept the quips coming. "Yo, Frank-ay. How's the wife and kids? Ya miss me?"
Frank Boles snapped and grabbed the man by the collar. "Shut it, clown! A lot of people here really want to talk to you."
There was no arguing that. This man – this clown-faced, purple-suited psycho – was none other than the Joker, one of Gotham City's most notorious supervillains. Mass murder, armed robbery, arson, torture – you name it, the Joker either perpetrated it or organized it with his endless supply of henchmen.
The Joker giggled as Boles dragged him over to a mobile restraint platform, a leather vertical seat with multiple restraints. As the guards undid the handcuffs, the Joker said, "Really, I don't mind walking." But, paying no heed to his sarcasm, the guards strapped him into the restraining chair anyway. His good humor never dropped, though, even as the metal restraints were put into place. "Not so tight, boys. You'll crease the suit!"
By that point, the Warden had heard more than enough of the Joker's wit. "Get that filthy degenerate out of here," he ordered.
Quincy Sharp looked down to see the purple chameleon addressing him. "Something's not right," the chameleon continued. "I'd like to go with him."
The Warden simply nodded. Suddenly, the bee creature leaned over the crocodile's shoulder and shouted, "What?! Why?!"
But the chameleon was already walking through the open security door. The bee, full of hyperactive energy, looked frantically at the large crocodile. "Vector, can't we just go home now?!" he demanded in a high-pitched, immature voice.
The crocodile known as Vector sighed, imagining himself more a babysitter than a detective right now. "C'mon, Charmy," he said at last, his voice deep, raspy, and cracking at odd points. "I'm with Espio on this one. Something. Ain't. Right."
And so, with security cameras watching their every move, Team Chaotix walked into the heart of Arkham Asylum's Intensive Treatment. Vector and Charmy quickly caught up with Espio, who was briefly questioning one of the guards.
"Is Commissioner Gordon here yet?" the chameleon asked. Unlike the others, his voice was smooth and regular, making him the best communicator of the three freelance detectives.
The guard didn't bat an eye at the short, humanoid chameleon speaking to him. "Yes sir, he's, uh, waiting for you guys at Patient Handover. He got here just before you did."
Espio nodded and rejoined his team, which then joined up with the Joker group. Two guards pulled at the front of the restraining chair while Frank Boles kept his weapon trained on the Joker. Two spotlights in the large room ahead shone of them as they entered the Intensive Treatment lobby.
The Joker kept his smile on as he looked around. "Sharpie loves his cameras. Hey, Sharpie! You getting my good side? Ah, but heck, they're all good, aren't they?"
Charmy Bee whimpered. He really didn't want to endure more of the Joker's banter, but here he was anyway.
The Joker's convoy stepped onto a large elevator, taking them to the ground floor of the massive lobby room. As the elevator started to move, the Joker remarked, "Look at all this new security. How's a guy supposed to break outta here?"
Another annoying thing about the Joker: every once in a while, he'd lace a sentence with heavy-handed sarcasm or sinister intent. It would be obvious that he was implying something bad, but... in this case, nothing could be done because he hadn't done anything yet. It was infuriating sometimes, but Espio and Vector were smart not to let it show in their expressions. No matter what, when they looked at the Joker, they only had blank scowls on their faces.
The Intensive Treatment lobby was large enough for many walkways on the sides surrounding a small lobby office, suspended a floor above the ground. The convoy passed beneath the office block and entered a security corridor.
The building's PA system sounded off a four-note tone – signaling an announcement – before a female voice monotoned, "New patient in the Intensive Treatment lobby. All non-essential staff to vacate the area."
"Oh, it's always nice to return to sweet little ha-ha-hacienda," the Joker said, giggling at his own joke.
As they passed under the office structure, decontaminating sprays and cold air washed over the group. This was technically a medical facility after all, even if the dark stone and uninviting metal suggested an entirely different atmosphere.
They then entered a tunnel-like section, with red windows on either side. Security doors closed at the front and back of the hall, and a officer on the intercom said, "Tunnel's full! Start the scan!"
"Scan initializing," was the reply. The entire tunnel became tinted blue and bright scanning beams washed over the group in several passes, checking for any hidden objects.
"Y'know what?" the Joker mused. "I preferred the good ol' cavity search. Much more personal."
After a few moments, an alarm went off and the tunnel turned red for a moment. "Got a red light," a techie reported over the intercom. "Multiple prohibited items."
"I want Joker searched again!" the officer shouted.
"Uhh... It's not the patient," was the reply. "It's... um..."
All eyes turned to the Chaotix. In turn, Vector and Charmy shot meaningful looks at Espio. The chameleon simply shrugged, his eyes closed and not looking at anyone. "Hmph."
"Ooooh!" Joker called out. "Whatcha sneak in with ya, Essy? C'mon, tell me, tell me! Ninja stars? Ninja claws? ...Oooh, ninja snacks?"
"Scan is green on Joker," the techie announced, saving Espio the hassle of refusing Joker an answer.
"Open the gate! Get him outta there!" the officer shouted.
At that command, the gate in front of them opened up, allowing Joker, the guards, and the Chaotix to continue making their way through Intensive Treatment. Waiting with a gun up ahead was the black officer who'd been shouting earlier. "I want weapons on him at all times. Do not let him out of your sight."
Joker dropped his cool demeanor for a single, sinister moment. "There'll be time enough for you later, Cash. Speaking of time... tick, tock, tick, tock. Is that a crocodile I hear?" Joker giggled evilly at that, but soon stopped himself. "Whoops! No offense, Vector."
Vector the Crocodile only glanced at the guard, Aaron Cash. Normally, Cash was one of the toughest guards at Arkham, save for one case... If you looked closely, you'd see that Cash had a metal hook instead of a left hand. He'd lost that hand to Killer Croc, a particularly bestial supervillain and currently an inmate at the Asylum.
Yes, there was awkward ground between Vector and Cash, to say the least.
The convoy rounded a corner and approached another security door. At the junction was another pair of guards standing in front of one of Arkham's doctors. It was a woman with short black hair. "Oh my," she mumbled quietly to herself as the security door opened up. "It's Joker."
"What's up, doc?" Joker greeted her as he passed. "Pencil me in for tomorrow at 4. We've got a lot of catching up to do."
They were now in the main transfer corridor. The room consisted of two parallel lanes separated by steel bars. As they walked through to take Joker down to the cells, televisions mounted on the central pillars came to life with the image of Warden Sharp in his office. "Hello, new patient. This is Quincy Sharp, Warden of Arkham Asylum..." It was the standard introductory message for incoming patients, one that Joker had probably seen multiple times by now.
"Oooh, it's my favorite show!" the super-criminal exclaimed. "I'm Warden Idiot. You'll never escape." He giggled at his impression of the Warden, which had succeeded to unsettle Charmy even further.
Finally, the bee had to say something, anything. "How can a place this high-tech be this..." He searched for a word. "...ugly?"
Everyone else shot Charmy a dirty look, but the Joker laughed out loud. "I know, right!? What happened to the off-white walls and marble tiling?"
In the opposite lane, some more prisoners were being transferred by armed guards. These were muscle-bound thugs with clown-like designs painted on them. Joker's henchmen.
The henchmen noticed their boss on the way. "Hey, Joker!" "Yo, catch ya soon, Boss!" and chants of "Jo-ker! Jo-ker!" ensued, until the guard yelled at them to shut up.
Joker grinned as the henchmen passed, and then said out of the blue, "I'm telling you, the state of the wiring in these federal facilities is, well, shocking. My boys over there could have been hurt in that... unfortunate fire."
Espio, Vector, and Charmy shared a glance between themselves, but said nothing in response to Joker's telling statement.
As they approached the next security door at the end of the hall, they were stopped by some more guards and a doctor. The doctor, a bald physician with a graying beard, said, "Just gotta check your prisoner, Officer Boles."
"Whatever, just be quick!" Boles replied, his fuse apparently short today.
"Only following procedure," the physician pointed out calmly. Stepping up to Joker and giving him a look over, he stated his observations. "Patient seems to be in satisfactory condition. Looks like he suffered minor lacerations, probably in the last two hours."
Vector couldn't suppress a little laugh.
The physician paused, noticing something else. "There... seems to be..."
Suddenly, the Joker was right in his face. "Boo!" He laughed up a storm as everyone flinched and no less than five guns were trained on Joker's body. When the moment passed, he finished it off by quipping, "Need to take my temperature? I'd be happy to drop my pants..."
The doctor had seen quite enough. "He's all yours," he growled. "Get him outta here."
The officer holding onto Joker's chair acknowledged him. "He's good," he called to the guards ahead. "Get the door open."
At length, the security door opened up, and Joker's convoy continued on its way. They were entering a large elevator room, where many other guards were already gathered. The four familiar tones sounded off on the PA once again. "Alert in Intensive Treatment. Category 9 patient in transit. Pacification system active. Shoot-to-kill permissions granted."
"You heard the lady," said one of the higher-ranking officers, a portly man with a mustache and a Brooklyn accent. "We've got another psycho on the way."
Charmy shuddered and hid behind Vector. He just wasn't prepared for all the tension in the air as the elevator rose up to their level.
Joker chuckled. "Can you smell the excitement in the air? ...No? Must have been one of the guards, then."
The elevator had nearly arrived. The sound of heavy breathing echoed through the elevator shaft. There was something particularly bestial about it. Vector quickly tensed up.
Joker did his best to look over his shoulder at the elevator, even though he was situated with his back to it. "Croc old boy, is that you!?"
The elevator smoked and sparked as it fought to climb the last few feet while it carried the hulking reptilian mass that was Killer Croc. But it finally did, and the door began to open.
"Get ready!" a guard said needlessly. "Keep your weapons trained on him at all times!"
Killer Croc, hunched over due to the low height of the elevator, slowly waddled out into the open and stood up to his full height, easily twice as tall as everyone there. There were broken shackles around his wrists and ankles, and there appeared to be a shock collar around his neck. By all accounts, he looked angry. That in itself was not unusual, but it meant everyone was imagining Killer Croc cutting someone in half before anyone could fire a shot.
A spotlight shone down into his eyes as he paused to look around. "What's it doing?" a guard asked nervously. After a moment, everyone had figured out the answer: Croc was sniffing the air.
The ground shook as Killer Croc turned around to face the group. Glowing yellow eyes focused on one subject in particular.
"I've got your scent, Vector," Killer Croc rasped through a wall of sharp teeth. "I will hunt you down..."
Orders carried through the chain of command, and the collar around Killer Croc's neck buzzed to life, sending electric shocks through the monster's body. Killer Croc resisted the best he could, but he was incapable of taking any action at the moment. Still, he glared at Vector with nothing less than hatred as he stomped away. "A toy collar won't stop me from killing you, Vector. I'll rip you apart. Eat your bones..."
Killer Croc was escorted out through the parallel security door, and everyone else watched for a moment as the rest of the guards followed him through.
"That reminds me," Joker said, breaking the tension. "I really need to get me some new shoes."
"Watch it," Vector said tersely.
"Okay, move up!"
The Chaotix continued to follow as Joker was taken into the elevator. None of them were terribly relaxed about what they'd seen so far. While this was not their first delivery to Arkham, this was their first grand tour through the facilities themselves. After seeing Killer Croc, they were all painfully reminded of just how many supervillains were locked up here. An entire rogue's gallery showcase...
The elevator finally began to lower. "Whee!" Joker squealed in the manner of an excited child. "Great night for a party!"
"Not where you're going," Espio responded.
Joker chuckled. "The night is still young, Essy. I still have a trick or two up my sleeve. I mean, don't you think it's a little bit funny how a fire at Blackgate caused hundreds of my crew to be moved here?"
While the Chaotix pondered the implications of that statement, Joker just guffawed to himself. Boles glared at him and shouted, "I thought I told you to stay quiet!"
"Oh, Frankie..." Joker sighed. "You really should learn to keep that fat mouth of yours shut. It'll get you into trouble."
"Hey, tell me something," Vector said, moving forward so that his massive jaws were inches away from Joker's face. "You've never once let us catch you this easy before. What're you really after?"
"Whew!" Joker said. "I'd tell you if I could see your face behind your big fat teeth, Vector! And if it's not too bold of me, you'd also benefit from a Tic-Tac or twenty."
Vector made no response; insults were the usual knee-jerk reaction for Joker. But Espio was willing to take a turn in his stead. "We know you have something planned; you've practically told us. That doesn't bother you?"
At this, Joker saw fit to roll his eyes. "Well, clearly. Geez, watch out for the World's Greatest Detectives, boys!"
The monitor on the left side of the elevator switched from the Arkham logo to another announcement from Warden Sharp. "All patients should avoid contact with prisoners from Blackgate Prison Facility. Their presence in our institution is..."
"But I suppose if I must answer," Joker continued, "I'd say my goals are pretty humble! Hundreds dying in pain and fear. All their meaningless lives brought to a horrifying conclusion. All thanks to you and a book of matches." Joker gave Vector one of his evil grins. "Was that the answer you wanted?"
Suddenly, the elevator stopped and the power went out, sending the entire elevator shaft into pure darkness. Joker cackled up a storm while everyone in the elevator panicked. No one could see what was going on.
"What's he doing?"
"Stay where you are!"
"Get a flashlight! Get a light on him!"
Joker kept on laughing his guts out until he was cut short with a squelching sound. The elevator twitched back to life, and the lights flickered back on. Vector had Joker's neck wrapped between only his thumb and forefinger.
"What?" Joker rasped, still smiling while he was being strangled. "Don't you trust me?"
Vector scowled and released Joker's neck, but not before slamming him against the headrest of the chair. As Joker caught his breath and recomposed himself, the elevator came to a proper stop.
"Our guest has arrived," said a guard. They had reached the holding cells floor.
A guard outside moved to the control panel to open the door. As he did so, the female PA voice announced, "Intensive Treatment floors are now at level Red Alpha."
Joker's convoy starting moving again, and the Chaotix followed. More guards were there with guns trained on the psychopath. The guard who'd opened the door joined the convoy, regarding Joker with more hatred than hesitation. "So, you're back," he said. "You killed three of my crew when you busted outta here."
"Only three?" Joker remarked, laughing again. "I'll be sure to try harder next time. What say we aim for a hundred?"
The convoy passed through a security door and into a small lobby. Waiting at the front desk, working with a sign-in sheet, was a man all three of Team Chaotix were happy to see.
Charmy buzzed into the air and flew to the desk. "Commissioner Gordon!"
And so it was. White hair, glasses, an impressive mustache, and a sidearm strapped to the side of his gray vest and white shirt. It was hard not to miss him amongst the dark blues of Arkham's security force.
Espio smirked as Joker was carried on ahead. "Long night, Jim?"
Gordon smirked at Charmy and shook hands with both Vector and Espio. "Joker invades City Hall and holds the mayor hostage, leaving it to me to juggle SWAT teams, the media, and you!" As they walked down the hall after Joker, he said, "Yeah, it's been a helluva night."
"Hopefully," Vector said, putting extreme emphasis on the word, "the last one we'll ever have with the Joker."
A computer monitor displayed security footage of Joker's convoy as it made its way through the holding cell blocks.
The security officer in charge of this particular office was prone on the floor, either unconscious or dead. The current occupant was watching the feed rather impatiently, putting her two thigh-high boots – one red, one blue – on the desk.
"Yeah, it's been a helluva night."
"Hopefully, the last one we'll ever have with the Joker."
The saboteur grinned to herself. "Yeah, right!"
They finally reached Patient Handover, a checkpoint with a lobby room and a WayneTech security gate guarding a group of cells. The security gates basically created electric force fields, preventing patients or unauthorized personnel from passing through.
Waiting for them was a doctor and a security officer. "Hold it right there!" the officer called out as the Joker's convoy approached. "Sorry, guys, Arkham staff only."
Gordon wasn't entirely deterred. "I assure you, Espio is more than qualified..."
"Ah listen, I appreciate the assistance..." the officer interrupted, "but he'll unsettle the more violent inmates."
Joker was taken off the restraining chair and put back in handcuffs. "I think he was talking about you, Essy!" Giggling as he was escorted through the security gate, he said, "Don't be a stranger! You're always welcome here. Gotta say, it's good to be back!"
Team Chaotix was forced to watch as Joker laughed his way down the ramp to the platform ahead. Commissioner Gordon noticed the grim faces of all three of them. "You okay?"
Charmy hopped off Vector's back and took flight. "He surrendered almost without a fight."
"He's got something planned," Espio agreed as they moved into the lobby.
Gordon wasn't too concerned. As they watched Joker through reinforced glass, he said, "At least he's back where he belongs."
The electric gate powered back up, cutting them off from Joker. Joker glanced back at the gate for a moment, then suddenly stumbled to his knees.
"Get up!" the guard shouted. "Now!"
Joker responded by slamming his head into the officer's jaw, breaking a few teeth and completely stunning him.
"Joker's loose!" Vector announced. "Tell the Warden!"
By this point, Joker was strangling the guard with his handcuffs. The doctor, seeing only one way to save the officer, started fumbling at the handcuffs. "Hurry!" Joker taunted him. "We're losing him, Doc!"
Vector slammed a massive fist into the reinforced glass, which cracked and buckled but didn't break.
The handcuffs were off. Joker let the guard collapse, and then kicked the doctor to the ground. As one last parting shot, he leaned over the unconscious guard's body and whispered, "The choke's on you."
Joker pranced around the holding cell platform, laughing and dancing like a little kid, before finally pointing up the ramp at the next security gate and shouting, "Ta-daaa!"
The super-criminal looked straight into one of the security cameras. "Honey, I'm home!"
"Come on in!" his partner in crime replied as she swiped a card through a nearby terminal.
The force field shut off. At that moment, Vector the Crocodile charged through the glass window and jumped onto the holding cells platform below it. Joker immediately dashed up the ramp and got behind the security gate, which reactivated as soon as he was clear.
Spreading his arms out, Joker announced, "Welcome to the madhouse, Team Chaotix! I set a trap, and you sprang it gloriously!!"
Vector, for the moment, was standing alone in the middle of the platform. But the force fields guarding a couple of the cells opened up, releasing three of Joker's muscle-bound thugs.
As the henchmen clenched their fists and approached Vector, Joker said in his most sinister voice, "Now let's get this party started."