|Knightfall The Obsession Begins
Author: qbo PM
Intro chapter to a Batman fanfiction idea that came to me based on a sequel to The Dark Knight. It tells how a certain villain may have had his origins and how he could have been introduced to Nolan's concept of the Batman mythos. PLEASE CRITIQUERated: Fiction K+ - English - Mystery/Adventure - & Joker - Words: 2,578 - Published: 01-01-12 - id: 7697098
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The door opened and a man entered the house. Closing the door behind him, shutting out the cold Gotham City night, he stood in the corridor and sighed audibly.
"Infernal fools, all of them", he said out loud as he removed his long overcoat and neatly hung it on the coat hook behind the door. He adjusted his glasses and stretched his arms up in an attempt to relieve some of the day's tension. Standing five feet ten inches, he was not a tall man, but the muscles of his broad torso rippled beneath the black sweater he wore.
He moved through the house, entering the living room, and seated himself at the workstation and desk in the corner of the room. He slowly and idly spun around in the rotating office chair and thought while his eyes drifted over the room. The room itself was spacious on account of it being so sparsely furnished. The sole furnishings in the room were an armchair, a medium-sized couch and a small side table nestled between them. The opposite the couch was a wall-mounted flat screen television connected to a modest, yet adequate audio system. The walls themselves were also sparsely decorated. On the wall behind the couch was a large map of Gotham City, adjacent to which was a map of the world. The room itself was immaculately tidy, without any sign of clutter visible. The atmosphere of the room was one of functionality and practicality rather than a sign of personal expression through décor.
The neatness of the room contrasted the man's mind for his mind was full of thoughts of what had transpired today and what had happened in Gotham City over the last several months. It had all began with a spate of violent and bizarre deaths and murders witnesses claimed that the perpetrator was unlike any other criminal that police had seen. He was seen raving and taunting his victims before killing them, or sometimes he would spare them, but leave them so traumatized that their statements to the police were little more than crazed babbling. Throughout the jabbering nonsense and wild stories about his painted face and deranged laughter, there was one word that kept reappearing… "Joker".
"The Joker", as he called himself, finally made himself known through a brazen robbery of Gotham National Bank, a bank that served as a front for the money laundering operations for the local mob syndicates. From what the police investigations had been able to determine, The Joker had offered to do the seemingly undoable, to kill Batman. He killed some of the gang leaders and assumed control of their organizations. From then on Joker played a game of cat and mouse with Batman and the GCPD. Dozens were left dead from both sides of the weeks of siege. Politicians, criminals, police, common bystanders… Joker did not care who was victim of his relentless carnage. Eventually, after a gruelling confrontation with Batman, Joker was captured by the GCPD. Gotham breathed in relief, for the nightmare seemed to be over… but that, was when the trouble truly began.
During The Joker's self-declared war on Gotham City, Batman had been determined to be a suspect in the murders of two police officers and the former District Attorney, Harvey Dent. This left Batman on the run from the police, who no longer adopted an attitude of silent consent, but were now actively hunting for the lone vigilante. While hunt for Batman was on, plans were in motion for the trial of The Joker. The problem with trying The Joker was that even though the man had left a trail of death and mayhem in his path, he had no identity. The police had so far been unable to identify him. There were no matches with any DNA, dental, fingerprint, hospital or criminal records. The man was essentially a ghost. Even though at the time, GCPD had Joker in custody, without any way to establish an identity, the police had a trail of crimes, but nobody to charge.
The man drifted out of his train of thought back to reality. He stood and left the room and proceeded to the bedroom. This room also shared the same minimal décor of the living room. Here too there was a workstation in the corner of the room, opposite a double bed. The only difference in here was that the remaining wall space was dominated with bookcases and bookshelves. Filling the bookshelves were books and journals relating to medicine, with particular emphasis on psychology and psychiatry. From one of the shelves, the man removed a framed medical school diploma bearing his name. He looked over his name and thought of the history that had led him towards a career in medicine.
He had been an orphan and spent the first six years of his life in the care of the state. He finally had been adopted. His foster father was a retired army colonel with no family. He was a strict man who instilled in him order and discipline. Any lessons in obedience that were forgotten were reinforced by a swift strike from his father's hand. His father had intended him to join the army, as he had, but as he grew older, he developed considerable short-sightedness, which removed any chance of him joining the army and necessitated the glasses he wore.
Since he was unable to become the ideal army man that his father had envisaged, he decided to become an intellectual ideal. Throughout his early schooling, he had maintained high, if not perfect marks – his father's hand was a powerful motivator – and subsequently had applied to medical school with a full scholarship. While in university, his father demanded of him that as well as cultivating his mind, he develop his body as well, so he trained him. His father trained him in all the physical skills he learned, all of his physical conditioning exercises, the combat skills, the survival techniques. This steady diet of stern – and sometimes brutal – physical training had honed his body into the lean toned form he now carried in adulthood.
Following his graduation from medical school, he decided to pursue psychiatry. He supposed it may have been partially an attempt to understand why his father had driven him to succeed so hard. It may have also been an attempt to understand himself since he had no real identity to speak of, having spent his early life as a ward of the state and the rest of his life up to that point being moulded by his domineering father. Whatever the reason, he found himself driven to understand the human mind and it's mysteries. He was accepted into a psychiatry position at Gotham University and rapidly rose to prominence within the department ranks. It was during this time that his father had suddenly died in a traffic accident. He felt not true sense of loss or remorse at his father's passing. He was not truly surprised by this, as his strict upbringing had told him to go through life with precision and efficiency. For him and for his father before him, life went on - business as usual.
It was his position as psychiatrist that led him to the case involving The Joker. His reputation for dealing with patients especially the deeply disturbed and criminally inclined was the main reason that the police had selected him to analyse The Joker for his supposed trial. He had met The Joker multiple times for evaluation sessions. Inwardly, he supposed that his reaction to The Joker would have seemed inappropriate. He was not disgusted by his dirty, painted face, not intimidated by his whimsical stories of his brutal crimes. He was above all else… intrigued. The Joker talked of his plans, his plot to spread chaos throughout Gotham, his assassination attempts on the mayor and Harvey Dent, his kidnapping of Dent and his lover Rachel Dawes. He spoke of the explosions that killed her and left Dent disfigured and relished his skill at manipulating Batman and the GCPD into saving Dent while letting her perish, effectively breaking Dent's spirit. He talked at length of his "social experiment" involving the bombs placed aboard the two ferries in Gotham Bay, one filled with prisoners from Blackgate Prison and the other filled with panicked citizens trying to escape the city.
Through it all there was one thing that was clear to the man, that even though Joker was insane, there was still method to his madness. A mind could not have conceived such a plan without some degree of rationale on some level. The question with The Joker was "how?" How was such a mind created? What sort of horrors moulded him into the meticulous sociopath who had almost brought Gotham to it's knees? He had to know.
In his reports on The Joker, he had stated that the subject was clearly mentally unstable, but rational enough to stand trial. He had advocated a transfer to The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for The Criminally Insane, preferring to examine him more as a patient than as a subject to be analysed for the police. In truth he wanted less restricted access to The Joker, so that he could study him for his own curiosity. He managed to convince his superiors to authorize the transfer, though they were wary of the thought of The Joker not being locked away under the watch of the police. Their concerns were proven a few weeks after being admitted to Arkham Asylum. The Joker had overpowered and attacked several guards, leaving two dead and 4 more severely injured. After that incident, mayor, Police Commissioner Gordon and several other high raking city officials had mandated that Joker be transferred to Blackgate Prison. He was no longer to be considered for psychiatric evaluation; he was just another criminal to be tried. The transfer to Blackgate would also prove to have been a costly error.
While in Blackgate, The Joker, though under high security, had managed to somehow communicate orders to other inmates. He had apparently faked an episode of illness and was en route to the prison infirmary, however a group of inmates attacked the guards, and Joker broke free. He joined the fight and spurred more prisoners to join the attack. A small fight became a large fight, attacks started occurring across the cellblock, eventually becoming a full scale riot throughout an entire wing of the prison. Based on later investigations, it seemed that Joker had managed to gain access to the basement where the boilers and emergency generators were located. He had sabotaged the machinery there causing fires to erupt from the basement and spread through the building, further adding to the anarchy. Police and SWAT had established a perimeter around Blackgate and were planning on storming the prison to retake control with special emphasis on The Joker – capture if possible, eliminate if necessary. Before they could enter the prison however, Batman showed up on scene. He entered the prison compound intent on capturing Joker. It wasn't known exactly what had happened with Batman inside, but, later on Batman was seen fighting Joker on one of the burning roofs. Fires had ravaged the building, weakening the structure. Eventually the building collapsed into the inferno. Batman had managed to jump to safety and escape, but Joker had not. After the flames had died and the police and guards managed to regain control of the prison, Joker's partially burned body was found. Joker was finally dead, his remains being identified from the unmatchable records from his first capture. He had died as he had appeared in Gotham, cloaked in mystery and surrounded by chaos.
The man replaced his diploma on the shelf, walked to his walk in closet, and picked up a pair of sweatpants and a towel. He changed into the sweatpants and, remaining bareback and went back into the living room. He stood in the centre of the room and began stretching and loosening his muscles. He then started exercising, practicing techniques from various physical disciplines and martial arts, Yoga, Karate, Krav Maga, Arnis, and others. His movements were purposeful and his form was perfect. He continued his practice as he remembered the fallout from the events at Blackgate.
In the aftermath of the riot, the city officials looked for somewhere to place the blame for the situation becoming the disaster that it had. The riot had more far-reaching effects than just the immediate destruction. Due to the damage to the Blackgate compound, many prisoners were transferred to the smaller, less well equipped, already overcrowded Gotham State Prison, turning it into a possible powder keg of tension. The police and public maintained that had Joker been treated as a common criminal and remained in high security custody, instead of his transfer to Arkham, the Blackgate transfer would not have been necessary and the riot wouldn't have occurred. City officials pointed blame at the medical boards for allowing the transfer to Arkham, and the medical board had insisted that the man had been in error for suggesting the Arkham transfer. He was the psychiatrist responsible for evaluating The Joker, so it seemed – to them at least – that he should shoulder blame. They had offered him as a scapegoat to satisfy the police's desire for someone to blame.
This evening the medical board had summoned him to meeting in one of the hospital conference rooms. It had been decided that he be suspended until further notice effective immediately. Even though it had not been said, it was clear that this decision was just to appease the city; this was just – as his father would have thought – another case of business as usual. From his observations of his superiors during the meeting, he had not gotten any impression that he would be back soon, if ever. Following the meeting he had returned to his office, packed up and left to go home.
Two hours later, he had finished his nightly exercise. He was with dripping with sweat, but he felt invigorated, relieved of some of the day's tensions. To be honest, he was not angered about the removal from his post. The thing that he regretted most was the lost chance to study a mind that had interested him unlike any other he had personally encountered. A chance like that would not come along again he felt. The only other mind that could possibly compare was the mind of the man Joker had pitted himself against… Batman. Though fascinated by the mind of The Joker, Batman also was a remarkable specimen. His role in analysing The Joker however had granted him access only to police intelligence on Joker, but not on Batman. Many times while working on the case of The Joker, he had found himself thinking of Batman and what information the police might have on him in their archives. He subsequently saw Batman now as the only other subject worth studying.
As he started towelling off the sweat, the phone in the corridor rang. He wiped the sweat off of his bald head and beard before answering the phone.
"Hello," he said.
"Hello, may I please speak with Professor Hugo Strange?" the voice replied.
"Speaking," he answered.
"Professor, this is Mayor Garcia," the voice sounded strained. "There is something I want to discuss with you."