In the shadows of Gotham, there is an urban legend whispered by those who lived in the city. There were monsters and boogeymen, women who were said to enchant, and men who were capable of producing fear with smiles alone. There were those who were capable of defying the very laws of God and physics as none of them could. They were the Rogues of Gotham countered by the darkness itself. A man who shrouded himself in the image of a bat. His partnerships were famous for the sheer intensity of their brief hours. Only a few were capable of claiming a working trust with the Batman on those occasions.
The first came from a man that existed as the lone voice of reason with no discernible identity. He acted as a mentor and father to the growing young man before he became the Batman. Later, he acted as a conspirator and aided him in his battle against the wretched foes that had destroyed his family.
Later came James Gordon, a reluctant partner to the man who stayed so easily in the shadows. Sharing information about ongoing investigations, arrests, the smaller victories, and subsequent failures. He was known for being as hard to stop as the Batman.
The third came in the form of the Batman's youngest ally. Young Robin, the boy that was capable of balancing the darkness his guardian carried with him. He showed the bat's humanity when others feared needlessly. Robin was the one the Batman relied on to get the victims and innocents away from the battle. Robin was the one that showed the villains the Batman's weakness…
…and Robin was the one they quickly began to understand was truly untouchable. Batman was as human as any of them and that reason alone made him all the more fearsome.
It was like a routine of a broken record. Jagged edges would march to the tune of Gotham's needle until the crack in its black surface would leap under the needle, breaking the rhythm of Gotham's crime network. Turns were taken at odd moments over the course of years. New and old criminals quickly learned that the Batman usually knew when there was a gimmick in the works. He would drop in on them at the most unexpected moments or lead the cops themselves directly into the fray while he kept them distracted from getting away.
Robin leaned over the side of the building he was monitoring, a pair of binoculars loosely held between his fingers against his eyes as he watched a black shape streak across the darkened Gotham skyline directly towards the middle of an old apartment building. There were few people living in the building and few of them were actually home this late at night as many of them were of the less savory type. The Batman had brought them to this location at the behest of Jim Gordon. Rumors around Gotham stated that a minor gang working for Penguin was slipping precious objects and money through the area directly to their boss.
"You don't tinker with the tech," Terry stated under his breath. His blue eyes narrowed on the sparking circuit board and cut off the deranged laughter left by the Jokerz the last attempt at tormenting the city. Connecting with the GCPD's master computer had let in a virus that was causing plenty of havoc in the cities own systems. Discovering the virus while Wayne was out of town had been the frosting on his problem. "You especially don't let friends tinker with the car."
His tone of voice darkened into a near growl over the word friends as he unstrapped the safety harness from over his chest and pushed on the emergency release for the cars sliding back top. The vehicle was designed for optimal response times without sacrificing the hard won technology that had been provided by the league when they would run themselves into debt with the original Batman when they had requested his aid. Bruce had spent many months calling in the favors owed to him by other heroes when Terry had first started as Batman in Gotham. Often earning the teenager a crash course of various types in all the different methods a hero could use to obtain, stall, and detain criminals.
…. Then they had decided to ask both Bats to test an experimental type of Boom-tube for long distance travel.
The virus had gotten past the security protocols, altered the destination information, and promptly spat both Bat and vehicle out at something Terry just knew was going to get him into trouble. Dawn had revealed the horizon Terry had only ever experienced in simulations and seen in historic vids at school. Old town Gotham was the territory of crooks like Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and the Joker. The teenaged Batman pulled himself out of the vehicle as he attempted to figure out his precise location in relation to the original Bat's current mission and likely hood of understanding or even accepting his own story.
The first thing he needed was to get both himself and his ride out of sight with as few complications as possible. There was no doubt he would need some kind of help. Early Bat years had been as complicated as his own start had been. Relying on the cops was definitely not going to be helpful. Attempting to reach the league would only draw unsolicited attention from groups Terry would prefer to keep in the dark about his presence. Getting Wayne's attention would be complicated unless he set out to actually draw the man's alter ego to his location.
Of course, this being Gotham as compared to any other city, chances were best taken if he took immediate action. Which meant going straight to Wayne either in his office or to his home? Terry lifted a brow at the brightening sky as he weighed the two most obvious options. The complications of a brightening sky added pressure he really didn't need. There was the off chance his crash into the top of a building would bring the media down on his location. Of course, there was also the chance of cops and the added incentive of his Boss's presence to keep him from moving too far away. Criminal elements being what they were would also eventually turn up regardless of where or how things would have to be handled.
"So, reporters, cops, criminals, and predecessors." Terry ticked off on his fingers. His masked head tilted back to the fire escape and the not so secure door that led to the inside of the building. He was reluctant to just leave his car exposed to the world with all the essential information anyone would need about the future. Looking at the inside of his car, Terry dug around for his phone. The mobile had been specially developed for integration into other systems in mind. All he really needed was a telephone line and he would be able to call any number in the city.
Further analysis of the situation he was in was useless. Using the accelerated strength of his suit, Terry forced the hood of the car back into position, secured it with a wireless beacon if anyone happened across the car, and headed for the stairs where he promptly wrenched the door's lock open to access the inside of the building. The green and red presence on the other side of the door halted Terry's tracks before they even began.
"Robin." he drawled, his brow lifting slightly beneath his mask as the older Boy Wonder echoed his own look. The teenaged Batman took a step back when the domino-masked vigilante took a step forward until they were back on the roof. Terry's fingers arced slightly as he began watching the other teenager for signs of aggression as a flick of his wrist closed the door behind him.
"Want to tell me why you're dressed up like that?" the dark haired teenager asked the Tomorrow Knight.
"It's complicated," Terry responded. His attention divided itself between Robin and other potential threats as he began to assess just where the Original Bat might be. Of course, there was the chance that Batgirl was located by if they were not watching the exchange.
"I've got time." Robin countered. "So, I'm Robin. That would make you…?"
Terry smirked. "Batman."
Robin narrowed his brows at the punk's answer as he halted beside the debris of what looked liked a collapsed version of the Batplane. "Cute. Now, how about a real answer."
"Your real name is Richard Grayson. People often refer to you as Dick," the pretender stated with enough confidence that Robin's steps faltered just enough to give the guy his confirmation. "As for your boss, well, he likes to refer to himself as Batman while the rest of the world refers to him as Bruce. Should I stop now or would you like me to tell you the name of the butler too?"
Terry knew his mouth was going to get him into trouble. In this case, however, it served as just enough of a distraction to allow him to flip over the bolos that had been aimed at him from behind, with just enough time to cut the second pair in half with a projectile Batarang of his own. He had fired his own shot the moment his sensors had picked up the nearly silent hiss of the first device even if the original Batman's weight had thrown them both to the ground. Terry rolled; bring the ends of his gauntlets to bear and shredding the older man's cape as he slipped across the ground.
So, he was considered a threat now? "Not schway." Terry spat out, his second Batarang falling easily into his hand as the Dynamic Duo twisted to face him.
The red edges of his own tech glinted under the rising sun as the first Dark Knight resettled his stance and Robin revealed a collapsible bo staff from under his cape.
"We could talk this out?" he suggested, his left hand drifting towards his belt where the invisibility function waited to be used. He really was not in the mood for this to turn into a full out fight… Especially when he needed both of them to stand down so he could actually explain.
"What's your angle?" Batman demanded, his tone dark with promises of what Terry figured meant a lot of pain if he did not answer promptly. The younger Gotham Knight snorted.
"I'm just trying to figure out if you'll believe me or not," Terry responded, echoing his earlier thoughts aloud for the two vigilantes. "Or if you'd even want to believe me. I just know it would be really bad if the cops or media got a hold of the car."
"Car?" Robin mused as they watched the other 'Batman' slip his weapon away into his belt. The guy had a way of taking down their assumptions as he stepped to the side to give one of them a chance to get a good look at what he was describing. The sun caught against the tinted window, bouncing off as Bruce picked up the gadget the person had planted on top of the car with a pair of micro pliers. Examining the blinking light on the bottom, Batman eventually tucked it into his own belt pouch.
"I expect answers." Batman declared as he pulled a remote device from one of his belts compartments to summon the bat-jet to their location. The unknown watched as the prongs on the bat plane parted to pick up his transportation's weight only after Robin had taken a hold of the piloting.
Terry's eyes turned back to Bruce the moment the Boy Wonder pulled away from the building to take a spiraled route back to where ever the plane had come from. Both Knights waited until the two vehicles were gone before Bruce stepped up to the edge of the building. The gleam of a jump cable and grapple earned another humorous smile on the younger vigilante's lips as the man waited.
"I assume you have a way down." Bruce acknowledged, setting out a test for the unknown to see just how much was true. The young man responded without any words, simply stepped up onto the ledge beside him, looked around for a moment before stepping off. Bruce felt his heart leap before a pair of what resembled red bat-wings slipped into his line of vision and the young man fell with controlled practice to the street below. He waited beside the car as Bruce followed at a far more controlled pace.
His mind had already focused on the few telling signs he had picked up. The unknown had troubling information on his family and himself. His costume was colored matte black and aside from the red bat symbol would blend easily into dark environments. The batarangs were more complex than the simple designs he readily used. After Robin had collected the single device the unknown had used the bolo cables, he predicted that the material they were made of was stronger. That left how the other bat had neatly twisted out of what should have been a classic capture method.
The hood of his car slid back before Bruce ordered the smaller figure to get in. The lack of conversation left the two of them with their thoughts as he considered the information the unknown had let them have. His technology was advanced enough to give Bruce enough reason to throw his normal caution to the wind. Robin would have had enough time to alert Alfred to the additional company and proper measures would be put into place.
As soon as they were on the road, the younger 'Batman' began to speak. "I'm not sure how far back in time I've come, but the year I came from is 2040. I won't tell you anything except for how I made a mistake." he began, his voice carefully neutral. His mask never drifted off the road as Bruce listened, the man taking note of the care the unknown was taking with his information. "I was testing a fast response device for some allies when a computer virus sent everything haywire. Even with knowing the date there is a very small chance I'll actually be able to make it home."
Home. The way it was spoken gave the Batman a deeper knowledge than the other had meant to share. The unknown had something important beyond a similar mission if what he was saying was indeed true. The way the unknown spoke to him likewise revealed a long time familiarity with himself or at least to whoever had been responsible for the suit the red emblazoned Batman wore.
There was tension in the young man's shoulders, his muscles held in a way that told him the unknown had several means of defending himself. Knocking him out with the sleep gas would likely be ineffective. His mask probably contained some form of protection to rendering him completely blind as well. Analyzing the other had consumed most of the drive when his passenger spoke once more.
"I'm stuck here," he said, whether it was to Bruce or himself, the original Batman couldn't quite make out. He did know the young man was quite talkative, omitting only the information that would reveal too much about himself as far as actual words were concerned. That and the fact that he didn't object to Bruce's own silence. He was conscious of things Bruce wasn't quite sure he was comfortable with, reading the older bat with an experience that belied his discomfort in his presence. The other revealing bit of knowledge was the unknown relied on his suit to provide information that experience should have given him. That meant the unknown was either badly trained, a rookie, or both.
2040 was far enough into the future that the unknown was probably just struggling along.
There was a small chance he would have all the factors. There was an even smaller chance he would ever learn how this 'Batman' came to be. Only when he got the younger vigilante to the Cave would he be free to actually interrogate him. One thing he had revealed was his willing dependency on himself, Robin, and the information that he knew Alfred was in possession of by now. They had been careful not to damage the 'car' which he would be able to examine. The fragment of technology he had slipped into one of his belt pouches would help figure out the mystery of the vigilante's story.
All it would take was a little investigation and work on his part. His eyes narrowed under his mask as he finished processing the abundant information about the unknown and brought the car to a roaring halt within the cave. It was time to get his unwanted guest secured and find out what his partner had learned about the others transportation.