"Papillion! That's who I feel like right now," said Harley Quinn, to the four dead men staggering around outside in the prison yard. They couldn't hear her over the rain, as they sloshed through puddles, occasionally falling face-down down in the mud where they sometimes stayed for several minutes before rising again.
Her stomach growled. She sat down on her cot, the only bit of furniture in her cell besides the toilet. It was the middle of the night and she doubted breakfast was gonna be served in the morning. Stretching out, she got ready for another long night of staring at the ceiling, watching shadows cast by the dying fires outside flicker and sway.
At some point, she was gonna have to bust herself out. She could do it, easily, but not quietly, and since her time in Raccoon City had left her with a pretty good idea of what to expect from an Umbrella-brand zombie outbreak, she thought it best to wait for her shambling friends to get a bit soggier before she raised any kind of ruckus.
A good, sober line of thinking, except the mad fire lights on the ceiling made her think about things she'd rather not, memories she'd gladly trade for a dozen zombies or mutants trying to take a bite out of her ass.
She was thinking up one-liners to use in case a mutant did bite her ass when she heard a noise from the dark room outside her cell. Nothing. A rat, maybe. Nah, there was someone there, standin' right in front of the bars, she knew it without lookin'. Harley kept still until she heard the dull ring of a bar being tapped, then bolted upright.
"Mr. J! Aww, I knew you'd... aw, crap!"
"Doctor Quinzel? Is that you?" said the one standing in the dark beyond the bars.
Harley clenched her fists, thought of fire, hoping to burn the image of a grinning, chalk-white face from her mind's eye. "I didn't turn to a life of clown-themed crime to be called 'Doctor Quinzel,' thank you very much... Batgirl!"
"Are you hurt?" said Batgirl.
All Harley could see of her was the yellow inlay of her cape and the line of her jaw. Far less imposing than Batman himself, and less flashy than the Boy Wonder, Batgirl was often underestimated, but never by Harley.
"No, I ain't hurt," said Harley. "As a matter of fact, this is one of the nicer prisons I been in."
"What happened here? It looks like there was an attack."
"Sounded like it, too," said Harley, sitting with her back against the concrete wall, remembering the bombing raid from the night before. At first she'd thought one hell of a thunderstorm had hit the island, but thunderstorms were only rarely accompanied by multiple explosions and a zombie-outbreak. "You gonna let me the hell outta here sometime tonight? The toilet don't work no more, ya see, and..."
"I'll get you out, but first I have to know what's going on."
"Pfft. Like you don't know," said Harley. "Let me guess, you talked to Catwoman, or maybe to Ivy, and one or both of 'em told ya how much fun we all had in Raccoon City. How is old Raccoon doin' these days, anyway? I haven't been gettin' the papers."
Batgirl's mouth stiffed and Harley braced for the worst. Romping through a zombie-infested city had been kinda fun, but Haley hadn't been too keen on the notion of a zombie-infested planet.
"The official story is that one of Umbrella's secret nuclear reactors experienced a meltdown," said Batgirl, sneering at the cover story.
"So, no global zombie apocalypse?" said Harley.
"Not yet. And to keep there from ever being one, I need to find out what's been happening on this island. What do you know?"
"I know I ain't sayin' squat until you let me out and hook me up with a Granola bar or somethin'," said Harley. "I'm so hungry I could eat brains."
"Please don't. I'll let you out, but I'm warning you, don't try anything funny. This isn't the time."
"I'll be a good little girl, don't worry," said Harley. "Though I will be crackin' wise the entire time, and generally bein' my usual, whimsical self."
"I can't wait," Batgirl grumbled, kneeling to pick the cell door's lock. She had it open in a few seconds and Harley stepped out, twirling like a ballerina across the room to a particular locker where she'd seen the guards lock up her stuff.
During her processing, she'd been tripped naked, hosed down, and deloused. They'd have shaved her bald had she not promised to bite out the eyes of whoever touched her. While her body was left squeaky clean, there was no saving her leathers. The gross, mutant goo they'd been covered in was pretty well baked into them and they'd been thrown out. Even after the hosing down, Harley's skin smelled like formaldehyde and forbidden science for days.
What she now sought from the locker was her makeup kit.
"We don't have time for that," said Batgirl as Harley covered her face in white greasepaint, using a dirty mirror over a deep sink to see what she was doing.
"You had time to dress up like a bat this morning, so now I got time to do this," said Harley, applying her lipstick, then her black domino mask. She finished it all off by tying her greasy blond hair into pigtails. Stepping back to look at the whole thing in the mirror, she saw she was once again Harley Quinn, or at least she was from the neck up; the rest of her was prisoner #3211.
"Damn it, I look like the late stages of a crappy action figure line," Harley said, clucking her tongue at the ill-fitting orange jumpsuit she wore. At least in Arkham the damn clothes were comfortable.
She followed Batgirl outside into an open area behind a chainlink fence. The rain had let up some, but Harley was still glad her facepaint was the special, water resistant kind only super villains could buy, otherwise she'd look real friggin' stupid right about now.
"I came here on a speedboat," said Batgirl. "I left it down by the beach. You'll be safe there while I snoop around, and there's a bag of Doritos in the glove compartment. You can talk to me over a radio."
"Doritos? What flavor?"
"Uh, cool ranch, I think?"
"Mmm," Harley moaned. "I hope it's a big bag."
Harley had always wanted to hot-wire the Batboat and steal it, so she let Batgirl lead her out of the fenced area and down a washed-out gravel road that wound all the way down to the beach. It would've been a nice walk if not for the rain, the dark, and the frigid blackness of the waves.
The Batboat was almost invisible, colored like it was, until Batgirl pushed a button on her utility belt that made the top slide open. Inside looked cozy, with two seats and all sorts of blinking lights and monitors. Harley imagined being nestled inside, out of the rain and the cold, eatin' Doritos while Batgirl handled all the zombie and monster bullshit. All Harley needed to top it off was a cup of hot cocoa, and she refused to believe there wasn't a bat-cocoa dispenser somewhere in the boat.
Harley peered over Batgirl's shoulder. Sitting on the bat-seat was a very un-batlike bomb, just a white package with a timer and wires stickin' out. Both women, having been blown up before, knew they'd never get clear of the blast in time, and on instinct threw themselves to the ground and covered the backs of their heads, praying most of the blast force would be directed up and away from them, and not into their bodies.
Their prayers were answered, but only barely. Harley felt as if she'd been hit in the back with a molten sledgehammer. It was a full minute before she could even stand up, much less hear the rain and crackling flames over the ringing in her ears.
"You think the Doritos are okay?" said Harley, watching Batgirl stagger to her feet in the light of the burning Batboat.
"What!? No! There were never any Doritos!"
So the Doritos were a lie, just like everything else, thought Harley, trying to shake the ringing from her ears. She must've messed herself up good this time, the ringing was different somehow, more like... screeching.
"Do you hear that?" said Batgirl, tweaking one of the bat ears on her cowl. Green lenses slid over the eye holes in the cowl and she looked down the beach to where the screeching was coming from.
Harley shook her head, realized the screeching wasn't her damaged eardrums but something else, something coming closer, and fast.
"Run! Run, now!" said Batgirl.
Harley took off after her, knowing that when one of the Bats was scared, that usually meant some scary stuff was comin' from the other direction.
"What are we runnin' from? Our problems?" Harley shouted.
"Monsters! Lots of them!" shouted Batgirl, taking from her utility belt a handful of what looked to Harley like marbles. "Watch out!" She scattered the tiny balls behind her. After running another fifty yards, the balls started exploding. Harley glanced back to catch a glimpse of whatever was tripping Batgirl's flash-bang mines.
"Humanoid" was the nicest thing she could say about them.
The next thing Batgirl pulled from her belt was her grappling hook gun, which she fired at the top of the cliff. Harley clung tight to Batgirl as the gun retracted the line, pulling them both up the side of cliff. Below them, in the dark by the sloshing sea, the creatures tried to scramble up the side of the rock face, hissing and screeching.
Climbing over the edge of the cliff onto flat ground, Harley and Batgirl found themselves on the same washed out road they'd been on before. The rain, now a drizzle, didn't cover the sound of the monsters trying to climb.
"What... that was a bomb, right?" said Batgirl.
"That or the airbag needs a recall," said Harley.
"Somebody... somebody planted it there... attached a short timer... who, and why?"
Harley shrugged, just as baffled as her companion. "Let's check out the mess hall," she said. "After that, I'll show ya where I think there's an airport."
"Yeah, good idea. We need to secure a way off the island before anything else," said Batgirl.
Harley's stomach growled. The Sneetches by the beaches were no longer emitting screeches, which comforted her not at all. "You can do what you want, I'm securing me a sandwich," said Harley, stomping off in the mud towards the mess hall.
To be continued...