Author's note: Welcome to my new fanfic series. I used to love watching Batman Beyond back in the day, and I recently decided to rewatch the entire series (plus the movie and the various crossover episodes). With a Batwoman series coming, I thought giving Batwoman the Beyond treatment made sense; the timing was right.
Regarding time placement and continuity, this series picks up during Return of the Joker and then goes through the remaining episodes of season 3 and beyond the end of the series. I'm going by the timeline as reckoned by Watchtower Database, so please watch that video, if you have any questions. I am completely disregarding all of the comics, past and present, sticking to the show only. This particular chapter occurs during Return of the Joker and Out of the Past.
Later chapters will deal with heavy subject matter, such as white supremacy, rape, and homophobia, so consider yourself forewarned.
Please enjoy this chapter. Feedback is appreciated.
Times written: Thursday, August 1, 2019, 9:47 PM - 9:56 PM, 10:13 PM - 10:23 PM; Friday, August 2, 2019, 8:45 PM - 9:14 PM; Saturday, August 3, 2019, 10:37 PM - 10:48 PM; Sunday, August 4, 2019, 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM; Monday, August 5, 2019, 1:28 PM - 1:39 PM, 2:23 PM (actually 2:25 PM because of fucking mom) - 2:43 PM; Tuesday, August 6, 2019, 8:32 PM - 8:55 PM; Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 12:15 PM - 12:25 PM; Thursday, August 8, 2019, 11:03 AM - 11:18 AM; Friday, August 9, 2019, 9:39 AM - 9:52 AM; Saturday, August 10, 2019, 3:32 PM - 3:45 PM; Sunday, August 11, 2019, 12:40 PM - 12:50 PM; Monday, August 12, 2019, 10:00 AM - 10:18 AM; Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 9:49 AM - 9:59 AM; Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 10:02 AM - 10:17 AM; Thursday, August 15, 2019, 2:12 PM - 2:27 PM; Friday, August 16, 2019, 9:03 PM - 9:12 PM; Saturday, August 17, 2019, 10:00 AM - 10:13 AM; Sunday, August 18, 2019, 12:40 PM - 12:53 PM; Monday, August 19, 2019, 4:37 PM - 4:49 PM, 5:17 PM - 5:21 PM; Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 9:07 PM - 9:13 PM; Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 11:14 AM - 11:26 AM; Thursday, August 22, 2019, 2:39 PM - 2:51 PM; Friday, August 23, 2019, 9:56 AM - 10:27 AM, 10:42 AM - 10:58 AM; Saturday, August 24, 2019, 5:57 PM - 6:30 PM; Sunday, August 25, 2019, 9:41 AM - 9:54 AM, 11:52 AM - 12:21 PM, 12:31 PM - 12:41 PM; Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 9:17 AM - 9:41 AM; Thursday, August 29, 2019, 9:59 PM - 10:25 PM; Friday, August 30, 2019, 9:13 AM - 9:20 AM; Sunday, September 1, 2019, 9:40 AM - 9:55 AM, 1:29 PM - 1:36 PM, 2:13 PM - 2:36 PM; Monday, September 2, 2019, 12:17 PM - 12:45 PM; Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 10:06 AM - 10:44 AM; Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 11:24 AM - 11:54 AM; Thursday, September 5, 2019, 8:19 PM - 8:41 PM; Friday, September 6, 2019, 8:33 PM - 9:36 PM, 10:06 PM - 11:42 PM
The following story is copyright © 2019 by Mark Moore.
Chelsea Cunningham paced back and forth nervously as she waited on news of Dana's condition. Finally, she decided to walk up to the nurses' station. "Excuse me."
A nurse looked up at her. "Yes?"
"Any word on Dana Tan's condition?"
"And you are?"
Chelsea frowned. "Chelsea Cunningham. I rode here with her. I was told by the paramedics that initially treated her to come here, and I'd be updated on her condition."
The nurse checked her computer. "Dana Tan has been moved to room 302."
Chelsea went and took an elevator to the third floor, and then she sought out room 302. A doctor was just walking out of it.
"How is she?" Chelsea asked him.
"She's unconscious right now, but she's out of immediate physical danger. We won't know if there's any permanent damage unless she regains consciousness."
Chelsea gaped at him. "I was told she'd be fine. Don't you mean 'until'?"
The doctor paused. "Yes, of course."
"May I go in and see her?"
Chelsea walked into the room. Dana was lying in the bed, a white sheet raised up over her chest. She appeared to be asleep, but the machine monitoring her vitals reminded Chelsea that not all was well with her friend.
Chelsea brought a chair over and sat at Dana's bedside. She took out her cell phone and texted her friends about Dana's condition.
Soon, Bobbi "Blade" Sommer, Jackie Wallace, and Maxine "Max" Gibson arrived. They had each bought flowers from the hospital's gift shop and set them on the table next to Dana's bed.
"How is she? Any progress?" Blade asked.
Chelsea shook her head. "She hasn't woken up yet."
Blade, Jackie, and Max stared at Dana.
Chelsea did, too, for a while, but then she looked at Blade, Jackie, and Max. "Are you the only ones that decided to come? I texted a bunch of our friends."
Jackie looked at her. "Well, the others might be busy. They might be unable to get here right now."
"Well, I thought Terry, at least-"
Max looked at Chelsea. "Terry's probably busy with one thing or another. He works for Mr. Wayne, you know."
Chelsea frowned. "Yeah, I know. I've been trying to convince her that she can do better."
Max frowned. "Terry cares about her. It's just..." She paused, hesitating, unsure.
Chelsea raised an eyebrow.
Max shook her head. "Never mind. We're here. At least, she's not alone."
Chelsea paused, wondering if she should press Max for info, but then she decided to drop it and looked at Dana.
Chelsea was still sitting with Dana two hours later when she slowly woke up.
Dana groaned. "Wuh...? What happened? Where am I?"
"You're in the hospital. How are you feeling?"
"Like shit." Dana tried sitting up, felt dizzy, and flopped back down again.
"Hey, take it easy. Terry asked me to ride with you and stay with you until he arrived."
"And he hasn't yet?"
"No." Chelsea smiled. "But you've had a few visitors: Blade, Jackie, and Max. They brought you flowers."
Chelsea stood up. "I'll let the nurses know you're up." She turned and left the room.
"I still think you can do better than Terry McGinnis."
Dana rolled her eyes. "Chels, don't start."
"We've been talking for an hour, and he hasn't shown up."
Just then, they heard two knocks on the open door behind them.
They looked. Terry was standing there, holding a vase with a bouquet of flowers.
Dana smiled. "Hey."
Terry walked into the room, set the vase on the table, bent over, and kissed Dana on the lips.
Chelsea stood up. "I'll leave you two alone."
Terry looked at her. "You awake enough to drive home?"
"Well, I gotta catch a ride back to the club to pick up my car first. I'll get a Pow fizz out of the vending machine." Chelsea turned and walked away.
"Thanks for staying with her."
"No problem." Chelsea left the room.
She walked down the hall and stopped by the vending machine. She took out her credit card, paid, and selected a Pow fizz. The can was dispensed. She got it, popped it open, and started drinking as she walked to the elevator. She got in and selected the first floor. As the elevator moved, she watched the wall-mounted screen and saw some business listings. One of them caught her attention: martial arts classes at Hikawa Dojo.
Chelsea slept in late, but she eventually got up and decided to go down to the Hikawa Dojo, which was on the eastern outskirts of Gotham. It was actually located on the grounds of the Hikawa Shrine, a Shinto shrine. As soon as Chelsea passed through the torii and entered the grounds, she noticed a difference between the busy outside city and the peaceful quietness of the shrine. After consulting a map near the shamusho, she made her way to the dojo and entered. She walked over to a miko, who was doing duty as a receptionist.
Chelsea smiled. "Excuse me, I'd like to sign up for a class."
The miko smiled. "You'll have to speak with the sensei. She's teaching a class right now."
"May I go in and watch?"
"Sure. Please take off your shoes before you enter."
"Thanks." Chelsea walked over to the door, took off her shoes, set them to the side, and slid the door open.
A few students and an older, gray-haired woman - who Chelsea guessed was the sensei - looked at her. Chelsea stepped onto the training floor and slid the door closed behind her.
She stood back and watched the students practice. Some performed kata. Some sparred. Others broke boards or concrete blocks. The sensei sparred with a few of the more advanced students.
Eventually, the students cleaned up the dojo, and then the sensei led the students in the closing meditation, bowing to the Japanese flag, and bowing to each other. Then she dismissed the class.
Chelsea walked over to the sensei. "Excuse me."
The sensei looked at her. "Yes?"
"I'm interested in joining your class."
"Have you ever done any martial arts before?"
"Anything athletic? Sports?"
"I'm a cheerleader."
"Do you do any stunts?"
"Are you flexible?"
Chelsea smiled. "Yeah. My boyfriends can attest to that."
"I meant with your schedule."
Chelsea laughed. "Oh. Yeah. However, once school starts, I'll be free in the afternoon and evening only."
The sensei smiled. "We have classes throughout the day. Let's go to my office and discuss it."
They left the training floor and headed toward the sensei's office.
"I'm Kathleen, by the way. Call me Kathy."
Kathy opened the door to her office and let Chelsea go in first, and then she followed and closed the door behind her.
Kathy went over and sat behind her desk, and Chelsea sat in a chair in front of the desk.
"We offer classes in a few different styles. There's karate, which I teach. There's aikido, which my wife teaches; it focuses more on defense and not harming your attacker. There's jujutsu, which involves manipulating your attacker's force against him. There's judo, which involves throwing, taking down, or otherwise subduing your opponent."
Chelsea thought about it. "I'll go for karate."
"Any particular reason?"
Chelsea shook her head. "Not really."
"What do you hope to get out of the class?"
Chelsea was silent for a moment as she tried to collect her thoughts. "Recently, I was at a club with some friends, and we came under attack. All that I could do was hide. I feel so frustrated that I wasn't able to fight back."
"Sometimes, the smartest thing to do is hide."
"Well, I want to be able to do more."
"Okay. What time do you want to take the class?"
"Got anything in the evening?"
"7:00 PM on Mondays and Thursdays."
"That's fine. Oh, is it a beginner class?"
"It's open to all skill levels. Students at different levels will be given different things to practice."
"One-hundred creds per month. Payment is due up front."
Chelsea grinned and took out her credit card.
"I'd recommend also hitting the gym on days that you're not here, so you can build up some muscle."
Chelsea thought about it. "Yeah, okay."
Chelsea was lying on her bed, listening to music on her phone. There were a few knocks on her door.
"Yeah?" Chelsea called.
The door opened, and her father walked into the room.
"What's up?" Chelsea asked, pausing the music and pulling the earbuds out of her ears.
"Have you decided which college that you're going to yet?"
"Not yet." Chelsea thought for a moment. "Well, probably GSU. It's right here."
"And what are you planning on studying?"
"I don't know yet."
"Don't you think you ought to start thinking about it?"
"I've got a whole year. Lots of people don't even decide on their majors until after they start taking some basic classes."
"Chelsea, I will not fund your college education, if you don't take it seriously."
"I do take it seriously. I'm just not as hurried about it."
"Oh, that's right, because going out clubbing with your friends is more important."
Chelsea frowned. "I don't do that every night. Besides, I've got other things to do. I signed up for a karate class today - as well as a gym membership."
"Using my money."
"Using the allowance that you gave me."
"I see. Well, let's see how well you do without it."
Chelsea stared at him, stunned. He turned and left the room, closing the door behind him.
"Wow, overreact much?" Dana asked.
Chelsea shrugged. "Keep in mind that this is the same guy that sent me to that clinic simply for sending an e-mail."
Chelsea had driven over to Dana's to talk, and they were currently sitting at the kitchen table, eating brownies and drinking cola fizz.
"Without an allowance, how am I gonna pay for my class? Or the gym? Or car insurance? Or college?" Chelsea asked. "I'm gonna have to get a job."
Dana thought for a moment. "Do you wanna come and live here?"
"Huh?" Chelsea asked in surprise.
"Yeah. Move in. If it's okay with my dad."
"I sleep naked. Is that okay?"
Dana shrugged. "Fine by me. You'd have the guest room to yourself."
Chelsea smiled. "Okay, thanks."
"Hey, Dad!" Dana yelled.
Soon, her father walked into the room. "Yes?"
"Can Chelsea move in with us?" Dana asked him. "She's having...issues with her dad."
Mr. Tan looked at Chelsea. "And what guarantee do I have that I won't inherit these...issues?"
"You won't. I give you my word." Chelsea paused for a moment. "I'll contribute creds for food, and I'll buy my own clothes."
"Do you have a job?"
"I'll be looking for one."
Mr. Tan paused in consideration for a while. "Very well."
Chelsea grinned. "Thank you."
He nodded, got a fizz from the fridge, and left the room.
Chelsea hugged Dana in delight.
Mr. Cunningham walked into Chelsea's bedroom. "You wanted to see me?"
Chelsea was just zipping closed a suitcase. "Yeah. I'm moving out."
Chelsea turned to face him. "I'm moving out, Dad! I'm gonna be staying with Dana. Look, I'm almost eighteen. I can move out now or in January, but I really would prefer now. It's for the best."
Chelsea was a bit surprised that it was that easy, but she didn't question it. She picked up both suitcases and headed for the door.
During her first class, after learning some initial stances, kata, and meditation, Chelsea put on some protective gear, and she and Kathy sparred for a bit.
Kathy smiled. "You're doing okay, but you need to improve your reaction time. I hit you with a few easy punches that you should have been able to block."
Chelsea took off her protective gear. "Sorry. I've just had a lot on my mind. My dad and I had an argument, he cut off my allowance, and I moved out. I'm staying with a friend. Actually, I'm not sure I'll be able to afford the class anymore."
"Oh. That's too bad. You've definitely got potential."
"I don't wanna quit. I just need to find a job."
"Well, good luck."
That evening, Chelsea lay on her bed, searching for job openings on her laptop. There was a knock on her door.
The door opened, and Dana walked into the room. "Hey. Dinner'll be ready soon. I decided to bake a large pizza."
"How's the job hunt going?"
"No luck so far." Chelsea noticed something. "Hey, wait a sec. Deckard's Kitchen is looking for a waiter."
"Have you ever waited tables before?" Dana asked.
"No, but I've also never taken karate or lifted weights before until recently. I'll go in and apply tomorrow."
The next morning, Chelsea went to Deckard's Kitchen and over to the counter. A young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes was just coming out with a serving tray full of food and some drinks.
"Excuse me, I'm here about the waiter position."
"I'll let the owner know you're here. I just gotta serve this food first."
"Woo-hoo! I got the job!" Chelsea practically danced into the living room.
Dana and Terry, who were sitting on the couch, looked at her.
Dana smiled. "Congrats, Chels!"
"You got a job?" Terry asked her.
Chelsea was a bit surprised to see Terry here. "Yeah, at Deckard's Kitchen. I start tomorrow. Another waiter will be training me."
"Is he cute?" Dana asked.
"She. And yes. Her name's Melanie Walker."
Terry was surprised. "Oh. Really."
"Know her?" Chelsea asked.
Terry was hesitant. "Yeah."
Chelsea smiled. "Old girlfriend?"
"Never mind. It's in the past."
Dana frowned at him. Chelsea decided to head up to her room.
The weeks passed, and school started. Chelsea had been doing well in her karate class and gotten promoted. Her body became more toned and muscular.
One day, as school was letting out, she and Dana walked out to the student parking lot.
Chelsea was hesitant. "I don't mean to ditch you, especially with Terry out of town."
Dana looked at her. "Yeah, he went off somewhere with Mr. Wayne and one of his old girlfriends. Mr. Wayne's, I mean."
Chelsea looked at Dana. "I'll meet up with you later. There are some things that I gotta do."
Chelsea hopped into her car and drove off.
Chelsea kneeled in front of her mother's grave and set a bouquet of roses in front of the headstone. She stared at her mother's name in silence for a while, the wind rustling the leaves in the trees.
"Hi, Mom. I, um, I hope you like these roses. I know they're your favorite. I'm doing okay. Had it out with Dad, but I finally got outta there. I'm living with Dana now and just started senior year. Hell, you probably know that, right? I mean...why wouldn't spirits know everything?" Chelsea paused in silence for a moment, unsure of what to say. "Anyway, I love you. Bye."
Chelsea stood up, dusted off her skirt, turned, and walked away.
Chelsea pulled up, parked her car on the side of the street, and then checked to make sure she had the correct address. She hadn't been expecting this. Next to her was a tall tower built in an old, Gothic architectural style. A giant, old-fashioned clock face was on the front, street-facing side.
After confirming the address, Chelsea got out of her car and walked to the front entrance. She pressed the button on the intercom.
"Yes?" Kathy asked.
"Hi, Ms. Duquesne? It's Chelsea Cunningham. I've got that late payment that I promised. I just got paid."
"Okay, I'll buzz you in. Take the service elevator up to the loft."
The buzzer sounded. Chelsea opened the door and walked inside. The ground-floor area was empty and unfurnished. Chelsea made her way to the elevator and pressed a button. The doors opened, and she got in. The doors closed. Chelsea pressed the button for the loft, and the elevator started moving.
The elevator stopped, and the doors opened. Chelsea walked into the loft and looked around. It looked like a hipster's apartment. It was mostly colored shades of brown. There was a studio area with a couch and a television. There was also a painter's set-up nearby. Behind the studio area, there were some stairs going up to a slightly elevated living area. There was a small kitchen with a small fridge; no stove. There were two doors, presumably leading to a bedroom and a bathroom. Finally, there was a desk with an impressive computer set-up. The clock face was visible.
Kathy was sitting in the chair at the desk. She spun around and looked at Chelsea. "I've got a card reader over here."
Chelsea walked over to her. "You've got a nice place - and some schway gear."
Kathy smiled. "Thanks."
Chelsea took out her credit card and offered it to Kathy. Kathy took it and processed the payment.
Chelsea looked around the apartment. "I'm kinda surprised that you don't have a training area here."
"I don't live karate 24/7. This is my place to get away from all that and just relax."
"Why do you live in a big clock?" Chelsea asked.
Kathy laughed. "Because it was available. The city wanted to demolish the clock tower ten years ago, because it had sat dormant for so long after the previous tenants left. I offered to buy it for myself and my wife."
Kathy offered Chelsea's credit card back to her. Chelsea took it and put it away. They heard the elevator moving and looked toward the doors.
"That'd be my wife."
The elevator stopped, and the doors opened. A woman with short white hair and black eyes walked into the loft.
Kathy smiled. "Hey, sweetie, how was class?"
Her wife smiled. "Good." She bent over and kissed Kathy on the lips.
"Chelsea, this is my wife, Margaret. Mags, this is Chelsea, one of my students."
Margaret looked at Chelsea. "Hey. Call me Maggie."
"Hey. Well, I'm gonna get going."
Maggie smiled. "Oh, stay a while. Have a look around. You thirsty? You can help yourself to something in the fridge."
Kathy looked at her.
"What?" Maggie asked. "We don't get many visitors."
Kathy smiled. "You hitting on her?"
"Nah." Maggie sat on Kathy's lap, curled her arms around her neck, and kissed her on the lips.
Chelsea watched the couple make out for a bit. "Uh, thanks."
She walked to the fridge, opened it, and searched. She got out a chocolate fizz and popped the can open. She closed the fridge and starting sipping her fizz as she took a closer look around the apartment.
She finished her drink and threw the can in the recycle bin. She decided to use the toilet and walked over to a door. She opened it and discovered it wasn't the bathroom but rather the bedroom.
Curious, she decided to have a look around. She saw a few photos of Kathy and Maggie together and a few of them separately in their youth.
Chelsea noticed the closet and decided to open it and check out their outfits, hoping they wouldn't mind. All of the clothes seemed outdated and not very stylish. Chelsea was unimpressed. She noticed three dresses: a red one, a white one, and an orange one. Those were the closest things to fancy in the closet, but even they looked old and nearly worn out.
Then Chelsea noticed something that stuck out from the other clothes. It was in the far right of the closet and looked like a gray suit. Curious, she pushed the other clothes aside and pulled it out. What she saw shocked her. It looked like a Batman costume, except it was gray. The bat symbol on the front was a pink-red, and so were the gloves. There was a yellow utility belt and even a long gray cape. The shoes were built into the suit.
"Holy shit." Chelsea stared at the costume for a moment and then heard music coming from outside. She went to the door and peaked out.
Kathy and Maggie were holding hands and dancing while music played from their home theater system.
"Don't tell me that you don't like...anything about me. I've seen it in your eyes, that look. You think that I don't notice. Don't hide what you feel inside. Baby, I can feel the same. What to do, it's up to you, so maybe you should try again, or maybe you'll just fade away. Yeah! Betcha never, betcha never, betcha never thought we'd get this far. Betcha never, never ever, betcha never thought you'd touch my heart. Betcha never, betcha never, betcha never thought that I'd surrender. Betcha never thought that you would ever get with me. I betcha never thought of that."
Chelsea smiled and then thought for a moment. Kathy and Maggie were occupied. She had perhaps just enough time to try on the suit. She took off her sneakers. She stepped into the suit through the neck hole. Once the suit was on, she put on the gloves and cape. She walked over to the full-length mirror and looked at herself. Finally, she put on the mask, the eyes of which partially obscured her eyes but still allowed her to see clearly. Her lips were also visible. Chelsea smiled.
She was so into her cosplay that she didn't notice 1) the music had stopped and 2) Kathy had entered the bedroom.
"What the hell are you doing?!" Kathy demanded.
Chelsea turned around, startled. "Kathy! I, uh, well, I was looking for the bathroom, and I opened the wrong door, but I figured it was okay to look around. I saw the costume, and I figured it wouldn't do any harm to try it on-"
"Shut up. Take the suit off and get the hell out of here."
"What's going on here?" Maggie asked, walking into the bedroom.
Kathy looked at her. "This little snooping former student of mine found my Batsuit."
"Oh, please don't kick me out of the class!" Chelsea begged. "I'm sorry! Honest!" She took off the mask.
Maggie paused, thoughtful. "You look good in that."
"Mags!" Kathy exclaimed in surprise.
"Well, she does." Maggie looked at Chelsea. "Strike a pose."
Chelsea grinned and assumed a fighting stance. Then she remembered the mask, put it on, and resumed the stance.
Kathy sighed. "Okay, she does look kinda badass."
"Why did you get so upset over me finding your Halloween costume?" Chelsea asked Kathy.
"It's not my Halloween costume; it's my Batsuit."
Chelsea thought for a moment and then gasped in surprise. "You were Batgirl?!"
Kathy frowned. "Batwoman."
"There was a Batwoman?" Chelsea asked, confused.
"Three of us, actually. We were working together. It didn't last long."
"I'd like to hear about it."
Kathy thought for a moment. "Join us for dinner."
Chelsea nodded. "Thanks."
Maggie left the room. Kathy and Chelsea started following her.
Kathy looked back at Chelsea. "Take off the suit."
"Awww." Chelsea returned to the closet, disappointed.
"And that's it."
Chelsea finished the last piece of her steak. "Wow, that was pretty neat."
Kathy finished the last piece of her steak. "Well, it's all in the past."
Chelsea thought for a moment, sipping her cola fizz. "Doesn't have to be."
Kathy laughed. "I'm too old to get back out there."
"No, I mean...a new Batwoman." Chelsea paused for a moment. "Me."
Kathy was stunned. "What?"
"Yeah." Chelsea paused and tried to collect her thoughts. "I never felt more helpless than the night of the attack at the club. I stayed with my friend, Dana, and looked after her after she'd already been attacked, but I couldn't...do...anything!"
Kathy sighed. "Chelsea, you can't just put on a costume and suddenly be a hero."
"I know how to fight."
Chelsea stared into Kathy's black eyes. "Let me try. Let me put on the suit and show you what I can do. Something low-level. If I do a good job, then..." She paused for a moment. "Please, Kathy. I feel like I can be something...beyond what I currently am."
"This is crazy."
"Please. I...I lost my mom."
Kathy was surprised.
"Not like you did. Car accident. Nine years ago. Since then, I'd been raised by a man that seemed to want nothing to do with me. Maybe I was an unwelcome reminder of what he'd lost; my mom looked so much like me." Chelsea shook herself out of the memory. "Anyway, being Batwoman is my chance to prove, at least to myself, that I'm worth a damn. Please, Kathy, I'm begging you."
Kathy stared at Chelsea for a moment and then looked at Maggie. "Mags, what are your thoughts on this?"
Maggie shrugged and finished her last piece of steak. "It's insane. No one would believe a high school cheerleader could be a costumed hero." She paused and thought about it. "And yet...maybe that's what the world needs right now: unconventional solutions totally out of left field."
Kathy looked back at Chelsea, who was staring at her, awaiting a response. Her blue eyes were watering.
Kathy sighed. "All right, we'll try it out."
Chelsea grinned. "Thank you!"
"Okay, try talking."
"What should I say?!" Chelsea asked.
"That's fine, I heard you. Come on out."
Chelsea walked out of the bedroom and over to Kathy and Maggie. Kathy was sitting at her computer.
"Earpiece, too. So is that it?" Chelsea asked.
Kathy and Maggie looked at each other briefly.
"You gonna show her?" Maggie asked.
"Show me what?" Chelsea asked.
Kathy looked at Chelsea. "There's one more thing. Let's go downstairs."
Kathy and Chelsea exited the elevator. Chelsea followed Kathy over to a door.
"This was originally a maintenance room. I turned it into a garage." Kathy unlocked the door and turned on the light.
Kathy walked into the garage, and Chelsea followed.
Chelsea looked around. It was pretty barren. There were no cars. There was a work bench. Against the left wall, there were objects covered by a white tarp.
Chelsea looked at Kathy. "You don't have a car?"
Kathy smiled. "I used to have lots of cars. Not anymore, though. Mags and I rely on public transportation, and that's just fine for us. That's not why we're here, though."
Kathy walked over to the left wall and pulled off the tarp, revealing three gray, mechanical, wing-shaped objects.
Chelsea walked over to them, grinning. "Woah, are these the gliders?!"
Kathy nodded. She picked up one of the gliders and took it to the center of the garage, where she set it down. Chelsea walked over to her. The two of them crouched down by the glider.
"Okay, I'm gonna show you how to operate it."
"They still work?" Chelsea asked in surprise.
"Uh-huh. Mags and I have maintained them over the years - with some occasional help from Rocky. Okay, so this button..."
For a half-hour, Kathy trained Chelsea in the use of the glider. Chelsea learned what the various buttons did and how to maintain her balance during low-altitude flights.
Finally, Kathy opened the large garage door. "You're as ready as you'll ever be. Hop on."
Chelsea got onto the glider and held on.
"I want you to go out on patrol. I'll go up to the loft, where Maggie will be monitoring criminal activity. I'll pass along anything that I think you can handle."
Kathy waved. "Twa-la."
Chelsea started pressing buttons, and she and the glider took off, flying out of the garage and into the night sky.
"Okay, so any particular direction to head in?" Chelsea asked.
"Hang tight, Chels. Kathy's not back up here yet."
Chelsea flew aimlessly for a while, looking down at the city, trying to see if she could find something to do.
"Okay, Chelsea, I'm here. I'm picking up the glider's signal. Okay, I want you to head south."
Chelsea did. "Hey, I know these streets." She thought she recognized some figures walking along a sidewalk and went down for a closer look. "Hey, it's Dana, Blade, and Jackie." She frowned. "No doubt going out clubbing without me." She sighed. "I guess I can't blame them, though. I've been at your place for quite a while."
"Well, hey, better to get high on the glider than high in the club."
Chelsea frowned. "Oh, don't lecture me, Ms. Mafia Princess. Like you didn't do a ton of drugs back in the day."
"I neither confirm nor deny-"
"Hang on." Chelsea noticed a figure approaching her friends.
The figure, a person in a hoodie, got in Dana, Blade, and Jackie's path. They stopped. He made a gesture with his left hand while keeping his right hand in his pocket. The girls looked frightened.
Chelsea brought the glider down. "Oh, shit, I think they're being robbed. I'm going down."
When Chelsea was near the street, she hopped off the glider. It hovered nearby. The figure turned around. It was a young man. Chelsea kicked him in the chest. He fell backwards, landing on the sidewalk. Chelsea kneeled and started punching him in the face. Soon, he was unconscious.
"Chelsea?" Kathy asked.
"I'm okay. I got him. Gonna check for a gun."
"No, don't do that!" Maggie told her. "That's evidence. We can't have you jeopardizing a conviction. His lawyer would argue you planted the gun on him."
"You're right." Chelsea stood up, turned, and faced her friends.
They were staring at her in amazement.
Dana smiled. "You saved our lives. Thank you."
Chelsea smiled. "No prob."
"Who are you?" Jackie asked.
Chelsea raised her arms and let her cape flow dramatically in the wind (except there was no wind, so it just stayed in place). "I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the fiend that lets the carb out of your fizz-"
"What's your name?" Blade asked, impatient.
"Oh." Chelsea was a bit disappointed that she didn't get to finish her impromptu speech. "I'm Batwoman."
Her friends smiled.
Chelsea pressed a button on her utility belt. The glider came by. She hopped on it.
Chelsea smiled. "Until next time."
Blade frowned. "Are you implying we're gonna be in danger again?"
"And you'll be there to save us?" Dana asked.
"No, just..." Chelsea sighed. "Keep calm and stay schway." She struck a dramatic pose and pointed toward the sky. "Batwoman away!"
"Chelsea, you're not standing on the glider, are you?" Kathy cautioned.
"Oh, uh, hang on." Chelsea crouched down and held onto the glider. Then she quickly flew away to save herself further embarrassment.
Chelsea flew the glider back into the garage. Kathy closed the garage door. Chelsea got off the glider.
"Well, I'd say you did okay for your first time out."
Chelsea smiled. "So I can continue?"
Kathy smiled. "You can continue."
Chelsea grinned and hugged Kathy.
"Oh, uh..." Kathy was startled and at a loss for words. She eventually hugged Chelsea and smiled. "I didn't say we were hug-buddies, but okay."
Chelsea was standing still, striking a heroic pose, wearing the Batwoman costume. Kathy sat in her computer chair, sketching the newly-minted hero in her sketchbook. Maggie came down from the kitchen area, carrying a bottle of Champagne, a corkscrew, and three wine glasses. She set them down on the desk and opened the bottle. On the home theater system, "All You Wanted" by Michelle Branch was playing.
"There are going to be ground rules."
Chelsea smiled. "Of course."
"No going out on your own. You must be supervised at all times."
Chelsea rolled her eyes. "Yes, Mom."
"No revealing your secret identity while Batwoman. No revealing your costumed identity while Chelsea. No inviting people over here. Got it?"
Chelsea smiled. "Got it."
"Good." Kathy turned her sketchbook around. "What do you think?"
Chelsea took off her mask and studied the sketch. "You've got a good eye."
Maggie brought two glasses over and offered one to Kathy and one to Chelsea. "Okay, time to toast Gotham's newest hero."
Kathy and Chelsea each took a glass. Maggie retrieved her own glass from the desk.
Kathy raised her glass. "To Batwoman, the hero that Gotham may or may not need right now, but we could always use one more, so why the hell not?"
Chelsea raised her glass. "Thanks, I think."
Maggie raised her glass. "Cheers."
The three ladies clinked their glasses together and then drank their Champagne.
"If you want to, I can save you. I can take you away from here. So lonely inside, so busy out there, and all you wanted was somebody who cares."
Suddenly, a flurry of dark figures flew past the clock face.
"What are those?" Chelsea asked.
Kathy smiled. "Bats."
"Good sign?" Maggie asked.
Chelsea smiled. "Fuck yeah."
To Be Continued...