Batman/Resident Evil: The Gotham Protocol
By: Christopher W. Blaine
DISCLAIMER: Resident Evil™ is a registered product of Capcom Inc./Batman™ is a registered product of DC Comics Inc. Neither of these properties is used here with permission. This original story idea is ©2003 by Christopher W. Blaine.
"We've reviewed your report, Batman," Superman started as the meeting of the Justice League of America came to order after a two-hour recess. The Man of Steel was the acting chair for the gathering, a formal inquiry into a request for intervention made by the Batman. The Caped Crusader, never considered a team player, was not present at the Watchtower, the League's headquarters on the moon.
Instead, the Batman attended the meeting via video monitor from his secure location in the Batcave. The fact that he had officially petitioned the team to look into the Umbrella matter was startling and had been the cause for very serious debate among the members Superman had gathered. The last time Batman had done this, the League had refused him and he had quit, going on to form the Outsiders.
"And?" Batman asked, drumming his fingers on the table in front of him.
The Flash and Plastic Man were shifting uncomfortably in their seats as Superman detailed the League's decision. "We believe you in that you say Umbrella Corporation is most likely up to no good, perhaps even performing the experiments you say they are."
"We believe you, Batman," Wonder Woman added, "in that we mean we believe that you believe it."
Superman nodded, silently thanking the Amazon for the clarification. "You have brought forth no proof other than your statement…"
"Which should be enough," Batman quipped.
"Except it has to be verified by another member in good standing," the Flash said. "No offense, Bats, but a statement by the Huntress, who you got kicked off the League, and one by Green Arrow, a member who quit and never reactivated his reserve status."
"And the statements of Nightwing and Arsenal?"
"Very credible, but you back them up with statements provided by persons wanted on federal charges," Superman said. He leaned into the monitor. "Bring these S.T.A.R.s agents here to the Watchtower and let us interview them."
Batman shook his head. "No, because under the League charter you would still have to turn them in. Their lives would be in danger."
"Are you saying that the entire federal government is corrupt?" Superman asked.
Batman snorted. "Lex Luthor is the president of the United States and you're asking a stupid question like that? I know you, Superman, you honor a deal with the devil if you gave your word and…"
"We've all sworn to uphold the laws of the United States," Wonder Woman reminded him. Batman briefly wondered how she had voted on the matter. He could, of course, check the official ballots, but it would not do any good. The final decision was all that mattered.
It had been a long shot at best, trying to get the League involved, but even the Caped Crusader had to admit his story was light on the evidence. The feds had picked the Petro site clean of anything useful and no doubt in a hanger somewhere; agents of various agencies were in pissing matches over jurisdiction. He would never get to the evidence before it was contaminated.
And the statements of Chris, Jill and Rebecca were really no good. There were federal warrants out for their arrests on charges of terrorism, murder and many other despicable crimes. Batman truly believed they were innocent; he had witnessed first hand their dedication to the serving the people as they laid their own lives on the lone to protect those who would lock them away forever.
Green Arrow, though friendly with the League, did have a tendency to see a conspiracy in everything and the committee had surely taken that into account. And the Flash was right about the Huntress; how many times had Batman been the one to discount anything she said because of her past?
"Do you have anything we can use, Batman?" Superman asked in a pleading voice. He knew that the Kryptonian wanted to help him, but that the League charter tied his hands. They could not willfully ignore a federal warrant without substantial proof.
At least he knew the League would not be dumb enough to try to come to Gotham City to get the renegade agents. That could prove a costly mistake. "I guess in this day and age, my word isn't enough. I remember a time when League members trusted each other."
Superman made to respond, but Batman disconnected the video link and turned in his swivel chair. Off to the right, out of camera range, the three S.T.A.R.s agents stood with disgusted expressions. Chris rubbed the back of his head, letting his hand drop to Rebecca's shoulder. Of the three, she had been the one most hopeful that the Justice League would come to their aid.
Batgirl and Nightwing were seated several feet away at one of the Batcave's worktable, making some adjustments to her utility belt. Batgirl had received a clean bill of health from Doc Thompkins and a subsequent analysis of her blood by S.T.A.R. labs turned up abnormalities, but they had yet to completely identify them.
According to Rebecca, Batgirl's life, her diet and many other factors, possibly even genetics, had gone into the cocktail in her system that had beat back the effects of the T-Virus. She had even gone on tot state she would not be surprised to discover that Batgirl was completely immune to the zombie-creating virus.
"He's Superman," Rebecca said quietly and Chris was afraid she was going to start to cry. "I mean, if Superman doesn't believe us, who will?'
"It isn't that simple, 'Becca," Jill said as she nervously played with her beret. "They're cops, too, except on a global scale. They can't make a judgment call without proof; we wouldn't."
Chris agreed. "Well, at least they listened. Batman," Chris started. "Do you think if we were to get the evidence we need, that the League will help?"
Batman wanted to tell him that he was correct, but the truth was probably that Superman would refer it to some other agency. Superman was of the opinion that the purpose of the JLA was to combat only those things that threatened to destroy the entire world. Batman was the complete opposite; he wanted to use the League to bring overwhelming force against any and all criminals.
In order to have the team not become the personal tool of either hero, committee members like Wonder Woman and the Flash had to walk a thin line. At worst, there would be never enough evidence to convince enough League members to get involved with Umbrella. At best, there would be enough for Superman to have a one-on-one with President Luthor.
For all of the good it would do.
"Let's get the evidence first," Batman said as he stood up. "Or I should say, you need to get the evidence, first." He walked over to the worktable with Batgirl and Nightwing.
Nightwing cleared his throat after Batman glanced at him. "We've established a series of safe houses for you in some of the major cities: Metropolis, Bludhaven, Keystone City, Midway City and New York." He tossed Chris a Palm Pilot computer. "You can use them once, for as long as you want, but after you leave, we'll be selling them in order to cover your tracks."
"So, we're being sent out on our own?" Chris asked, his tone perturbed.
Nightwing nodded. "It's the only way that makes sense. You are the experts on this; you've proven that. You tried to warn us about what we would face and we didn't exactly believe you."
"Plus, we still have responsibilities here," Batgirl added. "We cannot simply drop what we are doing to pursue Umbrella. We have taken oaths to protect the people of Gotham." She then glanced at Nightwing. "And Bludhaven."
"We also have to recapture Man-Bat," Batman reminded them. "At least to prevent them from using him again in their weapons program." Batman then told them to follow him as he headed towards the vehicle bay. They stopped in front of the black van that had transported them to the Petro Chemical site. Batman tossed a set of keys and Jill caught them. Chris grinned at her.
Rebecca clapped and ran to the driver's side. "I've got shotgun when we leave!" she called. Chris watched her and again was briefly reminded of his younger sister. He turned back to Batman as Jill was giving him a hug. He almost laughed as the Caped Crusader seemed slightly embarrassed, but no more than any cop would be after saving someone.
Their adventure had put a bond between all of them, Chris decided. Maybe super-heroes weren't so bad he reasoned. Certainly they were brave, especially when you considered how they limited themselves. No cop in his right mind would ever tie themselves down with some ridiculous moral code like never taking a life. In law enforcement, hesitation to use lethal force meant death.
Yet, these brave souls in long underwear were out there every day and night, tackling the problems that normal law enforcement could not afford to deal with. Chris decided between punks, Umbrella and the local insane asylum, Gotham City had more than enough evil to spread around.
Chris held out his hand to Batman. Batman paused, looked down at it, and then slowly took it. "If you guys run into any more zombies," Chris started.
"We will contact you," Batman said. "However, don't come back into Gotham without first letting Oracle know. This is my city."
Chris decided that arguing would solve nothing. Batman had earned the right to call Gotham City his own. "Fine. We'll try to keep you posted on what we find so you can keep your computer files updated. Just in case." Batman slowly nodded and it dawned on him that he might be looking at the young agent for the very last time.
Chris, Jill, Rebecca and all of the other S.T.A.R.s that were wise to Umbrella's work were all putting their lives in jeopardy. Who knew what kind of operations were going on in different cities across the world? The sting of the League's failure to involve itself became a little hotter as Batman considered it. What could he do about it, though? He quit once and formed the Outsiders, but the world was a much bigger place than he liked to admit and the resources that the League provided him were simply to valuable to let go because of pride.
Batman was confident that in the long run, evidence of Umbrella's activities would be uncovered and then the League would have no choice but to act. Nightwing and Batgirl both then walked up and several more good-byes, as well as e-mail addresses were exchanged. Then Batman had the three agents blindfolded so Nightwing could drive them out of the Cave and safely away.
After they were gone, Batman looked down at Batgirl, who was smiling. "And why are you so happy?"
She shrugged. "We all survived. That is a good thing. Even Helena pulled through."
"But, you forget about all of the people who died," Batman reminded her, "because we failed to stop Umbrella earlier."
"It is hard to stop what you don't know about, Batman," she told him as they began to walk back into the cave. Her spirits were definitely up, but Batman could hardly blame her. She had, literally, cheated death. Again. "Yes, people are dead and that is a tragedy. But, we stopped it from happening…"
Batman stopped. "No. They had already done their evil and were simply walking away. The excuse about not stopping what you don't know doesn't cut it in this business, Batgirl. We have no choice; we must stop it before it happens."
Batgirl nodded, a sobering look on her face and Batman regretted his harshness. This wasn't Nightwing or even Robin, but a young girl who only learned to express herself with words recently. She turned away to go back to the workbench and he wanted to call her back and explain his reasoning a little better, less angrily.
Then he thought about all of those corpses. All of the senseless death. The misery. The pain. The horror.
Maybe he needed to be harsh. Maybe it was the only way to survive.