Batman and the associated characters are owned by DC. James Bond and the associated characters were created by Ian Fleming. With thanks to Cmar for beta reading this for me and thanks to all the reviewers and readers so far they have all been appreciated! All reviews welcome.
Golden Bat – Chapter Twenty-Seven
Bond tried again to get the cuffs off his hands but dropped the keys.
He swore viciously and put his hands down into the rapidly rising water to pick them up. A flesh-eating maggot swam sinuously by, its mouth a gaping maw of mouth hooks that it used to attach to its prey. It would then secrete its digestive enzymes to putrefy its prey and suck up the juices.
Maggots are gregarious animals and they were starting to shoal in groups around Bond. The knocked out guard at Bond's feet was a prime target for them and they started burrowing into him.
He tried not to look down as the water turned red as the guard was eaten, his body a writhing mass of maggots.
"Yes!" he hissed to himself as he unlocked himself and threw the cuffs to the floor. They splashed down at his feet. The water was increasing. One of the maggots started nosing round his feet. Bond stamped down hard on its carapace and there was a horrible crunching sound. A maggot started eating his crushed comrade.
He had to get out of here.
Bond looked around. The water was starting to pour out of the pipe above him and more and more maggots flowed in. He leapt up and grabbed the chain that minutes before he had been hanging from. The chain bit into his hands. He raised his feet from the water, dislodging a keen maggot that was trying to eat through his boots.
That would only buy him a precious few seconds. The maggots had skeletonized the guard beneath him and were starting to swim to the surface. Bond saw the camera in the corner. He put his feet up on the wall whilst still holding onto the chain. That reduced the pressure in his hands but he started to feel it in his shoulders.
"Very acrobatic, 007, but you're just delaying the inevitable," Blofeld said through the speakers.
If he was going to die he wouldn't let Blofeld see it. He kicked the camera and it disintegrated in a shower of glass and sparks. Sparks. Electricity. There's an idea. He grabbed a speaker by the top of the chain and threw it into the water.
There was a bang sound and a huge flash of light as the lights fused and the cell was cast into stygian blackness. The only sound that could be heard was the water trickling in.
He could see nothing…
Did the electricity kill the maggots?
Was there enough voltage to kill them?
Were more pouring in as he hung above them like a hunk of meat? He had to get into the water and somehow get the door open before he drowned. That guard had been stripped of his flesh in just seconds. Would it hurt? Would he feel anything?
Would it be best to put one toe in like a frightened swimmer wondering about the temperature of the pool? There was nothing he could do. If they ate his foot first or his head first, no matter; he was dead anyway.
He could feel the cold water lap at his hair. What happens happens. He dropped like a stone into the cold black water and immediately felt something cold and insect like glide by his hand…
At the very last second, just before Batman would have been impaled on a jungle tree, Alvey pulled up and glided down to land in a clearing.
Batman shook himself free of the line and looked at Alvey warily. His eyes were glazed and bloodshot and one cheek kept twitching. He seemed to be under his control though… Blofeld's pyramid was about a hundred yards away.
Why have a dog and bark yourself, thought Batman.
"Alvey, I want a hole in the side of that pyramid and access to Blofeld's control centre."
Alvey vanished in a blink of the eye and Batman saw a plume of smoke erupt from the side of the pyramid. In a second he had attached a line to one of the tallest trees and he swung into the ready-made hole…
Alvey was standing in the middle of Blofeld's lair, not moving a muscle, and dozens of Blofeld's troops were shooting at him. The bullets were deflecting and bouncing off him, causing more damage to the troops than to him.
As long as they weren't shooting at him. Batman landed with panther-like grace on a walkway. Blofeld was leading operations against Alvey. He was screaming at his men to kill Alvey.
"Alvey, disarm the soldiers," muttered Batman.
It was like a whirlwind and the soldiers winced in pain as their guns were ripped from their hands.
Batman saw one of the technicians point at his screen and talk to Blofeld. "Sir, this man is a nano-creation. With one button press we can destroy him."
"Do it! Do it now!"
Batman flicked a wrist and a batarang flew across the wrecked control centre towards the technician. Too late, just a second too late. The technician typed in the code just before he slumped unconscious on his monitor.
Alvey slumped to the floor like a puppet that had lost its strings. He looked up at the scene around him with confusion. Where was he? What had happened to him? He felt strangely alone. The voices that had followed him for the past few days were silent. He had fallen on a piece of broken glass and he looked at the blood on his hand in bewilderment. His hand was not healing.
Images flashed in front of his eyes as he remembered what he had done over the past few days.
God what had he done?
Tears pricked his eyes as he remembered his wife and his son. He had turned from a man who would cross over the street to give money to a vagrant to a monster. That would change now. The nano-droids no longer controlled him. Or were they just doing what he secretly wanted? He looked at his hand, red blotches appeared as the nano-droids started obeying their original orders. To kill him.
Alvey collapsed unconscious to the floor as the magnetic pulse controlled the nano-droids in him and started to kill him. The guards picked up their guns and pointed them at Batman.
Batman twisted acrobatically off the walkway and swung under the metal walkway. The bullets sliced and slashed past him, one taking off a pointed ear on his cowl.
Where was Blofeld? There he was: standing next to a steel door, surrounded by his guards, and who was that next to him? Catwoman!
She was tied up and struggling furiously against her bonds. The guards were having real trouble holding her and two guards were clutching various parts of their anatomy and swearing quietly.
"Not so tough without your metal-toothed friend! Don't any of you scum know how to treat a lady?"
"Batman." Blofeld's voice reverberated around the inside of the control room. "Come out or we kill the girl."
Catwoman spat at Blofeld. "If I get out of here I'll scratch your eyes out!"
Blofeld grabbed her by the hair and aimed a gun at her head. "Give yourself up and I'll let you live." Blofeld cocked the gun. "Refuse and I'll kill the girl. I can not allow you to silence my dream."
The creature next to his hand was dead… He hoped. Bond took a last gulp of air before water filled the room and swam down to where he had last seen his pack. He was in stygian darkness and could feel the clammy feel of maggots against his skin, but nothing seemed to attack him.
There it was! His bag. He knew he had a waterproof shaped charge in his bag. Specially designed to blow out locks. There it was; it felt like a saucer. He could feel the fuse he had to rip off to activate the five-second timer. Would it work underwater?
Only one way to find out. God, it was difficult to navigate underwater. Bond was an experienced diver but even he preferred to swim in the light. Where was the door? His lungs were starting to feel like he had hot coals in them as he struggled to hold his breath.
The door, where was the door?
There it is! He felt the familiar shape of the handle. He only had one chance at this. He slammed the shaped charge onto the handle and pulled the fuse. He tried to kick away from the door but exhaustion and lack of oxygen was affecting him.
Just hold on another few seconds…
Bond saw a small of flash of light as the charge exploded. Then nothing… This was it, he would be dead shortly. Would anyone ever find him?
There was a cracking sound and the door caved in under the pressure of tonnes of water. Light poured in as the water poured out and he was swept out into a stone corridor.
Bond coughed and wheezed and struggled to get air into his abused lungs. He choked and spluttered and coughed out a lungful of water. Gradually the spots disappeared from his vision. What was going on up the stairs. Bond walked back into the cell and picked up a waterlogged gun from the floor.
Would it work after its immersion? Well only one way to find out, he could always threaten people with it anyway. He crept up the stone stairs to another door and saw Blofeld pointing a gun at Catwoman. The guards were concentrating on Batman. A sodden, battered Bond hit Blofeld with the gun and grabbed, ripped the gun out of his hand and got him in a neck lock. He pointed the gun at the back of Blofeld's head.
"Drop your guns," he hissed to the guards. "Now!"
There was a clattering sound as the guards near him obeyed. Outside could be heard the sound of helicopters.
They sounded like American Cobra attack helicopters, the cavalry had arrived. Bond looked at his watch. The people in Gotham had mere minutes left to live…
"Turn off the nano-droids in Gotham now."
"They are beyond my control now…"
Bond ground his gun into Blofeld's head, making him wince in pain. "You're dead anyway, I want you to know that. Do you really want a million souls to join you?"
Blofeld sighed reverently. "I always wanted to make my mark on the world."
Bond clicked the gun. "I'll make my mark through your head."
Batman grabbed Bond's arm. "Killing him won't make any difference." He had released Catwoman who was rubbing her wrists and giving Blofeld a look that could curdle milk. In the distance could be heard gunfire. This time, the sound of American troops in action. Out of the hole Alvey had broken in the pyramid could be seen an attack helicopter. The black ropes dangling from the side door showing that it had just discharged its troops.
The sound of gunfire was getting closer to the pyramid as the American troops efficiently surrounded the pyramid to stop anyone escaping, then destroyed their defences.
"He killed my wife," said Bond. "He deserves to die."
"He deserves justice," said Batman, one hand on his shoulder.
"I'll give him justice, the justice of a gun. Call off your nano-droids now!" Bond grabbed him by the collar and shook him like a rat. Blofeld's only answer was to laugh.
One of the technicians hesitantly raised a hand. "Sir." Bond whipped the pistol over to face the threat. "Sorry sir, but we can still send the magnetic pulse. I can't guarantee it but it should shut them down. All of them." The technician emphasized the nano-droids in the magnetically sealed container behind them.
"You will die for that, you traitor!" screamed Blofeld.
"Better on my own than with company," said the technician. His hands were a blur as they flickered across the keyboard.
On a map on a huge plasma screen above them could be seen a map of the Eastern seaboard of America. A huge red splodge like an ink stain could be seen slowly creeping forward like plague. A green circle erupted from Gotham spreading rapidly outwards until it covered, barely, all the nano-droids. In seconds the red splodge turned green and then a few seconds later it disappeared.
"Have you disabled them?" said Batman, looking at the screen.
"Something slightly better," smiled the technician.
Several American military helicopters landed around the burning wreckage of the pyramid. Felix Leiter ran out of the nearest one towards Bond and Batman. Around them the sound of shooting was dying down as the American marines attacked the last of the holdouts.
"Hey Bond, looks like you guys hit pay dirt here! Geez, is that…" He motioned to the man held prisoner by Batman.
"Blofeld, yeah," said Bond.
"Alive as well," said Leiter. "Say, you want me to have an accident with my gun on the way to the helicopter?"
Batman growled at this.
"Say, take it easy big guy, just a joke." He looked at Batman from the corner of one eye and spoke to Bond as quietly as he could. "I thought he was just a myth. And is that Catwoman?" He turned to Batman and Catwoman. "You want a lift to Gotham, Mr Batman and Miss Catwoman? The American government would be mighty pleased to lay on a jet for you!"
Batman nodded at this.
"By the way, Bond, your office has been trying to call you for the past few days." He handed Bond a satellite phone. "I think you forgot to put your out of office on your e-mails or something."
"I'll call them later," said Bond, looking over at Catwoman. She smiled back at him. "Much later."
"I think you should call them now," said Leiter with a rare emphasis on the words.
Bond shrugged as they walked over to the helicopter, and dialled a number on the phone. "This phone secure?" he asked Leiter as they got in the helicopter. Leiter nodded the affirmative.
"Bond, is that you? Where the devil have you been?" came the petulant voice of M.
"There are not too many phones in the jungle, sir."
"Oh yes, well done on the Blofeld case by the way; we've just heard the details. It seems like everyone in Gotham and the Eastern seaboard is safe. In fact we are getting strange reports from the hospitals of people who came in with cancer or with lost limbs who are now perfectly well! They're calling it a miracle. The American government is most impressed as is the Prime Minister. He wants to recommend you to the Queen for a knighthood."
"Well sir, as you know…"
"You're to refuse, politely this time, you're no use to me with a gong; you wouldn't fit in properly. Besides the hotels would charge you double and I'm not having that on the expenses account. The last prime minister was not happy at being told where to put the knighthood, and in such graphic detail as well."
"Well sir, my wife had just been…"
"Are you well by the way? Not injured at all? Nothing that needs a hospital visit?"
"A few cuts and bruises but otherwise…"
"Good, you're to make your way to Tahiti immediately. I've liased with the CIA to lay on a flight; by the way you can write your report on the flight."
"A two week holiday would be…"
"This is not a holiday, 007! Our station out there has spotted Yuri Gregorovitch meeting some unknown associates."
Bond's face darkened with rage and his hand clenched the phone so tightly you could see his bones through his skin. Gregorovitch; he had personally killed three 00 agents. He had a score to settle with him.
"I don't need to tell you this is the first time he has been seen in three years. The Russians are itching to get hold of him and we know they have already sent an assassination squad. How can I put this delicately? I want you to find out what he is doing out there before the Russian's get there and terminate him. You'll liaise with 003 out there. She's been given the details. We'll discuss this later."
Bond nodded at this. "Thank you sir, goodbye sir." He put the phone down and sat back in the helicopter seat as they flew over the jungle. Around them in a convoy were three cobra attack helicopters.
Bond felt physically exhausted. He had been pushed to the limit of his endurance too many times in the past few days and he was shattered. He felt if he closed his eyes he would sleep, and that was what he wanted more than anything else at the moment. He opened one eye to see Catwoman smiling at him. Well maybe not more than anything else.
"Well, it looks like it is goodbye," said Bond to Batman and Catwoman. "I'm afraid I'm not very good at goodbyes."
"Thanks James," said Catwoman. "It's been a real blast, you look me up when you are next in Gotham, you hear?"
"I will; and Batman?"
"Thanks for the help." Bond wasn't good at small talk.
"No problem. If ever you are in Gotham again look me up before you start shooting, okay?"
"If I can."
When they left the jungle behind them Batman's communicator started buzzing. "B this is A?"
Batman was so relieved to hear his voice he almost said his name. "Alf… I mean A. What's the news; is R okay?"
"We are both in good health, sir. I trust you are well as well? In fact my arthritis has gone and Master Tim… I mean R, says his acne has cleared up. I'm afraid to say that in the confusion the Joker has escaped… Robin is on the trail though but I have advised him to not engage him until you are back. I hope that was right, sir? Will you be back soon sir?"
They were flying over the clear blue sea and in the distance was the USS Enterprise, a huge Naval Aircraft carrier. The sun was shining overhead. Batman closed his eyes and just soaked up the sun's rays. For just a few more hours he would enjoy the sun before he would be back in the perpetual twilight of Gotham's dark streets.
For both of them lived for the storm and the sun could be but a momentary distraction.