The Following work is dedicated with respect and admiration to the works of Myrina.
Daniel Laurikietis Presents….
Oswald Cobblepot was a patient man. It had taken over thirty years for him to get this far. He had literally dragged himself out of the sewers to get here. The road from abandoned baby to circus freak to petty crook to ruler of his own empire had been long and troublesome. At every turn he had been hounded either by the handful of cops that couldn't be bought or that loathsome masked nutcase. But he had persevered.
And it had all been worth it.
Through his monocle he squinted down at the workers, his servants, scurrying like ants, following his orders. Doing his bidding! A smile spread across his chubby face and he wondered if this was how Nero had felt. There would be no dealing in coarse, common fare like weapons and guns. Oswald Cobblepot was higher in the food chain than that now. He dealt only in the illegal trade of fine arts, in sumptuous antiques, the domain of the gentleman criminal. These freak jobs in Arkham, the rough neck slobs in Blackgate, they had no idea that an Emperor needed to have taste, flair, charisma and, above all intelligence. None of those apes could have pulled this one off. The biggest art heist in history! Fifteen galleries in the state had been simultaneously hit, the cargo delivered to this warehouse fifteen minutes before alarms would be simultaneously triggered at seventeen other galleries and museums. By the time the police and security forces had finished scratching their heads and inventorying artefacts that weren't missing the merchandise would already be repackaged and sent off to the buyers. Cobblepot chuckled, scurrying along the catwalk in his usual waddling gait. It was running like clockwork. This was his swansong, his masterpiece, his Mona Lisa. Here he stood, lord and master of all that he surveyed. He was Nero, he was Ozymandias. And the icing on the cake was yet to come.
Look upon my works, ye mighty and despair!
Heavy footsteps rung on the iron latticework of the catwalk and the burly form of O'Shea approached the satisfied crime lord.
"Uh, hey Pen-"
From behind his monocle, Cobblepot shot his lieutenant a look of pure malevolence.
"I mean, Mr Cobblepot sir."
The large man held out a cell phone.
"It's Garret sir, they got him!"
Garret. Cobblepot liked Garret. He was a brute, a thug, a Neanderthal but he did what he was told and knew his place. He had no delusions of intellect or aspirations of criminal dominance. He knew how to take orders and he didn't rest until he got the job done. The lad would go far in Cobblepot's regime. Earlier Garret had called him to report that the Batmobile had tailed one of their getaway vans. But he had been prepared! It had consumed a lot of time effort and money but some of the best automotive engineers had composed a rough schematic and scale model of The Batman's car based upon the few snippets of footage existing of the car in action. Their data had uncovered a weak spot in the car's defences that could be exploited with a well places explosive charge like a grenade.
"Blow his car to smithereens!" Cobblepot had told Garrett. "Then I want you to find his body. Take no chances. Find it! And whether it's dead or alive I want you to shoot it twice in the head. Nothing fancy. Just two shots."
The call would confirm that The Batman had finally been eliminated. Cobblepot took the phone, striding up and down the catwalk.
O'Shea had to stifle a chuckle. At times like this when The Penguin got really excited he waddled about clucking away to himself. For all his pretensions of aristocracy he looked like a short fat bird.
"Is it done?" The self-imposed Emperor enquired.
"Thought you might wanna hear this" replied the tinny sound of Garrets voice from the other end.
Two shots rang out over the crackly line. Then it went dead.
It was over. The Batman's oppression was over. Cobblepot took several deep breaths, determined not to lose his composure in front of the men. He would inspect the merchandise, and then retire to his office where over a fine cigar and a cognac he would celebrate the demise of his freakish nemesis.
It was then that all the lights went out. The background hum of the warehouses machinery fell quiet. Somebody had cut the power. Below the men cursed and barked orders. Cobblepot snarled in frustration.
"Dammit all to Hell. This is a brusque and unpleasant inconvenience that I can do without. O'Shea get me a light!"
There was the flick and snap of a cigarette lighter and Cobblepot turned his eyes to the dim glow of the flame. His eyes were drawn to the gloved hand that held the lighter. It was not that of O'Shea. Cobblepot barely registered the other gloved hand that came out of nowhere, balled into a fist that rendered him instantly unconscious.
The Batman arrived at the warehouse burnt, battered and bruised. His body armour had been seared and scorched by the flames from the now decimated Batmobile. He had had no option but to lie in the flaming wreckage, playing possum until The Penguin's men had come to inspect the damage. They had gathered around the car, training their weapons inside. It was then that he had struck. Using smoke pellets and flash grenades he had stunned his attackers for long enough for him to leap out of the flaming wreckage like a demonic black phoenix. He had whirled dervish like from one thug to the other systematically disarming and debilitating the hoard until their leader, a hulking mercenary he knew to be Thomas Garret had engaged him head on with a bowie knife.
It had taken precious minutes to break Garret down but eventually he had squeezed out the name of the warehouse where the cargo was to be repackaged and shipped. He had even got the mercenary to make the call to his employer confirming that the Dark Knight had been eliminated. These mercs. They acted tough but take their guns away and break a few fingers and they become spineless quivering cowards.
It was pitch black inside the warehouse and for a heart stopping moment The Batman feared that he had been too late and that Cobblepot and his men had already moved on. From his vantage point in the rafters he broke a penlight out of his utility belt and swept the room. The light caught something curved, metallic and strangely familiar. Gliding down to the floor on his cape The Batman stared at the shiny object. It was firmly embedded in one of the wooden joists that supported a large packaging machine. He walked close enough to inspect it. It was a sleek, razor sharp crimson device similar in shape to his own batarangs. With some effort he pulled the device out of the joist. It was a throwing device, a hybrid of boomerang and shuriken, obviously based upon the same principal of his batarang. Its wingspan, however, was smoother and more curved. Instead of the two pointed ears of the bat's logo a razor sharp beak jutted out of its smooth head. A pair of silver chrome eyes stared up at him, fierce and defiant!
It can't be!
From above The Batman heard a muffled groan. In moments he had fired his grapple gun and vaulted up to the iron catwalk above. There he found, neatly packaged in rope and gaffer tape Oswald Cobblepot along with his twenty strong staff of men. All completely unconscious. He approached the slumbering form of the Penguin. Attached to his ludicrously plump torso was a note;
Keep under wraps.
The Batman's jaw clenched, his hands tightening up into fists.
This he had not been prepared for.