Olivia Benson and other L&O SVU characters are created by Dick Wolf.

Batman and another characters in the Dark Knight universe are created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

I don't own these characters, and I'm not making any money off of this story.

Olivia Benson and Alex Cabot are involved in a lesbian relationship. Other 'ships include Bruce Wayne/Rachel Dawes, The Joker/Harley, Logan Cade/Samantha Spade, and possibly Dick Grayson/Barbra Gordon.

This story is rated 'M' for harsh language, sexual situations and violence. It's not for children, nor for the faint of heart.

Batman & Benson 6

Chapter One

When they emerged from the main doors of the train station, little Sarah was amazed by the sights of Gotham City that greeted her. For one thing, the streets were still bustling with humanity, even at this late hour. But as the little girl glanced upwards, she was stunned at the sight of the illuminated skyscrapers, along with the massive statues of blocky figures who peered down, as if deep in thought, on the rapidly moving stream of little people below them.

The reason Sarah and her family had arrived so late in Gotham City was because her father, who always prided himself on being a practical man, had decided they would take the overnight train to the city to beat the crowds.

Meg, Sarah's older sister, hated the idea. And even Mom looked like she had some doubts, but dad always got his way, and this time was no exception. They took the eleven pm train from Whitehall station, and arrived in Gotham City three hours later.

When they disembarked from the train, Sarah's mom tried to call her sister Bess to let her know that they had arrived a full twelve hours earlier than planned, thanks to Dad's usual super-efficiency. Sarah wasn't sure why they didn't try to contact Aunt Maggie before they made the trip. Because, as they stood on the train platform, it was two o'clock in the morning, and they had, as of yet, no firm plans regarding where they would be sleeping.

"I-I can't get her," Sarah's mom nervously said, holding her cell phone. "I keep getting her answering machine. She must be out!"

"That's ridiculous!" Sarah's father angrily said. "What's she doing out this late at night?"

"Oh, gee, Dad," Meg said, with a sarcastic roll of her eyes. "Maybe Aunt Maggie actually has a social life…unlike some people we know…."

"Watch that mouth of yours!" he chided her. Then, picking up the bags, he added, "C'mon, Maggie lives just a few blocks away. Let's just go over there right now."

Sarah's mom looked terrified. "Arthur! Wandering the streets of Gotham City this late at night? Is that wise?"

"Yeah, dad," Meg chimed in, "why don't we just get a taxi?"

"Because taxis cost money!" he said. "C'mon, ladies, quit being such crybabies. We'll be there before you know it."

"We might get mugged!" Sarah's mother anxiously said, as she and her daughters followed him down the street.

"Aren't all of the criminals here supposed to be…like…dead?" Sarah asked nervously. "I heard that the Batman killed them all."

"Batman!" Sarah's father said with disgust. "He's nothing but a strung-out punk in a freaky costume. You ask me, he's part of Gotham City's problem! I don't know why Maggie moved to this pig sty of a city, anyway."

"Her job at Wayne Tech is very good," Sarah's mother said. "She says it pays very well, and that their health care plan is really good."

"Her boss, that Bruce Wayne character, is another reason why this city stinks," Sarah's father muttered. "He's nothing but a damned playboy who's always partying…."

"A really rich, good looking playboy who's always partying," Meg whispered under her breath. She glanced down at her little sister with a wink. "We'd work for him in a heartbeat, right, Sarah?"

But Sarah just nodded absently. She wasn't paying much attention to the conversation. Instead she stared up at the tall buildings that gleamed in the night. Every so often they were silhouetted by a flash of lighting in the night skies. Sarah kept searching intently for someone, a shadowy figure whom she only knew from stories, and her darkest dreams.

"You hoping to see the Batman?" Meg asked with a smile.

Sarah felt herself blush with embarrassment. "No," she lied.

"Oh, good," Meg replied. "Because you wouldn't want to meet the Batman, anyway."

"Why not?" Sarah asked defensively.

"Because he's a vampire," Meg said in an overly hushed tone. "And not a good vampire, like Edward in Twilight, but a really scary, monstrous creature with long, bloody fangs! He's really part vampire bat, you know!"

"You lie!" Sarah angrily told her older sister. "If he's such a monster, then why does Robin and Batgirl hang out with him?"

"That's because they're vampires, too," Meg quickly said. "Batman turned them into vampires!"

"You're just making this up, Meg!" Sarah grumbled. She flinched when there was another flash of lighting above them.

"Oh, wait!" Meg said, as she abruptly grabbed Sarah's arm. "Did you just see that? There was a shadow across the street…and it moved! I think it was looking right at you, Sarah! I think it's the Batman, and he wants you!"

Sarah, unable to handle this situation anymore, did the only thing she could do right now. "MOM!"

"Meg, stop annoying your little sister," her mother wearily said. She held up a hand as it began to lightly rain under a rumble of thunder. When her husband peered into the entrance to an alleyway, she asked, "Arthur, what are you doing?"

"We can cut through here," he said, gesturing at the alleyway. "C'mon, your sister is right on the other side of this block. Let's hurry before it starts raining even harder."

"Whoa, dad, you have got to be kidding!" Meg said, as she stared wide-eyed into the alley.

"What's the matter?" he asked. "Look, it's well-lit. You can clearly see that there nobody down there. C'mon, everybody, it'll shave off ten minutes from our walk."

Sarah watched as her mother and then Meg reluctantly followed her father as he hurried down the alleyway. Meg reached out and tightly grabbed Sarah's hand. "If anything bad goes down," Meg whispered, "just stay by me and do what I do. If I run, you run. Got it?"

"What about mom and dad?" Sarah whispered back.

"If the adults are stupid enough to lead us into this hellhole, then they're on their own when it hits the fan," Meg muttered.

"See? Look," their father said loudly, his voice echoing off of the walls. "We're almost halfway there, now! Nothing to worry about."

Yet when two men clad in hoodies abruptly stepped out in front of them, Sarah's mother let out a startled cry. The men had their hoods pulled over their heads, hiding their faces. Meg pulled Sarah close to her and said, "C'mon, kiddo, we're going right back out the…."

However, Meg stopped short when two more men, their heads also covered in hoods, came up from behind them, blocking their escape route. They were very rough-looking, with dirty clothes, and they moved around the family like a pack of predators.

"Mom? Dad?" Meg cried in a panic, as she and Sarah pressed themselves up against their parents in a huddled mass. They were now all surrounded by the men in the hoods.

"Easy, just take it easy," Sarah's dad said, as he held out a hand to one of the men. "Look, you want money? Here's my wallet."

"We don't want your money," one of the men said in a hushed tone of voice. His voice was so low, it sounded very creepy to Sarah.

"You want our luggage?" Sarah's dad asked, as he kicked the suitcases towards them. "Take it. Take whatever you want, just leave us alone, ok?"

"We don't want your luggage." The hooded man's face was hidden in the shadows. Yet Sarah could still see his mouth, and it split into a smile as he said, "We just want your daughters…both of them."

Sarah's eyes grew wide with fear as she heard her mother weakly say, "Oh God…Oh, my God…."

"It's not God you should be praying to, lady," the man told her. Then he turned to his comrades and said, "Take the girls."

"What about the adults?" the man next to him asked.
"The Master doesn't need them, so kill them where they stand," he ordered.

Sarah stared fearfully at the men as they all produced large, gleaming knives. Both her mother and Meg started screaming in horror.

"Come here, little chick," one of the men said to Sarah, as he reached out to grab her arm. "Chicky, chicky, chick…."

Just then, another flash of lightning struck, and Sarah was stunned to see a bat-like creature emerge from the shadows from behind the man. The bat-monster reached out and grabbed the man from behind.

"Hey," the man yelled, surprised, "what the f-"

The bat-creature then effortlessly pulled the man back into the shadows, just as a rumble of thunder erupted above their heads. Sarah heard the sounds of a brief fistfight, and then there was silence.

"Brady?" one of the other men called, sounding uneasy. "Where'd ya go?"

Then Sarah saw the most amazing sight ever. A young woman dressed in a black and yellow bat outfit came from out of nowhere. She expertly ducked just as the man swung his knife at her. Then, in one smooth motion, she kicked him in the stomach, and when he was bent over in pain and surprise, Batgirl then bashed her elbow down into the back of his neck.

That sent the man face-first into the concrete ground, which Sarah figured must have hurt. But he deserved it, because he was a really bad man.

The other two bad men started to run away, until they were stopped by a really handsome young man in a red and green outfit, with an 'R' on the left side of his chest. It was Robin, and Sarah thought he was even more handsome than Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner combined, something which she didn't think was even possible.

"Leaving so soon?" Robin asked the men with a grin. "Now who're the chickens?"

Robin tackled both men to the ground, slamming them hard against the concrete surface, just as Batgirl came up and delivered a kick to the head of one of the men. That knocked him right out.

"Hey, I had this," Robin said, miffed, as he punched the other man into unconsciousness.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Batgirl said, with a wave of her hand. She turned towards Sarah and her family with a look of concern. "You guys all right?"

When they did not respond, Sarah glanced up at her mother and father, and she saw they appeared to be just as afraid of Batgirl and Robin as they were of the bad men. Even Meg looked like she was freaked out, as she clutched Sarah like a drowning person would a life preserver.

Sarah broke away from Meg's embrace and walked out towards Batgirl, who knelt down to greet her. Batgirl just smiled brilliantly at Sarah, and the girl immediately felt much better.

Sarah stared at Batgirl's perfect teeth, then she glared back at Meg and said, "Hey, you're a liar, Meg! They're not vampires!"

"Vampires!" Robin said to Megan with mock-annoyance. "That's the thanks we get?"

Meg just cringed as she gave Robin and Batgirl a weak smile in embarrassment.

"After the business with Cadmus, we should just be lucky they don't try to turn us in," Batgirl sardonically replied.

"Where's Batman?" Sarah asked Batgirl.

"Gets straight to the point," Robin said with a grin, "doesn't she?"

"Batman's busy speaking to one of the bad men right now," Batgirl said, with a glance upwards. "They're just talking."

When Sarah followed Batgirl's look skywards, she saw a large, bat-shaped shadow that was outlined in another flash of lighting that illuminated the night sky. The shadowy bat was perched on the ledge of a building. Sarah's eyes grew wide when she saw that the bat-shaped figure, which could only be Batman, held somebody out over the ledge.

Frightened by the sight, Sarah ran back and cowered by Meg's side. Sarah had wanted to meet the Batman more than anything, but now that she finally saw him in person, she was too afraid to even look at him.


"WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?" the Dark Knight bellowed into the man's face. Batman held him out over a fifty story drop to the street below.

Yet if the man was worried about dying, he certainly didn't show it. He merely smiled at Batman and said, "I serve the Master."

"A NAME!" Batman roared. "GIVE ME HIS NAME!"

"His name is the Master, for he is the Master of all that is good and glorious," the man serenely replied. He looked to be no older than his early twenties, and he smelled bad. It was as though he had not showered in a while, nor had his washed his clothes. "He is the master of us all. To serve him is to serve God, for he shall lead us all into a greater paradise."

The man held out his hands as if in acceptance. "Kill me, Batman. For I shall wind up in a better place, thanks to the love and guidance of my Master."

Batman watched him carefully. There were no tell-tale signs that he was lying; the man truly believed in what he was saying, as crazy as it sounded. Yet Batman knew that this wasn't true insanity speaking; from the glassy, unfocused look of the man's eyes, the Dark Knight suspected he was high on drugs.

But he and his friends were too well organized to be just regular junkies. Batman wondered if these men were a part of some type of a cult that kept their followers drugged in order to ensure obedience. Gordon and his people could check that out for him later, but right now, Batman had one more question to ask.


The man just calmly stared back at Batman as if he were the one who was insane. "You do not question the will of the Master. You simply do whatever he commands…you will understand this, Batman, once you've become part of our family."

That response actually gave Batman's pause. While they had scored a major victory tonight by finally capturing the thugs who have been abducting various young women and girls in Gotham City, instead of answers, the Batman received only more infuriating questions. And instead of a quick resolution to the problem, it was only becoming even more dire. It looked like this team of kidnappers were just the tip of a larger, far more deadly iceberg, and they did not know if the previously abducted women were even still alive.

Batman brought the man back down to street level, so he could be tied up and left for the police, along with his fellow thugs. There was little point in further questioning him, since his drugged up state made him impervious to the Dark Knight's usual interrogation methods. But one single thought was burning through his mind: whoever this Master was, Batman had to find him and stop him, permanently.


"Well, well, if it ain't Sam Spade!" Harvey Bullock called. "What's new, Spade? You find the Maltese Falcon, yet?"

Samantha Spade had heard that joke so many times by now from Bullock that she jadedly mouthed the last six words right along with him. As she approached the crime scene, clipping her detective's badge to her belt, she grimaced at how the recent rain storm only made things even more hot and humid this evening.

'Summer in Gotham City,' she thought with a sigh. 'Well, it's my city, now. I'd better get used to it.'

"What's up?" Sam asked, as she glanced around the scene.

"Peter Lorre's waiting for ya back at the office, Spade," Bullock said, still grinning at her. "He wants to talk to ya about the Malt-"

Finally growing fed up, Sam just glared at him. "Harvey," she warned, her voice low and dangerous. "Just knock it off, already, all right?"

"Jeez, Harvey, you still ribbing Sam about her name?" Renee Montoya said, as she strode over to them. "She's been with us for a few months, now. So give it a rest, why don't you?"

"What's going on?" Sam asked Renee. "We get a call about a family being attacked here?"

"I thought you wuz off duty, Spade," Harvey said with a suspicious look. "You listening in on the police calls, again? What's the matter, can't sleep?"

"What can I say?" Sam casually shot back. "Insomnia's a bitch."

"We've got an assault on a family, but it's no longer the Major Case's problem," Renee replied. "The Special Victim's Unit is coming in to take over."

"And why the hell are they stealing our case from us?" an irritated Harvey wanted to know.

"Because it turns out that it's theirs to begin with." Renee replied. "The Batman caught the guys who've been abducting women and girls here in Gotham the past few days."

Sam burst into a grin. "Oh, great! So, case closed."

But Renee just shook her head. "The perps are all drugged out, and it looks like they're working for a much larger group, like some kind of a cult."

"Wonderful," Sam muttered. That was another aspect of life in Gotham City that she was still struggling to getting used to: just when you think a situation couldn't get any worse, it usually did. "Can we still go home, anyway?"

"You can," Renee said. "We're waiting for SVU to get here, so we can fill them in, then we can leave."

"Ok, they're here," Harvey announced, when a sedan pulled up with a flashing cherry on the dashboard. "Let's go."

"Jeez, Harvey, we have to fill them in, first!" Renee responded with annoyance. She just gave Sam a frazzled look. "You can go, now, if you want, Sam."

"Yeah," Harvey called after Sam, "and give my regards to the Maltese Fal-"

"Harvey!" Renee angrily cut him off. "Seriously, hombre, you really need to give it a rest!"

Sam smiled at John Jones as he emerged from the car with his partner Katie Farlane. "I hear there's a big break for you guys tonight in the serial kidnapping case."

John smiled back at her. "That's great, Sam. We can use all the help we can get."

As they walked past her, Sam overheard Katie say, "You're dating her, now?"

"No," Jon calmly replied. "Why, are you jealous?"

"I am not jealous!"

"And I'm not dating Sam," John said. "But you are jealous, Katie…."

"I said I wasn't jealous, John!"

As she watched them walk towards the crime scene, still bickering, Sam wasn't sure what she was more shocked at: the fact that Katie actually thought Sam could be dating John, or the extremely obvious fact that Kate Farlane had a major crush on her partner.

It was a shock, because while Sam knew the two of them were close, she had always figured their relationship to be more of that of brother and sister. As she got in her car and headed back home, Sam just slowly shook her head at this turn of events, and wondered if Katie had any idea of who or what John truly was, and if she had any idea that he was the last living Martian who posed as a human, would she still feel the same way about him?

'I have a lot a of nerve, acting so shocked about an unusual relationship,' Sam realized. 'When I'm in such a relationship myself.'

She drove home and parked her car in the underground garage beneath her apartment complex. Sam then rode up an elevator to her floor and entered her apartment. She figured if she dove straight into bed right now, she'd get another four hours sleep before the alarm clock would wake her.

But she barely took a step inside when Sam was grabbed from behind by somebody with strong, muscular arms.

"I'll say one thing for ya, lady," a familiar male voice whispered into her ear, "you sure like to live on the edge."

"Logan!" Sam said, pleasantly surprised to see her lover after so much time. When he released her, she turned and embraced him tightly, giving him a passionate kiss. "Hmm, where've you been?"

"Here and there," he replied with a smirk. "Magneto has been acting up again; we had to go and deal with him."

"You get him?"

His smirk was replaced with a scowl. "Nah, got away. Again. But we stopped him cold."

"That's all that matters," Sam replied, as she happily allowed herself to be swept up in his arms and carried into the bedroom. Still, her joy at seeing Logan again was tempered by something that he had said. "What did you mean, about me living on the edge? Hey!"

Sam inadvertently let out a whoop of joy as Logan picked her up and gently flung her on the bed. Then he got busy removing her shoes, her socks, and then his hands reached up to pry her belt open.

But that was when she stopped him. "Wait, wait…."

"What?" he asked her gently. "Something the matter?"

"You didn't answer my question: what did you mean before, about me living on the edge?"

He smiled down at her. "You quit the FBI to become a cop in one of the most wacked-out cities on earth, and you don't think you're living on the edge? Hell, you're so eager for action, you're racing out to crime scenes even when off duty."

"I'm with Major Case, and we got a priority call. I'm just doing my job, Logan."

"And you do it so well," he replied, as he undid her belt buckle. "Good thing the Batman got to those punks, because I sure hate to see what you would have done to them!"

Sam just giggled as he pulled her pants off with a flourish. Then she sat up with a gasp. "Wait a minute, Logan, you were there? At the crime scene?"

"Well, yeah, of course I was," he replied, pulling off his shirt. He climbed onto the bed beside her. "And, I gotta say, that family had no idea just how lucky they were tonight."

"Were you following me?"

He paused. "I came here, first, and saw you taking off for parts unknown. So, I decided to go with you."

"To spy on me?"

"To keep an eye on you," he corrected. Logan caressed the side of her face. "Hey, it's been a while since we've seen each other, babe. When I saw you leaving in a hurry like that, I just wanted to make sure that you would be safe, you know?"

Sam nodded abruptly. "Yeah…."

"I was just looking out for my girl, that's all," Logan assured her.

"Yeah, that's ok," Sam replied. She more than understood his desire to protect her. In fact, she liked it. Logan watching out for her reminded Sam of how the Batman watched out for Rachel. What woman wouldn't want a relationship like that, with a man who was a true hero?

"After all, it's not like you were stalking me, or anything like that," Sam said. "Right?"

Yet Sam never received an answer, and she soon didn't care, for they were both deep in the throes of passion.


"Oh, you little bastard," Olivia Benson muttered, as she was roused from a deep sleep by her cell phone, which rang incessantly. She reached out and picked up the phone. "This had better be good, Linda."

"Don't you check your cell phone ID before picking up?" James Gordon asked on the other end. "Because then you'd know by now that I'm not Linda."

'Oh, shit!' Olivia thought, as she quickly got out of bed. She instinctively stood at attention while clad in nothing but an extra large t-shirt. "Commissioner, sir, I-I'm sorry!"

"Don't worry about it, Liv, it's very late. I realize I'm waking you. But it just couldn't wait. We got a break on the serial kidnapping case. Our 'mutual friend' has caught them for us tonight. They were just about to abduct two more young girls right from their family on the street."

"Really? That's great! I mean, it's great that they were caught. Have they spilled their guts about their other victims? Are the previously kidnapped girls still alive?"

"No…there are complications," Gordon grimly told her. "Look, just get down to police headquarters. I've called for one of our special meetings in my office."

"Yes, sir; see you there in fifteen minutes," Olivia said, as she switched off the cell. She turned around to see Alex was awake. She was sitting up and dreamily staring at Olivia's backside. "What?"

"Nothing," Alex said with a broad smile. "Just admiring your lovely butt…."

"Oh, God, I swear, you are such a frigging pervert," Olivia muttered, as she ran to get dressed. "Which is one of the things that I like about you."

"What's the other thing?" Alex asked, as she got out of bed.

"Your lovely butt, among other things," Olivia replied. They hugged and kissed briefly. "Now get dressed. You're coming to Police Headquarters with me. Gordon called for one of our special meetings."

"Oooo, you mean the special, elite crime fighter meetings that the Batman attends? This'll be my first one!" Alex said excitedly as she eagerly got dressed. "What's up?"

"Batman caught the sons of bitches who're behind the rash of serial kidnappings," Olivia replied, as she finished dressing. "But I'm told there are complications…damn it."

"This is Gotham City, Liv," Alex somberly said. "You should know by now that there are always complications."

Olivia had to concede her that point. "Yeah, you're right about that, hon."

As soon as they were dressed, Olivia and Alex went down to their condo garage and got into the car. Olivia drove them over to the police headquarters garage, which was a vast complex in and of itself. When they finally emerged in Gordon's office, they found the Commissioner leaning against the front of his desk as he spoke with Rachel, Harvey and Renee, who were all seated before him.

"Well, well, look who finally decided to join us," Harvey said with a smirk.

Olivia just gave him a snarky smile in return as she and Alex took a seat together on the sofa. Despite the fact that, technically, Olivia outranked Harvey, once this meeting began, all things such as rank were thrown out as they treated each other equally.

"Some of us were sleeping," Alex primly told Harvey.

"Sleep? Yeah, I remember that very well," Harvey muttered.

"Don't worry about being late," Renee told Olivia and Alex. "We're still waiting on the Batman."
"Wait no longer," Rachel spoke up, as she gestured at the window.

Olivia was dumbfounded at how Batman always managed to find the darkest portion of a room to emerge from. As he strode towards them, she loved how his sleek black Batsuit made him look as if he was magically forming out of the shadows.

"Commissioner," the Dark Knight said by way of greeting.

"Batman, welcome," Gordon replied. "I did what you asked, and had the men you captured tested for drugs. But even though I asked for the testing to be sped up, it will still take two days to get the results."

"That's down from the usual two to three weeks," Renee commented. "Which is still pretty fast-but not fast enough for this case."

Gordon held out a small package that the Batman accepted. "So I had them take a little extra." Gordon nodded at the package. "That's blood from all of the suspects you grabbed tonight. I figure you can use it to run your own tests."

"Much obliged, Commissioner," Batman said. "This will be a big help."

Olivia, confused, shook her head. "I don't get it. What's the big deal about these guys being on drugs? This isn't anything we haven't seen before."

"Yeah, so they're druggies," Harvey added. "Just wait for them to come down from their high and then question them."

"It's imperative to run tests on the drugs in their systems now," the Batman told them. "Because I suspect they're not just casual drug users, but instead have been drugged by whoever they're working for."

"The one they refer only to as the Master," Gordon said.

"I have a hunch that the drugs they've taken are some kind of mind control," Batman said, "which may make them more susceptible to taking orders. If we can identity the drug in their system, we may then be able to link it back to whoever used it on them. And then find this Master."

"Oh, damn it," Alex muttered angrily. "There goes the opening salvo for the defense in this case…."

"Yeah, point taken, Alex," Rachel said, equally annoyed. She glanced up at the Batman and added, "Do you realize that you're creating the perfect defense for these guys? They can claim in court that they're not responsible because they were under the influence of whoever drugged them."

"These men are not the real problem, Ms. Dawes," Batman told her. "They are nothing more than minnows working for a much bigger fish."

Gordon nodded. "And once the big fish, this so-called Master, finds out they've been pinched, he'll just put another kidnap team back out on the streets."

Batman held up the package that Gordon gave him. "This is why we must analyze the drug as soon as possible. The sooner we can discover the identity of this Master, the sooner we can start hunting him directly."

Olivia got up and strode over to the vast display board that Gordon had set up in his office. Written on the board were the names of the criminally insane who had escaped Arkham Asylum when the Joker orchestrated the great break-out several months ago. Arkham had since been rebuilt and put back into service, yet it now stood practically empty, while the lunatics it once watched over freely roamed the streets.

Olivia noted with dread that, next to every name on the board was written the letters 'SAL,' an acronym for Still At Large. She was stunned to see that all of Batman's rogues gallery was still on the loose.

'Which one of you is doing this?' she wondered, as she looked over each name on the list. thought miserably. 'Let's narrow it down, first.'

"Which of this bunch is into mind control?" she asked the group.

"Scarecrow?" Alex offered.

"The Mad Hatter," Gordon said.

"The Mad Hatter exerts mind control through the use of hats," Batman said. "That's not what's at play, here, Jim."

"And the Scarecrow uses drugs, but mainly to drive his victims insane with fear," Olivia added.

"That could still work," Renee said. "The Scarecrow could be using his fright drugs to create an army for himself."

Batman slowly shook his head. "But the Scarecrow was always a common criminal who sought an easy profit in the past. What would the motive be for him to kidnap young women now?"

"It's the Joker," Harvey said confidently.

"It's not the Joker," Batman flatly said.

Harvey gave the Dark Knight an angry look. "And how are you so sure?"

"Because I know the Joker, and this just isn't his style," Batman replied. "He works on a much bigger canvas, and whatever he does, the Joker always makes sure everyone knows he's behind it."

"Maybe we have a new super-villain," Alex suggested. "Which is a pretty scary idea…."

"You know what really scares me?" Rachel said. She got up from her chair and joined Olivia over by the list of names. "Look at all of these criminals! With this many maniacs on the streets, you'd think Gotham City would have collapsed to the ground by now. But they've all been pretty quiet…a little too quiet for my taste. What the hell are they all up to?"

"Maybe this is the calm before the storm," Olivia said dreadfully. "I mean, it takes time for even a maniac to get himself set up to go on a murder spree."

Harvey just grunted in annoyance at her. "Thanks for that happy thought!"

"She may well be right," Gordon said grimly. "What do you think, Batman? Do you think the…oh, I should have known…."

Before Olivia even glanced in Batman's direction, she knew that he would already be gone.

Harvey jokingly waved his hands. "Like a ghost in the night, so goes Bats…."

In response, Renee just lightly punched him on his shoulder.

"We've got another problem, Jim," Rachel said. "I've received word that Scott Thorne is now back in town. Has been for the last few hours, now."

Gordon frowned in disgust. "Miami just couldn't hold him on the murder charge?"

Rachel shrugged helplessly. "Several of their witnesses have vanished."

"No doubt they were scared off by Thorne," Renee said.

"Either scared off," Harvey added, "or killed…."

"Whatever the case may be," Rachel said. "The DA down there had nothing to hold him on, so they had no choice but to let him go."

"And the scum bag comes right back home to cause more trouble," Harvey said.

"Just like his old man," Alex said.

"No, not like his old man," Gordon said, with a firm shake of his head. "Because we'll be keeping a close watch on young Mr. Thorne. I'll order a surveillance team to begin keeping tabs on him in the morning."

"On what grounds?" Rachel asked. "You just know that his lawyer, the very same high-priced shark who got him off in Miami, will be asking us that very same question."

"Everybody knows he killed that girl, Rachel," Olivia said.

"I don't doubt it, either. But the unfortunate fact is that he still got away with it," Rachel replied. "I don't like it anymore than you do, but if we're going to order surveillance on somebody, especially now, in these post-Cadmus times, we need to be very careful."

"Thanks to the madness that Cadmus perpetrated, people are now very wary of surveillance of any kind by the police, or government," Alex said. "And rightly so."

Gordon shook his head. "But that doesn't change the fact that the son of one of Gotham City's biggest and most notorious crime lords is back home, presumably to assume the mantle of his old man. I refuse to just sit back and let that happen!"

"Nobody's asking you to," Rachel replied. "I'm just asking that we play this by the book, that's all."

"What about asking Batman to pay little Thorne Junior a visit?" Renee said. "Maybe knock some sense into that bastard by hanging him off of a roof?"

Gordon chuckled. "As much as I'd love for that to happen, I'd rather the Batman stay focused on the serial kidnapping case. That takes priority over everything."

Olivia nodded. "Agreed. May I suggest that the SVU get involved?"

"How?" Rachel warily asked.

"The young woman whom Scott Thorne was accused of killing, she originally claimed to have been raped by him," Olivia said. "A suspected rapist, moving back into Gotham City? That would automatically put him on our radar, anyway. We could bust his chops, legally, and still keep his movements under close scrutiny while we do so."

"Very well, Liv." Gordon handed Olivia a thick file. "Here's everything you need to know about Scott Thorne."

Olivia sat back down on the sofa with Alex and opened the file. The very first thing she saw was a central processing photo of Scott Thorne. He was a handsome yong man of twenty five, who had an arrogant, smug look on his face even while he was having his mug shot taken at the county lock up.

Alex frowned at the photo. "Give him white hair, and a cigar, and he's the spitting image of his father Rupert." Alex shook her head. "Just what we need, another Boss Thorne lording it over the criminal underworld in Gotham City…."

"Not if we can help it, Alex," Olivia said, as she closed the file. "Not if we can help it."


"I merely did what I was asked to do," General Hardcastle solemnly stated on the TV. He sat rigidly in a courtroom stand, clad in a plain suit. "I merely did what I was sworn to do: to defend the United States of America from an insidious threat that arose from within."

"And what threat was that, General?" his lawyer asked.

"Namely the mutant faction of the population," Hardcastle replied vigorously. "Those with exceedingly dangerous powers who still walk among us!"

Matt let out a burst of laughter as he elbowed Scott. "Look at this guy, huh, Scotty? They ought to give him a damned medal for trying to wipe out those freaks, not putting him in jail. You know what I mean?"

Scott Thorne just nodded absently as they waited in the back of the limousine, ignoring the Cadmus trial highlights that ran on the TV set in the bar's counter top in front of them. They were parked by an abandoned warehouse in the Iron View section of Gotham City. This was where the meeting had been arranged, and he waited impatiently to hear if it would go off as planned.

The back door opened and Michael "Mickey" Turftman poked his head into the car. "It's set. The other side is here."

"Is it safe?" Matt asked. "We ain't letting Scotty in there unless it's safe. You know?"

Scott rolled his eyes at how Matt tried to play the tough guy. Matt Hagen was a childhood friend whose major dream in life was to become an actor. When his bid for acting stardom failed, Matt hooked up with Scott's crew. Despite the fact that he wasn't as tough as he made himself out to be, Scott kept Matt around for sentimental reasons. Scott gently slapped Matt on the shoulder. "If Mickey says a set up is safe, Matty, then you can invite your mother."

They got out of the car and walked over to the doorway, which was opened and guarded by two more of Scott's crew; none of whom were over the age of thirty, and a majority of them were recruited from Miami. That was also where Scott had made some very important connections in the drug trade, which he intended to put to good use here in Gotham City. He planned to retake the city, and build a name for himself, starting with cheap drugs.

'All of the meetings, all of the careful planning, and it was almost wiped by some stupid little bitch who wouldn't put out,' Scott thought with a shake of his head. 'And then she had the gall to try and pin a rape case on me when I simply took what I was owed from her! Well, I sure hope the little bitch is enjoying her deep sea swim…several miles off the coast of Florida….'

They strode into the center of the warehouse, which was dimly lit. Several more of Scott's boys stood anxiously waiting in the empty structure, including Antonio Ruiz, one of the guys from Miami who had signed up with them. Scott saw a raised balcony area just beyond where they stood. He gestured at it and said, "Remember who we're dealing with, here. Stay sharp, and watch out for everything, you hear me?"

"Hey, where's the guy from the other crew?" Mickey asked Antonio.

He shrugged. "He left. Said something about getting something…."

"You dumb son of a bitch," Mickey muttered, as he pulled out his gun. "You didn't think to warn us of this new development?"

"Let's get outa here, Scotty," Matt nervously said. He held up his gun at the shadows which lay just beyond them. "I don't like this."

"What's to like?" a voice echoed from the darkness around them. "This place is as creepy as all get out!"

It was when the voice burst into a hyena-like laughter that Scott realized the man he came to meet was here. "Where are you, you damned clown?" he bellowed. "Show yourself!"

"Oh my," a pale-faced figure muttered, as it emerged from the darkness directly in front of them. "Touchy, aren't you?"

The Joker then paused to clasp his hands in front of him as he burst into a hideously broad grin. "What's the matter, Scotty? Don't have the stomach to be a crime boss?"

Scott just shook his head in disgust at the sight of this moron with his purple suit, green hair, and pasty white face. So this was what took over the Gotham City underworld in the power void left by his father? A goddamn freak? He turned to the Joker and added, "You know, what's stopping us from blowing you away right here and now, clown boy?"
The Joker placed his hand on his chin and made an extravagant show of thinking. "I'd like to think it's the terms of the parley that's been called here. But, in reality, it's really got more to do with them…."

He gestured upwards, and on the second tier, the lights came on, showing a group of men who all wore clown masks. They stood aiming assault weapons down at Scott and his men. Harlequin dramatically posed in-between the armed goons with her arms held out like a game show hostess displaying a new prize for a contestant.

"Ta-dah!" she said cheerfully.

"Oh, sweet Jesus," Mickey fearfully muttered, as he gazed wide-eyed up at the overwhelming firepower that was being aimed at them.

"You wanted to talk, Scotty my boy," the Joker said, his tone now more somber. "I'm all ears…."

Scotty drew himself up to his full height and stabbed a finger into the Joker's face. To his credit, the clown did not flinch in the slightest. "I just wanted to give you and your ditzy little princess up there fair warning. I'm moving in and taking over my father's old rackets. You hear me, Joker? We're taking over control of Gotham City's underworld, and if you get in our way, we're just gonna roll right over you. So, if you wanna keep breathing, you'd better pack up your demented little circus right now and get out of town."

The Joker abruptly began clapping. "Very good! No…really, Scotty! That was a most impressive speech! Did you practice giving it in front of a mirror? Because it seemed very natural."

"Hey, he gave you a fair warning, you stupid jerk," Mickey told him. "You'd better listen to him."

The Joker stabbed his finger right in Scott's face. "And you had better go back to Miami and kill a few more pretty coeds, Scotty. I hear it's what you do best. Just leave running the Gotham City underworld to the crazies like us."

Scott shook his head grimly. "Is that how you want it? You want a war?"

"Nobody wants a war," the Joker replied. "Except those who think they're going to win one. And who do you think that will be, Scotty?"

"That's it," Scott said, as he turned on his heel. "This moron just wrote his own obituary. Let's go!"

"You're forgetting one thing, Scotty," the Joker called after him. "Gotham City is the biggest three-ringed circus in the world! And who better to be its ring master than me? Why, I'm already dressed for the part!"

'Crazy son of a bitch,' Scott thought, as he and his men quickly left. Once they emerged back into the night air, he was about to get back into the same limo-until he changed his mind, and got into the Escalade, instead. He liked the ride that it offered much better.

No sooner did he, Mickey and Matt got in than the limo in which Scott previously rode in earlier exploded into a huge fireball right in front of them.

"JESUS CHRIST, GET US THE HELL OUT OF HERE!" Scott screamed at Antonio, who drove.

Antonio, who had the SUV already running, quickly put it in reverse and peeled away at high speed, just as the ground where they were parked blew up right in front of them. When they arrived at the first intersection, Antonio put the massive SUV in drive and sped down a constricted street between the abandoned factories.

"Is everybody all right?" Mickey called back from the front passenger seat.

"Yeah, I-I think so…" Matt said. He looked as white as a ghost.

"Scotty," Mickey said, "you ok, bro?"

"I'm fine. But that crazy goddamn clown…I will kill him," Scott swore, as their SUV swerved crazily through the narrow causeways of the Iron View section in an attempt to escape further harm. "You hear me, Mickey? I swear to God, I will personally put a bullet right between the eyes of that grinning jackal's face!"


'Scotty is one lucky little bastard, I'll give him that,' the Joker thought, as he walked up the steps to the second floor balcony. He stepped onto the balcony and entered a small, deserted office in time to see Harley, armed with a bazooka, was cursing her brains out.

"Sorry, Mister J, but I missed the second car!" she said forlornly. "It was too fast for me!"

"And that was the car in which little Scotty made his getaway," the Joker informed her. "Our prey is still alive."

"Oh, drat!" Harley cried. "I hate missing, Mister J! I really hate missing the target!"

"That's quite all right, my dear," the Joker soothed her, as he took Harley into his arms. "After all, as the old saying goes, 'If at first you don't succeed…kill, kill again!'"

To Be Continued...