2 Weeks Later
Terry walked into the cave, looking over to the platform the Batmobile was usually on. It still hadn't been rebuilt, or, at least, it hadn't been delivered if it had. He moved over to the computer, where Bruce was sat. As Terry approached, he saw something close down before he could read much more than the words 'Project: Batman' on the screen.
"What're you working on?" Terry asked, turning to face Bruce and leaning on the edge of the computer.
"You're late." Bruce said, ignoring the question "You were supposed to be here an hour ago."
"I had to tie up a few things." Terry replied, getting a stern look from Bruce "Hey, you should be glad I'm being evasive."
"You're learning." Bruce said, finally, Terry surprised at receiving what almost sounded like a compliment "But you've got a lot more to learn."
Terry just stood there for a moment. Bruce was trying to put him off something. Terry wasn't sure what but he'd find out. As he was about to say something, Bruce stood up, picking up his cane and began to walk out of the cave.
"Where are you going?" Terry asked, quickly walking across the cave to walk alongside Bruce as he went up the stairs back into the mansion.
"It's private, McGinnis." Bruce replied coldly "Get the costume on and get out into the city. The bike's off to the left of the Batmobile's platform, take that."
"Fine." Terry said, not happy with Bruce's evasive tactics, even if they were nothing new "What if I need tech support?"
"Max is coming." Bruce replied "Now, suit up and get out on patrol!"
"You got it." Terry replied, turning and running back down the stairs, into the armoury, to get changed.
Bruce was led through the halls of the new Arkham Asylum by a young doctor in her early to mid twenties. The Asylum had been rebuilt yet again, this new institution having facilities which were based on the Justice League Watchtower. The specifications had been hand delivered by Superman; Kent had owed Bruce a favour.
"We're almost there, Mr. Wayne." The doctor, her name tag identifying her as Dr. Maria Lester "Can I ask, what interest do you have in this inmate?"
"His mother and grandfather are old work acquaintances." Bruce said simply.
"Well, you're lucky you have friends in high places." She said "I've been trying to get a look in on this patient for weeks, but the warden won't allow it."
"The Commissioner's a family friend." Bruce said as they turned the corner into the high security cell section.
"Ah, I wish that I could say something like that, but the closest thing we've got to that is that my grandmother used to work in R&D for, well, you, around 50 years ago." Lester said "She said she'd met you once or twice, Doctor Michaels?"
"Sorry, my memory isn't what it was." Bruce lied, covering that the name could apply to any of 20 different women who had worked for him around that time.
"Well, here we are." She said, stopping outside a cell "Damian Al Ghul, also known as the Red Hood."
"Thank you, doctor." Bruce said, turning and smiling in his best, kindly old man impression "Could you give us a few moments alone?"
Lester paused for a second before nodding. She turned and walked out, leaving Bruce to look into the brightly lit cell. Damian was lying on his bed, tossing a ball against the ceiling and catching it as it came back down before tossing it again.
"She forgot to add Robin to that 'AKA' point." Damian said, not bothering to look at Bruce "Still, you seemed to have done okay at denying that detail until recently."
"I got your calling card." Bruce said, narrowing his eyes "Project Batman Beyond, the last, unofficial, Cadmus project. Or so your files claim."
"Oh please, old man." Damian said, sitting up and facing Bruce "We both know you wouldn't be here if you didn't believe it."
"Why did you leave that file there?" Bruce asked, glaring at his son.
"Ooh, the famous 'bat-stare,' I'm quaking in my boots. Hold on, I'm not wearing any." Damian said, smirking "Seriously, Bruce, if you have to ask why I left that there, you've lost every last element of Batman still present in your personality."
"Why don't you try saying that out here and I'll show you how wrong you are." Bruce said, leaning toward the force field, his eyes narrow and his voice cold and rough "Thank you, Damian. You've told me exactly what I wanted to know."
"What was that, dad?" Damian said with a malicious laugh, before Bruce turned and walked away wordlessly, leaving Damian to yell "What was it? What was it? Tell me, old man! Tell me!"
The young woman sat in her apartment, twiddling her dyed, dark brown hair between two fingers. It wasn't what she'd been accustomed to in the past, but it would do. All she really needed was the bed, the basic living necessities and, most of all, the room. Her past had been chasing her since she'd left it behind a year ago, when her parents had been sent to jail.
She'd tried to get her brother on the straight and narrow with her, but as soon as their parents had been bailed out of prison by an anonymous benefactor and come looking for the young woman and her brother, her brother had been quick to go back to their old gang.
The young woman stood up, walking across her apartment to her bedroom, jumping and landing in a laying position on her bed. She reached across and grabbed a photo that was sat on her bedside table, looking at it. It was of her, with her natural blonde hair colour, with an attractive young man, about her age in a black shirt and brown jacket with short, black hair and piercing blue eyes, the two of them at a nightclub.
After a moment she put the photo down and picked up her phone, punching in a number and pressing call. After ringing a couple of times, the line was picked up, the sound of traffic screeching by audible from the other end of the line.
"Hello?" The voice of a young man came down the line, the girl not replying "Hello?"
"Terry…" The girl began, her voice cracking and trailing off before she said anymore.
"Melanie? Melanie, what's-" Was all the response she got before she hung up the phone, throwing it across the room.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! She knew she wasn't supposed to call anyone, that her calls would be traced. But she couldn't help it, she'd just wanted to hear a friendly face, something that would keep her grounded, let her think her life was normal.
Melanie Walker stood up, walking across the room and looking out the window, a tear rolling down her cheek. She was back in Neo Gotham, and this time, things would be different.
Okay, so that's the epilogue. The final part with Melanie is relevant to the sequel to this fic, part two of the trilogy which I'm dubbing "The Vengeance Trilogy." Doctor Lester and Melanie will both be featured prominently in the next part, entitled "Death of the Knight", as will some of the other established characters from the Batman Beyond series, as well as a mystery character who will be revealed in the fic. R&R, please, no flames and I'll do my best to put "Death of the Knight" out ASAP. B.