Author's Note: Well it's been a while since I updated this story. I stepped away from it give the plot some more thought and after a lot of thinking and playing Arkham Asylum and Arkham City twice, including all the AC DLC, I think I have an idea of where I want this story and- though I promise nothing- the sequel to go. I can't say when the next update will be because mostly, the stories I update are chosen by the flip of coin, and I'm writing three other stories at the same time. So there's a one in four chance that of this story being the next one I update.
DISLCAIMER~ Batman: Arkham Asylum is the property of Rocksteady and Warner Bros...I think, I don't really pay attention to that crap.
It had been almost a full week since Jack began working at Arkham and so far, he had encountered no problems. His job mostly just required him to escort dangerous prisoners around the island, oversee processing of dangerous arrivals to Arkham, and only twice having to oversee interviews between the doctors and the inmates, a couple of the famous ones like the Riddler and Two-Face. So far, it was a lot easier than working the field in hostile territories all over the globe.
He had also developed a good rapport with some of the faculty, he had even been invited to a poker game hosted by Boles, but he politely declined, particularly because there was something about Frank that Jack didn't quite like; a bad first impression perhaps. The man just seemed too full of himself. He and Cash had bonded pretty quickly. The two often ate lunch together, had friendly conversations over coffee, and had once even shared a bull session over drinks at a local bar after punching out.
He checked the time on the clock in the guard break room in the Penitentiary, it read quarter of eleven. He still had another fifteen minutes before he resumed his work day. That was plenty of time to finish his sub and second cup of coffee. Working the night shift at Arkham was not easy; he needed to be alert one hundred percent of the time or else the inmates would tear him apart if he wasn't paying attention. That was especially true in regards to his next job: overseeing the patient interview with Waylon Jones, a.k.a. "Killer Croc". Jack had yet to actually see Croc up close since he came to Arkham, but he knew that when he did, he needed to be prepared. He tossed the wrap from his sub and the empty coffee cup into the trash and headed for Intensive Treatment building.
He hurried through processing and made his way to Cell Block Transfer. He found Cash waiting for him outside his usual station.
"I was worried you might be too afraid to show," Cash said mirthfully.
"I don't scare easily," Jack said with a smug smirk.
"Let's see how well you keep up that attitude," Cash said as he walked with Jack to the elevator. There they met up with six other Arkham guards. Each of them loaded up into the elevator and began their descent to Killer Croc's lair.
"Alright everyone," Cash addressed everyone in the elevator, "you all know the drill. Keep your weapons trained on Croc. Do not get distracted, people! If anyone of you dies, the warden will have our asses for ruining his image. Nobody die today, I do not feel like putting up with that bull crap!"
Jack almost laughed. He remembered getting speeches like this from his superiors many times before a mission. Nothing like a military pep talk to get you all pumped up.
The elevator came to a stop once it hit the ground floor. The guards loaded out of the elevator and made their way to the nearest weapons cache mounted on the walls. Jack grabbed the assault rifle and did his routine weapons check that he had practiced for over a decade: check the sights, the ammunition, the safety, and the weight. It was pretty low-tech compared to some of the weapons he had handled during his career, but he supposed it would have to do. He wished he still had his trusty M4 assault rifle at his side; that weapon had saved his ass more than once in the sand.
"You look like you know what you're doing."
Jack stopped his examination and looked up to see who had spoken to him. He recognized the guard from some of his rounds in Intensive Treatment, but had never really interacted with him before.
"A few years in the service and you know these things like the back of your hand," Jack replied.
"Eddie Burlow," the man greeted extending his hand.
"Jack Austin," Jack greeted back as he shook Eddie's hand.
"You think you're ready for Croc?" Eddie asked nodding his head to the large metal door at the corner of the room
"We'll find out in a few minutes. What about you?"
"I've never been this close before. Hope I don't crap my pants," Eddie said with a somewhat nervous laugh.
"I'm sure you'll do fine. There are eight of us here; we can handle this."
"Yeah, sure," Eddie responded with a dry laugh. "We'll see if you still think that thirty seconds from now."
In the observation room above them, Jack spotted Dr. Gretchen Whistler. He had only accompanied her during an interview one other time, but that was all it took for him to realize that he had better not get on her bad side. The woman was one of the more prolific doctors at Arkham and based on what he heard from the rest of the staff, she took her job very seriously with a raw determination to cure any psycho sent to her.
"Okay, people, he's coming out!" Cash announced. "Weapons ready!"
The guards all pointed their weapons at the large bulkhead-like door. One of them pulled the handle that opened and quickly backed away. From behind the door, Jack could hear growling and the ground shook beneath his boots. He hadn't been told the true size of Waylon Jones having yet to read his patient file, but Jack was guessing that whatever could make the ground shake this much had to be at least eight feet tall and weigh several hundred pounds.
The first thing he saw was a large, scaly green hand grip the doorframe. He was totally unprepared for the giant hulking frame that came afterwards. His initial guess to Croc's height was totally off; the monster stood at eleven feet tall and was no doubt more than five hundred pounds of pure muscle covered by thick green scales. The most frightening things were the two rows of jagged razor sharp teeth that jutted out the creature's mouth. Wrapped around its neck was large metal collar with a short chain dangling from it along with two pairs of steel cuffs on its legs and arms.
'Freak on a leash!' Jack thought to himself. 'This thing's supposed to be human?'
Killer Croc stood tall before the guards and glared down at each of them. He then sniffed the air for a couple of seconds before his yellow eyes fell on Jack.
"New meat!" he growled with what Jack suspected was a grin. "Nice of you to bring me a snack, Cash!"
"Shut up, freak!" Aaron shouted. Croc only cackled.
"I got your scent now, meat!" Croc said with a sadistic glee. "Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-to-arrrgghhh!" Croc roared in pain as the collar around his neck suddenly sparked to life and sent large amounts of volts through his massive body. Jack looked to see Aaron holding a device in his hand with his thumb pressed down on a red button.
"I told you to shut up!" Cash shouted as he released the button.
"That is enough, Mr. Cash!" Dr. Whistler said firmly as she came out of the observation room flanked by two armed guards. "Please forgive us, Mr. Jones," she began politely. "How are you feeling today?"
"Hungry!" Croc growled. "Why don't we cut this short and you get me some dinner, bitch!"
"I'm afraid we can't do that, Mr. Jones; you know how this must go," Gretchen said calmly.
"I said I'm hungry!" Croc roared as began stomping his way in Gretchen's direction only to be shocked by Cash once more.
"This is a waste of time, Doc! Let's just throw him back in his hole!" Cash said.
"We cannot, Mr. Cash. That is not why we are here," Whistler said adamantly before turning her attention back to Croc. "I thought we might talk about your aunt today, Mr. Jones."
"What about her?" Croc demanded angrily.
"She was abusive was she not? She denied you the support you needed as a child with such a terrible condition. Instead she treated you poorly and ridiculed you, correct?"
"So?" Croc asked with increasing agitation.
"Does it not bother you?"
"You think I give a shit about that bitch?" Croc snarled. "She's just food to me, just like the rest of ya!"
"You cannot possibly think that," Gretchen tried.
"If she were here right now, I'd chew on her flesh and guts and used her aging bones for toothpicks!"
"I understand you are angry with her, Mr. Jones, and you have every reason to be, but those thoughts will only destroy you in the end; they will make you less human."
"Are you listening to me, bitch?" Croc roared as he took one dangerous step forward, making every guard in the room train their sights on him. "I'll devour you!"
Aaron wasted no time in pressing the button on the device in his hand, sending humanly fatal volts of electricity through Croc's body.
"This is pointless, Dr. Whistler," Cash stated.
Gretchen sighed in disappointment. "I'm inclined to agree, Mr. Cash. You may go back to your 'cell', Mr. Jones," she said before heading for the elevator.
The massive mutant only growled in response before being corralled back into his cell. One of the guards activated the device that carried giant pieces of what Jack presumed- and hoped- was cow meat into Croc's cell.
Jack made his way to the weapons locker and set the assault rifle back on the rack. Cash came up next and set his rifle down as well.
"I gotta tell ya Austin: I don't know why we bother with that animal," Cash said with an annoyed sigh.
"If the doctors don't cure him then there out of work," Jack replied sardonically.
Cash let out a light chuckle before walking back to the elevator with Jack.
"Seriously though, we should just leave that thing down here to rot," Cash stated as he activated the elevator.
"Why don't you just give him the chair…a really big chair?" Jack asked curiously.
"For one: the warden wants to prove to the voters that this hellhole can cure these sickos," Cash said with a dry laugh. "And two: these doctors firmly believe that he's insane and the law says we can't execute a crazy person."
"Sometimes people are just beyond saving," Jack said with a shrug.
"No doubt about that," Cash said in agreement as they walked into the elevator.
"So is he like…human?" the new guard asked curiously as the elevator began its ascension.
"Only in a legal sense," the senior security guard replied. "He's got one of those rare medical conditions with the long ass names. Basically, it makes him more like a crocodile."
"Is that even possible?"
"Only in Gotham."
When the elevator came to a stop at the top floor, Aaron and Jack headed back for Intensive Treatment. Jack's radio suddenly went off.
"This is Officer Smith. Austin do you read me?" came the voice of Henry Smith, one of the guards assigned to the Intensive Treatment facility. Jack pressed the button on the side of his radio to respond.
"This is Austin. Go ahead."
"We need your help for an interview in Intensive Treatment," Smith responded.
"Who's the patient?"
"Dammit," Jack muttered causing Aaron to snicker. Jack hated dealing with Zsasz. It seemed no matter how many knives he took from the psychopath, he always had another one stashed away somewhere. Out of all the inmates Jack had to put up with in the last week, Zsasz was the one he saw most, just about every day for transport and drop offs, but he had yet to spend an extended period of time in the same room with psycho.
"10-4, I'm on it," he said reluctantly.
"Roger. Over and out," Smith said before the line went dead.
"Just my luck," Jack groaned.
"Have fun, Jack," Cash said with a laugh before walking away.
"You're an asshole, Aaron," Jack said mirthfully.
"Drinks after work?" Aaron asked.
"Why not?" Jack said before heading on towards the processing lobby.
When he reached the lobby, he spotted Zsasz strapped to an upright stretcher flanked by Officer Smith, and to his mild surprise, Frank Boles.
"You call someone else, Smith?" he asked in confusion.
"No, I had him call you," Frank stated.
"You need three guards to transport one detained prisoner?" Jack asked with a raised brow.
"Call it a test," Frank said with a small smirk. "I wanna see how you work under pressure with one of these sickos in the room."
"I've been here a week, Boles. I think I can handle myself."
"Just do me this little favor, Austin," Frank urged. "If I'm gonna be head of security, I need to know which guards I can trust to do their jobs right around here."
Jack knew without a shred of doubt that there was more to it than what Frank was giving him. Maybe it was his initial distrust of the man, but something told him that Boles was trying to hint at whom the Alpha Dog was at Arkham and he wanted to know if Jack would fold and fall in line. Fortunately for Boles, Jack had no need for a petty title and was just there to do a job.
"Alright, Boles, I'll join you," he said civilly.
"Great, now help Smith carry the freak," he ordered.
'I guess he thought I meant "Okay Frank, I'll be your bitch",' Jack thought in annoyance before heading towards the stretcher carrying a serial killer more prolific than Bundy.
"Hello again, Officer Austin," Zsasz said in that creepy voice that you would want to hear if you walking down a dark alley. Jack ignored the crazed murderer and grabbed the other end of the stretcher and started pulling Zsasz along with Smith back towards the elevator.
As they walked, Jack noticed something odd. There was silver flask strapped to Frank's belt. He hadn't been at Arkham long, but he was sure drinking on the job was something the Warden and his incessant mayoral campaign would not tolerate.
"Hey, Frank, what's up with the flask?" he asked.
"It's just somethin' to take the edge off, Austin," he replied nonchalantly. "Working in Arkham takes a lot outta ya. Bourbon just makes it easier."
"And…the Warden's okay with that?" Jack asked unconvinced.
"What he doesn't know won't hurt him," Frank stated quickly and then turned to face his new colleague with a challenging gaze. "Right?"
Jack hesitated before nodding. He didn't want any trouble, he just wanted to do his job and get paid. Frank seemed satisfied with his reaction and together all three stepped into the elevator.
Being trapped in a metal box on a slow descent to the lower levels with a person responsible for- if the tally marks on his skin that were actually visible were any hint- at least one hundred murders was definitely disconcerting for Jack. Zsasz was creepy looking enough with his shaven head, the odd tattoo on the back of his head, his wiry frame, and his cold blue eyes that watched them as if they prey, but those marks just made him completely horrifying. Jack could only make out tally marks that weren't hidden beneath his inmate issue shorts, sleeve-like cuffs, and leather collar wrapped around his neck, but even then, it was frightening. At least one hundred murders were committed by this man for, as far as he could tell, to satisfy some deranged fantasy he built his entire world around. Jack had fought warlords who committed numerous atrocities that were not for the weak of heart to witness, but this one man had him on edge more than any of them and he doubted the shock baton he carried at his hip would be enough to stop him if he ever got his hands on a blade of any kind.
When the elevator had finally reached the ground floor, he let out a sigh of relief and helped Officer Smith continue to pull the patient to his interview while Boles led the way. They reached their destination after they passed through the holding cells. They pulled Zsasz into a small room with nothing more than a desk and two chairs. The doctor conducting the interview hadn't arrived yet so Frank ordered Smith and Jack to unstrap Zsasz and cuff him to the desk. After making sure the man was fully secure, Jack made his way outside to wait with Frank while Smith stayed in the room to watch over Zsasz.
"So is this supposed to go a certain way?" Jack asked Frank.
"What're you talking about, marine," the other man asked before reaching for his flask and taking a quick swig.
"Look, Frank, I know what you're doing and I'm just going to let you know right now, I'm not here to step on any toes, I'm just here to do my job. So you can stop with the 'tests'."
Frank only let out a laugh. "Good".
The sound of footsteps down the hall could be heard and both men turned their heads to see the doctor that would be conducting the session. To Jack's surprise, it was the same doctor who gave him his physical on his first day, Dr. Cassidy.
"Officer Boles," she greeted before turning her gaze to Jack with a friendly smile. "Still here I see."
"Surprised?" the former marine replied with a friendly smile of his own.
"A little maybe," she said before looking to her clipboard. "So is the patient ready?"
"He's inside," Boles answered.
"Victor Zsasz," Cassidy read of the name on the patient form clipped to clipboard.
"Have you actually done an interview with this patient before, doctor?" Jack asked curiously.
"No, this will be my first interview with him," she replied. "You did check him for weapons right?"
At least she was aware of his reputation.
"I took care of that back at the Penitentiary," Boles boasted.
"Are you sure? He always has one more on him somewhere," Jack commented.
"Yeah, Austin, I'm sure," Frank replied irately.
Jack rolled his eyes inwardly. Apparently he was making Frank look bad.
"Well anyway, let's get this started," Cassidy interjected. The redhead pulled out a tape recorder and pressed the button before speaking into the device. "Tape patient evaluation one. Patient name is Victor Zsasz, diagnosed clinically insane after the murder of at least twenty women in the Gotham area."
Taking that as his cue, Jack opened the door and allowed Dr. Cassidy entrance into the room. The woman stepped inside and set the recorder down on the table before taking a seat herself.
"Wait!" Jack cut her off before rounding the table towards Zsasz.
"Officer Austin, I'm trying to conduct a session!" Cassidy said in annoyance.
"What the hell are you doing Austin?" Boles demanded.
Jack ignored them and stared Zsasz down. The deranged psycho only stared back with a small grin.
"Open your mouth," Jack ordered.
"Hmm?" Zsasz hummed innocently.
"Open your mouth," Jack ordered again this time much slower and in a threatening tone as his hand hovered over his shock baton.
Zsasz's grin widened some before he complied.
"Smith, if he bites me, knock him out," the former marine instructed, receiving a nod of confirmation from the other guard in return while Dr. Cassidy and Boles watched in confusion.
Jack took hold of Victor's jaw with one hand and moved the other towards the patient's mouth. He stuck two fingers inside and carefully reached for what he was looking for. He slowly pulled his fingers back out and showed the doctor what Victor had been hiding. In his hands was a small razor blade that Zsasz had been cheeking the entire time.
"Like I said: there's always one more," he said to Frank before pocketing the razor.
Frank looked at Jack with hidden envy. The marine had one-upped him in front of the Sarah Cassidy and another guard. Austin had said he was just there to do a job, but that wouldn't stop the senior Arkham guard from keeping an eye on him. There was only room for one top dog at Arkham.
"Sorry about that doctor, but are orders are to make sure this patient is near any blade of any kind," Jack said apologetically.
"It's…alright, Officer," she said after snapping out of her stunned silence. She was impressed he had caught something so subtle despite being at the Asylum only a week.
She cleared her throat and started again.
"Hello Victor, I'm Dr. Cassidy," she began gaining the attention of the scarred killer. "Since this our first session, let's spend some time getting to know each other."
"I don't need to know you, Miss Cassidy. Everything is meaningless," Victor replied as a matter-of-factly.
"Don't you think that's a very negative outlook on life, Victor?" Sarah asked civilly, appearing undeterred by his response.
"You've no doubt read my file."
"Yes…yes I have," Sarah replied with a somewhat perturbed expression as she recalled all the gory details of the man in front of her. "It says that you come from a wealthy family. That your parents died. How you lost all the money gambling."
"And none of it matters," Zsasz stated.
"Why do you keep saying that, Victor?"
"Because the only thing that does matter is the mark. Have you seen my work, Miss Cassidy?" the crazed man asked as he eyed Sarah with that predator-like gaze of his.
"If you're referring to the marks on your…" Sarah said trying to remain calm and collected under the man's stare.
"Of course I mean my tally marks. And I have a space for yours. Do you want to see where?" Zsasz asked as a wide grin slowly spread across his face.
Jack watched as Sarah's expression became horrified for the briefest moment. This man had her pegged as another victim the moment she walked into the room. No doubt she thought her very own mark being cut into his flesh while her bod lied cold and lifeless like all the other women he murdered.
She reached for the tape recorder and pushed the record button again, stopping the recording.
"I think that will do for now," she said with a forced calmness. "Let's continue this during our next session on Sunday. You may take the patient back now," she said before quickly leaving the room.
Jack looked at Zsasz to see that he had a satisfied smile on his face.
"Alright, freak, it's back to the Penitentiary for you!" Frank growled as he undid Zsasz cuffs rather aggressively.
Jack would've helped, but he felt he needed to make sure Dr. Cassidy was alright. Hopefully she hadn't gotten too far. He slipped out of the room and found her pacing the hall outside appearing to be taking several deep calming breaths.
"Hey, you alright?" he asked with genuine concern.
She gasped in surprise before composing herself.
"I'm fine," she answered quickly. "I just…I wasn't expecting that. I had heard about what he has done. I've seen the file…but I didn't think for a second that it would turn out like that. Did you see the way he looked at me?"
"I did. It's the same way he looks at almost everyone," Jack answered. "I'm sure he's got a place for me somewhere too."
"I'm just concerned because the file says he mostly targets women."
"Well, Doctor, there's always going to be guards in the room. You don't have much to worry about," Jack said trying to calm her.
"He managed to sneak a razor into the interview room," she countered.
She had him there. Even if the razor was no bigger than his pinky, in Zsasz's hands it was a good as a sword. He could have gotten at least one of them with it.
"Well, you could always request a different patient, I'm sure they'd give him another doctor."
"Oh, but that would go against the Warden's campaign to 'cure Gotham's crime'," she mocked bitterly.
"Well, then just-"
"Austin, take razor boy back to his cell!" Boles ordered as he stepped out of the room.
Jack scowled before turning around and facing the senior Arkham guard.
"Only because you asked so nicely, Frank," he said evenly before helping Smith cart out Zsasz.
He looked back and saw that Frank wasn't following them. Instead, he was speaking to Dr. Cassidy. He had some smarmy smirk on his face and she had a rather uncomfortable smile on hers. Jack may have been wrong, but it looked like he was trying to make a move on her. It certainly would explain why he was the one staying behind not doing his job while he carried a murdering psychopath back to the Penitentiary.
"Don't worry about," Smith said having noticed Jacks annoyed face. "After a while you just get used to it."
"You just let him tell you what to do?" Jack asked incredulously.
"Better we do it than him," Smith with a shrug.
"What do you mean?" Jack didn't miss how Smith's face turned uncomfortable for a second.
"Look, I don't wanna be "that guy", but for all Frank's talk about being the next head of security, he's probably the worst guard at Arkham. You remember how he said he searched Zsasz for weapons before we brought him here?"
"He checked from behind the bars of Zsasz's cell."
To not even give the patient of Zsasz's caliber a thorough check for weapons was not only irresponsible, it was a death wish. The man hid a razor in his mouth for God's sake! Yet, Frank was willing to bypass procedure? What could be his reasoning?
"He found out that Dr. Cassidy was going to be leading the interview," Smith answered. "Frank's been after her for months."
"Are you serious?" Jack asked with disgust.
"Like I said, Austin, I'm not trying to be "that guy", but watch yourself around Boles. He ain't the kind of guy you trust."
Jack tried to process how someone could work in such a dangerous place and only look out for themselves. Arkham Asylum housed some of the most dangerous criminals known to man along with some other minor, yet still dangerous, inmates. Yet despite that, one man was willing to put his fellow guards and the rest of the staff at risk to sooth his own ego. Jack had no idea what had deluded Frank into thinking he would become the next head of security, but he would not stand by and let anyone put him or the others at risk.
'Maybe I'll have to step on some toes after all…' he thought to himself.
Well there you have it. Let me know how I did with Killer Croc's patient interview. I'm trying to refrain from using the interviews from the game, but in Zsasz's case, it may be unavoidable. I will tell you this, just to keep you interested, I do plan on having Jack meet Scarecrow and the Joker at some point, maybe even a few extras from Batman's rogue gallery ;)