Disclaimer- I don't own Batman Beyond or Justice League Unlimited. They belong to Detective Comics
"You're unusually quiet," said Bruce Wayne.
Terry McGinnis, also known as Batman, didn't even bother raising his head at the unseen voice, instead continuing to work studiously at the old-fashioned locks as he answered eloquently, "What?"
"I mean," Wayne said patiently, "that normally you'd be filling up the comm with all sorts of chatter. Got anything in mind?"
Batman let out a sigh of triumph as the lock snapped open only to groan as behind the latch, a new series of electronic locks gleamed. Silently cursing security companies and their near paranoid installations, Batman lifted the pad to reveal the workings of the alarm and raised a finger to a system as the omnicomputer installed into his Batsuit began to slice its way in. "I've been thinking about a friend. Well, not my friend, but his dad. Step-dad I mean. Big-"
"That's him," Terry said with annoyance," You know it wouldn't kill you to call him by his real name."
"Somehow I doubt Big Jim is the name printed on the birth certificate. Besides, always keep things impersonal. Saves a lot of trouble," Bruce said.
"You'd be the expert right?" Terry deadpanned. "But anyway, I've been thinking. He gets out of Jail soon, but no one's going to hire him. So why don't we-"
Bruce cut in curtly, "Wayne-Powers is not going to rehire him."
"Thanks for letting me finish. What I meant was, why don't we as in Batman hire him? I was looking through the old records in the computer and it's not like you haven't done something like that before. Earl Cooper did a good job, and besides he's good at other stuff besides lethal weaponry. That goo gun of his was pretty good against me, and he knows his way around cars."
"Hmm, it is tempting," Bruce admitted.
"I know right?" Terry grinned. "And-"
"Which is why I've already started to reroute some funds and cleared out a workshop," Bruce finished.
"…You never let me do anything," Terry said in his most childish voice.
"I'm letting you track down the rogue scientist McGinnis."
"Yeah yeah. S.T.A.R. Labs nutcase, escaped with experimental supplies, wants to make a Time Machine."
"Time Travel isn't a dream," reminded Bruce.
"Yeah, Static's bad jokes proved that," said Terry. "Aha! Gotya," he said as the computer finally finished. Batman removed the panel into the old warehouse and made his way in through the maintenance shaft. He moved down as far as he dared before he looked through the slitted viewpoints.
"What do you see?" asked Bruce.
A test of course. Another way for Terry to test his burgeoning detective skills.
"Cot at the southeast corner, looks like it hasn't been used though. Some rations bars, already eaten, old passage that looks like a bathroom… and of course, the big honking machine right there and the crazy old guy working on it."
"Personal effects, what about the warehouse itself?"
"Old manufacturing plant meant for building circuit boards. Shut down after Powers outsourced to India a decade ago. Looks like the good Doctors' got the power running though," Terry noted.
"Well spotted," Bruce said approvingly. "And the Doctor? Tell me about him."
"Walker Gabriel, age 54. Graduated top of his class from the University of Metropolis, and completed postgraduate work at U.C. Berkeley. Joined S.T.A.R. Labs right out of graduation and hasn't looked back. Unmarried, no children. As lonely as you can get. Anyway, guy's pet project has been time travel and finally he just snapped a few days ago after being dismissed. Grabbed everything that wasn't nailed down and worked his way over here where S.T.A.R. Labs doesn't have any influence. The Justice League decided to foist this on me because they have better things to do than slum it out in Gotham."
"Thank you for your commentary on his life and yours. Stick to the facts next time besides, looking at the stolen parts, it looks like he took some tritium with him. If he uses it carelessly, he can take down a quarter of the city," Bruce rapped.
The next few minutes passed by silently as Terry worked his way into a dark corner and waited for a chance to pounce the scientist. The man was obviously high-strung and every few minutes, a free hand patted a coat pocket reassuringly. The size and bulge suggested a compact laser pistol, not something Terry would have normally worried about, but for all he knew it might have been some prototype antimatter rifle or anything else that could punch through his suit.
Better to wait and look for a good time to take down the man. Patience was something not many people would have figured Terry McGinnis to have, but it had been something Batman had been forced to learn quickly. All the bruises and bumps he'd gotten from being just a half-second too fast had taught him that lesson well. Luckily for him, the scientist seemed to be on the verge of completion. Gabriel's surprisingly steady hands attached the last circuit board in before he welded in the steel plates to cover up the vulnerable insides.
As machines went, Terry had seen better assembled ones in his shop class. The whole thing looked like it was on the verge of falling apart, with the only remotely stable looking portion a clear and open sphere of glass balanced on a metal stand. Sparks began to finally die down as the old man lifted his protective mask and shoved the welder aside. He started laughing at his success and finally calmed down enough to place his laser pistol on an unmoving conveyer belt that doubled as a worktable. Having been working for the better part of three days, the man finally turned and yawned.
Batman couldn't have been given a better opening even if had been giftwrapped.
A single tackled had the man pinned against the manufacturing belt far from the laser pistol. "Sorry Doctor, but I have to bring you in," Batman said keeping his grip fairly loose. After all, it wasn't like he wanted to hurt the guy or anything.
Gabriel didn't even bother to argue, instead bringing up a knee to try and force Batman away. Batman idly took a step back to dodge the poorly placed knee only to be surprised by an electric shock.
"Wh-what?" He asked dumbly.
The doctor's watch was sparking. "Something we designed for the NSA," Gabriel said in answer to Batman's questioning look. "Made as a last ditch protection device. Only good for a one time use," he explained as a hand reached into a pocket and activated a remote. The factory came alive and a set of sparking things Terry had no name for lunged for his body. Terry backflipped away from the writhing machine only to be blasted back from a laser shot. The suit took most of the impact, but Terry still reeled.
He'd been trying to take it easy on the old man, but Terry knew he had to finish things quick. He took a smoke bomb from his belt and hurled it at the ground as his rebreather came up. The coughs made from the aging Doctor made it simple to pinpoint him, but sheer luck saved the man as a one of the factory's welders punched into Batman's stomach, and threw him into Time Machine. The impact shuddered the whole frame, and the already shoddily made machine took the blow as a sign to activate. The glass sphere shut and an ominous countdown timer started.
"Doctor," Batman rumbled threateningly.
"I-I'm sorry Batman, but there's nothing I can do. It's a failsafe," he said quietly.
For his part, Batman tore off the electric saw installed in his belt and began to try and cut his way out, only for the saw to make little, if any headway.
"The glass, it's from the new S.T.A.R. Labs Space Division. It's designed for the new spaceships. Your saw can't cut through it," the Doctor said sheepishly. Undeterred, Batman ripped out a plastic explosive before wrapping a length of detcord. But the machine had now begun to glow an unearthly white, and the Batsuit couldn't block out the light entirely. Just as the machine activated to full power, Batman triggered the explosives, only to make the slightest of holes.
Too late though, as unearthly forces began to distort the space around him. The now broken glass let in energy which played havoc with the Batsuit's electronics and the last thing Batman heard before he vanished completely was a panicked "Terry!" from his mentor. And then he was gone.
"Uungghh," Batman murmured as he slowly came to. His vision was completely dark as his suit had gone offline. The tightly packed electronics in the suit loosened enough that he looked like some fool wearing a poncho too big for him before Batman rebooted the suit. As soon as his HUD came up, he whispered, "Wayne, are you there?"
Receiving no answer, Batman tried again a few more times before considering the possibility that he was out of range before coming to the conclusion that the electric shock had shorted out the communicator. Nothing he couldn't handle. Of course, his opinion changed as he looked at where he was. A simple alley yes, but he'd fought Gabriel in the warehouse district where there was nothing like this close to his current location.
Terry idly wondered if Gabriel had driven his body out here to dump him in the trash before looking up.
…Well that was unexpected.
He wasn't in Gotham anymore, that was for sure. What should have been massive skyscrapers and megablocks was instead replaced by a dark night sky. Unless he was on the very outskirts of Gotham, something he doubted very much, he'd been transported somewhere completely different. He idly ran his mind through all the major cities: Gotham, Metropolis, Washington D.C. Hub City, Keystone City, New York City, and so forth. None of them fit his idea of their skyline. Every single major city in the world had adopted the megablock system years ago.
So either he was in some kind of suburban area, which he doubted very much, or the Time Machine had worked. Probably.
"Great," Terry moaned, "Max is never going to let this go."
Just to comfort himself, Batman checked his inventory as much as he could. All of the integrated electronics had seemingly made it through the surge, Terry put that down to the old man's Ragnarok proofing, and he was completely full on Batarangs and grenades besides the smoke he'd just used. And he still had most of the plastic explosives as well. The only thing he worried about was the rocket fuel used in his boots. 95% was more than good enough for a long patrol, but somehow he doubted he'd find much more that easily even if he really was in the past. Terry considered his options before deciding to climb. Heights always made him feel better, and he might be able to get some better bearings. He stretched his claws and began his climb. Reaching the top, he looked around as much as he could before realizing he had no idea where he was. This might have been Gotham, it might not have been. He'd never been one for architectural history and just about all of Old Gotham had been demolished.
He climbed up a few more buildings, gaining height each time before something finally caught his attention. A shabby looking man had just taken a woman into a dark alley. Grinning at the chance to relieve some frustration, Terry opened his gliders and let loose.
Jimmy "Hotshot" Wilkins, named for his terrible aim with guns, was having a fine night. He'd gotten pretty liquored up at the bar that evening and everything had a nice tinge around it. He'd spotted a pretty young thing looking around her carefully with a nice fat purse in her arms.
He whistled to himself off-key as he took out a dirty rag he'd nicked off the bar and doused it in a bottle of chloroform he kept at all times, just in case he ran into easy marks. Despite his name, he wasn't all that violent, mostly because he wasn't good at it. He couldn't aim to save his life and all his trysts with knives ended up with him getting a scar not worth bragging about.
The girl's body slacked and he dragged her into the alley, giving a quick thieves' check, making sure to admire her ass as he did so. Nothing in her pockets, so he went for the purse next. Or at least that had been the plan before he felt something jerk at his leg and he went flying into the air. Jimmy closed his eyes hoping he wouldn't puke up all the booze he drank until the shaking and general movement stopped, though he couldn't help but note that he was apparently upside down. Gathering his wits, he threatened "You know who the hell you're dealing with? This is Hotshot here," as he kept his eyes shut.
"I'm sure," came a voice like thunder, frightening Jimmy enough to scrunch open his eyes. Immediately, he wished he hadn't done so. A black face with white eyes that seared into his soul stared out at him.
"M-me?" Jimmy whimpered.
"What year is this?" came a smooth voice.
Jimmy blinked at the unexpected question, "What?"
That was apparently the wrong answer as the monster's grip loosened and Jimmy felt himself drop. "2008! I swear it's 2008."
The thing tightened his grip.
"One more question. Where am I?"
"Y-you lost mate?" Jimmy said hoping to make the creature relax. It didn't work as it only narrowed its eyes and its fingers began to relax around his leg again.
"Star City! We're in Star City, home to the best Hot Dogs around, and and, uh, the Bridge! It's a pretty neat-" he panicked.
The thing shook him. Jimmy got the hint and shut up. He fought down the nausea with herculean effort before he finally asked the question on his mind. "Who-who are you?"
The man carefully glanced at Batman's chest, noting the logo before saying a quiet "Oh."
The events of the night caught up to him and Jimmy "Hotshot" Wilkins fainted dead away.
Terry could only sigh at the thug's prone form. He'd been informative sure enough, but now he had a whole new set of problems to deal with. 2008… Terry was sure credits weren't being used then, which meant the emergency 500 creds he kept in his utility belt were useless. And that meant he was out of luck when it came to clothes or finding a ride to Gotham.
If nothing else, Terry guessed he could take the drunk's clothes. The man would be out for a while, and it was a warm night. He made his decision and reached for the Hotshot's body before he suddenly stopped.
The miracles of stress and cheap beer had loosened his bladder to the point where Hotshot had done the inevitable. He'd pissed his pants with enough urine to soak down to the cement rooftop. Grateful he'd stopped in time, Terry just stared at Hotshot in disgust.
"Gross, God, what the- jeez you'd think people would, ugh," Terry said before getting up. Scratch one set of clothes. Batman was going over there thank you very much.
He jumped to another roof. The night was still young, and Terry McGinnis still needed to find a damn shirt. Preferably with comfy jeans.