I own nothing! Nothing! Someone else owns these characters…This is AU, and takes place in the sixties. Also, any sentence that is in bold means the characters are speaking Spanish.
Crescent City…The Daily Sentinel…
Juan De La Vega waited impatiently for Britt Reid to get off the phone, finally he hung up and said, "Mr. De La Vega, I know you have been managing my grandfather's estates for many years…"
"Since you were five," interrupted the lawyer, "Your grandfather, Daniel Reid III, disinherited your father, Henry Reid, of everything with the exception of the Daily Sentinel. In his will, he left the remainder of his estates to you."
"And from what my secretary has told me, you have been doing an excellent job of running them…why do you want me to take the time out now to understand how to run his estates?" asked Mr. Reid.
The lawyer sighed wearily as he replied, "I am retiring, and one of my sons is taking over the business."
"Then, why can't he run my inheritance? I don't really have…"
"Mr. Reid!" harshly protested Juan De La Vega, "The estates belong with your family, not mine! And they should be run by someone with your blood line! Now, I have waited for you to grow up; I have waited for you to finish grieving over your father's death and settle in your position as owner as well as publisher of the Daily Sentinel! I am not…," his eyes narrowed in suspicion and he drawled out slowly, "Mr. Reid, didn't your father teach you of your family's history?"
"No," he informed, "But, the very last time I spoke to him, he did say he regretted that he didn't teach me our family history."
"And that's all he said," De La Vega persisted, "Not even a hint!"
"Yes," Reid sternly replied, "Now if you excuse me, I got a flight to catch for Gotham City; the annual publishers' convention is being held there this year. If you want to make an appointment with my secretary, we'll discuss my inheritance when I get back." Britt Reid grabbed his briefcase and coat; as he raced out the door, he shouted, "Good day, Mr. De La Vega."
Juan De La Vega hissed with fury as he grabbed his belongings, and jammed his hat on his head; he stalked over toward the portrait of Henry Reid, "You blasted fool!" he yelled, "If you weren't dead…"
"Would you like to make an appointment, Mr. Del La Vega?" asked a feminine voice.
Turing around, he stared at Lenore Case, Mr. Reid's secretary, for a moment he was silent; finally he said with a hint of his other identity, "No, Senorita Case…I do not, I would like to use your phone though."
"Of course," she said as she gestured to Mr. Reid's phone, "If you need me, I'll be at my desk."
As soon as she left, Mr. De La Vega placed his belongings on the desk and dialed on the phone, "Hello, operator? Please, get me the Gotham City Library; I need to speak with Barbara Gordon."
As he waited for the connection, he muttered as he glared at the portrait, "I sincerely hope your father and the rest of your family are giving you a good trouncing Henry Reid! Even in death, I have to do your family duties that you never honored!"
"Hello," said a young lady's voice over the phone, "This Barbara Gordon."
"Hello, Barbara," he greeted his niece, "How are you doing?"
"Uncle Juan!" she exclaimed in excitement, "What are you still doing in Crescent City? I thought you and Aunt Sophia would be in Hawaii by now!"
"I thought so too," he replied, "But, an unexpected problem has sprung up and prevented my retirement." He wearily sighed, "That apartment next to you, are you renting it? I am coming to Gotham, and I need a place to stay for a few days."
"It's empty at the moment," she informed him, "But, why don't you stay with Daddy? I'm sure he won't object about you using his guest bedroom."
Wincing at the thought of staying with his brother-in-law, he declined, "I don't think so, Barbara. I am currently dealing with one old fool's mistakes, if I have to deal with your father…"
"Uncle," interrupted Barbara, "you're speaking in English and Spanish. You only do that when you're absolutely furious, what's wrong?"
"I'll tell you when I get to Gotham, my dear," he told her, "It's a long story, and I can't get into it over the phone. Felipe will be sending my things to you, can you place them in your secret hideaway?"
"I can," she answered.
"Good," he said, "I'll call you when I reach Gotham. Now, I need to get off the phone my dear; I have a lot to do before I catch my flight."
"Okay, Uncle Juan," she said, "Adios."
As soon as she hung up; Mr. De La Vega caught, out of the corner of his eye, Lenore Chase silently hanging up her desk phone. Rolling his eyes in amusement, he thought, 'It's not easy to catch a fox, senorita; particularly, when he knows you're behind him.'
A few minutes later…Britt Reid's apartment…
"Is that all, Ms. Case?" asked Britt Reid over the phone as he packed his bags; his valet Kato was heading toward Gotham City in the Black Beauty.
"Yes, Mr. Reid," she replied, "I couldn't understand what he said in Spanish, but from the way he was glaring at your father's portrait. Whatever he was saying, was about him."
"Hmm," he muttered thoughtfully, "Grandpa's lawyer seems to be quite determined to speak to me about my inheritance."
"Yes, Mr. Reid. Are you going to meet with him while you're in Gotham?" she asked.
"No," he replied, "I'll have my hands full as Britt Reid and the Green Hornet. Senor Del La Vega will have to wait."
At the same time, in a room at the Crescent City Hotel…
"I am telling you Felipe, if Henry Reid was still alive…I would strangle him with my bare hands!" bellowed Juan Del La Vega as he threw his clothes into the suitcase.
"Calm down, Papa," Felipe told him, "Remember what you always taught us, you can not solve anything by acting irrational."
"You're right," he muttered, and sighed in frustration, "I was so close in passing the torch to you and retiring!"
"Do you want me to go to Gotham in your stead, Papa?" he asked, "It would be no trouble."
"No," he growled out, "Unlike Henry Reid, I do not shirk my responsibilities! Just have Zorro's uniform and weapons sent to your cousin's apartment."
"Of course, Papa, but…I hate to ask this; are you certain that Britt Reid is the Green Hornet?"
"Yes, I am."
"But, the Green Hornet is a criminal!"
Juan Del La Vega snorted in disgust, "What have I told you about not being deceived by appearances? If you look at Crescent City's crime statistics; the crime rate has gone down since the Green Hornet's appearance."
His son was silent for a moment; finally he said with amazement, "The Green Hornet is really a crime fighter masquerading as a criminal! Unbelievable! And if my memory serves me correctly; his ancestor did a similar tactic, frequently, in his career."
"And the most unbelievable thing about this whole mess, the Green Hornet doesn't even realize that he has taken his ancestor's trick to new heights!" shouted Del La Vega, and then he sighed wearily and pinched the bridge of his nose, "Felipe, I have one more thing I need you to do… go to the old Reid Ranch in Del Rio; in the safe behind the portrait over the fireplace, there is a letter that Daniel Reid had written in case his grandson was never taught about his heritage. I need you to send that letter to me in Gotham as soon as possible."
"Very well, father," he responded with a weary sigh, "I hope you know what you are doing."
It was Juan's turn to sigh as he placed a small jewelry bag into the suitcase, "So, do I, son. So, do I."
That Night…In Gotham City…In the Iceberg Lounge…
"Whaa, Whaa," greeted the Penguin to his guest, "its honor to meet you at last Mr. Hishdnevac. Though, I must say you have the most difficult last name that I ever had the pleasure to pronounce."
"You can thank my great-grandfather for the name change, old boy," explained Mr. Hishdnevac, who looked identical the actor whom played Mr. Adams on TV. He lighted up his cigar, and continued, "My great-great grandfather got caught in what some called treason when he merely wanted to have a civilized conversation with President Grant. As a consequence, my ancestor had to change the family name."
"Sounds fascinating," muttered the Penguin sarcastically, "But, let's get down to business. You're men have informed of your plans for the American Old West Convention that will be taking place in Gotham, so I must ask….what's in it for me?"
Mr. Hishdnevac blew out a puff of smoke, and answered, "The Batman has been chosen for their annual Silver Horse award, or what is called by Lone Ranger fans, the possible heir to the Lone Ranger. If my plan goes off without a hitch, the Batman will be no more and you will have that nice, little award that you can melt down into liquid silver.
"Whaa," muttered the Penguin, "Forget my last question; what's in it for you?
He guest hissed out, "Revenge! That meddlesome masked man ruined our family and forced us into hiding! For years…my family has searched for the heir of Lone Ranger, the Batman is the most likely man on the planet to be related to that interfering masked man!"
"How do you know he had an heir? Better yet, how do you know the Lone Ranger was even real?" asked a masculine voice behind them.
They turned around startled, Mr. Hishdnevac shouted out, "Green Hornet! I thought I told you that we would complete our deal when I got back?"
At the same time the Penguin yelled out, "How did you get in here?"
"You're guards were no match for us," answered the Hornet's masked assistant.
"And I don't like it when an associate quickly backs out on the deal of a lifetime!" finished the Hornet with a hint of violence in his voice.
Hishdneveac groaned in exasperation, "I know how important our deal is, but this is more important! My family has been waiting for nearly a hundred years to get back at the Lone Ranger, and he is real! My family records prove that he is real!"
"Wha, Mr. Hornet does have a good point," said the Penguin as he gazed sternly at his surprise visitor, "Even though he should have asked if he could come to this little meeting. How do you know he had an heir?"
Mr. Hishdneveac rolled his eyes in frustration, "My great-grandfather keep an ear out for his exploits, in quite a few of them, he had a young boy riding with him and his Indian companion. The only name attached to the kid was son; my ancestor tried to get his hands on the boy, but he never could find him. The masked man hid his heir extremely well, even to this day!"
The Green Hornet raised a brow underneath his mask, as he asked in disbelief, "And how do you reach the conclusion that the Batman is the Lone Ranger's heir?
"My great-grandfather had a theory, one I believe in," he explained with a bit of distaste, "With the great legacy that meddlesome Ranger left, sooner or later, one of his descendents would take up his cause and put on the mask of a crime fighter. The Batman is my most likely candidate!"
"Plus the American Old West Association is doing the hard work for you," commented the Penguin, "And old Batsy is the only one who suits your ancestor's theory."
"Exactly!" he said as he puffed on his cigar.
The Green Hornet, as well as the Penguin looked at each other and rolled their eyes at the criminal's arrogance, "I personally think you're full of hot air, Hishdneveac. But, if you want to go up against Batman, be my guest! The last time I met the guy, it ended in a tie for both of us."
Penguin looked at him in amazement, "Really? That rarely happens when battling the Bat!"
"It won't happen again," the Green Hornet said harshly and then turned to Hishdneveac, "Do whatever you want to do Hishdneveac; but, just remember I'll be watching and if your little plan blows up in your face…our deal is off!"
Hishdneveac winced at the thought of his major deal in Crescent City falling thru, "I understand Hornet, don't worry…it won't!"
As soon as he was certain that the Green Hornet and his masked companion had left, Mr. Hishdneveac commented, "You know, Penguin. The Green Hornet may be a fellow criminal; but there is something about him that boils my blood and makes me want to strangle him with my bare hands!"
A few minutes later…in the Black Beauty…
"What do you think, Kato?" asked the Green Hornet as he leaned back against the seat.
"I think his delusional," answered his partner, "Only hardcore fanatics believe in the Lone Ranger legend."
"Yeah," he muttered; he was silent for a moment lost in thought, "You know, Kato, we have dealt with numerous of criminals the past few years, and I have hated dealing with every one of those murderous thugs! But, there is something about Mr. Hishdneveac that boils my blood and makes me want to strangle him with my bare hands!"
Kato was about to respond to that comment, when a police car rushed up behind them with sirens blaring loudly. "Looks, like we got company," commented Hornet, "Loose, them!"
"Right, boss," responded Kato as he sped up the Black Beauty, and proceeded to loose the police within the back alleys of Gotham City.
At the same time, in secret hideaway of the Batgirl…
"Thanks, for helping me with these crates Alfred," said Barbara Gordon as she watched him use a forklift to place a huge crate next to the Batgirl Cycle.
"My pleasure, Ms. Gordon," he responded, "But, I must ask…what are in these crates?"
"My things, senor," said a masculine voice behind them.
Barbara whirled around in surprise, and then laughed out in delight, "Uncle Juan! I thought you would come in later tonight!"
"Barbara!" he yelled as she raced into his arms; he whirled her around in happiness and said as he put her down, "My God, you look more like your mother with each passing day!"
Alfred coughed, and politely inquired, "Ms. Gordon, may I ask…?"
"Oh!" she exclaimed, and then introduced them, "Alfred Pennyworth, this is my uncle, Juan Del La Vega. Uncle, this is Alfred Pennyworth, he has been helping me as Batgirl."
"Senor," he nodded his head in greeting and then turned his attention to his niece; "I still don't understand why you are dressing up as a bat! I told you a long time ago that you are more than welcome to use the Black Whip title!"
"I told you, Uncle!" she said, "This is Gotham! And to paraphrase an old saying, you do what the Gothams do!"
"Excuse me," interrupted Alfred, "Black Whip? Isn't that the crime fighter that is usually associated with Zorro?"
Juan Del La Vega raised a brow in disbelief as he stared at his niece, "You haven't told him?"
She shrugged as she responded, "I haven't had the chance; he arrived when the crates where delivered outside of the apartment building and we've been busy moving them down here."
"Ah," he muttered and then went over to one of the smaller crates, "Well, Mr. Pennyworth, since you have earned my niece's trust, I shall trust you as well." He opened the crate, and pulled out a black sombrero, cape, and mask; "Does this answer your question, Mr. Pennyworth?"
Alfred gaped at him in shock, "Your Zorro!"
"Yes," he answered, "And believe me, I wish could have passed the title to my eldest son weeks ago!"
Barbara frowned at her uncle and asked, "You never told me, over the phone, what was preventing your retirement?"
Before he could answer, the police radio that Barbara had set up, called out, "All cars, calling all cars…I am in pursuit of the Black Beauty, the Green Hornet is back in town!"
Juan Del La Vega sighed wearily, and pinched the bridge of his nose, "That is what is preventing my retirement!"
Alfred and Barbara glanced at each other in amazement; finally Alfred asked timidly, "The Green Hornet, that criminal from Crescent City?"
"He is not a criminal," said Del La Vega, and then explained to the two about the Green Hornet as well as the dilemma that was thwarting him from retiring.
The Next Day…in Police Commissioner Gordon's Office…
James Gordon tried not to groan out loud as he hung up the Bat-Phone, "The Green Hornet!" he furiously shouted, "Why is he back in Gotham?"
"Don't worry, Commissioner," consoled Chief O'Hara, "Batman and Robin will run him out of town again!"
"I hope so Chief O'Hara," he moaned out, "What else can go wrong?"
Suddenly, Barbara Gordon quickly ran into his office, "Daddy guess who came into Gotham, last night?" she yelled in excitement.
He tried to give her a cheerful smile, "Who, Barbara?" he asked.
She gestured toward the door, "Come in!"
This time James Gordon did groan out loud in misery as his brother-in-law came into the room, "Juan Del La Vega, wonderful!" he yelled out sarcastically.
"It's good to see you too, James!" he growled out, "And quite frankly I am not in the mood to deal with your foolishness!"
"Neither am I!" he retorted to him, "With the Penguin up to his old tricks as well as the Green Hornet back in town; the last thing I need is to deal with is you!"
"Daddy, Uncle," she pleaded, "Can you two please try to get along?"
James Gordon and Juan Del La Vega stared at each other for a moment; finally Commissioner Gordon asked, with a forced smile, "Why are you in Gotham, Juan? I thought you retired and moved to Hawaii with your wife."
With an equally forced smile, Juan answered, "A grandson of a client is in Gotham; and he is finally old enough as well as ready to receive his inheritance. Unfortunately, I can't get him to stay still long enough to go over it."
"Well, I am sure you will succeed in your little quest, Juan. If you want, you are welcome to stay with me and take my guest room," he said tensely.
"Thank you, but no," he responded as pleasantly as he could, "I'll be out and about trying to track down the stubborn, young man. So, I will be staying in the flat near Barbara's apartment."
"Wonderful," he gritted out with jealously.
Suddenly, the Caped Crusaders burst into the room; "Commissioner, Chief O'Hara, Ms. Gordon, and…" he looked at Del La Vega in confusion.
"Batman, Robin," introduced the Commissioner Gordon, reluctantly, "This is my brother-in-law, Juan Del La Vega."
"Mr. Batman, Mr. Robin," he greeted them; "It's a…privilege to meet you."
Barbara Gordon winced internally, 'Uncle Juan's way of saying your doing good work, but it could be better,' she thought to herself.
While she was thinking of this, Batman asks, "Of the Del La Vega Law Firm, the oldest one in the country?"
"Yes," he replied.
"He was just leaving," stressed the Commissioner as he looked sternly at him.
"Indeed I was, I got quite a bit of work to do," he informed them, "Barbara, are you still willing to help me?"
"Of course, Uncle Juan," she said and then kiss her father on the cheek, "Daddy, I'll talk to you later."
"Have fun," he said with jealously as he played with a pencil from his desk; as soon as they left, he snapped the pencil and shouted, "Just what I needed today, dealing with my jack…"
"Commissioner!" quickly interrupted Chief O'Hara, "Remember your blood pressure!"
"I know, I know," he muttered, and then wearily sighed, "Batman, Robin…last night a police car caught the Black Beauty coming out of the Iceberg Lounge."
"The Penguin," muttered Batman thoughtfully.
"Yes," said Chief O'Hara as he took over the story, "My lads gave it a good try, but they failed to capture that green devil!"
Unknown to the Caped Crusaders, Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara; they had a couple of eavesdroppers to their meeting. The eyes on the portrait of William Gotham watched the meeting, but it wasn't the eyes of the portrait. Behind the wall on which the portrait hung, Barbara Gordon peered into the holes; while her uncle stood behind her as he listened to the meeting intently.
Back at the meeting, Commissioner Gordon added, "This morning an undercover policeman at the Iceberg reported that the Penguin had meeting with a Mr. Hishdneveac; the Green Hornet barged in on their meeting and from what our undercover officer found out… the Green Hornet wasn't pleased that Mr. Hishdneveac backed out on a big deal that was about to be done in Crescent City."
At the first mention of Hishdneveac, Del La Vega frowned as he thought, 'Why do I get the feeling that my problems with young Reid are about to get bigger?'
Back at the meeting, Robin asked, "Why did he back out?
Commissioner Gordon shrugged as he reply, "The only thing our man found out about the answer to that question is that Mr. Hishdneveac wants revenge on the heir of the Lone Ranger."
Juan Del La Vega and Barbara Gordon straightened up at that particular piece of information and looked at each other in fear!
"But he is just a myth!" blurted out Robin, "And even if he was real there is no proof that he had an heir."
"But there is no proof that he is not real or had an heir, Robin," chided Batman, "Remember every legend begins with some form of truth."
"Your right, Batman," he reluctantly admitted.
Batman smirked at him proudly, and said, "We'll see what we can do, Commissioner. Let's go, Robin!"
Once they reach the car, Batman said, "Let's drive around Gotham to see if we can find the Black Beauty, you contact Alfred over the portable Bat-Phone to see if he can discover anything about the Lone Ranger in the Wayne Library; other than what is found in children's stories."
"Right," responded Robin, and quickly picked up the portable Bat-Phone.
About the same time…outside of Commissar Gordon's office…
Juan Del La Vega and Barbara Gordon quietly sneaked out of the supply closet; once they reached a safe distance from the Gotham Police Building, Barbara commented, "Well, that was interesting!"
"Indeed," muttered Del La Vega dreadfully, "Let us just hope that Mr. Hishdneveac doesn't realize who the heir is, or in the Caped Crusaders case that there is an heir!"
"Who do you think Mr. Hishdneveac really is?" she asked, "The last name is obviously an anagram and his apparent hate…could he be a descendent of one of the Lone Ranger's enemies?"
"It's very likely, Barbara," he replied, and then pinched the bridge of his nose in exhaustion, "But, which one? He made so many enemies during his lifetime!"
"Uncle," she gently chided, "You're mixing language again."
"Aaagh," he grumbled, "I know, I know. Barbara, I want you to go back to your apartment and try to translate Mr. Hishdneveac's last name into something pronounceable! If we know what his true family name is, we will know which enemy of the Lone Ranger he is descended from!"
"All right," she said, "What will you be doing?"
"Tracking down Britt Reid," he replied, "I need to talk to him now, before he gets killed!"
An hour later, in the Gotham Grand Hotel…
Kato frowned as he came into the room to wake up Britt Reid, but found him already awake and getting dressed for his long day of meetings, "You couldn't sleep, again?"
"Yes," he wearily replied, "It's the same damm blasted dream!"
"This has been going on for weeks! Perhaps, its time you told me what you are dreaming about it?" he asked.
Britt Reid sighed, and explained as he finished buttoning his shirt, "I am looking down into a canyon; about thirty men in old western wear are riding into the canyon on horseback. Suddenly, beside me…in fact all around me! Men with shotguns are shooting down at those men in the canyon…it was a massacre Kato! The next thing I know, I am alone and someone behind me said, 'I survived.' The next thing I know, I am awake and wondering what the hell is going on!"
Kato frowned, "You do not know who is behind you?"
"No," he replied as he put on his tie, and was about comment further on his dream, when a voice behind them said, "Perhaps, it's an ancestor trying to talk to you, but you're not listening!"
Both men turned around in surprise, "How did you get in here?" asked Britt Reid as he stared at Juan Del La Vega, "Better yet, why is a lawyer of your standing trespassing in my private room?"
The older man rolled his eyes in discontent, "I am getting too old for this nonsense," he muttered under his breath, and then spoke up, "What you are dreaming about actually happened, nearly a hundred years ago! In 1869, at Bryant's Gap in Texas, thirty Texas Rangers…nearly all of the Rangers in the entire state at that particular time…were slaughtered by an ex-Union general and his army of criminals!"
Britt Reid gaped at him in astonishment, finally he shook his head in denial, "I don't have time to listen to this! Kato, show Mr. Del La Vega out!"
"Mr. Reid," protested Kato, "Perhaps we should…"
"Kato!" he shouted.
Kato sighed in regret, and grabbed Mr. Del La Vega's arm, as he pulled him toward the door, the lawyer shouted, "Senor Reid, please listen to me!"
"I don't have time!" he yelled back.
As Kato thru him out of the room, and slammed the door in his face; Del La Vega groaned out loud, "I am really getting too old for this!" As he stormed down the hall, he thought, 'Dreams of the Bryant's Gap Massacre? The only reason I can think of for that to happen would be…' he stopped suddenly as the answer occurred to him. "Henry Reid!" he shouted as he entered the elevator, "If what is happening what I think is happening to your son; then I am personally going to punch your lights out when I die!"
Hours later, early evening, in the Batcave…
Alfred was waiting patiently as he waited for the Batmobile to make a full stop, as soon as it did, he asked, "Any luck, sir?"
"No, Alfred," replied Batman, "No sign of the Black Beauty, did you have any luck in the library?"
"Only what is found in children stories, sir," he replied, "I did find though in Mark Twain's memoirs about his meeting with the Lone Ranger and Zorro in San Francisco; apparently, the two masked men where preventing the assignation of the governor at the time."
"Really," mused Batman, "If I remember correctly, Zorro, or at least his descendent is still operating in Los Angeles to this day.
"That means the Lone Ranger was real!" shouted Robin with excitement, "Maybe, the current Zorro knows who he really was!"
"Robin," gently chided Batman, "I hardly think that is sufficient evidence to conclude that the Lone Ranger was real…though it does make it extremely possible. Besides, even if he was real, I hardly think he and Zorro would exchange secret identities after one meeting!"
"Numerous meetings," spoke Alfred as he remembered what he learned last night from Juan Del La Vega.
"What, Alfred?" Batman asked in surprise.
"What I mean sir," Alfred quickly lied, "after reading Mr. Twain's story; I researched further into the subject, and discovered that the Lone Ranger and Zorro crossed paths quite a bit during the late 19th century."
"Hmm," muttered Batman, "Maybe your right Robin, maybe Zorro does know. It's a pity that the current Zorro is not in Gotham at the moment. Maybe he would have an idea on why Mr. Hishdneveac wants some form of revenge on the Lone Ranger."
"I wonder what he is doing right now?" questioned Robin out loud.
"What we are doing Robin," answered Batman, "Putting his great mind on catching the criminals of Los Angeles!"
'Or in Ms. Gordon's apartment, nursing a headache,' thought Alfred and then put forward a question, "Will you being going out again, sirs?"
Batman thought for a moment, and answered, "No…Britt Reid will be having dinner with us tonight. We'll go out after Aunt Harriet goes to bed, Alfred."
"Why?" asked Robin.
"We need to pay a visit to the Penguin; he is the only one who really knows what the Green Hornet and Mr. Hishdneveac are up to; perhaps, with a little persuasion he could tells us what they are up too."
"Very well, sirs," said Alfred, "If you don't mind, I shall begin dinner, while you help the young master with his homework."
"Ah, phoo!" cursed Robin, "I forgot I have that History test tomorrow!"
Batman smirked as he said, "At least it will be on the French Revolution, and I believe both of us could use a break about the Old West."
"You're telling me!" he said sarcastically.
Alfred left the duo, and headed toward the elevator. He needed to start the roast, mashed the potatoes; call Ms. Gordon and tell that he heard a rumor about Batman and Robin were headed toward the Iceberg to see if they could get information from the Penguin.
At the same time…Barbara Gordon's Apartment…
Juan Del La Vega gazed at his glass of water, and wished dearly it was a very, strong glass of whiskey! His niece handed him two tablets, "Here you go, Uncle Juan," she said, "something for your headache."
"Gracias, Barbara," he muttered, and quickly swallowed the tablets.
"Are you certain the spirit of the Lone Ranger is haunting his great-great-great nephew?" she asked as she went back to the work her uncle assigned her, "I thought ghosts didn't exist!"
"Barbara, there are more things in Heaven and Earth, that men can only dream of," he quoted to her wearily, "Instead of playing tricks and pranks in high school; you, your brother, and your cousins should have been studying our family archive. There are dozens of stories in there of our ancestors' encounters with the supernatural!"
"We should have," she reluctantly admitted, and then gave him a bright smile, "But, those tricks and pranks were fun! We're foxes, you said so yourself every time we pulled a trick or prank on a bully!"
He grunted as he rubbed his eyes in exhaustion, "Except one member of our family is dressing up like a bat, not a fox!"
"Uncle," she protested with a pout, "James Jr. is dressing up in fatigues and Alejandro as a man of the cloth!"
"Your brother is in Vietnam as an Army medic," he chided her, "And Alejandro joined the priesthood as you very well know, Barbara!"
She sighed in frustration, "Uncle, I know you want me to become the Black Whip and become Felipe's partner when he takes over for you; but Daddy is all alone, and the only one who will talk to him is me! He needs family around him, uncle, it's my duty!"
Juan Del La Vega smiled as he responded, "And that is why I am not pushing the subject…too much; duty to your family is important! That is a lesson I wish your father learned years ago when your mother died; instead of abandoning you as well as your brother to us in California, and burying himself into his work!"
It was her turn to smile, "I think he regrets doing that, Uncle Juan."
He was about to respond to that comment, when the phone rang as well as the door bell; he sighed as he got up from the couch, "I'll get the door," he said, "It's probably that letter from Felipe."
"I'll get the phone," she told him, and went to answer it.
Juan Del La Vega answered the door, and as he expected the postman had a special deliver for him; but what he didn't expect was a package from his son, instead of the usual mailing envelope. He frowned as he returned to the living room to open the package, his niece said as he came back in, "That was Alfred, Britt Reid will be having dinner with Bruce Wayne tonight at Wayne Manor; also, he just heard a rumor that the Caped Crusaders are going to Iceberg tonight to see if they can persuade the Penguin to tell them what the Green Hornet as well as his new partner in crime, Mr. Hishdneveac are up to in Gotham."
"Mmmm," he muttered as he opened the package; before him were two letters, and an old journal. One of the letters was address to Britt Reid, while the other was address to him; sighing, he quickly opened and read the contents, "Wonderful," he grumbled as he waved the letter furiously, "This is from Felipe, apparently, the housekeeper at the Reid Ranch has quit! The moment he stepped out of the taxi; she had her bags packed and raced into the taxi, yelling at him that this place was haunted and she was leaving!"
"How long has she been taking care of the ranch?" she asked as she peered over his shoulder.
"Since Daniel Reid's death," he replied, "I hired her to take care of the house; and the local Navajo have been taking care of everything else on the ranch! According to Felipe, he spoke to the overseer who told him that a ghostly masked man has been seen around the ranch for a long time, even before Daniel Reid II's death. However, for the past year, the ghost seemed to be particularly active!"
"Hmmm," she muttered, "That provides some form of proof for your theory, what else does he say?"
"He's staying at the house and trying to find a new housekeeper," he answered, "When he went to get the letter from the safe; this journal hit him on head, and opened itself to a particular page. He found the experience…interesting; bookmarked the page and sent the book to me, along with the letter."
She raised a brow, "He's right," she said as she reached for the journal and opened to bookmarked page, "It is…" She stopped suddenly and her eyes widen in surprise, "I am an idiot!" She quickly grabbed a blank piece of paper and a black marker, "The answer was right in front of me!"
"Barbara?" he asked in concern.
"The page that Felipe bookmarked was about the Lone Ranger's first encounter with Butch Cavendish at Bryant's Gap!" she exclaimed as quickly wrote a word on the piece of paper.
"That's the second time I have heard about that particular incident today!" he grumbled, "And that's what got you so excited?"
"Uncle, look!" she held up the paper where she wrote, HISDNEVAC. "Look at this in the mirror," she instructed as she held up the word to the wall mirror.
Juan Del La Vega looked into the mirror, and cursed loudly as he read the word CAVENDISH. When he finished cursing, he took a deep breath and muttered, "No wonder the spirit of the Lone Ranger has been active; the last of his blood is in danger from the descendent of his worst enemy!"
There was silence between them, finally Barbara asked, "What are we going to do, Uncle Juan?"
"I don't know," he muttered wearily, "One thing is for certain we will need to come up with a very devious plan to keep Cavendish from finding out that the heir of the Lone Ranger is the Green Hornet!"
"And telling the Green Hornet that he is the heir to him at the same time," she warily said to him.
"That too!" he exclaimed, and then sighed in exhaustion, "I am really, too old for this nonsense! Come, Barbara…let's go to your training room. I need to see if you have kept up with your fencing skills."
She winced as she admitted, "I'm a bet rusty, Uncle Juan. Isn't there a better way for you come up with a sneaky plan?"
"Barbara, really!" he scolded her, "What am I going to do with you? You need to keep up with your fencing! It helps your balance and keeps you fit! And to answer your question; if I am going to come up with a sly plan to fix a problem as big as this…I need a good workout!"
Barbara groaned in misery as she thought of the pain she would soon be in.
Meanwhile at the Gotham Grand Hotel…
Britt Reid was trying to catch up on some much needed sleep before he left for dinner at Wayne Manor; however, he wasn't getting the rest he so desperately needed. As he tossed and turned, he dreamt…he was riding a horse on an old dusty trail; suddenly a lone rider on a shadowy horse was blocking his path.
He couldn't see who the rider was, the sun was blocking him from his sight; the only thing he could see was the cowboy's black out line. However, he could hear the rider calling out to him, "Britt, be careful! There is danger on the trail ahead!"
"Who are you?" he shouted out, "What danger?"
"The blood of an old enemy has risen again!" he replied, "If you would listen and came home, you would know who I am!"
"Listen to who?" he yelled and the dreamscape shifted before him, as he looked around, he noticed two masked men dressed in black charging on their steeds at a band of men.
"It's Zorro!" shouted one man, while another man yelled, "And the Black Whip!"
"Mr. Reid! Britt!" called out a voice to him; Britt Reid woke up with a start and stared into the worried eyes of Kato, who asked, "Another dream?"
"Yes," he replied wearily and quickly explained what he dreamt.
Kato frowned in concern, "Danger from the blood of an old enemy; A mysterious cowboy; As well as Zorro and the Black Whip? Mr. Reid, perhaps Mr. Del La Vega is right... that someone is trying to tell you something," he suggested to him.
"What are you saying Kato? That I am being haunted by a ghost?" he asked sarcastically.
"Yes," he replied seriously.
Britt Reid stared at him as if he was crazy, and then laughed out, "Kato! That's ridiculous! There is no such thing as ghosts!"
Kato quoted his old teacher, "There are things out in the world that men can not see."
"Yeah," he reluctantly admitted, "But a ghost?"
"Do you have any other explanation for your unusual dreams?" he asked.
Britt rubbed his face wearily, "No," he replied and then sighed resignedly, "I guess once things are settle here in Gotham, we need to go to Los Angeles and try to track down Zorro. Maybe he can give me some answers about our so called ghost."
"Why not the Black Whip?" he asked, "He is here in Gotham."
"True," he said, "But, the last time he was spotted was in September of 45, a month after the war ended. Only Zorro knows where he is in this town!"
In the secret hideaway of the Batgirl…in the training room…
Barbara grunted as she flipped away from her uncle, and quickly grabbed a black whip that was hanging on the wall. As she whisked it toward his face, he ducked and commented, "Barbara, I realize you want to stay in Gotham, and I understand that. But, why don't you go out as the Black Whip? You're much better with that whip, than those modified Batarangs you use as Batgirl."
She ducked under the sword that he lunged at her, rolled over back onto her feet, and attempted to strike him again with her whip, "That title is reserved for Zorro's daughter or sister; not his niece!" she huffed out, and whisked her whip at him again.
He moved aside, and lunged again, "That is pure balderdash, and you know it! I am as much as your father as James Gordon! The real reason, Barbara!" he commanded.
She stopped, and tears began going down her face, "I don't want to replace my mother!" she shouted as she fell down on her knees and cried her heart out.
"Oh, Barbara," he muttered as he went to comfort her, "Your not replacing her, anymore than Felipe is replacing me. You would just add onto the legend of the Black Whip…bring new life to it…you won't bring it down."
"But," she whimpered, but he placed a finger to her lips.
"Hush," he whispered, "Your mother had the same fears when she replaced my sister, your Aunt Maria. And I have to admit to you; you have a bigger legacy than previous Black Whips as well as a great potential to add to the title."
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Well, I didn't want you to have an inflated ego when you were younger, but you're older now…and I believe mature enough to hear it; you know that your mother was the last Black Whip, but what you don't know is that on your father's side you are related to Barbara Del La Vega."
"My namesake?" she asked, "I remember mother talking about her, but how is she related to my…" Her eyes widen as she realized the answer, "My grandmother!"
"Your great-great grandmother," he informed her, "And she too, held the title of the Black Whip. She is also the only reason that your Grandpa Diego allowed a young James Gordon to marry your mother; even then he was an idiot!"
"Uncle!" she chided as she hit him on the shoulder, "Be nice!"
"I am," he told her, "As much as I can be with that…" He stopped as a thought suddenly occurred to him, "Barbara, if you didn't know who the heir of the Lone Ranger was, who would you guess was his descendent?"
Blinking in surprise at the change of conversation, she thought for a moment and then answered with a shrug, "Batman."
"And we can assume that Cavendish has reached the same theory, particularly since Batman has won the Silver Horse Award from the American Old West Association," he said as he started to pace, a plan was forming in his devious mind.
"So, Batman would be his target at their convention," she muttered, "Where are you going with this Uncle Juan? So far, you've added to our problem!"
He waved a hand at her as he responded, "I am getting there, Barbara! Zorro is a known ally and friend of the Lone Ranger. If I go out, and I am seen helping…protecting… Batman as Zorro…"
"You will be confirming, though I hope not, Cavendish's theory," she interrupted.
"Yes," he said, "But, I will never confirm or deny if he... as well as anyone else would ask me if the Batman is the long-lost heir of the Lone Ranger."
"But, it will be assumed anyway," she interrupted once again, "What good would that…" She trailed off as the answer hit her, "It's a distraction! Meanwhile, I, or rather Batgirl…"
"Would be trying to inform the Green Hornet, thru his thick skull, that he is the heir of the Lone Ranger," finished Juan Del La Vega, "In a sneaky way of course."
"Of course," she said with a sly smile.
He shook his head in amusement, "I never thought I would be thankful that you didn't take up your mother's title, but in this case…I am! Cavendish will not connect Batgirl with Zorro; as he would with the Black Whip and Zorro!"
"Thank you, Uncle Juan," she said, "I think!"
He laughed in pleasure, "C'mon, I'll give you that letter and something else that may help you with that stubborn, young man!"
Laughing with him, she followed him back to her apartment.
"Uncle, how will this help me with Britt Reid?" she asked as she admired the antique silver and turquoise amulet that hung on a very modern silver chain.
Juan Del La Vega smirked in pleasure as he replied, "This amulet was given to the Lone Ranger as a child by Tonto, who was also a child at the time. He wore it all of his life; and when he died, he passed it to his nephew, Daniel Reid II."
"Who passed it to his son, Daniel Reid III, correct?" she asked as she traced her finger around the amulet.
"Correct," he answered, "However, Daniel Reid III knew that his son held no respect for their famous ancestor; so, on his deathbed he asked me to pass it to his grandson, Britt Reid."
"You didn't answer my question," she chided him, "How does this help me?"
He chuckled gleefully as he replied, "Ghosts are bound by particular places, objects, or people; sometimes, all three."
She looked at him for a moment, and her eyes widen in realization, "This will allow the spirit of the Lone Ranger to haunt Britt Reid, even when his awake!"
"Exactly," he confirmed, "Just crash…I mean go to the dinner at Wayne Manor, lecture him about giving me a headache; and place that around his neck! I have a feeling that the Lone Ranger won't let him take it off until the danger with Cavendish has passed, perhaps not even then!"
She shook her head in amusement, and placed the amulet in her purse, "You're very sly, uncle," she said as she left the apartment for Wayne Manor.
"As a fox, my dear!" he called out after her, "As a fox!"