Back again, with another chapter!
This is chapter 11 of the Arkham Files story. In this chapter, The Clown Prince of Crime meets with Ra's al Ghul again, and the Doctor is the witness of a heated argument between two formidable terrorists and bathed with sweat as to what is to happen next. Whilst the Doctor is happy to see that one of them is unlikely to leave the area whilst the other lives, another one of the Doctor's patients stages a coup – And a whole new threat begins…
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Taped Journal entry…Unknown, date is…Unknown and place is the dungeons and darkened corridors of this wretched manor. Subject: What insanity is this? I have languished in that wretched dungeon for weeks; rotten food and mouldy bread given to me with still water, left to rot in my own filth and I still have no idea whether I'm going to survive all of this. And beyond all of this, beyond Joker wanting to kill everyone and this old terrorist wanting to reshape the world, I'm still confused as to why I'm here. Why am I actually here? Joker spoke of how he wanted me to help him with his army I think, how he wanted something back at the asylum…But that was a long time ago. I'm just a witness to all of this, a watcher to the madness wrecking chaos and planning for genocide across possibly the world…But why me? What would the Joker want with someone like me? Sure I am a member of the Arkham family and my ancestors built my asylum, but he could have just killed me and let somebody else replace me…Someone more efficient or on Joker's side. Whatever the case…I'm not going to find out here. Then again, I'm not sure whether I will ever find out or make sense of any of this. To be honest, this reminds me of what happened to Amadeus…How he was unwittingly brought into all of this lunacy…
And how he dealt with it…
"Move! Now! The great, Ra's al Ghul, demands for your presence, immediately!"
One of the guards, or just a loyal assassin ninja, called for me. She told me to stand straight and walk with the other assassins, and head down to one of his rooms underneath the manor. Huh, it sounds weird when I think of it that way; 'Just a loyal assassin ninja' as if it was normal. Did normality even matter now with most of the people I have encountered? What Amadeus wanted to do, he did with unethical methods and achieved great things until they were snatched away from him…And even the Joker is fulfilling his own deluded sickened goals by being completely surreal. Is this the life to achieve what most men desire? True power over his enemies and make a better society in his image? Maybe that will have to be the choice I will have to make…
We reached the room that the assassins were bringing me to, but they had lied; it wasn't a room. It was an underground lair, filled with computers and control panels as well as even more assassins who were dressed with more armour and wielded stronger weapons. There was some kind of strange pit…A luminous green pit…In the centre of the room; it was so…Captivating. The bubbles burst into the air with strong aftershocks, the smell was so intoxicating and even everyone else were taken in by its aroma. Everyone including Ra's, or whatever his name was, who stood at the front of the pit and was tensely looking deeply inside of it, and then turned to me after one of his assassins whispered something to him. I'm not quite sure what it was, but whatever it was, it must have been something bad as the 'Demon's Head' drew out his sword, and threatened me with it as he pretended to slit the end of my chin with it.
"Good Evening...Your name is Doctor Jeremiah Arkham correct?"
"Good…At least the Clown has kept his word of one part of the matter, and might just in fact be true about the rest…."
"What the hell does that mean?"
"SILENCE! Do not speak whilst the great Ra's al Ghul speaks! Please continue master…"
"Thank you, my loyal assassin…It means Doctor, that the Joker is acting true regarding some parts of our agreement. Which is both uplifting and somewhat unnerving. I have managed to contact him in the last hour, and whilst his usual tattling nearly filled the whole conversation, I was able to strike a deal with him. And he will be here soon, to make promise of his agreements…"
"So…Where does that leave me?"
"With you Doctor, it leaves you in a very difficult position."
"The Joker has made a few transactions in our deal that are very unfair and slightly mortifying on my part with my stature…But the cost is too high and I must make compromises. I had saw great potential within you Doctor; during you stay here at the manor, I have had my legion keep watch over you, and what I have seen and heard of you is quite impressive. You were mentioned heavily in my exchange with the Joker-"
"Patience, Doctor…I had my own vision of this world in the future, and you were apart of it, along my side and greatly assisting me in my reshaping of this world…But I have had to compromise most of my plans for that lunatic. He wants you to be apart of something important to him, something that will undoubtedly grant him the ability to install pain across any or even every home across the world. That jester has requested for you, to die-"
"-What? Why do I need to die if he needs me!?"
"Because he has visualised a grand scheme in his psychotic mind, that involves the action of your death. Whilst I am not a man that takes pleasure in bringing forth your execution, I am also a man who ensures that he does not become attached to anything. Whilst your death shall complicate my plans, it is an action in which will not trouble my conscious."
As he drew the sword to the tip of my neck, and all of the assassins bowed on the floor, my life flashed forward in my very own eyes; the sight of the robber in that grocery store where it all began, the first day at the asylum, and even a past memory with Amadeus himself. I felt as though that my fate had been sealed by this old representative of a secret legion of assassins. Whilst the insanity began to get to me, I tried to think of more pleasant thoughts, and as to what Amadeus would have done in the situation.
"Honey, I'm home! Knock knock! Ra's-seeey! Where are yooouuuu? Hahahahohohehehahahaha!"
And just like that, a man who walked across the world like it was his own special playground announced his presence in the manor. He really did whatever he wished to achieve true power over his enemies, and worked to achieve his psychotic desires in whichever methods he could use. He skipped down the stairway and following him were the rest of the inmates from the asylum who had been under his control since the incident on the plane. They walked across the room, whilst the Joker walked up to Ra's, and the two began arguing with each other, though I couldn't tell for sure what it was exactly that they were arguing over. After a lot of shouting, Ra's looked across the room and towards everyone in it, including me, and declared;
"We will be negotiating in a private sector within the manor, so that no ploys can be enacted on either party. This way, neither Joker…Nor I…Will be able to perform a coup…"
"Lead the way old man, your bath's getting cold! Hahahahahaha!"
The two walked into an enclosed room next to this one, and whilst I was told by the assassins to sit on the ground and await for the news, I noticed that the inmates were acting very oddly. They were running around the room, pouncing on the assassins and forcing them to wear more of those strange hats. But how could they do that if they too were under the mind control? I sat watching every single person in the room, every single highly trained assassin, fall prey to this madness.
And then it hit me; the Joker had planned this, I should have known by the very minute that he had walked through the front door, he wouldn't have happily walked into a trap without a backup plan…
Everyone with the mind control hats stood in front of the door in which Ra's and Joker walked into, the assassins held their guns and swords whilst the inmates prepared their own gimmicky weaponry. After a long anxious wait of wondering as to who was going to emerge out of the room first, the door creaked open, and Ra's walked out with the Joker behind him, however upon noticing all of the assassins turning against him, he tried to attack the Joker with his sword. But the Joker predicted that, he always plans ahead of things somehow for a deluded freak like him, and he took Ra's sword away from him, then began playing with it.
"You see Ra'sseey, there are many things a clown like me doesn't like; The orders, the limited power and above all, the dry humour. You are a powerful man, or should I say, were a powerful man…Now with all of your men working for me now, your toys and that pit of life-cleansing goo, I will take your position in this world…As it's destroyer!"
"You arrogant fool! The Lazarus Pit contains chemicals that even I do not fully understand! The only man who has ever been able to survive the Pit's effects stands before you-It will likely have devastating consequences on you!"
"Ok ok, I'll read the manual…"
"Oh come on Ra'sseey, what's the worst that could happen?"
"When I have entered these pits over the past many decades, it leaves me in a troubled state for a few hours…It leaves me feeling insane. With your current mentality, the effects would likely be far worse onto you!"
"…Aw, I didn't think you cared Ra'sseey! Sorry, but the water's still warm, and I want the first dip! Hahahahahahahaha!"
"I won't let you!"
Joker ran to one end of the pit, the part in which there was a small walkway that would allow easy access into it, whilst Ra's tried to grab onto him from behind and the two were quickly involved in a short scuffle. I stood watching his loyal assassins come to attack him, then pulled him away from the Joker…They savagely attacked him with their swords, and one even shot him in the arm…Any normal man would have died by this point but he…He just took it and kept on fighting…I never saw so much determination in my whole life.
Then something strange happened; everyone in the room except Joker and Ra's stopped moving, and then fell to the floor. Joker looked around and began screaming in anger as to what they were doing…Comprehension is the flaw in his plan; he never planned for this, never saw this coming…And to think I once admired his methods…Then something even more weird happened, I heard another man entering the chamber, a man who sounded so strange yet so familiar…
"No more shall I sit and drink my tea, whilst you dance with the Queen of Hearts and plan havoc across my wonderland…"
"Hatter! How-How are you?-"
"-The mind control never worked on me you blithering jester…I built the structure of that hat, but I never perfected it's control over others, and you just took the chance to take it and use over me, without thinking ahead…I sat and played puppet to your game, but now, you shall play my game!"
"Jervis…That was a long time ago…And just like this old man said…You don't want to be in my head…Stay away!"
"Oh I don't anymore to do with you Jester…You are just a liability…Now with the Legion of Assassins, as well as my nearly unlimited hats…The world will become my wonderland! And you…Are not a part of it!"
The Hatter then clicked his fingers and Dent and Scarecrow began attacking Joker…He put up a good fight, managed to shock Dent with his joy buzzer, but once Ivy, Croc and the others joined in on the fight…He was just a lamb to the slaughter.
He lay there in a pool of his own blood, coughing and spluttering what remained of him, but just laughed. Aside from everything that he had just witnessed; the failure of his plan, the humiliation befallen onto him and his apparent death…And he just laughs...
I managed to hide in the shadows long enough for the Hatter not to see me; he told Croc and Quinn to carry Joker's body and dump it outside, which they did with no disagreements. As he left the room, I could hear the small laughter continuing even as his life drained away…It sent cold shivers down my spine and left the palms of my hands very sweaty. The assassins then stood tall and gave a salute to the Hatter, then he told them all to leave the chamber with him, and he then mumbled about his plan to leave for Gotham or the 'Wonderland' that he called it. They all ran up back up into the manor and I stood, trying to clear my mind and get my head over the situation. The old man looked up to me and began trying to talk to me, but it was difficult to understand him;
"The Pit...I need it…THE PIT YOU IDIOT!"
"I-I…This isn't me! This isn't normal!"
"Nothing is 'Normal' you fool…Nothing will be normal with those freaks running around with my people…And who knows what else…But the Pit…I need it!"
Apart of me felt sorry for the old man, and I was almost going to drag him into it, but then I remembered how calm he was about trying to kill me. Bleeping noises then rang out throughout the manor, and then I realised what it was-Tetch had set up dozens of bombs across the whole manor. Whilst his time as 'Joker's Puppet', he was developing both mind control and bombs in that plane…I ran and ran whilst the old terrorist pleaded for assistance, but I gave him none…He didn't deserve it…And as I ran out through the front door, the explosion went off and every part of the manor began to fall. I fell into the cold, skin numbing snow as the fiery inferno towered over me, and I couldn't help but continue to question as to what was happening.
The smoke engulfed all of the sky that I could see around me, until all of a sudden, it started to decrease in size…There was…Wind! Extra amounts of wind was pushing the smoke away, but I had no idea where the wind was coming from. Until I felt another shiver down my spine similar to the one I received from the Joker, and I turned around to see a face that many would cringe at. He stood tall in front of, with his teeth tightly locked together, his darkened pupils fixated on my nervous eyes, and all of his gadgets and plane bleeping and doing something. He was a man who I never understood, a man who may very well be just like Joker or the others…Batman.
"Where are they?"
"JOKER! Joker-And the others-Where are they?"
"I-I-I don't….It's-A long story…"
"I don't have time for this…"
He then pressed a button on his belt, and the door of his plane opened as he walked up to his plane, then looked back to me and pointed at one of the seats. I then walked with him towards it…God that's even weirder, walking with a man dressed like a bat into a private military-like plane in the middle of Ethiopia, after meeting an old dead terrorist. I tried to explain the situation to him, but he just didn't care, he didn't seem prepared to trust or listen to anyone…Then it hit me…
Where was Robin in all of this?