Disclaimer: I don't claim any rights or ownership and I'm not trying to make a profit.
Chapter Seven: Bird's Bargain
The rapid Crack-crack-crack! of gunfire sounded and Logan was thrown off his feet in a splash of crimson blood, as several bullets hit their target. Pain like white-hot fire overwhelmed him, only to be followed by the familiar red haze of his rage.
Eyes flashing like a crazed tiger, Logan leapt forward down the hall, springing off the ground from all four limbs.
Bang bang bang!
He didn't even feel the bullets now and lunged the last fifteen feet in one bound, claws first. The lucky ones dropped their rifles and ran and the other four ended up eviscerated, before they had the chance.
"We need back up! Somebody! Fuck! This guy's not human!" screamed one of Penguin's thugs, as he followed his compatriots through a steel door and slammed it closed. "Have Kelly bring some grenades!" he shouted into an ear-com, "And for God's sake-"
There was a sudden slamming screech of metal vs metal and the man went limp three claws stabbing through the door and his skull.
"Zounds!" squawked Penguin, as he watched the feed coming through the security cameras. "This is most remarkable. What in heaven's name are those things made of? He just cut through enforced steel like it was gossamer!"
"I'm not concerned about the fucking door!" shouted the head of security beside him, "Those were a dozen of our best guys and he's cutting through them just a fast. What is he?! Superman's little gorilla cousin?! Bullets are fucking useless!"
Penguin adjusted his monocle and cleared his throat. "Whomever he's related to, he's your problem now, Nox, so I recommend you do something and fast!" he stabbed at his employee with his umbrella, "Before he gets any farther."
Scowling, Dan Nox, spoke into an earpiece. "Wallace, Ortega and his men are down. I need you to get the biggest weapons we got and head for the lower west entrance! Hit this guy with everything you can."
Throwing the remains of the door into the two remaining gunmen, Logan finished them off with a fast stab and a hard kick to the head, before crouching, animal like, and sniffing. Besides the gruesome smells of blood, death and guns, he could sense that the basement of the Iceberg Lounge was bigger and deeper than one would have expected. Apparently, the club took after its namesake. Also, despite it still being before noon, there were a lot of people in this supposed nightclub. All were afraid.
The rage was fading slowly, as his wounds stung and healed and Logan shed his hat and coat. They were slowing him down and blood and bullets had rendered them beyond saving.
He tossed the coat over the gruesome sight of a guard with his neck sliced almost completely in half, then ripped down another camera and surveyed his options. Penguin had more firepower than he'd expected and they were obviously more than bouncers. But whatever was really going on at The Iceberg Lounge Nightclub, his objective was to find Penguin. Choosing between some steps leading down and a hallway leading to the kitchens, Logan took the stairs.
As he walked deeper into the sub basements, Logan could hear men scrambling for weapons and he growled, shaking his blood soaked hair from his eyes. Was it going to be blood and gore the whole way down?
With a snikt, his claws started to emerge again, but then he paused, as he noticed a door with a padlock and a "Danger" sign.
One swipe of a claws and a kick later, he smirked. He'd found a circuit box. This was more like it.
"I'm not sure where he is! Damn it. Just find him!" shouted Nox, "He's somewhere on that floor."
Beside him, Penguin was flipping through the security feeds. Four of the cameras were down now. "This mad mutant is- Whah!" Penguin started when the lights suddenly when out, along with the remaining security feeds.
"The utility closet," Nox shouted into the coms, "The circuit breaker is in the closet just right of the stairs on the third floor. Go!"
"Hrm…" Penguin frowned as he looked around the darkness then took a flash light out of the desk. "The mutant is up to something. I smell trickery." He tapped his oversized nose.
"He's a thug and a freak," Nox growled, rubbing a hand over his bald head, "He thinks he can hide in the dark, but all he's done is let us know where he is."
"We shall see," Penguin said, "But it's best not to underestimate "freaks" in this city."
The gleam of flashlights and the smell of men and guns came up the hall and Logan pressed closer to the shadows around the corner of the stairs. He didn't need to see them to know exactly where they were. Only five men, but they were carrying assault rifles and even some grenades. Logan waited. The first man jerked the closest open and they all braced shining lights into the dark room.
"There's no one he-"
He was on them faster than a lion on sleeping pray. Attacking from behind, Logan used his fists and boots rather than his claws this time. Deftly, Logan knocked together the heads of two guards in the back, kicked the lights out of the hands of two more and slammed the leader' head into the wall, before anyone realized what was going on. Flashlights rolled uselessly around on the floor, illuminating the panicked movement of feet and occasionally the bruised and bloodied heads of the fallen.
"Where is he?! Ah Hell!"
Guns when off in the dark, spraying in random directions. One of the two remaining guards thought he heard a sound and he turned to find a hairy, blood smeared face less than a foot away.
Snikt – Crintch
Before he could lift his rifle, it was wrenched from his hands, falling in pieces to the floor.
One punch later and the guard was unconscious beside it.
With a whimper, the final guard turned and fled back down the hall, but Logan snarled and followed with a predatory lunge.
"Going somewhere, Bub?"
The guard crashed to the floor, Logan's knee in on his back and his hand on his neck.
"God help me!"
There was a smashing thud as Logan's claws rammed four inches down into the floor only a hairs breath away from his face.
"You're going to lead me to the Penguin," came a low growl in his ear.
"Wallace? Wallace answer me!" Nox shouted pacing in frustration with one hand on his ear-com.
"Let me guess," Penguin mused, "Our esteemed guardians are not responding? It seems like you are rapidly running out of men."
"WE are running out of men. Have no doubt. This freak is after you."
"And now you're all that stands between me and this "freak" of a thug. What is the saying… trapped between a hammer and a hard place… hrm?" Penguin twisted his umbrella in his hands, looking thoughtful.
Nox scowled and took out his gun, making sure it was loaded. Then there was a buzz and his hand flashed back to his radio. "Wallace! Talk to me! ..." "…I don't care what he did. …"
"…You're talking. All your limbs are still attached, so I expect you to do your damn job. Find out where he is and put the animal down!"
The metal door of the security office broke open the heavy bolts shredded. Standing in the dark hallway was Logan, a guard held by the neck in one hand. Like a wildcat, his eyes gleamed in the dark. Taking in the two people in the room and he gave a wolfish smile.
"Well done," he growled and then slammed the captive guard's head against the doorway and tossed him unconscious into the hall.
"Freeze freak!" shouted Nox, lifting his gun and cracking off three rapid shots, as Logan stepped forward. Two hit him in the chest the third buried itself in Logan's stomach. More fresh blood bloomed into his stained and ragged clothes and Logan stumbled slightly, leaning over and holding his stomach with one hand, coughing.
Nox and Penguin watched in stunned disbelief, as Logan recovered his balance, then coughed up a crumpled bulled. Spitting the led into his hand, Logan shook himself and smirked slightly, before flipping the bullet back at Nox. "I'd drop the gun if I were you, Bub. I got some things to talk over with yer boss."
"DIE! DIE!" screamed Nox, snapping out of his stupor and pulling the trigger again, in a mad frenzy.
Suddenly Nox's wrist was jerked down and the pistol knocked to the floor, as Penguin's umbrella came down on this arm.
"Imbecile!" Penguin squawked, "Stand down. And You!"
Penguin rounded the point of the umbrella to Logan, who was on the verge of bestial lunge, his claws already extending and a roar growling in his throat, as he his eyes fixed on Nox.
"Are you a man or savage lion? You came to talk? Then start with some decent etiquette!" He jabbed the sharp tip lightly against Logan's chest, "Who are you, Sir?"
Logan hesitated the rage fading some, as Nox stepped back. Snorting, Logan kicked the dropped pistol into a corner, before retracting his claws and shifting his gaze to Penguin.
"My name is Logan. I'm a mutant and an escaped mental patient," he said, "They call me Wolverine."
The lights suddenly came back on, flooding them all in yellow brightness. Logan's shirt was all but falling off of his muscular torso and dried blood stuck to his hairy chest. His hands were red and blood smudged his face. Logan's black hair stood wildly off his head, stiff with dried blood and poking up in two directions. Never had an introduction seemed more apt.
Nox was staring at him, stunned realization and pure hatred in his eyes.
Penguin blinked in the sudden light and took in the sight of the man before him. "Hrm… So your are the Wolverine. Your reputation has preceded you, Mutant."
"Whoop-ti-dee," Logan growled, "Now that yeh know who I am, how 'bout you answer some questions for me, Beaky."
"We shall see," Penguin turned to Nox, "You may leave."
"But…" Sputtered Nox, "He's a blood thirsty brute! He could kill you!"
"Mayhap he will. But You obviously can't stop him Nox, so make yourself useful and see if any of your men are still alive and call in the cleaning crew." He gave Nox a hard look.
Nox started, opened his mouth to say something, but Logan lifted an eyebrow, eyeing the man. "You hear the bird, Nox," he taunted.
The head of security closed his mouth and stomped out, slamming the bent door on his way out.
Logan watched him go with a satisfied smirk and then cracked his knuckles and his neck, before looking back at Penguin, who'd settled himself comfortably in the desk chair.
"What can I help you with, Mutant?" he asked, taking out a Mars candy bar and carefully ripping back the wrapper.
"Deadshot," Logan growled, "You hired him to assassinate Bruce Wayne. Why?"
"Ah yes… Lawton. Deadfool. I heard you did a number on him."
"And I'll do another on you, Bub, if you don't answer the question," growled Logan, extending his claws. "Why'd yeh hire him?"
Penguin swallowed a mouthful of chocolate. "I did it on the behest of an acquaintance of mine."
"Who?!" snarled Logan advancing, until his extended claws were only a few inches from Penguin's long nose. "Was it Strange? Where is he?"
"Ah, now that's the real question. You're after whoever is after Wayne. You already suspect Hugo Strange. One wonders… how a man such as yourself could possibility-"
"Answer me!" Logan stepped forward again, knocking the half finished candy bar to the floor and grabbed the front of Penguin's tuxedo. "Or shall I start carving you like a turkey, birdman?" he tapped the side of Penguin's long nose with one of his claws.
"Ghah…" Penguin squirmed, flapping his arms as he struggled some. "I'll tell you!" he squawked, "I'll gladly tell you, but first you have to do something for me."
"Yeah sure…" Logan drawled, "I'll consider letting yeh live. This isn't a barter, Bub!"
"Now, now," Penguin said, as he swallowed nervously, "You slaughtered your way down here easily enough, but you might not find it so jaunty a departure, once the Iceberg is full of cops. You're a wanted man, an Arkham escapee. They'll bring all they have to bare down on you."
Logan hesitated slightly. He could hear sirens in the distance, but that was always the case in big cities. However, these were coming closer.
"Two minutes," Penguin said, looking at his watch, "Assuming my man did as I told him."
"You wouldn't want to bring the cops down on this place. This place stinks of more crime than a Chicago speakeasy."
"You wound me mutant!" Penguin cried, "I've changed. All Gotham knows I'm now an honest man and this is an honest nightclub. Besides," he smiled slightly, "I have some good friends in the force. We have arrangements. All they'll find here are more brutal murders done by a mad mutant."
The sirens were defiantly getting closer. Logan snarled and threw Penguin down to the floor. "Two minutes is all I'll need Oswald." He pinned Penguin down with one boot and lowered his claws toward his face. "Talk! You have five seconds. Five… Four…"
"Eek… Be reasonable! Why go to this trouble and risk fighting the police, when I will tell you freely tonight over a bottle of Charbonneau and a roast chicken. All you need to do is go and fetch a little something and I'll tell you all you want to know about Doctor Hugo Strange."
Logan was sorely tempted to ignore him and start beating the stuffing out of Penguin, but as much as he hated it, Logan really didn't want to fight the police again. He didn't trust Penguin any further than he could spit, but Logan wanted to get out without killing innocent cops. In these tight, underground halls, it wouldn't be so easy to escape, as in the skyscraper the night before. He'd have to risk playing the bird's game.
Sheathing his claws Logan growled in Penguin's face. "Alright, I'll bite this time. What do you want? And don't waist my time with a long explanation."
"Nhg," Penguin said, still pinned under Logan's heavy boot, "Very early this mourning, someone stole a videotape from my safe. It was of a sensitive nature. I want you to find the thief, kill her and retrieve this tape."
"Her?" Logan repeated darkly.
"The thief goes by the name of Catwoman," explained Penguin, "She left a souvenir. It's in the desk drawer."
Stepping off Penguin, Logan jerked open the drawer and took out a small glass figurine of a cat. He sniffed it once, catching the trace smells of perfume, cats, leather and sweat. There was something startling familiar about the smell, but he couldn't quite place it. Was it part of another memory lost to him and just beyond his reach, like so many others? Logan's hand tightened around the glass figure.
"My resources have informed me that she's consistently done business with a pawn shop, on 12th street on the east end, but that's all we presently know."
"Its enough," growled Logan, pocketing the figurine and turning for the door. "I'll see you tonight."
Outside three police cars had pulled up in front of the club, but Logan slipped away, before any of the GPD were shown downstairs.
AN: Sorry about how slow my update rate has been on this. I promise I haven't abandoned it and I don't plan ever doing so. However, with two jobs and college taking up time, as well as a second story that's been itching to get written. I can't promise that the pace will pick up. Just know that I will continue this and I really appreciate your patients and support.
8/6/2013 AN: I came back and modified a few things in this chapter. Mostly, I just changed the name of the head of security from "Kyle" to "Nox." Kyle is a name I tend to fall back on when trying to name random background character in a hurry. It was only when I started to think hard about chapter eight and introducing Catwoman, that I realized the name doesn't work so well in Gotham. I'd have too many "Kyles" running around. So I changed the name to Nox. I also edited chapter five, fixing the same problem and strengthening some foundations I'd need before moving on to chapter eight.