To Catch a Bat

October 23, 2016:

Batman Beyond has his first date with justice, and he has a plan. A plan to catch a bat.

Gotham City

A lonely, dark alley in Gotham City.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

"Let's see what it takes to catch a bat."

Everything is ready. As ready as it can possibly be.

White lights fade in from a cowl that mimics the form of a bat’s head. A beep follows, and then they slowly turn to red. Nightvision. The power is on. Thrusters at his feet are ready, just as the hidden wings, just in case they are needed. He is anxious, but it can only mean one thing: The Batsuit is ready.

Two men in hoodies walk in the lonely street. It’s dark as the night around, wet by a rain that abandoned this place a few hours ago. Just as hope did. If Gotham, the darkest face of Gotham, has a heart, this unnamed street surely is. It’s not a pleasant place to be, and it takes courage to walk it from an end to the other. Not many people go that far. But our two men, they know this place very well. Terry McGinnis, the sole operator of the defunct Project Batman Beyond, has been following for days.
They will meet justice.

But they will also serve a purpose.

The future’s Dark Knight (if such need arises one day) is invisible to the naked eye. His high-tech Batsuit has a stealth system, but it’s not in use. He is invisible for he knows the shadows, he has lived in the shadows, he is a shadow himself. He moves and slides with feline grace, swiftness and silence. All the technology he wears is impossibly light, just as a shadow needs. His gaze accompanies the pair of murderers. A gaze that knows too much. It knows their secrets. It knows their sins. But his prey, the real prey, is not someone sought by justice. It is justice itself. A bat.

One step more. They stopped. They shouldn’t. They are one step ahead of their fate. But there is no rush. Terry can wait. Just, one step more.

McGinnis holds his breath for a long moment. He is nervous. Not the nervousness of someone expecting trouble. The kind of nervousness you feel in your first date. It is, in a way, his first day as a vigilante, without the aid and supervision of a team. And he smiles.

The step occurs, and it only takes a second for the first of the criminals to disappear in the shadows. He is dragged off swiftly, an armored hand covering his mouth. It is so fast and well executed that his companion is not yet aware of his missing partner’s disappearance. Terry smiles again.

A thunder sounds in the distance. Rain starts slowly. Again? Two times in a day? It’s Gotham. This is Gotham. The darkest bit of the darkest soul of Gotham. A street with a name long forgotten, not meant to be walked.

The second criminal disappears in the shadows as well.

The rain continues and eventually fades. It will return. Of course it will. Some things never change, and some others never go for long. Some of them, maybe, stay hiding in the shadows. Batman Beyond is one of those. The rain ceased, but he is there.
Unseen.

No cops show up. This is not a place frequented by Police, or even law. It changes tonight.

Time has passed.

Above two criminals, unconscious, firmly tied, a flare is shot. The night sky is interrupted by a glare with the light of blood, even when no blood was spilled by the new bat in town. The light, however, draws something for everyone to be seen. A mark of hope and fear in equal amounts. The light draws a red bat.

“I’ve heard they have a Batsignal, and this one comes with a little gift. A pair, more exactly.” Terry murmurs to himself, pleased, excited. This is his first date. His first date with justice. Will it show up? Will it be wearing a black mask? Will it join him in the shadows?

“Let’s see if I can catch a bat.”

-

Spoiler has a patrol night. It's not often that she gets it alone. It's getting more and more often that she gets it alone. Like tonight.

She's always nervous when she's out alone. It's the kind of nervous of crossing the street for the first time by yourself, of getting ready to perform a cheer or a dance or a school play and looking over the audience…. and having no smiling faces looking right at you. And yet, maybe he's just running late.

So Spoiler pushes on anyway, close to the darkest part of Gotham. It's a part she's not supposed to be in. Not that those kinds of things have ever been a deterrent before.

The red bat flare.

Spoiler's chin cants up at the light. The small purple not bat lookjng bat brat is draw to its light; a moth to a flame.

She moves into the area, working out the angle of its source as best she can. She's stealthy but she doesnt have a futuristic cloaking device. She's nimble but lacks years of concentrated experience and training. She's surefooted but has to fight the instinct for big and showy. You can take the girl out of cheer, but you cant take the cheer out of the girl.

Minutes later Spoiler pauses, right under where she's sure she saw the flare come from. As the rain continues to soak her store bought 'suit', Spoiler starts to ponder if this was another trap like at the docks. Someone tweeted her hashtag at her, that there was trouble. So Spoiler responded…. and nearly got smooshed. Without AR lens over her eyes, without any covering ovrr her eyes, Spoiler squints into the nighy, just now starting to feel uneasy. Maybe Bruce is trying to test her? Why else the bat? Why red? Was it for Tim? She shuffles back half a step, ready to bug out.

-

"No going back." Terry asks from behind Spoiler. He has noted every movement, every single one. Even if it was half a step, even if it had been just a hint of one. He has waited so long for this. So long. "Please."

His voice has been heard, his location doesn't need to remain secret. He didn't come so far just to stay in the shadows. He trapped two criminals as an offering to do the exact opposite. For first time in his short life, which in human years must be barely a decade, but due to his genetic modification looks like the double, he wants to step into the light. Even if just once.

Multiple sensors scan Stephanie and his lenses show floating information around.
He steps ahead in her direction. Boldly, but slowly.

No one else is watching. He has made sure of that. And that red flare must have been enough to keep any potential intruder far from here. Both 'tributes' are still unconscious, and if the high tech bat would have to guess, they won't get up anytime soon.

Terry McGinnis had never patrolled alone, and he was never quiet for too long, unless he had to. His hood covers communication systems, and someone in his team was always at the other side of the speaker. He would make silly jokes about villains and hear laughter, or a call for him to concentrate, but never be alone. He misses that. But that's why he is here. The sensors keep running, but they won't tell him anything he wants to know about Spoiler. And, without a need for comms, or even for hiding in general, his hood is pulled back.

A younger Bruce Wayne, in every detail, is revealed. A clone of the Dark Knight.
"Not many venture so far in here at the sight of a burning red bat." He comments curiously, breaking a silence so long that, in turn, breaks him inside. This can be a mistake. What if she is one of the bad guys? He doesn't know enough of the outside world to be sure. But he didn't come so far to back up at the last minute. "May I ask who you are? I, uh," he briefly laughs to himself, shaking his head. "I haven't introduced myself. Where are my manners? I'm—" Batman. They told him to say that. All his life. They told him there would be one day when he would be the new Dark Knight. "Terry." The bet is too high right now. If this is a mistake, it is a big one. He hopes it is not. "It is nice to meet you."

-

That first sound behind her as she had begun stepping away has her shoulders slumping in a tense sort of resignation. Never giod enough to hear him sneaking up on her. She inhales to retort…when Batman says 'please'.

Spoiler's back straightens siddenly. Her whole frame is on alert. Batman never asks please. She's sure he kniws the words as Bruce Wayne, but that doesnt mean he uses it in either persona. She strains to hear him, failing so that when he appears out of the shadows Spoiler jumps more than she'd like to have jumped. Visible in the eye holes of the plastic mask she painted purple and black to match her get up, Stephanie's bkue-green eyes widen when the stranger pulls back his hood… and a Bruce about her age is standing in front of her. For a moment, she forgets to breathe.
Even the voice is right. But the laugh. It's…. not forced and yet Stephanie's heard Bruce do that before…. a laugh, where are my manners?

When did she get light headed? Had she remembered to breathe? What is breathing? Can you eat it?

"Spoiler." Stephanie squeaks. The sound is breathless, not at all self-assured.
Maybe…. Bruce is trying out… a…. holographic…. face… thing… nd… is testing… her… not to…. fall over and faint… Spoiler stumbles. Must.. stay… on …feet.

-

Terry's blue eyes go wider. Is something happening to her? Maybe… Maybe those criminals tried to counter attack releasing poisonous gas? The Batsuit mask would have surely filtered it, but it would have also alerted him. And, when? They didn't have time to reaction. Is there someone else around? No, he is sure. He scanned the area. What is happening to her?

"Spoiler, are you feeling alright? Do you need any help?" Concerned, he leans forward, prepared to hold her if she falls. "Were you attacked on your way here? Please tell me and I'll get them, just as I did with these." He quickly glances to the tied ones. "You don't look like one of the bad guys. It's because of the suit." The utility belt! Maybe he has some pills! His fight hand presses the only visible button on the suit, a red one just as brighter as the scarlet bat on his chest. A small cavity opens, his fingers search blindly for any medicine. "Villains don't wear purple. My experience is not /that/ great, but I've done my research. Well, maybe one or two. But not the pretty ones. They usually wear green, black, you know… Pretty villain colors?" Finally! A red pill is taken and held in his hand until he figures out if she needs this, or if they have to fly… Wait, why didn't he think of it first? Inexperience, of course. "I can fly, if needed. We can get to a hospital, maybe?"

-

That first question has her forcing herself to refocus. Spoiler sucks in a lung full of air. Head clears. And then the rambling. And the blind fishing at his belt. And…
"You can fly?"

Spoiler shakes her head lightly, regainjng her feet.
"I mean. Terry…" because with the rambling there is no way this is yhe Batman she knows. "Im Spoiler. What are you doing in Gotham? "

-

Still worried, the man in the Batsuit leaves the ground and starts hovering. Thrusters on his feet impulse him, and two retractile scarlet wings are released under his arms. He just stays up for a while before returning gracefully to the ground. "Of course. Bats fly, don't they?" He says it with a smirk.

As she mentions her name again, something lights in his mind.

"Hold on. Spoiler? The Spoiler across all social media? The #SpoilerAlert Spoiler for real?" He could have cheated and searched for it using his suit, but his hood is back and he honestly remembers /that/ Spoiler. "I'm a /HUGE/ fan! Seriously!" Yeah, maybe he is a… different Batman, to say the least. "I, uh, I fight crime. That's what I do. I may be sort of new, but I have enough experience and training. I have also been called… Batman Beyond." The name might or might not be familiar to her, but the project with the same name was carried by Amanda Waller and Stormwatch, until it was recently cancelled.

-

Stephanie's lower jaw drops. Partly because of the flying batsuit and ortly because the snark. Omg the snark. #snarkalert #OhYesHeDid

Behind her mask, Stephanie grins and a giggle nearly escapes. It vant thought because this imposter Batman suddenly turns the tables on her.

Most of her life, stephanie was an urban myth Batman Fangirl. If there was a fan club, she'd have been founder president and ce-stalker. That this young Bruce looking Batman suit wearing person is fangirl… fanboying… over her as her flabbergasted.
'Omg this is got to be what Batman feels when I gush.'

'Omg. This is so not that commercial. Bruce is totally not sitting at his computer thinking that this is what - focus Stephanie! '

"Batman…. Beyond….?" Homework time. "Nice to meet you. I…" and now she takes time to look around for said thugs. "Hmmph. Nice work. You're new? Where are you f3om?"

The 24th and a half century! Omg Stephanie. He is not Duck Dodgers. Get a grip girlfriend.

-

"Batman Beyond." Terry smiles slowly, letting enough time pass to get his cowl back into place for when the smile is finally drawn. The black mask may cover all his face, but his lips are still visible as a white representation of themselves, glowing in similar fashion as his eyes. This Batsuit is something entirely different, on many levels, to the one of the real Dark Knight. It also applies to its operator.

"And I will take it as a 'Yes, I am /that/ Spoiler and I'm sure you are a fan'" He shrugs, grinning childishly. A small bow is offered as she congratulates his work. The suit is very light, none of his movements are slowed down by it. "I am from Gotham, as a matter of fact. I may have not enough time to socialize as much as I'd like, but I'm working on that. There's University too, so…" He tilts his head, staring at Stephanie. "That's not the kind of things you say to maintain a secret identity, right? Well, as I said, I'm new. And you already have my name. And," He walks a step closer to her, "I hope you use that information with responsibility."

-

That smile. She's not seen Bruce smile like that and it helps put more distance between these two Bats. She's going to be reporting this for sure. The white smile on the black face is… disconcerting. But the grin.and his words are so disarming. As disarming as…

Spoiler shakes her head to clear it but it happens when he starts to mention University and secret identities.

"No. Its not generally a good idea to tell just anyone all thise things… or take off the cowl. To.. just anyone…" she tilts her head back a bit as he steps closer. She doesnt back up, no longer intimidated.

"Yes. But I wont mince words. Im reporting in, everything you've told me, so if you're looking to get Him a message, now is the time."

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