A Dignified End

January 22, 2017:

An elder supervillain, the Turtle, attempts a robbery with an ulterior motive. The Bats move in to stop it and receive unexpected (and unwanted) help.

I-95 Expressway Bridge (Gotham)

The I-95 Bridge over Bob Kane Harbor.

Characters

NPCs: Turtle

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Why does it seem that everything around Gotham happens at night. Well, in this case, it's the best time to transport valuable materials. In this case, the Gotham Museum is transporting some valuable artifacts from it's location to the Metropolis Museum of Art. Several jewels and artifacts, to be placed in protective storage to be restored after being displayed for a few months.

The armored truck and police escort are starting their wave over the I-95 Expressway bridge, when a strange looking vehcile comes out of the traffic. Smooth, and green in color, it appears to be a massive… turtle shell.

There's a pulse of power from the vehicle, and everything on the bridge seems to /stop/ in place. Stopping the vehicle, an old man gets out of the Turtle Vehicle. His head is nearly bald except for some long white wisps of hair crowned around his ears. His outfit is a Turtle motiff, and it's not that the vehicles are /stopped/, but within his sphere of influence, nearly a football field wide, time is moving so slowly that only he appears to moving at anything close to a normal speed, which to those that he is attacking, appears to be super speed.

A news copter that was over the area checking on traffic for the late evening news catches the commotion on the bridge, and it's soon being transmitted on Gotham News Network and Daily Bugle Channels, which is how Barry Allen, who was resting in Metropolis after his date with one Stephanie Brown, was resting. "…why couldn't he have attacked while I was in town?" he asks with a sigh, a quick change to the red cowled costume as he's racing for the bridge.

Batman makes a low growling sound, somewhere deep in his chest, and lowers his binoculars. "The Turtle. He's supposed to be in prison," he tells Spoiler. The two of them, alerted by the sound of distress, were not far off when the first alarms started to whoop. Sensing something amiss, Batman had opted for a quick reconnaissance, and with good reason. The Turtle's ability to sap kinetic energy was a tremendous liability up close, even as he looks relatively harmless at close range.

"Alfred. I need a care package," Batman says, dialing up his butler on his forearm-mounted computer. "Box #1148. Dropping locator beacon." Batman flicks a small, glossy black orb behind him to skitter across the rooftop.

He hands Stephanie the monocular. "Tell me what you see," he rasps at the other vigilante.

Spoiler was crouched at Batman's side. She had no idea who this was. She's just not old enough to have even heard of him. But hearing that he was supposed to have been in prison strikes a nerve. Beneath her mask, Spoiler presses her lips together.

"Other than GBC," Spoiler replies, peering through the offered monocular at the scene.

"Looks like he froze everyone still…? No. Wait… The tires are still moving..But… They were high way speeds. Now this old man's just… walking up to them like… like they aren't moving," Stephanie says after studying the scene. She pulls the monocular away from her eye to peer at Batman.

"The pulse of whatever he did came from the car. It's still in the area. If we go in that field.. we'll likely end up moving just as slowly. Missiles entering the area run the same risk. EMP to try to knock out the electronics?" she asks, giving more that just what she saw. She's thinking.

The Turtle lumbers over to the truck - to Spoiler and Batman on the roof, he looks like he's just walking up to the vehicle. He opens the door. Moving into it, he only takes out one item. He puts it in his pocket, and he starts to leave the vehicle to start the slow and steady lumber back to his Turtlecar. His gait is slow, a limp. He has a stooped demeanor, as if he should be using a walker for assistance, but the old man steadies on.

That is until he sees the red blur coming from the Metropolis side of the bridge, and the old man seems to brighten. "Finally…" he says to himself, and moves to pull out his turtle gun.

Flash streaks across the bridge and /smacks/ into the kinetic field. It's a bit like hitting a wall as he oofs, slowed down enough that to those observing, he actually appears /normal/, though in the sphere of influence, there's a green and red blur.

"Flash, my old nemesis, you're ba— wait, you're not Flash." Not his Flash. Not Jay Garrick.

Which is Bats is researching, he'll find out, Turtle was a villain of the Silver Age hero known as the Flash. Metal helmet, red shirt, blue pants. This scarlet speedster is not him. But, it appears that this Flash, the one out of time and dimension, is starting the process of what's known as the D-Bee Merge as those from other dimensions remain on 626, they become part of the history of it.

"Sorry, old man.. I don't know who you are…" Flash admits as he moves. "…but you know, you're a little.. elderly. I don't want to hurt you, we can talk this out, right?"

"I don't want to talk, youngster, I want to fight." he calls out in his old man voice, as the Turtle starts to move towards Barry. "State don't want me. Old folks home don't want me. So you're going to help put me out of the way, once and for all."

Flash blinks, starting to slowly comprehend. "I'm not going to do that, Turtle."

"You're not going to have a choice, Flash." he says, turning his turtle gun towards one of the vehicles. "Either you and I fight, or I will start knocking vehicles off the bridge."

Batman grunts approval at Stephanie. It's only marginally different from his grunts of disapproval.

"Good observation," he commends her. "His abilities don't seem to be affecting light— no red band shift," Batman remarks. He almost continues, but then there's a strange red and yellow blur as another Metahuman appears on the scene. His white eyelenses narrow in irritation at the presence of /another/ metahuman in Gotham. He makes a mental note to have a word with Flash.

There's a *hissCHNK* of motion behind him as the care package from the Batcave arrives, a duffel-sized container with a parachute attached. It lands neatly on the asphalt and from it, Batman extracts a pair of parabolic arrays.

"We need to deploy these on either side of the bridge. I'll take the far side; you take the near. Once we're in place, we'll activate them. The harmonic nullifiers should temporarily incapacitate his equipment."

Fast, but unhurried, Batman unfurls his cloak and leaps into the air— a second later his cloak turns into wings as he soars across the river, trying to get to the far side of the bank.

Praise! Stephanie beams under her mask, as if Batman had promised to pin her drawing on the fridge when they got home. Marginally different is still different and Stephanie's learned to tell the difference. She turns back to the scene, looking at the headlights and nodding about hte red shift. She hadn't noticed that but now that it's pointed out, she's filing it away.

And then there's…

"Flash." It's a whisper, like she's mentally kickign herself. After all, she forgot to give him Batman's welcome to Gotham speech when she ran into him. Something she nglected to mention to Batman. She might have been preoccupied with classwork? Her date? whatever the case was, she didn't tattle on herself. Instead of commenting or dwell, Spoiler takes the dish with a nod to the instructions before she too steps to the edge of the building. Mimicking Batman's dive, Spoiler inhales teh rush of knowing that her cape too will act like wings, that she too can Fall with Style.

Spoiler's aiming for the nearside of the bridge, glancing at Flash and Turtle. Light is unaffected. She wonders if sound is too.

Sound is not affected, at least to those outside the sphere. Everything that the Turtle and Flash are saying can be heard with the proper equipment. Ears. Maybe advance earphones for distance.

"I know you've had a hard life.." Though Flash /feels/ as if he's at hypersonic speeds, he's barely at a jog within the field - it's like trying to swim in jello. "…but that's no reason to do this. Or to want to end your life, like this. You can still share your story, your history, maybe turn around someone else's life away from a life of crime.." He's clearly an optimist.

"From what, a box? You know what they gave me when I got out of prison? Two hundred dollars and an application as a greeter at Wal-Mart. I tried it, Flash!" Turtle says as he trains his gun on the car, but he's not pulling the trigger, apparently having his own second thoughts on the matter. "…because I'm a felon, they won't give me benefits. Because I'm not a threat, I can't go back to prison, where I can get meals and care. I have to live in squallor, down in Crime Alley, because of my life."

"And your choices.. I'm sorry the system failed you," Flash offers, compassion in his voice as he's trying to keep himself in front of the weapon and to buy time for the two he sees approaching on the periphial vision. One, he doesn't recognize - but he does the purple and black of Spoiler. Hopefully they have a plan. He just needs to stall a little longer.

Holding his hands out to his sides helpless, Flash looks to the villain. "Come on, buddy. This isn't the end. You still have life to live. Lessons to teach. Do you have family?"

"…I did. A wife.. a son, and daughter."

"They still alive? Would they want to see you like this?"

"No…" the old man says. "…they don't even know I'm here."

"Maybe we can let them know? Get you the help that you need?"

"I'm not going to be a burden, Flash!" he says as he gets frustrated and starts to swing the gun around, towards himself.

"Don't!"

Batman and Spoiler work quickly. A team, efficient, communicating silently and sometimes not even needing to communicate to exchange ideas. He gets on the far end of the bank and with a grapnel, hauls himself up to the top of a bridge cable strut. At the tugging edge of Turtle's influence he slows, and grimaces despite himself— feeling sluggish torpor arresting his normally smooth flow. Much like Flash, swimming through gelatin. But he deploys the parabola and aims it across the bridge at Turtle and Flash.

His eyes widen in alarm when Turtle aims the impeller at himself— at that range it's entirely possible it could tear the fellow apart as he's selectively accelerated and de-celerated.

"Now or never, Spoiler," Batman rasps, activating the two parabolaos. "Two, one—" and whether Stephanie confirms that she's set or not, he activates the inverse telecine emitter.

Spoiler lands down and turns into position. Like Batman, on the fringes of the sphere, feels herself moving much more slowly than she's like. She can't really hear what they are saying to each other but the moment Turtle turns the gun looking thing on himself it clicks: Death by Cop.. or rather, Superhero. She sets her half of the device down aims it as quickly as can force herself to go, forces herself not to give in to the burning of her throat that heralds tears.

"Flash!? Get the gun thing," Stephanie calls out as her eyes start to slide from the dish toward the elderly villian. She can be loud. Stephanie was a cheerleader after all. But the full face mask muffles her voice, masking it as much as it does her face.

As the sphere's influence is shattered, time snaps the normal. The vehicles speed up immediately, a car that was 'frozen' racing straight towards Turtle and Flash. Flash's speed is kicked in immediately as he hits hypersonic speeds. It's not the gun he goes for though, as Turtle is pulling the trigger.

He goes for the man himself. The gun is lost to the traffic as he Flash picks up the old man and carries him to the Gotham side of the bridge, setting him down on the side of the road.

Turtle, for his part, looks frantic, and tries to start to feeble hit Flash as he sobs openly. "Why did you stop me? It would have been dignified. Why??"

Batman permits himself a slow, almost silent exhale of relief when Flash turns into a blur and carries Turtle away from the bridge. Disaster averted— two dozen vehicles screech to a stop as their perception of inertia is wildly assaulted and they err on the more normal side of a full stop.

"Well done, Spoiler. Get his gun," he advises the blonde vigilante. "I'd like a chance to properly analyze it."

A beat passes. "And after you explain to Flash how the rules of Gotham work, you can put it up in the Trophy Room," he advises the girl. Her own Spoils from the adventure, so to speak.

Turtle and Flash come to a stop near her, and Spoiler sighs as well. Withthe gun clattering to the side of the room not far away, Spoiler straightens up to gather the gun only to be stopped by the conversation and by Batman reminding her to explain The Rules.

There is no slow ray that held Stephanie in her place. It was listening the old man, to this.. grandfather… yelling at Flash, confirming what she suspected. Death by Hero. Blurry blue eyes look toward Batman, then back to Turtle and Flash. A blink clears her vision but sends the drops to collect on the underside of the mask's chin. And then the light from the media chopper find them. Spoiler hustles to collect the gun.

"Flash?" A moment and then Spoiler looks at Turtle.

"Mr. Turtle?" What was she going to say? Her voice is all wobbly because OMG Grampa just tried to kil himself!!!

"We're going to get you the help you need, Turtle." Flash says, dodging a few poor blows easily before he sets his hand on the man's shoulder. With the old man collapsing to his knees in sobs, he glances up towards Spoiler. "If that's who you were talking about.. see if he'll get the information on this man's family. They need to know where he is, so they can be by his side." he says quietly, a glance towards Batman as he turns his attention back to Spoiler. "The police will be here soon, but if you return what you stole from the truck, I'm sure something can be worked out."

Turtle looks up between the two and reaches into his pocket. Pulling out what he took - it was just one of the security guard's badges. He really had no designs on robbery. Just wanted to end his own existance, as he felt everything lost to him.

A light rain begins to fall. Just enough to wet exposed flesh, to create dark runnels on clothing. Batman is untouched by the rain. Untouched by anything. A solitary, hunched figure atop the bridge, one more errant Gotham gargoyle. The low wind tugs his long cape into long streamers that make him a blurred outline of a man, the cloak flickering hissing protest at the weather betraying his presence.

Only fifty yards away, he's barely scrutable as a person, even as a flickering of lights from the city struggle vainly to pierce the shadows of cape and cloak. Not a man. Not human. Untouched by pity or woe or the despair of a bitter, hollow old man with nothing left— and thanks to Flash and Spoiler, not even the dignity of a glorious death.

But Batman is beyond such mortal woes, and a few moments later, he slips off the back of the bridge and vanishes from sight, his duty done— leaving Flash and Spoiler staring at each other as the old man weeps quiet despair at the sensation of obscurity overcoming him.

Her own shoulders shaking slightly, Spoiler nods at Flash's suggestion.

"I'll get the information," she promises, her throat tight, her voice raspy. Wouldn't Batman be proud?! Spoiler found her rasp.. because she was on the verge of sobbing for this old man. An old man who in twenty more years could be her own. The Nomex suit is protective yes, but those who pick out details would see her diaphragm working as she struggles to hold it together for a few more moments.

"Turn him over to the police. And then don't come back to Gotham. Metahuman abilities aren't welcome. They attract too much attention. We patrol this city," Spoiler says to Flash, no longer able to look at Turtle. She coughs once, swallowing harshly and taking a step back.

"Turn him over and leave. We'll take care of Gotham," she repeats, before turning away and leaping off the bridge. She needs to get some shadows, needs to loose the news chopper who likely got plenty of footage of her purple and black form.

"I… I'm heading back in," she says into her com, voice breaking. Arkham visiting hours she knows by heart. There's some on Monday. She'll skip a class. There's no test. She'll make up the work.

Flash watches the two Gotham protectors leave. Standing in the rain, he's a lone splash of red against the dark Gotham skyline. He frowns as Spoiler makes her demands and leaves. He looks down towards Turtle and gives the old man's shoulder one last squeeze before the police arrive. As they're tending to the villain, the hero moves and settles on the opposite side of the bridge.

To the North - Metropolis. The City of Tomorrow. Hope and Optimism Incarnate.

On the other side - Gotham. Where he was just told to never come back to.

"Not a chance." Barry Allen says to the wind, a glance towards where he saw Spoiler and Batman flee into the night. They may be the night. But he's the heart. And in the day, when the Bats are asleep - a new Speedster may defy the so-called rules to remind that gargoyle that while he maybe a metahuman…

…the word human is the root.

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