Welcome, Superman

March 17, 2016:

Batman finds (a new) Superman and makes some arrangements.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A pitch black night in Gotham, sheets of rain crashing down onto the heads of a thousand fleeing business men and women, running like ants to the safety of their darkened homes. For many the day feels like some distant, half-forgotten childhood memory, the misty night a warm comfort even with sheets of rain that blend into walls of ice as they slather the ground in a cold grey slush. The only solace for these endless nobodies that out there somewhere could be a sunny day is the occasional violent crash of thunder rolling on the blackened mountains of steel, or the flashes of sudden unreliable illumination for the world, swashes of still life in the seemingly endless night.

Decaying and decrepit structures line the streets of east end, rotting away the corpses of titans long abandoned. Homeless men and women huddle around barrels simply trying to stay warm in the cold, harsh night shielding themselves from the rain. The sounds of the city feel so distant here replaced by the sounds of simple despair, with women of the night leading their marks back into warn down dive apartments, at speed hoping not to ruin their caked on makeup.

Streetlamps flicker slowly in and out of life trying to fight back an all encompassing, almost unnatural darkness. It's a most oppressing feeling to walk through the ill repaired streets of a place disconnected from the world in such an odd way, no glory days to leave behind just simple poverty in every direction needles and past lives cast aside in every direction.

This wasn't the Gotham Superman remembered, not by a long shot. Even as the rain rolled off his costume drenching him to the bone it wasn't the cold, or the damp that chilled him to the bone but the disillusionment here. This was one place where for even just a moment it felt the American dream was long dead and buried, forgotten to the annals of history. He stands silent, cape caught by the wind, unsure of what to even think.



No human could have heard that word. No -animal- could have picked it out from the background noise. Whispered, on the wind, pitched at a frequency that Kryptonians alone could make out against the white noise of planet Earth.


It takes microseconds to make out the source of the words, on an elevated rooftop ten blocks away and backlit by the heavy roil of black clouds. An inky bit of jet that stands out in darker relief even to them, a cowl, a cloak, almost impenetrable even to Superman's vision. A little smidgeon of human skin temperature around where a mouth would be.

The Dark Knight stands vigil on the rooftop, well away from civilians and crowds and moving vehicles, and waits with the immense patience of a hunter for Superman to heed his call.


The look on his face is a sad expression, the depression desperation of the city eating away at him. Then he hears that word, his name being called by a familiar voice, one he couldn't forget even years after the mans passing. A symbol of hope that this place could still yet be saved.

At first nothing. Simple blackness of the rain falling hard on tiled and tarred rooftops, slamming down to the streets bellow. Then motion, Superman standing silhouetted on the backing of that black sky. He walks slowly forward his cape still trying to rip off to the side, billowing in the wall of hurricane force winds. The sonic boom follows a few seconds later echoing out like yet another thunderclap.

There's a smile on his face as he makes his way over to the caped crusader, his curly hair still strangely perfect even in the torrential downpour. "What do you need? I came as soon as I heard you." Turning it a bit more serious as he draws closer.


Batman's reaction is utterly unreadable. Even to someone trained in recognizing facial tics and micro-expressions. His heartrate has a weird irregularity to it, and his outfit is not quite impenetrable to super-vision, but it makes of him a murky and indefinable morass of motion and temperature.

Wrapped fully in his cloak, it's difficult to discern the least of Batman's motions as he stares at Superman when the Man of Steel lands, his eyes white, sightless, and no doubt seeing almost everything.

There's a soft *click* beneath his cloak and the world around them stops. Cold. Everything within fifty yards simply freeezes in place. Rain falling at barely a micrometer per second. A bird becomes a frozen burst of water as it shakes droplets from a flaring mantle.

Batman and Superman are the only living, moving objects in that strange radius, almost certainly due to whatever device Batman just activated.

"You're not Superman," he says, bluntly. A cold, merciless voice. "You're not /our/ Superman. Explain yourself. /Now/," he says, a black and cowled shadow opposite Superman's monumental presence.


Superman doesn't drop his naturally heroic stance, even as his cape falls flat behind himself with the new complete lack of wind. The two men left to look each-other in the eyes. From the moment he'd landed something didn't quite feel right, but he'd been hoping it was just something on the crusaders mind.

His expression is a bit confused at first, as he holds his arms out to either side. "Bruce, what are you talking about?" He pauses for a moment. "Is this some kind of joke?" He stops on the spot choosing not to move any closer.


Batman stares at Superman, with those unreadable eyes. A figment posturing as human, happily lurking in the shadows of the Uncanny Valley. Humanoid, yes— but lacking those traits of empathy and emotion that one would ascribe to being human.

In his darkest, most imposing posture, in this moment, a silent observer of the two would almost certainly view Superman and Batman, and of the two, dub Batman the alien.

The world outside, beyond this odd little window, continues to hum along, but reality remains heavy and slow, weighing on Superman's muscles at the least bit of acceleration. Some strange device of Batman's that warps reality? Keeping Superman slowed, off balance? It's the sort of thing Batman would do, in any world.

"An ally of mine saw your little display at the public park," Batman says, in his low, angry gravel. "Recorded every instance of it. Radiation levels completely off baseline. Foreign detritus and matter inconsistent with materials at the park, with carbon-16 emissions inconsistent with expected radioactive decay."

"And I've known Superman for years. Studied every mannerism. Every pitch of his voice, every word he uses. You're not my /friend/," he says, in a low snarl.

"So you need to start talking immediately."


Kal-L looks right into superman's eyes for a long moment, before dropping his shoulders slightly. He's still got that naturally heroic pause. "You know I thought I could keep it up for at least a month while I tried to look for a way back." His expression somewhat flat. "Should have expected you'd see right through it first chance you had, but to be honest I wasn't even sure you'd be around here, last time I saw you was over twenty years ago, at your funeral." He stops for a moment running his hand through the rain even at this intense gravity. "By golly even Krypto's still alive here, it's like I've got a whole second chance at life."


Batman's expression is unmoved by Superman's words, but a bit of the brooding malice leaves his posture when Superman slumps. He's a fine actor, but an actor equipped for just one role, and Batman reads the signs of sincerity easily enough.

But he doesn't emerge from the blurring obscurity of his cloak. Not yet.

'Here'. Batman focuses in on Superman's keywords, that amazing brain chugging along behind that cowl.

"Alternate universe," he concludes, finally. He made it there on fairly few clues. "One where you know my identity, apparently. Few here do," he says— a subtle hint to the Man of Steel. "You've aged about like I projected. Kryptonians on Earth apparently are going to be very long lived. Good news for… well. Your cousins," he says, carefully.

"Kara Zor-El is here. Well— two of them. One is twenty standard years old, roughly. The other's biologically in her thirties. Another refugee from an alternate universe."

"What do you remember before coming here?"


His face looks on the edge of tears at the mention of the name Kara. For a moment he looks about to cry, before forcing that back down inside of himself. The pain is still fresh of holding her lifeless body, and it shows all over him for that brief moment. "Imperiex" Is the one word he manages to utter clenching his fist hard, still trying to fight back that sheer hatred. "We fought him seventeen years, but it was never enough." He still hadn't quite had enough time to cope with it having to jump right into his new persona out the gate, but his fist slowly clenched. "He killed so many people.. Diana, Lois, Hal, Arthur, Oliver, my son Jon." Clenched hard into a ball now. "And I couldn't stop him."


Batman's face remains impassive. Still the rain refuses to fall around them. Still the world is paused, in this little bubble.

The Dark Knight listens to the list of the fallen without reaction, measuring Kal's every word, marking his features. Weighing his actions. Noting the clutching anger of a grip that could crush a diamond.

"Is there any chance of this Imperiex coming here? Following you to this world?" Batman says, immediately leaping to the worst case scenario possible.


Superman looks down towards his own fist. The vice grip he had on his own hand enough to make it bleed. Drips of kryptonian blood run down the clenched fist as he brings it slowly back to his own face.

"I don't know, the last thing I remember is a blinding flash of light and waking up face down in a broken sink." He looks back up towards the sky above Batmans head. "One thing I do know is that if he does come here"

He unclenches that fist looking down at his own palm with interest. "I'll be ready this time." The pain fading from his face as he contemplates his own words.



The words are flat. Harsh. Something accusatory lingering in them— pointing at Kal's heart.

"This 'Imperiex' killed every senior member of the Justice League in your world. You alone survived— and over fifteen years, you found no solution?" Batman sounds incredulous. "No opportunity, no opening?"

Everything from the timbre of his voice to the selection of his words is a needling prick, a pointed blow aimed at Kal's ego, his vanity, his sense of personal pride and the devastating loss of his friends and family. Goading him as sharply as the angry pinpricks of blood from his fist, each one slowing weirdly as it falls until a strange semi-flowing cascade of scarlet hangs from his hand.


Superman is silent for a long moment watching the blood as Batman rattles off every little failure of his. He just looks transfixed on his hand, on the crimson. Each word stings and cuts like a knife deep into his heart, until it finally provokes a response, yet maybe not the one Batman had quite intended: "Maybe you're right"

He looks back up into the eyes of Bruce's mask. "But I can't let that stop me from trying." He tries to force a smile. "The moment I stoop to his level, the moment I kill him, he's won." He pauses. "That's why he beat me every time." His eyes locking right in place. "I refused to hurt him, really, and truly hurt him, because I thought if I could just stop him, he could redeem himself."


Batman watches Superman closely. Very closely. Then, he exhales, and the last shreds of that malicious posture disappear. Very obviously, Batman was pushing Superman's temper, trying to goad him into a reaction that would be very un-like the real Man of Steel.

"You're not the Kal-El of this world… but you're still Superman," he tells the fellow. He shifts his arm under his cloak and presses a button again, the device on his belt emitting a strange whirring as whatever it is winds off. The world abruptly spins back into motion again, rain falling steadily, reality rushing back into a proper pace.


Superman leaves his eyes there for some time before Batman finally makes his statement. Tension relieves somewhat, his stance easing off but still rather disappointed in himself. "Bruce I… I'm…. I'm sorry I tried to lie to you."

The rain resumes, and blood continues to mix with the water falling slowly from his hand. Superman reaching into his suit pulls out a small polka-dot handkerchief from his pocket and ties it off around his hand to stop the bleeding.

"Sometimes I'm not sure myself if I am" A pause for a more genuine smile. "Doesn't stop me from needing to try."


Batman doesn't smile. But there's a hint of amusement. "I generally assume everyone around me is lying almost constantly anyway," Batman reminds Superman. "A little paranoia can be very helpful."

"You should come in," he tells Superman. "The Hall of Justice. You need a thorough medical examination, and…. at the very least, you should explain the situation to Diana," he tells the other man. "J'onn, too. I'm accustomed to no one trusting me. It'll cause real division in the team if word gets out that this isn't the Superman we are accustomed to."


"I… It hadn't even occurred to me there still was a justice league." Superman honestly sounds a bit shocked at the whole premise, even as he finishes tying that knot in the handkerchief. His face squinting a slight bit. "I suppose there's a lot of differences I'm going to need to get reantiquated with. Where I'm from it's been turned into a museum… or rather had been."


"Is, and active," Batman confirms. "Diana. Hal. J'onn, among others," Batman tells Superman. Is that a hint of sympathy? Only Superman's super-hearing could detect it if so. "It's up to you to divulge what you will to them," Batman says. Ever respecting other people's secrets. "I will only tell them that you're new to our Earth. What you want to volunteer beyond that is up to you," he says.


A slight smile crosses Supermans face at the list of familiar names, even if they might not be the same people he remembers it's still a trip down memory lane.

"I'll come clean on everything, they have a right to know the truth. I won't lie to them, and I won't lie to you." He speaks with an adamant tone of voice, putting his foot down on the issue. "I can't control how they react but they have every right to the truth."


"I'll set up a meeting," Batman says, nodding slightly. "We'll start with the senior leaders, and go from there as you like. The Justice League will support you," he assures Superman.

"I have to go. Gotham needs me," he tells the Man of Steel. "I'll be in touch soon," he gravels. "…and welcome to our Earth, Superman," Batman says.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License