“Ok Rick, I am at the front gate. What’s your position?”
“We have visual, 5 men, 3 visibly armed. Team Beta is standby at the warehouse gate.”
“Ok, move in 3 minutes after my go. They will try to go back out the warehouse door, that’s when Beta team needs to move in cut them off.”
“Be careful. God-Speed”
Chris, asked his tail to put on Plastique onto the door, and then waited for it to ignite. The explosive went off with ding, and Chris kicked the door in. The 2 men behind him threw in smoke grenades, as Rick’s team on Recon cut off the electricity.
“Gotham Elite. This is a raid. Nobody moves.”, Chris shouted.
For a while there was just the hiss of the smoke grenades, but Chris knew better. Those 5 men were contemplating what to do. Soon, one of them would lose his cool and shoot, in the general direction of the door. That’s why his team had fanned out as soon as they entered, they had night goggles on, and so unless someone threw a flash bang, the darkness was their ally.
“Do not resist. We are authorized to use extreme force.” the last words hadn’t left Chris’s mouth when the first shot rang. Kalashnikov, it always amazed Chris, that somehow this imbecile obsolete model always found its way on the streets. Chris ducked behind a cargo container and waited patiently for the magazine to run out. The morons were shooting towards his voice, while his team now guided by the flash of the gun’s barrell was moving on around them.
He could hear 3 separate clicks, Rick’s intel was spot on, it usually was. The 2 unarmed men would be fleeing towards the warehouse gate right about now, where they would run into the rest of his team. He loved it when a plan came together.
“So you found what you were looking for?” Rick asked him, as he settled himself into the seat next to Chris speaking through his taco.
“Yup, this disc right here, every single person that Rupert Thorn Jr. has ever bribed, along with the bank details and transaction details.” Chris smiled showing off the disc.
“Shouldn’t this be with evidence?”
“No, I don’t trust GCPD. I am going to hand it to the DA tomorrow myself.”
“You think Thorne’s inside man is in GCPD.”
“I have my suspicions. Don’t worry I have jurisdiction.”
“Well, I am sure when Gordon wrote the charter for Gotham Elite Forces; he didn’t exactly have this scenario in mind”
“Yeah well Boo-Hoo. Now drive, Bruce will be waiting.”
“Time to go to sleep, Bruce.”
“Come on dad. One last story. I want to hear the one when you met Batman.”
Chris was struggling to put his son to bed, when Christine called out.”Graham called from the basement. He says he is ready for you now.”
“Tell him I will be there in a minute” Chris turned back to his son, “Ok, Daddy will go and finish his work, then if you are still awake when I come back, I will tell you the Batman story.”
Chris kissed Bruce, and then Christine on his way out. Bruce loved the Batman story. Hell he loved the Batman story. It was the last official sighting of “The Batman” in Gotham, and he was just a kid of 12 years then. Batman and Killer Croc (that deformed deranged wrestler) fought on top of a moving metro. He was in the compartment which Croc pummeled Batman through. They stayed there only for a moment, but as The Batman kicked Croc off, his eyes met with Chris. Like most people of Gotham however he wasn’t scared, instead he smiled.
Chris smiled to himself again as he thought about that day. 18 years had passed and a lot had changed. Gotham had descended deeper into its hole, The Batman had disappeared (probably killed or he gave up), he had joined Gotham’s Elite (a SWAT force conceptualized by late James Gordon and funded by Wayne Enterprise), he had found Christine and then together they had Bruce. He could have never thought of raising a family in Gotham, he even thought of moving to Metropolis once. But this city was where his roots were, he just couldn’t get away.
“More evidence against, Thorne?”, asked Graham as he unlocked the trap door of the basement, a small iron lined Panic room, complete with a small exit into the piers. Chris’s building was one of those old gang owned properties, which had been sold as residential havens, when their owners kicked the bucket. They were old and cranky, but they were build to last and had some pretty weird secret doors.
“Yup, the most vital yet. This would be the final nail in his coffin”, spoke Chris as he opened the small evidence box and nestled the disc into it.
“You won’t have to hide it any longer Graham. I will be taking it to the DA tomorrow.”
Graham nodded, and went back to his PC, a radio somewhere played the news. For a young man, Graham spent too much time in the basement; and who used a radio these days. That’s when Chris’s phone rang, it was Rick; he was still going through his collection, so he just put it on speaker.
“Chris. You there”
“Rick, tell me what’s up?”
“I am sorry Chris.”
“What? Rick. What’s Wrong?”
“Chris I told you Rupert was dangerous. I told you he had men on the inside. I told you he could hurt you.”
“Rick where are you. What happened? Are you alright? Is Samantha alright?”
“Chris, they lined your building with C4. Every floor with 1 ounce. They are going to blow it up.”
Graham turned around in disgust, as he heard the news, his eyes wide open, as they met Chris’s.
“Rick. What the hell are you talking about? How much time do I have?”
“No Chris, you don’t understand. You don’t have any time. They are blowing up in the next 5 seconds. I am the inside guy. I am sorry.”
“An explosion in the Gotham suburbs today, left the town in shock, as a densely populated building collapsed. The death count is still being rounded up. GCPD commissioner Walter White has announced that investigations will be made, and the criminals apprehended soon”
It was the radio that woke him up, of all the things in that room, that infernal thing was the only thing working. They had felt the shock and the panic room had almost buckled under the explosion and then the impact of the cascading building. It was like being in an oven during an earthquake. But, the panic room had saved them, for better or worse, they were alive.
When the explosions stopped, Chris had tried opening the latch, but there was just too much rubble, and blood and bodies atop it. For a long time, Chris just went berserk on the door punching and tackling away into it, crying out to Bruce and Christine madly. Afterwards when his strength gave way, he just dropped down to the floor, still mumbling their names. He felt asleep doing that, on the floor. exhausted and broken.
Chris kicked the radio off into the wall. He should be feeling despair and mourning, but all he felt now was rage, pure fury. Bruce, Christine, Rick, all those names brought him pain and anger. Graham was slumped in a corner against a wooden pillar, listless.
“I was the best cadet in my batch. Rose through the ranks in record time. Had a stellar record, and a clean file. Yet I wasn’t feared enough.” Chris suddenly spoke to himself as he started walking across the room.
“I can kill with my bare hands. My mastery over a Glock is unprecedented. My aim is as good as Deadshot’s was. And yet they didn’t think twice about killing me and my family.”
“Chris, are you alright.”, Graham spoke for the first time. He was worried why Chris was mumbling non-sense all of a sudden.
“Bruce, Christine gone. Dead. Just like that. You know why Graham. Because they weren’t afraid of me. Why, because I am just a man. As good as I was, I was just a man.”
“Chris, calm down. We need to contact help, we need to get out, we need to…”
“We…” he cut Graham off and looked towards the wall almost lost in a trance, “We need to make them pay. Rick, Rupert, White. All of them, everyone of them, every petty criminal is going to pay.”, Chris paused again, going back into his thoughts. Graham was worried, that he was stranded with a madman.
“But I can’t do that. Gordon couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. Even if I walk out this room right now. I am dead man walking and I still won’t be able to make them pay. You know why?”
“You are scaring me Chris.”
“Am I. But am I scaring you enough. Are you scared enough Graham? I don’t think so. Why? Because you know me. As good and deadly as I am, you know I am a man. Like Rick, White and Rupert. They all knew I was just a man.”, Chris sat himself down into a corner, folded himself up and started muttering to himself.”Just a man…Just a man.”, slowly dying into a whisper.
“You know when I became the captain of Gotham’s Elite, I met Bruce Wayne.”, Chris spoke out of the blue again. Chris’s tone was becoming calmer and smoother with every word now. The madness, the anger, the desperation was disappearing; and yet he sounded even more dangerous every time he spoke.
“When he was handing me the Star, and shaking my hand, he bent over and spoke something into my ear.”
“Chris, I don’t understand.”, spoke a confused and scared Graham.
“You know what he said Graham? Of all the things he could have said to me. You know what he said?” Chris turned around menacingly, looking right into Graham’s eyes. His eyes danced with anger and madness; Grahams squirmed under the gaze and barely muttered, “What?”
“Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot.”
Why? sometimes I thought I was too young to write such dark tones, sometimes I just felt too small writing about Batman.
This is very close to my heart, and is not intended as a copyright rip from anyone, if anything it is a thank you note to Batman:The Animated Series, The Dark Knight Returns, and of course Hush.
Thank you Jim Lee, Frank Miller and Bob Kane for putting dreams into this young mind. Hope you like the dreams you helped create.