Tuesday, April 17, 2012
That was all the note said on the small piece of paper Jake McGentry had found in his drawer just two nights ago. Even now, Jake still wasn’t sure what motivated him to go. He had no enemies and Sandori wasn’t connected enough to have gotten to him so soon after the bust. Maybe it was intrigue or boredom, but Jake, now standing outside of an old worn down mechanic shop, was wishing he had ignored the note and stayed home.
Why was he even here? How could he pull this off?
Jake saw that a light was on in the shop. Someone else was already there. Was it the masked man?
Jake was still trying to wrap his mind around the idea of it all—being Batman. Sure, he had plenty of military training and knew Gotham pretty well, but Batman was more than just some soldier or off-duty cop running around in costume. There had been plenty of wannabes when Batman first came along; mostly guys in hockey gear and bullet-proof vests painted black, but the masked man wanted Jake to be the real deal. How?!
‘Gold, St. Louise, and River.’ Those were the three words that the masked man told Jake to remember. ‘River’ was Jake’s word. He still didn’t know what that meant, but the masked man told him that he would know when to use it.
Nearing the door of the shop, Jake could hear voices—at least two. Jake looked down at the gun in his hand. Sarge wasn’t the only one who still carried around an “old n’ dirty”-- as Sarge called them--, but being off duty, Jake didn’t have a choice and the station didn’t exactly let officers check out pulse guns for the weekend.
“Well if it ain’t James Bond.” Marcus Vincetti said looking at Nick Ward.
Nick was the first to arrive. He was early. Still relatively new to Gotham, he wanted to check things out first, but Marcus had showed up just a few minutes after him.
Nick just looked at Marcus. He figured James Bond was better than Harry Potter; his previous nickname during their last encounter. ‘You’d think no one in Gotham had ever seen an Englishman before.’
“I guess our masked friend is looking for someone with a little more speed.” Nick quipped back.
Marcus scoffed as he continued to look around the old mechanic shop. There wasn’t much there, but it looked like it had been visited recently, possibly by the masked man as some of the tools and machinery looked new, not to mention the three envelopes on one of the work tables.
“Looks like we’re expecting one more.” Marcus said tapping his finger on one of the envelopes.
“What makes you say that?” Nick asked.
“Are you St. Louise?” Marcus asked, holding his gun a little bit tighter at his side. He didn’t exactly expect Nick to be the masked man or any sort of threat, but years of being a detective kept him on his toes and prepared for most anything. Who knows, maybe this whole thing was a sting by Internal Affairs to see which cops were playing it straight and who was willing to bend the rules. Marcus himself had always been a fan of bending and breaking a few rules when necessary, but had been playing it close to vest ever since the Attorney General’s office started cracking down on Gordon and the whole Gotham Police Department. Looking at Nick, Marcus figured he’d be a good candidate to be one of IA’s pawns; young, new, and eager to find his place, but he looked just as uncertain of the whole situation as Marcus was—and Marcus thought Nick couldn’t be that good.
“No, I’m… I’m Gold.” Nick replied.
“Good, then I guess we’re waiting on River.”
“Is that how you figured there were three of us? Three code words? Three envelopes?”
“It makes sense. I seriously doubt the masked man would need his own code word.” Marcus answered. “I figure this must be some sort of try-out or…”
Marcus stopped as he heard movement outside. Nick responded as well, holding up his small revolver, pointing it near the door.
“Stay here.” Marcus said.
Jake opened the door slowly and peeked in, not sure who or what to expect. No one on the shop floor, he moved cautiously inside.
“McGentry?” Marcus questioned, looking down at Jake from the upstairs floor.
Jake jumped and aimed his gun toward the voice above him.
“Woah, easy there. Same team, “ Marcus said easing back. “Shit. Looks like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one.”
Jake eased off slightly. He knew Marcus Vincetti casually, but they had never worked together. The other guy he had seen before…
“Are you an ocean?” Nick asked Jake, still cautiously aiming his pistol at him from behind one of the work tables.
Jake seemed confused at first, but then remembered his code word. “No. River. And you are?”
“Gold,” Nick responded lowering his gun.
“St. Louise.” Marcus followed in form as he came down the stairs. “So, are we expecting our masked friend?”
“Based on my encounter, I think it’s just us.” Jake replied.
“You know that brings up a good point. ‘Us.’” Marcus said looking at the other two men. “No offense, but I kinda figured this was a one and done gig until I saw Prince Charles here—didn’t exactly figure on having to audition for the part if you know what I mean? That is, unless you guys are supposed to be my sidekicks or somethin’?”
“Well, you could use someone to help you with the leg work of it all.” Nick chimed in.
“You still playing that record, Lancelot.” Marcus responded casually pointing his gun at Nick. “Yeah, you helped me catch a guy. My deepest thanks… kind sir.” Marcus said while doing a mock bow and fake English accent.
“I’m just saying that…”
“I think we were all told the same thing.” Jake interrupted.
“What, that we’re all supposed to be Batman?” Marcus replied. “You know, I can’t say I’m completely on board with the whole idea of Gotham NEEDING Batman, as our mutual masked friend said, but don’t you think it would be a little weird with three jabronies running around acting like Batman?”
“Well I don’t know about you two, but I can’t exactly quit the force and spend my time trying to figure out how to be Batman , let alone actually do it.” Jake replied.
“Shifts.” Nick stated. “We’re supposed to work in shifts.” Marcus and Jake looked at him funny. “Why else select the three of us? Why not just one or two? Clearly the masked man knows who we are and like you said, we can’t exactly quit and do this full-time.”
“Great. Well, I’ll alternate holidays and birthdays, and you two can decide between weeks and weekends.” Marcus said walking away. “Geez, I feel like my brother… Oh, and another thing.” Marcus said turning around. “While I hate to throw a monkey wrench in an already well-oiled machine, there’s still that small, inconsequential problem of actually being Batman. I don’t know about you two, but I don’t exactly see any extra Bat costumes lying around, do you?” Marcus said motioning around the room.
“We’ll have to make them… somehow.” Nick answered.
“Yeah, we’re fuc…” Vincetti started to say before a loud crash came from upstairs.
Startled and wondering if there was yet another member to add to their ranks, the three made their way up the stairs to the second floor.
“I think it came from the office.” Nick whispered.
The three men closed in on the office with Jake taking point. The door was ajar, but the lights were off and the windows were covered in a thick layer of dirt and grime that prevented anyone from seeing in or out.
Jake motioned to Marcus who moved in a cover position around the corner while Nick moved opposite of Jake and crouched down below the window.
Pushing the door open slowly, Jake peeked in before he darted into the room—nothing. He did a quick glance under the desk before spinning around, gun pointed at the closet door in the corner of the room. He waited.
Jake then slowly walked toward the closet, surveying the room, but never completely losing focus on the door.
“Well?” shouted Vincetti.
By now, Nick had stood up and entered the office as well.
Jake looked down at the floor near the entrance to the closet before turning to respond to Marcus.
Nick gave him a funny look as he saw that Jake was still focused on the closet door.
It had been a while since Gabby had been inside the old shop, having promised her father a few years ago that she would never go into that part of the city. Until today, she kept that promise, only ever looking at it from afar whenever she would take the rail to see her father whenever she got time away from school. While he always insisted in picking her up, she preferred the rail as it was the only way she knew to keep her promise and still catch a glimpse of the old shop. Even so, it still broke her heart to see it and remember what happened.
Walking around now in the dirty old shop, Gabby began to wonder what it would be like to clean it up and make it new again; and even though the air was stale, it still smelled like a mechanic shop. Except for a few broken windows, the building was still in good shape and looked like it hadn’t been used by anyone in a quite a while. Gabby at least suspected to find a few homeless people or drug addicts living in there, but guessed that Carlos Raines probably had a few guys come by every once in a while to run people off and make sure that no one was using the shop.
Bastard! Gabby thought, but she didn’t have much time to dwell on Raines before she heard someone pulling on the old rusty door.
She rushed quickly upstairs and into the main office, closing the door slightly behind her before the mysterious guest made his way inside. Gabby was thankful that the windows were crusted over with dirt and grime and no one could see her. The problem was that she also couldn’t see him and had no idea who was now there with her. Maybe it was one of Raines’ men to come and check up on the place, but that didn’t explain the strange phone call she overheard several days ago outside her dad’s office. She didn’t get the full details, but knew that whoever had called him had asked about the old shop and that her father seemed confused and slightly excited. Gabby tried to casually ask him about the phone call, but he brushed her off.
After the whole ordeal with Raines a few years ago, Gabby didn’t know what to expect, but now there was another man in the shop. Gabby needed to find a way out before they found out that she was there. Raines knew who she was and some of his men had seen her before. The last thing she needed was to be taken hostage and held for ransom. Her father had lost so much after Raines and with her at Gotham University; she often wondered what he had left for himself. Surely, he’d find a way to get her back, but then he’d probably kill her for breaking her promise.
Focusing back on the mystery at hand, Gabby now heard a second man enter the shop. She tried to listen to the two men and figure what they were talking about and why they were there. One of them had a Jersey accent and the other… English?
Good one Gabby, you walked right into the United Nations of mobsters.
She wasn’t sure, but it sounded like the one of them was named Louis and they were waiting on a masked man.
She tried to listen in a little bit more.
One of the men was coming up the stairs. Had she made a noise? Gabby was panicked and had nowhere to go and what if she moved and made more noise, surely then he’d know someone was up there. Gabby took a deep breath, softly took two steps over behind the door, and stood perfectly still hoping for the best-- closing her eyes trying not to think about the worst.
Public service announcement boys and girls: Never break your promises to your mommies and daddies, because if you do; you’ll find yourself in an old abandoned mechanic shop where angry mobsters will find you, and most likely kidnap and kill you. Of course no one will ever find you because they will dump your body in the river where all the little fish will nibble and gnaw at your dead, lifeless flesh until there’s nothing left but your tiny little bones. Oh and remember to brush your teeth kids so they can identify you later on when they finally fish out your sad promise-breaking little skeleton.
Just breathe Gabby, breathe… not too hard though.
As Gabby tried to recompose herself, she could hear the man going back down the stairs to greet the newest member of the party. Again, she tried to listen to what they were saying and if it had anything to do with her father’s shop or why they were there. She moved back over to the desk so she could hear more.
Gabby leaned closer to the door as she heard the men talking about working in shifts and something about running around like Batman. She couldn’t make out the whole conversation, but it was all getting a lot more confusing. Just then her hand slipped on a piece of paper on the desk and she came crashing forward hitting her head on the door jamb and knocking over several items on the desk and knocking the door forward, but not closed.
As much as her head hurt, she knew she couldn’t sit and have a cry, she needed to get out of there and quickly—but before she could think of trying to go out the door, she could hear them slowly making their way upstairs. They probably had guns and if they didn’t… she couldn’t take that chance. Her only hope was the office closet. At the very least they’d grab her and try to question her, and maybe she could catch them off guard and escape… at least that was the best possible scenario she could think of. She didn’t want to think about worse.
Their shoes clanked on the metal stairs as they slowly made their way up toward Gabby. She could hear them and knew she needed to just make less noise than them while she got into the closet. She hoped it was still empty. It was a coat closet, but her father mainly used it for old files and he had taken those with him when he was forced out.
Jake reached forward, twisted the doorknob quickly, swung open the closet door and jumped back in anticipation of whomever or whatever was to jump out or attack.
“Don’t shoot, don’t shoot! Please, please.” Gabby shouted in fear.
Jake and the other two men let out a sigh of relief. The nerves and muscles of their bodies unwinding slowly at the sight of a young woman curled up in fear.
Jake lowered his gun. “It’s okay, I’m not going to shoot you. My name is Detective McGentry.” Jake said as he reached out a hand towards Gabby to help her out of the closet. She was still terrified and on edge, but after hearing that he was a cop, her nerves calmed a bit as he helped her out of the closet. He could still be a bad cop and she couldn’t completely let her guard down.
“What the hell are you doing?!” Marcus said as he came into the room, grabbing Jake and pulling him outside of the office. “Why’d you tell her who you are? Who knows what all she’s heard up here. She goes to Gordon or IA and this whole thing is over before it even starts and…”
“Vincetti, calm down. We don’t even know who she is, why she’s here or what she’s heard.”
“Not that we’ve said much.” Nick chimed in.
“It’s okay, I didn’t hear anything.” Gabby interjected having overheard the exchange between the three men.
Marcus looked around Jake giving Gabby an odd look. “Really?” he said, walking over to her, “And why is it always the guys… or gals I should say, that have seen or heard something are the quickest to respond that they hadn’t?”
“Vincetti.” Jake said.
Marcus waved Jake off. “Nah, nah. I wanna hear what the little girl has to say about what she DIDN’T hear?”
“I’m 21.” Gabby replied.
“Oh, I’m sooo sorry. Well if that’s the case, let’s all take this conversation to the bar. We’ll get a few drinks, have a few laughs and you can tell us all about it. How’s that sound?” Marcus said grabbing her shoulder.
Gabby was quickly losing her slice of confidence and was beginning to wonder if she was in just as much trouble as she imagined before when she thought they were mobsters or part of Raines’ crew. Maybe they were bad cops, paid by Raines to do something shady or illegal. Plus, the ‘21’ comment didn’t help.
Real mature Gabby.
“Vincetti. That’s enough.” Jake said as he stepped in-between Marcus and Gabby. Looking at Gabby, he could tell she was still pretty shaken up and hadn’t calmed down much-- Vincetti hadn’t given her too much reason to. Jake could only wonder what might be going on in her head given her current situation. After all, how do you explain three cops secretly meeting in an old mechanic shop in one of the more rundown and poorer parts of Gotham?
Jake looked at Gabby and directed her to the desk chair. “It’s okay” he assured her. “I think we are just all a little on edge right now, but we don’t want to hurt you. Okay?”
Gabby looked at him and saw a softness in his eyes that told her that he was telling her the truth, even if the other guy he called ‘Vincetti’ seemed ready to shoot her and dump the body.
“This is my dad’s old shop and I… I just came here because…”
“Well?” Vincetti interjected, growing impatient with the whole process.
Jake looked back at him with frustration. “Vincetti, why don’t you go downstairs and grab those files and maybe… reorganize something.”
“What am I, the freakin’ secretary now?! No. I’m staying right here and seeing what she heard.” Marcus said pointing at Gabby.
“Fine, then shut up and listen. That work for you, paesan?” Jake said mockingly in his best Italian mobster voice.
Gabby and Nick couldn’t help but stifle laughter as Jake was clearly trying to lighten the mood. Marcus wasn’t laughing though, but he was a little more at ease thinking about Jake’s bad Italian rather than the situation at hand. Marcus hadn’t heard much about Jacob McGentry until a few days ago when rumors were going around about how he and Sarge blew up some drug warehouse and half the guys working it, including the head dealer himself. Of course, most of the stories around the precinct grew and evolved into ridiculousness that it was often hard to know the truth unless you read the actual report, but even so he knew of a few reports describing a giant bat creature flying around Gotham—so even official reports had their absence of reality.
“Now Gabby, why did you say you were here?”
“This is my Dad’s old shop and I overheard him on the phone several days ago talking to someone about letting them use the place.”
“You mean like rent it out?” Jake asked.
“I don’t know. I didn’t hear the other side of the conversation and my dad seemed pretty secretive about it when I asked.”
“Do you have any thoughts on who it might’ve been that he was talking to?”
“No, and when I asked he said it was nothing. But he seemed to know the person. Almost like they were old friends or something.”
Jake and the other two men looked at her funny as if maybe their masked friend made a mistake in picking their new secret hideout. Or better yet, maybe their masked friend was this mysterious caller that Gabby’s father spoke to.
Gabby continued, “My father told me to stay away from here, mostly because of the neighborhood and the guy that owns the neighborhood, Carlos Raines, but I think he mainly wanted me to not feel sorry for him for losing the place. But when I heard that someone was going to be using it, I got curious and well… here I am.”
Jake looked back at Marcus and Nick who were still standing outside listening to Gabby, and then back at her. “Well, I hope the person who called us here is the same person who talked to your father. If not, we might have an interesting situation on our hands.”
“The masked man?” Gabby replied.
“I knew it! She heard. She’s heard everything!” Marcus cried out throwing up his hands. “Well, it’s been real fellas.” He said as he turned to walk away.
“Where are you going?” Nick asked.
“I promise I won’t say anything. I honestly didn’t mean to overhear you. I can keep a secret, I swear.”
Marcus just shook his head.
“Gabby,” Jake said, “I’m going to be honest with you.” He paused a moment and looked back at the other two men. “The reason we’re here is…”
“What are you doing?” Marcus said turning back around.
“She’s going to find out one way or another.” Jake replied to Marcus. Looking back at Gabby, “I can tell that she’s a persistent person and is obviously not afraid to break a few rules to find the truth.” He said mainly to reference Gabby’s broken promise to her father and also to let her know that he had a pretty good read on her.
“How can you tell that?” Marcus questioned.
Jake just kept looking Gabby in the eyes, almost as if he was searching for something or trying to rewire her brain to work in some way she didn’t know about, “We can trust you, can’t we Gabby?”
Gabby just looked back at him as if she had just been given a great charge of responsibility, a responsibility she didn’t even know about fully. “Yes,” she responded in a half voice.
“Good.” Jake smiled, but Gabby still wasn’t sure what just happened and she was a little hurt that Jake thought she was some sort of noisy, promise-breaker. She really was a good person and could be trusted, but then again, he did speak up for her so she didn’t know what to think.
The four made their way downstairs and Gabby was still unsure of what she had just agreed to and how all of a sudden she found herself a part of it. Shaking the cobwebs out of her brain she remembered that it had something to do with Batman, so it couldn’t be all bad. Plus, despite the sharp nature of the gruff Vincetti, it didn’t seem like they wanted to hurt her. So if being a noisy promise-breaker kept her alive and safe, she’d be happy to play the part.
The four gathered around one of the shop tables that had the three folders.
“Gabby, this is Detective Marcus Vincetti,”Jake said pointing to Marcus, “and this is…” He paused, confused, having not even gotten Nick’s name during the whole commotion. Of course he had seen him around the Major Crimes Unit, but he was a patrol cop and Jake had never interacted with him until today. Either way, he was kind of glad he was around as he could tell he already had some sort of rapport with Vincetti, but he seemed a lot calmer.
“I’m Nicholas Ward, but you can call me Nick,” Nick answered, extending out a hand to Gabby, smiling as he shook her hand.
Gabby was thankful for his smile. It helped her feel a bit more at ease.
Jake laughed a bit to himself at not getting the name of the man he was about to share one of the biggest secrets of his life with as he reached out to shake Nick’s hand and the two exchanged their previously neglected introductions. Marcus just stood by shaking his head, not sure what to make of the whole ordeal.
“Well, now that we all know each other, it’s best I bring you up to speed Gabby.” Jake said before taking a deep breath. “The reason we’re here is that we’ve been asked to take on the role of Batman.” Even saying it out loud seemed a little weird, but it was true. There really was no easy way to say it. It was crazy and ridiculous, so why not just come out with it? “What that means or what that looks like, I really don’t think we know at this point, but it’s why we’re here. The masked man we were talking about earlier. He contacted me a couple of nights ago… and I assume did the same for Marcus and Nick.” The two men nodded in agreement. “From talking with him I don’t think he was Batman, but someone who knows a little more about him than the rest of us. He couldn’t confirm whether or not Batman was alive or dead, but he was pretty adamant about Gotham needing a Batman, whether it was the real deal or not. And that’s where we come in. I don’t know why he chose us or why he believed we’d agree to do it, but here we are. Like I said, I don’t even know where to begin, but you pretty much now know about as much as we do.”
Gabby wasn’t sure what to make of all the information she had just heard. A masked man? Jake, Nick, and Marcus being asked to be Batman? Especially Marcus. Clearly the masked man knew more than she did or was a crazy lunatic that managed to convince three cops to do something really stupid. Growing up, she had heard stories about Batman, some most likely true, some a stretch on reality, and others completely ridiculous, but she never sat and thought what it would actually mean for a person to be Batman. It all seemed like quite a chore and she could tell by the looks on the faces of her three new cop friends, it was still rattling their brains to just think about it.
Of course, every officer at Gotham PD had at least once thought of what it would be like to be Batman. The idea of enacting one’s own style of justice in Gotham. No rules, no paper work, no lawyers or red tape—just what was ‘right’, at least in one’s own eyes. Batman was different than that though. While he didn’t wear a badge, he still had his own set of rules. Rules that set him apart from the criminals and psychos that he tirelessly pursued night after night.
“Yeah, he didn’t exactly give us much to go on.” Marcus said. “At first I wanted to tell the guy to go screw himself, but after talking to him I figured why not. I mean, who knows who all else he planned on askin’ besides me? I’m a good detective and all, but I wouldn’t exactly be my own first choice… I just happen trust me more than I trust some of the other blockheads in Gotham.”
The others listened to Marcus and shook their heads as they looked around the shop, Jake and Nick explored what tools and equipment they had to work with and how they could use them, and Gabby surveyed the familiar surroundings that used to be her playground.
Marcus joined in after a few moments of personal reflection and mumblings of various moron cops that he knew; turning over old rusted tools, trying to sort out how they were going to make a go at this thing and whether or not they could do it.
“But hey, I got a good team thought, right? We got the English Ninja, Nick, and Jake weren’t you in Iraq or somethin’?” Marcus asked.
“YOU have a good team?” Nick quipped.
“Sorry, WE have a good team I mean. Lighten up, Your Highness.” Marcus replied.
Nick just shook his head, knowing that he was mostly likely in store for a lot more nicknames before it was all over, that is, if it would ever be over-- suddenly realizing he wasn’t sure how long this would last. If Batman was dead…
Marcus interrupted his thought, “And not to be the bearer of bad news or anything, but how exactly are we supposed to BE Batman by the way? I’m sure as hell not gonna run around in all black with a bat painted on my chest… and you know those tech nerds have been monitoring the web to make sure no one is selling any fake Bat suits or black riot gear like those morons from a few years ago who tried to form their own little Batman vigilante club.”
“What about these?!” Gabby said from across the room.
The three made their way over to her to see what she was talking about.
“I noticed these crates looked new and they definitely weren’t here when my dad closed the shop.” Gabby said.
Looking inside the first one, the others noticed that inside was a Wayne Body Armor suit along with a headset and gun, full gear set up for most Gotham police officers. Inside the other two black crates, the same.
“Wow. Whoever our masked friend is either has some high connections or pulled off quite a heist that nobody has heard about yet.” Nick said.
“So what do we do, spray paint these things black, slap a couple of pointy ears on the top, and hope no one notices?” Marcus asked.
Despite Marcus’ complaints thus far, the others had to agree that he had a point. Even if one citizen or officer saw them or took a picture, someone would notice the basic design of the suit and every officer in Gotham would be under investigation. Not to mention the tracking devices built into the suits, headsets, and guns. Hell, they could be tracking the suits now, but not likely as they were still there and had been there even before any of them had shown up. If they were going to get caught or…
“I could help!” Gabby said.
The three men looked at her, puzzled.
“Seriously, I really can. I’m a Mechanical Engineering major at Gotham U and I used to help my Dad around the shop fixing old cars and doing some fabrication work.” Gabby said excitedly.
“Girlie, while I’m impressed as most guy are at female gear head, these aren’t exactly old cars or some beat up radio. Big egg heads at Wayne Tech designed these things and…” Marcus replied.
“I know, but I think I can alter them enough to not look like regular police uniforms without having to recreate them or make something from scratch. Please, I can help.” Gabby said.
Jake looked at Gabby, seeing her excitement and confidence, knowing that he and most likely Marcus or Nick did not have the talent to even come close to what Gabby might be able to do with WBAs. Plus, Marcus was right. Not only did they need to look like Batman, they also needed to not look like cops trying to look like Batman. “Gabby, you’re sure you can do this?”
“Because not only do they need to look distinct from the original or at least look like a stolen design variation, but they need to be safe too… probably more so than they are now.”
“I know.” Gabby replied, her excited look turning to seriousness as she knew the responsibility Jake and the others were placing on her shoulders-- though she was still holding back her excitement at doing something so fun and extremely important. Too bad it couldn’t be one of her classes’ final projects.
“First, we need to remove the tracking devices built into all three. They’re probably not activated, but we need to move quick before somebody realizes these suits are missing and activates them. Just in case.” Jake said.
Marcus and Nick shook their heads in agreement.
“So we’re actually going to do this.” Nick said.
Jake looked at Nick, Marcus, and then back to Gabby. “As soon as Gabby’s ready for us, it looks like it.”
Gabby smiled with excitement.
“Well, until we get caught, killed, or arrested—this oughta be fun.” Marcus said laughing.
Nick and Jake just looked on with less excitement knowing the long road ahead.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The only reason Nick was there was to follow up on a domestic violence call. He heard the initial call about ten minutes ago, but had decided to investigate after another separate call came in shortly after in regards to shots fired in the same building. Most officers still would’ve waited for a homicide call, but despite the tumultuous nature of Gotham City as of late, Nick was a hopeful person. He believed in the capacity for people to change, even in a city void of a hero. The other officers blamed it on his naivety in being new to Gotham, but Nick had been a seasoned officer in London; he just preferred to believe in the power to change despite the world around him saying otherwise.
Apartment 13C. Standing in front of the door Nick could hear yelling. Good, he thought, at least maybe the shots fired weren’t related… unless they were arguing about what to do with the body?
He knocked on the door. “Gotham PD.”
An immediate silence fell on the apartment before more arguing ensued about Nick’s presence at the door. He could hear footsteps approaching the door, but they stopped as the couple’s argument once again took priority. Nick could tell the man was getting more upset about the woman having apparently called the cops. The man yelled a few derogatory insults towards her before he started to rant about not wanting to spend the night in jail because of her.
Nick knocked on the door again. “This is the Gotham City police department. You need to open up.”
Nick could hear the man telling her to wait, but before he could join her at the door she had opened it and began flooding Nick with the whole play-by-pay of their argument and their relationship.
“Ma’am, ma’am… please I need you to calm down and…”
“Wait a minute?!” the woman interrupted. She leaned forward nudging Nick out of the way, looking up and down the hallway, and then back to Nick. “I thought I called 9-1-1. Who are you?”
Confused at the woman’s actions, Nick looked back her, “Ma’am. I’m with Gotham PD.”
“Then why do you sound like Harry Potter?”
Keeping a stern look on his face and swallowing his initial sarcastic response, Nick replied, “My name is Officer Ward and yes, I am from England…” sighing, “like Harry Potter, but I assure you I am an actual police officer with the Gotham City Police Department. Now if I can speak to you about…”
But before Nick could continue two shots went off down the hall gaining both his and the couple’s attention.
Moving himself and the woman inside their apartment, Nick drew his sidearm and stayed close to the door.
“Oh man, that’s one of them sci-fi stun guns you guys usin’ now.” said the woman’s boyfriend.
Nick just half glanced back at the man before he peaked his head back around the corner of the doorway. At first he didn’t see anything, but then suddenly a man burst out of one of the apartments, followed by another chasing him. Nick figured he was the shooter but was out of bullets, as he didn’t bother to turn and shoot the man pursuing him.
Stepping out in the hallway, “Gotham PD, stop where you are!” Nick said as he aimed his weapon toward the on-coming man.
The man paused briefly as he saw Nick, but then quickly resumed his sprint down the hall towards Nick.
“I said stop.” Nick said again now standing squarely in the hallway, but the man didn’t stop or slow down.
Nick fired a shot; the man attempted to dodge as best he could, grinding against the wall after being hit, but never fully stopped. Nick was confused. He should’ve been stopped dead in his tracks. Even hyped up junkies stumbled in a haze of low powered shot.
“He’s got a magnetic pulse diffuser!” yelled the stocky man pursuing him.
Nick looked back at the man in pursuit and then back at the now crazed man still barreling towards him. He didn’t know what was going on, but Nick knew the look in this man’s eyes. He was getting past Nick one way or another. Nick felt otherwise.
Looking down to his right, Nick grabbed a plastic tricycle that was left out in the hallway and threw it at the man just as he was about to barrel through him. The man, surprised, threw up his hands to deflect the flying object, but as the tricycle flew from the man’s body, Nick was there grabbing him before he could regain his focus on getting past him. Nick then spun the man around, slamming him into the opposite wall. The man grabbed and punched at Nick trying to break free, but was stunned when Nick’s left knee came bashing in just below his ribs. The man pushed off the wall trying to regain ground, but suddenly his feet were flying off the ground as Nick spun him around again—this time taking the man crashing down to floor, the air shooting right out of his body as Nick pinned him down.
Nick turned the aching man over and cuffed him as the other man came upon them. Still straddling the cuffed man, Nick drew his gun again. “And who are you?”
“Woah,” the man responded putting his hands up, “I’m a cop.” Still breathing heavily from his pursuit. “Detective Vincetti.”
“Where’s your uniform?”
“I’m undercover” Vincetti said as he put his hands on top of his head to catch his breath. “It’s kinda hard to get the drop on a guy wearing Wayne product placement.” He said nodding to Nick.
Nick glanced down at himself briefly before he resumed his questioning stance towards Vincetti.
Detective Marcus Vincetti scoffed. “Here, my badge is my back pocket. Don’t worry I’ll pull it out nice and slow” he said as he lowered his right hand towards his back pocket, Nick following his move the whole way. “See. Same team.”
Nick relaxed at the site of Vincetti’s badge and holstered his weapon before he got up and dragged the unknown criminal up with him. Marcus took over and grabbed the man moving down the hall as if nothing had happened. Nick was a little perplexed and frustrated as he turned to watch Marcus and the man walk away.
“Thanks” was all Vincetti said as the two continued toward the stairs.
“See. He sounds like a cop.” The woman said pointing to Marcus as he was walking away, having watched the whole scene from inside her apartment.
“Yeah baby, but Harry Potter here went all kung fu on that dude and messed his shit up!” the man said as he stood next to his girlfriend. “I know. I know. He’s like that… that ‘Transporter’ guy. You know the bald dude with the car and the kung fu and shit.” He said waving his arms about. “Haha, Transporter Guy!”
Nick looked back at the couple and stared at the man who had his hand up waiting for Nick to embrace him in some urban mutual handshake. Instead, Nick just looked at the man and shook his head.
The man dropped his hand, defeated, “Aw, that’s cold man. I let you into my house and…”
Nick interrupted him, “Just… just be nice to each other and keep it down.” He then walked away trying to catch up with Detective Vincetti.
# # # # # #
“Ms. Jannecki… Mizz Jannecki!”
Gabby Jannecki, busy doodling in the margins of her notes, looked up to see both her engineering professor and her classmates staring at her. Normally for Gabby this wasn’t uncommon, being one of the only two females in the mechanical engineering department. But this wasn’t the first day of class and the often asexual looking Zarina Hacknapple, an unfortunately named daughter of two hippies, had recently undergone an extreme makeover, care of her roommate, and was sharing some of the unwanted attention Gabby was used to.
“While I’d like to believe you are so enthralled by my lecture you feel the need to write down my every word, I and Mr. Lawrence…” her professor pausing momentarily to kick the desk leg of asleeping student as he made his way over to Gabby’s, “…both know I’m really not that interesting.”
Gabby moved to cover her notebook, but her professor was now standing in front of her.
“Ashamed of your notes Ms. Jannecki? Please, I’m excited to see what interesting things I’ve had to say today.”
Keeping her head down, Gabby moved her arm away from her notebook to reveal her page full of drawings with random engineering notes sprinkled here and there.
“Ah, I see.” He paused momentarily, wanting to admonish her. He knew that she was one of the department’s best students, but still he wanted to make a point. “Well, while I can admire your artwork for its mechanical elements this is not a design oriented class, so please try and hide your disinterest a little better.” He said as he walked back to the front of the class.
The rest of the class remained fairly uneventful for Gabby and the other students. She hated being rude to her professor, but he had agreed himself that he wasn’t that interesting. Plus, it wasn’t him so much as it was her. She enjoyed engineering, but it wasn’t her passion. For Gabby, engineering was her way of repaying her mechanic father who had raised her all by himself. He tried his best to surround her with maternal figures, often asking if she could tag along with the wives and girlfriends of the guys in the shop whenever they went shopping or took their own daughters out, but Gabby loved her father and enjoyed being near him. For Gabby, this meant she spent a lot of her time in the shop with him asking him questions and learning about the cars and machinery he and the others worked on. While she loved making her father smile working on cars and other machinery alongside him, her favorite thing to do was to help the custom design guys with various metal work and fabrication.
Even after discovering her previously dormant girly gene her freshman year of high school, she was still happy to put on one of her father’s old shirts and do a little work around the shop. Often times some of the guys would slip her a little money whenever she helped them out on a project or came up with a really good design, but her father always tried to discourage them, saying she needed to focus on her schoolwork and not do their work for them. Still, they managed to sneak her money here and there, telling her it was for college, saying her father couldn’t argue with that.
And if he’d known, it would’ve been a hard argument to win. He knew she was smart and he believed in her, often telling her she could become an engineer and work at some big company like Wayne Enterprises, and live outside the city like most of the wealthy of Gotham, but he still worried about her. He worried that she would want to become a mechanic or, worse, a custom fabricator helping people to ‘pimp’ their rides. It wasn’t so much that bothered him, as a lot of fabricators made good money-- but he knew in Gotham City most of the clients in that line of work were crooks and thugs, some even Arkham Asylum’s most notorious.
He wanted better for her and he knew if she could get a good education, and get out of Gotham all together, the better off she would be.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to wear this crazy getup,” Detective Jackson Davies complained as he wiggled around in his Wayne Body Armour… or WBAs as they called them. “If I wanted to look and dress like one of those Quick Response Team guys I would’ve joined them years ago.”
Jackson Davies or “Sarge” as he was known around the MCU was an old school detective and Gotham’s new style of law enforcement did not suite him at all. He had a point though. Things had become so bad in Gotham that every cop was required to wear their WBA before going out on duty. Gotham had lost so many cops during the initial onslaught of criminal activity post—Batman; something had to be done. Wayne Enterprises noticed the problem too and stepped in to offer aid. Having dabbled in military contracts in the past, they had developed some cutting edge battle gear and weapons-- but sadly the battle was a bit closer to home.
“And don’t get me started on this thing,” Sarge grumbled as he motioned to his foreign sidearm, an electronic pulse weapon also provided by Wayne Enterprises. While many at Gotham PD grumbled about the change, the idea was to provide a non-lethal weapon as many officers and citizens had taken up the mantra of shoot first, ask questions later, soon after things got really bad. “I feel like a damn space man or something.”
Detective Jacob McGentry just looked out the passenger window as Sarge continued his usual grumbling about all of the Wayne technology that seemed so foreign to him. Having served overseas, McGentry found the gear and weapons eerily comfortable. They were much lighter and allowed much more movement than the body armor he and the guys wore in the desert. Not to mention they provided a lot more protection. McGentry thought about all of the guys that might have made it back had they had this sort of tech over there.
Where was Wayne Enterprises then? McGentry thought. Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal since it wasn’t in Bruce Wayne’s back yard. Hell, rumor around town was that he didn’t even live in Gotham anymore… at least no one had seen him in months, but that was the case for most of Gotham’s elite. Most of them had either moved out or hired their own private armed security to keep them and more importantly, their assets, safe. It was strange that someone so rich, like Wayne, would care enough to even try to help, but…
Jacob McGentry snapped out of his daze.
“Don’t be going all PTSD on me and shit. We’re here so get your game face on and don’t forget your damn space helmet.” Sarge grumbled as he waved his tactical helmet at Jake-- another one of Wayne Enterprise’s contributions; a helmet with on-board camera for video evidence, built in night vision and infrared on the bulletproof face shield.
Sarge had parked just outside the warehouse grounds, so he and Jake would have to make the rest of the journey on foot. Sarge had gotten a tip about an illegal drug operation being run out of a series of warehouses just outside downtown. After watching the place for a few weeks, Sarge figured out that Gil Sandori, the head of the operation, would be there making his weekly inspection. He knew that if they were going to make a bust, they needed to get Sandori and not just the drugs. Even with all of Wayne’s money and new toys, resources were still limited and they needed to be sure before calling in ‘the troops’.
“Remember kid, we need a good visual on Sandori before we call it in.”
Jake hated it when he called him ‘kid’, but it was a force of habit for Sarge. He still saw Jake as a rookie. Jake, in fact had just made detective before he left to go overseas and had only been back a few months before he ran into Commissioner Gordon one day. Gordon had convinced him that he needed some more good officers down at the MCU and, given his military background and previous service as an officer, he would be a huge asset to the department. Jake needed a job and agreed to come back as a detective, despite Gordon’s urging him to join the QRT, Gotham’s version of SWAT.
“I got it old man. Just make sure your bi-focal setting is turned on.”
Sarge parked his Caprice Classic just outside the warehouse grounds. Without a department approved tactical vehicle, they needed to play it safe; plus they needed to catch Sandori on sight with the drugs.
Jake and Sarge made their way through an old rusted gate and on between two of the warehouses where they finally spotted Sandori outside his car talking with his guy in charge. There were at least four others standing watch. Jake had a good vantage point to collect video evidence, but was slightly exposed in the doorway of the adjacent warehouse.
“Sarge,” Jake whispered over his com, “call it in.”
“We need good video kid.”
“I got it, just call it in.”
Sarge was too stubborn though and tried to duck around the dumpster to get a better view, but then his hand slipped on a spot of grime. Sarge slipped and fell forward nudging the dumpster. Alerted by the sudden noise, Sandori and his men jumped, and turning, saw Sarge’s head laying out in the middle of the street like a giant watermelon ready to be shot to hell.
Their cover was blown. Sarge was able to scramble back behind the dumpster narrowly escaping the bullets that slammed into the metal and brick around him.
Sarge was now taking heavy fire, but they still hadn’t seen Jake across the way tucked in the warehouse doorway. Unfortunately, he would have to give up his position as Sandori was about to escape. Setting his sidearm to max output, Jake stepped out and took one quick shot at the front of Sandori’s car, blowing the hood open and completely trashing the engine. Sandori’s men were knocked back, but now knew Jake’s position.
Jake crouched back into the tiny doorway, but knew it wouldn’t serve as good cover for long. He and Sarge were stuck and at best could hope that back up would be there soon.
“Jake! Fall back, I’ll cover you from here!” Sarge yelled out.
“Where the hell am I going to go?!” Jake pointed back behind them.
Jake had a point. They had come in through the fence and most of the area was wide open except for the warehouse buildings. They were now located at a long stretch of warehouses nestled together. There wasn’t much need for cover on the way in, but retreating back out the same way was not an option.
In between fire, Jake popped his head back out just in time to see two of Sandori’s guy’s going into the warehouse. They were coming for him, and Sandori had most likely alerted several more to come around and get Sarge. They need to move, but Sarge was boxed in against the wall and Jake couldn’t wait for Sandori’s men to come barging through the door he was up against. It would be too late then. Blasting the lock, Jake moved inside hoping to catch the two men off guard.
“Jake, where the hell are you… Jake?!” Sarge shouted.
Jake didn’t respond, but turned off his com as he quietly made his way through the warehouse. Sorry Sarge, just trying to save both our asses.
Moving around for cover, Jake could tell that Sandori had not expanded to this warehouse yet. It was filled with rows of old metal shelves, garbage, and other scraps of junk. Looking around he could tell that it had once been a mechanic’s shop, but its most recent occupants were probably homeless. Turning on his infrared, Jake could make out both of Sandori’s men moving toward where he had been outside the warehouse.
Ducking behind the cluttered shelves, Jake was ready to make the jump on Sandori’s men when all of a sudden a strange hiss came from near Jake’s head.
“What was that?!” one of the men said.
Jake ducked. Looking up Jake saw the old radio that had apparently picked up on his headset. He flipped off the power to his headset, but not before making out one of the men nearing the door he had come in while the other was coming his way. He needed to make his move or else Sarge would be boxed in. It was now or never.
Jake took off his headset and flipped it back on before ducking around the shelf and bolting around the corner outside the rows of shelves. Temporarily distracted by the radio noise again, Jake had just a split second as he came around the corner and fired off a shot mid-sprint, knocking the first guy near the door completely off his feet. The man’s automatic weapon fired several rounds into the air as he flew backwards.
Jake dove for cover between two shelves, knocking into a bunch of metal scrap in the middle of the aisle, losing his gun in the process. Fumbling around to find it, he made too much noise revealing his location.
“I got you now, pig!”
All of sudden bullets and metal shards starting whizzing by as Jake scrambled to get up and move out of the aisle where Sandori’s man had begun firing. Jake needed to move quietly now. This guy was trigger happy and Jake needed to use that to his advantage, but he still needed to be quick about it since Sarge was still outside under fire.
“Here piggy, piggy, piggy!” the man taunted.
Jake grabbed a few small items off a nearby shelf as he crouched around the warehouse. He then tossed one of the items over his head across the warehouse. As expected he heard the man yell and fire off several rounds in the direction of the fallen object. Jake then threw another, this time a bit closer, mimicking apparent movement from his supposed previous spot. Again, another display of crazed shooting. Meanwhile, Jake had doubled back around the guy as he moved away from his actual position.
Moving outside the aisle adjacent to Sandori’s guy, Jake was at the end of the row as the guy backed outside the aisle he was in.
“Hey Dumbass,” Jake whispered right before he stepped into guy.
Just as the man turned, Jake grabbed the man’s head and smashed his elbow into the man’s face. He then slammed his knee into the man’s gut before finally slamming his head into the nearby shelf.
Outside, Sarge was still taking heavy fire, but had managed to move the dumpster forward as he returned fire, alternating between his electronic side arm and the .45 he secretly carried. Unfortunately, both were running low on ammo. His .45 on bullets and his ‘ray gun’ as Sarge called it, low on charge. It wasn’t really built for firefights – it was sort of a one and done type thing.
Retrieving his gun, Jake made his way to where Sandori’s men had come into the warehouse. He could still hear the exchange of fire and knew Sarge was okay, but Jake knew he didn’t have time to waste. There’d most likely be more men and he didn’t know if Sandori had gotten away.
Just as Jake made it to the door, he looked out and saw Sandori coming out of the warehouse as another car pulled up to take him out of there. Jake was thankful the guy wasn’t smart enough to go around and pick off Sarge, but he guessed Sandori thought his two guys would’ve gotten the drop on him and Sarge.
“What the hell are guys still doing out here and where the hell are Franky and Vic?! They should’ve taken care of these guys already.” Sandori questioned before he motioned to his new driver. “T-Bone, finish this.”
Just then, T-Bone, a giant black man who looked more like a body guard than a driver stepped out of Sandori’s backup vehicle and made his way to the trunk of Sandori’s first car. He slammed his foot into the trunk, forcing it open. T-Bone then reached in and pulled out a RPG-7 grenade launcher.
Shit! Jake thought.
Jake needed to act quickly. He could knock out T-Bone before he got the RPG ready, but he’d then have to contend with the rest of Sandori’s crew, not to mention Sandori himself would probably get away. At the very least, he could knock out Sandori’s second car and still maybe take a shot at T-Bone.
Jake checked his gun. “Damn!” The charge indicator showed low-- probably damaged from the fall earlier. At best, he’d knock out the radio in Sandori’s car or stun T-Bone just enough to piss him off and shoot the rocket right up Jake’s ass. Come on Jake, think.
Just then, Jake’s foot hit a propane tank near the door. Bending over, he checked it. Half full at least.
Taking one more peek out, Jake knew he had one shot at this.
Opening the tank, he poked his head around the corner and tossed it right between the two vehicles across the way. Before T-Bone, Sandori, or any of his men could react, Jake crouched down and fired one quick shot at the tank. The spark of the blast ignited an explosion that blinded Jake and sent Sandori and his men flying off their feet.
Jake managed to just duck back inside as he felt his whole body rattle from the explosion. Then all of a sudden another explosion a few seconds later at the far side of the building, the blast shaking the building and forcing Jake away from the wall. The RPG. T-Bone must’ve still managed to pull the trigger. Luckily it missed Sarge and himself seeing as Jake caught T-Bone’s attention right before hitting the propane tank.
Jake took a moment to gather himself before venturing out the door. He’d have to go outside the door he was near to check on Sarge. The RPG blast had taken out a chunk of building near the door he first came in.
Walking out, Jake could hear sirens.
Good. Sarge made the call after all. Looking around though, Jake began to regret his relief.
“Well holy shit, kid!” Sarge yelled out as he emerged from behind the bullet ridden dumpster.
Jake looked around worriedly. “It’s not that bad, right?”
“Well it looks like we got Sandori, but also looks like Sawyer’s gonna have your ass.”
“Hey, I kept ‘em busy while you went all ‘Rambo’ looking for ways to blow us all to hell. Where the hell did you run off to anyway?”
Back at the MCU, Jake and Sarge were met with a barrage of hazing and questions from the other officers who had heard what happened over the radio. One person heard they blew up an entire warehouse building. Someone else heard Sarge hid in a dumpster during the whole thing and one rookie thought Sandori blew himself up in his own meth lab. It wasn’t even meth that Sandori was running, but either way, it didn’t sound good for the two officers.
“Davies! McGentry! My office now!” yelled Captain Maggie Sawyer.
Sawyer was a tough as nails, by the book, no bullshit sort of cop-- at least that was the nicest way to describe her; others had their own colorful and less favorable descriptions.
Gordon had promoted her when he needed to spend more time in the overall day-to-day duties of running the police department. Since Batman’s disappearance, he had been under the gun to turn things around for Gotham after all hell broke loose those first few months. Gordon liked Sawyer though. She was a good cop and ran a tight ship. She wasn’t his first choice, but he knew appointing her would win some points in the Attorney General’s office –and he needed all the points he could get.
When Jake and Sarge emerged from Captain Sawyer’s office several minutes later, the unusually quiet precinct resumed its chorus of ruckus. Just like kids, they had all quieted in attempts to listen in on the thrashing the two officers had just received. Unfortunately, they were not rewarded, as Maggie Sawyer knew well enough to compose herself just enough to address Jake and Sarge and not the whole department. This didn’t mean though that they didn’t get an earful. Their faces showed that much when they emerged from her office.
“Thanks for the back up in there Sarge.” Jake stabbed.
“Hey, you’re the one that nearly blew up Sandori and all his men. Not to mention the evidence.”
“What happened to ‘We’?” Jake joked.
“Yeah, WE’re lucky we only got a suspension.”
Jake just shook his head as he walked over to his desk.
“You just had to wake up the dragon didn’t you McGentry?” Officer Josephine MacDonald said to Jake. “And right as I’m startin’ my shift and you’re endin’ yours.”
Jake just shrugged. “Sorry Josie.” Jake sat down at his desk. “At least you know you can’t piss her off any more than I have today.”
“True, but I better find an excuse to get out of here, just in case.”
Jake chuckled as he started to clear things out from his shift. Looking inside his top drawer he saw a large postal envelope addressed to him with no return address. Opening it up, Jake found a small note.
To Be Continued…
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
6 Months Ago…
The chaos had been going on for weeks now and this was another in a series of events that Gordon and the GCPD were just not ready for. MCU headquarters had been cleared out, a perimeter had been set, the bomb squad called in, and all the parts had moved into place, but things were not going to end in any way Gordon could’ve imaged.
“Hennelly, where are your snipers!?” Gordon barked into his walkie.
Silence on Gordon’s end. He looked up at the top of the building, and could make out the shadow of Bane and a handful of Bane’s men. He wasn’t going to blow up the MCU, at least not yet. He had an agenda. Gordon just didn’t know what it was. All Gordon knew was that Bane had been behind one of the biggest breakouts Arkham had ever seen. It was utter anarchy and Gordon and every available officer had worked nonstop to restore order. Even Batman had to have been running on fumes by then, but in all this time no real threats from Bane himself… not until that night.
“Hennelly!” Gordon tried again. Nothing.
On the other side of the confetti of emergency responders, media reporters, and evacuees from nearby buildings, Luietentant Gerard Hennelly, team leader of the Quick Response Team, dealt with his own problems.
“Hawk 3. Hawk 1. Do you copy?!” Hennelly called into his com. “Report your status. That’s an order!”
It was Hennelly’s turn to hear silence and that worried him. The coms worked, he knew that for sure, and his guys should’ve been in place by now, but something was wrong. Gordon barked over the walkie again.
“Jerry I need those snipers in place now!”
Not wanting to leave Gordon hanging any more than he was, Hennelly called back, “Working on it Jim.”
Gordon, irritated at the delay, started to give Hennelly an earful as soon as he got his response, but Hennelly only heard the first few words before Gordon’s voice became a distant rustling of static as he ran up the street to the first vantage point.
The building was evacuated like all the others, but Hennelly knew something wasn’t right. Getting some interference from all the media vans here and there was one thing, but no response from any of his men was a different story. Hennelly focused on his breathing now, his sidearm in hand. He scanned the bottom floor quickly as he entered the building. The building was clear, but Hennelly moved silently over to the stairs still scanning the area, looking out for any surprises. Hennelly knew what floor his man should be on, but he wasn’t sure of who else was in the building with him and if they were still there.
Moving to the emergency stairs, Hennelly quickly and softly made his way up, scanning frequently as he ascended to the top floor. If anyone was still in there, he wanted to get the jump on them and not the other way around.
Back on the ground, outside the MCU, Gordon tried to work out his next move after Hennelly had gone dark. Just as he was about make a call into his ground team, Bane stepped out onto the ledge of the MCU headquarters.
“Gotham City! Look upon the god of chaos.” The hulking South American snickered. “Look how you scurry about like ants, crippled by fear.” Bane chuckled. “Who will save you now?”
Gordon looked up from below and tried his walkie again. “Hennelly, if you or any of your men have a shot, now is the time to take it.”
Damn it, where’s is he? Gordon thought to himself, but his thought was not about Hennelly. There was only one person who could diffuse this situation, but he was nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile, Jerry Hennelly, neared the top step of the floor he needed to be on. He took a moment to let his breath catch up from two flights down, it was then or never. Bane wasn’t going to let his fat head bobble on top of that roof forever and Hennelly needed to move. He looked through the glass window, nothing on either side of the hallway. Hennelly gently turned the metal handle, pulled the door ever so slightly, and peered through the small gap. Nothing. Yanking it open quickly, he bolted through the door way into the hall directly across from the door. Another quick scan and nothing. He waited for the stairwell door to shut. If anyone was up there, they’d investigate the noise. The metal of the door and frame clapped and locked in place. Several seconds later, still no movement. Hennelly remained cautious, but moved around the corner and down the hall with a little more confidence. Skipping the first few offices, he neared the end of the hallway where the line of sight would be best. The door was open.
Moving in, he saw an arm stretched out behind the giant desk. It was Jones and he was dead. His gun was disassembled and scattered across the floor. From the look of him and the rest of the office, Jones never saw it coming.
They knew Jones would be here, on this floor, and in this office. Knowing it was probably the same sight for his other two snipers, Hennelly couldn’t do anything but rattle with anger. Hennelly slammed his fists across the desk sending its contents across the room like shrapnel. Hennelly was at a loss.
Looking out the window he still saw Bane. All of his sense said shooting Bane would just create a panic and cause his thugs to kill the hostages.
The MCU had been quiet that day, so luckily there were few people inside when Bane and his men staged their attack. What Hennelly heard on the radio was that they were hit fast and hard, and that a small explosive went off inside that caused most of officers and staff to evacuate. Either way, cops were dead and Bane was probably going to kill the hostages anyway. Not thinking on it anymore, Hennelly picked up the pieces of Jones’ sniper rifle and put it back together as quickly as possible.
Back on the roof, Bane continued to address the crowd below, gloating in some unforeseen victory.
“Look how you all wait for your savior to come and rescue you. I tell you he does not come… because like your rotten and broken city I, Bane, have also broken the BAT!” Bane shouted as he lifted a lifeless black body above his head.
Gasps and cries filled the crowd and Gordon himself felt his own heart skip a beat, his gaze frozen on the black figure in Bane’s arms. There was an eerie pause as if time stood still, no one sure of what would happen next or what to do.
Hennelly finished assembling the sniper rifle, stabilized it and checked his sights. He shifted his sight vertically and could see the black figured man. It was Batman. Again Hennelly found himself stuttering in his actions, frozen in place much like the crowd below. What did it mean?
But before he could come back to reality and take out Bane, Hennelly saw the black figure fly off the top of the building. He followed it as best he could through the tiny eye of the scope, he watched as the lifeless body fell, bounced off the top of a police van, and down onto the ground.
Another explosion and Hennelly quickly moved his sights back up to the top of the MCU building, but all that was there was a cloud of smoke. Bane was gone.
Back on the ground, Gordon and the circus that formed around him had just been racked by another explosion right after witnessing the shadowy descent of who they could only assume was Batman. Gordon saw that the explosion was localized to only the roof of the building and set his teams in motion, sending fire, police, and medical up into the MCU to check for survivors and possibly Bane himself.
As he continued to conduct his men here and there he grabbed a young EMT.
“Come with me.”
The two rushed over to the side of the building where Batman was. The boy was awestruck, but not from fear, he’d seen much worse in his short career -- no, this was different. It was Batman. He was both mythical and real to the young man, but not like this.
Gordon crouched down and reached inside Batman’s mask for a pulse.
“He’s alive. We need to move him.”
“No!” the boy snapped. “No, we can’t. He needs to be stabilized.”
“Then get a damn stretcher!” Gordon ordered.
The young EMT dropped his kit and sprinted off to his truck, but just as he left, a black SUV barreled through the police barricade and right up to Gordon.
A thin man in a suit and black ski mask stepped out of the car with a gun pointed right at Gordon, but the man’s eyes were more focused on Batman. He didn’t know what, but Gordon knew that the man had encountered some trouble of his own. The man’s suit was torn and bloodied, and in the few steps he took toward Gordon, a fresh limp was evident.
“Put him in the van.” The masked man ordered pushing the gun towards Gordon.
“He needs a stretcher.” Gordon replied, as he noted the man’s mature and articulate speech. It was familiar, but he wasn’t sure from where.
The man just stared at him in silent insistence.
“Where’s that stretcher kid?!” Gordon yelled out.
When the EMT returned, he and Gordon set Batman and had him stabilized while the masked man looked on with a sense of urgency.
“Good, now place him in the back.” The masked man ordered.
Gordon and the EMT complied and lifted the stretcher and carried him to the rear of the SUV, but the EMT stopped just before putting him in. “He needs a hospital.”
“I’ll decide that young man.” He commanded as if correcting a young pupil. “Now hurry before I have to… to shoot you.”
That’s when Gordon knew for sure that this mysterious man was here to help. He always suspected that someone had to be helping Batman, at least a little. Gordon agreed with the boy, but knew best to not push it. The masked man wasn’t going to kill them, but anyone who slammed right into the middle of a chaotic scene like that was determined… and if pushed, he just might shoot them and Gordon knew both he and the EMT were more useful without bullets in them.
“Damn it kid, get him in the back.”
Closing the doors, the masked man pushed them back with his gun as he limped back to the driver’s side. And before Gordon and the EMT could move, the SUV peeled off around the front of the building, moving people out of the way and then disappeared down the street.
“And at no point and time did you feel the need to signal an officer, or give chase to the vehicle and this masked man as they fled an active crime scene?!” Frensler asked with frustrated puzzlement.
“What the hell did you want me to do Frensler?! I had two explosions, several hostages unaccounted for, dead officers, and the potential threat of more bombs going off!” Gordon barked back. “Sorry I didn’t feel that a masked man hauling off Batman was police priority.”
“He dis-rupted…” Frensler gritted his teeth, “Forget it Gordon! You’re done.” He said leaning over toward Gordon. “Your days here playing cowboy with all your other sad excuses for police officers are numbered. Your little Lone Ranger is dead… or gone at the very least, and your career… well, it doesn’t look too much better.”
Frensler looked at his watch. “I’m late for meeting.” He said as he got up to leave.
“More asses to kiss Elliot?”
Frensler looked back and snickered. “If you must know Jim, I’m meeting with Lucius Fox over at Wayne Enterprises.”
Gordon looked at him with feigned intrigue.
“So yeah, you could say I’m doing a little ass kissing, but from what I hear… they have quite a proposal for overhauling all of Gotham City PD.”
“Looking forward to it.” Gordon said dryly.
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Thursday, October 13, 2011
3 Months Ago…
The fluorescent light above Gordon’s head flickered as he sat in the stale, humid interrogation room. He had been on the other side of the table numerous times, but this was his first time to sit in the old rusted steel chair. It needed replacing - not because it was old, but because it was only a matter of time before the rust ate up the floor bolts keeping it locked in place. Resting his elbows on the table, his thumbs tucked under his chin, Gordon fixed his gaze forward, examining the two-way mirror in front of him. He wasn’t so much trying to look through it as he was reviewing all of the many imperfections of the reflective window; its cracks, scratches, smudges, and stains. It was a wonder anyone could actually see anything from the other side.
His train of thought was interrupted when the steel door of the room opened. In came Elliot Frensler. Previously Internal Affairs, he now worked for the Attorney General’s office, but Gordon could tell Frensler was all too happy to be investigating Gotham’s Commissioner. He was a tall, lanky, mouse-faced man far too dressed up for an interrogation, or, as the AG’s office told Gordon twenty minutes ago, an interview.
Elliot Frensler smugly made his way over to the table where Gordon sat, folder in hand. Behind him, he dragged an old worn desk chair, whose wheels screeched along the concrete floor in rhythm with the clack of his high end dress shoes.
“James Gordon, how’ve you been?” smiling like a used car salesman.
“It’s Jim - or Commissioner Gordon.” Gordon responded leaning back off the table.
“Okay Jim,” Frensler said as he sat across from Gordon. The grin he entered with slowly faded as he began to peruse the file he held. “As I’m sure you know by now, the AG’s office has sent me here to… discuss the events from three months ago involving the wanted criminal known as Bane and Gotham’s infamous vigilante, Batman.”
“Whattaya wanna know Frensler?” Gordon responded tiredly staring at Frensler.
Frensler glanced at the file, and back to Gordon. “Jim, I read your report and frankly… well, it leaves me with more questions than answers.”
Gordon just looked at him. The look on Frensler’s face showed that he was regretting his cheap tactic of putting Gordon in the room. He was too seasoned a cop to be intimidated by being on the other side of an interrogation table. The room itself wasn’t horrible, but the rest of the environment that was unnerving. The air was stale and humid and the smell became overwhelming after a while, unmasked by industrial cleaner.
Gordon stared at Frensler, waiting. “Well Frensler, you gonna ask your questions or just sit there like you just brought your cousin to Prom? I gotta city going to hell out there and I don’t have time…”
Frensler was quickly losing his calm. The lights continued their sporadic flicker as Frensler tried his best to compose himself.
“The Attorney General’s office is not too happy about how things went down three months ago and personally, I think you and this whole department need to go. In fact, if it were up to me, I’d keep the military here a little longer and have you and that joke of a Major Crimes Unit working security at Arkham. Unfortunately, the mayor thinks it’s best that the military start pulling out so that Gotham PD can start taking responsibility and enacting some control over this city.”
“I still didn’t hear a question in there.” Gordon replied.
Frensler was becoming unnerved. “Now that your pet vigilante is gone, the AG’s office wants to know if you’re still fit to be Commissioner and whether or not your Major Crimes Unit is worth the taxpayer’s money?”
“What does Batman have to do with any of this?”
Frensler sat back in his chair, interlocking his fingers, trying to keep control and to ignore the terrible smell. “I don’t know if you know this or not, but we’ve all generally looked the other way concerning some of the oversights and short-comings of this department. Even considering my distaste for him, I know that Batman did most of your heavy lifting while you and the whole Gotham police department watched from the sidelines… despite a standing order to bring him in. What I want to know is whether or not you and that joke of a police force, the MCU, can actually get the job done? Or is it a requirement to dress up like a freak to catch a bunch of freaks?”
“My officers are some of the best and hardest working out there, but I won’t deny that Batman has done this city a lot of good and Gotham owes him for the countless…”
Slamming his palms down on the table, “HE’S A VIGILANTE GORDON and you and this whole city hid behind him! Now that he’s dead, those days are over. My office and Gotham want to see real results from REAL officers. If one man dressed like a bat can do it, then it shouldn’t be a problem for your so-called ‘hardworking’ officers. Gotham’s in your hands now Commissioner, are you up to the task?”
“He’s not dead.” Gordon responded, staring down at the table, replaying a memory in his head.
Looking over Gordon’s change in demeanor, Frensler sensed he was finally getting at what he wanted. “So tell me Jim, what really happened that night?”
to be continued...
Please feel free to comment and provide any constructive feedback. This series is a fun retreat from my normal original writing, but serves as a fun way to practice the craft of writing while sharing something (hopefully fun) with you, the reader.
Series concept and writing disclaimer found here.