“GCPD, has once again found another gang tied up and served to them. They referred themselves as the Wet Bandits, active in human- and drug trafficking. Witnesses claim it was once again ‘A man looking like a bat’ who did GCPD’s job for them. It has been third gang these six months that this Man-Bat or Bat-Man interfered with and seized their scandalous activities here in Gotham City. I wonder what we see next time. Back to you Scott.”
With the press of a button the TV screen snapped to black. Taking all light and that damned annoying voice of the reporter with it. It made her head ache.
Evelyn pinched the bridge of her nose and laid down the remote on the coffee table in front of her, finding a bare spot amidst all the files and notes scattered across the surface. Some were blurry pictures, others hastily scrabbled, but all were about this ‘Batman’ as the public wanted to call this man. This vigilante.
He never seemed to kill, only to maim. By the time GCPD would come along or anyone else get a good look of him he would’ve already disappeared in to thin air as it were. But there was one pattern that never ever seemed to change; he was only active at night.
Evelyn rose from her couch, stretching and was in a few paces across the room of her tiny apartment in downtown Gotham and stared out the window. The skies already turned pink and gold, signaling the Sun’s downfall into the horizon.
Absentmindedly she plucked something from the back pocket of her dark jeans and let her green eyes fall down do it. It was playing card size, white with a black skull depicted on it. On the back was a simple address and time. She had found it shoved underneath her front door yesterday. Evelyn still had to decide which was more unnerving; the owner of who this card belonged to, or that he apparently knew where she lived.
Huffing to herself she threw the card on the table while passing by. She had to get ready.
Evelyn stood in an empty warehouse, just outside one of the many circles of light that illuminated the echoing room. She had her rifle in hand, pistols at her hips and calculated the risk what kind of damage a grenade would do in this environment. Not that she would do it out of the blue, but it the situation called for it, it was nice to know what to expect.
In total there were nine of them. None of them really talked, some conversed albeit platonic but most of them, like her, just stood there. Waiting for.. something to happen. What, no one seemed to know.
Evelyn swallowed. The strange brew of tension and anxiety reared up its head in her gut. Not much, but enough that she knew that it was there. She guessed something to do with the anticipation and the people that accompanied her, and forced her shoulders to ease a bit and parted her legs just a bit, easing down her gravity. The ceramic armor silently following her body.
From behind her reflective black visor she examined each and every person in her company. A few stood out mainly the large guy with the wrestler mask, a heavily armed one in armor that almost matched her own except the colors, but the one that was truly terrifying to behold was a seemingly human-crocodile hybrid.
‘Stay away from that one Ev,’ she had reminded herself.
There were also two women, one with a blond pixie cut and strange eyes, who paced around grunting and sighing in boredom. The other with jet black hair, poise straight and hands clasped behind her back, who seemed just an inch shorter than Evelyn. Who stood at 5’8.
Her CPU quickly found and downloaded everyone their dossiers, bringing them up on her visor. Though she scanned through them, for the sake of knowing, her mind remained sharp. The brute that she identified as Bane, grunted in frustration.
“How long do we have to wait? I am tired of this!”
“Soon Bane,” Deathstroke almost soothed. His baritone voice was chilling, sending shivers down Evelyn’s spine. “Patience is a virtue.”
“My patience is wearing thin,” Copperhead hissed between her teeth. A Spanish accent clearly laced in her words.
Before any bickering could start, everyone silenced at another set of footsteps that did not belong to one of their own. It was hasty, hurried and plump man with a ski mask over his head entered the circle of light, pushing a cart ahead of him. On the cart there were envelopes with a black skull depicted on them and their code names. The moment the cart was apparently where it should be, the man turned and hurried away. Almost running.
Evelyn took the one with her code name on it; Dutch. She could not help but smirk a bit. It was not because she was actually Dutch, but more her manners. It was never too much, but always enough, direct and clean. The moment you were her target, you knew it.
She scanned the envelop with avail; there were no fingerprints on it whatsoever, and opened it. It contained a letter, vague pictures and documents containing information about one person. Or legend if you wanted to look at it that way.
‘You have been contracted by Black Mask to kill the Batman. First one to succeed receives 50 million dollars. Good luck.’
Evelyn shook her head, clearing out the memories of yesterday night. The moment everyone had read their letter the tension had spiked, but she managed to get out. Sadly everyone survived. She had to do something about her grenades, apparently they were not strong enough.
“Police and emergency services are urging are urging Gotham residents to stay of the roads and remain in their homes due to a severe winter storm-” Evelyn shut off the news transmission with a tap on her gauntlet interface.
Wind blew around her and the dark sky above her almost seem to darken even more, though it was not possible. It did not obscure her vision, thank the heavens for military grade night vision. Here and there were snowflakes, but as time progressed the flocks thickened.
“I wonder what the situation is like,” someone behind her muttered.
“I don’t want to know, I just hope I can go back to Sarah after this,” another said. Sounding uneasy.
There was the sound of someone tapping on another’s Kevlar armored shoulder. “You will go back to your wife Scott, I’m sure of it.”
“We’ll be quick and clean. Contain the prisoners, save civilians,” a third one spoke. Judging by his voice and cool demeanor he was more experienced. “Only kill if you have to. You listening Dutch?”
By the mention of her codename Evelyn turned and shot him a look over her shoulder. Officer Lawson stared at her, his grey eyes stern and his brows furrowed.
“I’m always listening, Lawson,” she murmured.
The blue LED lights that had lit up on the respirator, died when she stopped talking. It was high tech; filtering Gotham’s polluted air into almost pure oxygen. It could process almost all gasses, making her unsusceptible. The one thing it could not take away was the metallic edge her voice took when she spoke. But she liked it; it was kind of badass. The respirator was fused with her black visor, which extended into a heavy plated helmet shielding her entire head. At the neck there were ceramic plates layered upon one another to allow movement.
Lawson was a senior, reaching almost 50 but still fit enough to be part of Gotham’s Quick Response Team, also known as QRT. He held the rookies in line, fulfilling a mentor position most of his time at the sideline. Except when something major happened.. then his expertise on the ground provided the reassurance and guidance other officers needed. She did not bother to get to know by on first name basis. She didn’t even know his first name.
Evelyn did not waist any more of her precious attention to the banter of her colleagues. In the distance she could see the lights of Blackgate prison. It was faint, but as she zoomed in she could see the outlines of the buildings that grew sharper after each second and passing mile. A smirk tucked at the corners of her lips when the police radio in her CPU cracked to live. The blades of the helicopter above their heads failing to drown out the sound.
“All available units dispatch to Blackgate Prison. I repeat, all available units dispatch to Blackgate Prison. Commissioner Loeb is being held captive. I repeat, Commissioner Loeb is 701.”
Her index finger briefly brushed the trigger of her rifle, itching.
Batman would show up. She just knew it.
Those bastards were everywhere.
The crazies ran loose, thugs of Black Mask killing everything for sport. It was chaos.
GCPD and the remaining prison guards had their hands full on trying to contain the prisoners who run amok. Some were sane enough to stay in their cells and wait.. hope that all the slaughter and brutalities ended.
With a grunt Evelyn butted a man unconscious with the hard end of her rifle. She snarled from beneath her visor, they were getting nowhere.
“Captain Gordon,” Lawson called out and jogged past her to the man. He had brown hair with streaks of grey and blue eyes that regarded him coolly.
“Officer Lawson,” Gordon replied. He first nodded to his colleague, then Evelyn and the rookies behind her, acknowledging their presence.
“Situation’s gone critical, Captain. Black Mask is taking commissioner Loeb to the execution chamber. He is releasing Julian Gregory Day.”
“What? How do you know this?”
Lawson shot her a look from behind his shoulder. Evelyn took a step forward and cocked her head at Gordon. Her rifle was at ease, but her stance was tense. Ready.
“I managed to eavesdrop on some of the thugs before taking them out,” she said. It was a half-truth, because she also managed to tap into their communications.
Batman was also here.
“Whatever they are planning, I can reach the chamber if you can secure the prisoners I leave. I’m fast.”
Gordon nodded. “Good plan, Lawson you go with her.”
Evelyn glared at him, though he could not see it. “I am faster on my own.”
Gordon gave her an authoritative glare back. “Lawson is going with you. He is experienced and two are better than one.”
‘He’s in charge now Ev, listen.’
“Fine,” she finalized his orders. “Let’s move,” Evelyn directed to Lawson. Who nodded and was at her heels in an instant as she broke into a fast jog.
For a moment they encountered no one, just slumped thugs of Black Mask and the occasional prisoner. All unconscious. They entered some kind of atrium that hosted multiple levels of prisoners. She could hear them yelling above here. Whether it was directed to them, each other or just because she did not know nor care.
“Who did this?” Lawson breathed heavily and checked a man’s pulse who was tied up in an uncomfortable position.
After confirming the man was still alive he walked up to her, his grey eyes set worried and look around. There were marks of bullets scraping the thick concrete walls of the prison, but the thugs held no guns. They were all dumped on a gigantic pile, away from them.
“I can only think about one person,” Evelyn announced. Just feeling faintly sweaty instead of exhausted like Lawson. His age seemed to have caught up with him.
“The Batman?” He inquired as she punched a four-digit code that opened the security door in front of them. She merely shrugged.
“To all Deathrow inmates; please remain calm and stay in your cells. If anyone has further information about Black Mask and his whereabouts come forward and you will be rewarded.”
“Guess Gordon is desperate,” she muttered under her breath.
“Or taking measures,” Lawson snapped and glared at her. Evelyn ignored his hostile demeanor, she had other things to think of.
Finally there were voices and they both huddled against a closed door. Her auditory sensors picked up and amplified to sound to a normal volume, whereas Lawson only heard murmurs from behind the thick and enforced heavy steel door.
“What are they talking about-” he stopped talking when Evelyn raised her finger.
“All I ever wanted is to rip that switch!” An unknown voice said with faint amusement. “But it’s Christmas Eve and he’s the calendar man. Bring him in!”
There was a lot of stumbling, stammering and some damn heavy footfalls. Something was thrown on the ground, shrieking.
Evelyn pressed on something at the side of her visor and instantly her vision reddened. She gaze at the door, a dozen presences behind it lit up like a Christmas tree.
“What’s all this about, Sionis?” She heard Loeb stammer, the smaller figure. A growl was in response and something enormous hauled up the little man. His claws tightly on his shoulder.
‘Killer Croc. The bastard. He hopes to get Batman this way to.’
“Haven’t I always come through for you?”
The man, who she could now identify as her contractor Black Mask, chuckled. But it was joyless.
“You may have once Gillian, but things have changed. It is time to start with a clean slate, and you are not on it.”
His men howled and laughed, almost cheering Loeb on as he was hauled towards the gas chamber that was readied for the serial killer. This was timed, convenient. Someone knew that Julian Day was going to be gassed and Black Mask had taken his shot.
“They are putting him in the gas chamber,” she revealed to Lawson, informing him of the situation, who stared at her in shock.
“Why are we sitting here for then?” He hissed fervently. “We have to save him.”
“No, we are not,” Evelyn coldly said. She ignored the laughter and the dying screams of the commissioner, feeling no sympathy for the man.
“He is our commissioner!” Lawson spat. “You can take them out, swift and clean. I know you can.” Evelyn rose on her feet, stance straight and tense. Lawson immediately followed her action. She suddenly turned on her heels and slammed him down on the ground with the butt of her rifle. Lawson gasped and instantly reached for his head. Blood coated his fingers.
“I won’t waste my bullets on those scum, and the commissioner can rot for all I care. His depths to Black Mask are paid.”
“W-what, what are you talking about?”
Lawson’s grey eyes grew wide and he scurried back until he hit the wall when the armored door opened with a hiss and a few metallic clicks here and there. Evelyn casted Black Mask just a glance, who seemed unsurprised with her presence.
“I wondered when you showed up, Dutch.”
Evelyn could not help but to smile. Her amusement briefly hinted in her metallic sounding voice. “You think I would not pass up this opportunity, did you?” She shot Killer Croc a glare who just grinned.
“You are one of us! What are you doing?” Lawson shrieked. His usually stern, calm grey eyes now shimmering with panic and drawing attention to himself. Evelyn pulled out a pistol and aimed it between his eyes.
“My job-” and pulled the trigger.
Fear was always a big motivator for her strength. Fear makes you faster, stronger and your senses sharper. Fear is like a drug, always present and never leaving you alone. It could come up like a flame or be extinguished like one.
Evelyn felt the small flicker of fear in her every time she donned her Kevlar bodysuit and her ceramic armor. Every time she felt its tendrils curl around her very essence. Not very strong or powerful, but the anxiety was always there beforehand. When she fought, it was gone, but it could always snap back into an instant.
The sound of Black Mask’s helicopter grew more distant after each passing second. From the other end of the door there was a fight brewing between that notorious Batman and Killer Croc. Her tongue tasted the sweat from her upper lip in anxiety. She felt her heart rate increase and adrenaline flooding her veins. It heightened her senses.
“I came as fast as I could. What’s going on?” James Gordon breathed hard as he came at her running, a group of QRT following him. “Lawson’s-”
“Dead, yeah I know,” she finished and sighed, feigning the sound of defeat in her voice. “They got to him.” There was a slight, comforting pat on her shoulder to reassure her.
Lawson’s body had slumped down instantly, his glassy eyes wide-open of fear and something akin to surprise. Blood ran down from the hole in the center of his forehead down over his face, leaking into his eyes like tears. The wall behind him was sprayed red with chunks of brain matter here and there. As gravity finally got a hold of him, his head fell forward, chin to chest, and revealed a gaping hole.
Evelyn turned to Black Mask who almost seemed to appreciate her work.
“I figure you are not very loyal to the GCPD, I take it?”
“Depends how your definition of loyalty is, Black Mask. Either way it has to look like a fight broke out..” She did not continue.
His eyes glinted at her from underneath the skull-like mask that was in sharp contrast to his white striped suit. Gloved hands grasped the hem of his suit and he straightened his back, she could almost feel the smile radiating off of him. He did not care for his thugs; they were merely tools to him.
“Do what you must.”
Without another thought or word spent Evelyn aimed her pistol to several of his henchmen, and pulled the trigger three more times.
“Killer Croc is fighting someone,” she informed him. “I figured waiting for back-up was the most sensible thing to do.” Gordon nodded in agreement, he held up his fist in silence to the rest of the squad behind them. They waited for just the right moment.
The crash of something hard against the ground was there cue and with a strong kick the door to the roof flew open. With her rifle poised she began to shoot, faking to aim at Killer Croc who barely dodged her bullets and managed a few hits on Batman, the regular bullets skipped right off his suit, leaving barely a scratch.
“Hold your fire! I SAID HOLD YOUR FIRE,” Gordon shouted.
Clenching her jaw in frustration she released her trigger finger but kept her rifle aimed at the so-called Batman. It was one thing to see him on pictures, or hear about him, but another to actually see him with her very one eyes. Quickly she initiated her CPU to scan whatever it could pick up. Type of body armor, weapons, communications. He truly looked like a bat. He was tall, at least 6’2, broad, dark and screaming danger at her. Every part of him was covering in armor, except the lower portion of his face that was a strong set of jaws.
Evelyn felt that familiar tendril of fear in her, stirring around in her gut and she let it. She merely spared Killer Croc a glance behind him, who was battered and bloodied by Batman’s onslaught and maybe even a few of her bullets, but she did not care about him. Her prize was right in front of her in her crosshairs. She only needed to pull the trigger.
“Permission to fire, captain,” she whispered for only him to hear. Her frustration and anger of being bound by the law only grew more when he shook his head wordlessly before focusing his attention back to the vigilante.
“Hold it right there,” Gordon almost growled, coming down from his high that his Batman figure actually existed. “I’m taking you in.”
The Dark Knight regarded them fearless, his shadow impossibly long in the bright spotlights above them, making him more unworldly than he already was as he pressed something on his gauntlet and stepped back to the edge of the building where the gate was ripped clean off.
“Not tonight,” and he jumped.
Before she could think that he had fallen down to his death on the cliffs the roaring of a jet was heard above the howling wind. It rose up from where he jumped. Gorgeous, black and definitely military grade.
She watched it fly away, her bounty of 50 million dollars with it. Anger brew and curled around inside of her as Gordon barked around orders, the QRT team listening to his beck and call and secured Killer Croc. Albeit with some difficulty due to his size and weight.
Snow melted slowly on her ceramic armor. Her CPU brought up some information it had managed to scan up on her visor; except that he was also wearing some sort of enhanced ceramic armor, what kind she was not aware of, its scans were surprisingly fruitless. It added more to her frustration.
‘He must have something on him that disrupts my scans,’ she fervently thought and marched away.
Despite her anger and failed attempt, she now finally got a taste of him and that spiked up her determination. He wasn’t a senseless lawyer or bureaucrat that needed to die. He was an actual challenge that she had to work for.
It only made her more driven.