Batman: A New World

Chapter 15: Batman is Born !

Batman Is Born

by Brian Mark

- Well, now, thank you so much for applying for this position, Mr ...

- Fox, Mr. Wayne, ... Lucius Fox.

- Well, Mr. Fox, I guess you are probably wondering, why I am the only one conducting this interview today, rather than a panel.

- The thought had crossed my mind.

- Quite, well, .. its like this .. ( hesitates ) ... well let's put it another way ...

- Excuse me, Mr. Wayne, if you don' t mind me interrupting, but I have always found it so much more helpful, if a person, no matter who he is, or what he does, just comes straight out and says what he means ! ... As you can see from my portfolio, I am amply qualified for the post of Head Of Technical Innovations as advertised.

- Quite, quite. .. Well, Mr. Fox, there is absolutely no doubt, that you are, in fact, the very man that we , .. I mean I .. am looking for, at Wayne Enterprises. Your qualifications as a scientist, together with your aspirations and, indeed, achievements as an innovator, make you absolutely ideal for this position. And certainly, your previous employers and the Government that has contracts with them, could not possibly be wrong, in speaking so incredibly highly about your work. You see, .. ( hesitates again ) this is a personal appointment of mine, ... and I need to feel, that, whoever I appoint to this position is someone I can trust implicitly, especially as the job involves matters of a somewhat sensitive nature.

- Sensitive, ?

- Yes, sensitive. .. You see, ... OK, looking at your portfolio, I can't help but noticing that you were involved in the manufacture of weapons.

- Ah, but, if you look more closely, you will notice that most of my research was centred around defensive technology, to help protect our soldiers and the civilians they, too, would be called upon to protect.

- Yes, exactly Mr Fox, exactly.

- If the fact that I was involved in weapons manufacturing is a problem for you, Mr. Wayne, let me assure you, it was also a big problem for me. If, reading between the lines of what you, so feebly, have been trying to say, you are looking for someone you can absolutely confide in, let me begin by confiding absolutely in you.

This makes Bruce Wayne sit up and take notice.

- By all means, .. by all means.

- You see, ... in a way, ... I have a criminal record. .. Now I know what you are thinking. But I assure you I was totally innocent of all charges ... charges that is, if any had been officially brought against me.

- Now it's your turn to sound a little feeble !

- Touchee, Touchee ! ... Look there is a possible drugs indictment, that could be made against me, that could ruin my career in the civilian world of Technology. For some reason, I am yet to get to the bottom of, all charges were dropped, when I signed up for Weaponstech, and I have been in the clearever since ! I assure you, I have never ever taken illegal substances, and, for that matter, I am also a 100%, dyed in the wool pacifist !

- Well then, Lucius, if I can call you Lucius, it looks like you have a new job ! Welcome to Wayne Enterprises ! That is precisely the sort of man I am looking for.

- Why, thank you, Mr Wayne, thank you, ... But what about these matters of a more sensitive nature, that you would wish me to deal with ?

- All in good time, Lucius, all in good time. I can assure you that it involves nothing of an underhand nature, however.

And so began what was to become a legendary relationship between Bruce Wayne and his Head of Technology at Wayne Enterprises !

- Well, Alfred, it looks as if we have the perfect man for the task at Wayne Enterprises ! The perfect man for the job.

- If I may be so bold, Sir, .. may I ask what task, and, for that matter, ... what job ?

- Alfred, you know what constantly frustrated me at Search and Rescue. There was the crime, but there wasn' t the opportunity to help people the way I know that I can help them. I need a man who can create the technology I need to be able ro rescue the unrescuable, and to protect me from the odd bad guy, who gets in my way. Lucius Fox is his name, Alfred, Lucius Fox.

- Forgive me for saying so, Master Bruce, but do you not think the public are going to think it rather strange, if they see a billionaire businessman effecting rescues all around the city ? Are they not more likely to press for your immediate confinement in the Asylum, Sir ?

- I've already thought of that, Alfred, I've already thought of that.

- Then, I am all ears, Sir, all ears.

- A uniform Alfred, .. no a disguise, ... a uniform and a disguise. A way of instilling fear in the bad guy, yet a sense of hope in the folk I have to rescue. A fantastic figure, someone who can perform death-defying feats, ... while using my enemy's mind against him. You taught me that. ... No, I tell a lie. .. My Father taught me that.

- ( Alfred's mind goes back all those years to when he first addressed Thomas Wayne and assembled company ! ) Ah yes, Master Bruce. If I may say so, Sir, there is nothing like making your enemy so afraid, that his fear leaves him defeated already, even before he sees you. I learned that in Her Majesty' s Armed Forces Sir.

- I remember you served in the Army, Alfred, ... but, where on earth did you learn all those skills you've been teaching me, .. ( joking )... the S.A.S. ?

Alfred gives no reply.

- O you are kidding me. .. You have got to be kidding me !

- I assure you, Master Bruce, there is absolutely no 'kidding' involved.

- Well, would you believe it ? I must have the best Bodyguard in the whole country !

- If you forgive me, Sir, I would wish to beg to differ there.

- Well, the most dangerous Butler then !

- ( Almost laughing ) I wouldn' t wish to beg to differ there.

- Am I right, Alfred, but don' t you guys normally have a particular specialist field of expertise ? What was yours ?

- Secure Communications and Surveillance, Master Bruce.

- But, why are you a Butler, and here of all places, and not a Security Adviser somewhere ? The pay would be much better !

- With due respect, Sir, it would most definitely not. You see, your Father, out of whose estate I receive payment, made sure that my service would be adequately remunerated in kind, Sir, ... the rare paintings on the walls ... and the rare flowers in the garden for instance, .. and the beautiful antiques acquired over the last twenty years.

- You mean to say, that most of the paintings, plants and antiques here in Wayne Manor are yours ?

- ( Again almost laughing ) I'm afraid so, Sir.

- I always wondered why I had nothing to do with your salary, Alfred. Now I know. But you are such a brilliant Butler. You certainly act the part brilliantly.

- Not at all, Master Bruce. You see, and I think I speak for all my old colleagues, we always saw ourselves, above all, as Public Servants. When I joined the Regiment, Sir, it was at a time when aircraft hijackings were the norm, and people were being taken hostage, requiring our services. So the role of a Butler is not that far removed from my previous vocation. With regards acting the part, Sir, it was also our experience, that it was always best to stay permanently in character, as it were, when undercover. One' s cover is so easily compromised otherwise. In my experience, it pays, and in my case, quite literally, to be something that I am not. After all, that is precisely, all too often, the way my adversary mightl come at me. .. You were saying, Master Bruce, ... something about a disguise.

- ( Remembering back to his boyhood and the incidents in his Bat Room ) Why yes, Alfred, absolutely. Its like what you said, ... about leaving the bad guy afraid, even before he sees you. That made me think ... Look come with me, and I'll show you ! ( They descend to the Security Cellar ) Remember this place, Alfred.

- I do indeed, Sir, for it is I who designed it.

- Really, Alfred ? ... I didn' t know that. .. Anyway, remember my little hobby when I was a boy.

- O how could I ever forget, Sir.

- When I first encountered bats down here, I was scared to bits. Scared to bits. And what is more, even the most macho friends, I showed them to, were scared in the same way.

- I must confess, Sir, if I am being totally honest, so was I at times, so was I !

- My point exactly, Alfred. My point exactly...What if that were to become the nature of my disguise, ... a giant bat, ... ( pausing as he thinks ) No, ... a bat man ! ... A guy, who seems to be half bat and half man. ... Yes that' s it, Alfred, ... a perfect picture of agility, active mainly at night, and an object of fear and mystery ! ... A bat man, ... Battman, ... that's it, that's who I'll be, Alfred, ... Batman !

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