Batman: A New World

Chapter 4 Two-Faced!

Two Faced !

By the time Harvey Dent had resigned his Commission, and returned to Gotham, he had changed. Obviously, he was older, so much more mature, and now carried with him all the respect that was due to him, following a glittering military career. Alright, he had been jealous of the greater success his erstwhile best friend had known, but that, in itself, doesn't explain the Fall from Grace that would define the rest of his life.

For Major Harvey Dent had become disillusioned, yes, even cynical. Whereas Tom Wayne's thoughts, during their forays into foreign fields, had been dominated by the plight of refugees and the many thousands of civilians caught up in the tragedy of human conflict, Dent had been struck, above all, by the causes his own Government had asked him to espouse, .. asked ? No, ordered !

Whereas social consciousness had always played a part in the minds of those who led the Wayne's Financial Empire, and this he had always somehow overlooked, something fundamental had been compromised in Harvey's hitherto socially conscious psyche, something so fundamental as to change the direction of his life for ever, his Moral Code.

They say, 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.' Well that makes for some strange bedfellows ! On occasions, he would have to collaborate with drug dealers, corrupt officials and right wing oppressors, in the service of faceless officials at the highest levels of Government, who never appeared on TV, but who pulled all the strings, nonetheless, and were instrumental in the ordering of Delta's most sensitive operations. What hold did they have over Presidents, Senators and Congressmen ? What kind of hold could they possibly have ? This question intrigued Dent. If that was were true power and influence lay, then that life was for him, to be the one who pulled the strings !

To have become a faceless power broker at the heart of Government must have meant becoming an arch manipulator, and so must he. To have a hold on others in positions of power must mean learning their most politically embarrassing secrets, and so must he. But all the bribery and corruption involved, and Dent of course had been forced, he might well argue, to follow that path while in Special Forces, all of that must have meant acquiring wealth of the order of the Waynes, and so must he !

He would begin by using the very expertise that his Government had taught him, Special Forces Training. The new emphasis on S.W.A.T. Teams - that was his way in ! Law and Order, how perfect ! The perfect screen for covert operations of the corrupt kind !

He would advocate the formation of highly trained armed response teams, Special Weapons And Tactics, to spearhead the fight against crime in the City with the highest levels of gun crime in the whole country !

He would promise to turn the whole sordid reputation of Gotham around, attracting new businesses and industry to the City, and the increased wealth it so badly needed.

He would also use two of the most corrupt senior police officers in the City to form the recruitment panel of the new force, so as to gain total control over the moral calibre of the men who would serve under his new command ! There had to be some genuine teams, properly selected, but each of these had to be commanded by one of Harvey's corrupt band.

He would also use his not inconsiderable savings from his life in the military, to found his own private security company, ' Dentsec ', providing bodyguards to the rich and famous of Gotham, as well as the security systems for their vast mansions and manors ! What a perfect way to learn all about their secret lives and sensitive activities, that must never be disclosed. What a way to be in the perfect position to gain access to safes and the sensitive information they might contain, not to mention the money and valuables. Then there were the priceless art collections, that could be stolen, then ransomed back to their owners, in return for certain favours, or sold on to provide Dent with more in the way of funds, with which to bribe and corrupt so many around him.

He would need, in this regard, to provide some added incentive for the City's wealthiest to seek his services. And so, the very first operation assigned to his very first S.W.A.T Team ( later to form his most gifted and trusted Team Six ) was to fire bomb ten of the lesser rich magnates of the City ! The infamous Incendiary Attacks, that Dent himself would suddenly, somehow manage to bring to an end, with a shootout, involving stooges recruited for the purpose and shot dead while perpetrating their campaign against the wealthy !

It was cynical, but then so was Harvey Dent ! Dentsec secured the security contracts for every multimillionaire's home in Gotham ! With the exception of two. The Waynes already had their very own security experts, Delta Force and S.A.S. trained ! And Davis Kyle's. Well he had his own unique security system and bodyguards,... of the wild animal variety as we shall see !

Dent never revealed his nefarious character to any of his victims. He always used a variety of intermediaries, either his subordinates or criminal elements useful to him, who would enjoy immunity from the attention of his S.W.A.T. Teams, until they threatened to break ranks, that is. That way, he was able to maintain the veneer of respectability as a champion of Law and Order and a former Major in the American Military who had retired with distinction ! It also enabled him to maintain his friendship, however fleetingly, with Tom Wayne. The two would tend to spend most time together sharing a table at Public functions and Wayne's Charity Gala events.

He had still been fairly close to Tom, of a fashion, until Bruce had reached the age of seven or so. He would often be a guest at Wayne Manor, often inviting himself. You see, he had always held a candle for Martha, Tom 's wife. He had been attracted to her first, head over heals, in fact, in High School, and had become rather jealous of Tom, when Martha fell for his best friend instead. He saw in the young Bruce, not only the endearing little boy that he was, but the Son that Martha and he might have shared, had relationships materialised differently. To Bruce, he was Uncle Harvey. To Martha, he was a close family friend, nothing more. In fact, Dent would never marry, or even have a regular relationship with anyone. This was due in part to the feelings he still had for Martha, but, much more, to the fact, that he could never hope to keep his secret activities secret from a woman !

But the frequency of contact wavered, once he had fully turned to the Dark Side.

Yet, like in some Shakespearian Play, it seemed that things were destined to take the most tragic course. It began with an assassination attempt on Dent's life. He and Tom had been leaving a public event together, when a disaffected member of one of his teams tried to kill him.

- I'll kill you, you double-crossing Son of a ...

But before he was able to complete his expletive, a senior member of Dent's elite Team 6 had shot him dead,... clinically, ...two shots,... tap tap, the way that Tom and Harvey had learned from ' Mac,' all those years before.

- Who was he, Tom asked, and why did he say what he did, Harvey ?

- I don't know, Tom, I think he was having real problems at home, and had been passed over for promotion.

But Tom 's intuition told him, that something just didn't quite add up. He didn't think that the assailant had to be killed. Any Team member trained to the standards of a Delta Team could easily have disarmed the would-be assassin. Then, there was something about the Officer who fired the shots. The man gave off the wrong vibes for someone entrusted with heavy automatic weapons.

Tom began to research the background of assailant and Officer alike, and didn't like what he saw. One night, in his private study in Wayne Manor...

- My God ! How could Harvey have missed all that ? That has got to be too much of a coincidence, surely !

Both had been suspected of coming from the same armed criminal gang some years before, and couldn't possibly have passed through the thorough screening process Dent and his Committee Members were obliged to follow.

It came to Dent's attention that a Mr. Tom Wayne had been accessing such sensitive information. His heart sank. He would have to arrange yet another killing. This time it would be that of his former best friend and Commanding Officer...and yet, just maybe this might open the way for him to find true happiness with Martha ! Maybe he might even 'turn over a new leaf', and live an honest life with the only woman he ever truly loved !

And so it was, that the night of that big Charity Gala Performance, under the guise of a mugging, the threat to Dent would be extinguished by the very Officer who had dispatched Dent's disaffected assailant. But tragedy had struck indeed. Cruel enough the burden of near fratricidal guilt would have been, but Martha wasn't meant to be there. Dent had arrived late for the Gala, too late to try and separate Tom from his wife on some pretext. He rushed toward the exit leading to the alley way, where the dirty deed was to be done, only to be horrified by what he was to witness. Martha wasn't meant to be there. Martha wasn't meant to be by Tom's side, when he would be shot. Martha wasn't meant to try to get in the way of one of the two fateful shots that the gunman fired. Martha wasn't meant to die !

And so the tears that Dent shed the day of the Waynes' Funeral were never to be crocodile tears. But there was more. In one of the funeral orations, delivered by the General, who had been in overall command of the various units Delta had been part of, he learned that Tom Wayne's promotion to Colonel was the result of bravery and initiative shown in the course of a mission, that could only have been conducted to save Dent's life and that of his comrades, but one that had had to remain a secret until Tom's death... What a way to reward the man who had been prepared to die for him !

And yet, there was to be one more final step to take, before he could feel secure once more.

His former instructor and good friend, Alfred Pennyworth was suspicious about the manner of the deaths. He started intercepting radio calls between S.W.A.T. Team Members, running clandestine checks on his computer and cross-referencing newspaper reports about a number of shootings, sometimes attributed to armed muggers, sometimes the result of S.W.A.T. Team action. The modus operandi was always the same. Two shots fired in quick succession, fired by a high-calibre weapon, fired at point blank range !

Again, evidence of such interference reached Dent's ears. Only this time the solution would be something different. Not surprisingly he had had his fill of such blood-letting. Instead, he would have Alfred 'Mac' Pennyworth drugged with a powerful haleucenogenic, that would scramble his mind in such a way, that it would induce long term symptoms of mental illness, thereby neutralising the threat he posed, but sparing his life. Alfred hadn't suffered a sudden psychotic episode the night he was taken ill, and rushed to hospital. He had been surprised by a Special Forces team, injected subtly with the drug, and left to be found by a passer-by. He was rushed to hospital and then transferred. The Wayne's trusted Bodyguard was to spend the best part of a year in Arkham Asylum !

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