Chapter 65 FFrozen
In the course of the two weeks or so leading up to the main event of this chapter, much is happening in Gotham.
Dick Grayson meets again with Bruce Wayne, but now as Robin. He now enjoys a new relationship with Alfred and Lucius, and gets measured up for a whole new range of equipment, more for reconnaissance and rescue, than for combat purposes.
- But why can't we work together all the time ? ... I don't want to stay on at school. ... I'd be free every night.
- No, Dick, it's just too dangerous. ... Think of your mother. Think of your father. What if something terrible happened ? .. Remember what it was like for your friend's families. ... We have equipment that is tailor-made for you, and offers the highest level of protection. As for school, well, that's where you will learn more of the skills you will need to operate in the field of business, as well as detective work, in chasing down the city's most notorious villains. In fact, it has to be part of our deal that you go to college, too.
- Aw, Bruce, reconnaissance is too much like what I was doing with the Team. Rescue is better, but you're still holding me back. I'm ready to go with you on the big rescues.
- You have a lot more to learn, first. Anyway, you are my only heir, not only to Wayne Enterprises, but to Batman as well. It would be crazy for me to risk losing you on dangerous missions at such an early stage.
- I guess so. ... No, Bruce, .. I understand.
- You'll feel differently, when you see all the things Lucius has designed for you.
Meanwhile, in the offices of GNN, owner Warner Bross, having just returned from two weeks winter vacation, is embroiled in a real argument with his mother, Victoria:
- At last we can have this conversation, Warner. ... I just couldn't believe that you would broadcast something that would make people doubt Batman. ... You can't have forgotten how he saved your mother's life, and was even shot in the attempt. ... Anyway, I thought you were a real champion for what he's trying to do for this city.
- Look, Mom, ... the Joker was threatening to have you killed, if I didn't do what he said. ... I talked to other media bosses in the city, newspaper barons and TV guys. Some of them have young children. He even threatened to kill them, too. He even has some of them followed to and from school. ... Just look at today's headlines:
ANOTHER WOMAN VICTIM OF HIT AND RUN
- That's the second young woman, a mother of two, to die like that in the space of three days, and surprise surprise. They just happened to be married to two wealthy business types, who refused to play ball with the Joker.
- Son, I had no idea.
- You mightn't care if you live or die, Mom, but I sure do.
- Oh, come here, my little baby, and give Mommie a big hug !
The next day, Dick shows up at Wayne Manor. He rings the doorbell.
- ( Alfred ) Ah, bless my soul. If it isn't young Master Dick. .. To what does one owe the pleasure of your company, today ?
- I've come to finish cataloguing the Library.
- But didn't Master Bruce explain ?
- Yeah. He said that he chose me to do it, because he wanted to introduce us, and show me Wayne Manor.
- Ah, ... what he failed to explain, was the fact that A, one had already catalogued the Library, and quite comprehensively at that, and B, that whole library of books belongs to yours truly.
- What, ... all of them
- Every last one... Oh, the family have their own collection of books. .. You will find those in the Old Library.
- Does Bruce not have any books ?
- Oh, indeed, yes, and a most impressive collection they are, too. ... You will find those in the Study. ( Considering a thought that has suddenly occurred. ) ... Might Master Dick be interested in old motor vehicles and motor cycles ?
- Yeah, sure. Don't tell me you have a collection of those as well.
- Come with me.
Dick follows Alfred round to the garage section of the Manor. There are twelve separate garages there ! First up, Alfred shows him a 1967 Rokon Trailbreaker Motor Cycle:
- ( Alfred ) A slow machine, but across country and all terrains, the best way to travel as the crow flies.
- Does it still work ?
- Honestly, .. does the young Master Dick really need to ask ?
- ( Smiling ) I guess not.
- Then you guess correctly.
He then shows him a1965 Shelby Cobra race car and a1966 Chrysler Imperial
- ( Dick ) Gosh, these must be worth a fortune. ... Let me guess. .. They're yours, right ?
- ( Recognizing two cars in particular. ) You've got to be kidding, the De Lorean from Back to the Future, .. and Starsky and Hutch's car !
- A 1975 Ford Gran Torino, used in the TV series, yes. ... And here we have the A Team's 1983 GMC G-15 ... and James Bond's 1963 Aston Martin DB5. ... Ah, memories of one's heroes from childhood, some of them.
- And now you work for a real-life hero.
- That is certainly one way of looking at it, ... indeed.
- Alfred, ... what's it like being one of the men behind Batman?
Meanwhile, Naimh Ross finds herself reporting on the Dent Hearing, from outside Gotham'Courthouse:
- Well, as you know, Bob, the star witness against former Deputy Commissioner Dent, James Scribbs, was attacked by Poison Ivy, whoever, or whatever, she might be. The Investigation has, in fact, been repeatedly hampered by the refusal of a number of other key witnesses subpoenaed by its Judges to appear, .. so much so, that all its business for this afternoon has had to be cancelled, to resume again in the next few days, if and when they can find any more witnesses prepared to give their testimony, that is.
A few days later, some of Robin's equipment arrives for him at the Manor. Lucius delivers it personally ! Dick Grayson is there, and starts with an addition to his usual iconic uniform:
- ( Dick ) Gee thanks, Lucius. What on earth is this thing made of ?
- Carbon fiber nano-tubes, silk, paper and Kevlar.
- ( Feeling it ) Hey, .. its not heavy at all. ... Are you sure it's bulletproof ?
- Honestly, .. need you ask ?
- ( Smiling ) Sorry I asked.
- Apology accepted.
- Do I get my own supply of Bat Bots ?
- Cool. ... When do I get my own set of wheels ?
- Only when you have learned how to drive, Mr. Grayson, ... but you might like to take a look at these.
- What are they ?
- New trainers. ... It IS your Birthday today, isn't it ?
- How on earth do you know that ? .. Did the Bat Computer tell you ?
- No. ... I happen to be your boss, . remember ? .. I read it in your file.
Dick just laughs and says something distinctly teenager-like.
- ( Dick ) Lucius ?
- Yes ?
- What's it like to be one of the guys behind Batman ?
- Hey, ..that's what Alfred said.
- Why am I not surprised ?
Harvey Dent is also busy, first of all gunning down more of the individuals responsible for settling scores against his former partners in crime, but also his investigations into the mysterious individual he and the Joker had encountered in the drains, not to mention finding out who Catwoman might be.
He has been able to glean from some contacts in the Force, that there have been a number of unconfirmed sightings of people in the drains, dating back for the last two years, but this was put down to tricks of the light, and unusual sounds generated in the tunnels. Dent reckons that there was probably only one person involved, and that it was the guy they met, who was responsible.
As for Catwoman, he has started with what he feels is the obvious, the cats. Several times now, she has used big cats, which suggests she has a considerable knowledge of, but also experience with such cats. She must have money behind her, to be able to afford the equipment she has used, to manipulate computers, and have drugs developed to produce the effects his associates, Burns and Stubbs, had experienced. She obviously had a particular grudge against him, possibly due to someone he had had killed.
The next day, Bruce meets with Lucius to discuss the possible identity of the Joker:
- ( Bruce ) Before we get to the matter in hand, there's something I've been meaning to ask you.
- Yes ?
- It's about the Tumbler. ... I've never needed to fill her up with gas.
- That's because she doesn't run on gas.
- What are you saying, Lucius, ... that she's .. nuclear or something ?
- No, Mr. Wayne. ... I was waiting for you to notice. ... Call it my strange sense of humor. ... No, she runs on free energy.
- You're joking ! .. YOU .. have cracked free energy ?
- Actually ten years ago, while I was working for Weaponstech.
- Does that mean that the Army now has free energy transport ?
- No, it most certainly does not. .. Free energy is for everyone, not just a select few, and certainly not for the Military. .. No, .. I kept it a closely guarded secret. .. People who develop free energy devices tend to mysteriously disappear, end up murdered, or both. .. Anyway, I didn't, as you put it, crack it. .. That privilege belongs to a number of people. Patrick Keely, Nikola Tesla, T. Henry Moray and Gabriel Kron.
- Yeah, I've heard of those guys. I know a lot about them, .. but I didn't know they were all successful.
- Their inventions were all suppressed, probably by big money bankers.
- But the Tumbler has more power than sense !
- It uses rechargeable battery amplification.
- So, .. now I know.
- I have reason to believe that his first name is Jack.
- Excuse me ?
- The Joker's first name, it's Jack.
- Okay, I will come back to how you have arrived at that theory a little later, but ...
- It was Oswald Cobblepot. He has hacked into the Joker's personal computer files, and Kensington Payne calls him Jack.
- Wow, now that IS impressive. Maybe it's not such a bad idea to have him on our side after all. .. So that leaves us with Jack Bunny, Jack Digby and ... Jack Napier. .. Mmm.
- What do you mean, .. mmm ?
- Oh, nothing, it's just that I remember coming across a Jack Napier at school. That's all.
That evening, as a spell of unusually cold weather comes in, and snow is falling heavily all around, two rather shadowy figures are emerging from the Sexy Babes Night Club, in the center of Gotham. They are accompanied by two of the dancing girls, and have clearly had a little too much to drink. They quickly notice how cold it has become, and start to wrap up to get warm.
Suddenly, they stop dead in their tracks, as a figure they recognize emerges from the shadows:
- Tonight's the night, boys. ... You're face to face with Two Face !
- ( Both ) Gee, ... H h h .. hello, Mr. Dent. .. H h h .. how are you tonight ?
- ( Two Face, pulling out his gun.) Freeze ! ... Hey, ... that's kinda funny, isn't it ? ... Being so cold and all ? .. Lose the broads.
The girls vanish into the night.
- ( Two Face, tossing his lucky coin.) Heads you live. Tails, you die.
The coin falls deep in the snow.
( Two Face ) Damn ! ... I can't tell what it is.
He shoots both dead !
Then, as cool as you like, he brushes aside some of the snow, picks up the coin, and looks at it.
- Hey what do you know. .. It was Heads.
He walks away.
They say that the love of money is the root of all evil, but I prefer to say that Kensington Payne, King Patriot, should take that crown, .. among others. He was, after all, behind everything that led to the creation of Harvey Dent and most things to that of the Joker, continuing very much in his late father's footsteps. Joseph had initiated the Arctic Super Soldier Program, corrupting the humanitarian research and discoveries of Dr. Viktor Fries, and weaponizing it
Payne simply picked things up where Joseph left off. He continued to dupe Special Forces soldiers from the green Berets, the SEAL s and Delta Force, who were ill, to take part in revolutionary research into their conditions. The only thing that was revolutionary, of course, was his grand design to rule not only America, but the whole world.
It had been Payne who was largely behind certain aspects of the foreign policy, that drove the efforts of America's embryonic Special Forces, in the days of Harvey Dent and Thomas Wayne. It was simply the case that two different men reacted differently to the same set of circumstances, Thomas had been touched by the need of the people in Somalia for aid, aid that he knew he could afford to buy, and provide personally. Harvey, on the other hand, was bewitched by Payne's entanglements with corruption, deals with foreign drugs barons, assassination plots and ties with right-wing gangsters abroad. Dent effectively had modeled himself on Payne, in the years after returning to Gotham. It was King Patriot directing the very activities, which resulted in his corruption overseas.
Once Dent had set up his Cartel in Gotham, it was the most natural thing in the world to introduce himself, and adopt him as his prodigy. He watched Dent's back, quickly making sure that any suspicions raised about him in the FBI were squashed.
But you can't operate in such a way, and not expect to make enemies, hence his anonymous lifestyle, and a policy of self-protection. Even the most noble of causes in the history of the world has called upon the use of force to protect itself. Payne's didn't of course fall into anything even remotely approaching that category ! Most potential enemies feared him too much to threaten him in any serious way, but there were always foreign governments, like Russia. There was also Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne, Salina Kyle, Viktor Fries, Dimitri Kharkov and Edward Nigma.
Nigma's great crusade in life was, of course, to see the fall of the incompetent, and the rise of innovative and intelligent leaders at all levels, and in all sectors of society. The Riddler despised the way Corporate America placed non-threatening stooges at the top, in so many walks of life. It meant that people, and therefore the Country, could never change for the better. Under Payne, America was stagnating ! But there was more. At this particular moment in time, Nikma is pursuing his new pet investigation into the bankers behind Payne. Actually, Payne himself is a banker, potentially multiplying his personal wealth ten-fold !
Nigma is shocked at how easy it is for bankers to, effectively, make money out of thin air, just writing that it exists, and have the people, they loan that money to, make that money real in repayments plus interest. That principle applied every bit to a loan made to another country, as much as itdid to a man wanting to buy his first house. He becomes deeply suspicious that some key families amongst the Stonefellows' friends actually engineered the Wall Street Crash of the late 1920\s, in an effort to buy up otherwise highly profitable businesses, who owed them a great deal of money, at rock bottom prices, knowing exactly when they were going to initiate the boom under Roosevelt.
His theory even extends to the possibility, that they were deliberately precipitating the conditions for the rise of Hitler in Germany, as they had substantial investments in the German arms manufacturing industry, as well as in aircraft and shipbuilding, industries that were set to benefit substantially under the Nazis, given the warlike noises Hitler was making at the time.
Armed with his new quantum computer, he knew not only where to look, but when to look, and what to look for, in tracing the activities of the new generation of arch-manipulators:
- Just follow the money !
It didn't take him too long, to realize that something had to be done about Payne, and fast. One night, after a long session on his new toy:
- Okay, .. King Patriot, .. I think it's time, to call time, on your activities.
And it was then, that he sent his message to Mr. Freeze.
And so, another enemy is, at this present moment of time, on its way to the Washington area, one way or another, to end his reign !
Fries, Kharkov and so many ex-servicemen from special forces units, who had been duped by Payne's men into becoming slaves to the cold, are about to unleash their own particular kind of hell on Kensington Payne, .. the cold kind !
The whole operation, though meticulously planned, isn't conducted without a great deal of trepidation on their part. They are, after all, about to launch an attack on the most powerful man in America. It would be easier attacking the President of the United States !
Mindful of a possible threat to Payne's safety, the Deputy Head of the FBI, Donald Aspy, phones his secret paymaster:
- Hello, Boss. Just to let you know that we have word, that a very bad spell of cold weather is coming our way. Obviously, it's a possible opportunity, were he to have learned of your identity, for Fries to attack you.
- ( Payne ) Oh, I don't think there's any need to worry on that score, Aspy. You have only just heard from the most advanced meteorological station in the world, that this spell is on its way. Fries couldn't possibly have known about it, put a plan together so quickly, and then hope to execute it, in any way successfully.
- I don't know. I always believe it's better to be safe than sorry. I think we should have extra special agents on duty in your vicinity, and extra regular cops, as well as some National Guard guys, ... on the basis of emergency personnel, ... you know, ... to cope with the adverse weather conditions. No need to arouse the public's suspicions about the area where you live.
- Very well.
Back in Gotham, special news coverage is being given to a statement and video evidence, presented on behalf of Batman, by his spokesman, Percival Law, Naimh Ross reporting:
- Well, Bob, here we are again, outside in the freezing wind and snow, waiting for Batman's lawyer to appear, to give us some details about the statement Batman has made, and then we will broadcast the video footage of the incident concerning the Joker, which Law claims will totally exonerate the Caped Crusader.
- ( Percival Law ) Sorry to be dragging you all out onto the steps of the Courthouse this afternoon, but it is very important to my client that a full rebuttal of the claims made by the Joker, as published in our newspapers and reported on our news channels, over the past few weeks. Batman claims, and I quote: 'It was not, and never has been my intention to deliberately allow anyone to suffer harm of any kind. On the occasion of the events in the Stubbs Chemicals warehouse, I was dazed and momentarily disabled in a struggle with the man known as the Joker. I believe that the video footage shot by a camera on my belt will totally exonerate me, and demonstrate beyond question, that I am telling the truth.'
- ( Naimh Ross ) And I believe it is this footage that we are about to broadcast.
- ( Law ) That is correct.
Viewers all across Gotham now become privy to what actually happened the night of the warehouse incident. People can clearly see that Batman wrestles with the Joker, staggers, then collapses, out of breath. He is trying to get up and to get to the Joker, as he lies helpless below the toxic spray burning him so terribly. A figure is observed helping the Joker to his feet away from the peroxide.
This is then followed by a media scramble to get an interview with Law, and a tirade of questions:
- Mr. Law, Mr. Law, how did you end up defending Batman ? ... Did you find him, or did he find you ?
- Do you know Batman personally ?
- Is he really some kind of bat-like mutant human being ?
- (Law) Sorry, I can't take any of your questions, .. good day, ... good day.
- ( All ) Mr. Law, .. Mr. Law !.
- ( Naimh Ross ) So there you have it. Batman presents video evidence refuting accusations that he has now adopted a 'let them die' approach to Gotham's criminal fraternity. Naimh Ross, reporting for GNN, Gotham Courthouse.
The Joker sits up in shock, as he watches the footage on TV, for he notices a move that Batman makes, that leads to him falling to the ground in the path of the spray. It reminds him of something that happened when he was at elementary school, ... but who was it that had used that move ? All he remembers is that he ended up in a lot of trash cans !
- And now for the latest weather news, from our lovely new weather girl, Janice Johns.
Taking what she thinks is a well-earned rest from all her recent activities is Pamela Eisley, quietly drinking a cup of hot chocolate, and watching the news:
- ( Pamela Eisley ) Disgraceful !
- ( Janice Johns ) Well, contrary to the predictions of the last seven days, it seems that the north of the Country is in for a really cold spell of epic proportions, with the sudden shift in the Jet Stream bringing the Polar Vortex south. This is set to collide with unusually warm air, for this time of year, originating from the Gulf of Mexico. This means, in effect, that we can expect arctic blizzards, bringing between five and eight feet of snow in Washington alone, within the next 48 hours, and a sudden drop in temperature to 15 degrees below freezing. ... At the moment the temperature is around a constant -5 degrees, with some stretches of the Hudson and Potomac rivers already partially frozen. So wrap up warm folks, and stock up with all those essentials, because no one's going to be venturing out in those conditions.
Along the ice-covered Potomac River, that runs through Grandville, suddenly blades start cutting a large circle on the surface, not from above, but from below. Very soon, the ice is gone, and a team of ex-navy SEAL s emerge from the freezing water below !
They have infiltrated the river via battery-powered mini ice submarines, lowered into Chesapeake Bay from a Finnish-registered cargo vessel. This gives them the easiest access to Payne's district, the icy cold conditions keeping the great majority of people off the streets.
The team stealthily makes its way across a road by the river, and into a series of back alley ways. They go totally unnoticed, and without making a sound. Five team members scale the fire escape at the rear of Payne's home. Three scale to the top and take up position on the roof. Two position themselves on the rear balcony on Payne's floor. Three remain on the ground, guarding and blocking the backdoor of the block.
Outside the town, masses of paratroopers exit a few privately chartered twin-engined cargo planes. There will soon be a cordon of hostile special forces enveloping Kensington Payne. Some encounter tall trees on landing, and are killed or injured, but most are able to meet up and rendez-vous at their assigned positions, thanks to homing and GPS devices designed by Fries. Some are disguised as Police officers, others as road clearance engineers, such as those often tasked to keep roads clear during a white-out, and the rest are dressed in white combats. They prepare to set up road blocks, and hold off any attempt to send reinforcements into the town, or to get Payne out.
High in the sky, another cargo plane is towing an ice-glider, laden with Fries and Kharkov, together with a team of former American and Russian Special Forces, again, dressed in light white combats. The glider detaches above the Bay, then follows the Potomac, in a very carefully planned maneuver. The pilot has trained, using a scale model of the landscape, as it should look in whiteout conditions, filmed at scale speed, for a glider traveling to St. Michael's Bridge. From the bridge, it is just the proverbial stone's throw to Payne's home. The North side of the bridge is the glider's landing zone:
- ( Glider Pilot ) Time remaining to LZ five minutes ... Time remaining to LZ three minutes ... Time remaining to LZ 20 seconds, Brace position !
It's an absolute textbook landing, exactly where Kharkov wanted, flat bang on a disused car park, next to the bridge. The nearer to Kensington Payne the better ! They have done this just ahead of the whiteout. Living in the Arctic has given them invaluable experience as to when a snow belt is coming, and how to ride just ahead of it. Their first task is to dump the glider into the Potomac !
Then they take up their positions at the end of Payne's street. But for a few men working with pneumatic drills, close to Payne's home, the street is deserted. Radio contact with fellow units is exchanged:
- Glider force in position.
- Airborne Force one in position.
- Airborne Force two in position.
- Airborne Force three in position.
- Airborne Force four in position.
- Seal Force in position.
However, one of the special agents posted not far from Payne's apartment block is a little suspicious:
- Charlie Alpha to Tango Echo, I thought I saw something at the end of the street. It could be nothing, but I'm going to investigate.
- Roger that.
The agent is armed with an automatic pistol. He makes his way tentatively towards the end of the street, the snow falling ever more heavily. It is impossible to see more than six feet in front of you.
- I can't see a darned thing, Tango Echo, just making one last check ...
Suddenly an Arctic Commando steps out of the snow and chloroforms him ! The Team begins to run up the street.
- Charlie Alpha ? .. Come in, Charlie Alpha. ... Oh, .. shit ! ! ! ... Positions, men !
Whereupon, the team of men working on the road peel off their tools and hard hats and load up their semi-automatic rifles ! They are all Special Forces-based C.I.A. agents.
- ( Roof-based Commando ) Dive for cover, Glider Team. Three heavily armed bogeys approaching your position.
( Lifting a sniper rifle. ) Giving you covering fire ... now.
The sniper has at his disposal, an Arctic sniper rifle, designed by Fries, tailor-made for the sniper in each team, with built-in computer systems to measure wind speed, adjust for visibility, and automatically to allow for bullet-drift in the wind !
First, he fires two rounds to make the agents dive for cover.
- Tango Echo to Base, we have a situation. Are under fire. Request back-up. Repeat, request back-up, immediately !
- Roger that, Tango echo.
At first, they have trouble loading up their rifles in the severe cold. First, their hands are freezing. Second, their guns are starting to seize up. Fries' Arctic Commandos have no such problems ! A hail of automatic gunfire descends on their positions.
- ( Fries ) Fries to Seal Team. Go ! Go ! Go !
Commandos blast their way in through skylights on the roof and the balcony door. They proceed like lightning towards Payne's room. Payne, dressed in his pajamas and nightgown, has heard the gunfire in the street, and is standing in the hallway. He sees the Commandos coming, and dashes down the stairs !
The agents are now returning shots for shots. It's a full-blown firefight ! One agent is suppressing the sniper's fire. Then, Kharkov runs forward and throws a flash-bang grenade towards them. It explodes beside their position. The sniper loads up a gas grenade on his rifle, and fires it directly into where they are cowering. The grenade goes off, and quickly they are overcome with chloroform, collapsing to the ground.
Payne reaches the ground floor ahead of his assailants, and looks to head for the rear entrance, only to see two more Commandos rapidly approaching. He runs to the front door. He opens it.
- ( Fries ) Mr. Kensington Payne, I believe. .. Doktor Viktor Fries.
He tries to push him aside. Fries steps aside, revealing a squad of his Commandos ! ... Fries continues:
- Perhaps you might like to accompany me. I think the backdoor might be best.
They head out the back way, into a series of alley ways.
Two police cars struggle to negotiate the six inches of snow, now on the ground. The police get out of their cars early, and run into the street. They are held at bay by the sniper firing automatically just ahead of them, making them dive for cover in the freezing snow !
The Officer in charge radios in:
- Alpha Charlie to National Guard team, request backup urgently. Repeat, request backup at once !
- Roger that, Alpha Charlie.
Once the front door has been locked and barricaded, Kharkov tells the sniper to fire one last burst, and join him at the back of the building, which he does.
The police bang on the front door, and can only gain entry when some of the residents, hitherto too frightened to open their own front doors, finally venture down to clear the barricade, and open the door for them. But, as most make their way into the block, one officer still outside, notices Commandos making their way onto a vessel, of some sort, on the river. Its a type of small icebreaker !
Two are holding a man who is wearing a dressing gown and slippers, and drag him on board the boat. The officer cries:
- This way. They have kidnapped someone and are taking him downriver !
So they all pile out again, and give chase. The boat has turned, and is beginning to make its way towards the sea. The officers reach the bank, and open fire, but to no avail.
They call up the Coastguard, and request all units to converge on both sides of the river, to try and halt the boat's escape.
Meanwhile, some patrol cars speeding to the town, are stopped at 'police roadblocks', caught behind a long line of cars and trucks. The fake police officers are telling everyone:
- Sorry, folks, the area is simply not safe enough for you to venture any further. There has been an armed incident.
Some officers get out of the cars, and approach the roadblocks on foot, wondering what the hold up is. Two guys dressed as snow clearance workers walk up to them:
- Sorry, officers, but this road is impassable, you have to take the east route in.
Whereupon, the officers rush back to their vehicles, and speed off. Then, one officer asks his friend:
- Say, did you check that guy's ID ? No one inside the town reported the roads as impassable. They radio the other car, turn around, and return to the roadblock. The ghost police and clearance engineers have gone, but the Commandos on each side remain, opening fire above the officers' heads. The Team sniper shoots out all their tyres !
- (Sniper ) Job done ! Let's get out of here !
He then retires to link up with his comrades.
As the National Guard Team tries to take the South road into Granville, they are stopped in their tracks by a hail of bullets, and flash-bang grenades. They quickly exit their vehicles, and engage in a firefight with the Arctic Commandos. The Commandos clearly have the advantage, running freely in their light combats, and prevent the
Guardsmen from executing their standard attempts at flanking maneuvers.
Two of Kharkov's men are wounded, before the order is given to withdraw to their pre-arranged position. Again, a sniper gives them valuable time to escape, and covering fire. Two factors work very much in favor of those shot, the extreme cold, causing such a slowing down of their metabolism, that they are able to survive wounds that would otherwise cause them to bleed to death, and the very formula, that has trapped them in a sub-zero world, means that the body doesn't experience excessive shock in the cold.
By the time the roads are open, they ARE totally impassable !
But there is one road that is of particular interest to the Commandos. They have all rendez-vous-ed at a point along the west road. Dimitri Kharkov watches to the skies through his binoculars, before giving the order to light it up. Suddenly, a large ice transport plane appears out of nowhere, and lands on the road, using ski-landers !
The wounded and injured are the first onto the plane. Then, all the Commandos scramble aboard, but, before the door closes, two more passengers board the plane, Viktor Fries and ... one other:
- ( Fries ) Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce someone to you, a very important passenger, indeed, ... King Patriot !
They all cheer in triumph.
When the coastguard and police finally intercept the icebreaker, all its crew and SEALs jump overboard, wearing re-breathing gear.
- Where did they go ?
The answer ? ... Down below the boat into the two mini-subs that brought the SEAL Team in. They all enter from below, and make their escape in what are anti-sonar stealth vehicles, that will take them out into the bay, to rejoin the Finnish Cargo vessel, that brought the subs in, in the first place.
An ally of Payne's in the Navy, Admiral Jonas Fish, happens to be on duty in the Admiralty 'Ops' Room, when he gets an urgent phone call;
- This is Deputy Chief Investigating Agent Aspy from the FBI. .. We have a situation here, Admiral. .. King Patriot has been kidnapped. ... I needn't remind you of the dire ramifications, should he disappear, and the potentially destabilizing effects it could have on our Country's foreign policy.
- No, ... absolutely. ... What do you want me to do ?
- I need you to run a radar and sonar sweep of Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac Estuary, looking for any signs of a vessel or vessels, that might be looking to smuggle him out of the country. .. It's not exactly beyond the bounds of possibility, that the Russians might be involved in this.
- Well; if it's out there, we sure as hell will find it. .. You can leave it to us.
He hangs up:
- Okay, boys and girls, we have a suspicious vessel or two to find. .. Let's get to it !
A key puppet of the Cartel in the Air Force, General 'Dickie' Bird, suddenly, and without explanation, rather hurriedly takes over command at Washington's Air Force Base, and has a question to ask the radar operator:
- ( Bird ) Anything unusual on the radar, Perkins ?
- Ah, .. no, Sir. ... What sort of thing do you mean, Sir ?
- Any unusual blips, .. small, .. tiny, ... however insignificant. .. We could have a hostile stealth aircraft in our air space.
- Well, .. there was one thing, General.
- Yes, Perkins ?
- I put it down to a small flock of birds, flying ahead of the snow storm.
- That's it, Son. ... That is it. ... Can you track it now ?
- Negative, Sir. .. The snow is way too thick, to be able to track something like that, General.
- What about our F-18's ? ... Can we scramble those ?
- Negative, Sir. .. Everything we have is grounded, .. and even if we could get birds in the air, there's no way they could make a visual in these conditions.
- ( Slamming his fist on the desk.) Damn !
Back at the Admiralty, a relatively low-ranking officer gets back to Admiral Fish:
- Sorry to report, Admiral, but nothing has showed up anywhere on our screens. ... The only unauthorized vessel in the Bay was a Finnish-registered cargo ship, but she has just left our territorial waters, Sir.
- ( Fish, slamming HIS fist on HIS desk.) Damn !
As the Ice Plane ascends back high into the sky:
- ( Fries ) You know, Kensington, .. you really are most appropriately named, .. considering the incalculable PAIN you have inflicted on the world.
- ( Payne ) I don't understand, Fries. .. Why didn't you just kill me, when you had the chance ?
- ( Fries ) Why, Your Majesty. .. I have something special for you, ... something I want to give you for the cold.
Two big strong Commandos come, and hold him down.
- ( Payne ) What the hell ? ... What are you doing ?
Fries produces a hypodermic syringe, and injects him with the contents.
- ( Payne ) Ah, ah, what have you done ?
- ( Fries ) Relax, Your Majesty, relax. ... We have only given you the same formula that you had your scientists give to us. ... Chill out a little !
- ( Payne ) No ! .. No ! .. Not that !
- ( Fries ) I think it is true what they say, after all. ... Revenge really is a dish best served cold !
Meanwhile, back at Gotham, the evening news ends with the following report from Naimh Ross:
- This recent burst of cold weather represents a real setback for Salina Kyle and her plans to open her Safari Park on time. As our cameras visited her facility today, the staff were frantically gathering in the big cats out of the wind and the snow, into their warm enclosures and pens. Only the Siberian Tigers were at home in these conditions, along with the snow leopards she is hoping to breed.
Watching from the comfort of a make-shift safe-house, Harvey Dent sits up:
- That's it ! ... Big cats, .. money, ... real estate, .. Africa, ... , of course, .. Davis Kyle !