Batman: A New World

Chapter 68 The Joker's Wild (Part3)

The Joker's Wild ( Part Three )

As the Joker is left to ruminate over how much the Riddler knows of his plans, and what he has learned about him, together with the foiled plot to assassinate Bruce Wayne and kidnap Victoria Bross, a much relieved, bedraggled individual emerges from one of the Finger caves, in Gotham Country Park ! You might say he is a changed man, but, then again, maybe that was already true of him, before he had first set his nose to the grindstone

underground ! Even though the night has long turned dark, his sense of relief is quite palpable:

- ( Two Face ) Ah, at last ! ... Fresh air ! ... Freedom ! ... Life !

Despite the time of day, he felt he had passed from darkness into light. The time had come for Harvey Dent to finally turn against his protector of convenience, Jack Napier. The time had come for him to make amends, somehow.

Meanwhile, a boy returns home to his mother and father, after a potentially life-threatening experience:

- ( Mrs. Grayson ) Richard, dear ! .. Thank God ! .. Where on earth have you been ? ... Tell me you weren't at that Mr. Wayne's house, when everything happened !

- ( Dick ) Well, actually, Ma ...

- I knew it ! .. ( To Mr. Grayson ) What did I tell you,, Dear ? ... He WAS there !

- ( Mr. Grayson, sitting very passively reading the evening newspaper.) Yes, Dear.

- ( To Dick ) Oh, my poor baby ! ... We were worried sick, weren't we, Dear ?

- Yes, Dear.

- Are you sure you're ok, Richard. ? ... You weren't hurt ?

- No, Ma, I'm fine. .. honestly.

- They said on the news there was a bomb, and that something like a war broke out.

- Yeah, Ma, .. but it's over now, .. and I'm fine. ... Look I'm really tired. ... I'd really like to get to bed. .. Can we talk about this in the morning ?

- Is that all you have to say, Richard ? .. We were absolutely worried sick about you tonight, ( To Mr. Grayson ) weren't we dear ?

- Yes, Dear.

- Well, .. you're his father. ... say something.

- Good night, Son.

- Is that it ? .. Is that all you have to say ? ... Well, if that's the case, .. ( To Dick ) you aren't going to bed before you promise me one thing, Richard Grayson.

- ( Very tired, and unresponsive.) Yes, Ma ?

- Promise me you'll never go near that house again.

- Yes, Ma.

- Promise me, Richard. ... You promise ?

- Yes, Ma. ... Can I go to bed now ?

- Yes, of course you can, Richard. .. Good night, Richard.

- Good night, Ma.

Bruce Wayne pays a late evening visit to Alfred, only to find Victoria Bross there, holding his hand, no less !

- ( Bruce ) Oh, sorry, you two. ... I hope I wasn't interrupting anything.

- ( Alfred, a little embarrassed.) Why, Master Bruce, .. not at all. .. Do come in. ... Why, Miss Bross was just about to leave, .. were n't you Vic, .. I mean Miss Bross ?

- ( Victoria ) Yes, diddums ( As she squeezes him on the cheek !) .

She goes to rearrange his blankets.

- ( Alfred ) No, Victoria, .. don't do that.

- Oh, Alfred. .. Don't be such a baby ! .. You ...

Then she, and, for that matter, Bruce as well, is shocked and taken aback, to see the most horrific scarring, from long ago, down one side of Alfred's right leg, and a marked lack of flesh under the scars.

- ( Victoria ) My god, Alfred ! ... I had no idea. ... I'm so sorry. ... Why, .. what happened to you ?

- An occupational hazard, Miss Bross, nothing more, .. an injury suffered in the course of one's duty... It doesn't bother one.

- ( Bruce ) Like, you don't even have a limp, Alfred. ... Please, .. Victoria, .. take it from me. .. Just let the matter rest. .. Alfred has a proud record, as part of Britain's Special Forces, and one he doesn't like to talk about.

- ( Victoria ) Still, .. a girl doesn't expect to find part of her boyfriend's leg missing like that.

- ( Alfred, raising his voice.) I am not your boyfriend, Victoria ! ... ( In a more measured tone.) One is not your boyfriend, Miss Bross. ... One is simply .. an acquaintance.

- ( Victoria ) Whatever you say, Sweet Cakes, ...whatever you say. .. ( Heading towards the door to leave.) Be careful not to overtire him, Bruce.

- Don't worry. I won't be long.

She leaves.

- ( Bruce ) Diddums ? .. Sweet Cakes ? .. Holding hands ? ..Why, Alfred, this is going to take some getting used

to ! ... And, you ARE going to have to tell me, how you got that nasty scarring. .. Looks like a severe burn if you ask me. But, anyway, it will keep. ... You don't happen to know where Doodles might have run off to, by any chance, .. no place he might have gone, to hide after the attack ? .. Some place, maybe, he likes to go, when you let him off his lead ?

- No, Master Bruce, .. nothing comes immediately to mind. ...He still hasn't appeared after the incident, then ?

- No, .. and I'm beginning to get rather worried about him. .. I'm afraid he might have been hurt in the firefight.

- Perhaps he will make his own way home in due course, Sir. .. Dogs often do, after a fright such as that, Master Bruce.

- Perhaps you're right.

- And what of our friend, Mr. Dicks, Sir ?

- There was no sign of him at the scene, Alfred. .. If he was there, he just vanished away... I do have one more question, which has been puzzling me, though.

- And what might that be, Master Bruce ?

- How come you weren't affected by Scarecrow's hallucinogen ? He kept babbling on about it, before he was taken to Police Headquarters. He just couldn't understand it.

- Doctor Clark Thompson, Master Bruce.

- Thompson, Thompson, now how do I know that name ?

- He is now the Chief Medical Officer in Arkham Asylum.

- Yes, that's it. Now I remember.

- But before he took over, he was at the cutting edge of treatment for drug disorders, addictions and suchlike. It was Doctor Thompson who treated me, after the episode leading to one's sojourn there, if you recall.

- i do, Alfred, I do, ... and only too well.

- Well, to cut a long story short, as they say, the Doctor treated one with a revolutionary medication that stimulated a particular part of the immune system, to target the cells of some typical hallucinogens. One can only surmise it was such treatment that rendered one totally immune to that used by our Scarecrow friend.

- Unbelievable, Alfred. .. Ingenious, quite ingenious.

- In fact, one still tries to keep up to speed on developments in the Asylum, and the said good Doctor is enjoying remarkable success with those addicted to seriously hallucinogenic substances. Perhaps his promotion to

Head of the Asylum was Mr. Nikma's plan all along, Sir.

- You know Alfred, I think you might just be right.

Early the next morning, Commissioner Gordon is deep in conversation with Chief O'Hara:

- Any more word on the interrogations of those apprehended at the Manor, last night ? .. Have any admitted involvement with the Joker ?

- Not a dickie bird. .. Sure, didn't Batman, himself, say the very same thing, .. that they would all be too afraid to say the blindest word about their association with the man.

- There's just something about a man with no name and no background, to instill that extra element of fear in a man.

- And he's becoming so popular now, certainly among the business and administrative communities in the city, .. and among the teachers, and the doctors, .. It's reckoned that people died because Gotham General's computers crashed. HIS computers work perfectly. .. They aren't affected by the virus. .. In fact, sure we have them now here in the building, and we've never had a better system, to be sure, .. begging your pardon, Sir.

- That's quite alright, Patrick. More and more people are getting hold of his new computers, and they feel the same way. .. If getting behind a madman is what it takes to guarantee being able to use the internet, then so be it. Everyone at the top in the city seemed to have egg on their faces, when all its systems went down. .. He has shown he's able to put things right.

- Even if it was himself, who caused the problem in the first place ?

- Ah, but the people don't know that, .. and we have no proof with which to convince them.

Later that day, Naimh Ross appears again, on TV with the Joker, pending a very important announcement he is going to make:

- ( Naimh Ross ) Hello again, viewers. Welcome to this special on GNN. Today, we welcome the man we know as the Joker, as he walks the streets of Gotham, meeting the very people he is trying to reach, before making an all-important announcement to the populace.

Lots of people are seen to be supporting him. Some are rather ominously carrying placards, saying The Joker For Mayor !

In the secrecy of their hotel room, Pamela Eisley is in conversation with her twin sister, Penelope:

- What do you think of this paragraph for the book, Penny ?

''In any ecosystem Water, Carbon Di-Oxide, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are consistently recycled, in much the same way as happens throughout the Universe. Nothing truly disappears, and the various atoms which plant life requires, survive the cycle of life and death, through decomposition, providing the fertile circumstances for new life to begin again, just as atoms provide a star with the energy to produce, in its life and death, the full range of atoms that will accumulate ultimately as planets, on which ecosystems may then occur. With every form of life on earth largely carbon-based, one might well argue that the carbon cycle is the true cycle of life.

- Brilliant, Pam, though I would tend to make my sentences a little shorter !

- Right, .. sorry. .. I take your point.

- ( Noticing what's on TV.) Hold on. Look who's on the news !

- My God, .. it's the Joker ! ... I can't believe that my Stepbrother and Naimh Ross could align themselves with that creep !

- ( Joker ) Yes, thank you, Naimh. .. Well, here we are, standing where it all matters, on the streets, not in the places where all the City Fathers have been cowering for the last few days. They're ashamed to face the public. They don't care about the honest, decent citizens of this great city of ours, the people they let down just three days ago, when it became obvious just how easy it was, to bring Gotham to its knees.

Well, enough is enough. ... After a whole swathe of public support, encouraging me to do so, and an equal amount of soul-searching on my part, I have decided to run for the office of Mayor in the oncoming elections later this month. A new broom sweeps clean, they say. Well, so do I. It's about time we had the sort of people, the City deserves to have, at the helm. Out with the old, and in with the new, I say ! .. So, .. as I announce my candidacy for the Mayoral Election this year, all that remains for me to say is, Vote for the Joker, .. the man who can put the smile back on everybody's faces !

Once the broadcast comes to an end, we see that, far from the Joker having been out on the streets of Gotham, he has been in his specially prepared studio, with green screen ! It has all been a put-up job.

- ( Pamela) We really are going to have to do something about this.

- ( Penelope ) Sounds as if we might have another job on our hands.

- Yes, it does, .. does n't it ?

- Shall we say early this evening, around eight ?

- It's a date.

- Where shall we meet ?

- What about a certain mayoral candidate's election headquarters ?

- That's uncanny. ... That was just what I was thinking.

Back at the Joker's Studio, Naimh Ross is being securely tied to a radiator, and is about to be gagged, when the Joker appears, addressing his men:

- No, that won't be necessary, .. for the time being at least. .. I have a proposition for you, Miss Ross.

- Oh, yeah ?

- I understand that you have an insatiable propensity, for wanting to discover what lies beneath the masks Gotham's finest wear.

- You could say that.

- What if I told you, I am close to discovering who lies behind the most famous mask in Gotham ?

- You don't mean ...

- Yes, I do, ... Batman.

- You can't be serious. His true identity is a more closely guarded secret than my true weight ! ... But, even if you can find out who he is, what do I have to do to acquire this little piece of information, as if I didn't know ?

- Just accompany me on all my main live public engagements, and give me reasonable media coverage.

- I see. ... You know, Mr. Joker, you may have been one hundred per cent right about me, when you said I was driven by the desire to discover what lies behind the masks people wear, .. but there is also something else about me you need to know. .. I was sickened by my Father's lack of personal integrity, when he was running for elections. ... I would be selling my very soul, if I took you up on your offer. ... Anyway, .. my next big case is to find out who lies behind the mask you wear !

- Ah, .. feisty to the end, Miss Ross.

- Uh, .. what do you mean, exactly, by 'to the end ?'

- Come now, Miss Ross, surely you didn't think I could ever let you go again. ... All you would have to do is spill the beans on what I did with you, and my new career would be over. ... No, Miss Ross, .. I'm afraid we are going to have to arrange a little accident for you. How does tomorrow sound ?

Naimh gulps.

That afternoon, Dick Grayson gets home from school:

- ( Dick ) Hi, Ma.

- Hello Richard. Have you got a lot of homework, today ?

- A bit, Ma, but I'll do it later, Ma. Will be back as soon as I can, Ma. Bye, Ma.

He goes to leave, without even changing out of his school uniform.

- Richard, .. Richard, where are you going, Richard ? I hope you're not going back to that Wayne Manor place again, Richard ! You promised, Richard, remember ? You promised !

But her protests are to no avail. Richard has gone !

He has been worried sick about Doodles all day, fully aware that Bruce has his hands full with matters concerning the Joker, not to mention the impending threat posed by the lethal viruses released into the lower atmosphere by the Reapers.

All day, the Joker's clowns have been campaigning for him on Gotham's streets. By 8.00pm, all but a few remain in their headquarters, after reporting in. Some are checking their pistols, security measures in case they are 'hit' by Ra's al Ghul !

Suddenly, the building is filled with green gas, and the sound of eery swamp noises !

What the hell's going on ?

I could have sworn I saw something move just then !

It seemed like some sort of creepy vine !

We're being swamped by some kind of jungle !

I could swear I saw a plant move !

What the hell is a plant doing in our Campaign Headquarters, anyway ?

I don't know about you, but I'm getting out of here !

Me too !

Suddenly, a plant woman appears, blocking the way !

Not so fast, dust bowl !

w the plants are talking to us !

It's got to be that plant woman !

She speaks again:

You got it in one, slimey, but it's Poison ivy to you !

Now, we've definetly gotta get out of here !

And again, only from the other side of the room:

Oh no, you don't, dirt balls !

How did she get over here so fast ?

She's superhuman !

More like superbotanical,

Some fire their guns indiscriminately around the room. Some fire Uzis ! They kill some of their own men ! A woman's voice cries out:

I'm over here, you idiots !

Again some clowns fall, victims to their own friendly fire ! Just then, and before Poison Ivy can begin to do her thing with the Joker's men, the girls hear the sound of Police sirens and Paramedics arriving. They withdraw, to leave them to deal with the mayhem they have created ! As clowns are helped out of the building, some are heard to say:

There's an absolute swamp in there !

Plants are moving everywhere !

It was Poison Ivy. She's so scary !

But sexy !

That same evening, Salina Kyle is trying out the latest version of her cat suit ! She is planning to go out and wreak havoc with the Joker's election campaign. The News is on the radio in the background, beginning with the headlines:

- Gunfire rocks the Joker's Campaign Headquarters in Gotham City, ... the first two reported cases of Bird Flu in America, and its contagious. Experts now report that only two out of every three people will survive ...

Then she gets this phone call:

- Hello, Miss Kyle, it's Batman. I'd like you to do something for me. .. I'd like you to offer to help the Joker with his election campaign.

- You can't be serious. .. He's a real bastard.

- It's important we get him away from his stronghold in Gotham, .. out where he can be arrested, if possible.

- Okay, ... on one condition, you take me out on a date, .. in that fantastic car of yours.

He deliberates, long and hard, before replying:

- Okay, much against my better judgment, .. you're on, Miss Kyle. ... Oh, yes, and there's one more thing. ...

Meanwhile, the Penguin is about to hold a confab with his team, but first, they all play a bit of football in the vast underground complex, where they are hiding. Then, as always, he calls his meeting to order, along the lines of his collegial style.

- So, Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Undertakers, we are about to embark on this the final stage of our operation. You already have an idea about my intentions. ... What do you consider the best way to proceed ?

One of the team has a suggestion:

- I have an idea, Sir.

- Yes, what is it, David ?

- I have managed to determine the code words and passwords necessary to unlock access to all the main media networks in Gotham, if that is of any use to you, Mr. Penguin, Sir.

- Why, David, it is absolutely perfect, and just in time, too !

One of the girls also wishes to report:

- Sir, I have managed to establish the most geographically efficient distribution pattern.

- Excellent, Hermione. That was always going to be the weakest link in the chain, if our overall objective was ever going to be achieved.

And another speaks up:

- And we all thought that it should be you that makes the all-important address, Penguin.

All show their visible support for that last remark.

- Why, thank you, Jake. Thank you, everyone. That is, indeed, a most welcome gesture, .. very much appreciated. ...Well then, it would seem that all systems are go, and that we have a most viable plan in our hands. So, let's get to it, Ladies and Gentlemen ! .. Let's get to it ! We've got a long day ahead of us tomorrow.

The next day, the Joker finds himself, somewhat unexpectedly the guest of Salina Kyle at the Grand Preview of her new Safari Park. The Press, and News Reporters are too impatient to wait until after the Ceremony, to talk to him about the previous night's events:

So, Joker, what do you make of the incredible attack on your Campaign Headquarters last night ?

Do you think it was someone from amongst Gotham's expanding list of vigilantes, who still have scores to settle ?

Rumour has it, that it was Poison Ivy, who was responsible.

The Joker interrupts:

Poison Ivy ? .. I don't think so. ... It was a gun attack, that's all, .. an attack on Democracy, pure and simple. What can I say ? Four of my Campaign Workers are dead, and six are lying wounded in hospital. I think we need look no further than Ra's al Ghul. That's my opinion. .. Now, if you would be so kind, as to let this fine young lady get on with what is such a special day for her and this city, I would be most grateful.

As it happens, it is a brand new young female reporter leading for GNN that day;

- Well, here we are at the Press Preview Day at Gotham's new Safari Park. It is also the first public engagement for the Joker, after announcing his candidacy for Gotham's Mayoral election.

The Joker is dressed extensively as a clown, escorted by several other clowns, his bodyguards, secretly armed with uzis ! He is giving out balloons to children from a local elementary school, which won a competition to attend the preview day. Then, attention quickly switches to Salina Kyle:

- Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, Honored Guests, .. it is indeed a great pleasure for me to be able to welcome you all here today for a preview of my new Safari Park, and a full two months ahead of schedule, at that. Indeed, it would be entirely remiss of me to neglect to mention, how indebted I am to Wayne Construction, for making such an early opening possible.

There is widespread applause. The Joker, however, as you can imagine, is none too amused at this endorsement for his great rival ! Salina continues:

- Before I welcome our most special guest this afternoon, it is time to reveal the name of the new park, and , for this, I have specially enlisted the services of some children from the Kane Memorial Elementary School. .. Children ...

Everyone applauds them, as they mount the podium. .. The children try hard to pull the drape away, but can't. ... This causes a bit of well-intentioned laughter on the part of the assembled gathering. ...

- ( Salina ) That's okay, boys and girls. .. Just give it one good hard tug !

This the children do, revealing the name, 'The Davis Kyle Safari Park' !

There is exceptionally strong applause at this.

- Thank you, everyone. Thank you, boys and girls. I'm delighted to be here with Mr. Jack Napier, on the occasion of the pre-opening day at our Safari Park.

- I beg your pardon. What did you just call me ?

- ( The Reporter ) Yes, Miss Kyle, what did you just call him ?

- Why, Mr. Jack Napier, that is his name after all, isn't it ?

This has clearly taken the Joker off guard.

- ( Reporter ) And how do you happen to know that, Miss Kyle ?

- Why, I thought it was common knowledge. .. Oh, I am sorry. I didn't realize it was such a closely guarded secret. I suppose, then, that people don't know he is wanted by the Police, for computer hacking offences, or at least he was. I thought that he must have been granted a special amnesty or something, hasn't he ?

- ( Reporter ) No, .. at least not to our knowledge. ... Indeed, our producer has just confirmed that this is news to everybody ! .. ( Turning to the Joker.) Mr. Joker, Sir ! .. Mr. Joker, have you any comment to make on what Miss Kyle has just been saying ?

A number of the press suddenly descend on him vociferously !

- ( Joker ) Honestly, ladies and gentlemen, I have absolutely no idea what Miss Kyle is talking about. .. I can assure you that my name most certainly is not, .. what was that name you used, Miss Kyle, .. Jack who ?

- ( Salina ) Napier.

- ( Joker ) Napier, yes. In fact, I've never heard of the guy.

- ( Salina in a whispered aside to the Joker.) Careful, Jack, you're running the risk of denying yourself three times. .. Incidentally, why isn't Naimh Ross not fronting this public appearance of yours, today ? ( Now addressing him, so that all can hear.) Apologies, Mr. Joker, if I have made a mistake.

- That's quite alright, Miss Kyle. .. Everyone makes mistakes.

- Funny, though, .. I was just talking to someone from the FBI twenty minutes ago, and I could have sworn he thought that was your name.

- ( All the reporters ) The FBI ?

This definitely alarms the Joker, now, and he slowly begins to beat a retreat. He genuinely fears the FBI, now that King Patriot is out of the picture. His clowns, somewhat bewildered at the revelations, are about to draw their firearms, but he signals to them not to.

- ( Salina, with crocodile tears ! ) Oh, I AM sorry. .. It looks as if I've spoken out of turn, again !

Just then, a car speeds up, to meet him. Driving is Harvey Dent, alias Two face !

- ( Two Face ) Quick, get in.

- ( Getting in.) Why, Harvey, where have you been ? .. You look decidedly DRAINED !

- ( Speeding away.) Oh, very good, Joker, .. very good. .. You are in the middle of a real crisis right now, and you can still crack a joke ! .. ( Noticing his boss using his cell phone.) What are you doing ?

- Just making a few calls, to stop the news hitting the airwaves.

- Too late. It was being covered live on the radio. How do you think I knew to come get you ?

- Oh, Shiiiiit ! ! ! ... Where are we going ?

- Back to the safe house.

They make their way as fast as they can, the Joker planning to implement one last big hoorah, before leaving Gotham, and fleeing for safety. He calls Dicks:

- Activate the bombs. Start with the ones in the TV Stations. .. There's no time like the present !

Then he looks to log on with a mini-laptop, but can't get on the Net:

- ( Half banging it.) Hey, .. what's the matter with this thing ?

He looks at the model details:

- It should be okay. It comes from Humanitec, Cobblepot's old company. They 're the best.

But, unbeknown to the Joker, all the computers produced through Oswald's old company have all crashed, fitted with a special component included in their design since their conception:

- ( Oswald ) A kind of insurance policy, ... in case anyone tried to take my company away from me again.

Only this time, as the City's computers go down once more, those used by all in the medical profession, the 'M' Class, keep functioning as normal. Napier hadn't seen any reason not to use systems especially designed to help surgeons and doctors, since it could only enhance his own credibility, to be providing specialist software to medical facilities. These were the only computers not fitted with the disabler component, his 'sleeper', as Oswald liked to call it. This time, absolutely no lives are lost, as the City's computer system fails. Again, traffic lights go down. There is absolute chaos !

- ( Chief O'Hara ) Bad news, Commissioner. Sure, aren't all the computers in the Station down again. ... But there is some good news.

- Yes, Pat ?

- The Joker's men Batman caught the other night are beginning to sing like birds ! ... We've got 'im Commissioner. We've got 'im !

All the disruption of the few days previously returns to the City with a vengeance ! Suddenly, the Joker is more unpopular than ever before.

Then, little by little, TV Channels can start up again. The Undertakers start to hack in to the Media Stations to rectify the 'problem'. They then telephone the companies concerned to inform them they are operating in the name of Oswald Cobblepot, who is offering his services to correct 'mistakes' made by Mr. Napier, and his associates.

A contact number, putting you through to his 'Company' is supplied and announced by all News Presenters.

Oswald's lines are inundated with calls from the Joker's dissatisfied customers, who, of course, get an almost instant solution to their problem !

At last, the Joker and Two Face reach the safe house. Two Face remains in the car, while the Joker enters, but he could never have expected the situation which awaits him there !

The house is now occupied by Ra's al Ghul, and HIS men !

- ( Ghul ) Ah, my friend Mr. Napier, alas, you are surrounded. .. Like Caesar at Alesia, I have YOU fenced in, and my enemies fenced out !

- What do you mean ?

- I control the area all around us. .. My men let you in. Now, there is no way out. I simply waited until you were at your most successful. Then, I pulled the plug on you. It really is true, the greater they are, the harder they fall. You have risen to great heights in Gotham, Now, you are nothing. By your sudden presence here, at the home of your trusted friend, I can only assume that the world now knows who you really are, and that my people have been successful in exposing you in the media. Many countries around the world will now see that I was able to eradicate the most insidious gangster in America. It will serve as the most invaluable advertising one can imagine, .. and yet, I was able to do it with just one man, the man you thought was your ever faithful shoeshine boy. Perhaps now is the most opportune moment to introduce you to the key player in all of this, the joker in the pack, if you will. You know him simply as Perkins, I, however know him by a different name. He has, in fact been in my employ all along.

Ghul brings 'Perkins' out of the shadows

The Joker wants to throw a punch. He is prevented by two of Ghul's ninjas.

- ( Joker ) Why, you Bastard !

- Check and mate, I think. .. Now, it will give me the greatest satisfaction to kill you personally, and see the end of yet another cancer in this wonderful world of ours.

- ( Batman ) Not so fast Ghul.

- ( Ghul ) What ? ... Oh, very good, Batman, .. very good, .. evading three cordons around this house, .. Honestly, when are you going to learn that it is much better to remove these blights from the landscape, permanently ?

- It's not our way, Ghul... I think you have discovered that already. You're just too proud to admit it.

- That's as maybe, but alas, it is much too late, and you are hopelessly trapped by my ninjas.

- Oh, I don't think so. ... Oh, and by the way, you will find, if you put the TV on, that someone else entirely is getting the credit for bringing the Joker down. .. I was listening to everything you just said.

- And so for the latest news here in Gotham. ( Napier is somewhat frustrated, looking at his watch, and wondering why Dicks hasn't exploded his bombs yet.) .. Thanks to the sterling work of Oswald Cobblepot, alias the Penguin, and the Undertakers, his group of crime-fighting vigilantes, Jack Napier's conspiracy has been exposed for what it was. .. I certainly know where I'm going to buy my next computer.

- You're not going to get any credit whatsoever, Ghul. And, by the way, it was Salina Kyle, not your men, who blew the whistle on Napier's identity.

- What ? ... Okay, but even you can't stop me killing Napier.

- Maybe I can't. .. But I know someone else who can.

Suddenly, the lights go out, and Ghul feels his gun wrenched from his hand, and knocked aside. Batman knocks ' Perkins ' and one other senseless, and, when one of Ghul's men turns the light back on, courtesy of Caveman, Napier has disappeared !

- Now you see him, now you don't. .. I may not know the secret of your visions, Ghul, but. it's obvious you didn't see that one coming !

- You can't get away, you know. My men will know there is something wrong by now. They will take you, and I will force you to work for me. .. I have ways, you know.

- Sorry to disappoint your men, but they will never find me. As for you, alas, I'm not able to bring you to justice as well. I can only take comfort from the fact that you have not been seen to have done anything to defeat Napier. It has been some of Gotham's own citizens that can claim the credit for that. All I can say is, get out of this country fast. .. There is absolutely no place in America for a crime-fighter like you. Adieu !

And, with that, he switches off the light, and exits the way he entered past the cordons, down through the drain, close to the house !

- ( Ghul to himself ) Well done, Mr. Wayne, well done. .. you have finally learned the value of the waiting game. I will do as you say. There is nothing for me anymore in this country, at least for the time being. Let the viruses come, and reap their harvest. It is a corrupt nation, deserving of such judgment. ... Au revoir,Batman.

Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, Dick has been frantically searching for Doodles, but to no avail:

- Doodles ! ... Come here, boy ! ... It's okay, boy. Everything's okay.

It has been over an hour and thirty minutes he has been looking. ... Then, suddenly, he notices something by the Manor Gate.

Back in the City drain system, as Napier finds himself bundled away to a strategic part of the Caveman's domain, he comes face to face with Two Face.

- Two Face. Thank God it's you !

- What's this, Jack ? .. You're thanking God, now.

- Very good, Dent. .. Very funny. .. You're learning ! ..Okay, where are the rest of the men ?

- Oh, sorry, Jack. ... I'm not here to rescue you again. .. I reckon I did that once too often, already. .. As for the men, your Clowns, it seems they have all deserted you, now that they know who you really are. No, .. see it was me who set up this little operation, to bring you to justice, at long last.

- I don't understand, Harvey.

- I'm not in the least bit surprised, Jack. .. You see, I've been 100 per cent ashamed of what has happened to Gotham, since you took over. I only stayed loyal to you long enough to even a few scores for a few associates, who didn't deserve to die as they did. .. It's ironic, Jack. .. I'm not Assistant Commissioner anymore, but finally, I've played my part in bringing someone like you before the Courts.

Just then Batman catches up with them:

- ( Batman ) Well, .. are we ready ?

- ( Napier, disparagingly ) Ready for what, Batman ?

- ( Batman ) Ready for you to go to jail, Jack.

- ( Napier ) Maybe that's all a little, how you say, .. premature.

Whereupon, Napier produces a sharp piece of glass he had picked up, while pretending to stumble a matter of minutes before. He places the glass next to his own throat. He continues:

- You'll never take me back alive... I'd sooner die, first.

- Why, Jack ? ... You still have something to live for.

- Honestly, Batman, if you knew anything about me, you'd know there is nothing.

- What about your little girl ?

- ( Napier becomes even more intense at this.) How dare you even mention her ?

- You think that they are dead, don't you, ... your wife and child ?

- Of course. ... It's true, isn't it ? ... Well, .. isn't it ?.

- It's some kind of a trick. ... Nice try, Batman !

- They're alive Jack, ... It's no trick, I promise you. ... They survived the fire, Jack. ... I know their new address. .. Look, I have a recent photo.

Batman hands him a photograph.

- It can't be... It can't be.

He takes one look at the picture, and falls to the floor. Batman and Two Face quickly throw the piece of glass

away .They all then make their way towards Police Headquarters. Napier, himself, now feels rather relieved that Dicks hasn't exploded those bombs.

Meanwhile, also in an undisclosed underground location, the Penguin, Molly and the Undertakers are all joined in celebrating their success in helping to thwart the Joker's plans.

- ( Penguin ) To success, Ladies and gentlemen, to success, ... and thank you, one and all, .. for it looks very much as if I have my company back, and most of you a job ! Eh ? ... Ha, ha, ha, ha !

They all laugh together. .Oswald continues:

What say ye to another game of football, ay ?

- Yeah, sure. ! ! !

They all head towards their subterranean playing area !

Elsewhere, acting on information received, several officers of the Law arrive to release Naimh Ross from her studio prison:

- (Naimh, cynically ) Why, thank you. ... I was wondering when someone would figure that I was missing, and come rescue me.

- ( Officer ) Actually, Miss, it was only after receiving inside information, that we realized you were missing in the first place.

- ( Brushing herself down ) Typical, .. just typical.

As Batman is presenting Napier and Two Face to a rather disbelieving police force at Gotham City HQ, he is greeted by James Gordon, accompanied by two senior FBI officers:

- Congratulations, Batman, on a job well done ! Why, bringing in the Joker would have been an unbelievable feat, but to bring in Two Face as well ...

- Thank you, Commissioner, but I WOULD like it to go on Mr. Dent's record that he played an indispensable role in the events leading to Mr. Napier's arrest. He was also able to confirm that the news reporter, Naimh Ross was, in fact being held against her will, by Mr. Napier, and forced to make broadcasts on his behalf. He also provided the information as to the location of Miss Ross, which I have since passed on to your officers.

- Duly noted, Batman, duly noted. ... How remiss of me. .. May I introduce Agents Alex Frasier and Ford Harrison. .. They have been charged by the Government to conduct the overall investigation and oversee the proceedings leading to the Joker's trial.

At this moment, in rushes Robin. He draws Batman aside to a private place:

It's Dicks. .. He's got Doodles !


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