Chapter #8: Need to Know
CHAPTER #8: NEED TO KNOW
“The other members of the Council call Alexander and Faith’s group the Wild Bunch for a reason and the last thing the world needs is the two of them butting heads with the Batman.”
Although she would deny it until her dying day, Director Amanda Waller basked in the moment of silence that her last, admittedly overly melodramatic, statement had caused. After years of so-called ‘Mystery Men’ melting out of the shadows, dropping a cryptic statement and then fading into the night only leaving more questions, she was relishing the chance to finally turn the tables on one of the men who had caused her so many headaches over the years.
She considered for a moment introducing the rich boy to the brooding drama queen that had broken into her hotel room in L.A. three months ago, until Bruce interrupted her musing right on schedule.
“Explain.” He growled.
She gave the former Dark Knight a considering look before ignoring the command and going off on a tangent.
“I’m surprised you never asked me why I switched sides from CADMUS to The League so quickly.”
Bruce had played this game before and knew that he would get his information, but only after the government agent had said her piece. He was not, however in any mood to wait gracefully, so he raised a questioning eyebrow as expected, but added a snort of impatience to let the woman know his dissatisfaction.
“Everyone had their areas of expertise,” She continued. “Professors Hamilton and Milo handled the sciences, General Eiling; the military, Doctor Hugo Strange did target profiles…With my position in the government I was mostly responsible for research. Not just on the League, but on the individual ‘heroes’ and their pasts.”
She paused for a moment to straighten an imaginary wrinkle in her suit.
“I found out I had been wrong. When I joined the project I had thought that you, the boy-scout and the League were something new,” She looked up into the eyes of her audience. “You’re not. You’ve always been here. Oh, the names and the faces change over time, but there have been ‘Mystery Men’ for a very long time and you always feel the need to form a club.”
“Now we have The Justice League in your satellite, and you and your protégés in Gotham. There is also The Question in Chicago and Angel in L.A.,” Amanda managed to hold in the smirk at the thought of the trouble that dropping the ensouled vampire’s name to The Dark Knight would cause the two brooders and then continued. “During World War Two there was The Justice Society as well as The Spirit in New York, The Phantasm in Chicago and The Shadow in Los Angeles. At the turn of the century London was home to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, while the U.S. had Doc Savage on the East Coast, The Fox in San Francisco and a host of masked gunslingers.”
Looking into the eyes of her impassive audience the woman took a deep breath.
“And there has always been The Slayer.” BTVS****DC****BTVS****DC
With a surge of motion the Dark Knight grabbed the one-eyed man by his shirt and slammed him up and against the wall.
“Why are you in Gotham!?” He growled.
Silence, at last.
Dick Grayson was honest enough with himself to admit that the demon hunters had gotten to him. Something the old man would have never allowed. Even as Robin, Dick had grown used to walking into a room and having everyone’s undivided attention. Even the most powerful beings on the planet would take notice when a member of the ‘Bat-clan’ entered the room, but these four…kids…had shrugged him off as nothing more than an excuse to sharpen, what passed for, their witty banter.
The banter had ended.
The doorway to the kitchen, where the red-head had disappeared to, was in full view to the caped-crusader’s left; the dark skinned girl, Rona, had gotten up from the couch and moved into view to the right, and Faith?…The new model Dark Knight could feel her hard eyes boring into his skull as she sauntered, with loose-boned grace, to a point two feet to his right and slouched against the wall with a thump that Dick was sure was intended to let Harris know that she had placed herself on the watcher’s blind side.
With well hidden gratification, Batman watched as the one-eyed man he held up by his lapels reacted as expected. His single eye dilated and darted around the room while his tongue darted out nervously to moisten suddenly dry lips, and finally, right on cue, a single bead of sweat formed on the man's left temple...
...Only to fade.
The eye, still dilated, settled on Dick's masked features and the California native's still dry lips pursed slightly before settling once again into a lop-sided smirk.
“Nice intimidation technique,” The watcher complimented, the first word squeaking before he managed to regain full control of his nerves. “What do you think, Faith? On a scale of one to Deadboy.”
The scowl on the woman in question's face deepened.
“Yo, X, we talked about that 'Deadboy' shit.”
“Okay, okay, on a scale of one to Captain Hair-jell.”
“Xander.” She warned.
“Sir-Broods-a-Lot? The Fore-head Avenger? Mister Swirling-Coat-King-of-Pain?”
“Yeah, Reilly told me that one. I kinda like it.”
The Batman growled.
Faith growled, then snorted.
“Fine, whatever. I'll give the vamp wannabe a six. What do think Rona?”
The dark skinned girl looked the vigilante up and down for a moment.
“Well he's been holding Xander up against the wall for a few minutes now,” She shrugged. “And the growl is good for some bonus points, so I'll give him a solid 7.5. What do you think, Vi?”
“Huh?” came a distracted voice from behind The Dark Knight.
With effort Dick kept himself from flinching, or turning in shock. When had she left the kitchen? How had she gotten behind him?
“Sorry,” Apologized the voice of the red-head. “I got distracted by the skin-tight body-suit. What was the question?”
“We so need to get you laid,” Rona groaned.
“I rest my case,” she smirked.
Xander cleared his throat to regain the two girls' attention.
“Now the way I see it. Bat-guy,” He stated having now completely regained his composure despite his feet being nearly six inches from the ground. “This can go one of two ways.”
“The first is you start hitting me. Of course, Faith might let you take a swing just to see what happens...”
“Nah, I still got that overprotective newlywed thing going on.”
“...But,” The watcher continued un-fazed. “The two lovely ladies behind you don't like to see me get hurt.”
“Gotta say I'm curious,” Rona piped in.
“You can take him boss,” Vi cheered, both girls with less-than sincere smiles on their faces.
Xander closed his eye and shook his head.
“Now, having proven my amazing judgment skills, I'm thinking you're going to go for option number two, where you put me down and we all go into the kitchen, sit down, and discuss things like we're all adults.”
Rona cleared her throat.
“I said, like
we're adults.” he defended. BTVS****DC****BTVS****DC
“Who is The Slayer?”
Director Amanda Waller stared into the former Dark Knight's eyes for a moment as if trying to read his thoughts. Bruce could tell that the conversation had suddenly taken a dramatic turn away from where the government agent had expected it to go.
“You really don't know, do you?” the question escaped the woman's lips as a whisper.
The Detective allowed the silence in the back of the car to stretch while the agent gathered her thoughts. After a few minutes she took a deep breath and returned his gaze with her usual confidence.
“The Watcher's Council is a group dedicated to hunting demons, Bruce,” She started. “You won't find the answers you're looking for by checking their bank statements and looking into the enrollment records of their schools.”
“You can't understand The Watchers until you understand about The Slayer.”
The interior lights of the limo seemed to dim as the man who was once Gotham's Avenger leaned forward, his face intense and demanding.
“Then tell me about The Slayer,” He hissed.
She shook her head.
“I'm the wrong person to ask,” Amanda denied. “You're The Great Detective. You have the contacts. Talk to Fate, or Jason Blood, they'll know more than I do. Hell until seven years ago the U.S. Government thought that The Slayer was a myth.”
“Until General Eiling and CADMUS decided to get clever, that is.”
His eyes never leaving the woman's face, Bruce leaned back in his seat and waited.
“You have to understand,” Waller continued after a moment. “At the time CADMUS's biggest concern was Superman. Milo tried to control Doomsday so that monster could be used as a balancing agent against the boy scout. When Milo died and Doomsday escaped, we had nothing, but Eiling had gotten his hands on some enriched kryptonite and he had a plan.”
“He found the remains of one of F.D.R.s pet World War II projects in the basement of The Pentagon. Something called the Demon Research Initiative and recruited one of Strange's colleagues, a doctor Maggie Walsh, to head up the program,”
Director Waller grimaced and shook her head. “I won't go into what Doctor Walsh and her scientist did to the subjects they captured, but they did manage to come up with a method of dissecting demons without disrupting the creatures' magical auras. They...harvested...the parts that best fit their needs and then proceeded, with the help of a cybernetic interface provided by Luthor, to graph those parts to the remains of a young solder that had had an 'accident' working under Eiling's command. As a finishing touch Walsh inserted a kryptonite reactor to power her creation.”
The government agent's normally commanding presents shrank slightly as she slouched down in her seat. After a second Amanda reached slowly into her jacket and pulled out a plain computer disk in an unmarked case.
“I came baring gifts,” She said with a tired smile. “I can't tell you what a Slayer is, but I can give you a clue.”
She carefully placed the case on the seat beside her and then turned back to Bruce Wayne, most of her confidence having returned.
“So, tell me Rich Boy, have you ever wondered what it was like to see a girl barely out of high school terminate a...thing...That had been specifically designed to stop Superman?”
When she didn't receive an answer she turned her head towards the front of the car.
“This is my stop, Alfred.”
“Of course, Director Waller.”
Looking back in through the open door, Director Amanda Waller couldn't restrain the need for a knowing smirk and a parting shot as she looked in at the former super hero.
“By the way, Rich Boy, if you do talk to Blood, ask him if Etrigan would rather face off against The Justice League, or The Scooby Gang. I'm curious.”
The woman smiled to herself as she watched the car pull away. It was fun being the cryptic messenger for a change. The smile faded away with a sigh a moment later when she looked up and down the deserted stretch of road where she now stood. She made a mental note to work on her 'dramatic exits'.
She had just reached for her cell phone to call for a cab when the device began to ring.
“This is Waller,” She answered.
“Director Waller, this is agent Ramirez. You wanted to be informed when the McGinnes woman went into labor. She was admitted into Gotham General ten minutes ago.”
“Excellent work, Ramirez. Oh, and Ramirez, I'm on the corner of 8th and Exposition send a car to pick me up.”
She definitely needed to work on her dramatic exits. ****BTVS****DC****BTVS****DC
The Great Detective held the disk case up to the light as the car pulled away from the curb.
“Alfred, contact Oracle,” He said absently. “And have her...”
“If I may, Master Bruce,” The aging butler interrupted. “I've already sent a text message to Ms. Grayson. I have no doubt that we will have all the information on this 'Angel' person by tomorrow afternoon.”
“Thank you, Alfred,” The billionaire said. “I don't know what I would do without you.”
“I'm sure I don't know, sir. Most likely you would find yourself wandering about in extremely wrinkled clothing.”
“You're probably right. In any case get in touch with...”
“Mr. Nelson's phone is ringing now, sir. Should I route it back to you?”
“That would be great, Alfred,” Bruce agreed, the corners of his mouth turning slightly upward. Some times the aging vigilante wondered if maybe the reality of the situation was that Alfred was the legendary 'Great Detective' and that he was the sidekick. Kent Nelson answered the phone on the third ring.
“Bruce, old friend,” Came the cheerful voice on the other end of the line. “To what do I owe the pleasure of a call?”
Back to business.
“What can you tell me about The Slayer?”
The silence on the other end of the call stretched for nearly two minutes. When the voice on the other end of the line returned it was no longer the voice of Kent Nelson, but the echoing voice of Doctor Fate.
“Batman,” Asked the voice of Fate. “Do you still keep the same hours?” When Bruce grunted in assent the mystic continued. “I will meet you in the cave at 3a.m.”
“This line is secure.” The Detective prodded.
“I know, but I want to look you in the eye when I lose your friendship.” **END CHAPTER #8** A/N:
In the interest of clearing up a something that may cause some confusion (And possibly preventing some readers from wasting time on wikipedia) I would like to take this opportunity to point out that two of the persons mentioned by Director Waller are OCs and, since it is unlikely that they will be mentioned again in this story, give a brief overview of the characters (Also my mind came up with backgrounds and it seemed a waste not to mention them ) ;) The Fox:
A direct descendant of Zorro. Changed the name of his alter ego due to the atmosphere of turn of the century America. Also made slight changes to his costume. Had a brief and inconclusive run in with a certain mayor of a certain L.A. Suburb. Faked his own death and retired when the U.S. Navy began pursuing him after his actions during 'The Zuite Suit Riots'. The Phantasm:
A member of the trench coat and fedora set, private eye and spy buster during WWII. Raised in ye olde hidden Tibetan monastery. Not in Batman's, or Shiva's league as a martial artist, but better then...say...The Question, or Oliver Queen. His big gimmick was the ability to teleport between shadows. Disappeared in the early part of 1944.