6: Enter the Iceman
Notes: I know I made a mistake in the layout of the Penthouse. Sorry about that. And I do know that his backup for the Batcave was at the Wayne owned docks, with the entrance to that place hidden in a shipping container there, but I figured he should have one set up under the Penthouse since that is where they are stationed now. It makes it easier for me, anyway. Then I don't have to keep up with that, what I consider, a minor detail.
Chapter Six: Enter the Iceman
The Tumbler turned onto the bridge heading back toward the penthouse, located not too far from Wayne Tower. Back to the underground hideaway of Batman until the mansion was rebuilt and the Batcave accessible.
The tires lost purchase suddenly, sending the vehicle spinning toward the side of the bridge. Batman steered, hitting the brakes, but it was as if the Tumbler had hit a patch of ice. Richard held onto the doorframe, closing his eyes and praying in Romani.
Batman managed to get the vehicle stopped just as the rear right side panel bumped into the barrier dividing the roadway from the Finger River below. The vehicle, for the most part, was still facing the direction that they had been headed. Richard eased back down into the seat, looking over at Batman who just shook his head, unsure of what had just happened.
“Stay inside. I am going to take a look.” The top of the car opened, and the seat rose. Batman jumped out, and immediately wished he hadn’t.
The entire bridge was covered with a thin sheet of ice. Batman found his balance quickly, holding onto the side of the Tumbler to keep himself steady.
“What could have caused this?” He asked as he studied the black ice beneath his feet. While not exactly winter time in Gotham, it was certainly warm enough that ice would melt at a rapid rate, but this was not showing any signs of melting at all. It was as solid as a frozen lake.
“It’s not natural,” Richard stated, climbing over into the driver’s seat to look down at the ground.
“Dark magic of some sort?”
Richard shook his head. “No. There is nothing magical about this. I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t magic.”
“We need to get off this bridge,” Batman stated, motioning the boy back to his own seat. “We are sitting ducks here.”
“How right you are, Batman.” The voice was deep, but sounded strange, as if coming from inside a box.
The man who stood behind them about fifty feet looked as if he were more machine than man. He wore heavy metal armor of a dark blue color that covered everything but his head. Over his head he wore glass that covered his entire head and melted into the armor. His skin was deathly pale, and he wore goggles over his eyes. There was an apparatus attached to his back with tubes that ran into the armor and he carried a gun like weapon that flared out at the end.
“Who are you?” Batman asked, pivoting around to face this new advisory.
“They call me Mr. Freeze and the Joker sent me to put you on ice.” With that he raised the weapon and aimed it at Batman. “I feel that I must tell you this is nothing personal. It is just what I must do.”
Batman had just a few seconds. He hit the panel on the Tumbler door, sealing the top closed, protecting the boy from attack and threw himself away from the vehicle, coming up in a roll on the far side of the bridge. His footing was questionable at best, and he slid around, surprised he was able to find his footing at all.
The blast from Mr. Freeze’s weapon coated the left side of the Tumbler where Batman had just been standing. The ray followed him across the bridge. Batman, knowing he could not run, did the next best thing. He used the grappling gun, firing it up, and when it latched onto the suspension cable high above, he propelled up and out of the way of the freeze ray.
“Clever, Batman. Very clever,” Mr. Freeze commented while approaching the Tumbler. He stopped just behind the Tumbler, his eyes on the Batman above. He had no trouble traversing the ice at all. “But that won’t save you.” He pointed the freeze ray again, but he never had a chance to use it.
Because right at the moment when he began to pull the trigger, the afterburner of the Tumbler flared out, the fire blast hitting Mr. Freeze solidly.
He screamed in panic and threw himself backward. The freeze ray fell from his hand and skittered across the bridge, finally tumbling into the river below. The Tumbler, the left half of it covered in ice, could only spin the tires, but the ice was beginning to crack under the power of the engine. Mr. Freeze got to his feet, his eyes glowing red.
“I will find you again, Batman, and the next time I do it will not end well for you.” With that, he proceeded to the railing on the bridge, and without looking back, jumped over and off of the bridge into the river below.
The Tumbler’s tires screeched to a halt and the afterburner died down. Batman landed back on the bridge, and sure that Mr. Freeze would not be coming back soon, slid across the ice to the vehicle.
“Richard! Are you alright?” He yelled, using the metal barbs on his gloves to chip away at the ice.
“Yeah,” the boy answered, his voice muffled from inside the vehicle. “I’m okay.”
Once enough ice was chipped off, the top of the Tumbler opened, displacing even more ice. Richard had a scowl on his face as he stood up in the seat. Batman reached inside and called Commissioner Gordon. He explained what had happened and about the condition of the bridge.
“I will send some police to cordon the bridge off until City Maintenance can figure out how to unfreeze it.” He sighed. “My boys had trouble getting that girl into a police car and then into a jail. She is a strong one.”
“Keep an eye on her. She will try to escape, and I think the Joker might send someone to help her.”
“The Joker? Isn’t he dead?” Gordon sighed again. “I will take care of it. Thanks, Batman.”
“What are we going to do?” Richard asked, still chipping away ice with a batarang.
“Get this scepter to Willow before the Joker sends anyone else after us,” Batman answered. It took a few tries, but the Tumbler was finally able to break free and roll steadily on the ice until the end of the bridge without too much trouble. Once they were off the ice, Batman pressed the accelerator and they took off for their destination, hoping they didn’t run into anything else on their way.
Jim Gordon hung up the phone, leaned back in his chair, and ran his hands over his face. He didn’t know everything that was going on, but he had been a cop long enough to know that some of the things that he was hearing from police and citizens alike were not the norm, even for the criminal aspect of Gotham City. He didn’t believe in ghosts or anything like that, but he had to admit that for some things there was only one explanation, no matter how farfetched that explanation may seem.
He wasn’t even going to begin to try and figure out how the entire police station had been frozen in time, as the news had stated it, last year. Even with all the evidence pointing to this as truth, he could not wrap his head around it at all.
The Joker being alive was another thing. He had seen the man’s body in that warehouse, burned to a crisp, and then slammed up against the wall. The DNA matched from a few years ago when they had had him in custody. He did know how he had been injured in such a way, he hadn’t even asked, but he had known for certain that the man was dead.
Then why was he up and walking around, terrorizing the city of Gotham again, and retaking up his quest to destroy the Batman?
He had tried talking to the young woman that his men had brought in, who had tried to break into the museum and had attacked Batman, but she was a nutcase, pure and simple. All she did was smile like a loon, and hum to herself, sometimes breaking out in hysterical fits of laughter. After just five minutes, he had given up, and had her moved to a cell. Once locked up she had begun singing silly songs at the top of her voice and dancing around.
“Put a smile on the face of Gotham,
The Joker will rid you of all your sanity
Laughter is the best medicine
Won’t you come and laugh with me?”
Gordon was sure the girl was up for a trip to Arkham. She was as insane as the Joker had been, or was, but she made even less of a secret of it as he had, or was, or did.
Gordon sighed again, wanting nothing more than to go home, kiss his wife, hug his children, and then go to bed. He had already sent several officers to cordon off the bridge and had awakened the head of City Maintenance up to take care of the ice covered bridge. The morning commute was going to be a hassle. They would have to have cops out there to redirect traffic. He should probably call the TV and radio stations so they could put out an alert for commuters tomorrow about the bridge being shut down. And who knows how long it would take to clean it up and get it ready for traffic again.
Gordon had just picked up the phone again when there was loud explosion from the first floor. It shook the entire building, rattled every window. Gordon could hear glass breaking, and people cursing as they made their way to the site of the explosion. He waited just long enough to make sure the building was not coming down around them.
Dropping the phone, he pulled his gun and ran out of his office. Other officers were already running to the source of the explosion.
“What the hell is happening?” Gordon asked anyone who was near.
“Someone just blew open the front door, literally.”
Gordon and the others, weapons drawn and at the ready, made their way down the stairs and into the blasted area. Desks and chairs were blown apart, police officers were lying here and there, and paper was flying everywhere.
“Where are they?”
“I knew he wouldn’t leave me here to rot,” the young woman commented, standing up from behind an over turned desk. In her hand was a grenade launcher. “I so want to use this, but he has told me not to unless I feel I am threatened, so back off, piggies, or I will start blastin’ away.” She backed out of the hole in the wall where the front door used to be, keeping the grenade launcher fixed on Gordon and his men. Gordon was pleased to see she still wore the cuffs that Batman had put on her. “Ta-ta, boys! Next time won’t be so pretty.”
She fired the grenade launcher, but at the ceiling, collapsing it to keep them from following her. Cursing, Gordon kicked a chair that was lying near him. He was starting to think about early retirement.
“Can I go back out with you tomorrow night?” Richard asked, climbing from the Tumbler.
“Maybe.” Was all the Batman said. He held the scepter in his hand, staring at it in what could only be dubbed as disgust. “We need to get this to Willow.”
An alarm from the computer in the room and the Tumbler went off at once. Batman made his way to the computer and the screen opened up on the Gotham City Police Department. The front door area was in shambles.
“The Joker. He got Kennedy out.” Batman’s voice was cold and hard as steel.
“What are we going to do?”
“We are going to do nothing. You are going to take this to Willow and I am going to go back out and see if I can find Kennedy and the Joker.”
“Wait!” Richard cried, holding the scepter that had been put into his hands out at arm’s length. “What if you need help? What if…”
“Stay here!” The command was issued with a tone that endured no disobedience. Batman returned to the Tumbler and was soon gone, leaving Richard to stare after him.
He had a bad feeling and not just from the scepter he was holding. Sighing, he went to the elevator and pushed the button for Willow’s floor.