Tang Ri Shan

Red Wings

(Sequel to Conundrum. Written on request from Superfan 44. Enjoy!)

The millions of stars that studded the night sky seemed to sparkle as they gazed down on the vast expanse of Gotham City. They twinkled over the labyrinth of silent skyscrapers, and deserted streets. In parts of Old Gotham, the stars were the only lights available, but in New Gotham, the streetlights outshone the stars in terms of illumination.

Had any stars been looking down at a specific intersection of streets, they would have noticed a black sedan race through the pool of light provided by a certain streetlight, and disappearing into the shadows again. The sedan was followed seconds later by a second black automobile that had a bat-themed motif to it. After that car had crossed the pool and disappeared into the shadows, a third vehicle appeared. This one was a motorcycle, which slowed and paused at the edge of the pool of light. Its rider, a tall, fit female, watched through the slightly opaque visor in her helmet as the two cars raced away down the street. She reached up and tapped a small gadget on her wrist.

"Oracle, he's on the move. Heading east on 56th St. Batman's in pursuit. Can you see them?" She spoke aloud, seemingly to no one.

"Yeah, I see them. Thank god for traffic cameras" A young girl's voice chuckled in the woman's ear. "They're going pretty fast!"

"Any ideas where our perp is heading?" The woman asked.

"Don't know exactly where he's going, but he appears to be heading towards the waterfront" The girl replied. "Why is it that bad guys always seem to head for the docks? Is that like some bad guy law?" The voice giggled at her joke and Katana chuckled as well.

"Focus, both of you" A deep voice suddenly cut into the conversation. "Oracle, keep trying to ID him, Katana, circle around to the waterfront via the expressway and cut him off. I'll stay on his trail. We can't let this killer get away"

"Copy that" The woman heard over her earpiece as she revved her motorcycle, then spun it around, aiming the bike towards a nearby ramp leading up to an overpass. As the woman floored the bike accelerator, she felt a sudden chill creep down her spine, like she was being watched. Glancing around, and seeing no one, she squeezed the throttle and raced away up the ramp.

A few seconds after Katana had left, a headlight suddenly lit up from a shadowy corner and there was a faint squeak as a smaller motorcycle was wheeled out from behind a concrete pillar. Its rider, shorter than Katana by a couple of feet, paused and glanced up at the ramp Katana had taken. Shaking his head, the helmeted figure mounted his cycle and kick-started it. With a roar, the bike surged forward and the figure was off, following the trail Katana had taken.

Unknown to either of them, a third figure had been watching the entire thing from a nearby rooftop. Upon watching the second man roar away, the figure followed his progress from the rooftop until he came to the edge. Watching the figure roar away, he took a deep breath and pressed a button on his belt. Taking a running start, he leapt off the edge of the building and angled his fall towards the road below. Stiffening his arms, he lifted them away from his sides, revealing red-and-black 'feathers' that trailed from the sides of his body and followed his arms. With a click, red 'feathers' extended past the figure's hands and as he spread his arms, his descent gradually slowed until he was going more out than down. Angling his body, the winged figure darted through the air like a bullet in pursuit of the two motorcycles.

Within a few minutes, the figure came across the second motorcycle, which was closing in on Katana. From his vantage point, he could see that the second rider had turned his headlight off and staying directly behind Katana's motorcycle, matching her turn for turn. The figure frowned, why would he do that? Then he noticed the rider take one hand off of the handlebar and reach for something at his belt, a holster. The figure frowned, and then pressed a hidden button on his palm. With a small hiss, he shot forwards like a rocket, angling his wings downward he flew upwards until he was level with the top of a nearby building. Rolling his body, her flipped over and began a steep dive, gathering speed as he rocketed towards the pair of motorcycles below. He winced as he heard a shot go off, followed a few seconds later by an exclamation of pain. The second motorcycle wobbled, as its rider cursed, shaking one of his hands like it had been burned.

Meanwhile Katana had accelerated, rocketing ahead. Before the man could follow, the winged figure was upon him. Sensing his presence, or maybe he had just happened to glance into his rear-view mirror, the man glanced behind him as the figure bore down on him. Seeing the man's hand go for something in his pocket, the figure lashed out with his feet. There was a crack as the left foot made contact and the rider screamed in pain, now waving his left hand. His motorcycle began to wobble, then suddenly began to fishtail. Brakes squealing, the motorcycle dropped out of its lane and skidded towards the guard rail for the overpass. The man gave a muffled cry and jumped, abandoning his vehicle, which crashed into the guardrail and exploded into a small inferno. The seat and the rear tire, however, flipped over the guardrail and fell over the side, smashing against the hard pavement two stories below.

The figure rolled over the hard concrete before coming to rest face down. He began to struggle shakily to his feet, but froze when something dropped in front of him with a thud. Glancing up, he saw the winged figure rise up in front of him, wings outstretched. The glow from the streetlights and the burning motorcycle lit up the figure's black-and-red outfit and the red 'feathers' of the figure's wings. The only thing that wasn't black was the figure's face, except for his short black hair, and the black domino mask that covered his eyes and nose.

The rider muttered something illegible and the figure cocked his head.

"Sorry, I didn't quite get that" He spoke in a youthful, but serious-sounding voice.

The rider scrambled to his feet, rising two feet taller than his assailant, and drew a switchblade from a pocket "You one of Batman's punks?" He snarled flipping the knife so the blade gleamed in the light.

The figure frowned and spread his arms to display his wings. "Do I look like a bat to you?" He asked. The man started to respond, but the figure held out a hand. "On second thought, I don't care what you think" He smiled, then lunged forward, spreading his wings, drawing the front of his body back, causing his legs to flip up and he kicked out. His foot made contact with the rider's helmet and it cracked, throwing the rider backwards. He landed with a thud and didn't move. The knife went flying and skidded along the asphalt, coming to rest a short distance away.

The figure landed lightly and surveyed his handiwork with a smile before the sound of police sirens reached his ears. "Guess that's my cue." He glanced around, before running to the edge of the overpass and leaping over the guardrail. Spreading his arms, he allowed his wings to catch the air and soared away over the streetlights of the road below just as a police car appeared on the overpass. It skidded to a stop next to the wreckage.

Two officers jumped out, one rushed over to the unconscious man, the other over to the wrecked motorcycle.

"Well, here's what caused that explosion we were called in about" The man by the bike stated, staring down at the smoldering ruins.

"Gee, ya think?" The second officer rolled his eyes before reaching down to feel the man's neck. "I've got a pulse. He's alive." There was relief in his voice.

"Any ideas what happened?" The first officer replied, reaching for his cell phone to call an ambulance.

"You got me. The caller said he heard an explosion, but doesn't look like anyone saw what had happened." The second officer shrugged.

But someone had seen what had happened. Two miles away, a redheaded teenage girl's jaw dropped as she stared at the images replaying on her computer screen, of the winged figure descending on the motorcycle. Freezing the frame, she picked up her cell phone lying beside her on the desk and typed a code on the screen before holding it to her ear.

A few rings later, there was a click "Batman" A deep voice answered.

"Remember that winged figure you spotted a few nights ago? Well, he's shown up again" Oracle reported grimly.


"He got the drop on someone who tried to ambush Katana, I-I saw the whole thing" Oracle paused.

"What's wrong?" The voice asked.

"There's something...something about this guy, something I don't like." Oracle confessed, though for some reason her cheeks suddenly felt hot.

"You and me both. Have you located the killer?" The voice growled and Oracle blinked, as if released from a trance.

"Uh...no, I'm on it" Her fingers were flashing across the keyboard as she spoke, but as she worked, she couldn't get the image of the winged figure out of ehr head.

Who was he?

I gotta admit, I was not expecting to make a sequel with my Beware the Batman story, but when Superfan wrote me with this offer, I just couldn't say no!

Anyway, here's the first chapter. Not sure how often I'll be updating, but I always finish a story I start, so you can expect more updates soon!

Until then, stay tuned!