Disclaimer: I DO NOT in any form or fashion own these characters. All credit goes directly to DC entertainment and comics. They are the owners not me, I'm in no shape or form making any money from this story. Alright, let's get on with the show.

Hey there DC Nation and Bat Nation, welcome back to another chapter in my Batman Beyond Saga. I hope everyone enjoyed the last chapter because we're diving head first into the next one. The Court of Owls arc is beginning to wind down but that does not mean the action stops. Sit back, Relax and enjoy, but please remember to leave a Review it is a writer's main source of motivation.


Chapter 9: The Court of Owls part Nine

Bat-Cave

Batman was the first to reach the white masked Lincoln and he came in with a fast punch to the head, but Lincoln ducked and tried to slash him across the stomach. Batman used his fin to deflect the knife.

Lincoln twisted and thrusted his head forward for a headbutt and that rattled Batman's jaw. He then grabbed his bat-themed foe and shoulder threw him to the ground. Lincoln could see out the corner of his eye Damian approaching. He moved away from Batman to his true enemy, his brother the last legacy of Bruce Wayne.


Damian flew in with a knee that nailed Lincoln in the chest making him step back. Lincoln came down with a downward slash from his knife, but Damian blocked it with his own fins, but he missed the knee from Lincoln to his stomach. He grunted as he took the knee and he pushed against Lincoln trying to gain the upper hand.

"Getting weak in your old age brother? Or is that poison finally killing you." Lincoln whispered.

Damian pushed to the left throwing them both off balance. They both fell to the ground but turned the fall into a roll and were back up on their feet. Damian turned and kicked Lincoln in the face with a round house. He felt a small sense of satisfaction when he felt his foot make contact.

DEEET! DEET! Came a loud beeping sound.

Damian looked down to see several mini bombs at his feet. He gasped but just as they detonated, he was tackled out of the way by Batman.

BOOOOOOOOOOM! Came the small explosion.


Batman and Damian hit the ground roughly but neither had time to dwell on it because the other talons were quickly upon them. Both were hard pressed to defend themselves from the swords that were trying to skewer them.

Damian blocked a sword with his shin guard and then swept the Talon off of her feet. He flipped up and shoulder rammed another Talon in the chest and rammed him into the two that were behind him. He whipped around with the Talon in his grip and used the man's body to block the throwing stars that came from Lincoln. The sharp stars split the Talon's skull in two spraying blood all over Damian, but he did not care, it was not the first time or the last time he would be covered in blood.

Damian dropped the dead foe and began to charge in the direction of Lincoln who removed the sword that was strapped to his back. The two combatants yelled as they met each other in the middle, locked in a struggle of wits and strength. Damian and Lincoln were forearm to forearm pushing against the other.

"Tonight, one of us will die and then we'll see who the true heir really is." Said Lincoln.

"Neither of us has to die but you are leaving me no other option." Damian replied.

"There is no other option, there is only the mission, and the mission is to kill you." He said.


Lincoln came across with his sword, but Damian dodged it, he then blocked the next two slashes from his former sword. The last gift he received from his father, the same sword that he used to kill Two-Face about twenty-something years ago. It was an elegant sword forged from some of the last masters of sword making. It had hurt him to discard it but after the falling out with his father for the last time he had wanted to shed anything that reminded him of his time with Batman.

Damian twisted his foot, so the sword bounced against his shin instead of slicing through his calf. He then jumped and kneed Lincoln in the face. He came down grabbed his foe's hand in attempt to pry the sword from his grip. Lincoln headbutted him but he held on, a tense second passed before he was able to twist Lincoln's wrist making him drop it. Damian kicked the sword away watching it slide across the stone cave floor.

Lincoln roared and broke his brother's grip and grabbed his arm and locked it behind his back. He then wrapped one arm around Damian's throat and squeezed.

Damian struggled against the grip around his throat however what caught his attention was the Talon that landed a few yards away. The Talon pulled out two throwing stars and threw them. He tried to move but Lincoln kept him rooted. The throwing stars neared but they were knocked out of the air by two batarangs.


Batman dove shoulder first into the Talon that attacked Damian and knocked him down to the ground. He sprung up and tossed another batarang at Damian who quickly torqued his body around and let the batarang lodge itself into Lincoln's back. The batarang released a mild electric shock that was enough to loosen Lincoln's grip giving Damian enough time to flip him over his shoulder.

Lincoln hit the ground but was back up on his feet with a quick jab that missed because Damian ducked, he then felt a palm strike to his chin that made his teeth click together. He was then swiftly taken off his feet and then kicked in the face. Lincoln spit out some blood and rolled away and towards his fallen sword.

He managed to grab it and drop into a defensive stance.


"I finally figured out your style." Said Damian.

Lincoln did not respond, he only stood there with his sword at the ready.

"You fight with such ferocity and anger. You're quick, decisive and each blow is meant to break a person's bones or crush soft tissue. If I didn't know any better, I'd say Shiva trained you….no not Shiva, someone who likes to think that they're on Shiva's level. Heh. The White Canary is your trainer." Said Damian.

"She was, until I killed her, many years ago. I believe it was an early twenty-first birthday present to me." Lincoln replied.

Damian reached into the back compartments of his old utility belt and removed two folded batarangs. He unfolded them and held them in his hands like twin Sais.

"Let's go." He said.


Lincoln obliged and charged forward.

Batman watched his mentor battle Lincoln which meant that he needed to deal with the rest of the Talons and get Max out of harm's way. He socked the Talon beneath him in the face breaking the glowing yellow goggles and hopefully knocking him out.

"BEHIND YOU!" Max shouted.

Batman grunted as he felt a slash go against his back, the metal catching a bit of flesh but thankfully the armor protected him. He turned and headbutted the offender and then kicked him in the chest. He jumped backwards narrowly avoiding a stab. Batman ducked under a horizontal slash and came up with a hard uppercut that knocked the Talon off her feet.

He took a moment to breathe and that's when two more landed in front of him. Batman gritted his teeth and charged at both of them, quickly breaking through their defenses with several quick punches. He grabbed one by the shoulders and kneed him in the chest cracking the armor.


The Riddler could not help but smile as he watched the conundrum unfold before him, he honestly did not know who to root for to win this war. He has always wanted Batman his greatest nemesis to fail, to have his brain melt and sputter to a complete stop because of a Riddle or death trap that he himself created but the joy of that had been taken from him because the real Batman had died, in the most anti-climactic way.

The Riddler groaned as he remembered walking to Bruce Wayne's grave. A rare day that the Court let him get some fresh air. It was after the media and locals had already done their news piece, and the buzz had settled. He did not know how long he spent staring at the head stone that was next to the Thomas and Martha Wayne head stones.

'It should have been me that ended you Dark Knight.' He remembered thinking.

The hollow feeling of victory stayed with him and haunted him, the one person he could not beat had been taken away from him but when he saw the bat-signal ignited three years ago a sense of hope arose within him. He could yet have his revenge on the person that had taken up the mantle of the Bat. However, when the young man was in his clutches it was obvious that he was not yet Batman, but he had potential. He wanted to see it, to see if he could offer the same challenge as his predecessor. And that could not happen if the Court of Owls won.


On the other hand, the Court of Owls represented a change that Neo-Gotham sorely needed. He never had a high opinion of the city that birthed him. It was a dull, overpopulated, corrupt and inhabited by imbeciles with no intelligence to call their own. The majority of the citizens held no love for him, and he held no love for them but there was just something about it that always drew him back no matter how far he strayed. He could not let it go, and even into his elderly age he only had one goal for his city, and it was to evolve.

The Riddler smirked as he thought back to one of his first riddles, a rigged elevator. All the people inside had to do was answer the simplest of riddles and they could live and yet they failed. It was then that he knew he had his work cut out for him, no matter the cost he would get his city to expand their intelligence up to his level. In time they would thank him, maybe even worship but it would not be easy.

On the surface the Court of Owls may have seemed like a deluded bunch but their core message from what he had deduced during his time among them was the same as his own, evolve or die.

"Decisions. Decisions." He said to himself as he watched the two-forces wage war in front of him.


Max heard his mumbling and stood from her seat, and she grabbed him by the front of his green jacket and shook him. The motion caught him off guard and he almost toppled over but the bat-computer stopped his fall.

"END THIS!" She shouted at him.

"I cannot." He replied, "It is as I told you my psychosis will not allow it. The Riddle has been given multiple times and the only way to win is to SOLVE THE RIDDLE!"

"This is not a game Riddler! The city is on fire, my friend's life, my life and your life is on the line. You can't allow your sickness be the end of everything." She said.

The Riddler calmly put a hand on hers and he stared into her eyes, she saw a complete change in his demeanor from playful old man to deranged psychotic.

"My sickness as you call it Ms. Gibson will allow me to burn this entire city to ash. The Riddle must be solved. I cannot solve it for you or for the New Dark Knight. If he wishes to even the playing field like his predecessor did before him, he must intellectually evolve…or DIE." He said.


Max let him go and she turned her eyes to Batman with a fearful expression, because as much as she loved Terry, she knew that he was never the brightest guy in the bunch. He had his moments but to be on the level that the Riddler wanted him to be on was something that he might not be able to achieve.

"The Riddle! YOU HAVE TO SOLVE THE RIDDLE!" she yelled.


Batman felt a kick to his stomach, but he did not drop the hold he had on the knife that wanted to plunge itself into his face. The Talon that was holding the knife was doing his best to lean all of his weight forward to break the block Batman held but the Dark Knight of tomorrow was too strong. The second Talon came in with a punch to Batman's exposed stomach but like before the dark knight did not budge.

He shifted the weight of his attacker and threw him into the Talon that punched him.

"The Riddle!" came Max's shout again.

"What Riddle?" he returned.


She did not have time to answer because it was at that moment, he heard a shout coming from Damian. He spotted his mentor stumbling backwards and dropping to a knee with a knife in his leg. Lincoln spun around and reared his sword backwards getting ready to decapitate him.

"NO!" Batman shouted.

The Dark Knight of Tomorrow dove towards a bloody batarang on the ground, he grabbed it, rolled on his shoulder and into position before throwing it with pin-point accuracy. The batarang flew through the air before hitting Lincoln in the wrist and making him drop the sword on the ground once again.


Lincoln turned his eyes to Batman.

"McGinnis, you're beginning to annoy me." He said.

"You are not going to kill him!" Batman roared.

"Oh, but I am, there can only be one legacy to the Wayne name." Lincoln replied.

"And that legacy is right here." Batman returned while pointing to himself.

"What are you babbling about boy." Lincoln demanded.

"You really think the old man cared about the Wayne name, he didn't because this right here is what he cared about. Batman!" he shouted while pointing to the blood red bat emblem on his chest, "Batman is his greatest legacy, what he stands for and he chose me to carry it on, not his own son, but me. If you really want to hurt Bruce Wayne, then you'll have to fight me."


Lincoln stared down at Damian who had pulled the knife of his leg and was clutching it tightly. He was not going anywhere. And so, Lincoln chuckled to himself before turning his attention back to Batman.

"Fine, I'll fight you. I just want you to know McGinnis that this is going to be the most painful beating that anyone has ever given you. You want my attention then you shall have it. I'll kill you and then I'll kill him and burn this mansion down to the ground along with Gotham City." He said darkly.

"Shut up and fight dreg." Batman replied.

Lincoln happily obliged the young Dark Knight and charged at him with his sword at the ready.


Elsewhere: Power Plant

Dick planted another wing-ding bomb on the surface of a server, he synchronized the timer and he moved on to the next server. As he was planting his portion of the bombs, he felt a presence behind him and so he glanced over his shoulder to see Bruce Wayne dressed as Batman standing behind him. He was once again dressed in his original batman suit, gray and black armor with a yellow bat symbol in the middle, his cape hanging behind him.

"Have you finished planting those charges, Robin?" he asked.

Dick caught sight of himself in the reflection on the surface on one of the servers next to him and he was a teen again, dressed as Robin. A small smile crept along his lips as he could see in his mind's eye the orange top with R symbol on the left side, the green gloves and pants, the yellow and black cape and the domino mask.

"I'm just about done Batman. I've got one more charge to set and then we can skedaddle, I can't wait to see the look on Penguin's face when his whole shipment of guns gets blown to smithereens. If he thinks he can flood Gotham with his guns, then he's got another thing coming." Robin replied.

Batman's face suddenly turned into that of concern.

"Are you okay?" Batman asked but it was with Nightwing's voice.


Dick blinked his eyes and standing in Batman's spot was Nightwing. Nightwing asked the same question again, but Dick ignored it and he went back to setting the last charge. It was the second time that he had found himself confused with the... time. The old days were gone and yet he could not help but reminisce about everything happening because it felt all too familiar.

In Bludhaven while training Brian, he would sometimes find himself reminiscing about his time as Nightwing, when he was a man in his twenties and going at it solo and making his own mark but now being in Gotham, it brought back memories of being Robin, the boy and teen wonder. The memories of Robin, the sidekick forever living in the shadow of the Batman.

There were so many truly cherished memories of him and the man that took him in and gave him a purpose when the tragedy of life had left him adrift. And he was thankful for the good ones that kept coming to mind because there were plenty of bad ones, memories that still haunted him and would haunt him until his death.


Dick finished planting the last charge and so he stood and made his way over to Nightwing who was still looking at him with a curious eye.

"I'm fine." Said Dick.

"You called me Batman. What's going on in that mind of yours Dick?" Nightwing asked.

"You pretty much nailed it on the head earlier. Gotham brings back so many memories, mostly the good ones at the moment. The pressure of getting the job done in a clutch, the feel of the night wind while chasing down bad guys and running side by side with the Dark Knight. It was a dream for a while before the bad times. I just can't help being brought back to those moments in time where I never thought the dream would end. You know in my younger years, as Robin I wanted to be him so bad. I thought that was where my 'career' was going, leading me to become Batman and when I did, I realized, that I am not him that I could never be him, bring people the hope that they needed. He looked into the abyss of darkness and embraced it, using that severe trauma from the past to forge this extraordinary symbol. I on the other hand, I ran away, like a coward when I looked into that same abyss of darkness." Dick replied.

"I think you're being too hard on yourself. From what you told me you needed a change of pace to get your own sanity back. And If I'm to be honest I think you did something even more extraordinary than the Batman. You for a time actually managed to move on from that past trauma and bring people hope without a mask. The circus, it's a beacon, a home for lost and broken people to once again know what it means to have a family. I think you might've forgotten that most of the people that work with you night after night come from truly bad situations, me included. When we get back to Bludhaven go talk to some of them, I mean really talk to them and see for yourself that Dick Grayson was the hope they needed, not Batman." Said Nightwing.

Dick hung his head for a moment before smirking.

"Thanks kid." He said.

"Anytime, but now that our hallmark moment is over do you mind getting your head back in the game. A court of owls crisis is on our hands and I think I'm getting some movement from down below." Said Nightwing.

"Yeah, we are getting movement, I noticed it two seconds ago. And another thing I've been through not one, not two but three different crisis' in my time, and this one is no different than the last three. So, if you haven't figured it out by now that I am always ready, I'm gonna need my suit back." Dick replied with a smile.

"You ain't getting this suit back, it looks better on me anyway."

Dick had to laugh.


Outside the Power Plant

The Talons moved like locust as they swarmed the power plant, some dashed across the bridge while a few other emerged from the water and started to climb. When they ascended the outside of the power plant facility they used mini jet-pack built into their armor. They moved with purpose and were silent with their approach. At the end of the bridge the security officer quickly dove back into his booth because he had seen them before, and he knew if that they were near that meant that death was not too far behind.


Server Room

Dick tapped the side of his domino mask and he could see the imaging from his sonic wing-dings. He spotted several Talons down below making their way up to the server room.

"Oracle, they've arrived, please tell me our mode of egress is waiting outside." He said.

"That's a negative. It's not there yet but it will be soon…I hope." Oracle replied.

"You HOPE!" Nightwing shouted.

"It would help if there was another reason for the police to get involved. In the meantime, just exercise a bit of patience." Oracle replied.

Dick let out a sigh, he then lifted his left gauntlet up to eyesight and a thin blue light emerged through and scanned his retina.

"Self-destruct initiation." He said.

"What are you doing?" Nightwing asked.

"Giving our guests a proper greeting and speeding up our help that should be coming soon." He replied.


Inside the Power Plant

The Talons swiftly moved through the power plant bypassing the motorcycle that was parked in the front lobby area and made a beeline towards the elevators and the stairs. The dozen that were at the elevators pried the doors open and using their sharp claws they began to ascend upwards.

Dick's motorcycle began to hum before a loud countdown began starting from five. The seconds ticked down until it finally reached one.

KABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! Came the sound of an explosion.


Police Headquarters

The half-drunk Montoya Bullock eyed the busy bullpen full of cops, national guards and civilians. She then looked towards the upper decks and the still arguing acting Commissioner Ellen Yindel and Mayor Young.

She thought about going up there and telling them about Oracle and the tip she got about finding Court of Owls Talons inside a power plant on the east-side of town, but she knew that trying to tell something like that to the acting Commissioner would not go over well, she was not one to listen to possible leads, Ellen Yindel liked cold hard facts.

'Damn it, how the hell am I supposed to get all of these people to the Power Plant based on a flimsy lead from a voice on the phone." She thought to herself

The hardened detective quickly thought about what her father would do in a situation like this, and a smile graced her lips. She did not know if it was true intuition or the alcohol running through her system, but she did not care. She swore to do something, and she would do it.

"HEY! May I have everyone's attention!" she called out.

One or two people stopped to look at her but the majority of them kept going about through the bullpen.

"Damn it all" she whispered to herself while pulling her gun from the holster and holding it up.

POW! POW! POW! Came the rounds. Everyone ducked at the sound and then all eyes quickly turned to her.

"MAY I HAVE EVERYONE'S ATTENTION PLEASE!" she said loudly.


"BULLOCK! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!" came Commissioner Yindel's voice from up above as she emerged from her office.

"This is an intervention. We've been getting our asses handed to us by these creeps in the owl masks. I think it's time we gave as good as we've been getting. I know where they'll be at and if we wanna catch a few of them to get some info we…all of us need to leave right now." She said.

"Step into my office and tell me how you found out about…." Commissioner Yindel started before Montoya let off another round.

POW!

"No more talking! It's time for action, we have to move now, so who's with me."

Commissioner Yindel reached into her trenchcoat and removed her own weapon and aimed it Montoya.

"Detective, it has been a long day for everyone, and I know that you are a bit on the edge but now is not the time to lose our heads, but if you don't put your weapon down, I will be forced to put you down. We will have order!" She said sternly.

"Commissioner will all due respect, go f*** yourself." Montoya replied.


Commissioner Yindel was about to pull the trigger when Mayor Young stepped forward and grabbed her arm and pushed it upwards.

POW! went the sound of the fired round from her weapon but thankfully it went up into the air.

"Are you crazy! That woman saved my life, and I will not have you murder her in cold blood!" Mayor Young yelled.

"I am trying to maintain order Mr. Mayor. And she is clearly out of order and so are you. We need not fight each other. We just have to maintain the order, and follow my plan that will solve all of this and….."

"HEYYY!' came a shout.


Everyone turned to see a male National Guard soldier rushing into the bullpen.

"Hey, some kid just stole one of our tanks." He said.

"Some kid." Montoya repeated.

The Detective's eyes instantly searched around the bullpen and then she felt around her pockets for her phone that had the coordinates to the Power plant on them, and when she did not feel it, she said a silent curse.

"Did this kid have red hair?" she asked.

"Yes." He said.

"Carrie! Where the hell is Carrie?" Mayor Young asked.


In the Air

BANNNNGGG! Went the sound of the National Guard tank hitting a holo-billboard and destroying it in the process.

"WHOOOOOOOOOOO! This girl's got a big ass." Said Carrie while trying to maneuver the tank through the air.

The red-haired teen had a large smile on her face as she for the second time that day sat in the driver's seat to a stolen or borrowed vehicle.

"If Sam cares as much as I think he does then he'll send everyone after me and if not, well it was fun while it lasted." She muttered to herself.

Carrie braced herself as she had to swerve around another building and just like before she hit the side of it but in spite of that the tank stayed on course, heading directly for the power plant.


Power Plant- Server room

Dick and Nightwing peered out of the server room and into the elevator shaft, both fanning away the smoke that drifted up above. As they looked down into the darkness, they both felt a knot form in their stomachs when they saw several glowing yellow eyes open and stare up at them menacingly.

"I guess that greeting didn't work." Nightwing whispered.

"Looks that way, follow me." Said Dick

Dick held out his hand and fired a grappling line to the top of the elevator shaft. Nightwing fired his own grappling hook and with a small tug they both were hoisted upwards, but their pursuers double their efforts and began to climb up after them.


Up Above

Nightwing disengaged his grappling hook pried open the door at the top of the elevator shaft which led to a series of skinny steel rafters that hung over a drop that to at least be one-hundred feet. He whistled at how high they were but thankfully he worked at a circus, and he was used to death defying drops.

Nightwing carefully ventured onto the steel rafters remembering to keep his balance and Dick was right behind him. They continued on until they heard a crash from above and several more Talons landed on the steel rafters next to them as well as on the rafter they were walking upon. The talons from the elevator shaft soon emerged as well.


Nightwing looked to his left, to his right, and then behind him.

"We're surrounded." He said.

"Yep, and now here comes the real greeting the server room is about to blow. Brace yourself and please remember when balancing on high beams to keep your core tight and…" Dick started.

"And watch your feet placement. I remember the lessons." Nightwing finished.

The fearless Talons charged from all sides.


Dick effortless leapt from the rafter he was on and landed gracefully on the one to the right of him. He swiftly turned and delivered a kick to the face of a Talon that was behind him. The Talon fell off the rafter, but she activated her jet-pack and flew back up and right back into Dick's left . Two more Talons closed in on him from either side and so he pulled out his wing-dings and blocked the two knife attacks.

'Okay, this is gonna be tough but the bombs in the server room should be going off right about…now.' He thought to himself.


Server Room

DEET! DDEETT DEEET! Went the sound of all the bombs synchronizing at the same time.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM! Came the explosion.


Rafters up above

Nightwing cartwheeled along the rafter and jumped over a sweep attack and landed expertly however just as he landed, he and everyone else heard the explosion.

BOOOOOOOM!


The entire facility shook dangerously, and fire erupted from the elevator shaft blowing outwards and onto the rafters weakening the bolts and nuts that held them together. Nightwing jumped at the last second to the rafter to his right as the one he was on gave way and fell down below.

The facility continued to shake more and more as a cascade of explosions set off. Nightwing pulled himself up onto the rafter.

"I think we planted one too many bombs, this whole place is coming down!" Dick yelled.

"We need an exit." Nightwing returned, 'I hope McGinnis is doing better than we are.' He thought while blocking an attack from a Talon.


Wayne Manor- The Batcave

The two charged and met in the middle their metal fins hitting at the same time letting out a loud clang. Batman and Lincoln pushed against each other with their forearms both trying to get the upper hand.

"You can't beat me. The legacy of the Bat is one of failure and misery, oh, and let's not forget about pain." Said Lincoln.

Lincoln broke the lock, and he delivered a bone shaking punch to Batman's face. Batman stumbled to the side clenching his throbbing jaw, but he had to duck out of the way of another punch. He came up and punched Lincoln in the stomach as hard as he could, and then elbowed him in the back of the neck.

Lincoln hit the ground but rolled away. Batman took a step towards him but had to deflect a knife thrown at him by one of the remaining Talons. He flicked his wrist and threw a batarang that nailed the Talon in the face and knocked him to the ground.

"LOOK OUT!" Damian yelled.


Batman jumped over the swipe from the sword, and he stepped to the left to avoid the next thrust from Lincoln. He let out a growl and spun and around and came down with an overhead strike that was blocked.

Batman and Lincoln were once again locked in a test of strength; out the corner of his eye he saw a Talon coming for him however the deadly assassin was quickly taken off of his feet by Damian who jammed one of his batarang into the chest of the Talon.


Damian then pulled the batarang out and he threw it at another Talon, and it nailed her in the throat. Lincoln saw that two of his Talon's went down and he briefly turned his attention to his brother. In that brief moment of distraction, it gave Batman enough time to redirect the blade downwards and into the ground.

Lincoln threw out a headbutt, but Batman managed to grab him and turn the headbutt into a throw and tossed him away. He rolled along the ground and to the edge of a large chasm. He stared down into the almost bottomless abyss that his father often stared into however this time the abyss stared back; hundreds of red eyes opened and looked at him.

At the sight of so many eyes staring back at him, a small shiver went down his spine and fear crept its way inside of him.


"We need to get him out of here." Came Damian's strained voice.

"I'm open to suggestion." Batman replied.


KRZZZZ 'Lincoln.' Came the sound of his communicator.

"M-Mother." He whispered.

"Retreat. Come back to the base with Nygma and the girl. The Power Plant has been severely compromised, the money has been stolen and the server room destroyed. We have to reorganize."

"But Mother."

"DO AS I SAY!" she roared.


Lincoln growled and banged his fist down on the stone cave and slowly turned his attention back to Batman and now Damian who was rising to his feet. He stared daggers at both of them and while he hated his brother, he could not help but his eyes drift more to the new Dark Knight, and that same anger began to bubble to the surface. The bat-computer system had been hacked and all the information was there for the taking and yet they had somehow managed to hold him at bay long enough for his mother to recall him.

'I can't lose them now! I'm so close…. but I must obey mother.' He thought to himself

Lincoln rose to his feet, and he reached behind his back and he pulled out a grappling line. He turned and quickly fired at the Riddler and Max. The thick line wrapped around each of them and with a mighty pull he tugged both of them towards him.


"NO!" Batman yelled out.

The Dark Knight flicked his wrist and threw a batarang that sliced through the wire that was on Max. She stopped just short of reaching Lincoln.

"The two of you just do not know when it's over do you." Lincoln growled as he hefted the Riddler up and over his shoulder.

"You're the one that's running!" Batman shouted.

"I'm not running, we will meet again. You might have found a way to stall the Court, but we will have this city and I WILL HAVE YOUR HEADS!"

Damian saw him step back towards the chasm and so he reached into one of the old pouches on his belt and pulled out a sonic batarang. He pressed the button on it, and he threw it at the feet of Lincoln and Nygma. The green clad villain looked at the familiar batarang and he smiled.

"OH! Riddle me this: What has wings and can see without seeing? Answer: A BAT! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"


SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEECCHHHHHHH! Came the sound of a hundred swarming bats out of the chasm. The winged creatures flew upwards and then down and around Batman and Damian before flying towards the batarang that was emitting a high pitch frequency that only they could hear.

Lincoln growled as bats landed on him and his armor pecking and picking at him and at the Riddler, but he was too busy laughing maniacally. In the swarm of bats all he could see was Bruce Wayne standing in front of them in his original batsuit with that same scowl on his face.


The Riddler blinked and he was once again a young man, and he was on the ground in defeat looking up at the Dark Knight.

"Curse you Dark Knight! One of these days, in this life or the next life I will defeat you!" he shouted.

The Batman stalked towards him until he was towering over him.

"Not likely." He said in that deep voice.

The Riddler gasped as he raised his arms, spreading his cape and from the blackness the bats came for him.


He blinked again and he was an old man once more however the same bats of old were coming for him.

"A BAT! HAHHAHAHAHAHA! A BAT!" The Riddler yelled over and over.

Lincoln growled as he gripped the crazed Riddler tightly and fell backwards down the chasm with him in tow. The bats followed them downward, heading back into the darkness from where they came.


Batman and Damian both dropped to the ground in sheer exhaustion.

"Did we win?" he asked.

"Well, McGinnis we're still alive, the cave is ours again and it's almost daylight. I'll take the brief W, none of this over just yet. I hope Dick and Nightwing are both out of dodge." Damian replied weakly.

Max managed to roll over to face the two of them.

"McGinnis! Get me out of this!" she yelled.


Batman quickly rushed to her and used one of his fins to cut the line that was wound around her.

"Is it really you?" she asked.

Batman lifted his mask off of his face.

"It's me." He said.


Elsewhere: Power Plant

A national guard tank flew over the large wall and the single passenger inside was greeted with the sight of mini explosions coming off every area of the facility. The snow was beginning to fall a bit heavier as a column of smog reached high into the air mixing with it and shrouding everything as to what was happening inside in more mystery.

Carrie gasped a bit at the sight, but she remembered what Montoya told her about the voice on the phone, there were friends inside that needed to be rescued. And so, she pushed on the controls and flew as fast as she could through the snowy air and closer to the facility.


Inside- Up Above

Nightwing jumped to another rafter before the one he was standing on gave way and fell into the inferno that was raging down below. The facility shook again with another mini explosion.

"WARNING! WARNING! FACILITY COMPROMISED! MELTDOWN IMMINENT! LEVEL 1 CONTAINMENT BEGINNING!" said the Automated security system.

"That does not sound good." Said Nightwing while delivering a punch to a Talon.

"It's not!" Dick yelled before jamming one of his electrified escrima sticks in the neck of a Talon that had grabbed him from behind, his hand then flew to his ear, "ORACLE WE NEED EVAC NOW! BLOWING THE SERVER ROOM TRIGGERED A MELTDOWN THIS FACILITY IS GONNA BLOW!" he yelled.

'Stand by.' Oracle replied.


Outside

Carrie flew around the burning power plant trying to find a sign of anyone that looked like Nightwing, but she could not see much because of the snow and smoke.

"Damn it." She said.

DEETT! DEETT! Came a sound on the console.

Carrie looked at it with a bit of confusion but after a second, she chose to hit one of the blinking buttons.

"This is Oracle, I am a friend and to whom am I speaking with." Came an automated voice.

"Umm, Carrie Kelly."

"CARRIE!" the voice shouted.

"Yeah. Do I know you or something?" she asked.

"…No, but I am aware of your connections to certain people, just…just listen to me. You're in a tank, my friends are located near the roof. You have to get them out before that place blows. I am remotely trying to stall the meltdown, but I am not sure I can buy enough time."

"I'm on it." Said Carrie.


The teen pulled up on the controls and made the tank fly higher and higher into the air until she reached the top of the power plant. She could see some blown out glass and more smoke. The closer she moved towards the blown-out glass she could see fire and some movement.

"Holy Hell." She whispered when she was close enough.

Carrie saw Nightwing and Dick fighting a swarm of Talons up above on several rafters. She gasped as she saw another rafter fall, the two of them were quickly running out of space to maneuver. She pushed down on the controls and headed right for them.

"Here goes everything." She said.


Roof Interior

Nightwing and Dick stood back-to-back doing their best to defend themselves from their mutual attackers. It looked as if they were about to attack when the remaining portion of the glass roof above them was busted through.

SMMMMMMASSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


The duo looked up to see a tank emerge through.

"What now?" Nightwing asked.

'Get in!' Oracle shouted from over the shared line.

"There's our ride let's not miss it." Said Dick

The two of them both fired a line at the tank and then pulled themselves towards it just as the last rafter they were standing on gave way and fell below. The tank swerved upwards pulling them along with it, however the Talons activated their armored jet-packs and flew after them.


Carrie smiled when she saw the duo climb up and to the portion of the tank where she could clearly see them. However, that smile quickly fell when she spotted the swarm of Talons flying up out of the hole she created and started flying after them.

"Time to get out of here!" she said.

"Hold on not so fast Carrie, you cannot leave just yet. There is a malfunction with the bridge control. If the bridge does not disengage from the power planet it cannot sink and it could possibly destroy that half of Neo-Gotham." said Oracle.

"What do you want me to do?" she asked.

"Blow the bridge. I'm sending you the location of the levers to the bridge on the southwest side of the facility" Oracle answered.

Carried heard the order and the smile on her face grew even larger at the thought of blowing the bridge.

"WHOOOOO!' she shouted as she pushed down on the controls and flew towards the bridge.


Nightwing and Dick held on for dear life as the tank made a sharp nosedive. They had heard the exchange between Oracle and their rescuer Carrie and so they knew they had to blow the bridge because it was obvious that the power plant itself was on the verge of a giant explosion. When they reached the levers that held the bridge in place several knives embedded themselves into the tank.

Three Talons dropped onto the tanks while the others that were part of the swarm stayed hovering in the air. Each of them were armed and ready to let loose with their knives, but thankfully a spotlight found its way onto them.

Nightwing shielded his eyes a bit, but he was able to make out the police cars and sirens over the sounds of the explosions.

"ALL OF YOU SURRENDER NOW!" Commissioner Yindel announced over the PA system.


The Talons swerved upwards and towards the approaching police cars and National Guard tanks. They threw their knives and busted the spotlight and sliced through the power supply on the under side of the vehicles.

Nightwing and Dick engaged the Talons that were trying to disable their escape tank while Carrie was doing her best to figure out how to aim and fire upon the bridge levers.

THUMPPPPPP! Came the sound of a body hitting the roof.

"Crap! Crap! Crap! Where are the weapon controls?" She muttered to herself.

There too many buttons for her to try all at once and so she closed her eyes, pressed one and she prayed that it was correct button. She waited for a second and smiled when the targeting system activated and the words missiles ready appeared on the screen. She then grabbed the controls and with the targeting system she took aim at one part of the levers and fired a missile.

KABOOOOOOM! Came the sound of one missile hitting and destroying on the levers.

Carrie made the tank move a bit to the right and she fired the second missile at the other lever.
KABOOOOOOOOOOM! The bridge that was hooked to the power plant fell away and that allowed the security protocols to take over.


The power plant drifted away from the bridge thanks to the boosters down below; underneath the facility were giant anchors that began to the pull the fiery facility down beneath the water.

Nightwing side-kicked the last Talon off of the roof of the tank making sure to toss a wing-ding at the jet-pack on his back destroying it in the process. He then turned and lean down to the small window.

"Get us out of here now!" he shouted.


The tank backed away from the where the blown bridge once stood and began to rise into the air. Both Nightwing and Dick watched the Police and National Guard battle the flying Talons as they made their getaway.

"We've done our part for now, it's up to them for the moment." Said Dick.

'Brace yourselves!' Oracle yelled.


Dick and Nightwing looked down below just in time to see the facility blow and unleashed a gigantic column of water and reached high into the sky casting a shadow over everything in the area. The water slammed against the wall going over it and hitting the streets of Neo-Gotham washing away cars, destroying windows and clearing away some of the snow.

Nightwing wiped some water from his face and his eyes widen when he saw all the power to the east-side and south-side of Neo-Gotham City go dark.

"Jesus." He whispered.


Wayne Manor- Bat-cave

Damian coughed up some blood as he laid there on the ground. He could feel the toxin trying to work it's way back into this system, everything was moving in slow motion, and he could feel darkness trying to overtake him.

"Mc-McGinnis!" he stuttered out.

Terry whipped around towards him and rushed over.

"Anti-Toxin B." he whispered.


Terry dashed towards one of the workstation and he found an injector as well as some potions that were scattered about the table. He grabbed one that read Anti-Toxin B, loaded it and then made his way back over to Damian and carefully injected it into his neck.

Damian felt some relief wash over him, but the hands of unconscious was near. He slowly reached up to Terry and grabbed him tightly.

"B-Bats….The Bats you've got to…" he started but he promptly passed out in Terry's arms.


Somewhere Between Life and Death

Damian gasped as he shot up. He looked around him and he was at Wayne Manor laying on one of the expensive couches with a fire warm and cozy fire blazing to the left of him.

"Where…" he started before a deep voice interrupted him.

"You are where you need to be."

Damian looked towards the corner of the living room in Wayne Manor and from the shadows in the corner his father, The Batman, emerged. He was dressed in full gear and had that scowl of fear plastered upon his face. He was how Damian always saw him.

"Father, you're here." Damian whispered.

"As am I." came another voice.


Damian felt fear creep down his spine as he heard the second voice. It was an accent he could never forget. Damian rose from his spot on the couch, and he turned to the fire to see his grandfather, Ra's Al Ghul standing in front of it, with his green cloak wrapped around his body, his jet black hair with white on the sides slicked back and a heavy scowl of disappointment on his face, like the one he always held whenever looking at him.

"Grandfather." said Damian.

The Bat and the Demon both stepped towards him, the fire following the Demon and the Darkness following the Bat. As they approached, Damian found himself shrinking under their gaze, he went from the confident late forty-something year old man he was back to the petulant ten-year-old child that he used to be.

"We both have been waiting patiently for you to arrive my Grandson and now that you are here child, we must have a serious discussion about your life, your possible death and perhaps the future." said Ra's.


End Chapter: Read and Review: Hey there readers it's me Nomad88 back again with the closing comments. I hope everyone enjoyed the chapter. We are getting closer to the finale of my Court of Owls arc. As I stated earlier this is one of the longer arcs in my entire Batman Series. There are many plot points that will spring out of this arc and it's a lot of set up plus there are many characters that need to have some time to shine.

I think I managed to fit everyone in, give them a bit of the limelight lol. I really do hope that you all out there are enjoying the story. Batman Beyond holds a special spot right there in the heart and I just hope that I'm doing these characters justice.

Anyway, I'm hard at work on the next chapter and I hope to see you all there. Keep Reading and Keep reviewing. Nomad88 saying later….


Next up: The Court of Owls part Ten

Summary: Neo-Gotham city reels from the events of the past couple of days. The Court of Owls tactically retreat. Terry, Max, Barbara, Dick, Brian, Yinn and Carrie regroup and figure out the next step. And Damian comes face to face with both the Batman and The Demon's Head. And more clues to the Court of Owls are dropped, and the Riddler's past is brought to the present. Be there!