Chapter One – When the Bat's Away
"Is everything set, Alfred?" asked Bruce as he threw on a leather jacket over his gray sweater. Alfred, dressed in his chauffer uniform pulling two suitcases.
"Yes, Master Bruce," replied Alfred. "Miss Selina is waiting downstairs and she is ready to go, and your helicopter will be ready at the airport to take you two to New York City."
"Good, where's Dick?" asked Bruce as he put on a wristwatch.
"Master Richard is in the Gaming Room sir, playing Boulevard Brawlers against an online opponent named, Moneyspider608," explained Alfred as he and Bruce headed downstairs. "I also have packed your nightwear."
"Thank you, Alfred," Bruce sighed. "I don't like it, there is still tension between Sionis and Dent. Maybe I should call Clark and tell him I won't make it."
"I don't think that's wise," said Alfred. "It wouldn't do for only six of the seven members of the League to make decisions for the future. They do need your opinion, though you may be the most private member."
"It's just I worry about leaving Dick this much responsibility at his age," Bruce explained. "He is still new to this, but I don't want to think I don't trust him."
"You'll only be gone for one weekend," Alfred reminded Bruce. "As you said, the criminals are at peace and don't forget the police are capable of helping." As they got to the end of the stairs, Selina was lounging on a sofa. When she looked up from her phone, she smiled.
"Ready to go Bruce?" she asked as stood up and stretched.
"Not yet, I need to say something to Dick first," replied Bruce has he headed toward the basement. When he reached the game room, Dick was sprawled out on the couch with Ace and Isis on either side of him. He was mashing the buttons on Game Station 4 controller.
"Hey Bruce, you leaving soon?" asked Dick not taking his eye off his game. Bruce shook his head, wondering about kids these days.
"Yes, and I want you to see Lucius today. He has something to help you get around the city," explained Bruce. "Also, be on the lookout when on patrol. Two-face and Black Mask are still pissed at each other, and may go to war again."
"Got it," Dick grunted. Bruce gave him an annoyed look.
"Call me if anything major happens," Bruce instructed. "Don't forget to do your homework before going on patrol."
"Yeah, will do," Dick promised as he scored a combo. Bruce pinched his nose in parental frustration.
"Also remember to eat your veggies, wash behind your ears, and wear clean underwear, Nightwing85," Bruce said, hoping that Dick was paying attention.
"Un-huh got it, Bruce," Dick replied. Bruce sighed and started to go upstairs. "Say hi to Clark, Diana, and the rest of gang for me Bruce." Bruce headed outside to the idling car, Alfred holding the door open for him.
"Alfred, please remind Dick of my instructions," Bruce ordered. "I'm not sure what I said to him sank in."
"Of course, Master Bruce," Alfred promised with a smile. "The joys of parenting."
"Kent! Where is your copy…?" demanded Perry White as came in the newsroom of the Daily Planet.
"The trial of Bobby Gazzo?" replied Clark Kent holding up a freshly printed story for Perry. "Right here. As well as photos, courtesy of Jimmy." Perry looked at Clark's story, nodding slightly as he read.
"Not bad, Kent. Not bad," Perry said. Clark smiled and pushed his glasses up. "Have a good weekend Kent."
"Later Chief," Clark said as he grabbed his coat and bag. Just as he made it to the elevator, Clark was intercepted by Steve Lombard from sports. Steve was a former college athlete who was muscle was just beginning to turn to flab, but he still thought of himself as the star quarterback.
"Clarky! Just the man I wanted to see," Steve called out. Clark sighed, at worst Steve was the office bully. At best he was the class clown who thought he was funnier than he really was. "Listen, I got four tickets for the University of Metropolis game this Saturday. I also got a date who has a friend she's been trying to find someone to fix up with her. Dude, her friend's name is Stacey, great body, All-American type. Perfect for you. What do you say?"
"Tempting, but I got plans," Clark said pushing the down button. "Heading to New York for the weekend.
"Can't you change them?" pleaded Steve
"Sorry Steve," replied Clark as he stepped into the elevator. Surprised how disappointed Steve was, Clark sighed and place his hand out to stop the doors. "Okay then, how about I'll join you guys for dinner sometime next week."
"Perfect!" replied Steve perking up. "You're a good man, Kent. I take back half the bad things I've said about you." Clark smiled and shook his head as the doors closed.
"I'm going to great agreeing to that," Clark muttered as he headed down into the main lobby. Walking out of the Daily Planet, Clark headed toward the bus station then dodged quickly into an alley. In an instant, Clark changed, and Superman flew up into the air.
"Gods on Olympus, who knew there was so much paperwork?" groaned Diana Prince. Her partner, Alex Danvers, laughed at her.
"The joys of working for the DEO," she said. "Come on, in a few more minutes we'll be done, and we can enjoy our weekend. Want to grab a drink later?"
"Sorry, Alex," Diana replied. "I'm heading to New York."
"Oh, you and Steve enjoying the Big Apple for the weekend?" Alex inquired with a smile.
"I wish," Diana answered. "No, I'm going to meet up with some friends."
"Would that be six friends?" asked Alex. Diana answered her with a wink as she grabbed her stuff. "Later Di."
"See you Monday, Alex," Diana said as she headed out the door. Diana pulled out her phone and texted her boyfriend. "Steve, heading to New York now. Call you Sunday."
"Cool," replied Steve. Diana walked toward the DEO rear parking lot. Once she was sure no one was around, Diana began to spin around, increasing her speed. When she was done, Wonder Woman flew into the air and headed out of Gateway City.
Orin, King of Atlantis, looked down at his son sleeping in his crib. His queen, Mera, walked up and hugged him from behind.
"Everything is ready for you my king," she said as she kissed Orin's cheek. Orin smiled and brushed Mera's red hair from her cheek.
"I'll be gone for a few days, Vulko will help you take care of any matters of the court," replied Orin. "It will be good to see the others, we don't see each other often enough."
"You are all quite busy," reminded Mera as she played with Orin's blonde hair. "Besides, Batman doesn't seem the type just to come over for dinner." Orin laughed and kissed his wife goodbye. A few minutes later, Aquaman left Atlantis on a giant white seahorse.
Hal Jordan rolled out of the way of the massive hammer that Kilowog made. Hal created a few construct missiles and shot them at Kilowog. Quickly creating a forcefield, Kilowog was blinded for a moment. When he could see, Hal was gone. Kilowog lowered the barrier, then looked up and saw Hal coming down with a baseball bat. The construct hit Kilowog in the head, and Bolovaxian fell to the ground, stunned.
"Alright poozer, I concede," Kilowog growled. Hal chuckled and helped his friend up. "A couple of more sparring matches and you might be a decent fighter."
"A decent fighter?" Hal gasped with mock hurt. "Hey, I knocked you on your ass." Kilowog rubbed his chin and laughed.
"Fair enough," Kilowog replied. "But don't you need to get going to that club meeting on Earth?"
"Yeah, as soon as I charge my ring," Hal said as the two walked toward one of the many recharge stations on Oa. "Also, it's not a club, it's a league. We have to make some important decisions about Earth's protection as well as give some updates on the status of criminal organizations."
"Club, league, whatever," said Kilowog with a shrug. "Take care, Jordon."
"You too Kilowog," replied Hal. After a recharge, Hal took the nearest wormhole to Earth.
"Iris, have you seen my suit?" asked Barry as he tore through his bedroom.
"Your top right dresser drawer," replied Iris from the bathroom. Barry opened the drawer and pulled out a ring with the Flash symbol on it. Barry began to vibrate, and within seconds was dressed in his Flash suit.
"Thanks, babe," Flash said as Iris came into the bedroom in her robe and a towel wrapped around her head. "I got to go." Flash gave Iris a quick kiss.
"Say hi to the rest of…," Iris started to say. With a whoosh, Flash was gone. "The League."
"Really Richard," sighed Barbara. "Why do you drag me to these movies?" Barbara and Dick walked out of the Monarch Theatre, Dick buttoned up his letterman jacket and Barbara wrapped her purple scarf around her neck.
"What? Christmas for Neptunians and Invasion of the Biker Santas are classic Christmas movies," Dick replied. As they started to walk to the parking lot, Dick and Barbara heard angry shouting.
"Get the hell out of here you two!" yelled an elderly man from a hardware store. Two young men about in their late teens flipped the old man off.
"Fuck you Baker!" yelled a white, chubby guy with a wispy, brown goatee.
"Yeah, quit stopping us from artistically expressing ourselves!" shouted the other, an African American guy with dreads and an earring.
"Art?" snorted Baker, the store owner. "Vandalism more like it. Now get the hell out of here." The two young men sulked away, and the store owner went back inside.
"Wait, wasn't that Daedalus Boch and Tucker Long?" asked Dick.
"Who?" replied Barbara.
"Those guys from art club who got smoke a shit ton of weed and vandalized the school," explained Dick. "They kicked out Brentwood Academy and they kept saying how the school was destroying street art."
"Oh yeah. Though, I doubt anyone would call what they did art. I totally forgot about them." said Barbara. A car pulled up, the woman driving called out for Barbara. "There's my ride, see you, Richard."
"Later Babs," Dick yelled as Barbara's ride drove out of sight. Minutes later, Alfred came by with the limo.
"Good evening Master Richard," greeted Alfred. "I do hope you and Miss Gordon had a wonderful time at the cinema. I have your 'evening wear' ready for you."
"Thank you, Alfred," Richard said as changed into Robin.
The Hall of Justice in New York looked like a glass airplane hangar, with a massive crystal growing in front. It was half a city block long and four stories high, with two subbasements. On the fourth floor, the members of the Justice League gathered around a roundtable.
"Gentlemen, and lady," greeted Superman. "It's time to discuss the expansion of the Justice League as well as recent threat assessments. Please take a seat, we have a lot of work to get done before we make our announcement on New Year's Day.
The sounds of spray paint and an electric saw interrupted the quiet in Baker's Hardware Store. Boch and Long were busy vandalizing the story and grumbling of their recent termination.
"That son of a bitch," growled Boch. "Calling it vandalism, it's art! Edgy, street art."
"Yeah," agreed Long. "Wait until the old man sees this."
"He, along with the police, will call vandalism and breaking and entering," said a hooded figure in the shop door. Boch and Long both let loose girlish screams until they realized the figure was Robin.
"It's only Robin," growled Boch. "Let's get this tool!"
"But?" whimpered Long.
"It's not like it's the Bat," Boch pointed out. "And there's two of us and one of him." With renewed confidence, Long attacked Robin with his electric saw. Robin dodged the clumsy attack and pulled the saw's power cord from the socket. A punch to the jaw sent Long down to the floor. Boch rushed toward Robin, screaming at the top of his lungs. Robin's leg shot out and kicked Boch in the solar plexus. Boch sank to the floor, gasping for air. Robin quickly handcuffed the two.
"That'll keep you out of trouble until the police arrive," Robin said before vanishing.
"This is so your fault," grumbled Long. "My parents are going to kill me if I get arrested, and it's all your fault."
"My fault?" declared Boch. "It was your idea to come back to the store!" Before Long could retort, the two heard a chilling laugh.
"Ha. Ha. Ha," laughed a man from the shadows. Boch and Long barely managed not to shit themselves when the Joker stepped into the light. "Hello boys, I'm a big fan."