"And here we have the most exciting piece of the exhibit: the original Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, in which Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed first on the moon over 70 years ago..." Their tour guide went on, explaining this with a little too much enthusiasm for Terry's taste. Not that he didn't find it pretty schway, it was just the longer they stayed in the museum, the less time they'd have to just hang out later.
About a week ago, his science teacher told them about a special trip being planned to the Lunar Colony, funded by Foxteca. Along with visiting the moon, guided tours and the other usual school trip stuff, they'd get a chance to visit their division there for internships offers during the summer. They'd even get a chance to present themselves to certain members of the board.
The craziest thing about it was: Terry got in, all on his own. Between fighting supervillains, meeting the Justice League, beating Joker and a whole bunch of other stuff, he didn't even realize his grades had gone way up. It'd gotten to the point Terry would sink a hard hour or two of studying, homework, get it all out of the way so there'd be one less thing to worry about on patrol.
Bruce being chill with it was the other surprise.
"So, you're not mad about me going?" Terry asked, ducking under some Joker creep's punch before uppercutting him in the jaw. The last one of a group who'd robbed a nearby convenience store. "Five days is a long time without Batman."
"Gotham survived 20 years with no Batman," Bruce said at the time, sounding slightly less grouchy than usual. "I doubt five days will matter much in the grand scheme. Besides, this is a good opportunity for you. Foxteca is a fine company, not just anyone gets invited for a chance to internship there."
"I dunno about that boss, they did invite me after all."
"Self-doubt doesn't suit you, Terry," The grouchiness was back to normal levels. "If nothing else, use it as an opportunity to relax. You've more than earned it."
"... But I should still take the suit with me?"
"That goes without saying."
Bruce would be right about needing to relax. Over the next few days just before the trip, all the creeps from Inque to Curaré decided to stir up trouble. Sure, it meant they'd probably stay down while he was away but all the same, Terry could've done without the supervillain gauntlet.
The rest of their class looked like they were about to keel over. Rubbing their eyes, trying to keep from yawning too obviously. A few of them even looked like they were about to fall asleep before snapping their eyes back open. Terry sympathized with them. Thankfully, Max and Dana got in too, giving him plenty of good company to have fun with. Or in the case of the museum visit to complain about.
"Next thing you know she'll swoon over the angle of the antenna," Dana whispered after a yawn, giving their tour guide a sour look. "Seriously, get on with it!"
"Usually I'd say we should appreciate a piece of history like this," Max whispered back, wiping her eyes as their guide started listing off the mechanical specifics of the Lunar module. "But it ain't worth this..."
"Down girls, once we get outta here we'll have the whole day and night to relax."
"You're not going to work on your presentation?" Max asked.
"I did back it back home," They both gave him a look. "What?"
Their much-appreciated tour guide must've gotten bored of her own monologue from the way she yawned too. She even wobbled a little too. "Oh, excuse me, where was I...?"
Someone else who did it too didn't manage to stay on their feet. A girl from one of the other classes went limp. Luckily, Terry was close by, catching her before she went down.
"Oohhhh..." She moaned, barely keeping her eyes open. "Th-Thanks for..."
Then, someone else fainted, knocking a classmate down with them. Then it was two more, then five. It wasn't just the students either, as far as Terry could see, everyone in the museum was going down.
"Uhh.." Max said, tilting left and right, bumping into Dana next to her. "I'm not feeling so good..."
"Easy there!" Terry caught them both too, gently lowering them to the ground. "Dana, Max!"
Nothing. He checked their pulses, fearing the worst. "Just asleep..." He sighed, looking over the other people. From a glance, they were out too judging by the way their chests gently went up and down.
When he tried standing back up, Terry felt himself suddenly go light-headed too. "Oh, no.."
Checking around fast, he spotted a nearby bathroom and ran for it, his hands reaching into one of the secret pockets Bruce had built into it. Bashing the door open with his shoulder, Terry checked the room for any cameras or people still conscious. When neither seemed to be there, he slipped on his mask.
The effect of it hit him like a punch to the face. Just a single lung full of air from the masks respirator system got rid of the dizziness. In under a minute, the rest of the suit was on too.
"Time to call the boss," He tapped the communicator built into the earpieces. Thankfully, Bruce was prepared... or paranoid enough, to equip it with a very long range. It only took the signal a few seconds longer than usual to bounce from the Wayne Enterprises satellite orbiting between the moon and Earth.
"Terry," Bruce's voice came through crystal clear. "What's the situation?"
"See for yourself," He exited the bathroom, rerouting the cowl lenses into directing live on-site footage to the Batcave's computer. "It started out small, people yawning or looking sleepy but I figured that was just them being bored from our drag tour guide."
"Or from partying too hard the night before."
"Yeah, that too. But it's not just us," Terry made it a point to slowly roam across the room, zooming at regular people out too. "Everyone's gone-"
A loud crashing noise came from outside, it was two cars crashing into one another. Then came another, and another... By the time Terry ran out of the museum, kicking the front doors open so that he could a good look at what was happening.
Wrecks on fire were already lining the street, people on the sidewalk were lying down on it. One motorcyclist suddenly lost control, making his bike skid wildly in a circle. If Terry hadn't flown there to grab him, the guy would've ripped himself apart.
"The whole place's gone nuts!" Terry lowered the motorcyclist when another loud crash came from overhead. Two cars flying high above smacked into each other and were falling fast.
"Use the foam pellets!" Bruce's ordered and Terry listened. The small gadgets kept in the leftmost pouch exploded on impact, covering up most of the cars in a thick looking, blue foam. When they finally hit the street, instead of getting smashed, they bounced harmlessly off.
The problem was, those were just two cars in a place with well over 10 million people, covering half of the moon and as far as he knew, nobody else awake was left standing to help...
"Damn it!" Terry grit his teeth, flying to the nearest crash places and doing all he could with the pellets he had left. "Why's this happening?!"
"A tranquilizer gas, distributed throughout the entire colony's air filtering system..." Bruce grimly answered. "Someone's poisoned the air supply from the main control. Keep doing what you can while I figure out which one it is."
"Way ahead of you, boss!" Terry tossed two more pellets at a couple of falling cars when he spotted one of those giant, mass car towing trucks flying wildly through the air, right on course to crash into an office building.
Pushing the suit's jets to the limit, he caught the side of the truck. Opening the door, Terry found the driver inside, face pressed against the steering wheel.
"Scoot over, pal," With a shove, the driver's seat was his, he grit his teeth and spun the wheel in the opposite direction hard enough to nearly snap it off. In a slow lurch, the truck listened, banging the very back end against a few windows but otherwise not doing any big damage. "That was too close..."
Terry flew it down and barely had a second to catch his breath when an explosion thundered overhead. "What now?!"
Taking off again, he zoomed in at the source of the fire: an apartment building, a couple of dozen stories tall. Thankfully, it wasn't in the middle or even worse the bottom of it but the very top. Changing the lenses vision type to see through the smoke, Terry flew in through the balcony and found the source right away. The owner must've been unconscious when the stove blew open, setting the whole kitchen on fire.
Luckily, Bruce had just the thing to put out something like this. Courtesy of Victor Freeze, he'd made a special kind of grenade that could freeze anything dead. Terry chucked one into the stove, then two more around the hottest spots in the kitchen, killing off most of the fire.
"Terry," Bruce's said. "I've discovered the type of tranquilizer gas we're dealing with, I'm sending you the cure on the Batwing."
"What Batwi- Nevermind," Terry shook his head, figuring that Bruce would obviously have a spare one on the moon because why not. Looking out the balcony, he spotted it coming in fast. Along with more chaos around town.
More fires were starting up, some of them small apartment ones but others much, much bigger. Lights belonging to drivers vanished into buildings or against one another followed by loud crashing noises or worse, explosions.
"Someone's gotta pay for this," Terry growled.
"They will," Bruce grimly agreed. "But first-"
"Wake everyone up, I got it." The Batwing's doors flew open, letting Terry inside. Then with a fast lurch, it flew into whatever coordinates Bruce punched into it. Terry was glad he couldn't see most of the town under him, otherwise, he'd feel even more guilty for not being down there than he already did...
"You should be seeing the Oxygen Board any second now," Bruce said, his face popping up on the Batwing's monitor. He was right, the three skyscrapers with those exact words showed up. The lungs of the whole Lunar colony, making sure everyone could even survive under the dome. The Batwing lowered itself toward the middle of the second skyscraper positioned in-between the others.
"Inside is the master control computer and one of the main tubes leading into the reservoir," A capsule popped out from the console. "Insert that into the main tube, once that's done, use the master computer to filter it into the chemicals. That should purify the air supply."
"How long will it take to start working?" Terry grabbed the antidote and popped the Batwing open. With a batarang, he broke the window open and jumped inside.
"A few minutes, 15 at most. Luckily, whoever's behind this chose not to use something stronger."
Something lethal... Terry thought, taking note of the workers sprawled out on the floor. In a rush, he did just what Bruce told him to. On the far side wall, a series of giant tubes going up and down the building was visible. Terry spotted a round hole in one of them where the lid hung outside.
Once the antidote capsule was opened up, Terry dumped the chemical inside and sealed the tube shut right this time. At the master computer, he spotted a flashing warning about a foreign element being inserted. It was newer than the existing warning from before.
"Ignore those, search the filtering options and enter the command to recognize the new element."
Terry did just that, working as fast as he could. In a couple of moments, the flashing warning signs of a foreign element disappeared, replaced by a green confirmation. The whole building seemed to buzz, its ventilation systems buzzing all around. From the main computer, Terry watched the antidote work its way through the Oxygen Board buildings, then the nearest surrounding areas and kept going on and on...
Some of the staff groaned, waking up from the tranquilizer gas. The others didn't, but the bat computer inside the cowl said they were unconscious, not dead.
Terry decided now was the time for some answer. "Easy there," He gently told the nearest staff member, a middle-aged man with a beaked nose and graying hair. The man blinked a few times, gasping when he spotted who was kneeling in front of him.
"Don't worry," He held his arms up. "I'm not here to hurt you, I'm just after whoever's done this to you and the rest of the colony."
"...The rest of the colony...?" He repeated, dumbly staring at Terry even as he got helped back up. "No... Don't tell me they..."
"They did," Terry grimly confirmed. "But now that you're all waking up, we can fix this, we can find the guys responsible."
"Th-There were four of them..." One of the other staff members, a shaken up looking younger woman with dirty blonde hair said. "Th-They barged in here with guns and... and masks... They knocked out some of our friends and made us... Put in that... that gas... Oh, God..."
"Did they say anything else," Terry tried to sound calm even as his fists clenched. "Anything that can help me hunt them down?"
"One of them... Got into an argument with the other..." The older man said, looking lost and pinching his nose. "Said something about... A bank... was it?"
"A bank?" Terry tried not to sound too surprised. "When did they break in here, how long ago?!"
"I uh," The old man pulled a long, purple glove away, showing off a wristwatch that must have been made before Terry was born.. "...45 minutes ago...?"
"Thanks!" Terry shouted, rushing out the broken window and jumping onto the Batwing. "You got all that?"
"Of course, a security system from the Armstrong bank went off less than twenty-five minutes ago. Judging by the schematics I've dug up, it'll take them another five to cut through the vault doors."
"They're not getting them," Terry slammed the Batwing shut and grabbed hold of the wheel, steering it hard and fast toward the Armstrong bank. This time, he flew lower giving himself a good look at the colony. Fires were still going all over the place, from apartment buildings, warehouses, ground level... Already, fire departments and cops were buzzing around, trying to fight it all. Even miles and miles up, Terry could hear the panicked people screaming all around.
Bruce must've seen his heart rate get faster from all the way back on Earth. But he wasn't calling. The thought got Terry's mind off everything that happened until he'd reached the Armstrong bank. This time, he played things louder than usual jumping down from the Batwing and right through the skylight.
The whole thing exploded into a loud mess of glass. Slowing down his fall, Terry let himself hover in the air, glider wings sticking out, giving everyone a good look at him, like the four crooks staring at him like something out of their nightmares.
Before any of them got smart, Terry tossed a few batarangs. A couple hit their mark, cutting trough the crooks outfits and electrocuting them. The other two had enough good sense to duck or roll away. Terry went right for going to the staircase immediately left of the vault entrance, flying past his plasma fire and smashing the heels of his boots into the crooks nose.
The last one mumbled something, lying on the ground with his gun shaking. Terry just stared him down, rising to full height. He'd gotten pretty good at figuring out bad guys' tells over the years and for a second, he thought the guy might actually be stupid enough to fire.
Instead, he gulped and tossed it away, raising his arms. "I-I surrender! J-Just don't hurt me...!"
"Oh, I'm not going to hurt you," Terry's boot slammed across his face. "I'm just gonna give you a good look at what you've done today."
Cuffing all four of them first, Terry unloaded enough of his grapnel guns line and tied them all together into a big pile. Finally, he lowered a hook from the Batwing hovering overhead and connected it to the grapnel line tying the crooks.
"Enjoy the view," He said before flying up to the Batwing's cockpit, making it fly slowly up until the bank robbers were out of the building, hoisted far into the air. Then, he punched in the closest coordinates to a police station and took a slow, steady flight over there.
The ones still conscious screamed all the way, begging to get pulled back up to safety. Terry didn't feel like it, unceremoniously unhooking the Batwing once he'd flown the four of them over to the nearest police station. The four fell with a loud thud, moaning and crying.
"If I find out the four of you try to squirm your way out of this," The Batwing's speaker carried his voice out. "I'll do much worse than this to you."
With that, he was off, back to the museum to change back to his normal clothes before anyone got too worried about where he'd vanished off too. That was when Bruce's face popped back onto the screen.
"I know what you're gonna say, I went too far but-"
"I get it," Bruce said in what passed for his gentle voice. Which was just a smidge softer than the usual growl he had. "Criminals going so far for the most... Banal of reasons. It makes my skin crawl even after all these years."
Terry blinked at the monitor, feeling the rush of anger go away, leaving him feeling... Tired. "Thanks, Mister Wayne... I... I'm sorry..."
"I just... I thought you were gonna read me the riot act..."
"Actually," He smiled a little. "I was going to say I'm sorry about your trip taking this... Turn for the worse."
"Yeah, so am I boss..."
A/N: Can you guys what famous British comic I was reading for inspiration to this story? Thanks again to my editor Kagari for ironing out the faults.