Disclaimer: Yep, yep, I still don't own any of these people, except Schreiber. I'm willing to sell though. Just send $19.95....oh, wait...heh heh....nevermind...all characters and concepts copyright DC Comics.
E-mail: MetalliBats@prodigy.net. Comments welcome and appreciated.
Archive: Jawohl, but tell me where.
A TIME FOR WAR - A STORY OF THE BATMAN
February 13, 1947
Beneath Wayne Manor
Outside Gotham City, Occupied Zone
The cave. He had found this place years ago, ignoring his mother's voice as she called for him to come inside, his father's wave, as he sprinted across the grounds, breath coming ragged and slow, but the pure exhilaration of it almost engulfing him. Then the earth betrayed him, and opened up, and he plummeted down. He cried then, wailing, and his father had come, and gathered him up, and told him everything would be all right, and that when his mother said to come in, she meant right then. But the cave was still there.
Bruce slid the cowl from his head, sweat matting his hair as he loosened and dropped the cape on the ground. The steady drip of water reverberated through the cave as Bruce entered the main chamber, the place he'd made his home. Collapsing into his father's leather swivel chair, he closed his eyes, breathing deeply. He had done well. He'd fought, and triumphed, and hit the invaders in a sensitive place....and made them suffer.
Turning in the chair weakly, he rose, his arms above his head as he slid the top of the suit off. The waterfalls. Pushing deeper back into the cave, he left the suit behind him as he stepped into the chamber of the falls. The cool water trickled down the rocks, pooling in a small crater, then flowing beneath the cave floor to the Gotham River. Bowing his head, Bruce stepped under the cold water, shocked, as he always was, by the intensity of the cold, the way it jumped straight to his bones, made him shiver. Gritting his teeth, he washed himself, rinsing the sweat, grime, and soot of the night off of him. Stepping out of the water, he slid back through the crevice, and walked slowly back to the main chamber. Sleep. His body craved it, but his mind refused to be subdued. Even when he was exhausted, sleep would not come, as his mind ran itself in the same vicious circle over and over again.
Sitting on the edge of the bed he'd brought down, he lay back, closing his eyes, not expecting sleep to come. But this time, his mind was quiet. The last thought he had before he drifted off to sleep was 'I suppose father is pleased..'
February 15, 1947
Office of the Reichskommisar
Gotham City, Occupied Zone
Wolfgang Bruecker leaned back slowly, blowing smoke lazily out of his mouth. The cigar was Cuban, and a damned sight better than anything in Germany. Just one of the perks of being assigned to this hellhole. This assignment needs perks, Bruecker thought acidly. There certainly was enough bullshit. Setting the cigar down in an ashtray, he leaned forward, and stabbed the intercom button.
"Send in Major Schreiber."
Leaning back again, Bruecker rested his hands on his stomach. His door opened, and Schreiber stepped in, his black uniform immaculate, the death's head and runic S's gleaming even in the low light of Bruecker's office.
"You asked to see me, Herr Reichskommisar?"
"I did, Major. Your record here in America, and in Russia before that, is quite brilliant. You seem to have a knack for getting to...the core of issues. I need a man of your caliber to find out exactly what happened at the armory."
"You don't need me for that, Herr Reichskommisar. Anyone can tell you, the armory blew up. Quite violently, at that."
Bruecker shot a venomous look at Schreiber. "Thank you for that EXCELLENT piece of groundbreaking information, Major Schreiber. What I want you to do is to question the peons who live around the....former armory site. A number reported a giant bat fleeing the scene....and we did find this." He tossed out a crumpled piece of paper onto his desk. Schreiber picked it up and smoothed it, his eyebrow raising at the black bat silhouette scrawled on it.
"Wasn't there a note like this-"
"At the bar fire? Yes, indeed there was. Which leads me to believe-"
"An American soldier? A guerilla?"
"I would imagine the latter...though the Fuhrer knows why a man would be compelled to dress as a bat to gallivant around this shithole of a city."
"Perhaps he's a member in standing of the city council, or somesuch?"
"Doubtful. Those pigs are cowed.Your job it to find out, Schreiber. Get to it. I don't need this shit with the front just thirty fucking miles away."
Schreiber nodded, and swiveled, walking out in precise, measured steps. Setting his cap back on, he smiled slowly. He always enjoyed his work.
February 15, 1947
Outside Gotham City, Occupied Zone
Dick Grayson leaned against the hard wood of the oak tree, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. The ember was bright orange, and had burnt almost to the filter, but Dick paid no attention as he pressed the headphone against this ear, struggling to hear the faint broadcast. The 'Nightwings', as they'd dubbed them- selves, sat around him, faces guarded, but still yearning for hope, for any piece of optimistic news.
"Bradley's swung behind the Krauts in Oklahoma...attacking now.... some guy named Doolittle led a raid on New York, bombed City Hall.....doesn't sound like all that much damage was done....nothing else, not really.."
The gathered men sighed, letting their spirits deflate, even as they tried to mask the fact that they cared at all. Grayson watched as they wandered off in twos and threes, headed for tents, or lean-to's, and let his own depression show. Shooting up troop trucks was all well and good, but it wouldn't do a damned thing if the U.S. Army couldn't start cracking Germany's conventional forces. Guerillas don't win wars, Grayson repeated to himself as he rose, grabbing his rifle as he headed for his tent, the radio in his other hand. These men needed a symbol, a representation of their ideals, someone to look to, someone else who was fighting, no matter how feebly or insignificantly. In short, they needed to know they weren't alone.
Grayson fervently hoped that they WEREN'T alone...
February 15, 1947
Gotham City, Occupied Zone.
Major Schreiber motioned for the SS men in the truck to follow him. This was the fifth address, the fifth person who had reported a 'bat thing', as this particular one had put it. The ten SS troopers clambered out of the truck slowly, having no reason to expect anything more exciting than the crushingly boring interrogations of before. Schreiber waited until they'd cleared the truck, then knocked on the almost paperthin door. Seconds later, the door cracked, to reveal a thin, haggard looking man, with wire rimmed glasses. Despite his clothing and physical appearance, his eyes, perhaps because of the glasses, looked lively, piercingly intelligent. Automatically, Schreiber gave this man's words more merit, before he had even spoken. THIS man wouldn't have hallucinated, or been drunk.
"Yes..?" the man asked.
"I am Major Schreiber. I am here to ask you some questions concerning the armory explosion last night."
"Well...come-come on in.." the man said softly as he undid the chain lock, and swung the door open. Schreiber stepped in, as did four of his troopers, while the other six remained outside.
"You reported to the Kriminalpolizei that you saw the....bat thing, as you called it, at approximately 23:47. This is roughly...thirty seconds after the armory exploded, correct?"
"Yes sir....I heard the explosion, went to the window, and saw the...the thing, I suppose, fly over the wall, and onto the roof of the building behind us."
"Yes sir...he seemed to fly, or levitate, maybe."
"Did you make out any distinguishing characteristics? Facial features, body build, anything of the sort?"
"No sir.....his wings and his head were all I saw...after he flew over, he landed, and stuck something on the curb outside. Then he flew off again. That's when I called the police."
Schreiber nodded, not especially listening. This was nothing. Though this man had seen more, he had essentially seen more of nothing. This was of no use.
"Thank you sir...we'll be leaving now."
Schreiber turned to go, motioning to his troopers, and almost ran straight into a teenaged boy, obviously the man's son.
"Dad, what are these fascist pigs doing in our house?"
"Robert - "
Schreiber's eyebrows rose. In his month here, NOONE had assaulted him so openly...except that Wayne boy the first night. And he was dead.
"Young man, I recommend you step aside, lest I take official notice of this remark."
"Fuck you, you Nazi son of a bitch."
Schreiber snapped, and backhanded the youth across the face, hard. The boy's father started forward, but a look from one of the soldiers paused him. Schreiber knelt to the boy's level, smiling gently, his mouth gradually growing wider. This would be interesting.
"A mistake, young man."
The boy snarled, and drew a knife swiftly. Schreiber saw it, and begin to rise, to draw his pistol, but too late. The boy screamed as he sank it into Schreiber's face, drawing it in a straight line down, cutting deeply.
"Shit!" Schreiber screamed, standing, strangely still smiling. He drew his pistol smoothly, and aimed at the boy's head. At that, the father did move, but Schreiber's troopers acted as one, cutting him down before he had taken a third step toward Schreiber. For his part, Schreiber shot the boy point blank, eerily fascinated as his brains exited the back of his skull at a few hundred miles per hour. Holstering his pistol, he held the bleeding gash, his mouth still contorted in the sadistic smile he'd had seconds ago. Despite his efforts, he couldn't bring his lips down...though his speech was as clipped as ever.
"Let's get out of this place. Torch it."
Schreiber's troopers saluted, and walked to the truck, slinging out cans of gasoline to torch the apartment building. Even the most hardened, the most battle- tested, were uneasy.....his fucking mouth wouldn't stop smiling...