Farscape/Batman: Dark Knight, Rising Son, Pt. 2

By: Spacelord

<< Continued from part 1

 

Part 3: The Dark Knight Awakens

Crais and Kanor stood in the middle of the large circular room, their eyes anxiously darting down every few moments at the floor beneath them. Rarely were individuals allowed to see the upper sections of the Peacekeeper Tower where Scorpius himself dwelled. The upper quarter of the building was in fact, mostly empty space, which is exactly what the two men were looking at beneath their feet.

The technology used to render metal invisible was still relatively new, even among the Peacekeepers. The image of them standing on a transparent floor, seemingly floating over one hundred and eighty feet in the air over a vast interior arboretum that spread out below them was dizzying, to say the least. The tallest of the trees that were planted in the contained ecosphere was still at least thirty feet below where they stood. Crais found the whole scene baffling. It reminded him of flying above treetop level in a prowler, only here he was merely standing in midair, glancing at a forest beneath him.

"Breathtaking, is it not? I find it very relaxing when I need to put my mind at ease. One can almost imagine themselves as a spirit floating amongst the heavens, if one actually believed in such things."

Turning to the sound of the voice, Crais and Kanor watched the spectral form of Scorpius enter the chamber. Captain Braca, his personal assistant, flanking him on his right.

"It is indeed, sir," said Crais. "The view is magnificent up here. I can see why you have made it your personal dwelling."

Scorpius raised his head slightly. "Ah, yes. You are Commissioner Crais? I must commend you on the quick and efficient job you and your people did in apprehending the human terrorist. You saved us all the trouble of worrying about another traitor in our midst."

Crais bowed his head slightly as Scorpius walked past him. "But you, doctor, you disappoint me very much." He approached Kanor, who was beginning to shift back and forth uncomfortably. "We came very close to losing all the precious work that will eventually tip the balance of power in our favor. Or do I have to remind you of our conflict with the Scarrans and the Nebari?"

"N-no· of course not, sir," Kanor said nervously. "But the safeguards we installed against such potential attacks worked perfectly. They were-"

"Not enough!" With his right arm, Scorpius grabbed Kanor by his neck and lifted him off the clear floor. "We are working against time, Dr. Kanor. This new weapon we are developing will be operational within the time that I specified. I will not tolerate any kind of interference!" Scorpius' voice changed from the light soothing tone he normally used to the deep-throated growl that evolved from his Scarran half.

Kanor gasped for air. He could only make faint gurgling sounds as he looked into the pale corpselike visage of Scorpius. He was considered an abomination among Sebaceans, but their leader nonetheless. Tyrant would have been the better description to them.

Kanor was mere inches from his face, and he could make out the details of his bloodshot eyes, the cracked surface of his skin and the rotting stench from his stained teeth. Kanor managed to gasp out a response as he felt himself blacking out.

"We· will double· our efforts and the· safety pre-precautions·"

Scorpius released his grip. The doctor fell to the floor in a heap, gulping fresh air into starved lungs.

"See that you do, doctor."

Scorpius turned to leave. "Come, captain. We have much to do. Good day, doctor, and, best of luck with your new assignment, commissioner." Braca fell in behind the despot, remaining silent throughout the entire discussion.

Crais leaned over to help Kanor up as Scorpius and Braca walked back out the door. Kanor rubbed his throat and wiped the tears away from his eyes as he composed himself.

"As you can now see, commissioner," Kanor said through a raspy voice. We cannot afford mistakes."

Crais frowned. "Then we best not make them."

The two men looked down at the floor once more. The transparency faded, and it slowly turned solid again, taking away the view of the forest below.

***

Confused would be an understatement. John stared at the giant video screen, visibly dumbstruck. "You're who?"

The image on the screen smiled. "My name is Bruce Wayne. In life I was also known as Batman. Welcome to the Bat Cave."

"Batman· Bat Cave? Oh, I don't believe this. You mean you really were real?" John said. "You weren't just some story my Dad once told me?"

Bruce laughed. "I was very real, John. I protected Gotham City for many years against criminals and any that threatened the safety and freedom of its citizens."

"It was you, wasn't it? You were the one who sent me that message on my computer."

"Yes, I did. Although the Peacekeepers aren't aware of it, I use their surveillance systems to watch what goes on in Gotham. I can also enter their data banks without them knowing. I've spent the last thirty years studying, replicating and even improving on their technology. I know what they know, and use it to my advantage."

John nodded, taking the words at face value, but still trying to absorb what he had seen so far. "Quite an operation you got here. So, I guess the $100,000 question is, why did you invite me here?"

"John, I'm charging you with carrying on my work. I want you to be the next Batman."

"What?" John blinked and waited for the next punch line, but Bruce's face looked absolutely serious. "Me? Why me?"

"I've watched you for a long time now. Our lives are very similar, yours and mine. We both lost our parents at a very young age to violence. You have a brilliant mind; you're in excellent physical shape· well, until you recently began your heavy drinking. But we'll work on that."

"Whoa, whoa, slow down a minute," John said, slightly irritated. "This is going too fast. Where are you? Why don't you come out where I can see you? I feel like I'm talking to Max Headroom."

"I'm afraid I can't, John. I know you have a lot of questions, but everything will be answered soon. In the meantime, I want you to have something to eat and get some rest. You had a long night, from what I've seen. There's no need to worry though. The Peacekeepers have been dealt with. They don't know we're down here. We have safeguards in place in the event they did find us. And now, ALFRED is bringing you some food."

John looked around. "Alfred?"

"Yes," Bruce said, as a tall silver robot silently glided into view holding a tray of steaming food. "ALFRED stands for All-purpose, Free-moving, Repair/Electronics Darter. I named him after my old butler. He was a dear friend of mine."

John could not help but smile as the robot approached. Its head was a smooth silver sphere with two white lights for eyes and a series of holes for its mouth. Best of all, it was wearing black coattails- like a real butler.

"Good morning, Master John," ALFRED said in a synthesized voice. "I have prepared you some buttermilk pancakes, bacon, a fruit cup and some orange juice. Please eat while it is still warm. Master Bruce had a terrible reputation for leaving the meals I made go cold."

John scratched his head and sighed. Things could not get any stranger. Complying, he sat down and quietly ate everything on the tray while ALFRED waited. He must have been hungrier than he realized. His flight through the forest had taken a lot out of him. He desperately wanted to sleep, and the urge was becoming irresistible as ALFRED removed the tray.

"ALFRED will show you the living quarters we have down here," Bruce said. "Once you've rested and cleaned up, we'll talk more."

John watched as Bruce's image faded from the video screen. He got up and followed ALFRED through a set of sliding doors into an ornately decorated room filled with the remaining furnishings of the manor above him. There was a large canopied bed in the corner- and it was practically calling his name.

"Clean up and rest yourself now, Master John," ALFRED said. "It is well past 8:00 am. You have been up the better part of twenty-four hours. Master Bruce will converse with you again later. If you need anything, do not hesitate to pull the cord and summon me." He indicated the braided gold cord that hung down next to the bed. "I will make any accommodations to ensure your comfort while you are here with us."

"Thanks Alfred."

The robotic servant departed, leaving him alone. John sat down on the edge of the bed, gauging its comfort. Only now, after the long and harrowing night, did his body relax. There were so many questions, but only sleep occupied his thoughts now.

This is where it all begins.

***

John awoke with a start. He had dreamed again of the evil men surrounding him and his parents, the fear, the flash of light and the look on their faces as they died and the shadow that covered them.

He lay in the bed perfectly still, staring up at its canopied ceiling and listened to the rhythm of his breathing, slowing down as he came out of sleep. He began to look around at the unfamiliar surroundings. It was not his apartment, since there were no windows. The furniture that was present was far too fancy for anything his tastes cared for.

Not his home, he was still in the Bat Cave.

He sat up and placed his bare feet down on the elaborate Oriental rug that covered the hard floor. He reached out and pulled down on the gold cord to summon ALFRED.

He used the shower earlier that was adjacent to the bedroom before going to sleep, washing away hours of dirt and sweat he had accumulated during his night flight from the Peacekeepers. He then put on the silk pajamas that ALFRED had laid out for him and slid under soft, clean sheets. Stretching out his arms, he yawned deeply. He had slept like the dead, and not just dreamed about them.

Finding the manor was a godsend. But finding the Bat Cave underneath its remains had been an unexpected shock. His mind was still swimming with questions before he went to sleep and waking up did not change that. The image of Bruce Wayne had said he called him here to charge him with becoming the new Batman.

The new Batman· He still was trying to comprehend that there had even been a Batman.

ALFRED appeared in the doorway, with a set of black clothing draped over one of his mechanical arms. "Good Afternoon, Master John. I have bought you a clean set of clothes. While I am preparing dinner, Master Bruce would like to speak with you."

John smiled slightly. "Good. I need to talk his ears off about a lot of things. What time is it, anyway?"

"5:15 pm, Master John. You slept for quite some time. This is very good, as it will place you in cycle with the training that Master Bruce is preparing for you."

"Cycle of training?"

***

"All right, this is very impressive, I admit, but it still doesn't answer my question." John looked back towards the screen at the image of Bruce, turning away from the black suit with the image of a bat on its chest that sat behind the lit glass booth.

Bruce's eyes followed him warily as he walked across the floor to the main console. "John, when the Peacekeepers came to Earth, we were not prepared either for their intentions or their superior technology. They defeated the Earth's forces in a very short time and have been plundering our resources ever since. They want complete mastery of space, and there are resources here not found on other worlds to aid them in that. While I was Batman, I was not prepared to deal with them. But now·"

"Now you need me?"

He smiled slightly. "I consider you a worthy successor. I've watched your life for a long time. I know you've worked to help the Earth resistance. I also know you've lost friends and loved ones, and that you are a moral person, but bitterness is eating away at you. I'm now offering you the perfect solution to helping your fellow humans."

"You want to make me into a soldier? How many Peacekeepers do you think one guy can snuff out? They occupy the whole goddamned planet, you know."

"You don't understand, John. I will not train you to kill. The Batman does not kill. He fights to protect life. And he is not a gutter mouth, either. Please curb your profanity."

He laughed sarcastically. Bruce Wayne- the last Boy Scout. The man was just too noble to be true. "That's great, Bruce. You want me to just rough them up? Scare them a little? In case you haven't noticed, they don't play fair, plus they do have all the big guns. Plus, I'm a little too old for you to be bawling me out for cussing."

Bruce's eyes narrowed slightly on the screen. "Understood. But, you underestimate the power of fear, John. Look how fear affects you when you dream about your parent's death."

John looked up at him, surprised. "How do you know about that?"

"Like I said, I've studied you, to determine if you were worthy. I know your parents were gunned down in front of you in a dark alley, just like mine were. In fact, it was the exact same alley. Synchronicity is strange that way."

"Did you also know my father once told me every man gets a chance to be his own hero?"

Bruce hesitated, before he answered. "Yes."

John remained silent.

"Let me ask you this," Bruce said. "When they died, how did you feel?"

He lowered his head. It was difficult for him to think about. Words often failed to describe that moment. "I felt· hatred. And fear."

"Yes. Fear is good. But travel lightly. Lose hatred. The Banik slaves used that as a proverb, before the Peacekeepers killed off most of them. John, you must not become that which you seek to destroy. Your actions will not only protect your fellow humans, but you'll inspire those who see your actions."

"I'm only one man, Bruce. This is not fighting a few street thugs. This is an empire operating under the false guise of hired police work. And they don't ask or give quarter. There will be deaths, like it or not."

"I understand that can and will happen. But the Batman stands as a protector as well as justice. We're fighting a war, but we want to stem the tide and prevent the loss of many lives as possible. It's one man that leads nations, empires; one man who sets the example."

"And where are you in all this, Bruce?" John looked across the expanse of the cave, hoping to see some curtained booth where Bruce, playing the great and powerful Oz, would show himself.

"I'm afraid this is as good as it gets, John. I died recently."

John raised an eyebrow. He was dead wrong about it not getting any stranger.

"But I was able to download my consciousness into this computer before I expired. It was a complete sensory download of all my synapses. I managed to duplicate the technology the Peacekeepers possessed to accomplish that, as well as the new equipment you'll be using to fight them, if you accept my offer."

Visions of his parents and of DK floated in his mind, as well as the little girl who cried desperately for the Batman. The dream that haunted him nightly now had a clarity he had never imagined. He first thought it was pre-ordained, but this was not fate that beckoned to him. He felt it on the street after DK was killed. It was serendipity: a fortunate accident. Either way, he was there now, and he treaded a path that allowed no turning back, not even if he wanted to.

"If I do this," John said, "It's not for me, it's for all of them."

Bruce, or his neural remains at least, did not need John to explain who Îthey' were. "I wouldn't want you to do it any other way, John."

He nodded. "All right, then. I accept. Let's do this."

***

September 28, 2038

"I know what you just said, but I still don't believe it," Barbara said, growing irritated at the Peacekeeper guard on the other end of the phone. "Why didn't anyone tell us he'd been found? Are you sure it's him?"

The guard made a grunting sound. "You didn't need to know until we were sure. And yes, ma'am, it's him."

Barbara shifted uncomfortably in her chair. It had been almost a year now, and hardly any news. And now this·

"Then send him up. I'll let Dr. Kanor know he's here."

"Yes, Ma'am."

Barbara hung up the phone, and sat back down in her chair, scarcely believing the news. For almost a year he had gone missing. Like DK once was, John was one of her oldest and dearest friends. Her father had served with his on the International Space Station before its destruction. She looked upon him as family, and when he had disappeared·

After several minutes, she could see a tall figure standing in the doorway out of the corner of her eye.

"Hello, Barbara."

She turned to face him. "John?" It was him, in the flesh.

He walked up to her slowly, letting her take in his familiar features. He flashed a big smile. She hesitated, and then embraced him. It had been nine long months, and now she could let herself be relieved. She let herself cry again in his arms.

"You're really back?" She said, in between weeping. "My God, John, I don't believe it, we thought you were dead!" She stood back a moment; still stunned he was alive. He was quite healthy despite a long disappearance. It was like finding out her father was still alive after the ISS tragedy. She had been fortunate enough to have her parents around when she was growing up.

And now, he was back. There had been a story of a man resembling John that had assaulted two guards at the Gotham's northern perimeter and escaped into the country. Peacekeeper Command received a video soon after that, showing a former terrorist thought dead from four cycles before who bore a near-identical resemblance to John. This was made more convincing by the real John Crichton sitting beside him tied up and held for ransom, with the threat of execution hanging over him. Footage of him performing manual labor was also sent to the Peacekeepers to keep them second-guessing. Bruce had woven an elaborate plan over the past eight months, sending Peacekeeper patrols to abandoned warehouses, landfills and ramshackle buildings on the city's outskirts to convince them their top human scientist was a captive of some fictitious terrorist organization. John listened with delight as Barbara went over the elaborate ö but false ö details of the story that he and Bruce masterminded in order to slip John back into the city without suspicion.

"The guard on the phone said you were found two days ago tied up in a warehouse. Have they been questioning you all this time?"

"Really, Barb, I'm all right." John said, reassuring her. It was a necessary lie, but it had to be convincing, so he could continue on with what he came back for.

"So we can see, Dr. Crichton." Kanor said, as he entered the office. "We should have guessed that the survivors of that attempt at sabotage on us would have tried to kidnap some of our people. We underestimated their ingenuity." He extended his hand. "It's good to have you back, John."

John accepted the handshake without apprehension. "Thanks, Doctor. I'd like to get back to work, now that my little ordeal with the terrorists has ended. I think it would help clear my head."

"Certainly! We look forward to you looking over the work we've done. Without you, it's been much harder for us."

He did his best to hide his satisfaction at that revelation. It would have been the general idea from the start.

"If you will excuse me, I have to attend a meeting with members of Peacekeeper High Command. I'm sure Dr. Gordon here can bring you up to speed with everything we've been doing. Good day, Dr. Crichton." Kanor walked out of the office, giving them a moment alone, to John's relief.

Barbara's smile dropped away. "So John, tell me all about it?"

He shook his head, laughing. "I just spent the past two days telling Peacekeeper interrogation teams all about it. Let's talk about something else. Anything."

***

Part 4: The Dark Knight Returns

Night had arrived early. Fitting, since it was Gotham's natural habitat.

High winds whipped his cape around him in irregular patterns as he stood on the ledge of the skyscraper, silent and still as the stone gargoyles that surrounded him on either side. Casting his eyes downward, he inhaled deeply at the sight of the city streets far below, their distant lights forming the glowing chasm that spread out before him.

John Crichton disappeared for the night. Batman now stood on the ledge of the building looking over Gotham City- his city.

"Any time you're ready, John." Bruce's voice came to him over the radio built into his cowl.

John stretched his arms out by his sides and held his head back. For an instant he stood like a crucifix, a living part of the statuary on the décor of the old building. Leaping forward, he was airborne, free of gravity and plummeting rapidly downwards between the buildings. The windows of the buildings streaked past him in a blur of light and shadow, while the forms on the streets far below were rapidly filling his field of view. The wind roared over his earpieces as his speed increased with the descent.

At seventy feet above ground zero, he extended out his left arm and fired a cable from the gauntlet he wore. A thin braided strand of metal fibers with a small bat-shaped hook shot across his line of sight and anchored to an old brick building.

Muscles that were honed to steel tensed as they absorbed the shift from the freefall, the cable drew tight and it bought his body into a sweeping arc, swinging fully around the building with perfect precision. As he reached the end of the arc, the hook released itself and he dived forward, allowing the momentum to open his cape, its metal armature inside unfolding into leathery black wings. As the cable retracted and readied itself to fire again, the wings carried him on the night breeze like a glider.

"Excellent, John, you did that perfectly. You'll be able to cover a lot more ground in shorter time this way." Bruce sounded pleased.

John repeated the process with the cable and the wings and traveled across the breadth of Gotham's midtown in only minutes. The progression seemed so much easier now than it had when he first began training with Bruce. The darkness concealed him from anyone looking upwards and the design of the suit made him invisible to conventional scanning. He sailed far above the streets, free of the Peacekeeper's yoke. There only remained the need to test him on the streets below before he felt totally confident in his new role.

"Let's cut to the chase, Bruce," John said. He cleared his throat to hide his nervousness. "So, am I supposed to do my bat impression all night, or have you actually found anything for me to do out there yet?"

"Patience, John. It can happen anytime." There was a pause. "Swing over to 28th and Metro, there's a Peacekeeper patrol bothering a woman and her child."

John fired out the cable again and swung towards the far end of Gotham's business section. Using the night vision optics built into the cowl, he could easily spot anything moving on the ground-especially Peacekeepers.

***

"Get away from us!"

The woman and her young daughter were returning from a store when they encountered the patrol. There were five of them, and considering their behavior, patrolling was the last thing on their minds. She held her groceries and her daughter tight against her trembling form.

"Have to say you human females are quite nice for a primitive species. Enough raslak in me, and I wouldn't know the difference between you or Sebacean." The dark-haired Peacekeeper leered over the woman's lean body.

"Leave us alone, we didn't do anything." The woman pleaded.

"C'mon, girl! Be nice. We won't bite, not much anyway." The soldier grabbed the woman by her blouse and knocked her groceries out of her bag. Her child was screaming at the laughing detail of Peacekeepers.

"Leave my mommy alone!"

A large bald male carrying a heavy pulse rifle laughed hard. "I don't think she likes you, Torq. I guess she should join the crowd, eh?"

"Frell you, Dex. Hey, Zamia, shut the brat up, will you? She's too loud."

Zamia scowled. "You shut her up, Torq. This was your idea." The female Peacekeeper had no interest in harassing the helpless human; she could get sex anytime, preferably from males. The remaining two members of their patrol, standing behind her, did nothing but watch on in amusement.

"You got fire, girl." Torq said. "I like that. I haven't recreated in awhile, so be good and you'll even get a treat for your daughter there."

"Don't touch her!" The little girl kicked the soldier in the knee while his companions laughed.

"Caitlin, get away!" Her mother cried out. "Run!"

"Frelling bitch! Torq swung his free arm hard, striking the little girl across her face. She let out a cry as she fell to the ground.

"No!" Her mother cried.

"Frell her," Torq said. "Now, where was I?"

He grabbed the woman and proceeded to tear open her blouse. She looked up into the air, not willing to look in the soldier's eyes or watch his hand groping her. She would not give him the satisfaction. As she did, her eyes widened at the sight she saw bearing down on them.

A dark blur swung past Zamia and Dex, seizing Torq and pulling him into the air above the single streetlight the group stood under.

"What was that?" Zamia exclaimed. "Torq, where are you?"

Torq cried out and a loud crack was heard just before he struck the pavement hard behind the other soldiers, the impact knocking him out.

"Spread out!" Dex shouted. "We're under attack!"

Before they could respond, a cloaked figure landed between them and the woman, who reached for her injured child. He was dressed head to toe in black, with a dark cape covering him and a bright yellow oval in the center of his chest. The silhouetted design of a bat covered it. A cowl covered the man's head that hid most of his face, but he was definitely a man- large powerful, and spoiling for a fight.

"You just made a fatal mistake, whoever you are," Dex growled. "Cut him down, now!"

They raised their pulse rifles to fire. The man in black produced a boomerang-like weapon and hurled it at the soldiers in front of him. The batarang struck across the heads of the other two nameless soldiers, staggering them and sending them crashing against Zamia and Dex.

The man was upon them before they could recover, fists striking against jaws with lightning speed. Only Dex was able to block some of the blows, but he was no match for the man. A single uppercut to Dex's chin finished the fight quickly.

"Hey· look out!"

The man turned at the woman's voice to see Zamia getting back up, pulse pistol out of her holster and ready to fire. He would not reach her before she fired.

He did not need to. Raising his right arm, he activated the other gauntlet he wore. A concussion burst, derived from Tavlek technology, fired and struck the female Peacekeeper like a battering ram. Zamia's feet left the ground, striking the lamppost, the wind knocked out of her. The whole battle lasted all of thirty seconds.

The man walked over to the woman and her child, kneeling down to check her injury. Her mother looked up at him, gratitude pooled in her eyes, despite all the tears.

"Thank you."

He nodded. "She'll be fine. It was just a glancing blow. She should be up and about in no time. The walk home will be safe. I'll see to it."

Caitlin looked up. Her eyes squinted under the light, focusing on the stranger. He spoke in a low, gravelly voice. She saw a hooded face and a bat symbol. Her eyes widened. She recognized him instantly. He was not a dream, he was not a children's fable- it was really him.

"Batman·"

John smiled. "Yes, it's me. There's no need to be afraid." He stroked her soft cheek lightly. "You're a brave little girl, to stand up to them like that." He gently helped her to her feet.

"What's your name?" He said to the girl's mother.

"Vicki. And this is Caitlin."

"The two of you will walk these streets again safely, and without fear. I promise you that." He turned and disappeared into the shadows.

Vicki gathered up the groceries with her daughter's help, and they quickly walked away from the unconscious soldiers lying in the shadows.

"I told you, mommy." Caitlin said. "I told you Batman would come back someday and save us!"

She smiled. "Yes, he did, sweetheart. I hope he'll save all of us." She looked up at the night sky. It was clear and the stars were out. For the first time, she felt safe.

***

Per Bruce's instructions, John swung across town several times during the night to potential trouble spots that were detected. He knocked out a drunken pair of off-duty Peacekeepers harassing an old woman for her money. A Marauder that was being repaired in a hangar near the Gotham airfield went up in flames. He attacked several foot patrols in the residential areas and disabled three armored vehicles that were on patrol as well. He also took down a half a dozen human criminals lurking the streets and alleys attacking victims for a wallet or purse to steal.

"So Bruce," John said as he swung from a water tower for the fourth time in one night. "How am I doing?"

"You're doing very well, John," his voice came in, sounding scratchy through the static in the radio. "Although I don't remember us discussing destroying any Peacekeeper military equipment just yet."

"Relax, Bruce. I have a plan of my own. That was their wake-up call. It'll give them something to ponder while we make ourselves known."

"Fine, John. But I would have preferred to start out small, and work our way towards that. We don't want to jeopardize all that we have worked for."

John smiled big, even though Bruce could not see it. "Bruce, you ain't seen nothing yet."

***

Crais looked over the report a second time while Lt. Teeg stood in front of his desk, fidgeting. She never got used to the long silences that occurred when he read bad news. She had served with him on assignment before, but was never sure how he would respond. It made him unpredictable. To her, that was worse than knowing for certain.

"Are you sure of all this?" Crais said, finally looking up at her.

"Yes sir, reports have been streaming in the past few weekens. And they have come from both on and off duty soldiers, as well as some civilians. They all reported the same thing."

"Which is a man in a cape, carrying an arsenal of unfamiliar weapons, and armed with superior fighting skills, who has been attacking Peacekeeper patrols around Gotham City and preventing robberies and attacks on human civilians?" Crais grunted, putting the report down. "It sounds like another one of the human's Îurban legends' that I keep hearing so much about."

Teeg swallowed. "I understand your doubts, sir. But this Îurban legend' has also been responsible for the destruction of several of our Prowlers, Marauders and armored vehicles that patrol the cities. He's also been sabotaging supply convoys meant for off-world transport and giving some of the supplies to the locals."

"And I suppose every one of them have also reported this- what did they call him?" Crais looked at the report again, "Bat-man?"

"Yes sir, they did. The descriptions were exact, right down to the pointed ears on his headpiece."

"Pointed ears?"

How could she explain to him that the man dressed in a rough representation of a flying rodent? "Well, there are elements on his costume that are meant to resemble·"

Crais frowned. He did not need a description. "And the equipment that was destroyed, how soon can replacements be brought in?"

"As you know sir, due to the vast distance from Earth to the nearest Peacekeeper controlled territories, it could take almost half a cycle just to re-supply."

"Yes, yes, I understand." He waved his hand, becoming irritated. "In other words, it will take too long. There are already shipments of quartz and indigenous plants that have been lost to this terrorist. Do you know any other world we can obtain these at?"

She shook her head, unable to offer any alternatives.

Then who ever this Batman is, we need to stop his little reign of terror before it reaches the attention of Scorpius himself."

Teeg picked up the report chip and placed it back into her pocket. "What are your orders, sir?"

"I want Officer Chatto and Officer Sun to report here within a half an arn. Tell them I have a classified mission I need them to perform."

"And," he added, "I want immediate results."

***

Part 5: The Sun Also Rises

"Do you see it yet?"

John adjusted the optics in his cowl. The night vision settings turned the images of the warehouse and the vehicle pulling in to it into a sharp outline of green and gray. The increase in magnification bought the vehicle into clearer view.

"I see it, Bruce." He paused for a moment. "Shall we?"

"By all means, proceed."

John had planned the operation for a week and waited hours for the supply truck to arrive. It was part of a supply shipment of magnetic coils to the Peacekeeper Tower for the secret weapons projects that they had been working on for so long. He had explained to Bruce the importance of slowing down the progress of the program and convinced him this mission took highest priority. Now it was only a matter of taking down the skeleton crew that were standing in the florescent light of the warehouse doors and stealing it away, back to the Bat Cave.

Gliding down from the roof across the warehouse parking lot, two quick kicks to their jaws easily stunned the first two guards while the rest succumbed to a smoke grenade projecting sleep gas. Walking victoriously to the truck, he pulled open the loose flap in the back to inspect his prize.

There was nothing. The back of the truck was empty.

John cursed under his breath. "Bruce, I think we've been had."

"Get out of there, John." Bruce said, growing alarmed. "It's a trap!"

Before he could respond, the lights all over the parking lot lit up simultaneously, bathing the warehouse in a brilliant illumination. Unprepared, he raised his arm to cover his eyes against the sudden blinding light. Out of the corner of his eye, he could make out a pair of figures, descending the wall to his right.

"Freeze, renegade!" A female voice shouted. "You are under arrest! Surrender now or we will apprehend you by force!"

"Preferably by force," a second female voice said.

He lowered his arm, defiantly glaring at the two women. They were both dressed in black, with goggles over their eyes. They were Peacekeeper hunters. Both were holding a combination pulse rifle/crossbow weapon.

"All right, Bruce, time for Plan B." John muttered.

Filtered lenses in his cowl instantly came down, blocking the glare of the light. He raised his fists and put his foot forward in defiance.

"Have it your way," The raven-haired huntress said. She raised her weapon to fire the net projectile that was already loaded.

As the projectile fired, a three-foot beam of red light flashed to life on John's gauntlet. With a flashing arc, the expanding net that opened up before him was sliced in half and fell harmlessly to either side of him. The blade made from laser light was based upon the little known Scarran technology stolen from the Peacekeeper databanks. Bruce and he had been very resourceful when designing the Batman's new weapons.

While the raven-haired woman's jaw dropped from surprise, the lighter-haired huntress charged forward to attack. She was faster than him, and more experienced in hand-to-hand combat. Her legs and arms were powerful. She delivered a series of kicks and blows that could cripple a normal man. He blocked several of them and let his armor absorb the rest. After spending a year of training under the greatest unarmed combatant the world had known, he was not about to yield for a second.

Grabbing her arm from an attempted pantak jab, he flipped her and she struck the ground flat on her back, the air jolted right out of her. Fortunately, the Peacekeepers never bothered to learn judo during their long occupation. No sooner than he did, the other huntress joined the fight. She was as skilled as the first one, but John matched her blow for blow.

Her face seemed familiar. It was her smooth fair skin and long black tresses that jarred his memory. Then he remembered. She was the one that had apprehended DK the day he was shot dead. The other one had been there, too.

The memory flooded over him, pain turned defiance into rage.

"You·"

She cocked her head slightly; unsure of what he implied.

John rushed in, picked her up off the ground, and threw her into the first huntress who was standing back up, knocking them both down.

Producing a heat grenade from his belt, he tossed it between the women as they struggled to get up. The brilliant burst of heat it emitted used a combination of temperatures to render a Sebacean unconscious, as they lacked the gland necessary to regulate temperature increases.

It was only halfway successful. Walking away, he expected to hear nothing. Instead, he heard one of them getting back up. Turning around, the raven-haired huntress was recovering and reaching for her crossbow/rifle. Why had she not passed out from the heat burst? There was no time to ponder the answer; he quickly dodged a volley of energy bursts from her rifle.

Bruce's voice came back in over the sounds of pulse fire. "John, get to the rooftops. I've detected Peacekeeper reinforcements arriving within a few minutes."

John fired the cable and let the micro motor in the gauntlet pull him up above the rooftops just as the sirens of armored vehicles became audible in the distance. There would be too many for him to deal with. Concentrating on escape was now his first priority. While he did, he failed to notice the huntress trailing him, swinging from a cable of her own.

"That was bad, Bruce." he said, opening his wings to glide over a dilapidated brick building with an old furniture sign mounted on top. "Got too overconfident. I almost blew that one."

"Consider it a life lesson. You reacted well, so learn from your mistakes. Now, look sharp, you're being followed by that one huntress."

He craned his neck to catch a glimpse. "That's the same one that was there when DK was killed. Why wasn't she affected by the heat grenade?"

"We'll worry about that later," Bruce said. "You have to stop her before she signals the other Peacekeeper units and get a fix on our position."

"I know just the thing."

Shifting to the right, John swung across several blocks until he reached a dimly lit block where tall buildings on either side formed a canyon of concrete and steel. He selected a square building that served as a bank and swung towards its right side.

As he swung behind the building, he checked to see if she was still in pursuit. She was there, and gaining quickly. Whoever she was, she was good at what she did.

Swinging high into an arc, John used his wings to brake in midair, and quickly reversed his direction. If he timed this right, he would take her down as she swung past.

The wind rushed against his face as he dived downward to his approaching target. Just as planned, she came around the corner of the building in a graceful sweep, completely surprised and unable to change her forward momentum. The goggles hid her eyes bulging out with surprise as he struck her in midair, knocking the wind right out of her.

Catching her, he glided down to a nearby rooftop and laid her down on the ground, his hand still holding the collar of her outfit in a tight grip. He yanked the goggles off her face, and stared into a pair of scowling blue-gray eyes.

"Who are you?" He demanded.

She looked at him hard. "Officer Aeryn Sun, Retrieval Hunter, Peacekeeper Law Enforcement Liaison. I was sent to capture you."

John grunted in disgust. "I'm sure you know now that's not going to happen. Your trap failed, and your partner is unconscious back there. Now, you can tell Scorpius for me that the Peacekeeper's hold on this world will end soon."

"Really?" She sneered. "What makes you think you can beat us? You're only one man; we're an army fighting for a glorious cause."

"So am I." He pulled out a small container of sleep gas, and sprayed it in her face. He held her tight as she struggled against until she succumbed.

"Good work, John." Bruce said. "Now, return to the Bat Cave. We need to talk."

He looked back at her sleeping form one last time as he swung away, the sound of sirens wailing far below him. She would recover soon, but would have a nasty hangover as a result of the gas.

The impact in mid air had brushed her hair and skin against his face. It smelled of vanilla. He could still taste her in his mouth as he traveled back to the Bat Cave.

***

Aeryn awoke. Her head was pounding from whatever the renegade had sprayed in her face. Sirens wailed and the shapes of Marauders hovered overhead in the sky, their searchlights scanning the area, trying to locate the Batman. He was long gone, of that she was certain, as she struggled to get up.

Jenavian Chatto landed on the roof and walked gracefully as a panther towards her despite her earlier defeat at the hands of the Batman. Pride forbade her from showing any sign of weakness. Aeryn made no move to approach; she was the worse for wear of the two of them.

"Status?" Jenavian said, scanning the rooftop, looking for any traces of his departure.

"The target has escaped," Aeryn said. "He was far stronger and smarter than we had estimated."

"Then it's time to change our tactics."

Crais would not be happy with them failing to capture him, but he was right. Not only was he formidable, but he also became their hunter that night. Words failed to describe him and his peculiar outfit. He was a superb combatant- and handsome, too.

She shook her head, embarrassed, not even able to imagine why that came into her thoughts.

***

"You know this woman?"

John gazed up at the image. It was Aeryn Sun, the Peacekeeper hunter he had encountered earlier in the evening. Bruce could access high-level files in the Peacekeeper's computer network, with satisfying results. John concentrated on the matter at hand, trying his best to hide any interest that was more than casual. Since laying eyes on her, he could not get her out of his mind.

"Yeah," he said, answering Bruce's query. "She's the one I tangoed with tonight. Said she was sent to capture me. You know anything about her?"

"She was born into service with the Peacekeepers. She started out as infantry, but she's been a hunter with Peacekeeper Law Enforcement in Gotham for about three years now. She has Decca seven, high-level security clearance for her file, which is unusual for someone in her position. There's a part that I'm having difficulty accessing. I'll have to work on the decoding."

"Maybe it has something to do with her resistance to the heat grenade earlier tonight," John added. "There is something that is really Îoff' about her from the other PKs."

"Perhaps," Bruce replied. "Still, there is something about her that seems very familiar."

"What, to you?"

"Yes. But I can't quite place it yet."

John nodded. "See what you can find out about her. It might be significant."

"Speaking of which," Bruce interrupted. "You still haven't given me clear details on what that shipment was meant for. I know the Peacekeepers are working on weapons projects at the tower, but to what purpose? Even I can't access that part of their network."

"I'm in the dark about it as much as you are, Bruce. They assign us to certain parts of an entire project, and never let us see it as a whole. They get their results that way, without giving out too much information about what it is they're doing. It's been a big disadvantage to information gathering in the Earth resistance movement."

"But this much I can tell you," he added. "I heard a rumor it's supposed to have something to do about shortening the gap between Earth and their home systems. Maybe they're developing a new type of hetch drive. So, maybe this Aeryn Sun knows something. If we can win her to our side·"

"Hold that thought." Bruce looked at him hard. "John, I know where you're going with this, it's as plain as day on your face. You don't want to get involved at a private level with someone like her. Personal indulgences will interfere with your ability to fight."

John had heard the sermon before from Bruce, and hated hearing it every single time. He had trained hard for the past year, committing himself to being the new Batman. But even with Bruce and ALFRED around, it was a hard, solitary existence. Worse than that, it was just plain lonely. He had not been in a relationship since Alex was taken away to Arkham Asylum. He placed the blame on his shoulders for not trying harder to save her, but like DK; she would never allow him to jeopardize himself to the cause.

Goddamned martyrs·

He would never again allow anyone else to sacrifice themselves for him- not even a beautiful Peacekeeper. Who even knew if she could be won over to his side? It was a dangerous gamble. Still, he was only human·

"Your coffee, Master John?"

He turned to see ALFRED holding a cup and saucer and a silver pot. He lifted the cup to his lips, grateful for a temporary distraction. He walked back to his quarters while Bruce's image faded from the view screen, preoccupied with decoding.

***

"While I can appreciate the complications in combating an army of resistance fighters, Commissioner Crais, I find the amount of time and equipment lost in trying to capture a man who dresses like a flying rodent native to this planet rather taxing on my patience."

Crais swallowed, but remained stoic. The holo-image of Scorpius that flickered in front of him was the same size as the real thing, and no less intimidating. Scorpius' presence was enough to scare anyone, even from long distance. Lieutenant Teeg stood off to the side, watching the conversation, equally afraid to interject.

"With respect, sir, this ÎBatman' is no mere resistance insurgent. He has abilities and resources that are like nothing we've seen amongst the human fighters. Our intelligence agents have been gathering as much information on him as we can find from thirty of their Earth years ago."

Scorpius raised an eyebrow at the commissioner's remarks. "It's somewhat strange that there would be a gap of thirty cycles before this vigilante reappears. Crais, what do you know about the human life span?"

Crais thought for a moment. "I know a few things. Mostly that they only live about half as long as Sebaceans. They are more prone to disease and·"

"Then I believe common sense would dictate that this Batman is most definitely not the Batman of the past. More than likely, he is one of the resistance fighters who has taken up the mantle to rally the humans for an uprising. A rather poor attempt at comedy on their part, I should say."

"Most definitely not the original, sir," Crais said. "So far, patrols have seen examples of Tavlek and Scarran technology integrated into his armor, and he has used it with devastating results."

Scorpius looked shocked. "What?"

"He also uses weapons we have never encountered before. He has something called a batarang."

"Enough." Scorpius raised his hand, part of its holo-image passed through Crais, causing him to flinch. "Whoever he is, he has gained access to secured files that are not available to the general public. This would suggest that he either has contacts within the very center of our command structure, or that he is working among us without our knowledge."

"There was a human named John Crichton who had disappeared almost a cycle ago, sir," said Lieutenant Teeg, finding the courage to speak up. "He had been kidnapped by terrorists and was missing for almost a full cycle."

"Or so he says," Scorpius added. "Let him be your starting point, commissioner. Find out what you can."

The hologram leaned forward slightly. "And Crais," he continued. "Do not make me do any more of your detective work for you." The image of Scorpius faded away.

Crais breathed a sigh of relief. The meeting went better than he had predicted. With the Maelstrom project nearing completion, Scorpius' normally considerable patience had been wavering. He least the real Scorpius had not been present. He could just imagine a hand around his throat, squeezing on his windpipe.

"Sir, might I suggest subterfuge?" Teeg said.

Crais cocked an eyebrow, confused. "What do you mean?"

"As you know, sir, Peacekeeper High Command is arranging their annual banquet for the Sebacean and human personnel, as a way to keep relations stable, and to ease any concerns about the recent terrorist attempts on us. We can plant our people among the humans, especially Crichton, to keep an eye on his movements."

"Very practical," Crais said, "and an excellent idea." He walked behind his desk and pushed a comm button. "Huntress Chatto, are you there?"

A silky voice responded. "I'm here sir. Your orders?"

"Contact Officer Sun. I believe it's time for the change in tactics we discussed earlier."

***

Formal attire was encouraged for the banquets the Peacekeepers held for their employees in the tower. Blue jeans and halter-tops were not haut couture among Sebaceans, it seemed. For a conquering military race, they were rather fussy about formalities. Humans mingled, resplendent in tuxedos and evening gowns while most of the Sebaceans wore their black leather uniforms. The dining hall was decked out with all the regalia the Peacekeepers used for festivities. Long red, white and black banners with the piercing wedge adorned the walls on both sides of the hall, while the dining tables were draped in linens and laid out with the finest porcelain, silver and crystal. The center of the hall was reserved for dancing, while strains of Mozart from the small orchestra filled the room.

John entered the hall with Barbara hooked to his arm. He hated Peacekeeper parties, but obliged them to avoid any suspicion. Looking around, he found the décor ironic. The long red banners with the wedge symbol screamed ÎThird Reich' in any language. The musicians at the end of the hall were performing a movement from The Magic Flute. At least they had good taste in music, he thought. He adjusted his bowtie, while Barbara looked up at him with a smile.

"You look handsome," she said.

"I didn't ask," he responded coyly.

"Sit on it, Potsie."

John laughed. Her television references rivaled his any day. "I think you should save that for Lowell in the electronics lab. I hear he has his eye on you."

Barbara rolled her eyes. "There's too much damned office gossip circulating again. He helps me with filing on his break, and we met at the water cooler a few times."

"Oh, I see, just a few?"

"Alright, twenty times in the last week," she said, trying to suppress a smirk. "What's your point?"

"Love is in the air," John said tauntingly.

"Shut up."

A young man with curly blonde hair and a well-tailored tux appeared among the throngs of mingling people. He flashed a big smile at Barbara.

"Here I go," Barbara said.

John grinned. "Good luck."

She gently kissed him on the cheek and disappeared with Lowell into the crowd. John scanned the room looking for other faces as Kanor and Crais approached him.

"Glad you could make it, John," Kanor said with a smile. I understand the chicken they are serving tonight is delicious."

John looked at him with mild surprise. "I didn't know you liked Earth food, doctor."

"It grows on you after awhile." There is so much variety, although, I do prefer eating it when it's a little cooler. I can't imagine why you humans eat your food so hot. Can I interest in you in a drink?"

"Thank you, but no," he said, shaking his head. "I quit Cold Turkey."

Kanor looked baffled- for once. "What does a native bird have to do with a drink?"

"There's much variety indeed, Dr. Crichton," Crais interjected. "In the short time I've been here, I've been very impressed with your world. Earth seems to be a jewel in the crown among planets. I can see why my fellow Peacekeepers have such a vested interest in it."

"I think some humans would call it more then a vested interest, commissioner." John said."

"Perhaps, but rest assured, all will benefit once our common goals are met in the end. And even the Batman, with all the havoc he has wrought, will not stop it."

John remained unfazed. "How is that?"

A gorgeous woman approached the three of them before he received an answer. "Really, commissioner, let's not bore each other to death talking politics this evening. This is a time to have fun." She looked at John hungrily. "And who is this handsome creature?"

"Jenavian, this is Dr. John Crichton," Crais said. "Dr. Crichton, Jenavian Chatto."

Jenavian smiled. "Do you dance, Dr. Crichton?"

He grinned sheepishly. "I've been known to, once in a while."

"Splendid, doctor," said another female's voice. "Shall we?" A dark haired woman walked by, quickly taking John's hand and pulling him away from a surprised Jenavian. The look of shock on her face as she watched them disappear into the crowd, followed by her pouting expression, complete with both hands on her hips, made Crais break out in laughter.

"And that would be Aeryn Sun, Dr. Crichton," he called out to him between laughs.

On the dance floor, the woman turned to face him so he could finally see who snatched him away from the others. It was her. Raven tresses, full lips, and skin like milk. She looked at him with deep blue-gray eyes. And they were no longer scowling, either.

"Aeryn Sun," he whispered.

She smiled seductively. "So nice to meet you, John Crichton."

He tried to avoid glancing down at her gown, since he wanted to be a gentleman. Subtlety was not a word she used for fashion- she was literally dressed to kill. The sheer black gown was slit at the thighs, and partially transparent. As he spun her around during their dance, he could see clearly she wore nothing underneath, save the dark stockings that covered her thighs. There was a sheath wrapped around her right thigh- probably hiding a blade. He could again detect the delicate scent of vanilla. Her hair was a foaming mass of wavy curls, a drastic change from the tight braided ponytail she wore the other night. She was intoxicating, and he had not even had a drop of alcohol in a year, he thought with a smile.

They danced slowly and intimately on the floor with the other partygoers. Her fingers carefully explored around his back, arms and chest, delicately testing the muscle underneath his clothing. For a scientist, he was strongly built, as the firmness of his muscles would attest. It was a surprising disclosure; the man was no weakling.

And he was handsome, too. His jaw line was strong and smooth. In fact, she was sure it was an exact match with the Batmans. The face, though partially covered, remained clearly etched in her mind.

"You dance well," Aeryn said.

"So do you," he replied. "It's a shame there aren't more parties like this. It gives everyone the chance to know each other a little bit better, doesn't it?"

She had a wide, brilliant smile that lit up her face. They danced for a while, oblivious to the other dancers, casually asking the other questions, trying not to reveal too much personal information. Neither revealed the others secrets, nor would admit they were enjoying the process of it, either.

"Tell me, John Crichton," she said. "Have you ever been with a Sebacean woman?"

"Well, that's pretty forward of you." John said, taken aback by the question. "Are all of you this fearless?"

Aeryn smiled. "Pretty much, but some of us are a little more selective than others."

"I tend to romance a woman a bit before we try to get horizontal. You know, dinner and a movie, meet the folks, etc."

"Really?" She laughed, teasingly. "You humans have such brief lives. Why would you not enjoy the pleasures that are offered you at every opportunity?"

He thought about it a moment before answering. "If you live your life right the first time, the length isn't important. Life always ends, that's what gives it value while you live."

"Well said. And what do plan to do with your life?"

"Work for a just cause, of course."

They both froze. Aeryn's eyes widened slightly. All too similar words were exchanged the other night. He did his best to act natural, despite fighting off the urge to slap himself for practically giving himself away.

"Is something wrong?"

"No." she said, trying to be casual. "I've had enough dancing. Let's get a drink, shall we?"

John took her arm. "All right, but its just ginger ale for me."

***

Part 6: Revelations

Time had little relevance to Bruce as his consciousness drifted through cyberspace, his mind plotting channels and routes through the countless streams of electronic information. He processed codes and equations at the speed of thought, breaking down programmed barriers the Peacekeepers had created to block out hackers. Here, he was a neuromancer, a master of the pure data stream. There was no access code he could not break through, regardless of size or time.

Aeryn Sun's file became a new challenge for him. It was surprising that a hunter for Peacekeeper Law Enforcement would have such a high security level. Whatever was in her files would be interesting reading to both him and John.

If Bruce still had a physical body, he would be shaking his head with a mixture of amusement and scorn. John had made it quite clear he was taken with the Peacekeeper female. The worst thing he could do was to get personally involved with someone like her. While he had been Batman many years ago, he had occasionally tried to have a relationship, each one with disastrous results. The burden of being Batman meant a cause that was fought alone, without personal relationships. It was necessary to keep focused on the success of the crusade. After all, John only just started being the new Batman.

Then again, John Crichton was not Bruce Wayne, either.

The final barriers of code fell away as Bruce navigated through the bit stream into the files of Aeryn Sun. It took him but a moment to absorb the data. His heart, were there still one beating in his chest, would have defibrillated at what he saw.

"Oh my God, Dick·"

***

She confronted Aeryn as soon as she stepped into the corridor. Jenavian snatched her by the arm and slammed her against the wall.

"Don't you ever frelling do that to me again!" She frowned at her errant partner. "You embarrassed me right in front of the commissioner!"

"I was gathering information from him," Aeryn answered, unruffled. "Besides, I was the one he seemed interested in."

"You hardly gave him the choice, now did you? If I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to do a run-around on me to get a promotion." A metallic flash shot out of Jenavian's wrist, and the stiletto that she kept concealed under the skin of her forearm was quickly pressing against Aeryn's neck. "At least, I assume that's the case, unless you just suddenly had an urge to start slumming with humans."

Aeryn tensed, not daring to unsheathe the dagger she kept strapped to her thigh. Before Jenavian was a hunter, she had worked with the Peacekeeper Special Directorate as a disruptor. She kept all her deadly skills honed, in addition to retaining the tool of her trade. The stiletto pressed hard, and it began to feel like it was drawing blood.

"I want to find the target," Aeryn said, as calmly as she could, "and bring him in," she added. "I was the one he tackled and knocked out with sleep gas."

"And I'm the one he stunned with a heat grenade. Don't think you've got more of a claim to the target than I do or that I don't see what you're trying to do to my position-"

"That is enough, Huntress Chatto." Crais walked around the corner, not pleased at the scene that was unfolding before him. "You will desist now, or suffer disciplinary action."

Jenavian sighed, and slowly pulled back the stiletto, its length disappearing back into her wrist. "My apologies, Officer Sun," she said flatly.

"Huntress Sun, what have you learned?" Crais asked her, ignoring the scene that preceded his arrival.

"Sir, I'm convinced he could be the Batman," Aeryn said without emotion. "He is in superb physical condition. Also, I saw the lower part of the Batman's face the other night, and Dr. Crichton's face is very similar. However, I think we still need to look further."

Jenavian laughed. "What? You didn't take him back to his place and frell him senseless? You could have found more information."

"I offered. But he said he couldn't at the moment. So, I respected his wishes." Aeryn looked away from Crais and Jenavian. Rejection seemed very embarrassing now that she decided to mention it.

"Poor dear, to be so rejected like that. If it had been me, of course, that wouldn't have happened."

"Because you're a natural born tralk?" Aeryn asked mockingly.

"That's enough, Huntress Sun," Crais warned.

"Besides," Jenavian added. "This Crichton disappeared for almost a cycle. He was probably spending that time training to fight."

"Perhaps," Crais said. "But there are videos of him being held captive by a terrorist group at the time. Maybe there are things on the videos we haven't picked up on." Crais placed the security card into a lock, opening the door to his office. "Both of you come into my office, we need to draw up some plans for our next move."

Aeryn watched Crais walk into his office. Jenavian stared back at her, standing by the doorway, not yet entering.

"After you, Officer Sun," Jenavian said.

***

A young man's image covered one side of the Bat Computer's screen, while personal information scrolled down the other side in Sebacean script. The image switched back and forth with the photo and data of a young female, with long blonde hair and full lips. John walked up to the screen for a better look. The woman's name was Gilina- Aeryn Sun's mother.

"And the man?" John asked, not bothering to look at Bruce's image appearing on a monitor to his right.

"His name was Dick Grayson. He was my ward for several years, after his parents were killed. Shortly after the Peacekeeper invasion, I had lost touch with him. He decided at my insistence to go back into the world and try to live a normal life after Earth formally surrendered, and to try and make some difference in encouraging fellow humans to continue resisting."

"He had been Robin." John indicated to the red and green uniform preserved in one of the glass booths.

"Yes," Bruce said sadly. "And later, he became Nightwing. He's also Aeryn Sun's father. Well, he was·"

John lowered his head, already knowing what he was going to say next. "They killed him, didn't they?"

"Yes, and Gilina Renaez, the Peacekeeper tech. She was declared irreversibly contaminated. She had dared to bend the rules and love a non-Sebacean."

"I don't get it Bruce," John said, confused. "How can Aeryn be in the position she's in with the Peacekeepers? This information is telling us she's half human, and the Peacekeepers despise half-breeds."

"From the data I gathered, she was part of a eugenics experiment the Peacekeepers conducted shortly after arriving here. Some of their scientists decided humans were merely an offshoot of the Sebaceans, and wanted to see if mixing the species could breed a tougher, hardier Peacekeeper." The images on the viewscreen shifted to a raven-haired child of no more than five years old. "They wanted to see if children born of human/Sebacean couplings would have offspring with the gland that regulates heat."

"Which would explain why the heat grenade didn't work on her," John said, growing annoyed. "This is unbelievable. She's part human, and she's a hunter for the Peacekeepers. I guess they decided to be a little more open about whom they recruit, or is it something else, Bruce?"

Bruce looked down at John, apprehension marked on his digitally created features.

"Yes, it's something else."

John inhaled deeply. "Oh. She doesn't know, does she?"

Bruce said nothing.

To be continued·

Part 3 >>

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Farscape/Batman: Dark Knight, Rising Son, Pt. 2

By: Spacelord

Rating: PG-13 (Adult situations, profanity and violence).

Summary: Batman returns to Gotham and begins the battle to free Earth from the Peacekeepers. Pursuing Batman is a Peacekeeper huntress named Aeryn Sun. Will she be friend or foe? A secret from her past may make all the difference.

Spoilers: None, this is AU. I have placed the characters of Farscape into the world of Batman.

Disclaimers: See part 1 for details.

 

 
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