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Unfortunately Contrary [Silly][DC][SI]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Aleh, Sep 23, 2015.

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  1. Threadmarks: 1-1
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    Crossposting from SB and SV. This is a silly little thing I put together. I know where I'm going with it, but am not really taking the writing seriously, so expect updates to be sporadic. Still, there are enough hints even in this section for you to get the general gist of what's going on. There are also a few relatively subtle jokes that I know for a fact that a good number of people missed. Anyone want to count the Easter eggs?

    ------

    Gotham was a fairly depressing city. It was, I knew, almost cliche to say so, but it was also true. Combining the worst aspects of Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh into a single unholy abomination inhabited by some of the most grotesque horror-show escapees to ever plague the human race, it was very much not my favorite place to live.

    I was, however, stuck there none the less... at least until I managed to somehow get access to my money.

    "Sir, I'm afraid that I can't find your account information if I don't know your name."

    I sighed. "And I've told you that I'm prevented from saying it by a rather annoying curse. Given that you seem unable to read it from my driver's license, should I perhaps try pantomime, or can we just start with 'Charlie'?"

    "Charlie?"

    "Yes, as in 'Charlie-Hedgehog-'"

    "Alright, everybody! Hands in the air!"

    My forehead promptly met my palm as the main thing I'd been hoping to avoid reared its ugly head. Turning around to the main lobby and briefly surveying what was going on, I sighed and stood up. "Please stay here," I told the clerk I'd been trying to work with a moment before. "I'll handle this."

    "Sir?!"

    I shrugged. "What's the use of being arguably the most powerful metahuman on the planet if you can't handle something like this?" I rhetorically asked.

    "Sir, I... are you sure?"

    I gave her a sad smile as I turned to the idiot criminals and their coin-flipping boss. "Really, Dent?" I spoke up, walking towards them. "You have to try this now, of all times?"

    Searching through my mental rolodex, I quickly realized that while Flip-Flop would counter Two-Face's abilities nicely, as was expected, this wasn't really the sort of situation that I needed a politician for. No, I needed something a bit more... heavy-hitting. Unfortunately, most of the heavy-hitting transformations I had were rapidly dismissed... until I came across one that was nearly ideal.

    "What?!" the villain in the blatantly-dualistic multi-toned suit barked out, pointing his Thompson submachine gun -- and could he get any more cliché? -- in my direction. "Do you have a suicide wish?"

    "No, of course not," I reassured the dichotomous lunatic. "I just don't think you're going to kill me."

    "Why, you!" exclaimed one of the nameless stereotypical thugs following the villain as he jerked his gun towards me.

    "Now, now," Two-Face told his underling, flipping his omnipresent coin with his scarred hand. I smirked as it landed and he took note of its new position. "Good side. Let's hear him out."

    I smirked. "Thing is, robbing a bank is a lot of effort, and nowhere near the payout it used to be. High-risk, low-gain? Either you're trying to provoke a response, or there's something specific you want -- something in the safety deposit boxes, maybe?" I shrugged my shoulders slightly. "I figure that might be more likely if this was in Metropolis, to be honest, but go figure. So, if you're trying to provoke a response... either this is a distraction or an ambush." I then frowned a bit in realization. "Well, at least you're not the Joker. I keep worrying that his attempts might be some sort of sadomasochistic fetish thing..."

    Two-Face's thugs exchanged quick glances. "Y'know," one of them remarked, "I always thought there was something off with the clown..."

    Honestly surprised that nobody had opened fire by this point, I nodded sagely. "Yeah. I mean he's constantly luring a guy in a skin-tight costume to hidden locations so that he can tie him up and... well, you get the idea."

    "You really have a death wish, don't you, kid?" Two-Face's gravelly voice interjected.

    "Like I said, no -- I just don't think you're going to kill me. I mean, you haven't figured it out yet, have you?"

    "Figured what out?" he pointedly asked, jamming his gun towards me again.

    "We live in a world of costumed superheroes, where people legitimately have powers that dwarf human comprehension. You just walked into a room full of people and one of them isn't afraid of you. Just what does that suggest?"

    The goons each took a step back, exchanging glances. Two-Face was made out of somewhat sterner stuff. "Oh? You're a meta? Some kind of hero?"

    I casually shrugged my shoulders again. "Metahuman? Sure, we can go with that. Hero, though... no, not really. I mean, I have powers, but I really don't like using them." That done, I walked over to one of the bank's marble support pillars and leaned against it. Dent's gun never stopped tracking me. "To be honest, they're way, way too embarrassing. Then again, I've been having a really, really bad day, so... well, I suppose I could use something to take out my frustrations out on..." I waved my hand lazily in a quick gesture. "Then again, I do suppose you would know all about that, wouldn't you?"

    "Oh, really?" the dichotomous rogue asked, his voice dripping contempt.

    "Got dragged out of bed by an old vampire -- his name's Zelretch, by the way -- and thrown out of my universe. He told me that my accounts and such were moved to this bank, but he took my ATM cards and cursed me to be unable to say my name. Nobody seems able to read it off my ID either, so I've spent the last hour or so trying to vaguely pantomime it or use various codes to let people know who I am so that I can withdraw the bus fare to get out of this miserable Hellhole you call a city. I'm not sure that quite qualifies as being as bad as, well..." I gestured at his face, making it abundantly clear just what I was talking about, "but it's still pretty life-changingly awful, even if you don't count the other prank." I shuddered at the mention of that. "Then there's the whole thing about me probably never seeing my friends and family again."

    "Well, it's been amusing, but," Two-Face replied, visibly losing patience and flipping his coin again. This time, the response was a bit different. "It looks like your time is up. Kill him!"

    And, with that, they all opened fire on my position. I simply held out a hand, and the incredibly gaudy ring on my finger flashed. The bullets hit a vaguely sickly greenish-yellow shield and stopped mid-air between us. "You know," I remarked, "it was quite nice of you to let me rant like that. Why don't I repay you by telling you my main weakness?"

    "What." Their reactions were priceless.

    "It's not going to help you, but you can bypass my shields with mineral aggregates that are transitioning across a surface without sliding." I sighed. "You know," I deceptively continued, "I've always been more of a Beatles and Stones guy, so... well, this may be karmic payout... or maybe the Guardians of the Groove were really high when they called me to the Planet Uh-Oa. Still... I do suppose it's time to stop playing around." With that, I held my hand up into the air, spreading my legs apart in a famously characteristic pose. My clothes shifted, becoming a garishly sequined white leisure suit, coat unbuttoned. The shirt beneath it was partially unbuttoned as well, exposing a large portion of my chest. "Anyone with epilepsy might want to close their eyes now," I observed.

    With that, the bank's floor was covered with multicolored lights. A mirrored ball appeared on the roof above my hand and spun lazily around... and then the strobing started. "In righteous day," I began, "or boogie night, no jive or funk escapes my sight!"

    "Oh dear God," one of the customers remarked, "I can't believe this."

    "Let all who groove on evil's might beware my mojo... dyn-o-mite!"

    With that, the music began. The obligatory beatdown promptly commenced, to the unfortunate tune of the Bee Gees' "Staying Alive". My Power Mood Ring had truly awful taste in background music.
     
  2. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    I am very amused, which is difficult to communicate in text, so have a Like. Also, smilies:

    :D:D:D
     
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  3. Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    Wait for the... scene after next, I think. That's when Bondage Woman makes an appearance.
     
  4. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Kinky.
     
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  5. Threadmarks: The Bondage Woman Song
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    Bondage Woman, Bondage Woman...
    All the subs're waiting for you... and the power you possess...
    In your leather tights, topping for your rights...
    Leaving welts of black and blue...
    Bondage Woman, Bondage Woman...
    Now the sub's ready for you...
    And the wonders you can do...
    Make a dom a sub, stop a war with love...
    Make a liar tell the truth...
    Bondage Woman, Bondage Woman...
    Get us off from under... Bondage Woman...
    All our limbs are pinned by you...
    And the magic that you do...
    Stop a gunman cold, make the switches fold...
    Change their minds and top the world...
    Bondage Woman...
    Bondage Woman...
    You're a top domme, Bondage Woman...
     
  6. Threadmarks: 1-2
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    Mostly setup this time. Expect the comedy to return full-stop in the next scene.

    ------


    Roughly an hour later, I found myself above the roof of a building not far from Gotham's business district. Sure, I could have sought out an abandoned warehouse or something, but even going into the "bad" districts of this hellhole was just asking for trouble, and abandoned warehouses... no, just no.

    This building, though, seemed to have decent roof access... well, from the air at least... and was isolated enough to let me decompress in peace. Just coming to grips with what happened would be an ordeal.

    Landing lightly, I tried the door and found it as functional as I could ask, unlike the last fifteen I'd tried. Dismissing my embarrassingly garish costume, I sighed and let go of Disco Lantern's entry in my mental rolodex of transformations.

    And, in that instant, the entire absurdity of what had just happened hit me. The mental changes and false memories vanished like they'd never been, leaving only the memory of their presence. Had I really thought I'd been summoned to a giant disco ball in space by little green men wearing garish leisure suits who gave me a Power Mood Ring?

    Yes, I reflected. I actually had... and then went off and told people. It could be worse, I supposed. Other than the whole turning the bank into a disco club and dancing Two-Face and his goons into police custody... yeah, not anything too, too embarrassing. I could live with that... well, as long as the Joker never heard about... gyah.

    Rubbing my forehead, I forced myself off the wall. I knew that the headache would persist for a bit, and I wouldn't be able to use Disco Lantern's powers for at least a few hours, but... well, it was better than being shot up by Gotham's infamous night-life.

    Still, I'd have to get back to the bank... and start that entire ordeal all over again. Joy.

    Stumbling upright, I reached for the access door... only to have it slam open in my face, sending me sprawling into the rooftop to the side of the penthouse. Dazed, I could only feel vague horror at what happened next.

    "I'm telling you, Harley," an unfortunately familiar voice bombastically proclaimed, "it's going to be a blast!"

    "That sounds great, Mistah J," the deranged voice of the Clown's equally-demented sycophant agreed.

    If I'd been coherent, I would have tried to sneak or hide. As stunned as I was, however, I couldn't help but let out a groan.

    "Well, well," the Joker stated, filling my field of view with the pasty flesh of his face, "what have we here?"

    "It looks like some poor schmoe who was in the wrong place at the wrong time," she answered, her tone filled with obviously faux sympathy as she twice drew out the word "wrong" in insincere sorrow.

    "I know that," Gotham's least favorite comic artist sharply chided her before turning back to me. "Well, say nighty-nighty..."

    My eyes widened in panic. If only I'd-

    Then my lungs were filled with gas and I blacked out.
     
  7. Threadmarks: 1-3
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    I came to with a start, my sudden jerking interrupted by the ropes that tied me to a chair of some kind. A vague pressure across my body made me feel like I'd been wrapped in itchy blankets as well, but... how.... The memories came with panicked realization, but my involuntary shout was muffled by something in my mouth.

    "Well, well, it looks like our guests are waking up!" Oh no. Oh, God, no.

    My surroundings were decorated in a manner that I could almost consider homely if it weren't for the prominent clown imagery in things like the assorted portraits. The failed comedian who was apparently my "host" was dressed in greyish purple pants and a cardigan, obviously seeking to emulate a father figure in one of his assorted grotesque parodies of hearth and home. A quick panicked glance around the room revealed that I was next to a rather large man with black, messy hair and an older individual who I recognized from a newspaper as Commissioner Gordon. Past the city's one honest police official, there was some woman who I didn't recognize...

    All of us, however, were apparently trussed up like somebody's sick idea of presents, complete with some kind of cake on the "living room" table. Knowing the Joker, it was almost certainly an entirely different sort of "cake" than it appeared to be. There was even icing-based decoration, spelling out...

    "Happy anniver-" Oh, fuck, I realized. He's throwing a party.

    Utterly terrified, especially as I noticed the glowing green fluid occupying a pitcher by the "fireplace", I made what I would quickly come to think of as a serious mistake. I reached out to my mental Rolodex and snatched at the first entry to pop up, the one that my power thought was most suited for the situation.

    Then, feeling my anatomy shift, I realized what I'd just done -- and trusting a selection algorithm deliberately designed to be as "entertaining" as possible by Zelretch of all people was something politely described as "insane".

    Still, the mental changes accompanied the physical. I soon lost all sense of shame over what I was about to do.

    Pushing my muscles outwards and exploiting the space created by the shift in proportions created my transformation, I quickly slipped out of my bonds and spat out the bow-tie gag which had been stuck in my mouth. Stepping forward, still unnoticed by the failed comedian who had captured me, I held out my hands and started to spin.

    "So you'd better hurry, Bats," the Joker was saying, his face hiding who or what he was speaking to, only to be cut off by the opening chords of what I recognized as the infamous Carter-era Wonder Woman theme. "If you don't, well... what is that sound?"

    "Bondage Woman," a mysterious voice chorused from nowhere in particular as I was surrounded by pink light. My clothes dissolved, replaced by a rather distinctive leather getup. "Bondage Woman!"

    "Well, now," I chided, resting my hand on the whip at my side. "What do we have here?"

    Joker blinked and backed up, his eyes revealing his utter shock.

    "All the subs're waiting for you," the voice continued singing.

    And, like that, the fight was on. My whip flashed out, striking the flower on the Joker's chest and stripping it from his cardigan.

    "... and the power you possess..."

    "Somebody's been a naughty boy," I observed, my transformation putting what I supposed others would regard as a seductive tone into the words.

    "In your leather tights..."

    "Mommy," Joker squeaked. I didn't put any trust in the idea that it was sincere.

    "Topping for your rights..."

    "Get 'er!" Harley shouted. Several of the goons "backstage" -- who, to be fair, I hadn't been noticing until then -- were happy to comply. My whip lashed out to intercept the bullets, leaving us at a momentary stalemate.

    "Leaving welts of black and blue..."

    Still, the momentary stalemate was just that, and my whip soon disarmed one gangster after another. I was about to get Harley's pistol when I was again attacked from behind, this time by a familiar white-gloved hand wielding a... joy-buzzer?
    Dodging to the side, my whip slashed out and around his wrist. I spun around him, looping its length over itself, and transitioned into a hojojutsu-styled takedown. As I'd half-expected, it wasn't nearly that simple as he escaped through the simple expedient of discarding the remnants of his "family man" outfit, false hand and all, turning away to reveal himself in his fully-intact purple suit, gloves, daisy boutonnière, and all.

    "Bondage Woman..."

    "Someone's been naughty," I chided, drawing out the first syllable of the last word and sashaying slightly as I tore the lash of my whip off of the handle.

    "Bondage Woman..."

    The length of the whip was instantly replaced by a new length of leather, and I smirked sadistically. "I think you need to be... punished."

    "Now the sub's ready for you..."

    I sent my whip lashing behind me, where it intercepted a flipping Harley as her leg extended for a kick. Letting it wrap around her ankle, I jerked my arm forward and sent her flying into my waiting embrace.

    "And the wonders you can do..."

    Lightly slapping her posterior and using the pressure to push our torsos together, I used my other hand to quickly bind her hands together. "Naughty, naughty," I throatily whispered into her ear before again detaching the lash of my whip and slashing the replacement thong to keep the girl's errant master at bay.

    "Make a dom a sub,"

    Restraining the girl's upper body with the leather ropes I'd taken from my whip was the work of a quick moment, and while her legs remained free, this was a combat situation. "Now be a good girl," I whispered, pecking her lightly on the cheek before pushing her into one of the room's decorative couches.

    "Stop a war with love..."

    Again cracking my whip, I quickly destroyed Joker's boutonnière for the second time -- given the number of times he'd squirted noxious liquids from it, it was pretty much fair game to treat it as a weapon. "Well," I began, slowly walking towards him in a way that emphasized the stiletto heels of my costume's boots, "why don't we help you change into something more... comfortable?"

    My whip lashed out.

    "Make a liar tell the truth..."

    "Now, now, there's no need for..."

    Ignoring the clown's protests, I systematically shredded his clothing, effectively stripping him even as I removed anything he could use to protest. Surveying the area as I did so, I noticed that the goons from earlier had run off, Harley was still in her chair, and my fellow hostages...

    Gordon's eyes were doing a reasonable impression of dinner plates. The stocky man I'd been next to seemed like he was trying not to laugh, and the woman... I didn't know what to make of her expression.

    "Bondage Woman..."

    "Now, why don't you tell your mistress all about your little plan, hmm?"

    "Bondage Woman..."

    Unfortunately, I'd made one... minor... miscalculation. Focused entirely on the dangers and weapons in the area, I hadn't noticed one little detail, one which would very much come back to haunt me later.

    That detail? The Joker had been broadcasting the entire scene live to all of Gotham... and at no point in my transformation and... take-over... had I done a damned thing to turn the camera off.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  8. macdjord

    macdjord Well worn.

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    Ooops~
     
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  9. SamPardi

    SamPardi Wishful Thinker

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    Makes me wish there was a 'Oh god All the likes!' button! ^.^
     
  10. Mgunh1

    Mgunh1 RnD droid #70021

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    You may need to start threadmarking this stuff.
     
  11. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Wonder Woman will not be impressed.

    Of course, seeing as how she was originated by a fan of bondage, who lived with his wife and their female bisexual lover, I can see how this character actually works :p
     
  12. Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    I'm going to chime in here -- Wonder Woman isn't the only one who'll be a problem.

    Bondage Woman is more based on Superwoman, after all... and, as a plot point, is pretty much a clone of her secret identity. Including while untransformed.
     
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  13. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    ... ah. Right, of course.

    I see that now.

    Oh boy.
     
  14. Threadmarks: 1-4
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    After thoroughly foiling the Joker's plans -- and "acquiring" the details on how to stop his assorted traps from Harley -- I found myself, still trailed by music that I literally couldn't feel any shame over, searching for a suitably isolated place to detransform in. After ducking out of sight and reappearing in a women's power suit. Calmly walking into an alley, I glanced about and let go of the card in my mental rolodex.

    My correct mind and anatomy returned to me, leaving me to collapse bonelessly to the ground. Dry heaving for several moments as I remembered what I'd just done, I shuddered in shame. The only bright spot in my thoughts was that only a few people knew the true extent of what I'd done. Batman would know soon, of course, but... by the end there, the only people watching had been the Commissioner and the two other hostages.

    Well, there was the Joker, of course, and Harley...

    The things I -- or Bondage Woman, anyway -- had done to get her to talk... I had never thought I'd think that about one of Gotham's rogues, but poor Harley... even if she had seemed to enjoy it... especially since she had seemed to enjoy it.

    I heaved again, this time rather less drily, and spent a moment staring into the puddle of vomit. Still, this wasn't exactly a good area -- or didn't seem to be one, anyway -- and I had to get back, to get my funds, and finally get the heck out of Dodge. I could at least call a taxi and...

    Forcing myself to stand up, I reached for my wallet... only to fail to find it. Where? Where was... oh. Oh no.

    I'd been unconscious. The fucking Joker probably had it... or his men did. With it, they had my identification, my money, and just about every hope I had of proving that I was, well, me. My cell phone was a loss too, mind, but not nearly as much of one, given that it couldn't connect to this universe's networks.

    What did I have? Well, I had my... powers, my knowledge... joy. I'd have to use the fucking powers again.

    Still, that didn't mean I needed to go out and use them in public or anything. What I really needed was a plan, a way to go... which, to be fair, would probably be humiliating as Hell if I actually went through with it. But maybe, just maybe, I could have one of my forms make the plan, figure out a way to deal with my situation, and then spend a while as myself, rendering it into something that would actually be halfway sane.

    Did I have entries in my rolodex capable of figuring out what to do? Yes... I supposed I did. Could I count on any of them to plan towards a pre-defined goal created by me? Yes, although not nearly as many. Were there any that would avoid plans that would overly stain my conscience? Yes... although my pride was another matter, if I had any left.

    It was a viable approach, I supposed, and one entry virtually jumped out at me. Looking it over, I realized that he could be virtually assured of finding a solution... and, with the way that events seemed to keep forcing me to use my powers, wouldn't it be better to take control of things, to act rather than react?

    Hesitantly, I defined my goals in my head. I needed to get my identification back, of course... but I also needed to avoid embarrassing myself or revealing my powers as I'd already been forced to twice. The plan, whatever it was, couldn't violate my conscience or involve anything that I'd regard as "wrong" or "immoral". I should also probably respect the law to the best of my ability -- making that explicit was a point I needed to focus on -- although I obviously didn't have a (moral) problem with stealing from or scamming the sort of rogues that infested this place. I also needed to avoid making an enemy of the Bat Family or, well, any members of the Justice League. Recruiting their help would be ideal, of course, but when I didn't even have the money for a pay-phone...

    I sighed and reached out to the entry, feeling it twist my mind in an unfortunately familiar manner, and the solution to my problems jumped out at me.

    There was no need to transform back, and doing so would only serve to expose me to further shame and embarrassment. No, I needed to retrieve the wallet myself, as I was. I had the resources at my disposal, the path was excruciatingly obvious...

    Safan Al'Ghul exited the alley, fingering his fluffy pink coat and smiling in anticipation of what was about to come. The first step of his plan was the same as the first step of any good plan. Nobody could accomplish much on their own, no matter how formidable they were.

    No, he had to rebuild his organization. With their help, with the aid of his agents, they could accomplish what no one person could do alone.

    It was time to revive the League of Show-Dogs.
     
  15. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Well, at least Harley seemed to have had a good time.

    And now Gotham's in for another treat.

    Whee :D
     
  16. Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    It's also a good excuse for giving my SI a Lhasanese pet. :)
     
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  17. Threadmarks: Omake: Former Interlude Part One
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    Edit: Reduced to omake status, due to being rendered narratively redundant by the next scene.

    Interlude: Batman

    "A pet-shop, Master Bruce?" The butler's query was hardly unexpected.

    "Not an ordinary pet-shop, Alfred," the billionaire vigilante answered. "Look."

    "The League of Show-Dogs, Pets and Supplies," the quintessential British gentleman read dutifully. "My word," he remarked. "And you think Ra's Al'Ghul is involved?"

    "Not think," Batman corrected, pulling another picture up on the Batcomputer. "This is the store clerk, a Ms. Syntyche Kurima. Until last week, she was a high-ranking member of the Society of Shadows."

    "And she left to... become a clerk at a pet store?" Alfred's tone was lifted slightly at the end, in one of the greatest expressions of incredulity Bruce had ever seen in the relatively unflappable man.

    "Perhaps," the costumed crimefighter allowed, "but one doesn't simply leave the Society of Shadows."

    "Indeed not, sir."

    "She's not the only one, either. As near as I can tell, every one of the shop's employees are similar. And then there's this."

    "The owner is... is this correct?"

    "Yes. According to all of the registered documents, the owner of this shop is one 'Safan Al'Ghul'."

    "Oh dear. It seems that Mister Al'Ghul has grown rather more blatant than in the past."

    "No, Alfred. Ra's is far too prideful for that. He might create an alias, but he wouldn't call himself 'Safan'. Still, even if he isn't yet involved, he soon will be. It's a challenge that he can't help but accept."

    "I see, sir. Should I take over the preparations for movie night?"

    "Yes, Alfred. I think I should take a little look at this so-called pet-shop."

    "Very well, sir. Don't forget to hurry; you wouldn't want to keep Master Dick and Miss Gordon waiting."

    "Don't worry. I won't."
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  18. Threadmarks: Interlude, Part One
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    Those of you who've read the previous scene, sorry -- this renders it somewhat redundant, narratively speaking, and so I'm reducing that to omake status. That said, enjoy!

    Any thoughts on the comparison/change are welcome, by the way.



    Interlude: Batman (Part One)

    "I see you've noticed as well, Detective."

    Batman lowered his binoculars, turning to face the man who had silently joined him on the ledge he'd perched on. "Ra's," he acknowledged.

    "I suppose I should have expected you to come," the ancient mastermind allowed. "Something like this could hardly happen in your baliwick without notice."

    "No," the cowled crimefighter flatly answered. "It couldn't."

    "Would you care to join me in investigating?" The question was asked simply and genuinely, if in Ra's's usual reservedly sinister manner.

    A simple raised eyebrow was enough to answer.

    "I would appreciate the assistance, Detective."

    "Where's Ubu? I don't think I've ever seen you without him."

    Ra's shook his head. "Come now, Detective. Do you really think that I would send Ubu or Talia into there?"

    The caped crusader briefly chuckled. "Rather than go into danger yourself? In a heartbeat."

    "There are dangers and dangers, Detective," the ancient assassin chided. "I've sent many agents, including many of my most loyal. Every one of them has... changed, leaving me -- betraying me. They've even sent me resignation letters."

    Batman smirked.

    "One does not simply leave the Society of Shadows! No, this... pet shop... must answer to me. This challenge cannot go unanswered." Ra's smirked. "Will you help me, Detective?"

    "Of course not," the costumed crimefighter deadpanned. "However, if the store really is using some kind of mind-control on your agents, I still need to stop them."

    Ra's nodded, fingering his cloak. "That is... acceptable," he allowed.

    "Whoever this is, it's part of a plan of some kind," Gotham's dark knight stated. "My first priority is finding out what."

    "I can sympathize," the venerable Shadow agreed. "I have heard... rumors, fragments... that he serves some kind of... demon, who he seeks to revive."

    "A demon?"

    "Many things have been called 'demons' over the years," Ra's allowed, "including myself. I am usually less concerned with the truth of what they are than how to stop them."

    "I could see that."

    Indeed he could. Ra's was, for all of his willingness to kill, genuinely concerned with the welfare of the world and its people. Batman could not fault Ra's's goals in many ways. His means, of course, were another matter entirely.

    And so, two enemies calmly discussed their upcoming invasion of what appeared to be a simple pet-shop: the League of Show-Dogs, Pets and Supplies.
     
  19. Threadmarks: Interlude, Part Two
    Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    The storeroom's window opened silently, leaving enough room for the Batman to silently drop through it and to the floor. He was soon followed by his enemy-turned-companion. Glancing around, he was somewhat unsurprised to see little more than mundane pet supplies.

    "Here, Detective," Ra's whispered, pointing to a door. Batman simply nodded and opened it. That done, the two of them stepped through and into the hallway beyond.

    The next several minutes of searching were quite fruitless, turning up nothing that would not be expected in a more normal pet store. That did not deter the two intrepid adventurers from continuing to investigate, however, and they soon came across a large room full of luxuriously-outfitted cages.

    "Syntyche Kurima," Ra's whispered to his companion as they hid in the shadows and watched a store clerk lovingly feed a litter of puppies. "She used to be one of my best, my most loyal..." The criminal mastermind shook his head in seeming sorrow. "Now look at her."

    "My sympathies," Batman answered, his dry amusement doing nothing to change the deadpan of his voice.

    "Indeed," a voice identical to Ra's's answered from behind both of them. As he spun around, Batman felt a pressure on his back. To his side, Ra's jerked spasmically and dropped to the floor like a puppet with its strings cut. Jumping forward, the detective barely managed to avoid a follow-up attack.

    "I suppose it would be too much to ask for your costume to not armor you against neural disruptors," Ra's's vocal duplicate mused as Batman flipped himself to face his attacker.

    "Who are you?" the masked detective simply asked.

    "Ah, yes," the voice returned, its owner gesturing and activating the room's floodlights. Suddenly bathed in revealing light, he took a step forward. "Allow me to introduce myself," he began, taking an abbreviated bow, "I am he who is called 'Safan Al'Ghul'."

    Batman was taken aback by that. "The demon's..." His face scrunched in brief confusion. "How on Earth did you manage to get a name like that?"

    "Quite simply, Detective," he chided, reaching a hand into one of the cages at his side. The youthful canines inside promptly swarmed in, crowding the appendage and licking it extensively.

    "Oh... kay," the masked investigator answered, momentarily taken aback before he took a moment to examine his opponent more closely. Indeed, as his voice hinted, the man could have passed for a twin of Ra's. He even wore a copy of the man's habitual green suit.

    He even wore a cloak over it, although it was nowhere near anything Ra's would wear. The Demon's Head wouldn't be caught dead wearing something so... pink and fluffy.

    "If you are seeking criminal activity here, I am afraid that you are barking up the wrong tree," the store's owner admonished. "This is a humble pet-shop."

    "And attacking us?"

    "Just marking my territory," Safan answered. "Besides, I assure you that using non-lethal measures in an attempt to subdue intruders sneaking around my store is well within the boundaries of the law."

    "I... see," the vigilante answered, visibly relaxing his posture. "And brainwashing the Society of Shadows' agents?"

    Safan shook his head. "Quite the contrary, actually," he corrected. "As you may have guessed, I do not train... typical... canines in this facility. Many of them are bred and trained to work in mental health services, particularly to aid workers in undoing brain-washing and indoctrination."

    "So... wait. You've been..."

    "Helping my foolish brother's poor victims recover as best I can? Yes, I suppose, to a point anyway. I have my own goals, but I do what I can for the poor souls he sends my way."

    "Do you really expect me to believe that?"

    "No, I am afraid that I do not." Raising a hand, Safan snapped his fingers. Several men appeared at his side, two of them quickly grabbing the downed terrorist at their employer's feet. "Still, we have much to discuss." With that, the pink-and-green-clad dog-lover turned and walked towards an exit. "Come, Detective. I will answer your questions as best I can."
     
  20. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Okay, I have to know. What does 'Safan' translate out to?
     
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  21. Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    Edit: Preview of the next scene:

     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  22. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    o_O:eek::DHahahahahaha
     
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