Chapter Ten: The Price We Pay

As the final months of Bruce Wayne’s two year plan tick away he finds himself in desperate need of some good press. Crime has plateaued in the time since the Long Halloween, but it’s not near Wayne’s projections. Corruption has seeped back into the system and sentences made under the helm of Harvey Dent are overturned almost every day.

The Batman finds himself in a similar situation. The news of his accidental involvement in the creation of Mr. Freeze scoured away what little goodwill he had mustered. The masked man has slunk back into the shadows, being seen less and less since last winter.

However, never let it be said that Gotham City doesn’t still have a few surprises.

Suddenly the Batman became a public figure. Appearing in the daylight. Helping citizens in need as much as fighting criminals. This new approach, one of a helpful protector instead of a dark guardian, executed alongside a new ally. A younger man the press began calling Robin. A friendly face to the Batman’s dark scowl.

Together the Dynamic Duo starting making a real difference. James Gordon began consulting with the Batman and his partner regularly. A giant floodlight was installed on the roof of the East End Precinct, designed to summon the Batman at a moment’s notice. An era of unheard of cooperation between the vigilante and the police lead to crime rates falling dramatically.

While public opinion rebounded for Batman and Robin, the duo becoming heroes to the city, the legacy of Bruce Wayne was nearly destroyed. As the end of his two years came to a close all of his promises were left unfulfilled. The billionaire recanted his promise, saying that his lose of official appointments hurt his ability to secure the estimated numbers. As a sign of good faith he turned over a number of Wayne holdings but far from his entire estate.

It seemed that Gotham City was saved. The Batman became a hero. All it cost was Bruce Wayne’s reputation.

Part One: Ignatius Gallow

 

I looked over the suite case. Everything I had was stashed into it. Lana was downstairs getting the car ready. The Bat and his little friend finally turned there eyes to me and mine. I am not getting put in the damn hospital again over what amounted to minimum wage. What the freaks didn’t take, the “Dynamic Duo” shut down. It was time to leave.

I head the door open behind me. I knew it was Lana but old habits die hard. I spun gun in my hand. I was glad I did. Lana was indeed standing there, but behind her was a two tone figure. The malformed half of Two-Face’s face stared at me from over Lana’s shoulder. I could tell he had a gun in her back.

“What do you want Dent?” I asked, keeping the shake from my voice.
Gotham may have finally back me into a corner, but I’d go out a man.

“Don’t call me that. Dent is dead.” The freak snarled at me.

I tightened my finger on the trigger. If I shot through Lana I could probably take the freak down, while leaving her with nothing but a nasty flesh wound. A quick stop by Markov’s place and then we’d be gone. “Why are you here Two-Face?”

“I don’t know yet.” I couldn’t stop the shudder that went through me at the sound of the coin flipping. I had been set on my path by chance. I had survived by guile and grit. And now my fate was back in the hands of chance. In the hands of a coin flip. I watched as it came down. Good head up.

Dent pushed Lana towards me. I caught. He’ll shoot me now that my line of fire is broken, I thought, but the man didn’t move. “I have need a men like you Mr. Gallow.” I could almost hear Harvey Dent inside of Two-Face’s rasp. “You know the city. You know the thugs. And we are a lot alike.” He pointed to his scarred face.

I stared at him dumbfounded. This freak was offering me a job. I could plug him and be done with it all. I could step over his fresh corpse and leave Gotham forever… but was that what I really wanted. The freaks had beaten me. But I had always climbed back up from a beating. I fought them. I stood against them. I worked with them when it suited me. Now it was just the freaks and Bat.

I holstered my gun and offered him my hand. If you can’t beat them, join them.

Credits

Chapters written by Rob Justice
Igantious Gallow written by Steven A Skidmore

Posted in A City Without Hope.

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