(A little bit of an older piece (probably at least two years old), this is a small bit of a story that was written for a League on DCUO. A basic rundown on events (as this was put together as a followup to an in-game event run by the League): The group, the Gotham Knights was infiltrated by a psionic entity that possessed one of their own and committed a crime. To make matters worse, one of their higher ups, a woman named Midnight Sentinel was believed to have been captured and impersonated by none other than Harley Quinn. The lead of the Knights goes to follow up on some leads around the area.) (PG-13 for violence and language)
(Excerpt from police interview with Salvatore “Two Tone Sal” D’Angelo, known soldier for the Falcone crime family. )
Detective Bradcliff: Tell me again, Sal… who did this to you?
D’Angelo: I already told youse, dat crazy freak, eh?
Detective Bradcliff: “Dark Seraph,” right? Well, see, Sal… Seraph works for the GCPD in a roundabout way… we don’t really see him roughing up suspects too much, you know?
D’Angelo: Look at me, you blind jamook. Just freakin’ look at me, eh?
Detective Bradcliff: (rustling of papers can be heard) Yeah, you look like you met the business end of a truck.
Detective Swan: Broken Nose, facial lacerations, missing teeth numbers 7, 6, 5, 27, and 26. Fractured humerus, compound fracture of the femur, shattered patella, hairline fracture of the tibia- all left side. Yeah, Sal… what’d you do, get hit by a car?
D’Angelo: **** you, you donut jockey.
Detective Bradcliff: Now you’re just hurting our feelings.
D’Angelo: I’m tellin’ youse, da guy came out of nowhere. I swing- to protect myself, right? He punches me in the arm, kicks me in the leg, the knee, then puts my face through a goddamn car window. Didn’ even say nothin’!
Detective Bradcliff: To protect yourself. Right. So, a patrol picks you up after you get beat down for no reason. Come on, Sal… stop jerking us around.
Detective Swan: What were you involved with, Sal. Huh? What did you do?
D’Angelo: I didn’ do ****, youse punks.
Detective Bradcliff: You’re a regular angel. We get it.
D’Angelo: Look, youse gonna find this guy or not?
Detective Swan: Give us something to work with, Sal.
D’Angelo: Fine. Look, he only asked me one t’ing.
Detective Bradcliff: And this would be…?
D’Angelo: “Who set up the Knights?”
(End of Recording. Suspect was found to have half a kilo of cocaine on his person at time of arrest. He was charged with possession and intent to sell. Evidence was declared to be missing shortly after booking. Suspect was then released on bail awaiting trial. No charges were filed against codename: Dark Seraph- complaint was withdrawn by Mr. D’Angelo for reasons unknown.)
*** *** ***
It was shortly after midnight when Seraph arrived at Amusement Mile. The place stretched out around him like a disease- rotten and twisting its way across the ground. The old big top still stood, its walls covered in grime and filth. Canvas intact, it climbed into the air as a perverse testament to what it once was- a beacon of joy and entertainment. Next to it, the funhouse stood, defiant and lit up like it was waiting for eager customers that would never arrive. The entire scene was almost something out of a nightmare. The lights flickered now and again, and in the shadows, he could see criminals walking around, baseball bats and .45s ready and waiting for their next victims. They were dressed in suits of varying colors, but all wore the white greasepaint and makeup of circus clowns.
Joker’s gang members numbered in the thousands it sometimes seemed. Why people would work for the psychotic, he had yet to understand; most seemed to be as cracked and deranged as the Joker in their own ways. Others seemed normal-- your average criminal and thug. Thought completely insane, it seemed the Joker was charismatic enough to attract all kinds of scum—eager souls looking for something they couldn’t get anywhere else.
Virgil stood in his uniform on the peak of the old wooden rollercoaster that crawled along the waterfront. Beside him, in an old, beat up car, were two of Joker’s goons. Neither had much to say. Neither was conscious. The Gotham Knight studied the back of the funhouse as a group of thugs walked a tight circuit around the building. From the far side of Amusement Mile, he could hear gun shots and see the blue and red lights of the Gotham Police Department’s squad cars. More than likely, they were trying to make some headway into the area. Everyone knew were the Joker’s base of operations was—even though the man, himself, was rarely there. Word had it that Harley Quinn was working the show from the Funhouse’s lower levels again. It was a good thing. She was the one he needed to talk to.
The incident in the JLA’s containment wing was still a grating itch in the back of his mind. He had watched as one of his trusted allies drove a knife into the back of another. Despite the fact that she had gone rogue, when Psi Scream went down, Virgil had tended to her. Unfortunately, his preoccupation with Psi Scream had allowed Midnight Sentinel to escape. That is, of course, the person he had assumed was Midnight Sentinel. It left him with a severe problem. The GCPD was alerted to Sentinel’s act and an APB had been put out on her.
Virgil wanted her in GCPD custody for two reasons: to find out why the hell she tried to kill a helpless person, and to show the GCPD, and by extension, Gotham, that the Knights were law abiding protectors. Of course, things were never so simple. His intent had been to get Midnight in custody and prove her innocent due to outside manipulation. The last thing he wanted was one of his people going to jail. But, appearances had to be maintained. If the Knights were seen as a vigilante group that held themselves above the law… well, they were no better than criminals. By showing they were accountable he hoped to avoid any incident. Unfortunately, he hadn’t the luxury of explaining everything to the few Knights who disagreed with his statement that Midnight should be taken into custody. That, in itself, was a stress.
Then, he hit an even more complex snag. Psi Scream, it seemed, was under the influence of a malevolent psychic entity; one that fled her body after she had been stabbed. It left some of her actions in question. Was she in control of herself when she exposed Midnight Sentinel to the cause of her temporary insanity? And, was she now free of outside influence? He had no way of knowing. Due to that, Virgil left Psi Scream in JLA custody pending the outcome of a psionic investigation. Then there was Midnight… he had known that Midnight had a bout of... insanity, and that she had run into Harley earlier that evening. Then, he received a report that Midnight might not have really been Midnight. It may have been someone else who had stabbed Psi Scream. Someone who had done it on camera. Someone who was setting Midnight up, and by extension, setting up the Knights.
Virgil had spent an entire evening running over the long list of people incarcerated by the Knights in their brief existence. He then narrowed it down to people powerful enough to get the job done—especially those crafty enough to not only sneak into the Watchtower, but make it out unscathed. That in mind, he fell to Gotham area criminals. The Joker seemed the most likely at first thought. The Knights had been busting his operations up all over the city. Bane and his weren’t skilled enough or subtle enough for such a job. The Riddler… well, he was supposedly going into retirement. Freeze, Ivy, and Crane were all back in Arkham.
Still, to cover his bases, Seraph had paid a visit to the Falcone family before making any moves; something as big as a Watchtower infiltration would make waves in the underworld—at least after the fact. People would brag. Someone would try to claim credit. The Falcone soldier he questioned had no idea what he was talking about. Virgil left him in the street, unconscious, and called in the police. He had a bone to pick with the Falcone family (and they one with him), so taking down one soldier was just the icing on the cake.
Now, he was left with four severe problems: someone had kidnapped Midnight, someone impersonated a Knight to try to kill Psi, Psi was possibly incarcerated for something that was not of her doing, and of course, the “parasite” that possessed her. There was nothing he could do at the moment about Psi Scream’s condition. He wasn’t a doctor, so left her in the care of others. There was also nothing he could do about the psychic parasite. Psionics and magic were not his expertise. Luckily, some of the Knights could work in that realm. So, he left it to them. However… tracking down Midnight and finding out who set them up? Those were things he could work on.
Shifting on his feet, high above Amusement Mile, Seraph watched the guards make their way past a large ventilation grill on the back of the funhouse. He had noted it on his previous journey through the area, but had entered through the front. The GCPD had been called in, and he went to back them up. The frontal assault had not worked as the PD had planned. Numerous officers were either hospitalized by Joker toxin, or captured and used as bait. Virgil had no intention on repeating the GCPD’s mistakes.
As he double checked his equipment, Virgil’s communication unit buzzed. Sighing at the caller, he tapped his wrist and picked up the call.
“What you want, Adrien, I’m a bit busy,” he said as he answered the line. His eyes fell over the two goons to verify they were still out cold. Satisfied they were, he crouched in the shadow of the roller coaster car and watched the funhouse.
“Eh, Virgil… dat an’way t’talk to y’ blood?”
“What you want? Cut th’ quick.”
“Fine, fine. Look, I was wonderin’ if you could put me up f’a day or two so I could come up t’Gotham t’see papa.”
Seraph sighed and shook his head.
“Ain’ a good idea. He ain’ in th’ shape t’be seein’ nobody,” he replied.
“Why don’ you let me worry about dat, eh? I been tryin’ to get up dere for months now an’ you keep sayin’ de same t’ing.”
“Maybe take th’ hint then, neh?”
“I hate you Virg.”
“I love y’too, Adrien.”
The line went dead as his brother hung up on the call. A frown etched into his features as Seraph readied his grappling line. Family was one problem he didn’t want to deal with at the moment. If Adrien came up, he knew that he’d have to take a hiatus from the Knights. In the current situation, it was something he was not willing to do.
If he didn’t take a hiatus, he knew Adrien would notice the lack of his presence at night. When they were kids, they used to sneak out of their uncle’s cabin in the bayou. It became second nature to know when one of them was sneaking out or just wasn’t around. The last thing he wanted was for Adrien to follow him around as he left. It would make getting into his gear and out on the streets difficult at best. Besides, he didn’t like the idea of his brother seeing their father locked up in a cell at Arkham.
Pulling himself to the present, Virgil aimed his line at the top of the funhouse. As two goons moved back around the corner and headed to the front of the building, he let the line fly. It hit without a sound, securing into the side of the structure. He tested the line once, and then tied off the other end to the top of the rollercoaster. Within seconds, he had slid down the line, landing beneath the ventilation grid, and fished a screwdriver out of a pouch at his belt. By the time the guards made their way back around, Virgil had retrieved his grappling line, slipped into the ventilation shaft, and closed the grid behind him.
Crouched in the metal air duct, the vigilante watched as the guards’ shadows flowed over the ventilation cover and crawled over his body. For a moment, his body tensed. Seraph’s mind considered several avenues of attack if they spotted him, but he knew that if they drew guns and fired at him… he had nowhere to go; his night would be over before it really began. The guards passed without so much as a glance toward him, their voices slowly trailing away. Taking a deep breath, he activated the night vision built into his mask and moved further into the darkness of the ventilation shaft.
Seraph moved quietly through the ventilation ducts of the funhouse. Night vision proved invaluable as he navigated the twisting, chaotic maze of metal and spinning fans. Every so often, the hero paused at a ventilation grate, double checking his position and the alertness of the roaming patrols. There was a brooding slowness to his movements; a kind of grim realization that if he and the others failed to get the information they need, one of their own could take a fall for a crime she did not commit. He knew that the others were working just as hard as he was, and there was a bit of comfort in that—however, it did not make any of their efforts less important. Seraph still had a lead to work, and he intended to get what he needed.
After passing a few lax guards in clown makeup and bright suits, the leader of the Knights quietly slipped from the ventilation ducts, crouching behind a few barrels of Joker Toxin at the end of a narrowing hallway. It was a dead end, but one that held more than enough shadows for him to work within. The walls and ceiling of the hallway slowly tapered to an end just a few feet behind Virgil, the checkered pattern painted on the walls vanishing into the darkness of the lightless hall. There were at least a half dozen barrels around him; some were sealed tight, others were wired with what seemed to be small detonators. A few snips with a pair of wire cutters from one of his pouches disabled them before he moved on.