Batman leaned heavily on the console, starring intently at the glowing computer screen. The prison transport bus had driven into a tree. A tree that had sprouted up suddenly on main street. Poison Ivy was obviously back from her self-imposed retirement. He had known it was only a matter of time before she pulled some stunt like this. On the screen, the image zoomed in for a close -up of Harley's face. The insane clowngirl saw the T-sphere watching her, and waved with three fingers, blowing it a kiss. A tall figure wearing Jason Todd's old mask stepped up besides her, and fired a shot into the T-Sphere.
The screen went black. Then switched to another view from a different T-sphere elsewhere in the city. It would take it several minutes to get to Gotham Park.
"Hawk leader to control. We have tracked the fugitives to Gotham park. My men are going in now." The hawk leader reported via the com-link.
"NO! Pull them back! Now!" Batman yelled into the headset.
"Sir, all do respect. We have them. They are trapped in the park. It'll be over in a minute."
"It will be over in a minute. But not the way you think." Batman growled.
"Sir? I don't follow."
"Hawk leader, your men are already dead. Do you follow that?" He removed the headset, and slammed it down on the console in anger.
* * *
The scene was insanity personified. Hawkmen fighting off Ivy's "babies." Huge, man-eating plants. Hawkmen fighting barehanded Amazons. Batman Quinn getting off shots where he could, but rapidly running out of ammo. Harley ducking and diving amid the chaos, somehow always just out of this or that hawkman's reach of swing, and giggling like a loon on parade. And at the center, like the eye of a hurricane, was Poison Ivy. The most powerful meta-human present, and their one hope of escaping alive as even more hawkmen poured into the fray.
"Junior, you're running low. Unless ya got another clip?" Harley called hopefully.
"Negative. I wasn't expecting this much company." He fired a bullet directly into an injured hawkman's face as it crawled towards him.
"Here." She tossed him a stray mace. "Gonna have to go medieval on these pigeons."
"What about you?" He called back. Then slammed the mace upward into a hawkman's jaw with an explosive cracking sound.
"Don't ya worry about me Junior. Just keep'm off--whoa!" She narrowly dodged an ax swing that would have split her in two. "Keep'm off'a Red--" The rest is lost as she caught a punch in the mouth that knocked her backwards. She landed on her back at the feet of another hawkman.
Time slowed down for Ivy then. She saw Harley about to die. She saw Batman Quinn swing his gun around to fire. What she never saw was the hawkman at her side. She never saw the mace. Never felt it as it slammed into the side of her face. The last thing she saw was Harley pointing at her, then darkness.
The present: Gotham City High.
Holly Roberts was different then the other high school students. Most of them had made it a point to tell her. Some delivered this message more aggressively then others. And she'd taken home more then one black eye from standing up for herself. Or others. The deaf kid. The fat kid. Anyone who got picked on. She had always been picked on, cause she was different. She didn't hate the bullies. Hating them was no better then them hating her. She just wanted to be left alone to be herself.
She stifled a yawn as she headed to her next class. History. Normally not one of her favorite subjects, and she had no high hopes for this one. She flopped down at her desk, her head propped up with one hand, tapping idly on her desk with the other. She already wanted this class over. "Morning Ms Roberts. So glad you decided to join us." The teacher, Mrs Bertinelli commented without turning around from the DVD player she was fiddling with.
"GED's are overrated anyway." Holly mumbled under her breath.
"That's the spirit." Ms Bertinelli replied, making Holly jump in her seat. The old woman had ears like a bat or something. The older woman walked to the chalkboard and wrote January 4 on it. "Can someone tell me what of historical significance occurred in Gotham in twenty-five years ago on this day?"
"You're first abortion?" Someone called from the back, then laughed.
"Principles office, then detention Mr Jones." Ms Bertinelli replied without turning around. Wayne Jones was the biggest kid in her class. Maybe the whole school. He was definitely the biggest bully.
"Whatever." He grunted, giving Holly a shove as he walked past. His eyes dared her to do something.
"Make that two days detention." Ms Bertinelli said as he trudged from the room. "Ms Lilly, perhaps you can enlighten us?"
Lilly Isley looked up from her textbook, and pushed her glasses up her nose with one finger. "The battle of Gotham Park. Its is widely believed to be the origin of the terrorist groups that undermine the president, and the government to this day." She sounded like she had memorized it.
"Very good Ms Lilly. Yes, today is the day, twenty-five years ago, that many brave hawkmen died to protect Gotham from terrorist that had established a hideout right in the park. Among them, meta-criminals Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. Two of the most infamous criminals in the history of Gotham."
Holly perked up at that. She was fascinated by Harley Quinn. A brilliant, up coming psychiatrist that had thrown it all away for love. But more then that, she had thrown off the chains of social norms to blaze her own path. Admittedly, her choice in relationships countered the otherwise positive message of leading your own life, but Holly had the ever useful ability to only see the parts of the story she wanted to.
"Many Hawkmen died." Ms Bertinelli went on, "And several of the terrorist. Though the body of Poison Ivy was never recovered from the scene..."
* * *
Below the city, down a dark side tunnel, was a dimly lit room. The room is littered about with loose parts for an unidentifiable machine. Tubes and connectors and wires. At the back of the room is a single preservation tank. Floating naked in the tank of preservation fluid is a woman of indeterminate age. Her red hair floats about her head like a halo. Wires run connect her body to the tank, monitoring her heartbeat, blood pressure and brain activity. A breathing mask is strapped to her face, but can't hide the damage to her face. Her right eyes has been stitched closed, and the upper right side of her skull is broken inward. The former terrorist super-villain was now little more then a broken doll.
"Sister, we should let her move on. She fought well for us, and has provided the seed of hope. Its not right to ask more of her." A tall woman with purple hair in a lab coat said to her associate, another tall woman, this one wearing jeans and a tank top. Her hair is cut shorter, and is black.
"We cannot let her go yet sister Isabelle." She paused, one hand pressed to the glass. "Her journey is not over yet"