ARC ONE - THE RETURN
PART 1 - The Trap
Sitting inside a windowless cargo space beside eight other Gotham City Task Force Officers, dressed in black Kevlar padding with shot-guns and bulletproof shields, the aged auburn haired Commissioner James Gordon, sits between two officers, loading his gun as they’re all driven in the back of a police armored truck.
As they all jostle back and forth from the bumpy ride, Commissioner Gordon takes a deep breath, holstering his side-arm before tightening the straps of the Kevlar vest he sports under his classic tan trench coat.
“Dangit.” He grumbles, struggling to tighten the vest around his torso.
“Don’t worry Commissioner…”
James crow-feet eyes lift up to Hispanic female Task Force Officer Renee’ Montoya seated across from him, who is pulling her curly black hair into a ponytail, “…we won’ t let anybody ruffle that mustache, right boys?”
“We got your back Gordon.” exclaim the officers in the van. Their voices hearty and full of confidence and brass but the silence in the van quickly returns with the Armored Van’s engine filling their ears with noise. Gordon nods at them before he pulls out a tablet from the inside of his coat. His glasses reflect the bright screen bright enough to white out his eyes.
“Alright guys let’s keep our head in it.” Gordon exclaims to them, keeping his feet firmly on the ground as the van turns another corner, “We are simply here to seize the mobs money. To choke them from the pocket. As you know this is a Mob owned Bank. Now our eyes on the street confirmed that we aren’t expecting any movement from Falcone or Maroni, but we can’t rule out any possibilities. IF we get in a fire fight, I want you to pull back to the van, because we’re going to rendezvous with every officer on this side of Gotham and head straight for crime bosses themselves and arrest them for interfering with a police investigation, we clear.”
“Yeah we got it!” Renee shouts.
“Alright.” Gordon sighs, before pulling out his gun, “Heaven help us.” He gulps, feeling the van come to a sudden halt.
Opening the rear doors, Commissioner Gordon hops out the armored truck icy black tarmac. The bitter winds of the winter-cold and wet streets of Gotham under the darkening sky cause Gordon to bristle as the sharp cold goes into his bones. Hearing the worn out brake-shoes of the 2nd GCPD Armored truck stopping behind them as well, Jim glances down at his watch to the see the time, 4:45pm. They had fifteen minutes. He wanted this done in fifteen minutes to avoid any hang-ups and hopefully a firefight.
Suddenly drenched in red and blue siren lights, Jim peers up the avenue to the three GCPD Squad Cars slowing down to a stop behind as the rather large-bellied Harvey Bullock, sporting his fedora, steps out the police car with a coffee in hand and three other officers behind him.
“Alright you beat-cops, seal off the area. As far as you know, this bank got a disease and you shoot anyone trying to get inside.” Bullock cops before chucking the coffee to the street and wiping his red-nose.
Looking Gordon up and down, Harvey tips up the brim of his fedora to get a better look at Gordon, “Jeeez Jim, you look sick, what is it? Flu or nerves?"
“It’ll be both if we don’t get this over with.” Jim retorts, propping up the lapels of his trench-coat while watching the 10 Task Force Officers loading their weapons while the last 6 get their shields ready and lead the way to the bank.
“It’ll go fine Jim.” Harvey says reassuringly, “The Governor wanted this and so did the Mayor, ya ain’t alone in this.”
“I got a bad feelin' about this Harv” Jim mumbles, “This came too easy. Way too easy.”
"I don't know about you but I like easy." Harvey retorts, "I don't jinx easy because easy means less paperwork okay! So lets say this is handed down from the saints above and this will be ovah in fifteen minutes so i can go home and watch my re-runs."
Jim and Harvey look back to one of the Squad cars as a officer holds up his thumb, “We got a Go from the Mayor’s Office.”
Harvey looks to Jim who nods at him.
“ALRIGHT YOU HEARD’EM YA LAZY ANIMALS!” Harvey shouts while pointing to the Bank behind him, “WE’RE MAKIN’ A WITHDRAWL! NOW COME’ON!” he shouts, rushing up behind the GCPD Task Officers who hold up their clear bulletproof shields and rush to the revolving doors of the bank while a line of GCPD Task Force Officer line up behind Bullock with their guns locked and loaded.
“KEEP A FIRM PERIMETER! I WANT NO ONE IN OR OUT BUT US!” Jim Gordon shouts to the other Policemen inside their squad cars, who block traffic and stretch yellow caution tape on the avenue, preventing any cars to get through.
Before Jim could think to say ‘One, Two, Three – Go’, all 16 Task Force Officers were already inside the empty bank. Following in behind them, Jim steps into the old bank building behind the line of officers, looking around at the epically high ceiling decorated with old paintings as all the facts come back to him.
It was a bank from ‘Old Gotham’, back in the 1930s. This was the first bank of Gotham and after five take overs, it became Gotham Dime Bank and the first ‘Mob’ Bank for the underworld. It was by the collective mobs of the area, legally of course, without any way of tracing how or when, or even the bodies it took to get this place, but it was there’s. From the Marble Teller counters lining the walls on the left and right side from the moment you entered, to the brass leg counter islands in the middle of the marble floor with its convenient green glass bank lights illuminating the available deposit slips, to the High ceilings decorated with paintings and windows painted of Plutous, the greek god of wealth, to the 50 inch televisions they installed in various corners to business new, it was theirs, they owned it all.
Walking up to one of the islands in the middle of the floor, Jim Gordon picks up the deposit slip. His eyes focus to the print on the far left bottom corner. ‘03/6’.
No one made a deposit in this bank since they brought the slips, June 2003, ten years ago, has it been that long?
Hearing the footsteps of the officers going to and fro, James Gordon suddenly hears…
The panicky voice of an officer makes Harvey Bullock and James Gordon’s neck turn on a dime as a Task Force officer comes running out a room at the end of the square shaped bank, pointing into the room he ran out of frantically.
“You-you-you got to see this!”
No words. No expression.
James and Harvey run across the floor while Harvey points at the remaining Task Force officers, “SCAN THE FLOOR FOR ANYTHING SUSPICIOUS!” he orders.
Rounding the corner, walking past the teller’s booth counter and through a wood door and a narrow hallway, the stink of blood hits Gordon’s nose almost immediately as he steps into another office area, the employee break room.
“Oh sweet Mary.” James gasps.
Under the yellow lights of the white floored break room, 5 employees, slashed across the necks and left bleeding on the floor were sprawled about, evidently having tried to fight but it was over a long time ago. They had been dead at least an hour.
Raising his hand to his nose, James aged eyes zip past the bodies to the huddled group of frightened men and women. Their hands tightly duct-taped together as they were collectively all roped together like cattle, with long red sticks of dynamite stuck in their mouths.
“What we got…Oh JEEZ!” Harvey blurts, staggering back at the sight of the bodies but James Gordon turns around and looks at the Task Officers waiting on his word in hallway, “CALL THE BOMBSQUAD NOW! We have hosta…”
At that moment Gordon and Harvey look at each other, having heard the loud sound of what could have been metal doors.
“WHAT WAS THAT?!” James shouts, rushing past with Task Officers down the hallway as the sound of gunshots fill their air.
Making his way out the bank floor, James Gordon watches in shock at the antique 15 foot brass bank doors close with a thunderous echo just a bright spark ignites between the door and burns its way down form the top to the bottom.
“GET THAT DOOR OPEN NOW!” Gordon shouts, watching the Task Officers race to the door while windows on the side of the bank seal shut.
“What the heck is going on ‘er Jim?” Harvey says nervously, watching metal shudders cover all the bank windows.
“I don’t –
“DOORS ARE SEALED COMMISSIONER!”
Gordon’s eyes snap to the Task Officers pushing the large metal doors in vain to open them.
“What do you mean they’re seal?!”
“They used some kind of burning powder to seal the doors shut! They’ welded us INSIDE!”
“Why the heck would they do that?” Harvey mumbles.
“Check the Vault.” James says.
All the officers look at James as his sentence reverberates through their ears almost all at once.
“Jim they just…”
“CHECK THE VAULT!” James shouts to him, ‘”If they sealed us in here, that means the Vault is empty, that means those hostages with the bombs in their mouths were a set up for us because the Mob KNEW we were com…”
Suddenly everyone notices the large mounted flat-screen TVs turn on.
All the officers, Harvey Bullock and James Gordon narrow their eyes at the sight of a black Skelton mask wearing figure appearing on the screen.
James shakes his head, “What the…”
Good Evening Commissioner Gordon, I’m Black Mask…
“FIND US AN EXIT OUT OF HERE NOW!” James shouts.
…now you don’t know me, but I’m guessing by the look of things, no money in the Mob’s bank, hostages with dynamite in their mouths, you deduced you’re in a trap, which you are. Now, as the Black Mask, its my job to kill you and I’m going to. This isn’t personal, its business. Hence being so, it’s not lucrative to destroy prime real estate like an antique building belonging to your employer, if you get my meaning. SO like my old man use to say, ‘"value the valuables, they last longer than people.”
Suddenly James and Harvey see green gas spew out from the five mounted TVs as they shut off!
“GAS!” Harvey shouts.
“EVERYONE INTO THE BREAK ROOM NOW! GO GO GO!” James shouts as the thick green smog begins filling the entrance of the Bank floor.
As the officers race into the back of the room, a muffled explosion erupts from the floor, causing everyone to turn around at the gaping 10 foot circular hole in the floor with the red and green armored mask teen-vigilant known as Robin climbing out through the smoky hole and waving on the Task Force Officers towards him, “GET THE HOSTAGES AND LETS GO! MOVE IT!”
Suddenly, hearing the shattering of glass from high up, Gordon looks up at the skylight to see the black clothed figured acrobatic vigilante Nightwing, dropping through the air with glass shards falling around him as he gracefully lands before him with the aide of his cable.
Turning around, Nightwing throws dozens of black marbles across the floor, which spews white gas in front of the green poison gas, “That’ll buy us FIVE MINUTES! NOW MOVE MOVE MOVE!” Night wingyells to them all as he approaches the Commissioner.
“Thank goodness you’re here Nightwing.” James Gordon says, watching his men escort the hostages with dynamite sticks still in their mouths as they run out the break room, “This was a set up! I was fool to think this would go easily.”
“Get into the sewers and keep going til you hit the train station! Disarm the bombs in the tunnels, it’ll cut off any self-destruct signal!” Robin shouts, helping the hostages climb down the hole as the Task Force Officers assist them as well.
“We were keeping an eye on you from two blocks out, but once you entered the Bank, gangsters started coming out the woodwork, taking out GCPD before we could react. Once they sealed you all inside, we initiated the extraction.” Nightwing says but Gordon pulls him by his arm to whisper in his ear.
“Only THREE people knew about this raid outside of yourselves, this is a setup beyond the levels of the GCPD office; this goes straight up to the Governor’s office! Straight to the top!.” James whispers, his eyes riddled with stoic fear as he looks at the Task Force Officers helping the hostages.
Nightwing nods at him, keeping one eye on all the Task Force officers lowering the hostages into the gaping hole leading to the sewer, “Probably but we have one mess on our hands tonight, we’ll deal with the rest tomorrow. Let’s go.” He says watching the last Hostage be lowered through the hole as Robin waves at him, “WE”RE CLEAR THEY”RE ALL DOWN!”
“Good!” Nightwing nods and looks at the Task Force Officers already racing down but Officer Montoya runs over to them both, “You guys saved our butts, thanks!” she says.
“Don’t mention it.” Nightwing nods with a smirk.
“Ever.” Robin interjects serious, “Now get out of here, we’ll cover your exit.”
“You ready to get outta here Jim!” Harvey shouts.
However, as Renee Montoya turns towards Harvey standing by the gaping hole with the Commissioner Gordon her eyes open wide at the sight of a burning bright light emit from the hole behind him just as a deafening explosion erupts from the gaping hole with a towering flame spewing straight up, throwing everyone to the marble floor!
“NOOOOOOO!” James shouts seeing the flames fizzle out, “HE BLEW UP THE HOSTAGES!”
“ALAN!!” Renee’ shouts into the gaping smoky hole that crackles from the intense heat, “ROBERT! JAX! NOOOOOOOOOO!” she screams in a flurry of tears, covering her mouth in horror.
Suddenly Robin and Nightwing turn around, hearing the bank door thud as if hit by a car.
“They’re gonna break back inside, they planned this thoroughly.” Robin says to Nightwing.
“Not thorough enough.” Nightwing retorts, pulling out his gauntlet and raising it over his head, “Time to go!” he says, holding his hand out to James.
“What are you doing?” James says, “You can’t take all of us!”
Nightwing looks at Robin, Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock brushing off his coat as the door thuds again from a truck ramming into it.
“They want you, so that’s what I’m gonna do. Just show yourself so we can get them out.” Nightwing says to Gordon before turning to Robin, “And hold the fort down here.”
“Fine but we can’t stay here lets go.” Gordon says.
“I can’t pick this guy up you know your doing that right!” Robin exclaims, pointing his thumb to Harvey Bullock while he looks at Nightwing.”
“HEY WATCH IT!”
Nightwing rolls his eyes at Robin, while, shooting his gauntlet line to the skylight.
Zipping up through the air to half-shattered skylight with James Gordon holding onto him, Nightwing pulls them both to the dome shaped rooftop as cold night air greets them with light snowfall coating the roof.
“Look Nightwing, just get Bullock and Montoya out of here…”
Nightwing grabs hold of him by the arm, “They’re not getting you Commissioner, we just need time, that’s all. I’m coming for you.” He says
“Okay okay, I got this , move..” Gordon says.
Nightwing nods at him, before letting him go and dropping back through the shattered skylight to the bank floor.
Sliding down the icy dome shaped ceiling to the ledge, James Gordon carefully inches his way to parapet walkway of the rooftop, getting a Birdseye view of the street.
Immediately a white spotlight shines on him from below, causing Jim to lift his hands over his eyes from the bright light.
“WELL WELL!” shouts a voice through the loud-speaker of a police car, “ISN’T THIS…ROLE REVERSAL.”
Squinting from the bright light, James Gordon peers to the street, spotting dozens of men in black clothing, holding their aimed machine guns at him while standing like statues over dozens of dead police officers covered by fresh snow.
“Dear lord…” he gasps at the sight of Black Mask, standing next to a police car, holding the loud-speaker receiver in hand while, amongst the armed men on the street, ninjas in black garb and swords in hand walk past him towards the building just as the GCPD police armored truck stops from hitting the doors again.
“GLAD TO SEE YOU COMMISSIONER!” Black Mask says through the louds speaker, looking up Gordon on the ledge as snow falls on them all.
“I would like to welcome you to the beginning of the end. You’re death, will be done in a way that I must say, will be quite spectacular.” He says, dropping the microphone as one of the men stands up beside Black Mask with a rifle aimed right at James head.
"Blow his head off." Black Mask Orders.
To be continued……