Ultimate Batman - ARC ONE - Prologue

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ULTIMATE BATMAN

THE PROLOGUE

GOTHAM CITY

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....Maroni's Palm Restaurant

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Inside an empty kitchen, steel countertops, hanging skillets and pans line wall that decorate the kitchen, stands a large enforcer. He fit the type that most would think of.

Black shirt and black suit with gold chain decorated his neck. The obvious bulge under his left arm and in the back of his pants wasn’t hard to mistake, two oversized gun.

The rather large enforcer glances over his shoulder to the metal door, as if to ensure it was still there, then returns his gaze to a rather small waitress before him.

She was tiny in comparison, of which she was incredibly self-aware. Her ponytail seemed to tremble almost along with the rest of her as she held a silver canister filled with ice and champagne.

Bending towards the girl, the enforcer brings his face close to the waitress. She could hear his belabored breathing through his nose and smell his cheap cologne. It made her nauseous. Raising up his sausage fat finger, the Enforcer starts his warning.

“Remember in dat room, ya ain’t nobody!” he explains, “You don’t got no rights. You don’t got nothin!. You don’t look at at nothin, Ya don’t ask nothin.! If they ask you for somethin’- ya do it. Tell ya ta’ shut ya freakin’ mouth, ya shut ya freakin mouth even if it wasn’t open in da first place. Ya got dat!”

The waitress nods emphatically.

Standing up straight, the enforcer folds his arms, glaring at the girl, “ If they laugh at a joke, ya just look at da floor cause ya don’t got a motha-lovin sense a humor. Ya got dat? Ya nothin’. Just Decoration on da freakin wall til one dem wine glasses be empty and then, ya life purpose is opens up again. An fill ‘dem glasses to da top! An ya don’t spill a freakin’ drop neitha! They smack that small excuse of a caboose you got, ya smile, dank the gods for da blessin’ and you goes back to da corner. You gots dat tootz?”

“Ye-yes.” she replies.

“Don’t ay fuhget!” The Enforcer exclaims, “Cuz I ain’t cleanin’ ya up if they’z shoot yooz cuz you dumb!.” grunts the large Italian enforcer before the door opens behind him.

Quickly the Enforcer straightens up as a handsomely dressed six foot man appears. Dressed in a black suit with a white turtleneck, the thin framed blond glances down at the mousey young waitress and smirks a sleezy smirk before nodding and nudges the Enforcer.

“Nice one.” He nods before looking behind her at the other men lining the white tiled walls. All of them six feet tall, earpieces in their ear, machine guns in hand. As opens the large metal door with one hand, all the enforcers lining the wall turn their heads away, daring not to look inside.

Gesturing inside, the large fellow looks at the waitress, “Come lil birdy.” he smirks.

Stepping into a large open butcher room, the small waitress immediately catches sight of the infamous group of men seated at a long white cloth table. The laughter fills the room as much as the cigar smoke. Bowls of spaghetti with red marinara sauce decorate the table. Massacared garlic bread in platters, large plates of stacked cooked steak at the center of the table for everyone.

Hearing the heavy door close behind her, the young waitress jolts into a stride and quickly walks around the table to service the group, offering them all champagne.

She serves the head of the table, the unmistakable and infamous Salvatore Maroni, head of the Maroni Crime Family. Dressed in his black turtleneck with a thick gold chain around his neck; the tanned Caucasian with the strands of his rapidly thinning hair was slicked back along his bald head and glistened in the overhead light. Slurping his saucy noodle before smiling a contented wide grin revealing the signature gap in the upper row of his teeth as many came to call it, Hell’s entry point, he winks at the waitress.

“Hey toots, fill me up!” Maroni orders, lifting up his crystal wine glass as he pops a morsel of steak into his mouth, “Ah don’t be stingy.” He adds.

Trying her best not to tremble as the green wine bottle touches the wine glass rim, the young girl lets out a sigh, before calmly pouring his red wine.

“Easy, easy…slower. Dis ain’t beer!” scowls Maroni.

Slowly pouring his wine, the young girl watches Maroni nod in approval as he continues eating.

Glancing down the table, the waitress could see the tan-color suited and quite portly white haired mobster known as Rupert Thorne, head of the Whisper Gang. His crows feet eyes remained focused to the cutting of his thick bloody rare steak.

He cut his steak carefully, methodically; his entire plate looked as if a surgeon left the unwanted scraps on the table from the world’s cleanest operation.

Across from him was the vicious Fish Mooney. If her reputation was violence in excess, the she dressed equally as much. Her provocative red glitter dress trickled light across the room, and her short spiky hair with pink highlights swept across part of her vibrant chocolate face. Her devilish brown eyes remain affixed to her plate as played chunky jewelry and gracefully ran her morsel of bread around her plate, gathering up the last remaining bits of sauce.

At the end of the table, directly across from the host Maroni was, Don Carmine Falcone, he was a quiet man.

“Nuff.” Maroni says as the waitress fills his glass to the brim.

“Fill us all up.” Maroni instructs the waitress, gesturing to everyone with his cup.

“So…” Maroni says, looking at everyone at the table, “…I’m glad you were able to find the time out of your busy schedules to meet like this. The Maroni Crime Family, will remember the gesture of professionalism in the future.” he states.

“Here here.” Rupert cheers on as the waitress pours wine in his bulbous glass.

“Well it isn’t as if we had a choice.” Fish Mooney comments, her voice tinged with aggravation as her dagger-like eyes look up at Maroni, “Your problems are our problems.”

“I think ya gots your facts confused there sweetie.” Maroni grins.

“Don’t call me sweetie like I’m one of your crack whores Maroni.” Fish snaps back.

Maroni groans at the comment, “Now I know ‘Nice’ ain’t my color.” Maroni mumbles, sitting back in his chair, chewing his steak, “But If ya can’t eat wit a smile, can’t talk wit respect, den’ what else am I supposed to do huh?”

Swirling her wine in her glass, Fish Moony arches her pencil thin eyebrow at the question, “Jump off a bridge.” she shrugs, “You can start there.” she grins.

Maroni cuts Fish a glare and points his stabbed steak on the end of his fork at her, “Ya just cantankerous ya know dat?”

“I am what I am…” Fish states before looking Thorne and Falcone, “…and I am what we all are breaking my Carb Counting Diet and drinking bad wine and still, we don’t know why!”

“I aged the wine in my own warehouses, its a gift.” states Maroni.

Throwing her head back as she gulps the last mouthful of red wine, Fish leans forward while slamming the bulbous stem wine glass to the table before letting out a cool, “Aaaah…” but arrogantly stares at Maroni, “...well that explains the bitter taste...” She grins, sitting back in her seat, “...its your teeny tiny sour grapes hanging off your dead vine.” she grins.

“LOOK you black double-tongued …”

Fish reaches for her back and half rises out her seat but Rupert Thorne slams his hand on the table.

“HEY!” shouts Don Carmine Falcone, watchings everyone freeze and his expression of displeasure, “Lest I remind everyone, you are here as my guests. And as my guests, dishonoring me, at my table, would be better done at devil's table, then mine.” he warns.

Everyone remains quiet and Fish slowly sits back in her seat, as does Maroni both remaining quiet.

“N-no disrespect Rupert.” Maroni whimpers.

“Anyway…” interjects Rupert Thorne, “...let’s cut to it shall we?” he says, standing up.

“The day Joker got snuffed out by Bats, was the best day ever.” Rupert says, “But he left his Bat’s fan club here. And now, six months into it, Police ain’t under our hold as tight anymore. Heck, mine and Don Falcone’s Docks are gettin’ shut down. Commissioner Gordon got dem’ Arkham crazies off the street, now all attention is now on Organized Crime, with Commissioner Gordon leading the charge like a freakin’ Joan of Arc or somethin’.”

“Well if I may say…” Maroni interrupts, looking to Fish Moony who leans back like a lioness ready for a fight, “… i think gettin’ that kid killed in your transaction Fish…”

“It’s called Collateral Damage.” Fish defends.

“Let’s nip this in the butt now...” Rupert snaps, pointing at Fish “…your men are senseless but I think you’d be smart enough to use your connections to get the video that got viral, buried! City Hall & the Governor’s Office had no choice but to begin assembling GCPD Task Force to ‘cleanse’ the city of Organized Crime.”

“Don’t blame me for this!” Fish snaps, pointing her sharp manicured nail at him, “You’ve done worse! With your bare hands I might add.”

Rupert plants his hands on the table and leans towards, “What PROOF do you have?!” he asks with a grin.

“Listen to him Fish!” Carmine warns, watching everyone tense at his warning, “No one is blaming you but it does shine a light where it needs to be shone.” he says, before looking to everyone at the table, “We need to be tighter as an organization and cleaner.”

“Agreed.” Maroni says, “We should pool in resources and...”

Suddenly two muffled shots ring in everyone’s ears as they look to the door.

Everyone looks at the waitress, who raises her hands and drops the wine bottle to the floor as she runs to the corner of the room and slumps to the floor, burying her face between her knees.

Fish, Maroni, Carmine and Rupert all pull out two guns, aiming one at the door and another pointed at each other.

Suddenly, the lock on the door is released and Maroni watches the large metal door swing open with a one of his Italian Enforcers walking through the door with his hands up as blood trickles down from his nose.

“Tony?” Maroni says in disbelief, seeing the gun behind his back.

“I’m so-sorry boss but he just got the…”

Everyone jolts as the two gunshots from Maroni’s gun ring their ears as his man drops dead at the door. Maroni stands up, his eyes livid with anger as he points his gun to the door.

“NOW WHOEVER THINKS HE CAN USE MY MAN AS A SHIELD TO SAVE HIS LIFE IS DISAPPOINTED! NOW GET IN HERE!” he hollers.

Watching the figure step inside, Maroni, Fish Mooney, Carmine Falcone and Rupert Thorne watch in shock as they see the leather gloved hand at the door drop the gun to the floor.

Slowly stepping inside, they all sit back in shock at the sight of a man of average height, wearing cream color suit, black shirt, and black tie enter the room, wearing a shiny black skull encapsulating his head.

The perturbing sight of the masks unnerves everyone in the room. The glossy black teeth, detailed bony structure, it causes Maroni to step back but keep his gun trained at the strange figure, “WHO THE %^&* ARE YOU!”

“Isn’t that the point of the mask?” the mysterious man replies, obviously smiling behind the mask.

Maroni narrows his eyes at him as Fish Mooney smirks him, “Oh you’re delicious, aren't you?” she grins.

Maroni looks at her with a raised eyebrow, “I think I'm gonna be sick.”

“Do you have any idea who we are?” Rupert Thorne asks, glaring at the figure.

The figure simply looks at Rupert, their eyes meeting as silence falls between them. Saying nothing, the figure unbuttons his suit jacket. His black eyes rove about the room quickly before settling back to Falcone.

“Your all the heads of crime in Gotham.” the figure replies, then points at Falcone, “But you lead this merry lil group.”

Falcone smirks, “We have a business arrangement. I’m the Chair. At that moment you just interrupted our Dinner meeting, though we can add the subject of your funeral to our agenda.”

“Exactly!” Maroni snaps, leveling gun to Black Masks’ face, “Say the word boss and i’ll put a bullet right in his shiny lil mask.”

“Go ahead…” Black Mask scoffs, “...but know you’ll be shooting your five hundred million dollars down the toilet too.”

Falcone holds his hand up to Maroni, “Wait.” he exclaims, “What do you mean?”

Black Mask looks at Maroni, “I can’t talk with that thing in my face.” he whispers.

Maroni slowly lowers his gun and sits on the edge of the table, “You got thirty seconds numb nuts.”

The Figure nods at Maroni, but then points at Falcone, “Your collective hundred million dollars is currently placed in fifty different bank accounts that you use at varying times of the month.” he begins, “Well, two hours ago Forensic Account Analysts who he flew in from Metropolis at an undisclosed location six hours ago, traced an encrypted I.P. address one of your Lieutenants texted to you Maroni…” he says, glaring at him.

“And thanks to the Patriot Act…” Black Mask continues, “...intercepted the text, search the address and, froze your assets accordingly and…” he says pointing at Fish, “...yours. You have an hour before they locate you here, hence why I killed your men. Can’t question the dead.”

Fish arches her eyebrow, “Excuse me?”

Black Mask looks to Fish, “That kid getting killed got you the first person put on a terrorist watch list within Gotham, they just didn’t announce it. They are going to come here.”

Maroni’s face reddens with anger as sweat drips down from his head.

“How do you know this! HOW!” Maroni shouts.

Black Mask shrugs, “Can’t tell you that.”

Stepping closer to him, Maroni puts his gun to Black Mask head, “You know what I think?”

“OH you think do you?” Black Mask chides.

“YEAH I DO!” roars Maroni, “An I think you did this! I think you’re behind it and you wanna extort us! SO I’m gonna give you to da count of three, to move your ugly lyin’, cheap-two-bit carcass outta my restaurant or I’m gonna blow your freakin’ brains out all over the floor AND HARVEST YOUR INSIDES FOR THE…’

“Maroni MARONI!”

“WHAT!” Maroni shouts, looking over his shoulder to Rupert Thorne.

“Relax!”

“He’s right meat-head.” Fish adds, “If, this Black Mask, is correct, and we are ‘over a barrel’, killing him changes nothing, the fact is he bought us an hour to fix this.”

Pushing the barrel of Maroni’s gun away from his head with his finger, Black Mask nods at him, “If you want it fixed, go ahead, send whoever you want, but let me fix the problem at its source.”

Falcone narrows his eyes, “And what’s the problem, Black Mask.”

“The Batman maybe gone….” Black Mask says, “…but his little batmen-lite and batgirl-tramp prance around the city, emboldening police, stomping out fear…Your docks, your tunnels, everything…is at a loss. But I can guarantee passage cleared. I can get police off your backs. I can bring CHRISTMAS in February, inside of three weeks.”

Falcone smirks, “In exchange for?”

“Five Hundred Thousand to solve your problems.” Black Mask states, ‘And another five hundred thousand JUST for tonight ...call it a ‘Starters Fee’.”

“YOU THINK YOU CAN ROB US!” Maroni shouts, grabbing Black Mask by the neck and shoving the barrel of his gun to his eye, “I’LL TAKE MY CHANCES just so I can blow your money-grubbing head off!”

“MARONI GET OFF HIM!” Carmine shouts, standing out his seat, “Or you prove yourself to be an unreasonable man that I can’t do business with and i’ll do more that cut our ties with you.”

Maroni grits his teeth in anger before look to the aged Carmine Falcone looking at him with those steely pale blue eyes,

“I mean it.” He adds.

Pushing Black Mask aback, Maroni grits his teeth angrily but points his gun at Black Mask, “I don’t like you!”

“Neither do I.” Carmine says, “But I believe in business and right now, we can’t afford to have our own bank seized and be broke. We have hired help, once the money flows, we die. Boston Mobs, Jersey Mobs…heck Intergang will all swoop in here just as Black Mask said. I say let’s take this one step at a time. Hire the man , if this doesn’t work. Take that cheap butter knife on the table and carve his black heart out with it.”

Fish Mooney stands up, “I apologize Don Falcone.” She grins, glaring at Black Mask, “This has been the best night i’ve had in a long time.”

“What about you Rupert?” Maroni asks.

“Do it.” He quickly retorts, “It’s the only option for now.”

Maroni looks at Black Mask from the white shoes he wears to the black mask on his face and shakes his head, “Don’t screw this up.” He says.

“You’re hired.” Carmine says, “Now go. Prove yourself.”

“Oh I will.” Black Mask nods.

“How you gonna stop this.”

“Don’t ask the butcher how the meats cut” Black Mask retorts while waving over the waitress “Just be happy with your cut.”

Everyone looks in shock at the waitress stood up from the floor, reach behind her ears and peel off a thin mask from her face, revealing her oriental appearance while walking to Black Mask, “I’ll call you when its done.”

“You don’t have my number!!” Maroni shouts.

“Oh yes I do. Even the Burner phone.” Black Mask says, exiting the door with the woman.

to be continued...

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silverspidey

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TommytheHitman

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Good start. I like how you’re focusing on the gang aspect of Gotham and using Black Mask as the focus. The dialogue seemed quite good in this issue, here’s hoping that the Great White Shark gets used at some point.