More BoP Fic
1. Gremalkyn is mine, all MINE! Bwa-ha-ha, as it were. All other characters in this chapter belong to DC Comics. No money being made, just for fun, etc.
2. This is my first public attempt. Please be gentle.
Dinah Lance, a.k.a. the Black Canary, sat in the cocktail lounge directly across from gate E-5 of the Gotham International Airport, waiting patiently. In just a few minutes, the passengers of LexAir flight 666 would be deplaning, and she had someone to keep an eye on. She whistled the first few bars of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
"I'm here, Dinah. Status?"
Canary picked up a mini cassette recorder from the table and pretended to speak into it -- for the benefit of any curious onlookers.
"I'm in position, with an unobstructed view. That green-haired bast..."
"Now, now," chided Oracle. "This is a family show."
Dinah made a rude noise.
"The 'gentleman in question' will be arriving any minute now." Indeed, airport police officers were arriving at the gate. As the Joker had actually finished his last bout of incarceration (as opposed to escaping -- again), there were no outstanding warrants for his arrest. Black Canary could tell that the airport cops were hoping the Joker would not do anything to change that.
The first group of passengers entered the gate area and scurried off, taking confused loved ones with them. The Joker arrived next, followed close behind by a distractingly handsome gentleman. Dinah was careful not to let Joker see her; the last thing she wanted was for him to start shooting up the place in an effort to get her. The airport police kept a professional distance.
The Joker whirled around -- and Dinah ducked behind a rather largge woman.
"I was just thinking, my good man..." began Joker.
"Indeed, friend. I try to think every Saturday, need to or not." The handsome gentleman smiled.
"Ah, ah, yes. Be that as it may," continued Joker, "it occurs to me that we are headed for the same place. Why double the expense?"
Man, thought Dinah, good-looking and mixed up with the Joker. Just my luck. She activated the mini camera Oracle had given her and took several unobtrusive yet quality photos of the pair, making sure to get at least one full facial of the stranger. Brown hair, green eyes, perfect smile, muscular build, great suit, nice butt...
"Why, indeed. I have a limousine promised me. And you, sir?"
"Ooo, a limousine!" cooed the Joker. "Beats my taxi ride!"
Dinah followed them to the baggage claim. She noted that the stranger collected nothing, but Joker hefted two large suitcases of the most hideous orange. They then made their way curbside. Fortunately, Oracle had arranged for Dinah to have a really snazzy car and a reserved parking space near the VIP area. She scurried off, making sure she did not lose sight of the devilish pair while she retrieved her own vehicle.
True to the gentleman's word, a sleek black limo arrived. The driver exited, the stranger showed him something, and the driver opened the rear door for the pair. While they were getting situated, the driver loaded the luggage, then returned to his seat behind the wheel.
Dinah fired up her Porsche 911 Turbo, turning off the radio she had left turned up way too loud. She pulled in behind the limo as it departed the airport and, once in traffic, let a few cars get between them.
They rode in comfort. The seats were made of rich, Corinthian leather, and the pile carpet was a most pleasant shade of tan. The appointments were mahogany, with solid silver accents and trim of an electric blue. The mini bar was much to Joker's liking, while his companion made do with a fresh pitcher of iced tea. They nibbled on snacks: Joker, on caviar and pate, and his new-found friend, on raw vegetables and -- of all things to find in a limousine -- a peanut butter sandwich.
"You know, Joker, it occurs to me that you have probably upset rather a lot of people during your career."
"They let the medium blind them to the message," said Joker between bites.
"Indeed. Some of my past work was also misunderstood." Joker's companion took a long sip of tea.
"Oh, really? Like what?"
"The Black Death."
Joker paused, pate hovering near his mouth.
"Bwa-ha-ha-ha! 'The Black Death!' Bwa-ha-ha!"
They continued their meal in silence.
"'The Black Death,'" snickered the Joker. "Good one."
They rode for nearly half an hour as the driver made several turns that were at odds with a swift arrival at their destination. Then came a voice from the intercom speaker located near the mini bar.
"Confirmed tail, sir. Silver Porsche 911. Possibly the turbo model."
"Always a party pooper," intoned Joker. His companion merely shook his head.
"Current course and speed?"
The driver glanced at the dashboard.
"Northbound on Third, speed at thirty-seven in a forty."
The passengers eyed one another. Joker reached into his purple blazer and displayed the butt of a hand gun. His companion smiled and shook his head.
"I assume this is a company car?" The question seemed to have some significance to his companion and to the driver, so Joker took careful note.
"Of course, sir." The driver sounded slightly insulted. Slightly.
"As it should be. Make for the marina, best possible speed."
"Aye. New heading: eastward on Artemis Drive. Speed at fifty-two and increasing."
"Artemis Drive. How appropriate," whispered Joker's companion.
"Where are they going?" Dinah asked herself for the third time. Since leaving the highway, none of the turns made any sense. It was as if...
"Crap!" she shouted. "They're on to me."
Dinah checked her onboard navigation system. The marina. Had to be. She touched her self-adhesive throat mic.
"Oracle, you there?"
"They're on to me. We're headed for the marina."
"I'll make a call. Meantime, stay with them. The guy in the photos is an unknown. I want to know who he is and what they're up to."
Dinah gunned the engine.
"Target remains dead astern, sir." The driver's tone had changed, and the sudden use of nautical terms piqued Joker's curiosity.
"Increase to flank and ready the aft weapons package."
"Ooo!" cooed Joker. "'Aft weapons package!' I like the sound of that!" He bounced excitedly as he turned to look out the rear window. The Porsche lagged behind for a moment, then began to close the distance.
"Target: twenty-three hundred and closing," reported the driver. Joker's host took another long sip of tea.
"Ready stinger missiles five and six and plot a firing solution."
"Woo-hoo-hoo!" bounced Joker. "This I gotta see!" He craned his neck to stare out the rear window. His host chuckled.
"Here," he said, as a flat-screen monitor pivoted downward from the ceiling of the limo. It flickered, then showed the Porsche in remarkable detail. Joker sat forward like a kid watching his favorite cartoon.
"Aft Stingers five and six ready," came the report.
"Open outer doors on tubes five and six."
"Outer doors open, aye."
"What, you think we're in a submarine?" Joker eyed his companion with that look he sometimes gets...
"Yes," said his host most sincerely. Then, to the driver, "Make tubes five and six ready in all respects."
"Tubes five and six, ready for launch, sir. Targeting solution plotted and locked into the computer. Target now at one thousand and holding."
"Match bearings on five..."
She could see a slight puff of smoke, then something that looked like a one-liter pop bottle dropped out of the back of the limo. No, it hovered. No...
Dinah swerved. She knew they had fired a missile at her, and she assumed that it was heat-seeking. Even if she managed to dodge it, there were a few cars behind her a ways back. She would not allow innocents to die. Joker would not have that satisfaction.
"Oracle! They fired a missile at me!"
"Oh, my God," whispered Oracle. Then, louder: "Can you lose it?"
"Maybe, but I'm not the only one on the road. I'll cut close to a building. Maybe I can..."
"Nope," she said softly.
Oracle then heard an odd noise she could not identify, followed by the sound of a rather intense explosion, then nothing. The Porsche flew into the air. What was left of it cartwheeled and came crashing down, igniting the spilled fuel discharged from the ruptured gas tank. The road, awash in flame and strewn with debris, transformed the otherwise well-maintained Artemis Drive into a death trap for the following cars.
"No," she whispered. "NO!" Her eyeglasses tossed aside, her wet face in her hands, she began to weep as she had seldom done before.
Dinah. Dear, dear, Dinah. Oh - my - God.
"Joker's gonna pay!" She shouted to no one. "JOKER'S GONNA PAY! That mother..."
"Oh, yeah. He's gonna pay, all right. Another car hit the wreck, but the driver seems okay."
Oracle was confused. She looked around her computer room, somehow thinking that she was not alone. It took her a moment to place the voice coming over the speakers.
"Karen? Power Girl?"
"Yeah. Sorry about the wait, but..."
"Dinah was in that car," Oracle whispered. "She... she's..."
"Fine and fightin' mad. Good thing I still have some of my super strength, or I'd have dropped her by now." Power Girl arced skyward, her white and gold bodysuit helping to insulate her as the evening grew chill.
"Here, use mine," Karen said. Oracle did not quite understand what she meant.
"Use your what?" She wiped the tears from her face and retrieved her cast-off eyewear.
Flit flit. Grunt.
"Pfft. Hair-in-the-face. I see who you are." Dinah hugged Karen. Power Girl grinned and shrugged, as if to say, "who, me?"
Dinah spoke to Oracle.
"Okay, cybersleuth, I want everything on that limo, vanity plate ARTEMIS-1, and anywhere they might be headed for at the marina."
"Dinah? DINAH!" Relief washed over Oracle. She fumbled with the computer. "Uh, okay. Just gimme a sec..."
"They're reaching the marina now. Hurry with that..."
"They're not stopping," interrupted Power Girl. "In fact, they're speeding up."
They had watched the missile weave its way towards the hapless Porsche. They had watched some egg-yolk-looking object rapidly approach the Porsche. They had watched the impact; the grand explosion. They had watched some flying jackass carry away the driver.
Joker and his companion stared at one another.
"Not good," said Joker, slightly panicked. "Can't be local. None of our long underwear crowd can fly."
"Helm, secure tube six and increase to full."
"Sir, at that rate, we will be unable to avoid the water's edge." The driver secured the unlaunched missile and closed the outer doors on the launch tube.
"Kid's got a point, my new best friend. Plans?" Joker looked around, as if he might find some button to push or something to throw.
A second passed by. Then another.
"Rig for subsurface and maintain course and speed."
"Rig for subsurface, aye."
The limo, which was a somewhat regular land vehicle just moments before, underwent one of the most fascinating alterations. The dashboard was replaced with one modified for underwater operation, sealants secured the windows, and air was pumped into the compartments to pressurize the vehicle. As the limo struck -- and then bounced over -- the side of the waterfront, the wheels retracted into storage ports, which closed and maintained water-tight conditions. Dive fins extended, and two propellors telescoped from recessed compartments in the rear of the vehicle. When it finally reached the water, the limo-sub dove (rather smoothly) into the water, disappearing under a passing pleasure boat full of disbelieving passengers and crew.
"Helm," spoke Joker's companion, "set course for base, best possible speed."
He leaned back and prepared himself another glass of iced tea. The mini bar was, surprisingly, still rather tidy.
Joker looked around, amazed and impressed.
"I gotta get me one of these," he whispered. Then, "I gotta get me one of these!"
"Million six," spoke his host, mater-of-factly.
"Sold! Hey, you're all right, Gremalkyn!"
To Be Continued...
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