Master of the Hunt, Part II

All parts linked here.

 

2300 Hours, the Batcave

Once Deathstroke was safely locked up in Arkham, an unmasked Dick Greyson stood beside a stil masked Batman, watching over the unconscious young man from behind one way glass.

“What do you think?”

Batman simply shrugged in response to the question.

We don’t have enough information. All we know is he beat Deathstroke, which isn’t terribly difficult for a skilled fighter.”

Dick shot his masked mentor a tired look. Batman didn’t acknowledge it.

“He’s not wholly human, Bruce. His eyes were glowing orange when I fought him, but they flickered blue right before I knocked him unconscious. His voice sounded synthetic. I think it’s some sort of technology implanted in him.”

At this Batman cocked an eyebrow.

“Continue.”

Dick looked away and sighed.

“I don’t have any other evidence. I didn’t even know he existed until a couple hours ago.”

Bruce Wayne glanced at his first protégé.

“Dick, you’re doing well. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t have much information.”

Both turned their attention back to the young man, barely old enough looking to be called more than a boy.

About that point, he groggily sat up, rubbing his eyes, there was a brief glint of white across his left pupil, and the boy groaned. Batman and Dick didn’t even need the feed from the bugs in the room to tell the exclamation on his lips.

“Crap. Not again.”

Dick raised an eyebrow at Bats.

“Well, I doubt he’s putting on a show. Looks like he was under someone else’s control, eh?”

“Possibly.”

The  young man tiredly glanced around the room he was in, nodding to Dick, as if showing deference, before locking eyes with Batman. After about three seconds, his head jerked to one side and his eyes snapped shut.

After several seconds of twitching, they opened again, the same murderous orange. For the second time, he uttered the words, “Target aquired.”

Batman took half a step back.

“He must be able to see through the glass. Dick, go to the Bat Computer. Monitor the kid from there. I’ll handle this.”

Dick did as he was told, shoving his mask onto his face and rushing from the room.Bats turned back to the glass in time to catch the next punch, splintering yet more of the glass. He didn’t flinch.

The young man drew back for a third punch, his knuckles bloody by this point, and Batman dropped his chin half a degree, the barest hint of aggression about his features.

The next punch went through the glass, shattering the majority of the window. Batman sidestepped the punch with blinding sped, grabbing the young man’s arm at both the elbow and the wrist. In a millionth of a second, he unbalanced the young man’s momentum such that he flew forward through the window, getting several dozen more cuts to both his skin and clothes in the process.

He landed with the same sinuously robotic motion that had bested Deathstroke.

A moment later he lunged, speaking under his breath.

“Target confirmed – Bruce Wayne, A.K.A. Batman. High profile resurgent. Elimination priority – maximum.”

He flipped over Batman and grabbed his shoulder pads, slamming both bodies through what little glass tenaciously clung to the window frame. Neither seemed phased by the blow.

However, they were right back where Batman wanted them to be.

“Dick! Scan us!”

Back at the Bat Computer, Dick hesitated, but ultimately his trust of Bruce won. He hit the button.

Immediately the grappling duo were bathed in x-rays and other sophisticated scans.

As soon as the computer beeped, “Scan complete,” Batman whipped out a minuscule knife and jammed it into the young man’s chest, delivering a massive dose of sedative directly into his bloodstream.

The young man staggered backwards, reeling. His eyes slid shut, and he was still for a moment.

Then he struck again, eyes still mostly shut. His movements were suddenly jerky and robotic, cumbersome. Batman had no trouble deflecting them.

Then, when it became evident that the assault wouldn’t be stopping of its own accord, he delivered a wicked left hook.

The young man spasmed and crumpled to the floor.

Batman straightened.

“Alright, Dick,. Get down here. I want to know what that was.”

He stared down at the now limp body.

“And I need to find whoever informed him.”

“Yessir. Printing out the report now.”

Batman hauled the young man up onto the table, this time strapping him down. Dick entered the room just as he was finishing.

“I assume we got what we needed?” he asked over his shoulder.

“I think so. Was that part of the plan?”

“No, but it was fortuitous to be able to get a combat scan of him. Any of his powers would have been active.”

Dick rolled his eyes, which was quite an expression with the mask on.

“Here’s what your scan got. It seems too fantastical. Are you sure this is a functional device?”

“Dick, just read it.”

“Alright, alright. His skeleton appears to have been reinforced with a gold-titanium alloy, with additional diamond reinforcement on the servo-motors in the joints. Molecular scans showed his body as floored with an artificial adrenaline. There’s a complicated matrix of thin metal wires around and through his brain, eyes, mouth, vocal cords, heart, lungs, liver, and each of his glands, which appears to be some sort of futuristic circuitry. There are additional implants inside his retinas, of indiscernible function, and on his heart and lungs, which appear to forcibly normalize their function when his brain is attacked, such as by your sedative and/or left hook.”

He looked up from the sheet of paper in his hands.

“That’s all I’ve got, boss.”

“Any leads on where the circuitry would have been manufactured?”

“Way ahead of you. I had the Bat Computer run a search – nothing. Probably a custom job, but he couldn’t have done this by himself.”

“Government?”

“Nothing you’ve cataloged matched the caliber of this tech, Bats, military, private, or otherwise. The closest thing to it would be Lex Luthor’s battlesuit, but even that’s a far cry from what we’re looking at here, and besides, this is obviously of human design. It’s superior, dare I say it, to even anything in your arsenal.”

Batman merely glanced over at him and began attaching electrodes to the young man’s body.

Dick sighed.

“Bruce, if you hadn’t raised me to be logical, I’d say we’re looking at the very future of biotech here.”

Batman ignored the remark.

“Any energy signatures, radio broadcasts, transmissions?”

“Nothing of note.”

“Then how did he know my name?”

“Well, the nature of the ocular implants suggests that they might contain multiple kinds of military grade vision enhancements, including night, x-ray, and thermal vision. It’s possible he saw straight through the mask.”

“And he called me a resurgent. I’m not re-surging against anything…”

His voice trailed off.

“Except maybe crime…” he muttered wryly, stroking his chin a single time. He then turned to Dick.

“Do we know where Cyborg is right now?”

“Yeah, he’s been working with the military to stabilize Amaria.”

“Call him in. I want to know if this is more Mother Box technology or something entirely more sinister.”

“Um… You don’t have jurisdict-”

“Tell him I need a favor, urgently – you know what, never mind, I’ll do it myself.”

Part I

Part III

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