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Batman City of Demons-0

Batman: City of Demons is a 2017 superhero film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Nathan Filion as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Karl Urban as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Jennifer Lawrence as Silver St. Cloud, Colin Farrell as Edward Nygma/The Riddler, Armie Hammer as Commissioner Gordon, Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Pennyworth, Idris Elba as Lucius Fox and Emily Blunt as Lady Shiva. The film surrounds Bruce Wayne, over ten years into his tenure as Batman after having defeated most of his opponents, including the Joker, and he comes face to face with Deathstroke, one of the most physically powerful human beings on the planet.

Cast

  • Nathan Filion as Bruce Wayne/Batman, one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet, who is also a masked vigilante who defends the streets of Gotham.
  • Karl Urban as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, a superhuman who is classed as the greatest assassin on the face of the planet.
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Silver St. Cloud, Bruce Wayne's girlfriend.
  • Colin Farrell as Thomas Elliot, one of Bruce Wayne's greatest friends.
  • Armie Hammer as Commissioner Gordon, Batman's ally in the Gotham City Police Department
  • Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler and confidante
  • Idris Elba as Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne's chief colleague and CEO of Wayne Enterprises
  • Emily Blunt as Adeline Kane
  • Madison Wolfe as Mandy, a girl who is rescued from a murderer by Batman.
  • John Travolta as Police Commissioner Gilian B. Loeb, the chief of police.

Plot

Pan on Gotham City from above, at night, with the camera hovering over an apartment block, with the lights out on one building.

Deathstroke: Gotham. The city of shadows, of betrayal, of decay. Politicians, democrats, entrepreneurs, businessmen, they all think they play chess with the streets around them. That, if you were to rise so high above the rats at your feet, that you would never again feel them scuttling across your shoes. And then the sun comes up, and you see the little beasts clawing at your legs. Rising. Climbing. Advancing!

Gunshots are heard in the building, and the window shatters. A shadow moves behind the curtains and a ten year old girl rushes out of the building, screaming. A man in a balaclava strides out, dragging the corpse of the girl's mother, who has several bleeding holes in her belly. The man throws the woman's corpse to the ground and raises the pistol in his hand, cackling. The girl rushes into an ally and swerves around a corner. The man stalks after her, listening out for the pitter-patter of her feet. His breath drifts in silver clouds in front of him. As he walks across the street, the bat signal hovers in the clouds above him as the snow drifts all over the street. Snow has settled all over the place, and it crunches under his powerful strides.

Thug: Come out, come out, wherever you are!

The girl has sneaked up on him, carrying a metal rod. She charges at the thug and raises it above her head, bringing it down on his thigh. The man yells and drops to his feet, and the gun goes off by accident. The girl screams and jerks to the right, thinking the bullet might rebound at her. The man lunges to his feet and swivels around, the hammer of the gun smacking into the girl's head, knocking her to the ground.

Thug: You little bitch!

Unknown: Hey!

The thug bolts upright, shocked, and turns around, suddenly frightened. He aims at the roofs of the building, one to the other, clearly frantic about being interrupted by someone he can't see at all.

Thug: Show yourself!

Unkown: Put the gun down. Take the balaclava off. Leave the girl alone.

Thug: And what?

Unknown: I'll bring you to Gotham City Station...without breaking anything of yours. You get to keep your teeth, your sight, the feeling in your hands or feet. Your move.

Thug: (Laughs)

The girl struggles to her feet and picks up the rod, swinging at the thug again. The thug kicks her in the stomach and she doubles over, crying out and dropping the rod.

Thug: Stay down, you little shit!

Something scythes out of the shadows, small and silver, and spears right through the gun so sharply it knocks the weapon out of his hand. The thug howls. The object pins the gun to the sidewalk, and is revealed to be some kind of blade shaped like a bat. Something huge, with a broad cape, drifts down behind the thug, and taps him on the shoulder. The thug turns around.

Unknown: Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

A black-gauntleted fist smashes into the thug's face, knocking him off his feet. He hits a car and slides to the ground, half-buried in snow. A huge figure stands before him, dressed in a thick suit of armour and a broad cape. The thug covers his mouth with his hand, blood seeping between his fingers.

Thug: What the hell are you?

Unknown: Ask me nicely.

The thug charges at the figure, brandishing a knife, and the figure raises his fists, three curved blades flicking out of each wrist. He reaches out and locks the knife between the wrist blades, wrenching it out of the thug's hand and out of his reach. The thug staggers onwards, and the figure's knee connects violently with his stomach. The thug gasps and blood threads from his lips. The camera moves towards the girl, as she looks up from the ground as a hue shadow lifts a slightly slimmer shadow off the ground and throws him through the air into the ground. She gets up and the camera hovers over her shoulder as she watches the caped stranger advance on the thug. The thug, seen as a jagged silhouette against streetlamps, tries to lunge back at his attacker, who kicks him hard on the head and knocks him out. The girl's hands are shaking uncontrollably and she is breathing raggedly. She's terrified. The newcomer scoops the thug over his shoulder as if he is weightless and turns back towards the girl, walking towards her, his strides echoing as they crunch against the snow. The girl sees the metal rod lying in the snow and picks it up, backing away and raising it above her head.

Girl: Stay away from me! Please! Stay away from me!

Unknown: Put the rod down.

Girl: No.

Unknown: He can't hurt you anymore, kiddo.

Girl: From the looks of things, you can!

Unknown: (Laughs) I won't. How does that sound?

Girl: Like you're lying.

Unknown: I just beat up the guy who was going to kill you. You're going to smash my face in with a metal rod, is that it?

He is towering over her right now. The figure goes to his knees and, gently, takes it from her hands.

Unknown: I'm not going to hurt you, kid. I don't hurt kids. Can you tell me your name?

Girl: I'm Mandy.

Unknown: Mandy. Good name.

The figure turns towards the body of her mother.

Unknown: I was too late to save your mother, Mandy. I can't tell you how sorry I am.

Mandy: You can try.

They hear the shriek of police sirens, and the figure turns around and sees the shadows of cars arcing around the corner. He turns towards Mandy.

Unknown: When they get here, tell them what happened. And ask for Sergeant James Gordon. He'll take care of you, you have my word.

He turns around and walks away. Mandy stays silent, picking up the batarang on the ground, plucking it out of the gun. She calls after him.

Mandy: Wait!

The figure turns around and she throws the batarang to him with an exaggerated snap of her arm. He catches it with one hand without even looking.

Mandy: Who are you?

Unknown: I'm Batman.

Batman turns, carrying the body of the thug on his shoulder, and vanishes.

[Title sequence]

Cue in on Sergeant James Gordon waiting in the office of Commissioner Loeb, who walks into the office behind him. He sits in front of Gordon, folding his arms.

Loeb: Him again?

Gordon: The girl's testimony checks out. No other witnesses. And the attacker, who confessed screaming to the murder and assault on the girl, and being attacked by what he claims to be the devil.

Loeb laughs, shaking his head, then slams his hand on the table. Gordon doesn't react.

Loeb: If he was screaming, then he was more than just attacked. He was tortured. Why do I let you keep switching on that goddamn signal?

Gordon: Because we need him?

Loeb: If we need him, we need to know every single thing about him, don't we? What's his name, James? Tell me?

Gordon: If I knew, then you'd be the first person I'd go to, sir.

Loeb: If I believed that, I wouldn't have called you in here today. How's the girl?

Gordon: She's...shaken up. She keeps thinking that the guy that saved her is an angel from heaven. That he's indestructible.

Loeb: Kids.

Gordon: Maybe that's the message that we ought to send, sir. That he's not a vigilante, but a symbol of hope. He's defending the ordinary and the poor of Gotham, and he always brings the people he apprehends right here, to this station, before any of us walk through the door or check in with the secretary. Before any of us get into our cars, maybe.

Loeb: Are we investigating this guy, or inviting him on a blind date, Gordon?

Gordon: My point is, sir, he didn't hurt  the girl. She was going to hit him over the head with a rod if she could reach high enough, God help her, but he just took it out of her hand and straight up told her he wasn't going to hurt her. He referenced me personally, said I'd take care of her. He's not a criminal. He's not a vigilante. He's not Jack the Freaking Ripper, for crying out loud. He's helping us out!

Loeb: He's doing our job for us!

There is a very long silence. Gordon sighs.

Gordon: Is there anything else, sir? I've got a lot of work to do.

Loeb: (Smiling) You're the only one in this shack that I'd ever let talk to me like that, you know. We've been friends since kindergarten, and here we are arguing over Robin freaking Hood. I'd like you to meet someone, Gordon. Come in.

The door opens and Silver St Cloud walks in.

Loeb: James, I'd like you to meet Miss Silver St. Cloud. She's going to be Mandy's guardian for the time being, considering that the thug killed her parents and we can't get a hold of anyone else in the family.

Silver extends a hand and Gordon shakes it.

Gordon: Pleased to meet you.

Silver: Same. We've met before, haven't we? You look familiar.

Gordon: I don't recall.

Silver: I swear I've met you before. You live on Stalwart Avenue?

Gordon: That was my parents, Miss Cloud. I haven't been there in twenty years, I'm afraid.

Silver shakes is head.

Silver: It'll probably come to me later on. Anyway, why am I here?

Loeb: We just need to tell you something about Mandy.

Silver: Other than the fact that she was saved by this Batman.

Gordon: And the fact that she was attacked by a masked thug. She witnessed her parents being gunned down in front of her, and then she witnessed another, scarier masked man appear out of nowhere and kick the living daylights out of the man who killed her parents.

Silver: Are you telling me she'll be...shellshocked. I already guessed that, from a mile off. She's ten years old, and she witnessed a really brutal performance by the Caped Crusader. I'd expect her to be more than a little shaken up, Commissioner.

Loeb: It's not just that. I need to warn you that you'll probably be under a little bit of press for the next week or so. It seems to happen to anyone who's been saved by the Batman.

Silver: Well, he does a lot more than just save kittens from trees and turn back the clock by flying around the planet real fast, doesn't he?

Gordon: Ha ha, Miss Cloud. Just giving you a heads up, is all.

Silver: No problem, Commissioner. None.

Silver leaves the room and Gordon looks at Loeb.

Gordon: Does she check out?

Loeb: She runs a lot of public events all over Gotham. Rich parents, good education, clean record except for a few drunk and disorderly. And she's seen as the paramour of Gotham's crown prince.

Gordon: (Sighing) Bruce Wayne.

Loeb: Yep. His third one.

Gordon: He's not worsened his judgement, has he not?

Loeb: I don't suppose he has.

[Cut to Wayne Manor]

Alfred Pennyworth carries a silver tray with a pot of tea and two cups, before lifting it carefully on one arm and walking through to the vast library of Wayne Manor. He pulls on a book to his right and the entire shelf collapses backwards to reveal a secret passageway. He walks through it and eventually comes to the Batcave, where Bruce Wayne sits at a set of rows of computer screens that show the CCTV footage of the street where he fought the thug earlier.

Alfred: I trust last night was productive, Master Wayne.

Bruce: Six rescues in one night. I'm getting soft, Alfred.

Alfred: Of course, the good Commissioner hadn't lit that bloody signal for the purpose of sending you to settle some B&E's, didn't he, sir?

Bruce: I'd already solved what he wanted me to do. He wanted me to stop a bunch of goons from breaking into the Mayor's manor...I had time to kill, so I made six rescues. Not a scratch, Alfred. No need to worry about me, sir.

Alfred: If I believed that, Master Wayne, I'd retire to Hawaii for the rest of my days. Here I am, sir, so clearly I've lost track of my senses.

Bruce turns towards Alfred and accepts one of the cups, and Alfred pours.

Bruce: One of the B&E's turned into a murder. Husband and wife. The man went for the daughter...

Alfred: But you got there first, kicked his teeth in, and then carried him away like Tarzan and Jane in the jungle.

Bruce: Punched his teeth in, Alfred. How did you know?

Alfred: The girl he saved, she's on the news. Our very own Miss Cloud has taken her as her own for the time being. You philanthropists...

Bruce types rapidly on the keyboard in front of him and an image of Mandy comes up. He reads the statistics that come with it, and then an image and information box on Silver St Cloud comes up as well.

Bruce: Silver...

Alfred: You gave the man who attacked the poor girl a dental nightmare, threw him across the street then carried him to Gotham Police Station, sir. What's she got to fear?

Bruce: Nothing. She's got nothing to worry about, Alfred...it's Silver.

Alfred: It's always Silver, Master Wayne.

Alfred laughs to himself and Bruce turns to him, arching an eyebrow.

Bruce: And what is that supposed to mean?

Alfred: Nothing, sir. Private joke, is all. You can let me have a few of those, I trust.

Bruce: I'd think you were having a stroke if you didn't, Alfred.

The two men laugh.

[Cut to Mandy sitting in Gotham Police Station, wrapped in a police blanket held up to her cheeks]

*Batman: I was too late to save your mother, Mandy. I can't tell you how sorry I am.... Ask for Sergeant James Gordon...I'm Batman...*

Silver walks up to her.

Silver: Mandy?

Mandy looks up at her, nervously. She nods.

Silver: Ready to go?

Mandy nods.

Silver: Then let's go. Come on.

In Silver's car, out on the street, Mandy presses her face against the window, silently. She draws lines against the window when her breath mists up the glass.

Silver: I'm sorry about what happened to you, Mandy. I can't imagine what that must be like, seeing your mum and dad...anyway, now that we're going to be....guardian and child, I guess is the best term for it, if not the only term that makes sense....you're going to take a week or two off, just so we're sure you got over it. And then we're gonna...

She turns around, and sees that Mandy has drawn the bat signal on the window with her finger. Silver stays staring at it for a while.

Silver: Did he say anything to you?

Mandy: (Imitating Batman) I'm Batman.

Silver laughs.

[Cut to Wayne Enterprises]

Lucius Fox stands before the board of directors with a PowerPoint presentation behind him.

Lucius:...therefore, I believe that the easiest way, and perhaps the most outwardly beneficial, would be to try and outsource any real estate enterprises to the streets damaged by recent combat between the Bat Vigilante and the Smiler. Each house should be financed for its repair and renewal, and there should be a policy of returning the homeless masses to society by giving them these homes...

Bruce Wayne swaggers into the room, shoving the doors in front of him to enter. He yawns and stretches his arms, approaching his seat at the other side of the room and then stretching again.

Bruce: Sorry I'm late, everyone. Please, do continue.

Lucius: (Annoyed) Mr. Wayne...forgive me, but you were supposed to be here for the presentation two hours ago.

Bruce: I got held up, Lucius. Calm the hell down, I'm here now!

Lucius: Mr. Wayne...

Bruce glances at him, smiling. Lucius takes the hint and closes down the PowerPoint.

Lucius: Everyone, can you please give us a minute. I need to discuss something with Mr. Wayne in private.

Everyone else leaves the room, muttering loudly, and Bruce stays where he is, smiling at Lucius.

Lucius: Mr. Wayne, you should get yourself a better alarm clock.

Bruce: I threw the last one out of the window for waking me up on a Monday, Lucius. I've had enough alarm clocks for one lifetime.

Lucius: Nevertheless....at least, you should have something that helps you sleep at night. Maybe I can come knock you out when you get back from seeing your Silver friend. That is where you've been going every night, isn't it?

Bruce: (Glaring) Too far, Lucius. You know where I've been.

Lucius: It's all over the damn news, Bruce!

Bruce: Exactly.

Lucius: What?

Bruce: Why would it be over the news, if there wasn't something going on. I tabbed six B&E's last night, and the news tabbed one. I used the same routine, same scenario, same instructions to the victims...and they give us this one.

Lucius stares at him for a moment. Then he nods.

Lucius: The girl. Who is she?

Bruce: Just some girl. Mandy Rider, her name is, and she's not ten - she's actually thirteen. Her parents lied about her age for some reason, convinced everyone she was ten. And she's with Silver, now, who's taken her in.

Lucius paces to the window.

Lucius: I don't suppose you know why she was broken into.

Bruce: I've got nothing. I suppose it was just an average B&E, and the sod that attacked her isn't saying anything different.

Lucius: You smashed him up pretty good.

Bruce: He kept getting back up.

Lucius turns towards Bruce, curious.

Lucius: Something on your mind, Mr. Wayne?

Bruce: It's been six months since I beat the Joker, Lucius. Six months, and suddenly the criminal underworld has destabilised.

Lucius: The Joker's in Arkham Asylum, and he's never getting out. He doesn't even know he's there, he's sedated every hour. I'd call that a success.

Bruce: I would too, if it weren't for the number of people he killed.

Lucius: Deadshot killed half as much, and you very near broke him in half!

Bruce: Deadshot, then the Mad Hatter, and then Harvey. I've beaten them all...you don't suppose I've become acclimatised to criminals, now. I've dealt with the worst of them, now they're just blowing in the wind.

Lucius: Mr. Wayne, saying you've dealt with the worst of criminals and the rest are just blowing in the wind is like suggesting that you've braved the most powerful waves in the ocean, without noticing a tsunami coming your way.

Bruce: If I needed dry jokes, Lucius, I'd go ask Alfred.

Lucius: Is there an actual purpose to this meeting, or am I playing Mikhaela Stracken to a wounded pup?

Bruce: That's not nice. There is a reason I'm here. Have you ever heard of a man named Deathstroke?

Lucius: No. Can't say I have.

Bruce: Very well. Thank you for your time, Lucius.

Lucius watches Bruce leave, baffled.

[Cut to a darkened room]

A man is dragged into the room, where a huge figure sits in the corner assembling a rifle. The man looks up at the figure, then at the soldier holding a pistol to his head behind him.

Man: Why am I here? I've given you what you wanted, sir. I gave you safe passage into Gotham City, and in return...where's the money?

Soldier: Oh, will you shut up about that damn money. You'll get it soon enough, don't you fret about that!

Man: I know who you are, sir. I know everything there is to know about you. And I've held my tongue this whole time because I wanted to help you.

Soldier: Did you? How do we know there ain't any armed escorts out there to take us all to Blackgate?

Man: Because I'm a man of my word.

Unknown: Good.

The figure stands up and walks towards the man on his knees. He looks even larger and is wearing a very thick suit of armour.

Man: Sir, I'm a man of my word. There's nobody out there waiting for you. I swear it. On my wife's grave.

Unknown: Why would I wish your wife dead, sir? Why would you even make such a proposition to me?

Man: I'm sorry...what?

Unknown: If you can't make an exception of anyone, make an exception of your family. I know everything about you, just as you think you know everything about me. There, we have a little common ground to stand on. We both have each other's confidence.

Man: You're here. We've arrived, in Gotham...what are you expecting to find that I haven't told you?

Unknown: I'm expecting to find what I'm looking for.

Man: And what are you looking for.

The figure kneels in front of him. He is wearing a metal mask, half of which is bronze half of which is black. There is an eye socket for the bronze half, and the eye glowers down on the man.

Unknown: Look me in the eye and tell me that there's nothing outside.

Deathstroke sits assembling a sniper rifle, his unmasked face hidden in shadows.

Soldier: Sir, we've arrived.

Deathstroke looks up, and places his mask on. His body is still concealed by shadows.

[Cut to the Batcave, where Bruce and Alfred are working at the multi-computer screen, images from several war zones flashing up on the screen]

Alfred: Deathstroke, born in America, in an unspecified region. Suspected of two hundred and twelve kills, at least,Batman: City of Demons is a 2017 superhero film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Nathan Filion as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Stephen Lang as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Jennifer Lawrence as Silver St. Cloud, Colin Farrell as Edward Nygma/The Riddler, Armie Hammer as Commissioner Gordon, Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Pennyworth, Idris Elba as Lucius Fox and Emily Blunt as Lady Shiva.

Cast

  • Nathan Filion as Bruce Wayne/Batman, one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet, who is also a masked vigilante who defends the streets of Gotham.
  • Stephen Lang as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, the greatest assassin on the face of the planet who is hired to destroy Batman.
  • Jennifer Lawrence as Silver St. Cloud, Bruce Wayne's girlfriend.
  • Colin Farrell as Thomas Elliot, one of Bruce Wayne's greatest friends.
  • Armie Hammer as Commissioner Gordon, Batman's ally in the Gotham City Police Department
  • Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler and confidante
  • Idris Elba as Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne's chief colleague and CEO of Wayne Enterprises
  • Emily Blunt as .
  • Madison Wolfe as Mandy, a girl who is rescued from a murderer by Batman.
  • John Travolta as Police Commissioner Gilian B. Loeb, the chief of police.

Plot

Pan on Gotham City from above, at night, with the camera hovering over an apartment block, with the lights out on one building.

Deathstroke: Gotham. The city of shadows, of betrayal, of decay. Politicians, democrats, entrepreneurs, businessmen, they all think they play chess with the streets around them. That, if you were to rise so high above the rats at your feet, that you would never again feel them scuttling across your shoes. And then the sun comes up, and you see the little beasts clawing at your legs. Rising. Climbing. Advancing!

Gunshots are heard in the building, and the window shatters. A shadow moves behind the curtains and a ten year old girl rushes out of the building, screaming. A man in a balaclava strides out, dragging the corpse of the girl's mother, who has several bleeding holes in her belly. The man throws the woman's corpse to the ground and raises the pistol in his hand, cackling. The girl rushes into an ally and swerves around a corner. The man stalks after her, listening out for the pitter-patter of her feet. His breath drifts in silver clouds in front of him. As he walks across the street, the bat signal hovers in the clouds above him as the snow drifts all over the street. Snow has settled all over the place, and it crunches under his powerful strides.

Thug: Come out, come out, wherever you are!

The girl has sneaked up on him, carrying a metal rod. She charges at the thug and raises it above her head, bringing it down on his thigh. The man yells and drops to his feet, and the gun goes off by accident. The girl screams and jerks to the right, thinking the bullet might rebound at her. The man lunges to his feet and swivels around, the hammer of the gun smacking into the girl's head, knocking her to the ground.

Thug: You little bitch!

Unknown: Hey!

The thug bolts upright, shocked, and turns around, suddenly frightened. He aims at the roofs of the building, one to the other, clearly frantic about being interrupted by someone he can't see at all.

Thug: Show yourself!

Unkown: Put the gun down. Take the balaclava off. Leave the girl alone.

Thug: And what?

Unknown: I'll bring you to Gotham City Station...without breaking anything of yours. You get to keep your teeth, your sight, the feeling in your hands or feet. Your move.

Thug: (Laughs)

The girl struggles to her feet and picks up the rod, swinging at the thug again. The thug kicks her in the stomach and she doubles over, crying out and dropping the rod.

Thug: Stay down, you little shit!

Something scythes out of the shadows, small and silver, and spears right through the gun so sharply it knocks the weapon out of his hand. The thug howls. The object pins the gun to the sidewalk, and is revealed to be some kind of blade shaped like a bat. Something huge, with a broad cape, drifts down behind the thug, and taps him on the shoulder. The thug turns around.

Unknown: Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

A black-gauntleted fist smashes into the thug's face, knocking him off his feet. He hits a car and slides to the ground, half-buried in snow. A huge figure stands before him, dressed in a thick suit of armour and a broad cape. The thug covers his mouth with his hand, blood seeping between his fingers.

Thug: What the hell are you?

Unknown: Ask me nicely.

The thug charges at the figure, brandishing a knife, and the figure raises his fists, three curved blades flicking out of each wrist. He reaches out and locks the knife between the wrist blades, wrenching it out of the thug's hand and out of his reach. The thug staggers onwards, and the figure's knee connects violently with his stomach. The thug gasps and blood threads from his lips. The camera moves towards the girl, as she looks up from the ground as a hue shadow lifts a slightly slimmer shadow off the ground and throws him through the air into the ground. She gets up and the camera hovers over her shoulder as she watches the caped stranger advance on the thug. The thug, seen as a jagged silhouette against streetlamps, tries to lunge back at his attacker, who kicks him hard on the head and knocks him out. The girl's hands are shaking uncontrollably and she is breathing raggedly. She's terrified. The newcomer scoops the thug over his shoulder as if he is weightless and turns back towards the girl, walking towards her, his strides echoing as they crunch against the snow. The girl sees the metal rod lying in the snow and picks it up, backing away and raising it above her head.

Girl: Stay away from me! Please! Stay away from me!

Unknown: Put the rod down.

Girl: No.

Unknown: He can't hurt you anymore, kiddo.

Girl: From the looks of things, you can!

Unknown: (Laughs) I won't. How does that sound?

Girl: Like you're lying.

Unknown: I just beat up the guy who was going to kill you. You're going to smash my face in with a metal rod, is that it?

He is towering over her right now. The figure goes to his knees and, gently, takes it from her hands.

Unknown: I'm not going to hurt you, kid. I don't hurt kids. Can you tell me your name?

Girl: I'm Mandy.

Unknown: Mandy. Good name.

The figure turns towards the body of her mother.

Unknown: I was too late to save your mother, Mandy. I can't tell you how sorry I am.

Mandy: You can try.

They hear the shriek of police sirens, and the figure turns around and sees the shadows of cars arcing around the corner. He turns towards Mandy.

Unknown: When they get here, tell them what happened. And ask for Sergeant James Gordon. He'll take care of you, you have my word.

He turns around and walks away. Mandy stays silent, picking up the batarang on the ground, plucking it out of the gun. She calls after him.

Mandy: Wait!

The figure turns around and she throws the batarang to him with an exaggerated snap of her arm. He catches it with one hand without even looking.

Mandy: Who are you?

Unknown: I'm Batman.

Batman turns, carrying the body of the thug on his shoulder, and vanishes.

[Title sequence]

Cue in on Sergeant James Gordon waiting in the office of Commissioner Loeb, who walks into the office behind him. He sits in front of Gordon, folding his arms.

Loeb: Him again?

Gordon: The girl's testimony checks out. No other witnesses. And the attacker, who confessed screaming to the murder and assault on the girl, and being attacked by what he claims to be the devil.

Loeb laughs, shaking his head, then slams his hand on the table. Gordon doesn't react.

Loeb: If he was screaming, then he was more than just attacked. He was tortured. Why do I let you keep switching on that goddamn signal?

Gordon: Because we need him?

Loeb: If we need him, we need to know every single thing about him, don't we? What's his name, James? Tell me?

Gordon: If I knew, then you'd be the first person I'd go to, sir.

Loeb: If I believed that, I wouldn't have called you in here today. How's the girl?

Gordon: She's...shaken up. She keeps thinking that the guy that saved her is an angel from heaven. That he's indestructible.

Loeb: Kids.

Gordon: Maybe that's the message that we ought to send, sir. That he's not a vigilante, but a symbol of hope. He's defending the ordinary and the poor of Gotham, and he always brings the people he apprehends right here, to this station, before any of us walk through the door or check in with the secretary. Before any of us get into our cars, maybe.

Loeb: Are we investigating this guy, or inviting him on a blind date, Gordon?

Gordon: My point is, sir, he didn't hurt  the girl. She was going to hit him over the head with a rod if she could reach high enough, God help her, but he just took it out of her hand and straight up told her he wasn't going to hurt her. He referenced me personally, said I'd take care of her. He's not a criminal. He's not a vigilante. He's not Jack the Freaking Ripper, for crying out loud. He's helping us out!

Loeb: He's doing our job for us!

There is a very long silence. Gordon sighs.

Gordon: Is there anything else, sir? I've got a lot of work to do.

Loeb: (Smiling) You're the only one in this shack that I'd ever let talk to me like that, you know. We've been friends since kindergarten, and here we are arguing over Robin freaking Hood. I'd like you to meet someone, Gordon. Come in.

The door opens and Silver St Cloud walks in.

Loeb: James, I'd like you to meet Miss Silver St. Cloud. She's going to be Mandy's guardian for the time being, considering that the thug killed her parents and we can't get a hold of anyone else in the family.

Silver extends a hand and Gordon shakes it.

Gordon: Pleased to meet you.

Silver: Same. We've met before, haven't we? You look familiar.

Gordon: I don't recall.

Silver: I swear I've met you before. You live on Stalwart Avenue?

Gordon: That was my parents, Miss Cloud. I haven't been there in twenty years, I'm afraid.

Silver shakes is head.

Silver: It'll probably come to me later on. Anyway, why am I here?

Loeb: We just need to tell you something about Mandy.

Silver: Other than the fact that she was saved by this Batman.

Gordon: And the fact that she was attacked by a masked thug. She witnessed her parents being gunned down in front of her, and then she witnessed another, scarier masked man appear out of nowhere and kick the living daylights out of the man who killed her parents.

Silver: Are you telling me she'll be...shellshocked. I already guessed that, from a mile off. She's ten years old, and she witnessed a really brutal performance by the Caped Crusader. I'd expect her to be more than a little shaken up, Commissioner.

Loeb: It's not just that. I need to warn you that you'll probably be under a little bit of press for the next week or so. It seems to happen to anyone who's been saved by the Batman.

Silver: Well, he does a lot more than just save kittens from trees and turn back the clock by flying around the planet real fast, doesn't he?

Gordon: Ha ha, Miss Cloud. Just giving you a heads up, is all.

Silver: No problem, Commissioner. None.

Silver leaves the room and Gordon looks at Loeb.

Gordon: Does she check out?

Loeb: She runs a lot of public events all over Gotham. Rich parents, good education, clean record except for a few drunk and disorderly. And she's seen as the paramour of Gotham's crown prince.

Gordon: (Sighing) Bruce Wayne.

Loeb: Yep. His third one.

Gordon: He's not worsened his judgement, has he not?

Loeb: I don't suppose he has.

[Cut to Wayne Manor]

Alfred Pennyworth carries a silver tray with a pot of tea and two cups, before lifting it carefully on one arm and walking through to the vast library of Wayne Manor. He pulls on a book to his right and the entire shelf collapses backwards to reveal a secret passageway. He walks through it and eventually comes to the Batcave, where Bruce Wayne sits at a set of rows of computer screens that show the CCTV footage of the street where he fought the thug earlier.

Alfred: I trust last night was productive, Master Wayne.

Bruce: Six rescues in one night. I'm getting soft, Alfred.

Alfred: Of course, the good Commissioner hadn't lit that bloody signal for the purpose of sending you to settle some B&E's, didn't he, sir?

Bruce: I'd already solved what he wanted me to do. He wanted me to stop a bunch of goons from breaking into the Mayor's manor...I had time to kill, so I made six rescues. Not a scratch, Alfred. No need to worry about me, sir.

Alfred: If I believed that, Master Wayne, I'd retire to Hawaii for the rest of my days. Here I am, sir, so clearly I've lost track of my senses.

Bruce turns towards Alfred and accepts one of the cups, and Alfred pours.

Bruce: One of the B&E's turned into a murder. Husband and wife. The man went for the daughter...

Alfred: But you got there first, kicked his teeth in, and then carried him away like Tarzan and Jane in the jungle.

Bruce: Punched his teeth in, Alfred. How did you know?

Alfred: The girl he saved, she's on the news. Our very own Miss Cloud has taken her as her own for the time being. You philanthropists...

Bruce types rapidly on the keyboard in front of him and an image of Mandy comes up. He reads the statistics that come with it, and then an image and information box on Silver St Cloud comes up as well.

Bruce: Silver...

Alfred: You gave the man who attacked the poor girl a dental nightmare, threw him across the street then carried him to Gotham Police Station, sir. What's she got to fear?

Bruce: Nothing. She's got nothing to worry about, Alfred...it's Silver.

Alfred: It's always Silver, Master Wayne.

Alfred laughs to himself and Bruce turns to him, arching an eyebrow.

Bruce: And what is that supposed to mean?

Alfred: Nothing, sir. Private joke, is all. You can let me have a few of those, I trust.

Bruce: I'd think you were having a stroke if you didn't, Alfred.

The two men laugh.

[Cut to Mandy sitting in Gotham Police Station, wrapped in a police blanket held up to her cheeks]

*Batman: I was too late to save your mother, Mandy. I can't tell you how sorry I am.... Ask for Sergeant James Gordon...I'm Batman...*

Silver walks up to her.

Silver: Mandy?

Mandy looks up at her, nervously. She nods.

Silver: Ready to go?

Mandy nods.

Silver: Then let's go. Come on.

In Silver's car, out on the street, Mandy presses her face against the window, silently. She draws lines against the window when her breath mists up the glass.

Silver: I'm sorry about what happened to you, Mandy. I can't imagine what that must be like, seeing your mum and dad...anyway, now that we're going to be....guardian and child, I guess is the best term for it, if not the only term that makes sense....you're going to take a week or two off, just so we're sure you got over it. And then we're gonna...

She turns around, and sees that Mandy has drawn the bat signal on the window with her finger. Silver stays staring at it for a while.

Silver: Did he say anything to you?

Mandy: (Imitating Batman) I'm Batman.

Silver laughs.

[Cut to Wayne Enterprises]

Lucius Fox stands before the board of directors with a PowerPoint presentation behind him.

Lucius:...therefore, I believe that the easiest way, and perhaps the most outwardly beneficial, would be to try and outsource any real estate enterprises to the streets damaged by recent combat between the Bat Vigilante and the Smiler. Each house should be financed for its repair and renewal, and there should be a policy of returning the homeless masses to society by giving them these homes...

Bruce Wayne swaggers into the room, shoving the doors in front of him to enter. He yawns and stretches his arms, approaching his seat at the other side of the room and then stretching again.

Bruce: Sorry I'm late, everyone. Please, do continue.

Lucius: (Annoyed) Mr. Wayne...forgive me, but you were supposed to be here for the presentation two hours ago.

Bruce: I got held up, Lucius. Calm the hell down, I'm here now!

Lucius: Mr. Wayne...

Bruce glances at him, smiling. Lucius takes the hint and closes down the PowerPoint.

Lucius: Everyone, can you please give us a minute. I need to discuss something with Mr. Wayne in private.

Everyone else leaves the room, muttering loudly, and Bruce stays where he is, smiling at Lucius.

Lucius: Mr. Wayne, you should get yourself a better alarm clock.

Bruce: I threw the last one out of the window for waking me up on a Monday, Lucius. I've had enough alarm clocks for one lifetime.

Lucius: Nevertheless....at least, you should have something that helps you sleep at night. Maybe I can come knock you out when you get back from seeing your Silver friend. That is where you've been going every night, isn't it?

Bruce: (Glaring) Too far, Lucius. You know where I've been.

Lucius: It's all over the damn news, Bruce!

Bruce: Exactly.

Lucius: What?

Bruce: Why would it be over the news, if there wasn't something going on. I tabbed six B&E's last night, and the news tabbed one. I used the same routine, same scenario, same instructions to the victims...and they give us this one.

Lucius stares at him for a moment. Then he nods.

Lucius: The girl. Who is she?

Bruce: Just some girl. Mandy Rider, her name is, and she's not ten - she's actually thirteen. Her parents lied about her age for some reason, convinced everyone she was ten. And she's with Silver, now, who's taken her in.

Lucius paces to the window.

Lucius: I don't suppose you know why she was broken into.

Bruce: I've got nothing. I suppose it was just an average B&E, and the sod that attacked her isn't saying anything different.

Lucius: You smashed him up pretty good.

Bruce: He kept getting back up.

Lucius turns towards Bruce, curious.

Lucius: Something on your mind, Mr. Wayne?

Bruce: It's been six months since I beat the Joker, Lucius. Six months, and suddenly the criminal underworld has destabilised.

Lucius: The Joker's in Arkham Asylum, and he's never getting out. He doesn't even know he's there, he's sedated every hour. I'd call that a success.

Bruce: I would too, if it weren't for the number of people he killed.

Lucius: Deadshot killed half as much, and you very near broke him in half!

Bruce: Deadshot, then the Mad Hatter, and then Harvey. I've beaten them all...you don't suppose I've become acclimatised to criminals, now. I've dealt with the worst of them, now they're just blowing in the wind.

Lucius: Mr. Wayne, saying you've dealt with the worst of criminals and the rest are just blowing in the wind is like suggesting that you've braved the most powerful waves in the ocean, without noticing a tsunami coming your way.

Bruce: If I needed dry jokes, Lucius, I'd go ask Alfred.

Lucius: Is there an actual purpose to this meeting, or am I playing Mikhaela Stracken to a wounded pup?

Bruce: That's not nice. There is a reason I'm here. Have you ever heard of a man named Deathstroke?

Lucius: No. Can't say I have.

Bruce: Very well. Thank you for your time, Lucius.

Lucius watches Bruce leave, baffled.

[Cut to a darkened room]

A man is dragged into the room, where a huge figure sits in the corner assembling a rifle. The man looks up at the figure, then at the soldier holding a pistol to his head behind him.

Man: Why am I here? I've given you what you wanted, sir. I gave you safe passage into Gotham City, and in return...where's the money?

Soldier: Oh, will you shut up about that damn money. You'll get it soon enough, don't you fret about that!

Man: I know who you are, sir. I know everything there is to know about you. And I've held my tongue this whole time because I wanted to help you.

Soldier: Did you? How do we know there ain't any armed escorts out there to take us all to Blackgate?

Man: Because I'm a man of my word.

Unknown: Good.

The figure stands up and walks towards the man on his knees. He looks even larger and is wearing a very thick suit of armour.

Man: Sir, I'm a man of my word. There's nobody out there waiting for you. I swear it. On my wife's grave.

Unknown: Why would I wish your wife dead, sir? Why would you even make such a proposition to me?

Man: I'm sorry...what?

Unknown: If you can't make an exception of anyone, make an exception of your family. I know everything about you, just as you think you know everything about me. There, we have a little common ground to stand on. We both have each other's confidence.

Man: You're here. We've arrived, in Gotham...what are you expecting to find that I haven't told you?

Unknown: I'm expecting to find what I'm looking for.

Man: And what are you looking for.

The figure kneels in front of him. He is wearing a metal mask, half of which is bronze half of which is black. There is an eye socket for the bronze half, and the eye glowers down on the man.

Unknown: Look me in the eye and tell me that there's nothing outside.

The man looks him in the eye, nervous. There is a short silence, except for the man's ragged breathing.

Man: There's nothing outside.

Unknown: Thank you.

The figure hits him so hard over the head that he slams into the wall and slides to the ground, unconscious. The figure stands up - Deathstroke picks up the rifle he'd been assembling and places it in a suitcase, before shedding his armour and dressing in a dark green hodded jacket and jeans, pulling the hood far over his head to conceal his face, which is not seen by the audience. He turns to the soldier, who steps aside and allows Deathstroke to pass by him. Deathstroke is standing on a barge in Gotham harbour and there is a car waiting for him. With a group of soldiers standing behind him, carrying his cases towards the other cars, Deathstroke strides calmly towards the car.

[Camera shifts to a computer screen where Bruce and Alfred are sitting in the Batcave running through information on Deathstroke]

Bruce: Deathstroke. Here, in Gotham.

Alfred: When did he first come to your attention, sir?

Bruce: My grandfather served in the army once, and a lot of his buddies have kept in touch with me, and so have their descendants. They told a story of a man who was basically a demigod, who became one of the most dangerous assassins of his time. No name. No known state of origin. No family that we know of. He's a ghost.

Alfred: From the looks of things, he's no more a ghost than you or I, Master Wayne. He's suspected of over 247 kills in the last twenty years; he's good, from the looks of things. Dangerously unpredictable, according to the CIA.

Bruce: The CIA, the KGB, MI6, Mossad...he's had dealings and encounters with them all, and he's come out on top. He's never officially seen or recognised without his armour, and he always wears a mask.

Alfred: Well, that's unheard of, is it not, Master Wayne?

Bruce: Really? Alfred, does he look like me in any way?

Alfred: Other than the fact that he's a little bit more colourful and a little less discreet as to what he's all about, sir, no.

Bruce: Why would Deathstroke come to Gotham?

Alfred: Because somebody paid him, sir? That's usually the deal with an assassin, is it not?

Bruce: Alfred, I need you to run through the financial transactions between here and any place where Deathstroke has been recently sighted, especially with financial statistics in the millions. We need to find out who hired this guy, and more importantly to do what.

Alfred: Sir, may I be frank?

Bruce: Better than anyone else I know.

Alfred circles around Bruce until they are face to face.

Alfred: Shouldn't you be warning the Gotham City Police about this. If a man like this enters Gotham, with weapons and a reputation to match, then surely...

Bruce: Perhaps we should. Or maybe we could find Deathstroke before he even encounters the police.

Alfred: Sir, this man is one of the most dangerous individuals in the world, do you really want to gamble the involvement of the police over your ability to predict the unpredictable.

Bruce: Fine.

[Cut to Silver St. Cloud's house, where Mandy is flicking absent mindedly through channels on the TV]

Silver: Mandy. Are you hungry?

Mandy: Not very, if I'm honest, Miss Cloud.

Silver walks into view and sits next to her. The two of them flick through the channels until they come to a scene of Footloose.

Silver: Oh, I love this film.

Mandy: Me too. Used to watch it all the time with my parents. Always loved the ending, the dance scene with Kevin Bacon.

Silver: Which one, there's nearly a dozen of them!

The two of them laugh, and then there's a knock at the door.

Silver: I'll get it.

She walks out of the room and to the front door, where Tommy Elliot stands on the other side, leaning against the porch with one elbow propped out. Silver is overjoyed to see him. She opens the door.

Silver: Tommy!

They embrace and Tommy laughs.

Tommy: It's wonderful to see you again, Silver. It's been too long.

Silver: When did you get back?

Tommy: I've been all over the place, Silver - Korea, Cape Town, Saigon, all over the place. Work's a bitch when it takes you so long to get home.

Silver giggles.

Mandy: (Impersonating Batman) You kiss your mother with that mouth?

Tommy frowns. He walks into the living room and sees Mandy, who turns and smiles at him.

Tommy: Hi.

Mandy: Hello.

Tommy turns to Silver, surprised.

Tommy: So...you've...

Silver: What?

Tommy: You and Bruce...

Silver: No. Of course not. Tommy, this is Mandy...for the time being, I'm her guardian, her parents were killed last night.

Tommy: Really?

Mandy looks away.

Silver: It's not that complicated...the Batman saved her from the man who killed her parents, then referenced her to Jim Gordon, and now here she is.

Tommy holds out his hand and Mandy shakes it.

Mandy: Nice to meet you.

Tommy: I'd say the same about myself too.

Mandy giggles and Tommy turns to Silver.

Mandy: (Imitating BatmanI'm not gonna hurt you, kid.

Tommy jumps.

Tommy: That's just scary.

The three of them laugh, and Mandy turns back to the film.

Silver: What can I do for you, Tommy?

Tommy: I'm here to ask something from Bruce. Its something he's going to be really interested in finding out about.

Silver: Well, I'll go call him. He's probably busy, but...

Tommy: Yep. Like Bruce Wayne, the crown prince of Gotham, has ever been busy with anything to make time for his precious Silver.

Silver: (Laughing) I have missed you, Tommy.

She leaves.

[Cut to a hardware store at night]

 A group of thugs are ransacking a hardware store and are packing the money from the tills into bags, before putting all of the products into sacks and throwing them to their parters outside, who place the sacks in a van. The store owner is being held at gunpoint.

Shopkeeper: Just go! You have everything! Leave this store!

Thug 1: Shut up!

Thug 1 hits the man over the head with his gun and he falls to the ground. Thugs 2 and 3 kneel in front of him and point their guns at his head.

Thug 2: Give us your credit cards and accounts. We want everything.

Shopkeeper: You have everything!

Thug 3: If that were true, we wouldn't be here.

A shadow blots out the streetlights behind them. The three of them turn around just as two of their partners are thrown to the ground, unconscious.

Batman: Step away from the man.

Thug 2: Screw you.

Batman spreads his arms, which suddenly blaze with blue electricity as he activates his shock gloves.

Thug 3: What the hell!

Batman activates a smoke grenade at his feet and disappears. He reappears behind Thug 1 and kicks him in the small of his back, knocking him into the counter. Thug 2 and 3 aim their guns at him and Batman lashes both of his elbows out, the shock gloves connecting with the thugs' faces and sending them flying against the walls. Batman turns to the shopkeeper.

Batman: Stay out of sight.

He walks outside towards the van, where the driver, realising what has happened, presses on the accelerator. Batman extends his hand, gripping the batclaw, and shoots it right at the back of the van, which then suctions him violently after it. He lands hard on the back doors to the van, making it shake slightly. The driver panicks and almost crashes, but he manages to steady himself. Batman leaps to the hood of the car, making it buckle, and glowers at the driver, who reaches underneath the dashboard for a gun. Batman charges through the windshield, shattering the glass, and headbutts the driver, before picking him up and heaving him out of his seat, leaping from the van and landing cleanly behind it. The van hurtles into a wall and buckles, but it doesn't explode.

Driver: What the hell!

Batman drops him on the ground in front of him.

Batman: Who sent you?

Driver: I'm not going to bloody tell you that!

Batman: You sure about that?

Batman picks him up and shakes him.

Batman: Tell me where the others are!

Driver: Others?

Batman: I followed you from that barge right to this spot. There were two vans. Where's the other one going?

Driver: What the hell! You didn't put a tracker on it? You're one dumb bat, you are!

Batman slams him into a wall and snarls. The driver grunts.

Batman: You saw what I did to your friends. I can do worse to you!

Driver: You don't kill!

Batman: Who said anything about killing!

Batman lets him go and he slides to the floor.

Driver: They're going down to Blackgate Prison!

Batman: You're lying!

Driver: I'm not!

Batman: They aren't going to Blackgate!

Driver: How would you know?

Batman: I know!

Batman raises his fist.

Driver: Wait! Arkham! They're going to Arkham!

Batman: Why?

Driver: Do I look like I know?

Batman: No, but how do I know that you don't know?

Driver: I don't know!

Batman brings his fist down and knocks the man out.

Batman: Did you honestly think that I would come here without knowing what your moves are?

Camera rapidly cuts to a second van, which shows a bat-shaped tracking device under the engine of the car, revealing that Batman has been tracking them the whole time. Batman turns and presses on a switch on his wrist. A deep vrooming sound erupts around him and the huge Batmobile surges into view, distinguished by powerful red headlights.

Batman: Time to hit the road.

In the Batmobile, Batman charges after the van, following it on a GPS device that is linked to his tracker on the van. He swerves violently around several corners, and catches up with the van. The driver calls to his fellow robbers and the back doors open brandishing machine guns. They open fire on the Batmobile and the bullets pepper fiercely against the surface of the vehicle. Batman returns fire with two blasts of a net gun positioned over the windshield. The nets send two of the criminals flying back, hitting the ground and thrashing in their restraints. Batman smiles and accelerates to a breakneck speed, brushing the front of the Batmobile into the back of the van. The driver accelerates dangerously and swerves around a corner so sharply that the van tips on to its left wheels, before crashing down on all four wheels. Batman snarls and presses several switches above his head.

Batman: Activate EMP cannons!

A huge M61 Vulcan Gatling gun protrudes in between the headlights and the screen in front of Batman changes into a high-tech aiming system with night vision. He sees that there are six more people in the van, and opens fire on the vehicle. In slow motion, the bullets are shown to be miniature EMP projectiles that buzz with electricity. The bullets pepper into the van, and the passengers except for the driver throw themselves to the ground. Electricity webs through the vehicle and it begins to decelerate.

Thug 6: He's shattered the navigation system. Some kind of EMP!

Thug 5: Pull us over. We're close enough to Arkham anyway!

Thug 6: I've got a better idea.

Seeing Arkham Asylum close by, Thug 6 swerves the car towards the gates, already going so fast that he smashes right through it. The Batmobile thunders after them. The guards of Arkham Asylum take positions and brandish machine guns. Thug 6 braces himself and bends underneath the wheel so that he is out of sight. The bullets of the guards thud into the windshield, shattering it and one of the guards goes under the van as it crashes through the door of the asylum and upturns. Three of the thugs survive and brandish machine guns.

Thug 5: Get to the top floor! You heard what the boss said.

The Batmobile grinds to a halt and Batman soars out of it, activating a ring of smoke dispensers attached to the engine. Batman escapes into the smoke and one of the thugs aims wildly with his machine gun, only for a magnetic claw to rip it out of his hands. Still trying to keep his grip on the gun, he is pulled to the ground and yells. Batman surges into him, knocking him out of sight and then turns as the guards aim right at him.

Guards: Freeze!

Batman: We don't need to do this, guys.

Guards: Put your hands in the air and get on your knees.

Batman: I guess we'll have to do this the hard way.

Batman produces a grenade from his belt and activates it. It creates a violent surge of sonic waves which resonate all over the asylum. The guards fall to their knees, clutching their ears, and Batman produces a string of batarangs, expertly hurling them at the guards. The batarangs inject a toxin into them that knocks them out. Batman turns and launches his batclaw at the window of an upper floor. He smashes through the window, seeing through the X-Ray vision of his cowl that the remaining thugs are heading up that way. One of them turns in shock and sees him, aiming his RPG at the Caped Crusader. Batman sends an electrical cord through his cape, which solidifies into a huge shield. The RPG smashes into the cape and sends a catastrophic explosion through the floor that sends the thug flying back. Batman lunges forward, knocking him out with an elbow to the head. He pounces up the stairs and then climbs up the metal railings where the two remaining thugs stand.

Batman: Why are you here?

Thug 6: You should leave, Bats!

Batman: I'm not going anywhere.

Unknown: Agreed.

Batman turns around and sees Deathstroke standing behind him.

Batman: Deathstroke.

Deathstroke: We've never met.

Batman: Alfred. Where's Gordon?

Alfred: (Back in the Batcave, running through CCTV cameras rapidly) He's close, sir. What's happening your end?

Batman: He's here.

Alfred: Deathstroke?

Batman: Take control over the Batmobile, there may be reinforcements. I don't need any more surprises.

Deathstroke: Where's the other van?

Batman: In pieces.

Deathstroke: You're a hard man to pin down, Batman. When I took the money, I almost thought this would be impossible. But, then, I realised that it being impossible made it relevant to someone like me.

Batman: Who hired you?

Deathstroke: Because I'm totally gonna tell you!

Batman: Who hired you, Deathstroke - tell me, and we can end this quickly!

Deathstroke: (Laughing raucously) You must think that the world is made up of simple men and complex men, and only the simple men become like me.

Batman: I guess that the world is made up of simple men and madmen, if the simple men can't end up like you.

Deathstroke: You know nothing, Batman. Your sphere of influence extends as far as Gotham's borders. My sphere of interest goes much, much further.

Batman: Did you come here to chat?

Deathstroke laughs and produces his collapsible bo staff. Batman primes his shock gloves, ready.

Deathstroke: Break him!

Seven thugs charge at Batman, brandishing clubs and machetes. Batman battles the men rapidly, not even leaving his spot, his fists and feet slicing at the bodies that come his way. Not a single blow hits him. Then Deathstroke charges into Batman and smashes him under the jaw with his staff. The blow rocks Batman's head back and he falls to the ground, but backward rolls and gets ready to attack, but Deathstroke doesn't take another step. He grips his staff with both hands and aims one end at Batman, before rotating the back half of the staff one way and causing a projectile to blast from one end. The round smashes into Batman's chest and knocks him off his feet. He reaches out with his grapnel gun and soars above the air, but Deathsroke produces one of his own and pulls Batman back down to the roof. Deathstroke slams the staff down on Batman, who rolls out of the way, only for Batman to charge him. Deathstroke moves phenomenally fast and dodges out of the way, spinning his elbow into the back of the cowl. Batman staggers, but then swivels around and attacks, driving Deathstroke back with a series of blows, only for Deathstroke to redirect them all and launch a roundhouse kick that throws Batman off balance. It is clear that Deathsroke is a great deal stronger than he looks. Batman throws a clutch of batarangs that stab into the armour and stick there. Deathstroke recoils, but then aims with his staff, blasting right at Batman. The round hits him across the cowl and he is knocked to the ground. Deathstroke stands, calmly and aims again, but Batman hurls another batarang at Deathstroke, which sticks right in the nozzle of the staff. It beeps, then explodes, knocking it out of Deathstroke's hand. Batman rushes towards Deathstroke, who produces machine-guns from his belt and aims, and Batman swerves to the right just as Deathstroke opens fire.

[Converts to slow motion]

Deathstroke: Damnit!

Just short of seeing Batman swerve out of the way, Deathstroke aims as he moves and fires a round at him. At the exact same time, out of the corner of his eye, Deathstroke sees a convoy of police cars coming up to Arkham. He aims wtih the other gun and fires a round into the oncoming cars. The bullets smash into the cars, killing the passengers of one of the cars, then another. Batman goes up on Deathstroke from behind and Deathstroke aims straight at Batman. The bullets hinder him slightly, but he knocks the gun out of his hand. The two of them hit the ground, but Deathstroke is still too strong and fast for the Caped Crusader. Just as Deathstroke's back hits the ground, he performs a perfect backward-roll and sticks his legs out straight, propelling Batman over the mercenary's head and throwing him off the building. Batman lands on one of the police cars that Deathstroke shot out, and rolls to the side. Deathstroke lands on his feet on the edge of the building.

[Return to normal speed]

Batman slowly gets to his feet, noticeably fatigued by the fight with Deathstroke, and sees several inmates of Arkham Asylum running free. Several of them charge Batman and he brutally knocks them back, incapacitating three of them, before Gotham police surround the building. Batman looks up at Deathstroke, who turns around and leaps out of sight. He runs off of the building and lands in a waiting helicopter.

Batman: Alfred, activate the Batmobile's escape terminals.

Alfred: Will do, Master Wayne. Shield your eyes!

The Batmobile charges on to the scene and a dispenser appears between the back-wheels, sticking up out like a periscope. It starts spinning, spraying a volley of flares all over the place and making the Arkham inmates run for cover. Batman battles through the inmates, launching shattering blows and performing throws and takedowns all over the place. One of the thugs from the rooftop, nursing a savage bruise to his stomach, estaggers down the stairs, sees Batman, and then starts running out of the building. Batman chases after him and throws a batarang - the thug moves his neck while running just an inch, so the batarang only leaves a scar on his cheek that he immediately puts his hand up to stem the bleeding. Batman gains on him and, while the thug guns down a door to get through, Batman simply dives and smashes through the window right next to it. Seeing a security tower nearby, Batman reaches out with his grapnel gun and it hurtles him up towards the tower, where he has gained several metres ahead of the thug. He leaps down in front of the man, spreading his cape so as to blot out the moonlight, and the thug staggers to a halt, before turning and running the other way. Batman withdraws his grapnel gun and aims with the batclaw, which fires and catches on the bag the thug is carrying. It rips the bag out of the man's hands, but he tries to grab on to it and is hurled off his feet, where he lands hard on his stomach. He yells in pain. Batman stands over him, and then grabs him with both hands.

Batman: Where is Deathstroke?

Thug: Don't kill me, sir! I was just following orders!

Batman: Do you know how many people would have died tonight if you'd succeeded?

Thug: No! That never occurred to me-

Batman: Of course not. Where is he going?

Thug: I don't know, man. He never tells us anything. Sometimes he'll just go places alone, won't even take his armour.

Batman: The greatest assassin the world today knows doesn't go places without his armour? Do you think I was born yesterday?

Thug: No, sir, I...I..I think you're born every night, that's what they say! They say you just come up every time the moon rises, that you come with the night-

Batman: I don't come with the night. I am the night! Now tell me where he is.

Batman shakes him and then pins hum up against the wire fence.

Thug: Deathstroke...I don't know where he is, but I know that he always goes back to Gotham harbour, and there's talk that he plans on doing so every night, except tonight...he's meeting someone. That's all I know, sir..

Batman: I'm no sir!

Batman produces metal wire and ties the thug to the fence, then gets up and walks back to the Batmobile. Jim Gordon arrives later on and sees the thug wired to the fence. He shakes his head, and the thug looks pleadingly at him.

Thug: Get me out of here, man!

[Cut to Wayne Manor, the next day]

Silver drives Mandy and Tommy to Wayne Manor, and then pulls over near the fountain.

Tommy: You want to come in, Silver?

Silver: I'm good. Unless Mandy wants to come in here with me.

Mandy: I'm cool.

Silver: I'll stay here.

Tommy: Fine. Wish me luck.

Tommy gets out and approaches Wayne Manor. He rings the doorbell, and Alfred soon answers. Tommy looks surprised to see Alfred, who looks delighted.

Alfred: Master Thomas.

Tommy: Alfred!

The tw oof them heartily shake hands and Silver smiles at the sight of it.

Tommy: It's been far too long.

Alfred: Ten years, Master Thomas. I expect you are here to see Master Bruce, I shall go and fetch him.

Alfred turns around, but Bruce is already there, standing on the stairs in front of them.

Bruce: No need, Alfred.

He walks slowly down, looking at Tommy.

Alfred: I shall take my leave then, Master Bruce.

He bows his heads at Bruce and Tommy, and Tommy walks slowly up to him.

Bruce: Tommy Elliot.

Tommy: Bruce Wayne.

The two of them then run at each other and lock in a tight hug.

Bruce: You've been gone for years - how long have you been in Gotham?

Tommy: Three days, Bruce. Had to set myself up again, after being abroad for so long.

Bruce walks in and Tommy follows him. Alfred has prepared them a tea set and they both take a cup.

Tommy: How goes the dynasty.

Bruce: Haven't been usurped yet, so I guess I'm doing great.

The two of them laugh.

Tommy: I've been all over the place, Bruce...I've basically been living the dream, even in comparison to you!

Bruce: Did you come here to brag?

Tommy: (Laughing) I'm no better than you in tenth grade - you remember you talking about that girl you used to date, after she saw you diving in Australia?

Bruce: Rachel, yes.

Tommy: Then you disappear for five years and come back, and you've had two girlfriendds since then! I've earned the right to brag, have I not?

Bruce: Every day, you save lives. You're a bloody surgeon, Tommy. I live the dream, you let people continue theirs.

Tommy: Not all the time.

Tommy walks to the window, looking out across Gotham.

Bruce: What's that supposed to mean?

Tommy: The world's ugly outside of Gotham, Bruce.

Bruce: Gotham's ugly enough on the inside, buddy.

Tommy: Then the outside is uglier. I've seen things, Bruce. I'v saved lives, yes, but...not all of them made it. So I came back to Gotham to reignite old flames, so I can feel at home again. I got tired of leaping from land to land like some well-dressed, absurdly handsome frog.

The two of them laugh again.

Bruce: What's life without a little self-absorption.

Tommy: Need I remind you, Bruce, of the time you showed up for sports day in a limo, with what was basically a tuxedo for jogging in?

Bruce: I hate that you're the only one I know who can remember this stuff.

Tommy: Lucky I'm not Silver, eh. I'd have broken up with you, if I'd known you were such a show-off as a kid.

Bruce: I'm not a show-off. I just enjoy people realising I'm rich.

Tommy: That's the definition of being a show-off, Bruce.

Alfred: (off-screen) Hear, hear.

Tommy laughs at Bruce's expense

Tommy: I'm sorry for coming right now, Bruce, but I've got to ask you something.

Bruce: Shoot.

Tommy: Well....I'd like to ask you if you'd take me on as your....colleague.

Bruce: You want to be a part of Wayne Enterprises.

Tommy: I'm starting something up here, Bruce, and I want you to help invest in it. It's not like you can't afford it.

Bruce: Fair enough.

Tommy: What do you say?

Bruce: I say....why the hell not.

[Cut outside Wayne Manor]

Silver waits for Tommy outside with Mandy, and the two of them sit in silence, before Silver decides to break it.

Silver: You seem to be daydreaming, Mandy. You okay?

Mandy: Didn't sleep last night.

Silver: I remember I was a kid. I used to stay up all night, no good reason - I just couldn't sleep. There was the one time that I felt like I was incapable of going back to sleep for the rest of my life - all I could think about was having another lemonade downstairs, while my parents weren't looking.

Mandy laughs.

Silver: And then I met Tommy, and we laughed over that story...and we've been friends ever since.

Mandy: Why are he and this Bruce Wayne so close?

Silver: That's a story between the two of them, Mandy. I never really asked, and he never told...they never once talked about it.

Mandy: Guys never want to talk about anything between them.

Silver turns around and smiles at Mandy.

Silver: You're too cheeky.

They see Bruce and Tommy leave the house. Mandy watches Bruce and he recognises her. He slows, and Tommy reaches the car.

Tommy: I'll catch you later, Bruce. I have some stuff to deal with before we go back to business.

Silver: Business?

Bruce: We're partnering up, Silver.

Silver: (sarcastically) I always knew this day would come.

She cups Tommy's cheek in one hand.

Silver: You're a big boy now, Tommy...you can make your own decisions, even if they involve the Prince of Gotham.

Tommy slaps her hand away, laughing, and before long Silver and Bruce are both laughing as well. The CCTV camera watches them as Tommy gets back in the car and they drive off. Bruce turns around.

[Cut to the Batcave]

Alfred waits for Bruce in the Batcave, watching a news report on the computer and repairing the joints in the Batsuit. Bruce walks up to him and looks at the computer, at the news report that is taking place.

Bruce: Any updates?

*Reporter: Last night, a vicious brawl broke out in Arkham Asylum when the masked vigilante, commonly referred to as Batman, sparked a riot in the asylum and then struggled to stem the chaos that followed. Seven inmates were killed, over two dozen were savagely injured and quite a few police officers who tried to clear up the mess that the Caped Crusader started were injured quite severely in doing their valiant duty-*

Alfred: They don't seem to appreciate the fact that, were it not for your intervention, the riot would have destroyed Arkham. If Deathstroke had stuck around-

Bruce: He would have demolished them.

Alfred pauses. He turns around, shocked to hear Bruce say such a thing.

Alfred: Sir?

Bruce: Deathstroke is more than just an assassin, Alfred. He's strong. He moved...I've never seen anyone ever fight like that, Alfred.

Alfred: So, he was trained?

Bruce: More than that, Alfred. There's something that's genuinely not right about this guy.

Bruce accesses police footage of the rooftop of Arkham Asylum. It shows Batman and Deathstroke battling.

Bruce: Curious, that the news report didn't even mention him.

Alfred: Not entirely, Master Wayne.

Bruce: How so?

Alfred: Well, sir, if you'll forgive my saying so...you are already considered a problem by the media in Gotham. Half of the city thinks your a guiding light, the other half thinks you're a dangerous vigilante.

Bruce: What does that have to do with this?

Alfred: They advertised you as the instigator of the riot, because it seems conceivable to the powerful men in Gotham that the man who destabilises criminals by night, that he would be the man who instigates chaos, and not a new, more dangerous threat. We only see what we want to see, sir.

Bruce: The Batman....I know what I am, Alfred. I'm trying to help people.

Alfred: Mandy was in the car today, wasn't she? Her and Miss Cloud.

Bruce: She was...why?

Alfred: I saw on the CCTV. You faltered as you approached the car - you thought she might recognise you. She was never going to recognise you, Bruce. How many measures have you made to ensure that nobody recognises who you are, let alone who you are in that godforsaken armour!

Bruce: Alfred...

Alfred: You could have just knocked out that criminal that you saved Mandy from. You could have been a lot less savage with the criminals, you could have taken out Deathstroke, you could have been an icon...but you're angry.

Bruce: I'm...I'm not-

Alfred: Do I look like the person you can hope to lie to, Master Wayne.

Bruce: The Batman is-

Alfred: An excuse.

Bruce: For what?

There is a very long, very uncomfortable silence.

Alfred: You have become a freakshow, Master Wayne - or, in truth, the Batman has become a freakshow. Some people believe he is a hero. Some people think he is an urban legend. Some people believe that the Batman is the wrath of God brought to Gotham to prey on the cruel and the sinful. But even the people you protect are sinful, Bruce - your father understood that all men are as sinful, as complex, as dangerous as the other. Deathstroke isn't the enemy you want to face, Bruce. What is Batman, if not an attempt to right wrongs? But whose wrongs are being righted, may I ask?

Bruce: Alfred-

Alfred: With respect, Master Wayne, you will allow me the courtesy of finishing what I am saying. I remember the day your parents died - I never suffered the terror of seeing your father, one of the finest young men I ever had the pleasure of meeting, and his wife gunned down by a common urchin. Joe Chill is dead, Master Wayne - the Joker used him against you, and he ended up dead. Your war is over, but you can't help yourself. You can't even help throwing one more punch at a criminal, because you're leaping across a fine line between remaining the Batman and becoming another savage.

Bruce: How dare you!

Alfred: I'm not going to tolerate another interruption, Master Wayne!

Bruce grabs Alfred with both hands.

Bruce: What are you going to do, cane me? What?

Alfred's pitiful, solemn glance is the only answer that Bruce ever receives. Bruce realises what he is doing and lets Alfred go. After standing face-to-face with Bruce for a moment, Alfred smooths his hands across his suit.

Alfred: You could have stopped at Joe Chill, but the human condition compels us to continue. You start seeing the faces of your enemies on the criminals, Bruce - the Joker, Chill, Deadshot, Sionis...how many dragons can you slay, Bruce, before you finally stop seeing cats breathing fire in your head?

Bruce: Deathstroke is a threat.

Alfred: Aye, sir. But he's not so much as a threat to Gotham or to Batman...but a threat to you, sir.

Bruce: I'm sorry, Alfred.

Alfred: I believe we both have work to do. You have your little brotherly enterprise with Master Elliot, do you not?

Bruce: He's not my brother, Alfred.

Alfred: And I am not your butler. I'm your friend.

Bruce: We need to find out who hired Deathstroke, Alfred - and his paymasters. That is all...

Bruce leaves the Batcave and Alfred watches him go. He looks back at the computer and sighs, covering his face with one hand.

Alfred: Master Wayne...Thomas, sir.....your son is a very difficult young man. He has always been difficult. But, to God in Heaven, I fear for him.

More to come...

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