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Note: This story takes place after events in my story "All Things Hidden and Unseen."
Blight stared at the tip of the instrument pointed at him. The scientist holding it was watching the display, but his face didn't reveal whether it was good or bad. Finally, the scientist turned off the instrument, wrote something on a datapad, and walked away to converse with his partner.
Blight growled softly as he looked around the prison science lab. Various machines and gadgets cluttered the tables, and a row of computers rested against the far wall. For several weeks they had been dragging him in here and performing their experiments, but they never told him what they found.
Blight idly tapped his fingers against the clear plasteel box that encased him. Hidden wires in the plasteel con-nected to the radiation capacitor on top of the box. Any energy attack he tried would be absorbed and stored away.
The two scientists turned to a computer and entered some data. Blight forcefully punched his container, but they didn't notice. "Aren't you going to tell me what's going on?" Blight asked angrily. They ignored him. "I have every right to know!" Blight snapped.
The scientists turned and looked at him. Blight glared back. "Well," a scientist started, "we're not exactly sure yet. We need to conduct more tests."
"That's all you've been doing with me for the past two weeks!" Blight roared.
The other scientist cleared his throat. "Your condition is an unusual one, and we don't have much information on it."
"I don't care," Blight said slowly. Then he abruptly started yelling. "Just tell me what you've found out!"
"Well," the first scientist started cautiously, "the process that changed you is apparently still going."
"Yes," Blight said menacingly. "Go on."
The scientist swallowed. "We're not sure when it will stop."
The other scientist coughed. "You're still turning into energy," he said. "If the process continues, you will eventually dissolve into pure radiation."
Blight was silent. "Is there a cure?" he asked softly.
"We don't know," the scientist replied. "We need to perform more-"
Blight flew into a rage and started banging against the case that imprisoned him. "You must calm down," one of the scientists advised.
"Calm down?" Blight asked wildly.
"With more data, we can cure you."
"I don't want to be cured!" Blight roared. "I just want to kill Batman!"
"Call the guard in here," the scientist said to his partner.
"No!" yelled Blight. He rammed as hard as he could into the plasteel box. To the scientists' horror, it started to tip over. The container slammed into the wall and broke the capacitor on top. The plasteel could no longer hold him. "Finally," Blight said as he blasted out of the box. Two quick radiation blasts took care of the scientists.
Blight burst out of the lab and eliminated the two guards stationed outside. He ran through the prison, defeating attack after attack. Nothing could stop him. He ran outside of the prison building and started heading toward downtown Gotham City. He had one objective: to exact his revenge on Batman.
"We have a problem," Wayne said on the Batmobile screen.
"Why am I not surprised?" Batman said with a sigh.
"Blight escaped from prison," Wayne said with that same monotone voice.
Batman snapped to attention. "Uh-oh."
"I know," Wayne said. "He's rampaging around the city. The police are heading after him, but…"
"I don't think the police can handle this," Batman said, and rocketed toward the point on the map Wayne sent him. Batman arrived to see Blight stomping down the street and destroying everything in his path. Batman pulled the drop levers and silently plunged toward Blight. At the last moment, Blight looked up and pummeled Batman with a radiation blast.
Slag it, Batman thought as he crashed into a wall. He knew I was coming. I can't relax around this guy.
Blight leapt at Batman. He lifted his legs and activated his boot-thrusters right at Blight's chest. He went sailing into a fire hydrant. Water surged out and turned to steam as it hit his radioactive body.
"Nice shot," Blight said, "but I can do better." Blight aimed a shot high above Batman's head. Batman realized why too late, and he was buried under the rubble.
Blight slowly walked over to Batman, but he was interrupted by the police cars just arriving. "Fools," Blight said, and fired at them. The policemen quickly jumped out before the cars exploded. A hover vehicle flew over him, and Blight shot that down, too.
By now, Batman had pulled himself out of the debris. Taking careful aim while Blight was distracted, he threw an electric batarang at him. Blight yelped when the electricity started to flow through him, then laughed. "Your feeble electricity doesn't bother me anymore," he said, and threw the batarang back at Batman. He easily dodged it, but didn't see Blight's second shot of radiation. It caught Batman right in the face and flung him backwards.
Batman shook his head and looked up to see Blight walking toward him. Blight had an evil grin on his face. That grin faded when a radiation-containment net fell over him. "Not again," he yelled. Batman sighed and picked himself up.
"It's not over yet, Batman," Blight said. He placed his hands against the ground and used his radiation to melt through it and fall into the sewers below.
Slag it, Batman thought as he rushed towards the hole and pulled the net off. He could see nothing in the darkness. He dropped through the hole and found Blight standing there waiting for him. Batman had no time to react as Blight raked his hand across Batman's chest, then did a swift uppercut to his jaw. Batman fell into the water.
"Terry!" Wayne exclaimed. "The suit diagnostics tell me it's damaged."
Batman looked and saw the tears where Blight had hit his chest. "Yeah, so?"
"Get out of there now!" Wayne ordered. "You're especially vulnerable to Blight's radiation now!"
"I just can't leave," Batman said as he dodged Blight's shots.
"You can put on a spare suit from the Batcave," Wayne said.
Blight charged at Batman. He effortlessly jumped over Blight's head and leapt out of the hole in the street. Once out, he pushed a button on his belt and called the Batmobile. He climbed into it and flew off towards the Batcave.
Blight turned to see Batman's retreat. "You can't escape that easily," he said, and disappeared into the darkness.
Wayne was standing next to the Batmobile landing pad. He watched the Batmobile fly in and settle down onto the pad. Terry climbed out with his mask already off. "Where's the spare?" he asked.
Wayne glared at Terry. "Have you noticed the time?" he asked.
Terry looked at the computer clock and groaned. "I hate school," he said.
"It can't be helped," Wayne said. "The police will have to try to take care of it until tonight."
"But they can't handle Blight!" Terry exclaimed.
"I know," Wayne said. "Maybe you should come to work a little early today."
Terry started to speak, but he saw that it was no use. His mom would be after him if he skipped school. Terry sulked off to get ready.
Terry glanced at the words on the screen, but they didn't register. He couldn't concentrate on the test. Blight kept popping into his thoughts. Terry stretched his arms above his head and groaned. He didn't know how he was going to get through the rest of the day with Blight preying on his mind.
Maybe he didn't have to. He raised his hand. "Yes, McGinnis?" the teacher asked.
"Can I use the bathroom?" Terry asked.
The teacher sighed. "I suppose."
Terry walked out of the classroom and went to his locker. He reached inside and brought out his backpack, where he had stashed a functional batsuit. He didn't care what Wayne said; the city needed Batman more than it needed Terry McGinnis.
He glanced both ways down the hall to make sure no one was watching him. Something outside the front doors caught his eye. He saw a green figure walking towards the school. It couldn't be, Terry thought, then hurried off to change. Actually, I shouldn't be surprised. Blight knew Batman was Terry, so he'd know where to find me during the day.
Max was blazing through the test questions when the fire alarm sounded. Max looked around in confusion and saw her classmates doing the same. Then a voice came over the intercom. "Evacuate immediately!" the voice ordered. "Evacuate immediately!"
Something smashed through the wall of the classroom. Max was horrified to see Blight standing there. Her classmates screamed and rushed out the door in a panic. Max was at the end of the pack. She felt blazing hot hands grab her and turn her around. She found herself staring right into Blight's glowing eyes.
Batman struggled through the flood of students trying to flee the school. He looked through the doors he passed and finally found what he wanted. Blight was standing in the room Terry had just left, and he was clutching Max!
Batman burst through the door. "Blight," he yelled. "It's me you want."
Blight turned to look at Batman. "You're right," he said, and flung Max aside. Then he launched himself with surprising speed toward Batman, crushing him against the wall.
He fired radiation out of his feet to propel him toward me, Batman thought. Where does he come up with this stuff? The last person I need to fight is an insane genius.
Blight's hands were tightening around Batman's throat. Batman punched Blight's face, but it did no good. He was losing air rapidly. Then something smashed into Blight's head. Blight turned in time to see Max hit him with a chair again. He released Batman and fell to the floor.
"Good job," Batman gasped. "Now get out of here. I can handle him."
"Right," Blight said, and hammered Batman with a radiation blast. He flew out the building and rolled in front of the school.
Batman looked up to see the police staring at him. The student body was huddled behind the police line. Batman turned to see Blight walk out of the building. Blight fired again at him, but Batman dodged. The shot missed and ran into the flagpole. Students yelled as the pole broke and started falling toward them. Batman fired his boot-thrusters and flew up to catch the pole. He struggled to hold it up.
"A sitting duck," Blight said as he watched Batman trying to support the pole. He raised his arms and shot a ball of radiation at Batman. The shot hit its mark and Batman was flung to the ground. The pole, now without its support, resumed falling and landed with a sickening crunch. Batman heard someone scream and quickly ran over to where the pole had landed.
Dana was lying there with her leg crushed under the metal. Dana! Batman felt fury flow through him as he lifted the pole off her leg. "Are you okay?" he asked, trying to keep his voice from trembling.
He was interrupted when Blight fired another blast at him. "You!" Batman shouted. Blight was again using radiation to propel himself toward Batman. He fired his boot-thrusters and flew off to draw Blight away from Dana. Blight followed and the chase was on.
The two sped past building after building, with Blight trying to hit Batman. One shot hit home, and Batman felt his boot-thrusters deactivate. He started losing altitude and fell toward the harbor. He crashed heavily into a cargo full of fish.
Blight landed nearby with his back to the water. Batman lifted himself out of the fish, pulling bits of shredded seafood off his costume. He turned to face Blight and felt anger flow again through his veins. That monster hurt Dana! Without hesitation, he pulled out a bomb batarang and threw it at Blight.
Blight fired a blast at the batarang to destroy it, but that was his fatal mistake. The batarang exploded, flinging Batman away from the blast. When the roar had died down, Batman looked up and saw a gaping hole in the dock. There was no sign of Blight.
"The police are still looking for him," Wayne reported.
Terry walked up beside Wayne and looked at the computer screen. "Not much point to that."
"You can never be to sure," Wayne said. "Several criminals have been known to reappear after their 'death.' How's Dana doing?"
Terry sighed. "She's undergoing surgery right now to repair her leg. After that, she'll have to wear a cast for a long while." He closed his eyes and walked away form the computer, filled with sadness. "I'd be there right now if I didn't have to be Batman." There was a touch of hostility in his voice.
"It can't be helped," Wayne said. "Though that probably doesn't reassure you."
Terry turned back to Wayne. "How did you deal with it?" he asked. "What did you do when a loved one was hurt while you were on the job?"
Wayne bowed his head. "I didn't have any loved ones."
The silence was broken by the computer. Wayne turned to the screen. "What is it?" Terry asked. Wayne said nothing, letting Terry read it for himself.
"Paxton Powers, CEO of the Wayne-Powers Corporation, was found dead in his bedroom this evening. He was beaten severely in the head and strangled. The police have not mentioned any suspects yet, but Paxton's father, Derek Powers, known now as the fugitive Blight, is surely high on the list. The words 'Batman is next' were found burned into the wall above Paxton's bed."
Terry slammed his fist onto the computer console. "Slag it!" he shouted, and started walking around the room in a rage, punching everything he could.
"Terry!" Wayne yelled. "Settle down!"
"It's my fault!" Terry shouted. He collapsed onto his knees. "It's all my fault."
He was interrupted by a smashing sound upstairs. Terry froze. "It couldn't be," he said.
"I'm home!" a voice shouted. It was Blight!
Terry rushed to put on the batsuit. "Control yourself, Terry," Wayne advised. "Unless you can get a rein on your emotions, you won't be able to stop him." But Batman had already left before he was finished speaking.
Batman turned a corner to see Blight standing in the living room. "Hello, Batman," he said. "I expected to find you here."
Batman said nothing and launched himself at full speed at Blight. Blight was caught off guard and thrown into another room. "This is it," Batman said. "This ends here."
"Indeed it will," Blight said, and fired a blast at Batman. He dodged effortlessly, but Blight had already moved and fired again. Batman was thrown through the wall. He pushed himself up just in time for Blight to hit him again. He was tossed along the ground, rolling in the dirt. He picked himself up and saw that he was near the cliff. Below him the sea crashed.
Blight walked slowly toward Batman with a deadly look in his eye. Batman stared with the same look, then turned on his camouflage. Blight watched in amazement as Batman disappeared before his eyes. "No," he said, "you won't pull that trick on me." Then, summoning all the power he had, he let it loose in one powerful blast. A sphere of radiation spread out from Blight, catching Batman and throwing him off the cliff.
Batman splashed into the roaring ocean. Waves tossed him, but he fought to shore. He collapsed on the beach and looked up to see Blight descending toward him. Blight landed next to Batman, grabbed his neck, picked him up, slammed him against the cliff wall, and held him there.
"You know what, Batman?" Blight asked, death in his voice. "All my life I've had to work for everything I've needed. Time after time people have gotten in my way, trying to drag me down. But I always succeeded. Every person I've gone against has succumbed to me. Even Wayne gave me his company eventually. You've been the only one I couldn't conquer, the only one who repeatedly resisted me. But that's going to change soon. I have you right where I want you."
"Nice speech," Batman gasped. "Save it for the press." He reached into his belt and dropped a gas bomb to the ground. Green mist enfolded them.
"You fool," Blight said. "My lungs dissolved a long time ago. I'm turning into pure energy!"
Batman stared at Blight, noticing for the first time that his bones were no longer visible. He was pure radioactive green. Batman tried to think of some way out of this. His mind was growing cloudy from lack of oxygen. Then an idea came to him. He quickly pulled a bomb from his belt and tossed it up the cliff face. It exploded and rocks cascaded down on them. Batman escaped from Blight's grip and jumped away.
Batman turned to see a big pile of earth where Blight had been standing. Then the pile exploded and Blight stood there, glowing ever brighter. "You can't stop me!" he yelled. "It's impossible!"
"Just shut up!" Batman shouted back, and threw several batarangs at Blight. An energy field raised around Blight, destroying any batarangs that came close to him. He walked towards Batman, the sphere of radioactive energy surrounding him. Batman backed up and tried to think of a way to bypass the force field.
"How are you going to get out of this one, Batman?" Blight asked. "All your life, you've been able to dance away from danger, but there's nowhere to run now."
"I don't need to run," Batman replied, and threw a bomb batarang out over the ocean. It detonated, causing a huge wave to rush toward the shore. Batman launched up above the wave, but Blight didn't react so quickly. He was tossed by the wave and smashed against the cliff wall. He lost his concentration and the energy field dissipated.
Batman landed and watched as Blight picked himself up. "Is that the best you can do?" Blight asked. "Throw a little water at me? I'll throw a lot more at you!" His body began to glow brighter and brighter as he summoned up all the radiation he could for a final destructive blast.
Batman covered his eyes and turned away. The whole area around them was illuminated by Blight's body. This suit won't be able to take a blast that big, Batman thought. He took out a batarang and tossed it at Blight.
The batarang his home and Blight started to shout. The light was still shining as brightly as ever. Batman switched on the light-reducing lenses of his visor and looked at Blight. Several parts of his body were disappearing! "No, not yet!" Blight shouted. "I'm not finished yet!" Batman could do nothing but watch as Blight gradually disintegrated into nothing and the light faded away.
"He's gone," Terry said back at the mansion.
"For good this time," Wayne added. "That last batarang destabilized Blight's body. He's nothing but pure energy now."
Terry plopped down onto the sofa. "Do you think I could have saved him somehow?"
"Not likely," Wayne responded. "He was completely insane, and nothing could have helped him."
"He hurt so many people," Terry said, staring off into the distance. "I can't help feeling that it's my fault, since I created him."
"You didn't create him, Terry," Wayne said. "He was already manipulative and evil. Even if the accident with the gas hadn't happened, he still would have hurt many people."
Wayne turned to look out the window. "The important thing to remember is that he was insane, and would have killed many if you hadn't gotten in the way. Lunatics like him are no joke, and their fun and games can be deadly."
Terry looked up at Wayne. "You really think so?" he asked.
Wayne nodded. "I know so."
"Well," said Terry, getting up from the sofa, "I suppose I'd better go study for tomorrow's math test. See you later." He grabbed his backpack and left for home.
Wayne turned and stared out the window. It seems there's a Joker in every generation.
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