Once Kyle realised how far he could go into the upper atmosphere, flying across country wasn’t that bad, a few hours tops. He was currently resting on a park bench in one of his favorite places in the world; Gotham City. There was almost no one about, and those who were either were looting or wandering aimlessly, fear stricken all over their faces.
“Hey you!” One older man called out to Kyle, “You’re one of them aren’t you? You gotta costume! Do something! Bring them back!”
“Sir, believe me, that is first on my list but right now as confused as you are and pretty wiped.”
The man looked like he was gonna argue more but he just walked away, he looked… broken. Kyle felt horrible but he had to keep going. He stood up and, still getting used to his new outfit, pulled at his mask. He had come to this most dark of cities partly out of a hope that it would be different but somehow he knew it wouldn’t be and so he also came because he knew this where he could find help from and old “friend”.
Now the trouble became, finding that friend. Though on that front, he also had an idea.
He took once more to the air and jetted across the Gotham sky in a stream of light straight towards the GCPD. He landed on the roof and took a good long look at the famous bat-signal.
“I hope this works.” Kyle said, cracking his knuckles before flipping the switch. The thing sprang to life, and soon a brilliant Bat-shield shaped light broke the dark sky.
He waited for what seemed like forever, until a laugh seemed to echo from all over the roof of the GCPD. “You know you aren’t supposed to play with that right?”
Kyle stood bemused at the young, clearly male voice.
“Well you don’t sound like the girl-wonder I was expecting.” Kyle crossed his arms.
There was a spinning flash of red, yellow and green as a body somersaulted in front of Starman.”Nope she went missing too. I’ve been trying my best to keep Gotham from burning to the ground on my own.”
The sight of the combination of colors of the boy’s costume brought an amused familiarity to Kyle’s mind. It was clear who this boy was, or who he thought he was as it were.
“So let me guess, where’d he find you? Parents dead? That’s a popular one, parents evil? that’s usually the runner up. Come on, what’s your sob story?”
The eyeslits on Robin’s mask narrowed. “Actually both of my parents are alive and kicking thanks.”
“Well that’s pretty boring, what kind of Robin are you without tragedy?” Kyle smirked as he began to absentmindedly circle the young man, “So she’s gone too huh? Wow, she must be older than she looks.”
“It’s not that,” the newest Boy Wonder shook his head, “last I heard Commissioner Grayson called and said she was in New York. That was the last thing I heard before everything went wonky.”
“‘Wonky’, yes great, use that next time your fighting Two Face.” Kyle quipped with a smirk, that faded once he’d realized how mean that came out, “So I guess I should be off to the Big Apple then.”
“Actually,” the younger boy grumbled, “I could use some help.”
Kyle thought for a moment, and just looked at this kid who probably wasn’t even in his teens yet, trying to hold down the city.
“Yeah, I could do that.”
The screams and fires were easy enough to find. The Jokers had locked down Gotham Central and were just seconds from busting into the G.C.P.D. and all the weapons, drugs and other illegal things stockpiled inside.
In front of Gotham Central stood the statue of the Emerald Sentinal, the Green Lantern, which the Jokers had defaced painting the hair green and a lurid red smile.
“That’s it boys,” The obvious head of the Joker gang, a tall skinny man. Like so many others of the gang, his face was painted white, and his hair dyed green. However, unlike many of the others who looked like nothing but a grubby street gang, he wore a perfectly tailored purple suit with a green tie.”Soon very soon lads, we’re gonna own this town and there is no one here to stop us.”
Again there was laugh, different than the hyena like laugh of the Joker gang, this one was higher pitched and filled with an actual mirth. It filled the area around Gotham Central and made all the Jokers stop and look around.
Suddenly streams of light began to “rain” from the sky, blasting the weapons out of the hands of a few of the rioters and gang-bangers and even knocking some of the Jokers themselves to the ground.
“No fair.” Robin dove from his perch free falling from twenty feet. As he did he pulled a series of batarangs out of the pouches of his belt. “Come one come all, batarangs for everyone, get you’re batarangs right here.” He laughed as the projectiles flew from his hand with deadly accuracy knocking a whole host of the gang unconscious.
He then somersaulted through the air and landed in a perfect three point stance on the ground.
“You’ve been practising in your room for this haven’t you?” Kyle said swerving into view from above, lighting up the night.
“Hey look Robin and Starfire back together.” One joker said in a very deep voice as he hurled a surprisingly well aimed rock in Kyle’s direction. Kyle rolled his eyes, as he stopped the rock, just barely in time, with his light.
“Yes, you are a comedic genius.” Kyle deadpanned.
Kyle let loose a burst of light causing the thug to grab his eyes.
“Please,” Robin said laughing, “these guys prolly think Family Guy is funny too.” The Boy Wonder jumped in the air, spin kicking another two Jokers. “No sense of taste in these yahoos.”
Kyle continued attacking from above when he heard something akin to snarl from his right. He turned to see a wild eyed Joker practically foaming at the mouth, hanging from a fire escape. The clearly unhinged thug threw himself into the air, Kyle could have easily dodged but all that would leave is a bloody mound of bones and clown shoes on the cement below.
“You people really are crazy…” Kyle gasped as attempted to catch the goon with his light but it was too late and they collided mid-air.
Kyle began to lower them both towards the ground, even as he grappled with the madman.
“Well yeah, that’s why they call them Jokers duh.” Robin threw a pair of bolos at another Joker that was just on the other side of him.
Kyle managed to throw the man off, but even as he did so another lept at him from behind.
“Kyle behind you!”
Kyle swerved and raised his cosmic rod and blasted the criminal backwards into a nearby wall.
“Grandad?” Robin stopped for a second and looked at Starman letting his concentration lapse for a second and the leader of the Jokers pounced.
He grabbed the Boy Wonder by the hair and slammed him to the concrete.
“Hey!” Starman ran towards his young “partner” and the well dressed maniac. “Hands off the kid Pagliacci!”
He enveloped the Joker in his light and lifted him away from Robin.
“Thanks for the assist.” Robin said as he kip-uped.
The lead Joker laughed. At first softly, but then louder and louder until it was almost maniacal.”Children, children, children,” His voice was low and silken, “the Batman is gone. The League is gone. The police are gone. Do you really think that you children can protect this whole world yourselves? This world is going to burn. And we’re all gonna ride this lovely train straight to hell.” He laughed again as he pulled a switchblade out of his jacket pocket. “Care to join us?”
Kyle looked at the crazed man for a moment in silence.
“You look ridiculous.”
Kyle raised his cosmic rod and let loose a pinpoint laser stream that knocked the knife out of the criminal’s hand.
“Now are you coming in in one piece or …not?”
The lead Joker laughed and shook his head, “Children, so gullible. Boys?” The whole area seemed to come alive with gunfire.
“Oh man this is so not fair.” The newest Boy Wonder dove and rolled out of the way of the raining bullets. “Come on, guns are no fun. Punching you all in the face is the fun part can we just go back to that please?”
Kyle grabbed Robin by his collar and pulled him backwards, even as he thrust the cosmic rod forward creating a radiant force field. The light solidified as the bullets collided with it, the sound was like being in a hurricane.
“This is the opposite of good.”
“Ya think?” Robin smirked. “You wouldn’t happen to have a make the guns go bye bye setting on that thing?”
Kyle didnt respond right away, he just exhaled loudly. He absent-mindedly covered his mouth with one hand as he thought.
“Okay, that might work.”
Before Robin could question him, Kyle gripped the cosmic device tighter and in an instant the force field he had made wrapped all the way around them like a bubble. In the same moment, the bubble and they with it, began to rise off the ground.
“Wasn’t exactly what I had in mind,” the Boy Wonder said as he watched the ground move quickly away from him, “you got a plan?”
“Well we could wait till they run out of bullets.” Kyle said as he guided the bubble of light over to a nearby rooftop.
He dissolved the field as he dropped them behind the rooftop’s high ledge.
“Or we could try to gain some kind of advantage.” He smirked, as he pointed the cosmic rod at an abandoned car. He shot down at it, grabbing it in almost tractor beam and directed straight at the gaudily made up crowd in the streets.
“Hit the deck boys!” Kyle shouted down as he guided the car right towards them like his wand was a remote control, the vehicle screeching as it sped causing the thugs to dive and scatter.
“Nice,” Robin grinned up at Starman, “where can I get one of those?”
“Get a dead genius grandfather who likes to live vicariously through you.”
“Trade you that for a living one that’s really cranky all the time.” Jack grinned.
“At least other people can probably see and hear him.” Kyle smirked.
“Only problem is,” the newly minted Boy Wonder said with concern in his voice, “their gonna keep shooting and may hit someone innocent.”
Kyle just knelt there, silently watching the street.
“He’s right Kyle. Do something.” His grandfather’s voice reverberated in his ears.
“Give me a second we’re not all as brilliant as you.”
“While I appreciate the sentiment,” Robin looked up with a smile, “we need to take them down, then we can congratulate each other.”
“I’ll congratulate you when you make it to 18 in one piece, mentally and/or physically.” Kyle sighed,”Some of them ran off after my car trick, we’ve gotta get their numbers down further. Got anything in that belt o’ tricks that cold take out some of the visibility down there?”
Robin pulled three little things that looked like marbles out of a pouch on his belt. “These might do. Give me a hole.”
Kyle leaned over the side of the building, pointing his weapon into the crowd and sot down a large beam of light, which while being harmless light, sent those below scattering and diving for the ground.
Robin grinned. “Perfect.” He tossed the balls down to the street and they exploded into a large blast of smoke that choked the people on the ground. “How’s that?”
“Great, lets play Batman.”
Kyle hopped off the side of the roof, using the cosmic rod to ease his descent. He landed feet first but with a bit of a thud in the alley below. The same lenses on his mask that protected him from glare and velocity, seemed also to protect him quite well from the smoke.
He spotted one Joker idiotically waving his rifle in the air trying to fan away the smoke. He snuck up behind him and knocked him out cold with his cosmic rod.
“Just one?” The Boy Wonder laughed as he flipped himself off the building. On the way down, he pulled five batarangs out of his belt and threw them into a group of Jokers that had clumped together knocking them to the ground.
“Oh we’re keeping track now?” Kyle scoffed. Kyle said as he levitated slightly off the ground and held out the cosmic rod, “Let me try something.”
Kyle gripped the device tighter and suddenly a circular wave of light emanated from it rippling outwards knocking out at least eight Jokers before dissipating.
“Well that seems to be the last of them.” The newly minted Boy Wonder said as he kicked the last of the Jokers onto his back. “Thanks for the assist.”
“The assist eh?” Kyle resisted snapping a comeback, “Goes to show a couple a kids can keep this place under control after all.”
Kyle smirked but his smile faded as the smoke cleared; revealing that the street was littered in joker playing cards, literally covering the ground in both directions. In the distance they heard a high-pitched laugh.
Robin looked around nervously. “Well that was scary.”
“Ah Gotham. Gotta love it.” Kyle ran his hands through his hair, “Okay so now we move on. I gotta a date with destiny or some crap like that. Whatever that was that took everybody, took my dad and I’m gonna get him back.”
“How do you know they aren’t dead?” the Boy Wonder said with sadness in his voice.
Kyle got very serious for a moment and knelt down to the boy.
“Trust me kid, if my dad was dead… I would know… If there is one thing I know, its dead people.”
Jack cocked his head to one side. “What?”
“In this business you never met somebody with a superpower before?” He laughed, “Mine’s just a bit more morbid than most. Them’s the brakes.”
“When you see Redbird, tell her I got Gotham covered.” He smiled as he pulled a cable gun from his utility belt.
“Wait you should come with me, I can’t leave you here alone.”
Jack laughed as there was a paff from the cable gun, “Don’t worry about me, I’m Robin.”
“Well…” Kyle was gonna argue, but something told him not to, “Robin or no, be careful and lay off words like wonky… you’re striking fear into a superstitious and cowardly lot here.”
“No promises,” he gave Starman a grin and a wave.
Kyle waved back and watched as he disappeared into the urban landscape. He thought about going after him one last time but he knew he was needed more elsewhere. He looked to the sky and rose.