The office of Commissioner Oats looked more like arts and crafts room of pre-school, he had scissors, construction paper and stencils laying everywhere. Nopony had the gal to ask what their leader was doing, some silently thought he might have lost a few marbles on the way to work. He had been there for hours working at a fever pace, numerous discarded attempts at whatever project he was working on littered the floor.
Oats was putting the finishing touches on attempt number twenty when Bulrush knocked on the office door, "Hey boss, can I have a word?"
"Yeah come on in, I could use your opinion on something detective." Oats' door swung open and shut, "Does it look like I've got this right? I cant seem to get the little ridges on the wings to come out the way I want them." He was holding up a sheet of construction paper with a hole cut out in the shape of a bat.
"Uh, nice boss. Look uh, Officers Law and Order need your go ahead to get the search warrant for the robbery beat they've been working." Bulrush was uneasy, he was shifting between his left and right set of hooves.
"So they've finally made some headway? That's good, it seemed like a dry well for a while. Why aren't they here themselves? Everypony knows my door is open." said Oats.
"With all due respect boss, everypony thinks you've gone off the deep end." As if to back up his assertion several desk jockeys were trying to peer through the window at the strange things their boss was doing.
Oats took a look around at his self made mess and couldn't fault them for their assumption. "You can tell them all I'm fine Bulrush. I'm working on bringing to life a project that's been rolling around this thick skull for a while now. Were in a war, and by Celestia we're losing that war Bulrush."
"I'd hardly call that bust we made last night a loss sir. Twenty arrests of mob heavies, the largest drug bust this year and no casualties on our side."
"And who do we have to thank for that Bulrush?"
"Um, you sir?"
"No, not me. I didn't tell you last night because I still wasn't sure, but I was tipped onto the warehouse by an anonymous party. And as much as I'd like to place all the praise on my officers, the truth is most of the work had been done before we even got there. The hole in the wall, at least three of the thugs inside were already knocked out and all the snipers on the roof as well."
"You think it was that bat freak we saw escaping out to the roof?"
"I'm certain of it, and I think he might have been the same pony who tipped me off in the first place. I can't say for sure but-"
"Now that you mention it, the raid did seem a bit too easy. All those thugs seemed ... out of it, as if-"
"Tear gas, or something near it. The lab techs haven't seen anything quite like it before, eye irritant, traces of heavy duty sedative. Whoever he was he did more without a gun than any of us ever could."
"So is that what this arts and crafts day is all about boss?"
"I'm trying to make a signal to reel him in, I want to talk."
"Is that all?"
"I also want him on the payroll. Think about it, a pony with his skills working for the police. We could send him into situations where any normal officer would end up getting nixed."
"You ask me it's a bad idea. Any freak whose into running around Ponyville in his bat pajama's and punching ponies in the face has got ta have somethin' screwy in the head."
"Aren't we a little screwy for sticking with this job Bulrush? I think any sane pony would have turned tail and ran years ago."
"Can't fault your logic boss. So what's our move?"
"Our move, our move is we take this up to the roof and turn on the spotlight. I'm sure once he see's our 'Bat signal' he'll come running. Or flying, I'm not really sure if he's a pegasus or not."
Tonight was a night off for Batman, it was something Bruce felt he deserved. Silver understood his need to go out and fight crime, but they were still a couple and every couple needs some time just to relax together. He had the whole night planned, a candle lit dinner at home then a stroll through the starlit park. The ultimate goal was to make it up to her for last night, he had already promised that he wouldn't suit up for anything short of a disaster.
Even though they were eating in Silver Spoon had spent the time to get all gussied up. She was wearing her favorite string of pears with a satin low cut dress, Bruce had to admit she looked ravishing. "You look as lovely as ever Silver." he commented as she came down the stairs.
"You don't look half bad yourself, that cut on your cheek adds to your rugged good looks." said Silver. "So what does Randolph have in store for us tonight? Fil'hay Mignon?"
"Actually I gave Randolph the night off, I figured I should cook tonight." This raised an eyebrow for Silver. "Don't count me out just yet, I have something great planned."
"Oh, I'm not counting you out Bruce. It's just in the fifteen years I've known you I've never seen you cook."
"Well that's going to change tonight, I found a nice recipe for a vegetarian lasagna and it should be done in a few minutes."
"Is there any other kind?"
"Lasagna, is there any other kind?"
Bruce caught on to what she was meaning, "Ah, no. I shouldn't have to specify that should I?"
"It must be a really strange world that you came from Bruce. Humans eating other creatures, I don't even want to imagine what kind of society would allow that." Silver gave a little shudder.
"Well, I already told you before, animals in the world I came from weren't like the cows and sheep in Equestria. As far as humans know they're the only intelligent creatures on the planet. And animals were just another source of food to us."
"I understand that much, but I just hope some other hungry human doesn't come to Equestria and start eating it's citizens." Her tone was half joking, half serious.
"I think they would be preoccupied with trying to figure out how the world is filled with talking horses who can fly and shoot magic. I know I was," Bruce remembered his first few days in Ponyville vividly, it seemed every couple of minutes something new and amazing would come around and stun his eight year old mind.
"Sorry I didn't mean to imply-"
"Imply that on seeing Mootilda in the street I'd be overcome with a hunger for flesh and proceed to eat her raw?"
"Not in so crude a terms, but yes."
"I don't mind, really I don't. Occasionally I remember what it tasted like and I might even crave it sometimes, but that's all. Actually I think if I ever were to taste it again I would hate it, I have been eating nothing but vegetation and baked goods for so long."
Feeling that the subject had been explored fully Silver decided to change to a different topic, "I spent some time with mom today, we got to talk in between some photo shoots."
"Oh, that's nice. I take it she's been busy with fashion week coming up."
"Busy is an understatement, try up to her neck. But I think she likes it that way, it helps convince her that ponies still need her skills."
"So, what did you talk about?"
"The usual, she caught me up on fashion world gossip, which model she thinks has 'Da magics.' She also won't stop asking when we're going to get married. I swear it's exhausting having to explain over and over that we're comfortable they way we are."
"That's funny, dad asked the same thing when I talked with him the other day. But you know if we do get married the're just going to shift their nagging to the subject of grandfoals."
Silver started chocking on her drink, "Sweet Celestia I can hear it now. 'Silver darling, ven are you going to be making the little foals? You must, you must, you must!"
Bruce decided to join in on the fun, "What would dad say, oh I know. 'Bruce m'boy, you really aught to think about settling down and starting the next generation of Rich's.'" Both ponies couldn't help but laugh at the unavoidable future nagging from their respective parents.
"Oh, it's going to be awful isn't it?"
"Maybe, but you know, there isn't anypony else I'd want to go through it with other than you."
"Your encouragable Bruce Wayne."
Silver was blushing pretty hard, maybe it was the wine or maybe it was being in the company of a truly charming stallion. "All this talk has got me hungry, now I cant wait to try your lasagna."
"I'll go get it, just wait here." Bruce whisked himself off to the kitchen, she could hear the sound of the oven doors creaking on their hinges. A bad odor filled the house, "Silver?"
"You know more about cooking than I do. Is the food supposed to be on fire?" Just then the smoke alarm went off, it's piercing wail confirming the sad truth of a dinner burnt to a crisp.
Silver ran to the kitchen and saw the fate of the lasagna, through the pyrex dish she could see the top four layers charred black. Quickly she put on some oven mits and pulled the dish out and turned the oven off. "It's not too bad."
"I thought if you doubled the temperature it would halve the cooking time, it's basic mathematics." Bruce was dejected, he had only wanted to make a nice meal for Silver.
"I'm afraid it doesn't work that was love. But I think we can still salvage some good food from it-" Silver tried digging in with her fork but the burnt noodles turned to ashes in her mouth. "*Crunch* Mmhhm, Tasty."
Bruce took the dish and discarded it in the sink, "You don't have to try and spare my feelings Silver, I'm just sorry I ruined your dinner."
"Well, I don't know any other stallions who would even consider cooking for me. So I appreciate the effort anyway," she gave him a little peck of the cheek. "But we probably should see about getting some food delivered unless you want to dine on flambe' noodles."
"That sounds fine."
While Bruce was busy dialing the phone Silver decided to get some fresh air. The night was cool once again, the evidence was clear, the long march to the winter months was nearing it's end. Soon Ponyville would be covered in the frosty blanket, littered with specks of blood from it's violent underbelly. She had often wondered why they didn't just pack up and move someplace safe, away from the crime. She supposed it was the duty Bruce felt, he would never leave the city he had grown up in, and if she had anything to say about it Silver would never leave his side.
She wanted to go back inside, but the smell inside was ghastly, the cold night air was a fair trade off for the unbearable stench. It had taken all the strength Silver could muster not to vomit the food he had prepared right back up, for how bad it tasted that would have been an appropriate response. But he had tried and that's what was important, she decided to spend a few more minuets outside before facing the smell again.
The sky was dark and cloudy, not a star could be seen through the black puffyness. The weather factory had been wrong again, which wouldn't be as vexing if they themselves weren't the ponies responsible for making these clouds. Silver was feeling full of selfish self pity, her dinner had turned out in ruin and her moonlit stroll with her lover would be sans moon. They were first world problems but Silver Spoon was a first world mare, she couldn't help it. She had been born to two very affluent movers and shakers in Equestria's fashion world and raised by the staff who bowed to her every whim.
Maybe she was spoiled, but she liked to think she wasn't spoiled rotten, indeed she never wanted to be rotten to Bruce. Just as she was putting back on the 'not phased by this setback' face, something bright lit up the sky. The light was dancing across the stagnant clouds as if it were seeking a home. Eventually it settled somewhere above the commercial district, tracing it back to it's source it was somewhere in the center of Ponyville. More important than it's source was the shape the light took on the clouds, "Bruce!"
"Is it about the pizza? I ordered banana peppers on it just like you like."
"Forget the pizza and get out here!" demanded Silver.
A few seconds later and Bruce complied, as soon as he saw what she was so concerned over and he too became concerned. It was glorious, a bright yellow halo of light surrounding a black bat created in the negative space. It was the same bat that Bruce wore on his suit, his own symbol he had created. "What the-"
"-hay?" Silver said finishing his exclamation.
The two stood in silence for several minutes, staring at the unmoving signal. Wild ideas raced through their minds, was it a call for help? Was somepony trying to lure him into a trap? No solid concept could be gained yet the light was alluring, like a moth to the flame. After some time had passed Silver finally broke the silence, "You need to check this out Bruce."
"I will, in the morning. Right now it's our time together."
"No, right now. They know your symbol, they might know other things as well. What if they know who we are Bruce? We don't even know who's doing this, what if it's the Melodies or the Cadaverinies? Sweet Celestia Bruce they could be sending a hit squad right now to ax us off! They could be-" Bruce stopped her spiral into hysterics by placing a hoof on her shoulder and looking her right in the eyes.
"I'll find out. And if it's a threat, I'll stop it, nopony is going to hurt you." Silver nodded yes, somehow when he made bold promises like that to her she felt she could trust them.
"You'd better suit up, if it is one of the crime families then you'll need an arsenal."
"If it is one of the crime families then I'll need allot more than an arsenal. I think I'll just scout it out first, I'll give you a call as soon as I know what it is." With that Bruce ran inside to the hidden wall and disappeared into his cave, Silver still couldn't shake the terror she was feeling, she almost wished she could be in his bunker car beside him. Instead she went upstairs and locked the bedroom door, never going downstairs to get the pizza from the poor delivery colt.
It had been roughly thirty minutes and nothing, not a peep from the bat. Oats hadn't taken into consideration how one sided this form of communication was, even if he had seen the signal how would he know where to go? He had thought about running downstairs and making a card with the police station's address on it, but that would just be silly.
So they waited, up top in the cold. Bulrush had been whining about not even getting to enjoy his cigarettes, Oats could care less, personally he hated the stench they made. Still he endured the cold, the smell and the whining for the prospect of something greater, an ally.
"Boss why are we still up here? I'm freezing my balls off and this freak show aint showin'."
"You can go ahead and leave if you want, I'll stay up here if it's all the same to you." Oats said while not taking his eyes away from the skyline.
"Thank you, if your not down by the morning I'll be sure to send some ponies up to collect your frozen corpse."
"Good night Bulrush."
His response couldn't be categorized as words, more as a series of guttural belly sounds mixed with a coughing fit brought on by the carcinogens he had been inhaling. He waved goodbye and ducked inside the roof access and left Oats alone, or not.
Upon reflection he had been completely silent, Oats hadn't realized there had been a second pony with him on the roof until he had spoken. "Good evening commissioner."
Oats spun around as fast as he could while reaching for his gun only to find it was no longer there. "H-how did you?"
"I could ask you the same thing, how did you know my symbol?" asked the black clad figure.
Oats could see his revolver sitting on the lip of the parapet behind where the bat was standing, out of his reach. "You left a trinket back at the warehouse, I guessed it's shape would be a good way to call you."
"You guessed right, I gotta say I was very surprised to see my logo lighting up the sky." Oats couldn't discern any facial features aside from a chiseled chin and a small cut across the cheek. What he could tell was from his voice, this was the same pony who had tipped him onto the warehouse in the first place, his hunch had been correct.
"That must have been some fight on the roof last night, five on one aren't odds I'd bet on normally. But then again, I don't think your a normal pony."
"You'd be suppressed what a few hours in the gym and a protein shake or two will do for you."
"The community gym doesn't teach you how to take down five armed ponies with your bare hooves. Where did you learn to fight?"
"Is there a point to this conversation or are you just wanting to play twenty questions with me?"
Oats knew he would have to bridge the topic carefully, if he screwed it up he'd lose his only chance. "There is a point, you're talented, strong and fearless. You know things about where the crime families are operating from and can infiltrate them. You compromised a stronghold on your own that would have taken dozens of my officers. And whatever you gassed them with before hoof most likely prevented several casualties in the fire fight."
The bat's expression was unchanging, flattery wasn't working so Oats decided to get to the meat of the proposal. "I need a pony like you on the force, a specialist who can do jobs that would just end up killing the officers with less experience. Please, I'm begging you, come work for me. Wear a badge and protect the city with the amazing skills you have." Oats got on his knees to accentuate the point.
"I said no. I'm not going to work for a pony who can't even keep his own house in order." Anger was flaring up in Oat's nostrils, he was preparing for a comeback demanding who he was to talk about his family when the bat continued. "Everypony knows you have officers on the force who are in the crime family's pockets."
"Those are vicious rumors I assure you, everypony under me is just as dedicated to seeing them behind bars as I am." Oats was confident in that statement.
"Believe what you will, but even if what you said was true I still couldn't work for you. Do you know what my greatest weapon is commissioner?"
"Your gas bombs I suppose? I'm sure once we submitted them to an ethics board they could be approved for field use-" The bat cut him off.
"The gas bombs are a foal's toys, any junkie with half a brain could make something equivalent to them. No my greatest weapon isn't the gas or the brass hooves I'm wearing." Oats cringed, he hadn't noticed the metal horseshoes the bat had equipped, he'd been kicked by a thug wearing them once, it had given him three broken ribs and some internal bleeding from that fight. "My greatest weapon is my anonymity."
"This half inch of rubber mask allows me to do things without repercussions to my everyday life and the ponies I love. And I seriously doubt you'd ever allow me to swear in as Officer Batman."
"You are right on that account, such a thing would never be allowed. But you are on my side aren't you? You are fighting the Melodies?"
"I'll fight anypony who seeks to tear down my city with crime."
"Then what about this? What if I use this light as a call, whenever something comes up that is beyond the league of the police I'll turn this signal on and you'll come to help."
"If you end up calling every time the police are out of their league this would be a twenty four seven job." Oats glowered at him, "It's a joke. *jeez* That sounds fair, but I'll only work on my own terms, don't waste my time with small stuff like little filly's kittens stuck up in a tree."
"The slightest thought hadn't begun to speculate of the merest possibility of crossing my mind." said Oats with all sincerity. "But if we are going to work together in any capacity then questions are bound to be raised. Least of which would be what is this mystery pony's name?"
"You may call me the dark knight of Ponyville, the spirit of vengeance, the Batman!" Ominous lightning struck as he spoke.
Oats mulled it over in his head, "Naw that won't work at all, what's a 'man' anyway? You do have the bat look down pat, I'll give you that much. I think... Batmane! Yeah, Batmane sounds right."
Bruce was mortified, "What do you mean Batman wont work?! It's my name, don't go trying to change my name!"
"Are you sure? Because Batmane just seems to fit so much better with your whole ascetic."
"Stop trying to change my name!"
"Alright, alright Batman, you don't have to shout. So do we have an agreement? We'll only use the bat signal when it's truly important."
Bruce was still flustered but he agreed to the terms, "You have a deal commissioner." Just then the door handle to the roof started turning, "I'll be in touch Oats." Without hesitation the Batman leapt off the roof, Oats was shocked and ran to see. Halfway down the building he saw his cape fly open and act as a sort of glider, allowing him to descend gracefully out of view.
The door opened and Bulrush emerged, two coffees in magic grasp. "I uh, felt kinda bad leaving you up here all alone boss. Thought you might want something to warm yourself up so I brought you a coffee."
Oats took the cup with gratitude and drank, the bitter contents burned his insides in a glorious caffeinated rush. "*Ahh* Thank you for that Bulrush, really hit the spot."
"So did you hear anything from the freak show?"
"As a matter of fact I did, he calls himself Batmane."
In a flashy scene transition two beings on unimaginable power came to a screeching halt from their journey across the fathoms of time. One native to the land of talking equine, one foreign, both very interested to see how their little experiment had proceeded in their absence.
"You know I can't quite put my finger on it, but... Did Ponyville always have hundreds of skyscrapers?" said the shorter of the two, his appearance was that of a small human child dressed in a loosely fitting costume not unlike Bruce's.
"Oh for ponies sake, we've gone too far forward!" said the taller one, his was a complete hodgepodge of animals. Wing of a bat, claw of an eagle, horn of a goat and much more attached to a serpentine body.
"Not too far, just right, look!" Shining brightly across the sky was a high powered searchlight. Illuminating the black clouds was the silhouette of a bat. "Grab a seat the show's about to start." With a snap of his finger and snap of the other's lion paw they both had their own theater seating with drinks and popcorn to match.
"What do you suppose is the problem they're calling our little Bruce for?"
"It's got to be some huge villain attack, maybe somepony escaped from Arkam or whatever the Arkam equivalent is in your world."
"This will be fun, chaos and carnage everywhere, I can hardly wait!" And wait they did, for little did they know that they had only stumbled onto the tail end of Bruce's first official encounter with the police.
"You hear what the writer is saying?"
"Yes, yes I do."
"What the hell Mr. Writer Man, why would you have us show up now if there isn't any cool Batman adventure for us to see!?"
Because all the returning readers were wondering when you would be showing up, I thought I'd play with expectations for comedic effect. And stop addressing me, it's bad form.
"Batmite I just pulled up the story page, were six chapters in." the Draqonaquiss had summoned forth a laptop from the void.
"Six! Six? Your six chapters in and he's just now starting to work with the police!? Please tell me he's at least fought some super villains yet?"
Well, the thing is, I like to take things slow and build characters first before action.
"Poison Ivy? Killer Croc? Bane? Mr. Freeze?"
*ashamed author noises*
"Calendar man?" Batmite asked in desperation.
"Batmite I found his author's notes, one labeled villain plans."
No don't look at those!
"Ooo, what's this? You've had the Joker cast since the beginning and it's one of my 'children' no less." The spirit of chaos had a devilish grin on his face.
"And she's in his family, oh ho ho, Mr. Writer you are a nasty one. The Joker being his own mom, ah the wondrous things only possible in internet fanfiction."
"What do you say my impish friend? Should we pay our main antagonist a visit?"
"That sounds like a wonderful idea. I'm glad we could have this chat Mr. Writer, we should do it again sometime." With two simultaneous snaps the demigods disappeared, leaving the author to contemplate his motives for bringing them into the story in the first place.