Fiction Friday: Batman – Lost Knight

The water in the shower felt like an icy shotgun blast at close range. After a few moments the freezing water turned warm, then searing hot as the backup power system in the bottom of Wayne Tower started. Wayne Tower had enough reserve water to supply a small town for weeks. Bruce felt his muscles start to relax and soften with the warming water.

Bruce took a swig from the bottle of 50 year old Macallan scotch that he had grabbed on his way into his personal shower. He wasn’t much of a drinker – only enough to convince people that he was every bit the playboy wreck the papers sold him as. The scotch was to numb the pain and sterilize his wounds for the field dressing and triage he would be doing soon. There wasn’t much in the way of surgical supplies in his office and he knew he wouldn’t make it to the safe house on the 13th floor.

The interior of the shower was tile, rare slate taken from a demolished monastery in northern Italy that had been ransacked when the French invaded in the late 1400’s. The land had since been developed into a winery that employed local ex-cons as part of a new, experimental rehabilitation program for released prisoners. It had an excellent rehab rate with almost 80% of the members re-integrating into society with no repeat offenses after 5 years.

Bruce had fought hard to open the facility, though Batman didn’t see the point. Sure, it gave Wayne another sparkle on an already shining public image, but he was beginning to question how much sparkle was really needed to wash the blood and bruises of Batman away.

The shower had 12 programmable body jets tied into a profile system that could remember settings for up to 24 different users. The tile surrounded 3 ½ sides of the shower, leaving a more than adequate sized glass entry way. Made out of specially treated glass, it could switch between being totally clear when empty to completely frosted when in use.

That wasn’t the only unique feature of the shower glass. It could withstand a point-blank shot from a .50 caliber rifle, and a full contact grenade detonation. All of the windows in Wayne Tower were constructed out of the same material. A fact that only Bruce, Batman and Alfred knew.

“Blackbird? Blackbird are you there?” Alfred asked over Batmans cochlear implant. A small, microchip sized microphone and speaker implanted just below the skin in Batmans left and right ears. Normally they were always broadcasting and receiving, unless disabled by Batman.

“I’m here Nest.” Batman replied.

“We’re secure, sir. The dermal sensors in your…armor reported that you took it off about ten minutes ago, is everything alright? We’ve been out of contact for a while.”

Batman kicked himself mildly for not finishing the long-range RF antenna array setup around Gotham sooner. The batsuit must have been out of range of one of the operational relays since his encounter with Black Mask at the bank. Once he reached Wayne Tower it would have radioed home to the cave, sending hours worth of GPS, black-box and health data to Alfred. Suit reports were eyes-only for Alfred.

“I’m alright Nest. Had to stop off for a field triage.” Batman lied. He knew Alfred would see through this, but even over a secure line Alfred wouldn’t question him on it. Not after the events earlier.

“Roger that Blackbird, vitality data shows that you’ve undergone some rather serious trauma. Do you need medevac?” Batman could hear the worry in his voice. He’d gotten better at containing it, but then again Batman was an expert at picking worry or fear out of human voices.

“Negative, I’ll be fine. Will be off comms for about thirty, then heading back to Nest to re-arm.” He could sense his old friend relax over the connection.

“Roger that Blackbird, will keep a light on for you.”.

Batman thumbed the side of his jaw triggering the off button for his internal mic.

He knew of five wounds that were serious, one likely mortal if not attended to immediately, but there were probably a dozen or so that were minor or flesh wounds. Just more scars to make up stories for. He joked with himself that the crime fighting as Batman and public appearances as Bruce Wayne were the easy parts of his life. The hard part, that was remembering what the excuse for each scar was.