Tuesday, October 30, 2007

296. Media communique

Men and women of Gotham City:

Tomorrow is Halloween, a day long associated with horror. And horror you shall experience in a form more intense than any mere motion picture or amusement park ride.

You have already begun to feel the iron grip of the Honest Men. Tomorrow that grip shall tighten.

Events will unfold in front of Gotham City Hall after dark.

You have been warned. Sleep well, my darlings.


Monday, October 22, 2007

295. Jonathan Crane

The recent demonstration impressed my employers, as I knew it would. But now is not the time for self-congratulation; my work must intensify.

To that end, I have devised a new experiment involving the subject who called himself the Batman.

First, I must recapitulate an overview of my strategy. With each of the four subjects, beginning many months ago, long periods of total isolation were coupled with increasing dosages of the fear toxin. This had the effect of destabilizing the men's psyches; they learned, first, that they were vulnerable in ways that they had previously worked hard to overcome. Once their denial of their mortality was removed, I began to make clear to them the utter helplessness of their situation. Their familiar costumes were removed, and they spent a transitional period completely naked (but for their masks). In time, they were assigned the new uniforms they now wear, accompanied by certain privileges, like the ability to see--but not speak to--each other for a few moments at seemingly unpredictalbe intervals. Before each such visit, they were administered a strain of the fear toxin that rendered them terrified of their former colleagues, thus feeling even more alone—and ever closer to me.

In my next experiment with the Batman, I shall begin to take fuller advantage of the intimacy he feels with me. This should prove quite ... interesting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

294. The omniscient narrator

Their command performance ended, the four prisoners were placed in leg irons and shackles and marched back to the brig. "Time to clean you pigs up," one of the officers said. At his cue, another two men turned on a huge hose and sprayed down the captives. Great blasts of water soaked their hoods and clothes, nearly pushing them to the ground.

Batman and the others made no attempt to resist, but their passivity did not stop the guards from delivering a beating. Batons raised, the guards attacked the heroes, laughing as their victims doubled over.

"Remember how tough these fuckers used to be, when they first came here?" asked one uniformed man. "Just look at 'em now."

"Yeah, it's amazing what a steady diet of fear gas, torture, and mental conditioning can do," replied another.

"You can say that again," said the first man. "OK, time to lock 'em down for the night." Turning to Green Arrow, who was lying in a heap at his feet, he barked, "Get UP, asswipe!" When the Arrow failed to respond, the guard kicked him three more times. "Am I gonna have to DRAG you in there? All right, then--you got it."

The guard leaned down and hooked his arms under Green Arrow's armpits, then hoisted him up a bit. Other men did the same with the other three barely conscious prisoners and slowly dragged them to their respective cells. These were tiny spaces outfitted with filthy portable toilets, a couple of wool sheets stretched out on the bare floor, and a pair of dogbowls apiece. The wall of each cell was bare but for a large poster of HateMonger himself, bearing his photo and the words YOU ARE NOTHING. WE ARE EVERYTHING. A high-wattage incandescent lightbulb hung well out of reach overhead.

When the captives were locked into their cells, the lights all went out at once.

"What're you doin' after your shift ends?" one of the guards said to another in the darkness as they headed for the door, their path lit by flashlights.

"Dunno," said his companion. "Work out, watch some tube, have a beer, get some sleep. Same old same old."

"I hear ya," said the first man. "Same old, same old."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

293. The omniscient narrator

"Impressive," said HateMonger as he observed the spectacle onstage. His head was cocked ever so slightly to one side, and he was aware that the companions next to him were growing aroused by what they saw. "Faggots," he sneered to himself, apparently oblivious to the fact that his own hand was in his lap, grazing against an ever-growing mound there.

The Honest Men on the stage had begun to lower their jockstraps, revealing fully erect shafts that they now began to stroke. The hooded prisoners continued to kneel; it was impossible to know what, if anything, they thought about what was happening to them.

Scarecrow had his own mask on now, and he walked behind the captives, teasing them with his bony fingers. They did not flinch.

One by one the solders shot their loads onto the hoods of the heroes. "Yeah," grunted one of the men in the audience, temporarily lost in his own excitement. The others chuckled quietly, then turned to HateMonger for their cue. His face completely neutral, he clapped his hands together slowly. They, too, began to applaud, and the nearly empty room began to echo with the sound.

Batman, Robin, Green Arrow, and the Magus kept kneeling onstage, their black hoods soaked with cum. The men who had just done the soaking pulled up their jockstraps and breeches, tidied their uniforms, and then walked behind the heroes. The contrast was striking: four men standing tall, looking magnificent, while four more squatted at their feet, spattered with milky splooge.

"We should shoot those filthy pathetic fuckers right here and now," said one of the men in the audience.

"No," said HateMonger. "Their role in our adventure has only just begun."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

292. The omniscient narrator

Scarecrow snapped his scrawny fingers. A split second later, a loud buzzer sounded, triggering two things: first, each of the four bound men on stage moved almost mechanically to their knees. It was clear that this was something they had been trained to do--they did it not quite willingly, but fully aware that disobedience would bring harsh punishment.

As the captives sank to the floor, four uniformed members of the militia marched out onto the stage and took positions directly in front of them. The hooded heroes' faces were at crotch level and they waited silently as the Honest Men slowly unbuttoned their breeches, sliding them toward the floor while leaving their duty belts in place.

"As you can plainly see," Crane intoned, "not all of the hoods allow for oral contact. That is no matter. These four understand now that they must serve their superiors in a number of ways. Sometimes that involves their mouths. Sometimes it does not. For the purposes of today's demonstration, their heads will do just fine."

The Honest Men wore black leather jockstraps emblazened with the initials "HM." At Crane's cue, they pressed the pouches into the hooded faces of their captives. In a choreography of humiliation, they rubbed them up and down, side to side, as the heroes kneeled passively and accepted their fate.

Monday, September 03, 2007

291. The omniscient narrator

The four men stood with their heads bowed. Each was bare-chested and wore dull gray uniform pants. Lacking their more familiar clothing, the best way to tell them apart (other than Robin's mostly hairless torso) was by the hoods pulled over their heads. While each shared a basic color and design--jet black, covering the entire head, no eyes or mouth currently visible--the material and/or certain details varied from one wearer to the next. Robin's was pure spandex, clinging so tightly to his skull that it revealed traces of his hairline and eyebrows. Green Arrow's was a rough cloth, tied in the back. These two were designed without openings of any kind, though the wearer could still see and breathe in a limited way. Both Batman and the Magus had been outfitted with leather hoods--the latter possessed only the tiniest of holes to allow in little pinpricks of air and light, while Batman's featured removable panels to expose or cover the ears, nose, and mouth, all of which were currently snapped shut.

"You are seeing the latest phase of a long and slow process during which their old costumes were removed and their new uniforms introduced," Crane said from the podium. "As soon as they were captured, we removed all their tools and weapons, of course. In the days that followed, we took away one item every three days: gloves, capes, belts, tights, and the like. At your request, they were all unmasked in a dark room, their true faces seen by no one yet, They've been wearing these hoods for almost a month now. The lower half is lifted slightly once a week so that the prisoners may be shaved. Their beard growth is fed to them in that evening's meal as a regular reminder of their defeat."

"Now that's a perverse touch," HateMonger said.

"Thank you, Sir," Crane replied, smiling slightly. "Perversion is my business, after all."

HateMonger's expression darkened. "Your 'business'--one for which you are being paid quite lavishly, I might add--is to break these men, totally and completely. Nothing you've shown me thus far convinces me you've done that."

"Be patient, my good man," Scarecrow said. "The fun is just beginning."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

290. The omniscient narrator

"Nice digs," mumbled one of the lieutenants as HateMonger's entourage toured Scarecrow's immense laboratory.

"Ought to be," sneered another. "You know who's paying for the joint."

HateMonger himself seemed mildly bored by the endless rooms of test tubes and expensive-looking equipment. "You've shown me all this before, Crane," he said. "Cut to the chase. Bring them out."

"I'm getting to that," Dr. Crane hissed, audibly upset by his employer's tone. "Here, take a seat in the grand ampitheater."

The uniformed group--eight men in all--were ushered to a row of seats an enormous lecture hall.

The lights went down. Crane stood at a podium on the edge of the stage, illuminated by a small reading light. He made a show of clearing his throat and sipping from a complicated-looking bottle of water. "Ladies and gentlemen," he started to say--then caught himself. There were no "ladies" here, and arguably no "gentlemen" either. His audience was the eight highest ranking members of the Honest Men. They looked breathtaking in their uniforms, and Crane had fantasized about at least five of them during the long lonely nights he'd spent engrossed in his work lately.

"It is my honor to present to you the fruits of my labor: four former adversaries of ours, four men who once posed a serious threat to this organiztion, now effectively neutralized once and for all. Behold--"

As he said their names, individual spotlights switched on, bathing each captive in harsh white light as they stood, hooded and bound, on four separate pedestals.

"Green Arrow."

"The Magus."


"And, last and quite possibly now the least.... The Batman!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

289. Jonathan Crane

History will ask, as it has every right to do, how I pulled it off. The truth is, in retrospect, it was all quite simple. Most things are when you have an actual army at your disposal.

HateMonger will surely tell the world that he sought me out. He does love to take credit for things, doesn't he? But I remember something rather different: in my search for funding for my research, it was I who first approached him almost a year ago. Like so many others, he would have nothing to do with me--at first. But in time (aided by a rather effective demonstration of one of my lesser formulae) he came around, and within a month he and his organization had become the benefactors I so desperately needed.

It did not hurt that we shared a common enemy.

I wanted the vigilante who had killed my mentor. HM wanted a certain pest controlled. We both got what we wanted.

As I have said, the actual procedure was easy--much more so than anyone could have predicted. I would like to assume full responsibility for the facility with which four formidable opponents fell prey to my talents, but I must confess that I saw weaknesses in their group early on--weaknesses I of course exploited fully.

I created situations which further isolated the men from each other. Once one of them had fallen to me, I used him as bait to lure the next, and so on. I had studied each man from afar for weeks before I confronted any of them directly, so I knew exactly where his vulnerabilities--his fears--lay. Dr. Tanhoger's notes, rescued from the fire, were a tremendous help for the main two; the others were easy enough to unpeel.

And unpeel them I have. No scientist could ever have hoped for a more ideal situation: four subjects upon which to experiment for months at a time. Human-sized lab rats to be broken and rebuilt according to my whim (and, of course, HateMonger's rather more exacting instructions). They resisted at first, which was tiresome, but in time they each caved in, more or less simultaneously. Once again, with two of them, I had the benefit of Dr. Tanhoger's earlier meticulous research; I knew the precise triggers that would provoke a relapse to their earlier state of surrender. Here again, I used my success with those two to prove to the remaining pair that it was pointless to resist the inevitable.

I must wrap up these notes and make a few final preparations for HM's next visit. While he has toured my facilities on several occasions since the initial captures, only now am I ready to unveil the results of my months of work on the four.

I am quite certain that my benefactor will be pleasantly surprised by what is beginning to take shape.

Thursday, August 16, 2007



By Thomas Drury

Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Gotham Gazette in Exile. It may be humble--existing only in blog and photocopied form for now--but at the moment this is the only lasting legacy of one of the country's oldest and most respected newspapers. In the spirit of the New Resistance, we pledge to preserve that legacy and uphold freedom of the press with every power we can marshal.

As local readers are no doubt aware, the offices of the Gazette are no more, the victim of a bombing two months ago that not only destroyed the building but killed the publisher, editor-in-chief, and much of the staff. There has never been any question that this attack--quickly followed by similar bombings of all three local television stations and Police Headquarters--was the work of the so-called "Honest Men," the neo-Nazi organization that has effectively seized control of the city. The man known only as HateMonger now effectively rules Gotham, his every command enforced by a paramilitary organization of unknown size and scope, assisted by the latest costumed criminal to emerge in a town overrun by them: the Scarecrow, wielding the arsenal of psychoactive substances that have brought so many of the area's citizens to their knees.

The only questions that remain, in fact, are how all of this could have happened--a major American city under the iron grip of a self-styled citizens' militia--and why no one has come to our aid.

The silence of the federal government and national media has been alarming and disheartening, to say the least. While it is likely that no one who has directly witnessed the devastation of Gotham can understand just how dire the situation is, there is simply no way that outsiders could be unaware that something serious is going on here. Yet we have heard nothing from the President, the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, the 24-hour news networks, or anyone else.

On the local front, it has been more than eight months since the last reported sightings of the "Bat-Man" and the allies who at that point appeared to be working with him. We can only assume the worst: either they have been slain or--unthinkable though the prospect may be--they have simply given up the fight and abandoned Gotham at its greatest hour of need.

The Gazette in Exile vows to provide any and all news we can to the citizens of Gotham City for as long as we have access to equipment. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise. We can no longer look to saviors from inside or outside the city limits to bail us out. It is up to each and every one of us, working alone and in coalition, to save ourselves.

To be blunt, we have no other options left.