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!"