By: Sylvia Boswell
Edited by: Giovanna Laine
It was not my intention to make reheating alter ego a full-time thing. In fact, the whole idea was to be a one-time stint. Oh boy, where on God’s green earth do I begin? Well, the beginning sounds like a good starting point.
The name is Jessica Holm. I am a 26 year old living In Gotham City. My family comes from Germany. Father was a Scientist and Mother was a one of the best assistants a man could ask for. When they got to the States, they both took up jobs at Wayne Tech. I was born two years later on January 1, 1989. Lucky me, right?
My life was that of a normal Gothamite and I grew up on stories of the mysterious Batman. Little did I know that those stories were to become all too real for me and my family. I had just started my Sophomore year at Gotham Heights when a call came in from then-Lieutenant Jim Gordon. He had come to pick me up. The word was that someone had busted into my parent’s lab and stole something big. However, the perpetrator didn’t want to leave any witnesses. The one thing I remember clearly out of the whole affair is seeing their bodies as they lay on the cold metal slab at the Gotham Morgue.
After the funeral, Gordon stopped me. He had a young girl about my age with him and he spoke the first very kind words to me. He simply handed me a card and said, “If you need me, call.”
The young woman by his side extended a hand. “I’m Barbara, we go to school together.”
“Of course,” My answer was halting as I took the hand. From then on, throughout my school career, I was always welcome at the Gordons’. By my Senior year, I had completed enough tests to start at the Gotham Police Academy. I excelled and also earned a scholarship from Wayne Tech. Upon graduation, I joined the GCPD and met a man with whom I fell in love: Kyle Sato, a detective under now-Commissioner Gordon.
While I was an officer, I continued my studies at Gotham University. I took subjects ranging from criminal psychology to forensic sciences. I wanted to be the best, mentally and physically. I also studied martial arts and joined Gotham University’s team, winning gold in Jujutsu and earning my black belt.
Once again however, tragedy found those for whom I cared. This time it was the Joker’s doing. I had just finished college when the last two people I ever thought would be hurt …
That Freak went to Jim Gordon’s house, shot Barbara in the spine, beat her father within an inch of his life, then finally abducted him, but not before he took certain pictures of Barbara. I remember thinking to myself then, “Why is such a menace allowed to have psychological care at Arkham Asylum?”
After a visit from the Bat, I was able to see Barbara. Long we waited as Barbara cried and I sang. It was a song my mother sang to me as a child. All the time however, my hand never strayed far from my sidearm. This was my duty: protect the daughter of Jim Gordon at all costs.
Kyle Sato would pay me visits and would deliver reports to me and Barbara. One day he called me outside and his face looked quite worried as he spoke.
“Jessica when was the last time you slept?” His voice was good and calming, yet still I told the lie to this tall redhaired man.
“I am fine Kyle.” My voice cracked a bit as I spoke. In truth it has been 2 days since the incident and not once had I left Barbara’s side. In fact, I couldn’t . Kyle wasn’t the first. Officer Montoya and then Bullock tried. Both failed.
Kyle sighed then, realizing it was futile. “Will you at least join me in the cafeteria for some coffee?”
Right then I could have kissed the man. “Alright.”
After that, I returned to Barbara’s room. She was sleeping peacefully and I took the chair next to the bed and soon was roused from a light sleep by her hand.
“Jessica,” her voice called, her hand on my shoulder. Her eyes were wide as if she wanted to get something off her chest.
“What is it Barbs?” My voice was gentle in the dark room.
“Thank you for staying with me,” she said, her mind calculating every word as she spoke. “There is something i want to tell you. I am …”
Just then we were interrupted by my shoulder radio. “ALERT! ALERT! ALL UNITS! Commissioner Gordon has been located! The following units are to join Detective Bullock at rally point.”
Dispatch listed badge numbers then, and mine was called as well as Kyle’s.
“Barbs, will you be okay,” I ask taking my motorcycle helmet.
“Yes, and Jessica,” her voice was firm enough to stop me in my tracks. “Bring him back.”
With a nod of understanding, I left. She wanted her father. Come hell or high water, I would deliver. I was no Batman, but Jim Gordon was as good as a father to me. I would not fail him or her. I ran downstairs, snapping my helmet into place as I did.
In my parking spot was glorious motorcycle, yet before I mounted an unseen car pulled up. The window on the passenger side was rolled down and Kyle’s voice called out. “Get in!”
I didn’t argue as I got into the car and he booked it down to the old abandoned theme park. Bullock was giving orders but he saw me and gestured to the ambulance and smiled with a nod. He let me know Gordon was okay. “Sato, Holm you get the honor of hauling this clown freak to Arkham.”
“Oh you give me the fun assignments, dontcha, Bullock,” Kyle retorted acidly.
“Yeah, Sato, I do,” Bullock glared at Kyle. The two had been butting heads since Kyle got his detective shield. Bullock continued, “The Joker is already in the paddywagon over there. There will be two officers inside with the freak, and 2 up front. You two will be in a squad car following the wagon. Sato, you will sign him into Arkham.”
Within ten minutes we were on our way to Arkham Island. Sitting close to the man who had my eye, I was kind of tongue-tied, but in the end he spoke.
“So Jess, why do you feel so strong about the Commissioner and his daughter?”
“They were there for me when no one else was,” I said, beginning the story, grateful that I had another ear. As i told the tale, Kyle listened; he asked the occasional question, but aside from that nothing. I finally concluded. “Barbara has always been an older sister to me, and Gordon a father. What about you Kyle?”
Kyle’s knuckles went white on the steering wheel, then he calmed and spoke. “I suppose I owe you my life story. The truth is I was raised in Gotham’s east end. That place has always been home to the gangs. Yet my parents worked as officers in the local precinct.
“They believed that Gotham was still good on the inside. They were the best, but being the best wasn’t enough when Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, decided that they were in his way. One day his gang assaulted the precinct and a firefight ensued. My father died and my mother was left unable to walk.
“After that i dedicated my life to serving the people. With any luck Jessica, people like you, me, Gordon, hell, even the Batman can make this place safe for the common man.”
“I hope you’re right,” my answer was simple and, in my mind at the time, very true. The fact is that as the Batman, Robin, and Batgirl fought, so did GCPD. I thought on this as we turned onto the bridge leading to Arkham Island. The truth is that we were losing. Even as we took down the criminals, more would rise. It was a scary thought in my mind, how delicate the balance was between good and evil. As we approached Arkham Asylum, I noticed the iron gate opening to admit us as the cameras swiveled to observe every action. About ten men, armed with nightsticks and SIG Sauers in holsters, stood around a metal gurney waiting to receive the new maximum security patient. As I saw this, I wondered how the Joker even got out.
We exited the car as the paddywagon pointed its rear to the asylum and the grim-faced guards. The doors opened, allowing the fully armored SWAT officers to step out with the freak between them. It was the first time I had ever seen the Joker in person. For some reason the green hair and white face sent a chill down my spine, and somehow I knew that we would meet, and that our meeting would determine much. As they hauled him to his cell we could hear him speak.
“Ah home sweet home. You know, someone should tell the warden the place needs a new coat of paint. After all, the place is supposed to be a mental institution, not a mausoleum. Then again, the whole point is to keep sane. Pity I never touch the stuff. Still, we could – hehe – we could have had such fun. ha … hahahahahahahahahaha!”
The guards hauled him off strapped to the gurney as Kyle and I watched. This was the face of the enemy, and I felt as if I had seen the Devil, I was scared. In the end, could any of us, even the Batman, stop something like that forever?
This work is Copyright © 2015, by Sylvia Boswell. All Rights Reserved.